GW Bush

Bush is World"s #1 Terrorist

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Year the Chickenhawks Will Go Home to Roost

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005
2006: The Year the Chickenhawks Will Go Home to Roost

...a message from Cindy Sheehan

Since hot, hot Camp Casey in August, some amazing grass roots actions have taken place all over the country. People are starting to speak up and Congress has begun to take action against the criminal and neo-Fascist regime that tried to take over America.

From Camp Casey to Katrina to use of chemical weaponry and extraordinary rendition to illegally spying on American citizens without due process, Bushco has miserably failed our country and the world. We as Americans said "enough is enough." We sacrificed a lot when we showed up in DC and other cities around the country in the hundreds of thousands to protest against and show that we withdraw any consent to be governed by murderous thugs. We started to peacefully, but forcefully resist the notion that this government has any right to govern us when they have betrayed their offices and their sacred trusts as "defenders" of the Constitution so horribly.

This was also the year that we began to hold such Republicans in Democratic clothing like: Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden, and Diane Feinstein (list is by no means all inclusive) accountable for their support of what George is doing in Iraq. When we as Democrats elect our leaders we expect them to reject and loudly repudiate the murderous and corrupt policies of this administration -- not support and defend them.

There are Camp Caseys in front of Hillary's and Chuck Schumer's offices in Long Island every Friday, as well as one in front of Diane Feinstein's Los Angeles office on Fridays. There has been a Camp Casey in front of Kay Bailey Hutchinson's office in Dallas since August. Several protestors have been arrested in Dallas exercising their First Amendment rights. We need to let these warmongers, as well as the Republican warmongers, know that we mean business when we say "bring them home now." Set up Camp Caseys in front of your Senator's or Congress person's office if they support George in his wars of aggression.

Gold Star Families for Peace ( is planning many activities for the first part of 2006. I would like to give you all a heads-up on them, so you can make your plans accordingly to support us and to join us if at all possible.

On January 31st, we will be in Washington, DC for the State of the Union address when George gets in front of Congress and the world and lies through his teeth about how great everything is going in Iraq and here at home. His idiotic policies have ruined Iraq and New Orleans and made the world a more dangerous place...allowing that terrorist attacks have tripled world wide since he decided to "fight them over there." He also may be laying the ground work for further acts of needless aggression against Syria and Iraq. GSFP and representatives from other peace organizations and refugees from New Orleans will be gathering in DC to give the "Real State of the Union." Check our website for place and time.

For the Love of God, Can't you Make Him Stop? Recently, it was revealed that George only interacts with four people: Laura, Condi, Karen Hughes and his Mom. His Mom, the Ice Queen who didn't want her "pretty mind" burdened with the images of flag draped coffins coming home, lives in Houston. On President's Day, (Feb. 20) we will be demonstrating in front of her house to implore her to forget about the obscene profits that her family and their friends are making off of this occupation and to beg her to finally do the right thing and make her son stop this insane war OF terror against the world. George and Dick are defiling the highest offices of the world and they need to resign. On President's Day, when we have the day off, we need to demonstrate against the ones who are illegitimately in power, anyway. If you can't make it to Houston, organize your own President's Day protest.

The Camp Casey Peace Foundation will hold its first annual Peace Festival and Concert on April 4, 2006. April 4th is the day Casey and Martin Luther King, Jr. were killed. We want to turn it into a true day for celebrating peace. The Camp Casey Peace Foundation will be awarding the Casey Sheehan Peace Prize, a cash prize, to a young peace activist every year. We want to foster the growth of solving problems non-violently and young people are the ones who get killed in the gray haired old men's wars. We are working on an exciting event and we will announce more details as the event draws closer.

Camp Casey Easter edition: We will be heading back to our leased land in Crawford April 11th to Easter, which is April 16th. Easter is a time of renewal and hopeful promises. Casey was killed on Palm Sunday and his body was returned to us in the cargo section of a United Airlines flight on Holy Saturday and we buried him two days after Easter. Last Easter Season was so painful to us. This Easter we will again be demonstrating in front of the man's home who is responsible for such pain and abject heartache in the world. But, we will be there with a renewed sense of hope that the Chickenhawks will be sent out to pasture this year. Like Michael Moore, I want to be a fly on the wall when Bush and company are hauled out of the White House in handcuffs. Impeachment is not necessary for people who never were elected...eviction is what is needed. If you can't join us in Crawford, set up your own Camp Casey near you.

In 2005, we learned that we have the power. We learned that we can't rely on the propaganda media or the empty promises of most of our elected leadership. We learned that we need to be the change that we desire to see.

We learned that one person can and does make a difference.

We cannot relax in 2006. We cannot slip back into the evil of apathy and complacency that the neocons rejoice in. We need to keep pounding, working, and fighting. We need to support organizations like Gold Star Families for Peace, Veterans for Peace (, Code Pink ( and Iraq Veterans Against the War (, or the Peace organization of your choice so we can continue our struggle for peace with justice. We need to support true American patriots like John Conyers who is calling for an investigation and censure for the lies that have cost us so much of our national human treasure.

2006 will be a great year for the people of our country. I know it.

It won't be easy, but we will prevail and the struggle will be worth it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The New Madness of King George

The New Madness of King George

By Robert Parry
December 19, 2005

On the Sunday before Christmas, a fidgety George W. Bush interrupted regular programming on U.S. networks to deliver an address to the nation that painted the Iraq War and the War on Terror in the same black-and-white colors he has always favored.

Despite the media's conventional wisdom about Bush’s new “realism” on Iraq, the old canards were still there – Saddam Hussein choosing war by rejecting United Nations weapons inspectors; blurred distinctions between Iraqi insurgents and non-Iraqi terrorists; intimations that Bush’s critics are “partisan” while he embodies the national interest.

Plus, there was the same old stark choice between success and failure. “There are only two options before our country – victory or defeat,” Bush declared, brushing aside the political and military ambiguities of the Iraq War and the War on Terror.

But Bush’s speech and his curious hand gestures as he sat behind a desk in the Oval Office suggested a twitchiness over his apparent realization that the nation increasingly doubts his leadership.

Indeed, it appears the American people finally have begun to understand the costs in blood, money and freedoms that have resulted from letting the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks become a justification for transforming the United States into a modern-day empire led by an autocrat who claims the untrammeled right to strike at his perceived enemies abroad and crack down on his opponents at home.


A day earlier, an angrier-looking Bush used his weekly radio address to denounce as “irresponsible” senators who resorted to the filibuster to demand more civil-liberties protections in a revised version of the Patriot Act.

Bush also lashed out at press disclosures of his three-year-old decision to circumvent the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by personally approving warrantless electronic eavesdropping on international communications by people inside the United States.

“As a result (of the disclosure), our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk,” Bush said. “Revealing classified information is illegal.”

Bush’s outrage might seem strange to some observers since he has refused to punish his deputy chief of staff Karl Rove for leaking the classified identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused Bush of twisting intelligence to build his case for invading Iraq in 2003.

But Bush apparently has judged that he, as president, and his close advisers can decide which laws they wish to obey and when, while simultaneously condemning those outside their circle of power for violating the same laws.

This attitude follows Bush’s view that the “commander in chief” clause of the U.S. Constitution grants him virtually unlimited powers as a “war president” as long as the War on Terror lasts, a concept of executive authority that recalls the days of absolute authority claimed by Medieval kings and queens.

Already, Bush has asserted that his “commander in chief” powers allow him to arrest citizens and hold them indefinitely without charges; to authorize physical abuse of prisoners; to invade other countries without the necessity of congressional approval; and to ignore international law, including the U.N. Charter and other treaty obligations.

As the New York Times reported on Dec. 16 and Bush confirmed on Dec. 17, he also is claiming – as his constitutional right – the power to wiretap Americans without court review or the presentation of evidence to any impartial body.

When Bush is challenged on these authorities, he asserts that he is following the law, although it is never clear which law or whether anyone other than his appointed lawyers have advised him on the scope of his power.

(Conservative legal scholars may have to stretch their notion of the “original intent” of the Founders to explain how the writers of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 decided to give a future president the authority to use spy satellites to intercept phone calls and other electronic communications.)

It’s also not clear what evidence exists to support Bush’s charge that disclosure of his wiretapping decision damages the national security and endangers U.S. citizens.

Under the FISA law dating back to the 1970s, electronic eavesdropping has been permitted inside the United States against foreign agents, including anyone collaborating with an international terrorist group. The law only requires a warrant from a secret court, which rarely rejects an administration request.

Presumably, al-Qaeda terrorists inside the United States were aware that their communications were vulnerable to intercepts, explaining why the Sept. 11 attackers were careful to avoid telephonic contacts abroad. But the terrorists would have no way to know whether electronic eavesdropping might be done with or without a warrant, under FISA or Bush’s order.

Yet, Bush’s complaint that disclosure of his personal wiretapping authority endangers national security presupposes the terrorists knew that their phone calls would somehow be immune from a FISA court warrant but susceptible to Bush’s wiretap order.

Since that assumption makes no sense, one can only conclude that Bush threw in the accusation about endangering national security to impugn the patriotism of his critics and rev up his base, much as he did during the run-up to invading Iraq when skeptics were shouted down as traitors and liars. [See, for instance,’s “Politics of Preemption.”]

Questionable Targets

Bush’s assertion of his unilateral authority to wiretap anyone he wishes also raises questions about whether some of his eavesdropping is aimed at political opponents or journalists, rather than terrorists.

While Bush claims his wiretaps were vital to the national security, they came at a time when the FISA court was approving record numbers of warrants for secret surveillance. According to FISA’s annual report for 2004, there were a record 1,758 applications for spying authorization that year and none was denied by the special court.

The administration’s explanation for why additional secret wiretaps were needed is that Bush’s order saves time when a quick wiretap is required, such as when a foreign terrorist is captured and his phone records are seized.

But the FISA court can clear warrants in a few hours – or Bush could exercise emergency powers under the law to conduct wiretaps for 72 hours before obtaining approval from the court. That emergency provision was inserted in the law to give presidents leeway when the threat was a surprise nuclear attack by the Soviet Union with the potential of wiping out nearly the entire U.S. population.

Even during the Cold War, the FISA provisions were acceptable to Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. But now, with a much less severe threat from al-Qaeda terrorists, George W. Bush has decided that the law must be waived at his discretion, bypassing the court on hundreds and possibly thousands of surveillance orders.

That suggests other motives may exist for some of these wiretaps, such as the possibility that some intercepted conversations would be rejected by even the rubber-stamping FISA court, like requests to spy on activists, politicians or journalists.

The Bush administration, for instance, has accused the Arab news network al-Jazeera of collaborating with al-Qaeda and U.S. news executives are known to communicate with al-Jazeera over access to its exclusive video. Would these phone calls and e-mails be covered by Bush’s extraordinary wiretap authority?

Bush’s right-wing allies also have labeled some American journalists, such as Seymour Hersh, traitors for writing articles about the War on Terror that reveal secret operations that Bush has wanted to keep hidden. Plus, there may be U.S. politicians or activists communicating with Islamic leaders overseas.

While the full range of Bush’s intercepts is not known, the administration’s use of National Security Agency intercepts was an issue earlier this year, when it was disclosed that John Bolton, Bush’s nominee to be United Nations ambassador, had requested names of Americans that had been excised from NSA transcripts for privacy reasons.

Senate Democrats demanded that documents be turned over on 10 cases in which Bolton used his position as under secretary of state for arms control to obtain the names. The White House refused to provide the information and Bush evaded the need for Senate confirmation of Bolton’s ambassadorship by making him a “recess appointment.”

Hand Gestures

As for Sunday’s prime-time Iraq War speech, Bush broke with the reassuring tradition of a president sitting behind the Oval Office desk with hands folded. Instead, Bush took to waving his arms as he delivered the speech.

“Grim-faced, yet with a trace of anxiety in his eyes, Bush delivered the remarks seated rigidly at a desk, making a variety of hand gestures,” observed Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales. [Washington Post, Dec. 19, 2005]

Some of Bush’s strange body language may be explained by the fact that even he must realize that his assertions include a number of falsehoods, such as his routine deception that Saddam Hussein defied U.N. demands on destroying his weapons of mass destruction and on letting in U.N. weapons inspectors.

“It is true that [Hussein] systematically concealed those [WMD] programs, and blocked the work of U.N. weapons inspectors,” Bush told the nation. “He was given an ultimatum – and he made his choice for war.”

But it is not true that Hussein blocked the work of U.N. weapons inspectors. In fact, he acquiesced to a U.N. ultimatum and let them back into Iraq in November 2002. Chief inspector Hans Blix said his team was finally given free rein to examine suspected WMD sites, but Bush forced the inspectors to leave so the invasion could proceed.

As it turned out, Hussein was telling the truth when he said there were no WMD caches left. After the invasion, Bush’s own team of inspectors concluded that Iraq’s WMD stockpiles had been destroyed by earlier U.N. inspections and by U.S. bombing during the Clinton administration.

Yet, beginning a few months after the U.S. invasion – as it became clear there was no WMD and as U.S. casualties mounted – Bush began rewriting history, claiming that Hussein had not let the U.N. inspectors in, thus forcing Bush to invade. This lie presumably made Bush appear more reasonable.

On July 14, 2003, Bush said about Hussein, “we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.”

In the following months, Bush repeated this claim in slightly varied forms.

On Jan. 27, 2004, Bush said, “We went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution – 1441 – unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.”

Eventually, this false history became part of Bush’s regular litany about the war. Despite the fact that it was an obvious lie – the U.S. news media had witnessed the work of the U.N. inspectors inside Iraq – Bush was rarely challenged about his historical revisionism. [For details, see “President Bush, With the Candlestick…”]

Terrorists or Insurgents

Similarly, Bush continues to blur the distinctions between the Sunni-led Iraqi insurgency that has often used roadside bombs to attack American troops and the relatively small number of non-Iraqi terrorists who have exploded bombs aimed at civilian targets.

Bush has employed the rhetorical device of using insurgent and terrorist synonymously, much as he and Vice President Dick Cheney used juxtaposition to convince millions of Americans that the Iraqi government was somehow responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.

In his Dec. 18 speech, for instance, Bush said, “the terrorists will continue to have the coward’s power to plant roadside bombs and recruit suicide bombers,” making no distinction between the tactics of the insurgents and the terrorists.

The danger from this sleight of hand is that it blocks consideration of possible resolution of the Iraq War. Many military analysts believe the only realistic route toward a reasonably successful policy in Iraq is to address the political and economic concerns of Iraq’s Sunni minority – who want a U.S. withdrawal, more political clout and a share of the nation’s oil revenues – while isolating the relatively small number of foreign jihadists.

Though Bush has made some concessions to this reality in recent speeches, he chose to return to his broad-brush rhetoric in the national address. Again, it was a case of good versus evil, victory or surrender, his way or the highway.

“Defeatism may have its partisan uses,” Bush said of his critics, “but it is not justified by the facts.”

Bush also resorted to a favorite tactic of ascribing ridiculous notions to his critics. “If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone,” Bush said.

The president then returned to his long-time claim that Islamic extremists are motivated by their hatred of America’s freedom.

“The terrorists do not merely object to American actions in Iraq and elsewhere, they object to our deepest values and our way of life,” Bush said. “And if we were not fighting them in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Southeast Asia, and in other places, the terrorists would not be peaceful citizens, they would be on the offense, and headed our way.”

Again, Bush was reprising rhetoric that exaggerates or misstates the enemy’s goals and capabilities as a way to box in the U.S. political debate and shut the door on reasonable alternative strategies.

Bush continues to discuss al-Qaeda as if it is a powerful international force on par with Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, when many analysts see it as a fringe organization that was driven out of most Islamic countries, almost to the ends of the earth – or in this case to the mountains of Afghanistan.

Without doubt, al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists exploited a letdown in U.S. security in 2001 to conduct an extraordinary attack on New York and Washington, but a realistic assessment of its actual clout is important in calibrating a response.

If al-Qaeda is actually a marginal organization that can be isolated even more by the West adopting a respectful approach to the Muslim world, then Bush’s approach of invading Arab countries – and curtailing American liberties – makes no sense, unless Bush’s real motives are something else: say, controlling Middle East resources and transforming the United States into a modern one-party state with him or his allies in permanent control.

The analysis that follows from Bush’s assertion of unlimited presidential powers and his deceptive explanations to the American people about Iraq suggests two alternative theories. Either Bush is increasingly unstable, incapable of discerning reality from his own propaganda, or he is concealing his real agenda with misleading arguments.

Put differently, either the United States is experiencing a kind of modern “madness of King George” – like what happened when King George III became unstable in the years after losing the Colonies – or the American people are living under a cunning Machiavelli with a calculated method to his apparent madness.

Either way, the prospects are troubling for American democracy – and it may not be clear which of the alternative scenarios is more worrisome.

Bush's abuse of power deserves impeachment

Bush's abuse of power deserves impeachment
With latest outrages, Bush puts impeachment talk into the mainstream

Recklessly and audaciously, George W. Bush is driving the nation whose laws he swore to uphold into a constitutional crisis. He has claimed the powers of a medieval monarch and defied the other two branches of government to deny him. Eventually, despite his party's monopoly of power, he may force the nation to choose between his continuing degradation of basic national values and the terrible remedy of impeachment.

Until Mr. Bush openly proclaimed as commander in chief that he can brush aside the law, cries for impeachment were heard only on the political fringe, although most Americans have long since realized that he misled America into war. Much as he is disliked and disdained by liberals, even they have shown little enthusiasm for impeachment. In addition to the obvious obstacle of a Republican-controlled Congress, there appeared to be no firm proof of an offense that justified such action. To mention the word was to be dismissed -- even by people who believe that this President may well have committed "high crimes and misdemeanors."

The partisan peepshow of the Clinton impeachment did not leave much enthusiasm for that process. Nor would any thoughtful citizen want to risk abusing it in the manner made infamous by Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.

For responsible citizens, the reluctance to seek the ultimate sanction against the President is especially strong in a time of peril. He and his supporters could argue, quite plausibly, that to impeach him now would be dangerous and destabilizing. His pet pundits and flacks would deploy all the defensive arguments they scorned in 1999.

He might well be able to rally the public to his side again by denouncing "politicians in Washington" for "undermining national security."

As political strategy and as public policy, the impeachment of Mr. Bush is an unappealing prospect. (Besides, if he could be thrown out somehow, who would want Dick Cheney to succeed him?) And yet, the actions and attitudes of this President raise the question of how else we can preserve the bedrock principles of a democratic republic.

Dark suspicions would be aroused by Mr. Bush's insistence on his supposed wartime exemption from the law even if he had greater credibility than he now possesses. Hearing a leader with his diminished reputation for honesty announcing such claims, as he seeks to regain authority by promoting fear, it is impossible not to imagine the worst.

The President says that if he is to protect the nation from our enemies, he must be able to order the surveillance of American citizens without seeking the authority of a court. He has repeatedly violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which provides very few safeguards of traditional civil liberties. He disdains a law that permits him to order the immediate electronic monitoring of anyone, requiring only that his officers seek a warrant within 72 hours from a secret court that approves those requests in almost every case and never hears an opposing brief. He claims that even those minimal restraints are too onerous.

Why would the President instruct the Attorney General not to seek warrants from the FISA court, as the statute requires? What did he and his aides fear from that court's conservative judges -- appointed by the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist -- who have routinely approved all but a tiny percentage of the warrants presented to them by this and other administrations over the past quarter-century? Which wiretaps did he expect those pliable judges to reject?

The Bush doctrine of a President above the law and the Constitution has a dishonorable tradition that dates back to his father's idol, Richard Nixon. More recently, its pedigree derives from memoranda prepared by the same White House lawyers who have told Mr. Bush that he can tear up international treaties and American statutes that prohibit torture and protect against detention without trial.

What has provoked fresh discussion of impeachment is the President's admission that he has ignored the law's requirements and that he intends to keep doing so. The impeccably conservative legal scholar and former Reagan aide Bruce Fein explained the deep implications of the President's arrogance:

"If President Bush is totally unapologetic and says, 'I continue to maintain that as a wartime President I can do anything I want -- I don't need to consult any other branches,' that is an impeachable offense. It's more dangerous than Clinton's lying under oath, because it jeopardizes our democratic dispensation and civil liberties for the ages. It would set a precedent that... would lie around like a loaded gun, able to be used indefinitely for any future occupant."

There are politicians in both parties who know that Mr. Bush's trespasses cannot be allowed to stand. Only a bipartisan coalition can restrain and, if necessary, remove him. It is to be hoped that he steps back before such a struggle becomes inevitable. Joe Conason writes for the New York Observer and, and is the author of Big Lies: The Right- Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Raising the Issue of Impeachment

Raising the Issue of Impeachment

Submitted by davidswanson on Tue, 2005-12-20 16:05. Impeachment

Raising the Issue of Impeachment
By John Nichols, The Nation

As President Bush and his aides scramble to explain new revelations regarding Bush's authorization of spying on the international telephone calls and emails of Americans, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has begun a process that could lead to the censure, and perhaps the impeachment, of the president and vice president.

U.S. Representative John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who was a critical player in the Watergate and Iran-Contra investigations into presidential wrongdoing, has introduced a package of resolutions that would censure President Bush and Vice President Cheney and create a select committee to investigate the Administration's possible crimes and make recommendations regarding grounds for impeachment.

The Conyers resolutions add a significant new twist to the debate about how to hold the administration to account. Members of Congress have become increasingly aggressive in the criticism of the White House, with U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, saiying Monday, "Americans have been stunned at the recent news of the abuses of power by an overzealous President. It has become apparent that this Administration has engaged in a consistent and unrelenting pattern of abuse against our Country's law-abiding citizens, and against our Constitution." Even Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Committee chair Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, are talking for the first time about mounting potentially serious investigations into abuses of power by the president.

But Conyers is seeking to do much more than schedule a committee hearing, or even launch a formal inquiry. He is proposing that the Congress use all of the powers that are available to it to hold the president and vice president to account – up to and including the power to impeach the holders of the nation's most powerful positions and to remove them from office.

The first of the three resolutions introduced by Conyers, H.Res.635, asks that the Congress establish a select committee to investigate whether members of the administration made moves to invade Iraq before receiving congressional authorization, manipulated pre-war intelligence, encouraged the use of torture in Iraq and elsewhere, and used their positions to retaliate against critics of the war.

The select committee would be asked to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

The second resolution, H.Res.636, asks that the Congress to censure the president "for failing to respond to requests for information concerning allegations that he and others in his Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for the war, countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of persons in Iraq, and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of his Administration, for failing to adequately account for specific misstatements he made regarding the war, and for failing to comply with Executive Order 12958." (Executive Order 12958, issued in 1995 by former President Bill Clinton, seeks to promote openness in government by prescribing a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information.)

A third resolution, H.Res.637, would censure Cheney for a similar set of complaints.

"The people of this country are waking up to the severity of the lies, crimes, and abuses of power committed by this president and his administration," says Jon Bonifaz, a co-founder of the coalition, an alliance of more than100 grassroots groups that has detailed Bush administration wrongdoing and encouraged a Congressional response. Bonifaz, an attorney and the author of the book, Warrior King: The Case for Impeaching George Bush (Nation Books), argues that, "Now is the time to return to the rule of law and to hold those who have defied the Constitution accountable for their actions."

Bonifaz is right. But it is unlikely that the effort to censure Bush and Cheney, let alone impeach them, will get far without significant organizing around the country. After all, the House is controlled by allies of the president who have displayed no inclination to hold him to account. Indeed, only a few Democrats, such as Conyers, have taken seriously the Constitutional issues raised by the administration's misdeeds.

Members of Congress in both parties will need to feel a lot of heat if these improtant measures are going to get much traction in this Congress.

The grassroots group Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), which has had a good deal of success organizing activists who want the Democrats to take a more aggressive stance in challenging the administration, will play a critical role in the effort to mobilize support for the Conyers resolutions, as part of a new Censure Bush Coalition campaign. (The campaign's website can be found at

PDA director Tim Carpenter says his group plans to "mobilize and organize a broad base coalition that will demand action from Congress to investigate the lies of the Bush administration and their conduct related to the war in Iraq."

Getting this Congress to get serious about maintaining checks and balances on the Bush administration will be a daunting task. But the recent revelations regarding domestic spying will make it easier. There are a lot of Americans who share the view of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, that Bush and Cheney have exceeded their authority. As Feingold says of Bush, "He is the president, not a king."

It was the bitter experience of dealing with King George III led the founders of this country to write a Constitution that empowers Congress to hold presidents and vice accountable for their actions.

It is this power that John Conyers, the senior member of the House committee charged with maintaining the system of checks and balances established by those founders, is now asking the Congress to employ in the service of the nation that Constitution still governs.

An expanded paperback edition of John Nichols' biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, The Rise and Rise of Richard B. Cheney: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Most Powerful Vice President in American History (The New Press: 2005), is available nationwide at independent bookstores and at The book features an exclusive interview with Joe Wilson and a chapter on the vice president's use and misuse of intelligence. Publisher's Weekly describes the book as "a Fahrenheit 9/11 for Cheney" and Esquire magazine says it "reveals the inner Cheney."


It's Good to be King -- Bush and FISA

December 19, 2005

Commentary -- It's Good to be the King -- Bush and FISA
This is going to come as quite a surprise, but apparently President Bush has flagrantly violated the law of the land. Before your eyes glaze over and your brain starts to turn off, let me assure you, you actually haven’t heard this one before. This one is a little bit different.

In 2002, Bush signed an Executive Order allowing the National Security Agency to wiretap certain people in the United States who are communicating with someone abroad without obtaining a warrant from a court. Since then, he’s renewed this authorization 36 times, and presumably thousands of people in America have been spied on in this manner.

Now, the NSA is already allowed, in a relatively unrestricted way, to obtain intercepts of electronic communications from everybody else in the world; it is also allowed to do this to Americans, in accordance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). It’s just that the Justice Department needs to go to a special court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in order to get a warrant. To get such a warrant, Justice need not meet convention probable cause standards that would be required in criminal cases. The FISC approves the vast majority of requests. If the situation is an emergency, the wiretap can be kept in place for up to 72 hours before getting a warrant. Indeed, it’s difficult if not impossible to make the case that this executive order is necessary in order to thwart potential terrorist attacks.

There are two ways in which this latest revelation is somewhat different from previous ones.

First, in their open, gung-ho defense of this decision, the administration is somewhere between Nixon’s constant assertion of extreme executive privilege and resurrecting the divine right of kings. Not only can they give no specific justification of the need for indefinitely extended warrantless searches, they can give no real argument about how Bush can simply order a federal agency to commit acts in gross violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and thus of U.S. statute. There are some vague claims about how Congress’s authorization of the use of force on September 14, 2001 is the basis for this authority, but it’s rather hard to read into that document a statement that Bush has the right to set aside any existing legislation by executive decree in the fight against terrorism.

So, in fact, the essence of the argument is that the president, by virtue of his office, can decide whether he believes a law passed by Congress is unconstitutional or not and if it is he can direct agents of the government to violate it. This is equivalent to saying that the president is above the law and is empowered to rule by decree. As Russ Feingold suggested, we have to decide whether we have a president or a king.

Second, Bush has openly admitted to doing this. The administration lied and as much as it could about Iraq’s WMD, but has never admitted anything about it.

When somebody asked me recently whether, in the light of Bush’s increasing unpopularity and increasing perceptions of his dishonesty, there was any chance of impeachment, my answer was no. Crucial to making the case against Nixon for Watergate was his practice of taping Oval Office conversations. The release of those tapes, plus the unexplained 18-minute absence in one of them, was necessary to build the impeachment consensus.

In the case of the much smaller crimes for which Bill Clinton was impeached, again, there was direct physical evidence and he was forced to admit to them.

In Bush’s case, while inferentially there’s been not just a smoking gun but a whole smoking arsenal, there’s been nothing quite as concrete – too much has remained a matter of interpretation, possible to explain or spin away. That’s starting to change.

At the same time, it’s been revealed that the Pentagon frequently spies on antiwar groups; also, under guise of passing an anti-torture bill, Congress has just effectively approved use of testimony obtained by torture to help keep detainees locked up. The outlines of a police state are starting to emerge.

So far, opposition to this particular aspect of what Bush likes to call the advance of freedom has aroused little public opposition, if only because the people directly affected are marginalized groups that no one cares about. That could change if we see the list of people the NSA has spied on.

Impeach Bush!!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Truth About Bush

December 18, 2005

Major Bush and Neocons Accomplishments:

* Killing of 2000+ American soldiers
* Killing of 100,000 Iraq civilians
* Killing of 6000+ Americans in New Orleans
* Half Trillion dollars Debt
* 100 Million dollars negative trade balance
* Most Corrupted Goverment ever
* Tax Cuts to the richest 1% Americans
* Destruction of Social Programs for the poor amd middle class
* Government for the Corporations
* Careless for the Environment
* Nazi stilus goverment conduct and policies
* Spying on Civilians
* Torture of Prisonners
* Rigging of Elections

In 2006 and 2008 Itr is time to send this corrupt GOP goverment home (and to jail!)