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Now can we impeach him?

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution." -George W. Bush, 4/2004

In addition, he did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
eisenbud
Dec. 22nd, 2005 08:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, feel free to impeach him now. Thanks for asking. :-)
warlord_mit
Dec. 22nd, 2005 09:49 pm (UTC)
Too bad as a citizen you cannot directly initiate the impeachment process. *sigh* I just wish more of the country was in an uproar over the fact that *Bush broke the law*.
crs
Dec. 22nd, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
Maybe we should try to get a California-style "recall" law on the books after this.

No, wait. No. I never said that. Never.
warlord_mit
Dec. 22nd, 2005 09:56 pm (UTC)
Unforutnately too many people in this country LIKE bush! I don't think a recall would pass.. Especially if it needed a supermajority to do so (which I think would be the only fair way to do it). Then again, with approval ratings down in the low 30s, a recall might actually GET a supermajority. But then.. what next? President Cheney?
abce
Dec. 23rd, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC)
Just to be clear, I don't like Bush. But I have more respect for him than I have for most of the Democratic leadership, especially given their idiocy over Iraq.

I think we should replace him with someone more fit to govern, but, unfortunately, the political landscape right now reminds me of the NFL last year.
hauntmeister
Dec. 22nd, 2005 10:14 pm (UTC)
No impeachment! Remember, his exact words were "Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order". And we did not hear the United States government talking about wiretap, because it was secret! So the wiretapping did not require a court order, and Bush did not lie!

Faithful Bushists can always find a way to carefully parse their Leader's words so that they are not literally false. If we didn't interpret them properly when they were first uttered, it is our own fault.
navrins
Dec. 22nd, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC)
On the contrary, they most certainly *are* talking about it. They're saying it was legal, or at least, it was important for catching TERRORISTS!!!, or something.
abce
Dec. 23rd, 2005 12:54 am (UTC)
Too bad we can't go after Carter, and Reagan, and Bush the Elder, and Clinton, all of whom also conducted surveillance of extranational parties communicating across our border without going through the FISA.

Yup, he lied to protect classified information. Been there, done that. His intent of that statement was to cover the Patriot Act, which did not extend the non-court use of wiretaps (that I am aware of).

Sheesh. Go after the man for his real screw ups. His inability to go after the border crossing problems. His failure to articulate Social Security reform. His blatant cronyism in political appointments. But this? This is a non-story, except to go after the folks who keep leaking classified information about our actual intelligence operations. Where's the outrage over that?
hauntmeister
Dec. 23rd, 2005 05:12 am (UTC)
I'd be interested in seeing documentation of your unsupported assertion that all of Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr, and Clinton both:

1) spied on trans-border communications without going through the FISA
and
2) lied to protect classified information.

Point 1) sounds like one of the right-wing talking points from last Tuesday, and that's not a metaphor. I mean it literally. For Carter and Clinton, it's been thoroughly debunked. The next talking point on the queue is, "Democrats were told and should have objected at the time!" The debunk for this one is that they were legally unable to communicate with anyone about their briefings. They have now requested that their responses to Bush -- objecting strenuously to the program -- be declassified so they can be published.
abce
Dec. 23rd, 2005 01:47 pm (UTC)
First of all, I'm glad you agree that going public about this program constitutes a crime.

I have to admit, I always love selective debunking. The Carter debunking draws on Executive Order 12139, issued in 1979. In 1978, Carter issued Executive Order 12038, which includes this pearl:

(b) Activities described in sections 2-202 through 2-205 for which a warrant
would be required if undertaken for law enforcement rather than intelligence
purposes shall not be undertaken against a United States person without a
judicial warrant, unless the President has authorized the type of activity
involved and the Attorney General has both approved the particular activity and
determined that there is probable cause to believe that the United States person
is an agent of a foreign power.


Ah, but I must admit, I don't know who he spied on, so I can't prove it, so yes, the Kossacks have debunked! Alas.

Rockefeller's letter, from my reading, looks more like a CYA note than an real objection. If he had real concerns, he could have easily asked for a battery of lawyers from Justice to provide him with more information. Likely, he could have argued to get an independent lawyer to be cleared to provide him with advice. His reference to TIA pretty clearly sounds to me like, "I expect this to blow up when it goes public, and I am going to cover my bases." I wonder who might have then provided the information about this program to the press, then? We'll have to see what Pelosi's note says, of course.

If you're actually concerned about the legality of Bush's actions, you might want to read the brief
provided by the Justice Department.

I'm not going to try to find evidence to support my assertion about lying to protect classified information, because, by definition, there shouldn't be public data about it, nor can I hint about knowledge I might have. Feel free to assume that means you've debunked me. But go ask someone you trust who has held as SCI clearance, and ask them if they would lie to protect classified information, and if they felt an obligation to do so.

Oh, and if you are going to object to "right-wing talking points", you would do yourself a better service if your links weren't just to left-wing talking points, but actually to source material yourself.
hauntmeister
Dec. 23rd, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
I'm not going to try to find evidence to support my assertion...

That's all I needed to read. Goodbye.
baronet
Dec. 24th, 2005 01:21 am (UTC)
abce provided plenty of links for the majority of his claims. He didn't provide any links for that claim because he is making an incredibly broad statement that "someone lied to someone else to protect some level of classified information and they were right to have done so." A statement that broad can be justified with a thought experiment or an existence proof that has nothing to do with The President lying to The American People about Domestic Surveillance on thousands of people without any review outside the Executive Branch" It is the second statement that makes me nervous, not the first.
crs
Dec. 23rd, 2005 05:54 am (UTC)
So, was James Robertson's resignation from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court anything beyond political grandstanding in wake of the media coverage of this scandal, in your eyes?
abce
Dec. 23rd, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC)
Given that, to my understanding, James Robertson provided no reason for his resignation, that an unnamed staffer leaked that it was as a result of these activities, I'd have to go with a yes.

It isn't a scandal, much as the anti-Bush crowd would like to make it one.


Frankly, I consider this entire thing to be yet another example of attempting to create a story. I find the timing of this, on the heels of Bush finally speaking directly to the people about the good progress in Iraq, to be highly suspect.
baronet
Dec. 24th, 2005 01:33 am (UTC)
Limits
So abce, Are you saying that
A: In a time of war, anything the president asserts is for the war effort is OK, and
B: we are in a war that will last a generation or decades?

Or if not, then what are the limits? What roles do the legislature or judicial branch play?
abce
Dec. 24th, 2005 02:13 am (UTC)
Re: Limits
A: Nope.
B: Yup.

I think that this is one of those edge cases. Clinton is the only president to remotely accept that FISA limits presidential powers; much like the War Powers Act, no one has wanted to challenge it.

This edge case, it seems like Bush acted reasonably. I recall the old joke being that whenever you got on an international phone call, you should say, "I am an American", because then your conversation could not be monitored. Bush was closing that gap. He sought the advice of counsel. He closely reviewed the program, a level of oversight few intelligence activities ever get. This focused on extranational parties communicating into the US; and was for intelligence purposes, not law enforcement.

I'd highly recommend that anyone interested check out the various opinions of Constitutional law scholars and develop their own opinion.
willtruncheon
Dec. 23rd, 2005 01:23 am (UTC)
Ouch, my head. It can't really be that much of a shock to anyone by now that the federal government- regardless of party affiliation- conducts generally shady surveillance ops like this. abce's right, you couldn't go back far enough in the history of the American presidency to find someone who didn't do stuff like this. That doesn't make it right, but wouldn't it be more effective as an actual deterrent to terrorism if the U.S. let it be known openly that they were conducting these international wiretaps?
With G.W., it's not the lying that really bothers me. I expect to be lied to by politicians. It's just that he lies AND he couldn't make an effective assistant manager at a Dunkin' Donuts on the Pike, much less President of the United States.
(Deleted comment)
ocschwar
Dec. 23rd, 2005 03:14 am (UTC)
Clinton didn't do much of this at all, not because he was a good guy, but because he made the crucial error of making Louis Freeh the FBI director, and Freeh was ready to pounce on Clinton on partisan abuses of law enforcement and national security assets.
avacon
Dec. 23rd, 2005 07:56 am (UTC)
No, we can't impeach him! That would be *bad*...
Would you really rather have President Chaney
or President Ted Stevens? Both of them would impose
a complete dictatorship faster than you could
drive across Stevens' bridge.

I'm a little worried that Bush seems to be catching
on to how bad some of his advisors are and is trying
to dig himself out of this hole. This may cause
Chaney and the NeoCons to work for a Bush impeachment
so that Chaney can take over. *shudder*
abce
Dec. 23rd, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
Put your tinfoil hat back on, the spy satellites are over-exciting your brain.
crs
Dec. 23rd, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC)
No, don't fall for it! Everyone knows the tinfoil hats amplify the signal!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )