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Booman's diary today has pushed me over the edge.  OK, you want to talk about the "inexorable logic" of impeachment?  We'll talk.  Because Booman's own position doesn't really warrant (or even allow for) refutation, I'll instead take on a serious effort to determine the possible basis for impeachment: the recent series of diaries by Vyan proposing articles of impeachment based on (1) intelligence fraud, (2) domestic espionage, and (3) war crimes torture and murder.

I think it's worth giving some thought to what Bush's defense to such charges might be.  My making these arguments does not constitute endorsement of them, so don't bother accusing me of that.  I think that Bush has done grievous harm to the Constitution that should be reversed by any just and available means.  But only an idiotic lawyer wades into a fight without an idea of what the opposition would say.  So, here goes.

1. Boo Boo

Before engaging the worthy work of Vyan, I'll address today's diary by Booman, whom I generally admire.  Booman's own position is a combination of nihilism and bravado.  The nihilism is evident in this response to Adam B's inquiry as to exactly what "high crimes and misdemeanors" are at issue:

A) finding them is definitional and should not be any problem whatsoever.

B) as Gerald Ford said, 'an impeachable offense is what, at any time, Congress says it is.'

C) the situation requires it and it is fully justified...even necessary.

Oh, finding the crimes is definitional, is it?  We know he's guilty, and we just have to find any citation to suit our need?  Where have I seen that before?

Clevinger was guilty, of course, or he would not have been accused, and since the only way to prove it was to find him guilty, it was their patriotic duty to do so.
    -- Joseph Heller, Catch-22

No, no, no.  In our constitutional system, people are not "guilty," they are guilty of something.  Booman is apparently rallying to save the constitution through, in effect, a bill of attainder.  While I admire a good irony as much as they next person, it won't fly.  Saying that Congress can just conjure up any old pretext for impeachment and removal is ridiculous.  It certainly won't work in the IOKIYAR world in which we still live; instead, it would likely backfire, and its lasting effect would be a horrible precedent that would be available for future use against progressives.  Turning President Scheisskopf into President Clevinger is bad justice and worse politics.

The bravado comes in the certainty that -- once we get in our first good roundhouse punch -- the population of the Congress, the Gang of 500, and the nation generally will greet us with flowers and welcome us as liberators.  (Where have I heard that before?)  Yes, every day we see how much the media has reformed, don't we?  And while the political wind s favor us, for every stammering Gordon Smith there are still plenty of Lee Hamiltons and Leon Panettas wondering who stole the pants off their butts.  The goal of the GOP is to Grab Onto Power and never let go.  They don't need to jettison Bush to stay in power; having Democrats do a public full-face pratfall, where every honest constitutional scholar would sadly have to agree that the case is not made and the precedent would be damning might do just as well in a IOKIYAR world.  (Is the counterevidence that, after the failed attack on Clinton, Bush "won" in 2000?  Well, trade Bush's media treatment for Gore's and vice versa and we'd have been talking about Bush enduring a Goldwater-style thumpin'.)  Talk that impeachment is "inexorable" is a hothouse flower; it won't survive outside of the friendly confines of sites such as ours.  Maybe it is possible, but it's hardly a -- choosing my words carefully here -- "slam dunk."

No -- we cannot get away with half-assed bravado as we approach impeachment.  We'd need arguments that can stand up to pressure and attack; even if we're defeated for lack of 67 Senators, we need it to be known that our ends and means are righteous.  So let's get on to that.

(2) Vyan's proposals

The overarching observation I begin with is that you impeach a person, not an administration.  Every attempt at Presidential impeachment (and to my knowledge, all others) begins with the President voluntarily taking an action that he knew or should have known was wrong.

  • Andrew Johnson intentionally provoked a Constitutional Crisis by firing Sec. Seward in contravention of the Tenure in Office Act, which he believed was unconstitutional.  (Rightly, the Supreme Court later held.)
  • Richard Nixon intentionally ordered that hush money be paid for people who had committed a burglary and committed espionage on behalf of his campaign.
  • Bill Clinton was intentionally misleading (if not actually lying) under oath in his deposition regarding a civil case in which he was a defendant.  (Yes, what he did wasn't technically illegal -- and to my mind not nearly impeachable -- but there was no doubt that he knew the truth and intended to conceal it for his own gain.)

So I take it as a given that we need to find similar personal knowledge, in advance of a crime, on Bush's part.  Otherwise we may end up in the situation that we did with Iran-Contra where the investigation could not show that Reagan himself ever quite connected the dots -- due to his own incuriousity and feeble thinking -- to see that actions he ordered (or at least acquiesced to) were illegal.  And that didn't work out so well.

    (A) Intelligence Fraud

The minimum requirements for fraud are that you (1) intentionally (2) represent to someone else (3) that something is true, (4) when it is not true and (5) when you know is not true, intending that (6) they will take some action (7) that benefits you.

For Bush to have committed the crime of fraud, a single act of his must have satisfied each of these conditions.  We'll have particular problems -- more so than in the three previous impeachment cases -- proving that (1), (4), and (5) simultaneously apply to any particular act.

Here's what Bush's defense team might say to each of Vyan's points:

  1. PNAC wanted to "invade."  Arguably relevant to "motive," but "motive" isn't at issue here.
  1. Bush said he wanted to invade Iraq "if I have the chance."  Pretty much irrelevant to impeachment.  The question is whether he did it by illegal means.  If I want a Mercedes, and later you see me driving one, that doesn't mean that I stole it.
  1. About yellowcake: (a) Bush never said that the yellowcake story was true, but that the British government believed it to be true (so element (3) of the crime is not satisfied); (b) the questionable acts described are those of his advisors -- note where Vyan quotes people saying "*they* put it back in, they preferred to perpetuate a lie" (so element (1) isn't satisfied, and remember that you can't impeach the administration, just the man); (3) so there's no evidence on record to show that Bush himself did not believe the story to be true or, more to the point, that he believed it was not true (as opposed to, say, mostly but not entirely proven) based on his advisors' representations, (so element (5) of the crime is not met).
  1. Most of the other things "they" did or didn't know do not refer to Bush's own demonstrated knowledge; nor does the fact that any of these turned out not to be true, or that with hindsight turned out to be based on a weak premise, prove that the proponents of the information knew that it was false.  Did the CIA say otherwise?  All Bush has to say is that he didn't fully trust the CIA's position.  If he knew that they were anti-war, he would have had reason for skepticism.  Most of the stuff dealing with Powell, etc., doesn't implicate Bush's knowledge.
  1. Bush's 2003 SOTU can be defended against constituting fraud.  When Bush said "This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors," this is not literally untrue (element (4) not satisfied), though it's misleading as hell; as Vyan's diary shows, Saddam did kick out "the" inspectors, if by that one means American inspectors (a misleading but permissible construction) in 1997.  His counsel will argue that even if that was misleading, it didn't matter, because Bush did believe that Saddam posed a serious danger and possessed WMDs and the additional puffery he ladled on to help make the political case for war doesn't constitute fraud.  As for the fact that Saddam didn't violate the agreement -- if Saddam thought that he has a chemical and bio weapons program, then we certainly can't say that Bush knew for certain that he did not (element (5) unsatisfied.)

So then we get to the crux of Vyan's argument in point 1:

If Bush didn't know what he was claiming were complete falsehoods - he should have known. It's HIS JOB TO KNOW. Whether he personally initiated the fraud isn't the point, he helped perpetrate it. He legitimized it. He is the one ultimately responsible.

No.  That is simply not the law of fraud, absent specific statutory language (such as you may see in some Sarbanes-Oxley requirements) to the contrary.  Here's a perfectly good defense against fraud: Bush relief on the advice of competent advisors, the most senior of which were approved by the Senate, in these areas, and he believed in good faith that Saddam had at least some WMDs and therefore posed a threat to the U.S.  It is not "his job to know"; it's his job to take the information he has, form an opinion, and promote a policy that is not, to his knowledge, opposed to the facts.  We can't demand omniscience from the President, and for the President to worry about impeachment when making policy if it turns out that his assumptions are wrong would lead to paralysis.  If Congress wanted more information before approving the use of force, it could have sought it.  But it didn't.  The President's actions were authorized.  Without good evidence that the President had reason to know that Saddam did not have WMDs -- not simply that some pieces of information used to make the case for war were wrong in their particulars, if he truly should not have been able to trust his advisors, but that the whole damn premise of the war was wrong -- there is grounds for political rejection here but not for impeachment.  And as many people as may say that they were sure that there were no WMDs -- bearing in mind that Saddam himself was evidently not of that belief -- the certainty of Bush's critics smacks of Monday Morning Quarterbacking.  After all, these are many of the same critics who were convinced that Russia would intervene in the Balkans to save Milosevic and that an invasion of Afghanistan would topple the Pakistani government.  If they got one right, good for them; it doesn't give them the right to impeach.

I emphasize again for the benefit of those who have forgotten: I am not presenting my own viewpoint here.  I'm presenting the argument -- actually, the rudiments of the argument, as I'm sure they'll do much better than this -- that the President's counsel will likely make.  Ask yourself: are we currently able to overcome this?  Are we going to succeed in arguing for a President who must look over his shoulder at impeachment if his intelligence assumptions turn out wrong?  Look around at the people who don't already fully agree with you, imagine a media hammering away at the Democrats for crippling the institution of the Presidency for their political gain, and ask yourself whether we are moving "inexorably" towards impeachment on this ground.

    (B) Domestic espionage

Vyan offers the following ground of impeachment:

President George W. Bush did, with malice aforethought, deceive the World and American people in order to secretly conduct Espionage Against Millions of Americans, repeatedly violating their 1st and 4th Amendment Rights as well as multiple Federal Laws.

[NOTE: This article is, I admit, near to my heart, and Vyan's diary does a good job.  And yet I have some experience with how the Republicans will fight against it; John Ensign, in his campaign against my candidate Jack Carter, squirted gallons of ink into the water to argue that what Bush did was permissible.  Here's how I would expect his counsel to proceed.

  • - -
  1. Let's start by dispensing with the Constitutional argument.  There is already no warrant needed.  You can get authorization for a warrant after a call -- it's now three days; the Democratic Congress wants to make it a whole week.  No one is still challenging the fact that you don't need a warrant in advance for surveillance.  For "chasing down terrorists" -- as Vyan quotes the President -- then you do.  But then we have probable cause, thanks to this surveillance -- a program that is highly supported by the American people, unlike, say, paying hush money or lying during depositions.
  1. FISA doesn't intend to tie the President's hands during wartime.  Congress never intended FISA to prevent the Administration from defending against direct attack on the United States.
  1. If FISA does do so, it's an unconstitutional encroachment on the President's powers as the unitary executive.  During wartime, the constitution demands deference to the President's authority as Commander-in-chief.  Etc.  If the unitary executive model is correct, then the President's actions are proper.  "If the President does it, it's not a crime," some guy once said.
  1. AUMF authorized these actions.  [OK, I can't write much to support the argument, but they will make it and some will buy it.]
  1. Much of what the Administration is accused of is not actual interception of the content of messages, but the equivalent of looking at the outsides of envelopes without opening them.  This is legal.
  1. Most importantly, the President was relying on the advice of competent counsel, the leaders of which were approved by Congress, in all of these matters.  It may be that the President's position was mistaken; Presidents win some court cases and lose them, but we don't talk about impeachment when they lose a case.  (LBJ favored minority set-asides ruled unconstitutional in Adarand.  Was his action impeachable?)  Even if the President's actions were wrong here, he was acting on legal advice.  To find an impeachable offense here, you have to include that not only was the advice he was given about FISA, the AUMF, and the unitary executive wrong, but that it was so obviously wrong that the President was unreasonable to accept it.  The fact that the author of one such memo was approved by Congress to a lifetime appointment on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and that another is a prominent professor at a leading law school, both positions being attained after their participation in these activities was known, shows that -- at worst -- the position was arguable.  To say that the President risks impeachment for relying on the legal advice of counsel would weaken the Presidency irreparably.  This is not the standard we would use when the penalty at issue was a mere fine, let alone the Presidency.

For what it's worth, I think that only #6 is a really troublesome argument here, but it's pretty troublesome.  I'd argue that the President coluded in this advice and therefore had no basis to claim advice of counsel as a defense.  But we don't have evidence of that yet.  I also seriously doubt if the President would be impeached for an action that the American people by and large accept, even if it is unconstitutional.

    (C) War crimes, torture, and murder

Vyan proposes this third article of impeachment:

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales and Donald Rumsfeld did commit a series of Capital Crimes with malice aforethought, including grave breaches in the Geneva Conventions and the Laws of War - actions which have led to numerous counts of maltreatment of prisoners and torture up to and including over multiple murders under color of authority.

Here come's Bush's attorneys:

(A) Vyan argues that the Gonzales Memo suggesting exempting Taliban fighters from the protection of Geneva is prima facie evidence of a crime, stating that "We Are Signatories and as such we are required to abide by Geneva."  But this doesn't contradict the memo,  In fact, Vyan himself quotes the relevant portion:

In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peace time, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

I've boldfaced the parts that Vyan did, but the critical section is what I've italicized: terrorists, including unrecognized governments, are not representatives or forces of states, and therefore they are not "High Contracting Parties" and the protections we have agreed to do not extend to them.  Because of this mistake, Vyan raises a number of arguments related to treatment of "Prisoners of War" that are inapplicable to the Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.  They aren't Prisoner's of War because they aren't fighting for a Geneva signatory.

Furthermore, Congress has implicitly if not explicitly accepted this in numerous of its acts, by both commission and omission.  Should the President now be impeached for a "crime" that Congress has agreed up until now is not a crime based on a fair interpretation of Geneva?

(B) Vyan next quibbles about the meaning of torture.  This shows a basic lack of understanding of the checks and balances system.  Congress passes laws and the Executive Branch puts them into effect -- a process that often involves a fair amount of interpretation.  An agency's interpretation of a law deserves deference unless Congress unambiguously does not allow for that interpretation to hold sway.  If Congress or anyone else felt that the definition of torture was wrong, it could challenge that definition in court, or pass a clarifying law.  To impeach the President for his agency's definition of torture is ridiculous; there were means far less dramatic to resolve any conflict that existed.

(C) The Rumsfeld memo is subject to a similar analysis as the Bybee memo.

(D) Extraordinary rendition fell within the power of the President under the theory of the Unitary Executive.  Again, impeachment on this point means fighting that out.

(E) If Hamdan did make previous Bush Administration actions potential war crimes, the Military Commissions Act settled that they are not, and impeachment will take place after passage of the MCA, not before.  Many of the Bush Administration's actions have been retroactively "cleansed" by a bipartisan vote and cannot serve as a basis for impeachment.

(F) Again, consider the "advice of counsel" defense.  The President is entitled to rely on the advice of his competent counsel.  Taking away that right would be a disaster.  This means that you must show not simply that the President was wrong, but that the President was not reasonable in accepting this advice.  That's a high bar to clear.

Again, my views are much less favorable to Bush than I express here, but there are some good points to grapple with.

So the next time someone says that impeachment is easy or obvious or inexorable, please point them here.  This is going to be the toughest political fight of our lives if it goes forward.  Our leaders know it.  Let's be no less wise and informed than they are.

Originally posted to Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:03 PM PST.

Poll

Which of Vyan's proposed planks are "slam dunks"?

1%5 votes
5%20 votes
2%11 votes
2%11 votes
1%7 votes
5%19 votes
18%69 votes
47%177 votes
15%57 votes

| 376 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm just one lawyer writing for a couple of hours (127+ / 0-)

    Imagine what a thousand lawyers, plus outside volunteers, working for months, will be able to come up with.  So are you taking the rebuttal seriously yet, all you proponents of inevitable and obviously successful impeachment?

    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

    by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:03:39 PM PST

    •  What Did Shakespeare (10+ / 0-)

      I'm just one lawyer

      ... say about lawyers?

      All kidding aside, excellent diary, Major Danby.

      A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

      by JekyllnHyde on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:13:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  God bless us, every one? (15+ / 0-)

        Wait, no, that's Dickens.  Sorry.  ;7)

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:30:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You Almost (25+ / 0-)

          that's Dickens

          ... scared the Dickens outta me, Major!

          My favorite Dickens quotes

          • Let no man turn aside, ever so slightly, from the broad path of honor, on the plausible pretence that he is justified by the goodness of his end.  All good ends can be worked out by good means.
          • It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.  
          • The American elite is almost beyond redemption... Moral relativism has set in so deeply that the gilded classes have become incapable of discerning right from wrong.  Everything can be explained away, especially by journalists.  Life is one great moral mush--sophistry washed down with Chardonnay.  The ordinary citizens, thank goodness, still adhere to absolutes... It is they who have saved the republic from creeping degradation while their "betters" were derelict.  

          The last one may explain the lack of enthusiasm for impeachment amongst the political and journalistic elites.  As he suggests, the "ordinary citizens" may have other ideas.

          A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

          by JekyllnHyde on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:51:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Major Danby, good to see (24+ / 0-)

          you're stepping up to play the role of public-defender.

          Some one has to do that job in order for our charges against Bush to be well refined.

          It might be nice for you to tell us what makes you optimistic about impeachment, just so people don't forget that you're only playing Bush's public-defender as a method of building and refining the case against Bush.

          This is an open-source investigation and prosecution effort.

          The thing that white-collar criminals do is what I call strategic disassociation of responsibility.

          "Plausible deniability" is their favorite phrase. They also will say they've forgotten the details again and again.

          They obviously have a plan to obfuscate the investigations and block accountability.

          I think war-profiteering is a good thing to investigate.

          People are outraged by the double-standard of mercenaries with six-figure salaries sucking up the budget which could be buying armor for our soldiers.

          Torture is another rich avenue of investigation.

          Ultimately, torture responsibility is going straight to the top.

          I'm more confident than ever that Bush isn't going to reach the end of his term.

          The public outrage that's building is going to set the stage for some very compelling investigations.

          •  I'm neither optimistic or pessimistic yet (22+ / 0-)

            I'll no so much more about our prospects as 2007 unfolds that it's ridiculous to make a prediction now.  As I've said, I still think the most likely path the impeachment is that Bush and Cheney refuse to cooperate and force a Constitutional crisis.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:21:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm predicting impeachment. (5+ / 0-)

              This is a power-struggle. Something has got to give.

              •  I'm more than predicting impeachment. (8+ / 0-)

                I 100% guarantee it.  It's the people who impeach, not the politicians.  We're doing our part.  Let's keep it up.  In fact, let's redouble our efforts.  The only way we are going to get our impeachment, which we most certainly deserve, is to raise our voices even louder.

                In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

                by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:55:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wrong (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mr X, Major Danby, figleef

                  It's the people who impeach, not the politicians.

                  Clinton's popularity rating was in the 60's while the Rep congress was impeaching him.  

                  •  Wrong. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PaulGaskin

                    He wasn't convicted because his popularity was in the 60's.  

                    The people spoke.  Just as they did with Richard Nixon.

                    In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

                    by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 07:00:56 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Please Remember That "Impeachment" (5+ / 0-)

                      is the congressional equivalent of indictment.  Congress impeached the president.  

                      •  True dat. (0+ / 0-)

                        But it's the conviction I'm guaranteeing.  Or resignation in disgrace.

                        In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

                        by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 07:53:21 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  True dat. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Cream Puff, PaulGaskin

                        But it's the conviction I'm guaranteeing.  Or resignation in disgrace.

                        In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

                        by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 07:53:21 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Wish I had your confidence. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Major Danby

                          Have you looked at the R votes we will need to convert for conviction?  We'd need people like Trent Lott and Orrin Hatch.  Unlikely.

                          Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

                          by Cream Puff on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 08:23:07 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  You know, I'm sorry to say this, but (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Creosote, figleef

                          I can't stand this sort of bravado.  This is the sort of loose talk that conservathugs make about Iraq.  And when it turns out that they had their heads firmly wedged into their asses, they just walk away.  Give me reality-based reasons to respect your claim or don't complain when I read it, snort, and move on.

                          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                          by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:57:51 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't complain about anything you do. (0+ / 0-)

                            I am indifferent to all other opinions but my own.

                            However, I am going to repeat my 100% guarantee, for the thousandth time.  George Bush is going to be impeached and convicted, or he will resign in disgrace.  I guarantee it.  And fuck any conservative lurker who wants to report back to the enemy camp.  To those of you of the Republican persuasion be advised that the Hellhound of Impeachment is on your trail.  And I will not be deterred.  The gig is up.

                            My reality based reason has been stated frequently and I'll gladly repeat.  The American people want George Bush fired.  They want regime change.  And they are going to want it more and more as I continue bellowing at the top of my lungs that it's the right thing to do.  The only thing to do.  Investigations will only confirm the obvious.  And when you start investigating a president with approval ratings in the 20's for multiple grievous, shocking, unAmerican crimes the outcome is inevitable.  I know he's guilty.  I also know that there is plenty of evidence of his crimes.  So, I'll bide my time while Waxman, Leahy, Conyers, Frank et al do their constitutional duty.

                            And the only way they'll get me to shut up is to do what I want.  Which they are going to do.  And by they I mean the American people.  They are going to right the ship of state.  Mark my words.  The people convict.  Not the politicians.  It's a political act, even more than a legal act.

                            And when that day comes, I will have the same indifference to your praise of my mighty foresight as I do to your dismissal.  No offense to you, my friend.

                            I am supremely confident.

                            p.s.  Wasn't Danby the guy who raped Nately's whore?  If so, why did you pick him?

                            In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

                            by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:26:57 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, you're thinking of Aarfy (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Creosote, figleef

                            and the Maid with the Lime Green panties.  (Apologies to everyone for the spoiler, but you really should have read Catch-22 by now.)  Danby is Yossarian's cautious supporter.  The conversation between him and Yossarian in the final chapter, before the final revelation by the chaplain (which I will not spoil) is one of the best discussions of the role of activism I've every seen.  And I think a blog needs both its Danbys and its Yossarians to thrive.  (And there is never a shortage of people who think they're Yossarian; it's the juicier part.)

                            I didn't mean the above as an attack on you and your immortal soul.  I know that you cannot be stopped, but only contained.  I've expressed the substance of my disagreement elsewhere, but I know you'll keep on plugging, so do it in good health.

                            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:40:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I read it several times..... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Major Danby

                            but not since the seventies.  My favorite novel.  Unfortunately, college ended my novel reading days.  Don't know why.  I haven't read anything but nonfiction since then.

                            Aarfy.  Right.  The most despicable character.  Worse than Cathcart and Korn.

                            The god I don't believe in is a merciful god.

                            Anyway, I really am confident Bush is toast.  Because, ultimately, I trust the American people.  Even though they do stray now and then.  And it helps to have a devil's advocate, because there will be a real battle, though justice will ultimately prevail.  In this case it has to.

                            In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

                            by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:00:42 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And now that you reminded me (0+ / 0-)

                            I remember Danby.  He was played by that great old character actor, what's his name, in the movie.  Danby is the one that reveals the catch.

                            In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

                            by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:03:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Richard Benamin (0+ / 0-)

                            Great actor.

                            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:08:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Damn! "Richard Benjamin," I mean. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Creosote

                            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:09:23 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Right. (0+ / 0-)

                            He was married to Paula Prentice, who was the hottest of the hot chicks in her day.

                            In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

                            by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:10:55 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My favorite novel as well (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Creosote, Ghost of Frank Zappa

                            Close to miraculous.  You should read Something Happened as well, if you haven't, although it is the single most depressing book on the planet.

                            Agreed on Aarfy and on the "merciful God" quote being one of the best in the book.

                            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:08:13 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And Heller's Closing Time (0+ / 0-)

                            will resonate a long time as well.

            •  Crys For Impeachment Should Come From the People (7+ / 0-)

              I still say that it is best for the Country and best for the Democratic Party is crys for impeachment come from the people.  

              If Congress has reason to believe that the President has violated the law, then they have a duty to investigate.  They need to make their findings known.  If the findings are bad enough, the people will call for impeachment.  

              Otherwise impeachment will look like another childish game played by Washington insiders.  That benefits no one.

              In fact it would just propagate from now on every President will be constantly investigated by the opposing party for every step and misstep.  They will be so busy answering to investigations they will not have time to lead and Congress will not have time to govern.  That would be dangerous for the country and the world.

              I'm NOT defending Bush. I think he has done irreparable harm to the Country (and to other Countries as well).  I don't think there is a viable legal argument that the detainees were not subject to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, but Bush has documents from his lawyers telling him so.  That will "immunize" him to some extent -- at least for purposes of any criminal acts -- he had no "intent" to violate the law.  

              I'm NOT saying he shouldn't be impeached.  I am saying put the issue in front of the people.  If the Dems think he should be impeached, then it behooves them to make the case and let the people decide.  

              Yes, I know Congress has a duty to impeach if the President has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, but unless the people understand the case, regardless of what Bush did, the people will see it as partisan politics and it will put the nation in a precarious position.

            •  they have intimated as much (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Danby, MichiganGirl

              what was that the White house said about a "fight to the death" before the election regarding subpoenas?

              they will fight each one to the SCOTUS...that should get you your crisis easily enough.

          •  It's the financial impropriety... (11+ / 0-)

            that makes me think we'll eventually have proof for impeachment.  

            The sound of Christmas 2006 in Washington D.c. is a thousand paper shredders working overtime to erase all the evidence connecting Bush to the millions missing from the war effort.  He probably laundered money Halliburton buddies.  His grubby little fingerprints are all over that outrage, I'm sure of it.

            "When the people lead, the leaders will follow." - american pastoral, kossak

            by filmgeek83 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:28:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think Jose Padilla will be it (7+ / 0-)

              The reason being is that they don't have the goods on him. If they tortured him, abused his habeus corpus rights, which they have, and he was clear cut guilty, it would have been less of an issue. Might making right and all that.

              This case is starting to get more play with the psych eval and the trials coming up. What they did to an American citizen is basically unjustifiable on it's face legally or morally.

              Saying we have secret evidence an American is a terrorist so lets suspend habeus corpus is a high crime. The administration didn't argue that he was a special case. They argued that ANYBODY on their say so who happened to be a citizen who they SAY are terrorists aren't afforded our legal protections.

              That can not stand. Period. Abu Gonzales needs to be impeached over this.

              You can lead a Republican to knowledge, but you can't make him think.

              by trifecta on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 05:05:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I just don't see the public getting behind it (0+ / 0-)

                I don't have a lot of faith in the public not to be xenophobic, especially with a reactionary press corps whipping them up.  Impeaching Bush over Padilla would probably be throwing him into a briar patch.

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:00:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Well I've Seen Enough Flexibility (11+ / 0-)

      with political and legal logic lately to accept that, if Republicans felt sufficiently threatened, which I think was a premise of today's Booman diary, a conviction could be arranged.

      Personally I don't take impeachment as either inevitable or obviously successful even when there might be a dozen airtight counts; and for that same reason, I don't see impeachment failing even when there might be no ordinarily convincing evidence, if the Republicans needed to get rid of him.

      Then the other question becomes "get rid of whom?" If not Cheney, how does policy and this purported threat to Republicans change?

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:16:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even if . . . (4+ / 0-)

        Repubs felt it necessary to get rid of Bush/Cheney, their base values party loyalty, so they may feel that they have to defend their president absent incontrovertible proof of criminal acts.  As Major Danby has show, we don't have incontrovertible proof yet.

      •  I think Booman's premise is silly (15+ / 0-)

        I'm not saying it's impossible, but if I were a Republican leader I'd be hoping that Democrats would stumble into some pro-impeachment argument that would leave the GOP able to defend a popular viewpoint.  Unfortunately, to my mind, the weakest plank for impeachment of these three on legal grounds (Iraq) is the most politically safe, and the strongest one legally (domestic surveillance) is the one where our position is probably opposed to that of the American people, making it a politically difficult basis for impeachment.

        If they can make us look bad enough in pursuing impeachment, I think they come off much better than if they get rid of Bush.  But I won't develop that argument here, mostly because it's based on my intuition.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:34:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not silly, but not "inexorable" either. (6+ / 0-)

          I agree with Booman that as Bush's support wanes, Republican party leaders are going to want to separate themselves from him.  I don't see that leading to impeachment; rather, I think that will manifest itself (at least at first) in more legislative independence by Republicans.  My guess is that what we'll see are more votes swinging to Democratic issues, and possibly some vetoes overridden, depending upon the issue.  That was one of the first signs that Nixon was losing his grip in Congress during the Watergate hearings, when some of his vetoes didn't hold up.  The talk with Goldwater came late in the game, when the results of investigations made impeachment a virtual certainty.

          I think the last thing the Repubs would want to do would be to kick Bush under the bus.  After all, they were his prime enablers in most of this mess.

          •  Yeah, that part I can agree with (7+ / 0-)

            along with the possibility that Cheney bails, is replaced by someone like John Warner who will promise not to run, and then Bush bails.  The premise I think is silly is the inexorability of the process.  I don't think that this is anywhere near a slam dunk, though the endgame he describes is OK.  I should have been more clear about that.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:21:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  But Bush's problems are now diminishing the (0+ / 0-)

            the Republican brand.  They almost have to distance themselves from him in order to save the vessel they all sailed in on. (Or you get my point.)

            "The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep running."

            by Fasaha on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:01:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Americans don't want to be spied on (8+ / 0-)

          Bush's thin "support" for the spying has rested on his obviously false claim that he is only spying on "people who are talking to terrorists".

          The minute investigations and subpeonas actually get the scope of this spying out in public, Americans will be screaming for Bush's head.

          -5.63, -8.10 | Libertarian Liberal

          by neroden on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:05:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's certainly possible (13+ / 0-)

            My fondest wish is that the American people, through these hearings, come to understand the full and true horror of what Bush and Cheney have tried to do to our country.  If we get that, I think pretty much everything else takes care of itself.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:22:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You have shot yourself in the foot here, Major... (0+ / 0-)

              I greatly appreciate your analysis, however, convicting  on "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" does not require, for instance, proving beyond reasonable doubt all the elements of fraud.

              You said:

              My fondest wish is that the American people, through these hearings, come to understand the full and true horror of what Bush and Cheney have tried to do to our country.  If we get that, I think pretty much everything else takes care of itself.

              And I believe here you are absolutely correct, and this trumps all the possible defenses you have laid out. This will be a political process, without possiblility of "getting off on a technicality."

              However, thank you for your work on this - I believe it is very valuable to the discussion.

              •  I'm talking about the investigatory hearings (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Creosote

                not impeachment hearings.  Once we move to impeachment hearings, the chattering will be about "proportionality of response" and "appropriate remedies" and "setting precedents" and -- despite the venality of the impeachment effort against Clinton -- they will be right.  The educational function of these hearings is paramount, and they will lead to a lasting symbol of Why We Can't Trust Republicans, much as Watergate and the Depression did.  If we do impeach for something that is not a crime, I believe that the public -- whipped on by the media and maintream pols -- will not be behind us.

                The public tends to be "conservative" in the respectable sense of being reluctant to muck around too much with the basic fundaments of our political system.  Impeaching for a non-crime, impeaching where there's a good defense for the action, impeaching when it would force future Presidents of good will to always be looking over their shoulders -- this would be a major change in our system.  I don't expect the public to accept it easily.  It may be a "political" process constitutionally, but the public expects it to look a lot like a legal one -- which is why a public that was really unhappy with Clinton's lying was no less unhappy with the drive to impeach and remove him.

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:07:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Convictions (0+ / 0-)
                I greatly appreciate your analysis, however, convicting  on "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" does not require, for instance, proving beyond reasonable doubt all the elements of fraud.

                Perhaps not, but convincing 16 GOP Senators to join in a vote to convict would almost certainly require that.  Remember, you need 67 votes to convict in the Senate to remove the President from office, and the Democratic caucus only has 51 Senators.

                That's even assuming you can get all 51 Senators in the Democratic caucus to convict.  Don't forget, those 51 include Joe "Kissyface" Lieberman, and "The Benator", neither of whom would find a vote to convict easy to swallow without a great deal of evidence to wash it down.

          •  Some of this is coming out now in the NYT: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            more and more accounts of the innocent, or at least those whose status as "terrorists" is genuinely questionable, are becoming public.  A contractor thrown into an Iraqi jail, maybe even because he blew the whistle on war profiteering; Hamdan, and of course, Padilla.

            It should not go unremarked that legal safeguards exist to minimize exactly these mistakes, so when the safeguards are ignored, this is what happens.  Which is why we want the safeguards.  Duh.

            "The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep running."

            by Fasaha on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:05:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Your diary is very interesting, Major Danby (19+ / 0-)

          And your defense good. But you forgot to mention the Downing Street Memos, which is pretty powerful  evidence that Bush himself was involved in preparing fake 'evidence' to fit his war policies in order to get the American people on board.

          More recently, another British whistle-blower who has previously released memos backing up the evidence in the DSM, is now free to do so as a result of a law that was passed just a week or so ago. This is considered to be very bad news for Tony Blair. It is also not good news for George Bush.

          Also, more evidence of a conspiracy to lie about the war was revealed a few weeks ago which implicates Howard of Australia. These documents are now known as the Australian Downing Street Memos.

          And then, there is the Abramoff evidence that he knew about the war one year before it was even talked about publicly by Bush, who claimed as late as early 2003 that he did not want to go war, and was trying to work out a diplomatic solution.  to war with Iraq on the day 9/11 happened. True, tha

          There is also evidence that Saddam Hussein did accept an offer to leave Iraq and thus avoid war, which was ignored by the Bush administration.

          John Conyers and Henry Waxman have been gathering all this and more in anticipation of investigations so while it's true that Bush will put up a rigorous defense, and you have illustrated what it may look like, there is so much evidence to counter-act any defense, and which, once revealed, will be very damaging to the entire Republican Party, that it may be that they will simply ask him to step down as happened with Nixon.

          Anyway, thanks for a great diary ~ it's really good to consider what Congress would be facing should they decide that Impeachment is  necessary. I assume such a decision would not be made until after intense investigations which would likely reveal way more than I just listed, or Vyan or Booman ~

          •  Good points (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlackGriffen, Catrina, Eyes Wide Open

            And I'm not as familiar with either set of foreign meeting minutes as I should be, but so far I haven't heard of anything that sounded like definitive proof of fraud.  Was the evidence manufactured or "cherry-picked"?  The latter strikes me as legal.

            Remember that Bush may have decided that Saddam had to go without having decided that we were going to war -- a stupid technical distinction, perhaps, but one I'd argue if I were defending him -- on the grounds that he hoped to induce Saddam to step down voluntarily.  (Remember "regime change"?)

            As I say below, the strongest legal argument for the war was probably Saddam's attempt to assassinate Bush41, but that's the argument Bush couldn't make.  I wonder if it would be made in an impeachment defense.  You can't let ex-Presidents be killed!

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:27:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for your response, Major Danby (5+ / 0-)

              I know you are busy right now, so I don't expect you to look into this at the moment, but imo, and in that of many others, the strongest evidence that Bush lied to get us into war, is contained in the Downing Street Memos ~

              When you have time, I would like to have your opinion on that evidence. Conyers' only hearing on the lies to go to war was based on those Memos, and he documented all of it in his book The Constitution in Crisis, I believe.

              This link contains some of the text of the memos, when you have time ~

              The Downing Street Memos

            •  I didn't answer your questions (7+ / 0-)

              in my comment, I just realized.

              Was the evidence manufactured or "cherry picked"? Major Danby

              It's my understanding that they were manufacturing evidence ~

              Remember that Bush may have decided that Saddam had to go without having decided that we were going to war -- a stupid technical distinction, perhaps, but one I'd argue if I were defending him -- on the grounds that he hoped to induce Saddam to step down voluntarily.  (Remember "regime change"?) Major Danby

              Yes, this came up a lot, especially after the release of the DSM ~ here's part of a WH press conference where Scott McClellan tries to use it:

              WH Press Conference, June 13th, 2005

              Q Could we go back to the press availability with Prime Minister Blair last week? In response to a question, the President said, about the Downing Street memo, "My conversation with the Prime Minister was, how could we do this peacefully." And then later on he says, "And so we worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully."

              "How to do this" -- that refers to regime change or just to weapons inspections?

              MR. McCLELLAN: Well, regime change was the policy of the previous administration -- remember, that goes back to the previous administration.

              Q But the policy of previous administration was --

              MR. McCLELLAN: I addressed the threat posed by Iraq.

              Q Right, which was not to do it using military force at that time. The decision by this administration was to use military force. So when talking about this --

              MR. McCLELLAN: Not at that time.

              Q But when talking about this, and this response, is the President referring to regime change or referring to inspections of weapons --

              MR. McCLELLAN: The threat posed by the regime in Iraq.

              Q So regime change

              Scroll down to the nearly the end. The rest of the text does not deal with this issue and it's quite long.

              Anyway, it was obvious in the summer of 2005 that the WH was very worried about the release of those memos. Interestingly though, they had been sent to the US press eight months earlier, but no one would publish them.

              The British reporter who received them originally (from a still unknown source) then put them online, and a few US citizens did the rest. At that time, the US media could no longer ignore them, but gave them very little coverage ~ Rep. Conyers highlighted their importance by holding a hearing which no Republican attended, and Sensenbrenner tried to block.

          •  why any Kossack would ignore these (2+ / 0-)

            things just blows my mind.

            The fact that this is even an issue that we're arguing about also blows my mind.  

            I suppose Bush would have to literally eviscerate a live human infant during halftime of the SuperBowl for some people to accept his criminality.  

            •  Ignore? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Creosote

              Those of us who argue for restraint are certainly not ignoring such things.  However, we are pointing out that if Bush is to be impeached, he should be impeached properly, and not with an overpoliticised game that's doomed to fail like the Johnson and Clinton impeachments.

              This means that for each charge being drawn up, there needs to be not only good evidence, but complete evidence.

              In a murder trial, it's really not enough to say "he was standing over her body with the smoking gun", you need to be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she was killed by a bullet, that the bullet that killed her came from that gun, that he fired the gun, that he knew that he was firing the gun at her, that he knew that shooting the gun at her was wrong, and so on.  If you can't do that, you risk allowing a murderer to walk free because the investigation was botched.

              Evidence like the Downing Street memo, while damning politically, boil down to some foreigner's impression of the administration's attitude towards Iraq.  It's completely heresay from a legal perspective, and most of the Senators (even Democratic ones) who would consider a vote for conviction are lawyers who would demand more than heresay before they put their name on the list of the first Senators to remove a sitting President.

              They would certainly demand a solid case against Bush, and that includes all of those little details.  For example, the "smoking gun" in the Downing Street memo is apparently Matthew Rycroft's understanding of Sir Richard Dearlove's understanding of Bush's motives and plans.  Good luck getting the former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service to give public testimony on a secret document that has already damaged his career.

              The bottom line is, thorough investigations are needed before any impeachment process starts, or it's going to be a fiasco.  Yes, there is plenty of evidence, but this evidence needs to be knit together into a cohesive enough case to convince people who don't necessarily hate Bush that he ought to be impeached and removed from office.  Remember, at least 16 Republican Senators need to be convinced to vote to remove Bush from office if Presidential impeachment proceedings are ever going to become more than a cheap political game.

              Also, while my preference is thorough investigations, leading to impeachment by the House, removal by the Senate, indictment in criminal court, and jail time for war crimes, if the short time involved ("only" two years before he leaves office anyway) means that the choice is between another botched impeachment, or no impeachment but thorough investigations discrediting the Bush presidency and the political careers of all who enabled him, I'd pick the successful investigations over the failed impeachment.

    •  That was simply terrific-terrifying. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      westsyde, Major Danby, blueoasis

      Sounds like you have the neoconartist case down... How about the progressiveartist case?

      I can think of a "revolutionary" one: Extreme public outcry... Of course, they have water-cannons and that disgusting microwave weapon for controlling-ahem-herding the Sheeple...

      If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

      by illyia on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:38:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unitary Executive (7+ / 0-)
      Seems key to a lot of your assessment of what case they'd make. I'm not a lawyer, but I can't say I ever heard of this "Unitary Executive" until Bush came along. Informally speaking, it sounds like something cooked up recently by people intent on advancing tyrany under the cloak of law, like the Federalist Society.

      So, if they were to claim this "Unitary Executive" doctrine--well, it ain't in the Constitution. What's in the Constitution is the executive is commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and, as the name implies, it's function is to execute the laws made by Congress. "Faithfully" according to the oath of office. End of story, far as I know.

      Unless the founders put "unitary executive" in their public writings about how our form of government should be, or unless there is some formal, legal, endorsement of this theory, there isn't solid support for their case.

      I think the inevitability people are talking about isn't in the sense of the Law, but in the sense of political power. We've never really had somebody at the top who is this much of a threat to the well-being of the nation. Socially speaking--when more failures occur in Afghanistan & Iraq, when the dollar-decline starts hitting home, when the next disaster hits, when a new outrage surfaces--people, of all stripes, are going to be thinking "okay, this guy's gotta go right now."

      We hire someone, they swear they'll do a righteous job, they don't. We've got a right to fire him. If we want to send him to jail, then we've got to make the case in accordance with law.

      If we want to dump the clown that's xeroxing his ass all day long while the building's burning down, we don't need legal standards. We need only political agreement. Nothing in our tradition or law revokes the right of the people to correct their government. If we want to remove him from office, whether fool-proof articles are presented or not, people will just need enough to hang their vote on. That this man is a present danger to everything that matters doesn't need much more than common sense. You can't always precisely identify what's causing a rotten stench, but you sure know when it's present!

      Not to undermine your point though. All the angles need covering (hurray democracy!) so we also need to keep the practicalities in view, and to anticipate developments. Because they probably will unfold along the lines you indicate, and we definitely need to know in clear detail what makes our case strongest

      My bid: what friggin' Unitary Executive? Something from Dick Cheney & Ken Starr's imagination?

      By the way, Richard M. Nixon was never convicted of anything. He resigned, the impeachment was shelved, and he was pardoned. So, strictly speaking, RMN was, and remains to this day, as pure as the driven snow. And there's a million dead Vietnamese who, I'm sure, if they could, would back that up.

      Good diary. Please keep bringing the issues up.

      The Bush crimes will continue every single day for the 746 between 1/04/07 and 1/20/09. Every single day. Our plan to stop him is...?

      by Jim P on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:41:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Constitution does (7+ / 0-)

        not use the words "unitary executive" of course but the idea is fairly straightfoward.  There is in fact one executive (and they considered and rejected a plural executive).  The Constitution expressly vests the executive power in that one, co-equal branch, executive.  The original theory was that this meant, for example, that the executive branch could not and should not sue itself, and that Congress could not and should not fire executive branch officials, creat executive agencies run by Congress and not the President, etc.  There is significant support from SCOTUS for many of those positions )but not all, e.g. the Independent Counsel case(s).

        These things seem hardly that controversial, but the term has transmorphed into something else; partly a result of hype and misunderstanding by most, but also partly a result of Bush continually trying to build a legislative record by always referring to it in his signing statements, and by using it (see Yoo) to get Congress out of Art II powers entirely, e.g. Commander in Chief becomes much broader than intended and exceeds what SCOTUS is likely to grant.

        •  "The Executive Power" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mightymouse, Major Danby
          Well, those powers are precisely spelled out. C-in-C of the army and navy, and to execute the laws enacted by Congress. You addressed the context in which the idea arose. If I get it right, it helped resolve practical procedural issues around power and secrecy between the Branches.

          The way Unitary Executive is being used in the general language is as a rationale for the Executive ignoring the Legislative Branch. Twist that around with any words anyone wants to use, that ain't right.

          So, is there anything else other than SCOTUS rulings? Because it's seems it's really up to the Congress--our Representatives--to decide whether "Unitary Executive" is a legit defense when the issue of impeachment comes up.

          The Bush crimes will continue every single day for the 746 between 1/04/07 and 1/20/09. Every single day. Our plan to stop him is...?

          by Jim P on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:10:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            if Congress accedes to it, it will continue to happen. If Congress puts its foot down, it will stop. Unfortunately, Congress has been very wimpy about protecting its turf.

            I think the unitary executive idea is a terrible one.

            an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

            by mightymouse on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:51:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know everyone (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Danby

              gets ratched up about this, but just ask yourself some counter-factuals: does it mean we have a plural executive?  Does the Constitution vest executive authority in the lesgislative branch?  That kinda runs counter to our notion of three separate (legislative, executive and judicial) and co-equal branches.  The reality is that there is tension between Art 1 and Art II no matter what you call it since the founders did draw some fuzzy lines and mix powers a little, and since Marbury SCOTUS is the referee.  Congress and the President have been fighting since day one about these issues and the fight knows no political party boundaries.

              •  Unitary, Plural Executive (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Major Danby
                these are fundamentally high-level abstractions. We look at the real thing--the Constitution--and then people try to infer a "fundamental philosophy" about the Constitution from it. It's a purely subjective game from there, one intrinsically unverifiable (though perhaps supportable in argument), and subject to motives not necessarily benign. I return to the Constitution, which makes no ruling about these abstractions.

                What it says in clear language is that the Legislature does x, y, z, and the Executive destroys the nation does a & b. Congress can remove the President and the Supreme Court, but they cannot remove Congress. Does that mean we have a "Hemmed In Executive"  or a "On Their Best Behavior Supreme Court"? Everyone can go on inventing philosophies out of whole cloth all night, but the words of the Constitution, their description of powers, are definite and specific.

                The Bush crimes will continue every single day for the 746 between 1/04/07 and 1/20/09. Every single day. Our plan to stop him is...?

                by Jim P on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:21:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I pretty much agree (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  scrutinizer, Jim P, Major Danby

                  with everything you said, but it still leaves us with legitimate disputes over power upon which reasonable people can differ.

                  There are many examples, but Art II CIC vs. Congress power to regulate armed services is a very good one.  They both mean something, and they both give some exclusive power, and they seem to inevitably overlap.

                  My big picture view is to say ultimately the power to decide the issue is vested in the people, who decide via the ballot, through the mechanisms you describe.

          •  Nah, strictly SCOTUS's call. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            And there is a pretty technical (and decent) argument against the powers of the executive being limited as you state in your first sentence because of Art II's  "vesting clause," which is similar to the Art III vesting clause, and unlike the Art 1 legislative language, which is different than II and III, which is based on limited, enumerated, powers.

            There's a mixed bag of results on this I think at present.  Personally I don't see SCOTUS either approving or disapproving of the "theory of the unitary executive" per se, they'll just continue to resolve power disputes on a case by case basis and leave it to the law school professors to invent a name for it all.  Something equivalent to UE-lite is my guess.

          •  But what does "Commander-in-Chief" itself mean? (5+ / 0-)

            As I understand it -- and I haven't studied it deeply enough to say with great confidence -- that's the real issue.  I think that what Addington and Yoo and others are saying is that inherent in the Commander-in-Chief role is being something like a dictator, throwing constitutional niceties by the wayside.  Remember Bush, with an earnest expression on his face, saying something like "I'm a War President.  I didn't ask to be a War President [note -- he's lying here] but I'm a War President."  I had thought that this was just a silly phrase.  It turns out that what he meant by "War President" seems to have been something like "Emperor."  As in, "whoops, I seem to have become a dictator!"

            I think that what Bush and Cheney are doing has veered close to an auto-coup.  I think and hope that the results of the 2006 elections stopped them, but as my diary from Sunday suggested, I worry that they're going to try to find an excuse to grab power.  Happily, most people disagreed with me there.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:08:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There's a diary up now on Yoo (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bibble, Major Danby, MichiganGirl
              sorry, too lazy to grab the link but around midnight EST. He uses Yoo's earlier writings. Think you'd like it. Heck here it is "John Yoo Supports Impeachment.

              My bet: he's going to try to grab absolute power, maybe with the next terror attack. (I imagine the still-at-large anthrax terrorist is well-rested by now.) But he doesn't have any of the rank-and-file with him, just some high-office asskissers he gave jobs to. It's going to turn out more like Munich '23 than Berlin a decade later. Just my hunch.

              The Bush crimes will continue every single day for the 746 between 1/04/07 and 1/20/09. Every single day. Our plan to stop him is...?

              by Jim P on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:33:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  See my diary from Sunday (0+ / 0-)

                You'll like the discussion there.  That was my thesis.

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:51:57 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  If (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Creosote, Major Danby

              who knows how many Con Law professors, who have the time to research and write, can't reach precise agreement (not to mention SCOTUS) about it over hundreds of years then I doubt the two of us can in late night postings.

              I'm not thinking it's been a coup or close.  Bush hasn't defied any SCOTUS rulings, some of which must have really sent him into a tizzy.  Historically, what has been done here doesn't really compare with the civil liberties that were curtailed during other wars and other times.

              Which I think highlights our (his) problem.  When the country is uniformly behind you on the need to go to war, the country will tolerate, temporarily, necessary civil liberty curtailments.  Bush probably had that with Afghanistan, but he hasn't had it with Iraq and the broader GWOT.

              For example, I've long felt that if the FISA case had been heard by SCOTUS three or four months after 9/11 SCOTUS would have found a way for Bush to win.  Now, 5 years later (and probably 7 when it gets decided) his chances of prevailing are significantly less.  SCOTUS is not immune to wartime necessity and has said (and done so) many times.

              And so to me the problem isn't so much what has been done, it's when does it end.  Our liberty won't be given up to (or taken by) Bush in some cataclysmic chunk, it's given up one small step at a time, and because of the nature of the GWOT you never know when its over.

              For example, if I were President I would find a way to now eliminate airport searches.  I'd make sure we were taking every reasonable, non-intrusive, step and protection we could find, but I would stop what we have created at the airports.  I'd ask the country to join me in saying we are not afraid and we will not lose who we are regardless whether there is some risk.

        •  The Unitary Executive theory was disproved (6+ / 0-)

          in 1649, when Charles Stuart said the King can do no wrong and Parliament lopped off his head.  The Framers knew full well the history of the English kings.

          "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:30:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ha-ha -- touche (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bibble

            But couched as an argument for expanded wartime executive power -- a "war constitution" -- I don't think it's quite so simple.  I still think it's wrong, but there's a reason that John Yoo hasn't been fired from Boalt for being a moron.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:53:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yoo and Addington (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Creosote, MichiganGirl

              aren't very strong on their history.  The idea that the Framers, having so recently dethroned a King, would be in a burry to install another, is absurd.  It's why they gave the Legislature primacy among the three branches - the Congress may remove the President - the president has no reciprocal power.

              As for Yoo - if he was my professor I would wear my favorite T-shirt to class every day, the one that says:


              Fuck Yoo and the Horse Yoo Rode In On.

              "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

              by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 05:26:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is not just about original intent, bob (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bobdevo

                The argument will be (has been) made -- by people generally opposed to a "Living Constitution" who are willfully blind to the irony of their supporting this position -- that the Constitution has to adapt to a world in which {W, X, Y, Z}.  That has always been the argument for allowing dilution of constitutional rights and strengthening of executive power.  (In some case I think it's correct, actually -- I don't favor private ownership of rocket launchers, Second Amendment be damned -- but as I believe in a Living Constitution there's no contradiction there.)

                But I appreciate the history lesson.  I hadn't known the Framers were anti-royalist.  (Gentle yuletide snark for you there.)

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:17:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Private ownership of rocket launchers (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Major Danby

                  is looking better to me every day.  Ask the insurgents - or our old pal Osama bin Laden.  Nothing beats having a shoulder-fired rocket for keeping those pesky black helicopters away from your neighborhood.

                  "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                  by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:33:30 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, I can't argue with that (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Creosote, bobdevo

                    Well, I can, actually, but I won't.  I understand the impetus.

                    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                    by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:42:17 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We liked it a lot when it was (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Major Danby

                      the mujah bringing down the Soviet choppers in the mountains of Afghanistan.

                      I don't recall there being much Islamofascism terror threats as long as the Red Star was flying over Kabul.

                      Be careful what you wish for.

                      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                      by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:00:26 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

      •  In Nixon day, the "Imperial Presidency" was (18+ / 0-)

        the term used, and it was not a compliment.  The idea is that we pretty much need an imperial ruler to compete in the world.  (Much like Julius Caeser's argument, actually.  These Republicans put on such airs.)  Here's how it works.

        The Constitution has all sorts of "seams," for lack of a better word, where one set of powers bumps up against another.  In good times, with well-behaved people on both sides, people don't tug on these seams.  One such seam deals with the ability of Congress to divest the courts of jurisdiction to hear the constitutionality of laws in certain substantive areas.  Congress can apparently do this -- it just did so with the Military Commissions Act -- but it shouldn't mess with it; if there's a constitutional argument against it, it's not explicitly in the constitution itself but is sort of "meta"; the scholar Charles Black (whose widow was Contracts prof) termed this the argument of "structure and function of government," which is that the Constitution is designed to prevent any branch from subjugating another one, explicit language of the constitution be damned, if need be.  (I paraphrase here; it's been a long time since I read it.)

        The seam that Cheney in particular is exploiting is the one that grants Congress legislative power, but grants the President the power of a Commander-in-Chief.  Well, what does that power entail?  Nice men would not try to resolve that, but Dick Cheney is not a nice man.  His argument is that during wartime -- which can be permanent -- the President can do pretty much anything he wants.  (Nixon made a similar argument without the limitation of wartime, but he was nuts.)

        So that's we're testing out now.  Cheney argues that there is an implicit "war Constitution" that trumps the written one which -- no one knew this! -- is really pretty much a peacetime constitution.  (Hence my sig line.)  What are the limits of the President's war powers?  We don't know, but we're finding out.  The case that really points to this, but that no one wants to talk about, is Korematsu -- your constitutional rights can be subjugated during wartime.  (Sorry!)  Read the often-ignored Third Amendment for something else that ought to chill you along these lines.

        So: habeas corpus, right of privacy, 4th amendment, 14th amendment, 1st amendment -- who knows how far the President can go during wartime.  (This is part of the thrust of my "martial law" diaries from earlier this year as well.)  But Bush and Cheney are asking for the moon and hoping to set precedents.  It's good politics for them: Democrats won't misuse these powers and Republicans will, so an elected Democrat becomes a President but an elected Republican becomes an Emperor.

        This is why this is the most important political fight of our lives, and why we cannot afford to lose.  Everything -- impeachment, the legislative agenda, Iraq -- is, in my opinion, subsidiary to this.  Bush and Cheney want to establish the legal apparatus for an American dictatorship during (permanent) wartime.  That's what the "unitary executive" really means.  That is the devil we are fighting.

        Having written this, that may be the basis for my next diary.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:49:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was 2/3rds through (5+ / 0-)
          thinking "this is a diary in itself." I'd encourage you to do same. What you say is something that hangs together in my sub- (or supra-) mind, but I never saw the power issues described so precisely and concisely as you have here.

          To my mind, your comment stands alone, but I'm too lazy to go looking for the 3rd Amendment tonight (busy looking up Clintons A-of-I.) So dress up it with a couple links, expand a thought or two, and I'll recommened it. (Don't, and I'll still recommend it.)

          So then, the crux of the whole coup d'etat, is around the question "how far the President can go during wartime." I can swear I haven't heard of Congress declaring war. Like it requires in the Constitution. Were we all out of the solar-system when that happened?

          There was that Reichstag-like granting of powers to Bush to invade Iraq, but I don't see this Congress as bound by that.

          Thanks again for the diary and the comments.  

          The Bush crimes will continue every single day for the 746 between 1/04/07 and 1/20/09. Every single day. Our plan to stop him is...?

          by Jim P on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:26:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks, it's been languishing as a draft (4+ / 0-)

            for a while.  Needs work yet.  But I think I'll get to it.

            According to Bush and Cheney, the AUMF was itself sort of like a mini-constitutional convention.  It's sickening.

            I appreciate your comments and your support.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:12:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I've been thinking about declarations of war, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Creosote

            as well.  Certainly the framers didn't countenance the idea of a single individual being able to commit the country to permanent war, or committing the country to war against its wishes.  If commander-in-chief powers exist to the extent that Cheney claims (and what does he know?  He's just a power-hungry guy who would use any argument to get what he wants...), the US could be at war for at least 4 years before having the opportunity to throw the rascal out.  And if he can indeed invoke the war power of declaring American citizens to be enemy combatants, what's to say that he couldn't declare elections to be national security threats?

            These are of course outlandish arguments, but I could see the theory of the unitary executive in wartime leading right down this path.

            "The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep running."

            by Fasaha on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:25:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Great analysis, Major (4+ / 0-)

          But one thing:

          We are not at war. Congress has the sole power to declare war, and it didn't. It did authorize the Executive to use force, if necessary, but there was no declaration of war as required by the Constitution.

          Now that said, I suppose that you could claim that the National Security Act of 1947 put the US in a permanent war status. I have not seen this concept used yet in the "war on terror" though.

          "Like the mirror told me this morning, it's all done with people" - Wavy Gravy

          by offgrid on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:31:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah. Weird, huh? (5+ / 0-)

            And yet W is a "War President."  The real problem here is the Supreme Court's abdication of its responsibility to decide the "political question" of what constitutes a war for constitutional purposes.  But to the extent we're not at war, then the unitary executive position looks more like calling for an auto-coup, a la Caeser.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:34:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, the Court needs to step up to the plate (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Danby

              And I think that the Court needs to examine the National Security Act. I think that it's unconstitutional in that it establishes a chain of command, and succession of power, different then what the Constitution establishes.

              It was created when we realized that a nuclear attack could wipe out Washington, and hence our government, in 20 minutes. It used to take weeks for an attacking force to get to our shores. After the A-bomb, it takes only minutes.

              But since Congress, and the Prez, felt that they required the "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq", they must not be thinking about the power that the NSA of 1947 grants to the Executive branch and the military. As I said, I've never seen it mentioned in this context.

              "Like the mirror told me this morning, it's all done with people" - Wavy Gravy

              by offgrid on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:03:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  The National Security Act of 1947 . . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            offgrid

            authored by Gen. Reinhard Gehlen.

            "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

            by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 05:29:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it is. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            offgrid

            It authorized the use of force in Iraq, on the basis of the War Powers Act, which derives it authority from the Constitution.  The WPA has never been challenged in the SCOTUS.

        •  Thank you, Major Danby. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Creosote, Major Danby

          Thank you for writing this diary, and for the many thoughtful comments you've added to the conversation.  I started reading the diary prepared to be lockjawed and angry at you for "taking the other side".  I'm glad I read the whole thing and at least this far in the comments.  You have educated me at least to some degree about what we may be up against and why it is so important to build the case properly.

          I think too many people leap over the details to say "Impeach!"  without making clear what they really mean when they use the word.  Many of us, myself included, use the word impeach as shorthand for the process that leads to removal from office.  Of course we all know in our saner moments that impeachment itself means nothing more and nothing less than indictment by the House, and that it comes in the middle of a process that begins with the gathering evidence and maybe ends with conviction in the Senate.  And for the record, I do not accuse BooMan of making that leap.  I'm quite certain he knows better.  

          I've been saying all along that what I want is the truth.  As in legal and proper, independent, investigations.  Testimony under oath, where people are required to speak the truth under penalty of law.  I have said over and over, I don't want a witchhunt and I don't want a white wash.  I want the truth.  The American people, and the world, deserve no less.

          I remain convinced that, if the truth ever comes out about what the principals in this administration have been up to, their removal from power is all but inevitable.  Whether it comes as the result of impeachment and conviction, impeachment and resignation, growing public disaffection and resignation, growing Republican dissaffection and resignation, or something else entirely.  How it comes about is less important to me than that it come about, and the sooner the better.  I want these guys quite publicly removed from power.  I want all of their encroachments on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights clearly and unambiguously refuted.  And yes, before someone else says it, I'd like a pony with that too.

          This is why this is the most important political fight of our lives, and why we cannot afford to lose.  Everything -- impeachment, the legislative agenda, Iraq -- is, in my opinion, subsidiary to this.  Bush and Cheney want to establish the legal apparatus for an American dictatorship during (permanent) wartime.  That's what the "unitary executive" really means.  That is the devil we are fighting.

          And thanks most especially for that paragraph.  That sums it all up about as well as anything I've read.  This is a fight we must not lose.

          Oh, and this fairly leapt out at me:

          ever quite connected the dots -- due to his own incuriousity and feeble thinking

          Shit, that lets W off the hook right there.  Can we at least make him wear a dunce cap the rest of his term?

          •  Thanks for the comments (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Creosote, ignorant bystander

            I do think that we're almost all on the same side here.  This is not an "anti-impeachment" diary, it's an "if we ever do impeach, we had better be smart about it, and here's some of the things we'd better consider" diary.  I'm actually helping out the pro-impeach side here, and am not sorry for that.

            I'm all for the dunce cap idea (subject to some constitutional limitations.)

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:21:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Very well done Major D (6+ / 0-)

      I would only add (as you probably know) that there is case support for the advice of counsel argument, and I ran across some serious discussion (from the left) saying that any GenArtIII torture issues would be seriously defensible on the ground that prior to Hamdan the more widely held view was that Art III did not apply.  Iraq is a loser.  I think FISA is the best ground (there is no real 4th Amendment problem, and I agree with you re AUMF, but that's a good way for SCOTUS to avoid some very, very difficult positions), but there again the reality is that NSC lawyers, the AG and the OLC all said he could legally do it (and all the CRS could muster was that Bush's arguments weren't as strong as he claimed) -- I recognize that argument doesn't mean much here but it should.

      But in the end, it is an entirely political process and so you don't have to meet any substantative legal standards whatsover.  My view is that trying to impeach Bush on a mushy political standard would be a disaster for Democrats, but if there is a holy grail for the strident and vocal here impeachment is it.

      In any event, your diary was very well written, and as a fellow lawyer I know you put a lot of time into it.  Thanks.

      •  Just to clarify--- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Danby

        You're saying that issues raised by Article III of the Geneva Conventions did not apply before Hamden?  Just want to make sure that's the article III you're talking about, and that there's not another article III somewhere else that I didn't know about.

        •  It is my understanding (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ignorant bystander, Major Danby

          that it was widely debated whether Article III applied to Iraq and terrorist detainees because of the "international character" issue.  I think the more widely accepted (small margin perhaps, perhaps slightly the other way) view was that it did not.  SCOTUS disagreed.  The extent to which that is a very narrow or broad ruling, and the extent to which a majority of the court agreed with that broad view, is still debated apparently.

          I'll try to find the link -- I ran across it while looking at VJ's diary.  But to be honest I had surgery today, I have a couple of Percocets flowing through my veins and it is quite possible I am hallunicating (:

    •  Here's hoping this doesn't get buried (5+ / 0-)

      What about Cheney? Could a more convincing case be laid out against the Vice President? Regarding pre-war claims about Iraq. Maybe Haliberton issues (though I guess there'd need to be more evidence discovered). At the very least there might be more political support given is dismal numbers.

      Or equally important is there less of an opportunity to impeach Cheney? Even if Bush were impeached we'd end up with Cheney as President so if the case can't be made against both then the case isn't worth making.

      Has someone calculated the man hours Democrats would need to spend on this?

      It took them 30 years- don't give up hope after 3

      by js noble on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:03:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Suggested arguments on B are frivolous (5+ / 0-)

      And I mean that in the legal sense.  You already dismissed arguments 1-5 so I won't mention them further.

      Argument 6 is frivolous because the so-called "competent" counsel was specifically ordered by Cheney, at least, if not by Bush, to provide the self-evidently specious "unitary executive" arguments.  Bush might be able to skate on this if he practiced the Reagan "I'm an idiot" strategy, but Cheney is toast.

      To find an impeachable offense here, you have to include that not only was the advice he was given about FISA, the AUMF, and the unitary executive wrong, but that it was so obviously wrong that the President was unreasonable to accept it.

      It was.  Every legal scholar in the country agrees.

      The criminals who were confirmed to various court positions obviously should not have been, but lots of gross incompetents have become judges in the past: it means nothing legally.

      But more importantly, as I said, it doesn't qualify as unbiased legal advice: they were ordered to come up with this stuff.  If I order my lawyer to pursue a crazy strategy, I can't then say "Well, I relied on my lawyer's advice, so let me get away with it".  That's frivolous.

      -5.63, -8.10 | Libertarian Liberal

      by neroden on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:03:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you overstate the case (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scrutinizer, ignorant bystander

        the every legal scholar agrees that the extended unitary executive theory is wrong.  Um, John Yoo?  Douglas Kmeic?  There is a market for people to support that sort of theory, and those slots will be filled.

        One of my concerns is that we might have enough to go after Cheney on wiretapping but not Bush.  Most of the impeachment discussion is about Bush, and that's why I don't think #6 is frivolous.  I think he may have a defense if he didn't collude, even if Cheney is toast.  (Cheney doesn't care if he's toast.  He's got a martyr complex.)  I don't think it's clear that Bush had no reasonable basis to accept the advice.

        I agree that Domestic Wiretapping is, to me, the most propitious path -- the problem, again, is that last I saw a majority of the country agrees with his policy.  It may be a loser politically even if it's the best course legally.  I hate it when that happens.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:58:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Missing, upcoming count: concealment of evidence (5+ / 0-)

      We know Bushco have been refusing to reveal gobloads of papers which prove their guilt in one or another thing.

      Just wait for them to start refusing subpeonas (which Cheney has promised to do).  Then we have a proven, incontrovertible, felony.  Plus, impeachment becomes politically essential if the Democrats are to investigate anything.

      The cover-up is worse than the crime, remember....

      -5.63, -8.10 | Libertarian Liberal

      by neroden on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:08:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. See my other comments on that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ignorant bystander, MichiganGirl

        I think that that is the most likely path to impeachment and have said so -- even in print here -- for at least a week, and I think longer.  I think maybe they want the fight.  What I haven't looked at is whether they have a chance of winning that one.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:59:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well done, MD but there's more than one way to... (0+ / 0-)

      ... skin a weasel. Two possible ways not mentioned here -- one thrown about in the press and one, not so much.

      • The improper (unconstitutional) use of signing statements to avoid laws enacted by Congress.
      • The deliberate suppression of scientific evidence supporting the debilitating global effects of climate change.

      I'm interested in your views on these two potential articles of impeachment.

      Again, good job. Even though I do think it's possible to prove "intent" and "disregard" in one or two of the articles you expounded on; I do agree there's no slam dunk with any of them.

      Bush isn't inept... he's delusional!

      by Flirtin with Disaster on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:57:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As Vyan's series continues (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, scrutinizer, 4jkb4ia

        I'll try to keep up with him in my own.  I tend not to like to get into impeachment diaries directly anymore because my doing so seems to generate more heat than light.

        Here's a taste, though: I think it's legitimate for the President to say "here's how I will interpret these terms in this law as I order it to be executed."  I think that that's helpful, in fact.  The problem is when the President claims the right to ignore the plain meaning of a statute and/or rejects what the statute does despite signing it.  It's the content of a signing statement, not the form, that can render it unconstitutional (and perhaps impeachable) -- but only if and when the President actually acts on it.  Until then it's just trash talk.

        I'm not sure what high crime or misdemeanor the President would be committing re global warming and I'm inclined to leave it to the political process.  Otherwise I'm afraid that a future Democrat will be impeached by a Republican Congress for, say, failing to nuke Iran when "everyone can obviously see" that Iran is a big threat, etc.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:12:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand what you're saying here... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Creosote, Major Danby, MichiganGirl

          ... about signing statements. In fact, the term "signing statement" could easily be named as you suggest: "presidential trash talk."

          And until he actually acts in direct contradiction to the signed bill it may not be unconstitutional. But has he? We don't know the answer to that question and never will without sheer doggedness in holding rigorous hearings and investigations. As it stands right now, we don't even know anything about many of the bills passed by the 109th Congress -- or, the 108th Congress for that matter -- in the middle of the night. That's why Hastert & co. deliberately omitted Democrats from the process on many occasions.

          One thing's for sure, Bush wasn't using those signing statements to practice his penmanship.

          If I'm not mistaken, signing statements would probably be Senator Leahy's territory. If he's half as pissed off as he was when I heard him speak at a college a couple of weeks ago, he'll get to the bottom of this chit pile. A student asked him if the Bush administration should be worried that he's now chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He answered: "No, they should be terrified!" Let's hope he stays pissed off!!

          The Global warming thing, I'll admit, is a bit more ambiguous in nature. What's got my curiosity up is the fact that former government workers are coming out and saying for a fact that they've been muzzled by the administration in the normal operation of their duties to report findings on climate changes.

          But remember, if veritable findings were intentionally altered or omitted from reports that  eventually formed the basis of U.S. domestic or international policy; if that can be proved, it'll be obvious that Bush administration policies were enacted with malice aforethought, intentionally causing harm to the environment and welfare of the United States.

          There's really no ambiguity there. If the facts proved through documents and testimony that the consequences of inaction or wrongful action would be harmful to the country; yet with that in mind, the administration altered or omitted them for the purpose of increasing the profits of big business or the administration's own pockets, I do believe that at its least it's high crimes and misdemeanors, and at its most -- treason.

          Barbara Boxer has her faults but persistence is not one of them. She can be a real bulldog when she sets her mind to it. I've seen her in action a while back when she exposed malfeasance by Colin Powell's son at the FCC. Apparently, he deliberately buried reports stating for a fact that huge media conglomerates were not good for the dispensation of news information to the general public.  

          Bush isn't inept... he's delusional!

          by Flirtin with Disaster on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:52:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I certainly hope that Boxer investigates deeply (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Creosote, Flirtin with Disaster

            into the research on global warming.  And if Bush blocks that investigation, then, as I've said, I could imagine that being impeachable.  In either case, it will be a wonderful education for the public.  The Republicans should be terrified.

            And yes, one subject of investigations should be how every damn caveat in signing statements has led to refusal to implement Congressional directives.  Did I mention that the Republicans should be terrified?

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:24:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  yes I am taking it seriously (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, Major Danby

      And you have done good work on the subject and get my recommend.

      The question is, is the fight worth fighting?

      I believe it is.   If for no other reason to remove the unitary executive theory from play.  

  •  I just want to say... (28+ / 0-)

    ...before this continues to get out of hand, that we would all do well to remember that we are arguing about the merits of one another's arguments, and not the merits of each other as people.

    IMHO, of course.

    P.S. Everyone who doesn't agree with me sucks donkeys.  Meet me later in top comments for pictures.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:10:45 PM PST

  •  thankyou (10+ / 0-)

    this diary says everything that I want to say: Bush ought to be stung up by his thumbs. but making a charge and making the charge stick are two different things.

    •  high crimes and misdemeanors (9+ / 0-)

      remember what we are going after here. in the words of Liz Holtzman (NYC Congress woman on House Judiciary during Nixon's impeachment):

      A high crime or misdemeanor is an archaic term that means a serious abuse of power, whether or not it is also a crime, that seriously endangers or constitutional system of government.

      also, i believe there is no standard "beyond a reasonable doubt."

      thus you do not have to be able to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt to have an impeachable offense. that's why i think all three listed are basically open and shut cases.

      defending the president from an honestly brought impeachment is NOT the same as defending in a criminal trial.

      an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

      by mightymouse on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:11:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I accept that BRD doesn't apply, but (9+ / 0-)

        do you accept that:

        (1) the public views Presidential impeachment, at least, to be a matter of committing crimes rather than "mere" abuses of power?

        (2) standard legal defenses such as "acting on advice of counsel" would be considered?

        In practice, I don't think that the distinction that Holtzman raises would matter much if Congress plays its cards right.  Congress could manufacture a crisis by forcing Bush to respond to subpoenas (or take other actions) in ways that contravene his theory of the unitary executive, and then go after him for the crime of contempt.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:26:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not a criminal lawyer (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          darrelplant, GN1927, blueoasis

          but is advice of counsel a viable defense to a felony charge? Violation of FISA is a felony after all.  It's not as if the statute is ambiguous in any way whatsoever.

          If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. - Cpt. Ian Fishback

          by Rick Oliver on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:40:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure it's ambiguous -- (0+ / 0-)

            if you believe in the unitary executive theory that says that Congress has no right to legislate in this area during wartime.  I don't, but the Supreme Court hasn't said yet.

            I think that in this political-slash-legal situation we would have to be prepared to encounter and defeat an advice of counsel argument.  I think that Bush's speech to the American people that he acted in good faith because of his concern about terrorism would go over quite well.  Worse, I think that that's what Karl Rove thinks.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:03:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well (0+ / 0-)

              assuming, arguendo, that the Constitutionality of the statute is in question (a dubious proposition itself), it doesn't make the statute unambiguous.  If there was uncertainty on that front, the administration certainly had other remedies available to it which would not require defying the clearly expressed intent of the Congress.

              If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. - Cpt. Ian Fishback

              by Rick Oliver on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 07:35:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The rub is whether it was "clearly expressed" (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Creosote, Rick Oliver

                Look (need I say?), I agree with you on the merits.  But what you really say is that Bush didn't have to bring a test case.  True -- but I am generally in favor of bringing test cases against unconstitutional laws.  (ACLU supporter, right?)  He will say that he had a good faith basis to believe that it did not constrain his power.  To me, this may be the dividing line where we could bargain away impeachment by saying "we will pass a censure resolution, and we will pass a bill clarifying the scope of your power, and if you sign it -- with no signing statement -- you can continue in office."  That is the fight I want to win.  I can live with a neutered Bush if it avoids a constitutional crisis.  (And we come off looking good, to boot.)

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:32:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I could definitely live with that. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Creosote, Major Danby

                  So long as immunity from future prosecution is not part of the deal.

                  If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. - Cpt. Ian Fishback

                  by Rick Oliver on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:34:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My guess is that he'll never be prosecuted (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Rick Oliver

                    for acts taken while President.  Too many people don't want to set that precedent.  (I'm not sure of the legality of it; if anyone else is, please say so.)

                    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                    by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 05:33:39 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Probably correct. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Creosote, Major Danby

                      But I would rather leave the option available in case the full truth is even more horrible than we imagine.  Not sure of the legality of it either.  Much would depend, I suspect, on the degree to which the offending conduct is arguably a legitimate use of executive power and the severity of the harm.

                      If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. - Cpt. Ian Fishback

                      by Rick Oliver on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 06:28:03 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  good questions (5+ / 0-)

          do you accept that:

          (1) the public views Presidential impeachment, at least, to be a matter of committing crimes rather than "mere" abuses of power?

          I think the public gets, at least some of them, that impeachment is not exactly a criminal/legal proceeding; rather, that it is a tool to check an out-of control executive. Anyway, publicizing what impeachment really is for is a must so that the public understands what is going on.

          2) standard legal defenses such as "acting on advice of counsel" would be considered

          this I don't know. but what would you think if the president said s/he broke the law on advice of counsel? whether or not that immunizes him/her from criminal prosecution, I don't want a president who can't get honest and top-notch counsel. It's the president's responsibility to get good counsel.

          I believe that some things that can get one off of a criminal charge should not count in an impeachment trial.

          anyway, I'm not a lawyer - you probably know more about this stuff.

          an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

          by mightymouse on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:04:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We're all groping into the darkness here (3+ / 0-)

            Maybe the public can be educated as you say; maybe advice of counsel would not work here.  I'm just raising the issues and giving my opinions.  I want people to understand why people like me are worried about whether we could achieve impeachment and I want people who favor it to be thinking about how my concerns can be overcome.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:05:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  no problem (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Danby

              Since impeachment is so rare, and since the most recent one was a farce, people are not really familiar with it. The framers put it into the constitution to be used, because they foresaw it would be necessary to check a power-hungry executive beyond the check provided by elections every four years. They expected us to use it from time to time to protect the republic they set up for us.

              there are some good books about impeachment - right now I am reading "The Genius of Impeachment" by John Nichols. It addresses some of the concerns raised by you and others.

              If you do online audio, Nichols has a talk on the subject that you  can get as a free download from tuc radio that is well worth a listen. The link is a little ways down the page.

              Another good book is "the case for impeachment" by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky.

              an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

              by mightymouse on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:41:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  That's what's going to happen (10+ / 0-)

          Congress could manufacture a crisis by forcing Bush to respond to subpoenas (or take other actions) in ways that contravene his theory of the unitary executive, and then go after him for the crime of contempt.

          In fact, that's why I think impeachment is inevitable.
          Follow the reasoning:

          (1) Congress has promised to investigate and to demand information
          (2) Bushco have a record of refusing to release documents
          (3) Cheney has promised to ignore subpeonas
          (4) If Congress just rolls over and accepts that, it is admitting total powerlessness, which is a death sentence for the Democratic Party
          (5) Democratic Party leadership knows this
          (6) Bush is hardcore and will not back down even after court orders
          (7) There's only one way to end that....

          -5.63, -8.10 | Libertarian Liberal

          by neroden on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:15:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah -- if you look back to a discussion I had (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bibble, MichiganGirl

            a week or so back, buhdydharma (an impeachment advocate) and I (a skeptic) shared our views about what would happen, and this was the likeliest outcome.  I think that Bush and Cheney, if they want to leave anyway, may well decide to go out as martyrs to the cause of an imperial executive.  And this is certainly their chance ....

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:19:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I dunno (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mightymouse, Major Danby
              if they want to leave behind an imperial presidency. I think they want to be an imperial presidency.

              Lying about WMDs changed everything.

              by Nowhere Man on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:28:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think that they *did* want that (0+ / 0-)

                But damned if the 2006 elections didn't change everything.  When the history of this era is written, if and when we find out what these guys really had planned, it may turn out that we're underestimating how significant our efforts were.

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:07:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  If the president's at 20% (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, MichiganGirl

          I don't think the public cares whether it's crimes or mere abuses.  Political scientists who know what an awful precedent it might be would care, but not the public.

          If the public saw Republicans and Democrats agreeing that Bush needed to be removed, and agreeing to install say Powell and Holbrooke in his place, the public would be very very relieved, cause they hate partisan division more than most things.  Now, the realism of that "men in grey suits" thing coming to pass is an entirely different story.  But if Republicans did want to ditch the president, even under legally thin arguments, the public wouldn't be opposed.

        •  Thanks for this diary, Major. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby

          It's been needed.  

          And I agree with you that Bush is probably going to follow Nixon's path by pissing off Congress by refusing a subpoena for records, or some such silliness.  

      •  Dereliction of Duty (4+ / 0-)

        Impeachment is not simply a matter of criminal actions.

        Historically, grounds for impeachment include dereliction of duty. It was a method for removing incompetent and otherwise incapable public officials, not solely for ousting criminals and malefactors. Failure to adequately perform official duties is one of the primary offenses for which impeachment exists.

        I'd be interested in seeing those grounds explored.

        Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

        by darrelplant on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:42:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd be interested in that exploration too (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          4jkb4ia, engine17

          though the prospect of impeaching for that reason really concerns me for the precedent it would set.  Should squeaky clean Herbert Hoover have been impeached in 1930?  Harry Truman in 1951?  Jimmy Carter in 1979?  This contemplates a serious change in our form of government, to something like that which plagued Gray Davis in California.  I'm leery of inviting that; I don't think it plays to our advantage to make the President that vulnerable.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:48:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What Will It Take? (0+ / 0-)

            Should Harding have been impeached for Teapot Dome? Should Reagan have been impeached for Iran-contra? Should Ford have been impeached for pardoning Nixon?

            Frankly, considering that the precedent for initiating an impeachment over lying under oath was already set in the Clinton era, I fail to see how prosecution of impeachment for failure to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" would be set any worse precedent.

            Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

            by darrelplant on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:00:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perjury is a defined crime (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              4jkb4ia

              with factual elements that can be evaluated with some precision.  "Failure to 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States'" is not a defined crime, is wishy-washy as hell, and leaves open a great deal of subjectivity.  It would completely change our system of government if the President could be removed at what I'd argue in effect would be the whim of Congress.  It would be a really bad precedent, much worst than the stupid prosecution of Clinton for a real crime he did not commit.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:29:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Crime (0+ / 0-)

                The President can be removed at the whim of Congress, though. That's what impeachment is. That is how it's constructed in the Constitution. The articles of impeachment that the House can refer to the Senate can be based on any grounds they wish them to be based. It's up to the Senate to judge whether they constitute grounds for removal, i.e. "high crimes and misdemeanors." Members of the House have to take into account whether their actions will figure into their re-election chances within two years. Senators have to temper their partisanship with the knowledge that they can be ousted within six. They are accountable to the voters of their home districts. That's the drag on the system. Conversely, if they don't take actions their constituents think they should have, they can be thrown out for that, too.

                That's not a change in our government. That's how it's been for 217 years.

                Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

                by darrelplant on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:48:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  As a practical matter, I disagree (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Creosote

                  Even if we can impeach for an action that does not give the appearance of a crime, our tradition is that we do not do so -- for good reason -- and I don't believe that the public will support our doing so -- for good reason.  They don't want nihilism.

                  Maybe another example would help.  Congress could pass -- and override a veto -- a bill saying that Bush and Cheney must be executed, and that anyone who stands in the way of their being executed will be executed themselves along with their nuclear family and their property will be confiscated, and that the courts may not review any action taken under this bill with respect to the constitutional prohibition on bills of attainder or any other constitutional, statutory, or regulatory provision.

                  Would this be "constitutional"?  Well, I could argue that it would be under the theory of "jurisdiction stripping.")  (In fact, this example helps explain why that theory is, in my opinion, so dangerous and wrong.)  Nevertheless, it would be stupid, wrong, and political suicide to boot.  While my second example is a reductio ad absurdum, I think that "nihilistic impeachment" -- without the underlying cause being a crime -- suffers from a much milder version the same problem.

                  My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                  by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:43:40 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  This is a tough one. (14+ / 0-)

    This is a good diary and I am recommending it.

    What I see in the "pro-impeachment" diaries that speak more to emotion than to practicality is a psychological mechanism, a mechanism to flush all the Bush-era bullshit out of our psyches, the knee jerk Democratic actions of defensiveness that have plagued us and were the impetus to create blogs such as Daily Kos.

    So each time now that someone tries to be practical in dealing with impeachment, there's this little feeling of "oh no, no more of this, we've had to deal with this 'keep your powder dry' for six years and I just can't stand this any more!"

    And I have to tell you, Major D. -- although the rational side of me agrees with you, the emotional side really does feel this, that enough is enough, and whenever I read a diary that is more rational than emotional about the crimes of this Administration, I also have that feeling, this intense psychological resistance.  And it is very real, and a very real result of what has happened in our culture since Bush and his cronies took power.

    Makes me understand why they hung Mussolini (warning, extremely graphic pictures) after the war, with no due process.  Arrrrgh.

    •  I accept that we need both reason and emotion (9+ / 0-)

      As I diaried herehere, for many here impeachment serves what is termed a "value-expressive" function; support for it becomes part of our sense of self.  This is important for our individual psyches and for a political movement.  But it's not the only thing to be included in the mix.  One thing I'm trying to suggest here is the sort of information we need to get through investigation for impeachment to be successful: that is, information that helps us counter these arguments.  Another is to explain why, if our leaders decide to go for censure rather than impeachment, they aren't necessarily selling us out; they may be responding to a calculus of whether these arguments can be beat.  (And I'm sure there are better ones being cooked up in the Bush legal kitchen this moment.)  But I'm all for holding our leaders feet to the fire so that they do go as far as they can go to set our country right again.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:29:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Danby, kraant

    The results of the hearings should be the basis for deciding whether to impeach.  We should not go into the hearings with the mindset that impeachment is the goal no matter what.

  •  Removal is a different proposition (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Danby, kraant

    than encouraging a vote against Bush or hamstringing him with congressional control.

    As one example, in electoral politics, it really doesn't matter whether Bush knew, or didn't know the WMD tales were bull.  It doesn't matter if his way of punishing dissent and rewarding agreement matters.   Whether it's fraud or incompetence, intentional or merely negligent, our country is just as fucked.

    But REMOVAL....can merely listening to the people who say what you want to hear be enough?  Is incompetence enough?  Should we first attempt to restrain him through aggressive congressional action first?  I suggest it's a very different set of questions, and yes, someone's going to have to answer them all before there's a removal.  Check back in February.

    It's the proto-fascism

    by Inland on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:24:34 PM PST

    •  Incompetence (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, incompetence is enough. Impeachment is the only method to remove an incompetent President that doesn't involve the active participation of the VP and Cabinet. Incompetence, inability, or unwillingness to perform the actions of office is precisely what impeachment was originally designed to address.

      Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

      by darrelplant on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:04:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Incompetence" has multiple meanings (0+ / 0-)

        If you mean "rolled up into a ball won't come out of bed and do any work at all" incompetence, then you have a point.  But that's unlikely.  (Hell, Wilson made it through years with a stroke.)  But incompetence is also meant colloqially as "you are doing a bad job," and that is the line at which impeachment becomes difficult.  The President does not serve at the pleasure of Congress.  Impeachment for anything less than dramatically disabling incompetence would be a major change in our system.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:32:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Incompetence (0+ / 0-)

          I think that, given the structure of the impeachment process, you're absolutely wrong about the President not serving at the pleasure of Congress. The only check to impeachment is whether articles drawn up and passed by the House will also be passed by the Senate. There is no legal recourse for the President -- or any other federal officer -- if Congress decides to impeach him or her.

          Impeachment is a political process. Even in cases where an officer is convicted of a felony, impeachment doesn't decide guilt on those charges. Impeachment is the recognition that a conviction may preclude the person from carrying out their official duties. And that's all it is: a recognition that the officer -- for whatever reason -- is incapable of fulfilling their duties.

          Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

          by darrelplant on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 09:42:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Addressed above and elsewhere (0+ / 0-)

            It's an interesting debate, but I think I've already done enough to argue my case against the theory of "dogshit impeachment" (i.e., as a diarist elsewhere proposed, Congress can impeach Bush for letting Barney shit on the White House lawn.)  As a practical matter, "it can't" has the same effect as "it had better not."

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:46:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Scale (0+ / 0-)

              Which brings me back to the constraint on Congress mentioned upthread. Congress wouldn't impeach Bush for dogshit because they'd be seen by their constituents as nutty for doing so.

              Choosing incompetents to serve in government positions and refusing to hold them accountable, however, is a matter of a somewhat different scale than dogshit. It's not a criminal offense, but it is something that's a responsibility of the President, a part of his official duties. If he chooses a, say, Michael Brown or a Donald Rumsfeld to serve in the Executive Branch, then fails to hold them accountable for their actions, that's a failure of the President to perform his duties as the Chief Executive. It's not legally criminal, but it's certainly worth consideration as grounds for impeachment.

              Barring the XXV Amendment, impeachment is the only legal method for removing a President. The XXV Amendment requires the assent of the Vice President and others in the Executive for removal. Requiring a criminal justification for removal would allow for the maintenance of an incapacitated President as a figurehead by his VP and others, should they be so inclined. I really doubt that's a scenario the founders meant to allow.

              Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

              by darrelplant on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:01:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I think we've both argued our points well (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Creosote

                So I'm willing to let it stand.  I think a non-criminal impeachment is a taboo and a bad precedent, you think it's sometimes a necessity.  If the polls start to convince me that it's not a taboo, and there's a way not to make it a bad precedent, you may eventually convince me, but I doubt the former will happen and that the latter is possible.

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:46:57 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Solution (0+ / 0-)

                  What would your remedy be for the situation I outlined above? Forget the bullshit "dogshit" argument. My hypothetical is not only a far more realistic situation, it's essentially what happened at the end of Wilson's presidency, as you pointed out. He may have "managed" with a stroke, or his wife ran the country in his stead as some historians think.

                  If you rule out impeachment for incapacity, how would you deal with a situation where the VP -- for whatever reason -- didn't invoke Amendment XXV? Is there any other (legal) option than impeachment? Or does everyone just play along until the end of the term?

                  Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

                  by darrelplant on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 10:38:21 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think that it would be sort of (0+ / 0-)

                    chickenshit to ignore the bullshit dogshit argument here during pigshit week on DKos.  (OK, not really, but I just couldn't resist saying that.)

                    The concern that there could not be impeachment for incapacity is part of what spurred passage of the 25th Amendment, so I don't see any reason to think that the scholars and politicians who promoted it were wrong.  As a practical matter, though, I'm sure that it would be possible to impeach a President in a persistent vegetative state, for example.  But I don't think that has much to do -- technically -- with Bush.

                    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                    by Major Danby on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 12:02:16 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Nuke Iran (0+ / 0-)

                      "Vegetative state" is not a criminal offense, though. And that's the point I was trying to make about impeachment not being purely based on the criminal definition of "misdemeanor".

                      What if a President was suspected to have Alzheimer's or dementia? Should they be permitted to control the nuclear football? Should others, unelected to that position, be permitted to influence or control their decisions? My own answer, as you can probably guess, would be no, but we've already been through one of those Presidencies, another man who was supposed to be surrounded by "good advisors", some of whom are back in the saddle again.

                      What level of incompetence would it take to change your mind, MD? Would they have to nuke Baghdad before they were impeached? Tehran? Or is any level of bad but technically legal action unimpeachable so long as they're conscious?

                      Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

                      by darrelplant on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:46:14 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  These are good concerns (0+ / 0-)

                        But I'm not saying what the Constitution ought to say, but what it says, based on its historic interpretation.  If what you're saying is true, I think the 25th Amendment would have taken a different form.  (The section on voluntary withdrawal would have still been necessary, but the section on involuntary withdrawal should have been written to dovetail with "impeachment for disability."

                        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                        by Major Danby on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 03:12:36 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Declaration and History (0+ / 0-)

                          If you're going to argue historic interpretation, I think you need to take a look back at the reasons for the establishment of this country given in the Declaration of Independence. Virtually all of the complaints levied against King George III were non-criminal. Some were simple failures to take action:

                          He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

                          He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

                          He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

                          and there's a lot more

                          That was written and assented to by many of the people who were involved in the framing of the Constitution a dozen years after the Declaration. The procedure for impeachment was -- unless I'm mistaken -- in that original version of the Constitution. The people who were willing to start a  war of independence against the king -- based in part on grounds of failure to govern well -- would hardly be inclined to establish a system that prevented the removal of an elected official on the same sorts of failures they'd just fought a long war to escape.

                          The guys who shaped the Constitution weren't Constitutional scholars. There wasn't any Constitution to study!

                          Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

                          by darrelplant on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 09:14:15 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  As is often my response to originalist analysis (0+ / 0-)

                            I would say that you have to look at the custom that has developed since then to understand the contemporary meaning of the phrase.  You make a fine point; my retort is that if the public doesn't think it's fair because that's not what the public (led by the elite media) thinks impeachment is for, the problem remains.

                            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                            by Major Danby on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:51:21 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Think (0+ / 0-)

                            The public isn't made up of lawyers. Much of the public thinks that Clinton was impeached for having sex (or not having sex, depending on your definition), not for perjury.

                            If the leaders of the Democratic party make their case, rather than relying on opinion polls about what they should do, they should be able to convince the portion of the public that's actually paying attention.

                            If you caught the discussion the other night on Scarborough Country about Bush being delusional, where Scarborough introduced talk of impeachment for Bush failing to listen to his generals on military strategy, you might get the impression that the Democrats could get the wind knocked out of their sails by a group of Republicans coming forward in favor of taking Bush out, making it look like they're the responsible ones by 2008.

                            Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

                            by darrelplant on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:53:51 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah, but those weren't officeholders (0+ / 0-)

                            (and other than Scarborough, I don't think Barnicle or any of the journalists are "out" Republicans.)  The Republicans you posit would still have to vote for some article of impeachment, and it would almost certainly be one that would suggest that they were derelict in their oversight duties.  If that's the future, bring it on.

                            I like the proposal FP'd today about early hearings and a "sense of Congress" vote regarding escalation.  That should take care of showing where we stand.

                            I don't mean that as a challenge, but do people really think that about Clinton?  I've never seen any figures suggesting it.  I could believe that they think that his "lying" to the public on TV, rather than "lying" in a deposition, was the basis for impeachment -- and, in fact, the former was probably more critical to the effort.

                            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                            by Major Danby on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:16:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Public (0+ / 0-)

                            Actually, I was referring to your comment where you said that impeachment would only work on grounds that the public thought was fair. So no, I don't think that any "figures" you'd hear debating the issue in the media is going to make the argument that it was about perjury. But "figures" aren't the general public, either, and most of them don't watch the news, much less the cable yak shows.

                            Even today, people refer to Clinton getting impeached over a blowjob. Those people are simply making a point that what he lied under oath about was hardly something that damaged the nation, but for people who don't pay that much attention to politics and the details of the impeachment process (which happened when today's 25-year-olds were only 17 and probably didn't take your class) a lot gets lost in the translation. It'd be interesting to see the results of a survey.

                            I think Scarborough, as a former US Representative, still has a fair number of contacts in Washington, so I wouldn't consider his remarks being made in a vacuum. He was the one who brought the impeachment issue up, not Barnicle (who's a part of the good-old-boy Boston backslapping network as well as a plagiarist). Barnicle's been subbing for Chris Matthews. The last buddy Matthews picked to sub was Michael Smerconish, who's about as knee-jerk Republican as it gets.

                            Republican politicians aren't just going to come out and say they're ready to impeach Bush. They're going to try to herd Bush back behind the lines first by using people like Scarborough to shoot off a flare or two. By putting this kind of thing out there, Scarborough's attempting save his show by moving away from the crazy guy he supported wholeheartedly up to last fall in exactly the same way that Republicans might if they think things get bad enough.

                            Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

                            by darrelplant on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:50:23 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Fair points, although (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't think Scarborough is sending up anyone's trial balloon.  He's just a political entrepreneur and an opportunist.  No dummy, either.

                            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                            by Major Danby on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 02:58:33 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Links (0+ / 0-)

                            Well, it's been interesting trying to convince you to come over to the dark side, MD. I hope you've taken my comments in the non-combative manner I've meant them; I appreciate your point of view. As usual, I've spent far too much time researching and reading other material for our little back-and-forth and neglected vital business.

                            I'll leave you with a link I ran across today, in light of the discussion of current vs. originalist thinking on impeachment. It's a site the Washington Post set up during the Clinton impeachment that reproduces the House Committee on the Judiciary report presented by Rep. Peter Rodino in February 1974, a couple of weeks after the House had authorized an investigation into whether grounds existed to impeach Nixon (by a 410-4 vote).

                            While it's all good reading, there are a couple of sections that are interesting to me: one on "The Intention of the Framers", and another specifically titled "The Criminality Issue". It concludes:

                            In sum, to limit impeachable conduct to criminal offenses would be incompatible with the evidence concerning the constitutional meaning of the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" and would frustrate the purpose that the framers intended for impeachment. State and federal criminal laws are not written in order to preserve the nation against serious abuse of the presidential office. But this is the purpose of the consitutional provision for the impeachment of a President and that purpose gives meaning to "high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

                            Have a happy holiday.

                            Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

                            by darrelplant on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:04:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hey, I thought *I* was on the dark side! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            darrelplant

                            I have taken your comments as sprited but productive.  If we do ever gear up for impeachment, some of the insights you've presented here -- especially this link you've now found -- will be an important part of the debate.  You have given me hope that we could convince the public that we would be acting properly, and may be able to find the grail that all lawyers want:  a "bright line" distinguishing Bush's actions here from those that may come from his successors, so that we don't set a damaging precedent.

                            Happy holidays to you as well.

                            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                            by Major Danby on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 06:24:26 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

  •  Questions for the pro-impeachment people (6+ / 0-)

    You've got a very limited time frame to reasonably get this done--I give it 6 months from today, but I could see it lasting as long as 10. Beyond that, no Senator, especially none of them running for President. So when do you give up and accept that it's not going to happen? Will we still be reading these diaries in 2008? Will they be competing for rec list space with the many campaign diaries?

    I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:24:47 PM PST

    •  That is my argument, as well (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      incertus, MissLaura, Major Danby

      I give it til the end of next summer.  By the Labor Day recess 2007, all eyes will be on the 2008 campaign.  Shoot, it's starting already.

      Investigate away. If a smoking gun comes up, great. But focusing on impeachment as the purpose of those investigations will suck all the energy out of all the good we can hope get done for the benefit of all Americans, in the time that we have.  

      Those who say "we can do both" are not being realistic.  The cable news shows would be all impeachment, all the time, and there goes our legislative agenda.  

      "Spoken like a true smartass."

      by ChiGirl88 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:07:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "legislative agenda" (11+ / 0-)

        Leaving aside the impeachment question for the moment, how are we going to get our "legislative agenda" turned into law?

        Remember, the Chimp still has to sign the bill to make it a law. Does anyone here really think he's going to sign any truly progressive bills? Seriously? Based on what?

        Our agenda is DOA when the bills get to the White House, unless I'm missing something important. I keep hearing about all the great laws we are going to pass and the bad ones we are going to undo, but no one is explaining to me how we are going to do this in a veto-proof manner.

        I know he's only vetoed one bill so far, but the reason for that is obvious: they all came from the Rethug congress, handcrafted to Rove's specs.

        Trust me: he won't be shy about using the veto the rest of the way out.

        •  That's actually a tactical reason for strong (8+ / 0-)

          investigations.  If he blocks legislation, then more effort goes into investigations.  If he allows legislation, he gives lawmakers a reason to do something else.  Now I wouldn't favor investigations just for that reason, but I'm not blind to their benefit.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:28:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's pretty much where I am. (4+ / 0-)

            The only thing we know Democrats can achieve on their own terms in the next Congress is investigation. Anything else requires Rethug cooperation, and I'm pretty sure it isn't coming. I think most people here would agree.

            So, let loose the hounds of investigation. See where it leads. I wouldn't be surprised if something came up that put impeachment right back on the table, front and center, and in obvious HC&M terms that Joe Redstate was on board with.

            These guys just aren't smart (or humble) enough to have covered all their tracks.

        •  I'm sure he will use the veto (5+ / 0-)

          However, if/when he does veto things that the majority of the country is behind, such as raising the minimum wage and funding stem cell research, to use 2 examples just off the top of my head, then that's just one more thing the Republicans will have hanging over their heads during the 2008 Presidential campaign.

          If the Republicans running for Pres run away from Bush's vetos, they risk alienating their "base" - those hard core 15-20% who are true believers.  They can't win without those guys.  

          But if they embrace Bush's vetos of popular legislation, then they risk alienating those in the center who voted for us this time around.  We already know they will need those guys to have any hope of keeping the White House, let alone winning back Congress.

          As long as the Democrats can get the legislation passed, it can only help us in the long run if Bush uses his veto pen.  Because at least we tried.  And that's exactly why we were given this shot to prove ourselves in 2006.  "The people" weren't voting for impeachment in the midterms, they were voting to clean things up and get things done.  

          "Spoken like a true smartass."

          by ChiGirl88 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:56:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Being a pro-impeachment person, (8+ / 0-)

      I'd agree with the end of summer, 2007, as the limit.

      But here's where I take issue:  We have a tendency to think that the future won't be dramatically different than the present.  Remember the complacency that many Americans felt when Bush became President in 2000 - it wasn't just Naderites who thought that the different between Bush and Gore wasn't so drastic, that Bush's presidency wouldn't be so catastrophic.

      Bush is despotic enough, contemptuous enough, and delusional enough to do something that suddenly makes it clear to the American people that it's imperative to remove from his hands the rein of power.

      The same is true for what investigations may uncover, and what reactions they may provoke.  We're used to tomorrow being pretty much like today.  But I wouldn't bet on it.

    •  Probably ;) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, Major Danby, blueoasis

      If no one else will, I'll write them AFTER the election, only they'll probably be "I told you we should have impeached" diaries. I know it won't be easy, but I do believe it's important.  I believe it is more important than our legislative agenda.

      Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I don't have faith even in a Democratic Congress doing the right thing on most of the important issues (health care, environment, taxes, ...) because they will be(are) corrupted by the corporate interests as well.  I only support them because they are approximately 8000 times better than the Republicans.

      But if we can reign in the damage Bush & Co. have done to our republic, much good can come of it.

    •  While I support (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      incertus, Major Danby

      investigations and believe they will inevitably lead to confirmation of sufficient grounds for impeachment, I think this is the best argument against it.

      If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. - Cpt. Ian Fishback

      by Rick Oliver on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:42:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Democrats have not even taken control (0+ / 0-)

      of the House and Senate yet and you are asking us when we are going to give up our attempts to see that the Constitution is defended?

      Divorce cases are civil trials and the involved folks often shade or misrepresent the truth and that is why charges of perjury in civil trials are rare.  The GOP used possible lying in a civil trial as the flimsy basis for their impeachment proceedings and yet questions about habeas corpus and the 4th Amendment and torture are not to be seen as a basis for impeachment proceedings?

      House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

      by Lew2006 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:43:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (6+ / 0-)

        That's what I'm asking.

        Let me say this, however. Part of the reason I get upset in these discussions is because of this kind of rhetoric:

        you are asking us when we are going to give up our attempts to see that the Constitution is defended?

        What that insinuates is that anyone who doesn't agree on impeachment doesn't care about the Constitution. If that's not what you mean, then fine, but that's the way it sounds to me, and I tend to take that kind of stuff personally.

        I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

        by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:03:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think that you (0+ / 0-)

          don't care about the Constitution, but there is a certain amount of, "Impeachment is impossible so just stop talking about it, already" that DOES get under the skin.  And I tend to take that kind of stuff personally. ;)

          •  That's why (0+ / 0-)

            I tend to stay out of the pro-impeachment diaries these days. Any argument I could make has been made already a thousand times over. Of course, the same goes for your side. There's really nothing new from either side.

            I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

            by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:34:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would agree with (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              incertus, ChiGirl88, Major Danby

              your statement that there's really nothing new from either side, except that I think that Major Danby actually has provided something new in this diary.  Too many of the impeachment debates have focused purely on political or moral considerations.  Even the legal debates have generally been superficial, with many people assuming that the legal case against Bush is airtight.  Major Danby has raised the bar.  From now on, no one should recommend an impeachment diary that doesn't make a good faith effort to address his arguments.  

        •  That is my opinion (0+ / 0-)

          I have no idea how the Senators and Representatives and citizens of American can learn that the 4th Amendment has been willfully ignored and yet not take immediate corrective action in the form of formally investigating the President to possibly create Articles of Impeachment.

          I understand George Bush will out of office in 2008 even if we do nothing at all.  The folks who impeached Nixon knew he would not stay in office forever and the same for Clinton.  In the long run we are all dead to quote the quote sig of another poster here.

          Here is part of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights:

          THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

          Getting a warrant was added specifically to stop the  Government from misconstruing its powers under the Constitution.

          Declaratory and Restrictive.  No matter how the President or Executive Branch interprets the Constitution they must get a warrant to search.

          Which Amendment would the President have to ignore to get your attention?  If he declared that women or minorities could not vote as a matter of national security would you support immediate impeachment?

          House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

          by Lew2006 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:39:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's all I wanted to know (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lew2006

            If the next version of Kos provides us with an ignore feature, you'll be on the list. I don't talk to people who consider me to be a traitor because of a difference of opinion.

            I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

            by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:48:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Instead of taking offense (0+ / 0-)

              Point out where I am mistaken and I will openly apologize to you Sir.

              House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

              by Lew2006 on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 11:45:31 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you can't tell (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lew2006

                that calling a fellow American a traitor because he disagrees with you is a gross act of assholishness, then there's precious little I could say to convince you otherwise. It's just fucking rude, and I try to stay away from intentionally rude people.

                I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

                by incertus on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 06:25:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I never used the word traitor (0+ / 0-)

                  or profanity.

                  And so as a wiser man told me in a similar situation here;

                  ok, and see you around.

                  House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

                  by Lew2006 on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 11:13:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Reread the whole exchange (0+ / 0-)

                    I used the term traitor in my reply, and you agreed to it--even after I asked for clarification on the matter of whether or not it was meant that way. You said it was meant that way, so whether you realize it now or not, you argued that anyone who didn't agree with impeachment was a traitor, whether you used that exact term or not.

                    I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

                    by incertus on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 08:47:24 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Oops, my mistake (0+ / 0-)

                      You wanted to talk about your feelings instead of discussing the merits of impeachment.

                      Now I understand why you did not even attempt to refute any of my points.

                      I will openly apologize and state is was not my intent to hurt your feelings or impugn you.

                      I openly say that I do not think incertus or anybody who disagrees about impeachment are traitors and so I openly say they do not deserve that label.

                      I openly apologize again to incertus and all others who disagree that impeachment is an appropriate response to blatant violations of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution.

                      House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

                      by Lew2006 on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:31:53 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

      •  Not only was it a civil trial (6+ / 0-)

        and Clinton was accused of lying in a DEPOSITION not in court, the case was thrown out on its merits so his testimony was relevant to nothing. Yet, the Republican Congress went ahead, most likely knowing there would not be a conviction.

        It was a purely partisan exercise. But, on the good side, the process was successful because in the end, the Senate refused to convict.

        Hamilton worried that Impeachment would be used for partisan purposes, and in the two presidential cases so far, that's exactly what happened. He did express the hope, however, that should that happen, the weight of the decision the Senate would have to make, would overcome partisanship. In both cases, it did.

        You could say then, that Impeachment has been successful so far, 100%, way more than Hamilton hoped for.

        And add Nixon, which was not a partisan exercise, and again, just the threat of Impeachment worked as the tool the FFs wanted it to be. A law-breaking president was removed from office and the government did no collapse.

    •  the mistake of the anti-impeachment folks (4+ / 0-)

      is they confuse justice with politics.

      Is equating their own conviction that it won't work with the conviction that it shouldn't even be attempted.

      What if Martin Luther King thought "it will never work?" and acted accordingly.

      What if George Washington thought "it will never work?" and acted accordingly.  

      What if George W. Bush thought to himself, years ago, "you know what, I'm a loser and an alcoholic and a drug addict and have shamed my familiy repeatedly so I should just stay the fuck out of politics"?

      Wayne Gretzsky said he missed 100% of the shots he never took.  

      I'm sorry, but to me those who say "let 'em get away with it" are cowards.  

      Give me one reason, that is not based on your own fears and assumptions, why we should NOT bring these criminals to justice.  To say a case can't be made means you're simply not trying hard enough.  You're not trying AT ALL.  I don't really give a flying fart if you have a law degree, you're being disingenuous because you're arguing from a position you've already taken -- hell, anybody can do that shit.

      To say that YOU WANT TO SET THE PRECEDENT for letting criminals as blatant as these get away with their crimes?  I don't see how you can love this country and have that attitude.  I just don't.  

      •  Always the same response from you (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        incertus, dtj, ChiGirl88

        Anybody who doesn't agree is a coward.  What a cop out.

        Most Profound Man in Iraq: farmer in a remote area who, when asked by Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area, replied "Yes, you."

        by johnny rotten on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:50:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It;s this kind of crap (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny rotten, ChiGirl88

        that makes me wish we had an ignore function around here. Then you could be insulting to your heart's content and I'd never have to read it.

        I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

        by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:51:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Same Old Shit from you (0+ / 0-)

          Why is it the "let 'em get away with it" crowd can only hurl insults and derision and never actually make a case for their position except "it'll never work!" and "name the 67 Senators!" and that kind of nonsense.

          Hey, I've got broken records stashed away in my closet somewhere.  I don't you.  If you don't like what I say and are so familiar with me then don't fucking read my comments.

      •  You want to drive down a road (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        incertus, dtj, ignorant bystander

        and I'm telling you where the potholes and the fallen trees are.  If you don't want to know, then I don't think you're serious about driving down the road.  (At a minimum, I would not want you to have the wheel.)  Feel free to engage the arguments I have made, one by one, the way that the Democrats will have to do so in a trial.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:14:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm bringing a bulldozer (4+ / 0-)

          To hell with your potholes.

          :)

          Seriously, all I see here is timidity.  The same "ooh gosh we better be careful about who we fight and when" that has plagued the Democratic Party and was largely responsible for nearly destroying this country.

          Of COURSE going into a fight you have to anticipate what the other side will do.  That GOES WITHOUT SAYING.  It doesn't mean you forfeit the fight.  You want a guaranteed slam dunk.  Life doesn't hand you slam dunks.  You have to fight for them.  

          •  That's been the problem here (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            incertus, GN1927, JohnB47

            Anticipation of what the other side will do has, indeed, "gone without saying."

            Who said anything about forfeiting the fight?  I think you're arguing with someone else.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:17:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Who? (0+ / 0-)

              Where's your evidence for the statement about people not anticipating the difficulties of impeachment, MD? I've never underestimated how tough the job could be. I think it could fail. I think that most of the people who've been advocates for it know that it would be a difficult task. It's obvious even from the amount of resistance here that many people would rather not go into that fight.

              So who are you talking about when you claim that "Anticipation of what the other side will do has, indeed, 'gone without saying.'"? Is someone saying impeachment would be a slam dunk? I haven't seen it.

              The unwillingness to call Bush on his crap has been a problem for years. I could see that he was a dangerous person before the 2000 election. I could see that he was crazy before the AUMF vote, which was apparently more than 29 Democratic Senators could. I knew he was unfit for office before the 2004 election. But people keep cutting him slack. I thought he should have been removed from office in 2003. If mainstream Democrats had stopped playing along back then and started standing up for the American people, we might not be four more years down the road with the economy getting worse and worse, the situation in Iraq getting worse and worse, and no real means of relief in sight. Believe me, it's been like the stone of Sisyphus for me the past six years. If anything, the task of impeachment has been made harder by the inaction and uncritical statements of Democrats for most of the course of the Iraq war, because now it looks to a lot of people like they've sort of gone along with it the whole time. Sure, they didn't have any power, but for the most part, any criticism has been of Bush's policies and underlings, not Bush himself.

              So I have to laugh a little at your characterization of people not anticipating what the other side will do. I don't have to wonder, I just have to remember what the people purportedly on my side have been saying for the past few years.

              Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

              by darrelplant on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:30:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't mean the general difficulty of it, Darrel (0+ / 0-)

                I mean the specific difficulty of surmounting the sorts of defenses that the President will likely raise.  I have not seen much of that here.  If you'd point me to it, I could be convinced.

                I think I can fairly characterize Booman's diary as saying that impeachment would be a slam dunk.  Vyan's series and many of the responses here suggest much the same.

                I appreciate your cogent arguments, but I've been here for long enough.  Good night.

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:38:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I never interpreted Booman that way. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  darrelplant

                  I rather thought that he was predicting Republican involvement in the process, something that has to happen before conviction can be considered.  While I do appreciate your efforts here, that is still the more important requirement because this is not a judicial procedure, but a political one. If the Republicans do not become involved, no legal arguments will convict. If they do become involved, no amount of legal wrangling can save him in the end.

                  The argument that Booman may have failed to make is likelyhood of the Republicans turning on Bush. That depends on the results of investigation and the level of public disgust and anger they generate.

                  •  Booman's diary did not offer any basis on which (0+ / 0-)

                    to think Republicans might impeach.  I've argued the substance of whether the Republicans could get away with a pretextual impeachment (a sort of vote of no confidence.)  I think it would destroy them.  It would have to be for a reason.  Halliburton kickback revelations seem like a possibility; others have suggested other ones.  But I can't see them supporting any of Vyan's first three plans without admitting their own culpability and going down in flames.

                    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                    by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:50:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Slam Dunk (0+ / 0-)

                  Booman's diary was a prediction that Congressional Republicans would come to the conclusion that Bush had to be removed in order to salvage their party. You can argue that they will or won't make that decision, but if sufficient numbers do, then impeachment is inevitable. They'll find reasons to remove him from office if they think it's politically expedient.

                  I don't necessarily agree that Republicans will come to that conclusion without some persuasion. My own guess is that they'll try to ride out the next two years and clap for a better tomorrow.

                  But Booman's absolutely correct that if House and Senate Republicans start to see Bush as so much of a liability that they have to throw him to the wolves that the political option of impeachment will be executed. And there's no defense against that.

                  Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

                  by darrelplant on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 11:22:32 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Addressed just above (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't think that Republicans would ever allow impeachment to turn into a "vote of no confidence," no matter how much they might want to get rid of Bush.  And my response to Booman was largely aimed at the post of his that I incorporated taking a nihilist view of impeachment.

                    I suppose that, if you buy a "dogshit impeachment" theory, you could make the argument about any President that, if things get bad enough -- say, if 90% of the public favors "impeachment, unconditionally, now, on any pretext, just get rid of him" -- his party will find a way to get rid of him.  Clinton, Reagan, FDR, Lincoln -- sure, I guess.  But in that case it's a trivial observation.

                    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                    by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:54:43 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I didn't interpret BooMan that way either (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Major Danby

                  I don't think BooMan ever said or implied that the 110th could just stroll in one day in January and vote to impeach and ipso presto all the dominoes would fall into place.  I took for granted that he took for granted that we would have to make the legal case first.  

                  And I took for granted the larger meaning, which I share, that as the wheels continue to come off the Bush administration policy in Iraq and elsewhere, Republican defense of Bush and Cheney will become less and less monolithic.  I think there are two intersecting trends there.  As the case for impeachment grows, bolstered by proper investigation, and as the situation in Iraq and elsewhere continues to deteriorate popular support for Bush,  and in particular Republican support, continues to sag.  At some point the lines cross.

                  Last summer it would have been Democrats vs Republicans, tooth and nail.  Next summer I think partisanship will be less of a factor than political survival.  Maybe some Republicans will walk the plank for Bush and Cheney.  Will there be enough to stop an impeachment?  I doubt it.  Will there be enough to defeat a conviction in the Senate?  Yeah, that's probably a harder question.

                  •  Yes, *that* much I agree with (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Creosote

                    As investigations produce new horrors that Republicans can claim a la Captain Renault to find shocking, then it becomes easier for them to impeach.  But I still maintain that what they find will have to look like a crime, not mere incompetence, to expect this to happen.

                    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                    by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:56:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  "I don't think you're serious" (4+ / 0-)

          I say that a lot to the most giddy of the proimpeachment crowd.  They don't engage the arguments, don't really consider strategy, declre that it "goes without saying", worry about a president cheney, or count votes because they are only into the cheerleading aspect of it.

          Every comment to that sort of poster asking them to "engage the arguments" will result in yet another cheer for impeachment.  Except when it results in a cheer for impeachment and a nasty characterization of anyone who isn't joining in.

          Thats' why nothing has occured on the pro impeachment front, either in ideas or movement forward, since mid November, besides reverberating cheers in the echo chamber.

          It's the proto-fascism

          by Inland on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 05:26:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  To be fair (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Creosote

            I think some of them are better than that.  Look around, I'm getting some good and thoughtful challenges here.  The ones from occams hatchet and Catrina come to mind.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:57:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  It isn't about law. (10+ / 0-)

    Jerry Ford was correct.

    If Congress decides that it is necessary to remove a President for the good of the nation -- for gross incompetence, for health reasons, because s/he has humiliated the nation and we need new leadership -- it has that power, and it should use it.

    That is an EXTREMELY daunting responsibility, and we've avoided misusing that authority twice.

    But to claim that lawyers and judges have the definitve voice is... ahistoric.

    •  It's about politics, and the politics are (5+ / 0-)

      going to be about law, directly or indirectly.  There's no way to make it politically feasible without referring to high crimes and misdemeanors.

      E.G., there's no way to talk about "fraud" without proving an actual intent to deceive.  You don't even have to use the word "fraud".  People aren't going to back impeachment for Bush believing George Tenet.  The issue of intent is going to be proven in the same way lawyers prove anything. It's not a coincidence that it is set up in an indictment and  trial format.  

      It's the proto-fascism

      by Inland on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:32:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What are we talking about here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kraant

        impeachment or removal? The Republicans pretty much proved with Clinton that you can impeach someone with jack shit for evidence--removal's another story. So what's the goal--do we want to do something symbolic or do we want to get rid of the sumbitch? If it's the former, that's easy, comparatively speaking. I think it's a bad move, but it's doable.

        But no way in hell do we ever get rid of Bush in the time we have with the Senate we have. No way. No how.

        I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

        by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:36:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm assuming that nobody wants (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChiGirl88, Elise, kraant

          an impeachment knowing that removal is impossible, even congressmen, so it's the same question.  Nobody is going to want to take a shot at Bush and miss.

          It's the proto-fascism

          by Inland on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:40:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'd say (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kraant

            especially Congresscritters. There's a number of folks around here, however, who seem to be more than ready to swing and miss.

            I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

            by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:43:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Under the right circumstances, I'd gamble (11+ / 0-)

            I'm not one of those who would need 67 votes in the bag to go ahead if the cause was just.  Shooting and missing is OK if it is clear that the 34+ voting against us are wrong.  My concern is whether they would obviously be wrong.  I fear they will have cover.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:44:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I guess my problem (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              4jkb4ia, kraant

              is thinking that there will be fewer than 34 Senators who actually fear a voter backlash if they determined that what Bush did as POTUS didn't warrant removal from office. I just don't see 34 Republican Senators (35 if you count Holy Joe, who is highly unlikely to turn on his BFF Dubya) who figure they'd lose their seat based on that vote, assuming it got that far.

              I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

              by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:47:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  As I remember what happened in Watergate (9+ / 0-)

                it won't depend on personal considerations, but on party considerations.  If the Republican Party is being destroyed, I can see people jumping.  But in Watergate it took an audiotape of the President engaged in a conspiracy to commit a crime for things to get to that point; I'm not optimistic about anything so dramatic here.

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:58:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree on that point (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden, Major Danby

                  I'm not a fan of impeachment here -- for political, rather than legal, reasons.

                  But I'm assuming we really CAN ensure that Bush is not just a lame, but a paraplegic, duck. If not, we may be forced to impeach.

                  The other reason Congress stood up to Nixon, IIRC, was the continuing rumor that he was going off the deep end, into drink and madness: for example, the rumor that Al Haig had ensured that the Joint Chiefs would not lauch any attacks without getiing a Second Opinion.

      •  Agreed, it will be couched in legal terms n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kraant
        •  Well, that's not what I'm saying. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny rotten, Elise, kraant

          I'm not saying it's a kangaroo court with the form of a judicial proceeding with a predetermined, political result.

          I'm saying that impeachment is on whatever grounds the congress says it is, and those grounds are going to be legal.  Not merely the form, but the substance, is going to sound a lot like any other legal dispute, e.g., distingushing between intentional and merely negligent conduct, distingushing between an incorrigible and a person who did one thing wrong.  That's simply the way any politically tolerable impeachment drive is going to make distinctions.  

          It's the proto-fascism

          by Inland on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:44:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not saying that it's a kangaroo court. (7+ / 0-)

            I'm saying it is not a court at all, despite the formal resemblance.

            "High crimes and misdemeanors:" How extraordinarily broad a phrase. What is a "federal misdemeanor?" Is there such a thing? I am used to hearing the term regarding state laws: failure to fully stop at a stop sign. Is that an impeachable offense?

            A Senate that determines that billions have been wasted and thousands killed because of negligent but not intentional conduct, ongoing conduct, had better dismiss the leader.

      •  I think you're missing the point. (6+ / 0-)

        Intent doesn't matter.  "Law" in the criminal sense doesn't matter.

        If W becomes unpopular enough, politicians who want to be re-elected will seek to satisfy their electorate by using the rules for transfer of power to remove him.  I doubt you could convict him in court, but the only courts that matter in this case are the court of public opinion and the Senate.

        That is the point of the "men in grey suits" statement.  If he is bad for the party the party will reject him.

        How much legal excuse do these Republican guys need?  Hmm.  Didn't we just play this game with Clinton?

        •  They'd need to remove him for *some* reason (7+ / 0-)

          Which of the three planks that Vyan has proposed could the Republicans afford to endorse without committing political suicide?  They'd have to make him knock over a bank or something, then impeach him for that reason.

          Now if they could impeach him over his immigration policy, they might do that!  But they'd do it without my support.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:46:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  "Law" in the political sense matters. (5+ / 0-)

          Intent does matter. That's what is going to satisfy the electorate.  Or the converse, that someone refusing to impeach isn't going to upset the electorate.

          And the fact that the republicans had an insufficient case...even having the guy on tape lying about his adultery....is exactly the point.  Clinton came out on top.  

          And you skip the distinction. Bush is bad for the republican party.  But is voting against removal bad for teh republican party?  Probably not.

          It's the proto-fascism

          by Inland on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:56:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Satisfy the electorate." (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby, blueoasis

            So what level will satisfy?  Will 95% disapproval do?

            W seems poised to ignore all advice, even from the Joint Chiefs, and escalate which won't work and won't satisfy his base.  They will hate him over immigration, but will deny their xenophobia and latch onto any feeble excuse to just end the pain.

            They want a strong leader and he is weak.

            This election was certainly a referendum on Iraq, just ask the MSM.  2 or 3 months of tracking knapsacks of hundred dollar bills across Iraq will plunge him to astounding levels of unpopularity.

    •  I think it's most correct to say (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie in CA, 4jkb4ia, Elise, kraant

      that it's not clear what it's "about."

      The text of the constitution says "high crimes and misdemeanors."  But the Supreme Court won't likely wade into this political conflict if it arises; Bush could theoretically be impeached for grabbing Angela Merkel's shoulders.

      Custom, however -- which is no slouch -- dictates that Congress not impeach the President for anything but HC&Ms.  I don't know that I would favor impeaching and removing Bush for incompetence, health, or being a dipshit, purely because of the precedent it would set for the nation.  (Yes, the Republicans "did if first," but they're Republicans.)  I'm not claiming that the law dictates that HC&Ms only can count; I'm saying that we should act that way.  I'd rather we not have the detriments of a parliamentary system without the benefits.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:42:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How so? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kraant, blueoasis

        Custom, however -- which is no slouch -- dictates that Congress not impeach the President for anything but HC&Ms.

        Of our three most serious Presidential impeachment attempts, Nixon had clear "high crimes" level charges levied against him. Clinton was charged with lying in Court over a personal matter -- a charge that was settled with no fine. Johnson was charged with exercising what is now universally accepted as his legitimate authority.

        •  Both were accused of HC & M (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          4jkb4ia, Elwood Dowd, Elise

          At the time Johnson fired Seward, it was a federal crime.  No doubt about that.  The law was unconstitutional, but that didn't happen until later.

          What Clinton was accused of, at least regarding the deposition, was also a real crime.  It was a picky little thing (though, let's recall, enough to lose him his law license for a while), but it was still presented as a criminal act.  (I don't think it was, but I wasn't one of the ones bringing the charges.)

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:04:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "no doubt about that" ?? (0+ / 0-)

            Unconstitutional laws are not laws, they are frauds perpetrated on the public. Your argument merely emphasizes that this is primarily political and partisan, not legal.

            •  If someone in Virginia (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Leslie in CA, scrutinizer, 4jkb4ia

              had engaged in an inter-racial marriage prior to the Loving case, it would have been illegal.  They could have been jailed, fined, whipped, divested of licenses, or whatever else they used to do there.  It didn't matter that the law was unconstitutional.  It was the law.  The real, actual, follow-it-or-suffer-the-consequences law.

              Your argument would make sense if you say that the Tenure in Office Act was passed knowing that it was unconstitutional.  I expect that Congress thought that what it was doing, at least in the unprecedented circumstance of an assassinated President (and one who left power to a VP who was de facto in another party) was constitutional.  I would not call what happened there a fraud on the public.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:35:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Too harsh (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              scrutinizer, 4jkb4ia, Major Danby

              Congress (Democrat and Republican) over the years has passed some 200 plus laws that have been held to be unconstitutional (and that doesn't count the hundreds if not thousand that SCOTUS saved by reading them contrary to what was plainly intended in order to avoid the constitutional defect).  Every President has had actions determined to be unconstitutional.  Every administration has taken police procedures and policies determined to be unconstitutional.  Just one example: The Youngstown case where Truman unconstitionally seized the steel mills in a war not only undeclared by Congress, but with an AUMF.

              Do you really think all of these people and acts and actions, every last one, were "frauds perpetrated on the public?"  And if not, then how do you distinguish?

              •  You may be right (0+ / 0-)

                As I've said elsewhere in the thread, I'm not competent to judge Johnson and the Senators according to contemporary standards.

                But this law was aimed specifically at him, IIRC, by a Congress with its back up.

                •  Man I'm tired (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  4jkb4ia, Major Danby

                  I am misspeaking everywhere -- I meant to say "and without an AUMF."  If I remember correctly the Koran war had neither -- it did have a UN resolution though.

                  My understanding is that history has been very unkind to Congress for what it did to Johnson, and I believe it will be likewise very unkind to the Republicans over Clinton.  Who knows, in a 100 years it'll probably be noted with certainty that the 1994 Republican Congress failed and the impeachment was the start of it all.

        •  And which two attempts failed? (4+ / 0-)

          and which was destined to suceed?

          The one where the guy actually committed a serious crime, not the two where the guy had arguably committed a not serious crime.

          And in ALL THREE instances, there wasn't any dispute over what had been done.  There's going to have to be a lot of digging through national security and intel files to accuse Bush.  Check back in february.

          It's the proto-fascism

          by Inland on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:09:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Or -- (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis

            the one where the guy had harmed the nation, was continuing to harm it, and had lost the confidence of the vast majority of the American people.

            (Maybe that's true of Johnson too; I'm not that old or well-read.)

            •  It's the same thing. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johnny rotten, Major Danby

              Nixon's crimes are what turned the nation off him.  Nothing else.  That's my point.  Impeachment is a political process that, politically, requires something that looks like criminal culpability. Any politically palatable impeachment is going to require a commission or omission with intent, whathever you want to call it.

              It's the proto-fascism

              by Inland on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:23:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  quibble (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Major Danby, MichiganGirl

                It was the reporting of Nixon's crimes that turned the nation off him.

                (A seemingly slight distinction, but a very important point here.)

                The existence of the white house tapes wasn't revealed until the Senate actually held hearings.  And these didn't just come out of the blue...

                Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself. --Jane Addams

                by shock on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:52:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, and let me add. (6+ / 0-)

    Nixon and Clinton were all good enough to perform the allegedly impeachable acts before a recording device.  What they did and what they were told were not in dispute, as they will be with Bush.

    It's the proto-fascism

    by Inland on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:27:10 PM PST

    •  This was the problem with Iran-Contra too (7+ / 0-)

      The most damning stuff was probably smuggled out in Fawn Hall's underwear.

      Note to people who think I'm being sexist: I'm not kidding.  Look it up.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:47:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pardons, Timely Deaths, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Danby, kraant

        that double jeopardy technicality that got Ollie the Traitor off, too.

        Not disagreeing, adding.

        •  Further agreement here (5+ / 0-)

          What people forget about Iran-Contra is that Ollie North swooped into those hearings and simply seduced most of the nation, with his good looks and uniform and moist voice.  And don't think that the casting calls aren't already out for who they'll bring to the hearings.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:06:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The problem with guerilla theater... (5+ / 0-)

            in this case, is that the credibility factor for this administration is gone.

            So Ms. Kalabash were you lying then or are you lying now?

            Who's going to play Ollie?  Powell?  Again, we are talking about a scenario (at least in the booman piece and Brooks comment that spawned it) where W is poison to Republicans.

            Friedman on MTP-

            Think of what happened this week. OK, Dick Cheney, the vice president, stood up at a massive farewell ceremony for, for Rumsfeld at the Pentagon and said he was the greatest secretary of defense in American history. Now, if that is true, either George Bush is a fool or Dick Cheney is a liar, all right? Because either George Bush just fired at the height of a war, at the greatest national security threat of our country’s current era, the greatest secretary of defense in history, or Dick Cheney thinks we’re all walking around with a sign that says "Stupid" on it.

      •  Boots. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elise, Major Danby, CSI Bentonville

        She smuggled out in her boots.

        But IC, Bush I simply declared that he was out of the loop and knew nothing.  How easy was that?

        Plus, the only way to get subordinates to testify is to threaten them.  What with? Political disgrace, as if they don't already have that in spades?  Take Tenet's medal away?

        It's the proto-fascism

        by Inland on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:03:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I thought it was underwear (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Elise, CSI Bentonville

          Maybe both?  Frankly, it's funnier my way.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:05:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Boogers to you (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4jkb4ia, Major Danby

            Now you are being sexist. Funnier doesn't make you righter. :)

            Your cheeks are going to get bright red but your lips will turn blue.

            Seems you were repeating some sort of internet rumor. I thought you might know better. Assume I'm always looking over your shoulder Major.

            Boots and dress it is. This'll teach to go tell people (especially after claiming you're not a sexist and those people might be of the underwearing persuasion) to go look it up themselves.

            Tsk Tsk...

            In her testimony Monday, Hall laid out the story of how, at North's direction, she had altered and shredded documents and, several days later, on her own initiative, smuggled highly classified papers out of the Old Executive Office Building. She told of concealing the papers in her boots and dress in order to elude an NSC official who was there to prevent such removal in the face of a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe.

            Hey, is this your sockpuppet? :)

            Carry on...

            Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

            by CSI Bentonville on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:38:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  btw, it's the sig (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Danby

              I'd forgotten it was my favorite sig until I ran across a Green Zombie post today:

              if (Kos) doesn't like what goes on here, he can start his own damn website! - Major Danby

              Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

              by CSI Bentonville on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:06:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well, maybe that was a *tiny* bit sexist (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CSI Bentonville

              Mea culpa.  It was teasing; I was hoping no one would call me on it.  My compliments on the research.  I'm sure too few people today know about Fawn Hall's crimes.

              Not a sock puppet; GZ just liked my bon mot.  Occasionally, one of my bons is mot.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:22:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Bush (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby

          withheld his contemporaneous notes showing that he was aware of what was going on.  Large volumes of documents were deliberately withheld from the investigators by various Reagan officials.  That's how Bush got away with it.  It's all in the Walsh report.

          http://www.fas.org/...

          http://www.fas.org/...

          Most Profound Man in Iraq: farmer in a remote area who, when asked by Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area, replied "Yes, you."

          by johnny rotten on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:40:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  "An impeachable offense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kraant

    At the dedication of his Gubernatorial portrait, GWB thanked his audience for "Taking the time out of your day to come and witness my hanging"

    by wrights on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:39:21 PM PST

    •  Sorry... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kraant

      Is whatever the Majority of the House says it is"

      Gerald Ford

      If the votes are ever there, it won't be about legal arguments, it will be about politics.

      If the Republicans start backing away from Bush, look out.

      At the dedication of his Gubernatorial portrait, GWB thanked his audience for "Taking the time out of your day to come and witness my hanging"

      by wrights on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:40:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A question about point number three and (13+ / 0-)

    the Geneva convention:

    While it may be true that actual terrorists might not be covered by the treaty, what of innocent citizens of countries signatory to the treaty who get caught up in the secret prison system?

    Would they not have grounds for protest under the convention as innocent civilians from signatory countries who have no legal recourse?

    The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

    by vox humana on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:42:21 PM PST

    •  That's a very good question (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elise, pico, kraant, vox humana

      I don't know the answer.  Personally, any organization I'd work for would be saying that yes they do.  But such organizations have lost more compelling cases than that.

      Even if so, however, I still don't see impeachment on that basis.

      (And, I stress again, I was "in role" for most of the above.)

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:50:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My concern in that case (7+ / 0-)

        is that there might not then be ANY legal recourse for these people under American law, where the precedent would be most important.

        Perhaps if an impeachment occurred under a "high crime" against humanity, this sort of thing might not happen so easily next time.

        I admit it is a looooooooooooong shot, but I think it is one of the most important reasons to investigate with an open mind toward impeachment. Do we want to let this become an uncontested precedent on behalf of the powers of the Presidency? Seems a little Weimar to me....

        The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

        by vox humana on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:55:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's why I and many others (7+ / 0-)

          (BTD comes to mind) think that, at a minimum, a strong censure resolution blowing the unitary executive theory out of the water should be needed to resolve this.  I don't foreclose the possibility of impeachment, but there should be some official rejection of what these people have tried to do here.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:07:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scrutinizer

          the remedy isn't in court, it's at the polls.  I would say that case has been won would you not?  This is one reason why I believe very strongly that Congress needs to take a stand even if the face of a possible veto.

          •  I hope you will forgive me (I'm tired), (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby, blueoasis, MichiganGirl

            but I don't think I understand your post.

            What case has been won?

            What veto? A President cannot veto his own impeachment, so I think I may be misunderstanding your reference.

            For the record, I want a STRONG, PUBLIC statement from this Congress that our country stands for the rule of its own law, its own Constitution and for international law. I will rule out nothing until our country's stance is made clear to the world. I cannot abide anything that negates any possibility with regard to making that statement to the globe.

            We are NOT in this alone. Are we in basic agreement?

            The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

            by vox humana on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:49:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, his ass is basically covered (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elise, Major Danby, kraant, mcc777c2

    The only way Bush can be impeached is if one or more credible inside witnesses turn on him. I doubt it, but it would be great if a grinding Congressional inquiry into the Iraq War would zero in on a few weak links in that most vile chain of command.

    I always wondered why this otherwise stupid administration went to such elaborate lengths to maintain secrecy. I thought it was so silly since I assumed the only thing they could be hiding was their sheer incompetence. BUT, in hindsight I suppose that they might have been hiding the evidence of a purposeful invasion of an oil-rich scapegoat in a crucially important oil-rich region of the world.

    •  Not just that, but the *parsing* (8+ / 0-)

      Republicans want to use the term "Clintonian" to refer to careful parsing of language, but as you dig through Bush's statements for the actual assertions being made, you realize that his words were being carefully assembled by professionals to stop just short of making factual claims while leaving the impression they'd been made.  Clinton -- working off the cuff and by himself -- had nothing on them.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:09:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would welcome Clintonian comparisons (4+ / 0-)

        Then the "face" saving fib about a Blow Job could be held up, A/B fashion, next to an orchestrated campaign to plunge our nation into the most costly war ever. And even if the cost of WW2 was bigger relative to GDP, the diplomatic costs of this debacle will haunt the world forever.

        So Clinton did well, fucked up, then parsed feebly. Cheney through Bush did horrid things, AND fucked up, and pre-meditated the parsed path to glory.

        I just hope that methodically exposing the roadmap to the Iraq War with oath-bound testimony from Powell and various generals and intelligence gatherers produces a few real heroes who will finger the culprits.

        THEN maybe future unitary warmongers will at least hesitate before they attempt to commit our nation to this bullshit.

  •  Signing Statements (8+ / 0-)

    I can understand using a signing statement to clarify the position of the executive branch on confusing, contradictory laws passed by Congress but I think deliberately acting to contravene the law is an impeachable offense.

  •  The Public Will Eventually Call for Impeachment (4+ / 0-)

    I'm in the group that believes impeachment will only come about through an organic process. Am I personally in favor of impeachment? Absolutely. But I don't think impeachment is something that can be forced. Congressional investigations will reveal the extent of Bushco malfeasance, and the American public, Republicans included, will eventually come to the conclusion that Bush and Cheney must be impeached.

    Or the investigations will go nowhere (though I doubt this will happen), and these criminals will retire to Paraguay or Burma or where ever the hell it is such despots are still welcome.

    Persoanlly, I'd like to see the whole bunch in the docket before the ICC, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

    Let's see where the investigations lead before we start disagreeing over whether impeachment is justified. If the crimes warrant impeachment, it will happen.

    "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's." - William Blake

    by Tod Westlake on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 06:52:23 PM PST

  •  Impeachment is a POLITICAL process, not Judicial (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yamara, kraant, blueoasis, vox humana, Lew2006

    So the legal standards of evidence,
    arguments, and what not do not apply.

    The only requirement to impeach is the votes
    of the reps, the only requirement to remove
    from office during an impeachment trial,
    is the votes of the Senators after some kind
    of whacky 'trial'.

    That is why impeachment might occur, if the
    repub powers-that-be determine that that is
    the way to save their party, and signal to
    the dems that they will go along.

    •  I've addressed this above, but I'll just ask you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scrutinizer, Elise

      what specific article of impeachment do you think these Republicans would support?

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:12:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And just as important, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Danby

        upon which one can Pelosi renege on her clear, express pledge to the peeps not to impeach?

        •  I don't think that will be a problem (4+ / 0-)

          Once crimes are on the TV, impeachment will be on the table.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:25:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know she can spin based (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            on new facts or something of the sort, but you know she'd be pummeled on it, and I'm not at all sure she'd come out unscathed.  But who knows, politicians of all stripes seem to manage to avoid pretty clear promises and pledges with a frightening degree of frequency (but it probably cost Bush 41 his election so sometimes they pay).  That's one reason why we have such a love hate relationship with 'em, and forgiveness seems to be directly proportional to whose ox is being gored by the flip.

            Again, terrific diary -- I've enjoyed it immensely and I hope it made some people think.  I wish there were more room in Dkos for contrarian views like this diary for the sake of discussion, clarification and education.

            •  There's room (0+ / 0-)

              No aggregate limit on diaries.  And I can't complain, with this being Recommended!

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:21:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Reid and Pelosi, and Conyers for (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichiganGirl

              that matter have set themselves up for the 'flip-flopper' label.

              'Not a Call for Impeachment'
              Simply: Truth.Justice. Reconciliation.
              If Impeachment comes by way of Justice being served, so be it.

              by shpilk on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:15:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  It's not worth the fallout (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85

    He won't be indicted or convicted, GET OVER IT.  Democrats need to work on pushing a positive agenda that shows the american people why we're better at governing than they are.  President Pelosi for 1.5 years is not worth President McCain for 4-8 years.

    "Santorum, that's Latin for 'asshole'"--Sen Bob Kerrey (D-NE)

    by Terryus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:02:16 PM PST

    •  I've been thinking about this. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, Major Danby

      I believe - though my knowledge of the American legal system is somewhat lacking - that Bush could be impeached concerning war crimes (Milošević was about to be convicted because of his silent complicity, not direct orders), domestic surveillance (though this means pitting a fight against the Unitary Executive theory, which we'll have to do eventually), and - possibly, though I wouldn't count on it - the Iraq war. We need more evidence to pursue either course of impeachment, so I'd postpone the impeachment debate until the investigations start.

      Furthermore, has anyone considered the fac that we don't really need to win impeachment? We can lose the battle but win the war if we manage to convince the public that the Republicans are defending a corrupt and cruel politician. Perhaps Bush won't be impeached if we try, but if we convince the public that he should unquestionably have been impeached (an onerous task), we drag the entire Republican Party down with him, especially since the Republicans would likely abandon Bush if the public opinion went against them. Granted, we'd need a more balanced media climate for that, but it might happen since the media needs to sell and for that dirt, crime, and corruption are the best things next to sex.

      It would help if the president had a love affair, but he's too stupid for that... not to mention unattractive.

      So, do I believe that it's possible to win an impeachment? Absolutely. Is it certain? By no means. Can we win by losing? Yes, if we avoid the Rethughs' mistakes. Is any of this certain? By no means. The Democrats can gain a lot... and lose even more. I suggest we run some mock strategies and discuss them to see if it's feasible. Sort of like war games, with words and facts for guns...

      Omne malum nascens facile opprimitur, inveteratum fit plerumque robustius. - Cicero

      by Dauphin on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 04:52:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the political argument for not impeaching (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    Vetoproof Democratic majorities in the house and senate for a Democratic President in 2008 with the Bush albatross around the Rethug necks.

    I'd still rather have him out if it would end the terrible situation in Iraq, but adding troops in 2007? You're going to be lucky to find a Republican in Idaho if he keeps going like this.

  •  if the 110th congress (0+ / 0-)

    was going to enact comprehensive corporate reform, i might be inclined to worry about bushco later.

    but the 110th congress won't reform corporate governance or enact comprehensive media reform.

    so what do democrats do as they wake up to the stark reality the entire congress is bought and sold by private interests? spend political capital to make cheney sweat?

    sometimes talking impeachment is as productive as talking 9/11 conspiracy theory.

    my vote is that kos and kossacks trade impeachment for convention and spend the political capital there.

    until america holds an article v convention we'll get the same bogus approach to existence as we've had for the last forty-plus years.

    i think the status quo ought to be broken not by impeaching bush, but impeaching both the executive and legislative branches with a national convention.

  •  Excellent diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elise, Major Danby

    Very well written.  Nice to see it broken down like this.  

    Recommended.

    "Spoken like a true smartass."

    by ChiGirl88 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:07:56 PM PST

  •  Colin Powell went before the United Nations (0+ / 0-)

    with bullshit evidence on WMD. He was the agent and messenger acting on behalf of the Commander in Chief. Sounds like fraud to me.

    Also, I would love to see evidence that Saddam Hussein kicked the inspectors out of Iraq. There seems to be a bit of "haze" surrounding this point.

    Enjoyed your diary!

    best,

    mikolo

    •  Look at Vyan's diary (linked under "A") (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scrutinizer, 4jkb4ia, Elise

      for the evidence.  He kicked American inspectors out in 1997.

      Your theory that Bush is responsible for Powell making assertions about mobile weapon labs and whatever else it was is, in law, called respondeat superior.  The boss is responsible for the crimes of the underlings, even if the boss didn't know what they were doing.  I can't imagine that impeachment would use that standard.  I could not support it.

      In this case, I have a hard time believing that Bush himself knew that what Powell was presenting was "bullshit."  Bush would be easy to lie to about this.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:16:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Although I don't buy a legalistic view of... (6+ / 0-)

    ...impeachment, I'm still reluctant to use it. Whether it's legal or political, it is Nuclear.

    I would rather see a Joint Resolution of Congress calling on the President to resign for the good of the nation.

  •  Thanks Major Danby for responding, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, Major Danby

    and thanks to Vyan too.

  •  I say you are wrong and mistaken (0+ / 0-)

    to wave away the 4th Amendment so casually.

    > There is already no warrant needed.

    I will not call that a lie and yet the 4th Amendment has not been repealed and warrants still must be obtained and so are needed.

    Am I wrong that warrants must be obtained?

    I understand that in special, extraordinary, immediate threat circumstances that FISA allows the necessary and required warrant to be obtained after the fact.

    House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

    by Lew2006 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:21:17 PM PST

    •  Personally, I agree with you (4+ / 0-)

      (please remember that I am "in character" up there), but my sense is that my position is a minority one.  I don't know how they've gotten away with the "ratification" type of warrant that appears in the Patriot Act, but apparently they have (at least so far).

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:40:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oops (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Habanero, Major Danby

        You are a good man Charlie Brown, Major Danby.

        I am not encouraged by the polls of folks who apparently would allow the 1st and 4th Amendments to be repealed.  Somebody should slap their civics teachers.

        House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

        by Lew2006 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:52:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As a former civics teacher (see my sig): (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ignorant bystander, Lew2006

          ouch!

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:26:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think that shoe fits you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            and instead you get a firm manly punch in the upper arm.  oops, now you get 2 for flinching.

            I forget what we debated about before, but I will apologize Sir. You got my dander up.

            Don't remind me if you do remember, as I have no doubt it will reraise my dander and we don't need that.

            Thanks again.

            House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

            by Lew2006 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:20:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Eh, whatever it was, don't worry about it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lew2006

              My memory is rarely good enough to hold grudges.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:23:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  heh (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Creosote

            My high school civics teacher was the basketball coach.  Great coach, lousy civics teacher.  He didn't want to be there and it showed.  Consequently, even those of us who might have cared about the subject matter didn't want to be there either.  I think that speaks volumes about what's wrong with our educational system.

            Kudos to you for actually caring. I would have killed to have a teacher like you, but the athletic department wagged the dog back then.  As far as I know it still does.

  •  I guess what we're really saying is... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, Major Danby, MichiganGirl

    Someone's going to have to roll over on them. Assuming that he did all of this, and was truly culpable, we are probably going to need someone to testify to the premeditation of the acts.

    I'm not sure I go along with the notion that weakening the President's ablility to hide behind advice is such a bad idea. We certainly expect the President to exercise a certain amount of due diligence, and it's way too easy to manipulate the advice. As an example, starting a preemptive war is an extraordinary act.  It should require an incontrovertable evidence.  

    Damn all of those members of Congress that voted for the war. It gives Bush WAY too much cover.

    •  It's a very interesting issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichiganGirl

      and it's great if we start talking about it now, before it suddenly gets sprung on us when impeachment hearings begin.  Because they will surely say this.

      As for your last sentence: yup to the nth.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:42:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent job (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    On The Bus, 4jkb4ia, Major Danby

    of playing the devil's advocate.  A good trial attorney spends as much time thinking about the case his opponent will present as he does putting together his own case.  

    I haven't followed the arguments of the impeachment advocates too closely, but I've felt vaguely uneasy about that movement.  Your diary logically highlights the problems with the "impeach now" movement.  As much as I would love to see GWB kicked to the curb, I agree that the facts and the law and public opinion all have to be with us to accomplish the ultimate goal of removal from office.  And I don't feel that I'm a traitor for thinking that way.

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ignorant bystander

      I want to note again, though, that I think that Vyan in particular is also doing an excellent job.  We need both sides of the argument fleshed out.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:43:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  nicely done! (9+ / 0-)

    and amazingly short-winded!

    Of course it won't be easy....it shouldn't be.

    I am looking forward to your diary AFTER investigations as well!

    Almost as much as I'm looking forward to seeing the functionaries and second levelers lining up to cut a deal and turn 'states evidince' when the investigations get rolling!

    .
    .

    heh

    and thanks for getting another "impeach" diary on the rec list!

    •  Aha, you see through to my nefarious plan! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GN1927, 4jkb4ia, buhdydharma, MichiganGirl

      Short-winded, perhaps not, but I was responding to four diaries here, and Vyan's are very well done.  So that took time.  Completely ate up my afternoon, too.

      Don't worry, my friend, come hearings we will be on the same stage yelling the same things.  In fact, the way I imagine it, you will be the one trying to calm me down.

      Yes, yes -- watching the underlings roll is always good fun.  Isn't it amazing how it didn't happen with Clinton?  Only sickos like Dick Morris tried to jump ship, and they didn't have any real dirt on him.  Clinton ran a pretty clean ship, I have to admit.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:46:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No, Major. There is no argument against impeachmt (5+ / 0-)

    I love and respect ya, but this argument you've put forward has no strength.  Reading it, I just wanted to reach out and throttle my monitor.  Here's why (just one of several rebuttals, but this is the one that screams to me):

    Treasury Sec'y Paul F. O'Neill:"From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam was a bad person and needed to go. It was all about finding a way to do it." (Jan. 2004)

    Bush: "My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait...If I have the chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it."  (pre-election interview)

    Sept. 12th, the White house (Bush pulls Richard Clarke into a closet and says): "Look, I know you have a lot to do and all...but I want you to see if Saddam did this, see if he's linked in any way." Richard Clark, shocked, "But Mr. President, Saddam didn't do this, Al Qaeda did." Bush: "I know, I know. But see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred...Look into Iraq, Saddam."

    March 2002, Bush: "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out."

    Now Major, Bush knew that Iraq and Saddam had nothing to do with each other. He wanted (for his own, as yet unknown, reason) to "take Saddam out," even before his ascension to office in 2000.

    His purpose, in lying and misrepresenting to the Congress and the American people about Iraq, was to "hijack" 911 and push Congress into allowing him to use force.

    Your comments to the effect that "who can be blamed for trusting advisors" like Tenet, and others (including Clarke? Does he count?) would only be valid IF THOSE ADVISORS HAD COME TO HIM AND TOLD HIM IRAQ WAS A THREAT.  THEY DIDN'T.  INSTEAD, HE TOLD THEM TO DRUM UP EVIDENCE.

    As you say, no one doubted that Iraq had weapons of mass distruction.  Surely a few.  Any number would have "justified" the invasion retroactively.  Paul Wolfowitz put it best: "Weapons of mass distruction were the only reason we could all agree on."

    So when Bush spoke of WMD to Congress, when his real purpose was to fulfill his long-term plan to invade Iraq (with WMD's a convenient pretext), it was a lie, and it was fraud.  If that's not a high crime and misdemeanor (btw, not defined anywhere, so your guess is no better than mine or anyone else's), what is?

    CHIMPEACH

    •  The point, I think, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cienfuegos

      is that the issues the Major raises are issues that we can expect to come up if hearings on impeachment occur.  Those issues are going to require that we have evidence that Bush committed crimes, and that we are able to refute any arguments Bush's defender's make that would excuse his actions.

      By the way, when you wrote

      Bush knew that Iraq and Saddam had nothing to do with each other.

      I assume you meant Bin Laden and Saddam had nothing to do with each other?

      •  Thanks scrutinizer, this validates your moniker (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Danby, MichiganGirl

        Yes, 911 and Saddam, or Bin Laden and Saddam.  Thanks for the close read.

        As for the refutations, you're right, but the whole thing incenses me so much...

        After all, can anyone really doubt that Bush knowingly used WMD as a pretext? And if so, isn't that impeachable?

        •  I'll respond to your longer post above (0+ / 0-)

          but I will say here that I strongly believe that Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld et al believed that they would find WMDs in Iraq.  My reason for believing this is that if they had thought that it was necessary to plant WMDs to be found, they would have done so.  So while I don't think that the reason for the war was WMDs -- I think it was over oil and permanent bases -- I think they expected their stated rationale to bear out.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:59:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I knew I had forgotten something up there (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for inducing me to make this point:

      I don't believe that going to war for a reason other than the one that one states is an impeachable offense, unless perhaps the reason one states is fraudulent.  (And, as I state below, I think that they did think that there were WMDs there. While I completely disagree with the notion that we had any right to attack Iraq preventatively so that they could never attack us, the fact that it is stupid and wrong doesn't mean that it was illegal.  And the fact that Congress bought the rationale, to my mind, insulates Bush against impeachment on that ground unless it can be shown that he really did commit common law fraud.  (I don't favor impeachment in the absence of a crime; I know some here do, and we disagree.)

      Yes, Bush wanted Saddam gone and was looking for a way to justify it.  That's bad, but it doesn't seem impeachable to me.  Madison, Polk, McKinley, Wilson, and FDR all also wanted war, for better reasons or worse, and used the levers of politics to make their case.  I think you respond to that at the ballot box, not with impeachment.

      The new point I want to add is that when Bush kept saying he didn't want war, I think that that too was technically true.  He would have accepted Saddam's resignation and we would not have invaded.  He might have pressed for us to be invited in, and we might have had a lather/rinse/repeat cycle set up, but even there I don't think we have him dead to rights for lying.

      By the way, there was, to my mind, one valid reason to go to war with Iraq, and it's the one that everyone makes fun of.  Saddam tried to have Bush41 assassinated.  That, to me, would have justified our going after Saddam personally, had we limited ourselves to that.  (I'm not saying I'd have favored it; I'm just talking about a reasonable justification under principles of international law.)  But that was the one reason Bush couldn't choose for fear of looking petulant -- and he couldn't reveal the state secret that that's exactly what he was.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:11:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A question for Major Danby and... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mikolo, Major Danby, Cienfuegos

    ..any other constitutional/political experts here:  You spoke of a Censure as one possible route short of impeachment or resignation.
     Other than the symbolic act, what would Censure accomplish?  "You've been a bad, bad boy, Georgie.  Now, don't do that anymore"?
     I think I am a little too right-brained to get my head around that.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by drchelo on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:27:55 PM PST

    •  It would not get rid of him, true (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, scrutinizer, shock, 4jkb4ia, drchelo

      And the real answer is that no one knows.  It would amount to a "sense of the Congress" resolution and those don't make law, but do have some effect.

      I can best explain it by asking in return what the Federalist Papers "did."  You see people refer to them all of the time, but they have no actual legal status.  They're just the sense of the founders about what was going on.  As we deal with issues of a "war constitution" (which, according to Bush, suspends the actual constitution to some unknown degree, what I'd hope is that on issues such as enemy combatants, rendition, the unitary executive, the applicability of FISA, etc., a censure resolution might come to have a similar role with regard to these contemporary issues to that which the Federalist Papers have with respect to the basic issues of our founding.  It would, at a minimum, provide a basis for impeachment against future Presidents who might follow in Bush's muddy footsteps.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:50:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The way I see it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, Major Danby, drchelo

      since the odds of actually removing Bush lay somewhere between none and not a chance in hell, impeachment and censure are essentially the same thing--a public voicing of displeasure by the Democrats in Congress, which should come as a surprise to no one.

      I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

      by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:19:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great post (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MissLaura, Major Danby, sane

    Heh, I didn't know you were a lawyer, damnit.  Cool.

    The arguements I've often seen on Kos(and elsewhere) for impeachment tend to be tenditious and reflect an inadequate understanding of rhetoric, at best.  This is yeoman work and an excellent service.

    Off the cuff, it seems to me that since impeachment is a legal process carried out by politicians, the momentum will be political and reflect some greater (percieved)outrage than at present, and that the normal process of defense and counter arguement will be shortcircuited, to some degree, accordingly.  It doesn't seem to me that the momentum exists to succeed now, but I fear its just around the corner, along with whatever fresh hell they have in store for us.  If they oust a sitting president, it will be because there is greater gain to be had by his removal than via the sq, and while these -- and more extensive -- arguements will be summoned, the resulting vote depends on the level of outrage.  Ten dollar a gallon gas should do it.

    Personally, I'd like to see him in Den Haag, looking out over the flat flat fields and having thoughtful interviews with the court appointed psychiatrist.  Heh, I can hope.

  •  John Mitchell (0+ / 0-)

    suppose the competent council is impeached? Do you think Gonzo is somehow above scrutiny because he is so deemed. A political hack by any other name. Take down AG and watch the house of cards fold.

    "Everything is chrome in the future..." Sponge Bob Square Pants

    by agent double o soul on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:34:25 PM PST

    •  The question of whether you can impeach (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie in CA

      a cabinet official is still an open one, to my knowledge.  I think it was tried before, in the 19th centuty, but for some reason I don't think it was conclusive.  In any event, I don't think that it would undo an "advice of counsel" defense in the absence of collusion.  And, frankly, I think that that is something the committees will need to investigate.  If Bush -- not just Cheney, but Bush himself -- was seeking cherry-picked intel and tailored legal advice, then the case for impeachment gets stronger.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:53:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is it really all that open? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        I had always rather thought the impeachment brush was rather wide.

        Article II, Section 4

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

        Grant's Secretary of War was impeached and acquitted. Was that a cabinet post at the time?

        •  I don't think that "Civil Officer" (0+ / 0-)

          has been definitively defined in this context, but I could be wrong.  I had thought that there was some twist to the 19th century attempts that rendered them questionable precedents.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:28:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Since when is incompetent counsel (0+ / 0-)

        a valid defense for any crime?  

        BushCo Policy... If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention. -3.25 -2.26

        by Habanero on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 06:35:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It goes to a good faith belief that one's actions (0+ / 0-)

          were legal.  It can negate what lawyers call the necessary "mens rea" -- mental component of a crime (often, but not always, "intent", but potentially even "negligence" if the President acted as a reasonable and prudent individual would have.)

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:03:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hmmm....... (0+ / 0-)

            .... I’m not sure that works and here is true empirical data from my own life that tells me so.  About seventeen or so years ago I received a ticket for parking in a handicapped spot at a grocery store at around 8-9:00 PM during a bad Midwestern snow storm.  The snow was wet, blowing, and stuck to the side of the building and had covered up an approximately 12" x 10" sign as well as covering up painted markings on the pavement; I discovered this when I came back the next day after the snow cleared and it was daylight.  
            When I went to court, they would have none of it and I got hammered with the maximum fine.  (FYI - I was dirt poor and in college.)  Had I or any of the other three individuals in my car seen the sign or marks on the pavement, I would not have parked there even as the lot was nearly empty and this was explained to them.  In other words, mens rea did not mean squat.  If you are right, I want several hundred dollars plus interest back from the city.

            BushCo Policy... If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention. -3.25 -2.26

            by Habanero on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 08:49:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Different crimes and infractions (0+ / 0-)

              require different degrees of mens rea.  The infraction -- not a crime, and something that therefore does not raise the same due process concerns -- for which you were fined was a strict liability crime (statutory rape is the classic example.)  I cannot imagine a President being impeached using a standard of strict liability.

              You did really get screwed, though.  Similar things have happened to me.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 10:56:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  What am I (you) missing? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, Major Danby, Lew2006

    So please tell me, where are the 67 votes in the Senate to convict? On ANY count?

    Is this about removal, or something else that could be more easily satisfied with House/Senate investigations, where no hostile witness problem would exist?

    Just asking . . .

    •  Fair Question (0+ / 0-)

      President Bush will have to answer directly for his actions on the floor of the Senate and I have no doubt  from watching his debates and press conferences that even Trent Lott will have to hold his nose while voting after that performance.  Many other GOPs want to get re-elected and not all their constituents are brain dead.

      House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

      by Lew2006 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:49:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, I doubt (4+ / 0-)

        very seriously that Congress could ever force Bush to directly answer anything, especially on the floor of the Senate.  They will even have trouble getting the smaller fish to testify.  Heck, they'll have major battles with getting subpoenas complied with.

        •  Should I bicker or agree? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby

          ahhh, You are right and I was wrong.  It was wishful thinking on my part that President Bush could or would do that.  He could not even face the 9/11 commission alone.

          Preparing the Articles of Impeachment would involve exactly the type of investigation oversight that most of the people here do agree are necessary and should be done along side the ordinary legislative agenda.

          House and the Senate? Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

          by Lew2006 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:12:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  We don't yet know what it's about (0+ / 0-)

      If the committees do their jobs well, we will by the middle of next year.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:54:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  legalisms aren't the point (7+ / 0-)

    I hate to be crass but, for all that there are many lawyers in congress, the congress itself isn't a court of law.  Impeachment will be decided by political considerations not legal arguements.  The irony of political reality means that just as the decision to invade Iraq was made first and the justifications found later, so too will be the decision whether or not to dump Bush.  The question then is not, 'is the legal justification for impeachment present,' it's 'is the political will present.'  The answer, I suspect, is no it's not.  

    As the decision hinges on the willingness of Republicans to support the impeachment process the key question to ask is, 'will they see it as in their interests to bring down this administration?'  Or put more simply, 'will it help them get re-elected?'  The answer is no.  Republicans who try to wash their hands of Bush's corruption and incompetence by voting for impeachment may score some points, but ultimately swing voters in their districts will still see the R next to their names and think of Bush.  Also the Republican base will castigate them for their 'betrayal' of Bush, which, if it doesn't cost them their primaries, could still cost them the general by supressing Republican turnout.

    While I don't generally like to give Republican office holders high marks for intelligence the truth is they wouldn't have taken the majority in congress and held it for 12 years if they were stupid.  Their intelectual prowess may not rise above the level of base political cunning, but that is all they will need to realize that impeaching Bush will do them more harm than good.

    Don't get me wrong, I support impeachment and would like to see it happen, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.  Democrats should press for it, because doing so will help us politically, but they shouldn't expect any help from the other side of the isle.

    •  Fair analysis (0+ / 0-)

      We don't have to make these decisions yet.  And we will know a lot more in due time.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:56:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It depends upon making him a much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, Major Danby

      bigger liability than he is now.  His approval ratings are dropping.  They need to keep dropping. Investigations need to be producing weekly bombshells until NO ONE will stand with him.

      That was how Nixon went down.

    •  Not so sure about that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Danby

      Wait until some of those Senators look at the people fleeing the Republican Party nationwide, and face strong challenges.  I have my doubts about getting 16, but we'd get some for sure.

      -5.63, -8.10 | Libertarian Liberal

      by neroden on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:24:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In his defense Bush will say (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, JohnB47, neroden, Major Danby, Lew2006

    I was only following Cheney's orders.

    When in danger or in doubt, run in circles scream and shout.

    by londubh on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:47:54 PM PST

  •  The British government has learned... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, neroden, Major Danby, blueoasis

    This is an excellent, well-thought-out diary, but that doesn't mean I don't have a quibble.

    You wrote:

    About yellowcake: (a) Bush never said that the yellowcake story was true, but that the British government believed it to be true (so element (3) of the crime [of fraud] is not satisfied);

    Here's what Bush said in his 2003 SotU address [emphasis added] :

    The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

    The verb "to learn" implies that the underlying predicates are true :

    3 : to come to know

    He follows the infamous sixteen words with two sentences that affirm that the claims regarding uranium are factual:

    Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.

    You can't divorce the insistence that Saddam explain "these activities" (clearly including the uranium claim in its scope) from its implication that the allegations regarding "these activities" are true.

    Bush cannot credibly claim in hindsight that there was some shadow of a doubt embedded in his statements. He might as well argue about what the meaning of "is" is. (Except, of course, that he's not up to the task.)

    Lying about WMDs changed everything.

    by Nowhere Man on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 07:57:01 PM PST

    •  Yeah, maybe, sorta, but -- (0+ / 0-)

      the question of whether the word "learned" must necessarily mean that something true was discovered, or that "learned" could mean "developed an opinion" -- "I've learned never to mix tequila and eggnog" -- is too thin of a reed for me to want to hang impeachment on it.  Your mileage may vary.  There may be something in the DSM showing that there's no way he could credibly use the word "learned" there, and then this could gain some more power, but then it just raises issues of whether such a statement in the SOTU would constitute fraud.  (I don't think that Bush is doing much about a Mars trip, AIDS in Africa, or switchgrass, but I don't think any of that is impeachable.)

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:34:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Read Elizabeth De La Vega's indictment (6+ / 0-)

    Read it here: http://www.scoop.co.nz/...

    You're a lawyer, and I respect what you're saying, but I think you are way, way wrong with your analysis, and I ask you, why is Ms. De La Vega's indictment so compelling?  Why does it ring as true as it does?  Why do your legal ramblings hit me as just that - legal ramblings - whereas Ms. De La Vega's ramblings seem so much more succinct, on target, square and righteously aligned?

    I tell you, we can indict, prosecute and impeach.  We can do it.  The prestige of this country depends on it.  We have wanton, reckless, extralegal-loving fools running this country, and they've taken many lives (as Charles Manson did - by proxy), squandered our treasure and all but destroyed America's standing in the world.  Rectification?  Impeachment.  Solution?  Impeachment.  And where does the road to impeachment lead?  To justice.

    Don't take this personally, but Ms. De La Vega takes every argument of yours apart, and with pincers at that.  So bring on Bush's lawyers, we'll match them attorney for attorney, and remind everyone on the face of this fair earth what's truly great about this troubled country called America - that its introspective powers are deep.  This country has mechanisms in place to allow for self-correction.  Fuck the politics!  Impeach.

    Please visit Neverinournames.com

    by Nathan Hammersmith on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:14:31 PM PST

    •  I've read de la Vega's arguments (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GN1927, Major Danby

      as well as Holzman's and some others--as has Major Danby, I'm sure. And while I'm not a lawyer, I am both impressed and pursuaded by them. As, I'm sure, was Danby. I think that what he was doing here was playing devil's advocate (almost literally here), in showing the sorts of defenses that the other side will employ against impeachment, and that they're not trivial ones at all. I imagine that this sort of thinking is what good lawyers do, especially in challenging cases. Know your enemy's mind, as the saying goes.

      I don't think that he was arguing against impeachment under any circumstances, so much as saying that only if we've got the goods on Bush in terms of both evidence and legal arguments should we proceed. I agree. I also believe that we will find both evidence and arguments, and that it's congress's job now to come up with them--in the course of conducting hearings and investigations that it needs to conduct anyway.

      For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

      by kovie on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:41:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, I haven't read De La Vega (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sc kitty

      but I saw her on Colbert and wasn't that impressed.  (I have looked at Holtzman's work, but not as carefully as I'd want to in order to discuss it intelligently.)  I will try to look at her argument and follow up with how I'd try to get around her rebuttals, but since I should not even be doing this -- this was not how I had planned to spend more of my day -- I can't promise anything.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:27:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, it seems to me that there is plenty of (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden
    Hidden by:
    fairfax

    evidence of war crimes. The book "War Crimes," by Aryeh Neier (Times Books, Random House, NY; 1998) gives a sweeping and thoughtful history of the current state of theory and practice on war crimes, tribunals, etc.
       One major obstacle for the US and the world is that the US refuses to recognize the international criminal court. But the offenses committed by the Bush administration, particularly the official recognition of torture as national policy, are so egregrious that it's quite forseeable that other countries would eventually take legal action, seizing the suspects during their travels, and bringing to the bar of the justice under the rubric of crimes against humanity.

  •  It is amazing how fearful the DC elitists... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    ... and their sycophants are of investigations. Papa Bush has been on the point of tears several times over the possibility.

    Vyan's argument are sound yours are largely legalize double talk in my opinion. Never take a losing case, it makes one appear stupid which, I'm certain you are not. Nixon was set up, and I can think of no one who deserved it more, by a cast of characters who destroyed another Presidency for the same reasons power and control of the state; but his "crimes" real and created pale by comparison to those of Bush and Iran/Contra/Neo-Conservative set. We need a through house cleaning and investigations, impechments, are the place to make a good start. The issue is not partisan political but something all to many lawyers don’t understand and fear most, justice; that and healing the republican democracy we revere.  

    The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

    by Bobjack23 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 08:24:38 PM PST

    •  You can't fix a process by breaking it yourself (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      incertus, musing85, scrutinizer, ChiGirl88

      There is no better way to restore the legal and political processes that Bush & the GOP have trampled on repeatedly than by following it yourself. And you don't do that by impeaching without a damn solid case. And such a case doesn't exist YET.

      MD is NOT arguing against impeachment, but merely against proceeding with it without first understanding the massive challenges and risks that it presents, and saying that ONLY if we think we've got the goods should we proceed. So the first step is to try to come up with the goods, and only then should we go for it. We're nowhere near there yet.

      For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

      by kovie on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:35:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Go check out some of my writings on other diaries (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      incertus, dtj

      dealing with impeachment and try to say with a straight face that I'm afraid of invesgiations.  But, mostly, I can't really understand what you're saying.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:37:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I "generally admire you" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo

    but in this case you've got everything completely ass-backwards and based on assumptions.

    You wrote:

    The goal of the GOP is to Grab Onto Power and never let go.  They don't need to jettison Bush to stay in power; having Democrats do a public full-face pratfall, where every honest constitutional scholar would sadly have to agree that the case is not made and the precedent would be damning might do just as well in a IOKIYAR world.

    You're absolutely wrong about this.  The only way the GOP can even survive is to throw Bush under a bus.

    That is as transparently obvious as the sun coming up tomorrow.

    I don't have to have a law degree to see THAT far into the future.

    •  Wow. I didn't realize it was so obvious. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      incertus, Snapper, musing85, dtj, troubador

      I'm also a political scientist, and I would argue with you about how for Democrats to shoot off their own feet in hearings (as with Iran-Contra) could hurt them enough to compensate, while the stigma of being tied to a disgraced President would hurt them even after the President was gone (as in 1974), but if it's obvious that I'm wrong than I won't bother.  Can I mean you halfway and say that it's arguable?

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:40:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess I'm just stupid, (0+ / 0-)

    but the President, the VP and the rest of BushCo have committed crimes and were fully aware they were committing them while doing so.  I just don't understand why they shouldn't be convicted or impeached or whatever the hell you want to call it and sent to prison.

    •  You're not stupid (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, tr4nqued, ChiGirl88

      You're just trying to use arguments about justice in a situation that's only about politics. The two rarely meet. Was there anything just about the Clinton impeachment? This situation is just reversed.

      I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

      by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:22:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  To convict, it's not enough to "know" something (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, scrutinizer, shpilk, Major Danby

      but to have solid legal evidence proving it. Even though we all "know" that they likely committed impeachable acts, we don't yet have anywhere near enough solid evidence of the kind that would stand up in a senate trial--especially with our razor-thin majority in which the likes of Ben Nelson and Ken Salazar are on "our" side--and some half dozen or so Dems are thinking of running for president.

      Major Danby was simply showing the legal side of impeachment, and how it presents a very high bar. Our legal system is not based on what is "known", but what can be proven. And even Bush's crimes don't justify throwing that out. If this is to be done, it has to be done right, or not at all. We don't impeach guys who lied about getting blowjobs. That's what the other side does. We not only have to be better than that, but we have to let people know it, if we're to stay in power beyond an election cycle or two.

      For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

      by kovie on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:30:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Impeachment isn't a judicial process; (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bjornmmcc, 4jkb4ia, blueoasis

        it's a political process. If 100 percent of Americans demand that Bush be impeached and removed from office, the Congress won't have much choice. They will either impeach Bush and remove him from office, or they will lose their jobs, or worse. So the goal isn't to convince Congress to impeach Bush. The goal is to convince the people that he needs to be impeached and removed. Once the people are convinced, the Congress will have little choice but to obey the will of the people. There is really no point in trying to convince Congress of anything. We should spend all our time convincing our countrymen that George W. Bush must be impeached. Once the people are convinced, the Congress will be forced to fall in line.

        Republicans are liars.

        by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:45:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  However (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85

          you've got to make sure that it's important enough to the public that they're willing to toss their representatives out on their collective asses if they don't impeach. Can we put together that many primary challenges and field opponents for Republicans if necessary?

          I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

          by incertus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:54:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No, impeachment is a legal process (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85, Major Danby

          that is similar in indictment in any court of law.

          It is NOT a "political process"; using this phrase will backfire on you, because this is exactly what the wingnuts will claim. Please, stop using that phrase to describe the process.

          'Not a Call for Impeachment'
          Simply: Truth.Justice. Reconciliation.
          If Impeachment comes by way of Justice being served, so be it.

          by shpilk on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:58:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's both (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            scrutinizer, 4jkb4ia, Major Danby

            Constitutionally, it's obviously a legal process. But in terms of how things actually work, it's also a political process, unofficially but just as unavoidably.

            For example, we will have to win the public over to avoid political backlash (but I assume that this will happen of its own accord as investigations proceed and incredibly damning evidence against an already very unpopular president emerges). That will clearly be a political process. And we will also need to win over enough Repubs to convict. That will certainly be political.

            But I agree with you that to view this as a political but not legal process, or as a primarily political process, is both wrong and dangerous. It is in part a political process, of course, but it is even more so--in fact fundamentally so--a legal process, and must be treated as such if it stands a chance of succeeding and won't backfire. Plus, it's the ethical way to go about it.

            We are not, after all, Republicans.

            For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

            by kovie on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:17:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I have to disagree (6+ / 0-)

          While it is obviously not ONLY a judicial process, impeachment is CLEARLY a judicial process--the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides in the senate trial, after all, in a judicial capacity. And, in theory at least, it is primarily a judicial process.

          Of course, it is also a political process, but what ISN'T one that involves, um, politicians? Bush v. Gore was clearly as political as it was judicial, and to most of us here far more so. And, I'm sure, many people will view impeachment as a primarily if not entirely political act, no matter how damning and massive the evidence.

          But you don't impeach because it's politically smart--or not impeach because it's politically dumb. Rather, you impeach because the EVIDENCE for it exists, in overwhelming and irrefutible form. Right now, in a legally useful form, it clearly does not exist, and until it does, we cannot and must not impeach. It would not only be unethical, it would be unconstitutional, and very likely politically stupid as well. And it will almost certainly fail--something we can ill afford for multiple reasons.

          And who is this "we" who are supposed to convince the public that impeachment is necessary? Not us, I assume, because this community (not just Kos but politically actives progressives in general) is still a fairly small if vocal minority. "We" are in no position to pursuade the wider public of much of anything. If the public is to be pursuaded, it will have to be by congress's investigations and hearings, and by the MSM that the overwhelming number of people continue to get their news and opinions from.

          Which gets back to what I was arguing, that for impeachment to be both legally possible and politically smart, congress much first do its job and investigate this administration thoroughly and aggressively. If that happens, the evidence for impeachment may well emerge, and the public may well clamor for impeachment, and we will have "killed two birds" with one stone.

          I agree with you about it being important to be aware of the politics of impeachment, but not about how to manage that aspect of it. We can't win that battle--let alone the actual impeachment battle--until congress first does its job of investigating the administration. The public is clearly against Bush, but I just don't see any clamor for impeachment right now.

          And even if it was screaming for impeachment, congress cannot and must not go for it until investigations have been held and far more than sufficient evidence emerges from them. But it's not clamoring right now, so that's a moot point. But if these investigations are conducted properly, I'm convinced that the evidence will emerge, and that the public will clamor. At which point, impeachment will be unavoidable.

          I am convinced that this is the right AND smart way to go about this, legally, politically, and ethically. Our chances of succeeding will be highest if we do.

          For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

          by kovie on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:10:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe the people at DKos (0+ / 0-)

            spend too much time talking to themselves when they should spend more time talking to the wider public. That's my impression anyway. It's one of the dangers of the Internet, that the discussants end up isolated from the rest of the community.

            Republicans are liars.

            by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:38:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Whenever I try to talk to people who aren't (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              musing85, 4jkb4ia, JohnB47, Major Danby

              active progressives, I find myself hitting a wall pretty quickly. The left-leaning ones say all the right things, but I can just tell that I'm both boring them and making them uncomfortable (these are people who like democracy, so long as defending it doesn't call for sacrifice or effort). And the right-leaning ones just get defensive and indignant.

              Perhaps I'm just not a good pursuader (and I'm not, to be honest). But I prefer to present the evidence and let people decide for themselves. I'm not big on hitting anyone over the head with my views--even if they happen to be the right ones, which of course they are almost all of the time. ;-)

              If the survival of a democracy depends upon a small group of progressives screaming from the rooftops 24/7, then it will not last long. For it to survive, a much larger group of citizens (and preferably a majority of them) have to become more politically aware and involved. Our job is not to convince the wider public of what to believe, but that they simply need to go to the trouble of knowing more about politics. If they do this, I'm convinced that more of them will agree with us than not.

              Without a self-informed electorate, democracy dies.

              For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

              by kovie on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:09:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You gotta sound the alarm (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Creosote

                and let people know something is wrong. If enough people do it (and of course that's always the problem), then the unconcerned will eventually start to realize that there is reason for concern. I personally can't let the reason not enough people sounded the alarm be because I didn't sound the alarm, and I can't let the reason I don't sound the alarm be because not enough people are sounding the alarm. All I can do is what I want other people to do, and that is sound the alarm, regardless of whether other people actually do it or not. And it occurs to me that talking to individual people is very slow and stands to accomplish little; rather, each of us should strive to make contact with the biggest audience possible, with the option that people can get more detail if they want it.

                Serving suggestion:

                Republicans are liars.

                by tr4nqued on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 08:50:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Funny you should say that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Creosote, Major Danby

              Because I was about to say exactly the same thing to you.

              Outside of my small circle of liberal friends, I have heard a grand total of zero people clamoring for, or even talking about, impeaching this preznit. It's not on the radar out here in Purple America, where 99.9999999999% of the people don't read Daily Kos (and probably about the same number have never even heard of it, or any of the other sites in Left Blogistan).

              Out here in the real world, folks are worrying about the cost of gasoline and natural gas. Here in Illinois, we're pondering how we're going to pay our electric bills starting next month, when the monopolies that control electric power get to jack up their rates by 22% because our corrupt-and-ineffective Democratic governor and his cronies in the legislative leadership were too busy fighting over who got to take credit for stopping the rate hike to actually stop the rate hike.

              We're worrying about the skyrocketing costs of health insurance and college tuition. As I live in a university town and work for said university (where I'm also a graduate student), at least many of us are also worrying about the plummeting state support for higher education. People are far more focused on trying to find a Wii or a PS3 to put under the tree for Christmas, than they are about listening to people natter on about high crimes and misdemeanors.

              •  I know it's Chicago (0+ / 0-)

                but here where I live, we have a demonstration every Sunday in front of the Art Institute, where drivers get to "express their views" by honking. There is a good response to signs that say "Impeach" or "Honk to Impeach," a better response than to signs that say "Honk for Peace." As well, while we're standing out there, there is lots of foot traffic, and people will stop to talk to us, sometimes to argue, sometimes to express agreement, and sometimes just to talk things over.

                This comment is old, so it likely won't get read, but I would suggest that people take an hour or two out of their week to stand on a busy intersection with signs that call for impeachment. In this way, you put the word in front of people, and if people want to talk to you about it, they can.

                I am not saying the Internet should not be used at all, but it should not be relied on as the sole way of discussing political issues. All ways should be used, and one way is just to put yourself out in front of the public and let them know what you think and invite them to have a conversation with you about it.

                Certainly this will not have any effect when one person does it, but if the effort is multiplied many times across the country, I think it could be very effective. And it woud be a lot more grassrootsy than a lot of people sending money to a particular group who then puts ads on TV. That doesn't seem very grassrootsy to me at all. It seems very corporate, where you pay someone to do the work for you. Instead, we should do the work of making contact with the public, of which we are members, ourselves.

                Republicans are liars.

                by tr4nqued on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 08:45:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  If that's Urbana and Poli Sci, write me! (0+ / 0-)

                My old stomping ground!

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:51:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  The Unitary Executive theory was disproved (0+ / 0-)

        in 1649, when Charles Stuart said the King can do no wrong and Parliament lopped off his head.  The Framers knew full well the history of the English kings.

        "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:33:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  As I and many pro-impeachment folks have said (8+ / 0-)

    First, conduct thorough investigations and hold extensive hearings on all the things that have gone wrong with this administration, not as a witch hunt in seach of impeachable offenses and the evidence to support it, but because this is what congress is supposed to do when things go very, very wrong in a failed and dishonest administration such as this one. Congress needs to do this irregardless of whether they'll lead to impeachment proceedings, or whether they're intended to do so.

    Then, in the course of conducting these investigations and hearings, if it becomes clear that impeachable offenses have very likely been committed, by Bush, Cheney and others in the administration, and that the evidence to support this exists and is likely to be found of a nature and in sufficient quantity to be likely to convict, authorize further investigations and hearings specifically to gather such evidence.

    And then, if--and ONLY if--such evidence is amassed--and it had better be rock-solid, airtight and massive--should congress proceed with impeachment, swiftly and decisively. It will in fact be remiss in its duty if it did not do this. But if it cannot come up with such evidence, then it must not attempt to impeach, because it would be an unethical procedure, a waste of congress' time and resources, and a political disaster for Democrats.

    But if the evidence does warrant it, then congress must proceed with impeachment. It would be its duty. And even if it ultimately fails, it will have both been the right thing to do, and have done Bush and those who collaborated with him immense and well-deserved political damage. And even if enough evidence to justify impeachment proceedings does not emerge, the process by which such evidence will be gathered will also be fully justified, and quite likely to do them immense damage as well.

    Done right, whether or not it leads to impeachment proceedings, and whether or not they ultimately succeed, such a process can only help the nation and check an administration that has actively sought to and in many ways succeeded in hurting it, and which clearly needs to be checked and arguably deserves to be hurt.

    Personally, I am of the belief--and it's only a belief, not a conviction--that if congress does its job in investigating this administration, then, with a bit of luck, such evidence will emerge, it will be immensely damning to the administration, and it will prove sufficient to both proceed with impeachment, and quite possibly to actually impeach. But that's not the point. The point is to investigate, and see where it leads. At the very least, it will shine much-needed light on this maladmininstration's massive wrongdoing, and put a stop to much of it. And, hopefully, it will lead to much, much, much more.

    But patience and one step at a time. And we're not quite even at the first step yet.

    For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

    by kovie on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:21:25 PM PST

    •  Excellently said (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, sc kitty, kovie

      The only place I'd disagree -- and this is because I can be a bit of a hothead -- is that even if the evidence isn't airtight I can see myself wanting to take a flyer.  I want to be absolved by the public and by history; if we can do that and still go ahead, great.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:44:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with both of you folks (4+ / 0-)

        The evidence does not have to be 'airtight' to proceed, but it should be above reproach so that the attempt cannot be labeled as being a 'political witch hunt'.

        IF the standard of reasonable doubt is surpassed about the evidence being factual, I'd say that is worthy of an attempt to impeach in most cases.

        We all feel justly that the abuse of power is systemic and widespread, but must try to maintain perspective that the legal case will not consider these variables.

        Evidence must be clear, specific and serious enough to meet the bar of 'high crimes'.

        'Not a Call for Impeachment'
        Simply: Truth.Justice. Reconciliation.
        If Impeachment comes by way of Justice being served, so be it.

        by shpilk on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:05:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We need to surpass the normal standards (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ignorant bystander, Major Danby

          Not by an impossibly high degree, but sufficiently so that there's no way anyone can legitimately and plausibly call it politically motivated. So much so that it'll be hard for all but the most stupid and politically safe Repub to resist supporting it. If it is to not only succeed in impeaching Bush, but in a healing way, it needs to be at least partly bipartisan--as Nixon's impeachment would have been.

          I don't believe that it'll be that hard to come up with it. Well, actually, it will be hard, mostly because they'll viciously resist. But not impossibly hard. And I think that the effort to resist will likely provide us with the strongest evidence we'll need. Let the impeachment process effectively be a process of assisted suicide.

          And didn't Dr. Kevorkian just get out of jail? Someone have his number handy...

          For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

          by kovie on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:41:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  "wanting to take a flyer"? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4jkb4ia, Major Danby

        I've never heard that expression. I assume that it means that you'd still support impeachment even if the evidence isn't airtight?

        Of course, one can debate what airtight would mean. Certainly Repubs and Dems will debate this, if it comes to it, as will we, the MSM, and the public. But I think that when it comes to impeachment, it's both better and smarter to shoot for a very high standard of impeachment. It will not only make it easier to win over both the public and enough Repubs to convict (and make it bipartisan, which I think is politically and morally important), but it will be the best proof possible that "our" way of doing things (i.e. the lawful way, as opposed to Bush's way) is better than his way.

        If impeachment succeeds--or even if it doesn't succeed, but we will have made a very convincing case--the real winner will not be "us", or the Dems, but the process, and thus the American people, and the real loser will not be BushCo, but the unlawful and undemocratic MO that they've advocating all these years. This is less about Bush & Cheney than it is about the Bush & Cheneey doctrine. We need to crush both.

        For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

        by kovie on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:53:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Take a flyer" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie

          You know, I looked at your header there and thought "where the hell did I come up with that?"  But evidently it is a real expression for accepting a considered risk.  (Thanks as usual, Google!)

          Contentwise, we're in full agreement (and with shpilk, too.)

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:52:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  what kovie said (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote, Major Danby

        much better than I've ever managed.  But I'd go a little bit farther.  At the very least, I want to make them defend all of the envelope pushing they've done.  If not in a trial at least in front of TV cameras and microphones.  I want lots of Republicans to have to explain over and over why torture really is OK as long as we're doing it.  I want them to explain over and over how they got so much so wrong in the run up to the Iraq invasion.  I want them to explain in some detail why habeas, a cornerstone of common law for what, 700 years? is something we can now do without.  I could go on, but I think you get my drift.  I want them to think about running in 2008 with all of that still swirling around them.

    •  See, I don't want to do the "right" thing (0+ / 0-)

      in this case.  I want to do the BEST thing.

      But if the evidence does warrant it, then congress must proceed with impeachment. It would be its duty. And even if it ultimately fails, it will have both been the right thing to do, and have done Bush and those who collaborated with him immense and well-deserved political damage. And even if enough evidence to justify impeachment proceedings does not emerge, the process by which such evidence will be gathered will also be fully justified, and quite likely to do them immense damage as well.

      Sometimes in the interest of saving a nation, the "art of the possible" has to be employed.

      Whether or not the hard evidence "justifies" it, I want other people in positions of power to get rid of Bush in terms of him being any kind of political force to do anything.  And do it the moment it is possible, not when the grinding wheel of Congress rolls around to "impeachment" .. of course if impeachment is on the table after investigations, then, good, IF we can succeed.

      If it takes something a good deal more Machiavellian than strictly legalistic mechanisms (not that I am suggesting actually doing anything illegal, just perhaps underhanded, if necessary), then the survival and well being of America has to come first.  Survival has to trump righteousness of that sort.

      And, impeachment that is guaranteed to lead nowhere but defeat and possibly hurting the Democrats politically?  No way.  

      Big justice is built from bricks of smaller justice - me (-6.25, -6.92)

      by AndyS In Colorado on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:30:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What are you suggesting, then? (0+ / 0-)

        I will not partake in "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" tactics, however technically "legal", if also "underhanded"--whatever that means to you. (And what DOES it mean to you?)

        I say this not only because I believe that we're better than this, and not only because I think that more legitimate means--employed forcefully--are more likely to succeed, but also because I think that this would be self-defeating, in the sense that if, to get rid of a scumbag, we have to be scummy ourselves, we end up partly becoming that which we sought to end. This would have a corrosive effect on politics just at the moment when we're trying to clean things up. And to me, the "right" way IS the "best" way.

        For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

        by kovie on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:46:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  See other entries I have made in this diary (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

          Big justice is built from bricks of smaller justice - me (-6.25, -6.92)

          by AndyS In Colorado on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:01:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  P.S. I believe that in 20 years, if we don't (0+ / 0-)

          change course now, no one is going to care if Bush was disposed of by strict and unfailingly charitable (to Bush) interpretations not only of the Constitution, but Congressional "rules of order".

          There is, for example, poetic justice, and nothing wrong with, using Bush's own law enforcement precedents to hang him.  It doesn't mean we are hypocrites, it means we are using the wanna-be tyrant's own weapons against him.  If anyone deserves the harshest interpretation of Bush's "new world order" in terms of the powers of people to be judged for crimes, it is Bush himself.

          If Bush is neutralized for the good of the country and goes unpunished for certain things to achieve that end, and we get control of a sane country back, then it's worth it.

          My point is I have a very "utilitarian" and even perhaps monomaniacal view on all this.

          I respect your belief in keeping politics "clean" but if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?  Do you know what I mean?

          On the converse side, if we obey the principles to the most exacting extent and the country is destroyed as a result, thus, the principles themselves are destroyed -- the Constitution is essentially shredded and America no longer exists.  Does that make sense to you?

          Big justice is built from bricks of smaller justice - me (-6.25, -6.92)

          by AndyS In Colorado on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:12:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I respectfully but strongly disagree (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musing85, 4jkb4ia, Major Danby

            What good is preserving the constitution if you have to violate it to do so--which employing Bush's violations of it against him would clearly be?

            Turning your observation on its head, in 20 years, what good will our democracy and constitution be if we have to violate them to preserve them?

            If we do this, we might "defeat" Bush, but he will, in a larger sense, have won, by dragging us down to his level--and most likely permanently, because once you get a taste for such tactics is nearly impossible to abandon them.

            This is PRECISELY why torture is so unacceptable, because it makes us resort to being as bad as the terrorists that we're trying to defeat, at which point, who's effectively worse, us or them, and does the word "terrorist" really mean anything anymore?

            If you believe that the only way to "save" our democracy is to violate it, then you might want to ask yourself how strong your faith in it is to begin with.

            In any case, I don't believe that we need to resort to such tactics to defeat Bush and restore our democracy. All we have to do is actually put it to use--for a change.

            For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

            by kovie on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:05:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ok, I may be slightly modifying what I said -- (0+ / 0-)

              and you would be right to point it out, but,

              There is a vast gulf between obeying the letter and "basic" spirit of the Constitution and the law, and going overboard on it to defend Bush.

              Beyond those limits, I say, anything goes.

              This is going to be unpopular on Daily Kos, but I say, if being connivers to get rid of Bush is what it takes, so long as it doesn't come back politically to bite us, then so be it.

              It's time to stick the shiv in Bush's back in the dark, if that's what it takes (metaphorically speaking).

              If Bush is to be accorded the most exacting standards of what it is to obey the Constitution and the law, far beyond what Bush himself has accorded his political enemies, I say, that is rather foolish.  I am not suggesting we break the law or disrespect it.  I am suggesting we don't give Bush any unnecessary leeway beyond what the law absolutely requires.

              My beliefs have nothing to do with violating democracy or the Constitution, inelegant initial word choice aside ;).  There is no blanket prohibition against plotting against someone within those limits, and for good reason.  It happens every day in this country, and for much less valid reasons than to get rid of an insane wannabe tyrant.

              It is more important to cut the cancer out and then pass laws to allow the wound to heal, than it is to give Bush the most charitable interpretation of laws he has attempted to destroy.

              Big justice is built from bricks of smaller justice - me (-6.25, -6.92)

              by AndyS In Colorado on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:26:51 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Also, it is time for me to return to the attack (0+ / 0-)

              The "duty" you advocate in terms of impeachment is purely theoretical.  That is, based on a purely subjetive interpretation of the situation.

              Yes, if the Congress determines that impeachment of Bush is necessary and vital (and above all, possible) then I agree with it.

              But let's take a situation (again, purely theoretical) where the only possible outcome of an impeachment attempt is the destruction of Bush's opposition.  Is that still a "duty" in your eyes?  Why?  What possible good could come of that?

              No one would argue for a duty that leads to the destruction of ones own principles.  It's reasonable sounding but ultimately crazy.

              Part of duty is realizing when you hold a winning hand and can achieve what is best both for yourself and those you are holding the cards for.

              Big justice is built from bricks of smaller justice - me (-6.25, -6.92)

              by AndyS In Colorado on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:54:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  OK, MD, here goes: (5+ / 0-)

    This culled from a diary I wrote a year ago on Abu Gonzales's testimony to Feingold on the Judiciary committee:

    Section 1515 deals with the definition of "corruptly," a word that applies in the next section cited (all emphases added):

    (b) As used in section 1505, the term corruptly means acting with an improper purpose, personally or by influencing another, including making a false or misleading statement, or withholding, concealing, altering, or destroying a document or other information.

    Section 1505 addresses obstruction of proceedings before committees:

       Whoever corruptly, [. . .] influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress [. . .]

    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

    Finally, Section 1001 has to do with making false statements:

    (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully--
           (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
           (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation [. . .]

    shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

    ::snip::

       (c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to--
          [ . . . ]
           (2)any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.

    So - did the Preznit violate Federal law during the SOTU 2003?

    IANAL, but you are.  ;-)

    Nice diary, too.

    As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

    by occams hatchet on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:29:12 PM PST

    •  Provocative question there, OH! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85

      I've been waiting until things died down -- And until after the usual Tuesday night two hours of Comedy Central of course -- until I could get to your comment.  I'm composing this post on the fly, starting after 2 a.m., so I hope you're grading on a curve here.

      If I were really approaching this as a lawyer I would give this a lot more research time and analysis than I will here -- looking up case law regarding what constitutes testimony before Congress, among other things --  but at first blush here is how I would probably defend Bush on an impeachment charge grounded in SOTU 2003:

      Re section 1515, I would argue that those items you've boldfaced flesh out the definition of "acting," while the significant definition at issue is that of "improper purpose."  I would argue that even if Bush withheld, misled, etc., it was not done with an improper purpose because the President has an inherent right to present information in a way that supports his preferred policies, at least when such information is not a direct falsehood (and therefore potentially fraudulent), so this section wouldn't apply.  Admittedly, I am pulling that argument out of my ass, but it sounds plausible (perhaps even based on the First Amendment?) and I'll bet I could find support for it.

      Re section 1505, I would argue that the President's unsworn statement in a SOTU Address is neither a "pending proceeding [] being had before any department or agency of the United States" nor an "inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee," and therefore this section doesn't apply.

      Re section 1001, I would argue that the SOTU is not addressing a "matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch," and is clearly not an "investigation or review," but is rather a political speech, is commonly understood by all members of the government to be such, and that the President should not be held to standards that would normally apply to testimony before Congress.  I'd also argue that the President did not present a fact about Iraq's purchase of yellowcake, but about the British Intelligence agencies' current information about it, and that the President was not in a position to know whether that information was false or misleading because he had no personal knowledge of whether Iraq had purchased yellowcake.  I'd also want to take a good look at the exceptions expressed at the beginning of section (a), which you omit.

      Now dropping out of character: I think it's plausible that Bush didn't violate this statute for the reasons above, plausible that he did do so based on the plain meaning of the language that I'm sure leads you to your conclusion, and I would need to do a hell of a lot more research both into the statutory language (and the overall statutory scheme into which it fits), the legislative intent behind the statute, and relevant case law before expressing a considered opinion.

      I will tell you that as an advocate of either side I could probably make it look like even entertaining the possibility that the other side was right would be rank stupidity -- and so could my opponent.  That's why I'm reluctant to make a definitive statement as to whether Bush violated this statute.  It's also why I expect that Bush's team is going to have a great, and probably unexpected, argument as to why this statute could not apply -- and I'd want to be ready for it.  This is why top lawyers make big bucks.

      As I've said elsewhere, I was a lot more confident making legal pronouncements before I studied law.  This is a good example of why that is.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:24:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ummm... (0+ / 0-)

    whatever happened to "lying to Congress?" Seems the administration sent people again and again before Congress to utter half-truths and falsehoods. This effort has to have been coordinated, and if so, Bush ought to be investigated to see if he was in on it. It beggars the imagination to presume he was out of the loop. In the meantime count on Bush and other administration figures to perjure themselves along the way.

    This isn't rocket science. Start from the premise that Bush is a bad actor, and the details will fill themselves in. Of course nothing is a guarantee, but it shouldn't take much to uncover evidence of impeachable offenses, even if we don't have the advantage of knowing exactly how those offenses will read on a bill of impeachment.

  •  Here's a shortcut (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    We don't need talk about proof or evidence or any of those things. That's not what's at issue here. George W. Bush has shown itself slippery enough to slip out of any hold, EXCEPT THE ONE OF PUBLIC OPINION.

    So that's what this is about, public opinion, not proof, evidence, lawyers, judges, etc. The House of Representatives has to impeach the president, because if they don't, they will lose their jobs, because they work for the people. The Senate has to remove Bush from office, because if they do not, they will lose their jobs, because they also work for the people.

    So it is up to the people to rally themselves and demand impeachment, regardless of what the lawyers can concoct to slip Bush free, for if we are truly depending on "evidence" and "proof," then we might as well give up, because the Congress who gets to decide what counts as "evidence" and "proof" are just as guilty as the ones we are after, and they will therefore not be swayed by any amount of evidence and proof, for to do so would be to admit their own guilt, and the guilty never do that.

    There is only one thing to sway the Congress with, and that is their jobs and the power that goes along with it. And the way to hold their jobs over their heads is to bring the people together in a resounding cry for impeachment, with no satisfaction being possible lest George W. Bush be removed from office immediately.

    Talk of evidence and proof is a sure way to get hoodwinked again by the administration. This has to be a movement by the people, not a legal process by congressmembers and lawyers. All this work to try to construct an airtight case will only work to settle the people and get them to relax. There should be no rest and no relaxation until Bush is no longer president. Even if George W. Bush still had his hand on the knife he was stabbing you with in the back, you could never prove to anyone that he was stabbing you, unless they wanted to believe you. If they didn't want to believe you, they could continue to deny the evidence and proof until you died of blood loss.

    And so we cannot wait for the Congress to remove the blade from our backs. We must remove the blade ourselves. At every rebuff from Congress, our demands must become stronger, and we must rally our fellow Americans together with us. This is the most important thing. As Bush surges into Iraq, the anger of the American people must surge until it threatens to overflow its boundaries.

    It is up to us to make there be two choices: impeach and remove George W. Bush, or there will be a popular rebellion and abolition of the currrent government here. We are the people, and it is ours to set this ultimatum. Let us rally our countrymen and show the Congress that they have but two options.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. --Declaration of Independence

    Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that Whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government... it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government. --Thomas Jefferson

    This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it. --Abraham Lincoln

    If Bush goes free, the people will throw the tea, and all the lawyers too, into the harbor.

    Republicans are liars.

    by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:40:55 PM PST

    •  You don't even want to worry about "evidence"? (6+ / 0-)

      I'm sorry, but that sounds absurd to me.  I must be misunderstanding your point.

      People are going to want to know what he did and how we know he did it and why it was wrong enough to warrant removal from office.  We're not going to answer them by waving our hands in the air.  Do you hear people clamoring for impeachment all over the country?  They may be willing to hear about it now, but no tea party is brewing.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:53:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Public opinion isn't constrained by evidence (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GN1927

        This is how people can believe all the many wonderful things they believe. Like I say, and you say as well, if we have to depend on evidence and proof, there is no case against Bush that cannot be taken apart by the lawyers. And since Bush must be impeached and removed from office, then that is obviously not the route to take.

        Instead, we have to rely on public opinion that can be swayed simply by conformity and mass hysteria. It was conformity and mass hysteria that put Bush's poll ratings up to 90 after 9/11. There was nothing real that happened that resulted in his being seen as some kind of god. It was just people's frailty. And the same thing is going on now with Bush's falling poll numbers. Or consider anything that gets popular, like hoola-hoops etc. There is nothing real that makes them popular. It is just an anomaly of society that people can reach all kinds of conclusions, regardless of evidence and facts.

        So that has to be used against Bush, because evidence and proof will not be sufficient. If evidence and proof would be sufficient, Bush would not have won the 2004 election.

        Republicans are liars.

        by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:17:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That would be more likely to work if (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scrutinizer, GN1927

          we were Republicans, with the RWCM behind us.  And even for them, it didn't work in 1998-99.  I think you overestimate the malleability of the public.  If we had "hysteria" to work with here, then maybe.  But we don't and won't.  Only grim determination.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:31:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Reps had nothing to work with in 98-99 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis

            Clinton's popularity was high. Bush's isn't. And Clinton's impeachment was run by the politicians, not the people, so of course the people didn't get on board. But Bush's impeachment will be the opposite, an impeachment by the people, contrary to what the politicans want. So we're not politicians depending upon the media, we're people depending on word of mouth. The Clinton impeachment doesn't shed  that much light on the current situation, except to be a mirror image of it.

            Republicans are liars.

            by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:36:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think it's nearly that clear (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              scrutinizer, sc kitty

              Clinton was worse off in some ways.  He had flat out lied (if you ignore that "sexual intercourse can be defined as coitus rather than fellatio blah blah blah") on camera to the American people and the feeling of betrayal was stark.  While Clinton had more popular support, Bush has more corporate and media support.  And with Clinton we more or less knew what the crime was -- here, we're not yet sure.  (Take a look at the disagreement, even among impeachment advocates, about what grounds are OK.)  And, I hate to say this, but 9/11 changed -- well, not everything, but a lot of things.  To me, Clinton's impeachment is still a good example of what we don't want to do.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:45:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There doesn't actually have to be a crime (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis

                All that's necessary is public outcry for impeachment. If a large enough majority of Americans want Bush impeached because they don't like his hairstyle, then the Congress would have to come up with some kind of crime that they would say he was guilty of, just so they wouldn't have to say they impeached him because of his hair, even though that was the real reason he was impeached.

                So the key is to turn all the sour public sentiment against Bush into support for impeachment. Impeachment needs to be offered as a solution to what the public sees as a problematic president. And as the president becomes more problematic seeming, the public will support the solution of impeachment more and more. But if it is put forth as something that has to be proven, the public will give up before they start.

                After all, no one can really prove anything concerning why Bush should be impeached, and they can't prove why they are right to disapprove of him. As soon as you think you're close, Bush's lawyers would just change definitions on everyone and give specious arguments that no one can really disprove, like they did in trying to explain why Bush violated FISA. After all, Congress gave him the authority to do violate FISA, and so did the Constitution. And no one has yet satisfactorily proven otherwise.

                Republicans are liars.

                by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:03:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What you're really saying here (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Creosote, vcmvo2, Major Danby

                  is that if everyone is pissed off with how the President is doing his job and want him out of office, then Congress should just "come up with" some kind of crime to hang him around his neck so that they can get rid of him.

                  Shades of Whitewater!  Years and years, and millions and millions, spent on trying to find some crime to charge Clinton with.  And what did all that come down to?  Lying about a blowjob.  Do you really want to live in that kind of political environment?

                  We have recourse for incompetent, unpopular presidents.  It's called "elections" and "Congressional oversight".  If oversight leads to investigations leads to impeachments for provable crimes, fine.  But I don't want to see the electoral system overturned because "a large enough majority of Americans" want a president removed from office because "they don't like his hairstyle."

                  •  Well, if you're relying on investigations, then (0+ / 0-)

                    forget about impeachment. Sure, there will be investigations, just like there were investigations into how 9/11 happened, and into how the intelligence on Iraq's WMDs was so "wrong," and into what happened with the administration in response to Katrina. There were investigations, and there was no accountability. And we might say that this was because Republicans were the ones conducting the investigations, but we are about to find out different. We're going to see the same thing with the Democrats conducting investigations. There will be no accountability.

                    And then it will be up to individual citizens to decide how to interpret this. Were the investigations just more whitewashes? Was there really nothing to impeach Bush on? I think people can pretty well determine which side of this they will come out on before even seeing the investigations. For me, if the investigations produce no consequences for anyone in the upper levels of government, including impeachment and removal of George W. Bush, then I will conclude that the investigations were whitewashes. And it is just as well predetermined that others will conclude that there was just nothing to impeach Bush on, regardless of whether people say they will rely on the evidence.

                    So relying on investigations is not enough, for it has the potential to allow Bush to slip through the cracks intentionally constructed by Congress for him to slip through. That's why the people have to demand that Bush be impeached and accept no excuses from Congress for doing otherwise.

                    It is pretty disconcerting to hear people on this site say they don't want the public to call for impeachment. Who on this site can tell the public what not to do? Again, I have to say, the people on this site seem to have it in their heads that there is some world between the people and the Congress in which they reside. That's wrong; you're all just people, just like everyone else, regardless of how dirty that makes you feel.

                    So my message to the teacher's pet (or Congress's pets) is this: You can tell us to be quiet all you want, but we will not. You can tell us to be silent and let Congress do their work without disturbance, but we will not. You can tell us that you are in a position to reprimand us for speaking out, but we will ignore you. You can tell us that you in your small numbers have some relevance, but we will demonstrate that you do not.

                    Republicans are liars.

                    by tr4nqued on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 09:09:05 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Storm the Bastille? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tr4nqued

          That's what 'mass hysteria' evokes. Storm the White House? Tumbrils rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue? Umm - could get out of hand.

          However, I do agree that a meticulous respect for due process can and should be coupled with an honest cry of sheer outrage. Most thinking Americans, and especially liberals, are way too well-mannered to be taken seriously. What's called for is Articles of Impeachment along with an update of Ginsberg's 'Howl!'

          •  This is actually the tack I would take-- (0+ / 0-)

            one where all avenues are used rather than having to choose one and forgo all others. But when a particular tactic seems not to be represented at all and there is overwhelming support for a particular other tactic, I might express exaggerated support for the unrepresented tactic in order to drag the zeitgeist in that direction a little.

            Republicans are liars.

            by tr4nqued on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:51:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Agree, and by "not worrying about evidence" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85, vcmvo2

        How does that make us any better than those who are willing to hold "enemy combatants" in custody indefinitely without ever charging them with anything or actually holding a trial?

        "Spoken like a true smartass."

        by ChiGirl88 on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:25:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's different because it's impeachment (0+ / 0-)

          not a criminal trial. In Bush's criminal trial, all the usual rights should apply.

          Republicans are liars.

          by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:31:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is functionally the same as a (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musing85, ChiGirl88, vcmvo2

            an indictment in criminal law: Congress is impeaching based upon the standard of "high crimes and misdemeanors".

            I not a lawyer and never took anything other than a basic law course in college, but jeez lousie folks, please get your facts straight before your dump in this stuff.

            'Not a Call for Impeachment'
            Simply: Truth.Justice. Reconciliation.
            If Impeachment comes by way of Justice being served, so be it.

            by shpilk on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:55:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If impeachment were not meant to be political, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoasis

              it would not have been given to the House of Representatives, who are up for reelection every two years. With congressmembers having their tenure so uncertain in the hands of the electorate, they are subject to the whim of the people, and we must assume that the Founders considered this when they assigned impeachment to the House.

              Thus Congress impeaches based upon the standard of wanting to keep their seat in Congress, and thus their standard is whatever the standard of the people is. This is why it is said that "high crimes and misdemeanors" are whatever Congress says they are, because Congress must define "high crimes and misdemeanors" in such a way that they are able to please the public.

              Similarly, Senators do not hold life appointments and are also subject to the whim of the people, though not as much as in the House. But still, the Founders must have considered this when they put the decision to convict in the Senate rather than giving it to a judge who is appointed for life or a jury who will cease to serve regardless of the verdict handed down.

              Thus it seems that the Founders did indeed want impeachment to be driven by the people rather than by the standards of evidence that might hold in a court.

              Republicans are liars.

              by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:15:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Facts and law (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                musing85, scrutinizer, vcmvo2

                I think I've figured out why we're arguing at cross-purposes here.  To try someone -- impeachment or criminal trial -- you need to address both facts and law.  "Standards of evidence," which you (and I think others) have mentioned, deal with facts.  I doubt that facts will be much in dispute in a trial.  Instead, the issue will be mostly over the law, including available defenses.  It may be that the public would support impeachment for something other than a crime, but I doubt it.  So in effect, even though impeachment is not a criminal trial, it will look like one in a lot of ways and be judged by the same sort of standard.

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:25:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  the mechanism of the trial in Congress (5+ / 0-)

      demands evidence and a legal case. Without it, nothing happens. Period.

      Public opinion means nothing; as much as you might think otherwise. Clinton was impeached, when +70% of the American public said 'NO'. The facts of Clinton's perjury were valid enough to make it to the Floor of the House.

      Present the evidence, legal evidence that holds up in a Court of Law. Vyan has started the process, and there is little doubt in my mind the evidence is there. Without evidence, attempting to impeach anyone is a joke, a travesty of justice and is just as dangerous as what Bush and Cheney have done to this country in the last 6 years.  

      'Not a Call for Impeachment'
      Simply: Truth.Justice. Reconciliation.
      If Impeachment comes by way of Justice being served, so be it.

      by shpilk on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:51:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Curious (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Danby

    What happens with further criminal or impeachment action in regards to the use of torture techniques if SCOTUS was to rule MCA Unconstitutional?

    Does any of this preclude a foreign court finding 'individuals' within the administration in violation of international law?

    Is there a point where the President becomes culpable considering the view that 'what the Prez says goes'? Can he get away with pretty much anything during 'wartime'?

    Isn't impeachment more a political decision rather than a criminal one? Where 'high crimes and misdemeanors' could be whatever the Congress says it is.

    that it was so obviously wrong that the President was unreasonable to accept it

    One reasonable view is, at least in the realm of torture, that it was.

    •  If the MCA is ruled unconstitutional (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dtj, scrutinizer, 4jkb4ia, Hedwig

      Then the retrospective cleansing of Bush's actions goes away, but he still argues that the fact that Congress was on his side shows that his position was reasonable (and, politically, makes it hard for Congress to impeach him for it.)

      I'd say impeachment is a political decision that rests a lot on its analogy to criminal law for its power and accepance.

      As for your view about torture, I hope that Democrats lovingly go over the question at great length in their hearings.  Maybe you'll turn out to be right.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:55:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gawd, (5+ / 0-)

    I feel so dirty after reading that. I appreciate the devil's advocate position but just knowing that the Republicans would use those defenses in obvious perversions of the law makes me sick and filled with a rage that I haven't felt in a long time.

    On the articles of impeachment I'm a bit surprised no one has with Bush's "When you talk about ... those require warrants and nothing's changed" speech. It seems that he's acknowledging that he agrees that warrants were required.

    To later come back and say "I didn't need them" means that either he was lying when he said that warrants were required or when he said they weren't required. The positions are mutually exlusive so one has to be a lie.

    A defense could be that something changed between the events but that was never the assertion. When they were caught they said that warrants were not required.

    -4.25, -6.87: I can finally change my sig because the forest fire of the right is over and we're left mostly cleaning up.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:49:21 PM PST

    •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

      I'm wondering if this is another place where he just says "in wartime it's different."  I strongly think that unless impeachment is purely on procedural grounds for failing to comply with subpoenas, we'll need to win the unitary executive debate to get it.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:57:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As much as I want Bush (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vcmvo2, Major Danby, MichiganGirl

        to be held accountable I really appreciate your throwing water on the fire and showing us what it'll really take. Maybe this diary will encourage people to take our desire outside of the pure emotion and into the area where the law works as intended.

        You know, if nothing else I think taking up the effort to hold hearings and calling witnesses will force the administration to use these slimy defenses and force Republican Reps and Senators to defend them.

        Having to publicly use these perversions and prevarications will show the Americans who haven't been paying attention just what Republicans really are like. People will not be cheering Bush escaping on technicalities and once they see them attempting it many more people will be turned off by Republicans.

        As a site based on reality I think we've got to help them do this so that if Democrats decide not to move forward on impeachment we'll at least help expose the Republicans as much as help to cement Bush's place in history.

        -4.25, -6.87: I can finally change my sig because the forest fire of the right is over and we're left mostly cleaning up.

        by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:15:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm at a total lose (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        incertus, sc kitty, Major Danby

        on how to fight the unitary executive debate except to make Bush and Republicans yell loud and clear "The President is King" by equating the phrase "unitary executive" with "King".

        It wouldn't be a legal victory because the battle would be lost but this could be a case where losing a battle was instrumental in winning the war.

        -4.25, -6.87: I can finally change my sig because the forest fire of the right is over and we're left mostly cleaning up.

        by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:19:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely (3+ / 0-)

          I think that the public will recoil in disgust when they realize that Bush and Cheney have really had in mind for us.  As I said, I want the wound to the body politic to be thoroughly irrigated.  Let all the contaminants be washed out.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:40:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  As Major Danby said (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4jkb4ia, Major Danby, MichiganGirl

    I still think the most likely path the impeachment is that Bush and Cheney refuse to cooperate and force a Constitutional crisis.

    This might well be the way impeachment -- and conviction -- unfold.

    I personally believe impeachment is politically unwise to attempt unless events are such that we have the votes in Senate to convict, meaning a significant number of Republicans join us (not impossible but it's just hypothetical now). If that happens, then it might turn out like the Nixon situation where a significant group of Republicans goes to Bush and Cheney and they say, "Time to resign, boys, You've trashed our party long enough. If you don't go we've got the votes -- and plenty more -- to impeach and convict both of you, and after that we'll arrange for prosecutors to be let loose to indict you for criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States; and then we'll make sure you are prosecuted for war crimes for your torture orders. This won't be hard for us because you are not really Republicans; you are extremists who took over our party and now we want our party back. Pardons? Not on your life."

    Most Kossacks, I imagine, won't be happy with resignations but be prepared for this scenario.

  •  Bush's defense? Simple. (8+ / 0-)

    He's a victim.  He has Success Deficit Disorder.

    In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

    by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 09:52:18 PM PST

  •  How Many Snowdens Have To Die? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sc kitty, Major Danby, blueoasis

    Thank you for the insights, Major.

    I can't wait for the investigations to begin...and this nightmare administration to end. January can't come soon enough.  

    •  Insights? How about Incites? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Danby, blueoasis

      Just kidding.  I also appreciate this diary as I also understand the need to keep our heads.  On the other hand.....

      Impeachment is a political process,albeit couched in a quasi-legal proceeding ("quasi" because the Congress is the Investigator, the Prosecutor and the Judge - and they make up their own rules, other than the skeletal ones the Constituion lays down).  The fact of the matter is that any Congress can Impeach any President or other office-holder if the will of the Congress is present to do so.  This is what we learned from Clinton's fiasco.  Conviction, however, requires the will of the people to be present (ibid).  

      The investigations, if they are not conducted in the "limited-hangout" mode that the 9-11 and Intel probes were, will inevitably (here is the rub, Major) lead to that critical mass of public awareness and outrage which will, in turn, lead to the removal of these enemies of the Republic.  I use the i-word because the public is finally ready to be truly outraged, and the polls all show it.  And not just the polls.  Also, the apparatus of society is wobbling precariously and that is affecting us all.  The military is on the verge of collapse.  Our middle class is straining at the seams, and we are about to get a letter in the mail from the Cosmic Credit Card Company stating that the conditions of our Agreement are about to be voided.  Gas prices, having dipped perfectly to coincide with the election, are fueling a record inflationary spike that itself is coinciding with the collapse of the housing market. In other words, the sustainablity of our Consumer society (which, btw, these wars were supposed, in part, to help artificially prop up) is about to be exposed for the myth that it always has been.  The fact that Bushco has made our energy picture bleaker instead of brighter by dint of their Iraq misadventure (coupled with their craven energy policy which might well be the subtext of another investigation that no one is mentioning yet, ie, the California energy scam and Cheney's complicity therein) only heightens the contrast on that exposure.  

      This is the backdrop against which Bush is standing, as the standard bearer of Impending American Failure.  The investigations have only to point this out, connecting the dots to Constitutional abrogation (or to mere gross official neglegence, which is the rough meaning of "Misdemeanors") and the stage is set for his and Cheney's removal.  All the legal wrangling of his defense team cannot change the underlying political momentum that seems to have begun and to have picked up substantial steam in recent weeks.  
         
      I rest my fingers.

      Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

      by nailbender on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:23:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well argued, but -- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nailbender, vcmvo2

        I don't think that the Clinton impeachment could have gone forward based solely on the Lewinsky affair, disgusted as the public or official DC may have been with him, were it not for the kernel of arguably illegality around which impeachment was wound.

        The rest of your post raises an interesting question to me: could Herbert Hoover have been impeached in, say, 1930 for "allowing" the Depression?  I expect that there might have been call for it, but Hoover's policies involved no crimes.  If you answer yes -- he could have been impeached for "gross negligence" -- then I think you suggest a fundamental change in our form of government to one where the President may answer to the whim of the Congress as, in effect, a Parliament.  And I can say why I disagree with that sort of change in two words:

        "Gray Davis."

        I am leery of rendering our future political victories provisional if we adopt a rule allowing impeachment for anything other than crimes.  It will come back to bite us.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:34:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Davis is indeed a case in point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby

          That illustrates removal at the whim of the people.  Impeachement can be morphed into a sort of referendum process, but I agree that we do that at our own peril. Continuity is one of the keys to stability.  However, Misdemeanors were put into the Impeachment mix for a reason, that being that there are other Impeachable offenses other than high crimes that should allow for removal.  

          In fact, as your diary posits, the power of the Exec is such (and Bush seems to be tacking this way) that the President can arrogate to himself the power to commit what otherwise would be considered crimes by any other citizen.   Hoover committed no such acts that I know of.  Bush has.

          His crimes are known by their results: tens (more likely hundreds) of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed without the slightest threat to US security; Habeus Corpus suspended without judicial or legislative oversight (until that crime was outed by a leak) resulting in incarcerations without charge or recourse; lying to congress to enable said murders; the list goes on.  His defense team can parse till the cows come home, as you demonstrate, but they can never overcome the tide of public disgust that will overwhelm the process if the investigations are allowed to expose  the underbelly of this beast.

          Hoover was a saint compared to this.  So was McKinley, who should have been Impeached himself for his own Tonkin gulf down in Havana.  And make no mistake, Reagan would have been impeached and convicted despite "plausible deniability" if he hadn't remained so popular througout all his nefarious bludnerings.  Bush has lost that armor of popularity and this makes his defense for his very real offenses virtually moot.  There will be no need to resort to Misdemeanors, unless Congress proves as inept at the investigations as it has overseeing the Executive the last 6 years.

          Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

          by nailbender on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 08:00:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You say that Bush has committed crimes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Creosote

            and I say "prove it."  I'm not saying that in a snotty way.  If you can prove it, great.  Then we're on solid ground if we want to impeach.  But I'm trying to tell you what you'd have to surmount to prove it.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:10:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Let Bush counter the sunsetting of 2002 AUMF (5+ / 0-)

    . . . and see what happens . . .

    What if the Constitutional crisis Major Danby mentioned is over a matter that has not yet emerged. What if Bush continues to insist on staying in Iraq, and what if Congress gets its fur up -- including a large bunch of Republicans -- and passes legislation with a veto-poof majority to sunset the 2002 AUMF over a 12-month period (AUMF is the force authority given to Bush for the Iraq invasion, authority no longer needed as its rationale -- disarming Iraq of WMD -- no longer exists; yeah, we know it never existed in the first place but having used the invasion as  "weapons inspection" we know for sure now). At the end of 12 months troops must be out of Iraq.

    If Congress had the guts to do this and Bush refused to obey/enforce the will of Congress in sunsetting the AUMF and withdrawing military forces from Iraq, that would set up a Constitutional crisis and provide cause for Congress to wheel around and impeach Bush for a high crime against the United States.

    Tuck in Cheney, too, if he refuses to cooperate with investigations/subpoenas, etc (as we would expect he might) even if cases go to SC. Impeachment is a political process and Congress can impeach and convict and remove Cheney even if he wins little procedural cases with duck-hunting pals et al among Supremes. Or (better, I believe, although tricky to get through Bush's Justice Dept unless Gonzales and top brass over there are impeached too) arrange for prosecutors to go after Cheney on criminal conspiracy along lines of Eliz de la Vega's argument. Whatever happens, we should try to go after both Bush and Cheney at close to the same time.

    Otherwise, conventional impeachment on any of the other charges that enrage us so much could be defended on basis of "fighting terrorism" and "defending the country" (never, you'll notice, defending the Constitution) and we might well not prevail. But cross Congress in a direct contravention of legislation sunsetting the AUMF (what Congress gave Congress can take away) and Bush will be in very hot water and liable to impeachment and conviction without much defense to stand on.

    So much depends on the courage of Dems and the moral conscience of Republicans. If the two come together, Bush and Cheney will be gone in 60 seconds.

  •  We've just got to stop the fucker. N/T (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, MarketTrustee
    •  Ends justify the means, (0+ / 0-)

      I take it.

      The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. - John Adams

      by tipsymcstagger on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:12:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  means justifies the end. (0+ / 0-)

        the means is the law, specifically, the supreme law of the land, the Constititution, which entails the purpose and administrative scope of the office of the executive as well as the merits of impeachable offenses by the person seated in that administrative office.

        "high crimes and misdemenors" is a quaint, atavistic, turn of phrase in the 21st century. one may interpret it contemporaneously, viz. to US Code, or semantically, i.e. where "high" refers to specified constititutional limits of the office or, more authoritatively, as unethicical conduct. the latter paradigm presupposes an unequivocal moral opinion: did the action increase or increase deprivation?

        our debates about the meaning of "high crimes," what is statutorily defensible rather than what is constitutional writ and morally defensible.

        lawyers like it that way, because a great portion of US Code which they manipulate is an ass that they are licensed to whip.

        so the crucial point of this procedure in a constitutional democracy, which danby ellides in order to teach debate tactics, is that impeachment is an administrative function of a particular body, in our case, the gang of 535. electoral judgement of the person's administration in that office is removed from the polity to be vested in its representatives. our power to remediate and adjudicate the consequences of the '04 election, to impeach, is latent.

        if ever and what "merits" their action is an expression of their understanding of "high crimes and misdemenors".

        i believe, if congress fails to exercise its authority, those persons explicitly agree shrub's administration has been lawful and morally defensible. just so you may feel free, or not, to advise your representative what it means. (big up, vyan)

        HR 1106: Articles of Impeachment against George Walker Bush, President of the United States of America, and other officials, for high crimes and misdemenors introduced by Ms. C. McKinney to the house of representative 8 December, 2006.

        complimentary copy here (104K pdf)

        Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

        by MarketTrustee on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 06:37:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What evidence would convince you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Creosote

          that the American public, constitutional scholars, etc., don't buy your model of impeachment?  Are you beyond being convinced?  Does whether you might be misjudging public and elite reaction matter to you?  Have you thought through the consequences of such a misjudgment?

          Maybe you're right.  But I doubt it.  I'll tell you what, though: if you will be so kind as to bring forward your assumptions at the outset of any argument here about impeachment -- those being that impeachment can be pretextual on any grounds whatsoever and that either we will be greeted as liberators or that it doesn't matter when we succeed so long as we do what it right and thereby save our own souls -- it will make debating the topic easier.  Because then I can just go there and say "I disagree with your premises" and move on.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:16:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  you have a lot of questions for me, danby (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Spin MD, Major Danby

            first, let me say, i speak for myself. i've informed myself with sources other than dkos OpEd as to procedure. who has the authority to initiate the process is undisputed. "we" don't have an opportunity to investigate, to resolve, or to vote on the merits of a phrase. i'm not a congress member, are you?

            my comment considers scope of congress' authority to define and process "high crimes and misdemenors". is that the model (or my unstated assumption) to which you object?

            my comment asserts that "impeachment" is an administrative function of congress (para.5), a perogative in self-governance of federal business and a privilege, considering the executive and members are indemnified from crimminal prosecution, recall or motions of confidence, while in office.

            also i don't see where i comment on, judge, or misjudge "public and elite reaction" to anything. so i don't know how to reply to your question about forecasting consequences of "such misjudgement".

            perhaps you don't care for my opinion or my distinctions in the primacy or utility of laws here applicable. ok. but don't put words in my comment: "those being that impeachment can be pretextual on any grounds whatsoever" etc etc. in fact, casting "souls" salvation onto my comment is quite a religious value judgement -- and a spurious qualification.

            deprivations are real and philosophical measures of legal rights and moral goods. deprivation and the expectation of good faith are cornerstones of legislation and litigation. but have you heard of this dude? or this guy, this guy, or this "gal"  for instance? they have some ideas in common about the "nature" of human ethics and morality. when i couple what i've learned from them to a bit o tribe and olshansky, for example, and a big-ass body count, i conclude each man and woman in congress is responsible for the gross deprivations perpetrated by the executive and their remedy.

            i didn't vote the bastard in and can't vote him out. and guess what? no one is going to call my home for an up or down. so excuse me for pointing a finger at  the crude parameters by which congress is permitted by law to condemn or endorse bush's administration over the next 2 years.

            'cause my kid brother, the hot shot atty once schooled me proper about US law. it's not an social instrument or institution of trust, as i supposed. "it exists to facilitate business." commerce, danby, a mountain of debt, dead and wounded, complaints, and rubble waiting to be cleared evidently. and, ya know, that's just not a good enough excuse for me or george w. bush.

            Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

            by MarketTrustee on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 08:45:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Small quibbles here... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Danby
    ...Iraq is not an American war.  War was never declared...ergo Bush is NOT a wartime Preznit.  All arguments to the contrary are moot.

    ...all "evidence" gleaned from illegal wiretaps are "fruit of the poisoned tree" and therefore inadmissible....which is reason number one why it is so stupid to wiretap warrentlessly.

    ...these people (BushCo) are idiots of the first degree...in ALL things.  The are not legally bulletproof.  We do however need to have the intestinal fortitude to stick it to them.

    "When the going gets Weird...The Weird turn Pro". -- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Blue Shark on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:37:52 PM PST

    •  They're not bulletproof, true (0+ / 0-)

      but as for the rest, even though it's logical, that will not necessarily make it so.  The "definition of war" argument doesn't seem to have much power; I'm not sure why.  And even if you're right about the inability to use wiretap evidence -- and it will certainly be contested -- that doesn't mean that what Bush did is impeachable.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:49:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The war in Iraq is legal. (0+ / 0-)

      The AUMFI fulfilled all the Constitutional requirements of a declaration of war under the War Powers Act.

  •  The Obligatory Reference to Frameshop (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Danby

    Here is the page in Frameshop on impeachment.

    Liberal Thinking

    Think, liberally.

    by Liberal Thinking on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:42:08 PM PST

  •  thanks, what a great job (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4jkb4ia, vcmvo2, Major Danby, skymutt

    you saved me a lot of work trying to express my thoughts on the matter.

    I'm agnostic about 'impeachment', but I'm a rabid believer in justice and fairness. It damages the reputation of the progressive community when the repetitive, nearly frothing at the mouth diaries keep pouring out day after day.

    All I want is Congress to do it's mandated job; get to the bottom of the truth and if the facts warrant Articles of Impeachment to be brought to the Floor of the House, then it happens.

    Meanwhile, the oversight, establishment and maintenance of law, which is ultimately the things that hold our society together must be the primary goal of Congress as they try to clean up this horrendous mess made by this administration.

    'Not a Call for Impeachment'
    Simply: Truth.Justice. Reconciliation.
    If Impeachment comes by way of Justice being served, so be it.

    by shpilk on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:46:11 PM PST

    •  If Congress intentionally skirts around (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MarketTrustee, MichiganGirl

      the impeachable issues in their investigations and then they turn up nothing impeachable, will you be satisfied? I am of the mind that if they turn up nothing impeachable, then we will be able to say, even without looking at the procedures of the investigation, that the investigations were not intended to be thorough, and for this reason, they did not turn up anything impeachable.

      However, I fear that many people will be satisfied with a few whitewashing strokes of investigations, and when they turn up nothing, will be content to say there must have been nothing impeachable.

      Republicans are liars.

      by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:21:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are conflating and arguing with yourself (0+ / 0-)

        It's insulting, the question you ask, and absurd.

        'Not a Call for Impeachment'
        Simply: Truth.Justice. Reconciliation.
        If Impeachment comes by way of Justice being served, so be it.

        by shpilk on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 06:06:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It Must Therefore It Will (0+ / 0-)

    Let me start with the refutation of BooMan23. This is only half a refutation. The real force of BooMan's argument is that there is great motivation to impeach these guys. They aren't just guilty, they are guilty of something. That something is patently and with malice undermining the Constitution.

    I believe, on Cheney's testimony alone, that they want to do it. They have the means, the motive and the opportunity. Seems to me we ought to be looking for a crime.

    Will we actually find one? Well, that's the $250,000 question, isn't it? If we go looking and nothing turns up, then we may have to reluctantly say that they were all talk and no walk.

    To sum up: we want to impeach them and we should be looking for evidence that makes it feasible. The chances that, given their motives and means, we won't find a crime to hang them with are vanishingly small.

    Liberal Thinking

    Think, liberally.

    by Liberal Thinking on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 10:52:02 PM PST

    •  If we go "looking" and nothing turns up, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      isn't it possible that what was advertised as "looking" was actually just a show to pacify those who are demanding accountability for lying America into the Iraq war? This is actually what I expect to happen. What I'm not sure about is how the public will respond to this. Will they swallow it, or won't they?

      Republicans are liars.

      by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:25:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Finally... (4+ / 0-)

    A diary that shows the complexity of impeachment and doesn't whittle the argument down to simplistic arguments like "we know he's a crook so let's impeach him."

    I never thought I'd say this, but this is my first recommend for an "impeachment" diary.

    Thank you for taking the time to really flesh out the arguments and scenarios on both sides and what could likely happen.

    I'm sure the "impeachment or bust" diaries will continue to flow, but thankfully you've provided a strong well-thought out analysis to add to the mix.

    Catch NY politics raw and uncensored at The CITY.

    by GregNYC on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:01:05 PM PST

  •  Ultimately all I care about is that Bush and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, MichiganGirl

    Cheney are UTTERLY NEUTRALIZED (and by this, I mean, rendered powerless, or politically incapable of wielding any power whatsoever).  Not even the power of a finger puppet.  If they survive as putative president and vice president, they will be told what to say, what to wear, when to go to bed, when to get up in the morning and when to shut up and sit down like good little boys.  And yes, this is laughable in the present, but for a president and an administration who are literally leading the country off a cliff, the unthinkable could be become a new precedent in an astonishingly short time.  

    The advantage of this is, on the surface at least, Bush has theoretical power and a Constitutional melee is averted.  But in the event impeachment is not in the cards or not good for the country, I think it might be a good deal easier to back Bush into a corner and make him accept a Congress-appointed nanny than people might think.

    And don't bother me about whether or not appointing a "nanny" for Bush is technically legal or not.  It'll be legal in that all the proper forms will still be observed.

    Of course the very best thing for the country would be if they were removed from office, if possible and didn't occasion too many nasty unintended consequences, but, failing that, whatever can be done, should be done, not just to turn Bush into a "lame duck" but essentially render him completely inert.  I think as time goes on, the country might be surprised who is on the side of neutering or impeaching Bush and who is not, but it is essentially irrelevant to discuss that now -- a process leading up to that has to play out.  

    What I believe is that if there is impeachment at all, it should be done "in process" rather than as a concerted effort of its own.  That is, a situation that rises consequentially out of investigations or the future actions of Bush/Cheney.  In this I tend to think that both pro-impeachment firebrands and anti-impeachment word-parsers get it "wrong", at least as of the present.

    The diarist sneers (probably rightly) that the prediction that the GOP will "greet us as liberators" is definitely not in the cards given the presumption of a straightforward "damn the torpedoes" drive to impeachment.  Whatever others suggest, this would not be my suggestion. The GOP must be led to realize that impeachment is best for them, IF Bush cannot be otherwise controlled, and I don't think this will be nearly as difficult as some make it out to be.

    Since I am only in favor of impeachment if the circumstances warrant, and the political muscle to do it exists, or there is no other way to neutralize the Bush administration, whether the prediction bears out dictates whether we can proceed wisely.

    I think if there is an impeachment, it'll be a lightning one, and Bush will be given very little leeway or time to present the exhaustive and minutia-examining defenses the diarist offers.  Since impeachment is a political process and not a criminal one, some of the comparisons with the justifications of past impeachment efforts versus a theoretical impeachment of Bush and Cheney and perhaps others are at best curious.  A reliance is placed on precedent where I would argue no real precedent actually exists.

    Impeachment in this case, I believe, will be an act of desperation to remove a Constitutional officer or officers who is/are deliberately undertaking acts that, if carried out, will destroy the country or at least damage it severely.  Some may disagree, but in my view, not even Nixon was that far gone.

    Big justice is built from bricks of smaller justice - me (-6.25, -6.92)

    by AndyS In Colorado on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:04:27 PM PST

  •  Intelligence Fraud (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scrutinizer, Major Danby

    I agree with Major Danby. This is not, with current knowledge, a good case. We would want a Democratic President to have maximum discretion to make judgments like this to protect us.

    Beyond that, there was a serious information vacuum about Iraq before the war. Would we have complained if coming out of that vacuum a real threat developed?

    Personally, I think Bush, even with a lack of knowledge, made serious policy mistakes. He started a war unnecessarily. He had means at his disposal to force Saddam Hussein to comply with intrusive inspections and he chose, instead, to commit the U.S. to an invasion. I don't think this broke any laws. His cherrypicking of intelligence doesn't make him guilty of a crime.

    Just incredibly stupid.

    Liberal Thinking

    Think, liberally.

    by Liberal Thinking on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:04:53 PM PST

    •  He's definitely guilty of intelligence fraud. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, MichiganGirl

      He cherry-picked, he ignored warnings, he controlled access to information, kept democrats in the dark, lied to America, and the lies were based on a forged document.

      Whoever had anything to do with the Niger Forgery ought to be compelled to cooperate with the investigation or face life in prison.

      Bush cited these forgeries to justify his war. He was warned not to use it, that it wasn't accurate. He cited the Niger Forgery anyway.

  •  To those that keep insisting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scrutinizer, 4jkb4ia, vcmvo2, Major Danby

    impeachment is a 'political process', and referring to Jerry Ford's statement; you can say that, but it lessens the meaning the of the process.

    Oh sure it's a "political process" because the people doing it are politicians. In reality, I'd rather think of Congress operating like jurors and making their decisions based upon the evidence presented in a fair manner rather than just being politicians. I know that's an unreasonable expectation but I still would like to believe it IS possible.  

    Use of the term "political process" will come back to bite us all in the ass if we keep using it.

    'Not a Call for Impeachment'
    Simply: Truth.Justice. Reconciliation.
    If Impeachment comes by way of Justice being served, so be it.

    by shpilk on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:19:31 PM PST

    •  We can call it what we like (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      impeachment and removal still take place, not in courts of law, but in congressional bodies with periodically elected officials. In this way, impeachment relies upon the whim of the people. If the people decide as a body that they want a president gone, for whatever reason, then the Congress will be under pressure to comply with the wishes of the people. Impeachment is therefore very much different from a court trial, where the jury and judge are not under such pressure. We can call this "political" or whatever we like, but it doesn't change the fact that impeachment is not like a criminal trial, largely because the victims of the president get to serve, by proxy, as the jury. :)

      Republicans are liars.

      by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:32:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Domestic Espionage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sc kitty

    If this is their only counter argument, Bush is hosed. He will go down, probably followed by a criminal indictment after he leaves office.

    First, a warrant is needed. The Fourth Amendment applies unless there is some other part of the Constitution you can use to negate it. It would have to be, my argument is, specific language invalidating some part of the Fourth. You shouldn't be allowed to invalidate explicit language in the Constitution with vague wordings or implications from another part. (It seems that the courts have done this repeatedly and it kind of drives me crazy. Where did they study logic?)

    Second, war time? What war time? Are you somehow taking about potential war that hasn't been declared by anyone? What do you mean by "war"? Traditionally, war is something that involves armies backed by recognized states. Which state are you talking about? Does Al Qaeda qualify? Do they have an army? Did Congress declare war? If you think the AUMF somehow declared war, then what evidence are you presenting for that? (I would argue that in reality they side-stepped their responsibility, which is reprehensible, but no one else has the power to declare war, so if they side-stepped it then no war was declared.)

    What part of the Constitution says that it (the Constitution) is suspended, in whole or in part, in time of war? While there are precedents for the President acting outside the Constitution with the blessing of either Congress or the SCOTUS, that doesn't mean that it was correct or legal for those bodies to do so. If they violate the text of the Constitution then they are breaking the law and no amount of precendent will make it legal. It just might give them political cover to bless it again.

    Let me remind the world that there is no way for any one, Congress, SCOTUS or POTUS to violate the Constitution without breaking the law. It is superior to all acts of Congress, all actions of the President, anything that anyone else might do. In order to make something constitutional you either have to do it in accordance with the Constitution or get an amendment passed.

    This obviates all arguments for a "unitary executive." What document gave the President this unitary power? He didn't derive it from the Constitution, obviously. The concept that the President is above the law is illogical on its face and is the crux of the matter.

    Liberal Thinking

    Think, liberally.

    by Liberal Thinking on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:20:43 PM PST

    •  Are several people sharing your account? (0+ / 0-)

      Reading your last three comments in a row has given me vertigo.  You apparently contain multitudes.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:00:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who Are You Calling Legion? (0+ / 0-)

        If you mean that I'm not of one mind about all the arguments made in favor of impeaching Bush, then you are right. Some of them look like good arguments to me and some don't.

        If it's not what you mean, then I just hope it was a compliment!

        Liberal Thinking

        Think, liberally.

        by Liberal Thinking on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 02:53:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No offense intended (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Liberal Thinking

          Some of your comments seemed to express completely opposite takes on the issues at hand.  I thought that maybe you were letting a few friends with different opinions all write their own responses.  (Nothing wrong with that if you did, merely confusing.)  I think I now get what you were up to -- a point by point critique rather than giving your general views on the topic, as I'd thought.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:10:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, Indeed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            Unfortunately, I ran out of time after three "points."

            What may be confusing is that I'm not on a "side" in the sense of wanting or not wanting impeachment regardless of the facts. I'm not on the pro-impeachment bench or the anti-impeachment bench so much as that I want justice to be served. I think you're on that "side," too.

            Some of the points people have made about why they think Bush should be impeached are not going to fly because we just don't have enough information to prove the charge even if we strongly suspect it. Others, (like this one) probably are going to be very, very hard for the President to beat back because the evidence already in the public record is so overwhelming.

            However, I do believe that we should try to impeach both Bush and Cheney and only stop if we can't get the evidence to make our charges stick. Each person will draw their own conclusions about whether they deserve it. I've made up my mind on that based on what I've seen. I think we should be on to assembling a case and making it stick. I don't know if there's enough evidence to convince the better part of the country and 2/3 of the Senate to go along. But, given everything I've heard and seen about these guys, I think it would be very bad for the country if Democrats didn't try to assemble the evidence and take them down.

            That's because on Bush's own public statements he does not follow the law and does not intend to. He thinks that the President is above the law. This is incompatible with our Constitution, which was designed with the idea that Congress and the Supreme Court (and the media, frankly) would be checks and balances against the President. If you don't have a President who follows the law then you have a dictatorship. Even if it's benign now there's no guarantee it will stay that way. (And nothing I've seen leads me to believe it's benign!)

            So, I don't think it's a question of whether he broke the laws or whether he deserves to be impeached, it's a matter of whether we have a strong enough case to convince the people of the U.S. and the Congress that suitable grounds exist and that it would be in the best interests of the country. In my mind it is fine to hold the personal conviction that something is true but reserve legal judgment, and the consequences entailed, until after a trial.

            Liberal Thinking

            Think, liberally.

            by Liberal Thinking on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 06:46:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  GRRRR this is not about politics OR legalities (0+ / 0-)

    This is what frustrates me about some of the comments I am reading .. as well as the diary itself, and this senseless impeachment versus anti impeachment pie throwers.

    We are reaching a point where Bush Must Be Stopped, by whatever means necessary, up to a certain point.  Period, end of story.

    That goes whether you are Republican, Democrat, or heck, Raelian.

    So, ok, if y'all wanna get POLITICAL about it, the point is to get rid of someone who is clearly endangering the nation without doing something clearly ILLEGAL or violent -- those are the two lines that must not be crossed if it is all avoidable.  And one of the main reasons HE MUST BE STOPPED is so that in some nightmarish future those lines don't have to be crossed.

    I really don't mean to be a jerk, but what part of HE MUST BE STOPPED don't you impeachment versus anti-impeachment guys get?

    I am in favor of stopping Bush, because the man must be stopped, somehow.  

    It is an ineffable, inescapable tautology.

    What frustrates me, is the impeachment/anti-impeachment debate on Kos seems to lose sight of the main goal.

    To the extent impeachment is the fastest, easiest, and most foolproof way of stopping Bush, great.

    In other words, the only way to get Bush is in the manner of a smart bomb.  Whatever we do to get him must be carefully targeted, get him and his entire administration and replace his power with something somewhat LESS insane.  And there can be as little as possible way to fail .. whatever method is employed, there should be no way for him to run or hide.  

    Whether that leaves him in the White House, as a puppet figurehead of someone saner, I don't care.  

    As long as he is STOPPED.

    Those are what we call in the software world, SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS.  

    If your ideology doesn't meet the SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS, then everything in your world needs to be re-thunk, as it were.

    And if impeachment can't work, don't be giving me all kinds of talk about duty and honor and the spirit of our convictions and our principles.  Yes, I believe all those things, but Bush must be ACTUALLY stopped, not in some theoretical "we tried" sense.

    Big justice is built from bricks of smaller justice - me (-6.25, -6.92)

    by AndyS In Colorado on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:00:08 AM PST

    •  Just tell me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, scrutinizer, vcmvo2

      that one of the reasons you started hating Bush was not his ends-justify-means stance.

      The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. - John Adams

      by tipsymcstagger on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:08:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ends-justify-the-means is but one reason among (0+ / 0-)

        many, that I hate Bush,

        But that's not what I am saying.  If you read my post, you see the means I find unacceptable.  I guess I should explicitly add, "violating the Constitution" to the explicit means (in addition to employing illegal/extraordinary violence or breaking the law) I find unacceptable in order to depose Bush or neutralize his power.  Even though I think such a thing would be implicit in my post.

        To the extent you disagree with the limits I spell out and would like to add MORE limitations, please, let me know.

        Also, please let me know how obeying those ADDITIONAL limits (beyond what I talk about here) you recommend to the MEANS end is better than letting Bush run this country into a ditch.

        What I am suggesting is, getting rid of Bush may become a matter of national survival.  It may be already a matter of national survival and we just don't know it -- but, not to pay lip service to Republican alarmism in a different context, I'm just sayin'.  

        For you to suggest I am in favor of destroying everything this country stands for to get rid of Bush, that would be offensive.  I have no idea whether you are saying that.  Again, "I'm just sayin'"

        What I do suggest is, certain matters of tradition .. such as bipartisanship, the so-called spirit of "collegiality" etc., may need to go by the wayside to achieve the goal.  These are not principles, but means of control by the ensconced versus the unensconced.  

        Also, impeachment advocates talk about a purely THEORETICAL duty.  There is no problem in observing that marching toward a theoretical duty in the service of any reasonable opposition's certain destruction is not a laudable goal.

        I am very sure that the writers of the Constitution and the people who shed blood establishing this country never intended for us to fly like moths to a flame that would be certain to extinguish us.  If anything, with the very bloody American revolution only a few years behind them, they would understand the "art of the possible and the necessary" better than most people today.

        Big justice is built from bricks of smaller justice - me (-6.25, -6.92)

        by AndyS In Colorado on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:39:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Three points: (0+ / 0-)
    1. The war.
    1. The war.
    1. The war.

    Seriously. "High crimes and misdemeanors" is definitional because that's all we have to go on. The founders didn't really say--perhaps giving us some room to handle the unforseen, perhaps they did not want to tackle that question. But here we are. "High crimes" are clearly beyond the scope of "ordinary crimes", and what is beyond the scope of an ordinary crime more than a needless war of aggression, perpetrated through lies and deceit?

    I'm not saying we should impeach based on this, alone. But based on the results of investigations that turn up solid evidence of Bush (and company) doing what we (strongly) suspect them of doing. This shit is what got the Nazis, it isn't different when we do it. The idea that Bush would, now, be allowed to go free--even be lauded--after the damage he has done to this and other nations repels--i would say--any decent person.

    The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

    by Shapeshifter on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:13:09 AM PST

  •  Is this is a joke? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarketTrustee

    The GOP will throw Bush under the bus in the hope of retaining at least 41 seats in the US Senate so that they can at least filibuster Democratic legislation and try to retain the political gains they have made these past 30 odd years. The White House is lost, effective January 2009. They know that. If there is one thing these guys know, it's politics. They know they are in for a bloodbath (one which has already begun), and their only chance is to try and salvage the mess in Iraq. They know they have to walk the tightrope of appeasing their socially conservative base, while not alienating too many of the traditional Country Club Republicans they have long relied on. That may mean offering up Romney (assuming they can get him through the primary) as a sacrificial lamb, in order to get the crucial pro-life vote to the polls. Then they can try to insulate their many vulnerable Senators from attacks by instructing them to vote for the removal of BushCo. It's evident that this strategy is already underway.

    The GOP fought long and hard to get what they have today. They won't throw it all away for nothing. They're beaten. They know it. The only option they have now is retreat, they must cut their losses. It doesn't have anything to do with the law. I am truly floored by the idea that so many otherwise intelligent people fail to grasp this simple point. The law is bullshit. It doesn't apply to the powerful. It applies to the rank and file, sometimes. But almost never to men like Bush and Cheney and Jim Fucking Baker. This is about money and power and nothing else. They don't have a legal case? Are you fucking kidding me? Tell that to the Ghost of Andrew Johnson. He came within a bare vote of removal, and the only thing that saved him was the fact that he had done absolutely NOTHING wrong.

    I read these liberal websites because the people here at least share my belief that this madness must stop. But I often wonder is some of you aren't merely "useful idiots". Many of you seem to be hopeless ideologues with no sense of how this world works. But you're useful in that by opposing Bushco politically, you can aid in the fight to limit the amount of damage Bush and his followers do to this country and specifically, limit the number of Soldiers and Marines who will be KIA in SW Asia for no damned reason. But I read this stuff and sometimes just have to scratch my head. Are you serious? For reals? Are you people seriously that naive? I am beginning to understand something that long puzzled me. Why did Democrats lose, not once, but twice to George W. Bush? The guy's a joke. Worst President Ever. Easily. I think I see the problem, now. You guys buy into the ideology, you believe your own bullshit. A fatal error if ever there was one. This isn't about law. It isn't about high minded principles. It's about a bunch of very unprincipled motherfuckers who have zero regard for the law preserving their own power.

    Mr. Danby is clearly an intelligent man, and I don't want to play the "I'm smarter than you are game" with him. That's a game I'd likely lose anyway. But in my experience in this life, the biggest flaw I've found with smart people which I've encountered is that they fail to realize how stupid they are. Even worse, many of the more intelligent folks I've come across make an even bigger error. They assume that that they can't be outdone by their intellectual inferiors. Yeah dude, you're smart. But these other guys, the ones that aren't as smart as you... they're not that stupid. And you're not that smart. I'm convinced that Bush is finished. He is unlikely to finish his term. A definite timeline is difficult to predict, but I'd say by this time next year we can expect to have a different Administration. As for all the fancy legal analysis... whatever. The people who make such arguments are smarter than me and know more about law than I ever will, but they don't have much money and they don't have much power.

    So it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter to Congress. It doesn't matter to the Senate. And it doesn't matter to the rich and powerful dudes who got all those people elected in the first place. And it damn sure doesn't matter to the 2.2 Soldiers and Marines who will die in Iraq today, 2.2 men who are certainly without power. That's what I care about. As for the legal arguments... it'll make for a nice book. But don't kid yourself that they matter. They don't.  

    "All the other armchair analysts don't mean a damn to me." - Kevin Sites

    by Han Solo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:45:37 AM PST

    •  Wha-huh? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, vcmvo2, Major Danby

      The GOP will throw Bush under the bus in the hope of retaining at least 41 seats in the US Senate so that they can at least filibuster Democratic legislation and try to retain the political gains they have made these past 30 odd years.

      Seen any evidence of that over the last six years? Bush is the guy that brung 'em to the dance, and they're apparently going to dance with him until the band dies.

      For the GOoPers to "throw Bush under the bus," they would have to admit, publicly, that they were wrong to support him in the first place and, further, that everything they said they've stood for over the last six years and more was wrong. Think that's going to endear them to their base (or attract sufficient support from moderates, independents, and disaffected Democrats to make up for the Republican deficit)? I sure as hell don't.

  •  Nixon likely would have avoided (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Danby

    impeachment if it were not for the existence of the Oval Office tapes.  The tapes nailed him.  Similarly, unless there is a smoking gun, for example, that shows that Bush personally knew of or ordered the cooking of Iraq intelligence to justify war, then he will survive an impeachment effort.  The Dems will also have spent an enormous amount of political capital in what may turn out to be a failed attempt.  Plus, it is not enough to impeach, Bush will never resign as Nixon did, and therefore the Senate will have to vote 2/3 for removal.  That is a mighty tall order without a smoking gun.  At the end of a failed effort, how much political capital will Dems have left?  Frankly, with Bush having two years left, going full bore for impeachment looks more like a trap for Dems rather than an opportunty--unless a smoking gun is found.  If someone in the Bush WH were to turn and provide serious, credible evidence of Bush personally participating in a crime, then I would say full speed ahead for impeachment.

  •  Argument on Dometic Surveillance is Baloney (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Danby

    The FISA violations are more than just unconstitutional transgressions - they are deliberate and specific criminal violations of existing laws.  The FISA statute does not require intent; it is a per se statute that is only applicable if the violator is an employee or officer of the government.

    It does not matter that Bush acted under advice of counsel - although they are certainly civilly liable for malpractice in my opinion.  Yoo, Addington and Gonzales' readings of the law were far-fetched and tortured - but they do not provide Bush with safe harbor. Is it lawful to rob a bank because an incompetent lawyer advises you its not against the law?  I think not.

    Title 50 USC Chapter 36, Subchapter I, § 1809 says plainly:

    A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally . . . engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute . . .  An offense described in this section is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.

    This is a bright line if ever there were one.  If you place a wiretap without a warrant - you are guilty. It is clear from the legislative history that the Act was meant to govern actions by the Executive Branch, and in addition to legislative notes, we have the signing statement of the Executive who signed the bill into law, stating

    The bill requires, for the first time, a prior judicial warrant for all electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purposes in the United States in which communications of U.S. persons might be intercepted. It clarifies the Executive's authority to gather foreign intelligence by electronic surveillance in the United States. It will remove any doubt about the legality of those surveillances which are conducted to protect our country against espionage and international terrorism.

    Most importantly, by the time a case for impeachment might be presented to the Senate, the mood of the country may be so filled with hatred and loathing of this presidency that impeachment will be considered the kindler and gentler alternative to lynching.  I see a future filled with pitchforks, torches and angry mobs surrounding 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:27:50 AM PST

    •  Who is guilty in those circumstances? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, scrutinizer

      Bush for signing the law, or the people actually placing the wiretap?  You think we'll get him on conspiracy?

      I think that this article of impeachment faces more political problems than legal ones (bearing in mind that Congress was already poised to further water down FISA last September until Bush decided that he needed the MCA more.)  For one thing, it means a showdown over the constitutionality of FISA vis a vis the President's war power -- and Congress may be afraid to take that one.  For another, it means dealing with the unitary executive once and for all.  And while Bush may well be guilty of violating the statute (though I wonder how imposition of fines is triggered and what immunity he may have), if he violated it based on good faith reliance on counsel I can't imagine that either politicians or the public would consider that act impeachable, no matter how much they hate him for other sins.

      Finally, from working on the Carter campaign, I had access to a lot of info suggesting that fighting Bush on domestic wiretapping was seen as a political loser; unless that changes, I can't image it providing grounds for impeachment.  While I agree that what he did was likely illegal and that the public insufficiently appreciates the 4th Amendment, how does he get impeached for the one thing he did that the public actually favored?  I just don't see it.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 01:45:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The short answer (0+ / 0-)

        to

        how does he get impeached for the one thing he did that the public actually favored?

        is That was then and this is now.

        Bush for signing the law, or the people actually placing the wiretap?  You think we'll get him on conspiracy?

        Bush didn't sign "a law" - but he's admitted the wiretapping occurred, and I doubt the taps were made absent some direction from the Executive.

        I wonder how imposition of fines is triggered and what immunity he may have

        Immunity?  He has no immunity - the Act says clearly

        There is Federal jurisdiction over an offense under this section if the person committing the offense was an officer or employee of the United States at the time the offense was committed.

        In point of fact, it is only against the law if the wiretapper IS an employee or officer of the government. Bush was an officer of the US at the time the offenses were committed. And the fines and jail time - that's for EACH wiretap. 1,000 wiretaps = up to 5,000 years in prison and a $10,000,000.00 fine. Oh - and I'm betting that he may still be liable for prosecution for the offenses AFTER he is removed from office, as I don't think double jeopardy would apply.

        "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 05:18:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vcmvo2

          Using "That was then, this is now" as your rationale for impeaching the preznit doesn't exactly do justice to the claims that we're bound by the rule of law. In fact, it sounds an awful lot like cherry-picking the statutes to achieve the desired result, and to hell with the rule of law. If we're rule-of-law people, then we're rule-of-law people all the way. We don't do half measures.

          •  The law remains the same . . . (0+ / 0-)

            the public perception of the violation may have changed immeasurably. "that was then this is now" is not the rationalization for impeachment, but it would be foolish to ignore the part that public opinion may play over the next year or so.

            "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

            by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 07:11:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Public opinion is meaningless in law (0+ / 0-)

              All the people can be in favor of something that is statutorily or constitutionally forbidden. (See, e.g., the ruling in federal court yesterday that allows Michigan universities to continue taking applicants' gender and race into consideration when making admissions decisions, despite the fact that Michigan residents overwhelmingly approved an initiative last year forbidding them to do so.)

              As far as impeachment is concerned, public opinion only gets us pressure in Congress. And by the time public opinion builds to a level where Congresscritters feel they have to support impeachment or lose their next election, I fear, the Shrubbery will already have been uprooted by term limits. If we wanted to play that game, we should have started 12 to 18 months ago.

              •  Have you ever heard of a jury? (0+ / 0-)

                Public opinion is meaningless in law

                Bullshit - plain and simple. The - uh - jurors are members of the public - and they have opinions.  The Senators are the jury for impeachment - and public opinion plays a vast role in how they deliberate.

                "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 11:11:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  As a matter of fact, I've been on one (0+ / 0-)

                  And bullshit right back to you. Jurors who give weight to factors other than the evidence in the case are unlikely to stay on the jury long--assuming they make it through voir dire in the first place.

                  •  Tried getting rid of a Senator? (0+ / 0-)

                    And jury nullification is a fact of life that happens every day.  Recall OJ?

                    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                    by bobdevo on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:30:36 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  voire dire! well said. (0+ / 0-)

                    it is an artifical test of jurisprudence against bias before any argument of the "facts". for it is not the merit but the cant of persuasion that decides.

                    before predicting the outcome of impeachment, it behooves citizen activists to test the metal of their representatives in the house as well as the senate against all possible personal predispositions to the desired outcome.

                    assume nothing. seek the truth.

                    Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

                    by MarketTrustee on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 08:11:05 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Some further considerations. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4jkb4ia, Major Danby, MichiganGirl

    (E) If Hamdan did make previous Bush Administration actions potential war crimes, the Military Commissions Act settled that they are not, and impeachment will take place after passage of the MCA, not before.  

    In Hamdan, a majority of SCOTUS held that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Protocols applies to detaineees in the Global War on Terror.  Article VI of the Constitution, makes Senate-ratified treaties, e.g., the Geneva Protocols, "the supreme law of the land," the MCA not withstanding.

    Many of the Bush Administration's actions have been retroactively "cleansed" by a bipartisan vote and cannot serve as a basis for impeachment.

    Please show me where.  The closest I can find is Subsection (8)(b), which makes the Protection-of-Personnel section of  the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 retroactive to 9/11/2001.  That section says pretty much what you say here:

    (F) Again, consider the "advice of counsel" defense.  The President is entitled to rely on the advice of his competent counsel.  Taking away that right would be a disaster.  This means that you must show not simply that the President was wrong, but that the President was not reasonable in accepting this advice.  That's a high bar to clear.

    Specifically that the Protection-of-Personnel section of the DTA says:

    In any civil action or criminal prosecution against an officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States Government who is a United States person, arising out of the officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent's engaging in specific operational practices [...] that were officially authorized and determined to be lawful at the time that they were conducted, it shall be a defense that such officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent did not know that the practices were unlawful and a person of ordinary sense and understanding would not know the practices were unlawful. Good faith reliance on advice of counsel should be an important factor, among others, to consider in assessing whether a person of ordinary sense and understanding would have known the practices to be unlawful. [...]

    So per the Protection-of-Personnel of the DTA, everyone up to the President can say "I was just  following orders in good faith," and the President can say "I was just following advice of counsel in good faith."  And everyone goes free.

    But Article 129 of the Geneva Protocols, a Senate-ratified treaty, states:

       Art 129. The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article.

       Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed. or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case. [...]

    Secondly, if Bush introduces "advice of counsel" into evidence then he loses attorney-client privilege on that advice.  I'm betting that if all the advice from Gonzales, Bybee, and Yoo were brought into evidence it would destroy any claim of "good faith."  In fact, there are already documents in the public domain that accomplish that, e.g., this from  a 1/22/02 memo from Gonzales to Bush advising him to issue a Presidential Determination that the Geneva Conventions don't apply to GWoT detainees:

    Adhering to your determination that GPW does not apply would guard effectively against misconstruction or misapplication of Section 2441 [...] it is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges based on Section 2441. Your determination would create a reasonable basis in law that Section 2441 does not apply, which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution.  [emphasis added]

    These guys knew this stuff was against the law but were doing their best to create a set up an argument that they were "acting in good faith".  (BTW, 2441 is the War Crimes Act of 1996, which makes violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Protocols into federal crimes.)

    •  "Supreme law of the land" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote

      does not have the impact that you apparently think it does.  This means that treaties are held to be on an equal level as statutes.  But, as a later statute can amend a former one, if it directly contradicts it -- or can control the law in a given situation based on the "canons of construction" if it's, say, more specific -- so can a later statute control a treaty.

      On "cleansing," I was thinking of habeas-related issues, torture-related issues, and maybe (can't recall) rendition-related issues.  I'd love to be wrong on this, though.

      Good point about losing the privilege in an advice of counsel defense.  But the President may be able to assert other privileges in its stead, as you or I (as defendants) could not.  Still, that's even more to look forward to.  Buy stock in emptywheel and FDL.

      You raise some very good points, which smarten the pro-impeachment argument considerably.  I will continue to play devil's advocate here, but I'm happy to see your response.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:01:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Supreme Law of the Land, cont'd (0+ / 0-)

        Article VI continnues:

        ... and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be Supreme Law of the land; and the Judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

        That's unambiguous, but can be attacked via reductio ad absurdum: if treaties were indeed superior to the constitution,  a rogue congress could nullify the Constitution by treatying it out of existence.  Per the Wikipedia:

        In the 1950's a constitutional amendment known as the Bricker Amendment was proposed in response to such fears, it would have mandated that all US treaties not conflict with the existing powers granted to the US government. Subsequent legal precedents, notably, Seery v. United States, 127 F. Supp. 601 (Court of Claims, 1955) and Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1 (1957), ultimately established some of the limitations sought by the Bricker Amendment.

        •  I don't understand your point (0+ / 0-)

          My point was that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and statutes and treaties are on an equal footing with one another.  Is this even controversial?

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 10:50:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was confused. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            My point was that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and statutes and treaties are on an equal footing with one another.  Is this even controversial?

            Not now.  

            I had incorrectly parsed the Supremacy Clause.  Thanks for the clarification.

  •  Terrific job, Major... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote, Major Danby

    ...on your diary as well as your subsequent interaction on the thread.   Not necessarily agreeing, but a very nice learning experience.  Thank you.

  •  Bottom line, is impeachment viable? (0+ / 0-)

    First off, excellent post. You obviously know a great deal about this issue. Armed with that knowledge, I can imagine you must get pissed off over some of the (to you) naive things written on the subject.

    That said, I now look to you to give me and my kind hope. What is my kind, you ask? I'm glad you asked:

    My kind thinks that the little fucker sitting in the WH needs to pay for TheIncrediblyLongList of insults against humanity and humankind that he perpetrated.

    If not impeachment, then what?

    How about something ironic? Since he described his war in Iraq as a preemptive strike against a gathering threat then why can't we do the same?

    I personally have solid intel that Bush is planning on pushing the button before he leaves office and no, I can't show you the direct evidence but it is there. Trust me.

    Wouldn't this warrant a "preemptive strike?"

    Henry Waxman is supposed to be sitting on a rather large pile of interesting documents. I'll tell you, I'd much rather see Bush and/or Cheney go to jail rather than just being kicked out of office. I think it would be wonderful if they rode out their term knowing they face trial as soon as they leave.

    What is the standard for war crimes? It seems Saddam never actually pulled the trigger either.

    I think, therefore I think I am

    by ackermanniac on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 05:08:48 AM PST

    •  P.S. (0+ / 0-)

      Ramsey Clark has definite feelings on the subject. He seems to think that attacking a soverign nation and occupying it as an aggressor violates a few laws.

      I also read somewhere that when idiot Bremer dismantled much of Iraq's social system that those acts were also illigal.

      I know you must be sick of writing on this but it is important that layfolk get some sense of where we stand.

      Thank you.

      I think, therefore I think I am

      by ackermanniac on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 05:23:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If not impeachment, then probably censure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote

      and investigations that cut Bush's expressions of privilege off at the knees, and a clear rejection of the "unitary executive" theory that would be the basis for impeachment of future Presidents.  But I'll defer to Waxman and Leahy on this.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:03:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The stake through the heart (4+ / 0-)

    of the allegedly "inexorable logic" of impeachment is right here, in your reply to Vyan's first point:

    No.  That is simply not the law of fraud, absent specific statutory language (such as you may see in some Sarbanes-Oxley requirements) to the contrary.  Here's a perfectly good defense against fraud: Bush relief on the advice of competent advisors, the most senior of which were approved by the Senate, in these areas, and he believed in good faith that Saddam had at least some WMDs and therefore posed a threat to the U.S.  It is not "his job to know"; it's his job to take the information he has, form an opinion, and promote a policy that is not, to his knowledge, opposed to the facts.  We can't demand omniscience from the President, and for the President to worry about impeachment when making policy if it turns out that his assumptions are wrong would lead to paralysis.

    We'll be getting a preview of just how effective a stake that's going to be early in the new year, when Scooter Libby comes up for trial. As I heard on NPR last night on the way home from work, Libby's defense (in the furtherance of which Darth Cheney is expected to testify) is that he wasn't actually lying, he was just so busy that he couldn't remember the details accurately. If that gambit works for Libby (and I have to think that it might, as he's got the best lawyers Republican money can buy, and whatever I might think of their politics, they're not automatically stupid), I foresee the Shrubbery, root and branch, developing a collective case of selective amnesia. Bush has already laid the groundwork for such a defense in his case with his constant complaints about how hard a job presidentin' is.

  •  This may be the best Diary and comment thread (4+ / 0-)

    I've ever seen. Anywhere. Its the reason I keep coming back here to dKos. Thanks to everyone, and especially to the Major, I'm not worthy.

    My take on impeachment, we are the impetus, Congress the implement. We must do our part now to give congress the power it needs when the time comes.

    •  Aw, shucks. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote

      Thanks.  I agree that we need to sharpen our arguments about impeachment because who knows what the investigations will turn up -- perhaps enough to turn me and Kos and BTD and everyone into advocates.  And I agree that the comments on both (all?) sides of the debate have been very strong, which has been a real pleasure.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:22:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Re:Yellowcake (0+ / 0-)

    Bush already covered his ass by pushing it off on British intelligence, when US intelligence couldn't verify it:

    "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa ."

    If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve.

    by jhecht on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 06:41:30 AM PST

  •  Thank you--WELL DONE, please. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichiganGirl

    If I ordered my meat well done, and it came rare, AND I ate it instead of sending it back, can we still agree that I did indeed order it well done?  What does my willingness to eat it rare prove?

    In fact, do you actually deduce that it makes no difference to me if I ordered it well done or rare?
    Likewise, do you really think that legal process says that ethics and morality are the same thing?

    In the presence of an investigation and a trial so grave and so public as an impeachment, do you really think that the President's claims that he knew better what to do than to do what was ethical can be maintained by a lawyer as a morally defensible position?  

    When lives have been lost?  When, against precedent, our Constitution has been violated? (The administration's theory of signing statements is, in itself, a fundamental effort to intrude upon the separation of powers.)  Laws have been broken. Treaties abrogated. Torture condoned in contradiction of laws passed by Congress as treaties.

    There is more at stake than a misdemeanor, though that would be sufficient; Felonies have been committed.    Can you actually say these are excusable violations of moral judgment?  Whose moral judgment? A political actor?  

    We are a nation of laws, sir, or we are nothing.  And a political actor is indeed less than nothing if he cannot act lawfully in the execution of his duties as President.

    (-7.63,-6.21) Between Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama - Huh, and I'm a moderate Democrat with a VOTEBLUE tattoo.

    by ezdidit on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 07:01:06 AM PST

  •  Hi. I'm here to dispute B(6). (4+ / 0-)

    Most importantly, the President was relying on the advice of competent counsel, the leaders of which were approved by Congress, in all of these matters.  It may be that the President's position was mistaken; Presidents win some court cases and lose them, but we don't talk about impeachment when they lose a case.  (LBJ favored minority set-asides ruled unconstitutional in Adarand.  Was his action impeachable?)  Even if the President's actions were wrong here, he was acting on legal advice.  To find an impeachable offense here, you have to include that not only was the advice he was given about FISA, the AUMF, and the unitary executive wrong, but that it was so obviously wrong that the President was unreasonable to accept it.

    I think it's quite open to question whether the President was entitled to rely on this advice, whether it was the advice of competent counsel, and whether it was inherently unreasonable to accept it.

    Why do I think so? Because Alberto Gonzales told us on July 18th that the President personally interceded in blocking the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility investigation into the NSA spying program.

    That investigation -- the one for which the necessary security clearances were denied -- was not a review of the legality of the program itself, but rather an investigation into whether or not the President's advisors acted properly in advising him on its legality.

    That the President would personally intercede in killing this particular type of investigation is enormously troubling. That it has been largely forgotten is even more troubling.

    But the key issue about it, for me, is that it creates legitimate questions about whether or not the "advice of counsel" argument is really all that sound. Not in general and with respect to presidents generally. But with respect to this president in particular, and on this subject in particular.

    •  Develop this discussion, please (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, Major Danby

      The kill the messenger approach that Bush took towards the Office of Professional responsibility is critically important, IMO, because he took responsibility for removing those that defended the rule of law in the administration.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 08:01:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And bless you for showing up -- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote

      I am happy to engage you on this.

      Yes, you're right: these are open questions -- the advice of counsel defense is not a "get out of jail free" card, but something that must be tested -- and hearings should go right to the heart of probing the issues you raise.  Bush would not have an "advice of counsel" defense if he ordered his legal counsel to come up with a gloss to justify his actions that he should have known was not a fair reflection of the law.  (I say this up above somewhere.)

      Now, my question to impeachment advocates is whether they are ready to overcome such a defense.  You give a great reason to think that we can.  We have only Abu G's testimony on this, and we need to flesh it out, make the case so clearly that the public can understand it, if it means that the President in ordered his lawyers to come up with some fig leaf for how his actions here legal.  I'm not sure that what we have now does the trick, but it's a good start.  I am ravenous for hearings that really press this issue.

      If it needs saying again, by presenting my concerns I don't mean to demain the case -- I mean to improve it, if it is ultimately to be made.  Thanks for the good info.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:34:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It don't think it's so narrow. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Danby

      That investigation -- the one for which the necessary security clearances were denied -- was not a review of the legality of the program itself, but rather an investigation into whether or not the President's advisors acted properly in advising him on its legality.

      ]

      Why couldn't the president merely say, my NSA told me that the security clearences shouldn't be given?  It's the same concept...Bush relies on other people's advice, first on the legality, then on who should have clearance.  In both cases, it allows the president to argue his own good faith in relying on someone else's expertise.

      It's the proto-fascism

      by Inland on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 04:31:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He surely could say that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote, Major Danby

        But of course, then it's an issue of national security, and not an issue of advice of counsel.

        So we probe whether or not it was a legitimate use of the national security cover, instead. Easier, more precedent, and less attorney-client worries, and more familiar (and demonstrably Nixonian) ground for investigation.

        Expertise is one thing. Major Danby's point was specific to the advice of legal counsel. Questioning the propriety of classifying DoJ's files from its own personnel is, by comparison, a walk in the park.

        •  That was Maj Danby's point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby

          but it was really just a subset of a larger set of exculpatory grounds, which is, "I relied on what person X told me were legitimate (national security, legal) concerns."  

          For example, George Tenet told Bush that WMD in Iraq was a slam dunk. Anybody going to vote to impeach Bush for taking Tenet's word for it?  If not, how does one prove he wasn't taking Tenet's word for it?  

          And while there's no attorney client worries for national security rationales, there's another whole set of roadblocks to discovering the legitimacy of the advice of, say, the NSA to the president. Namely, national security.  Assertions of national security and executive privilege aren't going to be assumed to be illegitimate.  And I doubt there's tapes where Bush is heard discussing how to stonewall.

          It's the proto-fascism

          by Inland on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 07:19:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's a variant of the Nuremberg defense. (0+ / 0-)

            The good-faith defense boils down to: "In good faith, I was relying on assurances from from my superiors/counsel that crushing that child's testicles was not unlawful."  It's simply a variant of the just-following-orders defense (a.k.a., the Nuremberg defense).

            •  It is not a ''variant'' of Nuremberg (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Creosote, Inland

              People have to make these sorts of executive decisions all the time, and they do indeed rely on the advice of legal and other counsel.  There are some cases -- say, committing genocide -- where we decide that no amount of advice will suffice to overcome the "obviousness" of the wrongness of the act.  In cases short of that extreme, then we do indeed rely on good faith.  And the test becomes not "was what the President did wrong?" but "was what the President did so obviously wrong that even the contrary advice of his counsel does not allow him to claim that he acted in good faith?"

              That is one hell of a high bar to clear when the aim is to convince 67 Senators and a public which is going to be continually yammered at by the trusted media that the President was only trying to figure out what he could do to protect them against terror.  Have some respect for the difficulty of the task we face, eh?  I don't think you do us any favors by pegging your argument on the precedent of Numerberg.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 10:35:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The wrongness of torture, genocide, and ... (0+ / 0-)

                ... starting a war of aggression would seem to clear that high bar from the perspective a normal person.  But I don't think there is any way in the world to get the 67 votes necessary for conviction in this Senate.

                •  I'm afraid that for many and probably most people (0+ / 0-)

                  "torture" does not clear the high bar, or Amnesty International would have the capitalization of Exxon.  And I think many people can't conceive easily of genocide.  As for a war of aggression, I'd be very interested if, even today, where we won an election by -- we have to face -- still not all that much, people have realized that Iraq was a "war of aggression" as opposed to some sort of strange revenge for 9/11.

                  But maybe hearings will approve all of that.  I'd love to see them have a demonstration of waterboarding (with a volunteer, I mean, not with Eliot Abrams) so that the reality of what we've been doing can sink in.  And maybe testimony from one of the people with the Khmer Rouge who indulged in it there, so we can see what company we keep.

                  My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                  by Major Danby on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 10:53:18 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  A good investigation of these things... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            doesn't end at "I relied on X."

            It begins to ask who X is, and whether it was reasonable to rely on him. Much of which will have been answered by the time we get to the people whose answers can be "I relied on X."

            Few, if any, will impeach simply for having taken X's word for it.

            But the equation changes once we learn that X was either crazy, disingenuous, or both. And it flips entirely if we learn that X went crazy at the direction of the president and/or his surrogates.

            •  Suppose X is John Yoo. (0+ / 0-)

              At Nuremberg, it didn't matter who X was:

              Article 7.  The official position of defendants, whether as Heads of State or responsible officials in Government Departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.

              Article 8.  The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determines that justice so requires.

              But relying on the legal opinion of someone who visibly couldn't pass a seventh-grade civics class is unlikely to mitigate anything.

              •  Not helpful in a couple of respects (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Creosote

                (1) This is not the Nuremberg trials.  Approaching it as the Numerberg trials, and using them as a precedent, is guaranteed to generate such immense resistance that there would be no point in going forward.  Ben Nelson is not going to agree that Bush should be tried according the precedents of Nuremberg, for God's sake!

                (2) "Couldn't pass a seventh-grade civics class?"  You mean John Yoo, right?  Do you really want to peg impeachment on your ability to get Senators and the public to agree with you that Yoo's views on the admittedly unsettled question of what limitations exist on the Presidents' so-called augmented wartime powers as Commander-in-Chief -- a question on which you and I probably substantive agree, and disagree with many respected scholars -- indicate that Bush should have known that he could not pass seventh-grade civics?  That sort of hyperbole really, truly, won't help the cause.

                My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 10:41:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The question is whether he committed a high crime (0+ / 0-)
                  1. This is not the Nuremberg trials.  Approaching it as the Numerberg trials, and using them as a precedent, is guaranteed to generate such immense resistance that there would be no point in going forward.  Ben Nelson is not going to agree that Bush should be tried according the precedents of Nuremberg, for God's sake!

                  Of course not.  But an impeachment case is about accountability, not punishment.  The question is whether the accused committed the "high crime or misdemeanor," not whether he/she should be punished for it.  At Nuremberg they separated responsibility from punishment by saying that following orders "shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment".

                  (2) "Couldn't pass a seventh-grade civics class?"  You mean John Yoo, right?  Do you really want to peg impeachment on your ability to get Senators and the public to agree with you that Yoo's views on the admittedly unsettled question of what limitations exist on the Presidents' so-called augmented wartime powers as Commander-in-Chief -- a question on which you and I probably substantive agree, and disagree with many respected scholars -- indicate that Bush should have known that he could not pass seventh-grade civics?  That sort of hyperbole really, truly, won't help the cause.

                  Some of Yoo's opinions are so absurd that I'm surprised he can deliver them with a straight face.

                  Any trial of Bush in the Senate would be pure political theater in a run-up to the 2008 elections.  It would not be about Bush per se.  Rather it would be to disgrace Republicans in general, the people who gave him to us.  It would be for votes, not conviction.

                  •  Even if that's true, I hope you won't say it (0+ / 0-)

                    Personally, I would not want to engage in a purely pretextual impeachment.  Impeaching and trial for conviction would be about giving Republicans the opportunity to go on the record as opposing these actions.  I'm not unaware of the political advantages, but they are side benefits to taking a moral course.

                    As for Yoo's opinions:  my opinion is that I agree with you, but I can remember thirty years back when the notion that homosexuals had a constitutional right to marry would have been considered even more absurd.  We have to take on his opinions on their merits, because a lot of bad people are going to say that golly no they're not absurd.  We can't depend on an untrained public to see it our way without careful education.

                    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

                    by Major Danby on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 10:57:40 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

              And with that guidance, I submit that we have a better idea of where we're going and what it's going to take to get there.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 10:36:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  But that's not right. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Danby

              But the equation changes once we learn that X was either crazy, disingenuous, or both

              Actually, no.  The equation changes once we learn that Bush knew that X was either crazy or disingenous or both.

              For example, the fact that we discover today that George Tenet was off his meds for the entire evaluation of the Iraq WMD has absolutely no bearing on Bush's culpability.  One has to prove that Bush knew or at least should have known Tenet was mad.  

              That's simply more if's than makes sense to contemplate.  

              It's the proto-fascism

              by Inland on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 05:52:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think that's right. (0+ / 0-)

                I think once we learn that X was either crazy, disingenuous, or both, then reliance on X's advice no longer passes the "reasonable man" test.

                Especially if we also learn that X's advice was given to fit the policy, rather than guide it. But that would just be gravy on top of the reasonableness test.

                •  time problem (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Major Danby

                  "reasonable" includes an examination of all the facts at the time the action was taken. It's reasonable to rely on the CIA chief.  If the only indication why Tenet was unreliable is madness, and his insanity is only indicated in 2006, then Bush's reliance on Tenet in 2002 and 2003 would be justifiable.  One would have to show that Bush at least SHOULD have known Tenet was unreliable back in the relevant times he was relying on Tenet.

                  As to whether a person gave the advice Bush wanted to hear, that's another big issue of proof.  If you don't have Bush saying "I don't want to hear that", then it's all nuance and body language, or, some lower level person testifying to Cheney or Rice saying "the president doesn't want to hear that", which is one step or two steps removed from Bush himself.

                  Or tenet or rice simply leaving out contrary facts.   Which is arguably their job.  Bush isn't supposed to do original research.  Rice and Tenet are.  Mike Blumenthal, Carter's treasury secretary, told me that policy decisions would be made on the basis of a brief to the president no longer than two pages with a couple of boxes to check at the end.  And that was Carter, the detail man.

                  Too many if's.  Investigations now, speculation on where they might lead later.  The only conclusion is that it's not like Bush got caught on tape not quite telling the truth about sex with a woman or orchestrating an obstruction.  At least then, you had no question about who did or said what to whom.  Here, those very issues are a huge problem of proof.

                  It's the proto-fascism

                  by Inland on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 07:08:47 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  All your responses... (0+ / 0-)

                    are relative to a count for which I'm not raising this issue. Yet.

                    I would initially raise it with respect to the quashing of the OPR's investigation into the propriety of the process of formulating and delivering the advice of counsel with respect to the NSA spying.

                    What would be an acceptable reason in your mind for preventing a review of whether or not that advice was competently and responsibly rendered, by the office of the DoJ normally charged with precisely that function?

                    Your first answer was national security, but then you took that exit back to the tangent of Rice and Tenet, which is not where we started, and of little or no interest with respect to the NSA spying charges.

    •  A very good point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote

      And, the advice-of-counsel defense has some other problems for Bush:

      • Communication on these matters between Bush and his counsel would no longer be privileged.  It could all be subpoenaed.

      • There is a long trail of memos that document that Bush's legal advice was not a matter of good  faith but an exercise in casuistry: looking for loopholes, bizarre definitions, and twisted logic all for the purpose of doing what they all knew was both evil and illegal under international laws that the U.S. had ratified -- see http://www.tomdispatch.com/...

      • The U.S. has an obligation under ratified treaties to bring violators to justice, e.g.:

                 Art 129. The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article.

                 Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed. or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case. [...]

      •  Yes, there would be some waiver of privilege (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote

        (please ignore the sound of shredding in the background as you read the rest of this) and that raises the question of the scope of the waiver, where every inch that we push the scope of the waiver wider will be loudly trumpeted as a blow for the terrorists' cause due to its national security implications.  Now, do we let that be litigated or do we try to bulldoze them?  Because the former lets them run out the clock and the latter loses us public and elite support.  So, while I agree with you, it doesn't necessarily help us that much.

        As for the long trail of memos (and I admit that I have not had time to read your link; Jon Stewart is on soon) -- they may show Abu Gonzales's casuistry, but do they demonstrate that Bush (a lay person, and an idiot) was or should have been aware of that?  Even if I agree with your critique, it does not necessarily indict Bush.

        Your last point begs the question of whether what is at issue are "grave breaches of the present Convention," which I'm sure will be a point of hot contention.

        Again, my point is not necessarily that you're wrong, but that this is much less easy -- legally, practically, and politically -- than you and others make it seem.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 10:48:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I would have titled this diary: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote, Major Danby, MichiganGirl

    "It's the conviction, Stupid"

    No offense to anyone being "stupid" of course, but impeachment is indeed a quasi-political-leagal animal that has no real effect on the President's power.

    It is the conviction that is the ultimate test of Presidential power and the conviction that produces the results.

    Impeachment in an of itself is a formality like an indictment, but doesn't really do what is needed in this case which is to remove this president from office.  Only the conviction in the Senate can yield that result and even there might not happen because it is up to their discretion.

    This diary is great because it addresses the realities of the potential defense in the conviction.  If you want to see this President removed, knowing his defense inside out will be the key to success.

    I don't think an impeachment in the House will be all that difficult to mount.  It will be the conviction in the Senate that will be the tough road.  If the articles of impeachment are weak, we will fail.  Looking at his defense will only make us stronger.  I hope to hell that the lawyers on the Hill are carefully laying out the best case they possibly can because I want a conviction.

    •  Someone above makes the argument (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, inclusiveheart

      that we can "win" even if we lose.  I tend to agree, actually.  If our case is so strong that we back the Republican defenders of Bush into the corner where they must defend absurd constitutional theories (e.g., the unitary executive in its full horror) and offer ridiculous glosses on the law, so that they alienate suddenly attentive voters, then we will have discredited everything Bush has done.  Add a censure resolution and I'm happy.  So I'm not an absolutist on needing 67 votes.  I just want those 34 dead-enders to look like absolutely repulsive idiots.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:27:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes I agree with that theory too, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Danby

        your diary underscores the fact that getting 67 Senators is difficult and if that is what you are going for you must have an excellent case.  Keep in mind that most people calling for impeachment want Bush to leave office before Jan 2009 not censure.

        •  My main point is that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Creosote, inclusiveheart

          developing an excellent case is difficult!  And it's the most important thing that hearings can provide us, however we use that information.  (It must be used for educating the public above all; I mean after that.)  Thanks.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 03:05:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Part of the problem is that there are a lot (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            of people whose view is colored by the Clinton impeachment where the bar was so low and the so effort politically motivated that they don't really get what the components are of an impeachment/conviction that meet the high standards that the Founding Fathers envisioned.

            It is my hope, that if the Democrats and motivated Republicans do decide to take the course of impeachment they will raise the bar back up to its intended height by doing thorough investigations, hearings and putting together an excellent legal/Constitutional case.

            For me impeachment is a process of repairations and not one for revenge.

  •  Gerald Ford (0+ / 0-)

    Has been underestimated.

    B) as Gerald Ford said, 'an impeachable offense is what, at any time, Congress says it is.'

    Impeachment is really a political process, not a legal one.

    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 08:39:54 AM PST

    •  See much, much discussion on this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote

      in the comment threads above.  Remember, Ford led the drive to impeach Chief Justice Earl Warren.  His self-serving theories hold no weight with me.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 02:24:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  criminal standards of proof are NOT required (0+ / 0-)

    Agree, Major that you are over the edge - I would go further to say unhinged.

    Thanks for putting your cards on the table.

    Be sure not to delete this one.

    BTW, go back and read about the Nixon affair.

    A Senate trial is not a US Courtroom trial.

    •  Don't worry, I won't delete it (0+ / 0-)

      I've addressed your concerns, as have others, throughout the comments.  Enjoy them.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:42:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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