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June 12, 2007

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Another great post -- thanks Kagro. I agree the time has come to begin impeachment. The big problem with the hearings to date is that they have been relegated to CSPAN-3. Impeachment would not only be carried on CSPAN-2, but would finally draw the attention of the MSM. Just as the Clinton impeachment was front and center of every news cast, this would be as well (even without the sex angle that the MSM adored). And with the entire country watching, more of the "law and order" Republicans would feel the heat from their constituents to vote to impeach. Now's the time.

I'm hoping the no confidence vote was only a trial balloon, with impeachment proceedings soon to follow. The thing impeachment proceedings will bring to the table is a more thorough investigation, and I can only imagine how much Bu$hco wants that.

1. Top on my mind is that the headlines for this story were, "A defeat for Democrats." I don't get what the point of this vote was.

2. You argue persuasively for impeachment. I'm on board, but I've been on board for a while.

3. How likely is it that Gonzales would face down an impeachment charge, rather than resign (or be promoted)?

4. Impeachment starts in the House, right? Why was the Senate the primary mover on this issue this week?

5. ..."here at Daily Kos"? :)

The impeachment of Alberto Gonzales is the most important thing we can do right now to start to unwind the damage that the current administration has done to the Constitution. The man is at the nexus of torture, politicization of the Justice Department, and the illegal wiretapping. The endgame is the imprisonment of George W. Bush for violating the War Crimes Act. I say that not because I want revenge or because I hate the man (I love him just like I love Osama bin Laden and everyone who believes they are my enemy), but because I believe that the law is all that stands between us and authoritarianism.

Thanks for the link to impeachgonzales.org.

O/T, but breaking -- team fitz
has filed its response to team libby.

and, check out footnote four on page six!

. . .It is a strange sort of logic that
infers that the likelihood of reversal
increases with the thoroughness of a
written opinion
. . ."
. . .

the sweetly-subtle snark is irrestible!

it makes a nice mirroring point to judge
walton's footnote one in the order of last week. . .

NOW ON-TOPIC --

i've put my objections to the "no
show
" of senator barack obama, on
senate joint resolution 14, in
writing, and into the dead-tree mails. . .

Impeach the bastard already. Majority vote in the House, and dump it in the lap of the Senate.

And start talking about McConnell as Lord High Obstructionist.

It bears repeating WO: "The law is all that stands between us and authoritarianism."

Impeachment doesn't require a crime in the sense of armed robbery or murder. There are, however, crimes that could be investigated, and incompetence in running the DoJ (e.g., the firings of the Attorney's General). Whether the Senate votes to convict is another matter. Impeachment should be on the table. Even if impeachment is not carried forward, w and his cronies will not act with any more boldness than they already do and plan to do.

I believe that impeachment is a practical method of bringing BushCo crimes out into the open, and the advantages of going after AGAG for lying to Congress, obstruction, violations of FISA, habeus corpus and God knows what else are that these are strong legal grounds that are not easily spun as a political payback for the Clinton impeachment debacle - as KX states, it restores the integrity of the impeachment process after the Clinton coup d'etat. Also, the impeachment process of AGAG could not be said to "paralyze the government during time of war" which would certainly be the case if Shrub or Big Time were the targets. Also, as a matter of law, there is no executive privilege arguments, and Bush could not use his pardon power to stop the proceedings. If AGAG resigns, the Senate still has jurisdiction to proceed - William Belknap, Secretary of War unde Grant, was impeached by the House after his resignation and then acquitted in the Senate. By proceeding with impeachment, the slow process of the judiciary will be bypassed, in a constitutionally appopriate way. The Senate's power as the trier of fact and the role of the House Managers as prosecutors is very broad and not necessarily constrained by the laws of evidence, or even issues of national security. One interesting complication would be the role of the judge - for executive officers such as AGAG, the Vice President, and not the Chief Justice of the United States, presides over the trial. It would be interesting to seek Big Time's disqualification as a witness, in which case the President pro tempore of the Senate would preside - Senator Robert Byrd at the moment.

At some point, the wobbly Democrats need to get past the timid desire to secure a conviction before they start the prosecution. Whatever blowback that could come from an impeachment run at Gonzales is far outweighed by the benefits that could accrue from a wide ranging impeachment investigation. Time to get going.

Bear Country: Just want to make a quick point about your comment that whether the Senate decides to convict is another matter. I've heard this a lot and it seems to assume that the votes will remain static between now and the close of the impeachment. Assuming that yesterday's cloture vote was a pretty good approximation of the Senators' inclination towards No Confidence in AGAG, then there are not that many additional votes needed to convict in the Senate. Impeachment proceedings would be a very public way to get the information that readers here are already familiar with out into the mainstream conciousness. By and large Americans of all stripes buy into the notion that the law should be fairly applied and not rigged for partisan advantage. Once the broader public becomes aware of what has happened at DoJ, I doubt that very many Republican Senators would go against the public outcry to come.

the question i have on impeachment of gonzales is:

how much would this take away from other work congress needs to be doing?

i don't know the answer to that question, but if i were pelosi, i sure would want to think it thru.

maybe the rest of congressional business can go on.

or maybe it would be worth it in the educational value to the public of focusing on the bush administration's deviousness and lawlessness,

for both of which abu g. is a poster child.

by tackling that characterless bush satrap.

certainly, the absence of executive privilege would offer a wonderful chance to see what was really going on with the nsa spying, the torture authorizations, the "election fraud" fraud, among others.

but then again who says bush would respect the polk precedent.

and who says the public would not get very tired of congress's gonzo fireworks

when what they really want to see are iraq fireworks?

Defeat Bush on a point on which he's been publicly intractable, and your Iraq fireworks (a subject on which he's been equally intractable) will be that much brighter. Right now, no one thinks Bush can lose when he digs his heels in. Hand him a defeat and that changes.

As for the other work Congress needs to be doing, what bills are we thinking of that are clearly ready to pass and bound for the books that are languishing or would be languishing if we took care of business with Gonzales?

Universal health care? A comprehensive energy policy? I haven't seen any indication that these are coming down the pike.

KX - Agreed. The turning point for Nixon was when he looked less like a President and more like a crook. For Bush, it will be when he is finally cornered and forced to do something he doesn't want to do, and he will no longer be the Decider.

The 'no confidence' vote has made a nice stink and it's possible that an impeachment inquiry would be of more use for that and to uncover some very real important facts which could lead to indictments.

I don't know the schedule of the House, but I'd guess the best time to start is asap and yet not go public until July 5th.

Let's have a party July 4th and not spoil it with the Gonzales thing.

orion ATL: how much would this take away from other work congress needs to be doing?

hmmm, that's a good concern troll argument. Don't we want Congress to do less, rather than more, work? Anything that prevents them from passing other NCLB-esque legislation is a GOOD THING. Yes, they need to restore Habeus, and convince someone to enforce FISA without spying on US citizens, and remove incentives for domestic ethanol while creating incentives for more development of solar and wind power generation. But digging out all the crap that the 108th and 109th congress buried in the American lawn and advancing new and better social policy will be much much easier with Gonzales and Cheney in prison and a Democrat in the white house.

The most important things that Congress can do right now is remove Gonzales, and then remove Cheney.

tekel:

if you knew me better, you would not worry about "troll" - concern or any other kind.

the question is a perfectly sensible one

and i can guarantee you that experienced politicians like pelosi will be asking it.

as i said, i don't know the answer.

but i think the question is worth both asking and discussing.


and another thing, tekel,

cutesie blog slang like "concern troll"

is not a good substitute for intelligent thought and communication of that thought.

translation into the vernacular:

you need to do a better job, tekel,

of demonstrating that you don't have shit for brains.

orionATL -- You post here frequently, so I have no doubt that you are NOT a concern troll, but I'm sympathetic with tekel because that's how your post came across. The damage being done to the rule of law by this administration is THE CENTRAL issue of our day. Iraq is the grisliest manifestation of their absolute disregard for the truth and the rule of law. Their philosophy that the law does not apply to them is at the heart of each and every decision they make, whether it is appointing loyal incompetent people to positions of great responsibility, or lying about their desire to control Iraqi oil fields at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. It is essential that we put a stop to it. If we fail to actively do so, then the precedent being set will lend itself to even greater abuses in the future. I do not think it is excessive to point out that no democracy in the history of the world has survived for more than a few hundred years. As Franklin warned us, it is our democracy so long as we can keep it. There is no legislation I can think of that is more important than taking a strong stand to defend our democracy from those who would either abuse it or dismantle it entirely for their own ends.

Empty Pockets: 1. Top on my mind is that the headlines for this story were, "A defeat for Democrats." I don't get what the point of this vote was.

Actually, I've been pleased to see that most headlines have read "Republicans Block Vote . . . "

Surprised . . . but pleased.

Apparently six members of the Progressive Caucus in the House have signed on to resolutions asking that the House Judiciary Committee study the grounds for impeachment of Gonzales.

The next thing to do -- get at least a hundred members to put forward similar resolutions, and get them in the Hopper. To seem to force Pelosi, the Rules Committee and Conyers to take up the matter is essential. Remember, in the House it is a two step matter. First HJC has to determine to take up the matter, and report that back to the full House for authorization to go forward -- and then agreement on how to proceed has to be moved, followed by a HJC study of the evidence, grounds, (probably hearings) and in the end, resolutions of impeachment that can be returned to the full House for debate and passage. Unlike the impeachment of a President, the AG process in HJC can be conducted by a special sub-committee of HJC, and thus not take over the work of the full committee. When articles are finally brought forward, then the whole committee would be engaged.

So to kick start this -- we need to get at least 100 House Members to put a resolution to this effect in the hopper. Pelosi and leadership will not make that decision absent strong pressure. The hundred or so house members -- not just a minority of the Progressive Caucus -- have to be the actors in putting that pressure on leadership.

I interpret yesterday's Senate Vote as a test vote. Given who did not vote, I think there are grounds for saying that if a well debated article of impeachment backed by clear and convincing evidence came to the Senate -- they could actually have, or be a few votes shy of conviction. Realize that the process in the house serves to narrow the grounds, and sort and test the evidence for those grounds -- making it more difficult for Senators to avoid the central questions.

Added matters given discussion here. Yesterday Tomgramm (Tom Englehardt's Journal) had an excellent overview of the ACORN cases. Indeed it does appear to be a national Republican Strategy to make problems for ACORN re: voting registeration. The Tomgramm piece needs greater circulation -- perhaps front page at Kos or Huffington Post, and even perhaps some work by the muckrakers at TPM. It is precisely the kind of issue that could stimulate John Lewis and Conyers to action.

phred

i understand your passion and share it,.

but

i could be precious and tell you a story about a president, long, long ago, who thought he could invade a country without worrying about the consequences ...

but i won't bore you with that fable.

the fact is, any major action like this needs to be thought thru. not necessarily by us here, but by those undertaking it.

my concern is not starting an impeachment again gonzales.

in fact, i like kagro x's argument at 13:13 above that gonzales is a weakness in the bush administration that can be exploited to increase the likelihood of putting effective pressure on bush re the war.

my concern, as with the fabulous president i mentioned, is what happens if we get half way thru this process and it bogs down the congress

just as the military is bogged down in iraq.

the public would be just as impatient with this perceived "screw-up" as with bush's iraq screw-up.

if i recall correctly from the clinton impeachment, impeachment is a very consuming process - consuming of time and resources.

so what if you get part way and thru and then things stall,

what then?

i do not consider this an argument for not going ahead with impeachment.

it IS an argument for being able to predict a likely set of scenarios of impeachment from beginning to end.

that's what bush failed to do in iraq,

though he had mountains of good intelligence and advice available to him had he chosen to heed it.


as for "concern troll", i don't much care for weblog slang and rarely use it, except for effect.

i particularly dislike having it used as a put down to a perfectly sensible question of mine.

putting down the dissenters is precisely the mistake bush made in invading and in occupying iraq -

only he did not label them "concern trolls"

he labeled them "unpatriotic", "timid", "indifferent to the spread of democracy", "unwilling to take risks", etc.

who's the fool?

Correction -- the article on ACORN is at TomPaine not as previously referenced at Tom Eaglehardt.

See:Http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2007/06/11/out_to_get_acorn

Excellent information.

The trouble with a 'do-nothing' Repugly congress for so long, the successors have to work 3x harder with more of a mess than we can imagine. If I were retired, I'd probably see what I could do, as in volunteer as a typist or something. I also imagine their protocols need to be reviewed and many other things that they've let slide.

orionATL -- I agree that throwing around insults willy nilly is entirely counterproductive and I try not to engage in it either. My point earlier was simply that the written word is easily misinterpreted. Given that Republicans used the "Congress has better things to do with its time" argument in their speeches on the Senate floor preceding the no confidence cloture vote, I could see where someone might misinterpret the intent behind your comment.

As for your further comment that Congress not go into impeachment proceedings unprepared, I concur wholeheartedly. I think Sara's above explanation of the process on the House side shows that in all likelihood a clear and concise case for impeachment would be prepared by the House for consideration by the Senate.

While it is possible that it could bog down in Senate, I think it is unlikely since the removal of a cabinet officer carries far less weight than the removal of a President or even Vice President. Further, based on the evidence outlined so eloquently by Senator Whitehouse, I believe that once the general public has been made aware of AGAG's malfeasance that there would be broad support for his removal.

And finally, I welcome differing view points and the primary reason I post comments is to try to engage others in a discussion (even as limited as it is in the comment format) to clarify my thinking. I completely agree that resorting to name calling (used to chilling effect by the Rethugs) is of no value in understanding the issues at hand.

phred

thoughtful comments, even if covertly preachy.

and somewhat underhanded,

viz, "i agree that throwing around insults will-nilly....".

that is just rhetorical trickery on your part since my comments did not focus insults.

in fact, in case you missed it,

my comments focused on thinking and speaking, not on the niceties of proper language.

i don't mind discussion with insults, though they do tend to cloud the discussion ever more,

but i really do mind thinking with a slogan and with slang

and i do mind the implicit demand in criticisms of the words i use that i must conform to some sort of implicit social norm for what is proper to say in a weblog comment.

if i use the english language more or less appropriately, i do not intend to be lectured by people who tell me,

in effect, that i have misused that language in accordance with some social conventions of the weblog world.

if someone [misinterprets the intent behind one of my comments] that's their problem not mine,

and i have made sure that they own that problem with the above posts.

phredd,

i have become way too reactive and way too harsh in my language here.

kagro x's suggestion about impeaching gonzales is an excellent one and should be followed thru on.

that should have been the focus of my comments.

i always find it really annoying when some moron (myself in this case) insists on having a wrestling match on a relatively trivial matter in the midst of discussion of an important issue.

i have done that here and i do not like what i have done.

with respect to your comments on "insults",

what i could and should have said,

simply and without accusation is this:

it is not that bush, et al. insulted people by calling them "unpatriotic", "timid" etc.,

i doubt any critics of bush would take a bush pejorative to heart,

the key point for me is that the bush people labeled critics using certain pejoratives,

words which blinded them to criticisms from which they would have benefited

and were intended to deter others from considering those criticisms.

that's all i have to say except that i am sorry for my fit of temper and the harsh language it evoked from me.

orionATL -- Everyone's entitled to a fit of temper from time to time :) And being called a concern troll is highly provocative. I did not intend to pile on, though I think that is how you took it. Again, my intentions are not always properly conveyed by my words. And I never intend to be underhanded in my rhetoric (for one thing I don't write well enough), I simply find it hard to be direct without feeling like I'm being rude. So again my apologies for making things worse rather than better.

phred

thank you for your tolerance.

i think your writing is perfectly fine and it is substantive, which is what really counts.

orionATL -- Thanks :) It's kind of you to say so, but I'll still keep working to improve it :)

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