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|Peace Patriot (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore||Fri Nov-10-06 10:45 AM
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|11. Well, I guess when Cindy Sheehan decided to stand up and single-handedly|
lead and focus the MAJORITY of Americans in their opposition to the Iraq War (56% opposed before the invasion--up to 70% today), at a time when the notion of being able to stop this war, by a peoples' movement, seemed crazily unrealistic, and after an extended period in which the Democratic Party leadership was mostly pro-war, its chief antiwar advocate, Paul Wellstone, having been killed in a yet to be explained plane crash, and its chief antiwar presidential candidate having been knocked out of the race by a doctored video ("the scream") with no tears shed at the DNC (of that era), and during a period also when the war profiteering corporate news monopolies were unanimous in their agreement that being against the Iraq War was kooky and leftist and not worth a second of anyone's time--and, acting in concert, ignored millions of people marching against the war at home and abroad, as well as ignoring a wealth of evidence that the war was unnecessary (not to mention illegal and genocidal), and that the president and his puppetmasters, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, were lying through their teeth...when Cindy Sheehan decided to buck all this, and stand up, against the fascist tide, and speak for the People, and speak for herself as the mom of a son killed in this wretched "war of choice," the rest of us could not have imagined what happened two days ago--the fullscale revolt of the American people.
No matter how the war profiteering corporate news monopolies try to "spin" this election, they cannot deny that the Iraq War was the NUMBER ONE ISSUE on the minds of voters when they went to the polls to VOTE FOR CHANGE. It outran jobs. It outran Social Security. It outran skyrocketing medical costs and cuts in education funding. It outran multiple tax cuts for the rich--and all issues of poor/middle class financial pain. It also outran gay marriage, women's rights, immigration and the disaster of Bush regime incompetence during Katrina.
From nothing, when Cindy Sheehan first stood up--a nothing national issue of no consequence to anyone who "matters"--into the NUMBER ONE NATIONAL ISSUE and inspiration for throwing a whole lot of dirty rotten bums out of Congress, and out of the Pentagon!
So...when Cindy Sheehan says "Impeachment is back on the table," the Democratic leadership who BENEFITED from her courage and vision, and her love for her son, had better pay attention. Because impeachment is NEXT.
It's crazily unrealistic, to be sure. I know how craftily this Congress was put together--by a combination of direct corporate control over election results, via "trade secret," proprietary programming code in the new electronic voting systems (in both the primary and general elections), other dirty tricks and vote suppression, and plain old filthy lucre--to be ruled by a minority contingent of "Bushite Democrats" (like those who voted for torture and suspension of habeas corpus a few weeks ago), who hold "swing vote" power in the House, and of course Lieberman's "swing vote" in the Senate. However gratifying the Democratic win may be, it is undeniably true that this Congress STILL doesn't even begin to reflect the majority of the American people, SEVENTY PERCENT of whom oppose the Iraq War. IF it was representative, the very first order of business would be STOPPING that illegal, unjust, genocidal war IMMEDIATELY. A war that is costing us $11 MILLION per HOUR. But, no, the first words out of Nancy Pelosi's mouth are "impeachment is off the table." THAT is the first order of business of this Congress: NOT to impeach the war criminals in the White House. No doubt because impeaching them would, a) indict the Democrats who supported the war; b) expose and indict the war profiteer industry, and c) call this pigsty of a military budget INTO QUESTION (what does this military budget do except INVITE wars of choice? why not cut it back to a true defensive posture?).
I have no doubt that people like John Conyers and Henry Waxman are into a justice in a real way, know what's what, and have been prepared to impeach Bush/Cheney for a long time now, for a long list of the worst "high crimes and misdemeanors" ever committed by a U.S. president and vice president, from blatant felonies (domestic spying), to crimes against humanity (100,000s of innocent people killed, thousands tortured), to treason (outing the entire CIA WMD counter-proliferation network), to massive thievery (the vice president's own company stealing Iraq war and reconstruction funds with both hands), to ripping up the Constitution (with "signing statements" and other KINGLY assertions).
These crimes SHOULD BE PROSECUTED. These criminals SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE. Because if they are not, it's all going to happen again. The precedents for criminality in the White House are staggering.
But the other side of the coin is that the new Congress has been seriously sabotaged by egregiously NON-TRANSPARENT elections. Almost no member of Congress was elected by vote counting that people can SEE. It's all done in a "black box" now, by two private corporations with close ties to the Republican Party and far rightwing causes. Further, the war profiteering corporate news monopolies are out-of-control as a propaganda organ for unaccountable fascist power. They will seek to destroy any politician who actually represents the majority of the American people. To them, we are the enemy, and anyone who speaks and acts for us becomes a target of "swift-boating" (and worse). So, people like John Conyers and Henry Waxman cannot speak their minds, and cannot act on our behalf. They are hamstrung, by a grievously compromised Congress and by the corporate news monopolies.
It's also possible that a deal has been made, at some remote "aspen" cabin in the Colorado hills: Rumsfeld goes, the invasion of Iran is off, and Democrats get to take over Congress and pass a minimum wage bill and other minor tweaks for the poor, in exchange for NO IMPEACHMENT.
That's what it smells like. Conyers' and Waxman's hands have been tied. And as positive as this deal may be--and IF that's what has happened, there are certainly some positive aspects to it--it is still a highly manipulated and very undemocratic development. And it very unfortunately leaves all these fascist presidential powers in place, unchallenged.
Cindy Sheehan is attacking it from that end. Impeachment is NEEDED. Justice requires it. (And, further, I would say that it is downright UNCONSTITUTIONAL to say that "impeachment is off the table." Since when does Congress throw away that power, in the face of massive presidential crime?)
But personally I think that we need to approach this from a different perspective, and with a different strategy. I think the war on Iraq is going to continue DESPITE 70% opposition by the people of this country. We're going to see plan after plan for "withdrawal," and delay after delay. The powers-that-be are NOT going to give up those 15 permanent U.S. military bases in the Middle East, nor the NeoCon dream of controlling all Mideast oilfields. The people of this country knew what THEY were voting for. And it was so overwhelming that even the corporate media had to report it. They were voting for AN END TO THE IRAQ WAR. But they're not going to get it because of WHO they were voting for--their only choices, a set of pre-selected candidates designed to prevent a real end to the war and any significant reform.
We are not going to see an end to this war, and an end to the fascist policies that were used to implement it against the will of the American people, until we have restored TRANSPARENT elections. That is going to take time, and it's going to take some smarts--by the election reform movement and the leftist (majorityist) movement.
Here's my strategy for achieving it: These elections saw a dramatic increase in Absentee Ballot voting--something that almost NO ONE here at DU has commented on but me. This huge increase in Absentee Ballot voting represents huge voter distrust in the new voting machines, and was, in fact, is a VOTERS' REBELLION and a BOYCOTT against the machines. It got up to 50%-60% of the vote in many places. These voters KNOW that the system is being rigged, and were trying to get around the rigged electronics. With this base of discontented and distrustful voters--IF we mobilize it--we can pressure LOCAL election officials to, a) HAND COUNT the Absentee Ballots, and b) POST the results BEFORE any electronics are involved. This are reasonable, modest and common sense demands that do not threaten the system directly. It's a backdoor strategy for creating a paper ballot system BY DEFAULT. It avoids a head-on collision with the vast corruption associated with the billions of dollars in e-voting contracts, which has affected both Dem and Repub election officials and legislators (the chief obstacle to reform). They can keep their expensive machines for the time being. Just COUNT the AB votes as those voters intend. As this strategy succeeds, even more voters will vote AB. It will become THE chief method of voting. We will get rid of the machines by attrition. Further, we could seek to extend these principles to the Optiscan ballots (hand count, post the results before electronic tallying), if people keep voting on those machines. (Hand counting and posting the results immediately neutralizes the fraud capability of the central electronic tabulators--we can keep those tabulators, or not.) I'm talking about a 100% audit--starting with the AB votes, and presuming we develop ORGANIZED groups of AB voters to make this demand LOCALLY.
56% of the American people opposed the Iraq War, way back before the invasion (Feb. '03). That would be a landslide in a presidential election. And it should have resulted in Bush's ouster in '04. And we now know what lengths the Bushites went to--assisted by the silence of the Dem Party leadership--to insure NON-TRANSPARENCY in the '04 vote counting.
The non-transparency has not changed. Ergo, the war will continue--until we can get a vote that TRULY reflects the views and interests of the American people. We are not there yet. We are still in a manipulated, illusory political environment, based on egregiously non-transparent vote counting.
I'm glad Cindy Sheehan is talking about impeachment. It needs to be talked about. But we, in essence, have no power to impeach, just as we still have no practical power to end the war. The warmongers and war profiteers have had to pull their heads in a bit, in the face of SEVENTY PERCENT opposition. But they are not finished with us, nor with our sons and daughters whom they are STILL sending off to the Iraq killing fields. They're laying back, like the snakes they are, coiled to strike again. All their war powers and fascist powers are still in tact. And the best we can expect, from this crafted Congress, is some new accountability regarding the money. (Halliburton, however, is preparing to spin off KBR, to avoid liability. We're not likely to get any of those billions BACK. But we may see some oversight of current funds.)
NOTHING is going to change very much until we have TRANSPARENT VOTE COUNTING. Non-transparent vote counting IS the fascist coup that we must overturn.
These elections cost THREE BILLION DOLLARS ($40 per vote), most of it poured into the pockets of the very corporate news monopolies who lied to us about the war. That, too, is a major and priority problem: the filthy campaign contribution system, and WHO it benefits. But the mechanism of our sovereignty as a people--our right to vote--MUST be restored, before we can fix anything else. And I expect the new Democratic Congress to be as effective on election reform, and on campaign contributions, as they will be on the Iraq War and impeachment. Deals, deals and more deals, and no significant change. (I expect the Senate to gut or veto any effective election reform.)
We have to do it ourselves. The election reform movement has not yet come up with a strategy to achieve transparent vote counting. We've been awesome at raising consciousness, but ineffective at practical change. We have no strategy to get there. The Absentee Ballot movement provides a strategy.
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