<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: November 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fair warning, Democrats

Bob Herbert in today's NY Times:
Bush-bashing is not enough. Unless one of the Democratic candidates finds the courage to step up and offer a vision of an American future so compelling that voters head to the polls with a sense of excitement and great expectation, the Republican Party could once again capture the White House (despite its awful performance over the past eight years) with its patented mixture of snake oil and demagoguery.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bush and Gore meet one-on-one

Today Bush did his annual photo-op with Nobel Prize winners, including Al Gore.

Which was weird enough.

But afterward, it got even weirder. Bush and Gore talked privately for more than 30 minutes.

What did the arch rivals talk about?

“Of course, we talked about global warming - the whole time,” Gore said. "It was a private meeting and I’m not going to say anything about it other than that it was very nice, very cordial. He was very gracious in setting up the meeting, and it was a very good and very substantive conversation. That’s all.”

According to the NY Times, Monday was the first time Bush and Gore had met privately since December 2000 when Bush, having been declared the winner of the 2000 election by the Supreme Court, visited Gore at the vice president’s residence.

The two have had little contact since, meeting only occasionally at public events. But Bush did personally telephone Gore to extend the invitation, and the White House changed the date of the event so Mr. Gore could attend.

Wow. That is gracious.

The NY Times also had this to say:
Mr. Bush’s press secretary, Dana Perino, told reporters the president is willing to let bygones be bygones. “This president does not harbor any resentments,” she said. “He never has.”

You have got to be kidding me. What does Bush have to be resentful toward Gore about?

His winning the 2000 election?

His winning an Academy Award?

His winning an Emmy?

His winning a Nobel Prize?

His being right about Iraq?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Scott McLellan lied for Bush

Better late than never. In his forthcoming book, "What Happened," former Bush spokesman Scott McClellan finally tells the truth. Here's an excerpt:
The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff, and the president himself.

So...now can we impeach Bush and Cheney? Please, can we, huh, can we?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Redact Bush!

Ted Rall is right: none of the major presidential candidates have promised to do what it would take to restore democracy.

What would it take? According to Rall:

--Close Gitmo and the CIA torture chambers

--Get out of Afghanistan and Iraq

--Revoke the protofascist USA-Patriot and Military Commissions Acts

--Obey the Geneva Conventions and turn over Bush, his torturers, his Congressional allies and his top civilian and military officials to an international war crimes tribunal for their role in the murders of more than one million Afghans and Iraqis

"The politicians are too timid to do what's right," Rall says. "But we can bully them into it. Let's begin America's long slog toward moral and political redemption by demanding that our next president's first act be to declare the Bush Administration null and void. Every law and act carried out between 12 noon on January 20, 2001 and January 20, 2009 should just...go...poof."

How do we do that?

Rall suggests that you write an actual letter (not an e-mail) to your favorite presidential candidate, and declare that you are a single-issue voter. Promise that, if your candidate agrees to sign the following Pledge, he/she has your vote; otherwise, you will stay home or vote for someone else.

Pledge for American Renewal
"I, ______________, hereby solemnly pledge that my first act upon assuming the office of President shall be to sign an American Renewal Act of 2009, which shall declare all laws, regulations, executive orders, treaties and actions undertaken by the federal government during the illegitimate and unlawful administration of George W. Bush to be null, void and without effect."

"Demand that the major presidential candidates sign the Pledge for American Renewal," Rall says. "We know the woman and half-dozen men who are leading in the polls want to rule us. But will they lead?"

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Liberals, now's your chance

Guest editorial from political writer Erin Wenz:

Some of you might not have heard that on Tuesday the House of Representatives voted to send Dennis Kucinich's motion to impeach Dick Cheney to John Conyers' House Judiciary Committee. The majority of representatives voted against tabling the motion and for sending it to Committee. If the committee, after due deliberation, decides to recommend for the motion, the matter will be debated on the floor of the House, and Articles of Impeachment could be written and presented to the Senate. Even if Cheney isn't impeached, the committee's investigation and a Congressional floor debate will reveal a LOT of stuff about what the administration has been up to.

If you haven't heard about this development, it's because the mainstream media doesn't want you to know about it. It's huge news, but the media is pretending that because the motion is now in committee, it will not be brought forward - and is therefore not worth reporting. (Isn't that convenient? If they don't report it, there is less of a chance that it will, in fact, be brought forward.)

The New York Times and CNN wrote brief stories on the topic Tuesday, both of which copped a snooty, "Well isn't that Kucinich silly" attitude. The Times article was a "LEDE" blog followed by dozens and dozens of readers' comments - most of them hostile to the Times and its condescending attitude toward this serious Constitutional matter. Callers on today's Air America Radio programs said that no other major media outlet even mentioned the motion or the debate.

The House "leadership" - Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer - would like to prove the media right, and will likely pressure the Conyers committee to simply bury the motion. The cowardly "leaders" of the "rage and cave" Democrats are afraid that an impeachment debate will put their party in a bad light with the public. They seem to be unaware of the fact that 52 percent of the American people think Cheney should impeached, and that he has a nine percent approval rating. (Nine percent!)

So it is up to us, the American people, to take the lead here. Kucinich is standing up for us and the Constitution and the rule of law. We need to back him.

Kucinich's motion to impeach is based on his assertion that Cheney lied and fabricated evidence to get us to go to war with Iraq, and is currently lying and fabricating evidence to get us to go to war with Iran. The timing of the motion is critical - stop Cheney now, or we are very likely to be at war with Iran in the near future.

Liberals have done lots of bitching about the Democratic Congress and what they have not done (end the war or impeach the Bushco criminals). Now, for once, for real, we have a chance to do something about it: pressure the Conyers mommittee to debate the motion and bring to the floor.

The media, the Republicans, and the Democratic centrists (read "corporatists") will be pressuring the committee do bury the motion. Conyers himself seems ambivalent - this all fell into his lap just yesterday afternoon, after all. (I think the success of the motion surprised everyone, even Kucinich.)

But if we the people lead, the leaders will follow. Now is the time to exercise your responsibilities as a citizen so later you can enjoy your rights. If you don't exercise your responsibilities, there will be no rights.

Don't delay - this Congressional session is over in two weeks. Contact your own congressional representative, and John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and your local newspaper (write a letter to the editor). Let all of them know that you want the motion to impeach Dick Cheney to be brought to the floor.

If that's more than you can do, simply e-mail Kucinich. He has set up a special e-mail box at his Congressional address (impeachment@kucinich.us) and said on the radio that he will personally deliver your message to Conyers and the House leaders. My letter to Kucinich is below.

Cheney is the lynchpin of the Administration - the puppet master of George Bush. This is our chance to bring down the whole house of cards.

And PLEASE don't think that this impeachment motion doesn't have a chance of going forward. That's what everyone thought when Kucinich introduced it on the floor yesterday - that it would get 100 votes at most. Now it's before the Conyers committee.

- Erin Wenz

Erin's letter to Congressman Kucinich:


Dear Congressman Kucinich,

I applaud you for your courageous stand on the Cheney impeachment matter. With true leaders like you, American democracy still has a chance to be restored. Thank you.

Today I heard your interview on Air America Radio in which you said you would bring my message on Cheney's impeachment to the appropriate members of Congress - John Conyers, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and others. Here is my message:
Dear Congressional leaders,

It is illegal for Speaker Pelosi to take the impeachment of members of the administration "off the table." The Constitution requires that impeachment - meaning a trial of an Executive - be undertaken when there is sufficient evidence that there might be wrongdoing.

For Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Hoyer to decide that impeachment is no longer an instrument of law is like a district attorney deciding that robbery will no longer be prosecuted in his or her area of jurisdiction. The district attorney cannot make that decision - his or her job is to enforce the law, not write it.

Similarly, the Congressional leaders cannot decide legally that impeachment will not be pursued under any circumstances. That not only overlooks possible past crimes and misdemeanors, it gives a green light to future wrongdoing.

Please proceed with the impeachment proceedings.


Erin Wenz

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A glimmer of hope for humanity

You may be familiar with Philip S. Wenz's syndicated column, "Your Ecological House," which appears in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Corvallis Gazette-Times, and the Eugene Register-Guard, among other papers. Yesterday, we e-mailed Wenz and asked him, "You ever wrestle with the question, 'Are humans really worth saving?'"

Wenz's reply was both disturbingly ominous and refreshingly optimistic:
Yes. When I contemplate the end of everything positive the human race has worked for, I get all sad and sentimental, and figure it's worth a little trouble.

Of all the things about this weird war to be pissed-off about, I've probably been as upset about the destruction of Iraq's libraries and museums at the beginning of the war as by anything else. Priceless cultural artifacts gone forever. Probably most of the looting was spontaneous, though it could have been prevented. But the librarieswere burned by busloads of arsons who came into the center of Baghdad specifically to torch the libraries. Why? Most likely, they were paid. By whom? People who wanted to destroy Iraq's cultural identity - either on the grounds that destroying it would help turn the Iraqis into what we wanted them to be, or because their culture was evil because it wasn't Christian - or both. In other words, I think Christo-Fascist black ops, or contractors, paid some Iraqis to torch their libraries.

While the country can be rebuilt - assuming the Iraq conflict doesn't spiral out of control and turn into WWIIII - the cultural artifacts are lost forever.

I collect old books and maps, and once in a while I ask myself why. It's because I'm trying to hang onto something from the past, something with meaning beyond the moment, or the latest sitcom. We live in an increasingly uprooted, meaningless world, and we need anchor points - books, records, species with their unique genetic imprints. Every time we lose an anchor point, we lose part of ourselves, and take one step closer to our annihilation. It's not so bad that we'd be gone - who cares, in the big picture. Humans are mostly a force of destruction in the biosphere. But it would be too bad if our potential was gone. All that we could be, lost forever.

And each time we lose part of our history, we lose part of that potential - forever. If you care about what could be, and by proxy what has been, you'll fight for what is. Better to strike out swinging than looking.

Wenz's Web site, Ecotecture.com, provides further information on how to be among the "swingers."