Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Last Impeachment Panel

A panel on stage, Allan Buchman chatting up its members.

Amy Goodman moderates. She opens by noting that the media is the most powerful tool for awareness, a sort of kitchen table that stretches across the country and globe. And is not covering impeachment.

On the panel, Marjorie Cohn, John Nichols, and Naomi Wolf.

To Nichols, Goodman asks why the Dems want to wait for another pres. election to get rid of Bush. Nichols points out that elections are easy. Impeachment is important on its own. We can't just wait for an election; we have to send a message to all future presidents about what how is not okay to govern.

To Cohn, Goodman asks about the reasons for going to Iraq and potentially Iran. The real reason, Cohn says, Bush went to Iraq became clear just recently when we made agreements with Iraq to have troops there indefinitely - to stay in Iraq and move on to Iran. Notwithstanding the new evidence that Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons, Bush says he has not taken military action against Iran off the table.

Cohn notes that Congress does not have legal authority to start a "war of aggression," one that breaks a treaty, a war whose causes are falsified or blown out of proportion.

Cohn breaks down how impeachment works: The House votes to impeach the president; the Senate acts a court, presiding over the impeachment itself.

Nichols explains that Congress can impeach Cheney and Bush at once (I wrote "Nixon" instead of Cheney first, took a second to see it - Freud at work). But Nichols says to start with Cheney, then move up, exposing the dual criminality of the Dick and the Bush.

Naomi Wolf describes the step by which would-be dictators do their thing: They create vague internal and external threats; they create secret prisons; they create military not answerable to the people; they spy on their own citizens; they harass citizen's groups; they arbitrarily detain and release individuals (TSA for travelers, environmentalists, progressives); they target individuals (Bill Maher, Dixie Chicks, CEOs getting fire); they--oh--here it is--

I think this is so important I'm going to paste in the Wikipedia version, to reiterate:

The Ten Steps to Dictatorship

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
5. Harass citizens' groups.
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
7. Target key individuals.
8. Control the press.
9. Declare all dissent to be treason.
10. Suspend the rule of law.

Wolf points out that there was still a parliament in Italy when Mussolini took over. He talked to parliament, then he stopped talking. Then at some point later, there was no point even pretending. Bush could declare an emergency tomorrow and boot out Congress. The state is legalizing torture. We could lose democracy, de jure, at any moment. We already have, de facto (the stolen election, torture, crazy war).

Goodman reads from Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, which begins with an anecdote of a government worker blogging (!) against torture and being fired for her morals.

Cohn says Mukase won't stop waterboarding because to do so would be to admit that Bush had broken the law. Waterboarding is so obviously torture, there'd be little point admitting it had anything to do with Bush or that torture shouldn't be legal. The only option Mukase et cronies have is to stay the course.

Cohn describes how lawyers are fighting back, protesting, making some headway against the Justice Department by not backing down on Gitmo cases.

Nichols suggests the Democratic candidates should have to debate Naomi Wolf on each point - not Wolf Blitzer and Tim Russert and those who ignore the issue of impeachment.

Wolf points out that Bush terrifies so many - libertarians, anarchists, Green Party people. "On paper," Wolf says, "it's over, it's already over. The coup is over." A bill just passed criminalizing anything against Bush as terrorism. You don't need the Long Knives, says Wolf, just these scary laws. This impeachment theater could be criminal. Her book could be criminal.

Nichols is asking Congresspeople to read his book and Wolf's, to just read the articles of impeachment.

Cohn talks about the new bill again - I'm going to look this one up in a sec - and how it criminalizes thought that "advocates force," not only violence, but, say, a protest.

Wolf compares Bush & co. to the Nazis and Stalin, but conservatively, at evidence, at facts. "No one who's read my book," she says, criticizes her comparisons. She tells Cohn, who brought up the Unamerican Activities Committee in the Fifties, that Bush's plan is much more akin to Stalin's than to McCarthy's.

Goodman asks, in closing, what we can do now.

Nichols reiterates that Wexler and others have called for impeachment hearings; write and call and go visit your Congresspeople to ask them to impeach Bush and Cheney. And write and call your local media. We have to get the media involved on a much bigger level. Forget the election for one second. Impeachment is dramatically more important. The presidency had become a pack of lies.

Cohn calls for ending the war, in addition to constantly calling on our leaders to impeach Bush and Dick.

Wolf calls for impeaching and prosecuting B&C. "The only way to save this country." Word up.

Goodman talks about the FCC ending regulations that restrain a few big companies from owning all the major media. Upside, DemocracyNow! has grown quite a bit. And the internet. Don't forget the internet. Please post and repost our videos and articles; comment; send us new leads. Contact your Congresspeople. Show them the videos.

Oh, we're not done. Buchman comes on to remind us that we're going to pursue this issue all year. I think Jackon Browne is going to sing...

No comments: