Who Needs the Daily Kos…

When you have the National Review:

By nothing more than dumb luck, the Republican-controlled Congress—lambasted for the junkets, earmarks, and “culture of corruption” that have aligned to produce the lowest approval ratings in memory—was handed a shot at some desperately needed redemption. All its leaders had to do was make the right choice between condemning the rankest corruption and displaying an outsized arrogance. Guess which one they chose?

To learn all you need to know about their ethics and judgment, look no farther than their outraged—and outrageous—reaction to the FBI’s execution this past Saturday of a court-authorized, highly deferential search warrant at the Capitol Hill office of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D., La.).

***

This is delusional. Congress had a chance to come out swinging against corruption—to demonstrate, amid a slew of tawdry scandals, its recognition that public officials are subject to the same laws as ordinary citizens. The Republican leadership in particular should have seen an opportunity to redirect attention from its caucus’s lapses to a Democrat’s crude criminality. They chose, instead, to rally around an apparent swindler. We can think of 100,000 reasons why this will be remembered as an unparalleled blunder.

And speaking ofthe Daily Kos, they are just as disgusted by the performance of their Congressional ‘leaders’:

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. Congress (with Pelosi’s acquiesence) has proven completely unwilling and unable to police its own. It has taken several justice department investigations to begin rooting out the deep corruption in the place. It’s a cesspool.

And there is NOTHING in the Constitution that places Congress above the laws faced by the rest of American citizens. If there is lawbreaking happening on Capito Hill, the Justice Department is duty bound to investigate and enforce the law.

And if Hastert and Pelosi can’t see that, then the place is truly completely hopeless.

When I see the Republican and Democratic leadership closing ranks to protect a crook, it briefly makes me want to go apologize to all the Naderites for making fun of their paranoid conspiracy theories.

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120 replies
  1. 1

    I agree with you.

    Right up to apologizing to the Naderites. That’s a path which I will not go down.

  2. 2
    danelectro says:

    thanks ralph.

  3. 3
    Davebo says:

    Apologize to Naderites?

    I don’t think so. They are just as complicit in the mess the country is in as the nutty perfessor here.

  4. 4
    Zifnab says:

    “No person is above the law, neither the one being investigated nor those conducting the investigation.

    “The Justice Department was wrong to seize records from Congressman Jefferson’s office in violation of the Constitutional principle of Separation of Powers, the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution, and the practice of the last 219 years. These constitutional principles were not designed by the Founding Fathers to place anyone above the law. Rather, they were designed to protect the Congress and the American people from abuses of power, and those principles deserve to be vigorously defended.

    “Accordingly, the Justice Department must immediately return the papers it unconstitutionally seized. Once that is done, Congressman Jefferson can and should fully cooperate with the Justice Department’s efforts, consistent with his constitutional rights.

    “In addition, the Justice Department must immediately cease any further review of the documents it unconstitutionally seized, ensure that those who have reviewed the documents do not divulge their contents to the investigators, and move in Court to vitiate the search warrant.”

    So… read that first sentence. And then read the next few paragraphs. Did they… um… issue these at seperate press briefings in… seperate countries?

    Of course, it is nice to know that when Joe American gets his phone monitored, Congress will stand behind the President, but when practically already convicted Congressman Jefferson has his office raided by FBI (after they waited months? for him to release the documents on his own), they’re up in arms.

    And while Pelosi’s response doesn’t surprise me, it does expose her as a Dem shill running on the “Culture of Corruption” meme for her own disgusting benefit. I can’t wait to see Clinton and Santorum leap to Jefferson’s defense as well. Crooks. The lot of them.

  5. 5
    fwiffo says:

    For the record, I’ve been reading Kos regularly for a long while now, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen commenters nearly so angry about anything before. They are absolutely livid at Jefferson and the CBC.

    In Pelosi’s defense, she has has Jefferson to relinquish his ways and means comittee post, which is about all she can realistically do since he hasn’t even been indicted yet. It’s the principled thing to do, but it’s dangerous – the CBC is just about in open revolt over it.

  6. 6
    Mr Furious says:

    Pelosi and Hastert are worlds apart in their response to this. Pelosi threw Jefferson under the bus weeks ago. And has done nothing to defend him since the search.

    Even Hastert hasn’t really defended Jefferson as much as he is apparently looking out for his own ass (and desk drawers).

    That said, Pelosi and the Dem leadership need to do more than ask nicely for Jefferson to relinquish committee assignments—she has the authority to pull them, and she should. Then the caucus should begin the process of expelling him from the Party, if not from office.

    They should emphatically back a challenger for his seat if the primary rules still allow that option. Jefferson is stubbornly talking about running for reelection even though in all liklihood he will be in court and/or jail rather than federal office this fall.

    Nail that corrupt fucker to the ground and let the ants and vultures have at him.

  7. 7
    Mr Furious says:

    You know what John, you are full of shit if you (or even Kos) think that the respective leaderships have behaved similarly…

    Has Pelosi and the other Party leaders publicly defended Jefferson? Or have they called for Ethics and legal investigations? I seem to remember Republican leaders changing the rules and even the members and staff of the Ethics Committee to defend their own.

    Pelosi might not have been as rabid in her response as I would like, but don’t fucking act like she’s pulling the same shit as the Republicans. Not by a long shot.

  8. 8
    Al Maviva says:

    The Republicans have to fight what DOJ and the FBI are doing here, because as the Abramoff scandal unfolds, they know that Republicans will get the same treatment.
    If pressed for an alternative, I’m sure that the Speaker has located a couple trustworthy Capitol Police sergeants who can be relied upon to gather documents from Member offices in response to any FBI requests… Or to drive Members home after sleeping pill incidents. Maybe there really is something to this “culture of corruption” think when Republicans get busy trying to cover up for corrupt Dems.

  9. 9
    Davebo says:

    In Pelosi’s defense, she has has Jefferson to relinquish his ways and means comittee post, which is about all she can realistically

    Bullshit. She can kick him out of the dcc and take his spot on the ways and means committee away from him.

    And she should.

  10. 10
    Mr Furious says:

    And feel free to point us to links showing the Right’s reaction to Cunningham and Delay comparable to the nearly-unanimous apoplectic reception Jefferson has received from the Left.

  11. 11
    Perry Como says:

    When I see the Republican and Democratic leadership closing ranks to protect a crook

    ffs, this issue has already descended into the absurd. No one is protecting a crook. Congress is attempting to protect its fucking Constitutional separation of powers. The Executive has been encroaching on both branches for a while. This FBI raid was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

  12. 12
    Davebo says:

    Off topic but, a sign of the times in this crazy nation.

    More people voted in the American Idol runoff than voted in the 2004 election.

    Now I’m not going to smear millions of Americans just because the watch American Idol (and bother to vote for the winner) but this is just idiotic.

    Screw it, I am going to smear them. GET A LIFE PEOPLE!

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Mr Furious says:

    More people voted in the American Idol runoff than voted in the 2004 election.

    Not exactly true. The total votes cast for American Idol (60 million?) were more than any single candidate for President has recieved, but does not exceed the total votes cast for President (over a hundred million off the top of my head).

    Not that it isn’t still completely embarrassing…just setting the record straight.

  15. 15
    Davebo says:

    Thanks for the correction Mr. F.

  16. 16
    Tom says:

    More people voted in the American Idol runoff than voted in the 2004 election.

    and they were able to vote multiple times- sorta’ like Democrats.

  17. 17
    John S. says:

    and they were able to vote multiple times- sorta’ like Democrats.

    Which explains why the Democrats won, right?

    Or perhaps it were all those voting machine irregularities that flipped votes to Republicans that won the election for the Democrats?

    Idiot.

  18. 18
    John Cole says:

    You know what John, you are full of shit if you (or even Kos) think that the respective leaderships have behaved similarly…

    Ifyou will show me WHERE I said they were doing the same thing, I will acknowledge this broadside. For the reading impaired, I said conservatives are flaying the Republican leadership for their behavior, I stated the Kossacks are flaying their leadership for their behavior, but NOWHERE did I say the respective leaderships were doing the same thing.

    Additionally, JUST YESTERDAY I linked a Red State post praising (in a backhanded manner) Harry Reid.

    You are way off base here, but I am not surprised to see Davebo agree with you.

  19. 19
    Nikki says:

    How many eligible voters (over 18) voted in the American Idol finals? How many American Idol voters voted more than once?

  20. 20
    jcricket says:

    First of, I’m glad Reid and Pelosi aren’t trying to mount a Republican-like defense of their guilty party member (i.e. “He’s on a special mission, like Jesus, and is being persecuted for it”). I’m also glad no Dems are ritualistically flogging their own party members. I think we’ll get plenty of that from the right.

    That said, this guy looks about as guilty as you can be, to me, and should be “thrown under the bus” by all Dems as soon as the indictment is handed down. Disown him, and come out saying that corruption will not be tolerated within the Democratic party. Don’t rally around the guy with ebola.

  21. 21
    John S. says:

    Oh, Al Maviva…your blog is so witty:

    Yet somehow, the side that wants America to win this war — our side, folks — hasn’t yet found the guts to call treason and sedition by their right names. But perhaps we will, in time, as more people wake up to the fact that great swaths of the Left aren’t just antiwar, but actively on the other side.

    Keep pimping that “Republicans are our saviour, Democrats are the enemy!” meme. It is sooo 2004.

  22. 22
    neil says:

    Oh, bullshit. Come on now, the Democrats are not ‘closing ranks’ around Jefferson. How many committees has the Republican leadership asked Tom Delay to resign from?

  23. 23
    Steve says:

    Well, actually, I seem to recall the Republican caucus holding a secret ballot last year to change the rules in order to permit DeLay to keep his leadership post if he got indicted. The arrogance they’re demonstrating now is nothing new.

    Pelosi has mostly done the right thing on the Jefferson issue considering the fine line she has to walk with the CBC. Right or wrong, and I think they’re wrong on this one, the CBC is a major part of the Dem caucus and they’re pissed. The leader’s job is to do the right thing, but it’s also to try and dial down the tensions a notch and try to smooth the ruffled feathers. She’s already called for Jefferson to resign his committee assignment, and that hasn’t helped the situation any; she’d be foolish to simply call a press conference and excommunicate him at this point.

  24. 24
    John Cole says:

    Aha. That is the offending sentence. They are not closing ranks to defend a crook, per se, they are closing ranks to defend their own corrupt selves, but the outcome is the same.

    Pelosi and Reid are right to throw Jefferson under the bus, but both are wrong in their attempts to pretend that Congress is somehow above the law, which is how I viewed the reaction to the FBI warrant.

    And really, I am sick of posting something and having you guys make no attempt to understand what I am saying. I recognize I am not the clearest writer when I post, but this back and forth thing is going to require just a smidgeon of good faith and effort on your part.

  25. 25
    la says:

    As a person who thought that the only political person who made sense was Nader, I accept you apology.

  26. 26
    Andrew says:

    John S., how dare you question the wisdom of Al M.?

    He is a courageous defender of freedom and liberty. It takes a brave man to write that most of the country is actively on the other side.

    Though I am only passively (but objectively) on the other side, I still quiver in fear that I will one day meet Al Maviva. Surely the man with the courage to expose the fact that most of us hate America will have the sack to actually do something about it, right? I mean, we are actively trying to destroy the country.

    He would have to be the most cowardly, full-of-shit, pussy, wimp asshole this side of Jeff Goldstein to write such things and yet not actually do anything meaningful in real life, right?

  27. 27
    jg says:

    the fact that great swaths of the Left aren’t just antiwar, but actively on the other side

    How sad that the only way to further your agenda is to convince people your opponenet is actually some crazed american hating traitor. If only you agenda had merit you wouldn’t need to stoop to deception.

    I think this whole blog could use a long weekend in Puento Penasco(Rocky Point), Mexico.

  28. 28
    tBone says:

    Andrew – in fairness to Al, he didn’t write the post in question. That particular piece of twattery is credited to “Mike.”

  29. 29
    ed says:

    From Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:
    “. . .When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    Time to examine these words in the current context of Washington politics. Our government no longer serves the people, it serves itself. It is nearly impossible to pursue one’s unalienable rights in a meaningful manner without being first shaken down by politicians and lobbyists. Arguing whether Democrats or Republicans are more corrupt is like arguing whether it is better to be shot or hung. Its all bad and cannot fix itself.

  30. 30
    McNulty says:

    Ah yes, and Andrew accuses someone else of playing keyboard toughguy, while himself being a keyboard toughguy, and failing to see the irony.

  31. 31
    Mr Furious says:

    The sentence that tweaked me is in your “conclusion”:

    When I see the Republican and Democratic leadership closing ranks to protect a crook…

    Now, especially considering your stance on matters of corruption lately, this actually doesn’t seem to be where you stand, so I apologize for overreacting, but that sentence is a pretty broad brush…

    While the Dems may not have tossed Jefferson to the extreme degree I would like to see, they have hardly “closed ranks around him.” I suspect you agree. Perhaps you should clarify your post.

    That statement aside, you’ve done a nice job on this issue. The Republican Congress’ brazen corruption has probably done as much to dissuade you as anything Bush or the religious right has done.

  32. 32
    McNulty says:

    Yeah John, clarify your post to “The Congressional Black Caucus, all of whom are Democrats, have closed ranks around him, as have some other Democrats, but not all of them” and maybe it’ll make people happy.

  33. 33
    Perry Como says:

    Yeah John, clarify your post to “The Congressional Black Caucus, all of whom are Democrats

    Where does the Republican Black Congressional Caucus stand on the issue?

  34. 34
    Andrew says:

    Okay, I retract some degree of bitterness towards Al since he did not write those exact words. Sorry Al. I will redirect them towards Mike, Al’s compatriot. However, Al should definately choose some better company.

    Ah yes, and Andrew accuses someone else of playing keyboard toughguy, while himself being a keyboard toughguy, and failing to see the irony.

    I fail to see how I am at all tough. I’m not declaring that the “opposition” is actually the enemy, just that certain members are spineless wankers. If they actually thought that the left was trying to destroy the country, don’t you think they should do something slightly more brave than blog about it?

  35. 35
    Davebo says:

    I agree with who?

    How’d you manage to pull that one out of your ass John?

    So far I’ve pointed out that Naderites, like you, share some blame for this mess. I’ll toss in the total idiots, like you, who, knowing what you know, still voted for the Shrub in 04.

    Then I misrepresented the number of voters in the last election.

    Which of those were expressed in the post you refer to?

    Of course, mentioning all of this makes should make you feel pretty bad.

    Lash out dude.

    It’s the second phase I believe.

  36. 36
    Mr Furious says:

    I’ve been pretty hard on Nancy Pelosi for not taking a harder line on William Jefferson. It appears she has been getting quite a bit of internal fire for trying to do just that. From The Hill:

    Pelosi move triggers revolt

    Furious black lawmakers, rallying behind Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), were pulled back from the brink of open revolt against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in an emergency meeting with her Wednesday evening.

    […] Earlier this week, Pelosi approached Jefferson and told him that she thought he should resign, according to a Democratic aide. Later, at the Democratic caucus meeting yesterday morning, she took him into a side room and told him that she had prepared a letter calling on him to resign the committee seat and that she would allow him one hour to withdraw gracefully before she sent it, according to the aide. In both instances, Jefferson remained defiant.

    Pelosi’s one-sentence missive to Jefferson called on him to vacate his committee seat “in the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the House Democratic Caucus.”

    Jefferson promptly refused, calling her request “discriminatory” and “unprecedented,” and suggested that she was employing a double standard by failing to ask other lawmakers facing ethics questions to relinquish their committee assignments. Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) has come under fire for earmarks he secured through his seat on the Appropriations Committee.

    “I will not give up a committee assignment that is so vital to New Orleans at this crucial time for any uncertain political strategy,” Jefferson said.

    If Jefferson really wanted to helped the people of New Orleans, he would have used his tremendous balls to shield the city from Katrina.

    Oh, and no word yet on whether Mollohan was caught on video accepting $100,000 in marked bills that were later found in his freezer…

    I won’t be surprised one bit if its discovered that Jefferson rode an Army convoy through the post-hurricane flood to get to his house in an attempt to retrieve/destroy evidence.

    Jefferson is fucking dirty. Period. The CBC had better get used to that idea. I can understand some conciliatory remarks from them looking out for one of their own such as “we’re witholding comment until charges are filed.” Even, “Rep. Jefferson is innocent until proven otherwise.” But they sould not be going after the knees of Pelosi for doing what she has to to defend the Party.

  37. 37

    Pelosi and Reid are right to throw Jefferson under the bus, but both are wrong in their attempts to pretend that Congress is somehow above the law, which is how I viewed the reaction to the FBI warrant.

    Huh? How the fuck are you putting Reid in there? Pelosi is the one who stood with Hastert against this search. Reid has stayed out of it.

    Christ, it’s the whole reason he generated praise from redstate yesterday.

  38. 38

    Jefferson promptly refused, calling her request “discriminatory” and “unprecedented,” and suggested that she was employing a double standard by failing to ask other lawmakers facing ethics questions to relinquish their committee assignments. Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) has come under fire for earmarks he secured through his seat on the Appropriations Committee.

    Didn’t Mollohan resign his leadership position? Yup, he’s not on the member list… He’s been replaced by Howard Berman from California as ranking minority member.

    At issue here isn’t which party has more people in scandals.

    What is at issue here is which party is willing to toss their own under the bus when they do something wrong. As we saw with DeLay, the Republicans are too enamored by power to care about right versus wrong.

    What I want to see is the Democrats do the same. I do *NOT* understand the position of the CBC on this.

  39. 39
    ppGaz says:

    Our government no longer serves the people, it serves itself. It is nearly impossible to pursue one’s unalienable rights in a meaningful manner without being first shaken down by politicians and lobbyists.

    A fine rant, but it could have been written 100 years ago.

  40. 40
    ppGaz says:

    Yet somehow, the side that wants America to win this war — our side, folks

    Jesus. People are still writing this horseshit on non-spoof blogs?

    Amazing.

  41. 41
    Perry Como says:

    What is at issue here is which party is willing to toss their own under the bus when they do something wrong.

    No, what is at issue here is that the Executive is raiding the Legislative branch’s offices. This is unprecedented. In 200+ years this has never occurred. By the information that has been provided so far, Jefferson should be thrown out on his ear. But that is a separate issue from having the Executive branch enter Legislative chambers uninvited.

    ffs, people. The President has to ask permission to give the SOTU. There’s a reason for that.

  42. 42

    What’s up with this breaking news at CNN?

    President Bush orders all material seized by the FBI from a Louisiana congressman’s Capitol Hill office sealed for 45 days.

  43. 43
    Pooh says:

    I think this is an example of why it is important to pick your battles – in a way, this reminds me of the Tookie Williams execution. In that case, you can make a fully cogent, principled (and to my mind, compelling) case against the death penalty and/or it’s implementation in this country. But you probably couldn’t pick a worse figurehead.

    Similarly, I think that on the merits, Hastert, Pelosi, et al have a point about seperation of powers (both in the specifics of the FBI kicking down congressional doors and the rather broader topics of signing statements, unitary excutives and John Yoo’s fever-dreams) but when they jump to the defense of this particular guy (an obvious, obvious crook, and a pretty stupid one at that, by appearances) on this particular issue it looks terrible. They have the wrong poster boy…and it appears (and perhaps is) a stand based not on principle, but on self-interest. (Though I suppose one could make a pretty strong ‘self-interest’ case for earlier stands especially re: signing statements and the like. Greenwald has made this point repeatedly – it’s somewhat surprising to see Congressional republicans reacting to those things as Republicans first and Congresspeople second or never…)

  44. 44
    demimondian says:

    The question is complicated, and I expect that it will go to the SCOTUS in the end, just like US v Nixon did. (Ah, blessed days of my childhood…) In the same way that Executive Privilege is a limited privilege, I expect that the Supes will eventually rule that there must be some means by which Congresisonal facilities can be searched with a proper warrant.

    What Bush appears to be doing may well be the right thing, here: seal the evidence, and let the courts decide. Jefferson is dead meat anyway, so let’s work out the Constitutional balancing act in this case, rather than in one where it might actually make a difference.

  45. 45
    Mr Furious says:

    [via Carpetbagger] Commenter Peter CB at SCOTUSblog gives a legal analysis of separations issue and he doesn’t think it has much merit. Here is the meat of it.

    The idea that the executive branch can invade a congressional office and become privy to all sorts of legislative discourse – confidential or otherwise – is in direct violation of the Speech and Debate Clause, to be sure. Generally, Speaker Hastert et al would have every right to cry constitutional foul. However, the framers included the three exceptions that make Saturday’s search completely in line with constitutional practice: Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace. In other words, the clause does not give Congress carte blanche immunity from all proceedings, even while going about their official legislative duties. While Congressman Jefferson’s alleged conduct hardly qualifies as treason, dubiously qualifies as breach of peace, it most certainly is a felony. Under the Hastert and Boehner’s reading of the “constitutional crisis,” members of congress should enjoy something close to an island of immunity surrounding their offices and other official installations. Taken to its extreme, members could hide everything from incriminating documents to severed limbs in their offices and cite legislative privilege to preclude investigation, since those searching might uncover documents or materials that are, constitutionally, protected from such.

    Makes sense to me.

    In addition, since the Executive BRanch went to the Judicial for a warrant, it would appear to be two branches checking the third, just as the framers intended. I cannot imagine this search will get tossed by the SCOTUS.

    So sayeth the loudmouth graphic designer!

  46. 46
    Mr Furious says:

    Come on guys, no love for my Jefferson’s balls crack? I thought that was a good one…

  47. 47

    In addition, since the Executive BRanch went to the Judicial for a warrant, it would appear to be two branches checking the third, just as the framers intended. I cannot imagine this search will get tossed by the SCOTUS.

    Thank you. That was my sense too.

    Again, if the Ethics committee isn’t functioning, I think it’s better for everybody if we have criminal prosecutions instead. Ethics committee is partisan, the law not so much.

  48. 48
    ppGaz says:

    This place is a Joke Graveyard, Furious. This is where some really good lines come to die a horrible death.

  49. 49
    Al Maviva says:

    He would have to be the most cowardly, full-of-shit, pussy, wimp asshole this side of Jeff Goldstein to write such things and yet not actually do anything meaningful in real life, right?

    Andrew, how touching. I’m glad you offer to retract some of that. Don’t bother though. You can’t unring the bell. I’m not going to try arguing with you – I might as well concede the point, for all the good arguing with you about anything does. You know little to nothing about me, and if you did know me, it would only give you more things to hate, I’m sure. In particular, your questioning of my physical and moral courage, and the meaningless life I lead, actually made me laugh, and for that I should probably send you a $20 or something. It brightened up an otherwise dull day. What next? A challenge to meet up under the bleachers after school?

    I do take issue with your characterization of Mike, however. He has always been a decent guy in my dealings with him. Not speaking to the merits of what Mike said, but just assuming your argument is correct, if saying stupid or mean or wrong stuff in anger on the innerwebs makes you a bad person, then we live in an evil world indeed.

  50. 50
    tBone says:

    Come on guys, no love for my Jefferson’s balls crack? I thought that was a good one…

    No one could have anticipated that Jefferson’s balls would be overtopped, Furious. Sorry.

  51. 51
    skip says:

    The privilege was meant to protect congressmen from the power of the executive. They well knew that some abuses would result from time to time, but the freedom of deliberation and dissent was considered well worth it.
    It is easy to see why. As I said, there are analogies to professorial tenure.

    Wanting to put politicians in their place is an understandible sentiment, but the outrage is pointless. Immunity is a necessary evil.

  52. 52
    demimondian says:

    Andrew — Al’s the real thing, and he’s exhibited real physical courage, and leads an interesting life. I don’t agree with him, but his anything-but-terse postings here are well worth reading. I don’t know how long you’ve been around here, but…well, it’s not a good strategy to go picking on anyone here. You’ll wind up as DougJ food.

    Even if Al was wrong about FISA and the legality of the wire-tappings.

  53. 53

    All-Wing NutHouse

    (With apologies to Rick Moran.) John Cole marvels as the Left and the Right excoriate their leaders for the latter’s identical reaction to the Jefferson search and seizure issue. Meanwhile, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) thinks that the DOJ is…

  54. 54
    Andrew says:

    Al’s the real thing, and he’s exhibited real physical courage, and leads an interesting life.

    I should have written, “actually do anything meaningful about calling the left seditionists.”

    If you’re calling someone a terrorist (or actively against America, or whatever), I expect you to sack up and back up that talk.

    Allow me to fully pre-apologize to Mike if he is actually our hunting down the seditious American leftists that are actively on the other side. Otherwise, he is a sack of poop. And Al is the last person to get his panties in a bunch about angry bloviation.

  55. 55
    Steve says:

    Ha!

    John Cole Says: Ifyou will show me WHERE I said they were doing the same thing, I will acknowledge this broadside. For the reading impaired, I said conservatives are flaying the Republican leadership for their behavior, I stated the Kossacks are flaying their leadership for their behavior, but NOWHERE did I say the respective leaderships were doing the same thing.

    Pajamas Media Says: John Cole marvels as the Left and the Right excoriate their leaders for the latter’s identical reaction to the Jefferson search and seizure issue.

    Lessons:

    1) Pajamas Media is reading-impaired.

    2) John has displeased his corporate masters once again.

    3) John is at least up-front about the fact that he occasionally writes less than clearly, but he should realize that it’s not only his bad-faith crew of commentors who get his meaning wrong!

  56. 56
    Al Maviva says:

    Andrew, my panties aren’t in a wad. As I told you, I had a pretty good laugh thanks to your characterization of me. On the merits, I’m not sure you really want people to back up their every piece of political rhetoric with action that matches the rhetoric. It would sort of defeat the purpose of politics, which is mitigating warfare and the blood feud with jaw-jaw…

  57. 57
    John S. says:

    On the merits, I’m not sure you really want people to back up their every piece of political rhetoric with action that matches the rhetoric.

    Actually Al, I’d love for your compadre Mike to square his rhetoric with action. That would mean that your side would have to actually start winning this so-called War on Terror and also show that the other side is in fact engaged in terrorism.

    Good luck with all that.

  58. 58

    On the merits, I’m not sure you really want people to back up their every piece of political rhetoric with action that matches the rhetoric.

    A better solution would be to use responsible rhetoric in the first place.

  59. 59
    fwiffo says:

    And really, I am sick of posting something and having you guys make no attempt to understand what I am saying. I recognize I am not the clearest writer when I post, but this back and forth thing is going to require just a smidgeon of good faith and effort on your part.

    Actually, I think we’ve got a pretty good system going. You write something. We all read it and think we understand what it says, and get angry. You tell us we don’t know how to read and get angry. We tell you that you write unclearly and get angrier. You get angry at us because we can’t understand that “Jane Hamshers of the left” doesn’t include Jane Hamsher. We get angry at you because we think our reading of your text is completely reasonable…

    I mean, isn’t getting worked up the reason people come here?

    The privilege was meant to protect congressmen from the power of the executive.

    Yeah, I don’t think most people are arguing that the separation of powers isn’t an issue here. It is, however:

    1) The constitution makes exceptions for “Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace” as the post from SCOTUSblog mentions. The FBI had a warrant and everything. Fucking cash in a fucking freezer.

    2) It’s by far not the worst overreach by the executive lately. It’s just the one that happens to touch congresscritters where they live, so their righteous indignation seems pretty sad. I mean, have they gotten nearly so worked up over Bush’s stealth-veto signing statements?

  60. 60
    Andrew says:

    A better solution would be to use responsible rhetoric in the first place.

    Ah, thank you for making clear to Al what I was trying to imply.

    When we hear hyperbolic posturing but fail to see any real action, we know, ipso facto, that said statements are bullshit.

  61. 61
    slickdpdx says:

    I was curious why a post that seemed fairly uncontroversial had so many comments. Mistake. I’ll never get that ten minutes back.

  62. 62
    Punchy says:

    I was curious why a post that seemed fairly uncontroversial had so many comments. Mistake. I’ll never get that ten minutes back.

    I’m pretty sure Dr. Cole could post a picture of 2 monkeys hand-fighting and you’d get 100 comments on the merits of karate, the theory of evolution and ID, the likeness of said monkey to our president, and someone chiming in about the resourcefulness of chucking feces at potential attackers.

  63. 63
    Pooh says:

    1) The constitution makes exceptions for “Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace” as the post from SCOTUSblog mentions. The FBI had a warrant and everything. Fucking cash in a fucking freezer.

    2) It’s by far not the worst overreach by the executive lately. It’s just the one that happens to touch congresscritters where they live, so their righteous indignation seems pretty sad. I mean, have they gotten nearly so worked up over Bush’s stealth-veto signing statements?

    What he said. Though I think that the “felony” bit may be being read a little broadly here – I mean it’s clear that if he is actually in the office snorting coke off a thai hooker’s ass (and really, who hasn’t? And if not, why not, sissy?) then come on down. But if it’s merely incidental evidence of said felony, I think there might be “Speech & Debate” clause issues. Again, as I said upthread, I’m not defending Jefferson (or Hastert or Pelosi really) and this is probably the wrong place to take this stand, but the legal principle is non-trivial to say the least.

  64. 64
    demimondian says:

    if it’s merely incidental evidence of said felony, I think there might be “Speech & Debate” clause issues.

    I think we have a pretty clear consensus that SCOTUS will have to speak on this. There’s clearly a grey area between snorting coke off a thai hooker’s ass and yelling angrily at the abusive Speaker of the House. It looks like we need some standards to set a bright line there.

    Oh, and Speaker Hastert? The reason it’s taken 219 years to need this? Most Congressfolks are really quite ethical; the bad ones have typically been thrown out on their butts before. (I’m not mentioning any recent House speakers named, say, Wright or DeLay, for whom that rule did not seem to apply sufficiently well.)

  65. 65
    Pooh says:

    The reason it’s taken 219 years to need this? Most Congressfolks are really quite ethical; the bad ones have typically been thrown out on their butts before.

    Alternatively, those who were crooked congressfolk were a bit too clever to have $90k in non-sequential unmarked $100s (no dye-packs, damnit…) in their goddamn freezer at work.

  66. 66
    Punchy says:

    $90k in non-sequential unmarked $100s (no dye-packs, damnit…) in their goddamn freezer

    It’s brilliant, actually. How many robbers do you know that peek in the freezer when cleaning out a house? Fridge? Maybe. Washing machine? Sure…loose change and all. But freezer? He ain’t cooking a frozen ‘za. It’s probably the best place to store, ya know, spare scratch like $90K.

  67. 67
    tBone says:

    I think you all need to get over this “cash in a freezer” thing. It proves nothing. Maybe he just likes cold, crisp bills. Maybe his freezer had bad seals and the money was a good insulator. There are millions of possibilities. Why do you all assume the worst?

  68. 68
    slickdpdx says:

    Punchy: That’s what keeps me coming back!

  69. 69

    […] You may want to read Balloon Juice if you can’t decide. […]

  70. 70
    demimondian says:

    Jeebus, what is it with you guys and the $90K in the freezer? I mean, come on, a man never knows when he’s going to need a handful of cold, hard cash. He needs a Cold Cash Cache — what better place than a freezer?

  71. 71
    Perry Como says:

    I’m still waiting for someone to get caught with money in a washing machine.

  72. 72
    Al Maviva says:

    I think we have a pretty clear consensus that SCOTUS will have to speak on this

    Yeah, they might. But SCOTUS might just invoke Political Question Doctrine and tell the coordinate branches to answer it among themselves. Though I’m a staunch legal conservative, I think this is one area where they might permissibly wade in, and I’m guessing that if they did so, this law & order-oriented court would hold 6-3 or 7-2 that public corruption / bribery of a Member is a felony, and therefore outside the privilege.

    The Court doesn’t need to be involved, however. If Congress really wants to stop raids on Congresscritters’ offices, they could simply de-fund FBI activities of that sort. They don’t need a Supreme Court ruling. All they have to do is to tuck into any appropriations bill language to the effect of “no funds appropriated in this or any other Act of Congress shall be expended to conduct searches of Congressional chambers.” They do this kind of thing literally all the time, and could extend the same immunity to the homes, suitcases and briefcases, wi-fi capable laptops, phones, and what the heck, crashed cars of Members. The reason they will probably not do this, is because after today’s “WTF are you doing, Hastert?” outcry, the Republicans have probably suddenly awakened to the fact that fighting against corruption fighters – especially while they are under investigation themselves – is generally a bad public relations maneuver.

  73. 73

    Don’t stay home from the poll!

    If (like me) you feel that the latest bipartisan bribery scandal is just too much after much too much, do not despair! For you have not been disenfranchised, and you don’t have to boycott anything. Instead, tou can make your…

  74. 74
    fwiffo says:

    The Court doesn’t need to be involved, however. If Congress really wants to stop raids on Congresscritters’ offices, they could simply de-fund FBI activities of that sort. They don’t need a Supreme Court ruling. All they have to do is to tuck into any appropriations bill language to the effect of “no funds appropriated in this or any other Act of Congress shall be expended to conduct searches of Congressional chambers.”

    But if you’re talking about a situation where this would matter – i.e., an executive run amock – congress saying “hey, don’t fund that, dammit” isn’t going to do a whole lot of good. The POTUS could just say “that funding restriction statute violates my implicit powers under Article II to do whatever the hell I want, so I’ll just pay for it with this money over here, neener, neener”.

    If people already aren’t playing by the rules, it probably won’t do tons of good to add a new rule that will just get ignored. So, you’ve got referees over at the SCOTUS. Now, the players can go ahead and ignore the referees, and I suppose there’s nothing stopping them. But at some point, the fans are gonna say, “hey, I paid good fucking money to see a hockey game, but I think these assholes are playing soccer!” Then there’s a riot, cause that’s what happens at soccer games. I don’t know what happens after that. Probably hangovers. And something involving a white Ford Bronco.

    What the hell was I talking about again?

  75. 75
    DougJ says:

    Andrew, my panties aren’t in a wad.

    So you do admit that you wear panties?

  76. 76
    Al Maviva says:

    But if you’re talking about a situation where this would matter – i.e., an executive run amock – congress saying “hey, don’t fund that, dammit” isn’t going to do a whole lot of good.

    How are 8 old men and a tiny old lady, going to have more power over the Executive Branch than the folks who hold the purse strings, with their extensive state-level political ties? As Governor Faubus said when handed a desegregation order, “You tell the Supreme Court they can send their troops to enforce this.” The Court doesn’t exactly have coercive power over the Executive either, and frankly, I think the threat of loss of funding or a states’ revolt is a more powerful check on the Executive than some wizened old lawyers. I don’t think this is an executive branch run amok problem because the double firewall setup for privilege review, with a provision for judicial review of firewalled documents of ambiguous status, gives the appearance of an honest effort to respect the legislative debate privilege. I suspect the reason the FBI didn’t tell the majority & minority leadership about this before the raid was to avoid giving potentially corrupt Members an opportunity to conduct a shredder party. When you don’t know the extent of the corruption, the safe route (if you want the investigation to succeed at rooting out the crime) is to not trust anybody. When members of both parties (including leadership and ethics personnel) are under investigation for serious public corruption crimes, who should an honest cop trust? Throw in the Capitol Police, with their recent maneuvers, and it’s hard to see what the safe move would have been here – within the law, not pissing people off, and reasonably calculated to further (and not jeopardize) the investigation. It might wind up being held unconstitutional eventually, but I doubt it and think double firewall/court review scheme isn’t a bad stab at the problem.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Kimmitt says:

    Yet somehow, the side that wants America to win this war — our side, folks — hasn’t yet found the guts to call treason and sedition by their right names.

    You are a lying, vicious, stupid sack of shit. I beg you to question my loyalties in my presence. Even when you say this:

    It would sort of defeat the purpose of politics, which is mitigating warfare and the blood feud with jaw-jaw…

    you are also lying, because the purpose of your politics is to shit on good people.

    I don’t know what polluted, disease-ridden rock you crawled out from under, but the world will be a much better place once you crawl back.

  79. 79
    McNulty says:

    Ah yes, nothing like a good, holier than thou lecture from Kimmitt, the guy who said his first reaction to Hurricane Katrina was that they deserved it because it hit red states.

  80. 80
    Under says:

    Neither one allows comments. You have to join them.

    They are losers.

  81. 81
    Cyrus says:

    I’m pretty sure Dr. Cole could post a picture of 2 monkeys hand-fighting and you’d get 100 comments on the merits of karate, the theory of evolution and ID, the likeness of said monkey to our president, and someone chiming in about the resourcefulness of chucking feces at potential attackers.

    Don’t forget about the accusations of racism aimed at the people who see monkeys and think of people who practice an Asian art.

    Wait, let me change that to, “suggestions that people who apparently see monkeys and think of people who practice an Asian art might not be racist themselves, but are either grossly insensitive or intentionally inflammatory.”

  82. 82
    Ancient Purple says:

    Darrell will have no comment on this story. Darrell cannot explain why the Marine Commandant hates America, and has apparently been taken in by unproven allegations of lefty Saddam-lovers like Jack Murtha

    Unfortunately, ppG, no amount of “proof” will ever satisfy Darrell. Ever.

    Darrell is the poster child for “Party before Truth/Country/Morality.”

  83. 83
    Al Maviva says:

    You are a lying, vicious, stupid sack of shit. I beg you to question my loyalties in my presence. Even when you say this. . .

    you are also lying, because the purpose of your politics is to shit on good people.

    I don’t know what polluted, disease-ridden rock you crawled out from under, but the world will be a much better place once you crawl back.

    Nice one Kimmit. Reaming me out over something one of my co-bloggers wrote.

    I’m not questioning your loyalty. Just your ability to closely read thing for tiny, insignificant details. Y’know, like who wrote what you just read and flamed me over.

    FWIW, I’ve said stupid and mean things to people in the past, and on occasion I atill I tee off on somebody – which is wrong on my part, even if the person merits it, I do it a lot less than I used to and try to do it still less. If you’re a person I’ve done that too, I apologize for it and you’re right to retaliate in kind. But I don’t think I’ve teed off on you in that way since the early days of this blog, Kimmit, I’ve grown up a bit, and I generally try to distinguish between honorable liberalism that takes a considered stance differing from mine, and argues it with a little civility (even if I think it’s wayyyy wrong); reflexive partisan political idiocy (a bi-partisan disease) that usually comes across pretty rabid and light on content; and the hard core leftwing nutjobs like ANSWER, who really do hate this country, want to help any enemy of the U.S. any way they can, and truly have it in for us. My co-bloggers aren’t always as cautious in their rhetoric, and although I’ll sometimes point it out, usually I don’t call them out for it, just as I don’t spend a whole lot of time trying to correct people who start out an argument with an ad homimen about mean Republicans or stupid fundamentalists or racists conservatives or whatever. Ain’t my job, any more than I expect you to come out and renounce the occasionally nutty Kossacks, or William Jefferson, or to spend time at FREEP trying to inject sanity into that discourse.

    So flame away if it makes you feel better Kimmit. Bothers me not in the least. I would ask that the next time you call me a lying spiteful sack of shit, that you at least cite to something I’ve actually written. You’d look smarter and I wouldn’t feel compelled to bloviate on my feelings about civility.

  84. 84
    Cyrus says:

    I don’t think so. They are just as complicit in the mess the country is in as the nutty perfessor here.

    I didn’t vote Nader in 2000 for the strategic reason you’re talking about and between then and 2004 I learned a bit more about his actual positions and became glad I hadn’t, but I’d never blame Nader voters for what happened. It’s not just scapegoating, it’s unfair and completely inaccurate scapegoating. How many Democrats voted for Bush in 2000? (I forget the exact number, but it was in the millions.) How many registered voters didn’t vote? (More than half.) But instead some of us choose to blame people who DID get out and vote, and wonder of wonders, even put some thought into it. Even if some of them only did it out of iconoclasm, that’s still more than goes into voting for an ( R) or (D).

  85. 85

    Nice one Kimmit. Reaming me out over something one of my co-bloggers wrote.

    Perhaps you could do us all a favor, and sit your co-blogger down and explain to him why sensible, rational, reasonable rhetoric is appropriate and inane wild-eyed hyperbole is not.

  86. 86
    Pb says:

    I didn’t vote for Nader in 2000 either, but then, votes for Nader weren’t counted in my state. I probably would have if I could have. At the time, neither major candidate was really addressing the issues that I cared about, like corporate corruption and privacy–instead, it was all AARP pandering, all the time. And then Bush got into office, and it was like, oh well, the country’s doing great, how could that idiot possibly fuck it up. And then he proceeded to show us how. Never again. I’m registered independent, but at the moment, I’m also a George W. Bush Democrat.

  87. 87
    JoeTx says:

    If Congress spent any meaningful time investigating themselves, then the FBI would not have had to step in and do THEIR JOBS! Maybe this is their wakeup call not only to deal with their internal corruption, but dealing with Dubya’s overreach in authority…

  88. 88
    Pb says:

    Perhaps you could do us all a favor, and sit your co-blogger down and explain to him why sensible, rational, reasonable rhetoric is appropriate and inane wild-eyed hyperbole is not.

    And then he’d call you a seditious fascist godless pinko commie namby-pamby Massachusetts liberal traitor hippie feminazi-loving abortionist freakazoid terrorist or something.

  89. 89

    This is kind of funny. /. is reporting that Congress finally repealed the Long-Distance Telephone tax which was implemented in 1898 to pay for the Spanish-American war.

    Lot’s of jokes about how GW Bush is going to go on national television to declare the Spanish American War is finally over.

    BTW, if you want your tax back, you have to file for a refund.

  90. 90

    Never again. I’m registered independent, but at the moment, I’m also a George W. Bush Democrat.

    We don’t register in my state.

    But I’m a George HW Bush Democrat.

  91. 91

    Capital supposedly went into lockdown after shots were heard in an office parking garage.

    After investigating, police determined it was just Dick Cheney out hunting for Dan Quayle.

  92. 92
    Krista says:

    Darrell is the poster child for “Party Hatred of Moonbats(tm) before Truth/Country/Morality.”

    There. Fixed.

  93. 93
    Krista says:

    Stormy, if you’re out there somewhere, I hope you enjoyed the shirtless and wet Naveen Andrews and Josh Holloway on Wednesday’s season finale. I know I did.

  94. 94
    Angus says:

    The felony exception does not come into play in this case at all:
    “They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest…”

    Jefferson was not arrested.

    The key part of Art I, Sec 6 is this one:
    “..and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.”

    The constitutional argument is that executive branch officials went through every scrap of paper in Jefferson’s office to question whether it was evidence of a crime. Internal memos and discussions of bills, meetings of minutes, reports from other Congressment, etc. That is clearly an executive branch questioning of all of Jefferson’s legislative speech and debates.

  95. 95
    John S. says:

    Nice one Kimmit. Reaming me out over something one of my co-bloggers wrote.

    On your blog. That you seem to agree with. Or, at the very least do not object to.

    Perhaps you could do us all a favor, and sit your co-blogger down and explain to him why sensible, rational, reasonable rhetoric is appropriate and inane wild-eyed hyperbole is not.

    Not bloody likely, since Al has already bloviated for us here:

    On the merits, I’m not sure you really want people to back up their every piece of political rhetoric with action that matches the rhetoric.

    So despite Al’s whining and posturing about not actually writing such ridiculous hyperbole, the fact remains that he is perfectly OK with it and sees no reason why sensible rhetoric should be used.

    Unless of course in a situation where the other side makes outlandish claims…then he’ll hold our feet to the fire.

  96. 96
    Al Maviva says:

    John S., I’d suggest you buy an Everlast heavy bag. I think you’re looking for something more like what that bag could give you, than anything I could do.

    Angus, so what you’re telling me is that while Members can be arrested, they are beyond the reach of search and seizure, even with a warrant? The immunity clause doesn’t say “while in the Capitol and surrounding buildings,” it is a blanket immunity that covers the members wherever they may go. That would mean that they are free from nasty executive branch interference and search while in their homes, or if they say they were on their way to a vote, like Rep. Kennedy allegedly did. That means that Duke Cunningham’s desk on his boat, if he has writings on it relating to work, are immunized and cannot be seized. What if the FBI wanted to ask Rep. Jefferson if he made speeches on the floor of the senate, after taking a bribe to move the debate in a certain direction. Do you think the Congressional record of a speech he made would be inadmissible in court as a privileged communication? That’s the substance of your point.

    It seems to me that would make House offices a safe zone for offering bribes, insider trading, whatever criminal enterprise the member was actually interested in doing. As long as he or she took care to intermingle official business with crime business, it would be immunized.

    BTW, the FBI was investigating the gunshot scare at the Capitol (Russell Building, I think) today, searching offices, parking garages and the like. Is this also not a violation of separation of powers? If they do not have the authority to search a member’s office pursuant to a warrant, what in President’s national security power gives them the authority to conduct an “administrative” search of the same premises?

  97. 97
    Kimmitt says:

    Pretty much what John S. said. I appreciate the correction; you didn’t write it, you just implicitly endorse it. My bad, but also pretty much irrelevant to my point.

    I cannot conceive of the state of mind necessary to either pen those words or to allow myself to be associated with them. These aren’t comments; blog owners have very little responsibility for what any given person stops by and says. This is your co-owner, someone you’ve chosen to link your name to. And that post is hardly an aberration.

  98. 98
    John S. says:

    John S., I’d suggest you buy an Everlast heavy bag. I think you’re looking for something more like what that bag could give you, than anything I could do.

    I’ll take Tangential Snark for $100, Alex.

    If you don’t want to be anyone’s punching bag, Al, then try not to do such a good impression of one.

    Lately, I have found your tone be to somewhat moderate, but when you tacitly endorse the lunatic ravings of your blog’s co-author, you indicate that your level-headed side is little more than window dressing.

  99. 99
    Zifnab says:

    The constitutional argument is that executive branch officials went through every scrap of paper in Jefferson’s office to question whether it was evidence of a crime. Internal memos and discussions of bills, meetings of minutes, reports from other Congressment, etc. That is clearly an executive branch questioning of all of Jefferson’s legislative speech and debates.

    Unfortunately, most corruption convictions need to stem around linking political contributions or monetary gifts to voting records. So if Jefferson gave speechs and pimped legislation for the people who offered him a fridge full of cash, he’s guilty. But you still have to look at his voting records, he correspondences between other Congressmen, and his political positions to determine that. Otherwise a lawyer can just wave his hands and call coincidence. There’s no law against simply keeping money in your fridge, after all.

  100. 100
    AL Maviva says:

    Well, Kimmit, and JohnS, if you want to play that game, you don’t spend much time condemning the people on your side of the political argument who go nuts with the rhetoric, so you must implicitly endorse that. See? It’s easy to play Trotskyite.

    And now that I think about it, this “implicitly endorse” thing is pretty damn Stalinistic. We’ve had our disagreements at CF, we’ve discussed it in email and blog comments, and he has a right to disagree. Shit, it’s his blog, he just lets me blog there; he has a right to throw me out at any time, yet he lets me use his blog to spout off even when he disagrees strongly. We’re on the same side in a lot of political arguments, but we often get there very different ways, and we often part company on issues and have had a few throwdowns in comments, or in duelling posts. I’m not going to stage some blog-going version of a Maoist Thirty Minutes Criticism of Mike over in this forum because you don’t like his occasional blast of flamethrower rhetoric. Y’know what, I’ve said similar things in the past, so who am I to throw stones? Unlike y’all, I have enough hypocrisies in my life without adding one more. Moreover, Mike’s a good guy, and a friend. I reserve the right to yell at him privately, but I don’t crap on friends in front of others, even if I strongly disagree with them.

  101. 101
    Kimmitt says:

    You link to the blog as your own when you bother to have a homepage. This isn’t about you disagreeing with a guy, this is about you being cool with putting your name next to people who regularly say things like the above.

    his occasional blast of flamethrower rhetoric. Y’know what, I’ve said similar things in the past, so who am I to throw stones?

    That’s my damn point. You dismiss this sort of foulness as “flamethrower rhetoric.” Fine, you’re not the sicko who penned it. You’re just the sicko who makes excuses for it. To you, this awfulness falls within the regime of reasonable discourse, and I have no intention of engaging with someone who is willing to entertain the notion that I and mine are actively working against the interests of the American experiment. That’s the point in the discussion where we get to step outside, because some statements require certain responses.

  102. 102
    Al Maviva says:

    Yeah, well, big talk and all, Kimmit. I generally take that kind of stuff not-too seriously because it’s usually hyperbolic in nature. But am I supposed to understand your comment as a legit threat to beat me up, Kimmit? Or should I take it as seriously as when Mike goes a little over the top, or Slide, or somebody else blowing off steam at the political opposition? (Which is to say, I try to ignore the gas fire and look for the underlying substance…)

    How do you want me to take your comment? You are acting as if my refusal to defend your positions from the hyperbole of a friend of mine, is a duel-worthy offense. What are you getting at, exactly?

  103. 103
    demimondian says:

    BTW, the FBI was investigating the gunshot scare at the Capitol (Russell Building, I think) today, searching offices, parking garages and the like. Is this also not a violation of separation of powers? If they do not have the authority to search a member’s office pursuant to a warrant, what in President’s national security power gives them the authority to conduct an “administrative” search of the same premises?

    I always assumed that the Speech and Debate portection was narrowly targeted to protect congressfolk during the session, on the floor, in committee, and in the course of their duties, so I don’t see why this is a natural reading…

  104. 104
    Al Maviva says:

    That’s my thought too – the clause is narrow and what it protects members from is the criminalization of votes cast or positions taken in debate. But given the broad reading a commenter gave the clause above, I can’t see how warrantless “administrative” searches would be permissible, while criminal searches with a warrant, would be forbidden. My own thought is the language says “felonies” and since what was under investigation was a felony, the evidence of which will turn up in positions taken, that the Member’s office was fair game for search, and the double-chinese-wall/in camera hearing procedure set up for evaluating privileged documents (versus evidence) is probably about as well as the executive branch could do, in the absence of legislation governing the situation (fat chance of getting that). I’m all for members knowing their offices can be searched if they are caught on film accepting bribes for votes, and embarassed that the Republicans seem to think that their offices – those physical spaces owned by the public and meant as a space where Members can serve the public – are above the criminal law. It’s more disgusting Republican arrogance, IMHO. Not to mention it is tactically insane for Hastert to raise legal grounds in defense of Jefferson.

  105. 105
    tBone says:

    You are acting as if my refusal to defend your positions from the hyperbole of a friend of mine, is a duel-worthy offense.

    I propose SuperSoakers at dawn. Bring your own hankies.
    Oh, and we’ll be checking for lemon juice, so don’t try it.

  106. 106
    demimondian says:

    we’ll be checking for lemon juice, so don’t try it.

    No, that isn’t lemon juice, it’s a…flow rate optimization additive that my doctor prescribed!

  107. 107
    demimondian says:

    Not to mention it is tactically insane for Hastert to raise legal grounds in defense of Jefferson.

    I gotta agree about this. It just seems stupid to me. There were so many better ways to raise the Constitutional claim of privilege, which would have made Hastert look magisterial. At worst, using the Jefferson affair to resuscitate the House Ethics Committee would have mitigated Dem strategy.

    I just do not understand his almost hysterical response.

  108. 108
    tBone says:

    which would have made Hastert look magisterial.

    The words “Hastert” and “magisterial” should not even occur in the same language, let alone the same sentence.

  109. 109
    John S. says:

    See? It’s easy to play Trotskyite.

    Whatever gets you through another day, Al.

  110. 110
    Al Maviva says:

    Demi-mondian: if this WashPost article from this morning’s paper is true, then the Jefferson investigation is but an outward flourish, and the corrupt rot Jefferson suffers from may have spread to the Republicans (as distinct from the Abramoff rot, which we know has infected them already). If the Jefferson investigation implicates others on a bi-partisan basis, that would explain the Republican’s public stance, which con law scholars of all stripes seem to be condemning as meritless.

    I know “a pox on both their houses” is easy to arrive to if you are affecting a cynical, worldly pose, and you don’t know what the sausage machine looks like up close; but I’ve come to that position from seeing it up close, and a huge, bi-partisan public corruption scandal implicating members of both parties and both houses would not shock me in the slightest. The only thing that would shock me, would be if the FBI and DOJ were able to get away with taking down a bunch of members of either party. The alleged threat of a mass resignation (AG, DAG, and D-FBI) makes me think there’s something very rotten afoot in Congress and both parties are affected. If it was only Dems, I can’t see Denny Hastert getting that upset about it, or the President really caring. Moreover, Gonzalez is a very political guy, very much a Bush supporter, and if he feels this strongly about it (in opposition to the Congressional Republicans) something tells me there is a *lot* to it and he feels compelled to follow through. I never thought I’d be a Gonzalez supporter, he’s screwed conservatives on legal issues repeatedly as WH Counsel, but if he’s trying to uphold the law as against partisan interests here, I’ll go to the mat for the guy. It’s his job and what an honorable public servant would do – and I don’t care if Jefferson is the only Dem who goes down, along with 50 Republicans. We have big enough problems as a nation, without Congress becoming an organized crime family.

  111. 111
    Angus says:

    But you still have to look at his voting records, he correspondences between other Congressmen, and his political positions to determine that. Otherwise a lawyer can just wave his hands and call coincidence.

    SCOTUS has ruled that the legislative privilege is absolute in regard to using legislative activities. Prosecuters may not use anything connected to legislation or legislative activities in court. The case in question, from 1966, is about–of all things–a Congressman accused of bribery.


    UNITED STATES v. JOHNSON, 383 U.S. 169 (1966)
    1. The Speech or Debate Clause precludes judicial inquiry into the motivation for a Congressman’s speech and prevents such a speech from being made the basis of a criminal charge against a Congressman for conspiracy to defraud the Government by impeding the due discharge of its functions. Pp. 173-185.

    (a) The Speech or Debate Clause, which emerged from the long struggle for parliamentary supremacy, embodies a privilege designed to protect members of the legislature against prosecution by a possibly unfriendly executive and conviction by a possibly hostile judiciary. Pp. 177-180.

    (b) The privilege, which will be broadly construed to effectuate its purposes, Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168 ; Tenney v. Brandhove, 341 U.S. 367 , was created not primarily to avoid private suits as in those cases, but to prevent legislative intimidation by and accountability to the other branches of government. Pp. 180-182. [383 U.S. 169, 170]

    (c) The Speech or Debate Clause forecloses inquiry not only into the “content” of a congressional speech but into circumstances involving the motives for making it. Pp. 182-183.

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/.....3/169.html

  112. 112
    demimondian says:

    tBone — sadly, language allows the expression of heretical ideas. Still, other people over the years have felt that your proposal for reform has real merit — you might want to take it up with Eric Arthur Blair. He had some very interesting ideas along the same lines.

  113. 113
    demimondian says:

    Y’know, Al, I’m not sure that I buy it. I’m a bureaucrat, you know, and I can imagine threatening to offer my resignation if I thought it was going to be demanded anyway. That’s a far better tactic, since it leaves me in control of the resignation, instead of the group who is asking me to resign.

    demi “underhanded” mondian

  114. 114
    Al Maviva says:

    Well, I can understand that position. It’s a good way to go, especially if you are an attorney (like McNulty and Gonzalez) and wishing to make a “noisy withdrawal”. But then you’d still have to ask, what would cause these three to think a Bush demand for their resignation was afoot? The only thing that would change in the calculus, I think, is the question of whether or not Gonzalez, Mueller and McNulty were acting out of principle. The fact that the WH is pissed at them over the investigation remains.

  115. 115
    tBone says:

    you might want to take it up with Eric Arthur Blair

    You’re right. “When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.”

  116. 116
    demimondian says:

    “When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.”

    Pwn3d!

    I acknowledge your mastery.

  117. 117
    demimondian says:

    [T]hen you’d still have to ask, what would cause these three to think a Bush demand for their resignation was afoot?

    According to the NYT, Hastert was reportedly in a towering rage, and was signalling that he was about to give a “zero-ing out funding” ultimatum — either they resign, or the House acts to zero-out funding for such investigations. (Exactly the threat you predicted they’d use, btw.)

    The House leadership could probably make that stick — Hell, as a Dem, I’d be tempted to load the bill with enough poison provisions that I’d have to vote for it, just “to make sure those passed”. Let the Prez veto it, and then override. W00t! Everybody partay!

    Under the circumstances, if I were AG, I’d want to do everything to forestall that happening.

  118. 118
    Al Maviva says:

    If I were the Democrats, I’d do everything in my power to make it happen, preferably on a party-line basis. “We wanted to investigate one of our own, and have his ass thrown out of Congress. We don’t tolerate corruption. But 215 Republicans, in a party line vote, voted to protect corrupt politicians and make them above the law. What are they hiding? Vote Dem in 2006…

  119. 119
    demimondian says:

    Hmm. Dunno. Could be.

    I could see the Dems playing both ends against the middle, though: protecting the necessary independence of the Congress by forming common cause “reining in an out-of-control President” while promoting the reconstitution of a “truly independent” Ethics committee, something which Hastert wants even less than he wants his own office searched.

    I don’t know about you guys down there, but we up here have never gone broke over-estimating the self-centered short-sightedness of our elected representatives of either party.

  120. 120
    Slartibartfast says:

    Seriously, this is the same Michael Kimmitt who said:

    A Conservative is someone who…

    …thinks that any problem can be solved permanently by killing three million more brown people.

    …can be lead to water, but can’t be forced to think.

    …lies awake at night, seething over the fact that somewhere, somebody’s grandma is not eating cat food.

    …doesn’t care about getting around to capturing bin Laden but is willing to give up all liberties in order to capture Jose Padilla.

    …believes that diddling an intern was a greater offense against decency than lying a nation into war.

    …will spend $200 billion to fail to reconstruct Iraq but balks at $3 billion to eradicate measles.

    Stow the fucking outrage, already.

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