Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More on Friday's hearing

From David Swanson at Afterdowningstreet.org
Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations

That's the latest title that Chairman John Conyers has given the hearing his House Judiciary Committee will hold on Friday, July 25th. The previous title had been "The Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush and Possible Legal Responses." The idea that had preceded that one was to hold a hearing on Congressman Dennis Kucinich's latest article of impeachment: "Deceiving Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq WMDs to fraudulently obtain support for an authorization of the use of military force against Iraq."

The problem with that initial idea, of course, was that impeachment is opposed by Nancy Pelosi who recently explained that she's against it because she's "bipartisan", and by Barack Obama, who says it should be "reserved for exceptional circumstances", and by John Conyers who claims that if he upheld the Constitution Fox News would call him mean names, not to mention Harold Ford who alleges that "The Constitution doesn't poll well."On top of that problem with impeachment, there was the problem of the war. The Congress that was elected in 2006 to end the war, expose the truth of its origin, and hold people accountable for it has very carefully avoided holding any hearings on the topic. During the previous Congress, Barbara Lee led a push along with Kucinich to investigate the White House Iraq Group. I asked her early in 2007 why she wouldn't do the same in the majority, and she claimed, rather half-heartedly, that she would do so, but never has.

The problem with the second name for the hearing was perhaps what I pointed out last week: it's oxymoronic. If you're going to have an imperial presidency, why not a presidential emperor? And since when has it become acceptable to acknowledge the empire in the halls of Congress? People could begin questioning why we pay to maintain a half million soldiers in 1,000 bases in 150 countries at great expense and to the serious endangerment of ourselves, generating resentment and hatred around the globe.

So the third title was arrived at: "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations." This handily avoids any reference to Bush or Cheney or impeachment or war or empire. And yet it's that much more absurd, since we have no executive and really do have an imperial co-presidency. And then there's the Constitution problem. The Constitution brings up impeachment in six places but never once mentions censure. Never does the Constitution propose a remedy of redundantly recriminalizing crimes once a criminal president is out of office. Never does the Constitution mention political parties or loyalty to them. Never does the Constitution place the election of an executive ahead of the importance of maintaining an executive rather than a king. It's very hard to imagine how several of the speakers Conyers hopes to have on Friday, on the topics he wants them to discuss, are going to be able to fit the Constitution into their remarks.

Here's the lineup, give or take:
Rumor has it there are two (maybe three) panels being planned for the hearing, one consisting of Kucinich and four other members of Congress (Jane Harman, Walter Jones, Brad Miller, and Maurice Hinchey), and the other consisting of non-Congress Members (Elizabeth Holtzman, Bruce Fein, Frederick Schwartz, John Dean, Bob Barr, Ralph Nader, Rocky Anderson).

These speakers can be expected to favor impeachment:

Dennis Kucinich
Elizabeth Holtzman
Ralph Nader

Maybe Bruce Fein

These speakers can be expected to favor impeachment and other supposed solutions:

Maurice Hinchey

Rocky Anderson

Maybe Walter Jones

These speakers can be expected to spit on the Constitution:
Jane Harman

Brad Miller

Frederick Schwartz

John Dean

Bob Barr

These members of the House Judiciary Committee can be expected to speak for impeachment:

Robert Wexler

Sheila Jackson-Lee

Tammy Baldwin

Keith Ellison

Steve Cohen

Hank Johnson

Maxine Waters

Luis Gutierrez

Anthony Weiner
Maybe Zoe Lofgren

But, all of the above is subject to change and subject to public pressure as well as pressure from Pelosi-Conyers. If you know any of the scheduled speakers, please urge them to renounce good-Germanism, please urge them to read the Constitution on which they are being asked to testify.

And please contact the members of the Judiciary Committee and insist that they be there on Friday the 25th and that they speak up for impeachment.

And please get in line very early Friday morning to attend the hearing! (Rayburn Room 2141, 10 a.m) or join us in front of the Rayburn Building at 9 a.m. Bring impeachment shirts and posters! For more information contact ningroup@gmail.com

If you can't be there on Friday, please freeway blog the word IMPEACH everywhere you can that day: http://www.freewayblogger.com

Whether you can be there or not, please take these steps between now and Friday:

1. Contact your member of Congress in support of impeachment.

2. Ask the media to cover the hearing. (and ask them to please ask Pelosi and Conyers to respond to this question: Can you name one thing that WOULD constitute an impeachable offense?)

3. Sign the petition at Congressman Kucinich's website.

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