Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kucinich, Obama & Pelosi -- Three Very Different Tasks, One Shared Goal

Jefferson Memorial at Sunset

Kucinich, Obama & Pelosi -- Three Very Different Tasks, One Shared Goal

By Richard Power

Those who speak derisively or dismissively of Rep. Dennis Kucinich for bringing forth 35 articles of impeachment do not understand the true significance of his action.

Kucinich is paying forward a debt owed to Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, George Washington and the others whose vision and courage gave life to the dream of this democratic republic.

He is paying forward a debt owed to Abraham Lincoln who rescued this democratic republic and set it on the road to recovery from its greatest sin.

He is paying forward a debt owed to Franklin Delano Roosevelt who led this democratic republic to the victory in great war against fascism.

Indeed, he is paying forward a debt owed to every man and woman who shed blood in the name of this democratic republic in all three conflicts, i.e., the revolutionary war, the civil war and WWII.

Why bother to throw off one tyrant only to look the other way some time later when another tyrant openly and repeatedly dismisses the US Constitution?

Why bother to wrestle the Union free from the ugliness at the soul of the Confederacy if that ugliness inherits all power in the Union some time later?

Why bother to crush fascism and take leadership of the free world if some time later the intellectual and psychological heirs of those very fascists are allowed to walk in the front door and decree that two plus two suddenly equals five?

You and I must pay forward too.

Something must be done -- legally, politically, socially, culturally -- about the Bush-Cheney regime and its legacy.

There must be accountability.

If what has happened here since the stolen election of 2000 is not rolled back and somehow paid for, at least in fortunes and reputations, then every noble deed from Jefferson to Lincoln to Roosevelt will have been in vain.

And yet, when Rep. Dennis Kucinich stood on the floor of the US House of Representatives late into the night, reading his 35 articles of impeachment, along with the corroborating evidence into the congressional record, he stood alone.

Why? How is this possible?

Bill Moyers gave the answer the weekend before Kucinich's extraordinary act of political conscience. "In many respects," Moyers told thousands of attendees at the Fourth Annual National Media Reform Conference, "the Fourth Estate has become the fifth column of democracy, colluding with the powers that be in a culture of deception that subverts the thing most necessary to freedom, and that is the truth." (Bill Moyers, Fourth Annual National Conference for Media Reform, June 2008)

Generations of television and decades of media monopolization have turned much of the populace into a pliant, distracted, informationally malnourished and traumatized mass.

Do you remember T.S. Elliot's poem about "the hollow men"?

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

You and I have one last, real chance to prevent that from happening here.

But it requires -- as great truths often do -- embracing paradoxes.

Impeachment is just an aspect of one of three vital objectives in this life or death struggle:

#1. Making certain that, sooner or later, one way or another, Bush, Cheney and the other principles are independently investigated and tried for the crimes it seems painfully clear that they have committed, and then held duly accountable for what they are found guilty of.

#2. Getting Barack Obama elected President of the USA in November 2008, and sworn into office in January 2009.

#3. Mitigating the further destructive impact of the Bush-Cheney regime (e.g., an unauthorized military campaign against Iran, etc.) between now and when it is compelled to turn over power, and furthermore, ensuring that there are increased Democratic majorities to work with in both houses of Congress.

Three very different tasks, one shared goal: the restoration of the republic.

In regard to accountability, Rep. Kucinich, with his 35 articles of impeachment, former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, with his argument that Bush should be charged with murder in criminal court, and former National Security Advisor, Richard Clarke, with his notion of a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission (ala post-apartheid South Africa), have all offered compelling models of how to force accountability. The alternative media, i.e., the blogosphere and progressive talk radio, must keep launching these models as conscious objects into the psyche of the body politic until there is an opening for one or the other of them to be actualized.

In regard to winning in November 2008, Obama, in my view, should be allowed to run his race the way he wants to. He has earned it. He has shown incredible strength, discipline and clarity of mind. It is enough that he is the first African-American on the national ticket of either major party. He does not have to prove himself on the issue of impeachment. Elect him, and you will have a President who has taught constitutional law. He will know what to do if he gets into the Oval Office.

In regard to limiting the damage that Bush-Cheney can do in these last few months, I suggest to you that speaking derisively of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), e.g., impugning their motives, questioning their moral courage, etc. -- because they have not advanced the issue of impeachment -- is both naive and destructive.

The situation in Beltwayistan is worst than you think, and it could be worse than it is. Pelosi and Conyers should be looked at as hostage negotiators who are themselves hostages. They are doing what they believe they should do to get the nation -- in one piece -- to this next election and beyond that to the swearing in of a new Congress and a new President and Vice President.

By my count, a military campaign against Iran has been thwarted at least three times over the last three years, and even now Bush-Cheney is making another run at it. There are many forces at play in the effort to prevent Bush and Cheney from being successful in doing their worst. We do not know the threats that have been made behind closed doors. We do not know what alliances have been made to thwart the worst of the worst, and what promises sealed them. What if you were in their position and you knew you didn't have the votes for impeachment, and even if you did you knew they would get acquitted in the Senate; but on the other hand, you did have the institutional support to hold the line on opening up a new war, and you would lose it if you went for impeachment (or cut-off the funding for the occupation prior to regime change here), what would you do?

Yes, I am saying I believe in Pelosi and Conyers, because of who they are and what they have done with their careers, and if I cannot understand their motives, I am willing to extend to them the benefit of the doubt, while I push for accountability (whether impeachment now or criminal prosecution later) as forcefully as I can.

If we tear each other apart, this window of opportunity will close, and soon there won't be anymore windows. Instead, there will just be a great wall.

Keep your eyes on the prize, or we will all hit the wall.

Here are some excerpts from Kucinich's indictment, with a link to the full text:

Article I: Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq.
Article II: Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.
Article III: Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War.
Article IV: Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States. ...
Article XIV: Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency
Article XVII: Illegal Detention -- Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives
XVIII: Torture -- Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy ...
Article XXIV: Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment ...
Article XXV: Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens ...
Article XXVII: Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply
Article XXVIII: Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice
Article XXIX: Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ...
Article XXXI: Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency
Article XXXII: Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change
Article XXXIII: Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.
Article XXXIV: Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001

Excerpts from the 35 Articles of Impeachment Submitted by Rep. Dennis Kucinch (D-OH). For the full text, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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