Monday, December 19, 2005

Time to impeach?

Over at Spun and Spinning, Tony is calling on The Outpost to editorialize in favor of impeaching Bush for illegally spying on Americans. It's a topic well worthy of opinionating, but I'm not ready to lead the charge for impeachment. Here's why:

1. What Bush did probably was illegal, but it isn't yet 100 percent clear. The Volokh Conspiracy has the best discussion I've seen so far about that question. I don't favor impeachment when even marginally defensible legal stances are available.

2. I'm generally against impeachment and recall votes. Nixon is the only exception I can think of and that only because his offenses were so clear and pervasive and cut so close to the heart of what this country ought to be about. As a rule, I think voters have a right to the candidate they elected, even if most of them eventually conclude they made a poor choice.

3. The Outpost doesn't take many stands on national issues. That isn't because those issues aren't important, but because we have no special access to information or knowledge about what happens at the national level. Our opinions are no more useful than those of anyone else who follows the national news in a half-assed sort of way.

Having said all that, I still find what the president did inexcusable. If he wanted expanded authorization for domestic spying, he should have asked Congress to give it to him. He shouldn't have just taken it.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well then, would someone please give Bush a blowjob so that we can impeach him!

Rich said...

David,
I thought about reading the Volokh Conspiracy posting, but when it leads off with the 4th Amendment, which deals with criminals, I passed. When this gets washed out, and you see how far out in left field your claim that "What Bush did probably was illegal", I'll be laughing, and you'll move along to the next in the seemingly unending stream of "impeach Bush" gibberish.

Eric Coobs said...

If somebody has ties to our enemies, and we spy on them, it sounds like a national security issue to me.

Of course, the left is united by their pure hatred for President Bush, and this 'get-Bush-at-all-cost' attitude will last another 3 years. Expect more of the same until then.

Anonymous said...

DAMN, coobs! You're dumber than I thought! "The Constitution, it's just a goddamned piece of paper", G.W. Your pal and apparent mentor!

5 said...

Extreme moderate.

5 said...

And Coobs....
From the Fox News Dayside program.

Audience member: "We’ve got to give the President the flexibility to protect me. I use my cell phone all the time and I don’t have any problem with the folks listening to the conversations I have because they’re appropriate conversations."

And the audience bursts into applause.

What Mister Cell Phone doesnt understand is, We the People expect this privacy just in case our Centralized Government gets too big for its britches and starts taking away the Rights of the People. Its the same reason we have the 2nd amendment. The People learned in1776 that small group of well armed citizens could protect itself and even overthrow a Tyrannical Government. The writers of the Bill of Rights were heavily petitioned by The People on these issues for these reasons.
We should be well armed. We should expect privacy to communicate among the majority of the People should they ever wish to overthrow this government. Duh.
We tend to think that it couldnt happen here in longest running Democracy ever.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Coobs, why not POST all your cell phone conversations! That would be great, wouldn't it! The government records, then transcribes, and then posts on a computer somewhere ALL of coob's phone conversations for the world to see and appreciate/evaluate! Even the one where he tells a friend bout the amorous encounter he had the night before with his inflatable girlfriend! WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR! MAKE EVERYTHING PUBLIC!...........cept of course the dick, cheney's energy meetings and plans to invade!

Anonymous said...

Methinks that coobsie is bein' just a leetle bit hypocritical! Ya see, bein' the type of good little brown shirt that he is, he thinks that he'll never get spied upon. Ain't that right, coobsie?! You got your snout so far up the rightwing orifice that you feel safe! Sad, so sad, that this coutnry's educational system could produce such people.

Rich said...

If you're communicating with a terrorist you don't have any expectation to a right of privacy.

David said...

Rich,
The Fourth Amendment doesn't deal with criminals. It deals with liberty.

And if you think the Volokh Conspiracy is out in left field, then you must be right there, too. The lawyers who run the site are well respected conservatives, which is why I went there. I wanted to hear the strongest possible case for Bush's position. And if these guys think he's breaking the law, then they're probably right.

Ed Kemmick said...

This guy mistakes the Volokh Conspiracy site for a left-wing hangout and you still treat him calmly and rationally? David, your patience is endless.

5 said...

Well, we can plainly see why I dont work for a paper, do not run a paper nor own a paper. I would have to come out, knowing what I know, calling for Impeachment.
"Probably right"? David, so when does a thousand "probably right" add up to right? Is no one in the press going to take a stand?
Should I run down the scandals and lies just one more time?
Where there is smoke, there is fire.
When is enough, enough?

Mark said...

In 1994, President Clinton argued that he had 'inherent authority' to conduct warrantless searches in the pursuit of foreign terrorists. And legal opinions upheld his claim.

None of the liberals complained about it then did they?

The liberals don't care about privacy here, nor is this issue about national defense.

They simply want to politicize President Bush, in the hopes of pulling themselves out of the political quicksand they are immersed in.

Usually, the Democrats are internally divided by special interst groups, but they all have a pure hatred for Bush that brings them together on issues like this.

The Democrats want the stock market to decline, and they want our military to fail, and they want natural disasters if they can use those events to attack the President.

Enough said - game, set & match for the only conservative here!

Anonymous said...

Gee, mark, is your first name judy, as in judy marks? For you see, you seem her intellectual EQUAL! Let's follow your logic, little fella. Dems want the stock market to crash. GUESS THAT'S THEY DON'T INVEST! They want the military to fail. GUESS THAT'S WHY SO MANY MORE DEMS THAT REPUGS JOIN! And gee, the Dems even want natural disasters, EVEN IF THEY HIT DEM STRONGHOLDS LIKE NEW ORLEANS! Conservative? I think you're really just a garden variety chickenhawk idiot! Am I right or what!

Eric Coobs said...

Looks like Larry just proved Mark right.

I remember Dick Gephardt happily saying that for every 100 points the stock market loses he might gain a seat in the house.

Rich said...

Ed,
This guy mistakes the Volokh Conspiracy site for a left-wing hangout and you still treat him calmly and rationally? David, your patience is endless.
I did no such thing Ed, I merely decided that because the first argument there was dependent upon a violation of the 4th Amendment, that I chose not to continue. As far as I am concerned, the argument that someone's 4th amendment rights are violated when they are communicating with a suspected terrorist is fragile.

ThankMe said...

David, it's a good thing you don't "take many stands on national issues", because you are dumb as a stump!

Rich said...

Larry,
Did you notice that Ed banned you from his site at THE VERY SAME TIME that he started placing advertisements? Ed must have been put on notice by the bean counters.

David said...

Tony, My point is that I don't want anybody impeached over technical violations of the law. This would have to fit into some larger pattern (and it well might) to justify impeachment. Otherwise, the crime isn't high enough.

Rich, You should have read another sentence or two. The poster at Volokh concluded that there was no Fourth Amendment violation.

ThankMe, I may be dumb as a stump, but I'm not as dumb as a post -- at least not as dumb as your post. But I do like the clarity of your position: Just skip the argument altogether and go straight for the ad hominem attack. That's what makes the blogosphere such pleasant terrain.

Anonymous said...

THERE YOU GO, DAVE! Doesn't it feel better to get the ad hominens outta the way right at the start? Then, we can get down to the business of dissecting one's argument. Agree to disagree, call each other a moron, and get to the meat of the issue I always say! Take me for example. I have absolutely NO proof that Coobs enjoys sex with an inflatable doll. BUT, and that's a big but, it's a possibility. Therefore, let's say for example that coobs, or even sen. cornhole burns, regularly practices safe sex by using such a doll while talking dirty on the phone to one of those sex line numbers, do YOU think that these fellas would want someone listening in?!! No me! Ya see, I kinda LIKE my privacy! Hell, I'd rather get blowed up REAL good by some terrist (a possiblility I consider very slight) than have some nosey bushista listenin' in to my conversations! That's all! Privacy. I think it's sumthin' that MOST Montanans like. That's why we choose to live here!

Anonymous said...

Rich, I hadn't noticed, but it's a possibility. Free speech is a scary, scary thing,especially for bean counters. So, I choose not to read or participate in Ed's blog any longer. Oh sure, I think Ed is a nice guy and a fine writer. I just hate, loathe, detest not being able to respond to such upstanding citizens as dave Arye! You'll notice that even wingers like Arye won't post on a truly free speech site. They can't STAND gettin' whupped in public!

Anonymous said...

Hey, coobs, go to city lights and read what Cornhole Burns did NOW to embarass our state and country! Cornhole must DEFINITELY be suffering from one of the spongiform diseases of the brain! What a horse's ASS that man is!

Ed Kemmick said...

Rich: Larry already explained that he chose to stay away. He wasn't banned. I just told him to clean up his act, so he moved on ... temporarily. He says he longer reads or participates at my place ... then directs Coobs my way a few minutes later. And he left a comment on the post! So he does read it and he does participate. Or maybe I've missed something.
One more thing: Larry, how do you know Coobs' inflatable doll has a big butt?

Eric Coobs said...

Has my doll been two-timing me?

Rich said...

Ed,
It's ok, I made it up, just like you made up what I had said about the Volahk Conspiracy site.

Anonymous said...

What was the topic again? I forgot.

Rich said...

http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo12139.htm
(Carter)
1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General
is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign
intelligence information without a court order, but only if the
Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.

http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/eo-12949.htm
(Clinton)
Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) of the Act, the
Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a
court order
, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of
up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications
required by that section.

Rich said...

Ok, now down to the problem, who leaked classified information to the New York Slimes? And what else was leaked? Or don't you lefties give a shit that information that might put citizens and troops (my nephew in Afghanistan, for instance) in danger? I say it is Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat, or one of his staffers.

Rich said...

David,
1. What Bush did probably was illegal
I disagree. But the person who leaked the information definatelly broke the law.

Mark said...

Larry I'd quit while you're behind if I were you.

Mark said...

Another less informed Mark here - I think if we can ascertain that Bush lied about intelligence to invade Iraq, then we have impeachability. After all, the consequences of those lies are quite serious. But bugging boogeymen won't get him tossed. He'll just play the fear card (he already has!), and get away with it.

Mark said...

Another less informed Mark here - I think if we can prove that Bush lied to get us into Iraq, tehn we ahve impeachability. After all, the consequences of those lies were quite serious. But bugging boogeymen will not hurt him. He'll just play the fear card (he already has!) and get away with it.

Anonymous said...

"if we can prove Bush lied"

The Democrats have been pushing that for 3 years, and gotten nowhere.

President Bush received the most votes of any Presidential candidate in history - get over it.

Anonymous said...

According to whom? DIEBOLD?!, where an exec just resigned to most likely avoid prosecution, and where many places in the country are junking their machines! Bush lost, probably BOTH times. YOU get over it, dink! The only place he won was in the supremce court!

Anonymous said...

Don't waste facts on liberals guys -

Anonymous said...

Yeah, ignore facts, like the picture of all those angry citizens shouting and screaming outside the courthouse where the recount was being done! Ignore the fact that ALL of those people were Rethuglican plants flown in with the sole purpose of intimidating the local people there, mainly elderly volunteers, into discontinuing a recount! Never happened! Nope!.....in SPITE of the fact that each of the people in the picture have been identified! But it never happened!

Rich said...

LMAO!! BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH! BUSH LIED! BUSH WAS ELECTED NOT SELECTED!

Ground zero for liberal arguments. Entrenching Conservatives in the Republican Party since 2001. Keep screaming, idiots!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Richhead, are you NOW gonna tell us those WEREN'T angry planted rethugs in that photo after they've ALL been identified? Talk about lameO!

Rich said...

Ah, Richhead, are you NOW gonna tell us those WEREN'T angry planted rethugs in that photo after they've ALL been identified? Talk about lameO!
Who gives a flying bat turd? How irrelevant could you be? Speak up! Shout to the clouds! LMAO!

Mark T said...

This site is awash in internet acronyms such as ROFL and LMAO. David, you must stop advertising in grade schools.

Anonymous said...

Well, some people DO give a "flying rat turd"! Me included! For you see, rich, this ain't a banana republic yet! You proud to be a banana republican???

Rich said...

Well, some people DO give a "flying rat turd"! Me included! For you see, rich, this ain't a banana republic yet! You proud to be a banana republican???
Show me once, in any of your postings anywhere on the internet, where you have actually added anything substantial to any thread, seems to me like all you are is a blathering idiot!
My question remains unanswered, who leaked intelligence to the New York Slimes? hmmmm?
(I derailed this thread first, how dare you derail it after I derailed it?)

Anonymous said...

Define "substantial"! Oh, wait. I think I understand. Here, let me use it in a sentence: "Sen. Cornhole Burns took a SUBSTANTIAL amount of bribe money from Abramoff for favorable votes, and now he's hopin' like hell Abramoff don't sing! Is THAT what you mean, richie??

David said...

Rich,
If the administration is breaking the law, then is the person who tells that to the press breaking the law? Yeah, probably. But if no one were willing to take that risk, how would presidential lawbreakers ever get exposed -- particularly presidents who think they are above the law?

Rich said...

David,
Your presumption that the President is breaking the law is ill founded. What if the person leaking it is part of the Democrat leadership, who have been properly briefed.
I am still convinced that Rockefeller leaked it. From where might the New York Times have reported this tidbit in its original story
“According to those officials and others, reservations about aspects of the program have also been expressed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee …”

I can’t imagine this trail would be difficult for leak investigators to follow. Who knew that Rockefeller had reservations? Maybe they should start with, say, Rockefeller?

David said...

Rich,
I don't see what the identity of the leaker has to do with the question of whether the president broke the law. Briefing selected members of Congress in confidential sessions does not equate to obeying the law. I'm still not 100 percent convinced he did break the law, but my doubt is becoming less and less reasonable.

Rich said...

David,
The president made clear that he established his surveillance program only after studied advice of legal counsel. He also briefed members of Congress, from both parties, at least a dozen times on the program. And when the practice was publicized through a despicable, nation-damaging leak, President Bush did not deny engaging in the practice but heartily defended it.
The person who "leaked" the classified information by definition broke the law. I believe we ought to prosecute known crimes rather than those crimes which exist only in the minds of those who persist in their Bush bashing rhetoric.

David said...

Rich,
Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that those congressional briefings were classified. No member of Congress alarmed that the president was breaking the law had recourse except by way of a "despicable, nation-damaging leak."

So I don't see how it helps your case to say that he briefed members of Congress. Unless they could use that knowledge in some public way, they were powerless to correct any illegal activity.

Rich said...

David,
Here's an excellent article that buttresses my point much better than I can from Opinion Journal. http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007703 The paragraphs I find most illuminating are:
The allegation of Presidential law-breaking rests solely on the fact that Mr. Bush authorized wiretaps without first getting the approval of the court established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. But no Administration then or since has ever conceded that that Act trumped a President's power to make exceptions to FISA if national security required it. FISA established a process by which certain wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps could ever be allowed.
The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that "we take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

What I read in this is that FISA does not trump those powers granted to the President by the constitution in his roll as commander-in-chief.
Your presumption of guilt puts your personal opinion of whether or not President Bush broke the law over national security.
As I see it, if President Bush has these powers, and he would be rightly critized had he not exercised those powers to combat terrorism. That is, had he NOT performed these intelligence gathering processes, lefties would have bashed him then too.
So far, you have added nothing to the idea that President Bush violated law besides how you feel.

David said...

Rich,
1. The key word in what you cite seems to be "foreign" intelligence. The legal question here is whether he could legally gather information without a warrant about American citizens within the United States. It's a question that goes right to the heart of what it means to be a free citizen in a free country, and I'm surprised to see you dismiss it so cavalierly.

2. I have quite explicitly not made any presumption of guilt on this matter. If you can't discern that, then I really wonder whether there is any point to this exchange.

Rich said...

David,
1. The key word in what you cite seems to be "foreign" intelligence. The legal question here is whether he could legally gather information without a warrant about American citizens within the United States. It's a question that goes right to the heart of what it means to be a free citizen in a free country, and I'm surprised to see you dismiss it so cavalierly.
I suggest that nobody, including American citizens who are communicating with Al Queda, have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and that such searches are not only legal, but important, and if they weren't carried out, I'd suggest that President Bush would be negligent. "...that Bush acted legally when he authorized the National Security Agency to go around the court to conduct electronic surveillance of international communications into and out of the United States by suspects tied to al-Qaida or its affiliates."
2. I have quite explicitly not made any presumption of guilt on this matter. If you can't discern that, then I really wonder whether there is any point to this exchange.
You said in your original post "What Bush did probably was illegal" most certain does make that presumption. If he's not guilty, then why would you argue for not persuing the leakers?

Rich said...

David,
Not dodging you after this, just heading to Idaho for the holidays. If this is still alive next week, I'll check in. Merry Christmas.

Rich said...

What happened to all the impeachment talk? Have you found the next item of gibberish to try and impeach Bush with? As I said earlier, I'll be laughing, and you'll move along to the next in the seemingly unending stream of "impeach Bush" gibberish.
blah blah blah blah balh

Rich said...

Opinion Journal Great story. The final paragraph:

-------------------------------
Our Constitution is the supreme law, and it cannot be amended by a simple statute like the FISA law. Every modern president and every court of appeals that has considered this issue has upheld the independent power of the president to collect foreign intelligence without a warrant. The Supreme Court may ultimately clarify the competing claims; but until then, the president is right to continue monitoring the communications of our nation's declared enemies, even when they elect to communicate with people within our country.

--------------------------------

The impeachment blathering is just that, blathering.

Rich said...

David said (in the original story):Having said all that, I still find what the president did inexcusable. If he wanted expanded authorization for domestic spying, he should have asked Congress to give it to him. He shouldn't have just taken it. and then he also said:2. I have quite explicitly not made any presumption of guilt on this matter. If you can't discern that, then I really wonder whether there is any point to this exchange.
--
By presuming that Congress needed to give President Bush authority to exercise powers given to him by the Constitution,(the Executive branch doesn't get it's authority from congress, it's built into the Constitution), you again make a presumption of guilt. But you're right, there is no point in an exchange, you'll just try to play verbal games and pretend you didn't write what you did.
--

Rich said...

One final note, The Great One, Mark Levin has this to say : LEADERSHIP [Mark R. Levin]
This puts the final spanking on this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, bush is a real leader....................JUST LIKE HE WAS IN THE TEXASS NATIONAL GUARD! Ooopsie! I forgot myself. HE WENT AWOL! Oh well, if that's his lead, I think it's a damn good one! I think ALL the NG outta follow moneky boy's lead! That would solve the problem right now!

Rich said...

Idiot said:blah blah blah blah blah

The Throbbing Memo

Rich said...

As I said earlier I'll be laughing, and you'll move along to the next in the seemingly unending stream of "impeach Bush" gibberish.

Idiot, please keep up, we moved past your moronic AWOL argument several months ago, now we're waiting for the next moronic argument.

Anonymous said...

richie, I know that YOU'VE never been in the military, but let me tell ya sumthin'. When you don't show up for duty, THAT'S CALLED AWOL! Now, I'm not saying that what bush did was wrong. I'm just saying that if HE did it, WHY CAN'T OUR CURRENT TROOPS?! That's what a good leader does, little richturd. HE LEADS!

Rich said...

Idiot,
Wow, another post in which you blow spittle all over the place. Your genius is truly unequalled.

Anonymous said...

OK, richie, let's assume for a moment that I am an idiot. What do YOU call it when a soldier doesn't show up for duty??? "leadership"???

Rich said...

Idiot said:OK, richie, let's assume for a moment that I am an idiot.
--------
At last we've found something we can agree upon.
---------------------
Idiot said:What do YOU call it when a soldier doesn't show up for duty??? "leadership"???
------------
I'm saying that you're moronic AWOL argument has been thoroughly blasted out of the water, and your persistance of this illusion is amazing.

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