|/* Written 12:51 AM Dec 29, 1998 by email@example.com in igc:labr.all */
/* ---------- ""Degrading Impeachment" While We Sl" ---------- */
Degrading Impeachment, While We Slide Toward A Parliamentary System?
By Steve Zeltzer
The impeachment of President Clinton has allowed an unusual
opportunity to look at the undemocratic underside of US politics.
While the Congress could vote 314 to 5 for the bombing of Iraq,
only a few Congress persons questioned the constitutionality of the
war., Ron Paul of Texas was one of the few who asked the question.
Paul, a former Libertarian turned Republican raised the point
that more and more presidents have flagrantly ignored the Constitution on
war. When President Clinton unilaterally bombed Afghanistan and Sudan,
not one Democrat or Republican raised the issue of impeachment, yet this
act alone under the constitution should require a challenge. Even the
"independent" Socialist Congress person, Bernie Sanders voted for the
Iraq bombing resolution and then called on the US government to support
"democratic forces" that would "overthrow" the government of Iraq. This
support for the right of the United States to overthrow governments that
do not heel to it's dictates is another example of how far this country
is from any "democracy". This from a Congressman who at the
same time rails about the economic inequities in the United States.
When it finally came to the impeachment vote, the issue of war
was thrust again into the issue of the presidency only because Clinton
had acted unilaterally to bomb Iraq.
Almost in a unanimous vote, Congress voted to support this
criminal act after the bombing. One "liberal" Congressman, John Conyers
apparently voted against the resolution not because of the bombing but because it
did not specifically support the man who was doing the bombing. While giving support to the massacre, it did not name the
Dumbing Down Impeachment
These same Democrats who support Clinton charged that that the
Republicans were trying to "dumb down impeachment"
Robert Wexler, Democrat of Florida warned "If we dumb down
impeachment and make it easier for future Congresses to impeach
Presidents, we will forever weaken the institution of the Presidency.
The founding fathers knew this. They could have said a Presid ent could
be impeached for any crime, but they chose to designate crimes only of
the gravity of treason and bribery.
To impeach for anything less than the highest of crimes is a
distortion of the Constitution and hands a tremendous weapon to our
present and future enemies, who will point to a weakened President and
ultimately a weakened nation."
The history of US presidents and the growing presidential powers
is that the presidents and their powers have been been used, again and
again to lie to the American people and continuously violate their own
constitution. From the invasion of the Philippines to the "Gulf Of
Tonkin" resolution passed by Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson, US
presidents have used their "presidential powers" to support the
"imperial interests" of US capitalism. These uninhibited actions of
the US President have violated one right after another. Indeed, it would
be a definite victory for workers and democratic rights to bring about
a "weakened" presidency.
One Congress person called the impeachment a "Republican coup
d'etat.". Another, Diana De Gette of Colorado warned that "We will have
substantially subverted the Constitution, which was designed to reflect
the will of the people in a republic, not to pro mote a political party
in what is slipping towards a parliamentary system."
This danger of a "parliamentary system" warns the Democrats will
take us further away from democracy. This, from a party that, aligned
with the Republicans, has allowed corporations and multi-millionires and
billionaires to decide who shall be candidate s and how much TV and
radio time you will get when you run for office. This from a party, that
has put more people in jail than almost any other country in the world.
What is this this so called "People's House" that contains a
majority of millionairs and corporate sycophants doing the bidding of
the robber barons who rule the world.
While they warn, we are "slipping toward a parliamentary system"
they argue that it is quite proper for the President to violate the laws
of the land as long as he is serving as president.
Shiela Jackson-Lee of Texas talks about healing this nation.
"How do we heal this nation? The majority must allow us to vote on a
free-standing censure resolution constitutionally allowed that
acknowledges that the President was morally wrong, misled the
American people and that the President upon leaving office will be
subject to civil and criminal penalties. To do more lays the shredding
of this constitution at our feet.....
Mr. President, if you can hear me, do not resign. This is not a
parliamentarian form of government." Do we hear the same words for Mumia
Abu Jamal who like many many others has been railroaded to prison and
now faces the death penalty. There are viturall y thousands of
people,who have been jailed through entrapments by Grand Juries. Clinton
is not the first one to face these methods. We only have to go back to
the 1960's where the police and the FBI used co-intel programs to jail
and harass people in ever y corner of the US. What is so striking about
the "call for fairness" by the "liberal" Democrats is that they have
refused to even question the general role the Grand Juries for the rest
of us. This is obviously not in their sights.
For a President who has put more Black men in prison because of
their race and their class, it speaks volumes of the concern that these
Black Democratic politicical hacks have for "justice."
The double standard that they want for the common man and women
and the "rights" of the President is astounding.
It is clear as well, that Clinton knows that the Grand Jury
system has been always used by prosecutors to help intimidate and entrap
people that they are not able to corral through the normal prosecutory
process.As a lawyer and law professor, Clinton was
well aware of the reason that the Federal Grand Jury had ordered him to
testify. The fact, that the Starr Grand Jury was used against a
President in the same manner it is used against political critics and
disidents is what is so troubling to these "def enders" of the
If you or I were on the docket, they would be defending the
right of the Grand Jury to be used in such a manner. It is only when it
comes to the prosecution of their co-hort William Jefferson Clinton that
they claim that the process is "unfair".
If this exercise brings us closer to a parliamentary system so
much the better. The present presidential system thwarts our democratic
rights and must be challenged by all working people and those who
would like to see a more democratic system.
San Francisco,CA 94142