A few years ago Republicans in Congress impeached a president for lying about a private, personal affair. Ask your Republican friends and Congress member when they're going to get around to impeaching George W. Bush for lying to get us into a war. Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese write about the need for a national dialogue over the grounds for impeachment of the president.
Max Sawicky puts the rejection of the proposed European Union constitution in perspective:
To be sure, economics doesn't explain everything. Far from it. But there are some very good economic reasons for the French to reject further EU consolidation:
* France and the rest of the federation becomes ever more subjugated by the EU/Bundesbank tight-ass monetary policy, a major factor in their needlessly high unemployment rates;
* Labor mobility will reduce wages in France;
* Population mobility will hamper the efficacy of the French social insurance systems.
These are pretty big, in my view. On the other hand, I'm a little ambivalent on this issue myself. A USE offers some potential advantages: better command and control of trade and industrial policy, and more potential for development in lower-income regions. Under a liberal fiscal regime, a USE could be much more effective in promoting employment and wage growth. All this is hypothetical because the EU is still a capitalist project, by and large.
The lesson for the EU-o-crats is, no justice, no federation.
From a Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial:
Nothing young Americans can do in life is more honorable than offering themselves for the defense of their nation. It requires great selflessness and sacrifice, and quite possibly the forfeiture of life itself. On Memorial Day 2005, we gather to remember all those who gave us that ultimate gift. Because they are so fresh in our minds, those who have died in Iraq make a special claim on our thoughts and our prayers.
In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important: It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country. In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse...
See the rest.
David Sirota writes:
The voices that say the Democrats must behave more like Big Business Republicans in order to win elections are many. They call this "moderation" - but there is little evidence it works (in fact, there is far more compelling evidence that it does the opposite). As columnist Bob Kuttner has noted, "for every Evan Bayh" who uses this "moderate" model to win a red state "there are two or three Byron Dorgans" - who use economic populism to do the same. And one interesting statistic shows how this actually works.
Pundits are quick to claim that when Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders crushes his Republican opponents, he does so only because Vermont is a "blue" state. But consider this incredible statistic from over at Paperwight's blog:
"Sanders won in 47 of the 48 Vermont precincts in which George Bush beat John Kerry. In all but three of those, Sanders beat the Republican candidate (his closest competitor) by double digit margins: he won ten precincts by more than 20%, fourteen precincts by more than 30%, and eleven precincts by more than 40%. Remember, those are precincts where George Bush won while Sanders split his vote with two non-Republican candidates, and Sanders didn't just beat his Republican opponent. Sanders destroyed his Republican opponent."
In other words, the progressive populist Sanders is not only cleaning up in the blue parts of Vermont, but in the very red parts of Vermont as well (and just head up to the Northeast Kingdom if you don't think there are very red parts of Vermont). Using economic populism on issues like trade and wages, he is able to attract culturally conservative, working-class voters to his side. That is what makes him such a force in his state - and what can make other Democrats more successful in their own.
On Memorial Day, we remember those members of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect us. We also should note the malfeasances of those who get us into wars. In another example of the British press breaking a story that the US press ignores, the London Sunday Times reports:
THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.
The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.
The details follow the leak to The Sunday Times of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make “regime change” in Iraq legal.
Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, told the meeting that “the US had already begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime”.
The memo of the July 2002 meeting also noted that British authorities knew the evidence the Bush administration was using to link Saddam to the 9/11 attacks was flimsy or non-existent. The chief of British military intelligence warned that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” justifying the invasion of Iraq.
US Rep. John Conyers seeks an official response (via DailyKos.com).
For the cost of the Iraq war so far, see Antiwar.com.
Bob Fertik writes at Democrats.com:
Monday is Memorial Day, the day we honor our fallen soldiers.
Our hearts are especially heavy this year because 1,653 soldiers have died in the past 26 months in Iraq.
Another 12,348 have been maimed, and tens of thousands are suffering from PTSD.
And things are only getting worse, not better: the majority of those killed (903) died in the 12 short months since Memorial Day 2004.
Our sadness would be diminished if we could say these brave young men and women died to defend America.
But that simply isn't true, because George W. Bush lied to us.
We now know there were no WMD's in Iraq in 2002. We also know there were no ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda or 9/11.
George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, and countless others insisted there were. But they were lying - all of them.
On May 1, the Times of London finally exposed the truth. It came in the form of the minutes of a secret war council led by Tony Blair at the Prime Minister's office on Downing Street on July 23, 2002 - eight full months before Bush invaded Iraq. The head of British intelligence reported on his trip to Washington:
"Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
Read it carefully: Bush was determined to invade Iraq, and he was prepared to tell whatever lies he needed to tell to scare Americans into war.
This "smoking gun" caused a firestorm in the British media. Here in the U.S., the media barely reported it. Why? Because our media enthusiastically helped Bush tell his lies. And they want to make sure Americans never learn the truth.
Today, Democrats.com and a powerful coalition of progressive allies set out to break the media's silence and tell Americans the truth.
We are building a massive grassroots movement to support an historic letter by Constitutional scholar John Bonifaz, who is urging Congress to pass a "Resolution of Inquiry" directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach George W. Bush.*
Of course, passing this Resolution will require a majority in the House, which is firmly controlled by Tom DeLay and his right-wing Republican allies.
DeLay is a formidable obstacle. But we simply cannot let him stand in the way of the truth after so many young Americans have died.
Please join me in urging your Representative to support this Resolution of Inquiry about Iraq.
And if you can, please help us build the largest grassroots movement in history by contributing to Democrats.com.
1,653 brave young Americans will be mourned by their families this Memorial Day.
It is time to hold George Bush accountable for the soldiers who died because of his lies.
Bob Fertik, President
David Sirota notes: Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) yesterday vetoed legislation aimed at forcing Wal-Mart to provide its workers with more adequate benefits.
That wasn't a surprise - Ehrlich is the standard "corporate whore in politicians clothing" that now occupies many of our nation's highest public offices. What is shocking, however, is how open he was about acknowledging that Big Business pulls all of the strings when it comes to public policy. As the Los Angeles Times notes, "Eduardo Castro-Wright, chief operating officer of Wal-Mart stores USA division, stood at the Republican governor's side as he signed the official veto."
This is, in no uncertain terms, an admission that we no longer have a government that could be called "of the people." Our democracy has been degraded so forcefully by Corporate America, that it's become standard operating procedure for corporate executives to be physically looming/lurking as one of their lackeys in high office spits on ordinary workers and does Big Business's bidding.
Conservatives should know better than eliminate the judicial filibuster but Matt Yglesias at Tapped writes that liberals "should avoid getting too hyperbolic here. It wouldn't put the country on a slippery slope to dictatorship; it would just put the Senate on a slippery slope toward becoming the House of Representatives. Judicial filibusters themselves are not a big deal, but the precedent that a bare majority of senators can and will rewrite the rules to suit the needs of the moment is. That's how the House operates. It leads to very strong leadership offices, a total absence of power for minority members, a very restricted role for committee chairs, and a radical reduction in the ability of even the majority's back-benchers to influence the course of events.
"That's a big deal, and it's not clear to me that anyone should welcome it. But if anyone should welcome it, it probably ought to be liberals, who at least on one level stand to gain in the long term from anything that makes it easier to pass laws. Why conservatives would want to embark on the road for the sake of a pretty trivial win -- the confirmation of 10 judges, some of whom compromise-minded Democrats would be willing to confirm if the nuclear option were taken of the table -- is a bit beyond me. Bill Frist wants to do it because he desperately wants the support of the 'Justice Sunday' crowd (a group that, to put it politely, tends to lack a broad perspective) for his presidential campaign. Most everyone else seems to me to be caught up in the hype and not thinking clearly about this."
David Sirota writes:
Look, I don't want to downplay the importance of this filibuster fight -- it is a clear example of the GOP trying to usurp power, and the blame for this fight goes squarely on the Republican Party. That said, however, the endless attention this is getting is really truly pathetic for both parties and the media. If the bloviating inside-the-beltway crowd can just step back for 5 seconds, they would see just how ridiculous this all is -- and exactly how this hyperventilating, non-stop coverage is exactly WHY more and more Americans have become completely disillusioned with politics.
Every election, people wonder why so many Americans don't vote. Well, let me say that this filibuster fight is EXACTLY why people don't vote (and yes, it is actually possible that's really the point - real voter participation threatens the entire political Establishment). It isn't that people are stupid - it is that they see a political system so totally and completely divorced from their own lives that its not even worth it to go to the polls.
It turns out US District Judge A. Raymond Randolph, who ruled in favor of Vice President Dick Cheney's efforts to keep his energy task force records secret, has ties to the oil industry. David Sirota notes that Randolph serves on the Judicial Advisory Board of George Mason's Law & Economics Center (he has apparently served there for at least a few years, and may still currently). This is the same Law & Economics Center famous for taking judges on training junkets, and for being financed with huge amounts of cash from oil industry giants like Exxon. Raymond is also an adjunct law professor at George Mason University, a place that has taken millions from Koch Industries -- another major oil company (for more on Koch's multi-million dollar ties to George Mason, see Media Transparency's special site).
CNN reports: British member of Parliament George Galloway at a Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday angrily denied profiting from Saddam Hussein's regime and criticized the Senate panel headed by Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., that is probing alleged corruption in the UN oil-for-food program while ignoring US misdeeds in Iraq.
Galloway, 51, who met with Saddam in the 1990s, has been a leading critic of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his alliance with US President George Bush in the war with Iraq. He was re-elected on an anti-war platform earlier this month.
Galloway said he had met with Saddam twice -- "exactly as many times as Donald Rumsfeld has met with him."
"The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and give him maps," Galloway said in a heated opening statement.
"I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second occasion, I met him to try and persuade him to allow Hans Blix and U.N. inspectors back into country."
"I am not now nor have I ever been an oil trader and neither has anyone on my behalf," Galloway testified, according to AP. "I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and American governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas."
See the text of Galloway's opening remarks at DailyKos.com.
See the London Guardian's report: "US 'backed illegal Iraqi oil deals'."
General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon last Thursday that rioting in Afghanistan was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process there than it was to a controversial note buried in the pages of Newsweek claiming that the government was investigating whether an interrogator at Gitmo had desecrated a Muslim holy book. But White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, in effect, that Myers and the head of the after-action report following the disturbances in Jalalabad, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, were wrong. The Newsweek report, McCellan said, “has done damage to our image abroad and it has done damage to the credibility of the media and Newsweek in particular. People have lost lives. This report has had serious consequences.”
Keith Olbermann calls for Scott McClellan's resignation.
Josh Marshall notes the irony of a White House that "took the country to war on shaky (and later discredited) evidence going to war against a news organization that published a short article on shaky evidence." Now he sees the "White House trying to decapitate another news organization." See also his followup.
5/18/05 UPDATE: Minneapolis Star Tribune puts Newsweek/WhiteHouse flap in perspective.
See the transcript, audio and video links at Democracy Now!