Saturday, July 26, 2008

Inside the Holy of Holies: CodePink attends the Impeachment Hearing

Some of you know me - for those who don't, I'm Eileen Coles, a Desert Storm USAF veteran who served at HQ USAFE (Ramstein Airbase) with Lori Purdue. Impeachment is very personally important to me. In 2002 I swore to never cut my hair while Bush remained President of the United States, a form of protest and spiritual statement of distress that I take from the example of Harald Fairhair in the lore of pre-Christian Scandinavia.

I feel strongly that the oathbreaking, lawbreaking, lying, theft and murder perpetrated by the Bush administration has made a mockery of my military service and that of three generations of my family who have been represented in all four branches of the US Military. Indeed, that this creature who couldn't even serve his skate stateside duty without going AWOL for a year and having his daddy's rich friends cover it up is now the Commander in Chief makes a sickening travesty of the service of anyone else who put on the uniform and served honorably. One might say I oppose the continued abuses of this administration on a molecular level. So when I heard that there was going to be a "sorta kinda impeachment hearing", I came down to DC straightaway from New York.

The CodePink house in DC serves as a natural locus for other groups to come and network. Gael and Desiree hosted a meeting on Thursday the 24th for the purposes of coordinating a unified response to the hearing, which was attended by many blogosphere luminaries and representatives of activist groups who are concerned with the issue of impeachment.

Here Sue Serpa and Ralph Lopez of Republicans for Impeachment (that's right, read it and weep, freeps!) talk to Gael about whether or not to engage in active protest in the hearing. The decision was made to respect movement in a positive direction by dressing formally, minimizing the pink and not planning any protests or disruptions.

Also present was David Swanson of, one of the premier political blogs out there. As a matter of fact, in this picture David can be seen reading the list of official witnesses to the room, which he received while the meeting was still going on. David also let us know which radio stations and CSPAN channels were going to be broadcasting and streaming the hearing over the Internet.

To restore the rule of law, this administration must be held accountable for it's myriad crimes. Right now our country is being run by a gang of organized criminals, and if we are to look for our steely-spined Elliot Ness we will evidently not soon find him in John Conyers, who told Desiree last MONTH that they were going to arrest Karl Rove that same week. Somehow that just hasn't happened yet... However good news is that Dennis Kucinich and Robert Wexler have not abandoned Constitution or the American people.

Merely getting into the hearing was the usual "Simon Says" ordeal with the DC Capitol Police, resulting in one arrest. 110 people lined up in the hallway. Only 16 people were allowed in, although we were initially told there was room for 40. Here are Laurie Arbeiter of World Can't Wait and Jenny Heinz of CodePink, who both came down from NYC for the hearing.

As was agreed, CP did the minimal pink/Sunday best thing for Conyers.

Veterans for Peace have been a constant presence. Their ferocious, impassioned and well-informed lobbying of Conyers contributed directly to this hearing finally happening.

Cindy Sheehan was the first in line to get in - and who would dare say her nay!

While the only removals from the room were instigated by Steven King, who whined about statement shirts and pins and the roars of protest that met his pathetic, blatant lies; for the most part our behavior was restrained. At one point at King's insistence several veterans were forced to leave the room, one of them for wearing a pin. As the people protested, "These are our VETERANS! You'd have them killed for a lie but you're afraid of having to read something on a shirt or a pin!" King and the other Republitards writhed in shame - as well they should have! As he left the room the veteran scornfully snarled "Where's your integrity!" and threw the pin at King. There were definitely times when you could feel the people's silent rage crackling in the air like thunder. Given the unnecessary hardships this administration has brought upon the people of our nation and our world, I think the congresscritters are just going to have to deal with wilting under the icy glare of the people they pretend to serve.

The eyes of CodePink are upon you...!

Ex-Congresswoman Liz Holzman was a welcome addition to the witnesses.

The crux of the reason for the hearing revolved around this testimony by Dennis Kucinich. (I can be seen sitting behind him, for whatever that's worth, heh. Hi, mom.)

I am very grateful to CodePink for giving me the opportunity to attend this historic hearing, and the CodePink DC house just keeps getting better and better. So stop reading and get yourself here already! You're missing all the fun!

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