24 June, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

For once, Happy Hour is truly happy.

Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) released the following statement today in response to the announcement that the Senate this week will consider the compromise legislation that would reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA):

This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name. We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called 'compromise' legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President's warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.

Beauty. Dodd and Feingold have become two of my heroes - they're fighters who won't back down on these issues, and they're not backing down now. I'm tipping a shot glass full of the purest premium tequila to them right now. We just need to drum up a firestorm of support for them: start calling.

More Democrats like these, please.

Less like Nancy Pelosi, who is now trying frantically to sound like she gives two tugs on a dead dog's dick about our civil liberties and our outrage over this bill.

Now, let's just point out why it might be a really good idea for wavering Senators to give the White House the finger and stop caving in to their outrageous demands.

First, we have confirmation of what we knew all along: the Bush Regime didn't want competence in the Justice Department, they wanted yes-men:

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it appears the Justice Department, throughout Bush’s two terms, flagrantly and repeatedly broke the law by politicizing the hiring process. Yes, I know we knew that before, but the DoJ’s Inspector General has made it official.

Justice Department officials over the last six years illegally used “political or ideological” factors to hire new lawyers into an elite recruitment program, tapping law school graduates with conservative credentials over those with liberal-sounding resumes, a new report found Tuesday.

The blistering report, prepared by the Justice Department’s inspector general, is the first in what will be a series of investigations growing out of last year’s scandal over the firings of nine United States attorneys. It appeared to confirm for the first time in an official examination many of the allegations from critics who charged that the Justice Department had become overly politicized during the Bush administration.

“Many qualified candidates” were rejected for the department’s honors program because of what was perceived as a liberal bias, the report found. Those practices, the report concluded, “constituted misconduct and also violated the department’s policies and civil service law that prohibit discrimination in hiring based on political or ideological affiliations.”

According to the investigation, the Justice Department began ignoring merit and making employment decisions based on politics in 2002, when then-Attorney General John Ashcroft restructured the honors program, taking decisions away from career officials in each section of
the department, giving power to Bush appointees. When Alberto Gonzales took the reins, the illegalities expanded and were intensified.

This is what these outrageous fuckwits did with the power they have now. Imagine what a future presidency would be like with the kind of expanded powers and the precident for breaking the law and getting away with it that this FISA bill would provide.

Then there's the extreme myopia. Remember the surge? The one that failed? Well, now that it's been declared a rousing success anyway and is coming to an end, you'd think there'd be plans for following up on that so-called success. You'd be so fucking wrong:

The administration lacks an updated and comprehensive Iraq strategy to move beyond the "surge" of combat troops President Bush launched in January 2007 as an 18-month effort to curtail violence and build Iraqi democracy, government investigators said yesterday.

Yup. That's par for the course with this regime. And we should give them more power because...?

Apparently, even some Republicons are starting to feel that way:

With a couple dozen House Republicans retiring this year, GOP leaders are counting on them to cast cost-free, party-line votes this election year. It’s not working out the way the leadership hoped.

As far as Boehner & Co. are concerned, they can understand when a vulnerable incumbent in a competitive district breaks party ranks. Plenty of Republican lawmakers have to run to the middle to avoid defeat in November. But for those who are retiring, they have nothing to worry about — no matter how far to the right they go, these retiring members can’t (and won’t)
get punished by voters. Why not give the party a hand?

These lawmakers clearly don’t see things that way. In fact, now that they finally feel liberated to vote how they please, they’re breaking party ranks quite a bit.

Republican Reps. Vito J. Fossella of New York, Ray LaHood of Illinois, Jim Ramstad of Minnesota, Ralph Regula of Ohio and Jim Walsh of New York all crossed party lines recently to join with Democrats on a tight vote to extend unemployment insurance — even though they won’t be around to suffer the potential political consequences of voting no. After two contentious votes in which key retiring Republicans defected, the plan ultimately passed the following week in a lesser form as a bipartisan compromise attached to the war funding bill.

Retiring Republicans crossed over to vote with Democrats last week on federal parental leave and in previous weeks on union authority, expanded children’s health insurance, women’s rights and an expansive new GI Bill. Outgoing Republican Reps. Dave Hobson and Deborah Pryce of Ohio, Rick Renzi of Arizona, Tom Davis of Virginia and Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland have all bucked the party on key votes.

“It’s not helpful,” said a frustrated Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), “and you can
use that quote.”

No, it's not helpful. Why should they be? It's about bloody time Republicons woke up, smelled the destruction, and started breaking ranks.

Things could be looking up, my darlings.


george.w said...

Sooner rather than later is best for the slap in the face of the cold wet haddock of reality. For the Republicans, it seems to be "later" but you know better late than never.

Of course that saying ignores tipping points. Later than that, and you're still screwed. The old concept of closing the barn door after the horse has run off.

I guess old cliches earned their status.

Chaos Lee said...

After watching the war-funding bill go through with nary a debate and certainly no clear plan of "get us the fuck out of this shitfiasco" I'm unconvinced that the democrats have been able to do anything resembling productivity to balance out the last seven years of pure fuckery. These fence-crossing republicans put on a show, but seriously, it's like waiting until the teacher leaves the room to rant about how the entire class was poorly managed.

Expect maximum damage by those republicans who are leaving office. Lame duck may very well be a euphamism for dying hyena in this instance, and with nothing to really lose and no political consequences (seriously, are we only addressing this shit when the current status quo has less than eight months to go?) no hope may very well equal no fear. Funny. Like political suicide bombings. Oh, my day is now complete.