It is urgent that we start impeachment procedures immediately for both George Bush and Dick Cheney. In the two months they have left in office, they can do even more damage to our foundering economy, our environment, and our freedom. The Bush team has been working furiously to put in place dozens of what are called “midnight regulations” before Nov. 22 so the new rules will already be in effect by Jan. 20, and thus much more difficult for President Obama to undo.
These regulations — or more accurately, deregulations — will continue to harm the environment by, for example, allowing power companies to build polluting facilities close to national parks. Other regulations being rushed into effect will further erode our privacy by allowing employers to contact an employee’s health care provider directly, weaken workplace safety protections, take away the family and medical leave provision, and allow local police to spy on us, according to Democracy Now!
These are not the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that impeachment must be based upon, of course. The “midnight regulations” are legal and have been used by former presidents, but not usually in time to be in effect by Jan. 20. And not usually in the face of overwhelming citizen negative input during public comment periods. But if impeachment proceedings were in progress, we might be able to derail such activity.
Ample groundwork has been laid for impeachment of both Bush and Cheney. In January of this year, the clerk of the House of Representatives gave a first reading of the Article of Impeachment of President George Bush submitted by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who selected just one article from the 35 articles he introduced in December of 2007. His H Res 333 was for impeachment of Dick Cheney, which also contains justification of impeachment, according to the Constitution.
Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, along with 38 other House Representatives, sponsored H Res 635, to create a Select Committee to look into the grounds for recommending George Bush’s impeachment. The legal framework for impeachment is readily available. An online search brought up nine books (two by Conyers, one by Kucinich) detailing the “high crimes and misdemeanors” of the Bush-Cheney administration.
Impeachment proceedings could begin quickly if we pressure our representatives to act. Here are three good reasons for us to do so:
1) As mentioned above, two months is time for this administration to intensify and make more permanent the harm they’ve done since January 2001. They could waste additional billions if not trillions of public funds (probably either borrowed from Asia or simply printed) continuing to bail out the financial institutions that created the mess without requiring any accountability whatsoever. If the federal treasury is depleted, we’ll have no funds left to effectively get the economy moving again by creating good jobs in sustainable energy and infrastructure repair, by refinancing mortgages to reflect actual value and prevent foreclosures, by helping banks only on condition that they actually lend these funds to help business cash flow and make sound mortgage loans so people can sell homes they can’t afford and buy ones they can.
2) If we do not impeach Bush and Cheney for deliberately lying to the public in order to get their war on Iraq, which has spilled so much blood on both sides, for spying on Americans, for breaking treaty agreements, especially on the issue of torture, and all the other articles of impeachment drawn up, then we will allow a precedent to be set for other usurpers of power to take advantage of in the future. We could well lose the important balance of power among the three branches of government set up in our Constitution, making a dictatorial executive the norm.
3) Since we impeached Clinton for lying about private affairs, we must certainly impeach Bush and Cheney for deliberately deceiving the world in order to justify the war in Iraq, for violating treaties and authorizing torture, among their long list of high crimes. If we do not do this, what are we saying to the world about our values?
Call or write your U. S. representative now to urge him or her to get impeachment procedures rolling right away before any more harm can be done. In the 9th District of Missouri, Representative Kenny Hulshof voted twice against the disastrous bailout bill, responding to overwhelming citizen outcry against it. This admirable resistance to Congressional pressure to pass it (which a majority succumbed to) shows that Mr. Hulshof may respond again to citizen pressure to start impeachment proceedings in the House. We cannot let a president get away with considering himself above the law and with shredding our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Claire Garden is a member of Peace Works and Missourians for Safe Energy. She is often part of the rush hour peace demonstrations on the corner of Broadway and Providence each Wednesday.