In a tiny office building situated on the west side of Los
Angeles, not very far from the famed Cedars Sinai Medical Center and Beverly
Center shopping mall where the Hollywood elite go to shop, dozens of unpaid
volunteers are spending their summer Saturdays stuffing envelopes, making
telephone calls and brainstorming ideas with one goal in mind. They seek to impeach
and remove from political office the current president and vice president of
the United States.
The Los Angeles National Impeachment Center (LANIC) has
begun operations with the participants in the movement having just one intent
on their agenda by removing George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, this nation�s two
highest political officeholders, from their posts now even though both are
second term lame ducks and will be out of office in January, 2009.
�To allow the constitutional rights violations that have
been committed by this administration go unchecked would send a message to the
next administration and to the world of America�s passivity,� explained Peter
Thottam, the director of the newly created political organization. �It would be
hypocrisy for the American people not to impeach and remove from office George
W. Bush and Dick Cheney over their actions these last four years if we
impeached Bill Clinton over sexual misconduct in his personal life while he was
in the White House.�
Thottam is a practicing attorney, describing himself as a
former Democrat who joined the Green Party in 1998. He received a B.A. degree
from Yale University, then obtained his law degree from U.C. Berkeley, with an
additional MBA degree last year from UCLA.
He was also an unsuccessful candidate of that political
party for the California State Assembly seat in District 53 in the 2006
election. But he has put his legal career and future political considerations
on hold while he organizes this grassroots cause in what he hopes will be the
successful removal of both federal officials through the will of the people as
authorized by the Constitution.
The center has been open for a month, beginning
appropriately in the week of the recent July 4 holiday, to those supporters of
their cause wishing to be free of the two leaders of the current White House
administration in fear of what else the Republican pair could potentially do
while remaining in office.
The first question Thottam is always asked when promoting
his aims is why should our current chief executive and his deputy be removed
from office now when both will be out of power anyway in a year and a half as
the nation gears up for another national election and the arrival of a new
leader to be chosen by the voters?
He responds by saying that since $68 million was spent to
investigate Bill Clinton�s sexual indiscretions and eventually bring up
successful charges of impeachment in the House of Representatives but not
removal by the Senate, then using the same standard of effort, he claims,
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should be tried on at least 12 separate charges
warranting removal, adding that to not do so would be a criminal offense.
He then lists such reasons for dismissal of both as the war
in Iraq, unwarranted eavesdropping on American citizens and the use of torture
against those being held in Guantanamo.
But with the focus of the American people beginning to turn
toward the 2008 primary season and eventual election, and Bush and Cheney both
counting the days until their retirement, does it make sense to remove them
Thottam thinks it is and believes it should be done as
quickly as possible since both men are a danger to our survival as a nation.
�We still have 17 months left of this administration,� he
said. �Impeachment and removal of the president and vice president would only
take three to five months of the Congress� time, based on what happened in the
Nixon and Clinton investigations. But this action needs to be done now, because
each week we delay another five to 10 American military personnel and 50 to 100
Iraqi civilians are needlessly dying in that illegal Middle East war.�
Thottam adds that just in the week the impeachment center
opened in early July some 28 Americans were killed in action in that faraway
�Impeachment and removal of Bush and Cheney is the only way
to restore faith in the American political system,� he states as the reason why
this extreme act by the citizens needs to be immediately taken. �The Founding
Fathers gave the concept of allowing the American people the option of removing
their constitutional officers in an extreme emergency considerable thought.
Impeachment is mentioned six times in the Constitution.�
And what are Thottam�s thoughts on a potential scenario
which suggests that if things really go bad for the Bush administration in the
next few months that Dick Cheney would resign as a sacrifice, via a health
excuse, allowing the soon to be ex-president to nominate a Fred Thompson or
Rudy Giuliani as a replacement vice president to boost that particular
candidate�s chances of obtaining the 2008 Republican Party presidential
nomination and carry on current government policy while taking off some of the
heat for the unpopular incumbent?
�Any number of things is possible,� he admitted of the
theory. �But the real power as far as foreign policy goes is with Cheney. So it
would be a good start if he is forced out. By impeaching and removing both the
president and vice president would show the world that we have taken back our country.�
The events of a recent Saturday afternoon by that day�s four
dozen attendees was to coordinate strategy on how to get the Los Angeles City
Council to pass a resolution supporting the growing impeachment movement,
similar to one those volunteers at the center were successful in getting the
West Hollywood City Council to pass July 16.
�If the L.A. City Council does what West Hollywood did and
passes an impeachment resolution, that is going to make history,� he proclaimed
to the enthusiastic group. �It�s achievable.�
Thottam then announced to those gathered that 80 towns and
cities across the nation have passed such resolutions, including six
municipalities in northern California. But he believes getting the council
members of this country�s second largest metropolis to pass such a sternly
worded condemnation about the unlawful actions of this nation�s current chief
executive would send a strong message to all politicians and give them fair
warning that change is in the air.
So to accomplish that ultimate task all of the volunteers
were assigned the job of writing letters and postcards to be sent to specific
local council members considered to be leaning in support of such a resolution.
That correspondence would include wording to urge each of them to consider
voting yes if and when it comes up on the council agenda.
Those in attendance seemed eager to do anything to help
speed up any impeachment of Bush and Cheney, as Thottam�s briefing to them on
proposed upcoming events to increase public awareness of their actions that
included weekly protests at the Westside Federal Building and rallies in front
of various southern California congressional members� local offices, could be
likened to listening to a popular preacher proselytize to the choir.
Yet the ones who came to help that day, mostly progressive
Democrats and Green Party supporters, seemed as willing in their discussions
with those in charge to fix the blame on Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers and the
other leaders of the Democratic Party that is now controlling both houses of
Congress for not pursuing a course of impeachment once taking power last
January. This was after they listened to Thottam reveal the names of 18
co-sponsors to Ohio congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich�s
April House of Representatives Resolution 333 calling for the immediate
impeachment and removal from office of Cheney.
Thottam and fellow member Ruth Stedman then revealed the
details of a just concluded scouting mission to City Hall to determine the
positions of various council members in supporting an impeachment resolution.
The two subsequently handed out flyers to those assembled
listing which council members seemed receptive and which ones were currently
neutral. The volunteers then focused their penmanship abilities on which of the
local politicians were to receive the letters encouraging such support.
Thottam stated to the group that talks with the staffs of
several council members indicated such representatives surprisingly only
receive 10 to 30 letters a day from constituents, so any type of mail response
over that number would certainly pique their curiosity and make them further
examine the matter.
�The council members are accessible, they�re really
accessible!� he boasted of the visit the two from LANIC did at City Hall on a
day the council is normally in session, since all 15 would be present in their
respective offices in the building at some point in the day to visit with
citizens over any type of issue.
�I think they�re genuinely surprised at the energy that�s
going into this impeachment,� Thottam added to those he met. �They seem willing
to support such a resolution.�
pep talk to show those gathered that their efforts were working seemed to be
the motivation needed for all present to begin the tedious work on their
writing assignments and initiate the debate on what else could be done on their
part to spark a national movement that could eventually bring down both a
president and vice president.