At Netroots, Pelosi Ducks Impeachment; Gore Calls for National Grassroots Movement
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Karl Rove should be put in the jail cell at the U.S. Capitol for defying a congressional subpeona to testify before Judiciary Committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told a national bloggers conference on Saturday morning, but she did not directly answer questions on why the House has not pursued impeachment charges against the president.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Al Gore, who made a surprise appearance at the "Ask The Speaker" session at the Netroots Nation conference, urged those in attendance to help him create a national grassroots movement to counter corporate interests and others ignoring the global climate crisis.
Gore said the best way for the country to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy was not to push car companies to build different vehicles, but rather to rebuild the country's electricity infrastructure so the U.S. Relied on 100 percent renewable sources in a decade.
"The easiest and cheapest way to shift over to a new energy is to start with electricity," Gore said. "Cars will follow. A new national grid is the centerpiece of this agenda. We have to switch our electricity generation system to get 100 percent from renewable sources."
"We can do it, but I need your help," Gore said, urging the bloggers to encourage people to join his new organization, wecansolveit.org. The group has 1.3 million members, but Gore said it needs 10 million members to counter corporate and political opposition to real change - even if a Democratic president and Congress is elected in the fall.
"I need your help," Gore said. "You speak to and connect with so many millions of people. I ask for you help to build that group of people. You will not see this organization getting partisan or turning to some other agenda. We will not back down."
ARREST KARL ROVE
The organizers of Netroots Nation created an "Ask the Speaker" website where people voted on the questions they most wanted to ask Pelosi. Impeachment topped the list. Pelosi did not reply directly, but instead said the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) would be pursuing a contempt of Congress resolution against Rove, just as it had with other White House staffers who did not testify when ordered to do so by House committees.
"Now the committee is considering contempt for Karl Rove," she said. "That will be up for the committee to decide. Mr. Conyers says I am in charge and I accept that."
When another questioner asked if Rove should be in the Capitol's jail, Pelosi replied, "That's where he belongs. As Mr. Conyers says, 'leave it up to me.'"
Pelosi also defended the recently-passed FISA bill, which deals with how the federal government can monitor the personal communications of U.S. Citizens when fighting terrorism. She said the House's version of the recently passed bill did not grant retroactive immunity for telecom companies that helped the government spy on what some believe is millions of Americans. But she said House Democrats could do little when 17 Democratic senators sided with their Republican colleagues and supported a version of the bill that gave telecom companies retroactive immunity.
She said the bill that was passed, the product of a conference committee, included the immunity but also for the first time brought oversight of the FISA law to two House committees and the Inspector General's office, which she said was some progress.
"I'll never understand how Dem 17 senators voted with the GOP on FISA," Pelosi said. "I have serious sadness over two things in the congress. One is that they sent us the (Senate) FISA bill and that we could not overcome 60 votes in the Senate to end the war in Iraq."
Steven Rosenfeld is a senior fellow at Alternet.org and co-author of What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election , with Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman (The New Press, 2006).