Let the battles begin

Congressmen returning from their Independence Day break are ready for battle with the White House, with Democrats decrying President Bush’s commutation of former aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison sentence and fighting Bush’s latest claim of executive privilege.

Both events occurred around Congress’ vacation, inflaming an intense battle between Democrats and Bush over his use of executive power. There was relatively high tension on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue as majority Democrats — and increasing numbers of Republicans — challenged Bush’s Iraq war policy.

Meanwhile, several Democratic-run investigations are playing out this week as they head toward contempt of Congress citations and, if neither side yields, federal court:

  • Monday is the deadline for the White House to explain why Bush is refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena for e-mails and other documents on his aides’ involvement in the firings of eight federal prosecutors last winter. The White House is not expected to comply with the deadline.
  • In a pair of hearings Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will look at Bush’s commutation last week of Libby’s prison sentence for obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hear from former White House political director Sara Taylor about the prosecutor firings, according to Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
  • The next day, the House panel is expected to turn to the prosecutor firings and has scheduled testimony from former White House Counsel Harriet Miers. It’s unclear whether she will appear.

On Iraq, Democrats expect to resume legislative challenges to Bush’s policy on the war as the Senate this week takes up a major defense spending bill. The administration has been concerned about an escalation of Iraqi war fervor. So much so that Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled a four-nation South American tour this week to work with the White House on Iraq policy.

In Baghdad Monday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari warned that a quick American troop withdrawal could lead to civil war and the collapse of the Iraqi state.

He said the U.S. has a responsibility to build Iraqi forces so that they can take over the country’s security. But he also told reporters that the Iraqis “understand the huge pressure that will increase more and more in the United States” ahead of a September report to Congress by U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and military commander Gen. David Petraeus.

The weeklong Fourth of July break did not cool disputes between Congress and the White House. In fact, Bush’s commutation of Libby’s prison sentence teed up a new project for Democratic investigators.

Leahy and others said they suspect that Bush commuted Libby’s sentence to keep Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff from revealing internal White House discussions.

So they are talking to the prosecutor in the CIA case, Patrick Fitzgerald, about testifying before Congress, several senators said Sunday.

“I think you may very well see Mr. Fitzgerald before the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Leahy said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

Through White House Counsel Fred Fielding, Bush declared executive privilege on the documents subpoenaed by the committees. He argued that releasing them would damage the confidential nature of advice given the president. The Judiciary Committee chairmen demanded that the White House explain the decision more fully by Monday.

The Washington Post, citing unidentified sources, reported Sunday that Fielding was expected to tell lawmakers that he already has provided the legal basis for the executive privilege claims and does not intend to hand over the documentation sought.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican on Leahy’s committee, defended the White House.

“There comes a point where the White House has to say, ‘Hey, look there are certain confidential things in the White House that we’re not going to share with Congress, just like there are certain confidential things in Congress that we’re not going to share with the White House,'” Hatch, R-Utah, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Both Leahy and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., have said they would move toward holding those named in the subpoenas in contempt of Congress if they do not comply.


  1. kent shaw

    The United States will continue its interventionist foreign policy until it finally gets a damn good asskicking. The sooner the better. 700 military bases in 130 countries. The “leaders” of those countries may want them there or they may fear consequences if they ask or demand that the U.S. leave. But most of the citizens do not want them there. And that is one big reason “why they hate us”. How do I know thay don’t want our forces there? Well. How would you like a Russian military base in your home town? How about a big Chinese military base in Oregon? Or maybe a few Pakistani airfields scattered around the country? Would you feel any resentment when their troops rape the local high school girls and get off scot free?

    Like I said. The sooner the better.

  2. Carl Nemo

    Kent Shaw…

    Truly great, spot-on analogies concerning our evidently short-lived Empire based on current affairs. Rome was an Empire for about 50 percent of it’s nominal 1000 year span. Our nation is 218 years old since the signing of the Constitution in 1789 and within the past 60 years post WWII the U.S. has devolved into a MIC based, corporatist Empire. In our case I call this phenomenon “The Empire of the Rising Scum”…! 😐

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. SEAL

    “Empire of the Rising Scum”

    Very good, Carl, I like that a lot.

    I have always used the annalogy that our government was just like a cesspool. The biggest chunks always rise to the top.

  4. SEAL

    Sandy, they claim to have 150,000 Iraqi troops in the field so far. That equals the number of USA troops. If they haven’t learned how to do the job after 4 years of training they never will.

    Bush should disengage fighting and pull all our troops back to the Green Zone, the Emassy, portions of the border between Iraq and Iran and Syria, and the bases we have built around the oil and let the Iraqis kill each other until they get tired of it. As long as we continue to instigate the fighting and try to force our will upon them they will continue to resist and use us as the cover or excuse for all the killing going on. If we aren’t involved they will have only themselves to blame and will find a way to settle their differences. Also, the reason they allow al Queda to exist is because of us. They know who they are and would get rid of them if we said “It’s your country, you figure it out.”

    That way we would not have to leave or admit defeat. We would be the referee protecting them from outside interferrence. Establish a neutral [green] zone for the Iraqi government where all of the leaders who have no say at present could come to arbitrate and create the government they want. In the eyes of the world the pressure and blame would be on the Iraqis instead of us. As it is, we have created a condition where they don’t have to solve anything. The can behave like naughty [but deadly] children going behind the parents [us] back to kill each other over their personal feuds and conflicting religious beliefs.

    The only way for us to stop the fighting and killing is for us to stop fighting and killing. We should make a public announcement that we have done all we can do, now it is up to them. There might be an ititial blood bath but it would be short lived. What would be the difference, they have one going on now with all the people dying every day. The shock of our pulling back might make them stop and think instead of rushing to slaughter each other. We could use our troops as protectors for construction crews to rebuild the infastructue and get the water and electric back on line. In other words, begin doing things to help rather than hurt the people of Iraq.

    If Bush would do this he could [in his own mind] still come out of his presidency as the hero.

  5. Sandra Price

    Carl. You seem knowledgeable about the U.S. Dollar and the problems we are having at this time. Have you registered at Reader Rant? We have a very good poster who seems to have knowledge of this subject.

    May I recommend you visit the Economics Thread and the one called “BIS warns of Great Depression dangers” Republicae Seditionist is a good writer. I think you two should meet.

  6. Carl Nemo

    “Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the U.S. has a responsibility to build Iraqi forces so that they can take over the country’s security.”

    Yo Hoshyar…

    Pal, you need to get a real job and quit sucking on the U.S. taxpayer! Just think “we the people” are paying the freight for this entire debacle including Hoshyar’s paycheck. Then to add insult to injury we get to enjoy this blood-sucking, apparatchik puppet, shake his finger at us “we the people”. Who knows where the money they are getting from the sale of their oil reserves land…?!
    Hoshyar and his pals and their U.S. sponsors are probably dividing the oil revenues up and secreting them offshore accounts.

    This entire Iraqi debacle from it’s infancy was a planned shakedown of the U.S. taxpayer courtesy of the Wolfowitz-Feith-Cheney rogue intelligence pipline; i.e, their “cooked” intelligence product…!

    Unless our seemingly “complicit” Congress ends this shakedown we are doomed as a nation. The U.S. dollar is now taking a swan dive against 56 world currencies and we had the worst performing stock market in the world for 2006 and so far in 2007. Our balance of trade deficit is an abomination. Wait until the average asleep at the wheel, rabid consumer, sees the price of everything become a “moonshot”! Why, the U.S. imports 90 percent of it’s consumer based goods from foreign suppliers at this time and our currency is dropping in value as sand in an hourglass. Get ready down below…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  7. Sandra Price

    Good point Lurking. It may be Pelosi who has the biggest set of all.

    “Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the U.S. has a responsibility to build Iraqi forces so that they can take over the country’s security.”

    Well someone should tell Zebari to protect his own Iraqi Police forces and let them protect the country’s security.

    Let Iraq fall! They have done little to protect themselves.

  8. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Sandy for the recommendation concerning RR registration. I’ve done so as suggested. This currency debacle has been going on for some time, but in the past few weeks it’s really gaining momentum. I urge folks with large cash holdings to diversify out of the dollar by using the ETF; ie., Exchange Traded Funds. These funds are traded just like a stock and can represent anything from a single commodity such as gold, silver, oil etc., to a currency play against another nation’s currency. As an example if one is sitting on 100 g’s in a brokerage account then you could take 50 percent of that amount and place it in a basket of ETF’s representing nation’s whose currencies are advancing against the tanking dollar, which are all of them at this time, even minor currencies. So as the dollar sinks the other side of your cash portfolio will be hedged against it’s losses concerning dollar valuation and it’s ever-shrinking buying power. The main thing is to diversify and to not place all your eggs in one basket such as the Euro or the British Pound. Brazil and some of the Commonwealth nations such as Australia and Canada both resource rich are worth having too.

    The U.S. is trying to get China to revalue the Yuan upward but the Chinese have failed to do so outright. The Chinese have dumped one trillion dollars of U.S. Treasury instruments during the past six months which has stimulated a sell-off in the dollar, creating a synthetic upward valuation of their currency. But when when it’s all said and done there’s more to the valuation of a nations currency than silly plays such as this.

    China is sitting on a 1.3 trillion dollar (9.185 trillion Yuan) surplus, while we are now sitting on 9 trillion dollars worth of unpayable debt! Their labor markets are still the cheapest and most productive in the world and they are a highly productive nation whereas the U.S. is not.

    China is building infrastructure so rapidly that they consume 90 percent of the worlds concrete with a new city popping up on the landscape monthly!

    They have a serious committment to building a world-class military with a mission that’s not only ground based, but space based too. The “Red Chinese” used to refer to the U.S. as a “paper tiger” during the heighth of the cold war etc. Today, they’d be “spot-on” concerning the tag. They have MRV’d ICBM’s targeting every major U.S. city at this time, courtesy of Bill Clinton and Bernard Schwarz, CEO of Loral Space Division for having knowingly compromised top secret navigational chip technology needed for accurate weapons payload delivery.

    The U.S. is being bled white in the sands of Iraq. None of our leaders talk of fiscal responsiblity and just spend, spend, and spend some more! We have evil mattoids at the helm that evidently have “designs” of destroying this once great nation. What else could be their motive since they operate in such a blatant, in our face fashion while doing so?!

    I’ll supply a user friendly link that will allow people to get up to speed quickly concerning ETF’s;i.e, exchange traded funds. To be forwarned is to be forearmed…!


    Carl Nemo **==

  9. Carl Nemo

    I hate to attack someone on a personal basis, but Pelosi needs to can this “rictus-like” look of hers. It seems so strained and phony that you’d think she’s either having trouble with a bowel movement or she’s cashed in her chips and we are viewing her several hours post mortem…! :))

    Nancy, I suggest you can the the waxy, staged, pseudo-grins and show us “yer stuff”; i.e, if you have any “stuff” to show “WE THE PEOPLE”…?! America is in harms way with you and these mattoids at the helm in the Congressional and Executive Branch!

    Carl Nemo **==

  10. Ardie

    Golly, I don’t know if jock America can give up a war. I mean we have been fighting, essentially, two wars since World War II. The idea of just fighting one war–man, that is scary stuff!

    What will the average jock American male do not being able to see military equipment on the TV screen blowing something up or killing people? Will he have war withdrawal symptoms?

    Please Nancy, don’t end this war in Iraq. You have to keep it going for the sake of the American male ego that can’t live without some form of violence in his life. Please–please Nancy, you have to keep up the two war tradition. We are violent nation; without two wars going on we might have to murder our friends or–heaven forbid–murder our families like Hercules did!