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July 15, 2007

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**"We are setting a terrible precedent." **

I still have a lot of reservations about impeachment --not on the merits, but because I am afraid of how it will be manipulated by both the press and the administration.

I have to say though, that after watching Fein, I am beginning to be more convinced. I feel as if we're all in the middle of some grand strategy playing itself out, although I can't figure out what the purpose of that strategy is. If anyone wants to call that a conspiracy theory, so be it. Conspiracies, after all, do in fact exist; that's why there are laws against them.

It was a terrific program of the type that should be routine in a democracy. I couldn't sleep trying to determine which Democratic representative might be the one to go to Speaker Pelosi and talk to her with the passion and logic of a Bruce Fein. And came up empty.

My hat is off to Mr. Fein. May we hear much more from him about our Constitutional (and Congressional) crisis.

So glad you posted this Mimikatz. Sincere thanks.

kudos to them for doing the show and articulating the reasons for impeachment... it is as plain as day why this has to happen and it is as plain as day that congress is completely inept.. democrats can go screw themselves if they can't get it.

It was a terrific program of the type that should be routine in a democracy. I couldn't sleep trying to determine which Democratic representative might be the one to go to Speaker Pelosi and talk to her with the passion and logic of a Bruce Fein. And came up empty.

My hat is off to Mr. Fein. May we hear much more from him about our Constitutional (and Congressional) crisis.

So glad you posted this Mimikatz. Sincere thanks.

Sorry for the duplication. It looked as if my comment was still in preview.

From the ground up??? Try House Resolution 333 on for size.

Status: Resolution referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties on 5/4/2007.


Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Resolved, That Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.


There it is. What are you/we going to do about it?

As Mimikatz and others have pointed out and pleaded--not knowing the outcome (not being able to determine or assure a particular outcome)is no reason not to begin. As was said in an earlier thread: You (meaning us, I think) cannot compromise with evil. From Mary Oliver's "When Death Comes" (which seems, indirectly, spot on): "When it's over, I don't want to wonder/if I have made of my life something particular and real/I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened or full ot argument/I don't want to end up having simply visited this world." I am not seeing much or enough particular and real in Congress....

it goes without saying that i don't have a smidgin of the understanding of the constitution that bruce fein or john nichols have but i have felt for some time that what they said on Bill Moyers' program is exactly right. it is the way we should go, starting today.
while it is true that we have a whole kettle of problems and crises on the boil, impeachment for both Cheney and Bush is the most pressing issue we have. if we don't deal with them and do so now we can just forget about America, it will simply disappear. it may take ten or thirty years but the whole idea of this country and it's ideals and potentials will be toast.

why does armando at talkleft have his knickers in such a tight twist over impeachment...? yes, he's got a serious point about de-funding, but my thought is, we've got to get those criminals OUT of office one way or another... de-funding stops activities that require money, not the least of which is iraq, but it does nothing for constitutional violations that seem to be in escalation... whatever, congress absolutely HAS to restore the balance of powers AND remove a criminal presidential administration...

http://takeitpersonally.blogspot.com/2007_07_08_archive.html#5691956476533173523

"I still have a lot of reservations about impeachment --not on the merits, but because I am afraid of how it will be manipulated by both the press and the administration."

Undecided stated my feelings very well in the first response above. Sadly, though, I have come to realize the only way to stop the cancer pervading our government is to begin impeachment proceedings. People can spin all they want to, but on a number of points, the Constitution is very clear.

This group of so-called "Republicans" have twisted and distorted the philosophies of people like Barry Goldwater so that today's Republican party is a disgrace to anyone who ever embraced its original concepts.

True Republicans stood for law and order. Even Nixon finally realized that he had to submit to the law, and he resigned instead. His abuse stopped.

I have always considered myself to be a moderate Republican. I voted for the late, great Ann Richards, though when she was first elected and again when Bush defeated her. I can think for myself. Sadly, it appears that many people are willing to be spoon-fed the poison pablum that Bushco wants to dish out.

Yes, impeachment proceedings will polarize things even more than they are already. But it will also define the issues and make people sit up and pay attention to what has been going on. It can probably be called a shock tactic, but that is what our country needs so that it can begin again.

So, I say:

Impeachment -- It's the RIGHT thing to do!

I know this has been kicked about a bit, but without impeachment, how do Dems get hold of the facts? As I understandit, impeachment is the only reliable means to compel disclosure of documents and testimony.

I'm sure many voted for Bush's war for political reasons while knowing it was morally and logically the wrong thing to do. Look where that got them. Why can't they see the folly of their ways when they don't consider impeachment in an effort to save, or salvage, the Union?

I thik there are enough facts out there, but they can launch an impeachment investigation and get more. At that point executive prililege does not apply, and stonewalling just leads to a new count.

Great post, Mimi. Thanks for leaving the link. I just watched the show, and the concept of handing this kind of power to one Hillary Rodham Clinton should cause many a Republican the night sweats.

Every congressman needs to be sent the link to this program.

One thought on this fear of impeachment. Yes the repubs and even the press are going to spin it, but framed as a "Constitutional Duty", and it seems clear to me that the language exists to clearly support it along those lines in soundbite language, the fallout will be minimal.

It seems to be a no lose situation to be. Despite the spin, information will start to come out that compleatly drowns out the spin and Bush will finally be seen for what he is, OR Bush will rail against it so forcefully, that he and dick will be seen for the tyrants they are.

Bush doens't think Congress will impeach, that's his gamble. Time to call his bluff.

Historical analogies are a swamp of inadequacies. Take George Bush's preferred analogy - for starters, he considers it an accurate description, not an analogy - of himself as Churchill, fighting the good fight against a neo-Hitler in Iraq and to prevent others from following in the toppled Sadam Hussein's footsteps. That's fiction, like much else about George Bush and Dick Cheney.

The Bill Moyer's and John Dean discussions on impeachment and the process of enforcing subpoenas suggests a better analogy. We citizens are Churchill's heirs and the brutal autocrats opposed to our interests are George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney.

The analogy has severe limits, but the aspect that applies most strikingly relates to the dangers of appeasement. Bush and Cheney are not Hitler and the consequences for us are not those faced by Europe in the 1940's, but they are dangerous nonetheless. But like the European govts confronted with Hitler's claims to the Rhineland in 1936 or Czechoslovakia in 1938, we can cave into Bush's demands for monarchical powers or confront him with the limits legally imposed on him by the Constitution, which he dismisses as quaint.

We can buy peace by acquiescing, by not effectively objecting, by allowing precedents to be set that inflame the ambitions of Bush's backers. Or we can take a stand. We don't have to win, or win today. But we can't leave the field without a fight like the French in 1940. Better that we fight on like Churchill in '40, '41 and '42, facing temporary setbacks and calamities, but with the certainty that not opposing Bush's ambitions for a permanent, monarchical presidency would bring dearer ones.

Sometimes in chess the best move is a shocking move that causes the opponent to 'play over the board' instead of from his/her plan.

Why not put an impeachment inquiry on the table and start slow-walking it with increasingly revealing testimony?

I would also encourage folks to contact their NPR station and request a rebroadcast of Moyers' program. Yeah, yeah, I know: NPR has sold out, been overrun by Republican tools, etc., but it's worth a phone call/e-mail. Here Moyers' Journal runs @ 9 pm on Friday night, just the time slot to garner a lot of viewer eyes. Not.

So, what the hell, drop 'em a line or a phone call to see if you can get 'em to re-run it, and in the meantime, send all your computer-literate friends a link.

Hey, this is a good idea!

Would impeachment still have to come from the ground up, despite Kucinich's resolution? Yes it would. Remember, any Member of the House can -- on his own motion -- propose impeachment directly on the House floor, and immediately get an hour's debate on such a highly privileged motion.

But Kucinich hasn't done so. Why not? Because this is still going to have to come from the ground up. Kucinich has done only as much as he thinks his constituency knows enough to actually demand of him.

Now, frankly, it's probably not helpful strategically to have Kucinich leading the charge here. But he's provided the vehicle, at least, and that's something to consider. But before we set him up as the one true hero of impeachment, we should realize how much more he could be doing, but isn't.

Might he have truly clear-headed and savvy reasons for waiting to strike? Sure. But he's still waiting.

Recalling the days of Watergate & the Nixon impeachment: one thing such a move does is focus the attention of the American public on the issue. Days and weeks of hearings, witnesses, press coverage.

The Senate Watergate Committee hearings weren't the locus of the articles of impeachment; those must begin in the House. And the current House leadership isn't too great on the issue. But I think if they could put their minds to it, get their egos out of the way, and move on, it would be good for the country.

Really, is there anything more important than maintaining the rule of law?

Mauimom,

One big difference between the present and the Watergate era is that the press is far more commercialized and watered down now that it was then. What the public would most likely hear is pro-administration spin. Can anyone doubt this after witnessing the mainstream media coverage of the Libby trial?

Oh, and another good point I thought Fein (partially) made: Congressional oversight (and that would, by definition, have to include subpoena power) is a vital moderating influence. Checks and balances are necessary to filter out and avoid extremism, from either direction, and in any branch.

Enforcing and standing up for any branch's right to exercise its assigned checks and balances is a moderate position. A centrist position. To the extent that Bush refuses to recognize the plenary power of the Congress to conduct vigorous oversight, and to the extent that Congress refuses to vindicate that power, we are letting go of the wheel of the ship of state and facilitating extremism.

Where are the smotheringly moderate Wise Men of Washington on this score?

can we call this "The Impeachment Summer" yet ???

does anybody think the calls for impeachment are gonna decrease ???

does anybody think Iraq is gonna get any better ???

Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach, Impeach,

It's being said

70% of America supports it

Congress better wake up soon

in October, this becomes the Democrats problem too

Thanks for this post Mimikatz! I haven't watched the program yet, but the points you summarize here are the ones I made (or at least tried to) in the impeachment discussion we had on a thread here a week ago. I find it very encouraging to see these points being made to a much broader audience.

I think the most important point is the one about beginning impeachment even with an unknown outcome. The very process of impeachment will bring evidence that many of the readers here know already to the general public. I do NOT favor an "impeachment investigation" as has been suggested by others here, because only under impeachment does the administration lose its ability to withhold documents citing executive privilege (or whatever its excuse of the day is).

The other principal advantage is the hearings would be carried (I assume) on the main C-SPAN channels. Thus far all of the HJC, SJC, and Waxman's Oversight Committee hearings have been relegated to C-SPAN 3 which is not generally available on basic cable. It was intensely frustrating last week to be away from the toobz and not be able to watch the HJC hearing with Sara Taylor (although I gather she didn't say much). The Watergate hearings were carried live and I watched them avidly during my school summer vacation. Interested folks without high speed internet access haven't been able to follow any of this, the way the readers here have. I am convinced that once the public is made aware of the extent of the malfeasance of this administration, the public will demand their removal from office.

Ever since the Moyers program I have been mentally playing games of similarities and differences with Watergate, and to a lesser extent with the Clinton impeachment.

One big difference -- in the 1970's the vast majority of American HS Grads had taken a required course in Civics, or American Government and Politics -- wherein one did read the Constitution at least once, take a test on it, and likewise be exposed to many textbook charts and graphs about how Congress worked. But the Civics requirement was pretty much pitched out of Public Schools in the late 1960's, (as was an organized History Curriculum) and replaced with a fairly vague and uneven Social Science program, which may or may not cover much civics. Thus, in the early 70's during Watergate virtually all of the HS grad public had a base for understanding violations of the Constitution -- today I don't think this is true at all -- and the media which minces stories up into one minute he said/she said sound bites, doesn't help this process at all. There simply is no narrative to Bush/Cheney violations. By the end of the Ervin Hearings most people did have a handle on the narrative -- the break-in, the pay-off's, the first trial of the burglers, the information McCord provided, the Dean testimony, and all the rest. That's all missing in the Bush/Cheney matters.

If any impeachment is to proceed, some body within congress is going to have to approach the need for a Public Education Function. Moyers program was great for those of us who got into the details of Watergate and closely followed Clinton's impeachment saga -- but I suspect it might have been a bit too high minded for those who don't have the recall. A friend currently teaching told me recently that college kids report 4 pages in a common HS text on Watergate and Nixon's eventual resignation, pictures taking up about a third of it, and no one reported spending more than one class period on the topic, usually less.

I don't have a ready solution to this problem. How do you proceed if a substantial part of the public does not have enough knowledge of the Constitutional Framework on which to hang a narrative? Who could be the teachers today? During Watergate Sam Ervin sent people to their bookshelves to find a copy of the Constitution and read it -- and he talked about it at length. Archie Cox accomplished the same thing. Today, CNN would hire Ann Coulter for the job in the name of ratings. Civics Awareness has really been dumbed down.

I daresay a large majority of Americans simply have no idea what this junta has been up to. They need to know and impeachment is the way to go.

Americans are rightly afraid that Bush and Cheney have created a presidency that is above the law, that the presidency can keep its activites secret whether or not they are matters of grave national security, and that the presidency is not accountable to Congress, the courts, the american people and most of all the law.

There is one remedy, mentioned six times in the Constitution, and it is not a choice. It is a Constitutional imperative.

Let Bruce Fein draw up the articles of impeachment, he's had practice. Nancy Pelosi can catch up when it sinks in that her obligation is to the country and the constitution not the electability of Democratic candidates in the next election.

Impeach.

EW,

I lucked into seeing most of it as broadcast, very helpful. But although you have this point in the lower part of your post, you use the word impeachment, which is like saying indictment. Go indict Bush! If this process is ever going to get off the ground there needs to be an education, starting with the most credible folks around: you, tpm, fdl, etc. Some editorial discipline is necessary. And when our great politicians like Dennis K continuously call for impeachment, is needs to be noted as the result of a process, and not necessarily guaranteed. Otherwise we have the following: resignation that we don't have 67 votes in the Senate, why even start. If the investigation of high crimes must wait until we have 67 votes in the Senate, nothing will ever start.

Another thing which should probably be discussed more is how do you start such an investigation? Does it really require Nancy P's vote? Instead we need a few honest reps who are not known for their interest in actually removing Bush/Cheney from office, but who do wish to stick up for the institution of congress and the constitution.

The Bill Moyers piece was really a call to rally around the constitution and maybe provide a little space where politicians can investigate without fear of upsetting their home district. It starts with education of the process and the importance of the the process to the nation.

"Nancy Pelosi can catch up when it sinks in that her obligation is to the country and the constitution not the electability of Democratic candidates in the next election." - Neil

What Pelosi and Reid and Emmanuel don't get is that the act of holding the Cheney/Bush regime to account would get the majority of the country who are in despair so fired up that they would get a landslide in 2008. What is disconcerting is how little political courage there is among the opposition party.

I watched Bill Moyers Journal twice Friday night, and was blown away....not by the topic, but by the coming together of the Left - John Nichols - and the Right - Bruce Fein - as Americans, both deeply versed in the Constitution and reverence fot the Rule of Law...despite their differing philosophical positions. There is no question that they are right. The outrageous Cheney/Bush administration is an outlaw, radical regime. Impeachment must be against both of these War Lords, not just Cheney. This isn't a Republican vs. Democrat issue, it's an American issue. We Americans must deal with these pretenders, who have usurped our beloved country, and do it NOW.

The war in Iraq won't be ended by Congressional resolution....Condi has already said that Bush will simply ignore it. The only way to end this authoritarian regime, at least without a Second American Revolution, is to wield the weapon that the Founders gave to Congress in our Constitution....Impeachment. Let the process begin.

I've been convinced for about a year, that these Bastards will never leave office. They have goose-stepped themselves into an authoratarian cul-de-sac. They can't relinquish the levers of power to sucessors without grave risk that they will be pursued, charged, convicted and punished. And we all are too aware that these chicken-hawks can't abide personal risk. Impeachment is the first step to insuring that the Constitution and Rule of Law survive.

Dems want impeachment and that Republican, that idiot who thought Clinton had to be impeached is encouraging it.

But, it would divide Dems and Repubs into a powerful fight which still might force the Repubs to rally around their Veep.

Simply put, I don't think it's time for Dems to turn over their planning to a Republican who opposed Clinton.

We should break the Senate Repubs in the eyes of the public and either force them to continue to support Bush and lose their seats in the '08 election or run from Bush and let the impeachment sail through.

Sometimes the best chess move is to be patient and stick to the plan.

as i spent a good chunk of this
flawless summer day on the mountain-
bike, so i am very late to this party. . .

however, last night (late again!),
in my "nightly nolo" video-segment,
i distilled the moyers dialogue down
to a 1:56-long set of the best-sound-bites,
along with some archival footage, spliced
in -- to drive the points home
. . .

do take a look.

excellent work here!

p e a c e

The public can be educated. If Congress really does initiate an Impeachment investigation, then Jon Stewart will do some education, and the TV stations can too. I truly believe they will begin covering it, and the public will want to know more. This happened with the Clinton impeachment.

But the important thing is always to begin, not to try to divine the outcome. I'll write some more on this tomorrow.

I don't know if this will be of use to anyone, but these words of Frederick Douglass have been helping me: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the land. They want rain without thunder and lightning....The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle." Well, FWIW...

Yes, mighty mouse, the path less traveled. The one that looks the most difficult is often the exact one that needs to be taken. I had doubts before Moyers' show. I definetly was leaning on the impeachment side, but my fear was that we could not succeed. I don't care anymore. We have to the next step. Our president is out of control. Ignoring it won't make it go away and will only make it worse.

Actually, for what I can tell, the resolutions of impeachment against Cheney (19 sponsors so far) have been referred to the Constitution sub-committee of HJC, Subcommittee chair being Jerry Nadler. 19 Co Sponsors is pretty thin -- post Saturday Night Massacre we had about 125. So -- more co-sponsors and pressure on Nadler to indicate how he is going to deal with the resolutions he has in hand.

A bit on process -- the first step in sub-committee is an investigation as to whether there should be a full investigation. If there is a positive recommendation from the sub-committee, then it goes to Rules to both agree to rules, and get committee appropriations for specialized staff. Then the full Committee studies, and subsequently deals with any impeachment resolutions that might be referred to the full house.

During Watergate the investigative work was done behind closed doors with the committee working 4 days a week, and only the full committee debate and vote on resolutions was on TV. The investigative phase behind closed doors involved many witnesses, listening to the tapes sent over by Sirica, and counsel reading to the committee the findings from trials and other hearings, and FBI reports. With Clinton, they did the investigative phase largely on TV in open session. Much of it was circus like. I think Rodino's approach using closed sessions gave the process the seriousness it required. There were leaks, but not so much as to detract from the serious atmosphere. The Clinton Hearings, in contrast, because they were so circus like, actually drove up Clinton's poll numbers.

So how to strike a medium between these approaches -- enough openness so as to educate a large segment of the public to the narrative, but with sufficient control that it is not a circus. I rather have my doubts about Conyers ability to so orchestrate.

". . .It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. . ."

-- Sir Frederick Douglass, from
a speech given on the occasion
of the Fourth of July. . .

this is what we now need to do.

we need to bring it. all of it.

we need to be forceful, fiery and fearless. . .

we need it now!

HR 333 will likely fizzle...

unless citizens from across the country are somehow able to speak together and loud enough to cause reverberations in the media echo chambers of this country, there will be no impeachment hearings...

a visible public outpouring of discontent seems required...

Support candidates to replace Dems who "don't get it" and Republicans. Get a couple of dozen serious challenges going and the Dems will change course.

Early money shouts; late money whispers.

Impeach Bush. Start it now. Don't worry about obstacles.

Impeach him for the obvious. Total mishandling of and ill preparation for the War in Iraq.

Forget all the non issues that have enthralled the Liberals for so long. The USAs, the Plame issue, the emails, Rove, Cheney. These have no traction with the general public.

What has traction is:

3,600+ dead
20,000+ wounded
10 to 12,000 wounded very seriously
our treasure depleted,
our standing in the world disastrously affected,
the creating of Jihadists for the next 50 years.

This is why America has turned on Bush. Not the non issues.

Impeach Bush now!

there's a lot passion and resolve in this thread...

site admin should summarize and allow discussion to continue in new thread...

???

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