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July 21, 2007

Impeachment Matters--Even More

by Deborah Newell Tornello
a.k.a. litbrit

Nearly two weeks ago, I took a deep breath and wrote out my thoughts on impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney.  Some readers agreed, though equally many--particularly some who read my essay here at Ezra's--were opposed to initiating impeachment proceedings for a number of reasons, some more logical than others.

Nonetheless, I am more convinced than ever that Congress must begin impeachment proceedings immediately. I'll discuss the rationale for this a bit later, but let me first put this out there:

We must impeach the President and Vice President of the United States, and we must begin proceedings to do so immediately, not just for the purpose of exacting a punitive remedy, but also toward enacting a vitally important preventive measure--one that may be the only available means by which to protect the country from the impending imposition of martial law at home as well as the declaration of war against Iran and possibly other countries in the Middle East.

From Raw Story:

Thom Hartmann began his program on Thursday by reading from a new Executive Order which allows the government to seize the assets of anyone who interferes with its Iraq policies.

He then introduced old-line conservative Paul Craig Roberts -- a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan who has recently become known for his strong opposition to the Bush administration and the Iraq War -- by quoting the "strong words" which open Roberts' latest column: "Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran."

"I don't actually think they're very strong," said Roberts of his words. "I get a lot of flak that they're understated and the situation is worse than I say. ... When Bush exercises this authority [under the new Executive Order] ... there's no check to it. It doesn't have to be ratified by Congress. The people who bear the brunt of these dictatorial police state actions have no recourse to the judiciary. So it really is a form of total, absolute, one-man rule. ... The American people don't really understand the danger that they face." (Emphasis mine.)

Worried yet? You should be. That executive order Roberts references is the one George Bush issued this past Tuesday. In it, King George the President declared that he can now freeze and seize the assets of anyone he feels to be a threat to "stability in Iraq". He gets to decide what a threat is, and he gets to carry out this order as secretly as he wishes, without so much as a shred of accountability to Congress or the courts. Nor does he have to inform us--or anyone else in government--what he has seized or frozen, or why. (For more comprehensive legal analysis of the executive order, read nightshift66's excellent essay over at Shakesville.)

I would ask the obvious: is this Dick Cheney's George Bush's reaction to the decision handed down in November 2006 in which U.S. District judge Audrey B. Collins stated that "...two provisions of an executive order signed Sept. 23, 2001, are impermissibly vague because they allow the president to unilaterally designate organizations as terrorist groups and broadly prohibit association with such groups"? In other words, should Mr. Cheney Mr. Bush feel that obeying the law runs counter to his objectives--whatever they might be--he is somehow legally permitted to simply issue an executive order to custom-tailor that very law so it's more to his liking, claiming "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States"? Is that it, and are you kidding me?

Furthermore, I'd ask if Judge Collins' ruling could in fact be cited as precedent to challenge (and hopefully strike down) this outrageous executive order? (Calling all lawyers...)

In a response to queries from TPMmuckraker, the Treasury Department claimed this executive order will be limited only to the bank accounts of dangerous terrorists:

Tuesday's broad executive order on freezing Iraq-related financial assets is solely intended to target supporters of the Iraqi insurgency, Treasury Department spokeswoman Molly Millerwise tells TPMmuckraker. If U.S. residents and citizens have their assets frozen by the department, it will be because they're actively abetting a panoply of insurgent and militia groups.

Previously, Treasury hasn't had the authority to target the finances of insurgent groups in Iraq aside from al-Qaeda affiliates and former Saddam Hussein regime elements. The order now provides what Millerwise calls "seamless coverage."

The ACLU, meanwhile, points to the chilling effect on donations to charity as well as the very real dangers inherent in giving the Executive Branch so much unchecked and unchallenged power:

President Bush's new executive order targeting financial assets of Iraqi insurgents risks having "a chilling effect" on humanitarian donations in Iraq, according to Michael German, the ACLU's chief national security security lawyer. And those who find themselves in contravention of the order -- a determination residing entirely within the executive branch -- would have no due process rights to contest the freezing of their assets. [...]

The order skips right over a relevant citation: section 203b(2) (pdf) of the International Economic Emergency Powers Act, which specifically denies to the president the ability to "regulate or prohibit ... donations, by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, of articles, such as food, clothing and medicine, intended to be used to deal with human suffering." The order accepts the other restrictions applied by IEEPA, intended to protect, among other things, postal communications and legitimate journalism from unilateral executive restriction. And that leads to to the broader problem with the order, according to Gerson: "the complete lack of due process" for those accused of violating it. Once someone's assets are frozen, there's no conviction, no appellate process.

Complete lack of due process.  Remember how they killed habeus corpus, and hardly anyone outside the blogosphere even sent flowers to the funeral?

Martial Law.  The possibility of a police state. Do you suppose there might be something to that story about Halliburton building massive detention centers? Remember? I quoted a disturbing piece in The Progressive  when I wrote about those detention centers last year:

There is so much to question here, one's head spins. Let's start with this: what are we doing awarding $385 million contracts to Halliburton when there are still so many unanswered questions about the colossal waste of taxpayer dollars and overbilling (fraud, anyone?) perpetrated by this company, on America's behalf, in Iraq?

And I'm really curious about something else: why large detention centers, and why now? Then there is the disturbing issue raised by that last sentence in Halliburton's message: "...rapid development of new programs."

While thousands of people were celebrating the contribution America's undocumented immigrants make to our economy, and demanding justice and recognition for workers who are denied basic rights, the government was making plans for large-scale detention centers in case of an "emergency influx" of immigrants.

KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary recently reprimanded for gross overcharging in its military contracts in Iraq, won a $385 million contract to build the centers. According to the Halliburton website--www.Halliburton.com--"the contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs." [...]

What new programs might those be?

The web was abuzz with speculation after the contract was awarded on January 24. Pacific News Service gave the most detailed analysis.

It connected the new "immigration emergency" plans with older plans that involved imposing martial law.

Certainly the detention centers raise the specter of WW II Japanese internment camps.

The new facilities could be used for round-ups of Muslim Americans or other American citizens tagged as "enemy combatants.”

The use of military personnel and military contractors in the event of a Katrina-like disaster, which the Halliburton contract provides for, brings us closer to martial law, whether it is officially declared or not.

It also means record profits for Halliburton, which declared 2005 "the best in our 86-year history." David Lesar, Halliburton's chairman, president and CEO, declares on the company website, "For the full year 2005 we set a record for revenue and achieved net income of $2.4 billion with each of our six divisions posting record results."

Not bad for a company that has been repeatedly cited for inflating charges and wasting taxpayer money in Iraq.

The immigration detention centers ought to raise a red flag, not just about nepotism and waste among military contractors, but about what our government has in store for us.

Impeachment, ladies and gentlemen. For the sake of the country, as above. But also because the President and Vice President have committed no small number of serious crimes against the nation, its citizens, and its constitution. To wit:

Abuse of power, in so many shapes and forms as to require cataloging.  Violation of the Geneva Conventions and the US Military Code on War CrimesIllegal spying on Americans.  Illegal use of signing statements to custom-tailor legislation (i.e. the Patriot Act) and thus enable de facto end runs around any and all protective measures--requirements for congressional approval, for example--built into said legislation. Illegal detention, as with the Padilla case.

Congress must begin impeachment proceedings in order to fully explore all these and any other crimes of which the Vice President and President, their cabinet, and their staff, stand accused. Congressional subpoenas, apparently, are not going to get the job done: the White House ignores them and/or refuses to comply with them.

I will close with this quote from the venerable After Downing Street:

If we do not impeach when the case is as compelling as it is now, we are effectively removing impeachment from the Constitution.

Your representatives' contact info is all here. You can also demand your senators stand up for the people, not politics-as-usual, and vigorously condemn the illegal actions of this dangerous imperial White House; their e-mail addresses are here.  And for further information and resources pertaining to impeachment, go here.

July 21, 2007 | Permalink


As a fun exercise, one could explain the need for impeachment using Game Theory..

Posted by: M.O | Jul 21, 2007 9:28:12 AM

Brace yourself.

Posted by: Jason G. | Jul 21, 2007 9:31:21 AM

Too bad that based upon their past behavior one can easily predict that Dems will just hem and haw, if at all they notice this, and then go on to business as usual.

Liberals tend to overestimate the power of the people. The conservatives have learned from history that they can sell anything to the public by wrapping it in patriotism, faith, and free market religosity.

Posted by: gregor | Jul 21, 2007 10:03:00 AM

why are you posting here- shouldn't you be over at D Kos engaging the delusions of those hungry for this there?

Posted by: akaison | Jul 21, 2007 10:11:36 AM

just to be clear- you never answered any of the concerns raised before. instead you deflect them in favor of meaningless rhectoric. For example- here you talk as if impeachment is the only tool available to address the issues you raised- without ever explaining why that is the case amongst all the other options available such as through the legislature. And if those lesser options are not available through the legislature then why this even more extreme measure would be considered available? It's one of those conversations one has where the person who keeps advocating for their position never quite explains why of choice a, b c or d, they choose e without an explaination as to why except for the dog whistle that they are sending to the faithful. I am not one of the faithful. To give more substance than what you have given.

Posted by: akaison | Jul 21, 2007 10:15:18 AM

why are you posting here- shouldn't you be over at D Kos engaging the delusions of those hungry for this there?

I'm surprised, akaison, that you would write something so worthless. Are you suggesting that Bush has not committed high crimes and misdemeanors worthy of impeachment? Are you suggesting that the executive order claiming the power to sieze property without due process is NOT in violation of the 5th Amendment of the Constitution?

The Bush regime has gambled on the inability of the American people - citizens, politicians, press - to believe that anyone would actually set aside our laws. They have won that gamble, over and over.

I don't know if martial law is likely or not. But they have already claimed the power to detain American citizens indefinitely without charges. They have already decided that executive privilege means no one who has ever been in the Executive Branch has to listen to Congress. And now they say that any American citizen can be deprived of property - all their assets - on the secret order of the President alone.

If you don't think impeachment is a good idea, fine. That's not the real question before us, because one area where we would probably agree is the inability of Congress to do its duty toward this regime.

The real question, the one that really affects us as mere citizens is this: if elections are suspended, if martial law is declared, are we willing to do what's necessary to take our country back?

Supposedly Americans are different from other people, from citizens of other countries that allowed ruthless dictators to come into power. Supposedly there is a love of personal freedom that trumps all else in this country.

Well, we shall see, won't we?

Posted by: Stephen | Jul 21, 2007 10:22:21 AM

Beyond akaison's point, if the Republicans in the Senate aren't going to vote for withdrawing from Iraq, which is much more popular among their constituents (and among their Republican constituents) than removing Bush and Cheney and installing President Pelosi would be, then what would the purpose be of the whole exercise? In 1998 the Republican leadership thought the average person would be outraged by l'affaire Lewinsky and support impeachment. They were wrong and paid a heavy political price. The average person really doesn't think they are going to wind up in a detention center or have their home seized because they gave to a charity in the Middle East. Bush is less popular than Clinton, but his party leaders won't abandon him over this.

Posted by: Squaretile | Jul 21, 2007 10:23:46 AM

It's one of those conversations one has where the person who keeps advocating for their position never quite explains why of choice a, b c or d, they choose e without an explaination

Should she have to exhaustively argue the inadequacy of every conceivable option? Or just the "a, b, c or d" options that you decide must be disposed with before "e" can even be considered?

n 1998 the Republican leadership thought the average person would be outraged by l'affaire Lewinsky and support impeachment. They were wrong and paid a heavy political price.

They lost five House seats in 98. I don't know that I would consider that a "heavy" price. Granted, they may have won some seats otherwise, but they public was massively against Clinton's impeachment, unlike now.

Posted by: Jason G. | Jul 21, 2007 10:59:26 AM

At the moment, I don't think there's a large danger that Bush won't step down in 2009. But factor in a terrorist attack between now and then, and it's not at all unrealistic or fantastic, based on what we've already seen, that Bush might declare a "state of emergency", and effectively suspend democracy.

Posted by: kth | Jul 21, 2007 11:06:37 AM

Frankly, I am sick to death of fear mongering, whether it comes from the Right trying to scare us about the jihadist hordes, or the Left scaring us about lurking fascism. They are both sides of the same coin, and it's a coin I no longer recognize as valid.

And I am not kidding when I say that what's going on in parts of the liberal community is starting to become the mirror image of what's happened on the far right. I read a post about that thing over at Orcinus, a blog which has devoted god knows how many words over time chronicling the antics of the far right, who sincerely feel that America is a cesspool and that defending oneself from ZOG requires a home arsenal. And in that post, the author concluded with the advice that readers should make sure their guns are in working order.

Pot, kettle, black?

And again, on Air America Thursday morning, Thom Hartman's guest said flat-out that Cheney and Rove are planning an "event" which will knock out the 2008 elections and allow them to implement all the orders that Bush has been stockpiling. Isn't that the same thing we were told in 2002, and 2004, and 2006? There's only so many times you can go to that well before you lose all credibility.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of being told that if I am not outraged or terrified, then there's something wrong with me. It's my life, and I refuse to spend it either cowering in fear or in a continual state of anger. Life's short enough as it is. I am not going to play it by those rules.

Posted by: fiat lux | Jul 21, 2007 11:21:06 AM

"the only available means by which to protect the country from the impending imposition of martial law at home"

this comment re: "impending imposisiton of martial law" alone disqualifies you from intelligent debate. just terrible. this is miles from reality and you know it.

Posted by: hmmmm | Jul 21, 2007 11:44:42 AM

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of being told that if I am not outraged or terrified, then there's something wrong with me. It's my life, and I refuse to spend it either cowering in fear or in a continual state of anger. Life's short enough as it is. I am not going to play it by those rules.

Has Bush subverted the Constitution or not? It's an easy, yes/no question.

If yes, then how many times?

What would your reaction have been a few years ago if someone told you that by 2007 the United States would be operating prisons in Eastern Europe and Gitmo where people were being held indefinitely without charges - including American citizens? What if you were told that the President would claim the power to seize Americans' property without due process - without formal charges? What if you were told that American soldiers would be given orders to torture, and that these orders would be followed - in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in various Eastern European countries?

I'm certainly not telling you to be afraid. I'm telling you to be ready, or get the fuck out of the way of those who will be.

I haven't had to live in under a dictatorial government, but my wife has. Her family's experiences, even as privileged foreigners, are enough to make me not want to go through it myself.

Posted by: Stephen | Jul 21, 2007 11:47:30 AM

What Stephen said.

And this: When *will* enough be enough for us?

What exactly do these men have to do?

Posted by: delagar | Jul 21, 2007 12:02:00 PM

For commenter hmmmm, who feels qualified to judge my intelligence, here's a basic primer on martial law from Wiki (emphasis mine):

The martial law concept in the U.S. is closely tied with the Writ of Habeas Corpus, which is in essence the right to a hearing on lawful imprisonment, or more broadly, the supervision of law enforcement by the judiciary. The ability to suspend habeas corpus is often equated with martial law. Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution states, "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion; the public Safety may require it."

In United States law, martial law is limited by several court decisions that were handed down between the American Civil War and World War II. In 1878, Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids military involvement in domestic law enforcement without congressional approval.

The National Guard is an exception, since unless federalized, they are under the control of state governors. [5]. This has now changed. Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122), was signed by President Bush on October 17, 2006, and allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities. Title V, Subtitle B, Part II, Section 525(a) of the JWDAA of 2007 reads "The [military] Secretary [of the Army, Navy or Air Force] concerned may order a member of a reserve component under the Secretary's jurisdiction to active duty...The training or duty ordered to be performed...may include...support of operations or missions undertaken by the member's unit at the request of the President or Secretary of Defense."

Posted by: litbrit | Jul 21, 2007 12:05:00 PM

ahhh yes, you meant this very nuanced view of martial law..... bs.

second, reread my comment and tell me where I questioned your intelligence?

third, the charge please?

Posted by: hmmmm | Jul 21, 2007 12:12:14 PM

Look, I am not going to keep arguing with you people. Frankly, I hate to say this, but you are kind of nuts. You say things like Bush is going to stage what is essentially is a coup as an argument for impeachment, and then you expect to be taken seriously. Sorry, not going to do it. No more than I am planning to listen to some crazy right wing nut talking about HRC being a sign of the anti Christ. Both are based on pure emotion, and I can't argue with your feels, but I can call them out of touch with where things are. By the way, I say this as someone who supports Edwards this term- so no love lost to HRC, but you people re just over the top, and I am surprised that this kind of lunatic fringe is being allowed to surface here. I am also not going to waste my time anymore on this thread because the end of the day- I know this impeachment you want to waste our time on isn't going to happen.

Posted by: akaison | Jul 21, 2007 12:13:35 PM

The two questions that each must asked themselves are whether the actions of the President amount to a threat to Constitutional government and whether impeachment is the most effective tool for defeating such a threat.

If the answer to first is the affirmative, then impeachment is clearly mandated. However, the second question remains.

It remains because impeachment is essentially a political, rather than a legal mechanism. It effectively stands outside the limits of our jurisprudence. There is no judicial appeal from impeachment. There is no court with the authority to set evidenciary standards or overrule the will of the legislative branch.

The practical reality is that, regardless of the "crimes" of the executive, or the threat they may pose to constitutional rule, or the zeal of its proponents, impeachment will not succeed without an overwhelming popular political impetus. That was a lesson the GOP learned the hard way with the Clinton impeachment.

This brings us back to the question of efficacy. While it's true that a successful impeachment would liquidate whatever threat the executive posed, the consequences of failure must be calculated as well.

If Congress were to bring charges and the Senate fail to convict, it would establish an institutional precedent. That being the legislature's refusal, as an institution, to consider the specific actions alleged to be grounds for impeachment.

By way of illustration, I think it highly unlikely that anyone reading this will live to see the day when a President is again impeached for actions concealing personal sexual behavior outside the duties of office. The Senate acquittal of Clinton established the institutional precedent that such behavior doesn't constitute an impeachable offense.

I very much doubt that impeachment proponents would care to see a similar precedent established regarding Bush's actions.

So simply riling up the base, as the GOP did with Clinton, isn't enough. That might get you to impeachment but it won't get you to conviction and impeachment without conviction is worse than no impeachment at all.

Until now, this fact has been the strongest card held by those arguing for congressional hearings and investigations rather than formal impeachment proceedings. However, both the Libby commutation and the Miers fiasco have severely undermined this alternative. If the executive can openly suborn contempt of Congress, while using its power to shield its agents from the consequences of criminal behavior, it's difficult to see how Congress' investigatory and oversight functions can operate.

We should recognize that allowing such a state of affairs to go unchallenged would constitute an institutional precendent just as surely as a failed impeachment would.

The stakes here are extremely high, as they have been ever since the elites decided to lead the nation down the warpath blazed by the Bush/Cheney regime. No one on either side of this debate can be certain of the outcomes.

My only advice, for what it may be worth, is that proponents of impeachment ought to be about the business of convincing the unconvinced and larger proportion of the population that impeachment is not only justified but an absolute necessity.

Those who actively disagree need to produce an alternative that has some actual prospect for meeting the danger. That, or a convincing and compelling argument that the current executive poses no danger to constitutional rule.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jul 21, 2007 12:30:17 PM

A) Define the danger that's different from any other executive before it in terms of executive privilege.

B) Not all the options are exhausted merely because it's harder to do so than simply calling people in to testify. You are basing this on one person.

Posted by: akaison | Jul 21, 2007 1:08:12 PM

B) Not all the options are exhausted merely because it's harder to do so than simply calling people in to testify. You are basing this on one person.

Fine, let's hear what these other options are.

Actually, I gave two examples: the Libby commutation and the Presidential directive to Miers to defy the Congress. A bit hard to pursue investigations of the executive if the President can order individuals not to testify and pardon them if they are prosecuted.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jul 21, 2007 1:20:34 PM

For those who wonder about the possibility of marshall law and concentration camps, you might want to check out http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2004/FEMA-Concentration-Camps3sep04.htm#1.

Posted by: tbaum | Jul 21, 2007 1:55:07 PM

akaison, the coup already happened. bush v gore.

re : your comment at 12:13pm

Posted by: k | Jul 21, 2007 2:37:22 PM


I'm one of those people who read the EO through the eyes of a lawyer and understand its context. You were kind enough to rec my comment yesterday doing so, but some of it bears repeating here.

First, the "Iraq insurgency" EO is strikingly similar to the post-9/11 EO. Same elements: no prior notice required, application to US citizens, confiscation of property. Redress through the courts (though after the fact) by virtue of the Administrative Procedures Act (a fact that Craig Roberts missed).

Since the time of the post-9/11 EO (and actually, since the mid-1990s, because "the list" actually began during the Clinton administration), the list has grown to more than 10,000 people and organizations. Now take a look at the list. There's a lot of bad people and groups on it. But I don't see anyone with the last name of "Smith." Is the possibility for abuse there? Yes. But the career civil servants in the Treasury Department are not likely to start rounding up and disappearing political dissidents. They certainly haven't yet.

So many things countenance against a civil war or imposition of a dictatorship. First, who's on the other side, other than Blackwater and a cadre of chickenhawks? Ever receive a nasty, graphic e-mail from a wingnut? I have. Deep down, every one of them has been a coward. Brave enough when cloaked in anonymity and armed with a keyboard, but in real fighting? Especially when fighting against something the vast majority of people passionately hold so dear--the U.S. Constitution? I ask again--in this civil war, who's doing the fighting on the other side?

Second, federalism. The vast majority of law enforcement is controlled by the states, not the feds. Do you think for a minute that your local police, state troopers, and sheriffs are going to submit to a dictatorship imposed by a madman? Are the mayors and the governors to whom they answer going to submit? We had a similar situation 150 years ago. But even that precedent fails because the "union" side in this case is hopelessly outnumbered and outclassed.

Third, the endgame. State republican parties--even in the reddest states--are not going to yield to a cabal that will exterminate them politically. Once the dictatorship is declared, what then? Considering the forces aligned against such a coup--a well-armed militia, state and local law enforcement, state Republican operations, financial and industrial might concentrated in the blue states--it is doomed from the start.

Don't forget--this is the same bunch of boobs that "planned" the post-Saddam occupation of Iraq. That clusterf*ck is nothing compared to what would happen here shortly after "The United States of Amerika" is declared. And poppy Bush would finally have to bend junior over his knee and give him the spanking he so richly deserves.

Really, people...

Posted by: Michael Pugliese | Jul 21, 2007 2:37:22 PM

Fiat lux wrote:

"Frankly, I am sick to death of fear mongering, whether it comes from the Right trying to scare us about the jihadist hordes, or the Left scaring us about lurking fascism. They are both sides of the same coin, and it's a coin I no longer recognize as valid."

That's a good comparison, I think. Both cases involve the promotion of fanciful scenarios in which the members of a small political subculture cast themselves as civilization's last hope against some sort of approaching apocalypse.

I suspect that some of the most fervent prophets of an imminent Republican totalitarian regime previously bought into the 2000 Nader line that there's no big difference between a Democratic administration and a Republican one. An inflated sense of self-importance would seem to be the only constant in those apparently contradictory views.

Those who are sincerely worried about imminent totalitarianism should look into the historical conditions under which democratic governments can be and are replaced by dictatorships. Suffice it to say that the conditions that would be necessary for a full-scale Bush/Cheney dictatorship are pretty clearly nonexistent. And if some sort of dramatic event - for example, a massive terrorist attack - were to create those conditions between now and next November, Dem-sponsored impeachment proceedings would be of little use in any case.

Posted by: N | Jul 21, 2007 2:44:56 PM

As akaison points out, the reasons impeachment would be wrong have already been given in the previous thread, and none of the reasons have been rebutted here, so I won't bother repeating them. It's worth pointing out though that impeachment would in no way make it less likely for Bush to declare marshall law. I think the fear of this is based way too much in paranoia, but that doesn't matter if impeachment would do nothing to prevent it anyway.

I'm certainly not telling you to be afraid. I'm telling you to be ready, or get the fuck out of the way of those who will be.

Make way for the rhinoceros herd.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 21, 2007 2:52:45 PM

I'm a little depressed because I really like litbrit and her writing... but I think this is, well extreme. The fact is, never mind procedural questions of how these things asserted here are to be assembled as a charge, or whether what's asserted here really amounts to enough to make a charge, there's a process question of how realistic any attempt to start an impeachment process can be with so little time left in the Bush Administration anyway. No serious consideration of charges could begin until the fall. No serious passage of impeachment articles could come from the House until probably December at the earliest. No trial could start until probably next year, at which point we are talking about doing this on top of the primary elections, with the result arriving possibly just before summer and the conventions. That's a recipe for madness.

I have no doubt that these are terrible people whose every action and motive should be examined and reexamined and watched closely; I have no doubt that once they're gone, we will overturn all sorts of rocks and discover some pretty terrible things (lord knows, we already have). But I think the same sensible liberals who though the Clinton impeachment was a farce of misbegotten politics and unfettered vindictiveness should stop, breathe and re-check the need to drumbeat for impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Continually taking this nation and its citizens to the brink cannot be healthy for our democracy. It is unlikely that any call for impeachment can be taken up in a reasonable time frame and addressed in a sober, sensible manner. Given that, we should consider what other recourses are possible (the courts, the press, the change that will come with a new administration) and move on those., while continuing to do whatever we can to keep Bush and Cheney in check. No, it's not ideal. Yes, they are dangerous. But no, you haven't convinced me of the need to impeach, as disturbing as some of the implications raised are. I don't think I'm alone in this sentiment, and I don't think it's a hurdle you can overcome with partisan anger and a "with us or against us" dividing line. There won't be impeachment. I don't think a lot of good will come by generating a lot of impotent rage about that reality. We should focus on what is doable and get those done.

Posted by: weboy | Jul 21, 2007 2:59:12 PM

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