Impeachment Call Echoes Near Independence Hall

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"In the U.S., our first executive magistrate is…subject to censure, if necessary, to punishment. He is the…’accountable’ magistrate of a free and great people."

— Del. James Wilson [1]

Philadelphia, PA – Within shouting distance of fabled Independence Hall, representatives from a nationwide coalition of organizations met on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006, to call for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. In the National Constitution Center’s Kirby Auditorium, across the street from where the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on July 4, 1776, and the U.S. Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, voices were raised demanding "real change" in the most lawless administration in the history of our Republic. A panel of seven activists shared their views. Elizabeth Holtzman, who gained prominence for her distinguished role in the 1974 House Judiciary Committee’s Impeachment Inquiry into the Watergate-related crimes of then-President, Richard M. Nixon, set the tone for the event. [2] Today, this panel launched a grassroots movement, a "Citizens Impeachment Committee," to restore the honor and integrity of our federal government. [3]

Holtzman, a Democrat, from New York City, and a former state’s attorney and expert on impeachment, served in the House of Representatives from 1973-81. [4] She told the audience: "It is an extraordinary subversion of the Constitution to send people to die, to be maimed on the basis of a lie…The president knew if he told the truth we wouldn’t be in this war…Those framers of the Constitution knew that some day there was going to be a Richard Nixon as President of the United States. And they knew there was going to be a George W. Bush as President of the United States. They knew that subverting the Constitution was the greatest danger to befall our country. So, that all of us here have to be soldiers in that cause." Holtzman added that the illegal acts of Nixon, the lying and the unlawful wiretapping, "are not too different from today. This president [GWB] has subverted the Constitution and represents a threat to our democracy."

Background: Both Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the soon-to-be Speaker of the House of Representatives; and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), tagged to be the new Chair of the House’s Judiciary Committee, are reporting that impeachment is "off the table." They are both seriously mistaken. The people spoke on Nov. 7th. It is the collective will of the people to hold President Bush and V.P. Cheney accountable for their serial abuses of power. The Republic belongs to the people, not the Wirepullers. (Res Publica Est Res Populi: The Republic is the Property of the People.) It is our sons and daughters who have died in Iraq. It is our money, in the hundreds of billions of dollars, which has been wasted there in a war launched based on a pack of outrageous lies. [5] It is our Constitution that has been ignored, and our rights violated by the widespread and unlawful surveillance program, initiated without legal process and proper U.S. Federal Court oversight, by the Bush-Cheney Gang. It is important, particularly, for Rep. Pelosi to remember recent history. An arrogant House Speaker, Tom "Bad Check" Foley (D-WA), (1989-95), forgot that he was only a trustee of his high office and not an owner of it. His constituents rebuked him for his hubris. Foley was voted out on the street. Foley’s fate in 1995, could be Pelosi’s fate in 2008!

Bill Perry, a panel member, with the Veterans for Peace, also spoke. He said: "We have a man [GWB] who sanctioned torture-sanctioned an illegal invasion…flat out lied to the public…He’s done things that Nancy Pelosi and folks want to ‘cover over’ right now…The man has blood on his hands. The man has killed an amazing amount of people…our people and the innocents of the world…We’ve got to do something…" [6] Cindy Sheehan, Co-Founder Gold Star Families for Peace, said: "I really don’t think we’re going to have a country that we can be proud of until Bush and the rest are out of office…Impeach them for my son Casey…Impeach them for the 2,843 other soldiers…Impeach them for peace…Impeach them to have real healing in this country." [7] David Swanson, Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, said: "There is a moral demand for impeachment and that we who are demanding it are a majority." Back on Jan. 30, 2006, in Washington, D.C., at a public forum, Swanson set out the most cogent and persuasive arguments that I have heard yet why Bush should be impeached for his role in "fixing the intelligence" and also the facts "around the policy," in order to justify the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. I urge everyone to listen to that video found at this footnote. [8]

On Nov. 10, 2006, an MSNBC poll asked this question: "Do you believe President [George W.] Bush’s actions justify impeachment?" Over 87 percent of those responding hit the "Yes" button, which read, "Between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to war and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial." Keep in mind, this is all before one Committee of the new-Democractic-dominated U.S. Congress has held a single hearing and/or issued one subpoena inquiring into a vast array of supposed wrongdoings over the last six years by the Bush Cheney-Gang. The latter category includes: illegal spying, via warrantless searches, on U.S. citizens; fixing the intelligence to justify the war in Iraq; authorizing the torture of detainees; repeatedly lying to the U.S. Congress and to the American people; granting Iraqi War contracts based on rampant cronyism; creating a climate of corruption around the White House which allowed the Jack Abramoff-type-sleaze bags to flourish on Capitol Hill and environs; choosing to nullify federal laws it disapproved of with dubious "signing statements," violating their respective oaths of office; and the final gross abuse of political power–shredding the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. [9]

Tim Carpenter, Director of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) told the spirited crowd: "The PDA helped [on Nov. 7th] to elect two new progressives to the Congress." He discussed an "inside-outside" strategy for winning over the new Congress to the idea of impeachment. Carpenter also gave out "Impeach Bush & Cheney" bumper stickers and had the audience shouting out for "Impeachment Now!" Jodie Evans, Co-Founder of Code Pink Women for Peace, underscored that, "We have literally watched the birthplace of civilization [Iraq] be destroyed…It is our job to fan this flame [for impeachment]…turn it into a forest fire and burn away the dross of the lies and burn away the fear that has been so implanted in the hearts of America…It is our turn to lead…to deliver." Bob Fertik, President of ImpeachPAC.org, did a fine job acting as the moderator for the lively affair.

Getting back to Holtzman. When she gave her talk, which I found very impressive, I could just see her in a court room making an effective closing argument to a jury, summing up all the facts and the law for it to consider in reaching their verdict. I watched her first-rate legal mind at work as she was speaking and recalling her days working as a young Congresswoman on the legendary House Judiciary Committee which drove a deranged Nixon, and many of his closes corrupt collaborators, from public office. Holtzman finished her compelling remarks by stating: "We can’t have a President who puts himself above the rule of law, if we want to continue to have a democracy…We are not a Banana Republic. We are the United States of America…We need to investigate…No Americans should ever have to give one drop of blood for a lie-ever…Polls show that the American people are ahead of the politicians. They can make Washington sit up and pay attention because they did it [re: Watergate] once before…I believe we have the evidence we need. As a former prosecutor, I would like to have more…We are going to bring George W. Bush and Richard Cheney to account and to impeachment." [10]

Notes:

[1]. The brilliant, Scottish-born James Wilson was one of the leading framers of the U.S. Constitution. He represented, as a Delegate, the state of Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention. His erudition was probably only second to James Madison of Virginia. See, "America’s Constitution: A Biography," by Akhil Reed Amar.

[2]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watergate_scandal

[3]. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/impeach

[4]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Holtzman
Holtzman is also the author of the book, "The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens."

[5]. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/

[6]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSnaUx468DY

[7]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVyJKTuuqhg

[8]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUsfjt_ymwQ

[9]. For the last few years, other activists, like Ramsey Clark, Kevin Zeese, Ann Wright, have been calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush. See,
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?
p=4637C72FDB2C1774
Also, one of the first voices to raise the issue of impeachment was Professor of Law, Francis A. Boyle. Check out:
http://radio.weblogs.com/0116902/stories/
2003/01/18/impeachBush.html

[10]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwiSyIbeYjI

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