Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
Bush/Cheney: 'Most Impeachable'14 January 2009
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers says President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney committed impeachment-worthy offenses which must be thoroughly investigated even after the two men leave office as a means of reaffirming U.S. constitutional principles.
“The Bush Administration’s approach to power is, at its core, little more than a restatement of Mr. Nixon’s famous rationalization of presidential misdeeds: ‘When the President does it, that means it’s not illegal,’” Conyers said in a foreword to a 487-page report entitled "Reining in the Imperial Presidency: Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the Presidency of George W. Bush."
“Under this view, laws that forbid torturing or degrading prisoners cannot constrain the President because, if the President ordered such acts as Commander in Chief, ‘that means it’s not illegal.’” Conyers continued. “Under this view, it is not the courts that decide the reach of the law – it is the President – and neither the Judiciary nor Congress can constrain him.”
Conyers also seemed to acknowledge what many Bush critics had long suspected, that the Michigan Democrat evaded an impeachment battle the past two years out of concern that the political repercussions might have kept the Democrats from winning larger congressional majorities and the White House in Election 2008.
Noting that “some ardent advocates of impeachment have labeled me a traitor – or worse – for declining to begin a formal impeachment inquiry in the House Judiciary Committee,” Conyers said he disagreed with some of their political judgments but concurred with their assessments of the seriousness of Bush-Cheney misconduct.
“Many think these acts rise to the level of impeachable conduct. I agree,” Conyers said. “I have never wavered in my belief that this President and Vice-President are among the most impeachable officials in our Nation’s history, and the more we learn the truer that becomes.”
Conyers also praised the many citizens who petitioned him for action on impeaching Bush and Cheney.
“I want to make clear how much I respect those who have given so much time and energy to the cause of fighting for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney,” Conyers said. “While we may not agree on the best path forward, I know they are acting on the basis of our shared love of this country. These citizens are not fringe radicals. ...
“They are individuals who care deeply about our Constitution and our Nation, and who have stood up to fight for the democracy they love, often at great personal cost. However, as I have said, while President Bush and Vice President Cheney have earned the dishonorable eligibility to be impeached, I do not believe that would have been the appropriate step at this time in our history.”
The 487-page report, released Tuesday, documents what Conyers called Bush’s excessive claims of executive power and illegal acts. It is the clearest sign yet that the 111th Congress plans to probe the depths of the Bush administration’s most controversial policies.
The report contains 47 separate recommendations, including calls for a blue-ribbon commission and independent criminal probes. Conyers said the recommendations are not intended as political “payback or revenge,” rather the goal is to “restore the traditional checks and balances of our constitutional system ... and to set an appropriate baseline of conduct for future administrations.”
Conyers noted that earlier investigations failed to get to the bottom of many “questions left in the wake of Bush’s Imperial Presidency,” including allegations of torture, “extraordinary rendition” (shipping prisoners to countries known to torture), warrantless domestic surveillance, leaking the CIA identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, and the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys.
Last week, Conyers proposed legislation to create a blue-ribbon panel of outside experts to probe the “broad range” of policies pursued by the Bush administration “under claims of unreviewable war powers,” including torture and warrantless wiretaps.
Tuesday’s report sought to arm lawmakers with the documentary evidence to support action on the bill, which currently has 10 sponsors
Last year, Conyers called on Attorney General Michael Mukasey to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether the Bush administration committed war crimes, a proposal that Mukasey rebuffed.
Conyers came under criticism from impeachment advocates last year when he refused to allow his committee to vote on articles of impeachment against Bush proposed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. Instead, Conyers’ committee held an impeachment substitute of sorts; a one-day hearing devoted to testimony by Bush’s critics about the administration’s alleged abuses of power.
The new report suggests that Conyers is not inclined to immediately “move forward” now that Barack Obama has been elected President. In fact, Conyers said he firmly rejects “the notion that we should move on from these matters simply because a new administration is set to take office.”
On Sunday, Obama signaled in an interview on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulus,” that he will not likely recommend that his Justice Department launch a criminal probe into the Bush administration’s past practices, particularly policies that authorized torture.
Obama told Stephanopolous that he held “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backward.”
Also, on Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the Bush administration must turn over to President-elect Obama’s staff documents Bush has been withholding from Congress related to the White House’s role in the firing of the nine U.S. Attorneys.
Conyers’s committee has been pursuing testimony and documents from White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers about their involvement in the decision to fire the federal prosecutors, a move that a senior Justice Department official said was designed to remove U.S. Attorneys who were deemed not “loyal Bushies.”
President Bush has asserted executive privilege in blocking Bolten and Miers from testifying before Congress. Last week, a new set of House rules was passed reviving subpoenas issued during the 110th Congress. In addition to Miers, Conyers’s committee subpoenaed former White House political adviser Karl Rove.
Conyers also said he wants to find out “to what extent were President Bush and Vice President Cheney involved in the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson and its aftermath.”
Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in the Plame case, but his prison sentence was commuted by Bush. “There is considerable evidence that culpability for the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson and subsequent obstruction goes above and beyond Scooter Libby,” Conyers said.
Conyers subpoenaed documents last year related to the Plame leak, including closed-door testimony that Bush and Cheney gave to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. But the Justice Department refused to turn over the materials.
“Given that so many significant questions remain unanswered relating to these core constitutional and legal matters, many of which implicate basic premises of our national honor, it seems clear that our country cannot simply move on,” Conyers said.
“As easy or convenient as it would be to turn the page, our Nation’s respect for the rule of law and its role as a moral leader in the world demand that we finally and without obstruction conduct and complete these inquiries. This can and should be done without rancor or partisanship.”
Jason Leopold has launched his own Web site, The Public Record, at www.pubrecord.org.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.
This story was published on January 14, 2009.