18 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Change is coming to the Republicon party! Diversity is being embraced! Jon Kyl assures us it is so. Let's see how well he comprehends the meaning of diversity:
Granted, it's inside-pool, but the Senate Republican caucus announced its Whip team the other day, and Minority Whip Jon Kyl's (R-Ariz.) boast about its members struck me as odd.

Kyl, as Minority Whip, is the #2 person in the Republican leadership, and he introduced Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.) as his Chief Deputy Whip. The other Deputy Whips are Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Olympia Snowe (Maine), and David Vitter (La.).

Kyl couldn't be more pleased.

"I couldn't be more enthusiastic about the whip team I've assembled. Not only do the members represent the diversity within the Republican Conference, but each brings critical skills that will help our leadership develop the successful strategies needed for the session ahead," Kyl said in a statement.

Hmm. The Senate Republican Whip team has seven members. Six of the seven are staunch conservative white men, and four of the seven are staunch conservative white men from the Deep South.

So. That's diversity, eh? They've got one moderate Republican woman of Greek ancestory lodged in amidst six white Cons, and that's good enough for them to start patting themselves on the back over their awesome diversity.

Baby steps. Maybe in a century or two, they'll manage some actual diversity. If the shock of the token diversity they've embraced doesn't throw them into a relapse, that is.

Besides, diversity is something the majority of the GOP and their rabid right base just can't quite get their minds wrapped around. They struggle with the simplest facts, such as just because someone's a Muslim doesn't automatically mean they're a terrorist:
In the annals of ginned-up Fauxgates by the GOP/Media Complex, this has got to be one of the fauxest:

A Muslim scholar chosen to speak at President-elect Barack Obama's post-inaugural prayer service Wednesday is the leader of a group that federal prosecutors say has ties to terrorists.

Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, is one of many religious leaders scheduled to speak at the prayer service.

This is ridiculous. We're talking about a group that the people in Bush's own Pentagon have worked with extensively over the years, and which is not under any sort of legal jeopardy or even pressure for their outreach work:

Mark Pelavin, director of inter-religious affairs for the Union for Reform Judaism - another organization participating in the prayer service - called Mattson "a really important voice denouncing terrorism."

"Clearly, Dr. Mattson has been welcome throughout the government," he said. "I haven't found anyone anywhere who's found anything Dr. Mattson has said that's anything other than clearly denouncing terrorism in quite explicit Islamic terms."

Attorneys for Mattson's group wrote in court documents that it is not a subject or target of the Holy Land investigation. The group has worked with the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, according to court documents.


Why does this all sound familiar to me? Oh, because some of the same jerks who are trying to smear Dr. Mattson and the Islamic Society of North America were also doing a similar dogpile on Keith Ellison and the Council for Islamic Relations, which also has worked with the Bush Administration, in the futile hope of keeping him from winning a Congressional seat. The far-right loony tunes who are behind this and other smears hate any and all Muslims, and they are attacking groups like CAIR and ISNA precisely because these groups are respected and respectable.
The fact that those Muslim groups are respectable automatically makes them terrorists, in some of these fucktards' eyes - after all, you can't go round having Muslims be all respectable, because that would mean they're not all evil, and the next thing you know people will think it's okay to be something other than a conservative white Christian, and civilization as we know it will crumble. I think that's really what's behind all this. They're terrified because things are changing. Instead of jumping on the train, they'd rather stand on the tracks and try to stop it with their bare hands and a lot of hysteria.

Good luck with that.

It's nice to see that one thing hasn't changed - the Bush regime is going out with both middle fingers raised at the law. They want to obstruct a court order forcing them to preserve all of their email:

Well, of course they do! You didn't think they were going to start following the laws at this late date, did you?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration is aggressively pushing back against a federal court order instructing the most important offices in the White House to preserve all of their e-mail.

In court papers late Friday, the administration argued that a federal court has no authority to impose such a requirement on the offices of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the National Security Council.

[...] The issue arose Wednesday after U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy directed the White House to issue a notice to all employees to surrender any e-mails from March 2003 to October 2005.

Amazing. They still don't quite comprehend that there are three branches of government, and that the other two absolutely have the authority to impose requirements on theirs.

Of course, the Constitution was never anything more to them than really expensive toilet paper, so I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

As the Cons lose control of the federal government, they're holding on to what few state governments they control like grim death. The state Cons in Texas have decided that life was better in the days when folks obeyed their massa, and certainly better when those dirty Dems didn't get to vote, so they're rolling through legislation to ensure both aims get served:
Last week, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and some embarrassed but silently capitulating GOP state senators destroyed legislative tradition and subverted procedures intended to protect against "the tyranny of the majority," to pass a regressive voter identification bill. Twelve Angry Democrats in the Senate did their best. But they were outnumbered. In the Right's theory of democracy, minorities should sit down, shut up, and do what they're told.


I was on the floor of the state Senate shortly before this debacle began. I heard loudmouth GOP Senator Dan Patrick, a hate-radio host, calmly (for once) explain to reporters that because there are more Republicans (19) than Democrats (12) in the upper chamber, important decisions should be left to the exclusive authority of the majority.

Patrick was arguing for an end to a "two-thirds" rule, by which any 11 senators could block debate on a bill. That rule, following the careful logic of the Framers, was intended to guard against the "tyranny of the majority," always a dire threat to democracy.

Patrick doesn't know this, obviously. Neither does Dewhurst. Neither did George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, or a host of other spoiled authoritarians who long for the days when white skin and greenbacks meant they could tell everyone else what to do. Under penalty of torture, even.

The good news is that democracy is resilient. Voices have risen in protest against these authoritarian excesses. No more Tom DeLay. No more Bush or Cheney. No McCain.

The bad news is this democratic resiliency is the very reason the Right wants to pass new restrictions on voting.

They know this is the only way they can win, now. They have to cheat. And despite all of the pious moralizing these fuckwits do in public, there's nothing they love better than to indulge in some self-serving corruption:
Even the post-partisan cyborgs can't help themselves:
As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger orders steep salary cuts for most of the state workforce, some Sacramento players are doing much better by him.

The governor has added state legislators and former political aides to the state payroll, with six-figure salaries. Their positions: plum posts on the same state boards and commissions that the governor crusaded to abolish a few years ago, calling them a waste of taxpayer money.


Seats on state boards have long been awarded to lawmakers loyal to governors and legislative leaders.

But Schwarzenegger made the most recent appointments just days after ordering 238,000 state workers to be furloughed two days a month or take an equivalent pay cut of about 9%. He also requested that the state payroll be reduced an additional 10%, including layoffs if necessary.
I guess it would have been too much to ask these board members to take a pay cut or, god forbid, forgo their pay altogether. After all, the wealthy are the most hardworking and productive members of our society so these people obviously work like dogs at those 12 meetings and deserve every penny. Cops, firefighters,teachers not so much.
The rich must stay rich. If they have to do it by breaking the backs of the poor and middle-class, so be it. And these cops and firefighters and teachers who lose their jobs and end up unable to find work because there is no work to be found (not after George W. Bush poured gasoline on the economy and lit it up, anyway) will be told by the pious Republicons that if they'd just worked a little harder, if they'd just been a little smarter, they would've made it. Too bad, so sad, we don't give unemployment checks to losers, the free market has judged you lacking, buh-bye.

There's your compassionate conservatism in a nutshell. And remember that these are the same people with their hands eagerly held out for the wingnut welfare - plumb jobs on boards, government bailouts, no-bid contracts, and all of the other little perks that come with knowing the right people.

And they think it's their god-given right to govern. Someone needs to remind them that this country began because entitled little brats like them got a little too enthusiastic with the lord-and-master crap.

Then again, maybe we should let them learn the hard way.

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