Monthly Archives: May 2007

Let’s Impeach Bush and Cheney

The following is a blog entry by Carl Wolfson of AM 620 KPOJ Portland’s Progressive Radio. He is a Radio Personality on the morning program w/ Thom Hartmann and Heidi Tauber. His blog is available here.
(I usually don’t like to re-post someone’s work, but Mr. Wolfson’s post on Impeachment of May 25th is required reading as far as I’m concerned. I also encourage everyone to download the AM 620 KPOJ podcast here or at Itunes. Parts of the program are regional matters of the Northwest, but it also touches on national issues and progressive issues. It’s free and it’s great.)

Impeach!

Friday 05-25-2007 4:13am PT

You won’t hear this in the corporate media, but the grassroots push to IMPEACH George Bush and Dick Cheney is growing.

Eighty cities or towns have passed impeachment resolutions, most recently, Detroit.

Impeachment has been introduced into 10 state legislatures. The Vermont Senate passed its resolution.

The national Green Party backs impeachment.

Fourteen state Democratic parties are on record for impeachment: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

California’s declaration is typical, and accuses Bush and Cheney of:

1) Using false information to justify the invasion of Iraq

2) Authorizing the torture of prisoners of war

3) Authorizing wiretaps on U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant

4) Disclosing the name of an undercover CIA operative

5) Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus by ordering the indefinite detention of so-called enemy combatants

6) Using signing statements to ignore or circumvent more than 750 congressional statutes

For the record, Bush has violated these laws:

Title 50 United States Code, Section 1805, the FISA law regulating wiretaps

Title 18 United States Code, Section 113C, the Federal Torture Act

Title 18 United States Code, Section 371, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Congress about Iraq

He has also violated:

The UN Charter and Nuremberg Charter by invading Iraq

The Geneva Convention by torturing prisoners and holding them without counsel

What kind of democracy are we – and what face do we show to

the world – if we allow a lawbreaker of this magnitude to sit in

the Oval Office?

“What kind of a democracy are we–” if we are too scared of terrorists or of political backlash to use constitutional tools to remove, or attempt to remove, suspected criminals from High Office? We cannot afford to be afraid. The stakes all too high. the United States of America will be even more damaged by letting Bush and Cheney serve their full terms. 600 more days of a criminal regime in the White House is unacceptable.

Strong action is required on the past of our elected leaders in Congress. I was dumbfounded when newly-elected Speaker of the House Nanci Pelosi (D-Ca) declared soon after the Democratic Majority Congress took office in January 2007 that Impeachment of the President was “off the table.” Concurrent with this statement Articles of Impeachment information disappeared from Rep. John Conyers’ (D-MI) Congressional website. This is the same John Conyers that stated at an Peace/Anti-War March in Washington D.C. on January 27, 2007 that “he (President Bush) can’t fire us–but we can fire him.”

Here is another voice from that same March who dramatically but effectively laid out the case for impeachment, actor and activist Tim Robbins:

“Let’s get him out of office before he starts ruling from a bunker. Let’s get him out of office before the only one on his side is his dog Barney. Nixon, Richard Nixon, talked to the walls. Bush is talking to God. But it’s not a god I recognize. This god seems to be giving George a pass on some of his major commandments. This god seems to be OK with lying or bearing witness, as he puts it, against the US Congress, against the United States people, against the world, bearing false witness on weapons of mass destruction, bearing false witness on nuclear capability, bearing false witness on the imminent threat of Saddam, bearing false witness on the links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

This god seems to be giving George a pass on stealing, stealing the resources of the Iraqi people, on squandering the hard-earned tax dollars of United States citizens for an unnecessary war! Money that could be used to intelligently fight against terrorism is squandered in a way and in a war that creates more terrorists. Money that could be helping the elderly, the poor, the infirm here at home is instead lining the pockets of war profiteers from Halliburton and private mercenary militias like Blackwater. But George’s god says, “That’s cool, George.” His god tells him to honor his father and mother, but when his father tells him not to occupy Iraq, George’s god counsels him to ignore his father.

My hopes for justice were reignited when I first heard of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s plan to introduce articles of impeachment against VP Cheney, followed closely by the impeachment of President Bush. Rep. Kucinich’s evidence for impeachment is available on his Congressional website here.

From Wikipedia, regarding impeachment:

“The impeachment procedure is in two steps. The House of Representatives must first pass ‘articles of impeachment’ by a simple majority. (All fifty state legislatures as well as the District of Columbia city council may also pass articles of impeachment against their own executives.) The articles of impeachment constitute the formal allegations. Upon their passage, the defendant has been ‘impeached.’ “

Repeat after me, Democratic House: “a simple majority.” A SIMPLE MAJORITY of Reps is all that’s needed to pass articles of impeachment against Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney. Democrats hold a majority in the House. Bush’s approval rating is 25-32% and falling, and Cheney’s is around 8%. Politically, its a no-brainer. History shows us that Democrats made gains in the House and Senate following the Watergate scandal that let to a House Committee RECOMMENDING impeachment (President Nixon resigned before the impeachment process began in the full House). Pass articles of impeachment. IMPEACH the VP and President. Let the Senate try the criminals. Its extremely doubtful a supermajority of Senators will convict, but who cares. The scandal of an impeachment should be enough to force Cheney and Bush to resign in shame. After their resignations or convictions a much needed “national healing” can begin–and the new Commander and Chief can begin fixing–or attempt to fix–all of Bush’s blunders.

What are we waiting for? Pester your elected Representitives to support Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeachment of VP Cheney–or a plan of their own. The time to act is now.

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Monica Goodling on "Caging"

I listened to The AM 620 KPOJ Morning program w/Thom Hartmann of May 24, 2007 last night at work. Thom and co. had Rep. Brian Baird of Washington State on and Tom informed him of Monica Goodling’s testimony regarding Tim Griffin, Karl Rove’s protege and current US Attorney, Arkansas Eastern District, and the “caging” lists of the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections.

For those who don’t know, caging is an underhanded, and ILLEGAL political tactic (used exclusively by the Republican party) of sending certified letters to minority voters with the instruction “do not forward” on the envelope. If the letter is returned to the sending RNC office, that voter is challenged when they try to vote or send an absentee ballot. An overwhelming majority of those targeted with this dirty trick are minority voters–and–as reported by Greg Palast, many are enlisted military currently serving overseas (and therefore not able to be at their home address to sign for their certified letter from Karl Rove). This practice is ILLEGAL when used to target a specific race/ethnic group. A 1986 ruling forbids the Republican party from engaging in this activity. Brad Friedman at Bradblog covers this much better than I, check out his report here. Much more inportant information on caging in its use in tipping (rigging) the Presidential Elections of 2000 and 2004 can be found in Greg Palast’s books: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse. Both are available now in paperback from Penguin books.

Gonzo and Goodling

Returning to Tom Hartmann’s interview with Rep Baird, I was shocked at Rep. Baird’s seeming dismissiveness and/or ignorance of the significance of the Goodling revelation about Tim Griffin and the caging lists. As per usual, the Democrats–or at least this one–seem(ed) unable or unwilling to fight back against the GOP, even when the facts, the law, and public opinion are on their side–and the issue at hand has nothing to do with the Global War on Terrorism, National Defense, Supporting our Troops, or any other issue they don’t want to appear “weak” or divisive on. Hartmann referred to Griffin’s list as the “smoking gun”. The House Committee needs to revisit this bit of testimony at length until all the sordid details of Griffin and Rove’s caging lists come out. Caging is not only un-American, immoral and repugnant–it is ILLEGAL.

Tim Griffin, US Attorney, Arkansas Eastern District

If exposed by our elected leaders, this slip on Goodling’s part could be like Pandora peeking into her gift box from the Greek gods. One teeny-tiny-little peek and all the foul troubles of the world–or, in this case, all of the Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld/Rice/Griffin high crimes and misdemeanors–will come pouring out of said box in an unstoppable torrent.

So maybe Goodling did have the “keys to the kingdom”–or, at least, the keys to the White House’s footlocker of dirty tricks.

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Filed under bradblog, caging, karl rove, monica goodling, thom hartmann, tim griffin, voter fraud

My Pick For The Next Attorney General

My wife’s discovered a new philosophy called “the secret”, where she wills things to happen through positive thinking. She says that one cannot be negative in their thoughts less they create negativity. It seems new-age-y and silly, but what the hey, what’s wrong with new-age-y and silly? With that in mind, I have a thought: Pretty soon we’re going to need a new Attorney General because current AG Alberto Gonzales is going to have an epiphany and resign. When this happens, we’ll need a man of strong character and conviction and with a legal acumen. I submit for your approval, my choice for the next Attorney General of these United States of America:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.




OOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM* (That’s me channeling my positive thought energy to make this a reality. Cross your fingers.)

In the meantime, listen to RFK JR’s radio program, Ring of Fire, here–or visit the Air America Radio website here and sample their other fine programs.

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Filed under air america radio, attorney general, RFK JR, snark

MSNBC Online Poll: 88% Say Impeach Bush

MSNBC.com is conducting an online poll you might be interested in. The question: Should Bush be impeached? The results: 88% of over 446,000 voters think yes. Please note MSNBC disclaimer states online polls are not scientifically accurate. Regardless, hundreds of thousands of people think Bush has committed impeachable offenses.

Cast your vote, click here.

Live Vote

Do you believe President Bush’s actions justify impeachment? * 446060 responses
Yes, between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to war and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial.
88%
No, like any president, he has made a few missteps, but nothing approaching “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
4.4%
No, the man has done absolutely nothing wrong. Impeachment would just be a political lynching.
5.9%
I don’t know.
1.9%
Not a scientific survey. Click to learn more. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

Draw your own conclusions on this one. Vote in this poll by clicking here.

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Filed under Bush, Impeachment, msnbc online poll

Be Prepared to Puke and Cry Your Eyes Out.


Staff Sgt. Darrell Ray Griffin Jr.
(1971-2007)

Well–I did cry and I felt nauseous after reading the following article in the May 13, 2007 issue of U.S. News and World Report: Emails Reveal a Fallen Soldier’s Story. I strongly recommend anyone and everyone read the full article here. The fallen soldier’s name is Darrell Ray Griffin Jr., Staff Sgt. US Army, and he died on March 21, 2007 in Sadr City, Iraq–killed by a sniper’s bullet.

I’d heard previously on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! program of how horrible the battle against the “Heaven’s Army” in Najaf was, but reading about it in the emails of a soldier on the ground was even worse.

Here are some excerpts of the article by Alex Kingsbury for U.S. News and World Report. Text in blue is verbatim from the web logs of Army Staff Sgt. Darrell Ray Griffin Jr. (1971-2007, killed in action on March 21, 2007 in Sadr City, Iraq):

Then there were pictures of the clash in Najaf in late January, with panoramic shots of the rows of weapons that were seized and the rows of corpses. “I’d never seen anything like it,” Griffin said. “The destruction was almost biblical.” He wrote about that battle, too.

My squad and I along with my platoon leader 1LT Weber established a strongpoint at the first corner that we approached. I noticed a mutilated child thrown against a wall from random bomb blasts and as I was setting my machine gunner for security, a man was trying to get out of the village with a dead baby in his arms, holding her as if she was still alive along with his wife who could barely walk because her face had been torn open by the bombing.

There was so much sensory overload as to the horrific that I was forced to make my squad work in cycles stacking bodies so that they would not have any mental breakdowns. Our local [Iraqi] interpreter “Ricki” even vomited from seeing this macabre spectacle. I knew that as U.S. forces in Iraq, we were definitely now in an even more unpredictable and unstable environment than I had thought prior to this.

. . .

The desert sun was bright, and he wore a pair of dark glasses, which covered his eyes but couldn’t conceal a spasmodic muscle tic in his face. He was quite self-conscious about the tic, he confessed, but shrugged it off. “That’s what happens after two combat tours in Iraq.”

. . .

While the books were helping him think, events on the ground were changing him. “I can’t wait to see you guys,” he wrote home to his father in April 2005. “I will not be right for sometime when all this is over. I have done some things that will haunt me for a long time to come and pray that G-d will forgive me for having done them. Let’s just say that the enemy can start to appear in the very people that you are here to ‘help.'”

. . .

We took some Iraqi cops to the scene and did in fact see a headless body with the head carefully stacked on top of the chest with the body lying flat on the ground. The police officers (3) went up to the body to identify it while security was maintained for them by us. Before they got within 8 ft. of the body, the body exploded and killed one while injuring severely the others … We took the torso back to the castle where we have been for awhile and had to unzip the body bag so that other family members could identify the lower half by the shoes he was wearing.

Later in the day, the Iraqi police, who were family members of the destroyed body, began to drink heavily and one of them (Ali) started shooting randomly into the crowded traffic circle below the castle. We watched as he killed a 17 yr. old girl, a 7 yr. old girl and a 28 yr. old male. We could not intervene as this was happening for very complex reasons. This has been one of the most horrific days of my entire 34 yrs. of living on this earth … I am stupefied and stand in tragic awe in the face of this carnage, what could I possibly say? Where was God today?

. . .

My heart finally broke for the Iraqi people. I wanted to just sit down and cry while saying I’m so, so sorry for what we had done. I had the acute sense that we had failed these people. It was at this time, and after an entire year of being deployed and well into the next deployment that I realized something. We burst into homes, frighten the hell out of families, and destroy their homes looking for an elusive enemy. We do this out of fear of the unseen and attempt to compensate for our inability to capture insurgents by swatting mosquitoes with a sledge-hammer in glass houses.

. . .

Despite requests from his family members, the Army erased Griffin’s laptop hard drive before returning it to them. It’s done for security, officials said, but it also erases pictures and writings. Deletions are done by the military on a case-by-case basis, “but a lot of people buy recovery software and get some of the files back,” an Army official offered. The Department of Defense also recently issued new regulations that, in practice, may severely limit soldiers’ E-mailing and blogging. “[I] believe that readers should know the situation as it really is over here without any partisan interpretation of the facts,” Griffin once blogged to a MySpace group. “Perception must not be reality; reality must stand on its own merits good or bad.”

There are six pages of Sgt. Griffin’s emails available at the U.S. News & World Report website, as well a lots of pictures and the full story from which I’ve excerpted so much of above. Please, please, please read this story. No matter whether you’re Pro-Victory/Pro-War or Anti-War/Pro-Peace–read this story.

Every one of the brave American men and women fighting this war has a story–and I’m sure each is as heart-wrenching, tragic, horrifying and complex as Sgt. Griffin’s. Every American, for good or ill, owes these brave people an un-payable debt. Regardless of whether you think the war is right or wrong, noble or vile–the young men and women of our armed services are there, fighting and dying, for our Flag and our democracy–for every one of us. We owe it to them to support them 100% in any way we can think of. To some, this means marching/organizing to end the war. To others, it means sending care packages/writing letters/etc. to soldiers via various services. But to far too many, it means do nothing at all save lip-service–and I find that inexcusable.

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I Support our Troops–but I’m not sure about Bush.

In the winter of 1999/2000, as the 2000 Presidential race was “heating up”, I was an enlisted 2nd Class Petty Officer (E5) in the US Navy assigned to USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier stationed in Newport News, Virginia. My friend Joel Huval (PO1, E6, also assigned to Truman) was a staunch supporter of then Presidential hopeful George W. Bush. Mr. Bush, Joel reminded me, was a Republican, and Republicans support the troops. I disagreed, and tried to show reasons why, I thought, Mr. Bush was unfit to be President. I couldn’t sway Joel. I’m not sure, but I’m pretty confident he voted for Mr. Bush in 2000.

Flash forward 7 whole years. So much has changed: Bush “won” the election in 2000. Terrorists brought down the World Trade Center towers in 9/11/2001. The U.S.A went to war with the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001, and with Iraq in 2003. Both wars are ongoing.

I haven’t talked to my friend Joel since 2002. We just lost touch. But I think about him often, and whether on not he still supports our Commander in Chief. Joel is 100% squared-away, and probably the finest example I know of what a US Navy sailor should be. He swore an oath to support his Country and the President, and publicly I know he wouldn’t say a bad word about his President. But privately, I wonder, especially in light of an Army Times 2006 poll which shows only about 35% of troops polled approve of the President’s course in Iraq and only 41% think we should have gone to war with Iraq in the first place.

As for me, I think President Bush is a criminal and should be impeached. I wish a fearless whistle-blower would come through with the “smoking gun” piece of evidence that could make Bush’s impeachment a reality. I realize many idolize the President. I realize many think he is a staunch supporter of our military. I believe his “support” is lip-service only. What concrete, real-world support has Bush given our troops?

I’ve compiled a short–far from complete–list of “support” Bush has given our troops below:

  1. Our troops are getting the pay raises they so rightly deserve. The Army Times has an interesting column titled, White House: 3.5 Percent Pay Hike Unnecessary. To be fair, the White House suggested a 3% pay hike, so they are only off by 0.5% on what the House offers. 0.5% point isn’t much, unless you are a Sailor, Marine, Soldier or Airman. I can’t speak for any active duty member of the military, but when I was in the USN, I didn’t feel as though I was grossing megabucks every other week. In fact my tax return from 1999, my last full year on active duty, says I made about $19,500.00 that year, excluding benefits. Our forces deserve more–or at least more than Bush is offering. Therefore, Bush gets a NO: for no reasonable pay raises for our brave forces.
  2. The best Body Armor available is provided for our brave Soldiers, Airman, Sailors and Marines. I caught the “meat” of an NBC piece on body armor, specifically: Dragon Skin (currently outlawed by the DoD) vs. approved Interceptor with ESAPI (Level IV) plates. I say “meat” of the piece because the inventor of the Interceptor body armor, a retired Marine Colonel, was asked point-blank which was better: his or the Dragon Skin? With no hesitation he said the Dragon Skin. It was also stated he owns no stock in pinnacle, the maker of Dragon Skin. He is just a PATRIOT who wants the troops to have the best armor available now, not the standard-issue, state-of-the-art-ten-years-ago Interceptor armor he designed. I think that cut through the spin and bad noise on this controversy nicely. If the maker of Armor A says Armor B is better than his in every way, believe him. Also, Soldiers For The Truth Foundation supports NBC’s findings. In case anyone’s not familiar with SFTF, it was started by Colonel David (Hack) Hackworth, “one of America’s greatest heroes and most valor-decorated soldiers”, and is a self-described advocate for America’s military. Side note: If your idea of a great American hero is LtCol. Oliver North, please do yourself a tremendous favor and research Col. Hackworth and his career. So, another big NO to the best body armor available for our troops.
  3. Our troops get the best medical treatment after returning from deployment. Well, to start there is the Walter Reed Army Hospital scandal to consider. But moldy rooms, though infuriating, were a red herring. Troops receive excellent care for physical wounds received in combat. And although they will live the rest of their lives with disabilities, they are lucky compared to some of their battle buddies. The real scandal is the treatment of soldiers with mental health disorders such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Did you know according to new Pentagon standards, severely depressed and/or suicidal soldiers can be redeployed, even those considered by the military to be 80% disabled? This is from an May 15th, 2007 IPS story by Aaron Glantz entitled: Suicidal and Facing a Third Tour in Iraq:

    SAN FRANCISCO, May 15 (IPS) – At the beginning of May, Corporal Cloy Richards tried to kill himself.

    “He punched out all his windows and cut major arteries,” his mother Tina Richards told IPS. “He had to go to the hospital because he almost bled to death.”

    Cloy Richards, who lives in rural Salem, Missouri, has served two deployments in the Marine Corps in Iraq. The military lists him as 80-percent combat disabled.

    His mother says he has knee and arm injuries, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, and currently has a claim pending with the Army for a traumatic brain injury.

    “It’s something that affects us every single day,” Tina said, “when he’s 23 years old and he can’t even climb the stairs. He has bad nightmares where he thinks he’s back in Iraq.”

    Richards said her son sustained most of his injuries after his first tour in Iraq, adding that the family protested his second deployment to no avail. After four years on active duty, Cloy Richards is now in the individual ready reserve and faces the possibility of a third deployment to Iraq.

    New guidelines released by the Pentagon in December allow commanders to redeploy soldiers suffering from traumatic stress disorders.

    So, I’ll score that a NO to offering the best medical care for our troops returning from deployments.

  4. Even in War, our troops can expect to have adequete time between deployments. Army deployments were just lengthened from 12 to 15 months. Before the standard 15-month deployment was adopted, deployments were often extended by 4 months for many units anyway. So, minimum 1 and 1/4 years deployed, followed by 1 year at home. Well, technically a year at home. As a Time online article of May 11, 2007: When an Army Tour is Extended, outlines, the “year” at home really isn’t so:

    The longer tours are accompanied by a guaranteed year at home for soldiers between deployments, a move hailed by many as beneficial for troop morale and important for staving off burnout. But that year includes a rigorous schedule of month-long stints at the National Training Centers and live-fire field exercises that can last days at a time. Even if soldiers are back in the U.S. for a year, little more than half of that time is spent with family, and the next deployment always looms large. “We go home and immediately start preparing for the next deployment,” says Polk. He and his wife have been thinking about having children, but the relentless deployments give him pause. “Even if we get pregnant in one week, that means I’ll be leaving when the baby is three months old, and I’ll come back when it is 18 months. For the first two years of my kid’s life, I’ll see it for 6 months. That’s a lot to ask of a soldier.”

    TOO MUCH to ask of a soldier, in my opinion, and definitely not enough time between 15-month (at minimum) deployments.

This is only one man’s opinion. Thanks for listening.

(To be continued. . .)

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YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!


In the catagory of “I can’t make this stuff up” I just learned, via a Greg Palast report on Democracy Now!, that David Iglesias, the U.S. Attorney from New Mexico fired by Alberto Gonzales, was the basis for the U.S. Navy Lawyer character Danny Caffee from the movie “A Few Good Men.” Again, a little more clearly, in the movie “A Few Good Men” Tom Cruise was playing David Iglesias.

This is a revelation to me because this seems like an interesting bit of infotainment that everyone in America should know. Why, you ask? Because Americans want to believe in decency and fair play. They want to believe in the Good Guy (Aka the Tom Cruise/David Iglesius character in “A Few Good Men”) standing up for what is right and true and exposing and/or defeating the evildoers.

Imagine the PR nightmare for Alberto Gonzales, Karl Rove, and, yes, President Bush if this info was widely known–that they fired a U.S. Navy hero J.A.G. lawyer who served as the basis for Tom Cruise’s character in a great-American movie.

“So,” the now informed American citizen says, “that would make Gonzales, Rove and Dubya the—GASP—-bad guys!”

YES.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the Greg Palast piece at the Democracy Now! webpage and learn more about David Iglesias at wiki or by googling him. Do you want answers? Do you want the truth??

Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias

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Filed under A Few Good Men, David Iglesias, democracy now, greg palast