21 November, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Behold the Burning Bush:
In its “sprint to the finish,” the Bush administration is working tirelessly to enact or alter a wide array of federal regulations that would weaken government rules protecting consumers, workers, and the environment.

As Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, told the Wall Street Journal, “This administration will stop at nothing to jam through as many reckless proposals as they can before the clock runs out.”

The Wonk Room and ThinkProgress are keeping a close eye on Bush’s Backward Sprint to the Finish, and have compiled a document to keep tabs on both the proposed and already enacted changes.

I feel better that someone's compiling Bush's Scorched Earth Policy politics all in one convenient spot. It'll make it ever so much easier to know what to reverse.

Obama's transition team is digging through Bush's executive orders like a seasoned archaeological crew, and I'd imagine they're also keeping a weather eye on Bush's outgoing antics. I can imagine the attitude is something along the lines of, "Heh, heh. Isn't he cute?" It may be difficult to reverse this shite, but it's not impossible, and they're ready to clean up the mess he's making.

They've got some help coming from one of my own much-beloved senators. Remember that poisonous bit of HHS bullshit that would make it nearly impossible for poor and rural women to get anything but the finest Christian fundamentalist care? Patty Murray's not having a bit of it:

From a press release:

In light of reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is preparing to enact a rule that would undermine critical health care services for women and families, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) today introduced legislation that would prevent the HHS rule from going into effect. The proposed HHS rule would require any health care entity that receives federal financing to certify in writing that none of its employees are required to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable. The proposed bill would keep HHS from moving forward with this rule.

"In the final days of his administration, the President is again putting ideology first and attempting to roll back health care protections for women and families. The fact that the EEOC was never consulted in the drafting of this rule further illustrates that this is purely a political ploy. This HHS rule will threaten patients' rights, stand in the way of health care professionals, and restrict access to critical health care services for those who need them most.

The House is also introducing legislation to fight this too.

Bush is running around with a flamethrower. Congress and the incoming executive are chasing him around with the flame retardants. Someone's going to end up all wet, and there may even be tears. Hint: the crying won't be coming from our side.

On a side note: does anyone else envision a rampaging toddler when they think of our assclown of an incumbent President?

Somebody needs a spanking. Dems appear ready to deliver one for once. Not only are they teaching him what "No" means when it comes to trying to limit health care for women, they'll also be schooling him on the consequences for bringing SOFAs home without asking:

In Iraq, the proposed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States is generating a heated and near-violent debate in parliament. But here in the United States, the Bush administration has kept a tight lid on the contents of the agreement.

The Bush administration argues that the SOFA is an “executive agreement” that, unlike treaties or other international agreements, does not require congressional approval. Only after the agreement passed the Iraqi cabinet last weekend did the Bush administration deign to give lawmakers a closed-door briefing on it. As Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA), who has held a number of hearings on the subject of a U.S.-Iraq security agreement, noted in an opening statement on Wednesday:

there has been no meaningful consultation with Congress during the negotiation of this agreement. And the American people have been kept completely in the dark.

Even now the National Security Council has requested that we do not show this document to our witnesses or release it to the public…

Now that’s incredible – meantime, the Iraqi government has posted this document on its media website, so that anybody who can read Arabic can take part in the discussion.

Oona Hathaway, a legal scholar and one of Delahunt’s witnesses, argues that the SOFA the administration has negotiated – at least its Arabic translation – amounts to a new authorization to use military force, and that it therefore requires congressional approval.


Beyond the domestic legal authority issues pointed out at Delahunt’s hearing, there appears to be language in the SOFA that refers to a U.S. security guarantee toward Iraq:

In the event of any external or internal threat or aggression against Iraq that would violate its sovereignty, political independence, or territorial integrity, waters, airspace, its democratic system or its elected institutions, and upon request by the Government of Iraq, the Parties shall immediately initiate strategic deliberations and, as may be mutually agreed, the United States shall take appropriate measures, including diplomatic, economic, or military measures, or any other measure, to deter such a threat.

This language suggests that the SOFA is, in fact, a treaty committing the United States to act in the defense of Iraq if its security is threatened. Even if it does not rise to the level of a firm security guarantee, the SOFA’s language is close enough to a treaty that Congress should have a say in it.

If there's any Constitutional lawyers in the audience, I'd be very interested to know what happens when Bush brings a SOFA home that doesn't match our Constitutional framework. If he tries to pass a treaty off as an "executive agreement," do we get to spank him with it? I'm getting a sense from Congress that they're interested in the potential entertainment to be had from rolled-up papers and Bush's bare bottom.

It would certainly be a refreshing change from the last eight years.

Congress should have the chance to approve the new SOFA, but there's several things I like about it. For one thing, I love the fact the Iraqis managed to get language in that that says, basically, "You're getting the fuck out of our country on this date. Buh-bye." For another, I like the "mercenaries are so very fucked" pattern:

Embattled military contractor Blackwater Worldwide received quite a blow today when U.S. officials said that the new Iraqi security agreement doesn't give retroactive immunity to military contractors. This means that Blackwater employees could now be tried for crimes in Iraq, such as the infamous shooting in September of last year when Blackwater guards opened fire and 17 civilians were killed in Baghdad. (McClatchy)

Expect no howling from me if Congress looks, likes, and has it delivered, but expect a gawdawful racket from Blackwater. Wailing and gnashing of teeth won't even begin to describe it.

Warms the cockles of my heart, that does.

Speaking of wailing that warms my heart, check out the tantrum coming from the Blue Dogs:

Blue Dog Congressional Democrats, joined by reactionary GOPs, expressed outrage at their stunning loss of the chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee to progressive icon Henry Waxman (D-21st Century):

Particularly upset were the conservative Blue Dog Democrats. One member said they were “in orbit — they think it’s a California takeover.”

The Blue Dogs appear terrified of the leftward turn Henry Waxman's upset victory might signal, and caution him to hew to the Magic Center:

Rep. Charlie Melancon (La.), a fellow new Blue Dog leader, agreed that centrists are still willing to work with Waxman.

“Give the man the opportunity to demonstrate that we’re not going ‘hard left,’ or ‘off the cliff’,” Melancon said. “There’s no fears, but there’s some concerns.”

Looks like Waxman was the right man for the job, then.

This is why the magic 60 Senate seats were never going to threaten the filibuster: the Blue Dogs are more than happy to stick a foot out when progress is running by. We'll see them join their Republicon best buddies for some hot Blue Dog on Con Man action with the 111th Congress gets underway:

We already know that Republicans aren't shy about throwing around the "f" word. Literally just three days after Barack Obama won the presidential campaign, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second highest ranking Republican in the chamber, publicly vowed to filibuster any prospective Supreme Court nominee he deemed to be too liberal.

Today, the highest ranking Republican in the chamber speculated about another two years of filibusters.

A feisty Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned Friday that while he looks forward to working with President-elect Barack Obama in the coming months, Republicans will continue to demand that they be given the ability to amend legislation or will filibuster bills as they move through the Senate.

McConnell released a letter signed by the entire GOP Conference to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) calling on him to use a more open process for advancing legislation in the 111th, a clear warning to Reid that Republicans will be looking to stand together over the next two years.

"The 42 Republican Senators represent 157 million Americans. Their voices are entitled to be heard, and the way to be heard in the Senate is an open amendment process," a clearly rejuvenated McConnell told reporters.

Bet he's glad now his dreams of shutting down the power of the filibuster didn't come true, eh? Funny how their little minds are capable of changing on these procedural points once they're in the minority again.

We're going to have to gird our loins for battle, my darlings. We've kicked the head fuckwits out of office, but there's still plenty of them left behind, and they're just as delusional as ever:

Way back in 2004, in a piece that is no longer online, George W. Bush told New Yorker writer Ken Auletta, "No President has ever done more for human rights than I have."

The president has said plenty of odd things over the years, but this has always struck me as one of his more unusual boasts. It was especially odd, then, when the State Department repeated the claim yesterday.


[State Dept. spokesperson Sean] McCORMACK: And -- and one thing I do take exception to is the idea that somehow we are not attentive to pushing the issue of human rights, whether it's in Libya or any place else around the world. I don't think -- I would put the record of this administration up against any American administration or any other government around the world in terms of promoting universal human rights and pushing for human rights.

I'm amazed these officials are able to make this claim with a straight face. We are, after all, talking about the president closely tied to torture, rendition, waterboarding, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and suspension of habeas corpus.

Well, you could see it their way, I suppose - if you think they mean that Bush has been a stellar example of what not to do human-rights wise. He's certainly convinced me why it's necessary to pursue human rights agendas that can withstand the assaults of self-aggrandizing fucktards who believe 24 is a documentary.

Somehow, though, I suspect they're just being their usual batshit insane selves. I wonder if the incoming adults we handed power to would like to borrow the Smack-o-Matic? Seems like they're going to have sore need of it.

1 comment:

Cujo359 said...

some hot Blue Dog on Con Man action with the 111th Congress gets underway:

That was a mental image I could have done without, thank you. I think I'll go bleach my brain now.

I'd feel a lot better about the bill Clinton and Murray are proposing if the Congress had ever bothered to enforce all the other legislation they'd passed. As it is, it isn't any more than a protest vote.