Court rules against the king and McCain stays on the low road express

Presidents are not kings

White House aides must appear before Congress, judge rules

WASHINGTON — A federal judge Thursday rejected the Bush administration’s sweeping assertion of executive privilege and ruled that two White House aides must answer subpoenas from Congress.

However, U.S. District Judge John Bates said that the aides could cite executive privilege and refuse to answer specific questions once they were in front of Congress.

The 93-page ruling by the Bush appointee is a significant setback for the administration as it seeks to prevent Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers from providing Congress with information about the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.

Judge Bates he also said that Congress should show restraint in issuing any inherent contempt citations against Whitehouse staff – inherent contempt would involve Congress arresting witnesses directly. With sincere respect for Judge bates I couldn’t disagree more. Congress, if anything has shown too much restraint in asserting its role as an equal branch of government. There have been lots of articles over the last few years about the so-called “unitary executive theory” and the bizarre notion advanced by Cheney and Bush that presidential powers have eroded over the years. This was never a legitimate Constitutional argument, but rather some zealous ideologues acting like two year olds stumping up and down, and making ugly faces until they got their way. While Judge Bates is part of the legal proof of the childish and dangerous assertions made by Bush with the legal doublespeak of the John Yoos and David Addingtons, the real proof will be when the next Democrat is elected president. Should that Democrat take the same attitude as King George and his Prince the Right’s panties will be twisted so tight and the shrill screams so loud it may defy physics. Marty Lederman has more at Balkinization, This is Really Pretty Amazing

…the notion that because the subject matter of the investigations is presidential removal of the U.S. Attorneys, Congress has no legitimate oversight function at all. The court quite correctly rejects this view (my emphasis)

EXCLUSIVE: To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal To Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians And Shoot At Them

During the journalism conference event, I asked Hersh specifically about this meeting and if he could elaborate on what occurred. Hersh explained that, during the meeting in Cheney’s office, an idea was considered to dress up Navy Seals as Iranians, put them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shoot at them. This idea, intended to provoke an Iran war, was ultimately rejected

Part of the pleasure of reading political thrillers was that while they were a wild ride through somewhat plausible scenarios you could always comfort yourself with the thought, never in America. Added to the list of things the Right has ruined for America is the end of those consoling thoughts that wild plots to start wars were merely the work of those blessed with creative imaginations. Several other bloggers have remembered this would not be the first time BushCo has entertained creating an excuse to go to war, Report: Bush, Blair decided to go to war months before UN meetings

In a case of yet another leaked memo in Britain, one of the United Kingdom’s top international lawyers quotes minutes from a January 31, 2003 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush in an updated version of his book, “Lawless World”, where it appears the two men made the decision to go to war regardless of what the United Nations decided about passing a second resolution that would have allowed the start of the war.

Britain’s Channel Four TV network, which says it has seen the minutes of the meeting, reports that during the meeting, Mr. Bush raised the idea of painting US U-2 spy planes in the colors of the United Nations, in the hope that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein would fire on the planes, and thus give the US and Britain a legal basis to attack Iraq. Bush also supposedly said the war against Iraq would start on March 10, 2003. It actually started 10 days later.

The historical perspective on experience and the presidency, Experience called poor predictor of presidential success

Abraham Lincoln, whom most scholarly surveys rate as the nation’s greatest president, had no training to be the commander in chief and almost no Washington experience. He served eight years in the Illinois legislature and two in the U.S. House of Representatives, and had been out of office for nearly 12 years before he won the presidency in 1860 with 39.9 percent of the vote.

Senator Obama has started a new eb site called the Low Road Express that tracks McCain’s attack ads.

The War on Drugs now includes your dogs, SWAT team murders mayor’s dogs

The short backstory is someone sent a 32 lb. package of marijuana to Mayor Cheye Calvo’s home. It was left on the porch while he was out walking his dogs. When he got home he brought in the package and went upstairs to change. The SWAT team broke down the door and shot the black Labs on entry. The younger pup was trying to run away and was shot in the back

Someone sends you a package and your possession of it for a few minutes warrants this kind of barbaric behavior from people that are supposed to serve and protect. All over some pot.

John McRove and gang included Paris Hilton is his ridiculous ad. A great choice of celebrities for those who need their daily dose of the real life soap opera Wing-nuts Don’t Get Irony, William Barron Hilton (of the  Hilton Hotel empire) is a McCain campaign donor. He gave $35,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee over the last few years and has given $18,400 to the McCain for President campaign – he is not pleased that his grandaughter has been used. McCain tries to paint Senator Obama as a celebrity as he walks around in Gucci loafers with elite millionaire celebrity money in his pocket. It all sounds like a bad soap because it is. The acting is wooden and unconvincing. You can see the prop men as they move the background scenery that is supposed to convince us of an imaginary narrative – the one where an elitest who came by his wealth by marriage and influence peddling on the taxpayers dime is the down to earth guy. McCain can’t run that honorable campaign he was talking about two months ago because he genuinely doesn’t remember what honor is. McCain just yesterday on CNN practically snarled that his ad attacks on Obama were legitimate, The New Normal: McCain’s Desperate Ad Hours

What the McCain campaign doesn’t want people to know, according to one GOP strategist I spoke with over the weekend, is that they had an ad script ready to go if Obama had visited the wounded troops saying that Obama was…wait for it…using wounded troops as campaign props. So, no matter which way Obama turned, McCain had an Obama bashing ad ready to launch. I guess that’s political hardball. But another word for it is the one word that most politicians are loathe to use about their opponents—a lie.

This is what some people are calling the Hannity strategy. Right wing nut-muffin Sean Hannity employs a slick strategy of repeating canards very quickly over and over, day in and day out, which aren’t challenged by his TV co-host Alan Colmes or by any of his radio listeners. By relentlessly repeating falsehoods day after day, the theory goes, it becomes embedded in the media. There is truth in this. In 2004, the Bush campaign ran an ad and daily repeated that John Kerry was a flip flopper, running a Kerry clip with the Democratic candidate saying he voted for an $87 billion military appropriation before he voted against it. It sounded bad when ripped out of context. Kerry voted for it in committee, and then voted against in on a floor vote when the bill included giveaways to Halliburton he didn’t support.

We’re already familiar with this strategy. Repeat the lie over and over again until it becomes common gossip. Bush, while always cocky hit a particular high note when admitting “I’ll probably say it three more times. See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” (May 2005)