Politics: The opening statements of the “Constitutional Limits of Executive Power” committee

image C-Span hearing small The House Judiciary Committee yesterday held a hearing titled “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations”.

While almost every speaker tried to express that this is “not a Bush impeachment hearing” it was setup to examine legal and legislative responses to allegations of misconduct and expansions of executive powers by the Bush administration.

In short there has been at least a committee put into place to speak up on these outrageous things that have deteriorated the standing and reputation of the US around the globe.

While we do understand the anger of the millions of Americans, particularly of those who lost their husbands, wives and children in a “war” for Oil and Trillions of Dollars “for the boys” and all those who have lost their homes, life’s work, pensions or possibility to get looked after when their ill, unfortunately history is telling us a rather crude and sad reality.

Many impeachment movements also of the very few (17) in the history of the US that successfully removed the “civil officer” from his post (no woman has ever been successfully impeached in the US) were politically motivated and often those who saw almost certain impeachment coming – jumped ship or “retired” from office just-in-time before.

A good example for what happens in such a case (we do not understand that so many believe that this is a rule cast in stone) is what happened when Richard Nixon resigned in the face of the near certainty of both his impeachment and a conviction by the Senate.

His successor Gerald Ford issued an at least controversial “Pardon” for any crimes Nixon may have committed while in office. Note that the whole process of getting to the stage to actually go forward with the impeachment of R. Nixon took about 14 months.

With the undermining of the independence of the legislative arm – as described again in the above hearing – even worse can be expected in the current case. While we want to refrain from further comments on the topic one sentence mentioned a few times when the issue of impeachment with the current administration came up, should be allowed.

The last (politically motivated) impeachment of W.J. Clinton came up a few times in the context. So seemingly it’s considered a high crime in the sense of the base for impeachment if you have sex and lie about it (almost every American above a certain age might have done this) but there is a strong movement that being responsible for the death of hundred of thousands of people, levels of torture not seen since the medieval ages in the western world, continual breaking of international law, corruption to levels that Kafka could not have imagined, the loss of the lifestyle Americans have worked for their lifetimes and the destruction of key democratic institutions are not.

This is not frivolous, this is the demounting of anything that once was considered the foundations of democracy around the world.

One Republican member of the committee in his opening speech said (after he finished his sermon on lower gas prices and Miss All-America) “nothing will come from this“, but we say at least some of those who should say something about it did (at least) speak up for some hours. We should always remember that we are not looking into this matter like historian, but merely being participants, victims or those who with their children and their children and their grand children will “have to pay the bill” for these disastrous ways of handling of even the basic situations happening throughout that administration.

At times, the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding” said Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Senior Counsel, New York University Law School and former chief counsel of the Sen. Select Cmte. to study Gov’t Intel. Activity (Church committee) citing Justice Louis Brandeis. He recommends that a non-partisan investigatory commission will be setup by the next president and congress that will look at what’s been done wrong and recommend remedies. (2h:50m)

Now back to the subject. Below a list of the links that provide an overview of the hearings:

Vincent Bugliosi opening statements:

More summaries of the opening speeches

The whole meeting and summaries on C-Span
and the video of the whole committee meeting (6h:15m)
(Well known US lawyer, author and former US district attorney, Vincent Bugliosi’s statements start at about 2h:33 / 3h:12 / 4h:50 where he accuses G.W.Bush of first degree murder of 100,000s)

There was the “Absence of good faith” mentioned a few times throughout the six hours of that hearing.

Bonus link:
Honk to Impeach

We suggest that you also listen in to the speech and words of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-CA, who was also part of the of the people who worked on the impeachment of R. Nixon. But if you want to get a better understanding of the tinkering of the current administration listen to Bruce Fein who said (literally) that the approach is/was “shoot first and ask questions later”. Yeehaw! We hope you might also listen into what Elliot Adams has to say. He provides a look into a “war” situation from the viewpoint of a soldier who like his (war) opponents is strongly condoning any form of torture. And then also listen to the discussion with Rep J. Nadler, the speech of Bobby Scott and Elizabeth Holtzman commenting on the war-crimes act and the others who spoke after them.

The loss of ethics is a social process – so while you’re watching the complete loss of ethics in the private sector, what or why are you still dreaming about that the same across-society effects are not present throughout the public sector wherever those same people can get a grip on it.

Just remember that after Bush leaves office, he can could be prosecuted for murder or any other crime he might have committed during his time in office.

The future actions taken on this matter will depend on the next US president who will take office in Washington next January. Hopefully he will not do the same tabula-rasa sweeps and forgiving like G. Ford did for things that are destructing democracy in the US and the reputation of all western countries throughout the world. But then there is Italy who already shows us how the neo-libs believe justice is made.

What we found most appalling is that almost all of the republican speakers used examples of misconduct and – to be even more precise – failures of previous administrations to deal with those as excuses or examples that nothing should be done now as well.

Yes, Galileo we told you the world is flat and circles around us and if you criticize us there is always torture to “make you understand“.

Let’s just remember the words of one member of the “House of Lord” in the UK when the neo-libs destroyed this institution a few years ago:

“Who will now protect the people from the government?”

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2 Responses to “Politics: The opening statements of the “Constitutional Limits of Executive Power” committee”

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