Saturday, November 24, 2007

Leaders who lie - Have we had enough?

Last Monday, Dan Froomkin, who blogs for the Washington Post at White House Watch, included in his post a couple of paragraphs under Impeachment (Non) Watch: "The Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that during the week of Nov. 4 -9, Rep. Dennis Kucinich's introduction of a measure to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney was 'barely a blip on the larger news-scape.'

"The story did not come close to cracking the top-10 stories in PEJ's overall News Coverage Index. But on talk radio, it was 'the top story with 20% of the total airtime.'"
The next day Public Affairs Books, publisher of former press secretary Scott McClellan’s forthcoming book, What Happened, released an excerpt:

"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

"There was one problem. It was not true.

"I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the Vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself."

On November 22nd, Dave Lindorff, co-author of the excellent book, The Case for Impeachment posted, "Impeachment is Back on the Table": “With that one little statement…all excuses for not impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney, not to mention indicting Cheney (who of course has no immunity from prosecution while in office), have evaporated.

“There is no way that American democracy can continue to survive, even in its current truncated form, if the Congress continues to duck this issue and pretend that it has 'more important things to do,' as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her retinue of leaders in the House have continued to claim for an entire year in control of the Congress.

“To keep impeachment ‘off the table,’ knowing that the president and vice president brazenly lied to the American people and to the Special Counsel's office about such a serious offense, is to make a mockery of the Constitution and the law."

I'll be watching the mainstream media to see if impeachment becomes more than a "blip on the larger news-scape" and if more than 20% of the talkers on radio shows "seize on [the] impeachment issue."

Even if the media continues to ignore impeachment, the former press secretary's disclosure is so significant that those of us who support H. Res 799 can urge members of the House Judiciary Committee to subpoena Scott McClellan and begin the impeachment investigation immediately. I highly recommend you go to Chris Borland’s Action Plan: Cheney Impeachment Resolution for contact information for selected House Judiciary Committee members.

(graphs: Project for Excellence in Journalism)

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's how to get impeachment back on the table: Remove Pelosi as Speaker now, before the election.

Gail Jonas said...

An explanation of why members of Congress can't be impeached: http://writ.lp.findlaw.com/commentary/20010910_grossman.html

Excerpt: The Constitutional Language: Three Relevant Clauses

First, according to the Constitution, only the President, the Vice President, and "civil officers of the United States" can be impeached. Members of Congress do not count as "civil officers of the United States" — as language elsewhere in the constitution, and a decision by the Senate in the nation's first impeachment trial in 1797, make clear. (No court, however, has ruled on the issue).
Three different clauses of the Constitution strongly imply that members of Congress are not "civil officers of the United States." First, there is Article I, Section 6 — which expressly prohibits any officer of the United States from being a member of Congress, suggesting that the two groups will never even overlap.

Second, there is Article II, Section 3, which authorizes the President to "commission all the officers of the United States"; obviously the term "officers of the United States," as used here, cannot include legislators, who are elected, not commissioned.

Third, there is Article II, Section 2, which details how the president, with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint officers of the United States. Like Section 3 of Article II, this section also suggests that legislators, since they are elected and not appointed, cannot count as officers of the United States.

Reading these clauses together, according to Michael Gerhardt, compels the conclusion that an "officer of the United States" is someone appointed by the president to an office established by Congress. The term, then, covers federal judges, as well as subordinate executive branch officials, whom the Framers wanted to be sure could not be shielded by the President if they were accused of wrongdoing. It obviously does not apply to the military, who are not civil officers. And it clearly excludes members of Congress.

My question: How will the public "remove" Pelosi?

Leefeller said...

Several things need to be addressed, one Pelosi is supposed to be a feather in our caps, because she is in power of he power so the pork tank should be full for California. Dost not seem to be working that way.
second, who will replace Pelosi as speaker? Worse or better?
Three, finding someone to run against Pelosi, a person with integrity and accountability would be nice, do we have anyone like that in the wings?

Gail Jonas said...

I'm not in favor of focusing on removing Pelosi as Speaker.
1. I agree with Leefeller that we have no one waiting in the wings to take her place.
2. Even if we did, what mechanism would we citizens use to remove her? We can't get the House Dems to budge on anything, so why would they heed our cries to remove Pelosi?
3. It strikes me as a diversion from impeaching Cheney and Bush. Apparently Kucinich is going to introduce articles of impeachment against Bush as well in the next couple of months.

Chris Borland said...

Pelosi and company have behaved disgracefully.

Those who refuse to enforce the laws, who who ignore the will of the people, who refuse to honor their oaths of office and hold criminals in our government accountable, should themselves be held accountable as criminals. To my mind, the Democratic Party leadership is guilty of nearly the same disloyalty to our nation and constitution as are the neocons headed by Bush/Cheney.

Nevertheless, as Gail points out, there seems to be no simple way to remove Pelosi and the other Democratic neocon "Quisling" collaborators.

However, there is something we can do that may influence the Speaker to change her wimpy, invertebrate, corrupt ways:

What is the top motivation for 99% of politicians? Being re-elected ... or not.

The best thing we can all do, in my opinion, to fight back against Pelosi is to put the fear of God into her by working to nominate Cindy Sheehan to in her place as the Democratic candidate in the next congressional election (2008). If Ms. Pelosi sees throngs and throngs of volunteers and wads of $100 bills going to support Sheehan, she may just realize the error of her ways. Even if she doesn't, supporting Cindy Sheehan with everything we've got just may get her nominated and elected, and bye-bye goes Pelosi ... and good riddance.

To support Cindy Sheehan's quest to sieze Nancy Pelosi's seat in congress, click here.

Please, those of us who can, plop down $100 for Cindy Sheehan, and sign up as one of the "boots on the ground" that always make the difference in situations like this.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Gail and others,

You have raised many valid questions. Indeed, you are correct: Only the President has been impeached. But this effort to "remove" Pelosi isn't something that is novel. Other speakers have been challenged. This effort isn't something that the public does; it is something that the public asks the House to consider. This is similar to the State-level effort -- discussing proclamations to impeach the President -- which Kucinich relied on to gauge support for his resolution. The state level discussion sent a clear signal: The public supports investigations, and removing all obstacles. Here are some of the groups which well know of these proclamations: As you can see, more than half the States are involved. It doesn't take much to mobilize a few to draft proclamations calling on the House to remove the Speaker. Here is what it might look like.

The House Removes The Speaker By Majority Vote

This link summarizes what is going on. You are not being asked to do anything unwise; simply being asked to do what is prudent to defend the Constitution against all domestic enemies. What is curious is the concern that there is no one else "waiting in teh wings": Indeed, it is a problem when the leadership makes a well known blunder and refuses to align herself with the majority; but the majority that defied her on impeachment will not defy her at the door. Thus, the reason for the proclamations: To call on the House to find a new leader, one that is marginally more interested in the majority's love of fact finding and investigations. This speaker appears to have abandoned her post, but no one is willing to lead. Then the House must be energized to find that new leader.

Impeachment is a charge by the House with a trial in the Senate; the effort to remove Pelosi is only an action in the House. The issue of "who would be the next Speaker" would be for the majority of the House -- that support her removal -- to decide. If the issue behind her removal is her blocking impeachment, then the majority -- in theory -- would support a new Speaker who would make way for impeachment. The public does not remove the Speaker; the public would be drafting proclamations for the legislatures at the State level to discuss, and forward to the House for their action. These proclamations would be privileged -- like the Kucinich resolution calling for impeachment -- meaning that the House has to face the issue, cannot bury it, and has to on the record.

Speaker Not In Harmony With Majority

The majority are on the record as defying Pelosi: They want an investigation. She does not appear to listen to either the DNC majority, the House majority, or the Majority of the American people. Who can say that such a person who defies the majority should remain the leader; and what is she leading while she remains consistent with the minority and alleged rebels of the Constitution?

Removing Pelosi as Speaker is something that is outside the elections. Whether Sheehan does or does not win the 2008 election in Pelosi's district is a separate issue than whether the House Membership -- as a body -- does or does not get challenged by We the People to confront this issue. The issue isn't Pelosi; the issue is whether the House -- after it voted to forward the Kucinich resolution to start an investigation of the VP -- will or will not remove all obstacles to that investigation.

Lead and Remove All Obstacles

We can speculate all day long why this investigation is or isn't happening. The issue of "what will remove all obstacles" needs to be one that the House confronts. This effort does not make the House answer that question with a specific answer. The effort simply forces the House to confront the issue: Is removing Pelosi the solution to this impeachment investigation? That is for the House to be challenged with.

More broadly, the issue isn't whether there is or isn't a removal of the VP; but whether the House will or will not fully assert all options to find the answers. It is premature to say we cannot investigate because the result -- the removal decision -- "might" not go our way. Let the Senators who refuse to remove be forced to respond: Did they or did they not fully review the evidence of these alleged breaches of the laws of war; or were they reckless in not doing their jobs?

Fact Finding: Generates Popular Support Not A Backlash By Ghosts

Some suggest that there will be a backlash against the DNC. Oh, really? Please ask those who are pointing to a "backlash" to point out "who" would backlash: By name or demographic group. I think you'll see that there is no group that is going to "backlash" against the DNC: The DNC Membership will support the DNC leadership; and the GOP leadership will continue to oppose the DNC. A backlash would require a change, not the status quo.

Open The Door To Confronting The Leadership

The effort to remove Pelosi isn't a distraction, but a means to open the door for the impeachment investigation. It appears the Speaker herself has kept the door closed despite the Kucinich resolution and the House Majority vote to open the door.

It may not be easy to remove the Speaker; but it is also difficult to justify keeping her given her apparent refusal to assent to the House majority: Open the door to impeachment investigations.

More Difficult To Justify Inaction Than Active Offense Against Roadblocks

This isn't asking you to support the removal of Pelosi; it's asking you to support proclamations calling on the House to discuss this. Those are two different things. You may disagree with the effort; but I simply ask that you publicly continue your commentary and dialog on removing all options to an impeachment investigation. Some like Matt have dared to support this effort. Other candidates have announced their support.

Perhaps you have some other solutions. But until those solutions appear, I ask that you support discussing this solution as a means to defending the Constitution. You have raised many valid questions; the issue of who the next Speaker is unclear. But it is preferable to be unclear about a Speaker than unclear about a Constitution, as this US government appears to be.

Thank you for considering these comments in the spirit that they are intended: To discuss all lawful options to defend the Constitution against domestic enemies, which appear to be in the US Congress. Best wishes to you and your readers; and I hope the above comments adequately address your many valid concerns which, I believe after reading these remarks, you may find have been adequately considered in this effort. Good luck.

Gail Jonas said...

Thanks to the person who commented about the merits of attempting to remove Pelosi from her position as Speaker, the most recent post before this one.

Anonymous said...

ONLY YOU, THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER, CAN FORCE CONGRESS TO IMPEACH THE VICE PRESIDENT AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Call Nancy Pelosi @ 1-202-225-0100 and DEMAND IMPEACHMENT. ( call often and spread it around)

Anonymous said...

Mike Meyer

Gail Jonas said...

Mike Meyer,
I assume you identified yourself after posting the previous comment urging taxpayers to call Pelosi. I agree, though I would broaden it to any person who is allowed to vote in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

Gail,

You're welcome: Glad the comments/response appear to have addressed the points you and others well raised. Best wishes, and thank you for your blog.

Here's a question on Kos: What would it take? FYI: Kagro X was one of the people behind the original effort [Note his name is listed at the link].

Perhaps you and others may wish to spread the word on your reactions to this effort; perhaps encourage other Kos-writers/readers to comment at this link about this effort. Thank you.

Best wishes.

Gail Jonas said...

I'm intrigued about the identity of the last commenter. The information in the comments is very helpful.

Also, I know"
1. A "John from Cincinnati" who posted a comment at Daily Kos and
2. Phil B. of www.impeachbush.tv., both linked in the comment.

It's not important to know the identify of someone who chooses to post anonymously, but this commenter is unusually informed and a skilled writer as well.

Gail Jonas said...

Chris Borland,
Your suggestion to vigorously support Cindy Sheehan in her race against Nancy Pelosi is excellent!
Thanks,
Gail

Anonymous said...

Gail,

You mentioned you knew the impeachtv's PhilB. Would it be possible for you to share these comments with him/the links; and encourage him to open a similar page on impeach TV, as was done with House Rule 603?

May help to have a high profile site like his consolidate the FAQs on this issue; and let the public see that the proclamations calling for removing Pelosi would rely on the same people/effort to discuss the resolutions calling on the House to investigate.

Arguably, the same House Rule 603 effort would dovetail/incorporate these resolutions, and the same people who discussed proclamations at the State level would be in a position to quickly review the proclamation calling on the House to challenge Pelosi.

Gail Jonas said...

To the last commenter, who pasted at 10:21 am. Yes, I'll alert Phil Burk to this post and the many worthwhile comments and encourage him to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Gail,

Thank you for contacting Phil. This link may help explain the larger issues motivating the challenge to Pelosi. I think Phil will understand.

God bless. Thanks again.