Comments On Impeachment: by New Mexico Senate Committee member Senator Rod Adair

Gem Fire Air
Comments On Impeachment: by New Mexico Senate Committee member Senator Rod Adair
marty kleva

March 7, 2007

Permanent url

Note: This is the sixth article covering SJR5 in the New Mexico Legislature.
Links to the first five are at the bottom of this post.

Video transcript: NM Senate Judiciary Committee/ March 5, 2007 | Comments by Committee member Senator Rod Adair

This is a transcript of Senator Rod Adair’s 25-minute reply to the 40 minutes of testimony from the citizens attending the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee, March 5, 2007. It is an excerpt from a video taken of the hearing by Concentric, Arthouse & Vivo. Some of the statements are not transcribed completely due to difficulty hearing all that is said. Therefore you will see ‘refer’ notes to the subject that is being discussed. I tried to be as fair in transcribing what I heard in the limited time I had access to the video. If I have made mistakes, I apologize, and stand readily available to correct them as soon as possible.

The purpose of presenting Senator Adair’s comments on GemFireAir is to provide the opinion and views of a different perspective from those of us who are actively invested in the success of New Mexico’s Impeachment Resolution SJR5.

Personally, I am in favor of SJR5. However, I am also willing to listen to another point of view. Senator Adair provides that view, and because to date he is the only New Mexican Legislative opposition to come forward with a comprehensive and cohesive presentation, I believe that it is important and even imperative that we hear it.

This is intentionally presented without my personal comments so that each of you may reach your own conclusions without my bias. I encourage those who read this to send the link of this transcript to any person who is not informed of this issue, who is not involved, who has no idea that this debate has reached this level of public awareness, or who is against the idea of investigating the possible impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

It is highly likely that sometime in the future I will write and publish my own comments on Senator Adair's, but for now I post this for the purpose of the public being informed about what else is being said, and who is saying it.

Con Molto Amore,

~ mek

*********** *********** ***********

Key for transcript symbols:
SA=Senator Rod Adair / OyP=Senator
Gerald Ortiz y Pino / G=Senator John Grubesic

(questioning OyP about the resolution language) “Are you proceeding against 2 people simultaneously?”

“It is our feeling that they are a team. To impeach one, the other would step up and take the position.”

(Several comments by SA)

“What we are really after is the commencement of an investigation.”

(going to wording again) “Congress . . . must impeach”

“In Elizabeth Holtzman’s testimony, she was clear that impeachment is a process. We are asking Congress to investigate and if they determine there are grounds for impeachment . . . “

(comments about that then there would be an “indictment” and “trial”.)

“What you have written . . . what you are saying is that you really don’t believe that. That’s not what you say” (. . . refers to end of resolution wording “that they be impeached.”)

G: (Senator Grubesic points out the word “may” in the last several paragraphs.)

SA: (wants to eliminate lines 4-8 on page 3.)

G: (states that he would prefer to insert the word “may” on line 6 and keep lines 4-8.)

SA: (Stating that he prefers to . . .)

“ . . . talk through this whole thing in a more modulated voice. People have said we should put aside our personal biases and vote based on what the law is. That’s what I’m going to do. I would urge everybody here, let that be the case today.

One gentleman said that when he was little, the hair on his arms would stand up when soldiers walked by and that’s not the case today. Soldiers are making sacrifices all over . . . . If you feel less pride because of political differences you may have with the administration, that’s wrong.

There were references made to heading toward a total fascist America. The American people do not even know what that means. This rhetoric dominates the American political scene. Over the last 25 years, we’ve really begun to polarize in this country. Impeachment is for high crimes and misdemeanors . . . (_?_) want to take the impeachment route over public policy.

(Outcry from someone in the audience—audience shushes the person)

SA: “I appreciate that. I did listen to everybody . . . abandoned by my friends again.” (chuckling reference to the other Republican senators who have left the committee room — Paine, Harden, & Cravens)

(reference to #1 charge in the resolution to conspire and defraud the country and the intention to mislead Congress and the public to justify the Iraq war)

“The commissions in both Britain and the U.S. who looked into this did not reach that conclusion. No one made a stronger case for war than former President Clinton.”

(refer to #2 charge— wire taps of Americans without the first seeking FISA court orders —

“Rulings by Attorney General Gonzalez say that FISA actually allows that.”

(refer to #3 charge-torture of prisoners in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Chapter 113C, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Geneva Conventions,)

“It has been reviewed by the Justice Department. The administration has made a good faith effort to make sure that those errors are not made again. (refers to Abu Ghraib-no mention of Guantanamo) The charge of ( __ and __) based on things, are still subject to debate.”

SA: (brings up the mass internment of Americans of Japanese descent during WWII)

“ . . . was based solely on discretionary designation. President Bush has not taken anywhere near a power as that. (quotes a British historian from a recent TV program) “. . . said that opponents to the Blair Administration and the war is far more prevalent in Britain than in the U.S., that it is ‘unthinkable’ in the British context that we are bringing forth resolutions like this while there are still troops in the field.”

SA: “The polarization, especially on the American Left over the last 25 years is a concern.”

(refers to audience testimony on the Middle-East conflict)

“I’m always troubled by the rising anti-Semitism by the part of the Left. I heard reference today on our allies in Israel and the condition of the Palestinian state. Simply, I deny it and I condemn it. I condemn bigotry; condemn fascism in its every form.

I have been tear-gassed in Ecuador, shot at in Venezuela, policed people off the mountains in Honduras — people who died in service for their country. I’ve ridden in vehicles that have been beaten on with baseball bats and big clubs in Panama as we tried to maneuver through a riot.

I know what its like to live in a police state. For those who believe we live in something approaching a totalitarian state (refers to testimony from citizen), I would say that you need to expand your horizons. You need to read a little bit more, have a little broader perspective. I would suggest a lack of understanding of that.

We’re already deeply engaged in something—that’s what this is all about—it’s about the war in Iraq.

There were three great fascisms in the last century: Wilhelmine Germany — we faced them down; Nazi Germany; the threat of the Soviet Union — which yes is a fascism, no question about it.

(Notes that there are some people in the audience that look like they are older than he and who) “ . . . were probably a part of the 1984 American Left . . . (during the Reagan nuclear freeze).

“I know—I know in my heart there are those in this room, whether they were there, that they wanted that to happen 3(?-perhaps 30) years ago. The nuclear freeze, Ronald Reagan, and all the –isms, communist socialism. None of it ever goes away. You can’t possibly __?__. 'Better Dead Than Red'. I’m with you!”

You were wrong then. You’re wrong today. I believe that today America is a bastion of all the fascisms that have come before us, and is a bastion against fascists — Islamic Fascism and the hatred they have for the West. The killing in Iraq is not the fault of American soldiers or the fault of the American Commander and Chief.

It’s the fault of the Islamic Fascists and if we quit there — you may be successful for a while in getting a weak leadership to do what you want to do for a while, but it only is delaying it a little bit. They will be back with greater ferocity than ever before because the one thing—the only thing they do understand—they understand a fearful and cowardly West and what they believe is a decadent and unresolved West.”

(interruption by a citizen in the audience) “You are deluded!”

SA: (continuing) “and we are not that, and the American people I’m a part of and I have served for 20 years in uniform are not that. I am not deluded sir!

We will stand against this fascism as well and it may take longer than the World Wars did. It may take 40 years. If we back down now, we will lose everything that we have, because these people hate us, they hate the very freedom that allows you to be here and to express yourself—to bring these charges against the President of the U.S. in a far and distant state.

But if you think that you are fighting for something that’s going to be sympathetic to you, you’re wrong. You think that you’re on the right side of something that’s going to be beneficial to you, to give equal rights to men and women, to everybody who holds a different point of view, you’re wrong. The President’s taken a stand and it’s an unpopular one.”

(comments here referring to the point that Truman left office with a 22% approval rate)

SA: “I have at least the perspective of history to know that it takes a long time for these things to be figured out. You may win in the short run and get a change in policy, but you will regret it because weakness is not what these people respect.

I’m not going to vote for this. I’m not going to call you names and call you deluded, or anything else.

You have every right to do it, but I don’t have to stand with you, and I’ll tell you why I don’t, and I just have.

(End of Senator Adair’s comments)

Links to previous articles covering SJR5:

NM Lawmakers Launch Impeachment Resolution of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

New Mexico Legislature Resolution to Impeach: Update & Reflections

New Mexico's Legislature & The Use of Asbestos Gloves: Update & Reflections

NM Legislature Deals Two ‘Green Chiles’ to SJR5!

New Mexico Senate Judiciary Passes Impeachment Resolution


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New Mexico Senate Judiciary Passes Impeachment Resolution

Gem Fire Air
New Mexico Senate Judiciary Passes Impeachment Resolution

marty kleva

March 5, 2007
permanent url

Note: This is the fifth article covering SJR5 in the New Mexico Legislature.
Links to the first four are at the end of this article.

Today, March 5, 2007, by a vote of 5-1, the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee passed SJR5 – Resolution to Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

After a 3:45 PM start, a dozen other bills and over three hours of grueling testimony, SJR5 was finally brought to the attention of the Judiciary Committee by Chairman, Cisco McSorley.

Senators Ortiz y Pino and John Grubesic, resolution sponsors, introduced the expert testimony of Elizabeth Holtzman, former U.S. Representative from New York, and a key member of the House Judiciary Committee when it held impeachment hearings on the activities of Richard Nixon. She served in the U.S. House from 1973 to 1981 and later became Brooklyn’s district attorney.

In her testimony given on Friday to Senator Ortiz y Pino via video teleconference, Holtzman responded to concerns that Ortiz y Pino and others in the New Mexico Senate have about this resolution.

Holtzman fielded the following questions from Ortiz y Pino:

Ortiz y Pino: “What business is it of a state legislature to deal with impeachment?”

Holtzman: “The business of democracy is the business of every American.” Holtzman went on to say that the framers of the Constitution placed the power to remove a President from office in the hands of the Congress, the legislative branch of our government, and pointed out that this act places the ultimate power to remove an elected official from office in the hands of the people. She also reminded us that the impeachment proceeding against Richard Nixon did not begin by Congress until the people demanded it.

Ortiz y Pino: “Are we presuming guilt by calling for this?”

Holtzman: “I don’t believe so.” A resolution is drafted “asking Congress to investigate a grave problem.”

Ortiz y Pino: “Is criminal activity needed to impeach a President?”

Holtzman: “We’re not talking about a criminal offense.”
She stated that criminal activity is not required to impeach. However, if an elected official commits a “great and dangerous offense that subverts the Constitution”, then that is considered a high crime and misdemeanor.

Holtzman further stated that when George Bush fails to obey the law and to honor his oath of office, this constitutes subversion of the Constitution.

Ortiz y Pino: “Many say there is ‘so little time left’ in the Bush administration, let’s not waste our time on impeachment and allow them to finish out their term.”

Holtzman: Holztman broke this down into two sections. First she addressed, “Is there enough time?” She said, “There is enough time. Congress is not totally consumed with this.” There is a separate committee created to deal with the process of an investigation while the rest of the House goes on with other business.

Her second point here is the question of “Why bother?” To this she replied, "What check will there be on a President who has already lied?” How can we “allow him to leave without accountability?” To do so “leaves a shrunken, shriveled Constitution” which gives future Presidents permission to violate further laws. “If we don’t check it now, where do you check it?”

She closed saying that the Constitution and our form of government is not “just for past generations . . . . it is up to us too.”

So many of us, myself included, have in the past relied upon someone else to take the responsibility of watching the Flame of Freedom to make sure it does not go out. Too many of us rely solely upon elected officials to be the Keeper Of The Flame when that is our duty. We have abdicated that position to them for such a long time that we have almost forgotten how to protect that precious gift, and many of our officials have forgotten why it exists in the first place — to assure every citizen that they have certain rights under this form of government, rights which have been usurped by the recall of habeas corpus and the illegal wiretapping of thousands of Americans, just to name two.

After Holtzman’s testimony, there was forty minutes of public testimony and then discussion by the committee at which time Senator Rod Adair questioned Senators Ortiz y Pino and Grubesic as to the intent of the resolution. Senator Adair seemed to be having difficulty grasping that even though the resolution is named “Impeachment” and that the allegations of offenses are stated inside the resolution, that this does not imply a done deal.

Senator Adair spoke directly to the more than hundred citizens present for twenty-five minutes, calling to account specific points that citizens had made in their testimony. In essence, he does not believe that any actions of George W. Bush or Dick Cheney constitute an impeachable offense. He methodically went through every point of the resolution and basically said that none of them were true.

Adair said, “These people hate us.” I am not sure of who he was exactly referring to and although I might guess, I will not voice that here as I have not yet spoken to Senator Adair to ask him who he meant by that. He also said to the audience, “You will regret it. Weakness is not what these people respect.” Again who “these people” are, at this point, I can only surmise.

At 8:04 PM, when the committee vote was taken, Senators Grubesic, Lopez, Sanchez, Martinez, and McSorley voted in favor of SJR5. Senator Adair was the lone vote against, with Senators Craven, Paine, and Rainaldi not present for the vote.

Chairman, Senator McSorley commended the citizens present for the grace and dignity with which they/we have handled a difficult process, noting the long hours some have put in waiting for the Senate to schedule and meet.

This win in Judiciary is a stunning end to the three Senate committee hearings. The first two were won by one vote. The four-vote difference in the Judiciary Committee is nothing less than remarkable.

Next it must go to the Senate Floor to be voted upon by the entire Senate of which there are forty-two members. In order to pass the Senate, it needs to have twenty-two votes. There are twenty-four Democrats, but this is not a shoe-in with all the Democrats even though the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney was unanimously placed on the New Mexican Democratic Party Platform last summer.

We have heard that some Senators have had a difficult time dealing with citizen activists who tend to speak passionately about this issue. We can only say that it seems that the Senators and other legislators may have gotten too used to the smooth-talk of the paid lobbyists who are crawling all over the Roundhouse.

Citizens do not get paid to stand around and wait to talk with legislators, cannot afford to devote hours away from their jobs, and may not have the patience to withstand the frustration of showing up for a 1:30 PM committee session and be told at 6:00 PM that because the Senate is still in session on the floor, the committee hearing is postponed, and come back another day and maybe it will be heard then.

Lobbyists get paid for all of it. And the longer I am inside the Roundhouse, the clearer it becomes that the rules with which to interact with legislators has been written by the lobbyists. They have it down pat, and they have accustomed legislators to this manner by which they are approached.

When a citizen walks into the Roundhouse we are not handed an explanation of these unwritten rules, and presuming the right to speak our mind, we proceed to bungle through a rough-hewn version of the issue which the legislator takes offense to.

Most of us understand that it is politic to be polite, but when faced with the short amount of time available to talk with a legislator and not being privy to the fact that there are an untold number of ways to attain a legislator’s attention, the ordinary citizen is out of the loop. We just want to speak directly to the issue and do not have the training or salary paid to lobbyists to smooze our way through it.

The staff from Senator Ortiz y Pino’s office has been very helpful to the citizen activists involved in supporting this resolution. They have kindly informed and coached us as to what is acceptable behavior so that we may present a more friendly face to the senators, especially to those who are adamantly opposed to this resolution.

All told, it is amazing that this resolution has attained this point. With both absent mainstream coverage, and unfriendly reporting by local newspapers, this success is truly the result of the support of the hundreds of New Mexicans, some who have traveled great distances to attend the three hearings. The hundreds of citizen phone calls have been responsible for turning a no-vote to yes.

The courage of Senator Ortiz y Pino and Grubesic to sponsor this resolution, and of those Senators who have signed on and voted for it in committee, inspires the true sense of what the democratic process is all about. They have listened and heard the call of the people, and have worked tirelessly and with great expertise to bring this resolution through three committees, a feat which some said could not be accomplished.

With the leadership of these New Mexican Democrats, we can only say that there appears to be a high probability of this resolution becoming a reality-message to the U.S. Congress.

Stay tuned for the full Senate Vote — still to be scheduled.

Con Amore,

~ mek

Links to previous articles covering SJR5:

NM Lawmakers Launch Impeachment Resolution of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

New Mexico Legislature Resolution to Impeach: Update & Reflections

New Mexico's Legislature & The Use of Asbestos Gloves: Update & Reflections

NM Legislature Deals Two ‘Green Chiles’ to SJR5!


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