Thursday, June 22, 2006

AJR 39: Still Alive and Well, But Kicking and Screaming All The Way

By Paul Koretz, Assemblyman, 42nd District, California

Hello out there in Blog-Land,

I’m delighted to report that Assembly Joint Resolution 39 (AJR 39 -- my Resolution in the state legislature calling for the investigation and impeachment of Bush and Cheney) is alive.

One of the great things that is keeping this bill alive is the phenomenal input and proactive emails, faxes, phone calls and letters of support my colleagues and I have received from so many of you. They have been eloquent, personal and brave. The constant theme has been a deeply held belief that we need to reclaim our nation’s government from the hands of the lawless – if it’s not already too late.

None of this reaction is due to “corporate media” coverage, which has indeed been minimal. Instead, this is a great testimonial to the blogosphere and the power of your grass-roots activism, which reverberates every time you tell a friend, repost an announcement, or contact an elected official asking for their support.

We now have a Joint Author on the bill, Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), and six terrific co-authors: Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles), Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), Jerome Horton (D-Los Angeles), Rudy Bermudez (D-Los Angeles), Ron Calderon (D-Los Angeles), and Loni Hancock (D-Alameda County).

I believe it is my duty as a representative of the people, and the duty of all elected officials to help promote a public dialogue about things going on in the country that are just wrong, such as the dubious activities and errant judgment of the President and Vice President, because we can’t afford to turn a blind eye toward their ineptitude. For one reason or another, Congress has not sought to investigate these allegations. This is a matter that transcends partisan politics, and these are allegations that must not be ignored or swept under the rug any longer.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney must be held accountable before they undertake even deadlier misdeeds, such as the use of nuclear weapons. We have all seen that there are no bounds to their willingness to ignore the Constitution and world opinion, that the unthinkable is routine in this Administration.

People have been contacting me with great enthusiasm about the fact that we are finally standing up to this President and Vice President who consistently trample on the Constitution and believe they are above the law. Rather than fearing a backlash in the November elections, I feel that this will energize Democrats and others who have been frustrated by the lack of pushback to a President who has violated the Constitution and the checks and balances of our system with such impunity.

In the State Assembly, however, there is still much to be done. A bit of progress has been made since I first submitted the amendments to AJR 39. Although I can’t say that Assembly leadership is overly enthusiastic about moving the bill, it has been put into print. They have been particularly concerned about bi-partisan issues on the table in California, like the recently-passed infrastructure bond and the pending budget negotiations, and feel that impeachment is perceived as too partisan an issue to raise at this time. However, once our budget is passed, no impossible barrier remains in our way. The Resolution is now in the Rules Committee waiting for referral, hopefully to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Pressure from constituents like you on Democratic Assemblymembers to not only support the bill, but also to become co-authors of the bill will be key to its success. We also need to push the Democratic leadership in the Assembly to refer the bill to committee and give it a hearing before the end of this legislative session in August.

It’s also important to let your representatives know that resolutions have also been introduced in Illinois and Vermont. Karen Yarbrough’s resolution in Illinois is done for the year as they are out of session. In Vermont, Dave Zuckerman’s Resolution has been referred to their Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, but its unclear whether the committee has heard the bill. Movement of my Resolution here in California could provide the impetus to not only moving Illinois’ and Vermont’s resolutions, but to also convince other states that introducing their own Resolutions would greatly enhance the cause.

It will not be easy, but we can do it. Impeachment charges have never before been brought by a State legislature against a President and Vice-President, and our work will require the best efforts of a progressive grassroots movement to be successful.

WE NEED YOUR HELP. For more information on how you can get involved, go to WWW.IMPEACHCA.COM.

Thank you!

Paul Koretz
Assemblyman, 42nd District

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