"If the Obama regime does not hold the Bush regime accountable for violating U.S. and international law, then the Obama regime is complicit in the Bush regime's crimes. If the American people permit Obama to look the other way in order "to move on," the American people are also complicit in the crimes." -- Paul Craig Roberts
For the last eight years, the Bush administration lied to America about everything from warrantless wiretapping to the reasons for war with Iraq. They politicized the Justice Department. They exposed an undercover CIA agent for political retribution. They tortured in our name and held POWs in secret prisons. These are just some of what we already know about.
What's worse is that's not even the full list.
Now, Senator Patrick Leahy has started organizing support for a Truth Commission. Leahy knows that if we want Congress to keep these abuses from ever happening again, then we need to find out the truth first.
But some Democrats and Republicans are still afraid to stand up to George Bush. They want to cover up any abuses and let Bush and Cheney get away with everything. It is up to us to make sure that doesn't happen.
DEMAND CONGRESS INVESTIGATE BUSH ADMINISTRATION ABUSES NOW!
Want to see members of the Bush administration prosecuted?
Want to hold George Bush accountable for breaking the law?
Want to restore America's faith in the balance of power required in the U.S. Constitution?
None of this will happen if we don't first take the steps to uncover the truth. That's why Republicans like Rep. Lamar Smith are too scared to stand up for what's right. Smith told the Associated Press that this is just a scheme to "unjustly malign former Bush administration officials" because he's afraid of what the investigation will find.
Senator Russ Feingold gets it. Here's what he had to say in support of establishing a Truth Commission:
"Getting all the facts out about what happened over the last eight years is a crucial part of restoring the rule of law. There needs to be accountability for wrongdoing by the Bush administration, including the illegal warrantless wiretapping and interrogation programs. We cannot simply sweep these assaults on the rule of law under the rug."
Members of Congress need to hear it directly from you. Take action right now and send them the message: America demands the truth.
Thank you for everything you do,
Charles Chamberlain, Political Director Democracy for America
If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Democracy for America.
Paid for by Democracy for America, www.DemocracyforAmerica.com and not authorized by any candidate. Contributions to Democracy for America are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Link
We didn't let the top Nazis get away with it at the Nuremberg Trials, when will we get an opportunity to punish OUR war criminals at the Washington Trials? Oh, that's right, we're the Democratic Republic known as the United States of America - we can do no wrong. And if we do, we get to sweep it under the flag... uh... rug. The winners get to write the history books. But tell me, when was the last time we won anything? That's right - 1945. --DN
That's It? If Bushies Escape Justice, What's Left of the U.S.?
That's It? If Bushies Escape Justice, What's Left of the U.S.?
By Ted Rall
Created Jan 22 2009 - 9:50am
NEW YORK--That's it? Bush moves back to Texas to dote on his presidential library--while drawing a $197,000 pension? Cheney goes back to Wyoming to fish and work on his memoirs? After committing crimes so numerous and monstrous that bookshelves are already groaning under their weight, the cabal of illegitimate coup leaders who destroyed the U.S. get to tiptoe out of the rubble and go home to a comfortable retirement?
Earlier this week a senior Pentagon prosecutor openly admitted what has long been known: torture, the lowest and most criminal act any society can sanction, is official U.S. policy. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture," Judge Susan Crawford told The Washington Post about the alleged "20th hijacker" on 9/11, now being held at Gitmo. The man was so brutalized, Crawford decided, that he could not be charged in court. The same is true of many of those being held at the Guantánamo concentration camp.
None of the Bush Administration officials responsible has faced the slightest inconvenience as the result of his actions.
Donald Rumsfeld, the beast who promoted, botched and joked about a war that has killed more than a million innocent Iraqis, spent the last year as a "distinguished visiting fellow" at Stanford, cogitating about "issues pertaining to ideology and terror."
John Yoo, the Justice Department hack who wrote the memos that authorized U.S. military and intelligence personnel to torture prisoners of war, is enjoying the cozy ambiance of academe as a UC Berkeley law professor.
Colin Powell, whose 2003 lie to the U.N. ("there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more") convinced Americans who were still on the fence to support the invasion of Iraq--a misbegotten project that drove the last nail in the coffin of the U.S. economy--wiles away his days attending the meetings of various corporate boards.
If you were expecting Barack Obama to deliver justice, forget it. "I don't believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards," Obama said recently. "Look forward" is Beltwayese for "no accountability."
Obama went on to assure the men and women who tortured innocent detainees to death that no one will ever bother them about their war crimes. "And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you've got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don't want them to suddenly feel like they've got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up."
Is this what we've come to? Have Americans become so morally depraved that we condone this level of lawlessness? Have we become so weak and helpless in the face of unconscionable violations of the Bill of Rights--torture, government spies listening to our phone calls, starting wars against countries that never hurt us, looting the treasury--that we just "look forward"?
So much for the land of the free and the brave. See you around, nation of laws.
The meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, historians say, brought down the Soviet government by exposing its incompetence and powerlessness. Poor design and disaster response turned the accident into a disaster. The regime's inability to contain the problem and successfully cover it up highlighted its impotence.
"The Chernobyl catastrophe," wrote Philip Taubman in The New York Times in 1996, "was a manifestation of the political, moral and technological rot that was metastasizing in the Soviet system and would soon kill it." People stopped believing in the USSR. Then they stopped fearing it.
Should the United States collapse, historians will likely point to two events: 9/11 and Katrina. 9/11 proved the U.S. was a paper tiger, an aggressive power that can blow up the world with nuclear weapons yet can't scramble a single fighter jet to stop 19 idiots with boxcutters. The inept response to the hurricane that destroyed New Orleans was incompetence personified. The American people don't think the U.S. government cares about them. Even worse, they doubt the government could help them if it wanted to.
With the American government exposed as stupid and weak, all that remains is the American ideal: the 232-year-old democratic experiment that began with the idea that we are all equal under the law and that all human beings enjoy a set of inherent, inalienable rights--even "enemy combatants" and illegal immigrants.
If we fail to hold the elites who seized the presidency in a 2000 judicial coup d'état to account, if we say torture is no big deal, if we don't imprison men who lied and conspired to murder more than one million Iraqis and Afghans and Americans and countless others, if we let these individuals golf and fish and deliver lectures to young people as if they have done nothing wrong, then such horrors will happen again and again. I want would-be torturers to "look over their shoulders." I want them to second-guess themselves.
Even worse than that: If we don't prosecute Bush and Cheney and Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld and Yoo and Rice and Powell and scores of other top Bush officials who took part in the destruction of fundamental American values, there will be nothing--not even an idea--left of the United States.
Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?," an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America's next big foreign policy challenge.
Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.
The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.
The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.
Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.
The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
(b) War Crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation of slave labor or for any other purpose of the civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.
Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.
Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War Why our little cabal of war criminals were insistent upon NOT wanting a Declaration of War from The Congress, as provided for and mandated by our Constitution. Also why they refused to label our POW's as such, instead hiding behind the semantic invention of "enemy combatants." If they're frog-marched as prisoners, they're "interrogated" as prisoners, they're held without trial as prisoners, they're PRISONERS OF WAR! Jeezus, doesn't the past illegal, immoral Administration always and still refer to their bombings and killings and tortures and renditions and invasions and occupations of Poland and Czechoslovakia... whoops - that was the other group of Nazis - I mean Iraq and Afghanistan, as "THE *WAR* ON TERROR"?
These crooks and their lawyer thugs were always aware of the possible ramifications of what they knew were illegal actions. This is the reason for all their attempts at semantic obfuscations - to establish plausible denials at their war crimes tribunal. --DN
The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.
In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peace time, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.
The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.
Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.
2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:
(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) That of carrying arms openly;
(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
4. Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.
5. Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.
6. Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under the present Convention:
1. Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them, even though it has originally liberated them while hostilities were going on outside the territory it occupies, in particular where such persons have made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the armed forces to which they belong and which are engaged in combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made to them with a view to internment.
2. The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in the present Article, who have been received by neutral or non-belligerent Powers on their territory and whom these Powers are required to intern under international law, without prejudice to any more favourable treatment which these Powers may choose to give and with the exception of Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and, where diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the conflict and the neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned, those Articles concerning the Protecting Power. Where such diplomatic relations exist, the Parties to a conflict on whom these persons depend shall be allowed to perform towards them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the present Convention, without prejudice to the functions which these Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic and consular usage and treaties.
C. This Article shall in no way affect the status of medical personnel and chaplains as provided for in Article 33 of the present Convention.
Hiding behind skirts, as befits the little coward.
Well, pantsuits, actually. Laura, the got-away-with-it teen killer is out there polishing his, uh, "legacy." LOL.
And Condi, the "mushroom cloud" war criminal (joined the crowd long ago) shoe maven.
His handlers figured these two were the only ones left who might have an approval rating higher than the carnival shoe target (C'mon folks, step right up and try to hit the big head and dump it into the tank of blood from a million innocent Iraqis) that ANYONE might still think was a believable spokesperson... --DN
You don’t hear much from him anymore. The last image most of us remember is of the president ducking a pair of size 10s that were hurled at him in Baghdad.
We’re still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel is thrashing the Palestinians in Gaza. And the U.S. economy is about as vibrant as the 0-16 Detroit Lions.
But hardly a peep have we heard from George, the 43rd.
When Mr. Bush officially takes his leave in three weeks (in reality, he checked out long ago), most Americans will be content to sigh good riddance. I disagree. I don’t think he should be allowed to slip quietly out of town. There should be a great hue and cry — a loud, collective angry howl, demonstrations with signs and bullhorns and fiery speeches — over the damage he’s done to this country.
This is the man who gave us the war in Iraq and Guantánamo and torture and rendition; who turned the Clinton economy and the budget surplus into fool’s gold; who dithered while New Orleans drowned; who trampled our civil liberties at home and ruined our reputation abroad; who let Dick Cheney run hog wild and thought Brownie was doing a heckuva job.
The Bush administration specialized in deceit. How else could you get the public (and a feckless Congress) to go along with an invasion of Iraq as an absolutely essential response to the Sept. 11 attacks, when Iraq had had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks?
Exploiting the public’s understandable fears, Mr. Bush made it sound as if Iraq was about to nuke us: “We cannot wait,” he said, “for the final proof — the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
He then set the blaze that has continued to rage for nearly six years, consuming more than 4,000 American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. (A car bomb over the weekend killed two dozen more Iraqis, many of them religious pilgrims.) The financial cost to the U.S. will eventually reach $3 trillion or more, according to the Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz.
A year into the war Mr. Bush was cracking jokes about it at the annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents Association. He displayed a series of photos that showed him searching the Oval Office, peering behind curtains and looking under the furniture. A mock caption had Mr. Bush saying: “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.”
And then there’s the Bush economy, another disaster, a trapdoor through which middle-class Americans can plunge toward the bracing experiences normally reserved for the poor and the destitute.
Mr. Bush traveled the country in the early days of his presidency, promoting his tax cut plans as hugely beneficial to small-business people and families of modest means. This was more deceit. The tax cuts would go overwhelmingly to the very rich.
The president would give the wealthy and the powerful virtually everything they wanted. He would throw sand into the regulatory apparatus and help foster the most extreme income disparities since the years leading up to the Great Depression. Once again he was lighting a fire. This time the flames would engulf the economy and, as with Iraq, bring catastrophe.
If the U.S. were a product line, it would be seen now as deeply damaged goods, subject to recall.
There seemed to be no end to Mr. Bush’s talent for destruction. He tried to hand the piggy bank known as Social Security over to the marauders of the financial sector, but saner heads prevailed.
In New Orleans, the president failed to intervene swiftly and decisively to aid the tens of thousands of poor people who were very publicly suffering and, in many cases, dying. He then compounded this colossal failure of leadership by traveling to New Orleans and promising, in a dramatic, floodlit appearance, to spare no effort in rebuilding the flood-torn region and the wrecked lives of the victims.
He went further, vowing to confront the issue of poverty in America “with bold action.”
It was all nonsense, of course. He did nothing of the kind.
The catalog of his transgressions against the nation’s interests — sins of commission and omission — would keep Mr. Bush in a confessional for the rest of his life. Don’t hold your breath. He’s hardly the contrite sort.
He told ABC’s Charlie Gibson: “I don’t spend a lot of time really worrying about short-term history. I guess I don’t worry about long-term history, either, since I’m not going to be around to read it.”
The president chuckled, thinking — as he did when he made his jokes about the missing weapons of mass destruction — that there was something funny going on.
Republicans have abused the power of the Presidential pardon since Gerald Ford used it to preemptively pardon the criminal Richard Nixon. It was argued that Americans, with their delicate sensitivities, weren’t mature enough to cope with the idea that an elected official might face a fair and public trial for crimes he may have committed or had committed while in office.
If the JFK assassination undermined American innocence (and Gerald Ford tried to spin fairy tales about that, too), then the Nixon pardon undermined American confidence in themselves as a place where justice could be served.
Lightning struck again some 18 years later, when George Bush used the power of the pardon to kick apart the case being pursued against the criminal Ronald Reagan, and in which some scummy little felons and traitors such as Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy got to run free and sneer loudly at the country that gave them their undeserved liberty.
Losing in Vietnam didn’t do nearly as much damage to American self-respect as the sight of G. Gordon Liddy braying into his radio microphone that people should shoot federal agents in the head as a way of demonstrating their Liddy-style patriotism.
A lot of people watched this, and watched right wingers openly gloating over it, and wondered what the fuck had gone wrong with America.
And then, for the next eight years, the same vicious and amoral clowns who guffawed over the sight of Nixon lazing in the California sun and tried to make a tin hero out of the moronic Reagan tried to destroy the Clinton presidency by impeaching him over trivia.
Now, we have a crowd that makes the Nixon scummies and the Reagan sleazers look like pikers. For the past eight years, we’ve seen the most criminal and anti-American administration in history. They haven’t settled for third rate burglaries and selling arms to terrorists, no. They stole an election to get in, and then proceeded to spend years looting the national treasury, lied the country into a war whose real aim was to abet in that looting, let terrorists attack the country, refused a serious investigation into it, and used it to pass measures that slashed the rights of Americans while politicizing the judicial branch of the government, and attempted to establish one-party rule, supported by a corrupted judiciary and a crooked voting system.
And while they were at it, they committed war crimes, and gave America the same reputation the old Soviet Union used to have, of torture and unjust imprisonments without trial and secret prison camps.
They robbed the country blind, and humiliated and debased it in the process. They didn’t govern America; they didn’t even rule it. They simply raped it.
And now, mercifully, the reign of these vicious, anti-American little Republican scumbags is coming to an end.
But will any of them ever pay for their crimes? Trillions of dollars have gone missing from the common weal, either sunk into wars for profit, siphoned off to the undeserving rich, or evaporated in the implosion of a capitalist bubble that was given all the internal air pressure it wanted. Three thousand people died in 9/11, and another 5,000 Americans have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ll probably never know how many died in Iraq just for living there, or how many were herded off to American gulags to die of torture, or spend years wondering if they would ever get a trial, let alone ever be set free. Elections were suborned, and Clinton was hardly the only public servant to be attacked by the Republican slime-and-destroy machine, now in the paws of the nation’s district attorneys. At least one governor was framed and sent to jail. In today’s paper, there was a story of a indictment of Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales in which the judge, another corrupt, bent Republican stooge, actually tried to dismiss the charges before they were legally filed.
What the fuck is wrong with America, you ask? It got taken over by corrupt, amoral Republican crooks, and nobody has the balls to make them pay for their crimes. And now, they are just clinging on, hoping that the entire country won’t collapse before the mess is foisted off on President-elect Obama, and trying like hell to blame him for the situation they created.
And while they are doing that, they are waiting for Putsch’s preemptive pardons, the ones that ensure that they will never have to face their responsibility for the millions of lives lost and the trillions of dollars squandered or stolen. They’ll never have to stand in open court and explain why they insisted Saddam had nukes when he didn’t, or why NORAD was ordered to stand down on the morning of 9/11, or why Governor Siegleman was sent to jail, or why Putsch suddenly fired all those Federal attorneys and replaced them with ones willing to investigate Democratic candidates for office.
The Republicans, who laughingly describe themselves as the party of personal responsibility, desperately need those presidential pardons issued preemptively so they can skate, never pay a dime, and crow that if they were criminals, why weren’t they ever put on trial?
If that doesn’t sicken you, then you are morally bankrupt or worse, a Republican.
That’s why it is so important that impeachment proceedings be started now in the Democratic House of Representatives against George W. Bush. He won’t actually be impeached in the 58 days remaining before he leaves office, making an impeachment moot. There isn’t time.
But the Constitution, the one which grants Presidents the power to pardon, has one exception: A president may pardon, “except in cases of impeachment.” As I read it, it means that not only may a president not pardon any high public officials who are facing impeachment, but it means that a president who is facing the impeachment process may not use it in any way that could undermine the process against himself.
Putsch will abuse it and use it to take himself and his cronies off the hook. Don’t doubt that for an instant.
And don’t doubt that it will be another emotional and moral body blow to Americans, who had just regained a little self-respect and a lot of hope from electing Obama and throwing off the Republican reign of sleaze.
It isn’t just a matter of vindictiveness against Putsch, although personally I would be delighted if he spent the rest of his natural life rotting away in a jail cell. It’s because America, which has always prided itself on justice, and avenging wrongs, has faced terrible injustice and wrongs for the past eight years, and needs the opportunity to address it through rule of law, in open court, and by the standards of the civilized world.
Don’t let Putsch get away with his crimes. Impeach the little bastard now, and make him eventually face a jury to explain himself.
1. We weren't on the GOP purge list, so we got to "early" vote this past Monday.
2. We had driver's licenses, so we didn't have to use a (throwaway) "provisional" ballot.
3. We voted on a paper ballot. (YAAAAAAY for our county!)
4. We aren't in Guantanamo Bay's infamous American Gulag, yet, for, by voting the straight Democratic ticket, we are obviously not "for 'em, but against 'em."
Fasten your seat belts, Bette Davis fans, it's going to be a bumpy night. At least up until January 20th at Noon. And, uh, perhaps longer. (Can Palin spell martial law? Or potato?) Do you really trust any of these thugs? Yeah, me neither... --DN
So, from the soon to be pages of the iconic Rolling Stone Magazine, here's two of our heroes, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast:
These days, the old west rail hub of Las Vegas, New Mexico, is little more than a dusty economic dead zone amid a boneyard of bare mesas. In national elections, the town overwhelmingly votes Democratic: More than 80 percent of all residents are Hispanic, and one in four lives below the poverty line. On February 5th, the day of the Super Tuesday caucus, a school-bus driver named Paul Maez arrived at his local polling station to cast his ballot. To his surprise, Maez found that his name had vanished from the list of registered voters, thanks to a statewide effort to deter fraudulent voting. For Maez, the shock was especially acute: He is the supervisor of elections in Las Vegas.
Maez was not alone in being denied his right to vote. On Super Tuesday, one in nine Democrats who tried to cast ballots in New Mexico found their names missing from the registration lists. The numbers were even higher in precincts like Las Vegas, where nearly 20 percent of the county's voters were absent from the rolls. With their status in limbo, the voters were forced to cast "provisional" ballots, which can be reviewed and discarded by election officials without explanation. On Super Tuesday, more than half of all provisional ballots cast were thrown out statewide.
This November, what happened to Maez will happen to hundreds of thousands of voters across the country. In state after state, Republican operatives — the party's elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics — are wielding new federal legislation to systematically disenfranchise Democrats. If this year's race is as close as the past two elections, the GOP's nationwide campaign could be large enough to determine the presidency in November. "I don't think the Democrats get it," says John Boyd, a voting-rights attorney in Albuquerque who has taken on the Republican Party for impeding access to the ballot. "All these new rules and games are turning voting into an obstacle course that could flip the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states."
Suppressing the vote has long been a cornerstone of the GOP's electoral strategy. Shortly before the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Paul Weyrich — a principal architect of today's Republican Party — scolded evangelicals who believed in democracy. "Many of our Christians have what I call the 'goo goo' syndrome — good government," said Weyrich, who co-founded Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell. "They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
Today, Weyrich's vision has become a national reality. Since 2003, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, at least 2.7 million new voters have had their applications to register rejected. In addition, at least 1.6 million votes were never counted in the 2004 election — and the commission's own data suggests that the real number could be twice as high. To purge registration rolls and discard ballots, partisan election officials used a wide range of pretexts, from "unreadability" to changes in a voter's signature. And this year, thanks to new provisions of the Help America Vote Act, the number of discounted votes could surge even higher.
Passed in 2002, HAVA was hailed by leaders in both parties as a reform designed to avoid a repeat of the 2000 debacle in Florida that threw the presidential election to the U.S. Supreme Court. The measure set standards for voting systems, created an independent commission to oversee elections, and ordered states to provide provisional ballots to voters whose eligibility is challenged at the polls.
But from the start, HAVA was corrupted by the involvement of Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, who worked to cram the bill with favors for his clients. (Both Abramoff and a primary author of HAVA, former Rep. Bob Ney, were imprisoned for their role in the conspiracy.) In practice, many of the "reforms" created by HAVA have actually made it harder for citizens to cast a ballot and have their vote counted. In case after case, Republican election officials at the local and state level have used the rules to give GOP candidates an edge on Election Day by creating new barriers to registration, purging legitimate names from voter rolls, challenging voters at the polls and discarding valid ballots.
To justify this battery of new voting impediments, Republicans cite an alleged upsurge in voting fraud. Indeed, the U.S.-attorney scandal that resulted in the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales began when the White House fired federal prosecutors who resisted political pressure to drum up nonexistent cases of voting fraud against Democrats. "They wanted some splashy pre-election indictments that would scare these alleged hordes of illegal voters away," says David Iglesias, a U.S. attorney for New Mexico who was fired in December 2006. "We took over 100 complaints and investigated for almost two years — but I didn't find one prosecutable case of voter fraud in the entire state of New Mexico."
There's a reason Iglesias couldn't find any evidence of fraud: Individual voters almost never try to cast illegal ballots. The Bush administration's main point person on "ballot protection" has been Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department attorney who has advised states on how to use HAVA to erect more barriers to voting. Appointed to the Federal Election Commission by Bush, von Spakovsky has suggested that voter rolls may be stuffed with 5 million illegal aliens. In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that voter fraud is extremely rare. According to a recent analysis by Lorraine Minnite, an expert on voting crime at Barnard College, federal courts found only 24 voters guilty of fraud from 2002 to 2005, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast. "The claim of widespread voter fraud," Minnite says, "is itself a fraud."
Allegations of voter fraud are only the latest rationale the GOP has used to disenfranchise voters — especially blacks, Hispanics and others who traditionally support Democrats. "The Republicans have a long history of erecting barriers to discourage Americans from voting," says Donna Brazile, chair of the Voting Rights Institute for the Democratic National Committee. "Now they're trying to spook Americans with the ghost of voter fraud. It's very effective — but it's ironic that the only way they maintain power is by using fear to deprive Americans of their constitutional right to vote." The recently enacted barriers thrown up to deter voters include:
1. Obstructing Voter-Registration Drives
Since 2004, the Bush administration and more than a dozen states have taken steps to impede voter registration. Among the worst offenders is Florida, where the Republican-dominated legislature created hefty fines — up to $5,000 per violation — for groups that fail to meet deadlines for turning in voter-application forms. Facing potentially huge penalties for trivial administrative errors, the League of Women Voters abandoned its voter-registration drives in Florida. A court order eventually forced the legislature to reduce the maximum penalty to $1,000. But even so, said former League president Dianne Wheatley-Giliotti, the reduced fines "create an unfair tax on democracy." The state has also failed to uphold a federal law requiring that low-income voters be offered an opportunity to register when they apply for food stamps or other public assistance. As a result, the annual number of such registrations has plummeted from more than 120,000 in the Clinton years to barely 10,000 today.
2. Demanding "Perfect Matches"
Under the Help America Vote Act, some states now reject first-time registrants whose data does not correspond to information in other government databases. Spurred by HAVA, almost every state must now attempt to make some kind of match — and four states, including the swing states of Iowa and Florida, require what is known as a "perfect match." Under this rigid framework, new registrants can lose the right to vote if the information on their voter-registration forms — Social Security number, street address and precisely spelled name, right down to a hyphen — fails to exactly match data listed in other government records.
There are many legitimate reasons, of course, why a voter's information might vary. Indeed, a recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that as many as 20 percent of discrepancies between voter records and driver's licenses in New York City are simply typing mistakes made by government clerks when they transcribe data. But under the new rules, those mistakes are costing citizens the right to vote. In California, a Republican secretary of state blocked 43 percent of all new voters in Los Angeles from registering in early 2006 — many because of the state's failure to produce a tight match. In Florida, GOP officials created "match" rules that rejected more than 15,000 new registrants in 2006 and 2007 — nearly three-fourths of them Hispanic and black voters. Given the big registration drives this year, the number could be five times higher by November.
3. Purging Legitimate Voters From the Rolls
The Help America Vote Act doesn't just disenfranchise new registrants; it also targets veteran voters. In the past, bipartisan county election boards maintained voter records. But HAVA requires that records be centralized, computerized and maintained by secretaries of state — partisan officials — who are empowered to purge the rolls of any voter they deem ineligible. Ironically, the new rules imitate the centralized system in Florida — the same corrupt operation that inspired passage of HAVA in the first place. Prior to the 2000 election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and her predecessor, both Republicans, tried to purge 57,000 voters, most of them African-Americans, because their names resembled those of persons convicted of a crime. The state eventually acknowledged that the purges were improper — two years after the election.
Rather than end Florida-style purges, however, HAVA has nationalized them. Maez, the elections supervisor in New Mexico, says he was the victim of faulty list management by a private contractor hired by the state. Hector Balderas, the state auditor, was also purged from the voter list. The nation's youngest elected Hispanic official, Balderas hails from Mora County, one of the poorest in the state, which had the highest rate of voters forced to cast provisional ballots. "As a strategic consideration," he notes, "there are those that benefit from chaos" at the ballot box.
All told, states reported scrubbing at least 10 million voters from their rolls on questionable grounds between 2004 and 2006. Colorado holds the record: Donetta Davidson, the Republican secretary of state, and her GOP successor oversaw the elimination of nearly one of every six of their state's voters. Bush has since appointed Davidson to the Election Assistance Commission, the federal agency created by HAVA, which provides guidance to the states on "list maintenance" methods.
4. Requiring Unnecessary Voter ID's
Even if voters run the gauntlet of the new registration laws, they can still be blocked at the polling station. In an incident last May, an election official in Indiana denied ballots to 10 nuns seeking to vote in the Democratic primary because their driver's licenses or passports had expired. Even though Indiana has never recorded a single case of voter-ID fraud, it is one of two dozen states that have enacted stringent new voter-ID statutes.
On its face, the requirement to show a government-issued ID doesn't seem unreasonable. "I want to cash a check to pay for my groceries, I've got to show a little bit of ID," Karl Rove told the Republican National Lawyers Association in 2006. But many Americans lack easy access to official identification. According to a recent study for the Election Law Journal, young people, senior citizens and minorities — groups that traditionally vote Democratic — often have no driver's licenses or state ID cards. According to the study, one in 10 likely white voters do not possess the necessary identification. For African-Americans, the number lacking such ID is twice as high.
5. Rejecting "Spoiled" Ballots
Even intrepid voters who manage to cast a ballot may still find their vote discounted. In 2004, election officials discarded at least 1 million votes nationwide after classifying them as "spoiled" because blank spaces, stray marks or tears made them indecipherable to voting machines. The losses hit hardest among minorities in low-income precincts, who are often forced to vote on antiquated machines. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, in its investigation of the 2000 returns from Florida, found that African-Americans were nearly 10 times more likely than whites to have their ballots rejected, a ratio that holds nationwide.
Proponents of HAVA claimed the law would correct the spoilage problem by promoting computerized balloting. Yet touch-screen systems have proved highly unreliable — especially in minority and low-income precincts. A statistical analysis of New Mexico ballots by a voting-rights group called VotersUnite found that Hispanics who voted by computer in 2004 were nearly five times more likely to have their votes unrecorded than those who used paper ballots. In a close election, such small discrepancies can make a big difference: In 2004, the number of spoiled ballots in New Mexico — 19,000 — was three times George Bush's margin of victory.
6. Challenging "Provisional" Ballots
In 2004, an estimated 3 million voters who showed up at the polls were refused regular ballots because their registration was challenged on a technicality. Instead, these voters were handed "provisional" ballots, a fail-safe measure mandated by HAVA to enable officials to review disputed votes. But for many officials, resolving disputes means tossing ballots in the trash. In 2004, a third of all provisional ballots — as many as 1 million votes — were simply thrown away at the discretion of election officials.
Many voters are given provisional ballots under an insidious tactic known as "vote caging," which uses targeted mailings to disenfranchise black voters whose addresses have changed. In 2004, despite a federal consent order forbidding Republicans from engaging in the practice, the GOP sent out tens of thousands of letters to "confirm" the addresses of voters in minority precincts. If a letter was returned for any reason — because the voter was away at school or serving in the military — the GOP challenged the voter for giving a false address. One caging operation was exposed when an RNC official mistakenly sent the list to a parody site called GeorgeWBush.org — instead of to the official campaign site GeorgeWBush.com.
In the century following the Civil War, millions of black Americans in the Deep South lost their constitutional right to vote, thanks to literacy tests, poll taxes and other Jim Crow restrictions imposed by white officials. Add up all the modern-day barriers to voting erected since the 2004 election — the new registrations thrown out, the existing registrations scrubbed, the spoiled ballots, the provisional ballots that were never counted — and what you have is millions of voters, more than enough to swing the presidential election, quietly being detached from the electorate by subterfuge.
"Jim Crow was laid to rest, but his cousins were not," says Donna Brazile. "We got rid of poll taxes and literacy tests but now have a second generation of schemes to deny our citizens their franchise." Come November, the most crucial demographic may prove to be Americans who have been denied the right to vote. If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat John McCain at the polls — they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering.
Contributing editor Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is one of the nation's leading voting-rights advocates. His article "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" [RS 1002] sparked widespread scrutiny of vote tampering. Greg Palast, who broke the story on Florida's illegal voter purges in the 2000 election, is the author of "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." For more information, visit No Voter Left Behind and Steal Back Your Vote.
<><><><><><><><><><> I took a break. I should not be doing that while the bush/cheney War on America rages on. The dictatorship isn't in time-out. Corporate/State fascism rolls on 24/7.
I salve my conscience with many reasons to just stop. But there's really only one. Despair. Utter despair. Total despair. "They" haven't yet threatened to drag me off to the Boxcar Caravan to Leavenworth as yet, so why bother? Just wallow in despair.
Shame on me.
Is a general strike the answer? Interesting. Intriguing. Possible? Worth a shot? Sure... but convince me. Convince me that the "Reality Show" numbed and dumbed-down general populace of what used to be America could EVER be convinced, after listening to lie upon lie from their "leaders" for the last 7 years, that anything "needs" to be done, never mind "should" be done.
Yeah, I guess if we ALL (or at least MOST) of us stopped buying the crap from China-Mart for a few days, and called in sick every day to the few jobs left in Amerika worth the time to labor at, and stopped driving ANYWHERE except maybe to a doctor's office or a hospital to be treated for the illnesses the corporate fascists have polluted our bodies and minds with over decades of being allowed to "police themselves"... but hey - don't get me started...
Read Mr. Cormier's urgent treatise below. Do something, especially bombard your Congresscritter's office with phone calls, letters and e-mails, demanding they impeach the war criminals and start listening to common sense and reasoning for once. Good luck to us all, but only if we make our own luck.
Oh, and don't forget to remind our largest corporate enablers, (because they 'are one') the so-called "Main Stream" Media, that we really don't need their stupid catering to the lowest common denominator junk "news." We need them to do the job they're supposed to be doing, holding liars and war-mongers' feet to the fire... --DN
Tag(s): American Facism; American Foreign Policy; American Peoples Congress; Congress; Courage; Democracy; Democracy; Future; Impeachment; Lies; Politicians; Solidarity; Strike Add to My Group April 13, 2008 at 03:00:55
Headlined on 4/13/08: Can Americans Stop Bush/Cheney From Attacking Iran? The Answer is Yes!
by William Cormier Page 1 of 1 page
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The above may seem like a bold statement, but I believe it’s true. The United States of America is operated and kept alive by the American people, not the politicians that rape, pillage, and spend our money and our most precious resource, America’s brave soldiers that fight these illegal wars. Many of our “volunteer military” are not in the fight because of patriotism - but to support their families and seek GI benefits that will allow them to attend college when they leave the armed services.
Our economy is already in ruins, food and gas are becoming luxuries to the poorest families in America, and the middle-class is disappearing faster than Bush’s approval ratings. Millions of us are facing foreclosure, while the oil companies post profits that are obscene - and still receive huge government subsidies. The average American is now becoming aware that Bush and Cheney are war criminals, yet Congress refuses to impeach them, even though there is a mountain of evidence that supports their immediate impeachment, indictment, and incarceration for breaking our own and international laws. Congress is worthless, and as bad as Bush’s ratings are, Congress rates worse, symptoms that the public has lost respect and hope that any of them will find the courage to do what’s right! The only thing left to stop the destruction of our country and another war is the people themselves - but first, they have to know what to do. As we stated over a year ago, its time that America’s premier alternative news sites, Blogs, and every individual on the Internet get busy and come together in solidarity to take back our country.
Why, as we face the utter destruction of our economy and the American way of life do we refuse to come together in solidarity? We have witnessed other countries fighting bloody wars to seek democracy, yet we, who used to have it all, refuse to lift a finger in a meaningful way that would bring about change? Have we forgotten who we are - or how powerful we are when we speak as one? I am not a radical; I don’t believe that it takes violence to retrieve our democracy - but it does take all of us to work together, and the only way that it can be accomplished is if those that disseminate the news and commentary on the Internet band together and tell the people “how” we can force Congress to take action. Yes, I said force Congress to impeach Bush, Cheney, and Pelosi, a triple impeachment - and one that will send a message to the next President that believes that his will is more important than that of the people he is supposed to serve.!
It is vital that we understand what a war with Iran would mean to our country; Gas would likely reach five dollars or more per gallon, raising our food prices even more and would cause unimaginable suffering to the American people. Food will become scarce, and the food riots we hear of in other countries would surely visit us with a vengeance. The draft would likely be reinstated, and even more of America’s sons and daughters will die in a war that is the desire of Bush, Cheney, and Israel, not the American people. The Iraq War and mismanagement by the Bush administration has already brought us to our knees; what would another war with Iran bring to the American people? What if Bush’s folly escalates to World War III? What then? There has never been a time in the history of this nation when America has been in this much danger, all brought on by Neo-conservatives that have infiltrated our government - and still, Congress refuses to protect the people. There is a time for talk and there is a time for action, and now it’s time that “we the people” take the action necessary to force Congress to impeach all three that were named above, among several others - and then, if we want to regain any semblance of respect throughout the global community, hand all of them over to The Hague to be judged by the international community as the war criminals they are! Be sure of one fact; The Hague has cells awaiting all of them, and all it takes is for the American people to act in unison to make it a reality instead of a dream! Remember, only a dreamer can have a dream come true!
How do we accomplish this seemingly impossible feat that Congress can’t do themselves? Actually, it’s relatively easy; however it will take the courage and tenacity of those whom we look to for our news and commentary - and if they refuse to help, then, like Congress, their words and actions ring hollow as well…
Imagine The Huffington Post, BuzzFlash, Op-Ed News, Capitol Hill Blue, Raw Story, AfterDowningStreet.org, Rense.com, The BRAD BLOG, The Daily KOS, The Smirking Chimp, TV News and Lies, Alex Jones, Michael Moore, and the huge amount of Hollywood celebrities that could contribute to this cause! What if they all published editorials in unison calling for a general strike that would effectively halt all commerce and services throughout the United States? How would Congress react then? What choice would they have? This country cannot operate without you and me, the “average people” who don’t have a voice in government - but who could effectively, in a non-violent manner, shut-down this country until Congress is forced to do their damn jobs!
We could configure the strike to keep emergency services operating as usual, but non-essential transportation, stores, you name it - could all be shut-down IF all of the above sites would come together in a show of solidarity to save the American way of life. We have the ability to force Congress to do their jobs, but in order to do so, those who are constantly going off in different directions would have to agree that our future is more important than each of their private concerns, which do nothing to stave-off this war which appears to be approaching sometime before the November elections. I have heard on numerous occasions how cowardly the French are, and I’ve also heard the nasty jokes that state the French never fight, but always surrender - just as our Congress has done! Reality tells another story, one of protests, strikes and civil disobedience, traits that once were the hallmark of our democracy, yet seem to have been forgotten as we slide into fascism and complacency.
I wrote about this subject two years ago and was ignored; in fact, it actually angered some of the sites in question; why I don’t know, except that none were willing to agree on anything of substance - mirroring Congress in their indecision and abdication of their sworn duty to serve the people who voted them into office. I love my country and consider myself to be a patriot, and witnessing the country you love sliding into a police state is heartbreaking as well as frightening - but if we would only stop the partisan bickering for this one moment, we could make history, and with a little luck, survive the Bush administration, and we may actually live to see justice being served as it should.
All of you who are reading this post can make a difference. Paste and copy this article and send it to your favorite site and ask them to participate in organizing a general strike - not two months from now, but as quickly a it can be organized. If the majority of the Liberal/Progressive community would participate and urge all of the sites to join-in in solidarity, Bush and Cheney could be facing impeachment as soon as a couple of weeks from now, if not sooner. This is our country, and it doesn’t belong to the lobbyists, the politicians, or the corporations who believe they have the right to control our lives. This is a fight for our freedom as well as our children’s future.
It’s also important to remember that paid government propagandists have infiltrated the Digg Community, Reddit, and almost all of the social networking sites to spread disinformation and propaganda. Pay them no attention. They are liars and traitors, each and every one of them who support this illegal government - and believe me, they will attempt to lead you in another direction, one that will guarantee that Bush and Cheney succeed in destroying the country that most of us love and cherish.
I am nothing more than a patriotic American that is doing whatever I can to further the cause of democracy, the rule of law, and am absolutely outraged on how the Bush administration is defying our Congress, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights! Footnote: I write in a style that I believe is appropriate in today's world where we can't trust the Mainstream News Media, and rather than concentrating on one article alone, which may or may not receive the exposure and emphasis it should, I prefer to meld several relevant stories together, that each taken alone may not expose the entire situation, but when taken-in as a whole, tend to give the reader a better understanding of the subject. One article or story alone does not represent the "Big Picture" - but when several are effectively tied-together it often reveals a trend or broader view of the subject matter that is important to completely understand any given situation. http://justanothercoverup.com/
Today, there is a genuine opportunity -- the first in a long time -- for Senate Democrats to take a meaningful stand against the lawlessness of the Bush administration. Whether they are willing to take this stand largely depends upon how much citizen demand they hear from Americans like you and me.
The Bush administration has been trying to bully Congress into passing a law that would legalize vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers for the President to spy on Americans. The law also provides full immunity to telecommunications companies which enabled the Bush administration to spy on you without the warrants required by law.
Worse, if telecom amnesty were granted, it would result in the immediate dismissal of numerous lawsuits against the telecoms, thus extinguishing the only remaining means for discovering what our Government really was doing over the last seven years as it illegally spied on our telephone conversations and emails.
Last week, it looked as though enough Senate Democrats were going to vote in favor of the Bush plan in order to pass this radical bill. But a funny thing happened on the way to the latest Democratic capitulation: Republicans tried to block the Senate from voting on ANY of the Democrats' proposed amendments and are trying to force a quick vote on the bill.
Now, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrats are vowing to filibuster and block the Senate from voting on Monday. If the Democrats can sustain a filibuster and prevent passage of this bill, this would be a major defeat for Bush and the Senate Republicans. But because there are numerous Democratic Senators still wavering, it is unclear if a filibuster can be sustained. That's where you come in.
Please call your senators and demand they filibuster to stop telecom immunity right now:
(If, like me, you live in Paradise-slip-sliding-away, call these guys... --DN)
Senator Mel Martinez (202) 224-3041
Senator Bill Nelson (202) 224-5274
After you call, please report how it went here: www.DemocracyforAmerica.com/FisaCallReport
The more people who call the wavering Democratic Senators -- and even potential pro-filibuster Republicans -- and urge them to support a filibuster of the new FISA bill, the higher the likelihood is that the filibuster will be sustained. Let them hear your opposition to new warrantless eavesdropping powers and amnesty for lawbreaking telecoms.
I will be live-blogging the proceedings on Monday at my blog on Salon.com and you can follow developments there. It has been a long, long time since Senate Democrats won anything and a victory on Monday could be a critically important win for real accountability and the rule of law.
Great news! Our campaign is working. Senators Clinton and Obama both announced last night that they WILL show up to the Senate today and FIGHT to stop immunity for telecommunication companies who spied on Americans. Now we need to make sure we back them up. Please call your senators right now!
Forward this e-mail | Subscribe to PFAW Action Alerts PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY January 28, 2008
Our timeline's been accelerated -- an important vote is happening in the Senate TODAY that could end debate on the Intelligence Committee version of FISA Amendments Act (S. 2248) and send this terrible bill toward passage.
After several days of debate, the bill still includes retroactive immunity for telecom companies and undermines due process rights by not guaranteeing individualized warrants.
A cloture vote (requiring 60 votes to pass) on a "managers' amendment" is coming up and will decide if S. 2248 is to move forward. Your senator may be a critical swing vote and that one vote could make a difference.
Tell your Senator to vote against cloture on the managers' amendment and stop S. 2248.
Please call NOW. In a few hours it might be too late.
Find your senator on the target list below and call now:
Arkansas - Sen. Mark Pryor: 202-224-2353 Colorado - Sen. Ken Salazar: 202-224-5852 Connecticut - Sen. Joe Lieberman: 202-224-4041 Delaware - Sen. Tom Carper: 202-224-2441 Florida - Sen. Bill Nelson: 202-224-5274 Hawaii - Sen. Daniel Inouye: 202-224-3934 Indiana - Sen. Evan Bayh: 202-224-5623 Louisiana - Sen. Mary Landrieu: 202-224-5824 Maryland - Sen. Barbara Mikulski: 202-224-4654 Missouri - Sen. Claire McCaskill: 202-224-6154 Nebraska - Sen. Ben Nelson: 202-224-6551 South Dakota - Sen. Tim Johnson: 202-224-5842 West Virginia - Sen. Jay Rockefeller: 202-224-5323 (If you have trouble with any of these numbers, try the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.)
Here's some extra talking points that may be of use:
By authorizing government spies to bypass the process mandated by FISA, President Bush told them to break the law. The so-called "Protect America Act," which passed in August, made the situation worse by sanctioning a legal infrastructure under which American citizens might unwittingly be subject to daily, repeated invasions of privacy or violations of other constitutional rights. All parties involved must be held accountable for any illegal activity, including telecommunications companies (telecoms) that satisfied government requests for information about private communications. It is unacceptable that the FISA reform being debated now seeks blanket immunity for the telecoms' alleged complicity in the administration's actions. In protecting the telecoms, the Bush administration is protecting itself. Immunity compromises will not serve the interests of the American people. Congress should err on the side of our Constitution and not bow to political pressure by signing off on telecom immunity. Thank you for your activism!
...but he can't do it alone in the House. Please write YOUR Congressperson and let them know how much the concept of democracy and the rule of law means to YOU. Thanks!
Impeach cheney... --DN
Last night, I took to the floor of the House of Representatives and outlined our case as to why this Congress must hold immediate hearings on Rep. Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment.
I didn’t do it alone: I was armed with nearly 200,000 signatures of support from you and so many others. Please watch the video of this speech and forward it to as many people as possible. I've posted it on the front page of www.WexlerWantsHearings.com
This morning, I delivered letters to all of my colleagues in the House of Representatives, urging them to support Cheney Impeachment Hearings. You can read a copy of both the letter to my colleagues as well as the letter to Chairman Conyers I am asking them to sign at: http://www.wexlerforcongress.com/news.asp?ItemID=230
Additionally, I have delivered to my colleagues in the Judiciary Committee a list of names who have signed up at www.WexlerWantsHearings.com. We now have almost 200,000 patriotic Americans dedicated to this cause.
We are beginning to make some progress. I have urged the Democratic Leadership to enforce the subpoenas being ignored by Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten by holding them in contempt of Congress.
This fight is not over. You must continue the pressure on your representatives and the media, or Congress will take no notice. That would be a historic mistake – one we must prevent Congress from making.
We stand at a critical juncture in our efforts. Forget all of those arguments that it is too late or that we have run out of time. You can’t run the clock out on our Constitution. Those of us dedicated to this fight – Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the online community, and millions of patriotic Americans – will keep the pressure on.
I will be furiously lobbying my fellow members of Congress to get behind these efforts and sign onto my letter to Chairman Conyers.
Please continue to spread the word and help deliver accountability to the corrupt Bush-Cheney administration.
Jan 15, 2008(The Politico) Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) is urging the House Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment hearings against Vice President Dick Cheney, despite opposition from House Democratic leaders.
Wexler, who first gained national attention for defending former President Bill Clinton during his impeachment in 1998, said Cheney has to be ousted in order to restore the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches, which in his view, has been eroded by an ever-expanding claim of authority under Cheney and President Bush.
"There's a litany of issues that need to be heard," Wexler said. "This administration has abused the power of executive privilege. This administration has completely avoided testifying before Congress on any one of a host of six, seven, eight issues.
“Whether we are talking about the manipulation of intelligence on Iraq,” he went on, “whether we are talking about the outing of a covert CIA agent, whether we're talking about the illegal use of torture, whether we're talking about the potentially unlawful firing of U.S. prosecutors - on all of these issues, the administration has thus far successfully used the power of executive privilege."
But impeachment hearings would be different, Wexler said, since the White House could not raise a privilege claim in order to avoid answering questions from lawmakers.
"In an impeachment hearing, the administration does not have the power of executive privilege," Wexler said, noting that the secret tapes that helped bring down President Richard Nixon did not surface until the House Judiciary Committee began impeachment hearings.
The House voted on Nov. 6 on a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to bring articles of impeachment against Cheney for pushing for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, repeatedly suggesting that there ties between al Qaeda and the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and advocating military action to overthrow Iran.
When Republicans, in a bid to embarrass House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders, voted for the measure, the House was thrown into a brief deadlock. The measure was eventually approved and sent to the Judiciary Committee, where Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) has declined to take action, despite pressure from Wexler and liberal activists outside Congress.