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Guevara With a Sweet Southern Tan
July 20, 2007 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Do the Coup D'etat. The White House has made the Constitutional Crisis official: the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges against an official invoking executive privilege -- even if it's blatantly illegal.
posted by spiderwire (299 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Surely ...
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:53 AM on July 20, 2007


Don't call me Shirley.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 8:54 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


TIme for action
posted by parmanparman at 8:54 AM on July 20, 2007


Unbelieveable.
posted by BeerGrin at 8:55 AM on July 20, 2007


Marty Lederman also explains why this essentially cuts Senate enforcement off at the knees -- the only person with standing to bring suit against Harriet Miers or anyone else is a US Attorney, and by forbidding them from doing so, well... there's no other course of action to prosecute for contempt, so Congress can do nothing.
posted by spiderwire at 8:57 AM on July 20, 2007


July 20th, 2007. The day the President declared himself exempt from all American Law.

We shouldn't talk about this, though. Its PoliticsFilter, after all.
posted by Avenger at 8:57 AM on July 20, 2007


now what? can it be revolution times yet? can we put backs against walls? pretty please?
posted by Mach5 at 8:58 AM on July 20, 2007


LOLZCONSTITUTION
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:58 AM on July 20, 2007 [8 favorites]


I was just thinking of this possibility the other day. For an actual military removal of W, it would take some combination of him invoking executive privilege to postpone the elections (terrorist are in the ballot boxes!) and some really pissed off generals and Secret Service commanders.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:59 AM on July 20, 2007


INHERENT CONTEMPT POWER!
posted by grobstein at 9:01 AM on July 20, 2007


You ultraleft demmycraps will stop at nothing to weaken and attack the executive branch. I bet your pals in Al Qaeda are cheering and hi fiving each other over this mefi post.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:02 AM on July 20, 2007


[sorry, been reading LGF again]
posted by fleetmouse at 9:02 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


"U.S. attorneys are emanations of a president's will."

Ew.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:02 AM on July 20, 2007


Write your representative. Now do it again.

Seriously, this is the same old trick Reagan made popular: "You can pass any law you wish, but you can't make me enforce it."

This will continue until people demand a change. So demand a change.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:03 AM on July 20, 2007


Look. I'm as conservative as the next guy, but isn't someone going to challenge this already? It's just like the Supreme Court - the Constitution doesn't give SCOTUS the duty of interpreting the Constitution, they just up and decided it was something to add to the job description. And no one ever called them on it.

That seems to have turned out ok.

This one, however, I have doubts about. Any Democrats around? Angry Republicans? Someone with half a brain? Call him out. Somewhere down the line, you'll be thanked. If not because of Bush, then because of whoever gets elected 15 years down the line.

Remember kids, whatever Bush gets, the next President gets too.
posted by niles at 9:04 AM on July 20, 2007


Congress can simply start impeachment proceedings. I don't think he'd get far with the "executive privilege" excuse if he tried withholding evidence from an impeachment trial.
posted by rocket88 at 9:05 AM on July 20, 2007


Why is our "democracy" looking more and more like a game of Calvinball?
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 9:05 AM on July 20, 2007 [20 favorites]


...when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future...
posted by pantsonfire at 9:06 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Dear Congress: He's been laughing in your face for six years! IIIIMMMMMPPPPPEEEAAAACCCHHH. THEN THROW THE FUCKER IN JAIL.

(I fully expect all my assets to be seized tomorrow for saying that.)
posted by fungible at 9:06 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where the hell are those crazy Michigan Militia's when you need them!?
posted by milarepa at 9:06 AM on July 20, 2007


So, when the US Attorney for DC fails to bring the charges sought by the Senate, then what? Does the Senate hold the US Attorney in contempt (and if so, who prosecutes that)? Is there some jujitsu move?
posted by adamrice at 9:07 AM on July 20, 2007


consider me utterly shocked. if these guys were caught red handed having a bukkake with babies it wouldn't even raise my eyebrow.
posted by andywolf at 9:08 AM on July 20, 2007


INHERENT CONTEMPT POWER!

Leahy's already pointed out that the civil contempt powers exempt executive subpoenas, which pretty much ends the second two options discussed here. The first option is the US Attorney, and, well...

This really is a complete clusterfuck of massive proportions.
posted by spiderwire at 9:09 AM on July 20, 2007


Congress can simply start impeachment proceedings. I don't think he'd get far with the "executive privilege" excuse if he tried withholding evidence from an impeachment trial.

No, that's the point -- the invocation of "executive privilege" with Miers was already illegal. To bring a contempt charge, Congress has to turn to the US Attorney, b/c they're the only person with standing to bring the charge in court. If the US Attorneys won't do it, there's no way to prosecute for it.
posted by spiderwire at 9:11 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


This along with the new exec order seizing assets of anyone they want pretty much seals the deal.
posted by amberglow at 9:12 AM on July 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'm speechless. This is like some end-of-days law school hypothetical-- where your professor blows your mind with the reductio ad absurdem of an untenable position. But it's real.
posted by kosem at 9:13 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Inherent contempt to keep Fred Fielding distracted, then hit them with impeachment. That will allow Luke to get in close enough to hit the reactor core.
posted by DU at 9:13 AM on July 20, 2007 [9 favorites]


Both chambers also have an "inherent contempt" power, allowing either body to hold its own trials and even jail those found in defiance of Congress. Although widely used during the 19th century, the power has not been invoked since 1934 and Democratic lawmakers have not displayed an appetite for reviving the practice.
posted by NationalKato at 9:15 AM on July 20, 2007 [7 favorites]


"We shouldn't talk about this, though. Its PoliticsFilter, after all."

The content of this thread suggests that politics does not provoke our very best discussions here on the blue. Flagged.
posted by LarryC at 9:21 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


TLL: It's always been calvinball. It's just showing more now than it usually does.

More accurately, it's a giant game of Nomic.

It's just waiting for someone to slip through a law about victory conditions.
posted by Arturus at 9:22 AM on July 20, 2007


I'm tend to agree with Malor and DU here, dios, as I just mentioned -- the essential issue is that the White House is refusing the bring contempt charges, which hamstrings Congress wholly and completely. It's not particularly complicated.

Also, I dispute your claim that I was blatantly editorializing in my post -- the White House has, in fact, forbidden the USAs to prosecute for contempt any official claiming executive privilege, even if blatantly illegal. What about that constitutes editorializing?

Additionally, I did link to some more "nuanced" discussions (I am not a law professor -- nor are you -- so my analysis is potentially more misleading than my supposed "editorializing") for those wishing to investigate more deeply.
posted by spiderwire at 9:23 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, Cheney will be Pres temporarily soon while Bush gets a colonoscopy--i betcha he does something then too--some exec order or other shit.
posted by amberglow at 9:25 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


A colonoscopy for Bush? What are they hoping to find, his head?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:26 AM on July 20, 2007 [31 favorites]


Where the hell are those crazy Michigan Militia's when you need them!?

They're all on free republic, laughing their asses off. You didn't expect these people to be principled did you?

Well shit, there has been 30 comments without a single person discussing the actual issue here and merits/problems thereof, so why would I derail conversation by discussing the topic or anything that Lederman said?

The merits? Are you kidding me? People behave like criminals, and we should sit around and discuss the "merits"? Fuck that. I mean really, we don't sit around and have high-minded discussion about issues like child molestation and the "merits" thereof, why should we have high-minded discussion about constitutional molestation?

Look, if it was up to me, I would just impeach him. Not tomorrow, today. If he won't comply with congressional supena, then congress should declare him in contempt, and consider that a crime and impeach (both him and Cheney)

The problem, of course, is that you need a supermajority in the senate to actually impeach. In fact, 66 votes, not the normal 60 needed to break a filibuster.

But yeah, congress should cut of all federal funding until bush and Cheney resign.
posted by delmoi at 9:26 AM on July 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


30 comments without a single person discussing the actual issue here and merits/problems thereof

From my read of the article, once the president has invoked executive privilege, he absolves himself and his administration of any legal recourse by the Justice Department.

Merits: It openly demonstrates that this administration believes that it is above the law, if there was a question about this before, there isn't one now.

Problems: It openly demonstrates that this administration believes that it is above the law. Perhaps we, as a country, can show them that this is not the case.
posted by quin at 9:27 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The content of this thread suggests that politics does not provoke our very best discussions here on the blue. Flagged.

One day, when the President (any President!) declares martial law, outlaws dissent and jails the opposition in Congress, somebody will make an FPP about it here on the Blue, and somebody, somebody will say "Meh. grind grind grind. Flagged."

Flag the goddamn President, please.
posted by Avenger at 9:27 AM on July 20, 2007 [33 favorites]


Can anyone clarify the connection between this snafu and the AT&T case outlined in the second link? How are the positions of Miers and Taylor similar to AT&T's back then? How are they the same? Is it really just a matter of the loyalty of these two people?
posted by carsonb at 9:28 AM on July 20, 2007


The "legal nuance" here is that the White House has decided to adopt, as it's marching orders, an extremely fringe academic position, most recently forcefully articulated by people like Professor John Yoo. This has been in the works for some time now, and this showdown is like the praxis of the Bush revolution as far as separation of powers is concerned.
posted by kosem at 9:28 AM on July 20, 2007


Well, the upside is that they're reaching so far here that they're ensuring they're going to lose this fight.

It's like the "I'm not in the executive branch" argument that Cheney put out there. It was so laughably false that they had to back down.

Same thing with this. If they claim that simply invoking "executive privilege" is enough to shut down any investigation then they're going to have a rude awakening.
posted by bshort at 9:28 AM on July 20, 2007


Another good discussion here at Volokh Conspiracy -- however, they, too, seem in agreement that this is either a Constitutional Crisis or as close as you can get. No one's really discussed any options outside impeachment proceedings.

Also, here is Leahy discussing why there's no way to bring contempt charges, and exactly what inherent contempt would entail. This really is an impasse, so dios, if you have any enlightened suggestions about any of this, feel free to throw 'em out there rather than just kvetching.
posted by spiderwire at 9:30 AM on July 20, 2007


And if the answer to my last question is 'yes', then why isn't there one person in the White House that doesn't have a fucked-up concept of loyalty that Congress can subpoena?
posted by carsonb at 9:30 AM on July 20, 2007


The some members of the media are getting pissy, too.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 9:31 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


We all complain that the president is acting as if he is above the law, but, really, isn't he?

We are the law, and so far our voices have been silent. Where is the uproar? Where is the outrage? Where are the protests in the streets? If our political systems are failing to protect us from this powergrab, we must take to the streets and make our voices heard. Who's with me?
posted by pantsonfire at 9:31 AM on July 20, 2007


Congress can impeach, but they cannot "throw the fucker in jail."

The constitution provides that the house can impeach, the Senate holds the impeachment trial, the Chief Justice presides (when impeaching the president), but the only punishment if the senate votes to impeach is removal from office and a life-time ban on holding office.

However, once impeached, the impeachee can be tried in criminal or civil courts, which can then jail or punish in other ways.

The last paragraph of the article is amusing: "Congress has no recourse at all, in the president's view." Well, their recourse is impeachment. Honestly, I don't think it would be over-blown at this point. Compared to what Nixon and Clinton did, I think GWB has gone much further.

However, how important, really is this whole US attourney thing? Seems like if we prioritize all the crazyiness going on right now, this would rank well below a war of questionable legality and other such things. By forcing this issue, congress has forced the adminsitration into making this power grab. Perhapse, in the end, it would have been better to let them get away with this one?

No, I talked myself out of it. Either way bad precedents are being set. Congress needs to get off it's collective butt and do something.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:31 AM on July 20, 2007


impeach or shut up. see this bet or fold.
posted by bruce at 9:34 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can't wait to see the creative ways Hillary will make use of the expansion of executive power.
posted by troybob at 9:34 AM on July 20, 2007


Since reklaw's been banned, I'll go ahead and tell you all how this one ends: badly

I used to joke about handing this country over to Jamaica. Now? Begging.
posted by bhance at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2007


I can only imagine they are trying all these things so the next democratic president can't do the same once they are inevitably voted into office.

WHY YOU BITEIN'?! BURRRRRN
posted by tittergrrl at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can anyone clarify the connection between this snafu and the AT&T case outlined in the second link? How are the positions of Miers and Taylor similar to AT&T's back then? How are they the same? Is it really just a matter of the loyalty of these two people?

The issue is that executive privilege doesn't extend to individuals or entities outside the executive branch. Sara Taylor and Harriet Miers are not members of the executive branch, so refusing to honor a subpoena constitutes blatant contempt. The precedent illustrates an incident where the President specifically instructed AT&T to refuse to comply with a subpoena and the court found in AT&T's favor, because AT&T was not the real party in interest -- the conflict was between Congress and the Executive.

dios or anyone else can correct me if I'm wrong there.
posted by spiderwire at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2007


Delmoi: The problem, of course, is that you need a supermajority in the senate to actually impeach.

Actually, you need a majority of the House to impeach. The Senate then is required to try the impeachment. You need a 2/3 vote of the Senate (67) to convict in an impeachment case. There is no filibuster option in an impeachment trial - the Senate has a special set of rules for conducting the impeachment trial.
posted by beagle at 9:36 AM on July 20, 2007


Yeah, it's important to note that while the Republican party was screaming that if the Democrats gained control of congress they'd start impeachment proceedings, the President is pretty much forcing the issue and demanding that the congress impeach him.

It'll be interesting to see what happens. Remember: the wheels of justice turn slowly, but they grind to an exceedingly fine dust.
posted by bshort at 9:36 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


This really is an impasse, so dios, if you have any enlightened suggestions about any of this, feel free to throw 'em out there rather than just kvetching.

Or, we could try thinking this one through ourselves. The constitution isn't that hard of a read.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:37 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry guys I can't go out and protest I have some blogging to do and some you tube clips to watch. But someone should really do something about evil Bush!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:37 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


However, how important, really is this whole US attourney thing?

considering the whole thing is directly related to charges that the administration was engaged in illegal efforts to manipulate election outcomes, i'd say it's about as important an issue as you're gonna find.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:38 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


The constitution isn't that hard of a read.

Yeah, but then there's that more complicated part about hiring a medium and setting the location for the séance to discover what the founding fathers intended.
posted by troybob at 9:40 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Next week: Republicans set fire to the Reichstag U.S. Capitol, Bush declares National Emergency. (Previously)
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:40 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


[Big derail excised. More discussing, less discussing the lack or not of discussing, okay?]
posted by cortex at 9:42 AM on July 20, 2007


troybob you say that like you think there will be another president? surely its obvious that martial law will be declared before we ever get to that point.
posted by filchyboy at 9:42 AM on July 20, 2007


However, how important, really is this whole US attourney thing?

It could be just like the Cheney Energy Committee thing -- the Admin doesn't give ground on principle. However, there have been some very serious hints of systematic voter fraud and Hatch Act violations, among other things. Also, stonewalling this investigation means stonewalling all other potential investigations, so it actually makes more sense to play this game on an issue that's not easily encapsulated in a narrative like Watergate.

And if the answer to my last question is 'yes', then why isn't there one person in the White House that doesn't have a fucked-up concept of loyalty that Congress can subpoena?

Besides getting fired, and the general problems with being on Dick Cheney's bad side and waking up with a horse head in your bed, and knowing that the Admin won't have your back -- they have to have a reason to subpoena someone. They would need someone who was specifically involved with the incident they're investigating -- i.e., the Attorney firings. Additionally, all of the people involved presumably have a collective incentive to keep quiet -- there's no direct incentive to crack, a large potential downside, and a collective incentive for the veil of silence.

Or perhaps the answer is no, there isn't such a person in the White House.
posted by spiderwire at 9:43 AM on July 20, 2007



Why not have a general strike? I know we lack the union organization to carry out such a thing, but honestly all it would take is the few million Mexicans who did it last year during the immigration protests, plus a significant portion of the liberal white collar crowd and the universities, and voila, country is all but shut down - force their hand, make them impeach now.
posted by bukharin at 9:44 AM on July 20, 2007


Why not have a general strike?

Because "we" have, on average, $10,000 in credit card debt and uncontrollable ARM's to pay for. Sure, I'll strike for six months to force Bush out of office. But who's going to pay my 22% APR Visa Platinum?
posted by Avenger at 9:48 AM on July 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


Why not have a general strike?

That's an interesting idea, but I don't think enough Americans would care enough to try this until their gasoline ran out, their refrigerators were empty and they couldn't watch the next episode of American Idol or whatever.
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:48 AM on July 20, 2007


You know, there may not be much more to discuss besides impeachment. This is really just a big "fuck you" move and there's no obvious way around it that I can see.

I simply have no idea what's going to happen next, besides that I suspect it will be bad -- the Administration has very much forced Congress' hand here. As jeffamaphone and others said -- there's going to be some very bad precedents set here either way. If Congress doesn't act: Executive is king. If they act and fail: big crisis, mess court decisions, could totally screw up the balance of powers -- plus there's a lot of scandal strings attached to the whole thing.

I'm getting a headache just thinking about it.
posted by spiderwire at 9:49 AM on July 20, 2007


God, somebody please tell me that this isn't happening, or that there's something in our fucking constitution to stop this from happening. Please tell me that somehow this will be corrected for, and that my country will be okay in the long run. Please tell me that there are a few reasonable people left on the other side who realize that someday, someone who they don't like will be in office and may wield these powers accordingly. Goddamn it, somebody tell me that things will be alright someday.

Somebody? Anybody?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:49 AM on July 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


Even if they impeach, there's no conviction. So what's the real point of that? Or is the hope that they'll uncover enough dirty that 17 Republicans have to vote for it? Seems doubtful--I mean, they'll filibuster pay raises for soldiers and then lie about it, so it's not like they have any shame.

What's the problem with inherent contempt again? A few days in jail ought to loosen up Supreme Court material Harriet Miers' tongue.
posted by DU at 9:50 AM on July 20, 2007


Um, can I just say here, "Holy shit"?
posted by WCityMike at 9:50 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just phoned my representative's DC office just to remind him about the inherent contempt power.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:53 AM on July 20, 2007


A few days in jail ought to loosen up Supreme Court material Harriet Miers' tongue.

Personally, I would do my time rather than cross Dick Cheney, and I expect that Miers knows more about that than anyone.
posted by spiderwire at 9:54 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]



Has this been posted yet?

Former Reagan official warns of coming Bush 'police state'
posted by bukharin at 9:55 AM on July 20, 2007 [6 favorites]


Regarding the presence of a principled person in the White House, this whole issue really demonstrates (again) what a service John Dean did for this country during Watergate. He was that person then. His like appears not to exist now.
posted by hwestiii at 9:55 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]



Seriously, this is the same old trick Reagan made popular: "You can pass any law you wish, but you can't make me enforce it."


Andrew Jackson did the same trick. This concept, in various forms, has been around since the early 1800s.
posted by Stynxno at 9:55 AM on July 20, 2007


Yeah, personally I'd like to see the Inherent Contempt power exerciesed before impeachment.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:57 AM on July 20, 2007


bukharin: it's linked in this article i was about to post, which points out that this whole thing is fishy... the timing is off. if the idea was to run out the clock until the next election, why throw down the gauntlet here and now?
posted by spiderwire at 10:00 AM on July 20, 2007


I can't help but see this as further evidence of the administration's pathological inability to see themselves as wrong.
God told Bush to invade Iraq and doing anything else other than continuing this horrible sanctimoniousness, in all areas of executive influence, would be admitting their myopic ideology of freedom spreading and knowing what is best in every situation, had some problems. They've lied, tortured, killed, stole and now a power grab.
I shouldn't have laughed when Bush said Jesus was his favorite philosopher, I should have been angered.
posted by PHINC at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2007


bukharin: that rawstory link you posted is scary as hell.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2007


This seems valid to me. Since when does the Congress get to boss around U.S. Attorneys? They're in the executive branch & Bush is their boss. Impeachment or the inherent contempt power seem like reasonable comebacks. The Congress has marshalls or something right? How much force can they muster? In the end, in the US or elsewhere it comes down to who controls the military. That's not a fact that Bush invented. We think we're immune but maybe we get the gov't we deserve.

They also have control over purse strings right?
posted by Wood at 10:03 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, and this from emptywheel (partially quoting KagroX from DK) is positively creepy:
But has the US Attorney ever done that before? Declined to prosecute a political friend on orders from the White House? Absolutely. The case was that of Reagan administration EPA chief Anne Gorsuch Burford in 1982.

And who was the White House counsel who ran the strategy? Why, it was Fred Fielding himself...

Know who helped direct Fielding's legal strategy on the Gorsuch case?

Guy by the name of John Roberts.

...And to add to the fun, the US Attorney for DC -- Jeff Taylor -- is one of the remaining PATRIOT provision USAs--plucked from among the Gonzales clique at DOJ and installed in DC just in time to prevent Democrats from exercising any real oversight.
Oh boy.
posted by spiderwire at 10:06 AM on July 20, 2007 [10 favorites]


They also have control over purse strings right?

One would assume so. Here's an interesting question that somebody here on the Blue might have an answer for:

What could the President do if Congress cut off all his funds? I mean all of his funds. White house tours, Secret Service, DoD, DoJ, the whole shebang?

Couldn't congress, theoretically, defund the entire government save itself and the courts? What then?
posted by Avenger at 10:06 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


wood: your comments just reflect how fucked up the situation has gotten already, how tragically perverted even our expectations of the integrity of our democratic systems have become. the attorney's are supposed to serve the constitution not the president, and they're supposed to prosecute the laws as written, not the whims of the executive, even if the executive does have the power to appoint them. i'm gonna go cry for the future of my son now.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:07 AM on July 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


No one is going to stop this; not anyone in power, that is. It's a rigged game, and no one up there has been put into power because of their moral courage.

It's up to us.
posted by solistrato at 10:07 AM on July 20, 2007


filchyboy : troybob you say that like you think there will be another president? surely its obvious that martial law will be declared before we ever get to that point.

I'm not sure about that. Watching this administrations behavior; the power-grabs, the massive expansion of the Executive branch, etc. All of these things are antithetical to the core tenants of the Republican party.

I have a different theory. They are acting as spoilers. They went in, with the intent of making things as bad as possible in the most vulgar and public way. They break the law, they don't hide it, and they never apologize. They drain the federal reserves and attach us to a conflict guaranteed to keep it empty; much of this money goes into their own pockets (natch).

And right before they leave office, they go so far overboard that Congress is forced to react. To set the pendulum swinging the other way...

An angry nation demands change, they force the government back into a smaller roll, they strip the power of the exectutive and they do all of this when the Democrats are in office.

At the end of the day, the nation has a much smaller governement, the Republicans have a shitload of money, and the elected Democratic administration has been rendered completely toothless.

Which, as a long term goal, is more or less exactly what the Republican party from 1999 would want.

Now, the only real question is, are these people that clever? Are they that Machiavellian? And even if this wasn't the plan, how un-fucking-cool is it that there is a good chance that this is the way it could unfold?
posted by quin at 10:07 AM on July 20, 2007 [10 favorites]


Guy by the name of John Roberts.

Cheney has played the entire country for chumps. No wonder he's not running for 2008--he doesn't need to.

I feel ill.
posted by DU at 10:08 AM on July 20, 2007


"Americans think their danger is terrorists," said Roberts. "They don't understand the terrorists cannot take away habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution. ... The terrorists are not anything like the threat that we face to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution from our own government in the name of fighting terrorism. Americans just aren't able to perceive that."

(from the rawstory piece)
posted by Afroblanco at 10:08 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


1934, eh. Seems like it might be time, although considering that lot, the idea of them exercising judicial power directly is kinda scary; almost more so the GW. Almost.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:08 AM on July 20, 2007


What will it take for Americans to wake up? There would be mass protests if this was pulled in a European country...maybe even guerilla warfare if it was France.
posted by fire&wings at 10:09 AM on July 20, 2007


quin's right, and it was going to happen anyway because no one would allow any Democratic president to have the kind of power this administration has had.
posted by amberglow at 10:10 AM on July 20, 2007


Well, the upside is that they're reaching so far here that they're ensuring they're going to lose this fight.

Don't count on it, bshort. We have a criminal in the Oval Office, and we will until 2008. Nothing of substance will be done about this shitting on the Constitution. Republicans are so corrupt, they enough of them will not join with Democrats, so nothing can be done about it.

We are fucked. George W. Bush has put a nail in the coffin of the USA. He will not be punished for this. The next president will be worse.

Thanks, conservative America. You've fucked us all. And you'll still support this lawless criminal who just declared himself king, because he has an R after his name (or, worse, because he doesn't have a D after his name).

It needs repeating: George Bush is no longer a lawful president. He's just some asshole claiming to be. Blatantly violating the Constitution makes him a tyrant, not an elected official. Sadly, the likes of dios et al. won't wake up to that simple fact until it's far to late. And the next "George Bush" we get will be worse. It's been a steady decline since the fuckers started with Nixon (Reagan and Bush I were much more lawless than Nixon, but they learned how to get away with it. Bush II has taken it to a new level. The next guy won't even pretend to believe in the US Constitution).

Oh, and this is THE BIGGEST NEWS STORY OF THE CENTURY. Funny how it's so hard for me to find it on the teevee. I remember long, pointless talks about hypothetical Constitutional crises during the Clinton blow-job affair. Funny, that. Liberal media my fucking ass.
posted by teece at 10:11 AM on July 20, 2007 [16 favorites]


Saul, in what sense can an individual member of the executive branch enforce his or her own vision of the constitution without the support of their peers or superior? Some cop is going to show up to grab Miers and the US Attorney is going to say, take her away & the AG is going to say "don't" and the cop is going to do what? It's an organization.

Maybe they can litigate congressional contempt issues in their "20% time".
posted by Wood at 10:13 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


which points out that this whole thing is fishy... the timing is off. if the idea was to run out the clock until the next election, why throw down the gauntlet here and now?

Because it either is being ignored by the media because of all the Iraq stuff, and they easily get away with all of it--and more--under the cover of darkness, or it will displace all the iraq stuff (which hurts them daily and is devastating 08 chances for the GOP) if it actually does get coverage.

So far it's not being covered really at all, and certainly not on front pages or tv. This is just the latest in a long line of refusals to follow the laws--almost none of them have gotten the coverage they deserved, so why should this?
posted by amberglow at 10:15 AM on July 20, 2007


wood--

splitting hairs on the head of a corpse.

i don't know what else to say.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2007


Cheney has played the entire country for chumps. No wonder he's not running for 2008--he doesn't need to.

I feel ill.


I feel like:
I felt raped. The pig had done me on all fronts, and now he was going off to chuckle about it on the west side of town, waiting for me to make a run for L.A ...

They've nailed me! I'm trapped in some stinking desert crossroads called Baker. I don't have much time. The fuckers are closing in. They'll hunt me down like a beast!
posted by spiderwire at 10:19 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


fire&wings: There would be mass protests if this was pulled in a European country...maybe even guerilla warfare if it was France.

Nono... riots. France always riots. It is their colonies/protectorates/etc that conduct the gorilla warfare.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2007



What will it take for Americans to wake up?

I have been thinking about this a lot. It is no coincidence that the denigration of the middle class over the last thirty years and especially the last 15 has corresponded to the weakening of democratic institutions and the fraying of civil society. (There's a lot of reasons for this - corporatism, privatization, suburbia, etc.) But our unions are very weak, our universities are filled with the complacent and indoctrinated upper class who have everything to gain from a system that is increasingly unfair to everybody else, and the wealth gap is widening such that we more and more have an underclass of service serfs who haven't the time or the stability to think politically. The Left has few social or community institutions that bring people together on an everyday basis the way the Right has the churches, making it difficult for even places like San Francisco to have a unified front. Only countries that have a strong, stable, healthy, independent middle class have democracies and are able to defend the principles of Enlightment - that was why, as idealistic as their left intelligentsia were, the Russians could never do it. So, it's not that Americans aren't awake, it's that they're busy, they're isolated, and moreover, they're frightened. It's a recipe for despotism.
posted by bukharin at 10:22 AM on July 20, 2007 [34 favorites]


Afroblanca: Wishful thinking will not save you.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:25 AM on July 20, 2007


the timing is off. if the idea was to run out the clock until the next election, why throw down the gauntlet here and now?

Well, the fact that the CNN front page story is about Harry goddamn Potter seems to indicate that the timing is spot on.
posted by googly at 10:25 AM on July 20, 2007


Harper's has a article about this topic: A Republic, If You Can Keep It.
posted by chunking express at 10:26 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


You guys have come full circle. You're back to dealing with an insane tyrant named George who invokes the divine right of kings to justify his powers.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:26 AM on July 20, 2007 [20 favorites]


someone left the cake out in the rain and we'll never have the recipe again.
posted by hortense at 10:29 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Now, who thinks that U.S. citizens should have the right to purchase semi-automatic rifles?

The people are the ultimate guarantors of the Constitution.
posted by CRS at 10:30 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, the fact that the CNN front page story is about Harry goddamn Potter seems to indicate that the timing is spot on.

don't forget the Dogfighting.

/disgusted
posted by amberglow at 10:33 AM on July 20, 2007


To be perfectly honest, CRS, I support gun control, espescially against handguns, but in the back of my mind I have always known that every one of us, eighteen and up really should have rifles trigger locked in our basements for just such an occaision.
posted by OldReliable at 10:33 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


This seems like kind of a big deal.

Hmm. CNN is leading with "Fans wait for Harry Potter".
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


What the hell is going on here? How could this once-proud nation have changed so much, so drastically, in only a little more than two years. In what seems like the blink of an eye, this George Bush has brought us from a prosperous nation at peace to a broke nation at war.

---

The utter collapse of this Profoundly criminal Bush conspiracy will come none too soon for people like me... The massive plundering of the U.S. Treasury and all its resources has been almost on a scale that is criminally insane, and has literally destroyed the lives of millions of American people and American families. Exactly. You and me, sport — we are the ones who are going to suffer, and suffer massively. This is going to be just like the Book of Revelation said it was going to be — the end of the world as we knew it.
posted by spiderwire at 10:37 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bush played his Fourth Level Mage card.
posted by tkchrist at 10:39 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Just to clarify my previous comment: I mean, shit! HOLY FUCKING JESUS GODDAMN SHIT!

George W. Bush frightened me before, but I think this is the first time I've actually revved up to full, utter, batshit terror. (Hm. One who inspires terror in others ... )

Seriously ... I have absolutely no faith in the U.S. populace doing anything but a very gentle "baaaaaa baaaaa." After all, Harry Potter is out, and America's got talent, and did you hear Earl disappeared a week ago? The cops came in and arrested him. His wife hasn't heard from him since, and no one down at the station's even confirmin' for her that he's there. Ah, well. Must've done somethin'.

Frankly, all of you who thought George W. Bush was engineering things so that he'd never have to leave office, and ranting about a "police state" — well, I thought you were a bit off your rocker. I thought you were taking a series of horrifying policies and taking them to a somewhat logical but nevertheless absurdist extreme. But I wasn't gonna say anything 'cause, hey, you were on "my side," even if you were a bit nutso.

Er, yeah, um, sorry 'bout that.
posted by WCityMike at 10:39 AM on July 20, 2007 [9 favorites]


I'll be just as honest, then OldReliable. I think y'all are getting your panties in a twist for no good reason. If Congress doesn't like what GWB is doing, they can impeach him.

I support the Constitution of the United States of America. As part of that support, I believe that the people should, at all times, be able to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. That means we have to have access to weapons.

If any of you think GWB is really a dictator in the making and soon an iron wall of oppression will descend around the USA, you should be against any form of gun control and support easy access to law abiding citizens.

I would like to think this is a place where I could agree with all you lefties. (Or vice versa)
posted by CRS at 10:40 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The people are the ultimate guarantors of the Constitution.

The people are frightened of loosing their jobs and houses.

As long as the President (or any would-be dictator) can convince most of the people that opposing him might cost them their life or even just their livelihood, he will be unstoppable.

70% of Americans hate Bush, but taking to the streets would do nothing but take gas out of our cars and food off our tables.

Its over, people. The coup has happened. Franco wins. Break out the whiskey and smash your watches. Bottoms up.
posted by Avenger at 10:41 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Lead story on MSNBC -- Bush's colonoscopy! -- and NBC News highlights:
Shot airman ‘mystified by verdict’
Seven signs you've got 'Harry Potter' fever
Have the paparazzi gone too far again?
posted by ericb at 10:42 AM on July 20, 2007


"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." — George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2000
posted by Otis at 10:42 AM on July 20, 2007


This is not a thread about gun control CRS, take it somewhere else. It's noise and a derail.
posted by teece at 10:43 AM on July 20, 2007


This worries me and I don't even live in the US.

Hey American Public! Pull your pants down and grab your ankles! It's time for your weekly dose of 'democracy'!
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 10:44 AM on July 20, 2007


Frankly, all of you who thought George W. Bush was engineering things so that he'd never have to leave office, and ranting about a "police state" — well, I thought you were a bit off your rocker. I thought you were taking a series of horrifying policies and taking them to a somewhat logical but nevertheless absurdist extreme. But I wasn't gonna say anything 'cause, hey, you were on "my side," even if you were a bit nutso.

Er, yeah, um, sorry 'bout that.


It's the frogs in slowly boiling water thing--an unending series of these executive orders and signing statements and refusal to complys and installing loyal people in all branches and agencies of govt to enforce --or not enforce -- things.

Mahablog explains it well, with an assist by Milton Mayer: Frogs in a Pickle
posted by amberglow at 10:45 AM on July 20, 2007


If any of you think GWB is really a dictator in the making and soon an iron wall of oppression will descend around the USA, you should be against any form of gun control and support easy access to law abiding citizens.

They don't want to be dictators. Dictators get overthrown. They want a new Gilded Age, a permanent underclass, and a political elite cloaked in legitimacy. And between this most recent move and the pardon power, among other things, they've got it. No matter how the next election goes, they have outmaneuvered us on every single front. They won. We got smoked.
posted by spiderwire at 10:46 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


So are Americans going to start rioting yet or what? What's the point of having an armed populace if you aren't willing to shoot shit up when your government stops representing you?
posted by chunking express at 10:48 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus!
posted by OmieWise at 10:50 AM on July 20, 2007


It's not even on CNN's Politics page at all.
posted by spiderwire at 10:51 AM on July 20, 2007


Why Isn't Harriet Miers in Jail?
posted by chunking express at 10:51 AM on July 20, 2007


It's not even on CNN's Politics page at all.

Of course its not. Why would it be? It's a non-issue. Everything is fine.
posted by Avenger at 10:53 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here are a long list of things to get riled up about.
posted by chunking express at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


So are Americans going to start rioting yet or what? What's the point of having an armed populace if you aren't willing to shoot shit up when your government stops representing you?

Sadly, it turns out that the people who really like guns are more likely to support Bush than not.

Funny how that works, isn't it?
posted by Avenger at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I sent the following note to my representative. My district elected a republican last time around, so it's not worth much:
Dear Rep. XXXX

I have never written to my representative before, but I feel I can no longer stay silent.

Our President has today has announced that his executive privilege trumps the ability of Congress to work with the Justice department to investigate wrong doings. He is attempting to say that the entire system of justice works at his pleasure, that he is above the law.

I am not writing to you because I expect you to do anything. Party affiliation is more important than country these days after all. I am writing to tell you that if your party goes along with this, does nothing to remind the President that he is subject to the same laws as every citizen, I will have to consider the Republican party as responsible.

I am not wealthy. I am not powerful. But I promise that should you do nothing, I will never vote for another Republican, no matter what office. And I promise that I will devote time and effort to seeing that you, personally, are not reelected when your term is up.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
posted by Eddie Mars at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2007 [9 favorites]


i wish people would quit saying we live in a dictatorship ... we live in a increasingly dysfunctional democracy full of corrupt and selfish officials, the most notable of which is bush
posted by pyramid termite at 10:57 AM on July 20, 2007


CNN is a joke, guys. You don't get any real news from CNN. The "Clinton News Network," as boneheads call it, is only a couple of notches above Fox News. They are a propaganda outlet, pure and simple: but they peddle happy-go-lucky, buy-our-product propaganda, rather than blatant political propaganda.

They are no longer a news organization, so it's not in the least bit surprising that they won't mention this. The trouble is that there are so precious few actual news organizations left...

Of course, that's no accident. That's part and parcel of the infrastructure Republicans have built since a couple of reporters brought down a corrupt Republican president.
posted by teece at 10:58 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I agree with pyramid termite, there is still time to fix things. Heck, just look at the rampant corruption in government during the 19th century. There is no reason to give up, just work harder to get the people you want elected for the reasons you want, then hold their feet to the fire.

chunking express and avenger, please note that teece has decided we cannot discuss gun control here.
posted by CRS at 11:03 AM on July 20, 2007


You know why Americans aren't rioting? Because we believe in our process. Sometimes it takes a long time to work, but it does work.

We have a good process, and even when people try and screw it up it usually works.
posted by bshort at 11:05 AM on July 20, 2007


i wish people would quit saying we live in a dictatorship ... we live in a increasingly dysfunctional democracy full of corrupt and selfish officials, the most notable of which is bush

Yes, but at some point the Weimar Republic stops being a "republic". What is it going to take for people to stop calling us a Republic? Do we need to change our name to Das Amerikareich for that to happen or what?

We have a President who has now stated quite openly -- on several occasions -- that he considers the law to not apply to himself and his ever-growing number of "advisors". We have an opposition, a populace and a Press which has been cowed and browbeaten into silence. Or, at the very least, been rendered ineffective through fear of being accused of "treason". As far as I'm concerned, the difference between our current state of affairs and a "real dictatorship" is just semantics.
posted by Avenger at 11:05 AM on July 20, 2007


I've felt for quite a few years now like watching the news was like watching some weird puppet show.

It's really creepy to get the feeling that I predicted how the story was going to go.
posted by zebra3 at 11:06 AM on July 20, 2007


For those who are honestly looking for a discussion of the legal matters and precedents wrt this sort of executive privilege use... an online chat with Mark J. Rozell, professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of "Executive Privilege: The Dilemma of Secrecy and Democratic Accountability," just started at WashingtonPost.com.
posted by tittergrrl at 11:08 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't see this being covered anywhere... the only politics news is about Bush's colonoscopy and how Cheney's in charge...

Which, you have to admit, has a certain irony to it.
posted by spiderwire at 11:11 AM on July 20, 2007


live q+a
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure this will be big. The press actually has to report on it for that to happen. This is what Olberman said a couple weeks back.
When President Nixon ordered the firing of the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" on October 20th, 1973, Cox initially responded tersely, and ominously.

"Whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men, is now for Congress, and ultimately, the American people."

President Nixon did not understand how he had crystallized the issue of Watergate for the American people.

It had been about the obscure meaning behind an attempt to break in to a rival party's headquarters; and the labyrinthine effort to cover-up that break-in and the related crimes.

And in one night, Nixon transformed it.

Watergate—instantaneously—became a simpler issue: a President overruling the inexorable march of the law…of insisting—in a way that resonated viscerally with millions who had not previously understood—that he was the law.

Not the Constitution.

Not the Congress.

Not the Courts.

Just him.
posted by chunking express at 11:13 AM on July 20, 2007


I can't find anything about this story on Reuters, MSNBC, or CNN. What the hell is that about?

No, really. This is kind of a big deal. Why isn't it being broadcast on every American network? That's the part that really scares me.
posted by honeydew at 11:14 AM on July 20, 2007


Yes, but at some point the Weimar Republic stops being a "republic".

indeed ... say, when some populist who preaches justice for the common people, better jobs, a return to values and a determination to sweep all the bums out ... and, upon election, immediately starts neutralizing the opposition and declaring an extra-legal emergency

none of that has happened yet, has it?

We have a President who has now stated quite openly -- on several occasions -- that he considers the law to not apply to himself and his ever-growing number of "advisors".

when it comes to the decision making process of hiring and firing his employees ... it's questionable, but it's not a violation of the average american's rights, just a corruption of his government

We have an opposition, a populace and a Press which has been cowed and browbeaten into silence.

that just is not true ... period ... the posts in this thread are proof against that

Or, at the very least, been rendered ineffective through fear of being accused of "treason".

the populace has been rendered ineffective because they continue to elect ineffective officials

As far as I'm concerned, the difference between our current state of affairs and a "real dictatorship" is just semantics.

that's like saying the difference between being one of millions who are expressing their political opinions in public and having goons kick your door in, drag your ass away and shoot you in the back of the head is just semantics

if you guys want to persuade more people, lose the hysteria
posted by pyramid termite at 11:17 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Let's make everything that is political, illegal!
posted by rockhopper at 11:18 AM on July 20, 2007


I can't find anything about this story on Reuters, MSNBC, or CNN. What the hell is that about?

No, really. This is kind of a big deal. Why isn't it being broadcast on every American network? That's the part that really scares me.


Libby commutation forced their hand on a Monday to keep him from spending a day in jail. Friday is the end of the news cycle. Harry Potter is coming out.

Seriously, I was about to explode over the Libby issue and this more or less makes that look trivial by comparison. The abuse of the pardon power is despicable, but quite legal. This is not. I am just speechless.
posted by spiderwire at 11:20 AM on July 20, 2007


Why do I feel like we are one freak colonoscopy accident away from some diabolical 30-year plan coming to fruition?
posted by uri at 11:21 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


that just is not true ... period ... the posts in this thread are proof against that

But not on any of the major news outlets. Compare the immediate reaction to the Libby commutation.

the populace has been rendered ineffective because they continue to elect ineffective officials

This is a much broader argument than we can cover here, but blaming "elected officials" is a cop-out for a whole number of reasons.

However, this argument is just inapplicable here. This is blatantly illegal. It doesn't matter what officials you elect if an entire branch of government is willing to ignore the law. The Senators and Representatives we elected are trying to be effective, but they've now been hamstrung.

that's like saying the difference between being one of millions who are expressing their political opinions in public and having goons kick your door in, drag your ass away and shoot you in the back of the head is just semantics

if you guys want to persuade more people, lose the hysteria


I agree on the hysteria point, but really -- with a whimper, not with a bang, man. There is such a thing as a silent coup. "Semantics" may be an overstatement, but it's likewise an oversimplification to say that all forms of dictatorship require direct oppression or violence. Totalitarians, psychopaths, and monarchs do not have a monopoly on the field by any means.
posted by spiderwire at 11:26 AM on July 20, 2007


There's a great piece in Salon about this.
posted by MythMaker at 11:28 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


As far as I'm concerned, the difference between our current state of affairs and a "real dictatorship" is just semantics.

Jesus, this is an inane comment. I mean, really. Get a grip. The more you think like that the less likely you are to do something.

Oh, and read a fucking book.
posted by OmieWise at 11:31 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


when it comes to the decision making process of hiring and firing his employees ... it's questionable, but it's not a violation of the average american's rights, just a corruption of his government

Did you read the article? This is 1000x worse than firing attorneys. The President is saying that he is above the law.

He's not pussyfooting around it, either. He had one of his advisors tell the WaPo that he will personally shut down any congressional investigation into his activities. Thats not "just" corruption. Its a whole new stratospheric level of power-grab.

that just is not true ... period ... the posts in this thread are proof against that


This thread is proof that some people are on the internet and making posts. It says nothing about the American people in general or the Press and their reaction to all this.

the populace has been rendered ineffective because they continue to elect ineffective officials

Well I agree with you here.

that's like saying the difference between being one of millions who are expressing their political opinions in public and having goons kick your door in, drag your ass away and shoot you in the back of the head is just semantics


Your definition of "dictatorship" is "goons kick your door in and shoot you". Thats fair enough. I can't argue with that because it's your definition. My definition is a little broader than that, but we'll see where our current trajectory takes us.

if you guys want to persuade more people, lose the hysteria

See, the problem is, "us guys" have been playing nicey-nice for a long time and this is where it's gotten us. Like a few others on this thread, I used to cringe when people compared Bush to Hitler (or Franco, or anybody else). I thought it was a bad PR move on our part. We can't let people mock us for Godwin'ing ourselves, can we?

But at some point a reasonable man must assess the political climate in his country and say to himself "No, I'm not just Godwin'ing myself. It really is getting that bad." I, personally, have reached that point. I suspect that I'll see you here eventually, too.
posted by Avenger at 11:33 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus, this is an inane comment. I mean, really. Get a grip. The more you think like that the less likely you are to do something.

You're right. How wrong of me to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater. After all, we can only smell the smoke. Maybe its not a real fire. Maybe the popcorn is just burning.

Oh, and read a fucking book.


Harry Potter comes out today, or so I've been told.
posted by Avenger at 11:39 AM on July 20, 2007


I emailed nytnews@nytimes.com, washington@nytimes.com, and letters@msnbc.com to tell them to cover the story. I also contacted CBS News and CNN from their websites. ABC News is limiting their coverage to this. The least inadequate MSM coverage apart from the original story appears to be from Fox.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


But at some point a reasonable man must assess the political climate in his country and say to himself "No, I'm not just Godwin'ing myself. It really is getting that bad." I, personally, have reached that point. I suspect that I'll see you here eventually, too.

I'm starting to agree with Avenger on this.

I don't like the knee-jerk tendency of some lefties to call any Republican a "Nazi" or a "fascist" or whatever.

But with Bush, we really are being governed by a man that thinks himself King. And Republicans have worked tirelessly over the last 30 years to make sure that essentially all elected Republicans will support King George I in that assertion.

This is not a good thing. We've been on a steady decline since Nixon. Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II all have themes in common. They also have people in common. Nixon did nothing as bad as Iran-Contra. Neither Bush nor Reagan nor the Republicans paid any political price for Iran-Contra. Bush II is getting off even easier, so far.

It's hard to argue that this is an accident. For 30 years now, Republicans have tried their hardest to elevate the President to King, and eviscerate any media that might really call them on their shit.

I'm afraid that they might have finally succeeded. I hope not. Maybe America will wake up. But I doubt it.

Without a media push, there will be no reaction to this. Republicans have spent a shit load of energy making sure there won't be a media push. So, well, there you go.

We are frogs in a gradually boiling pot of water. If the next President is a Republican, I think we are truly fucked (luckily, it looks like that won't happen. But 8 years of Clinton did nothing to stop the corruption in the Republican party).

CRS: I was not trying to be an asshole, but gun control topics will quickly send a thread into la-la land, and we don't need that here.
posted by teece at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Just for fun, don't forget this from a few days ago: "By executive order, the Secretary of the Treasury may now seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The Secretary may make his determination in secret and after the fact."

Yee ha!
posted by spiderwire at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2007


Soap, Ballot, Jury, Ammo.

Which are we at so far?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 11:44 AM on July 20, 2007


Your definition of "dictatorship" is "goons kick your door in and shoot you".

there's that little thing about elections ... and free speech ... and political advocacy

we still have all that ... so we don't live in a dictatorship

See, the problem is, "us guys" have been playing nicey-nice for a long time and this is where it's gotten us.

living in a free country with a president that's corrupt, incompetent and leaving in a year and a half

free clue - that's where you were going to be, anyway

be as mean as you like - but sound SANE when you're doing it
posted by pyramid termite at 11:44 AM on July 20, 2007



there's that little thing about elections ... and free speech ... and political advocacy

we still have all that ... so we don't live in a dictatorship


Comedy gold.
posted by kableh at 11:49 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't blame me; I voted Kodos.
posted by spiderwire at 11:50 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking the chances of the 2008 elections being cancelled for "national security concerns" just jumped to 60/40.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2007


there's that little thing about elections ... and free speech ... and political advocacy
posted by chunking express at 11:53 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


stop it, chunking. You're being hysterical.
posted by Avenger at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2007


I said it in 2000, I said it in 2004...I will be surprised if we are allowed to have an election in 2008. And if we do, I will be knocked out with awe if anyone other than a Bush crony is allowed to win.


Nevermind me, I'll be in the corner with my tinfoil hat.
posted by teleri025 at 11:55 AM on July 20, 2007


Guys, before the thread descends too far into hyperbole and noise, can I just ask, seriously: are there any practical tangible things that we as individuals or as a group can do about this? bukharin asked about a general strike - it may not be practical for everyone, but at least it's a tangible thing worth considering. What other things are worth considering? I mean, sure, we can write/fax/email our representatives in Washington, but (at the risk of triggering already-sensitive hysteria detectors) it feels like we've gone beyond the point where this kind of thing is really going to make a difference.

So I'm asking - seriously - what can we as concerned citizens do, that will make a difference? Is there anything? Or are we all still just fucking around on the internets? I understand that we need to maintain perspective - today's actions by the administration don't signal the immediate end of American democracy as we know it - but when these kinds of things continue day after day, at what point does these threads stop being a venue for us to vent and snipe at each other and start being a practical discussion of our rights and responsibilities as citizens to respond in some meaningful way to these events?

Is this a question I should take to AskMe? Or to MeTa, to talk about meetups and such? If we need to raise the question in a more appropriate venue, that's fine, I'd just like for once to see a rational hysteria-free discussion of options (or lack thereof).
posted by herichon at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2007 [8 favorites]


I'm thinking the chances of the 2008 elections being cancelled for "national security concerns" just jumped to 60/40.

Why!?
1. Elect a Democrat, let them triage for four years and go down in flames trying to put out the fires Bush started.
2. Meanwhile, all the Young Republicans that have been furiously clawing their way up the government pay scales for the last 8 years swap out for commensurate jobs in the private sector and chill there for a term or two. See: Rumsfeld, Cheney, etc., etc.
3. Elect Republican. Swap back in and do it again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
posted by spiderwire at 12:02 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Herichon, this is the question I have been trying to figure out how to ask. Thanks. I am officially piggy-backing. In a tin-foil hat.
posted by metasav at 12:03 PM on July 20, 2007


Y'know, this is probably the time for people to go to their windows and scream, when they leave their desks and walk out into the streets, when they stand up and say "This is wrong. This is not right. This is not America."

But that don't put Favorited Bys on the user page.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:03 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The administration figures themselves and prominent Republican propagandists ... are preparing us for another 9/11 event or series of events," Roberts continued. "Chertoff has predicted them. ... The National Intelligence Estimate is saying that al Qaeda has regrouped. ... You have to count on the fact that if al Qaeda's not going to do it, it's going to be orchestrated. ... The Republicans are praying for another 9/11."

"the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop tripping on acid.
posted by prostyle at 12:07 PM on July 20, 2007


Aw, c'mon guys. Don't be so hard on Bush. He has just magnanimously decreed that the torture of the disappeared prisoners will stop.
posted by mullingitover at 12:08 PM on July 20, 2007


herichon: Glenn Greenwald voiced my feelings precisely in the Salon article linked above:
I confess some difficulty here in becoming particularly outraged over this latest theory. There is nothing new here. As has long been known, this administration believes themselves to reside above and beyond the reach of the law. What else would they need to do in order to make that as clear as can be? They got caught red-handed committing multiple felonies -- by eavesdropping on Americans in precisely the way the law we enacted 30 years ago prohibited -- and they not only admitted it, but vowed to continue to break our laws, and asserted the right to do so. And nothing happened.
He then says, "The only real question is what, if anything, we are willing to do about that," and I agree with that as well. But I got nothing. The Libby thing drained me utterly. I wish I had a substantive contribution, but I don't -- I really believe what I said above about getting completely smoked. They were just better. Sounds despondent, but I can't lie about being baffled and confused. I expect some others feel the same.

Speaking with all possible sincerity, if anyone does come up with an answer you find interesting, don't hesitate to send it my way.
posted by spiderwire at 12:09 PM on July 20, 2007


But at some point a reasonable man must assess the political climate in his country and say to himself "No, I'm not just Godwin'ing myself. It really is getting that bad." I, personally, have reached that point.

Of course, I agree with you. Bush is horrible and things are getting worse and worse. Seriously.

But that doesn't mean that this is a dictatorship. We don't have an absolute ruler, we don't live in a country with despotic rule. Which is not to say that there aren't threats to our freedom or to our democracy, but those threats do not a dictatorship make.

The distinction matters for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important is because people don't respond well in the US to political hysteria from the left. I'm not sure why that is, but it seems to me to be true. More crucially, however, being wrong about what you call what's going on in the country not only opens you up to all kinds of dismissive criticism, it also cause you to miss the means and methods by which the challenges to our democracy are being carried out. I do think it's crucial that the acquiescence of the American people is being seduced not demanded. I think that's something to talk about. I think the fact that this is happening within a democratic process is important to talk about. I think that the fact that this is happening, in part, with the collusion of the Democrats is important to talk about. Those things are obviated by calling it a dictatorship, and wrongly. What is there to do in a dictatorship but take to the streets and get thrown into jail.

Part of my point is that your feeling of panic does not authorize ignorance of history or current events. The fire in a crowded theater analogy is telling for precisely that reason. It is not because there is no fire that one should not yell "Fire" in the theater, it's because even if there is a fire, yelling it out like that with no regard for consequence gets people killed when folks panic.
posted by OmieWise at 12:10 PM on July 20, 2007 [6 favorites]


I'm really enjoying some new shows on television, and I'm up-to-date on my mortgage. Plus, my kids like their pre-school. So remind me again why I should care?

uh oh.
posted by davejay at 12:10 PM on July 20, 2007


Y'know, this is probably the time for people to go to their windows and scream, when they leave their desks and walk out into the streets, when they stand up and say "This is wrong. This is not right. This is not America."

It's raining outside.

It rained on the Fourth of July.

There's nothing out there.
posted by spiderwire at 12:11 PM on July 20, 2007


On that purely metaphorical note, I'm going to go outside and stare at the rain for long while.
posted by spiderwire at 12:12 PM on July 20, 2007


You have to count on the fact that if al Qaeda's not going to do it, it's going to be orchestrated. ... The Republicans are praying for another 9/11."

Just because some guy on a website says that doesn't make it so, any more than the people that though 9/11 itself was orchestrated by the US govt.

From what I can tell, America has had plenty of shitty presidents before, and the system survived. There's no need to go into full-on paranoia mode over today's news.

That said, this is a time for action though, my American friends. If you are really concerned about the future of your nation, instead of breathelessly bleating about how you will soon live in (or already do) live in a dictatorship, now is the time get out there, put your boots on the ground, and volunteer for the political candidate of your choice. Welcome to the meat and potatoes of representative democracy. It ain't always pretty, it ain't always fun, but you getting out there is what makes a difference.

The corrective course of action here is electoral -- you voted in a new House and Senate just last year -- did Bush and his cronies rig that election? Did they orchestrate a terrorist attack so you wouldn't vote for Pelosi?

There's zero need for manic hyperbole at this stage. If in November of next year, the elections are "suspended", then by all means go on into full fledged frothing mode; I'll join you! But at this point, you need to be engaged in the system and encourage those around you to be equally engaged.

The cure for Bush and his policies is more democracy and more participation, not less because you think its a hopeless situation.
posted by modernnomad at 12:17 PM on July 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


"Well I used to stand for something
Now I'm on my hands and knees
Traded in my god for this war
And he signs his name with a capital G" -tr

posted by dopamine at 12:18 PM on July 20, 2007


Any bets on Bush being killed during the operation whilst Cheney is in the comfy chair? That'd be funny.
posted by longbaugh at 12:24 PM on July 20, 2007


you voted in a new House and Senate just last year -- did Bush and his cronies rig that election? Did they orchestrate a terrorist attack so you wouldn't vote for Pelosi?

Well, no. They've just viewed Congress and the Law as damage, and routed around them. No amount of voting is going to change that.

The only thing that could get a grip on this runaway train is impeachment, and there's no chance of that with the current members.

The Bush administration is well aware of this, and they're acting accordingly.
posted by bitmage at 12:24 PM on July 20, 2007


I think I might just cry for the slow death of the American republic tonight.
posted by klangklangston at 12:25 PM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm the type of person who has always laughed at protests and people who call their representatives because I figure they always get the moonbats calling every other day anyway.

And yet, here I am, calling my elected officials and getting ready to go out on the corner with my sign.

Things are wrong, and this is not a drill.
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 12:32 PM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my [internet]. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. . . . All I know is that first you've got to get mad.

You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!'




Seems relevant. Rage and impotence. I'll send out the invite.
(oh, and just in case: Howard Beale)
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 12:36 PM on July 20, 2007


This it not a surprise.

If anyone actually does cross Bush and Co and the courts find him or them guiltly of something, it will not be a surprise when they ignore it.


This reminds me of the new Battlestar Galatica and the storyline about Admiral Cain. Hopefully it won't come to that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:38 PM on July 20, 2007


This reminds me of the new Battlestar Galatica and the storyline about Admiral Cain. Hopefully it won't come to that.

It's political insight like this that is of greater concern to the future health of the American republic.
posted by modernnomad at 12:41 PM on July 20, 2007


Just because some guy on a website says that doesn't make it so, any more than the people that though 9/11 itself was orchestrated by the US govt.

This particular "some guy on a website" is a republican who was part of the Reagan administration, though. Kind of makes it hard to dismiss the guy as not being in a unique position to offer insight into the inner-workings of government or as a partisan hack.

posted by saulgoodman at 12:45 PM on July 20, 2007


Congress can impeach, but they cannot "throw the fucker in jail."

They can throw people in jail for contempt of congress, but haven't since 1934. Learn something new every day (it was new to me, too :P)

Well, the fact that the CNN front page story is about Harry goddamn Potter seems to indicate that the timing is spot on.

I got the Micheal Vick thing. Oh, and Lindsay Lohan surrenders to police!!!!. Our long national nightmare is over!
posted by delmoi at 12:46 PM on July 20, 2007


Hilarious.

Some people have been predicting this sort of thing for quite a while. Generally they have been mocked on this site for being conspiracy nuts. Now you are all running around like chooks with your heads cut off.

It's too late to do anything. Stock up on guns.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 1:01 PM on July 20, 2007


Why do I feel like we are one freak colonoscopy accident away from some diabolical 30-year plan coming to fruition?

And, boy, then the shit will really hit the fan!

(And I don't mean just the Harry Potter fans).
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on July 20, 2007


From what I can tell, America has had plenty of shitty presidents before, and the system survived. There's no need to go into full-on paranoia mode over today's news.

We have. Lord Knows. We have had many very poor executives.

But none have had the power of this one. It is unprecedented. The technology accessible to this administration is unprecedented. The cumulative force available to this president is unprecedented.

As bad a Johnson or Nixon were the checks and balances were solidly in place.

When you look at how incompetent and irrational this administration has been in the formation and execution of it's policies and then realize the scale of the media, military, and money power it has at time when all these dangerous historical forces are coalescing you will see a perfect storm blowing us closer to a tipping point.

They really could easily break this republic.
posted by tkchrist at 1:03 PM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can't decide whether to travel to the U.S. just to try and join some civilian uprising, or to flee Canada for Europe just to get as far away as possible from the shitstorm.
posted by tehloki at 1:21 PM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


From what I can tell, America has had plenty of shitty presidents before, and the system survived. There's no need to go into full-on paranoia mode over today's news.

We've never had a president who has so thoroughly pissed on the Constitution and expanded his powers the way this one has; combine that with six years of no Congressional oversight - indeed, with Congressional fawning and approval, even - and a populace that's only now beginning to realize that what they should have been worrying more about Bush and Cheney and less about terrarizm, and what you get is a bunch of people who understand that it's too late to be paranoid: "They" have already gotten us.
posted by rtha at 1:25 PM on July 20, 2007


I really do wish I had some faith left in the present Democratic party.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 1:28 PM on July 20, 2007


I would also add that any assertion of executive privilege by Bush (which is what this article is about, people, and nothing more) can be challenged in the courts. Different kinds of privilege are asserted on a daily basis across democracies to stop people from testifying -- spousal, solicitor-client, and yes, executive. The assertion of a privilege does not alone mean the sky is falling.

Indeed, Clinton asserted executive privilege during the Lewinsky debacle, but lost in court. Members of the govt in my own country recently asserted a similar privilege.

If the Bush's claim of privilege is rejected by the courts, but Bush still prevents US Attorneys from testifying, then yes, many more red flags would be raised about his complete ignoring of the rule of law. The mere assertion of privilege does not alone do that.

At this point, this is still a legal issue that has several more steps to go through before we can officially declare that revoutionary times are at hand.

(This is not to say I don't think Bush is a total nightmare, but really, calm down folks.)
posted by modernnomad at 1:29 PM on July 20, 2007


modernnomad, you're not paying attention. The issue at hand is whether the District of Columbia Attorney General will be allowed by his boss (the President, in the end) to BRING THE ISSUE TO COURT. If the DC AG follows the instructions he's been given, this issue will never even see the light of a court room.
posted by Inkoate at 1:38 PM on July 20, 2007


"I would also add that any assertion of executive privilege by Bush (which is what this article is about, people, and nothing more) can be challenged in the courts."

5-4 in favor of Bush, I'll bet you right now.
posted by klangklangston at 1:39 PM on July 20, 2007


On behalf of the rest of the continent would America PLEASE take out it's garbage? It's been stinking the rest of the place up for six years now.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:43 PM on July 20, 2007


If the Bush's claim of privilege is rejected by the courts, but Bush still prevents US Attorneys from testifying, then yes, many more red flags would be raised about his complete ignoring of the rule of law. The mere assertion of privilege does not alone do that.

No, no, no. The assertion of the privilege by Harriet Miers -- which was not only non-specific, but by a former Exec Branch member -- happened already. Sara Taylor did it too, though she testified.

The significance of this announcement is that the Admin has forbidden the Attorneys from prosecuting any contempt charges, and no one else has standing to do so.
posted by spiderwire at 1:53 PM on July 20, 2007


At this point, this is still a legal issue that has several more steps to go through before we can officially declare that revoutionary times are at hand.

First of all: there is not a single, sane legal scholar in the land that would say Bush has a legitimate claim to executive privilege here.

Secondly: Yes, Bush still needs to actually defy the congress. He will. Only a fool would bet otherwise. He has made it abundantly clear that he has no intention whatsoever of being "checked" by the legislative branch. Condi Rice has gone so far as to say that Bush would defy any Congressional order to end the war in Iraq (not "veto:" defy). The man has quite proudly stated that he committed countless felonies, and was going to keep on committing felonies, in the form of illegal wiretapping, and that as president it was his right to not follow laws he did not like.

Seriously. There is zero chance Bush will instruct any member of Justice to enforce the law of the land, if said law will get him in trouble.

This administration makes absolutely no attempt to hide its contempt for checks and balances, and they've not backed down on any of their claims to King-like power. I don't know why any rational person would not take them at their word.

Bush will not allow Justice to pursue any legal action against him or his cadres (and if something goes to the Supreme Court, he's appointed a crony Chief Justice in Roberts that also wants the President to be King. Neat).

In Bush's mind, he is above the law. He's made this clear. People need to get that through their heads.
posted by teece at 1:54 PM on July 20, 2007


You know why Americans aren't rioting? Because we believe in our process.

I call bullshit. How many of your average Americans know enough about the process to even say one way or the other?

People aren't out there because they're preoccupied with all of the things that the media feeds them (and they eat). Harry Potter, Paris Hilton, etc. etc. etc.
posted by rollbiz at 1:56 PM on July 20, 2007


Oops, Inkoate beat me to it. However, it's not the AG that prosecutes, Inkoate, it's the DC attorney -- who, as noted above, conveniently happens to be a PATRIOT Act appointment by the name of Jeff Taylor and part of the Admin's circle of friends.
posted by spiderwire at 1:56 PM on July 20, 2007


(and if something goes to the Supreme Court, he's appointed a crony Chief Justice in Roberts that also wants the President to be King. Neat)

I have to wonder -- since they cited the Olson memo in their announcement, and Roberts helped Fielding the current WH Counsel on the original EPA case that memo concerned, would he have to recuse himself?


Also, modernnomad -- TPM made the point that the WH counsel has arguably already committed an Ob of J crime under 18 USC 1505 (among other statutes, I believe) by independently and preemptively directing Miers to refuse to testify on exec. privilege grounds. Although the privilege invocation for former employees isn't itself frivolous (though it is a bad argument), it's uniquely problematic to invoke it generally (i.e. without a specific ground) and preemptively (i.e., you could perhaps go to testify and refuse to answer every question on the grounds of exec. privilege, but that doesn't mean you can refuse the subpoena and not testify, which is what Fielding directed Miers to do).

But you're the lawyer, so you tell me. All I know is that you generally can't invoke a privilege you're not entitled to (e.g. a divorceé invoking spousal privilege), you almost certainly can't invoke it generally, and you definitely can't use it to refuse to testify completely. Maybe I was told wrong -- I screw lots of stuff up.
posted by spiderwire at 2:05 PM on July 20, 2007


You know why Americans aren't rioting? Because we believe in our process.

haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaahhahahhahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
[cough][cough]
haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaaa

i mean, really.

posted by troybob at 2:06 PM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Y'know, this is probably the time for people to go to their windows and scream, when they leave their desks and walk out into the streets, when they stand up and say "This is wrong. This is not right. This is not America."

But that don't put Favorited Bys on the user page.


Perhaps someone more familiar with the user interface can help me here. How do I anti-favorite this?
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:07 PM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


oops < / b>
posted by troybob at 2:08 PM on July 20, 2007


However, it's not the AG that prosecutes, Inkoate, it's the DC attorney
Yes, I'm sorry. I was incorrect, the DC attorney is the person in question.
posted by Inkoate at 2:10 PM on July 20, 2007


I think a lot of people, myself included, lost faith in the democratic process after the 2000 election debacle. Then again in 2004, more people realized that voting doesn't always work. And now we have the ambiguity of electronic ballots to look forward to for the next election. Say what you want about the hippies. But at least they tried.
posted by Sailormom at 2:12 PM on July 20, 2007


Perhaps someone more familiar with the user interface can help me here. How do I anti-favorite this?

Can't agree more.

Several people here have mentioned never having protested, or voted, or written their Congressmen. Well, some of us have done so repeatedly throughout this administration, and to absolutely no effect.

This whole presidency has been like a long walk on thin ice. I've realized I took a lot of rights for granted, and had totally new fears. I even feel exhausted in a way I never have before. If some of you can say that that doesn't describe you as well, then I'm sincerely happy for you. But I don't know how else to feel, or what else to do at this point.
posted by zebra3 at 2:18 PM on July 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


(This is not to say I don't think Bush is a total nightmare, but really, calm down folks.)

modernnomad: when is it time, exactly, to get excited?

When?

It's not enough that Bush took us to war on false pretenses, and refuses to do anything about his losing said war. That's at least his presidential right, but nothing to get excited about, right?

It's not enough that Bush violated the law by spying on American citizens without a warrant (an explicit violation of a law passed after Nixon).

It's not enough that Bush effectively killed the investigation into his own potential illegality in that wire-tapping by refusing to allow an investigation on national security grounds (neat, huh? Wish I could do that). Bush stopped an investigation dead in its tracks.

It's not enough that Bush outs a covert CIA agent for crass political reasons. Then lies to the American people, straight up, about wanting to catch whoever did it. Then goes on to pardon* one of his guys who obstructed justice and lied in the investigation of that matter.

It's not enough that Bush has completely politicized the Justice Department, illegally, turning the supposedly neutral law enforcement arm of the US Federal government into a Republican party tool.

It's not enough that Bush won't fire Gonzales, an AG that is plainly unfit to serve, and an AG that has plainly lied to the public and Congress.

It's not enough that Bush has stonewalled the investigation into the politicization of Justice, and made farcical claims about the ability of former-executive branch employees to completely ignore legislative branch subpoenas.

Now, on top of all that (and oh so much more I have not stated), a Bush henchman lets the press know that Bush will not be allowing any prosecution in the case of Contempt of Congress he started. The executive has let it be known publicly that it is above the law.

Really, I'm curious: when, EXACTLY, do we start to get excited? I've been told for 6 years now to "settle down," and yet, I've been right every time, and it keeps getting worse.

So please do inform me when it's OK to finally get excited.

*No, I'm not going to play into the Bush PR game and say he commuted the sentence.
posted by teece at 2:23 PM on July 20, 2007 [17 favorites]


It's a good thing I already speak German. Sigh.

Anyway -- good point, zebra3. My Congressman is Dennis Kucinich. One of my senators is a formerly-more-pro-Bush shill. Writing either is not going to do much good. No one takes Kucinich seriously, and Voinovich is too busy trying to save his own ass for the next election...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:24 PM on July 20, 2007


spiderwire you asked for ideas?

that's an interesting story from BusinessWeek about how the people affected by the recent back and forth on green card applications used Gandhian principles to get the dhs to change its mind and allow applications in once more.


[er.. is this assetgrabworthy?]
posted by infini at 2:27 PM on July 20, 2007


I suspect posts tend to go off the rails when everything that has been said has been said and/or the subject matter is so obvious that there isn’t much more to be said (the latter seems the case here).
I’ve noticed a lot of this “you gun guys should” stuff around. Not just here. Kind of funny, the typical insinuation is impotency if firearms aren’t mustered to the poster’s cause. The irony’s mighty thick there (even apart from the unwillingness to engage in violence for one’s own cause and the replication of the Bush administration’s tin soldiering and chickenhawking on the right, not to mention the ends not justifying the means, all that. But hey, we’re mad dammit!).
It’s exactly the sort of thing firearms are NOT about. You don’t just strap on a six iron and go to Washington. It’s not a magical cure all to reverse governmental decisions. In the first place you have to draw troops out into fighting a guerilla war. Any open armed insurrection invading Washington with the intent of killing the President and sundry officials (let’s not mince words here, it’s what we’re talking about) would be put down very quickly. (Seriously - you ask people to do murder by proxy for you and question their commitment to principles if they DON’T? WTF?)
Want to start a revolution? Start agitating the crap out of the administration so they overreact. Seize t.v. stations and other mediums of communication. Get your message out and organize. Make your organization seem far larger and more popular than it is. Once you invite the attack (preferrably on some innocent and/or extremely empathetic symbol) then starts being the time for firearms. Generally. I’m speaking very simply here.
But otherwise, no, you can’t just hop around trying to be the Scarlet Pimpernel shooting people and hoping that will change policy to something you agree with.
That’s pretty much exactly what’s happening in Iraq and it’s weird so many people can see what’s wrong there but not with their own desire for use of force (but hey, it’s a change to dig at the gun guys, so...)
It’s what makes democracy so impervious to terrorism (from without, anyway). The broad consensual nature of the government (normally).
I don’t like this act by Bushco. Haven’t liked a whole lot of them. Going off half cocked with a weapon is the worst of all possible ideas.

Caviats aside, there are a number of useful roles firearms can fufill in resisting tyrrany but they do require a methodical, patient and meticulously detailed approach. Otherwise you’re a nut with a gun or a terrorist and the cops just nail you.
Don’t mistake the scalpel for the entire surgical process that cures a malady or excises a tumor. The scalpel is merely a tool in that process, and there are remedies other than surgery.
Right now we do have elections, freedom to dissent, etc. etc. (There are a whole slew of organizations in and out of the political system out there on top of protesting and such. It takes ten minutes to think about what might work for your time and energies and your level of commitment. Maybe 15 minutes to use google and find an organization. Or even google how to start your own. I suspect most of you don’t think you CAN do something because you HAVEN’T been doing something. And/or you’re impatient. Hell, join a 3rd party. The Greens in Illinois made some great headway.)

Starting the process to take lives does require a certain neccessity to it, that I’d rather not be so casual with (despite being, y’know, a gun nut). This might be the thin end of the (very quickly thickening) wedge but no one can see that for certain. This isn’t a metaphysical “if you could go back in time and kill Hitler” debate. We still have a process in place and lawful avenues of resistance and representatives who can challenge this. Whether they do or will remains to be seen, as does the ultimate effect.

That said, I’m going hunting this weekend. Been gathering a lot of rifles lately. Planning to get an autoloader. Although I haven’t been hitting the gym as much, I’ve been sharpening up on my shooting. And been making lots of contacts with folks all over the country.
I’ll wait until 2008 to see if I need to find some new game.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:27 PM on July 20, 2007 [9 favorites]


You guys gotta have more faith in yourselves. You could probably pull off a coup in a week.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 2:29 PM on July 20, 2007


(disclaimer: could be sooner)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:38 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


What happens when this graph gets to zero?
posted by mullingitover at 2:58 PM on July 20, 2007


On the Zanzibar optimism tip, given how incompetent this administration is, I'd be willing to bet they could be deposed in a bloodless afternoon.

We just have to get someone to leave cut the phone lines to Bush's ranch the next time he and Cheney are on vacation there. Let them think they're still in power, but just stop listening...

(Oh, wistful hope)...
posted by klangklangston at 3:00 PM on July 20, 2007


amberglow writes "his along with the new exec order seizing assets of anyone they want pretty much seals the deal"

Oy vey ! Indeed, let's just make a wild wild hypothesis and that there is something boiling , what could it be ?

1. ordinary corruption, coverup of associates ; that'd be ordinary shady business by extraordinary actors and circumstances. Not a conspirancy, but ordinary
high level delinquency, the kind that leaves everybody but few powerful in the shit ( see Enron et al)

2. something not that clear that may take advantage by

a. subservient ideology , anything for the *ideal* at any cost
b. fear of being seen as an enemy of the *ideal* that can be avoid by just NOT protesting. Shus Joe, what do you gain from troubling politics?
c. identification of an invisible, powerful , does-all-the-evil enemy that is internal
d. identification of an external source of trouble, a menace that requires attacking OUTSIDE the country
e. support of religious zealots, complacent silence of major religious groups
f. fear of a police state, even if very little or no significant violence is exercised

To some italians, that sounds exactly like fascism, minus the black shirts. The actual full-blown, "black block" fascist, the black shirts, weren't that numerous and indeed the infamous "March on rome" was just an overblown theatrical apparatus of a few thousands at best.

Now clearly no idiot would repeat the same scheme without variations, but the basic logic of fear remeans the same , imho. In italy Berlusconi used exactly the same tricks, the aggressive attack on anything "communist" , the promise of wealth and work (who doesn't want some) and the left leaning tought nobody would buy such an exuberant, pointless, fact-less rethoric.

They did, millions did as people were infinitely disgusted with politicians incompetence and corruption ; so what they did is jumping into privately arranged incompetence and corruption, which is even worse. Yet only recently some policeman confessed about the incredible events of G8 in Genova, in which young protester were almost killed , there is even tape recording of some police officier planting incriminating molotov-bottle evidence.

It's obviously so surrel, so vile, it was completely covered up for years. I think they are banking on people being
1. scared
2. depressed , thinking that any attempt will be useless so why try

which is the same mentality of people deluded by a chain of bad romantic meetings, thinking they will never do it again. It's learned hopelessness, that can just be switched by thinking the opposite : change is possible and good, change will happen, I will do my part in change...heck I AM DOING it right now, even if "." this little.
posted by elpapacito at 3:13 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I find elpapacito's comment somewhat incomprehensible, so I apologize if this is off-base:

General conspiracy theories notwithstanding, the seizure Executive Order is absolutely ridiculous and is a very legitimate grounds for worry. Additionally, it does do what amberglow suggests -- it allows general seizures based solely on an independent, opaque, unaccountable Executive determination, which, based on the language of the order, could easily amount to nothing more than opposition to the Iraq War. It really is that bad.

Furthermore, the fact that such a thing could pass so completely under the radar is what makes it so specifically frightening. I believe that's what amberglow was implying.
posted by spiderwire at 3:27 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where's dipshit Wolf Blitzer (ISR) on this? Or NBC news (GE)? Or Katie Couric (VIA)?

How come no one on the radio (CLEAR CHANNEL) ever talks about his?

Gotta go. Jim Cramer's on.
posted by wfc123 at 3:32 PM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Was this thread altered at some point? There seem to be a few references to contributors who do not seem to have posts present.
posted by Slothrup at 3:34 PM on July 20, 2007


spiderwire writes "I find elpapacito's comment somewhat incomprehensible"

Read...again...take..your..time.

Why should one want to cut the economic resources of opposition ? Of any kind of opposition ? Who would like to do that ?

Hint: people with an agenda of silenting dissent.

Do you know what kind of people silenced press in Italy before and during the 2nd World War ? How would you obtain the same effect in U.S. without violation Freedom of Speech ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:36 PM on July 20, 2007


ehm...without violating Freedom of Speech ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:37 PM on July 20, 2007


Regarding a general strike in the US: I wish to propose a date. Well, really piggy back on the idea and grass roots protest begun by Italian comic-cum-decrier of that which is rotten in DenmarkItaly, Beppe Grillo.

While the three maintenants for the protest arguably address specific issues in Italy, the underlying sentiment is of uprooting those who believe themselves above the law.

This is something that, at least to my mind, crosses borders, cultures and, in theory, should also cross idealogies. Unfortunately, those in power have become rather proficient at creating an enormous gulf between the latter.

So while Sig. Grillo's protest is not a general strike per se, I propose that the US, or indeed anywhere else where governments maintain themselves to be above the law of the populace, organize themselves in whatever form to express the underlying sentiment.

September 8th - "Go Fuck Yourselves Up the Ass Day".
posted by romakimmy at 3:37 PM on July 20, 2007


Hi Kim :) Congrats for the engagement !
posted by elpapacito at 3:45 PM on July 20, 2007


If the US Attorney refuses to prosecute a contempt charge requested by Congress, could someone (Congress?) seek a writ of mandamus for abuse of discretion?
posted by stopgap at 3:48 PM on July 20, 2007


Really, I'm curious: when, EXACTLY, do we start to get excited? I've been told for 6 years now to "settle down," and yet, I've been right every time, and it keeps getting worse.

So please do inform me when it's OK to finally get excited.


Teeca, I absolutely agree with this -- I am hopeful that you and your fellow citzens have been excited/outraged for a good while now. What I was trying to get at though was that today's action hardly ranks up there in pantheon, because (unless of course am incorrect about the rules of procedure in the US legal system, which is entirely possible, as others have suggested above) there are still a couple of steps for Bush to go through before asserting privilege in this instance becomes full-blown defiance of the law.

There have been multiple more egregious acts taken by the Bush administration than this one today. I am not, honestly NOT, saying that people shouldn't be incensed by what Bush has done over the last 6 years, but simply that this particular action is relatively minor compared to what people are suggesting.

My own view? You're all fucked for the next two years. Bush isn't going to be impeached, no matter what. He clearly doesn't give a fuck about his popularity ratings or what other people think of him, whether they're in his administration or not, in his party or not, or in his country or not.

I maintain though that the solution to this is vigorous engagement in the democratic process, and the apocalyptic scenarios proposed in this thread are generally unhelpful.

But let me stress, I am not supporting what Bush has done (today or any other time) in any possible way.
posted by modernnomad at 3:48 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Damn, that took a month of Sundays to actually post for some reason, so I didn't see elpapa's posts.

There's some (for me) striking similarities in recent politics of the US & Italy. And I can't claim to be an expert on either by a far cry. So I wouldn't dare attempt to explain, elpapa's post though I understand the rough jist of what he's trying to say.

There's one main difference I'm beginning to see, though. Here, everyone is starting to get pissed off with both sides. Which is why I think, or maybe just have a sliver of hope, that some form of change for the better will happen soon.

I might be too far away to judge acurately, but I don't have the same sized sliver of hope for the US at the moment.
posted by romakimmy at 3:49 PM on July 20, 2007


ACLU: Exec Order on Iraq Threatens Due Process
posted by homunculus at 3:52 PM on July 20, 2007


Actually, I believe that July 27th (re: 1974) will be celebrated in my home as "Impeachment Day."
posted by klangklangston at 3:53 PM on July 20, 2007


It's a very good thing that the Bush administration is going whole hog on this. The real worry was that they'd take ten steps forwards and then two steps back. But now they're going all the way and we're finally going to settle some questions for once and for all. So we're actually very fortunate that the Republicans have become such ideologically driven madmen, to the point of pissing off the entire country, and they aren't just greedy and corrupt. This sort of stand off is exactly what democracy needs.
posted by nixerman at 4:07 PM on July 20, 2007


Read...again...take..your..time.

sorry, elpapacito -- i was just trying to pre-apologize if i was misinterpreting. i think i got it right eventually, i just wanted to make sure. :)
posted by spiderwire at 4:20 PM on July 20, 2007


spiderwire writes "sorry, elpapacito"

No problem :)
posted by elpapacito at 4:26 PM on July 20, 2007


I think part of the problem is us. Not MeFi, but concerned citizens. We just don't know what to do to affect change. We need ideas. We need recourse. We need leaders to rally behind. And we are left with very few in any category.

The idea of a general strike is interesting, though. We could all do that. Even once a month. Let it catch on. Let it build. And I propose 9/12 - in honor of the last time we were all united on anything. Maybe we could get that back.

Nobody goes to work. Nobody spends money. If you have a web site, take it down. Turn the wealth-generating machine OFF, if only for a day.

Do it again in October. Maybe more people will join in. Spread the word. If it's done well enough, or if change doesn't come, we can do it more often. There's nothing illegal or violent about it, and it strikes at the heart of what this is all about: Greed.
posted by JWright at 4:43 PM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


You guys should switch to a parliamentary system.
posted by furtive at 4:53 PM on July 20, 2007


I maintain though that the solution to this is vigorous engagement in the democratic process

I would agree with that wholeheartedly, modernnomad. I do what I can. And I have no illusions -- violence is not even anywhere near being an option. If it ever becomes an option, me and my country folk are truly fucked.

But I'm also getting a bit sensitive to being told: this is not as big a deal as it seems... Because I've heard that weekly for 6 years now, and it keeps turning out that it was as big a deal as I was saying. There seems to be no limit to the venal nastyness (combined with colossal incompetence and just plain not-giving-a-shit about governing) of the Bush administration.

I'm hoping this all get corrected, but I'm getting less and less optimistic as time goes by. I remember being 17, and thinking it was a really big deal that Bush I and Reagan got off scott-free from Iran-Contra, which was a much bigger deal than anything Nixon did. But at least there was the (attempt) at a pursuit of justice.

Now, we don't even get that anymore.
posted by teece at 4:54 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Get organized.
Fix the problems in the counting of votes (because currently, it's a fucking sub-third world mess).

Have an election.
Check that the mechanism to count votes is not broken. If it is, fix it.
Have another election.

The key, that which has facilitated all of this, is a broken electoral process. Had Bush not been 'elected' in 2000, oh, if only...
posted by From Bklyn at 7:04 PM on July 20, 2007


The idea of a general strike is interesting, though. We could all do that.

The problem here is, again, that not everyone is able to do this. I have a job where I have very tight deadlines - if I can't meet those deadlines, that's lost income (and, in the worst case, lost employment). I mean, fine, I'm buying into the archaic capitalist establishment mindset, but guess what? I'm pretty darn comfortable in my own little classical liberal world (even with all of the progressive social and political stances I have) where you vote and hold down a steady job, you hippies.

Disclaimer: I am a tree-hugging pot-smoking gay-marriage-loving pro-choice liberal from Portland, OR. I don't know if this makes the above better or worse.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 7:11 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Was this thread altered at some point? There seem to be a few references to contributors who do not seem to have posts present.

Yes -- as mentioned above by cortex, as a moderator, he removed comments by dios and others: ""Big derail excised. More discussing, less discussing the lack or not of discussing, okay?"
posted by ericb at 7:24 PM on July 20, 2007


As the level of infighting about any third party candidates (witness any discussion about the libertarian or green party) keeps people too divided (and really, that level of discourse should take place after a substantial number of third party candidates has enough seats to actually do something)…

Register as republicans. Tear the republican party apart from the inside. Get a better class of people to vote for by exerting influence over the primaries.

Ultimately, there needs to be more voices in government. More parties. Maybe with the goal of proportional representation.

But that isn’t going to happen until the stranglehold of the republicans and democrats is broken.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 8:57 PM on July 20, 2007


General conspiracy theories notwithstanding, the seizure Executive Order is absolutely ridiculous and is a very legitimate grounds for worry.

which is why i was worried about them in the 70s when they were applied to the war on drugs ... by both parties, not just the republicans

by the way ... they've already been upheld by the supreme court ...

now, for what chunking express said

there's that little thing about elections

(link to claim 2004 election was stolen in ohio)

sorry, i don't believe that ... furthermore, if that makes our country a dictatorship, then it was one in 1960 ... well, according to those who believe the vote count was cooked in texas

and then we have chicago's and new york's long and venerable tradition of ballot box stuffing

... and free speech

(link to some guy who's suing over his free speech being violated)

in a dictatorship, you're not allowed to sue ... period

... and political advocacy

(link to article about free speech zones)

what did they do in chicago in 1968? ... or during the red scare of the early '20s?

tkchrist -

But none have had the power of this one (meaning bush - my addition). It is unprecedented.

a quick look at the lincoln and fdr administrations says otherwise ... of course, their reasons were quite a bit better, but ... and don't forget that fdr actually attempted to pack the supreme court with extra justices before congress said no ... all because the supreme court ruled that important parts of the new deal were unconstitutional

not even bush has been that brazen

teece -

So please do inform me when it's OK to finally get excited.

do you mean you're capable of stopping?

zebra3 -

Several people here have mentioned never having protested, or voted, or written their Congressmen. Well, some of us have done so repeatedly throughout this administration, and to absolutely no effect.

that comes with being part of a political minority in a democratic republic ...

it could change in time

klangklangston -


On the Zanzibar optimism tip, given how incompetent this administration is, I'd be willing to bet they could be deposed in a bloodless afternoon.


i would rather live under bush in a free country than live under the rulers of your choice after a coup

it's comments like that which make me mistrust the left as much as i mistrust the right




posted by pyramid termite at 9:05 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


You guys should switch to a parliamentary system.

Too many old guys talking. It's more efficient to give it all to one old guy and let him run with it. America is all about the better mousetrap stuff. Pure Horatio Alger, man.
posted by spiderwire at 9:44 PM on July 20, 2007


You know, when I left Canada to study in the US around 2004, my sister was all worried for me because the US Ambassador to Canada had made a lot of veiled threats against Canada's decision to not join the US in Iraq. She made me promise to flee back to Canada if things started going police-state over here.

From time to time, I would ponder what it would be like to flee back to my homeland during some hypothetical totalitarian regime here in the US. Only now I realize that for the last year or so I've actually been pondering it as a concrete possibility. This sort of shit reminds me of the stuff my parents fled in their countries of origin, and it makes me very, very nervous.
posted by LMGM at 1:35 AM on July 21, 2007


Smedleyman: Please transmit rendezvous coordinates and supply refurbishment areas. Also gun and rifle depots....
posted by Skygazer at 2:00 AM on July 21, 2007


LMGM - At least you can feel reassured that "fleeing" to Canada mostly involves walking from one empty patch of grass to another empty patch of grass, with maybe some trees to step around.
posted by Justinian at 5:40 AM on July 21, 2007


Uh, yeah. Good plan. Except if the U.S. turns into the kind of totalitarian regime you're imagining, about the time they finally secure their future oil supply they'll be desperate for water, and your hypothetical totalitarian regime might not care too much about how it goes about getting it.

New Zealand, though? Probably a better idea.
posted by dreamsign at 6:11 AM on July 21, 2007


Whew.

When Bush won the election the first time, I was in a pissy mood for a few weeks. Then I got used to it and decided I would stuff my idealism and go about making a life for myself and pull it out when I needed it again.

I haven't felt like this since then. I've been busy building a life. I've never seen people this pissed off, or terrified, in all seven years. My thoughts on 9/11 when the towers went down were, "Idiots." An enemy that attacks office buildings? With passenger planes? And kill themselves in the process? The threat is laughable. These morons couldn't even fucking smuggle a gun onto a plane. I could do that. The ONLY reason they got that far is because we weren't looking. And in many ways, the response from the Bush administration was proper at first. The 9/11 commission, staff shuffling, defensive, limited invasion of their country to shut down the camps, and that's that. The Iraq War? A stupid choice. There wasn't a draft. The economy went into debt, but I'm a wage slave and with so many financial layers between me and the bond market that I didn't notice anything. Vietnam ended (and now Vietnam's doing just as well, and in many cases better, than most of the South Asian economies), and this will too. Fuck, Iran is the sturdiest economic power in the middle east, they themselves have never been an actual threat to the US (even during Iran-Contra we bought their oil) and if something similar happened in Iraq, I wouldn't worry too much. During the EPA staff mixup, the US Attorney firings, the Ohio election scandals, the torture in Guantanamo, the twitters about Cheney and Gonzalez, I didn't pay attention, because it's been seen before and anyone with any perspective should expect bad government from time to time.

But then the directive from Plant about seizing "insurgent's" assets came down. And then this. And last night, as I was reading this thread, for the first time in 7 fucking years, my Zen got fucked with. Bush fucked with my Zen. And I am not amused.



I live in China. And it's not like what you'd expect it to be, all exotic and different, with people astounded at your Western political flagrance and frothingly admiring the Great Leaders. Last night I was talking with my girlfriend about this post, and I said it's like our democracy is getting strangled. She said, in an annoyed voice, "You think? It's already dead, pal, same as everywhere. Nothing you can do. Let's get some sleep, alright?" There've been other conversations with other people, and what I've heard is, "Terrorists?!?! You're kidding. You guys fall for that Cultural Revolution crap?" I saw an article in the newspaper the other day with an official claiming that news ratings are falling because there's a feeling that it's all government bullshit, and they were debating how to get ratings back up. I showed it to someone in my office and he shrugged.

I'm glad my Zen got fucked with. I don't want to end up like that, and I don't want my country to end up like that. I hope it's not too late to do something.
posted by saysthis at 6:19 AM on July 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


Saythis: You reminded me of something with your China post. Pyramid Termite mentions that , you can't sue the government in a dictatorship. I've heard this meme before quite often when people want to reassure me that things are fine in the USA. Sorry Pyramid Termite, but you're wrong.

Actually, in China, you can sue the government. Even in a dictatorship, (and China IS a Communist dictatorship) the government wants to maintain the figleaf of legitimacy given by a court system. Vaclav Havel writes about this in his essays-- the Czechoslovakian government still had trials and courts even though it was again, a Communist dicatorship that imprisoned poltiical dissidents and ruled through fear. Even the Czechoslovakian government at the height of the Cold War, and backed by Russian tanks, still needed the legitimacy of the court system. I'm not saying that the United States has become a dictatorship. No. However, as over 200 people have mentioned in the comments, we're on a very grim path. The issue is whether the President can bar judicial review of his actions and block a Congressional investigation. The rule is that no branch gets to act unilaterally-- each is checked by the other. Congress has investigative power, which is backed by its ability to legally compel people to show up and testify. We call this power, "subpoena power." However, broadly, Congress is still subject to judicial review-- if the subpoenaed party disputes, they can fail to show up and then contest the issue in court or in a contempt trial in Congress. When Bush orders the US Attorney not to indict a defendant on the grounds of contempt of Congress, he cuts Congress off from the court system. He breaks the process and puts himself in a position to neither be reviewed by Congress, nor have his own decisions reviewed by the judiciary. Thus he establishes the Executive branch as paramount over all others, exactly what his attorneys have argued in brief after brief.

As to violent revolution, the first thing that jumps into my head is this quote from Bono:
"Yeah! And let me tell you something... I've had enough of Irish-Americans who haven't been back to their country in 20 or 30 years, come up to me and talk about the resistance, the revolution back home. And the glory of the revolution. And the glory of dying for the revolution.

Fuck the revolution!

They don't talk about the glory of killing for the revolution...

What's the glory... in taking a man from his bed, and gunning him down in front of his wife and his children? Where's the glory in that? Where's the glory in bombing a remembrance day parade of old-age pensioners, their medals taken out and polished up for the day? Where's the glory in that? To leave them dying.... or crippled for life... or dead... under the rubble... of a revolution... that the majority of the people in my country don't want."
What he said-- fuck the revolution.

What can Metafilter do? Visit our Congressional representatives and Senators. Yes, they are tools. That's the idea-- they aren't leaders so much as they are conduits for public opinion. They are afraid of being booted out of office, as they should be. One thing that really gets the attention of any Congressperson is when a group of concerned citizens show up.

How to do it? Metafilter has done meetups before right? Maybe one delegation wont' be the one to push things over the edge to impeachment. But it's a start, and it has more impact than just sitting at our computers and typing. For all of you who are so down for "revolution," if you can't even get off your ass and go visit your Congressperson, I'd say you're pretty pathetic. For the "oh well it's all useless" types-- face it, you are part of the fucking problem too. For everyone else, what have you got to lose? Maybe one day at work , and if scheduling is done right, not even that, just a day on the weekend. Even if it doesn't work, what's the harm in trying? You fight the good fight, you lose, so what-- I guarantee if we don't try, we'll always lose.

At the very least it can be fun =)
posted by wuwei at 11:00 AM on July 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


Along those lines, wuwei, what would happen if a couple of hundred people marched into a state legislature in, say, California or Ohio or Florida and occupied it? Refused to leave until something was done?

I'm just thinking out loud here. I don't know if it's practical or useful or even a good idea, but it seems to me we have to make it very clear that large numbers of people are pissed off. Nobody wants to be the first person to make some noise, but it's a lot easier to join in if a bunch of other people are already doing it.
posted by EarBucket at 12:06 PM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


None of us can afford to strike or not go to work--and the media wouldn't cover it anyway.

What secret shit did Cheney do this am while he was King?
posted by amberglow at 1:06 PM on July 21, 2007


Bush’s New Interrogation Order Contains Loophole: ‘Does Not Create Any Right Enforceable At Law’

Every day it's a new F.U. to all of us.
posted by amberglow at 1:13 PM on July 21, 2007


What secret shit did Cheney do this am while he was King?

Helped tune up the W1000. It'd been acting up lately.
posted by spiderwire at 1:13 PM on July 21, 2007


... A check of the calendar shows time swiftly running out for President Bush. Eighteen months from today, a new president takes the oath of office.
"We see this milestone as just another day," says Joel Kaplan, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff. ...

posted by amberglow at 1:16 PM on July 21, 2007


maybe there's something in this series of interviews?
posted by amberglow at 1:36 PM on July 21, 2007


“Hi, I’m George Bush, and I’m here to take all your shit.”--... the lack of due process, lack of evidentiary requirements, and the vagueness surrounding exactly what constitutes a violation make this order a totalitarian dream. And there is no end to the ‘daisy chain’ it creates, either. If you donate money to a person whose assets were frozen because they gave money to a person who was declared to be a ‘significant risk’ to commit or support violence in Iraq, then you are subject to the order, subject to have your assets frozen, and anyone helping you thereafter gets the same treatment. ...
posted by amberglow at 2:59 PM on July 21, 2007


Earbucket-- conceptually I like the idea , but in practice, as amberglow said, the media won't cover it. Yet.

Assuming that impeachment is what you want, going to Congress members is the best thing because they have the power to actually impeach/try. Also, having hundreds of people march raises the question-- who can afford to get arrested? Take time off work (several weeks?) or maybe get fired for being arrested if you work in a customer facing job.

So I think it's worth it to try to take the lawful means before moving to civil disobedience. A lot of people like to look at the civil rights protests of the 1960s and think that it 'just happened.' It didn't. There were years of attempted legal actions in the courts and otherwise, to build solidarity within the community _before_ marching in the streets. Otherwise the media (which is again, mostly made up of people too cowardly to put their own skin in the game as a decision maker-- steographers) will marginalize you. On the other hand , when it becomes a mass movement, they will report it breathlessly.

So the issue is, how to become a mass movement? People don't overnight decide to march in the streets. They first need to do small things to build their confidence in their beliefs, and in their co-marchers. Walk before you can run. If people can't commit to something as simple as going in a group of 20 to their local Congressional office, then marching to be arrested at the Statehouse is out of the question.

Think about it this way-- if there were a movement of people visiting their local Congressional office in delegations to demand impeachment, THAT would be newsworthy. Every time a group did it, they should issue a press release to get coverage. Then it's something happening all over the USA. As that happens THEN people will start to see that "wow, others agree with me, reasonable normal people like me, not professional protesters/street theaterists with stick puppets."

At that point, if there is still not movement on impeachment, one can honestly say that the people tried every lawful means, and that it didn't work. Then, marching in the streets and taking over the legislature with a sit in, becomes a more likely outcome, and an outcome which will garner more support. Because you _tried_ to make the system work, and it by then _obviously doesn't_.

Someone will inevitably say that "well time is running out anyway/what you're proposing takes too long." Bullshit. With the internet , social networking tools and 24 hour news, things can happen very fast.
posted by wuwei at 3:24 PM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh and spiderwire-- thanks for posting this. Whatever our disagreements over the utility of the ICC, we're in some agreement here.
posted by wuwei at 3:25 PM on July 21, 2007


wuwei: thanks. i still think we probably have more in common on that particular issue than that argument might entailed, but that's neither here nor there. i'm glad someone found this thread useful :)

on that note, i am finding the end of the thread very interesting. while i'm generally the first person to scoff at the "we must march!" people -- which is a reaction i developed in college, and for very good reasons, i think -- this last month has found me more and more often just wishing that i had someone to go and scream.

the notion of a mefi meetup / visit to a state legislature is actually quite interesting to me. one of the major problems with the current congressional system is that only a few lobbyists are needed to twist arms on special interests issues -- it's essentially an opportunity-cost imbalance between how much a single pork project costs the public on a per capita basis versus those who it benefits.

given the things that firedoglake has been able to accomplish since the libby trial, how easily people seem to be able to get responses from their representatives through physical letters or calling (i'm convinced that emails are useless), and some of the comments here and elsewhere, this is a topic that i think i'll be pondering for a while. not sure what i think about it -- yet -- but i have to imagine that if the austin mefites decided to put on their best suits and go down to the capitol building *before* a meetup, it could have an appreciable effect, if done right. that place is actually more empty than you'd expect most of the time.

anyway. thanks for the food for thought, wuwei.
posted by spiderwire at 7:12 PM on July 21, 2007


*somewhere to go and scream, etc etc

i make lots of teh typos lulz

posted by spiderwire at 7:14 PM on July 21, 2007


Spiderwire: (still learning to remember to bold names) I'm glad you found the post interesting. I hope to hear about the MeFi Austin meetup soon =)

But seriously, I know people who work for members of Congress in district (in state) offices. They are _very_ sensitive to local opinion. You'd also be surprised what they can get done-- for example, if a person is having a problem with a federal government agency, having someone from a Congressional district office give that agency a call works wonders.

The procedure is to schedule a meeting in advance via fax/letter. I am in the SF Bay area, and if anyone is interested in going to visit Pelosi's office in SF, let me know. Because I am 100 percent serious about this.
posted by wuwei at 7:32 PM on July 21, 2007


Good on you, wuwei. I can't believe how folks are basically squandering the greatest medium EVAR by using it to gripe instead of taking action - one Blogger account, a Myspace page, a Facebook group, whatever the hell the kids are using these days, that's all you really need. A few vids on YouTube, a podcast outlining why, what, and how. Hell, hold your nose and get the word out on Twitter.

Take their old slogans and turn them against them. Show the fuckers what "Prouder, Stronger, Better" really means. Make Wednesday, July 25, 2007 a day of Mourning in America, For America. And remember: the Republicans aren't your only enemy in this - what's your Democrat rep doing?

The MSM will ignore you? Don't let them. Don't call the intern and ask if they'd like to come by for a couple soundbites to run after second sports. Take it to their doorstep and protest their complicity. You're TIME's Person of the Year. Shake off that condescending pat on the head and shove it up their ass.

Scared of losing your job? That's understandable.
But there are a hell of a lot more things scarier than having to update your resume, and it's sure as shit easier to get a new job than to regain lost dignity and self-respect. You might have to shave for that job interview, but at least you'll be able to look at yourself in the mirror.

[Wipes brow, lights smoke, resumes being a thoroughly jaded Canadian]
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:57 PM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


[Wipes brow, lights smoke, resumes being a thoroughly jaded Canadian]
Losing your job means something very different to you than it does to us--we don't have a social safety net, nor do we have health insurance regardless.
posted by amberglow at 9:07 PM on July 21, 2007


Actually, in China, you can sue the government. Even in a dictatorship, (and China IS a Communist dictatorship) the government wants to maintain the figleaf of legitimacy given by a court system.

china WAS a communist dictatorship ... it IS a system in flux that i think is unwise to catagorize at this time

but your insistence that the average tin pot dictator would allow a free speech lawsuit against his government would be laughable, if it weren't for the many thousands who have been killed for trying to practice free speech in various countries

the whole dictatorship meme is rhetoric and rather cheap rhetoric at that

The issue is whether the President can bar judicial review of his actions and block a Congressional investigation.

no, the issue is whether the executive branch is obligated to enforce congressional subpoenas against it ... congress, by definition, cannot perform judicial review upon anything and is not involved in a judicial proceeding, unless an impeachment is involved

When Bush orders the US Attorney not to indict a defendant on the grounds of contempt of Congress, he cuts Congress off from the court system.

it's my understanding that congress does not need a court to indict someone for contempt of congress or a court order to have their police force actually arrest that person for it

they have the option of using their inherent contempt powers ... i think that's what they should do
posted by pyramid termite at 9:53 PM on July 21, 2007


still learning to remember to bold names

Note that bolding usernames isn't really a standing convention around here; most folks don't, and while personal style rules all I'd argue that it should be reserved for only those cases where clarity demands it. /style guide

posted by cortex at 10:00 PM on July 21, 2007


cortex: Note that bolding usernames isn't really a standing convention around here; most folks don't, and while personal style rules all I'd argue that it should be reserved for only those cases where clarity demands it. /style guide

I'd like to point out that if you say cortex' name in a dramatic voice, it sounds like a manga title: CORE TECHS. But mostly I just wanted an excuse to bold it. OK, continue.

posted by spiderwire at 10:08 PM on July 21, 2007


Pyramid Termite

From the American Hertiage dictionry definition of dictatorship: "Absolute or despotic control or power."
Link

The Communist party is the sole legal party in China. The National People's Congress is a rubber stamp "legislature" with members appointed by the Party. It exercises absolute rule because it allows no challengs-- last time some people tried to set up an independent party they were jailed. And oh, you still can't mention June 4th in the newspaper.

You're wrong. Simple as that.
posted by wuwei at 1:25 AM on July 22, 2007


The Communist party is the sole legal party in China.

then why all the capitalism? ... it stopped practicing marxism years ago

It exercises absolute rule because it allows no challengs

but it allows lawsuits and lawsuits are challenges, aren't they? ... you're trying to define a complex, changing country simplistically as a communist dictatorship

You're wrong. Simple as that.

i said their system was in flux and refused to define it ... i also said that the american government wasn't a dictatorship ... by posting the dictionary definition, you've proven me right on that ... it doesn't practice absolute rule and you know it

you're tying yourself into knots trying to defend one stupid word used stupidly in this thread - dictatorship

generally, when someone has to run to the dictionary, it's an admission that they have a weak argument
posted by pyramid termite at 5:12 AM on July 22, 2007


cortex: Note that bolding usernames isn't really a standing convention around here; most folks don't, and while personal style rules all I'd argue that it should be reserved for only those cases where clarity demands it. /style guide

I think the confusion tends to stem from my exact usage in this message. When you hyperlink the username (typically back to the referring message you are quoting), it becomes bold. This probably leads people to believe that the convetion is that usernames should be placed in bold type. </derail>
posted by Bovine Love at 8:00 AM on July 22, 2007


amberglow : Losing your job means something very different to you than it does to us--we don't have a social safety net, nor do we have health insurance regardless.

Yeah. Funny how it all ties together, eh? Protest unjust treatment anywhere, whether by taking the day off to go down to DC and march into your representatives' offices, or protest unfair treatment on the job, or whateverthehell and you risk losing not only your job but your health insurance (if you're lucky enough to have it in the first place), and oh, by the way, good luck getting reinsured if you have a preexisting condition.

France does a lot of striking, no?
France has a public healthcare system that makes ours look third world.

Hmmmmmm.

I wonder if knowing you're not putting your health (and possibly your life), let alone your job in danger that "frees" the French and others to strike, protest and otherwise complain more freely than we do.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:14 AM on July 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


I looked up the statute, which says that Congress can report contempt to the "appropriate U.S. attorney." I don't know where that is defined in law, but people seem to think it means the U.S. Attorney for D.C., who is a Gonzales loyalist.

Could Congress argue that since that person refuses to obey the law, therefore the appropriate attorney could be one for another district? They would only need one who would follow the law rather than their orders.

still learning to remember to bold names

Yes, please don't. Personally, I find it jarring.
posted by grouse at 8:29 AM on July 22, 2007


grouse, i think they have to follow the DOJ's setup about jurisdiction, and DC is not really a place like others--they have their own US Attorney, and he or she is the one who deals with stuff like this.

Inherent Contempt is an option (that i think they're afraid of). Congress has their own police who could go and arrest if ordered to do so, i believe.
posted by amberglow at 10:02 AM on July 22, 2007


The Communist party is the sole legal party in China.

then why all the capitalism? ... it stopped practicing marxism years ago


China is a shining example that Capitalism has nothing to do with Human rights or "liberty". And I think that lesson is not going unnotiiced. "Liberty " and Freedom to many in power and in love with capitalism only truly means the freedom to oppress those less fortunate than you. They're simply more honest about it.

Think of a world where the worlds most powerful economy (China over takes the U.S. in a couple of decades) is not enumbered by it's founding fathers to assure and always strive for greater freedom and justice.
posted by Skygazer at 10:03 AM on July 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Inherent Contempt is an option (that i think they're afraid of). Congress has their own police who could go and arrest if ordered to do so, i believe.

Yup. In the case of inherent contempt, Congress would authorize the Sergeant-At-Arms and the Capitol Police to arrest the parties in question. They could be imprisoned in a D.C. jail, or within the Capitol itself. Any such prisoners would have the right to file a habeus case with the federal court system, but as long as Congress could show cause, i.e., "we need this person to testify about such and such," they'd be on very solid ground, with good precedents all the way up to the Supreme Court.
posted by EarBucket at 10:25 AM on July 22, 2007


i think they have to follow the DOJ's setup about jurisdiction

Why? Is there statute or case law that says so? The District Court for D.C. would have jurisdiction, but I don't see any law that says that the U.S. Attorney for D.C. is the only U.S. attorney who can prosecute there.
posted by grouse at 10:43 AM on July 22, 2007


Unless they can get an independent prosecutor (and they can't anymore), or they are allowed to appoint someone instead of the US Attorney in their area (the area in which the crimes/misdeeds occur, after all), their only other option is to do Inherent Contempt i think. They can take the administration to court, but they still to follow the steps outlined first. They have to bring the contempt charges forward, vote them, then present them to the US Atty for execution. Then, Congress has to go to court, once the US Atty/DOJ doesn't act on them, and the administration would have to prove that forbidding the US Atty in DC from following thru was warranted, etc. (someone correct me if i'm wrong)
posted by amberglow at 1:09 PM on July 22, 2007


And then in terms of Legislative v. Executive, it becomes an entirely different sort of fight (and one the Administration really really really wants and is forcing), and not at all about the actual crimes/misdeeds they've been doing and still continue to do. It actually takes the focus off their crimes entirely, and puts it solely on the "Constitutional Crisis"/Unitary Executive/separation of powers bs.
posted by amberglow at 1:11 PM on July 22, 2007


And then in terms of Legislative v. Executive, it becomes an entirely different sort of fight (and one the Administration really really really wants and is forcing), and not at all about the actual crimes/misdeeds they've been doing and still continue to do.

perhaps so, but that doesn't mean we don't need this fight to settle this issue once and for all ... it's been going on for a long time in one way or another
posted by pyramid termite at 1:43 PM on July 22, 2007


What Would Happen if the Administration Continues to Defy the Subpoenas?
(lays out all the options, including the Sergeant-at-Arms arresting them)
posted by amberglow at 1:44 PM on July 22, 2007


from there: ...Congress can itself prosecute the contumacious official(s) to coerce them to comply -- a power that the Supreme Court has affirmed. See Jurney v. MacCracken, 294 U.S. 125 (1935); Anderson v. Dunn, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 204 (1821); see also Groppi v. Leslie, 404 U.S. 496, 499 (1972). As Justice Scalia explained in Young v. U.S. ex rel. Vuitton et Fils, S.A., 481 U.S. at 820, this legislative prosecution authority is a constitutional anomaly of sorts -- a "limited power of self-defense" for Congress, permissible because "any other course 'leads to the total annihilation of the power of the House of Representatives to guard itself from contempts, and leaves it exposed to every indignity and interruption that rudeness, caprice, or even conspiracy, may meditate against it'" (quoting Anderson). ...
posted by amberglow at 1:46 PM on July 22, 2007


(remember that Scalia quote--for when he makes a 180)
posted by amberglow at 1:47 PM on July 22, 2007


remember this Scalia quote, by Ezra Klein:
...Scalia; people always point to his "judicial brilliance." But he's only "brilliant" in the capacity to arrange any given set of circumstances into an argument in favor of what you knew he was in favor of before the circumstances were given to him.
--that's all I've ever needed to know.
posted by spiderwire at 2:02 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


They're definitely going to be doing something.

Oregonians called Peter DeFazio's office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.
As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure "bubbleroom" in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.
On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED.
"I just can't believe they're going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack," DeFazio says.
Homeland Security Committee staffers told his office that the White House initially approved his request, but it was later quashed. DeFazio doesn't know who did it or why. ...

posted by amberglow at 1:18 PM on July 23, 2007


Shit like that makes the threat of a false flag event seem a lot more plausible.
posted by homunculus at 4:32 PM on July 23, 2007


Update. As of just now, I tried to call Congressman Conyer's office and leave a message of support for his actions regarding the Harriet Miers contempt issue.

His mailbox is full. It looks like the issue IS prompting a lot of public outcry. Whether that outcry is in favor or against Conyer's actions, remains to be seen, since I can't know the contents of his VM box.
posted by wuwei at 6:57 PM on July 23, 2007


That's awesome, wuwei. /applaud
posted by spiderwire at 9:51 PM on July 23, 2007


I have access to that classified document amberglow - it's actually just a couple of receipts for some Jack Daniels and a reservation stub for a Motel 6 under the name of Dick Cheney.
posted by longbaugh at 1:59 AM on July 24, 2007


it's actually just a couple of receipts for some Jack Daniels and a reservation stub for a Motel 6 under the name of Dick Cheney.

No, that's what he was doing while President the other day, with some corpses of Iraqi children. He used the Constitution to wipe up the gore and mess afterwards.
posted by amberglow at 2:50 PM on July 24, 2007


Here, via Secrecy News is a CRS report on Congress' use of contempt powers

"This report examines the source of the contempt power, reviews the historical development of the early case law, outlines the statutory and common law basis for Congress's contempt power, and analyzes the procedures associated with each of the three different types of contempt proceedings. In addition, the report discusses limitations both nonconstitutional and constitutionally based on the power."

The 68-page report also examines the Justice Department position that "Congress cannot, as a matter of statutory or constitutional law, invoke either its inherent contempt authority or the criminal contempt of Congress procedures against an executive branch official acting on instructions by the President to assert executive privilege in response to a congressional subpoena."
[PDF]
See "Congress's Contempt Power: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure," July 24, 2007:
posted by acro at 9:20 AM on July 25, 2007


The 68-page report also examines the Justice Department position that "Congress cannot, as a matter of statutory or constitutional law, invoke either its inherent contempt authority or the criminal contempt of Congress procedures against an executive branch official acting on instructions by the President to assert executive privilege in response to a congressional subpoena."

Except that they're not exec branch officials anymore, nor were they when they were served with subpoenas. They are former officials, and now just citizens subject to the same laws and rules we are.
posted by amberglow at 9:37 AM on July 25, 2007


Except that they're not exec branch officials anymore, nor were they when they were served with subpoenas. They are former officials, and now just citizens subject to the same laws and rules we are.

exec privilege isn't very well-defined, but it's generally agreed that it covers former officials w/r/t things they did while officials.

however, since the theory is based on the need for honesty in giving advice to the president, and that can't apply to everything that an official does during their tenure, it's not a grounds for refusing a general subpoena. you still have to show up, even if you assert the privilege in response to every question you're asked.

similarly, there's no privilege -- as far as i'm aware -- that can be asserted generally.

the bigger problem, in my view, with refusing the subpoena is the president telling miers not to testify at all. that breaks so many statutes and general aspects of common law it almost boggles the mind. you can send someone a letter telling them "these are the topics that we consider sensitive and on which you can assert executive privilege," or maybe "if in doubt, you have wide discretion to assert exec privilege" and maybe politely remind them that they could be subject to certain repercussions if they disclose info they're not supposed to.

what you absolutely cannot do is order a witness not to appear in response to a subpoena, nor to assert a privilege preemptively. you might have recourse later if they fail to assert their privilege and say something they're not supposed to, but you can't force someone to claim a privilege. that sort of thing hasn't been allowed since spousal disqualification (and that's pretty much the only instance where it was), and that theory was based on the notion that a wife was a husband's property and he could preemptively stop her from testifying. it certainly does not apply to former exec branch officials.

furthermore, the exec branch didn't even invoke disqualification; they ordered someone not to appear, which is completely different.
posted by spiderwire at 11:12 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Frankly, I have a degree of sympathy for Alberto Gonzales, who I suspect is a terrific Texas real estate attorney."
--John Dean, former White House Counsel to Richard Nixon

That's the best thing I've read all week
posted by spiderwire at 3:05 PM on July 25, 2007


furthermore, the exec branch didn't even invoke disqualification; they ordered someone not to appear, which is completely different.

So privilege and that quote before doesn't even matter, does it? Doesn't that just further muddy the waters, which are crystal clear?

No one is allowed to disobey a subpoena--current official, former official, or not. They have to show up, even if protected by privilege. They can plead the 5th, or simply refuse to answer, but they must show up--it's the law for all.

These people refusing subpoenas (and those telling them to do so) are criminals.
posted by amberglow at 3:10 PM on July 25, 2007


right, i'm saying that even in the rare cases that you can invoke a privilege to prevent a witness from testifying completely (as under the old spousal privilege) you have to have a hearing with the judge to get them disqualified.

not only can you not tell someone not to testify, it simply makes no procedural sense to invoke a privilege when there's no case at bar to invoke the privilege in.

in dialogue:
"I am invoking spousal privilege to disqualify my wife from testifying in the homicide case against me!"
"What case, sir? This is the DMV."
"Oh. Um. Nevermind."
posted by spiderwire at 3:16 PM on July 25, 2007


...although the main point, really, is that your "former officials" point isn't really the issue; executive privilege covers former officials, albeit to a more limited degree.

however, that doesn't mean that there aren't a good dozen other reasons why this is total fucking nonsense.

btw, they made it official today. no enforcing contempt citations.

no turning back now.
posted by spiderwire at 3:20 PM on July 25, 2007


and they're going to vote soon, and it's going to pass cleanly--it's out of committee: The House Judiciary Committee voted today to seek contempt of Congress citations against a top aide to President Bush and a former presidential aide over their refusal to cooperate in an inquiry about the firing of federal prosecutors.
...
To take effect, the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation must be voted upon by the full House, where Democrats have a 231-to-201 edge, with 3 vacancies. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not said whether she would seek House action before the lawmakers recess in early August, or allow the issue to simmer until the House reconvenes after Labor Day. ...


but spiderwire, that means they could do anything at all and never have to testify ever in their lives.
posted by amberglow at 3:30 PM on July 25, 2007


but spiderwire, that means they could do anything at all and never have to testify ever in their lives.

i can't tell if you're being sarcastic, but yes, that's exactly what it means.
posted by spiderwire at 5:15 PM on July 25, 2007


i'm not being sarcastic--i'm appalled--how can that be legal?
posted by amberglow at 7:05 PM on July 25, 2007


and why is it that administration officials throughout our history have been convicted of stuff, and have been removed by Congress? And have been indicted and jailed, etc?
posted by amberglow at 7:06 PM on July 25, 2007


i'm not being sarcastic--i'm appalled--how can that be legal?

Well, that's an interesting question. It's not, necessarily, but as long as it's not actionable, it's not really illegal, because a court can't pass judgment on it. The DC Attorney has sole standing to bring suit for contempt. He's a DoJ agent (and a PATRIOT act appointee no less). So there's really no way to get the issue into court. So... well... there you go.

The short answer is: because Nixon had more honor than these guys.

And have been indicted and jailed, etc?

Yes. Examples: Indicted: Scooter Libby; Jailed: Eliot Abrams. Served their time, well...
posted by spiderwire at 7:23 PM on July 25, 2007


...And, voila, after 285 comments, the relevance of "Coup d'Etat" in my thread title is finally revealed. :)
posted by spiderwire at 7:30 PM on July 25, 2007


well, for Gonzales anyway, i'm betting he steps down while Senate is in recess next month, and Bush makes some appalling recess appointment (Yoo? Fielding? someone worse?)
posted by amberglow at 8:11 PM on July 25, 2007


well, for Gonzales anyway, i'm betting he steps down while Senate is in recess next month, and Bush makes some appalling recess appointment (Yoo? Fielding? someone worse?)

I doubt it. Recess appointments still have to be confirmed by the end of the next session, which would be Jan 4. Not only would that mean 3 months of fighting over the new AG -- which would be horrid PR for the WH, plus opening up potential inquiries about what the problems are that need to be fixed, plus extracting promises from the new nominee that create new avenues of inquiry for 2008, in the election runup -- and ultimately they'd run the risk that Congress might force someone independent in, and then the WH is screwed. As long as Gonzales stays, that won't happen. He's a crucial bulwark. He's a critical part of running out the clock on Bush's term.

Also, what's the motive for him to step down? He couldn't possibly be doing any worse. They couldn't possibly find someone less independent than him that would have a snowball's chance in hell of getting confirmed. Hell, even John friggin' Ashcroft was a step up from this guy. The only upside is a potential PR boost for the Administration, which would probably be cancelled out by how incredibly bad it would make them look right at this moment: the stealth appointment, the inevitable confirmation hearings... that's way too many news cycles turning against them. It would cancel out any temporary credibility boost from Gonzo leaving.

Regardless, they demonstrated with Rumsfeld that they don't really care if a member of the upper echelon is under serious criticism. My money is on Gonzales staying.
posted by spiderwire at 10:30 PM on July 25, 2007


you're right, but it's also horrible pr for them to have contempt charges and impeachment and removal of Gonzales anyway--which is now much much more likely. He's not untouchable like Bush and Cheney are seen to be. He will be an easily removed and highly public symbol of all their corruption and misdeeds, and we'll be hearing about them from now until he's gone. It'd be smarter for them to get rid of him while it's relatively easy to do so, like during recess. The Gonzales/DOJ/Attorneys thing is far more public and nationwide and damaging to them--and especially damaging to the GOP Congresspeople up for reelection in 08.
posted by amberglow at 7:53 AM on July 26, 2007


All they have to do is nominate or appoint an ex-Senator to replace him--they always sail thru Congress.
posted by amberglow at 7:54 AM on July 26, 2007


you're right, but it's also horrible pr for them to have contempt charges and impeachment and removal of Gonzales anyway--which is now much much more likely.

Yeah, I'd argue that neither is really that much worse for them at this point. The question is just which option lets them stonewall longer. If Gonzo steps down, the confirmation hearings start as soon as Congress gets back. If not, he has to be impeached, which takes a while, and even if that's successful, then -- confirmation hearings again. I think that their goal is just to get through the last year and a half. Gonzo stays.
posted by spiderwire at 10:35 AM on July 26, 2007


Senate Democrats called for a perjury investigation against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Thursday and subpoenaed top presidential aide Karl Rove in a deepening political and legal clash with the Bush administration.
posted by chunking express at 12:19 PM on July 26, 2007


Rut-row -- FBI Director Contradicts Gonzales' Testimony.
posted by ericb at 1:08 PM on July 26, 2007


Rut-row -- FBI Director Contradicts Gonzales' Testimony.

Wheee! Finally, some action! Does the public really buy the "Congress is on a witch hunt" story? How could you not love this drama?

Speaking of drama and the FBI Director: did anyone else laugh out loud when Whitehouse was grilling Gonzales about his relationship with Mueller and just deadpanned, "...is it awkward?"
posted by spiderwire at 1:40 PM on July 26, 2007


More subpoenas: Leahy Subpoenas Rove, Jennings For Documents And Testimony Related To U.S. Attorneys Purge

And the NYTimes calls for Inherent Contempt action against Miers and Bolten
posted by amberglow at 2:39 PM on July 26, 2007


The Hypocrisy Of The 6 House Judiciary Members Who Voted To Impeach President Clinton In 1998, But Today Refused To Issue Contempt Citations Against Bush Administration Officials…
posted by amberglow at 4:39 PM on July 26, 2007


At the urging of top conservative bloggers, the White House set up a Friday morning conference call to promote its message on the subject of executive privilege, ...
posted by amberglow at 1:02 PM on July 27, 2007


and a great idea from Rude Pundit: ... With the Congress about to cite Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten for contempt, with the Senate about to investigate Alberto Gonzales for perjury, with the dessicated corpse of Tony Snow calling Congress "pathetic," what could possibly shame Bush? The answer is to hit him where he is most psychologically weak, with what might possibly rattle that emotionless demeanor. And, as ever, that is for Congress, in its hearings and discussions, to invoke Bush's father as often as possible. Yeah, yeah, George H.W. Bush was a motherfucker in his own right, but Daddy Bush is W's Achilles' heel. We just have to figure out how to fire the arrow.

The opening gambit would be to point to how Daddy backed down from his own executive privilege battle with Congress involving the Attorney General, a subpoena, and possible contempt citations. ...

posted by amberglow at 1:09 PM on July 27, 2007


teece writes "This is not a thread about gun control CRS, take it somewhere else. It's noise and a derail."

No, CRS is right. So were the Founders. There's a reason it's the Second Admendment, only coming after free sppech/assembly/worship.
posted by orthogonality at 12:11 AM on July 29, 2007


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