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Pelosi Is an Expert at 'Drowning Out Opposing Views'
by Jodie Evans | Common Dreams
Disruption of the health care town hall meetings has triggered some rich debate about free speech in the U.S. In these discussions, CODEPINK has been referenced several times as the group that has most often tested the boundaries of free speech. Over the years, we've been chided and insulted by the media, Members of Congress, former Press Secretaries, and even President Bush himself. However, when Nancy Pelosi weighed in recently on the town hall "mobs," saying that "drowning out opposing views is un-American," I was compelled to respond.
While the frequent mentions of CODEPINK in these discussions do not surprise me, it saddens me that there are so few groups from the past decade to reference when talking about pushing the edge of healthy debate. Congress has been failing the people in so many ways for so long that there should have been be a non-stop primal scream from the people to wake the our representatives up from their corporate-funded stupor.
But who would have heard them? For far too long, the American people have been cut off from and out of the political process without any real avenues of letting their voices be heard. So when Speaker Pelosi -- no stranger to drowning out opposing views -- talks about "drowning out opposing views is un-American," the statement is steeped in irony.
"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.
Those of us who proposed the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney for violating his oath of office and engaging in a Nixon-on-steroids spree of high crimes and misdemeanors began to recognize the abusive nature of the previous administration when Cheney refused to release details of the industry insiders with whom he met to craft energy policies.
The refusal of the Bush-Cheney administration to permit public review of White House visitor logs detailing who was meeting with the vice president's energy task force during the very first weeks of their tenure was a deliberate decision made to cloak dirty dealing by officials who were determined to serve corporate rather than public interests.
It also provided an early indicator that darker and dirtier deeds would eventually be done by Cheney and his compatriots. And they were. Read more.
By Dave Lindorff
Bill Clinton was the worst thing to happen to the Democratic Party and to progressives since that racist warmonger Woodrow Wilson won the presidency and dragged the US into the utterly pointless and incredibly bloody First World War.
Clinton, by posing as a progressive, confused and undermined, and ultimately betrayed the liberal/progressive wing of the party, shattering what was left of the New Deal coalition and leaving the American left adrift and riven by the conflict between those who thought the Democratic Party was the only viable vehicle for progressive reform and those who thought it was hopelessly in the grip of corporate interests.
Barack Obama offers the hope of bringing that era of debilitating confusion to an end.
By David Swanson
Drafted in preparation for panel discussion at Veterans for Peace national convention August 7, 2009, on topic of "Holding the Architects of Illegal Wars and War Crimes Accountable."
Seven years to the day after the Downing Street Minutes meeting at which top British officials famously discussed U.S. President George W. Bush's intent to launch a war against Iraq whether or not any means could be found to legalize it, on July 23rd, the United Nations hosted a discussion of ways in which wars of aggression are given pseudo-legal cover. Included were remarks by Jean Bricmont and Noam Chomsky. It is not hard to imagine how different such discussions would be were the architects of the Iraq War ever held accountable for it in any way.
By David Swanson
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation into the misdeeds of former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney.
Holder, in turn, has now called on Conyers to open impeachment proceedings against former head of the Office of Legal Council Jay Bybee, now a judge in the Ninth Circuit.
Conyers, in response, has demanded that Holder open a complete investigation of 14 different areas of criminal enterprise and appoint an independent counsel, offering a list of eight possible candidates.
Holder, in reply, has insisted that Conyers reissue all of the subpoenas his committee has failed to enforce over the past two and a half years and use the Capitol Police to enforce them at once.
In response, Conyers' office has issued a new report on the need to weed out corruption and undo politically motivated prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Was even this nice acceptable sex impeachment too much for the House to allow itself to have done?
By Dave Lindorff
Let me say from the outset that I have the greatest sympathy for 23-year-old Bowe R. Bergdahl, the US soldier in Afghanistan who was captured and is being held by Taliban forces, and for his family, who must be going through a living hell worrying about what is going to happen to him.
But I’m willing to bet you that all of them are wishing, right now, that the US had not decided back in 2001 to begin a campaign of torture and murder against the Taliban fighters that it was capturing in Afghanistan, and against others that it has rounded up in the so-called War on Terror.
By Cynthia Papermaster and Susan Harman
It's a problem that Jay Bybee is a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. How can he serve as a judge when he seriously violated the laws against inhumane treatment of detainees and gave legal approval to interrogation techniques that amount to torture. We agree with Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that if Bybee's a decent human being, he'll resign. We agree with MoveOn and People for the American Way, who've submitted 140,000 petition signatures to John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, asking him to impeach Bybee. And we agree with the New York Times, which called for his impeachment twice in April.
As part of the June 25 national Torture Accountability Day, Cynthia wrote and filed a formal judicial misconduct complaint against him. The Court Executive let her know that Bybee has a copy of her complaint.
Court protesters get escorted out
By Dan Abendschein, Pasadena Star News
PASADENA - Three protesters Monday shouted at a federal judge they accuse of signing off on "torture memos" and were quickly escorted out of court by security officers.
"You authorized the torture of human beings," Dianne Wright of Los Angeles yelled at Richard H. Chambers U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee, a former Bush administration lawyer who worked in the Office of Legal Counsel.
Bybee now serves on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a courtroom in Pasadena.
The protestors, two from the Bay Area and one from Los Angeles, waited until the end of a hearing to call Bybee a torturer and demand his impeachment.
Wright, along with Susan Harman of Oakland and Cynthia Papermaster of Berkeley, were immediately escorted out by court security. They were not arrested.
Which will get a federal judge impeached?
A man who claims he lost his job with a vendor for the Missouri Department of Corrections because of an anti-Bush letter has settled his federal lawsuit with the state for $150,000.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reported on its Web site Friday that Tim Kniest said the settlement equals three years of back pay. Read more.
The Judiciary Committee should have dragged this out for a few years just to give plausibility to the length of time they always told us an impeachment would take. And it was supposed to feel a little more traumatic too.
By David Swanson
A judge gropes and harasses his female employees, lies about it to investigators, is tried and convicted, and is on his way to prison. The U.S. House of Representatives springs into action, activating something none of us even knew existed during the entire eight-year hell of Cheney-Bush: the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment. And what did Judge Groper do on Wednesday? He chose not to show up, as requested by Congress, for his own impeachment hearing.
Over on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee recently asked a federal judge not yet convicted of authoring memos to facilitate torture if he wouldn't mind coming in to talk, and Jay Bybee replied "Um, let me think about it . . . no. You go ahead without me," or something roughly to that effect.
Convicted federal judge says he will resign next year
Juan A. Lozano, Associated Press | Dallas Morning News
A convicted federal judge told President Barack Obama in a letter Tuesday that he would resign from the bench in June 2010, nearly a year after he begins serving prison time for lying about the sexual abuse of two assistants.
U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent would draw a full salary of $174,000 a year and benefits until the resignation takes effect, said his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin. Kent decided on the delay so his wife could retain her medical benefits, DeGuerin said. He said Kent's wife has serious medical problems.
The resignation was submitted a week after denial of Kent's request to retire on disability due to depression – which would have meant full salary for the rest of his life. By resigning, he gets nothing after next year.
DeGuerin said Kent, 59, is resigning to avoid the "spectacle" of an impeachment process by Congress.
The lawyer also said it would probably take a year for the impeachment process to be completed in Congress and, "with him resigning, it's not necessary."
The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the matter today. Read more.
Thanks to Bob Schacht and Progressive Democrats of Hawaii:
Whereas, four memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel between August 1, 2002 and May 30, 2005 were released on April 16, 2009 by the United States Department of Justice relating to prisoner interrogation during President George W. Bush's administration which outline how the Bush administration conducted torture; and
Whereas, the memos were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country's most basic values; and
Whereas, the Obama administration has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners, in violation of international law and the Constitution; and
Judge Jay Bybee, one of the torture memo authors, is sitting this week in the Las Vegas 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush rewarded him for "legalizing" torture by giving him a lifetime appointment on this court. Can you go and protest his presence.
Court starts at 9:00 every day starting tomorrow through Thursday (he's not sitting on Friday), at Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Courtroom 7C, Las Vegas.
If you need to know more about Bybee, ask me.
Here are some signs to print off and bring -
We demonstrated last Thursday in almost all the 9th Circuit locations around the West, and will again on 6/25. Let's organize a BIG one in Vegas!
Here's his statement:
If there’s another terrorist attack, it will be because the mess the Bush administration ignored in Pakistan and Afghanistan spun beyond anyone’s control well before Americans could throw the bums out.
Of course it could also be because of the mess the Bush and Obama administrations created there and in Iraq and elsewhere. My point is not to agree with Rich but to notice that he thinks we somehow threw Bush and Cheney out and that he wishes we'd done so sooner. This is a common sentiment among columnists now that it's too late.
A Texan even. But he's already on his way to prison, so the legislative branch is playing catch up, not claiming any power. And, as with all impeachments in recent years, sex is front and center. (Somehow rapes of prisoners still doesn't qualify Dubya, and it's hard to imagine Conyers impeaching him even once he, too, is on his way to prison).
By Damon Agnos, Seattle Weekly
On the same day that the Telegraph reported that the unreleased pictures at Abu Ghraib include shots of prisoners being raped (something the US government disputes), the Seattle Times put up an op-ed in which a bunch of local lawyers call for the resignation of Jay Bybee, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge (the 9th circuit covers the West Coast.
From Fox Talking Head:
But look, this is all about, fundamentally a battle of vengeance. The Democrats did not impeach George Bush, so now they want to represent his entire administration as being a criminal enterprise. And the Republicans are fighting back by saying, look, you, Nancy Pelosi, in 2002, in the aftermath of 9/11, you agreed that this was OK. But now, you know, years later, she wants to join the hanging party of Bush.
By World Can't Wait, Honolulu
This morning more than 50 people responded to a call made by World Can't Wait-Hawai`i to demand the prosecution of Jay Bybee, the signatory to the now-notorious 2002 “torture memo” authorizing waterboarding, walling, sleep deprivation and other horrific forms of torture. The crowd was diverse. Lawyers and long-time activists. Pacifists and revolutionaries. Office workers and retirees. Some stayed for the morning. Some could only escape from their offices for an hour.
From Chris Floyd:
...the Italian bank BNL was one of BCCI's main tentacles. BNL's Atlanta branch was the primary conduit used to send millions of secret dollars to Saddam for arms purchases, including deadly chemicals and other WMD materials supplied by the Chilean arms dealer Cardoen and various politically-connected operators in the United States such as weapons merchant Matrix Churchill.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Pressure is mounting against two former Bush administration attorneys who wrote the legal memos used to support harsh interrogation techniques that critics say constituted torture.
John Yoo, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is fighting calls for disbarment and dismissal, while Judge Jay Bybee of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals faces calls for impeachment.
Justice Department investigators have stopped short of recommending criminal charges, but suggest in a draft report that the two men should face professional sanctions. A number of groups across the country agree.
"We believe there is a lot of evidence to suggest that war crimes were committed," said Laura Bonham, deputy director of the Progressive Democrats of America. "We believe the memos provided the Central Intelligence Agency with the cover they needed to begin torturing detaines for information."
By Dave Lindorff
In December 2001, an appellate judicial panel in the state of New York ruled that Yonkers City Court Judge Edmund G. Fitzgerald had to step down from his bench and leave his position following his disbarment for allegedly “misusing” $9000 in a client’s account prior to his election as a judge. In 2007, the North Carolina courts faced something of a dilemma when state judge James Ethridge, who had been disbarred the prior October by the North Carolina State Bar for “swindling an older woman of her house and savings” as an attorney six years earlier, refused to quit his judicial position. Under state law in North Carolina, judges are required to be licensed lawyers, so Judge Ethridge was barred from holding court or signing court orders, but he continued to collect his salary. Only the state’s Judicial Standards Commission, or the state legislature, through an impeachment, could remove him from his job.
By David Swanson
That's right, children, it's national Nancy Day, honoring the occasion on May 7, 2006, when Nancy Pelosi first allowed Tim Russert to badger her into agreeing that she wouldn't permit the impeachment of Saint George or Father Dick, not even if they barbequed children on the White House lawn.
The right honorable Republican National Committee had just sent out a press release reading, roughly, as follows: "Skin me, Miss Nancy, snatch out my eyeballs, t'ar out my yeras by de roots, en cut off my legs, but don't deprive me of mah rightful impeachment. Don't fling me in dat immunity-patch."