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June 17, 2005

Comments

This is a joke. I hate this Administration as much as anyone. But absent substantially better information about malfeasance, impeachment is laughable. Even discussing it is a joke; people are skipping a lot of steps (commissions, investigations, etc.) in their haste to make clear they're not crazy about this Administration either.

It's actions like this (not Dean's rhetoric) by which Dems constantly seem to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Edward, Edward, don't you realize that the I-word is inflammatory and polarizing? Please be constructive!

Sigh. Quite honestly, as a sincere loather of Bush, I can't see that anything in the Downing St. stuff counts as a high crime or misdemeanor, though I would be happy to be corrected.

The President is legally allowed to lie to the American people, who can either tolerate it or not when they go to the polls. Right now, I think we have a slim majority in favor of being lied to.

One of my cardinal rules in life is: it can always get worse. Never, ever try to put this to the test. Like you, I find it pretty hard to imagine, but then I put that down to the limits of my imagination. All sorts of things I could never have imagined have been happening over the last several years.

No, it won't happend. And it's irresponsible to speculate. ;-)

I, for one, cannot imagine anything worse, but then, I'm a pessimist.

No, Edward, that makes you an optimist. I, for one, can imagine many, many things worse than our present political climate -- and I can easily see us attaining them, too.

"I, for one, cannot imagine anything worse, but then, I'm a pessimist."

Y'all really need to do some visualation or something to beef up them imaginative muscles. Or maybe go read some London or Lewis or Atwood or Roth.

Or do a weekend piece on thimerosol, and imagine all federal policy being about causing actual massive deaths for corporate profits, with the National Media taking their cut.

When y'all wanna die or kill, really wanna, then it is just starting to get bad.

I should have placed a smiley face after that final sentence...I actually meant to imply that by getting worse, things might actually get better. Bush might FINALLY be held accountable for SOMETHING, but like I note, I'm pessimistic about the odds of that.

Edward, Edward, don't you realize that the I-word is inflammatory and polarizing? Please be constructive!

I am being constructive...I'm trying to scare the arrogance out of the administration.

Edward, what's with the 'arrogance'? Is anyone who disagrees with you arrogant? OK, politicians could be pigeonholed as arrogant by trade. Is our President "exaggerating his worth"? He is certainly a proud man, a proud father, a proud husband, a proud American, but I've never felt it was sinful pride. The antonym? "Meek, unassuming?" Carterish? Impeachment? Jeesh! (visualize eyes rolling) Aren't you being just a bit arrogant?

blogbudsman: He is certainly a proud man, a proud father, a proud husband, a proud American, but I've never felt it was sinful pride.

What would constitute sinful pride, in your book?

Edward said "arrogance of the administration." Anyone who doubts said arrogance, either needs a dictionary or hasn't been reading the news.

The invasion of Iraq with insufficient troops, in the expectation of being acclaimed by the population, and with NO postwar plan to speak of, is Exhibit A for arrogance. Do we even need more exhbits?

Blogbudsman:

I'd define arrogance/sinful pride as going to war with an understaffed, poorly supplied army under false pretenses and with no exit strategy.

And then expecting it all to work out, somehow...?

YMMV of course.

blogbudsman,

first of all...welcome back!

Secondly, as Anderson notes, I wrote "of the administration," but the man himself was asked point blank if he could think of any mistakes he made during his first term and he said no.

It may be a personal thing. Perhaps he just rubs me the wrong way, and others find that same swagger charming or appropriate in the leader of the free world, I don't know. But to dismiss the possibility of impeachment out of hand, as you seem to be doing, is also, ironically, a bit arrogant, no?

and I see Anderson beat me to the punch...

blogbudsman,

He is certainly a proud man, a proud father, a proud husband, a proud American, but I've never felt it was sinful pride. The antonym? "Meek, unassuming?" Carterish? Impeachment?

You can say all those sweet things about many irresponsible leaders. You can say those things about the righteous King David.

King David was such a little angel when he sent Bathsheba’s husband to the front lines…all in the name of God and liberty of course.

To many right-winging “religious” people think, “good character” and being “born-again” protects them from punishment and responsibilty.

I would imagine a Godly man would have the strength to face the bad choices they have made...unless of course they belong to the Republican leadership.

"Is our President "exaggerating his worth"?"

Nothing else is possible but to exaggerate this President's worth, and I cannot imagine a possibility of underestimating him. He simply cannot be underestimated.

Secondly, as Anderson notes, I wrote "of the administration," but the man himself was asked point blank if he could think of any mistakes he made during his first term and he said no.

How did I ever forget that? Except some of his appointments, remember. The one or two who were able, on occasion, to extract their heads from their asses and report back on what they'd seen.

Great minds run in the same track, Bobzilla! Or fools think alike. Pick one!

He simply cannot be underestimated.

He can, however, be misunderestimated.

Not that again! Impeachment not only won't happen but shouldn't happen. I'm not confident enough that the system can stand the impeachments of two consecutive Presidents, no matter how richly this one deserves it, and impeaching him wouldn't improve the quality of the Administration in the least bit anyway. Instead, why not establish the objective of documenting and passing a very strong resolution of censure?

Instead, why not establish the objective of documenting and passing a very strong resolution of censure?

I'd love to see it, DaveL, but it has the same odds as a snowball in Samarra.

The only practical response to the Downing Street stuff, it seems to me, is an education campaign: the DNC should be running commercials that contrast Bush's promises that he wanted to avoid war, with the evidence that he had already committed to war. The goal shouldn't be "impeach him," but to bolster the impression that Bush isn't trustworthy, which obviously needs some work.

I was glib earlier & said most Americans prefer being lied to, but I don't actually think most Americans think Bush did lie to them. The more we can convince, the more likely some accountability.

I'd love to see it, DaveL, but it has the same odds as a snowball in Samarra.

I'm not suggesting that it could actually happen, although I'm still hoping things may be different after the 2006 elections. But I think it's dangerous for Democrats to be talking about impeachment, so it seems to me that it makes more sense to establish censure as a goal and then talk about that.

But I think it's dangerous for Democrats to be talking about impeachment,

Why exactly?

I think the country can stand two impeachments better than one partisan impeachment that shouldn't have happened and a deserved one that doesn't happen.
Facing up to things has a sanitizing effect. It will be truly detrimental to our national character if this administration is allowed to end without censure or impeachment.

Dangerous, I'd say (not being DaveL however), in the sense that it marginalizes the critique, and focuses people on "should we impeach Bush over this?" (to which the reasonable answer is, for the moment, "no") instead of "is Bush a deceitful little twit?" ("yes").

If Dems make this about impeachment, and the answer is "no, Bush shouldn't be impeached," then that makes what he's done okay, in a PR sense.

"Bush: You Can't Trust What He Says" is what the Dems need to get out of this, & it would be a huge step forward. It's because so few of us around here find Bush trustworthy that we feel the need for the I-word.

Anderson: The President is legally allowed to lie to the American people, who can either tolerate it or not when they go to the polls. Right now, I think we have a slim majority in favor of being lied to.

Actually, I don't think we do: because (AFAICS) the people who voted for Bush were adamant that Bush had told no lies.

Here There be Dragons

An impassioned argument against impeachment from a passionate Bush-hater.

"As such when the people can barely protest laws that would outright annul Constitutional ammendments then the Republic is already enfeebled past saving and is dying. That is because only when the Constitution lives within people's hearts that the Republic thrives. Yet the Constitution that lives within people's hearts and in their lives is what allows consensus and mandates to form for governing.

To use a political measure, even a political measure as extraordinary as impeachment, and even one as legitimate Constitutionally as impeachment at a moment of Constitutional disintegration is a terrible mistake. Because without the underlying living Constitution in people's lives to create a frame work for a new consensus, the result is not a convergence to a new governing mandate but the precipitation of a schism that breaks off a large chunk of the population. This schism radicalizes the breakaway group and renders them immune to political and that is to say non-violent means of relation and negotiation."

Important. Read the whole thing.

Dangerous, I'd say (not being DaveL however), in the sense that it marginalizes the critique, and focuses people on "should we impeach Bush over this?" (to which the reasonable answer is, for the moment, "no") instead of "is Bush a deceitful little twit?" ("yes").

If Dems make this about impeachment, and the answer is "no, Bush shouldn't be impeached," then that makes what he's done okay, in a PR sense.

Exactly. Witness the post-election claims that the election was the "accountability moment" and that by re-electing Bush, the American people endorsed everything he's done, including all of the prisoner-related stuff.

And also, to a lesser degree, dangerous in a constitutional sense, in that it would be taken by many as a further extension of the "anything goes" approach to American politics. No matter how firmly we may be convinced that Bush is the sorriest excuse for a President in a very long time, there would be many who would see any serious Democratic discussion of impeachment as being a matter of "they did it to our guy so we want to do it to theirs." I think we're a little too close to a major political breakdown to risk that right now.

DaveL, I'm certain that many Republicans would say that. And if God Himself were to come down and accuse Bush of what we suspect him of doing, still, IMHO, the majority of people who voted for Bush would continue to say that.

Remember back to the unveiling of Mark Felt as Deep Throat a few weeks back? We saw a chorus of Nixon's accomplices going on TV to criticize Mark, as if they had a moral leg to stand on. And the Media let them!

Many of these people have no shame whatsoever, and it is a mistake to base our actions on an expectation of their shame.

Important. Read the whole thing.

I have, and I'm not convinced. What he's saying, if I read it right, is that GWB ought to be impeached, but that the Democrats shouldn't do it because of "a hard core group of embittered partisans on the right who would cry disenfranchisement".* That's a remarkably poor reason not to carry out the impeachment; the quality of our justice should not be measured by the mewling of those who complain but our willingness to pursue that which is just.

As well as, of course, the justness of the act -- which I am assuming, arguendo, is satisfied here although many will disagree.

There are plenty of good reasons to oppose an impeachment process -- foremost among them the realpolitik concern that the Democrats don't have the numbers to carry it out -- but I'm sorry, I just don't see "because people might not like it" as one of them given the crimes of which Bush is accused. If you believe that Bush is guilty of those crimes, then justice must be served in whatever way we can.

* He's also talking about some kind of "Constitutional crisis" or "Constitutional moment", but I haven't the foggiest idea of what he's referring to. Any guesses?

He's also talking about some kind of "Constitutional crisis" or "Constitutional moment", but I haven't the foggiest idea of what he's referring to. Any guesses?

I think he's saying after going through the Clinton impeachment, Bush v. Gore, the increasing centralization of power in Congress, the incipient right-wing "stab in the back" account of Iraq, etc., we don't have enough Constitutional capital to spare right now to invoke an extraordinary procedure.

That's a very bold arguement!


I just don't see "because people might not like it" as one of them given the crimes of which Bush is accused. If you believe that Bush is guilty of those crimes, then justice must be served in whatever way we can.

Wait, what "crimes"? "Here There Be Dragons" suggests election-fixing, but this is (charitably) unproved as yet. Anyone got a list of Bush crimes, as opposed to blunders?

They're at it already. From Washington Post

An excerpt:

No matter: The lawmakers and the witnesses saw this as a chance to rally against the war. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) proclaimed it "one of the biggest scandals in the history of this country." Conyers said the memos "establish a prima facie case of going to war under false pretenses." Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) concluded that "the time has come to get out" of Iraq.

The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration "neocons" so "the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world." He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation," McGovern said. "The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic."

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who prompted the question by wondering whether the true war motive was Iraq's threat to Israel, thanked McGovern for his "candid answer."

At Democratic headquarters, where an overflow crowd watched the hearing on television, activists handed out documents repeating two accusations -- that an Israeli company had warning of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that there was an "insider trading scam" on 9/11 -- that previously has been used to suggest Israel was behind the attacks.

DaveL: I think he's saying after going through the Clinton impeachment, Bush v. Gore, the increasing centralization of power in Congress, the incipient right-wing "stab in the back" account of Iraq, etc., we don't have enough Constitutional capital to spare right now to invoke an extraordinary procedure.

I suppose, but I got the feeling he was invoking a particular incident which is why I was confused.

Anderson: Anyone got a list of Bush crimes, as opposed to blunders?

I was a little imprecise, but I'd assume lying the country into war meets the Constitutional requirement of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. There might be other possibilities too, e.g. one could conceivably argue that the Adminstration's blunders met the Constitutional equivalent of "criminal negligence".

I was a little imprecise, but I'd assume lying the country into war meets the Constitutional requirement of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. There might be other possibilities too, e.g. one could conceivably argue that the Adminstration's blunders met the Constitutional equivalent of "criminal negligence".

I'm no Con Law scholar, but I very much doubt that these would meet the constitutional test. Lying to the people and being an idiot are punished (?) at the polls.

Are you regarding the Clinton impeachment as the establishment of a standard or as an aberration? I.e. does the precedent established in the Clinton impeachment apply or is it something that the law will simply sweep under the carpet? If the latter, I suspect you're right; if the former, I think you're likely wrong.

...of course, given that the law must be interpreted to have force, and given who's doing the interpretation, I suspect you're correct as to the outcome and hence I really mean something like "at a moral level" or "if it were correctly decided &c", but the heck with such technicalities for the duration.

"Are you regarding the Clinton impeachment as the establishment of a standard or as an aberration?"

Typical frigging liberals. Oldman's point is that if you impeach Bush his supporters will shoot you dead.

Now continue to argue the fine points.

Umm, I apologize for the posting rule violation. Darn, it just slipped out. Not all liberals are incapable of recognizing civil war conditions when brought to their notice, nor do all liberals feel infinitely protected by the rule of law.

Although I am not sure the three specific words are so insulting.

If conservatives feel posting rules have been violated, blame oldman.

Sinful pride? Kerry, scheming his way through adolescence, then having the arrogance to reconstruct his own history and trying to slide it by the American public to capture the Presidency.

And standing in front of the debate cameras and responding to the 'mistake question' any other way would have been, well...a mistake.

Anderson baby, you need to take that campaign poster off your bedroom wall.

And Bob McM, ironically enough, he's underestimated all the time. What's with that! So like Anderson said, when you underestimate a formidable opponent, you've misunderestimated.

I'm glad someone turned the bold off. That's painful.

And I'm not sure I totally disagree with the Impeachment discussion. That'd shake the world up. Bush could step down, retire in disgrace - we'd pick one of the leading Midwestern Republican governors to finish out the term with an up and coming VP and we'd hold the White House for another 14 years minimum. Now if someone could only make up some credible reason.

You'all behave now!


Bobzilla, the answer - is - yes!

Blogbuds: Kerry, scheming his way through adolescence, then having the arrogance to reconstruct his own history and trying to slide it by the American public to capture the Presidency.

Ah. So it's "sinful pride" when Kerry does it: when George W. Bush does the same thing, it's okay.

Thanks for explaining.

Alas, I think that the only people who are going to impeach Bush are future historians. However I suspect the verdict will be a harsh one.

In regards to DaveC's post, interested readers might want to look at the letter that Conyers wrote concerning the WaPost article.

Sorry, comment, not post. Carry on.

If he had, it would.

So just stay drunk and live off family connections until you're 40 or so, then leverage those connections into an instant political career, and no one can accuse you of arrogance or "sinful pride."

Conyers said this in his letter:

First, let me be clear: I consider myself to be friend and supporter of Israel and there were a number of other staunchly pro-Israel members who were in attendance at the hearing. I do not agree with, support, or condone any comments asserting Israeli control over U.S. policy, and I find any allegation that Israel is trying to dominate the world or had anything to do with the September 11 tragedy disgusting and offensive.

He originally started planning the impeachment with Israel hater Ramsey Clark.

Misleading Congress is grounds for impeachment, legally, according to this week's Economist. Misleading Congress about a war that cost thousands of US soldiers lives and a hundred thousand or more civilian ones is grounds for impeachment, morally, according to me. Did Bush mislead Congress? That is what the trial would determine were he to be impeached. The fact that Clinton was impeached over a trivial matter says nothing about whether or not Bush should be impeached over a weighty one, it just says that the people who voted to impeach Clinton over a trivial matter were idiots who harmed our nation, in that now people are afraid to do the right thing because during the last presidency someone did the wrong thing.

Charles Bird included a quote in one of his recent articles to the effect that if you want really authoritative information, you should turn to Brad DeLong's site, and that's something I really agree with. Don't let it ever be said that everything that Charles Bird publishes on this site is total BS. Let's let professor DeLong have the last word here:

Fire Donald Rumsfeld. Impeach Richard Cheney. Impeach George W. Bush. Do it now.

Well said, Charles and Brad.

Kerry, scheming his way through adolescence, then having the arrogance to reconstruct his own history and trying to slide it by the American public to capture the Presidency.

Blogbud, even assuming this to be true, it shows an enormous amount of foresight and planning on Kerry's part in an attempt achieve a difficult but desired goal. That he almost succeeded show how effective he is in planning a course of action and following through. Just the sort of person we could use to fix this Iraq mess. :p

Wait, what "crimes"? "Here There Be Dragons" suggests election-fixing, but this is (charitably) unproved as yet. Anyone got a list of Bush crimes, as opposed to blunders?

Um, war crimes and crimes against humanity such as: Using false intelligence to lead the country into an illegal, undeclared war of aggression against a sovereign nation. Violating the Geneva Conventions by hiding covered persons from the ICRC. Violating The U.S. and International laws against Torture and Inhumane Treatment by approving or allowing such treatment in U.S. detention facilities and approving the rendition of persons to countries where he knew or should have known they would be tortured or mistreated. Illegally detaining U.S. citizens and denying them their due process. Ignoring Supreme Court decisions on the treatment and due process rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and U.S. citizens.

Of course many of the above crimes have also been committed by other members of the administration and they should all be impeached, convicted and turned over for criminal prosecution together. None of this can happen until the Democrats take both houses of Congress back. Hopefully, January of 2007 won't be too late to prevent the military from collapsing.

Alas, Phil Carter, whom I trust on such matters, says: "I think a military manpower meltdown will occur sometime in 2006."

Of course many of the above crimes have also been committed by other members of the administration and they should all be impeached, convicted and turned over for criminal prosecution together.

Sound like opinion from this website. John Conyers has also been on the trail of those horrible AIPAC people and Doug Feith, the neocons.

Or maybe this website. I wonder how Professor Boyle treats his conservative students. Do you think better or worse than Professor Reynolds treats liberal law students?

The Conyers/Clark reference is at the bottom of the page on previously linked site.

Blogbuds: If he had, it would.

*grin* And he did, so it does.

I came up with those all by myself thank you.

DaveC, could you please stop playing innuendo games long enough to acutally make an argument. For example, you write:

"John Conyers has also been on the trail of those horrible AIPAC people and Doug Feith, the neocons."

What on earth is the point of that statement? In any event, the FBI is a far bigger problem for AIPAC than Conyers. What is Conyers going to do exactly? Invite them to testify? Oooh scary! Whereas the FBI can, you know, launch criminal investigations and request that the district attorney call for indictments. In other words, the FBI can put you in prison. Conyers can make noise and be ignored by the media.

Given those facts, what exactly do you suggest we do? Are you suggesting that the FBI should not investigate people or groups it believes are involved in espionage? Or are you suggesting that the FBI should not investigate Israeli groups that are involved in espionage? Or are you suggesting that foreign governments should be allowed to influcence american government policy without restraint of any kind? What are you suggesting anyway?

DaveC writes:

"I wonder how Professor Boyle treats his conservative students. Do you think better or worse than Professor Reynolds treats liberal law students?"

Again, what on earth are you saying here? Your statement indicates that you have no idea how this Prof. treats his students. Given your admitted complete and total ignorance, what is the point of speculating? Furthermore, who cares? No one has complained, and even if they had, Obsidian Wings has neither the authority, the capability, nor the mandate to investigate and discipline faculty at random law schools. Are you suggesting we nvestigate a non-existant crime based on zero evidence committed by someone we've never even heard of?

I am really confused as to what the point of your post here is.

Wait a minute! I'm starting to get it now! You're not worried about malfeasance from this one professor because you admit to having no evidence whatsoever that it exists. Rather, you're just trying to smear him by making up false accusations. But because you lack the courage to make those accusations openly, you cowardly insinuate those accusations in the form of meaningless questions, thus granting you some measure of plausible deniability. Am I missing anything? Is that what you're doing?

Misleading Congress is grounds for impeachment, legally, according to this week's Economist.

Far be it from me to deprecate the Economist as an authority on American law---oh, sorry, I just did---but appropriating money for A and spending it on B is not, IMHO, an impeachable offense, particularly in today's "a billion here, a billion there, & pretty soon you're talking serious money" government. Just my objective opinion, not a wish to see Bush finish his term.

The violations of Geneva etc. are too iffy to trace back to Bush directly, though I do sometimes think Rumsfeld might be indictable.

As for "war crimes," sorry, folks. This is the same United States that incinerated Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, without a single person's going to jail. You're not going to pin "war crimes" at the operational level or higher on anyone in our gov't, let alone the C-in-C.

So, much as I would love to see Bush retired from practice, I just don't see it on the evidence thus far. ---Gary Farber, aren't you proud of me? ;)

Far be it from me to deprecate the Economist as an authority on American law---oh, sorry, I just did---but appropriating money for A and spending it on B is not, IMHO, an impeachable offense...

Does the Economist specifically cite misallocating appropriations as a justification for impeachment? I think there'd be a much better, stronger case for what I said above, namely misleading the American people (and, if you want to be more particular about it, Congress) into war using stovepiped intelligence "fixed" to fit predetermined conclusions not shared with the legislative branch. Appropriations could conceivably stick, I suppose, but I'd have a hard time believing it for much the same reasons you had.

Your statement indicates that you have no idea how this Prof. treats his students.

You are correct, I do not have any first hand knowledge of how he treats his students. I do know that he has used his credentials as professor to argue for divestment from Israel in 2000, and to argue that the US was guilty of war crimes in November 2001. I suppose his statements in 2001 may seem all the worse because the timing was bad, I may feel creepy reading what he says because I am pro-Zionist, but however abhorrent I find his views, he may be quite cordial in person.

My comments were supposed to be directed at John Conyers claims that he is a friend of Israel, but the Congressman is also friends with people who are enemies of Israel.

But because you lack the courage to make those accusations openly, you cowardly insinuate those accusations in the form of meaningless questions, thus granting you some measure of plausible deniability. Am I missing anything? Is that what you're doing?

I think that Ramsey Clark is a bad man and his cohorts are bad, and the long list of his clients, including Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Khomeini, The 7th day Adventist preacher responsible for the slaughter of 1000 people, Abu Abbas, the Abu Nidal group, Saddam Hussein, etc., are also bad. Professor Boyle is a supporter and cohort of Clark. And I'm saying that Conyers worked with Clark as well, especially on this impeachment stuff dating back to at least March 2003. I hope I have made myself clear this time.

Is there any value to having a lawyer able and willing to defend bad people, DaveC? (Or, of course, having many.) Should, under our system, all good people recuse themselves from defending bad people?

If not, what should we say about those willing to so step forward? If, alternatively, all good people should so refuse, how, precisely, do you advocate our system of justice should work?

I'm trying to figure out what you think a just system should be, so help me out, please, DaveC. I'll even refrain from asking why you hate America. ;-)

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