17 July, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Give devils their due: the Bush White House is nothing if not creative when it comes to misinterpreting the law:

“Scandal fatigue” can be common under the circumstances. After seven-and-a-half years of legal, moral, ethical, and political outrages, many of the scandals of the Bush/Cheney years start to blur together. Some are even forgotten, swept aside to make room for new, more offensive controversies.

It’s only natural, then, to shift the focus away from the White House and towards the campaign to pick the next president. I’m afraid, however, now isn’t a good time to stop watching the Bush gang — some of their bigger scandals are managing to look even worse.

The Bush administration today unveiled a set of novel and controversial legal arguments in refusing to disclose key details about Vice President Dick Cheney’s role in the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.

In two letters released Wednesday, the Justice Department revealed that, upon the recommendation of Attorney General Michael Mukasey, President Bush had invoked executive privilege rather than turn over to Congress a never-released FBI report (known as a “302″) recounting a confidential 2004 interview with Cheney about his knowledge of the Plame affair.


Just how “novel and controversial” were the new legal arguments? Let’s put it this way: the Justice Department created privilege claims, out of thin air, that no one’s ever heard of before.

The decision by the White House to refuse to honor the subpoena from Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for Cheney’s interview was hardly unexpected, given the administration’s history of fiercely protecting presidential prerogatives. What was surprising to some legal scholars was the basis for shielding the FBI interview report. It was covered, Mukasey said, by what he called “the law-enforcement component of executive privilege.”

“As far as I know, this is an utterly unprecedented executive-privilege claim,” said Peter Shane, an Ohio State University law professor who is an expert on executive privilege and separation-of-powers issues. “I’ve never heard this claim before.”

Normally, claims of executive privilege are invoked to protect the disclosure of the president’s communications with his top advisers. But in this case, the White House invoked the claim to keep secret Cheney’s responses to FBI agents (hardly what anybody would call his advisers), who were grilling him as part of the now-closed criminal investigation headed by Fitzgerald.

The word “madness” keeps coming to my mind, but others chose less provocative adjectives.

I'm not one of those others. Let's try this description: this is utterly fucking criminal obfuscation, making a mockery of our laws and political processes, and a new height of batshit insanity from a bunch of fuckwits who had already proven they have nothing but contempt for the Constitution, Congress, and their countrymen. These assclowns deserve to rot in prison for eternity. This entire era of American government is nothing more than a sick, sad joke, an endless parade of criminal fuckery. I hope future generations spit whenever they mention this Administration.

In other news, either these two are complete lying whackjobs or you really don't want to go to the same hospitals they have:

Today, during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) dismissed the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and other U.S. detention facilities. According to Issa, “we treated our hospital patients worse” than we treat al Qaeda detainees. Former attorney general John Ashcroft chimed in, joking that doctors “were poking needles into

ISSA: It is sort of amazing that as a member of the permanent Select Intelligence Committee, I’ve never heard any allegation of any detainee being denied food or water for a week. It’s clear that we treated our hospital patients at times worse than al Qaeda.

ASCHROFT: What’s more, they were poking needles into me all the time time.

Hmm. I'm going to plump for "complete lying whackjobs with a heaping side of criminal insanity." But of course, this is the Bush Administration, so maybe the treatment at VA hospitals was worse than "severe sleep deprivation, 'forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, physical force, prolonged stress positions and prolonged sensory overstimulation, and threats with military dogs.'"

This, however, could go a long way toward explaining why some of these incredible fuckwits seem to have such a hard time with a little thing we like to call reality:

If this doesn't set the tone for former Attorney General John Ashcroft's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on interrogation methods at Guantanamo, I don't know what does.

In his opening statement, Ashcroft admitted that he had "limited recollection" of the events pertinent to the committee's inquiry. Specifically, "it's been difficult . . . to distinguish between what I in fact recall as a matter of my own experience, and what I remember from the accounts of others."

Yep. This is John Ashcroft unable to separate fantasy from reality. Fucking brilliant. And people like this are in charge of the country.

Weep, America, weep.


Woozle said...

And here's Jon Pieret trying to convince me that the current fun-loving shenanigans are nothing new: "To learn about truly poisoned politics, fueled by dirty tricks that would make even Karl Rove blush, study up on American political practice for the first 30 years after the signing of the Constitution, particularly between the Federalists and Republicans.

Democracy has always been a messy business that stoops as low as human ingenuity can go, which experience teaches is quite far. We have not outdone our ancestors, merely adapted to new environments."

What does it take? Bush giving his next press briefing wearing a Napoleon hat and a bomb strapped to his chest? Apparently some (most?) people will see business-as-usual in almost anything, as long as it wears the right suit.

Cujo359 said...

It's worse than it's been in my lifetime, Woozle. As far as I'm concerned, that's bad enough to be worrisome. If it was worse when dinosaurs roamed the earth chasing Raquel Welch, all I can say is that we don't want to see things get that bad again.

I think it's also been a long time since I've heard such creative claims of privilege from a White House. Nixon's claims seem so unimaginative in contrast.

Cobalt said...

Today, during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) dismissed the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and other U.S. detention facilities. According to Issa, “we treated our hospital patients worse” than we treat al Qaeda detainees.

Oh my various gods.

Woozle said...

Ack! I've been mis-spelling John Pieret's first name as "Jon" this whole time! I really thought it was "Jon" and I don't usually make mistakes like that, so I blame those damn meddling Time Lords for changing reality. My apologies to John.