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Berkeley CA ballot initiative to impeach Bush, Cheney - can voters impeach?

Reported by Chrish - June 27, 2006 -

John Gibson gets credit for effort, but he failed to shoot down guest Steve Freedkin, chairman of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission. on The Big Story today 6/27/06. Gibson says the Peace and Justice Commission has introduced a ballot item for Berkeley voters to call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, not surprising from that "hot bed of liberalism."

Asked "what good" would that do, Freedkin first sets the record straight and says the ballot initiative is presented by a national organization, Constitution Summer, based primarily in law schools around the country. Their aim is to get a public conversation started so that people can start to understand the Constitution - what's in it, what are their rights, what is the balance of power, and how is this administration exceeding those.

Gibson asked for a list of the particulars, but interrupted after the first one to challenge Freedkin, saying he'd take them one at a time. This tactic served two purposes: first, it prevented Freedkin from reciting the laundry list of grievances, which sounds damning when heard (read) altogether:

1) illegal domestic spying in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the 4th Amendment;
2) misleading the country into a war of aggression in Iraq based on fraudulent claims;
3) indefinite detention, extraordinary rendition, and torture;
4) abuse of executive authority and subversion of the Constitution.

and second, it gave Gibson an opportunity to shoot each item down. Theoretically, anyway.

Gibson said that the Bush administration says the wiretapping is legal, and Freedkin replies that their definition of what is legal is whatever they say is legal, essentially - "they're claiming it's legal simply because they claim it's legal, because he claims he's the commander-in-chief and he can do whatever he wants." Gibson still defends the administration and says it's quieted down in Congress, but Freedkin denies it's died down and reminds him that Senators Specter, Warner, McCain, and Graham, all Republicans, are saying the administration is clearly exceeding its authority. Perhaps for the first time, Gibson's audience hears that 750 times Bush has signed "signing statements" on laws that say in essence that "we signed this law but we don't have to follow it,", and Freedkin says "our system of government cannot be allowed to work like that."

The ever-tactful Gibson says that Freedkin sees Democrats, especially those in leadership positions in both houses, backing away from him as fast as they can. If they're so afraid of this and it's such a poltical loser, why pursue it? Freedkin says that first of all, he's not working on behalf of the Democratic party, and many of 'us' would not argue that the Democratic party of today has demonstrated a great deal of courage on a number of issues. He goes on to say that we need the grassroots conversation to take place in communities acrss the country - what's in the Constitution, why is it important to us, how has this administration overstepped, and what do we do about it. The Democrat and Republican "leaders" in Washington are often the last to come along and jump in front of the parade once the parade gets going. But it's got to start with the people, and it's gone on too long, people don't understand what's in the Constitution....

Gibson had to interrupt and end the interview. Even though Freedkin got some good information out there, note that Gibson's tactic of pretending to take each charge seperately succeeded in preventing Freedkin from listing them all. If FOX was really interested in informing viewers and letting us decide, they would have shared the website (ConstitutionSummer.org; check it out and volunteer) , listed all the charges in a graphic, and dedicated more time to the segment.