Merkley calls for impeachment of Alberto Gonzales

AlbertogonzalesIn an email to supporters this morning, Jeff Merkley called for the impeachment of Alberto Gonzales.

Under Gonzalez' embarassing stewardship, they've fired U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. He's authorized illegal wiretaps of American citizens. He even tried to strong-arm then-Attorney General John Ashcroft into authorizing the illegal wiretapping program while he lay gravely ill in a hospital bed. And now he won't tell Congress the whole truth about what's happening on his watch.

It's time for Alberto Gonzales to be fired.

If the President won't fire him, then the Congress should impeach him.

It's believed that Merkley is the first major U.S. Senate candidate (or Senator, for that matter) to call for the impeachment of the Attorney General.

Head on over to JeffMerkley.com to read the rest and sign the petition to join the call for impeachment.

Discuss.

Updates:

Over at the blog Interesting Times, Chris Andersen lauds Merkley's call for impeachment. Still undecided, he outlines things he likes about Merkley, including:

He endorses impeaching Gonzalez. The question of impeachment, with respect to Bush or Cheney, is still up in the air for a lot of Democrats. But I think removing Gonzalez from power should be a minimal position of the party.

At MyDD, Vox Populi calls on the netroots to support Jeff Merkley. Why?

We need to send Jeff Merkley a message: We Support You. We need more Democratic candidates who aren't afraid to call for impeachment. Merkley and all the other Democrats on my ActBlue page are running to replace the corrupt, wicked, incompetent, or some mixture of all three.

And over at Beaver Boundary, they've got this take on it:

Wow. There’s a lot of discussion going on out there about the role of the Senate in impeaching and removing politicians from office for crimes, but for the moment can we just take a look at the boldness of Jeff Merkley?

From taking on the payday loan industry in the Oregon House, fighting and beating the Oregon House Republicans in 2006 and now challenging a highly-ranked member of the federal government–Merkley is looking big-time.

Over at Swing State Project, a national blog, they've nodding and smiling:

This move by Merkley is not just crashing out of the gate--it's screaming out of the gate.

If this is the kind of campaign that Merkley has in store for us--bold and aggressive--count me down as a fan.

Keep talking.

Comments

  • magix (unverified)
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    [Editor's note: Off-topic comment removed. This is not a thread about Peter DeFazio or the impeachment of Dick Cheney. We've had lots of threads on that topic.]

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    are there minor candidates for Senate who have called for it?--and what makes Merkley "major" comparatively?

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    Hooray for Jeff. I wish that Wyden had pushed this when the impeach Bush crowd went after him. While most Blue Oregon readers would like Bush and Cheney impeached, there is clearly a split on the practical politics of that action. However, Gonzales is another story.

    Impeaching Gonzales would have both national support as well as the support of some Republicans. It will also put those like Smith? who might not get on the impeachment bandwagon in a tight spot. They would be seen as both defending all of Bush's illegal acts and defending Gonzales, who is the ultimate in government sleeze and corruption.

    Just as important, getting rid of Gonzales is the first step in opening up all of the White House secrets. His replacement would not be able to be someone who will protect Bush the way Gonzales has and the impeachment process will allow the discovery of documents that are now hidden by the White House.

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    John, whenever Gonzalez came up at the Portland meeting with Wyden, people were calling for his impeachment, too.

    How many votes do you think you could get? We've spent the last week hearing from people saying that there aren't enough votes to impeach Bush or Cheney. Are there enough to impeach Gonzales? Or would you have to have a hearing first to try to sway some more votes?

    And what would you impeach him for? He could say he was just following orders. If George Bush didn't do anything wrong by telling Alberto Gonzalez to to it, then how could Bert have done anything wrong himself? He doesn't even remember what he did.

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    I await the usual "Merkley is a stooge for the DSCC" comments with interest.

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    are there minor candidates for Senate who have called for it?--and what makes Merkley "major" comparatively?

    OK, that's my line. I've been looking, and haven't found any other U.S. Senate candidates that have done so. The "major" is a cop-out, just in case Pavel Goberman or some other crank somewhere said something to someone once.

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    darrelplant

    Adam Cohen had an oped in the NY Times yesterday.

    An excerpt:

    "Impeachment of Mr. Gonzales would fit comfortably into the founders’ framework. No one could charge this Congress with believing that executive branch members serve at the “pleasure of the Senate” or the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that impeachment of President Bush is “off the table,” and there has been little talk of impeaching Vice President Dick Cheney or others in the administration.

    Congress has heard extensive testimony about how Mr. Gonzales’s Justice Department has become an arm of a political party, choosing lawyers for nonpartisan positions based on politics, and bringing cases — including prosecutions that have put people in jail — to help Republicans win elections.

    Mr. Gonzales’s repeated false and misleading statements to Congress are also impeachable conduct. James Iredell, whom George Washington would later appoint to the Supreme Court, told North Carolina’s ratification convention that “giving false information to the Senate” was the sort of act “of great injury to the community” that warranted impeachment.

    The United States attorneys scandal is also the sort of abuse the founders worried about. Top prosecutors, most with sterling records, were apparently fired because they refused to let partisan politics guide their decisions about whether to prosecute. Madison, the father of the Constitution, noted in a speech to the first Congress that “wanton removal of meritorious officers would subject” an official to impeachment.

    If the House began an impeachment inquiry, Mr. Gonzales would most likely resign rather than risk the unpleasantness of the hearings, and the ignominy of being removed. Congress should think of it as a constitutional tap on the shoulder, to let the attorney general know that the time has truly come for him to go. If Mr. Gonzales did resign, this Congress would most likely be more gracious than the one in 1876, which ignored Mr. Belknap’s hurried resignation and impeached him anyway.

    If I followed the instructions on linking, the article can be found at:

    this is NYTimes

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    Thanks, John.

    This isn't exactly radical talk.

    The New York Times editorialized for Gonzales' removal from office on Sunday, July 29.

    Unfortunately, that editorial requires a subscription. Here's the punch line:

    Democratic lawmakers are asking for a special prosecutor to look into Mr. Gonzales's words and deeds. Solicitor General Paul Clement has a last chance to show that the Justice Department is still minimally functional by fulfilling that request.

    If that does not happen, Congress should impeach Mr. Gonzales.

    An op-ed in the Times as early as May 3 by Frank Bowman, a law professor from the University of Missouri-Columbia, called for the same outcome. Unfortunately, that article is also restricted to subscribers. Here's the money shot from that one:

    Even if perjury were not a felony, lying to Congress has always been understood to be an impeachable offense. As James Iredell, later a Supreme Court justice, said in 1788 during the debate over the impeachment clause, ''The president must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.'' The same is true of the president's appointees.

    The president may yet yield and send Mr. Gonzales packing. If not, Democrats may decide that to impeach Alberto Gonzales would be politically unwise. But before dismissing the possibility of impeachment, Congress should recognize that the issue here goes deeper than the misbehavior of one man. The real question is whether Republicans and Democrats are prepared to defend the constitutional authority of Congress against the implicit claim of an administration that it can do what it pleases and, when called to account, send an attorney general of the United States to Capitol Hill to commit amnesia on its behalf.

    It's very nice that Merkley is taking this position, but it's hardly a profiles-in-courage moment.

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    John, I think you rather missed the point. You said that Wyden should have "pushed" a Gonzalez impeachment "when the impeach Bush crowd went after him". The crowd was already supporting a Gonzalez impeachment. They were already pushing the idea at Wyden.

    I think my other point still stands, though. Unless you think Gonzalez was acting on his own, either in the firing of USAs or lying to Congress, the White House was involved. If you think Gonzalez is guilty of something impeachable, I have to wonder why you wouldn't think Bush and Cheney are impeachable as say, part of a conspiracy to prevent Congress from finding out the truth about the USA firings.

    I don't think if you put it up for a vote today that you would be able to convict Gonzalez. A case needs to be made against him, before he can be impeached, tried, and possibly convicted. That process should begin. But so should the process of making a case against Bush and Cheney. That's been the point of people who suggested the Democrats should have started putting their ducks in a row a couple of years back and preparing for a potential fight. You know, just in case.

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    darrelplant How many votes do you think you could get?

    That's a good question. Judging by the reception that Mr. Gonzalez has been getting recently from Republicans, I'm sure that some would be scared enough to do the right thing.

    It's telling that when FOX news sent a call to the Republicans to defend the A.G. in their sycophantic setting, they couldn't find a single one to go on record defending him.

    Impeaching Gonzalez would force Republicans between implicitly declaring Bush incompetent for nominating and sticking by his A.G., and defending a man who has indisputably committed perjury by its full legal definition (lying, under oath, about issues that are material to an investigation). Better, it is far more likely to be backed by the U.S. public, and not backfire on progressives.

    Backfire? Yes. You'd be a fool to discount the possibility. The American public views impeachment of elected officials - and specifically the President - as a usurpation of their right to decide collectively, who will lead the country. They have no such attachment to appointed underlings, especially the Attorney General, who is supposed to be beyond reproach.

    I would argue forcefully that impeaching Gonzalez is a no-brainer. Since Senate Republicans have decided to be obstructionist anyway (with a record number of filibusters), there is no particular need to engage in Senate comity. They're playing hardball. So should we.

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    Darrel,

    My view is similar to Mr. Maurer's. Go after the easier target first, not the harder one. Gonzales is a much easier target than Bush or Cheney. If it works, it just may help the case with the public and the Congress to complete the job and go after Bush. In any case it will expose both Bush and the Republicans that defend him without causing collateral damage to the Dems.

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    John, who's suggesting going after Bush and Cheney first? That's an end result.

    People who want Bush and Cheney gone want their lackys gone, too. Nobody was advocating that Nancy Pelosi assume the presidency with Gonzales as her AG or that karl Rove should have stayed on as her political advisor.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    I'd be impressed if Speaker Merkley has already spoken out if favor of impeaching Gonzales. I know i have. I'd also like to see Oregon's congressional delegation as well as anybody stepping up to join this club get in step with their constituents and call for the Impeachments of Cheney and Bush as well (in that order).

    I await the usual "Merkley is a stooge for the DSCC" comments with interest.

    He can distance himself from the Washington DC hands wooing to feed him by changing his stance on impeachment where it matters. Last i heard, Merkley was still toeing the party line of not letting impeachment divert the Democrats' focus, or some such other fuzzy thinking.

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    East Bank Thom wrote, I'd also like to see Oregon's congressional delegation as well as anybody stepping up to join this club get in step with their constituents

    Um, Thom, time to start paying attention.

    All four Democratic members of Oregon's congressional delegation were original co-sponsors of the Inslee resolution to impeach Gonzales.

    Yup, we can be proud of our members of the House on this one.

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    Stehanie V wrote... It's very nice that Merkley is taking this position, but it's hardly a profiles-in-courage moment.

    Well, yes, it's not the most radical political position that anyone has ever taken -- he's not suggesting launching Dick Cheney into orbit around Jupiter...

    But it's worth noting that there's not a single U.S. Senator that has called for the impeachment of Gonzales. Not Russ Feingold, not Chris Dodd, not Bernie Sanders, etc.

    I don't know if it qualifies as a "profile in courage" - after all, Gonzales is pretty unpopular. But here's the important point -- Jeff Merkley is showing leadership. By staking this claim, he's daring Gordon Smith to follow him -- and frankly, the rest of the U.S. Senate.

    This is exactly what we want from our U.S. Senators, and by proxy, our Senate candidates.

    Full disclosure: I built Jeff Merkley's campaign website, but I speak only for myself.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    didn't mean to repost. (It's just an annoying glitch on this site when you hit the back button)

    Kari, it's snark like "Um, time to start paying attention" that yields more heat than light. Now go back an read what I posted (either time... :)

    I am calling for the Oregon delegation and anybody looking for my vote to join that delegation to "call for the Impeachments of Cheney and Bush as well (in that order)."

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    Of course no sitting Senator (and most likely no other Senate candidate) will call for impeachment. Why?

    Because it is unethical to do so.

    While I am 100% for impeachment of Gonzales (not to mention Cheney and Bush) I am also not a sitting Senator nor am I running to be a Senator,m and that is the problematic aspect of a Senator (or candidate for same) to call for impeachment directly.

    It is something a Senator (or in this case a Senatorial candidate) needs to be very careful (or more precisely something he or she should not do at all) in calling for "impeachment" since as a Senator, a Senator would be expected to sit as a juror in the trial of Gonzales in the Senate if articles of impeachment where to be passed by the House. This is like a prospective juror saying "they should arrest that guy so I can vote him guilty".

    Granted that if Merkely were elected to the Senate, he would be serving in a Congress when the Bush administration (and Gonzales) would no longer be in office, but it is worth remembering that outright calling for removal from office by a Senator is problematic because of the Constitutional process involved. This is why you get "tea leaf" style statements and calls for someone to step-down from Senators.

  • MCR (unverified)
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    lestat:

    Impeachment is the trial process itself, not removal from office (which could be a consequence). Calling for impeachment is to call for a trial. It does not prejudge an outomce. I see no problem with a Senator asking for the opportunity to hear the evidence and decide whether Gonzales should remain in office or not.

  • MCR (unverified)
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    lestat:

    Impeachment is the trial process itself, not removal from office (which could be a consequence). Calling for impeachment is to call for a trial. It does not prejudge an outcome. I see no problem with a Senator asking for the opportunity to hear the evidence and decide whether Gonzales should remain in office or not.

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    EBT -- Aha. I get it. I misread your sentence construction and thought you were calling on our House members to join the "Impeach Gonzales" club. Got it. Sorry 'bout that.

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    FYI, I've posted a couple of updates to blogs talking about this...

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    MCR, I am well aware what the process is. Which is exactly why I pointed out why you won't get direct calls for removal from office via impeachment from Senators. It is analgious to a jurist calling for arrest and conviction before trial. Read Merkley's statement. While I petsonally agree wiyh it, a Senator needs to be more circumspect.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    We've spent the last week hearing from people saying that there aren't enough votes to impeach Bush or Cheney.

    As one who has been arguing against impeachment of Bush and Cheney, I would say that I'm 100% on board with removing Gonzalez from office. The main point for me is that the AG must be confirmed by the Senate, so there is no reason the Senate should not be able to "withdraw" its confirmation. As Steven Maurer mentioned above, there is a big difference between removing a Senate-confirmed political appointee and removing a democratically-elected president. The former does not overturn an election, the latter does.

    If you think Gonzalez is guilty of something impeachable, I have to wonder why you wouldn't think Bush and Cheney are impeachable as say, part of a conspiracy to prevent Congress from finding out the truth about the USA firings.

    For me, Gonzalez can be impeached on perjury charges. If Gonzalez was heavily involved in the USA firings, then he lied to Congress about it. If he wasn't, then he'll have to argue publicly and repeatedly that he allowed underlings to make major decisions about the American justice system with little or no oversight, in which case he'd probably just step down. If someone can prove the allegations about political interference in ongoing criminal cases that's even better, but to date those are still just allegations. I don't think there's any evidence that Bush or Cheney conspired with Gonzalez to lie to Congress.

    It's important to note what Gonzalez should not be impeached for, and that is the firing of the US Attorneys. USAs serve at the pleasure of the President. He can fire them for any reason he wants. We can all agree that firing them for political purposes is wrong, awful, damaging to our judicial system, etc. But it's a legitimate power that this and every president has, to be used for good or evil. The Democrats must avoid any impeachment proceedings that are based on policy disputes. Those do not fall under the label "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

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    He can fire them for any reason he wants. We can all agree that firing them for political purposes is wrong, awful, damaging to our judicial system, etc. But it's a legitimate power that this and every president has, to be used for good or evil.

    I don't believe this is actually true. Firing whistleblowers is illegal. Firing someone at DOJ because they won't engage in criminal activity (which is what prosecuting someone when you know you have exculpatory evidence) is illegal.

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    As Steven Maurer mentioned above, there is a big difference between removing a Senate-confirmed political appointee and removing a democratically-elected president.

    If you view the process as partisan-driven, then sure, there's a difference politically. If you view the process as Constitutionally-driven, then there is no difference because the exact same portions of the Constitution govern the impeachment of all federal officials, be they AGs or Presidents. They can all be impeached for the same breaches of public trust.

    Miles, you're wrong about the USA firings. You cannot fire people who will not carry out your orders to subvert the political process as president. You can fire them for no reason, or because you don't like their ties, but if you've given them orders to use their powers in an illegal manner, you cannot punish them for failing to do so or for poking into things you have ordered them not to poke into for political reasons. I mean, you can, but it's frowned upon.

    Does the name Archibald Cox ring a bell?

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    This same discussion is going on now at dailykos.

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    What's the discussion? It should have started months ago.

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    Darrel, I'm not exactly sure what kind of point you're trying to make about "partisan-driven" and "constitutionally-driven" processes. The U.S. Constitution is itself a political document. It formulates rules for mediating political disagreements. To claim that there is no partisan motive behind impeachment is, quite frankly, not in the least bit believable.

    And even if you can, through sheer mental effort, make yourself believe that impeachment is a completely apolitical process, guided with not even a whiff of self-interest of the political players involved, but purely by the loftiest principals of our esteemed and venerated Constitution, I guarantee you that the majority of the American public won't see it that way. And they will be looking at anything our representatives do with a jaundiced eye.

    In that sort of situation, clear irrefutable evidence of a lesser criminal act, such as perjury, is far more likely to have a positive result than bringing charges based on broad partisan judgments (e.g. "Bush lied us into war"), no matter how trivial the former is compared to the latter.

    In other words, when you're a head of state, it's easier to get away with mass murder than it is to be caught driving drunk. I wish this weren't true. But it is.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Firing someone at DOJ because they won't engage in criminal activity (which is what prosecuting someone when you know you have exculpatory evidence) is illegal.

    I think we're again veering into the area of allegations rather than fact. I haven't heard any of the fired US attorneys claim they were asked to do something illegal and refused. Did I miss a story? Of course proof of such direction from the White House to prosecute political opponents would be grounds for impeachment of ALL parties involved, but I haven't seen anything beyond speculation.

    More to the point, however, if the president can fire them because he doesn't like their ties, certainly he can fire them if they won't follow his policy directives, such as a directive to increase prosecution of voter fraud cases. This isn't any different than Janet Reno ordering an increased focus on domestic violence cases, or a decreased focus on marijuana cases, or a higher bar for death penalty cases, all of which I believe happened during Clinton's tenure. The dirty secret of our judicial system is that prosecution is open to discretion. Prosecutors have vast leeway in terms of what someone is charged with, how many counts, and ultimately what punishment they face. Prosecutors routinely downgrade charges for non-violent offenses, or step up prosecution in order to set an example.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    I haven't heard any of the fired US attorneys claim they were asked to do something illegal and refused.

    :lol: Funniest thing I've heard all day.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    They can all be impeached for the same breaches of public trust.

    Just to be clear, my Constitution doesn't say anything about breaching the public trust. It says:

    The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

  • DAN GRADY (unverified)
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    SAVE DEMOCRACY, VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT!!

    I'm not an attorney, I like myself to much.

    That pre-qualifier being made, I would submit that when bringing down a criminal conspiracy as vast as this one requires a snitch, an un-pardonable process that would compell a witness to bare all about their co-conspirators.

    I think a process that begins with the litany of lies, and crimes against our constitutional processes that Fredo presents is the sound path to this administrations dismantling, and the begining of the restoration of representative democracy in America!

    In short, IMPEACH FREDO!

    Happy Thoughts Indeed;

    Dan Grady

  • Tamerlane (unverified)
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    Clearly, they should take him down immediately. The idea of lingering Republicans standing up to defend him is: a)ridiculous; b) would be a political godsend come election day. I don't necessarily see why the impeachment process would even need to be all that long and drawn out. At a minimum, the Democrats need to find a way to flex their muscles and throw the Administration on the defensive -- we still don't have the momentum, which is a kind of historical embarrassment for checks and balances. The AG was already supposed to have resigned when it was clear he didn't have the support of Congress; that he hasn't is a very incendiary sign from the White House about their contempt for the Democratic majority -- we gotta counter-punch -- really HARD.

  • DAN GRADY (unverified)
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    P.S.: Kari; sorry for my un-related rant on the other post, I get carried away and need an occasional jerk from off stage, no sweat you "wipper snapper."

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    I think we're again veering into the area of allegations rather than fact. I haven't heard any of the fired US attorneys claim they were asked to do something illegal and refused. Did I miss a story?

    I believe so. USA McKay was asked to prosecute voter fraud in Washington. When he told them there was no case, and that even Dino Rossi's lawyer told them there was no case, he was fired. USA Iglesias was asked to indict a Democratic official prior to the elections and refused--and was then fired. USA Biagi was pressured to end investigations of Gov. Ehrlich. He refused and was fired. And those are just the ones where the lawyers involved have spoken up.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Miles, you don't appear to be very well informed on this topic. There are literally dozens of examples of how the US attorneys were fired for failing to prosecute what the republics/bushies wanted. Here is a link for you to bone up: http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/cats/us_attorneys/

    And here is an excert from the link: In late December of last year, Sen. Pete Domenici's (R-NM) chief of staff Steve Bell called to speak with William Moschella, a senior Justice Department official, and made a follow-up call to the White House. Domenici, remember, had been frustrated that U.S. Attorney David Iglesias failed to indict a prominent state Democrat before the 2006 election on corruption charges. And after Iglesias was fired, Domenici apparently wanted to make sure that he wasn't canned in vain.

    Here's what a White House aide wrote to Moschella about her conversation with Bell two weeks after Iglesias was fired:

    [Bell] mentioned he had chatted with you today about his request for a non-partisan team that specializes in corruption to be sent down to NM. I just wanted to circle up with you and see if you had any thoughts about it.

    You might think that it goes without saying that a team of Justice Department prosecutors would be "non-partisan," but apparently in this administration, it needs saying.

    There hasn't been much ambiguity that Domenici wanted Iglesias fired because he failed to speedily indict and convict key Democrats. Both Gonzales and Domenici have tried to cast the issue as a broader preoccupation with public corruption cases or white-collar cases -- but of course no other cases besides two prosecutions of state Democrats seem to have been at issue. So it shouldn't be surprising that Domenici moved shortly after Iglesias' firing to request that the White House ensure the U.S. attorney's office in New Mexico be beefed up with a "non-partisan team" (ahem) that "specializes in corruption."

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    "Granted that if Merkely were elected to the Senate, he would be serving in a Congress when the Bush administration (and Gonzales) would no longer be in office, but it is worth remembering that outright calling for removal from office by a Senator is problematic because of the Constitutional process involved."

    Just a correction, the US Senate would start their session in the first week of Jan 2009 would it not? Bush's term doesn't expire until Jan 20th, 2009, therefore unless Bush and/or Gonzales were impeached or resigned, Merkley (if elected) would be a sitting US Senator while Gonzales was in offic.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Yes folks, for heaven's sake, let's not expect our Senators and Congresspeople to have ovaries. Our people might be accused of being unethical...cower cower! Or, the public might think we are trying to re-do an election. Find a big hidey hole, we're askeerd.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    EBT -- Aha. I get it. I misread your sentence

    That's what i figured, Kari. So maybe you too should give a brother the benefit of the doubt next time and not be so quick to admonish them "to start paying attention" like some curmudgeon shouting "Get of my blawn!"

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    "Partisan" doesn't mean the same thing as "political". It's why there's a qualifier like "political" along with the word "party" in the phrases "party politics" and "political party". If they meant the same thing, they'd be redundant.

    "Partisan-driven" is something impelled by the dictates of party politics, i.e. where you decide whether to carry out an action based on whether it's the best thing for your party's political success or not. Hence the same Latin root for the word "partisan" and "party".

    A "Constitutionally-driven" action is dictated by an adherence to the underlying document of the US government. Sometimes that requires putting aside considerations of the party to do what's best for the government. Call it "bi-partisanship" or "multi-partisanship" if you prefer.

    As an example, it might be great for your party to use all of the power of the presidential office to screw your political opponents, but since your political opponents have the threat of this thing called impeachment to hold you in check (supposedly) maybe you wouldn't want to do that. On the other hand, if your political opponents are too stupid to use it properly or forget that it's there, then you can just stomp all over them.

    My (Oregon content!) historical excerpt for the day. This is from TIME, just after the "Friday Night Massacre" in the fall of 1973, nearly seven months before Nixon's impeachment hearings began:

    The first shocked reactions of Congressmen and Senators indicated that the pressure would be considerable and perhaps irresistible. Republicans were among Nixon's severest critics. Senator Mark Hatfield observed that a move to impeach could come "like a flash flood sweeping down over the pasture land." Senator Robert Packwood argued that there was "no justification" for Nixon's action. "The office of the President does not carry with it a license to destroy justice in America. His deeds are dishonorable." Predicted Freshman Congressman William H. Hudnut of Indiana: "If Nixon gives the impression he is above the law, he is going to have an impeachment problem on his hands of considerable magnitude." Democrats, too, talked ominously of impeachment. Senator Edmund Muskie urged the House to begin the painful proceedings. Senator Edward Kennedy decried the firing of Cox as "a reckless act of desperation by a President who is afraid of the Supreme Court, who has no respect for law and no regard for men of conscience. The burden is now on Congress to nullify this historic insult to the rule of law and to the nation's system of justice." Argued West Virginia Congressman Ken Hechler: "Impeachment proceedings must be initiated at the earliest possible moment." California Congressman Don Edwards urged Nixon to admit that he had made "a terrible mistake" and resign.
  • Jesse B. (unverified)
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    I see someone beat me to the TPMmuckracker linkage.

    Here's what TJ was talking about with McKay: Late November 2004 Ed Cassidy, chief of staff for Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA), contacts U.S. Attorney John McKay (WA) following the 2004 gubernatorial election. Cassidy inquires whether McKay will pursue investigations of voter fraud. In later testimony (3/7/07), McKay recalls, "I stopped him and I told him that I was sure that he wasn't asking me on behalf of his boss to reveal information about an ongoing investigation or to lobby me on one, because we both knew that would be improper. He agreed that it would be improper and ended the conversation in a most expeditious fashion."

    Late 2004 or Early 2005
    Sometime following the 2004 gubernatorial election, prominent Washington businessman Tom McCabe, disappointed with McKay's handling of voter fraud allegations, repeatedly contacts the White House to request McKay's firing.
    July 5, 2005 In a letter to Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA), Tom McCabe demands that Hastings "ask the White House to replace Mr. McKay," for not adequately pursuing the voter fraud allegations in the 2004 gubernatorial race. Hastings later confirms this but says, "I flat out refused to do so, which [Hastings' chief of staff] Ed Cassidy told him in the bluntest of terms."

    Then of course there is the list. Under the heading "USAs We Should Consider Pushing Out" appears "W.D. Washington (John McKay)."

    Impeachment is not removal from office. Impeachment is a legal statement of charges.

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    Just to be clear, my Constitution doesn't say anything about breaching the public trust.

    Miles, just to be clear, your Constitution doesn't have to. The House has the sole authority of determining what falls into the category of 'Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors". If they can come up with language that passes the House and can gain a conviction in the Senate, there's no appeal process for an officer removed from their position. They can say anything they want in the Senate trial or the House hearings, but if they get the right number of votes, they're gone. That's in the Constitution.

    Nixon's articles of impeachment included several charges of abuse of power, dereliction of duty, and failure to respond to subpoenaes. Those words aren't in the Constitution, either, but they're impeachable offenses.

    Preamble of Article 2:

    Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, 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.
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    A "Constitutionally-driven" action is dictated by an adherence to the underlying document of the US government. Sometimes that requires putting aside considerations of the party to do what's best for the government. Call it "bi-partisanship" or "multi-partisanship" if you prefer.

    And do you see any hint of "bi-" or "multi-" partisanship from the U.S.'s current crop of Republicans? In mean in 2007, not 1973. Because, quite frankly, I don't.

    Also, arguing that impeachment should be Constitutionally driven isn't helpful in the current situation. The reason why a super majority is needed for impeachment to drive a man out of the presidency is because our founding fathers specifically wanted to prevent what most impeachment advocates are now arguing for: it's use as a glorified vote of confidence.

    Impeachment was never conceived as a tool to toss out a President who angers his political opponents. It's there to end a Presidency of someone who scares and/or disgusts a significant percentage of his own political friends.

    We're not there yet with Bush. We may never be before his time runs out. But Gonzales is an entirely different matter.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Miles doesn't seem to know about how the US Attorneys were fired for refusing to break the law, yet he is more informed than the average citizen. Once impeachment proceedings begin against any of them (bush-cheney-gonzo), the corporate media will finally have to cover their crimes. And Miles and the rest of the public will be brought up to speed, increasing pressure on the republics to support Rule of Law, Rule of Law, Rule of Law! Some of them will do the right thing, though I know that is hard to believe.

  • (Show?)
    Impeachment was never conceived as a tool to toss out a President who angers his political opponents.

    That's your interpretation of why people want Bush out of office, Steven. It's also why I said that a push for impeachment shouldn't be based on partisanship.

    If you'd been following the discussions preceings this on impeachment, you might have noticed that the primary reason I've advocated for impeachment is that I would like to see an end to the Iraq war come sooner than later. I think there's zero opportunity for Congress to begin winding down the war while Bush is in office. I think there's a good possibility he might widen the war into Iran (or possibly Syria) sometime in the seventeen months between now and Inaguration Day.

    So long as he feels no threat from potentially being removed from office, as Commander in Chief he can ignore any restraints put on him by Congress in his conduct of war, foreign policy, and espionage. Nixon did. Carter did. Reagan did.

    April 1973

    Last week Attorney General Richard Kleindienst expanded even further the President's already unprecedented claim for Executive privilege. Testifying before an unusual joint hearing by three House and Senate subcommittees, Kleindienst asserted that Congress has no power to hear from any one of the 2,500,000 federal employees if it subpoenas him and the President tells him not to appear. The Attorney General insisted that the doctrine involved "an enduring constitutional value" extending almost back to the Constitution's birth. But as Maine Democrat Edmund Muskie, keeping his short temper carefully in check, asked for legal precedents and a more precise history of the doctrine, Kleindienst turned vague and sarcastic, referring to Muskie's "piercing questions." Asked the incredulous Muskie: "The Congress has no power at all to command testimony from the Executive departments?" Replied Kleindienst: "If the President of the United States so directs." Muskie: "Do we have the right to command you to testify against the will of the President?" Kleindienst: "If the President directs me not to appear, I am not going to appear." Muskie: "Does that apply to every appointee of the Executive Branch?" Kleindienst: "I'd have to say that is correct." If Congress does not like that situation, Kleindienst added, it can always "cut off our funds, abolish most of what we can do or impeach the President." But, asked North Carolina Democrat Sam Ervin, how could the President be impeached if no one in the Executive Branch could be compelled to testify or supply evidence in the impeachment proceedings? Answered Kleindienst, in an amazing interpretation of proper legal procedure: "You don't need facts to impeach a President." Some Senators were outraged. "I've never heard anybody talk like that before," fumed Arkansas Democrat J.W. Fulbright. "He seemed to be taunting us. He implied that we are a bunch of boobs." Muskie termed Kleindienst's theory "an unprecedented and frightening claim of the scope of the President's power." A House Republican leader took the unusual step of appearing before the Senate subcommittees to assail Kleindienst's testimony. Illinois' John B. Anderson, chairman of the House Republican Conference, charged that Kleindienst was "provocative and contemptuous of Congress" and that his views "border on contempt for the established law of the land." Pennsylvania's Democratic Congressman William Moorehead testified, too, calling Klein dienst "amazingly arrogant" and his views "monarchical or totalitarian."

    Sound familiar? But technically, Kleindienst was correct.

    I've seen just as much evidence of a Democratic plan for forcing Bush to get out of Iraq as I've see for an administration plan to bring peace to the region. Zilch. If there is one, they need to get on the stick

    Personally, I think the plan is the same as the Republican plan on the war, to ride it out to the 2008 elections and hope that things get a lot better without them actually having to do anything about it.

  • (Show?)

    Just added another update above - a link to Beaver Boundary's take.

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    Posted by: David English | Aug 20, 2007 2:49:19 PM Just a correction, the US Senate would start their session in the first week of Jan 2009 would it not? Bush's term doesn't expire until Jan 20th, 2009, therefore unless Bush and/or Gonzales were impeached or resigned, Merkley (if elected) would be a sitting US Senator while Gonzales was in offic.

    Point taken.

  • anon (unverified)
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    "what makes Merkley "major" comparatively?"

    Because he has the full backing of the national party.

    "I await the usual "Merkley is a stooge for the DSCC" comments with interest."

    Maybe noting the obvious is a good preemptive attack. Maybe not. DSCC supports Blue Oregon? check. Blue Oregon supports Merkley? check. ///stupid conspiracy theorists, Flanders.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I think there's zero opportunity for Congress to begin winding down the war while Bush is in office.

    The opportunity was there, but the will was missing. Perhaps with Karl Rove gone the White House won't be able to manipulate the Democrats as well in the future as they have in the past and the Dems will get some spine to do something. Then, again, most likely they won't.

    Nancy Pelosi's "Impeachment is off the table" = "Mr. President, you have nothing to fear from us."

  • anon (unverified)
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    "It's very nice that Merkley is taking this position, but it's hardly a profiles-in-courage moment."

    Careful Stephanie V, that comment sounds a little bit off-topic. This is a thread about the courage of our leaders. And we certainly don't want anyone questioning the courage of our leaders. Please consult House Res 2, (March, 2003). It's practically Oregon law!

  • anon (unverified)
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    "But here's the important point -- Jeff Merkley is showing leadership. By staking this claim, he's daring Gordon Smith to follow him -- and frankly, the rest of the U.S. Senate. This is exactly what we want from our U.S. Senators, and by proxy, our Senate candidates."

    Quick somebody cal Wyden! He's not showing leadership! Or do we cut him some slack for being a leader in the democrats failed attempt at stopping the war? Will this be Merkley's strong leadership stand so he can fence sit elsewhere? It's not leadership when somebody has to take the voter's temperature before speaking out. And it sure looks to me Merkley didn't speak out until he started courting a new set of (state wide) voters. And we're only talking about Gonzales for Pete's sake! Call for Bush's head and we'll get interested.

  • anon (unverified)
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    "East Bank Thom wrote, I'd also like to see Oregon's congressional delegation as well as anybody stepping up to join this club get in step with their constituents

    Um, Thom, time to start paying attention. All four Democratic members of Oregon's congressional delegation were original co-sponsors of the Inslee resolution to impeach Gonzales."

    Um, nevermind.

    "Yup, we can be proud of our members of the House on this one."

    So which one is going up against Gordon Smith next year?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    It should be obvious by now that if anyone in the Bush Administration (or any other Administration in the future) is to be impeached it will be up to the people to initiate the drive for impeachment by putting pressure on politicians, most of whom don't want to get involved. Exception initiation by the people: Partisan attacks such as the move to impeach Clinton.

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    Another somewhat prominent leftwing blog has picked this up:

    swingstateproject.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=735

    I think that is the permalink, even if it isn't advertised as such.

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    It's not leadership when somebody has to take the voter's temperature before speaking out. And it sure looks to me Merkley didn't speak out until he started courting a new set of (state wide) voters.

    Seriously? The guy is 19 days into a campaign for the U.S. Senate. You expected him to spend his time at the state legislature talking about Alberto Gonzales? He was kinda busy with some other stuff.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks, Vera. I've now posted that in an update above.

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    darrelplant That's your interpretation of why people want Bush out of office, Steven. It's also why I said that a push for impeachment shouldn't be based on partisanship.

    Fine. Then if it isn't based on partisanship, we should all just shut up about it until a Republican senator brings up the subject as something that he might favor.

    There. Does that make you happy?

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Just as a note of correction, the national party, DNC has not backed anybody and neither has the state party, DPO. Both stay neutral in a contested primary, county parties are free in OR to do as they please, the vast majority stay neutral. I DO have good reasons to know this is factual - DPO SCC delegate, 06 Dem Primary 02CD candidate.

    What the House and Senate Democratic PACs get up to is their business, but they do risk P-Oing voters.

  • anon (unverified)
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    "Seriously? The guy is 19 days into a campaign for the U.S. Senate. You expected him to spend his time at the state legislature talking about Alberto Gonzales?"

    I have low expectations. Plenty of Oregonians found the time before now to call for Alberto's ouster. Nice of Merkley to get in line.

    "Just as a note of correction, the national party, DNC has not backed anybody"

    No, they just pay the blog that makes the website that links with the blog that touts the candidacy of the DC picked candidate that pays the blog that returns the favor ....

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Miles doesn't seem to know about how the US Attorneys were fired for refusing to break the law, yet he is more informed than the average citizen.

    I guess this is a compliment. Kind of.

    I appreciate the links, although I've read most of the stuff before. Yes, I am aware that some people allege that these firings occurred because good, solid Republican patriots refused to do the political dirty work for Bush, Rove, et al. But where's the proof that there was a grand conspiracy involving Bush? Isn't it just as likely that they fired them to make room to groom future GOP candidates? Isn't this bad enough (although not impeachable)?

    Specifically: In the Iglesias case, Domenici did something unethical. Where's the proof that Bush had Iglesias fired because he refused to go along? In the McKay case, Doc Hastings did something unethical. Where's the link to the White House and the firings? Hastings even specifically says he refused to contact the White House on the matter. Everything is speculation with no corroborating evidence.

    Look, maybe you guys are right, maybe we'll find a smoking gun that implicates the White House in a conspiracy to use the federal justice system to prosecute its political enemies, and proof that they fired these particular USAs because these brave Republicans stood in the way. But no one has yet come up with such evidence, and absent that it just looks like we're overplaying what is already a very good hand. Gonzalez can be impeached and removed from office based solely on his false testimony to Congress. We can focus on that and win, or spend a lot of time looking for a broader consiracy that may or may not exist.

  • (Show?)

    DSCC supports Blue Oregon? check. Blue Oregon supports Merkley? check.

    Um, you're wrong here.

    The DSCC supports BlueOregon just about as much as the Novick campaign supports BlueOregon. They've both bought advertising.

    BlueOregon doesn't support anyone. As we've said many times before, "BlueOregon doesn't even go out for donuts." After all, how the hell could it? It's a bunch of files on a server.

    I support Jeff Merkley. But I'm not BlueOregon. I'm just one person. To pick another one off our contributor list, Pat Ryan supports Steve Novick (I'm pretty sure). He's welcome to write about that anytime he'd like.

    For that matter, Steve Novick was a contributor here until he removed himself from our roster (and as we typically do, when people become candidates.)

    We have over 30 contributors. I don't have any clue who they're each supporting - and I don't particularly care. They've all got a password, and can write anytime they want.

    You can imagine conspiracy theories all day long. But if you're doing it in service of Steve Novick, I suggest you ask him. This venue is wide open to him.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    I wrote: Just to be clear, my Constitution doesn't say anything about breaching the public trust.

    DarrelPlant responded: Miles, just to be clear, your Constitution doesn't have to. The House has the sole authority of determining what falls into the category of 'Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors". If they can come up with language that passes the House and can gain a conviction in the Senate, there's no appeal process for an officer removed from their position.

    Darrel, your response confirms my fears about why some of you are pushing for impeachment. It's to re-fight the election of 2004. You're saying that the House can impeach for any reason, so long as they have the votes. As a practical legal matter you're right. But if we're going to be stewards of our democracy and work to protect our system of government rather than destroy it, you couldn't be more wrong.

    Impeachment for partisan reasons is wrong. Impeachment for policy reasons is wrong. Using impeachment to show your frustration with the decisions of a properly elected president is wrong. It's wrong not because it's illegal or unconstitutional, but because it will forever destroy our form of government. Republicans fired the first shot with their impeachment of Clinton, but you'll finish it off with an impeachment of Bush based on the reasons you outline.

    The only way to illustrate this is to ask what your reaction would be to an impeachment process against President Obama based solely on Republican frustrations with his policies. Do you really want to live in a country where the opposition threatens impeachment every few years?

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    Seriously? The guy is 19 days into a campaign for the U.S. Senate. You expected him to spend his time at the state legislature talking about Alberto Gonzales? He was kinda busy with some other stuff.

    I guess 19 days is enough time to take a grandstanding, but safe, position that other electeds have already supported. Not enough time, apparently, to criticize sitting elected Dems for refusing to enforce contempt charges themselves (they have the authority without the DOJ to arrest and imprison in the D.C. jails) against Miers or Taylor so that we can get the whole story about the attorney-firings, or to give us the respect of putting his positions on the issues up on his campaign website.

    I wonder what we should infer about his leadership qualities and what the people running his campaign think about us from that kind of performance and this kind of excuse-making? (Why is he even running for the Senate, after how many years in elected office, if he doesn't already have defined positions on major issues that would take all of 15 minutes to type up and post?)

    I support Jeff Merkley. But I'm not BlueOregon. I'm just one person.

    Yea, except that your company, Mandate Media, runs his campaign website. Which makes your advocacy just a tad more unseemingly than you spin it.

    Just pointing out the facts.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    I support Jeff Merkley. But I'm not BlueOregon. I'm just one person.

    My preference is to talk message and not messengers, but Kari... honestly.

    Who has been most responsible for controlling discussion here? "Comment deleted" "Keep it on topic" "Take the discussion elsewhere" (Not actual quotes. but you get the gist.) You're the president of Mandate (i still chuckle when i picture this) and main contributing editor to BlueOregon. Oh and you also do Merkley's campaign site. One needn't assume some vast middle of the road Democratic establishment conspiracy theory to at least note that you personally, your company, the Merkley campaign and the DSCC are parallel of purpose.

    As for the "equality of voices" which is this virtual Oregon, it's just like the real world. Some voices are more equal... some less. I've made 3 or 4 submissions and even applied for your internship, but it's not like i've ever even gotten an acknowledgment. chirp... chirp...

    You can imagine conspiracy theories all day long. But if you're doing it in service of Steve Novick, I suggest you ask him. This venue is wide open to him.

    You appear to be the first person to bring up Novick in this thread (unless he was mentioned in the banned comment above). Maybe it's natural for you to assume every comment critical of Merkley is coming from an ardent Novick supporter but it doesn't help your candidate when you beat that horse. My advice is just let Merkley win. The Merkley machine is going to roll through the May primary and i've been optimistic all along that the GOP is going to take it in the nuts in November '08.

    [Disclaimer: not registered Democrat. not motivated to vote in the primary.]

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    Kari and Jeff, since Merkley is running for the Senate, maybe you can do the press release next on what Merkley thinks it is safe to say about this:

    Today in a press briefing, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) revealed that the White House had missed its 2:30 PM deadline to turn over documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding legal justifications for the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program. The Committee had already pushed back the original July 18 deadline twice after the White House requested more time ...
    The time is up. The time is up. We’ve waited long enough ...
    So I would hope they’d do it. And, if not, the full Judiciary Committee will have to sit down and determine whether (?!?!?!) to seek contempt from the full Senate.
    Leahy: Cheney Told GOP-Led Congress It Was ‘Not Allowed To Issue Subpoenas’ http://thinkprogress.org/2007/08/20/cheney-leahy-subpoena/
  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Kari and Jeff, since Merkley is running for the Senate, maybe you can do the press release next on what Merkley thinks it is safe to say

    How about a more neutral in the news post?

    Time's up... soon(ish)

    In a stern rebuke of the Bush administration's continued obstruction of justice, Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair freely admitted: "no question they're in contempt of a valid order of the Congress." The Committee has given White House officials more than a month to turn over the documents and granted previous extensions of a subpoena it issued in June. That delay "goes way beyond what anyone expected," Leahy said. "Time is up. We've waited long enough."

    Then the Chairman really unloaded with both barrels blazing:

    Unless the administration complies with the subpoena, "The full Judiciary Committee will have to sit down and determine whether to seek contempt from the full Senate."

    In other words, the venerable committee may have to convene in special session to consider if something ought to be done. Time's up... soon(ish). Oh, the tension.

  • (Show?)

    Well, anony and EBT, I'll just leave you to it. If you don't think BlueOregon is a credible venue for news and opinion, then go away. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read it.

    I'll let my words stand on their own. I've always fully disclosed all of my interests. Until the day comes when local bloggers can make a living at it, we're all going to have day jobs.

  • (Show?)

    And for the record, Jeff Alworth - one of our co-founders - is not under contract or employed by any political campaign or party. I don't believe he has ever been, actually.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    then go away

    You really don't get it, Kari. (And you really don't take constructive criticism well, either.) You yourself said that BlueOregon is "the biggest blog in Oregon" and that the "Media follows [your] lead."

    I used to listen to Lars Larson when he was the only game in town (with or without his approval). You can ask me to go away. Big deal. It's the actions you take with your master keys to MandateMedia.com however that bely any claim to being "just one person" in this debate.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Miles, the reason you don't have proof yet is because the administration is in contempt of congress. They are withholding documents and emails, including thousands that they illegal maintained on the Republican National Committee website.

    And remember: these US attorneys that were fired for refusing to break the law are all LOYAL REPUBLICANS! They aren't dirty stinking hippy bloggers.

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    Constructive criticism? What's constructive about this? What do you want me to do? Shut down BlueOregon? Sorry, ain't gonna happen... Shut the hell up? That ain't gonna happen either... Shutter my business and get a job at Starbucks? Nope.

    For the record, BlueOregon is not - not even close - to the "biggest blog in Oregon". What I said, or at least meant to say, if I'd had my coffee, is that we have the most readers of any political blog in Oregon.

    Seriously, you've got your own blog. Build audience over there. Then, people can accuse you of all kinds of intricate conspiracies, too.

    One more time: I have a business that provides web services to political campaigns. I work for many political campaigns and nonprofit organizations. I also am just one of the many people that run BlueOregon for your (free) reading pleasure. I am not unbiased. In fact, I am very biased. I've never pretended to be otherwise. I always (always!) disclose my affiliations, unlike many (many!) of the anonymous commenters here (and yes, I know who many of you are. Your day is coming, Smith staffers.) You may feel free to disagree with me in a full-throated way. Doesn't hurt my feelings one bit. You may do so here in the comments at BlueO - or you may do so on your own blog. I don't edit the comments here, unless they're wild-ass off-topic, violent, racist, or spam.

    I'm done now with this meta-chatter. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  • (Show?)
    Darrel, your response confirms my fears about why some of you are pushing for impeachment. It's to re-fight the election of 2004. You're saying that the House can impeach for any reason, so long as they have the votes.

    This is just plain lying, Miles. And not even informed lying.

    The Constitution leaves the decision of grounds for impeachment to the House because nobody passes specific laws to restrict the powers of a president, vice president, or other federal officials. They are expected to carry out their oaths of office. Impeachment is the remedy for when they violate their oaths of office. A majority of the House and 2/3 of the Senate need to eventually agree that the officer has violated their oath in order to ereemove them from their position. The bar is lower in the House to enable the process to get under way, but it's high in the Senate to prevent a simple partisan grab at power.

    If you think that what Bush and Cheney have done is good, then just say so. If you think getting into a war on false intelligence, killing hundreds of thousands of people and spending a trillion dollars of the public monies to do it is a partisan issue, then just say it was actually a good thing.

    I think the president used his position to make a false case for war. He was either sincere in his belief that there were WMDs in Iraq -- in which case once that was obviously false he should have realized that all the people who told him there was no threat from Iraq were right, gotten the hell out and told the Iraqis "sorry" -- or he abused the power of his position to promulgate a false threat from Saddam Hussein. Incompetence or abuse of power. Either one is a non-partisan reason for impeachment.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Miles, the reason you don't have proof yet is because the administration is in contempt of congress. They are withholding documents and emails, including thousands that they illegal maintained on the Republican National Committee website.

    Perhaps. Perhaps the proof is in the withheld documents and emails. Perhaps there is a direct line pointing all the way to the top. As I said before, if such proof emerges it is impeachable (and worthy of conviction) for all involved. But it's also possible that the USA firings were a politically motivated (but legal) attempt to clear some space for future GOP candidates to get some experience. And we could spend the rest of Bush's tenure trying to get proof that doesn't exist.

    My point is that firing the US Attorneys is not, on its face, illegal, and shouldn't be grounds for impeachment. It's just wrong. So let's impeach Gonzalez for perjury, which is impeachable and worthy of conviction.

    And remember: these US attorneys that were fired for refusing to break the law are all LOYAL REPUBLICANS!

    Some of them have been pretty vocal in their criticism of the Administration. Why would they attack the Administration for giving false reasons for firing them, but not also mention that they were asked to do something illegal and refused? If they're trying to clear their names, and the broader conspiracy you allege exists, it's in their interest to say so.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Constructive criticism? What's constructive about this? What do you want me to do? Shut down BlueOregon? Sorry, ain't gonna happen... Shut the hell up? That ain't gonna happen either... Shutter my business and get a job at Starbucks? Nope.

    I assume this rant is directed towards me. The odd thing is i've never called for any of these calamitous measures. I haven't even invited you to go away or even told you to take your comments elsewhere. I'm just calling for more civility and more honesty.

    For the record, BlueOregon is not - not even close - to the "biggest blog in Oregon".

    That's what you said this morning on KPOJ. Will you correct the record on next week's show?

    Seriously, you've got your own blog. Build audience over there. Then, people can accuse you of all kinds of intricate conspiracies, too.

    To compare your 4000 reader/day commercial enterprise to any 2 hit a day hobby blog is disingenuous. You accused me upthread of needing to "Um... start paying attention." It would have been too easy (and a little bit gratifying) to ask you to "Um... improve your reading skills." I bring this up now only because you are (straw man) arguing against points i either haven't made or in fact have disputed. I wrote specifically that your relationship with Merkley & Co. isn't one of conspiracy. Nevertheless it is all too convenient for you to plug for your candidate even as you want to "disclaim" the connection.

    I am not unbiased. In fact, I am very biased.

    So don't be surprised when people make note of it.

  • (Show?)

    "But it's also possible that the USA firings were a politically motivated (but legal) attempt to clear some space for future GOP candidates to get some experience."

    No, it's really not. And I think the disconnect appears here:

    "Why would they attack the Administration for giving false reasons for firing them, but not also mention that they were asked to do something illegal and refused?"

    Did you miss the documentation, or just not read it? THEY DID MENTION THOSE THINGS.

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    Oh man, Kari!

    You got rid of the Republican trolls by encouraging donations in their honor to various Democratic candidates: "Another troll, another donation!"

    But what do we do with all these Green/Socialist trolls? Donate to the DLC?

    I... I... ahem.. Look, I know the DLC's part of the Democratic Party... but... I don't think I can bring myself to do it. I have standards, you know.

    Insofar as all the whining about you deleting off-topic conversations is concerned, quite frankly I don't think you do it enough. You've NEVER deleted any comment that is actually FOR a Democrat - especially someone like Steve Novick, who does Democrats proud. It's just all this off-topic whining by people who aren't Democrats and/or think that fixing problems is someone else's job.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Did you miss the documentation, or just not read it? THEY DID MENTION THOSE THINGS.

    Well, please excerpt cases where the fired attorneys suggested they were fired because they refused to do something illegal, because I must have missed it. Here's a case where fired USA Bud Cummins specifically says it has NOTHING to do with his investigation of Republican Governor Matt Blunt:

    . . . you have referenced a LA Times article in which it is suggested that I harbor doubts about a connection between an investigation I conducted in Missouri and my termination as a US Attorney. I am quoted in the article as saying 'Now I am asking myself-what about the Blunt deal." Unfortunately, that isn't what I said, or at least what I intended to say, and it is not the case. The context of my conversation with LA Times reporter Richard Serrano was clearly that I do not know of ANY connection between the Missouri investigation (which actually had nothing to do with Governor Blunt) and my termination.

    And let's be careful that we're talking about illegal directives, not just policy directives with which we (or the fired attorneys) disagree.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    I... I... ahem.. Look, I know the DLC's part of the Democratic Party... but... I don't think I can bring myself to do it. I have standards, you know.

    For the record, most people do not know that the DLC lost their nonprofit 501c4 status and I'm not sure if they've regained it. They lost it due to their association with the Democratic Party....they were doing illegal campaigning for them. Here is what we knew several months ago: http://nonprofitblog.blogspot.com/2006/09/dlc-in-court-over-501c4-status.html

  • Miles (unverified)
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    If you think that what Bush and Cheney have done is good, then just say so.

    Oh please. Is everyone who disagrees with you a Republican? Is the Left's new litmus test whether someone is for or against impeachment? If not, NO PROGRESSIVE SOUP FOR YOU!

    Incompetence or abuse of power. Either one is a non-partisan reason for impeachment.

    Should Kennedy have been impeached for the Bay of Pigs disaster? Didn't he demonstrate incompetence when he believed his military advisors that it would be a cakewalk? Do you want to live in a country where we impeach presidents when they make bad decisions?

    Look, the Bush Administration is a total disaster. However, they also haven't done anything that they didn't say they would do when reelected in 2004. Even if Bush conspired to make a false case about the war, he was reelected a year and a half after the invasion, with no WMDs in sight, American troops continuing to die, and Iraq descending into chaos. Why the push for impeachment now and not three years ago? Is it just because public opinion has swayed in our direction? Is it okay to impeach whenever a president's popularity sags?

    I believe in a higher standard that involves treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors.

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    Miles, it's in this very thread--linked AND detailed.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    TJ, I can only assume you're being purposefully obtuse, because no such evidence exists in this thread or in the links.

    You wrote: USA McKay was asked to prosecute voter fraud in Washington. When he told them there was no case, and that even Dino Rossi's lawyer told them there was no case, he was fired. Yet McKay himself said: "Had anyone at the Justice Department or the White House ordered me to pursue any matter criminally in the 2004 governor's election, I would have resigned," McKay said.

    You wrote: USA Iglesias was asked to indict a Democratic official prior to the elections and refused--and was then fired. Yet I earlier pointed out that Iglesias was asked by Senator Domenici to take action against the Democratic official, not by the White House or DOJ.

    So far, you've succeeded only in making broad accusations of illegal behavior based on circumstantial evidence. Some of the USAs involved have even denied outright any improper or illegal directives from above. Perhaps you find imaginary or exaggerated evidence compelling, but I don't, nor will Congress, nor will the American people.

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    Miles, you're the one being obtuse. It was the White House/DOJ who FIRED him, based on complaints that he was not prosecuting a fraud case that did not exist. The same is true of Iglesias. They can provide no rationale for replacing them, and plenty of evidence exists indicating the true rationale. Why you think Congressional hearings represent imaginary evidence, I'm not sure. You know why they were fired, I know why they were fired--and impeachment hearings would quite obviously establish why they were fired.

    And your response on Biagi? Lam?

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    I think what Miles is getting at is that there is a difference between, "The prosecution is pretty damned sure he's guilty", and "The prosecution has incontrovertible proof that he's guilty".

    Be it the D.A. or Congress, don't waste people's time unless your case looks more like the latter.

    It's especially true when dealing with Presidential Impeachment, which isn't a criminal procedure at all, but a way to fire someone from a position the American people elected them to perform.

    Clinton, for example, defended his impeachment not on defending the perjury charge, but merely noting that, even if true, it didn't rise to the level required for his dismissal. It was a point he won running away as far as the voting public was concerned. Plenty of Americans have had the experience of getting in a bar fight (or other legal trouble), and then being terrified they'd lose their jobs because of it.

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    "I think what Miles is getting at is that there is a difference between, "The prosecution is pretty damned sure he's guilty", and "The prosecution has incontrovertible proof that he's guilty"."

    The prosecution in Nixon's case didn't have incontrovertible proof, either until Butterfield spilled the beans on taping. What they did have was serious evidence of guilt, which investigative hearings (and a useful media) subsequently unearthed.

    Aren't you glad they didn't wait for Nixon's smoking gun before proceeding?

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    torrid, this is kind of embarrassing. Nixon was never even impeached, much less went to trial, OK?

    What happened is that Congress started investigating him to decide whether to impeach him. Once that investigation was complete, they had incontrovertible proof of his malfeasance in office, and had lost the faith of enough Republicans in the House and Senate that it was clear that he was going to be kicked out. So then he resigned.

    In short, they did wait for Nixon's smoking gun before proceeding.

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    I'm sure it IS kind of embarrassing, isn't it--you trying to lecture me on Watergate, which I'm well familiar with?

    You are repeating exactly what I said. There was not support or incontrovertible evidence for impeachment, UNTIL hearings began and the tapes were revealed. And, as you say, "once that investigation was complete, they had incontrovertible proof of his malfeasance in office, and had lost the faith of enough Republicans in the House and Senate that it was clear that he was going to be kicked out. So then he resigned."

    Which is why the bar of incontrovertible evidence before even beginning impeachment proceedings that Miles suggests, strikes me absurd. If we'd waited for the silver hammer to hit Nixon before investigating some pretty damning evidence already, he'd have never left.

    There's plenty that is valid to go on regarding Gonzales--including perjuring himself before Congress--and impeachment proceedings would create the hard factual case against him.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    With friends like these, who needs Republicans? Rule of law! Rule of law! Rule of law!

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    Well if all you're advocating is just investigating whether or not impeachment of President Bush may or may not be warranted, as opposed to ramming articles through on a party line vote, then I really don't disagree. I'm proud that Congressman Wu has called for just such an investigation.

    But let's be honest here, OK? Ramming articles through on a party line vote is exactly what pro-impeachment partisans want. In fact, most of them pretend to themselves that anyone who disagrees with with that idea (on moral or political grounds) are effectively as bad as Republicans. You see it right here.

    Further, whether it's expressly called an "Impeachment Investigation" or not, the Democratic party is already holding hearings into many of these issues. And in the unlikely circumstance that Conyers finds a smoking gun bad enough to shake some Republicans loose, those articles can be drafted quickly enough, just as what started to happen with Nixon before he abruptly resigned.

    Finally, insofar as hearings were concerned for Nixon, they were not called "Impeachment Hearings". They were called the "Watergate Hearings". They were not held to get the President, but to investigate the political ramifications of a crime. And I'm somewhat disenchanted with the dishonesty of some people in pretending that their wish for impeachment is not politically motivated, when it's plainly clear that it is.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Steven's right, why aren't you all happy that Democrats are investigating these issues, looking for hard evidence of high crimes? Why are you insisting that they investigate them under the impeachment umbrella? If evidence emerges that the Administration directed the USAs to do something illegal, then by all means impeach away. If it doesn't, then we write a scathing report on how the Administration allowed politics to influence the scales of justice.

    Meanwhile, nothing is stopping us from moving forward on the Gonzalez perjury charges, which we seem to have proof of. It's like we've been dealt a full house, but we're SURE that we can get four of kind if we just draw one more time.

    With friends like these, who needs Republicans?

    With reckless partisans pushing Dems to irresponsible actions, Republicans have all the friends they need.

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    "Well if all you're advocating is just investigating whether or not impeachment of President Bush may or may not be warranted, as opposed to ramming articles through on a party line vote, then I really don't disagree."

    That's great--except we're talking about Gonzales.

    On Bush, I maintain that a party line vote would not be necessary once evidence is brought to light in specific hearings.

    I have no idea what you're trying to tell me about the Watergate hearings. The IMPEACHMENT hearings were conducted by Peter Rodino of New York, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, from May to July of 74. If you're implying that the heavy lifting was done by the preceeding year's hearings, I wouldn't necessarily disagree. But the salient point I was trying to make was that the truth will out, and when it does the rats scurry for cover, to save themselves.

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    Meanwhile, nothing is stopping us from moving forward on the Gonzalez perjury charges, which we seem to have proof of. It's like we've been dealt a full house, but we're SURE that we can get four of kind if we just draw one more time. With reckless partisans pushing Dems to irresponsible actions, Republicans have all the friends they need.

    How do you reconcile these two statements? In the first part you're saying there IS proof to impeach Gonzales; in the second you call impeaching him irresponsible. ??

  • Miles (unverified)
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    How do you reconcile these two statements? In the first part you're saying there IS proof to impeach Gonzales; in the second you call impeaching him irresponsible. ??

    From my first post I said we should impeach Gonzalez on perjury charges, but not on the "illegal" firing of USAs (because it probably wasn't illegal). You and backbeat have asserted that the USA firings were illegal and obviously go all the way to the top, based on. . .well, I guess speculation. That's what I'm calling irresponsible.

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    High up in this thread I called for the impeachment of Gonzalez. We have him dead to rights. Even Republicans won't defend him anymore.

    To which the question was raised by advocates of impeaching Bush on a partisan vote, why not impeach Bush too?

    To reconcile the two statements, realize that the first is about impeaching Gonzalez. The second is about impeaching Bush before we have our irrefutable smoking gun.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    realize that the first is about impeaching Gonzalez.

    Which wins nobody a medal when they finally get in line on this issue.

    The second is about impeaching Bush before we have our irrefutable smoking gun.

    Which is why you need to encourage your congressman to sign on to "impeachment hearings."

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    He already has. David Wu: co-sponsor of House resolution 589.

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    Do you want to live in a country where we impeach presidents when they make bad decisions?

    Yeah, if the decision is bad enough and you think that they will continue making bad decisions. Why do you think impeachment's for? It's to keep people untrustworthy people from using the power the people have entrusted to them. Whether they make the decision out of malice or stupidity, if there is sufficient reason to assume that they will continue to make bad decisions, then you take their hands off the wheel.

    "Green/Socialist trolls"? Wow, that's witty. Since you're drumming people out, can I have the $600 I donated last fall to the DNC and the Progressive Patriots Fund back? I could use it by the first of the month.

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    Which wins nobody a medal when they finally get in line on this issue [impeaching Gonzales].

    How many U.S. Senators can you name that have "gotten in line" on impeaching Gonzales? How many U.S. Senate candidates?

    You may not be in the mood for giving away medals, but if this is an important issue for you - ya gotta score one point for Jeff Merkley.

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    I think Mitch's point is a good one--maybe no Senators or candidates have declared they want Gonzales impeached, because they might have to judge the trial conducted on such charges. Many may feel it prejudices their impartiality to say specifically that charges should be brought, as Merkley has.

    Another reasonable point is that as jurors, they are powerless to enact impeachment proceedings themselves--thus it is business usually left to the House, and Senators don't even address it. They certainly address their confidence in Gonzo (none) and desire for more information and oversight (strong).

    I'd actually like it clarified if Merkley believes Gonzales should be brought on charges, or merely that he supports the Inslee resolution to being "investigating." He used the sentence "If the President won't fire him, then the Congress should impeach him." Is that just badly phrased, or does he mean that he's convinced a high crime was committed that should be prosecuted by the House? If that were the case, why should it matter if the President will or won't fire him? Work on impeachment until he quits or is fired, or until you convict him. The point is that coming out specifically for impeachment itself (that is, an indictment) sounds awkwardly like you don't believe in due process. Lord knows I want my Senators to speak out and I'll let them know if they're not, but this is something where circumspection is more the norm. I think saying you are deeply troubled by the revelations, and that you've lost confidence in the AG and support any oversight or investigation necessary to establish the truth about the AG's performance, is more than adequate.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    How many U.S. Senators can you name that have "gotten in line" on impeaching Gonzales?

    The "line" i wrote about is the line of ordinary citizens who have already been calling for the House to defend the Constitution and exert checks and balances by initiating impeachment proceeding against Bush, Cheney & Co.

    Extraordinary citizens too like Joe Walsh who assembles with Veterans for Peace every Thursday from noon to 2pm in front of Rep. Blumenauer's office (729 NE Oregon St.). Joe has been known to show up there by himself as well. Joe is something to write about. Jeff, for calling for Alberto's head? ... not so much.

    "When the people lead, the leaders will follow."

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    I think saying you are deeply troubled by the revelations, and that you've lost confidence in the AG and support any oversight or investigation necessary to establish the truth about the AG's performance, is more than adequate.

    TJ, i have a heartfelt gut response to this, so let me get it out now and think about a more rational reply later. My visceral reaction is to wretch when politicians master the understatement; when they call lies "untruths" or refer to some SOB as their "good friend." I know that some of this belongs to the cooling pot function of the US Senate. Just once in a great while, people like me would like candor followed by action as opposed to neutered hand wringing. :-p

    (I try to save emotions and emoticons for my own blog, but blogspot has been down since shortly after 6am: Google Error / Server Error. The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request. Please try again in 30 seconds.)

  • owaki (unverified)
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    Isn't it so cute... Our little Jeffy Merkley has the DSCC writing press releases for his candidacy. Maybe when he grows up and becomes a big boy candidate he can hire a press secretary

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    /The second is about impeaching Bush before we have our irrefutable smoking gun.

    //Which is why you need to encourage your congressman to sign on to "impeachment hearings."

    ///He already has. David Wu: co-sponsor of House resolution 589.

    Just to clarify (and definitely not a "gotcha). h/t Steven. I'm not in Wu's district. Still, i should be better informed and now i am.

    H. Res. 589, "Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, should be impeached" was cosponsored the day of its introduction by Wu, Hooley and Blumenauer (7/31/07). All we need is DeFazio's name and we could start a law firm! Getting rid of Gonzales should be a given. For the record, i applaud anyone's efforts in this endeavor. // golf clap //

    H. Res. 635 [109th]: "Creating a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war" was cosponsored by Wu and no other Oregon rep.

    H. Res. 333: "Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors" has no cosponsors from Oregon.

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    EBT... on HR 589, DeFazio is on there, too. #9. Also on 7/31.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    We have a trifecta! (quadfecta?) And the firm (but just offices) of Wu, Hooley, Blumenauer and DeFazio are all on record that Bush's former council and outgoing Attorney General needs to start packing his bags.

    Now to get them on board with impeaching Cheney and Bush as well! It's going to happen. You can't stop this bus!

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    That's what I'm calling irresponsible.

    Call me irresponsible - call me unreliable Throw in undependable too Do my foolish alibis bore you Well I'm not too clever - I just adore you

    Call me unpredictable - tell me I'm impractical Rainbows I'm inclined to pursue Call me irresponsible - yes I'm unreliable But it's undeniably true - I'm irresponsibly mad for you

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    i believe in myself slowly. it takes all of the doubt i've got. it takes my wonder. Primus St. John as seen on a Tri-met bus.

    Sure there's poetry here, but what BlueOregon really needs is more cowbell!

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    On to Cheney....

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