War Spending: Defying or Just Posturing?

gop-spin-club Defying President Bush, House Democrats are preparing to forge ahead with a war spending measure that would include extended unemployment assistance and new educational benefits for returning veterans.

After a meeting Monday evening of House Democratic leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hoped to bring a $178 billion measure to the floor this week. What could be a contentious debate on the matter is likely to be held on Thursday, aides said.

Ms. Pelosi, of California, did not disclose details of the proposed bill, which will be presented to rank-and-file Democrats at a closed party session on Tuesday. But Democratic officials, who did not want to be identified since the bill was still being put into final form, said the legislative package would include provisions requiring a significant withdrawal of troops from Iraq by December 2009 and measures that would force Iraq to share more costs of its reconstruction.

Democrats also intend to make veterans eligible for new educational assistance if they have served from three months to three years or more on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001. The aid would be equivalent to a four-year scholarship at a public university for those with three years or more service, with payments prorated for those with less time.

Mr. Bush has steadily insisted he would not approve any legislation that exceeds his spending request for the war, sets any withdrawal deadlines or adds domestic money he opposes like the unemployment benefits. And House Republicans, angry that the measure is not going through formal committee consideration, began on Monday to open procedural attacks on the House floor in protest, forcing extra votes on noncontroversial measures.

“The Democrat leaders of the House and Senate are attempting to jam a 200-plus-billion-dollar spending bill through the Congress with absolutely no oversight or scrutiny by a vast majority of members, senators or their constituents,” Representative Jerry Lewis of California, the senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement on Monday. “Never in my 30 years in Congress has there been such an abuse of the processes and rules of the House.”

Democrats said privately that they expected the provisions setting a withdrawal deadline and putting other conditions on the war money to be eliminated by the Senate before a final House vote later this spring… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Impeach Of course there is no way this bill can ever get through the automatic GOP filibuster in the Senate.  Nevertheless it’s still a good idea, because it gives GOP Senators a choice to actually do something for America or come down solidly against the unemployed and veterans in the height of election season.

Representative Jerry Lewis needs help for his comedy routine from his side-kick, Dean Martin.  Throughout the GOP dominated 109th, no bill made it to committee without having first been approved by a majority of the House Repuglicans.

Think how much better it would have been if the Democratic majority in the House had wasted time with impeachment hearings instead of with posturing!

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Bush Admits to Approving Torture

impeach-bush-poster President Bush says he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details about how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to an exclusive interview with ABC News Friday.

“Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people.” Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. “And yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

As first reported by ABC News Wednesday, the most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA.

The high-level discussions about these “enhanced interrogation techniques” were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed — down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects — whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding, sources told ABC news… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <ABC>

The GOP spin on this is that Bush is not responsible, because he was insulated from the details of what was being discussed. From there, they will fall back on their flawed position that anything the President does is legal by definition, changing their tune considerably from when they impeached Clinton for lying about a BJ. This is a direct admission that he committed a high crime, and failure to impeach on this basis is congressional dereliction.

Cross-posted from Politics Plus

It’s Only the Fourth Amendment

4yoo It’s possible you’ve had your fill on secret memos written for the Bush administration by John Yoo. But just in case, you may also find it interesting to know that for over a year after 9/11, the Bush gang operated under the assumption that the “war on terror” trumped the Fourth Amendment. Seriously.

For at least 16 months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in 2001, the Bush administration believed that the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures on U.S. soil didn’t apply to its efforts to protect against terrorism.

That view was expressed in a secret Justice Department legal memo dated Oct. 23, 2001. The administration on Wednesday stressed that it now disavows that view.

The October 2001 memo was written at the request of the White House by John Yoo, then the deputy assistant attorney general, and addressed to Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel at the time. The administration had asked the department for an opinion on the legality of potential responses to terrorist activity.

The 37-page memo is classified and has not been released. Its existence was disclosed Tuesday in a footnote of a separate secret memo, dated March 14, 2003, released by the Pentagon in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Specifically, the footnote said Yoo and Gonzales had concluded that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution “had no application to domestic military operations.” The name of the memo was, “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <The Carpetbagger Report>

Considering that we were just discussing Yoo’s torture memo yesterday. There is a guy who would say anything at the request of his Fuhrer! Just to demonstrate how ridiculous a legal opinion this is, consider this: The term for domestic military operations is posse comitatus. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 forbids domestic military operations, except as authorized by Congress.

Therefore Yoo’s opinion stated that the Bush/McvConJob/GOP Reich could legally violate the Constitution as long as they were violation the law at the same time. How do you spell I-M-P-E-A-C-H?

Cross-posted from Politics Plus

Musharraf at Risk for Impeachment

31musharraf_bush Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gillani on Saturday won a unanimous vote of confidence from the National Assembly and pledged to begin rolling back some of the authoritarian measures imposed late last year by President Pervez Musharraf during six weeks of de facto martial law.

Gillani, who took office Tuesday, was legally required to win a vote of confidence before his government embarks on its work. No Pakistani prime minister had ever won such a vote unanimously.

Saturday’s impassioned parliamentary session brought the latest indications that the new government, made up of the former political opposition, may make it impossible for Musharraf to remain in office, even in a much-diminished role.

Analysts and some opposition figures said the wall-to-wall support for Gillani suggested that the new government would probably be in a position to muster the two-thirds support needed in both houses of parliament to impeach Musharraf, if it chooses to do so.

We have the numbers for impeachment,” said Khwaja Asif, a senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, or PML-N, the junior partner in the new ruling coalition, speaking to reporters after the parliamentary session.

Musharraf’s far-outnumbered party, however, said the vote in favor of Gillani on Saturday was merely a signal of willingness to work with the new government.

Musharraf’s ouster would be a serious blow to the Bush administration, which fears that its longtime ally’s abrupt departure from the political scene could trigger instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan and hamper efforts to fight AlQaeda and the Taliban.

The Bush administration has been scrambling to build ties with Pakistan’s new leaders, but two senior U.S. diplomats received a chilly reception during a visit last week. Many ordinary Pakistanis deeply resent the unflagging U.S. support for Musharraf over the last six months, even as he cracked down hard on political opponents, suspended the constitution and muzzled the electronic media… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <LA Times>

Musharraf was a fool to think that he could get away with the kinds of crimes Bush and the GOP commit here with impunity. I don’t think he can survive this, and as a result, the US will have lost considerable influence in a vital region. As the Pakistani congress moves forward, I hope Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are watching and ready to learn.

Cross-posted from Politics Plus

4,000 Reasons to Impeach!

24coffins A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Sunday, the military said, pushing the overall American death toll in the five-year war to at least 4,000. The grim milestone came on a day when at least 61 people were killed across the country.

Rockets and mortars pounded the U.S.-protected Green Zone, underscoring the fragile security situation and the resilience of both Sunni and Shiite extremist groups despite an overall lull in violence.

The attacks on the Green Zone probably stemmed from rising tensions between rival Shiite groups and were the most sustained assault in months against the nerve center of the U.S. mission.

The soldiers with Multi-National Division — Baghdad were on a patrol when their vehicle was struck at about 10 p.m. in southern Baghdad, the military said. Another soldier was wounded in the attack — less than a week after the fifth anniversary of the conflict

Identities of those killed were withheld pending notification of relatives… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

How many more US heroes must die in this GOP war of aggression for oil and conquest? The day the first US troop died in Iraq was one reason to impeach Bush and Cheney, because the war was based on lies to the American people, perjury in statements mad to the Congress, and violation of international treaties t5hat are now, through ratification, part of US law. Now we have 4,000 reasons.

Cross-posted from Politics Plus

David Wu on Impeachment

The following is the text of an email I received from my Congressman, David Wu, and I am post pleased that I am one of the few Americans represented by an authentic progressive.

14wu Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about the Bush Administration and your support for impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney. I appreciate knowing your thoughts on this issue.

Like you, I am deeply disturbed by the Bush Administration’s blatant disregard for the constitutional limits of presidential authority. Our nation’s founders wisely constructed a system of governing institutions that divides power among co-equal branches of government. Yet time and again we have witnessed President Bush, and his administration, ignore and purposefully disregard the constitutional limits of his power.

Throughout our history, people and nations around the world have looked to the United States as a model of liberty; and we have done our best to set a high standard. Recently, however, we have witnessed the Bush Administration ignore the freedoms established in the Constitution on countless occasions for what they have claimed is in the national interest.

The Bush Administration orchestrated the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, a policy I opposed from the beginning and continue to oppose today. I voted against giving the president the authority to go to war and continue to support bringing our troops home at the earliest practicable date.

Of more concern, documents such as the leaked Downing Street Memo suggest that the Administration manipulated intelligence to so that it would appear as though the Iraqi government possessed weapons of mass destruction. Similarly, White House attempts to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s refutation of the Niger yellowcake story, and the subsequent exposure of his wife Valerie Plame as a covert C.I.A. agent, show the depths to which the Administration is willing to stoop. The perjury and obstruction of justice trial of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the Vice President’s former chief of staff and a close advisor to the president, has revealed that the vice president was likely deeply involved in the White House effort to discredit Ambassador Wilson. This serves as a poignant example of this Administration’s willingness to engage in ruthless politics of personal destruction when confronted with critics who speak the truth.

I believe Congress can — and should — investigate the Administration’s actions and policies. We must not sit idly by while the president and his advisors run roughshod over our constitutional freedoms. I am deeply concerned about the president’s actions and those of his advisors throughout their tenure in the White House, and I remain committed to ensuring that those responsible for any illegal activities are prosecuted for their crimes.

On November 6, 2007, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (OH) raised a privileged motion to bring H.Res. 799, a resolution to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney, to the floor for consideration by the House of Representatives. The resolution expressed the sense of the House that Vice President Cheney should be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors by the U.S. Senate for purposely manipulating the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and the Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in order to justify the use of American military forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests. In response, House leaders offered a motion to table H.Res. 799, which would permanently ended consideration of this resolution. I opposed the motion to table the resolution because I believe this matter should continue to be considered. The motion to table H.Res. 799 failed by a vote of 162 to 251, and the resolution was subsequently referred to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.

I respect your belief that the best way to move forward is to impeach the vice president. This is a matter of extremely serious concern and as the Judiciary Committee continues to investigate the vice president’s actions, I will keep your thoughts in mind and give this matter the serious consideration that a vote of this magnitude deserves.

Thank you again for sharing your views on this issue. If you have further questions or concerns please contact me at 503-326-2901 or 800-422-4003.

With warm regards,

David Wu

Member of Congress

… [emphasis added]

Cross-posted from Politics Plus

Vermont Towns Get It Right

Bush-Cheney08 Voters in two Vermont towns on Tuesday approved a measure that would instruct police to arrest President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for “crimes against our Constitution,” local media reported.

The nonbinding, symbolic measure, passed in Brattleboro and Marlboro in a state known for taking liberal positions on national issues, instructs town police to “extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Reuters>

Bravo!! I hope this begins a trend that spreads across the nation! If only Congress had such guts!

Cross-posted from Politics Plus