Checks On An Out Of Control Executive Branch

Contrary to what some in the Left blogs seem to think, the Constitution provides and contemplates methods for the Legislative Branch to check an out of control Executive short of impeachment and removal. And that is a good thing. For in the history of the Republic, only one President would likely have been removed from office, Richard M. Nixon, had he not resigned (it is why he resigned actually.)

President George W. Bush is no exception. He will never be removed from office. Therefore, progressives who actually care about checking this out of control Executive would be doing a much greater service for the Nation if they would urge the Congress to exercise those powers the Constitution provides it to check the power of the Executive. To instead urge futile efforts to remove the President from office may make those who urge it feel good, but it does not urge a course of action that will actually do any good for the Nation. More.

It is good to see that the top recommended diary at daily kos recognizes this, as it lauds Congress' attempt to restrain this out of control Executive through the use of its most potent power, the Spending Power:

But no, right now only Dems are putting up the fight to preserve what's left of the integrity of the federal bureacracy (yeah right!):
Last week, the House passed the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill (HR 2829). The bill contains an amendment which would forbid the White House from expending any funds in implementing President Bush's recent changes to the regulatory process.

The amendment, offered by Reps. Brad Miller (D-NC) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) states, "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement Executive Order 13422." E.O. 13422 amended E.O. 12866 which governs the White House regulatory review process.

The appropriations bill funds the entire Executive Office of the President. Therefore, this amendment would stop the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) from expending any money in carrying out the E.O. Most notably, OIRA would not be allowed to review agency guidance documents.
The same approach to fourthbranch's claim: choke the bastard off at the wallet (apologies to all the bastards out there). Thank you Reps Miller and Sanchez. Its good to know your keeping an eye on stuff like this. Now for enforcement.
Last December, I wrote the following on the subject:

The Separation of Powers, Not Impeachment, The Principal Bulwark Against Presidential Abuse

by Big Tent Democrat

Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 09:00:44 PM PDT

In Unitary Moonbat's Impeachment History diary and thread, both too little and too much is said. The too little is about the POLITICS of the impeachment process. The too much is the selling of impeachment as the bulwark against Presidential abuse of power:

Henry's objections were numerous, but one of them was that Madison had created a president who could too easily become an absolute monarch or a tyrant. . . . Madison's reply was essentially what was quoted above. He believed it was impossible for a president to behave as Henry feared one might, because Congress held the power to impeach the executive and remove him from office if necessary . . .

But this is simply not a correct reading of the Federalist Papers or the Constitution. I'll explain why . . .

Let us start with Madison in Federalist 51:

In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different powers of government, which to a certain extent, is admitted on all hands to be essential to the preservation of liberty, it is evident that each department should have a will of its own; and consequently should be so constituted, that the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others.

. . . It is equally evident that the members of each department should be as little dependent as possible on those of the others, for the emoluments annexed to their offices. Were the executive magistrate, or the judges, not independent of the legislature in this particular, their independence in every other would be merely nominal.

But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department, the necessary constitutional means, and personal motives, to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defence must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to controul the abuses of government. But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controuls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to controul the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to controul itself. A dependence on the people is no doubt the primary controul on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

. . . [I]t is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self defence. In republican government the legislative authority, necessarily, predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is, to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them by different modes of election, and different principles of action, as little connected with each other, as the nature of their common functions, and their common dependence on the society, will admit. It may even be necessary to guard against dangerous encroachments by still further precautions. As the weight of the legislative authority requires that it should be thus divided, the weakness of the executive may require, on the other hand, that it should be fortified.

. . . There are moreover two considerations particularly applicable to the federal system of America, which place that system in a very interesting point of view.

First. In a single republic, all the power surrendered by the people, is submitted to the administration of a single government; and usurpations are guarded against by a division of the government into distinct and separate departments. In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people, is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each, subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will controul each other; at the same time that each will be controuled by itself.

Second. It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers; but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. . . .

Nowhere in Federalist 51 does Madision speak of impeachment as the bulwark against the abuse of Executive power.

Indeed, let us consider the area where Presidential power has traditionally been treated as at its zenith, the Commander in Chief power during wartime. During the FISA debate, I wrote a series of posts detailing the argument and court decisions that eviscerated the ridiculous arguments of the Bush Administration regarding the idea of a "unitary executive." In particular I relied on Hamilton and the Steel Seizure Cases. Here is an example:

A Little Bit of Monarchy

by Armando

Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 01:07:10 AM EST

[The Government's position] cannot be mandated by any reasonable view of the separation of powers, as this view only serves to condense power into a single branch of government. We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation's citizens. Youngstown Steel and Tube, 343 U.S. at 587. Whatever power the United States Constitution envisions for the Executive in times of conflict with other Nations or enemy organizations, it most assuredly envisions a role for all three branches when individual liberties are at stake. Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.

In Federalist 26 Alexander Hamilton wrote:

In England, for a long time after the Norman Conquest, the authority of the monarch was almost unlimited. Inroads were gradually made upon the prerogative, in favor of liberty, first by the barons, and afterwards by the people, till the greatest part of its most formidable pretensions became extinct. But it was not till the revolution in 1688, which elevated the Prince of Orange to the throne of Great Britain, that English liberty was completely triumphant. As incident to the undefined power of making war, an acknowledged prerogative of the crown, Charles II had, by his own authority, kept on foot in time of peace a body of 5,000 regular troops. And this number James II increased to 30,000; who were paid out of his civil list. At the revolution, to abolish the exercise of so dangerous an authority, it became an article of the Bill of Rights then framed, that ``the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, UNLESS WITH THE CONSENT OF PARLIAMENT, was against law.'' In that kingdom, when the pulse of liberty was at its highest pitch, no security against the danger of standing armies was thought requisite, beyond a prohibition of their being raised or kept up by the mere authority of the executive magistrate. The patriots, who effected that memorable revolution, were too temperate, too wellinformed, to think of any restraint on the legislative discretion. They were aware that a certain number of troops for guards and garrisons were indispensable; that no precise bounds could be set to the national exigencies; that a power equal to every possible contingency must exist somewhere in the government: and that when they referred the exercise of that power to the judgment of the legislature, they had arrived at the ultimate point of precaution which was reconcilable with the safety of the community.

Article 1, Section 8 of the the United States Constitution states, in part, that the Congress will have the power:

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress . . .

Despite the clear and unmistakable words of Hamilton; despite the clear and unmistakable grant of authority to the Congress regarding the raising of military forces, the promulgation of Rules for the governing and regulation of the military, and for the declaration of war, and despite the ringing statements of the Supreme Court in Hamdi, some Conservatives and Republicans insist that the President, when acting in his capacity as Commander in Chief, has plenary power, unchecked and unfettered. . .

To now argue that it is impeachment that is the bulwark against the abuse of Executive Power is to hand the Right a gift, for that is the argument they make. They argue that Congress and the Courts can only resort to the most dramatic of remedies against Presidential wartime power - the power of the purse, the power of impeachment. It is wrong to argue this line in order to foward the preferred course on impeachment.

Liberals and Democrats must resist this impulse for two reasons -- (1) it is simply incorrect, and (2) it is extremely dangerous. In arguing in this fashion, the Liberal strips the Congress and the Supreme Court of the powers granted it to separate the immense powers of the federal government and allows for the abdication of the responsible role of an overseeing Legislature and a reviewing Court.

So by all means, argue your views on impeachment but let us not throw over the separation of powers in the bargain. It is inaccurate and dangerous to do so.


But of course, advocates for impeachment will downplay the other powers to check the Executive precisely because it undermines their argument for impeachment. I could even accept the disningenuousness inherent in this advocacy if there was even a slim chance of removal from offfice. But there is none.

So, in order to feel pure and superior, some impeachment advocates will ostensibly argue against other means of checking the Executive. It is very hard to see how this is anything but a vanity game at this point.

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    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:04:06 PM EST
    I've been fighting this battle all morning. Folks in the pro-impeachment diary down the list now think that Bush won't give up the reigns of power in 2009. "Not thinking," as you say.

    Oh? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:29:39 PM EST
    cf. this and this

    What does Putin have to do with anything? n/t (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:31:53 PM EST
    there is no Illuminati (none / 0) (#8)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:44:00 PM EST
    They just met and compared notes.

    As an aside, if the plans to be carried out on Iran are to go forward, then it was necessary to get a nod from Putin.


    You're fighting the good fight here (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by fairleft on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:19:15 PM EST
    But Congress pretending it didn't have the spending power on the Iraq issue doesn't bode well. I think Congress is committed to a "pretend we don't have any power unless we have a two-thirds majority" mode, in the forlorn hope this helps it escape blame for much of the Iraq and Constitutional disaster of the last 6 and a half years.

    Core Dems may not disagree with Bush (none / 0) (#3)
    by sphealey on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:22:00 PM EST
    Good points, but I think you also have to take into account the possibility that there is a core group of Democratic congresspeople who basically agree with Bush/Cheney in Iraq, domestic spying, and even the "unitary executive".  So while they may bluster a bit to deflect any criticism they won't actually do anything (e.g. vote to defund OVP).



    Complicit with. Not 'agree' with. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:44:35 PM EST
    Agrees with not chosen lightly (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by sphealey on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:56:14 PM EST
    Personally I meant "agree with".  Lieberman is the most extreme of the group but it is my opinion that he just holds the line on the right side; there is a core group of Dems who do actually agree with Cheney, Rumsefeld, Wolfowitz, and Yoo.



    I agree, here's why (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by fairleft on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 02:46:45 PM EST
    That's how I interpret the overall pattern since 9/11. Here's a very rough rendering of how 'our' Beltway Democrats have proceeded since then:

    Gitmo: No reaction.

    Death of Habeas Corpus: No reaction.

    Obviously fake WMD b.s.: Yup, sounds good to us!

    Iraq war going bad: We'll do occupation better.

    Abu Ghraib: No reaction by 'our guys' except for Durbin's brief protest retracted (with a crying spell, nice touch).

    2004 Presidential campaign: Insiders go all out for "we'll do occupation better" Kerry.

    2004 antiwar effort: Democratic Party pressure puts it on hold during Kerry campaign.

    2005: Despite the massive advantage it seemingly provides by getting in line with 75-80% of his/her party on the grassroots' number 1 issue, it takes till the end of this year for even one major Presidential candidate to have the temerity to say 'out soon' on Iraq.

    2006: The three major Democratic candidates become 'out now' but with the huge hole of a 'residual force' in Iraq of 60-80,000.

    2006 Congressional elections: Rahm and his insiders go all out to find military-loving 'out very slowly if at all' candidates.

    2007: The party leadership (however they ended up voting) helpfully manages and designs the President's funding bill so that it is sure to get approved.

    Thanks for this post. (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:43:30 PM EST
    I think not enough people are even aware that there are any other remedies besides impeachment. It seems that no matter how much we talk about congressional spending power we get the same questions about it repeatedly. I don't know if some people think the executive branch authorizes its funding itself or what the hell they think. Or don't think. Very frustrating.

    They don't think. n/t (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:47:11 PM EST
    Not only do they not think. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:53:31 PM EST
    They don't even READ, it seems.

    Or if they do they still ask the same questions that were just answered for them in what they read.

    It's like it goes in one ear and straight though without registering sometimes.

    I'm very frustrated... how many people even commented when I posted that at dKos? Someone else posts a story about almost anything and there will be 2-300 comments.


    I congratulate you (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by mmeo on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 03:28:51 PM EST
    Edgar, on your timely and accurate post regarding the Big Lie on funding the Iraq War.

    The post deserved more comment than it got.

    Would you please consider a greater degree of concision in writing?

    I still haven't read it to the end.


    Thanks for (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 04:17:40 PM EST
    the friendly admonishment, mmeo. It was a little long winded and repetitive, wasn't it?

    games theory (none / 0) (#14)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 01:03:30 PM EST
    "Your boy used pieces in combination to attack, lady." -- a comment on the winning moves in chess strategy, from "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (1993)

    Instead of posting cryptic allusions (none / 0) (#15)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 01:11:13 PM EST
    could you say what you mean directly?

    no Zen? Ok: (none / 0) (#16)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 01:17:21 PM EST
    "Gee, don't worry, you won't need to defend against this."

    Thanks for this (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Maryb2004 on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:52:41 PM EST
    I won't be able to really read it until later.  

    I applaud Lapin's diary over at dKos and am happy that the Dems are using the spending power to shortcircuit Bush's plan to put a political operative into a rulesmaking position at every agency.  It's exactly what they SHOULD be doing - as a response to that plan.

    But I don't think that bill and that strategy is going to placate the people who have been pushed over the edge by the commutation of Libby's sentence and the obstruction that they see going on.  Maybe defunding the Vice President's office would do it, or defunding his security detail - but this won't.  It's not connected to what they are justifiably angry about and it doesn't do anything to stop the obstruction.  

    Not that you said it did.  I know you are thinking conceptually not specifically.

    I'll be back much later.

    I believe those folks (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 02:39:55 PM EST
    are part of the problem and I see no point in placating them at all.

    I belie4ve in calling them out as not being seriously for checking this out of control Executive Branch.

    I believe they are inadvertant allies of this out of control Exectutive and doing a terribloe disservice.

    I roundly condemn them.


    No one who is justifiably angry is part of the (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Maryb2004 on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 04:35:06 PM EST
    problem. People pushed over the edge aren't part of the problem. Maybe you are talking about specific people but if so I don't know who they are.  The problem is that there doesn't appear to be any Congressional power that will stop what is justifiably perceived as a conspiracy by the Executive to obstruct an investigation into the OVP.  

    What are we to do?  Push the Dems in the House to use the power of the purse to do ... something that will stop the conspiracy?   OK - but even if I could figure out what that something is, you and I both know that none of those bills are ever going to make it out of conference with any teeth in them.  So that really isn't going to work.

    Start investigating and issue subpoenas?  Great.  I'm all for it.  I think they should start yesterday.  But you and I both know that this administration will be able to run out the clock by using legal hurdles.  And there just isn't enough time left in this administration's term to use the judicial process IF that was even a realistic alternative -- which iirc you and I agree it isn't.  

    No, impeachment shouldn't be the sole bulwark and Congress shouldn't cede its other powers away.  But realistically - what power does it have for THIS circumstance?  

    It looks like it has none.

    It's very depressing.


    Yes they are (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:12:08 PM EST
    paert of the problem when the ACTIVELY work against the opther ways to check this out of controil exectuive and that is EXACTLY what they do.

    They are very much a part of the problem.

    LEt them be for impeachment.

    Let them STOP being against not funding the Debacle and other uses of the Spending Power to check this out of control executive.

    I especially blame KagroX and Meteor Blades and expressly say their actions of late are especially harmful.


    Ya know .. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Maryb2004 on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:22:03 PM EST
    I have no idea what you are talking about.

    You're lucky then (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:42:39 PM EST
    I and people in this thread know exactly what I am talking about.

    Good (none / 0) (#57)
    by Maryb2004 on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:46:38 PM EST
    I'll leave you to talk among yourselves.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:31:51 PM EST
    If you want to understand what I am talking about, then read the posts of the people I referred to.

    If not, then don;t.


    Not. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Maryb2004 on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 09:05:05 PM EST
    Why should I have to work to understand you?  You're the one that was responding to me.  

    A very detailed case (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by mattd on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 03:28:59 PM EST
    ...and I can't argue that you've ignored my argument.  :-)

    However, I continue to disagree.  I'm no "fan" of impeachment, and I have no illusions that it would work - I simply believe the administration will flatly ignore Congress' use of the power of the purse.  That, in a nutshell, was Iran-Contra:  Congress prohibited the Reagan administration from spending money on the "freedom fighters" in Central America, and the administration did it anyway.  When caught, they lied about it; when convicted and those convictions not overturned due to congressional immunity grants, they were either pardoned or had the convictions ignored (like Elliot Abrams).

    I agree that Congress has the power of the purse; I merely disagree that the Bush administration will obey that power, because they know that if they ignore it, Congress's only recourse is either to depend upon the Gonzales Justice Department to bring charges against those who break the law, or to impeach - and they know neither is going to happen.

    But, trust me, I'm really really hoping I'm wrong.

    This simply makes no sense (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 03:53:19 PM EST
    I agree that Congress has the power of the purse; I merely disagree that the Bush administration will obey that power . . .

    It is not a question of obeying. It is a question of there being no funds.

    I simply do not understand your argument.


    Again, signing statements (2.33 / 3) (#31)
    by magster on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 04:35:11 PM EST
    Bush might attach to an appropriation bill a statement saying that a prohibition on expending funds doing X rather than Y is an unlawful use of legislative power, and then redirect funds to the prohibited use.  

    Example from a 6/2006 emergency supplemental:

    "Sections 1209 and 2202 of the Act prohibit use of certain funds appropriated in the Act to initiate new start programs unless the congressional defense committees receive advance written notice. The Supreme Court of the United States has stated that the President's authority to classify and control access to information bearing on the national security flows from the Constitution and does not depend upon a legislative grant of authority. Although the advance notice contemplated by sections 1209 and 2202 can be provided in most situations as a matter of comity, situations may arise, especially in wartime, in which the President must act promptly under his constitutional grants of executive power and authority as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces while protecting certain extraordinarily sensitive national security information. The executive branch shall construe these sections in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President. ....."

    I am sure there's more on this website:


    The point is though, Bush has set himself up to mock the "power of the purse" through his theory of the unitary executive.  

    If not now, at what point does impeachment have to be considered?


    He cannot attach a signing statement (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 04:38:46 PM EST
    to an emergency supplemental funding bill that is never introduced and passed.

    True, but (2.33 / 3) (#33)
    by magster on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 04:52:28 PM EST
    Congress is not going to entirely defund the government; that would be much more radical than impeachment.

    Radical? (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:09:53 PM EST
    Our country has been taken over by radicals.  Empty gestures like non-binding BS, and talk of impeachment are the tepid effluvial waters our representatives are wading in.

    Given the choice of solving a problem within your means (defunding) is a far better choice than trying to do something guaranteed to fail, because you do not have the votes.

    No republican will move out of lockstep for the chimp. The people running the WH are radicals. The only solution has to be radical, even though it is hardly radical but practical given the options.


    Isn;t it ironic? (4.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:14:53 PM EST
    The purists are timid about using the effective tools to rein in this out of control executive.

    They pretend these tools won't work but they act as if their tool has any chance of working.

    I really  have a strong contempt for them right now.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:25:32 PM EST
    It is like being polite at Rasputin's table and swallowing the poisoned toast so as not to offend.

    That is the most infuriating thing (3.50 / 2) (#47)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:23:21 PM EST
    Now they've even given up on the power of elections, apparently. They want their impeachment show, and they're willing to dismiss any other suggestion in order to get it.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:41:29 PM EST
    TeacherKen was so proud of his diary title.

    I wonder what Jim Webb thought of it.


    It does not need to (4.33 / 3) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:00:06 PM EST
    Honestly, this is the argument by falsity of the impeachniks.

    It is infuriating to me.


    No one has suggested that. (3.50 / 2) (#34)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 04:59:40 PM EST
    Emergency supplemental funding bills do not fund the government.

    They have been used to fund the Iraq occupation all along.

    All not passing a supplemental to fund the occupation does is NOT fund the occupation.

    It has no effect on the operations of the government. I think you know this, so what point you're trying to make I don't know, except that maybe you are either uninformed, or trying to confuse the issue.


    I do not know the intent (4.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:01:10 PM EST
    I do know it is the false argument of the impeachnik.

    I don't know either (3.50 / 2) (#37)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:02:15 PM EST
    But it's one or it's the other.

    Probably because it's beyond the pale (none / 0) (#79)
    by mattd on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:24:58 PM EST
    I simply do not understand your argument.

    You're not thinking criminal enough.

    "Iran-Contra" is my best example.  There are always funds; the government has trillions of dollars.  To defund the war, Congress would not only have to enact a budget that eliminated the funding for the war, but also enact a law saying that other funds are not to be spent on it.  Otherwise, the administration will simply "shuffle the budget around" and find the money somewhere else in "discretionary" defense spending.

    That's what happened in Iran-Contra. Via enacting the Boland Amendment into law, Congress mandated that no money be spent on the Contras in Nicaragua, a clear attempt to use the power of the purse to control foreign policy.  What happened?  The Reagan administration found the money "elsewhere," specifically by selling arms to Iran and sending the profits to the Contras.

    Yes, there was a massive scandal and investigation, but the key figures had their convictions overturned on appeals.  Those that did not, like Elliot Abrams, were pardoned by President George H.W. Bush just before he left office. Even current SecDef Robert Gates was implicated in Iran-Contra, but special counsel decided his involvement did not merit prosecution.

    So not only did the people responsible for engaging in foreign policy prohibited by "the power of the purse" all skate any legal responsibility for it, the current administration continues to advance the argument that if Congress prohibits funds for something, the administration is free to raise funds from "private sources" or from other countries and continue with it anyway:

    Of all the revelations emanating from the Iran-contra hearings, the most startling constitutional claim was the assertion that Congress cannot control foreign affairs by withholding appropriations. According to the argument advanced by some administration officials, if Congress prohibits the use of appropriations for foreign policy objectives—as it did with the Boland amendment—the President can nevertheless continue his goals by soliciting funds from the private sector and from foreign countries. If one well dries up, tap another. This theory has profound implications for executive-legislative relations and constitutional government.

    Maybe I'm too cynical, but I simply don't believe that they'll withdraw troops from Iraq whether Congress funds them or not.  They'll argue that Article II gives the President the power to deploy troops wherever he wants, they'll argue that he can find the money wherever he wants, they'll argue whatever they can to stall and obfuscate and prevent anyone from putting any check, any check at all, on executive power.

    And when that happens, Congress has only one remedy.  That's my argument.


    Nooooooo (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:52:46 PM EST
    "Iran-Contra" is my best example!

    When the funding was cut off, Reagan had to sell missiles to Iran and fundraise from the Sultan of Brunei to raise 40 million measly dollars.

    Iran-Contra would not have happend if NOT funding did NOt work.

    You have it completely backwards. If it did not work you never would have heard of Richard Secord and Ghorbanifar. Assuming you know who they were.


    Well, I hope you're right (none / 0) (#108)
    by mattd on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:01:33 PM EST
    ...but it's my example, too.  :-)

    Seriously, I just don't think they'll let Congress dictate how the Decider decides to use "his" troops, and they'll argue and/or ignore any restriction until the clock runs out.  I just don't see them accepting Congressional will on anything - and without impeachment as a present option, they won't face any recourse for their refusal to obey Congress.

    But I can't convince you that the administration will obey the law, and I don't think you can convince me that they will.  I just hope you're right.


    I called you neither (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:29:56 PM EST
    There was nothing emotional in my statement at all.

    Nor in mine. (none / 0) (#69)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:39:57 PM EST
    uninformed = ignorant (none / 0) (#77)
    by magster on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:11:30 PM EST
    I did not call you (none / 0) (#82)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:29:24 PM EST

    I said you were wrong.


    Impeachment (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 08:36:41 PM EST
    Will blow up in our face as a stupid  waste of time when the GOP sweep the 08 elections. During a war, and with the hard numbers of votes it will work against us.

    Let them have it verbally for the obstruction and criminality. And gain strenght for 08 by not impeaching. Give them the rope....

    So then Bush uses a signing statement (1.00 / 1) (#4)
    by magster on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 12:28:11 PM EST
    that says he has authority to fund his regulatory power as he sees fit. What then?

    Ultimately, there is a tipping point. What's yours?  What's America's?

    Mine has passed with the US attorney scandal, not so much for the scandal itself, but more because of the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back on top of Iraq, torture, wiretapping, Plame-gate, etc.  While I agree that the 2009 power grab will not happen, I do think we are in the midst of a subtle and slow moving coup d'etat against the constitution by Bushco; and if a Bushco is elected next year......

    There will be no such signing statement (3.66 / 3) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:07:18 PM EST
    There is no such argument.

    And of course, there is the simple expedient of NOT funding the agency at all.


    What is your tipping point? (1.00 / 1) (#59)
    by magster on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:02:19 PM EST
    Preemtive war with Iran? A different conspiracy?

    Is there anything Bush can do that would make you say "all right impeach" or is your arument solely based on the likelihood that impeachment would not succeed?


    Why is it (3.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:43:55 PM EST
    that you would only think of impeachment as the way to deal with Bush?

    Is it the policy you want to stop or the man himself?


    Both, frankly (none / 0) (#75)
    by magster on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:08:06 PM EST
    So what happened to the "Big Tent" part of the "Big Tent Democrat"

    You've never answered the question of whether you'd ever consider impeachment.

    I look forward to your next non-answer answer, insult and "1" rating.


    If I thought it could lead to removal (none / 0) (#84)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:33:27 PM EST
    of Bush and Cheney, I would urge it.

    I actually advocate impeachment for Gonzales.

    Do you want to know why? If so, let me know.

    I have not rated one comment in this thread.

    Why are you behaving in this way? You seem might emotional.


    I apologize for the rating comment (none / 0) (#87)
    by magster on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:50:03 PM EST
    and comparing you to andgarden. But you and others have been pretty belittling this thread. I like your posts, generally, including this one, and I'd like to know your theory on impeaching Gonzales.

    BTW - I don't agree that the likelihood of success is the benchmark for starting impeachment proceedings, and that had impeachment been left on the table, Bush might not be as brazen.  For instance, had there been an impeachment inquiry going on or imminent in Plamegate, would Bush have pardoned Libby?


    Last one first (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:58:14 PM EST

    As for Gonzales, the main reason is the political narrative would be very favorable to Dems - Gonzo has basically become a walking joke that many many Republican SENATORS have called for his resignation.

    His record and performances make impeaching him a winner, politically and in the doing the right thing.

    HE may even be forced to resign. A few Republicans would vote for his removal.

    IT is an effective vote of no confidence, the investigations would be revealing and effective and . . .

    it would be good politics.

    The right things to do AND the smart thing to do that might even lead to his resignation.

    Impeachment of Bush is the right thing to do but wrong in every other way.

    Now, we could have a GOOD discussion on impeaching Cheney.

    That is one I would engage seriously.


    Playing politics vs taking responsibility (none / 0) (#110)
    by robrecht on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 05:32:33 PM EST
    You have to impeach Cheney first, otherwise removing Bush would be disastrous.

    There's no question in my mind that other "lesser" measures need to be employed, but it's a shame that the Democratic Congress is so weak willed.  They suffer from the same political disease only they have the burden of acting in concert, whereas you only have to express the opinion of a single person.

    Playing politics is the problem, not the solution, in my opinion.


    Thank you, this is exactly what I needed (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 01:24:34 PM EST
    Will study this well so I know what I'm talking about and always enabling the possible and impeding the possible.

    swarm theory (none / 0) (#18)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 01:32:43 PM EST
    you might even consider this.

    oops, typo meant to read (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 01:43:31 PM EST
    NOT impeding the possible.

    I have tried that with the impeachment (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 02:16:15 PM EST
    thing and I think where swarm theory doesn't work so well with people is that unlike ants we are sort of smart, we are just smart enough to make everything hell for ourselves if we aren't watching out for that.  We have the ability to talk ourselves into believing our own terrific ideas as well even when they aren't very workable.....and as swarm theory goes some of the swarm is noticing that something isn't very workable right now and we are seeking something that is workable so we can communicate that to the others. I guess in that case swarm theory may work.  I'm always for doing what works though when dealing with the problems in my life.

    Especially Tough (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 02:36:45 PM EST
    When you have more than one swarm, and even tougher when one of the swarms is totally swarmy.

    realism (none / 0) (#22)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 02:38:28 PM EST
    Ah yes, let us revisit for yet an even clearer understanding, what was published in the New York Times Magazine, October 2004, by Ron Suskind, quoting an "unnamed Administration official":

    [You're] in what we call the reality-based community, [people who] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

    JK's comment (none / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 04:09:59 PM EST
    was deleted because of the direct personal insults aimed at me.

    Since I am not permitted to respond in kind, I have deleted the comment.

    Damocles Sword (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:16:20 PM EST
    Feints are an important part of games theory. Plywood and inflatible mockups of planes and tanks and ships have been used in warfare, in order to confound and confuse the enemy. Clay soldiers date back to early China.

    Multi-pronged strategies work best, in combination with feints.

    Givernment attacks, where targets must defend, often legal or not.

    Sans vitriol, JK's comments were apropos.

    The first rule of warfare is to know friend from foe.


    I do not disagree (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:21:02 PM EST
    I wish I could have just edited the comment.

    But there is no option for that.


    Thanks for the info (none / 0) (#38)
    by Alien Abductee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:07:15 PM EST
    So your argument is that it's got to be like getting Al Capone on tax evasion - not anywhere near full justice for all the crimes committed, but at least effective at checking his power to commit any more. The question is, of course, would it actually be able to keep him from committing any more - like attacking Iran for instance.

    It seems preemptively stupid for Pelosi to have taken impeachment off the table in the first place. As Moveon says in trying to put it back on:

    ...Congress should never have taken the prospect of impeachment off the table. It is a constitutionally protected check against runaway executive power and lawlessness -- problems that Americans are quite familiar with lately. (Politicians are fond of reiterating their willingness to keep the option of nuclear bombs "on the table" in foreign policy, so surely constitutional oversight and accountability can remain on the table too.) When Congress tries to govern without its full power, the President can act with impunity.

    Also, the investigations and blocking maneuvers being undertaken now are very low key. How many non blog junkies are even aware of them and their significance. Investigations undertaken in the context of impeachment though - that would be a show that would leave EVERYONE hearing about the crimes in great detail ad nauseam.

    Impeachment should be there at the VERY least as a big stick in the background, without it being taken off the table and without people arguing that it shouldn't be used no way no how. Keeping it staked out as a position is important for holding the Dems to important courses of action they also find dangerous and uncomfortable (like bringing votes on ending the Iraq war), but somewhat less so, and that they might otherwise tend to back away from. Agitating for impeachment is part of keeping the frame of reference wide enough to ensure ending the war is a middle course of action.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:09:16 PM EST
    Move On took NOT funding the Iraq Debacle off the table so they stink much worse, as they are an ADVOCACY group, or so they say.

    Was Pelosi dumb to say it? Maybe.Frankly I do not care.

    It will NEVER happen whether Pelosi said it or not.


    Moveon (none / 0) (#50)
    by Alien Abductee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:38:15 PM EST
    Moveon wasn't in a position to take anything off the table themselves. They did support an alternative approach they thought would be less likely to be construed as "hurting the troops." I don't think they - like so many others - understand how defunding could work without "hurting the troops". Call it stinky if you want.

    And I notice you didn't respond to this:

    The question is, of course, would it actually be able to keep him from committing any more - like attacking Iran for instance.

    I have written on that issue (none / 0) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:40:11 PM EST
    Google Big Tent Democrat and Iran and TalkLeft.

    I have written on it a whole lot.


    whack-a-mole redux (3.50 / 2) (#52)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:41:21 PM EST
    explain the same things over and over. . .

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:44:32 PM EST
    That's what people do not understand, I have written on alll of it pretty extensively and it is sometimes hard to repeat what someone has already repeated too many times.

    I know you have (none / 0) (#56)
    by Alien Abductee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:44:47 PM EST
    Road to Iran runs through Iraq.

    Doesn't answer the question.


    You just don't know what you're looking for (none / 0) (#61)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:08:00 PM EST
    Defunding (none / 0) (#103)
    by Alien Abductee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 09:40:11 PM EST
    No implications there re preventing an attack on Iran.

    Look, I'm sold on the value of defunding, or the threat of defunding. I think it's great, particularly if Dems start using it as a blocking device on multiple fronts. I just don't see how it's a zero sum game. You can support both defunding AND impeachment, and I now do. There's no inherent reason to diss one to support the other, at least in online advocacy. As far as congressional dems go, I can see a conflict in terms of votes/actions, but that's not who we are.


    See the latest post (none / 0) (#104)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 09:47:45 PM EST
    Hmm... (none / 0) (#105)
    by Alien Abductee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 10:01:31 PM EST
    so Gen. Odom is in favor of impeachment....

    yes it is tedious (none / 0) (#67)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:35:05 PM EST
    But it bears repeating:
    It is through the process of constant repetition that ideas finally sink in.

    I agree with your last sentence (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Maryb2004 on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:23:45 PM EST
    Agitating for impeachment is part of keeping the frame of reference wide enough to ensure ending the war is a middle course of action.

    I also think Pelosi was stupid to say it was off the table.  Constitutional powers should never be off the table.


    Where will he get $100 Billion? (none / 0) (#60)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:02:23 PM EST
    You agree that emergency supplementals do not fund the government and that no one has suggested defunding the entire government?

    Your run of the mill appropriation acts (2.00 / 2) (#62)
    by magster on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:14:43 PM EST
    Like the one Emannuel tried to amend to defund the OVP.

    This has become a very depressing thread.  I don't think impeachment is a whack job position after all that Bush has done in the last six years.  I don't think your position is whack-job either; I just think Bush will subvert every effort listed here.

    I don't want impeachment for show.  I want investigations with impeachment on the table.  The more Bush has to hide, the more the public could support it.  


    Do you want impeachment for removal? (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:30:48 PM EST
    If not, what is it thast you think impeachmnet will accomplish?

    Of course (none / 0) (#74)
    by magster on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:02:05 PM EST
    But I also think that Bush might be a little less brazen if the Democrats seemed poised to get the impeachment train rolling.

    And if your not emotional, then why do your posts read like you're typing with boxing gloves on?


    I can't speak for BTD (none / 0) (#76)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:09:41 PM EST
    But I personally find the "argument" you're making exasperating.

    We can prove that defunding would have an actual impact. A failed impeachment has no guarantees either way.  


    Because I am a bad typist (none / 0) (#83)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:30:57 PM EST
    I view comments as a conversation.

    I am not one to proofread for typos in a conversation.

    If you knew removal was not a possibility, would you still be for impeachment?


    Impeachment exists for a purpose (none / 0) (#68)
    by Stewieeeee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:38:28 PM EST
    And that purpose is different than the one being discussed here.

    It appears BTD is discussing ways in which a legislative branch of a government can mitigate the authority of the executive branch.  to reign it in.  to flex THEIR authority as it were.  no.  to finally USE their authority as it stands with respect to the power of the purse.

    that is one issue.  the question is summed up like this?  what do you do with a president who has decided to act with monarchical authority over the other branches of government?

    answer:  the legislature makes it impossible for the executive to execute their agenda by restricting money.  

    that is a fair answer to that question.

    but there is a different question.

    what do you do with a president who is found to be guilty of breaking the law?

    the answer to that still exists as impeachment.

    so.  yes.  sorry if this seems silly to the great BTD, but I'm trying to reinforce the point.  

    IF one is trying to check the power of the executive branch, then one is truly UNPRODUCTIVE to keep preaching impeachment.

    but if one believe bush has broken a specific law, then impeachment is.... actually.... the necessary remedy.  i just don't know what law the impeachniks are going after.  is it circumventing the FISA courts?  

    it can't be being a bad president, or even having an traitorous agenda, or even usurping power.  you can't impeach for those reasons!!!!  

    i agree.

    i just wanted to point out that if one did have the goods on bush on a specific crime, and articulated it from that point of view, then i would not RULE OUT impeachment.

    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:41:20 PM EST
    So you are against defunding but favor a process that will end in acquittal for President Bush?

    You are quite a paradox.


    You made an excellent point the other day (none / 0) (#71)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:43:16 PM EST
    Prosecutors don't try cases they're sure to lose, even if they're convinced of their own correctness.

    Big Guns (none / 0) (#73)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:57:53 PM EST
    Heavy artillery.
    Still, you may be confusing "check" with "checkmate".

    what i'm in favor of (none / 0) (#78)
    by Stewieeeee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:14:40 PM EST
    impeachniks stop talking about getting a bad immoral president out of office, and start talking about specific crimes and evidence to be presented for those crimes.  oh, and have it be REAL evidence too, not just circumstantial theoretical stuff.

    i am agreeing with you insofar as i see it like this.  if you are advocating impeachment to provide the check on the executive, then you are using a hammer to tighten a screw.  you have the wrong tool for the job.

    as you show above, the tool for the job being discussed here is budgetary.

    if i had to be any more direct, i am saying the impeachniks have yet to make their case for impeachment.  i'm for a process that would end in impeachment because you would have the kind of evidence that would make it impossible for his own party to continue to support bush.

    so far, that kind of evidence has yet to be provided.

    but if it was provided, that the crime was clear, that the evidence was so black and white and incontrivertible, then the process exists by which lawbreaking presidents can be removed from office.

    the process you are discussing is applied to presidents that are acting as monarchs.

    one of the things i have tried to do here is provide ways one can get done what they want to get done.

    i'm just tellin people out there that if you want to impeach, figure out the crime, get the evidence.  stop being an activist.  start being a detective.

    for the time being, the impeachniks are hitting a screw with a hammer.


    They have no hammer (none / 0) (#80)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:27:30 PM EST
    Removal is impossible.

    hate to nitpick (none / 0) (#85)
    by Stewieeeee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:33:42 PM EST
    no.  there is no nail.

    if there was a nail, i would prescribe the hammer.


    I think there is a nail (none / 0) (#88)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:50:05 PM EST
    the violations of the Wiretapping Act.

    if you think bush (none / 0) (#91)
    by Stewieeeee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:56:59 PM EST
    has committed a crime worthy of impeachment, and that you have the incontrivertable evidence to proceed with that case, then what are you saying if you are choosing not to proceed with that case?

    That I can't convict him (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 08:00:25 PM EST
    and that the politcs is bad AND, most importantly, it precludes the Congress from doing what it should on the important issues.

    Did you read my other posts on this subject?


    again (none / 0) (#97)
    by Stewieeeee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 08:42:31 PM EST
    i'm not talking about the case as it stands right now.

    i am talking about a situation where you have the incontrivertible evidence.

    i am talking about a situation where ... listen.... i have tried to understand where you are coming from with this....  we agree that impeachment advocates are hurting the process at this point.

    if you had bush's fingerprints on a gun, three witnesses that he shot someone, and the slug matches the gun, are you not going to proceed with the case cause it's not feasible politically to do so?????!!!!

    i'm talking about evidence here.

    i'm talking about a crime, having incontrivertable evidence for that crime, and then you choose a way to deal with that.  and i am saying the impeachniks have not made that case.

    you are saying the president has gone unchecked, and that impeachment is not the solution to that.  you choose a DIFFERENT way to deal with that situation!

    i don't know how many other ways to say it:  i agree.

    if you think you do have an open and shut case with respect to wiretapping, that you can prove bush knew he was breaking the law and specifically did so with malicious intent, and you believe you can PROVE that, and then you decide not to, then, yes, I think that is a little lame.

    but i don't think you have that kind of a case with respect to the wiretapping issue!!!!


    mere saber rattling? (none / 0) (#89)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:50:07 PM EST
    A POSSE AD ESSE, (Latin) - from possibility to actuality ...

    and then on to scrub the federal judiciary with a Constitutional amendment


    precisely what i'm talking about (none / 0) (#101)
    by Stewieeeee on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 09:06:15 PM EST
    when prosecuting a crime, you don't go from possibility to actuality.

    you go from evidence to consequences.


    Impeachment is a real proportional response (none / 0) (#81)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:28:09 PM EST
    The dynamics are that the People will jump on the bandwagon as it gathers speed.

    Of course there could be problems...


    You need (none / 0) (#86)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 07:49:23 PM EST
    The SENATORS to jump on the bandwagon.

    They won't.


    Or (none / 0) (#102)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 09:24:02 PM EST
    Other Problems.

    We will all have to wear armbands.


    Removal from office is NOT the only intent (none / 0) (#94)
    by bronte17 on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 08:06:11 PM EST
    So, while Madison does not speak of impeachment as a bulwark against impeachment, Hamilton wrote in Federalist 66:

    So far as might concern the misbehavior of the Executive in perverting the instructions or contravening the views of the Senate, we need not be apprehensive of the want of a disposition in that body to punish the abuse of their confidence or to vindicate their own authority. We may thus far count upon their pride, if not upon their virtue. And so far even as might concern the corruption of leading members, by whose arts and influence the majority may have been inveigled into measures odious to the community, if the proofs of that corruption should be satisfactory, the usual propensity of human nature will warrant us in concluding that there would be commonly no defect of inclination in the body to divert the public resentment from themselves by a ready sacrifice of the authors of their mismanagement and disgrace.

    And per the term of "impeachment" from Wiki:

    Impeachment is so rare that the term is often misunderstood. A typical misconception is to confuse it with involuntary removal from office; in fact, it is only the legal statement of charges, paralleling an indictment in criminal law. An official who is impeached faces a second legislative vote (whether by the same body or another), which determines conviction, or failure to convict, on the charges embodied by the impeachment...

    Impeachment as you have written here pertaining to those members at dkos is that many there see it as a methodology for removing bush from office NOW, or as soon thereafter as possible.  But, in my mind, the call for impeachment is not an involuntary removal from office, but rather a "statement of charges" or an indictment, to punish bush et al for the "abuse of their confidence" and "misbehavior of the Executive in contravening the views of the Senate."

    Thereafter, the procedural investigations will or will not determine a conviction.

    If convicted, said conviction will strip bush or cheney or gonzo, etc... from the emoluments of their previous office (such as a pension)... or disqualify them from ever again holding federal office.  This would cut some of those "Aspen roots."

    Now in Federalist 66, Alexander Hamilton's objections to the Senate as a court of impeachments contained this Third objection:

    It is imagined that they would be too indulgent judges of the conduct of men, in whose official creation they had participated...

    It appears your misgivings on the lack of conviction by this Senate is well founded.  Yet, you must remember that the court of public opinion can sway these Senators to perhaps view the deceptions of the bush administration as an "abuse of the confidence of the Senate."  The deceits and overreach by the GOP led to losses in the 2004 election. We can continue this vein in the 2008 election and replace some of those enablers.  We can alter the dynamics of the Senate and its members.

    Our military is long past the refrain, "strained."  General Wes Clark, among others, says that we will soon need to have a discussion in this nation on a DRAFT.  The burden of this premeditated occupation of Iraq has been on the shoulders of only a small percentage of our population.  Many are on their 6th tour.   It cannot continue.  

    The fault for bringing back a DRAFT lies directly on the shoulders of the administration of george w. bush and Dick Cheney.

    In Federalist 69, Alexander Hamilton draws out the distinctions between the office of the President of the United States and the King of Great Britain.  Amongst these distinctions is that the President is "amenable to personal punishment and disgrace" whereas the King is inviolable. The President has "a right" to command the military and naval forces, while the King also possesses the right to DECLARE war and RAISE and REGULATE armies by his own authority.  

    What shall we call those 14 permanent bases in Iraq?  Are they "Forts and Places of Strength?"  Under the "sole supreme government and command" of whom?  It is the "right" of whom to command the legions of Blackwater and Hallilburton and KBR?

    Do the representatives of this nation not have a responsibility to examine the lies and devious deceits perpetuated upon them by the administration of george w. bush?  Yes, the Senate abrogated its responsibility when it voted to give george the authority to Declare preemptive War against a third world country that had suffered for over a decade under harsh sanctions. A small third-world country whose leader offered to hold free and open elections, who offered to open up all areas to inspection by the UN team of Hans Blix... all to no avail.  

    Federalist 69 says the President has the power to "grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, EXCEPT IN CASES OF IMPEACHMENT.

    Now, there are those of us who believe that Libby deliberately outed Valerie Plame, that we would not NEED that huge embassy in Iraq had Valerie Plame and Brewster Jennings not been disrupted MUCH TO THE DETRIMENT OF OUR NATIONAL SECURITY.  Libby's hand in this affair leads right to the VP office of Cheney and the office of the President of the United States of America.

    Impeachment is not the only way forward, but it is one of the necessary paths.

    Necessary (none / 0) (#95)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 08:28:18 PM EST
    If it is necessary, what happens when this necessary path does not happen?

    Do you believe, as one person famously wrote, "without impeachment there is no democracy?"

    If we do not impeach Bush, are they cancelling the 2008 elections?


    in case you missed it (none / 0) (#98)
    by Sumner on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 08:53:00 PM EST
    I was being sarcastic about there being no Illuminati.

    And of course he is presumed innocent. You have not yet seen the evidence.

    So why does this thread resonate?


    Because I aqm speaking (none / 0) (#99)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 09:02:47 PM EST
    truth to the mob.

    A, there is no shame in correcting infractions (none / 0) (#107)
    by bronte17 on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 10:58:48 PM EST
    Federalist No. 50:
    IT MAY be contended, perhaps, that instead of OCCASIONAL appeals to the people, which are liable to the objections urged against them, PERIODICAL appeals are the proper and adequate means of PREVENTING AND CORRECTING INFRACTIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION.

    It will be attended to, that in the examination of these expedients, I confine myself to their aptitude for ENFORCING the Constitution, by keeping the several departments of power within their due bounds, without particularly considering them as provisions for ALTERING the Constitution itself.

    Federalist No. 64:

    ...It will not be in the power of the President and Senate to make any treaties by which they and their families and estates will not be equally bound and affected with the rest of the community; and, having no private interests distinct from that of the nation, they will be under no temptations to neglect the latter.

    As to corruption, the case is not supposable. He must either have been very unfortunate in his intercourse with the world, or possess a heart very susceptible of such impressions, who can think it probable that the President and two thirds of the Senate will ever be capable of such unworthy conduct. The idea is too gross and too invidious to be entertained. But in such a case, if it should ever happen, the treaty so obtained from us would, like all other fraudulent contracts, be null and void by the law of nations.

    ...In short, as the Constitution has taken the utmost care that they shall be men of talents and integrity, we have reason to be persuaded that the treaties they make will be as advantageous as, all circumstances considered, could be made; and so far as the fear of punishment and disgrace can operate, that motive to good behavior is amply afforded by the article on the subject of impeachments.

    Has bush broken treaties prohibiting torture?  Has bush broken treaties pertaining to weapons inspections, deliberately revealed one of our intelligence experts on WMDs and lied to draw our nation into a preemptive mission-less war based on deceit?  Not to mention the Iraqi "oil and gas laws" and the Iraqi Constitution that has been trampled for US interests.

    "...having no private interests distinct from that of the nation, they will be under no temptations to neglect the latter."  Sheesh.  Cheney and Halliburton and KBR and Blackwater are right there front and center in that one.

    With investigations (and then retribution), we can begin to defund the war.

    This plays right into your game plan of defunding the war.  These corruptions are the reasons why we must defund, there are viable alternatives and we must utilize these alternative solutions to the problems in Iraq.

    Then it will not ever be possible to hang "cut and run" around Democrats' necks.


    You are referring to teacherken's diary (none / 0) (#106)
    by bronte17 on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 10:09:34 PM EST
    Many of us recommended the reading.  Doesn't mean 1000% agreement just because the reading is recommended.

    Now why are you being facetious about "the mob" canceling the 2008 elections unless impeachment is on the table?

    This war is wrapped up with bush, cheney, libby, addington and yoo, Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater and mercs, energy policy and the climate crisis, loss of civil rights, wiretapping and the GWOT, the weakening of our position in trade and currency on the world markets.

    This administration has placed the United States between a "rock and a hard place." Why on earth can we not call for an investigation into these dealings?  And, it would reveal so much corruption by the GOP.  And, yes, I want it to be an "impeachment" of these officials because I want retribution and punishment. bush will be gone, yes, but that isn't enough.

    Don't you think there should have been retributions after the Civil War (that never happened)? After Watergate? After the Iran-Contra affair?


    It's not Congress' job to clean up the mess! (none / 0) (#109)
    by ctrenta on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:18:07 PM EST
    BTD writes:

    Therefore, progressives who actually care about checking this out of control Executive would be doing a much greater service for the Nation if they would urge the Congress to exercise those powers the Constitution provides it to check the power of the Executive.

    Now let me respectfully challenge that point.

    The purpose of impeachment, again, is to set standards for future administrations. We cannot give the powers assumed by this administration (to mislead the Congress and the public into wars, spy in violation of the law, detain without charge, torture, operate in secrecy, and rewrite laws with signing statements) to future presidents and vice presidents without expecting similar or worse abuses.

    That is why it's much more important to seriously consider investigations into impeachment, rather than reversing the damage. THE NEXT CONGRESS SHOULD NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEANING UP BUSH & CHENEY'S MESS! THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS!

    Cleaning up their mess only let's them (and possibly future leaders) of the hook for their crimes & misdemeanors (or potential crimes & misdemeanors).