Sunday, July 27, 2008

Impeachment hearings

I should have blogged about this sooner while it was still fresh in my mind, but I'll do my best here. Friday, There was a hearing on Capitol Hill for, that was originally called an "impeachment hearing" but was later re-named to "Hearing on Executive power andits constitutional limitations".
I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this hearing was for, or what is to come of it, now that it is over.
It was a LONG hearing! Coming in at around 5.5 - 6 hours long. I actually watched most of it. (I missed the beginning). I'd guess that I saw about 4.5 hours.
It is difficult to sum up a 4.5 hour meeting in one blog post. So just a few thoughts.
There were some REALLY interesting gems scattered about the hearing. The person I most enjoyed listening to (yes, I said enjoyed), was Bruce Fein (A former Reagan admin assoc) - wikipedia. I had to seriously overlook the resemblance (both in physical appearance and sounding like) to the nerdy cop from the original "police academy" movie, and former actor on SNL - Tim Kazurinsky - sry, it had to be said ;) Mr. Fein gave the most direct and informative answers that really made a lot of sense to me. In addition to quoting some famous historical figures that really helped me understand how important this was.
In keeping with my humorous approach to this serious hearing... Rep. John Conyers, who was the chairman of this hearing, was so laid back, I had to wonder if he was taking some medical marijuana :) At times he seemed to just be having fun up there. I admire though, this clear headed thinking, and his approaches at dealing with some of the Republican's tactics on disrupting the hearing. (for example, in the clip above, during Mr. Fein's opening statement, the Republican Steve King, interrupted him and said "Mr. Chairman, the gentleman's time has expired". To which Rep Conyers just ignored him, and let Mr. Fein continue to finish.
Link to a segment by Rep King.
Speaking of Republicans... They did just about everything they could think of to make this hearing sound like a waste of time. Even to pointing out (several times) that this was Not an impeachment hearing.
My BIGGEST complaint though on some of the lines of speeches and questioning raised by the Republicans, was in the way they re-worded the argument. Let me demonstrate...
The main issue of Kucinich's reason for impeachment proceedings is this:
The President, while having intelligence reports from various intelligence agencies, that said (In a nutshell), that we do not feel that Iraq poses an imminent threat. But, what the president did, in approaching the congress while looking for them to authorize him to go to war, he did NOT MENTION this opposing view point. Instead, he picked out only certain parts of the reports, that said things like "Sadam had weapons of mass destruction", and only told congress that side of the story. So, it boils down to this... did the President, knowingly and willfully withhold important intelligence reports, at the time that he presented Congress with his arguments to go to war? That is the main focus here.
But here's an example of what one of the Republican's did...
He pointed out that the President did in fact say there were "weapon's of mass destruction" based on some reports. When the USA finally invaded Iraq, they didn't find any WMD's. So, the President may have made a mistake, but he did not intentionally make that mistake.
Grrr... that's such a gross misrepresentation of the argument here. It's a perfect example of being "intellectually dishonest" to present the argument like that.
At one point, Rep. Trent Franks, suggested that none of the witnesses should even use the term "impeachment" since it was not an impeachment hearing! (about 1 hour and 5 minutes in).
Moving on...
It also became clear to me, that there were certain witnesses on this panel, who were on the Republican side of things. And guess who the Rep's asked their questions to? Yep, mainly those two witnesses. Mr. Stephen Presser I think was the name of the one.

There's much more to go into here, but It's getting late and this post is going way too long.
I just want to say one last thing...
I am not sure that having the witness Vincent Bugliosi there was such a good idea. Yes, he was passionate. Yes, he made good points, but at times it just seemed like he was trying to simply plug his book in a shameless way. And to use words like "murderer" was to me inappropriate at this time. (speaking of which, There seemed to be a lot of book plugging going on here, that seemed inappropriate to me). See his youtube clip here.

IF you are a glutton for punishment as I am, and want to watch the ENTIRE 6 hour hearing, you can see it on C-span's website here. (not sure how long this link will work).
It might be best though, to pick and choose through some of the clips on youtube. You can find a lot of shorter clips here.

I am hopefull that those who have made mistakes will be held accountable. I am not overly optimistic though that actual impeachment hearings will take place, but I hope that those in power who are proceeding, will continue to proceed with everything they can. Go Dennis!

[edit: Wow, I really shouldn't post at 2am in the morning. I just re-read my post above and found a bunch of typo's. I've since fixed them. My apologies to all editors and writers out there.]

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