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Impeachy Keen: One of the signs that made an appearance at last week's City Council meeting.


Questionable Actions

Six months after insisting that Saddam had WMDs and won't you please give me $79 billion to topple his regime, Bush is back, this time requesting another $87 billion to spend on reconstruction and military operations in Iraq, where more U.S. soldiers have died since combat was declared over then during the official war.

But U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, who is reportedly viewed as being among the Top 10 radicals in Washington thanks to increasingly ballsy post-Sept. 11 stands, believes Congress isn't just going to roll over this time.

Farr's most recent stance--questioning why $15 billion of this latest request should be funneled into no-bid contracts with U.S.-owned companies such as Halliburton, Bechtel and Dynacorps--won't earn him Brownie points with Vice Prez Dick Cheney, who's already hinting that $87 billion is just the tip of a nation-crushing iceberg.

Likewise, the Santa Cruz City Council clearly isn't currying favor with the Bushites, given that it just sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee "to convey the widespread concern in our city about President Bush's deeds leading up to and in support of the United States war on Iraq."

Ironically, the Senile, which accused the council of wasting time by drawing up this resolution, now seems intent on tying up more time on the matter.

How? By arguing that the council should rescind the resolution, which the Senile deems "convoluted and easily misunderstood"--which is pretty rich considering that the paper itself has blown out of proportion the intent and text of the resolution.

That said, Nüz herewith includes the six questions which the council decided, based on a 6-1 vote, to send to the Judiciary Committee to determine if one or more represent impeachable offenses:

* Did President Bush violate congressionally ratified international treaties and thus Article VI, the "supremacy clause," of our own constitution through the invasion and occupation of Iraq?"

* Did false or misleading information exaggerate the threat posed by Iraq, and was this part of a conscious effort to mislead the United States Congress and the American public?

* Did Bush exploit the fear generated by the 9/11 terrorist attacks to erode or compromise our constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties?

* Does the Bush Administration's plan to develop and deploy yet more nuclear weapons violate the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to which the United States is a signatory?

* Did the United States' use of depleted uranium in both Iraq and Afghanistan violate the United Nations Charter?

* Has the treatment of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere violated the Geneva Convention, the Nuremberg Principles, and/or other treaties and conventions to which the United States is signatory?

Said Mayor Emily Reilly, who brought forward the resolution along with Vice Mayor Scott Kennedy and Councilmember Tim Fitzmaurice, "All we did was take some information from our community and put it into the lap of the next level, a process that took us all of half an hour and the cost of a stamp and some stationery."

And while Mark Primack, the lone councilmember to vote against the resolution, claims that "every action we take like this weakens our ability to function as a city," Councilmember Mike Rotkin points out that 2,000 residents signed a petition asking for such a resolution, thereby giving the council three options.

"We could ignore the people who elected us to represent their concerns; debate impeachment, which we feel we're not equipped to do; or devote half an hour of a 12-hour day to listen to relatively few people, then decide to pass the concerns of our citizens to the federal level. With the Democrats in Congress deciding not to make a fuss about it, our one little community has managed to generate a national debate about this that should have already been taking place."

Medea in the House

Medea Benjamin, founding director of Code Pink and the San Francisco-based human rights group Global Exchange, lauds Santa Cruz for continuing its tradition of "starting trends, pointing out absurdities and treacheries--and forcing people to get involved."

"We're not getting leadership from the top down under this administration, so communities need to push their locally elected officials to take the lead," said Benjamin, who admits that passing a resolution will not likely lead to the impeachment of Bush.

"But it will lead to other communities following suit and will show the public our anger at Bush for taking us into this war and at his administration's effect on the economy," she said, stressing that people have until November 2004 to erode Dubya's credibility.

"When you go to take the bus and the schedule has been cut and the fares have increased, when you find the swimming pool has been closed and the library hours have been reduced, when you find that your college tuition has jumped by 30 percent, and that local schools are being closed, be aware that this is all related to this war," says Benjamin, who clearly doesn't have a problem with helping ordinary people connect the dots.

Benjamin, who has just returned from Iraq, says obviously the WMD argument was a pretext for invading and the argument that democracy can't be imposed by U.S. bombs still holds true.

"But what has happened, has happened. A brutal dictator is no longer in power, and there's a remote possibility that this could be better for Iraqis."

And while she believes the invasion was "really about oil and making the Middle East more amenable to Israel, she still sees a chance to "work directly with Iraqis to stop the corporate rape of Iraq."

Benjamin will speak Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 7pm at the Vets Hall, Building, 846 Front St., about conditions in Iraq and the work of the International Occupation Watch Center in Baghdad. Tickets are $8 to $25, sliding scale. All proceeds benefit Global Exchange and Free Radio Santa Cruz 96.3 FM.

Suspended Animation

With Gov. Davis holding hands with Slick Willy, and Arnie chatting up Oprah, even as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to delay the election, county election manager Gail Pellerin says she feels like "the bride at the altar."

Arguing that it's unacceptable that Los Angeles, Mendocino, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Clara and Solano, which represent 44 percent of the state's registered voters, would be using punch-card ballots--the same machines at the center of the controversial 2000 presidential election, the court on Monday stayed its ruling for seven days, anticipating an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

"So, it's business as usual for us," says Pellerin, who seems to think the Supreme Court will be inclined to allow the election to go forward. If the election is delayed, it would likely continue March 2004.

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From the September 17-24, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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