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OK, so George Bush is going to defy Congressional subpoenas in the investigation into the dismissal of the eight U.S. Attorneys.

What does that mean? The quickest way to address that right now is to re-run a post on the subject from early December:

[L]et's look at the mechanics of subpoena power. In its investigative capacity, Congress has adopted for itself the use of a subpoena power that's roughly analogous to that more commonly seen in the judicial and law enforcement system, in which government prosecutors (employees of the executive branch) leverage the power of the judicial branch (in the form of its ability to sentence those brought before it for contempt, should they defy the subpoenas) to ensure compliance with the demands made.

But Congress is not the executive branch. Nor is it the judicial. Its independent enforcement powers are limited to only the most obscure and archaic procedure -- "inherent contempt" -- which hasn't been exercised since 1935, and with good reason: this procedure itself requires a trial before Congress. Not a particularly helpful substitute when you're trying to avoid a trial before Congress [read: impeachment] in the first place.

Instead, Congress depends for its enforcement powers on the executive branch. If you defy a Congressional subpoena, you face the possibility of charges of contempt of Congress, pursuant to the adoption of articles by whichever house is charging you. But those charges are not self-executing. In other words, they're a request that charges be brought. In order to be effective, those charges still have to be prosecuted in court, and that's up to the discretion of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He's an employee of the "unitary executive," of course, and reports to the Attorney General.

So if you're conducting oversight of, say, the NSA spying program, and you want answers from Gonzales regarding the program's legality, and you subpoena him and he tells you to take a flying leap, what do you do?

You could try going to court, but not only will that pretty much run out the clock, but the courts are quite likely to tell you, "What are you crying to us for? You have your remedy. If you're too chicken to use it, that's your problem." They may well hand it right back to Congress as a "political question," and refuse to resolve it. After all, tied up in that question is yet another: should the legislative branch be able to leverage the judicial in order to force the executive to submit to its will?

Long story short: This is not an issue that can be resolved on moral, ethical, legal, or political grounds alone. It can be ignored for any or all of those reasons, but not resolved.

That's some game, eh? Enforcement of the contempt power falls to the U.S. Attorneys -- the political strong-arming and contamination of which brought us to this crisis in the first place. Heck, you'd almost think they... planned it.

[W]hen it comes to deploying its Executive power, which is dear to Bush's understanding of the presidency, the President's team has been planning for what one strategist describes as "a cataclysmic fight to the death" over the balance between Congress and the White House if confronted with congressional subpoenas it deems inappropriate. The strategist says the Bush team is "going to assert that power, and they're going to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court on every issue, every time, no compromise, no discussion, no negotiation."

Realize that the resolution of this stand-off will determine the extent to which the Congress is able to investigate everything that's still on their plate. If they lose this showdown, they lose their leverage in investigating NSA spying, the DeLay/Abramoff-financed Texas redistricting, Cheney's Energy Task Force, the political manipulation of science, the Plame outing... everything.

And that's why Bush is playing it this way. Remember, too, that his "administration" is populated by Watergate and Iran-Contra recidivists, chief among them Dick Cheney, who has wanted to relitigate the boundaries of executive power since forever. Cheney and others on the inside believe that this time, with a friendlier judiciary, these issues can be decided the "right" way, overturning the victories won against Richard Nixon's insane theories of executive power.

Their thinking is that they'll either win it in courts, or run out the clock trying.

And the day they get five Justices to say they're right, everything you thought you knew about checks and balances becomes wrong.

Extra credit reading: Prof. Mark Tushnet's "Constitutional Hardball" (huge PDF).

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 04:57 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why weren't Bush et al called on this earlier? (11+ / 0-)

    Why is effective congressional oversight contingent on voters being so pissed off (with war, or whatever) that they elect an opposition Congress?  Shouldn't oversight take place from day one of whomever is in charge?   Shouldn't congressional and executive oversight be a right granted every citizen, regardless of who's in power?  Why can't a minority Congress oversee a majority-led White House or Congress?  How can this happen?

    •  In a perfect world.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that might be the case. But our system and our leaders are far from perfect.

      Politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently -- often for the same reason.

      by KnowVox on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:04:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In A Perfect World and System (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scamp, CocoaLove, greenearth

        But our system and our leaders are far from perfect.

        ... Bush would be out of office by now.

        And this guy would be in the White House where he really belongs.

        A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

        by JekyllnHyde on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:07:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Our system indeed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rktect, greenearth

        What do you think we should do about it?

        •  Well... (4+ / 0-)

          the solution for me, at least, is my tag line.

          Politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently -- often for the same reason.

          by KnowVox on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:11:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Throw them out of office, and...? (4+ / 0-)

            I sympathize with your solution because it seems to be the reality, but I wish all politicians and their appointees were subject to meaningful scrutiny from the beginning rather than after it sort of seems too late.

            •  If you can think of something better... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenearth, auntiebembem

              I'm sure open to hear it.

              Politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently -- often for the same reason.

              by KnowVox on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:20:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Supersonic koalas... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DaleA, greenearth

                Other than magical pandas and giraffes and supersonic koalas, I have no solution.  I'm no expert; I just have  questions.  Our executive leaders don't seem to have faced a lot of accountability (other than Clinton's sexual affairs), but maybe that's the way it necessarily, politically or legally, has to be.

            •  ITMFA (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jrflorida, greenearth, SparkleMotion

              At this point, there is nothing Congress can do but impeach.  I think the time for being nice is over, I think we should halt everything except for the work on Iraq and impeach BushCo with extreme prejudice.  I think we've heard all the reasons why they shouldn't or can't or won' much time it takes, etc..  But if you have a burglar in your house, and he knows you know he's there, you aren't going to get anywhere by telling him you're calling the police.  Shoot the fucker and let the law sort it out after you're done protecting your home.  Pretty soon, Bush will have usurped the Judiciary too, and it is checkmate for America.

              Constitutional Crisis.

        •  There is an easy way to resolve this. (23+ / 0-)

          Start at the bottom and supoena the aides. The press will be hanging on every word. Continue working your way up by investigating everybody and everything mentioned.

          Meanwhile the 21 Republican Senators up for re-election this class will be getting a little antsy.

          Bush can hang tough and refuse to answer supoenas. Then he comes across as in contempt of the peoples representatives and thereby We the people.

          Do that and the writing on the wall is for the Republicans to become a permanent minority party.

          The Republicans in the house will move to impeach Bush in self defense.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:35:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I totally agree with that strategy (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rktect, greenearth, cherryXXX69

            but it is not easy nor is it expeditious. bushco will just try to ride the clock out and I am afraid that is there plan.

            This is the time to call them out and proceed with subpoenas & then contempt of congress charges and take this to the SCOTUS.

            It's a gamble on both sides. Who is going to flinch first. The GOP is in terrible shape with their candidate selection for the General Election in 08 and I just can't see them anteing up on this and giving Hilary or Obama or Edwards unitary executive power. It would result in their ruin and they know it.

            •  Independent Counsel revival (6+ / 0-)

              use the failure to respond to revive independent counsel statutes, which will be able to be used in other settings too and will allow for post-2008 follow through on criminal matters, plus free up Congress for some of the many other oversight issues.

              Let Congress be reasonable and appoint, for example, an ultraconservative Republican like Bruce Fein to investigate the wiretap program.

              •  This sounds very reasonable. Is it do-able? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rktect, flatford39, greenearth

                I like the idea of an Independent Counsel. But can Congress overcome the backlash from Kenneth Starr's excesses to reinstate?  Maybe so if the present circumstances work to revive its appeal. Especially if both sides of the aisle can see it as the means to re-assert the power of Congress. One can only hope.

                In 1492 Native Americans discovered Columbus lost at sea.

                by Bugsby on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:54:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Just don't let them say this is political (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              flatford39, greenearth, blueoasis

              The right-wing noise machine will be hammering away on this like a non-stop jack-hammer. They'll say that the left is hijacking America in a time of war just to settle political scores.

              BANK on that coming, if it hasn't already started tonight, and be ready to point out that if the executive has nothing to hide, then they should be happy to testify under oath. And that the Congress is only being as political or non-political as the US attorney firings were to begin with.

          •  good riddance... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rktect, greenearth

            I like that strategy, but what should we do in the long run?  I don't think we should doubt that the Republicans will have numerous ways of spinning any Democratic attempts to compel subpoenas.  I think we need to establish a permanent, enforceable culture of political honesty.

            •  Make a law (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rktect, greenearth, creeper

              Make it against the law for any government employee, especially elected, to intentionally mislead (lie to) the American people.  What is the purpose of them having Rove testify but not under oath and no transcript?  Its to allow them to turn around and tell the American people anything they want, and have nothing available to contradict them in the way of testimony.  Nothing to use against them in a politcal war (the only real power right now that hurts them since they control enforcement).  They get to say they complied with Congress and also that they did nothing wrong.  What was it, I saw on some show today about Bush explaining away why he answered a question by a reporter about Snow or Rumsfeld not having given resignation when in fact he had.  It was apparently a week before the election and right afterwards we find out it was all untrue, Bush knew about it and later was asked why he had answered one way and this week the answer is different.  His answer to that was that it was the only way to get the reporter to move on to the next question without causing a political stir just prior to the election.  It should be about answering the people (he can say no comment but otherwise what comes out of his mouth should be truthful).  He answered the question one way for political reasons when he knew the truth was something completely different.  The same is true, in my opinion, about the runup to the war.  Lies, knowingly, told about uranium and Nigeria, biological weapons trucks, meetings in Prague, etc etc.  All things used as propaganda to take us to war.  All lies told to the American people.  They sell fear through lies and there is nothing to stop them and its their biggest weapon.  It shouldn't be allowed (granted they are the enforcers).  Make a law that no one could possibly vote No on.  Call it the the Americans Deserve the Truth law...whatever.  That way when they lie and do it publicly and get caught there is something to use against them other than Congressional investigations.  Fabricating global warming documents, altering "memos" from the Border Patrol, all of it would fall under the simple choice of telling the plain truth or not.  Either keep your mouth shut or speak the plain truth.  If the American people could count on that a lot of the crap we have endured throughout our history would not have happened.  Who enforces?  I don't know, a group of elected prosecutors mixed with some appointed by Congress and some by the President.  Waiting two, four, six years for elections to dump some lieing piece of crap is just too long.  The people need more than simple democracy to fix things.  Its too easy to start a war that gets thousands killed in the mean time.

              Terrorists win by bleeding us dry...of our finances. Stop being scared.

              by jrflorida on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 08:04:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I Encourage Bush to Dig in His Heels and Fight. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rktect, auditor, greenearth

            With his already crippled, dishonored and disrespected Presidency in shambles, if Bush creates a Constitutional crisis and refuses Congressional subpoenas, his Republican Party's chances in '08 (and for several elections) as well as his legacy will be destroyed.  Bush has the anti-Midas touch... everything he touches turns to shit.  I welcome yet another of "the Decider's" decisions.  Bring it on, Georgie Boy!

      •  In a perfect world, Jeffrey A. Taylor (6+ / 0-)

        would not be the USA for DC right now.

    •  Impeach! (21+ / 0-)

      Kaygro X, you personally led the "Impeach!" movement before you became a front pager.

      So why doesn't Congress throw this bastard out? With the right management, the 2008 race could be going on while Bush is being impeached.

      I have a harder and harder time believing that the only person in Washington with any stones is named Cheney.


      "There is a time for compromise, and it is called 'Later'!"

      by LeftyLimblog on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:05:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPE... (11+ / 0-)

        It's the only solution. Otherwise, our Republic is done. There is NO OVERSIGHT. NO ACCOUNTABILITY. NO OTHER OPTION than IMPEACHMENT. GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!!!!

      •  At least those that don't respond to supoenas (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jiminy, greenearth

        or USAs that refuse to enforce them.

        That starts a real showdown.  

      •  For god sake, he's at 29%. (8+ / 0-)

        That's an incredibly low number.
        If they can't get their stones together to get him out now, then we have no government.

        Interestingly, one politician famously said that you only really need 26%, because that's 51% of half of the congress..  And from there you can control your majority and you can govern the nation.  Sounds a lot like Bush, who is at a healthy 29%...

        Who was it?  Adolf Hitler.  Germany, 1932.

        A nation of sheep will surely beget a government of wolves.

        by BlabberMan on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:39:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Self-interest (4+ / 0-)

          It is probably safe to assume that most people, politicians especially, act in their own self interest.

          What can we give to those Senate and House Republicans who might see the White House for what it is?  What course of action can be suggested to them that is not against their own personal best interests?

          Should we recruit some as Democrats? Can we promise them "Good Will" of some sort?  There must be something that can be better for them personally than sticking with Cheney and Bush for the duration.

          ...this hour is now soon past, and the discourse; unless you yourself will it otherwise. -SK

          by Thomas Twinnings on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:40:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They're all running away from Mr. 29% (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jiminy, greenearth, creeper

            Specter is already on our team for this, otherwise all votes would be party-line, which has not been the case.  They're eager to show their independence and they hate Gonzo.  

            The wingnuts are only about 30% of the electorate or less.  We have an effective 70% majority.  The issue is getting them to pull the subpeona trigger after being kicked in the stomach for six years, and then the impeachment one if it becomes necessary.  I think Gonzo will get thrown overboard later this week.

            A nation of sheep will surely beget a government of wolves.

            by BlabberMan on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:47:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Gonzo will go down with Bush (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mjd in florida, 417els, BlabberMan

              Bush has had it with politics. No more compromising, as if he compromised to begin with. No, Bush is dropping the facade of compromise now. It's him and Gonzo against the Evil Democratic World. He's going to stand up for "principle", which means that he's trying to save his ass from eternal disgrace. He won't stop now. He simply can't. He still thinks that the curtain isn't dropping, that his time isn't yet up. But it is.

              On another front, the mess that he created is enormously good news for Iran. Bush no longer has any political capital to gain approval for an Iranian adventure. He's probably at his weakest point right now, and he won't recover. The country has all but turned against him. He only has Fox news and Limbaugh singing his presidential prowess, but it's questionable whether anyone is still listening. No one really cares about Bush, because Bush never really cared about them. That'll be his ultimate legacy.

              It will be written years from now that Bush's only priority was to be a business agent, to enrich corporatists, and to create a stable and expanding international corporatist class. A tactic to achieve this end was to create perpetual war so that the war machine could make unprecedented profits. Every  day citizens who had nothing to contribute to his juggernaut were left by the wayside. There are always more people coming up the road to fill the space of those left behind. Not to worry.

              ...Well, it's time that he worried. He ran his politics like a religion. He ignored rational thought. He trusted that Rove would remove bumps in the road to a permanent Republican majority. Everything seemed to be working, even the botched 2004 election. But not everyone went shopping at Bush's command, and now, after the '06 election, the Bushies are looking comical as they try to re-create their "Make our own reality" schemes. With a Democratic Congress to play the role of critical thinker, George looks more than foolish.

              Schumer and Conyers, stick it to him.

    •  It Depends (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deaniac83, greenearth, Owllwoman

      Sure oversight belongs to the citizens but he who holds the keys to the WH has the power to not give the citizens what is theirs.

      Problem for Bush is that he only holds the keys for 22 more months. After that it is a whole new ballgame as long as we win the WH. If we do and hold on to congress this all will be investigated and any subpoenas we issue will not be protected by executive privilege or anything else.

      Only then will all the truth come out. And it is my belief that a democratic congress will want to set this all straight so this type of pseudo-dictatorship never happens again.

      "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

      by talex on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:09:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does this take us straight to impeachment? (20+ / 0-)

    Do not pass 'Go', do not collect $200?

    "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton

    by jbeach on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 04:58:18 PM PDT

  •  mobius strip (7+ / 0-)

    in my brain, my stomach and hell, bring it ON!
    Subpoena them.

    "...We cannot afford to stand idly by as grave diggers materialize."--George "P-riz" Bush

    by greenbird on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 04:59:58 PM PDT

  •  We have a remedy (18+ / 0-)


    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" George Orwell

    by wrights on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:00:48 PM PDT

  •  IT looks like (18+ / 0-)

    theyre rerunning Watergate at home and hoping for a different outcome. And according to Sy Hersh's latest, theyre rerunning Iran/Contra in Iraq and hoping for a different outcome.

    But no blowjobs here though

  •  Miers can be subpoena'd, at least (10+ / 0-)

    She's a private citizen, right?

    Which could also lead to more info, investigations, and people unwilling to lay down on the tracks for their bosses.

    "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton

    by jbeach on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:02:16 PM PDT

  •  Leahy knows the stakes (21+ / 0-)

    I found thisin the senate archives:

    Most importantly, compelling compliance with a congressional subpoena in this context would be difficult. The civil contempt mechanism normally available to Congress, see 28 U.S.C. § 1365, specifically exempts subpoenas to the executive branch. The criminal contempt mechanism, see 2 U.S.C. § 192, which punishes as a misdemeanor a refusal to testify or produce documents to Congress, requires a referral to the Justice Department, which is not likely to pursue compliance in the likely event that the President asserts executive privilege in response to the request for certain documents or testimony. Thus, the only legal way to enforce this subpoena would be to hold a witness in contempt using its "inherent contempt authority," but this would require a contempt trial on the floor of the Senate. Not many of us relished our role as jurors during the impeachment trial and are not anxious to reprise that role.

    •  Dates to September of 1999 (9+ / 0-)

      Leahy was, in his role as Ranking Member, defending Clinton from subpeonas regarding clemency granted to members of a Puerto Rican terrorist group.

    •  The actual procedure (5+ / 0-)

      From this post by Rimjob in another diary.

      In order for someone to be convicted of contempt of Congress, the congressional committee which has suffered the contempt first reports a resolution that the affected individual is guilty of contempt. This takes a majority vote of the committee. The full United States House of Representatives or United States Senate then must approve the resolution, which sends the matter to an assistant United States attorney or higher with the Department of Justice, who may call a grand jury to decide whether to indict the affected individual, and prosecute if the grand jury affirms an indictment. This version of the procedure was put into place in 1857 and exists in order to provide a balance of power so the House and Senate cannot run amok and jail all their political opponents with contempt charges, also to be within the restrictions laid out in the United States Constitution that Congress cannot pass a Bill of attainder, and declare someone criminally guilty without trial. The Congress is also restricted in that contempt citations can only be brought on matters that relate to legislative purposes within the jurisdiction of the committee that brings the charges.


      Save the whales. Feed the hungry. Free the mallocs.

      by davewill on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:07:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Inherent Contempt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      sounds like the way to go. Try them in the Senate!

      "People like Carl [Sagan] and Dawkins are more serious about God than people who just go through the motions. They are real seekers."--Ann Druyan

      by ubertar on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:08:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. (15+ / 0-)

      And it blows my point about civil contempt in earlier threads out of the water.  I had not read the statute and was remembering from my Congressional Investigations course last semester.

      However, everyone here is looking at the endgame.  The endgame is a trial in the well of the Senate or the House, either for contempt or for impeachment.  But remember that we usually don't get that far.

      If it gets to this point, Republican Senators will start jumping like rats off a sinking ship, and we won't have any problem getting the votes.  Remember even Nixon couldn't get away with the Saturday Night Massacre.  If Bush really says fuck public opinion and is willing to endure the shitstorm over the refusal of a U.S. Attorney to bring contempt charges, which will be every bit the equal of that over the Saturday Night Massacre, then impeachment is in the cards.

      I imagine processionals of the likes of Orrin Hatch and John Warner going up to the Hill in days to come if we have a contempt citation and refusal to enforce.

      There is no evidence of massive voter fraud by Democrats. There is ample evidence of attempts to repress the vote by Republicans.

      by DC Pol Sci on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:09:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth, goodasgold, cherryXXX69

        ...should read processionals of senior Repub Senators going to the White House in days to come.

        There is no evidence of massive voter fraud by Democrats. There is ample evidence of attempts to repress the vote by Republicans.

        by DC Pol Sci on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:15:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I wish you were right (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sphealey, conchita, flatford39

        Good history, but I'm skeptical it'd play that way.  I don't think an executive-legislative power struggle grabs the public the same way as firing the guy investigating you (and having to fire several others who refused to do it at first, whereas I doubt you'd have any such principled resignations with this bunch!).  Congress tends to come out on the losing end of public opinion in such fights.  And you didn't have the "procession" until nearly a year later, when the contents of the tapes showed that Nixon personally, unambiguously, in his own voice was commiting criminal acts.  We're a long way from that, even at the stage of refusing to pursue a contempt referral.

        Most importantly, the Dems had a huge majority in Congress at the time, and felt very safe about it.  You didn't need to pick off many republicans to hit that 2/3 threshold.  Not to mention it really hit the fan just a few months before a mid-term election.  I think you need a lot more before impeachment becomes a credible threat with the current Congress.

        •  Frame it (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenearth, goodasgold, UK eye

          It just has to framed properly that no man, even the President, is above the law.

          The public not only can understand that concept but would EMBRACE it.

          And if they had nothing to hide, they'd be happy to testify under OATH.

          Indeed, since they offered testimony without oaths, without any recording allowed (basically worthless since these people are known liars) the argument can be made that they have "waived" their silly executive privilege (if such a harmful privilege to a democracy actually exists).  If they truly worried that precious private advice to the president would be revealed, then even the private "off the record" testimony would breach that privilege.

          But that is bullshit. The organized crime family that is the Bush administration just doesn't want to get under oath or ever be forced to tell the truth.

    •  Interesting stuff (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and a lot of issues raised.

      First, you'd think this would be a two-minute trial as far as the facts are concerned.  Was a subpoena issued, did the individual refuse to comply?  No ambiguities there.

      The interesting part is the law.  

      How does it play out? The Executive refuses to comply with the subpoena.  The Legislative finds the refuser in contempt, the Sargent at Arms strolls up to take the guy into custody.

      Is there an  appeal of Congress' sentence?  Where to, and by what authority?  It's constitutional law, I have to believe it ends up decided by the Supreme Court.

      If so, I say, let's get it decided sooner than later, as soon as possible, before someone does put rat poison in a certain SCJustice's creme brulee.

      I wonder if you could do something like a motion for declaratory judgment (civil litigation terminology, don't know how you'd make this pitch to the SCOTUS).  Simultaneously, while you are tracking through all the steps of issuing subpoenas, getting refused, holding the trial, you bring your petition to the supreme court asking for a ruling on the law.

  •  it all still comes down to: (5+ / 0-)


    If he continues to stumble there, it will continue to hurt him here. All players will consciously or subconsciously make their moves with an eye to how weak Bush is.

    •  Well your right to some degree (3+ / 0-)

      but this is much bigger than the War. The War will continue to get the headlines and that is what bushco wants. What happened today is about our country going from a democraticaly controlled environment to a dictatorship.

      It's all about unitary executive power. This needs to be stopped in its tracks. I suggest you start calling your Congress people now. This is real serious business.

  •  Bring It On (17+ / 0-)

    This time, Bush has pissed off several of the Republican senators who stand between his gang and impeachment. The Senate voted 94-2 to delete their sneaky provision from the Patriot Acts. Not to mention plenty of the Republican House reps who Pelosi has by the pork short hairs.

    I hope Bush and his gang of coconspirators fight this all the way. We have nothing left to lose on that front. And everything to gain: impeach Bush and his "unitary executive" conspiracy. Let's have this out once and for all.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:03:09 PM PDT

    •  Impeacment is a House decision, actually (8+ / 0-)

      The Senate is in charge of conviction, FWIW.

      •  Well, Tancredo and Rohrabacher (8+ / 0-)

        are none too pleased by any of this.

        Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

        by bumblebums on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:05:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Removing the End Run (0+ / 0-)

        One of the inhibitions to impeachment in the House is the mantra "no Senate conviction". (Even though the political damage by impeachment alone is adequate.) The threat of actual conviction, and removal (in favor of a new official) is now great enough that beginning impeachment in the House is less politically toxic, especially to Republicans who'd see Republican senators voting to convict.

        Bipartisan impeachment was the threat that finally forced Nixon out. This message was probably explained to him by Bush Sr, then Republican Party chair. This time Sr can explain it to Jr.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 05:12:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  One of the two (9+ / 0-)

      who voted no was none other then Chuck Hagel. think about that before anyone thinks Hagel is anything other then a right winger.

    •  Great point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      racerx, DocGonzo, greenearth

      This couldn't be a better issue for a constitutional crisis showdown with the WH:

      The issue is whether the Executive branch, when subjected to an oversight investigation by the Legislative (a power given to the Legislative branch by the constitution), can refuse to be investigated--citing powers allegedly given the Executive branch by the constitution.

      (Hm, strict constructionists out there?  I see the first power in the constitution, I don't see that second one so clearly.)


      1.  The matter under investigation is the Executive abusing power by using the USAs to prosecute or refuse to prosecute for political purposes.  This comes following an election cycle in which years of Republican corruption was exposed and prosecuted, and played no small part in the Rs losing both houses.
      1.  The mechanism by which the Executive sought to pull this off was a legislative amendment that the Executive snuck past Congress.  Only two lone faithful R holdouts in the Senate, voting against a bill to reverse that?  That's a pissed off Congress.
      1.  Finally, said sneaky piece of legislation was aimed at taking away from Congress a second of the  constitutional powers granted the Legislative (the right to approve USA appointments).

      Please please please, let this be the test case.

    •  Republicans & Domino Theory. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You'll see that Republicans will start falling away from Bush in increasing volume and velocity.  There's no benefit in standing with an unpopular, disastrous, bullying, corrupt President and Administration.  Watch the moderates start (Specter, Snowe, Collins, Hagel, etc.) followed by conservatives.  Neo-cons will stick with Bush to the death as this is their willful, stubborn and unwise partisan nature.  
      The fun is just beginning!  Get those popcorn poppers running in high gear!

      •  Like Vietnam (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Republicans will flee Bush in rhetoric on TV, but damage control their Republican Party in votes. They want Bush as fall guy for their whole criminal campaign these last 12 years, and they'll get him. But not at any cost to the party they need to raise money and herd their zombies with its brand.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 05:19:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So let's be brave.... (13+ / 0-)

    and impeach the bastard and his vice-bastard.

    Any party that would lie to start a war would also steal an election.

    by landrew on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:03:14 PM PDT

  •  Sadly (7+ / 0-)

    this strategy might be effective.

    Their thinking is that they'll either win in the courts or run out the clock trying.

    Politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently -- often for the same reason.

    by KnowVox on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:03:25 PM PDT

  •  Five justices got it wrong the first time; (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JekyllnHyde, lgmcp, mango, greenearth

    they will get it wrong again.  Woe is us!!!

    Spring starts @ 8:o5pm April 1st--in St. Louis

    by Phil S 33 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:03:37 PM PDT

  •  Oh No! (8+ / 0-)

    Keep that gun powder dry!!!!!

    (-7.25, -6.41) We at Daily Kos must demand more of our country and of our political representatives.

    by Pescadero Bill on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:03:39 PM PDT

  •  "no compromise, no discussion, no negotiation" (10+ / 0-)

    It seems that Congressional Dems are realizing that it goes both ways: there is no compromising with a madman. Hopefully they will continue to resist any urges to take the White House seriously.

    -8.63, -3.18 someone give Shrub a blowjob so we can impeach him already.

    by feingoldforVP on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:04:05 PM PDT

  •  A non-binding subpoena? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharman, greenearth

    I can't picture congress taking the initiative. And Bush has too many evil minds figuring out how to squirm out of this. I'll hope for the best, but I'll expect nothing.

    History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme. - Mark Twain

    by kitebro on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:04:13 PM PDT

    •  It's pretty simple (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kitebro, greenearth

      He' needs something only congress can give. Now would be the time to reassess the war funding bill and just say "we're thinking about it" or "damn we were just about to compromise with but all we can do now is provide the funding necessary to bring the troops home safely".

      It's a game of poker and right now he's got nothing in his hole cards and the D's have a Straight Flush. They just need to understand that.

      Diebold, the hand of God
      Oversize Rants Available Overnight at
      The Image Factory

      by Dburn on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:50:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sadly, looking at their current posture (5+ / 0-)

        that doesn't seem likely.  if they can't stand up to the blue dogs, do you seriously think they can see their way to this?  sorry to say, but i worry that they will back away once again.

        •  True (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Wishful thinking- Getting spine before it's too late.
          If he gets the war funding and he wins on this, then game, set and match. I think then it will come down to individual campaigns and no party will have any advantage in 2008 provided any voters show up. But it is possible that the D's could drive the support they had away in 06 in droves and hand the keys back to the Rs . It would be to the Rs advantage if people were disgusted enough they stayed home.

          For some odd reason , people think the D's have time because they haven't had enough time. But once 2008 rolls around and the D's don't get anything done,  Nothing will happen in 08. So basically they are down to 6 months or so and thats it. They can take their choice on these two issues and if they are unable  face down people in their own party, they sure hell won't face down the R's.

          Diebold, the hand of God
          Oversize Rants Available Overnight at
          The Image Factory

          by Dburn on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 07:21:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Yep. Excellent analysis. (5+ / 0-)

    This hand's for all the chips.

    It's all going to land back in the lap of the SCOTUS that put Bush in power.  Unfortunately, he's had the opportunity to pack the court since then.

    Sure going to be interesting.

    Economic Left/Right: -7.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.31

    by DMiller on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:05:07 PM PDT

  •  SO they will be forced to Impeach or (8+ / 0-)

    tuck their tail between their legs and run home.... What kind balls does Leahy have ? We know Conyers will fold just like he did over Impeachment already.

    -8.63 -7.28 Molly Ivin : "..We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children's blood."

    by OneCrankyDom on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:05:58 PM PDT

  •  Time for Congress to say the PEOPLE are the boss. (6+ / 0-)

    If Congress doesn't restrain Bush, no one will.

  •  Don't worry look at history (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JekyllnHyde, blueyedace2, greenearth

    Heck of a Job there Gonzalos remind you of someone? We will not fire Gonzalos after the elections and still support him. Bush supported people in the pass, but they didn't last. Bush supporting a person is the kiss of death. They will be gone in sooner then you think.

    When we are together it isn't me who matters, but the other person

    by AHiddenSaint on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:07:05 PM PDT

  •  The Game Is Simple (5+ / 0-)

    Avoid Impeachment.  

    That's why the war will dribble along so that they can claim everything is classified for national security reasons.  That's why the stonewalling because if they have to produce evidence and witnesses under oath, they will all go down the tubes, Bush, Cheney, Rove and all of them.  

    •  I agree with you all (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      conchita, mftalbot, greenearth, CTLiberal

      and so does Bush, that's way they are doing anything they can to delay.  It's the North Carolina 4 Corners offense.  That's also why you continually hear from Republicans, let's not talk about the past.  I'd bet if Bush could will the election to be this November instead of November 2008, he'd jump at the chance.  

      All the bad abd evil things they did will not stand up if they get the Democrats mad enough.  Right now you're seeing "King of the Mountain" because there is nothing else they can do.  Let's see if the Democrats are strong enough, angry enough and American enough to go after Bush and Cheney and throw them the hell out.

      Sure it will cause unrest, but if they don't, it will happen again just like Bush/Cheney happened after Nixon and Reagan.  They should have been impeached too, well at least Nixon shgould have been.

      Bush and Cheney are betting that the Democrats won't help tear the baby in half but what the Democrats have to know, is if they don't expose these evil doers, the baby, whose first words are "We the people" is doomed.  

  •  Nino,Sam,John,Clarence+1,Time to Report for Duty! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, madgranny

    Cheney & Bush are about to call in thier IOUS with the Supremes, first time since Bush v. Gore.  In any case, they will delay as much as possible & run out the clock.  Bush wins with delay.  Yes, Bush want this fight.

  •  Inside the Justice Dept. are lawyers who don't... (18+ / 0-)

    ... want to go to jail.  I think the Kangro X theory makes sense inside the White House.  Maximalism has been their game, depending on whose influence or mood is reigning.  Nobody was holding them to account for the first few years, up until blog power, Katrina, failed war, etc.

    But inside the Justice Dept. may be a different matter.

    The scandal is perfectly aligned like Nixon's Watergate, where the loyalists can't figure out why it's such a big deal, the regicides just see perfidy & weakness, and the wheels of the Justice system roll on with encouraging integrity.  I mean, they are releasing those emails (however twisted the redactions)!  According to Chitra Ragavan at USN&WR, the Justice Dept. is "paralyzed" because everybody is afraid to email anything because they don't know what's going on and are afraid of later being held to account for whatever they wrote or say internally about it.  (Lawyers afraid of jail played in a big part in breaking the Watergate case also.) Over on Katie Couric, Bob Schieffer is saying the White House is "rattled" and he compares it to the incompetence in Hurricane Katrina of FEMA.

  •  nothing is automatic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, ER Doc, benmcc

    the cowardly democratic leadership has declined to use the tools it has had, but if all legal stops were pulled out, bush's position would be untenable -- even the supreme court would have to find a way not to upset the country.

    it is up to us to make the democrats be what they pretend to be - the party of the people.

    Politics is not arithmetic. It's chemistry.

    by tamandua on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:07:46 PM PDT

  •  Calm the fuck down, we still hold the purse (6+ / 0-)

    Bush wants something from us also. This game ain't over yet. We have a few moves left to make. We can slow walk the money, and or any appointments, treaty approvals, Fast Track, etc etc.  Heck, we can take our ball and go home.

    -8.63 -7.28 Molly Ivin : "..We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children's blood."

    by OneCrankyDom on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:08:49 PM PDT

  •  the goal should not be (4+ / 0-)

    to utilize the constitutional mechanisms to do this or that. Cuz as Kagro so nicely states, that is murky at best. I think the goal should be to put bushco in such a desperate political situation that they either implode or capitulate. The game is political, not legal.

    We need to craft scenarios where they are politically castrated. Then make them force their craven hand.


    All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

    by SeanF on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:09:27 PM PDT

    •  It is political (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The end game is political and BushCo knows it. I think this will test the Democrats’ political abilities to the maximum. The media is showing very little willingness to give this issue the attention it deserves. I wish I could be as confident.

    •  Its absolutely political (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SeanF, greenearth

      Thats why no transcript.  They don't want anything anyone can quote to contradict their spin.  Its also the only real power that can hurt them right now given they are in the position of enforcement.  But of course politics is a game and Dems need to play it right or they go over the line and Bush uses it against them.  I say don't be too worried about that, just be aware of that.  Fear is their tool and they will try to use it to prevent Dems from taking action.  Wide open eyes will solve the fear problem.  While playing politics make the correct moves in the real world to at least attempt to take corrective action in a legal sense.

      Terrorists win by bleeding us dry...of our finances. Stop being scared.

      by jrflorida on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 08:38:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  here's a thought (3+ / 0-)

    will republicans allow Bush to get all this "Unitary Executive" priviledge, when they can see that writtign on the wall that 2 years from now, that "Unitary Executive" will almost assuredly be a Democrat?  

    Even if they think it will be a Republican can they risk it not beign one?

    The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"

    by Love and Death on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:09:34 PM PDT

    •  The answer might be too scary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It may be they have already thought that all the way through.  you have to think they have given how much the whole "unitary presidency" BS is core to how they work.  So if they have thought it through and they recognize that Republicans will not always be in power (as history suggests) then why would they do it?  Maybe the answer is that something is intended to cause a defiance of the historical trends (that power shifts, pendulums swing).  Maybe its that they see the writing but will choose to ignore it.  I don't know how but then I never imagined putting people in prison without ever charging them with a crime, raising false terror alerts to stoke fear and sway opinion, keeping people in the military in perpetuity (gotta love what they did to the try-one's), approving and even conducting torture, etc etc.  This is not the America I was brought up to love.  We have entered some twisted world where the rules have changed.  This is what Hitler's Germany was like in the early days (minus a holocaust and a little more light of day granted by a 24 hour news cycle) and the people not seeing that is also in line with that relation.

      Terrorists win by bleeding us dry...of our finances. Stop being scared.

      by jrflorida on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 08:47:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hope the Democrats (18+ / 0-)

    do something that Bush doesn't expect: Impeach Gonzales directly while fighting Bush's EP claims.

    Set a deadline. If Gonzales doesn't resign by Friday, begin the process needed to impeach him.

    Make it as humiliating and as rough as possible.

    "When the judicial system does something conservatives don't like, the will of conservatives, not the rule of law, should always triumph." -The XIII Wingnut Law

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:09:43 PM PDT

  •  superb post, kagro (5+ / 0-)

    Realize that the resolution of this stand-off will determine the extent to which the Congress is able to investigate everything that's still on their plate. If they lose this showdown, they lose their leverage in investigating NSA spying, the DeLay/Abramoff-financed Texas redistricting, Cheney's Energy Task Force, the political manipulation of science, the Plame outing... everything.

    This is it. The Dems have to fight now. With all the powder they've been keeping dry for the past umpteen years, they should be sufficiently armed to fight both in Congress and in the courts. I'd hope the House can be made sufficiently rowdy enough to dust off "inherent contempt," even as the more traditional sort of contempt winds its way through the minefield of BushCo justices scattered throughout the judiciary.

  •  In the random questions category... (4+ / 0-)

    ...does Congress have the power to demand another "Independent Prosecutor" for situations with an obvious conflict of interest, such as this one? Or is that power restricted to the executive branch?

  •  If there is contempt of congress (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conchita, greenearth

    for refusing the subs, it's referred to Jeff Taylor. Does he HAVE to move forward with it? Then, can't they claim EP again in that instance?

    This is a game of chicken.

    Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

    by Glic on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:10:25 PM PDT

  •  Bush's game right now? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    whistling in the dark

    we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

    by Lepanto on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:10:40 PM PDT

  •  Heck of a job, Fedo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, Owllwoman

    You've got the Decider walking the halls at night seeking advice from the Ghosts of Presidents Past (Nixon, Oh Trickie, where the hell are you, my man? We need to talk.)

  •  Politically, I think he moved too fast (8+ / 0-)

    He went right for the throat on saying that it was partisan politics. But he did so in such a way as to appear desperate grabbing for the "I'm innocent" claim.
    I suspect that whatever the outcome, this has hurt the GOP in the end because I think a lot more people are going to go, "He's guilty. Impeach."

    If we have no freedom nor civil liberties, then what worth is our lives that we can not pursue living?

    by RElland on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:16:13 PM PDT

  •  for those of you whose knees need firming (6+ / 0-)

    I quote this in its entirety.  I do believe it's in the public domain.

    St. Crispen's Day Speech
    William Shakespeare, 1599

                                               Enter the KING

                     WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
                         But one ten thousand of those men in England
                         That do no work to-day!
                     KING. What's he that wishes so?
                         My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
                         If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
                         To do our country loss; and if to live,
                         The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
                         God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
                         By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
                         Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
                         It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
                         Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
                         But if it be a sin to covet honour,
                         I am the most offending soul alive.
                         No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
                         God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
                         As one man more methinks would share from me
                         For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
                         Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
                         That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
                         Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
                         And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
                         We would not die in that man's company
                         That fears his fellowship to die with us.
                         This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
                         He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
                         Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
                         And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
                         He that shall live this day, and see old age,
                         Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
                         And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
                         Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
                         And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
                         Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
                         But he'll remember, with advantages,
                         What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
                         Familiar in his mouth as household words-
                         Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
                         Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
                         Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
                         This story shall the good man teach his son;
                         And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
                         From this day to the ending of the world,
                         But we in it shall be remembered-
                         We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
                         For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
                         Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
                         This day shall gentle his condition;
                         And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
                         Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
                         And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
                         That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

    Freedom is always at the beginning and not at the end. - Jiddu Krishnamurti

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:18:09 PM PDT

  •  Oddly enough, over at Freeperville (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharman, greenearth

    this is all drawing a big fat yawn

    However there was a humurous comment over there asking if Alberto Gonzales is Spanish for David Souter.  Now back in the day when Abu Gonzales' take on the Geneva Convention was "quaint" they thought he was Mr. Tough Stuff.  But now...

  •  Jesus Fucking Christ. (10+ / 0-)

    This is the most depressing diary I may ever read.

    It may as well be Wednesday November 3rd 2004 all over again; looking down the black tunnel with no end in fucking sight.

    I just can't fucking believe these criminals are gonna get away with their fucking crimes. AGAIN.

    Goddamn them. Goddamn them all to hell.

    "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" -8.13/-7.03

    by donailin on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:18:58 PM PDT

  •  Keep the investigations coming (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If Waxman keeps the pressure on with the investigations and Rove and Gonzales and probably many more in the WH are asked to come in and talk and are perhaps subpeonaed repeatedly do you think the People of the US will just about storm the gates of the White house with outrage? Keep the pressure on keep pounding with investigations and eventually they will collapse under their refusal to cooperate.

    Thinking about the children's future

    by simpleshepard on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:19:13 PM PDT

  •  Possibilities... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Love and Death, Rico, JanL, greenearth

    Play chicken (but you'd better intend to win).  Refuse to even take up the requested supplementals until after they've sent all the requested officials to testify, under oath, with transcripts....

    "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

    by ogre on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:19:28 PM PDT

  •  Stock Up On Bottled Water Just in Case (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JuliaAnn, greenearth, Data Pimp

    Just in case the wheels fall off everything for a few weeks

  •  Maybe Rove think The Decider can pull a Clinton (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Does he think getting the President into a Commander in Chief vs. Congress squabble in an effort to raise his approval ratings...?

    One problem though...President Clinton was above 50% when his showdown with Congress started...El Decidero is below 35%.

    Hmmm...will it work?  I don't think so, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures...

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you...then you win -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by justmy2 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:21:32 PM PDT

  •  Bush is Betting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rico, armadill, greenearth, blueness

    that in a staring contest with Patrick Leahy, Leahy will blink first.

    The Democrats' six years of waffling and timidity have not filled me with hope and optimism.  Even the resounding victory handed to them by the voters four months ago has not stiffened their spines.

    Okay, they now control both houses of Congress.  Let's see if they can manage to do the people's business as effectively and efficiently as the GOPers served THEIR constituencies back in the days when they controlled nothing.

    •  My Money is on Leahy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Max Macks, greenearth

      He knows what the stakes are and he knows how to play in the legal and political arenas.  I also would like to think that there will be a rising sense of outrage in the legal community and in Congress on both sides of the aisle. We may also find some interesting allies on the conservative Republican side.  Viguerie, Barr, Bruce Fein and the editor of the American Conservative Union came out strongly against the "unitary executive" today and were very hard on the last Congress for allowing the balance of power to shift in favor of the executive.

    •  At some point we the people need to accept our (0+ / 0-)

      responsibility too and do what every people who have forged democracy have done

  •  Once again (4+ / 0-)

    I will assert that if Bush defies Congressional subpoenae and Congress seeks out a contempt citation, the DOJ must name an independent prosecutor.  This situation presents a clear conflict of interest.

    Recommended by:
    JuliaAnn, CTLiberal

    The fix is in.

    The USA for DC was appointed by Gonzales under the USA PAtriot act.

  •  Treason. (6+ / 0-)
    As recently as Saturday, I favored a wait-and-see attitude towards impeachment of the President.  I felt that rushing into impeachment proceedings would be unproductive, since the chances of getting a 2/3 majority in the Senate would be unacceptably low.  

    I've changed my mind today.  

    We need to start speaking the word treason.  And we need to remove the most dangerous man in American History from office.  

    We're staying the course, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse's ass...

    by osterizer on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:24:22 PM PDT

  •  jeeeeez (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, Feeling Blue

    why not send this to Schumer and Leahy.  It'll make them surrender before the battle even begins.

    What kind of call to war is this, anyway.

    Not the time for this diary, Kagro.  IMO.

    Freedom is always at the beginning and not at the end. - Jiddu Krishnamurti

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:24:48 PM PDT

    •  This is an important diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've mentioned in many comments before that enforcement is key.  

      We can scream all we want about what Congress is supposed to do but even if they do it, who's going to enforce their laws if the President has the power to compel the Executive branch to drop enforcement.

      This is the flaw in our system of government that heretofore has not been successfully exploited.

      We need a plan and we need a contigency to that plan.  And we need it now.

      I proposed Shutting Down The Government down/upthread.

      We still have this power available.

      We will not always have this power if these authoritarians continue their quest to end our Republic.

      Question authoritarianism

      by m00nchild on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:29:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There seems to be plenty of evidence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, blueoasis

    in the information presently in the hands of Congress to support impeachment of Abu Gonzales, Rove and 4 or five others.  Using one's office for the personal gain of oneself, or of others is a crime, and then lying about it under oath and help[ing others to lie under oath, as happened here in the Justice Deparmen are crimes.  Every one of these people are civil officers of the United States.  Impeachment of these unfaithful servants is far more quick and clean than seeking citations for contempt of Congress.  Contempt citations are just what Bush, et als, are hoping for.

    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

    by StrayCat on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:26:02 PM PDT

  •  Who says the clock has to run out? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If Bush pisses the Democrats off badly enough the investigations will continue well into the next administration.

  •  Retreating into the fuhrerbunker and recalling... (3+ / 0-)

    ...all the good times had in tightening the grip on the reins of power is going to be about all any good conservative will be able to accomplish.  Even the girls whose eyes get a gleam when they're in the presence of powerful True Conservative men will start drifting away.

    This administration is done.  Stonewalling these inquiries is just going to cement the blue increase in 2008 that much more.

  •  Another US attorney fired? (6+ / 0-)

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday she wants answers about the departure of the former U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, who resigned last October before the Justice Department's dismissal of eight other U.S. attorneys sparked controversy.

    "I have questions about Debra Yang's departure and I can't answer those questions right at this time," Feinstein, D-Calif. and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters in response to a question. "Was she asked to resign, and if so, why? We have to ferret that out."

    I am endlessly vindicated by the unfolding of history.

    by Rob Cole on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:28:51 PM PDT

  •  Stand-off = buys him run out the clock. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And we get screwed, again, as it will appear that Congress did nothing.

    Daniel Craig...the BEST James Bond...ever!

    by ShaShaMae on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:30:05 PM PDT

  •  This is Bush's last stand. I'm serious. (7+ / 0-)

    Bush has actually 2 last stands, for the rest of his presidency.  But this is one of them.

    1.  Funding his Iraq debacle until he's out of office.
    1.  Stopping Congress from effectively investigating all of the shit that he's pulled during his presidency.

    That is it.  Honestly.  That's the only thing Bush has on his mind right now.

    If Democrats go 0 for 2, we are sunk.

    "There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always." -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by duha on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:31:36 PM PDT

    •  i agree (0+ / 0-)

      at the press conference he  was the gambler who has pushed in all his chips. i am not saying it is going to be easy for us, as evidenced by this diary, but it is time for all of us to realize the importance of this moment and fight back

  •  Suspect that you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, madgranny

    are giving the Bushies far to much credit. Reckon that the White house is in this up to its neck therefore the only option is righteous indignation and reliance on a Kafkaesque judicial process to take more than 2 yars.

  •  They're going to push it 'til it breaks, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and break it will. I think we're going to start seeing Republican Senators start to get pissed off about being marginalized into powerlessness. I'm hoping we get the requisite seventeen very soon.

    Anybody care to give an over/under as to how many are already there? My guess, five to seven, and growing.

    The lone and level sands stretch far away. -Shelly

    by justme on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:38:01 PM PDT

  •  Well that's tremendously optimistic... (6+ / 0-)

    I don't see why people are depressed by this.   I think we are headed for a constitutional crisis and it will force Congress to act.... either to try lesser officials, or to decide that the rot begins at the top and try Bush.

    Either way I have an optimistic feeling that we may have witnessed the beginning of the end today...

    This is the most hopeful I've been for impeachment in a  long time.

    I think that even this cowardly Congress may be backing itself into a position where it won't be able to tolerate the way Bush is treating it.

    Pelosi took impeachment off the table.... but with each resisted subpoena, Congress will feel not only insulted, but more powerless, and may fight back.

    Can't you just feel the resonances of Watergate... partial releases of documents... assertions of executive privilege.  Senators saying "what are they hiding?"

    Ah what fond memories of my youth.  I will sleep happier tonight.

  •  the Irony is amazing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm watching Ken Burn's film about Thomas Jefferson tonight...

    I paused the DVD right at the point where Jefferson is writing the Declaration of Independence....and I pop online to read what Bush is doing


  •  The Powers of Congress (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miriam, conchita, greenearth, KenM30

    This is exactly why Congress needs to play hardball with the budget. They should defund the attorney's offices for those who were fired, preventing Bush from appointing his own attorneys. Then, they need to set up separate investigations as subcommittees of the respective judiciary committees to investigate any administration areas that these people would have investigated.

    As for compelling compliance, they can do that by simply withholding funds from key areas. I'm thinking of earmarks, in particular. Republican representatives and senators need to be stripped of all ability to earmark anything for their districts or states unless they sign on to certain particular change in the law. For example, they need to vote to curtail funding for the war and they need to sign on to restoring habeas corpus and other constitutional guarantees.

    Unless Republicans in Congress cooperate to reign in this President, it's time to put the financial pressure on them. If they insist on hardball, then Democratic leaders need to institute a "shoot the officers first" strategy. (No, of course, I'm not talking about shooting them with a gun.) Their districts should be the last to get funding for projects. If they don't cooperate before this budget passes, maybe they will before the next one goes down.

    This is where Congressional leaders need to show some steel in their spines. And it they don't we should be prepared to replace them next time around.

  •  Lampooning the Bush version of justice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    See a satirical visual lampooning the Bush administration's version of "Justice Is Served"

  •  I think I understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The gravity of the issue... but I wonder:

    Is there a sane Republican in the administration -- or the GOP proper -- that understands where we stand as a nation?

    Spring 2007 is far too early to count any chickens - but at this point and time, I think the odds of a Republican being sworn into office Jan 2009 are fading fast.   None of the GOP candidates excite their base (except the ones with no hope of winning -- Tancredo, Hunter, etc).

    They face a hostile Senate landscape in terms of seats up.

    Is there ANYONE in the GOP that honestly thinks that it's a good idea for this?

    So let's say it all plays out... let's say the story for the next 12 months revolves around a Presidential power grab.

    Let's even say his packed court AWARDS him that win.

    So let's see... Dubya gets to spend the last few months of his failed Presidency - in the midst of a campaign where the remaining GOPers behind him in both the House and Senate will be running from him like tomorrow - really being king?

    And then have all this newly minted power turned over to HRC?  Or Obama?  Or Edwards?

    For the record - I wouldn't want Edwards or Obama (and no, absolutely not HRC) to have that much power, either...

    But you know what, if the GOP insists on knotting its own noose - I think I've done all I can to stop them.  

    I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

    by zonk on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:43:00 PM PDT

    •  I do want to be clear... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't think it's in any way a 'good thing' for two branches of government to be playing constitutional chicken...

      But geez - the guy keeps intentionally swerving into a collision course, and I think it's probably time we just relied on our safety belts and (at this point) bigger, safer vehicle.

      I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

      by zonk on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:50:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bush's end game? Does he know he needs one? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't think he even understands the concept.  Whenever things have gone wrong in his life, his Daddy's friends have ridden to the rescue.  I don't know that he's ever been in a position where someone wasn't willing or able to pull his fat out of the fire.

    To paraphrase someone, somewhere:

    You can fool most of the Texans most of the time,
    You can fool some of the Americans some of the time,
    You can't fool all of us forever...

    Can't get fooled again...

  •  OK then, you take it to the people in 2008 (3+ / 0-)

    and the "permanent majority party" becomes the permanent minority party.  You trot out "what do they have to hide" on EVERY issue.  You revive the theme of "the most corrupt administration" in history.  You say the administration is thwarting the right of the people to KNOW.  I think the people of this nation will have even less confidence in the Republic Party than they do now....It is only human to wonder, "what are they hiding?"  Pound it, pound it, pound it home.

  •  Sounds Like a Good Strategy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, madgranny

    Firing U.S. Attorneys for political reasons is not the most upright thing to do and is possibly illegal, but it doesn't compare to the real, impeachable stuff.  It makes sense that Bush prefers a fight over this relatively minor scandal to keep off the real trail of War lies, corruption, torture, etc.
    They seemed on the verge of going after Cheney for the Plame outing just a couple of weeks ago.  Now that is ancient history and the best they can get from this current fight is Gonzales' resignation, which doesn't even seem likely.  Sure, this might make a few political points, but the Bush Administration doesn't care, as long as they can still just do whatever the hell they want.
    There is really only one way to trump Bush:  Impeach the S.O.B.  That is the only real check that Congress has on him and it is certainly justifiable.

    •  Corruption is exactly what this is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      After an election cycle where years of Republican corruption finally hit the fan--including prosecutions--we find that the Cabal snuck a law past congress, designed to ensure their corruption doesn't get prosecuted.

      Culture of Corruption writ large

  •  This is about the unitary executive (11+ / 0-)

    I pointed out in a highly rated diary yesterday that the US Atty firings were braintrusted by a coterie of White House attorneys who believe in a "robust" executive power.

    They formed an organization, "Citizens for the Common Defence" (CCD), that wrote amicus briefs on anti-terrorism cases, notably Hamdan and Rasul. One of their attorneys, Daniel Collins, collaborated with William Moschella on changing the Patriot Act to allow Bush to unrestrictively appoint "interim" US attorneys.

    What started out as an attack on the judiciary was extended to congressional advice and consent once the Democrats won the House (and Senate, sort of).

    Please read about it at my diary from yesterday, Neocons Braintrust US Attys Firings: Link to Bush.

    How else would you know that Addington buddy and CCD co-founder, and former Bush Counsel Brad Berenson is Kyle Sampson's attorney?

    I plan to diary more on CCD in the near future.

    This is a declaration of war by Bush, and we should not mistake this: what is at stake is the notion of separation of powers, and whether this country drifts from de facto to de jure forms of authoriatarian dictatorship.

    That's what Bush and his backers are up to!

    Never In Our Names

    "The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth."

    by Valtin on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:46:00 PM PDT

    •  i recommended that diary then and do again now (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Valtin, greenearth

      must reading

    •  How long do we have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Valtin, greenearth

      from de facto to de jure?

      We need a plan and contingencies to that plan if we are to save our Republic.

      Question authoritarianism

      by m00nchild on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:25:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How long? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        m00nchild, TracieLynn, greenearth

        I wish I knew, but this seems like a crucial battle, though probably not the final definitive one.

        Still, right now, every battle counts!

        We have no option right now but to pressure Dems to do the right thing.

        The other thought is to bring people into the streets. I don't think they will do that for this issue, and to call for such impotently only raises feelings of helplessness.

        So, for now, it's push for subpoenas and political pressure. I think the time for impeachment draws very near, and for that... we must bring people out into the streets!

        Never In Our Names

        "The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth."

        by Valtin on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:41:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've been reading (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TracieLynn, Valtin, greenearth

          lately from commenters and bloggers that the era of effective street protests may be over with the decline of major networks and the ability to distribute information broadly to the public who are far too busy paying attention to niche channels and living niche lifestyles to be tuned into a notion of national community as has existed during the heyday of radio and national tv networks.

          This is an important consideration.

          If an analysis like this is true, than protests are no longer about demonstrating solidarity with people who  have the power to work within the system.  Or are they about demonstrating a symbolic united front so that those opposed are inclined to pay attention

          We may be entering an era where mass demonstration involves actual action.

          And that is frightening.

          Question authoritarianism

          by m00nchild on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:48:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right now, they're about this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            m00nchild, greenearth

            ...they [are] about demonstrating a symbolic united front so that those opposed are inclined to pay attention

            People in the street DO draw notice. After that, you start linking up, if necessary, social power with mass mobilization, e.g., strikes or work slowdowns.

            Social power ultimately means you have to be willing to use it. That's especially true politically. That's why the Democrats must use all the power at their means, or see themselves reduced to a rump political entity.

            Never In Our Names

            "The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth."

            by Valtin on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:53:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Take A Stand For Liberty (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Valtin, greenearth, mrcoder

              We should be approaching large organizations like MoveOn to organize simultaneous weekly gatherings across the nation to take a stand for liberty.

              They should be every weekend at designated locations and times where people gather in front of public offices and stand in unison for a designated length of time before dispersing.

              They ought to be quiet, nonviolent largescale demonstrations of opposition to the administration.  Imagine a silent demonstration.  Can you imagine the sound of silence when you have 1,000-500,000 people gathered for an hour?

              That would turn a few heads.

              They should be repeated until a certain trigger (Bush backs down, Bush is impeached, whatever is the designated goal of the synchronised rallies).  And they should be repeated so that people know they are happening regularly and not involve anyone's time so much that they wouldn't want to take an hour out to show up and be counted among those standing for liberty.

              If this is happening often, and in a widespread fashion, the novelty of completely silent mass demonstration (not even talking to reporters -- just showing them signs) will be picked up by the media.

              "Take A Stand for Liberty"

              Question authoritarianism

              by m00nchild on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 07:03:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  And this underminding our System of Government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      has been going on longer than what has been revealed by the United States Attorneys scandal.

      I recommend reading another diary that chronicles political appointees repeatedly overruling career professionals:

      The improper firing of eight U.S. Attorneys by the Administration is only the latest in a series of actions by political appointees at the Department of Justice to suppress minority voter turnout, minimize minority representation and control the electoral process through legal threats and restrictive laws.

      US Atty Firings Latest Administration Move to Undermine Voting Rights by Project Vote

  •  Who enforces a guilty impeachment verdict? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, mrcoder

    I'm curious, what if Bush simply says, "I ain't going, make me."  What happens then?  I suspect that, if that happens, words like 'coup' will be used to describe Bush's behavior, since that is what it looks like now.  This very much reminds me of how Augustus became the first emperor of the Roman Empire, and considering that several of the Neo-Cons, like Kagan's father, are twisted classicists and imperialists at heart, I don't doubt that this is something they've actually hoped for.  Each time the Senate capitulated to his demands because, in reality, they were powerless, and a confrontation would only expose the fiction of authority.  Has the U.S. Congress reached that point?

    Augustus never called himself an emperor.  Only in retrospect was that done.

  •  Then only impeachment is left (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bush is calling the Dems' bluff.  Please, Dems, call it right back.

    Please visit

    by Nathan Hammersmith on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:48:53 PM PDT

  •  The Political Game (5+ / 0-)

    The Political Game is to placate the 30% hard core republicans, the kool-aid drinkers, and make them stick with the president on the war and other issues because it's an "us" vs. "them" (infidels, democrats, secular humanists etc) mentality.

    Let them play it. Some kool aid drinkers (republican evangelicals) may actually peel off that 30%, some other normally republican voters will peel off and the republican "brand" will become more of a fringe brand. Their 30% - 40% calculation will drop into the mid 20's.

    The theme for democrats can now be that "no man can be above the law", including the President and his political henchmen.

    This president sought to corrupt the judicial system with juddges, prosecutors and even Supreme Court justices that not only had to be "republican" but also had to republican enough to be corrupt the way Karl Rove wanted them to be.

    We need to run on "checks and balances" and "restoring the constitution".

    Let's argue that "strict constructionist" judges should not find "executive privilege" in the constitution. (of course the Bush appointed creeps will find it just as they ignored the concept of states rights in interpreting their own voting laws in Bush v Gore in 2000)

    Always compare it to Nixon and Watergate and start using the term "criminals" hiding something and "covering up" when discussing all national republicans involved in this or supporting this with votes in congress.  

    Bush has declared war on the constitution and therefore war on America.  

    (Why do Republicans hate America?)        

  •  There's another way to get around Bush/Gonzo (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joannegmurphy, greenearth, madgranny

    Title 18, US Code, section 1001, makes it illegal to lie to federal officials even if you make false statements without taking an oath. This is how Martha Stewart got nailed.  

    I assume Congresspeople are federal officials.

    As for prosecution, I believe any attorney qualified to practice in Federal Court could file the case.  

    Correct me if I'm wrong, Kos legals.

  •  What about all the other stuff? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't help but think that as the investigators dig more into this dismissal case, they're going to find iron clad dirt that leads into the executive branch.

    If you look at the case now, sure, it's a hard series of procedural hurdles to overcome balking at subpoenas, but what about when more dirt emerges?


    •  Paul Krugman Brought up (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jiminy, bara, greenearth, madgranny

      that it wasn't just a matter of who got fired but who DIDN'T get fired, and WHY they didn't get fired.

      You see illegal Republican conduct up and down the line---from still-in-office US Attorneys who cherry picked Democrats for prosecution while cutting Republican lawbreakers slack; to Republican congressmen running for office  who (illegally) called these attorneys to strongarm them into investigations of their political opponents.  All of this constitutes an unacceptable bleeding of political gamesmanship into the implementation of justice.

      Funny: I have faith in the people.  I think the bottom line is, there WILL be an outcry once all of this has a chance to sink in; and I don't think there was ever a President or a Presidential administration that could survive the heaping and crushing contempt of a vast majority of the citizenry.

  •  The 1935 case Supreme Court decision. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    See  JURNEY v. MACCRACKEN, 294 U.S. 125 (1935) for the Supreme Court decision on the 1935 case. News and issues for journalists.

    by Jules Siegel on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:04:26 PM PDT

  •  Power Of The Purse is absolute (4+ / 0-)

    If, and I do mean if, Congressional Democratic leaders are dead serious about a showdown with the Executive over this issue, they don't have to rely on the courts.

    The shut down the government.

    Yes that has echoes of the 1990s but this is a very different presidency with very different popular support who's acting in a manner different from almost all other presidents.

    If this really is a constitutional emergency, then it is a national emergency for us all.

    Serve him subpoenas.

    Shut him down.

    Starve him out.

    Question authoritarianism

    by m00nchild on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:18:40 PM PDT

  •  Congress still has an Ace up its sleeve! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00nchild, greenearth, mrcoder

     If DoJ/WH defy Congressional Subpoenas... Defund the DoJ, and/or specific WH budget requests!!!!

    •  The problem with that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Is any bill brought to the floor in the Senate can have amendments attached to it if Republicans work with wayward members of the Democratic party.

      Because of that risk, NO bills can be brought to the floor of the Senate if you lock down on funding any aspect of the Government.

      Question authoritarianism

      by m00nchild on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:40:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just watched Mr. Pissy's press conference. (2+ / 0-)

    he is scared.  He is SCARED.

    I like it.

    (Insert witty quotation or pithy truism of your choice here.)

    by marjo on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:28:35 PM PDT

  •  Congress should just defund the Secret Service (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, mrcoder

    then the problem would take care of itself.

  •  Translation: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, mrcoder

    we live in a dictatorship.

    Bush does what he wants.

    No one does squat.

    No wonder half the country doesnt vote.

  •  Taking advice for the wrong people (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharman, greenearth, mrcoder, ezdidit

    Hot tub Tom is telling Bush to fight...Look from where he is saying a former congressman.

    Fred Fielding, Nixon's man, is advising him on this...look where Nixon ended up.

    Jr had better get in touch with his dad and reality fast or he will end up out of office quicker that dog shit.

    But I could have not imagined that TPM looking the wrong way when all of the other media and congressional dems were looking where the Bushies have led them has resulted in Bush taking the bait that could very well lead to an end to his presidency. Yippie!

    Where are those poll numbers of the majority of people who wish that the Bush presidency was over?

    While Hot tub Tom assails other GOP non Bushies, and now the Bushies ID the non Bushies in the DOJ and can them in order to obstruct investigations on the corrupt GOP.

    The American people are now getting a full frontal Monty of the hairy naked scrotum of this administration and their kind in the likes of Delay. And it ain't pretty.

  •  This is a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    fight that has been going on over the course of the country. We (some of us) saw this thing go our way with Nixon. How it will go this time is more in doubt. But we can be assured that it will not disappear.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:34:46 PM PDT

  •  I am not so pessimistic. (3+ / 0-)

    If SCOTUS backs the Admin, neither side will benefit. The Republicans will lose face for their intransigence,  since their hegemony will come to rest upon a judiciary that will be seen as illegitimate, much as we saw it did in 2000.  

    Republican incapacity at the upcoming '08 polls will bring back the balance that is required in our system.  

    But before SCOTUS gets involved, there remains a short bus ride for several Republican Senators of strong conviction and mettle: Hagel is one.  Lieberman, of all people, may be another.  

    I understand there is a small woodshed behind the WH where deciders get their comeuppance.  We may yet see Rove frogmarched out of there.  He blew it in 06 and he is on the way to a long-term disaster for the Republican party unless the Admin can find some Zoloft...quick.  Bush is making a very big mistake, IMhO.  The country sees him for what he is: a monster.

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -E.Burke Women, Get It Now: HPV Test

    by ezdidit on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:40:19 PM PDT

    •  Also, there's this 94 to 2 vote the Admin lost... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sharman, greenearth

      The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -E.Burke Women, Get It Now: HPV Test

      by ezdidit on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:41:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Knew Things Were Getting Scary When... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth, ezdidit

        the Patriot Act was passed so quickly after 9/11 without appropriate review or debate.  Also, that the massive Patriot Act just suddenly presented itself, already made so shortly after 9/11 raised mega-suspicion on my part.  This "document" was waiting in the wings for the right moment (national disaster/emergency) and what luck for the neo-cons when 9/11 "occurred".  The Patriot Act episode is a clear signal of the beginning of a fascist, police state/dictatorship.
        Thank God the Patriot Act is being dissembled now, even if only one small piece at a time.  Shows that the Congress is beginning to wake up from its Bush-triggered trance.

  •  Think they'll be as excited about the unitary... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    executive with President Hillary?

  •  Dear Democratic leaders... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can we please just stop the hand wringing and impeach Bush's people one by one until he either gets the hint, Bush ends up being impeached himself, or Bush resigns.  I am so sick of the 'keep the powder dry' bullshit.  The remedy to Bush's power grabs and unitary executive crapola is right there in the Constitution -- Impeachment.  So stop worrying about what the DLC says and what Fox News will  say, and just do the right thing already.      

    Don't be so afraid of dying that you forget to live.

    by LionelEHutz on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:58:38 PM PDT

  •  Doesn't it elide a key point to write off... (7+ / 0-)

    inherent contempt as "[n]ot a particularly helpful substitute when you're trying to avoid a trial before Congress [read: impeachment] in the first place"?

    Impeachment involves a trial before the Senate, where the threshold for conviction is 2/3 and there are 49 Republicans plus Lieberman to begin with (not to mention Tim Johnson out of action for the moment).  If I understand the procedure correctly, an inherent contempt proceeding with respect to a House committee subpoena only involves a trial before the House, and the threshold for "conviction" (that is, civil coercive imprisonment in the House jail) is a simple majority.

    So the key difference between inherent contempt at least with respect to a House subpoena, and impeachment, is that inherent contempt powers can theoretically be exercised without a single Republican vote.  While a "trial before Congress" in some sense of that phrase is indeed involved in both cases, this strikes me as a very significant distinction.

  •  Bring it on, I say. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If the President wants to defy Congress, let him. Every moment he fudges and stonewalls and defies the will of the people, it's only going to hurt the Republican Party. The people threw them out en masse last election, and the most of them will be gone by 2009, including Bush.

    Even if he manages to hold on by defying Congress and getting the Supreme Court to side with him, very slim odds as they are, what then? The longer he keeps at it, the more fuel he will add to the funeral pyre of the Neocon Party.

    Time is on our side, and against him.

    D.I.E.B.O.L.D.: Decisive In Elections By Ousting Liberal Democrats.

    by Archangel on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 07:00:41 PM PDT

    •  i agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the democrats have to fight to hold bush accountable. if he has so gamed the system that there is no accountability let the voters see that in living color. its not like he is going to put anything he has stolen back on the shelf to be a nice guy.

  •  Will they have protections after 2008? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Will anyone in the administration have executive privledge protection after they are out of office? Can they be hauled in front of Congress after the next election to right all these wrongs?

  •  What I don't understand ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Isn't it a flaw in the constitution if the Congress depends for its enforcement powers on the executive?

    How is that a true check and balance of power, if Congress is dependent on the executive's employees to check the executive's abuses of power?

    I think if they want to have a cataclysmic fight to death, they should get one. Seems to me this "loophole" is too huge to just let it live.

    Rather let all the people who rely on that loophole to abuse power drop into the hole. Let them starve in there and die their cataclysmic death.

    I think the American people betray themselves in believing that their constitution is flawless and the best in the world. Someone even said no other constitution has as good provisions for the separation of powers in it than the US constitution.
    I can't believe that anymore.

    "False language, evil in itself, infects the soul with evil." ----Socrates

    by mimi on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 07:21:17 PM PDT

  •  Bush's Game: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jiminy, greenearth


    Divide up the nation into two teams, rich and poor.

    Keep reinterpreting the rules, in a way that benefits only your own team.

    Secretly plant members of your own team among the ranks of the referees.


    Getting away with it.

    "Hello my honey, hello my baby, hello my ragtime gal, send me a kiss by wire, baby my heart's on fire!"

    by Nimbus on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 07:34:56 PM PDT

  •  Add tags...Plus Answer my question please (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Tags: Law, Justice, Impeachment (?)


    Can I persuade people please to add action links and suggested (simple) talking points? [And tag, then, for Action]

    In my somewhat enfeebled state, I feel horrendously slovenly for enjoying reading Daily Kos, learning a great deal......but not doing anything about it.

    Please help make it easier.


  •  I'd say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    crisis is a pretty strong word.

    Since you seem to have garnered a fair corner here, help me out please.

    I don't see a crisis. Tell it to me from your POV please.

    the political strong-arming and contamination of which brought us to this crisis in the first place.


    Every day you ask a question, you save a brain cell. What you choose to do with that brain cell is another matter.

    by pegwinn2 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 08:51:30 PM PDT

  •  no disrespect to kagro x but (0+ / 0-)

    are we to believe cheney is happy the republicans lost the house and senate and that the ag is a punching bag because finally he can undo the watergate decisions? i think such dread is uncalled for. their plan was to be raping social security and selling the great lakes to the saudis by now. they are pretty well fucked instead.

  •  I think this is how it will play out... (0+ / 0-)

    ... After about a week of ratcheting pressure, Bush will likely offer up Gonzo and a few lesser aids to testify under oath.  He will know full-well that Gonzo is done and sacrifing that piece on the chessboard will cost him nothing he hasn't already lost.  In return, he will bargain to keep Rove and the democrats can walk away with a constitutional crisis averted.  Everybody wins, except Gonzo, who gets to "pull a Libby" by perjuring himself into oblivion (to be subsequently pardoned in January 2009) in order to protect his so-called friends.

  •  That's no end game at all (0+ / 0-)

    If he orders the DOJ not to enforce subpoenas, that will trigger impeachment hearings.  The "optics" will be terrible.  And, if people opt to appeal to the SCOTUS instead, the Gitmo cases suggest the Democrats win.

    The Specter amendment was rolled back by an enormous vote.  That alone should tell you what our Senators are hearing from their constituents about this.  The people are not with Bush on this.  He'll drop below 20% overnight if he tries it.

    Support your neighborhood bats.

    by DelRPCV on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 06:42:50 AM PDT

  •  I think I have the framing that will work (0+ / 0-)

    How would this talking point sound? Reid: "Why would Rove be so against putting his hand on a bible? Why would Gonzalez be so against putting his hand on a bible? Why is the president trying so hard to keep his friends' hands off the bible?"

    Just keep using that book against them, the way it should have been used all along.

  •  Avoiding perjury. (0+ / 0-)

    Bush is avoiding his people's committiing perjury.

    Perjury is lying under oath, and he doesn't want them to be under oath.

    One solution for the Congress is to file impeachment charges against Gonzales.

  •  Suggestion for Dems (0+ / 0-)

    In the spirit of compromise, agree to the no transcript thing.  Really.  Don't take/create a transcript, at least not yet.  Instead, without saying anything, simply RECORD THE SESSION.  Do a simple audio recording.  If you want to get fancier, do a audiovisual recording.  In either case, do it without a word to indicate that it is happening...until you are finished with the questions.  Do it cute, like after asking Rove a final question, say, "Hold it, I didn't quite get that last answer.  Play back that last answer please."  And let Rove listen as his answer is played back.  Tell him that they are finished with him for now but if they find any discrepencies between what he said and what they find from other witnesses (that they will go over his recorded testimony) then there will be hell to pay.

    Don't do a transcript.  Do a recording.

    Reichstag fire is to Hitler as 9/11 is to Bush

    by praedor on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 06:02:31 AM PDT

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