FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Empty Rhetoric from Congress

by WALTER BRASCH

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says the House has so much to do that impeachment proceedings against Dick Cheney and George W. Bush would be a distraction.

John Conyers (D-Mich.), chair of the House judiciary committee, says there aren’t enough votes to impeach the President or Vice-President and that he would rather “propose comprehensive oversight of these alleged abuses.”

Both Pelosi and Conyers are right. There are at least a couple of dozen reasons not to initiate impeachment proceedings, and only one reason to do so. Because it’s right.

It’s right because the two men who swore to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States have violated that oath, and caused others to violate that oath for whatever reasons they may or may not have had. It’s right because a failure to hold them accountable would be a failure to hold any elected federal official now and in the future accountable.

The actions of Cheney and Bush over almost seven years have damaged the strength of six amendments-the First (free expression), Fourth (unreasonable searches), Fifth (right against self-incrimination), Sixth (due process), Eighth (reasonable bail and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment), and Fourteenth (equal protection guarantee for both citizens and non-citizens).

Conyers and Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) had filed resolutions during the 109th Congress to seek impeachment, but both resolutions died at the end of the session. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) filed a resolution in May to impeach Dick Cheney. Kucinich, one of the few elected officials who courageously spoke out against the impending war in Iraq, and who has been vigorous in his opposition to Constitutional abuse, filed HR 333, now with 11 co-sponsors, to help assure that impeachment against Bush won’t leave the nation with Oil-Drip Dick as president.

With each Bush-Cheney action, lie, and stonewalling, the movement for impeachment has gained credibility and strength. National opinion polls show anywhere from one-fourth to one-half of all Americans favor impeachment. Eighty cities in ten states and the state of Vermont have passed resolutions calling for impeachment. There have been hundreds of mass rallies, all of them poorly covered by the nation’s mainstream media, which have called for impeachment.

Dozens of organizations have been formed not only to energize Americans to push for impeachment, but to give reasonable explanations why impeachment is necessary. ImpeachBush.org has collected almost one million signatures on a petition for impeachment. Impeachforpeace.org has a Do It Yourself kit that shows how, in the absence of Congressional action, citizens can initiate impeachment charges. Among those calling for impeachment are a wide range of Americans of every ethnic, religious, social, and political demographic. Writers, singers, and musicians have wrapped up calls for impeachment in 32 bars of powerful music, and YouTube has hundreds of videos showing why impeachment is now necessary. Among advocates for impeachment are former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; John Dean, Richard Nixon’s White House counsel; conservative columnist Pat Buchanan, and even the right-wing John Birch Society.

Among major books, which have methodically outlined reasons and legal precedent for impeachment are Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush by the Center for Constitutional Rights, The Case for Impeachment by David Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky, The Impeachment of George W. Bush, by Cynthia L. Cooper, and Warrior-King by John C. Bonifaz.

On only the flimsiest of reasons, the Republican Congress impeached President Clinton. Despite elephantine roaring, their reasons had nothing to do with protecting the Constitution, and everything to do with political greed, vindictiveness, and the desire to mute the progress President Clinton gave the nation, while they paved a path for a Republican takeover of the White House.

The Democratic leadership-late in coming out against the war in Iraq, late in opposing the PATRIOT Act, late in recognizing and publicly opposing the mistreatment of prisoners-stared into space until they felt the winds of change generated by the people. Once again, it’s time for the people to push their leaders, to demand more than bluster and empty rhetoric. Gandhi was once asked, “Where are you going?” and answered, “There go my people; I must run to catch up with them for I am their leader.” He understood that social revolution begins with a small group of people, and that leaders must be willing to run to that group to help give direction in order to attain a greater good. Unlike what seems to pass among America’s elected officials, whose concerns seem to be raising money to get re-elected and then pandering to those who could re-elect them, Gandhi was a true leader.

It would be nice to see American leaders running to be ahead of the masses, leaders who realize that to be leaders they must first lead. Until that happens, it will have to be the masses who lead. Pursuing Articles of Impeachment to protect what our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor would be the patriotic way to honor them and our nation.

WALTER BRASCH, professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University, is an award-winning syndicated columnist and the author of 15 books, most of them about social issues, the First Amendment, and the media. His latest book is America’s Unpatriotic Acts; The Federal Government’s Violation of Constitutional and Civil Liberties (Peter Lang Publishing.) You may contact Brasch at brasch@bloomu.edu or at www.walterbrasch.com

 

Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an analysis of the history, economics, and politics of fracking, as well as its environmental and health effects.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Jesse Jackson
Jeff Sessions is Rolling Back Basic Rights
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Rivera Sun
Blind Slogans and Shallow Greatness
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
David Penner
When Patient Rights Do Not Exist
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail