Friday, June 20, 2008

Democrats Suck And Other Wise-Doms

Some days it is almost impossible to find any hope at all.

They Were Only Following Orders

by digby

Roy Blunt and Steny Hoyer are practically tongue kissing on the floor right now and congratulating each other on their mutual fabulousness in negotiating the rape of the constitution this morning. It's quite a love fest.

The lesson from this is that your Representatives really believe that if "the government" tells you to do something, you do it, even if it's illegal. The good news is that if you are a multibillion dollar corporation with massive access to to the private lives of ordinary American, you will never be held liable.

Greenwald quotes Kit Bond saying this explicitly:

This article from Dow Jones, celebrating that the telecom industry is completely off the hook as a result of this bill, has the full quote from Sen. Bond, which is even better (h/t C_O):

"I'm not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I'm sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do," Bond said.

Even when the Government is wrong, even when it orders you to do something illegal, your role is not to question but to obey. That's what he is saying explicitly.

That used to be called the Nuremberg Defense, but that's as quaint as the Geneva Conventions these days.

A couple of months ago we thought we'd at least beaten this back until a new president could be elected and a new Justice Department could take a fresh look at what the hell went on here. That was not to be. For reasons they never adequately explained (during the debate today their explanations were specious and insulting) they simply had to give amnesty to these corporate lawbreakers right this minute.

It goes to the Senate next week where all indications are that it will pass. Nobody sees a filibuster on the horizon right now (although it's still possible.) They seem to want to get this neatly taken care of so they can get on with telling us all to relax and enjoy our freedoms.

Here's the latest on the Strange Bedfellows campaign from Glenn:

Our first ad, featuring Steny Hoyer, is almost finished and will run as a full-page ad in The Washington Post and in numerous newspapers in his district, aimed at his core Democratic base. We are excited that Color of Change -- the online, grass-roots African-American organization devoted to demanding more responsiveness from Washington officials -- has now joined our coalition and is directly working with us on this ad campaign against Hoyer. And we hope to expand our work with them to include the other campaigns we are doing, including -- just for now -- the ones against Rep. Chris Carney and Rep. John Barrow.

The total amount we have for this campaign is now almost $250,000. The response has been overwhelming. I know that many of you have donated as much or even more than you could, but the more we raise, the more of an impact we can make against the individuals responsible for this travesty. Making them know there is a real price to pay when they do this -- not by getting deluged with angry phone calls or merely having primary challenges, but doing everything possible to expose their real character, remove them office and put a permanent end to their political careers -- is the only real way to deter its repetition. Contributions can be made here.

Hoyer's constituents need to know what their Representative did here. He is a guy who believes in the rule of law when it comes to sentencing drug users and shop lifters. He has no problems seeing people go to jail for kiting a 100 check when they don't have any food in the house. But he's damned if he'll let multi billion dollar corporations have to spend a dime defending themselves when they knowingly violated the law -- "because the government told them to."

Oh, and as for the politics of this. It isn't working. Guess what the media are saying about all this:

House and Senate leaders agreed yesterday on surveillance legislation that could shield telecommunications companies from privacy lawsuits, handing President Bush one of the last major legislative victories he is likely to achieve.

...the negotiations underscored the political calculation made by many Democrats who were fearful that Republicans would cast them as soft on terrorism during an election year.

Capitulating to the most unpopular lame duck president in history because they are afraid of him. Makes you proud to be a Democrat doesn't it?

Authentic Nonsense

by digby

According to the AP:

Overall, the race between Obama and McCain amounts to an authenticity contest.

Voters are craving change from typical Washington ways and each candidate is claiming he offers a new brand of politics that transcends poisonous partisanship. Yet, each candidate, in what he says versus what he does, also is undermining his own promises not to become the politics of usual.

Nobody knows the dangers of cliche writing on the run better than a blogger. But this is ridiculous. The run for the presidency is not an "authenticity" contest. That's a tired Village narrative that always favors the so-called "manly man" who "tells it like it is." In other words, if favors the phony macho dude over the geeky, smart guy --- Republican over Democrat.

The press told us back in 2000 that Al Gore was a big phony, remember? And George W. Bush was a down to earth, "uniter not a divider" who would bring "honor and dignity" back to the White House. That worked out really well.

This is a stupid way to evaluate candidates. How "authentic" can any politician reasonably be? His whole job is to try to be as many things to as many people as possible. (And anyway, just try to be yourself and order and orange juice in a diner instead of coffee (omg!) and see where it gets you.)

"Transcending poisonous partisanship" is shaping up to be the catch phrase of the year. The only problem is that we have no idea what it means. Most often they use it to indicate the necessity for compromise and conciliation to "get things done." But they only haul that out when Democrats take power. When Republicans are in power "transcending poisonous partisanship" is defined as "resolve" and "sticking to principle." Heads I win, tails you lose.

These tropes are not the defining issues in the campaign, but they create the framework around which the media covers it. This "authenticity" meme is more destructive to Obama than it is to the old warhorse McCain, about whom the most important thing people know is that he was a POW. ("He's been to hell and back, he's not afraid of anything or anyone.") People are just wrapping their minds around the new guy and his image is more malleable.

If they have to do character studies of the candidates, how about just straight reporting about their history, work habits, accomplishments, likes and dislikes and let the people judge for themselves whether it comes off as authentic or not. Humans are remarkably well equipped to do that on their own. There are whole fields of study devoted to understanding the complex mechanisms by which people size other people up. (Sometimes people actually prefer someone who is "inauthentic" in certain ways.) We can't rely on the press to interpret these things for us. They are too insular, too parochial and too subject to group-think to be trustworthy interpreters of these people's characters. These are the same people, after all, who said that George W. Bush was a humble man of low ambition. And then he ran his presidency as if he'd been born a king.


All In The Timing

by dday

I'm sure the military judge, in consultation with the Defense Department, threw his Khadr dart at the calendar to come up with this date:

Canadian Omar Khadr was told by a military judge Thursday at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that his trial on war crimes charges will begin on Oct. 8.

The judge, Col. Patrick Parrish, said the date for trial by the controversial military commissions process can be changed for legal reasons if necessary.

Khadr, 21, faces up to life in prison if convicted on charges of killing a U.S. army medic with a grenade during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002. He was 15 years old at the time.

Parrish was presiding over Khadr's pre-trial hearing for the first time.

The Toronto-born detainee's military lawyer, Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler, has accused the Pentagon of making last month's surprise change in judges to speed the process of getting his client to trial.

The last judge, Col. Peter Brownback, who had been on the case from the outset, was more concerned with following legal procedure, and leery of many aspects of the prosecution case, Kuebler has alleged.

Kuebler said Parrish has been described in an internet posting as "rocket docket" and has been parachuted in to get his client to trial before President George W. Bush leaves the White House early next year, something his predecessor, Brownback, was in no hurry to do.

Could somebody get me the significance of October 8, please? I mean other than the fact that it's a few weeks before the Presidential election. I'm not SO cynical to suggest that a high-profile trial of a Terrorist would fall at that time on purpose.

It has to be numerology or something.

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Lazy, Stupid Bigotry

by digby

This is so bad I hardly know what to say:

That's the cartoonist Pat Oliphant, who showed his sensibilities earlier in the campaign toward Clinton as well:

Wingnuts like to call Oliphant a liberal. If he is, then liberalism really has lost its meaning.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

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