Brattleboro, Vermont, site of Tuesday’s vote to indict George W. Bush.
Brattleboro Vermont Votes on Indicting President
The second American Revolution may begin in Brattleboro, Vermont should it becomes the first city in the United States to formally indict George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for “crimes against the Constitution.” The town votes on the following resolution Tuesday, March 4, 2008:
“Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictment for consideration by other municipalities? And shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them.”
Barry Aleshnick is a Brattleboro resident and one of a small group of activists campaigning for passage of the initiative. In an interview on the evening of March 2nd, he said the failure of Congress to act on impeachment inspired the Vermont effort. Aleshnick described how Kurt Daims started the process by developing the resolution. At the outset, “Daims stood alone on streets gathering signatures,” according to Aleshnick. Others joined the effort and they’re now working together to gain passage in Tuesday’s vote.
Aleshnick observed that Bush acts “like he’s above the law” when he invades nations for no reason” and engages in torture around the world. The local initiative is one readily available alternative available to citizens to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for “criminal behavior” in the absence of congressional action, he said. Aleshnick is “optimistic about passage of the resolution.”
U.S. Senate Candidate Submits Charges against Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine
U.S. Senate candidate Laurie Dobson, (Ind.), charged Bush and Cheney with “crimes against the Constitution” in Kennebunkport, Maine, summer home to the Bush family. Dobson recently attracted national attention by proposing a moratorium on foreclosures, an approach later adopted in a restricted form by Democratic presidential candidates John Edwards and Hillary Clinton.
In her February 26, 2008 submission, Dobson specified the crimes to the Board of Selectmen:” I, Laurie Dobson, am convinced that these individuals have committed war crimes.” The action will be considered for a vote at the next town meeting a few months out.
Other State and Local Efforts to Indict and Impeach Bush
On Feb. 19, 2008, a resolution was presented to New Hampshire’s House of Representatives calling for impeachment. While the committee voted against recommending it to the full house, 11-5, the bill will be voted on in March. Reports from the hearing indicated a large crowd supportive of the amendment to the surprise of legislators.
The Vermont Senate passed a resolution calling for impeachment that passed 16 to 9 in the state senate in April 2007. This was the culmination of 40 Vermont town governments passing pro impeachment proposals starting in April 2006 when Newfane, Vermont Selectboard member Dan DeWalt introduced and helped pass a resolution calling for impeachment based on the war in Iraq and resulting deaths.
In early 2007, a formal resolution of impeachment was introduced in the Illinois State Assembly. This was based on the rules for the House of Representatives written by Thomas Jefferson. These rules allow state legislatures and grand juries to issue a formal referral for impeachment, one the U.S. House ore Representatives must consider. The rules, Section 603 state that:
“Inception of impeachment proceedings in the House: … there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion: by charges made on the floor on the responsibility of a Member or Delegate; by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to a committee for examination; by a resolution dropped in the hopper by a Member and referred to a committee; by a message from the President; by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State or territory or from a grand jury…” House Rules Manual, Thomas Jefferson
Illinois representative Karen Yarborough offered the resolution which focused on violating civil liberties and torture. It called for the immediate removal of Bush and Cheney. It was referred to committee and killed by the Assembly leadership.
Of the various efforts to start impeachment proceedings, the Illinois resolution had the best chance by invoking the Rules of the House or Representatives. These rules contain an injunction which makes clear that a “proposition to impeach is a question of high privilege in the House and at once supersedes business otherwise in order under the rules governing the order of business.” (House Rules Manual, Thomas Jefferson)
Current Action Stems from anti Patriot Act Effort – 400 Cities Say No Tyranny
Grassroots efforts initiated in cities to impeach Bush are an extension of efforts begun by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) against the Patriot Act. More than 400 cities have passed resolutions calling for a refocus on civil liberties and repeal of all or part of the Patriot Act, passed by Congress. In 2002, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Denver, Colorado became the first two cities to pass resolutions objecting to the act. Davis, California and Wichita Falls, Texas were the most recent in 2007.
While these resolutions don’t focus on impeachment or indictment, they accuse the president and Congress of passing legislation counter to the intent and words of the Constitution, a charge specified by Brattleboro resolution.
With the president’s disapproval rating at 78% and approval down to 19%, the effort in Brattleboro may be just an affirmative vote away from sparking city and town based effort throughout the country to do what Congress won’t do, end the reign of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
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