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Articles of Impeachment

Yesterday, it was in the news that Massachusetts Congressman Mike Capuano (Democrat, of course, and representing some of the more liberal areas in and around Boston) was among those openly talking about impeaching President Bush. Normally, I'd just dismiss this as typical Massachusetts idiocy, but I've been thinking about this, and I think that there just might be some grounds for this.

Impeachment is the "big gun" of Constitutional law. It is Congress' way of checking the other two branches, and it is reserved for only "high crimes and misdemeanors." Historically speaking, impeachment has only been used against two presidents (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton) and openly discussed against a third (Richard Nixon). In Johnson's case, there was no doubt that he had broken the law -- but the law in question was considered unconstitutional by many authorities. In Clinton's case, his defenders successfully argued that while he had indeed lied under oath, committing perjury, the matter was not serious enough (and the fact that Clinton had been lying about sexual matters) to merit conviction. Nixon was likely to be impeached (and convicted) when he resigned.

But the definition of "high crimes and misdemeanors" is vague. Most scholars say that Congress can define them however they wish when it comes to impeachment. Much like the saying that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, they say that should they choose to, Congress could impeach the president for such offenses as wearing an ugly tie or owning a dumb pet. Practically speaking, though, the restrictions on Congress are political: every single member of the House has to face the voters every two years, along with one third of the Senate -- and the voters, if roused by such rank partisanship, could toss them out on their collective ears.

Now, I voted for Bush both in 2000 and 2004, and don't regret either of those votes. But after some serious thought, I think there just might be some valid grounds for impeachment.

1) Failure to properly anticipate and react to the threat of Hurricane Katrina.

Whereas the President did or should have known the course of the Hurricane, and did or should have known that the state and local officials were hopelessly inept and/or corrupt, the President should have acted sooner to mitigate the damage and loss of life. The President should have disregarded the Constitutional separation of powers and federalist system and removed Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco from office, taking the entire state into federal receivership. He should have usurped Governor Blanco's authority as commander in chief of the state's National Guard and, in violation of the Posse Comitatus principle, used them to secure New Orleans before, during, and after the disaster.

2) Not properly interpreting the faulty intelligence that led to the invasion of Iraq.

Saddam Hussein had arranged a remarkable feat: he was balancing two entirely different sets of enemies, feeding each entirely different and contradictory information, in the hopes of maintaining his grip on power. His immediate neighbors were told he did indeed possess weapons of mass destruction (or was very close to developing them) to keep them (mainly Iran) from attacking him. Simultaneously, he was telling the West that he had absolutely no such intentions.

Further, under the terms of Saddam's surrender after the first Gulf War, the West was under NO obligation to prove he was violating it by developing or hoarding weapons of mass destruction. The onus was solely on Saddam to prove he was in compliance, and Saddam was amazingly cagey, evasive, and uncooperative for well over a decade.

President Bush should have seen through Saddam's deceptions (that fooled the best intelligence agencies in the world) and known Saddam was bluffing. He should have not simply presumed the worst, or even just a bad condition, disregarded Saddam's well-documented support for terrorism and history of possessing and using WMDs in the past, and come to the conclusion that Saddam did not have any weapons of mass destruction.

3) President Bush should have prevented Dubai Ports World from attempting to take control of terminals in six of our major ports. Regardless of the minimal affect on our national security, ignoring the precedent established by the Clinton administration that permitted a virtually identical deal with China and several West Coast ports, and ignoring the potential damage to our economic future (Dubai is already reconsidering several other very large commercial deals with US companies, including a major aircraft purchase from Boeing in the next year or two), Bush should have anticipated the public backlash (partly fueled by corrupt unions fearing the possibility of having to negotiate with DPW) and not allowed the deal to go through -- until stopped by Congress.

Obviously, these are ridiculous charges. But there is absolutely nothing in the Constitution or in law that would prevent it from happening. The only constraints on it happening are the sanity and self-interest of the 535 members of Congress. And there simply aren't enough loony leftists in that august body to pull it off.

The fun part is, the loonies who are trying this will end up hurting their own side far more than they will Bush. And in the process, they'll provide a lot of people with a lot of good laughs.


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Comments (26)

Jay;Nice curveball... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

Jay;

Nice curveball.

Bush and Friends are behaving like the dead-enders who stole every
nickel from the Iraqi monetary system, and every Abyssinian artifact
they felt could be EBAYed, before they were unseated from power.

Let's just hope they don't set fire to our domestic well-heads before
they form their own insurgency to prevent democracy in the U.S.

I'm sure Saddam would prefer impeachment
to the soft caress of a scimitar. But it would
be similarly ridiculous to merely remove him
from office, considering his crimes.

On the last point (Dubai Po... (Below threshold)

On the last point (Dubai Ports World), tort lawyers all over the world would marvel at the sheer size of the interference with contractual relations lawsuit.

Heh... took me a minute to ... (Below threshold)
Mark Erikson:

Heh... took me a minute to read past the bold points and pick up on the sarcasm in between.

Jay Tea I will be brief. Yo... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:

Jay Tea I will be brief. You are an idiot!!!

(Somebody please correct my... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

(Somebody please correct my numbers if I'm off base here)

Even if Bush is impeached by the House, the Senate needs 2/3 majority to convict. That would mean that the Republicans would need to, not only lose the House in November, but also lose close to a dozen Senate seats as well. Even if that's possible, I doubt that it's very likely to happen.

Besides, the next person in line is Cheney and I don't think the Dems would be all that in favor of the replacement.

Hey Radical Centrist.......... (Below threshold)
Luke:

Hey Radical Centrist........

Settle down. This is sarcasm at it's best.

Good job Jay, you got 'em thinking with both sides of their brains.

Nice job addressing impeach... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Nice job addressing impeachment without any mention of what he will (hopefully) be impeached for:

warrantless wire taps.

Also, enjoyed the Katrina "blame game."

"Now, I voted for Bush both in 2000 and 2004, and don't regret either of those votes."

Of course not. It's called cognitive dissonance.

If Bush intentionally man... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

If Bush intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action on Iraq, that would be grounds for impeachment, though of course it might be difficult to prove..Most readers of this blog and Jay would still give Bush the benefit of the doubt, that his unequivocal assertions about the gathering threat of Iraq, were based on faulty intelligence, rather than the skewing of the intelligence by disregarding the caveats and the more cautious, qualified phrasings of intelligence analysts. Or to be more blunt as as Daniel Ellsberg of the 'Pentagon Papers' once said "What's good about the American people is that you have to lie to them. What's bad about Americans is that it's so easy to do."

That's pretty darn funny. :... (Below threshold)
Viking:

That's pretty darn funny. :)

without any mention of w... (Below threshold)
The Ace:

without any mention of what he will (hopefully) be impeached for:
warrantless wire taps.

Demonstrating your vast command of the issue.

I suggest you actually do some reading on the topic, particularly what members of Congress have recently said.

Ace:You proved my ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Ace:

You proved my point. The illegality of what this administration has done is being countered by this new bill which would now make it legal.

It makes sense - the admin. was caught in an illegal action, and now Republicans are making a bill making that same action legal.

From your link: "The bill would allow the NSA to eavesdrop, without a warrant, for up to 45 days per case..."

If what the admin. was doing was legal in the first place, why do we need this bill?

It's amazing to see the tro... (Below threshold)
epador:

It's amazing to see the trolls that want to make Cheney President. Talk about presbyopia!

Hmmm."high crimes ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"high crimes and misdemeanors." isn't just anything that anybody wants to define at that moment. It actually REQUIRES the commission of an actual on-the-books crime. So your assertion that it can be whatever Congress wants to define it as is completely incorrect. Nor can Congress retroactively make something criminal.

Anything like this would be thrown out by the courts. And without the actual commission of a crime there's no Constitutional justification for an impeachment proceeding.

It's amazing to see the ... (Below threshold)
m:

It's amazing to see the trolls that want to make Cheney President.

That's one of the reasons I've never jumped on the impeachment bandwagon. President Cheney? Yeesh.

And without the actual c... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And without the actual commission of a crime there's no Constitutional justification for an impeachment proceeding.

Tell that to Andrew Johnson.

This is as funny as anythin... (Below threshold)
Arlo:

This is as funny as anything so far. I've never seen so much whining, teeth grinding and false bravado/jocularity wasted on things "not worth their time" before.

Go blogwarriors, go! =0

Harding was no hero either.... (Below threshold)
Amphipolis:

Harding was no hero either. But he died before he could be impeached.

What would Bush be impeache... (Below threshold)
bennito:

What would Bush be impeached for? Well, here's a couple of reasons:

~Tillman cover-up
~Schiavo
~How many people affected in Hurricane Katrina
~Lack of the use of swift boats in the Katrina Rescue effort
~No air drops to Superdome
~Orders to shoot people over a loaf of bread that was taken from a store
~Explosion heard after the storm passed and THEN the levees gave way
~GOP holding votes open
~Last throes comment
~Stuff happens comment
~Mission accomplished (100 dead at the time)
~Medicare reform Bill
~Class-Action Reform Bill
~Medicare not allowed to broker prices for prescription drugs
~Drownie
~Condi shoe shopping
~We don't torture, we send detainees to other countries to not be tortured
~Democrats are muzzled on all legislation
~Lobbying is well out of control
~Abramoff
~DeLay
~Diebold
~Ohio elections
~Katherine Harris
~Journalists targeted in Iraq
~Oil not paying for the war
~Not being treated as liberators
~Patrick McHenry claiming we hate America (Schiavo case)
~Ethics committee gutted
~FDA will approve anything (except emergency birth control)
~Attack on Social Security
~President flipping off the camera
~No child left behind is not paid for
~Refusing aid after Katrina
~Red Cross not allowed to assist after Katrina
~Fema is way too bloated and does nothing that the DHS can't do
~Cutting aid to NYPD and FDNY that are affected form the cleanup effort when they were told that the air was safe to breathe
~Tax cuts to those that don't trickle it down
~3 Trillion Dollars more in debt
~No help in NOLA until Bush arrived (then it stopped again when he left)
~Abu Ghraib
~Gitmo
~Italian reporter shot up
~Bolton recess appointment
~No legislation passed that big money hasn't backed
~Documented reports of Bush's Grandfather (Prescott Bush) bankrolling Adolf Hitler
~Buying the Iraqi press
~Wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera
~No water or electricity in Iraq
~Cindy Sheehan shunted
~Harriet Miers
~Jessica Lynch
~Soldiers serving well after their agreed enlistment time
~President won't hold press conferences
~President only speaks to cherry-picked audiences
~Plame Outing
~Scooter Libby
~Spy in Cheney's office
~Jean Schmidt
~Wage stagnation
~Halliburton in New Orleans and Iraq
~Outsourcing of jobs
~Money printed in Iraq
~NO WMD
~Yellow Cake
~Rove
~No victory gauge
~No armor for soldiers either Iraqi or American
~Outsourcing the building of Marine 1 Helicopters
~Fighter jets sold to Pakistan by W...on a Saturday
~No accuracy in unemployment rate reporting
~SEC has become a joke
~Hedge funds aren't regulated
~No war strategy
~Downing Street Memos
~Borrowing from the communists
~$330,000 a month to Chalabi
~Bush housing Saudis
~Where's UBL
~Flew UBL's family out of the country after he bombed us
~No border security
~Gas prices
~Home heating prices higher than ever in history
~IRS auditing churches
~Price of war way underestimated
~Bayoil
~Closed session of Senate accomplished nothing the GOP said it would
~Pre-war intel was/is fixed
~Alabama voted for Jeff Sessions (how can that be?)
~Environmental laws absolutely gutted
~Middle class forgotten all-together
~Redistricting to rig elections
~Patriot Act
~Civil rights eroded/gutted
~Treatment of Michael Schiavo
~GOP votes against EVERY inquiry of wrong-doing
~9/11 commission ignored completely
~Programs for the neediest gutted
~Education budged harshly slashed
~Terror alerts subsided after Keith Olbermann finally exposes the coincidences
~Every document is classified
~Most secretive president ever
~Curveball
~Interstates inadequate for mass evacuations
~What was the Noble cause
~Everyone in NOLA have life insurance(?)
~Blaming Tenet for the "slam dunk" comment and then awarding Medal of Freedom
~Elderly deaths went way up during the Social Security Savagery
~Dems can't add amendments to legislation
~Over 60% of elections won by less than 4%
~Sensenbrenner walked off with the gavel during Patriot Act hearing
~Tax cuts to ship jobs away
~Soldiers getting Purple Heart collections
~Fox News isn't biased
~Veterans benefits cut
~No exception for soldiers in the Bankruptcy Reform Bill
~Internet threatened with regulation
~Every shopping bag at Wal-Mart is made in Singapore
~Bianca
~Still ignoring NOLA
~Creating immigration laws that take affect in 5 years
~Pat Robertson and James Dobson tell their congregation how they should vote
~Jerry Falwell too
~Corruption is the norm
~No timetable for when the debt will be paid
~DOW was at 11,770 when Bush took office 5 years ago
~Dollar is losing value
~Haven't defined what is/isn't torture for all to hear
~Trade agreements are not even close to fair
~Ports left unprotected
~Definition of a terrorist is ever so vague
~GOP claims to have different degrees of Neo-Cons (but they all vote exactly the same)
~Swift-Boating John Kerry
~What is the Skull and Bones Society?
~Drownie was kept on the payroll
~Drownie was never fired
~Newt touring with Hillary
~How many soldiers in an Iraqi Batallion?
~Max Cleland was treated like a piece of shit
~Why were helicopters used to find the people, trying to escape the rising waters, pounding on their roofs from inside their attics?
~5 deferments
~Nuclear option
~Ethics committee couldn't get Cunningham 2 years after it was known that his house was sold to a defense contractor for $700,000 over its value as he lived on that contractor's yacht
~20% tax on land phone lines
~12% on cell towers
~Diesel fuel is 50 cents higher than gasoline
~Home by Christmas
~Establishing a democracy and not a Republic?
~Jeb doesn't have FEMA woes
~War profiteering
~Health care
~Armstrong Williams
~Sure quote Lieberman a lot
~Caspian Sea pipeline
~If it's a Reform Bill or Deregulation Bill the result is never better quality or more affordability
~Cheney said he was glued to the TV all week like everyone else
~Christian values never reflected in legislation
~Jeff Gannon
~Nobody accountable for anything
~Smoking in the rotunda
~Loaded SCOTUS
~MZM
~Chuck Hagel was CEO of ES&S
~Offshore accounts of members
~No mistakes come to mind
~Niger
~Haley Barbour told us FEMA was there on Tuesday
~No scandals given credence
~Math is spun (math don't lie)
~Government is largest in over 200 years
~Looking under a desk for WMD's
~Non-combative protestors arrested
~Soviet Gulags
~Superdome
~Opium export in Afghanistan up 2000%
~Hannity is a Pussy
~Ready for a Category 6?
~Global warming ignored
~Hans Blix
~Pakistan earthquake money
~Private prison stockholders
~George H W Bush runs Pharma
~Ambassador to the Vatican?
~Rush never busted on possession charges
~Bill Bennett
~Joe Wilson
~Indian Casino lobbying for how much?
~We aren't safer
~SCOTUS chose our President
~Carnival cruise line contract after Katrina
~Able Danger
~Ken Lay
~Harken Energy
~Rupert Murdoch
~Blatant over-charges in Iraq and NOLA
~Bird Flu vaccine for only 20 million
~Ports deal mishandled with attempts to mislead people
~Apologizing for being shot
~Saying life begins at conception, but no life insurance for fetuses at conception
~Bush Administration rejecting hurricane recovery loans at the highest rate in 15 years.

Is that enough?

It is definitely not enough... (Below threshold)

It is definitely not enough....er...,zoloft for you, bennie.

I take it back. Bennie just... (Below threshold)
Arlo:

I take it back. Bennie just made it even funnier/sillier.

Entertaining, even if somewhat scary, from the pov of a moderate watching extremists go wild vol. 69.

Bennito:I've never... (Below threshold)
Proud kaffir:

Bennito:

I've never seen so much B.S contained in one post entry. I give you credit for the effort.

Don't forget to add: USA eliminated from WBC. Bonds on steroids. The New York Jets. Clinton's blowjob (minus will throw it in). Ted Kennedy's driving. . .

Jp2,If wh... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Jp2,

If what the admin. was doing was legal in the first place, why do we need this bill?

If what the admin was doing was illegal under the 4th amendment, how can congress make it legal without amending the constitution?

bennito, ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

bennito,

Why were helicopters used to find the people, trying to escape the rising waters, pounding on their roofs from inside their attics?

You just answered the reason for your next question.

No scandals given credence?

Your list looks like the subject lines from SPAM, which seem to be generated by software randomly sticking words and phrases together. That not only explains the content, but the length also.

bennito, you forgot the /sa... (Below threshold)
RobBert:

bennito, you forgot the /sarc tag.

(Or the idiot descriptor)

Mac Lorry:It's ill... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Mac Lorry:

It's illegal under FISA.

I say 'do it'. The GOP has ... (Below threshold)
Bert:

I say 'do it'. The GOP has already more or less sold their souls, that much is evident, I don't see any reason on earth for the dems to do the same...or have they done so also? Hmmm....all about a quick buck, screw all that law stuff, let's just do whatever we want...

I think an important thing to remember is that by supporting impeachment, it's also a call back to morals and common sense and away from all these big money mega-deals that are increasingly dictating the course of Congress and the country with blatant disregard for the will of The People, who are getting fed up with iron-fist, velvet-glove 'democracy'...

Start with both elections, which were fishy, especially the first in 2000, a court decided who would be president, not your vote. A court in a state governed by bush's BROTHER. A news commentator basically said 'now we see what really goes on' or words to that effect, basically denouncing the whole voting process as a farce. That was warning flag #1. A lot of people ask how Al Gore would have done in a 9/11, could well have been there would have been no 9/11 under Gore.

Well, since 2000, the country's gone 3 trillion further in the hole, or working on it, we're more dependent on oil than ever(big shocker THERE),
and oh by the way, Iraq is now fighting within itself, I say 'go Bush'(and take Cheney with you).
These guys are war profiteers, plain and simple,
and if the only supporting reasnoing for doing something is because you're going to make 20 bucks off the deal, well that's not a good enough reason for me. Of course, we're talking MILLIONS of dollars, not just $20. Hell, anymore, 20 bucks is just chump change. Time was, that'd fill your tank AND buy your lunch. Not anymore.

No, the moral of BushCo is that rich people=good, everyone else=bad. Well, by the time the deficit chicken comes home to roost, there'll be less rich people in america, too...unless they're going to extend perpetual credit to all american consumers.

I really hope that things go well for america, it's a great country, proud to call it home, but there's some problems like apparent innumeracy in washington, D.C., and that's not a problem you can lay solely at Bush's feet in terms of responsibility, and it's actually more of an indictment of the GOP than it is Bush, as they've been very influential in the policy biz. Yes, 'biz', as in 'government biz', as in 'screw your vote, how much MONEY have you got'? That kind of 'biz'.

Anyone else want Texxron out of the oval office?




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