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RNC Attack on John Conyers Demands Action from Democrats

By David Swanson

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has launched an aggressive campaign to smear Congressman John Conyers.

Here's the background: It is accepted common wisdom among reporters, pundits, congressional staffers, and a majority of Americans that Bush and Cheney lied us into a war. A new "smoking gun" piece of evidence makes the news on almost a weekly basis, and that has been going on for upwards of a year. Yet there has been no investigation in either branch of Congress, no oversight, no checks, no balances, no accountability.

Congressman Conyers has introduced a bill (H Res 635) cosponsored by 36 other Congress Members to create a bipartisan committee to investigate the Bush administration's use or misuse of pre-war intelligence. Should that investigation end up pointing in the same direction that an overwhelming mountain of publicly available evidence already points, then Bush and Cheney will easily merit impeachment. An impeachment is only an indictment. Following impeachment, the Senate holds a trial, and more evidence comes out.

Congressman Conyers has not done what the vast majority of Democratic voters and many Republicans want; he has not introduced articles of impeachment. Rather, he's stepped back a step and proposed creating an investigation that would make recommendations on impeachment. Talk about going slow! This is a proposal to make recommendations on beginning a process to charge people with a crime we all already know they're guilty of. That's all before a trial can even begin.

The RNC should be accusing the Democrats of refusing to put up a real fight, leaving Republicans to swing at air. Instead they're accusing Conyers of firmly planning on impeachment immediately after the elections.

The primary reason for Conyers' measured approach is that most of the Democrats in Congress lack his courage and are scared to stand up for the Constitution and a separation of powers, no matter how fervently their constituents demand it. If every Democrat in the House were backing impeachment, Republicans would be forced to split with their party and join in. If the Democrats were targeting Cheney, the White House and the Republican party would be split over the question of defending someone so unpopular.

Instead, it's the Democrats who are split. Most of them are hiding under their beds, none of them are introducing articles of impeachment, and only 36 are standing with John Conyers.

Polls suggest that impeachment is a hugely winning issue for Democrats this year. See this collection of polls:
And this poll in particular:

Voters want to vote for pro-impeachment congressional candidates. Disapproval of Bush is higher than it was for Nixon when he resigned, and Cheney is about half as popular as Bush. Support for Bush among Republicans is weak compared to disapproval among Democrats.

Zero evidence suggests that fear of impeachment will motivate Republicans to vote. Yet, the punditry is all parroting RNC talking points that claim impeachment is good for Republicans. This is a Rovian tactic: they attack at their weakest point. They turn a weak defense into an offense through shear bluff and bull. And the Democrats fall for it.

For the past two weeks, the RNC has been focusing on John Conyers and claiming that he will work to impeach Bush as Chair of the Judiciary Committee if the Democrats take back the House. I hope he will, and that he will be able to drag the rest of the Democrats along with him, kicking and screaming. But that's not where Conyers is now. Trust me. We've been trying to push him to that position for 12 months.

Impeachment of Bush and Cheney, by the way, is not revenge for Clinton's impeachment. It is the left-leaning Democrats who are willing to push for Bush and Cheney impeachments, and we on the left never could stand Clinton. The dead armadillos (those in the middle of the road) are the ones who liked Clinton, and they're hiding from impeachment as if it really were an RNC weapon.

On Thursday, the Dallas Morning News wrote a story about how Republicans can do well in this year's elections. The "reporter" suggested focusing on the fact that Conyers would chair the Judiciary Committee and push impeachment.

The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press have been phoning around, working on similar stories, following a recent televised encounter between Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and talking rear-end Tim Russert. Russert rudely questioned Pelosi about impeachment and suggested that Rep. Conyers should take down his website.

Over on the Disney Channel, er, I mean ABC News, Tom Delay began his recent blather by telling George Stephanopoulos that the Dems should not be allowed to retake the House because of… guess who? John Conyers.

Is this beginning to look like an oddly coordinated effort for our system of free and competitive media outlets dedicated to truth and democratic enlightenment?

Then there are the stories reporters keep dragging up about Conyers' staffer years ago babysitting his kids. The Republican Party is throwing an orgy in the Watergate for a $40 billion spy agency that couldn't find its ass with a map and two hands, and this is where our intrepid reporters are digging? Why?

Why this bombardment of efforts to paint the longest-serving African-American in Congress as a fringe extremist, whereas in reality he is balancing carefully between the demands of voters and the spinelessness of his party's leadership?

The sad thing is that the RNC may be doing what the DNC has failed at, finally announcing to the public that the Democrats will boldly charge ahead for justice.

And, knowing Conyers, it might even be true.

But that's between you, me, and the NSA. Don't tell Tim Russert or Nancy Pelosi.

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I'm holding my breath. Do you think this will happen before the stored oxygen runs out? Just asking.


Reprinted from

Sunday, May 7, 2006 11:52 a.m. EDT
Nancy Pelosi: We Won't Impeach Bush

Would-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi all but ruled out launching impeachment hearings against President Bush on Sunday, saying that if Democrats take over the House in November she'd make that decision and not Michigan Rep. John Conyers, who would assume control of the House Judiciary Committee.

Asked about Conyers' repeated calls for an impeachment investigation, Pelosi told NBC's "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert: "Democrats are not about impeachment - Democrats are about bringing the country together."

Reminded that Conyers would be heading up the Judiciary Committee, Pelosi shot back - "That's not where the [impeachment] decision would be made"

"I am the leader. Our caucus will decide where we're going," she declared. "I don't see us going to a place of impeachment."

In December Conyers introduced HR 635, a resolution that would create "a select committee to investigate the administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture [and] retaliating against critics."

The legislation says that the select committee should "make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment."

37 House Democrats now support Conyers' impeachment bill, according to the Progressive Democrats for America web site.

While Pelosi insisted she had no plans for an impeachment probe, she did acknowledge that she would use her newfound subpoena power to "have hearings on [the Iraq] war" - the same topic covered by HR 635.

Asked if she would take impeachment "off the table," Pelosi said: "You never know where the facts take you for any president. But that's not what we're about."

Olearys Corner
Nancy Pelosi Must Go...
By Oleary | bio
as the face of the House Democrats...Her appallingly poor performance on Tim Russert's Show this morning has convinced me of this. I basically agree with everything she says, and wanted badly for her to excel, but she is so stumbling and tentative and really inept in expressing herself and making the case for democratic leadership of the House, that she must go.

Now I realize that she will not go until the next Congress, if then, and the next Congress won't begin until Janary 2007, so steps must be taken to keep her out of the limelight as a spokesperson and to make her better in public when the limelight is unavoidable.

I'm not sure who the primary House spokesperson should be, but she is simply horrible in that role. Timmy Russert played GOP whore this morning, bombarding her with republican talking point after talking point, and sensing her uncertainty and inarticulateness, interrupted her repeatedely in a bullying manner. She looked confused, frightened and weak and simply failed to respond.

He asked her direct questions and she failed to answer. This in itself is common, but the way she "failed to answer" is the problem. One series of questions concerned the rollback of GOP tax cuts, probably something quite dear to Pumpkinhead's plutocratic heart. "Will the democrats repeal the republican tax cuts," she was aked. She was asked three times in succession and never gave a satisfactory answer. She didn't have to say yes or no but she could have said something like, "Everything is on the table," which she did say later, and then have gone on to explain the inequities in the republican tax cuts and why they need to be looked at and weighed against the cost of running huge deficits as the republicans have done. She didn't seem to know that the debt ceiling is $10T, saying it was $9T. I could be wrong, but I believe it is $10T. Correct me if I am wrong.

In addition to staying off of the long format talk shows, where possible, she should have much more preparation and practice before ever appearing again with Russert. She should be put in role playing situations where she is required to come up with short answers to every conceivable RNC and right wing talking point in rapid fire sequences.

At this point, I think she'll never be good at this but she should get better with practice. She should practice with short appearances before ever going on shows like Russerts and someone else should be picked as the face and voice of the democratic party. Howard Dean did a great job on This Week and Jane Harmon, who I often disagree with, did a fine job on Wolf Blitzer's Late Edition. She was forceful, succinct and confident.

We will not win back the House with the obvious prospect of an unsure, inarticulate person like Pelosi being the Speaker of the House. She will become the poster child, along with John Conyers, soon to be the Willie Horton of 2006, of the republican smear campaign. Delay telegraphed that strategy on This Week, saying in effect, sure we're bad, but we must make sure the disaffected republicans know how much worse it would be if democrats got into office.

Simply put, she must either improve by light years in her presentation or get someone else to serve as the public persona of the party.

"War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war a physical force is to be created, and it is the executive will which is to direct it."
--James Madison

Olearys Corner | login or register to post comments
May 7, 2006 -- 03:51:22 PM EST

Contact: RNC Press Office, 202-863-8614

WASHINGTON, May 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a release from the Republican National Committee:

"Nancy Pelosi's vision for the future is one of higher taxes on working Americans, cut and run in Iraq, and a little impeachment thrown in for good measure. With such a radical leader at the helm of the party, it's no wonder Democrats go to great lengths to avoid publicly talking about their real agenda for the American people." -- Tracey Schmitt, RNC Press Secretary


Higher Taxes:

Rep. Pelosi Voted Against The President Bush's 2001 And 2003 Tax Cuts. (H.R. 1836, CQ Vote No. 149: Adopted 240-154: R 211-0; D 28-153; I 1-1, 5/26/01, Pelosi Voted Nay; H.R. 2, CQ Vote No. 225: Adopted 231-200: R 224-1; D 7-198; I 0-1, 5/23/03, Pelosi Voted Nay)

-- Failing To Extend The Tax Cuts Would Result In A Nearly $2.4 Trillion Tax Increase Over The Next 10 Years On American Taxpayers (2007-2016). (Office Of Tax Policy, U.S. Department Of The Treasury)

In 1993, Rep. Pelosi Voted For The Largest Tax Hike In American History. (H.R. 2264, CQ Vote No. 406: Adopted 218-216: R 0-175; D 217-41; I 1-0, 8/5/93, Pelosi Voted Yea)

Wrong On War On Terror:

Rep. Pelosi Said War On Terror Was More Of A "Struggle" Than A "War." "I don't really consider ourselves at war ... we're in a struggle against terrorism throughout the world ..." (Miles Benson, "Democrats Show Greater Audacity In Criticizing Bush," Newhouse News Service, 5/6/02)

Rep. Pelosi Was One Of 126 Democrat House Members Who Voted Against The Use Of Force In Iraq. (H. J. Res. 114, CQ Vote No. 455: Passed 296-133: R 215-6; D 81-126; I 0-1, 10/10/02, Pelosi Voted Nay)

-- Rep. Pelosi Was One Of 115 Democrat House Members To Vote Against The 2003 $87 Billion Supplemental That Provided Body Armor For Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan. (H.R. 3289, CQ Vote No. 601: Adopted 298-121: R 216-5; D 82-115; I 0-1, 10/31/03, Pelosi Voted Nay)

-- Rep. Pelosi Said She Supports Immediate Troop Withdrawal From Iraq. "(I) myself support the course of action that Mr. Murtha has put forth. And let's be clear about what it is. Mr. Murtha said, 'Yes, let's bring the troops home.'" (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Press Conference, 11/30/05)

Rep. Pelosi And 123 Other House Democrats Voted Against Final Passage Of The PATRIOT Act Reauthorization. (S. 2271, CQ Vote No. 20: Adopted 280-138: R 214-13; D 66-124; I 0-1, 3/7/06, Pelosi Voted Nay


36 House Democrats Have Embraced Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) Impeachment Plan And Are Cosponsoring The Bill. (H. Res. 635, Introduced 12/18/05)

-- "Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., The Highest-Ranking Democrat On The House Judiciary Committee, Called For The Creation Of A Select Committee To Investigate 'Those Offenses Which Appear To Rise To The Level Of Impeachment.'" (Michelle Goldberg, "The I- Word Goes Public,", 3/3/06)

-- Rep. Conyers Introduced Bill To Create "A Select Committee To Investigate The Administration's Intent To Go To War Before Congressional Authorization, Manipulation Of Pre-War Intelligence, Encouraging And Countenancing Torture, Retaliating Against Critics, And To Make Recommendations Regarding Grounds For Possible Impeachment." (H. Res. 635, Introduced 12/18/05)


Paid for by the Republican National Committee; Web:; Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

nancy speaks for herself and oviously not the majority.tremendous disappointment.

If there was any doubt left that the idea of two-party government in Washington is a gigantic myth, Nancy Pelosi has erased it.

Nobody could be so stupifyingly ignorant as to ignore the Mt. Everest of evidence against the Bush administration, completely dismissing even the thought of an exploration of possible grounds for impeachment.

Nor can anyone be so stupifyingly ignorant as to ignore a 32% presidential approval rating, a vice presidential approval rating that is roughly half of that, and take a pass on the tremendous political opportunity to capitalize on them, not to mention ignoring what any sane person would recognize as the the desperate need to improve on a congressional approval rating in the 20's.

Pelosi is just another cog in the wheel of a very precise, well-oiled two party myth machine, the function of which is to maintain corporate control of our government, completely ignore the will of the people, and lay complete waste to all the protections against tyranny that our Founding Fathers put in place.

If we can't put the politics aside just long enough to insist that the crimes be dealt with, we stand no chance of regaining true democracy and representative government in America.

John Perry

Demand accountability.

So we have another DECIDER - Nancy Pelosi!
No wonder the Democratic Party is in shambles. Except for a very few, they are behaving like lemmings, rushing headlong to drown!

I think the Democrats are taking the proper approach to impeachment because we do not want to give anything to the Republicans that they can use to twist the elections around. Once we are back in power we can then use that power to impeach. I understand there is zero evidence that it would help Republicans but that means nothing considering the trickery and boldness of the Republicans! Besides Pelosi has come out and said that investigations will be launched after the election and could possibly lead to impeachment. She is taking the right direction by allowing the possibility of impeachment to be out there ie on the ballot but not give the Repubs crumbs to chew on. That way they can continue to defend their position rather than attacking us by putting fear in their base that we will impeach the President. So I think the Democrats are taking a balanced and measured approach, that may seem like not enough now, but in time it will pay off!

President Bush needs to be impeach because he lied about the war in Iraq. There was no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This war is about oil and not American Troops that died over there. Iraq doesn't want Democracy in their country, they want their muslim belief. President Bush doesn't need to push his belief down Iraq's people thoats.

Yes and no. It has more to do with the imperial economics of USA Incorporated which certainly do involve oil (or, more precisely, the control and trading thereof) as a major factor.

Saddam was moving toward basing Iraq petroleum resource sales on the euro. And, now, the story of Iran’s proposed oil bourse is slipping into the mainstream press exposing the real reasons behind Washington’s ongoing hostility towards Tehran.

Until recently, analysts have brushed aside the importance of the upcoming euro-based oil-exchange as a Leftist-Internet conspiracy theory unworthy of further consideration. Now, the Associated Press has clarified the issue showing that an Iran oil bourse "could lead central bankers around the world to convert some of their dollar reserves into euros, possibly causing a decline in the dollar’s value".

To quote Bill O'Grady, commodities analyst for A.G. Edwards, If one day the world's largest oil producers demanded euros for their barrels, "it would be the financial equivalent of a nuclear strike."


The vichy dems are easy to spot just like the corrupted repugs...those not holding up the constitution are in on the take...we have to throw them all out in spite of the DLC

VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: Is it enough to say, 'Show us the law'?

Last time, we were previewing former Hollywood producer and former Nevada gubernatorial candidate Aaron Russo's new documentary, "America, Freedom to Fascism." The film argues it's enough to set us free, for citizens and jurors simply to ask of those enforcing the personal income tax, "Show us the law."

I fear it's not.

High-ranking Treasury officials and congressmen won't show the law to -- won't engage in a public, methodical, videotaped examination of the tax code and related court decisions with -- well-educated members of the tax education movement. They've promised to do so on many occasions, but they always back out, instead relying on surrogates to ridicule the questioners (though never under oath and cross-examination), often rebutting an assertion never made (that being that the Supreme Court has outlawed the income tax).

We have a right to ask why.

It's not far-fetched to conclude this is because they can't successfully answer the proper chain of questions they would open up once they specified which law they're going to cite. Who says so? Former IRS special agents Joe Banister and Sherry Jackson, who are featured in this film, to name just two. When Banister asked the director of the IRS, in writing, to answer some basic questions about the law -- why Americans don't have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on their tax forms, for instance -- Banister was simply invited to resign.

But the amateur juror -- or whoever -- who's going to make this demand needs to be educated enough to knowledgeably discuss Supreme Court rulings, including Doyle v. Mitchell Brothers ("We must reject ... the broad contention submitted in behalf of the government that all receipts, everything that comes in ... are income ... ") and Conner v. United States ("Congress has taxed income not compensation").

He or she must be able to grasp:

-- Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, in which the court said: "The 16th Amendment as correctly interpreted, is limited to indirect taxes and for that reason is constitutional ... "

-- Stanton v. Baltic Mining: The 16th "prohibited the ... power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged ..."

-- Eisner v. Macomber, confirming the 16th Amendment granted no new taxing authority, that it "must be construed in connection with the taxing clauses of the original Constitution."

He or she must then be able to relate that to what the court said about direct taxes not apportioned in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust ("The Constitution prohibits any direct tax, unless in proportion to numbers as ascertained by the census ... [and] ... prohibits Congress from laying a direct tax on the revenue from property of the Citizen without regard to State lines ... "), an 1895 decision which the high court subsequently and repeatedly found not to have been overruled by the adoption of the 16th Amendment.

"The 16th Amendment does not extend the powers of taxation to new or excepted subjects," the high court ruled in Peck v. Lowe, for example. "Neither can the tax be sustained on the person, measured by income. Such a tax would be by nature a capitation rather than an excise."

In other words, an income tax is perfectly legal and constitutional, but it must be either an avoidable excise on a privileged activity (trading one's labor for compensation is a right, not a privilege; wages are not "income," according to the high court in Stapler v. U.S.) or else it must be a direct tax, capitated and apportioned among the states, as these are the only two types of federal tax allowed by the Constitution, a situation unchanged by the 16th Amendment.

Can the G-men show jurors a law that says everyone who owes the tax has to file? Of course. But who owes the tax?

A less arrogant judge or IRS man might respond by showing them a part of the Internal Revenue Code that says every individual who earns any income, from any source, owes the tax. And that's where most common, decent folk who don't think like federal lawyers are likely to shrug and say, "Well, OK then, they showed us the law."

But at Title 26, chapter 21, subtitle C, Section 3121(e)(2) the law declares that, for purposes of the specific Social Security statute used to number taxapayers, "The term 'United States' when used in a geographical sense includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa."

Such wording may SOUND as though it means "as well as the 50 states." But in Hassett v. Welch, 1938, as well as in Gould v. Gould, the Supreme Court ruled any tax statute must be read in the most restrictive way possible, to benefit the taxpayer and not the government, which means if they'd meant to include "and the 48 contiguous states and Alaska and Hawaii," they would have had to actually add that.

Why didn't they? Because the law is constitutional as currently written, the tax skeptics argue, since the Congress has plenary authority in the territories (see Hooven v. Evatt; Downes v. Bidwell). It would only be unconstitutional if it said the income tax could be enforced as it currently is (as a direct tax against the person, but not capitated and apportioned) in a geographic region "including the following 50 states: Alabama, Alaska ..."

So the law was written in a way that makes it perfectly legal -- if you read it closely enough. Could that be why the familiar IRS Form 1040 bears OMB approval control number 1545-0074, indicating it's actually a work sheet to be attached to the proper form for "individuals" to use in filing an income tax return, that being OMB control number 1545-0067, designated form 2555, headlined "Foreign Earned Income"?

It takes a brave and well-informed juror to stand up to a stern-voiced judge as His Highness intones, "We don't have that here. That doesn't apply here. You'll apply the law as I explain it to you. I don't have to show you no stinking statute book. You're not allowed to discuss any Supreme Court rulings here."

Remember, the transcript of Irwin Schiff's recent federal trial here in Las Vegas, prominently featured in Mr. Russo's film, reveals Judge Ken Dawson shouting, "Irrelevant! Denied!" when Mr. Schiff tries to cite these Supreme Court rulings.

I dare say Mr. Russo would argue the kind of detailed, legally rigorous film that would properly prepare a citizen juror to stand her ground in such a confrontation would run for many hours, and put many viewers to sleep.

He'd probably be right. The federals have had 90 years to weave their tangled web. Just properly explaining their arrogance and their deviousness takes longer than most modern government-school graduates can sit still and focus.

Mr. Russo would doubtless argue a two-hour entertainment neither can nor should constitute a rigorous, footnoted legal filing. All he can accomplish here is an emotional "wake-up call."

"America: Freedom to Fascism" is that wake-up call. But it should be accompanied by a reading list. This film provides audiences with some truths too long obscured, and with a little knowledge. Truth, of course, can set us free. But too small a dose of knowledge can also be a dangerous thing.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of "Send in the Waco Killers" and the new novel "The Black Arrow," which has made the short list of nominees for both the 2005 Prometheus Award and the 2005 Compton Crook Award.


To order impeachment off the table is to order the Constitution off the table. If Pelosi wants to amend the Constitution by removing the impeachment clause, she needs to file that amendment. This is the bottom line that needs to be broadcast by the media to voters.

Pelosi has stated her claim that the votes won’t impeach the traitors Cheney & Bush. No one knows what the vote count will be until official hearings are complete. Then the evidence can be analyzed by the American people and their elected representatives. It is very likely that the votes will be unanimous to impeach because the evidence appears to be so vivid.

Pelosi has a hidden agenda. She is not protecting Cheney & Bush because she really wants to put the Constitution off the table. Why isn’t Pelosi being asked about the Constitutional issue she has decided to subvert? Regardless of her real scheme the correct questions are not being asked by anyone. It is time for the blogosphere to go into high gear on this issue because the broadcast media is protecting Cheney & Bush.

I think the reason the democrats don't want to do anything courageous like impeaching a criminal president, is that they are afraid they are going to be "Wellstoned." They fear going down in a small plane on their way to a fundraiser. And they fear the president's daddy, or his daddy's pals, will be tampering with the plane sometime before take-off. Cowards one and all.

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