Santa Cruz News
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Santa Cruz City Council to vote on Bush impeachment
From Wire Reports
SANTA CRUZ - The Santa Cruz City Council is the latest Bay Area agency to consider an advisory ballot resolution to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
If approved, voters on Nov. 7 would be asked to decide whether they want to call on Congress to "initiate proceedings for the impeachment and removal from office of" Bush and Cheney as well as calling upon the state legislature to adopt a similar resolution.
In June, the Berkeley City Council adopted a similar resolution, calling on voters to impeach the president and vice president.
From Dave Lindorff: 10 Reasons to Impeach
Saturday, July 22, 2006
The Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been playing a leading role in battling the Bush administration's attacks on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and international law, has declared today to be Impeachment Day, with teach-ins scheduled around the country.
Seems like a great occasion to offer up 10 reasons for impeaching the president, as presented in Barbara Olshansky's and my new book The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office.
The case for impeachment just grew much stronger, with the US Supreme Court's powerful decision in Hamdan v Rumsfeld. In that decision, the justices didn't simply say that the President was wrong and in violation of U.S. and the international law in arbitrarily claiming that the Guantanamo detainees were not subject to the Geneva Convention on Treatment of Prisoners of War. The five-justice majority, which included conservative Anthony Kennedy, declared the President's bogus claim to have "special powers" as commander in chief in "time of war" to be just that--bogus.
What has been missed in almost all the mainstream media coverage of this important ruling is that this slap-down of Bush's justification for his Guantanamo decision also undermines his justification for many other of his constitutional violations.
Let's first look at the list of the president's High Crimes and Misdemeanors. They are:
1. "A Crime Against Peace." Initiating a war of aggression against a nation that posed no immediate threat to the U.S.--a war that has needlessly killed 2550 Americans and maimed and damaged over 20,000 more, while killing over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and children, is the number one war crime according to the Nuremberg Charter, a document which was largely drawn up by American lawyers after World War II.
2. Lying and organizing a conspiracy to trick the American people and the U.S. Congress into approving an unnecessary and illegal war. This is defined as "A Conspiracy to Commit a Crime Against Peace" in the Nuremberg Charter, to which the U.S. is a signatory.
The Bush Administration Has No Defense for Illegal Wiretapping Now
By Senator Russ Feingold
From Daily Kos
With the Administration doing so much to weaken our system of checks and balances, a lot of Americans were heartened to see the third branch of government - the judiciary - stand up to the Administration with the decision in the Hamdan case a few weeks ago. The Supreme Court made it crystal clear that all detainees have basic rights under U.S. and international law, and that the Administration has to scrap its plan to try some detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in military commissions that lacked basic safeguards of fairness.
As many legal thinkers, and some
in this community, have pointed out, the Hamdan decision was a rebuke to an Administration that thinks it can make up its own laws. And this decision has ramifications far beyond the issue of detainees. For one thing, Hamdan completely undercuts the Administration's already weak legal argument in defense of its warrantless wiretapping program.
It is clear that the program violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). But Administration officials insisted unconvincingly that the authorization for use of military force (AUMF) from September 2001 had them covered - that this resolution somehow ok'd their warantless wiretapping, even though there is no such language in the resolution, and no evidence to suggest that it was intended to give the President blanket authority to order these warrantless wiretaps.
In Hamdan, the Court made it clear that the Administration can't hide behind the AUMF anymore. The Administration tried to use the AUMF argument in the Hamdan case too - claiming that it authorized military commissions for detainees. But the Court flatly rejected that idea, just as it rejected the idea that the President's inherent authority as Commander-in-Chief trumps the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The bottom line is that the Court was not buying the extreme theories of executive power put forward by the Administration in the military commissions case, and there is no reason to think it that it would buy those same theories when they are used to justify the illegal wiretapping program.
Last week, I asked Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, about this very issue in the Judiciary Committee. He said - big surprise - that he didn't think that the Hamdan decision would affect the warrantless wiretapping program. Clearly, the Administration is going to try to brush this off, but this issue is too important, and the law is too clear, and I am going to keep demanding a straight answer.
Yesterday I wrote a letter
to the President and Attorney General Gonzales urging them to reconsider the Administration's position about the legality of the NSA's warrantless wiretapping based on the Hamdan decision. I specifically urged them to consider the implications of Hamdan when they conduct their periodic reauthorization of the wiretapping program, which DOJ has indicated occurs approximately every 45 days.
The Administration's legal defense of its warrantless wiretapping program has always been threadbare, but with the Hamdan decision its argument isn't just threadbare any more - it's just plain gone.
Hamdan underscores how this Administration has played fast and loose with the Constitution and the law, and why the President should be censured for authorizing the illegal wiretapping program, for misleading the public both before and after it was revealed, and for failing to inform the appropriate members of Congress about it, as required by law. We have to demand that this Administration, and this President, protect our Constitution and our values as we protect our country. I am going to keep raising this issue - in fact, I plan on asking the Attorney General about it this morning when he comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee. So stay tuned and thanks to all of you for keeping the heat on this Administration to own up to its mistakes and abide by the rule of law.
Santa Cruz Considering....
Thursday, July 13, 2006
By Shanna McCord
SENTINEL STAFF WRITER
SANTA CRUZ-- City residents unhappy with the way President George W. Bush is leading the country may have the opportunity to vote for his impeachment in November.
Such a vote, which a group of community activists is seeking to put on the Santa Cruz ballot Nov. 7, would do nothing to actually remove the president from office. Instead, supporters say it would be something more than an opinion poll that would send a message to Washington, D.C.
Republican Texas Congressman Wants Bush Removed
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
By David Swanson from OpEdNews.com
A radio show reported yesterday that Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul said the following:
"I would have trouble arguing that he's been a Constitutional President, and once you violate the Constitution and be proven to do that I think these people should be removed from office."
And this: "Congress has generously ignored the Constitution while the President flaunts it, the courts have ignored it and they get in the business of legislating so there's no respect for the rule of law."
And this: "When the President signs all these bills and then adds statements after saying I have no intention of following it - he's in a way signing it and vetoing - so in his mind he's vetoing a lot of bills, in our mind under the rule of law he hasn't vetoed a thing."
And Paul said the United States had entered a period of "soft fascism."
The report of these statements might surprise some people, especially people who rely on the corporate media for their news, but it fits with previous remarks by Congressman Paul, including these wonderful speeches recently made on the floor of the House of Representatives by Rep. Paul and Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/12673
The report also comes from a media outlet that has repeatedly interviewed Paul, and they've posted a link to the audio of the interview here, although you have to join the site to hear it:http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/july2006/100706impeachbush.htm
Rather than do that, I phoned up Congressman Paul's communications director in Washington this morning. More than confirming this report, I wanted to ask Rep. Paul why he would declare that the President should be removed from office, yet fail to introduce an article of impeachment or even sign onto Congressman John Conyers' (D., Mich.) bill, H. Res. 635, to create a preliminary investigation. I also thought I wouldn't mind knowing why Paul used the plural: "...these people should be removed from office." Whom would he include along with Bush? Cheney? Rumsfeld? Rice?
Paul did give something of an answer in the interview to why he would not act on his conviction that impeachment was merited, namely he asserted, without any evidence, that the Democrats, if they won a majority, would probably try to impeach Bush for the wrong reasons: politics and revenge. There are a couple of problems with this excuse of Paul's for his inaction:
1. Out here beyond the Beltway it's progressives who couldn't stand Clinton and have no use for defending him and spend their time these days attacking his wife who are pushing impeachment.
2. The Democrats, even if they have a majority, will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to attempt impeachment, having - as they do - significantly less in the way of spine than Congressman Paul, who is probably failing to realize entirely how timid and useless they are.
3. If a president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors - as we all know this one has - then whether some Members of Congress might support impeachment for impure reasons can in no way justify a failure to impeach. In persuading nonprofit groups to work for impeachment it is often necessary to explain to them that supporting such action by Congress is not partisan just because the President belongs to a party. Is it really necessary to explain to Congressman Paul that impeachment is not partisan just because Congress Members belong to parties? This is about defending the Constitution, and either you obey your oath to do so or you violate it.
Millions of U.S. citizens, like Paul, support impeachment and removal from office. And we can rightly be challenged by anyone as to whether we are sacrificing enough to make it happen: are we working every moment of the day that we can to drag a few more Congress Members onto H Res 635? Are we passing resolutions in every town and city and state possible? Are we straining enough to try to shove the peace movement and the labor movement or other potentially helpful organizations onto the impeachment agenda? Are we protesting? Going to jail? Fasting? Do we wear our Impeach Bush and Cheney shirts every day?
Just as we can very reasonably be asked such questions, Rep. Paul can be asked this one: Why have you not introduced articles of impeachment, or at least signed onto Conyers' bill for a simple bipartisan investigation?
How does Congressman Paul think history will look on one of the 435 people in a position to act who declared action needed and then sat down and did nothing, who actually summoned the courage to admit publicly that he recognized the slide to fascism, but stood aside and wished the country well as it slid down the slope? Will history smile on such behavior?
Were Paul to put his signature where his mouth is, he would become an instant hero, the chances of impeachment would dramatically increase, and the chances of impeachment being dominated entirely by partisanship would be eliminated. And Paul would catch a ton of flack from partisans, btu they'd be partisan Republicans, and I think he could handle it.
But I digress.
So, anyway, I phoned Paul's communications guy, whom I'd never spoken to before, Jeff Deist. But Deist turned out to be, like most Hill staffers, more cautious than his boss. Deist did not deny what Paul had said on the radio, but changed the topic to telling me what Deist believed.
For those who care, Deist believes that the issue that matters is Congress's failure to insist on its power to declare war. "Bush is not really the culprit, the blame is with Congress," Deist said, complaining of "Congress's cowardice."
I asked Deist if I could check with the Congressman on whether he agreed, and Deist said I could do so by sending a detailed request, explanation of the article I was writing, etc., to firstname.lastname@example.org
While Deist made it very clear through his defensiveness and hostility that I'd never get an interview on this topic, I'm not sure it wouldn't have an impact if, say, 10,000 people sent an Email to that address thanking Paul for his statements and asking him to do more than talk. Can you do that please?
We thank you, Congressman, but we can all talk, and talk is cheap.
Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:Demand Impeachment Nowhttp://www.davidswanson.org
DAVID SWANSON is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997.