Why your vote counts -- John Conyers as House Judiciary Chair.
by Eternal Hope, Sun Mar 05, 2006 at 08:40:33 PM EST
Your vote for a Democrat for Congress will give us the majority in the House and allow us to control the chairmanships of the committees. John Conyers is uniquely qualified to chair the House Judiciary Committee. More than anybody else, he has had the moral courage to confront the culture of corruption within the Bush White House and done the hard work to mobilize the facts that the Bush administration wants us all so badly to forget. What Eliot Spitzer has done against corporate crime, John Conyers will do against the crimes of the Bush administration.
Conyers has held the hearings that the House Republicans won't hold and assembled the killer facts that will result in the destruction of the Bush administration and their moral cesspool of lies, corruption, and cronyism. Facts such as the comprehensive report on the Bush administration's misconduct of the War in Iraq. Facts such as the illegal wiretapping program. Facts such as the comprehensive report on what went wrong in Ohio last year.
Voting for a Democrat in Congress will also give Conyers the subpoena power he needs to subpoena Bush administration officials and force them to answer questions about the culture of corruption that has run rampant within the Bush administration. Voting for a Democrat in Congress will also give him the authority to subpoena documents from the Bush administration - documents that Bush does not want you to know about. Right now, he does not have such powers. If you are sick and tired of politics as usual in Washington, your vote for Conyers will strike a blow for freedom and justice and strike a blow to preserve the Constitution against the selective interpretation of the Bush administration.
As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Conyers will have the power to open impeachment hearings against the Bush administration and do so in a rational manner. But his hard work will not do us any good unless we elect Democrats to the Senate as well; the Republicans could simple refuse to hold the trial if they still retained power.
This country has become increasingly polarized in the years since the 9/11 attacks. At some point, we need to be able to air out the issues and have a debate on where we go from here. Do we want to continue to pursue our vision of freedom and equality for all through the system of checks and balances that the Constitution provides? Or do we need a unitary executive branch with greatly expanded powers to do whatever he wants? If the Republicans support the unitary executive, then let them come forward in front of millions of Americans on national TV and say that it is OK to lie to Congress, torture people, or spy on people without a warrant.
The fact that the Republicans, like All Things Beautiful, have gotten to the point where they get hysterical at the slightest sign of dissent shows how desperate they have become. The fact that Tony Blair claims that he has a hotline to God shows how desperate and insecure he and the rest of the Bush apologists have become as the failure of the War in Iraq is becoming more and more obvious to all.
It is stuff like this that makes it all the more important to vote for Democrats for office. I challenge one person who thinks that Democrats and Republicans are all alike to show me a Democrat who thinks he has a hotline to God and that the normal Biblical commands or the Constitution somehow don't apply to him.
Do I have a problem with it if someone in power expresses their faith? No, I do not. But when we have a Prime Minister who bases his case on a radical reinterpretation of the Bible, then that places Blair totally outside the mainstream of modern Fundamentalist thought. By "Fundamentalist," I refer to someone who believes that the Bible is literally true. There are two main branches of fundamentalist thought - the charismatic and the non-charismatic. The non-charismatics think that the Bible was completed at Revelation and that there is no more need for any signs or revelations from God. The charismatics believe that there are still signs and revelations today. But even charismatics would say that no dream, vision, or revelation can contradict what the Bible is saying. The fact that what Tony Blair is doing so blatantly contradicts the Bible places him outside the mainstream of mainstream Fundamentalist thought because he believes that his hotline to God means that normal Biblical commandments somehow don't apply to him.
Bush's apologists may call attention to the passage that states that the government does not bear the sword in vain. But nowhere in the Bible does it therefore justify, say, the destruction of innocent life. Yet Bush and Blair have destroyed around 175,000 innocent lives for a war that has no just cause. That is a non-sequitur - it does not follow that you are released from the commandments of the Bible when you come into a position of authority.
When you come into power, you are not released from the Biblical obligation to render unto Caesar and to follow the law. Yet that is what Bush has done - he thinks that initiating illegal wiretaps in violation of the 4th Amendment does not apply. He thinks that lying to Congress in violation of the law about the extent of Saddam's threat is not covered under that statement. He thinks that violating the Constitutional protections of due process, the right to an attorney, and the right to a fair trail is OK whenever he feels like it. I challenge anybody to quote me chapter and verse covering where all this is OK.
When you come into power, you are not released from the Biblical obligation to not bear false witness. Yet that is what Bush has done - he lied about the purchase of uranium from Niger by Iraq. When you come into power, you are not released from the Biblical obligation to love one's enemies. But I fail to see how torture can be construed by any reasonable person except as an act of hate. The hysterical Republicans can scream all they want about how we somehow hate Bush. But everything written here is simple fact, not hatred. If All Things Beautiful (ATB) wants to go on a crusade against hate in this world, then I suggest she write a post about how torture is an act of hatred and how Michael Reagan's call for the arrest, trial, and execution of Howard Dean is hatred. If these are not acts of hate, then I want to know what is.
But just because Blair is one of Bush's key allies does not mean that I somehow, according to ATB, hate Blair. I am deeply conflicted about Blair. On the one hand, he has created a high level of economic stability for the UK by creating a minimum wage twice that of ours, getting many people off of welfare into work as a result, raising enough money to wipe out their debt, putting more money into schools, the NHS, and transportation, and becoming an international spokesman on the Kyoto Protocol and world hunger. On the other hand, his Achilles heel is Iraq, where he has blindly followed Bush like a lapdog and justified the snide remarks by political foes that he is Bush's poodle. The fact that he has to come out and claim that he has a hotline to God over Iraq shows how desperate they are on Iraq.
Another argument that ATB asks is why we don't criticize the Islamists with the same kind of fervor that we criticize Bush and Blair. The answer is simple - they are our elected officials. We don't vote for Sadr or the Muslim Brotherhood or the Association of Muslim Scholars or any other such Islamist groups. But we do vote for Bush and Blair. ATB can argue that we had an election in 2004. But if they want to fight the battles of the past, so be it. I am worried about the 2006 election, not the 2004 election. We can't do anything about what the Islamists do - that is beyond our control. But we can do something about the elected officials that we have in charge. If ATB wants to be credible when it comes to stopping the Islamists (who are different from Muslims because they want to set up a theocratic Islamic state), then let her speak out with the same kind of fervor against the UAE port deal - given the fact that the UAE-owned company has allowed nuclear fuels to be shipped through its ports.
Finally, if ATB wants to be considered credible as opposed to irrational and hysterical, let me suggest to her something - not all opponents of Bush's war are pacifists. I am reminded of Romans 12:18, where it says to live as far as possible at peace with all men. This is the overlying principle by which all of our actions and all of our policies should be guided. This does not mean that we should be absolute pacifists, even though I have a lot of respect for those who practice it. It does mean that we should solve all of our problems in a way that is peaceable as possible. As for myself, I think that war is permissible only when we are actually attacked (WW2, Afghanistan), our survival is at stake (Civil War), as a revolt against tyranny (Revolutionary War), or when we have developed an international consensus that military action is necessary.
I totally understand those of you who think that the Democratic Party has not done enough to oppose the Bush administration. If you do, then please consider sending your money to people like Chuck Pennacchio to oppose Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Ciro Rodriguez to oppose Henry Cuellar (who swooned over and kissed Bush and who is a rabid defender), Mark Wilson to oppose war apologist and Patriot Act supporter Maria Cantwell in Washington, or John Tasini to oppose Hillary Clinton, who supports the construction of permanent military bases in Iraq and who served on the board of directors of Wal-Mart prior to her husband's election as President.
But there is a big difference between how I would approach the primaries and the general elections, because people like these are still far better than the Republicans. The Republicans have become an administration with no new ideas and who represent the same old politics as usual. By contrast, we're the ones who put the money in while they are the party who takes the money out. We seek to create a culture of life in which all people can share. We plan to end the war in a way that best promotes stability in Iraq and transfer the hundreds of billions of dollars from Iraq to America. We may not always agree on the best way to do this. But being able to debate these different visions is what makes the Democratic Party so great.
We have Feingold, who would protect our country in a way that best protects our civil liberties as well. We have Clinton, who would return to the international statesmanship of the Clinton years. We have John Kerry, who can identify threats to our country long before anybody else does, such as the time he identified Al-Qaeda as a threat and brought down one of their key funders in the Bank of Commerce and Credit International. We have Mark Warner, who left the Virginia governorship with 80% approval ratings and a remarkable ability to forge consensus. We have Wes Clark, who became one of the top generals of modern times with his management of the Kosovo War.
I have already made my choice for the 2008 elections - Russ Feingold. But any of the candidates would be better than anybody the Republicans would put up, with the possible exception of Chuck Hagel, who is one of the few Republicans who understands the realities on the ground in Iraq. edit -- But I would still support Hillary over Hagel, because she would at least empower other countries to get involved in Iraq and build a coalition like her husband did with Kosovo. So, she would still be better than Bush on Iraq. And she would be solidly pro-choice, unlike Hagel. But I totally understand the dilemma others might face. And that could tank her candidacy -- updated by EH.
The Bush administration has implemented policies that have resulted in the destruction of life at so many levels. By contrast, we would create a culture of life and celebrate human life in all its forms. We would work with other countries and the various Iraqi political factions as equals and partners to resolve the Iraq War in a bipartisan manner which would best promote peace and stability and which would bring Bin Laden and Zarqawi to justice. We would develop a specific plan to leave Iraq and empower the Iraqi government to become responsible for their own well-being instead of depending on us like a lapdog. We would meet with Iraqi clerics, who hold much of the real power in Iraq, and discuss with them how we can help their followers become healthy and productive citizens and protect them from reprisals from other factions. And even after we finally bring our troops home, we would continue the work of empowering the Iraqi people to start their own businesses, find support networks, and rebuild their shattered lives.
In the meantime, we would work to find the truth about whether Iran plans to use their uranium for peaceful purposes like they say they are or are planning to build nukes. In order to do that, we need take bold steps to develop a rapport of trust and respect by creating contacts with the Iranian government. We need to create a united front to show them that the world will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. We need to rapidly develop alternative energy sources so that Iran does not have the leverage to hold the world hostage through control of a large percentage of the world's oil supplies. Iran says it needs the nuclear reactors to supply their energy needs. We need to appoint a commission of experts to tour Iran and identify their energy needs and develop creative ways of supplying their energy without resorting to nuclear reactors. By working with Iran instead of against them, we can win them over and empower them to become a member of the family of nations again.
So, there is a very clear difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. The Republicans are all part of the same old politics as usual. They have been given six long years to govern this country. In these six years, when it comes to Iraq, they have become totally devoid of ideas. It is time to find out the truth of the full extent of the corruption of the Bush administration, end the failed war in Iraq, and return to the successful policies of the Clinton years.
Tags: 2006, 2008, Bush, Candidates, christianity, Chuck Pennacchio, Ciro Rodriguez, Congress, corruption, Crime, Elections, fundamentalism, greens, Hillary Clinton, House, impeachment, Iraq, John Conyers, John Kerry, John Tasini, Maria Cantwell, mark warner, Mark Wilson, Paul Hackett, Russ Feingold, Senate, Sherrod Brown, tony blair, Wes Clark (all tags)