May 3, 2007

There was no architect designed this view

William Christenberry, Alabama Wall I, 1985

* "Words mean nothing to George Bush." Seymour Hersh on the current situation. [via]

* "He's impeachable, you know." New York Times on Alberto Gonzales. excerpt:

"If Alberto Gonzales will not resign, Congress should impeach him. Article II of the Constitution grants Congress the power to impeach 'the president, the vice president and all civil officers of the United States.' The phrase 'civil officers' includes the members of the cabinet (one of whom, Secretary of War William Belknap, was impeached in 1876).

"Impeachment is in bad odor in these post-Clinton days. It needn’t be. Though provoked by individual misconduct, the power to impeach is at bottom a tool granted Congress to defend the constitutional order. Mr. Gonzales’s behavior in the United States attorney affair is of a piece with his role as facilitator of this administration’s claims of unreviewable executive power.

"A cabinet officer, like a judge or a president, may be impeached only for commission of 'high crimes and misdemeanors.' But as the Nixon and Clinton impeachment debates reminded us, that constitutional phrase embraces not only indictable crimes but 'conduct ... grossly incompatible with the office held and subversive of that office and of our constitutional system of government.'
"A false claim not to remember is just as much a lie as a conscious misrepresentation of a fact one remembers well. Instances of phony forgetfulness seem to abound throughout Mr. Gonzales’s testimony, but his claim to have no memory of the November Justice department meeting at which he authorized the attorney firings left even Republican stalwarts like Jeff Sessions of Alabama gaping in incredulity. The truth is almost surely that Mr. Gonzales’s forgetfulness is feigned — a calculated ploy to block legitimate Congressional inquiry into questionable decisions made by the Department of Justice, White House officials and, quite possibly, the president himself.

"Even if perjury were not a felony, lying to Congress has always been understood to be an impeachable offense. As James Iredell, later a Supreme Court justice, said in 1788 during the debate over the impeachment clause, 'The president must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.' The same is true of the president’s appointees.

"The president may yet yield and send Mr. Gonzales packing. If not, Democrats may decide that to impeach Alberto Gonzales would be politically unwise. But before dismissing the possibility of impeachment, Congress should recognize that the issue here goes deeper than the misbehavior of one man. The real question is whether Republicans and Democrats are prepared to defend the constitutional authority of Congress against the implicit claim of an administration that it can do what it pleases and, when called to account, send an attorney general of the United States to Capitol Hill to commit amnesia on its behalf."

* From a 1982 interview of Joni Mitchell by Kristine McKenna [from McKenna's excellent book of interviews: Talk to Her]:

McKenna: In reading past interviews you've done, I got the impression that you considered jazz to be the superior form compared to pop?

Mitchell: I have to admit that Miles Davis' Nefertiti, as well as some of Miles' romantic music is something I've always revered and looked to as the real shit. To me, it had incredible contours, depth, whimsy -- it had everything. Miles had the full musicial talent: a gift of composition, shading, emotion, everything was there. At the time when that music came into my life, pop was in a formalized, simplistic phase. It had fallen into the hands of producers and been packaged for commerce, and a lot of it was very sterile. Of course, that happens to every musical form at one time or another, and then a temporary messiah comes along and revitalizes it. The Beatles brought new blood to rock 'n' roll after a very bland period, and punk brought some new textures as well. Punk interested me as an act of revolution, but its strength was in social rather that musical ideas. I keep hoping something musical will flower out of it.

From a 1988 interview:

McKenna: You once commented that the three great stimulants are artifice, brutality, and innocence. Can you elaborate on that?

Mitchell: That's an idea I borrowed from Nietzche but I agree with it. I rarely wear flamboyant makeup, but whenever I do I have to peel people off me who are responding to the seduction of artifice. Face painting, hiking up the skirt -- these are the flags of artifice. As for brutality, this culture is terrified of sex and thrives on decapitation. We're a culture of adrenaline addicts and need ever larger doses of horror to get off, so movies like Halloween III make millions. And innocence? A businessman wakes up in his mid-40s, jaded and thick-skinned from battling for financial opportunity, and he yearns for what he has lost -- his innocence. One of the recognizable characteristics of a culture in decline is the seduction of innocence.

From a 1991 interview:

McKenna: Ideally, how should art function in a society?

Mitchell: There's nothing wrong with art being decorative, but on a deeper level, I agree with Joseph Campbell, that it's the duty of the artist to be a kind of prophet and bring the lost flock back in.

* "When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness." -- Joseph Campbell


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you heard about HR 333? I urge you and your readers to take a few minutes to look at:

It's a list of the 25 most recent comments made by real Americans participating in an online poll/letter-writing campaign concerning the impeachment charges recently filed against Vice President Cheney, which are now being evaluated by the House Judiciary Committee. Comments can be sent to elected representatives and local newspapers at your option. The participation page is at:

Since this campaign began, some members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors, in part due to hearing from their constituents. Has yours? Make your voice heard, and let others know!

11:17 PM  

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