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July 03, 2007

"Unimpeachably Impeachable"

That's the title of Ray McGovern's post on No Quarter. His strategy for making the case is straightforward:

There is a blizzard of possible charges warranting impeachment, and that is part of the problem. It’s not only outrage fatigue, it is knowing how to sort through what Thomas Jefferson called “a long train of abuses and usurpations” to select the most heinous, when it is difficult to discern which of them most offends our Constitution and the rule of law.

Suggestion: From the most heinous, select just one for which there is ready proof—one not susceptible of the kind of diddling that has been so prevalent in Washington these past several years.

Why not focus on a high crime that the Bush administration has already admitted to, with claims it is above the law and the Constitution: electronic eavesdropping on Americans without the required court warrant.

This is the same point that law professor Jonathan Turley was making on the talk shows last week. The president, daring us to challenge him, admitted he broke the FISA law and it is now time for Congress to investigate this criminal, unconstitutional action. We already know that Bush and Cheney are dangerously confused about their roles in government. Cheney thinks he runs the legislative branch while Bush hallucinates that he runs the judicial branch. It is well past time for tutorials. "Negotiation" is a non-starter. It is time for real accountabiltity. It is time for our congressional representatives to show their true colors:

Do they support the Constitution? Or do they support the criminal presidency? They cannot have it both ways.

Impeachment begins in the House, but the Senate has its lawful role to play, should articles of impeachment be moved forward. Congressman McDermott has taken a stand against the shadow government being run by Dick Cheney and joined Kucinich's effort to hold the Vice President accountable. Where do Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray stand? With the Constitution? Or with the criminals in the White House? They cannot have it both ways.

Marcy Wheeler (empytwheel) has begun to document even more evidence of high crimes with respect to spying on American citizens. She lays out the chronology of events surrounding the Duke Cunningham prosecution and the Department of Defense's spying program called TALON. As a refresher, the TALON program made it posssible for you and I to be surveilled by our government each and every time we met in small discussion groups or took to the streets to invoke our constitutional right to protest the illegal, immoral occupation of Iraq. It's the program that snared those most dangerous of American citizens, the Quakers. Whew. God only knows what peaceful efforts those Quakers could have gotten up to had the government not found their hideouts in time. Actual dialogues regarding the Bush mob's justification for a war we now know was built on lies may have been in the offing. And who knows where that could have led?

Here's the crux of it: just when Duke Cunningham's bribers -- defense contractors involved with and making money off the TALON program -- were identified by Carol Lam, the U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, and the fix was clearly in for them and the Dukester, all the records of the TALON program mysteriously and conveniently disappeared from DOD files.

Accountable much? Not with this crowd. The rotting fish of the Bush/Cheney presidency is not only stinking from the head down, the stench is wafting in all directions. The moorings of our democratic system are so loose they are about to float away and sink. It is up to the Congress to set this aright. So, where do you stand, representatives? Senators??? With the Constitution? Or with the criminal presidency? You cannot have it both ways.

Posted by shoephone on July 3, 2007 at 11:14 AM in National and International Politics, Strategery, Taking Action | Permalink


I am finding it almost impossible to think about any of this without steam coming out of my ears; I just have a sense that the level of anger in this country is just going up and up and up, and where is the action? Okay, I know it's only been 6 months since the Dems regained a paper-thin majority, and it's been 6 years of being stifled and stymied and silenced and stonewalled, but when do the Dems start playing hard ball? When do they draw the line, acknowledge that it has been crossed repeatedly over the last 6 years, and hold the appropriate people accountable? Where are the principled votes? Where is the leadership? Why are we tolerating this pandering and gamesmanship from Senators who want to be president?

What's truly mind-blowing is that there probably aren't more than a handful of people in the media who could sit you down and explain the facts and the timeline of the CIA leak case, or who even have a clue about the nexus between Duke Cunningham, MZM and TALON. And if the news media can't explain it, can't get the facts right, how are the people supposed to know what the hell is being done to their government and their country.

I heard today that there are hundreds of commutation requests outstanding - some for years. Has Bush even looked at any of those to see whether there is any excessive sentencing to be considered? Bush is a man who, as governor, refused to spare the death penalty - a rather harsh and excessive sentence - in cases where there was egregious error.

But Libby is a friend, a loyal soldier.

How is it that a president can find the time to spare the felon and cannot find the time to honor the fallen?

Sorry for the rant, but this all just makes my blood boil.

Posted by: Anne | Jul 3, 2007 1:54:52 PM

I've been wondering for some time why Congress hasn't investigated and acted on the FISA issue already. I suppose the DoJ stonewalling has something to do with it, but after this long, I'd think Congress would be so tired of the nonsense that they'd just haul either Abu or Bush down there and impeach him.

Anyhow, McGovern's right, it's the issue that's been out there the longest, and the President confessed. Don't forget, they don't have to prove that he actually did anything to impeach or "convict" him. They only need to show that he admitted to breaking a law specifically designed to protect our rights, and vowed to continue doing it. Seems plain enough to me.

Posted by: Cujo359 | Jul 4, 2007 2:13:08 AM

Cujo asked, "I've been wondering for some time why Congress hasn't investigated and acted on the FISA issue already."

Because Job One of spying on your citizens is to gather blackmail material on the powerful who might challenge your power grab?

Posted by: op99 | Jul 4, 2007 7:55:55 AM

Happy Fo'th to all!

This TALON piece of the story really is a breathtaker, isn't it, shoe?

Don't know whether you saw Major Danby's Kos diary on "procedural impeachment" the other day --


-- but it's (a) very good and (b) on-point here. MD thinks the only way to get this done NOW is "procedural" rather than "substantive" impeachment -- i.e., going after Bush on obstruction of justice for not just withholding but spoliating (destroying) evidence -- to which add now this TALON news.

Goopers (and squeamish Dems) may reject "substantive" impeachment (dealing with law-breaking) as merely "criminalizing politics," but that fight can (in fact, must) wait until we have many more facts in hand than we have now, MD argues. "Procedural" impeachment (dealing with process-breaking) can't wait, nor can any Gooper/squeamish Dem reasonably reject action against Bush's "frontal assault on the very idea of Congressional oversight." The issue here is "not that he may have broken the law, it's that he's breaking the system."

A fine analysis if you haven't seen it yet. Fireworks!

Posted by: lotus | Jul 4, 2007 9:51:52 AM

That thought's occurred to me, op99. Given the secrecy of these programs, the prestige of the Presidency, and the size of the NSA, it's conceivable that someone from the NSA could be giving the necessary cooperation. I hope not, but I won't say it's impossible, because it's not.

Even if that isn't happening, Cheney's the sort of guy who gets ahead by knowing where the bodies are buried. You can bet he knows a thing or two that some Congressmen would rather not have the public knowing.

Posted by: Cujo359 | Jul 4, 2007 10:57:10 AM

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