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July 08, 2007


It turns out 'everybody does it' means 'the same small group does it, over and over again'.

Thanks, and also to consider is the myth of Reagan, the push for him to be on Mount Rushmore, it is almost enough to drive you insane, here is an article that spells out more of that myth

The Enduring Lies of Ronald Reagan
Though the GOP continues to canonize the fortieth president, we can’t forget his legacy as a liar and a foreign policy flop
By Susan J. Douglas


like lice, you have really get in their and pick out those b**stards or they never really go away.

I agree. What's wrong is wrong, sometimes, and there is nothing to do but keep saying that in the hopes someone will finally listen. Sometimes compromise is just wrong, too.

Not only the whole crock of the unitary executive and the President who answers to no one needs to be buried, alive if necessary, but also the whole idea that the economy exists for the benefit of the top 1% and everyone else is welcome to live in a rat race at best or involuntary servitude at worst.

Funny, both ideas are being propagated by Dick Cheney.

All I can say is that it feels so good to meet up with others who see what it. I am no brilliant person but it felt so lonely during the Iran/Contra affair and reading the Contra affair afterward left me naseaus.

I hear it, I see it, but I don't know how to help america see it. Reagan was a sham. The Iran Contra affair continues to bring the american people a multitude of negative consequences.

I know I want Bill Moyers to do everything, but t.v is the way to speak to the average Joe. Couldn't there be a prime time show about Iran contra?? At least giving name recognition to those who were involved then and now?? I think just to have the american people understand that the names and faces have not changed might be enough for them to make the judgment leap. Back then they knew it was dirty but didn't understand why. I think just helping everyday folks link the players from then to now would be powerful and then all you really need to notice is Iran, Iran, Iraq. That would be enough link for the black and white thinkers of america. It's not that hard, it's just that they have done such a good job of preventing the links from being made.

Who would be willing to do a show on this before the elections?? And as we approach the impeachment issue. It's so important to understand that these controversies have the same players, some moral and ethical problems, same patterns. American's pick up on patterns. I think if they finally made the leap then it would take mountains for them to forget it.

I could be wrong here, but my public relations background says that once a product is found to be not what they thought it was, it pays a price and is not usually ever brought back to life. I understand that when a favored idea is challenged it takes extraordinary evidence to get behing it. To me, this leap has just not quite been made to the public. But it could be. I think t.v is key to reaching the average american, even though I wish it weren't so.

i couldn't agree more... i keep reading btd over at talkleft expound on how impeachment is a "distraction" to the "real" issue, which, according to him, is getting out of iraq... i think he's got it precisely backwards... iraq is a distraction from the real issue of how to deal with the criminals, installed by a quiet coup d'etat on 20 december 2000, who currently occupy the white house and are systematically destroying the very foundations of our constitutionally-mandated government... it's not that iraq isn't a big deal... it's a HUGE deal, but the constitutional crisis dwarfs everything else... sitting by and waiting for the 2008 elections and the inauguration on 20 january 2009 to usher in a bright new day is the worst kind of naivete... if we leave this unaddressed, everything that bush and his cohorts have put in place will remain, seductively beckoning to all future white house occupants to take advantage of them... besides believing that we must not wait until the next inauguration, i also shudder to think of what further destruction these horrible will wreak on our country between now and then... why the good citizens haven't stormed the bastille before now is a mystery to me... it's not exactly like the crimes have been totally hidden... scarier still, how many MORE egregious crimes have yet to be revealed...


This is why there is no such thing as a little lie for once a lie is set loose, that train has left the station.

As I reread some of the pieces over at TPM about Cheney's involvement in Bush's decision to commute Libby I couldn't help but wonder just what the puppet has learned from his master. Did Bush pick up a concession from Cheney in their negotiation? What then?

And just as certainly, the next generation of corruptors is hanging over the fence, ears pricked and greedy for their own turn.

***From above: ". . . and also to consider is the myth of Reagan, the push for him to be on Mount Rushmore, it is almost enough to drive you insane"***

I live in DC: lived here during Iran-Contra, and what's REALLY made me insane is slapping Reagan's name on everything in sight -- the airport [NEVER call it "Reagan National;" it will be "National" until we can change it back]; a honking big building downtown; crap, they've already put his likeness on a stamp and even want to put it on a coin in addition to Mount Rushmore!!

We DO need a Facts for Slackers program on Iran-Contra: what went on, who [among the list of current criminals] was involved, what the pardon covered up, how the granting of "immunity" to Ollie North screwed things.

Some of us can remember this all too well, but for far too many others, it's just history, subject to being forgotten or rewritten by the bad guys.

Kagro X and profmarcus -- you have this exactly right. The very real threat we face is the precedent being set by this executive and the implications it will have for the future. Just as Iran Contra pushed the boundaries of abuse beyond Watergate, this administration has pushed them further beyond Iran Contra. If we don't impeach and put the various culprits behind bars, how far will future executives be willing to go?

I have seen speculation here about the possibility of Bush suspending the 2008 elections. I think that scenario remains highly unlikely. However, if Bush and his cronies are not impeached or prosecuted, I can easily imagine a future President declaring martial law, suspending elections, and we can then kiss our Constitution good-bye.

Impeachment is imperative. And every official who has broken the law should be prosecuted and punished according to the laws of our land so that a clear message will be sent to future administrations that lawlessness will not be tolerated.

"... the whole business lodged something deep in the government that needed to be roughly and bloodily excised."

that's the heart of the matter.

that "something" included

- the conviction a pres (reagan and his lieutenants) could ignore the congress, pull stunts on the congress to get around their restrictions,

- the conviction a pres could get away with this behavior with no threat or penalty to your personal life or your political career

- the conviction the public could be endlessly deceived by sufficient whitehouse p.r. and media complicity

- the conviction that attaining and using presidential power in american government did not require accommodating to any others of the many differing views or sources of power in our society.

v-p cheney's behavior since he took office in 2001 personifies this conviction.

on matters large or small, the bush approach, the right-wing approach, is thoroughly authoritarian and substantially totalitarian.

It's: do it my way or suffer punishment.

in this fundamental respect, the bush/cheney presidency has been precisely aligned with the philosophy and practice of wielding power

in the soviet union under stalin, khrushev, breshnev,

or for that matter, the philosophy of power for any dictator,

say, saddam hussein.

the bush/cheney folk are too media sophisticated to pull out your teeth with pliers or drop you from a helicopter,

but they achieve the same end by destroying careers, bribing supporters, and bringing phony legal charges against their opponents.

jarring as it may seem,

i'll end this comment with the observation that all of this disreputable and,literally, un-american presidential behavior, arose from the practices of american corporate business - public lying, false assurances, sophistical disguise of intentions, retaliation against critics, unaccountability for incompetence or dishonesty at the top, golden parachutes.

corruption in corporate american certainly has its perks.

and george bush has indeed been america's first CEO president.

and i would hope its last .

Regardless whether "official DC" wants to face reality, on the table is the mess: A reminder of what has failed.

Time to do what was done prior to the Declaration of Independence, Magna Charta, and US Constitution:

A. Identify what is wrong;
B. Outline an improvement to prevent the abuses;
C. Tell the government to change;
D. If the Government refuses to change, repeal the Constitution, and enact a New One.

Time to stop waiting for DC to agree to cooperate with what the needed structural changes are in the Constitution.

No, I'm not talking an Amendment, but a restructuring of the US government through a New Constitution that would transform how the power is distributed, and ensure the power cannot be consolidated, abused; and compel investigations and processions regardless what faction controls the US government.

There is a way to do this. On the table are the well known problems. Time to accept DC and the US Government are not capable of self-regulating or self-reforming. Time for We the People to discuss and impose a lawful solution:

- Remind future Generations of the powers they have to lawfully change government when it is unresponsive and oppressive;

- Outline legal options -- outside the voting booth -- that remain on the table for the Public to Assert to check power;

- To revoke powers that have not been used, and transfer that power to entities that shall be more easily overseen, punished, and disciplined when they fail to do their jobs as required by the oath;

- To increase oversight of Congress through mechanisms that compel disclosure;

- To compel the President to disclose when his private information to Congress is not consistent with the public assertions Congress is supposedly relying on;

- To make rules reminding future Generations how to quickly shut down funding for illegal things, and create bills that have zero-dollar amounts in budgets without using an Amendment which a faction can suppress in filibuster;

- To transfer power to the States when the Federal government is abusive, and recognizes the inherent States power and right to seek foreign assistance when the Federal government engages in illegal warfare, and uses state resources for unlawful activity which violate the laws of war;

- To create mechanisms that will forever oversea the legal community that has recklessly abused Our Trust, and compel full, meaningful oversight at a level commensurate with the oversight Congress gives to another branch

- To promulgate precedents of Nuremberg as guiding requirements on all citizens, contractors, and people to meet, enforce, follow, and timely report outside the Executive Branch to proper authorities for prosecution;

- To grant to the Judiciary and Legislative leaders matching powers the President has abused: Speaker shall have the veto power over any budget line item; Speaker shall issue legislative orders; Congress shall have an electronic intercept system which shall monitor Executive Government complicate with Acts of Congress

Way Forward

First we need to discuss the problems; then outline structural changes in the delegation of power to the existing three branches; then discuss what needs to be put in a New Constitution to prevent this abuse of power from occurring again.

- Bounties for reporting evidence of illegal use of funds for illegal purposes, war crimes;

- [This is not legal, but could be legalized with a New Constitution:] Perpetual reminder to citizens that they may lawfully use force to check government abuse when all other options have been exhausted, and the US government uses illegal, deadly force against innocent civilians;

- Standards of conduct and competence which all government officials shall be held to: Training, reporting, oversight, auditing, and performance compliance in re audits, sampling, and compliance testing.

- Direct sanctions on legal counsel when privilege invoked for dubious purposes; or legal counsel take action to destroy evidence; or sanctions when legal counsel claims they believed evidence would be protected by privilege, but they belie that assertion by destroying the evidence.

- Reminder to States they retain power to prosecute a sitting President, VP, and current or formerly assigned US government officials, workers, agents, employees and staff counsel for obstructing the State's guarantee to an enforcement mechanism of the Constitution.

- Split the Executive Branch leadership into three: Domestic Executive; Foreign Affairs Executive; and Commander in Chief.

- Assign to all Executive Branches a leader from the Congress and the Judiciary to ensure that all Cabinet Officials are similarly split into three.

- The Fourth branch would oversee the prosecutions; have the power to wage lawful war against the other three if they engage n Geneva Violations; and would have the power to use deadly force to lead WE the People to subdue the other three branches to preserve the Constitution.

- Transform the from the Executive the power to prosecute; this would be a power exclusively delegated to the New Fourth Branch. The leadership in the Fourth Branch would be changed on n a yearly basis, accountable directly to the states and the People. No Party or Faction would be permitted to organize itself to gain seats or control of this Fourth Branch.

Look at Iran-Contra from the Iranian point of view. They conned the U.S. into helping them in their bitter war against Iraq. Bush the elder pardoned all the folks they duped. 20 years later, they conned the U.S. into finishing off Saddam. Bush the younger commutes the sentence of the only Iranian dupe that has been prosecuted so far. They must really appreciate the Bushs covering up for them.


'Facts for Slackers' ought also to include Watergate, since that's when this mess was conceived. I think showing people who was involved in (and got off from) Watergate, as well as who was involved in (and got off from) Iran-Contra, might finally end some political careers that should have ended years ago. Any other should-have-been-career-ending-scandals that need to go on that list? (I'm including Cheney in Iran-Contra, since he apparently approved of it, whether or not he was involved in it.)

My question for you is this: what is the benefit of a failed impeachment? If the Democrats impeach but fail to convict, for example, then Bush will be exonerated. The impeachment will serve to rescue Bush's reputation rather than ruin it.
I don't see the point of failing to recognize political reality, which is that impeachment isn't in the cards. That said, I'm all in favor of doing the maximum to expose Bushco's crimes.

Marky -- Your argument is predicated on the assumption that the votes in the Senate would remain unchanged by impeachment hearings. This is a disastrously faulty assumption.

First, impeachment proceedings would preclude the invocation of executive privilege. All relevant documents must be turned over to Congress (and hence made public) whether Bush likes it or not.

Second, impeachment hearings will put all the evidence on the front pages of newspapers across the country and in broadcast headlines. The public would become fully informed of the egregious abuses of power by this administration.

This would lead to a lot of public pressure on even Republicans in Congress, who for their own political salvation would then be compelled to either pressure Bush to resign (as happened with Nixon) or vote for his (their, Cheney should be impeached simulataneously since he is equally culpable) removal.

Finally, your political "reality" is not as real as you would suggest. Last I read, polls show over 50% of the public favor impeaching Cheney, while over 40% favor impeaching Bush. Prior to the Clinton impeachment, 26% of the public was in favor. Even in that case, the impeachment proceedings pulled another 10% into the "in favor" camp. Presumably, impeachment proceedings now would only serve to push the current favorability ratings substantially higher. I don't see any Republican Senators who are truly willing to sacrifice their careers in support of Bush in the face of overwhelming public disapproval.

I'll stipulate that impeachment may succeed, if you agree there is a substantial chance of failure. Votes aside, the timing is getting more and more problematical.
I think my question is very fair.
As far as questions of executive priviledge go, it's painfully obvious to me that the administration will simply refuse to respond to subpoenas, period. They will make up a legal theory and weasel their way into getting favorable rulings from a friendly judiciary. I don't know how the specifics will go, but I think its a fantasy to believe the administration will simply hand over documents and allow witnesses to testify.

A subsidiary question is whether you think there are no positive measures short of impeachment that will stop and/or punish Bush. I think there are other options with a better chance of sucess. I also am afraid that impeachment will make it impossible to stop the war. Impeachment proceedings will be nearly all-consuming. Sure, after Bush and Cheney are impeached, the troops MIGHT come home, but I'm not sanguine about that.

One more thing, drawing from Armando's recent posts and going against your reasoning about wavering Republicans.
Once impeachment proceedings begin, Republicans have a very strong motive to protect Bush which doesn't exist without impeachment---that is the possibility of clearing Bush's name. If Bush is not impeached, or the Senate fails to convict, then Bush will have been declared innocent in a court proceeding of sorts. This would be a tremendous boon to Republicans. They could say that while Bush was not the most successful President, he was honest, did his best, blah blah.

You seem to have great confidence that Congress will be able to use its subpoena power to produce evidence of actual crimes should impeachment take place; I think it far more likely that Bush will stonewall at a certain point, at which time Congress will have to impeach on obstruction of justice charges.
Will that succeed? I don't know.

Oops, misread the sig. on a comment. I thought I was responding to Kagro. Hi phred.

I totally agree with Phred, we have to do it because the law says that we must. We cannot make the decision based on "only if we think it will work". We have to do it for the process.

My hope and prayer would be that the process would illuminate to such a degree that would force some republicans to change their positions. However, Iran/contra, scared many of us, we this to happen at that time.

There is certainly some history that suggests that some will hold solid despite the evidence. They will do so if they can. (that is if american pressure does not build to the point that forces their hand). I think that this effort has to include a way to inform the american people that it's the same string of folks through watergate, Iran/contra and current violations.

How can we get that word to the american people?

If the american people do not watch this and inform themselves then the process is broken. That as anon has written we must work to fix what is broken, when we can.

Clinton was above 50% in the polls when the GOP leadership tried, from above, to remove him through impeachment. I don't think when they started they really thought they could do it--I think they just wanted to weaken and besmirch him.

This would be an impeachment essentially from below, by demand of the people of their elected leaders. Bush is below 30% approval now, and Cheney is in the teens last I looked, and that was before the WaPo series.

And it is absolutely correct that votes are fluid, and that when the vote comes up in the Senate, with 22 of the 49 GOP seats up for election, things might change. At least Bush would be too weak to start the Iran War.

I can see the Dems taking 20 more House seats and 8-10 Senate seats in 2008. Surely they can see that too. The national mood (77% wrong track) is VERY different from the Clinton impeachment, plus there's always the backdrop of the deeply unpopular war.

Go slow, set it up with the votes on the war and popular programs in the budget; keep pushing on the politicization of the Justice Dept, more subpoenas and witnesses. Then this fall begin impeachment of Gonzales for refusing to cooperate, and then Cheney.

It's hard for me to see Gonzo not being impeached if the refusals and memory lapses continue, and Cheney has few friends. We'll see if Machiavelli was right.

I have never denied that there's a substantial chance of "failure," defined as something less than a 2/3 vote in the Senate to convict.

But since everyone's so fond of comparing a Bush impeachment to the Clinton impeachment, would you say that Clinton was "exonerated?" Some people would, but I wouldn't. People still argue about whether or not Clinton's "crimes" were worthy of impeachment, but nobody seriously disputes his commission of those "crimes."

And since I'm not fond of comparing a Bush impeachment to the Clinton impeachment, but rather to the Nixon impeachment, I'll point out that even without an actual trial and vote, nobody thinks Nixon was "exonerated" either.

I doubt very much whether a "failed" impeachment will rescue Bush's reputation. It didn't rescue Clinton's. Rather, he survived it because he was popular, and people took his side because they found the impeachment ridiculous and unfounded, but are you saying that you or people you know looked with more favor on Clinton's activities because he wasn't convicted by the Senate? You came out of the experience hoping more presidents would get more blowjobs and lie about them?

The benefit of a failed impeachment is at least partially in preventing future presidents from saying, "I will not even be put on trial for this."

We're very shortly likely to find ourselves in a situation in which the executive branch is denying the existence of a plenary legislative power -- the power of oversight and investigation.

We can either accede to their point and erase that plenary power (but fight tooth and nail to hold onto the seats that no longer have that power in the upcoming elections), or we can say, "No, we believe we do have that power, but Republicans do not believe it. Choose your side this November: Democrats and oversight, or Republicans and an unchecked National Security State."

How are the GOPers going to want to protect Bush when the House is up for reelection and 22 of the GOP Senators (and only 10 Dems?) He is just so unpopular, and so is his war. Even in Red states and communities he and his war are unpopular. The GOP was punished in 1998 for the impeachment.

The troops are going to begion coming hoime next year because there aren't any replacements. He will not have the military with him in opposing deescalation. We can impeach and stop the war too.

Re impeachment:

Pursuing impeachment against a President while the country is at war may not play so well to the public, regardless of what they say at the moment. That's not to say, that given further developments, it should be completely off the table.

Re Iran-Contra:

What we currently understand as Iran-Contra, may be only a small portion of what occurred during the Reagan/Bush I administrations. I think we know very little. Instead of Iran-Contra, it might be more useful to focus on BCCI.

More for Marky:

  • I would happily accept impeachment for stonewalling, and have long predicted it as even more likely than impeachment for underlying crimes.
  • I think the Republican motive to protect Bush largely expired following the 2006 elections. As the lamest possible kind of lame duck, Bush is no good to them anymore even if he's popular, which he's not. He's an immense drag, in fact, and dozens of Republicans are already actively running away from him and will continue to do so even if we do nothing. Putting him on trial for his various crimes and having him stonewall subpoenas that were issued by bipartisan committee votes won't do much to make him a more attractive political partner to run with. Republicans are much more likely to run on the "Who cares? He's outta here, so stop being so partisan" ticket than the "Protect Bush" plan. And I think we have that beat if Bush stonewalls.
  • I don't read Armando's work.

For Mimikatz:

The point about Clinton's popularity and impeachment from above versus below is well taken. Critics often point to the Clinton impeachment and say that it made Clinton more popular, and will do the same for Bush. But I wonder whether impeachment isn't simply a magnifier that exacerbates already existing trends. Impeachment certainly didn't make Nixon any more popular as far as I'm aware. Might it not be the case that the impeachment of unpopular presidents makes them more unpopular, while making popular presidents more popular?

Kagro, I think the Clinton comparison is faulty. The reason Clinton was not exonerated by the Senate's failure to impeach is that the Democrats did not trumpet his exoneration afterwards. From past experience, I would expect the Republicans to very loudly proclaim Bush's innocence, should impeachment fail. Hell, they still proclaim Nixon's innocence. That's a minor issue, but I really think you can't assume Bush would be tarnished the way Clinton was.

Here's another question. Why can't Bush be pursued after he leaves office? The niceties of executive priviledge would play a role, obviously, but mightn't they favor the Democrats? What I mean is, couldn't a Democratic President waive Bush's executive priviledge, just as Bush made some of Clinton's papers secret?
That's one issue. A second is the effect of pardons.
I don't understand this. Take the Weinberger case. After he was pardoned, he had no 5th amendment reason not to testify. It should have been easier to go after Bush Sr. Wasn't the real proble the lack of will, not legal obstacles?

Phred is right in re impeachment hearings and how the growing public disgust would force the Reps to defend this continuingly criminal presidency, or into defending the Constitution. Another added benefit the hearings would be on tv and every day would certainly lead the nightly newscasts.

The failure of the Senate to vote to convict would make all but say 20% of the country know that Reps value party over everything.

Another benefit of starting impeachment is it would take the power of pardon off the table. If I remember correctly, pardon is not allowed under impeachment in the Constitution.

We have Bill Clinton to thank for Congress not pursuing a bigger criminal stink about Iran-Contra. Because he wanted comity and a bunch of other things at the time that just made many Americans damned mad. I think that, plus the congressional corruption was what empowered the Rep takeover of Congress in the next elections. So please, let's not forget that Clinton is also culpable for this illegal administration.

And I see no hope that if Hilary does ascend to the WH in 09 that she will pursue this matter any further. Ya know, sometimes I just wanna say FU** comity.

And I'm all for having another constitutional convention. Let's add that corporations are not considered people, and also something about a corporate death penalty. And something about outsourcing to private sector the things that should necessarily be run and controlled by the government.

Thanks for the link Kagro. I've said the same stuff for years.

Hi Marky -- No worries about the sig mix up, it happens all the time...

I agree that a failed impeachment is possible, but given the mood of the populace now, prior to any impeachment hearings, it really strikes me as unlikely that it will fail. As an aside to "undecided at 19:04", Bush's war on terror will have no end, pretty convenient then to brush aside any discussion of impeachment while we're at war, my sense is the public won't buy that particular meme.

And I agree your question is a fair one, that is, what "positive measures short of impeachment that will stop and/or punish Bush". I think you answer that yourself when you point out that even under the rules of impeachment Bush will continue to defy Congress. So the answer to your question appears to be none. Censure will do nothing to change the conduct of this administration in any way whatsoever. This is why I have become convinced that impeachment is the only course of action left to those of us who want to change the present course of our government.

Indeed, the votes do not exist to override a Presidential veto, that is a political reality I absolutely concur with. Bush has made it very clear he will not end this war or even begin redeployment. He would veto any such legislation. That means, the only way to end the war, or seriously begin work toward ending it, will have to wait until Bush is out of office. Impeachment would therefore bring an end to the war sooner.

Kagro addressed your second comment far more eloquently than I could, so I will simply concur with him and leave it at that.

I think Bush and Cheney have brought us to the brink of the cliff on purpose. They fervently believe in the Unitary Executive. Given that Congress (whether Republican led or Democratic) has yet to stand up to them, they believe (and at the moment I do, too) that the Democrats lack the courage to take them on. If they fail to do so, the Unitary Executive will be established in precedent, and it will be much harder to rein it in later. This is what the neocons are counting on. The stakes are entirely too high not to impeach. I agree with you that there are potential risks and downsides, but they are far outweighed by the downsides of allowing the Unitary Executive to go unchecked.

Nice comment, Dee L.
I like the "corporate death penalty".
Do other western countries consider corporations to be persons?

My only objection to your argument is that I'm not sure that an impeachment trial is necessary to fatally tie the Republicans to Bush. I'm afraid that once impeachment starts, the issues will become hypertechnical---at least the GOP will try to make them so.
With impeachment, we move from the question "What did Bush do", to "Was it a criminal act?".
The latter is necessarily more subtle, however egregious you personally find Bush's offenses.
I would not underestimate the GOP ability to confuse the issue in an impeachment trial.
On the other hand, if the Democrats simply continue to hold hearings as they've been doing, the public will see what Bush has done, and the obvious conclusion will follow. Maybe this is how you think impeachment will occur---that part has been a little fuzzy to me.

The reason that Clinton wasn't "exonerated" was that people felt that what he did was irresponsible and put his persoan pleasure above party and country, thereby diminishing what he could accomplish. But the vast majority did not think it merited impeachment.

Lying us to war, opening the way for torture and warrantless eavesdropping, indefinite detention of citizens etc plus the rejection of any oversight or constraints on his power and the politicization of the Justice Dept and the Libby amnesty are a much different thing. Very serious, beltway Heathers to the contrary notwithstanding. People not in the Bushcult can see the difference.

Let me just toss out an idea. What would you think of a candidate who pledges to reverse specific Bush assertions of Executive Priviledge. For example, what about someone who promises to let the public know who was advising the Cheney energy task force in 2001. The next President will have the absolute authority to do so, right?
You're all looking for ways to make Bush accountable, and you're looking for something in a candidate which shows he wants to dismantle the Unitary Executive.
What about it?

Obviously not!

We have dumbed ourselves down to an innocuous infantility in the questions that we ask. Time for the clear eyed and incisive. It's time to put a little shove in our talk. "Shove back!" really. As in give these creeps the heave-ho. As for our blessed Constitution's impeachment clause - the document, and our freedom, have no meaning without its application as such a sustained period of concern only spins further out of control. I'd rather take a moralist's view, a Constitutional scholar's view, a citizen's view, a human rights watcher's view, an internationalist's view, a child of the earth's view of the merits of impeachment than a political strategist's (read Congress) view of impeachment.

Only a citizens' action is going to put an end to this charade. Lieing is a game for two or more. One has to cast the lie. It then takes a willful receiving. Bush and Cheney can say the preposterous because there is still an element in our society that is willing to accept what they says as plausable presidential commentary. And with charges of complicity always threatening to bring down a congressman or senator there is no strong impulse to ratchet up among our reps.

There was a stir at the polls on election day. Time for another - more sustained - stir. Do we start with the pots and pans?

In search of leadership. Tom

"He who leads must learn to follow." Ripple, Robert Hunter

I don't know, Marky. I think the problem of exonerating an impeached president is bigger than something that can be solved with a PR war. And Democrats didn't trumpet his "exoneration," because it was believed (I think correctly) to be a poor idea politically. I think it will be viewed similarly by all but the safest (and wingnuttiest) Republicans.

Perhaps the difference is that the safest and wingnuttiest Republicans for some reason are able to get themselves on the TV talk shows, while their political opposites generally are not. That is a source of some concern, but really, no matter how much ink has been spilled on it, nobody has been able to rehabilitate Nixon. Maybe that's a function of his having given up the fight. But it seems considerably more likely to me that it's a function of his lack of popularity at the time of his impeachment. Speaking soothing words about him to a public that reported 70+% disapproval wasn't particularly likely to have much effect. Democrats might have tested that theory after the Clinton impeachment, I suppose, but preferred keeping their distance. And well decided, I think. Clinton's failures were personal and not political or in any sense endemic to the Democratic Party in the same way that Nixon and Bush's failures are. Defending Clinton at that point puts the onus of his failures on anyone who opened their mouth, whereas those who kept their mouths shut or distanced themselves stood a reasonably good chance of escaping any blame.

Now, that may actually argue for the theory that Republicans will rise to Bush's defense, since his failures are much more easily transferable to the Republican Party. But it doesn't rule out the much safer (I think) option of simply distancing yourself from Bush and saying Republicans can be better than that.

To your other question, Bush can be pursued after he leaves office. But our history in that department has been deplorable. That's what I was talking about when I pointed out that both my motivation and emptywheel's has been to see that the Bush crimes do not go the way of Iran-Contra. I can't think of a single serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination whom I believe would permit Congressional Democrats or the Justice Department to continue the pursuit after Inauguration Day.

Kagro X--thanks to you and Charles Pierce for the insight on Iran-Contrafication and the need to avoid a similar shrinking now. Maybe just because it's been a long day and these are hard and dismal times, but I'm not sure that the choice of words "onus of his (Clinton's) failure on anyone who opened their mouth, whereas those who kept their mouths shut" is a bit too literal re: Clinton's transgressions and impeachment?

The arguments against impeachment are so specious that I am forced to conclude that much of the anti-impeachment crowd consists of frightened Republican concern trolls.

Impeachment is the only remaining tool that our representatives can use to protect the Constitutional system of checks and balances, investigate the crimes committed by the executive branch to an extent that would otherwise be impossible and focus public attention on the agressively anti-constitutional and illegal behavior of the Bush administration.


Thanks for elevating the tone. I have often felt the same way about the pro-impeachment crowd, too!

Any time Marky.


kagro X or anybody else.

draw up and publish here

at least one article of impeachment that would convince a majority of the house of reps to vote favorably.

impeachment will be a quasi-legal proceeding with enormous media coverage

so the article would have to have specifics of facts and action that can be debated.

extra credit

write out a second article of impeachment - detailed as before.

thanks to all for many informative comments.

Exactly right

Dear Ghu, let's get impeachment rolling! The sooner it starts, the better the chances of getting these guys out of office before anything worse happens. (And something worse would, that being the way things have been going.)

(I like the idea of charging Bush with contempt if his subpoena'd former minions don't show up and testify. He shouldn't be keeping them from telling what they know. It's obstruction of something-or-other. That's yet another item to add to the list of Why We Need To Impeach.)

Orion's suggestion hits at another of my main objection to pro-impeachment types, which is that many of them imagine that Bush can be tried for treason, or war crimes.
Not going to happen.

How much do I love this thread? Thank you Kagro for reading my mind and typing it out better than I ever could.

Phred, I'm with you buddy.

Oh, and I am working on some draft Articles that would look mighty familiar to Dick Nixon, though they all involve the sins of THIS administration

Republicans are very frightened of impeachment. Scared as hell.

If impeachment goes back on the table, this fear will manifest itself in many ways - including extremely 'concerned' commentary on the subject from the likes of Lanny Davis, Joe Klein, David Broder, Donna Brazile and James Carville.

For now, the Republicans (other than certain concern trolls) are pretending to ignore impeachment in order to prevent a national conversation on impeachment from getting underway.


very good.

you're a lawyer who seems to know d.c.

and one such is now needed.

i'd love to read them articles.

Republicans respect power. The Democrats--by a small majority--control congress. If the Democrats fail to make an example of Bush/Cheney, the Republicans will view it as precedent--another example of the Democrats' inability to use their power. This trend erodes democracy. The Democrats--metaphorically--must apply the guillotine to Cheney's head.

Do you really think Republicans are afraid of impeachment?
I don't see it that way at all! Do you have anything concrete to back that up?

By comparison, I think the Republicans are much more afraid of the Democrats showing a spine on Iraq.

LHP, right back at ya :) You're one of my favorites in these parts and reading your stuff (along with bmaz, Ishmael, ReddHead, and all the other great legal folks around here) makes me wish I had taken up law instead of science (well, sometimes ;)

orionATL, I've drafted a short letter to send to the members of the HJC that lists 6 key reasons for impeachment. Regrettably, I don't have the legal skills to draft articles of impeachment as you suggest, nor do I have EW's (or Kagro's or Swopa's) grasp of the details that would be necessary. But if there is any way I can help to get articles ready, you just let me know.

And xyz, I agree the fear factor from the anti-impeachment camp is palpable. I think pro-impeachment is gaining some real steam... And I'll keep stoking the fire...

Thanks Kagro for the great post -- as xyz says, we need to get this discussion going here and nationally to get the ball rolling.

Marky, I'm starting to think xyz is right about you -- as long as Bush stays in place Repubs have nothing to fear from the Dems regarding Iraq as it will be vetoed.

The exposure of administration malfeasance to the general public via impeachment proceedings should scare them and scare them big.

Article 1

Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies.

This conduct has included one or more of the following:

  1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, authorized and permitted to be maintained a secret, warrantless domestic surveillance operation directed from within the office of the President, which unlawfully utilized the resources of the National Security Agency, engaged in covert and unlawful activities, and attempted to prejudice the constitutional right of an accused to a fair trial.
  2. He has failed to take care that the laws were faithfully executed by failing to act when he knew or had reason to know that his close subordinates endeavored to impede and frustrate lawful inquiries by duly constituted executive, judicial and legislative entities concerning said warrantless domestic surveillance program, and the internal Department of Justice authorization thereof, and concerning other unlawful activities including the exposure of the covert Central Intelligence Agency assets, and the improper dismissal of United States Attorneys.
  3. In disregard of the rule of law, he knowingly misused the executive power by interfering with agencies of the executive branch, including the United States Attorneys, the Civil Rights Division, and the Voting Rights Section, of the Department of Justice, and the National Security Agency, in violation of his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

In all of this, George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Article 2

In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, George W. Bush, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on June 13, 2007, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things George W. Bush, substituting his judgment as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In all of this, George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Katie Jensen: I know I want Bill Moyers to do everything, but t.v is the way to speak to the average Joe. Couldn't there be a prime time show about Iran contra?

Funny you should ask: There sort of was, and Moyers did it. It was called 'The Secret Government', and it can be seen on the intertubes here. There are also shorter versions on YouTube.

Above: "In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office."

Well, I know NIXON did this crap, but we impeached HIS ass . . .

Just discovered this outstanding thread. Thanks to Kagro X for getting it off to such a fine start. Since I'm so late, I'll save most of the amens and just offer two remarks:

1) When the real objective is to dismantle those aspects of the government and Constitution that do not serve your interests, an unpopular, badly managed war is as good a shiny object as you could ask for, especially if people are made to think they can get rid of it without getting rid of you.

2) Bill Moyers has already offered a good primer on Iran-Contra. You can view or download The Secret Government (1987) at this link; Caution: the video starts loading automatically, though you can stop it by clicking on the square button if you wish. If nothing else, I should think this story would further undermine people's faith in hearings held without a view to the available objectives as a means of getting anything done. But then, I'm increasingly of the opinion that I don't know nothin.

Continuing in the Tao of Waiting ...

Oopsies, Mauimom! Did I accidentally prove another of the points I've been making all along? Darn it!

Unfortunately, though, we didn't impeach his ass. Which is part of the reason we're here today, dithering over whether or not we should impeach Bush's.

Bravo Kagro, well done.

Another item I would like to see included in articles of impeachment is his appointment of people who are unqualified for the duties of their offices leading to loss of life, property, and gross misuse of the treasury. His inability to find and appoint qualified candidates renders him unfit to govern. Clearly, incompetence is not criminal, but my understanding of impeachment is that it may be applied to the grossly incompetent as well criminal behavior in the executive branch.

Plus, can we add something regarding his recent obstruction of justice?

I"m trying not to make things personal here. I'd appreciate it if you'd do the same.
This is one of the best discussions of impeachment I"ve read. The bulk of the pro-impeachment writings that I have read are pure rant---nothing better than the dribblings of a cretin child. Most of the people say "impeach", and that's the end. Here, people recognize the success is not guaranteed, and give a reason to proceed regardless.
I appreciate that.

As far as the Republicans being afraid of impeachment, I stand by what I said earlier. I see no sign of GOP fear of impeachment whatsoever. This could be a function of their certainty that impeachment will not occur. At any rate, saying that things are "obvious" is not a way to advance the argument. Its not obvious to me there will be impeachment hearings----in fact, I sorely doubt it. Its not obvious that should impeachment begin, that Bush will be impeached or convicted. Its not obvious to me that impeachment will be the most effective way of bringing to light evidence of the broad scope of the misdeeds of the Bush adminisrattion. Its not obvious that acquital on a narrow impeachment charge will be a better result for the Democrats than not impeaching, in the short term political analysis.
If any of the above points are "obvious" to you or someone else, I have zero interest in reading what you have to say. If, on the other hand, you have some analysis, polls or quotes to back up your points, I would like to read what you have to say.

Just out of curiosity, Marky, what do you think would be the upshot of convening investigations and hearings with an announced intention of investigating the propriety of impeachment, using the additional leverage that gives such a committee for compelling testimony and the production of documents, publishing a report of the findings, and then simply declining to call for a vote in committee on reporting out any actual articles of impeachment?

I don't know that I'd recommend that, I just wonder whether you think the additional leverage (and threat) would produce any more evidence of impeachable offenses (or produce evidence of new ones, based on the anticipated effort to obstruct the committee's work), and what effect that evidence (or that obstruction) might produce.

I think that's an interesting idea. One of the risks of impeaching immediately is that it will crystallize Republican opposition at the start, making it much harder to peel of individual members of Congress later.
My general view on the matter is that the Democrats should do as much as possible to show that Bush should be impeached, without taking the final step until they are operating from a position of confidence. So from that perspective, I like your idea. The other thing I like is that it shows some gamesmanship. Regardless of whether impeachment is the right thing to do, its not a good idea from a games perspective to lock yourself into a rigid path early on.

Finally, " convening investigations and hearings with an announced intention of investigating the propriety of impeachment" has the right nambly pambly sound that might draw some of the Blue Dogs on board---appearing not to have a strong intent to impeach, but actually looking to clench an iron fist around Bush once the evidence comes to light.

One more thing, Kagro, in the vein of your last comment.
Do you agree that so far there is thin evidence to support any impeachable charge, with the possible exception of the FISA violations? How does the state of affairs now compare with the amount of knowledge Congress had about Nixon before they started impeachment?

My apologies Marky, that was an unfair swipe at your integrity and I am sorry. Troll accusations are bandied about too easily and I try to avoid it, but sometimes I slip up. I have enjoyed this discussion tremendously and I look forward to more such discussions as we work our way toward impeachment.

I agree with you that I don't think it is inevitable (as I noted earlier) because of the general spinelessness of the Dems. Nonetheless I will do my very best to advocate for it, because as I have already stated, I think it is the only effective tool left in the toolbox with which to stop the abuses of this administration.

I don't recall using the word obvious in my comments, and it is late enough on the east coast that I need to wrap this up for the evening, so I don't want to take the time to reread everything to verify whether I did or not. Either way, none of this obvious to me in that sense that any of it is a forgone conclusion. And that is what irks me so much, the way people discuss this as if it were a forgone conclusion regarding the "political reality of not having the votes to convict".

Beyond the polls and analysis I have already given you, I have nothing more to add, for this evening anyway. But I would be happy to chew over this further with you on another thread. For now, I must bid you a good night and thanks again for the excellent discussion.

Phred, thanks for taking back the earlier comment. I appreciate that, because I have also been enjoying our conversation. I don't know if you said something was "obvious".
Another comment about Republicans. I think it would be worth calling GOP congressmen to get some on the record comments about impeachment. Maybe if all of them are queried, more than a couple will say they would consider supporting hearings. It only takes one errant Republicritter to make the whole herd panic, after all.

Ok, given a point just raised by Marky I have one last question for any lawyers present... My understanding was that impeachment is a broad power granted to Congress that could be used to remove the hopelessly incompetent (e.g., drunkards or such) incapable of proper governance and not just those who have committed crimes. Am I mistaken on that point? If so, I'll withdraw my earlier request to add Bush's hopeless appointees as evidence of his incompetence as an executive.

marky has provided me with much useful information here.

his hard questioning is the genesis of this extended "multilogue".

no doubting thomas? no multilogue.

his contributions should not only be appreciated and welcomed,

but recognized as generative for the whole thread.

it is in the cheney mode,

not the american spirit mode,

to scornfully dismiss or knock about a voice like marky with a message different from

that which the regular "gang" is used to hearing.

he has asked not only legitimate questions,

but questions that will be asked over and again,

outside of a weblog séance.

A herd of panicking Republicritters -- now that is an image to give one pleasant dreams, thanks for that Marky. And I like your idea of getting Repubs on the record early and often, and make them defend their positions... Ok, goodnight, I mean it this time :)


Bush has admitted to breaking the law (FISA). Bush has admitted to breaking the law (1995 War Crimes Act, but he got that law retroactively changed). The White House has been penetrated by at least one foreign spy ring (the Philipino one for sure, I believe there is strong evidence of an Iranian spy ring as well). He continues to employ Karl Rove who has admitted to leaking Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA employment information to Robert Novak. Now, he has commuted the sentence of the a man who obstructed justice to protect the Bush Administration.

What more to do you want?

Marky - the Bush administration is praying that Congress proceeds with its standard investigations, knowing they can stonewall and prevent the worst secrets from coming to light for a few years. Besides, the fact is that we already have all the evidence we need to get started with impeachment. No more evidence needs to 'come to light.'

What is necessary is for the American people to push their representatives towards impeachment. If we start with half measures now, at this late date, we will never hold Bush accountable, we will never understand the extent of what he has done in our name, and much damage will be done to our Constitution.

I find it interesting that your concerns align so precisely with the Bush administration's strategy of obstruction.

And regarding Republican fear of impeachment - your presence here is my Exhibit A.

damn, KX

this is really interesting.

let's get some more input.


you don't have to be a lawyer to play;

the lawyers can clean up any error we make.

just focus on central misconduct for now.

Breaking the FISA law is far and away the most clear cut impeachable offense we know of, to date. I know about the Filipino spy in Cheney's office, but I don't see the impeachable offense there. Maybe you are thinknig of impeaching because of violating classification law, but i don't see that as impeachable. Keeping Karl Rove is reprehensible, but not impeachable by itself.
I think the commutation of Libby's sentence is the one offense that could give impetus to start impeachment hearings. It is salutary to see how the public, the media and even many Republicans have roundly condemned this act.
We'll see.

Did you read Orion's comment about me? I'm operating in good faith here. If you can't do the same, I'll scroll past your comments. If you can show me that Republicans are actually afraid of impeachment, I would be interested.
Look at it this way. The main DEMOCRATS have staunchly refused to consider impeachment; Obama doesn't even think Bush or Cheney have committed any impeachable offenses. Given the Democrats reluctance to even begin movement towards impeachment, how can the Republicans do anything but laugh at the pro-impeachment crowd?
Keep your head, man---we need level heads, not the righteousness without thoughtfulness.

i'll add

breaking, or negligently failing to enforce, the archiving and records laws and requirements of the united states as they relate to the office of the president.

records of what was said and written in the white house ain't no small deal

for ordinary citizens

and, more importantly, for congressmen and historians.

no records, no analysis.

or as the health scientists like to say,

no retrospective evaluation of the outcome.


I am sick to death of people who want to overlook Bush's love of torture. If engaging in war crimes (please, go read the law on the books during before the first 5 years of this administration) isn't an impeachable offense, what is? The man claims he has the right to designate you as an enemy combatant, imprision you forever without access to a lawyer or anyone else, and torture you. He's already done it to Jose Padilla. Don't come crying to me when he does it to you. Everybody else may be willing to sit around and talk about what the political ramifications of impeachment might be, but my momma taught me the difference between right and wrong. We're way beyond politics by now. This is about whether you're willing to acquiese to an authoritarian dictator. I'm not.

One last comment for the night, and then I also am done.
There seems to be a general feeling here that Congressional hearings can't possibly succeed in exposing Bush corruption. I don't see it that way. I think the Dems have had quite a bit of success since Jan. 2007, and I don't see why they won't uncover a lot of much before nov. 2008.
Of all the reasons giving that we HAVE to impeach, the weakness of current investigations seems the weakest to me. Sure, impeachment would give the Dems more power, but they are not slacking currently.

FISA's the strongest case, and it's the one that convinced me that impeachment was necessary. I've never been a war impeacher. The classification protocols are grounds for impeaching Gonzales first of all, since it's his responsibility to enforce the rules at the behest of the ISOO administrator. They're also the launching pad for looking into Cheney's activities (possibly including the above-made espionage charges of which I was not aware), given the nature of the infractions and what they're designed to prevent. And, it's a launching pad into another angle on the Libby situation, since insta-declassification was at the heart of so much of the Plame outing and subsequent investigation.

Taken together, they are grounds for impeachment of the president, whom authorities like Madison and Schlesinger have noted may be held responsible for the improprieties of his closest associates.

Actually, William, I just missed that complaint in your first list. I didn't mean to overlook it.
Yes, those are among his most serious offenses. Would they be make the easiest case? I'm not sure.
Once Bush is out of office, then he could be tried for this crime in particular, if it is not part of impeachment charges.

AMEN on the original post and linked piece.

We need a completely revised and revamped DOJ.

Elizabeth de la Vega's US v BUSH was a fascinating read. Though she chose the venue of a Grand Jury to make her case rather than
impeachment, certainly her arguments lay a substantial groundwork for impeachment at the feet of Congress.

Marky: There seems to be a general feeling here that Congressional hearings can't possibly succeed in exposing Bush corruption. I don't see it that way. I think the Dems have had quite a bit of success since Jan. 2007, and I don't see why they won't uncover a lot of much before nov. 2008.

Because of administration stonewalling. Which, granted, may increase public sentiment for impeachment.

I'm a start-with-Gonzales-and-Cheney person myself, because those impeachment hearings will put a ton of lawbreaking in the light, and remove considerable protective layers from Bush.

One more thing. As much as I argue that Congress should simply do the right thing (politics be damned), I would be remiss if I didn't point out that our political establishment has managed to draw exactly the wrong political lesson from the Clinton impeachment. The American people never supported the Clinton impeachment. In a democracy, it shouldn't surprise anyone when carrying out an unpopular policy results in paying a poltical price. The right political lesson is that impeaching a popular President is dangerous. Instead, the cocktail weenie circuit decided that impeachment itself is a bad idea. If you want to be poll follower, then you should support impeaching Dick Cheney (over 50% of us support that and nobody has even pushed for it). The average American voter is smarter than you think. Lay out the facts honestly, fight the propaganda, and stand up for what we believe in. Then we can win and save our system of government. That's the most conservative platform possible.

I think it's better to begin with impeachment proceedings/investigations as a prelude to drafting the actual articles. IMVHO, the commutation of Scooter's jail time gives Pelosi all the room she needs to say that Bush forced her to "put impeachment back on the table." I also think the cronyism of commutation-to-preserve-his-5th-Amendment-rights leads right back to Bush Cheney-lied-us-into-war. That trumps Barbara Comstock's mantra, that there was no underlying crime. Those issues have legs in 2007 with the media and the public that torture, FISA violations... and other eminently worthwhile charges imvho do not. Fitz has also already done all the heavy lifting with the Grand Jury testimony (which is available to the House Judiciary in an impeachment inquiry (as a rule 6e exception). Simply publishing their testimony would probably raise very serious IIPA issues for the Senate to consider for both Cheney and Bush. See emptywheel's Some Questions Congress Might Ask

OT, the clock that's running for the GOP is November 2008. It's a lot easier for Bush Cheney to hide behind executive privelege wrt FISA, torture, .... than squash the Grand Jury testimony that they and Scooter have already provided.

If there are preliminary investigations with an eye towards impeachment, isn't the domestic spying question the most likely to bear rich fruit? We have every reason to believe that the administration was using the NSA to spy on its domestic political opponents. Thanks to Abu G., we know that there were in fact several domestic spying programs.
Shine a light on that first.

William Ockham: If you want to be poll follower, then you should support impeaching Dick Cheney (over 50% of us support that and nobody has even pushed for it).

Point of order: Dennis Kucinich has introduced articles of impeachment against Cheney. At last count he has at least 11 co-sponsors.

There is so much corruption, and so many violations of the Constitution, it makes my head spin. As Churchill said, Never, ever give up!

For more "take your breath away" stories and information about dirty deeds done, turning federal employees into whistleblowers and more see http://whistleblowerssupporter.typepad.com


Oops, the correct typepad page is: http://whistleblowersupporter.typepad.com

I've been writing tooooo much today.


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