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Censure, as many of you know, is not my preferred method for dealing with the legal and constitutional violations of the Bush "administration." But I do think that for Senator Russ Feingold to have reintroduced the idea after having been left standing virtually alone when he last proposed it, is an act of considerable courage.

As a Senator, of course, Feingold is simply not empowered to introduce articles of impeachment, so in terms of direct action, censure is probably about the best that can be expected. Rep. Robert Wexler, on the other hand, who introduced his own resolution of censure in the House, does not have that excuse. And while he surely has a whole raft of reasons to prefer censure over impeachment, none of them are that his hands are tied by the terms of the Constitution.

The advantage of censure -- if it is an advantage -- is that it doesn't face the hurdle of having to garner a 2/3 supermajority in the Senate in order to pass. On the flip side, neither does ordering a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese. And both pose about the same threat to the White House.

Still, there may be good reason to go on record, both with censure and with contempt charges.

In the now-famous Youngstown case, which has been cited at the heart of the recent court rebukes to some of the Bush "administration's" excesses, there is this additional nugget of dicta:

Deeply embedded traditional ways of conducting government cannot supplant the Constitution or legislation, but they give meaning to the words of a text or supply them. It is an inadmissibly narrow conception of American constitutional law to confine it to the words of the Constitution and to disregard the gloss which life has written upon them. In short, a systematic, unbroken executive practice, long pursued to the knowledge of Congress and never before questioned, engaged in by Presidents who have also sworn to uphold the Constitution, making as it were such exercise of power part of the structure of our government, may be treated as a gloss on "executive Power" vested in the president by §1 of Article II.

I take that to be an acknowledgment by Justice Frankfurter that even bullshit claims like Bush's can become part of the accepted range of presidential powers if they're exercised -- as Bush's violations certainly have been -- with the full knowledge of Congress, and to this point, unquestioned by them.

While impeachment is the correct response here, it needs to be considered that the failure to issue any response at all might end up turning Bush's extraordinary claims into part of the "gloss" on presidential power. Similarly on the issue of contempt, the correct response is inherent contempt and not statutory contempt. But in the absence of the will to proceed with the preferred responses, there's actually an argument to be made for these "half measures."

It's frequently said by others that an impeachment that doesn't result in a conviction might do the same thing as (or worse) than doing nothing at all, but I think that's highly debatable. An impeachment, even when it fails to garner a 2/3 vote to convict in the Senate, is still a pretty clear "questioning" of these exercises. Facing trial before the Senate (and possibly escaping by the skin of one's teeth) is no small matter. Likewise, spinning the vote of something in the neighborhood of half of the membership of Congress for a negative on the continuance in office of the architect of the policy into an affirmative ratification of his wanton lawbreaking is no mere trifle. The same would go for a majority vote on contempt of Congress that the corrupt brass at the "Justice" Department ordered not be prosecuted. Not that we shouldn't expect the president's apologists to attempt either one or both, of course. But the assumption that that public relations battle too would be lost, I think concedes too much, and is as much a defeatist's position as simply giving up entirely.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:29 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Every Moment This Administration Continues Apace (6+ / 0-)

    is a ticking time-bomb, with the world held hostage...

    Is It Time To Impeach Yet??? Just Checking...

    by TheManWithNoPoint on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:23:01 AM PDT

    •  With censure, there will be no inquiry. (4+ / 0-)

      We need hearings!  We need the bright, hot light of day.  We need a formal Impeachment Inquiry to be called by the House Judiciary Committee so that the Bush administration can no longer blow off the subpoenas.

      Censure will PREVENT any real investigations.  Censure will STOP the Bush administration crimes from coming to light.  Censure is 100% wrong.

      "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

      by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:31:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They had grounds to impeach as soon as they knew (5+ / 0-)

        they lied about WMDs and they did nothing but re-elect them.

        Our government is a sham and until well-meaning Americans take action themselves, we deserve what we get.

        •  Yes we do (3+ / 0-)

          I have been reading Shirer on Hitler and the Reich and plan to do a diary on it. The parallels are omminous.

          Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

          by abbeysbooks on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:44:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, please do. I just read something about it... (2+ / 0-)

            but dismissed it as "too out there". It isn't. It's the same story of power and weakness.

          •  Looking forward to it (0+ / 0-)

            I'd better subscribe to you now.  :)

            "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

            by MikeTheLiberal on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:00:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  maybe you could also (0+ / 0-)

            compare the health industry to Hitler.

            Pray for Good Change to happen.

            by piec on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:02:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Take care when you write it, I've used this (0+ / 0-)

            parallel a few times, and each time got an outraged response because "You called me a nazi!" Which of course, could not even have been inferred from my words.

            It appears that speaking of the actions of the German people in the same sentence with the actions of anyone here causes instant accusations. Take care and good luck.

            We are all criminals until we restore Habeas Corpus, empty secret gulags, end torture and illegal wiretaps. (-2.25, -2.56)

            by EclecticFloridian on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:52:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes I''ve noticed that (0+ / 0-)

              Robert Altemeyer's ebook reports his lifetime of research on the topic of authoritarianism as it turns into obedience to authority that fascism demands.

              The roots of fascim, a political term, lie in authoritarianism and how each culture either enhances or subverts this psychological issue. It's tentacles go deep and early into each one of us.

              Shirer seems to have a super sensitive nose for it when he observes. To me he was the right person in the right place to observe Hitler and his thugs. And he has given us a subtle early account which has its parallels with this administration.

              I suppose all attempts to establish a totalitarian dictatorship have many similarities. This one is not a carefully conscious one like Hitler's was. But maybe its bumbling initial beginnings were planned to look bumbling.

              What if someone really intelligent and charismatic had or might be planning this for the US?

              Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

              by abbeysbooks on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 09:26:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think this is the essence of what is going... (0+ / 0-)

                on in our country.

                I've heard others tag it 'authority complex' and George Lakoff, 'strict father' factor, but it is here in our society and makes US ripe for fascist control.

                Keeping health care benefits and consumer debt keeps Americans in line economically and on-the-job and evangelicism keeps them tuning into a 'higher power'. Add TV proaganda and it gets worse every day.

        •  watch out for what you ask for (0+ / 0-)

          They had grounds to impeach as soon as they knew they lied about WMDs and they did nothing but re-elect them.

          That was the public that reelected him - not the government.

          <<<>>>

          And just remember one thing about impeachment. A no conviction, which is what you will get, is a vindication of Bush's crimes for all of history.

          So yeah by all means, vindicate him - we deserve what we get. Just watch out for what you ask for.

          "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

          by talex on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:08:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The party system set up the choices for us... (0+ / 0-)

            in conjunction with the corporate state.

            If we had a true democracy, the candidate would have been Bradley-McCain in 2000 and Dean in 2004.

            •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

              well your reply skips over impeachment so I will also.

              As for the Party system there are more that two parties. The only reason that the smaller parties cannot compete is because they do not have enough public support. It is the fault of the people if you are looking for somewhere to lay the blame on the party system.

              If we had a true democracy, the candidate would have been Bradley-McCain in 2000 and Dean in 2004.

              Pure opinion.

              "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

              by talex on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:28:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Read Kagro X's FP article on this (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timothy L Smith

            (S)he points out, rightly I think, that failure to convict is not necessarily vindication for Bush.

            Quite the opposite, (s)he points out that failure to present articles of impeachment implies acceptance of the unitary executive doctrine, while putting such articles up for a vote shows disagreement with the doctrine.

            In other words, Failure to impeach may establish the unitary executive as precedent.

            Scary thought, huh?

            We are all criminals until we restore Habeas Corpus, empty secret gulags, end torture and illegal wiretaps. (-2.25, -2.56)

            by EclecticFloridian on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:58:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I read it (0+ / 0-)

              and disagree with kagro on vindication.

              My example of Clinton being vindicated is historical evidence of vindication.

              In other words, Failure to impeach may establish the unitary executive as precedent.

              A failed impeachment is not going to do anything but vindicate.

              But I rather doubt that an impeachment would be on the charge of the power Unitary Executive anyway. That is an abstract thing and it is hard to try the abstract.

              Nothing is going to change human nature. Even if Bush were found guilty on something like not following FISA that does not mean that another power hungry person would not push something else to the limits. Nixon didn't stop Reagan or both Bush's from doing so did it? Then what makes you think impeaching Bush would have any effect?

              The truth is that if the Dems had been in power all along then it is very likely that these things would have been checked rather quickly. And the moral to that story is that we need to make sure that we hold at least the WH or both Houses at all times from here on out.

              Which leads me back to the point of where is your time better spent? Chasing impeachment rainbows or working to build a solid majority in the Senate and winning the WH?

              "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

              by talex on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 12:10:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your assertion is not proof (0+ / 0-)

                You assert:

                A failed impeachment is not going to do anything but vindicate.

                That doesn't make it so, and I don't think it is. I guess this is just an opinion which cannot be proven.

                Of course, you cannot try the unitary executive doctrine, but you can try the actions that assert that doctrine. Impeachment CAN kill unitary executive assertions by impeaching the associated acts.

                There is an argument that says Nixon didn't prevent GWs bullshit because Nixon resigned, then was pardoned. Thus no recorded smack-down of his actions. Thus, Rumsfeld and Cheney, his trainees, remained to plague us again, rather than associated with a disgraced doctrine (not just a disgraced man).

                This comment is simply ludicrous:

                The truth is that if the Dems had been in power all along then it is very likely that these things would have been checked rather quickly. And the moral to that story is that we need to make sure that we hold at least the WH or both Houses at all times from here on out.

                Please, lets don't start down the same road as republicans have been taking us. Empires don't work for political parties any better than they do for nations (this one, at least).

                Where our time is best spent depends on what results we expect from the actions we advocate. So, until we can agree on the best actions that discussion is moot.

                We are all criminals until we restore Habeas Corpus, empty secret gulags, end torture and illegal wiretaps. (-2.25, -2.56)

                by EclecticFloridian on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 12:56:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  We need to object first. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        byteb, MikeTheLiberal

        If the gloss is objected to by congress then it cannot so easily stay in place for the future. This is the first step.

        Objections must be made.

        Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

        by abbeysbooks on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:42:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If all else fails, censure during the lame duck (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MikeTheLiberal

          session.  Then, Congress can go on record.  If we censure now, then the pressure will be to move on.  

          But frankly, without the investigative power of an impeachment inquiry, this will all look like rehashing of the same old arguments.  Many of the abuses will not come to light -- and therefore will not lose their gloss.

          "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

          by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:48:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the abuses are already in the light (0+ / 0-)

            He is at 25%!

            The public already knows the truth. What is it that the pro-impeachment crowd does not understand about that?

            25%! That is the entire country except for the wingnuts who happen to also 'know the truth'. They just happen to agree with his crimes.

            So if 75% already know - and the other 25% approves...

            What good is a failed impeachment?

            You don't do a House impeachment without it going to the Senate. So in the end a no conviction vindicates Bush for all of history.

            Is that what you want?

            "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

            by talex on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:15:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The public does NOT know. (0+ / 0-)

              A vast swath of the public merely has an inkling.  If what you say is true, we should just go ahead and cancel the hearings already going on.  After all, we already know everything right?  

              Basing your beliefs on what the public knows based on Bush's favorable/unfavorable numbers is, in my opinion, not a very good idea.  Those numbers can bounce in a heartbeat -- the public is very fickle.  Probably the last 15% or so of his decline was because of wingers who don't like his immigration policy.

              "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

              by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:31:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "The public does NOT know" (0+ / 0-)

                If they don't know then why is Bush at 25%?

                A vast swath of the public merely has an inkling.  If what you say is true, we should just go ahead and cancel the hearings already going on.

                I prefer the term 'perception'. Which in the end is all that counts in national politics anyway. Which is why the current hearings should continue - to reinforce the perceptions so they don't become fickle.

                Probably the last 15% or so of his decline was because of wingers who don't like his immigration policy.

                It's more like 8% due to immigration. His base is steady at about 33%. That has dropped to 25% because of immigration. So it will fluctuate between 33 and 25.

                But the real bottomline here is if you want to vindicate Bush. I don't think you do but your impeachment stance will result in that. So you really have to think it through. You need to ask yourself "If vindication is the most likely result then am I heading down the right path?"

                "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

                by talex on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:51:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Using your logic, we don't need the Constitution. (0+ / 0-)

                  After all, the people know what their rights are. They know who can do what ... who needs a Constitution?

                  Get real, we put things in writing for a reason. We try  crimes in public on the record for a reason. Show us one place in history where a decision was made by a government to NOT make it official because the people already know.

                  We are all criminals until we restore Habeas Corpus, empty secret gulags, end torture and illegal wiretaps. (-2.25, -2.56)

                  by EclecticFloridian on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:03:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Get Real??? (0+ / 0-)

                    You get real and quit with the strawman argument. I never said we don't need the Constitution.

                    Show us one place in history where a decision was made by a government to NOT make it official because the people already know.

                    Well there are probably many

                    Vietnam was a travesty of epic proportions. Was the fact that it was a travesty ever made official? No. But everyone knows it was?

                    Reagan and Bush Sr. certainly had a hand in Iran-Contra - was that ever made official?

                    Johnson lied us into Vietnam - was that ever made official?

                    I could go on.

                    But my main point is - is vindication of Bush's crimes what you really want?

                    "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

                    by talex on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:39:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And my point is (0+ / 0-)

                      vindication of Bush's crimes is not necessarily what we'll get. That's only your unproven assertion.

                      I don't claim you said we don't need the Constitution. But, you're logic can imply that, even though on it's face it's ridiculous.

                      The instances you cite are not examples of DECISIONS made based on an opinion of what the populace knows. That is what I'm saying makes no sense. You seem to be saying that it enough the people know Bush is a crook, so impeachment isn't necessary. That just flies in the face of history. Governments run on a primary set of rules, modified over time by precedent-setting actions. Simply saying everybody knows he's a crook and doing nothing about it sets a precedent. It says his actions weren't important enough to bother with. That's wrong and dangerous in this case.

                      We are all criminals until we restore Habeas Corpus, empty secret gulags, end torture and illegal wiretaps. (-2.25, -2.56)

                      by EclecticFloridian on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 01:05:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  The reason is the war. (0+ / 0-)

                  Self interest.  People are tired of kids and treasure disappearing.  I don't believe that the constitutional issues have much weight with the public at large, nor do they contribute to Bush's shitty ratings.

                  I do believe that conviction is not the sine qua non of impeachment.  Impeachement without conviction will engrave the partisan obstructionism of the Republicans on the historical record.  It will become a case study in how government can go bad.  

                  Your vindication argument holds no water.  It's political expediency at its best.
                  Haven't we had enough of that?

                  The Marks of a Leader: Generosity, Integrity, Wisdom

                  by Timothy L Smith on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:14:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well you just go ahead then (0+ / 0-)

                    and waste you time bitching about an impeachment that will never happen. And if by some miracle it does in the middle of a presidential election you will see if a no conviction ends up in history being a vindication or not.

                    What happened to Clinton? He actually committed perjury in front of a grand jury which is against the law. He like Scooter Libby should have went to jail for that as others have. Is that what people remember - his lying to a grand jury? Or do they remember he was vindicated and not removed from office?

                    You see? History provides examples of what I say. You can't brush off history as easily as you are trying to brush off me.

                    "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

                    by talex on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:48:39 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      DaveV

                      I am in no way attempting to brush you off.  In fact, I thought I did  a damn fine job of addressing the issue of why impeachment is the 'right' (if not expedient) thing to do.

                      Calling my comment 'bitching' only serves to illuminate your own intolerance for views other than your own.  And what does Clinton have to do with this?  I certainly made no comment about that.  His impeachment failed because the issue was spurious, though he did break the law.  Are you arguing that Bush's and Clinton's crimes are somehow comparable?  I think Clinton is remembered both for lying and for being a pretty good president.  Can you say that of Bush?

                      As far as your history remark goes, I have no idea what you're on about.  My point, again, is that there is value in persuing impeachment in terms of the need to put the crimes on the record.  Until he is formally charged with breaking the law, its as though he hasn't.  This is being discussed elsewhere at this moment, I believe.

                      As a matter of communication etiquette, you may want to temper the tone of your responses somewhat.  I experience your responses as heavy handed and harsh.  

                      The Marks of a Leader: Generosity, Integrity, Wisdom

                      by Timothy L Smith on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 12:01:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I see (0+ / 0-)

                        Calling my comment 'bitching' only serves to illuminate your own intolerance for views other than your own.

                        I see. But you saying

                        Your vindication argument holds no water.

                        is tolerant? My remarks tend to mirror the tone of others as in this case. You shouldn't preach tolerance when you give no example of doing so.

                        His impeachment failed because the issue was spurious, though he did break the law.  

                        Did you bother to read what you wrote there? How can a charge that he did get penalized for not only by impeachment but through disbarment be spurious? That make no sense whatsoever.

                        As far as your history remark goes, I have no idea what you're on about.

                        Really? Wasn't it clear I was talking about the historical record of Clinton being vindicated? Surely my short post could not have confused you that much.

                        there is value in pursuing impeachment in terms of the need to put the crimes on the record.

                        There is no value without conviction. That is what you don't get. Without conviction there is only vindication. That is what trials are about - conviction or vindication. They are pretty black and white.

                        Until he is formally charged with breaking the law, its as though he hasn't.  This is being discussed elsewhere at this moment, I believe.

                        Really? You don't think he has broke the law until he is charged? Sure you do that is why you want him to be impeached.

                        And yes people are talking about it. And if it wasn't this they would be talking about something else.

                        I'm tired of discussing it because talking is all most people do. they don't take action on the possible. They want to take action on the impossible because it is a way to channel their anger which origins go far beyond politics.

                        "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

                        by talex on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 12:27:47 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  History lesson, please (4+ / 0-)

    I've read that Sen. McCarthy's reign of terror ended when he was censured. I always wondered the same thing: since it's nothing more than a verbal rebuke with no real consequences, how exactly did that end "McCarthyism"?

    I'd like somebody to explain why something so toothless had such a powerless effect, and then perhaps we can see the similarities with a censure resolution here and how it might help to reign in the Cheney/Bush dictatorship.

    •  Er... that's "powerful" effect (n/t) (0+ / 0-)
    •  McCarthy was censured, in large part, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chase, cometman, Randall Sherman, Castine

      by his own party.  I'm proud to be from Maine, the state that sent Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican who nailed his ass, to Congress.  

      Meanwhile, as Feingold floated his censure motion yesterday, Reid comes out and disses it.  So now, we don't even have the Dem leadership behind this "half measure," let alone any heroic Republican Senators willing to stand in the breach as Smith did.  

      As I noted in Russ' "Demanding Accountability" dairy yesterday, censure actually has less of a chance of succeeding than Impeachment because it won't have the necessary disclosure and prosecutorial presentation to counter the inevitable rhetorical onslaught from the apologists.  Not only that, the administration isn't required, as in an Impeachment trial, to actually answer the specific charges.  They will spin their response through Tony's Snow machine; the 20% of the population that would have been brought along by a strong DA-type nailing of the Articles to the door of the electronic church will be left scratching their heads instead of joining the 50% who already know the score, thus leaving the hard-core 25% dead-enders to themselves.

      As I also noted to Russ, censure is not "demanding accountablility."  That happens only when the accused is required to answer the charges directly ("to make an account") in a trial.

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

      by nailbender on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:41:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Speaking of which.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nailbender

        did you happen to see Rob Shetterly a year or so ago smack down Susan Collins?  She was giving a lecture at UMO called 'continuing the legacy of Margaret Chase Smith'.  Here's a link:  http://space4peace.blogspot.com/...

        I know there's a video of it but I couldn't find it.  He basically told collins that she should be ashamed to equate herself with a great Senator like Chase Smith.  There really were some decent republicans once upon a time.

        The meek shall inherit nothing. -F.Zappa

        by cometman on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:57:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  In McCarthy's case... (0+ / 0-)

      ...the rebuke by his colleagues (which was bipartisan in nature) came just before Democrats regained control of the Senate, which would have deprived McCarthy of any chairmanships whatsoever.  In his case, McCarthy soon drank himself to death.

      •  It also helped (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Randall Sherman, MikeTheLiberal

        that finely people with courage stood up to him. The media, and people who didn't let fear rule their response. It would help now if the Democrats did not allow 'gloss' to obscure the reality, and further add credibility to the great impostor.

        "And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine" Bob Dylan

        by shaharazade on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:51:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  we've seen how Clinton's (0+ / 0-)

      impeachment did practically nothing.
      He's still a God.

      Pray for Good Change to happen.

      by piec on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:04:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It wasn't just the censure, (0+ / 0-)

      In McCarthy's case, the censure was a byproduct of McCarthy's televised melt down at the Army McCarthy hearings, which crystalized a growing public discomfort with the Senator into an active hostility. McCarthy committed a stupendous blunder when decided to red bait the military in the same fashion that he had the civilian branches of the Government under Truman.

      This was a bad idea for several reasons. First, Ike had been elected President and was not only Commander and Chief but an alumnus of the Army's highest echelon. Any attack on the Army was, by implication, an attack on Ike. Particularly when the attack consisted, as it had on previous occaisions, of scatter gun charges that the Army was riddled with Communist Agents as the result of a conspiracy going back over a decade.

      The argument that McCarthy and the other Red Hunters had been making against Truman and the Dems was that this conspiracy had it's beginning under FDR and the New Deal (hence such absurdities as the charge of "premature anti-Fascism" that were treated as prima facia evidence of Communist ties.) Obviously, if communist infiltration of the Army extended back so far it would mean that it was in full swing even as Ike was functioning as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces. The attack on the Army had the potential of becoming an attack on the entire basis of Eisenhower's leadership. Indeed, by the end of his 2nd term Ike was in fact labeled a "communist dupe " by the far right.

      So McCarthy had put himself at odds with the main power centers of his own party when he launched the hearings. Since he had no friends on the other side of the aisle, his room for manuever rapidly diminished.

      The hearings reached their nadir for McCarthy when it emerged that there had been an attempt by Roy Cohn, then on McCarthy's staff, to pressure and intimidate the Army into discharging a personal friend who had been drafted. The Army's counsel made effective use of this incident through the expedient of a none too subtle, in 1950's terms, gaybaiting. The impact on the hearings on public opinion was magnified by McCarthy's own reliance on this tactic when it suited him.

      The hearings collapsed and McCarthy's national image along with them. The congressional censure was a political coup de grace. Its effect wasn't merely symbolic. The censure was followed by a de facto ostracism within the House. McCarthy became persona non grata, abandoned by Republicans and actively hated by both the Democrats and the White House.

      So if the Censure can be said to have ended McCarthyism, it is only in the same way that an exclaimation point ends a sentence.

      •  <b>Oops</b> (0+ / 0-)
        That should of course read "..ostracism within the Senate" rather than the House. Apologies.
      •  Great history! Let's also recall a chain of (0+ / 0-)

        McCarthy's cancer we still live with today.

        Remember all the comments about how Rumsfeld and Cheney cut their teeth under Nixon? Remember all the comments about how Nixon's pardon failed to kill the Unitary Executive cancer by leaving these guys to infect future administrations?

        Guess where Nixon cut HIS teeth? .... Yup, he was on McCarthy's staff. Think about it.

        We are all criminals until we restore Habeas Corpus, empty secret gulags, end torture and illegal wiretaps. (-2.25, -2.56)

        by EclecticFloridian on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:09:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  FYI the Censure Motion will include Gonzales (3+ / 0-)

    and senior WhiteHouse Officals according to Feingold

    -8.63 -7.28 Ask " The Question "

    by OneCrankyDom on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:25:14 AM PDT

  •  Fine, censure them in the Senate.... (3+ / 0-)

    then impeach them in the house.  As long as they don't try to say that everything is better now that they've been censured I'm all for it.  They need to be heaped with opprobrium.  

    The meek shall inherit nothing. -F.Zappa

    by cometman on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:25:41 AM PDT

  •  Censure, the last sad refuge of a party with a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wordene, piec, FXDCI

    majority that is unwilling to exercise that power.   Kind of like knowing that your spouse is screwing  around on you with a real jerk and, in lieu of filing for divorce or kicking someone's ass, you censure them.  Pfeh!   Let's do it or move on to the Nation's real business.
     

    Because everyone has one.

    by SpamNunn on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:25:56 AM PDT

  •  Hey Dems... grow a FUKING BALL... (3+ / 0-)

    Just a bunch of nonsense, a temper tantrum.

    The shithead Bush and his minions have already commited enough high crimes to be impeached 100 times over.

    IMPEACH THEM you fucking pussies.

    Bush Cheney Gonzolas.

    Do it before it's too late and civil war is the only option. It is YOUOR DUTY to the constitution and the Congress and the people.

  •  Stop Iraq, first and foremost (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL

    The Democrats must first put a stop to the Iraq war.  Then we can talk impeachment.

    Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. Buddha

    by zenbowl on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:26:37 AM PDT

    •  THEY will never do it until they have Iraq's oil. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EclecticFloridian
    •  The issues converge. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mspicata

      At a certain point, these two otherwise separate issues begin to converge. Impeachment becomes more appropriate a response in the face of escalating White House lawlessness. And as the noose tightens on the "administration's" Iraq "policy," White House lawlessness may in turn increase.

      We may not be able to treat these as entirely separate issues any longer. That's not to say that impeachment is the first and only step that should be taken at this point. But both issues are headed down the same path.

    •  How? Legislation (or "no funding") will fail. (0+ / 0-)

      There is a great deal of latitude for the executive to continue funding during war-time, even without authorization/appropriation.  Look up the Feed and Forage Act of 1861, and the GAO's 1994 opinion on the matter.

      Impeachment is the only way out of the war.  "No Funding" will not work.

      "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

      by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:52:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, very little latitude. (0+ / 0-)

        For the President to spend funds without an appropriation would, in itself, be impeachable.  He has NO independent spending authority; there was a diary on this yesterday.  Congress just has to grow a spine and not fund the war.

        •  That's one opinion. GAO has another. (0+ / 0-)

          See PDF report from ombwatch.org -- and the original GAO report PDF -- see, especially, p. 10 under "Alternatives to using DBOF to fund contingencies."

          "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

          by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 12:24:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Doubtful, as Congress still has to approve (0+ / 0-)

            according to this:

            DOD can request supplemental appropriations for requirements designated by the President as "emergencies." The Congress can then designate these supplemental appropriations as "emergency," in which case the additional budget authority would not count against the fiscal year discretionary spending limits and would allow DOD to execute its planned budget without disruption.

            The Feed & Forage act applies to specific materiel, not to funding the presence of troops in a foreign land.  And since Congress has to review any DoD transfers, that route is blocked too.  If Bush were to do this, we'd be back in Iran/Contra mode (...although we DO have the same bad actors in charge).

            •  No. That's the "supplemental" route. (0+ / 0-)

              I am referring to the paragraph above the one you quote.

              And, honestly, the problem is that the Feed and Forage act is not specific.  The DoD has interpreted its powers under the Act rather broadly.  From OMBWATCH, cited above:

              Interestingly enough, the report also contains insights into how the Department of Defense viewed the scope of the act.11 The GAO report cited DOD officials who believed that all needs that occur in an emergency could be met by invoking the Feed and Forage Act as it is written:

              DOD officials stated that they see no need to change the language of the Feed and Forage Act. These
              officials believe that the language is sufficiently broad and gives them the needed flexibility to
              interpret the law as needed within its intent. They also believe that any attempt to update the language
              to more specifically identify areas of items available for purchase would only narrow that flexibility.12

              Indeed, the powers enumerated under the act were sufficient to obligate $1.6 billion in meeting the immediate
              needs that resulted from Operation Desert Shield only a few years before the report was written. "[DOD
              officials] were not aware of any instances during the Operation Desert Shield where the services were unable to
              purchase necessary items because of the language of the act."13

              All it requires is a presidential declaration of an "emergency" situation (think they'll have any problem with that?), and a sympathetic DoD.

              "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

              by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 03:23:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      I should think, though, that if they are willing to stay up all night, they are capable of doing double duty.  The priority, though, is that they need to write simple legislation, with
      language not loaded full of loopholes that says:
      Bring our daughters and sons home pronto....period.
      The majority opinion in this country for AGES now dictates this action by our "supposed" representatives.  EAch day that they are doing their own thing means another US boy or US girl dies.

      Pray for Good Change to happen.

      by piec on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:17:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Censure, impeachment is a waste of time.WE should (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Randall Sherman, Zero Carb Rob

    be calling for Bush and Cheney to RESIGN and let the International Court decide on war crimes.

    WE have the power, but most Americans are afraid to stand up to 'authority figures' even if they are killing others.

    Email them and tell them to resign for the good of OUR country. I have many times.

    Bush
    comments@whitehouse.gov

    Cheney
    vice_president@whitehouse.gov

  •  No Censure = No Inquiry (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wordene, Zero Carb Rob, SpamNunn

    Censure is a terrible idea:

    1. no formal inquiry; no enhanced subpoena power.  Impeachment inquiry -> real subpoena power.
    1. it looks political as hell

    In other words, censure is the worst of the possible things we could do.

    "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

    by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:28:43 AM PDT

    •  I have no preference for censure, to be sure. (0+ / 0-)

      But I'm presenting an alternative case for it, nonetheless.

      •  Why alternative? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wordene

        Why not in addition to?  You make a good case for removing the "gloss."  Censure is quick, on the record, and takes just a majority.  I say go ahead, with the caveat that censure does not preclude other actions.

        "Success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives." --George W Bush, May 2, 2007

        by mspicata on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:33:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course it will "preclude" other actions! (0+ / 0-)

          "Censure and Move On" -- that's the whole point!

          No new evidence will come to light through censure.  NONE!  No inquiry!  All of the energy behind impeachment will be simply drain away, and we'll be left with a permanently weakened Constitution.

          "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

          by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:36:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, it won't (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            abbeysbooks

            It doesn't remove the energy if you frame it as the first step.  Framed that way -- for exactly the reason KagroX cites, a specific record that the Senate disagrees with the President -- it's both doable and valuable.

            "Success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives." --George W Bush, May 2, 2007

            by mspicata on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:40:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm unsure. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DaveV, mspicata

              If I had to guess, I would think that censure would in fact be sold as some sort of closure on the subject -- maybe now with even greater effect, pointing to precisely the concept I highlighted with the Frankfurter quote.

              But I do think it's worth considering that we may need to resort to some sort of back-up here. My preference is that it be a stepping stone, of course, and not a war club used to beat back efforts to do what really ought to be done.

              I'm rarely rewarded for my patience and optimism, however.

              •  I understand that possibility (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DaveV

                Given that we may do neither, I would certainly prefer censure over no action at all.  If I were strategizing the situation, I would pair censure of the President and the Vice-President with impeachment of the Attorney General, addind an explicit statement that successful removal of the AG from office exposes the top two to their own trials.  After all, a big chunk of the case against Bush and Cheney is the actions of DoJ.

                "Success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives." --George W Bush, May 2, 2007

                by mspicata on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:50:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  It will be framed as "We've already censured him. (0+ / 0-)

              So, it's time to move on.  Why on earth would they frame it otherwise?

              "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

              by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:44:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Republicans (0+ / 0-)

                may frame it that way.  Democrats will need to counter that frame.  Frames are not immutable; just because censure was viewed as an alternative for Clinton doesn't require it to be the same here.

                "Success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives." --George W Bush, May 2, 2007

                by mspicata on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:52:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not just Republicans. (0+ / 0-)

                  Harry Reid doesn't even want to take this up because he considers the Dems to already be on record as "opposed to" the President.  An absolutely idiotic position for him to take, IMO.

                  "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

                  by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:54:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I think you are correct (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DaveV

              Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

              by abbeysbooks on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:06:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  As long as censure is the appetizer (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mspicata

          with Impeachment as the Main Course, I say fine!  Done correctly, the speeches given in the House in this regard will help to lay the ground work for the Articles of Impeachment; let it be a test vote for the actual drafting of Articles of Impeachment.

          However, I have to disagree with Sen. Feingold, in that the Senate should not try to Censure the President.  Since they are to be the jury if/when drafted Articles of Impeachment are passed on to the Senate, they can not be seen being impartial beforehand.

          -8.88, -7.77 "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" --Marx

          by wordene on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:52:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Censure has no power to remove the gloss. (0+ / 0-)

        Only an impeachment inquiry has that power.  The true scope of the crimes against the Constitution must come to light -- in public hearings -- in order for the crimes to lose their gloss.

        Yes, fine -- Congress will go on record as opposed to the expansion of the presidential powers.  So the next time, the powers of the unitary executive are abused, the president can say: "What are you gonna do, censure me AGAIN?"

         

        "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

        by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:43:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for helping me see another view (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EmilyD, RickMassimo

    I've been very upset with the censure push [in contrast with impeachment], but I'd not seen the connection to the Gloss of History dicta.  In that light, a successful censure would be a good thing.

  •  feingold, being from the dairy state, you'd think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EmilyD

    the extra cheese pizza would be a no-brainer.

    but with impeachment you get an eggroll and soup.

    and ponies.

    we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

    by 2nd balcony on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:31:20 AM PDT

  •  A challenge must be made. (0+ / 0-)

    The allocation of power between the three branches depend on each branch standing up for itself and reigning in the other.

    Great quote from Youngstown.

    I. Lewis Libby's worse than G. Gordon Liddy. This is Worse than Watergate. IMPEACH! Now.

    by maxschell on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:32:06 AM PDT

  •  Kagro, You Just Proved (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Moody Loner, wordene

    with that quote why we cannot let censure and impeachment proceedings fall aside. Though we all undoubtedly want Bush and Cheney to pay for their crimes, (and hopefully someday, some way they will) the current push for censure and impeachment are more about future presidents. If we don't fix this damage to the Constitution here and now, it will become "gloss" and our democracy will suffer permanently. It will evolve from a rogue president's actions into normal policy. This would be even more damaging than the case of Santa Clare v Southern Pacific, which as many of you know we're suffering the effects of in a dire way. Remember that we'll have another Republican president someday...sooner then we'd like I'm afraid.

    When good people of conscience give up the fight for justice, all is lost. Therefore you must not give up. www.politicalartwork.blogspot.com

    by EmilyD on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:32:29 AM PDT

  •  What about a no-confidence vote? (0+ / 0-)

    I know, it should be impeachment. But if it's not, it seems a no-confidence vote would be more appropriate. Censure is what you do to a member of your own body -- the Senate censures a senator and the House censures a rep. Also, a censure seems like a response to a specific incident, whereas a no-confidence vote says "you're a total fuckup."

    •  neither of them will pass (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oxy Moron, SpamNunn

      Censure has zero chance of passing, and a vote of no confidence would be essentially the same thing.  Both would be a straight party line vote with Lieberman (and who knows how many blue dogs) crossing over.  the only way to change votes on this is to put evidence out in public and force the Rs to either side with Bush or against him.  these toothless supplemental punishment measures amount to nothing, they are the real time wasters, since they can accomplish nothing.

      Bionic orca maki, anyone?

      by itsbenj on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:51:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doing the right thing shouldn't be hampered... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skrekk, Oxy Moron

        By worrying about outcome.

        The action itself is worthy of the effort.  The outcome is irrelevant.  The action itself could easily get many positive results.  Uniting the country is one benefit.  Shining a light on lies is another.

        Why do so many find it so hard to do the right thing?

        Won't you help me Mr. Jesus ~ Won't you tell me if you can ~ When you see this world we live in ~ Do you still believe in Man?

        by JuniperLea on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:57:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but when you have a choice (0+ / 0-)

          of a few potential "right things" to do, you should pick the one of the best combination of a chance at succeeding and at actually addressing the problems at hand, right?  that's why to me censure is just nothing, may as well not happen.  because it meets neither of those criteria.  won't happen, wouldn't matter much if it did.  impeachment on the other hand could happen, and would have serious consequences for the wrongdoers of the bush admin

          Bionic orca maki, anyone?

          by itsbenj on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:44:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Senate only has censure... (0+ / 0-)

            Since they cannot introduce articles of impeachment.  Censure is good... it may just show the House that people, and the Senate, is serious.

            Won't you help me Mr. Jesus ~ Won't you tell me if you can ~ When you see this world we live in ~ Do you still believe in Man?

            by JuniperLea on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:17:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Two points... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    This one is brilliant:

    But the assumption that that public relations battle too would be lost, I think concedes too much, and is as much a defeatist's position as simply giving up entirely.

    This one is debatable:

    neither does ordering a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese.

    I'm pretty sure Repubs would vote against cloture if the Pizza Bill was introduced by a Dem. And they would call the extra cheese "pork" even though the pizza was packed with their own pepperoni.

    • Blog This: News Corpse
    • The Internet's Chronicle of Media Decay.

    by KingOneEye on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:33:26 AM PDT

  •  Censure Just Provides Cover for Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oxy Moron

    It gives them a built-in "out" to vote against Impeachment, they can say "He's already been Censured, Impeachment is piling on."

    No Matter How Ill-informed or Uninformed They May Be, Kossacks Are NEVER Ignorant

    by The Baculum King on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:34:32 AM PDT

  •  Censure will look political as hell. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oxy Moron

    If we're worried that impeachment will look like base politics, we should be terrified by how censure will look.

    1.  Censure will not produce new evidence.  No subpoenas will be issued -- especially not with the additional force of a subpoena issued as part of a formal impeachment inquiry.
    1.  Without new evidence, it will look like the Dems are just rehashing old arguments.
    1.  With no real consequence to censure, it will just seem like Dems saying "Fuck You" to the administration.  Oooh!  Just in time for the elections.
    1.  Censure does nothing to repair the damage to the Constitution.

    Censure is a fucking base, political stunt.  

    "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

    by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:35:01 AM PDT

  •  mmmmmmm, pizza. (0+ / 0-)

    Obstruction of Justice: Most people are idiots... But don't tell them. It'll spoil all the fun for those of us who aren't.

    by d3n4l1 on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:35:26 AM PDT

  •  Things of Beauty (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wordene, Oxy Moron, wilderness voice

    are censure and impeachment.  They require votes.  Either up or down.

    Let the people see who supports criminality, corruption, imperial power-hogging, corporatism, and warmongering.  Just let them see; they will know what to do.

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:36:19 AM PDT

  •  huzzah! This statement ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveV, Oxy Moron, wilderness voice

    Facing trial before the Senate (and possibly escaping by the skin of one's teeth) is no small matter is so spot-on.

    Those who say we could never get 67 Senate votes for conviction are probably right. After all, no President has ever been convicted of impeachment, although it's pretty clear Richard Nixon would have been if he had stuck around to fight the articles against him. So, obviously, impeachment at this level - at any level, really - is not a slam dunk, and few of us who support impeachment have ever claimed otherwise.

    But 60 votes in favor of conviction, even 55, which I think would be doable, would head us down the road we so desperately need to go: reining in the imperial presidency.  

  •  I think it is a great idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philgoblue, Oxy Moron

    Impeachment should be introduced, of course. But a censure motion, while it may be blocked, will require debate. If it would be likely to pass, potentially endless debate. Thanks to Republican obstruction the  Senate isn't doing much anyway, so it has time on its hands.

  •  Edwards Support Censure (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Oxy Moron

    and has since Feingold first put it on the agenda.

    He mentioned it again last night:

  •  Thanks for the run down (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oxy Moron

    And as legalese has it If you don't object then you affirm the statement,action,continuation etc of what is going on.

    In court one must continually object to violations of court rules by the prosecuting attorney, the lawyers, the judge. These are your best assurance of success in appealing a negative outcome.

    If the judge rules erroneously and gets away with it in your court case, then the judgement must be looked at again in the light of your objections to court rules. If they have been violated the ruling must be overturned.

    A common mistake by novices is to assume the appeal court looks at all the evidence and comes to a different conclusion. They do not! They only look at your objections to see if court rules were violated. So if you don't object, you are condoning the violations and you automatically lose even if the court rules were violated.

    Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

    by abbeysbooks on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:41:22 AM PDT

  •  Anything that goes to stopping the ligitimization (0+ / 0-)

    ...of CHENEY/bush's unconstitutional actions is a step in the right direction.  

    If they can't/won't impeach, at least they can stand up and denounce this administration and its transgressions in an official manner that may, in some way, provide a platform on which to build future law.

  •  The current poll data has Congressional approval (0+ / 0-)

    ratings at about 28%, almost as bad as Dubya.  Three quarters of the populace distrusts and/or hates the whole Congress, not just the Republicans.   Do you think that's because Congress has failed to impeach or defund the war, or because Congress is wasting its time grandstanding on both sides of the aisle in what will be the longest and sickest run up to an election ever? [he asked, rhetorically]

    Because everyone has one.

    by SpamNunn on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:44:12 AM PDT

    •  You need to break out Dem vs. Republican (0+ / 0-)

      When you do that, Democratic Congress has near 50% approval rating while Republicans Congress has 30% ratings a la Bush.

    •  MSNBC's all day political Tuesday (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpamNunn

      has been trumpeting in every hourly segment with different hosts that Congress approval figures are 14%. So far, and I'm drifting in and out not one Democrat has broken that down to Dems and Repubs.

      Not one has refuted the figure either, various excuses start with - well, we passed the Minimum wage hike which goes into effect today.  That's pretty poor pickings for accomplishment.

      I hate these days when everyone is trying to be so reasonable  (on TV I mean, not in the blogs, those days are few and far apart) spinning like tops to make doing nothing into achieving something.  

      The fact is, imo anyway, that basically not many people give a damn right now about much except 1) the war in Iraq and/or censure or impeachment, and on the Repub side, it's still illegal aliens and immigration and terror all the time. Don't see many protests for much of anything else anyway. I could be wrong.

  •  Impeachment blowback (0+ / 0-)

    I'm hardly the first to note that the unsuccessful impeachment of Bill Clinton didn't exactly cost the Republicans in subsequent elections.

    It's also important to think about what Bill Clinton's legacy would be if he hadn't been impeached: "Sure, the Republicans grumbled about some stuff, but Republicans are always grumbling about something."

  •  Censure requires 60 votes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveV

    To state the obvious, any move to censure Bush or Cheney or any other member of the administration will require 60 votes, not the mere 51 needed to pass a censure resolution.  

    "Terror is nothing other than justice...; it is ... the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs." M. Robespierre

    by Bartimaeus Blue on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:47:23 AM PDT

    •  Bingo. -- Kagro X, does this alter your calculus? (0+ / 0-)

      "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

      by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:59:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. (0+ / 0-)

        If there's majority support for censure, I'd love to have that filibuster on TV.

        Also, of course, if all else fails, the House can issue the censure instead.

        •  That filibuster would look like base politics. (0+ / 0-)

          The base is already on board -- in both camps.  I'd love to see it too, but a filibuster on censure would be C-SPAN3, at best.

          Televised impeachment inquiry = Prime Time.

          "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

          by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:08:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)

          Of course, you have to assume that the Dems would have the mettle to go ahead with live filibuster breaker on this one.  And I doubt that Harry has the stuff.

          On the Constitutional point that the exercise of powers with no objection can become constitutional practice is absolutely correct.  The situation is analogous to the crystallization of jus cogens norms in international law:  the objection of a significant state actor may be sufficient to preclude the emergence of consensus.
          And that is why the acquiescence of the Democratic leadership in both Houses is dangerous.

          The question is how can we move our leadership to put some force behind a move either to censure or (in the House) to begin impeachment investigations.

          "Terror is nothing other than justice...; it is ... the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs." M. Robespierre

          by Bartimaeus Blue on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:35:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's a start, (0+ / 0-)

    or--better: Assuming it's a start, I support censure wholeheartedly.  I'm still more than a little sore over Feingold's last Kos diary, but he's doing the right thing now.

  •  I'm sorry but (0+ / 0-)

    I simply do not understand why people are called "courageous" for calling for moderate measures which are less severe than what the bulk of the American populace is calling for.  Just doing your job is not courageous.  Feingold faces no real negative consequences for calling for more harsh (and realistic) punishment, so why not just go all out?  If anything, this is a position which is somewhat lacking in courage.

    I don't expect anyone to praise my "courage" for showing up at my job and doing it, and neither should any of our elected officials.  We need to set the bar much, much higher for them.

    Bionic orca maki, anyone?

    by itsbenj on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:48:44 AM PDT

  •  you raise interesting issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveV

    i did a little research on censure and really do think it is feckless.

    But, the issue you raise of unchallenged precedent is good. However, i do remember other US Supreme court decisions that reject that statement, basically saying even if our government does unauthorized acts for decades that it will not legalize it.

    Still, i can see the value in covering your bases, just in case this new court decides to follow approach you mentioned.

    BUT, given the current state of lack of political will now for impeachment, and given that if the senate censures, then the house may view that as an escape hatch, causing even less political will for impeachment, so censure could take impeachment off the table permanently.

    With Clinton, the dems tried to use censure as an alternative to impeachment, so that is my concern.

  •  We may end up with martial law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade

    if they don't do something. It is clear they are afraid and few understand the power of the netroots which is growing all the time. They have underestimated it so far, just as they underestimated the movement in the 60's which allowed it time to gain traction. Now they know how to deal with that sort of civil disobedience.

    But net disobedience is still something they have to learn about. So we need to make hay while we can.

    This administration is not going to stop. And I do not see their handing over the govt on inauguration day 2008 when they lose. I just can't see it.

    They have packed the bureaucracies with their cronies and all of that needs to be weeded out. And I don't see that happening under the usual liberals. They are not ruthless enough.

    Just as Allende in Chile was not ruthless enough and did not take control of the military. Lenin's rules stress this as a must. So far the Pentagon rules in the US and most of the administration are really puppets for them. This endless war is just what the military wants. Their backs must be broken. I have no idea that there is any way to do that.

    They came into power with JFK's assasination and still have it.

    Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

    by abbeysbooks on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:53:30 AM PDT

  •  Courage my arse (0+ / 0-)

    REAL courage is doing the right thing without one measurable moment wasted on wondering what others are thinking.

    Doing the right thing shouldn't hinge upon anything at all.

    Won't you help me Mr. Jesus ~ Won't you tell me if you can ~ When you see this world we live in ~ Do you still believe in Man?

    by JuniperLea on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:55:04 AM PDT

    •  Let's ask your arse what to do. (0+ / 0-)

      Since Senators can't actually introduce articles of impeachment, what was it you were looking for Feingold to do, exactly?

      Talk about what he wanted someone else to do, instead?

      •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JuniperLea

        How about saying in our public forum (which has a few readers, btw) that he felt it's the House's obligation to take protection of the Constitution as its most important job.  Oh, and that holding a formal impeachment inquiry wouldn't be a waste of time.  That would have been nice.

        "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

        by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:02:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He can't do that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soccergrandmom

          Senators can't hold formal impeachment inquiries. The Senate isn't empowered to do it.

          So he's facing this choice: Speak soothing words to others and beg them to actually take some sort of action while he sits on his hands, or; take what action he can, in the hopes that it moves the ball forward in some way.

          I think there's some courage in taking the bull by the horns to the extent he's able to, especially in the face of the rejection he faced last time.

          •  Where did I say he should hold an inquiry? (0+ / 0-)

            I think we are misunderstanding each other today.  

            I said he should absolutely speak some words -- and not soothing ones.  I wanted Feingold to get up here in our forum and say that the House should investigate and hold a formal inquiry -- not some milquetoasty dreck that it would be a waste of time.

            "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

            by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:26:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  is there any value in thinking that (0+ / 0-)

            if Sen Feingold's motion to censure is detailed enough (sort of like a prosecutoer asking a grand jury to indict?) then that censure motion could be used as the basis of articles of impeachment by the House. There fore have value as the first step.

            Or am I just grasping at straws?

            •  Actually, I sincerely hope not. (0+ / 0-)

              We need to have a formal impeachment inquiry before articles are brought before the House.  Such an inquiry can not hold off subpoenas by merely asserting "executive privilege" (as the Nixon tapes showed us).  If we bring ready-made articles, then we would lose out on the inquiry.

              "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

              by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 12:17:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  You make no sense. (0+ / 0-)

        The diarist stated it took courage to do something that was not met with support the last time.  I'm saying the right thing outweighs everything else.

        That's what my arse says.  

        Egad.  There must be a fucking full moon or something.

        Won't you help me Mr. Jesus ~ Won't you tell me if you can ~ When you see this world we live in ~ Do you still believe in Man?

        by JuniperLea on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:04:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

          before we cast too many aspersions, you might consider that I am actually the diarist.

          So, what does your arse say the right thing is? Introducing articles of impeachment?

          Well, Senators can't actually do that.

          So now what?

          •  Obviously... (0+ / 0-)

            My arse feels censure is the right thing for the Senate to do!  

            What said arse took issue with was your saying it took courage to do so, since it was not met with support or approval from Feingold's peers.  The arse calls bovine excrement on that, and only on that.  Doing the right thing should not be hinged upon anything, let alone approval of one's peers.  I feel exactly the same way about those who would argue about impeachment based on voting outcome.  That's like saying we shouldn't prosecute a murderer because he might get off the hook!  Stupid!!!

            You know full well, and have stated correctly in this diary, that the Senate cannot introduce articles of impeachment.  What we need to do is set a little fire under the arses of the House, and make damn sure they realize that their excuses about a voting outcome have no bearing whatsoever on the situation.  They need to do the right thing.  Period.

            And on the debatable issue of an impeachment backfire... more bull I say.  I've heard some state that the approval rating for Congress is in the pooper... and why do you suppose that is?!?!  Because they won't get off their arses and do something about this renegade administration!  That's why!  I never much worried about a plan backfiring when the plan was to do the right thing anyway.  Why are people so afraid to do the right thing?

            Sorry for being a pill, Kangro... I've about had it with trolls and troll hunters today.  Nasty beasts, both.

            Won't you help me Mr. Jesus ~ Won't you tell me if you can ~ When you see this world we live in ~ Do you still believe in Man?

            by JuniperLea on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:14:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I enthusiastically support Senator Feingold (0+ / 0-)

    in pursuing censure.  It does not preclude impeachment, if a will to impeach should miraculously develop in the Congress.  It is something that has a possibility of actually being accomplished if we, the Democratic base, get completely behind it.
    I've written to Harry Reid, and my two Democratic senators, imploring them to support censure.  I will keep calling and emailing them.  If we all did that, I think we could have an impact.
    We can't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.  Impeachment is the perfect remedy, but censure is good.  We can't let our conviction that impeachment would be best, make us fail to support something that has a good chance of succeeding -- censure by the Congress of the United States.  At least then, Congress will have gone on record for posterity; and I, for one, think that is significant.

    One cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one's own. James Baldwin

    by CarolynC967 on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09:56:32 AM PDT

    •  Sorry, but censure WILL preclude impeachment. (0+ / 0-)

      There will be no investigations or hearings as a result of censure.  There WILL be enormous pressure to "censure and move on."  Censure will look especially political due to the absence of hearings and to the absence of punishment.  It is the worst of both worlds, in my opinion.

      "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

      by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:05:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I accept your correction (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DaveV

        I still support censure, however.  There is not enough support in Congress for impeachment.  I hoped that Congressional investigations would reveal facts that would create momentum toward impeachment.  That does not appear to be happening, primarily because of the administration's stonewalling and ordering subordinates not to honor subpoenas.
        I wish the Congress would use the power of inherent contempt, but there again, the will does not appear to be there.
        What's left?  As a pragmatic individual, I would say that the only remaining option at this point is censure.  Even then, the Congressional leadership opposes it.  When this is the case, what is the point of insisting on impeachment?  If they are fearful of censuring this administration, what chance is there to get them to go ahead with impeachment, which is even more drastic?

        One cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one's own. James Baldwin

        by CarolynC967 on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:32:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I support censure as a last resort. (0+ / 0-)

          Only if impeachment proceedings fail to be called.  It can be done in the lame duck session after the Nov. elections; at that point it would be our only remaining option to remove the "gloss" that Justice Frankfurter discusses.

          "It's the CONSTITUTION, stupid!"

          by DaveV on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:35:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I was one of those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chase

    whose reaction to Senator Feingold's most recent diary regarding censure was pretty strong, and not at all supportive.

    Having had a bit of time to, you know, cool down and stuff, I still disagree very strongly with what he's doing.  But.  I'm willing to agree that his motives are only the best, and that he's doing the best that he, as a Senator, can do.

    Having said that, however, I still think that tactically it's exactly the wrong thing to do, for the simple reason that if a censure measure proceeds through the Senate -- regardless of the outcome, vote-wise -- the House will seize upon it as an excuse to refuse to pursue impeachment.  If the Senate votes to censure Bush/Cheney et al, the House will say "That's enough, we don't need to impeach.  We've done due diligence on oversight."  If the Senate either filibusters or has an upperdown vote that fails, then the House will say "See?  There's no point in impeaching because we don't have the votes in the Senate to convict."

    Pelosi would do that.  You all know she would.

    "Well, senility aside, he was competent." -- Darksyde on "terrific" President Ronald Reagan, 7/17/07

    by Mehitabel9 on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:01:22 AM PDT

  •  Excellent shade of lipstick... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveV

    but how do you propose stopping its oinking?

    In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.

    by jgilhousen on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:05:54 AM PDT

    •  With impeachment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jgilhousen

      But that doesn't mean pigs aren't interesting topics of discussion, too.

      •  To employ yet another tired metaphor... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DaveV

        I think it probable that the censure bills will be self-defeating, letting much needed air out of the impeachment baloon.  I know Sen. Feingold well enough to believe this is not his intent, and that he is sincerely making the proposal as a matter of principle.

        In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.

        by jgilhousen on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:35:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's probable, too. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jgilhousen

          That's what makes the subject of the diary "another" view on it.

          A lot of its capacity to substitute for impeachment will depend on the timing of its consideration on the floor, if it's considered at all.

          •  I'm just glad I'm not a member of the House. (0+ / 0-)

            I would not want to vote for a censure bill which I consider woefully inadequate at best, and counter-productive at worst.  But I can imagine the attack ads now saying "He criticized this President but wouldn't even vote to censure him."  Talk about rocks and hard places.  (Dang!  I have no idea why I seem to be spewing cliché's with such abandon today.)

            In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.

            by jgilhousen on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:42:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  If I understand you correctly (0+ / 0-)

    what you are positing is that failure to impeach or to bring 'inherent contempt' charges might in the long run prove to be more dangerous and disastrous to the future of the republic than bringing impeachment charges and failing to convict.

    The reason:  that then basically this administration's claims of executive privilege, contempt of congress and obstruction of justice by definition and default become accepted tenets of behaviour?

    That would seem to me to be a powerful argument to use the courts to prove one's case one way or another. Not to is sort of like not asking Dad if you can borrow the car in case he says no, saying just because you are his son you have the inherent right.  

    This is really educational as I am slowly beginning to realise that law is not written in concrete as I thought it was, black and white, cut and dried, rather Constitutional law is organic and open to interpretation depending on court approved precedents.  Very interesting.

    Maybe this is why we are such a litigious nation. A crapshoot. Talk about continuing education in the lessons of life.

  •  So basically (0+ / 0-)

    this is saying that since Congress cede him power and didn't stop him before it now becomes the law of the land? What happened to the conservative 'strict constitutionalists". Perhaps the Democrats should stop glossing this pig.

    "And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine" Bob Dylan

    by shaharazade on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:11:17 AM PDT

  •  The insideous reality (0+ / 0-)

    of the Legislative branch of government NOT speaking up in any way to mark, call out, stop, define, censure, impeach the power grab and uber enhancement of executive powers is very worrisome to me.

    The letting stand, without question, any of the powers...that those powers would remain in place for any future administration is bad for the balance of powers.....it's just not good.

    I don't want to believe that the Democrats would let this stand...by not speaking, they are in effect doing so.

    How many times have we heard "Well, previous administrations did it this way, so it's accepted practice"?

    Not good...just not good...

    The stronger the faith, the closer the devil.

    by trinityfly on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:11:26 AM PDT

    •  Not good (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trinityfly, soccergrandmom

      Indeed, and, I too stand more educated every day regarding the fine details of the Law.
      In the longer view, and in light of what seems obvious; that precious little will be accomplished in the next eighteen months, we must look to the future and remember the past. At every opportunity we need to hold the eventual president's feet the fire about implementing corrective legislation to prevent these abuses by all future administrations.
      If that effort is successful, and it's up to us to see that it is, it renders moot the discussion of censure as a prospective remedy.
      As a tactical option, without casting any aspersions on Sen. Feingold's courage, censure still seems like a half measure unless it's used to move the debate along and wratchet up the pressure on the House. As I've said before, leaders should LEAD, and it's clear from the polls as well as from this site that there are MILLIONS of us starving for bold and effective leadership. Show of hands, how many feets do you think we could put on the streets in vocal and peaceful support of constitutional action to restore our democracy (i.e. IMPEACHMENT)?

      Non illegitemati carborundum

      by Old Lefty on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:30:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's those 18 long months to go, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Lefty

        without much hope of redress, that yawn like an abyss.

        The stronger the faith, the closer the devil.

        by trinityfly on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:37:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sheeit! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          trinityfly
          Really, we've been waiting since The day of the Trifid (1980), dawn of the dead, I mean Ronnie RayGun. What's a few hundred more days of water torture? We would do well to remember too that 8 years of Bill & Hill did exactly nothing to fundamentally change the game.

          Non illegitemati carborundum

          by Old Lefty on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:05:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Old Lefty

            Lived through it...

            Pretty sure that this band of merry thieves has been the most blatant...

            not just a drip, drip, drip...we are all being waterboarded.

            The stronger the faith, the closer the devil.

            by trinityfly on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:19:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Waterboarding (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              trinityfly

              Here's the real deal; they cannot kill us, much as they'd like to, do doubt. And to your point about them being the most blatant, yes. All the symptoms fin du siecle arrogance (let them eat cake). These, ah, gentlemen, actually believe their own bullshit. Fatal mistake that. O'Reilly's rantings and W's increasingly odd behavior, Gozo's utter lack of comprehension are all to be expected as the world closes in around them. I highly recommend a look at the 'Narcissistic Personality Disorder' literature, very illuminating.

              Non illegitemati carborundum

              by Old Lefty on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 01:10:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  baby steps to justice (0+ / 0-)

    well if thats what it takes..

    have we hit bottom yet?

    by eddienic on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:31:15 AM PDT

  •  US must repudiate the Bush legacy (0+ / 0-)

    ... both to repair the eroded constitutional framework before Bush's innovations harden into the concrete of precedent, and to restore credibility on the world stage.

    This repudiation must be formal, it must be explicit, it must be decisive, and it must be robust.

    However, there's no need that it be contemporaneous. Where immediacy conflicts with robustness, immediacy should yield.

    A bare majority censure or failed impeachment would not have the desired effect, and might dilute or diminish the appetite for stronger measures in the post-W era, when chastened Republicans (or other then-predominant party on the Right) are freer to engage in the enterprise.

    We must defeat them over there, or they'll follow us home ... hide under our beds ... and grab us by the ankles when we get up to pee.

    by RonK Seattle on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:37:23 AM PDT

  •  I believe the 12 step saying goes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janie

    something to the effect that 'half-measures avail us nothing', but we'll see how this all goes.  I am just stunned at the lack of balls to go forward with impeachment - God knows the other side would have done it to us years ago...  

    Thanks, Kagro, for a great article...

    Melissa

    Dissent is Patriotic

    by mwjeepster on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 10:40:34 AM PDT

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