Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Impeach+Bush+Cheney and More Political Disappointments and Complications. Welcome To 2008!

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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!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Impeach+Bush+Cheney and More Political Disappointments and Complications. Welcome To 2008!

Impeach+Bush+Cheney and More Political Disappointments and Complications.

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

And With All Of Us At Work, We’re At A Near Stand Still At The Wexler Sign On!

It’s difficult to determine if the 2008 presidential election process is more like Jeopardy or a Miss America contest. In either case the questions and answers are only ask and given for their entertainment value. Most voters see very little value in what goes on in the primary campaigns. Primary campaigns are designed for those political activists whose interests go beyond the norm to select their party’s candidate in order for the games to begin in earnest.

In recent elections theatrics plays a larger and larger roll in national politics. Candidates are sculptured, choreographed, and every word is scripted to create an image of perfection. This starts long before they ever announce they will be running for president. For a couple of years before they will admit they are candidates they travel the country, seeking advice, testing the water, visiting friends.

Factually it’s all foreplay for the coming event, no one except perhaps the media is ever deceived by such foolishness. Men and women who intend running for president know years in advance of their intentions, in many cases they are prepared from infancy.

And just where are we at the moment? John is walking but we’re not really sure of his DC schedule. Pasadena was for the most part a non-event. Cindy’s Campaign is lost somewhere in the fog. We have a crop of candidates for The House, Senate and Presidency, most of who aren’t worth a damn. Dennis has sent a confusing signal in Iowa that our enemies are having a field day with.

The Iowa nonsense is upon us, and Bush Inc. just cruise merrily along down the Pelosi/Reid greased track. Lobby/Corporate money is pouring into campaigns and folks are marching along to the campaign banners of follow me…BUT WHERE…is the question?

Who Do We Vote For This Time Around? A Letter from Michael Moore
January 2, 2008


A new year has begun. And before we've had a chance to break our New Year's resolutions, we find ourselves with a little more than 24 hours before the good people of Iowa tell us whom they would like to replace the man who now occupies three countries and a white house.

Twice before, we have begun the process to stop this man, and twice we have failed. Eight years of our lives as Americans will have been lost, the world left in upheaval against us... and yet now, today, we hope against hope that our moment has finally arrived, that the amazingly powerful force of the Republican Party will somehow be halted. But we know that the Democrats are experts at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and if there's a way to blow this election, they will find it and do it with gusto.

Do you feel the same as me? That the Democratic front-runners are a less-than-stellar group of candidates and that none of them are the "slam dunk" we wish they were? Of course, there are wonderful things about each of them. Any one of them would be infinitely better than what we have now. Personally, Congressman Kucinich, more than any other candidate, shares the same positions that I have on the issues (although the UFO that picked ME up would only take me as far as Kalamazoo). But let's not waste time talking about Dennis. Even he is resigned to losing, with statements like the one he made yesterday to his supporters in Iowa to throw their support to Senator Obama as their "second choice."

So, it's Hillary, Obama, Edwards -- now what do we do?

Two months ago, Rolling Stone magazine asked me to do a cover story where I would ask the hard questions that no one was asking in one-on-one interviews with Senators Clinton, Obama and Edwards. "The Top Democrats Face Off with Michael Moore." The deal was that all three candidates had to agree to let me interview them or there was no story. Obama and Edwards agreed. Mrs. Clinton said no, and the cover story was thus killed.

Why would the love of my life, Hillary Clinton, not sit down to talk with me? What was she afraid of?

Those of you who are longtime readers of mine may remember that 11 years ago I wrote a chapter (in my first book) entitled, "My Forbidden Love for Hillary." I was fed up with the treatment she was getting, most of it boringly sexist, and I thought somebody should stand up for her. I later met her and she thanked me for referring to her as "one hot s***kicking feminist babe." I supported and contributed to her run for the U.S. Senate. I think she is a decent and smart person who loves this country, cares deeply about kids, and has put up with more crap than anyone I know of (other than me) from the Crazy Right. Her inauguration would be a thrilling sight, ending 218 years of white male rule in a country where 51% of its citizens are female and 64% are either female or people of color.

And yet, I am sad to say, nothing has disappointed me more than the disastrous, premeditated vote by Senator Hillary Clinton to send us to war in Iraq. I'm not only talking about her first vote that gave Mr. Bush his "authorization" to invade -- I'm talking about every single OTHER vote she then cast for the next four years, backing and funding Bush's illegal war, and doing so with verve. She never met a request from the White House for war authorization that she didn't like. Unlike the Kerrys and the Bidens who initially voted for authorization but later came to realize the folly of their decision, Mrs. Clinton continued to cast numerous votes for the war until last March -- four long years of pro-war votes, even after 70% of the American public had turned against the war. She has steadfastly refused to say that she was wrong about any of this, and she will not apologize for her culpability in America's worst-ever foreign policy disaster. All she can bring herself to say is that she was "misled" by "faulty intelligence."

Let's assume that's true. Do you want a President who is so easily misled? I wasn't "misled," and millions of others who took to the streets in February of 2003 weren't "misled" either. It was simply amazing that we knew the war was wrong when none of us had been briefed by the CIA, none of us were national security experts, and none of us had gone on a weapons inspection tour of Iraq. And yet... we knew we were being lied to! Let me ask those of you reading this letter: Were YOU "misled" -- or did you figure it out sometime between October of 2002 and March of 2007 that George W. Bush was up to something rotten? Twenty-three other senators were smart enough to figure it out and vote against the war from the get-go. Why wasn't Senator Clinton?

I have a theory: Hillary knows the sexist country we still live in and that one of the reasons the public, in the past, would never consider a woman as president is because she would also be commander in chief. The majority of Americans were concerned that a woman would not be as likely to go to war as a man (horror of horrors!). So, in order to placate that mindset, perhaps she believed she had to be as "tough" as a man, she had to be willing to push The Button if necessary, and give the generals whatever they wanted. If this is, in fact, what has motivated her pro-war votes, then this would truly make her a scary first-term president. If the U.S. is faced with some unforeseen threat in her first years, she knows that in order to get re-elected she'd better be ready to go all Maggie Thatcher on whoever sneezes in our direction. Do we want to risk this, hoping the world makes it in one piece to her second term?

I have not even touched on her other numerous -- and horrendous -- votes in the Senate, especially those that have made the middle class suffer even more (she voted for Bush's first bankruptcy bill, and she is now the leading recipient of payoff money -- I mean campaign contributions -- from the health care industry). I know a lot of you want to see her elected, and there is a very good chance that will happen. There will be plenty of time to vote for her in the general election if all the pollsters are correct. But in the primaries and caucuses, isn't this the time to vote for the person who most reflects the values and politics you hold dear? Can you, in good conscience, vote for someone who so energetically voted over and over and over again for the war in Iraq? Please give this serious consideration.

Now, on to the two candidates who did agree to do the interview with me...

Barack Obama is a good and inspiring man. What a breath of fresh air! There's no doubting his sincerity or his commitment to trying to straighten things out in this country. But who is he? I mean, other than a guy who gives a great speech? How much do any of us really know about him? I know he was against the war. How do I know that? He gave a speech before the war started. But since he joined the senate, he has voted for the funds for the war, while at the same time saying we should get out. He says he's for the little guy, but then he votes for a corporate-backed bill to make it harder for the little guy to file a class action suit when his kid swallows lead paint from a Chinese-made toy. In fact, Obama doesn't think Wall Street is a bad place. He wants the insurance companies to help us develop a new health care plan -- the same companies who have created the mess in the first place. He's such a feel-good kinda guy, I get the sense that, if elected, the Republicans will eat him for breakfast. He won't even have time to make a good speech about it.

But this may be a bit harsh. Senator Obama has a big heart, and that heart is in the right place. Is he electable? Will more than 50% of America vote for him? We'd like to believe they would. We'd like to believe America has changed, wouldn't we? Obama lets us feel better about ourselves -- and as we look out the window at the guy snowplowing his driveway across the street, we want to believe he's changed, too. But are we dreaming?

And then there's John Edwards.

It's hard to get past the hair, isn't it? But once you do -- and recently I have chosen to try -- you find a man who is out to take on the wealthy and powerful who have made life so miserable for so many. A candidate who says things like this: "I absolutely believe to my soul that this corporate greed and corporate power has an ironclad hold on our democracy." Whoa. We haven't heard anyone talk like that in a while, at least not anyone who is near the top of the polls. I suspect this is why Edwards is doing so well in Iowa, even though he has nowhere near the stash of cash the other two have. He won't take the big checks from the corporate PACs, and he is alone among the top three candidates in agreeing to limit his spending and be publicly funded. He has said, point-blank, that he's going after the drug companies and the oil companies and anyone else who is messing with the American worker. The media clearly find him to be a threat, probably because he will go after their monopolistic power, too.

This is Roosevelt/Truman kind of talk. That's why it's resonating with people in Iowa, even though he doesn't get the attention Obama and Hillary get -- and that lack of coverage may cost him the first place spot tomorrow night. After all, he is one of those white guys who's been running things for far too long.

And he voted for the war. But unlike Senator Clinton, he has stated quite forcefully that he was wrong. And he has remorse. Should he be forgiven? Did he learn his lesson? Like Hillary and Obama, he refused to promise in a September debate that there will be no U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of his first term in 2013. But this week in Iowa, he changed his mind. He went further than Clinton and Obama and said he'd have all the troops home in less than a year.

Edwards is the only one of the three front-runners who has a universal health care plan that will lead to the single-payer kind all other civilized countries have. His plan doesn't go as fast as I would like, but he is the only one who has correctly pointed out that the health insurance companies are the enemy and should not have a seat at the table.

I am not endorsing anyone at this point. This is simply how I feel in the first week of the process to replace George W. Bush. For months I've been wanting to ask the question, "Where are you, Al Gore?" You can only polish that Oscar for so long. And the Nobel was decided by Scandinavians! I don't blame you for not wanting to enter the viper pit again after you already won. But getting us to change out our incandescent light bulbs for some irritating fluorescent ones isn't going to save the world. All it's going to do is make us more agitated and jumpy and feeling like once we get home we haven't really left the office.

On second thought, would you even be willing to utter the words, "I absolutely believe to my soul that this corporate greed and corporate power has an ironclad hold on our democracy?" 'Cause the candidate who understands that, and who sees it as the root of all evil -- including the root of global warming -- is the President who may lead us to a place of sanity, justice and peace.


Michael Moore (not an Iowa voter, but appreciative of any state that has a town named after a sofa)

Bloomberg it’s truly frightening. He is another Giuliani but with a muchnicer surface personality.

The reality is that he's a goddamned BILLIONAIRE who cares only about big money corporate interests and who thinks he can throw all his money around and buy anything he wants and all the "little people" be damned.

We really don't need a corporate fascist like that for President. I should know. I live in NYC and have been watching him up close. He's letting his big real estate cronies destroy affordable housing and small business interests all over the city.

And he's letting the police act like the jack booted Nazis they really are as they abuse theirpower esp. towards people of color.

Outraged Amy Impeach+Bush+Cheney+Dump Pelosi, Reid And A Whole Bunch Of Worthless Lobby Suck Up Phonies, Or Ask Yourself This To Start The New Year: Who Is Opposing Your Incumbent Stooge? Also Welcome To 2008 And A Head Start On New Insanities! Media Bullshit and "The Bloomberg Thing" And The Most Aberrant Of Possibilities. We're Off And Running!

To Impeach or Not to Impeach: Conyers, Wexler, McGovernBy mike hersh ... Now To hear the program: Dear Americans, Amy Goodman took on Wexler, McGovern and Conyers for a discussion on the pressing issue of impeachment on December 20th. ...Progressive Democrats of America Blog -

Move to Impeach Cheney Gains Support in CongressSalem-News.Com - OR,USAMore Democrats signing on to the idea of a Vice-Presidential impeachment, could it really happen? (SALEM, Ore.) - A House Resolution to impeach US ...See all stories on this topic

Impeachment Watch - Extreme BDS in VermontBy Ron Williams Frustrated by the failure of the Dem leadership to carry through with impeachment, some Bush-haters in Brattleboro, Vermont want to subject President Bush and VP Cheney to arrest if they set foot in their town. Original news source. -

Conservative courts likely to be Bush legacyLos Angeles Times - CA,USAPatrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in a year-end statement. This progress is not altogether welcomed by liberal activists, ...See all stories on this topic

Cindy Sheehan gets booed at Rose ParadeDozens of anti-war protesters led by "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan staked out spots across from television cameras, hoisting signs reading "Impeachment is Patriotic." After the procession's last float inched out to start along the parade's ...Rantburg -

If Hillary wins IowaBy desmoinesdem Clinton's office here is filled with hundreds of new green snow shovels that were being strategically distributed on Saturday to precinct captains to clear the walks of older women who might be particularly wary of going out to the ...
Bleeding Heartland - Front Page -

We’re Going To Have To Keep An Eye On This Mess!

Pakistan to Delay Election Until Feb. 18Washington Post - 41 minutes ago
Protests and violence occurred throughout Pakistan in the wake of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination. Bhutto was leading the Pakistan People's Party as it campaigned for the Jan. 8 national elections.
Pakistan government delays elections CNN InternationalPakistan Elections Delayed Until Feb. 18 New York TimesWall Street Journal - Voice of America - Bloomberg - Reutersall 4,633 news articles »
January 2nd, 2008 12:52 amBhutto had "proof" state, spy agency rigging poll
By Simon Gardner / Reuters

KARACHI, Jan 1 - Benazir Bhutto was poised to reveal proof that Pakistan's election commission and shadowy spy agency were seeking to rig an upcoming general election the night she was assassinated, a top aide said on Tuesday.

Senator Latif Khosa, who authored a 160-page dossier with Bhutto documenting rigging tactics, said they ranged from intimidation to fake ballots, and were in some cases unwittingly funded by U.S. aid.

Bhutto had been due to give the report to two visiting U.S. lawmakers over dinner on Dec. 27, the day she was killed in a suicide bombing.

"The state agencies are manipulating the whole process," Khosa, a top Bhutto aide and head of her Pakistan People's Party election monitoring unit, told Reuters.

"There is rigging by the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), the election commission and the previous government, which is still continuing to hold influence. They were on the rampage."

President Pervez Musharraf's spokesman Rashid Qureshi dismissed the claim as "ridiculous".
By CHRIS BRUMMITT, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 24 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistani elections will be delayed until Feb. 18 because of violence following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, authorities said Wednesday, ignoring threatened street protests by opposition parties.

The polls — seen as a key step in Pakistan's transition to democracy after years of military rule — had been scheduled for Jan. 8.

The opposition alleged authorities are postponing the polls to help the ruling party, which is allied to President Pervez Musharraf. Many believe Bhutto's party will get a sympathy boost if the vote takes place on time. Bhutto had accused elements in the ruling party of plotting to kill her, a charge it vehemently denies.

Some opposition officials had called for street protests if the elections were delayed.

"We reject this delay outright," said Sen. Babar Awan of Bhutto's party, the most powerful opposition group. "Musharraf fears outright defeat. If this election process is jeopardized, they (our followers) may protest again and there is a chance of riots."

The killing of Bhutto, a former prime minister, triggered three days of nationwide unrest that killed 58 people and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage. Bhutto's home province of Sindh was especially hard hit and the army was called on the streets.

Election commission head Qazi Mohammed Farooq said the unrest had made it impossible to hold the polls on time.

"For a few days the election process came to a complete halt," he told reporters. As a result, the poll will be held Feb. 18, he said.

Election officials reported that rioters in Bhutto's home province of Sindh burned down 10 election offices, destroying the voter rolls and ballot boxes inside. The violence also halted the printing and distribution of ballots.

Talat Masood, an independent political analyst, said the delay was "mostly about politics."

"The (election) problems are only confined to a few districts. Musharraf naturally thinks if a hostile parliament comes in he has no future."

The party of Nawaz Sharif, the leader of another opposition party, accused Musharraf of wanting a delay to allow anger over Bhutto's death to evaporate. "Right now they are the target of public hatred" said Ahsan Iqbal, a spokesman for the party.

Sen. Tariq Azim, from the ruling party, said the opposition was "turning a blind eye to realties on the ground" following the assassination, but stressed the ruling party had not asked the election commission for any delay.

Musharraf was due to address the nation later Wednesday.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called for the elections to take place as soon as possible.

"If the elections can go ahead in a safe way next week, then obviously they should," Miliband told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "If they can't, they should only be delayed to another date — we can't have an indefinite postponement."

Since Bhutto's slaying, the government has come under harsh criticism for its security arrangements for her, its claim that an Islamic militant was behind her death and its conclusion that it was the force of the blast and not gunshot wounds that killed her.

The government reiterated Wednesday it was "open" to foreign assistance in investigating the death, but indicated it was unlikely to accept a U.N. committee like the one formed to probe the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as some of Bhutto's supporters are demanding.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq said the two cases were "totally different."

Pakistani troops, meanwhile, killed up to 25 suspected militants in a remote region close to the Afghan border where al-Qaida and Taliban fighters operate. The fighting followed the abduction of four soldiers, said army spokesman Gen. Waheed Arshad and an intelligence official. Security forces sustained no injuries in the clashes, which frequently break out in the area.

The government has blamed South Waziristan-based militant leader Baitullah Mehsud for Bhutto's murder, but he has denied involvement.

Also Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner met with Musharraf but canceled a planned trip to Bhutto's hometown to pay condolences, a French Embassy official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment. He did not say why.

Nisar Khuro, a senior member of Bhutto's party, alleged the government had stopped Kouchner from traveling there, citing security concerns.

"It seems that Pervez Musharraf is stopping foreign dignitaries from coming for condolences," he said. "This is sad."

Later, Kouchner laid a wreath near the spot where she died.

"I pay respect to the memory of a fighter for democracy and freedom," he told reporters. "Her message and her bravery will never be forgotten."

Bhutto was popular with many Western governments because she was a liberal Muslim prepared to speak out against extremism, but critics in Pakistan take a more balanced view, pointing out her two stints as prime minister in the 1980s and 1990s were marred by allegations of corruption and inefficiency.

Associated Press writer Sadaqat Jan contributed to this report.

Blogtalk: Debates and Elections
By Ariel Alexovich


Impeach+Bush+Cheney; From New England to Pasadena Today In News ...By Ed, Dickau(Ed, Dickau) Dear ed., All year, we've been working hard to make sure that the Democratic nominee is progressive. With the Iowa caucus on Thursday and the New Hampshire primary only a few days later, there's no better time to find out how the DFA ...Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes -

Impeach+Bush+Cheney+Dump Pelosi, Reid And A Whole Bunch Of ...By Ed, Dickau(Ed, Dickau) The Polling Date Referenced here will have to updated following the Oklahoma Session….but…. THE REALLY SCAREY THOUGHT OF THE WEEK: ...Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes -

Impeach+Bush+Cheney: Screw Them All; Don't Play Their Game!By Ed, Dickau(Ed, Dickau) Ed. Dickau Alexandria, VA SEE BELOW…I GET THE SAME CRAP! Despite the fact that Virginia has none of the 40 reported targeted House ...Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes -
America Sometimes Gets It Wrong
January 2, 2008 in Biden for President, Elections 08, In God We Trust, Iowa Caucus, Senator Joe Biden

A common theme that quickly surfaces in any conversation regarding Joe Biden, is that the media doesn’t cover him enough, thereby voters do not know the true caliber of this outstanding candidate. Most often these remarks come from supporters who, like fans of a television serial, want to see more of “their favorite candidate.” Their heightened sense of frustration can be compared to the suffering one feels after hearing of the cancellation of their show… For why on earth would a network cancel “Lost”, “CSI”, “House”, or “Desperate Housewives” and replace it with “Barney and Baby Bop”?

All humor aside, that is exactly the paradigm the media creates whenever it chooses to show us a slumbering candidate, as opposed to an enlivened one. Because air time is all about “ratings”, these avid viewers seem perplexed that the mainstream media would shun the most charismatic candidate, and focus instead on its preordained front runner.

Well, Iowa has the opportunity and should take advantage of it, to show those “bigwigs” a thing or two…. Iowa, as well as the rest of the nation, wants to see its best qualified, effective top rated candidate move on to the next race. We are eight years behind. This country needs an expert to begin repairing our country from day one. We need, after January 20th 2009 to forget what the word “politics” means. Instead we need to focus on this word: “results”.

Because dull footage of the front runners replaces that of the more vibrant candidates, rumors have surfaced that this blacklisting of Biden and others must be forced and deliberate. In fact, if one is open minded, there could be the remote possibility that as Randolf Hearst once said, the moguls pick the candidates and put them into office. In the long run, that is unlikely. For that idea works only as far as we, the voter, chose to continue to allow ourselves to be manipulated.

Not caucusing? Most of Iowa won't either,0,160934.story?coll=la-tot-topstories&track=ntothtml

Cindy Sheehan all set and ready to go?By robertsolis Cindy Sheehan is now a resident of California’s 8th Congressional District and preparing to challenge Nancy Pelosi in the November 2008 election. That’sa long time in the future, but it provides Cindy with ample opportunity to devise an ...SF Bay Area -

Cindy Sheehan is now a resident of California’s 8th Congressional District and preparing to challenge Nancy Pelosi in the November 2008 election. That’s a long time in the future, but it provides Cindy with ample opportunity to devise an effective campaign strategy. She may already have done so and is merely waiting to set it in motion. Her move into a Mission District home is a positive clue.

Even so, what are her chances of unseating Nancy? Slim to none is a reasonable guess. Nancy has the power structure behind her, money to burn, name recognition, seniority, and a reputation as the first woman in U.S. history to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives. She begins her campaign for re-election with a royal flush.

Cindy, on the other hand, has a mélange of cards adding up to nothing. What’s a person to do against such overwhelming odds?

Her strong point in San Francisco is her active opposition to the war in Iraq coupled with a fearless approach to calling Bush’s hand at every opportunity. She also has a few recent Pelosi criticisms to work with, most notably Nancy’s perceived inability to lead a Democratic congressional majority in concordance with Harry Reid against Bush and the Republicans.

Regardless of the arcane technicalities hidden in the rules of Congress that prevent a political party from accomplishing much of anything without an overwhelming majority, Pelosi is weak on one charge: she hasn’t tried hard enough, she should have done more. Cindy could well profit if she repeats that theme endlessly. Nothing succeeds like constant repetition.

Pelosi’s weaknesses are all well and good, but how is Cindy to approach the task of getting people to recognize them and vote for Cindy instead?

For starters, she would be wise to cultivate the real 21st Century main stream media. The large, institutional media are losing readership and their editorial opinions and endorsement are widely regarded as serving an existing power structure, a configuration that fails to address the real concerns of real people.

Increasingly, the younger public gets its information from non-institutional on-line and print newspapers and magazines, from the blogosphere, and from social networks like Facebook and MySpace. Cindy would be wise to concentrate on this crowd, using on-line and off-line cadres to carry her message throughout the 8th District.

If Cindy can successfully tap the younger generation, which in the past hasn’t voted in large numbers, she will increase her chances of either winning or making a showing respectable enough to attract more attention and more support on the way to future elections.

Possibly, she has considered all of these approaches and more. If so, she’s ahead of the game. If not, the time to start is immediately.

Okay, Cindy, throw the first pitch of the season.
A Cynic’s Look at 2008 by Tommi Avicolli-Mecca‚ Jan. 02‚ 2008 Of course, the worst news of 2008 will be that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue, and President George Bush will not be impeached.

The attempt to remove Vice President Dick Cheney from office will go down in defeat, as even fellow Democrats run scared from Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich’s impeachment proposal.

With Democrats short of the votes needed to bring home the troops and end the military madness in the Middle East, more and more Americans and Iraqis will be added to the list of those who have already died.

Their blood will be on the hands of this administration and this Congress.

One can only hope that someday they wake up with the Lady MacBeth syndrome.

George Bush will escape being held accountable for his crime of lying about weapons of mass destruction, not to mention spying on American citizens, approving torture, and revoking the constitutional right of habeus corpus.

His clean exit will prove once and for all that under the American “justice” system, only the poor and working-class have to answer for their actions.

Americans will struggle (and many will die) without universal healthcare.

They will continue to be exploited and victimized by a greedy for-profit healthcare industry and equally reprehensible pharmaceutical companies. The “Hippocratic” oath never sounded so much like “hypocritical.”

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A Vast Right-Wing of GratitudeNational Review Online Blogs, NY - 1 hour agoBy John J. Pitney Jr. Bill Clinton is taking an increasingly important role in his wife’s presidential campaign. So now is a good time for Republicans to ...

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2008: The Year Progressives Take Back AmericaOpEdNews, PA - 16 hours agoThe long, dark years of the Bush administration are now nearly at an end. By the close of this New Year twelve months from now, a new Democratic ...

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1st year of the 110th Congress is, CO - Dec 31, 2007Democrats passed the first minimum wage increase in a decade. Rush Limbaugh claims this only effects High School kids. Sadly he's flat wrong. ...

The year when nothing happenedGuardian Unlimited, UK - Dec 31, 2007The year that was: The Democratic takeover of Congress promised a progressive agenda - and the result was inaction. For liberals in the US, ...

Hillary Signals Free Pass for BushThe Baltimore Chronicle, MD - Dec 31, 2007We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival. by Robert Parry Hillary Clinton’s ...

Bush says he hopes to sign budget billHinesberg Journal, Canada - Dec 31, 2007By ANDREW TAYLOR, AP Writer Mon Dec 17, 6:50 PM ET WASHINGTON - House Democrats pressed toward a late Monday vote on a $516 billion spending bill, ...

Karl PriestCharleston Gazette, WV - Dec 30, 2007After the last Bush victory, Democrats think that the religious right is crucial to their success. However, evangelicals were not the main reason Kerry lost ...

Analysis: Dems lose key policy debatesHowell Times and Transcript, UT - Dec 30, 2007By ANNE FLAHERTY, AP Writer Wed Dec 19, 11:14 AM ET WASHINGTON - Even though public opinion is overwhelmingly on their side, Democrats are winding up the ...

Hillary Signals Free Pass for BushOpEdNews, PA - Dec 31, 2007by Robert Parry Page 1 of 3 page(s) Hillary Clinton’s campaign is signaling that a second Clinton presidency will follow the look-to-the-future, ...

A Close Look At Bush Derangement Syndrome
This might be funny but it’s not, at least not to me.

The Dangers of the "Thought Crimes" Bill

Interview with Law Professor Peter Erlinder

On October 23, with very little notice in the media, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill called the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007" (HR 1955). This bill is an amendment to the 2002 Homeland Security Act which authorized the most massive re-organization of the federal government since World War 2 and dramatically increased its repressive powers. The bill is now in the Senate.

Revolution recently interviewed Peter Erlinder, law professor at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota and past president of the National Lawyers Guild, about this bill and its implications.

Revolution: You and others have been sounding the alarm about the "Violent Radicalism and Homegrown Terrorism" bill. Tell us what is so dangerous about this bill.
Peter Erlinder: A Congressperson named Harman, who is a conservative Democrat from California, promoted her draft of the bill, and it was taken up by the House leadership as something non-controversial. So the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress passed it 404 to 6 without much discussion and debate.

It's understandable why that would be, because it is called the "Prevention of Violent Radicalism and Homegrown Terrorism" bill, and it does two things. One is that it funds the Department of Homeland Security to carry out sort of academic research into "violent radicalism and homegrown terrorism." And perhaps that is something that is within the ambit of government. But the problem is that the way that it defines "violent radicalism and homegrown terrorism" is so broad that it subjects nearly any political activist or group of political activists to investigation by a legislative commission that is also established by the bill.

Now the problem with the legislative commission, at least as it's described in the bill, is that the face of the bill does not make clear what the inherent powers of this legislative commission are. And without that, the real danger in the bill is not apparent to someone who would read it for the first time and who doesn't remember history. The bill defines "homegrown terrorist" as anyone who "intimidate(s) or coerce(s) the United States government, the civilian population...or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social belief." This would, or could very well, include Americans who organize mass marches on Washington for the purpose of coercing changes in government policy.

It defines "violent radicals" as Americans-and this applies to citizens as well as non-citizens who are in U.S. territory-as those who "promot(e) extremist belief system(s) for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious or social change." In other words, this applies to Americans who haven't done anything illegal, but who the commissioners believe have thoughts that might lead to violence.

The bill doesn't target all thoughts or all belief systems that might result in violence, but only those in which force or violence might be used to promote political or religious or social beliefs. And that's exactly the kind of violence that might result whenever people gather to demonstrate for or against important issues. For example, the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle would fit under this definition. The commission that is set up is supposed to last for 18 months and have hearings around the country, and then report every six months as to what they're finding about these "dangerous" people in our midst. What that means is that virtually any politically, socially, or religiously active person or group can be targeted by this commission to find out who is and who is not the "hidden enemy."

The problem is that witnesses who refuse to testify can be held in contempt of Congress, as former members of the Bush Administration, Harriet Miers and others, are finding out now. And if witnesses do testify and say things that the commissioners and the staff think are not true, they can be charged with perjury or lying to a federal official, like Scooter Libby was. In either case, it requires people to talk about their political associations and their beliefs on pain of jail if they don't comply.

Revolution: You've compared these commission hearings to the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Peter Erlinder: The HUAC, yeah. It's very much the same thing, because when HUAC was set up in 1938, it was originally supposed to investigate who the "dangerous" Americans were at that time. The Ku Klux Klan was mentioned as one, but once HUAC got rolling, it began to call before it people who the House Un-American Activities Committee thought knew something about communists or communism. And for 40 years, HUAC investigated all sorts of groups and individuals, and jailed people like the Hollywood 10 when they refused to talk, blacklisted other people like Arthur Miller, Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger, Richard Wright.

And it required people to either inform on those they knew, or face ostracism, which is precisely what this commission has the power to do. George Santayana, the 20th-century American philosopher, said, "Those who can't remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It seems like the members of Congress who voted for this thing have forgotten history. Another great American philosopher, Yogi Berra, put it best when he said, "It seems like déjà vu all over again." And of course, it is.

Revolution: Can you speak more to what the powers of this commission would be? Peter Erlinder: The powers that are inherent in any legislative investigative body. Which means-and these are inherent in any committee investigations undertaken by Congress-they have the power to subpoena people to come to testify, and if they don't come to testify they can be jailed for contempt of Congress, which is what is facing Harriet Miers now and the other members of the Bush administration who refuse to appear before Congressional committee. In addition to that, if someone swears to tells the truth and doesn't, they can be charged with perjury.

And even if they aren't sworn to tell the truth, there's a statute that has actually been enforced after HUAC was disbanded in 1975 that makes it a crime to lie to a federal official-or to say anything that a federal official thinks is a lie. So the general structure that exists inherently in this commission is the ability to compel attendance and testimony on pain of contempt-and if one does testify, facing prosecution for either perjury or lying to a federal official if the commissioners or their staff think the person is not telling the truth.

But in any case, if the commission follows through on the mandate given it by the Congress, it will of necessity have to call people before it people who might have information about Americans who the commissioners think have these "extremist belief systems" or who might be connected with people or organizations that might have folks with "violent thoughts" in their circle. So for example, anyone in a mosque could be called to testify about what they know about everybody else in the mosque-or a church, or a social activist group, or a political group.

Revolution: This bill doesn't specifically change existing laws or set up new punishment. But could this be a basis for repressive new laws?

Peter Erlinder: What it does is it creates a target for investigation. And the target it creates is so broadly defined that any person on American territory who does more than watch TV and go into the ballot box is subject to being investigated.

Revolution: You mentioned at the beginning the role of the Democrats and in particular Jane Harman, who has been in the news recently because it turns out she knew about the CIA torture tapes back in 2003. Can you talk a little about the role of the Democrats in this?

Peter Erlinder: The reason that the vote was so lopsided, according to a couple of Congress people from Minnesota that I've talked to, is that this was promoted by the House leadership as something that didn't require much attention because it wasn't controversial. And for people who have not studied HUAC, which was disbanded only in 1975, but still that's 30-odd years ago, for people who aren't familiar with what HUAC did and the damage it caused, and because the bill itself doesn't mention the inherent powers of this commission, people who should have been concerned about this allowed it to slide through, apparently.

But this is plainly a Democrat-sponsored bill pushed by the House leadership, Nancy Pelosi and Company.

Revolution: How do you see this bill in the context of the overall repressive climate in this country, the laws and actions of Bush like Patriot Act, wiretapping, legitimizing torture, and so forth?

Peter Erlinder: Well, I think a lot of people are familiar with the famous quote from Pastor Niemoller: "First they came for the Communists, and I wasn't a Communist so I didn't speak up..." And then they came for the labor organizers, and then they came for the Jews. And then they came for me and there was no one left to speak up. That is a description of a political reality that's playing itself out, and we can see it happening. And it occurs whenever one group is targeted as being the "enemy." Inevitably the boundary of that stain begins to blur. And we've seen it time and again in our history that once the process gets started, it requires conscious political opposition to turn it back.

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