Wyden's town hall on Iraq

Adrian Rosolie comments on his experience today attending Senator Ron Wyden's town hall on Iraq at Portland State University. Adrian has been interning this summer with the DPO and with Veterans in Action (where he helped organize the veterans' protest of Gordon Smith and Mitch McConnell.)

I just got back from attending the town hall a couple of hours ago, and to say the least it was interesting. As to be expected there was a unanimous crowd against the war and administration, though to varying degrees. The speakers included an Iraq veteran, a mother of a deployed soldier, and numerous Vietnam War veterans. It was nice to see a lot of concerned people in one place, however things started unraveling fairly shortly into the event. The obvious breaking point was the issue of impeachment, which many in the crowd supported.

Sen. Wyden explained his reasoning for not pushing impeachment, an obvious one being that being in the Senate he can't initiate anything. He also feels that the time needed to invest in such proceedings wasn't worth it. However, he never said he was against the idea, though many in the audience jumped to that conclusion. (Wyden also said he would allow Bush et al. due process, which drew boo's)

Unfortunately things started getting fairly nasty, which in my opinion was uncalled for. Sen. Wyden has been against the war from the start, and is doing pretty much everything right in trying to end it. Additionally, I didn't see the point to sink to lows that the liberal/progressive community usually condemns. Obviously people are angry, but using the Bill O'Rielly code of conduct is not conducive to progress. Thankfully Terry Kirsch from Veterans In Action made this point when he took his turn to speak and things quieted down after that.

Anyway, if people want to stop this war as soon as possible, I encourage you to move outside of liberal comfort zones and engage the community at large. Point your anger where it'll be effective, and help keep people like Gordon Smith's feet to the fire. And finally, discourse is great, but volume is no real substitute for substance.

Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    It's really no wonder he's against impeachment. He trusts Bush and Cheney. That's what he told me this afternoon.

    My own take on the meeting.

    After the Q&A period was cut off due to time, I asked Sen. Wyden before he left whether he trusted the Bush administration. He said yes, although he thinks verification is needed.

    To me, after all of the obvious lies that have been perpetrated by Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, and practically everyone on down in the administration, that seems incredibly naive. Six and a half years of constant lying to the American people and Congress should have given Wyden an idea that he should be suspicious of anything they say and any proposal they put forth. At the meeting, he repeatedly mentioned the Petraeus report, as if it was likely to be any more accurate than previous progress reports from Iraq.

    It's just insane.

  • (Show?)

    Wyden is the yellow strip in the middle of the road on many issues, but particularly on Iraq. Wyden has been a spectacular failure on holding this administration to account for the largest foreign policy catastrophe in our nations history, particularly since he should be LEADING the charge on that account since he has been on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

    Yeah he voted against the almost meaningless window-dressing 2002 AUMF, but he voted FOR the 2001 AUMF which gave away Congress' war-powers in its entirety and his spectacularly ineffectual, and near silent comportment, in the run-up to the invasion given his position in the Intelligence Committee is stunning.

    I really hope we can get either Steve Novick or Jeff Merkley elected to the Senate so we can at least have one Democratic Senator represeting us.

  • truffula (unverified)
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    things started getting fairly nasty

    I was there the whole two hours and all I can say is "huh?" It was an angry, fed up, and frustrated room to be sure but people were generally respectful, certainly not "nasty." The mood and boisterousness of the crowd seemed to stay at about the same level throughout, with the exception of the 9/11 "truth" folks.

    However, he never said he was against [impeachment]

    He also never said he was for it. Several people spoke in favor of impeachment from the standpoint of defending the constitution (and balance of powers) and setting a good example both at home and abroad. The point was made, and applauded, that it would be better to try and not succeed than not to try at all.

    allow Bush et al. due process, which drew boo's

    It mostly drew comments like "but not for everybody else," in reference to the Senator's 2005 vote to suspend habeus corpus for Guantanamo detainees.

    I encourage you to move outside of liberal comfort zones and engage the community at large

    This is an odd critique, given all the grassroots activist organizations mentioned by people who got up and spoke.

    volume is no real substitute for substance.

    Sure but in fact, the people who signed up to ask questions seemed to me to offer substance. YMMV.

    There is no doubt that the Senator encountered a room full of upset and frustrated constituents. To his credit, he stood there right in front of us and listened to what we had to say. I just hope that his closing remarks about the founding fathers and democratic discourse were more than just platitudes and that he will take some of what people had to say to heart.

  • (Show?)

    Apparently Wu is Wyden's US House Rep. I hope he's getting, or has been, on the phone to Wu tonight to let him know that a lot of us are restless on the Impeachment issue.

    It's not a political issue at this point, it's got to be a Constitutional one.

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    I was there too, and first of all, I have to say that I gained a lot of respect for Wyden for his commitment to these "Community Conversation" forums, as the idea of his counterpart, Smith, doing them is just laughable. And Wyden took lots of heat from the crowd, even though he has for the most part been an ally in trying to end this war.

    Lestatdelc, I can't independently confirm the facts (or, rather, I'm not going to) but Wyden's comments conflict with yours own his conduct before the war began, as he said that he spoke out formally (i.e. in the Congressional Record) about how both premises for the war were false, namely: 1) any association between Saddam and Al Qaeda/9-11 and 2) the presence of nuclear weapons (WMD) in Iraq.

    Adrian, good to hear from you, I met you at the Mitch McConnel protest (I was the young guy who showed up on the bike and took a while to join the efforts because I thought it was limited to vets but ultimately did anyway). As for today, I left after a bit over an hour, but my impression was that Wyden is indeed decided against impeachment, his mind is made up, and he was explaining why. Specifically, he believes that it'll take too damn long and the Dems won't be able to accomplish their legislative goals (one being healthcare reform, I can't remember the second that he mentioned). Of course, the fallacy here is that there's no way in hell the Dems will get anything done that Bush and the Repubs don't want done, as they are more than happy to filibuster or, that failing, veto anything the Dems squeak through Congress that they/he don't approve of. So, I see that as a lost cause.

    Second, he said that they frankly don't have the votes, and again, this is a fallacious argument because it is well-documented that before Nixon's impeachment, the tide was against the idea UNTIL the impeachment process took place, which essentially means that the facts were exposed, and when all of the criminal activity was exposed to public consumption, the Republicans lined up in droves to drag Nixon out of the White House. For him to say that they can't impeach because they don't have the votes is like saying that someone can't be sentenced because no jury will convict, but BEFORE the trial. Of course they don't have the votes now, the facts have not been laid out, all we are basing our judgment on is speculation of impeachable offenses (well-grounded as they may be), not actual evidence of them as would be produced by an impeachment trial. It is worth noting that impeachment is a process, a trial, not an actual conviction.

    Anyway, I came away feeling most of all like Wyden (and the rest of the Dems) wants to avoid impeachment because, as someone mentioned was stated on KPOJ this morning, the greatest risk is that it would imperil the great likelihood of the Dems winning the Presidency next year (I don't believe that political calculus one bit but they evidently do) while maintaining or even increasing the majority in Congress. I, rather, tend to believe that, as was stated, to ignore the perpetration of illegal activities by the President (and underlings) is a dereliction of duty, as they are sworn to uphold the Constitution, which compels them to defend it.

    Finally, I have to believe that our best option is to work on our Reps, like Blumenauer and DeFazio, who I hope are more inclined to see the logic of the argument for impeachment (as a means of ending the war in Iraq, let alone a multitude of other offenses against our country).

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Ron Wyden is confident he'll never have to deal with impeachment in the Senate, and in many ways, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because of his lack of leadership in exercising his Constitutional duty to provide checks and balances, our only hope is that the People will lead. They didn't come today with torches and pitchforks. Instead they were armed with the truth and pugnacity. There were catcalls from the crowd to be sure. I was sitting in the front row, close enough to be spat upon as the senator narrowly missed stepping on my toes. So i didn't mind if i stepped on his toes as i shouted out:

    <b>"You need to call your congressman, Senator"</b>
    
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    Posted by: verasoie | Aug 14, 2007 9:17:13 PM Lestatdelc, I can't independently confirm the facts (or, rather, I'm not going to) but Wyden's comments conflict with yours own his conduct before the war began, as he said that he spoke out formally (i.e. in the Congressional Record) about how both premises for the war were false, namely: 1) any association between Saddam and Al Qaeda/9-11 and 2) the presence of nuclear weapons (WMD) in Iraq.

    Sorry but the record of a floor speech means next to nothing in regards to what I am talking about. How many appearances did he make on MTP speaking out about the looming invasion being BS?

    Bob Graham to his credit was speaking out in the media.... Wyden? Not a peep that I saw. Where are his op-eds during the run up saying don't do this, the justifcatiosn are bogus?

    Where are/were the media appearances on Meet The Press, Face the Nation, This Week, etc.? Where are the blistering op-eds in the Oregonian by him screaming not to do this?

    Wyden did/does what he usually does. Keeps his head down and charts the "safe" course.

  • (Show?)

    By the time Barry Goldwater marched down to the White House and explained to Tricky Dicky that the jig was up we had the votes. The Watergate Hearing were winding down and impeachment proceedings had just begun. Please don't make up history! Today we don't have the votes to impeach! Why bother - let's just hang em by their testicles from the Washington Monument!

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    (addendum)

    Posted by: verasoie | Aug 14, 2007 9:17:13 PM ... Finally, I have to believe that our best option is to work on our Reps, like Blumenauer

    Good luck with that one. Don't know about DeFazio but Blumenauer was so dismissive of the idea at the Mult Dems spaghetti dinner as to be literally shocking. Blumenauer, whose greatest electoral risk on this subject is to NOT impeach. Blumenauer has the safest Dem seat on the planet and yet he is four-square in the screw the Constitution and the idea of a coequal branch of government, I have been worked too hard by the fraudulent "partisanship is bad" and "look what happened to Gingrich" camp to realize he is spectacularly wrong on this. Deadly wrong given the cost to our troops and the Iraqi people, not to mention the unprecedented corrosive effect this is having on our military in general.

  • (Show?)
    By the time Barry Goldwater marched down to the White House and explained to Tricky Dicky that the jig was up we had the votes. The Watergate Hearing were winding down and impeachment proceedings had just begun. Please don't make up history!

    Yes, please don't, phastphil. The House began considering impeachment in February 1974. Impeachment hearings began in May 1974 and the House Judiciary committee voted on the three impeachment articles in July.

    Goldwater and his buddies didn't tell Nixon to pack it up until August, after the "smoking gun" tape was ordered released by the Supreme Court, just a couple of days before Nixon resigned. At that time the impeachment hearings in the Judiciary committee were over, the next step was a vote in the full House, but it never got that far because Nixon resigned.

    At the time the Judiciary committee began considering impeachment, nobody knew whether there were enough votes in the Senate to convict Nixon. As it was, a majority of the Republicans in the Judiciary committee voted against the impeachment articles.

    So please, don't make up bad history. It's easy enough to check: www.watergate.info

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    the greatest risk is that it would imperil the great likelihood of the Dems winning the Presidency next year

    The greatest peril in this regard is named Hillary.

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    Does anybody else wonder whether the opinions of Oregon voters concerning Iraq (or impeachment) actually matter to Wyden or to any of the rest of the Oregon delegation?

    Or is Al Gore correct when he writes in his new book that voter opinions are mostly irrelevant now that both parties have learned how to use cleverly targeted television commercials to manufacture sufficient voter support to win any election, regardless of the candidate or issues?

    Gore's opinions are unpleasant, but the more I think about them the more I am convinced he is correct.

  • Stumptown Scribe (unverified)
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    So, what happens if we impeach Bush? Hooray--then what? We are stuck with Cheney and a country that is already divided becomes even more so.

    Bipartisanship on the Hill has literally killed political discourse to the point where we have stopped discussing legislation and now are more concerned if one side of the aisle has enough votes to filibuster and deny the other side of the aisle a political victory.

    I was there at the Community Discussion today and I was disgusted by the lack of respect that was shown, by a group of older adults, to not only the Senator but the democratic process as a whole. Sure, be pissed off. I certainly am and hearing from the mother whose child is currently serving in Iraq or watching Lew Fredrick tear up when describing his friends being sent into the combat zone, sent chills down my spine.

    But, please tell me how screaming cowardly from the back of the room to "Impeach" and "9/11 was an inside job" helps solve anything. You might as well stand in front of a mirror for two hours yelling because you will have the same effect.

    If you want change, get involved. Not by shouting unanimous comments from the back or anonymously on blogs; but, take a stand for what you believe in and educate others so that we can take back the White House in '08 and have a true majority in the House where substantial legislation can get passed that will have a real affect on many people's lives both here in America and abroad.

  • Jake (unverified)
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    Senator Wyden spoke intelligently today. He made the point that political capital is a finite resource. The audience at the town hall meeting made it abundantly clear that they want the Democrats to blow it all on impeachment.

    Do the actions of Bush/Cheney/Gonzalez merit impeachment? Absolutely. Does that make it a good idea? Absolutely not. Let's be real progressives and concentrate on using our newfound legislative advantage to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. Impeachment will only stand in the way of our ability to do that.

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    "Let's be real progressives and concentrate on using our newfound legislative advantage to improve the lives of ordinary Americans" per Jake.

    That'll never happen so long as Bush is in office. If the Dems can ever get past a filibuster, he'll veto it.

    Nothing will be accomplished towards that end (improving the lives of ordinary Americans), not withdrawing from Iraq, not reforming healthcare, investing in our infrastructure, NOTHING, until Bush is gone.

    And even after that, they'll need to be close enough in the Senate to overcome a filibuster.

  • (Show?)
    So, what happens if we impeach Bush? Hooray--then what? We are stuck with Cheney

    Unless you impeach Cheney, as well. What, have you not been paying attention to people who have been making the case for this for a couple of years now or something?

    At least three books that I know of appeared last year making the case for impeachment, one of which explicitly mentions Cheney in the title. Elizabeth Holtzman published her original article on impeachment in "The Nation" in 2005, if I remember correctly.

    So spare me the faux handwringing over the thought of President Cheney. How is that different from the current situation, anyway?

    There are fifteen more months left of the Bush presidency. In 15 months, we went from 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq. That's a lot of time for idle Bush hands to kill. That's plenty of time for another Supreme Court appointment, or starting a war with Iran, or just generally screwing things up in this country even more than he already has.

    Maybe you're right. Maybe the Democrats wouldn't be any better at it.

    And I'm not anonymous, "Stumptown Scribe".

  • (Show?)
    The audience at the town hall meeting made it abundantly clear that they want the Democrats to blow it all on impeachment.

    Sen. Wyden didn't have a clue how long the Senate trial for President Clinton lasted when he was asked about it. He'd been talking about it as if it was a process that went on and on and on.

    As members of the audience knew, it lasted a month.

    If holding the administration to account for things like torture, illegal wiretapping, and abuse of power is "blowing it" in your estimation, Jake, why bother voting for Democrats at all? They're supposed to be the party that supports things like civil rights, human rights, and the Constitution. If they're not going to say that what the administration is doing is wrong -- and I mean more than just wistfully saying those Republicans will be Republicans -- what makes them any different from the Republicans who won't admit that what the administration is doing is wrong?

    They're supposed to STOP the administration from doing things that are wrong, not avert their eyes and hope it goes away. And if the only way to stop the administration from continuing its illegal course of action for another fifteen months is to impeach them, then that's what they need to do.

  • (Show?)
    "By the time Barry Goldwater marched down to the White House and explained to Tricky Dicky that the jig was up we had the votes."

    I stand by my statement. WE DONT' HAVE THE VOTES!. And, we never will. I don't care what evidence you present to the current Republican Senators there is not a one who will do what Goldwater did in 1974.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    The audience at the town hall meeting made it abundantly clear that they want the Democrats to blow it all on impeachment.

    Indeed. Wyden tried so hard to take impeachment off the table at the town hall. We were all instructed to limit our questions/comments to Iraq, a place that Wyden feels politically safe, where he's accumulated a very long list of failed amendments.

    Do the actions of Bush/Cheney/Gonzalez merit impeachment? Absolutely. Does that make it a good idea? Absolutely not.

    When impeachment is merited, its an imperative, not a merely an option.

    Let's be real progressives and concentrate on using our newfound legislative advantage to improve the lives of ordinary Americans.

    You and i have completely different ideas on what it means to be progressive. The first public comment yesterday came from Joe Walsh, a US Navy veteran. His question was pointed (at the senator especially): "Do you have any idea how angry so many of us are at the Democrats?!" Joe's question touched not only on the new majority (D) party, continuing to fund the fiasco but also Congress's criminal lack of oversight in not holding the Bush administration to account. Joe is among the many veterans who currently are protesting outside the local offices of Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who inexplicably is willing to give Bush, Cheney & Co. a pass on all their criminal, unconstitutional misdeeds.

  • (Show?)

    Uh, folks... Not to get in the way of the lynchmob here, but Wyden's been pretty consistently against the war, including voting against the funding of the war earlier this year - and against the recent FISA bill.

    As for opposition to the Bush agenda, well, according to CQ - in the last Congress, he voted against the Bush Administration more than any other Senator. More than Barbara Boxer, more than Russ Feingold, more than Frank Lautenberg, more than.... anybody. #1 against the Bush Administration.

    But nevermind all that.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    I was speaker #3, right after my friend Joe Walsh ("The lone vet") who asked the question, "Do you know how angry we are at the democrats?" That got a reaction from the crow for sure. Joe has the passion.

    As I introduced my self as a Vietnam veteran (Joe is one also) I asked how many vets were in the room? Quite a number of hands went up. The Senator asked them to stand up over the applause of the crowd which none of them did. I came back with the rejoinder, "They don't have to stand up, they already did."

    My question related to whether Sen. Wyden thought the invasion/occupation was in violation of the Constitution, specifically Article 6. I whipped out my pocket Constitution edition copy ala, Sen. Byrd, just because I like to read from it instead of relying on memory. He went on to answer that he argued this on the floor during the debate. Well that's nice but what has he done about it since then? If it was in violation of the Constitution then it still is and his first duty is to uphold his oath of office.

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.[

    It seems there are too many members of the House and Senate that put politics and party above their sworn obligation. They don't seem to realize they can "multi task". Did the Congress come to a screeching halt during Watergate? During Monicagate? No. Committees met, floor debate continued and bills were passed.

    Yes I know that the Senate is the "jury", so what? If he thought it was unconstitutional in 2003, has he changed his mind?

    Jake- Senator Wyden spoke intelligently today. He made the point that political capital is a finite resource.

    The available "cannon fodder units" are finite also. As are those available for classification as "collateral damage", although this administration is doing the best it can to to use them up. And this is one of the major reason for the Senator and others to stand up and stop this "obscenity of violence" and the murderers occupying the White House.

    I encourage you to move outside of liberal comfort zones and engage the community at large.

    Mighty bold statement. Do you have any idea what others are doing in the community at large? And just what is a "liberal comfort zone"? My zone is waking up each morning and asking myself, "what can I do today to stop the war/occupation?" Have I got a school to visit and teach the students about my experiences? Will I be handing out copies of the pocket Constitution on a street corner and explaining Article VI? Have I written a letter to the editor or my elected representative. Maybe I should go just go and pull weeds at the Peace Memorial Park as a stress reliever. Has my printer finished the job for my literature for Veterans For Peace Chapter 72's booth at the various street fairs we will be manning? Or maybe prepare for my workshop for this teach in.

    PEOPLE OF COLOR AGAINST THE WAR Iraq Summer Teach-In

    August 18th, 2007 10 - 3 pm St. Andrews Church, NE 8th and Alberta

    Free Event. Lunch Provided.

    War disproportionately affects people of color and poor communities. War is built upon and reinforces racism in our communities. Young people are coerced into fighting this war, stripped from our communities. The war increases poverty - taking billions away from human needs to fight the war.

    WE WILL EDUCATE AND STRATEGIZE TO END THE WAR ON TERROR : STOP ATTACKS ABROAD AND IN OUR COMMUNITIES.

    The Teach-In is a community space for us to learn more about how we feel the impact of the War in our lives, our families and our resources.There will be space to share stories of your experiences. Workshops will go more in-depth on how we can support our troops, what youth can do to combat militarization and how people of faith are standing against this war. Finally, we will focus on developing strategies to resist in our communities and how we build power to fight this Endless War.

    Or am I ready for the weekly impeachment protest at Blumenauer's office (noon till 2PM every Thursday. Be there or be square). Or maybe its just talking with my nephew who got back from Afghanistan, as one combat vet to another, so I can have a better understanding of WTF is going on from the perspective of a present day soldier.

    Am I comfortable in that "zone"? You betcha. Because if I wasn't doing all of that, my soul would rise up and smite me. My dreams would be very uncomfortable. My dereliction of duty to my fellow "brothers in arms" would weigh me down with guilt. I could not look at myself in the mirror.

    40 years ago I swore an oath to "...that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;...". I don't remember being released from that oath. Maybe in some obscure piece of the US code that oath was negated with my discharge. In my "comfort zone" I still feel I am bound by it.

    If only our elected representatives felt the same.

  • Matt W. (unverified)
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    Stumptown scribe speaks for me. I was also at the town hall. I was actually afraid a riot was going to break out. The last time I saw such incivility was when Chris Hedges was literally bumrushed off the stage in Rockford, IL, where he was giving an anti-war commencement address. Do not become what you hate, Oregon. Your words were violent even if your actions weren't.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    BOHICA, thank you for your post. i'm grateful that there are people like you doing what you're doing to end the war effort.

    i did not attend the town hall meeting yesterday, but did attend one of senator wyden's town hall meetings held in my county last year. it sounds like the two events were very similar, in terms of audience participation and reaction.

    (the difference being that the town hall meeting i attended was not set up to talk about the iraq war, but rather sen. wyden's healthcare reform legislation).

    i remember coming away from the meeting feeling frustrated and befuddled by the crowd. i know that many of them felt frustrated and angry at senator wyden for not responding to the call for impeachment or the call to end the war - both of which i am of course in favor of.

    but i thought it very unrealistic of people to expect senator wyden to tell them what they wanted to hear in that venue. it seemed to me that all it would take was one right-wing fundamentalist whackjob with a cellphone camera catching senator wyden on video saying he supported impeachment (or whatever strong inflammatory words people wanted from him) and the video would be on you-tube and then fox news within 24 hours and wyden would then get to spend the next however many weeks fighting a media mess a la kerry's bad joke about ending up in iraq.

    like the poster above who expressed concern that wyden said he trusts the bush administration. well, what else can he say? he doesn't know that you aren't a political enemy, recording his answer in an attempt to use it against him.

    i'm just saying. these town hall meetings that senator wyden does are a good thing - you don't see other senators going in front of their constituents in an unstructured Q&A format. and don't be unrealistic in your expectation of what you're going to hear from him at these meetings. i don't blame the guy for wanting to keep his job (don't most of us?) and he's going to be less effective if he spends his time cleaning up the political mess resulting from a mis-step at one of these meetings.

    he's not going to tell us what we want to hear because the political risk is too great. and i for one do not hold that against him. it's the pragmatic way to approach it, i think.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    Closing the Italics tag

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    "lynchmob", Kari? Give me a break. Next you'll be accusing people of anti-Americanism and Islamofascist sympathies.

    And trishka, I am surprised that Wyden trusts the administration. The Bush administration is untrustworthy. There's no way a "political enemy" could use a lack of trust in an untrustworthy administration against Wyden.

    I think saying that you trust Bush and Cheney is far more damning than saying that you don't. Given the record of the past six and a half years, you'd have to be an idiot to trust the Bush administration at this point.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    darrel, i'm not saying he does or doesn't trust the administration. i'm saying that is a question that, coming from a complete stranger, could be a loaded gun politically, in the hands of the right-wing noise machine.

    if we on the left had a noise-machine to rival the right's, then it would be politically dangerous to answer the way he did. but we don't, and there it is.

    what i'm saying is: don't read too much into his answer as being indicative of what he really feels/thinks/believes. the answer he gave is one that is calculated to be the least dangerous to him. and again, i don't hold that against him.

    it's the reality of the world we live in. he has to have his guard up at all times. he lets it down more than most, or any other senator, by even having these town hall meetings at all.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Uh, folks... Not to get in the way of the lynchmob here, but Wyden's been pretty consistently against the war

    Anybody who thinks this discussion is akin to a lynching or that yesterday's town hall was particularly nasty or filled with conduct uncalled for will need to develop a thicker hide if they are going to survive this political season of discontent.

    I don't know if Wyden is simply out of touch with his constituents on the topic of impeachment or maybe he thought his anti-war cred would have been enough to get a pass on his reluctance to hold Bush, Cheney & Co. to account.

    I was there, front and center, for the "Community Conversation." Wyden needs to be given credit for taking the heat. Add that with the light of justice emanating not from mobs with torches and pitchforks but rather from citizens speaking truth to authority and who knows... our "senior" senator may eventually grow a spine on this issue.

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    It seems to me that the crux here is the question of what's more important - defending and preserving the Constitution or gaining power. Count me in with those most concerned with the former.

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    As much as I think Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, etc. deserve impeachment, I can't bring myself to advocate it. In my view, impeachment proceedings would serve only to energize the Republicans and would make it much more difficult to accomplish anything worthwhile with our narrow majorities in Congress. I feel we need to focus our energies on whipping the Republican Party like a rented mule in all of the various electoral venues available to us for 2008 and beyond, as a safeguard against this kind of thing ever happening again.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    David Sarasohn has a pretty good take on the whole mess. I know Jessica and she is a pistol.

  • Steve Buel (unverified)
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    Wyden is a pretty good Senator. They pretty much all get corrupted by the power (similar to our own legislature in Oregon). He has hung in about as well as you can ask. However there are times that the issues are clearly larger than political considerations (hopefully that would always be the case, but I would love to win the lottery this week also) and impeachment and the war are two such issues.

    One thing that doesn't seem to come up in political circles much is the conduct of the war. I read the recent article in The Nation where 50 vets told about how the war was being conducted. I was literally sick to my stomach when I was done reading. Every American should read it. Where are our political leaders condemning this?

  • truffula (unverified)
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    he's not going to tell us what we want to hear because the political risk is too great.

    I don't want him to tell me what I want to hear, I want him to hear what his constituents have to say, and pay attention to it. This attitude that the concerns and desires of constituents are all well and good but that the Senator knows better and that politics trumps it all is incredibly condescending. More than one speaker yesterday said they felt that this country is in a crisis (the war, an executive branch accountable to nobody, mistaken funding priorities), to loud applause each time.

    Senator Ron Wyden may have a more impressive job title than I do but that doesn't mean he understands the world any better than I do or that he has any better grasp on the constitution or on morality than any other person in that hall yesterday. One way that the Senator is diffferent from me is the impact he could have should he choose to be a leader on these issues. I think what many people were saying yesterday is that just voting the right way when the chance comes along, or sitting as a juror should an impeachment trial happen his way, is not enough. Oregonians have led before, we could again.

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    The clean, pure anger that led a vast majority of Americans to support an invasion of Iraq is now motivating a small minority to excoriate one of the staunchest anti-war senators as "yellow strip" of moderartion and a Bush stooge.

    Righteous indignation may feel the same as clear insight, but it rarely is.

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    trishka, what's less dangerous to him? Saying that he trusts the Bush administration that has lied about everything from the way Pat Tillman died to secret prisons to Abu Ghraib to WMDs in Iraq? Or saying that they're untrustworthy because of those (and many other) lies? If Wyden's not going to tell his constituents the truth at his town meetings, they're pretty much a sham, aren't they?

    As a man once said: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...I won't get fooled again.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    darrel, as far as danger goes, the right-wing noise machine can make a huge mess for politicians who say anything that they can grab onto and twist to their advantage.

    i'd much rather senator wyden pick his battles wisely, and not open himself up to a political scandal because it makes me, a lefty, feel personally better about him.

    theres a middle ground between senator wyden being bluntly honest and the meetings being a sham.

    i'm just saying, take them for what they're worth, and understand that anything senator wyden says needs to be translated through the lens of political survival.

    don't get me wrong, i would like to see more leadership from wyden on this as well. but - i came away from the one town hall meeting i attended with a better opinion of him than i had when i went in. he's not the dream senator, but we could do a lot worse, even within the democratic party.

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    The clean, pure anger that led a vast majority of Americans to support an invasion of Iraq is now motivating a small minority to excoriate one of the staunchest anti-war senators as "yellow strip" of moderartion and a Bush stooge.

    What a crock, Jeff. The two groups have nothing to do with each other.

    There was no "clean, pure anger" supporting a war with Iraq. Afghanistan, maybe, but the Iraq war was more of a marketing operation than an angry response. And 60% of the Democrats in Congress -- including Wyden -- voted against it.

    The Democrats should have hit the ground running in January with a plan to end the war. They had years in the wilderness to prepare. But they haven't done it and they're still working off of the White House's timeline.

    It sort of makes you wonder if they're actually serious about it or if, maybe, they trust the administration to do the right thing if they can only prod them the right way.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    In my view, impeachment proceedings would serve only to energize the Republicans and would make it much more difficult to accomplish anything...

    Stephanie, that was well addressed at the forum. Bringing up amendments which fail to pass or passing legislation which is either vetoed or ignored by this criminal administration cannot be pointed to as accomplishments.

    As for energizing the GOP or alienating the rest of the country, one fellow laid this dawg to rest. We won't have to wait for history to judge us. If we progressives stand up and condemn Bush's abuses by bringing about impeachment, we will be known as the ones who "defended the Constitution."

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    trishka, my question to Wyden had nothing to do with me "feeling better" about him. It had to do with how he intends to approach the next fifteen months of the Bush administration.

    For instance, during the meeting Wyden repeatedly touted the Petraeus report as possibly shifting the ground under Republican support for the war when it's released next month. Now, a skeptic such as myself might think that there's a good possibility that the report will have as much veracity as the rest of the progress reports on Iraq that the administration has pushed the past four years, particularly in light of the military-sponsored trip a couple of weeks ago by Michael O'Hanlon and Bill Kristol and others that said everything was going great, militarily.

    If Wyden himself was a skeptic, he might not have mentioned the report, but he brought it up several times. Wyden told me that he's the Verifier, but how is he going to verify the results of that report either way?

    As we parted, he said that he was going to be working in September to beat back the FISA bill and I replied that Bush has already stated that he was going to push for further authority than he'd gotten last month. A bright-eyed young woman defended Wyden and told me that of course that's what Bush would do. But that's sort of my point. That is what Bush would do. You can expect the administration to lie and break the rules at every opportunity. Saying that you trust them at this point just makes no sense.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    darrel, i'm going to say this one more time and then drop it.

    just because he SAID he trusts them to you, a complete stranger whom he has no idea whether is friend or foe, doesn't mean he really does.

    it just means that he is not going to answer in the negative, no matter what he truly thinks or believes, because the risk of having it come back to bite him in the arse in the form of the right-wing noise machine.

    and if that's a lie, then it's a lie i can live with. it's about picking one's battles.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Unless you impeach Cheney, as well. What, have you not been paying attention to people who have been making the case for this for a couple of years now or something? etcetera

    Well said,Darrel.

    On Wyden and the war: He was for it before he was against it. And like all senators and almost all representatives in Congress he went along with Israel's war crimes in southern Lebanon which is now littered with tens of thousands of unexploded cluster bombs.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    motivating a small minority to excoriate one of the staunchest anti-war senators

    Jeff, don't let a "small minority" blind you to what the majority was saying. Most of those who took to the mic yesterday and defied the "rules" by addressing impeachment didn't question Wyden's war record. (We were all given a two page list of his votes.) They did however take the senator to task for not only his stance on impeachment, but his obfuscation as well.

    Wyden admitted that "they are way over the line," yet won't support the constitutional checks and balance required by the oath he took. How can he (under pressure) maintain that the Iraq war is illegal and yet not push to bring the criminals to justice? Oh, he sought cover, and this blog even bought the line he had an "open mind" when it comes to impeachment. Maybe he's just clever by half, believing it will never reach the Senate. Certainly, he isn't helping.

    Call you congressman, Senator Wyden!

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    Energy task force, warnings about terrorist attacks in 2001, Iraqi WMDs and ties to al Qaeda, the cost of the war in Iraq, civilian casualties in Afghanistan, civilian casualties in Iraq, the death of Pat Tillman, torture, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, wiretapping of American citizens, the response to Hurricane Katrina, progress in the Iraq war, the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity, the political motivations behind the firings of US Attorneys.

    That's just a partial list of the things that the administration has lied about.

    If Wyden can't openly call that record untrustworthy, what does it take?

  • JTT (unverified)
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    Personally, I would much rather have my Senator addressing the crisis in health care rather than wasting time on impeachment (something that he can't initiate as a member of the Senate...nor is it going to happen). Wyden can also fight and vote against the war, but...I hate to say it...we won't be pulling out of Iraq until Bush has left office.

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    Jeff, don't let a "small minority" blind you to what the majority was saying. Most of those who took to the mic yesterday and defied the "rules" by addressing impeachment didn't question Wyden's war record. (We were all given a two page list of his votes.) They did however take the senator to task for not only his stance on impeachment, but his obfuscation as well.

    Thom, there may have been an outraged majority at that meeting, but I'm talking about the country. I won't mince words about the crap Darrell and others have been posting here, though--it's politically inept and offensive. This issue, like everything else, isn't black and white. It requires building consensus among other voters and not dismissively attacking allies. If you can't work with your friends, what the hell do you expect to accomplish?

    It's politics--if you actually want to change things, you need to do more than offer histrionic displays of outrage.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    we won't be pulling out of Iraq until Bush has left office.

    Then let's hasten his departure. And if you want us to stop wasting our time on impeachment, then jump on board and let's git'er done. Wyden can't initiate impeachment, and neither can i. But he can advocate for it (or he could shirk his duty). Gonzo has got to go. Cheney has got to go. Bush has got to go. Go to jail, directly to jail. Do not pass K-Street.

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    I suppose I should be even clearer: Wyden isn't the problem. You want to stop the war and impeach Bush, you need to move the people who are actually preventing it: Republicans. Talk to Smith and Walden.

    (Also, what do you expect a Senator to do about impeachment, anyway? If you are so outraged, talk to members of the House, where the process actually begins.)

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    My representative is Blumenauer, not Walden. Blumenauer is preventing impeachment. I'm talking to him, but he isn't listening. I'll be at his office tomorrow and every Thursday (noon to 2pm) until he does. [729 NE Oregon St.]

    what do you expect a Senator to do

    I expect a Senator to do his duty. Wyden should have had Gonzales locked up weeks ago. Is he even calling for Gonzo's impeachment? That would be a fantastic baby-step in the right direction. Oh, ya. And i expect Wyden to call his congressman!

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    Thom is right, it's the House that needs to initiate the Impeachment process, and the Oregon Democratic Delegation is NOT helping matters. Wu, Hooley, DeFazio and Blumenauer have all tried to "keep it off the table" so to speak. Smith and Walden aren't going to come around, but I expect our Dems to push forward with Impeachment.

    A health care bill, JTT, that's more than just a corporate giveaway won't pass through the Oval Office until we get a Democrat there. We're NOT going to pass much in the way of meaningful legislation until Bush is gone, so let's Impeach him. Maybe you'd like the "symbolism" of a vetoed piece of health care legislation, but I'd rather see them Impeach the Criminal in Chief.

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    Well, it's good to know that you dismiss my views as "crap", Jeff. Thanks for the open mind.

    I wanted to ask Wyden that question because I sincerely thought that he would say "no". How could anyone in their right mind trust the Bush administration to do the right thing at this point? They have years of mendacity and stretching every law to the breaking point and beyond behind them. Wyden put a hold on one of the guys who created the torture policies at the CIA to prevent him from getting permanently confirmed. If I was in Wyden's position, I'd view every move that the administration takes with suspicion.

    That's why I asked him my question. Because I wanted to make the point, very civilly as I shook his hand and gave him my business card, that if he didn't trust the administration to do the right thing that impeachment would be the better option. Instead, he told me -- either because he believes it or because he was lying to me from five feet away -- that he believes in "trust but verify". And I have to ask, on what basis does the Bush administration deserve any iota of trust at this point?

    So go ahead, call that crap. Your opinion of me is irrelevant.

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    Posted by: Jake | Aug 15, 2007 12:58:46 AM Senator Wyden spoke intelligently today. He made the point that political capital is a finite resource

    That latter sentence certainly calls into question the former. As to the latter I say bullshit. Standing up and showing your an invertebrate generates more capital. Keeping your powder eternally dry leaches your "political capital" away. If Wyden honestly believes what you claim and said this, then he is an even bigger fool than I intimated up-thread.

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    Jeff, I think you're way out of line to call the question of impeachment, and the arguments made in favor of it, "crap." If Ron Wyden says he still trusts the administration he is either stupid or disinclined to rock the boat that supports his career. I know Ron isn't stupid.

    To not call for impeachment at this stage is to say that you're OK with future Presidents behaving as George Bush has. Without any kind of accountability, it is 100% guaranteed that the powers established by Bush will be used by others. Against Americans.

    And to call the most important function of Congress a diversion or waste of time--that's truly baffling. Since when is the repeated violation of the most important political document in human history not worth arresting?

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    <blckqoute>Posted by: Jeff Alworth | Aug 15, 2007 9:20:03 AM

    The clean, pure anger that led a vast majority of Americans to support an invasion of Iraq is now motivating a small minority to excoriate one of the staunchest anti-war senators as "yellow strip" of moderartion and a Bush stooge.

    Righteous indignation may feel the same as clear insight, but it rarely is.</blcokquote>

    Nice spin. So I am lumped in with the dullards who voted away the war powers in the 2001 AUMF and then voted against the 100% menaingless 2002 AUMF (i.e. the Iraq War Vote)...?

    Sell it to someone else Jeff. I usually respect your views and take on things but your post above is WAY off-base and out of line. I'll give Wyden the respect he deserves when he does his job and is willing to go to the mattresses to not just hold this administration to account for it ILLEGAL activities, but also to reclaim war powers back to the Congress where it belongs.

    Think my "Righteous indignation" isn't clear insight?

    Watch as Cheney/Bush begin to hang the spin-up of military operations against Iran on the 2001 AUMF. This is why yesterday suddenly we get legal pre-positioning that the Iranian Republican Guards are now official declared "a terrorist organization" which means Bush, and Bush alone can use the 2001 AUMF to do any thing he wants militarily against Iran without any oversight from Congress. He doesn't even need to go to Congress to do it.

    No Jeff. This isn't righteous indignation hampering my view of things at all. It is the exact opposite.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    How about someone make the legal, as opposed the moral and political, case for impeaching Cheney? What high crimes and misdemeanors has he committed, given that he has almost zero actual authority? Giving bad advice, even manipulating the President, isn't a crime.

    Cheney (and Bush) deserves impeachment. Its a crime they were ever elected. But the people guilty of that crime are the voters on the Supreme Court.

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    Beautifully put, Torrid.

    ditto!

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    You know, it seems like only a couple of weeks ago (because it was) that someone on this site posted the clip of Wayne Morse on "Meet the Press" from "War Made Easy", standing up to his own party's president about the Vietnam War.

    Maybe the post wasn't meant to praise Morse's unpopular stance after all. Maybe it was more of a cautionary tale. Maybe Morse was -- as some might have called him -- full of "crap".

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    Ross said:

    How about someone make the legal, as opposed the moral and political, case for impeaching Cheney?

    Here you're making the mistake that impeachment is a legal act instead of a political act. It's not.

    Officers of the United States can be impeached for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to criminal acts. That case is stated very specifically in any of the number of books that came out on impeachment last year (and in previous years) as well as the section in the February 1974 House Judiciary report on impeachment titled "The Criminality Issue". As the report points out, nobody passes laws to specifically govern the use of power of people like presidents and attorney generals.

    Impeachment isn't even a punishment. It's an act of the representatives of the people retaking power from someone who has abused their authority and has shown that they cannot be trusted with the power that comes with that authority. The Constitution explicity states that there is no penalty apart from removal of the person from office and the barring of that person from future office-holding.

    This is the conclusion of the criminality section:

    A requirement of criminality would be incompatible with the intent of the framers to provide a mechanism broad enough to maintain the integrity of constitutional government. Impeachment is a constitutional safety valve; to fulfill this function, it must be flexible enough to cope with exigencies not now foreseeable. Congress has never undertaken to define impeachable offenses in the criminal code. Even a respecting grounds for impeachment, the federal statute establishing the criminal offense for civil officers generally was enacted over seventy-five years after the Constitutional Convention. In sum, to limit impeachable conduct to criminal offenses would be incompatible with the evidence concerning the constitutional meaning of the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" and would frustrate the purpose that the framers intended for impeachment. State and federal criminal laws are not written in order to preserve the nation against serious abuse of the presidential office. But this is the purpose of the consitutional provision for the impeachment of a President and that purpose gives meaning to "high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
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    Jeff, I think you're way out of line to call the question of impeachment, and the arguments made in favor of it, "crap."

    I haven't. People are so pissed off they're not really listening. I've called for impeachment.

    This is the crap:

    Wyden is the yellow strip in the middle of the road on many issues, but particularly on Iraq.

    They're supposed to STOP the administration from doing things that are wrong, not avert their eyes and hope it goes away.

    And like all senators and almost all representatives in Congress he went along with Israel's war crimes in southern Lebanon which is now littered with tens of thousands of unexploded cluster bombs.

    Torrid, of all people, I would expect you to cut a sharp-tongued commenter a break.

    But I did re-read the thread on the assumption that I was a bit off-base, and possibly it's true. It is a good and EXTREMELY valuable conversation, and I really appreciate that Wyden put himself in front of the firing line.

    I'm with everyone here in my outrage over the administration (my first blog--started before the Iraq invasion--was called Notes on the Atrocities). But back then, I felt there were very few allies in Washington, but Wyden was one. I am perhpas oversensitive to some of the criticism here.

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    Well, the only "crap" comment of mine you quote is about them stopping the administration, Jeff. I haven't noticed any real halting of administration policies in Iraq.

    Wyden said that the meeting was nothing unusual:

    Wyden was later asked whether this was any more unruly than other town hall meetings. Ron Wyden: "No, this is Oregon feeling strongly."

    Maybe he's telling the truth. Maybe he's being "politic". It's getting hard to tell.

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    Posted by: Ross Williams | Aug 15, 2007 12:01:44 PM How about someone make the legal, as opposed the moral and political, case for impeaching Cheney? What high crimes and misdemeanors has he committed, given that he has almost zero actual authority? Giving bad advice, even manipulating the President, isn't a crime.

    Article I

    In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of Vice President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit:

    (1) Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Vice President actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction:

    (a) "We know they have biological and chemical weapons" March 17, 2002, Press Conference by Vice President Dick Cheney and His Highness Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain at Shaikh Hamad Palace.

    (b) "...and we know they are pursuing nuclear weapons." March 19, 2002, Press Briefing by Vice President Dick Cheney and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem.

    (c) "And he is actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time..." March 24, 2002, CNN Late Edition interview with Vice President Dick Cheney.

    (d) "We know he's got chemicals and biological and we know he's working on nuclear." May 19, 2002, NBC Meet the Press interview with Vice President Dick Cheney.

    (e) "But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons... Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." August 26, 2002, Speech of Vice President Dick Cheney at VFW 103rd National Convention.

    (g) "He has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." March 16, 2003, NBC Meet the Press interview with Vice President Dick Cheney.

    (2) Preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq the Vice President was fully informed that no legitimate evidence existed of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Vice President pressured the intelligence community to change their findings to enable the deception of the citizens and Congress of the United States.

    (a) Vice President Dick Cheney and Chief of Staff, Lewis Libby, made multiple trips to the CIA in 2002 to question analysts studying Iraq's weapons programs and alleged link to al Qaeda, creating an environment in which analysts felt they were being pressured to make their assessments fit with the Bush administration's policy objectives.

    (b) Vice President Dick Cheney sought out unverified and ultimately inaccurate raw intelligence to prove his preconceived beliefs. This strategy of cherry picking was employed to influence the interpretation of intelligence.

    (3) The Vice President’s actions corrupted or attempted to corrupt the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, an intelligence document issued on October 1, 2002 and carefully considered by Congress prior to the October 10, 2002 vote to authorize the use of force. The Vice President’s actions prevented the necessary reconciliation of facts for the National Intelligence Estimate which resulted in a high number of dissenting opinions from technical experts in two Federal agencies.

    (a) The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research dissenting view in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate stated "Lacking persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched a coherent effort to reconstitute it's nuclear weapons program INR is unwilling to speculate that such an effort began soon after the departure of UN inspectors or to project a timeline for the completion of activities it does not now see happening. As a result INR is unable to predict that Iraq could acquire a nuclear device or weapon."

    (b) The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research dissenting view in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate also stated that "Finally, the claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR's assessment highly dubious."

    (c) The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research dissenting view in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate references a Department of Energy opinion by stating hat "INR accepts the judgments of technical experts at the US Department of Energy (DOE) who have concluded that the tubes Iraq seeks to acquire are poorly suited for use in gas centrifuges to be used for uranium enrichment and finds unpersuasive the arguments advanced by others to make the case that they are intended for that purpose."

    The Vice President subverted the national security interests of the United States by setting the stage for the loss of more than 3300 United States service members; the loss of 650,000 Iraqi citizens since the United States invasion; the loss of approximately $500 billion in war costs which has increased our Federal debt; the loss of military readiness within the United States Armed Services due to overextension, lack of training and lack of equipment; the loss of United States credibility in world affairs; and the decades of likely blowback created by the invasion of Iraq. In all of this, Vice President Richard B. Cheney has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as Vice President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

    Wherefore, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.

    Want me to put up article's II and II on what high crimes and misdemeanors he has committed?

  • jim bradach (unverified)
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    I have to worry that elections next year will bring any change when our representatives will not respect and honor the will of those they represent. What part of the last 7 years am I supposed to be all right with? If you are not familiar with the magnitude of the crimes this administration has comitted do your research. This isn't about health care or whatever you all think is worth giving these folks a pass in exchange for, this is a rescue of America and those ideas which form the basic framework on which we thrive. Too many of my fine Democatic friends believe that this will all blow over if they don't pay attention. I can't see any reason to think that is so.

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    TJ writes: To not call for impeachment at this stage is to say that you're OK with future Presidents behaving as George Bush has.

    Wrong. It may be that some of us are not convinced that the actions of the administration, much as we may disagree with them, rise to the level of impeachable offenses.

    lestadelc writes Wyden the respect he deserves when he does his job and is willing to go to the mattresses to not just hold this administration to account for it ILLEGAL activities, but also to reclaim war powers back to the Congress where it belongs.

    We've gone over this point endlessly. No one has yet pointed out anything to me that this administration has done which is illegal.

    [Yes. The "illegal wiretapping." An impeachment hearing would last about as long as the Attorney General's report provided to Bush, as well as the law PASSED BY CONGRESS which then legalized the activity.]

    "War powers"? Let's ignore for a moment the 220 long debate over the appropriate place of war powers, and the purposefully vague place it has in our Constitution.

    This war was debated and passed OVERWHELMINGLY in the House and Senate. There is ZERO implication in the Iraq conflict for war powers. There is ZERO grounds for impeachment in the conduct of the war.

    Impeachment is going nowhere. Nowhere. Support for impeachment outside of a narrow slice of the liberal end of the political spectrum is non-existent. And it would absolutely tear this country apart.

    And yes. Tear it apart worse that is being done by this administration. This is a case where the cure is far worse than the disease.

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    lestadelc: yep, might as well go for article II, because you've left me unconvinced.

    Translation of all above: Cheney disagreed with the conclusions reached by the CIA analysts and sought out alternative information sources to bolster his policy views.

    (1)(a-e) above are, in fact, all true statements. We do know that Hussein had chemical and biological weapons at some point. He dropped them on the Kurds? We do know that he was pursuing nukes--he just wasn't getting anywhere (we has successfully embargoed him).

    The only statement that is potentially knowingly misleading is (1)(g).

    If the folks on this board don't buy the argument, do you really think the House and Senate will?

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    I think a lot of Democrat activists want senators like Mark Hatfield and George McGovern (Hatfield-McGovern Amendment that would have ended the Vietnam War) and Frank Church and John Sherman Cooper (Church-Cooper Amendment would have withdrawn U.S. forces from Camboida and North Vietnam), as well as Wayne Morse of Oregon who opposed TOnkin Gulf. These great Senators, all of them military veterans, not only said they opposed Vietnam, they put it in writing (legislation) and took it to the Senate Floor to be voted on.

    Wyden has opposed the war, but with Wyden there has always been the feeling among Democrat activists that he is way too cautious.

    Below is an excerpt from McGovern's floor speech before the senate voted on the McG-Hat. Amend. I think this is what we would like to hear from Wyden and others. Oh, by the way, McGovern's SD is far more conservative than OR and he still won re-election in 1974.

    McGovern's speech

    Minutes before the voting began, McGovern appealed for support with the strongest and most emotional language he had ever used regarding the war:

    "Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood. Every Senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval and all across our land - young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces or hopes.”
    
    "There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes.”
    
    "And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us."
    
    "So before we vote, let us ponder the admonition of Edmund Burke, the great parliamentarian of an earlier day: "A contentious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood."
    

    According to historian Robert Mann, McGovern's brief, passionate speech shocked his Senate colleagues. As McGovern took his seat, most senators sat in stunned silence. "You could have heard a pin drop," recalled John Holum, McGovern's principal staff advisor on Vietnam. As the Senate prepared to begin voting on the amendment, one senator approached McGovern and indignantly told him that he had been personally offended by the speech. McGovern replied, "That's what I meant to do."[1]

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    We've gone over this point endlessly. No one has yet pointed out anything to me that this administration has done which is illegal.

    Impeachment isn't a legal remedy, it's a political one. You may disagree with the politics, but the framers clearly worried about an imperial presidency and included impeachment for obvious reasons. And if you dispute evidence of an imperial presidency, I gotta ask what kind of executive seizures it would take for you to define any act as imperial.

    Impeachment is going nowhere. Nowhere. Support for impeachment outside of a narrow slice of the liberal end of the political spectrum is non-existent. And it would absolutely tear this country apart.

    Actually, some recent polling suggests that support is rather more widespread than you admit--around 50%, give or take, depending on how the question's worded. That may not be a high enough bar to demonstrate support for impeachment-the political remedy--but it refutes the idea this is a fringe impulse.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Want me to put up article's II and II on what high crimes and misdemeanors he has committed?

    No. I get it. Its entirely a political indictment based on actions unrelated to his actual office. You could draw up a similar list against any politician.

    Impeachment isn't a legal remedy, it's a political one.

    I think that is only partially true. It is both. I think you can make a pretty good case that Bush should be impeached and turned over to the Hague as a war criminal. But Cheney had no real authority as vice-President. You are essentially impeaching him for his political positions. Or more to the point, because he is a scary nutcase who shouldn't be allowed to become president.

  • djk (unverified)
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    Impeachment is going nowhere. Nowhere. Support for impeachment outside of a narrow slice of the liberal end of the political spectrum is non-existent. And it would absolutely tear this country apart.

    Between 30% and 40% of Americans support impeachment at this point, depending on the polls. And that's BEFORE the case for impeachment has been made in high-profile House hearings. If there's heavy media coverage of the impeachment question over the course of one or two months of hearings and evidence presented before the House, I bet support passes 50%.

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    You are essentially impeaching him for his political positions.

    Actually, he promoted the idea that there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda in order to push the Iraq war. That in itself is an impeachable offense.

    It doesn't even matter whether he believed it or not (not that I think he did). He helped to involve the nation in a war based on false information. Now, if he lied about that information, that's malfeasance and abuse of his position as vice president to promulgate false information with the authority of his office (abuse of power). If he did not know that the information was false, that's incompetence, which is another ground for impeachment.

    Personally, I come down on the abuse of power side of things, because he's continued to promote the al Qaeda link to Saddam long after it was debunked.

    "Scary nutcase who shouldn't be allowed to become president" is actually a relevant ground for impeachment. Remember, it's not a punishment for anything the official has done, it's the removal of public powers from someone who cannot be trusted with them. Scary nutcases shouldn't have their hands on the button. Unless, of course, you trust the scary nutcase.

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    "We've gone over this point endlessly. No one has yet pointed out anything to me that this administration has done which is illegal."

    First of all, the President admitted that he defied extant FISA law, and would do so again if he deemed it necessary. That should be the end of the discussion, but we can go on.

    The Iraq invasion was a violation of both the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions, which makes the invasion also a violation of US law. If you recall, no authorization was ever given by the UN.

    The runup to the invasion contained several crimes to the level of perjury, where statements were made by both the President and Vice-President that flatly contradicted known facts and conclusions from their intelligence services they had been made aware of.

    The refusal of the White House to honor Congressional subpoenas, or to even allow the Department of Justice to prosecute contempt citations, places itself in contempt of Congress--an impeachable offense.

    That's just the start. And of course your assertions about the popularity of impeachment and how it might "tear apart the country" are as groundless as they are irrelevant. Impeachment is not a popularity contest.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    One contradiction among those arguing for impeachment is this: You argue on the one hand that Democrats don't have any choice but to impeach given the actions of the Bush Administration. Then, when asked to specify the illegal activities that Bush et al have done, the response is that impeachment is a political act, not a criminal one.

    If impeachment is a political act, then the political impact of impeachment must be taken into consideration. That is what Wyden, Blumenauer, and others are doing. And I suspect they're not just looking at the political impact on their own reelections or that of Democrats, but the negative impact that impeachment would have on our entire democracy. It would legitimize impeachment as a form of political opposition. That's what Republicans did to Clinton, and it would be just as wrong for us to do it to Bush.

    Impeachment should never be used simply to overturn an electoral result with which we disagree. Bush was reelected in 2004, after the war started, after we knew that there were no WMDs, after we knew what his Administration was capable of. The issues people point to above that "justify" impeachment are policy disputes. Impeachment should only be used when 1) actual crimes have been committed, or 2) there are no other political mechanisms to balance the President's power. You want to stop the war? Defund it. You want to stop warrantless wiretapping. Outlaw it. You don't like Bush's imperial presidency? Congress has the power to reign him in.

    What's that you say? Bush will just veto those congressional actions? Here's a good rule of thumb: If you don't have enough support to override a veto, you don't have enough support to impeach.

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    but the negative impact that impeachment would have on our entire democracy. It would legitimize impeachment as a form of political opposition. That's what Republicans did to Clinton, and it would be just as wrong for us to do it to Bush.

    What the hell? If you're attempting to assert that the case against Clinton was anywhere near as strong or relevant to upholding the Constitution as the case against Bush, I frankly don't know what to say.

    What impeachment would do is legitimize impeachment as a tool to use when the Constitution is under direct threat from those sworn to uphold it. That is the case. Far more damaging to democracy would be to recognize a direct threat and opt not to act, because not impeaching legitimizes the Bush presidency. And again, if you find the Bush presidency a legitimate one, I could recommend some books.

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    Posted by: paul | Aug 15, 2007 1:19:15 PM lestadelc: yep, might as well go for article II, because you've left me unconvinced. Translation of all above: Cheney disagreed with the conclusions reached by the CIA analysts and sought out alternative information sources to bolster his policy views.

    No that is NOT the translation, but nice try.

    (1)(a-e) above are, in fact, all true statements. We do know that Hussein had chemical and biological weapons at some point. He dropped them on the Kurds? We do know that he was pursuing nukes--he just wasn't getting anywhere (we has successfully embargoed him). The only statement that is potentially knowingly misleading is (1)(g).

    100% wrong. At the time Cheney made those statments Saddam did not have chemical or biological weaposn nor did he have a repocntistuted nuclear program. Those are flat-pout false assertions that Cheney made, knowing full well that they were NOT supported by the inteligence at the time. Cheney's statments are factually incoracet. Not only were they wrogn factually but were dliberatelty misleading since there was more than just doubt, as the INR dissnetion makes clear.

    If the folks on this board don't buy the argument, do you really think the House and Senate will?

    Well Representative Tammy Baldwin, Bob Brady, Yvette Clarke, Lacy Clay, Steve Cohen, Keith Ellison, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Hank Johnson, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Jim Moran, Donald Payne, Janice Schakowsky, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey and Al Wynn...

    ...have "bought the argument" as they are cosponsoring those articles of impeachment.

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    Posted by: paul | Aug 15, 2007 1:19:15 PM yep, might as well go for article II, because you've left me unconvinced.

    Here ya go.

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    PS Bush would have no way to veto a defunding of the war. You can veto a bill (to fund a war) that does not exist. Bush cannot pay for his own war. The minute that Congress says "no more money for that war," it is over.

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    Egads. My typing up-thread was atrocious.

    Preview is your friend Mitch.. preview is your friend.

    (wry grin)

  • trishka (unverified)
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    well, and i hesitate to wade into this, but if we don't have the votes to de-fund the war, how can we have the votes to impeach?

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    well, and i hesitate to wade into this, but if we don't have the votes to de-fund the war, how can we have the votes to impeach?

    The point torridjoe was making is that de-funding doesn't require a vote. If no funding bill is sent to the president it defunds the war.

    As for votes to impeach, at the time the Nixon impeachment began, they didn't have the votes in the Senate to convict him, either. It took the House Judiciary hearings and evidence leverred out of the White House by the Supreme Court and the special prosecutor to convince Nixon to resign, and even then nobody knows for sure whether there were enough votes in the Senate because they never took a vote. Nixon resigned before the House voted in full on the impeachment articles.

    If you wait until you know you have the votes in the Senate, why do you think there are hearings and a vote in the House? Or a Senate trial? You could just skip to the vote in the Senate.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    One contradiction among those arguing for impeachment is...

    This is the worst kind of straw man "argument." It's ridiculous on its face and the person posting it had to know it. Here goes anyways...

    Ascribing any single point of reasoning to all "those arguing for impeachment" and then hand picking a different argument and attributing to the same people is, well, like a said above, ridiculous on its face.

    Place me in the camp of those saying impeachment is madated by the Constitution to rectify specific abuses of power. Among the charges leveled against Bush, Cheney & Co are spying on Americans in contravention of the Fourth Amendment and obstructing justice by politicizing the Justice Department and attempting to manipulate federal attorneys to both pursue enemies of the administration as well as quash investigation of their friends.

    That some casual consumers of political news aren't aware of these abuses speaks either to willful ignorance or just plain apathy. They've had their chance to be informed. All i would ask is that you get out of the way if you can't lend a hand.

    Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don't stand in the doorway Don't block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled There's a battle outside And it is ragin'. It'll soon shake your windows And rattle your walls For the times they are a-changin'

  • Miles (unverified)
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    What impeachment would do is legitimize impeachment as a tool to use when the Constitution is under direct threat from those sworn to uphold it.

    Can you name something that Bush is doing that Congress doesn't have the authority to stop? You even made my case by pointing out that defunding the war doesn't take a vote -- they just don't include it. Can you really argue for impeachment if the Democrats haven't first used every tool available? Do you really view impeachment as a first resort?

    EBT writes: Place me in the camp of those saying impeachment is madated by the Constitution to rectify specific abuses of power.

    NO! Checks and balances are mandated in the Constitution to rectify abuse of power. The Democratic Congress isn't even using all the checks and balances available, so I cannot fathom why impeachment is on the table. Impeachment is a nuclear bomb that destroys the enemy and hundreds of thousands of innocents along with him.

    Among the charges leveled against Bush, Cheney & Co are spying on Americans in contravention of the Fourth Amendment and obstructing justice by politicizing the Justice Department and attempting to manipulate federal attorneys to both pursue enemies of the administration as well as quash investigation of their friends.

    Regarding the spying charge, it's not fact that Bush's warrantless wiretapping would be held unconstitutional. You and I would agree that it should be, but the courts have been mixed on this. Besides, you can't really be arguing that simply taking an action that is later overturned by the courts is an impeachable offense. Every president makes policy decisions that are overturned as illegal. Plus, Congress just gave him the FISA authority he wanted, so impeachment charges based on that seem. . .specious.

    Regarding the politicization of DOJ, I'm not aware of any proof that the Administration did anything illegal.

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    Miles, do you think the war's going great? That Bush and Cheney have done a good job by invading Iraq on the basis of WMD that didn't exist?

    Because that alone is reason for impeachment. Abuse of power in propogating false information for a war (or incompetence at falling for some made-up intelligence). Poor execution of the war and the squandering of the country's military and financial resources.

    That's impeachable. Illegality isn't a requirement. Nobody passes laws to prevent someone from running the country into the ground. That's what impeachment's for.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    1 - We're getting a snow job on impeachment. Did the impeachment and trial - which did not lead to conviction - of Bill Clinton damage Republicans' chances of winning the presidency in 2000? I think not. Al Gore hardly ever mentioned Clinton, and this after two terms of economic prosperity. Now we have a nation is disarray and Shrub's poll numbers in the toilet. Just how would impeachment of Shrub or Darth Cheney hurt the Democrats? IT WOULD NOT.

    2- Ron Wyden has done many great things in Congress, but he has never taken risks on foreign policy issues. I used to attend his town halls in the early '80s, when he was third district Representative, and question him on Reagan administration policy in Central America. He refused to distance himself from it, repeating over and over that we were dealing with communists there. Well, it was exposed by the work of Robert Parry and others - and later confirmed by UN study - that the US was supporting death squads allied with the super-wealthy families that owned most of the land there. In Nicauragua, we used money from illegal arms sales to Iran to fund the Contra murderers. We illegally mined Managua Harbor and spit in the eye of the World Court when they held us to account. The "communists" Wyden feared turned out to be anyone tired of being treated like slaves.

    On Israel-Palestine, Wyden has never bucked the AIPAC orthodoxy [orthodoxy in the US, but fantasy to the rest of the world].

    So, opposing the Iraq invasion authorization was hanging out pretty far for Ron.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Most politicians and the people who support them have rendered the Pledge of Allegiance into an act of national hypocrisy. Worse than that is the hypocrisy attached to the oath politicians take to defend the Constitution and the people who let them get away with it.

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)
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    Yesterday's Wyden Town 1Hall and the reports I have of the two DeFazio Town Halls this week in Corvallis and Eugene demonstate that our elected representatives need to realize they "are not in Kansas anymore, Toto".

    Things have changed in America's (and particularly Oregon's) attitude, since the Democrats purportedly took over Congress, in January. We expected and still expect truth and justice to prevail, and the Constitional remedy to be executed.

    Keep telling them at the Town Halls, and join the weekly 10-2 pm gathering in front of Earl's office, 729 NE Oregon, across from the State Office Building in Portland with your signs, smiles and persistence.

    That's this Thursday, and every Thursday.

    Impeach Bush and Cheney, now! I will take Gonzales, too, but only as part of a tri-fecta.

    Oregon's four Democrats in the House can have a unique oppurtunity to have a real and catalytic impact, if they will come back from August Break, together, with Articles of Impeachment focusing on the prescursor events to the Iraq war and following State Democratic Party Resolution 2007-777, which passed the DPO State Central Committee, over six months ago, on March 10, 2007:

    RESOLUTION NO. 2007 – 777

    A RESOLUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON

    WHEREAS, the Democratic Party of the State of Oregon passed a resolution calling for impeachment proceedings against the current Bush Administration on the 16th day of July, 2005, as Resolution No. 2005-0009, which Resolution is attached and incorporated herein, and

    Whereas, Congress, under the control of the Republicans, took no action to investigate the potential for impeachment arising out of the events preceding the invasion of Iraq by the United States of America; and

    Whereas, the bipartisan commissions which looked into the attacks of September 11, 2001 (“the 9/11 Commission”) and the War in Iraq (“the Iraq Study Group”) each declined to extend their respective inquiries into the precursor events and responsibility for the Iraq War; and

    Whereas, Congress under the control of the Democrats has yet to begin effective inquiry into possible impeachment; and

    Whereas, the President and Vice President have each been fully and directly engaged in the policies and actions of their Administration;

    Whereas, many Members of the House of Representatives, of both parties, debating the Iraq War and the February 16, 2007 Resolution against the Bush Administration’s “troop surge”, argued facts which, if true, constitute high crimes and misdemeanors in office, by both the President and Vice President, (in particular, that critical intelligence presented to Congress and the United Nations was manipulated and falsified, not erroneous); and

    Whereas, the cost of the War in Iraq is approaching $400 Billion, and

    Whereas, the President and Vice President have demonstrated complete unwillingness to heed the November 2006 vote of the American people, or the advice of the Iraq Study Group Report issued that same month, with regard to continued prosecution of the Iraq War; and

    Whereas, Marine Corporal Travis Bradach-Nall and the other members of the military from Oregon who have died in Iraq since the invasion, and the over 3190 American soldiers, marines sailors and coast guards who have died in Iraq, are all still dead; and

    Whereas, all of their friends and members of their families have been irreparably harmed and are continuously hurting from their loss, and

    Whereas, absent some process to effectively assess and enforce responsibility and accountability for the Bush Administration’s acts, omissions and misrepresentations to justify and launch the War in Iraq, the number of dead, and of injured family members will only increase, exponentially:

    NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON RESOLVES, AS FOLLOWS:

    Section 1. The Democratic Party of the State of Oregon supports immediate investigative hearings before appropriate Congressional committees into the Bush Administration’s misrepresentations to Congress the American people and the United Nations, which induced the Act of Congress (PL 107-243, October 16, 2002), regarding the use of force against Iraq; and

    Section 2. The Democratic Party of the State of Oregon supports the commencement of impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors in the processes and propaganda which preceded the invasion of Iraq by the United States of America.

    ADOPTED by the Democratic Party of Oregon on this 10th day of March, 2007.

    Resolution submitted by JOHN F. BRADACH, SR, DPO STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE DELEGATE FROM MULTNOMAH COUNTY

  • Adrian Rosolie (unverified)
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    Wow, this was a lot of reading to catch up on. Thanks to Kari for using my post as a discussion point. I'll take this opportunity to respond where I see necessary.

    To clarify, I wasn't trying to rail against anyone for speaking out, and I certainly wasn't trying to cast doubt on their commitment to civic engagement. I also am not giving any personal opinion on impeachment.

    Additionally, some people hinted at ignorance on my part in relation to my involvement or knowledge of the whole situation. This is the type of attitude that breaks us apart and distracts from finding some sort of solution. I was easily one of the youngest people at the event (I'm of college age) and I find it perplexing that the idea of compromise is not very prevalent. Progression requires taking steps, and compromises are steps.

    When things break down into dismissal, name calling, knee jerk reactions, nitpicking, etc I see people who otherwise agree on the policy become separated over the process, and when I speak out it is because of concern, not criticism. My only goal is to help this whole process of safely removing all our troops from Iraq move to success as soon as possible.

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    Adrian, I don't think anyone was any more dismissive of your comment than your own suggestion that people move outside of their "liberal comfort zones" was.

    My wife works in an office of Lars Larson listeners. I worked for a company owned and operated by members of the LDS church up until a couple of months ago.

    You're "college age", which makes you about half my age. A lot of the people at the event were older than I am. You have no idea of my background or that of the 300 or so other people there. For you to assume that all of us live in a "liberal comfort zone" is breathtakingly condescending.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    "compromises"

    This has been illuminating. I didn't specifically respond to Adrian's post since it a) didn't correspond to my experience at Wyden's town hall, and b) it seemed to divert from the thrust of the thread.

    I'm glad for this new thread. It's my impression that for pro-impeachment folks, this is one of those issues like abortion or the death penalty where there's little room for compromise. What about those who don't want the House to seek impeachment... is this a strongly held conviction? (Really, just askin')

    [correction: i see on John Bradach's post that the protest at Blumenauer's office goes from 10-2 TODAY and every Thursday, 729 N.E. Oregon Street, Portland . Anyone seeing Wyden in Eugene, noon, Lillis Business Complex, Rm 182 should tell him to call his congressman!]

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    "compromises"

    This has been illuminating. I didn't specifically respond to Adrian's post since it a) didn't correspond to my experience at Wyden's town hall, and b) it seemed to divert from the thrust of the thread.

    I'm glad for this new thread. It's my impression that for pro-impeachment folks, this is one of those issues like abortion or the death penalty where there's little room for compromise. What about those who don't want the House to seek impeachment... is this a strongly held conviction? (Really, just askin')

    [correction: i see on John Bradach's post that the protest at Blumenauer's office goes from 10-2 TODAY and every Thursday, 729 N.E. Oregon Street, Portland . Anyone seeing Wyden in Eugene, noon, Lillis Business Complex, Rm 182 should tell him to call his congressman!]

  • john F. bradach, Sr. (unverified)
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    12-2 pm today is the correct time in front of Earl's office at 729 NE Multnomah.

    My stubby fingers sometimes get it wrong. Sorry.

    I am sure having people there beginning at 10 a.m. wouldn't hurt anything. I know that LoneVet Joe has taken to visiting the site on Wednesdays at noon at well.

    I did hear from a couple of people on DeFazio Town Halls in Corvallis and Salem, where the scene and Representatives reaction was similar to Wyden's.

    Peace and Impeach.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    We'll just start calling you "Big John" then. [and by NE "Multnomah" you mean "NE Oregon" ;-) ...]

    I met ol' Joe last week with the Veterans for Peace and was so encouraged to hear him address Wyden: "Do you have any idea how angry so many of us are at the Democrats?!" I mean to tell him how proud it makes me feel. Not of Joe necessarily (like he needs my props). Joe makes me proud to be an Oregonian. Noon on Oregon street (just 3 blocks south of Multnomah) between NE 7th and 9th Ave.

  • eag (unverified)
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    Instead of arguing about the right way to proceed (which, IMHO, is impeachment if for no other reason than the precedent set by NOT impeaching...), a list of reasons for denying impeachment should be formed. More of a question than anything else, but I'm curious as to the real reasons for keeping impeachment off the table. Also, what if impeachment proceedings were brought and, somehow, it was found that Bush and/or Cheney were not guilty of an impeachable offense? Wouldn't that do more damage than not having brought proceedings at all?

    Arguing about which side is right is not the answer. Instead of furthering the debate to a point of resolution, we're resorting to the soundbite debate format that is slowly eroding intellectual debate around the country. Websites such as this are excellent outlets for beginning a cogent debate, and it is up to us to take it a step further and leave behind the partisan politics that got us into this national crisis to begin with.

  • Adrian Rosolie (unverified)
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    Darrel, I think I made it clear I'm not one for making assumptions. No I don't know your background or anyone elses and don't profess to, but I do come from a family that has its roots in activism so I'm not a complete ignoramus.

    Dismissing college students/young people as ignorant and pompous doesn't seem like the greatest way to get them involved. My demographic is one that could be greatly useful to this whole movement, as today's youth are statistically more liberal that older generations. There are so many of my peers I run into who are 100% against the war, but need people to encourage them to take the extra step of making a phone call, writing a letter, attending a protest, etc. For many of the people their involvement stems from the Vietnam War era, when they were about my age. This war is going to have the same profound effect on my generation, but unfortunately (and largely due to the lack of a draft) many of my age don't realize it.

    Thom: Interesting comparison, as from my view at least the strength of conviction held is the same intensity. However, pro-abortion folks are willing to take away choice step by step (ie: ban on partial birth, restrict contraceptives, etc.)

    (PS: Can people please stop assuming I'm attacking them, if my comments don't apply to you it's because they weren't intended to, and it forces everything to go off topic)

  • jack (unverified)
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    Uh huh, and we'll soon send a record-setting $30,000,000,000.00 over the next decade to Israel for further militarization and to balance the military "aid" we're sending to the Saudi fascists. Why? Because the U.S. is notorious for our "investments in peace" around the world. The whole global capitalist system is rotten and will soon make common life so ugly and inequitable there will be nothing to live for except to work. Wake up folks, people in DC like Wyden don't give a shit about Oregon or your concerns. Forget impeachment, let's talk secession from this evil empire.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    as from my view at least the strength of conviction held is the same intensity.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm just getting back from the Veteran's for Peace protest in front of Rep. Blumenauer's office. For those who don't know, the thrust of their action is to get Earl on board with impeachment. Last week there were 30 folks, this week 40. Should this ball really get rolling (and i expect it to) it would be interesting to see the intensity of the counter-protests: "Please, DON'T Impeach Bush!"

    I'm sure having your post put up as the representative view from Wyden's town hall must have its downside, including making your opinions the subject of ridicule and rebuke (as well as support).

    If i might leave this thread noting a few of my observations... Where were the students? the young men and women, the 20 somethings? And what impressed you as "nasty" and "uncalled for" struck me as invigorating and requisite for a healthy democracy. Yes, a few cat calls punctuated the event... a little hot spice for the melting pot.

    "using the Bill O'Rielly [sic] code of conduct is not conducive to progress [...] I encourage you to move outside of liberal comfort zones" I am not surprised how some reacted to this. With time, you might agree.

  • Barney Gorter (unverified)
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    When it comes to impeaching the president, we must refer to the last two time-consuming scandals of our recent history. I refer to the Watergate and Whitewater investigations. The Watergate hearings began in February of 1973, which was immediately after Nixon took office for his second term. Over two years of testimony and evidence were gathered at the hearings. Articles of impeachment were being drawn up at the same time Nixon resigned. The entire process took over two years. The Whitewater hearings commenced July 1995. It took over three years of evidence gathering before the leaders of the House determined there was enough evidence to warrant articles of impeachment. A certain level of the evidentiary proof is required before one can seek articles of impeachment.

    Based on recent history, a new Congress and a new President would be in office before there would be enough evidence gathered to seek impeachment. The overt secrecy and unwillingness to cooperate with Congress by this administration in all probability would extend the time period.

    I agree with the feeling that both been gone from the administration would be to the benefit of the country. However, we must let whatever processes are at work continue and get on with winning the 2008 election.

  • Burl Doomenauer (unverified)
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    By attempting to hold white war criminals accountable, resources that could be used to elect me in '08 will be used for "law and order", a concept that should only apply to Blacks and other minorities.

    Impeachment is an old-fashioned concept, like democracy or human rights. We should have a Constitutional Convention (after the next election so it doesn't interfere with our present agenda), and then we should rid ourselves of these concepts.

    I argued before the last election that we had to wait until after the election before discussing impeachment, and I'm just being consistent when I say that we have to wait until after the next election. We don't have time for impeachment, because we have to continue to propose non-binding resolutions and hold all-night hearings for partial withdrawals of troops from Iraq.

    It's true that any one of my arguments against impeachment is stupid and short-sighted, but, taken together, they add up to one terrific smoke screen.

    I support the troops and the war of terror.

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    I think the debate about impeachment is a fuzzy one.

    But before I comment directly on that, let me share a quick observation. I was at a gathering last night of liberal Democrats and as we were talking, someone mentioned Senator Wyden and was talking about the way he goes about doing things. Both myself and the person who I was talking to agreed that Wyden is very non-confrontational in the way he deals with issues. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but just the way he is.

    I wasn't at the town hall, so I can't say anything directly about it. Having read through the conversation in this thread though, it appears there are different ways in which people see impeachment as an option. Personally, I feel Bush and Cheney should be impeached because they have done some truly evil things in the last 6 1/2+ years.

    The way I see it is that the line between impeachment and not impeaching has been blurred when the Republicans impeached Clinton. They used something that was meant to be part of the constitutional checks and balances for a purely political purpose.

    Granted as someone pointed out, that didn't hurt the Republicans in 2000 (putting aside all the doubt about the outcome of the election for a second).

    I can see why some people are mad that the Democrats haven't stood up and done anything about ending the war or impeachment.

    As much as I'd like to see Bush/Cheney/Gonzo and the whole crew run out of the White House and put in jail, I honestly don't know if it's realistic. What I do want to see is the Democrats win back the White House in 2008. In the end, the Bush/Cheney legacy will serve as the best punishment of the failed policies and war then anything else.

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    Adrian, I didn't dismiss "college students/young people as ignorant and pompous". I said that your remark telling people who want to stop the war get out of their "liberal comfort zones" was dismissive and condescending.

    That's a criticism of a remark you made, not anything that any college student might ever have said or thought. It's a criticism made based on the fact that you don't have any idea of the people you're addressing or their backgrounds. You have no reason to assume that they are in "liberal comfort zones".

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Too bad Congressman (D)Brian Baird didn't show up at the Town Hall.

    It appears that this Democrat who has actually spent real time with the troops(recently) would have a different opinion than the many who simply read whatever the jouralists, and their editors, decide to print.

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    I bet you dollars to donuts Baird never left the Green Zone. He doesn't have a clue. Even the NIE just released makes it clear the surge has been a failure, but all you need are a pair of eyes to see that.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Joey,

    Thank you for sharing your guess.

    I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you've never even made it to the Green Zone.

    He has, in fact, personally spoken with troops that have been outside of the Green Zone continually.

    Thus, I'll take Baird's opinion over yours.

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    So he's spoken to troops who have, but hasn't himself. So you're admitting I'm right, it would seem.

    You're not taking Baird's opinion over mine, you're taking it over the entire US intelligence community's. Sort of like a certain President.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    No Joey,

    I'm saying you are flat out wrong. If you read anything I said as supporting your view, then you are spending way to much time patting yourself on the back.

    Baird is actually taking political risk to speak his mind honestly. You, on the other hand, are just feeding the pigeons.

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    For me to be wrong, you'd have to supply evidence that Baird left fully secured areas in Iraq. All you offered was that he talked to soldiers. Big deal. How about these soldiers?

    Baird is showing his gullibility in believing what the Defense Department tells him.

    I will say again: you are not arguing with me; you are arguing with the conclusions of the US intelligence community as detailed in the most recent National Intelligence Assessment. Address the conclusions in that report if you'd like to argue on behalf of the escalation.

  • Dan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I now understand, Joe the blogger is all knowing while Baird is gullible. Right.

    You win Joe, as always, you are the absolute purveyor of truth & wisdom.

    Atually Joe, for you to be wrong, I don't have to show anything. "Fully secured areas in Iraq"? Really Joey!

    There aren't even fully secured portions of Los Angeles.

    Now get back to your echo chamber and marvel at the sound of your own voice.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Barney,

    Your timeline for impeachment would let administrations do whatever they pleased in the last two years of their term without fear of serious repercussion. I do not think the republic can withstand that.

    Now, I admit that the crimes of the Shrubbery have been going on since [before?] inauguration day in 2001, but nothing was doable while the Republicans controlled congress. Impeachment has few simple rules written into the Constitution. Beyond them, Congress can fit the procedure to the situation.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I wonder if Brian Baird talked with these folks:

    More Iraqis Said to Flee Since Troop Increase

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Thus, I'll take Baird's opinion over yours.

    Dan, i wonder what these politicians' opinion is now.

    U.S. lawmakers' plane fired upon while leaving Iraq

    Baird may want to "wait until spring" to reevaluate Bush's continued policy of quagmire. Or we could impeach Bush, Cheney & Co. and implement immediately a sound plan to end our part in the occupation.

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