You are hereImpeachment
By Dave Lindorff
For some time now, many Americans have wondered how Congress, the elected body that the nation’s Founding Fathers saw as the bulwark of liberty, could have been so thoroughly unwilling to, or incapable of challenging the dictatorial power-grabs and the eight-year Constitution wrecking campaign of the Bush/Cheney administration.
There has been speculation on both the far left and the far right, and even among some in the apolitical, cynical middle of the political spectrum, that somehow the Bush/Cheney administration must have been blackmailing at least the key members of the Congressional leadership, most likely through the use of electronic monitoring by the National Security Agency (NSA).
By David Swanson
We've pushed long and hard to put accountability, impeachment, prosecution, and the restoration of congressional power on the American table, and they've all just landed with a thud and splatter of gravy and cranberry dressing. So, eat up, take heart, and prepare to work harder than we have over the past several frustrating years of path breaking and pressure building.
Impeachment, specifically of torture memo author turned lifetime federal judge Jay Bybee ( http://impeachbybee.org ), is now supported by all the organizations that have backed impeachment of his bosses, plus: the New York Times, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Jerrold Nadler, Common Cause, Think Progress, and the Courage Campaign [and UPDATE: People for the American Way]. Local Democratic parties in California have passed resolutions and are urging the state party to do so this week requesting the impeachment of Bybee.
By David Swanson
There are lots of supposed reasons not to appoint a special prosecutor. The first set of such supposed reasons to come from someone intelligent and well-informed with good intentions has come from Elizabeth de la Vega. Here is a response.
1. If we do not extend the statutes of limitations, the careful and considered delay could end up becoming immunity. Simply claiming that the clock doesn't start ticking until the last act of conspiracy to conceal does not do it, since half the legal experts like that reasoning and half do not and we would have to argue each case, including cases that do not clearly involve conspiracies to conceal. In fact, the most egregious crimes have involved open confessions from the highest officials.
2. The Senate as a whole will never ever approve any useful investigation except in committees, but it might convict following an impeachment that changes public awareness.
3. Congressional hearings produce relatively little.
Post a comment below to join.
A coalition of organizations including the Center for Constitutional Rights, After Downing Street, Democrats.com, and Courage Campaign has sent a joint letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers requesting the impeachment of Jay S. Bybee. The coalition is encouraging other organizations to join them in this effort. The full text of the letter follows:
Dear Chairman Conyers:
By Dave Lindorff
If the day comes that Congress finally does its duty and begins an impeachment effort against 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Judge Jay Bybee, the former Bush assistant attorney general who in 2002 authored a key memo justifying the use of torture against captives in the Afghanistan invasion and the so-called “War on Terror,” it would be fitting punishment to watch him squirm as his own words as a judge were played back to him.
It was as an Appeals Court Judge Bybee, sitting on a case being heard in 2006 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, that he wrote the following words:
By Ryan Grim, Huffington Post
Rep. Jerry Nadler, a senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, called Monday for the impeachment of federal judge Jay Bybee, one of the principal authors of the torture memos released last week by the Obama administration.
"He ought to be impeached," Nadler said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "It was not an honest legal memo. It was an instruction manual on how to break the law."
Nadler, a New York congressman, is chairman of Judiciary's Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee. Bybee is currently serving a lifetime term on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, appointed in 2003 and confirmed before it was publicly known that he had authorized the torture of detainees.
The Torturers’ Manifesto
By NY Times
To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush’s Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity.
Their language is the precise bureaucratese favored by dungeon masters throughout history. They detail how to fashion a collar for slamming a prisoner against a wall, exactly how many days he can be kept without sleep (11), and what, specifically, he should be told before being locked in a box with an insect — all to stop just short of having a jury decide that these acts violate the laws against torture and abusive treatment of prisoners.
That's the word from California last night. The resolution will be taken up at the state Democratic Party convention next week. Details on Bybee and other criminals and how to make citizen's arrests is here.
Fast Track This! CA Dems Seek Support for Impeachment Resolution of Torture Enabler Jay Bybee; Text & Background Available Here
Note: The deadline for resolutions is this Wednesday, March 25th. Please don't delay!
Hi... Just a note to let you know that I'm organizing a resolution from the California Democratic Party to impeach Jay Bybee.
Below, please find my letter requesting support, and the resolution itself:
Friends and Fellow Members of the California Democratic Party SCC:
This e-mail is marked "urgent" because new revelations are breaking daily about Bush-sanctioned torture, and the legal opinions that underpinned this unprecedented abuse of presidential power.
Next week's "Newsweek" magazine promises that the Obama administration will soon declassify three more key memos from 2005 by Bush's Justice Department detailing "enhanced interrogation" techniques, such as "waterboarding, head-slapping and other rough tactics."
By Dave Lindorff
The dithering and ducking going on in the Obama White House and the Holder Justice Department over the crimes of the Bush administration are taking on a comic aspect.
On the one hand, we have President Obama assuring us that under his administration, there will be respect for the rule of law, and on the other hand we have this one-time constitutional law professor and his attorney general declaiming that there is no need for the appointment of a prosecutor to bring charges against the people in the last administration, in the CIA, in the National Security Agency and in the Defense Department and the military who clearly have broken the law in serious and felonious ways.
What gets silly is that America is either a nation of laws…or it isn’t. It is either a place where “nobody is above the law”…or it isn’t.
There is really no middle ground here.
By Dave Lindorff
The similar calls by Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the crimes of the Bush/Cheney administration are potentially a terrible idea, but one that could turn out to be an excellent one, if handled correctly.
It would be a terrible idea if a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was just another 9-11-type body. That commission turned out to be worse than nothing, given that it was manipulated by the Bush administration to be toothless and that it ended up covering up more than it uncovered. Aside from the behind the scenes manipulation, the biggest problem with the 9-11 commission, though, was that is was not linked to any attempt to prosecute official wrong-doing.
By Dave Lindorff
I can’t count how many people have bombarded me with criticisms, usually laced with insults and often obscenities, when I have written articles calling for pressure on Democratic politicians to do the right thing, whether that is impeaching the last president and vice president for war crimes or in the case of our new president, standing and fighting for a people’s bailout, instead of a Wall Street bailout.
The common refrain I hear is that the Democrats and Republicans are the same, and that we need a third party. Another common refrain is that “all you suckers” who voted for Obama are to blame. We should have voted for Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader, they say.
Now I have nothing against McKinney and Nader. That ticket would make for a wonderful administration, I agree. But I also have to point out that there is zero chance of these two people being elected in my lifetime (I’m 59 and pretty healthy) or theirs.
One reason Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was forced to resign was the growing support for a bill in the House that read in its entirety:
Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to impeach Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.
By Dave Lindorff
As someone who has spent nearly three frustrating years actively advocating the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for their many crimes and abuses of power, I have to admit that not only did it not happen, but that the likelihood of their being indicted and brought to trial now that they have left office is exceedingly slim.
During his last press conference as the acting president, George Bush said there is “no such thing as short-term history” and time will vindicate his decisions to protect America from terrorism. But could President Bush’s actions during his years in office embolden his opponents to pursue the former president with articles of impeachment?
Brian Kalt, associate professor of law at Michigan State University College of Law, does not support any movement to impeach President Bush, nor did he back the impeachment effort against President Bill Clinton. But the constitutional law expert argues that this country could someday fall into circumstances – though admittedly rarer than regular impeachment – where late impeachability could be a practical consideration.
Impeachment investigation ahead for Bush and Cheney?
by Martha R Gore | Examiner.com
It came as no surprise that House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers began talking about impeachement hearing against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on January 14, 2009. If such hearings come about, according to Conyers, it would be a means of reaffirming constitutional principals.
Many Bush critics think that Conyers put off an impeachment battle during the last two years because of concerns that it might have political repercussions that might have kept the Democrats from winning the larger congressional majorities and the presidency during the 2008 elections.
By Dave Lindorff
The calls for a reckoning for the criminals of the Bush/Cheney administration are growing by the day, as the final few days of the Bush presidency tick down, and as new evidence of their crimes keep pouring out of the deflating gas bag that was the Bush White House.
For years, the Democrats in Congress, with a few notable exceptions, have sat on their hands, allowing the ongoing destruction of the Constitution, of the US military, of the nation’s reputation, and of the rule of law, as well as of the institution of Congress itself, by a cabal of Republicans in the White House, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, who have sought to establish an executive-led government that answered only to itself.
Over the past three years, a great many people have lobbied Conyers to impeach Bush and Cheney. I've worked with him and his staff, been arrested protesting in his office, and everything in between. Conyers includes in his new report a foreword that amounts to a seven-page letter to disappointed impeachment advocates.
It took 10 weeks for the House Judiciary Committee to vote to impeach Richard Nixon, and decades later, seven weeks for Bill Clinton.
But it took the Illinois House just three weeks (with time off for Christmas and New Year's) to vote out articles of impeachment for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and the full House impeached him after a zippy ninety minutes of debate. Pretty good -- but I think we can do even better.
The popular One-Minute Manager books explain how to achieve "the gift" of getting results in less time. The three principles of the One-Minute Manager can be adapted to streamline previously drawn-out constitutional processes like impeachment.
By David Swanson
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has introduced a bill, H.R. 104, that would create a commission to spend a year and a half looking at the various crimes of Bush and Cheney. While this might allow congressional Democrats to run election campaigns against Bush and Cheney yet again, even though those two will have been out of office for two years, it's not clear that it would do much else that would be positive.
John Nichols points out that the U.S. House has the same powers as the government of Illinois, just not any willingness to use them.
By Jason Leopold, www.consortiumnews.com
In one of the first acts of the 111th Congress, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers proposed legislation to create a blue-ribbon panel of outside experts to probe the “broad range” of policies pursued by the Bush administration “under claims of unreviewable war powers,” including torture of detainees and warrantless wiretaps.
Conyers’s proposal for a National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties also signals that Congress will devote significant time this year to investigating the Bush administration’s most controversial actions with an eye to rolling back its expansion of executive power.
Many civil liberties and human rights groups feared that the Democratic-controlled Congress and Barack Obama’s administration would duck any sustained inquiry into wrongdoing by George W. Bush and his subordinates, to avoid angering Republicans.
Bernard Madoff, the New Yorker who fleeced investors of $50 billion with heartless precision, and Vice President Dick Cheney, a principal architect of America’s ruin as an envied world leader and engineer of calculated abuse of power, share the same amoral lack of ethics except for one distinguishing fact.
Madoff forlornly admits his revolting dishonesty and theft of investments from philanthropists, friends, foundations and celebrities. However, right up to the last days of his dark reign, Cheney not only refuses to admit his deceit, but boasts that kidnapping and torture of terror suspects, wiretapping Americans, ignoring Congress, lying to the public, launching a war on fraudulent grounds, alienating overseas allies, pandering to loony religious agendas and legislating for the wealthy were collectively beneficial to Americans.
Loyalists of George W. Bush and Cheney will protest. However, a reasonable case can be made that the Bush-Cheney years were golden for corrupt public conduct.
By Dave Lindorff
Vice President Dick Cheney has cultivated the image of a serious tough guy, with his grim, scowling vissage, his dismissive "So?" comments when things go badly, his unrepentant defense of torture, including waterboarding, and his brash statements confirming that he approved the interrogation measures that clearly violated US criminal statutes and the Geneva Conventions.
But it appears we willl in a few days get to discover whether Cheney really is a tough guy, or whether he is in truth just the same corpulent, self-centered hypocrite and gutless coward that he was back in the 1960s when, despite being a vocal backer of the Vietnam War, he ducked the draft not once but five times by arranging for student and marriage deferments, which he later defended by saying he had "other priorities" than serving his country.
December 18 2008 as the temperature drops to the low 30's the weekly protest/ vigil (Thursday at high noon) continue outside of the Portland office of House District 3 Representative Earl Blumenauer.
The protest vigil is "to encourage & remind him (Earl) that his constituent's want accountability and an honest and forthright presidency. By Earl Blumenauer refusing (and continuing to ignore the lawlessness) to hold the Bush administration accountable for their human rights violations and for their disrespect on holding-up (protecting) the US Constitution as our honored "law of our land" ...we (protesters) are outside his office (weekly) showing the world we (as individual's and citizens for justice) are displeased and outraged that Earl Blumenauer will tolerate and allow these violations. The group holding this protest will be here till Jan 20 (2008)when the Liar in Chief steps down from his stolen position.
We probably shouldn't have been surprised at Vice President Dick Cheney's blustering, obstinate insistence on ABC News on Monday that he's been right all along about virtually everything. But that doesn't mean we have to agree.
In the interview, Cheney not only acknowledged that he was involved in approving the harsh interrogation methods used by the CIA on suspected terrorists, but said he still thinks that waterboarding was an appropriate way to extract information. He said -- contradicting even President Bush -- that he believes the notorious American prison at Guantanamo Bay should remain open for the foreseeable future, and he reiterated that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was justified by, believe it or not, Saddam Hussein's weapons programs.