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The Iraq Veterans Memorial

Americans voted their disapproval of the President's Iraq strategy in November, yet as we approach the fourth anniversary of Bush's invasion, he has chosen to escalate the conflict by recklessly using more American lives to try to salvage a delusional national policy.

In response, peace groups and politicians from both parties have been crafting creative ideas to extricate the US from this catastrophic conflict and activists are ramping up their efforts to finally force an end to the war.

Nation friend and filmmaker Robert Greenwald has just announced the formation of the Iraq Veterans Memorial. This living online tribute to US soldiers killed in Iraq will bear witness with 60-second video testimonies of family, friends, co-workers, and military colleagues of those killed. The memorial will be unveiled on March 19th--the war's fourth anniversary--across the internet.

Here's how you can help the project:

1. 60 second videos. If you knew a US soldier killed in Iraq, please send us your video testimonial or forward this email to someone who did, and encourage them to participate. Click here for details on how to send material.

2. Join this blog in committing to host the memorial on your own blog, website, or MySpace or Facebook page on March 19th. This will be the big unveiling, and the more widely the memorial is re-posted online, the greater its impact will be. Click here to sign up.

Greenwald will also have people in Washington, DC at the peace march on January 27 filming testimonials during what promises to be the largest outpouring of antiwar sentiment since the war began. Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Jr., Members of Congress, Military Families, and Soldiers to Speak will be speaking as marchers call on Congress to listen to the voters, not Bush, by using its power to end Bush's war and bring the troops home. So go to DC on Jan 27 if you can, and watch this space for more ideas on how to help get us out of Iraq.

Freshmen Favor Fair Trade

In case anyone missed the fact that the new Democrats who were elected to the House in November are economic populists who the free trade policies advanced by the Bush administration and the White House's allies in the Democratic Leadership Council, 39 Democratic members of the freshman class have signed a letter reminding party leaders in the chamber that, "Vital to our electoral successes was our ability to take a vocal stand against the Administration's misguided trade agenda, and offer our voters real, meaningful alternatives to the job-killing agreements, such as CAFTA, that the majority of our opponents supported."

The letter, which was sent this week to House Ways & Means Committee chair Charles Rangel, D-New York, who will be a key player in defining the new majority's approach to trade policy, explains that, "It is very important that we not only reverse the troubling results of the administration's trade agreements and trade policies, but also that we are able to deliver on the promise we made to our constituents to move our nation in a new and improved direction on trade."

In the old Republican-dominated House, the Bush administration and its allies were able to secure approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement by a mere two votes -- and that "victory" was secured only after applying extreme pressure to a handful of Republican holdouts against the plan. [If just one more member had voted no, the administration's top trade initiative would have failed on a 216-216 tie when it was considered in July of 2OO5.]

The firm commitment of the Democratic freshmen to fight for fair-trade policies that favor workers, the environment and communities, as opposed to the race-to-the-bottom free-trade policies of the Bush administration and its Democratic allies, should signal a radical shift in direction. There is no longer anything akin to a pro-free trade majority in the House.

The new signal from the House is being echoed in the Senate, where veteran critics of the Clinton and Bush administration's free-trade policies, such as Ohio's Democrat Sherrod Brown and Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders, have joined a chamber that approved CAFTA by a relatively narrow 54-45. Brown, Sanders and other new senators such as Virginia Democrat Jim Webb have arrived as replacements for Republicans who voted with the administration on trade issues. Webb, who complains about "our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century," says that changing trade policy to protect workers and communities is essential work for the new Congress.

"Every single speech that I made for the entire campaign, I laid out the fact that we must get back to economic fairness -- that we measure the health of a society not by what is happening at the apex, but by what is happening at the base," explains the new senator from Virginia, who adds that, "We measure the health of a society not simply by what the stock market is doing, but [by] whether the people who are doing the work of society are truly receiving a fair share."

Along with a greater willingness to embrace the language of economic populism, the freshmen Democrats in the House and Senate arrive with sharper critiques of trade policy. Their recent experience with the local union and environmental activists who worked on their campaigns, as well as with national the Citizen Trade Campaign PAC, which worked to educate candidates and voters about the need to shift trade policies, has made them aware of dynamics that some older members have yet to fully recognize.

While some veteran representatives still see trade-policy fights as focused on almost entirely on manufacturing concerns, new members such as Wisconsin Democrat Steve Kagen, a physician, recognize that one of the new battlegrounds involves attempts by corporations to import and export professional services. "There is often an irrational belief in our nation that the free market can solve any problem. Unfortunately, there are some services which cannot be appropriately priced or are too essential to be given to the lowest bidder," says Kagen. "There are other harms which can sometimes occur alongside privatization, such as a withdrawal of worker protections or degradation of the environment. It is with concerns like these in mind that I would oppose trade agreements which include ‘service' sector provisions."

Kagen and his fellow freshmen want to bring their economic populism and their understanding of the new dynamics of trade-policy debates to the table. In their latter, they let Rangel know that: "As freshmen, we hope to be able to work with you and other members of the Ways and Means Committee in crafting a new model for U.S. trade agreements that will not only reduce barriers to U.S. exports, but promote fairness and restore opportunity and sustainability for American workers, farmers and small businesses."

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John Nichols' new book, THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders' Cure forRoyalism has been hailed by authors and historians Gore Vidal,Studs Terkel and Howard Zinn for its meticulous research into theintentions of the founders and embraced by activists for itsgroundbreaking arguments on behalf of presidential accountability.After reviewing recent books on impeachment, Rolling Stone politicalwriter Tim Dickinson, writes in the latest issue of Mother Jones, "JohnNichols' nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic, TheGenius of Impeachment, stands apart. It concerns itself far less withthe particulars of the legal case against Bush and Cheney, and insteadcombines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use ofthe "heroic medicine" that is impeachment with a call for Democraticleaders to 'reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by thefounders for the defense of our most basic liberties.'"

The Genius of Impeachment can be found at independent bookstores and atwww.amazon.com

No Blank Check on Iran

The Iraq Study Group recommended that the Bush Administration engage Iran. Instead, the Administration chose to threaten it.

In recent weeks President Bush attacked Iran in a speech announcing his escalation in Iraq, deployed a second naval battleship to the Persian Gulf and ordered the raid of an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq, along with the arrests of six Iranians. The current march to war sounds eerily familiar.

Now members of Congress have launched their own pre-emptive strike on the Administration, introducing legislation requiring the President to gain Congressional approval for any attack on Iran. The effort is spearheaded by Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican who's emerged as a leading critic of the war in Iraq and a harsh opponent of confrontation with Iran. Jones has assembled a diverse coalition of lawmakers, ranging from conservative Republicans to liberal Democrats, who believe it's time to teach the Administration a lesson in government 101.

"Our constitution states that--while the Commander in Chief has the power to conduct wars--only Congress has the power to authorize war," Jones said at a press conference today. "It's time for Congress to meet its Constitutional responsibility...This legislation makes it crystal clear that no previous resolution passed by Congress authorizes such a use of force [against Iran]."

Such a basic expression of the separation of powers should be obvious. But with the Bush Administration, one never knows. So H.J. Res 14 spells it out. "This resolution says a strong message that Congress won't stand idly by and it won't get railroaded into another war that will only make America and the world less safe," said Rep. Marty Meehan. "A lot of people in Congress are fearful that this war will expand," added Rep. Ron Paul. Containing an expansion of the war, said Rep. Neil Abercrombie, is "the most important issue this Congress will face aside from Iraq."

Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, a decorated Vietnam veteran, was in boot camp when Congress approved the fraudulent Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964 that led to the war in Vietnam. Today he sees another possible war predicated on "ignorance, arrogance and dogma."

A fellow Purple Heart recipient, Senator Chuck Hagel, recently grilled Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about whether the Administration was planning to push the war in Iraq into Iran's borders. Hagel sees echoes of Richard Nixon's secret bombing of Cambodia. "Some of us remember 1970, Madame Secretary," Hagel told Rice, "and that was Cambodia, and when our government lied to the American people and said we didn't cross the border going into Cambodia. In fact we did. I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee.

So, Madame Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the President is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous."

Moments earlier, Senator Joe Biden asked Rice: "Do you believe the President has the constitutional authority to pursue across the border into Iraq (sic/Iran) or Syria, the networks in those countries?"

Rice responded that the President's constitutional authority was "broad as commander in chief."

After trusting the president on Iraq, the new Congress might be inclined to disagree.

The Triad

Last Sunday, at the Riverside Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once eloquently opposed the Vietnam War, Presidential candidate and former Senator John Edwards urged Congress to deny funding to President Bush's escalation in Iraq: "If you're in Congress and you know this war is going in the wrong direction, it is no longer enough to study your options and keep your own counsel. Speak out, and stop this escalation now. You have the power to prohibit the president from spending any money to escalate the war – use it."

Yesterday, on Capitol Hill, three Congresswomen not only spoke out powerfully on the issue of escalation, but also – with characteristic leadership, courage and determination – laid out a principled alternative to the Bush Way Forward into continuing human catastrophe. And, at this critical moment, it offers all citizens who care about peace the opportunity to rally around a single, rational proposal for withdrawal.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey stood with fellow Congressional Progressive Caucus co-Chair, Rep. Barbara Lee, and the Chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus, Rep. Maxine Waters, to introduce the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act.

"We are a triad to be dealt with," Rep. Woolsey said. "And we will be heard from."

The three Representatives outlined the first bill to comprehensively lay out the cost and framework for a withdrawal from Iraq. It calls for bringing the troops home within six months of enactment and describes in detail US involvement to help stabilize Iraq following withdrawal. It accelerates the training of a permanent Iraqi security force during the six month transition and provides funding as necessary to ensure the safety of the troops and contractors during withdrawal. It also authorizes – if requested by the Iraqi government – US support for an international stabilization force. Finally, it guarantees full health care funding – including mental health benefits – as our veterans deserve. And it does all of this for pennies on the dollar compared to continuing the occupation which is draining the nation of needed resources.

"This will be the centerpiece of advocacy for all of the peace groups that will converge on Washington on January 27," Rep. Waters said.

Rep. Woolsey added, "President Bush may not want to listen to the American people, but they are going to be here in the streets of Washington, DC and in the halls of Congress toward the end of the month."

All three Congresswomen cited the President and Tony Snow's challenge to come up with an alternative to the Bush plan – which, as Rep. Lee noted – is opposed by the American people, members of Congress, and the President's own former military advisors.

"They have said that the critics of escalation have a responsibility to offer an alternative, so here we are," Rep. Lee said. "And the word has to get out that there is an alternative. Yes, the administration and the President made a mess out of this war – it's illegal, it's immoral, it's wrong – and if they don't know how to bring our troops home and end it, well, we have some very concrete, practical, realistic suggestions."

"They are saying if you have a better plan come up with it," Rep. Waters said. "First of all, it is absolutely unthinkable that this President who led us into war under false pretenses, misleading information, distorted information… would now try to put the responsibility on someone else's shoulders to stop it. But we're up to it. Because we never believed in this war. We all voted against this war. And we are committed to ending this war."

Rep. Woolsey – who as Rep. Lee pointed out was the first member of Congress to introduce a plan for withdrawal – also reflected on their shared determination to stop the Bush administration's war: "When the three of us voted against going into Iraq in the first place we were considered anti-American, virtually. We were so criticized. And now the American people are with us, and Congress is lagging behind the American people and must catch up with them."

Rep. Woolsey said the bill now has 16 original co-sponsors and she is confident that it will gain further momentum as representatives continue to hear from their constituents and the co-sponsors press to recruit their colleagues.

Rep. Waters, too, believes that the "well thought through" plan will attract support – in the streets and then the suites of Congress. "Many of our new members were elected, and some old members re-elected, because of our commitment to end this unconscionable and immoral war in Iraq," she said.

"It's time to support the troops in a real way, and that's by bringing them home – bringing them out of harms way," Rep. Lee said. "Remove them from being the targets of a violent civil war. And then we can move forward as the legislation proposes to engage in regional stability efforts, reconstruction efforts, and diplomatic efforts."

You want to see real courage, leadership and seriousness of purpose in the Democratic party? You want to celebrate women who are excelling in positions of power (while the mainstream media obsesses over the Boxer-Rice exchange)? Look no further than the Triad.

And then read their plan. Come to Washington on January 27. And work to bring our troops home.

In Defense of Obama

Ever since Sen. Barack Obama announced the beginning of an exploratory committee to run for president in 2008, there has been a tremendous amount of excitement that has spread outside the traditional circle of pundits and political power brokers. The media is eager to dissect this excitement, to question it, to hold it up to ridicule. Make no mistake, this excitement is real and it is something progressives should be applauding, not deriding.

As Sen. Obama has said Americans "are looking for something different--we want something new." Obama is more than something new though. He is the first potential Democratic candidate who's mustered the charisma, energy and promise of Bill Clinton, unsurprisingly the last Democrat who won the presidency. He's an articulate and appealing speaker. He is the only serious contender for the nomination who has had the right position on the most important issue of the day (Iraq) since the very beginning of that conflict (he opposes the war and wants a redeployment of troops). He presents an opportunity to bring a ethnic diversity to the White House for the first time.

Yet progressives are skeptical. They assail his voting record, when it's actually one of the most progressive we have to choose from. They question his experience when two of our greatest presidents, Kennedy and Lincoln could barely boast of having more in their days. Even African-Americans have succumbed to negative doubts. Robert Ford, a black state senator from South Carolina who supports John Edwards said, "We in the South don't believe America is ready to elect a black President".

Well I am one black American who believes we are. I have met and known whites and blacks from all walks of life and from different political persuasions who are intrigued by and open to supporting a Barack Obama candidacy. A recent poll found that 93 percent of Americans are willing to vote for a black candidate. It should be 100 percent, but I'll take it as a vast improvement over recent years.

Is Sen. Obama a flawless candidate? No. Does he share a liberal-progressive's views on all the important issues of our day? Most likely not. Should he be served the nomination on a silver platter? Absolutely not. But Americans who are on the left of the political spectrum have been complaining for years now about a lack of an exciting alternative to the Republicans come election time. They held their noses as they cast votes for conventional, safe and experienced candidates like Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry. All of them were decent, qualified men who inspired practically no one. Why not now, just for a moment, bask in the adoration and admiration that Obama manages to generate, and instead of picking him apart, perhaps we should just be glad that he appears to be on our side.

Libby Trial, Day Two: Watch Out for Juror No. 0677

For coverage of the first day of the Libby trial and a deconstruction of Scooter Libby's I-forgot defense, click here.

The second day of the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was again devoted to selecting a jury. The task at hand remains finding sixteen Washington residents (twelve jurors and four alternates) who hold no harsh opinions about the credibility of the Bush administration--particularly that of Vice President Dick Cheney, who has been named by the defense as a possible witness for his former chief of staff. The quickest way off this jury has been to admit one possesses strong doubts about Bush crowd's honesty in selling the case for war in Iraq. Juror No. 1298 said that she liked "to think" she could be "mature enough" to allow her respect for the presumption of innocence to trump her concerns about the Bush administration. But when federal district court Judge Reggie Walton asked if a witness from the Bush administration would have a "strike against them," she replied, "Probably." He responded, "We appreciate you being here." In other words, you can go now. Juror No. 1980 bluntly said, "I cannot believe any statement from the Bush administration." She was told her services would no longer be needed.

Of the first 24 potential jurors questioned by the judge, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys, eight were dismissed. (Some had reasons for being let go besides being administration critics.) A few who mildly expressed questions about the Bush administration--but who claimed they could still fairly evaluate the testimony of Cheney or any other Bush administration witness--were allowed to proceed to the second round. Yet Libby's attorneys will later be able to remove them from the juror with preemptory challenges.

It could well be that the jury ends up with no members who suspect that the Bush White House deliberately misrepresented the case for war. Can someone who holds such a view not fairly assess the testimony and evidence in the case of a senior Bush administration official charged with lying to the FBI and a grand jury? What if a potential juror enters the courtroom with the firm belief that Cheney and other Bush aides are believable? Would that not be a bias that would create a disadvantage for the prosecution?

One potential juror who handles information technology business development at Lockheed Martin noted that she respects the commander in chief and Bush's "reasons for going to Iraq." She explained that citizens outside the government are not privy to enough information to second-guess such presidential decision-making. Is that not a prejudice (perhaps an unhealthy one) in favor of Bush administration officials? She also said that she is currently chasing a billion dollars in federal contracts for Lockheed Martin. Might she have an interest in pleasing administration officials? She was not kicked out of the potential juror pool; special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald ought to take a closer look at her in the next round.

Lawyers and philosophers can debate what comprises bias and how to vet assumptions held by potential jurors. But it's certainly a gain for Libby that Washingtonians who believe the Bush administration misled the nation into war are not permitted to judge his actions.

And then there's Juror No. 0677. She is a television producer. She claimed she had paid attention to the case in a "circumfery" manner, and she has booked some of the journalists involved in the case. She was questioned about her ties to these reporters and whether she could evaluate their testimony without favor. She said yes. As for Cheney, she said, "I don't have any objective feelings about whether he would be more or less credible in this case."

She also mentioned that she was once an intern at the National Journalism Center and then an intern at The Washington Times, the conservative newspaper owned by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. There were no queries from the judge and lawyers about these connections. Yet might she be a conservative harboring pro-administration inclinations? Though the National Journalism Center has a bland name, it is a rightwing outfit that trains young conservative journalists and finds them jobs. Not all of its graduates are ideologically minded. But the group was launched in part by the American Conservative Union. It has received funding from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the John M. Olin Foundation, leading conservative foundations. (The John M. Olin Foundation funded itself out of business in 2005.) Several years ago, the National Journalism Center was taken over by another conservative group, the Young Americas Foundation.

Jurors ought not be blackballed for their political views. But if a National Journalism Center graduate makes it on to the jury, the Libby legal team would have reason to be pleased. Fitzgerald might want to ask her a few more questions.

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DON"T FORGET ABOUT HUBRIS: THE INSIDE STORY OF SPIN, SCANDAL, AND THE SELLING OF THE IRAQ WAR, the best-selling book by David Corn and Michael Isikoff. Click here for information on the book. The New York Times calls Hubris "the most comprehensive account of the White House's political machinations" and "fascinating reading." The Washington Post says, "There have been many books about the Iraq war....This one, however, pulls together with unusually shocking clarity the multiple failures of process and statecraft." Tom Brokaw notes Hubris "is a bold and provocative book that will quickly become an explosive part of the national debate on how we got involved in Iraq." Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor of The New Yorker notes, "The selling of Bush's Iraq debacle is one of the most important--and appalling--stories of the last half-century, and Michael Isikoff and David Corn have reported the hell out of it." For highlights from Hubris, click here.

A Plan to Get Out of Iraq

Following George W. Bush's call to escalate the war in Iraq on January 10, supporters of the President immediately challenged Democrats to present a more convincing alternative. "Where's their plan?" read a ticking clock on Fox News directly after Bush's speech, insinuating that the President had a strategy and the opposition did not.

Today leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus decided to go "mano a mano" with the President, introducing a detailed plan to bring the war to a close. The "Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act" would withdraw all US troops from Iraq within six months of its enactment, ban the building of permanently military bases and use the money saved by ending the war to fully fund veterans' health care. It would rescind the original war resolution passed by Congress and "prohibit any further funding to deploy, or continue to deploy US troops in Iraq."

"We come here not out of a sense of obligation to the President, but out of a sense of obligation to the millions of Americans who went to the polls in November to register their rejection of the failed policy in Iraq," said Rep. Barbara Lee, who along with Reps. Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey, introduced the legislation at a press conference this afternoon.

Unlike Bush's escalation, such a withdrawal strategy has majority support in both the US and Iraq. A new Gallup poll found that 56 percent of Americans want the US to leave Iraq within a year. In a survey last September by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, 71 percent of Iraqis wanted the same and 80 percent said the US military is "provoking more conflict than it is preventing."

The official policy of the Democratic leadership calls for the phased redeployment of US troops in four to six months without a firm timetable for bringing them home. The legislation introduced today goes further, by supporting a date for withdrawal and using the power of the purse to bring that about. Rep. Waters calls her legislation "the centerpiece of advocacy for all the peace groups."

Rep. Woolsey introduced the first Congressional plan calling for withdrawal back in May 2005. Since then, the war has only grown more and more gruesome--and the opposition of the American people stronger and stronger. A non-binding resolution expressing Congress's displeasure with escalation, while a clever PR move, is insufficient to bring the war to the close, says Woolsey. "While we're doing that, our troops are dying," she says. "We need to go beyond statements."

Bush Backs Down on Warrantless Wiretaps

Does it matter that Democrats took charge of the Senate this month?

George Bush seems to think so.

In a letter sent today to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales writes that, "the president has determined not to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program when the current authorization expires.

"Any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," explains the attorney general's letter.

The FISA Court was created by Congress in 1978 with the specific intent that it would supervise electronic eavesdropping within the United States. But the Bush administration, which launched its spying program in 2001, had until today refused to obey the court's authority.

When it was learned late in 2005 that Bush had repeatedly authorized the monitoring of the phone conversations and emails of Americans, the president and his lawyers claimed that the White House did not need to consult with FISA courts before engaging in such surveillance.

With Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter, a somewhat critical but cautious player, in charge of the Judiciary Committee, the administration showed no inclination to seek proper authorization.

But Specter lost his chairmanship when Democrats took charge of the Senate after the November 7 elections.

With Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, a critic of warrantless wiretapping, now in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and with Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, who proposed censuring the president for failing to obtain proper authorization for his surveillance program, now in charge of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, the White House has suddenly developed a newfound respect for the rule of law.

This is not the end of the story, however. The Congress still needs to investigate whether the warrantless wiretapping program was used to monitor not merely terrorist threats but domestic dissent.

While there is much to celebrate in the administration's change of course, Feingold is right in his assessment. "For more than five years, the President has conducted an illegal program, including more than a year during which he publicly asserted that this violation of the law was absolutely essential to protecting the public from terrorists. I am pleased that the President has been forced to return to the law and that this program has been terminated," the senator says.

But, Feingold adds, "I continue to have many questions about what the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has decided and intend to scrutinize carefully how the Court has interpreted the FISA statute. In addition, while I welcome the decision to stop conducting surveillance without judicial approval, the President now needs to respond fully to legitimate congressional questions about the complete history of this now-terminated illegal program."

If the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping targeted American citizens who were involved in legitimate and legal activities, Feingold's censure resolution will remain a necessary option -- along, perhaps, with the more stringent sanction of an article of impeachment from the House.

It ought not be forgotten that the second article of impeachment against Richard Nixon, as authorized by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, was concerned with the former president's "directing or authorizing [federal] agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office."

Of course, the same article of impeachment declared that Nixon had acted "in disregard of the rule of law" and had "failed to take care that the laws were faithfully executed." If those standards were applied today, the history of the warrantless wiretapping program over the past six years would provide more than enough justification for similar action against Bush.

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John Nichols' new book, THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders' Cure forRoyalism has been hailed by authors and historians Gore Vidal,Studs Terkel and Howard Zinn for its meticulous research into theintentions of the founders and embraced by activists for itsgroundbreaking arguments on behalf of presidential accountability.After reviewing recent books on impeachment, Rolling Stone politicalwriter Tim Dickinson, writes in the latest issue of Mother Jones, "JohnNichols' nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic, TheGenius of Impeachment, stands apart. It concerns itself far less withthe particulars of the legal case against Bush and Cheney, and insteadcombines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use ofthe "heroic medicine" that is impeachment with a call for Democraticleaders to 'reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by thefounders for the defense of our most basic liberties.'"

The Genius of Impeachment can be found at independent bookstores and atwww.amazon.com

iPhone v iIraq

Last week saw the unveiling of two widely anticipated products from two stubborn, egocentric men. I'm speaking of course about Apple CEO Steve Jobs's introduction of the iPhone and President George W. Bush's announcement of his new New Way Forward™ in Iraq. And the similarities don't end there.

Jobs' iPhone combines three products: a touch screen mobile phone, an iPod, and an Internet device. Bush's speech combined a passive-voiced apology, a 20,000-troop surge, and a veiled threat to widen the war into Iran.

The iPhone locks the user into a two-year contract with Cingular. The New Way Forward locks America into two more years of a war run by Bush, a third-rate president.

Jobs announcement of the iPhone led to an ugly spat with Cisco, which owns the iPhone trademark. Bush's announced new plan led to an ugly spat between Barbara Boxer and Condoleezza Rice, who apparently owns no children.

Jobs will not allow the iPhone to be an open platform. On 60 Minutes Bush said he wasn't open to alternatives to his plan.

Job's announcement of the iPhone will not stop investigations into his backdated stock options. Bush's speech will not stop investigations into his mismanagement of Iraq reconstruction contracts.

The iPhone will cost more than other smart phones on the market. The cost of the Iraq War will soon surpass Vietnam.

The big difference, however, is you don't have to buy an iPhone and if you do you can always cancel Cingular's service. If only the same could be said about the New Way Forward in Iraq and the Bush administration.