Author's posts

This country needs an enema

Diary title: fixing the crap detector

Diary title: So?

Seven degrees of crap

trail of deception………

The Global War On Truth

John ashcroft – “pouring” vs. “forcing”

1. Plain stupid

2. Hunh? Enemies of rational thought / Just how stupid do you think I am, anyway?

3. Bullshit/lies

4. Callous/out of touch

5. Fear mongering

6. Plain criminal (actions, not just words)

7. Torture

You’ve read, of course, the New York Times story from last week, yes? The one about how retired military officers had been paid by the Pentagon to spout administration propaganda to the news media in order to sell the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq?

It was a breathtaking and horrifying accounting of the lengths this administration will go to to mislead and lie to the American public so that certain people (not you and me) can be made richer, and the level of disgrace that certain members of the military are willing to bring upon the uniform by prostituting themselves for an illegal war that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

As I read the article, I thought of a snippet from a book I had read and re-read in high school:

[I]n the early 1960s, an interviewer was trying to get Ernest Hemingway to identify the characteristics required for a person to be a ‘great writer’. As the interviewer offered a list of various possibilities, Hemingway disparaged each in sequence. Finally, frustrated, the interviewer asked, ‘Isn’t there any one essential ingredient that you can identify?’ Hemingway replied, ‘Yes, there is. In order to be a great writer a person must have a built-in, shockproof crap detector.’

                   – Teaching as a Subversive Activity,

                     by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

                     (excerpt; PDF file)

What the Times article reminded us was that – by Hemingway’s standard, anyway – there are almost no great writers working in American journalism today.

It’s difficult to argue with that. Indeed, the art and science of crap detection has never been in a sadder state of decline in my lifetime. And that is no accident.

Take a look at what the article said:

Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who could be counted on to deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions.”

It requires no great leap of the imagination to infer what Enemy these “force multipliers” were sent out to attack and destroy.  It is the same Enemy that has proven to be such an inconvenient stumbling block for so many Republican plans over the past 35 years. The “powdered princes” (as they are known in some circles) were and are mercenaries – erm, security contractors – in the BushCheney administration’s Global War On –


Or, as it is known in some circles, Reality.

The Enemy for Republicans is, was, and always will be The Truth. Reality. They and their plans don’t tend to do so well when subjected to Reality, so they prefer not to deal with it:

”That’s not the way the world really works anymore . . . We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

The technical term for the “reality” the BushCheney administration has “created” for itself and its followers is “bullshit” – or, to use Hemingway’s more polite coinage, “crap.”

Unfortunately, over the past 35 years Republicans have on the one hand developed crap proliferation to a high art, while on the other hand degrading the ability of and incentive for the American populace and the American media to exercise their respective crap detecting faculties. This result has been achieved incrementally, deliberately and without fanfare through the consolidation of corporate media, the rescission of the Fairness Doctrine and the intentional redirecting of school curricula away from the development of critical thinking skills.

All of which explains how it is that the current administration has been able for so long to sell so much crap to the American media and public; so few still had the ability to see the crap for what it was.

The results of the 2000 presidential election would seem to bear that out. Strongly encouraged by the corporate media, a lot of Americans just put their crap detectors in storage eight years ago, figuring, What do I need a crap detector for, when I can just have a beer with this guy?

The press – for so much of our nation’s history, the watchdog of our democracy, the unofficial “fourth branch” of government – evidently felt the call of Gee Dubya’s tall, cold one as well; here’s corporate media abandoning the field to Crap back in 1999, swallowing whole the “compassionate conservative” pitch:

[Bush says,] “I worry about the haves and the have-nots. [Mine] is a message that says nobody should be left behind.” . . .

There are important differences between Reagan and George W. Bush. Reagan paid only lip service to maintaining a safety net for the poor. Bush seems determined to improve their lives. . . “People who adhere to the conservative philosophy better figure out how to make sure it includes everybody,” he warns. “Not just say it, but mean it.”

(Still nursing that beer? Or did reading that little gem nine years later make you lose it all over your monitor?)

It’s sad, really. Pathetic, in fact. Modern-day “news” gatherers have mistaken “access” for openness. Their crap detecting skills are so poor, and they are so desperate for what they stupidly believe is “access,” that they can’t even tell when they’re being shat upon – and, just as pathetically, they don’t care. Members of the modern corporate news media don’t even recognize crap when they’re being forced to eat it. Rapping with Karl Rove has been the least of their embarrassments, and the fact that they don’t even realize that is a sad commentary.

The irony, of course, is that many “news” gatherers believe they could not do their jobs without the golden-shower-masquerading-as-“access” that they are “granted” by the BushCheney administration, which no doubt would be true, if it weren’t that: (a) their “access” is no such thing; (b) they’re not doing their jobs anyway, with or without “access”; and (c) you don’t need the kind of “access” that puts you onstage with MC Rove in order to do real journalism.

The problem is that most “news” gatherers don’t understand Quality – or they don’t care about it. From amid the entire universe of facts out there waiting to be reported on and investigated, from amid the literally countless possible subjects that today’s corporate media “journalists” could choose to spend their time, money and talents on – the occupation of Iraq, food riots across the globe, an economy teetering on the edge of depression, the systematic destruction of the United States Constitution, the hunt for Osama bin Laden – out of all that, what do modern-day corporate journalists, those who would inherit the mantle of Edward R. Murrow, choose to give us?

Hannah Montana (her back!)!

Reverend Wright (he’s black!)!

Lapel pins (tie tack!)!

Corporate media? They’re hacks!

In his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig makes the case for the necessity of making decisions regarding Quality when processing all of the raw information that we as humans – and members of a democratic society – have to choose from. He cites the work of French mathematician, physicist and philosopher Jules Henri Poincaré. Poincaré was trying to figure out how it was that good scientists, out of literally an infinite number of possible hypotheses for a given phenomenon, knew which hypotheses to pursue. And Poincaré boils it down to a question of Quality:

Poincaré laid down some rules: There is a hierarchy of facts . . . Poincaré concluded, a scientist does not choose at random the facts he observes . . . Mathematics, he said, isn’t merely a question of applying rules, any more than science. It doesn’t merely make the most combinations possible according to certain fixed laws. The combinations so obtained would he exceedingly numerous, useless and cumbersome. The true work of the inventor consists in choosing among these combinations so as to eliminate the useless ones . . .

Pirsig – as the title of his book suggests – uses the maintenance of a motorcycle as a metaphor for life. In one of the book’s most telling passages, he deconstructs the problem-solving process of a mechanic confronted with a stuck crankcase-cover screw. Pirsig examines what will happen – or fail to happen – if the mechanic, faced with a universe of facts from which to choose – fails to bring the filter of Quality to his assessment of those facts:

We have been looking at that screw “objectively.” According to the doctrine of “objectivity,” which is integral with traditional scientific method, what we like or don’t like about that screw has nothing to do with our correct thinking. We should not evaluate what we see [, according to the doctrine of “objectivity”]. We should keep our mind a blank tablet which nature fills for us, and then reason disinterestedly from the facts we observe.

But when we stop and think about it disinterestedly, in terms of this stuck screw, we begin to see that this whole idea of disinterested observation is silly. Where are those facts? What are we going to observe disinterestedly? The torn slot? The immovable side cover plate? The color of the paint job? The speedometer? The sissy bar? As Poincaré would have said, there are an infinite number of facts about the motorcycle, and the right ones don’t just dance up and introduce themselves. The right facts, the ones we really need, are not only passive, they are damned elusive, and we’re not going to just sit back and “observe” them. We’re going to have to be in there looking for them or we’re going to be here a long time. Forever. As Poincaré pointed out, there must be a subliminal choice of what facts we observe.

The difference between a good mechanic and a bad one, like the difference between a good mathematician and a bad one, is precisely this ability to select the good facts from the bad ones on the basis of quality. He has to care! . . .

By returning our attention to Quality [we can get] out of the noncaring subject-object dualism and back into craftsmanlike self-involved reality again, which will reveal to us the facts we need when we are stuck.

Read that last sentence again:

By returning our attention to Quality [we can get] out of the noncaring subject-object dualism and back into craftsmanlike self-involved reality again, which will reveal to us the facts we need when we are stuck.

“The facts we need when we are stuck.” Hmmm . . .

Let’s take what Pirsig says about scientists and mathematicians and see whether we can apply it equally to another pursuit:

The difference between a good mechanic reporter and a bad one, like the difference between a good mathematician and a bad one, is precisely this ability to select the good facts from the bad ones on the basis of quality. He has to care! . . .

How often have you heard representatives of the corporate media talk about how all they’re doing is presenting “both sides” of an “argument”? Like, “both sides” of the global warming “argument”? Or “both sides” of the evolution “argument”?

As if there were an argument in the first place. As if “both sides” of such an illusory “argument” carried equal weight.

The reason we are bombarded 24/7 with crap in the corporate media is because no one involved in running corporate media – and way too few people involved in consuming corporate media content – gives a tinker’s damn about Quality.

As Pirsig would argue, what the corporate media have abandoned in their supposedly doe-eyed, innocent, fair and balanced presentation of the “facts” is an application of Quality. To give airtime and ink to the repeatedly and provably incorrect assertions and predictions of idiots like William Kristol and Doug Feith, or the global warming deniers, or those who would replace the teaching of evolution with the teaching of creationism, is to throw Quality out the window, and leave the consumer to decide what is valuable and what is, well, Crap. Caveat viewer.

violate the public trust, a trust that is codified in the Federal Communications Commission

as equivalent in merit to the demonstrably accurate assessments and prognostications of a Glenn Greenwald or

Whereas once upon a time in America, journalists served as a front line of Crap Detection against the onslaught of Crap emanating from the seats of government and the corridors of corporate power, now, if anything, most corporate media outlets serve their literal corporate masters; rarely does one see a decision about which content to present based on Quality – it’s up to consumers to sort that stuff out.

Hence it is still possible for a film such as Ben Stein’s recent laughfest, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, to be made and marketed.

Hence the movie


how this abandonment of Quality is the only thing that makes such a film possible.

The difference between a good mechanic student and a bad one, like the difference between a good mathematician and a bad one, is precisely this ability to select the good facts from the bad ones on the basis of quality. He has to care! . . .

The difference between a good mechanic electorate and a bad one, like the difference between a good mathematician and a bad one, is precisely this ability to select the good facts from the bad ones on the basis of quality. He has to care! . . .

youtube is the republics’ enemy. facts are anathema to them.…

A skeptic hears a shill and thinks, “Bullshit!  Prove it!”  After making that demand enough times and receiving no reasonable response, that person becomes a cynic.  A cynic is one who, upon hearing a Republican or corporate shill, respondents simply, “Bullshit!”

air force times: nearly a million sorties in GWOT, triple the number of RAF in WWII

By the time you get down to the Seventh Level, torture seems merely a natural extension of the first six.  That is why Crap Detection at every level is so important: to call out the Crap for what it is, to remove the emperor’s clothes. Crap is the water that the little fishies who are the citizens of the United States of America swim in, and until we get yanked out of it, we are not even aware that it exists.

And we’re okay with that.  Recite a list of things that were okay with now that we worked before: torture, outing of CIA agents, secret trials, renditions, illegal surveillance, national debt exceeding $30,000 per person, tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while the rest of the country drowns in their de


It wasn’t always just the big lie: an unending stream of little lies will derail the discourse just as well.


Seven years of political decisions based on fear ignorance and cynical power grabbing

Seven years of a snarling, mean-spirited, self-loathing vice president, the Willie Sutton of big oil, the president of the Senate who would tell another senator, Go Fuck Yourself, and who would say, “So?” when told that 70% of the American people oppose the war in Iraq.

Seven years of those who would deny the reality of global warming, the reality of evolution, the reality of contraception, the reality of hazardous mines, the reality of 2,000 people drowning in a major American city, and for that, linked to the Robert Siegel interview with Michael Chertoff

A Justice Department where being lesbian is even worse than being a Democrat.

Please, just shut up – you’re embarrassing us

How stupid do you think we are? How fearful do you think we are?

Seven years of are you asking kidding me?

Seven years of You Can’t Make This Shit Up has left me tired. Seven years of asking the question, Just Exactly How Dumb Do You Think I Am, Anyway? is enough already.

No Child left behind.  Clear skies initiative.  Patriot act.  Protect America act.  It’s part of the dumbing down of America; the effort to create, not well-informed voters, but over pressurized consumers.  Operation Iraqi liberation didn’t make the cut, because it was The Truth (link to ISG/{PNAC diary). Bipartisanship becomes another word for appeasement.

Modern Republicans have learned well the lesson of Don Corleone: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.  Truly independent, critical thinking journalists are considered the enemy – or at least an ally of the enemy; the real enemy is Truth.  So when the administration invites journalists in, those journalists should be doubly wary.  Unfortunately, when the current crop of slavering, lazy, spoonfed stenographers are with great fanfare given a peek behind the curtain chosen by the administration, they never bother to ask the obvious question: So,  what is it you are choosing not to show me?

Is it just that we don’t pay attention to these guys anymore?  Have we decided that they are insane and therefore we can safely ignore them, as long as we keep them away from sharp implements?  Well, we haven’t kept them away from sharp implements.  There’s still plenty of damage they can do to others, indeed to the entire world, in the time that they have left.

The layers of lies created over seven years, added to and embellished, built upon unchallenged by the corporate media, bought into and spouted by sheepish Democrats in Congress, cowed into submission and timid silence by the sheer weight and breathless audacity of the lives.  Cowed, for the most part, into timid silence.  Cowed, with a few notable exceptions, into timid silence.

The irony is, the Dick Cheney neocons have no respect for quality, either.  Rather than the cooked-up so-called “social Darwinism” espoused by the Nazis to justify their self-serving doctrine of “Aryan supremacy,” the modern Republican elitist neocon espouses an ostensible belief in “the power of the marketplace” to validate virtue and value. (Of course, in a truly free market there would be no such thing as federal subsidies for corporations, but the cynical modern neocon Republican capitalist justifies such artificial measures as merely “part of the game”.)

Americans to a very large extent have lost the power to discern.  This is the way the Republicans want it: it makes for more pliant consumers, more pliant subjects.

America over the past eight years has descended into a Night of hatred and violence, and a Fog of willful ignorance.

Thus a film like Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, about which (in spite of its unintentionally hilarious self-referential title) the right is in a fervor. And why wouldn’t they be? According to Scientific American (whose editors I am more inclined to believe than, say, those of The Washington Times),

Stein, however, is uninterested in paleontology, or any other science for that matter.…

So a film that über-seriously tries to blame the Holocaust on Charles Darwin (OMG, I can already see the sequel: Rick-Santorum-as-Arnold-Schwarzenegger-as-T1000 going back in time, only to prevent a buffed-out Ann-Coulter-as-Linda-Hamilton-as-Sarah-Connor from stowing away to the Galápagos on HMS Beagle and blowing away a bespectacled Darwin with a flintlock set to full auto as he looks up uncomprehendingly from scratching notes in his journal) is treated seriously instead of as the pitiful, expensive joke that it is.

Quality – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

It wasn’t just government that the Republicans wanted to drown in a bathtub; a bunch of other inconvenient ideas were getting in the way of unrestrained corporate profits: Compassion.  Truth.  Justice.  Transparency.  Accountability.  Equality.  Liberty.  All of those things came in an awkwardly large American size that kept the corporatocracy from achieving its unfettered aims.  The only thing they wanted to supersize was our fries and our SUVs.

Most of the news media in this country who have been out of the crap detection business for several years.  With the end of the fairness doctrine and consolidation of media, they’ve decided instead that crap collection and crap dissemination are more profitable.

And even for those members of the media who want to to be in the crap detection business, or at least to say they want to be in a crap detection business, or who think they want to be in a crap detection business, they have, unfortunately, allowed their quality discernment muscles atrophy, if they ever had used them in the first place.

While right wing believers and blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly make a great show of protesting “moral relativism,” the right wing itself, of course, engages in moral relativism to a degree unheard of by anyone on the left.  Hookers, pedophilia, gay sex in bathrooms, torture, corruption, stealing presidential elections – all of these are okay if you’re a Republican “limited to the present circumstances”

And at the same time they supposedly eschew moral relativism, they are perfectly okay to live with relativism when it comes to science.  Assertions that would have sent my classmates in eighth-grade earth science into paroxysms of laughter when I was a youngster nowadays often are accorded equal time with real science in the news media, in the halls of our deliberative bodies and, God help us, in our schools.  An unwillingness to use the knife of quality when weighing scientific evidence is what makes possible a waste of time, energy and money such as Ben Stein’s film expelled.  (And put in here the paragraph about the movie)

It’s a rhetorical question.  It does need to be answered even though it’s always being asked

Although the American people might be tired of having a rhetorical question put to them, it sometimes seems as though Congress is intent upon answering it.

Not stupid venal lies like, “- but I never inhaled,” or, “depends on what the definition of ‘is,’ is,” or “depends on what the definition of ‘sniper fire’ is.” Those are little lives, not lies that make somebody rich or keep somebody out of jail or keep somebody in power

In tomorrow’s second installment, we’ll work together, you and I, to compile a catalog of the crap the BushCheney regime has tried to foist upon the American people over the past several years, and we’ll look (audaciously) for hope.

beacon of democracy

lady liberty


these are not isolated – they happen over and over and over again, on a regular basis. that’s becuase that’s how these people are, this is what they truly believe, this is how they see the world.

and americans have turned off their crap detectors. they don’t have to parse these statements, or analyze them, or ponder their deeper meaning or divine some hidden truth – they just have to go, “Bullshit. What kind of an idiot do you take me for?” or, in the case of the callous statements, “What kind of a monster are you?”


“Can you really say that and still be allowed to procreate?”  That is the definition of the plain stupid remarks

Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz both said the war would cost $50 billion. Oh – and we will be greeted as liberators, right, Mr. Vice President? Six days, six weeks – I doubt six months.

limbaugh not indicted because “being stupid is not a crime” – it’s a prerequisite for republicans…

lieberamn compares mccain to jfk



– also known as, If it could be a Monty Python punchline,

There’s plain ol’ stupid, and then there’s “Just how stupid do you think I am?” stupid.

rahm emanuel’s line about iraq…

“We’ve put about $45 billion into Iraq’s reconstruction . . . and they have not spent their own resources,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.). “They have got to have some skin in the game.”

Strict constructionalist: torture not “punishment,” therefore not banned. Habeas corpus not in the Constitution

boise only top 10 terrorist target on west coast…

dhs report:…

mccain wants clone of roberts, alito…

While Dick Cheney reminded us that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass what the public thinks about the occupation of Iraq (“So?”), he did go on to take the time to explain that that’s because no one understands that George Bush is like Abraham Lincoln.

Bush says that there is progress in the war in Iraq.

condi blames iraq on iraqis…

condi Rice – dying for sadr…

“I guess it’s all-out war for anybody but him.

“His followers can go to their death and he will still be in Iran.”

rice on gun ownership…

But clearly, the prime minister has laid down some ground rules which any functioning democratic state would insist upon, having to do with, you know, arms belonging to the state, not to — not in private hands,

ohio resident spouting rightwing talking points upon hearing of the death of Staff Sgt. Keith “Matt” Maupin…

“I see these protesters in California and elsewhere on TV, talking about pulling out of Iraq, and it makes me furious,” said Barb Bruner, co-owner of the Batavia Heights Christian Child Care center. “I hear these politicians come here to Ohio, wanting our votes and talking about how Iraq was such a mistake. We’ve sacrificed too much to protect our country for you to tell me this was a mistake.”

Congressman Mike Pence wants us to know that a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime features shoppers wearing bulletproof vests, 100 heavily armed American soldiers, armored Humvees, Apache helicopters and Army snipers on rooftops.

President Bush says the recent violence in Basra and Baghdad shows just exactly how Iraqi defense forces are standing up for themselves, particularly, like the Indiana outdoor market, in the way the Iraqi defense forces are standing up in their Apache attack helicopters, and their F-18s…

admin – if we don’t give the telcos immunity, the terrorists win

bush – tv is a terror weapon…

Prime Minister Maliki’s bold decision — and it was a bold decision — to go after the illegal groups in Basra shows his leadership, and his commitment to enforce the law in an even-handed manner. It also shows the progress the Iraqi security forces have made during the surge. Iraqi forces planned this operation and they deployed substantial extra forces for it. They’re leading the operation. Prime Minister Maliki has traveled to Basra to oversee it firsthand.

This offensive builds on the security gains of the surge, and demonstrates to the Iraqi people that their government is committed to protecting them. There’s a strong commitment by the central government of Iraq to say that no one is above the law. This operation is going to take some time to complete, and the enemy will try to fill the TV screens with violence. But the ultimate result will be this: Terrorists and extremists in Iraq will know they have no place in a free and democratic society. (Applause.)

yeah – u.s. “joins” basra fight…

“energy task force” divvies up Iraq (link diary)

missing e-mails bullshit…

bush – we’re not in a recession


Right off the bat? Yeah – the Pentagon would like us to believe they have “suspended” the very program we opened this little diary with.

hillary on tuzla, nafta

hillary on not going after texas delegates

mukasey lies about law, says we didn’t do anything about call before 9/11…

Don’t micturate on my lower extremity and call it precipitation.


I used to believe that the entire Republican philosophy could be summed up in as little as five words: “I’ve got mine – fuck you!”  But Cheney has succeeded in shrinking it down to the point where it can be drowned in a thimble of crocodile tears: So?

If the BushCheney administration and its Republican enablers over the past eight years have accomplished anything in the past eight years, they have succeeded in stripping away the veneer of “compassion” that they felt it necessary to cloak their self-absorbed brand of conservatism in eight years ago when they were trying to convince the American people that the single placesetting just wasn’t enough; but they needed the whole set: terrine, gravy boat, salad bowl, and, for good measure, et cetera.

A Republican looks at rising unemployment and skyrocketing gas prices and thanks terrific my commute into work will be quicker

Diary title: mortgages: I got mine – F**k you.  That will be the Republican response to the mortgage crisis.

Charlie Gibson “middle class” $200,000/yr……

“I think that is what Congress people are supposed to do for constituents,” he said. “When you have a big, significant businessman like myself, why wouldn’t you want to help move things along? What else would they do? They waste so much time with legislation.”

. . .

Mr. Diamond is close to most of Arizona’s Congressional delegation and is candid about his expectations as a fund-raiser. “I want my money back, for Christ’s sake. Do you know how many cocktail parties I have to go to?”

Lindsey Graham knows what benchmarks matter in Iraq (“I bought five rugs for five bucks”).

And, frankly, Lindsey’s traveling partner, John McCain, doesn’t give a damn what anyone says about Iraq; neither, of course, does Dick Cheney: “So?”

After Katrina, George Bush was excited to rebuild Trent Lott’s porch, while Bush’ s mother reminded us how well things were going for the evacuees.

Laura Bush wants us to know that no one suffers more than the president and her while watching video footage from Iraq.

Donald Rumsfeld was irritated that soldiers didn’t think he did a good enough job equipping the army we went to war with; c’mon, he said, people are fungible.

Cheney reminds us that the president carries the biggest burden of anyone involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – besides, all those soldiers, sailors and airmen volunteered.

Bush – my base…


cheney on iran’s nuclear program…

fear – the repubs traffic in that alone

mark’s fear of obama raising taxes – i tried to explain that the richest repubs have run up the family credit card, and then excused themselves from having to repay it

ellen’s fear of muslims – unreasoning, all-encompassing. it’s about the religion to her, not about the actions of a few. ironic, considering the republics’ supposed belief in individual responsibility

islamofascism awareness week


I say this country needs an enema.  Republicans say this country needs an enemy. Just as Adolf Hitler and the national socialists did during the 1920s and 1930s, the Republicans have done in this new millennium: Create an external enemy, an “Other,” who will serve as a convenient scapegoat in order to cover for all kinds of excesses and abuses.  Domestic repression, gigantic buildup of the military to the benefit of private contractors, illegal invasion and occupation of foreign lands in order to control resources, torture,

Marx was wrong: the opiate of the masses is not religion, it is fear and hatred.  The Republicans recognize this. Instead of relying merely on religion to hold Americans in thrall, they fomented fear of The Other, and part of the “otherness” of The Dreaded Enemy was their religion (Islam). The Other Others, inconveniently enough, were Christians coming across our southern border-but they conveniently had brown skin, also,; they were conveniently brown skinned.

And, so help me, the Republicans have succeeded. Through many years of trying, they have succeeded in convincing otherwise intelligent people that Islam is a Uniquely Violent Religion, and that brown-skinned Christians are The Enemy Of Democracy. I have heard these words come out of the mouths of people who should know much better.


feinstein wants investigation of dismantling of l.a. u.s. attorney’s offices…

latimes story on it…

my kos diary on it

fisa violations

plame outing

siegelman prosecuted

After failing miserably to prosecute “terrorists” in American courts, the Pentagon now wants to retry a suspect from a 1998 bombing in a military hearing, using the Military Commissions Act. Even the victims of the 1998 bombings themselves think it’s a dumb idea:

Said one former FBI official who helped build the criminal case against Ghailani and the 10 other suspected Al Qaeda members in 1998: “I’m shocked and amazed at this. He’s already been charged with all of that in federal court. Why the hell do they need to do this? Are they afraid of the court system?”

Susan F. Hirsch, who was injured in the Tanzania bombing and whose husband was killed, said she was angry and disappointed that Ghailani would probably be tried in a military tribunal rather than in an open civilian court where the public can hear the case against him.

supreme court decides judges can punish acquitted defendants…


This is the category that most beggars imagination. How can top advisers to this administration blithely discuss, on national television, the legality of crushing children’s testicles, and not be challenged on it? How can top administration officials – including the president and vice president themselves – be known to have approved actions against prisoners which were crimes for which war criminals were put to death after World War II, and not be challenged on it?

This is the category, too, that combines elements from all of the other categories. Scalia  stating that torture is not “punishment,” and therefore is constitutional. The Justice Department claiming that torture is legal under certain circumstances.

torture is now part of the american political lexicon

this administration has adopted the Nazi lexicon: enhanced interrogation, night and fog; all part of The Big Lie

And tell me: did you ever in your life think that we would be discussing torture?  And don’t tell me, what we’ve never been attacked on our soil before with the deaths of 3000 Americans.  We have been.

we have to borrow language from the Nazis “enhanced interrogation”…

torture came from the top…

ashcroft said,

“Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.” Why are we talking about this in the White House? WTF? Why are we talking about this in America? Why are we talking about this in the 21st century?

Ashcroft on “pouring is not forcing”

John Ashcroft tortures the language itself, insisting that “pouring” is not “forcing.”

John Yoo reminds us that it’s OK to crush children’s testicles (as long, presumably, as they’re not his own children’s testicles)

dhs seeks new torture device; incidents on planes…

sectys of state call for gitmo to be shut down…

a day in the life of gitmo detainee…

harpers article on torture…

is life so dear…

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?

Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.…

new yorker magazine on abu ghraib…

Check for the 81 page torture memo addressed to the Pentagon by John Yoo.


American’s unwillingness to swallow crap is even being demonstrated now by one of our presidential candidates: and here put the Obama objection to the questions at the ABC debate.

Talking about unity and oneness and separation: and maybe that’s what Barack was talking about: this idea of oneness, of working together, of eliminating the differences between us.

There is hope. Americans are beginning in greater numbers to come to their senses. They are rejecting more and more the cooked-up “wedge” issues, the trumped-up stupidities that the Crap Purveyors would have them swallow whole. Reverend Wright? Not an issue. (etc.)

And there is a qualitative difference to these things.  Can you even imagine Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or John Edwards saying anything even remotely resembling any of these things?  I can’t.

Compare Obama to Gandalf in Lord of the rings when he breaks the spell of Saruman.  Saruman continues to try to weave his spell, and some still fall under it, but Gandalf speaks and everyone understands the distinction.

YouTube is the new “news” medium. Blogs such as this are part of the new “news” media. The true voice of the people is being heard, not at the network level, but at the grassroots level.

The real reason the New York Times story is news is that it demonstrates, in the typical behind-the-curve fashion of the modern corporate “news” media, that America and American citizens have begun to wake up.  Beginning with Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, and the elimination of the fairness doctrine, and continuing to the Clinton administration of the 1990s, and a telecommute telecommunications act and its concomitant consolidation of corporate media, the fourth estate in this country has been on a long downhill slide into irrelevance, to the point where it has become-as the Times article so clearly demonstrates-simply an advertising outlet for corporate interests, or: in the case of Iraq, corporate interests which make their billions by selling war and oil.

Unrelated paragraph, put this somewhere else: it would be too much to expect every American to break through the fog of the corporate media, and that indeed has not occurred.  But more and more Americans are becoming deeply skeptical of the corporate media and the corporate masters they represent,including those who run the Republican Party.

This is for the second part of the diary: one of the most fundamental tasks facing the new Democratic administration and Congress will be the long overdue restoration of this nation’s infrastructure.  In addition to the old-school analog portions of infrastructure such as sewers, roadways, bridges, schools, and power distribution systems, it is long past time that the United States recognize that a key component of its national security and economic success is the maintenance and enhancement of its information infrastructure.

an enema called impeachment?

The AIPAC spying case: 15 high-ranking Bush administration officials have been subpoenaed; in cases will be dismissed in the next two weeks.

‘In 1492, Columbus discovered America….’ Starting from this disputed fact, each one of us will describe the history of this country in a somewhat different way. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to assume that most of us would include something about what is called the ‘democratic process’, and how Americans have valued it, or at least have said they valued it. Therein lies a problem: one of the tenets of a democratic society is that men be allowed to think and express themselves freely on any subject, even to the point of speaking out against the idea of a democratic society. To the extent that our schools are instruments of such a society, they must develop in the young not only an awareness of this freedom but a will to exercise it, and the intellectual power and perspective to do so effectively. This is necessary so that the society may continue to change and modify itself to meet unforeseen threats, problems and opportunities. Thus, we can achieve what John Gardner calls an, ‘ever-renewing society’.

So goes the theory.

In practice, we mostly get a different story. In our society as in others, we find that there are influential men at the head of important institutions who cannot afford to be found wrong, who find change inconvenient, perhaps intolerable, and who have financial or political interests they must conserve at any cost. Such men are, therefore, threatened in many respects by the theory of the democratic process and the concept of an ever-renewing society. Moreover, we find that them are obscure men who do not head important institutions who are similarly threatened because they have identified themselves with certain ideas and institutions which they wish to keep free from either criticism or change.

Such men as these would much prefer that the schools do little or nothing to encourage youth to question, doubt, or challenge any part of the society in which they live, especially those parts which are most vulnerable. ‘After all,’ say the practical men, ‘they are our schools, and they ought to promote our interests, and that is part of the democratic process, too. True enough; and then we have a serious point of conflict. Whose schools are they, anyway, and whose interests should they be designed to serve? We realize that these are questions about which any self-respecting professor of education could write several books each one beginning with a reminder that the problem is not black or white, either/or, yes or no. But if you have read our introduction, you will not expect us to be either professorial or prudent. We are, after all, trying to suggest strategies for survival as they may be developed in our schools, and the situation requires emphatic responses. We believe that the schools must serve as the principal medium for developing in youth the attitudes and skills of social, political and cultural criticism. No. That is not emphatic enough. Try this: in the early 1960’s, an interviewer was trying to get Ernest Hemingway to identify the characteristics required for a person to be a ‘great writer’. As the interviewer offered a list of various possibilities, Hemingway disparaged each in sequence. Finally, frustrated, the interviewer asked, ‘Isn’t then any one essential ingredient that you can identify?’ Hemingway replied, ‘Yes, there is. In order to be a great writer a person must have a built-in, shockproof crap detector.’

It seems to us that, in his response, Hemingway identified an essential survival strategy and the essential function of the schools in today’s world. One way of looking at the history of the human group is that it has been a continuing struggle against the veneration of ‘crap’. Our intellectual history is a chronicle of the anguish and suffering of men who tried to help their contemporaries see that some part of their fondest beliefs were misconceptions, faulty assumptions, superstitions and even outright lies. The mileposts along the road of our intellectual development signal those points at which some person developed a new perspective, a new meaning, or a new metaphor. We have in mind a new education that would set out to cultivate just such people – experts at ‘crap detecting’.

Any one of these should have provoked the journalistic equivalent of the journalistic equivalent of RU staffing hitting me?

It’s easy to be cynical about the proliferation of crap in American politics today.  But many times-a lot of times-peoples lives literally are at stake.  In my work researching the issue of the testing and procurement of body armor by the US military, there’s been no shortage of crap to go around.  When the dust finally this when the dust finally clears on this matter, I fully expect that

But sometimes people’s lives are at stake, like when the crap is being spewed by the purveyors of inferior body armor.  And there friends in high places.  An important survival skill in life in general and society at large is the ability to know when you’re being lied to.

I have reserved the seventh and lowest level of crap for those who would lie about, defend, or somehow try to rationalize the practice of torture.  (And put in here some of the other writings about torture.)

That the news media have not been screaming about the officially sanctioned use of torture and extraordinary rendition by this administration is nothing short of astonishing to me.  While some argument theoretically can be made that corruption, incompetence, venality, and stupidity are nothing more than “business as usual” in a government, (albeit having been taken to new heights – or depths – by Republicans over the past 12 years), the use and sanctioning of torture is unprecedented in American history.  The fact that into your put a blank is reflected in the fact that the language chosen – “enhanced interrogation techniques” – is exactly the same as that used by the Nazis.  And even though the same language of night and fog was not chosen, the methodology of extraordinary rendition and disappearance is exactly the same as those practiced by the Nazis.


Y’know, I can’t even tell you the name of my high school librarian. But she m

When I heard of the New York Times story about how retired military officers had been paid by the Pentagon to spout administration propaganda to the news media in order to sell the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq,

The New York Times last week published a seminal article that detailed how, since before the start of the invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon had paid retired military officers to spout administration propaganda about the invasion and occupation to the news media. The officers did it, in spite of knowing much of the information was blatantly false. These officers were cited in many media – television, radio, print and online – as “experts” who had unique access to high-level information not available to civilian reporters.

The New York Times earlier this week ran an article that detailed how the Pentagon had paid retired military officers to lie and spread propaganda on behalf of the Bush Cheney administration in order to sell the Iraq invasion and occupation to the American public.

Besides being a breathtaking and horrifying accounting of the lengths this administration will go to to mislead and lie to the American public, and the amount of disgrace that certain members of the military are willing to bring to the uniform in order to prostitute themselves for an illegal war that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives,

the article was instructive in another sense: it shone a light on a different war, a war that Republicans have been waging much, much longer than the so-called war on terror.

The New York Times spent 11 pages detailing what anybody who’s been paying attention has known for many years: the White House has been paying people – in this case, retired military officers – to lie to the American people in order to sell a war so that military contractors and, in many cases, the liars themselves can make a ton of money.

This is news only to people who have not been paying attention.  The invasion and occupation of Iraq was being planned long before George Bush took office.

Republicans, in contrast, have developed to a high art the proliferation of the opposite of Truth, or what I call simply, “Crap.”  Whenever the two are arrayed on a field of battle on anywhere near equal terms, Truth will eventually prevail.  What Republicans have succeeded in doing over the past four decades is to cause Truth to abandon the field or at the very least to prevent Truth from being able to take the field.  They have achieved this slowly and deliberately, primarily through the consolidation of corporate media and the concomitant transformation of news into infotainment

Talk about why didn’t anybody in the media ask once the documents came out why Iraq had been partitioned a few weeks after the inauguration and why was a list of potential suitors for oil contracts being drawn up at that time?

· I could be wrong, but I’m gonna guess Papa used a rather more indelicate term

ironic that yoo teaches at berkeley, a publicly-financed institution

Dems join in gang rape of Constitution

Republicans have been gang-raping the Constitution since December 12, 2000, when five Supreme Court justices appointed George W. Bush President of the United States. The BushCheney crime family’s brutal assault on the nation’s founding document began immediately, and was cheered on and supported by a Republican-led Congress that whooped in drunken bloodlust every time the administration flagrantly violated the highest law of the land.

The Republican Congress cheered encouragement every time Americans’ civil liberties were violated. The Republican Congress roared approval at every demeaning abuse of the rule of law. They pushed to the front of the mob any time there was an opportunity to have their own crack at the battered, dazed body politic, who couldn’t believe what was happening to it, who couldn’t believe that it could be violated so relentlessly, so repeatedly, so thoroughly, over and over and over again, and no one put a stop to it.

Important If True


Dismantling the arguments against impeachment

“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

                         — Congressional oath of office

In the flush of excitement after the November 2006 elections, when Democrats had taken control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 12 years and anything seemed possible, there was much discussion in the progressive blogosphere about the tantalizing prospect of finally holding to account the criminals in the BushCheney administration through the use of the constitutional mechanism of impeachment. (This in spite of the fact that incoming House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi had taken impeachment “off the table” half a year earlier.)

To some who had worked so hard to get Democrats elected to Congress, impeachment seemed the most obvious and necessary thing in the world now that BushCo’s Republican accomplices were no longer in the way to stop it – a natural process that would follow the administration’s criminal misdeeds as surely as night follows day.

Others argued against impeachment. Let’s not focus on the past, they said; we need to move our Democratic agenda forward. If Congress spends all its time on impeachment, it won’t get anything else done. Besides, they would argue, Republicans will spin it that we’re just out for revenge. It will hurt our chances in the 2008 elections. Anyway, we don’t have the votes to guarantee success. Not to mention that the Clinton fiasco cheapened impeachment forever in the minds of the public.

The time for impeachment is NOW

New diary: cataclysmic fight to the death

This is for the impeachment diary arguing that we must impeach now: the Republicans braced for cataclysmic fight to the death.  I say we give it to them.  Nothing less than the utter ruination of the political doctrine that first took hold during the Nixon administration came to full fruition during the current Bush Cheney regime will suffice.

This is unrelated but put somewhere in the story: we must show the world that America does not believe that the eight years two election cycles of the Bush Cheney administration was nothing more than an unfortunate mistake and inconvenient aberration a bad crackerjack in a box.  We must show the world that we utterly reject the practices and beliefs of a regime that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people unjustly and illegally.  We have to accept the fact that we are part of the world community in fact a leader of that and we must guide our actions accordingly.  Does it not mean anything that a high administration official is considered a war criminal?

The time for impeachment is NOW

New diary: cataclysmic fight to the death

This is for the impeachment diary arguing that we must impeach now: the Republicans braced for cataclysmic fight to the death.  I say we give it to them.  Nothing less than the utter ruination of the political doctrine that first took hold during the Nixon administration came to full fruition during the current Bush Cheney regime will suffice.

This is unrelated but put somewhere in the story: we must show the world that America does not believe that the eight years two election cycles of the Bush Cheney administration was nothing more than an unfortunate mistake and inconvenient aberration a bad crackerjack in a box.  We must show the world that we utterly reject the practices and beliefs of a regime that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people unjustly and illegally.  We have to accept the fact that we are part of the world community in fact a leader of that and we must guide our actions accordingly.  Does it not mean anything that a high administration official is considered a war criminal?

Dismantling the arguments against impeachment

Dismantling the arguments against impeachment

The time for impeachment is NOW

“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

                         — Congressional oath of office

In the flush of excitement after the November 2006 elections, when Democrats had taken control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 12 years and anything seemed possible, there was much discussion in the progressive blogosphere about the tantalizing prospect of finally holding to account the criminals in the BushCheney administration through the use of the constitutional mechanism of impeachment. (This in spite of the fact that incoming House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi had taken impeachment “off the table” half a year earlier.)

To some who had worked so hard to get Democrats elected to Congress, impeachment seemed the most obvious and necessary thing in the world now that BushCo’s Republican accomplices were no longer in the way to stop it – a natural process that would follow the administration’s criminal misdeeds as surely as night follows day.

Others argued against impeachment. Let’s not focus on the past, they said; we need to move our Democratic agenda forward. If Congress spends all its time on impeachment, it won’t get anything else done. Besides, they would argue, Republicans will spin it that we’re just out for revenge. It will hurt our chances in the 2008 elections. Anyway, we don’t have the votes to guarantee success. Not to mention that the Clinton fiasco cheapened impeachment forever in the minds of the public.

The arguments were heated and prolonged. November and December 2006 were interesting months in the blogosphere – and there was nary a candidate diary in sight.

Time passed. Tempers cooled – and so did expectations. The new Democratic Congress was seated in January 2007 amid high hopes. But as the year progressed and most of the bills forming the vanguard of the “Democratic agenda” died slow, ignominious deaths – some cowering in fear of a Republican filibuster or a presidential veto, others mortally wounded at the President’s desk, returning to perish on the Senate floor, still others abandoning their earlier brave promises to the electorate by fleeing Capitol Hill altogether, their places taken by Republican-friendly bills that funded the Iraq occupation or enlarged the president’s power to illegally surveil, imprison or torture – it became apparent that the hopes of both those who counseled patience on impeachment and those who breathed fire for it were to be dashed. The prognostications of many were to be proven wrong, both those who favored impeachment –

December 14, 2006:

And, frankly, I think, upon much reflection these past few days, that Nancy Pelosi’s assertion that impeachment is “off the table” was a brilliant political move. “Off the table” doesn’t mean it’s out of the Constitution . . .

No, Speaker Pelosi will lead a House that will do its job under the Constitution.

– and those who counseled against it:

December 7, 2006:

We have one year to make our case for 2008 to the American people. We need to show not just that we deserve to hold on the Congress, but that we should be given the White House as well . . .

We can spend 2007 either pushing impeachment . . . or we can use it educating the American people about what a Democratic government would look like — passing meaningful legislation that would improve their lives like the minimum wage, health care reform, ethics reform, stem cell research funding, policies that help families and the middle class.

Impeachment does none of that.

– and neither, as it turns out, does a Democratic Congress. Well, almost none of that – the Democrats in Congress did manage to slip a minimum wage increase into a bill authorizing another $120 billion for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, sort of the same way I slip my daughter’s pills into a dish of applesauce. Oh, and ethics reform – don’t forget ethics reform.


Don’t worry about Bush and company. Congress will pursue its oversight duties. Waxman and Slaughter and Conyers and the rest of those guys aren’t about to take the next two years off. People will be held accountable. Impeachment isn’t the [only] path to accountability.

– except, when current and former administration officials defy congressional subpoenas – thus obstructing investigations into White House wrongdoing – and the White House refuses to turn over evidence, or “destroys” it, how is “accountability” possible?

Kagro X, within days of being handed his new responsibilities as a front-pager at DailyKos, circumspectly answered the question, “But what can Congress do when the executive branch defies congressional subpoenas, and the administration’s Justice Department refuses to enforce them?”

So if you’re conducting oversight of, say, the NSA spying program, and you want answers from Gonzales regarding the program’s legality, and you subpoena him and he tells you to take a flying leap, what do you do?

You could try going to court, but not only will that pretty much run out the clock, but the courts are quite likely to tell you, “What are you crying to us for? You have your remedy. If you’re too chicken to use it, that’s your problem.”

Kagro goes on,

[I]t’s about contemplating the place of impeachment as a procedural tool. Just as it’s the threat of a filibuster that ultimately provides the “power” that makes the “Senatorial hold” possible, so is impeachment the power that makes Congressional subpoena power possible for use against the executive branch.

And whereas the Democratic Congress has demonstrated its willingness to cave in the face of mere threats of obstruction by Republicans, the Republicans on the other hand have shown that they will stop at nothing – the so-called “cataclysmic fight to the death” promised shortly before the November 2006 elections – to keep Democratic initiatives from moving forward.  This Democratic Congress, truly, is left with only one option, an option clearly spelled out in the Constitution: impeachment.

With that context in mind, let us examine the major objections to impeachment that have been voiced by those who, for whatever reason, have argued against its pursuit:

Objection: “It will take too long”

Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998 and acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Fifty-five days. Granted, the fishing expedition boondoggle witch hunt investigation that finally resulted in impeachment charges took almost five years, but BushCheney have made the job easy for those seeking impeachment against them – they have admitted, very publicly, to several impeachable offenses, and have very publicly committed others.

  • The BushCheney administration is on the record as having tortured prisoners and repeatedly lied about it – indeed, it has now defiantly stated that torture is legal, in contravention of many treaties to which the United States is a signator.
  • It is on the record as having illegally wiretapped Americans, probably from the very first days of the administration.  
  • It is on the record as openly defying established laws written by Congress and signed into law by the administration itself.  
  • It is on the record as defying multiple congressional subpoenas stemming from investigations into executive branch wrongdoing (this is known in the vernacular as “obstruction of justice”).  
  • It is on the record as being “unable” to produce evidence in congressional investigations into administration malfeasance, often claiming that the evidence was “destroyed” or “lost” (this, too, is commonly known as “obstruction of justice”).  
  • It is on the record as having repeatedly lied about the threat posed by Iraq with respect to weapons of mass destruction and connections to terrorists, in order to mislead the American public and members of Congress into support for an illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq (such an invasion and occupation being known in the vernacular as a “war crime”).
  • It is on the record as having facilitated the the misappropriation of hundreds of billions of dollars during the illegal invasion on and occupation of Iraq, and shielding criminal and murderous acts by agents acting on behalf of the U.S. government during that occupation.
  • It is on the record as having lied about the potential threat posed by Iran with regard to nuclear weapons.  

  • It is on the record as having lied to Congress about a whole range of activities, from the firing of U.S. attorneys to illegal wiretapping of Americans to the threat posed by various nations.

With all of this evidence already on the record, an impeachment investigation should not take very long – and with respect to at least a few cases, probably isn’t even necessary.  

“We don’t have the votes”

Well, duhhh! Of course we don’t! How many votes did Barack Obama have when he began his run for the presidency? Nobody has the votes before they start:

It makes no more sense to argue against impeachment by saying we don’t have the votes right now than it does to argue against universal healthcare or campaign-finance reform because – let’s face it – We Don’t Have The Votes Right Now.

But let’s look at this from a different point of view: Any potential impeachment of George Bush or Dick Cheney, once the investigations and hearings have run their course, will place current day Republicans in a terrible quandary: they will be faced with a choice between standing side by side with a president and vice president who will have been demonstrated to have been thoroughly corrupt and criminal – an act of political self immolation – or facing the music, and choosing to preserve not only their own political hides, but the future existence of the Republican Party. They will be forced to choose between supporting torture, illegal wiretapping, lying to Congress, war crimes, obstruction of justice, politicization of the judiciary, and violation of literally hundreds of federal laws – or supporting the rule of law. And if any senator voted “guilty” in the Clinton impeachment but “not guilty” in the BushCheney impeachment – well, not even the Tasmanian Devil can spin that fast.

January 2007:

The lawlessness, avarice, petty criminality, barbarity, arrogance and contempt of the Republicans in charge the past six years will be revealed in all of their horror. What will follow those revelations is almost inevitable – although I have no doubt the current thugs leading the Republican mafia will put their own hoodlumish spin on it.

And as soon as that jagged gash has been torn in the once-seemingly impenetrable hull of the ship of Republican state – the S.S.Titanic Clusterfuck – and the ship has taken on enough water, all the little rats who have been trying to stay out of sight during the past six years as they gnawed gaping holes in Americans’ safety, security, financial well-being and international respect, will rush pell-mell to the lifeboats.

And when that surge of craven cowardly rats gets to the gunwales and looks up, whiskers twitching, the only lifeboats they’re gonna see – the only way they’re not going down with that doomed fast-sinking ship that is The Republican Party As We Know It – are all gonna have one word emblazoned across their transoms:


Think those Republican rats are gonna hesitate for even one second to get on board those boats to save their little rodent hides?

Heh. There won’t be enough lifeboats for ’em.

“It will hurt Democrats in the 2008 elections”

Oh, yeah? Based on what?

Back during the Impeachment Wars of ’06, some folks actually posited that Republicans’ poor showing during the midterm elections in 1998 (elections that were essentially bracketed by the unfolding of the Lewinsky scandal and the subsequent impeachment hearings) was due to their pursuit of impeachment per se. That position is utterly wrong. If impeachment per se were enough to disenchant voters to such an extent that they would manifest their dissatisfaction at the voting booth, an identical phenomenon would have shown up during the November 1974 elections – an election which, had Nixon not resigned a few weeks earlier, would have been taking place during the middle of his impeachment hearings.

But no such phenomenon took place: Democrats picked up 49 House seats and three Senate seats in that election.

It is worth noting that in November 1972, Richard Nixon won the presidency in one of the biggest landslides in the modern era. Fifteen months later, in February 1974, 51% of Americans opposed the impeachment of Richard Nixon. In May 1974, the House Judiciary Committee began its hearings. By July 30 1974, the Committee had agreed upon three articles of impeachment, which it was preparing to present to the full House of Representatives. On August 9, 1974, Nixon resigned. On November 5, 1974, voters expressed their disgust with the Republican party by taking 48 seats in the House and three in the Senate away from them (one former House Independent switched to the Democrats as well).

I would instead posit that Republicans’ poor showing in the 1998 midterm elections was due to their transparently political pursuit of impeachment of a very popular president on utterly specious grounds.

“Democrats will be labeled vengeful, divisive and politically motivated”

Of course we will – that goes without saying. Any Democrat drawing breath is labeled divisive and politically motivated by the right-wing sockpuppets at Faux Snooze and their ilk. So what? The louder they scream about something the Democrats are doing, the more correct it is, of that you can be sure. Besides, there’s a vast difference between being “labeled” divisive and being perceived as divisive. How much of the American public do you think will swallow the line that these hearings are a partisan witch hunt? Whoever does buy that line most likely is not a potential convert, in any event.

The tiresome Democratic refrain, “Oh, dear – the Republicans might say bad things about us!” has, I hope, been pretty well discredited.  Remember all the hand wringing about skipping the Fox news debates?  How much flak have the Democrats gotten from the right wing noise machine for standing up to the FISA travesty?  What was the downside in public opinion for the Democrats refusing to back down on SCHIP?  The fact of the matter is, public opinion has tilted toward impeachment for a couple of years now, and public opinion looks favorably upon a Democratic Congress that stands up to executive malfeasance.

But the most effective defense against the “vengeful political theater” meme is a sober, respectful, serious impeachment proceeding. One that opens, say, with a statement from Chairman Conyers that might go something like this:

Three months ago the House of Representatives considered H. Res. 803. The resolution read as follows:

“RESOLVED, That the Committee on the Judiciary, acting as a whole or by any subcomnlittee thereof appointed by the Chairman for the purposes hereof and in accordance with the rules of the Committee, is authorized and directed to investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States of America. The Committee shall report to the House of Representatives such resolutions, articles of impeachment, or other recommendations

as it deems proper.”

The House adopted that resolution by a vote of 410 to 4. We are proceeding under the mandate of that resolution.

I do not need to stress again the importance of our undertaking and the wisdom, decency and principle which we must bring to it.

We understand our high constitutional responsibility. We will faithfully live up to it.

For some time we have known that the real security of this nation lies in the integrity of its institutions and the trust and informed confidence of its people. We conduct our deliberations in that spirit.

                                                 — Rep. Peter Rodino, Chairman,

                                                    House Judiciary Committee, May 9, 1974 (PDF file)

– as opposed to the pathetically banal opening statement by the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the Clinton impeachment – an opening that told everything that needed to be known about the sham that was to follow.

An impeachment proceeding that is couched – rightfully so – in terms of protecting the Constitution of the United States of America will be respected and its importance understood. The difference between a John Conyers-run impeachment hearing against the current administration and the absurd political theater of the Clinton impeachment will be obvious to the American people from the moment the first gavel falls.

No, it is not “vengeful” to investigate impeachment – it’s responsible, and adult, and democratic, and law-abiding. In much the same way that the administration’s fevered pursuit of “telco immunity” in a revised FISA law is a desperate move by desperate people, “vengeful Democrats” is a meme cooked up by scared-shitless Republicans who know their ass is grass if any investigations go forward – and bought into by querulous Democrats who still haven’t figured out that the American people are clamoring for accountability. No, what investigating and not following up is, is ineffectual and impotent, and, since that’s just what the Democrats in Congress have done – investigated and not followed up – that’s just how they’re perceived as a result: ineffectual and impotent.

“The Clinton fiasco cheapened impeachment in the minds of the public”

I would like to believe that thinking Democrats have not fallen victim to the belief that the Clinton impeachment set the standard for impeachments.  I rather would like to believe that the Clinton impeachment brought into stark relief the difference between a farcical impeachment and a serious one, the serious one, of course, being that of Richard Nixon.  Here’s how serious the Nixon impeachment was: Nixon resigned from office rather than be impeached, because he knew that the case against him was solid, and he would go down in defeat, dragging the Republican Party with him.  Clinton, on the other hand, knew that the case against him was a joke. And so did the American people:

December 200:

Let’s not run away from this talk of impeachment because of something the Republicans did. The group of vermin that has been the Republican leadership over the past 12 years didn’t just sully the good name of “impeachment” and “investigation” through their mind-boggling dereliction of duty since 1994 – they sullied and devalued the very idea of governance, of “democracy,” of “national security,” of “patriotism.” Does that mean we should abandon talk of governance, of democracy, of national security, of patriotism? Hell, no – of course not. No one would argue that. So why are we having this discussion about using the word “impeachment” just because the Republicans made a mockery of it?

The Republicans have made a mockery of everything having to do with good government – that doesn’t mean we should abandon good government. The Republicans have made a mockery of the Constitution – that does not mean we should abandon the Constitution. There is much that is good that the Republicans have made a mockery of, that should not be abandoned. Compassion. Family values. Christianity. Education. Free enterprise. Democracy itself.

July 2007:

Oh, but don’t get me wrong; I get it: Those Republics are clever bastards, for sure. For more than 30 years, they have been successfully eroding public confidence in government and the tools of government to the point where now, with an administration in office that has arguably done more to harm this country than any other administration in history, people are seriously maintaining that we should not use the one unassailable tool available to us to halt this malfeasance and restore the possibility of a government that works for the benefit of the general public . . .

See, the truth is, the Republics’ impeachment of Bill Clinton succeeded brilliantly – the fact that anyone is even seriously discussing the advisability of impeachment, given the misdeeds of the current crowd in power – not just in the White House, but scattered throughout the federal government and the judiciary – is astonishing. The Overton Window regarding the use of impeachment as a tool of governance was ripped out, plastered over, and moved to the other end of the house, in a project begun by the Republics in 1974.

Seen in that light, the so-called “failure” of the Clinton impeachment was no more a “failure” than a sacrifice fly in baseball is a “failure.” Sure, the sitting Republics in the House lost a little ground – though they kept the majority – but more importantly for the Republic agenda, they advanced The Cause of Eroding Public Confidence in The Government. Cynicism cranked up several notches. As a direct result of the circus that the Republics turned the Clinton impeachment into, more Americans – including many on this site – saw impeachment as merely a political tool that essentially should never be wielded, because of all of the (newly added) negative connotations it (newly) carried.

“We need to look to the future, not rehash the past”

This statement reflects a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of this impeachment:

Impeachment of the BushCheney administration is not about the past, it’s about the future.

If we have learned anything about the failures to impeach Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, it is that the incremental damage to the Constitution caused by such laxity is not only significant at the time, but will be built upon by each successive mendacious regime to occupy the White House.

John Conyers, 1974:

[T]he process of impeachment is not, and was never intended to be, familiar, convenient, or comfortable. It was framed with the intention that it be used only as a last constitutional resort against the danger of executive tyranny . . .

Whether intentionally or not, the Congress has participated in the degeneration of its power . . .[N]o legislation is self-executing. Whatever its limitations and faults . . . legislation, and the constitutional provisions on which it is based, will only have meaning to the extent that the Congress invests them with meaning . . .

If we do not now fully dedicate ourselves to regaining every bit of constitutional ground we have surrendered, then – to paraphrase one of the President’s men – we shall have lost our constitutional and moral compass.

Charles Pierce, July 2007:

I was in the late, lamented Eliot Lounge in Boston, chewing it over with a friend who’d reported extensively on the scandal. I told him that the country was going to pay a fearsome price one day for having let these crimes go unpunished. That the whole business lodged something malignant deep in the government that needed to be roughly, and bloodily, excised. I believed an impeachment inquiry should have been opened on both the president and the vice-president . . .

Tell me we’re not paying for that now. Tell me we’re not paying for tolerating a renegade theory of Executive power. Tell me we’re not hearing how inconvenient and cumbersome and counterproductive the impeachment process of the Constitution is. Tell me the Democratic candidates aren’t soft-pedaling the whole issue, preferring to micromanage the end of the kind of war that the renegade theory of Executive power makes not only likely, but inevitable. (Go back and read the minority report of the Iran-Contra committee. Go see who wrote the part about how the president has an inherent right to do stuff like this. Hint — he has a lesbian daughter, a bad heart, and lousy aim.) Tell me the press isn’t running away from the gravity of the whole business. Tell me you haven’t heard some anchor-drone or another sigh about how hard it all is to understand. Tell me that Bush presidencies don’t invariably come down to buying the silence of the people who can put you away. Tell me Alberto Gonzales isn’t Edwin Meese, except less competent. Tell me that Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, Michael Ledeen, and the rest of the Iran-Contra Legends Tour ever would have found their bloody hands back on the levers of government if we’d done what we should have done as a nation 20 years ago.

The current  administration has thumbed its nose repeatedly and in every way possible at Congress’s authority.  To let that stand, as Conyers so brilliantly pointed out in his essay, would undermine Congress for many generations to come.  Dick Cheney’s cockamamie ideas about a “unitary executive” were encouraged by his experience in the Nixon administration, festered for many years after the Ford administration (until Cheney was named secretary of defense under Bush the First), and only fully bore fruit upon the inauguration of George W. Bush.  And Cheney was not the only money-grubbing neocon sleeper to awaken with the utterance of those magical numbers, 5-4.

December 2006:

The criminals at the heart of this administration did not suddenly spring from nothingness into being with the appointment of George W. Bush to the presidency in December 2000. No – the maggots that eventually became the noisome blowflies spreading filth, disease and death around the world from the White House got their start long ago, and were nurtured and fattened by many years of feeding in the dank, fetid corners of American government. They and their foul belief systems should have been exterminated from politics long ago, but few people recognized them for what they were – and so they were allowed to go on propagating, getting fatter, rubbing their filthy little fly hands together in preparation for the day when they would be able to feed out in the open, defying anyone to point out the obvious: That these tiny little men were and are nothing more than vermin, spreading decay and attracted by the scent of death, whose political existence, if not eradicated once and for all, will continue to befoul the world for years to come. Like a malignant tumor, this cancer must be removed utterly, leaving no trace; otherwise, it can metastasize and spread, only to show up again later and in another location.

Cheney’s wet dreams of a “unitary executive” with the powers of a king should have been dashed with cold water by the impeachment of Richard Nixon and a thorough discrediting of the entire criminal, monarchial, “if-the-president-does-it-it’s-not-illegal” doctrine under which the Nixon administration operated.  Conyers, in his 1974 essay, was right: by not addressing the issue head-on, Congress in 1974 made possible the abuses of the current BushCheney administration. Far from having been cut off at the knees, this administration has – most recently and perhaps most egregiously with its defiant, up-is-down, black-is-white declaration that torture is not illegal – acted as though it has no brakes on its power. It has told the American people and the world, “We can do anything we want, and you cannot do anything to stop us.”

“Let’s implement our Democratic agenda first”

Yeah. How’s that workin’ for ya so far?

December 2006:

[T]he presence of George Bush in the Oval Office is the biggest stumbling block there is to fulfillment of the Democratic Party agenda in this country. If George Bush will not observe – never mind actively enforce – laws that have been duly passed by Congress and signed into law – signed, in many cases, even by himself – what possible reason on earth does anyone have to believe that he will (a) approve, or (b) abide by, laws over which he has veto power and with which he fundamentally disagrees? To believe that fulfillment of a Democratic agenda is possible with George Bush in the White House is as delusional as the man himself.

Thirteen months after the 110th Congress was seated, can anyone seriously debate that?

“Nothing else will get done in Congress”

In the 93rd Congress – the one that prepared articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon – 17,690 bills were introduced in the House. So far, more than halfway through the 110th Congress, somewhere around 5,500 bills have been introduced in the House. Maybe 1970s congresspeople were better able to walk and chew gum at the same time, what with all the disco dancing, streaking and bra-burning. Maybe; I don’t know.

Let’s put political considerations aside, and just consider what the right thing to do is.  Is there anyone reading this who would dispute that the right thing to do is to hold the criminal Bush Cheney administration to account for its perversions of the last seven years?  We have to get passed that threshold before we can continue this discussion, because the only objection is that it avoids about impeachment are that it would be politically inexpedient.

The idea that people are not interested in seeing an impeachment proceeding: at what point does this stop being a political calculation for Democrats?  At what point does it become a question of right versus wrong?

All of the above “reasons” advanced for avoiding the constitutional duty of impeachment are merely conjectures, all of them unfounded fears about some terrifying future event – all of them, in other words, fears about a future that no one can foresee based loosely on events of the past that have little or nothing to do with today’s reality. And sitting here in February 2008, at the start of the eighth and final year of the BushCheney administration, one would think that Americans in general and Democrats in particular would have had enough of being paralyzed into inaction by the fomenting of inchoate fear, that Americans would know the difference between allowing the Constitution to be rendered meaningless by irrational anxiety over some perceived existential threat, and doing the right thing because one realizes that, in fact, that very same Constitution forms literally the foundation of the republican democracy that hundreds of thousands of Americans have given their last full measure to create and defend over the past 232 years.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

                                           — Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

                                               first inaugural address,

                                               March 4, 1933

Franklin Roosevelt spoke those words at a time when this country was in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis.  We now are in the midst of an unprecedented constitutional crisis and the words that John Conyers wrote 34 years ago ring truer now than ever:

In stark contrast to the ephemeral “what-ifs” that have to this point paralyzed congressional Democrats and prevented them from carrying out their sworn duty to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies, foreign and domestic, here are the facts – the unimpeachable facts, if you will – about the misdeeds of the current criminals who have been allowed to continue occupying the White House in spite of the overwhelming evidence of their criminality:

and here list the “on the record” stuff

Americans are running away from Republicans in droves.  Why is that?  Could it be because Republicans and unfailingly demonstrated themselves to be awful managers and venal criminals?

kagro’s excellent prognostication Nov 12, 2006…

bullshit markos . we get it…

kos’s posting…

btd argues the “separation of powers”…

– only problem is, Congress has been shown exactly what its power is, even when in the majority

conyers’s “constitution in crisis” (WARNING: 27Mb PDF file)


conyers’ diary in aug 2006…

We have seen so many transgressions by this Administration that it is easy to forget last week’s scandal amid this week’s new outrage.  I am hopeful that compiling all of these events of the last few years will help wake all of us up to the gravity of these matters and the cumulative damage to our country. . .

All the while, the Republican Congress sits idly by.  Rather than performing its constitutional duty as a co-equal branch, it has chosen to stymie any and all efforts at oversight.  After six long years of deceptions, attacks and yes, outright lies, I am convinced the American people have had enough.

I’m not doing this to fail,” he said. “This goes back to a little bit of my civil rights background. We were in an impossible situation. The civil rights leaders came to Martin King and said, please, we hear you’re going to start a civil rights movement in the South, you’ll get all of us killed, Martin, don’t do that!” But if he hadn’t, said Conyers, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would never have passed.

“We’ve lost more rights and constitutional prerogatives in this short period of time than under any president that my studies reveal,” he continued. “So now’s the time. What we have to do is, we have to work on faith. We have to believe that there are enough American people who will agree with us that enough is enough. We’ve got to believe that, and we’ve got to work on that between now and November, and I think we’ll win.”

        – John Conyers, March 2006…

As the first year of the Democratic Congress has shown, this administration has no intention of cooperating with congressional investigators on any level.  It has a defied subpoenas, destroyed or withheld evidence, instructed administration officials at all levels not to cooperate with Congress, and generally shown that it believes that Congress does in fact have only one tool with which to enforce its oversight authority.  Whether this defiance is a result of Congress’s own self-declared unwillingness to use that one tool is irrelevant.: what matters is that, by its actions, the administration has left Congress with no other choice.  And that choice is simple: either Congress enforces its oversight authority through the use of impeachment, since all other tools have been exhausted by the administration’s unwillingness to recognize Congress’s authority; or Congress abdicates its responsibility to check executive power run amok, and thus removes the single greatest remaining hurdle still standing in the way of the monarchial, delusional, corporatist unitary executive fantasies of a small cabal of anti-democratic modern-day fascists.

Put the you can’t have it both ways argument at the end, along with the idea that these objections are mostly based on fear of the future.  Then put in the argument about the constitutional ramifications and ask how anybody now after a year of the Bush Cheney administration can seriously argue that the damage to the separation of powers could be any worse than it already is and that in fact impeachment is the only way to address that damage.  Which is why the framers put it in the Constitution the first place-as a last resort when the executive branch refuses to act in good faith and that’s prevented the normal exercise of the balance and separation of powers.

If one were able to remove all of the “political factors” that have led Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers and other congressional Democrats to declare impeachment off limits – to strip away the concerns about November’s elections, the concerns about timing, the concerns about what others might say – if one were able to decide whether to pursue impeachment strictly on the basis of whether it were the right thing to do, would one do it?

I hope that no one reading this hesitated for even a moment before answering, emphatically, “Yes!” If ever a president and vice president deserved impeachment, George Bush and Dick Cheney do.  

You can’t have it both ways: Either: (a) Democrats are not going to win the White House in 2008, in which case this Democratic Congress had better do everything it can to keep the next Republican president from inheriting all of the unchecked powers grabbed uncontested by the BushCheney cabal; or (b) Democrats are going to win the White House in 2008, in which case the “ruining our chances in 2008” argument goes out the window, and Congress is freed to Do The Right Thing.

about winning the 2008 elections: what if we DON’T win? What then? We will have left in place a criminal administration, and enabled – indeed, sanctioned – its criminal behavior. No, to avoid impeachment in the hopes that the criminals will be thrown out in 2008 is absurd, and based on a future that no one can foresee. The affirmative step of impeachment, on the other hand, is a known quantity that we can control, right now.

The same mindset that would justify immunity for the telcos in FISA would justify forgoing impeachment: perpetrators of crime should not be held accountable for their crimes.

Some would argue that all that is needed to deal with this criminal administration is the result of a new general election.  And, of course, at this point, it appears likely that-absent election fraud-id. the Craddick administration will take its place in the White House next January.  This argument, of course, holds no water.  Because of the magnitude of the crimes that were committed to, both against many peoples of the world and against the Constitution of the United States, the many many wrongs of the Bush Cheney administration cannot go unaccounted for., anymore than good for crimes of any other war criminal.  Think about it: much of the rest of the world wants to put Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney on trial as war criminals, yet there are those in this country seriously propose to let them off scot free, as if they had done no wrong whatsoever.

First page of argument re: Nixon indictment…

second page of argument re: Nixon indictment……

Third in a series on impeachment. Others in the series:

John Conyers, 1974: Why Nixon should have been impeached

Impeachment: Conyers Ulysses

I have video of them eating dead babies

Impeachment Oldies But Goodies:

C mon, Nancy the Republics are falling apart

Weeding the Rose Garden: Thoughts on impeachment

Impeachment: You’ll NEVER fit in those pants

Running in ’08? Try Impeachment(r), now with added Pragmatism(r)!

Support our troops: Impeach

Neocons at the helm: There won’t be enough lifeboats

On Gettysburg, impeachment, and the left flank

We must not pursue the “i”-word

Boston Globe: Cheney seeks return to Nixon era

C mon, Nancy the Republics are falling apart


Page 15

Separate the diaries: why the time for impeachment is now, or the time for impeachment is now..  In the “now” diary, include snippets from all of the previous diaries.  And finish with Conyers is quotes from his essay.…

Those who would use the Clinton impeachment as precedent for a reluctance to run through another impeachment process might want to consider the precedent being set by ignoring congressional subpoenas.  You can’t have it both ways – if, in fact, precedent is being set, that it has been set in both cases.  The other possibility, of course, is to weigh each case on its merits.

Arguments against impeachment: some have even argued (Armando) that resorting to impeachment will weaken the relative standing in Congress to check abuses of the executive branch.  The power of future congresses to check the abuses of the executive branch.

I completely disagree. Like John Conyers in his 1974 essay, “Why Nixon Should Have Been Impeached,” I would argue that failure to impeach weakens the power of the legislative branch, for the very reason that Kagro alludes to: as long as the executive branch knows that the legislative branch is not willing to use its own mechanisms of enforcement, the executive branch knows it can act with utter disregard of the legislative – a fact that has been thoroughly borne out over the course of the 110th Congress so far.

conyers’ lame-ass excuses…

rahm emanuel’s lame-ass excuses…

I would like to move forward on our common challenges rather than tearing the nation apart.

lawyers’ letter to lahy, conyers…

This is for the separation of powers paragraph:

Another argument cited by impeachment opponents is the belief that the use of impeachment will send a message and establish a precedent dangerous to future generations.  That is to say, that the only way to for Congress to exercise its oversight authority over the executive branch is through the use of impeachment.; in other words, impeachment will be seen as a tool of first resort rather than a tool of last resort.

But, to repeat what Kagro X so eloquently pointed out,

Just as it’s the threat of a filibuster that ultimately provides the “power” that makes the “Senatorial hold” possible, so is impeachment the power that makes Congressional subpoena power possible for use against the executive branch.…

Mentioned Bush’s approval rating in the ARG poll. 2/19

For the paragraph concerning Democrats being labeled as vengeful: the American people are bright enough to understand a significant threat to the Constitution, when it is brought out and laid out before them.  To this point in this administration, all of the damage to the Constitution has been wrapped in rhetoric painting the theft of civil liberties as “protecting our way of life”.

Tell me: do you honestly believe that Americans cannot tell the difference between the so-called “impeachment hearings” held during the Clinton administration and the type of hearings that will be held regarding the Bush Cheney administration?  And here you might want to run graphs showing presidential approval ratings during Clinton’s and Nixon’s impeachment proceedings.

wsj graphs…



George W. Bush…

it’s too politically risky.  (Put this one last).  

It will take too long.

Democrats will be seen as partisan, vindictive, and or vengeful.  This is actually a subset of the quote “politically risky” argument.

We don’t have the votes.

patrick henry’s speech…

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth — to know the worst and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House?

Include Pelosi’s quotes about it not being worth it.

cite the January 1974 poll that showed that 51% of Americans opposed the impeachment of Nixon; contrast that with recent polls regarding potential impeachments of Bush and or Cheney.

It will diminish the effectiveness and value of impeachment.  This is an argument that is ridiculous on its face.  Compare the process that led to the near impeachment of Richard Nixon to that of the process that actually led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

During the Republic Congress’s impeachment hearings against Bill Clinton, not a single witness was called to testify at the trial.

Do you think that the man who wrote these words about the impeachment of Richard Nixon (CITE CONYERS’ ESSAY) and sat through committee hearings which were opened with these words (CITE RODINO OPENING) would stand for a circus of an impeachment hearing?

The only thing standing in the way of such process might be the Bush administration’s intransigence regarding revelation of evidence.  This is a lesson that Cheney and his ilk learned while during the Nixon administration.

, when he was finally forced to turn over his tapes, made the case against him; it was only a few days later that the articles of impeachment were prepared for the house.  The Bush Cheney administration has steadfastly refused to to provide the evidence that would make it possible to impeach them and convict them.  Congress must know this.  By refusing to prosecute and hold accountable the Bush administration for its defiance of congressional subpoenas, the hundred 10th Congress has taken impeachment off the table not only for this administration, but for every future gym and administration.

Diary title: Conyers, Leahy: impeachment off the table for ever

If any reader of this site to has any doubts that substantive hearings would reveal wrongdoing on a scope heretofore unprecedented in American history, then I do not know what to say to them.  Further, if any reader of the site believes that revelation of such wrongdoing, and solid, bulletproof documentation of such wrongdoing, will not prove politically fatal to Republicans, then I also do not know what to say to them.

Once hearings are held, and even more damning evidence is revealed about this administration, no senator who voted in favor of Clinton’s impeachment in 1998 could possibly vote against impeachment of these criminals.  And if they did, we would use that vote as a cudgel to beat them about the head and neck electorally next November.

New diary title: the time for impeachment is now.  Make the case that the transgressions are so great that certainly the threshold has been crossed.  Also make the case that the outcome of the 2008 elections is not a certainty, and the risk of not doing anything to address the problem now is too great.  If nothing else, the threshold for public awareness of the Constitutional destruction that has been wrought will be raised to the point that in the event of John McCain wins the presidency, at least Congress will most likely still be controlled by Democrats, who by that time, after having will have public backing in its efforts to fight in the further destruction of the Constitution.

Sens. Feinstein, Clinton, Webb: Exactly whom do you represent?

The passage of the Senate version of the FISA bill today – a bill which includes, amazingly, retroactive immunity from civil damages for repeated felonious violations of the Constitution – is a low point for the “Democratic” Senate of the 110th Congress.

And it leaves me wondering, just like the passage of the odious bankruptcy bill before it: Exactly WHICH constituency of those senators who voted in favor of it was clamoring for its passage?

I have video of them eating dead babies

On the White House lawn, actually.

But, hey – don’t worry; I’m not gonna get all up in a lather about it.

I mean, I don’t want to hurt our chances in November. We don’t want to give the right wing any ammunition that they might use against us, like that we’re “vengeful,” or that our releasing a video of dead-baby eating is “politically motivated,” or that congressional investigations into dead-baby eating are just more “political theater.”

Sure – “Ooooh, dead-baby eating! Oooh, the boogeyman!” I know you’re all, “Oooh, that’s un-American! How can they do that?” Well, I’d love to tell you, but if I did, I’d be revealing sources and methods that could compromise our ability to fight the terrorists. But let’s just say it involves a casserole dish, a little basil, and a 375-degree oven, and leave it at that, m’kay?

And anyway, who says dead-baby eating is a crime?  I mean, I wouldn’t want to have it done to my baby, but the Attorney General tells me he has a written opinion from the White House counsel that says that, short of being slowly roasted on a spit with an apple in their mouth, dead-baby eating does not constitute criminal behavior, and violates no international treaties that we observe.  So I’m good with that.

And like I said, it’s not like they were eating my baby. In fact, I’ve been given assurances by those in the administration that only babies with links to known terrorists were consumed.    

Important If True

Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas both – thank God – know more about what Thomas Jefferson intended than Jefferson himself did. I mean, as Tony himself has said, _______. Jefferson, on the other hand (that clueless idiot), clearly had no frickin’ clue what the Framers had in mind when he said, “I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects.  But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors” . . . Where’d you find this guy, anyway? . . .

“A ground element came under fire from that building that we had to neutralize,” Admiral Smith said. It was not clear on Friday whether American commanders knew that so many civilians were in or near the structure when they authorized the airstrike.

“The enemy has a vote here,” Admiral Smith said, “and when he chooses to surround himself with civilians and then fire upon U.S. forces, our forces have no choice but to return a commensurate amount of fire. Which is what they did last evening.”

Impeachment: Conyers Ulysses

This is the second in a series of diaries on impeachment

There was a time when House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers was a fierce warrior for impeachment. As a fourth-term congressman in 1972, Conyers was one of the first to introduce a House resolution calling for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, even before the Watergate burglary had occurred. In 1974, just after President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, Conyers wrote an essay entitled, Why Nixon Should Have Been Impeached, in which he laid out his case for an article of impeachment condemning Nixon’s illegal bombing and invasion of Cambodia, as well as the constitutional threat posed to America by the choice not to pursue impeachment.

But since taking over chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee in January 2007 – the same Judiciary Committee on which Conyers served in 1974 when its members drafted the three articles of impeachment against Nixon that were about to be voted on by the House when Nixon abruptly resigned – Conyers’ passion for impeachment has cooled considerably. Why, is anyone’s guess. One possibility might simply be Conyers’ age – he is now 78 years old, not the 42 he was when he introduced his first impeachment resolution. Another, more disturbing, possibility might be that Conyers has been pressured by the Democratic leadership in Congress to forgo talk of impeachment, for what reasons one can only imagine.

Regardless of the reason, Conyers for some time has not carried the torch he once bore. The impeachment flame burns dim in him, if it burns at all.

And yet – perhaps because I am a romantic at heart – I continue to hope. Conyers’ descent into complacency reminded me of one of my favorite poems, a poem that tells the story of a once-proud warrior who finally chafes at his now-banal existence, and resolves to undertake one last campaign, a campaign to achieve “some work of noble note” before the end. Perhaps Congressman Conyers will feel the same desire to leave a meaningful legacy:

John Conyers, 1974: Why Nixon should have been impeached

(John Conyers is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has before it House Resolution 333, calling for articles of impeachment to be drawn up against Vice President Dick Cheney.  In 1974, while a member of the Judiciary Committee, Conyers helped draft articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, articles that were about to be voted on by the full House when Nixon suddenly resigned. Conyers had been one of the most vocal and persistent proponents advocating for Nixon’s impeachment. In May 1972 he and others had taken out a two-page ad in the New York Times calling for impeachment in response to Nixon’s handling of the war in Vietnam; the Watergate burglary had not yet taken place.  The essay below appeared in the October 1974 issue of the journal, The Black Scholar. Nixon resigned in August 1974 and was pardoned the next month by President Gerald Ford.  To the best of my knowledge, this essay has never before appeared online. – o.h.)



by John Conyers, Jr.

from The Black Scholar, Vol. 6, No. 2, October 1974

Reprinted by permission of The Black Scholar

RICHARD NIXON, like the President before him, was in a real sense a casualty of the Vietnam War, a war which I am ashamed to say was never declared. Since the hearings of the House Judiciary Committee began on May 9th, 1974, we have had a professional staff of some 89 men and women gather in great detail over 42 volumes of information that was considered throughout some 57 sessions. My analysis of the evidence clearly reveals an Administration so trapped by its own war policy and a desire to remain in office that it entered into an almost unending series of plans for spying, burglary and wiretapping, inside this country and against its own citizens, and without precedent in American history.

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