15 October, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I know, I'm late. Aunty Flow arrived and is acting remarkably like Grampa McCrankypants (h/t Crooks and Liars for that glorious nickname). My computer is being more obstructive than the filibuster-mad Senate Cons. My brain feels like Sarah Palin has been chirping into it.

And the stupid just never stops.

In the waning days of the Bush regime, it seems a scorched-earth policy is firmly in place:

Bush's presidency may be winding down, but he's not quite done with his conservative domestic agenda.

Bush administration officials, in their last weeks in office, are pushing to rewrite a wide array of federal rules with changes or additions that could block product-safety lawsuits by consumers and states.

The administration has written language aimed at pre-empting product-liability litigation into 50 rules governing everything from motorcycle brakes to pain medicine. The latest changes cap a multiyear effort that could be one of the administration's lasting legacies, depending in part on how the underlying principle of pre-emption fares in a case the Supreme Court will hear next month.

This amazing piece, from the Wall Street Journal's Alicia Mundy, hasn't generated a lot of attention so far today, and that's a shame. The administration's efforts on this are likely to have a huge impact.

Corporate America has been calling for some mechanism to "preempt" product-liability litigation for years, and Bush had promised to deliver. The White House, however, had limited options in dealing with a Democratic Congress which cares about consumer protections.

So, the Bush gang is adding provisions to obscure federal regulations that will block product safety lawsuits by consumers and states. The scheme would affect products ranging from cars to prescription medication to railroad cars.

At this rate, he might as well just nuke the place on the way out. It would be quicker.

Bush also uncapped his extra-special signing statement pen to let Congress know what he thinks of their little schemes to limit his authority:

Yesterday, President Bush asserted “that he had the executive power to bypass several parts of two bills: a military authorization act and a measure giving inspectors general greater independence from White House control,” the New York Times’ Charlie Savage reports:

In the authorization bill, Mr. Bush challenged four sections. One forbid the money from being used “to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq”; another required negotiations for an agreement by which Iraq would share some of the costs of the American military operations there. […]

In the other bill, he raised concerns about two sections that strengthen legal protections against political interference with the internal watchdog officials at each executive agency. One section gives the inspectors general a right to counsels who report directly to them. But Mr. Bush wrote in his signing statement that such lawyers would be bound to follow the legal interpretations of the politically appointed counsels at each agency.

Bush has issued signing statements to bypass more than 1,100 sections of laws. A recent report by the House Armed Services Committee said Bush has used the statements in a “broad and unsubstantiated” manner and that 78 percent of them “have raised constitutional or legal objections.”

Seventy. Eight. Percent.

This man doesn't give two shits about the Constitution. He doesn't give one single shit about democracy. He's a petty tyrant with the mind of a three year-old, playing Big Man In Charge, high on the power to tell whomever he wants to fuck off and suck his Dick.

He has issued nearly double the number of signing statements of all previous presidents combined.

And I will tell you exactly what will happen: if Obama gets elected, he won't abuse that power. He will, in fact, roll back some of the more egregious abuses. It's what Democrats do. And then some Republicon sack of shit will get elected, whether in 2012 or 2016, and will gleefully start exceeding all of the worst abuses of the Bush presidency, and will say, "There's a precedent. Bush did it, and nobody stopped him. You can't cry foul now."

Mark my fucking words.

We should have impeached this son of a bitch. Is anyone surprised that the fucking White House sent memos to the CIA in 2003 specifically authorizing torture? Is anyone shocked that we only discovered this because said memos leaked to the media? Is anyone flabbergasted that new reports state for certain that Bush & Co. abused taxpayer money to get Republicons elected? No? I didn't think so.

Continuing our series of non-shocks, McCain's campaign has no fucking idea how you go about telling the truth, or even a plausible lie:

Yesterday, Murray Waas revealed that the head of Sen. John McCain’s transition team, power lobbyist William Timmons, was involved in a lobbying effort on behalf of Saddam Hussein in the early 1990s “to ease international sanctions against his regime.”

Today, MSNBC’s David Schuster asked McCain spokesperson Ben Porritt about the revelations. Porrit claimed that the campaign has had no associations with lobbyists, quickly changing the subject to Bill Ayers:

I’m actually not too familiar with his history, but what I do know is that throughout our campaign, we’ve talked about this a lot, we’ve had no associations with any lobbyists on our campaign, and I think there’s questionable associations with Barack Obama that needs to be addressed before we even get into talking about the transition...

Sigh. Fish. Barrel. Here's a bazooka. Shoot:

It is absurd to claim McCain has “had no associations with any lobbyists.” He has at least 164 former lobbyists running his campaign, fundraising, and setting his policy agenda — including Charlie Black, Rick Davis, and Randy Scheunemann.

It would be nice if once, just once, the McCain campaign would tell an outrageous lie that takes some actual effort to debunk. Sarah Palin lies all the time, maybe she'll come up with one by accident... oh, fuck, who am I kidding?

But yesterday, during an interview with the local CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, Palin stooped a little lower, stating flat out that the Legislative Council’s report had found that she did not abuse her power:

PALIN: [T]he report that came out also was very clear in that there was no unethical or unlawful behavior on my part. … No abuse of power there at all.

Sigh. Fish. Barrel. Here's a Gatling gun. Shoot:

Of course, not only did the report find that Palin abused her power as Alaska’s governor, but it also found — despite her claim to the contrary — that she acted unethically and unlawfully.

In fact, the media have caught on to the McCain-Palin campaign’s lies about the report’s findings. The Washington Post called Palin’s false characterization of the report a “reverse of the truth” and ABC’s Jake Tapper called it “flatly false.” The Anchorage Daily News, Palin’s home state newspaper, said Palin’s response is “downright Orwellian.”

There's no challenge anymore.

And tell me, when was the last time you remember the Secret Service having to investigate remarks coming out of an official campaign event?

Yesterday was the latest in a series of incidents in which McCain/Palin supporters shouted threats relating to Barack Obama during a campaign rally. A number of you have emailed me, wondering where the Secret Service is in all of this.

Apparently, the threats have not gone unnoticed by the Secret Service, which is reportedly taking a closer look at yesterday's Palin event in Pennsylvania.

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a threatening remark directed at Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during a political event in Scranton.

The agency followed up on a report in The Times-Tribune that a member of the crowd shouted, "Kill him!" after one mention of Mr. Obama's name during a rally Tuesday for Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Wonder how easy it is for your supporters to vote when they've been locked up by the Secret Service for threatening to kill your opponent?

Ah, well. At least all the signs are still pointing toward a long, sweet Republicon vacation in the political wilderness:

GOP Pulls Out Of Only Possible Senate Pick-Up

The NRSC is pulling out of the Louisiana Senate race, which had been the only real opportunity for the GOP to pick up a Senate seat from the Democrats this year -- they are now playing 100% on defense. A Republican source confirmed to Election Central that their ads will be pulled.

That news. It's wonderful. It's like sinking into a nice, warm bubble bath, with champagne and bon-bons. Now, if they suck as badly at defense as they do at governing, we should be in a for a fantastic four years.

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