Archive for July 31st, 2008

The Campaign Finance Iceberg

Everything above the waterline is illegal.  Everything below the waterline is legal.  But it’s all the same iceberg.

Also, it’s made of money.

15 comments July 31st, 2008 at 10:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics

How Do You Define Obstructionism?

I’m wondering which definition will apply here.

Old Definition: Filibustering, vetoing, or otherwise blocking every piece of legislation your opposition introduces.

New Definition: Insisting on introducing legislation that you know your opposition will filibuster, veto, or otherwise block.

1 comment July 31st, 2008 at 10:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Energy,Iraq,Politics,Republicans

Casus Belli Dancing

Hey, remember when we learned that before the Iraqupation, Dubya suggested painting a U2 spyplane with UN colors and trying to bait Saddam into shooting at it, thus providing a clear-cut case for war? (Never mind the fact that the UN would be well aware that it wasn’t their plane that got shot out – remember who we’re talking about here.)

Well, now Seymour Hersh says that Cheney’s staff talked about going him one better to start his much-coveted war with Iran.  Not satisfied to rely on Iran to be foolish enough to fire the first shot, this plan required no Iranian participation whatsoever!

There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives.


Look, is it high school? Yeah. Are we playing high school with you know 5,000 nuclear warheads in our arsenal? Yeah we are. We’re playing, you know, who’s the first guy to run off the highway with us and Iran.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that the game of Chicken requires two willing participants.

And, of course, as Drum points out in referring back to the U2 plane plan:

In the end, of course, we didn’t do this. We just didn’t bother with any pretext at all.

Pretext is for sissies.

July 31st, 2008 at 09:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Iran,Iraq,Republicans,Wankers,War

Subpoena Shrinkage

The BushCo. rationales for defying subpoenas and blocking oversight just keep getting weaker and weaker.  First they used executive privilege to shield conversations with the president (or vice president, as with the secret energy task force), because he needs to be able to receive “unvarnished” advice.

Next they used executive privilege to shield conversations by anyone who worked for the president, even if the president was not involved in said conversations.

Next they breezily claimed “absolute immunity” on the grounds of, well, no-one seems to be sure what, exactly. (And how’s that working out?)

But now, apparently, BushCo. has been so emboldened by their ability to stonewall congressional subpoenas with no consequences that they don’t even feel obligated to give any reason at all:

Subcommittee Chairman Tierney and Full Committee Chairman Waxman threaten Michael Dominguez, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Defense, with contempt after he reveals that he has ordered Dr. Kaye Whitley of the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office to defy a subpoena to appear:

Chairman Waxman: “Do we have to subpoena the Secretary to get people in the Department to come before us? We subpoenaed her, you’ve denied her the opportunity to come and testify and put her in a situation where we have to contemplate putting her in contempt. I don’t even know if we can hold you in contempt because you haven’t been issued a subpoena. Mr. Chairman, the Department of Defense has a history of covering up sexual offense problems….. I don’t know if we need to subpoena the Secretary and then hold him in contempt… Those are better options to me than to hold her in contempt when she’s put in this untenable position when her line of command instructs her not to comply with a subpoena of the United States Congress. I don’t know who you think elected you to defy the Congress of the United States, we’re an independent branch of government…”

Wouldn’t Whitley be required to refuse an unlawful order, which this certainly was?  Or does that obligation only apply to uniformed personnel?

In any case, it’s telling that this Dominguez asshat thinks that a subpoena is some kind of optional thing that you can just order someone to ignore.  Monkey see, monkey do, I guess.

1 comment July 31st, 2008 at 08:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans,Sexism,Wankers

More Proof That We’re A Nation Of Whiners

“Moderate Republican” Chuck Grassley totally proves Phil Gramm’s point:

So I don’t want anybody telling me that we have to offset a disaster relief package for the Midwest where people are hurting, when we didn’t do it for New Orleans. Why the double standard? Is it because people aren’t on rooftops complaining for helicopters to rescue them, and you see it on television too much? We aren’t doing that in Iowa. We are trying to help ourselves in Iowa. We have a can-do attitude. It doesn’t show up on television like it did in New Orleans for 2 months.

At least Grassley does offer us a slim ray of hope.  After all, not all Americans are whiners.  The ones in the Midwest, for example, are stoic and noble, God bless ’em.

7 comments July 31st, 2008 at 08:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Katrina,Politics,Quotes,Republicans,Wankers

Headline Of The Day

In today’s NYT:

McCain Tries to Define Obama as Out of Touch

This has to be a joke, right?  This is the same McCain who said, “Well, basically, it’s a Google”? The one who is “aware of the internet” and only just now learning to use a computer (if at all)? The one who doesn’t know or care how much gas costs? And he’s going to call Obama out of touch?

Wow.  Just wow.  I’m sure that couldn’t possibly backfire at all.

1 comment July 31st, 2008 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Media,Obama,Politics,Republicans

Gore-Al Ensures That The Human Race Will Live On

This may well be The Greatest Onion Story Ever:

EARTH—Former vice president Al Gore—who for the past three decades has unsuccessfully attempted to warn humanity of the coming destruction of our planet, only to be mocked and derided by the very people he has tried to save—launched his infant son into space Monday in the faint hope that his only child would reach the safety of another world.

“I tried to warn them, but the Elders of this planet would not listen,” said Gore, who in 2000 was nearly banished to a featureless realm of nonexistence for promoting his unpopular message. “They called me foolish and laughed at my predictions. Yet even now, the Midwest is flooded, the ice caps are melting, and the cities are rocked with tremors, just as I foretold. Fools! Why didn’t they heed me before it was too late?”

Al Gore—or, as he is known in his own language, Gore-Al—placed his son, Kal-Al, gently in the one-passenger rocket ship, his brow furrowed by the great weight he carried in preserving the sole survivor of humanity’s hubristic folly.


As the rocket soared through the Gore estate’s retractable solar-paneled roof… the onetime presidential candidate and his wife, Tipper, stood arm-in-arm, nobly facing their end while gazing up in stoic dignity at the receding rocket, the ecosystem already beginning to collapse around them.


Despite the child’s humble beginnings, experts predict the intergalactic journey may have some extraordinary effects on Kal-Al’s physique, eyesight, and, potentially, his powers of quiet, sensible persuasion.

Read the whole thing.  It’s really super.

(h/t Ian)

6 comments July 31st, 2008 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Environment,Gore

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