Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Be It Resolved: Kucinich v. UFO

It was just another busy day, Monday, June 9th, and we had a lot to do, as usual. There was laundry and shopping, pickups and deliveries, interviews and meetings, weddings and funerals in progress for most Americans with oversubscribed lives. And for journalists, things were just as hectic: Obama was increasing his attacks on McCain, Ted Kennedy was being released from the hospital, Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee were having a pissing match, and oh yeah, the stock-market sky was falling again.

While we were otherwise occupied, Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio came to the House of Representatives and dared his fellow Democrats to stand for something. In a four-hour, 40-minute oration as passionate as it was procedural, Kucinich introduced a resolution for the impeachment of President Bush.

Kucinich read his resolution for 35 articles of impeachment into the record — a panorama of deceptions and oversights, from illegal spending of public money “on a secret propaganda program to manufacture a false cause for war against Iraq” to a host of violations of U.S. and international laws, as well as violation of habeus corpus, falsifying U.S. casualty figures from Iraq, illegal wiretapping of American citizens, failure to anticipate the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and failure to properly respond to its aftermath; and violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, through disenfranchisement of black voters in Ohio.

“In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.”

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As we might have hoped, Gore Vidal offered his perspective with his customary pungence and eloquence, on June 11 at We won’t trump that worthy site by copying the whole thing here. Below, though, a few excerpts:

“On June 9, 2008, a counterrevolution began on the floor of the House of Representatives against the gas and oil crooks who had seized control of the federal government. This counterrevolution began in the exact place which had slumbered during the all-out assault on our liberties and the Constitution itself.

“I wish to draw the attention of the blog world to Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeachment presented to the House in order that two faithless public servants be removed from office for crimes against the American people…

“Although this is the most important motion made in Congress in the 21st century, it was also the most significant plea for a restoration of the republic, which had been swept to one side by the mad antics of a president bent on great crime. …

“And as I listened with awe to Kucinich, I realized that no newspaper in the U.S., no broadcast or cable network, would pay much notice … It is Le Monde, a French newspaper, that told a story the next day hardly touched by The New York Times or The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal or, in fact, any other major American media outlet.”

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Vidal is, as usual, mostly right. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann weighed in on the issue the day of Kucinich read the articles into the record. And in an interview with Olbermann, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley capably put the matter in perspective.

“There are plenty of crimes there,” Turley said. “They are all over the record, from destruction of evidence to illegal surveillance to unlawful torture — they’re all over the place.

“It does mean that at least one member of [the House], and actually more than one, are really calling their colleagues to the floor and saying, ‘it’s time to pony up, it’s time to answer the public of whether you stand for the Constitution and against its abridgement.”

Kucinich has been on the receiving end of a lot of abuse in recent years. Early in the Democratic primary season, while he was still in the running, he was relentlessly made the butt of jokes, private and public. We remember the stories abut Kucinich's statement in October 2007 that he'd seen a unidentified flying object back in the 1980's, while visiting Washington state. The national press, laughing behind its hand, had a field day with that one.

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But it was clear on Monday: the only UFO concerning Dennis Kucinich now is the unindicted felonious organization headquartered in the White House, and accountability for the high crimes and misdemeanors whose gravity was forcefully hammered home the longer Kucinich went on.

It's apparently doomed to fail; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said previously that the House will not be actively entertaining the idea of even trying to impeach President Bush. Today, the House voted 251-166 to send the resolution to committee — the Bermuda triangle of distasteful legislation, where the Democratic leadership can keep the measure in legislative limbo indefinitely.

But a stand on principle can't be ignored, especially in this presidential election year.

Ain't it always the way? Just when the place cards are set for the big dance, everyone knows their role and the music is about to start, someone throws a grenade into the ballroom of our complacency. It may or may not go off, but for a moment, at least, it gets everyone's attention.

This year, we can thank Dennis Kucinich for that. And we should.
Image credit: Kucinich: Public domain.

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