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Hoist on his own petard: NSC Head Flynn Was Brought Down By the Very Spying Machine He Helped to Build
By Davd Lindorff
A retired three-star Lt. General, Flynn had previously been director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. In that role since 2012, he was a key player in the leadership of the sprawling $50-billion US intelligence apparatus that has increasingly been spying not just on Americans but on US allies and, to the extent possible, on the entire world. Flynn, as DIA director, was the top guy in charge of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of intelligence agencies-- all English-speaking nations including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada -- which has coordinated spying on citizens of those nations as well as on the citizens and leaders of such supposed NATO allies as Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc.
Knowing all this, it’s simply astounding to learn that Flynn himself was using apparently unencrypted email, phones and texting to communicate with, of all people, the Russian Ambassador to the US, discussing such issues as potentially lifting sanctions imposed on Russia by the sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama.
His political implosion is doubly ironic because Flynn was one of those who was loudly condemning Trump’s presidential opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private server for her official State Department business, and for her general lax security standards (he actually led a “Lock her up!” chant at one Trump rally!). Because clearly Flynn was not using secure communications in his own conversations with the Russian ambassador -- communications that are now widely circulating in complete transcript form courtesy of US spy agencies like the National Security Agency.
Talk about someone being hoist upon his own petard!
You’d think that seeing the kind of trouble the NSA’s “collect it all” motto can wreak even for the powerful and seemingly invincible, Washington’s elite might rethink what the NSA is doing?
But nah, I wouldn’t count on that happening. There’s more likely to be a lot of shadenfreude among those, both Democrats and traditional Cold War Republicans, who want to see Trump and his band of bozos go down, but hubristic to a fault, they’re not going to go so far as to think, “Hey, this could as easily happen to me!”
And yet, what we’re seeing here, besides the exposé of a thoroughly inept and out-of-his-depth President Trump, is the workings of the so-called “deep state” -- the permanent power structure the really runs things in the US -- which is taking advantage of its vast powers to rein in the efforts of a loose cannon trying to steer things off on an unorthodox course...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/
By Norman Solomon
The momentum to impeach President Trump is accelerating.
On Thursday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) filed a “resolution of inquiry” that amounts to the first legislative step toward impeachment.
A new poll shows that registered voters are evenly split, at 46-to-46 percent, on whether they “support” or “oppose” impeaching Trump. Just two weeks ago, the pro-impeachment figure was 35 percent.
Since inauguration, more than 800,000 people have signed a petition in the first stage of the Impeach Donald Trump Campaign, which will soon involve grassroots organizing in congressional districts around the country.
Under the Trump presidency, defending a wide range of past gains is both necessary and insufficient. Fighting for impeachment is a way to go on the offensive, directly challenging the huge corruption that Trump has brought to the White House.
From the outset, President Trump has been violating two provisions of the U.S. Constitution -- its foreign and domestic “emoluments” clauses. In a nutshell, both clauses forbid personally profiting from presidential service beyond receiving a government salary.
By David Swanson, FireDonaldTrump.org
What are the grounds for impeachment?
They will likely be piling up rapidly. President Trump did use Day 1 to advise the CIA that the United States should have stolen all of Iraq's oil. But here is a place to start. We already have a president who is violating two clauses in the U.S. Constitution, one forbidding any gifts or benefits from foreign governments, the other forbidding the same from the U.S. government or any U.S. state. This is the result of Donald Trump refusing to separate himself from major business interests as past presidents have done. Those interests will also inevitably involve Trump in violating the STOCK Act which forbids the use of non-public government information to make a private profit.
Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states: "The President ... shall not receive ... any other emolument from the United States, or any of them." This means that the President cannot receive personal financial gains from the United States government or from the governments of any of the 50 states while he is president. This restriction is absolute and cannot be waived by Congress. Trump is already in violation of it and will be more so with every law, rule, regulation, enforcement, or lack thereof that his subordinates, Congress, or any agency of the federal government enacts to the benefit of Trump's businesses and possessions.
For example, Trump's lease of the Old Post Office Building violates an explicit clause in the General Services Administration lease contract which states: "No ... elected official of the Government of the United States ... shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom." The GSA's failure to enforce that contract is an unconstitutional benefit to Trump.
To many Democrats for whom killing a million people in Iraq just didn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense, and who considered Obama's bombing of eight nations and the creation of the drone murder program to be praiseworthy, Trump will be impeachable on Day 1.
Indeed Trump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. Here's a "progressive" Democrat:
"In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason. ... By undermining further investigation or sanctions against the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election, Trump as president would be giving aid and comfort to Russian interference with American democracy."
There's a bit of a nod there -- in the word "investigations" -- to the lack of any evidence that Russia manipulated any U.S. election, yet that manipulation is stated as fact, and a failure to support further sanctions as punishment for it becomes "aid and comfort." What level of punishment exactly constitutes the absence of aid and comfort? And how does that level of punishment compare with the level likely to produce war or nuclear holocaust? Who knows.
Failure to sufficiently punish a foreign government, even for an actual proven offense, has never been a high crime and misdemeanor. The United States is in fact bound by the Hague Convention of 1899, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and the United Nations Charter to take any such dispute to arbitration and to settle it by pacific means. But that would require producing some evidence rather than mere allegations. Lawless "punishment" is much easier.
But further evidence can emerge to counter the claim. The lack of evidence for the claim can weigh ever more heavily on public opinion. And the dangers of creating further hostility with Russia can enter the consciousness of additional people.
Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate the U.S. Constitution in terms of not only foreign but also domestic corruption. That's a perfectly overwhelming case for impeachment and removal from office that doesn't require opposing a single incident of mass murder or offending a single Pentagon contractor.
Beyond that, Trump is becoming president after election day intimidation, the partisan-based removal of voters from the rolls, and opposition to attempting to count paper ballots where they existed. He's arriving with the stated policies of unconstitutionally discriminating against Muslims, murdering families, stealing oil, torturing, and proliferating nuclear weapons.
In other words, Donald Trump will be from Day 1 an impeachable president, and Democrats will have already spent months building their campaign around the one thing that won't work. Imagine what will happen after all their hearings and press conferences, when their supporters find out that they aren't even accusing Vladimir Putin of hacking into election machines, that in fact they are accusing unknown individuals of hacking into Democrats' emails, and that they are then vaguely speculating that those individuals could have been sources for WikiLeaks, thereby informing the U.S. public of what was quite obvious and ought to have been widely reported for the good of the U.S. government, namely that the DNC rigged its primary.
By the time the Democrats beat themselves to the floor with this charade, more facts will likely have come out regarding WikiLeaks' actual source(s), and more hostility will likely have been stirred up with Russia. The war hawks have already got Trump talking up nuclear escalation.
Luckily there is an ace in the hole. There is something else that Democrats will be eager to hold Trump accountable for. And give Trump a month and he'll produce it. I'm referring, of course, to that greatest fear of Our Beloved Founding Fathers, the ultimate high crime and misdemeanor: the presidential sex scandal.
When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith.
Those standards are gone.
The common wisdom that Vladimir Putin hacked into Democratic and Republican emails and fed the Democratic ones to WikiLeaks which delegitimized an otherwise legitimate election, is not based on any public evidence, and none is asked for by most believers.
The premise that possessing weapons justifies being attacked was patently absurd in 2003. The U.S. openly possessed all the weapons it claimed Iraq had. The premise that (further) exposing a rigged primary harms, rather than facilitating, election integrity, is strictly nuts in 2016. WikiLeaks and any source(s) deserve our thanks.
But the standard of evidence has been altered. It's certainly possible the Russian government hacked the emails. It's even possible that Russia was the source for WikiLeaks, and that Julian Assange and Craig Murray are deluded or lying, that Bill Binney is mistaken, and that all the anomalies in the claims of Russian hacking can be explained away. But the expectation that some sort of evidence should be produced no longer exists.
One reason for this is that during the Obama years wars were launched without public debates and marketing campaigns. Continuing and escalating the war on Afghanistan was simply done, without discussion. Continuing war on Iraq -- which still continues -- was done without requiring any of the pretenses used to escalate it in 2003. Launching hundreds of mini-wars in the form of drone murders took public debate out of the picture by definition, just as the presidential possession of a nuclear button has aided the decades-long re-imagining of Congress as a group of court jesters.
When Obama has made unproven and implausible claims about looming massacres in Libya or Iraq, or chemical weapons use in Syria, or airplanes shot down in Ukraine, or coups in Ukraine, or "moderate" terrorists, or Iranian nukes, or drone war success in Yemen, or the nature or legality of drone murders, there has been no general request for evidence. Even with the claims about Syrian chemical weapons in 2013, the public and Congress said no to escalating the war in a visible manner, but did not focus on demanding evidence for claims.
Enter Trump, professing a desire to (continue to) "kill their families" and to "steal their oil," and gone is any rationale for making any dubious claims in need of any evidence. If the Trumpists will believe in millions of repeat voters just because he says so, the anti-Trumpists will believe any anti-Trump-and-Russia story just because the CIA says so.
This thinking is not necessarily conscious and explicit. Those intent on taking the CIA on faith remain proud of considering the evidence of climate change. But when you combine anti-Trump with pro-Hillary plus xenophobia plus the demonization of Putin, some people lose all perspective. And when the past 13 years have been spent eroding the idea that a public case against a foreign target should include evidence, the sale is made quite easily.
So, yes, I miss the days of Dubya. I miss the days when the U.S. government pretended not to torture. The President "Elect" now promises to torture. Why? Because President Obama forbade prosecution of the crime of torture, allowed torture to continue, outsourced much of it, and replaced a lot of the torture program with a new murder program (using drones). And because the U.S. media pretended that torture had been legal under Bush and was somehow made illegal by an Obama "executive order," which is not a law.
I miss the days when lawless prisons like Guantanamo that kept people imprisoned without charge or conviction were deemed shameful and worthy of abolition. These Obama supposedly legalized with another "executive order." Now Trump says he'll pack the prisons.
I miss the days when unconstitutional mass surveillance, or mass deportations, or the rewriting of laws by presidents was illicit and scandalous. Now these things are generally accepted. So here's my question to good liberal Americans:
How is not impeaching Bush working out for you?
Letting Bush's impeachable offenses slide almost required letting Obama's slide, as there was such overlap. But now you've created a presidency of truly imperial power.
The point of impeaching and removing Bush would not have been to make Dick Cheney president, any more than the point of studying history is that your school has assigned that class to the football coach.
The point of impeaching Bush would have been to create a President Cheney in fear of being impeached, followed by other presidents in fear of being impeached.
Why can basketball announcers grasp that Duke's Allen Grayson might not be tripping opponents this year if he'd been suspended for a game or two when he did it last year, but political analysts can't grasp that if Bush had been impeached, or even an effort made to impeach him, we might not now -- like India -- have a twitter-loving right-wing nationalist preparing to create Muslim registries and enforced flag worship?
So, here's an idea. We can't go back in time. But we can start now. Trump is going to violate the Constitutional bans on domestic and foreign presents and "emoluments" on day one, and likely begin piling up original as well as familiar impeachable offenses during his first week.
But just as the only conceivable way to get Trump into office was to nominate Hillary Clinton, the surest way to derail an impeachment campaign against Trump will be to load it down with dubious claims about Russia.
See if you can predict what the Democrats will do.
The Chilcot report's "findings" have virtually all been part of the public record for a decade, and it avoids key pieces of evidence. Its recommendations are essentially to continue using war as a threat and a tool of foreign policy, but to please try not to lie so much, make sure to win over a bit more of the public, and don't promise any positive outcomes given the likelihood of catastrophe.
The report is a confused jumble, given that it records evidence of the supreme crime but tries to excuse it. The closer you get to the beginning of the executive summary, the more the report reads as if written by the very criminals it's reporting on. Yet the report makes clear, as we always knew, that even in 2001-2003 there were honest people working in the British, as also in the U.S., government -- some of whom became whistleblowers, others of whom accurately identified the planned war as a crime that would endanger rather than protect, but stayed in their jobs when the war was launched.
Chilcot makes clear that the attack on Iraq was illegal, against the British public, against the international community and the UN Charter, expected to increase terrorism, based on lies about terrorism and weapons, and -- like every other war ever launched -- not a last resort. Chilcot records, as reality-based reporting always has, that Iraq claimed honestly to have no nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Chilcot fails to explain with any clarity that one cannot legally or morally attack another nation even when it does have such things.
Chilcot does make clear the extent to which France was pushing back against war, along with Russia and Germany and Chile and China. The key supporter of U.S. war plans was the UK, and there is some possibility that a UK refusal to join in this crime might really have done some good.
But Chilcot steers away from criminal responsibility, and from the damage done by the crime. It avoids the Downing Street Memo, the White House Memo, Hussein Kamel, the spying and threatening and bribing involved in the failed effort to win UN authorization, Aznar's account of Bush's admission that Saddam Hussein was willing to leave, etc. This is a report that aims for politeness and tranquility.
Not to worry, Chilcot tells us, as nothing like this will happen again even if we just let the criminals walk. Chilcot claims bizarrely that every other war before and since has been defensive and in response to some attack, rather than an act of aggression like this one. Of course, no list of those other wars is provided.
Even more bizarrely, Chilcot claims that Blair and gang literally never considered the possibility that Iraq had no "weapons of mass destruction." How you make all kinds of assertions, contrary to your evidence, that Iraq has weapons without considering the question is beyond me. But Chilcot credits with great significance the supposedly excusing grace of groupthink and the passion with which people like Blair supposedly believed their own lies. Chilcot even feeds into the disgusting lie that Blair pushes to this day that Iraqis chose to destroy their own country while their occupiers nobly attempted "reconstruction."
Despite itself, however, Chilcot may do some good. In the United States, when James Comey describes crimes by Hillary Clinton and assures us they should not be prosecuted, most people can be counted on to lie back and accept that blindly or even fervently. Yet our friends in Britain appear less than eager to accept the attitude with which Chilcot has reported on the supreme international crime.
Tony Blair may now be impeached as he needs to be. Yes -- sigh -- one can and should impeach people no longer in office, as has been usefully done in both British and U.S. history. Removal from office is one penalty that sometimes follows a conviction at a trial following an impeachment; it is not itself the definition of impeachment. Blair should be tried and convicted by Parliament. He should also be put on trial by the International Criminal Court or, better, by a special tribunal established for Iraq as for World War II or Yugoslavia.
The victors in World War II used the Kellogg-Briand Pact to prosecute the losers for the new crime of launching a war. Blair violated both the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the newer, yet never used, United Nations Charter, which also bans war. While Kellogg-Briand allows no exceptions, the exceptions in the UN Charter were famously not met in the case of the war on Iraq or, for that matter, any other recent western wars.
You can sign a petition urging Blair's impeachment and prosecution here. Of course the goal must be to build momentum for holding the chief (U.S.) war criminals accountable, pursuing truth and reconciliation, and making massive reparations to the people of Iraq and their region. What the U.S. needs is action, not a 7-year "investigation." Our own Chilcot report, better in fact, was written long ago.
The Chilcot report could, against its own wishes, move us in that direction.
Snared in a web of deceit: FBI Investigation Produces No Indictment, But Proves Hillary Clinton’s a Serial Liar
This Fourth of July, U.S. war makers will be drinking fermented grain, grilling dead flesh, traumatizing veterans with colorful explosions, and thanking their lucky stars and campaign contributors that they don't live in rotten old England. And I don't mean because of King George III. I'm talking about the Chilcot Inquiry.
According to a British newspaper: "The long-awaited Chilcot report into the Iraq war is reportedly set to savage Tony Blair and other former government officials in an 'absolutely brutal' verdict on the failings of the occupation."
Let's be clear, the "brutal" "savaging" is metaphorical, not of the sort actually done to Iraq. By the most scientifically respected measures available, the war killed 1.4 million Iraqis, saw 4.2 million injured, and 4.5 million people become refugees. The 1.4 million dead was 5% of the population. The invasion included 29,200 air strikes, followed by 3,900 over the next eight years. The U.S. military targeted civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances. It used cluster bombs, white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new kind of napalm in urban areas. Birth defects, cancer rates, and infant mortality have soared. Water supplies, sewage treatment plants, hospitals, bridges, and electricity supplies were devastated, and not repaired.
For years, the occupying forces encouraged ethnic and sectarian division and violence, resulting in a segregated country and the repression of rights that Iraqis had enjoyed even under Saddam Hussein's brutal police state. Terrorist groups, including one that took the name ISIS, arose and flourished.
This enormous crime was not a well-intended project that experienced a few "failings of the occupation." It was not something that could have been done properly, or legally, or morally. The only decent thing that could have been done with this war, as with any war, was not to start it.
There was no need for yet another investigation. The crime has been out in the open from the start. All the obvious lies about weapons and ties to terrorists could have been true and still wouldn't have justified or legalized the war. What's needed is accountability, which is why Tony Blair may now find himself impeached.
Holding UK accomplices to the crime accountable is not a step toward getting them to squeal on their U.S. bosses, because the secrets are all in the open. But perhaps it can set an example. Perhaps even a UK-free European Union will someday take steps to hold U.S. criminals to account.
It's too late, of course, to dissuade President Obama from expanding on Bush's abuses by holding Bush accountable. But there is the problem of the next president (with both major parties nominating people who supported the 2003 invasion), and the problem of a subservient Congress. There is also the screaming need, ever more urgent, for massive reparations to the people of Iraq. That step, required by justice and humanity, would of course cost less financially than continuing the never-ending wars in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. It would also make the United States safer.
These articles of impeachment were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Dennis Kucinich on June 9, 2008, as H. Res. 1258
Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.
Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Creating Secret Laws.
Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.
Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders.
mush much of a masochist, I don't usually read emails from the Democratic Whip in Congress, but I opened one Tuesday night and was mildly excited to read that the U.S. House of Representatives would spend Wednesday debating the "ENFORCE the Law Act of 2014." Wow, I thought, which law will they pick? Will it be the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act? Would I, moments from now, be phoning a bunch of people to tell them jobs are on the way? Or ... wait a minute! Oh my god, would large corporations be paying taxes now? Or will it be the Kellogg-Briand Pact or maybe the U.N. Charter -- Are we about to announce to the world that the wars are over? Perhaps, I thought, it's going to be the anti-torture statute -- hot damn! I wonder when the tickets for the CIA trials go on sale and how much a front row seat will cost. Or are bankers going to be subject to laws?
Originally Posted at AcronymTv
I am not sure what it says about our culture when six figure speaker fees are awarded to War Criminals, but that is what happened in New York City on Monday, January 13 when George W. Bush took a break from his retirement and rigorous painting schedule and took his Texas swagger on stage as the keynote speaker at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show.
Madison Wisconsin Forum August 7 With Buzz Davis, David Swanson, Coleen Rowley, Debra Sweet, Don McKeating
Free Town Hall Meeting August 7, 2013 Madison, WI 5:30-9PM
Location: Ingraham Hall, Rm. B10, 1155 Observatory Dr., top of Bascom Hill, W-Mad. Campus
Illegal Wars, Torture & Spying:
Millions Demanded Bush's Impeachment
Should Obama be Impeached for Continuing Bush's Crimes?
Speaker Buzz Davis, "America Needs a Revolution: Shall It be Bloody or Peaceful? Impeachment Process, Review of U.S. House Resolution to Impeach Bush & Why Not Obama?" Davis,from Stoughton, WI, is a member of Veterans for Peace & led the WI Impeachment/Bring Our Troops Home Coalition. He's aformer VISTA Volunteer ('65-66), 1st Lt.US Army (trained in infantry & signal corps '67-70 (S. Korea '69-70) &has a masters in urban affairs UW-Milw.('72) & a masters in public administration Syracuse Univ. ('73). He's a retired planner with the state of WI, former elected official (city council & county board), union organizer & official, Democratic Party leader and is a senior activist & member of various boards. 608-239-5354 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaker David Swanson, "The Imperial Presidency That Won't Go Away: Bush's Wars, Torture & Spying Become Obama's Accepted Policies." Swanson's books include: War Is A Lie (2010), When the World Outlawed War (2011), and The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012). He is the host of Talk Nation Radio, has been a journalist, activist, organizer, educator, and agitator & helped plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC in 2011. He holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of VA, has worked as a newspaper reporter & as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association & for three years as communications coordinator for ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.) He blogs at http://davidswanson.org & http://warisacrime.org & works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org Swanson also works on the communications committee of Veterans For Peace, of which he is an associate (non-veteran) member & is Sec. of Peace in the Green Shadow Cabinet.
Speaker: Coleen Rowley, "Decreasing Personal Privacy and Civil Rights Coupled with Increasing Governmental Secrecy and Control is Unethical, Illegal and Counter-productive" Rowley is a former FBI special agent and division legal counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, leading to her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as a two year long Department of Justice Inspector General investigation. She was named one of Time Magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002 which honored “whistleblowers.”
Speaker: Debra Sweet. Sweet is the Director of World Can’t Wait which began in 2005 to “drive out the Bush regime.” Based in New York City, she leads the organization’s work during the Obama administration’s repression of whistle-blowers and underlying war crimes, including the expansion of the unjust occupation of Afghanistan, the spreading secret drone wars, use of indefinite detention in Guantanamo and elsewhere, and vast surveillance on whole populations.
Speaker Don McKeating, "Economic, Social & Political Consequences of Our Double Standards." McKeating was in an Army artillery unit in Vietnam '68-69, a police officer in IL for 27 years, a police union organizer & representative, a founding member of the Madison Area Peace Coalition, drafted the Madison city council resolution to defend the Bill of Rights & civil liberties after passage of the Patriot Act, organized & was the first president of VFP Ch. 25 Madison, WI, is president of VFP Ch. 119 St. Petersburg, FL & was a contributing author to the book Long Shadows:Veterans' Paths to Peaceaward winner in France. Moderator, Prof. Joe Elder. Elder is a University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor in the Departments of Sociology, Languages and Cultures of Asia, and Integrated Liberal Studies. In addition to producing a lifetime of scholarly books, articles, and documentary films, Elder has helped organize campus "teach-ins" against US military activities in Vietnam and southwest Asia. In 2009 the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice awarded Elder its "Lifetime Peacemaker Award" for his reconciliation activities in My Lai (site of the 1968 massacre in Vietnam) and for serving as a Quaker message-carrier between opposing sides in India, Pakistan, Vietnam, the USA, Korea, and Sri Lanka.
Speaker Don McKeating, "Economic, Social & Political Consequences of Our Double Standards." McKeating was in an Army artillery unit in Vietnam '68-69, a police officer in IL for 27 years, a police union organizer & representative, a founding member of the Madison Area Peace Coalition, drafted the Madison city council resolution to defend the Bill of Rights & civil liberties after passage of the Patriot Act, organized & was the first president of VFP Ch. 25 Madison, WI, is president of VFP Ch. 119 St. Petersburg, FL & was a contributing author to the book Long Shadows:Veterans' Paths to Peaceaward winner in France.
Moderator, Prof. Joe Elder. Elder is a University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor in the Departments of Sociology, Languages and Cultures of Asia, and Integrated Liberal Studies. In addition to producing a lifetime of scholarly books, articles, and documentary films, Elder has helped organize campus "teach-ins" against US military activities in Vietnam and southwest Asia. In 2009 the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice awarded Elder its "Lifetime Peacemaker Award" for his reconciliation activities in My Lai (site of the 1968 massacre in Vietnam) and for serving as a Quaker message-carrier between opposing sides in India, Pakistan, Vietnam, the USA, Korea, and Sri Lanka.
Many loyal Republicans opposed impeaching George W. Bush. So did most liberal and progressive activist groups, labor unions, peace organizations, churches, media outlets, journalists, pundits, organizers, and bloggers, not to mention most Democratic members of Congress, most Democrats dreaming of someday being in Congress, and -- toward the end of the Bush presidency -- most supporters of candidate Barack Obama or candidate Hillary Clinton.
Remarkably in the face of this opposition, a large percentage and often a majority of Americans told pollsters that Bush should be impeached. It's not clear, however, that everyone understood why impeachment was needed. Some might have supported a successful impeachment of Bush and then turned around and tolerated identical crimes and abuses by a Democrat, assuming a Democrat managed to engage in them. But this is the point: whoever followed Bush's impeachment would have been far less likely to repeat and expand on his tyrannical policies. And the reason many of us wanted Bush impeached -- as we said at the time -- was to prevent that repetition and expansion, which we said was virtually inevitable if impeachment was not pursued.
Can You Hear Me Now?
"You just hate Republicans" was the most common argument against impeachment, but there were others. "It's more important to elect someone different." "Why do you want President Cheney?" "Why do you want President Pelosi?" "Why distract from good work?" "Why put the country through trauma?" "Why not focus on ending war?" "Why not do investigations?" "Why divide the Democrats?" "Why start a process that can't succeed?" "Why destroy the Democratic Party the way impeaching Clinton destroyed the Republican Party?" We answered these questions as patiently as possible at great length and enormous repetition for years and years.
People pursued alternatives to impeachment, from spreading the word about how bad the crimes and abuses were, to pushing legislation to redundantly re-criminalize Bush's criminal behavior, to promoting supposedly lesser-evil candidates, to promoting truly good candidates, to constructing ways to drop out of society and wash one's hands of it. The trouble was that when you let a president spy without warrant, imprison without charge, torture, kill, lie, make war, operate in secret, rewrite laws, and persecute whistleblowers, you can predict -- as we predicted for years -- that the next president will adopt and build on the same policies. Nothing short of punishing the offender will deter the successor.
In fact, the new president, working with Congress and all of his other facilitators, has turned abuses into policies. The scandal and secretiveness have been replaced with executive orders and legislation. Crimes are now policy choices. Checking off lists of murder victims is official open policy. Secret laws are normal. Secretly rewritten laws are established practice. Spying in violation of the Fourth Amendment is openly defended and "legalized," with sporadic bursts of public outrage and establishment excusing, following new detailed revelations. Whistleblowing is being transformed into treason.
This moment offers certain opportunities. It is well-placed in between the election seasons that so debilitate the nation. Also, bravery and integrity seem to be spreading like a contagion. Intimidation is backfiring. Resistance is growing, and so is whistleblowing. Bradley Manning and Thomas Drake and Matthew Hoh and Coleen Rowley and John Kiriakou and Jesselyn Radack and many others are inspiring new whistleblowers like Edward Snowden (support him here!), and like the member of the Joint Special Operations Command who spoke out for the first time at our forum on the opening of the film Dirty Wars in D.C. on Saturday.
However, what failure to impeach Bush has done to legitimize his crimes is nothing compared to what it has done to delegitimize impeachment. If a tyrannical president who liberals hated and who talked funny and who didn't even pretend to be killing for some higher benevolent purpose can't be impeached, then who can? Surely not an intelligent, articulate African American who pretends to agree with us and gives speeches denouncing his own policies?
But this is the same problem as before. Making speeches against Bush's abuses was not enough. Clapping for speeches against Obama's abuses -- even speeches by Obama -- is not enough. There is a reason why people abuse power. Power corrupts them. And absolute power corrupts them absolutely. Telling a handful of Congress members who are forbidden to speak about it, and most of whom don't really give a damn, what sort of outrages you are up to is not a system of checks and balances or the rule of law.
Refusal to impeach pulls the foundation out from under representative government. Congress won't impeach for violation of subpoenas, so it avoids issuing subpoenas, and it therefore can't compel production of witnesses or documents, so it doesn't take a position on an important matter, so the unofficial U.S. state media takes no position either, and people follow the media.
Would impeaching Obama invite rightwing delusional charges? Would it send confusing signals rather than clear ones, given Bush's free pass? Not if Obama and Bush were impeached together. They've both committed many of the same high crimes. Impeachment can take place after leaving office. The time has come to restore seriousness to the serious tool the Constitution provides for checking presidential power. The time has come to impeach Bush and Obama.
By Alfredo Lopez
This past Thursday (June 6), The Guardian (the British newspaper) and the Washington Post simultaneously reported that the National Security Agency has been collecting staggering amounts of user data and files from seven of the world's most powerful technology companies.
On April 25th the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and General Rehabilitation Project will be dedicated in Dallas, Texas. It takes up 23 acres at Southern Methodist University, 23 acres that neither humanity nor any other species may ever reclaim for anything decent or good.
I'll be there, joining in the people's response (http://ThePeoplesResponse.org) with those who fear that this library will amount to a Lie Bury.
"The Bush Center's surrounding native Texas landscape," the center's PR office says, "including trees from the Bush family's Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas, continues President and Mrs. Bush's longstanding commitment to land and water conservation and energy efficiency."
Does it, now? Is that what you recall? Bush the environmentalist?
Well, maybe you and I remember things differently, but do we have a major educational institution that will effectively repeat our corrections of the Lie Bury's claims for decades to come?
According to the Lie Bury, Bush was and is an education leader, saving our schools by turning them into test-taking factories and getting unqualified military officers to run them. This is something to be proud of, we're told.
The Lie Bury's annual report shows Bush with the Dalai Lama. No blood is anywhere to be seen. The Lie Bury's website has a photo of a smiling George W. golfing for war. "The Warrior Open," it explains, "is a competitive 36-hole golf tournament that takes place over two days every fall in the Dallas area. The event honors U.S. service members wounded in the global war on terror."
Now, I actually know of some soldiers wounded in what they call by that name who don't feel honored by Bush's golfing, just as millions of Iraqis living as refugees within or outside of the nation he destroyed find Bush's liberty to walk outdoors, much less golf for the glory of war, offensive. But none of them has a quarter-billion dollar "center" from which to spread the gospel of history as it actually happened -- as it happened to its losers, to those water-boarded, shot in the face, or otherwise liberated by Bush and his subordinates.
When Bush lied about excuses to start a war on Iraq -- as with everything else he did -- he did so incompetently. As a result, a majority of Americans in the most recent polls, still say he lied to start the war. But few grasp the lesson as it should be applied to wars launched by more competent liars. And memory of Bush's lies is fading, buried under forgetfulness, avoidance, misdirection, revisionism, a mythical "surge" success, and a radically inaccurate understanding of what our government did to Iraq.
I won't be attending the Lie Bury ceremony for vengeance, but in hopes of ridding our culture of the vengeance promoted by Bush. He based a foreign policy and a domestic stripping away of rights on the thirst for vengeance -- even if misdirected vengeance. We have a responsibility to establish that we will not support that approach going forward.
Bush himself is relevant only as his treatment can deter future crimes and abuses. No one should wish Bush or any other human being ill. In fact, we should strive to understand him, as it will help us understand others who behave as he has.
Bush, of course, knew what he was doing when he tried to launch a war while pretending a war would be his last resort, suggesting harebrained schemes to get the war going to Tony Blair. Bush knew the basic facts. He knew he was killing a lot of people for no good reason. He was not so much factually clueless as morally clueless.
For Bush, as for many other people, killing human beings in wars exists outside the realm of morality. Morality is the area of abortions, gay marriage, shop lifting, fornicating, or discriminating. Remember when Bush said that a singer's suggestion that he didn't care about black people was the worst moment in his presidency? Racism may be understood by Bush as a question of morality. Mass murder not so much. Bush's mother remarked that war deaths were not worthy of troubling her beautiful mind. Asked why he'd lied about Iraqi weapons, George W. Bush asked what difference it made. Well, 1.4 million dead bodies, but who's counting?
I won't be attending the Lie Bury because Bush's successor is an improvement. On the contrary, our failure to hold Bush accountable has predictably led to his successor being significantly worse in matters of abusing presidential power. And not just predictably, but predicted. When we used to demand Bush's impeachment, people would accuse us of disliking him or his political party. No, we'd say, if he isn't held accountable, future presidents will be worse, and it won't matter from which party they come.
I helped draft about 70 articles of impeachment against Bush, from which Congressman Dennis Kucinich selected 35 and introduced them. I later looked through those 35 and found 27 that applied to President Barack Obama, even though his own innovations in abusive behavior weren't on the list. Bush's lying Congress into war (not that Congress wasn't eager to play along) is actually a standard to aspire to now. When Obama went to war in Libya, against the will of Congress, he avoided even bothering to involve the first branch of our government.
When Bush locked people up or tortured them to death, he kept it as secret as he could. Obama -- despite radically expanding secrecy powers and persecuting whistleblowers -- does most of his wrongdoing wide out in the open. Warrantless spying is openly acknowledged policy. Imprisonment without trial is "law." Torture is a policy choice, and the choice these days is to outsource it. Murder is, however, the new torture. The CIA calls it "cleaner." I picture Bush's recent paintings of himself washing off whatever filth his mind is aware he carries.
Obama runs through a list of men, women, and children to murder on Tuesdays, picks some, and has them murdered. We don't know this because of a whistleblower or a journalist. We know this because the White House wanted us to know it, and to know it before the election. Think about that. We moved from the pre-insanity state we were in circa 1999 to an age in which presidents want us to know they murder people. That was primarily the work of George W. Bush, and every single person who yawned, who looked away, who cheered, who was too busy, who said "it's more important to elect a new president than to keep presidential powers in check," or who said "impeachment would be traumatic" -- as if this isn't.
In Guatemala a prosecutor has charged a former dictator with genocide, remarking, "It's sending the most important message of the rule of law -- that nobody is above the law." It's not so many years ago that the United States had the decency at least to hypocritically propose that standard to the world. Now, we advance the standard of lawlessness, of "looking forward, not backward."
That's why the people need to respond to the lie bury. Ann Wright is going to be there. And Diane Wilson. Robert Jensen and Ray McGovern are coming. So are Lon Burnam and Bill McElvaney and Debra Sweet. Hadi Jawad and Leah Bolger and Marjorie Cohn and Kathy Kelly are coming. As are Coleen Rowley and Bill Moyer and Jacob David George and Medea Benjamin and Chas Jacquier and Drums Not Guns.
Also coming will be many familiar faces from the days when we used to protest in Crawford. When we'd go into that one restaurant at the intersection in Crawford, there'd be a cardboard cut-out Dubya standing there. We picked him up and stood him in the corner, facing the corner. We said he needed to stay there until he understood what he'd done wrong. In reality, of course, he was cardboard. The lesson was for everyone else in the restaurant. It's a lesson that still needs to be taught.
Henry Kissinger's winning of the Nobel Peace Prize didn't, in the end, eliminate satire from the earth (or peace prizes for war-makers, for that matter). Conceivably, the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the lack of impeachment of George W. Bush haven't eliminated presidential impeachment from the Constitution.
I'll grant you, it looks pretty grim. Congress is dominated by the two real branches of the U.S. government: the Democratic and the Republican. Democrats obey Democratic presidents and fear Republican ones. Republicans obey Republican presidents and attack Democratic ones for imaginary nonsense rather than their real abuses. These patterns seem firmly established and locked into escalating feedback loops, as does the unending career of Nancy "impeachment is off the table" Pelosi.
The public, for its part, seems increasingly convinced that presidents should be kings, kings should serve the military, citizens should volunteer for electoral campaigns instead of activist campaigns, and a police state is necessary to protect the freedoms sacrificed to the police state. One-third of the residents of the Home of the Brave now approve of cavity searches prior to airplane travel.
But consider: the U.S. public, unlike Congress, opposed the Clinton impeachment and favored Bush's impeachment -- the latter a rather remarkable finding by pollsters given the general lack of impeachment discussion on corporate television during the Bush years. Many Republicans hate Democratic presidents enough to support their impeachment even for legitimate reasons. And some Democrats could conceivably be brought around to supporting an impeachment that was both Constitutionally solid and allowed them to act like Republicans.
These presidents have faced impeachment or serious attempts at impeachment as lame ducks: Andrew Johnson, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and -- if we count popular movements blocked decisively by Congress -- George W. Bush. While Barack Obama was just reelected with 51% of the vote, Nixon got 61% and was quickly thrown out on his ear.
And consider this: During the effort to impeach Bush, there was virtually no debate over the validity of the charges against him. Rather, our misrepresentatives in Congress told us that impeaching Bush would give us Cheney or impeaching Cheney would leave us Bush, or impeaching Bush and Cheney would hurt the Democratic Party because the unpopular impeachment of Clinton had supposedly hurt Republicans (never mind the disaster of the Albert "I never met Bill Clinton" Gore presidential campaign). Or, alternatively, we were told there was no point in impeaching Bush when he only had a few years left, or Hillary Clinton was running for president and preferred that impeachment not be mentioned, or the Senate wasn't pre-committed to convicting Bush so there was no requirement for House members to uphold their oaths of office. None of the debate actually disputed that Bush was clearly guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors -- that is, severe abuses of power.
Now here's the interesting part: Obama has expanded upon those abuses.
In fact, if Bush had been known to keep a secret list of men, women, and children, American and foreign, to be killed, and had routinely killed them, support for his impeachment would not have been the bare majority it was but almost certainly a good deal higher and a greater priority.
We were told, when we tried to impeach Bush and Cheney, that we simply hated those men. No, we replied, we want to prevent the precedent that will make the next men or women worse -- guaranteed. That our gloomy prediction has proved right ought to constitute grounds for being taken seriously now when we say that further failure to impeach will result in still worse abuses to come. The simple and obvious, but almost universally uncomprehended, point is not that Joe Biden or Mitt Romney or anyone else is a better human being than Barack Obama. The point is that a President Biden entering office following the impeachment and removal of his predecessor for particular crimes and abuses would be less likely to engage in those crimes and abuses, as would other presidents to come.
President Obama has developed an assassination program, in violation of the Fifth Amendment, targeting men, women, and children, but overwhelmingly killing non-targeted victims who happened to be in the wrong place. He has launched a war on Libya, facilitated a war on Syria, sent so-called special forces and drones and missiles into numerous sovereign nations, threatened war on Iran, and given war-making powers to the CIA in violation of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the War Powers Resolution, and the United Nations Charter. President Obama has seized the power to imprison without charge or trial in violation of Article I, Section 9 and the Forth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Amendments. He has claimed the power to torture and directed the Attorney General not to prosecute the crime of torture, in violation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. He has engaged in widespread warrantless spying in violation of the Fourth Amendment. He has escalated a war in Afghanistan and built permanent military bases there. He has selectively revealed classified information, even while falsely and vindictively prosecuting whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, and while holding accused whistleblower Bradley Manning in cruel and inhuman conditions for over two years prior to any trial. President Obama has abused claims of state secrets to block judicial review of government abuses. He has created secret laws through the Office of Legal Counsel. He has announced his intent to violate laws with signing statements.
A full collection of what would in previous decades have been considered obvious impeachable offenses would run for pages. Standards have changed. As Daniel Ellsberg has pointed out, Nixon's abuses have now been legalized. But can a president or a secret office or a corrupted Congress legalize what is unconstitutional? Clearly the answer is yes, if we let them.
Talk Nation Radio: Kucinich Says Failure to Impeach Bush Has Allowed Obama to Intensify Bush's Policies
Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who led failed efforts to impeach then President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney, says that failure to hold them accountable has allowed the continuation and intensification of their war policies under President Obama. Kucinich believes that, more than anything else, a truth and reconcilation process is needed.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
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CONGRESSMAN WALTER B. JONES (R-NC) TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE ON HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 107
On Friday, September 21, Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) will be joined at a press conference by a group of senior retired military officials, constitutional lawyers, and congressional co-sponsors, to discuss House Concurrent Resolution 107. This bi-partisan resolution reasserts the power of Congress to declare war, and states that any President who circumvents Congress, unless the United States is attacked, will face an article of
impeachment. In light of the attack on the Libyan Consulate on September 11, 2012, this discussion takes on an added urgency.
Speakers will include:
Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC)
Bruce Fein, specialist in constitutional and international law, Associate
Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, author, "American Empire:
Before the Fall".
Lt. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (USA.Ret), former Chief of Staff to
Secretary of State Colin Powell (2002-05)
Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer, author of "Operation Dark Heart", exposed the
Pentagon data mining program known as Able Danger, and uncovered two
terrorists cells involved in 911
For further information, please contact:
Rep Walter Jones' office – 202-225-3415
Catherine Fodor, Catherine.Fodor@mail.house.gov
Raymond Celeste, Raymond.Celeste@mail.house.gov
Or contact Angela Vullo – 571-432-7789
By Gore Vidal
On June 9, 2008, a counterrevolution began on the floor of the House of Representatives against the gas and oil crooks who had seized control of the federal government. This counterrevolution began in the exact place which had slumbered during the all-out assault on our liberties and the Constitution itself.
I wish to draw the attention of the blog world to Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeachment presented to the House in order that two faithless public servants be removed from office for crimes against the American people. As I listened to Rep. Kucinich invoke the great engine of impeachment—he listed some 35 crimes by these two faithless officials—we heard, like great bells tolling, the voice of the Constitution itself speak out ringingly against those who had tried to destroy it.
By Dave Lindorff
As we slog towards another vapid, largely meaningless exercise in pretend democracy with the selection of a new president and Congress this November, it is time to make it clear that the current president, elected four years ago by so many people with such inflated expectations four years ago (myself included, as I had hoped, vainly it turned out, that those who elected him would then press him to act in progressive ways), is not only a betrayer of those hopes, but is a serial violator of his oath of office. He is, in truth, a war criminal easily the equal of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and perhaps even of Bush’s regent, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Let me count the ways:
When President George W. Bush was pretending to want to avoid a war on Iraq while constantly pushing laughably bad propaganda to get that war going, we had a feeling he was lying. After all, he was a Republican. But it was after the war was raging away that we came upon things like the Downing Street Minutes and the White House Memo.
Now President Barack Obama is pretending to want to avoid a war on Iran and to want Israel not to start one, while constantly pushing laughably bad propaganda to get that war going. We might suspect a lack of sincerity, given the insistence that Iran put an end to a program that the U.S. government simultaneously says there is no evidence exists, given the increase in free weapons for Israel to $3.1 billion next year, given the ongoing protection of Israel at the U.N. from any accountability for crimes, given the embrace of sanctions highly unlikely to lead to anything other than greater prospects of war, and given Obama's refusal to take openly illegal war "off the table." We might suspect that peace was not the ultimate goal, except of course that Obama is a Democrat.
However, we now have Wikileaks cables and comments from anonymous officials that served as the basis for a report from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz:
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested the United States approve the sale of advanced refueling aircraft as well as GBU-28 bunker-piercing bombs to Israel during a recent meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a top U.S. official said on Tuesday. The American official said that U.S. President Barack Obama instructed Panetta to work directly with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the matter, indicating that the U.S. administration was inclined to look favorably upon the request as soon as possible. During the administration of former U.S. President George Bush, the U.S. refused to sell bunker-penetrating bombs and refueling aircrafts to Israel, as a result of American estimates that Israel would then use them to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. Following Obama's entrance into the White House, however, the United States approves a string of Israeli requests to purchase advance armament. Diplomatic cables exposed by the WikiLeaks website exposed discussion concerning advanced weapons shipments. In one cable which surveyed defense discussions between Israel and the United states that took place on November 2009 it was written that 'both sides then discussed the upcoming delivery of GBU-28 bunker busting bombs to Israel, noting that the transfer should be handled quietly to avoid any allegations that the USG is helping Israel prepare for a strike against Iran.'"
Why supply Israel with the weapons to attack Iran more forcefully if you don't want Israel to attack Iran? The Israeli newspaper Maariv claims to have the answer. Apparently people in the know are spilling the beans earlier this war cycle:
"The United States offered Israel advanced weaponry in return for it committing not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities this year, Israeli daily Maariv reported on Thursday. Citing unnamed Western diplomats and intelligence sources, the report said that during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington this week, the US administration offered to supply Israel with advanced bunker-busting bombs and long-range refuelling planes. In return, Israel would agree to put off a possible attack on Iran till 2013, after the US elections in November."
One point can be little doubted here, namely that this would be the biggest damn story in U.S. "progressive" circles if Obama were a Republican. But even though he isn't, there could conceivably be SOME interest in the fact that a serious news outlet is reporting that Obama has taken steps to facilitate an attack on Iran and to delay it until after his own hoped-for reelection.
Even Reuters has noted this development:
"A front-page article in the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Thursday said Obama had told Netanyahu that Washington would supply Israel with upgraded military equipment in return for assurances that there would be no attack on Iran in 2012."
Now, the usual handful of progressive Congress members has just introduced a bill that would compel the U.S. government to talk to the government of Iran. Seems sensible enough (even if it frames it as an effort to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon). We do ask that much of our children when they become involved in disagreements.
But Congressman John Conyers, one of the cosponsors of that bill, had another trick up his sleeve when Bush was in the White House. Nobody believed him, of course, but for what it was worth, after refusing to impeach Bush for countless offenses, Conyers swore that if Bush attacked Iran, then he Conyers would launch impeachment proceedings. Now, Conyers is back in the minority party in the House, but even minority members can raise the threat of impeachment efforts. And at the moment they could join a member of the majority in doing so. That's because Congressman Walter Jones has introduced H. Con Res 107, which reads:
"Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress's exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution."
Now, this does not clearly cover an attack with U.S. weapons and advice carried out by another nation, but it does cover the question of U.S. entry into a war started by Israel, even if U.S. troops and bases abroad have been attacked in retaliation. And it covers possible U.S. war making in Syria. And it covers over 100 nations where U.S. Special Forces are now operating. And it covers our current and prospective drone attacks in various parts of the world.
Of course, such an impeachment effort is also treasonous, given Obama's membership in the Democratic Party -- unlike the completely non-treasonous acts of openly "legalizing murder," or lying to the nation about efforts to avoid a war.
When Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush on June 9, 2008, the 35 had been selected from drafts of nearly twice that many articles.
President Obama has accumulated his own massive list of high crimes and misdemeanors that were unavailable for Bush's list (thing's like openly murdering U.S. citizens, launching massive drone wars, selectively and abusively prosecuting numerous whistleblowers as spies, holding Bradley Manning naked in isolation, attacking Libya without so much as bothering to lie to Congress, etc.).
Nonetheless, it is instructive to review the 35 Bush articles in the Obama age. It quickly becomes apparent that Obama has either exactly duplicated or closely paralleled most of the 35. Here's what I mean:
Click the link to read the article introduced against Bush. Obama campaigned against this abuse and has routinely engaged in it as president. Worse, he has established the policy of silently relying on previous Bush or Obama signing statements rather than restating his intention to violate laws each time such intention is relevant to a bill he is signing.
Creating Secret Laws.
Obama similarly uses Department of Justice arguments to reverse the commonly understood meaning of laws (bombing Libya is neither war nor hostilities, for example). And he similarly uses arguments that are kept away from public sight. While the United Nations, foreign nations, and human rights groups have questioned the legality of drone strikes, Obama has not provided his legal defense or even felt obliged to make any assertion as to which victims were intended and which were "collateral damage." This week the ACLU sued for release of such information. In addition, Obama announced in 2009 that he would review all of Bush's signing statements and decide which ones to keep as law and which to discard, but the public has never been told the outcome of that review.
Obama did this from day one, proclaimed it in front of the Constitution in the National Archives, formalized it in an executive order, signed it into law this past New Year's Eve, and expanded the practice at Bagram.
Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.
Obama has continued each abuse detailed here and added to them, including through his use of the military to keep journalists away from the BP oil disaster and in an effort to break a strike at the ports of the Pacific Northwest.
Obama has publicly claimed the power to continue this practice, in fact continued this practice, maintained black sites despite announcing an end to them, and worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor.
Obama has continued this practice and added to it the murdering of children, refusing to say that Abdel-Rahman Anwar al-Awlaki was not intentionally targeted or that he, Obama, does not have the legal power to murder U.S. children. Non-U.S. children continue to die in significant numbers from drone strikes and by other means (including intentional targeting from helicopter) as part of Obama's escalated war on Afghanistan.
Obama has claimed the power to torture, worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor, and continued to allow torture. He has also pressured other nations, including Spain, to drop prosecutorial investigations of U.S. crimes of torture.
Obama has continued these practices and worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor.
Obama has continued these practices and worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor and guilty corporations.
Obama has continued these practices. In his most recent State of the Union speech he said, "America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible . . . if Iran changes course." When Iran recently took down a U.S. drone, Obama simply asked that it be returned.
Obama's Pentagon is no more audited or accountable, nor the routine scandals involving misplaced millions or billions of dollars less frequent. No-bid contracts have increased. Privatization has increased. Secrecy has increased. The use of Special Forces in secret non-war wars has spread to more nations. The permanent stationing of U.S. troops has spread to more nations. Secret agencies, including the CIA, have been given larger war-making roles. And Obama continued the war on Iraq long beyond the date by which he had promised to end it, and continues to maintain thousands of mercenaries in Iraq, and to use drones in the skies of Iraq. He has also worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor.
Obama's insistence on continuing this practice not just beyond 2008 but beyond 2011, combined with the Iraqi government's refusal to agree, resulted in Obama's decision to comply with the Bush-Maliki treaty to end the war on Iraq by this past New Year's Eve.
The details have to be changed to apply this article to Obama. The changes are not in Obama's favor. Obama met in secret with the CEOs of health insurance corporations and pursued a vision of healthcare reform that they had secretly influenced. In so doing, he misled Congress and the American people. He is quite open, in contrast, about his willingness to slash Medicare, as well as Medicaid.
The victims of Katrina have still not been compensated, nor the environmental and urban damage undone. Instead the BP oil disaster has been added. Obama intentionally misled the Congress and the public, downplaying the quantity of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. He allowed a clean-up operation that was nothing of the sort. No real clean-up or recovery is planned. Nor have the corporations or their supposed regulators been held accountable.
Obama's approach to systematically undermining efforts to address global climate change has included blocking possible global agreements at meetings in Denmark and South Africa, while promoting "clean coal," "natural gas," and "safe fracking."
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The exposing of a secret agent has not been repeated, but retribution against whistleblowers has been taken to new heights with more prosecutions under the Espionage Act than by all previous presidents combined.
We're still waiting.
Now, we come to the launching of the war on Iraq:
Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.
Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.
It was too late for Obama to exactly duplicate these offenses, as the war against Iraq was already underway. But President Obama has embraced the lies that launched that war. He claimed in 2010 that the war on Iraq had been launched in order to disarm that nation. In the news around the world on the day of Obama's most recent State of the Union speech was the anger among Iraqis at the failure of the United States to hold anyone seriously accountable for the 2005 massacre in Haditha. The story was a useful reminder of how the operations of the U.S. military over the past decade have fueled hostility toward our nation. President Obama began his speech by claiming the opposite, asserting that the war on Iraq has made us safer and "more respected around the world." Obama has repeatedly used such rhetoric to pivot to promotion of his escalated war in Afghanistan or other military operations. Similarly, President Obama misled the nation about the purpose and nature of a war on Libya that has left Libya, like Iraq, in worse shape, and which has left Constitutional war powers in tatters, as the Congress declared itself opposed to the war and the war continued. Meanwhile misleading propaganda about Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other nations continues to emerge from the Obama administration. The Director of National Intelligence has just claimed that Iran is a threat to the United States. While the Iraq War may have "ended," the Authorization for the Use of Military Force has been kept in place allowing Obama to use it as a legal argument for other military operations and abuses of civil rights. Also emerging with ever greater frankness from the Obama White House and Pentagon, including from the President, is the claim of presidential prerogative to launch military attacks on sovereign nations, involving deaths to both militants and civilians, without any consideration of Congress, the Constitution, the War Powers Resolution, the United Nations or its Charter, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, or any other law.
There is no quantitative way to measure whether Obama's additions to the presidential powers accumulated by Bush and Bush's predecessors equals or exceeds those added by Bush. But measured against the pre-Bush baseline, or against the written rule of law, Obama's power abuses far outstrip Bush's, while in the category of immediate death count Bush retains a significant lead.
Would Romney or Gingrich be even worse? That's quite likely. If we continue to self-censor on these matters, Obama Part II will also be significantly worse. A popular movement against these abuses could make any White House occupant better than the current one, even if it's the same individual. Remember what Howard Zinn taught: It's not who is sitting in the White House; it's who is doing the sit-ins.
On Oct. 18 this week, the nation reached an important symbolic moment for the Clarence Thomas era on the Supreme Court. That was the date 20 years ago for his swearing-in ceremony at the White House. The associate justice took an oath from Associate Justice Byron White.
But the scene was hokum. The Bush White House designed it to quiet Thomas critics ASAP after the 52-48 Senate confirmation on Oct. 15 by pretending he was beginning his lifetime appointment. The quick ceremony also allowed his backers in town to celebrate in grand style. In sum, this was partly stage-crafted to fool the public about our most respected branch of government at one of its most solemn transitional landmarks.
caskets of dead
soldiers coming home;
cameras out of
They did not count
all they killed;
they did not count
They said the
mission was accomplished.
They said the
mission was through.
Missions made of only lies.
Murder and maim,
Murder and maim
and use our name.
Death for sale by enterprise.
Devil’s bargains stealing souls.
We know. We know. We know.
CODE ORANGE: Amendments missing!
If you see them,
Their mother is worried.
Reward for their safe return.
Supreme Court fire sale:
Half off for
Politicians while they last.
In little more than two years President Barack Obama has violated the U.S. Constitution by:
1) Ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization.
2) Issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U.S. citizens in violation of guarantees of due process.
3) Presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment.
4) Ordering and attempting to assassinate foreign heads of state.
5) Obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.