You know, we're going to have to get the government used to the idea that we can see through blatant lies:
As ThinkProgress has documented, President Bush is pushing an array of 11th hour regulations in his final months. In a USA Today op-ed today, White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto defends the practice, claiming that the “midnight” regulations are, in fact, “transparent” and “responsible”:
The record will show a slight increase, but a relatively steady pace in the number of regulations finalized during the fall of this year, the overwhelming majority of which are routine and unremarkable. And instead of a spike of late regulations at the end, we expect a drop-off in the last weeks.
These are not “midnight regulations” or “rushed regulations.” There will be no surprises: The vast majority of regulations finalized in these last months will have been published for public review and comment since June 1, more than six months before the end of the president’s term.
Bush’s last-minute regulations are hardly “unremarkable.” Rather, they are ideologically-driven, and will weaken health care, workers rights, and degrade the environment. Bush still plans on releasing some 20 “highly contentious rules.”
The worst failing of American democracy is that we didn't impeach this stupid son of a bitch in his first term, and that we just let the neocons get their way. Now they've got the idea that we'll swallow any lie they choose to tell. That's going to take a long time to correct.
We can start by schooling a certain former Obama advisor who seems a little shocked that Americans have a voice and aren't shy to use it:
Former Obama adviser Steve Hildebrand, who touched off an explosion with his HuffPo piece arguing that "the left" should hold its fire and let Obama do his thing, says he doesn't regret a word of the piece, though he did make a key concession to critics.
"I don't regret any of it," Hildebrand told me when I asked him a few minutes ago by phone whether he regretted the tone of his piece, which many found condescending and finger-wagging.
"My intent was exactly what I wrote," Hildebrand said, adding that the criticism had "surprised" him.
Hildebrand also confirmed that the Obama team had had no hand in writing or approving the piece. "This was not collaborated with anybody in the Obama camp," he said, and a source close to the transition confirms this.
Hildebrand did appear to concede some turf to critics who are pointing out that his piece seemed to suggest that "the left wing of our party" is somehow at odds with Obama's desire to be "pragmatic" and holds priorities that are somehow at odds with Obama's big-ticket agenda items.
"The one thing I left out, which goes without saying, is that working on health care, getting out of the war in Iraq, fixing the economy ... those are very progressive ideals," Hildebrand clarified.
When I pointed out that he seemed to be exaggerating or oversimplifying the nature of the "left's" quarrel with Obama, without naming those lefty critics, Hildebrand responded: "There is a lot of sniping out there...it's constant."
Get the fuck used to it, Steve. There's going to be a lot of "sniping" going on. We learned what happens when you give the benefit of the doubt to a supposedly trustworthy president, and silence all dissent. The President gets funny ideas about his power and credibility that are difficult to shake loose. We're not going to make the same mistake twice.
We may be a bit hypersensitive, but it's understandable, considering we've been dealing with someone who's not on speaking terms with Mr. Reality:
George W. Bush chatted with the National Review's Byron York and Rich Lowry, and the president reflected on the last eight years. His perspective is, for lack of a better word, "unique."
* Compassionate conservatism: Bush remains devoted to the catch-phrase that he campaigned on in 2000, and tried to define it for the conservative writers. "Compassionate conservatism basically says that if you implement this philosophy, your life would become better," Bush said. "That's what it says. And that's what it's all about. It's saying to the average person, this philosophy will help you make your life better." I don't know what this means.
* Global standing: Bush "rejected criticism that his administration has presided over a deterioration of relations with the rest of the world." As proof, the president said the U.S. has "changed our relationship with India from one of suspicion to one of partnership."
And you'd better expect a fuck of a lot of screaming from the left if this little rumor proves true:
“It’s unfair to blame Hayden for things that occurred long before he took the job. But he deserves credit for standing up for the folks over there at CIA, even though a lot of the stuff he has dealt with didn’t happen on his watch,” said an intelligence official.
Former CIA analyst John Brennan was compelled to withdraw his name from consideration, after a number of bloggers, led by Glenn Greenwald, raised concerns that he had supported Bush’s interrogation policies. Hayden did one better than Brennan – he carried them out, defended them, and in some cases, lied about them.
On waterboarding, Hayden acknowledged to Congress that “it is not certain that that technique would be considered to be lawful under current statute.” And yet, he has refused to label the technique “torture,” dismissing it as an uninteresting “legal term”:Well, first of all, we’re not talking about torture, all right? I mean, torture is a legal term. Now, there are some things that are illegal that are not, that are not torture. And so we cloud the debate when, when we throw the word torture out there, I think, in a far too casual way.
In 2004, CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson issued a report warning “that some C.I.A.-approved interrogation procedures appeared to constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as defined by the international Convention Against Torture.” In October 2007, Hayden “ordered an unusual internal inquiry” into Helgerson’s office, focusing on complaints that Helgerson was on “a crusade against those who have participated in controversial detention programs.”
If a torture-loving fuckwit like this has a chance of being retained, I can guarantee you every blog on the left will make the dust-up over Brennan seem like a rousing chorus of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." We do not need a man like this anywhere near the CIA.
Thankfully, I believe Obama has far more sense than the current incumbent, which means we probably won't have to shout ourselves hoarse.
Speaking of people screaming themselves hoarse, expect the hue and cry over "activist judges" to start in 3...2...1:
A disappointment, to be sure, for unhinged, right-wing conspiracy theorists everywhere. The AP reports:How non-partisan of him.
The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth.
The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election. Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth -- his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject -- he cannot possibly be a "natural born citizen," one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.
Donofrio also contends that two other candidates, Republican John McCain and Socialist Workers candidate Roger Calero, also are not natural-born citizens and thus ineligible to be president.
There's some 9-11 troofers in that lot protesting Obama's citizenship, so expect a great deal of complicated conspiracy nonsense. They're so cute when they're batshit fucking insane.
Let's conclude our Happy Hour with some sweet schadenfreude:
It's a pretty amusing sign of just how bad the GOP's travails are and of how much the election of the first black president has shifted the political landscape: The race for chair of the Republican National Committee -- the public face of a party that's not known for racial sensitivity -- is shot through with veiled charges of racism.
The latest? A Republican operative supporting one of the candidates sends us some oppo research that, he vows, will be so damaging that it could help finish off one of the candidates, South Carolina GOP chief Katon Dawson. It's a December 2006 report in the Columbia Star saying that Dawson's son -- gasp! -- was at a debuttante ball at a country club that's all-white as a matter of policy.
The fact that Dawson himself was a member of this club, the 80-year-old Forest Lake Club, is not new. But our operative insists to us that the fact that Dawson's son also attended such a ball -- they are basically social coming out parties for the teenage daughters of well-heeled southern families -- makes the charge more damaging.
The operative tells us that the last thing the GOP needs right now is an RNC chair steeped so thoroughly in certain aspects of southern culture, given that the GOP needs to prove that it's not devolving into a regional rump party held hostage by intolerant elements.
Amazing. A slight sparkle of sanity. Perhaps the next several years in the wilderness will allow time for the GOP to explore the option of joining us in the 21st century.
But I'm sure as fuck not holding my breath.