A United Coalition of Bloggers for the Impeachment of George W. Bush
From MBNYC: Pondering Impeachment
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The constitution provides for the removal from office of the President and Vice-President for what it terms 'treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors'. As does so much else in our constitutional system, the idea of impeachment
derives from English law. Despite their illegitimacy, impeachment and removal are therefore the legal avenue (of several available) that seems most apt for dealing with George Bush and Dick Cheney.
In judicial terms, impeachment is comparable to an indictment; at the Federal level, a simple majority of the House of Representatives is required to vote out Articles of Impeachment. These are then presented to the United States Senate, presided over by the Chief Justice, where a super-majority of two thirds is required for conviction and removal.
Notably, The Federalist Papers
make clear that impeachment is a political, as opposed to a judicial, process.
A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.
A cursory glance at the subject suggests that it's not a bad idea to untangle the judicial and political strings intertwined in the impeachment discussion.
The judicial case is reasonably clear at first glance: both Bush and Cheney regularly flaunt their breaking of established law, such as the FISA statute
. They knowingly presented false evidence to the United States Congress as it was debating the authorization to use force against Iraq. They authorized the breaking of U.S. law in detainee interrogations, most notably at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. They claim discretion to suspend the writ of Habeas Corpus. All of these acts, and others, stem from a theory of law embraced by this administration known as the unitary executive
. The theory holds that the executive branch, under the Constitution, is free to act without restraints which the legislative and judicial branches may seek to impose. It's worth noting that there is little in either U.S. or UK precedent that would establish the unitary executive theory as valid; Charles II lost his head on a scaffold in an earlier iteration
of this argument. Parallels can be seen in Lenin's dictum
that the Communist Party's dictatorship over the Russian people rests "directly on force, not limited by anything, not restricted by any laws, nor any absolute rules."
Impeachment is "Framed"
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Check out this site
, where impeachment is clearly framed for discussion.
Should We Impeach Bush and Cheney?
Yes. In ,Articles of Impeachment against Bush and Cheney, Eternal Hope lists fourteen grounds for impeaching Bush and Cheney. These grounds include:
1. Leaking classified information by disclosing the identity of Valerie Plame to reporters.
2. Lying to Congress--passing false information about Iraq's WMD capacities.
3. Extraordinary renditions.
4. Detentions without trial.
6. Misappropriation of funds.
7. Bombing Iraq without Congressional approval.
8. Conspiracy to pass false information.
9. Lying about Niger connection.
10. Contempt of Congress.
11. Illegal wiretaps.
12. Concealment of the existence or nature of domestic intelligence programs.
13. Destruction of evidence.
14. The use of white phosphorus in Iraq.
It is clear that this administration has a pattern of breaking the law. There is sufficient evidence in the public record to justify an intrusive and thorough investigation of the administration on these and other matters. Congress needs to use its investigation powers to do a zero-based appraisal of what the administration has been doing on intelligence gathering, use of the military, oversight of contractors, and domestic operations. If clear evidence of criminality is produced, then this should be used as the narrow basis of charges against the President and Vice President for impeachment. These charges should then be further investigated specifically by the Senate, and Senators should vote to remove these officers if they have broken any federal laws or violated their Constitutional oaths.
Why should we remove these officers if all Presidents violate federal laws to some extent? Will this be good for the country?
Yes, it will be good for the country because it resets the standards for the office. Of course, Presidents from Washington to Bush have technically violated the law, and many have failed to enforce parts of it they disagreed with. The behavior of this administration is qualitatively different. The neoconservatives have sought to undermine the law itself, and they did so to help out a narrow segment of society, their rich corporations and friends. They introduced the idea that the President is above the law. Impeachment sends a strong signal that this is not the case.
The President has enormous power, and that power affects people all over the world. Its occupant must look out for what is best for us all. To do that, they must operate within the bounds of the Constitution. No one person can always understand and do what’s best. That can only come out of the legitimate operation of the system, where checks on power can limit personal influence and many minds can look at the information to render the best course of action.
When the President violates the Constitution and operates outside the checks and balances of the other branches of government, they take the country off track. This is directly related, as we’ve seen, to how well (or poorly) our government performs.
If we don't impeach Bush and Cheney, who have deliberately operated outside the limits of the Constitution and federal laws, then some other person will try to do the same thing in the future. Neither we as a country nor the world as a whole can tolerate that.
If it were simply a matter of not enforcing controversial laws until the Supreme Court had decided, then bowing to that decision, and if it were not just a matter of operating according to the best judgment of the administration until Congressional investigation and oversight indicated a change of course, then we could tolerate this administration. They have a very different concept of what is right than the average American and certainly different from what Democrats would prefer. But we can and should tolerate this difference of opinion from anyone working within the system. It is the fact that the Bush Administration has gone outside the system that warrants impeachment and removal.
Rebuttal to Arguments Against Impeachment
by Jodin Morey of http://www.opednews.com
"Arguments Against Bush Impeachment...
- If we impeach Bush, we'll get President Cheney!
Initiating the impeachment process will lead to an investigation that will implicate lots of people in the Bush administration who are guilty of committing crimes, including Cheney.
"In addition, no matter who we get to replace Bush, we'll be showing those in power that anyone who breaks the law will be held accountable.
- Promoting impeachment will seem too "extreme."
Demanding that crimes be investigated is NOT extreme. Some previous impeachment attempts were considered extreme because they were pursued for actions that didn't rise to the level of a Constitutional crisis, which is what the impeachment tool is meant to be used for. Nixon's impeachment, however, was bipartisan."
Impeachment is a Civic Responsibility
Saturday, November 18, 2006
[Editor's Note] I posted this over at Daily Kos earlier today, pretty taken aback by a different viewpoint on the reasons for impeachment provided by Richard Dreyfus on last night's Real Time with Bill Maher. Although it took me a few hours to get around to it, it is the perfect post to be put over here. Enjoy!
I find it inherently interesting and often invaluable to hear other people's points of view as well as provide my own. I can't tell you how many times I have had my opinion expanded by simply turning an issue on its side and considering it from another's viewpoing, whether they are a person with whom I agree or not.
I was an early supporter of impeachment. In principle, it's the right thing to do. But politically, particularly after the November 7 election, I had gone somewhat softer. Right or wrong, I'm thinking politically and realizing that 2008 is right around the corner and a 1994-esque move (ala the Republicans targeting Clinton) to constantly subpoena, investigate, and potentially impeach didn't seem to serve political ends.
Richard Dreyfus changed my mind last night in his appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher.
I'm going to literally transcribe from my DVR Dreyfus' statement with respect to impeachment. It's powerful and everyone should read and at least consider it.
The general subject was whether or not ethics will be a central concern addressed by the new Democrat-controlled Congress. From there, though, it took a very interesting turn. All emphasis in the transcripts is mine.
MAHER: And you think he [the President] should be impeached? I mean, what would that get you? Cheney as President?
DREYFUS: The two reasons that one would argue against impeachment are the Vice President and the Democratic Congress. But I'm not in favor of impeachment. I am in favor of the process. And I believe that unless the society stands against certain things, they will have endorsed certain things. Like torture, leaving the Geneva Convention...
MAHER: Right. That is well said.
DREYFUS: ...and lying to the Congress about the reasons for war. And once the Republicans are placed in the position of having to endorse torture, you've got a bad problem on your hands. And we do not realize that this is not about impeachment - it's about the other branches of the government doing their duty so that you don't hand off to a liberal or a conservative - the President - swollen powers when no one ever turns power away. No one ever says "oh no thank you - we're not going to use that".
And so whoever gets to be President will use the power handed to this President. And we will rue that day unless we stand in some way against that, even in a minority report. Even if we... if you lose an impeachment hearing - whoever "we" are - then at least you have a body that says we stand against these things. And unless you do that, then you're for them.
One word: powerful. There was further discussion of a more general nature later in the show where Dreyfus also weighed in, and I really felt that his following commentary, coupled with his thoughts on impeachment, struck a perfect chord.
The lead-in was the discussion of the guy being beaten by the LAPD. One of the other guests, Tom Morello, was lamenting our numbness and wondering why we weren't in the streets with pitchforks and torches over such a thing. Dreyfus weighed in. This is a long transcription but it's worth reading every word.
DREYFUS: That's the constancy that you can learn. You can actually learn the constancy of curiosity, and the constancy of outreach. You can learn that it is ok to keep asking the questions, and to be dissenters. And if you don't - if you're not taught it - then you don't know it. But we owe ourselves and the United States that we will pass off to our children to re-learn the tools of reason, logic, clarity, dissent, civility, and debate. And those things are the non-partisan basis of Democracy and without them, you can kiss this thing goodbye.
It is up to us - it wasn't because of a conspiracy that that this left - it was thoughtlessness - and what you have to do is get it back. And what happens now in this partisan-addicted country of ours is that Democrats are afraid that if they send their kids to Civics classes they might not come back Democrats. And Republicans are afraid their kids won't come back Republicans. But Civics - the expertise needed to understand western enlightenment and civil liberties is not something you're born with. You have to learn it.
And we teach our kids what we want them to know and we don't teach them what we don't want them to know. And that's not a conspiracy - that's human nature. And you have to - WE have to remember - that unless we teach the ideas that make America a miracle in government - a miracle - that everyone knows is a miracle - unless we teach what that means, then it will go away in your kids' lifetime. And we will be a fable. We will be a tale told about this place that used to stand up for blah blah blah.
You have to teach it. You have to find the time and creativity to teach it in school. And if you don't, then you will lose it to fundamentalists of any stripe, you will lose it to stupidity, you will lose it to the darkness. And what this country represents is a tiny twinkle of light in a history of opression and darkness and cruelty and if it lasts for more than our lifetime or our kids' lifetime it is only due to the fact that we put some effort into teaching what it is.
The ideas of America - the idea of opportunity, mobility, freedom of thought, freedom of assembly - and if you don't teach it, it will go away and in the middle of the night when the towers fall, we will not say "what am I responsible for" - we will say "tell us what to do".
There's a lot to think about in that statement. First, I was struck by the obvious idea that we teach our children what we want them to know and NOT what we don't want them to know. It's self-apparent - but the cost is not something I had considered. I immediately thought of your typical pro-life person not teaching their children about sex and birth control, rather teaching abstinence and decrying abortion. But that shoe can be placed on either foot and we have to not fear people learning the other sides of the arguments we hold dear. It is, in fact, ESSENTIAL to the idea that we have a generation forming behind us that has the ability to cherish - to understand America and American values, and to stubbornly defend ALL points of view while nudging forward that which makes us so unique as a pure form of government. That is why the impeachment process is necessary. Not to punish - but to reinforce. To stand at last and go on record as to what's acceptable and unacceptable. To save our very Democracy.
And I was also very struck by the truth of his last statement: if we don't teach it - ALL of it - then we will morph to a populace that needs to be told rather than one that inherently knows what it stands for and what that means, in terms of responsibility, to each individual in the populace.
Incidentally, Dreyfus has been, for the last two years, a Senior Associate Member of St. Anthony's College, University of Oxford, learning (as he put it) how to teach civics.
There's a lot here to think about. And I, for one, am grateful that I heard it and am able to share it here.
One little extra unrelated tidbit I'll give you - Maher, of course, does his little schtick late in the show after his second one-on-one interview. This week, it was "celebrity fragrances", wherein he had men's cologne suited to politicians and celebrities, poking fun at their missteps. This one's just a bonus:
MAHER: [getting bottle of cologne] It speaks without thinking. Splash it on your red necks - George Allen's Macaca for Men.
The Courage to Say "Impeach"
Where have all the courageous leaders gone?
"Politics as usual is coming perilously close to destroying our country. We did not elect the Dems in order for them to continue to irresponsibly lead us down this dangerous path. The time to stand up for impeachment and the preservation of democracy is now."
From Raw Story: Sheehan and Others Rally for Impeachment
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The organizers of ImpeachForChange held a press conference Saturday, along with an impeachment rally to pressure the new Democratic majority for investigations into impeachment. The events took place at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, just across from Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed.
Anti-war activist and co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace Cindy Sheehan was one of several keynote speakers at the conference. In an interview with RAW STORY, Sheehan said, "We know that in a recent Zogby Poll that was commissioned by the After Downing Street coalition that over 51 percent of Americans would be in favor of impeaching George W. Bush if it was proven that he lied about the war and about the reasons for the invasion. I was just online today and there was an MSNBC poll that said 86 percent would be in favor of impeachment of George W. Bush, and I just want to rally people all over the country, wherever I go, to encourage their Congress member and the Democratic leadership to institute an investigation that may lead to impeachment and removal from office."
Additional polls also show that a majority of Americans support such measures. A recent Newsweek poll from October 24th showed that 51 percent of Americans support impeachment, while an October 25th, USA Today/Gallup poll found 51 percent of Americans supporting "major investigations" by Democrats.
Going further back, in a CNN poll on September 9th, 57 percent of the respondents said they thought it would be good for the country "if the Democrats in Congress were able to conduct official investigations into what the Bush administration has done in the past six years."
“We are a majority and that is a phenomenal thing, given the near blackout of the media and the lack of action in Congress," said David Swanson, co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com. "When Congress and the media were doing nothing else for months, the impeachment of Clinton never got above 37%. So something remarkable is going on but people don’t know it."
Amy Goodman Interviews Elizabeth Holtzman and Daniel Ellsberg
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Elizabeth Holtzman provides interesting perspective
on how impeachment might develop in the House.
AMY GOODMAN: What's your response to the Speaker in waiting, Nancy Pelosi, saying [impeachment is] off the table?
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN: Well, it's very understandable. It was off the table to the Democrats in 1973, when the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, and you had Richard Nixon as president.
AMY GOODMAN: He had won by a landslide victory in 1972.
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN: Correct. He had won by a landslide, and impeachment was off the table then. Nobody -- no Democrat was pushing for it. And, in fact, as the revelations came out, it still wasn't on the table. It took the American people, after the Saturday Night Massacre, sending a clear message to the Congress --
AMY GOODMAN: The Saturday Night Massacre being?
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN: The firing by Richard Nixon of the special prosecutor who was investigating him. It took that clear signal from the American people, who said, "Enough is enough. We are not a banana republic. A president cannot be above the law. He cannot stop an investigation into possible criminal behavior by him or his top aides. And we want Congress to hold him accountable." So it came from the American people. It didn't come from the Congress.
It's understandable that congressional leaders, members of Congress, will be very reluctant to take this enormous step to protect our Constitution and our democracy. But the American people still -- we have a democracy. You saw what happened at the polls. Members of Congress will get it, if the American people want it.
or Watch it HERE
John Nichols Urges Pelosi to Reconsider Impeachment
Thursday, November 09, 2006
In this article
, John Nichols urges the new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, to reconsider the decision not to impeach Bush. If Pelosi is worried about the possibility that impeachment would be political folly for the Dems, Nichols responds:
But is impeachment really a political loser? Not if history is a guide. There have been nine attempts since the founding of the republic to move articles of impeachment against a sitting president. In the cases in which impeachment was proposed by members of an opposition party, that party either maintained or improved its position in Congress at the next general election. In seven instances the party that proposed impeachment secured the presidency in the next election.
Pelosi's problem appears to be that she doesn't want to be accused of repeating the partisan misuse of impeachment that Republicans perpetrated in 1998 and 1999. But the misdeeds of Bush and Cheney are precisely the sort of wrongdoing that impeachment was designed to check and balance.
As a political reporter who has spent a good many years trying to unlock the mysteries of the Democratic Party, I contend that an openness to impeachment is not just good but essential politics for Pelosi and her caucus. The Democratic victory on Tuesday was not secured because the party proposed a bold agenda and won on it. Pelosi shied away from making presidential accountability a central theme of the campaign; arguably, she shied away from central themes in general - except, of course, the promise that Democrats will behave more admirably than Republicans.
To do something that will matter in the long term, something that will give Democrats the moral authority and the political pull that will allow them to correct the country's course, Pelosi and her fellow partisans must abandon the hyperstrategic politics of a contemporary status quo, which prevents surprises for entrenched officials, wealthy campaign contributors and powerful lobbyists. And the first step in that process involves embracing the oath members of the House take - to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
Excellent Article on Impeachment
Check it out at Mother Jones
From Editor and Publisher: Dean Says 'No' to Impeachment
The election is won. Is Dean forgetting the base that helped win the election?
Appearing on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" tonight, Democratic Party chief Howard Dean told host Jon Stewart, "I know half your audience wants us to impeach the president"-- this drew wide cheers -- "but it's not going to happen."
From red haze Setting the Frame: Impeachment
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I picked this up over at Daily Kos
. Written by blogger red haze
Setting the frame: Impeach!
by redhaze [Subscribe]
Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:20:46 PM PST
For those of you who would question the political expediency of impeachment, for those of you who would claim that we must deal with "more important issues" while we have a chance, and ESPECIALLY for those of you who would say that impeachment is simply not a realistic goal, I say this: What sort of example would NOT impeaching set for the future direction of this, our great country? To tacitly permit crime after crime, lie after lie, the murder and torturing of people by the stroke of a pen, the gutting of our freedoms and rights, the shredding of our constitution, and setting our country on the brink of totaltarianism. I don't know about you, but to me impeachment is not one issue among many issues, it is THE ISSUE.
Can you imagine George Bush, Dick Cheney, and all the other lying murdering theives and scoundrels among them simply walking away in 2008 and retiring in places like Crawford, Texas? It makes me sick to my stomach even thinking about it. It is, in fact, simply UNthinkable. We must never, ever allow their crimes to stand. We must take a stand here and now. We will never, ever allow this to happen again. Not in our country. Not now. Not Ever.
We are the ones who must now prosecute this war at home. And what we must seek is simple: Justice. For the sake of our nation and the future of our country, we must impeach.
From tipping point: I Have an Impeachment Dream
I noticed the following post over on Daily Kos
. Of course, it wasn't recommended because "impeachment" is an unspoken subject over at Kos. Maybe that will change now that the election is over.
I have an impeachment dream
by tipping point
Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 07:03:40 PM PST
I know some of you disagree with me on this, but I have a dream...that a Democratic House (and Senate?) will fully take on this President, and hold him accountable for his crimes. Before you accuse me of wanting vengeance more than good government, or playing into republican hands, hear me out.
I believe that our democracy is at a crisis point--
that after this election we will see numerous challenges and maneuvers designed to screw with the results and destroy confidence in elections by the Republicans;
that the President and the executive branch will burn the constitution before they submit to Democratic subpoenas;
that the Republican (minority) will continue to demonize the Democrats with the same old canards of tax and spend, San Francisco liberal, etc.;
that the government will enter into a gridlocked stand-off which will prevent movement on any issue, including security and Iraq, much less minimum wage, health care, and other important stuff;
that the grid-lock will be intended to allow the Republicans to come back in 08 running against a do-nothing Democratic Congress -
Much of this will happen anyway, no matter what the democrats do. So, given this climate, I believe we need House members (senate too) who will step up and be willing to immolate their political careers on the altar of truth and justice.
I don't mean "truth" and "justice" as empty rhetoric or abstractions. With regard to truth, I stood at the polls today with a Lamont sign and got a chance to talk to numerous people on the other side(s). They have different facts than I do -- if I believed what they believe to be true, I would share their politics. Until we restore an accepted and persuasive version of what happened - backed by the force of law - we cannot talk about the issues in any meaningful way. Telling the truth about Iraq, about corruption, about the energy policy will mean democrats and republicans have a solid ground from which to start. Only the law - the full weight of the process and its findings -- can provide this consensus.
As for justice, this is psychological, but no less important. There is a plague upon the land; until we cast out its source we cannot heal. This is ancient, like the Greek tragedies that end with the king exiled, or the Hebrew Bible which offers the harshest of punishments as collective purgation. The poison is in our polis, and it will take an act of ritual cleansing if we ever mean to clear the throne for a new king. Otherwise, we will continue to fight the old ghosts, the Clintons and the Bushes, and never bear up to the challenge of the present, never repent and expiate our collective civic guilt through reparative acts. I know this sounds a bit biblical and barbaric, but there's something in it, not literal but metaphorical. Justice means balancing the scales again, reasserting the law of consequences (which has atrophied so badly). If we ignore this, we authorize the worst of our leaders to give it another shot.
Nonetheless, it may well be political suicide to push for investigations and to exact official retribution on this gang of criminals. The conventional wisdom says move on, forget it, and that to engage in (what will look like) partisan revenge makes the democrats look petty and damages their future prospects. Yes and no. Individual futures might be damaged, but the party can always start fresh with new candidates. So let some of our congressmen step forward and take the hit. They have two years with a stationary target while Bush is in power - bring him and his cronies down with the facts; hold them to account for the unnecessary deaths they caused, for the corruption they condoned, and for the constitution they raped- then step aside to clear the ground for a new generation of politicians.
Yes, the democrats will taint themselves by fighting this battle, but they can deed the patch of political ground they clear to a new generation. That's my dream - that some of our congressmen and women will put the country first and their careers second. Integrity at this point means not pretending that all is well. Politics is no longer just politics, this isn't a game, the "my good friend across the aisle...we're all members of the same country club" attitude (that Colbert shocked everyone by ignoring at the Press Club event) isn't good enough in these times. You can't sit at the table with criminals and just pass the sugar. You won't get invited back, but so what?
Dems Win! Dems Win!
Tonight, the Dems won the House. And right now, it looks pretty good for the Senate too.
Crossing our fingers...and waiting.
Let's Impeach the President: The Music Video
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
You can watch Neil Young's latest music video for "Let's Impeach the President." Windowsmedia
Thanks to NeilYoung.com!
This video ROCKS!!!