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November 13, 2007


Yup. Once upon a time, when the system worked by flagging keywords, it was simple for the lawyers to vet the list of allowable keywords.

Nowadays very few people have the technical savvy to grasp how the analysis works when it works *right*, much less how it can go wrong.

It's a little bit like back in the Nixon days. It turned out to be possible to recover what was on the 18-1/2 minute gap, but the digital signal processing technology to do it was so new, there was no way to explain it to an average person.

Lessons I have learned over two decades of dealing with governmental acquisition of citizen's information in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

1. If they can get information; they will get the information.
2. Once they have information; they will not give it up, even if legally required to do so.
3. If they can use the information; they will use the information, even if illegal to do so.

Thanks for this post EW. I am puzzled by why Democrats might be inclined to go along with the administration on this one. I can understand the telco immunity: said telcos are bribing members of Congress with campaign contributions, perhaps even at the behest of Dead-Eye who might be threatening to cancel their contracts if they don't do his bidding. But aside from the insatiable administration apetite for power, who benefits here? What possible motivation would there be for Congresscritters to roll over on this one?

This is the simple fact.

In this new world of Terrorism, we must do things we didnt' need to do in the old days, and one of them is to allow Our Guardians and Protectors to be able to track phone calls, etc.

If you are doing something you don't want tracked, then stop it, or go back to slipping messages across the class room.

Phred - They are stupid, uninformed and scared. That is just for starters....

Under the guise of the rhetoric of liberty and freedom totalitarianism advances. In many ways the motives for total information awareness consists of business advantages gained by access to information that is otherwise proprietory. One can dress it up as a response to terrorism but it really is nothing more than the cynical advancement of the despotic impulse by any means available. As for the fate of the political advances of the Revolution and American Civil Law: the King is dead!! long live the King! I say we dress up as Indians and throw the telecoms overboard.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. Still I find it odd that a Republican Administration which in about a year will most likely be replaced by a Democratic one is so interested in putting in place the foundations of a police state. Is it ideology? Is it the belief that the intelligence community is and should be outside the purview of American law and the Constitution? Or is it all a feign (as with the MCA and torture or immunity for telecoms) to legalize before they leave office what Bush and company have been doing illegally for years?

What troubles me is WHY, when these crooks are SUPPOSED to only have a year left to run their scams, are they so worried about all this. I don't, for a second, believe anyone in this criminal enterprise is actually worried about protecting normal Americans from foreign attack. That leaves me suspecting some troubling motivations:

- Protecting themselves. That is a nobrainer and the main thrust of everything they have done since the "shock" of 2006. What we need to figure out is how anything they get in their FISA bill works retroactively.

- Continued "total information awareness" of ALL communications between their POLITICAL enemies. But when you run a scam as big as this, you have to pay for the cooperation of non-political operators (Telco immunity). Who else is getting what out of this? Insider trading or industrial espionage? This would be easy since the DOJ and most other government agencies are non-functioning in any way but for GOP political gain.

- They really believe that they are still going to be in power after 2008, either by fixed elections (dirt on uncooperative election officials), shadow government using intercepted communication against any dissenters, or, of course, Marshal Law which requires spying on the controlled populous (us).

I just can't believe that any of these crooks (including the BushDogs) would put out ANY of this effort to give the incoming Democratic government these powers. So what is this really all about?

Hugh - I think it is both; but by far mostly the latter.

Sorry Hugh. Our posts crossed.

Jodi--Please be advised that in this day and (rotten) age, no facts are simple.

I haven't checked the proposed statute, but last year's proposed version modified the minimization practices by removing 101(h)(4) - a provision that requires destruction of some acquired communications (but not necessarily PR/TT data).

I'm squeamish with the notion of "privacy" being equated with protection of acquired data, but that's what "privacy" will be redefined as. The government will have full right of access and use, and as long as they only use it to prosecute criminals, no fourth amendment issue.

My Guardians and Protectors are named Sheba, Trina, Buck and Tobie. All four can track scent very well, phone calls - not so much.

Still, they would have done a job equal to the job done by the NSA before 9/11, when the problems were not that NSA didn't have access to all the calls and info it needed to have access to, but rather that, under Hayden it was incompetent and incapable of getting accurate and timely translations, sharing information captured lawfully with the correct operational wings of govt, and implementing follow up.

EW - glad you are breaking it down in parts. These kinds of things need that IMO. When you get to this -

At a minimum, I suspect, the claim that FISC would be in an analytical or operational role if it reviewed the government's compliance with its own minimization procedures means that it is not very easy to review compliance with these procedures. Indeed, the language suggests any review of compliance with minimization procedures would itself require a great deal of data analysis.

- you are at what I think may have been a big element in the Hospital showdown. No one mentions much the Leonig story, which says that a) when the program was first briefed to each of the Chief FISA Judges in turn (Lambert, then Kollar-Kotelly) they thought it was illegal and unconsitutional, and b) the FISA court established firewalls that DOJ was supposed to follow to keep the illegally compiled infomration out of the FISA court and c) there was at a minimum two big ooops, one of which sent the FISC Chief Judge at the time to contact Ashcroft and tell him that he and Mueller and others signing off were about to be getting held to account for evading the court's orders on firewalls and abusing the FISC process.

Couple this with the fact that Comey needed several weeks to "fix" what he saw as the problem and that "fix" seemingly had nothing to do with making the program itself less invasive (as it has been dinged by every court that looked behind the standing and state secrets arguments to the merits). [Aside, I have to wonder if the something like a charities case - or the Holy Land Foundation case in particular, where there were valid surveillance warrants sought and granted but where there was also evidence of illegal surveillance [unlike the Keith case, DOJ was also not bothering to disclose to the courts and actively hiding the illegal surveillance despite discovery requests]

If the way FISC found out that its firewall orders were spit on by DOJS was to hear about a case where they had granted surveillance orders without ever being advised of illegal surveillance already in place and they heard about it via the mechanism of defense counsel in the case discovering the info and raising a flap over it - - - no judge is going to be very happy about that.

So the Comey fix may have all been operational and may have been to install a better screening process for FISA applications to make sure the data analysis was done to make sure the firewalls were not being breached. That might, as well, have added a level of complexity and delay to the applications which might have supported the grousing and "why bother" approach to FISA warrants. Just conduct illegal surveillance and use black sites and torture - don't bother with legal surveillance, courts and trials.

When you get to this:
So one possible reason the Administration refuses to allow real oversight of its minimization procedures is that such a review would itself require complex data analysis. There may well be another reason--the government may know that its minimization procedures aren't going to work, and so they don't want anyone getting too close. In any case, the reason the Administration is squeamish on minimization procedures because they're just not going to work with the program it intends to authorize.

I tend to agree and also think that too much judicial oversight at some point is going to knock heads against what has already been done with compiling surveillance databanks and records. Bc at some point oversight of those minimization procedures will run up against not just the minimization with respect to the newly picked up info (screening out US info from the new intercepts) but also with what is done with the info picked up (running it through programs that have prior years compiliations of non-minimized US info).

I'm not very techie, so that may not be the case, but it's one of the things I see as making them very nervous. What happens with all the accumulated illegal data if someone gets oversight now?

This is also where I am going to give Harman a positive plug. She did proffer legislation that the Dems never tried to promote. This was done back around the time of the elections and it was a very good approach to leave all oversight with the FISC but to expand the personnel and resources and funding for FISC so that it could actually do the oversight it would need to do. That died a swift death.

And now we are back to the program that has never before attempted to have legislation supporting it, because Gonzales flat out said that while the Republicans were in charge he knew the WH couldn't get the legislation - - - and now we have Dems, throwing roses before the feet of an incoming Hillary, bending over backwards to authorize the program and worse and all without ever even asking about prudence and Constitutionality and why you would take a department thoroughly riddled now with felons and grant immunity to all and give them more power.

That's what the headlines should really be.

Democrats in Congress Pardon Thousands of Felonies And Grant Felons More Power to Spy on Americans.

To make a connection that isn't clear from a quick read of "removing 101(h)(4)," that provision deals with warrantless surveillance under the old definition of electronic surveillance. Under the new definition, 101(h)(4) can sit there, and have no effect, because 101(h)(4) only pertains to warrantless electronic surveillance, and surveillance of international communications has been redefined as "not electronic surveillance."

For more fun, check out the extent of elements of the intelligence community. I like element 50 USC 401a(4)(L), myself.

(L) Such other elements of any other department or agency as may be designated by the President, or designated jointly by the Director of National Intelligence and the head of the department or agency concerned, as an element of the intelligence community.

See too, the sections of S.2248 that preclude the ability of states to protect privacy (as traditionally understood, not as redefined by the feds).

"I'm squeamish with the notion of "privacy" being equated with protection of acquired data, but that's what "privacy" will be redefined as."

That was exactly my point. Once they have the information the deal is effectively done. Historically, under 4th amendment law it has always been the acquisition itself that was prohibited; the government was never trusted to gather up a bunch of stuff and not use it.

My surmise is that the architecture of "listening" has fundamentally changed. The govt has permanent or prolonged access to virtually the full data stream, then culls what it wants as and when it wants it, rather like the Chinese govt. It presumably uses constantly tweaked search s/w and search priorities, with the ability to do special "tasking" as needed.

Forceful and enforceable minimization standards in FISA would probably force an admission of that, which would require either a change in architecture, or an elaborate protocol to ensure that even though the govt has access to the full data stream, it won't look at anything except what it's allowed to look at.

Like Eve in the Garden? More like filling a fraternity library with pornography and then saying that only seniors get to use it.


If you don't wish for us to hear that you are criticizing General Secretary Brezhnev, either stop it, or go back to silently putting your hand out over your eyes to signify his eyebrows!

So Mary, I take it then you believe the Dems are doing this so that HRC can continue Bush's expansion of executive powers. If so, we are well and truly screwed.

This is made all the more strange since Whitehouse and the SJC have seen the 4-Page Writ of Above-the-Law-ness that Bush used to originally get the Telecoms to comply with the Program.

For the Members of the Legislative Branch to grant Executive-only review of the targeting and profiling going forward would be to undercut their own function according to the Constitution, and implicitly endorse the Unitary Executive - not to mention leaving themselves open to un-reviewable targeting for Political Advantage.

I'm with bmaz, if the Power is given to them, they will use it to its full potential to serve themselves.

This is a surrender of the Constitution and the Rule of Law to the Ideology of the Executive. Doesn't this move also effectively undermine our 4th Amendment protection by 'allowing' surveillance-by-association with an un-warranted 'person of interest'?

A reasonable way to explain this un-reasonable behavior by Our Congress would be Duress from a threat already present.

Our Citizenship may now come second to Bush's Ideological Suspicions.

I don't have a hot clue as to who "bmaz" is or whether his claim to have been inside the WireTap game is accurate but regardless: writing now as who has been in that game - for many players - for too many years - let me lend my assurance to Ms E Wheeler's intrepid band of eager readers - even the BAdministration plant[s]: the white guy wearing the little glove at second speaks straight.

One time my number came up to be dispatched off to one of the hinterland prosecution offices in the throes of one of those quadr-/oct-ennial change-overs - ostensibly to assess staffing but with particular directions to assess compliance with security & reporting standards on warrants & offer help where needed & welcomed.

[Typically DOJ HQ quarterbacks or coaches or at least is intensely consulted on anything falling under whatever the AG of the day wants treated as bearing "national interest" & there is a boot camp for newbee USas & also for AUSas if the particular posting is experiencing major turnover or growth & there are periodic drop-ins - but the business still comes down to humans & stuff still happens.]

What I found was WAY more WT info gathered & ongoing info collection than reported yet quite a fair bit LESS compliance with EVERY aspect of reporting than according to the demands of both policy & law. Others I spoke with sent on parallel assignments found pretty much the same. It seemed there was always someone who kept info on a hedge that it's value might appreciate over time & in the bureaucratic sense only rarely is that the same person strictly accountable for complying with reporting or other security requirements.

Jodi's jejeune notion that an all knowing govt only acts badly if it sees its targets acting badly was razed by John Dean. It's not just the bad actor who needs fear his or her government.

Govt's rightful concern is largely defined by lawbreaking, dropping through the floor of acceptable human behavior, which justifies government intervention. Much that is legal - and beyond the legitimate concern of government - is not beyond the rightful or wrongful concern of our neighbors. We all covet needful things.

Privacy is essential to civil society just as transparency and openness in government is essential to a democracy.

Among other things, thinking about doing evil is not the same as doing it. If that were the standard, what spouse, employee, adolescent or artful competitor "shall escape whipping?" For another, an all knowing Abe Lincoln can always give way to a know nothing Andrew Johnson or George Bush.

Only God could be trusted with all our secrets. As for humans, well, two of them can keep a secret only when one of them is dead. Something that every village postmistress knows all too well.

"Minimization" nor the "FISA Bill updates" do not appear to prevent investigative leads to be provided to law enforcement. "Investigative leads" is a round about way of saying, "We know we have this illegally-obtained information; but here's a tip for you in lau enforcement: The evidence you need is here; and this is how you can lawfully get that information which you're not supposed ot know about."

The current FISA bill doesn't adequately prevent these "stumbled upon" scenarios from occurring. Sure, the information/evidence may be illegally obtained, but like money laundering, that evidence can be washed and turned into something else. NSA has been monitoring American citizens, in violation of attorney client privilege. [See the NSA litigation where the NSA logs were classified, but court permitted witnesses to rely on their memory of the redacted-NSA log.]

Linked is a side-by side analysis of the Senate and House FISA update bills from a couple of months ago, concluding the same thing (FISA update is TIA)...


In this new world of Terrorism, we must do things we didnt' need to do in the old days, and one of them is to allow Our Guardians and Protectors to be able to track phone calls, etc.

Posted by: Shit Stain Jodi | November 13, 2007 at 11:09

Trust is a beautiful thing but your government doesn't love you the way your parents do. Still, you're doing your part and it's cute, the trust and deferrence, yes it's cute because it reminds me of the old days, when we were kids and didn't know better.

LabDancer - I am simply an attorney who has represented a lot of criminal defendants in cases that involved wiretaps, pen registers, trap and traces, etc. and have also done civil rights cases for violation of the Fourth Amendment. Just enough to be pretty certain about what I speak.

Jason Leopold interviews Valerie Plame on video over at truthout. He mentions his Rove story.

Good interview

Kagro X's Leadership

Upshot: Discussion of State Proclamation on Impeachment Helped Support Kucinich's resolution in re Cheney; A similar effort in re Pelosi's removal might clear the way for impeachment and resolution of these FISA issues

Given the emptywheel discussion on these important FISA issues, perhaps we could open another thread: Solutions to these alleged illegal FISA-violation-immunity bills. Kagro X discussed an idea using the House Rules: A way to challenge the President through impeachment. Similarly, one of the solutions to these FISA issues might be to clear the way for impeachment by removing Pelosi.

As Kagro X discussed, the House Rules permit state proclamations calling for the House to act. It was the leadership of Kagro X in re these State Proclamations that helped mobilize the needed discussion Kucinich and the House Membership required to forward the impeachment resolution to the House Judiciary.
 Similarly, the same can be applied to Pelosi -- Use the House Rules to have her removed -- encourage your friends to Forward to State Legislators a resolution calling for Pelosi's removal as Speaker.

Enough of the GOP and DNC appear to have supported Kucinich to raise prospect Pelosi could be removed as Speaker. If enough people begin to openly discuss removing Pelosi, perhaps the House GOP and DNC Members will see there is real support for removing Pelosi as a means to open the door to impeachment, and review these FISA violations. Recall, enough people know about State proclamations in re impeachment to make it easy to energize the same group to pass proclamations related to removing the Speaker. Perhaps what can be done is in How to Impeach section here, include a category: "Removing the Speaker Lawfully, Opening the Way To Impeachment".

Who's up for reaching out to the GOP Members of Congress and GOP bloggers to ask their assistance in removing Pelosi as speaker; clearing the way for impeachment; and challenging these FISA abuses emptywheel is discussing through impeachment?

Our "guardians"? You mean like the ones in Gitmo who commit prolonged sadistic acts of torture on the off chance that somebody held there might be a criminal? That's Cheney's one tenth of one percent solution in action.

His divide and conquer paradigm reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode where aliens conquer the earth. They do it, in a parody of Needful Things (which came later), by the simple act of turning off a few machines, and by gently turning each neighbor's fears into a fear of his neighbors, leading to terror and mob "rule".

The Bush Doctrine, originated by Cheney, is to make us fearful and separate us from our government, while still paying for it all. (The direct and indirect costs of the Iraq war alone, apparently, has already cost each American family of four about $20K.) So far, it's working, thanks to the participation of Rahm and Nance and Diane and Harry. But it ain't over yet.

Laundered Evidence:

The current FISA bill doesn't adequately prevent these "stumbled upon" scenarios from occurring.

That's a very good point. The centerpiece of the Keith case is that Gov wasn't trying to use info from the the illegal, warrantless wiretaps in the White Panthers case and the prosectuors on the case didn't (supposedly) even know about the illegal wiretaps and their info until defense made a standard request for access to wiretap info and the judge ordered it produced.

Of course, how the investigators who did get the "legally obtained" info were able to get it became the kind of issue that resulted in the case tanking.

Not so these days. Let the USA in Manhattan pick up some "material witnesses" and hand them over to be disappeared and tortured for years and trials go on, convictions from juries tainted by DOJfong pressers go on. Or just detentions and abuse years at GITMO, or blackholed and then dumped when the sadists get sated, like el-Masri.

And DOJ just takes and keeps its brotherhood vows of silence for the crimes, as long as no one steps on toes and fires a buddy.

Hugh @ 11:29 - it is a) about covering up their own crimes, and b) about confidence that spineless Dems will never stand up and do anything no matter how much power they are given, while defense and telecom and media industry owned Dems are really just the same as their Republican counterparts.

Removing Pelosi? So Steny Hoyer, who is much mroe conservative, can be Speaker? This is a pretty uninformed idea. And the only reason the GOPers voted for Kucinich's impeachment resolution was so that it would be debated on the floor, thus embarassing the Dems (since the public unfortunately does not support impeachment) and driving a further wedge between the Dem leadership and the Dem base.

"And DOJ just takes and keeps its brotherhood vows of silence for the crimes, as long as no one steps on toes and fires a buddy. -- Mary | November 13, 2007 at 16:03

Once lawyers make frivolous legal arguments to "defend" war crimes, FISA violations, prisoner abuse, they are implicated with that illegal policy. FYI: DoJ liability, even if blocked by the AG, is still actionable by the State Attorney Generals.

State AGs can target legal counsel inside DOJ: Those assigned to their state can be subject to disbarment investigations at the state level. State AGs also have the power to prosecute DoJ Staff for violating State statutes related to enforcement; or for obstructing justice in re State AG efforts to defend the Constitution against domestic enemies.

Also, arguably, it doesn't matter if the Congress refuses to take action on impeachment: The State AGs, and all prosecutors, have the power to prosecute a sitting President, VP, and Member of Congress. Congressional inaction on impeachment isn't a decision; it's evidence of alleged breach of their oath to defend the Constitution against domestic enemies.

Mimikatz | November 13, 2007 at 16:42

Your arguments -- against removing Pelosi -- do not address the goal: Clearing way to impeach. The GOP would have a vote on the new Speaker. Wouldn't necessarily go to Hoyer. Problem: No Speaker -- yet -- has been removed. It's up in the air what "would" happen.

"Removing Pelosi? So Steny Hoyer, who is much more conservative, can be Speaker?" So, you admit the idea -- of removing Pelosi, to make way for impeachment -- has merit. Your only objection is, once removed, that Hoyer will still block impeachment? You fail to account for a subsequent floor vote to oust him; or the possibility, with Pelosi's removal, he might get religion on impeachment.

"This is a pretty uninformed idea." You admit that Pelosi might be removed, yet ignore the issue of clearing the way for imepeachment. You're changing the argument. That's called a faulty argument.

"And the only reason the GOPers voted for Kucinich's impeachment resolution was so that . . ." -- Who cares, the impeachment resolution was supported.

"it would be debated on the floor, thus embarassing the Dems (since the public unfortunately does not support impeachment) and driving a further wedge between the Dem leadership and the Dem base. -- You oversimplify the issue: If the GOP will vote to support impeachment, would it not make sense that they would vote to oust Pelosi? Or are you arguing that they would defend Pelosi . . against what?

Once the Speaker is ousted, the next speaker is on notice: Support impeachment, or you're out as well. Time to join forces with the GOP and move to first oust Pelosi; then make way to impeach the VP and President. Time to stop making excuses to do nothing. let's find out, and remind the Congress they have to deal with We the People -- before elections.

Let the DNC and GOP Members of Congress -- not the apologists in the blogosphere -- create some excuses for refusing to impeach; or not removing the obstacles of impeachment. We went through the same thing with the House Rule 603 effort. Time to get this on the House of the Floor and let the DNC and GOP explain whether they are for or against the Constitution.

Nobody can legalize the eradication of the unalienable rights of WE THE PEOPLE.

WE have a right to privacy. To those idiots and criminals who say the right to privacy doesn't appear in the Constitution:

1. The 9th amendment clearly states that the Bill of Rights is NOT comprehensive and cannot be used to deny other rights reserved to the people.
2. WE THE PEOPLE don't get our rights from the Constitution. The Declaration makes it clear that our rights come from our Creator and we have a government for the specific purpose of defending those rights.
3. When a government fails to protect our rights, or worse still, violates them, it is OUR RIGHT to ABOLISH that government.
4. Some things which ("strict constructionalists" note) appears NOWHERE in the Constitution: executive privilege, signing statements, President's going to war with an "AMUF" but no declaration of war by Congress...need I go on?!

Mimikatz | November 13, 2007 at 16:42

The above discussion on succession does not include possibility that the Speaker's replacement is not the majority leader, but the Speaker Pro Tempore. For example, Today ED Pastor was the pro tempore.

12:01 P.M. - . . .The Speaker designated the Honorable Ed Pastor to act as Speaker pro tempore for today.

Pastor, as you may recall, supported the impeachment of Gonzalez (H Res. 589).

  • How does anyone propose to ensure that the Pro Tem of the House is only someone who will parrot Pelosi and block impeachment? This Congress can't ensure it will do its job, much less forecast the weather or political winds. Time for the public to send a wake up call: Impeach or you're out, Pelosi.

  • Is anyone suggesting -- after Pelosi is removed -- that the next Speaker will do the same, repeat the action that precipitated Pelosi's removal? If so, you fail to explain why another vote -- that might match the removal of Pelosi -- would not also remove that next obstacle: The Pro Tempore.

  • Who is suggesting -- having never seen "what happens" after a Speaker is removed, since it's never happened -- that someone "will" become the next Speaker and "will" block impeachment? Unclear whether Hoyer would block impeachment; or whether Hoyer's vote on impeachment would be relevant.

    It's time to find out. Excuses not to remove Pelosi as speaker -- before the 2008 election, and clearing the way for impeachment -- are as "compelling" as the excuses not to confront the President, not defend the Constitution, or not impeach. Kucinich and the American public have said to Congress, "You're wrong."

  • Mimikatz | November 13, 2007 at 16:42

    Removing Pelosi As Speaker To Clear Way For Impeachment/Examination of FISA Violations

    Apparently, the references to the Speaker's position is an election by the House; not an automatic succession to replace the Speaker, as there exists in the Constitutional Amendment for President.

    "It was approved before the organization on the second day just preceding the vote being taken upon the election of a Speaker From
    BTW, it wasn't until there was a problem with the Presidential succession that there were clear rules. Given there's never been a removal of the Speaker, it doesn't follow that there would be rules on Speaker succession. This "gap" in guidance would likely only be written once the problem occurred.

    There is apparently no established line of succession in any precedent, unlike the line of succession for the President: No Speaker, yet has been ousted. Untested. Let's find out what the House does. Remove Pelosi as speaker, and make way for a review of these FISA issues which emptywheel has well raised.

    The Majority Leader could remain majority leader; and Kucinich -- or anyone supporting the majority view in Congress, impeachment -- could be elected Speaker. This group could include a new caucus of GOP-DNC Members of Congress who want to press for impeachment debates, resolutions, and action. This DNC cannot control its own members to defend the Constitution. Does the DNC propose to control the GOP -- and the DNC Members who support impeachment -- to block a removal of the Speaker? Doubtful.

    Mimikatz | November 13, 2007 at 16:42

    House Rules Calling For Elections: The Path To Reviewing Emptywheels' Concerns with FISA Violations and Other Impeachable Offenses Against the President

    Mimikatz | November 13, 2007 at 16:42

    Let's pretend nobody agrees with the above discussion. Let's consider the similar situation where a minority party -- with a group of the Speaker's party -- did act to challenge the Speaker. The issue wasn't that the Speaker was or wasn't ousted; but more subtle: Whether the Speaker's potential vacancy would be by appointment or election.

    Precedent shows vacancies in the House officers are by election, not appointment; they are based on powers through resolutions of the House, not decrees of a single person.

    "Resolved, That the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant, and the House of Representatives shall at once proceed to the election of a Speaker".

    The Constitution is about supporting the Will of We the People. We the People in November 2006 voted to explore the FISA violations, clean up the House, and challenge the Executive Branch where appropriate. The Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is in defiance of the Majority in the House and We the People. Once removed by resolution of the House -- consistent with the Kucinich resolution in re Cheney -- we might have some leadership in the House that might consider these issues which emptywheel is well raising.

    "The Speaker has always said that, under the Constitution, it is a question of the highest privilege for an actual majority of the House at any time to choose a new Speaker, and again notifies the House that the Speaker will at this moment, or at any other time while he remains Speaker, entertain, in conformity with the highest constitutional privilege, a motion by any Member to vacate the office of the Speakership and choose a new Speaker; and, under existing conditions would welcome such action upon the part of the actual majority of the House, so that power and responsibility may rest with the Democratic and insurgent Members who, by the last vote, evidently constitute a majority of this House. The Chair is now ready to entertain such motion." From

    Time for the House majority -- supporting the Kucinich resolution on Cheney impeachment -- to challenge the Speaker, remove her from her Speakership, and elect -- as a majority within the House in favor of raising the issue of impeachment -- a new Speaker. The way forward is to allow the majority in the House -- which supports reviewing the impeachment issues, for whatever reason -- to express that will; and remove all obstacles to that majority position. Pelosi is in the minority, and could be removed by the very majority that voted to support Kucinich's resolution in re Cheney.

    Once removed, Pelosi's replacement is up to the House, not the Speaker nor the minority who incorrectly oppose impeachment. We the People spoke November 2006. Until the President is confronted through impeachment, the Speaker must be confronted through a removal resolution: Make way for a fair hearing of emptywheel's concerns in re FISA.

    House Majority, in supporting Kucinich's resolution in re Cheney impeachment, Wants Answers To Emptywheel's Questions in re FISA

    The majority spoke to challenge the VP. That majority also listened to We the People: "Find out about emptywheel's concerns in re FISA." The obstacle is one thing: The Speaker. It is the Constitution alone which grants to the House the exclusive power to fill -- by vote -- vacancies. From the House precedents:

    "The Constitution (Art. 1, see. 2, par. 5) also declares: ``The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers.''From

    The majority in Congress -- that supported the impeachment resoltuion, for whatever reason -- includes the GOP who support Kucinich. The GOP has a vote on removing the Speaker. Indeed, the GOP will have to explain why they vote to support an impeachment resolution; but they refuse to support efforts to block impediments to what the majority wants.

    If the GOP who support Kucinich's resolution are serious about being consistent -- and "giving impeachment a fair chance" -- then they have nothing to worry about by supporting a majority of the House in removing the Speaker. Enough of the DNC Members of Congress are with the GOP; there are enough DNC Members of Congress who support impeachment over supporting Pelosi.

    There is only one thing getting in the way of a full, fair, and reasonable review of emptywheel's discussion points on FISA: The Speaker. Nothing else is in the way. Time for the majority in the House -- that supports emptywheel's position to find facts -- to do what would most easily ensure emptywheel's reasonable concerns are given the attention they need: Remove. The. Speaker. Now. By. Majority. Vote. Of. A. Privileged. Resolution. Look how quickly a resolution has been disseminated by We the People to censure Feinstein; it is just as easy for We the People to disseminate a resolution calling for Pelosi to be removed. There is no excuse.

    Kucinich and others led the charge to remind the Congress what We the People are saying: You shall assent to the rule of law; you shave investigate; and you shall hold the leadership to account. It doesn't matter what "trick" the GOP or DNC used to get this result. The Congress intended -- by majority vote -- to support Kucinich.

    If they claim through inaction that they do not want to know, then they demonstrate a mental reservation about their oath of office. That is not a defense nor a stonewall: It is evidence of oath of office violations, and a violation of the House Rules, Constitution, and US Code. The States' Attorney Generals -- outside the DOJ, new AG, or US prosecutors -- have the power and duty through prosecutions to enforce the Constitution against domestic enemies. The President has no power to block the State AGs from enforcing the Constitution through State level prosecutions of US Government officials, including the Speaker, Vice President, or President.

    The majority is implicitly supporting emptywheel's valid questions and points about FISA -- they need answers; they need attention; and the outcome needs to be consistent with the Rule of law, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Not excuses. Time for a new Speaker. Make way for emptywheel.

    First Pelosi. Then Cheney. Then the President. Assent to the rule of law and Constitution. Or face the lawful consequences. Pay attention to emptywheel.

    How is it possible to "prove" that (all copies of) any data on Americans that might have been "inadvertently" gathered has been destroyed?

    If this is not fully guaranteed by the so-called minimization procedures, we are back to "Trust us" which is not good enough.

    I meant to say "...have been destroyed".

    mellor - In the first place, the Administration will never truly destroy evidence once it is in their hands. Even if they did, it is hard to really "prove" that; it really does become, as you point out, a "trust us" situation. This is precisely why 4th Amendment law has always been framed in terms of prohibiting the unauthorized collection as opposed to monitoring or culling information for propriety once it is gathered.

    Exiling Pelosi -- I would love to see a new Speaker and have impeachment put back on the table, but a key flaw in your plan is your assumption that the GOP would lift a finger to clear the way for impeachment. If you recall the vote on the Kucinich motion, the Rethugs voted to table until they thought they could embarrass the Dem leadership by supporting debate, at which point they switched their votes. There is no evidence, none whatsoever, that GOP members of the House would in any way work with the progressives on impeachment. If it is to get off the ground, it will take real leadership to bring the Dem caucus together. And unfortunately Nancy, Steny, and Rahm are what pass for leadership these days.

    OK, I can't take it anymore. What is this Jodi?! I've noticed this stuff on here for a long time, but can't fathom it is for real. Why bother?

    I am with Phred here. This state level action and working with the Republicans is a pipe dream. A nice dream I would dearly love to see come to fruition; but no shot whatsoever.

    Yep, EW.

    I sincerely hope that Sheldon Whitehouse doesn't really buy his "incidental interception" line, when it comes to the digital communications of Americans in America, under the PAA and its progeny.... There won't be anything "incidental" about the programmed, comprehensive sweep-up of categories of communications that this Executive Branch will be authorized to collect from we, the people in future, if and when Whitehouse adds his approval to the final Cheney/Rockefeller/Feinstein measure in committee and on the Senate floor.

    Meanwhile, behind the scenes...:

    I think I've unearthed some of what we missed when the C-SPAN audio/radio feed had "technical difficulties" last week during the Senate Judiciary Committee's 11/8 business meeting to debate and amend S. 2248 (the Intelligence Committee's new FISA bill) - a meeting which C-SPAN elected not to videotape or televise live, in deference to another in a long line of hearings featuring the Fed Chief Bernanke (priorities, you know...).

    The further detail I found about last week's SJC meeting is here:


    It's Pat Leahy's opening statement to the 11/8 SJC meeting (and is the only information directly linked on that meeting's main notice page - don't know if there may be other more hidden links elsewhere on the SJC site). And it seems to indicate that Title I of the Senate Intelligence Committee bill was largely disposed of last week, if things went according to Leahy's plan, (as they did so smoothly with Mukasey's nomination in the SJC earlier that week...).

    Note that Title I in S.2248 is the mother-lode as far as DNI McConnell, Cheney, Addington, et al, are concerned - aside, that is, from the immunity provisions in Title II - because Title I is where the datamining-enabling 'program warrant' spying provisions purporting to authorize the collection of targeted categories of data, as opposed to individual criminal (or foreign agent) suspects' communications, are found. Title I is basically the entirety of the Protect America Act, with revisions. To get an understanding of S.2248 pre-SJC changes, see the ACLU's thorough analysis here:


    Back to Pat Leahy's posted statement from 11/8's SJC meeting. Here are key excerpts, which illuminate what is transpiring behind closed doors since Whitehouse made his Intelligence Committee comments that EW quotes above:

    After my opening remarks and any opening remarks by the Ranking Member, I would like to proceed directly to the FISA legislation and will place before the Committee the amendment to title I of the bill, which we circulated yesterday, and which Senator Feinstein is cosponsoring.

    I would ask that the Committee adopt that amendment as a starting point with the understanding that it would be open to amendment and that any amendments filed to title I of the underlying bill be considered in order as amendments to it. It would be my hope that we could today adopt the substitute title I amendment, work through other title I amendments and complete our consideration of title I today. Yesterday evening, in compliance with our Committee rules, 26 amendments were filed to the bill, including 21 amendments to title I. So working through the title I amendments would be a good start and a logical place to begin.

    I know that Members have been considering and are trying to work together to make improvements to title II of the underlying bill, which concerns, among other things, retroactive immunity provisions. This would allow us a few more days to continue working to try to get consensus on title II and title III.


    The [Leahy/Feinstein S. 2248 Title I] substitute also eliminates the provision in the Intelligence Committee bill that would have changed the definition of electronic surveillance. In his testimony to the Committee last week, Mort Halperin correctly called that language the “Alice in Wonderland” provision because it defined “electronic surveillance” to mean the opposite of what it said. Our amendment corrects that. The definition of “electronic surveillance” is used throughout FISA and should be consistent. Most importantly, there appears to be absolutely no reason to change the definition in the way the underlying bill had done it. It accomplishes nothing and creates significant confusion and potential harm.

    Other significant provisions of the [Leahy/Feinstein Title I] substitute include a strengthening of the minimization provisions in the Intelligence Committee bill. I thank Senators Whitehouse and Feingold for their important contributions to this provision. Another provision, which Senator Feingold has developed, would impose a common-sense restriction on the use of information the FISA Court has found to be collected improperly. - Senator Leahy, 11/8/07

    What I don't know, and haven't seen reporting on, is whether the SJC in fact proceeded to adopt Leahy's proposed Title I substitute, and further amend it, on 11/8, or if that action was somehow postponed along with action on Titles II & III, for this coming Thursday's SJC meeting.

    I think what will happen, procedurally, is that S.2248 will emerge from SJC unscathed, with alternative language appearing either as separate bill numbers, or as offered amendments to S.2248.

    I don't see any direct language to enable collection and retention of "pattern of calling," or PR/TT data, other than FISC being told it "shall issue" a PR/TT warrant to accompany a communications acquisition warrant, if the government requests a PR/TT warrant (it will always so ask).

    The recently changed definition of "electronic surveillance" (intercepting international communications is NOT electronic surveillance) is safe. Rockefeller's language aims to tighten the current definition:

    Nothing in the definition of electronic surveillance under section 101(f) shall be construed to encompass surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.

    The "directed at" phrase being new and having no judicial or statutory patina to facilitate construction, and thought to admit "too easily" looking at a selected individual in the US, Rockefeller's version tries to close the "directed at" loophole:

    Nothing in the definition of electronic surveillance under section 101(f) shall be construed to encompass surveillance that is targeted in accordance with this title at a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.

    Helpful update, thanks to selise and Christy @ FDL:

    No Title I amendments were made last week to the Intelligence Committee's FISA bill, by the SJC. The entire bill was held over for consideration at this week's SJC business meeting. So Pat Leahy's plan did not go as smoothly as his plan for the Mukasey nomination - apparently because of Republican opposition to his proposed S. 2248, Title I amendment(s). The Senate Judiciary Committee has a full agenda tomorrow, so unless deals have been struck behind closed doors, Christy indicates that it seems unlikely that the committee will have enough time to fully debate and amend the FISA bill tomorrow either.

    For the record, re Jodi @ 11:09:

    Her "our guardians and protectors" baby blanket myth is a seductive one, isn't it? Too bad, for us all, that it is nothing but a dangerous mirage. No such easy relinquishing of our own will, and our responsibility for our own actions and choices in life, exists in this cruel world, if we want to live free, in a peaceful, democratic society.

    Jodi's wishful thinking world view is just the sort that Benjamin Franklin (among others) had specifically in mind, and was specifically repudiating, when he penned and spoke this truism:

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. - Benjamin Franklin, 1755

    Time to stop speculating on whether the GOP or DNC will or will not support a Pelosi removal-resolution; and do it. Let the GOP and DNC Members of the House block this. It only takes one Member of Congress or one State Legislature to force a vote on this privileged resolution.

    The Kucinich resolution is telling:

    A. The arguments "in opposition to removing Pelosi" do not appear to be strong.

    B. Rather, it does appear there are enough DNC Members of Congress who support an impeachment effort who would (a) put their loyalty to the Constitution and need to conduct a timely impeachment investigation above (b) their loyalty to Pelosi's decision to do nothing about the impeachable offenses. The public can remind the DNC Members of Congress that the DNC needs to put the Constitution before Pelosi; and that Pelosi's decision to do nothing is not defensible nor Constitutional, warranting her removal.

    The key question is whether this is a valid assumption: "There do appear to be enough GOP and DNC Members of Congress who do not support the Pelosi." Can enough of the GOP -- who, because of partisan goals, not any interest in impeachment -- be persuaded to remove Pelosi? I think the answer is yes. None of the GOP voted to support Pelosi as Speaker.

    Can enough of the DNC Member of the House who voted for the Kucinich resolution, or who want impeachment be persuaded to vote for removing Pelosi if this means it would open the door to impeachment? I think the answer is yes: Enough DNC Member of Congress are willing to put their oath before their loyalty to Pelosi, especially if it looks like the public will support Pelosi's removal; and if there is specific discussions to outline language calling for Pelosi's removal.

    Just because the GOP "voted to embarrass" -- and help send the resolution on Cheney impeachment to the House Judiciary -- it doesn't mean they will refuse to vote to remove Pelosi. Rather, the key is to remember that in the House (a) minority of the DNC -- who support impeachment, and oppose Pelosi -- with (b) the GOP could form a new block that removes the Speaker. Whether this does or doesn't happen is speculative; but the point is that nothing you've said suggests this voting block could not be mobilized to remove Pelosi as speaker.

    - - - - - -

    Posted by: phred | November 13, 2007 at 19:58


    Thank you for your valuable feedback, Your comments helped me see the flaws in the explanation; but I believe there was something I was not making clear which may, in part, address your valid concerns with how the information/argument was originally presented.

    Let's get specific with what you said. You'll notice as you read this that your well stated points deserve repeated arguments showing why they are flawed. You made some interesting points, but your arguments appear circular, or ignore reality.

    1. GOP, in voting as they did, indirectly voted to help the impeachment effort

    "a key flaw in your plan is your assumption that the GOP would lift a finger to clear the way for impeachment.

    The arguments against removing Pelosi -- or questioning whether it is possible -- appear to implicitly assume there is a connection between [a] the GOP decision to "embarrass" the DNC, that they will vote to support the impeachment; but [b] the GOP will not support a vote to remove Pelosi. This is flawed. GOP Members of of the House who voted -- for whatever reason -- show, by their actions, are not beholding to do all things to block impeachment. They will put their partisan goals before the Constitution; and that can be used against them: If they see "value" in removing Pelosi -- regardless its connection with impeachment -- the GOP could support her removal, clearing the way for impeachment . . . if enough DNC Member of the House join with the GOP to remove Pelosi. I suspect enough DNC Member of the House, in light of this vote on the Kucinich resolution and in defiance of Pelosi, would see value in putting their position on impeachment over their loyalty to Pelosi. Pelosi appears to be the only block to impeachment; and the DNC Member of the House want impeachment investigations, as do the American people. Why not remove Pelosi to clear the way for the investigation.

    2. The New Majority: GOP and DNC Supporter of Impeachment

    Just because the GOP supported Kucinich's resolution -- for whatever reason -- does not bind them to only support or oppose the Speaker. The same GOP that may or may not have supported Kucinich's resolution, may or may not support an effort to remove the Speaker. Again, the GOP (with the DNC Members who voted to support impeachment) are the majority.

    3. Motivations of GOP On Kucinich Resolution Unrelated to Whether They Will Support Pelosi Removal

    The GOP already did support the impeachment effort--they voted for Kucinich's resolution. Doesn't matter their motivation. That resolution was forwarded to the House Judiciary.

    4. Whether GOP Do Or Do Not Support Impeachment Is Unrelated to Whether THe GOP Do Or DO Not Support Removal of Pelosi

    This comment is interesting, but doesn't explain reality -- the GOP votes did what Pelosi said wouldn't happen: Impeachment is on the table in the House Judiciary Committee.

    "If you recall the vote on the Kucinich motion, the Rethugs voted to table until they thought they could embarrass the Dem leadership by supporting debate, at which point they switched their votes."

    I cannot think of a situation where the GOP would vote to support Pelosi. If you recall to Jan 2007, Pelosi did not receive one GOP vote. Why would the GOP vote to keep her in power as Speaker? Again, enough of the DNC could break ranks, remove Pelosi, and clear the way for an impeachment investigation.

    Again, the GOP members who voted to "embarrass" the DNC are likely to vote against Pelosi; and the DNC who support impeachment -- if they are given no leadership and view Pelosi as the problem -- could join forces with the GOP to form a majority to unseat Pelosi. I'm not saying this will happen; I'm suggesting that the DNC who support impeachment and GOP (regardless their position on impeachment) could form a coalition -- or a third faction -- to unseat Pelosi. If someone is going to argue, "the GOP will not do this," then let's get the GOP to explain their reversal: Why did they not vote for Pelosi in Jan 2007; but why are they now voting to support her? Again, make it the GOP's problem to explain after they do it; don't make their argument for them as an excuse to avoid making the GOP face this challenge to Pelosi.

    Whether the GOP wanted to embarrass someone or not is curious; but is meaningless. The Kucinich resolution is in the House Judiciary. The GOP Can't change that by talking about their "motivation" for acting. The GOP was induced to help advance the resolution. Aren't they foolish; they're trying to explain away their votes as an attempt to "embarrass" someone. That doesn't fly: They voted to do what the DNC leadership would not do: Move something on impeachment.

    I don't mean to be rude when I say this, but when I read the following I ask, "Did you not see what just happened with the Kucinich resolution?" It's been moved. Period. What reason the GOP can be motivated to support removing Pelosi is a separate issue. It achieves the same goal: Impeachment investigation of Cheney then Bush. Pelosi is politically expendable, and an obstructionist not a leader.

    5. The GOP Stand on Pelosi Is Not Necessarily Linked to Nor Bound By Their Position on Impeachment.

    Just because the GOP supported the Kucinich resolution to "embarrass" the GOP (thereby, supporting the contention that they "oppose" impeachment) does not mean that they "support" Pelosi. The GOP position on impeachment -- either for, against, or as a tool to embarrass -- isn't related to whether they will or will not vote to remove Pelosi.

    "There is no evidence, none whatsoever, that GOP members of the House would in any way work with the progressives on impeachment.

    I argue it is meaningless to look for "evidence" of what the GOP will or will not do; and simply put it up to a vote: Do the DNC Members of the House -- who support impeachment -- and GOP Members of the House -- regardless their position on impeachment -- want to remove Pelosi as Speaker? I argue the votes by the DNC for the impeachment resolution show there are enough DNC Members of the House who might work with a GOP-led effort to unseat Pelosi. If the GOP refuse to support a Pelosi removal, that will be interesting for them to explain to their party. I say make them confront that issue.

    The Kucinich resolution speaks for itself: The GOP supported it. Again, doesn't matter their stated "reasons" or "goals": A majority of the House -- GOP and DNC -- defied Pelosi. That same group could be motivated to remove her as Speaker.

    "If it is to get off the ground, it will take real leadership to bring the Dem caucus together.

    No, it will only require some of the DNC -- who support impeachment -- to vote to remove Pelosi; and a decision by the GOP House Members to vote to remove Pelosi as well. Not all the DNC Members of the House have to agree with this.

    This is a circular argument against taking action:

    "And unfortunately Nancy, Steny, and Rahm are what pass for leadership these days.

    Can't argue that there is "no leadership"; but then blame the lack of leadership for inaction; then claim that because there is no leadership nothing will happen. To again kindly refresh your memory:

    A. Kucinich is leading the Impeachment effort; Perhaps this is the needed leaderhip: Impeach TV;

    B. Whether Pelosi and others are or are not leading didn't have much to do with whether the GOP voted to assist Kucinich;

    C. Whether the Speaker is in office isn't related to whether the GOP and DNC -- who voted to defy Pelosi on impeachment and support Kucinich -- will or will not get support on other impeachment efforts; or efforts to remove Pelosi as speaker.

    "I am with Phred here. This state level action and working with the Republicans is a pipe dream. A nice dream I would dearly love to see come to fruition; but no shot whatsoever.

    Posted by: bmaz | November 13, 2007 at 21:32


    Thank you for your comments. Indeed, you are correct: Many said the same of the House Rule 603 effort, a state proclamation. There are 24 different states discussing the issue of "State Proclamations for Impeachment." Now the entire nation is talking about Kucinich's resolution. It doesn't matter if there is or isn't a resolution passed; the only aim is to get a discussion going at the local level. What may be difficult is less important that a simple reminder: There remain options, and We the People are not stuck with the decision of Concgress to do nothing. Nor are we stuck with this decision until 2008. Something can be done. Individual citizens have something they can do. There is a reasonable basis for hope: The Congress can be forced to respond.

    Rather than the DNC and bloggers make reasons for "Why this cannot happen", force the GOP and DNC leadership to discuss this issue on the House Floor. Let's stop making the arguments to justify inaction today; but let's force the House Members to confront this issue: What's their plan to respond? It doesn't matter what the outcome is. The point is that this discussion is forcing the US government to react to We the People. That is power of We the People to force the Congress to respond.

    Credible Political Threat To Pelosi: If enough people start talking about removing Pelosi in the context of "yes, we can do something", then that will drive more support for Kucinich: "Well, we could address this issue the Majority of the House wants; if only Pelosi were out of the way."

    Public Sees Pelosi Is A Major Obstacle: In part what Kucinich heard -- prompting him to act -- was the groundswell of local level discussion on impeachment; and a genuine feeling within the individual citizen that if Congress didn't act, there was something that the public could do: Pass resolutions. In other words, Congressional inaction on impeachment wasn't the final answer; it only took one Member of Congress or one state legislature to force a vote on a proclamation calling for an impeachment investigation.

    Discussions On State Proclamations Inspired Public To Assert Their Voice On Impeachment; Public Can See Speaker Removal Is Possible To Advance Voter Mandate: Indeed, you are correct, it may be difficult to get a resolution passed; but that does not mean its impossible. Rather, each time someone refuses to remove the roadblock to impeachment -- removing Pelosi as speaker -- despite the Majority of the House voting to advance that resolution, the more people are going to ask: What is it going to take to wake this Congress up?

    Options On Table To Enforce 2006 Voter Mandate Against Speaker: Again, the point isn't to say, "Nothing can be done" or "it will be hard," but to remind the voters they have options -- now, before the election -- to put pressure on Congress to conduct an impeachment investigation. It worked with the Kucinich resolution; and the discussions at the local level on impeachment; the same can happen with a discussion to remove the Speaker as a means to open the last door to an impeachment investigation.

    Credible, Specific Options: Real Threats To Speaker: The point isn't that State level action either through a proclamation or prosecution will or will not happen; but to remind the public that there are options to force an impeachment by removing Pelosi as Speaker, prosecuting her; or passing resolutions to force a vote on removing Pelosi.

    Credible Political Threats To Speaker; With Real, Possible Consequences: As to the claim that there is little support for an effort to combine forces between the DNC who support impeachment and the GOP who voted already against Pelosi, why not work with the GOP? Up until now, there's been the incorrect perception that we can only work with the DNC leadership. that hasn' worked. Why not work with the GOP leadership to remove the last roadblock to impeachment: Removing the Speaker? It may not "sound" nice, but then again, it doesn't sound nice for the speaker to say a Constitutional power of Congress to check the President is off the table.

    Public Discussion On Lawful Options To Force Congressional Hand: Generates More Discussion, Prompting Member of Congress Response, Leadership: In my view, I've read enough of the House Rule 603 effort and Kucinich's reliance on the public discussion on impeachment to realize: When the public starts a buzz, Congress will eventually listen: Kucinich did,and Congress voted -- for whatever reason -- to support/advance the resolution. Now a majority of the House voted -- for whatever reason -- to move the Kucinich bill into the House Judiciary Committee.

    Reaching Out To GOP Bloggers, GOP Members of Congress: Their Short Term Goals Can Help Open Last Door Blocking Impeachment: The next step is to recalibrate: Find the thing that needs to be solved to ensure the impeachment investigation starts. It does appear there is a way to remove the Speaker; that there could be a combined GOP-DNC effort to remove the speaker; and that a public discussion on removing the speaker might inspire one Member of the House like Kucinich to force a vote and formally challenge the Speaker: "Either support impeachment investigation; or we put your Speakership up for a vote. We have the votes to credibly challenge you; and we have the support from the GOP to find a New DNC Speaker. That will remove your as speaker, and clear the way for the impeachment investigation. You are no no longer 3rd in line for the Presidency; and you have no chance of replacing the President should the President and VP be removed from office."

    State Level Proclamations To Remove Speaker: Congressional Decision To Do Nothing Isn't the Final Word -- States Can Help Keep Impeachment on the Table: Again, the House Rule 603 effort is an example of what Jefferson reminded us remained an option: State proclamations. Whether that proclamation is finally approved or not is less important than mobilizing a public discussion on the issue of removing Pelosi; then inspiring either one Legislature's leadership at the State level or one Member of Congress to act: Being open discussions of removing the last roadlbock to impeachment -- removing the Speaker -- and discuss these resolutions calling on the House to remove Pelosi as Speaker. At this juncture, Pelosi has 50 State Legislatures to deal with; and a majority of the House that have voted to defy her. It doesn't matter what the GOP or DNC motivations are; the only aim is to remove the final obstacle to an impeachment investigation. That obstacle appears to be the Speaker herself; and it appears, with enough discussion and attention to this final obstacle, someone like Kucinich can rise from the public discussion and put it to the Speaker: get out of the way, or we're moving you out of the way.

    State Challenge to Congress: The Impeachment Investigation Remains On The Table; or Nancy Pelosi May Be Removed As Speaker: Thank you for your interest. Regardless your support or opposition to this action to remove Pelosi, please encourage all DNC and GOP bloggers to discuss this issue. The goal here isn't to argue away and explain why this cannot happen; but to open this up as an issue for the public to discuss: If Congress will not lead, then what options to we, as voters before the 2008 elections, have to remind the Congress they need to face these impeachable offenses.

    Local Level Discussion To Remove Pelosi Will Require Congressional Response -- Good, Bad, Or Indifferent: Gives Voters Important Information About Member of Congress Leadership and Commitment to Constitution/We the People/Voter Mandate: Again, bmaz, I appreciate your feedback and comments. Hopefully, your concerns have been addressed. If not, feel free to raise your concerns with other bloggers and perhaps your valid concerns and comments may be the means to inspire others to discuss these possibilities. Perhaps it will inspire others to contact Members of Congress like Kucinich to remind him there are other options to ensure Cheney faces an impeachment investigation. As with the House Rule 603 effort and impeachment resolutions, it only takes one Member of Congress or One State Legislature to get the ball rolling. Thank you.

    It seems that a key point, central to this discussion of potential Dem moves in Congress (re Pelosi or impeachment), needs answering: WHY ARE THE DEMS NOT DOING WHAT SEEMS TO MAKE SENSE? Sure, much speculation dances around the Internets. But, is this question answerable, logically?

    Can it be as simple as the Dems are agreed that they need to avoid doing anything, and the WH is theirs in 80? I think not. Too simple. Certainly some who might have agreed to such a Rahm strategem, besides Kucinich alone, can read their constituency polls and see increased likelihood of re-election in going for the jugular of Darth Cheney.

    I recall being dumb-founded-by-Congressional-Dems voting to grant Bush all the Iraq occupation spending he asked for, and exclaiming immediately following their being elected to stop the occupation: "The only explanation for their timidity can be that Rove's blackmailed the entire Congress! THAT'S where the $9 Billion went.

    Of course, this was not then a serious thought, but a flippant attempt to explain the shocking dereliction of their role of representing "we, the people" so soon following being catapulted to majority.

    However, blackmail, or being bought-off, now seems plausible, as simple Machiavellian maneuvering just doesn't seem sufficient to explain their total cave-in. Dems have continuously failed to stand as the loyal opposition, even prior to 06.

    Why Dems, why?

    All of our speculating about Pelosi or Impeachment seems jousting at windmills until we can explain the marriage of the Dems and Pubs. Yes, the two seem in cahoots, --but how? Why? Why isn't this topic being seriously investigated?

    Until we know the answer, our speculating on political strategy seems wasted energy. First we must know if Congress, and indeed, our Republic, can be made to function --or whether our political system is broken beyond retrieval.

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