Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recent news articles

Following the success of my article on the July 25th House Judiciary hearings on Dennis Kucinich's call for the Impeachment of George Bush i went on the publish a series of short news articles with OpEdNews. Here they are compiled.

Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/One-Week-Later--Kucinich---by-mikel-weisser-080801-361.html
August 5, 2008
One Week Later: Kucinich, Judiciary, Franks and the Whitehouse Silent
By mikel weisser
With additional reporting by Nancy Holt and Amanda Lang
One week after the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the "Imperial Presidency," where many congressional members and expert witnesses called out for the immediate impeachment of President George Bush, none of the offices of three of the congressional major players in the hearings, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), John Conyers (D-MI), or Trent Franks (R-AZ) has issued any public statements on the results or public response.
"One week follow-up" calls on August 1 to all three offices showed staff very busy trying to keep up with increased public calls for information on the impeachment, despite what Kucinich District Office staffer, Marian Carey, characterizes as "minimal media reaction." Carey did however a share her excitement over the wave of citizen action the hearings have generated, calling it "very positive" and urged all citizens to continue calling their congressman. Kucinich's office also commented on the importance of the new July 30th ruling by Federal District Court Judge John Bates, one of the pro-GOP Bush appointed judges, that Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton are not exempt from complying with congressional subpoenas. "It's two ahead of Rove, so it is really good news," Carey noted.
Over at Judiciary, staff called this week's citizen call volume "tremendous" and confirmed citizen reports that there will be an official Judiciary Committee statement on the hearings released on August 15th. Even after a double check that date held firm. For those keeping track, the confirmation of a soon-to-be-released public statement by the committee is a backpedal from an earlier mid-week backpedal, when Judiciary staff denied their earlier claim of an upcoming public statement.
Trent Franks' office also had no public statement, but also allowed that their office had experienced a marked increase in citizen phone calls on impeachment. "There have been a quite a few calls this week on that," the staff member acknowledged. Franks had been one of the major GOP players in the hearings, condemning and insinuating that those calling for impeachment hearings were friends and/or agents of the terrorists.
Upon Franks' office request, the following list of questions was submitted via email to Franks' press staff member, Bethany Barker:
1. Has the Representative issued any public statements or have plans to issue public statements regarding the July 25th hearings?
2. Does he have a position on the role party politics has played in giving the accusations made in the hearing fair light?
3. Does he have reassurances for either constituents, or Americans in general, who are concerned with hearing witnesses' extensive claims of criminal behavior by the Whitehouse and congressional GOP complicity?
We await their reply. Meanwhile at the Whitehouse, Press Secretary Dana Perino's office acknowledged that the presidential website and press office had not released any public statements thus far, though promised to look into press accounts of the hearings and the public response to them and get back to this reporter for a statement.

Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Judiciary-Backpedals-on-Re-by-mikel-weisser-080731-6.html
July 31, 2008
Judiciary Backpedals on Reports and Transcripts from "Non-Impeachment" Hearings
By mikel weisser

Claiming an intern error, the House Judiciary Committee has retracted Monday statements regarding updates on the July 25th hearing on alleged presidential abuses, AKA the “non-impeachment” hearings.
A late Wednesday afternoon call showed the Judiciary Committee now claiming congressional procedures will require the official transcripts of the six hour hearing to be held for 90 days, meaning the official transcripts will not be made available to the American public until just before the November elections. A staffer who declined to give her name claimed that Monday’s statement that the transcripts would ready for the public on Aug. 3rd was an “intern error,” explaining that there are “new people in the office and they don’t know.”
The same explanation of “intern error” was given for the retraction of another, even more critical, earlier statement that an official committee report, or announcement of the findings from the hearing would be made available in “two weeks.” “There are no plans for any report or statement regarding the findings from those hearings. They are completed. We do not make press releases on hearings that have already happened.”
When asked to clarify, the staffer did acknowledge that the latest press release posted on the Judiciary’s website [dated 7/28/08—post hearing] was indeed a report of findings from a hearing, but the staffer explained it was actually a report of another committee’s hearing.
“To clarify then, you will post reports on the hearings of other congressional committees, but not of your own hearings?”
“We do not make press releases on hearings that have already happened,” the staffer replied.
While the Judiciary anticipates no plans to release a report concerning the July 25th hearings, the staffer says the committee chair, John Conyers D-MI, would not rule out potential future committee actions based on voluminous evidence introduced on the 25th by Constitutional law experts Bruce Fein and Elizabeth Holtzman, among others, but the staffer would not specify what any further actions might be, only that none have been planned.
When questioned for further information on the transcripts, the staffer claimed that those in the DC area could come to the committee office to view the current draft edition of the transcripts. Interested citizens would be allowed to examine the document and even take notes, but not allowed to make photocopies.
In an additional, though unrelated, example of backpedaling by Judiciary staff, when asked about the volume of calls making inquiries after Friday, the unnamed staffer, at first replied “There’s just been a couple a day.” Since this call was made after 4:30 DC time, the caller clarified to be sure, “The phrase ‘a couple literally refers two, as in a married couple for example; and while the term can be construed to include as many as four, are you trying to imply that besides this call, counting as one, only one other person in America called today to ask about Friday’s hearings?”
After a pause the staffer clarified, “No sir, several called today.”
Given the significance of these backpedals. It might prove helpful for those pressing for impeachment to independently call the Judiciary and ask the same simple questions: 1) When will the committee release the transcripts to the public? 2) When will the committee announce a report to the full house from the hearings? 3) What kinds of actions is the committee preparing in light of the numerous charges of criminal behavior laid out for the public record in the hearings?
The House Judiciary Committee public phone number is 202-225-3951. Readers who make calls themselves could compile the results in the comments below.


Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Code-Pink-Collects-Signatu-by-mikel-weisser-080731-557.html
July 31, 2008
Code Pink Collects Signatures for Kucinich's Congressional Record
By mikel weisser
In a widely circulated e-mail entitled "You Put Impeachment on the Table," celebrating its memberships' years-long efforts opposing the Bush regime, Code Pink has given its mailing list an unusual opportunity to participate in the historic moment by signing a petition that Kucinich is purportedly to add into the Congressional Record on Friday, Aug. 1st, the last of the five days the Judiciary Committee agreed to keep the record open before finalizing the transcripts of the July 25th "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limits" hearing, which the committee had earlier announced on July 17th as a hearing on the "Imperial Presidency," now widely known as the "Non-Impeachment Hearings."
Signers are asked to support the following text:"We the People:WHEREAS, in his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed abuses of power.THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States and that he be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Sincerely," etc.
The collected signatures will be an example in the Congressional Record of the public response to activist groups' efforts toward impeachment. The petition is operated by the online activist organizational website, Democracy in Action. By clicking a link in the email the viewer is linked to the Code Pink website's petition page. With less than 24 hours to go till the posted deadline, the one day blitz email had collected more 3400 signatures, by 2am AZ time, including mine at # 3406. ""yzur--


Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Judiciary-Committee-to-Ann-by-mikel-weisser-080728-899.html
July 28, 2008
Judiciary Committee to Announce Results of "Non-Impeachment" Hearing in 2 Weeks
By mikel weisser
A Monday mid-day call to the House Judiciary offices of John Conyers provided a wide variety of info that a trip to their website does not, including news the official report from the hearings expected to be released "in two weeks" a term used by two different staffers though no names were given. Transcripts of the hearing will be made public on Aug. 3rd. Off the record, one staffer acknowledged that there was talk of further hearings regarding the numerous charges of impeachable offenses, principally those leveled by former representative Elizabeth Holtzman and former Reagan Attorney General's office staffer, Bruce Fein.
Incidentally, a Monday mid-day call to the House offices of "terror propagandist," Trent Franks, revealed new staff members answering phone. Whether and what kind of victory that might be is anyone's guess.

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