Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Impeach Bush And Cheney Now!

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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!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Impeach Bush And Cheney Now!

Impeach Bush And Cheney Now! We’re Getting Near

Now Or Never Land.

This Blog will be on a short hiatus for a few days as I will have to take a break to recover from some important skin cancer surgery around both eyes this afternoon. Swelling and a Raccoon Look behind my Rose Colored (Prescription) glasses will slow me down. I have been here before and probably will be again with my Blue eyed White German/Irish/Russian skin. Politically and complexion wise I am better off in the shadows…Ha! Ed.

“It’s The Judiciary Committee Stupid!” Campaign Lead Link

Work With Wexler

Congressman Wexler is now accepting non-Judiciary Committee member’s signatures on his letter to Conyers urging Cheney impeachment hearings.

That means that no matter where you live, you should ask your congress member to contact Wexler and sign his letter!


John Conyers, Jr., Chairman

House Judiciary Committee

2138 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Conyers:

You have been a tireless champion of providing oversight to an Administration that has run roughshod over our constitution, that operates with s no limits on executive branch authority and one that has repeatedly flouted the investigations and oversight the 110th Congress has tried to provide over the past year. We have the greatest respect for the work you have done and believe that impeachment hearings pertaining to Vice President Cheney are the best way to move that work forward.

Impeachment hearings will allow for the exact kind of oversight that you and the Democratic leadership have provided regarding the actions of the Administration but without the opportunity for the Bush Administration to ignore lawful requests for information, refuse subpoenas and effectively limit its own oversight.

Impeachment hearings can provide the opportunity to cut through the executive privilege defenses and force this Administration to answer a Congress it has clearly chosen to ignore. We know you would agree that as Members of Congress, we cannot allow legitimate oversight to be thwarted or such a dangerous precedent to stand.

The charges against the Vice President relate to the core actions of this Administration, its unlawful behavior and its abuse of power. We are concerned with alleged crimes that are central to his duties of Vice-President, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. As you know, the charges against Vice President Cheney include providing Congress and the American people false intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

We trust that you will hold a sober investigation and let the facts determine the outcome as you have as Chairman this past year. We sincerely believe that impeachment hearings are the appropriate and necessary next step given what we have seen of this Administration. Chairman Conyers, we are respectfully asking you join us and concerned citizens around the country in supporting impeachment hearings.


Robert Wexler

This Is A Must Do For Everyone Now! Take TWO MINUTES, and Just Do It!

935 Reasons to Impeach

AOL News Newsbloggers - Dulles,VA,USA

Those 935 false statements, made by Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, ... (2ND READ)

"Dem Leaders Put Contempt Citations on Hold; Kucinich Prepares for ...

Brad Blog - USA

[T]oday Mr. Kucinich took to the floor to fire off his latest salvo at the Bush administration: his plans to introduce Articles of Impeachment against ...

Kucinich calls for Bush impeachment

WIS - Columbia,SC,USA

NATIONAL (NBC) - Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich may get excluded from Democratic presidential debates, but he's voicing his opinion on the House floor. ... (Less Than Serious!)

UK Times Breaks Update on State Dept. Traitors

The duty of the Congress
The Capital Times - Madison,WI,USA
Wexler, the House's most ardent advocate of opening impeachment hearings against Vice President Cheney, reminded his colleagues this week, "The issues at ...

Wexler Meets With Conyers, Still Wants Cheney Impeachment Hearings
OpEdNews - Newtown,PA,USA
If someone were to do a nexis search and compile every instance of a Bush-Cheney administration official showing up to testify but refusing to answer ...

The launching point of my revolutionary vision is the belief that the system is stuck, locked up, frozen. Every revolution is driven by pent-up forces that cannot be released by the current regime. Much of human history is a tale of gradualism, of slow and steady increments to the human condition, but occasionally the forces of history get stuck, the pressure builds, and the system rights itself in an orgy of dramatic change. I believe that we are in the midst of a pressure-building process even now.

"Action is the best antidote to despair." I believe Joan Baez said that. It's absolutely true. And it's not just "action," in general. It's "action" appropriate to how you feel, to your past experiences in the world of activism and to the situation. For a lot of us, disrupting business as usual on Capitol Hill on a day, a Monday, that Congress is in session and doing their work sure seems very timely, very necessary.

I think back to other major mass movements in US history over the past century. All the successful ones had an edge to them, people willing to occupy factories, in the case of the labor movement of the 30s; people sitting in or directly confronting racist practices, in the case of the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s; people burning their draft cards or going into draft boards to destroy Selective Service records, in the case of the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 60s and 70s; or the massive civil disobedience actions at planned and existing nuclear power sites in the 70s and 80s.

And this century, beginning with actions in DC in April 2000, that were a follow-up to the successful late November 1999 actions in Seattle, the global justice movement put the IMF/World Bank/WTO very much on the defensive and concretely impacted their ability to advance their corporate globalization agenda.

I think of the famous statement of Mario Savio, leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement in the mid-1960s:

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

It's time for us to emulate those past movements as we build the 21st century movement to Fight Climate Change, Not Wars for Oil!

“No blood for oil”, you say? What do you think 9/11 Was?”

Vanessa Redgrave, Cindy Sheehan, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Sean Penn, Harry Reid, etc…). Some of us even accede that we should be ashamed to resist. We need to find ways to take back our city walls, to hold back the horde at the gate and to ...

Our Choice- Live in Incorrectness or Die Correct
By Yaacov Ben Moshe(Yaacov Ben Moshe)
Vanessa Redgrave, Cindy Sheehan, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Sean Penn, Harry Reid, etc…). Some of us even accede that we should be ashamed to resist. We need to find ways to take back our city walls, to hold back the horde at the gate and to ...

On The Coming Revolution

The spirits of Edgar Cayce, the Delphic Oracle, and Alvin Toffler have possessed me lately, and I am moved to prognosticate. It's hard not to let the light, ironic tone seep into my voice, but do not be fooled by this. I am dead serious, and I have a conviction that my perception is an accurate extrapolation of real future events — if no actions are taken deliberately to forestall or change those events.

And what I see is Revolution.

Robert Heinlein characterized revolution as "a freak, a mutant, a monstrosity, its conditions never to be repeated and its operations carried out by amateurs and individuals." A colorful way of saying that, like Tolstoy's unhappy families, each is unique. The coming revolution, therefore, won't look like the Boston Tea Party, or the rush to the barricades in 1789, or the storming of the Winter Palace in 1917. It won't even look like the labor unrest of the 1920s or the long, hot summers of the 1960s in America. I don't know what it will look like, exactly. But revolution, real revolution, is rarely pretty.

Me, I'd prefer to be a parlor Pink. I don't like violence, I don't like people thinking they know better (even when they do) and being willing to impose their 'knowing better' by any kind of force. I prefer the voice of sweet reason, enlightened self-interest, and simple, but all too rare, logic. But as every physician knows, there comes a point in the course of a malady where gentle, non-invasive methods can no longer suffice, and the choice is between radical therapies or letting the patient die.

America is progressing toward that point, and we are picking up speed. There are still places where we can make choices, take alternate routes, save ourselves the pain and risk, but as we gather momentum from day to day, our choices are narrowing and the options are diminishing.

No, I'm not wearing a tinfoil hat. Crying wolf, exaggerating, awfulizing are not my normal idioms. But the evidence is piling up. Doesn't anyone else see it? It's not rocket science: Revolutions happen when a critical mass of the citizenry feel (not think, necessarily, but feel,) that they have no other way to secure the future they expect, the future to which they feel entitled, than to take direct action to make fundamental structural change in their government. Those expectations change from generation to generation, from place to place, and even from social stratum to social stratum. But when a sufficient number of people reach that conclusion, the change will happen.

America has been staving it off for some decades, now. We came very close to real revolution in the first quarter of the 20th Century; the Progressive movement and, ultimately, the New Deal reversed the tide. Post-WWII economic prosperity delayed it further, but things began to unravel again in the 1960s. The Great Society attempted to recapitulate the earlier success of the New Deal, but the haves and the have-mores didn't have enough conviction to sustain the momentum. The Reagan Reaction changed America's direction and began the slide back toward the levels of social inequity and frustration that foster revolution.

The 1990s may have briefly masked those conditions with a high fever of unsustainable capitalist expansion, but with the collapse of that bubble, the underlying problems have only become more acute. More and more Americans are starting to notice, and we will soon reach that critical mass. Disturbingly, the disaffection is now spreading so widely that small band-aid measures aimed at this group or that group are not only ineffective, they pose a risk of increasing dissatisfaction.

The Poor

Nothing much has changed for the poor; but then, nothing ever does. The poor alone do not make a revolution, but their numbers and the bitterness of their commitment once aroused (combined with the scary reality that they have, literally, nothing to lose — no investment at all in the status quo that leaves them at the bottom of the heap) make them the natural shock troops of revolution — those most likely to engage in violent and destructive action. They become a factor when enough other citizens begin to see revolution as the only viable option. The numbers of the poor are again on the rise, and the erosion of "last resort" social safety net programs is increasing their sense of misery, futility, and injustice.

The Working Class

The working class is not the decisive factor in the development of revolution, especially since there is often a strong mutual antipathy between them and the poor, an antipathy that prevents them from making common cause until conditions have deteriorated beyond their ability to tolerate. But the American working class has been losing ground for thirty years. They are fast losing hope that successive generations will do better economically, and indeed, are increasingly seeing the traditional American dream of social mobility as a mocking and unreachable chimera. Current issues of immigration, job loss, the loss in real value of wages, the vanishing social safety net and the increasing unavailability of affordable housing and health care are escalating their discontent.

The Middle Class

The huge bulge of middle-class baby boomers is facing retirement. They grew up with the expectation that they would follow their parents' pattern, and even improve upon it. They expected comfortable retirement at 65, without worries about how to obtain health care, housing, etc. That expectation is being increasingly confounded as defined benefit pension plans are looted, the value of Social Security loses ground against inflation, Social Security itself is threatened, and fast-escalating costs for health care, transportation, and housing spiral upwards. They, too, see the vanishing probability that their children will be able to even retain the economic ground they staked out for their families, much less make any gains.

The Professional Class

Doctors are sinking under a sea of "managed care" paperwork, rising costs and declining revenues. Teachers are losing satisfaction in their jobs as the creativity and passion is leached away by legislative and religious mandates. Scientists are confronting a new Dark Age of ideological suppression and distortion, combined with the heavy hand of capitalism directing them away from creative discovery and pure research. Artists are confronted by the new Puritanism, growing tolerance for censorship, and the increasing control of creative outlets by commercial interests. This comparatively small segment of the population nevertheless represents a key resource-a resource that is becoming increasingly disconnected from any investment in the status quo.

Thus far, the controlling classes have been able to keep the critical mass from developing by setting these various groups against one another, fomenting class warfare amongst them and playing shell games with blame. But as conditions continue to deteriorate, the sustained fury a-building will forge alliances among key segments of each group. The critical mass will coalesce, perhaps with terrifying suddenness.

Perhaps revolution really is the only way to restore the American Dream of a just, equitable society offering opportunity, social mobility, and a basic standard of living to all. But I shudder when I think of the price. I remember Kent State, I remember the long, hot summers. I've studied history and I know the kinds of body counts and horrors that even 'successful' revolutions produce. It's possible to re-create a society without that massive upheaval-many European countries have done it; the British Empire devolved successfully without blood in the streets of London. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have re-invented themselves.

I wish I could see America following a similar course, but right now all I see is the gathering storm. The thunder on the right is only a faint, distant rolling now, but it gets closer and more ominous every year.

Is anybody listening?

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2006, SDS was resurrected by a Connecticut high school senior named Pat Korte and the first president of the old SDS, Al Haber. With the help of a new tool - the Internet -they have spread the word that SDS is back and recruiting new members. Several chapters have sprouted up in Ohio, though Ohio University appears to be the biggest so far.

Part of what interested Pekar in writing the book was the hope that by sharing the history of SDS, more of today's students might be inspired to join the cause and try again. "I don't think it's unusual for this leftist organization to be founded again at a time when you have George Bush ruling this country for eight years. Not only is he a rightist, whose policies a lot of people don't agree with, but he's also an incompetent. Everything he touches falls apart. He's also a liar. And we have this war again that seemingly won't go away."

But on Northeast Ohio campuses, where the SDS was once influential enough to attract the FBI's attention, the revolution is slow going.

Greg Schwartz attempted to start a chapter of SDS at Kent State last year, when he was a senior, but was met with resistance not from the administration but by activist groups that didn't want to work together. "The left is so fractured at Kent State," says Schwartz. "I thought it would be great to unite the May Fourth Task Force and the International Socialist Organization under SDS, but everyone was so focused on their own narrow goals."

It would have been easier to start SDS as its own separate group but even the well-established lefty organizations at Kent State are fighting for membership these days. Schwartz points to the one major difference between 1967 and 2007 as the cause: In this endless war, there is no draft. "Students don't have to worry about having their number drawn. And I'm sure that's by design."

In 2006, youth and student movements around the world showed signs of life that have inspired and sharpened the focus of radical student organizers in the US. Despite the continued US imperial onslaught in the Middle East - demonstrated by the ongoing occupation of Iraq, US support for Israel’s wars against Lebanon and the Palestinians, and the deteriorating occupation of Afghanistan - students rose up globally against the neoliberal economic policies that are the foundation of US empire.

In France, students sparked a nationwide movement against the neoliberal CPE employment plan, which succeeded in virtually shutting down the entire nation and culminated in a General Strike which forced the government to back down from passing the law. In Chile, high school and university students shut down the educational system in protest of similar "reforms." The same happened in Greece early this past summer, with the majority of universities being occupied by students for weeks.

In the US, a refreshing development in the student left has emerged. Responding to the need for a nationwide, coordinated, decentralized radical student organization, young organizers from campuses and high schools across the US have begun building a new, revitalized Students for a Democratic Society. The effort to rebuild SDS has been treated with enthusiasm by many, and with skepticism by others; how could these young kids have the audacity to claim the name of SDS for the new generation?

SDS has gone forward, with 250 chapters springing up nationwide (and internationally). The most surprising aspect of the growth of SDS has been the number of chapters established at high schools and community colleges. When compared with the initial years after the founding of the original SDS, we are ahead of the curve.

The spring and summer of 2006 was the incubation period for SDS, with the initial chapters getting off the ground and spreading via word of mouth and the web, participating in joint actions with other groups, and beginning the slow development of organizational vision and strategy. SDS chapters and members quickly engaged with various struggles for social justice and against imperialism:

It's an odd word for a political tactic: it means a time out, a break. It was dreamed up in 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War by people who had tried and failed with Eugene McCarthy's peace candidacy the year before. (Not SDS, we should add). The original notion was a nationwide general strike until the war ended, but that's reaching really far, since people don't stop working just because a small group of organizers ask them to. So the goal was lowered to a general outpouring of anti-war sentiment. It worked.

The original Vietnam Moratorium, October 15, 1969, was a decentralized anti-war demonstration in which literally millions showed their opposition to the war around the world in a vast variety of ways. There were many school walkouts and closures; local demonstrations involving thousands around the country (a quarter of a million in D.C.; 100,000 in Boston); workplace sickouts; vigils, sit-ins at draft boards and induction centers. President Nixon pretended not to notice, but there's good evidence that the outpouring of opposition to the war prevented the war planners from using nukes against the Vietnamese (see Tom Wells, The War Within). A month later, the second moratorium day brought hundreds of thousands to

Washington, complete with an angry siege of the Justice Dept. that reminded Attorney General John Mitchell, watching from inside, of the storming of the Czar's Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, back in 1917. Nixon himself, prior to the action, commented during a press conference: " Google "Vietnam Moratorium" to check out what went on.

Why now? The anti-war movement, for a variety of reasons, has hit a plateau since the war began in 2003, despite the majority sentiment in the country against the war. No strategies have emerged to grow the movement. The thinking behind the Iraq Moratorium is that the moment is right for nationally coordinated local anti-war actions which will allow people to express their anti-war sentiments wherever they are and in a variety of ways. At the same time the Moratorium gives local groups a focus. For example, a campus anti- war organization can decide to do whatever's appropriate for their school-a teach-in, a walk-out, a vigil, a film showing, a sit-in at a recruitment center. It's all good!

The growth of the anti-war movement has to be seen as our current goal, not just a means. Every action, every demonstration should be judged by one single criterion: does it bring more people? We think that the biggest stumbling block up to now has been the too widespread belief that neither individual nor collective actions have no effect. The moratorium, allowing for a variety of tactics with one single focus, coordinated nationally and possibly internationally, has a chance of bringing antiwar expression into mainstream society. Sept. 21 will be the first moratorium day, followed by succeeding moratoriums (moratoria?) each third Friday of every month. If enough people and groups catch on, the movement grows.

The new Students for a Democratic Society, at its recent national convention, has endorsed the Moratorium. Washington, D.C., SDS has undertaken a broad counter-recruitment campaign and will tie the moratorium into that; Hopefully, other campus chapters will adopt September 21 and every subsequent third Friday of each month to organize around. Last spring, many SDS chapters commemorated the beginning of the fifth year of the occupation of Iraq with a coordinated day of walk-outs, rallies, educational events and direct action on March 20.

Other national organizations and networks that have endorsed the Iraq Moratorium include United for Peace and Justice, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, Code Pink, US Labor Against the War, Voters for Peace, Progressive Democrats of America, Veterans for Peace, the War Resisters League, and Food Not Bombs.

Many active local and regional antiwar groups have also jumped on board. Too many to name, but they have been the heart and soul of the antiwar movement during the last years of debacle after scandal. These groups have been conducting regular vigils, educational events, direct actions, etc. Now is the time to unite.

You don't need to be active already to make this happen. Talk to a few people in your school, neighborhood, workplace. Figure out what might be reasonable and useful to express your antiwar sentiment and to attract other people. Check out the website, for ideas. Especially look under the section "local reports."

There is also a Spanish language site:

In the Bay Area, for example, you'll find that a coalition of groups is getting together to organize thirty simultaneous actions. Now that's ambitious! In LA, the Central Labor Council, and the United Teachers of Los Angeles are organizing workers and teachers.

The main strategic task facing the antiwar movement is to build and grow consciousness of the imperial ambitions of the US in the Middle East. The US embassy in Baghdad is the size of the Vatican City, yet it is under daily mortar and rocket attacks, from both Sunni and Shiite resistance groups. The surge is a failure and an obfuscation of the real issues, such as imperialism, colonialism, and the bloody horrors of US occupation. The movement must seize the opportunity presented by Petraeus's "report" this past week; the Iraq Moratorium might be just the right vehicle.

History has shown that the only way to sway the "powers that be" lies in the ever increasing mobilization and organization of diverse, broad public groupings against the manipulations and calculations of what Chomsky has called the "pragmatic planners of American Empire." Raising the social cost of the war at home is our long- term goal, undermining the "pillars" that support the continuation of the war and occupation. Check out Tom Hayden's new book, "Ending the War in Iraq." Among the pillars Tom describes are: media, military recruitment, congressional support, etc.

The Moratorium is only what local groups and individuals make of it. It is not the whole solution, but it is a strategy for dissent to focus on, an opportunity to unite divergent groups and bridge the chasm between the passive antiwar majority and the militant minority of active antiwar activists and organizers.

It looks like the Democrats are not going to end the war soon. The only hope is an enraged public organized into a mass movement. Think strategy!!!! Think organizing!!!

See you Friday the 21st, then October 19th, November 16th, and beyond.

"Now is the Time of the Furnaces, and Only Light Should be Seen" - Jose Marti (Cuban Revolutionary)

Mark Rudd (old SDS) was a leader of the Columbia University student strike of 1968 and a founding member of the Weatherman faction of SDS. He was a federal fugitive for seven years, after which he taught math at an Albuquerque, New Mexico community college. He recently retired and remains focused on bringing down the US empire from within.

Doug Viehmeyer (new SDS) is an SDS organizer and worker in Northern New Jersey. As an undergrad at Hartwick College, he was involved with antiwar, Palestine solidarity, and feminist struggles.

Sometimes we need to look back to move forward. In 1968 there existed a spirit of change, the Paris Rebellion, Prague, Chicago, Vietnam, etc. People believed, around the world, that they were capable of taking over the institutions that controlled their lives. The smell of revolution was in the air. Over 1 million college students openly identified as revolutionist. People believed that through mass participation in the movement, it was possible to wrestle control from the elite power-holders. They were not willing to accept the loss of their human and civil rights.

Recreate 68 is not a throwback group trying to relieve some vision of glory days long gone. We are predominantly a youthful group who has realized that 40 years later, we have only produced apathy in our communities towards making effective and lasting change. We intend to recreate that need for change and mass participation in the events that shape and control our lives.

We intend to recreate that revolutionary feeling and pick-up where our predecessors left off. It is time to reclaim the ideals that we have forgotten and leap forward by stepping back and using that voice inside of us that has been telling us something is seriously wrong, a voice that is shouting for change, a voice that has realized we live in a police state and we have stopped moving forward 40 years ago. When we recreate positives and discard negatives from our collective memories of the past and realize the true power that the people possess, we will have the ability to make 2008 a very special year.

This is the true meaning of Recreate 68. Don’t let this historic moment pass you by. Join us on this journey and have your energies and voices heard in the streets of Denver, as we demand change during the DNC in 2008!

It’s been one of those days when I want to scream. I am about ready to stop going to luncheons where people want to talk to me, because they really don’t want to talk; they want to rant, rave and lecture about how all of us are a brick short of a full load because we don’t understand that we can’t Impeach Bush and Cheney because:

We can't impeach, because we don't have the votes, (Give an Impeachment and they shall come),

We can't impeach, because then we won't get anything done. (There is nothing of anywhere near the importance of Impeachment going on anyway except the Congress is all excited about giving us a few hundred bucks back in a stimulus Tax Rebate…remember the last one…and do you remember what you did with it?)

We can't impeach, because people will think we're mean and nasty. (What in the Hell do you think this administration of wrongful war mongering Neocon fanatics living in a century long gone are?)

We can’t waste the time to Impeach because they’ll be gone in a few months. (I’ve got news for you. We’re not all convinced that will be true, and as for me I’m prepared to go after them after they office!)

I just don’t enjoy eating the same bologna sandwich at what ought to be productive luncheons instead of a call for Tums!

I can eat by myself, and I can think for myself, and seeing as we have all made up our minds, I think I will have lunch by myself tomorrow!

I had hoped that Congress could begin to repair the damage that has been done to our democracy, our Constitution and our standing in the world, so that censure or impeachment could be averted. Unfortunately, this administration not only fails to accept responsibility for its misdeeds, but it also blocks attempts to right the wrongs and address the tragic consequences of those misdeeds. We have seen the American people's will thwarted by the exercise of veto power. We have seen subpoenas ignored. We have seen signing statements used to circumvent the law of the land.

If we fail to take action to either impeach or repair the damage, then the next president will "inherit" unchecked powers. Unchecked powers are unacceptable no matter who is president.

It is unlikely that impeachment will move forward this session. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed her view that impeachment should be "taken off the table," and that is her prerogative. I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution. That sacred pledge gives me no choice but to call for executive branch accountability in any and all forms possible.

We Shall Come From The Shadows, And We Shall Over Come!


Let’s Look at what is being said and what is developing:

Despite the strength of the case for impeachment, I do not think it will happen, because Bush has convinced Americans that his crimes against truth, the U.S. Constitution, and the Geneva Conventions are necessary measures in the "war against terrorists." As long as Americans understand 9/11 as an attack on America by "Islamo-fascism," the executive branch will have wide latitude in usurping liberty.

Seymour Hersh in his book Chain of Command asks,

"How did eight or nine neoconservatives redirect the government and rearrange long-standing American priorities and policies with so much ease? How did they overcome the bureaucracy, intimidate the press, mislead the Congress, and dominate the military? Is our democracy that fragile?"

"How indeed?" ask the editors of Impeach the President. Their answer seems to be that the Democrats have been intimidated and "truth and facts have been barricaded off from reaching most of the American people." The editors have faith in the American people to do the right thing if only they can find out the truth.

It is refreshing to see that the Left, unlike the neoconservatives, believes in the American system. However, as Claes Ryn indicates in his book America the Virtuous, it would appear that the American system has been eroded over the decades by the rise of the new Jacobin ideology known as neoconservatism.

In columns available on on Oct. 12, Leon Hadar and William S. Lind point out that the Democrats are as neoconized as the neoconized Republicans. There is no difference.

At a recent conference hosted by the journal The National Interest, it was the Democrat Will Marshall, president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute, who sounded like Richard Perle and William Kristol, not the Republican Stefan Halper, who served in the Reagan administration. Halper presented a devastating critique of Bush's neocon foreign policy.

The problem is not that the Democrats are intimidated. The problem is that the Democrats are part of the problem.

The editors of Impeach the President indirectly acknowledge this fact when they report that Congress "looked the other way" when Bush acknowledged that he lied to cover up his felony of illegally spying on U.S. citizens and declared the real criminal to be the NSA official who blew the whistle.

Democrats, no less than Republicans, have permitted the Bush regime to violate the separation of powers and the rule of law. A branch of government that no longer defends its power is a branch of government that no longer believes in its power. Just as the Reichstag faded away for Hitler, the U.S. Congress has faded away for the Bush administration.

Claes Ryn is correct when he says a change of mind has occurred. The Constitution and the political system based on it are on the ropes because the players no longer believe in them. They believe in executive power to act forcefully in behalf of "American exceptionalism."

Civil libertarians rely on the judiciary to defend constitutional rights, but the Supreme Court has been compromised by Bush's appointments of Roberts and Alito, men who believe in "energy in the executive." Without support from Congress, the judiciary cannot protect civil liberty. With the passage of the recent detainee and spy bills, Congress has allied itself with the Bush regime against civil liberty.

Beliefs are more important than institutions. Michael Polanyi wrote that if people believed in the principles of Stalinism, democracy would uphold Stalinism. If people believe in American hegemony, they will not complain when barriers to hegemonic actions are removed. If people believe fighting terrorism is more important than civil liberty, they will lose civil liberty.

What America needs to refurbish is its beliefs. Without renewing our beliefs, we cannot renew our civil liberties and hold government accountable.

An international call for March 2008 worldwide protests to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was issued in London on Dec. 1. The 1200 delegates from 43 nations at the World Against War conference voted unanimously to call on antiwar movements in every country to organize mass protests demanding that all troops be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan. They opposed any U.S. attack on Iran. The broad-based London call paralleled and reinforced another call by antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan and other forces in the United States for mass antiwar demonstrations in March 2008.

Unfortunately, despite these important initiatives, it now appears that the fifth anniversary will come and go without a mass mobilization in the U.S.—the main country responsible for the Iraq War. This default of the leading U.S. antiwar organizations is the most serious evidence yet of a movement in crisis.

UFPJ rejects mass action

Over the weekend of Dec. 8 and 9, the Steering Committee of United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) met in New York City. The committee rejected three separate but overlapping appeals to co-sponsor a national mass demonstration on the fifth anniversary.

Instead, they considered a variety of proposals for local actions, all of them clearly oriented toward lobbying, influencing, or electing Democrats during the 2008 election year.

What's more, the theme of all the proposals was not to end the war, but to get the Democrats to "stop selling out" and stop funding the war. This shows a tragic misunderstanding of the nature of the Democratic Party. Its politicians haven't "sold out" on the war. They don't need stiffer spines or proof of more support before voting the right way. Their consistent pro-war votes reflect their true nature as creatures of the ruling class.

At the June 2007 UFPJ National Assembly, which initiated the Oct. 27 regional demonstrations, the discrepancy between the often cited figure of 70 percent of the people in the U.S. opposed to the war, and the still modest numbers mobilized in mass actions against it, was properly used as motivation to work harder to boost turn out for the fall actions.

Now that 70 percent figure has taken on a different life: In the opening session of the December Steering Committee, UFPJ co-chair Leslie Cagan tried to explain that much of that 70 percent consists of people who don't care about Iraqi lives but are merely distressed at the mismanagement of the war. With this explanation, a huge antiwar majority inspiring mobilizing efforts has now become a justification for demobilization.

The Steering Committee decided that its strategic goals for 2008 in regard to Iraq were counter-recruitment, military resistance support, and cutting congressional funding. The former goal was to be achieved by supporting Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and other veterans' events.

Several proposals for local actions were put forward—all explicitly counterposed to mass national demonstrations. The options considered were (1) holding actions at each of the 435 local offices of members of Congress; (2) calling several protests in a variety of cities or regions; or (3) a civil disobedience action to shut down either Congress or the Pentagon.

None of these were projected as involving large numbers of people. Even the attempt to shut down Congress, said the proposal’s maker, Lisa Fithian, head of UFPJ's Nonviolent Direct Action Working Group, needn't be big. She directly counterposed it to calls for a march in Washington of several hundred thousand, and said that what is needed instead is a march of 10,000—with 500 or 1000 willing to get arrested.

Of course, the proposal for actions in every congressional district was the one most openly geared toward bending Democratic Party ears. Its mover, Josh Ruebner of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, said that national demonstrations are too costly. And more important, in his mind: "We don't need the morass of getting bogged down in coalition politics."

In his written proposal, Ruebner claimed that UFPJ's past national and regional actions proved it was difficult, if not impossible, to turn out a significant chunk of the 70 percent opposed to the war. What's more, mobilizing large numbers in 2008 would be impossible anyway, and convincing Congress to vote to cut off appropriations for the war "seems the most likely way to achieve UFPJ's goals during the remainder of the Bush administration." He saw his proposal as a complement to civil disobedience at the Capitol.

One steering committee member said she was uncomfortable with an exclusive focus on cutting off funding, reminding the group that "our goal is to bring the troops home." Phyllis Bennis, UFPJ's leading ideologue, replied that while that may be our long-term goal, in 2008 the goal has to be to stop the funding, so actions focused on getting the Democrats’ ears are key.

Throughout the consideration of the various proposals for local action, negative references were made to calls for national demonstrations by other forces. Cindy Sheehan's call for a unified national action, outlined in detail below, was described repeatedly—and inaccurately—as primarily an effort to unite UFPJ and the ANSWER Coalition, ignoring the role of other 20 antiwar groups in the effort.

The New England letter

An observer at the meeting distributed copies of a letter written in early November by a working group set up by New England United. The letter had already been sent to groups throughout the movement, and was seeking feedback on the idea of a national mass demonstration on the fifth anniversary.

The letter mentioned the initiative for a spring 2008 national demonstration by forces working with Cindy Sheehan. NEU was formed to support the Oct. 27 regional actions called by UFPJ, but from the start was purposely structured to be broader than just regional affiliates of UFPJ. The result, as in other cities that organized broader coalitions for Oct. 27, was quite positive—the 10,000 who marched on Boston Common constituted one of the biggest and most youthful turnouts on that day. And the experience encouraged regional activists to continue to build NEU.

However, the NEU working-group letter was ignored by the UFPJ Steering Committee, some of whose leaders had previously asked why NEU was operating "on a parallel track" and "going around us," as if UFPJ is the antiwar movement in and of itself.

The Committee also ignored a proposal that included the idea of a spring national demonstration from its own affiliate in the region, Boston-based United for Justice with Peace. The proposal supported "one unified mass action that somehow avoids competing demonstrations." But such appeals for unity were dismissed by the Committee as foolish.

One of the materials handed out in the packet was UFPJ's 2005 document rejecting any future work with ANSWER, a discussion which had been reprised at a pre-meeting Steering Committee conference call. Late in the day Saturday, after a decision on which local action proposal to approve was tabled until Sunday, a straw poll was taken to see whether there was even enough support to bother discussing the Sheehan initiative.

The direction in which things were headed was made even clearer, if such were needed, by a rephrasing of the straw poll to determine whether there was any interest in talking about pursuing unity with ANSWER, once again mischaracterizing the Sheehan forces' proposal.

Only three hands out of 16 Steering Committee members were raised, but this was sufficient to secure a discussion the following day. After this discussion had made clear the almost unanimous disinterest in working with anyone interested in a national demonstration, Bennis encouraged UFPJ to reach out to the "rest of the movement," which she then explained meant MoveOn, Win Without War, and other pro-Democratic Party forces.

Clearly, the almost unanimous desire to avoid working with a broad array of forces in the movement favoring mass action overlaps with UFPJ's orientation in 2008 to focus on currying favor with the Democrats. A unified national mobilization—even a national demonstration UFPJ could run itself or at least have preponderant influence in—cuts across that in their minds.

The Monday after the Steering Committee was concluded—even before a scheduled Sheehan/Year Five-initiative conference call at which UFPJ was to give its response to the 5th anniversary proposal—UFPJ issued a statement on the results of its meeting that pointedly excluded the possibility of working with the rest of the movement on a joint national action.

They announced that their sights were set on getting the next Congress and president to end the war and occupation in Iraq. And, in an echo of Bennis' urging that UFPJ broaden itself out to the right, they announced they would "continue to build alliances with other antiwar forces as well as other progressive movements for peace and justice."

They further announced that the "many different tactics" to be used in 2008 would include "activities and projects specifically related to the election-year cycle." The action proposals decided on included "what we hope will be the largest nonviolent civil disobedience action yet against the war in Iraq," that is, encouraging people to do civil disobedience in Washington, D.C., on March 19. Those who couldn’t make it to D.C. were encouraged to protest on that day at the 435 congressional offices.

Soon afterwards, UFPJ sent an e-mail to all its member groups rejecting collaboration with the Sheehan initiative. It ruled out participating in a coalition around the 5th anniversary, adding: "It was not clear how being part of another coalitional structure would help move all of this work forward. And that's what is most important ... moving the work forward." By which, obviously, they just mean moving UFPJ's work forward.

Less than two weeks after the Steering Committee had adopted its Democratic Party oriented action agenda came more evidence—as if any were needed—of the futility of relying on the Democrats, as they voted yet again, to the tune of $70 billion, more money for Washington's wars, with no restrictions or timetable on troop deployments.

In a Dec. 21 statement, Cagan called the vote "a disgrace." But it can only be said to be a disgrace if one expects something different from those warmongers.

The Cindy Sheehan initiative

In November, prominent antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan announced an initiative to try to unite the antiwar movement around a national demonstration in Washington to mark the fifth anniversary as well as a peace summit to be held in late January 2008.

In a column entitled "Come Together, Right Now!," Sheehan wrote that she "left the peace movement in May of this year partially out of frustration over this lack of unity. At the time I was in despair over the fact that our movement had been unable to stop anything because of the egos and the infighting."

But the continued horrors of war, she said, as well as new economic and environmental dangers, inspired her to give it another shot. Sheehan set up two conference calls involving many prominent antiwar groups, including not only ANSWER and UFPJ, but also Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Gold Star Families for Peace, Camp Casey Peace Institute, CODEPINK Women For Peace,, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, Common Ground Collective New Orleans, Hip Hop Caucus, World Can't Wait,, Cindy for Congress, National Council of Arab Americans, Grassroots America, Democracy Rising, and Voters for Peace.

All participants on the calls agreed to a proposal for bicoastal national demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco—except UFPJ's Leslie Cagan, who said she would have to consult her upcoming Steering Committee meeting.

After the UFPJ Steering Committee rejected the Sheehan proposal, another conference call, as well as some behind-the-scenes discussions, led to the issuance of a public call for the March 15 demonstration, as well as support for UFPJ's proposed March 19 activities. The call was explicitly motivated as being "in solidarity with those planning similar events around the world."

The activities were to be organized by the "Iraq Occupation 5th Anniversary U.S. Mobilization Committee." In an apparent effort to head off unilateral actions by any participants, the announcement said that by signing the call "you agree to coordinate announcements as part of the committee, contribute to these events, and not oppose or take actions that hurt any of these events.

The call also announced Sheehan's proposed peace summit, to be held in San Francisco, Jan. 18-20, 2008, "to bring all of the various groups together so we can strategize and brainstorm more effective ways of challenging war and injustices."

The summit would work out the details of the national demonstrations. As described on the Camp Casey Peace Institute website, attendance would be limited to 125 participants. Other than one rally open to all, with live blogging for those in other cities, all sessions in the proposed agenda would have been held in small groups rather than in open, voting plenary sessions. This process would have been the opposite of that used at the best of the conferences during the Vietnam War era, where large, open, meetings of hundreds or even thousands of activists from the entire spectrum of the antiwar movement voted to set dates, locations, and demands for actions, and steering committees elected at the conference were then left to work out the logistics.

Of course, it was not just Sheehan's proposed summit that failed to live up to this more democratic conception. Since the Iraq War began, not a single open, mass antiwar conference, where the full range of the movement's groups and activists could come together to decide its course, has been convened.

Winter Soldier hearings

The March 15 demo, it was announced, would support the IVAW’s planned Winter Soldier hearings. But soon after issuance of the call, a representative of Mass Global Action (MGA) circulated a letter from IVAW Executive Director Kelly Dougherty opposing any Washington, D.C., actions other than the Winter Soldier hearings during the March 13 to 16 period. The MGA spokesperson asked groups around the country to hold off endorsing March 15 until a conference call between the Sheehan forces and IVAW had been conducted.

The upshot of that conference call was an announcement by Sheehan canceling both the March 15 demonstration as well as the peace summit. Sheehan also announced that the ongoing dissension in the movement had convinced her that further efforts at achieving unity were fruitless. She stated that she would forthwith focus all energies on her run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her San Francisco congressional seat.

The fact that the IVAW objections were the catalyst for the dissolution of the Sheehan initiative for a united mass action must be analyzed. Dougherty's letter pointed correctly to the crucial role of veterans in the movement, but it also mirrored the shortsightedness of many in the movement.

Wrote Dougherty, "For many of us, the most frustrating, depressing thing is to see the level of detachment and apathy that is so common among the American people. The antiwar movement seems no closer to ending the occupation, and more and more people seem content to believe that things in Iraq are improving and they no longer need to bother themselves with worrying about it."

The problem, according to her analysis, was that "the voices of those who have been to war, have participated in occupation, and have been the victims and survivors of U.S. foreign aggression are not being heard. Those of us who know, first hand, the brutal realities of war have been ignored and marginalized, and it is well past time that we are given the space and opportunity to tell our stories."

Dougherty continued, "This is why IVAW is holding Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, March 13-16 in Washington, D.C. We will offer first-hand, eyewitness accounts to tell the truth about these occupations; their impact on the troops, their families, our nation, and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan."

Certainly the mass media has largely ignored the voices of antiwar veterans and active-duty soldiers. But Dougherty's letter ignores the regular and increasing prominence in antiwar rallies, marches, and forums of IVAW members organized by every wing of the movement. And this prominence could have reached new levels with a program of Winter Soldier hearings buttressed by a huge Washington, D.C., national action.

Instead, for Dougherty, the sole focus of the anniversary had to be the Winter Soldier hearings: Because "Winter Soldier provides a unique opportunity to reveal the reality of U.S. occupation," and "in order to give our veterans the necessary space and attention we deserve to tell our stories, we are requesting that, during Winter Soldier, March 13-16, the larger antiwar movement calls no national mobilizations and that there are no local protests or civil disobedience actions in Washington D.C."

Dougherty concluded, "IVAW will not endorse any mass mobilizations or DC-based actions that conflict with Winter Soldier. We feel that large-scale activities will compete with Winter Soldier and dilute the voices of those testifying."

This explanation puts things backwards. A well-organized national demonstration could have not only drawn attention to the Winter Soldier hearings, but would have served as a springboard for more military organizing efforts.

Every marcher could have held a sign proclaiming support for the hearings, and rally organizers could have worked with IVAW to organize marchers to go back home and build veteran and active-duty troop-support activities.

Equally important, a portion of the movement's platform in Washington could have been turned over to the IVAW to allow veterans’ testimony to be heard by hundreds of thousands of people.

What next for the movement?

As mentioned above, several of the regional coalitions formed to build Oct. 27 set a good example of the potential to build broad, democratic organizations that could steer clear of ruling-class politics and stay focused on getting the troops home now.

Many of the activists in these coalitions had hoped that one of the calls for national action in 2008 would be agreed upon, and in the absence of such a call many of these same activists are discussing how to collaborate to build a national movement that mirrors the inclusion and democracy practiced in their own groups.

Thinking through how to get to the kind of movement we want at this particular stage, and for the long term, will take a combination of informal and formal discussions, of patient and honest assessment of the challenges and opportunities ahead.

We can state concretely our ultimate goal. We need to construct a mass movement that stands for the immediate and total withdrawal of all U.S. troops, for mass action aimed at building such a movement, for the movement's political independence from the rulers' pro-war parties, and for inclusive, democratic national meetings to decide on and organize around such a perspective.

As we go to press national discussions are underway on these very subjects. We will report on this development in future issues of Socialist Action.

The broad outlines of Socialist Action's views on the centrality of mass mobilizations in building an irresistible antiwar movement have been published in previous issues of this newspaper (see Jeff Mackler's article in our November 2007 issue). But some additional elaboration can be helpful at a time when activists are today discussing concrete measures to overcome the present impasse.

We've alluded in the accompanying article (“U.S. Antiwar Movement Falters”) to the main motivation for the liberal wing of the movement—i.e., its allegiance or orientation to the "lesser evil" Democratic Party as a vehicle for ending the war. But it's worth noting that this is a double-sided phenomenon:

On the one hand, it means discouraging mass action in election years. But on the other, in order to serve as an effective force for the Democratic Party within the movement, groups like UFPJ must maintain their credibility by trying to appear in non-election years as the best and most democratic builders of mass actions.

Once the 2004 elections had ended, UFPJ reasserted its role in calling and organizing mass actions. And even if the Democrats win the White House this year, a similar shift toward mass action will likely take place in 2009. Thus, building the movement will be

impossible now with tactics that simply ignore UFPJ and its member groups.

In recent years UFPJ's ability to avoid or thwart unified coalitions for mass action was made easier by the lack of democratic functioning and the radical posturing of other forces in the movement, such as ANSWER.

Another factor behind UFPJ's ability to go it alone without repercussions from the ranks of the movement is a lack of understanding among some activists, both inside UFPJ and beyond its ranks, of the importance of mass action. Thus, complaints are often repeated: "We're sick of national demonstrations," "Going to D.C. doesn't achieve anything," and, as an inevitable corollary, "We need something different!"

Some civil disobedience or non-violent direct action advocates point to the recent blockage of military supplies in Olympia, Wash., as an example of something supposedly more effective. While the courage of the handfuls of protesters involved isn't in doubt, the supplies were only stopped for a few hours. And repeating such actions in Olympia and elsewhere will do nothing to encourage the kind of mass turnout that can really stop such supplies for good.

When we get tens of thousands in the streets of port towns like Olympia, the workers on the rails and in the ports, both civilian and military, will begin to consider stopping these supplies themselves—and when they feel ready to do so it won't be just for a few hours but until the war ends. But to get to that point, first we must regularly get hundreds of thousands and then millions in the streets of D.C. and elsewhere against the war.

In his 1970 speech, "Liberalism, Ultraleftism or Mass Action," Peter Camejo, a leader of Socialist Action’s predecessor group, the Socialist Workers Party, explained the political and social roots of the desperate search for "new," "more effective" tactics:

"Sometimes a liberal becomes frustrated not getting the ear of the ruling class, and he concludes that he's been using the wrong tactics. So he adopts a lot of radical rhetoric. He says this ruling class is apparently so thickheaded that what we've got to do is really let loose a temper tantrum to get its attention."

In contrast, said Camejo, revolutionaries with confidence in the working class "are not interested in moving 20 or 200 or several hundred community organizers to engage in some sort of civil disobedience, window trashing, or whatever. We say that is a dead end, because it doesn't relate to the power that can stop the war—the masses.

"You can't ask the 15 million trade unionists to sit in at a congressman's office. There just isn't enough room. Of course, the ultra lefts know that 15 million workers aren't going to do that, so that call is clearly not aimed at involving workers."

Camejo continued, "This is the key thing to understand about the ultraleftists. The actions they propose are not aimed at the American people; they're aimed at those who have already radicalized. They know beforehand that masses of people won't respond to the tactics they propose."

Complaints about the inefficacy of mass action were heard after every national demonstration during Vietnam, even though most of them were bigger than any demonstration yet held around Iraq except those just before and after the war's launching. And during Vietnam, radicals like those of us now in Socialist Action argued year after year that the failure of any one national action to end the war just proved that we needed more of them and even bigger ones.

And in the end we were proven right: the war ended not because of any action by Democrats in Congress, nor because of any "new" or "different" civil disobedience tactics, but because of the cumulative pressure of mass actions in the U.S. and around the world, and the continued fight of the Vietnamese people.

Such mass actions engendered a mood encouraging resistance within our own military, which by the end of the war reached a virtual service-wide refusal to fight, as well as the proliferation of thousands of local groups engaged in daily organizing. But these more localized efforts were encouraged by the mass antiwar sentiment that the national actions generated and continually increased, rather than being seen as substitutes for such actions.

Even during the more favorable political conjuncture of the 1960s, the relative quiescence of the U.S. working class led some to a mistaken search for "new" tactics.

SWP leader Lew Jones, in his "Report on the American Antiwar Movement" to the 1967 Socialist Workers Party Convention, explained that "the antiwar movement in the U.S. has developed despite the absence of a mass anti-capitalist political movement and despite the relative apathy of the labor movement. The American political climate, dominated by the two parties of the ruling class, has from the beginning exerted constant pressure on the antiwar movement to adapt to its norms.

"Yet this movement, since its first action, has consistently pursued a course of mass action against the imperialist war in Vietnam." Just as today, the movement faced three counterposed strategies, listed by Jones as

(1) the organization of periodic, mass, antiwar united-front actions,

(2) adventurist actions, which aim to substitute a handful for mass actions, and

(3) the use of the antiwar forces as raw material for various class collaborationist electoral "peace" projects.

In order to secure a broad hearing for the first option, radicals during the Vietnam era organized and united local committees that represented that wing of the movement interested in mass, democratic, independent politics. Meetings and newsletters were used to facilitate communication among them and to educate and agitate for such politics in the broader movement.

The understanding of the need for mass action is a given in a vibrant workers' movement. The fact that it is not in today's antiwar movement, especially among activists who've become jaded after their first few actions, shows a lack of understanding of the real power in our society, the only power that can shut down that society when it finally feels confident enough to do so. Building that confidence requires at this point getting large masses out in the street in peaceful mass actions.

Lack of clarity on this key issue is understandable in the absence of mass movements, like those around civil rights, of the kind that inspired and reinforced the antiwar movement during Vietnam. But the years ahead will dramatically change that.

There is a mushrooming resentment and anger at the impact on the working class of job losses and wage cuts, home foreclosures, growing income inequality, the racist treatment of Katrina victims, the lack of health care, impending ecological catastrophe, and on and on. None of these attacks has yet led to a sustained, well-organized fightback, much less an independent, working-class-based party to lead such a fight.

But the mobilization of 50,000 against racism in Jena, La., the five million immigrants who struck on May Day 2006—even the failed but significant efforts to reject the Chrysler contract by autoworkers—point to the possibility that one or all of these attacks could turn resentment into actions involving millions of people. Should this happen it will be clear to the overwhelming majority of antiwar activists where power really lies in society, and what tactics are needed to draw on that power.

Antiwar movement on hold

Bob Morris @ Jan 17th 2008 22:39 - Category: Anti-war

The US antiwar movement has apparently managed to have a spectacular circular firing squad, as witness the collapse of agreement about having an antiwar march in DC on March 15.

ISO details the players and the history. United for Peace and ANSWER haven’t spoken for years. UFP favors influencing Democrats while ANSWER says get in the streets. Cindy Sheehan tried to build for a march but didn’t have a base. She and ANSWER pitched the idea of March 15 apparently without consulting with Iraq Veterans Against the War, who then balked. IVAW has always been always a bit uneasy about associating with lefties anyway and finally asked (demanded?) that no other groups have protests during their Winter Soldier in DC on March 13-16.

Well, why don’t we all just go shoot ourselves in the foot to make sure the job is done. Sigh.

Part of the problem is that giant sucking sound, dragging all energy and light towards the presidential campaign and away from activism. Then there’s the all too familiar problem of Left sectarianism. Also, the majority of the populace now opposes the war but aren’t going to march in a protest because it’s too left-wing for them. So where will the new people come from?

Maybe the antiwar movement has done as much as it can in terms of mass protest and needs to look at other methods. Because this brouhaha indicates an antiwar movement that is either falling apart or changing leadership, I’m not sure which.

In a recent Guardian story, George W. Bush is reported to have been swayed to Dick Cheney’s view not to trust a future administration to deal decisively with the alleged threat from Iran. Cheney is hell bent to make war on Iran, just as he and Bush were hell bent to make war on Iraq.

Tens of millions of people marched on every continent to prevent the invasion of Iraq.

The failure of this peace movement, the largest the world has ever seen, provides us now with a pound of cure for the thousands of U.S. servicemen and women slain, the tens of thousands of wounded and maimed, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths and the millions of desperate refugees. A nation in ruins.

Bush and Cheney would have us believe that the cure for this malady is to start another war. The peace movement is both emboldened by unseating Republican majorities in the House and the Senate and embittered by the failure of the new Democratic leadership to hold Bush/Cheney accountable for their tragic litany of crimes.

The peace movement will have to work harder to convince skeptics like Mark Chilton that the impeachment of Cheney, then Bush, is a necessary prophylactic for another war, an ounce of prevention. Join the Carrboro born and bred Grass Roots Impeachment Movement and help our Congress and nation to take some preventative medicine.

Why Bush Hasn’t Been Impeached Congress, The Media and Most of The American People Have Yet To Turn Decisively Against Bush because To Do So Would Be To Turn Against Some Part of Themselves.

The Bush presidency is a lot of things. It’s a secretive cabal, a cavalcade of incompetence, a blood-stained Church Militant, a bad rerun of “The Godfather” in which scary men in suits pay ominous visits to hospital rooms. But seen from the point of view of the American people, what it increasingly resembles is a bad marriage.

America finds itself married to a guy who has turned out to be a complete dud. Divorce — which in our nonparliamentary system means impeachment — is the logical solution. But even though Bush cheated on us, lied, besmirched our family’s name and spent all our money, we the people, not to mention our elected representatives and the media, seem content to stick it out to the bitter end.

There is a strange disconnect in the way Americans think about George W. Bush. He is extraordinarily unpopular. His approval ratings, which have been abysmal for about 18 months, have now sunk to their lowest ever, making him the most unpopular president in a generation.

His 28 percent approval rating in a May 5 Newsweek poll ties that of Jimmy Carter in 1979 after the failed Iran rescue mission. Bush’s unpopularity has emboldened congressional Democrats, who now have no qualms about attacking him directly and flatly asserting that his Iraq war is lost.

Some of them have also been willing to invoke the I-word — joining a large number of Americans. Several polls taken in the last two years have shown that large numbers of Americans support impeachment. An Angus Reid poll taken in May 2007 found that a remarkable 39 percent of Americans favored the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

An earlier poll, framed in a more hypothetical way, found that 50 percent of Americans supported impeaching Bush if he lied about the war — which most of that 50 percent presumably now believe he did. Vermont has gone on record in calling for his impeachment, and a number of cities, including Detroit and San Francisco, have passed impeachment resolutions.

Reps. John Murtha and John Conyers and a few other politicians have floated the idea. And there is a significant grassroots movement to impeach Bush, spearheaded by organizations like After Downing Street. Even some Republicans, outraged by Bush’s failure to uphold right-wing positions (his immigration policy, in particular), have begun muttering about impeachment.

Bush’s unpopularity is mostly a result of Iraq, which most Americans now believe was a colossal mistake and a war we cannot win. But his problems go far beyond Iraq. His administration has been dogged by one massive scandal after the other, from the Katrina debacle, to Bush’s approval of illegal wiretapping and torture, to his unparalleled use of “signing statements” to disobey laws he disagrees with, to the outrageous Gonzales and U.S. attorneys affair.

In response to these outrages, a growing literature of pro-impeachment books, from “The Case for Impeachment” by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky to “U.S. v. Bush” by Elizabeth Holtzman to “The Impeachment of George W. Bush” by Elizabeth de la Vega, argue not only that Bush’s misdeeds are clearly impeachable, but also that a failure to impeach a rogue president bent on amassing unprecedented power will threaten our most cherished traditions.

As Lindorff and Olshansky conclude, “If we fail to stand up for the Constitution now, it may be only a piece of paper by the end of President Bush’s second term. Then it will be time to be afraid.”

Yet the public’s dislike of Bush has not translated into any real move to get rid of him. The impeach-Bush movement has not really taken off yet, and barring some unforeseen dramatic development, it seems unlikely that it will. Even if there were a mass popular movement to impeach Bush, it’s far from clear that Congress, which alone has the power to initiate impeachment proceedings, would do anything. The Democratic congressional majority has been at best lukewarm to the idea.

In any case, their constituents have not demanded it forcefully or in such numbers that politicians feel they must respond. Democrats, and for that matter Americans of all political persuasions, seem content to watch Bush slowly bleed to death.

Why? Why was Clinton, who was never as unpopular as Bush, impeached for lying about sex, while Bush faces no sanction for the far more serious offense of lying about war?

The main reason is obvious: The Democrats think it’s bad politics. Bush is dying politically and taking the GOP down with him, and impeachment is risky. It could, so the cautious Beltway wisdom has it, provoke a backlash, especially while the war is still going on. Why should the Democrats gamble on hitting the political jackpot when they’re likely to walk away from the table big winners anyway?

These realpolitik considerations might be sufficient by themselves to prevent Congress from impeaching Bush. Impeachment is a strange phenomenon — a murky combination of the legal, the political and the emotional.

The Constitution offers no explicit guidance on what constitutes an impeachable offense, stating only that a president can be impeached and, if convicted, removed from office for treason, bribery “or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” As a result, politicians contemplating impeachment take their cues from a number of disparate factors — not just a president’s misdeeds, but a cost-benefit analysis.

And Congress tends to follow the cost-benefit analysis. If you’re going to kill the king, you have to make sure you succeed — and there’s just enough doubt in Democrats’ minds to keep their swords sheathed.

But there’s a deeper reason why the popular impeachment movement has never taken off — and it has to do not with Bush but with the American people. Bush’s warmongering spoke to something deep in our national psyche. The emotional force behind America’s support for the Iraq war, the molten core of an angry, resentful patriotism, is still too hot for Congress, the media and even many Americans who oppose the war, to confront directly.

It’s a national myth. It’s John Wayne. To impeach Bush would force us to directly confront our national core of violent self-righteousness — come to terms with it, understand it and reject it. And we’re not ready to do that.

The truth is that Bush’s high crimes and misdemeanors, far from being too small, are too great. What has saved Bush is the fact that his lies were, literally, a matter of life and death. They were about war. And they were sanctified by 9/11. Bush tapped into a deep American strain of fearful, reflexive bellicosity, which Congress and the media went along with for a long time and which has remained largely unexamined to this day. Congress, the media and most of the American people have yet to turn decisively against Bush because to do so would be to turn against some part of themselves.

This doesn’t mean we support Bush, simply that at some dim, half-conscious level we’re too confused — not least by our own complicity — to work up the cold, final anger we’d need to go through impeachment. We haven’t done the necessary work to separate ourselves from our abusive spouse. We need therapy — not to save this disastrous marriage, but to end it.

At first glance it seems odd that Bush’s fraudulent case for war has saved him. War is the most serious action a nation can undertake, and lying to Congress and the American people about the need for war is arguably the most serious offense a public official can commit, short of treason. But the unique gravity of war surrounds it with a kind of patriotic force field.

There is an ancient human deference to The Strong Man Who Will Defend Us, an atavistic surrender to authority that goes back through Milosevic, to Henry V, to Beowulf and the ring givers, and ultimately to Cro-Magnon tribesmen huddled around the campfire at the feet of the biggest, strongest warrior.

Even when it is unequivocally shown that a leader lied about war, as is the case with Bush, he or she is still protected by this aura. Going to war is the best thing a rogue president can do. It’s like taking refuge in a church: No one can come and get you there. There’s a reason Bush kept repeating, “I’m a war president. I’m a war president.” It worked, literally, like a charm.

And many of the American people shared Bush’s views. A large percentage of the American people, and their elected representatives, accepted Bush’s unlimited authority to do whatever he wanted in the name of “national security.” And they reaffirmed this acceptance when, long after his fraudulent case for war had been exposed as such, they reelected him.

Lindorff and Olshansky quote former Republican Sen. Lowell Weicker, who justifies his opposition to impeachment by saying, “Bush obviously lied to the country and the Congress about the war, but we have a system of elections in this country. Everyone knew about the lying before the 2004 elections, and they didn’t do anything about it … Bush got elected. The horse is out of the barn now.”

To be sure, the war card works better under some circumstances than others. It is arguable that if there had been no 9/11, Bush’s fraudulent case for war really would have resulted in his impeachment — though this is far from certain. But 9/11 did happen, and as a result, large numbers of Americans did not just give Bush carte blanche but actively wanted him to attack someone.

They were driven not by policy concerns but by primordial retribution, reflexive and self-righteous rage. And it wasn’t just the masses who were calling for the United States to reach out and smash someone. Pundits like Henry Kissinger and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman also called for America to attack the Arab world. Kissinger, according to Bob Woodward’s “State of Denial,” said that “we need to humiliate them”; Friedman said we needed to “go right into the heart of the Arab world and smash something.”

As Friedman’s statement indicates, who we smashed was basically unimportant. Friedman and Kissinger argued that attacking the Arab would serve as a deterrent, but that was a detail. For many Americans, who Bush attacked or the reasons he gave, didn’t matter — what mattered was that we were fighting back.

To this day, the primitive feeling that in response to 9/11 we had to hit hard at “the enemy,” whoever that might be, is a sacred cow. America’s deference to the shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later approach is profound: It’s the gut belief that still drives Bush supporters and leads them to regard war critics as contemptible appeasers. This is why Bush endlessly repeats his mantra “We’re staying on the attack.”

The unpleasant truth is that Bush did what a lot of Americans wanted him to. And when it became clear after the fact that Bush had lied about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, it made no sense for those Americans to turn on him. Truth was never their major concern anyway — revenge was. And if we took revenge on the wrong person, well, better a misplaced revenge than none at all.

For those who did not completely succumb to the desire for primitive vengeance but were convinced by Bush’s fraudulent arguments about the threat posed by Saddam, the situation is more ambiguous. Now that his arguments have been exposed and the war has become a disaster, they feel let down, even betrayed — but not enough to motivate them to call for Bush’s impeachment.

This is because they cannot exorcise the still-mainstream view that Bush’s lies were justifiable and even noble, Straussian untruths told in support of what Bush believed to be a good cause. According to this line of thinking, since Bush and his neocon brain trust really believed that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous tyrant, the lies they told in whipping up support for war were, while reprehensible, somewhat forgivable.

In Elizabeth de la Vega’s book on impeachment, framed as a fictitious indictment of Bush for conspiring to defraud the United States, she argues that from a legal standpoint it doesn’t matter that Bush may have believed his lies were in the service of a higher good — he’s still guilty of fraud. In a brilliant stroke, de la Vega compares the Bush administration’s lies to those told by Enron executives — who were, of course, rightfully convicted.

The problem is that the American people are not judging Bush by the standards of law. The Bush years have further weakened America’s once-proud status as a nation of laws, not of men. The law, for Bush, is like language for Humpty Dumpty: it means just what he chooses it to mean, neither more nor less. This attitude has become disturbingly widespread — which may explain why Bush’s illegal wiretapping, his approval of torture, and his administration’s partisan purge of U.S. district attorneys have not resulted in wider outrage.

This society-wide diminution of respect for law has helped Bush immeasurably. It is not just the law that America has turned away from, but what the law stands for — accountability, memory, history and logic itself. That anonymous senior Bush advisor who spoke with surreal condescension of “the reality-based community” may have summed up our cultural moment more acutely than anyone else in years. A society without memory, driven by ephemeral emotions, which demands no consistency from its leaders but only gusty patriotism, is a society that is not about to engage in the painful self-examination that impeachment would mean.

A corollary to the decline of logic is our acceptance of the universality of spin. It no longer seems odd to us that a president should lie to get what he wants. In this regard, Bush, the most sanctimonious of presidents, must be seen as having degraded traditional American values more than the most relativist, Nietzsche-spouting postmodernist.

All of these factors — the sacrosanct status of war, the public’s complicity in an irrational demonstration of raw power, the loss of respect for law, logic and memory, the bland acceptance of spin and lies, the public unconcern about the fraudulence of Bush’s actions — have created a situation in which it is widely accepted that Bush’s lies about Iraq were not impeachable or even that scandalous, but merely a matter of policy. Just as conservatives lamely charged that the Scooter Libby case represented the “criminalization of politics,” so the conventional wisdom holds that distorting evidence to justify a war may be slightly reprehensible, but is not worth making much of a fuss about, and is certainly not impeachable.

The establishment media, which has tended to treat impeachment talk as if it were the unseemly rantings of half-crazed hordes, has clearly bought this paradigm. In this view, those who want to impeach Bush, or who are simply vehemently critical of him, are partisan extremists outside the mainstream of American discourse. This decorous approach has begun to weaken. A recent U.S. News and World Report cover read, “Bush’s last stand: He’s plagued by a hostile Congress, sinking polls, and an unending war. Is he resolute or delusional?” When centrist newsweeklies begin using words drawn from psychiatric manuals, it may be time for Karl Rove to get worried. But it takes time to turn the Titanic. The years of deference to the War Leader cannot be overcome that quickly.

For all these reasons, impeachment, however justified or salutary it would be — and I believe it would be both justified and salutary — remains a long shot. Bush will probably escape the fate of Andrew Johnson and the disgrace of Richard Nixon. But he’s not home free yet. The culture of spin is also the culture of spectacle, and a sudden, theatrical event — a lurid accusation made by a former official, a colorful revelation of a very specific and memorable Bush lie — could start the scandal machine going full speed.

Even the war card cannot be played indefinitely. If Bush were to withdraw the troops from Iraq, and the full dimensions of America’s defeat were to become apparent, all of his war-president potency would backfire and he would be in much greater danger of being impeached. Congress and the media both gain courage as the polls sink, and if Bush’s numbers continue to hit historic lows, they will turn on him with increasing savagery. If everything happens just so, the downfall of the House of Bush could be shocking in its swiftness.

The Videos here are worth the watch and of excellent quality.

The Crimes of George W. Bush
By (Brave New Films)
The call to impeach is one I did not take lightly. But as we said in our letter to Chairman Conyers, the issues are too serious to ignore. We simply cannot discount or overlook numerous, credible allegations of abuse of power by the.

America! If You Will Not Impeach This Tyrant Who Will You Impeach?

by Sherwood Ross

The Government is Scaring Us to Death

Well, now we know. Scientists have documented that the Bush/Cheney administration has been a greater threat to Americans’ health and safety than Osama Bin Laden and his terror band.

Things Have Gotten So Crazy Now a Prankster Could Start World War III!

President Bush, a lame-duck loose cannon, is traipsing around the Middle East calling Iran a state sponsor of terror and condemning what he calls Iran’s “provocative” acts in the Strait of Hormuz at the choke point between the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.


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