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In the wake of the favorable decision in the case of Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives v. Harriet Miers, et al., the Congress has its eye back on the "subpoena power" ball. The court's decision has done more than simply reaffirm that Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten must obey Congressional subpoenas (under penalty of exactly what, we still have not figured out). It may also have emboldened Congressional investigators and shaken loose some other exercises of the subpoena power that were waiting in the wings.

In the House Education and Labor Committee:

U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, today demanded that Charles E.F. Millard, director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, immediately comply with a subpoena served July 16 by turning over documents regarding a report into the agency’s management and governance practices. The U.S. District Court today reaffirmed that the executive branch must comply with congressional subpoenas.

And this, via The Gavel, in the Government Oversight National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee:

Subcommittee Chairman Tierney and Full Committee Chairman Waxman threaten Michael Dominguez, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Defense, with contempt after he reveals that he has ordered Dr. Kaye Whitley of the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office to defy a subpoena to appear

And of course, there's the Judiciary committee's recent vote to hold Karl Rove in contempt for his refusal to comply with their subpoena, but that came before the court's ruling.

But if the action in the committees this week is any indication of a wider reawakening of interest in the subpoena power, things could really break open, sending the full extent of the Bush "administration's" stonewalling of all outside oversight spilling into view at long last.

Just a few weeks ago, there was this, back in Government Oversight:

The chairman of a House committee has warned Attorney General Michael Mukasey he could be held in contempt of Congress if he doesn’t turn over documents from an FBI interview with Vice President Dick Cheney.

Back on June 20th, subscription only Congressional Quarterly reported that:

Panel Chairman Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., is investigating the White House’s role in an EPA decision to bar California from regulating vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. Separately, the panel is investigating the EPA’s decision to set a new smog pollution standard less stringent than what scientific advisers recommended.

Waxman had scheduled a Friday hearing to hold two Bush administration officials in contempt for failing to produce documents he had requested in subpoenas. But he said he would hold off on the contempt vote after learning the White House had invoked executive privilege.

The two officials are Susan Dudley, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget; and EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

There's even growing realization among Bush's Republican shock troops on the Hill that this "administration's" games are endangering their own powers and prerogatives.

Over in the Intelligence Committee, as noted in yesterday's Midday Open Thread, there was this:

In an interview, Hoekstra, the committee's senior Republican, said he told McConnell that he was disgusted with what he described as the Bush administration's continuing effort to undercut any kind of outside oversight.

"This is part of a systemic problem of the administration, and I said I'm not going to take it anymore," Hoekstra said.

This isn't news to Hoekstra's fellow Republican, Dana Rohrabacher (though you won't find either of them doing anything about it):

"The disdain and uncooperative nature that this administration has shown toward Congress... is so egregious that I can no longer assume that it is simply bureaucratic incompetence or isolated mistakes. Rather, I have come to the sad conclusion that this administration has intentionally obstructed Congress’ rightful and constitutional duties."

The fact is that this "administration" has stonewalled dozens of investigations into nearly every department and agency within the executive branch. There are more than a dozen investigative committees and subcommittees in the House alone, and almost all of them could tell you stories about being stonewalled across multiple investigations by the Bush gang. In the Senate, the situation may be even worse, committee and floor rules make it even more difficult to issue and enforce subpoenas. Witness what happened to Senator Barbara Boxer's efforts to chase down EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson:

A vote on the issuance of a subpoena for the draft endangerment finding on global warming emissions rejected at the highest levels in the White House was stymied when Republican members boycotted the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works business meeting, preventing a quorum

And many of you will remember that the Senate Judiciary Committee also has a very old outstanding (and unenforced) subpoena out for Karl Rove, for the defiance of which the committee voted to hold him in contempt. But the Senate has never bothered to have a floor vote to make the contempt official. And how could they? Where would they get the 60 votes to shut down a filibuster of such a resolution?

So, does the Miers ruling mean the dam finally breaks, and a new flood of subpoenas previously bottled up by the uncertainty of the situation are now unleashed?

Unlikely, although such a deluge would constitute the first and only real demonstration of just how obstructionist the "administration" has been, across the board and on every issue. There's been no comprehensive accounting of just how many avenues of inquiry into just how many areas of critical importance to the American people have been thwarted by White House intransigence -- an intransigence that the federal courts have now joined in declaring to be without support in law or precedent. But it's still unlikely.

That's because the Congressional leadership has retained fairly tight control over how many subpoenas are issued, and how far investigators should go in pursuit of their inquiries. It's been part of the overall political strategy that had its origins in not giving rise to any kind of panic or fear of political vindictiveness -- which Republicans promised Americans would be the case if Democrats were returned to the majority -- stemming from the elections of 2006, and which has morphed into the overall political strategy of not giving rise to any kind of panic or fear of political vindictiveness that might stem from the upcoming elections of 2008.

Well, that and the fact that there are probably no more than a few weeks left of active session in the 110th Congress, with both houses in recess for the month of August, and the House still aiming at a September 26th adjournment for the year... so that they can come back home and ask for your votes. No doubt so that they may bring some accountability back to Washington.

That's life. And that's politics. The best we can hope for is that our votes buy us a respite from such overwhelming and dire need for oversight into such basic issues of governance such as, "does the executive branch have to obey the law?" Or, "what if they have to, but they just don't?"

We won't likely be getting any actual answers to those questions before we're all asked to forget about them "for the good of the country." Perhaps we'll enjoy it more than we now think just to have relief from having to ask for a few years.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:25 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Speaking of breaking dams (11+ / 0-)

    is it too much to expect Senate Judiciary to call Mueller onto the carpet immediately and explain how the FBI anthrax investigation could go so wrong as to result in the prime suspect ending up dead? Guys are going to Gitmo for opening a pack of cigarettes, meanwhile the nation's number one domestic terrorist gets time to get his affairs in order? Mueller needs to be brought up on charges. If he's incompetent, he put lives of Americans at risk, if he's the one behind the slow walk of the investigation, he's committed treason.

    •  Iraq, Economy, Justice, & a literal-breaking dam (5+ / 0-)

      in New Orleans---HOW many dams have to break to take action?

      If you are a Democrat, just one real-estate scandal.

      If you are a Republican, apparently it's indefinite.

      The Seminole Democrat
      A blue voice calling from the deep red

      by SemDem on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:35:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did You See COUNTDOWN Last Night? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrblifil, HenryVane, Amber6541

      Keith played footage of Senator McCentury on David Letterman's show just a month after the 9/11 attacks already talking about going into Iraq & trying to put the anthrax stuff on the Iraqis as a reason to go in. I really came close to upchucking.

      "The Use of Unnecessary Violence Has Been Approved." Keith Olbermann

      by CityLightsLover on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:37:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Consider that the administration has redefined (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HenryVane, CityLightsLover, Amber6541

        the Iraqi conflict so that any failure is due to Iraqi incompetence while our Occupation is completely benign.

        In the meantime, viewing a demographic map of Baghdad is stunning as to population shifts and the MSM missed the story that the Sunni Awakening may be coming apart at the seams as the Sunni suddenly figure their American paymasters may cut the dole.

        MSM also missed that it appears the recent terror attacks in India were financed and masterminded by Pakistani intelligence and that Musharraff may have used part of our aid to Pakistan to fund Pushtan fighters (Taliban) fighters in Afghanistan.

        MSM also did not report in Kuwait that Bangladeshi workers went on strike because of not being paid, not being paid for overtime and having to work seven days a week, along with insufficient food rations and being locked up in barracks when not working. Kuwaiti police broke  up demonstrations and jailed 1000 workers in preparation for deportation. We really taught them how democracy works.

        And so it continues as it appears Cheney wanted to dress SEALs as Iranian Revolutionary Guards and stage a Gulf of Tonkin incident so he could go ahead and start shooting and I am not even surprised anymore.

      •  I hope Obama makes ads out of that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrblifil, CityLightsLover

        Let CBS sue to stop him, it would only bring more attention.

        Freedom is in the fight.

        by Troubadour on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:26:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  depending on what the final story is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrblifil, Amber6541

      since the same labs that created the anthrax also analyzed the samples and reported a Saddam link; it was very convenient for the administration to have this secondary panic to propel the nation to war.

  •  You know we are in trouble (9+ / 0-)

    when upholding the Constitution can be branded as "vindictive."


    Not a Cent to those who won't fight torture.

    by not a cent on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:32:34 PM PDT

  •  Watch out, Karl. A sternly worded letter awaits! (10+ / 0-)

    Honestly, what authority does Congress even have if they have to have 60 votes for anything..

    Oh wait, the GOP only had 55 votes from 2004-2006, and got EVERYTHING they fucking wanted.

    God, we are lame.

    The Seminole Democrat
    A blue voice calling from the deep red

    by SemDem on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:32:38 PM PDT

  •  can this decision be appealed to the USSC? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jimdotz, CityLightsLover

    The CONSTITUTION is MY Flag pin

    by KnotIookin on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:33:37 PM PDT

  •  no dam breakage, not with folks who think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    bush, god, and jesus are sort of a unitary entity.

    "The most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chain saws." Edward Abbey

    by timbuck on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:34:03 PM PDT

    •  Disagree slightly, the reason... (0+ / 0-)

      being, I believe rank and file Republicans are starting to understand that if a Bush administration is allowed these powers to defy Congressional oversight, than a Democratic administration would be able to exert the same privleges. What we may be seeing is the realization that the GOP brand has become so damaged by the past eight years that instead of the "permanent majority" they dreamed of, they are fast in danger of becoming a minor party a'la the Whigs.

      Bigotry is the disease of ignorance...Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both. Thomas Jefferson

      by RiverCityMadman on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:24:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  FWIW (12+ / 0-)

    I saw Congressman Conyers today at our protest - he told me to keep an eye on his committee, some interesting stuff is in the works.  Of course I'll believe it when I see it, but will pay extra attention just in case.  

  •  What exactly is the enforcement mechanism (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skid, SemDem, CityLightsLover, Amber6541

    if, as we can safely assume, the DoJ will drag its feet in enforcing the subpoenas?

    •  Defiance by DOJ... (6+ / 0-)

      now puts them in contempt of the federal court as well as of Congress.

      Ultimately, the courts could find themselves in the same boat, though, with enforcement even of contempt of court charges lying in the hands of the executive.

      But for all the fear that the prospect of Congress enforcing its own contempt citations against the executive may have engendered, there's reason to believe the public would be much less shocked by a court seeking to enforce its own contempt orders. People are used to that.

      But as for Congress, the mechanisms currently recognized are inherent contempt, some sort of fiscal punishment through the mechanism of defunding (though that's considerably less powerful as against a lame duck "administration"), and of course, impeachment.

      There are a few other ideas kicking around, though they'd require the passage of a new law (which would doubtless be vetoed by Bush). But in the future, that remedy might be there. And history does suggest that this is a problem that can recur. In that, well, it has.

      •  I had a feeling (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        there wasn't much recourse beyond the court of public opinion. From what you're describing, none of the existing remedies are likely to get results unless the public heat becomes unbearable. That might get Miers into the hearing chamber, but I doubt that Rove will bend to the will of the people.

      •  It's all about the Justice Department. If they (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lurks a lot

        won't do anything, nothing will happen.  I never ever thought I would see the level of corruption in this country that this administration has sunk to.  I never would have thought that not one republican would stand up and condemn what is going on.  When Nixon was impeached there were quite a few republicans who had integrity and stood with democrats to end his administration and he was nothing compared to the Bush administration.  The right rails about the moral decay in our country yet they are rotten to the core.  

  •  Hey! Subverting the Constitution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skid, CityLightsLover

    to a level indistinguishable from treason. We can live with that.

    What's the bet on the Democrats will suddenly show a sense of duty to the Constitution starting in 2009?

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:36:37 PM PDT

    •  I Hope They Do! (0+ / 0-)

      Then, they'll use what power they can to nail GWB's & his ilk's arses to the wall!

      "The Use of Unnecessary Violence Has Been Approved." Keith Olbermann

      by CityLightsLover on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:38:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Procrastination Party. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Why do now what you should have done earlier when you can wait till later or when Hell freezes over to do it?
        Thats party message right there.

        "Its a grave digger's song, Praising God and State. So the Nation can live, So we all can remain as cattle. They demand a sacrifice..." -Flipper

        by Skid on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:57:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Rope-A-Dope Party (0+ / 0-)

          That's how I've characterized our party when I speak out at my county Dem meetings.

          Absolutely no interest in uncovering ANY sort of corruption, etc. When the new congressman we had such hope for - Perlmutter supported the latest FISA cave-IN I knew it's "game-over".

          This system is Completely broken! When the chips-are down - they will NEVER represent our interests, these  is NO courage left anywhere in congress.

          Funny how - FBI Agent Sibel Edmonds name has evaporated from public discourse without any congressional hearings!

          Blind loyalty to self-defeating strategies is equally destructive as working for your enemy.

          by Hiroprotag on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:50:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  No bet on that. (0+ / 0-)

      That would be "old politics"

      Nancy Pelosi is nothing like MY Sicilian grandmother!

      by Anthony Segredo on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:25:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The dam is breaking and this is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CityLightsLover, GreenDog

    only the beginning of a flood of scandal sure to flow from an ever weakening Republican Establishment that is now filled with those facing an impending indictment and those who will scramble to protect their own backs at any cost. It should be delightfully nauseating to watch. On so many levels. But I recomend rationing exposure. for health reasons.

    it tastes like burning...

    by eastvan on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:38:29 PM PDT

  •  I expect cheneys pet monkey to pardon .. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...anyone even close to a courtroom.  He wont let anyone feel the need to turn state witness for the next one up the ladder.  The problem with that is once you have immunity, you cannot plead the fifth since there is no jeopardy.  But there is contempt....Bwahahaha.

    "A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having." --V

    by moondancing on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:40:17 PM PDT

    •  Just ignore his pardons. (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry, he doesn't get to pardon his accomplices for helping him commit treason.  That is indisputably not what pardon powers were put into the Constitution for, and we are not going to allow the Bill of Rights to be destroyed because 'strict constructionist' conservatives interpret the Constitution to mean whatever they feel like.  Let Bush pardon everyone, including himself, and let us then prosecute him anyway.  Let his judges then throw out the undisputable convictions, so that we can then turn him over to the Hague.

      Freedom is in the fight.

      by Troubadour on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:33:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  he'll give 'em a Libby (0+ / 0-)

      Strategic commutations - hell, why not pre-commutations - sidesteps the denial of fifth amendment rights. That's how Scooter was is to this day able to keep withholding information, though convicted of obstructing an investigation into his bosses by withholding information.
      Neat trick, even for a thoroughly corrupt unitary  executive.
      Expect even more gymnastics come January.

      On Liberation Day, 1/20/09, Americans will greet us with flowers and candy

      by kamarvt on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:39:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Only If Democrats Break the Dam (7+ / 0-)

    Dams don't break themselves. Laws don't enforce themselves. Judicial decisions don't enforce themselves.

    If Pelosi's Democrats aren't merely collaborating with Bush's Republicans to completely hollow out all America's government institutions (other than the Unitary Executive) into cartoons with no effect on the real world, they have to act. These decisions and developments merely create the opportunity for the next step. If no one with the power takes the next step, we cannot ever get anywhere.

    So it's up to you now. Here are the House Judiciary Committee members to contact, to pressure for inherent contempt, not the weak and worthless "statutory contempt":

    House Judiciary Committee
    (Democrats) NameDistrictLocal #D.C. #ZIP+4
    John ConyersChair / MI-14(734)675-4084(202)225-512648183-2802
    Howard BermanCA-28(818)994-7200(202)225-469591411-4102
    Rick BoucherVA-9(276)628-1145(202)225-386124210-2839
    Jerrold NadlerNY-8(212)367-7350(202)225-563511224-4561
    Robert ScottVA-3(757)380-1000(202)225-835123607-4333
    Melvin WattNC-12(704)344-9950(202)225-151028208-5214
    Zoe LofgrenCA-16(408)271-8700(202)225-307295112-5162
    Sheila Jackson LeeTX-18(713)655-0050(202)225-381677002-8028
    William DelahuntMA-10(508)771-0666(202)225-311102601-3128
    Robert WexlerFL-19(561)988-6302(202)225-300133431-6344
    Linda SanchezCA-39(562)860-5050(202)225-667690703-2694
    Steve CohenTN-9(901)544-4131(202)225-326538103-1816
    Hank JohnsonGA-4(770)987-2291 (202)225-160530058-4104
    Luis GutierrezIL-4(773)384-1655(202)225-820360647-4841
    Brad ShermanCA-28(818)501-9200(202)225-591191403-1791
    Anthony WeinerNY-9(718)520-9001(202)225-661611415-3605
    Adam SchiffCA-29(626)304-2727(202)225-417691103-3966
    Artur DavisAL-7(205)254-1960(202)225-266535203-4014
    Debbie Wasserman SchultzFL-20(954)437-3936(202)225-793133180-2403
    Tammy BaldwinWI-2(608)258-9800(202)225-290653703-5103
    Keith EllisonMN-5(612)522-1212(202)225-475555411-3675
    Maxine WatersCA-35(323)757-8900(202)225-220190003-4597
    (Republicans) NameDistrictLocal #D.C. #ZIP+4
    Lamar S. SmithRanking / TX-21(512)306-0439(202)225-423678746-5474
    Jim SensenbrennerWI-5(262)784-1111(202)225-510153005-6294
    Howard CobleNC-6(336)333-5005(202)225-306527408-5100
    Elton GalleglyCA-24(805)497-2224(202)225-581191361-3018
    Bob GoodlatteVA-6(540)432-2391(202)225-543122802-3707
    Steve ChabotOH-1(513)684-2723(202)225-221645202-2821
    Dan LungrenCA-3(916)859-9906(202)225-571695670-6307
    Chris CannonUT-3(801)851-2500(202)225-775184601-4424
    Ric KellerFL-8(407)872-1962(202)225-217632801-2046
    Darrell IssaCA-49(760)599-5000(202)225-390692081-7515
    Mike PenceIN-6 (765)640-2919(202)225-302146016-1713
    Randy ForbesVA-4(757)382-0080(202)225-636523320-5178
    Steve KingIA-5(641)782-2495(202)225-442651503-0817
    Tom FeeneyFL-24(407)208-1106(202)225-270632129-4144
    Trent FranksAZ-2(623)776-7911(202)225-457685308-8559
    Louie GohmertTX-1(903)236-8597(202)225-303575961-4807
    Jim JordanOH-4(419)522-5757(202)225-267644902-1243

    Here are the House Rules Committee members with contacts:

    House Rules Committee
    (Democrats) NameDistrictLocal #D.C. #ZIP+4
    Louise SlaughterChair / NY-28(716)853-5813(202)225-361514203-1713
    James McGovernMA-03(508)831-7356(202)225-610101608-2424
    Alcee HastingsFL-23(954)733-2800(202)225-131333311-1388
    Doris MatsuiCA-05(916)498-5600 (202)225-7163 95814-7305
    Dennis CardozaCA-18(209)527-1914(202) 225-613195354-0859
    Peter WelchVT-AL(202)225-5126(802)652-245005401-8438
    Kathy CastorFL-11(813)871-2817(202)225-337633607-6400
    Michael ArcuriNY-24(315)252-2777(202)225-366513021-4040
    Betty SuttonOH-13(330)865-8450(202)225-340144313-7004
    (Republicans) NameDistrictLocal #D.C. #ZIP+4
    David DrierRanking / CA-26(909)575-6226(202)225-230591773-1254
    Lincoln Diaz-BalartFL-21(305)470-8555(202)225-421133166-4535
    Doc HastingsWA-04(509)543-9396(202)225-581699301-3386
    Pete SessionsTX-32(972)392-0505(202)225-223175251-1214

    Capitol Switchboard Toll-Free Numbers

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

    by DocGonzo on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:40:47 PM PDT

    •  How to Distribute Those Contact Lists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I use Firefox, so all I have to do to post that House Judiciary / Rules committe contact list is find my old posts of it, and spend about 30 seconds doing the following simple steps:

      1. Then select all the text of the whole post, from the subject line down to my .sig line (including both to be sure).
      1. Then right-click the selection, which shows a context menu that includes "View Selection Source", which I then left click.
      1. That opens a window with the HTML of that selection highlighted. Which I then copy with Control-C, or right-click then selecting "Copy" from the menu.
      1. Then I go back to the page where I'm posting it, open a new post, paste into it.
      1. I clean it up: delete any extra subject and .sig lines and their tags, and the <BR> HTML tags beginning each of the switchboard (800) number lines.
      1. Then I edit it appropriate to the new comment, and post it.
      1. (I then close the window with the HTML source I copied.)

      That's it. Takes about 30 seconds or less with a little practice.

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

      by DocGonzo on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:46:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hoekstra is a Liar.... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    panicbean, Skid, sravaka, MrJersey, lurks a lot

    I was at the 4th of July Parade not long ago--people were booing him and throwing their candy at him.

    He has stood up for Bush, the war, ignore environmental issues and was delusional about the unemployment problem in his counties for years. It is catching up to him. Now he is talking about the Bush Regime---now that the peasants are carrying pitchforks and torches.

    I think the folks in the Administration are laughing at Congress. What will Congress do, arrest them? They don't care mostly because they have the perception most of the country doesn't care. Hope that isn't to cynical.  I want to be hopeful!

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who....never learned how to walk forward.-FDR

    by vassmer on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:41:51 PM PDT

  •  What we need is Judge William Price! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paige, Skid, mmiddle, lurks a lot

    After entering her plea, the judge asked Shaw, "Mamn, what were you doing at the Wakonda Country Club?"

    "I was attempting to make a citizen's arrest of Karl Rove, your honor," Shaw answered.

    "Well," the judge looked up and said, "it's about time."

    Damn straight!

    Otherwise, I hold no hope of ever seeing justice done.

    Good feet giving up good boots.

    by panicbean on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:41:53 PM PDT

  •  Keep at it!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Lawyer 'em to death!  Get those documents!  Get those e-mails!  Get that testimony!  Ask the TOUGH questions!

    The Democrats should not fear anything.  The people WANT THIS!  We want our government back!  We want our government to work proactively on behalf of the citizenry.  Regulators should... regulate!

  •  Its politics because we let it be politics. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    No Sept. 26th recess as far as I am concerned.
    Get back to work.

    "Its a grave digger's song, Praising God and State. So the Nation can live, So we all can remain as cattle. They demand a sacrifice..." -Flipper

    by Skid on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:52:39 PM PDT

  •  any chance that Chris Carney (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    or Joe Lieberman will host an investigation on the anthrax thing?  Maybe subpoena some FBI files?

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:54:36 PM PDT

  •  Oh..well..maybe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    disclosure...but you can bet ole Nancy and John will say.."yeah looks like there was criminality in the BushCo administration, after all"...."but its just to late to do any thing about it, now"... ever time I see Pelosi or Conyers, I get a picture in my head of the three little monkey's..."see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil"

  •  Aint' taking the bait (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There's been no comprehensive accounting of just how many avenues of inquiry into just how many areas of critical importance to the American people have been thwarted by White House intransigence

    Just spent way too long looking at how petty the Repugs in the House have gotten over something as monumental as approving the Journal. Gomert and Tancredo have not broken form--Present.

    It will start with a trickle. Catch a big fish with minnow. Do I remember Stupak complaining about documents?  Boxer could not get any Republicans to show for the Johnson subpoena vote on the 25th. I was hoping the Warner and Voinivich would come to their senses.

    You are right in that Rohrabacher shows disdain in committee meetings, but then nothing. Hoesktra would probably be different tomorrow if he were on FOX.

    Remember what Cheney was doing post Watergate, fighting the loss of executive power. In Bush he saw the vessel for Restoration.

    •  Probably. (0+ / 0-)

      The House Science Committee's oversight subcommittee has had a lot of trouble with this "administration," more than it's share, probably.

      Which is why you see its chairman, Brad Miller, involved in the fight over subpoenas and contempt, even though that committe hasn't issued any itself.

  •  If Dems were smart (0+ / 0-)

    they'd wait til AFTER Jan 20, 2009 so shrub has no chance of issuing pardons.

    Of course we run the risk of the Dems losing their spine once Jan 20, 2009 comes around.  

  •  Who here (0+ / 0-)

    thinks American voters have a say in their national government?

    thinks American voters today care about American history?

    thinks American voters today understand the issues facing them and their offspring?

    My point:  Go study the JFK assassination.  Study it.  Then come back with your report.

    Thanks for the platform.

  •  What government? 3 branches = 4 branches now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and only that 4th branch is the decider of all things including compliance or non-compliance. . . We know all's well in the underground bunkers in which laughter lingers after counting out and distributing billions of our tax dollars to the loyal.

  •  duh (0+ / 0-)

    The Republican love of "unitary executive" is going to completely disappear quickly as soon as a Democrat wins the White House. I only OKIFYAR.

    It's no surprise that cracks are opening in that facade 5 months in advance... all too little too late for an accountability moment for Bush/Cheney.

    Just wait and see... the Congressional Dems will show huge backbone when it comes to disagreeing with anything progressive Pres. Obama attempts.

  •  Maybe a bit (0+ / 0-)

    But I doubt we're going to see any kind of flood of indictments now because it's an election year...

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:02:41 PM PDT

  •  It's too late for this Congress, which will (0+ / 0-)

    ultimately be viewed as complicitous with the Bush Administration.

  •  new AP headline below (0+ / 0-)

    After suicide, feds consider closing anthrax case

    headline to be cut and pasted for all investigations for months to come:

    After _______, ________ consider closing _______ case

  •  Is there any way to remove Nancy Pelosi as (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Speaker and chief obstructionist in the House before the end of the session?  IMHO, she's the one American (?) standing in the way of the one branch of government that can bring the criminals in our White House to justice.  

    For Nancy Pelosi, it's all about elections.  Rule of law be damned.  But, Nancy, without laws why should anyone pay their taxes, which pay your salary?  Oh.  Right.  Only the LITTLE people have to obey this country's laws.  BIG people like Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Rice, Gonzales, Ashcroft, Mukasey, et al can get away with whatever they choose.

    Damn.  I sure do miss my country.


    •  It's a vote behind the caucus doors (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We only know about the results, and as citizens can only have any input as to what party is in the majority.

      She is street smart from her days in Baltimore.

      If you want your Dem Congress critter to not vote for her then you have to tell them that to their face during this recess.

  •  The GOP may well have shot themselves in the foot (0+ / 0-)

    on this one..if no one is punished for breaking the laws and we just "move on" the next administration and it will probably a Democrat, with a clear democratic majority in Congress..the GOP will be laughing out the other side of their mouths...when Karma comes punishment, no laws both ways..

    •  Maybe. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But if so, they appear to have a lot of feet to spare.

      They shot one in Watergate. They shot another in Iran-Contra. And now they've shot a third.

      For a party that's now shooting itself in its third foot, they've done pretty well, holding the White House for 28 of the 40 years since the administration that perpetrated Watergate, and even holding Congress for 12 of those years.

      They may just keep shooting.

    •  INOKIYAD (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Martha

      Doesn't matter if there's dem majority or not (there will be):

      1. Obama won't abuse presidential power like these guys.
      1. Dems would turn on him in a second if he did.
      1. Repubs will scream "rule of law!!" on 1/21/09 over SOMETHING (or nothing). And they won't stop, ever.
      1. Media narrative will aid in rewriting the past, and hound the next president mercilessly.

      I wish it were otherwise, but these years have shown how rigged this whole thing is.

      On Liberation Day, 1/20/09, Americans will greet us with flowers and candy

      by kamarvt on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:46:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't (0+ / 0-)

    hold your breath folks.

  •  Constitution Requires Amending to Enable (0+ / 0-)

    a future criminal executive branch to be prosecuted, so that the branch no longer has the ability to decline to enforce laws and court decisions on itself.

    You're right, there is nothing at all to be done about the Bush Administation. We have them for the ages.

    You can't govern a superpower in the information age on the honor system. Balances require checks.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:18:43 PM PDT

    •  There was a reason for the District (0+ / 0-)

      It was established to keep any state's police powered from disrupting the seat of the national government.

      The Congress gave  up some of its power to DOJ for subpoenas and up until now after haggling they were enforced. This stonewalling as John Dean put it is Worse Than Watergate.

      After they have left office they are just citizens. There is no lifetime immunity, unless Bush does some  gross pardon "thingy".

      Amending the Constitution is harder than even getting one damn law out of the Senate. Don't go there.

    •  Problem is when you have a anarchy party (0+ / 0-)

      in Congress; remember Newt and his damage or DeLay or imagine if the GOP had been able to criminally prosecute the Clintons?

      Solving yesterday's problems causes tomorrow's headaches.

    •  all that's required is balls (0+ / 0-)

      The Congress has the power of inherent contempt and the power to impeach. Period. End of story.

  •  Double-secret probation! (0+ / 0-)

    Freedom is in the fight.

    by Troubadour on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:21:38 PM PDT

  •  I for one will be extremely disappointed if a new (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    democratic administration doesn't have a full Justice Department investigation into all the allegations of illegalities and obstructions of this administration.  The anthrax scare alone should merit a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of why there were four independent sources as to the characteristics of those spores which supposedly pointed to Saddam Hussein when there was no such evidence.  That the targets were "liberal" newsmen and the democratic leader of the senate and that the main suspect committed suicide is very very suspicious to me.

  •  As for needing a 60 vote majority in order to (0+ / 0-)

    invoke cloture, I would like just one time (ok, many times) to see Harry "Spineless" Reid make the damn Republicans filibuster. Let's see how long they last. Here's what I'd like to see altogether: make the Republicans filibuster for the rest of this Senate and into the next Senate and for two years while this country literally goes down the toilet, then have President Barack Obama campaign for a better Congress in 2010, calling this Congress the "do-nothing" Congress. It worked for Truman. At that point, the Republicans will be so politically bankrupt and exposed for the seditious assholes they are, they will go the way of the Whigs. Since the GOP is really a crime syndicate at this point, it would be doing the country a favor to see them crawl back under their rocks.

    For some stupid reason that I can not fathom, Democrats are afraid of filibusters, probably because it doesn't conveniently fit into the news cycle or be explainable in a soundbite. At this point, the Democrats are complicit in the emasculation of Congress, and show no signs of changing their strategy.

    -7.25/-6.41 Consumerism is the disease that allows the ruling classes to thrive; therefore, not buying is a small but necessary first act of rebellion.

    by sravaka on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:29:57 PM PDT

    •  House Republicans showed you yesterday... (0+ / 0-)

      what Senate Republicans would do with the opportunity to stage a live filibuster.

      "Free national TV time to say whatever I want about Democrats and no one will stop me? Thanks!"

      •  And how many people are gonna watch? Particularly (0+ / 0-)

        if they filibuster day after day. People won't listen to that crap for very long. Trust me, I'm in marketing. Well, you don' have to trust me, just trust human nature. TV is inherently boring, and listening to speeches that go on and on are even more boring. Besides C-Span, no TV station would play more than a snippet if they want decent ratings. In fact, I hope that Fox News shows gavel-to-gavel coverage of any filibuster; that should finish them.

        -7.25/-6.41 Consumerism is the disease that allows the ruling classes to thrive; therefore, not buying is a small but necessary first act of rebellion.

        by sravaka on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 05:03:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They don't all tune in at once. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm in marketing, too. And the reality is that if you have no choice but to run that show, people will wander by it at some point regardless of who else may have  lost interest in it before them. Everyone's watching pretty much in isolation, so there's no opportunity for them to find out that Joe Smith lost interest an hour ago, nor any reason for them to care that he did.

          But even by your own description, what we're looking at here is still a situation in which no TV station tells anyone that Republicans are blocking anything, and anyone who happens to wander by C-SPAN at any hour of the day or night will be treated to uncut, uninterrupted Democrat-bashing.

          I must be missing the win in this scenario. Maybe you can explain it to me.

          •  I don't think you get the meta-story here. (0+ / 0-)

            As these filibusters go on and America goes down the toilet with the economy, with inflation rising, houses foreclosed, jobs being lost, the dollar becoming worthless, the Republicans are going to look stupid and petty. I think people get it. They already do. No TV station is going to play  little more than snippets, even if they support the Republicans because it is a ratings loser. AND the TV stations are going to have to talk about what the Republicans are filibustering. At some point, some Republicans (the ones who like getting re-elected) are going to have to break ranks with Mr. 28% and with Mr. Flip-Flop McNasty and invoke cloture.

            Remember when the Republicans tried to hold the budget hostage and force the US Government to close and Clinton double-dared them? They didn't win that round at all. They looked stupid and petty. When the Republicans play to the public (like the Clinton impeachment hearings), they don't win because they ARE the minority party in truth. The Democrats, what can i say, don't play poker very well or at all. The best they seem able to do is play Goldfish or Old Maid. Sigh.

            -7.25/-6.41 Consumerism is the disease that allows the ruling classes to thrive; therefore, not buying is a small but necessary first act of rebellion.

            by sravaka on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:28:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I forgot to mention that once cloture is invoked, (0+ / 0-)

              that whole "you need 60 votes to pass anything" will be so over. Just that will make it be worth it to go through this legislative hell just to clear that Harry Reid bullshit up.

              -7.25/-6.41 Consumerism is the disease that allows the ruling classes to thrive; therefore, not buying is a small but necessary first act of rebellion.

              by sravaka on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:31:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  But Obama IS a poker play; McCain CRAPS (0+ / 0-)

              Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

              by CA Berkeley WV on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:42:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  No TV station... (0+ / 0-)

              except the one that's contractually obligated to broadcast the proceedings on the Senate floor whenever they occur, 24/7 if necessary, and that's carried by every cable system in the country: C-SPAN2.

              As for cloture, if it's invoked, it will have required the same 60 votes you just said would be "so over."

              I think it's you who might be missing the story, meta or otherwise.

              •  I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. eom. (0+ / 0-)

                -7.25/-6.41 Consumerism is the disease that allows the ruling classes to thrive; therefore, not buying is a small but necessary first act of rebellion.

                by sravaka on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:40:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's your prerogative. (0+ / 0-)

                  But the Columbia Journalism Review says 22 million people watch the C-SPAN channels each week.

                  So I'll agree to stand by my claim that millions of people would tune in to watch Republicans bash Democrats, because they already do, and you'll agree that the numbers are lies and nobody watches.

                  That suits me fine. You?

                  •  There are 3 C-Span channels; we are talking about (0+ / 0-)

                    only one of those channels. I watch C-Span alot, so i think i have a handle on this. People who watch C-Span are watching interviews with writers (I love that part of the channel), the interview shows in the morning, the campaign stump speeches and town hall meetings, as well as what would be the droning on and on of a filibuster.

                    A filibuster speech is not like a regular speech, the speaker has to pace him or herself to talk for a while. Not much emotion attached to that kind of speechifying. I watch C-Span quite a lot, and would tune that out in favor of the other C-Span channels, so no, I don't agree with your figures. If even one million people watched a filibuster, I'd be amazed: it's like watching paint dry.

                    -7.25/-6.41 Consumerism is the disease that allows the ruling classes to thrive; therefore, not buying is a small but necessary first act of rebellion.

                    by sravaka on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 11:57:30 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Waiting so they can't be pardoned? (0+ / 0-)

    If they're charged after Bush is out he won't be able to pardon them, right? Seems like that'd be the wise thing to do to me...

    We should just be patient, I guess.

    •  Charged with what? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Contempt of Congress?

      They're in contempt of the 110th Congress. After Bush leaves the White House, they'll be the 111th Congress. No subpoenas, no contempt citations, nothing.

      •  Don't rain on the parade (0+ / 0-)

        You have to leave some fantasy of hope with the peons out here in the trenches.

        I know about the clock and number of Congress "thingy", to use a technical term.

        Charged with breaking the law, that's what all the huddled masses want. The Doris Day people in Iowa had a creative idea.

        But first steps first.

        Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

        by CA Berkeley WV on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 05:07:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not rain, it's light. (0+ / 0-)

          If you leave that out there, it'll be offered to people by their Representatives if they ever get the chance to question them on the subject in person.

          That's the escape clause, and it's a red herring. And every one of them knows there's a 99% chance that anyone they talk to doesn't know that, and they'll pull it out as their first line of defense.

          My whole reason for blogging is arming people to recognize, parry and push past those kind of responses.

  •  More sound and fury from the tree monkeys... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sravaka, Aunt Martha

    ...but none will leave the tree to face the tiger.

    Pelosi, Reid and their capitulation crew have never failed to disappointment me yet with their trembling weakness in the face of republcan bluster.

    Maybe we'll have a leadership in congress to be proud of one day- but that day hasn't arrived yet.

  •  Yes, yes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of course they are regaining their taste for oversight just in time for an Obama administration. If Republicans were any more transparent we wouldn't be able to see them at all.

    Some say we need a third party. I wish we had a second party. -- Jim Hightower

    by joe m on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:35:47 PM PDT

  •  well I'm sure Congress will get right on that (0+ / 0-)

    This sounds like a job for the Senate's Governmental Affairs Committee, whose chairman, Joe Lieberman, will undoubtedly press a full investigation.

    "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

    by Delirium on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:38:03 PM PDT

  •  This all looks like the wheels (0+ / 0-)

    ready to come off the neocon wagon. However, my interest is more than a little piqued after following the "isn't news" link above. It lead me to Dana Rohrabacher's floor speech which was actually given on Feb 26, 2008 and contained

    "The disdain and uncooperative nature that this administration has shown toward Congress... is so egregious that I can no longer assume that it is simply bureaucratic incompetence or isolated mistakes. Rather, I have come to the sad conclusion that this administration has intentionally obstructed Congress’ rightful and constitutional duties."

    Reading more of Rep Rohrabacher's speech it seems to be primarily speculation about links between the Federal Building in Oklahoma City bombing and al Qaeda's terrorist leader Ramsey Yousef.

    In the last Congress, I was chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In that capacity, I learned that in the time immediately leading up to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, convicted Oklahoma City bomber and murderer Terry Nichols had been in Cebu City in the Philippines. His stay in Cebu City coincided with another visitor to that city, al Qaeda's terrorist leader Ramsey Yousef. Interestingly, both Nichols and Yousef used similar bombs and methods just 2 years apart to blow up two American targets. Yousef was the mastermind of the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Nichols was a co-conspirator in the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995.

    What is going on here?

    I'm Ron Shepston and I'm not done yet. There's much left to accomplish.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:40:49 PM PDT

  •  As others have said (0+ / 0-)

    I doubt much will change.  Congress can issue all the subpoenas it wants, but unless it is willing to enforce them, it doesn't seem to me that they're worth any more than the paper the Constitution is printed on.

    However, if Obama does win, watch the Republicans suddenly rediscover what a marvelous document that Constitution actually is.  And how invaluable the paper it is printed on is as well.

  •  Hands (0+ / 0-)

    The cowardly Republicans in that sexaual assault hearing video can't seem to talk without looking at their hands. Pathetic. Anti-leaders they are.
    Scared children look at their hands when they talk.

    RIP USA, July 9, 2008

    by plok on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 04:56:30 PM PDT

  •  The Good of the Country (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They can forget about having me forget about it. Screw that. Holding these people accountable to the fullest extent of the law is what's good for the country.

    Our Democrats must have been born stupid. Who could have come up with a policy where the first thing you do is put away all your weapons, unilaterally disarm and then ask the Republicans politely to work with you?

    Here's the right strategy, the strategy they should have been pursuing all along:

    They should have made it clear to the White House that even slight resistance would put impeachment for Cheney, and then Bush, on the fast track. Then they should have made it clear that they would cut off funds for anything the White House cherished (including the war) unless they got their way on everything of importance. Then they should have sent over subpoenas for all the important matters and done a thorough investigation. Meanwhile, they should have put up a timetable on withdrawing from Iraq, with a special vote of Congress needed to alter it. Then they should have put every bill that the White House and the Republicans wanted on hold and told them they would have to compromise on everything in order to get anything.

    By now, they would have been in a position to charge most of these people with crimes. They could have been working all the evidence through committee hearings during the whole election season. Probably we would have never gotten to an actual impeachment, but we'd be in position to charge them with federal felonies when they left office, and that would have been a better outcome, in many cases.

    But no, we've got weak-minded people who want to play ball with the Republicans while the puppet-masters behind those Republicans destroy democracy, loot the treasury, and tilt the economic table so that all the cash rolls down hill into their pockets.

    No one better talk to me about "the good of the country" if what they want is to let these people off the hook. Only criminals let criminals off the hook.

    •  Think about what you just said. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking, nagamaki

      Only criminals let criminals off the hook.

      The Democrats also have their begging bowls out to many of the same corporations and Wall Street Investment Houses that the Republicans do. Times have changed and the Democratic Party is not the same party your parents voted for. Why do you think many Democrats, although thankfully not all, support "Free Trade" and pass bad laws like the Bankruptcy Act and the FISA bill. As Kojak used to say, "Who loves you, baby?" Apparently, they don't think it's us.

      I'm hoping that Barack Obama has the smarts of LBJ in knowing how to get his party to move in his direction, rather than having to go along with the doyens of the Washington permanent government crowd for some bullshit high-level electoral strategy which prevents anything real from getting done.

      But if Barack does the business as usual thingie, and lets 'bygones be bygones,' I'm not sure elections will be worth the effort to steal them in the future. Might as well have a very big block party and raise hell.

      -7.25/-6.41 Consumerism is the disease that allows the ruling classes to thrive; therefore, not buying is a small but necessary first act of rebellion.

      by sravaka on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 05:24:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  if Barack does the business as usual thingie (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Liberal Thinking

        It’s really hard to imagine a worse person on whom Obama could be relying as a legal adviser, let alone a potential Supreme Court nominee, and here is what Fein had to say about Sunstein’s view of things:

        more ...

        When a Republican raises the alarm that Dems are NOT upholding there end of the bargain, you just know we are in for a whole lot of trouble ahead.

        •  Ah, Jane Hamsher is solid gold. Videos very good. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Liberal Thinking, nagamaki

          Like I said, if Barack thinks that we will go along with letting bygones be bygones, he has a serious problem.

          We should have impeached Reagan over Iran-Contra, when Congress apparently gave up protecting its constitutional turf. If we did, we wouldn't be having these problems now. (And by the way, that whole Teflon President thing was a media confabulation--Reagan had the lowest approval ratings by the end of his terms of any sitting president, except for Mr. 28%.

          We should impeach Bush. And if we don't prosecute the Bush crime family in the next administration, we will have these same problems plaguing the Republic continually forever. It will be time to implement the Jeffersonian model of generational revolution.

          -7.25/-6.41 Consumerism is the disease that allows the ruling classes to thrive; therefore, not buying is a small but necessary first act of rebellion.

          by sravaka on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:14:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Will the Dam Break? (0+ / 0-)

    I think you mean, will the Ex-Lax finally unplug the colonic blockage and release 7 years of odorous undigested crap all over the place?

    The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by easong on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 05:15:03 PM PDT

  •  question: (0+ / 0-)

    -how many people have defied congressional subpoenas since 2004?

    -were any of them compelled to come later?


    -doesn't congress have a little jail in the basement for these people?  I know there are capital police.

    Every day that these go unenforced is a day that the legislative branch weakens in comparison to the other branches.  They have to do something...are they waiting for 2009?  Or what?  

  •  The ultimate sanction (0+ / 0-)

    (under penalty of exactly what, we still have not figured out)

    Their wives will see each other at some Embassy party on Massachusetts Avenue and they won't speak to each other.

    Don't you know anything about Washington?

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