Impeach Bush In 2007

(You say you want a revolution? Read The Left End of the Dial.)

Here are some reasons the U.S. House of Representatives should begin investigations immediately next year leading to impeachment proceedings against President George Bush:

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The nation must reaffirm its democratic structures. Even if the investigations do not lead to Bush’s impeachment, they create the type of public transparency and discourse democratic governments need to survive. Bush’s lies about the war in Iraq, his ordering of illegal wiretapping of American citizens, and his sanctioning of torture of anyone declared an enemy combatant threaten American democracy. The nation must acknowledge this or risk its democracy. (Articles of impeachment have actually already been filed in the House, an action mostly ignored or dismissed by the mainstream media.)

Honorable and wise civilian leadership of the military must be restored. Bush and his surrogates—former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in particular—have treated the United States military with disdain. By starting a war on lies and with no clear mission and by dismissing the concerns of the country’s top generals about his Iraq war strategy, the president has created a frightening schism between the military and its civilian leaders. Where will this schism lead? The investigations will force reconciliation.

They could end the Iraq war. The investigations would clearly expose the Bush administration’s incompetence regarding the Iraq debacle. Such exposure could force Bush to change course and begin a necessary withdrawal of troops. If this doesn’t happen, then the next president—most likely a Democrat—will have to deal with the quagmire and chaos Bush created in Iraq. This will mean more deaths of American soldiers and innocent Iraqi soldiers. Bush will not change course in Iraq unless he is forced to by the will of the people.

Taxpayers must receive an accounting of war costs. The investigations will allow Americans, for the first time, to see how their tax dollars have been spent on the Iraq war. This accounting could lead to future savings and force war profiteers—many with connections to the Bush administration— to refund money to the treasury. This would also allow taxpayers more scrutiny of all spending under the Bush administration.

People must become empowered again. The investigations will serve as a powerful symbol of the people’s right to hold public officials accountable for their actions. The Bush administration and the GOP-led Congress have violated the people’s trust through corruption and secrecy. They have operated the government in recent years as a one-party fascisti. The investigations will restore the people’s voices in government.

The corporate media must be exposed for its right-wing bias. The investigations will obviously expose the mainstream media’s complicity with the Bush administration. From The New York Times to the The Washington Post, corporate news outlets have allowed this presidential administration to trample on people’s rights, plunder the treasury, and take the country to war on lies. Let the right-wing nut cases and blowhards like Rush Limbaugh scream all they want about liberal bias in the media. The truth is the corporate media exists to line the pockets of a relatively few super rich people. These people would apparently rather live under a fascist government than give up even a small fraction of their wealth. Thus, the investigations will validate the netroots even further and help wean people off the lies, distortions, and biases of the mainstream media.

It’s the right thing to do. What will you tell your grandchildren? That you did nothing when one man, ensconced in his own hubris and delusions, destroyed the country’s democratic foundations? Investigations into the nefarious acts of this presidential administration are just and right. It’s your duty as American and world citizens to support them. Affirm the United States as a beacon of democracy by supporting investigations into the president’s impeachable offenses.

Scandal Follows Keating

(It’s a great holiday season for Oklahoma progressives! Read DocHoc’s commentary about it in the Oklahoma Gazette this week. Okie Funk will have a lighter publishing schedule during the holidays.)

You realize how corrupt our political system has become when Frank Keating is actually mentioned as a viable candidate for president.

Image of Frank Keating

Keating, a two-term former Oklahoma governor, has resurfaced in media reports recently as someone who is considering a run for the presidency in 2008. Keating, a Republican, now works as president of the American Council of Life Insurers, which is based in Washington.

The media reports are of the “will-he-or-will-he-not?” variety, and are meticulously manipulated by the Keating camp to make him seem like a viable candidate. Do not believe a word about Keating in these mainstream reports, especially any information about Keating from The Daily Oklahoman.

(Here is a revealing site about Keating.)

The larger issue with Keating, glossed over by the mainstream media, is this: As a public servant, Keating accepted some $250,000 from a quirky financier, Jack Dreyfus, to promote the drug Dilantin. Dreyfus thought Keating, first as a federal employee, then as governor, could help him get the drug used widely in the nation’s prison systems. Considered somewhat of a kook by some people, Dreyfus thought Dilantin was a wonder drug that could help society. Keating took money “gifts” from Dreyfus and later set up a meeting between him and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

When the alleged political bribery scam was revealed in the national press, Keating returned the money to Dreyfus.

Some pundits speculated Keating was passed over as a running mate for President George Bush and then later as a nominee for attorney general because of the Dreyfus scandal. Keating was a major Bush supporter.

So Keating will have to deal with the Dreyfus scandal and his earlier, unwavering support for an extremely unpopular president if he decides to run. In addition, Keating has a short temper and is inclined to make nasty public comments. He once said “homicide” was the best way to deal with a teacher’s organization, for example. This also makes him the perfect candidate for the anti-intellectual, right-wing GOP base, but political moderates outside of Oklahoma will find him corrupt, misguided and mean.

These are the only real issues about a possible Keating run for the presidency, and everyone knows it, especially important GOP strategists, but you will have to hunt down this information in the mainstream media, which has become complicit with political corruption in the country.

Kern Proposal Denies Oklahoma Women Reproductive Rights

Sally Show Begins

State Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) will try to restrict reproductive rights even further for Oklahoma women this coming legislative session.

Image of state Rep. Sally Kern

House Bill 1004, filed by Kern, would require doctors who perform abortions to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles where the procedure was performed. This is yet another measure to restrict abortion and other reproductive services.

As reported earlier by The Practical Progressive, this legislation would prevent out-of-state doctors, who are licensed in Oklahoma, from performing the procedures. This has been a common practice in some states.

Last legislative session, the state passed laws restricting abortion in the state. The restrictions included the requirement minors get parental consent before they have an abortion and state funding of anti-choice information centers. The legislature also passed laws requiring physicians tell women the fetus feels pain, which is not proven scientifically. A new law also requires doctors to offer women a sonogram view of the fetus before an abortion.

There was also a political effort last year to restrict access to Plan B, the emergency contraceptive for women. Plan B has been approved for over-the-counter sales by the Federal Drug Administration.

State legislators of both major political parties will continue to impose their religious views on Oklahoma women by restricting their access to reproductive services until people speak up. This issue marginalizes women in our overall culture, and especially in conservative Oklahoma, and denies women freedom to make decisions about their own bodies.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that tracks reproductive rights: “In 2000, 96% of Oklahoma counties had no abortion provider. 56% of Oklahoma women lived in these counties. In the South census region, where Oklahoma is located, 32% of women having abortions traveled at least 50 miles, and 10% traveled more than 100 miles.”

No rational person favors the use of abortion for standard birth control, but religious ideologues also want to restrict access to basic birth control as well. Sex education and easy access to birth control will bring down the unwanted-pregnancy rate, but the ideologues—primarily Christian extremists—have a larger agenda.

It’s important to note this will probably not be the only measure this upcoming session trying to restrict reproductive rights in Oklahoma. Kern represents an area in northwest Oklahoma City and Bethany. She and other Christian extremists may well introduce more legislation denying women the ability to control what happens to their bodies.

Abortion is obviously a controversial issue for some Christians, but no one is forced to have an abortion in this country. If you’re against abortion, don’t have one. This is about state Christian fundamentalists demanding everyone view the world through their narrow-minded religious filter. This is about religious intrusion in government. This is about politically moderate and liberal Christians (is “liberal Christian” an oxymoron these days?) allowing right-wing Christian extremists to hijack their religion on a couple of cultural wedge issues like abortion and gay rights.

Do a majority of Oklahoma woman want to give up their reproductive rights. No. But many women are afraid to speak up in a state that marginalizes anyone who dissents from the right-wing, religious agenda.

I wrote this on March 4, 2006 on Okie Funk:

"Not one Oklahoma politician has come out forcefully and presented counter legislation that would stop the religious freaks from embarrassing our state, damaging our economy by branding us with the 'ignorant hick' logo, and turning our schools into quasi-churches.

"Not one Oklahoma politician in this state has stepped up and said 'enough is enough,' championing the cause of intellectualism and rationalism and logic and medical science, the hallmarks of modernity and enlightenment.

"Not one Oklahoma politician has said figuratively and loudly to our college graduates now leaving the state in droves that the fight for intellectual freedom can be waged even in one of the reddest of red states."

TABOR Redux?

A bill (SB 24) filed by state Sen. Patrick Anderson (R-Enid) would limit the growth of state spending to the previous year’s spending plus five percent.

Sounds like a TABOR hybrid, and you can expect similar measures this coming session.

TABOR, or the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, is the idea that the growth of state spending should be limited to the previous year’s spending plus an increase based on a formula tied to population growth and the inflation rate. An initiative petition drive to place the issue as a constitutional amendment on the ballot here was declared invalid by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Oklahoma, which lags far behind in education funding in the country, simply can’t allow itself to be tied to budget measures that restrict it from taking care of its structural problems. For example, the state has had one of the lowest per student spending rates in the nation for years. It often has the lowest or near the lowest teacher salaries in the nation as well.

It’s virtually impossible to increase taxes without a vote of the people in Oklahoma, and the legislature has been reducing taxes lately, not raising them. If the state has extra money to wisely and prudently invest in improving the state, then it should do so. This is just common sense, not ideology.

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