Economy Environment General Topics Health Care Impeachment National Issues

Strong, Well-Crafted Words from Bill Maher

I came across an article today that one which I feel the need to comment. Bill Maher, talk show host and progressive guest blogger on, put to words much better than I could, the things I’ve been thinking and feeling at least since the health care debate started heating up this summer, if not since Obama took office.

Its also been my major complaint with the Democratic Party since they took back control of the U.S. House in 2006; right off the bat, House leadership proclaimed impeachment was ‘off the table.’


a few words on obama

let me start by telling you that i am a strong supporter of dennis kucinich. i am working on his campaign here in hawaii, i will vote for him in the primary and when (unfortunately, not if) he loses to one of the top three democratic contenders, i will neither work on, nor vote for, whoever the party chooses as it’s candidate….

admittedly, i probably don’t know much about senator obama as maybe i should. the thing is, what i do know doesn’t thrill me. in a hopeful attempt to make progressive obama supporters reconsider, here are a couple of items i find disturbing:

several months back, while attempting to collect information about ALL the democratic presidential hopefuls, i sent a list of questions, via email, to each of the campaigns. while i’m still waiting (pretty much given up hope of a response) from most, i did finally receive a response from the obama camp. i, in turn, replied asking for a more direct, detailed response, particularly with regard to his stance on impeachment. his response, it seems to me, has become the standard tag line for democrats. basically, senator obama says an impeachment process now would be too divisive and lock up the government from working to improve the lives of average americans.

(the most recent response can be read at one of my sites, here and here.)

this position regarding impeachment makes me see red (figuratively, that is). senator obama won’t consider impeachment because he wants to avoid partisan politics and help people. at least the second excuse is admirable, if not misguided. the democratic presidential hopefuls wax poetic about restoring america’s place as the moral beacon of the world on the one hand, but on the other hand, won’t even consider impeachment hearings against a president at a time when roughly half the country thinks he’s broken the law. his claims of executive privilege and use of signing statements is nearly unprecedented and now he is directly and intentionally hindering not one, but several congressional investigations. could it be he actually has something to hide, some wrong doing maybe? well, according to obama, getting to the bottom of these issues would be playing partisan politics and that would be wrong.

personally, i think he’s a coward, but that’s purely my own opinion….

also, as obama works to position himself as something new, a centrist democrat who can truly attract support from every side of the party, he recently stated he would, as president, bomb pakistan, if necessary, without that country’s approval. of course, he’d do it all in the name of national security, so that makes it ok. oh and it’s worked out oh so very well for us in iraq…. did i miss something?

i am, of course, no legal scholar, but have read the United Nations Charter and i’m pretty sure that what obama suggests is similar to what bush did in iraq. Chapter One, Article 2 of the UN Charter reads as follows:

The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article
1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
6. The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.

i added the boldface. so, it would seem that the mere threat of the use of force against the government or it’s territory is a violation of the UN Charter and, as follows, a violation against the US Constitution. obama says he would only do such a thing if the evidence was strong and well supported by intelligence. whew, now i feel better…. oh wait, isn’t that what bush said he was doing when he sent troops to invade iraq…?

sorry, i’m ranting just a bit. the point, however, is this; on the one hand obama wants to go and meet with leaders around the world who are ‘hostile’ toward us, so as to improve our international relations. of course, on the other hand, if he doesn’t like what they have to say, we may just go and bomb them. someone explain to me how that policy differs from bush’s?

if obama is elected, i fear we will have yet one more president who will SPEAK honorably about the US role in the world, and then DO whatever is necessary to protect and further US power and influence with little or no regard for justice or the rule of law.


an email from obama

below is an email i received from the obama campaign regarding impeachment. honestly, this is reason enough for me not to support him….

Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts on impeaching President George W. Bush. I appreciate and share your high level of dissatisfaction and frustration with the President, his actions and his priorities. I disagree with him on many issues, ranging from the war in Iraq to the future of Social Security to funding our children’s schools.

I support robust Congressional investigations into his administration and the highly questionable actions it has taken in areas such as domestic spying and the U.S. attorney firings. He has horribly mismanaged the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The Democratic Congress has achieved important progress this year, but we are still stymied by a President who is out of sync with the American people, vetoing legislation to responsibly get us out of Iraq and to support increased stem cell research.

America needs to move forward again, and I don’t believe that continuing this era of bitter partisanship is the best course of action. As I travel the country campaigning, I hear the call for a new direction and a change in our politics, a thirst for something more. I don’t believe impeachment answers this call. I believe if we begin impeachment proceedings we will be engulfed in more of the politics that has made Washington dysfunctional. We would once again, rather than attending to the people’s business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, non-stop circus.

Instead, I will continue to move forward with a positive agenda in the Senate and on the campaign trail. I hope you will stay involved and work for progress on the issues that matter most to you. Thank you again for writing.


Barack Obama

Paid for by Obama for America


Health Care Impeachment

a letter to barack’s campaign


I received, a few minutes ago, an email from the campaign, in response (I’m assuming) to a request I send several months ago about where Senator Obama stands on a couple of very specific issues. I asked about single-payer health care, not health care in general. I asked about impeachment of the President and the Vice-President. These are example of just two issues I am curious about. If I wanted sound bites, or talking points, I know the website provides those.

In the months since I requested this information, I’ve been paying attention to what Senator Obama says and does (and what he doesn’t say or do). He’s clearly against a single-payer health care system, clearly against the idea impeachment. Fine.

However, as a concerned citizen and registered voter, I’d like to know why Senator Obama is against a single-payer health care system and in what way he think his system is better? I’d also like to know why this Presidential candidate hasn’t spoken to impeachment? Does he not believe this President and this administration have committed illegal acts: lying to Congress, wiretapping without warrants, violations of the Hatch Act, etc. Aren’t these issues that at least suggest the necessity of a level of investigation that only impeachment proceedings raise?

I think these are important questions that should be addressed by every candidate, particularly a top party-nomination contender. If Senator Obama is the fair, straight talker he claims to be, these should be simple questions to answer. Of course, if the Senator is worried his comments and position on these topics might ‘get out’ then I can understand his silence, though cannot respect it.

Thank you for your consideration.


Finally!! (and what the hell?)

The word is out.  Yesterday Dennis Kucinich filed Articles of Impeachment against vice president Dick Cheney.  This is a fantastic first step and could be a great lesson for this administration about the constitution (I’m not sure they’ve ever read it).  When I saw the headline, I nearly jumped out of my seat in excitement.  Then I read the rest of the article.  It seems Mr. Kucinich doesn’t plan on putting a whole lot of effort into really getting the ball rolling on this.  What’s more, the speaker of the house, mousy Nancy Pelosi doesn’t mince words when she says keeping (and gaining more) democrats in power is more important than any impeachment proceedings.

Its true that I probably don’t understand the political nuances that are necessary to function in DC, but Pelosi comes right out and says that politics is more important that doing what’s right.  There’s more at stake here than getting the president and vice president out of office.  Impeachment proceedings would send a clear message, to both republican and democratic future presidents that the people will not tolerate the discarding of the constitution for power or political gain.  What this says to me is the democrats don’t like bush and what he does, but they wouldn’t mind it nearly as much if bush were a democrat.

Maybe I’ve become cynical about out government, but it seems to me neither party is really interested in anything other than getting and keeping power.  Of course, there are members of each party that don’t fit that mold, but as entities both parties are completely corrupt.

I applaud representative Kucinich for taking this bold step forward, even if he doesn’t plan to take another.  His actions will add fuel to the fire among liberals and add force to the conversation that’s going on nationwide with regard to impeachment.  And I hope more democrats in the house will wake up and choose to do what’s right, instead of choosing the path of least resistance to keeping their jobs and growing the democratic majority in congress.

What good will a democratic president be if he (or she) continues to ignore the constitution?


Impeachment: A Popular Movement

Impeachment has been on the minds of Progressives since before the 2006 midterm elections, when the Democrats regained control of both the Senate and House. This power shift gave Bush supporters pause and gave Democrats new hope for their party that had seemed to be floundering for so many years. For Progressives, it inflated their hopes for Impeachment of both the President and Vice President. Those hopes were immediately dashed when the new Speaker of the House proclaimed a new era of bipartisanship and cooperation with the new Republican minority.

I’ll admit that I was thrilled by the prospect of a new Democratic majority in Congress, though I was skeptical that they would do much real, substantive good. I doubted little would change. It is still early in this legislative session, but I’ve already seen signs that little will improve in the next two years; even with majority control of Congress, it seems Democrats have yet to relocate the spines they lost oh so many years ago. So it seems there is no reason to hope the Impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney will begin in the halls of Congress.

Instead, we, the people, must take it upon ourselves to force the issue upon our elected representatives who refuse to follow our will.

In this month’s issue of The Progressive magazine, there is an article by Howard Zinn which deals specifically with the issue of Impeachment. Howard Zinn, just in case you’re unaware, is the author of one of the best books I’ve ever read (though it admittedly took me months), The People’s History of the United States. Professor Zinn is a Progressive through and through and while I’m not surprised by his position, I was surprised to see his name attached to a magazine article: Impeachment by the People.

Right off the bat, Zinn holds no punches:

The realities of the Iraq War cry out for the overthrow of a government that is criminally responsible for death, mutilation, torture, humiliation, chaos….

But if sanity is to be restored in our national policies, it can only come about by a great popular upheaval, pushing both Republicans and Democrats into compliance with the national will.

It has become plain, or so it seems to me, that these Democrats who control Congress cannot be counted on to do what is right, and instead we’re told we should be realistic and we’re lectured on what is politically possible. In this Zinn is right. The Impeachment movement must begin with us:

The Declaration of Independence, revered as a document but ignored as a guide to action, needs to be read from pulpits and podiums, on street corners and community radio stations throughout the nation. Its words, forgotten for over two centuries, need to become a call to action for the first time since it was read aloud to crowds in the early excited days of the American Revolution: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and institute new government.”

So the next logical step, according to Zinn, is “the convening of ‘people’s impeachment hearings’.” Now, he falls a bit short, in my opinion, of describing these “hearings,” but does equate them to the meetings which prefaced the American Revolution against the British Crown. In this way, as is his apparent style, he places the work and responsibility of setting things right with the people.

In the months since the election, I’ve had countless conversations with friends and family regarding this issue of impeachment. While everyone I’ve talked to believes he should indeed be impeached, they’ve all accepted this idea that there are better things our Congress can be doing for us: increasing the minimum wage, fixing health care, improving prescription benefits, the list goes on. I certainly don’t disagree that all these things are important, I do believe that no real positive steps will be made while these to (excuse me) bastards are allowed to remain in office.

What about the rule of law? What about doing what’s right? What about taking steps to correct some of the wrongs this administration has committed against us and against the world? It seems to me blatantly obvious that this administration enjoys flying in the face of public opinion. Have Bush and Cheney taken up as a hobby violating US and international law? While this may seem like an absurd question, it certainly appears that these two absolutely believe they are above the law; they make the law.

The popular movement has indeed begun, but I fear it isn’t moving forward fast enough. Of course, I am counting the days until they are voted out of office, but I would so much rather kick them out and send them to jail. If they are allowed to leave with no repercussions, no punishment, I think it will send a sad signal to the rest of the world and send a message to future administrations that the people of this nation have lost any and all will to defend the ideals and laws that could make this country great.