Friday, November 30, 2007

What Rhymes With Aphrodisiac? An Interview with Rob Brezsny

[Found this brilliant interview with ROB BREZSNY - multidimensional genius without portfolio - conducted by Sarah Phelan for Metro Santa Cruz in August 2005. I just have to blog it, if only because Brezsny comes pretty close to saying it all for me, and probably a lot more elegantly too!]

GRAVE ENCOUNTER

In which we bury a symbol of paranoia in an effort to break on through to the other side with astrologer Rob Brezsny

By Sarah Phelan
Photographs by Dina Scoppettone

It began with an email from Rob Brezsny, that renegade genius whose syndicated Free Will Astrology column runs in 130 newspapers nationwide, including Metro Santa Cruz. Only this time Brezsny, who lived in Santa Cruz for 14 years and has since moved to Marin, wasn't writing horoscopes, but pushing his newest book, Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia (North Atlantic Books; $19 paper).

"Reading it is interesting and helpful, too, but a lot of good stuff can happen if you just let its edgy benevolence seep into your dreaming mind," wrote Brezsny, who urged me to sleep with a copy of Pronoia under my pillow for at least three nights.

At 296 pages thick, the copy of Pronoia that happened to be sitting on my desk didn't strike me as a dream pillow—even in softcover. But Brezsny's email did get me leafing through his weighty tome, whose cover (a flaming heart at the center of a labyrinth) and optimistic subtitle (How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings) had already piqued my curiosity. And once inside its pages, I was unable to resist the "dear gorgeous genius" love letter, or the "luminous tease page," which in typical Brezsny fashion exhorted me to "rebel against your horoscope," and "sip the tears of someone you love." And then there were Brezsny's miribilia reports, which reportedly come "live from your repressed memory of paradise," and include freeing gems, like the uplifting news that "black sheep have a better sense of smell than white sheep."

Promising to place my copy under my pillow (beauty sleep be damned), I emailed Brezsny my request for a face-to-face interview—something he deemed "so 20th-century, but fun, too."

He ended up suggesting that we meet at the Evergreen Cemetery in Harvey West Park to carry out a ritual burial of my share of paranoia, cynicism and snark.

"Not that you have any more than the rest of us; we all need to bury our load of psychic garbage," wrote Brezsny, adding that if I wanted to bury my paranoia then I should bring a symbol of it.

And so it was that after deliberating on paranoid symbolism for the next two weeks, I found myself standing beside the white picket fence that delineates Evergreen Cemetery, a picture postcard of George W. Bush in my hands. Brezsny says he chose this graveyard for our meeting because of many fond associations he has with the place, including meeting the love of his life, Ro Loughran, who he first spied "flailing like a whirling dervish on top of a sepulcher during a performance art event called "A Happy Birthday for Death."

Oddly enough, my first impression of the historic site, which contains the tombstones of some of Santa Cruz's earliest movers and shakers, was of a lover's quarrel, thanks to the pasty-faced goth couple with matching jet-black hair, who standing beneath the cemetery's metal archway were hurling poisonous insults at each other, as I approached.

Not wishing to invade their space and with Brezsny nowhere in sight, I wandered between the cemetery's white entrance pillars and up the redbrick path that meanders into the hills that flank Harvey West Park. Halfway along the path, I encountered a woman whose body was silhouetted by a blinding sheet of white light. Temporarily disoriented, I was just beginning to wondering if this lady—and the goth couple for that matter—were ghosts, when the apparition stepped out of the sunlight and into the shade, revealing herself to be Metro Santa Cruz photographer Dina Scoppettone, who told me that she had just found an old headstone inscribed with the name "Sarah"—a site she thought might be perfect for my paranoia burial ritual.

Just then an exuberant gaggle of school kids caught our attention as they entered the cemetery screaming happily and followed by a man with windswept silver hair, who was wearing a white lab coat over black clothes and carrying a clipboard and pen. As the sun glinted off the man's Harry Potteresque spectacles, I recognized him as Rob Brezsny, "the master of rowdy bliss" as he calls himself in Pronoia, who was here to help me bury my postcard of Bush "without hate." And so we spent the next hour, sitting on the some cold stone steps that led to a nearby grave and talking, as solitary yellow leaves drifted down from the tree canopy and onto the trails, where wind swept them along in dry rattling rustles.


METRO SANTA CRUZ: What can we do about paranoia in light of the fact that Rove is still roving and Bush just got, er 're-elected'?

BREZSNY: The worst thing is to let any of our responses to Bush make us like him, like the fundamentalist virus, which makes us believe the way we see things is correct.

Confess your fundamentalist virus.

My daughter is always busting me when I'm prejudiced against rich people. The mark of a fundamentalist take on things is that it's totally serious, literal and personal. Those are the three death grips.

How long have you been assuming your lab coat identity?

About six years, part time. I like some of the ways that scientists look at the world, how they shed their personal biases, how they don't jump on a little bit of data and make up stories, but just deal with what's there. One of my hypotheses is that the world is conspiring to give us exactly what we need, not from my ego's, but from my soul's, point of view. I put on the lab coat to inspire me, mostly. To remind myself that I'm a scientist, a researcher, not a know-it-all. I like to say I'm looking for the answers so I can destroy them and think up better questions.

Grave New World: Both Rob Brezsny and George W. Bush share the same astrological signs — Cancer with Libra moon — yet only Brezsny adheres to the ancient Spider-Man koan: 'With great power comes great responsibility.'

Do you think that people sitting there, saying, 'Bush is our greatest teacher,' even as bombs keep killing people in Iraq, can lead to dangerous apathy?

I think the answer is to try to live in both of those realms and maintain a dual perspective. Yes, everything is going exactly as planned, but from the perspective that we as small egos can't see, it will work out in a way that may be immediately difficult and painful, but will be good for all. So you can sit there, but also be prepared to fight fiercely for beauty and justice and harmony, to be absolutely devoted to kicking ass in the most tender way possible. Being a pronoiac doesn't make you passive. There's a lot of fierceness in my particular approach to creating goodness and truth and beauty.

I notice you say 'pronoiac' and not 'pronoid.'

Pronoiac rhymes with aphrodisiac. Pronoid rhymes with paranoid.

By rhyming with aphrodisiac, pronoiac emphasizes a love of life?

Yeah, this pronoia is celebration. It's not a passive optimism. It's not an "ignore the darkness" kind of optimism. This is not a shopping-mall-in-Indianapolis kind of pronoia. This is not a gated-community kind of pronoia. It's a let-the-chaos-in kind of pronoia, because the Goddess is bringing us chaos over and over again. That's how she creates. So, pronoia's got to thrive on chaos. It can't be afraid of it.

A woman with a heavy Spanish accent called our paper a few months ago from Watsonville, and said, 'Rob Brezsny, he hates Aries.' She claimed your column always bashes Aries. Do you have a secret hatred of Aries?

(Laughs rowdily.) No, I love all the signs equally, but as you can imagine, I'm a huge projection screen for people. In general, that's probably pretty good. They can project onto me their inner teacher. They can imagine that I'm somehow the source of this information, when it's actually coming from them, because it's all in how you interpret my work. I think when I'm working at my best, I'm standing in for each person's inner teacher. Since lots of people don't know they have such a thing, I can provide a service, I can materialize it in the outer world.

Your work, then, is all in the interpretation?

I try to keep my intentions extremely clean and pure and loving, because I think that's the only thing that's going to work to ensure that people take what I say and use it in the best way. It's so important that your intentions don't get subverted, or appropriated by the ego or your desire to be loved or please other people. Not that those are terrible motivations, but to do what I do best, I have to give without any strings attached, with the smartest love I can summon.

What made you leave Santa Cruz?

My wife was going to grad school in San Francisco. I also had that sense that as long as I lived in Santa Cruz, that because I resonated so deeply with the starving artist archetype, I would remain a starving artist. I don't think everyone who lives here does that, to the contrary, but I felt I'd remain insular, if I stayed. And within a couple of years of leaving, my column took off and got syndicated, and I made a lot more money.

Do you pray for clarity?

I do. Most of my prayers start with gratitude, asking Goddess what I can do for her, rather than what she can do for me

Is Pronoia a character in Greek mythology?

In Greek mythology, Pronoia was the consort of Prometheus, the divine rebel who stole fire from the gods and brought it to humanity. Pronoia is an ancient word that's been used in different contexts, but used to mean providence, or the abundance of spiritual gifts.

Do you see Pronoia as a female figure, or as a belief system?

I like to say it's a mode of perception and try to take out of realm of belief. I do like to see it as a muse, though, as a somewhat elusive but generous muse, which for me, because I'm a heterosexual man, tends to take a female form, and a muse that bestows an abundance and surprise and clues to me as a researcher. ... It's critical that what we call the archetype of the Divine Feminine returns in full force before we kill the world — or kill the world as it's inhabitable for us.

In 'Pronoia,' you call yourself Global Village Idiot and Fool Czar?

Right, although the president hasn't responded to my request to be appointed Fool Czar.

So, as Fool Czar, how would you exhibit compassion toward George?

I'd love to kiss his ass. I even offered to kiss Rove's butt without his underpants on, but I haven't had any response. And I'd love to talk about the fact that George W. Bush and I share astrological signs. We're both Cancer with Libra moon. I'd like to talk about ways we're similar.

What are those ways?

We're both good at touching into the collective imagination. However, in my opinion, he manipulates that for the powers of greed, of elitism, of militarism and materialism, whereas I'm trying to, I suppose, manipulate it in the name of beauty and truth and the elimination of hierarchy, of pure democracy and feminism. I'd like him to consider creating some new holidays. One of them would of course be the Bliss Blast.

As part of one of the exercises in your book called 'Rank Your Favorite Doomsday Scenario,' I went on the Internet, typed in 'paranoia' and got tons of hits. Waco. Men in black. The Bay of Pigs. The Bermuda Triangle. Chemtrails. Black helicopters. UFOs. Tinfoil Hats. The missing WMDs and 9/11. Bin Laden. Seems like it's a pretty good time in the history of world to be paranoid.

A pretty interesting time.

So, you're swimming against the stream with your pronoia?


I'm not gonna claim that the news is 95 percent good, but I would like to work on the hypothesis that maybe it's fifty-fifty. I think that the absurd domination of bad news is curious and suspicious. It seems to suggest that those who identify themselves as educated and elite communicators in our society believe the opposite of what the poet John Keats said, which is, 'If something is not beautiful, it is probably not true.

The media and a lot of politicians seem to say the exact opposite, which is, if something is not ugly, it is not true. And that's a cockeyed view of world. I'm not advocating that we ignore the darkness and pretend, for instance, that we're not living through a mass extinction event. For example, biologists say we're living through the greatest extinction of species in 65 million years. However, in my opinion we're in the midst of tremendous abundance as well — tremendous beauty and joy and pleasure. The apocalypse is not happening sometime in the future, it's already under way. It's a slow motion apocalypse and it's both apocalypse in the current sense of word, which is a collapse, a degeneration of things falling apart, but also in the ancient sense, which is an awakening. So, right alongside all this collapse and degeneration is awakening and birth and fountains of incredible creativity and reinvention. To be honest, as educated intellectual people, we need to report on the other side.

Tell me about the homeopathic medicine spells in your book. Do you put the bad, negative stuff inside them?

Yes, you recognize the negative. You put it in its place and surround it with blessings, with a spell of protection, so it won't reach out and grab some part of our subconscious mind and say, "This is true. You are like this." So, in a sense, these spells protect us against our temptation to resonate with ugliness, evil and ungenerous anger. Jung talked about the shadow, that part of ourselves that is wounded, sick, that never grew up right. So, we have to have a relationship with our shadows. If we try to deny or ignore their existence, they will bite us in the ass, subvert our good intentions, undermine what we're trying to do. We need to make sure that before we go out and ask the world to change, that we're in very close contact with the ugliness in ourselves and that we're working to redeem that and transform it.

We take a break, during which Brezsny retrieves a long-handled shovel from his car for our burial event. But as he poses beneath the cemetery's metal archway, and I dig a hole safely away from the graves, including the "Sarah" headstone — a police car turns onto Evergreen Road and slows to a crawl, its uniformed occupants eyeing our merry trio with detached curiosity.

Immediately, my paranoia, which I have not yet buried, springs back to life, taunting me with questions, such as, 'Is it illegal to bury a photo of the U.S. president, especially if you're an immigrant on a green card?' Not knowing what else to do with the evidence, I jam it into my pants, with the unintended consequence that Bush's photo ends up kissing my ass. (Hey, maybe the exercise is already working!) And the minute the cop car passes by, I hastily dig a shallow grave, lay Dubya's picture in it with as much kindness as I can summon and cover it up with soil, moments before the cop car cruises by again and Brezsny and I resume our interview.


In 'Don't Think of an Elephant,' George Lakoff warns against framing the debate in the opposition's language. Are you dancing around on the philosophical side of that equation, with your vision of pronoia?


In the Jewish magazine Tikkun, almost immediately after the November election, Rabbi Michael Lerner began talking about how the left can't keep ceding spirituality to the right. We have to add a spiritual aspect to our perspective. That's why a lot of people just gravitate de facto to the right, because at least they recognize or include the element of spirituality. But there are people on the left who represent the spiritual side of left. We do have a moral vision, a very powerful vision about what's good for most people.

As the aftermath of 9/11 showed us, clearly our fears can be manipulated. Is there also a button for happiness?

Right now we as a society are addicted to fear. We need an intervention, to talk in 12-step language. We're so accustomed to being motivated and moved and fascinated by fear that we've lost the capacity to even imagine that pleasure and joy and regeneration and integrity can be interesting. I think it takes a retraining, on a personal level... The first step is to have the intention to be happy. Who'd have thought of that?

What do you believe in?

My personal belief is that there are many other dimensions besides this particular one and that there are beings that are not physically manifest: some are stupid, some smart, good, some bad, some in between, just like in the material realm, but I believe the caricature of angels, kind of a New Age parody, if we look back at John Milton and William Blake, who consorted with angels and many great literary and intellectual minds who took angels very seriously, seriously, not just as a metaphor, not as some empty hope, but as literal entities. I believe in angels, angels who are working full-time to create beauty and truth and love in the world. Unfortunately, they want and need us to identify and ask for what we need, and most people don't do that.

Why do people need to ask?

Because this is a collaboration, not a fascist regime. Contrary to what fundamentalist Christians would say, this is a collaborative effort. The whole point in free will is to participate in a collaborative effort, not leave it to some all-knowing spiritual forces. In a greater sense, I believe in God or Goddess, a single divine intelligence that animates the universe and is simultaneously aware of 500 million galaxies and their function and the six kittens that were recently born to you. From the ego side, that sounds impossible, but I don't think a belief in angels and divine intelligence is required. Some of the greatest spiritual workers on the planet are atheists, but they are supremely ethical, their spiritual work having firmly to do with improving conditions on earth.

In 'Pronoia,' you write, 'I'm allergic to dogma. I thrive on riddles. Any idea I believe, I reserve the right to disbelieve as well.' So, after 'Pronoia' has been out for a while, you're not going to tell us you don't believe in it anymore, are you?

My policy is to believe in the things that inspire me about 75 to 80 percent. I say that about astrology, too. I would never think of saying that I believe in astrology 100 percent, or in feminism or in the perspective of psychology, or leftist politics. All those things, when you identify yourself so entirely with them, that there's no "you" outside of those ideologies, then I think you lost, you're upset, you're possessed by ideas. That's always dangerous, even if the ideas are great ideas. So, I think it's important to maintain skepticism about pronoia. Some people have written to me in a critical way that I expected. Most people resonate pretty well with the philosophy of pronoia, but some say, "You are deluded, you are helping to spread stupidity and laziness." I can understand the fear that if we work at seeing things optimistically, we might lose sight of everything that's wrong with the world. I don't think I'll do that, but that's a valid fear, so in that sense, I'm skeptical of pronoia and I'm not going to promote pronoia as a cure all.

What about the flaming heart in the labyrinth on the cover of 'Pronoia'?

It's the heart on fire, the heart inflamed with the desire to bring beauty and truth and love and justice and harmony to the whole world. Pronoia is not a passive thing. It's fierce, it's filled with strong intention to bring that message that life is much better than it's being portrayed right now, that there's a lot we can do to emphasize what works, and we have to do that aggressively.

William James, the philosopher, talked about how we need a moral equivalent of war. What I take that to mean is that we all have this martial force within us. It's an inherent part of every human being. Unfortunately, it's usually expressed as war and conflict and anger, but there are other ways to express that martial force. As aggressiveness expressed in the name of feminine values. That's my particular angle. That's why I call myself a macho feminist. I want to bring the message of relationship, of intimacy, of love, of caring for other human beings with the same force that a macho dude might use in his struggles to take over the oil fields in the Middle East. This has macho force behind it, but it's done in the name of joy, peace and harmony. That's what that image says to me.

What was your motive for writing 'Pronoia'?

When Henri Matisse started his work, critics said he threatened to undermine civilization, that's the power artists had in some eras of history. It's hard to imagine anyone saying that about a painter or an artist today. It's been demonstrated that art has the power to remake the world, whether to subvert existing values and/or create new ones. I'd like to return to the Henri Matisse kind of place.

So ended our interview, and shortly thereafter, strange stuff started happening. No, the Bush regime did not immediately crumble to dust under the weight of its lies, like vampires in full daylight. Instead, things I thought I'd been paranoid about for years in my personal life turned out to be my angels whispering in my ear all along. And when I confronted the truth it turned out to be more beautiful than the ugliness of living in a lie. So, be advised: burying your paranoia may change your life, not necessarily in the way you were expecting, but in a way that will free you to see the truth and beauty in your own life—perhaps even with humor. As for the bigger picture, I'll leave you with a vision that Brezsny describes in Pronoia's "I Have a Dream" section:

"I'm the president now ... and so are you. I am the supreme Commander of the United Snakes of the Blooming Haha ... and so are you. And what we proclaim is that in the New World, we will love our neighbors as ourselves, even if our neighbors are jerks. We will search for the divine spark even in the people we most despise, and we will never dehumanize anyone, even those who dehumanize us. I have a dream that sooner or later, every one of us will become a well-rounded highly skilled, incredibly rich master of rowdy bliss—with lots of leisure time and an orgiastic feminist conscience."

Metro Santa Cruz © 2005

"At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.
" ~ Ernesto Che Guevara

Monday, November 26, 2007

PUBLIC SERVANTS SERVE THE PUBLIC!

Photo courtesy of hidupku

Press Statement For Immediate Release

ALLOW FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

The Centre for Public Policy Studies regrets the police prohibition of and use of violence on a number of recent gatherings in Kuala Lumpur.

Two weeks ago on the 10th November 2007, BERSIH, a coalition of non-Governmental organisations and political parties, organised a march to submit a memorandum calling for measures to ensure free and fair elections in the country.

More recently, on Sunday the 25th November 2007, Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) organised a rally to submit a memorandum calling for equal treatment of Indians, highlighting their socio-economic marginalisation in the country.

The Government has responded by saying that demonstrations are unnecessary, that memorandums should be handed in personally, and that any concerns can be brought up in forums through a consultative approach.

However, such forums, panels and meetings have been conducted on numerous occasions to little avail. These articulations are compiled into reports and submitted to various committees, but it is precisely inaction and non-response from the Government that has fuelled frustrations amongst those groups who have not received equal treatment.

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guarantees that every citizen has the right to assemble peaceably. This is affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The BERSIH and HINDRAF rallies were peaceful gatherings and should not be misconstrued as otherwise.

1. The CPPS calls on the Government to recognise the rights of civil society to freedom of assembly. The right to freely assemble peacefully is one of the hallmarks of a democratic society. If we want to consider ourselves a true democracy, then the police should stop immediately its highhanded excessive use of force at dispersing peaceful crowds, including the use of tear gas and unrelenting water cannons at peaceful demonstrations and rallies.

We need to urgently review the policy and processes regarding the provision of permits for peaceful assembly as guaranteed in our Federal Constitution. If the police had given permits to assemble and march peacefully, subject, of course, to reasonable and agreed-upon terms, the unnecessary disruption and subsequent chaos would have been avoided.

2. The CPPS also urges the Government to examine the root causes of the deep sense of grievance and frustration that underlie these rallies and demonstrations . The issues being raised by civil society organisations recently are valid and should be urgently considered. The views and opinions of this large cross-section of society cannot be swept under the carpet. These expressions of frustration and anger arise from a significant proportion of the Malaysian public. These must be factored into policy-making processes, and not ignored.

3. At the same time, it would be useful for the Government to meet the leaders of these rallies and find out more about their grievances, taking action to resolve outstanding problems that have adversely affected sections of the Malaysian society. New approaches are urgently needed to ensure greater national unity, peace, stability and progress.

Tan Sri Dato' (Dr.) Ramon V. Navaratnam
Chairman,
Centre for Public Policy Studies
26th November 2007
Kuala Lumpur

For more information, please contact Ms. Tricia Yeoh or call 03-20932820.


Batu Caves, early hours of 25 November 2007. Photos from IndianOnline.com

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Impeachment: If not now, when?


Lawmakers need to stand up for the Constitution and support impeachment

By LINDA BOYD
GUEST COLUMNIST
seattlepi.com

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. - Article II, Section 4

On Nov. 6, Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney on the floor of the House of Representatives. For one shining moment the will of the majority of Americans and the promise of this nation's founders were truly represented.

The detailed charges were solemnly read from the House podium and televised on C-Span. House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer made a motion to table the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lobbied hard for votes to table.

In a stunning turnaround, House Republicans changed strategy and voted decisively to prevent tabling the impeachment resolution.

Pelosi was defied by 85 Democratic members who voted against tabling the impeachment resolution. This includes John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and six committee members. The resolution was quickly voted back to the Judiciary Committee, where it is not resting quietly.

Judiciary Committee member Bob Wexler wrote, "The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush administration."

Impeachment is squarely on the table, and momentum is building. A year ago, almost no elected official breathed the word impeachment. Now impeachment has hit the House floor, and our electeds have gone on record. Millions of Americans are demanding an end to executive abuse of power.

After six years of state of emergency, the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, continual war and occupations, our Constitution is deeply in crisis. Americans are in danger of losing our system of government and civil rights if they do not roll back the Bush administration's assault on the rule of law.

Allowing Cheney and George W. Bush to finish their terms without being impeached means future presidents are free to copy their lawless behavior. Of course many important issues deserve the attention of Congress. But the Constitution is the foundation of our democracy, not just an issue. Without the Constitution, we have nothing.

Polls show that 74 percent of Democrats and the majority of American adults support impeaching Cheney. "Never in our history have the high crimes and misdemeanors been so flagrant, and the people of our country know it," writes local author Richard Behan.

Kucinich has targeted Cheney first, but investigations will implicate the president as well. For the first time in the history of the Gallup Poll, 50 percent of respondents say they "strongly disapprove" of the president. Richard Nixon had reached the previous high, 48 percent, just before an impeachment inquiry was launched in 1974. With these numbers, why aren't Bush and Cheney gone already?

The vice president is accused of:

# purposely manipulating intelligence to fabricate a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in order to justify an attack on Iraq;

# deceiving Congress about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida;

# threatening aggression against the Republic of Iran, absent any real threat to the United States.

These violations of the Constitution and international treaty are just the tip of the iceberg. More articles of impeachment can be added at any time, and ample evidence to convict is on the public record. Representatives need to introduce articles regarding:

# illegal war, in violation of both international treaty and the Constitution;

# widespread domestic wiretapping in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a felony. Bush already has admitted to this;

# condoning torture in violation of federal laws and international treaties;

# rescinding habeas corpus, the cornerstone of Western law since the Magna Carta;

# obstruction of justice regarding U.S. attorney firings;

# subversion of the Constitution, abuse of signing statements and rescinding habeas corpus.

It's astounding that our representatives to Congress carry on with business as usual knowing that Americans lack habeas corpus and a working code of law. I want my representative, Dave Reichert, to block the doors of the House until habeas is restored as a basic human right in this nation!

In light of Bush's steady drumbeat for war with Iran, Kucinich said he will consider an impeachment resolution against him.

"Impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran," he says.

"The most conservative principle of the Founding Fathers was distrust of unchecked power. Centuries of experience substantiated that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Constitution embraced a separation of powers to keep the legislative, executive and judicial branches in equilibrium," Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer and associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, said in the October 2006 edition of Washington Monthly.

If Congress were serious about oversight, there already would be dozens of bills and resolutions calling for impeachment of Bush and Cheney. The "Unitary Executive Theory" violates the principle of balance of power in the Constitution. The president cites this "unitary" power in hundreds of signing statements that say he can ignore laws passed by Congress.

The First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments are all now subject to the caprice of government officials. The Military Commissions Act allows U.S. citizens to be detained without due process if they are declared enemy combatants. Without our permission, this country has become an exporter of torture.

Congress has failed to provide oversight and exercise its authority to rein in a criminal administration. Only swift action on impeachment can redeem it now. The people have done the heavy work of bringing impeachment forward. Representatives need only ask if the allegations are serious enough to warrant investigations.

George Bush and Dick Cheney promote an imperial presidency. They assert that the executive is the most powerful branch of government, undermining the judiciary and Congress in violation of the Constitution's bedrock principle of shared power among three co-equal branches. This subverts the very nature of our system of government.

"This is an attempt by the president to have the final word on his own constitutional powers, which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy. ... That's a big problem because that's essentially a dictatorship," Fein said.

Washington For Impeachment and Citizens to Impeach Bush and Cheney are working to inform the public, collect signatures to petitions, provide forums, and lobby representatives. Washington was the second state to sponsor a bill for impeachment in the state Legislature.

Washington State Democratic organizations have passed resolutions in 11 Democratic legislative districts, five counties and the Washington State Democratic Central Committee. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, has received impeachment resolutions from almost every legislative district within his congressional district. When will he represent the will of his constituents and honor his oath to protect the Constitution?

The national movement to impeach is a non-partisan effort to restore the Constitution and the rule of law. People across the political spectrum can unite to preserve the Constitution and civil liberties given to us by the founders. Impeachment is the peaceful, orderly, constitutionally prescribed way to rid ourselves of a lawless administration.

The issue is not about removing Bush and Cheney as much as it is about preserving the Constitution and redeeming the office of the executive. The Constitution is the contract of governance between the people and the government. What happens when major portions of the contract are violated?

Congress has failed to call the president and vice president to account, so citizens must turn up the heat. Members of Congress who fail to demand investigations are covering for criminals. Every elected official has sworn an oath to "support and protect the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic." Anything less than impeachment and a full repudiation of the Bush administration's crimes and violations of the law is a dereliction of duty and a betrayal of the public trust.

If we want our democracy back, we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work to clean out the House.


Linda Boyd is director of Washington For Impeachment, www.washingtonforimpeachment.org. Citizens to Impeach Bush and Cheney, in Olympia: www.citizensimpeach.org