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June 26, 2007

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And my favorite item--the 50 Presidential Scholars, high-achieving hishschoolers, who signed a letter that they personally handed to Bush calling for an end to torture and other human rights abuses by the US. Bush's response? "We don't torture." Except the English language and the Truth.

What do the WH thugs say to errant Congresspeople? They must have some pretty scary shit in their files. So far their threats and/or bribes have always done the trick on every important issue.

Cheney's assertions of excessive, unwarranted and unConstitutional power for the Executive Branch are a symptom of the problem we face, not the cause. The cause of the problem is that the Legislative Branch has taken its inherent, plenary powers under the Constitution to check and balance the Executive Branch "off the table."

Every time, post-November, 2006, that a Member of Congress complains about Cheney or Bush's behavior in office (without exhorting their colleagues in Congress to assert their own authority in response), that public representative is implicitly condemning their own refusal to act to rein them in. The impeachment powers of Congress are available, and yet sit idle. The ability of Congress to unilaterally, by simple majority vote, declare an end to (or change the objective of) the hostilities in Iraq (Section 8, Clause 11) is available, and yet sits idle (and is carefully never mentioned as an option; that vital power to determine matters of war that the Constitution vests in, and only in, we, the people, through our representatives, is now lost in the mists of time as a relict of the past, apparently). The Speaker of the House won't exercise her ability to limit funding for the occupation by simply refusing to propose funding for the occupation beyond an end-date certain. War-funding apparently now and forever remains "on the table" with no strings attached, as dictated by the Executive.

Our Congress has obviously chosen from long practice and bad habit, to cede its Constitutional responsibilities to oversee, monitor, and direct the actions of the now-mammoth Executive Branch, to the Executive Branch. Arguably, in no era in our history has the necessity for real, enforced checks on the Executive from the Legislative Branch been more vital to the maintenance of our founding principles (especially personal liberty) and our Constitution. And yet the reverse has occurred: the sheer size of the Armed Forces and the rest of the federal government, and the quality and character of those holding public office in Congress, have effectively acted to turn the Legislative Branch into an advisory subcommittee of the presidency.

Our Republic seems long gone.

the White House called him to ask for a meeting

Lugar will say on Friday that he had a bad bowl of oatmeal that morning which caused him to actually say the exact opposite of his planned speech on the floor. What are the odds?

actually, the first crack in the repuglican monolith is named Gordon Smith

Mr Smith is a poor bastard from Oregon who is seeking re-election with the rotting policies of george w bush hanging around his neck

Mr Lugar ain't even "On The Menu" in 2008

that can't be good for george

Mimikatz you say:

"Everything takes place against the backdrop of this deeply unpopular war, and the longer it drags on, the more Bush/Cheney are weakened"

What do you mean "weakened?"

Do you mean their ratings will go below those of Congress and Harry Reid?

I say get out now.

Let the next President, probably a Democrat, and another brother fight on in this mess.

Cursor-Media Patrol has a Lugar article posted, and at the bottom of the Lugar article there is a link to ANOTHER article, that says that George Voinovich is joining Lugar

Sen. George Voinovich said Tuesday the U.S. should begin pulling troops out of Iraq, joining Richard Lugar as the second Republican lawmaker in as many days to suggest President Bush's war strategy is failing.

this ain't a crack, it's the beginning of the avalanche

There are rumors already that Bush may seek to cut some sort of deal on Iraq funding...

I'll believe it when you post the pdf file of the signed bill. There were all sorts of rumors that Bush would bow to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, too, all the way to Time Magazine trumpeting it on the front page. Didn't happen.

I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but Bush has never shown any inclination to compromise with Congress before, and I see no reason to believe he will now. He has nothing to lose, and the administration has stated publically that it will fight to the end to avoid such compromises. The crumbling we're seeing just shows that Bush and Cheney are truly in the bunker now.

hey, the shit stain fell for the joke

quoting collective congressional poll numbers can make you a joke, if you don't understand the dynamics of the poll, and you don't understand one important thing about Congressional popularity polls:

everybody says they don't like "Congress", but if you ask about the individual's own congresscritter, you find that an overwhelming majority of voters approve of the actions of their own personal congresscritter

it's congress as a whole that has a bad reputation, while individual congresspersons actually enjoy a pretty high approval rating

smart people know that automatically when the topic of congressional approval ratings are mentioned

only shit stains think the collective approval rating of congress have any real meaning

and I notice that shit stains only crow about abysmal congressional approval ratings when the Democrats control congress

who knew that shit stains could be so craven and stupid at the same time ???

well, who knew beside myself ...

slightly o/t here. . .

part two of my analysis of
scooter libby's chances on
appeal is now posted. . .

and -- even regent law school
graduates will be able to see this -- his
chances are slim-to-just-over-none
. . .

so, now we wait for either (1) a date for
argument (perhaps next week), or (2) an expedited
(probably memorandum) opinion from the three-
judge d.c. appeals court panel.

then on to certorari for scoots. . .

Also, it isn't clear when people say they don't like Congress whether they are saying that they don't like the Dem Congress because they are Repubs; don't like the Dem Congress because it is too slow to stand up to Bush; don't like the fact that so little can get done, especially in the Senate, because of the rules; don't like what they remember of the last Congress or what they mean.

Meanwhile, the people are pretty clear on the war:

From Think Progress

“A new low of 30 percent of Americans say they support the U.S. war in Iraq and, for the first time, most Americans say they don’t believe it is morally justified,” a new CNN poll finds.

Nearly two-thirds of those polled want withdrawal of U.S. troops to begin — either in part or in total. … Asked whether the U.S. action in Iraq is morally justified, 54 percent said no, versus 42 percent who said yes and 4 percent with no opinion. […]

Support for President Bush matched his lowest rank ever in a CNN poll, with 32 percent saying they approve the way he is handling his job, and 66 percent saying they disapprove, according to the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

The only way Bush will listen is if the GOP really fears a generaltional loss in Congress, and then maybe he will ignore Cheney and start pulling out.

Its really a strange situation. All the Repub presidential hopefuls want to out torture Jack Bauer and stay-the-course in Iraq. They would all support more surges - except Ron Paul. Then you have Repub senators either not running or thinking hard about their electoral position in 2008. They've been in the stay-the-course mode and really afraid of challenging Cheney. As they get more and more worried about their 2008 chances that will overcome their fear of Cheney.

But will the Dems wait until enough Repubs switch or will Bush get ahead of them and work out a compromise non-comprise with the Repubs and then railroad the Dems? How the Dems manage the appropriations bills will be quite instructive.

Right. I do think that the Dems are not exactly making it up as they go along, but feeling their way and trying to gauge where the publci is. These polls should help. In Marcy's "Royalties" thread I posted a long comment comparing today to the three other constitutional crises I have lived through, in 1968-72, '73-'74 and 1998.

Never give up hope, and do whatever you can to urge them to be strong. Sooner or later we will probably have to take to the streets, though.

Mimikatz, I think part of the problem is that a lot of us literally can't afford to take to the streets. Our jobs aren't that secure, and far too many people are living from paycheck to paycheck.

Gee, and maybe once YOU FIGURE OUT THAT WE'RE IN IRAQ FOREVER, then pretending that things will change under this regime will seem less CUTE.

"Mimikatz, I think part of the problem is that a lot of us literally can't afford to take to the streets. Our jobs aren't that secure, and far too many people are living from paycheck to paycheck."

ANYONE who doesn't have five children and four jobs can protest and make their voice heard.

How many have heard of 'bumper stickers'? Let's see a show of hands.

How many bring up politics when waiting in line? How many share facts they read on the blogs with others via that wonderful device, the injet? How many make sure they SPEAK UP when they hear someone spreading lies or bigotry, even in crowded restaurants and other 'places ripe for protest'?

How many will confront the bigotry, hatred, lies, and misinformation?

• Everyone who actually gives a damn, versus those who prefer excuses to the job their heart tells them to do, REGARDLESS of circumstances.

Well Jeez--last time I looked you could always join a march on your own time on weekends, as long as you don't wear a military uniform. In California firing someone for their political activity is illegal under the Labor Code.

If it comes to that, you can't afford not to take to the streets, because you will have already lost your freedom.

Josh Marshall sees much the same thign that I see. Read the whole post, but here's the nub:

The truth is that the President is playing a very high-stakes game of chicken with his fellow Republicans. He's driving a hundred miles an hour toward the cliff, much too fast to jump out of the car without risking serious injury. But as the cliff gets closer, they'll start to jump.

Whatever else you can say about Cheney, he IS a villain of Shakespearean proportions. Not since Nixon have we seen such in this country. In some ways you have to admire Cheney's functionality. To cement his power, he operated behind the scenes. Cheney controlled everything but was responsible for nothing. For Cheney power is everything. This puts him in a class with Cardinal Richelieu . . . or Richard III.

Mimikatz,

the poll they were talking about on TV was the rating of all congress, and Harry Reid in particular. About 4 or 5 days ago.

DemFromCT could explain it exactly.

uh, let's review:

Richard Lugar, William F Buckley, George Voinovich

and we're supposed to believe that these men are the repuglicans who are "Unhinged" or "Mentally deficient" in some way ???

you might be able to prove that William F Buckley is a tas senile, but Lugar and Voinovich ???

I don't see them being easy targets for the bushistas

but if the repuglicans wanna attack them, I'm willing to sprinkle a little pepper and lemon sauce on ANY repuglican senator that kkkarl rove feels like feasting on

I'm just guessing that canabal repuglicans would like a little lemon pepper flavor to their canabalistic orgy, I'm not speaking from personal experience here ...

hey shit stain:

go read the many problems involved with polling for congressional popularity

or did you already see it and you're just trying to ignore it

what's the answer shit stain ???

or are you still a chicken shit stain who avoids answering questions when you don't like the answer

you don't need to answer shit stain, we already know all about you

On Lugar...

He ran for re-election last round.

The Democrats could not even find a sacrificial lamb to offer up in opposition, thusly he won by something over 90% of the votes cast. His only opposition was a third party candidate -- perhaps grass roots party.

But Lugar, a deeply conservative Indiana Republican, former mayor of Indianoplis, mentored in politics by the Hudnut Clan, lovie dovie with the Lilly Pharm Industry whose interests he well represents, is looking at the reality that even in a state sliced into congressional districts favoring Republican incumbants,

They lost three seats in 2006.

They also lost big time in the State Legislature.

One thing of interest I noted. When Obama was first elected, Lugar and his good friend, Sam Nunn arranged to take Obama to Russia, because they wanted to initiate him into the details of control of both Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Materials -- remember the Nunn-Lugar bill??? They went, and spent ten days meeting all the people on the russian side that they have dealt with over the years, essentially handing over the portfolio to Obama.

I thought that an interesting move.

Lugar can be quite forceful when he wants to be against members of his own party. Back during the Reagan years, when Marcos was in huge trouble, with the people in the street, and all -- Reagan, egged on by his then VP was preparing a military effort in support of Marcos who was the firewall protecting US access to Clark Field and Subic Bay facilities. Lugar marched into the WH and told them to slow down, and then he flew off to the Phillipines and negotiated with the Marcos family to leave. They left.

He can be quite forceful when he wants to be, and many Democrats in the Senate deeply respect that, even though they vote differently on many many issues.

I think Hadley will have met his match.

Mimikatz & Sara,

One of the interesting observations to come out of the newspaper series on Cheney (Angler,), is how cowardly Colin Powell really was. We suspected as much when he refused to stand up for the troops in the Iraq debacle. But even on smaller matters he kowtowed to the Cheney Cabal. Like all "tinmen," you can now see the rust stains on his carefully oiled public image.

Dick Cheney is the linchpin of the administration and its policies. Unfortuantely, the Dems in Congress have never really understood this. If they had neutered Cheney instead of letting him consolidate his total hold on power, the Senate would not have been as solid behind Bush. It was Dick Cheney who held the Senators together, behind his, I mean, Bush's Iraq debacle. When a Senator would stray, he would appeal to them personally to stay firm to protect the country and not to undermine their President (ok, him) during a time of war. This had enormous resonnance in the circle of Republican Senators. Even against their own judgement, many withheld criticism and backed the Administration so as not to undermine their President during a time of war. One interesting mental exercise is to think how long they would have been silent and supported a Democratic President in exactly the same scenario.

Even should Lugar be able to broker a deal that gets the country out of Iraq to some degree within a year, he is clearly no profile in courage. The Republican elders have failed the Republic. Shame on them. But, haven't the Democratic elders in the Senate also failed the people and the Republic? It's no surprise that the Congress and its leaders are held in such low esteem by the American public. The inability of the Democrats to move legislation and to get things done by letting the minority Republicans gum up the works (something the Republicans did not let the Democrats do by insisting on up-or-down votes, votes, fairness, etc.)actually plays into the Republican meme that Democracts are impotent. And that is political kryptonite. Don't believe me? Start asking around in Middle America. The Middle American public is rushing to judgement about the Democracts in Congress and their leadership. It hasn't translated to the Democratic Presidential candidates, yet. There is a real risk in being too slow to move.

"Cheney's assertions of excessive, unwarranted and unConstitutional power for the Executive Branch are a symptom of the problem we face, not the cause."

The Office of Dan Quayle is OLD NEWS. The beauty part is that this is coming out, nationwide, getting coverage. Because, shit, I freaked about his Federalist Society bs five or six long years ago.

Now? With spit for approval ratings, and ZERO good stuff coming their way -- I just am not threatened. We are going to watch YET ANOTHER ugly set of Rapepublicans go down in flames, soon.

"The cause of the problem is that the Legislative Branch has taken its inherent, plenary powers under the Constitution to check and balance the Executive Branch "off the table."

That's just untrue. The impeachment power has NEVER worked. The two times there were actual conviction trials, it was a Congressional CRIME. And neither was successful.

INDICTMENT is the key to our freedom from these jackals.

"The impeachment powers of Congress are available, and yet sit idle."

You seem to have missed the CONVICTION part, which requires something like twenty votes we don't currently have. You also ignore the 5-4 SCOTUS, which could come up with some interpretation that would shake the Constitution even further. And you ignore the war powers fight, which has never yet been resolved. So it's the MYTH of impeachment that is the pivot of your crisis of faith.

Don't worry (too much). America is 225 years old because DEMOCRACY WORKS, the Constitution works, even without 'impeachment' rights that have never solved our problems.

"The ability of Congress to unilaterally, by simple majority vote, declare an end to (or change the objective of) the hostilities in Iraq (Section 8, Clause 11) is available,"

Not only do we NOT have that majority in EITHER House, but that kind of waving of parchment does NOT equal political power. You might like to think it does, but it doesn't. During a one-party coup like the current one, such paper rules aren't worth spit.

"The Speaker of the House won't exercise her ability to limit funding for the occupation by simply refusing to propose funding for the occupation beyond an end-date certain."

Your suggestion that Speaker Pelosi can by fiat block funding for a war that the Congress will not stop is RIDICULOUS NONSENSE.

"War-funding apparently now and forever remains "on the table" with no strings attached, as dictated by the Executive."

That's untrue. You, and many others, don't understand the difference between an emergency supplemental, and a regular appropriation bill. Emergency supplementals are DESIGNED not to have much democracy attached to them, because they are for emergencies. The fact that Bushco has funded its illegal and immoral war with them tells the whole story -- of the 109th Congress in eternal shame, and of the Rapepublicans in Congress, who continue to use every political obstruction available. But their luck with the upcoming appropriation is not going to be so rosy.

"Our Republic seems long gone." --pow wow

NONSENSE. We are in the process of writing evidence for indictments. We need to force the Attorney General to resign. We need to restart the indictment process, and we are approaching those goals.

Get with it; don't go to pieces over the MYTH of impeachment. Speaker Pelosi is the best Speaker in 40 years, and Leader Reid is far from an idiot (however little he can accomplish -- the COMMITTEES are far more the value of controlling the Senate so narrowly, rather than the floor votes).

I say that as someone who ran a two-year impeachment effort that bombarded Rep. Conyers with thousands of letters. When we were in the minority, it was worth trying. The 2004 election (which was stolen) got in the way, eventually -- as for sure the 2008 elections will if we can't get the AG out and the indictments flowing. But we WILL persevere, and your prediction of our demise is an exaggeration that serves ROVE'S purposes, not your own.

"Dick Cheney is the linchpin of the administration and its policies. Unfortuantely, the Dems in Congress have never really understood this."

You're kidding, right? You go talk to the leadership...they have known this FOREVER. You forget that quite a few in the Congress have specific and detailed experience with SecDef Cheney from two decades before.

"If they had neutered Cheney instead of letting him consolidate his total hold on power, the Senate would not have been as solid behind Bush."

The Dems in the Senate split their vote on the Iraq Resolution, under Standing Senate Political Order #1: Give them enough rope to hang themselves.

'It was Dick Cheney who held the Senators together, behind his, I mean, Bush's Iraq debacle. When a Senator would stray, he would appeal to them personally to stay firm to protect the country and not to undermine their President (ok, him) during a time of war."

And the massive conspiracy between the military corporations, the Pentagon, all the major media operations, and Nine-eleven, and the anthrax attacks, and the Wellstone deaths, and the threats on the floor of the Congress had NOTHING to do with it. It was those hearty talks with Dick the Dick, right?

"Even should Lugar be able to broker a deal that gets the country out of Iraq to some degree within a year,"

The ONLY way anything like that would happen is if this coup fell. Bushco will NEVER withdraw from those bases and that 120 acre Citadel they're finishing building. And Cheney's Pipelinestan IS UP AND RUNNING in Afghanistan (and Pakistan). We have brand new airbases along its route. The US is dug in and going NOWHERE without a change of Executive.

"But, haven't the Democratic elders in the Senate also failed the people and the Republic?"

Nope.

"It's no surprise that the Congress and its leaders are held in such low esteem by the American public."

No, it is no surprise. THE REASON? Media coverage so biased that Dems can't get covered on what they accomplish, and are mocked and derided CONSTANTLY on thousands of radio stations every single day. For a decade or more.

"The inability of the Democrats to move legislation and to get things done by letting the minority Republicans gum up the works (something the Republicans did not let the Democrats do by insisting on up-or-down votes, votes, fairness, etc.)actually plays into the Republican meme that Democracts are impotent."

DEMOCRACY is impotent, in that sense, then. What, do you want the Dems to damage the Constitution like the Republicans did? They won't. Bravo for that.

"It hasn't translated to the Democratic Presidential candidates, yet."

Oh no? We WON in 2000, and we WON in 2004, and we will WIN in 2008 -- without any trouble, given a fair and legal election.

And every Republican on the Hill knows it.

And so does Middle America, which lost faith in the GOP four years ago.

Paul in LA (Los Angeles, I assume)-
I think your points are very valid and are excellent reminders for us all.

Thanks.

If you are prepared to cede the inherent checks and balances of our Judicial Branch of government away because of an allegedly-certain 5-4 defeat in the SCOTUS, just as you cede away the most-powerful, fundamental, and inherent of checks and balances represented by our Legislative Branch's Article I impeachment and war powers, who are you kidding, Paul in LA, that our Constitution still exists in meaningful form?

Yet you somehow think that we can 'substitute' - in lieu of the powers of our Legislative Branch - some still-independent lower courts of the Judicial Branch to try to bring Executive Branch crooks to justice with multiple "indictments," without concern about your written-off 5-4 Supreme Court majority? That is logically inconsistent with your claim of Judicial Branch impotence.

You are helpfully providing our Members of Congress the excuses for their inaction that every incumbent will gratefully use to try to justify their inexcusable dereliction of duty in public office.

IF, as you claim, impeachment doesn't "work," has never worked, and is some sort of "myth" - when was the Constitution amended to repeal or revise the impeachment clauses? It's time to either use it, or repeal it. We cannot simply ignore it, as you suggest. Prohibition didn't work either. It wasn't left on the books and in the Constitution to be ignored. It was repealed. You may disagree with the utility, or the wisdom, of exercising the (absolutely vital now and in the future) plenary powers of our Legislative Branch of government, but neither you, nor especially any incumbent Member of Congress who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution as it stands, and as it's written, has a right to their own private, selective reading of that document. Unless, of course, you want to join the ranks of Dick Cheney, who operates under his own laws known as the Will of Cheney, rather than under those of the nation. You and Congress have started down a very slippery slope, the moment you start to selectively disregard the clauses of our Constitution, because that's somehow more convenient for you or better fits your world view.

If Nancy Pelosi can't keep enough Democrats behind her, on the most pressing issue of the day, so as to prevent 218 signatures on a discharge petition for occupation funding beyond an end-date certain, then I want to know that, out front, with names named. I want to know that the Democratic Party in Congress is in fact mostly a different branch of today's corrupt Republican Party, and I want the deception of an allegedly-united Democratic caucus to end, if it is united in name only, and behind deceptive and nonbinding action. The Speaker of the House has immense power. If she will not use it, I will not be excusing her, despite the presence of "Democrats" in name only; Pelosi has happily and quite openly strong-armed her Democratic Out of Iraq and Progressive caucus members - why are the "Blue Dogs" exempt from her pressure? At this point, I'd argue, progressive Democrats are under more pressure from their constituents to get out of Iraq than Blue Dogs are from their constituents to stay in Iraq. [I want to know the same information if it is also true in the Senate despite the majority that voted to set a withdrawal date in the first vetoed supplemental.]

I don't give a damn what Karl Rove would 'say' about my defense of our Constutution - shaping actions to avoid (as opposed to confronting head-on) Karl Rove is a despicable fool's errand. I do give a damn that the House has already passed its FY 2008 Defense Authorization Bill, and is working on the appropriations bill - while the Senate is about to debate its Authorization Bill, long before September comes. What will change? Will anyone propose a budget reconciliation bill with binding deadlines that cannot be filibustered in the Senate? Doesn't look like it. We will be funding Iraq in September, apparently unbeknownst to you, with yet another "emergency" supplemental funding bill which is the way this war has been funded from the get-go and for some reason continues to be (because lack of accountability as to the destination of the funds is incorporated right in?). In other words, using your arguments, our hands are tied - no "democracy" is allowed on emergency supplemental funding bills, and thus on our criminal occupation of Iraq. Get real.

Saying our Republic is effectively gone, is not saying the Constitution is not still valid. It is not, however, in vital part being enacted, and has not been for years if not decades - and what more evidence is there that a nation has abandoned the rule of law established in accordance with that Constitution? You seem to advocate further marginalizing of our Constitution, rather than strict adherence to it. Which is it? A Republic founded on our Constitution, because we obey its provisions, or a Republic founded on the political, human will of the moment, because 'times have changed' and "waving" that piece of "parchment" [who does that phrase remind me of...?] is increasingly irrelevant, but we can't be bothered to update it to reflect the times we are in? Do you consider the 'inherent, plenary Article II powers' of the Commander in Chief also to be 'waving of parchment' and a futile attempt at "political power." What specious rationalizing away of profound Constitutional powers that is. What do you think Libby is right now desperately appealing his conviction on? Just more "waving of parchment" that enumerates the "paper rules" of Article II, Clause 2's Appointments Clause powers. Sure, if no one ever asserts the rules, the power in effect doesn't exist. That is exactly why I hold Congress responsible for dereliction of duty in sitting on its own inherent powers, including their unwillingness to confront their cowardice on war powers at a time when the issue has probably never been more ripe to resolve it, once and for all. All law is a "paper rule." Which law do you propose we follow, rather than the one put down on paper in black and white? Or do you simply want to pick and choose the rules you abide by?

I have no more "missed" the conviction part of impeachment, than any prosecutor does in bringing a case to trial in front of a jury. We have at least a fifty-fifty chance of demonstrating our case to the jury in the Senate, through competent impeachment investigations in the House. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, that's for sure. But since it is the sworn duty of Members of Congress to venture to uphold the Constitution, they simply don't have a choice in the matter when openly confronted by high crimes and misdemeanors in the Executive Branch, as they are today. They must so-venture because they have a majority to begin the process in the House, and trust in the competence of the execution of their investigations in the House, that the jury will be swayed to the evidence provided (evidence which has not yet by any means been carefully presented). I won't dictate to Congress the timing, or the methods of investigation. I will dictate to them that they have no right, under the Constitution to waive the impeachment clauses and the powers thereby invested in our Legislative Branch of government.

Those inherent powers of the federal legislature are mine as an American citizen represented in Congress. No Member of Congress has any right to waive my inherent powers as vested in the legislature under Article I of the Constitution. Those war powers are ours and as long as Congress cedes them to the Executive, they are NOT upholding the Constitution and have in fact and in practice taken those inherent powers "off the table" in violation of their oaths of office.

Sorry for the bolding error. That should have ended:

I won't dictate to Congress the timing, or the methods of investigation. I will dictate to them that they have no right, under the Constitution to waive the impeachment clauses and the powers thereby invested in our Legislative Branch of government.

Those inherent powers of the federal legislature are mine as an American citizen represented in Congress. No Member of Congress has any right to waive my inherent powers as vested in the legislature under Article I of the Constitution. Those war powers are ours and as long as Congress cedes them to the Executive, they are NOT upholding the Constitution and have in fact and in practice taken those inherent powers "off the table" in violation of their oaths of office.

To add to my somewhat sloppy response above [I plead haste in trying to outrun a lightning storm]:

It's really quite breathtaking, Paul in LA, the extent to which you flippantly dishonor, and treat with sneering contempt, profoundly important, if seemingly 'inconvenient,' provisions and principles of our Constitution (mere futile "waving" of "parchment"...?!!!). If your mindset represents that held by many Members of Congress, small wonder we find ourselves in the fix we are in today.

I'm assuming it's factional partisanship at work in your dismissive words: a loyalty to faction in which the functions and future of the Political Party dominates all, excuses all, and justifies all, for those in public office, and for their apologists. It shows, with great clarity, the extreme dangers to the nation of such factionalism, as foreseen by the Founders. Exerting so profound a tunnel vision approach on behalf of political party power for its own sake (a Democratic President will 'cure all' goes the blinkered thinking, reinforcing the modern obsession with a King-like President), that the core, underlying founding principles and values of the nation itself take a back seat. And never more so than when those principles are sorely in need of defending by those in public office entrusted by us with that very responsibility. Yet today, the professedly-responsible and supposedly-good faith incumbents of our federal legislature instead seem to feel entitled to believe and to tailor their actions as though the life of their Party (and/or the two-party-system itself) is far more valuable to the nation than is the integrity of the nation's own founding principles and its rule of law, including as embodied in the very institution in which they are privileged to serve. [To wit: Congress more than matches the President when it comes to inherent power for the making of hostile 'foreign policy' (aka war powers, whether described as 'police actions,' 'use of military force,' 'preemptive invasion,' 'occupation' or otherwise) under our Constitution, but the Party seems to find that too 'inconvenient' and troublesome to be mentioned, never mind acted upon.] Small wonder that many of Paul in LA's opinions come across sounding like those of Bush/Rove or Cheney where the Constitution is concerned; they are likewise captives of and servants to Party (and personal) power above all, our Constitution be damned whenever it hinders or conflicts with that private, Political Party agenda.

I have been hoping against hope that the Democratic Party in Congress would see its way to embracing, and restoring, the Constitution as its ticket to future viability and success. It looks to be a profoundly winning hand from out here in the hinterland. [At least in the short term, which seems to be the only 'term' politicians bother to concern themselves with; longer term, it could well dissolve the two-party-system to the current establishment's horror, no doubt.] But it just seems obvious now that whoever funds the Party ('owns and operates it' as someone at DailyKos put it well), firmly if not violently opposes such a "plank" for the Democratic Party. It's not a matter of votes from informed Americans. It's a matter of 30-second-TV-ad dollars (reinforced by stockholder-profit-subservient "news" departments) that apparently can still "buy" enough votes from uninformed Americans (or so they still believe) to maintain the drastic and worsening status quo. The minority of self-informed American citizens simply cannot hope to compete for the attention of "our representatives" or even of our fellow Americans, against the very deep corporate and foreign lobby pockets of the Party's owner/operators and of our compromised and complicit media, despite the fact that our Constitution itself is on the line.

I'm actually curious about whether Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would in fact prefer and choose that we take to the streets, and to their offices, in lieu of having to defy and face down their owner/operators and force the Congressional action the people are desperate for before it gets to that stage. Because as Mimikatz says, it definitely does look right now like that is what it's going to take - as a result of what both the Republicans and the Democrats are refusing to do - in order to try to restore our Republic.

I don't see much how it is possible to respond to all of this, but...

"If you are prepared to cede the inherent checks and balances of our Judicial Branch of government away because of an allegedly-certain 5-4 defeat in the SCOTUS,"

As a matter of politics, OF COURSE. You would like to pretend those aren't the facts, that's your delusion. Bushco got into power because of Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy. With Roberts and Scalito, that is a very countermanding situation that has to be acknowledged in any strategic effort to remove this band of criminals.

"just as you cede away the most-powerful, fundamental, and inherent of checks and balances represented by our Legislative Branch's Article I impeachment and war powers, who are you kidding, Paul in LA, that our Constitution still exists in meaningful form?"

The impeachment powers, as I said, HAVE NEVER WORKED. Partisan democracy is bad enough -- coups wtih a complicit party and no honest national media will NEVER be stopped by impeachment.

"Yet you somehow think that we can 'substitute' - in lieu of the powers of our Legislative Branch - some still-independent lower courts of the Judicial Branch to try to bring Executive Branch crooks to justice with multiple "indictments," without concern about your written-off 5-4 Supreme Court majority? That is logically inconsistent with your claim of Judicial Branch impotence."

No, it isn't. Indictment is far more powerful than impeachment, for the various obvious reason that it revolves around specific, commonly-accepted laws. It cannot be called politics, like impeachment. And it doesn't involve the war-powers, which impeachment necessarily does. It has a context in specific, settled law. It is not a trial in the Senate, but in courtrooms.

"You are helpfully providing our Members of Congress the excuses for their inaction that every incumbent will gratefully use to try to justify their inexcusable dereliction of duty in public office."

You are claiming powers that don't exist. I prefer a more political approach, and, with Conyers, was around to see how it worked out last time.

"IF, as you claim, impeachment doesn't "work," has never worked, and is some sort of "myth" - when was the Constitution amended to repeal or revise the impeachment clauses? It's time to either use it, or repeal it."

Well, that's nonsense. It's enough that Pelosi and Reid and Conyers and Schumer and the rest understand that indictment is the more reliable road. As history has shown -- unlike with impeachment.

OK, that was easier than I thought. At least you may understand the core of my argument, which I believe is the CORRECT interpretation of Pelosi's statement (to which Conyers added his agreement).

(*sorry, but I did not use bold in my post, it's just running on in the thread.)

"If Nancy Pelosi can't keep enough Democrats behind her, on the most pressing issue of the day, so as to prevent 218 signatures on a discharge petition for occupation funding beyond an end-date certain,"

The defense appropriations bill next month will be a much better fight.

For your reference, our NAY caucus on that bill was (IIRC) 138 Dems and 19 Senators.

Speaker Pelosi already knows to count the votes. She knows that we do not have enough -- and anyone who knows how to count does too.

• How many Representatives are there in the "Out of Iraq Coalition"? Do you know?

They are all Democrats, and SFAIK there are 73 members. That makes it one of the largest caucuses in the House, larger than the Blue Dog Caucus, which any observer of Congress would know, has supported the war the whole way down the road.

The existence of the Blue Dogs is NOT Speaker Pelosi's fault. What do you propose to do about it? Will you move to, say, Tennessee, to fight those representatives at the ballot box? No?

"I want to know that the Democratic Party in Congress is in fact mostly a different branch of today's corrupt Republican Party,"

There is very little evidence of that claim. In any case, US foreign policy is NOT in the control of the whole government -- it is being controlled by the military-industrial-REPUBLICAN party in Congress Complex. A Blue Dog like Jane Harmon, who we tried to remove in 2006 (we got 30% of her vote, which is pretty good, but the district is gerrymandered in with most of the aerospace industry), is an example of someone to whom your slander might apply -- except that I'm unaware of any corruption case on her.

"I want the deception of an allegedly-united Democratic caucus to end,"

If you thought that such existed, you didn't notice when Rep. Pelosi replace Minority Leader Gephardt at the head of a 60% NAY vote on the Iraq Resolution (the first woman in US history to reach that level). The caucus has not been united since Bush seized power using the 5-4 court.

So, free your mind instead. I'm under no such illusions, and FOR SURE, neither is Speaker Pelosi.

(138 Dem Reps and 19 Dem Senators.)

"We have at least a fifty-fifty chance of demonstrating our case to the jury in the Senate, through competent impeachment investigations in the House. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, that's for sure."

This continues to amuse me. Leftists somehow believe that at an impeachment trial the Republican co-conspirators in the Congress will somehow vote their consciences.

Here's a clue: THEY DON'T HAVE ANY.

Finally,

"Those war powers are ours and as long as Congress cedes them to the Executive, they are NOT upholding the Constitution"

Riight. Well you need to study up on the history of the war powers. Then you will want to talk to those five Supremes, and explain to them how THEIR concept of the Unitary Executive is non-applicable to THEIR unelected Boy Wonder.

They look pretty glum and need a laugh.

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