June 10, 2008 archive

Time Is Running Out…

Time is running out so we must work together to spread the message and apply pressure.

Robwert Wexler asks for our assistance:

Our effort to hold the Bush/Cheney Administration accountable has taken another dramatic step forward. Last night, Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced the first Articles of Impeachment ever to be introduced against President Bush.  It includes, in total, thirty-five Articles detailing this Administration’s blatant abuse of power. Today, I enthusiastically co-sponsored this vitally important bill.

I am grateful for Dennis’ leadership on this issue and for the steadfast support that countless Americans have given to both of our efforts to redeem our government and expose the crimes of Bush and Cheney.  

I will now expand my efforts to secure impeachment hearings in the Judiciary Committee for these new Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush.

Many of the charges against President Bush are well known – and would shock the conscience of everyday Americans if only the national media would be willing to report on these stark facts.

The Articles present a stunning narrative of offenses that have go well beyond previous crimes committed by any US chief executive.  In fact no President or Vice President in history has done more to undermine our constitution.  

These charges are broad, with 35 separate allegations including the deliberate lies regarding WMDs that led us to war and the approval of illegal wiretapping of American citizens.  The Articles also include new allegations of high crimes – including the explicit approval for high Administration officials to violate treaties and US law banning the use of torture.

The Democratic Party gained a majority in the House and Senate due in large part to our promises to end the corruption of the Republican majority and to hold the Administration accountable to the law. This courageous bill is a crucial step towards fulfilling this promise, but – like the Articles against Cheney – they require your support to convince Democrats and open-minded Republicans to support this bold but necessary action.

Time is running out so we must work together to spread the message and apply pressure.

First, please encourage your friends and family members to sign up at WexlerWantsHearings.com – as it will allow us to keep in touch with you and speak to a wider audience.  If you haven’t yet put in your phone and address, please sign up again, as we will be doing telephone town halls in the near future.

Second, call your representative and urge them to support Impeachment hearings.  

Finally, contact newspapers, news stations, and your favorite bloggers and urge them to report on this movement.  We need to keep Impeachment a significant news story until the Democratic leadership sees the value in it.

McClellan Agrees to Testify:

I was pleased to inform you yesterday that Judiciary Committee Chairman Conyers met my call to have Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan testify under oath.  I am thrilled to inform you that McClellan has agreed to testify on June 20th at 10AM.  This will be the first step in what we hope will be ongoing and deepening examinations of the stark evidence and charges against both President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Thank you for your continued passion and advocacy.  Your support means so much to me.


Congressman Robert Wexler

I have nothing to add.  Just go do it!  Look up HOR Judiciary members and use the toll free numbers for Congress:




Thanks!  Go get ’em!

Faux News: “Most Republicans crazy like a man stuck in a toilet”

Truth be told, the title isn’t an exact quote, but it isn’t far off.  

Yesterday on Fox News, anchor Shep Smith was recounting the story of a man in Pennsylvania who was stuck in a port-a-potty. According to the York Daily Record (PA), the man was “drunk, naked and wedged up to his waist in the hole of the toilet.” Toward the end of the segment, Smith compared people who get stuck in toilets to “people who deny the whole global warming thing.” “They’re just a little crazy, you know?” said Smith. “What do you do?”

Where do the Republicans come into this? The majority don’t believe that humanity is driving Global Warming.

Four at Four

  1. The flooding in eastern Iowa is Worse than ’93 according to Iowa City’s newspaper, The Press-Citizen. “Local officials are now predicting that the Flood of ’08 will be worse than the Flood of ’93. In a news release, the city of Iowa City is warning those with properties next to those that were flooded in 1993 should also now prepare for flooding and for possible evacuation.”

    The Des Moines Register reports on the flooding along a 250-mile stretch of the Mississippi River. In addition to the human suffering and property damage brough on by the disaster, crops are threatened — a ‘Miracle’ needed for good yields from wet fields. Farmers are planting corn in mud, hoping that the crop will survive Iowa’s wet spring.

    “Corn planted in the mud doesn’t grow as well, and farm machinery can damage the soil’s potential for producing good yields… Time is running out for a good crop, which is necessary to fulfill growing demand for food, livestock feed, exports and ethanol… Lower yields of corn and soybeans, which are used in hundreds of products in the grocery store, could add up to higher food costs for consumers who are already seeing higher prices at their supermarket checkout counters. Higher corn prices could also mean hard times for Iowa’s ethanol industry.”

Four at Four continues with FISA, vitamin D, an Atlas of Africa, and Blackwater’s growing power made possible by the “war on drugs”.

You Must Be Mad, Or You Wouldn’t Have Come Here

Yesterday, June 09, 2008…

Ohio Congressman and former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush Monday evening, stating the commander-in-chief is guilty of numerous crimes, including launching a war on false pretenses, and spying on American citizens, and should be removed from office.

“The House is not in order,” Kucinich said to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who has said impeachment “is off the table.”

Pelosi pounded her gavel.

Kucinich came up with 35 good reasons to remove George Bush from office.

Out of those 35 articles, #’s 9 and 10 are worth very close reading in spite of the dry legal language.

Article IX.


In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed”, has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, has been responsible for the deaths of members of the U.S. military and serious injury and trauma to other soldiers, by failing to provide available body armor and vehicle armor.

While engaging in an invasion and occupation of choice, not fought in self-defense, and not launched in accordance with any timetable other than the President’s choosing, President Bush sent U.S. troops into danger without providing them with armor. This shortcoming has been known for years, during which time, the President has chosen to allow soldiers and Marines to continue to face unnecessary risk to life and limb rather then providing them with armor.

In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.

Pelosi pounded her gavel.

The Purposes of Impeachment: It’s not Criminal Law

Aside from this introduction, this diary was first published on dailyKos July 30, 2007 under the title Impeachment 101: Perjury is Beside the Point.  It borrows freely from a diary by SilentBob published April 13, 2007, and a yet earlier diary by darrelplant from December 26, 2006.  The most salient aspects of all these diaries stem from the 1974 report of the legal staff of the Congressional Inquiry Committee considering Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment of Richard Nixon.  It was written with Alberto Gonzales in mind, but it could apply to most high-ranking officials in the executive branch today.

We may be jaded, tired, disgusted, bored with repetition and even despairing, but we’re not going away.  Not this time.  This is not Nixon.  As long as we are alive, we will remember what they have done and we will seek justice in the names of the literally millions who have suffered injustice.

The partial list of specific crimes at the end of the diary has only grown in the last year.  A lot more evidence has come to light.  We can see clearly what happens when we fail to support our laws, our rights, and our constitution.

Finally, I’m not going to be around much for commentary.  I’m just sending this back out for review and to add my voice to the chorus, FWIW, but I can’t spend much time here until tonight.

Original diary, with edits:

Despite numerous cogent diaries on the subject, impeachment discussions here seem to suffer from misconceptions as to what constitutes proper grounds for impeachment. Specifically,

1) the Constitution places a positive burden on the President “to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”  By extension, this burden is placed on civil officers.  Criminal behavior does not necessarily constitute grounds for impeachment. Failing “to take care” does.

2) Unlike criminal proceedings, which function to punish miscreants and to protect individuals, impeachment proceedings serve the sole function of protecting the integrity of government or the Constitution itself.

3)  The House is not required, nor should it be expected, to prove anything before impeaching.

4)  Just as OJ Simpson is now “not guilty” of murder, a conviction by the Senate would mean that Alberto Gonzales could no longer serve as Attorney General.  There is no appeal process and no independent basis for judging whether the decision is proper.  No need to invoke the jury in the sky.

Okay, I admit it, I’m completely cribbing from other diaries.  I love dKos for being all about this sort of information.  And by “this sort of information”, I mean information based on primary documents, such as the Constitution and a 1974 report of the legal staff of the Congressional Inquiry Committee considering Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment of Richard Nixon.  If you want to be on solid ground when debating the merits of impeachment, you need to read at least the conclusion of that 1974 report.  This conclusion is quoted in this diary by SilentBob.  darrelplant has also quoted freely from this document in providing highly enlightening commentary.

From the 1974 report:

Impeachment is a constitutional remedy addressed to serious offenses against the system of government. The purpose of impeachment under the Constitution is indicated by the limited scope of the remedy (removal from office and possible disqualification from future office) and by the stated grounds for impeachment (treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors). It is not controlling whether treason and bribery are criminal. More important, they are constitutional wrongs that subvert the structure of government, or undermine the integrity of office and even the Constitution itself, and thus are “high” offenses in the sense that word was used in English impeachments.

The most frustrating persistent myth here is that impeachment is necessarily tied to proof of criminality.  To argue this is to woefully misunderstand both the language and intent of the Constitution.  The Constitution specifies the grounds for impeachment:  treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.  To the founders, “high crimes and misdemeanors” was not a purposely broad term to allow inclusion of criminal activities such as perjury.  To the contrary.  The list of reasons for impeachment is intentionally limited to crimes against the structure of government or the Constitution itself.  Similarly, the punishment for these offenses is limited to removal from office.  Thus, “high crimes” does not mean ordinary criminality committed by those in high office.  In fact, high crimes can be committed only by a person in high office.  And conviction by the Senate is not intended to punish.  The penalty for conviction is intended only to protect the structure of the government or the Constitution.  Perjury is not necessarily grounds for impeachment.  In fact, the crime of perjury itself is irrelevant except as it may relate to undermining the structure of the government.

Presumably, the strongest reason most of us want to get rid of this President and his gang has to do with their disdain for the Constitution and their general undermining of our government.  Yet, there is a wide-spread assumption that we must find secondary reasons, such as perjury or violations of the Hatch Act.  This view is really bass-ackwards.  Perjury, or even Hatch Act violations, may not be a good enough reason for impeachment, but undermining the Constitution most certainly is. The impeachment clause of the Constitution is designed specifically to address the sorts of high crimes and misdemeanors being committed by this President, Vice President and other civil officers.

Let’s look more precisely at reasons for impeachment.  From the 1974 report:

It is useful to note three major presidential duties of broad scope that are explicity recited in the Constitution: “to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” to the best of his ability. The first is directly imposed by the Constitution; the second and third are included in the constitutionally prescribed oath that the President is required to take before he enters upon the execution of his office and are, therefore, also expressly imposed by the Constitution.

The duty to take care is affirmative. So is the duty faithfully to execute the office. A President must carry out the obligations of his office diligently and in good faith.

Failing “to take care” is not a crime which can be committed by an ordinary citizen.  It is not a crime against an individual or property.  It is a crime against the Constitution.  It is misguided to equate a Senate trial with a criminal proceeding, or to require proof of criminality as a prerequisite to impeachment.  Suspicion that the Attorney General (or President or Vice President) has failed in his duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” constitutes indisputable grounds for impeaching.  This is the equivalent of a grand jury determining whether sufficient evidence exists to go to trial.

After the House decides (i.e., votes) there is enough evidence to justify trial , the Senate operates as a jury in the sense that what they determine is what is so.  If the criminal jury says OJ is innocent then he is innocent, no matter what you or I think.  If the Senate says Gonzo must go, then Gonzo is gone.  Even if impeached and convicted, he will not have been found guilty of any crime even if the process exposed criminality.  He is simply dismissed from his post in government.

Finally, I want to throw out a more subjective impression, for what it’s worth.  For as long as thirty years now, the Republicans have been focusing on power, willing to act in their own interests whenever they have the power to do so.  We, OTOH, are focused on justice and truth.  We want to double check with ourselves and our friends before acting to be sure we’ve got it right.  I resonate with this attitude and usually appreciate it.  But in this instance, I am very frustrated by it.  While it seems almost of all of us progressives/Democrats agree that Bush and the gang are not “taking care the laws be faithfully executed,” we are tying our own hands as to what we can do about it.  I regularly hear what is, to me, the absurd argument that the impeachment of Clinton somehow poisoned the well for the impeachment of GW Bush.  (Because the Republicans brought a frivolous impeachment against Clinton, we are somehow prevented from impeaching for egregious acts?  Weird.)  Other people wring their hands over how it would look to the general public.  We don’t want to look too partisan, do we?  Still others regularly insist that we prove criminal behavior before proceeding.  Well, if the President or other civil officer is guilty of not taking care to faithfully execute the laws, this constitutes grounds for impeachment.  And if we can gather the votes for it, we should impeach him.  Then we should try him in the Senate, during which proceeding we should gather evidence.  Not having the votes yet means pushing to get them, not walking away from this crisis of government.  It really is that simple.

Yesterday, a diarist was criticized by several as naive for suggesting that Gonzales be impeached for incompetence.  My friends, incompetence constitutes more solid grounds for impeachment than perjury, in that it addresses the issue of faithfully executing the law.  Let’s quit being so hard on ourselves and focus our criticism on those who are destroying our system of government.  And let’s ground our discussion in understanding of what impeachment is really about.

In the interest of completeness, I include here a requirement which must be met for conviction and removal from office.  Also, from the 1974 report:  

Not all presidential misconduct is sufficient to constitute grounds for impeachment. There is a further requirement– substantiality. In deciding whether this further requirement has been met, the facts must be considered as a whole in the context of the office, not in terms of separate or isolated events. Because impeachment of a President is a grave step for the nation, it is predicated only upon conduct seriously incompatible with either the constitutional form and principles of our government or the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office.

Discussion of whether we can meet this requirement would be much more pertinent and fruitful than whether any specific laws have been broken or whether the media will be critical.

Signing statements, illegal surveillance, violation of international law, politicization of the executive branch, violations of the Presidential Records Act, contempt of Congress, subverting enforcement of the Civil Rights Act, election fraud… and these are just the things we know about.  It seems pretty substantial to me.

Is the Tide Of ‘Impeachment Fear’ Turning?


What has prevented and is preventing the impeachment of Dick Cheney and George Bush? No matter how you dress it up, the answer is fear. The fear takes many forms…these two diaries at Daily Kos illustrate them well. First, the fears of the House Judiciary Committee Chairman…

Conyers wants You to Rebut his 5 Reasons Not to Impeach

And then the fears of ordinary, though politically involved, citizens…

I believe we should let George Bush get away with breaking the law because…

Now that George Bush is a lame duck President, now that his power is diminished, now that change is on the horizon….have these fears lost enough of the visceral punch of fear to actually allow movement on impeachment? “New” facts are being presented, such as Phase 11 ad McClellans revelations…Congress seems to be getting a tad feistier, and Denis Kucinich spent four hours last night reading charges into the Congressional record. Is this a sign of the reduced power…the reduced fear…of George Bush’s domestic terror machine?

Yesterday I wrote about the fear…the domestic terror… that was inflicted on our country by the Bush Administration. A willful and well thought out propaganda campaign to terrorize American citizens into unquestioning compliance with the program of Bushco. The central aim of that program was to give George Bush and Dick Cheney as much power as possible to carry out there aims for the middle east, energy hegemony and political hegemony at home….a Permanent Republican Majority. But not just a normal political Majority, one with new ad unprecedented powers. Powers it would use in the worst traditions of totalitarian states, not to defeat America’s supposed external enemies….which they have failed miserably at....but to defeat political enemies at home.

Lost objects, second chances, claim tickets

I’m not so careful with second chances. I’ve had a few and I’ve made a mess of most of ’em. And I’ve lost things over the years; lost ideas from memory, faces and names of people I should recall, relationships with friends I should have maintained. I’ve let go of objects I’ve created and loved, or things I took a special hand in designing. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes through negligence, sometimes through a perverse need to purge while initially denying the emotional investment in the loss.

Two hawks flying

Above the highway

They play so much like  us.

One always runs away…

I’ve had this song sleeping in my head over thirty years, and I’ve lost the title and the artist’s name.  

Our Medicated Military

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, an alarming number of active-duty troops are turning to prescription anti-depressants to cope with the stress of battle. David Martin reports

An Update on Flooding in Iowa (Updated 3x)

(please forgive my recent absence — a combination of the flu and the flood have kept me away from the computer)

Last week I had started on a diary about how flooding in the Midwest was likely to affect food prices, as the corn crop suffers and farmers get too deep into the growing season to re-plant their crops.  Articles like this one and this one described how the flooding would decrease the number of acres planted with corn, and decrease the yield for corn that was planted.  But the rainfall from this weekend made those stories old news.  Up to 10″ of rain fell in some areas, and widespread areas received between 2″ and 6″ of rain.  The situation grew exponentially worse over the weekend as flash flooding hit first from the heavy rainfall, and now sustained flooding will occur as that water works its way through rivers already flooded.

The Weapon of Young Gods #26: Shatter the Surrounding Splendor

Lisa has sneaked out of rehab again. I know this because she is walking right next to me on the Camino Capistrano sidewalk during a bright and glorious mid-morning that has no business showing up in October. We pass by enormous mansions on our left that obscure the million-dollar ocean view, most sporting elegantly severe wrought-iron fences and mechanical gates that don’t even bother to conceal the fear and contempt their owners feel for the world outside. The cloudless sky is disturbed only by a faint breeze and the distant breathing of early beach-going traffic on Coast Highway, far below the sandstone cliffs that fall off behind each palatial estate.

Previous Episode

Conyers Ulysses: Some work of noble note

Reposted, with minor edits, from February 2008

The story of a once-proud warrior

with one last battle left to fight.


by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

IT LITTLE PROFITS that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match’d with an aged wife,

I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race,

FED / BushCo – I swear to GOD, the economy is pretty good!


You are going to fall off your chair, spit your coffee on your screen, tear out your hair or maybe just go sit in a corner and blubber a bit once you read this. By going forward, you have to sign a contract saying you won’t sue me or send big mean people over to beat my ass for being the messenger for the audacity of the lying liars that comes after.

Your Name_________________________________________________

Ok, if you have signed, you may read on.

Guess what our buddies at the Fed are saying just now?  Food, medical, gasoline, legal and illegal drugs; everything you purchase right now is more expensive by an incredible amount that it was just a year ago.  6 months ago.  In the case of gasoline, Yesterday.

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