Archive | July, 2007

Did Bush commit a federal crime?

12 Jul

We all know by now that (King) George W. Bush told Harriet Miers to ignore a subpoena issued by Congress and not appear before the House Judiciary Committee.

Here’s one analysis that certainly suggests Bush committed a felony in doing so.

Memo to Rep. John Conyers: Hold hearings with some criminal law experts to explore the question of whether the president violated federal law. And hammer home the point in the media that he broke the law.

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SiCKO update

7 Jul

Every time I think about this movie, I get more irritated with our health care system. Fortunately, there’s now something that I–and you–can do.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan has introduced legislation that would expand Medicare to cover all Americans. Michael Moore has a page on his site where you can contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to support this important bill.

If you want to feel helpless and powerless…

3 Jul

Think about Africa. A continent of 53 nations, all with challenges of one kind or another. Poverty. Disease. Famine. Violence. Genocide. When we Americans think of Africa, we think of the source of the slaves in our shameful period of our history. We think of safaris, lions, elephants.

We don’t think of the millions of children who will die in the next 365 days because they can’t get lifesaving medicines. We don’t think of the large scale murder–the genocide–in Rwanda.

This continent is on fire, and something must be done.

There is hope, however. There are dozens of NGOs and movements trying to bring relief to this beautiful continent. Some of the best examples of hope come from Africans themselves. They have an unbreakable spirit revealed in their smiles.

Vanity Fair published a special issue guest edited by U2’s Bono this month. The great thing is that you can apparently read all of the articles–and more–online. Be warned, however, because you will be moved through many emotions by these articles. And you’ll want to do something. Fortunately, VF has an outstanding collection of resources at its web site that let you do a small something. A good number of them don’t ask for your money, they ask for your visible support. Sign an online petition or declaration. When you buy a new phone, buy a (Red) Motorola Razr (Catherine and I bought two of them last month) and a few bucks will go to the cause.

Don’t just sit there. Go and see what you can do to make a small difference.

In honor of Independence Day

3 Jul

A few items for your consideration:

A letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison

The Declaration of Independence

Common Sense

The Jefferson Hour Podcast 

My favorite among these is the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote an amazing manifesto that called for turning the entire theory of government on its head. The idea that men (and women) have the right to alter or abolish their government was radical then and it’s still radical now.

Read it and tell me you don’t get goosebumps.

Many Americans will celebrate the holiday with cookouts, fireworks and waving the flag. Me, well, the wife and I will head over to Dad’s place for an afternoon cookout. And I’ll try to remember to put my flag outside tomorrow. But I also know that the way I want to celebrate July 4th is with a quiet prayer of thanksgiving and hope that we can rediscover the principles found in the Declaration and the preamble to the Constitution.

Shut up and sing

3 Jul

I saw Shut Up and Sing over the weekend.

I’ve never been a huge fan of The Dixie Chicks, but this movie made me appreciate them quite a bit. It was refreshing to see some un-redneck country music folks. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a redneck. Rednecks love their country and their music as much as I do. But country music fans and the musicians have a bit of a stereotype that grows old–the “America can never do anything wrong because we’re Americans, dammit” philosophy.

For me, the most compelling part of the documentary was the scenes of people protesting the trio, holding signs that revealed the protester’s ignorance.  There’s a good bit of humor in the movie too, and one has to admire the courage of these gals to stand up for what they think, even in the face of severe criticism and possible financial failure.

I cannot remain silent…but can I do anything, really?

3 Jul

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”–Thomas Jefferson

I am outraged over Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence. Those who are dancing with joy this morning are the same ones who howled and accused Bill Clinton of abusing his pardon power when he pardoned Mark Rich right before Clinton left office. The hypocrisy is unbelievable.  (And, for the record, I was not entirely comfortable with Clinton’s pardons, but I recognize he had that power.)

George W. Bush, as president, also has the power to commute sentences. The power is there in the Constitution. Like any power, it can be misused or abused. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that the exercise of this power will be controversial.

But what outrages me more, what makes me angriest, is the attitude of this administration and its few remaining supporters. This administration prosecuted former actor and famed pothead Tommy Chong for possessing a bong and sent him to jail. A doper spends more time in jail than someone who lies to the FBI in an effort to cover up a crime that endangered our intelligence community. Heck, even Paris Hilton spent more time in jail.

The attitude of this administration is that it is above the law. The evidence is clear and convincing–perhaps, even, beyond a reasonable doubt. Dick Cheney claims to be not part of the executive branch, but not part of the legislative branch either. He is his own, extra-constitutional branch of government. And some people are okay with this because Cheney’s “their guy.”

And it is this attitude that infuriates me because We, the People of the United States are, basically, powerless to do anything about it. Our nation has been hijacked by tyrants in the White House. Our remedies in the Constitution–impeachment–are useless because the Republicans (and some Democrats) in the Senate are too willing to support this administration because it’s “their party.” The same ones who crowed about the “rule of law” in the Clinton impeachment trial don’t feel the same way when it’s their guy who is in the White House.

So what are We, the People to do? Elections don’t seem to make a difference since so few people go to the polls (and the conservatives who are running this show always vote).  The progressive/liberal blogosphere has the same fault that any other forum does–it’s an echo chamber. We feel good when we read things we agree with. But no one is changing any minds to the extent it will make a difference.

I wonder if my law degree would be useful in Jamaica…