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Should President Bush Face Censure or Impeachment? (Recorded January 18, 2006)

By the Institute for Policy Studies,

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In December Michigan Congressman John Conyers (D) introduced a resolution (H. Res. 635) creating a Select Committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the Iraq war. Conyers resolution also wants a report on possible impeachable offenses. In addition, Rep. Conyers introduced Resolutions regarding both President Bush (H. Res. 636) and Vice-President Cheney (H. Res. 637) proposing that they be censured by Congress based on "indisputable evidence of unaccounted for misstatements and abuse of power in the public record". Did the Bush Administration commit crimes that warrant a congressional censure when it ordered surveillance of American citizens without a court warrant? Have the Administration's actions over the past three years in the handling of the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism presented a case for censure or impeachment?


David Swanson, After Downing Street
Marc Raskin, historian, co-founder, IPS

Moderator: John Cavanagh, Director, IPS

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I am losing faith completely in the two party system. My belief is that it is all rigged. We really do not have a choice. Just cleverly made to think that we do. I have given up on the democrats. I believe that somehow they have lost all of their control but we are still made to believe that they have an equal fight. I believe there is no two party system, it is all a setup to make us americans believe that we have some control over the govt.
I am sure that the president will continue to do as he wishes , they will neither impeach nor watch his moves. It is all fixed as is probably every event that involves politics.

Maybe they want Americans to cause a war against them so they can kill us all. Just a thought........because it is above and beyond me WHY nothing has been done yet.

"Maybe they want Americans to cause a war against them so they can kill us all. Just a thought........because it is above and beyond me WHY nothing has been done yet"...Hanna writes.
I hate to be trite about something this serious, but I have already read 1 other post by someone who is starting to get it! I truly do NOT think that we have any more choices! I, too, have signed about 200 petitions, demonstrated, joined numerous grassroots organizations...all for nothing! It has become a moot point! This Evil Cabal have taken over America! It has been planned for over 200 years and the plans are now come to fruition. As anyone can tell by my writing and use of language and syntax, I am far from stupid! Far too intelligent to be taken in by foolish "Conspiracy Theories" except when I begin to see them played out on the World's stage by these monsters!!! They WILL control the World. When is only a matter of time. I think they want nothing MORE then to have the citizens revolt...then they can fry us with SCALAR WAVES; take over our Brains with ELF waves, and incapacitate us with other EMP Weapons!!! We who may survive will be herded into the Camps already being staffed as I type this, and the torture that this Regime is so happy to inforce will be used on US! You all ain't gonna like me...T.U.F Tough! As my Mother used to say! The truth hurts and this IS the truth.The only thing that keeps me from complete despair is that I believe that there is life after death. I believe in God. And I believe that what is playing out on the Worlds' stage is according to His plan. As I stated in a message I wrote previously, these thugs will NOT pay for their crimes in this life...but oh. I would sure hate to be in their shoes in the next!!!!!! We are judged by how we treat others. And by our beliefs. I will not preach on here as it is not that type of forum, just suffice to say I believe that ther WILL be a reckoning!!!!!
So, yes, Hanna, you are quite close to the truth. Just remember that what goes around, comes around!!! I do.

I have to concur. The American government is made up of a two-party system: the Democrats and the Republicans. And the two can be interchangable. What we need is voting reform. The government should be run the way the average American runs their household. Maybe I'm not average, but I'm very conservative with my spending. Spending is the only way I'm conservative, though. The Bush administration is out of control and so is campaigning. How about if every candidate has a set limit according to what they are running for? For example, President - $500,000; Senator - $100,000 - Governor - $50,000. Something like that. Everyone is equal. Maybe then we could be represented by more than just "Democrats" and Republicans. And then the Alito hearings would actually be interesting. We all know he'll be confirmed. The Democrats have let us down time and again and this time will be no different. I'm tired of writing editorials, sending money, going to protests and being rewarded by listening to the Democrats, when they have a golden opportunity, say something stupid. PLANTATION.

I can not understand these people in washington? When Bill Clinton was in office they wanted to impeach him for having a little sex in the White House. Who care's if Bill wanted a little somethin,somethin. But how can washington excuse bush for what he has done with his so called power. He is a coward, ling son of a bitch, and should be hung by the ball's that bastered. Impeach that mutha-fucker!

This Is a no brainer. If Presdent Nixon could be Impeachable & President Clinton suspect,then President Bush certainly should be Impeached!!! He not only broke the law but he continues to lie to the American People on just about all subjects: Reasons to go to war.. Iraqi oil would fund the War..Billions stolen in Iraq & his cronies @ Haliburton are suspect.. Wiretapping without permission,discussions or warrants.. Giving contracts to his cronies without the fair bidding processes.. But mainly,as a former Marine Vietnam Veteran & disabled,I'm appalled by the deaths of so many of our service Men & Women---unnessarily!!! I could go on but It really angers me,If his Daughters were drafted(I know he would'nt allow it,like his Father did for him),& they were faced with going to Iraq you can bet that there would be no war!

Is the constitution just a......piece of paper, outdated, as inferred by Bush?

Does he have unobstructed authority to spend trillions as he wishes, spy without probable cause, and defy world opinion, and call himself the president of the people?

More admissions need to be forthcoming from disenchanted Republicans. The impeachment word is too premature. The censuring must emerge with a well researched moral approach, avoiding hair-splitting legalisms and opinions of torture sanctioned by Yoo and others.

Why are we not seeing this in the national media? The American public deserves to know what this administration has done, is doing, and will do to make our nation the laughing stock of the world, not to mention one that's unsafe for its citizens.

If we can endure all sorts of slander about the Clintons for months and millions of wasted dollars, when the Rebublicans rode on their high horses about moral integirty then we surely need to hear all about the "fast ones" being perpetrated on a public who for the first few months after 9/11 allowed the present administration to "protect us" while we went shopping.

Clinton's folly with "Monica" merely allowed the Republicans to boast about their morality, but it affected no one on a national level. In fact it may have distracted Clinton from some of the work needed for our country. Fortunately he was able to focus. But now the Bush's administration has us in "fear" and has obscured their power grab and has them messing with the constitution for their pleasure.

They also stole two elections to put forth their agendas. We should be shocked at their "moral" two faced obviewscation of the principles of our constitution and the brazen reduction of the separation of church and state as well as the reduction of constitutional principles which have been in place since the country began.

As the leading voice of discention, Democrats need to defy the Bush administration, by bringing their treachery into the light of the honest truth... If there are honest points of censure or impeachment then go on with it let's not fiddle while Rome burns! and our deficit grows.

Yes, we should impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney! The heinous acts they committed and the outrageous abuse of their power in the Oval Office deserves nothing less than impeachment. We allowed him to become president the first time, eventhough it was clear that his cronies (especially his brother!) rigged the election right at the polls. We allowed him to become president again (even though, once again, the electoral process was clearly comprised) because everyone was afraid after 9/11. We have to stop allowing this administration to cause the death of our soldiers and thousands of innocent people abroad. We must stop this administration from further destroying our environment, our economy, and our social structure. Under the Bush administration we are all suffering while his friends get richer and richer.
Where is our democracy?

The man should have been impeached 50 times for all his crimes and violations against the people and the Constitution.

With all due respect,may I ask whats taking so long to get Bush and Cheney out of office?Congress seemed to have had no problems setting up an impeachment for former President Clinton,and they certainly had no problem setting one up for Nixion behind that WaterGate scandal.

Ok, I'll speak up here and throw in my two know...all that stuff.
There is one reason and one reason only that the shrub and the cheney-devil have not been Impeached...THEY ARE IN CONTROL!!!!! I realize this stance won't win me any admiration, but we have to "wake up and smell the coffee" here!! If Congress could "Impeach" Clinton (who is every bit as much a crook as the rest of this Cabal), then does anyone not wonder why IT HAS NOT BEEN DONE TO BUSH? Sorry I don't like to yell and scream but I feel I must! There is no hope, people. WE cannot "take back" our Government cuz it has not been "our" Government for decades! We were lulled into complacency by our opulant lifestyles and the latest Friends and Seinfeld episodes (What is it now...Desparate Housewives?) We have been blinded by commercialism and greed and the fact that no school teaches the fine art of critical thinking any longer and most do not even know how! NOW...the facts are staring us right square in the face...and we scream "WHY??" Why indeed. I, too, have been blinded, but by different circumstances. Being a single mother for 17 years, trying to make ends meet and deal with mounting bills and keeping food on the table...and working 50-60 hour work weeks! Well, the kids are gone, my health is shot and I suddenly found myself with a whole lotta time on my hands. Ergo, I learned the truth. America as we knew it is over; all over but the shouting!! Are we to BLAME for the corruptedness of these soul-less individuals? No, but we ARE to blame for not Censuring the government OURSELVES when we had the chance!! I mean, I really hate to be the harginger of really bad news, but the Cabal is planning a nuclear-or, in George-ese, nucular-strike against this very country! 9/11 was to further their cause and begin the deceitful and illegal Iraqi they want to fight Iran! And what better way then to manufacture another terrible tragedy of much greater proportions than that which occured on Sept. 11 2001? A nuclear strike! This information is available wide-spread on the "Net from a former Military man turned whistle-blower! There are many such people trying to tell the general population that which they are only learning first hand after it is too late to stop it!! Everything I have read on the Internet from about 100+ sites has eventually come about. Everything! I knew we were being spied on months ago!! I knew because it was happening to ME! My Freedom of Speech was infringed upon repeatedly when I tried to educate people on the Government owned AOL message boards!! I was Banned...and still am! I tried to tell people; I started my own blog relating to this information and all the rest that is coming out of Washington and elsewhere. I hate to say "I told ya so" but...well, I TOLD YOU SO!!!! And my family and friends thought I was just "bored " and needed a new hobby. Sigh...Ya know what? I really, really wish I were crazy. That none of this were true. I mean, I would rather be back 12 years ago just beginning my single life and my nursing career and thinking that life was pretty much what I thought it was..hard, but OK in the end! It is not.
George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Even Karl Rove will never pay in this life for the crimes they have committed. They now have too much power, money and technology. The weapons that can be used against us are mind-boggling. Literally! The Idea of a Free America is over. Welcome to the New North American Union, just one of the changes which will take effect as the Elite inact the New World Order. And we are powerless to stop them. Period.

Bush and Chenney should be impeached....they have broken so many laws it is time to go....I am surprised that the Shrub has not appointed himself as the Monarch of America...they must go!!!

The Iraq war is illegal, his spying network is illegal and the Google issue is scary....

Time to go......

In order to save our United States of America from becoming a Dictatorship in the hands of the most corrupt group of individuals who have ever been in total command of the 3 branches of government, we must IMPEACH George Bush. We must not allow any more of his "Tricky Dicky"-like tricks against the environment, Medicare, Medicade, education of our young, the American Family and the workers of this land. Too many people have stood by and watched, on a DAILY basis, the dirty politics used to create fear and hate among the masses of people. We have watched our newspapers cow-tow to the demands of this administration not to tell the people what is really happening in this world and in this country. There are goings-on that should make us all stand up and scream, "We're mad and we're not going to take it any more!". Out-sourcing, admitting millions of illegals into our country to take more of our jobs, tax breaks for the very, very rich and absolute "0" tax breaks for the middle class and working poor. Spying on the people. If a president can be impeached for having improper sex, a president can be impeached for being a lying, thieving, corrupt criminal. And all his corrupt administration with him. We do not want a Dictatorship! This is not what our forefathers envisioned for this country and it has never been the goal of 42 presidents before him, even his own father or Reagan or Nixon. They were not good president, neither of them, but at least they did not try for total power and kingdom of a dictatorship.

Yes, I agree that Bush should be impeached.


In my opinioin we should not merely censure Bush and CHeney and the rest of their cronies. They deserve to be prosecuted for treason and Bush should be impeached and sent to prison. We should all have the pleasure of seeing numbers across their chests.

Absolutely grounds for impeachment and impeachment only. NO CENSURE, that's just a slap on their dirty, bloodstained hands!

I believe that censure was made for acts by a legally elected president, while breaking NO laws, embarrass the United States. Such would have been a just result in the Clinton/Monica affair.
In the case of Dictator Dumbya, we have an UNELECTED dictator, who caused the United States to commit an act of agression based on now well documented lies and promises unmet to the Congress and the United Nations as NECESSARY steps BEFORE a use of the military, causing the unnecessary deaths of 2200 Americans and uncounted others. And even MORE aggregeously, Dumbya is guilty of domestic spying WITHOUT a warrent from the FISA court, set up specifically to control the overreach of even a legally elected executive and to prevent the use of such spying for political purposes. Not only has Dumbya admitted to such illegal acts, he is unrepentant and chooses to continue, affirming his thought that the Constitution, that he swore to uphold, is just a "GD piece of paper". He has also expressed the desire publically to be a dictator several times. Impeachment by the House AND conviction by the Senate, resulting in removal and loss of any residual priviliges, should be the MININMAL consequences of his crimes, (if we had a working Constitution), and would be in fact, a COURTESY and an act of mercy to him by the American people, given the fact that he was never elected in the first place.
There are multiple other counts that could be added. Some are counting to 7 that rightfully are each alone enough to cause his removal.

I couldn't agree with you more, but let's not stop at the illegal eavesdropping. There are 2 stolen "elections" war crimes, crimes against humanity,lying Congress and the American people into an illegal, unwinable war, crony politics, and the looting of our treasury while giving away our money to obscenely rich crooks. If ANYBODY belongs in jail, it's this bunch.

Both should face impeachment and be removed from office.
Their crimes are great and thousands of people have lost their lives because of their actions. We do not need the oil from the Middle East because the Fischer-Tropsch process of synthesizing oil from biomass can produce all the oil we need. Potentially, it can also remove all the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Janet and Paul Baer
Jarrettsville, MD 21084

I would love to see this happen. It's like cutting out a cancer.

Oh please!!! - Let's get rid of this menace! - Of course I mean let's get rid of George W. Bush!

It is my opinion that President Bush nd Vice-President Cheney, have individually and in concert, have taken their powers beyond the interests of our nation and our people.

The party, which theyrepresent, appears to be acting in fear of contradicting them, and only by replacing those in office, can our country become a true democracy of the people, by the people and for the people.
Theodore Evanosky

I believe there is a new acronym that is pertinent - WWWII- which translates into W's Wrong War In Iraq

I think Bush wants to create a war in America. He is hoping to get rid of all the people who work against him. He and his party want full control to do as they please.

Get this IMPEACHMENT done NOW, or suffer the next two years!
This impeachment should have been accomplished within 30 days of 9/11. It may not be too late to make the most of a bad situation. I, say get this done now and let's move on to making America better for it! It's high time we took care of the elderly, educated our young, feed, house the homeless and put the economy back on the right road: NOT WAR!


Why is there so little in the media? Find out. Write a letter to the editor & to both your Senators & your Representative. Bush has lied consistently & Cheny too. Isn't waging a war based on lies a crime? Why isn't this an impeachable offense? When will charges be made in Court as to violating our civil rights in regards to the 1st & 4th amendments, by illegal wiretapping? I've written several letters re:Alito, but no response. It will come later saying I appreciate your views, but I voted..........differently. No matter what input the constituents have, it seems as if the Congress persons follow "party line", follow the "shrub". No mind of their own. Don't they realize they are giving up their rights too? This Congress is supposed to be OUR checks & balance, so we can keep from having another Hitler, destroying lives.

You can throw ALL the comments on this subject in the trashcan for two specific reasons.
1. All witnesses at the Impeachment trial and subsequent Congressional Hearing of Bill Clinton, which included George Bush, can never be impeached for any reason.
2. The campaign for the Impeachment of George Bush is being instigated by those above him, who also know the answer to how Bill Clinton escaped Impeachment, ie; If the public are not aware of these facts, they will believe anything they are told and will pay big bucks to read about it, view it, hear it, see it anytime it is available to them.
Once people learn of this miraculous escape by Bill Clinton and how he did it, they too will also have the same deadly information and will use it to escape their own legal problems....pretty soon after this occurs, the world will no longer need the legal "profession", or for that matter, the entire judicial system as it stands.

It is not a partisan problem, all Americans need to take a stand now for a full investigation into the spying on Americans. This administration refuses to be truthful and refuses to obey American laws and the constitution. Blunders after blunders. Thay should resign now!

I think we should take Bush, Chenny, Gonzales, & Rice put them in a stadium and let all the mothers, whose children have died as result of thier actions, do whatever they want with them!

The Freedom Of The United States & Its Citizens Is At Stake.

The controllers of this world are working ardently & promptly to change the rules of the game & exclusively to their benefit. As a matter of fact they have been working at it throughout the entire last century.

As a result, things are not changing for the better, for the common man. To the contrary, things are becoming way harder to obtain. The dream of one day having the things we all dreamed of been able to attain throughout a lifetime are now gone for the most of us. Those that are yet not affected by the recent changes to the financial worlds will soon find out they have also been sold out by their heartless & cruel “system.

Hello people,

It's time for the people to take care of business. This entire GOVERNMENT is corrupt, they stand for Israel. Amerika is no more.

We are undone.


Impeachment is a requirement.....however, I don't think a Republican Congress will do it. If we get a democratic majority it is more likely..(but don't count on the Republican lites, the DLC Dems like Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, or Dianne Fienstien. (We need a Russ Fiengold, Barbara Boxer or Al Gore) A democratic majority would put John Conyers as the House Majority leader...thats good!!)I think our best bet might be to prove that the privatized voting of this country illegally put Bush in office when he did not win the much is coming out about the Diebold machines and over voting..check out Florida, W. Virginia, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska's latest problems with impossible figures for county in Alaska had 100,000 more votes for Bush than registered voters(and thats only one county in one state) throwing the squatting, lying bum out, would be cheaper, quicker and much easier than impeachment....and maybe rescind all the illegal (and harmful) legislation he's passed, and sneak appointments (during recess) of his (incompetent) cronies he has placed in our government.....(as for some of the Justices of the Supreme court, they can be impeached and I think that meddling in our elections, circumventing a full recount, against the will of the people is a high crime and an impeachable offence)..easy..? Just have to get the corporate news media to guit pushing Bush's agenda and propaganda..(after all they contribute to the GOP campaign funds and get "special interest" corporate tax cuts, all the little things large corporations feel they have earned (on the backs and sweat of the workers, of course)

Imagine this Republican congress censuring Bush... that would be a 'big deal' , then to turn around and ask them to impeach too... they'd say "it's a witch hunt, we already censured him, that's good enough."

Why censure when Bush "admitted to an impeachable offense"?
Why censure when Cheney's "Energy Task Force" was poring over maps of Iraq in March 2001?!


I found a cellmate for dubya...

Purrrrrfect! I can't wait to see with whom you match up the rest of those Ice Weasels. That link hung me up - thanx.

Fresh peaches, a touch of mint, a couple of drops of rose water, ice, and a good, flavorful dark rum. Blend and enjoy.

Perfect for hours in front of television, actually enjoying something for a change.

Ahh, summer is coming.

not only Bush, Cheney etc., throw them in jail for crimes against humanity and then fire the US congress afterward. Who said the Congress was representing the people anyway? Seems they will prostitute themselves for big government contracts, special interests and corporate America. If they were doing their constitutional jobs, we the people wouldn't be dealing with the likes of Bush, Israel, phoney money, the perpetual war machine, and many repressive government programs. Keep the Supreme court intact to guide special elections to replace the other branches of government and lets get back to business. More house cleaning will follow, like getting rid of the Fed reserve, etc. America is for freedom loving americans not ass kissing zionist pigs or would be dictators. too good for The Jingo King and His Infamous Band of Ice Weasels. Censure for their offenses is a bad joke. They need the Safavian Treatment. Undo the coup! Jail to the Thief!

I have always argued with Americans about their 2nd Amendment rights, but now I'm glad you have them. Impeachment is too good for this criminal and his cabal. You need to arm yourselves, shoot your way into the White House if you have to, and overthrow this man. Has anyone read the Declaration of Independence recently? When government gets this bad, it is your right, no, it is your duty to revolt and overthrow it.

Lose the Loser!

Lucky us we get to have King George and his band of merry men around
for two more years.I think he will find a way out of their imediate
problems.But we should'nt get excited because the noose just gets
tighter.People, he has two more years to hang his self,if we can wait.
People I don't like the wait either but I see no other way to catch
this skunk,but I agree our lives would be better and our children
would be safer with him out of the way.

I think Bush got the idea if he sent the young people of this
nation off to war.These people could leave openings in the job
market.New people are replaceing some of these young people as
we speak , they've been replaced after dying in Iraq.You see
folks Bush kept his word. He developed jobs for individuals
that needed one.The sooner we get rid of him, the safer our
sons and daughters will be.Hopefully,as safe as George's
kids,or more so.

Clinton's lie did'nt kill anyone, what about Bush's ?
Replace him now so others don't.

I just discovered this site and I feel better now that I know other people share my views about Bush. I'm sorry if this is long.

Bush lied about Iraq, Katrina and now it is so obvious he is lying about the port situation. The Katrina video is clear. Brown warned Bush about the approaching problem and Bush said the federal government would be ready to act. Bush was on national tv telling the nation there was no way to know what was going to happen. There was no way to prepare for such a disaster. We now know he was warned and did NOTHING. He lied about it on national TV. I don't think there has been this much bold faced lying by a President since Nixon.

Bush should not be allowed to resign. He should be impeached. Allowing him to resign gives him the dignity he has denied so many citizens. Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing shirt with a her free speech on it wasn't she? I feel as if I am the only person who heard Bush on tv when he said the storm had was the area clean. Did it was it clean of the poor or everyone that does not have white skin? I regret I was not recording the event.

The main public reason the Clinton haters used to try to impeach Clinton was "He lied." Bush has been caught in one big lie after another. The VP is just as guilty as Bush. The VP should be removed from office simply due to the way he handled the hunting "accident".

Bush MUST be held to the same standards the conservatives wanted to uphold when Clinton was in office. The list of reasons to impeach Clinton seem to be essentially the same as the ones the nation should use against Bush. The only differences are the current events details, the incredible magnitude of the lies (at least), and the fact number of people who died during Katrina (at least). It is as simple as the joke told by the ignorant conservative I used to know. How can you tell if Clinton is lying? His lips are moving.

I want to add something to the impeachment idea. I am not sure but are there rules about lying to federal employees under certain circumstances? Martha Stewart be jailed because she lied to federal agents and not for insider trading. Bush lied to a federal employee on the Katrina meeting tape. He said the federal government will be ready to act. Even if Brown was competent employee, he would have take actions based of what Bush told him. He would have been expecting he had access to all the support available from the rest of the federal government.

Bush did nothing to prepare for Katrina as he promised on the tape. I am sure there are "dereliction of duty" rules. There is an interesting 1997 article on Is is "Dereliction Of Duty: The Constitutional Record of President Clinton" by Timothy Lynch ( It is interesting because of the anti-Clinton claims in it. These are some of Clinton's crimes and failures:

1) has actually weakened a number of fundamental guarantees, including those of free speech and the right to trial by jury and that against double jeopardy

2) warrantless searches and seizures

3) The president's legal team is constantly pushing for judicial rulings that will sanction expansions of federal power.

4) Clinton also claims constitutional authority to order military attacks against other countries whenever he deems it appropriate.

5) President Clinton's record is, in a word, deplorable. If constitutional report cards were handed out to presidents, he would receive an F.

Sound familiar? This was just in the first two paragraphs! It goes on and on just like this note. I want to end this with:

6) The Clinton Justice Department has attempted to censor (a) the rights of peaceful protesters; (b) the views of priests and doctors; (c) radio, television, and the Internet; and (d) truthful advertisements for lawful products.

7)Warrantless "National Security" Searches

8) Warrantless Wiretapping - President Clinton, however, has asked Congress to pass legislation that would give the Federal Bureau of Investigation the power to use "roving wiretaps" without a court order

and finally my favorite, #9, "Clinton's Drive for Limitless Federal Power"

The best available resource for impeaching Bush is all the work done by conservative when they were trying to get rid of Clinton by any means right or wrong. You can almost replace Clinton with Bush and half your work is done. There is one difference. With Bush, anyone can see that it more than a matter of opinion. There is proof of the activities, we are seeing the failures, the lies are very public and people are dying.

Bush believes he can do no wrong. This is how he was allowed to grow up. It is easy to be an optimist if you grew up rich and would never be held accountable for any failure. It is easy to be an optimist if you never had to suffer the consequences of your mistakes.

Any conservative or Clinton-hater who will not want to impeach Bush is a liar and a hypocrite.

R. Rivera
Houston, TX

Bush makes power grab

Posted: May 23, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

President Bush, without so much as issuing a press statement, on May 9 signed a directive that granted near dictatorial powers to the office of the president in the event of a national emergency declared by the president.

The "National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive," with the dual designation of NSPD-51, as a National Security Presidential Directive, and HSPD-20, as a Homeland Security Presidential Directive, establishes under the office of president a new National Continuity Coordinator.

That job, as the document describes, is to make plans for "National Essential Functions" of all federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations to continue functioning under the president's directives in the event of a national emergency.

The directive loosely defines "catastrophic emergency" as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."

When the president determines a catastrophic emergency has occurred, the president can take over all government functions and direct all private sector activities to ensure we will emerge from the emergency with an "enduring constitutional government."

Translated into layman's terms, when the president determines a national emergency has occurred, the president can declare to the office of the presidency powers usually assumed by dictators to direct any and all government and business activities until the emergency is declared over.

Ironically, the directive sees no contradiction in the assumption of dictatorial powers by the president with the goal of maintaining constitutional continuity through an emergency.

The directive specifies that the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism will be designated as the National Continuity Coordinator.

Further established is a Continuity Policy Coordination Committee, chaired by a senior director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, to be "the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination."

Currently, the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism is Frances Fragos Townsend.

Townsend spent 13 years at the Justice Department before moving to the U.S. Coast Guard where she served as assistant commandant for intelligence.

She is a White House staff member in the executive office of the president who also chairs the Homeland Security Council, which as a counterpart to the National Security Council reports directly to the president.

The directive issued May 9 makes no attempt to reconcile the powers created there for the National Continuity Coordinator with the National Emergency Act. As specified by U.S. Code Title 50, Chapter 34, Subchapter II, Section 1621, the National Emergency Act allows that the president may declare a national emergency but requires that such proclamation "shall immediately be transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register."

A Congressional Research Service study notes that under the National Emergency Act, the president "may seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens."

The CRS study notes that the National Emergency Act sets up congress as a balance empowered to "modify, rescind, or render dormant such delegated emergency authority," if Congress believes the president has acted inappropriately.

NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 appears to supersede the National Emergency Act by creating the new position of National Continuity Coordinator without any specific act of Congress authorizing the position.

NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 also makes no reference whatsoever to Congress. The language of the May 9 directive appears to negate any a requirement that the president submit to Congress a determination that a national emergency exists, suggesting instead that the powers of the executive order can be implemented without any congressional approval or oversight.

Homeland Security spokesperson Russ Knocke affirmed that the Homeland Security Department will be implementing the requirements of NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 under Townsend's direction.

The White House had no comment.

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