Don't just read this -- Do something!

Lindorff, Dave and Barbara Olshansky. 2006. The case for impeachment: the legal argument for removing President George W. Bush from office. New York: Thomas Dunne Books.

Last night, at a panel sponsored by the National Writers Union at the Coliseum Bookstore in New York, I heard Dave Lindorff (long-time investigative reporter) describe how he came to write this book with constitutional rights lawyer Olshansky, and what he discovered in the process. He got me excited enough to buy the book, which I just now finished reading.

Like me and probably like you, Dave was skeptical at first that impeachment, however justified, would be at all possible in the present political climate. But it is not so far-fetched at all. Especially if we can change the political climate, both by re-taking Congress in the coming elections and, especially, doing everything we can to turn the widespread disgust with this administration into a popular movement.

This book can help us do that. It has two great strengths: First, a clear, concise review of the history and legal issues -- the procedure and Constitutional bases -- that we will need to understand and to explain to others who want Constitutional authority restored. Second, an equally concise and clear summary of the many "high crimes and misdemeanors" -- political offenses, abuses of power, violations of the U.S. Constitution and betrayals of the people's trust. Lying about WMD, about a supposed Hussein-al Qaeda connection, failing to protect us prior to 9/11 in the face of many explicit warnings, disregard of the law of the land (including the Geneva Convention and other international treaties signed by the U.S.), stripping U.S.-born citizens (José Padilla and Yaser Hamdi) of their rights and declaring them "enemy aliens," kidnapping civilians in other lands and shipping them to countries where they will be tortured, and on and on. And then there's the spying on U.S. citizens, from requiring librarians to secretly report on your library habits to the massive phone snooping now in the headlines.

The matter is urgent. We have to use every power at our command to stop this Administration's destruction of constitutional values. And most urgent of all, prevent them from launching yet another war, this time on a country -- Iran -- with greater power of retaliation, just so they can win or steal another election.

More info on the book.

See related articles by Lewis Lapham, John Dean, or just do a Google search for Case for Impeachment. It's amazing how many legal thinkers are already on our side!

And if you're a writer, check out the National Writers Union.


Swinging from the family tree

Your grandma married a chimp! And mine too. Well, not exactly our grandmas, but our great- great- great ... great- grandmas. And the ceremony probably wasn't as formal as what we today call marriage. But they were getting it on! And as recently as 5.4 million years ago. This is what the new analysis of the human genome suggests. I find it really exciting (as it no doubt was for them) to think of these early couplings. I love the way the New York Times puts it: "Hybridization [of humans and chimps] could have speeded adapation to this challenging new environment [the drier woodlands opening up between the forests]... But the males in hybrid populations are often sterile. So the females may have had to mate with males in the chimpanzee lineage in order to produce viable descendants." Here, more accessible if you don't have a NYT account, is the BBC report on the findings.

Portrait of Freud, a great-great-great...great grandpa look-alike, courtesy of the Jane Goodall Institute.


Mothers & sons

Turgenev didn't write this, so somebody has to. Actually somebody did, Sophocles for one. And Freud, of course. And Tennessee Williams and quite a few others. But the legend of the purity of maternal love (cf. the Virgin Mary) is so pervasive in our culture that most fear to state the obvious: Tensions between mothers and sons are terribly intense and become moreso as the son approaches maturity; unless they are carefully managed -- or unless the son succumbs -- they become unbearable, and the son must break out or do other damage. Maybe by signing on to a tramp steamer, or going to war. Or running off to a foreign continent.

Just a little reminder on Mother's Day. For much more on the subject, see the list of books here. Some day I may add another work to this list, but it will have to be fiction so that I can tell the truth.

Photo: Monica Peters in the role of Iocasta. Click to enlarge.