25 June, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Civil liberties and the rule of law just took another one up the ass today:

The FISA Cloture vote just passed. The Senate will now consider the motion to proceed with the bill, then they'll head to the bill itself (corrected procedural details, h/t and thanks to CBolt). Various motions will be put forward to strip immunity, odds are they will fail. Then a number of the 80 who voted to restrict debate will vote against FISA so they can say they were against the bill. However this was the real vote, and the rest is almost certainly nothing but kabuki for the rubes.

There's still an infintesimal chance this won't pass, but at this point, it looks like a losing battle. Apparently, telecom money trumps public outrage. Remember that when it comes time to vote for Senators. Here's who stood by the Constitution:

Voting against Cloture

Biden (D-DE)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Wyden (D-OR)

Remember this list of names. They're the ones who will deserve your support in reelection campaigns. The rest can go fuck themselves.

Obama's still our best choice for President - I don't think anyone but the terminally insane can really claim otherwise - but he's got a lot to answer for. Consider this gem:

As for Obama, well, here's what he had to say:

"The bill has changed. So I don't think the security threats have changed, I think the security threats are similar. My view on FISA has always been that the issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security interests of the American people."

One word: Bullfuckingshit. We'll talk about this later, mister.

I'd talk to the Bush Regime about a long list of outrages, too, but apparently they won't even open their emails anymore:

As a rule, the Bush White House has a few reliable tactics it uses to avoid information it doesn’t want to hear. For example, when government reports might offer discouraging news that undermines the president’s agenda, the White House likes to eliminate the reports. For that matter, Bush’s proclivity for “The Bubble,” in which only people who agree with the president are allowed to offer information, tends to keep ideological purity intact.

But once in a while, the White House Bubble is pierced with information the Bush gang won’t like and doesn’t want to see. What to do? In the case of the Environmental Protection Agency and evidence on global warming, the Bush gang came up with a new trick: stop opening emails suspected to include inconvenient truths.

The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled, telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week.

The document, which ended up in e-mail limbo, without official status, was the E.P.A.’s answer to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that required it to determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment, the officials said.

I suppose the White House deserves some credit for being clever. The president’s team didn’t want to be bothered with facts and evidence, and they also didn’t want to admit that it was ignoring the guidance of their own EPA officials. The solution — simply leaving EPA emails unread — solved the problem (the political problem, that is, not the looming environmental catastrophe).

Amazing, are they not? Just when I think they can't get any more infantile, they do. At this point, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see the lot of them sucking their thumbs whilst clutching teddy bears and security blankets.

Want to know just how fucking pathetic this regime has become? Bush's policies are such spectacular failures that he can't even pay money to get states to accept them anymore:

WASHINGTON — Skeptical states are shoving aside millions of federal dollars for abstinence education, walking away from the program the Bush administration touts for slowing teen sexual activity. Barely half the states are still in, and two more say they are leaving.

Some $50 million has been budgeted for this year, and financially strapped states might be expected to want their share. But many have doubts that the program does much, if any good, and they're frustrated by chronic uncertainty that it will even be kept in existence. They also have to chip in state money in order to receive the federal grants.


A federal tally shows that participation in the program is down 40 percent over two years, with 28 states still in. Arizona and Iowa have announced their intention to forgo their share of the federal grant at the start of the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Maybe that's our answer. Turn the table. Ignore the pathetic little fuck until he goes away. After all, we'd just be following his lead.


george.w said...

I think I know what you're trying to say but ignoring Bush is like ignoring raccoons in the reactor control room. Until you can get them the heck out of there, you at least have to watch everything they do.

Cujo359 said...

Obama and Clinton sat out the cloture vote. Way to take a stand, guys.

Woozle said...

Two bits relevant to this:

1. Leonard Pitts had a recent column about the effects of abstinence-based sex "education"; I think you'll like the title.

2. Another opportunity to show your support for impeachment is here; I added the following comment to my submission:

"As Bush's final term draws to a close, it becomes *more* urgent -- not less! -- to establish the wrongness of his acts, and to investigate the details of those acts in order to distinguish between rumor, slander, and truth. I commend Congressman Kucinich for continuing to think clearly in the face of overwhelming propaganda."

Anonymous said...

I'm not too worried about the FISA thing. The telecoms, and Bushies in general, think they're smart changing the rules after the fact to make their actions legal, but they all miss a single, colossal flaw in acting this way. Once you establish a precedent for retroactive legislation, anyone can use it. Like, say, by declaring your actions retroactively illegal (again) and increasing the punishments from stiff fines to felony time in Leavenworth.

Beyond this, the telecoms' actions were Constitutional violations so reauthorizing FISA to declare them legal isn't going to change their illegality; the Bill of Rights, Amendment IV guarantees the inviolability of a persons documents and communication, and Marbury vs. Madison established that the Court had final say on the Constitutionality of law. So, until the Supreme Court passes off on this reauthorization in a suit brought against the telecoms by affected individuals, then the telecoms are still technically on the hook.

Woozle said...

And here's another petition, and my embellishments.

angrylagomorph: In a way, I agree with you. I don't actually care that much if the government has access to every damn thing I say or do; my main demand would be that they make the records accessible to me as well, for reasons too long to explain here (short version: read Brin's The Transparent Society).

The problem, though, is twofold:

(1) The process has been violated. If the president is allowed to get away with violating the process, i.e. effectively creating laws on his own -- and telecomms see that the safest thing to do is whatever the president says, rather than obeying the law -- then the next violation might be something that does matter.

(2) While it is true that an abusable process can be equally abused by both sides, doing this favors those who would actually commit such abuse over those who would consider it to be, well, abusive.

Like... if the president makes it ok for anyone to take money out of anyone else's bank account, who is going to suffer more -- honest people, or people who like to liberate other people's money for a living?

Anonymous said...

Here's a site you might like to stop by at for top-notch accurate political commentary with a magnificently acid sense of humor:


Specifically, check out the response by Frances in this one:


[Dana, as a writer, you may find it interesting that my friend Ed Naha is an accomplished script writer who also happens to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of pop literature as well as film. You name it, he'll know all about it. -Anon]

Anonymous said...

One criterion and one criterion alone is all that is absolutely vital in deciding who to hire as your guide into the uncharted territory of the future.

It's not looks.

It's not names.

It's not hype.

It's not even some worthless thing people lovingly refer to as "faith".

It's B-R-A-I-N-S.

Pure and simple.

Get back to basics. Elect somebody who is SMART. Can't go wrong any worse than electing an idiot.

Just ask yourselves: Who is smarter? A guy who has always spoken out (since LONG BEFORE THE CAMPAIGN) sensibly and coherently on all the issues, amply exhibits a grasp of the strategic, the courage and conviction to consistently adhere to principles of honesty as a matter of dealing with his constituents as well as moral integrity, and who has managed - COMPETENTLY MANAGED, mind you - to run a campaign that is agreeably solvent in the face of opposition from within his own party that would have withered any of his two predecessors...

OR, a guy who smiles alot, whose claim to competence is that he demolished AT LEAST FIVE expensive Navy aircraft because his Admiral father thought it would be nifty to allow his son to play with them...a reportedly LOUSY pilot whose total combat time over enemy territory ammounted to some 20 hours before he wrecked his 5th plane? Who has since capitalized on his status as a POW to advance a political career characterized by endless flip-flops just to keep anybody he faces happy, and whose campaign casts him as somebody who has more "experience" in military and foregn matters than the other guy?

They must think we're idiots.

Anonymous said...


Brains - intelligence - contrary to popular wisdom, is a plus. Do smart people make mistakes? Sure. The best part is, there is a substantially greater likelihood that they will DISCOVER they have, and a similar increased likelihood that they will admit RESPONSIBILITY for it. Remember THAT concept? Do dumb people make mistakes? NO. They don't KNOW if they've made any. And they are much more unlikely to accept responsibility for any, even as they continue to make more of them.

But what's "smart" got to do with "strong" right? Gotta have that all-important "strong" image, yes? Well, maybe it might have a little something to do with the fact that the less you need to deal with fixing mistakes to begin with, the more your attention can be trained on advancing progressively into mistake-free territory - a situation where everything looks brighter with time because things are actually doing so...as opposed to a situation where everything looks brighter merely because one relies on some nebulous thing called (ahem) "faith".

Oh, yeah, we Americans just LOVE that all-important "image" over substance stuff, don't we? We get all choked up when presented with that prettified package with the cute ribbon, presented with that smile. Gee, that image makes me want to wave around a little flag. No, gimme TWO flags, one for each hand. We're so proud - PROUD - to be American.

Never mind that bit about that Beach Boys song, "Barbara Ann". It was kinda cute coming out of his marble-mouthed grin.

Obama has got to deal with all this current insanity as a potential leader who can preside over the required transition, getting America to move back toward a sane place. But don't worry. You see, he's smart. He can handle it. Just don't expect him to throw votes away, that's all.

The guy who smiles alot ain't the only fella who knows "strategy".

Paul Havlak said...

While I'm sure that the telecom industry has too much pull in getting retroactive immunity, I don't think a difference of ~ $4000 in campaign contributions over three years is a very convincing smoking gun.

@angrylagomorph: It *will* suck if the retroactive immunity passes, because we *can't* do the reverse and retroactively criminalize. Look up "ex post facto law". Since the Constitution doesn't set penalties, it's best for limiting or prodding the executive and legislative branches, not for punishing corporations.

This spectacle seems to be the result of the Democrats' optimism, that they don't need this stick to beat the Republicons with anymore.

How about this Constitutional amendment: that no President is allowed to pardon crimes committed by or on behalf of his own administration?