Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Impeach Bush and Cheney Plus Impeachment "Memorials"
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Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Impeach Bush and Cheney Plus Impeachment "Memorials"






DAVE LINDORFF HAS SOME THINGS TO SAY THAT WE OUGHT TO THINK ABOUT SERIOUSLY.

US Rep. Entering Impeachment Petitions

Impeachment memorials are actually a little known and rarely used part of the Rules of the House of Representatives ("Jefferson's Manual"), which empowers ...
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SUNDAY SERMON: The Congress is a collection of constipated criminal collaborators and cowards, a class of mental midgets who speak verbal lint and have a collective IQ of room temperature.


Saturday, August 4, 2007A Sad Day? How About a Sad Six-and-a-Half Years?

What was Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) thinking when he told Senate colleagues it was a "sad day" when that body started taking its marching orders from an outsider (the president and the director of national security), in passing a new version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that gives the president a free hand to spy on communications of Americans without a judicial review?

Is he implying that this is the first time the Senate has done this?
Isn't that exactly what the Senate (and the House) did when they passed the so-called USA PATRIOT Act in October, 2001? Isn't that what they did in overturning the Posse Comitatus Act and in altering the Insurrection Act last fall?

Isn't it what they did in approving the Military Commissions Act last year, which retroactively okayed the use of torture on captives?

The truth is that the Senate and House have both become little more than rubber stamps for Administration power grabs ever since 9-11. Indeed, since that date, the members of Congress have been willing sell-outs of their own institution, which today bears no resemblance to what the Founders described in Article I of the Constitution--a document which the members have effectively destroyed.

For the past six-and-a-half years we have watched as a group of political midgets have destroyed what hundreds of thousands of our ancestors put their lives on the line to create and defend--a government system that was founded on the concept of individual rights and liberties, and that was structured to limit the power of the executive.

Much has been made of a conversation at the White House a few years ago, in which Bush is reported to have told a few Republican members of the House that the Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper." In fact, that is what the members of Congress have also decided by their actions--and by their continued inaction.

Prior to 2006, it was primarily the Republicans in Congress who were trashing the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the concept of separation of powers, though with significant Democratic backing. Now, it is the Democrats who are the wrecking crew.

Make no mistake: the Democrats did not have to pass this latest piece of legislation, loosing the NSA spies on us all. They had the power to kill that bill in its tracks. Instead, they succumbed to the President's empty threat to label them all "soft on terror" if they didn't give him what he wanted: a blank check. They caved, just as they did when they had the power to end the war in Iraq last April by cutting off funding for it, and instead, voted to fund it in full.

The Democrats in this Congress are a bunch of spineless cowards and willing enablers, and they now bear the chief responsibility for establishing the elements of an American police state.
For that is clearly where this nation is headed.

There was no need to give the president new warrantless surveillance powers. Would be terrorists are already fully aware of the government's spying capabilities and certainly are being cautious in their use of phones and email to communicate. Moreover, the secret FISA court has demonstrated that it is most accommodating of spying requests, having only rejected one such request from the President and National Security Agency in the past two years.

It is obvious then that what the president is seeking is expanded power to spy on Americans. And incredibly, despite his 27-percent support rating in the polls, and despite widespread public fears of this kind of government snooping, he is getting it.

Sen. Feingold has been one of the staunchest defenders of the Constitution, voting against the USA Patriot Act and against the invasion of Iraq, but he is wrong to imply that before Friday's betrayal of that document, the Senate was acting as an independent body. Both the Senate and the House ceased playing their constitutional role and became rubber stamps a long time ago.
Instead of empty rhetoric, Sen. Feingold needs to take action and mount a filibuster against this shameful and dangerous bill, so that when it comes back for a final vote after being reconciled with whatever comes out of the House, it is killed. 6:57 am pdt

Friday, August 3, 2007Democrats are Reverting to Form

Democrats in Congress, still in full cowering mode, are about to hand the most unpopular president in the history of polling even more power to spy, unchecked, on Americans, despite clear evidence that the president has abused that power for the last six years, and despite his refusal to even answer questions about what those abuses have been to date.

It is hard to believe that this is the party that told voters only last fall that they should vote in Democrats so that the president would finally be held to account for his ongoing destruction of constitutional government.

If it weren't for the fact that the Democratic Party leadership has been a bunch of spineless twits and strategic dimwits for decades now, one would have to suspect that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were Republican "Manchurian Candidates." gradually embedded into the Democratic Party's leadership in order to destroy it from within, or that, perhaps, the two had been caught by Bush's spy network in compromising situations that have made it possible to blackmail them into doing the same thing. Certainly the work they have done over the course of their either months in control of the Congress look like for all the world like the work of sabateurs.

It's a bit like my earlier observation that no real Manchurian Candidate could have done more damage to the United States than Bush and Cheney have managed to do in their six and a half years in office.

Which raises the bizarre thought that maybe all four of these people are actually treacherous spies working in collusion on an evil plan of national destruction--perhaps as a top-secret Al Qaeda cell?

Sadly, I suspect that the real situation is much more prosaic: Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid appear to simply be small-minded politicians with no real principles and no regard for their oaths of office or for the Constitution that is supposed to be their "bible," while Bush seems to be a dimwit with an inflated view of his importance and Cheney is simply a power-mad criminal of limited intellect but with limitless ruthlessness.

Given this sad reality, the only hope, it seems to me, for this tottering republic, is for the public to reject both parties in the coming election. One thing has been clear of late, and that is that the right, the left and the middle--speaking here of the American people, not the political class--have a great deal in common with regard to their common desire for a nation at peace, for a government that responds to their needs, not the needs of corporations and the super rich, and for leaders who listen to them, not to those with fat wallets.

As long as we remain shackled to a system of these two thoroughly corrupt political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, there seems little hope for national salvation. 11:34 am pdt
2007.08.01

July 27, 2007

Martial Law Threat is Real

The looming collapse of the US military in Iraq, of which a number of generals and former generals, including former Chief of Staff Colin Powell, have warned, is happening none too soon, as it may be the best hope for preventing military rule here at home.

From the looks of things, the Bush/Cheney regime has been working assiduously to pave the way for a declaration of military rule, such that at this point it really lacks only the pretext to trigger a suspension of Constitutional government. They have done this with the active support of Democrats in Congress, though most of the heavy lifting was done by the last, Republican-led Congress.

The first step, or course, was the first Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed in September 2001, which the president has subsequently used to claim—improperly, but so what? —that the whole world, including the US, is a battlefield in a so-called “War” on Terror, and that he has extra-Constitutional unitary executive powers to ignore laws passed by Congress.

As constitutional scholar and former Reagan-era associate deputy attorney general Bruce Fein observes, that one claim, that the US is itself a battlefield, is enough to allow this or some future president to declare martial law, “since you can always declare martial law on a battlefield. All he’d need would be a pretext, like another terrorist attack inside the U.S.”

The 2001 AUMF was followed by the PATRIOT Act, passed in October 2001, which undermined much of the Bill of Rights. Around the same time, the president began a campaign of massive spying on Americans by the National Security Agency, conducted without any warrants or other judicial review. It was and remains a program that is clearly aimed at American dissidents and at the administration’s political opponents, since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would never have raised no objections to spying on potential terrorists. (And it, and other government spying programs, have resulted in the government’s having a list now of some 325,000 “suspected terrorists”!)

The other thing we saw early on was the establishment of an underground government-within-a-government, though the activation, following 9-11, of the so-called “Continuity of Government” protocol, which saw heads of federal agencies moved secretly to an underground bunker where, working under the direction of Vice President Dick Cheney, the “government” functioned out of sight of Congress and the public for critical months.

It was also during the first year following 9-11 that the Bush/Cheney regime began its programs of arrest and detention without charge—mostly of resident aliens, but also of American citizens—and of kidnapping and torture in a chain of gulag prisons overseas and at the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay.

The following year, Attorney General John Ashcroft began his program to develop a mass network of tens of millions of citizen spies—Operation TIPS. That program, which had considerable support from key Democrats (notably Sen. Joe Lieberman), was curtailed by Congress when key conservatives got wind of the scale of the thing, but the concept survives without a name, and is reportedly being expanded today.

Meanwhile, last October Bush and Cheney, with the help of a compliant Congress, put in place some key elements needed for a military putsch. There was the overturning of the venerable Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which barred the use of active duty military inside the United States for police-type functions, and the revision of the Insurrection Act, so as to empower the president to take control of National Guard units in the 50 states even over the objections of the governors of those states.

Put this together with the wholly secret construction now under way--courtesy of a $385-million grant by the US Army Corps of Engineers to Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc--of detention camps reportedly capable of confining as many as 400,000 people, and a recent report that the Pentagon has a document, dated June 1, 2007, classified Top Secret, which declares there to be a developing “insurgency” within the U.S, and which lays out a whole martial law counterinsurgency campaign against legal dissent, and you have all the ingredients for a military takeover of the United States.

As we go about our daily lives--our shopping, our escapist movie watching, and even our protesting and political organizing—we need to be aware that there is a real risk that it could all blow up, and that we could find ourselves facing armed, uniformed troops at our doors.
Bruce Fein isn’t an alarmist. He says he doesn’t see martial law coming tomorrow.

But he is also realistic. He says, “This is all sitting around like a loaded gun waiting to go off. I think the risk of martial law is trivial right now, but the minute there is a terrorist attack, then it is real. And it stays with us after Bush and Cheney are gone, because terrorism stays with us forever.”

(It may be significant that Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate for president, has called for the revocation of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq, but not of the earlier 2001 AUMF which Bush claims makes him commander in chief of a borderless, endless war on terror.)

Indeed, the revised Insurrection Act (10. USC 331-335) approved by Congress and signed into law by Bush last October, specifically says that the president can federalize the National Guard to “suppress public disorder” in the event of “national disorder, epidemic, other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident.” That determination, the act states, is solely the president’s to make. Congress is not involved.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has added an amendment to the upcoming Defense bill, restoring the Insurrection Act to its former version—a move that has the endorsement of all 50 governors--but Fein argues that would not solve the problem, since Bush still claims that the U.S. is a battlefield. Besides, a Leahy aide concedes that Bush could sign the next Defense Appropriations bill and then use a signing statement to invalidate the Insurrection Act rider.

Fein argues that the only real defense against the looming disaster of a martial law declaration would be for Congress to vote for a resolution determining that there is no “War” on terror. “But they are such cowards they will never do that,” he says.

That leaves us with the military.

If ordered to turn their guns and bayonets on their fellow Americans, would our “heroes” in uniform follow their consciences, and their oaths to “uphold and defend” the Constitution of the United States? Or would they follow the orders of their Commander in Chief?

It has to be a plus that National Guard and Reserve units are on their third and sometimes fourth deployments to Iraq, and are fuming at the abuse. It has to be a plus that active duty troops are refusing to re-enlist in droves—especially mid-level officers.

If we are headed for martial law, better that it be with a broken military. Maybe if it’s broken badly enough, the administration will be afraid to test the idea.

Sidebar: Why US troops should question orders:

Mounting evidence (1 , 2 & 3) that football star Pat Tillman, who famously gave up a high-paying pro career to sign up as an Army Ranger and fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, may have been assassinated in a high-level conspiracy to prevent him from returning to the US as a prominent war critic should make even hardened military people question orders from their commander in chief, particularly if those orders involve arresting or shooting American citizens.

Tillman, it is now known, had turned strongly against the war in Iraq as early as late 2003, and was telling his platoon to vote against Bush.

There are reports too that he was contacting war critics like Noam Chomsky from Afghanistan about coming out as a war critic in 2004--a prospect which must have terrified the war-mongers in the White House and Pentagon.

The military initially claimed Tillman had been killed in combat, then later claimed his death was from friendly fire. It is now known that an investigation at the time found no evidence of any enemy fire at all, and Tillman's death came from three close shots from an M-16 to the forehead, execution-style. Memos have been found from Pentagon lawyers congratulating each other for having buried a doctor's report on the possibility of murder.

If this is what the government does to its critics, how can soldiers believe anything they are being told?

Of course, the shabby treatment afforded to injured troops should also be having an effect on morale.

Maybe the way to respond to a declaration of martial law is, like the Israelites on the first Passover, to prominently display a sign on one's front door saying, "Support the troops: Bring them home!"

July 23, 2007

Office Arrests: The Shame of Rep. John Conyers

If Rosa Parks had lived two years longer, what happened today in the halls of Congress might have killed her. It certainly would have broken her heart.

Rep. John Conyers, venerable member of Congress, finally chair of the House Judiciary Committee, a man who worked with Parks in Alabama and then hired her on his staff after he won election to Congress in Detroit, today had several dozen impeachment activists, including Gold Star Families for Peace founder Cindy Sheehan, Iraq Veteran Against the War activist Lennox Yearwood and Intelligence Veterans for Sanity founder Ray McGovern arrested for conducting a sit-in in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building.

The three, together with several hundred other impeachment activists who packed the fourth floor hallway outside Rep. Conyers' office, had come to press Conyers to take action on impeachment, and specifically to start action on H.Res. 333, the bill submitted nearly three months ago by Rep. Dennis Kucinich calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

After nearly an hour of talking with Conyers, a clearly angry Sheehan emerged together with Yearwood and McGovern, and announced to the waiting throng in the hall that Conyers had told them "impeachment isn't going to happen because we don't have the votes."

Sheehan said Conyers had insisted that the best thing was for Democrats to focus on "winning big in 2008."

To a loud and angry chorus of boos and hisses, the three went back inside Conyers' office suite, where they were joined by some 30 other supporters, and all were subsequently arrested, at Conyers' request, by Capitol police, who cuffed them and walked them off for booking. Several of those who sat in refused to walk and were carried or dragged out of the Rayburn Office Building, as the activists in the hall chanted "Shame on Conyers! Shame on Conyers" and "Arrest Bush, Not the People!"

It was a thoroughly disgraceful scene wholly unworthy of a dean of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Before returning to sit in the Judiciary Chairman's office and await arrest, Sheehan publicly announced her intention to run in 2008 as an independent candidate for Congress against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and she called on Americans everywhere to run not just against Republicans in 2008, but against Democrats too.

Yearwood, who is a chaplain in the Air Force, said that Conyers had been a mentor to him, but he declared that he now felt betrayed and that Americans needed to take back their government. As he was led down the hall to his arraignment, the handcuffed Yearwood pointedly sang "We Shall Overcome!"

This reporter subsequently called Conyers' press office for an explanation of Conyers' true position on impeachment. Only a few days earlier the congressman, visiting a San Diego meeting on health care reform, had told members of Progressive Democrats of America that it was time to "take these two guys (Bush and Cheney) out" and had promised that if just "three members" of the House came to him and asked for an investigation into impeachable crimes by Bush and Cheney, he would move such a resolution forward for consideration in his Judiciary Committee.

Asked how that statement squared with what he had told the group of activists in his office, the spokesman said Conyers "must have been misunderstood" in San Diego (the problem with that is that there is a video of him saying it. Couldn't they at least be honest about it?). He said that in view of Conyers' statement to Sheehan and the others today, the Kucinich bill was "not going to go anywhere."

As impeachment activist David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org has said, there "seems to be two John Conyers," one who, in 2005 and early 2006, while Republicans controlled the House, was systematically making the case for impeaching the president and vice president (he had even submitted a bill, with 39 co-sponsors, which called for creation of a select committee to investigate possible impeachable crimes by the administration), and one who, submitting to the wishes of the new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was keeping impeachment "off the table."
Occasionally the former Conyers breaks out, saying things such as that the president needs to be "taken out" or, as he put it at an anti-war rally last spring, that "we can fire him!" But then the other Conyers comes to the fore, and stands in the way of impeachment action. As Swanson, who was one of those arrested, writes in his report on the event, Conyers, who expressed concern about his "legacy," is about to see it "flushed down the toilet."

This time, however, it was worse than just doing nothing. The arrest of impeachment activists and their forcible eviction from his office was a betrayal of people who were doing the very kind of thing that had allowed Conyers to make his way into Congress in the first place: sitting in to insist on action on their demands for justice. It was, after all, sit-ins that helped lead to the Voting Rights Act which allowed African American candidates like Conyers to finally win seats in the US Congress.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Democratic Party--Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus included--has become nothing but a dried out husk, living on old glories and devoid of any principle other than returning its elected officials to their offices and their perks, year after year. As one angry activist in the hallway remarked, "Where is today's (Rep. Allard) Lowenstein or Father Drinan? There is none!"

It's ironic that Rep. Conyers, speaking in 2005 on "Democracy Now!" following Rosa Parks' death at the age of 92, said her passing "is probably the end of an era." Certainly, with his request to have Capitol Police officers enter his office (the very office where Parks once had worked as a staff member!) to cuff and arrest peaceful protesters who were trying to defend the Constitution, he has made that point far more clearly than he could have expressed it in mere words.

But as in the case of Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights movement, arrests and fines will not stop the national grassroots drive to impeach this president and vice president. With polls showing that a majority of the country now favors impeachment, and with Conyers, Pelosi, and the Democratic Congress sinking deeper and deeper into disfavor even as the president continues to add to his list of Constitutional crimes, something's gotta give. After all, the Founders, in writing impeachment into the Constitution, did not say the test was whether Congress had the votes to impeach. They wrote that if the president abused his power, or committed other high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery or treasson, Congress "shall" impeach.

The American public has made it clear: we want impeachment and we want the troops home.
If Congress doesn't act on these two key issues, they will not get that "big win" Conyers called for in 2008.

Some members of the Democratic Caucus may not even be back if they keep this up.

P.S. If you want to read some incredible apologetics by a bunch of people who claim to be progressives, go to Daily Kos and read the irate comments of people to my post of this article on that site.

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