Senate Blocks Immigration Bill

This is just as well. I don’t think anything sensible regarding immigration could be legislated in the current political climate.

See also “Immigration Bill Prompts Some Menacing Responses” by Jeff Zeleny in today’s New York Times

Republicans who support the immigration bill are facing unusually intense opposition from conservative groups fighting it. This is among the first times, several of them said, that they have felt the full brunt of an advocacy machine built around conservative talk radio and cable television programs that have long buttressed Republican efforts to defeat Democrats and their policies.

This may be among the first times I’ve noticed a mainstream media outlet admitting there is an advocacy machine built around around conservative talk radio and cable television programs that has long buttressed Republican efforts to defeat Democrats and their policies.

The Devil and Dick Cheney

You know the Veep is in trouble when he’s lost David Broder. “[W]hen presidential candidate George W. Bush chose Dick Cheney as his running mate, I applauded the choice. … Boy, was I wrong.”

Truly, there’s not much lower Dick can sink. I checked to see if Hugh Hewitt had turned on him yet — that would be, I think, absolute rock bottom — but I found no recent Hewitt postings on Cheney. Yet. Even really stupid rats will get off the sinking ship before they drown.

Do a news google for “impeach Cheney” and you get an eyeful. Coming at a time when the Bush Administration faces mutiny over immigration, it can truly be said the White House is (finally) under siege from all sides. Some parts of the Republican Party are still trying to provide a buffer, of course, but the GOP is starting to look like the last defenders of the Bastille.

Raw Story reports that this morning the White House asserted “executive privilege” and said it would not turn over documents related to the firings of federal attorneys. I believe we’re still waiting for a response to yesterday’s subpoenas regarding the warantless wiretap program.

My understanding is that if the Administration refuses to comply with subpoenas from Congress, Congress has to go to a federal court to get the subpoenas enforced. If a court rules the Administration must comply, the White House can appeal, and fish around for federal judges who will allow them to continue to operate outside the law. That’s how the Dickster was able to avoid turning his energy task force records over to the General Accounting Office, for example.

I assume the White House can appeal this all the way to the Supreme Court. Yeah, that’s so … not reassuring. Judging in part by how the voting went in Bush v. Gore, in which Kennedy, O’Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas voted to stop the recounts, I can see the votes falling the same way they did during the recent Carhart decision — Kennedy, Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas supporting the White House; Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter and Stevens upholding the law.

Right now, this nation is as close to totalitarianism as it has ever been. Closer, probably.

What if the White House exhausts all appeals and still refuses to turn over the subpoenaed documents? I honestly don’t know what the next step might be. I’m not sure that’s ever happened before. How might they be forced to comply? There have been many times in American history in which some or all of the three branches of government were at odds with each other, but the extreme behavior of the Bush Administration is taking us into uncharted territory.

An appeal process could drag on for months. The Bushies might run out the clock. Or, if it is resolved late next year, Congress might decide to spare itself from sending law enforcement agents into the White House to enforce the subpoenas.

Even so, I sincerely hope all appearances of criminal behavior will be investigated, and the perps brought to justice eventually. As long as it takes. That means it’s essential to seek no pardon pledges from all our Democratic presidential candidates.

And, David Broder — shut up and listen to us dirty bleeping hippies next time, OK?

Essential reading — don’t miss Sidney Blumenthal’s essay, “The imperial vice presidency,” in Salon today. See also “Impeach Cheney: The Vice President Has Run Utterly Amok and Must Be Stopped” by Bruce Fein in Slate and “Cheney and the National Security Secrets Fraud” by Scott Horton at Harper’s.

Also — I realize Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Cheney last April. Does anyone have a link to the exact document that Kucinich submitted to the House? I ran into one commenter who said that Kucinich’s bill, while well-intentioned, did not introduce the strongest reasons to impeach Cheney. I’d like to read it myself before I comment.