Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Let's Find Out


There are more than a few people who are not sure the geographic state of the United States can survive the remaining terms of the current government. It is, after all, perhaps the most corrupt, dishonest, and destructive government in its history.

Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, now says that he has proof that the Veep was behind the forged documents that helped bring the invasion of Iraq. And George McGovern thinks that this administration will not last out to the end of the term. Last week, articles of impeachment against Cheney were introduced.

With that action, this thoughtful piece by Robin Cravey places impeachment within the realm of possibility, and more importantly, in the realm of justice itself.
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Impeach the president: defend the Constitution
by Robin Cravey
Tilted Planet Press
Many citizens today are calling on Congress to impeach President Bush. I agree, and I've believed for several years that Mr. Bush has committed high crimes deserving of impeachment. However, I don't expect that Congress will impeach the President, because I don't think Congress can convict him.
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Americans have plenty of reason to demand that this president be driven out of office. He has lied to the people; he has used his office for private gain; he has violated the constitution; he has trampled on the rights of citizens and the rights of humanity; he has looted the national treasury; he has allowed our attackers to escape unpunished; he has diminished our standing in the world; he has destabilized international balances; he has worsened a global environmental crisis; and he has worn out and wounded our military in a pointless war. I could go on. We're all sick of it and of him.
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The President shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. (U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 4) The House of Representatives shall have the sole Power of Impeachment. (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 2) The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present. (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 3)
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"How did you manage to impeach Nixon?" a young man asked me not long ago. Then, too, the president had lied to the people, trampled on the rights of citizens, violated the constitution, and engaged in a pointless war, though it was not a war he started.
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I remember how, as a young man in my twenties, I sat in the television lounge of the Texas Union day after day as the House Judiciary Committee and then the full House debated and approved articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. And I remember the voice of Barbara Jordan sounding the call of history through those proceedings.

After the House of Representatives approved articles of impeachment, the Senate committee began hearings. Mr. Nixon was impeached, but he was not convicted, and he was not removed from office. Instead, after being advised by leaders of his own party that conviction was likely, the president resigned from office.

Thinking ahead, before Mr. Nixon's impeachment, prosecutors persuaded his poisonous vice-president to resign from office in a plea bargain over official corruption charges. Gerald Ford, a plodding Republican Congressman of sufficient character, was named to the office and later assumed the presidency on Mr. Nixon's resignation.

How did we succeed?
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I think several factors were decisive. One was the smoking gun. That is, against all the other greater crimes at issue, there was the matter of a burglary at Democratic Party headquarters, and the detective work in this crime story became a symbolic drama that gradually built a case that the president was a crook.

Another was the turbulent mobilization of the people. The civil rights movement, the draft, the women's rights movement, the environmental movement, the repeated frustration of our hopes by assassinations, all brought large crowds into the streets demanding change.

Another was the vigilance of an independent press. Then newspapers, radio stations, and television stations were owned by many different people and corporations, each with its own policies, many with strong investigative reporters, and most with a healthy skepticism of political power. Finally, there was a broad and deep Democratic majority in Congress.

The Democratic majority had been swept in with Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, had largely weathered the Eisenhower years, had been boosted with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society landslide, and had survived two Nixon victories. This Democratic majority did more than just provide the party with enough votes to move the impeachment process forward. It provided a deep cadre strong leaders.

Furthermore, because of the bipartisan sobriety with which the Democrats ran Congress under Republican presidents, it allowed them to command respect and trust, and it set a collegial example that Republican members of Congress tended to emulate. Thus the impeachment debates could really be conducted on a level of national principles and the rule of law.

Today, the situation is much different. In the interim, a rankly partisan Republican majority took control of Congress and ran riot. They shut the Democratic minority out of the legislative process and trivialized the impeachment power by debating presidential sex practices in the halls of Congress. They went on to use every political tool legal and illegal to protect and increase their majority. Meanwhile, the independent press has been largely bought up and muzzled by a few large corporations. Through all this the populace has remained quiet.

Now the Democrats have at last regained the majority in Congress, but it's a fresh and slim majority. The House majority is adequate for some forward steps, but the need to sweeten the war limits bill with unrelated domestic spending shows a lack of strength and discipline. In the Senate, even worse, the majority is bare and tenuous. To move anything in the Senate will require the cooperation of responsible Republican Senators, and they are in short supply. To reach a two-thirds Senate majority on articles of impeachment would be impossible.

Knowing that the Senate will not convict, should the House impeach?

Let's think about it.

The president has committed high crimes in office. He should be punished or at least rebuked. To fail to confront him would be an encouragement for the many ambitious and unscrupulous pretenders vying for power.

If the House moves seriously and deliberately, the sight of our Congressmen drafting and debating articles of impeachment can provide a powerful national education. But it will take time. Democrats in the House are already hard at work investigating and exposing many of the abuses of the president's administration. Such investigations are an important prerequisite to impeachment. The entire process to report on current investigations, draft articles of impeachment, debate them in committee, and approve them by the full U.S. House could last into next year, when we will be involved in elections for a new president. And the House could go through debate and fail to impeach.

The sight of the U.S. House impeaching the president could provide one lesson to the nation, but what then? What if the President just stubbornly continues in office? That would provide a different and possibly negative lesson. When Bill Clinton defied the impeaching House, he could do so because everyone could see the frivolous nature of the impeachment. If George Bush defies House impeachment on serious charges, what will the lesson be?

Will the Republican lesson in Congressional frivolity be followed by a Democratic lesson in Congressional impotence? That would be bad. We need a strong Congress to protect us from the encroachments of the executive. We play into the hands of men like Mr. Cheney if we further diminish the stature of Congress.

The lesson from President Bush defying impeachment could be a positive one if the Democrats are unusually skilled and disciplined. If they conduct the proceedings with probity, the President's defiance could further demonstrate his intransigent lawlessness and the danger of men like him.

Failure of the Senate to convict, or maybe even to take up the articles of impeachment, could also remind the people that off-year Congressional elections can add up to profound national consequences.

Could the president and vice-president actually be forced from office? It's difficult to see how. Given their obvious contempt for the rule of law, they are not going to resign just because the House of Representatives has approved articles of impeachment.

How do we decide?

We don't decide based solely on whether this president can be removed, or whether the Democrats can retake the presidency. We certainly don't decide based on whether the Democratic Party will regain their ascendancy, though that would be good for the country. What is at stake here, as Mr. Cheney and his ilk understand, is the power of the Congress to represent the people: in short, our Constitution.

Can the House of Representatives take on the President and regain some of its constitutional power? A better question might be whether the House of Representatives can regain its constitutional power if it does not take on this President.

Again, if this President is not rebuked, the next President of either party will have some very dangerous precedents to stand on.

The risks are high.

Can we succeed?

Let's find out.


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3 Comments:

Blogger Charlie Loving said...

With all the proof and documentation it would seem that the die is cast but... there are so many damn fools out there that think that these people poop golden bricks. I am not going to hold my breath but should it all come true, I will cheer.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous humanbeingsfirst said...

When one plays chess on the Grand Chessboard, it must be with more strategies, tactics and analytical play than just 'Let's Find Out'.

So please allow me to extend the excellent analysis in this posting a bit further so that we can see how realism of the current chess pieces on the center of the board actually stacks up in creating a real 'Check', rather than a wishful 'Check'.

By way of preface, let me note the truism, that like many things, events and opportunites in life, business and politics, timing is the key differentiator between success and failure of whatever it is that needs to be accomplished or exploited. A startup that is ahead of its time, regardless of the sophistication and brilliance of its product, fails in the market, just as one that enters late needs many more things lined up to become successful than just the product itself.

In my view, we are in the latter space today with respect to the referenced matter.

Let's look at all the ducks that are now lined up in their favor. This is in addition to what's already noted in the essay. Before these were erected, all the things noted in the essay could have been relatively easily overcome. Now these ducks are more than just impediments. They prevent an effective 'check'!

1) All the Acts that have been passed, from Patriot to Military Commissions, to Emergency Powers wherein in an 'emergency' or 'terrorist event', the President can declare Martial Law, commit to war on Iran, and under War Powers Act or whatever that new thing's called, such debates on impeachment cannot occur - they have been (or will be) legally stripped of their power to do so under such emergencies.

None of these things were lined up during the Nixon years. None of these things are mentioned in the essay. None of these things need be elaborated upon further - beyond quoting Brzezinski's testimony before the Senate on Feb 1 2007 which is sufficent to let ones' own imagination work it out:

" a plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks, followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure, then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran, culminating in a ‘defensive’ US military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan"

In any threat to status quo, none of the above is dismissible.

2) The antagonist learnt much more from the Vietnam era than did the protagonists. I won't elaborate who the latter is. So, as the essay noted, much media consolidation and other reportage structure such as 'embedding' etc., have prevented a) any visiblity into the coffins arriving into America, b) any visibility into the 'enemy' victims' coffins - nay mass graves - nay rotting bodies sprayed over a mile area from daisy cutters and unable to receive a burial, or the children with limbs blown apart, or blown up wedding parties, et. al.

If you look down, stroll down, or drive down any main street of the United States of America, you'd be hard pressed to see any signs of war at all.

This wasn't the case of Vietnam war during the later years when impeachment became possible only, and only because millions of peoples had jammed the streets, the least of which was at least half million plus around the White House.

Nixon infact, according to the Nixon tapes, and as elaborated upon by Daniel Ellsberg, was talked out of 'nuking' Vietnam by Henry Kissinger precisely because of the power of the crowd outside. The unthinkable had remained unthinkable. The power of this 'people power' is so impressive that the antagonist learned from it - hence many things have transpired.

a) Dissent is systematically and strategically as well as tactically not permitted on any wide scale, and furthermore, all the people who traditionally enable grass-roots mobilizations, etc, are already on the so called 'terror watchlists' and 'no-fly' lists restricting their mobility.

b) To make the unthinkable into thinkable, from the moment of 911, the seeding into the American consiousness of Nuclear first strike against non-nuclear nations/states/peoples/rogues was in motion to prime the nation, from national security strategies to nuclear posture review.

In fact, Brzezinski, candid as always, bluntly put it to PBS - that first strike was always an unstated option and it was never articulated before, now it is purposely been taken off wraps and is now even part of the acceptable discourse against Iran!

c) Marilee Jones, the former director of Admissions at MIT made a very interesting observation, which everyone in the academe easily recognizes as their own experience as well.

Over the past decade, and especially since 911, the student applicant pool, as well as the student body, is overwhelmingly apolitcial or apathetic or conservative (i.e. not liberal, not activist, not socially conscious beyond conservatism). Whereas the key 'anti-war' elements in the Vietnam era got seeded from college campuses.

None of this 'ambience' is explicitly stated in the essay, never mind analyzed as the key 'leverage' which either enable or disenable 'impeachment'.

So. This is how the chessboard is laid out at present. So how to initiate check?

First let's briefly look at some elements of check:

1) mass of peoples protesting. The essay envisions it, the posting with the amazing picture of wall-to-wall protestors hypothesizes it. And certainly, without public pressure in such large numbers, it is infeasible to have any governmental body, whether in legislature, the judiciary, or the exectutive, move. It will remain a 'focus-group' unless 10 million turn out in a single day, and stay there. This is reality on the chessboard today, as verified by the President himself when he dismissed all previous marches that never exceeded, at max, a million total across the US before the Iraq invasion.

2) Elimination of all the legalism 'Acts' that can cause martial law to be declared by the President.

If the Congress only participates in approving them, and not dispelling them, please - impeachment is a far cry!


In my view, given how the chessboard is layed out, the only efficacious way to engage a 'Check' is to initiate it in the judiciary.

Congress has unfortunately become a slow moving lame duck and does not have any teeth as noted in the essay, and with which I concur!

Regards
Zahir

3:32 PM  
Blogger Seven Star Hand said...

Hello all,

Remember that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Consequently, if we fail to force these scoundrels to face the Truth and Justice necessary to end such evil, similar scenarios are guaranteed to occur again and again in the future.

The pivotal import of Yellow Cake, False Flags, & "Big Time" Evil

The combination of George Tenet's book, At the Center of the Storm, Eisner & Royce's The Italian Letter and the books and research of many others in recent years now provides enough of a foundation for everyone to finally discern that 9:11 was a "false flag" operation against both the American public and the Muslim world. Likewise, the uncanny synchronicity of Al Qaeda's videos and other activities perfectly timed to reinforce and support the Bush/Cheney administration's political needs coupled with the actions of the Bush admin actually serving to strengthen Al Qaeda's position, now makes perfect sense. The apparent mistakes and chaos that have characterized the Iraq war, the easily prevented resurgence of the Taliban, and permitting Bin Laden to escape Tora Bora to a safe haven in Pakistan all fit the same pattern. It's hard to maintain a state of continuous war if you allow your made-to-order enemies to be defeated too early. It is likewise hard to remain a "war president" if your wars end too soon!

The letterhead used to forge the "Yellowcake letter" that was then used to help "sell" the Iraq war was stolen in Rome on 1/1/2001, more than nine months before 9:11 and before Little W. became president. Consequently, the use of the "Yellow-Cake Lie" was obviously discussed and planned before then! The import of this fact is that the Niger embassy in Rome was burglarized, before Bush became president, to lay the groundwork for the web of deception used to sell the Iraq War, after 9:11. More importantly, it is highly unlikely that the Iraq war could ever have been sold to the American public, without something like 9:11 happening first. Any excuses of other uses for the stolen letterhead are laughable since the letterhead burglary would have been pointless, without 9:11. This evidences foreknowledge of those attacks, a full nine months before they occurred, among other things!

Read more...

4:38 PM  

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