Tuesday, November 06, 2007

House Bill to Impeach Cheney Grew Legs Today

Oddly enough, coming in the wake of news of Cheney's meddling in foreign affairs such as with Pakistan (see post below) & his ongoing "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" campaign, today Dennis Kucinich's House bill to impeach Cheney got some movement despite Republicon efforts to kill it outright.
Could it be a measure of Americans' impatience with "enabling" Democrats in Congress?
"The House voted today to send a resolution considering the impeachment of Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee, a move that embarrassed Democratic leaders who were forced into the parliamentary tactic to avoid a floor debate on impeachment.
"Led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the long-shot anti-war candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, scores of Democrats were joined by scores of Republicans in initially supporting a Kucinich resolution that would have prompted a full debate on impeaching Cheney.
Democratic leaders long ago rejected any consideration of impeaching Cheney and President Bush as an irresponsible move supported only by the far left, so they tried today to table Kucinich's impeachment resolution. After initially having more than enough votes to kill the resolution - the "yea" tally to table impeachment topped out at 291 - Republicans decided they had a chance to politically shame Democrats into a full debate on the sensitive issue. Republicans gleefully said they wanted the debate to show the public how many Democrats would actually support impeaching Cheney, which they consider a move supported only by a fringe element of anti-war activists.
"More than 120 members, predominantly Republicans, then switched their votes in favor of holding a one-hour debate on the issue, with a final vote of 251-162 supporting a debate on impeachment. Rather than allow a debate fraught with political risk, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) moved to send the Kucinich resolution to the Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), has publicly speculated about impeaching the president or vice president but has declined taking any action since taking the gavel in January.
"Defusing any chance of an actual impeachment debate today, the House then voted 218-194 to send the motion to Conyers's committee, with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting the move."
Get info on the text of Kucinich articles of impeachment here: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2007/11/cheney_impeachment_resolution.html
Hoyer, however, sez his Committee will take no action on it, miming the cowardly party line that they've got more important things to do than to reassert the rule of law by allowing Americans to avail themselves of a Constitutional remedy to rid themselves of an increasingly belligerent, unresponsive, & corrupt government:
"UPDATE: Hoyer: 'Impeachment ... Not on Our Agenda'
After the vote on the impeachment resolution, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) unequivocally said he expects no action taken by the Judiciary Committee to consider the Kucinich articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney. 'The speaker and I have both said impeachment, either of the president or the vice president, is not on our agenda,' Hoyer told Capitol Briefing." http://blog.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2007/11/update_hoyer_impeachment_is_no.html
But, even conservative constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein argues, here, for Cheney's impeachment (in case you missed it): http://www.slate.com/id/2169292/
More info at AfterDowningStreet.org, including a means to contact the Judiciary Committee & your Congresspeople.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Strong Man a' Strong Man

Ill: Image of Original Painting, "Dick," by Mark Bryan
used with permission

What Cheney Wrought

"Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid writes in a Washington Post op-ed: 'The spread of anti-Western feelings and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism have been fostered by a U.S. policy that has sought to prop up Musharraf rather than forcing him to seek political consensus and empower a representative civilian government that would have public support for attacking the extremists.'

"And who's most responsible for that policy? Here's what
Rashid wrote in The Post in June: 'Current and past U.S. officials tell me that Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney's office. The vice president, they say, is close to Musharraf and refuses to brook any U.S. criticism of him. This all fits; in recent months, I'm told, Pakistani opposition politicians visiting Washington have been ushered in to meet Cheney's aides, rather than taken to the State Department."

Your Demon is, understandably, quite worried about the news from Pakistan over the last several days that strongman Musharref has ousted a Supreme Court justice rather than have him rule on the validity of the recent election that made Musharref President as well as military commander, the suspension of the country's constitution, a media shutdown, the free-for-all that followed in the streets of lawyers protesting the same, & the fact that all hell has just broken loose in yet another area of the Mid East, Pakistan, which has nuclear arms!

And guess who's had his fingers in it all along?

"The roots of the crisis go back to the blind bargain Washington made after 9/11 with the regime that had heretofore been the Taliban's main patron: ignoring Musharraf's despotism in return for his promises to crack down on al-Qaeda and cut the Taliban loose. Today, despite $10 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan since 2001, that bargain is in tatters; the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda's senior leadership has set up another haven inside Pakistan's chaotic border regions.

"The problem is exacerbated by a dramatic drop-off in U.S. expertise on Pakistan. Retired American officials say that, for the first time in U.S. history, nobody with serious Pakistan experience is working in the South Asia bureau of the State Department, on State's policy planning staff, on the National Security Council staff or even in Vice President Cheney's office. Anne W. Patterson, the new U.S. ambassador to Islamabad, is an expert on Latin American 'drugs and thugs'; Richard A. Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, is a former department spokesman who served three tours in Hong Kong and China but never was posted in South Asia. 'They know nothing of Pakistan,' a former senior U.S. diplomat said.

"Current and past U.S. officials tell me that Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney's office. The vice president, they say, is close to Musharraf and refuses to brook any U.S. criticism of him. This all fits; in recent months, I'm told, Pakistani opposition politicians visiting Washington have been ushered in to meet Cheney's aides, rather than taken to the State Department."
"With Cheney in charge and Rice in eclipse, rumblings of alarm can be heard at the Defense Department and the CIA. While neither agency is usually directly concerned with decision-making on Pakistan, both boast officers with far greater expertise than the White House and State Department crew. These officers, many of whom have served in Islamabad or Kabul, understand the double game that Musharraf has played -- helping the United States go after al-Qaeda while letting his intelligence services help the Taliban claw their way back in Afghanistan. The Pentagon and the CIA have been privately expressing concern about the lack of an alternative to blind support for Musharraf. Ironically, both departments have historically supported military rulers in Pakistan. They seem to have learned their lesson. It's a pity that those calling the shots have not."
"Running parallel to this domestic political crisis is the growing problem of radical Islam; the Taliban and al-Qaeda are now deeply entrenched in the tribal border belt adjacent to Afghanistan. These groups gained political legitimacy last year when Musharraf signed a series of dubious peace deals with the Pakistani Taliban. They are now coming down from the mountains to spread their radical ideology in towns and cities by burning down DVD and TV shops, insisting that young men grow beards, forcibly recruiting schoolboys for the jihad and terrifying girls so that they won't attend school. The military has refused to put a brake on their extremism.

"Musharraf promised the international community that he would purge pro-Taliban elements from his security services and convinced the Bush administration that his philosophy of "enlightened moderation" was the only way to fend off Islamic extremism. But Pakistan today is the center of global Islamic terrorism, with Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mohammad Omar probably living here.

"Instead of confronting this threat, the army has focused on keeping Musharraf in power -- negotiating with extremists, letting radical Islamic students set up a base in Islamabad and so forth. Meanwhile, to spook the West into continuing to support him, Musharraf continues to grossly exaggerate the strength of the Islamic parties that he warns might take over his nuclear-armed country. In fact, the United States would be far safer if it pushed for a truly representative Pakistani government that could marginalize the jihadists, rather than placing all its eggs in Musharraf's basket."

Also from the WaPo: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2007/11/05/BL2007110500704.html?hpid=topnews

Time yet to impeach Cheney, ya think (or at least send a message to Congress)? http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/73


Friday, November 02, 2007

Democrats Give Mukasey Nomination OK

Ill: Micah Wright/Propaganda Remix
with permission

So, surprise~ your Demon can't get behind the Mukasey nomination for Attorney General. He may have shown the slightest bit of independence & reverence for the rule of law in the distant past, but he's also backed the suspension of habeus corpus as to American citizens, & also knows on which side his bread is buttered. He's a big fan & contributor to Rudy Giulani's campaign.

Nothing at all apolitical & neutral about him. (The judiciary was once expected to be just that, but it seems we surrendered that illusion long ago.)

After all, one doesn't get to be a poobah in the Bush Administration without swearing fealty to the neocon agenda of worldwide belligerence & the ongoing cause of pathetic little homicidal he-men there (who never got the "opportunity" to serve in uniform) wanting to star in their own home movies. We must provide a national outlet for all that testosterone-driven rage. It's a fight to the death with the islamofascists. Will we let our own philosophy of civil liberties & centuries of hard-won legal traditions be the hook that hoists us by our own petards?

Nothing to see here, Democrats, move on.

Again, the big news of the day is that nothing has really changed with the Democrats in office. Faced with the greatest challenge of statesmanship of our generation, they've failed us, miserably.

Of course, op-eds in the WaPo like this don't help. Confusing cause with effect on so many levels does not advance anyone's critical thinking skills, &, in the end, encourages Democrats in Congress to do something ~ anything ~ when "doing nothing" may well be the better choice (leaving the post vacant).

For more on the bill the WaPo seems to think is a final solution http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:SN01876:@@@X

Your Demon would urge the Democrats to hold the nomination up until a bill banning torture as well as extra-legal spying makes it through Congress.

But, that's all over now: Bush will bash & bully them unless they let him pull the strings: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071102/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_bashing_congress_3

Yet another liberal perspective on the matter from Glenn Greenwald: http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/11/02/mukasey/

"When Bush says: '9/11-AlQaeda-Terrorism-GiveMeX,' Democrats always ensure that he gets 'X.' The only variable is how they will do it, which specific members will ensure that it happens. 'X' here was Mukasey's confirmation, and Democrats are thus complying as always. At least the embarrassing efforts to pretend they were ever really going to block this nomination have come to an end."