Friday, July 28, 2006

Reportback from the Durham teach-in

Thursday evening GRIM hosting a showing of the Center for
Constitutional Rights' "How to Impeach A President" and discussion
(the CCR campaign is online at  The
video was very general and referred to a new book by the CCR.  I
missed the name of the first section of the show, but others were 2.
Focus your arguments, 3. Make a strong case (here or in a section
called Article 2 the video outlined some major grounds for
impeachment:  lying about Iraq having a connection to 9/11 and having
weapons of mass destruction, torture of prisoners, rendition to third
countries for torture, and signing statements saying that Bush does
not have to follow laws passed by Comgress and ratified by Bush.  Next
was 4. Don't be deterred, which argued that we should start with Bush
but that his whole administration is tainted.  It also pointed out
that Nixon "crushed McGovern" in the 1972 presidential election, with
61% of the vote, yet he was later impeached by a House that was only
55% Democratic.  5. Take action outlined several steps citizens can
take for impeachment:  write to your representatives, pass resolutions
in civic groups and governments, which works best concurrently with
petitioning,  take the CCR up on its offer to send a free copy of its
impeachment book to your representative, host video showings and
discussions, write to your newspaper, etc.

Next we had a very good discussion, although I have some concerns
about some of what was said.  The first question was about people judt
not wanting to hear this and avoiding hearing about the Bush
Administration's crimes.  The conversation then turned to the issue of
complicity of the Administration in 9/11, with some people believing
that is relevant and others wanting that discussion to be separate
from reasons for impeachment.  I think more people might have believed
it was relevant that that it wasn't, but I'm not sure.  Next there was
some talk of our resolutions.  I wanted to point out that Mayor Bell
appears not to have contacted Price on this, that the Durham County
Commissioners might bee more receptive, and I wanted to ask what our
chances might be with the State Legislature.

It shouldn't be surprising, but is very disappointing, that it seems
like elected Democrats are more opposed to impeachment than
Republicans!  Rep. Miller told people who came from Greensboro that
the Democrats should be more noble than the Republicans and this seems
to be the consensus!  I think he also told them (or was it Mel Watt,
who had almost the same line?) that the impeachment of Clinton was a
terrible crisis that should not be repeated (people here mentioned the
fact that the House only spent 3 days on it and the Senate spent 1
month and that Gingrich did worse).  This is terrible reasoning,
showing that they excuse the crimes and offenses that the Bush
Administration appears to be committing.  Some defenders of democracy!
 They also could be afraid of impeachment being used against them (but
Andy said look at the polls) and it was suggested that some were being
quiet since the Voting Rights Act was up for renewal.

There was some talk of other impeachment methods.  Fitzgerald was
mentioned, but pundits say he is not political.  A special prosecutor
would have to be appointed by Bush (see his response to the letter
Price co-sponsored on the NSA spying).  Many people seemed to think
there would be investigations and subpoenas if the Democrats win a
majority this fall.  Someone said it was all over if the Democrats
didn't win.  In a way this is true, but I felt like pointing out that
grassroots pressure works regardless of what party is in power.
People power has caused many governments to fall (for example,
Bolivia, the Philippines, Ukraine, etc.).  It would be easier with the
Democrats in control, but it is defeatism to pin our hopes on them and
I think the Democrats will still avoid it, and when they do it, they
will avoid the big issues.  That is what happened in some ways with
the Nixon and since Congress now is as guilty as the Bush
Administration on some things, they will want to disturb things as
little as possible (at which point I think it will be our role to
build the grassroots pressure).

There was a question about how to unify our efforts.  I think holding
a Piedmont wide or State conference at some point would be a good
idea.  There are supposed to be lots of groups, but I've only heard of
GRIM, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, and Charlotte efforts
dedicated to impeachment.

We discussed the possibility of election fraud.  Our state is well off
with voter verified paper balloting, but it is one of only 12 states,
and they aren't the most important ones.  There are problems in Ohio,
Florida, Pennsylvania, and California.  On the other hand, people said
the Republicans would accuse the Democrats of cheating if the
Democrats win this year.  It was said that special elections and local
politics point to Democratic gains.

We ended returning to the issue of how to bring up these issues with
people.  It was suggested that we focus on things like the costs of
Bush's crimes (it could like to gas costs too I think).  At some point
someone said, 'Do you want a liar in office?'  As scheduled at 8:30
the meeting ended, but most people stayed to continue discussion over

In all there were 14 people, including 5 who carpooled from Greensboro
(through three dangerous downpours).  The Indy publicity brought out
three new people (though the website mentioned in the ad is a .org,
not .com).  There is a range of opinion within the impeachment
movement, from Democratic Party-centered to non-centered, as can be
seen above.  We collected some more petition signatures and
strategized some.

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