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Impeach Bush





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Speech given by Michael Brower on 4/28/07 at Faneuil Hall Public Impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Due to time constraints, Michael Brower's speech was actually a slightly condensed version of what appears here.

Michael Brower holds a B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering from Antioch College and a Ph.D. In Political Economy and Government from Harvard. He taught at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Brandeis, at U.Mass-Boston, and also in Senior Executive programs in Colombia. Then he organized and led for over 25 years a non-profit tri-partite (union, management, and government) Quality of Working Life Center which created and trained union - management committees and employee involvement teams. He has been active in Massachusetts and national politics for 50 years and is the author of 32 articles and book chapters. The book he is now writing is: Democratize Capitalism - or Lose Democracy.

The High Crimes and Misdemeanors of Bush-Cheney and Why, Under our Constitution, and Given Our History, We MUST Move Impeachment NOW.

I. FIFTEEN Charges of HIGH CRIMES for Impeaching Bush and Cheney.

II. Five Often Heard But False Reasons for NOT Moving for Impeachment Now - And the Reasons Each One is Wrong.

III. The REAL reasons we the citizens must DEMAND that our Congress Impeach the President, and Cheney.

IV. Brief History of Impeachment as part of the rule of law in England and the U.S. - and then it was written into the Constitutions of Other Countries too.

V. Our Founders Gave Congress, not the President, the Power to Declare War, The Risks to Freedoms During Wartime - AND Some Impeachment Efforts, Especially in Wartime.

VI. Examples of Impeachment Calls in the last 160 years, ESPECIALLY in Wartime, AND With Republican Support.

VII. A Final Plea: Let us Impeach Now, so that Later We Don't Wake Up Asking Ourselves: "Why, How, Did we Let This Happen" as Germans did After WWII.

References.

1) Except where otherwise noted, the page numbers herein refer to: John Nichols, The Genius of Impeachment (New York: The New Press, 2006).

2) Other quotes are from sections of: Dennis Loo & Peter Phillips, Eds., Impeach the President, The Case Against Bush and Cheney, New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006. (Separate chapters by two score authors.)

See also: 3) Elizabeth de la Vega, United States V. George W. Bush et al. Seven Stories Press, 2006.

4) Dave Lindorff & Barbara Olshansky, The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office. St. Martin's Griffin, May 2007.

5) Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush. Center for Constitutional Rights

6) Elizabeth Holtzman and Cynthia L. Cooper, The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens. Nation Books.

I. FIFTEEN Charges of HIGH CRIMES for Impeaching Bush and Cheney, by Mike Brower

1. Lying about Iraq a) having WMD, b) seeking Uranium in Africa, c) having Aluminum tubes for processing it, and d) involvement in 9/11 - all to justify the pre-planned invasion.

2. Waging an illegal war of aggression against Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands

3. Holding prisoners in Guantanamo and other prisons without allowing them to exercise their rights, including the right to be charged with a crime, to have access to attorneys, and the rights of habeas corpus, which "Shall not be suspended..." Art. I, Sect. 9

4. Torturing war prisoners, Violating US Constitution Amend. VIII & Geneva Convention.

5. Inventing a totally new category of "Enemy Combatants" to justify these crimes.

6. Sending prisoners to other countries, called "Rendition," for them to be tortured.

7. Failing to take leadership to destroy nuclear weapons in Russia, the US and around the world, and therefore paving the way for eventual world total nuclear destruction. When that INEVITABLY happens, some day, if we do not destroy and outlaw all Nuclear Weapons, any survivors will look back and ask why did we, you and I and Bush and Cheney, together with other countries, NOT do the obvious and destroy all these weapons?

8. Wiretaps of US citizens without obtaining Court Orders, which he admitted were required.

9. Failure to prepare adequately in the Gulf Coast for Katrina, after the US Corps of Engineers repeatedly reported that the levees were inadequate, and needed rebuilding, and then failing to provide proper evacuation and care of hundreds of thousands of refugees.

10. Pressuring US Attorneys to use political criteria in their work, and firing 8 without cause.

11. Building a huge military-industrial-academic complex taking half the federal budget.

12. Using 9/11 as an excuse to create a pre-planned American empire and to try to rule the whole world with US military and economic power, fear, and tyranny.

13. Massively re-distributing wealth and income in the US from the poor to the very rich.

14. Creating huge trade deficits, leaving the US vulnerable to nations holding our debt, and huge budget deficits, leaving us in enormous debt and vulnerable to economic disaster.

15. Failing to invest in solar and wind and other alternative energies. Instead, denying global warming and making energy policy in secret with oil & coal Execs who denied it.

II. Five Often Heard But False Reasons for NOT Moving for Impeachment Now - And the Answers on Why Each One is Wrong.

1. We will not get the needed majority votes in the House to Impeach.
    A: Maybe. But if we do not try, we certainly won't. Our duty as citizens is to try.

2. If we impeach and remove Bush, we get Cheney who is worse.
    A: Then we impeach Cheney too. OR both at once. Or, Cheney first, as Rep. Kucinich has moved, and then Bush. Support Kucinich's motion to Impeach Cheney Now.

3. Impeachment is Unnecessary. Both will be OUT anyway in January 2009.
    A: Removal is NOT the only, or main Purpose of Impeachment. Limits on Presidential Power! Constitutional Government! Freedom!

4. Moving Impeachment is a Distraction from needed Legislation.
    A: That is short term thinking. Long term Impeachment is more important than ANY piece of Legislation.

5. Just partisan politics by Democrats. Republicans would not and will not Impeach.
    A: See Sections IV-VI below on the long history of Impeachment in England and the US, including many examples where Republicans have joined and even led the effort.

III. The REAL reasons we the citizens must DEMAND that our Congress Impeach the President, and Cheney.

    1) To live up to our duties and obligations as free citizens under our Constitution

    2) To protect and preserve the US Constitution, the separation of powers, and the Impeachment clauses in the Constitution.
    3) To protect our children and grandchildren and their children from losing their freedom and living under tyrants, perhaps even worse than Bush.

IV. Brief History of Impeachment as part of the rule of law in England and the U.S. - and then it was written into the Constitutions of Other Countries too.

Impeachment in England

"To understand the history of impeachment is to recognize the development of the rule of law as it is applied in a parliamentary democracy. So it should come as little surprise that the roots of impeachment as it is today known can be traced directly to the fourteenth century, when the British House of Commons, or Parliament, began to flex its muscles as a force with the authority to apply the rule of laws even to associates of the king. The tool that commoners used to remove corrupt and cruel members of the aristocracy, along with their untitled partners in crime, was impeachment. What is, perhaps, surprising is how little the process has changed from the day when fourteenth-century parliamentarians gingerly challenged the nobility. The impeachment procedures that are enshrined in the American Constitution are, as Alexander Hamilton noted in the Federalist Papers, "borrowed" from those used as long ago as 1376, when the first speaker of the House of Commons, Peter de la Mare, a former toll collector who had served as the sheriff of Herefordshire, took the unprecedented step of initiating proceedings against Lord William Latimer - a particularly crooked peer of the realm who was then serving as chamberlain to an ailing and politically weakened King Edward III - along with Latimer's partner in various shady transactions, Richard Lyons, who was the king's financial agent." -- Nichols, pp. 23-24.

"Impeachment became, by the early years of the eighteenth century...well established in the politics of the British Isles..." (Nichols, p.30.}

Impeachment in the US

"Legislatures in the former British colonies arrayed along the east coast of the North American continent had impeached officials as early as 1635, when the general assembly of Virginia took action against John Harvey, the colony's royal governor. One of the founders of the American experiment, John Adams, had participated in an impeachment trial in 1774, that of Massachusetts Supreme Court chief justice Peter Oliver, who had been appointed to his position by Governor Thomas Hutchinson, a relative of Oliver's by marriage who made the selection in an effort to control the judiciary. Another founder, Thomas Jefferson, had himself faced the threat of impeachment by Virginia legislators who felt that Jefferson, who served during the Revolutionary War as governor of that state, had poorly managed its defenses. (pp. 32-33.)

"In the two hundred years since the ratification of our Constitution, the House has begun impeachment proceedings sixty times with about one in four instances concluding in a majority vote to impeach. Of those impeached, the Senate has convicted and removed from office only seven (less than one half) --- all federal judges. With little precedent on impeachment, legal scholars differ on the issue of what level of misconduct constitutes an impeachable offense."

"Most legal scholars agree that...impeachable offenses are not limited to criminal offenses, but may include such non crimes as abuse of official power, neglect of constitutional duties, encroachment on the power of another branch of government, undermining the integrity of the office, and betrayal of trust... .The term misdemeanor bears no relationship to the minor criminal offenses we today usually associate with the word... And though an impeachable offense need not be criminal, it must be misconduct that in the context of the office is serious and substantial, such as in the case of a president, conduct that subverts the integrity of government." -- Judith Volkart, Esq., p. 11 in Loo & Phillips.

"No American President has ever been convicted of an impeachable offense. Only two presidents have been impeached - Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. A third, Richard Nixon, would have been impeached had he not removed himself from office. Congress has never considered the impeachment of a vice president, although it may have had the opportunity to do so had Spiro Agnew, who served under Nixon, not resigned in October 1973, less than a year before Nixon himself stepped down. Agnew, a rabid critic of anyone opposing Nixon's policies, especially the press (those "nattering nabobs of negativism"), was charged by the Justice Department with taking kickbacks from contractors when he was a county executive. Although vehemently denying the charges, Agnew pled no contest to tax fraud and was sentenced to a fine and probation. Portending the lesser fate of many in the Nixon administration, including Nixon himself, Agnew left office a criminal.. . He has the distinction of being the only vice president to have done so." - Judith Volkart, Esq., p 13 in Loo and Phillips.

"Congress has never come closer to removing a president from office than it did in 1868, when the House impeached Andrew Johnson and the Senate failed by only one vote to convict him. Never elected president, Johnson took office just days after the Civil War ended, when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Suddenly a Southern Democratic president was vetoing major Reconstruction laws passed by a Congress controlled by Northern Republicans. Earlier the House Judiciary Committee had investigated Johnson as a preliminary to impeachment, but Johnson survived this first attempt to remove him. However, when Johnson intentionally defied Congress and fired the secretary of war for administering the very Reconstruction laws Congress had passed by overriding Johnson's vetoes, the House unsuccessfully renewed its impeachment effort." Judith Volkart, pp. 13-14

Other Countries With Impeachment Powers

Impeachment has spread from England and the United States and now exists under constitutional law in many other nations around the world, including India, Brazil, South Korea, Colombia, the Philippines, the Republic of Ireland, Lithuania, Paraguay, and Vanuatu. John Nichols, p. 36.

V. Our Founders Gave Congress, not the President, the Power to Declare War; The Risks to Freedoms During Wartime; - AND Some Impeachment Efforts, Especially in Wartime.

James Madison, often called the Father of the Constitution, 1798 to Thomas Jefferson: "Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad."

"Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other."

"War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies and debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended... and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force of the people... No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

"The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast: ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace."

To "chain the dogs of war," wrote Madison, the Constitution "has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war to the Legislature." And Madison wrote of: "an easy & effectual removal by impeachment" of Presidents who abused their powers. (pp. 121-123).

Thomas Jefferson, One of our Founding Fathers and our 3rd President: "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?" (Page 121)

"Congress alone is constitutionally invested with the power of changing our condition from peace to war." - 1805 (Page 123)

Note: All page numbers above are from: John Nichols, The Genius of Impeachment, The Founders' Cure for Royalism. New York: The Free Press, 2006.

VI. Examples of Impeachment Calls in the last 160 years, ESPECIALLY in Wartime, AND With Republican Support

Jump Ahead 42 Years: President James K. Polk manipulated the US into war with Mexico on the basis of false complaints of Mexican aggression against the US. Polk was a Southern sympathizer seeking to seize territory from Mexico to add to the number of US slave states.

A young newly elected Congressman in 1847 charged that Polk's justification for sending our troops into Mexico without a Congressional declaration of war was "from the beginning to end the sheerest deception." He denounced Polk's war as "immoral, pro-slavery, and a threat to ... republican values." President Polk had claimed that he had chosen the course of war, of sending thousands of American troops into Mexico only after "American blood had been shed on American soil." So this young Congressman, in his first term, introduced a "spot resolution" in the House of Representatives which demanded that the President identify the precise spot at which a drop of American blood had been shed. "Let him answer fully, fairly and candidly. Let him answer with facts and not with arguments." "Let him attempt no evasion, no equivocation." Who was this upstart young Representative? Abraham Lincoln of the Whig party.

President Polk did not answer. So Lincoln told the House that it was because the president was "deeply conscious of being in the wrong." Then future President Lincoln joined with Congressman from Massachusetts, former President John Quincy Adams to seek first a formal investigation of the President's prewar statements and actions - as well as Polk's use of a secret fund to pursue the endeavor - and then to formally sanction President Polk for his lies and manipulations. Before Congress had to consider impeaching him, Polk announced (as did Lyndon Johnson almost a century later), that he would not seek a 2nd term. And then Congress, in a joint resolution passed by both Houses praised General Taylor for service "in a war unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States." Nichols, pp. 124-126.

Lincoln explained his beliefs and thinking in a letter to his law partner, William Herndon: "Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us" but he will say to you: "be silent. I see it, if you don't." The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it by the follow reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us." (pp. 126-127).

Many years later critics of WW I had been targeted for censorship, arrest, and deportation by the administration of President Woodrow Wilson. Another ex-President, Theodore Roosevelt spoke up in their defense with these words: "Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy. The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants... . To announce that there must be no criticism of the President or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." (Pages 128-129)

"The point of impeachment, when proposed by patriots as opposed to partisans, is to define the Presidency as a position that is accountable to the Constitution and the Congress. So it stands to reason that the most substantial impeachment efforts may go nowhere in any official sense but still have the practical and desired impact of holding an out-of-control executive's feet to the fire and of signaling to future presidents that they can and will be checked and balanced by Congress." (Pages 79-80)

"History reminds us that Republicans have recognized this dynamic and utilized it to a fuller and more fruitful extent than Democrats over the years, and this is to their credit. The Republican Party, with its historical distrust of concentrated power, has a better track record than the Democratic Party of recognizing the necessity of challenging excessive executives, no matter what their party affiliation." (Page 81)

"Articles of Impeachment have been filed against nine Presidents, in order: John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and William Clinton. In seven of the nine cases, Republicans - or, in Tyler's case, the Whig Party that would give way to Republicans in the 1850s - were either the chief sponsors or major supporters of the impeachment initiatives. Indeed, it was the pre-Republican Whig Party that launched the first serious impeachment move against a President.

It is true that only two Presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives: Andrew Johnson, who assumed the Presidency upon Lincoln's death and was targeted for removal by Congressional Republicans in 1868, and Clinton, a Democrat who was the target of a Republican-led impeachment in 1998. It is equally well known that the full House would have voted for Nixon's impeachment, had the President not averted the crisis by resigning." (Page 82)

Did Republicans participate in the move to Impeach Nixon? Certainly! Here is a brief condensation of the history.

"Just over thirty years ago John Dean, President Richard Nixon's White House counsel, put loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law above his own interests and those of the president who appointed him. Dean's testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee was the defining moment that sealed the fate of the Nixon presidency..."

"After the New York Times revealed the secret bombing of Cambodia, Nixon ordered the FBI to conduct illegal wiretaps of suspected leakers --- journalists and members of his own administration... ."

"In early February 1974 the House voted 410 - 4 to empower its Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation of Nixon, which concluded at the end of July. The House Judiciary Committee approved three articles [of Impeachment], all premised on abuse of presidential power..." All quotes from Judith Volkart, Esq. "Impeachment - The People's Nuclear Option," page 19 in Loo and Phillips.

Do you think any Republicans in the House of Representatives supported empowering the Judiciary Committee to hold those impeachment investigations? Well, look at the total vote: 410-4! And, after the Judiciary Committee hearings?

"Nearly half of the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of impeachment on the grounds of defiance of Congress and abuse of presidential power, sending a strong bipartisan message to President Nixon. On July 30, 1974, the Judiciary Committee referred the three articles of impeachment to the full House for the impeachment vote. Before a vote could be cast, the Republican congressional leadership, led by Senator Barry Goldwater, arrived at the White House to give Nixon an ultimatum - either he step down or the Senate would convict and remove him from office. On August 9, 1974, Nixon resigned." -- Judith Volkart, Esq. "Impeachment - The People's Nuclear Option," page 20 in Loo and Phillips.

VII. A Final Plea: Let us Impeach Now, so that Later We Don't Wake Up Asking Ourselves: "Why, How, Did we Let This Happen" as Germans did After WWII.

We MUST not go through what the Germans went through in the 1930's and 1940's. I grew up during the Nazi years in Germany and Europe and WWII. At Harvard I read the complete reports of the Nuremberg War Crimes trials, which documented the Nazi crimes against humanity, including the concentration camps and the murder of 6 million Jewish people. After WWII hundreds and thousands of good German people came out of this horror and looked in the mirror and asked themselves and each other: "How did we let this happen?"

My fellow Americans, WE are now those Germans. How did we let this happen? How did we let it happen that our beloved America became the world's most dangerous and most imperialist nation? How did we let it happen that our government lied to the people of the world, to the UN, to us about Iraq and then bombed and invaded that country and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people? AND IT STILL CONTINUES EVERY DAY! History will judge us, the people of America, of an alleged Democracy, if we do not use our power to stop it.

We must demand that our Congress impeach the lying murdering Imperialists who have seized our government and who are waging war on humankind. NOW! If we do not impeach them, in a few years we, and our children and grandchildren and the whole world, will be judging us and asking what happened? Why did we not act? Have we no knowledge? Have we no conscience? Are we cowards? OR, will we stand up and act like free men and women of decency and conscience? The decision is mine and yours. The decision is ours. NOW!

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