21 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I love the smell of wingnut fear. And there's plenty of it today, as Obama rolls back the veil of secrecy, and some torture cheerleaders begin to realize that this could mean the end of torture without consequences.

The UN is calling on the U.S. to prosecute:

In remarks that aired on German television last night, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, urged the U.S. to pursue former President George W. Bush and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld on charges that they authorized torture and other harsh interrogation techniques:

“Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation” to bring proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld. […] He noted Washington had ratified the UN convention on torture which required “all means, particularly penal law” to be used to bring proceedings against those violating it.

“We have all these documents that are now publicly available that prove that these methods of interrogation were intentionally ordered by Rumsfeld,” against detainees at the US prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Nowak said.

The panic is palpable:

That Senate Republicans want to delay confirmation of Eric Holder as our next Attorney General is not surprising. It's interesting, though, what's driving the hold-up.

Do Specter, Cornyn, & Co. want to talk some more about Marc Rich? Elian Gonzales? No, apparently, Republicans are concerned that Holder might prosecute a certain group of people who violated federal laws.

Senate Republicans hope to delay a vote on the confirmation of Eric Holder to become attorney general in order to pressure him to say whether he will prosecute intelligence agents for torture if they were following orders and acting within what they believed to be legal guidelines.

Holder told the Judiciary Committee last week that waterboarding is "torture" and therefore illegal. Susan J. Crawford, the top Bush administration official overseeing the trials of detainees, told the Washington Post that at least one individual held at the prison center at Guantanamo Bay was "tortured."

The question Republicans want answered before Holder is confirmed: Will you prosecute those who took part in that torture?


I do find it odd, though, that this is the rationale for more delaying tactics. To hear Republicans tell it, they want to block Holder from serving as the nation's chief law-enforcement officer because he hasn't ruled out prosecuting those who broke the law.

It's quite a worldview.

That it is, Steve. That is is. Remarkable.

Rush Limbaugh, living up to his reputation as a big fat idiot (thank you, Sen. Franken), is in full cry:

Earlier today, President Obama issued his first set of executive orders. One of these orders instructs “federal agencies to handle requests for information from the public and press under the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] with an eye toward disclosure, not refusal.” The order reportedly returns to “pre-Bush administration policies” regarding FOIA.

In response to the “new standard of openness,” conservative talker Rush Limbaugh said that he fears that the more open FOIA rules will make it easier for Bush to be held to account for any misdeeds he committed as president:

LIMBAUGH: What I’m afraid of is that what Obama did with this executive order is actually make it easier for the media to go get Bush documents. Because you know Pelosi and some of the guys over in congress are talking about war crimes trials and charges and so forth. […]

What I’m afraid of is what Obama’s done here is made the gathering of the information for this kind of stuff– This is not American. This is not America. This is not what America does. We don’t– This is Banana Republic kind of stuff.

Just sit back and take a moment to appreciate the supreme idiocy of that statement. In Rush Limbaugh's world, only banana republics take their laws seriously, and hold their leaders to account when the nation's laws are broken. It's "un-American" to abide by the rule of law. It's "not American" to have transparency in government.

Can someone please explain to me why conservatives take these people seriously? It must be a failure of my imagination, because I just can't understand how people can swallow this much bullshit all in one go.

The hysterical fits are just getting more surreal. Here's the latest right-wing conspiracy theory, as reported in that *cough* upstanding news source, WorldNut Daily:

A prominent far-right website called WorldNetDaily ran a piece the other day with a provocative headline: "Hail King Obama: President for life -- Move under way to repeal Constitution's term limits." WND reported:

As Inauguration Day approaches and Barack Obama prepares to assume his first term as president, some in Congress are hoping to make it possible for the Democrat to not only seek a second term in office, but a third and fourth as well.

The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary is considering a bill that would repeal the Constitution's 22nd Amendment prohibiting a president from being elected to more than two terms in office.

Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., earlier this month introduced the bill, H. J. Res. 5, which, according to the bill's language, proposes "an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President."

Steve M. noted a variety of right-wing blogs that got pretty worked about this, including one that insisted Obama "might take a page from his role models Chavez and Castro."

Before this becomes a standard conservative talking point -- I can only assume Fox News coverage is around the corner -- let's just nip this in the bud.

Serrano did, in fact, recently introduce a measure to repeal the 22nd amendment. Is this because he wants Obama to be "president for life"? No. Serrano has introduced this exact same measure a half-dozen times, starting 12 years ago. It has nothing to do with Obama -- Serrano just happens to believe presidential term limits are a bad idea.

By their logic, Serrano wanted Bush to be "president for life" as well, which I somehow doubt was his aim. Amazing how these people have no comprehension of context.

Or law:

We knew this was coming from the second Chief Justice John Roberts botched the oath of office during President Obama's inauguration. This will, no doubt, be just one of the many right wing talking points for weeks, months, if not years to come. (h/t TPM for the video)

Wallace: ..."I have to say I'm not sure Barack Obama really is the President of the United States because the oath of office is set in the Constitution and I wasn't at all convinced that even after he tried to amend it that John Roberts ever got it out straight and that Barack Obama ever said the prescribed words. I suspect that everybody is going to forgive him and allow him to take over as president, but I'm not sure he actually said what's in the Constitution, there."

Chris Wallace may want to have a little look at what the lawyers say before he continues to make an absolute ass of himself on national television. But then, those little details never stopped anybody on Faux, did they?

And as for bipartisan cooperation, I hope Obama wasn't expecting much from that:

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) recently conceded that Republicans can't simply be "the party of 'no.'"

There's apparently some difference of opinion on that.

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina is the kind of uncompromising conservative who can make the leaders' life difficult. Mr. DeMint thinks, among other things, that some of his Republican colleagues are helping Democrats push America far to the left.

"We have to have a remnant of the Republican Party who are recognizable as freedom fighters," Mr. DeMint said. "What I'm looking to do as a conservative leader in the Senate is to identify those Republicans, and even some Democrats, and put together a consensus of people who can help stop this slide toward socialism."

These people are fucking insane. That's the only explanation. They are clinically batshit fucking insane.

It's going to be an interesting four years, innit?

No comments: