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A Discussion on Impeachment and T&RC’s

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I’m going to take a liberty here. Or two. Thomas Nephew at newsrackblog and Nell Lancaster of A Lovely Promise had a dialogue about impeachment of sorts that was interesting and pushed the discussion. Thomas took on Mark’s T&RC advocacy, while Nell made some strong new arguments for impeachment. Nell’s further comments in response to a comment I made went even further. I’m going to present all that as a whole, here, without permission of any kind. I urge you to read it carefully and follow the links. It’s our democracy that’s at stake.

Impeachment and truth now. Reconciliation? Maybe later.

by Thomas Nephew

While it wasn’t her point, Nell’s excellent post earlier this week (”Prepare to Dare or Prepare to Despair“) reminds me that I’ve been less energetic than I should have been in supporting and discussing Dennis Kucinich’s H.Res. 1258 resolution calling for George Bush’s impeachment. The lengthy resolution presents 35 articles of impeachment, leading with Bush’s propaganda campaign for the Iraq war:

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in
violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of
President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve,
protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of
his constitutional duty under article II, section 3 of the Constitution ‘to take
care that the laws be faithfully executed’, has both personally and acting
through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, illegally
spent public dollars on a secret propaganda program to manufacture a false cause
for war against Iraq.

The resolution is a resource in its own right, presenting factual bases for each of the charges.* As David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org said,

Impeachment is only a lengthy process when you don’t already have the
evidence. President Andrew Johnson was impeached three days after the
offense for which he was impeached. … Bush and Cheney could be impeached, tried,
and convicted in a week.

 

Not even every impeachment supporter will agree that every single article in H. Res. 1258 merits Bush’s impeachment, removal from office, and banning from future federal office. But even in this the resolution serves a useful function, reminding us that impeachment is by design a political tool, to be wielded by the House of Representatives — not a judicial one or one limited to narrowly proveable violations of U.S. law.
To be sure — for those who insist on them — there are (in my opinion) such statutory and treaty violations involving illegal detention (Article 17), torture (Article 18), and illegally spying on American citizens (Article 24).

But impeachment can and sometimes must also be applied to the kinds of breaches of trust and willful poor judgment that have characterized the Bush administration, even if no specific statute is broken, even if “only” our constitutional system itself is at stake. The cannon of impeachment may seem less warranted for, say, the relative fly of “endangering the health of 9/11 first responders,” (Article 35), but quite a bit more so for the propaganda catapult of misleading claims about Iraq and 9/11 (Article 2), Iraqi WMD (Article 3), or “even” climate change (Article 32) — regardless of whether particular statutes were broken in the latter cases. Yet others strike at the equally profound subversion of the American political system, such as those about tampering with free and fair elections, corruption of the administration of justice (Article 28), creating secret laws (Article 22), and announcing intent not to follow duly enacted law (Article 26).

As AfterDowningStreet.com is reporting, Dennis Kucinich will present petitions supporting immediate impeachment hearings to Speaker Nancy Pelosi today. (You can still add your support here.)

Kucinich will also reportedly urge the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission — something Mark Gisleson (”Norwegianity”) supports in an article written for Mick Arran’s impeachment blog “The Bush/Cheney Impeachment Papers.” The arguments of Mr. Gisleson and others (like local congressional candidate Gordon Clark) notwithstanding, I see the “T&R” idea as a half measure ratifying a drift away from the Constitution and towards unwritten and impotent customs and conventions.
But even the half-measure of “truth and reconciliation” is not eagerly embraced by the Obama campaign. As Mark Benjamin reported for Salon.com (via Mick Arran) this summer:

…don’t hold your breath waiting for Dick Cheney to be frog-marched into federal
court. Prosecution of any officials, if it were to occur, would probably not
occur during Obama’s first term. Instead, we may well see a congressionally
empowered commission that would seek testimony from witnesses in search of the
truth about what occurred. Though some witnesses might be offered immunity in
exchange for testimony, the question of whether anybody would be prosecuted
would be deferred to a later date — meaning Obama’s second term, if such is
forthcoming.

On the other hand (and for what it’s worth), while it doesn’t call for either a commission or impeachment, the draft Democratic platform identified many of the same issues highlighted in H. Res. 1258. And it closed the relevant “Reclaiming our Constitution and Our Liberties” section with the ringing words:

Our Constitution is not a nuisance. It is the foundation of our democracy. It
makes freedom and self-governance possible, and helps to protect our security.
The Democratic Party will restore our Constitution to its proper place in our
government and return our Nation to our best traditions–including our commitment
to government by law, and not by men.

Impeachment is not a nuisance either — it’s an integral part of the Constitution. Impeachment is no esoteric afterthought — it’s the biggest actual “check and balance” in the document, and it’s mentioned six times. Impeachment is literally patriotic. And it would be a far more powerful tool towards uncovering the truth than any congressional committee or even special prosecutor would be — refusal to honor impeachment-related subpoenas was itself an article of impeachment in the Nixon articles of impeachment.

As Nell Lancaster wrote:

Impeachment is the key to reversing the damage of the last eight years, not
simply papering it over. The time to organize for demanding it is not after the
election, but now._______________________________________________________

 
From Prepare to dare or prepare to despair

by Nell Lancaster

Impeachment right away: Only a small minority of the American public — even of informed, activist liberals — understands that the Constitution provides for impeachment of officials after they’ve left office, not just for sitting presidents. Yet post-power impeachment hearings are the single best way to uncover just what lawbreaking was done. Not only do impeachment investigations have much stronger testimony-extracting powers than regular Congressional hearings, but post-term impeachment is much less easily characterized as a “partisan witch hunt” because it’s removed from an electoral landscape.

Other excuses will be will be thrown up by compromised, fearful, lazy, and/or power-loving Democrats. The two most common are “we don’t want to be seen as vindictive” and “impeachment would be a distraction from the vital work we have to get done”.

The best answer to ‘vindictive’ is that this is about restoring the Constitution, pruning back these dangerously expanded executive powers that no one — including “our” people — should have. That’s the opposite of vindictive.

We’re going to get the ‘distraction’ line not only from politicians but from our allies, every organized progressive constituency desperate to get issues addressed by Congress after eight (or 28) years in the desert. Yet if the impeachment investigations are put off for even a year, we’ll run right up against the midterms, and by 2011 the presidential campaign will have begun. So if hearings don’t begin in 2009, it’s hard to see how they could get going before 2013 -– by which time the “ancient history” charge will have more effect. So it could be 2009 or never.

We cannot wait. If there’s no serious domestic move toward accountability for torture, for which impeachment hearings are among the most practical and plausibly effective forum, then within a year there will be international legal interventions. The politics and optics of that are terrible, for anyone who cares about achieving a systemic rooting-out and reversal of this country’s policy of torture. Legal threats from outside the country risk creating an effect of rallying around the old regime (however incredible such a thing seems now), and not only among Republicans. The most secure footing for international law will be created by Americans ourselves restoring the rule of law in the United States.

Likewise, only actual exposure of what went on with domestic spying under Bush-Cheney can light a big enough fire under Congress to get them to roll back the legislation that enables it, and only impeachment hearings seem to me to have the testimony-inducing force to get that exposure.

Impeachment is the key to reversing the damage of the last eight years, not simply papering it over. The time to organize for demanding it is not after the election, but now.

(The mechanics to accomplish this are for another post. Please don’t wait for that; share thoughts and suggestions in comments.)

Written by Mick

September 11, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Posted in The Kucinich Bill

Pelosi Will Allow Non-Impeachment Impeachment Hearings

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Maybe we’re having some effect after all.

The Associated Press says Kucinich’s Impeachment Articles will get a hearing. Oh, not to impeach Bush, of course. That’s “off the table” (Nancy Pelosi TM). No, this is about politics. It seems that when the DLC Democrats aren’t being Bush, they’re busy living up to the GOP’s unflattering characterizations of them as opportunistic scoundrels who care less about the country than their own re-elections.

 

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich’s single article of impeachment will get a committee hearing — but not on removing President Bush from office.The House on Tuesday voted 238 to 180 to send his impeachment article — for Bush’s reasoning in taking the country to war in Iraq — to the Judiciary Committee, which buried Kucinich’s previous 35-article effort in June.

This time, the panel will open hearings, possibly as soon as next week. But House Democratic leaders said the proceedings would not be about Bush’s impeachment, a first step in the Constitution’s process of a removing a president from office.

 

Instead, the panel will conduct an election-year review — possibly televised — of anything Democrats consider to be Bush’s abuse of power. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, is likely to testify. So will several scholars and administration critics, Democrats said.

 

 

(emphasis added)

 

This is…hard to describe. Pathetic? Absurd?

 

August 27, 1945

Dateline: Berlin

 

This week the Allied Forces decided not to try their prisoner, Adolf Hitler, because, as General Patton put it this morning, “He’s been through enough and anyway he’s lost the war. It’s time to move on. Enough of this crying and moaning. We need to look to the future, not the past.”

 

Instead, they are going to present a series of films about where Hitler went wrong and present testimony to prove to the world that he’s not a Nice Guy. “If we had been in charge of Germany,” said US Senator Jay Rockefeller, “we would have done a better job. We would have abused the German Constitution less than he did, for one thing. And we would have made it all legal retroactively. If he had done that, there wouldn’t even have been talk about a trial.”

 

The Committee in Charge of Whitewashing Dictators is expected to hear testimony from several German generals who will swear that none of this was Hitler’s fault, and a number of American businessmen (Preston Bush is one) who have complaints about non-payment by Hitler’s government for military supplies used against our soldiers.

 

“A deal is a deal,” Bush spokesman Chris Wallace said. “OK, the stuff was used against American troops but that’s not our fault. Who could have predicted an outcome like that? Nobody. We sold those armaments in good faith and we expect Adolf to keep his word and pony up.”

 

RCA Radio has already said it will refuse to carry the hearings live because “nobody cares any more. It’s old news. We need to think of the future and move on past all this quibbling. We have business to do with the Germans.”

 

Makes about as much sense, doesn’t it?

Written by Mick

July 22, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Pelosi May Allow Impeachment Hearings

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Dennis Kucinich has been in Congress long enough to have a well-developed sense of how intelligent his compatriots are and how much information they can absorb without squads of interpreters and weeks of special tutoring. As soon as he saw their stunned, vacant reaction to the 35 Articles of Impeachment he introduced in the House, he knew he had to pare the list down to a level they could comprehend: One. So he did. (Via TMiss)

Concerned that the 35 articles of impeachment he introduced a month ago might be too much for members of the House Judiciary Committee to handle all at once, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) simplified things Thursday.

The former Democratic presidential candidate introduced a single article to impeach President Bush, accusing him of deceiving Congress to convince lawmakers to authorize his invasion of Iraq more than five years ago.

That wasn’t the best news, tho. The best news is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated she might actually allow the Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on it. This is either a distinct 180-degree turnaround or else she’s lying. Either is possible but the latter is more likely.

Still, ONE article isn’t too much for the average House member to handle? Is it?

Written by Mick

July 11, 2008 at 12:53 pm

The Articles of Impeachment: Article 1

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CREATING A SECRET PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN TO MANUFACTURE A FALSE CASE FOR WAR AGAINST IRAQ

Article I of Dennis Kucinich’s Articles for the Impeachment of President Bush concerns the work of the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, formed by Andy Card to sell the Iraq war to a reluctant US population.

The Department of Defense (DOD) has engaged in a years-long secret domestic propaganda campaign to promote the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This secret program was defended by the White House Press Secretary following its exposure. This program follows the pattern of crimes detailed in Article I, II, IV and VIII. The mission of this program placed it within the field controlled by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a White House task force formed in August 2002 to market an invasion of Iraq to the American people. The group included Karl Rove, I. Lewis Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, Stephen Hadley, Nicholas E. Calio, and James R. Wilkinson.

The WHIG produced white papers detailing so-called intelligence of Iraq’s nuclear threat that later proved to be false. This supposed intelligence included the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger as well as the claim that the high strength aluminum tubes Iraq purchased from China were to be used for the sole purpose of building centrifuges to enrich uranium. Unlike the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, the WHIG’s white papers provided “gripping images and stories” and used “literary license” with intelligence. The WHIG’s white papers were written at the same time and by the same people as speeches and talking points prepared for President Bush and some of his top officials.

 

 The Co-Operative History Commons notes that WHIG was charged with “pushing the [marketing] envelope” from the very beginning.

 

August 2002: Top Bush Officials Form Group To Sell Iraq War to the Public, Congress, and Allies

White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. forms the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, which aims to “educate the public” about the alleged threat from Iraq. A senior official involved with the group later describes it as “an internal working group, like many formed for priority issues, to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities.” Members of the group include Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, Nicholas E. Calio, and policy advisers led by Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, and I. Lewis Libby. They meet weekly in the White House Situation Room. A “strategic communications” task force under the WHIG is charged with planning speeches and writing white papers. [Washington Post, 8/10/2003] According to an intelligence source interviewed by the New York Daily News in October 2005, the group, on “a number of occasions,” will attempt “to push the envelope on things,”—“The [CIA] would say, ‘We just don’t have the intelligence to substantiate that.’” [New York Daily News, 10/19/2005] An important part of the WHIG strategy is to feed their messages to friendly reporters such as New York Times reporter Judith Miller. James Bamford, in his book A Pretext for War, writes: “First OSP [Office of Special Plans] supplies false or exaggerated intelligence; then members of the WHIG leak it to friendly reporters, complete with prepackaged vivid imagery; finally, when the story breaks, senior officials point to it as proof and parrot the unnamed quotes they or their colleagues previously supplied.” [Bamford, 2004, pp. 325]

 

The process described by Bamford is at the heart of Article 1. Under orders from the president, WHIG deliberately used bogus information, much of it provided by Ahmad Chalabi, an ace Iraqi con artist wanted for bank fraud in Syria. When George Tenet’s CIA – whose statements, particularly concerning Chalabi, were a good deal stronger than “we can’t substantiate that” – told Cheney and WHIG that Chalabi couldn’t be trusted and that he was a liar and a thief whose “information” could never be confirmed, Cheney ordered Doug Feith at the Office of Special Plans (OSP) to tell Dave Wurmser at C-TEG (Counter-Terrorism Evaluation Group) to go through the CIA’s raw data (unconfirmed rumors, gossip, chatter on the part of friends and enemies) and come up with confirmation. Then Libby, a friend of ace conspiracy theorist Laurie Mylroie who was in turn a friend of ace con artist Chalabi, whipped up “Code Name Curveball”, a supposed Iraqi defector from Saddam’s Revolutionary Guard who has never been shown even to have existed, but if he does he was also handed to Libby (through Laurie) by Chalabi’s illusory Iraqi National Congress (INC), a supposed anti-Saddam guerrilla group whose members were all in their 50’s and 60’s, and none of whom had actually been in Iraq since late ’57.

If this is beginning to sound like a satirical film by Stanley Kubrick, you’re getting the idea. This is where the myth of Bush/Cheney incompetence started, but in fact, as we now know, the Administration was perfectly aware that everything Bush was saying – and WHIG was spreading – was a lie. They just didn’t care. The WaPo’s Walter Pincus first broke the story as early as Aug of ’03, giving specifics of a myriad of untruths.

The new information indicates a pattern in which President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their subordinates — in public and behind the scenes — made allegations depicting Iraq’s nuclear weapons program as more active, more certain and more imminent in its threat than the data they had would support. On occasion administration advocates withheld evidence that did not conform to their views. The White House seldom corrected misstatements or acknowledged loss of confidence in information upon which it had previously relied:

* Bush and others often alleged that President Hussein held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, but did not disclose that the known work of the scientists was largely benign. Iraq’s three top gas centrifuge experts, for example, ran a copper factory, an operation to extract graphite from oil and a mechanical engineering design center at Rashidiya.

* The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 2002 cited new construction at facilities once associated with Iraq’s nuclear program, but analysts had no reliable information at the time about what was happening under the roofs. By February, a month before the war, U.S. government specialists on the ground in Iraq had seen for themselves that there were no forbidden activities at the sites.

* Gas centrifuge experts consulted by the U.S. government said repeatedly for more than a year that the aluminum tubes were not suitable or intended for uranium enrichment. By December 2002, the experts said new evidence had further undermined the government’s assertion. The Bush administration portrayed the scientists as a minority and emphasized that the experts did not describe the centrifuge theory as impossible.

* In the weeks and months following Joe’s Vienna briefing, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and others continued to describe the use of such tubes for rockets as an implausible hypothesis, even after U.S. analysts collected and photographed in Iraq a virtually identical tube marked with the logo of the Medusa’s Italian manufacturer and the words, in English, “81mm rocket.”

* The escalation of nuclear rhetoric a year ago, including the introduction of the term “mushroom cloud” into the debate, coincided with the formation of a White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, a task force assigned to “educate the public” about the threat from Hussein, as a participant put it.

(emphasis added)

 

At this early stage, as you can see, Pincus was merely alleging that the evidence had been oversold, perhaps by accident. But now, after everything that’s been uncovered since, we know that Bush, Cheney and probably Rumsfeld knew that nearly all the so-called “evidence” they were ramping up to excuse a pre-emptive and almost certainly illegal invasion was either plain wrong or had been invented out of whole cloth. It didn’t matter. Cheney told WHIG to sell it and they sold it, the same way they would have sold a defective car seat or a poisonous tomato if they’d been working for corporations.

The WHIG also organized a media blitz in which, between September 7-8, 2002, President Bush and his top advisers appeared on numerous interviews and all provided similarly gripping images about the possibility of nuclear attack by Iraq. The timing was no coincidence, as Andrew Card explained in an interview regarding waiting until after Labor Day to try to sell the American people on military action against Iraq, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

September 7-8, 2002:

NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Vice President Cheney accused Saddam of moving aggressively to develop nuclear weapons over the past 14 months to add to his stockpile of chemical and biological arms.

CNN: Then-National Security Adviser Rice said, regarding the likelihood of Iraq obtaining a nuclear weapon, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

CBS: President Bush declared that Saddam was “six months away from developing a weapon,” and cited satellite photos of construction in Iraq where weapons inspectors once visited as evidence that Saddam was trying to develop nuclear arms.

 

But the core of Article 1 may be the way the Administration involved the Pentagon in this selling spree. Not to put too fine a point on it, what Rumsfeld ordered the Pentagon to do was illegal.

The Pentagon military analyst propaganda program was revealed in an April 20, 2002, New York Times article. The program illegally involved “covert attempts to mold opinion through the undisclosed use of third parties.” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recruited 75 retired military officers and gave them talking points to deliver on Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC, and according to the New York Times report, which has not been disputed by the Pentagon or the White House, “Participants were instructed not to quote their briefers directly or otherwise describe their contacts with the Pentagon.”

According to the Pentagon’s own internal documents, the military analysts were considered “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who would deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions.” In fact, they did deliver the themes and the messages but did not reveal that the Pentagon had provided them with their talking points. Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and Fox News military analyst described this as follows: “It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.’”

Congress has restricted annual appropriations bills since 1951 with this language: “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress.”

A March 21, 2005, report by the Congressional Research Service states that “publicity or propaganda” is defined by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to mean either (1) self-aggrandizement by public officials, (2) purely partisan activity, or (3) “covert propaganda.”

These concerns about “covert propaganda” were also the basis for the GAO’s standard for determining when government-funded video news releases are illegal:

“The failure of an agency to identify itself as the source of a prepackaged news story misleads the viewing public by encouraging the viewing audience to believe that the broadcasting news organization developed the information. The prepackaged news stories are purposefully designed to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public. When the television viewing public does not know that the stories they watched on television news programs about the government were in fact prepared by the government, the stories are, in this sense, no longer purely factual — the essential fact of attribution is missing.”

 

 The only possible legal excuse for any of this – and it’s abhorrent to democracy – would be if the Addington/Yoo/Cheney doctrine of the “unitary executive” (a term Addington, who has been defending it and advocating for it for years, in an orgy of temporizing told Congress this week he wasn’t “familiar with”), a definition of presidential power in which there are no restrictions or limits, the constitution notwithstanding, was accepted as law.

It isn’t.

In fact, it is patently unConstitutional on its face. NO president can assume such powers under any conditions except internal anarchy or civil rebellion, and even then it would be subject to judicial and/or legislative review, both of which Addington/Yoo/Cheney rejects.

While this is not the strongest of the Articles, Kucinich is building a case and the illegal bare-faced lying as well as the illegal use of the Pentagon to spread those lies is a good, solid place to start.

Gen Taguba Calls Bush a War Criminal

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I wonder if Alex Koppelman thinks this is “newsworthy”?

The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing “war crimes” and called for those responsible to be held to account.

The remarks by retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba came in a new report that found that U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices.

“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” Taguba wrote. “The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

Taguba, whose 2004 investigation documented chilling abuses at Abu Ghraib, is thought to be the most senior official to have accused the administration of war crimes.

“The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture,” he wrote.

Being accused by a general in your own army of committing war crimes, the same general who investigated the abuses to begin with? Is that news, Alex? Let’s see….

Nope. I guess it isn’t “new”. Since the accusations have been made for years, Alex can safely ignore it. As, in fact, he did.

Sometimes I think that if Bush/Cheney ever is impeached or goes on trial for what they’ve done, a good case could be made that the US press ought to be named accessories before, after, and during the fact. 

This report should be investigated by Congress, of course, and should lead to Bush’s impeachment if he’s found guilty. Neither will likely happen. Why not? Because politics trumps both justice and our national interest.

Written by Mick

June 19, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Salon Columnist Thinks Impeachment “Not Newsworthy”

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Last week Dennis Kucinich presented 35 articles of impeachment against Bush on the floorm ofm the House. They were carefully researched and fully sourced, yet the news media refused to cover the event, using the excuse that as there was nothing new there, in the phrase made infamous lately by Salon’s Alex Koppelman , “It isn’t newsworthy.” Apparently a small firestorm resulted and Koppelman attempted to clarify a few things a couple of days ago. From Koppelman’s original post (watch your gag reflex):

Some liberals in the blogosphere are complaining about the dearth of coverage of Kucinich’s resolution. I have to disagree — as I’ve pointed out before, when discussing complaints of liberal bias from the right, the media is in the business of covering news. This barely qualifies; if it deserves mention in the mainstream media at all, it certainly doesn’t deserve to be accorded the status of something big and breaking. I’m sorry, but the action of a lone congressman who’s widely considered something of a laughingstock, especially when it’s clear that action will never come to anything, just isn’t especially newsworthy.

Yup, that’s our vaunted national press. And this is in Salon, one nof the few outlets where progressives can expect to be able to read about things like this. But even Salon thinks “it’s not newsworthy” because Nancy Pelosi won’t allow the bill of impeachment to reach the floor of the House for purely political reasons. In any other country at any other time about any other president, the press would be all over this like a cheap suit whether Nancy agreed or not. Within moments of Koppelman’s posting of that first self-justification, his readers showed they understood more about what journalism is supposed to be about than Koppelman.

 

You’re right

The news here isn’t that Kucinich has formally accused Shrub of high crimes and misdemeanors but that Shrub has been committing high crimes and misdemeanors and everybody knows it and yet no one will call him to account for them.

A Right WIng Blog, hidden deep inside Salon, that’s NEWS!

The impeachment of President Clinton did the Republicans little good politically (They just won eight years in the White House with a subnormal candidate)

…and impeaching Bush now might very well diminish the substantial advantage Democrats currently have with voters.

(Don’t start counting that Democratic advantage too soon, there is a big split among women who think Hillary got the shaft)

Some liberals in the blogosphere are complaining about the dearth of coverage of Kucinich’s resolution.

I have to disagree — as I’ve pointed out before, when discussing complaints of liberal bias from the right, the media is in the business of covering news.

(I turned off NBC last night when they opened their program with weather,weather,weather. It’s summer time, and they don’t do substantive reporting during the summer, yada yada. Since when did the MSM ever do its job, since 2001?)

This barely qualifies; if it deserves mention in the mainstream media at all (judgemental, badly judgemental on your part)

but the action of a lone congressman who’s widely considered something of a laughingstock (He ran for President, and received consideration. Is Ron Paul a laughing stock, Ross Perot?? Prejudicial and judgemental.

Take a vacation Alex, you don’t do news during the summer. Everyone knows that.

you are probably right that it doesnt matter…

But the thing that seems so unfair is if there was a Democrat in the oval office, and a fringe far right republican was presenting articles of impeachment for even the most ridiculous reasons, it would be HUGE news!

 

 Alex felt somewhat…misunderstood, if not abused, thus the “clarification”. But watch out! It doesn’t help.

First of all, I didn’t take a position on whether Bush deserves to be impeached, and I’m not doing so now either. I just took a position on whether Kucinich’s introduction of articles of impeachment was newsworthy. Second, other than the specific action, there was nothing new in what Kucinich did. “I don’t think there’s anything in there that hasn’t been previously disclosed,” he happily admitted to me. In fact, all of the information in the 35 articles of impeachment offered by Kucinich (with the possible exception, Kucinich said, of some legal theories about the application of international law) had been previously disclosed and widely discussed; in some case, the public disclosure dated back years. 

Oh. So Koppelman didn’t cover the Clinton impeachment because it was all old news that had been around for years, is that right? 

Well, Koppelman wasn’t around then but one doubts he would be all that reluctant because, you know, an impeachment that might happen is news but an impeachment that won’t happen isn’t even worth discussing the merits of.

The transparency of this bullshit is startling. There are only two possible explanations:

  1. Either Koppelman is so lame he can’t think up anything better or, even scarier,
  2. Koppelman really believes what he’s saying, that in order for an impeachment to be news there has to be something in it that people (read: Beltway pundits) don’t already know and therefore haven’t yet dismissed as “kooky”.
That’s scary because it shows how deep into the muscle of the news media conservative attitudes have driven. Tim Russert, Liz Bumiller, Judith Miller, Charles Gibson, Michael Gordon, Brian Williams, and dozens of other reporters and news broadcasters have all been quoted as saying, in one form or another, that journalists aren’t there to investigate but only to report the news, which they interpret in their lazy way, as “Ask questions and copy down the answers”. Russert went so far as to suggest that if a reporter challenged the statement of a govt official, he was breaking a cardinal rule by making himself the story! Koppelman is, exactly as commenter Jeffrey Harrison said and in the Russert mode, deliberately missing the main story – two of them, actually. The first in the lack of a call for accountability despite Bush’s proven high crimes and misdemeanors, and second, why won’t there be an impeachment? But of course he’s already decided he knows the answer to the latter and his tone would suggest he agrees with it.
There’s basically no chance this will go anywhere. Kucinich offered a similar resolution against Vice President Cheney last year, and that is currently stuck in the House Judiciary Committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made it clear that impeachment is “off the table,” and with good reason. The impeachment of President Clinton did the Republicans little good politically, and impeaching Bush now might very well diminish the substantial advantage Democrats currently have with voters. Plus, Bush has little more than half a year remaining in his term.
 

Written by Mick

June 18, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Gore Vidal On the Articles of Impeachment

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There is probably no blunter critic of the American Right, neoconservatives, and, of course, George W Bush than Gore Vidal. For 50 years he has been skewering their lies, pretensions, cruelties, greed, and crass manipulations, as well as attempting to document their attacks on the constitution and everything America used to mean. In his 80’s, he’s still doing it.

On the Articles:

As I listened to Rep. Kucinich invoke the great engine of impeachment—he listed some 35 crimes by these two faithless officials—we heard, like great bells tolling, the voice of the Constitution itself speak out ringingly against those who had tried to destroy it.

Although this is the most important motion made in Congress in the 21st century, it was also the most significant plea for a restoration of the republic, which had been swept to one side by the mad antics of a president bent on great crime.

On the US media’s lack of interest in Kucinich’s bill:

as I listened with awe to Kucinich, I realized that no newspaper in the U.S., no broadcast or cable network, would pay much notice to the fact that a highly respected member of Congress was asking for the president and vice president to be tried for crimes which were carefully listed by Kucinich in his articles requesting impeachment.

But then I have known for a long time that the media of the U.S. and too many of its elected officials give not a flying fuck for the welfare of this republic, and so I turned, as I often do, to the foreign press for a clear report of what has been going on in Congress.

On Cheney and the Second Gulf War:

Naturally, I do not want to sound hard, but let me point out that even a banana Republican would be distressed to discover how much of our nation’s treasury has been siphoned off by our vice president in the interest of his Cosa Nostra company, Halliburton, the lawless gang of mercenaries set loose by this administration in the Middle East.

He’s barely scratching the surface.

(Via Avedon Carol)

Written by Mick

June 14, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Posted in The Kucinich Bill