It's not too late. 35 ways to leave your president.

By John Bradach of Portland, Oregon. John is a Portland attorney; and an anti-Iraq-War and pro-impeachment activist. His nephew, Travis Bradach-Nall, was killed in Iraq in 2003.

If you surfed to CSPAN last Monday night, you found Congressman Dennis Kucinich live before an empty chamber in the House of Representatives, reading 35 Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush. The following night, the entire text was read verbatim by alternating House clerks. The whole show took nearly five hours, each night. The detail of the charges and cited supporting documentation was impressive.

If you haven’t enjoyed the Bush Administration (I confess that I have not), the Articles of Impeachment will give you a headache.

Are high crimes and misdemeanors by this Nation’s executive officers permissible, so long as they are not brought into sharp focus until the last two years of an administration’s second term? We shall see, once Scott McClellan testifies this coming week. McClellan, and the Kucinich litany, may put tinder to the dried haystack of impeachable offenses, and buck up the courage of Congressional Democrats to exercise our constitutional remedy.

If not, the Record is there. America’s high school history students will ask, “Why didn’t they do something?”

The index titles for H. Res. 1258’s Article of Impeachment presents are a horrifying stroll down memory lane. Read them and weep. (On the jump...)

Article I: Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq

Article II: Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression

Article III: Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War

Article IV: Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States

Article V: Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression

Article VI: Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114

Article VII: Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.

Article VIII: Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter

Article IX: Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor

Article X: Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes

Article XI: Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq

Article XII: Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation's Natural Resources

Article XIIII: Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries

Article XIV: Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency

Article XV: Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq

Article XVI: Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors

Article XVII: Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives

Article XVIII: Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy

Article XIX: Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to "Black Sites" Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture

Article XX: Imprisoning Children

Article XXI: Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government

Article XXII: Creating Secret Laws

Article XXIII: Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act

Article XXIV: Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment

Article XXV: Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens

Article XXVI: Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements

Article XXVII: Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply

Article XXVIII: Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice

Article XXIX: Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Article XXX: Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare

Article XXXI: Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency

Article XXXII: Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change

Article XXXIII: Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.

Article XXXIV: Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001

Article XXXV: Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders

The full text of Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment is available here (pdf).

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Which one covers the use of US Attorney's for political purposes, and terminating staff that did not get with the program?

  • (Show?)

    First off, kudos to Congressman Kucinich. I may not agree with his insistence that everything else be dropped so we can put impeachment first, but he is doing the nation a service by submitting to the nation these articles, so the nation can remember exactly what it voted for.

    But of course, the whole idea of impeachment is simply unreasonable at this point. Here's my short list for why Congress has got it exactly right:

    • It's worthless. The public thinks Congress has better things to do with its time.
    • It's pointless, because it would never even get started until Bush was out of office.
    • It's will hurt the progressives, by bringing forth tribal identity issues - which is exactly what the GOP has used to trick many in the working class into voting against their economic interests.
    • It will fail, because the GOP still has the ability to stop it.
    • Just as with President Clinton, it may make Bush more popular with low info voters.
    • It's misdirected, and helps the rest of Bush's GOP enablers shift blame.
    • It's likely to cut off real punishment, by the old "the nation has suffered enough" argument.
    I'm sure many of the most prolific writers here will disagree with me, but let me focus on that last bit for a moment. Because we're not focusing on impeachment (and simply won't - no matter how intensely a small group of people want it to), there is a strong possibility that there will be support for actually throwing some people behind bars.

    Here is how I see it playing out: early in the Obama Presidency, when the real economic damage of the Bush years is playing out, both the Administration and Congress will sponsor investigations into corruption. This will yield tons of info we already know, but it will be put in such a way that even our right wing mainstream media will have a hard time ignoring it. Assuming this leads where I think we all know it does, it really isn't too far fetched for Cheney to be spending a lot of time in the courtroom. More importantly, much of the corrupt fundraising apparatus of Republican war profiteers will find themselves in extremely uncomfortable situations. Jail time? Of course.

    Again, developing things prematurely would only allow Bush to do what he did for Scooter Libby. And frankly, I wouldn't want that to happen.

    Patience, my hot headed progressive friends. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

  • j_luthergoober (unverified)
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    This from the world wide web via Yahoo...

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush is ranked only slightly above the rulers of Pakistan and Iran as one of the least-trusted leaders in the world, a survey released on Monday showed.

    The survey, carried out by WorldPublicOpinion.org in 20 countries around the world, found that no national leaders inspired wide confidence outside their own countries. But Bush, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ranked at the bottom, the polling showed.

    And on and on it goes with that idiot in the White House...

  • (Show?)
    Revenge is a dish best served cold.

    Impeachment isn't about revenge. It's about prevention.

    Impeachment has no punishment. Its only effect is to remove someone from power who can no longer be trusted with that power, before they can use it to do more damage.

    In the 93rd Congress -- during which impeachment hearings were held on Richard Nixon, with an active war going on in Vietnam -- more than 17,000 bills were introduced in the House. The current Congress has introduced 5,500 bills into the House, with only a few months left to go. Impeachment hearings are held in the Judiciary committee, they wouldn't tie up the entire House for the month or two that the past couple of impeachment hearings have taken.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    And on and on it goes with that idiot in the White House...

    and a nation of hypocritical sheep let him and his administration get away with raping the Constitution and sending young men and women off to war to be sacrificed on an altar built on lies.

    Anyone who stands with with his hand over his heart and mumbles, "I pledge allegiance to ... the REPUBLIC" and goes along with Maurer's or similar excuses is a hypocrite in my book. The Constitution is what defines this nation as a republic. If it is shredded and the people go along with its desecration, then the United States is no longer a republic and all those pledges are as worthless as politicians' oaths to uphold the Constitution.

    If the people in the United States allow this to happen, then all of those lives lost and destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan will be lives sacrificed in vain.

    Re: the "purity of thought" nonsense on the Tim Russert thread. It's a good bet there were "good Germans" who told people alarmed about Hitler's activities that they were getting carried away with "purity of thought."

  • (Show?)

    Steve's made all of the major points here, but pardons are a given, so that narrows the field of potential suspects to one, by my count.

    Impeaching Bugs Bunny would be more useful. If we can't get at Cheney or the Neo-Cons, who are currently crapping on McCain's shoulders while whispering Iran up the charts, why bother.

    People with mental capabilities that low are normally allowed to use their tiny IQs as a valid defense.......

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    "McClellan, and the Kucinich litany, may put tinder to the dried haystack of impeachable offenses, and buck up the courage of Congressional Democrats to exercise our constitutional remedy."

    A generation ago, the question was, "where's the beef?"

    If we have a stack of dried hay, and tinder, then I have to ask, "Where's the spark?"

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)
    (Show?)
    1. The Rule of Law.

    2. The pardons will be a flying, on the night before Barack's Inauguration.

    3. Dave Frohnmayer told me, on the evening Monica Lewinsky was identified in the Press, that the President may pardon himself.

    4. Empty Bag For Prosecution, See Above.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Steven Maurer said: "...no matter how intensely a small group of people want it to"

    Seventy-five percent of the membership of YOUR party is "a small group of people"? This is contempt for democracy, even if the charges were baseless (which they are not).

    Your check list of talking points confirms the fact that the DP is dominated by right-wing hacksterism.

    Tom Civilletti on another thread:

    "The belief that electing a Democratic president is more important than preserving constitutional government is naive, petty, and dangerous. The presidency is an office created by the Constitution, and it has no legitimacy outside of the Constitution. Or we just playing at politics here to pass the time?

    I fear that the real reason Democratic leadership in Congress oppose impeachment is their own culpability in lying to the people and subverting constitutional governance and international treaty. If true, I have no more desire to protect them than I do to protect Bush and Cheney."

  • joe walsh-lone vet (unverified)
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    Our representative here in the third district refuses to call for impeachment of the war criminals in the White House. He mocks Dennis Kucinich whenever he can. Blumenauer, during an interview for the Willamette Weekly with John Sweeney and myself, said that Kucinich only got about 2% of the vote for President and based on that, said impeachment was not an issue. This is our representative in the most progressive district in the state, if not the country. He got over 85% of the vote in the primary on May 20th of this year. This was one of the reasons I finally left the democratic party and became an independent. I cannot stand the cocktail democrats who call themselves progressives and their constituents buy into it----it boggles the mind!

    We, Individuals for Justice, have been protesting outside of Blumenauer’s office for almost a year now, holding him accountable for his actions. We have been arrested, threatened, ignored and frozen during the cold months but we will remain until bush and his dick are out of office or Blumenauer calls for impeachment.

    Blumenauer is an opportunist and people in his district are being fooled by his statements on how hard he is trying to stop this war in Iraq. He is a liar, there is no war in Iraq, only occupation and genocide of the people of this destroyed nation. He must be replaced by a peacemaker.

    Bottom line---Blumenauer, Pelosi, Reid are punks, Kucinich is a hero!

    Joe Walsh-lone vet

  • Garrett (unverified)
    (Show?)

    In the 93rd Congress -- during which impeachment hearings were held on Richard Nixon, with an active war going on in Vietnam -- more than 17,000 bills were introduced in the House. The current Congress has introduced 5,500 bills into the House, with only a few months left to go. Impeachment hearings are held in the Judiciary committee, they wouldn't tie up the entire House for the month or two that the past couple of impeachment hearings have taken.

    There were also Republicans that supported the impeachment of Richard Nixon. It was back when there were Republicans that you could respect even if you didn't agree like Barry Goldwater who also cared about the rule of law. So I'd say I was a realist and a progressive but I think I'd be very happy if we tabled this until after the election. There isn't a Republican out there that would consider impeachment regardless of the current political climate. Plus once they organized everything to impeach Bush would already be on the way out of office. So suck it up and vote Democrat so we actually continue to have civil rights and women's rights.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer,

    Perhaps you would help my understanding of the statements you put in bullet points above. It seems to me that:

    • The public may or may not think Congress has better things to do with its time. How would this make the impeachment process worthless, since the issue is integrity of constitutional rule, which is not a matter of public opinion, but a rule of constitutional responsibility. One of the reason for republican governance is to temper the temporary passions of democratic opinion, is it not?

    • Hearings could start in the House next week. Congress might miss some of its summer recess. Poor babies! It is NOT necessary for the process to end in removal from office in order for the Constitution to be restored. The point is demonstrate to this and future administrations what sort of behavior will not be tolerated.

    • Republicans cannot stop impeachment hearings, which are most important in making public the information relevant to Kucinich's 35 counts.

    • Clinton was impeached for lying about a blow-job, while Shrub would be impeached for subverting Congress and the Constitution in ways that lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths and wasting of trillions of dollars. Do these seem like similar cases to you?

    • Nothing that happens in Congress would make Shrub or Cheney immune from international war crimes prosecution.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Garrett,

    The crimes of the Shrubbery are far more serious and far more numerous than Nixon's crimes. Either stonewalling or release of administration documents that confirm Kucinich's charges will hurt Republicans who continue to support the administration. That would help Democrats in the fall elections, if partisanship is your first concern.

    Some Republicans turned against Nixon because the Republicans of the late 1960's were not the rabid bunch in office now. I think this should be pointed out to voters, not used as an excuse for inaction.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pat,

    The president cannot stop impeachment of anyone with a pardon. Impeachment is not a criminal process.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
    (Show?)

    35 ways to leave your president.

    <h1>36</h1>

    I along with other members of my VFP chapter signed our own Declaration of Independence:

    Ends with; We, therefore…do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People…solemnly publish and declare, That these…Free and Independent (People)…are Absolved from all Allegiance to the (Bush Administration), and that all political connection between them and (this Administration), is and ought to be totally dissolved…

    If its good enough for John Hancock, its good enough for me.

    He is not my President.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Folks you may not like the views expressed by Posted by: Steve Maurer | Jun 16, 2008 4:05:11 PM

    However, there is the possibility that no matter how much you believe impeachment is the right thing to do, it will bring out the lunatic fringe and disrupt serious conversation about issues in this election year.

    Just now found one such example. A comment about an online article:

    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/june162008/exler_are.php#comments

    Wexler is big on taking out Iran. He has dual citizenship with Israel, as do all Jews. Maybe it's time to revisit this dual citizenship thing, especially for elected officals, regardless of their elected office level. I think anyone who swears to defend the U.S. Constitution cannot have two masters.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    LT,

    Does that seem to you a compelling reason not to protect constitutional government from a rogue administration?

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Someone once said that the difference between a gamble and a longshot is that with a longshot one knows the odds. What makes something a gamble is not knowing the odds.

    I am convinced that impeachment is a gamble. I am not convinced that 5 years after an impeachment effort in an election year, it would have been found to "protect constitutional government from a rogue administration".

    I am not convinced that impeachment would lead to Obama easily elected as President and 60 Democratic US Senators elected.

    I base that on multiple readings about Nixon's impeachment, esp. a wonderful Jimmy Breslin book HOW THE GOOD GUYS FINALLY WON.

    Nixon was not brought down by people saying publicly that he should be impeached, but by a slow process which took years.

    If seeing things from a different point of view than some on a blog, and if thinking hearings short of impeachment (unless there is some smoking gun evidence which convinces members of groups like Rotary, non political folk like the local folks who work in jobs like retail and food service) means I am not a "progressive" or some such, so be it.

    I look forward to the McClellan hearings in upcoming days, am glad that a House committee has subpoened the AG, and other such measures. I think impeachment would be disruptive, and not necessarily make this country a better place.

    Ordinary folks supported Clinton as he was being impeached. Can anyone here advocating impeachment really claim that everyone they meet in ordinary life (friends, salespeople, people they call on while canvassing for candidates) sees impeachment as the top priority in June 2008? And if you live in Portland, can you really know what folks in the rest of the state/country are thinking?

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
    (Show?)

    LT said: "Wexler is big on taking out Iran. He has dual citizenship with Israel, as do all Jews. Maybe it's time to revisit this dual citizenship thing, especially for elected officals, regardless of their elected office level. I think anyone who swears to defend the U.S. Constitution cannot have two masters."

    There are two issues here:

    (1.) This is blatant anti-Semitism of the Jewish kind. And shame on you, Tom C, for not pointing it out in your response. All Jews are not citizens of Israel, nor do all of us have "dual loyalties". It is your non-representatives in Congress and in industry who have "dual loyalties"; they are loyal to power and to wealth.

    (2.) This is being presented as a reason not to impeach war criminals: Because all Jews have "dual loyalties", therefore the traitor Wexler cannot be trusted, and therefore impeachment cannot be an option. If only you could get rid of those devious, cabalistic Jews, everything would be 1956 all over again. You are pathetic.

  • Garrett (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Garrett,

    The crimes of the Shrubbery are far more serious and far more numerous than Nixon's crimes. Either stonewalling or release of administration documents that confirm Kucinich's charges will hurt Republicans who continue to support the administration. That would help Democrats in the fall elections, if partisanship is your first concern.

    Some Republicans turned against Nixon because the Republicans of the late 1960's were not the rabid bunch in office now. I think this should be pointed out to voters, not used as an excuse for inaction.

    You're right that Bush's crimes are worse than Nixon's. I'm fairly certain they're currently in the process of making the administration stonewall. In fact I'm sure of it with the constant picking at it we've had since the Dems took back both houses. It's been slow but steady and the effect is evident the President's poll numbers.

    Inaction? You're attacking the wrong idea. Republicans in the 1970s were willing to attack Nixon because he was in the wrong. The 1970s were a far different place than now. In either party if you attack the party line you're an outcast. Look at what happened to Joe Lieberman. It's all in the money. Republicans won't side against their guy anymore and neither will Dems. Attack that and realize we're in a changed political climate. There is a lot of grey and we operate in it.

    Why is it that there are always these idealists out there who are willing to sacrifice the common good to make some stinking point? Dude, everyone knows Bush sucks. Look at his approval rating. His legacy is shot before he's even left office. Nobody is going to write good things about him in a history book. It won't happen. He's going down as an idiot and terrible President who committed crimes that we're probably going to find more about in a few years. Clinton was impeached and the man did lie to a grand jury. It was about a BJ but he still lied to a grand jury. Look at how he's been remembered. He's viewed as a man who survived a witch hunt from the Republican right who was a pretty stinking good President. Why would we give that to Bush? He's gone. Wash your hands of him now and be happy we have the option to vote for someone else very soon. Trying to pursue an impeachment at this point makes you look as stupid as Newt Gingrich salivating over impeaching Clinton over a BJ.

  • Douglas K (unverified)
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    Impeachment need not take more than a few weeks of the judiciary committee's time. Kucinich already has done the homework and lined up the evidence. Their main job would be to sort through and determine which of his 35 counts is an impeachable offense. I have my doubts about a fair number of them.

    The judiciary committee might trim the list and send is left to the floor of the house. Voting whether or not to impeach on each specific charge is the important part. If Democrats vote to impeach Bush for authorizing torture, they are setting a precedent that will echo through history and reign in every future President. Congress will say that not only is torture illegal and un-American, but that a President may be removed from office for authorizing it. Same goes for denying habeas corpus, illegal wiretapping, and a number of other acts.

    After that, it doesn't matter whether there are enough votes in the Senate to remove Bush. Getting Bush out of office isn't the point. Charging him with various impeachable offenses is what counts. And it isn't about Bush, it's about every single President who comes after him. If Congress impeaches Bush, Congress creates a precedent about the kind of abuses of power that can get a President impeached. Want to keep future presidents from abusing signing statements, setting up a legal no-man's-land in Guantanamo, condoning torture, using extraordinary renditions, refusing Congressional subpoenas... Congress can preemptively cut off ALL of it by impeaching Bush right now. Impeachment tells every future President "You do NOT have this power."

    This isn't about partisan politics or getting rid of Bush. This is about keeping the Presidency within the bounds of the Constitution,

    A final point: impeachment won't make Bush more popular among voters. Voters were pissed off at Republicans because the impeachment of Bill Clinton was a blatantly partisan "gotcha" attack about something genuinely trivial. Democrats reluctantly impeaching Bush for massive abuses of power is a much different story. Most voters can tell the different between messing around with an intern and authorizing the torture of innocent people. Comparing this to the Clinton impeachment is apples and cantaloupes.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Harry,

    LT did not say that, he referenced a message board posting. I did not comment because it should be clear to all that it is an anti-Semitic remark - at least I am sure LT, you, and I think so. Lt's point, I am pretty sure, was that impeachment might stir-up such folks.

    My belief is that something important to governance should not be avoided because it would lead some unbalanced folks to post hateful remarks on the internet.

  • (Show?)

    Tom is correct. Here's LT's description of the clip...

    ...it will bring out the lunatic fringe and disrupt serious conversation about issues in this election year. Just now found one such example.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Douglas K wrote;

    Getting Bush out of office isn't the point. Charging him with various impeachable offenses is what counts. And it isn't about Bush, it's about every single President who comes after him. If Congress impeaches Bush, Congress creates a precedent about the kind of abuses of power that can get a President impeached.

    This is what what those who dismiss impeachment do not get or do not want to discuss. Which, I am not sure. Although impeachment hearings may constrain the administration for the rest of its term, the more important matter is the behavior of future administrations, all of which will not be Democratic - as if Democratic presidents can be trusted to never abuse power.

    LT, Steve Maurer and others are worried that impeachment hearings will lead to bad things. They present a rotating list of these bad possibilities, all of which sound to me like arguing against leaving a burning building because a tree may fall on us as we flee, or a mean dog may bite us, or we might be run over by a firetruck.

    Garrett argues that impeachment is no longer applicable because the partisan climate is changed since the Nixon years. That is more than a little like arguing that prosecuting gang members for murder is passé because jurists may fear the gangs.

    It all sounds to me like excuses for not doing what the Constitution demands. Nancy Pelosi is a nice person, but she is not behaving in a responsible manner. If she cannot do her duty because of promises made in the process of becoming speaker, she should resign that post.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    LT made a comment on the Russert thread that essentially said we shouldn't waste energy on impeachment but put it into the 2008 election.

    As for the election, Bush and his administration have shredded so much of the Constitution, what's to stop them from ripping out that part that says we are supposed to have a presidential election every four years? Certainly not the spineless and corrupt Congress that we have. Certainly not this nation of sheep that goes around bleating, "What Constitution? What Constitution? What's the big deal? What's the big deal?"

    And, what's the big deal about the next election that makes it more important than impeachment? If Merkley replaces Smith in the senate but he does the bidding of the corrupt and spineless Democratic leadership what advantage would he be over Smith? Will he replace Dianne Feinstein and help Upchuck Schumer install another Mukasey in the justice (?) department?

  • (Show?)

    Whether or not George Bush's "legacy" on many of these issues persists depends at least to a degree on the November presidential election. Obama has committed himself to rolling back significant elements of the power grabs that form much of the basis of Kucinich's articles. McCain has not, and given his level and form of militarism and its basis as a central column holding up his campaign, it is unlikely that he will abandon Bush's expansive and unconstitutional "commander-in-chief is above the law" doctrine.

    Harry Kershner has a point about the role of Democratic complicity and culpability in putting this "off the table" unfortunately -- among other things, parts of the Democratic leadership were briefed about the new torture policies and one of them asked only "is that all you're doing?" or words to that effect.

    Regardless of what I think, it seems clear to me that not even impeachment hearings are going to happen.

    I would be very curious to hear from Steve Maurer, LT and others who think that's good what you think we should do from the grassroots to fight against the Bush policies becoming precedential and holding our Democratic leaders accountable to fight for higher standards. Electing Barack Obama isn't a sufficient answer IMO. We're talking about fighting the corrupting effects of power, not in any venal sense, but in the sense of loss of perspective, and that isn't a partisan issue or phenemenon.

    This isn't meant as a point-scoring comment. I am really trying to think about this as a problem and in particular am not very clear about the "inside the party" dimensions of it, if any exist, but I'm not very sussed or adept about that. The local party is very open -- the higher up the food chain we go, the more insulated, isolated and less amenable to general popular interests it seems to be. How do we address that?

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Garrett argues that impeachment is no longer applicable because the partisan climate is changed since the Nixon years. That is more than a little like arguing that prosecuting gang members for murder is passé because jurists may fear the gangs.

    Not what I'm arguing at all. These are the facts. We have a Democratic majority due to Blue Dog Democrats. If you don't know who that particular group is you should figure it out real quick because they hold a lot of power. Most of these Dems represent Republican leaning or heavily Republican districts. Their constituents would view an impeachment trial as a witch hunt against a President that many of them feel is a good man.

    I have a pretty good line on this group due to some friends I've had that work on the hill and I can pretty much guarantee you that an impeachment isn't going to happen. In many cases voting along with an impeachment would cost these Dems their jobs along with the majority in Congress. What they do support is investigations where they can expose what the President was doing behind closed doors and make it clear that crimes were committed. I know crimes were committed as well as you do. They need a smoking gun. Hell, they need a smoking nuclear crater to convince people in their districts. It's not going to happen while this administration is in office. They're too good at stonewalling and changing the topic. If an investigation started they'd probably bomb Iran and claim Iran shot first just so they could take the attention off of themselves and fire up some nationalist pride in their "base."

    It's all speculation here because that's what we do. I agree with you in every sense that Bush should be impeached. I don't want it brushed under the carpet and I think Senator Obama has made it clear that it won't be forgotten when he becomes President. I realize an impeachment isn't going to happen and I understand why it isn't going to happen. I'm happy to take my second option which is work on a way that's probably going to end up with a lot of Bush/Cheney cronies in jail and a distaste for Republican rule so strong they have to change the ways of their party seismically to ever gain the majority again.

  • (Show?)

    I voted for John Bradach for delegate to the Democratic National Convention at the 3rd CD convention, and I am going to vote for him again this coming Saturday at the state convention. I hope he will be elected so that his voice will be heard in Denver.

    Having said that, while I agree with John and all the other people who support impeachment proceedings for philosophical reasons, I also agree with those who oppose them for practical political reasons. And this year, in my mind, practical politics trumps everything else. We have to win this election. We have to avoid distractions that could cause us to lose focus on the main event. Because impeachment will not succeed, and if we're not careful here, we'll get four more years with John McCain. And that's the only thing worse than what we've got now.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Right on Stephanie!

    The Yahoo Group I belong to includes someone who lives in a rural town. She sent the text of the letter to the editor she sent to the local small town newspaper in favor of impeachment. It is a well reasoned letter which hopefully gets printed and sparks a debate. That is more constructive than the debate on this or any other blog. Much of the general public (the folks who have to agree for impeachment to be a success) don't blog.

    How many of you like Tom and Bill who want all of us on the blog to say what amounts to "yes, by all means go forward with impeachment because it will bring good things and anyone who worries it will bring bad things is a worrywort" (that's how you sound) has written a letter to the editor of a small town newspaper? How many of you have discussed this topic with folks who are not actively involved in politics?

    Garrett is right about the Blue Dog Democrats. If someone won by a narrow margin as a challenger defeating a Republican incumbent (how Democrats took control), do you know that such a freshman would vote for impeachment just because you say so? If so, how do you know? Would it be better for those freshmen to support impeachment and lose? Where does Al Franken stand on this? One of those freshmen is in Minn. Wouldn't Coleman just love an issue like this to help his failing re-election campaign?

    Bill, in regard to this quote,

    "If Merkley replaces Smith in the senate but he does the bidding of the corrupt and spineless Democratic leadership ".

    all I can say is "Oh ye of little faith"!

    Everyone is spineless because they don't do what you want them to do?

    We have an excellent US Senate candidate as well as Obama running for President. We are supposed to believe that they are spineless unless they act the way you want them to act?

    Yes, mistakes were made early in this century. Yes, we haven't had crusading Senate leadership. But it was a Senate Democrat who introduced the updated GI Bill which McCain won't sign onto as co-sponsor, and it was the Supreme Court which said Guantanamo detainees have rights.

    For all the times Stephanie and I argued during the Senate primary, we agree on this. These concluding words of her comment are why some of us don't buy the argument that impeachment trumps everything else (that and the knowledge that the Nixon impeachment--the one which was done intelligently--took years not only for process but for building public support).

    And this year, in my mind, practical politics trumps everything else. We have to win this election. We have to avoid distractions that could cause us to lose focus on the main event. Because impeachment will not succeed, and if we're not careful here, we'll get four more years with John McCain. And that's the only thing worse than what we've got now.

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    To Chris and others who are trying to tease apart the various elements of this issue--I think that's ultimately the value of putting these into the public record. It creates the opportunity for discussion and possible remediation.

    I agree that the issue isn't really impeachment, which is at the very least logistically unfeasible this close to an election. Impeachment is, after all, a political, not legal act. That an election is so close actually makes the exercise redundant. But there are three issues that leap out which could--and should--be carried over to the next Congress and beyond.

    1. Crimes. Much of Kucinich's document details acts that can't be prosecuted. But some are. As a matter of democracy, allowing a power-grabbing president to get away with crimes is hard to justify. Shouldn't Congress conduct a real investigation and document these crimes, if for no other reason than to make a record for history?

    2. Executive authority. The Bush administration has made a practice of collecting power and "rights" that remain unchallenged. We can expect them to roll over to the next administration, whether or not it's an Obama or McCain White House (axiom: Presidents never cede power; this is a fully nonpartisan issue). What does Congress plan to do about that?

    3. Party hegemony. An unexamined element in all of this is the way in which the two-party system abets the collection of power. I'm a pretty good Democrat, but I have to admit I find it creepy how our parties run their machines. We have created a system for the collection of power, not oversight against it, and I find this very dangerous. It wasn't just Bush who committed these crimes, it was the Congressional GOP and a docile Dem minority that was biding its time until they got the power. I don't actually see anyone railing against the structure of power--just those who happen to have it.

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    3. Dave Frohnmayer told me, on the evening Monica Lewinsky was identified in the Press, that the President may pardon himself.

    I don't think that a self-pardon would stand up in court, but in any case the Constitution exempts impeachment from pardons. "Article 2, Section 2, gives the President the 'Power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.'"

    There were also Republicans that supported the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

    There weren't that many when the process began. And even after the impeachment committee hearings, most of the Republicans on the Judiciary committee voted against sending all three articles of impeachment to the full House.

    We have to avoid distractions that could cause us to lose focus on the main event.

    What is the main event? Is it electing politicians who will continue to fail in their duty to provide oversight of the federal government? Or is it change?

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    I agree that the issue isn't really impeachment, which is at the very least logistically unfeasible this close to an election.

    Fortunately, election year logistics won't be a problem for air strikes on Iran.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Garrett,

    You argue, in essence, that nothing should be done about the crimes of the Shrubbery while they are in office because they are too dangerous and evil. That is a scary surrender of power; the kind that emboldens bullies. Do you really think there will be the kind of investigations in 2009 that would lead to the repair of our constitutional process? So many people [Stephanie above, for example] claim that our attention and energy are needed elsewhere. There will always be pressing concerns that demand our attention - concerns I believe cannot be properly dealt with while our constitutional underpinning are so damaged. History suggests that out of office presidents are ignored "for the good of the nation."

    I believe this country is behaving like a dysfunctional family, refusing to confront the abuse that is undermining its foundation. Burying and denying the pain and damage does not make it go away, though. The children and their children will suffer until the abuse is confronted and relationships repaired. Confronting abuse takes courage, though, especially when the whole family is bound in co-dependence, as the Democratic leadership now seems to be.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    darrell,

    You say, "There weren't that many when the process began. And even after the impeachment committee hearings, most of the Republicans on the Judiciary committee voted against sending all three articles of impeachment to the full House."

    You're right. 10 out 17 voted against all articles of impeachment which is a majority of Republicans on the House Judiciary committee. If you take that as a study group that means about 42% of Republicans supported impeachment. Do you think 42% of Republicans in the House would support impeachment now? Do you really or are you just that deluded?

    Fortunately, election year logistics won't be a problem for air strikes on Iran.

    Realistically that's about the only thing that would probably get anyone moving towards Bush's impeachment.

  • Douglas K. (unverified)
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    Chris Lowe: Obama has committed himself to rolling back significant elements of the power grabs that form much of the basis of Kucinich's articles. McCain has not, and given his level and form of militarism and its basis as a central column holding up his campaign, it is unlikely that he will abandon Bush's expansive and unconstitutional "commander-in-chief is above the law" doctrine.

    Jeff Alworth: Executive authority. The Bush administration has made a practice of collecting power and "rights" that remain unchallenged. We can expect them to roll over to the next administration, whether or not it's an Obama or McCain White House (axiom: Presidents never cede power; this is a fully nonpartisan issue). What does Congress plan to do about that?

    This is my point. It doesn't matter whether impeachment "succeeds" or not. What matters is that Congress sets a political precedent limiting executive power. If President Obama chooses to "roll back" some of Bush's abuses, that's irrelevant ... the power will still be there even if he (and various presidents) decline to exercise it.

    This isn't a mere philosophical question. This is about whether the balance of power envisioned by the Framers of the Constitution survives, or whether we shift to a monarchical presidency where the only real check on the executive is the executive's own self-restraint.

    And by the way, there certainly is time to do it. Two months of hearings in the judiciary committee , a week of debate on the House floor, and then vote. Two months of hearings will finally get various polling companies to ask the questions they've been avoiding for the past few years: Should the President be impeached?

    Right now, the news media won't cover the question, because Congress won't act. But once the issue gets into the news (and there will need to be hearings for that to happen), the polls will come. And then we'll all be able to see whether there really is support for impeachment, both generally and for specific charges.

    Get poll numbers that show majority support, or at least more in favor of impeachment than opposed, and the charges that the American people find most egregious can be sent to the House floor for a vote. If there's popular support for impeachment, most Democrats can vote "yes" with impunity (and Republicans from swing districts will vote "no" at their peril.)

    On the other hand, if polling shows the majority of the American people really don't want Bush impeached, the process can remain bottled up in committee.

    But there's no reason -- NONE -- not to move aggressively on this in the Judiciary committee.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    "And this year, in my mind, practical politics trumps everything else. We have to win this election."

    Unfortunately, that's the prevailing attitude (excuse) EVERY election cycle.

    Here's a novel idea that some brave politician will finally figure out:

    Stand up for what you believe in and stop worrying about how the GOP will spin it.

    It's that magic "authenticity" thing that everyone aims for.

    We've got to weed out the politicians whose attitude is "I don't know If what I'm doing is right or wrong, I just want to win."

    That's the problem, not the solution.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    LT wrote,

    Wouldn't Coleman just love an issue like this to help his failing re-election campaign?

    I admit my mind is boggled by such thinking. LT and others seem to believe that exposing the crimes of Bush and Cheney will help Republicans in the next election. Are you totally cynical toward the values and judgment of the American people? Or do you believe that the administration has not done much wrong?

    Perhaps there is no hope for this republic. Perhaps choosing the next Caesar is the best we can do.

    Long live the empire!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Everyone is spineless because they don't do what you want them to do?

    The politicians in Congress who are spineless are those who didn't do what they should have done, especially from October 2002 and since whenever they reneged on their oaths to uphold the Constitution.

    There is a group opposed to impeachment on the grounds that the important thing is for the Democrats to win in November. There are two problems with this argument. The first is that they are buying into conventional wisdom which is not always that wise. If a valid case is made for impeachment there is a good chance that enough sheep will be persuaded to make a majority - just as was the case with Nixon's impeachment. Where there was a majority in favor of the war on Iraq, there is now a majority opposed to the war now that they have their facts straight. If Bush's ratings and down in the ditch just above the ratings for politicians in Congress, why should their be a problem persuading a majority of the people that impeachment is the right thing? Oh, I forgot a couple of kooks came out of the woodwork on some blog few of us ever heard of.

    The other problem, and probably the greater, is that Democrats are again making a Faustian bargain selling what's left of their soul to gain the presidency and the majority. In the process they are prepared to add a few more nails in the American republic's coffin.

    Take a look at how John McCain has been selling his integrity and soul since 2000 to satiate his ambition to become president. He has rendered himself into a pathetic creature. Is that what Democrats want for their party and the nation?

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    I admit my mind is boggled by such thinking. LT and others seem to believe that exposing the crimes of Bush and Cheney will help Republicans in the next election. Are you totally cynical toward the values and judgment of the American people? Or do you believe that the administration has not done much wrong?

    You're not getting it Tom. Of course the administration has committed impeachable offenses. However there is no freaking way you're going to get enough evidence out of this White House while they're still in power. What about this White House has given you the idea they won't slap executive priviledge on EVERYTHING the Judiciary Committee asks for and then take it on long dragged out court battles that last up until Bush's term is done? They will cry liberal witch hunt and accuse us of McCarthyism and pardon me for being an elitist but the uneducated idiots that don't pay attention will believe it. They have proven time and time again that they will buy the crap this administration spews.

    You are arguing nothing but wild speculation that the House Judiciary Committee can bring up articles of impeachment and then the American public is going to suddenly get on board. Last poll I could find was ARG's and it was 45% pro and 46% anti. That looks suspiciously just like the partisan split we've had in this country for the last few years.

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    If you take that as a study group that means about 42% of Republicans supported impeachment. Do you think 42% of Republicans in the House would support impeachment now? Do you really or are you just that deluded?

    If you take that as a study group, that means that a majority of Republicans supported sending the bills of impeachment to the House floor after two months of public hearings and a showdown in the courts with Nixon over tapes, not that they supported impeachment at the beginning of the process.

    It also means that a lot of Republicans who voted to authorize the Judiciary committee to look into impeachment proceedings in February 1974 (the vote in the House was 410-4) opposed impeachment.

    I'm not deluded, just better-informed than you are.

  • james bradach (unverified)
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    It is wonderful to know that this election is going to right all wrongs. Tiptoeing up to the opposition is a fine strategy, wouldn't want to waste the time on informing the public on the crimes of these people when we can slip in behind them an pick power from their pockets. The uninformed masses will welcome Obama with sweets and roses...tell them we are liberators. There are a lot of people out here with no sense of what they are being liberated from. If the democrats are not in sincere opposition to this bullshit, you will see a dangerous number of vote chasing heartfelt desires elsewhere.

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    Fortunately, election year logistics won't be a problem for air strikes on Iran. Realistically that's about the only thing that would probably get anyone moving towards Bush's impeachment.

    It'd be a little late by the time thousands of Iranians have been killed to impeach anyone. By then we'd be at war with Iran, no matter who the next president is. Impeachment is designed as a preventative tool, to keep incompetents and abusers from wielding the reins of power.

    I doubt whether anyone unwilling to impeach for getting into a war that;s lasted more than five years based on claims that were debunked years ago, and ruining the country's economy in the process is likely to support taking him on over another war.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    However there is no freaking way you're going to get enough evidence out of this White House while they're still in power.

    There are already loads of evidence over which the White House has no control to justify impeachment. How about the war on Iraq which was illegal and based on lies that we all know about? How about the thousands of young men and women who have died and been maimed physically and mentally because of that war? How about the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been squandered? And the trillions of dollars in accounts payable? How about the abuses of human rights in contravention of the Geneva Conventions? How about the degradation of America's reputation around the world.

    Pardon my delay, but thank you very much JB for this post.

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    Just to be perfectly clear, I don't expect the Democrats in Congress to do anything on impeachment any more than I expect them to actively prosecute Bush or Cheney after the election (assuming they win). After all, Speaker Pelosi declared impeachment off the table back before the 2006 elections that brought the Democrats into the majority in Congress. That was their promise, and they've kept it well.

    Not to mention, it would be highly embarrassing for the party leadership to have any kind of serious investigation into the grounds for the Iraq war, which many of them supported. People who voted against the AUMF were toeing the administration's line about Iraqi WMD, even after UNMOVIC inspectors had reported finding nothing after nearly three months of searching on the ground.

    The Nixon impeachment was simple and clear-cut. No Democrats in Congress were implicated in the Watergate cover-up or other paranoiac plots of the Nixon administration. It was easily contained to the White House, CREEP, and the RNC.

    Iraq, though, is more like the Iran-Contra affair, in that Democrats were at least tangentially involved as avid supporters of the causes (anti-Khomeini and anti-Sandanista). Stir up those pots too much and you start bringing up members of the party. So people like Reagan and GHW Bush skate on illegal foreign policy actions carried out under their noses, and the lower-level people involved get TV shows or come back around fifteen years later to help gin up the Iraq war.

    And that's what I'm more or less expecting this time around, "change" or no. Bill Kristol's got a lot of years left in him (he's only 55). Condi Rice is a couple years younger. Doug Feith is the same age as Kristol. Assuming there's still a working Constitution, a couple decades from now I'll be having this same argument in whatever the contemporary equivalent of a blog is about why the president should be impeached for the illegal invasion of Sudan or Venezuela or Canada or wherever else there's still some oil.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    My apologies to LT and Tom C. for misunderstanding the anti-Semitic quote. I recommend that in the future, LT, you place quotation marks around bigoted remarks that you lift from some other place. I agree with Tom that the possibility of anti-Semitism in response to impeachment attempts is a ridiculous reason not to do it.

    That having been said, I want to agree with all the anti-impeachment posters on one condition: if I commit mass murder in the future, I want to be given an equal chance to have the charges dismissed as you want to give Bush and Cheney.

    Several of you continue to mislead and obfuscate on the crimes of the Clinton Administration. Just as the most heinous crimes of the Nixon Administration, e.g., the slaughter of millions in Indo-china in a war of aggression, the supreme international crime under the Nuremberg findings, were never part of Nixon's impeachment process (because, once again, Democrats were equally implicated), the most abominable of Clinton's crimes (including 500,000 Iraqi children killed, the 78 days of bombing of Yugoslavia, and other crimes against humanity) were ignored in his impeachment proceedings.

    If an international court were to try Clinton and Bush under the same rules that Saddam were tried under, they both would be hung, and the videos would be available on your favorite website.

    The point of this is that we need, even more than impeachment, a truth and reconciliation movement that will force Democrats and Republicans to testify truthfully to their own crimes. As long as both parties only recognize the truth of the crimes of the other, we will be doomed to repeat the same.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I agree with Harry. Unfortunately, the US news media is so jingoistic that lives lost to US military [war] or economic [sanction] force are not considered human for moral or legal purposes. I doubt an American president will ever be held accountable for killing foreigners until we make great strides in national moral maturity.

    Americans do care about our own citizens and our money, though. The Shrubbery squandered a lot of both, using lies and extra-constitutional action.

    Garrett believes Shrub will stonewall impeachment hearings. We have ample precedenct on that matter: there is no executive privilege concerning possible criminal activity [United States v. Richard Nixon(1974)]. Shrub is not very popular. I doubt that the news media, snivelling corporate lapdogs that they are, would protect him if he defies Congress on this. Republicans who back the administration will suffer at the polls. If documents are made public and witnesses testify, the revelations will have the same effect.

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    Just to clarify, my quote above, reposted and commented on, was merely and observation of the speed at which things pass through Congress. It took four months to impeach and try Clinton, and that was because everyone knew the votes weren't there.

    Holding impeachment hearings is a different matter.

    I'd argue that it's a foolish way to approach the issue. Bringing impeachment hearings now would accomplish nothing: since it's merely a legislative remedy, you'd just have a long-winded debate and enormous rancor, followed by a vote to impeach. And then it would go on to die quickly in the Senate, where there are nowhere near 67 votes.

    So in essence, you would have shot your wad on a burlesque show, never to revisit the actual crimes in any serious way, having sacrificed your credibility on what would be regarded (wrongly) by the media and the public as partisan retribution for Clinton. And you'd seriously screw yourself in November.

    I know there are a lot of people who would love to see the impeachment just for the moral satisfaction of it. I'd like something a little less theatrical and futile, personally.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Proponents of placing politics (winning the next election) over doing what is right (impeachment in accordance with the U.S. Constitution) seem to be overlooking an important point. While they are concerned about losing the votes of the kooks and other forms of ignorance, they don't seem to care about losing the votes of more responsible people who are tired of this form of ethical bankruptcy. If polls that place respect for Congress down in the teens (below Bush and Cheney) are accurate then it seems the obvious conclusion to draw is that there is a sizable demand for upgrading ethical standards. Of course, the problem there is that the party oligarchs, Republican and Democrat, are so ethically and morally bankrupt they would find it difficult breathing in a system where the air is not befouled by corruption.

    I'm reminded of an article at the time JFK was elected and there was some concern about dead people having voted for him in the Chicago area. Someone asked a local Chicagoan how people could vote for such crooks who were alleged to be part of the Daley machine. He answered, "Because they are our crooks."

    So there's your slogan for re-usable signs. "Vote for our crook."

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    So in essence, you would have shot your wad on a burlesque show,

    I concur, and that one's going to be used again in various contexts........Too good to ignore.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Jeff Alworth wrote:

    And you'd seriously screw yourself in November.

    I'm trying to understand this opinion. After impeaching Clinton for oral sex in the Oval Office, the Republicans won the presidency and control of both houses of Congress in the next election. Why would impeachment hearing on Bush's exponentially more serious crimes "seriously screw" the Democrats?

    And then there is the matter of the Constitution. It is not a self-healing document. Or, Jeff, are you not concerned with the balance of powers, individual rights, due process, and international law?

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    Harry, there were five Nixon articles of impeachment voted on. One concerned the so-called "secret" bombing of Cambodia in 1969-70, before the open invasion of that country. There were extensive public debates about it in the Judiciary Committee and the press. The article was defeated on a vote of 12-26, about which the American Bar Association says

    "the House Judiciary Committee rejected [an article] of impeachment against President Nixon for the secret bombings in Cambodia, which were viewed as being within executive prerogative as commander in chief..."

    Since the article was defeated by an alliance of Republicans and at minimum 9 of 21 Democrats, more if any of the 17 Republicans voted for this article, this fact doesn't substantially affect your main point, I suppose, except insofar as you tend to treat Democrats as a monolithic bloc. But it isn't true that it wasn't part of the process. I remember being bitterly disappointed at its defeat.

    Douglas K., I am not by any means saying that what Obama proposes will be adequate to the scope of the constitutional crisis, but it is not just a matter of his choosing not to exercise powers, he is proposing that there be legislation specifically repudiating some of the Bush admin. claims. So I don't go quite as far as Jeff, but I agree that there will be a continuing problem.

    However, I am also not convinced that impeachment hearings or even an impeachment vote would necessarily end up as the future restraint envisioned. The Nixon article on Cambodia is a case in point. Or take the apparent agreement of a majority in Congress that while past illegal wiretapping by telecoms should or should not be prosecuted, exactly the same acts going forward should be legalized as "necessary tools" for the security apparat. (I am using police state language deliberately.)

    There are distinct possibilities that in some areas an impeachment hearing process could lead to ratification of some of Bush's power grabs.

    That's not necessarily a reason not to have such a process, just an argument that we shouldn't regard it as a panacea. We should recognize that some aspects might well not even be brought to votes, in order to avoid just such a denouement of ratification. Fighting back against this stuff is going to have to happen in a lot of places in a lot of ways.

    Unfortunately part of our constitutional crisis lies with Congress.

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)
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    It is my experience, and the expectation of our legal system, that people under oath most often tell the truth. The delay in getting the people who know the truth before the Judiciary Committee is scandalous, in its own right. But, now we get Scotty. Will he be the modern day Alexander Butterfield, or will his appearance encourage some other witness of up-to-now faint heart to step forward? We can only hope.

    I don't think the investigative process will detract from the Obama Campaign or from the electoral prospects of other Democrats. It will not mature to a full blown impeachment, until the facts to justify it are out. But, I believe that will certainly occur, once there are hearings.

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    Bill B., just so you know, some of us regard it as an ethical problem to generalize about our fellow citizens as "sheep," and therefore view with some jaundice ethical self-congratulation by people who make such generalizations.

    Personally I'm not actually thinking about the constitutional crisis problem mainly in terms of electoral calculus.

    But within that frame, your argument that those thinking in such terms ought to be concerned about the loss of the ethically upright vote as much as the kook and ignoramus vote, as you define those things, is severely undercut by your characterization of the people as a whole falling into the latter category.

    The pro-impeachment (in whatever fullness of process) folks who argue for it as a means to force a wider public debate and reframing of issues that might change public understandings have a stronger case, IMO.

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    Or, Jeff, are you not concerned with the balance of powers, individual rights, due process, and international law?

    Tom, I've been pretty clear on this thread that since those are the things I'm principally interested in (as opposed to some kind of retributive political catharsis), I think impeachment is a huge blunder. Sometimes we have to think subtly about how to achieve our end. Your jab inclines me to think you're after catharsis.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Jeff,

    My jab is meant to prompt you to discuss how you think Constitutional rule can be repaired.

    Then there is the electoral question. Why, given Republican successes after the Clinton impeachment, do you predict serious screwing of the Democrats if impeachment hearing are held now?

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    So in essence, you would have shot your wad on a burlesque show, never to revisit the actual crimes in any serious way

    Ahhh, the old "dry powder" argument. Seriously, Jeff, do you expect there to be any revisitation of "the actual crimes," ever? How could that possibly happen when so many Democrats would have to eat crow about their credulity on Iraq in 2002? No, I expect it's going to get swept under the rug, eventually the troops will have to be extracted from Iraq because we can't afford to keep them there any more, and the "stab in the back" theory about how the hippies and the media wouldn't let the military "win" in Iraq will take hold just like it did after Vietnam.

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    Seriously, Jeff, do you expect there to be any revisitation of "the actual crimes," ever?

    That's a different question, isn't it, Darrel? (Changing the question is specialty of yours.) I have never offered an opinion on that question.

    Tom, I haven't put a lot of thought into it lately, but if you want radical, how about war crimes investigations into members of the White House? That's really what's at issue, and there's something rather elegant about the solution--Bush has tried to weaken the war crimes act to protect his administration.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Bill B., just so you know, some of us regard it as an ethical problem to generalize about our fellow citizens as "sheep," and therefore view with some jaundice ethical self-congratulation by people who make such generalizations.

    James Lederer wrote a respected book that was published in 1961. It was titled "A Nation of Sheep." Blurb: Discusses the effects of the apathy and ignorance of the American people on United States foreign policy, relations with other nations, and use of foreign aid funds. It has been some time since I read that book, but I don't recall the author having any sense of ethical superiority. If I recall correctly he was more saddened and concerned.

    Clearly, the author and, perhaps less clearly, I did not mean everyone in the nation is a sheep or sheep-like. But if you consider the comment in the blurb above indicating this terminology was intended to apply where apathy and ignorance existed then it is a fair characterization. As elections show, there is a lot of apathy and a fair amount of ignorance. I suggest as evidence of the latter the number of people (sheep?) who bought into the pre-war propaganda despite contradictory evidence that was available to the non-apathetic and those concerned about not being ignorant.

    Why is there so much apathy? Because so many corporations persuade people to their commercial enterprises and away from paying attention to the nation's business and thinking for themselves. From this point of view it is tempting to invoke the story about the Pied Piper of Hamelin with this charmer standing as a metaphor for advertising agencies, but that would imply the charmed were rats or children.

    As I mentioned above regarding the opinions on the war on Iraq a majority approved of the war. Now much of that majority has moved (been shepherded?) to opposing the war. Then again, there is that 25-30 percent who still believe the neocon-O'LIElly-Limbaugh-Coulter lies that Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qa'ida and that he had weapons of mass destruction. Would "sheep" be appropriate in this case, or would that be unfair to real sheep? I have to admit I would find it difficult to consider them fellow citizens, even if that is technically so.

    As for the point about "ethical self-congratulation" I'm aware of too many instances of my own failures to permit any vanity in this regard. However, having experienced the consequences of these shortcomings and learned from them, I think it is important to encourage others to have higher standards when standards appear to be too low and with hazardous potentials. Kind of like alcoholics and other addicts trying to dissuade others from making the same mistakes.

    It appears to me and, apparently, others that the failure of politicians in Congress to uphold their oaths to defend the Constitution and get this nation into an illegal war was unethical. In lieu of such candor would someone suggest some benign adjective that would get the point across? Goof? Unintended error? Slip of the tongue?

    We might also note the popularity of heaping all the blame for the war and abuse of human rights on Bush and his administration, but we would be very much remiss if we failed to recognize the complicity of Congress and the American people (with a notable and exceptional minority). Legally the last group are citizens but not if we reserve the term "citizens" for those who practice, or at least try to practice, the duties of citizenship.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Try a Google for "nation of sheep" Interesting results.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I like this one from Edward R. Murrow: "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_R._Murrow and http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Edward_R._Murrow

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    That's a different question, isn't it, Darrel?

    Only in your mind, Jeff. You gave the "shot your wad" excuse as a reason not to hold impeachment hearings, saying that it would impair the ability to "revisit the actual crimes in any serious way". That would seem to imply that you think there's even a possibility that there will be any such revisitation. Either that or you're hypocritically arguing against impeachment using an argument you don't believe in yourself.

    (Changing the question is specialty of yours.)

    Why is it that you feel you have to make some sort of personal slander in your argument, Jeff? Are you really that desperate? Why not just call me a commie right off the bat?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti Wrote:

    My jab is meant to prompt you to discuss how you think Constitutional rule can be repaired.

    Jeff Alworth wrote:

    Tom, I haven't put a lot of thought into it lately, but if you want radical, how about war crimes investigations into members of the White House? That's really what's at issue, and there's something rather elegant about the solution--Bush has tried to weaken the war crimes act to protect his administration.

    This seems the heart of the difference in our views. My main concern is rehabilitating constitutional government, which has been badly damaged by Bush and Cheney's machinations. It seems to me that impeachment hearings are the most likely to succeed at this. You "haven't put a lot of thought into it lately" and suggest that war crimes investigations might be the way to go.

    Come now. How likely would it be for Americans to try a past American president for war crimes? War crimes tribunals are almost always international affairs, and would be of little use in mending our Constitution.

    And I will ask again: Then there is the electoral question. Why, given Republican successes after the Clinton impeachment, do you predict serious screwing of the Democrats if impeachment hearing are held now?

    Perhaps LT, Pat, Garrett, Stephanie V or Steve would venture an answer if any of them agree with you on this.

  • (Show?)

    Tom I think you misread the impact of the impeachment hearings on the GOP. The immediate result was the end of the Gingrich speakership. The electoral success of the GOP after 1998 was mainly due to public reactions to 9/11.

    What we can glean about public reactions to the impeachment hearings is that the public was very negative about it.

    But the main problem with the Kucinich impeachment articles is the same as it's always been--there is no smoking gun here. There is no "I did not have sex with that woman." There is no 18 minute gap.

    The articles are a mishmash of policy disagreements (Medicare? Is he joking), good old fashioned incompetence (Katrina) and serious issues of misleading the public (Iraq).

    Kucinich overreaches, as he's always done, and in doing so undermines his own cause. He would have been much better of focusing on his strongest case, the evidence in the lead up to the war.

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    No argument about the lack of ethics in failure to uphold oaths of office, Bill.

    But sheep are stupid, not just apathetic and ignorant, and calling people sheep is an insult. You can't get around that. If someone called you a sheep, you'd take it as an insult, because it is one.

    Its also an insult that implies that the name-caller is smarter than the name-called. Apathy and ignorance are human conditions that can be changed by human engagement. Stupidity, and particularly animal-like stupidity, are not. One does not reason with sheep, try to persuade them, form alliances with them, listen to them and change one's own actions with them. One herds them, or fleeces them, or eats them, or comments on their aesthetic qualities out in the field. But do politics with them? No.

    The very change in opinions that you cite undercuts the sheep metaphor. The problem is to know what to do. It is their problem, and ours, both.

    Basing our politics on metaphors of regarding our necessary allies as like stupid animals is going to lead to bad politics. Because really people aren't stupid or sheep, and when they hear someone calling them that, they tend, with full justification, to feel disdained. They then tend to resent and distrust the disdainers, and be disinclined to listen to them. And they may be persuaded to give credence to other, worse ideas held by people who vindicate their feelings of being looked down upon with criticisms of elitism.

    Incongruously enough given your aims, looking upon people as sheep puts you in fundamentally the same attitude toward the people as Straussian neo-Platonists like Paul Wolfowitz and a number of the other neocons. Not that it leads you to similar actions in terms of lying to them.

  • edison (unverified)
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    I hold no hope that any impeachment process will commence before the election and I seriously doubt any will after. And that saddens me. Too many of our elected representatives have decided for various reasons to ignore their constitutional responsibilities; it remains to be seen if the republic will survive those decisions.

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    Darrel, you alway use language to provoke, and once you receive the (in this case exceedlingly gentle) reaction you caused, you whinge. My comment was not only not slander, it was a factual statement about how I see our exchanges. changing accusYou'll disagree with that last point, obviously, but I'd love to hear how you get slander (or libel, more accurately) out of this comment:

    (Changing the question is specialty of yours.)

    slander, (n) - a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report.

  • (Show?)

    Tom, you seem to think that there's a magic bullet here. I don't. Rehabilitating government isn't as easy as holding impeachment hearings. It's going to take comprehensive effort on a number of fronts in the coming years. And to do that, we're going to need responsible pols in office--who can change laws and appoint impartial judges to uphold them. Shooting our wad on a single grand gesture may provide emotional release, but it has no chance of reforming government. It will take vigilence and time.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    But sheep are stupid, not just apathetic and ignorant, and calling people sheep is an insult. You can't get around that. If someone called you a sheep, you'd take it as an insult, because it is one.

    If someone called me a sheep or other similar name and explained why I would consider his or her comments to try to understand as honestly as I could whether that person had a point. If I recognized I was in the wrong I would change my ways. If not I would rebut the point made. I've had experiences like that since I was a child when friends told me I was dumb still believing in Santa Claus. So I checked for the facts, found I was wrong, admitted it and became less dumb and more skeptical in the future. Unfortunately, some people still believe in their Santa Clauses and elect them to the White House, Congress and state legislatures.

    Since my choice of words has caused a diversion from the much more important topic of impeachment I'll ponder another way of phrasing while I'm away from the Internet the next few days.

    Incongruously enough given your aims, looking upon people as sheep puts you in fundamentally the same attitude toward the people as Straussian neo-Platonists like Paul Wolfowitz and a number of the other neocons.

    On the other hand it seems to put me on the same side of the fence as Edward R. Murrow. Kind of a nice place to be if not in the same league.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    paul g,

    There would have been no 18 1/2 minute gap if Congress had not been investigating Watergate vigorously, forcing the administration to hand over documents and provide testimony. Indeed, given the stonewalling of this administration, the pressure of impeachment hearing is even more necessary to pry information free. Then we will have the smoking gun to hand to the Senate for impeachment.

    Bush was elected in 2000 - or, at least, did well enough to steal the election - beating Al Gore who was hobbled by his disassociation from President Clinton. That disassociation was the result of the impeachment of Clinton. This, of course, was well before 9/11/01 and could not have been effected by it.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Jeff Alworth wrote:

    Shooting our wad on a single grand gesture....

    You continue to characterize impeachment in such terms, but you offer no convincing argument for such characterization. My argument springs from the Constitution itself. Impeachment is the constitutional remedy for executive branch officers who refuse to play by the rules. I do not argue that impeachment is sufficient to repair all the damage done by the Shrubbery. I argue that impeachment is necessary to begin the process of repair.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Perhaps LT, Pat, Garrett, Stephanie V or Steve would venture an answer if any of them agree with you on this.

    I do agree with Jeff. I just stopped caring about you because you aren't looking at things in a rational way. Trying to impeach the President right now would be a failure and it would close the book on any future investigations.

    Harry Kershner said: Clinton's crimes (including 500,000 Iraqi children killed, the 78 days of bombing of Yugoslavia, and other crimes against humanity) were ignored in his impeachment proceedings.

    Are you kidding? Here is justification for the 78 days of bombing? It's called genocide. If the internet is working correctly I can't really find any instances of Slobodan Milosevic realizing he was wrong to order ethnic cleansing.

    There is good evidence to support 500,000 children died as a result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the original war by the UN. I don't think the point of the sanctions imposed by the UN was to kill children. If you do think that was the point then you'll have to prove it. That is a loaded argument and it isn't really fair to Bubba. Also let me point out one more time that the UN imposed the sanctions not President Clinton. He proposed the Oil for Food Program to help ordinary Iraqi civilians with food and medicine. I think we can all agree that at the very least this program was abused by the Iraqi govt.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Right on Garrett!

    My point is that no amount of blogging can change what happens in the real world.

    This, however, may just make a difference.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2008/06/18/BL2008061801546.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    General Accuses WH of War Crimes

    By Dan Froomkin Special to washingtonpost.com Wednesday, June 18, 2008; 12:44 PM

    The two-star general who led an Army investigation into the horrific detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib has accused the Bush administration of war crimes and is calling for accountability.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Garrett wrote:

    I do agree with Jeff. I just stopped caring about you because you aren't looking at things in a rational way. Trying to impeach the President right now would be a failure and it would close the book on any future investigations.

    Garrett, you need not care about me. It's okay with me, but you should analyze your own statements before accusing others of irrationality.

    You, like Jeff, make generalized predictions that impeachment hearings would lead to bad stuff, but you present no evidence to support this. That is not rational. You claim that impeachment would be a failure, but do not define what you mean by failure. Those who have written in favor of impeachment here believe that removal from office is NOT necessary for considering impeachment hearings successful, but, rather, that putting the executive branch on notice that Congress will not allow the Constitution to be subverted is the important goal.

    You suggest, as did Jeff, that impeachment hearings would foreclose later action. Neither of you tell why that would be so, you simply state it as though it were an edict from beyond.

    Just who is behaving irrationally?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Thanks for the link, LT. It seems that the Physicians for Human Rights report, Broken Laws, Broken Lives would be good evidence for Article XVIII of Kucinich's articles of impeachment.

    By the way, if you read Impeachment: An Overview of Constitutional Provisions, Procedure, and Practice, you will learn that impeachment does not foreclose later criminal prosecution. Also, impeachment may continue AFTER an officeholder leaves office. This is because one of the possible penalties of conviction is disqualification from holding future office. So, impeachment hearing would not be "shooting our wad" and the process would not need to end before Shrub and Darth leave office.

    Note to Garrett: This is what rational argument looks like. You should try it sometime, rather than expecting people to accept your unsupported opinions as fact.

  • (Show?)

    That impeachment may be pursued after someone leaves office is very interesting and puts a rather different complexion on some things as a potential remedy for repairing the damage, though I'd say cutting both ways in terms of arguments over timing.

    Garrett, hiding behind the U.N. is an abusive practice that we should not encourage. Bush's justifications of aggression against Iraq included spurious readings of Security Council resolutions that the U.S. veto prevented the Council as a whole from correcting or refuting. If the Clinton administration had decided to alter its sanctions policy on Iraq in the 1990s, there is little reason to think that any of the other veto powers would have blocked such a change. In fact, your correct pointing to the oil-for-food program is a case in point.

    The bigger picture about the Clinton administration and Iraq sanctions is that after a point they had a) clearly failed in their stated purposes, b) more particularly failed to harm Hussein or his coterie, c) had known consequences in civilian death and debility, in the totality of the circumstances including the viciousness of the Hussein regime in its choices and repeated U.S. acts of destruction of civilian infrastructure related to no-fly-zone conflicts, anti-aircraft attacks on U.S. attacks, and U.S. retaliation, and d) perversely provided Hussein with a nationalist rallying point.

    Hussein's partial responsibility for the murderousness of the sanctions does not absolve the U.S. or Clinton or the egregious Madeleine Albright from their responsibility.

    When an action has know consequences and you take it anyway, it is intentional and you have responsibility for the consequences. When an ongoing pattern of actions has known consequences over a long period, which reveal that the stated intentions have failed while the known consequences persist, pursuit of the failed aims in light of a conscious evaluation that the horrendous consequences are "worth it" is both morally bankrupt, and involves a degree of reckless indifference that rises to the level of sheer mass murder in this case.

    We have a lot of blood on our hands in Iraq, nationally, and a lot of it was put there by Bill Clinton and his administration, though it predates them too.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I agree with Chris's last statement, but approval of the UN for the sanctions likely means that Clinton et al will not be held accountable for war crimes against the Iraqi people.

    In the same way, the international coalition might be enough shield Shrub et al from charges of preventative war under international law. I doubt the coalition of the willing[sic?] would help explain away the crimes of the occupation, though.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    You, like Jeff, make generalized predictions that impeachment hearings would lead to bad stuff, but you present no evidence to support this. That is not rational. You claim that impeachment would be a failure, but do not define what you mean by failure. Those who have written in favor of impeachment here believe that removal from office is NOT necessary for considering impeachment hearings successful, but, rather, that putting the executive branch on notice that Congress will not allow the Constitution to be subverted is the important goal.

    You suggest, as did Jeff, that impeachment hearings would foreclose later action. Neither of you tell why that would be so, you simply state it as though it were an edict from beyond.

    Just who is behaving irrationally?

    This is the last thing I'm going to say about this. I lived through the Clinton impeachment. Before you say that was about a BJ...Clinton lied before a grand jury. That is called perjury and if you want to get technical about it. I'd go ahead and say that perjuring yourself, for any reason, is a high crime and misdemeanor. No I don't think he should have been impeached because it was about a BJ.

    I haven't said once that Bush doesn't deserve to be impeached. I have just argued that it's pointless now because I don't think it will do anything but stir the political pot. It will look like a partisan action and I think it will do more harm than good. Why do I think that? Look what it did to the Republicans. They lost seats, Newt lost his position and it set them on the path to lose the Congress even after they spent 10 years gerrymandering their districts in Republican favor.

    I think there is loads of proof to say this administration will be able to stonewall their way out until they're out of office and twist public opinion into this being a partisan action judging from their past history.

    I am not willing to risk the Presidency, lose seats in the House and risk our Senate majority because people like you want to make a point. Put the right people in office, have them pursue the criminals once they're out of office and then control the bully pulpit when they can't. Obama is squeaking by McCain right now and if he loses any bit of turnout due to partisan distaste he could lose that slight edge he has now. Then we lose the Supreme Court and you can kiss your rights goodbye. There won't be a chance for impeachment ever again if that happens. At least I know you're in the minority.

    Chris, please...answer the question. When those sanctions were put in place and followed by what, 97% of countries? Over time less countries followed them. Do you honestly think those sanctions were put on with the intention of leading to the death of 500,000 Iraqis?

  • james r bradach (unverified)
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    Vigilence my rump! The A.D.D generation will get to see this all again. I hope this will be my last torment from the likes of these bastards. They don't just start acting better. Unless you chase them back into the dark they we continue to harm you.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Garrett asked, "Do you honestly think those sanctions were put on with the intention of leading to the death of 500,000 Iraqis?"

    Most crimes of this sort are committed because the criminals couldn't care less about the victims. They treat them as most of us would treat the ants we step on as we walk across a field. As Madelyn Albright infamously (to most of the world) said, "It was worth the price" (to her and to the Clinton Administration). It wasn't worth the price, however, to the Iraqis. Nor would it be worth the price to you if your children died as a result of the policies of a nation that invaded yours.

    Re: "Are you kidding? Here is justification for the 78 days of bombing? It's called genocide. If the internet is working correctly I can't really find any instances of Slobodan Milosevic realizing he was wrong to order ethnic cleansing."

    No, I'm not kidding. Your reading of the historical record differs from mine. The slaughter in Yugoslavia increased after Clinton's attack, which has been classified as a war crime by many analysts:

    "When you ask whether a certain action is or is not a case of humanitarian intervention, you should at least approach it with a sense of history and an understanding of what’s happened in the past. Then you have to evaluate the case on its own terms. You have to ask, for example, whether the bombing of Yugoslavia was a case of humanitarian intervention? When you ask that question, in this case, I think you find quite the opposite. The bombing was undertaken with the expectation that it would lead to a very sharp escalation of atrocities and had nothing to do with humanitarian goals. The opposite is very passionately claimed, but with no credible evidence or argument, to my knowledge." (Liberating the Mind from Orthodoxies)

    I think that if you'll revisit the history of "humanitarian intervention", you'll discover that nation states always call their militarism "humanitarian intervention". Bush's attacks and Clinton's attacks were caused by our desire to expand democracy and human rights, just like the Nazis just wanted to save humanity from communists and Jews.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Harry,

    Aren't there blogs for conspiracy theorists you could go hang out on? The Markale Massacres triggered NATO's first response. It pretty much ended the siege of Sarajevo. The second round of bombing ended the genocide occurring in Kosovo. If you want to deny those causes or results please try.

    So please...if you must continue to compare Bill Clinton to the Nazis take it somewhere else.

  • (Show?)
    Darrel, you alway use language to provoke

    Really? In which of my comments above did I say anything about your personality, Jeff?

    I asked if you really believed that there would be the investigations you claimed would be hurt by an impeachment. That was the only question I addressed to you. Was your sole option to make some unfounded claim that I was changing the question?

    Frankly, I don't even know what you think the question was. Or what you think I was changing it to.

    I know the meaning of slander, I'm married to a lawyer. So far as I can tell, you've twice in this thread maliciously and falsely defamed me as someone who has a "specialty" of "changing the question". I mean, unless you have some sort of proof of me doing that.

  • (Show?)

    Garrett,

    I think the answer to your question about whether the sanctions were originally intended to cause mass murderous civilian casualties was implicit in what I wrote, but to make it explicit, no. When they were originally imposed, it was as part of a policy on the part of the first Bush administration that contemplated the fostering of an internal overthrow of the Hussein government, including encouraging uprisings by southern Shi'ite Arabs and northern Kurds.

    That policy was a bad one, on general principles, also because of questionable judgment as to its likelihood of success, and also because it was incompetently executed in failing to provide promised resources and support, leading to the deaths of thousands of Iraqis who were misled and betrayed due to the questionable judgment and incompetence. The no-fly zones were a late band-aid, after the main policy had failed.

    The sanctions also had an original purpose that continued after Bush's promotion and betrayal of Iraqi uprising to try to secure Iraqi government compliance with U.N. disarmament requirements imposed as a condition of the cease-fire. That they were causing hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, in conjunction with the destruction of basic urban infrastructure relating to clean water, sanitation and electricity, necessary to public health in a modern substantially industrial state such as Iraq had been, repair of which the sanctions prevented, was known by 1992 at the latest, though not much reported outside of left and left-liberal publications like The Nation, The Progressive and perhaps Dissent.

    Despite that knowledge, the Clinton administration determined to continue essentially the same policies. And despite their manifest failure to achieve their aims, at least to the satisfaction of the U.S. government, they were kept in place until Clinton left office in January 2001.

    We could debate, perhaps, whether the stated disarmament aims were the real or complete aims, or if long-shot hopes of Hussein falling also contributed to their persistence. We could debate, perhaps, whether the sanctions were justified in any sense once their consequences in mass death were known -- I'd say no myself. We could debate, perhaps, at what point the complaints of non-compliance against Iraq should have been recognized by Clinton et al. as clear evidence of the failure of the sanctions policy. But even if we use that relatively low standard, in terms of cost in human lives, that point clearly had been reached well before the end of Clinton's first term.

    So it doesn't matter what the original intention was. After 1993, at the latest, the intention was to pursue the sanctions in reckless disregard of the cost in Iraqi civilian lives. Those costs were known, and the policy was intentionally pursued despite that knowledge, which means that the intention was to pursue the policy disregarding the civilian costs, and that intention was reckless given the scale of death and morbidity.

    By 1995 at the latest that murderous policy was further intentionally pursued in the face of the obvious failure by the administration's own assertion -- not admission, but assertion -- to achieve its stated intended ends.

    That was all simply vile.

    How about you answer a question or two: Do you agree with Madeleine Albright that "it was worth it" to cause all those deaths? Do you think that someone who pursues a course of action that causes great harm, and knows that it is doing so, in the service of some aim, can be absolved of all responsibility for the harm, or really and fully be said not to intend the harmful consequences, even when they are manifest in the present and obviously predictable to continue?

  • (Show?)

    Oh, and you've also slandered me above as always using language to provoke, so that seems to make a pattern of defamatory statements. I think I can point to any number of cases -- even in this thread -- where I don't use language to provoke. Not that I never do, but "always" is absolutely false.

    Take a look back at this thread, Jeff. Apart from informing someone who told me I was "deluded" that I was better informed than they were, I haven't cast any aspersions on other commenters. You, on the other hand, seem to feel no compunction about making some sort of personal slander.

    If that's the road you wish to tread, so be it. But I can make a post like this every time and other people can check out the facts for themselves to see who's telling the truth.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Take a look back at this thread, Jeff. Apart from informing someone who told me I was "deluded" that I was better informed than they were, I haven't cast any aspersions on other commenters.

    That was me darrelplant and I still think you are deluded. You can call me by name.

  • (Show?)

    Garrett, you said that you thought I was deluded because you thought I believed 42% of the Republicans in Congress would vote to impeach Bush. I very clearly stated that I didn't believe that was the case now, that the only way to work toward that figure would be to hold investigations -- which was the only mechanism that brought any number of Republicans to the fold in impeaching Nixon -- and that not only do I not expect the Republicans to vote to impeach Bush but I don't expect the Democrats to bring it to a vote or to prosecute him after the election.

    Just to be perfectly clear, I don't expect the Democrats in Congress to do anything on impeachment any more than I expect them to actively prosecute Bush or Cheney after the election (assuming they win). After all, Speaker Pelosi declared impeachment off the table back before the 2006 elections that brought the Democrats into the majority in Congress. That was their promise, and they've kept it well.

    So I'm kind of at a loss as to why you think I'm deluded.

  • (Show?)
    once you receive the (in this case exceedlingly gentle) reaction you caused, you whinge

    Jeff, I just wanted to mention that this is one more misapprehension on your part. I don't care what you think about me. When someone makes a baseless personal charge against me, I like to point that out over and over, and reiterate the fact that I can make my arguments without resorting to petty slander and name-calling as you and Garrett have done. I may be mistaken, but I think it puts me in a better light than my detractors.

    I sometimes even go so far as to post the things people have called me elsewhere, to expose those people to public ridicule.

  • (Show?)

    Darrel, I'm well aware of your touchiness on this subject and efforts to "expose" them. I'm not going to go into it any further--indeed, I think it's best for both of us if I never engage you in conversation again. But there's a factual point here to which I will respond to before leaving it aside.

    I wrote:

    So in essence, you would have shot your wad on a burlesque show, never to revisit the actual crimes in any serious way, having sacrificed your credibility on what would be regarded (wrongly) by the media and the public as partisan retribution for Clinton. And you'd seriously screw yourself in November.

    To which you wrote:

    Ahhh, the old "dry powder" argument. Seriously, Jeff, do you expect there to be any revisitation of "the actual crimes," ever?

    To which I wrote:

    That's a different question, isn't it, Darrel? (Changing the question is specialty of yours.) I have never offered an opinion on that question.

    To which you wrote:

    I asked if you really believed that there would be the investigations you claimed would be hurt by an impeachment. That was the only question I addressed to you. Was your sole option to make some unfounded claim that I was changing the question? Frankly, I don't even know what you think the question was. Or what you think I was changing it to.

    Does that about capture it?

    I have never spoken about the likelihood of any of these events happening. I have always only spoken of what would result if these events happened. Your initial question of whether I had any expectation of any action was wholly beside the point I was making.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Chris Lowe, in his elegant rejoinder to Garrett, said, "So it doesn't matter what the original intention was. After 1993, at the latest, the intention was to pursue the sanctions in reckless disregard of the cost in Iraqi civilian lives."

    And so it was with Yugoslavia, Garrett. U.S. policy makers were well aware of the consequences of their vicious attacks on civilian infrastructure, including an increase in violence by Milosevic, and that makes them responsible. Your "argument" that, "Aren't there blogs for conspiracy theorists you could go hang out on?", is equal to placing fingers in your ears and yelling, "Naa Naa Naa Naa". You rightwing Democrats need to divorce your political views from your religious ones. If you do not, please take it somewhere else.

    Until there was a cease-fire, US/NATO never set foot in Kosovo or in Yugoslavia. They just bombed defenseless people. They killed thousands directly by violence and tens of thousands more indirectly.

    MLK said, "The greatest purveyor of violence on earth is my own country", and it has been true all through my life, including during your sainted Democrats' terms of office.

    As for impeachment: In a Physicians for Human Rights report published yesterday, Broken Laws, Broken Lives, two-star former General Anthony Taguba, wrote, "After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

    Those of you who obstruct justice for war criminals, including our non-representatives in Congress, are complicit in their crimes.

  • Pat (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kudos to Kucinich!! By the way... Impeachment CAN have consequences... if We The People choose to make the consequences.

    <h2>I'm in... IMPEACH THEM BOTH!!</h2>
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