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Mr. Emanuel –

Today, you posted an article at the Huffington Post lamenting the fact that the cable news networks are covering the Democratic National Convention as if it were a sporting event. “This is Real News,” moans your headline, “Don’t Cover it Like a Sport.”

I’m sorry, but where did you get the idea that either of the party conventions are real news?

Did anything unpredictable happen? Will the convention settle anything that wasn’t settled back when the Obama camp announced that it had enough votes to secure the nomination?

No, to both.

Frankly, watching the conventions is a bit like watching a televised awards show, but with longer speeches.

Meanwhile, the Denver police are pepper spraying and using their batons on peaceful protesters. Wars rage on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush and Cheney want to start another war with Iran. The economy is in the toilet. Gas prices are so high they’ve finally done what all the screaming and yelling about global warming hasn’t been able to do so far – get Americans to drive less. High energy costs are driving up the cost of everything else, further harming the people at the bottom of the economic ladder. Political corruption is rampant. Companies like Blackwater and Halliburton are getting risk rich on our task dollars, at the cost of countless Iraqi lives, due to a war we never should have started in the first place. Our health care system is a mess. No Child Left Behind is wrecking our public schools. Our constitutional rights and any semblance of the personal privacy that was once considered our birthright as Americans are now in tatters. We seem on the verge of becoming that which we all profess to loathe – a fascist state. And nobody in the Bush administration has been impeached yet, despite numerous high crimes and misdemeanors.

To be perfectly honest, I think the cable news shows are giving the conventions about the level of respect they deserve. The only actual newsworthy event inside the Pepsi Center so far (that I’m aware of) has been Hillary’s speech, and that’s only because some of her fangirls just can’t let go and accept that she isn’t going to be the president come January 1, 2009.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that the ultimate outcome of the elections come November is vitally important.

I’m just saying that most of what’s been happening inside the Pepsi Center for the past two days isn’t.

Best wishes,

jane doe

On July 5th, I posted one plausible reason why the Democratic leadership in Washington has been so reluctant to institute impeachment proceedings against a clearly corrupt White House. Basically, I suggested that they were waiting until Bush was out of office to begin any prosecutory action in order to avoid any attempts by the alleged president to pardon his minions for their criminal wrongdoing.

I’d like to retract that post, along with anything nice I may ever have said about the Democratic congressional leadership.

The always excellent Glenn Greenwald certainly shot my theory down yesterday. (Not that he was actually taking aim at it or anything. I’m sure he has far better things to do with his time than read my humble little blog.)

In his column at (which I strongly encourage reading in full), Greenwald very neatly summarizes the evidence that in fact the principal reason for the Democrats’ inaction is that key members of the Democratic leadership (including Nancy Pelosi) were briefed early on about two of the biggest scandals to come out of this administration: the torturing of detainees in Gitmo and elsewhere, and the illegal wiretapping program that our Democratic-controlled Congress so graciously granted Bush and the telecoms immunity for last week.

Suddenly, the reason for their willingness to roll over on these issues becomes clear: because any investigation in conjunction with impeachment proceedings (or any other prosecution) will inevitably reveal that these key Democrats knew what was going on, and yet said and did nothing to stop it.

Can we just impeach all of them? Now, please? Do we really have to wait until November to throw these people out of office?

jane doe

Like many others, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the refusal of the Democratic party leadership to impeach our beloved alleged president and his cronies for their many blatant violations of our constitution, our laws, international law, and the Geneva Conventions.

It’s not as if these guys have been terribly subtle about all their law-breaking, after all. They’ve flat-out admitted things that are clear violations of one or more of the above, all the while maintaining that the laws somehow do not apply to them, and their arrogance has been exceeded only by the egregiousness of their crimes.

And yet, despite having a clear majority in the House, and a theoretical majority in the Senate, Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have made it clear that impeachment is off the table.

This has outraged many, myself included. Forget about justice, what does their failure to impeach tell future holders of that office? That they can do what they want and get away without real repercussions.

Lately, though, I’ve started thinking about it like a lawyer, instead of like an outraged citizen, and I’ve come up with a plausible explanation that, if true, would excuse their current inaction, or at least explain it.

If true. And only time will tell us that.

If you think about all this like a prosecuting attorney planning out the strategy for taking down a big criminal kingpin, the current inaction makes sense. Better to delay a bit so you can be sure of a conviction – at least, as sure as it is ever possible to be in our justice system – than to tip your hand too soon and blow your chance forever.

Let’s say the House of Representatives does decide to bring impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney, and successfully impeaches them both for their various high crimes and misdemeanors. What’s the next step?

Trial in the Senate.

The Senate where the Democrats can only be said to hold a majority because Lieberman is still caucusing with them.

You can impeach a president with a simple majority vote, which could be easily done. But actual conviction and removal from office requires a supermajority of 2/3 of the Senate.

There is no way the Democrats could be assured of getting that kind of support in the Senate. Hell, they’d be lucky if they could get all the Blue Dog Democrats to vote to convict, forget about persuading enough Republicans over to their side of the aisle.

Now let’s say you play the waiting game until Bush is out of office. Then where is the trial held?

I don’t know the answer to this one for certain, because there has never been an un-pardoned president whose crimes were on the scale of current chimp-in-chief. But ordinarily, when you have someone accused of serious violations of the federal laws and/or constitution, you have a trial in a federal district court. (Note: see update at end of post)

Now things suddenly get interesting. Because instead of having to convince enough Senators – many of whom have been bought and paid for by the corporate interests who are really calling the shots right now – you instead only have to convince either one judge or a jury of American citizens that Bush and his buddies have committed all these crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.

This strategy makes things very dicey, particularly in the case of a bench trial (judge only), because so many current members of the federal judiciary were appointed by Republican presidents.

I think that anyone who was actually appointed to the bench by the current administration would have to recuse himself or herself from the trial to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interests. Most judges don’t want to appear to have a blatant conflict of interest, particularly in high-profile trials (except in Texas, where they don’t seem terribly troubled by such matters). But if a Bush appointee was tapped to be the trial judge and refused to recuse himself or herself, the prosecutor could still seek recusal of the judge from a higher court.

That still leaves a lot of Reagan and George H. W. Bush appointees as potential judges, with a fair number of Clinton judges and a few left over from the Carter administration to balance the odds a bit. But even if the judge was appointed by a Republican, you would probably stand a far better chance of getting a conviction in that judge’s courtroom than in a Senate full of people who are more concerned with getting re-elected than with seeing justice done.

Frankly, most judges have a deep and abiding belief in the rule of law. They may differ in how they interpret things, but most who are good enough to be appointed to the federal bench won’t engage in or tolerate blatant partisanship in their courtrooms, at least not in a criminal trial. And federal judges don’t have to worry about losing their jobs if they make a politically unpopular decision, which gives them a lot more freedom to act according to their conscience and principles of justice than your average Senator enjoys.

There is another advantage to waiting until the bastards have left office before you begin prosecuting them: you would be able to go after all of them, including Cabinet members and high level staffers, without fear of having the convictions overturned by a presidential pardon.

Just think: you could go after Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, and a host of others.

You can’t force them to take the stand in their own trials, but you can at least force them to testify at each others’ trials. And here’s a fun fact: under the fifth amendment, a criminal defendant can just flat-out refuse to testify at his or her own trial. But for anyone else’s trial, the person must sit up in the witness chair, and respond “I refuse to answer that question because the answer may tend to incriminate me,” if he or she wants to hide behind the fifth amendment. Which is as good as an admission of criminal behavior, at least in the public eye.

Of course, this strategy will only work if Obama wins the election in November, because I think it’s a safe assumption that McCain would use the presidential pardoning power to keep any of the key people from even going to trial, just like Gerald Ford did with Nixon.

Still, it is a possibility.

Of course, this assumes that the Democratic leaders in Congress can actually get their acts together enough to come up with a plan like I’ve described here and follow through with it. Their current actions in the face of the alleged president’s demands for a new FISA bill with telecom immunity makes this seem less likely than one would hope.

Still, I can dream, can’t I?

And in case you were wondering, yes, I still think the bastards ought to be impeached.

jane doe

Update: One big caveat here: the Supreme Court could decide to intervene and conduct the trial(s) themselves, I suppose. It would be to my knowledge unprecedented, but then again, that’s never stopped the current cohort of justices.

Second update: On looking back over this, I think there’s another possible option, which is that some sort of special court or panel could be assembled to hear the charges and cases against various members of this administration, in which case all bets are off. Also, I should note that it’s been a long time since my Federal Courts class in law school, and this was not the sort of thing I ever dealt with as a lawyer, so I could be completely wrong on all this, in which case I do hope some other lawyer with more knowledge in these matters will set me straight.

I was just watching MSNBC, and they are reporting that alleged vice president Dick Cheney was discovered to have an irregular heartbeat this afternoon. I know many of my non-existent readers had the same thought I did when they heard the news:

Dick Cheney has a heart?

Seriously, though, best wishes to the man for a speedy recovery. Sure, I continue to believe that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached, but that doesn’t mean I want either of them dropping dead.

That would be letting them off too easy.

jane doe

Just wanted to let all my non-existent readers know that the folks over at are selling Impeach Bush and Cheney bracelets (of the now-ubiquitous Live Strong type) in a seasonally-appropriate shade of orange. Order yours today!

Because, after all, Bush and Cheney really ought to be impeached.

jane doe

I’ve said it before, and I say it again. Keith Olbermann is a god. Once again tonight he hit one out of the park with one of his special comments.

Keith was reacting to two things in this special comment: (a) the alleged president’s recent surprise trip to Iraq, during which he admitted to now being willing to (and I swear that I am not making this up) “speculate on the hypothetical” of removing some (not all, just some) of our troops from Iraq, and (b) this article in the New York Times (h/t to Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars) which includes excerpts from a Dead Certain, a new book by biographer Robert Draper, who managed to get half a dozen one-on-one interviews with the chimp in chief by casting the book he was writing as essentially the first draft of how history would interpret Bush’s legacy.

I have not read the book yet (just ordered it from Amazon — I’ll post a review later), but judging from some of the excerpts in the Times article, Bush is every bit as appalling in person in unguarded moments as I had previously suspected. Speaking about the ongoing debate about troop levels in Iraq, he actually told the biographer, “I’m playing for October-November…To get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence.” Playing, as if this were some sort of game and not hundreds of soldiers and civilians dying and suffering life-altering trauma.

Keith did an admirable job of ripping Bush a new one this evening, as he has so often with his special comments in the past. Tonight’s was particularly scathing. Crooks and Liars already has the video posted. Here are a few particularly choice remarks, transcribed as always by yours truly:

“And so he is back from his annual surprise gratuitous photo op in Iraq, and what a sorry spectacle it was. But it was nothing compared to the spectacle of one unfiltered, unguarded, horrifying quotation in the new biography to which Mr. Bush has consented.”

* * *

“And there it is, sir, we’ve caught you. Your goal is not to bring some troops home, maybe, if we let you have your way now. Your goal is not to set the stage for eventual withdrawal. You are, to use your own disrespectful, tone-deaf word, playing at getting the next Republican nominee to agree to jump into this bottomless pit with you, and take us into it with him, as we stay in Iraq for another year, and another, and anon.”

* * *

“Everything you said about Iraq yesterday, and everything you will say, is a deception for the purpose of this one cynical, unacceptable, brutal goal: perpetuating this war indefinitely. War today, war tomorrow, war forever! And you are playing at it. Playing! A man with any self-respect, having inadvertently revealed such an evil secret would have already resigned and fled the country. You have no remaining credibility about Iraq, sir.”

* * *

“Just over five hundred days remain in this presidency. Consider the dead who have piled up on the battlefield in the last five hundred days.

“Consider the singular fraudulence of this president’s trip to Iraq yesterday, and the singular fraudulence of the selling of the Petreus Petraeus report in these last five hundred days.

“Consider how this president has torn away at the fabric of this nation, in a manner of which terrorists can only dream in these last five hundred days.

“And consider again how this president has spoken to that biographer, that he is playing for October-November, that the goal in Iraq is, to get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence. And consider how this revelation contradicts every other rationale he has offered in these last five hundred days.

“In the context of all that, now consider these next five hundred days.

“Mr. Bush, our presence in Iraq must end. Even if it means your resignation. Even if it means your impeachment. Even if it means a different Republican to serve out your term. Even if it means a Democratic Congress, and those true patriots among the Republicans, standing up and denying you another penny for Iraq, other than for the safety and safe conduct home of our troops. This country cannot run the risk of what you can still do to this country in the next five hundred days, not while you, sir, are playing.”

Keith already said it, but just so there’s no doubt, allow me to state once again that I truly believe, based upon all the evidence to date of their various high crimes and misdemeanors against this country, that both Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

Addendum: There is a nifty extension that puts a countdown clock reflecting the number of days left in the Bush presidency (barring impeachment) right in that little status bar at the bottom of the browser window. It’s reassuring to see that number go down each day, I can tell you, though it is distressing to think how much more trouble Bush might cause in the time he has left in office. You can download the extension here.

As this is the 231st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document that started our removal of a tyrant from power over the United States, I thought I would go through that grand old document and catalog which of the crimes of England’s King George have been committed by our own current (in his own mind, anyway) King George. I was only going to include the applicable ones in this post, but since that turned out to be the majority of them, anyway, I just left in all of them. Happy reading!

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

The first Iraq financing bill this year, which would have set real benchmarks and started the process of bringing our troops home. Stem cell research. There probably would have been more, but since he had a rubberstamp congress for much of his administration, there have been relatively few vetoes.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

Not really. Though should we consider his “signing statements” a failure to pass laws, in that he is denying the laws should apply to him, the answer to this one could change.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

No, though prior to the current term of Congress, members of the Republican party forced their opposition to hold hearings that were unfavorable to his administration (to the extent they could hold them at all) in a cramped basement room rather than a regular hearing room.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

Not yet. Give him time. For now, he just ignores them.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

See above. Also, consider his use of “temporary” appointments of U.S. Attorneys in the wake of the firings last December, to avoid having to seek Senate confirmation of same. Not strictly on point, but more or less the functional equivalent.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

Well, not exactly, but heaven knows immigration is a mess at the moment.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

No, but he has of course endeavored to stack federal courts, and particularly the U.S. Supreme Court, with justices favorable to his point of view, and then whined that the Democratic Party was being obstructionist on those few occasions when they attempted to block his less qualified or more appalling nominations.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

No, but change judges to United States Attorneys and you would have something here. Clearly, he has tried to subvert the ability of courts to hear matters within their purview – e.g., by gutting habeas corpus.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

Department of Homeland Security, NSA (okay, that’s not really new), TSA, anyone? Also, let us not forget his (often successful) attempts to politicize the ways that various agencies carry out their duties and/or use those agencies to further the election of Republican Party candidates, in blatant violation of the Hatch Act.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

Well, he hasn’t done this here, since obviously we have consented to the maintenance of a standing military, but I imagine people in other parts of the world might have something to say about this one.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

Hello, Military Commissions Act, goodbye, habeas corpus.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

Some might point to the WTO, though that predates Bush. So, no, not really. However, he has repeatedly subverted provisions of our Constitution and our laws, so I think that counts as a practical equivalent.

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

Well, this is more a complaint among the various countries we are occupying…still, he hasn’t done this here.

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

Okay, this doesn’t involve troops, and there was a real trial by jury, but I would argue that his commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence is the moral equivalent of this.

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

How about destroying our country’s reputation in all parts of the world – does that count?

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

Does running up a huge national debt that we will eventually have to pay off through our taxes in order to pay for the war he lied to get us into count? I’d call that one close enough.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

Hello, we have a winner! See the Military Commissions Act, and Guantanamo.

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

What do you think happened in the case of most of those people locked up in Guantanamo – it now appears that the vast majority of them didn’t really do anything that would justify locking them up for five years without trial, then creating some sort of mockery of a judicial process to avoid having them tried in U.S. courts where there are procedural safeguards.

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

Um, well, okay, this one he hasn’t done yet. Though he has gone a country with a functioning if oppressive government – a country which we now know and should then have known was not a threat to us – and overthrown that government and introduced a system of chaos, death and destruction. I think that’s probably close enough on the whole scale of moral wrongs.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

I think the gradual destruction of our civil rights under the U.S. Constitution, as well as his expansion of presidential authority outside the bounds of Constitutional authority, his hobbling of congressional oversight capabilities, and his institution of the infamous “signing statements” that purport to excuse him from violations of the laws passed by Congress all qualify under this grievance, don’t you?

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

Again, I would say the signing statements amount to a presidential grab of Congressional authority.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

Not quite, but I would argue that his repeated violations of the civil rights of American citizens qualifies as the substantive equivalent to waging a covert war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

Hmm – plundered our seas? Check. Ravaged our coasts? Katrina is close enough – he ravaged New Orleans by inaction (and recent reports suggest he and his buddies are getting set to ravage its ruins for oil). Burnt our towns? No, he did that to the Iraqis. Destroyed the lives of our people? Hmm, how many U.S. Soldiers dead in Iraq as of today? Also, if destroying the livelihoods counts, then consider the whole Valerie Plame fiasco which has happened on his watch.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

Ding ding ding! We have another winner! Well, foreign to the Iraqis, anyway. Can you say, Blackwater?

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

Um, give me a few minutes, I’m sure I can think of something here…okay, maybe not.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

No, all the insurrections he has incited against him are foreign in nature…so far. Though of course the Iraq war has increased the terrorist threat against us beyond what it was at the time of 9/11, so we’ll call this one a “yes”, too, shall we? And let’s also not forget his party’s tactic of accusing anyone who disagrees with Bush of treason, whipping up hatred against Democrats and liberals.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Ding ding ding! We have another winner!

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

Replace “British” with “White House” and you have another winner, see the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the parade of civil rights violations at the White House’s direction, and various other high crimes and misdemeanors.

For all these reasons, and for others perhaps not stated herein, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Do something really patriotic: go out and protest this administration’s actions!

jane doe

Last night’s Special Comment by Keith Olbermann, prompted by our alleged president’s commutation of an unrepentant Scooter Libby’s prison sentence before all the appeals had even run their course, but also recapping Bush’s (and Cheney’s) other many crimes against this country, our Constitution, and the laws of man, was in it’s own way as powerful and moving as the words of Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence, adopted 231 years ago today.

Crooks and Liars had the video clip posted within hours of the broadcast last night (and possibly within minutes of the west coast broadcast, which is where I think Nicole Belle is based), and posted the full transcript (with permission from Olbermann and MSNBC) today — as always, if you’re not a subscriber, you have to watch a short ad, but it is worth it.

A little later today, I will be posting a piece where I will go through the original Declaration of Independence and pull out all of the original King George’s offenses that could be said to apply equally to our current self-styled King George, but in the meantime, go watch or read Olbermann’s speech at one of the links posted above. He has done a far better job cataloging this administration’s crimes and articulating his condemnation thereof than I ever could.

Happy Fourth of July, everybody! And lest there be any doubt about it, I want to emphasize that I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

This guy is my new hero.

And you know what? He’s right. Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

Roman statesman Cato the Elder was famous for (among other things) ending every speech before the Roman Senate, no matter what he was speaking about, with the above statement, which translates roughly as, “And furthermore I think that Carthage ought to be destroyed.” His goal, of course, was to keep that topic firmly planted in his listeners’ minds. And as those who follow history know, eventually Rome did get around to destroying Carthage and sowing the earth there with salt to prevent it from ever rising again.

It is with this in mind that I have decided to end each post in this blog from here until the statement becomes moot (or at least until I become bored doing it) with “And furthermore I think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.” Because really, they ought to be. They have violated the Geneva Conventions and our own Constitution more times than I would care to count, practically eliminated the right of habeas corpus, instituted torture as an official government policy, and dragged us into a war of aggression under false pretences. They have repeatedly lied to the American public, shown their contempt for our laws and fundamental principles, and advanced their own (and Halliburton’s) interests to the detriment of us all. They should not continue to go unpunished for these crimes.

Thus I think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

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janedoe.tcm [at] or follow me on Twitter: @janedoe_tcm
August 2020