portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

government | human & civil rights

On the impeachment of the President and Vice-president

Communication to Portland City Council, November 29, 2006, setting out reasons why they should pass a resolution for impeachment of the President and Vice-president and thereby uphold the oath each of them took to support the Constitution of the United States.
Portland City Council, November 29, 2006
Communication by Brian Greer, citizen of Portland

I am here, representing Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, to state the case for impeachment of the President and Vice-president.

In these Orwellian times, it is necessary to begin with semantic hygiene. The call for impeachment is about accountability, it is about justice, it is about protecting the Constitution of the United States, and it is about avoiding escalating catastrophes for this country and the world. It has nothing to do with partisan revenge. Further, this reassertion of the democratic will of the people would, at a stroke, go a long way to restore the democratic credentials of the United States as viewed by the world.

Numerous grounds for impeachment have been amply communicated to you. Several of the most important are cogently addressed in "Articles of Impeachment against George W. Bush" from the Center for Constitutional Rights [1]. Portland Peaceful Response Coalition is presenting each of you with a copy of this document.

There is one recent development I must mention, and I am grateful to Wikipedia [2] for a clear account, from which I read:

On September 30, 2006, the Congress modified the Insurrection Act as part of the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill. Section 1076 of the new law changes Sec. 333 of the "Insurrection Act," and widens the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States to enforce the laws. Under this act, the President may also deploy troops as a police force during a natural disaster, epidemic, serious public health emergency, terrorist attack, or other condition, when the President determines that the authorities of the state are incapable of maintaining public order.
The new law changed the name of the chapter from "Insurrection" to "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order."
The new changes are criticized as a movement towards martial law because of the quiet inclusion of changes that undermine applicability of the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) due to expansion of the circumstances under which the President may declare martial law. Similar to events that led to the Enabling Act of 1933 in Germany, critics contend that the federal government is taking steps to quietly increase the power of the federal authority over the regions while simultaneously increasing executive control specifically for policing the domestic population through legal use of the military.

There is a further pressing reason for proceeding with impeachment as one way to restrain the Bush administration. Since the elections, it has shown little sign of changing course. Most ominously, there are indications that another war may soon be started, against Iran. A CIA report stating that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran is pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program has been dismissed.

An article by Seymour Hersh on November 27th in the New Yorker [3] begins by describing a discussion involving Dick Cheney that took place a month before the elections. According to Hersh, the Vice-President said that victory by the Democrats on November 7 "would not stop the Administration from pursuing a military option with Iran".

Declaring war without the support of Congress would represent yet one more violation of the Constitution. Each of you took an oath to support that Constitution. One way to do so is to activate the mechanisms for the curtailment of abuse of executive power so presciently established by the framers. From our activities on the streets of Portland, and our interactions with its citizens, we know that there is a groundswell of support for our position among those whom you serve. Accordingly, we urge you to protect our constitution by passing a resolution for the impeachment of the President and Vice-President.

[1] Center for Constitutional Rights (2006). Articles of Impeachment against George W. Bush. Hoboken, NJ: Melville House Publishing.
[2] Insurrection Act: Recent changes. Wikipedia [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insurrection_Act]
[3] Hersh, S. M. (2006). The next act. The New Yorker, November 27.
Brilliant in its focus and brevity!! 29.Nov.2006 22:26

Styve

Brian...that was great, and I just wish that I had been there to see the response to the "Consitutional duty" argument!!

Thanks for the note telling me of this post and tomorrow should be better for your having set the table today!!

Thanks~~

Styve

Why City Council has a Responsbility to Impeach~~ 30.Nov.2006 07:38

Styve

Repost from BlueOregon~~

 http://www.impeachbush.tv/args/points_city.html#job

When they say, "It is not our job to impeach the President."

1. Most City Council members take an oath of office promising to "protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. They don't take an oath to fix potholes. If the Constitution is in danger then their primary duty is to defend it. If it is safe, and they have time on their hands, then they can fix potholes.

2. Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across America. As an example, here is a page from the Congressional Record showing petitions and memorials laid on the Clerk's desk on March 6th, 2006.

When they say, "This is not a local issue. "

1. If a federal action has a significant negative impact on this city, then it is appropriate for this city to defend itself.
2. Citizens from this city may be sent, or have been sent, to Iraq to fight in an illegal and unjustified war.
3. Tax funds from this city that could have been spent locally have been spent in Iraq for war. Tax money from this city has been wasted in no-bid contracts with companies like Halliburton with deep ties to the Bush administration. Yet this city can barely afford the emergency services, libraries, and schools that we need.
4. The state National Guard should be available to protect this city from floods, hurricanes, earthquakes or other disasters. But instead they have been sent to Iraq by President Bush.
--------------------

...on the matter of City Council members taking an oath of office...

 link to www.portlandonline.com

Article 2 Elective Offices

Section 2-205 Oath of Office.
Every official appointed or elected to elective office before entering upon the performance of his or her duties shall take an oath or affirmation that he or she will support the Constitutions of the United States and of the State of Oregon, and will faithfully and honestly discharge his or her duties; that the official holds no other office or position of profit, and that the official is not a member of any committee of any political party. If such oath or affirmation be false in any particular, it shall be deemed a delinquency in office on the part of such official. [May 3, 1913, new sec. 15; rev. 1914, sec. 27; 1928 pub., sec. 27; 1942 recod., sec. 2-113; rev. Nov. 6, 1962.]

Impeach and Bring the Troops Home!! 30.Nov.2006 07:50

Styve

Another repost from BlueOregon, where Randy Leonard posted about today's Bring the Troops Home resolution consideration at City Hall at 2pm.
----------------------
Great gesture, Commissioner Leonard!! Thank you!!

However, the question remains...bring the troops home to what?! ...fighting the Bush Administration for their benefits?? ...fighting against the redefinition of PTSD as a Personality Disorder, thereby limiting disability benefit coverage much like "pre-existing conditions" enable the insurance industry to skirt coverage?? Read up and do the right thing, please...

 link to www.rawstory.com
 link to www.rawstory.com
 link to www.rawstory.com
 link to www.rawstory.com

Why not go to the source of the lies, the source of the deceptions that have led to the rape of Iraq, the decimation of the international reputation of America, the hundreds of thousands of deaths at the direction of a madman, and that have ravaged the national and the local economies?? Why not support what we have been urging City Council to do for the past 7 months, which you know is less symbolic than the "Bring the Troops Home" initiative...adopt the Resolution of Impeachment against Bush and Cheney!!

I realize that it might seem unnecessary now that the Democrats have majorities in both houses of Congress, but the Troops resolution should be part of the Impeachment resolution, for its effect and effectiveness (standing alone), with the GOP-led federal government so openly hostile to veterans' issues, is very symbolic and limited.

If this is a first step toward your support of a Resolution of Impeachment, my apologies and kudos to you. If not, and this very tardy effort at supporting the anti-war movement is all that you have the nerve to support...shame on you, and shame on the rest of the City Council and Mayor Potter!

You are all violating your oaths of office to support the Constitution of the United States.

Bill Moyers spk to West Point - I sent to City Council 30.Nov.2006 08:44

Styve

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Message To West Point - Bill Moyers at the United States Military Academy on November 15, 2006
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 21:29:09 -0800
From: Styve
Reply-To:
To: Sam Adams < commissionersam@ci.portland.or.us>, Erik Sten < info@erikforportland.com>, Dan Saltzman < dsaltzman@ci.portland.or.us>, Randy Leonard < randy@ci.portland.or.us>


 http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1129-21.htm

Commissioners~~

Though lengthy, I thought it could be valuable material for tomorrow!! It is wonderful that some or all of you hope for Portland to take a stance against Bush's militaristic imperialism and the enormous waste of lives and resources we suffer for it. Moyers' speech is so powerful that I feel wrong highlighting the significance of any passage, but in case you don't have time to look at the whole thing, I thought these paragraphs very vividly set the background for tomorrow's endeavor. Though not initially my intention, those same paragraphs speak to a broader task at hand, and I hope that you will consider what role Portland could play to avert, or mitigate the looming Constitutional crisis.

Thank you!!

Styve
--------------------------

The Bargain

"The Armed Services are no longer stepchildren in budgetary terms. Appropriations for defense and defense-related activities (like veterans' care, pensions, and debt service) remind us that the costs of war continue long after the fighting ends. Objections to ever-swelling defensive expenditures are, except in rare cases, a greased slide to political suicide. It should be troublesome to you as professional soldiers that elevation to the pantheon of untouchable icons —right there alongside motherhood, apple pie and the flag—permits a great deal of political lip service to replace genuine efforts to improve the lives and working conditions—in combat and out—of those who serve.

"Let me cut closer to the bone. The chickenhawks in Washington, who at this very moment are busily defending you against supposed "insults" or betrayals by the opponents of the war in Iraq, are likewise those who have cut budgets for medical and psychiatric care; who have been so skimpy and late with pay and with provision of necessities that military families in the United States have had to apply for food stamps; who sent the men and women whom you may soon be commanding into Iraq understrength, underequipped, and unprepared for dealing with a kind of war fought in streets and homes full of civilians against enemies undistinguishable from non-combatants; who have time and again broken promises to the civilian National Guardsmen bearing much of the burden by canceling their redeployment orders and extending their tours.

"You may or may not agree on the justice and necessity of the war itself, but I hope that you will agree that flattery and adulation are no substitute for genuine support. Much of the money that could be directed to that support has gone into high-tech weapons systems that were supposed to produce a new, mobile, compact "professional" army that could easily defeat the armies of any other two nations combined, but is useless in a war against nationalist or religious guerrilla uprisings that, like it or not, have some support, coerced or otherwise, among the local population. We learned this lesson in Vietnam, only to see it forgotten or ignored by the time this administration invaded Iraq, creating the conditions for a savage sectarian and civil war with our soldiers trapped in the middle, unable to discern civilian from combatant, where it is impossible to kill your enemy faster than rage makes new ones.

"And who has been the real beneficiary of creating this high-tech army called to fight a war conceived and commissioned and cheered on by politicians and pundits not one of whom ever entered a combat zone? One of your boys answered that: Dwight Eisenhower, class of 1915, who told us that the real winners of the anything at any price philosophy would be "the military-industrial complex."

"I want to contend that the American military systems that evolved in the early days of this republic rested on a bargain between the civilian authorities and the armed services, and that the army has, for the most part, kept its part of the bargain and that, at this moment, the civilian authorities whom you loyally obey, are shirking theirs. And before you assume that I am calling for an insurrection against the civilian deciders of your destinies, hear me out, for that is the last thing on my mind.

"You have kept your end of the bargain by fighting well when called upon, by refusing to become a praetorian guard for a reigning administration at any time, and for respecting civil control at all times. For the most part, our military leaders have made no serious efforts to meddle in politics. The two most notable cases were General George McClellan, who endorsed a pro-Southern and pro-slavery policy in the first year of the war and was openly contemptuous of Lincoln. But Lincoln fired him in 1862, and when McClellan ran for President two years later, the voting public handed him his hat. Douglas MacArthur's attempt to dictate his own China policy in 1951 ran head-on into the resolve of Harry Truman, who, surviving a firestorm of hostility, happily watched a MacArthur boomlet for the Republican nomination for the Presidency fizzle out in 1952.

"On the other side of the ledger, however, I believe that the bargain has not been kept. The last time Congress declared war was in 1941. Since then presidents of the United States, including the one I served, have gotten Congress, occasionally under demonstrably false pretenses, to suspend Constitutional provisions that required them to get the consent of the people's representatives in order to conduct a war. They have been handed a blank check to send the armed forces into action at their personal discretion and on dubious Constitutional grounds.

"Furthermore, the current President has made extra-Constitutional claims of authority by repeatedly acting as if he were Commander-in-Chief of the entire nation and not merely of the armed forces. Most dangerously to our moral honor and to your own welfare in the event of capture, he has likewise ordered the armed forces to violate clear mandates of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions by claiming a right to interpret them at his pleasure, so as to allow indefinite and secret detentions and torture. These claims contravene a basic principle usually made clear to recruits from their first day in service—that they may not obey an unlawful order. The President is attempting to have them violate that longstanding rule by personal definitions of what the law says and means.

"There is yet another way the chickenhawks are failing you. In the October issue of the magazine of the California Nurses Association, you can read a long report on "The Battle at Home." In veterans' hospitals across the country—and in a growing number of ill-prepared, under-funded psych and primary care clinics as well—the report says that nurses "have witnessed the guilt, rage, emotional numbness, and tormented flashbacks of GIs just back from Iraq." Yet "a returning vet must wait an average of 165 days for a VA decision on initial disability benefits," and an appeal can take up to three years. Just in the first quarter of this year, the VA treated 20,638 Iraq veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, and faces a backlog of 400,000 cases. This is reprehensible.

"I repeat: These are not palatable topics for soldiers about to go to war; I would like to speak of sweeter things. But freedom means we must face reality: "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." Free enough, surely, to think for yourselves about these breaches of contract that crudely undercut the traditions of an army of free men and women who have bound themselves voluntarily to serve the nation even unto death."

Still got lots of free stickers ! 30.Nov.2006 09:38

V&G