25 January 2007
Most of us Democrats know that Bush will not be impeached. He deserves it! But the leaders in our party are still afraid of so many things--they would never try something this bold. They will wring their collective hands and talk about "reaching across the aisle" to work with the Republicans. They wouldn't want to make anyone mad. Besides, when the Republicans were in power, they were always 'reaching across the aisles" to work with Democrats.....right? Oh well, at least allow me the satisfaction of examining impeachment in the abstract.
Elizabeth Holtzman makes a strong argument for impeachment in a recent issue of The Nation. If you remember, Congresswomen Holtzman (D-NY) played a key role in the House impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. She run unsuccessfully for the U.S. senate in 1980. And had it not been for a pathetic third-party effort by Jacob Javits, Ms. Holtzman would probably have defeated Alfonse D'Amato--thus sparing us eighteen years of his clown-like antics.
In her lengthy essay, Holtzman (pictured at right) first lists some of the charges against Bush: his "scorn for our international treaty obligations," the torture scandals, and the obvious lies leading to the Iraq War. The Iraq lies and the subsequent chaos brought about by those policies seem to be enough to impeach. But according to Holtzman, there is more, writing that:
"But it wasn't until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)--and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interest of national security to override our country's laws--that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate."
President Bush blatantly violated the law--a felony in this particular case. Does the "average American citizen" understand this--does he/she care? I sure hope so. When President Nixon did these same things, he also used national security as a justification. But it was clear then that Nixon was only after his domestic political opponents--those Dirty Hippies who were against his war. Those illegal wiretaps, however, did become part of the articles of impeachment against Nixon.
The Bush thugs and bullies have used a variety of illegal methods to hold on to their illegitimate power and conduct their activities. Holtzman offers us all a much-needed civics lesson:
"Ours is a government of limited power. We learn in elementary school the concept of checks and balances. Those checks do not vanish in wartime; the President's role as Commander in Chief does not swallow up Congress's powers or the Bill of Rights. ... As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently wrote, 'A state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens.'"
As I mentioned, I am not expecting this to happen. But we can still act! There are many groups now organized in support of impeachment--go to their web sites and read what they have to say. In addition, we can contact our elected representatives and demand that they at least investigate these abuses of power by the Bush criminals. We can be angry about what has taken place. In fact, we should all write to the White House and just tell the evil bastard to quit. You think he would do it if enough of us wrote? Holtzman ends her essay with this,
"President Bush has thrown down the gauntlet and virtually dared Congress to stop him from violating the law, nothing less is necessary to protect our constitutional system and preserve our democracy."
The following links can get you started:
Impeach For Peace
Impeach Bush Coalition
After Downing Street
23 January 2007
I am, and have been, extremely uncomfortable with the "I Support the Troops" mantra. I do know several things for sure:
2. I don't want anyone to die in this war (and I don't just mean Americans).
3. I don't support U.S. imperialism and occupation of other nations.
4. This nation has, and still does, commit atrocious war crimes.
5. I really don't give a rat's ass if people think I am unpatriotic.
But many of us on the antiwar left have been perplexed and paralyzed when the "troops" argument is used--which is precisely why it is made by the warmongering Republicans. They know that talking about the troops makes us uneasy. And to make political matters worse, our response has been weak at best.
Well someone on the left finally said what we all should have said long ago. Joe Mowrey's article in Dissident Voice, "Don't Support Our Troops" should be required reading for all of the antiwar left. Mowrey accurately criticizes the antiwar movement for falling into the trap constructed by the Bush thugs. As Mowrey writes,
"At a time when what we need most is frank and honest discussion about the imperialist role the United States plays in the nightmare of global violence and militarization, what we see instead is an effort on the part of the antiwar movement to play politics with language (that would be the feeble "Bring Them Home Now" response). Rather than having the courage to reject platitudes, we attempt to stake out some imagined middle ground of justice and the rule of law."
Mowrey goes on to point out that,
"we have allowed our military to become a criminal element that is rampaging around the globe inflicting death and destruction on innocent populations."
And what of our troops--we do want them home right? And we do support them. Yes, but we also want to stop them from being used as pawns by the military imperialists in the United States. The author concludes his essay by suggesting that we should support and welcome the troops when:
"our military is no longer committing war crimes, when we are in compliance with basic standards of human rights and social justice, then we can break out the bumper stickers and ribbons and say 'Support Our Troops.'"
To all my friends on the antiwar left: If we don't say these type of things, who will? If we worry about being labeled unpatriotic, if we worry about the political implications of our views, if we worry about making enemies--then we will never bring about real change in this corrupt system of ours. If we are going to wring our hands and fret about making someone mad, we might as well stay out of politics. The military bullies have always tried to intimidate and demean peace activists. If we can't even articulate our own views because of "public opinion anxiety" we become part of the problem ourselves--or as Mowrey suggests:
"We can become a model of egalitarian compassion in the world instead of a bloodthirsty juggernaut spewing death and destruction in the wake of its imperialistic ambitions. Until then, every American, as well as our military, are guilty of crimes against peace."
22 January 2007
I am pro-choice because......Women should have full and complete control over our bodies. No one--not church, not state, not church masquerading as state--should usurp that right. And I am pro-choice because my parents raised me right! L.P
I'm pro-choice for 3 reasons that I can articulate:
1. It is THE right thing to do;
2. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you-I don't want others telling me how to care for my body and I'll try not to tell them how to care for their body;
3. As a man I see everything from a different perspective. I will never know what it is like to be pregnant, carry a baby, deliver a baby or experience any of the other things that are associated with pregnancy. I will do my best to be as understanding as possible, but I still view all of those experiences through a different set of lenses. For me this perspective just makes point #2 stronger. Taber
When so-called pro-lifers come out against capital punishment [where innocents are killed due to incorrect evidence, racism, and botched investigations]; against the NRA and the gun lobby; and against deceitful and unnecessary wars that kill thousands of innocents, maybe then will I take a serious look at the "principles" that gave rise to the pro-life, anti-abortion movement.
-Ratzo Rizzo (St. Paul, MN)
I am pro-choice because I'm really just trying to manage my own business and am not interested in everybody else's. Amy Brugh
I have always believed......always, that the primary aim of the anti-abortion crowd is the social, cultural, and professional subjugation of American women. These twisted reactionaries want to put women “in their place” and take the country back to some idealized time when women served men, took care of the family, and understood their place in society. And the right-wingers have always known that once women finally secured certain freedoms, like reproductive and sexual rights, society would adapt, changes would be swift, and control over women would cease. The outcome, in their sick minds, would be devastating—women would join the work force, run for office, speak out on social issues, and even challenge the authority of the husbands. Hell on earth!!!!!
That’s why we must never compromise with these perverse individuals. They care little about fetuses--what they want is power. And believe me, these right-wingers stay up nights lamenting and shedding tears over what has happened since the 1960s: women’s rights, feminism, racially-mixed marriages, gay marriages, civil rights. These fools are still hoping for a return to that John Wayne, “Father Knows Best” society of some past time.
That’s why choice is critical and that’s why we need to remain diligent and fight them on every single, solitary reproductive rights issue. If choice ends, what will happen to women’s wages and other opportunities? I think we all know (these things are already skewed). And what about the number of women in public office, family leave legislation, professional and academic prospects—do you think those gains would remain? They want to rip it all down, brick-by-brick.....but we can’t allow it.
Yes, I am for choice. I happen to believe in absolute, unequivocable women's rights....period. No caveats, no "men and women are made differently" arguments, and no silly bible references on this subject. I, for one, don’t wish to live in some kind of white male, fundamentalist Christian “Handmaid’s Tale” theocracy. But if we let our guard down, and we decide to compromise with these folks on anything, that might just happen. ppmccoy
Pro—in favor of; Choice—a basic human right as guaranteed under the Constitution, specifically in the Bill of Rights. In several places in the Bill of Rights, as a matter of fact. Leaving the details aside (they are there for all to see), the Constitution protects a human beings' right to choose what happens to them (death, taxes and conscription aside). That should be enough.
But don't forget about the Declaration of Independence. True, that document is a philosophical statement, not a body of law, but Americans have come to base their values, and policy, on it. Especially on the part that bestows "certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Of course, the pursuit of happiness doesn't apply here. This is simply a euphemism for property. Ask Benjamin Franklin, he'll tell you. What makes us happy? Stuff. Money. Property, broadly defined. (If one is a selfish gluttonous simpleton.) It is our right, said the Founders, to pursue what makes us happy, that is, wealth. Debatable, to say the least, as to whether such a right should be so celebrated. But, as to the others….
The Right of Life is not the right to define, by law or otherwise, every sperm and every ovum as human life with full rights. That's patently ridiculous. Put a sperm or an ovum out on the streets all by itself and see how it fends. Can it pay the rent? Contribute to the tax base to help provide schools and health care and national security? Give directions to the State Theater? Breathe? Eat? Sustain? Of course not.
The Right of Life means the right to choose one's life and lifestyle, to make one's own way, to self-identify, to go as far as one's talents will allow in whatever productive, socially responsible way one chooses, relatively unencumbered by governmental or religious institution, whether benign or tyrannical. Ask Thomas Jefferson. He'll tell you.
The Right of Liberty is not the right to do whatever one wants regardless of the consequences, but to do what's best for one's self within the context of what also benefits others and society as a whole. You can't kill a guy and steal his riches. Good for you, perhaps, but not so good for him. And a bad example to society at large.
The Right of Liberty allows us to choose for ourselves the kind of Life we want, as long as it does not impinge on the choices others make. It, then, insures that one may abort an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy. It may indeed be what is good for that person at that point in her life. It may even save her life. Liberty allows us to do what is in our best interests as long as it does not harm others or society as a whole. Those who claim that abortion does harm others and society have yet to provide a reasonable example to back that claim.
So, I am Pro-Choice not for emotional reasons (it's none of my business, is it, what people do in their private lives as long as it doesn’t impinge on my Life or Liberty), or religious reasons (religion has no place in governance, see the Constitution), or economic reasons (don't you love the idiotic argument that all those abortions would have grown into employees and taxpayers, so abortion drains our long term economy? How many of them would have become serial killers? Alcoholics? Child molesters? Vice Presidents of the United States from Wyoming? Or worse?).
I am Pro-Choice because that is what America is about. It's in our philosophy, our code, our sacred texts. One cannot be American without being Pro-Choice.
It's all in the name we have chosen to assign to this, isn't it?
Pro-Life. How could any reasonable person argue with someone who is in favor of Life? Because they are not. Those who stand on the Pro-Life label are actually standing on ANTI-basic human rights as stated in the Declaration and guaranteed by the Constitution. In other words, they are un-American. And that makes them dangerous. They do not share the foundational American values of our Founders or our present day society (public opinion polling proves the latter unequivocally). To allow Pro-Life to be used as a name is to be unpatriotic, even treasonous. These people might better be called Against American Values and Human Rights. Because that's what they are. Ask Thomas Jefferson. He'll tell you.