January 3, 2007
by Carl Weis
Representative Robert Wexler (D-FL 19th), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has established a website,www.wexlerwantshearings.com, inviting public support for his call to hold hearings on the Kucinich H.R. 333/799, a bill to impeach the vice president.
H.R. 333, introduced on April 24, 2007, languished motionless, though it gathered twenty-two co-sponsors, until November 6, when its author, Ohio Democrat and presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich, brought it to the House floor as a privileged motion. The bill has three articles outlining some of the high crimes and misdemeanors alleged against the vice president. The first two articles concern the misrepresentation of intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi ties to al Qaida in the run-up to the war, launched in March of ’03. The third pertains to the more recent lies about and threats to launch an illegal war against Iran.
The bill created unexpected drama on the House floor. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) made an immediate and expected motion to table, a move that would, if passed, have effectively killed the bill. A recorded vote was called and early voting marched along at more than 2:1 in favor of no debate. Then, as the tally reached around 250 to table, an extraordinary turnaround began. A significant number of Republican votes began to change. There was a rising buzz on the floor, audible as C-Span monitored the process, when votes for debate overtook those for tabling. When the dust had settled, it was 251-162 against tabling, a majority of Republicans joined by only 86 Democrats favoring debate.
Hoyer then stepped forward with a new motion to0 refer 333 to the Judiciary Committee, another way, he hoped, to kill the bill. Chairman of Judiciary, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), though a strong proponent of impeachment before accepting the leadership post, had pledged to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) not to pursue such a course in the committee. The motion passed (renumbered 799 in the process) and got no action for a month, despite some intense lobbying by groups across the country wanting Cheney’s scalp. A poll last summer by the American Research Group but suppressed by the media revealed 54% of Americans favoring Cheney’s impeachment and removal from office. Cheney’s popularity has been measurably lower even than Bush’s historically low numbers, though reporting of the statistics has been buried shamelessly by the mainstream media and press.
But Rep. Wexler polled 3000 of his constituents in his heavily Democratic Palm Beach district and discovered a resounding 61% wanted Cheney charged for his crimes. He was joined by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a co-sponsor of the Kucinich bill, and Rep. Luis Gutierez (D-IL) in issuing a clarion call for hearings to begin immediately. An op-ed piece jointly authored by the three was rejected by the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe, among other major papers. The Miami Herald finally ran an article about the editorial; days later by the Philadelphia Enquirer ran it in full.
Anyone who assumed the op-ed page was for a diversity of opinions, not just those endorsed by a paper’s editorial board, take note. Censorship even of some very mainstream views is happening across a wide swath of papers that once had the courage to publish the Pentagon Papers when the administration in power tried to restrain such revelations. Today, the press behaves like it has a master other than free expression of views, the free flow of information.
When Wexler set up his dedicated website (www.wexlerwantshearings.com), he sought 50,000 signatures on a petition demanding that hearings begin. The goal was met in close to the first 24 hours. He then called for double that number and to date close to 178,000 have signed, and rising.
Activists in the 9/11 truth movement are mounting an intense lobbying effort to have a fourth article added to 333/799 dealing with the vice president’s actions on 9/11 and his obvious lies to the 9/11 Commission about them. Those charges are treason and obstruction of justice, as well as lying to federal officials, all very impeachable offenses.
Anyone wishing more information about Wexler’s campaign, or desiring to sign the petition, should visit www.wexlerwantshearings.com. Also heavily lobby your own Representative to join the push for these hearings — help make history happen.