The Watering Hole; Thursday July 31 2014; IMPEACH!!!

Impeachment: the presentation of formal charges against a public official by the lower house, trial to be before the upper house. ‘Impeachment’ is also a word that’s been spoken and heard more often in the last couple of decades than in the previous history of the United States. Three Presidents, Wm. Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama have been threatened with removal. Clinton was, in fact, impeached by the House but served out his term because the Senate (even with a Republican majority) refused to convict.

According to informed and wide-spread opinion, George W. Bush was indeed impeachable on multiple offenses, but even after Democrats achieved a functional House majority in the 2006 Congressional elections, no action was taken.

Today, Barack Obama is, according to un-informed and wingnut opinion, very definitely impeachable, and the threats to do so — particularly with the Tea Party faction — are gaining in popularity as the 2014 elections approach. Should the Republicans manage to both maintain their House majority and gain a Senate majority come November, the chances of impeachment will likely elevate accordingly.

Following is a closer examination of details, an overview of each of the three consecutive presidencies in which the word “impeachment” became operative. It is perhaps curious that of the three, only one enjoyed any level of the justification specified in Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution . . .

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

. . . and it was never acted upon.

In order of occurrence:

Immediately following 1998’s elections, the lame duck GOP-controlled House went after Bill Clinton by initiating impeachment proceedings, and on December 19, 1998 Clinton was impeached by the House on two charges: perjury to a grand jury and obstruction of justice. The (Republican-controlled) Senate did not convict, however, and Clinton served out his full second term.

The next President, George W. Bush, was, over the course of his two terms, accused of numerous impeachable offenses, and the impeachment option started to pick up speed in the summer of 2006 when it began to appear that Democrats might win an electoral majority in the House in the upcoming fall elections. On August 29, 2006, Dave Lindorf at PoliticalAffairs.net bluntly contrasted the folly of Clinton’s impeachment by summarizing the bulk of informed opinion as to why the impeachment of Bush should proceed. Lindorf wrote:

“Clinton’s offense was simply lying under oath about an adulterous affair.

“Bush, in contrast, has admitted to ordering the National Security Agency to monitor Americans’ telecommunications without a warrant, in clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (New York Times, 12/16/05). Beyond that, documents show he okayed torture of captives in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, contravening the Third Geneva Accord on treatment of prisoners of war, an international accord that was long ago adopted as U.S. law (Human Rights Watch, ‘Background Paper on Geneva Conventions and Persons Held by U.S. Forces,’ 1/29/02).

“He has blatantly subverted the Constitution by claiming the right to ignore (so far) 750 acts duly passed by Congress (Boston Globe, 4/30/06). He has defied the courts in revoking the most basic rights of citizenship-the right to be charged and tried in a court of law (Guardian, 12/5/02). And the evidence is overwhelming that he knowingly lied about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and about Hussein’s alleged link to Al-Qaeda, in order to win public and Congressional approval for his invasion of Iraq (Center for American Progress: “Claims vs. Facts: Iraq/Al-Qaeda Links”).

“These and other Bush offenses pose direct threats to the Constitution and to the survival of the Republic, and yet, despite widespread concern and outrage among the public about many of these actions, not one major corporate news organization has called for Bush’s resignation, the initiation of impeachment proceedings, or even for censure . . .”

On May 7, 2006 Patricia Goldsmith of Long Island Media Watch (a grassroots free media and democracy watchdog group) summarized potential impeachment charges against George W. Bush when she wrote:

“The push for impeachment acknowledges two simple truths: we can’t wait for 2008, nor can we live with BushCo’s legacy. That is to say, we must not only remove GWB, but we must remove all the devices and stratagems his administration has used to subvert the Constitution including: signing statements and the concept of the unitary executive; the abrogation of the Geneva conventions, the concept of enemy combatants, extraordinary rendition, and Guantanamo; pre-emptive military attacks; warrantless spying on citizens; the unlabeled exchange of government propaganda for news; and much more. These illegal maneuvers should not be available to future presidents of any party.”

Meanwhile, Fox News (online and during the runup to the Nov. 2006 elections) offered advice to the Democratic Party after apparently concluding that Democrats had a good chance of assuming post-election control of the House:

“Step one would be for the Democratic leadership to definitively put to rest any loose talk of impeaching President Bush. They should say in one and two syllable words that impeachment will not happen once they are in the majority and thus take away a potential rallying cry for the beleaguered Republicans.”

Fox eventually got its wish when, around the time the election results of November, 2006 had become operational, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) laid the entire GWB impeachment thesis to rest when he announced, “Speaker Pelosi and I have made it clear that this Congress is not going to proceed with impeachment, and is going to focus on critical issues facing our nation, such as healthcare for children and the war in Iraq.”

Enter President Barack Obama, clearly the most Republican-despised President in all of history, a President for whom dreams of total and complete failure have defined the entire political aspiration of today’s extreme right wing-driven GOP. Obama’s use of the Presidential executive action tool — his attempt(s) to get at least SOMETHING accomplished in spite of the least productive Congress in the nation’s history are consistently viewed as “dictatorial” at best, impeachable violations of the Constitution in their unfounded rhetoric.

Sarah Palin placed her familiar ignorance on full display when she recently wrote, on Breitbart.com (in part):

“President Obama’s rewarding of lawlessness, including his own, is the foundational problem here. It’s not going to get better, and in fact irreparable harm can be done in this lame-duck term as he continues to make up his own laws as he goes along, and, mark my words, will next meddle in the U.S. Court System with appointments that will forever change the basic interpretation of our Constitution’s role in protecting our rights.

“It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.

“The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he’s not impeachable, then no one is.”

In late summer of 2013, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) laid out his own reasoning concerning Obama’s potential impeachment when he warned that if Republicans should decide to force the U.S. to default on its debt by refusing to raise the debt ceiling then it “would be an impeachable offense by the president.” Right. OK. Uh huh.

Gohmert is far from alone as an incumbent in support of impeachment, however. Here Is a List of Republican Incumbents Who Support Impeachment — I suspect it’s far shorter than it will be post-election IF the Republicans should happen to preserve their control of the House AND gain a majority in the Senate. Such points obviously don’t make their logic any more profound even though it’s probably predictable, given their post-election fevers in 1998.

Still, there’s a recently-emerged “other side”, a position that in all probability is based on legitimate fears that pre-election hype concerning impeachment (for clearly spurious reasons) may well jeopardize Republican chances of (a) gaining a majority in the Senate, or perhaps even (b), maintaining their majority in the House, by ‘inspiring’ more electoral support and enthusiasm amongst Democratic voters. Therefore, the new talking point, as spouted by John Boehner on July 29th 2014:

“We have no plans to impeach the President. . . . . Listen. It’s all a scam asserted by Democrats and the White House.”

Glenn Beck also blames Obama and the Democrats for using the impeachment “scam” as a means of diverting attention from the President’s failures — Immigration, e.g.

The bottom line, in summary, reads something like this: Each of the last three American Presidents — two Democrats and one Republican — have been accused of having committed impeachable offenses during their respective terms of office. Of the three, however, only one — Republican George W. Bush — actually engaged in policies which demanded a closer look because of their extremely dubious constitutionality, and even though several of the offenses were clearly of Article II Section 4 context, no official charges were filed.

Makes one wonder if these days the most compelling impeachable offenses are simply those which are the most sententious, i.e. each and all of those moralizing and self-righteous pithy aphorisms which seem to flow steadily from the mouths of the far right wingers. Or maybe it’s even simpler. Could it be that their sole perceived impeachable crime is nothing other than the President’s political party affiliation? Or, horror of horrors, the President’s skin color?

Stay tuned.

OPEN THREAD

 

 

 

37 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday July 31 2014; IMPEACH!!!

  1. Listen. It’s all a scam asserted by Democrats and the White House.”

    I doubt, very much, BattyBachmann has registered as a Democrat:

    October 09, 2013, 04:38 pm
    Bachmann: House could impeach ‘dictator’ Obama for his offenses

    Crushing The GOP Lie: Here Is a List of Republican Incumbents Who Support Impeachment

  2. Stunning new details in Berkeley professor’s death

    …Police say 56-year old Robert Gilchrist of Oakland was driving north on Sacramento when he hit Luft, who was in the crosswalk at the time.
    Investigators say Gilchrist told officers shortly after the accident that he was legally blind.

    Further investigation revealed that Gilchrist’s license had been suspended in 2000, 14 years before the accident.
    Despite that, Gilchrist was behind the wheel of his own vehicle and police add that he had a bowl of partially eaten macaroni.

    “The driver may have been eating at the time,” said Coats.

  3. Ukraine announces 24-hour pause in fighting to assist MH17 investigation

    Kiev: Ukraine’s military has announced a day-long pause to its brutal offensive to oust pro-Russian rebels in the east, following a plea from the UN for a truce to allow a stalled probe into the downing of Malaysian flight MH17 to go ahead.
    “We have taken a decision not to conduct military operations on this so-called ‘day of quiet’,” military spokesman Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky said, adding that the move was in response to an appeal by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to halt fighting.

    • Right…. useful idiots, Kremlin Keyboard Kosmonauts and the Russian media will twist into knots to portray this as ‘Kyev banderistas want to over up the CIA false flag operation by controlling the site’ ….

  4. Obama has committed at least one impeachable offense, in my opinion: the extra-judicial killing of an American citizen. But no one will touch that issue.

    This do-nothing Congress will consume it’s time and the media’s attention with impeachment proceedings. Both sides will use the issue to raise money for reelections.

    Meanwhile, the problems facing the U.S. will continue to go unaddressed, and we will slide further into the abyss.

    • That’s a touchy issue, I agree. And doing such is wrong. But what’s far worse, at least in my view, is starting a war based on nothing but lies and the urge on the part of the President to somehow enlarge his shrunken moose knuckle. No impeachment there either. Apparently the only impeachable offense left on the table is to not share the gory details of your sex fling with a cute young intern with the old horndogs in Congress. Now THAT is clearly EVIL.

    • “the extra-judicial killing of an American citizen” – yup that’s the one.

      Fun exercise with the knuckle-dragging Teabagger in your family who yells ‘Impeach’ – ask him/her – “Ok then here’s a piece of paper – write down the first article….”. And watch the drool slowly roll down their chins…

  5. I got so sick and tired of emails saying “OMG! the Republicans are doing _______________! Help stop ____________, send your donation today!” That I finally unsubscribed to several mailing lists.

    I’m getting the feeling the ‘Murikan public is getting played, big-time, by both major parties.

    • Indeed. The reason for all that “playing” is, of course, basic and simple: there’s money in it, and in a country where the ONLY things that count are money and power . . . well, you know.

      • i have found that responding to a MoveOn.org petition request has blossomed into requests for support from a bazillion other liberal organizations. like you BnF, i had to apply the brakes and take time to “unsubscribe” from emails of organizations i had never authorized or communicated with.

  6. The Right-Wing Pushes Back: No, We Really Do Want Impeachment
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/07/30/the-right-wing-pushes-back-no-we-really-do-want/200269

    On the July 29 edition of The Mark Levin Show, Mark Levin said during a six minute long rant about impeachment:

    LEVIN: Our country is being destroyed. And I am sick and tired of people like Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader McConnell, various radio hosts and TV commentators going on and on about our imperial president, how it’s outrageous how what he is doing is destructive to the Constitution and the country, and then when you bring up what the Constitution provides us, it’s “oh, what a bunch of kooks.”

    […]

    Here’s the dead truth — Obama should be impeached. But he won’t be impeached. Obama should be impeached if the Republicans take the Senate. But he won’t be impeached if Republicans take the Senate. Obama has committed high crimes and misdemeanors by violating the Constitution.

    It’s hard to even imagine the source of such uninformed nonsense — unless one assigns it to the racial hatred undercurrent that apparently drives virtually all of Wingnuttistan. But for some reason or other, I find that choice to be almost surreally obvious.

  7. Attention: Genius at work

    Paul Ryan Says Climate Change Is Just An Excuse For Obama To Raise Taxes

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Wednesday that “climate change occurs no matter what,” but that the EPA’s recent efforts to reduce emissions from existing power plants are “outside of the confines of the law,” and “an excuse to grow government, raise taxes and slow down economic growth.”

    Right. Proof that guys with widow peak hairlines are not from this world. But we knew that.

    • Talking about the weather used to be something folks did when they didn’t want to talk about anything serious or controversial…
      Religion and politics used to be ‘third rail’ subjects in polite company…
      the times they are a changin’.

    • Yeesh, welcome to my world. Meanwhile, a water main bursts near the UCLA campus and upwards of 20 million gallons is now saturating Westwood.

      And there are plenty of people out here who water their yards every single day.

      • Up here – SF Bay Area, we have water police/monitors.
        Only allowed 5min. 3x week for watering yards. No water is allowed to flow onto the sidewalk and especially not into the gutter.

    • I was just reading this in Science Daily… not good. Compounded with the just published NASA study of groundwater depletion of the Colorado River basin and there is some seriously bad times ahead. Apparently the “super El Nino” is not going to happen either, so no short term relief ahead for the Pacific Coast.
      Things are drying out fast here on the central Oregon Coast, a month straight now with exactly one day of rain.

  8. Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Cease-fire Announcement in Gaza

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry announce that the United Nations Representative in Jerusalem, Special Coordinator Robert Serry, has received assurances that all parties have agreed to an unconditional humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza.

    This humanitarian cease-fire will commence at 8 am local time on Friday, August 1, 2014. It will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended.

    During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place.

    • Pretty funny… NPR played an audio clip when it was announced they were going to have to change their plane reservations, booing and bedlam. The little children will have to stay inside and put their heads on their desks.

  9. Tell me, the CIA doesn’t spy on US Senators, does it? They do? Even the ones investigating the CIA? Horrors!

  10. You know conventional invasions there is some event where the starting flag drops and all the tanks race over the border shooting together….. this invasion is happening daily – first 5 vehicles and then 10 and then 20 over there and maybe 40 more……

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/07/31/anti-terrorist-operation-daily-summary-july-30-2014/

    This is the daily summary from Roman Burko who earlier this evening posted about a large Russian convoy crossing the border to the east near Luhansk (second link), where the border is not under the control of the Ukrainian army. Where the Ukrainians control the border in the north and the south, the Russians shell them from across the border. It seems that at heavy cost the Ukrainians have cut off the two groups of Russian mercenaries in Donetsk and Luhansk from each other.

    http://pressimus.com/Interpreter_Mag/press/3617

    One invasion event – it becomes obvious, suddenly there are tanks everywhere. This is ratcheting up like the frog in the slowly heating water.

    Back to the first link – the very last para:

    “… if Ukrainian forces do not resolve the problem of locking the border by Friday evening, on Saturday the “peace keeper” forces of the Russian Federation will come.”

      • Nope. Russian stock market dipped and then rallied – shows you just what Big Money thought….. #MarshalPetain and #NevilleChamberlain are being tossed off and as for #FrauRibbentrop there are rumours she is ready to recognize Putin’s annexation of Crimea in return for ‘peace’ – oh the irony of that….

  11. LA Times: “We lose two hours of life for every hour we sit.”

    I’m gonna start crapping standing up.

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