Testimony to New Hampshire Legislature Supports Impeachment of Bush-Cheney
February 28, 2008 - 12:56am ET
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Statement by Stuart Hutchison Regarding HR 24, Commence Impeachment Against President Bush and Vice President Cheney — 19 February 2008, to the New Hampshire Legislature State-Federal Relations and Veterans’ Affairs Committee
Chairman Roberts, honorable Legislators, thank you for your courtesy and time in permitting me to address you. My name is Stuart Hutchison, and my family lives in Wayne, New Jersey. I organize for New Jersey Impeach Groups – ImpeachThem.com, a statewide organization with chapters in the north, central and south regions of my state. Our membership numbers between 800 to a thousand people, and like Betty Hall and so many of your fellow residents here, we’re dedicated to the passage in the legislature of our Garden State, of a resolution to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
As you know, your passage of HR 24 will trigger Rule 603 from Thomas Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practices, which constitutes the official rules of the United States House of Representatives. In our analysis, Rule 603 was a kind of loophole Jefferson created with great deliberation, as he pondered an important question:
“What recourse can there be when a president decides he wants to be king — or as we say in modern times — a dictator? What further is to be done when there presents a federal legislature that is become so decadent, or jaded, or bribed and corrupt — or fearful, that it’s no longer responsible to the voters who elected them to serve the people of the United States?”
Rule 603 says that a legislature can pass a resolution for impeachment, and your resolution adopts the form of “A Petition” that is, in Jefferson’s word, transmitted to the congress as a direction by the State of New Hampshire that the U.S. House commence impeachment proceedings against the President and the Vice President.
Jefferson’s Rule 603 has never been invoked to impeach a president, but it was used to impeach a federal judge in Florida in 1903, referred to as the Hinds Precedents, section 2469. The Rule applies in line with the Constitution article for the impeachment of a judge — a Civil Officer — as well as a president and vice president. The legality of the implementation or invocation of Jefferson’s Rule is straightforward and should be indisputable; it’s the law in the Parliamentary Rules and Practices of the U.S. House, and is as such part of our Constitution. When you pass the Resolution to Commence Impeachment in New Hampshire, I believe politicians in the United States House will have a hard time obstructing what most Americans will consider to be an obvious requirement. At the end of the day, it’s the pressure from you and fellow patriots that will bring impeachment.
What is the will of the people of the United States? If we are to believe the polling, a vast majority of Americans believe impeachment must commence. 95% of Americans do not trust President Bush to resolve the Iraq war successfully. Only 19% of Americans believe we’re on the right track. As of last night at 8 o’clock, in a poll asking the question, “Should Bush be impeached,” MSNBC records 587,955 votes cast, and of that total a stunning 89% of the respondents — 523,280 people say the president should be impeached, with only 53,504 people, just 9.1% of the total, saying Bush should not be impeached. All the references I am making are cited and linked at our web site, ImpeachThem.com. Now people who don’t like the numbers say it’s not a scientific poll. My answer is that when you accumulate numbers of such a huge scale as that, you can consider the totals to be a fairly reliable indicator of public sentiment. Another poll, by the organization Impeach Bush, cites 995,313 votes to impeach. One last indication is the poll conducted by Robert Wexler, congressman from Florida, in which 229,462 people stated they want hearings on the impeachment of Dick Cheney. These are all significant numbers, and they reflect only the tip of the iceberg where the peoples’ alarm about the Bush administration is concerned.
Our people were betrayed by a president who lied us to war. President Bush knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before he launched the invasion on March 19th, 2003. This is documented by the writer Sydney Blumenthal, available on our web site, from his article in Salon magazine. Making a deliberate and conscious lie in order to justify a war against another sovereign country is of itself an impeachable offense.
And what are the repercussions of this criminal action by the president and vice president? I daresay that on September 12th, 2001, our country enjoyed the sympathy and support of almost every person on our planet; today we are the most despised country in the world. The cost of the war is almost unimaginable:
— 3,963 American service people dead, including 69 people from my state and 21 people from yours. There are 135 suicides of service people in Iraq, and over 100,000 people wounded — these are Defense Department statistics;
— Over 1,100,000 Iraqi dead since the invasion;
— We’re at $496-billion in the cost of fighting the Iraq war, just days away from a half-trillion dollars.
Would $500-billion be enough to raze every American slum and be able to replace it with decent new housing? Would it be enough to fund mass production of zero-polluting electric cars, buses and trucks? Would it be enough to fix every public supported hospital? Would it be enough to pay for a comprehensive single-payer health plan that would offer excellent terms for doctors and excellent health for all our citizens, comparable to the best health care system in the world, which is in France?
More to the point, would that kind of money assure complete comprehensive care for every American service person, every single veteran, forever? If people are willing to die in service to our country, shouldn’t they get everything they need in order to lead a productive life in dignity after their service years?
Let’s pause just a second to consider what a soldier must feel: you’re on your 5th tour of duty in Iraq, when you see a private mercenary from a company like Blackwater, and you know the mercenary is paid ten times as much money as you earn as a service person in our country’s military, and the mercenary’s being paid with your tax dollars, dedicated by an administration that sent people to battle, but was unwilling to buy the proper armor for your vehicles and the proper body armor that can save your life. It must make you pretty bitter when a friend is wounded or killed needlessly. It should make you want to impeach.
As if all that’s not enough, we suffer an administration that conducts illegal wiretaps of U.S. citizens, monitors all email and phone calls, and engages in torture in violation of our constitution and international law. Not content with that, they did away with habeas corpus, a concept that’s nearly 900 years old, older than the Magna Carta, and the foundation of all democracy. Our president and vice president have given themselves the power to gather everyone of us here in this room, put us in trucks and take us away to be confined, without any of our families and loved ones knowing where we are, with no phone calls permitted, and where we can be tortured and “disappeared” forever.
That is un-American, and it’s sure not free. We consider our country is in a state of crisis today, right now, and the Bill of Rights and our entire constitution are hanging by a thread. Worse, the evidence now available shows that both presidential elections in 2000 and 2004 wore stolen, and therefore we do not even enjoy democracy in our United States. Our great country is transformed now into an oligarchy in which all of us are ruled by those few in the top tenth of one percent of our population.
What’s to be done? The first thing is to impeach and remove Bush and Cheney from office for their high crimes and misdemeanors. But we know that getting rid of the bad guys is not enough when they control our election process. We must get rid of all electric vote machines and have hand-counted paper ballots. To that end we support a Voters’ Bill of Rights, which I ask you to distribute to the legislature.
We consider Betty Hall to be a great patriot in the tradition of our greatest founder, Thomas Paine. Along with one of the greatest congressmen in history, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Ms. Hall stood up when no one else would, in an act of great courage, to set our nation right again.
Last, I’m pleased to tell you that yesterday we received the following message from the great artist, humanitarian and former President of the Screen Actors Guild, EDWARD ASNER:
“There are many regrets that I'm not a citizen of New Hampshire and a member of its Legislature, but my chief regret tonight is that I'm not allowed to vote for Betty Hall's House Resolution 24 to commence impeachment procedures in the U.S. Congress. At our founding, New Hampshire was essential. At our preservation, it is even more so. Vote to restore our unique democracy.”
You do not measure patriotism by the size of the flag outside the car dealer or the burger joint, or by the stickers on cars. The measure of patriotism is in our treatment of the least among us, and in an overriding, abiding concern for our commonwealth.
We suffer a war-like administration; the president and vice president like war, but Americans are not a war-like people, we are a peace loving people.
None of you would be here if you did not feel an obligation to serve the people. Now it’s time to rise to your obligation, because you, all of you here, have in your hands the ability to save our United States. Let your love of your family and our great commonwealth be your guide, and you will be remembered in history as the body that said, “We are a nation of laws, and we must insist that the laws be followed, and no person is above the law.”
Let it be said of you, they made the bold move to restore justice and reclaim democracy throughout the USA.
This is your obligation. Our country and our constitution compel you to act now, for the sake of New Hampshire, for the sake of our United States, and for the sake of our world. The line in Dylan’s song goes, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.” Time is running out, and I implore you to move now to shine your light to vanquish that darkness. I implore you to act today, before it’s too late. Thank you.
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