Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Impeachment Town Hall Meeting

We are working on organizing a town meeting about impeachment (possibly also on the Iraq War) as part of a national call by the After Downing Street Coalition (www.afterdowningstreet.org). They want the meetings to be held January 7th if possible, but I don't know if we can organize something that quickly. It will be in Durham or Chapel Hill (I haven't heard of anyone working on this already) and we plan to invite Price. Leave a comment or email us if you have ideas for where to hold the event, when, and what the format should be. Later in the week we might have a more concrete plan to announce.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Reportback from the Meeting

Thursday, December 15 at about 4:30 3 of us (more had planned to come, but it must have been at a bad time) met with Rep. David Price's Chapel Hill staffperson David Russell and District Director Rose Auman (who did most of the talking for her side). We started late but were given 30-45 minutes to talk (!).

We are on the waitlist for a January meeting. What time works for people who want to come and should we change our plan (see October meeting notes)?

We introduced ourselves and presented the petition and explained where it was circulated. We thanked them for Price's support for Conyers' DSM letter, Price's co-sponsorship of Kucinich's White House Iraq Group Resolution (which failed in early November), and other work in Congress.

The conversation shifted to Iraq and we said as> individuals that we think Congress is moving too slowly to end the occupation of Iraq, after going to war for the wrong reasons.

Back to the petitions, Rose read from a sample> letter> on impeachment. They seem to have read the DSM, or some of them. The letter summarizes the situation, including the quote about fixing facts for war and it summarizes the Conyers letter. Then it focuses on the future - that the Iraq War was planned badly and without enough support and so now we need a "realistic plan" to develop "Iraqi security forces" and "international cooperation," to end the occupation someday. The main statements are that Price "understands" our concerns about Bush, but believes "the available evidence of his actions to date" don't "fit the constitutional definition of an impeachable offense." He thinks resorting to impeachment hastily, even if he "vehemently" opposes many Bush policies, is "too dangerous and unpredictable [a] path." He opposed impeaching Clinton for the same reason. He asks readers to "stay in touch with me regarding your perspective" and he "will continue to fight the misguided policies of the Bush Administration."

I went in to more detail about the DSM, mentioning the After Downing Street Coalition's talking points: that the War was planned before Bush claimed to be trying to proceed diplomatically, that letting Bush move money appropriated by Congress to bombing Iraq to provoke a cause for war is unconstitutional and on the road to tyranny, that lying to Congress is a felony, etc. Then I pointed out the poll results showing that growing numbers of Americans think Bush lied and that growing numbers, 50% as of October, thought Bush should be impeached if he did lie for war. We emphasized that we are not as far from the public pulse as it might seem from the media and that this is about more than partisanship. I noted that President Ford gave a looser definition of an impeachable offense.

Later we talked about what could be done on the Barbara Lee Resolution, which was slightly bipartisan and almost succeeded (I should have emphasized that more), etc. It could be resurrected by a large vote in the House, but that was considered unlikely. They don't think Price can talk to Senators about the Senate Intelligence Committee report, since we don't have a Democratic senator. I emphasized that if Price can't (yet) support impeachment, what about possibly bipartisan fact finding, which could even exonerate Bush somehow. We didn't press them on this, but I think we should find out why Price didn't support Lee's Resolution and if he can do anything.

They were given a blank petition (so they might read this blog now), old and new talking points from afterdowningstreet.org, the Bonifaz memo to Conyers, and another DSM summary from that site.

At the October meeting we decided not to focus on war crimes and other impeachable crimes (such as charges by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and the National Lawyers' Guild) - should we change this, since Price thinks impeachment is not warranted, or would that decrease his attention to us? I think we should not give up if Price repeats what his aides said, but what should our next step be? There might be another meeting before we meet with Price, on the petition or on a general lobbying strategy.

Triangle Free Press decided not to carry an article about the meeting next month but we are trying to get letters published in the Independent Weekly and other local papers. There has already been one letter in the Durham Herald-Sun (in late October). Thanks to a notice in the Independent, there have been several more signatures to the petition online (and maybe on paper as well) and interest in joining the campaign. It would be good to keep up the pressure by individually contacting Price and writing to newspapers. Would a press release be useful in the future?

We will probably advertise the next meeting online.

Do people have suggestions about strategy? The revelation of NSA spying on citizens strengthens our case, as does the bipartisan outrage. What can we do about this?

Let's build a movement for impeachment!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Meeting Thursday, December 15th, at 4:30 in Chape Hill

We have a meeting scheduled with Price's Chapel Hill office staffperson, David Russell. The meeting will be Thursday, December 15 at 4:30, unless there is a last minute change. We plan to meet outside at about 4:10 for last minute planning. Below is the office address and phone number. There is supposed to be ample free parking there.

What the steering group planned on bringing and what we will say is one the blog below (or contact michael_pollock at yahoo). We probably won't hand over the petitions at this meeting. Let me know if you want to receive steering committee emails.

There is also a Moveon.org meeting at Price's office in Durham Wednesday at I think 11 am about ending the Iraq occupation.

There are now current petitions at The Peoples Channel office on Elliot Rd. in Chapel Hill and at The Know Bookstore on Fayetteville St. in Durham.

I hope to see some of you Thursday!

David Russell
88 Vilcom Center, Suite 140
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.967.8324 fax