Mukasey Wasn’t Bluffing

Well, at least he complied with my request that he make his decision quickly. I’m sure you’re not surprised that he said no?


By ordering the U.S. Attorney to take no action in response to congressional subpoenas, the Bush Administration is continuing to politicize law enforcement, which undermines public confidence in our criminal justice system.

Anticipating this response from the Administration, the House has already provided authority for the Judiciary Committee to file a civil enforcement action in federal district court and the House shall do so promptly. The American people demand that we uphold the law. As public officials, we take an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect our system of checks and balances and our civil lawsuit seeks to do just that.


Our investigation into the firing of United States Attorneys revealed an Administration and a Justice Department that seemed to put politics first, and today’s decision to shelve the contempt process, in violation of a federal statute, shows that the White House will go to any lengths to keep its role in the US Attorney firings hidden. In the face of such extraordinary actions, we have no choice but to proceed with a lawsuit to enforce the Committee’s subpoenas.

129 replies
    • bmaz says:

      Captain Renault hereby adopts and incorporates his standard response.

      Chisholm1 – The prognosis is for very slow and totally fucking inane and lame, tactical pleading by our fearful Democratic Leadersheep, followed by some type of an embarrassing draw (assuming they don’t manage total loss complete with horrid precedent being set) and then some typical bleating about having “done the best they could” while keeping their focus on the maintenance and marginal increase of their feeble and useless majorities and spirit of unity. True leaders, that were capable of even a minute profile in courage, would refuse to be so completely and unconscionably derelict in the one real duty specified in their sworn oath to office. But not out guys.

      • bobschacht says:

        Captain Renault hereby adopts and incorporates his standard response.

        Chisholm1 – The prognosis is for very slow and totally fucking inane and lame, tactical pleading by our fearful Democratic Leadersheep, followed by some type of an embarrassing draw (assuming they don’t manage total loss complete with horrid precedent being set) and then some typical bleating about having “done the best they could” while keeping their focus on the maintenance and marginal increase of their feeble and useless majorities and spirit of unity. True leaders, that were capable of even a minute profile in courage, would refuse to be so completely and unconscionably derelict in the one real duty specified in their sworn oath to office. But not out guys.

        So, you’re pretty optimistic, huh?

        playing dumb in HI

  1. MadDog says:

    Now if Nancy really wanted to fight, she’d get a Contempt of Congress resolution against Mukasey himself.

    That would do a couple of things:

    1. Perhaps force Mukasey to recuse himself from deciding about enforcing Congressional subpoenas.

    2. Put Mukasey in the unenviable position of the Attorney General himself held in Contempt of Congress.

    Come-on Nancy, do it!

  2. CanuckStuckinMuck says:

    How often each day are we forced to pause and consider how far from everyone’s idea of “America” any of the WH’s actions are.

  3. bobschacht says:

    I wonder if Mukasey is thinking, well, yeah, these guys belong in leg irons, but I don’t want to be the one to do it.

    Or is he already too deep into the zombie juice?

    Bob in HI

    • PetePierce says:

      They don’t have the guts to impose inherent contempt because they aren’t serious about not rolling over to the Imperial Executive and Mukasey as Sylvio Dante to the Soprano administration.

      The House and the Senate have held:

      Bolten and Miers in Contempt House Judiciary since June

      Bolten and Rove in Contempt Senate Judiciary
      since December

      It has been clear to both the House and Senate that Mukasey isn’t lifting a finger to do anything other than cover for his Unitary Exec.

      They are both suffering from a chronic case of drag ass.

      It has taken nearly a year for the House to bring the vote to the floor. The Senate has yet to bring the vote to the floor.

      Both of them don’t need Mukasey to go forward.

      Nothing is stopping them from exercising several other options they have had except their own bump on a log inertia.

      Anderson v. Dunn 19 U.S. 204 (1821) upholds their contempt authority.

      Either House or Senate can have the St.-at-Arms arrest them and then bring them to the floor of the chamber and vote on their prison term. That’s a criminal procedure. They have not.

      They can file a civil action and hope the judge would hold them in contempt. Let’s go a step further here.

      This would be appealed from District Court to the D.C. Circuit. In the D.C. Circuit of the 19 possible judges for panels, 16 are usually Bush rubber stamps and several have strong political ties to Republicans, and Brett Cavanaugh worked directly for Bush first as coordinator of Bush documents (a quintissential oxymoron) and then as Associate White House counsel.

      So let me rephrase the civil contempt action Pelosi took. It’s symbolic but a complete dead end.

      Mukasey was put in place to protect the concept of unitary executive and will never take any action adverse to the Bush administration. He is Bush’s Sylvio Dante and you can think of him as a 50 foot firewall in front of them.

      There will never be an SC (Special Counsel) from Mukasey and there will never be any significant investigation of this administration.

      Siegelman’s attorneys request for an SC was laughable as are those from Congress.

      Whenever anyone thinks or writes about Mukasey doing something, I think it would temper it with accuracy to append “You Want It When?”

      Selise accurately called it “better Kabuki but not oversight” at FDL and I agree.

  4. perris says:

    so, what are the real and tangible options open to congress?

    suppose they issue these ‘lawsuits to enforce subpoena’

    so what?

    they refuse, they sight executive privilege and they just plain don’t show the frig up

    so what?

    can congress arrest them?

    what arm of enforcement will arrest these once public officials and can’t the president simply “pardon” them even if the arrest holds?

    there really is only one affective option, they have to impeach the president, there is nothing else that will enforce their adjudication


    • JohnJ says:

      no no no no Cheney MUST go first! I would rather chimpy go free than have Cheney with the nuclear “football”.

      Repeat after me:

      Cheney first
      Cheney first

    • rprob8 says:

      “Inherent Contempt” is a tool that congress has stashed in its back pocket. With inherent contempt they can order the Sergeant at Arms guy at the capitol to take a legion of cops to arrest Meiers and whoever else is in contempt, hold them in the capitol jail cell, and there is no pardon available to gwb.
      It’s a kind of ‘nuclear’ option, but one that i think they should exercise.

      • perris says:

        so, what do you think congress would do if the president DID issue a pardon and marched over with his honor guard, his secretary of defense, his attorney general and his order from the supreme court

        what do you think congress would do right there?

          • perris says:

            That is entirely up to Congress, but they would not be compelled or required to do anything.

            when you say “they would not be compelled to do anything”, I think you missed my point

            they would be compelled at the point of a gun, under threat of arrest and by the power of the supreme court

            just as congress can get the sgt of arms to enforce their “inherant contempt of congress” the president will get authority to use force as well to enforce his pardon

            this would not simply be a stand off with the congress standing down, congress would be powerless to stop it

              • perris says:

                here’s an interesting question;

                suppose the sc was not in the president’s pocket

                do you believe he would think he is bound by their decisions since he has “war powers”?

                the only reason he gives them any authority at all is that he knows they are in his pocket

                the supreme court will favor the executive

                • Starbuck says:

                  It seems to me that the sc “favoring” the exec would then set precedents for deteriorating the separation of power. I guess that, facing such a decision, the sc would back down from setting such a precedent. Certainly, it would not be an overnight decision and the perps would languish in jail until they comply or wait out a hopeful decision.

                  Seems to me the bluff needs to be called. Dang! I wish Pelosi would forget about re-election and just do her job. I wish they all would.

                  • perris says:

                    It seems to me that the sc “favoring” the exec would then set precedents for deteriorating the separation of power. I guess that, facing such a decision, the sc would back down from setting such a precedent. Certainly, it would not be an overnight decision and the perps would languish in jail until they comply or wait out a hopeful decision.

                    the sc justices have shown, they decide on behalf of their party not on behalf of our law or constitution

                    if it’s bush vs a democrat they will change their opinion accordingly

          • LabDancer says:

            With respect counsel:

            I think you’ve missed the boat on a couple of stories lately:

            [1] expecting your boy Rusty H to dance all over Congress for his client Roger Ramneedle — whereas all he did by insisting on being re-heard before the Waxman committee is cement his referral to the FBI/DOJ for perjury, and

            [2] what’s happpening here.

            Anyone else watch Pelosi for the first half hour on Charlie Rose last night?

            I’m with the general view that Pelosi & Harry Reid were naive in expecting President WaterBush would — or even could — cease his anti-democratic ways just because the GOOP no longer controlled either chamber of Congress.

            But I saw last night as her Declaration of War — with the hint coming last week when she went on anti-Bushauthoritarian in the face of one of Waterbush’s daily “grant the telcos immunity” rants. I said then — here or on another blog [Wired? Yup] that something was up.

            IMO her letter to AG Mukasey wasn’t sent on a whim or without planning. She knew the answer in advance — as did we all, but the point is SHE knew.

            And she’s pissed.

            And Jello Jay endorsed Obama – who voted AGAINST telco immunity.

            I repeat: something’s going on.

            • bobschacht says:

              “I repeat: something’s going on.”

              I hope you’re right! For the past year, Nancy P has been playing kissy-poo with George, under the false impression that the 2006 elections meant that America wanted Bipartisanship. The fruit of that ugly tree has best been described by Glenn Greenwald in his “Bipartisanship” piece: 12 of the ugliest, meanest laws of the past 10 years. Someone ought to do a spreadsheet on which Blue Dogs/ Bush Dogs voted for the most of these dirty dozen. The Democrats started the 109th Congress hoping that Republican unity would crumble and Democrats could peel off Republican votes. Unfortunately, Republican discipline has so far been much better than Democratic party discipline, and instead of Republicans peeling off, it has been Blue Dogs who have peeled off from the Democratic majority.

              My hope is that the break between the 109th and the 110th Congress was like Half-Time. The Democrats went back to their locker room, realizing that their butts had been kicked, the fans were in a bad mood, and that their game plan needed a drastic revision. It is my hope that the “something going on” is that we’re beginning to see the signs of a new game plan in the House that will be more confrontational and combattive, ending the charade of bipartisanship.

              Bob in HI

            • bmaz says:

              Oh, I never expected Rusty to do anything at the Oversight Committee hearing. In fact, he couldn’t; there is no provision for counsel to argue or object. It is similar to the powerlessness of attending your client at a grand jury, with the exception of that you are allowed to be in the room right behind or beside your client. I never posited anything about the Committee potential, other than it was a completely bogus and unjust parallel proceeding. should the government actually file charges, which I think they recklessly will, then Hardin will have a forum to play in. I may be wrong, I often am, but I still fully maintain that you haven’t seen the real state and background of this case and its pretty much craven actors on the government side. Trust me, it isn’t very attractive, and you will see what I am talking about over time. Clemens is likely quite guilty, but the case is dirty, filthy and reeks.

              As to Pelosi and Reid, I differ. If they were that stand up, they would be “matriculating the ball down the field” in a different manner as Hank Stram would say. this is still lugubrious run out the clock horseshit if you ask me.

              • Ishmael says:

                The thing that bothered me about the press coverage of the Mitchell Report was the criticism the players got for sticking together as a union, and for thinking that it wasn’t a great idea to incriminate themselves by talking to Mitchell, who wasn’t subject to any rules, or laws, or evidentiary standards in his “investigation” – I wouldn’t let my client talk to him, just on principle, and there is something to be said for the idea that the union members stand together and boycott a proceeding that was in my view designed to be a PR effort for baseball, presided over by an “independent” investigator who is a part owner of one of the clubs – I mean, aside from the fact that noone disputes steriod use was prevalent in baseball (although noone is talking about keeping any 300 pound linebackers with 4.6 40s out of Canton – they sure know a lot about “nutrition” in the NFL), Mitchell’s idea of “evidence” includes a lot of excerpts from Canseco’s book! Although I must disclose my bias – Clemens has been dead to me ever since he put that Yankees’ cap on. Go Sawx!

  5. Hugh says:

    This is a sterling example of the Mukasey Principle in action, i.e. being a part of this Administration is prima facie evidence you have no integrity.

    • perris says:

      This is a sterling example of the Mukasey Principle in action, i.e. being a part of this Administration is prima facie evidence you have no integrity.

      it is all friggin hopeless hugh, there is nothing these lame asses are gonna do.

      so, if they use “inherant contempt” and jail whoever they want, the president just “indignantly” issues a pardon and bing, out of jail free card

      therre is only one hope and that hope is “off the friggin table”

        • perris says:

          I don’t believe that a pardon would be applicable or effective to an inherent contempt judgment if it was set up correctly.

          them president makes his own law, the supreme court upholds that law

          you can rest assured, if the president issues a pardon it will stand

      • Rayne says:

        A pardon will only work if the pardoned admit guilt.

        But I don’t know that the President can issue either a pardon or a commutation since “inherent contempt” is an action entirely within Congress and not an action by the Executive Branch under the DOJ.

        Anybody want to pick that apart for us?

        • bmaz says:

          That is a bogus meme that won’t die. The convicted not only need not “admit guilt”, he is not even required to ask for the pardon or participate in the process.

          • perris says:

            I read that as well, that the subject is not required to do anything, they don’t even have to accept the pardon, the pardon is granted never the less

            I have no idea if what I read is true but I read it

        • perris says:

          A pardon will only work if the pardoned admit guilt.

          rayne, did libby admit guilt?

          so the president found a loophole to that caveat

          the principles CAN admit guilt, they will admit that they defied subpeona under direction from the president

          so that caveat is solved

    • perris says:

      Is Mukasey asking to be forced to step aside — is he asking for impeachment?

      the president “asks for impeachment” each and every day, over 700 times he asked for impeachment in his signing statements alone, pardoning a treasonous criminal who exposed covert assets, stealing middle class assets and giving those assets to the wealthiest people on the planet, diverting forces in place to fight our enemies so he could pillage the treasure of nations

      and not only approving torture, insisting on implimenting it

      he asks for impeachment each and every day, he begs for it, he challenges for it

      and crickets

  6. chisholm1 says:

    Well. Nice and bracing reality checks here. I sort of knew the answer to my question anyway, but wanted to hear the pros dissect it for me.

    I simply cannot understand the Democratic leadership’s unwillingness to take on the president, particularly since the Republicans would be all over this in a heartbeat, were the situation reversed.

    What stops them from going for it? Are Democrats just congenitally unwilling to fight?

    It’s odd, because Pelosi Hoyer Emanuel et al don’t shrink from the fight of campaigning.

    They don’t like losing, but they don’t like to play to win, either. Really win. I think they play to tie, and don’t dare go further.

    • perris says:

      I simply cannot understand the Democratic leadership’s unwillingness to take on the president, particularly since the Republicans would be all over this in a heartbeat, were the situation reversed.

      the situation WILL be reversed, as soon as the republicans have a majority they WILL mount an impeachment proceeding if they think the democratic president is too popular

    • BooRadley says:

      Steny and Nancy lost $150K trying to by the primary supporting Al Wynn, who got his ass handed to him by Donna Edwards. My guess is that Nancy took the action she did based on that primary.

  7. perris says:

    as far as the president’s “power to pardon contempt of congress”

    we have a president that can do anything if he sights “national security”

    why it even says so in an order that congress passed

    there is no hurdle the president can’t clear in his mind and with the power of alito and roberts in his pocket

    no hurtle

  8. bmaz says:

    I really don’t believe that a Presidential pardon has any effect on a Congressional inherent contempt conviction; it is not a criminal matter and pardons are only for criminal offenses. Furthermore, I don’t believe that the executive or the judiciary has any role or jurisdiction whatsoever with the sole exception of, and get this wonderful irony, the ability of the individual so incarcerated to file a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.

    • perris says:

      but why couldn’t the president site his powers as “a war president”, the powers granted by congress themselves to “use all force” in protection of our national security

      the president’s “interpretations” know no bounds, of this I assure you

      • bmaz says:

        Even pixie dust can’t save that from being an impermissible violation of separation of powers. Not even Captain Law of the Sea and his Boy Bybee can cobble that crap into a usable whole.

        • perris says:

          bmaz, we would have said that if they claimed the right to torture, if they claimed the right to suspend habeas corpus, if they claimed the right to rewrite law duly passed by congress, if they claimed the right to suspend the 4 th amendment

          pixie dust is might strong stuff

    • CTuttle says:

      The Inherent Contemnor holds the keys to his own Cell… Merely talk to Congress…! How easy is that! I like the fact they’d have to request a writ… Bwhahaha…!

  9. Hugh says:

    Re pardons,

    In the first case to be decided concerning the pardoning power, Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for the Court, said: “As this power had been exercised from time immemorial by the executive of that nation whose language is our language, and to whose judicial institution ours bear a close resemblance; we adopt their principles respecting the operation and effect of a pardon, and look into their books for the rules prescribing the manner in which it is to be used by the person who would avail himself of it. A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed. It is the private, though official act of the executive magistrate, delivered to the individual for whose benefit it is intended, and not communicated officially to the Court. . . . A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.” Marshall continued to hold that to be noticed judicially this deed must be pleaded, like any private instrument.

    From the annotated Constitution:…..02/012.pdf
    on pages 485-486 (640K PDF file)

    • bmaz says:

      There is a difference between “acceptance” and the prerequisite to “admit guilt”. There is no need for the individual to do diddly squat before a pardon is granted; however, the individual can thereafter refuse said pardon. There is NO requirement that the individual admit guilt. Others can imply that by not refusing the pardon, the individual’s guilt is implied; but that has no binding legal force or effect.

      • Hugh says:

        There is a difference between “acceptance” and the prerequisite to “admit guilt”. There is no need for the individual to do diddly squat before a pardon is granted; however, the individual can thereafter refuse said pardon. There is NO requirement that the individual admit guilt. Others can imply that by not refusing the pardon, the individual’s guilt is implied; but that has no binding legal force or effect.

        This would make more sense under an extension of the pardoning power like an amnesty. I could also see it used pre-emptively before sentencing. But after sentencing, I think a strong argument could be made that the pardonee would have to accept a pardon to avoid jail and that acceptance would imply guilt. In any case, a pardon is not an exoneration and so would not extend to others penalties like disbarment. And thinking more about it, if a prosecutor were so inclined he/she could pursue a case until the person accepted or rejected the pardon again with the clear implication of guilt.

        • bmaz says:

          You would be free to imply guilt, but there would be no further prosecution available; and the individual would not be required to affirmatively do anything. The criminal part would be done and further prosecution barred; you could arguably try to imply guilt in a related civil matter, but that is about it.

          • Hugh says:

            You would be free to imply guilt, but there would be no further prosecution available; and the individual would not be required to affirmatively do anything. The criminal part would be done and further prosecution barred; you could arguably try to imply guilt in a related civil matter, but that is about it.

            Not just implication but admission. Again if a prosecutor wanted to push it, a case could be pursued in the absence of an acceptance, and if there is an acceptance, that is an admission of guilt. In our everday world the issuance of a pardon would probably preclude a prosecution and the pardonee could weasel on what that meant. But again I see no reason why a prosecution would be barred in the absence of an acceptance with all that entails, implies, and admits.

            • Ishmael says:

              In a Parliamentary system like Canada, in addition to statutory pardons, we have a concept called the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, which I think is broader than a pardon, deriving from the power of the Sovereign through Parliament, and not dependent on the “acceptance” element of pardon. It came up in a case in the Supreme Court of Canada where a father was found guilty of murder for gassing his severely disabled daughter, on the ground that he was alleviating her pain. He wouldn’t admit he did anything wrong, but the sentence for murder was a minimum 1o years – the Supreme Court suggested Parliament give him mercy, not pardon, which it didn’t, BTW.

              • Hugh says:

                Hugh, to the best of my knowledge, that is just not right.

                Well, IANAL and I know you are but I would love to see this passed by a Constitutional scholar because I think it is.

  10. chisholm1 says:

    Well, like Addington said, they’re not going to stop pushing until they come up against a force stronger than they are. And with Congress auto-castrated, and the Supreme Court 5-4 on their side, looks like there’s no limit to what they can do. Interesting. As grotesque as they are you have to admire their character and will to power.

  11. BooRadley says:

    I learned at the Dick Cheney School of Bird Hunting Safety that you “gotta flush ‘em out.”

    Putting Bush in a position where he has to pardon yet another member of his administration, is a secondary win for us.

    In order to preserve whatever smidgen of institutional pride remains in Congress, Nancy has to pursue this aggressively. She can’t control what Bush will do, but she shouldn’t allow herself to be unduly influenced by what he might do. She just needs to enforce the law.

    • perris says:

      I learned at the Dick Cheney School of Bird Hunting Safety that you “gotta flush ‘em out.”


      the dick cheney school of bird hunting is;

      “keep em in a box till i git ma riffle all loaded up, when I point my gun, you throw the bird raht whar ma bullet is gonna be goin”

      because that is exactly what he does on those canned “hunts”

    • bigbrother says:

      This is an opportunity to show that women in congress can lead as well or better than Man. Case in point Senate Leader Harry Reid I know she has more support.

    • perris says:

      frightening stuff there, here is a snippet

      One Government document, for instance, reports detainee treatment so violent as to “shake the camera in the interrogation room” and “cause severe internal injury.” Another describes an interrogator positioning herself between a detainee and the camera, in order to block her actions from view.

  12. AZ Matt says:

    Gee, Muckey has learned the ol’Friday afternoon news dump trick has he. Well gosh durn, we have seen that bit of fuckery before.

  13. oldtree says:

    Pardon is only for a convicted criminal, right?. There are other options that a president could use, none that stand a legal test any longer. The exception of course is his scotus that so violently opposes the constitution they were handed when they baptized. Will they really allow the truth to come out about that would jail most of their elected officials? And how many of the democrats have been profiteering on the war as well? Stevens, going to jail if they can keep him on life support, Renzi, so many more. Imagine what would happen if there were a real AG? We should realize martial law is one option they may choose, or have to choose at some point. The army has been destroyed and all it’s gear sent to another country. National Guard same thing. Anyone heard what Blackwater is doing? We all ready know the excuse they will use because they have used it dozens of times to the tune of zinging trillions of dollars for their friends, via our treasury.
    You have to doubt any cooperation, the crimes still being committed will be eligible for prosecution come January. Too many have gone down for them to be able to relinquish power. Many have no statute of limitation for future indictments.

    Unless the democratic majority is willing to do what the law demands, and they have shown no interest so far. Is it so much to say, “this is a simple matter of law” “this appears to be a high crime or misdemeanor”

    • bmaz says:

      Well, that is absolutely right. And i suggest the immediate opening of an impeachment investigation; but that process, including the formation of Articles of Impeachment, and then trial to the Senate, takes some time even if placed on a fast track. Inherent contempt can be determined simply by a committee, it does not even require the floor vote of the whole body. Could be done by the end of business next Tuesday. You see, if you really cared, and were appropriately pissed (like the freaking Republicans would be, without any question of doubt, if the roles were reversed), you would do inherent contempt immediately while processing the impeachment resolution.

    • BooRadley says:

      Good question, seconded.

      (My memory was that it had to do with giving Scooter an excuse not to testify before Congress, but I’ll look forward to bmaz and others weigh in.)

      • bmaz says:

        Was the question about Libby? that is easy; if he had been fully pardoned, as opposed to the partial act of commutation, there would be no potential of future jeopardy and, therefore, no ability to hide behind the 5th Amendment right to silence.

  14. selise says:

    considering that contempt wasn’t voted on by the house until after they had reason to think this would be mukasey’s answer…. can anyone give me reason to hope that the congress will do anything other than write letters objecting?

  15. Ishmael says:

    My 2 cents – contempt is not “an offence against the United States”, and therefore not subject to a pardon from the Chimperor.

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly. As long as it is not worded as a “criminal contempt”, which really isn’t applicable to inherent contempt in the first place, a pardon would be ineffective and irrelevant.

  16. CTuttle says:

    OT- What are the odds for next week’s FISA bout in the House? Will Conyers and Reyes succeed in stripping Immunity from the bill…? 50-50?

  17. ondelette says:

    OT – Looking for support for lawyer’s solidarity

    I posted this at Glenn Greenwald on Salon, someone suggested posting here.

    I am looking for people to wear black armbands, headscarves, or whatever on March 9th, especially lawyers:

    Aitzaz Ahsan, head of the lawyers (and until his house arrest and the Emergency, head of the Pakistani Bar Association) is calling for Monday March 9 to be “Black Flag Day”. During that day, at all events which are in solidarity with the lawyers, and their cause, will hoist black flags as opposed to whatever usual flag they would fly (Pakistani, party flags, etc.) and people will wear black arm bands and/or head bands.

    Their cause is the restoration of the Pakistani Constitution, the rule of law, the reinstatement of the Judiciary, and the impeachment or at least deposition of President Pervez Musharraf. They are asking that at minimum, lawyers and law students should show their support.

    The Bush administration, to the dismay of the Pakistani public, the entire region (South Asia), as well as many in our own government and public, our intelligence agencies and elsewhere, is supporting Musharraf and pushing for some sort of comeback for his rule, in defiance of a very clear referendum. It is behaving as if he runs the military, in defiance of General Kayani’s clear break with him and orders for the military to remove themselves from the politics of government (considered a fundamental pro-democratic step in South Asia).

    Is there any possibility, although the time is short, for Americans, and in particular, members of the American legal community, to wear armbands in support of the lawyers in Pakistan? Is there any interest? Are there any lawyers here who could facilitate such a thing, and would want to?

    If people are interested, and think it can be done, you can off-line me at ondelette at earthlink dot net. The blog post detailing the protest is at

  18. bmaz says:

    And what opportunity did Rusty Hardin, on behalf of his client, have to cross examine any of the witnesses that letter relies on? Or present his own evidence? Or argue legal defenses? Or submit dissenting language? Or participate in any regard? NONE. I am not saying Clemens is innocent, I am saying you do not know or understand the full story, because everything to date has been entirely one sided, with a couple of trivial exceptions. The real battle has not even been joined, much less started.

    • BooRadley says:

      With all due respect bmaz, I don’t agree.

      If Clemens had come to you, based on everything you have written here, you would have found a way to convince him that going before Waxman was nuts. Hardin knew this was great for Rusty’s cash flow, as well as free publicity forever.

      Clemens legal strategy failed

      Based on the link, I think it’s possible to argue that Hardin has made Clemens’ situation even worse than it already was.

      • bmaz says:

        They would have subpoened him if he didn’t go. The tripe about him demanding the hearing is bunk. However, I would have advised him to take the fifth; and my strong guess is that Hardin did, but Clemens refused. Hardin does not need publicity and is not the type to seek it out to the detriment of his client like some attorneys. The bottom line though is that Clemens was going to maintain his innocence irrespective of the hearing or not; the fact is also that Novitsky, Mitchell and MLB were going to force a showdown with criminal charges if Clemens did not admit guilt. So really, I don’t think anything has been lost in the long run to tell you the truth. I would have tried to handle it differently, but that is a matter of style. Clemens is no worse for the wear other than in the court of public opinion; but that would have been compromised by him pleading the 5th too. I should also say that Rusty Hardin is a hell of a lot better and more experienced attorney than I am. I still urge one and all to understand that the criminal court system is far different that the court of public opinion. The real battle has not even started, and the field changes immeasurably when it does. Do not underestimate Hardin; he is very good. Seriously.

  19. FrankProbst says:

    What is this civil court crap? The obvious next move is to impeach both the US Attorney (who should have resigned) and the Attorney General. If the Republicans want don’t want to vote for removal when it gets to the Senate, fine. There’s going to be a new sheriff in town in a year, and they may want to think twice about tossing away what little power they have left.

  20. TeddySanFran says:

    Whatever happened to inherent contempt, anyway? Ya know, the contempt enforced by the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives, where the miscreants are stashed in a lonely cell under the rotunda until they decide to talk?

    That’s where I want to see Josh and Harriet. Yesterday would be fine.

  21. MadDog says:

    OT – from the transcript of the House hearing on Missing White House Emails:

    Mr. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Okay. I mean, I think that is important to get out here. Now, it is expensive going through the disaster recovery backup tapes to retrieve that, is it not?

    Ms. PAYTON. Yes.

    Mr. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Can you describe the cost to me?

    Ms. PAYTON. The team actually put together an algorithm based on having to do this before, and basically the algorithm–and it is a very rough approximation, but if you have one component one day that needs to be restored from a disaster recovery backup tape, we have estimated it would
    cost around $50,000 for one component one day. So if you have three components on one single day, that would be three times 50,000, which would be 150,000.

    Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!

    If it cost $5,000 per component, I’d swear this idiot got taken to the cleaners. And $50,000 per? Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!

    Ms. “Addle-brain” Payton, White House Office of Administration CIO (Chief Idiot Officer) wouldn’t last 10 seconds in any IT organization I’ve ever worked it.

    • BooRadley says:

      I hope you’ll tell the Contact for House Committee on Oversight and Gov’t Reform.

      I called them once and was very impressed. First, a live person answers the phone. Second, after they determine that you’ve got something that might be of help, they forward you to someone else who is working on that specific issue. Again, it’s a live person. My guess is they would be interested in your take on Payton’s IT skills either by phone or via email.

      • MadDog says:

        I hope you’ll tell the Contact for House Committee on Oversight and Gov’t Reform.

        Thanks Boo! That’s good info and I might just take you up on it. Gonna keep reading that transcript and document more laughables.

    • sojourner says:

      Gosh, MadDog, you are forgetting that these are contractors for the US government who routinely make 3 and 4 times the going rate for anything!

      • MadDog says:

        Gosh, MadDog, you are forgetting that these are contractors for the US government who routinely make 3 and 4 times the going rate for anything!

        LOL! Even if true, that ain’t anywhere near being $50,000 to restore a backup of a single EOP component onto a server.

        Let’s play with some numbers here:

        2 Contractors – 1 to mount the tape and the other to hit “Enter” on the keyboard.

        Going rate for a contractor? $150/hour. So that would be $300/hour for 2 folks x 8 hours, and that equals $2400 for 8 hours. If these 2 clowns couldn’t get it done in 8 hours…

        Anyways, let’s assume that because it’s the White House, the contracting agency doubles the rate (prestige working conditions has its price).

        That would mean that they’d charge the White House $4800 for 8 hours of work by 2 well-meaning, but totally inept clowns who took 8 hours to do a 2-3 job.

        Ok, we got $4800 to charge the White House. Based on what Chief Idiot Officer Payton said, she’s willing to fork over another $45,200 for a grand total of $50,000 to get this work done.

        Duh! Sign right here lady, and yes we do take Mastercard.

        Talk about a sucker born every minute!

  22. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    I’m voting for a “Sports Trash Talk – Druggies Edition” to salt this Clemens talk away in. It’s about as useful here as it has been in the House, where Waxman, et al, have way bigger fish to fry that they’ve been draggin’ their feet over.
    /rant, mindless variety
    Back on topic, CAN Mukasey be impeached for refusing to enforce the law? I’d guess so, but lately I’m not sure there’s anything the Rethugs can’t subvert or the Dems can’t hide from.

  23. MadDog says:

    More addled-brain ignorance from Ms. Payton, Chief Idiot Officer:

    Ms. WATSON. Yes, it is just a simple question, okay.

    Mr. McDevitt also raised another concern, and this one is even more serious. He stated that there was a critical security issue in this system that was not identified and corrected until 2005. And he said Thís: “During this period it was discovered that the file servers and the file directories used to store the retained e-mail PST files were accessible by everyone on the EOP network.”

    Now, Ms. Payton, the Executive Office of the President has several thousand people, and your former employee, Mr. McDevitt, is saying that until 2005 any of them could access these e-mai1 fi1es. They could delete files, they could modify files, or read the files of other officials. Is that correct?

    Ms. PAYTON. Ms. Watson, since that precedes me, I am going to go off of information based on conversations with my staff, and in asking and trying to understand the e-mail situation so we have the right course of action and the right people matched to it, that has not been brought up.

    I mean, at some poínt in time I can certainly go back and ask them about that. That has not been brought up, nor is that typical–

    Ms. WATSON. Let me stop you.

    Ms. PAYTON. Yes, ma’am.

    Ms. WATSON. Are you saying to me that it has not been brought up that these files could be deleted or tampered with?

    That there was system-wide access by 3,000 customers to servers that are in the data center, that is against, you know, sort of Technology 101 – principles, if that happened–Please. Please.

    It would appear to me that if you had a system in place so it could be accessed by 3,000 people or unofficial personnel, and it could be changed, you mean to say that there was no concern or discussion? Is that what I am to hear?

    Ms. PAYTON. I have not been made aware that at some point in time that these servers were open to just anybody.

    Ms. WATSON. So, as I understand it, and please correct me, you had a system in place in the White House for several years in which anyone could have gone in and deleted files without a trace?

    Ms. PAYTON. Ma’am, ï do not know that to be true. I have not been told that.

    Shorter Ms. Payton “When any of my staff talk to me, I put my fingers in my ears and go – Na-na-na-na I can’t hear you.”

  24. Dismayed says:

    Welcome to Rome.

    Pelosi ain’t gonna do shit. She’s trying to put on just enough show to get through her next primary, which is one hell of a miscalculation, if she doesn’t grow some tits pretty damn soon and start kicking some ass her title is going to go back to MRS.

    The executive branch has acted completely unchecked for 6 years now. And congress can’t even pull enforce a subpeona.

    Fuck all this talk about pardons and inherent contempt, they ain’t gonna call marshals. They need to start impeaching. Musksuckass is a good place to start.

    Half measures will never get them anywhwere, and a big reason is that they doesn’t stir to new cycle enough to avoid drowning in the Republican message machine and ultimately getting turned back against the actor.

    Step out there and do something drastic. That’s the only way. Then they can take control of the news cycle and cut through the talking heads.

    Impeach the whole fucking administration! Any body with an ant brain knows they are a bunch of crooks, but who knows what inherent contemp is? Yawn. People understand impeachment and will listen.

    But it ain’t gonna happen. Deals have been made, and Charlie ain’t never gonna get to kick the football.

    Go home, Congress. Or start wearing togas so we can all see you for what you are!!! Plus, it’s easier for Bush and Cheney to ass fuck you in a toga, just a simple flip, no zip.

  25. MadDog says:

    I think Chief Idiot Officer Payton gets caught here with a lie in her Federal Court deposition:

    Ms. NORTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Ms. Payton, I would like to reconcile your sworn statements with what the Committee has since learned, and perhaps you can help us. On January 15th, 2008, you filed a sworn declaration in U.S. District Court here regarding the loss of White House e-maiI. In that declaration you critícized the chart produced in 2005, showing hundreds of days with no White House e-mail. And here I am goíng to quote what you said in the sworn declaration. “I am aware of a chart created by a former employee within the OCIO,” Office of Chief Information Office.

    Now, that of course, anyone reading that declaration, would believe that a single member created, staff person created this chart perhaps indeed almost on his own. But the Committee in fact obtained documents showing that your office created a 15 person what you call message storage team to
    work on this problem. This team documented its actions in very painstaking detail and reported frequently to the director of administration and White House counsel.

    Ms. Payton, I ask you, why didn’t you mention this team of White House officials in your sworn declaration?

    Ms. PAYTON. Ms. Norton, one of the things that I have mentioned before is that because this is prior to my arrival, I put the information together based on what my team has told me as well as–

    Ms. NORTON. You are unaware, are you testifying here that you were unaware of this team?

    Ms. PAYTON. No, I am explaining to you is based on what the team has told me, as well as information I had, there was a group of people who put data together. But as far as–

    Ms. NORTON. I am asking you, were you unavtare of the message storage team who worked on this problem?

    Ms. PAYTON. Ma’am, all I know is that they put data together. They did not work on the chart. And that is how it was presented to me.

  26. MadDog says:

    I think Chief Idiot Officer Payton got caught in another lie in her Federal Court deposition:

    Ms. NORTON. Later in your declaration, and here I am quoting you again, you said “The OCIO has reviewed the chart and has so far been unable to replicate its results or affirm the correctness of the assumptions underlying it.” We got a quite different account from Steven McDevitt, he is the former white House employee who worked on this project. This is what he said: “Extensive testing was performed at that time to ensure that the tools and the tabulation process was performed correctly. An independent verification and validation also was performed by a different set of contractors to ensure that this analysis process was completed correctly and that the data was correctly analyzed and accurately represented.”

    Ms. Payton, why didn’t you mention this testing by the independent contractors?

    Ms. PAYTON. I am not aware of that testing.

    Ms. NORTON. You still are not aware of that testing?

    Ms. PAYTON. I am aware that Steve has made those statements. We have a team that does IV&V. When I asked my staff about the chart and the validity of the chart, one of the things they said to me is, as far as they could tell, it had not gone through an extensive IV&V process.

    Ms. NORTON. And so no one made you aware–this is an amazing testimony given the position you were in and the post you held.

  27. MadDog says:

    And I think Congresswoman Ms. Norton finally calls Chief Idiot Officer Payton, an idiot:

    Now, in your declaration again, it is a sworn declaration, you stated that there was a “lack of supporting documentation.” For somebody who said she didn’t know anything, you certainly had something to say in your sworn declaration. Lack of supporting documentation. But Mr. McDevitt told us that the chart itself was just a summary. He said the complete analysis was 250 pages in length, it included the complete background data and trend analysis. Why didn’t you mention, Ms. Payton, the 250 page supporting document in your sworn declaration?

    Ms. PAYTON. That document had not been made aware to me. I know that we produced a lot of documents in response to this. So that document must not have been on the radar of my team to inform me.

    Ms. NORTON. My goodness, I don’t know how you did your job. You seem to have known nothing about it.

  28. kspena says:

    Denial of information seems to be the first line of defense of this imperial stripe.

    “I don’t Ambassador Wilson. I have not met Mr. Wilson,” dick.
    (Joe Wilson was the heroic charge in Iraq when dick was sect of defense during the first gulf war.)

    “I don’t know Senator Edwards. I have never met Senator Edwards,” dick
    (A video emerges showing dick and Senator Edwards shaking hands.)

    “I don’t know Mrs. Wilson. I have never met Mrs. Wilson. I didn’t know he was married,” rove.
    (rove leaked her name.)

    “I don’t know Mrs. Simpson. I have never met Mrs. Simpson,” rove.
    (She testifies she did opposition research for him.)

    “Our staff has done an exhaustive search of Alabama Republican Party records going back several years, and we can find not one instance of Dana Jill Simpson volunteering or working on behalf of the Alabama Republican Party. . . Nor can we find anyone within the Republican Party leadership in Alabama who has ever so much as heard of Dana Jill Simpson until she made her first wave of accusations last summer.” Michael Hubbard, the chair of the Alabama Republicans.

    Oh? We shall see…

  29. wigwam says:

    Good fucking God. There’s an obvious, simple, even cannonical constitutional remedy for stoppiing presidential criminality. Those in a position of responsibility who fail to exercise the available remedies are subject to the Yamashita Standard of Command Responsibility. Yamashita was executed. I’m talking to you, Pelosi and Conyers.

  30. perris says:

    I think most of you here, especially the lawyers are under some impression that the president believes or acts as though the law applies to him

    when I say he will “just release them” or “pardon them” he will do just that whether there is law to support his actions or not

    in his mind, he is lawless, he is above the law, nothing he does is against the law, “when a president does it, that means it is not against the law”

    he believes that nixon quote

    you think he doesn’t have authority to pardon, you think there are pre requisites for a pardon to hold

    you are wrong

    his authority is the authority he claims, it is tempered by nothing

    the supreme court MIGHT take a stand on the side of the constitution but who here believes they will?

    if the sgt of arms arrests these people who are Iexerting executive priviledge, I GUARANTEE the president will get them released one way or another

    and it WON’T be because congress “backed down” though I don’t doubt the would, but even if they held fast, the president WOULD have them removed by the force of new law he creates through the supreme court or through the force of arms

    there is only ONE remededy that the president, the supreme court and the armed forces are powerless against

    that is the remedy that is off the table, it is the ONLY remedy that the president will not be able to ignore

    so all this wishfull thinking?

    if the prsident decides it means nothing then it means nothing until the final remedy


  31. Xenos says:

    Any indication of what form the pleadings for civil relief are likely to take? BMAZ earlier explained that a Writ of Mandamus might not be workable – so does this not appear to be a simple demand for injunctive relief?

    If so, I don’t see it working (prosecutorial discretion). This is all way above my pay grade as a lawyer.

    One thing I find curious is a complete reluctance for the notable conservative legal websites to discuss this constitutional crisis. You would expect the folks at to be rushing to Mukasey’s defense by now.

    • perris says:

      One thing I find curious is a complete reluctance for the notable conservative legal websites to discuss this constitutional crisis. You would expect the folks at to be rushing to Mukasey’s defense by now.

      it’s obvious, (without a catastrophy for the president to suspend elections) that the next president will be a democrat, either a women or a black man

      do you think these masogenistic bigots are gonna set a precedence for a democrat, women or a black man?

      me thinks not

      this is one of the reasons I am full expecting a “catastophy”, I cannot believe they are amassing this power for hillary or obama

      to me, thinking they are handing over the reigns of power to the hill or obama is the one of the very stupidest things we can think

      yet here we are, pretending there is no possibility the president will suspend elections

      as far as I am concerned, the “possibility” looms much larger then the prosect of a real election

      • nomolos says:

        this is one of the reasons I am full expecting a “catastophy”, I cannot believe they are amassing this power for hillary or obama

        Absolutely. There is no way these bastards would allow a Dem administration to see all they have done. It is over (unless there is impeachment) for Democracy here. It is just a matter of how many Americans they are willing to “sacrifice” to maintain power.

  32. Xenos says:

    I just can’t picture a Republican coup d’etat. Not that they might not want to do it, but clearly the cultural moment of fear and xenophobia, the ’season of witches’ has passed in the country as a whole. Even with a severe false flag catastrophe, nobody trusts them anymore.

    My prediction is of an enormous amount of shredding, email deleting, hard-drive melting and so on. And blanket pardons from Bush that will take years to sort out in the courts. Ford’s pardon of Nixon was never challenged, and G.H.W. Bush’s pardons were never punished – that trend has to come to an end to avoid repeating this.

  33. BayStateLibrul says:

    Isn’t this argument all about “Executive Privilege” and who
    arbitrates, when the White House invokes privilege for the sake
    of privilege? (laughable reasons)
    If Richardson was around, we would have the green light.
    To me, it’s a court decision with recourse to the Supremos if
    we lose the argument

  34. MarieRoget says:

    Just back from a very long-seeming business trip, & it’s amazing the things that can happen while you’re out of town for a few days. Mukasey’s throw down isn’t one of them, however. Totally expected from Fredo’s replacement, who has amounted to nothing more than a more articulate BushCo enabler.

    Several of the fired USAs were quoted as very hopeful when Gonzo departed & Mukasey, a supposed straight arrow judge, was confirmed as AG. The integrity of the DoJ might be on the way to being restored, some ventured. How are they feeling about that this morning, I wonder…

  35. behindthefall says:

    Just a thought — nothing legalistic. A kid called Goegelein just resigned after his serial plagiarism was exposed by Nancy Nall and commenters, who used Google to pull down the unattributed sources for half a dozen of the young deep-thinker’s columns. Now, young Goegelein was the gatekeeper between conservatives and the Oval Office, also an assistant to Rove, when Rove was still there.

    We also have news of an email system at the White House which was open to 3000+ people and whose minder seemingly does not care to understand, either in in its past or present state. There does not seem to be, in the minder’s head, any sense that such lack of control constituted risky behavior.

    Both of these situations showed blindness, but what kind of blindness? Perhaps they were focussed on the thought that they were doing The President’s work and let that singleminded devotion make them forget their vulnerabilities. Perhaps they felt invulnerable.

    The young man thought that no one would ever look on Google. The email-minders thought that no one would ever want to read anything that they did not want to have read.

    The young man was demonstrably wrong: a few hours work cost him his job. The porosity of the email system has not yet been demonstrated, but it may well have been flawed and insecure: the people who may have penetrated it would not make their accomplishment known. But someone ought to put an adult in charge of something so important.

    What bothers me is that hint that, uncaring, irresponsible blindness pervades all levels in the White House. They think that they are wearing armor, but they are naked.

  36. SaltinWound says:

    All good points, but “kabuki” is the most overused word in political discourse, rendered to the point of meaninglessness. Google “kabuki congress” and enjoy the 155,000 hits.

  37. senahj says:

    Over at Balkinization, Marty Lederman is looking for the full text of Mukasey’s letter refusing to investigate. So far no one’s been able to find it on line. Curious.

  38. JohnLopresti says:

    I imagine the Associate Justices already practicing their refusal to hear argument based on the issue’s being a ‘political question’. Yet, the Gavel’s coverage generates some interesting questions about the doj’s responsibilities to the chief executive.

  39. bmaz says:

    For those of you scoring at home, and also those at home alone, I would like to make a couple of points. The discussion fulcrum for this post has been the intent and determination of the Democratic Leadership to actually follow through on their contempt resolution, enforce the same and protect the Congressional prerogative and separation of powers doctrine. All have had an opportunity to state their opinion, and you certainly know mine. But what do the facts and procedural history tell us about the intent and determination of the Democratic Leadership?

    Miers and Bolten were subpoenaed and refused to appear in mid July, 2007. Conyers obtained the contempt finding in Committee near the end of July (the only semi-timely act we are likely to see on this). Subsequent to the end of July, the matter hung interminably waiting for a simple floor vote so that we could get to the spot we achieved last week. Seven months. What was the holdup? Well, the Democratic house Leadership posited that consideration of the contempt issue would be too time consuming and destructive of bipartisan unity.

    Getting to the feeble point we area at today was so time consuming that it could not even be attempted for seven months. Okay, but how much time did all this effort consume? Well, an aide of some kind must have had to enter the consideration on the House schedule for the vote on February 14, 2008; that must take at least a few minutes. Then there was the actual floor time expended in conducting the vote on February 14. the issue was called on the floor at approximately 1:40 PM, at which point the entire GOP caucus promptly walked out. By 2:25 PM, the vote was done and tallied by the clerk. I make that out to be about a hour of time so far. Of course, subsequently, a Pelosi staff attorney had to draw up the referral letter and certification to Mukasey; there are forms and prior examples as templates, but I will give the staff lawyer eight hours for the one page letter to Mukasey and half page letter to DC-USA Jeff Taylor.

    So, I come up with a grand total of 45 minutes of floor time and 8 hours and 15 minutes of flunky staff time. That was certainly onerous enough to delay over seven months for eh? Oh yeah, I am pretty impressed with the happiness, joy and success we achieved by preserving that precious “bipartisan unity” too, aren’t you?

    • perris says:

      So, I come up with a grand total of 45 minutes of floor time and 8 hours and 15 minutes of flunky staff time. That was certainly onerous enough to delay over seven months for eh? Oh yeah, I am pretty impressed with the happiness, joy and success we achieved by preserving that precious “bipartisan unity” too, aren’t you?


      that paragraph should be sent to the democratic file because they are rank

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      bmaz, I have a different perspective – IMHO Pelosi and Reid have been playing for time. See Lab Dancer’s comment, re: the movement behind the still surface has yet to reveal itself. I agree.

      Pelosi (and even Reid) needed to be seen offering reasonable compromises, and it’s taken time for Bu$hCo to fully reveal itself as unrepentant, unreasonable, secretive, and criminal. But Bu$h and Cheney overplayed their hand on FISA; “Mama Pelosi” and Congress now hold the upper hand. Let’s only hope they play it shrewdly. (In case they need reminding, Putin and the rest of the world are watching and sizing them up.)

      Meanwhile, let’s review what’s occurred since late July:
      – late August, a B-52 with nukes goes AWOL. Who knows why or how? But 5 Air Force honchos were booted out of the service in subsequent months; that’s enough evidence to suggest that the AWOL bomber was a Verrrry Big Deal. (We still don’t know whether all missiles are accounted for, IIRC.)
      – early Sept. a mystery flight over Syria ends weirdly; do we know what that was about? No, we don’t, but the word ‘nukes’ seems to be involved. Sy Hersh had a recent article in the New Yorker, but there’s been not a public peep officially.
      – Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb: the Big Shitpile meltdown accelerates with banks worldwide continuing to ‘write downs’ b-b-b-b-billions; finance and ’securitization’ don’t seem to be a stable economic foundation after all. (Who knew…?)
      – during autumn 2007, China and (formerly known as the USSR) start signing deals for oil rights in Iraq; meanwhile the US majors wait for the ‘Iraqi National Congress’ to pass legislation that will provide a cover of ‘democracy’ for the kinds of legalistic, contractual agreements favored by Big Oil. China and also get contracts for infrastructure in Iraq.
      – also on the oil front, Roy Hunt (of Hunt Oil, purchaser of a $35m Houston site for the future GWBush Memorial Library) undercuts US policy, as well as the US military, by signing an oil deal with Kurdisan. Other ‘oil indies’ follow, while the INC bellows that such ‘contracts’ are ‘not legal’, and the Oil Majors fear they should have signed with Kurdistan and put the pressure on for faster movement on an INC National Oil Law.
      – in Oct (or Nov), the Saudi’s crook their little fingers and Dick Cheney hastens to ‘consult’ with them; there, or back again, he stops off to thump Musharef on the back as a buddy.
      – unexpectedly, in Oct 2007, the US intel community surprises Bu$hCheney by suddenly and unexpectedly releasing the NIE to the public; the NIE undercuts Bu$hCheney plans to bomb the sh*t out of Iran, consequently much hullaballoo and hubbub follows, including…
      – a suddenly-tossed-together Annapolis Peace Summit, to which a surprising range of players actually show up (including Musharef),
      – during all this foreign policy confusion, the US economy continues to falter and implode weekly, collapsing further into doldrums as commodity prices rise (atop rising consumer oil costs).
      – in conjunction with the imploding economy, business capital vanishes; startups and marginal businesses go under in response to the lack of capital available for business investment,
      – the Brits pull out of Iraq, Afghanistan becomes ever more the ‘failed state’ we all should dread, Pakistan behaves like some large, ancient snake writhing (in a fashion that is hideous to behold) to throw off an old, constricting, dessicated political structure,
      – global warming continues to accelerate at alarming rates,
      – oil multinationals reap windfall profits,
      – FauxNewz and wingnut radio audience numbers continue to decline
      – the ‘Christian Right’ seems no longer so politically dominant and less aligned with conservative GOP agenda; a new ‘Creation Care’ conversation slowly, quietly begins to emerge voiced by evangelicals who argue that poverty and environmental degradation are closely linked, that ‘justice’ is a core human value, and that their votes are not ‘owned’ by the Rovian-led GOP (Pelosi and Reid, are you listening…?)
      – on a visit to France? Germany? Donald Rumsfeld finds that he must flee ASAP, lest he be hauled into the World Court and charged with Crimes Against Humanity,
      – in the weekly drip, drip, drip news the politicization of justice in the US becomes better understood by Americans who aren’t even all that political,
      – millions of Americans turning out in unprecedented numbers to caucuses and voting booths to register their wrath at the existing economic, legal, and corporate stranglehold on American political life.

      Please don’t misunderstand — Congress should not be off the hook for the woes of the nation (or increasing levels of CO2).
      Nevertheless, in an effort to try and see how future historians might view this period, it’s worth pointing out that ‘things have been plenty busy’. And not in good ways.

      Pelosi and Congress are facing an administration that has fundamentally lost control of the economy, the government, most public opinion (the knuckle draggers are still with them, but that group is also shrinking). Pelosi, Reid, and the Dems confront adversaries who fight dirty, lie, cheat, commit fraud, and stonewall. There is no precedent in US history, and false analogies about how bad Buchanan was only lead us farther afield. This is a unique, deeply dangerous situation. And I’m with Xenos in believing that if this rot isn’t rooted out thoroughly, we’re done for — people need to go to prison, and lose their ill-got gains.

      Several comments on this thread are really worth highlighting for many reasons — MadDogs@91, I think is short a few contractors (you missed 1 to turn on the lights, 3 to provide security, 2 to control passwords ;-))

      Xenos @102 raises a key topic: even if Bu$hCo staged a ‘false flag’ incident in an attempt to impose martial law, it would almost certainly not work. It might have worked when they still claimed that this was about ‘politics’ and ‘partisan’ differences; it’s now clear to millions of Americans that these people are criminals. (Remember the final scene in ‘Gladiator’, when the Praetorians refuse to act on the command of the Emperor Commodus? We may finally be nearing that point.)

      I may be wrong, but clearly the context favors Congress over Bu$hCheney – by magnitudes.
      In addition, FISA allowed Pelosi and the House Dems to finally call Bush/Cheney’s bluff.

      I hope we’re turning a corner; I hope that future historians may be able to look back on FISA as a key moment when BushCheney overreached and began to topple.

      Heaven only knows the economic indicators are profoundly alarming, while the oil majors (and drug cartels, no doubt) continue to profit. Bush is f*cked.

      Lab Dancer, all best.

      • bmaz says:

        A little more time and “corner turning” like this and our Constitution will be so far in the rear view mirror that we will no longer see or know it.

  40. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Agree with you, bmaz (and apologies for another too-long comment!).

    But I also recall that in 2000, it seemed to be taken for granted that ‘it didn’t matter who’s elected’ and that ‘voting doesn’t matter’.

    Our Constitution had already been subverted by Reagan/Bush41 (I still haven’t mastered IranContra, but clearly that was a critical, quiet, under-the-radar dismantling of the Constitution while laundering sums of wealth beyond my grasp).

    At least people have finally caught on the Constitution is at risk, larger numbers believe that things are completely out of hand, and many even believe that voting matters.

    They want something, and there’s a fervor in the air.
    If I were Congress, I’d sure as hell be listening to voters this year. And I’d be using the term ‘accountability’ in every other sentence. FWIW.

    • bmaz says:

      Amen to that; but the ever so brief “Donna Edwards Bump” seems to be ancient history now. I am more convinced every day that the indemnification arrangement I have harped on for so long is, indeed, correct and the Democratic leadership knows about it and is terrified of the thought of the public learning that they and the Bushies put the taxpayers on the hook for massive liabilities. They won’t even talk about insignificant tax increases to pay for children’s health or education; how could they explain that they obliged the taxpayers to pay for the Bush/telco criminality? They can’t let that get out, so they too want this thing buried with immunity.

  41. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Don’t mean to be a cynic, but the telcos are in distress anyway and even if people try to collect, it doesn’t seem possible they’d be successful in getting money even if they won a legal case.

    Hate to say it, but I’m deeply pessimistic. With global warming altering ag fundamentals (add on petroleum-based fertilizers, and petroleum-based distribution networks), the food supply takes up more space in my brain that getting $$ out of telcos.

    We just need to keep the telcos alive (financially, legally) so we have them as a tool to help address big problems, IMHO. I hope that my worries are overblown…

  42. bmaz says:

    The plaintiffs are both capable and willing, if approached by the Bush/telco defendants and allowed to pursue their suits, to severely limit and place a cap on monetary damages. But that is not the issue. The consolidated plaintiffs could offer to cap damages at the minimum nominal amount of $1, that’s one dollar, and it would not make any difference to the immunity push. None. It is about covering the criminal acts; the rest is nice, but simply a perk. Also, AT&T profit up 41%

    AT&T reported net income of $3.06 billion, or 50 cents a share, in the third quarter, up from $2.17 billion, or 56 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenue nearly doubled to $30.13 billion, from $15.6 billion in the quarter last year.

    Now, granted, that piddly amount would only be per quarter.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Pffftttt…. Okay, that 41% profit this quarter is a persuasive bit of info.
      And your point that this is NOT about the ‘liability‘ (I recall Cheney’s NewTermOfTheDayForIt… is it now ‘indemnification‘ or is there a newer term that I missed…?).

      It’s about criminal conduct.
      The scale of the Clusterf*ck called ‘Bu$h Cheney administration’ defies the scope of imagination all previous experience.
      And thus do we need reminders such as yours.

  43. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    If I understand you correctly, you’re sick of them bamboozling the MSM (and folks like me) by conflating ‘indemnification‘ (in which the Dems are complicit, and which could bankrupt the gov’mint), with ‘liability‘ (which is solely about covering their criminal asses).

    Am I correct?

  44. bmaz says:

    There is a difference between liability and damages. In a civil litigation, damages (i.e. how much) are not determined until the trier of fact (i.e. jury) has first found liability (fault). My point is that the media and public are all bamboozled into believing the whole issue is about the latter, damages (and how much), when the issue is really about the former, liability (fault). In the process of litigating the issue of liability (fault), the dirty critical facts about the patently improper, unconstitutional and almost certainly criminal behavior of the Bush Administration will come out. That is what they are desperate for. If I am correct, and I think there is a very good chance that I am, the United States government has already agreed to pay any losses (damages) that are ever assessed against the telcos from any of these suits. That is why the telcos have been so curiously ambivalent and aloof as some people are finally starting to realize. Unless the plaintiffs agree to cap/limit the total amount of damages that could be imposed (which, on pretty good authority, I understand that they are willing to do), the huge damages would have to be paid sooner or later and, I believe, that the government, by giving the telcos indemnification agreements, has already agreed to be the one paying it. So the telcos already are not, under any circumstance, in danger of being financially eviscerated. The Bushies are selling immunity for the telcos to protect them from a peril that they don’t face and that doesn’t exist for them ultimately. We are being lied to. The real reason they want the immunity is so that they are not found out.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Thx bmaz, I didn’t state my earlier thoughts as clearly as I ought.
      Should anyone be surprised that Bu$hCheney are making it as easy for the telecoms to keep their backs as possible? (Okay, rhetorical question…)

      We are being lied to?
      I’m shocked! SHOCKED, I tell you!!

      What I should have said more clearly: money is nice, and who doesn’t want more of it? But what I really care about is ‘transparency’ and rooting out error-ridden, amoral, criminal conduct.

      The money would be gravy. (And in a choice between telecom $$ or worrying about the food supply, I go with food every time.)
      What I care about is the law.
      (Hope I’ve finally synthesized.)

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