Three Stooges Go to Washington

By David Swanson

Stooge number one is the honorable Steny Hoyer, whom Bob Fertik at has just awarded the honorific of Stupidest Democrat in History. Hoyer’s other title is House Majority Leader, but he cuts deals as if he were in something worse than a minority, trading what everybody wants away in order to obtain what nobody has any use for.

Here’s the Associated Press: “A top Democratic leader opened the door Tuesday to granting U.S. telecommunications companies retroactive legal immunity for helping the government conduct electronic surveillance without court orders, but said the Bush administration must first detail what those companies did. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said providing the immunity will likely be the price of getting President Bush to sign into law new legislation extending the government’s surveillance authority.”

So, in order to destroy the Fourth Amendment for good we need to provide immunity to those who have already violated it. What a deal! If Hoyer had even an inkling of how to play offense rather then defense, or if he cared about the rights of Americans, he’d immediately realize that violating the Fourth Amendment is an impeachable offense, that the president has confessed on camera to doing so (thus eliminating the need for an investigation), and that phone companies are among the least liked and most annoying entities in the country (albeit well short of Congress in those rankings).

Why is Congress so unpopular? Here’s one reason. A recent poll found that 73 percent of Americans oppose Bush’s warrantless wiretapping.

Stooge number two is, perhaps not so surprisingly, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Hoyer couldn’t grow a spine if he wanted to, because he and almost every other Democrat in the House of Representatives have made themselves vassals in Pelosi’s kingdom. Pelosi was on the Ed Shultz Show on Tuesday, and Ed tried to get a straight answer out of her as to why she would not impeach Bush and Cheney, and what if anything could happen that would lead her to impeach. Pelosi suggested that it was all up to the Republican members of Congress, that she would only impeach if it were a bipartisan effort.

But surely Pelosi knows what a “leader” is supposed to do. The impeachment of Richard Nixon was bipartisan only after the Democrats led the way. Bruce Fein and others claim that quite a few Republicans (Fein says 25) are waiting only for Pelosi’s leadership, and are prepared to back impeachment.

The stooge from San Francisco also said she didn’t know of any impeachable offenses that could be proved and moved forward in Congress. Of course violating the Fourth Amendment and FISA is impeachable, and it’s proved by Bush’s confession. Rewriting laws with signing statements is impeachable, and it’s proved by the statements posted on the White House website and by a GAO study finding that in many cases Bush has proceeded to violate the laws he claims the right to violate. Refusing to comply with subpoenas is impeachable, and there is no dispute that Bush and Cheney have refused to comply.

The evidence collected here proves that Bush and Cheney intentionally misled the nation into an illegal war of aggression. Numerous victims prove the practice of torture. Here are 10 provable reasons to impeach Bush and Cheney that you can send to Congress right now.

On Iraq, Pelosi told Ed Schultz she needs 60 votes in the Senate to do anything (and presumably post-veto she would claim she needed 67), but the public is widely aware that this is simply not true, that Pelosi could refuse to bring up for a vote any more bills to fund the occupation. There are now 88 Congress Members committed to funding only withdrawal. A new poll finds that 70 percent of Americans favor funding only “redeployment” or nothing, while 22 percent favor funding the occupation, and another recent poll found that 73 percent want Congress to use the power of the purse to get all troops home within a year, while 13 percent want to keep funding the occupation. CAN YOU HEAR US NOW?

Stooge number three is none other than liberal progressive peace leader and co-author of a book on how to leave Iraq, 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern. He has just endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, a candidate who intends to occupy Iraq through 2017. In a recent debate, she refused to commit to withdrawing from Iraq by 2013, and Ted Koppel’s report on NPR that her military advisor says she intends to stay through 2017 is something she has never disputed. McGovern’s co-author William Polk recently testified before Congress and urged Congress Members to withdraw from Iraq quickly. But McGovern now says that the best we can hope for is a withdrawal in 2009, and Clinton is the woman to do it.

It is truly sad to see McGovern join the likes of John Conyers in throwing away a stellar reputation late in his career. (Were Conyers to begin impeachment proceedings, the flood of public support would overwhelm any opposition from Pelosi, yet Conyers does nothing.)

Stooges need a supporting cast. Here they are. Here are the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Out of Iraq Caucus who have not signed onto the Peace Pledge Letter.

Senator Bernie Sanders, Rep. Mazie Hirono, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Madeline Bordallo, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, Rep. Tom Lantos, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Louise Slaughter, Rep. Tom Udall, Rep. William Jefferson, Rep. John Larson, Rep. Michael McNulty, Rep. Nick Rahall, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard.

Becerra’s communications director sees leadership the way Hoyer, Pelosi, and McGovern see leadership. He told me that Becerra “is an ardent supporter of ending the war,” but that as an assistant to the Speaker he avoids signing letters that put him on “an absolute policy track” which is something “you can’t have when sitting on leadership.” Pat him on the head, Nancy.

Congressman Capuano shares the view of tables that Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have when discussing nuking Iran, but not the view of tables Pelosi has when discussing impeachment. He tells me: “Although I certainly have no plans to vote in favor of funding for this war, I do not believe that any options for progress on that objective should be taken off the table. If the only realistic option for ending the war was a bill that included funding and firm dates for withdrawal, I might support that.”

Of course, so might the 88 Congress Members who have found the nerve to sign the letter, which Capuano may not have read very carefully.

Congressman Serrano makes failure to take a stand a matter of principle, and tells me “It is my personal policy not to sign pledges regarding future legislative actions and for that reason, and that reason alone, I have not signed the CPC pledge. My record illustrating my long-standing opposition to extending the war is pledge enough. My mind will not change on the immorality and foolishness of this war—a war that was sold based on lies and misrepresentation. It must end.”

Serrano’s record? This past spring he voted to fund more months of occupation.

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