Mayor, Council members, good morning. I am here speaking again for a resolution calling for the impeachment of the President and Vice President of the United States.
Mayor, if the City Council disagrees with us on this issue, then why not put it on the agenda and vote on it? Why not take a position one way or the other? Show us who is for it and who is against it. Come out from behind a bush—so to speak—and show us where you stand.
Who here is for the rule of law? Who here is for the Constitution?
There must be someone on this council willing to go out on a limb and put this very important resolution on the agenda. I'm told that all I need is two people. Just two willing to say “I not only swear to protect and defend the Constitution and the rule of law, but I will do so, now, even if it means going against the crowd.”
Two people willing to stand on principle. Just two.
I believe we are at a cross-roads where we are going to have to decide whether we will continue, in the words of John Adams, as “a Republic, not of men, but of laws”; whether we will continue as a living, viable democracy with all ten amendments of the Bill of Rights firmly intact; or if we will simply shred that document and with it the true meaning of our beloved flag. At which point, I suppose we will be living a lie.
Already in the eyes of much of the rest of the world, our country of virtuous heroes is beginning to wither. When they see us killing over a million Iraqi men, women and children, in order to bring them the “gift” of democracy; when they see the oil companies lining up to take control of the Iraqi oil fields, then the rest of the world can clearly see, even if we can't, that we are living a lie.
So much of this is not really the fault of a few hollow men acting as our leaders, but it's largely due to what our Congress and the rest of us have failed to do.
It's the failure of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to rein in an out of control president and vice president. And it's the failure of the rest of us, especially those in positions of legal authority who could speak out against what is clearly wrong, but have chosen instead to look the other way.
This resolution may seem like nothing, so why vote on it? But an expression of no interest is still a decision that will hide itself quite comfortably among the crowd who have decided to throw out the Constitution and join hands with those who advocate the savagery of torture and wars of plunder.
Admittedly, there's no profit in this resolution. Voting for it I'm afraid would not be quite the same as voting to drill another hole in the ground in order to suck out more gold and silver. But this tarnished little resolution may hold more value than all the profit the gas drillers can pull up.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
For July 15th:
Mayor, council members, good evening. I am here speaking in behalf of a resolution calling for the impeachment of the President and Vice President of the U.S.
Well, last week, we learned that members of the Vice President's staff censored congressional testimony by top federal officials about health threats posed by global warming.
Meanwhile, Karl Rove continues to ignore Congressional subpoenas compelling him to testify about partisan interference at the Department of Justice.
On Thursday, we saw John Yoo and David Addington testify before a House Sub- committee. Yoo is a former deputy assistant attorney-general. Addington is Cheney's Chief of Staff. The two men are said to be instrumental in developing the administration's torture policy.
It was clear that both men are experts at how to answer questions without answering them at all. It was also clear how little regard either of them seemed to have not just for the House members themselves, but even for the right of the members to question them.
Addington, especially appeared at times almost to seethe with contempt for the whole process.
During the questioning, Representative John Conyers asked John Yoo about a statement Yoo had made in which he seemed to suggest that it was okay for the President to order the torture of a suspect's child “in gruesome fashion.”
Yoo never gave Conyers a direct answer. Later, asked if he thought it was okay for the President to order a suspect buried alive, Yoo again would not give a direct answer. Conyers finally gave up in frustration.
That such men have been allowed anywhere near our government, that those who lead us have granted them access to their offices and allowed them to speak into their ears, I should think, ought to be an affront to plain decent people.
Honorable Mayor, I can only think it must be at least a tad difficult for law-makers to continue to ignore the illegalities and usurpations of the Bush regime that are surfacing almost weekly, if not daily.
For those who sit on city councils, who swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the rule of law; for them, it must be especially awkward to simply look on and do nothing while laws are broken, the Constitution violated and shamed.
Thus far, 93 cities and towns could not do it. They could not justify looking the other way. They simply could not ignore their oath of office. Neither could the legislatures of ten states, who have found the courage to pass similar resolutions.
Sometimes moral questions arise that are so important as to transcend the daily operations of a town. At such times, we are forced to rise above our differences, above partisanship, above our own ambitions, to examine what we really believe in our hearts.
I think everyone in this room knows what is right and true.
For June 22nd:
Mayor, council members, good morning. I am here speaking again for a resolution calling for the impeachment of the President and Vice President of the United States.
Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that President Bush can order the indefinite jailing of civilians in the U.S.
The ruling came in the case of the only person still held as an enemy combatant on U.S. Soil. Ali al-Marri was arrested 6 years ago at his home in Peoria, Illinois, where he lived with his wife and children. He was initially charged with credit card fraud and lying to federal agents.
In June, 2003, President Bush declared him an enemy combatant and ordered him into military custody. He has spent the last 4 years in solitary confinement at a Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina.
Al-Marri's attorney said, “This decision means the President can pick up any person in the country—citizen or non-citizen—and lock them up for years without the most basic safeguard in the Constitution—the right to a criminal trial.”
With the failure of Congress to act to restrain an out-of-control administration, along with the failure of good people—here and around the country—to rise in vocal defense of the rule of law—and, in essence, defend their own democracy—we're now witnessing the results in bold relief.
We have administration officials defying Congressional subpoenas. We have literally thousands of detainees held in secret sites around the world for no more reason than being labeled by somebody as “enemy combatants.” Many have been tortured or driven insane. At least twenty-five that we know of have been murdered by military guards.
We have Air Force Colonel Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo resigning his position because his former boss, DOD General Council, Jim Haynes,told him: “We can't have acquittals. We've been holding these guys for years. How are we going to explain that? We've got to have convictions.”
We have two of the architects of torture, David Addington and John Yoo, arrogantly snubbing the questions of John Conyers and others of the House subcommittee.
And how do those in positions of power in a democracy come by such arrogance? Perhaps from the cynical belief that the people have become so lemming-like that they will silently accept anything, now, any imaginable cruelty, for the sake of their own comfort and safety, however deluded that may be.
And it is an illusion. As one Marine sergeant at Forwarding Base Mercury in Iraq said, “. . .half of these guys get released because they didn't do nothing. But if he's a good guy. . . now he's a bad guy because of the way we treated him.”
The evidence is clear. As good people remain silent, our democracy becomes more imperiled.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
At the same time, in Germany, Obama is being called Der Schwarze JFK...The Black JFK. But while McCain spit shines the War Machine and praises military solutions and our national staying power, Obama rises eloquently to convince Europeans (and many Americans) that he brings an inspiring age of renewal. Yet the problem today is that we have two candidates who are clearly militant when it comes to pursuing war as the chief instrument of the presidency.
If McCain is hopeless as a status quo figure, if he appears rhetorically limited and bumbles through his stump speeches, it's not your imagination. He is remarkably unqualified to be president. He displays a hot button personality; and even the casual observer can see the volatility that lies not far beneath his surface. McCain's got the kind of uptightness that doesn't wash out.
Barak Obama, on the other hand, is what Marshall McLuhan would have described as a "cool medium".
But don't be surprised if America's 160,000 kids in combat can be jacked up to 365,000 by the end of his first term in office. We will vote for Obama in November because we can't think or wiggle our way out of this dilemma. It's the chaos of muddle with the McCain empire, or the better managed empire of the handsome Barak Obama. Which would you choose?
A Republic of Diminishing Returns? Why do I think that? Because I believe the outward show of democracy will take precedent over the repair of democracy. There are disturbing signals being sent by Obama's team and the Democrats. The first was the surrender on the FISA bill. The Surveillance State will remain just as it is, thank you. The military position in Iraq will be consolidated in the first 16 months of the Obama presidency. Combat forces are to be reduced in Iraq and increased in Afghanistan. It's a shell game. The war goes on. The new killing fields are adjusted around new policy. Pakistan and Iran are next.
Both republicans and democrats are determined that the empire will not die on their watch.
But a compelling clue that President Obama intends a seamless transition into the resource wars, comes with the disclosure from one of his campaign advisers, from a story in The Nation by Ari Melber. He quotes Cass Sunstein, Obama's adviser:
Prosecuting government officials risks a "cycle" of criminalizing public service, [Sunstein] argued, and Democrats should avoid replicating retributive efforts like the impeachment of President Clinton--or even the "slight appearance" of it.Whenever the phrase, "criminalizing public service", is used to describe the political hazard of bringing US war criminals to justice, be aware that what you're hearing is debased authoritarian language. The criminals who have savaged humanity, broken laws and undermined our Constitution should not have their unspeakable acts of barbarity and crime described as "public service".
Why would the new president let the Bush criminals off the hook? For a smooth transition, he will tell you. To turn the page and never dwell on partisan battles; you get the picture. But mostly because he will have to work with the very SOBs in Congress who have blood on their hands.
Monday, July 14, 2008
July 8th, 2008
Mayor, council members, good evening. Here's a quote from a CIA report to Congress in January, 2003: “The Intelligence Community has no credible information that Baghdad had foreknowledge of the 11 September attacks or any other al-Qaeda strike.”
Here's former CIA Director George Tenet responding to a question on 60 Minutes: “We could never verify that there was any Iraqi authority, direction and control, complicity with al-Qaeda for 9/11 or any operational act against America, period.”
Here's former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan: “I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq War is largely about oil.”
And here's Vice President Cheney responding to White House correspondent Martha Raddatz: when she pointed out to him that two-thirds of Americans no longer believe the Iraq War is worth fighting, Cheney's response was, “So?”
Meanwhile, largely on account of the war, the cost of a barrel of oil has gone from $25 in 2003 to its current price of around $146.
Question: Are you comfortable sending Fort Worth's sons and daughters to fight and die for oil? Are you comfortable sending them to fight for Dick Cheney whose response to the idea of some 4,000 Americans dying for nothing would seem to be a bland, “So?”
Meanwhile, it appears that Bush and Cheney are determined to invade another country—Iran. They've certainly been talking it up in much the same way they did before we invaded Iraq.
As Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh recently reported in The New Yorker, our submarines are there, they have their targets, our destroyers are there, the cruise missiles are loaded on them. Our air force and navy and ground troops are in place. This has been practiced and exercised.
Admiral Fallon was against bombing Iran and he's been forced out. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has stated his opposition along with at least ten junior members. As it did with Iraq, our intelligence has informed Bush and Cheney that there is no nuclear weapons program in Iran. They don't care.
The fact that Iran has not attacked anyone outside their borders for some 280 years doesn't seem to matter in the least.
As Hersh pointed out, this is the most radical president our country has ever seen and he's completely ineducable. “I don't know about you,” Hersh said, “but that scares me to death.”
I've already pointed out that Fort Worth's share of money spent on Iraq is approaching a billion dollars. Any idea what it will be if we tack on Iran? With our economy already plummeting, I daresay cities and towns across this country will be turning out their pockets just to keep up with decaying roads and schools, let alone have anything left for such pie-in-the sky items as homelessness initiatives.
Too late to call for impeachment? Maybe. But surely it is not too late for good people to remember the oath they swore to defend the Constitution and the rule of law.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Just who is the enemy now in the hurly-burly of American politics? As one commenter observed, "The candidates are the science fiction." There is a kind of risky business in these grim post-9/11 festivals because the mask of civility may drop to reveal a nation under military occupation.
The ACLU is suing both cities to disclose how security money is being spent, with hopes as to determine what specific weapons may be deployed against Americans. However, officials say it is important they be secretive about the technologies employed by their security forces, lest the crowds which will inevitably surround the conventions gain the upper hand.Can Americans be fearmongered to the point where they welcome the totalitarian hand? Shall our children receive institutions which are worse than those we inherited? Is the America we are willing to settle for, a nation that will turn to paramilitary death squads and mercenary cadres?--or accept the shell game for oil that covers up genocide? Wouldn't we feel contempt for a society where the walls have ears?--where we can imagine the whole planet shrunk until it seems that the cries of the tortured are coming from the next room?
(David Edwards/Stephen C. Webster)
"It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it," said George Carlin.
For close to 8 years we haven't really been mesmerized with the oratory of a Pericles, who advised the citizens of Athens not to throw away their Empire, "which some say we ought not to have sought, or desire at all."
No, in our case, the country was fed the most stupid, vapid, degenerate rhetoric ever heard on these shores. And the object was war and mind control; and these are indeed the dark days of this struggle.
"Problems cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them," said Einstein. And it's clear that we need some kind of renewal and revelation in our thinking process. We don't need hero worship or the idolatry of the Leader; we don't need that infantilism that is the product of corporate media; and we don't need self-indulgent self-pity.
I suspect that we need to find a central, still point, in our national character, the self respect that will make it possible to stand before the world on our own merits, without the resort to violence to steal from weaker countries and exploit the poor.
Friday, July 04, 2008
". . .I don't believe sins can be washed away by anything, not by the Blood of the Lamb, not by Christ on or off the Cross, not by love of God or God's love, not by a billion Hail Marys or a Milky Way of candles or a thousand ages of penance or a million miles of contrition on broken glass and burning coals and leprous bodies.
In fact, I indignantly reject, with horror and with loathing, the dark, ancient, vile and filthy lie that another man or God-Man can redeem us of our sins by his own suffering, or that we can purify ourselves and start over again by compounding our sins with more suffering, more ugliness, more filth and gibbering faith.
What an utterly horrible doctrine! What a contemptible and nightmarish horror-story to preach to grave, thoughtful children. It's time we stood up like men and faced our responsibilities, admitted and lived with our past sins, and cleared our hearts, in so far as we can, not by atonement or by condemning someone else to die for us, but by refusing to cooperate with evil and insisting upon doing good."
--from: Confessions Of A Barbarian by Edward Abbey
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