Monday, 30 April 2007

Kucinich is right - Cheney must go

It's a sad fact that politics frequently results in the appointment of people unfit for the duties of their office. Libby, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Safavian, Foggo, and Mike Brown, are among the Bush appointees who have already left under a cloud of disapproval and/or scandal. But the most dangerous of the lot is only a heartbeat away (if that) from the Presidency. Congressman Dennis Kucinich is right: It's time to remove Cheney from power.

Mere growing disapproval of Cheney is not sufficient cause for removing him from office, but Kucinich details plenty of supporting documents for all three articles of impeachment in his House Resolution 333. It's a shame that only candidates mocked by the media, or retired politicians, seem to have the courage to speak the truth.

Immediately after the election, I cautioned restraint, suggesting that a positive agenda must come before recriminations against our outlaw executive branch. Today I still agree with Woody Mena that positive legislation needs to be front and center of the Democratic Congress' agenda, and must be advanced at least as aggressively as investigations into Republican wrongdoing.

Nonetheless, we cannot continue to ignore the elephant in the room. It remains clear that the Vice President is stubbornly committed to a reckless and violent foreign policy. His approach has permeated the disastrous decision making which has been the hallmark of Bush's foreign policy. Bush asks for us to give their "new strategy" a chance, but there can be no real new strategy until he clears house. Gates has been a huge improvement over Rumsfeld, but the attack dog is still pulling the levers.

The Bush apologists will insist that "even the Democrats" were convinced that WMDs were there. But if there was anyone in the White House who had reason to doubt it, it was Cheney. His repeated trips to CIA headquarters were an obvious attempt to collect exactly the intelligence which suggested the worst, while ignoring all intelligence to the contrary. Perhaps Bush was misled, but Cheney continues to push the case for an Iraq-Al Qaeda connection, long after all serious scholars have dismissed the possibility.

Then there is the probable criminal conduct surrounding the blown cover of Valerie Plame. The day Libby was indicted, it was an outrage that Cheney did not resign. The second in command should be above suspicion. An honorable man could have spoken of the need to avoid the appearance of impropriety. A guilty man needs to stay put to cover his tracks. Patrick Fitzgerald may not have found the smoking gun to prove Cheney's criminality in a court of law, but he didn't mince words when he stated "there is a cloud over the vice president."

If this vice president is not lying, then he is seriously self-deluded. Either way, he ought to go.

Friday, 13 April 2007

EPA Action: Tardy, not Premature

If the Bush administration were honest, they would have renamed the Environment Protection Agency as the Corporation Protection Agency. Last week the Supreme Court sided with Massachussetts and other states in declaring that the EPA may regulate greenhouse gases. Yesterday EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said the agency was looking at options, but it was premature to talk about it.

Premature indeed! When it comes to protecting our environment, this administration has always been a day late and a dollar short. It's a shame too. Even now the EPA is loaded with good people committed to protecting our environment, but often when scientists are ready to issue reports contrary to wishes of corporate big wigs in bed with the administration, those scientists are muzzled. When enforcement threatens the profits of companies too cozy with the Republican establishment, enforcement is defunded. And when regulating greenhouse gas emissions might cost Detroit too much, well the EPA Administrators assigned to rein in the environmental "excesses" of the rank and file declare that EPA lacks the authority to do so.

The Bush administration seems to have no problem exceeding its authority when it comes to abbrogating individuals' civil liberties in the so-called war against terror, but exercises illogical restraint on its authority when curbing corporate behavior that may risk our collective future.

The Supreme Court dealt a rebuke to that logic last week, when it instructed the EPA that it did have authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and would be required to defend lack of such regulations on a scientific basis.

With all due respect to Linda Greenhouse, coastal dwellers in future generations will be far less concerned about John Roberts' trepidation about the legal doctrine of 'standing' than they will about excess corporate control of government if that is not reined in before their communities are inundated.