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    Tough Talk on Impeachment; Bill Moyers Journal


    by: Betsy L. Angert

    Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 22:48:05 PM EDT



    Bill Moyers Journal - Impeachment Panel Excerpt, PBS

    When the politically Right, the Left, and the Middle come together in agreement, that is amazing; indeed, it is a milestone event to say the least.  When those far divergent perspectives say in unison, the Bush Administration, as a whole is worrisome, more worthy of impeachment than another White House might have been.  We must stand or sit and take notice.  You may have missed the discussion.  Admittedly, I only saw a portion of the program.  Nonetheless, I offer this snippet and a bit of background for those of you still contemplating the viability of the process. 

    For me, John Nichols said it best when he stated [and I paraphrase] impeachment does not place the country in a state of crisis; it is the cure.  The act reminds the President the people are indeed in charge.  This is our country.

    When Conservative pundit Bruce Fein expressed the crimes George W. Bush committed crimes are very worrisome, I was stunned. 

    I invite you to investigate the idea of impeaching the Bush - Cheney Administration.

    Betsy L. Angert :: Tough Talk on Impeachment; Bill Moyers Journal
    Tough Talk on Impeachment

    A public opinion poll from the American Research Group recently reported that more than four in ten Americans 45% ? favor impeachment hearings for President Bush and more than half 54%  favored impeachment for Vice President Cheney.

    Unhappiness about the war in Iraq isn't the only cause of the unsettled feelings of the electorate. Recent events like President Bush's pardoning of Scooter Libby, the refusal of Vice President Cheney's office to surrender emails under subpoena to Congress and the President's prohibition of testimony of former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers in front of the House Judiciary Committee have caused unease over claims of "executive privilege." In addition, many of the White House anti-terror initiatives and procedures from the status of "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo to warrantless wiretapping have come under legal scrutiny in Congress and the courts.

    Bill Moyers gets perspective on the role of impeachment in American political life from Constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, who wrote the first article of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, and The Nation's John Nichols, author of The Genius Of Impeachment.

    "The founding fathers expected an executive who tried to overreach and expected the executive would be hampered and curtailed by the legislative branch... They [Congress] have basically renounced walked away from their responsibility to oversee and check." - Bruce Fein

    "On January 20th, 2009, if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account this Administration will hand off a toolbox with more powers than any President has ever had, more powers than the founders could have imagined. And that box may be handed to Hillary Clinton or it may be handed to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or someone else. But whoever gets it, one of the things we know about power is that people don't give away the tools." - John Nichols

    Bruce Fein
    Bruce Fein is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on Constitutional law.

    Graduating from Harvard Law School in 1972, Fein became the assistant director of the Office of Legal Policy in the U.S. Department of Justice.  Shortly after that, Fein became the associate deputy attorney general under former President Ronald Reagan.

    His political law career would take him to various outlets, including general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, followed by an appointment as research director for the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran.  Mr. Fein has been an adjunct scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a resident scholar at the Heritage Foundation, a lecturer at the Bookings Institute, and an adjunct professor at George Washington University.

    Fein has also penned a number of volumes on United States Constitution, Supreme Court, and international law, as well as assisted three dozen countries in constitutional revision, including Russia, Spain, South Africa, Iraq, Cyprus, and Mozambique.

    Fein currently writes weekly columns for The Washington Times and Capitol Leader, and a bi-weekly column for the Lexington Herald Leader devoted to legal and international affairs.

    Recently, Fein has been in the national spotlight after his editorial in the online newsmagazine Slate called for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, in which he outlines the various cases against the Vice President. Fein also testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on June 27, 2007 about President Bush's use of "signing statement."

  • According to Fein, Cheney has:
  • Asserted Presidential power to create military commissions, which combine the functions of judge, jury, and prosecutor in the trial of war crimes.
  • Claimed authority to detain American citizens as enemy combatants indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay on the President's say-so alone.
  • Initiated kidnappings, secret detentions, and torture in Eastern European prisons of suspected international terrorists.
  • Championed a Presidential power to torture in contravention of federal statutes and treaties.
  • Engineered the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance program targeting American citizens on American soil in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
  • Orchestrated the invocation of executive privilege to conceal from Congress secret spying programs to gather foreign intelligence, and their legal justifications.
  • Summoned the privilege to refuse to disclose his consulting of business executives in conjunction with his Energy Task Force.
  • Retaliated against Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame, through chief of staff Scooter Libby, for questioning the administration's evidence of weapons of mass destruction as justification for invading Iraq. (Read Fein's Slate article)

    John Nichols
    John Nichols, author and political journalist has been writing the "Online Beat" for The Nation magazine since 1999.

    Nichols also serves as Washington correspondent for THE NATION, as well as the associate editor of the CAPITAL TIMES, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin and a contributing writer for THE PROGRESSIVE and IN THESE TIMES.

    Along with fellow author Robert McChesney, Nichols co-founded the media-reform group Free Press. Nichols has also authored several books, including Jews for Buchanan, which analyzed the recount vote of 2000, and "Dick: The Man Who is President", his best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney.

    Nichols most recent book, The Genius Of Impeachment, argues that impeachment is an essential instrument of America's democratic system. Nichols' argument also bases the power of impeachment in the hands of the people, rather than the congress. In his recent article, "In Praise of Impeachment," Nichols argues "While the Constitution handed Congress the power to officially check such despotism, Jefferson and his colleagues fully expected the American people to be the champions of the application of the rule of law to an errant executive."

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    Impeachment momentum grows (10.50 / 2)
    The movement to Impeach Bush Cheney grows.

    On July 7, 2007 145 people gathered at the Oak Park Library to hear seven speakers discuss the need the reasons to Impeach.


    Derek Griffin an Iraq Veteran Against the War related the briefing he was given as part of the First Calvary seven weeks after 9-11. The colonel conducting this Iraq preparation told the troops there were no NBC weapons in Iraq. NBC is military speak for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical. Derek stated
    We must impeach because laws have been broken, We need to impeach because the proper precedent must be set, especially for future presidents
    Sounds a lot like Bruce Fein doesn't he.


    Tom Barwin Oak Park Illinois Village Manager spoke off the $248,000,000 Oak Park residents have paid from their taxes for the war. He went on to point out this could have created 1200 low cost housing units or scholarships for thousands of college students instead of contributing to death and destruction in Iraq. He called for immediate impeachment.


    Russ Conte of Amnesty International spoke of the torture committed in our names. He pointed out that the Bush administration has justified these actions and that we must rebuke them through impeachment.


    Vigorous debate and discussion ensued. The energy level is high.

    All we are saying is Give Peace a chance

    Impeach Bush Cheney

    Thou art god
    Bob


    I thank you for sharing (10.00 / 1)
    Dear Bob . . .

    How wonderful.  All these people tuned out to impeach an awful Administration.  Perhaps, there is momentum, or people are choosing awareness over apathy. 

    Derek Griffin an Iraq Veteran Against the War related the briefing he was given as part of the First Calvary seven weeks after 9-11. The colonel conducting this Iraq preparation told the troops there were no NBC weapons in Iraq. NBC is military speak for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical. Derek stated
    How scary; seven weeks after September 11, 2001, the Armed Forces knew there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction; however, Intelligence [?] said they were there.
    Tom Barwin Oak Park Illinois Village Manager spoke off the $248,000,000 Oak Park residents have paid from their taxes for the war. He went on to point out this could have created 1200 low cost housing units or scholarships for thousands of college students instead of contributing to death and destruction in Iraq. He called for immediate impeachment.
    A bold and brave City Manager is also quite informed.  The numbers are outrageous.
    Russ Conte of Amnesty International spoke of the torture committed in our names.
    Apparently, Amnesty International was not at the White House weeks ago when the President assured the young scholars, "we do not torture."

    I thank you for sharing the spirit and photographs.  May peace be with you, everyone.

    It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. ~ Ian Anderson. Jethro Tull

    Betsy L. Angert

    BeThink


    [ Parent ]
    What on earth our members of Congress are thinking when they continue (9.00 / 2)
    to avoid impeachment is beyond my comprehension.  They offer nothing solid to support their stand.  The facts continue to pour forth in terms of blatantly illegal actions.  Bu$hco continue to thumb their collective nose at the Congress as the Imperial Presidency continues.  How much longer must we be subject to this travesty before action is taken? 

    Northington for Congress

    peace in every aspect of life. (10.00 / 1)
    Dear Possum . . .

    Your question brings up another for me.  Cindy Sheehan stated she would run for Congress if Nancy Pelosi does not place impeachment on the agenda.  According to the rules of a prominent political community blog site, she can no longer post, since she will not run as a Democrat.  While I understand, I do not.

    I think unity is great.  For me the finest facet of this Moyers' discussion is that the Right, Middle, and Left are one on this issue.

    How much longer must we be subject to this travesty before action is taken? 
    For me, to remain divided accomplishes little.  That is why I work for peace in every aspect of life.

    It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. ~ Ian Anderson. Jethro Tull

    Betsy L. Angert

    BeThink


    [ Parent ]
    Divided we are doomed to fail. (0.00 / 0)
    That is the subject of a lengthy discussion at yesterday's vigil.  Third party candidates may or may not change the course of discussion in a campaign, but to my mind that course mostly divides an already struggling party.  The Rethugs would never allow an independent run.  They are far too set on course to allow dissent in the ranks.  The Dems need to open the doors and the windows and let lots of voices be heard.  We need good Dem candidates running.  We don't need to be letting our best voices be heard outside our own tent.

    Northington for Congress

    [ Parent ]
    building a platform (10.00 / 1)
    Dear Possum . . .

    I have mixed feelings on this.  I recall a time when the primaries were not an attempt to position an electable candidate.  The platform was not preformed by a solitary aspirant.  The people actually spoke and then, during the Convention, the platform was written.

    Presidential Candidates such as Dennis Kucinich made a huge difference.  Their voice helped to open the minds of the dogmatic front-runners. 

    You may recall when there was talk of a dual Presidency.  Surprisingly, that was a Republican proposition.

    I do not think it is a bad idea.  Perhaps, we would have a Domestic executive and a Foreign Affairs expert.  Possibly, they might check and balance each other.  It seems now, no Branch has power over the President; this scares me.

    It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. ~ Ian Anderson. Jethro Tull

    Betsy L. Angert

    BeThink


    [ Parent ]
    Balance of powers in government is fundamental (6.00 / 1)
    to a real democracy.  So is a voice of and from the people. When politicians forget to listen to their voters and to form ideas and opinions that represent those voters, a lot is lost.  At the same time, any politician should have basic stances that are unvarying.  There are issues like abortion, welfare, warfare, and others that need platform statements upon which the voter can judge the politician. 

    Seems to me no politician is ever going to represent all the people all the time.  So much of our trouble today is career politicians trying to offend no one.  We'd be better off with new blood at regular intervals who take a stand and stick to that position.

    Northington for Congress


    [ Parent ]
    I admire the altruist (10.00 / 1)
    Dear Possum . . .

    On your first thought, we are one.  Trying not to offend in hopes of securing your prominent position in Congress or in the minds of the electorate is not truly principled.

    The latter conclusion I think is too broad.  Granted, many politicians are that. They seek power, fame, and perhaps a certain future.  They long to leave a legacy.  However, I admire the altruist and do not want them to be taken down by term limits.  Senator William Proxmire comes to mind.  Other Senators and Congressmen and women fill my head.  Numerous were and are excellent!

    I invite you to read my personal experience of Senator Proxmire.
    Senator William [Bill] Proxmire, My Mentor

    I support Bernie Sanders.  I think Dennis Kucinich is a fine person.  One Senator whose name I will not mention, in my opinion, was done in by his selfish son. Representative Barbara Jordan was a wonderful woman; her memory lives on.

    I long for more that stay committed to the people.  Once they successfully enter the fray, I want them to stay!  I only hope the circumstances, the intense exposure to all that boggles the mind will not beat them down.

    It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. ~ Ian Anderson. Jethro Tull

    Betsy L. Angert

    BeThink


    [ Parent ]
    Term limits are a two edged sword just like most rules. (9.00 / 1)
    We have had and still have some very fine Congress members.  The trouble is we have too few and folk with spine are not running these days.  A campaign is grueling and takes real endurance of spirit and body.  I understand why people stay away. 

    There is also the feeling that members of Congress no longer have any real position.  So much is all about maneuvering for power rather than really getting work done for the people.  Many will not take a job that offers no hope of real progress in terms of what drove them to office in the first place.

    Northington for Congress


    [ Parent ]
    apathy cuts us to the core. (10.00 / 1)
    Dear Possum . . .

    An informed public for me, makes a difference.  I think apathy cuts us to the core.

    I think about this often.  I wonder if we might research a person's progression rather than their proposed policies.

    If a candidate, throughout their life was motivated by altruism, then they may be a good choice.  If they consistently aspired to fame, fortune, and power. . .

    It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. ~ Ian Anderson. Jethro Tull

    Betsy L. Angert

    BeThink


    [ Parent ]
    And informing the public should be a public official's responsibility. (0.00 / 0)
    We cannot have good government that works in secret behind closed doors.  All must be about openness and honesty or we lose too much.

    Northington for Congress

    [ Parent ]
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