Third Party & Independents Archives

Maria Made Me Cry

I unexpectedly found myself crying over the Iraq war as I read the obituary of Capt. Maria Ines Ortiz, a highly praised Army nurse. What I read broke my heart. The story of this remarkable woman and her tragic, pointless killing in Iraq had so much more power than the endless statistics that have numbed our emotions and fed our anger about Bush and his Iraq War.

Maria was just 40 years old. She volunteered for duty in Iraq, eager to do her part. She wanted to take care of soldiers. She was the first Army nurse killed in combat since the Vietnam War.

Everyone who ever worked with Maria adored and respected her. She was one of those truly exceptional people who transcended her professional status with loving care for those she nursed and worked with.

Maria was killed on July 10 in the Green Zone in Baghdad. She was caught outside by a barrage of mortar shells and killed by shrapnel.

Before going to Iraq last fall she was the chief nurse at the Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic in Aberdeen, Maryland. Many people there broke down in tears when the clinic commander called everyone together to tell them Maria was another casualty of the Iraq War. Renee Smith who had worked with Maria described her as the “jewel of the clinic.” “Her work wasn’t finished until everybody was cared for,” said Smith.

Maria had also served at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Medical Command officials are considering naming a building or clinic in her name to honor her memory.

Wendy Schuler, another co-worker at Aberdeen, had sent Maria an email, asking if she needed anything. All Maria wanted was Christmas decorations so she could brighten up the halls at the hospital where she worked. Her colleagues there held a memorial service for her. They talked about how Maria had touched their lives.

Maria started her Army career as an enlisted solder with the Reserve in Puerto Rico in 1991. She became active duty in 1993 and was commissioned an officer in 1999, the year she received her nursing masters degree from the University of Puerto Rico. Dead in 2007.

Upon returning from Iraq, Maria was to marry Juan Casiano, an Army veteran who had guided her career. He said “She touched everyone's lives and everything about her was positive. She always carried a smile. I saw in her what everyone else sees, a beautiful person who brings joy to everyone she touches. There wasn’t anything negative about that woman.”

Maria is also survived by her parents and four sisters. Her father had also served in the Army and said, “She always said to me ‘daddy, I am going to serve 30 years in the army.’” Maria only made it halfway.

Maria will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Maria was just 40 years old with so much more living, loving and service ahead of her. Bush is guilty of her criminally negligent homicide.

I don’t know what Maria thought of the Iraq War. But her death has done more than anything else to make me despise what our disgraceful, delusional and dumb President George W. Bush has done. It will take a long, long time for our nation to heal from the wounds that Bush has viciously and arrogantly inflicted on us.

Maria should not have died from shrapnel in Iraq. And neither should have thousands and thousands of other Americans died and become terribly wounded in Iraq. For what? To keep all the lies of Bush alive until, eventually and inevitably, we leave Iraq, defeated and with even more dead and wounded soldiers?

By then Bush will be back in Texas, disgraced, delusional and dumb as ever. And many, many people will still shed tears when they remember Maria and ask themselves: Why?

And why, I ask, is there any hesitation by any sane member of Congress about impeaching Bush?

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at July 18, 2007 11:38 AM
Comment #226741


It saddens me that death is no respector of person. The very good die along side the very evil. The very young die along side the very old. If we could fight a war with absolutely no deaths, I’m sure we would…EVERY time. A person like this will surely be missed and mourned.

“And why, I ask, is there any hesitation by any sane member of Congress about impeaching Bush?”

Come on, Joel.

Repeat after me…

“President Dick Cheney”…”President Dick Cheney”…”President Dick Cheney”…

Posted by: Jim T at July 18, 2007 1:20 PM
Comment #226745

Toughen up Joel, it’s called war. I think you are inadvertently saying women shouldn’t be in a combat zone. Are you a misogynist or should you be over in the bleeding heart column.

Posted by: Schwamp at July 18, 2007 2:42 PM
Comment #226749

Oh lord, here we go…

Do I feel compassion and loss when we lose a member of our esteemed forces……

OF COURSE I DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


She did in fact volunteer…..people keep on forgetting this notion.

In my region power-line positions are a major source of income…..extremely dangerous, high pay employment. No words are minced that you can in fact die on this job…..a lot of people weight the consequences and feel the money is worth it or they just have a passion for the work. Many friends have in fact died in this position…I am not protesting the power companies!!

OK……let’s here it….I’m waiting….I’m incensitive and want them to die….I know it’s coming.

Posted by: Traci at July 18, 2007 3:36 PM
Comment #226750


What a lovely tribute to Maria Ines Ortiz.

Who knows how many Florence Nightengales, Ghandis, Martin Luther Kings, John F. Kennedys, Barbra Jordans, Toni Morrisons, Dali Lamas we have lost to this senseless Bush war. I know this, we are still up one too many George W. Bushs and Dick Cheneys.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at July 18, 2007 3:43 PM
Comment #226751

Another opportunity to bash Bush. It really does get monotonous, but go ahead. Get it out.

Posted by: tomd at July 18, 2007 4:00 PM
Comment #226752

Schwamp, how did you ever think Joel is a misogynist?? He sounds pretty caring for being a hater..Not sure how you got the rest of your impressions from what he said.
Traci…you probably don’t want them to die, but insensitive..extremely! Not only for this woman, but for every other death that has occurred becuase of this idiot-in-chief’s blind, insatiable need to have things his way!!
How can one avowing such spiritualism, be so without conscience???

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at July 18, 2007 4:04 PM
Comment #226754

Sandra please..

Understanding that death happens and not falling apart over it & insensitivity are two totally seperate things. Although….judgement seems to be your fortay.

Posted by: Traci at July 18, 2007 4:14 PM
Comment #226757


Of course you’re correct. All us anti-Iraq war people live for is the opportunity to bash George W. Bush. We certainly don’t have any other reason to oppose a senseless and reckless mission American soldiers were condemed to undertake. No, al we want to do is take shots at Bush. We don’t care, for instance, about the lives of American soldiers lost in Iraq and continue to be lost in what was ALWAYS going to be a losing proposition. We certainly don’t care that our great great great grandchildren will inherit a federal deficit so incredible high that we will likely run out of numbers to quantify it. We definitley don’t care that American national security is far more compromised now than before 2003. We don’t even care about the thousands of limbless soldiers—they were lucky they weren’t killed, right? As long as we get to bash Bush.

Yes, you’re right. All we want is to bash Bush. Aren’t we so lucky we got to do it for 8 whole years.

Do you have any defense for the moron masquarading as the president of the United State? Let’s here it. My guess is, you got NOTHING. If you had any reasonable defense you would probably state it. But instead you continue to reduce loss of human life in Iraq to merely an opportunity for anti-war critics to “bash Bush.” I certainly can see why he is your hero!

Posted by: Kim-Sue at July 18, 2007 4:42 PM
Comment #226758

Go get him Kim-Sue!
We all are sick and tired of this war, even Tom is I bet.
Now, give him the facts that prove Bushs’ lies and corruption, get Bush impeached and stop this war for us.

Rest in Peace Capt. Ortiz.
You gave the ultimate sacrafice for your country. Don’t let others diminish that fact by saying you gave it for Bush.

Posted by: kctim at July 18, 2007 5:07 PM
Comment #226765

oh kctim…this war is on most everyone’s last nerve now. More and more opinions are changing about that specifically, while still hanging onto the politically partisan beliefs.
Bush is like an addict that can’t walk away from his own personal vice….the war! It is just “one more month”…we’ll re-assess….then it will be just more of the same. He will not back out of this until his ass is drug out of DC in ‘08. These servicemen and women are not dying “for” Bush, but because of him. There is no more value for one than any other, it’s just that some reports tug a little harder at your heart than others.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at July 18, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #226769

We need to impeach Bush and Cheney — not to “get them” but to make future presidents understand they are not above the law. If Congress does not proceed with impeachment, it will be derelict in its duty and further proof that our political institutions are broken.

The tragedy of Ortiz and the thousands of other troops killed and maimed during this war is compounded by the fact the war was both rushed into and ineptly waged. The poltical leadership of this country, both Republican AND Democrat, has failed our nation and our troops.

Yes, people die in war. There is no avoiding that. But we do have the responsibility to make certain the wars we wage are necessary and well conducted.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 18, 2007 6:19 PM
Comment #226772
And why, I ask, is there any hesitation by any sane member of Congress about impeaching Bush?

Probably because no one wants to set a precident that you can impeach a president when he hasn’t committed a felony, treason or high crime. When you can prove this I’ll be right there calling for his impeachment, but you simply cannot impeach a president, according to the constitution, for being a dipwad.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 18, 2007 6:24 PM
Comment #226775


Warrantless domestic wiretapping — there are the grounds right there. FISA, passed by Congress and signed by a president, represents the law of the land. FISA contains emergency provisions after a declaration of war, but they expire after two weeks.

The administration will have to claim that during a conflict that received authorization from Congress that FISA does not apply. Maybe it will win that before SCOTUS, but I doubt it. That may be irrelvant, anyway. I suspect the SCOTUS would avail itself of the “political question doctrine”; this is a matter between Congress and the executive branch. At any rate, Congress is under no obligation to wait for SCOTUS rulings.

Impeachment is a political process by which Congress can check the power of the presidency. It can try and convict high officials itself; it doesn’t need the courts. To make it clear that the rule of law applies to the presidency, Congress must exercise its Constitutional power to remove Bush and Cheney from office.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 18, 2007 6:41 PM
Comment #226776


I’m sure you believe that a ‘high crime or treason’ was committed with the wiretapping, but I don’t think you are in the majority of that opinion, and obviously the majority of the house does not agree or they would impeach.

So it seems much more likely that your calls for impeachment (which have been going on since before Bush was sworn in) by the far left are still falling on deaf ears.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 18, 2007 6:54 PM
Comment #226780


First, I’m not “far left.” So that classic way to dismiss an opinion you don’t agree with doesn’t apply. Regardless, some conservatives concerned about the Constitution also are calling for impeachment, including the scholar who drew up the impeachment charges against Clinton. Second, FISA violations are felonies. No room for “belief” there. Third, polls show nearly half the country supports impeachment. An actual debate in this country could inform more citizens about the grounds and need for impeachment proceedings. Fourth, I would think it is in everybody’s interest for the president to obey the rule of law.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 18, 2007 7:24 PM
Comment #226782


I think perhaps you will have to review your constitutional history. There is no requirement for the commission of a “crime” as established by judicial law. The provisions in the US Constitution for impeachment are bribery, treason (both of which are crimes of course) but the third provision of “high crimes and misdemeanors” has its roots in English (Great Britain) constitutional history. A wise and enlightened move made by the “Framers” to define impeachment in this way—which permits a broad enough interpretations to even allow a President to be impeached for engaging in an adulterous relationship.

Here is a link for anyone that wished to begin research on what our Constitution says about impeachment and the history associated with this provision granted to the House of Representatives.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at July 18, 2007 8:20 PM
Comment #226788

It’s the personal stories that the Bush administration is so fearful of. That’s why it’s so important that these numbers are turned into real people - good people, who love their country and their compatriots, and who were sent into danger for no good reason.

That’s why you don’t see photos of the coffins of dead soldiers any more. Bush has banned them. Perhaps he has read H.E. Bates’ moving tale of war, All Quiet On The Western Front: in it, the authorities negate the humanity of the opponent, fearful that allowing them to be human beings risks the soldiers questioning why they are killing. But in the story, a wounded German becomes that real person to an English soldier. And that’s when the problem starts.

Bush and his gang love to dehumanize our soldiers, so that we think of them as numbers, not people. It’s no coincidence that the army is cracking down on digital cameras, MySpace and even letters to family members - each of these media has the potential to tell more of a story than Bush would have you hear.

Posted by: Jon Rice at July 18, 2007 8:50 PM
Comment #226793


That’s a great link you posted. It collects a lot of the reasoning of the founders and subsequent scholars about the reasons for having an impeachment clause. It also explains well the meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” I did get a chuckle that in explaining the phrase it cited an Ann Coulter’s High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton. Thankfully the link employed other, weightier sources, including Founders and Supreme Court Justices.

I’ve been focusing on the FISA violations because they seem more difficult to deny. But as you point out, the relevant phrase isn’t limited to actual crimes; it also includes political and personal misconduct.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 18, 2007 9:15 PM
Comment #226794

It really suprises me how some individuals paint people with a broad brush. For instance if your against Iraq you’re part of the “anti-war movement”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
My Son is in the 10th Mountain Division. If something happened to him in Afghanistan it would be a tragedy of epic proportions for me, but over time I could accept it. If for no other reason people from Afghanistan attacked us on our soil.
However I don’t have to worry about that because he’s in Iraq. This is a completley different situation. I think it’s abundantly clear that Iraq to say the least is based on a fabrication, or if you’re like me “A Lie.” This is not a worthy cause that would justify my Son’s death.
I’m not part of the “Anti-War Movement”, and couldn’t be if I wanted to. I’m a Veteran myself. I am against Iraq though.
As for Impeachment, guys you’re wasting your time. The Democrats we have in congress right now, are the most gutless cowards I’ve ever seen in my life. They were suppose to end this crap and what did they do? They extended the damn thing. It disgusted me so much I abandoned the party, only after the party abandoned me. That’s right, I’m a recovering Democrat. I’m registered as an Independent now, and it feels like I’ve had a Yoke removed from my neck.
Now the Republicans are cowering as well, coupled with a good dose of trying to save their asses. Elections are are right around the corner and over 3/4 of the country is furious with congress. I pray that everyone sitting in office right now is in the unemployment line at the end of their term.

Posted by: Ken at July 18, 2007 9:20 PM
Comment #226805

Gerrold, the disagreement over so-called “domestic wiretapping” is in the courts now. Not only that, the administration has already suspended the program. A lower court said it was illegal, but the Supreme Court vacated that finding. In any case, it is NOT about “domestic wiretapping” anyway—it’s about wiretapping when one party is overseas and known to be a terrorist affiliate.

If Congress actually wanted to start impeachment proceeding over this, they’d be insisting that a “crime” had occurred which the actual courts have not called a crime, and which in fact, they have tended to uphold as within the administration’s authority.

But what if it were found to be illegal by the courts—which it decidedly HAS NOT been so far?

The absolute worst that could be said about the administration on this issue is that they were overzealous in their attempts to fight terrorists. It’s nothing like Watergate, where the White House was going after domestic political enemies, or Monica-Gate, where the president’s behavior was for personal reasons which had nothing to do with an academic disagreement over what was in the public’s best interest and the limits of executive power in prosecuting war.

Democrats in Congress would be absolutely idiotic to put the president on trial for being overzealous in his attempts to protect America from terrorists. Even if the president was wrong on this issue (again, not what the courts are saying), he had no personal profit or gain to be derived from making the decisions he made. The Democrats would have to produce, in their impeachment trial, examples of terrorist-affiliates who had their “rights” violated. If they want a public relation disaster on their hands, then they should go for it.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at July 18, 2007 10:31 PM
Comment #226821


FISA is very clear on warrantless domestic wiretapping. The only defense is if the wiretapped U.S. citizen is determined to be an agent of a foreign power.

Some people may not have read the act; I encourage everyone to do so. Here is the relevant section:

(1) Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that—

(A) the electronic surveillance is solely directed at—

(i) the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers, as defined in section 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title; or

(ii) the acquisition of technical intelligence, other than the spoken communications of individuals, from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power, as defined in section 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title;

(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party. …

If Congress declares war, this provision applies:

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.

On July 6th, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in ACLU vs. NSA did not rule on the legality of domestic warrantless wiretapping. Rather it ruled that the ALCU and others who brought the case did not have standing because they couldn’t prove they were the victims of such wiretapping. And because the government keeps its targets secret, we have a classic Catch-22. At any rate, SCOTUS has not ruled on this issue.

You are incorrect in saying the courts have ruled there has been no crime. In 2006, a District Court Judge ruled the Bush program was illegal under FISA and a violation of the First and Fourth Amendments. The 2007 ruling did not rule on those issues; it overtuned because it said the plaintiffs had no standing.

LO, the issue isn’t whether Bush had anything to gain or had bad intent or was overzealous. The issue is whether the presidency is subject to the rule of law. What has happened has happened; we can’t change that. We need Congress to impeach to make it very clear to future presidents that they are not above the law or the Constitution. Look, presidents don’t give back power; future presidents, whether it is Clinton or McCain or whoever, can use the precedent to justify their own actions. Why is this important? Because a war on terror could be neverending.

Most likely, those who are saying that Congress won’t take this step are correct. We have to pressure Congress — not to slam Bush, but to preserve the principle of rule of law. Congress has this power and should use it. As I heard one scholar say the other day, impeachment is not a Constitutional crisis — it’s the solution to a Constitutional crisis.

Look, Clinton brought his impeachment upon himself. The current issue is far more important because what is at stake is a question that deals with the very nature of our government: Is the president above the law?

If you suspect that I dislike Bush, you are correct, but the issue here should transcend our likes and dislikes. We are all Americans.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 19, 2007 12:26 AM
Comment #226823


I’ve not had a chance to read the link you provided unfortunately, personal reasons at the present time, but I’m unclear how a president having an affair is an impeachable offense. I have yet to see that one ran up the flagpole so it’s hard to say, but a large percentage of presidents have had affairs, I’m sure that if it were possible they would have been impeached as well. *shrug*


I did not suggest you were far left, I stated that it has been the far left calling for Bush’s impeachment since before he was sworn in.

As I see it an impeachment requires a felony or treason to have been committed, simply not being good at the job is a reason presidents are only given four year terms.

As for FISA, I’m sorry but it is just not as clear as you make it out to be. Which is understandable, there are interpretations here. Is FISA even contitutional to begin with, was anyone targetted who was not on the same call as a suspected international terrorist, etc. I do believe that the president has overstepped his bounds, but name a president that hasn’t? It will get resolved in the courts and we will move on. Now, had Bush known that what he was doing was illegal and did it anyway, then you may have something there. But it appears his council told him that he was acting within his authority as it was seen by them.

I’m sure that this is something we can debate, I will do some further research into the subject, but on the surface, to me, it does not spell an impeachable offense. Of course, I don’t go by the ‘anything politically offensive’ line of reasoning that others have positioned.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 19, 2007 1:04 AM
Comment #226825


I also laughed at the irony of that Ann Coulter reference. I was going to mention that point, but I wanted to see what the “rightie” revolt would be (again) concerning my comments before I “played” that card, but it was indeed a hillarious conincidence.


I don’t think a President should be impeached for having an affair. Perhaps people make semantical arguments that Clinton was impeached for some other reason, but the point of fact is that issue was the basis for the impeachment nonsense they put him through during his second term.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at July 19, 2007 2:12 AM
Comment #226847

You are getting so close Kim-Sue.
The perjury was used as the basis for impeachment of clinton because those on the right could not provide factual proof of the real crimes that they accused him of.

And they did exactly what you guys are doing now: looking for anything that will stick.
It was wrong to do then and it is wrong to do now.

Posted by: kctim at July 19, 2007 9:21 AM
Comment #226853


Fair enough. I think when you look into it further you will see the very strong case for impeachment, but perhaps not. Either way, I appreciate your openmindedness.


Some no doubt are motivated by “getting the president,” but the truth is, Bush cannot be removed from office without Republican help. I truly think Congress needs to draw the line to preserve the integrity of our government. Some of the leading voices calling for impeachment are conservative legal scholars.

I’m sure we’ll continue to have this discussion.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 19, 2007 10:07 AM
Comment #226854

I grew up as a young child during and immediately after World War II. No one under the age of about 65, I think, can fully appreciate that in past American wars virtually everyone or every household in the country was deeply and personally impacted by the war. Virtually everyone had a relative or close family friend that was either killed or seriously wounded; most also felt economic impacts. War was inevitably a very personal condition for nearly ALL Americans. When the vast majority of citizens are directly impacted by our wars, the public becomes either a strong ally or foe of the war. In WWII the public were just like homeland soldiers fighting to win the war. By the Vietnam War, however, things had changed as the public became, to a very large degree (belatedly) a foe of the war, and that disconnect really helped end the war, as politicians could no longer wage a war without that homeland army fighting it also. Now, we have come to a totally new and frightening social condition: a very, very small fraction of Americans have any direct contact/impact for this Iraq war. A major reason is that we have a much, much larger population and in proportion an extremely small military fighting the war (remember also that we now outsource or contract out so much of the military establishment, but these workers are not in harm’s way for the most part, for most are in the U.S.). Add to this that the political establishment has indeed learned to depersonalize the current war; not only do 95+% of Americans have no direct negative contact/impact, the political/corporate control of the media prevent we the people from even indirectly feeling all the death, pain and suffering that attaches to the small fraction of Americans losing their lives, limbs, relatives and friends in this war. True, there is an anti-Iraq war movement, but it is NOT the same thing, nor has the political power, that having an overwhelming majority of the population personally emotionally involved and AGAINST the war. Look at our economy and what people see as economic prosperity; look at what the vast majority of Americans do with their free time. Virtually none of it connects to the current war and the high human price being paid for it. The plutocracy has engineered a distracted population that allows it to fight an unjustifiable, insane and (to taxpayers) a hugely costly war that benefits the business/corporate sector that controls the plutocracy. Bush admits he is listening to his GOD to justify HIS war. In my view, this alone justifies his impeachment, because I have long believed that he is clinically delusional and guilty of mass criminally negligent homicide. His insanity should determine his punishment, but his guilt of a high crime is NOT in doubt.

Posted by: Joel S. Hirschhorn at July 19, 2007 10:09 AM
Comment #226857

He can be removed by office, especially this close to an election.
If even the slightest factual proof was given to any media outlet, every bit of media would be on it non-stop, the people would see the facts and their reps would have to vote according to the peoples will or risk not being re-elected. And we both know which route they would take.

Unless you can do what nobody else has been able to do and provide facts of his “high crimes,” then his guilt IS in doubt.
You don’t convict a man because another man says he may have killed someone.
You convict a man after the facts have been presented in a trial and he has been found guilty.

Facts, not opinions, prove guilt.

Posted by: kctim at July 19, 2007 10:32 AM
Comment #226860


Guilt is determined by trial. That’s what impeachment involves — proceedings are initiated by the House and then the Senate tries. It can either acquit or convict. Either way, the Senate resolves the Constitutional crisis.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 19, 2007 11:02 AM
Comment #226862

Yes Gerrold, and the way to bring something to trial is to present the facts proving your case. If opinions were all it took to go to trial, Bush would have been on trial or in proceedings since day one.

And, hopefully, any politician who aquits or convicts despite what the facts say, will be held accountable by the voters at the next election.
I know it doesn’t always happen that way, but one can dream of things getting back on the right track.

Posted by: kctim at July 19, 2007 11:15 AM
Comment #226864

How many times do I have to repeat this?



Now, got that?

If they impeach Bush and Cheney, who will they have to demonize before November 2008? Nobody. How do the Democrats energize their base? Hate Bush. Hate Cheney. That’s one of the very few things that is holding the Democrats together. Without HATE BUSH, the Dems would be as splintered as the Independants. HATE BUSH is the glue that holds Dems of all stripes together.

Now, picture this.

Bush is impeached and Cheney becomes President. Who does he appoint as Vice President? Fred? Rudy? John? He has a chance to name the heir apparent.

Bad for the Dems!

And then let’s say Cheney is impeached. Who does Fred, John or Rudy appoint as V.P.? Someone who would make a strong running mate in 2008? The heir apparent NOW has the “bully pulpit” and can use it to the fullest to campain for President in 2008.

VERY bad for the Dems.

Let’s take another track. Let’s just say that Bush AND Cheney are impeached together and Pelosi becomes President. Realize this: She can do NO good. All she can do is screw up in the year (or 6 months) that she is President. Reps will demonize and trash her…and do remember that the voting public only really starts to pay attention in the few weeks before the election. Instead of the Dems being able to demonize Bush, they will have an extremely “lame duck” who will be tarred and feathered…and that tar and feathers will also stick to the leading Dem presidential hopeful.

EXTEMELY bad for the Dems.

Once again…and I DO hope you get this through your heads…it is politically expediant for the Dems to leave Bush in office.

Leave him in office and the Dems can win in 2008.

Impeach him and you’ll have another Rep president.

Remember…it DOES NOT MATTER what crimes Bush has or has not committed. It is politically expediant to leave him in office…and that’s why he won’t be impeached.

Political expediancy.

Posted by: Jim T at July 19, 2007 11:38 AM
Comment #226865


The facts are not in dispute. By Bush’s own admission, the executive branch for years engaged in domestic warrantless wiretappings outside of the purview of FISA. FISA was specifically crafted by Congress and signed by a president to provide the controlling laws regarding gathering of foreign intelligence. As written and as later amended, it provided for retroactive warrants because of the recognized need to move quickly. In fact, after disclosure of the secret surveillance program that operated outside of FISA, the Bush administration begin using the secret court set up by FISA, thus undermining any argument that FISA created an unnecessary burden.

One can argue that the issue no longer exists, but the Bush administration has never conceded its right to ignore FISA. It claims the power to do so at any time. For all we know, it is.

FISA was created in 1978 after SCOTUS expressed concerns about government wiretapping. It suggested that Congress craft legislation balancing Fourth Amendment protections with the need to secure national security. FISA is the result of this delicate balancing. Does the executive branch have the right to disregard FISA? That is what Congress must determine.

The question is, does Bush have this authority or does he not? Must he get secure secret court approval, even retroactively, or not? What else is relevant to this particular issue?

This is a much larger than a merely partisan issue. Do you want Hillary Clinton to have the power to wiretap citizens without any court oversight whatsoever? Without even retroactive approval?

Posted by: Gerrold at July 19, 2007 11:49 AM
Comment #226866

Jim T,

That’s why we need politicians to rise to the level of statesmen. I know what you are saying is largely correct, and most likely, impeachment will never happen. But if we as citizens don’t pressure Congress, then there is little chance at all.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 19, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #226868

Right now, there are people dedicated to finding anything on Bush which will stick. IF they had the evidence for impeaching Bush over FISA, he would be going through it now. It may end up that you guys are right, but right now, it is only your opinion that you are right.

I personally do not want any President to have that power. But, I can say this: If hillary clinton was President (goodbye US), had enacted this and did listen to citizens who were talking to known or suspected terrorists, I would still believe it would be best to let the courts decide, based on review and facts, not political opinions.

Posted by: kctim at July 19, 2007 12:17 PM
Comment #226869


Pressure all you want. With Senators and Congressmen secure in their jobs, all they care about is politics as usual…and SCREW the voters and people who actually care about our government.

This is the perfect arguement for a strong, viable third party. A party strong enough to put the fear of God in the Reps and Dems.

But I do heartily approve of at least trying to do something. Keep it up.

Posted by: Jim T at July 19, 2007 12:19 PM
Comment #226870

You know, I’ve typed my post (above) so many times…I think I’ll put it in Word and then just copy and paste whenever anyone brings up impeachment. :-)

Posted by: Jim T at July 19, 2007 12:21 PM
Comment #226875


I disagree, actually. I think Jim T is correct. It’s not politically expedient to pursue impeachment. At any rate, if the ruling of the 6th Circuit Court prevails, the courts may never have to decide because it’s hard to find a target when everything is secret. But the larger issue of whether the executive branch can ignore FISA or not is the more important one, anyway.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 19, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #226898

Something else to consider. In the blue column there’s lots of talk of pulling troops out of Iraq and using them to attack Pakistan, to boost strength in Afghanistan, and to attack wherever Al Qaeda anywhere in the world. Given that terrorism by its very nature cannot be completely eradicated, we seem to have the perpetual war mindset. Mark my words. If Congress doesn’t take the opportunity now to force the executive branch to provide even the essentially rubber stamp approval of the secret FISA court for domestic warrantless tapping, it won’t for a very long time. Realistically, it seems likely a Democrat will win the presidency in 2008. Will the Democrats in Congress suddenly seek to curb the executive branch? (I usually vote Democrat and I don’t trust ‘em on this issue.) Will the Republicans after defending the de facto expanded powers of the Bush administration?

The true risk is not from terrorists. We squash them wherever we see them. The true risk is that we will allow the executive branch’s power grab to stand in this age of apparently perpetual war.

WE’ve got to look at the larger picture. FISA does not prevent the government doing what it needs to do. It merely provides a minimal degree of oversight, albeit often retroactively.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 19, 2007 5:30 PM
Comment #226947


If I have to present to a case at this point against the lies, corruption, immorality, and stupidity of this so-called “president” there will be nothing that would be worth my time to convince an ardent Bush Devotee. Actions and RESULTS speak louder than even my rhetoric, believe it or not.

Regarding impeachment, if that decision was left to me alone, I can’t imagine there is anyone in this forum that could possible think I would have waited this long to rid this country of Bush/Cheney scourge. If I could pack them on a Neptune space probe and ship them off to space, that would have been along time ago too. If I could make them go over to Iraq and participate in the combat mission they instigated, it would have been done by now. If they lived through their tour in Iraq, then I would send them to Neptune.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at July 20, 2007 1:42 PM
Comment #226960

Facts may not convince most Bush devotees, but they can convince average joes that you are speaking the truth and not just another lefty who hates Bush.
More importantly, facts which prove intentional lies or corruption would be to the benefit of our country.
I would think something like that would be worth your time.

Your decision regarding impeachment is why we have legal procedures which deal with facts, not opinions, in handling such matters.
You do know it was the opinion of millions of Americans to do basically the same thing to clinton and gore don’t you? You do know millions of Americans were just as pissed at clinton because he dodged the draft and wouldn’t fight in the battles he sent our troops to, right?

Millions of people felt the same way throughout the 90s as you do now. Most of them came to those opinions based on the lies and corruption that they could not prove. clintons actions and RESULTS spoke louder than words to them also, but, as with your position, they do not speak loud enough to be accepted as facts in a court of law.
My point? I know exactly how you feel and how frustrating it is.

Posted by: kctim at July 20, 2007 4:41 PM
Comment #227017


Remind me how many American soldiers lives were lost during the Clinton presidency. Remind me how many wars he instigated using an all volunteer army. Remind me again how many Americans lived in fear of their own shadow. Remind me again how the American public felt about civil liberties. Remind me again how many years Clinton served with a majority in Congress from his own party. Remind me agin if a civil law suit against Clinton was permitted for something as serious as leaking a fellow American’s identy—a CIA agent noless.

You can quantify the absolute number discontented Americans from presidency to presidency but that does not equate the reasons for discontent. If you would like to go head to head over success and failures of President Clinton versus “president” Bush, I’m game.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at July 21, 2007 8:55 AM
Comment #227153

When any person dies because of the Iraqi War, I feel sadness, and anger. Sadness over the loss of a human life, and anger because I feel helpless in that I can do nothing to help prevent more deaths.

Joel S. Hirschhorn,
I just barely missed WWII, but I vividly remember Vietnam.I can not tolerate another Vietnam. Some people believe we loss that WAR (call it what it really was)

Personally, I believe one doesn’t have to have a winner or loser during war time. Sometimes it takes more courage to back away, and access the situation before trying again. That is a message I learned while watching some old war movie.

As far as Impeachment goes:

Didn’t any of you learn anything from Clinton’s impeachment?
Being impeached does NOT necessarily mean loss of office.

Merrian -Webster Online Dictionary

1 a : to bring an accusation against b : to charge with a crime or misdemeanor; specifically : to charge (a public official) before a competent tribunal with misconduct in office
2 : to cast doubt on; especially : to challenge the credibility or validity of a witenss

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Impeachment is the first of two stages in a specific process for a legislative body to remove a government official without that official’s agreement. The second stage is called conviction.

Impeachment is so rare that the term is often misunderstood. A typical misconception is to confuse it with involuntary removal from office; in fact, it is only the legal statement of charges, paralleling an indictment in criminal law. An official who is impeached faces a second legislative vote (whether by the same body or another), which determines conviction, or failure to convict, on the charges embodied by the impeachment. Most constitutions require a supermajority to convict.

I say we hold a trial, then see how justice plays out(which requires evidence) in the Senate.
If nothing else, maybe we will find out once and for all why Mr. Bush is so hesitate about allowing his aides to testify, etc.

Then and only then, do we decide what to do.

That at least will get some of the truth out.

It might also:
help control Mr.Bush’s decision making,

Buy some time thus preventing Cheney from taking over,

Show the people of this country that our judicial system DOES work.

And finally, but not least, get some control back so the people of this country feel, and hopefully will know they are in charge of their government again.

Posted by: Linda H. at July 23, 2007 1:16 AM
Comment #227170

“Remind me how many American soldiers lives were lost during the Clinton presidency.”

Maybe hundred or so in terrorists attacks maybe? We are told of one in the unjustified Bosnia/Kosovo war, which our troops still were 10+ years later. Guess you don’t care about the thousands of civilians we killed there or the misinformation that got us there. Thats probably reserved for Republicans huh.

“Remind me again how many Americans lived in fear of their own shadow.”

Millions. Especially after 70 some of their fellow Americans were murdered by govt agents.

“Remind me again how the American public felt about civil liberties.”

Millions. Anti 2nd Amendment laws and no-knock warrants had people all up in arms.

“You can quantify the absolute number discontented Americans from presidency to presidency but that does not equate the reasons for discontent.”

It usually does unless you allow your personal beliefs to interfere with Constitutional rights. Which I’m sure you do.

“If you would like to go head to head over success and failures of President Clinton versus “president” Bush, I’m game.”

Success and failures is too judgmental. For me, the tax-cuts have been a huge success. ANY tax-cut is successful. For you, I’m sure they have been a failure for one reason or another.
Lets do corruption, lies, Constitutional violations etc…

Posted by: kctim at July 23, 2007 12:01 PM
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