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Chelsea Green Blog

Contempt isn’t just an eight-letter word

For all of you out there holding your breath, waiting for the Democratically-led Congress to hold the Bush administration accountable for something, this week just might be the week you get to exhale. Still, why do I have the nagging feeling this will be another exercise in gulping down more air and turning ever bluer as a result? Take this line from this morning’s New York Times:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, would not confirm the pending vote on Tuesday night. “One of these days,” Ms. Pelosi said.
Makes you all warm and fuzzy, right? The story explains that Democratic leaders may finally follow through on their pledge to bring a contempt resolution against White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers to the House floor for a vote. The vote could come as early as tomorrow. One group, the American Freedom Campaign, has had supporters send nearly 19,000 emails to U.S. representatives, urging them to use their power to hold Bolten and Meiers in contempt for defying congressional subpoenas surrounding the investigation into whether U.S. Attorneys were fired for political reasons. They are hopeful. The American Freedom Campaign (AFC) was founded in July 2007 by MoveOn.org co-founder Wes Boyd, scientist and social entrepreneur William Haseltine, Fenton Communications CEO David Fenton, and Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America with the goal to create grassroots support to restore checks and balances and reverse abuses of power by the executive branch. It has long pushed Congress to find Bush officials in contempt. The House Judiciary Committee approved the contempt citations, on a party-line vote, more than six months ago, but the resolution has stagnated since—despite efforts by activists to spur Democrats to challenge the Bush administration flouting of the Constitution. The AFC was certainly hopeful that Congress will follow through—this time. “After months of frustration, we are cautiously optimistic that the House will finally have the opportunity to vote on this extremely important resolution,” said Steve Fox, AFC’s campaign director. “In order for our system of checks and balances to be effective, Congress must have oversight over the executive branch. When Bolten and Miers refused to comply with the congressional subpoenas last summer, they were tacitly saying that this oversight power no longer existed. If they are not held in contempt – and prosecuted in the courts – our Constitution will have been defiled.” In November, the AFC launched the “American Lawyers Defending the Constitution” campaign. As part of this effort, more than 2,000 lawyers and law students – including former New York governor Mario Cuomo, former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein, and more than 100 law professors – have signed a statement calling for investigations into Bush administration actions. For more information, visit the American Freedom Campaign’s website. If they do vote these folks in contempt, can impeachment be far behind?


Enter to Win Your Copy of Nuclear Roulette

Seventy years ago, the city of Hiroshima was incinerated by an atomic bomb. Today, tens of thousands gather in Japan to mark the anniversary with silent ceremonies and somber reflections. In the United States, visitors to the National Air and Space Museum hear a narrative recounting that day as they view the Enola Gay, the […] Read More..

Bern Baby Bern!

Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is the only book that outlines, in Sanders’ own words and […] Read More..

Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..