Protester Challenges Blumenauer in May Primary

By Bonnie Tinker of Portland, Oregon. Bonnie is the Director of Love Makes A Family,Inc, and a long time Oregon activist. She is a Quaker, and a member of the Surge Protection Brigade, a.k.a. The Seriously Pissed Off Grannies.

On March 10 Joe Walsh, also known as The Lone Vet, filed to run for the Oregon District 3 Seat in the US House of Representatives. Walsh formally launched his challenge of Earl Blumenauer at noon on March 13th outside of Earl’s office, 729 NE Oregon Street. The campaign kick-off coincided with the weekly impeachment protest.

For the past 33 weeks Walsh has led a protest by Individuals for Justice demanding that Blumenauer join in calling for impeachment hearings against Dick Cheney and George Bush. Tired of Earl’s refusal to put impeachment on the table and call for hearings, Joe Walsh filed to run in the May primary.

Walsh is running on a platform calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Impeachment hearings can begin now, and are still relevant even after the November election. “Impeachment is the people’s way to prosecute the President and Vice President for high crimes,” says Walsh. “There is no statute of limitation. It is historically important to begin hearings and to file articles of impeachment.”

Recognizing the disparity in their financial and political bases, Walsh describes himself as David in an unequal match with the Goliath of mainstream political power: Joe says, “This is a battle between Goliath who has lots of money in his campaign treasury and will get most, if not all, the endorsements of the establishment. Many think Goliath is a true progressive---I don’t!"

David stood alone on the Morrison Bridge when most Oregonians supported the war against Iraq. He protested because of his experiences in the Vietnam War and knew where the war would end up -- occupation. This ongoing slaughter and displacement of millions of human beings was the plan and ambitions of those who want an empire.

David stood in front of Sen. Smith's office in the rain and cold because he knew Smith was one of the major supporters of the slaughter. He was arrested in Smith’s office because he refused to leave until he got an answer to his petition to end the funding.

David was also pleading with his own Congressman who claimed to want to end the occupation. The pleas, petitions, phone calls, meetings all were ignored by Rep. Blumenauer -- he was busy with other things. In July of 2007 David called for a vigil in front of Rep. Blumenauer’s office on Thursdays from high noon until 2:00 PM and was by then nicknamed the Lone Vet. The vigil continues until our Congressman calls for the Impeachment, Indictment, and Incarceration of the criminals in the White House.”

Joe was asked again to run for the District Three seat by others joining him in weekly protests demanding that Blumenauer support impeachment hearings. He accepted the challenge to provide a voice for the many people in Earl’s district who are tired of political calculations that leave Bush and Cheney free from trial for their war crimes, and who are serious about the call to end the war now.

Joe calls us to a citizens’ campaign: “Wouldn’t it be great if you could support a peace candidate who will not vote one dime for the continuation of the occupation unless there is a one way ticket home for EVERY American in Iraq. I will pursue impeachment now and will continue when elected. Yes, they can be impeached after leaving office. I will and do call for all trade deals to be rescinded and for fair and open agreements between countries to be enacted.

Joe Walsh believes in the importance and power of every individual’s voice. He started his campaign to bring justice and honor to the U’S’ Constitution by impeaching Bush and Cheney as one individual known as The Lone Vet. He is no longer alone. You can join him by going to his website.

For Justice and Peace, support Joe Walsh --- the lone vet.

Comments

  • George (unverified)
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    Does anyone here really doubt that Rep. Blumenauer wants to end the war now? And for that matter any of our Oregon congressional Reps?

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    With Blumenauer's incomprehensible approach to impeachment, I'm not sure what he wants.

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    I like Earl a lot, but he deserves to be respectfully pushed, especially given the safety of his seat. I'm happy to carry Joe's advertising at LO, and wish him earnest luck in advancing his issues among the electorate.

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    Yea. The fringe-brigade strikes again.

    If only these people would spend half the effort they apply against Democrats against Republicans instead, how much a better country this would be.

  • Misha (unverified)
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    I agree. I can't think of a better way to expend our time and energies than demanding impeachment and challenging progressives like Earl Blumenauer!

    Forget about winning the White House and retaining Congress! What we need is Earl Blumenauer, that Republicrat, out of office!

    Count me in!

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Hi Bonnie - Long time since VOA of Oregon days.

    What I don't understand is the simple timing. If Joe Walsh were to win this race, he would take office about 2 weeks before Bush and Cheney leave office. I suppose you could impeach them while they are already packing their bags, but isn't it just pointless? So, really, this isn't about Bush and Cheney - it's about Earl.

    I am not part of that Congressional District. So, I personally don't really need to hear what the real issues are. But there must be something more than this pointless point - isn't there?

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    I really wish that fringe opposition candidates could come up with something better than the David/Goliath analogy. It's so overused.

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    So Mr. Walsh is running for Congress so he can urge his colleagues to impeach an ex-President and an ex-Vice-President, and he's running against one of the most steadfast voices against the war in the U.S. House of Representatives? It's certainly Mr. Walsh's constitutional right to attempt to further his cause in this fashion, but does it ever occur to folks who engage in these types of efforts (Mr. Walsh is preceded in his quest by, among others, Tre Arrow), that when they spectacularly fail, it makes their side look weaker?

    Whatever. He certainly doesn't need it to pull out his usual thrilling, nail-biter election night, but I will sure vote for Earl in May.

  • Steve S. (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer,

    Fringe Brigade? All Democrats good, all Republicans bad. That's some deep thinking.

  • DE (unverified)
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    "I really wish that fringe opposition candidates could come up with something better than the David/Goliath analogy."

    How about a Quixote/Windmill analogy?

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    “This is a battle between Goliath who has lots of money in his campaign treasury and will get most, if not all, the endorsements of the establishment." Incomplete sentences are not a good way to make your point.

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    Steve S.: That's some deep thinking

    It's the Cliff's Notes version of politics. There are a few subtleties missed, but unlike "Republicans good; Democrats bad" and "Attack the good (Democrats) because they're the enemy of the perfect (Nader)" it's not flat out wrong.

  • DE (unverified)
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    “This is a battle between Goliath who has lots of money in his campaign treasury and will get most, if not all, the endorsements of the establishment."

    Yes, Earl may have a sizeable war chest, but I'd imagine he gives more away to help other D's get elected than he spends on getting himself elected. Moreover, does Earl even collect endorsements anymore? This just seems like you're setting up a battle that isn't really going to take place.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    Blumenauer is not a progressive. Liberal, maybe, but not progressive. He voted for war funding, he voted for several free trade agreements, and he's not a member of the progressive caucus.

    This Lone Vet guy might not be the best vehicle, and impeachment might not be the best issue, but Blumenauer definitely deserves some challenge from the left.

  • Misha (unverified)
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    Chis wrote: "Blumenauer is not a progressive."

    Oy vey.

    Let's consult the experts (these scores are on the respective organizations' websites):

    OSPIRG (consumer issues): 92%. Naral (choice): 100%. AFL-CIO (labor): 92%. League of Conservation Voters (environment): 100%. Human Rights Campaign (civil rights): 100%.

    I could go on...

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    Look, I'm not going go say I'm likely to vote against Blumenauer, but the guy's actions invite criticism. And yes, it's okay to criticize people that you generally support. (I can't believe I need to make that point explicitly here.)

    I gave up on calling Blumenauer's offices about impeachment, because every time I did, I hung up the phone with the distinct impression that the person on the other end (different staffers each time, I think) just didn't get it.

    Our constitution, one of the most valuable assets we possess, has suffered incredible damage under the Bush/Cheney administration. When the specifics of that go unaddressed, the damage deepens. When crimes are not thoroughly investigated and prosecuted, our system of law and order suffers.

    It's the Congress's job to hold the executive branch accountable, pure and simple. Even when it's politically inexpedient.

    What's more, if the administration's crimes were thoroughly investigated, you'd find some fault lines developing among current supporters of the administration. The Republicans that ultimately opposed Nixon, as I understand it, didn't do so until AFTER they saw the evidence uncovered by diligent investigation.

    Impeachment, first and foremost, because it's the right thing to do. As it happens, it's also expedient for those who want progressive change. But the bottom line is standing up for the constitution.

  • Burl Doomenauer (unverified)
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    By attempting to hold white war criminals accountable, resources that could be used to elect me will be used for "law and order", a concept that should only apply to Blacks and other minorities.

    Impeachment is an old-fashioned concept, like democracy or human rights. We should have a Constitutional Convention (after the next election so it doesn't interfere with our present agenda), and then we should rid ourselves of these concepts.

    I argued before the '04 election that we had to wait until after the election before discussing impeachment of war criminals, and I argued before the '06 election that we had to wait until after the election, so I'm just being consistent when I say that we have to wait until after the the '08 election.

    We don't have time for impeachment of war criminals, because we have to continue to propose non-binding resolutions and hold all-night hearings for partial withdrawals of troops from Iraq.

    It's true that any one of my arguments against impeachment is stupid and short-sighted, but, taken together, they add up to one terrific smoke screen.

    I support the troops and the war of terror.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    Misha--

    Shouldn't a progressive have a 100% labor voting record? Shouldn't a progressive vote against funding for this unjust war? Shouldn't a progressive be a member of the Progressive Caucus? Shouldn't a progressive not have people protesting at his office on a fairly regular basis on a variety of issues? If he is good enough for you, that's fine, but he's not good enough for most of the progressive activists I know.

    I do not think you have disproved my argument: Blumenauer is not a progressive.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    I wonder how many people remember the zoo that went on during Clinton's impeachment. I'm sure Earl does. Yes Bush and Cheney should be impeached. That is 100% right but I think Earl recognized that it wasn't going to happen. The House could have sent articles of impeachment to the Senate but would the Senate have even had a majority let alone the super-majority needed? I would have personally enjoyed watching Dick and George squirm but what would it have accomplished. Sure the general public would see the lies they told but I think that the general public already knows. I might be going on a limb here but the people that still support Bush and Cheney don't care that they lied us into a war so public opinion couldn't get worse for them by holding impeachment hearings. If you can give me 1 name of 1 Republican Senator that would have gone along with impeachment I'll give you a quarter.

    I understand that impeachment is justified in this case but it isn't/wasn't going to happen. I think Earl recognized that and didn't want to waste his time in a media circus involving an impeachment that wasn't going anywhere and not get anything else done. We can cry about it all we want but that's the truth. We have a really good Representative in Earl and if this guy wants to go waste his money I welcome him to it.

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    I gave up on calling Blumenauer's offices about impeachment, because every time I did, I hung up the phone with the distinct impression that the person on the other end (different staffers each time, I think) just didn't get it.

    Oh, I think they get it, they're not stupid, just intent on avoiding embarrassment.

    I was in DC in November of '07, during the week that Kucinich brought up an Impeach Cheney bill. Our appointment with Hooley was moved from her office to the Rayburn building because, as an aide explained, the Republicans were "up to something, but we're not sure what" and Hooley had to be ready to run down to the floor to vote.

    What the Republicans were "up to" was getting Democrats on the record as supporting or opposing Kucinich's little stink bomb, as was explained in Roll Call and on Politico the following morning.

    The Dems, however, were able to avoid voting on the bill by some quick and arcane maneuvers. So when I was sitting in Blumenaeur's office the next morning, he had two aides fielding calls from concerned Oregon Lefties and telling them:

    Republicans were trying to torpedo Dennis' bill, but we heroically saved it by tabling it. Which was, of course a bald faced lie.

    <hr/>

    Now me, I think that impeachment, while richly deserved, is a useless (or maybe actively destructive) exercise for liberals to take in this twilight of the Vulcans, but a legislator and his staff should have the damned sand to stand up and make the argument for their position rather than arguing dishonestly that they're actually taking another position.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Ignore this Joe Walsh and those other perfectionists (80% of the Democrat Party membership) because they don't support our godlike unitary executive.

    Fair trade is one of those perfectionist issues (i.e., supported by people like Nader, so it must be bad). Earl is right to support Bush and Cheney on this.

    Impeachment of some of the worst criminals in the history of the world is so 1974. Earl is right to support Bush and Cheney on this, too.

    Funding for U.S.-Israel criminality is necessary so we can support Bush and Cheney's Middle East "peace process", even if it endangers us all.

    Voting for funding for Iraq war appropriations as long as we have non-binding provisions supports Bush and Cheney's basic contention that we have the right to "stay the course".

    Voting for the Defense of Marriage Act helped to preserve the sanctity of Bush and Cheney's marriages.

    We need to support ideological shills for hegemony and corporatism like Bush, Cheney and Blumenauer, because that's what we do best.

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    Garrett, you might talk me into voting against Blumenauer, after all. If his idea of leadership aligns with the cavalier views you espouse, anyway.

    For your hypotheticals, I'll say that John Warner, Arlen Specter, Chuck Hagel, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe are all Republican Senators who seem to respond to logic and reason on occasion. That'll be $1.25.

    And I absolutely disagree that "the general public already knows" about the criminal behavior of our elected leaders. Disapproval can result from something as simple as not being happy with the state of the economy, or the fact that we're still at war. It doesn't indicate anything about awareness of criminal wrongdoing.

  • Harry Birdges (unverified)
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    Harry Kershner-

    Weren't you the guy a few years ago who claimed to be beaten up at a DPO rally...when several people saw what happened and proved you were lying.

    And you aren't even a Democrat....but a green party troll.

    From now on...every time you post, I am going to send $5 to either Earl or the DPO....so keep posting!!!

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    Chris, no, not every progressive should score 100% on whatever different groups decide is the right vote. sometimes groups get myopic and their right vote conflicts with other values someone like Earl represents.

    but if simplifying issues below the level of thought works for you, well, giddyup.

    Earl isn't who i'd point to as my model progressive, but neither is Pete DeFazio. of course, with Paul Wellstone as the model, it's hard for others to match up. i'd certainly pick Sara Gelser, and even she got less than 100% with some groups. go figure.

  • Misha (unverified)
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    To answer Chris's questions...

    Shouldn't a progressive have a 100% labor voting record?

    No. Last time I checked, a 92% was still an "A" grade.

    Shouldn't a progressive vote against funding for this unjust war?

    Not necessarily. First of all, Earl voted against the authorization to go to war. Second, Earl may have believed that sending American troops into a warzone without sufficient body-armor and other supplies would have been antithetical to progressive values.

    Third, according to the organization Peace Action, Earl received a 93% score -- the highest in the Oregon delegation -- so even a holistic assessment of his positions on war/peace issues still gives him a grade of "A".

    Shouldn't a progressive be a member of the Progressive Caucus?

    This is just silly. One does not characterize the policy views of a member of Congress based on what caucuses he or she belongs to.

    Shouldn't a progressive not have people protesting at his office on a fairly regular basis on a variety of issues?

    I obviously disagree with these people (and I'm fairly sure they would find a reason to protest outside his office no matter what positions he takes).

    If he is good enough for you, that's fine, but he's not good enough for most of the progressive activists I know.

    What does that say about the progressive activists you know? (Because the ones I know, associated with organizations like AFL-CIO, OSPIRG, LCV, etc., are very pleased with Earl.) (Also note, if you're defining "progressive activists" as the people who go out and protest in front of congressional offices on a regular basis, then doesn't this just prove the point I made above that these people will find a reason to protest regardless of how Earl votes?)

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
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    Blumenauer needs a good strong candidate running against him – a person that is NOT part of the regressive transport mafia in congress that raids and pilfers millions of dollars from the Highway Trust Fund to subsidize non-cost effective personal agenda of snail rail streetcar toys that further congest streets and pay for infrastructure for freeloading pedal pushing bicyclists; a person that believes in taxpayer equity whereby only the users of alternate forms of transport are directly taxed for the services received; and a person that believes in the democratic system of lifestyle, housing and transport choices rather than endeavoring to dictate them through taxes, subsidies or otherwise.

    It appears that neither candidate meets the reality check test of impartiality needed to be an evenhanded unbiased representative in a democratic society. .

  • Chris (unverified)
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    For me, progressive means that someone will vote with many of the interest groups mentioned in Misha's post. And, yes, T.A., it's true that the interests of one group don't always mesh with another. But when Earl voted for the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement, the Chile FTA, and the Singapore FTA, he voted against all those groups in the interest of more profit for big business. Are those the values you think Earl represents?

    The guy is a free trader, always has been, probably always will be. And I don't think you can be a progressive and support free trade.

  • Liz (unverified)
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    Who should we take seriously on this? The guy that voted against the war at the beginning and articulated a specific plan for how we can fix the mess, or the people that dress up in costumes and hand paint.

    This war is serious and we need to end it now.

    I think Blumenauer has the best shot out of any of the guys at actually getting something done. Yelling and screaming might make us feel good,(specially in Portland, Oregon)but it's not going to stop the war.

    Electing a new President who had the judgment to oppose the war from the start....will help too.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Harry Birdges said: "Weren't you the guy a few years ago who claimed to be beaten up at a DPO rally...when several people saw what happened and proved you were lying."

    I did not claim to be "beaten up", so you are lying about that as well as about how I was "proved" to be lying: fearandloathing

    The fact that people who were afraid to use their real names (like you - you are a coward as well as a liar) denied on BO that I was assaulted, and then threatened my wife and me that they were going to come to our house and "piss on your carpet" is something that I thought you goons would want to forget (I still have a copy of the threats made to us, so you can't deny that also). You proved then that you were no better than the Bush/Cheney cabal, and you are proving it once again.

    "And you aren't even a Democrat....but a green party troll."

    You and your ilk are the trolls, since BO "...is a place for PROGRESSIVE Oregonians to gather 'round the water cooler and share news, commentary, and gossip", and you are definitely not progressives. You shame progressives.

    "From now on...every time you post, I am going to send $5 to either Earl or the DPO....so keep posting!!!"

    This is so idiotic that it's hardly worth responding, but please do keep throwing money at your regressive heroes, since money-changing (as well as ideological shilling) is what you do best.

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    Impeachment, first and foremost, because it's the right thing to do. As it happens, it's also expedient for those who want progressive change. But the bottom line is standing up for the constitution.

    As I remember it, Senate candidate and House Speaker Jeff Merkley came out for the impeachment of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last summer, presumably because Gonzales was carrying out the administration's dirty work through the Justice Department. Wiseass.org even quoted him as saying "'impeachment should never be off the table' regardless of who is president." Did that make him a member of the "fringe-brigade?"

    While I have no expectation that the Democrats are about to begin anything leading to impeachment, they certainly could have done it by now if it hadn't been "off the table." Nearly 15 months have gone by since the Democrats in Congress took office. About 900 US troops have died. Nobody knows how many Iraqi citizens have been killed. And there are still nine more months of war to go before the end of the Bush administration, and before any attempt is made to end the war -- assuming that even happens.

    It would have taken a matter of a couple of months to hold impeachment hearings on Bush and Cheney. They could have been over with last summer or fall. Even if they hadn't been successful, the situation wouldn't have been any worse.

  • k.s.hasselaer (unverified)
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    Liz states: " this war is serious and we need to end it now"

    It baffles me that people continue to believe in the dems and their representatives. They promised us an end to war around the 2006 election!Do you really think they are going to end it? Dream on already! Blumenauer signed the declaration of peace 2 years in a row now, pledging to not vote for war funding, and 2 months later both times turned around and voted for war funding. Do people like Liz feel it's acceptable to blatantly lie? Why continue to vote for someone like that?

    I support Joe Walsh but have turned my back on the dems.

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    Thank you Pete F for the proper response on why impeachment matters. It's not the people, it's the offices and the branch as a whole. If we want future Presidents to usurp the rule of law and act in secrecy as this one has, by all means let's just shove their miscreant precedents under the rug and pretend no one will ever rely on those (unrepudiated) judgements of Executive power again...!

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Misha said: "Earl may have believed that sending American troops into a warzone without sufficient body-armor and other supplies would have been antithetical to progressive values."

    You seem to think that Earl must be stupid, because only stupidity could expain a belief that defunding would have cut off body armor. I, on the other hand, know Earl to be a very intelligent and very sophisticated person who could not possibly have believed that.

    Read what Kucinich, who has voted against funding 100% of the time, has had to say about defunding before you buy into the argument that Earl et al have progressive records on the occupations.

    And, by the way, sending troops with or without body armor "into a warzone" in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg Tribunal and the U.S. War Crimes Act, is not representative of progressive values; therefore, voting for continuing funding of "the supreme crime" (Nuremberg) is not representative of progressive values, either.

  • Misha (unverified)
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    Harry Kershner said, "And, by the way, sending troops with or without body armor 'into a warzone' . . . is not representative of progressive values . . . ."

    First, as previously noted, Earl voted against sending the troops. He voted for funding them.

    Second, regardless of what you think about this distinction or the merits of Earl's opinions on the subject, Earl -- as previously noted -- received a 93% score (the highest in the Oregon delegation) from the organization Peace Action. So a holistic assessment of his positions on war/peace issues still gives him a grade of "A".

    But you guys can continue to shout into the wind all you want.

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)
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    Joe Walsh could serve honorably as a Member of Congress.

    I have not endorsed his campaign, but it is not because I don't like him. I love him. It is not because I don't think he is qualified. Joe is an old warrior of the labor movement and he can do it.

    I like what Earl does with his office with one exception.

    Dead people and a trillion dollars.

    He and the Democratic leadership missed the point of the 2006 election. By supporting Speaker Pelosi in taking impeachment off the table, the week before the election, they gave up the only viable constraint on the Bush Administration.

    Now, they have set the table for the Presidential election. Is it not clear, that Bush and McCain intend to make the War the issue. We must not lose on the issue of ending the War and bringing the troops home.

    That means Obama. Earl and I agree.

    But, we should have impeached them.

  • Bonnie Tinker (unverified)
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    War and injustice are embeded within us. How can we work for peace when we cannot have a respectful conversation among ourselves? How can we believe in justice, but have no faith that there is any way to hold our government leaders accountable?

  • Bobby (unverified)
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    Misha and Harry's back and forth is interesting enough, but I can't find any time when Earl voted to fund the way. He, as I do the research, has been voting against war funding for years before it became a popular position. The only times he supported any funding was for fully funded withdrawls, that is, when there were hard and fast end dates attached. DOn't blame Earl that the President vetoed the timeline.

    What would Joe do differently to get us out of Iraq? Vote with the Republicans against funding bills with end dates? Vote the same as Earl against funding bills without end dates?

    This is silly. Let's spend our time on electing a Senator and President who want to end the war, not some protester who wants to take on the most anti-war Oregon congresscritter.

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    I think Bobby is probably right. The PeaceAction scorecard cited is for 2006 -- the reason Earl Blumenauer scores higher than Darlene Hooley or Peter DeFazio is that Earl voted against war funding that they supported that year. All of our delegation voted for unconditional support of Israel's invasion of Lebanon that year which is why Earl didn't get 100% (each vote counts 7%).

    DeFazio, btw, is a Progressive Caucus member. So too is John Conyers, who has blocked consideration of impeachment measures as chair of the Judiciary Committee.

    Which is one of the problems with the scorecard approach -- they only tell us about bills that are allowed to come to a vote. That is probably the biggest drawback to the two-parties-dominant system, it makes it easier to collude to keep ideas worth debating out of public debate, degrading both the intellectual quality of our public life and the quality of our public policies.

    Those who argue that there's no difference between the major parties are quite wrong in that formulation. But what they are trying to get at, that the two parties agree on a great many things and don't allow serious alternatives (considered in their substance as ideas) serious consideration has considerably more truth.

    Impeachment hearings are a great and terrible example. President Bush has created a constitutional crisis, and the Democratic leadership, out of very narrow partisan considerations, has decided not to make an issue of it, in order to appear to be "doing the people's business."

    The lower ratings of Congress than of the President suggests that even in narrow terms this approach has been a miscalculation. But the larger point is that they have abdicated their fundamental duty as statesmen and stateswomen, embodied in their oaths of office, to uphold and protect the Constitution. Earl Blumenauer's acquiesence and participation in that huge dereliction of duty is a major blot on his record.

    Garrett is right that impeachment hearings would have been a media circus. That would have been a good thing.

    On the war, I am less concerned with Earl B. than with our presidential candidates. Both of them have weak anti-war positions involving only partial withdrawals over extended (Obama) or indefinite (Clinton) periods of time, partial because limited to "combat" troops, a term of art which mendaciously excludes "counterinsurgency" troops -- I've always been impressed by that non-combat counterinsurgency -- as well as tens of thousands of private mercenaries.

    Readers of this blog might be interested in a newly formed effort called "Progressives for Obama", initiated by Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Danny Glover and Tom Hayden, which aims to mobilize support for Barack Obama's presidential candidacy while pressing him to take a stronger and clearer position on ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq quickly and completely.

    This effort is organizationally independent of Obama's campaign, not a committee within it. It takes the optimistic view that the "Obama movement" is bigger and potentially more progressive than the positions Obama himself has staked out so far, and that the movement can make the man, so to speak.

    Personally I am skeptical, because the movement is much more defined by his person, a man on a horse in a somewhat different guise than Ross Perot, but similar in basic form, Bonapartism but of the left, than the examples they cite as precedents of the social movements behind the New Deal and those of the early 1960s. But I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

  • Wow (unverified)
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    The House will never have the votes to impeach President Bush. Never had them, never will. Congratulations on spending your energy fighting a representative who gets it right 99% of the time and doesn't care to join you in futile exercise. It's nice to know that you've lost so much perspective that you're going to vote against a Congressman that voted against the war authorization and has voted to end this war numerous times.

    I protested in the streets before and after the invasion, worked to elect candidates who opposed this war, and I want our troops out of Iraq now. Supporters of Joe Walsh don't represent me or any of my activist friends. Enjoy watching your candidate get his hat handed to him in May by a true progressive.

    And please move your vigils and protests over to Senator Smith's office where they belong.

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    The House will never have the votes to impeach President Bush.

    Certainly that is true so long as impeachment hearings are never opened.

    At one point the House never had enough votes to impeach President Nixon, either. Nor did it ever impeach President Nixon, because he resigned after bills of impeachment were passed in the House Judiciary Committee, and before they came up for a floor vote.

    There are 40 members of the House Judiciary Committee. 23 of them are Democrats. It takes 21 votes in Judiciary to recommend a bill of impeachment to the House.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    For your hypotheticals, I'll say that John Warner, Arlen Specter, Chuck Hagel, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe are all Republican Senators who seem to respond to logic and reason on occasion. That'll be $1.25.

    Sure they respond to logic and reason on occasion. I didn't hear about any of them hiking up their boots and heading on over to the White House to urge the President and VP to resign because they would support an impeachment a la Barry Goldwater. I've just seen every one of them voting lock stock and barrel with the Republican side. Mostly I get the feeling that they are afraid to vote against the party line because the Repubs tend to cut the line off when people do that. Even if I give you those 5 you're at 54 Senators supporting because you know Lieberman would side with the Repubs. That still doesn't get you to a majority.

    Garrett is right that impeachment hearings would have been a media circus. That would have been a good thing.

    Remember how the Clinton impeachment was a media circus and all we did was get mad at the Republicans and ended up supporting Clinton more. We knew the impeachment wouldn't go anywhere because the Republicans didn't have a super majority in order to go through with it. It may have been a blow job but if we're getting all high and mighty here he did lie about it under oath and generally you go to jail for that. It's called perjury and it's a felony. I don't think I'm going out on a limb here by saying it may qualify as a high crime and/or misdemeanor. Clinton ended up leaving office with the highest approval rating of any President ever leaving office.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I often agree with Pat Ryan's political views, but not on impeachment of Cheney and Shrub. I believe impeachment proceedings are the only remedy strong enough to answer the insults to truth, the interests of the American people, and the Constitution that this administration has cast upon our nation.

    I want neither the Shrubbery nor a successive administration of either party allowed the proto-fascistic precedent of outright fabrication of evidence, subversion of national and international law, blithe ignorance of separation of powers, and steady erosion of civil liberties that this administration has set. Impeachment would be a clear statement that we are not going to take it any more. As things are, it seems we may be a pushover for the next junta. The political calculation that impeachment is a Republican trap looks like nothing more than short-sighted cowardice to me. Budgets and policy minutiae mean squat if we let the republic slip away.

    I would vote for Joe Walsh if I lived in the Third Congressional District. I think Earl has done good things in Congress, but he has shirked his duty to protect the Constitution, and that is his first duty.

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    ANd let's not forget that the only time period in which The Eagles did not totally suck was when Joe was playing with the band........

    Just sayin'.....

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Chris: "Shouldn't a progressive be a member of the Progressive Caucus?"

    Misha: "This is just silly. One does not characterize the policy views of a member of Congress based on what caucuses he or she belongs to."

    The memebers of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are dstinguished by the position that business as usual does not serve the people of this nation. They are willing to stand apart from the wealth-dominated consensus and point to what must change in order to promote justice and the common welfare. Earl is not a member because Earl is not willing.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    AS I wrote, I often agree with Pat Ryan.

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    Garrett, I was trying to make a point, but I guess it was lost. More explicitly: arguing about who might or might not support what in a hypothetical situation after a hypothetical investigation is wasted breath/typing.

    Furthermore, conviction is not necessary for impeachment hearings to be successful. The first important thing that impeachment hearings do is signal that at least some folks in Congress care about the Constitution. The larger the numbers, the better the message. The second important thing they do is keep the criminal behavior on the front page of the newspapers and at the top of the evening news. The third important thing is slowing down the abominable behavior of the administration, as they have to devote resources to defending themselves, and find themselves under an increasingly powerful microscope. The fourth important thing they could potentially do is lead to a successful impeachment vote, which would result it a whole lot more of the first, second, and third things. The fourth thing they could do is to result in Chief Justice John Roberts marching across the street to hear the case. Finally, depending entirely upon everything that comes before, you could get a conviction by the Senate.

    The absence of any of the later steps does not undermine the importance of the earlier ones. The important lasting result is that a significant portion of the U.S. government, with the demonstrable backing of the public, at least said "The Constitution is important, and the President does not get to ignore it without people ignoring."

    Weakening the coalition of people trying to say that is a terrible failing on Blumenauer's part.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Bobby said: "The only times [Blumenauer] supported any funding was for fully funded withdrawls, that is, when there were hard and fast end dates attached."

    There were no "hard and fast end dates attached." Go back and read the wording of the non-binding resolutions and weasel-worded supplementals that Earl supported, e.g.:

    Earl voted YES on 3/23/07 on Vote 186: H R 1591:

    Prohibited the use of funds to deploy any troops to Iraq unless the military had "certified" to congressional appropriators in advance that the military unit is fully mission-capable. The measure authorized the president to waive the prohibition and deployment limits on a unit-by-unit basis for reasons of national security.

    Earl voted YES on 4/25/07 on Vote 265: H R 1591:

    $124.2 billion. Bush had to "certify" that the Iraqi government was meeting certain diplomatic and security benchmarks. If that certification were made, deployment would begin no later than Oct. 1, 2007, with a goal of completing the redeployment by within 180 days. Some U.S. forces could remain in Iraq for special counterterrorism efforts along with protection, training and equipping Iraqi troops. In other words, all "benchmarks" approved by Earl gave Bush the choice to say whether or not they’ve been met, and then to say that "special" troops could remain.

    Earl voted YES on 11/14/07 on Vote 1108: H R 4156:

    Set a goal for Bush to begin "redeploying" (another weasel word) U.S. troops.

    Earl also weaseled out of supporting progressive legislation on the occupation last year (H.R. 508, which required the withdrawal from Iraq of "all U.S. Armed Forces and contractor security forces within six months"), instead presenting his own H.R. 663 ("New Direction for Iraq Act"), a masterfully constructed bit of fluff.

    Let's climb out of the memory hole:

    Authorization for Use of Military Force, H.J. Res. 64

    Representative Earl Blumenauer voted YES.

    On Friday, September 14, 2001, the United States House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 64, "Authorization for Use of Military Force" by a vote of 420 - 1. Barbara Lee was the only person who voted to uphold and defend the Constitution's separation of powers principle, the principle that no one person should be empowered to conduct war on behalf of the United States. Barbara Lee was the only person who voted to deny George W. Bush the authority to single-handedly conduct war against unspecified nations, organizations, or persons for an unspecified duration. So Earl's "opposition" to the authorization in '03 was too late to prevent Bush from doing what he already was authorized to do.

    Earl refused to support the McGovern Amendment, part of the Declaration of Peace, which would have cut off Iraq funding. (He issued the equivalent of a Bush "signing statement", claiming to be for peace, but only if no effective way of enforcing it were enacted.)

    Earl could have joined Kucinich in pressuring Pelosi into disallowing any supplemental to the floor of the House for debate or voting, thus making all this moot. He is not a progressive, and he is not anti-war, even if a peace group rates him higher than the other members of the Oregon delegation.

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    Garrett,

    With due respect, Clinton's putative crime of perjury was nothing like the scale of Bush's systematic assault on the constitution. Also, the Clinton impeachment was preceded by the enormously long & drawn-out investigations and report of the Special Prosecutor and followed a number of other efforts to "get" Clinton which put the impeachment process in a particular light and meant it was not revealing anything.

    Impeachment hearings on Cheney and Bush, on the other hand, would have forced into the public record a lot of information that has been shall we say incompletely circulated due to media ass-covering of previous failures on their part, IMO. And it would have put the fundamental constitutional questions on the table for clear debate -- which would not necessarily have broken down on party lines (go to Chuck Butcher's website for links to a very interesting group of conservatives who are much clearer on the constitutional issues at stake in Bush's creeping coup than most congressional Democrats).

    Clinton's lie, even if criminal, is nothing like comparable to what Bush has done. Bush's crimes are the sort of thing for which impeachment was put into the constitution in the first place. Clinton's really weren't. People understood that at the time.

    I believe that in the same way people would have understood that impeachment hearings on Cheney and Bush were about those kinds of serious issues. It hasn't happened and almost certainly won't, so whether I'm right or wrong in my belief is impossible to say.

  • Bobby (unverified)
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    Harry Kirshner has shown his true colors: he's upset that Earl voted to authorize the war in AFGHANISTAN. If that's what Joe Walsh and his people are all about, give me Earl any day.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Bobby said: "Harry Kirshner has shown his true colors: he's upset that Earl voted to authorize the war in AFGHANISTAN. If that's what Joe Walsh and his people are all about, give me Earl any day."

    Bobby: I have no idea what Joe Walsh believes about this, and I don't pretend to speak for him (I am not a Democrat, and I'm not involved in any Democrat's campaign).

    What I said was that Earl voted in 2001 to authorize Bush to initiate "...war against unspecified nations, organizations, or persons for an unspecified duration", as Barbara Lee understood. The fact that Earl and all Democrats except for Barbara gave their consent to this meant that the invasion of Iraq had already been authorized by them, regardless of what they had to say in '03, and Bush (and many others) said so at the time.

    Regarding Afghanistan: If you do a little research, I think you'll find that Bush was negotiating with the Taliban at the time and that he demanded that they hand over bin Laden and the other members of al Qaeda. The Taliban responded that they would do that if Bush gave them the evidence that bin Laden was guilty. Bush decided that he didn't need to prove his case (Why would we Ubermenschen have to prove our case?) and he just attacked, with Earl's approval.

    If this seems like a commendable action to you, I ask you to imagine how you would feel if Cuba bombed Miami because the U.S. refused to hand over known international terrorists who had attacked Cuba (which is true).

    Do the Cubans or any of the many people who have suffered due to U.S. policy have the right to bomb American citizens? Or are we the exceptions to the rule because of our inherent superiority?

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Chris, I completely understand what you're saying. I read the Starr report in its entirely. Believe me I know that what Clinton did is nothing comparable to the crimes Bush has committed.

    What I'm trying to say is that I recognize why Earl didn't jump on the impeachment wagon. The votes were obviously not there. If you don't know what a Blue Dog Democrat is I suggest you look them up. It is questionable if they would have been able to impeach in the house. It's a complete waste of time.

    My point is if a bunch of people jump on their high horses and want to vote out Earl because he didn't want to jump on board with something that wasn't going anywhere they should have also been calling up their congressmen and requesting that they vote for impeachment of Clinton. He lied under oath and that is a felony. If you want to get technical I'll be happy to present the impeachment case against Clinton and why, if we wanted to get techincal about it, should have happened. The fact is we all knew that was ridiculous. It was a political joke by the Republicans. As much evidence as we think we have the reality is that we don't have a smoking gun against Bush/Cheney. We don't have a recorded conversation where they talk about the fact that they knew Iraq had no WMDs. They can argue that they fell into the same trap that what...80% of the country fell into? Get off your freaking high horse and get over it all. We're less than a year away from an election. These morons are going to be out of office. Focus on something that means something and not a Congressman that is awesome.

    So where do you go from there? My point is that I'm not going to vote against a Congressman that 96% of the time does things I like because some joker that doesn't know where to place blame (ahh heh ahh heh Gordon Smith) wants to campaign against a veteran Congressman who has done wonderful things for our state. Tell me how this guy is going to create jobs in our state as a freshman in the House? Tell me how he's going to work federal money into our state? I've got a five dollar bill he doesn't have a clue until he reads this and starts trying to figure out which committee member he's going to have to make friends with so he can get money to pave my street. He can sit on a high horse and wave a banner of ending the war and impeaching the President and I'll sit on it with him and wave that flag when his arm is tired but I'm not stupid enough to think he'd be better than a seasoned vet that knows intimately how it all works.

    The hill just isn't that simple.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Garrett said: "Believe me I know that what Clinton did is nothing comparable to the crimes Bush has committed."

    Bush and Cheney not only need to be impeached, they need to be tried, convicted and imprisoned for life without parole. But more important than that, we need to have a truth and reconciliation movement that discloses all the crimes of state committed by this nation, since the members of both parties only recognize the crimes of the other.

    Nixon's most horrendous crimes (e.g., crimes against humanity in Indo-China) were disregarded by those who sought impeachment against him. So it was with Clinton, who would have been hung if he had been tried for his war crimes and crimes against humanity against Iraq and Yugoslavia under the jurisdiction of an international court with the same rules as those that tried Milosevic or Hussein. Read this: Deaths In Other Nations Since WW II Due To Us Interventions

  • j.s.hasselaer (unverified)
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    Call me naive, but I expect our representatives to stand up for what's right, not for what is politically safe for them.It's easy to say the votes would not have been there if you don't have the guts to even try. I know Joe Walsh won't have this hang-up. He can care less what Pelosico think of him. He wont' pander to their expectations.
    I am sick to death of all those career politicians who have not thought of how best to serve we the people for a long time. What's on their minds is " we the corporations" or " me the millionaire". It's time to start working on a real change!

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