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Josh now on the bubble with impeachment


TPM, taking most of the links in a long chain of reasoning:

As regular readers of this site know, I've always been against the movement to impeach President Bush. I take this position not because he hasn't done plenty to merit it. My reasons are practical. ... Coming out for impeachment under present circumstances is like being so frustrated that you can't crawl that you come out for walking. ... On balance, this is still my position. But in recent days, for the first time I think, I've seen new facts that make me wonder whether the calculus has changed.

[T]he exchange I noted yesterday between Gonzales and Sen. Schumer (D-NY) stands out in my mind.

This was the exchange in which Gonzales simply refused to answer one of Sen. Schumer's questions -- didn't say he didn't remember, didn't invoke a privilege, just said, No. Not going to discuss that with you. Move on to the next question.

Testifying before Congress is like testifying in a court of law. The questions aren't voluntary. You have to answer every one. You can invoke a privilege and the court's will decide whether the argument has merit. But no one can simply decline to answer a question. And yet this is exactly what Gonzales did.

Without going into all the specifics, I think we are now moving into a situation where the White House, on various fronts, is openly ignoring the constitution, acting as though not just the law but the constitution itself, which is the fundamental law from which all the statutes gain their force and legitimacy, doesn't apply to them.

If that is allowed to continue, the defiance will congeal into precedent. And the whole structure of our system of government will be permanently changed.

Whether because of prudence and pragmatism or mere intellectual inertia, I still have the same opinion on the big question: impeachment. But I think we're moving on to dangerous ground right now, more so than some of us realize. And I'm less sure now under these circumstances that operating by rules of 'normal politics' is justifiable or acquits us of our duty to our country.


bringiton, in his own way, says much the same in "Chess in Three Dimensions".

No votes yet


Mr. Marshall is a good reporter, but as an analyst he is slow to the point of catatonia, as are all good Democrats.
This has been obvious for many moons. So what is to be done? This is not about policy, it's about gangsters running amok in the halls of power. Nobody wants to face the consequences, no matter how many times Abu Gonzo farts in their face.

in his MLK Day speech. i heard it for the first time replayed on Alternative Radio (broadcast on the local NPR affiliate) - i'm kind of ashamed that i missed it when he gave it, because it's a real barnstormer of a speech and you can hear his voice trembling with emotion, primarily rage. rage. not concern, not censoriousness, not disapproval - rage. i'm not so sure all good democrats are slow to the point of catatonia. you're right about gangsters, though. for a primer on how to deal with gangsters, review the kevin costner version of "the untouchables", particularly sean connery's speech about what it would take to beat al capone.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

let me say that i'm at the point where i'm ready to blame a lot of "nice" people like josh for the situation we're in today. oh, sure, now that it's beyond all possible doubt and there is open, repeated, contemptuous proof of bush's monarchism, pearl-clutching moderates like josh can say the I word. now that it's too fucking late, now that the damage is done, now that the precedent is set, now that the constitution is shredded. while Little People like me were screaming on this blog, day after day, about the severity of bush's crimes with respect to not only the law, but the survival of this democracy, what were we told? "kerry can't lose. don't worry." "when the democrats are in power, this will change." etc. that's what those who could've made a true difference were saying to those of us who had nothing but our voices.

well, now it's too late for these kinds of moderate sophonts to make any difference. bush won't be impeached, the dems will pass almost as few meaningfully positive bills as the repubs did, the war will drag on, and one or another power-grubbing "democratic" politician will decide it's better to have all the royal powers bush has than it is to fix what he broke. mark my words, the democrat who replaces bush will most assuredly not make our lives better. power corrupts, and i have yet to see a single national grade politician who is immune to the lure of the imperial presidency.

bush has proven that even in our "modern, enlightened" age, democracy and freedom are just words, and the blood and treasure of the Little People may be wasted in the most absurd endeavors, and there is no penalty to pay, and indeed much gain for those who dare it.

look at how much i don't care that brain dead, party invite concerned, beltway and insider-baseball "moderates" are finally waking up to that fact.

/end rant/

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I'm a reverse-snob about (most) A-list bloggers, so I don't really know Josh's record, but I agree with you about his stand on impeachment.

It's been plenty clear for a long, long time that we're under the thumb of a rogue dictator who wrote (even if he couldn't read it) the book on why a president -- along with his VP and AG -- should be impeached.

I don't agree, though, that things won't be a lot better with a Democratic president and strong Democratic majority in Congress. I'm not anticipating anything close to perfection, but improvement, yes. Maybe not so much for the great things they'll do, but for the awful things they won't.

Over time, you're surely right. Power will corrupt (Vietnam, anyone?), and then our fortunes will rest on whether there's party leadership that follows its better angels and whether we have an active public that insists on it. And that's a crapshoot... or worse, given our deeply corrupted media. The fact that the opposition party is completely debased is a thoroughly unhealthy situation -- the alternative to an imperial Democratic Party is a party that's, to use Joe Wilson's term, corrupt to the core.

In the short-term, if we have the votes not to be un-clotured to death, I expect we will see a much improved country if we hand the Dems a decisive victory in '08.

Long term, a breakout from our two-party system is plainly needed, but that's a radical change that needs something more than fringe third-party candidates who do little more than kick the shins of one of the two parties that have the resources to win.

I'm not sure how we get there. Nader 2000 didn't point the way, that's for sure.

Submitted by lambert on

I would just like them not to get a lot worse.

CD: Yes, I regard Josh as an extremely lagging indicator. TPM just won't connect the dots, regardless of how good the individual stories are, and they are good.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

hobson's picture
Submitted by hobson on

I wish these fuckers would get on with doing Gonzalez in. He's so arrogant. But I think that could trigger the crisis with the White House that would force Republicans to admit that Dr Frankenstein has indeed created a monster.

I am waiting for Bush to issue pardons for his entire administration for crimes they may have or will possibly commit in the service of the United States.

for the last seven years, the 'careful' ones--we all know to what and whom i refer--have proclaimed that, as bad as it seemed at any given moment, the 'rule of law' would eventually arise and and arrest--figuratively at any rare--the headlong rush of the Busheviki towards and finally into authoritarian fascism. the people would take back their government through the traditional means, like elections and debate.

this served to allow the meliorists to look like they were opposing the status quo while preserving, or even improving (Yglesias, anyone), their status within the status quo, and to marginalize (i speak from experience about this) those who were less patient (or less ambitious) and who sought and/or advocated more immediate solutions...

what needs to happen is that a couple of hundred thousand people, bearing torches and pitchforks, and shouting their outrage, should surround the SHiteHouse until the choppers come, either to strafe the demonstrators or to evacuate the regime.


kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

same as the old boss...

...a couple of hundred thousand people, bearing torches and pitchforks, and shouting their outrage, should surround the SHiteHouse until the choppers come, either to strafe the demonstrators or to evacuate the regime.

Can you say "excuse for the declaration of martial law"? Can you say "Disappeared"? Because with Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton that's close to where we're at.

The bomb that the Death Eaters in D.C. have assembled might be defused if the Democrats in Congress were less concerned with their billing hours and more concerned with democracy. Or the Republic.

The only way to keep this exploding is by a Watergate-style Constitutional crisis. However, this has been presented by the Congressional campaign advisers as bad for the ca$h flow. So it's not gonna happen.

Meanwhile, the chain reaction continues, as the mass of the people approaches criticality...

I fear the results of violence even more than the violence itself, because violence plays into the script of the kabuki the shadow government has written.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

You know, this has gotten to be a lot more about the democrats than about Gonzales or Bush. What happens when a bully continually threatens you, or steals your lunch money or bloodies your nose? He/She will escalate and go for all the marbles until you push back. The "don't make waves" passionless democrats infuriate far more than the fat and lazy republicans because they come across as afraid of the bully and unwilling to go after him NO MATTER what it takes. You take the fight to him, and are willing to go to the wall even if the entire proposition seems to be a lost cause at first. It's why Jim Webb comes off well on TV. He just keeps on coming. "Little man beat a big man every time if the little man carries a stick and keep on comin'." Anyone who has ever been bullied viscerally aches for someone to sucker punch "W". Think of all the people Bush has humiliated, all the enemies that he has made. The democrats are being too cerebral too grown up. They are trying to play chess, and its really a street fight. Impeachment, censure, hell, just get Schumer to stand up and yell at Gonzo, give it some theater folks. It is a visceral matter, it needs to be done. He and Cheney need to be frogmarched from the white house. Gonzales needs to go to frickin' jail. Or at least be shaken like a dog, and then dropped down a manhole.

Liberty's picture
Submitted by Liberty on

If there was over reach.
We must impeach.

Submitted by lambert on

I'm with you, KB:

I fear the results of violence even more than the violence itself, because violence plays into the script of the kabuki the shadow government has written.

Absolutely. The only way out is non-violence and a transparent process. But how, how, how, how? Calling, "demanding"...

What Gore said about Bush v. Gore was that there was no intermediate step between accepting the outcome and insurrection. He was right then, but the intermediate step now is impeachment. If that doesn't happen.... Well, we will have answered Franklin's question about whether we can "keep" our form of government.

And answering that question really IS about the Democrats, because the Republicans have already answered it.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

around again folks. Apparently the VRWC meme has been accepted here by alwayslate and, sadly, the usually reasonable Lambert as well. If it really is equally about the Democrats as it is about the Republicans, well then, what's the difference? Might as well keep the Republicans in office, no point in making a change, they're all the same, no diff, no big deal, why bother?

Seriously, Mental Health 101:

People are responsible for their own actions, not the actions of others. Republicans are responsible for making this mess, not the Democrats. Republicans are responsible for prolonging this mess, not the Democrats.

People are not responsible for things over which they have no control. Democrats have no control over the behavior of Senate Republicans. They cannot impeach, period, unless another ten or so Republicans change their minds. Make that happen and you can have your impeachment. How will you get that done, I'm all ears?

Place blame where blame belongs, on the Republicans. Blaming Democrats plays into the Republican smear and obfuscation campaign, and why exactly would you want to do that? Tell me again whose side you're on?

Mixter's picture
Submitted by Mixter on

The Dems are supposedly the majority party in Congress. Shouldn't they be representing the will of their constituents? Shouldn't they at least attempt to make things "less worse?" They also are to blame -- not nearly as much as the Republicans, but they are not blameless.


Submitted by lambert on

But, at this point, the Republicans in Congress (note qualification) are a known quantity. So, "ourselves alone," is what I mean. Different idea entirely from the mainstream meme, but I can see how it would be easy to confuse.

We've got to reverse the controls. By taking them.

The question is not who to blame, the question is wht is to be done.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

The Democratic Party, or the American people?

Those are two separate entities these days, and the sooner we recognize that, the closer we are to finding a way out of this dilemma.

I was leery of impeachment because of my belief that if the Democrats were to impeach Bush/Cheney/Gonzalez/whoever, it would only serve to usher in an era in which every time a President faced a majority of the opposition in Congress, articles of impeachment would be filed on inauguration day. But now I think that the system has become so corrupt that the constant threat of impeachment may be what it needs - also, it might bring about a de facto parliamentary system, which I have long felt is superior to our current setup.

...for the rest of us

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Re: "I was leery of impeachment because of my belief that if the Democrats were to impeach Bush/Cheney/Gonzalez/whoever, it would only serve to usher in an era in which every time a President faced a majority of the opposition in Congress, articles of impeachment would be filed on inauguration day."

They've already done a thoroughly trumped-up impeachment, followed by breaking every law they could find. Why should we be afraid they'll become lawless because we bring them to justice? Lawless is what they are, have been, and will be.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

...if one somehow manages to get there.

It does not matter how civil the Democrats are. This is just how the Rethuglicans operate. They will lie, cheat, and steal to gain power. They will cause the deaths of as many soldiers or civilians as it takes to hold on to it.

They really don't care.

Impeachment isn't the only tool they'll use. Remember Jimmy Carter? Recall that associated with Iraq and the current Defense/ National Security build-up are hundreds of thousands of private contractors, a whole lot of which are trained in espionage, sabotage, and real dirty violence. You think they won't bring those skills home to assure their continued lucrative future employment?

Paul Krugman tried to tell everybody back in 2002 what has happened is a revolutionary coup. Oh sure, they wear suits and let their cops carry the guns. It's a revolution anyway.

And like Krugman says in The Great Unraveling, the response of the Democrats and of society in general, except for us fringe elements, is to assume they can't be serious, that the old rules still apply and will assert themselves.

I don't think so.

To be more specific about Democrats, bringiton, let's examine the term ""Kool-Aid". A sweet drink that helps you swallow what kills you. I strongly differ that being critical of Democratic Representatives and potential Presidential candidates is "drinking the Kool-Aid". As far as I can tell most of these individuals are in real denial that the rules of the game have changed.

As far as I can tell, the people who say I should shut up and let my betters do my thinking for me are the ones who've drunk the purple liquid, and are in serious danger of either the real death or becoming zombies.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

What I meant by "parliamentary government" is a system where impeachment proceedings become in effect a vote of no confidence, as they have in parliamentary systems. If all sitting Presidents from here on out are to face the constant threat of impeachment, I'm suggesting that we go ahead and make them into full-blown no-confidence votes, with elections to follow immediately after if the no-confidence motion is successful.

Lambert, VL, and Kelley, the gist of what you're saying is that our current federal system is doomed anyway, and that we're in Italy now whether we like it or not. If the Federal government is doomed to fail, let us as progressives make the most of it, and consolidate our power at the state and local levels where we have it. (And give me plenty of warning so I can get back across the Mason-Dixon line before the South sets up its theocratic-fascist state...)

...for the rest of us

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... today's Republican Party is 100% corrupt and valueless, and the media that enables it is nearly as bad (maybe 85% rotted, or am I being too generous?)

We need to accept that those are the facts on the ground and determine strategies and tactics accordingly.

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

If we are accepting the "facts on the ground", the first thing we must accept is that America has no true opposition party at this time, and our legislature frequently acts as though it is controlled by a ruling coalition.

The Democratic Party has the potential to once again become a vehicle for progressive political change. Or progressives can leave the Democrats and form an independent left party. To me, it's six of one, half a dozen of another - both approaches will require lots of time, money, and manpower. Regular Democrats will fight us tooth and nail and outspend us no matter which path we choose. The advantage of taking over the donkey party is that we inherit an organizational infrastructure, instead of building one from scratch. Except that the current Democratic leadership will do everything it can to sabotage that infrastructure on the way out (think the 1968 and 1972 conventions). Face it, we have lots of moderate Democrats in key positions who prefer Republican rule to a takeover of their party by Dirty Fucking Hippies.

Either way, the key for progressives is to choose a plan of action and stick with it. My biggest frustration in my years of political involvement is that progressives have this running argument between taking over the Democratic Party and starting their own. It's time for the American left to make its choice and don't look back.

...for the rest of us

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

A little background. I’m not one of those namby-pamby liberals that get all weepy and look for socioenvironmental excuses as to why Uncle Johnny ate the neighbor’s cat – I believe that if he did it, he needs to feel the consequences. Adults are responsible for what they do and how they feel – end of story. Spend enough time around alcoholics and addicts and borderline personalities and assorted other emotional dysfunctionals and you either drown in their swamp or you learn to appreciate the value of firm boundaries and the necessity of everyone owning their own behaviors and feelings. Additionally, I’ve had a pretty shitty day and I may come across a tad harsh; you’ll just have to deal with it.

Referring to Democrats, you wrote: “they are not blameless.” For what? If you’re peddling original sin I’m not buying. If you want to blame Democrats for Republican acts, even a little bit, again I’m not buying. Republicans are to blame for the mess we’re in, all of it, from Afghanistan to al Qaeda’s continuation to Iraq to Katrina to huge deficits to domestic warrantless spying to corrupting the Department of Justice to trashing the environment to whatever the hell else they’ve been up to and haven’t yet been caught. All of it happened on their watch, as a result of their leadership, their authority, their control of the Presidency and both houses of congress.

Republicans are to blame for what they have done. Period.

You wrote: “Dems are supposedly the majority party in Congress”, well, big whoop. They have a true majority in the House, and have been able to pass a bundle of useful, progressive legislation. Pelosi has it all laid out at her web site if you want details. In the Senate they don’t have a majority, just 49 seats and one of them out ill. They don’t have enough votes to end a filibuster, so all those fine House bills sit unaddressed. In neither chamber do they have enough votes to override a veto. They do have enough power to investigate BushCo, and in my view they’ve been doing a bang-up job of that. If you want to lay blame for why Congress isn’t doing more, blame the Republicans.

Again referring to Dems, you wrote “Shouldn’t they be representing the will of their constituents?” Why would you think they are not? See Pelosi’s web site for the long list of responsive legislation already passed. Dem Senators would like to pass the same bills but are obstructed by the Republicans – so blame them, not the Dems.

To the extent that polls reflect the will of the people, Dems are doing just what Americans want with regard to Iraq. A majority of Americans wants us out of Iraq but in a deliberate way, not immediately but over months. That is the position Democrats have advanced, but Republican filibusters and Bush’s veto have blocked them. Blame the Republicans for their obstructionism, not the Dems for trying.

You also wrote “Shouldn’t they [Dems] at least attempt to make things “less worse?” Are you serious? Have you not been paying attention? Are you actually asserting that everything now is as it would have been under a Republican majority? That isn’t worth responding to.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Lookit Joe Biden. Lookit Joe Lieberman, even though I don't blame you for forgetting.

Look at the promotion of Universal Default and the War on Terra.

Look at Feinstein or Schumer. Even though Abu Gonzo is beginning to seriously provoke them. Yes, men and women like Waxman and Boxer seem to be aware. But even Conyers is reluctant to impeach.

Look at even reasonably good Democrats like Levin. There's a whole spectrum of "moderation" out there that essentially is pocket lining behavior. The DLC is still power in the Party, even though basically no one pays it serious attention anymore- except, you know, when it funnels cash.

Yes, you're absolutely right, without the Democratic Party we'd be a lot further down the road to theocracy than we are. I have always, and will continue, to vote Democratic.

But we aren't to the finals yet. We're 6 months before the Primaries begin. Now is the time to frame the debate, the time to make sure issues are raised. Because even though I raise hackles calling HHHillary, in the 60's people of good intentions like Humphrey enabled men like Nixon because they wouldn't take a firm stand against what they knew and admitted was wrong, and not only the good, but the innocent, paid for it with their lives.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Re: "The advantage of taking over the donkey party is that we inherit an organizational infrastructure, instead of building one from scratch."

The other advantage is that working within the party doesn't ignore one of the two key facts on the ground. We're not playing Democrats vs. Republicans anymore. This is Democrats vs. Mafia. If we get cute with third-party candidates, we're in for a world even more full of hurt.

Your points about the shallowness of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party are on-the-money. But if we ignore the fact that we're facing a totalitarian nightmare (as Nader 2000 voters did) and vote for symbolic purity or to send a message, it will be the end of this republic.

Over time, we need to strategize ways to make the Democratic Party fulfill its progressive promise or find a path toward a more-than-two party system. We should use each primary season to replace Republicrats with real liberals. But everything we do on election day has to be in the context of making sure the Repubs have lost their D.C. privileges.


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Kelly B, no argument that the Democratic Party needs improvement and that Dems need a strong candidate or we’ll just have more chaos and criminality from the Right. We (you and I) agree on objectives (I think). Where we disagree is on strategy. My point is that the focus for blame, who is responsible for the current mess, who needs to be punished because they are the ones who committed the crimes, must be clear and distinct. If we start blaming everyone as being more or less culpable there will be no accountability, everybody walks, the evildoers are free to continue their mischief and the process just repeats in an ever-deepening spiral.

Job One here has to be removing The Conspiracy from the levers of political power. Between now and November '08 nothing else matters; first step is to beat back the alligators and secure control of the high ground. The next thing is to start draining the swamp, which can be done if the Dems are fully in charge and cannot be done if there is a Republican in the White House. At the same time, the alligators need to be relocated so they can’t keep attacking - Leavenworth would be good – again, only possible if there’s a Democrat in the White House to rebuild the DOJ. After that is the time to start restructuring the swamp for the greater good of everybody. (Metaphor here, not literal, no comments from the Eco/PETA folks please, just a metaphor; although not all swamps are beneficial for humans and there are too damn many alligators.)

Whatever we might think of them, whatever their flaws, the people who will take on the alligators and start working on the swamp are the Democrats, in Congress and the Presidential candidates. They can’t be as effective as we need them to be if every time they turn around someone from the progressive community is smacking them upside the head with a verbal paddle screaming “Work faster, you lazy bastard, or I’ll cut you off at the knees!” It just isn’t helpful to the bigger cause.

So, by all means keep speaking out, nobody here including me is suggesting you be silent (and bugger anyone who does), just be aware of the effect your words have. Try to frame the debate, to use your phrase, in a positive way. Encourage and support Dems when they get it right. By all means be critical when they don’t, but do it in a positive way, appealing to their better nature. Nobody likes being screamed at and told they’re no-good, rotten, useless scum. Save the vituperation and the condemnation for those who deserve it, keep the focus on those who are at fault.

First the alligators, then the swamp.

And just a suggestion, not a command, but IMHO speaking out won't by itself be enough. Wholly commendable, just not enough. Nothing focuses the attention of those in power like a frontal, in person, in your face exchange. Since it looks like there will be an August recess, let’s turn it into an opportunity. Instead of marching on DC, maybe a campaign to confront Republican office holders in their home base would be fun. Put together a pack of critics to follow these fools around, carry signs with “Impeach or Resign”, ask why they’re supporting criminals, cat call, interrupt, lie down in front of their motorcade, throw pies, whatever, just don’t give them a moment’s rest. Maybe they change their minds, maybe all that happens is some press coverage and some swing voters minds are altered, a couple of voters here and there decide it’s OK to stand up to corruption, and the Dems pick up a few more seats in congress. Maybe the Dems win the Presidency because a handful of activists in one key state swayed a few voters’ minds. If nothing else it would be a good exercise to put the blame for this mess squarely on the shoulders of the people who are responsible. Just a suggestion.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Throwing objects of any size or description is not only liable, in the atmosphere we have going now, to get the thrower and anyone standing nearby shot, but presents a bad image. We must be relentlessly, obsessively, fanatically nonviolent to the point of purifying even our thoughts of any wish for harm to anyone.

Besides, laughing at them does better anyway. Can you imagine a crowd, starting with a few and then more and more joining in, simply raising an arm and pointing one finger at the miscreant in question and yelling, Nelson Muntz style, "HA-ha!"?

Much hissyness is likely to ensue. Properly positioned cameras should be deployed ahead of time. :)

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

out of it why don't you? Throwing harmless things at villains, including despicable politicians, is a long-standing tradition in America that sorely needs revival. Besides, these are Senators and Representatives, no Secret Service protection, nobody's getting shot.

If you don't like pies I suggest low-impact vegetables such as the ever-popular rotten tomatoes or, in keeping with recent themes, mildew-infested zucchini and cucumbers.

Laughter will surely follow.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

it might be entertaining to sneak in with a stealthy little laser pointer.

Ten seconds or so of red dots dancing across the Prezidon'tial center of mass ought to have a salutary effect on the surroundings -- so long as the Prezidon'tial pants aren't too tight.

There is but one way for a newspaperman to look at a politician and that is down." Frank H. Simonds

Submitted by lambert on

I agree with KB that it's probably not a good idea to shine a laser light in Bush's face, or anyone's, for that matter.

But suppose you started shining the laser down on the ground -- do you think Bush would get down on all fours and start trying to catch it?

Worth a shot ....

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

dear Sarah, is that they are used as targeting aids for guns and rifles. Shine a laser on Bush and you will get yourself in big trouble. I took your post as a joke; guess others thought you were serious. I suggested tossing pies at congresspeople, and that was too much.

Are we reduced now to soda straws and spitwads? How very sad.