What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 6, 2007

Voices for Impeachment

It's been a while since I've written on the President's and Vice-President's Impeachment.

The last thing I posted (as far as I can tell) is this about a recent article from John Dean. Dean's rather pragmatic point was that since there's no chance the Senate would convict Bush/Cheney, why waste the time? Go after and impeach some lower level officials.

I can see his point about the Senate. Heck, the Republicans there won't even allow a debate a non-binding resolution on Iraq because it might embarras dubya. Those same folks wailing for an "up or down" vote on judicial nominees suddenly find the wisdom of the fillibuster when it comes to the protection of their embattled president. Partisanship at its worst.

Back to Impeachment. There've been a few other voices out there calling for Impeachment. We'll start with Howard Zinn. For those few who don't know, Zinn wrote A People's History of the United States.

Recently in The Progressive, he wrote:

Courage is in short supply in Washington, D.C. The realities of the Iraq War cry out for the overthrow of a government that is criminally responsible for death, mutilation, torture, humiliation, chaos. But all we hear in the nation's capital, which is the source of those catastrophes, is a whimper from the Democratic Party, muttering and nattering about "unity" and "bipartisanship," in a situation that calls for bold action to immediately reverse the present course.

These are the Democrats who were brought to power in November by an electorate fed up with the war, furious at the Bush Administration, and counting on the new majority in Congress to represent the voters. But if sanity is to be restored in our national policies, it can only come about by a great popular upheaval, pushing both Republicans and Democrats into compliance with the national will.

The Declaration of Independence, revered as a document but ignored as a guide to action, needs to be read from pulpits and podiums, on street corners and community radio stations throughout the nation. Its words, forgotten for over two centuries, need to become a call to action for the first time since it was read aloud to crowds in the early excited days of the American Revolution: "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and institute new government."

And some details:
Still, there seems to be a special viciousness that accompanies the current assault on human rights, in this country and in the world. We have had repressive governments before, but none has legislated the end of habeas corpus, nor openly supported torture, nor declared the possibility of war without end. No government has so casually ignored the will of the people, affirmed the right of the President to ignore the Constitution, even to set aside laws passed by Congress.
For Zinn, this leads to:
There is a logical next step in this development of an impeachment movement: the convening of "people's impeachment hearings" all over the country. This is especially important given the timidity of the Democratic Party. Such hearings would bypass Congress, which is not representing the will of the people, and would constitute an inspiring example of grassroots democracy.
I'm not sure it'll happen, but I'd be overjoyed if it did.

Robert Scheer makes a different case. He shares Zinn's cynicism about the Democratic Party. Take a look:

Not all lies are created equal. It is understood that there is a chasm of importance between little white lies and big black ones. Most would agree that lying about a consensual sexual affair, even by the president, is of significantly lesser concern than lying about the proliferation of nuclear weapons as an excuse to take the nation to war.

How then is it possible that a Republican-controlled Congress impeached President Bill Clinton over his attempt to conceal marital infidelity but that a Democratic-led Congress will not even consider impeaching this president for far more serious transgressions against the public trust? That is the question that arises from early revelations in the trial of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.

He puts the whole Libby trial in the broader context of dubya's ongoing deception of Congress.

Indeed it's the act of defrauding the Congress that's at the heart of Elizabeth De La Vega's case for Impeachment. She wrote it back in late 2005.
The Supreme Court has defined the phrase "conspiracy to defraud the United States" as "to interfere with, impede or obstruct a lawful government function by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest." In criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement "between two or more persons" to follow a course of conduct that, if completed, would constitute a crime. The agreement doesn't have to be express; most conspiracies are proved through evidence of concerted action. But government officials are expected to act in concert. So proof that they were conspiring requires a comparison of their public conduct and statements with their conduct and statements behind the scenes. A pattern of double-dealing proves a criminal conspiracy.
Finally, "fraud" is broadly defined to include half-truths, omissions or misrepresentation; in other words, statements that are intentionally misleading, even if literally true. Fraud also includes making statements with "reckless indifference" to their truth.
Here's a more specific example:

The PR campaign intensified Sunday, September 8. On that day the New York Times quoted anonymous "officials" who said Iraq sought to buy aluminum tubes suitable for centrifuges used in uranium enrichment. The same morning, in a choreographed performance worthy of Riverdance, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Gen. Richard Myers said on separate talk shows that the aluminum tubes, suitable only for centrifuges, proved Iraq's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

If, as Jonathan Schell put it, the allegation that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Niger is "one of the most rebutted claims in history," the tubes story is a close second. The CIA and the Energy Department had been debating the issue since 2001. And the Energy Department's clear opinion was that the tubes were not suited for use in centrifuges; they were probably intended for military rockets. Given the lengthy debate and the importance of the tubes, it's impossible to believe that the Bush team was unaware of the nuclear experts' position. So when Bush officials said that the tubes were "only really suited" for centrifuge programs, they were committing fraud, either by lying outright or by making recklessly false statements.

There's much more to the article. The NIE report of December, 2001 that starkly contradicted the administration's assertions that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program. Dubya said it did, the NIE said no.

Cheney claimed that the meeting in Prague between Iraqi Intelligence and Mohammad Atta was "pretty well confirmed" when it was nothing of the sort. And so on.

The de la Vega ends her article with this:

The evidence shows, then, that from early 2002 to at least March 2003, the President and his aides conspired to defraud the United States by intentionally misrepresenting intelligence about Iraq to persuade Congress to authorize force, thereby interfering with Congress's lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations, all of which violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

To what standards should we hold our government officials? Certainly standards as high as those Bush articulated for corporate officials. Higher, one would think. The President and Vice President and their appointees take an oath to defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States. If they fail to leave their campaign tactics and deceits behind--if they use the Oval Office to trick the public and Congress into supporting a war--we must hold them accountable. It's not a question of politics. It's a question of law.



xranger said...

Well, you wing nuts believe all this lying talk, but nobody has ever proven it.

So, prove it or shut up.

Whigsboy said...

It's hard to prove something when members of the former House and Senate majoritoes, like, oh, I don't know, Sen. Pat Roberts from Kansas, let's say, assures people over and over and over again that his committee really is working on an investigation into whether intelligence was manipulated in the run up to the Iraq war. No public hearings, mind you. No Democratic input, even. Just assurances. And still no report. Two years later. Heck, no evidence that there was even an investigation under way.

In his '03 SOTU, Bush mentioned 4 key pieces of evidence that Iraq had WMD: aluminum tubes only suitable for enriching uranium, the Niger/yellowcake claim, the mobile biological weapons labs, and the links to al Qaeda. One would suspect that any evidence selected for the SOTU would be rock solid - the best evidence you could muster.

Yet all 4 of those - ALL FOUR - were untrue and in EVERY CASE there is evidence that senior administration officials knew that, at the very least, there were serious doubts about all four. And yet they were still used. Shameful. And, yes, lies.

The Dems have been in control for only a month or so. Give it time. Those hearings will be held. That investigation will be completed - heck, will be undertaken! And the lies will be laid bare, although I suspect not until AFTER Dumbya is out of office.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Impeachment of the criminals in charge of the executive branch is a sweet dream, but nothing more than that.

It is sadly true that the Democrats in Congress lack backbone, but in avoiding impeachment they are wise. Any impeachment that fails of conviction (a scenario whose certainty I think we all agree upon) would lead to a political disaster of epic proportions. Such a foolish maneuver might even result in a repeat of the past 6 years where another ultra-conservative warhawk like McCain is in charge of a government supported by a maniacally conservative legislature.

Whether or not American democracy can survive after the moral, economic, and military disaster that is the present administration is open to question. But we may rest assured knowing that if the electorate chooses even four more years of the upward transfer of wealth, the destruction of our military, the corporate wealfare, and particularly the erosion of our Constitutional freedoms -- if this should come to pass, the United States of America as we know it will be remembered as a bold, glorious experiment that showed brief flicker of hope in a world of despair; then succumbed to its own greed, decadence, and pettiness in the early 21st century.

xranger said...

"Whether or not American democracy can survive after the moral, economic, and military disaster that is the present administration is open to question."

Whew, what a mouthfull. When you're not waxing poetic on feces or fellatio. shitrock, you are really a downer.

I think you left wing socialist/communists nut cases really do believe we are in dire times. The painful truth is that a tiny minority of Americans have the guts to defend their country in uniform, real income growth is still rocketing upward (greater than the Clinton glory days, I might add) and our democracy is working just fine , thank you very much.

Man, you'd be taking the gas pipe if things were really bad, like during the Great Depression. Better up your meds.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Democracy is working just fine. What with the President's signing statements making end runs around the Constitution, the domestic surveillance, the extraordinary rendition of innocent people, the OKing of torture.

That's right. As long as the rich keep getting richer (and in doing so move the AVERAGE income growth higher), this democracy's in great shape.

Glory, glory halleluhjah

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Two economists -- a Republican and a somebody else -- are sitting in a bar nursing beers when Bill Gates walks in. The Republican says to the other, "Drink up! We just got rich."

"How's that? What are you talking about?" asks the other.

"Look," says the Republican, "Bill Gates! The average income in the bar just went up by a factor of 300!"

If you are well off, these are giddy times. The better off you are, in fact, the better the times are for you. If you are anywhere near the poverty line, this economy just keeps getting worse and worse.

We are already paying an enormous amount of taxes to service the debt, but today's problem is miniscule compared to what the next generation will face.

the comet said...

A very sobering comment care of the Trib's Ralph Reiland a couple months ago:

Unfortunately, the high level of opposition to the war in Iraq currently being expressed by the American public only exists because we are losing. If the post-invasion aspects of the war hadn't been so bungled, the majority of the population would still be saying to stay the course, still be willing to abandon habeas corpus, still be willing to wink at torture and look the other way as the government picks up people and holds them indefinitely.

A good article:

xranger said...

Regarding the economy, from this weekend's Wall Street Journal:

"As for real (inflation-adjusted) wage growth, it averaged 0.6% annually for non-farm workers in the first half of the 1990s compared with 1.5% a year so far in this decade. "This cycle as a whole has witnessed twice the average real wage growth than the first 64 months of the previous expansion," Mr. Darda writes. For the last 12 months, real wages have risen even faster, at a 1.7% clip."


Regarding all of the surveilance, etc., that's why we have three government estates: the Executive branch detailed the plan, the Supreme Court ordered a remodel, Congress passed this.

Sounds like the democracy is working.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Mr Ranger (why do I hear Yogi's friend Boo-boo say that?) fully understood shitrock's joke about the two economists.

Oh, well...

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Where it comes to "wage growth," it is important to differentiate between mean and median. As I tried to point out in my previous comment, the fact that the mean is rising sharply is simply a reflection of the improvement of conditions for those already among the favored class. A look at median wages presents quite a different picture.

The WSJ, of course, takes a position based on an elite perspective. The Economic Policy Institute using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, for example, job growth since 2001 is lower every year than it was in the 1990s. They also point out that "recent fast real wage growth was preceded by a long period of falling real earnings." (Emphasis added.)

And once again, recall that current economic growth is being fueled with record-shattering Federal spending; whereas by the mid-90's the spending deficit was falling toward zero.

Summary: If you're already rich, this is a great economy; if you're middle class, you are probably losing ground; if you are hurting, you are likely to continue to hurt on an accelerating basis; and if you are a kid, you may anticipate crushing taxes just to pay the interest on the Bush debt.

xranger said...

Well The "Clinton Decade of Greed" during the 90's was nice for awhile, especially those in the dot.com bubble. The greed displayed during that decade (Enron, Adelphia, perp walks, etc.) was impressive even for a free-market capitalist like me. (I made a lot of money, too)

Problem was, like all bubbles, it was due to burst and provide the economic cleansing effect of a recession. The recession of '01 was a little deeper in some areas because of this, but still mild. The solid job growth, and record-smashing tax revenues, built up during this latest economic upswing means that a soft landing should occur when the economy runs out of gas. 4 years of war and escalating oil prices have done nothing to dampen this impressive run.

I must admit, however, that I did learn the lib talking points today regarding economic growth and wage increases: the smoke and mirrors about the mean vs median wage number, and Bill Gates' wage skewers the average.

I mean, this is outstanding. Never in my years studying economics in college, or years running my own business, have I ever heard of anything so silly. Only a true socialist/communist could come up with that one.

You never fail to impress with your logic. That's why I love to troll in lib blogs and see what I can snag.


Schmuck Shitrock said...

Suppose we have 10 people, to keep it simple. Four of them make $20,000, four make $60,000, and two make $1,000,000. The mean income is $240,000 -- which does not really tell us much about any "real" person's income. The median, though, is $60,000 -- the income of the middle-most person in our sample.

If one of the millionaires doubles his or her income and one of the people in the middle drops to $50,000 the mean goes up to $325,000, but the median drops to $55,000. The mean would tell us that the "average" person in our sample is doing much better; but the median suggests that "typical" people in the middle actually took a hit.

This demonstrates how the median is far more reflective of the reality of living in the middle than is the mean. Since there are many, many more people who are "typical" than there are people at the extremes, the median is a much better indicator of the well-being of the economy than is the mean.

This is the simplest kind of statistical analysis.

Anonymous said...

nancy pelosi said impeachment is out anyway...remember? So quit harping on it, sheeple.

Unless of course, she lied.

Anonymous said...

"Those same folks wailing for an "up or down" vote on judicial nominees suddenly find the wisdom of the fillibuster when it comes to the protection of their embattled president. Partisanship at its worst."

Sounds like the Democrats. You should be well aware about partisanship, David. Look at your own poltical party.

Democrats. When you want to see what they are up to, just watch them accuse the Republicans of the same thing. You can then be rest assured that they're doing "it."


Schmuck Shitrock said...

No sharp prosecutor would seek an indictment against a defendant knowing he could not get a conviction. It would be a waste of taxpayer money and political suicide. Neither should the Democrats impeach Bush, for the same reason.

Nancy Pelosi is a pretty sharp politician.

xranger said...

This just in from AP regarding wages:

"Labor costs for each unit of output rose 3.2 percent for all of 2006, up from a 2 percent increase in 2005 and the fastest rise in worker wages and benefits since a 4.2 percent increase in 2000."


Now, how the heck can that be? I mean, shitrock presented a child-like dissertation on economic determination of the wage scale, and he claims Bill Gates skews the whole damn thing.

What the...?

Schmuck Shitrock said...

It is convenient for Bush supporters to compare recent improvements against the abysmal performance in his first term. Note that when they say "the best since..." they are talking about the end of the previous administration.

As I said, above:

Bureau of Labor Statistics show..."recent fast real wage growth was preceded by a long period of falling real earnings."(Emphasis added.)

And for the fourth or fifth time, recent improvements are being paid for by incurring record-setting massive debt. In other words, your grandkids will pay for some 2007 millionaire's third 55" Hi-Def TV.

xranger said...

So tiresome, yet so predictable.

The first time you libs decried the deficit was during Reagan's time, spreading doom and gloom about the bill on our kids backs. Well, its 20 years later and, wait a minute, the deficit never stopped any economic boom. What a bummer.

Also, please note that the 2000 wage growth was at the tale-end of an economic cycle. Any student of economics (I assumed you slept through that class) knows that wages will peak prior to the fall. 2000 was the peak.

By the way, did you know that during Clinton's first two years, when the Dems controlled the executive and both branches of Congress, the economy stagnated, along with Wall Street, and neither grew at all, even though the recession was over.

Low and behold, Brother Newt launched the Rep revolution in the House, dividing government, and the economy never looked back.

But, I imagine you did not know that.

Go back to your economic coloring books.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Another thing...note that those who support the Bush administration's dreadful economic record (except for the wealthiest 10 percent) never bother even to answer the points raised against them.

As with all issues, their answer is to call their opponents names. "Traitor" is very popular, either used directly or as in "a vote for a Democrat is a vote for the terrorists." "Childish" seems to be growing in popularity on this blog.

xranger said...

Well, when the shoe fits.

I guess you're getting ready to launch another feces 'n fellatio diatribe.

For those of you playing along at home, send the children out of the room.

EdHeath said...

I think the economy is a little more complicated than it is being portrayed here, which actually I suspect you both would agree with. One interesting thing I read recently is that while the unemployment rate is approximately the same as during the Clinton years, people’s expectations of being able to get a job is now about half what it was during the Clinton years. I’m oversimplifying myself, and I don’t remember exactly where I saw this thing, but I still find it interesting; in fact, for me, it neatly captures the problems people see with this administration. Well, that and the five years of stagnant wages. Maybe it's not fair to blame the administration for job problems, except that this administration often seems tofavor the rich in tax and legislative policies.
I don’t have time right now to go into specifics, but X, I suggest that if you look at wage growth by income levels over the past seven years, you will see that the recent expansions have not lifted all boats. And it is a short distance from there to say that income disparity is increasing. If these things are true, and if the republicans are supposed to be the “big tent” party, are they serving the needs of their constituents?

Whigsboy said...

Well, X never replied to my post about those four pesky little inaccuracies/lies on the 2003 SOTU and how you can't prove something when Congress won't even freaking investigate it.

So, the conversation morphed into wages and economics, and I'm like a 6-year-old when it comes to that kind of stuff (which I suppose isn't uncommon for garden-variety medical/science writers), but this little diddy from The Fed chair strikes me as pertinent - in a more global, long-term sense - to this discussion:

"Income inequality has increased in the United States over the last three decades, Bernanke said. Income at the 90th percentile of wage earners -- those close to the top -- rose 34 percent between 1979 and 2006, while the wage at the 10th percentile rose a scant 4 percent in that period, he said.

Then there's this:

"The percentage of total income for the top 1% doubled over that period, going from 8% to 16%, and making it a larger portion of overall income than in any period this side of the Great Depression."

H/t to DevilsTower @ Daily Kos:

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Guys, guys, guys! Stop being so childish. The Decider has decided that the economy is good, and that's that.

Here's a quarter. Go buy yourself a new economics coloring book.

Diane said...

I have been saying Impeach for 4 years now!
How will history judge us the AMerican people when it is read that Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about Consenual sex and thia administration lied about the reasons it went to war? At this point over 3,000 troops have died and hundred of thousands of Iraq's.
We will be lucky if this president does not start WW3 becasue he can, no one will stop him.
Stop the insanity!!!!!
Impeach Bush Cheney NOW!!!!!!

Democrats-Lie said...

Diane, you're stupid. Clinton wasn't impeached on account of consensual sex, he was impeached because he lied under oath.

How convenient that you forget to mention rarely mentioned fact.

By the way, if he would used his brain instead of thinking with his dick, he wouldn't of gotten in that mess.

Democrats-Lie (Genuine) said...

The IMPOSTOR Democrats-Lie said, "dick!"

Oh well, what can you expect from somebody who doesn't even know who he is? You know the real Democrats-Lie (me) would never use disgusting profanity like that. But I guess when you're a wing nut it's *just* different.