Great American Hypocrisy: Torture Prosecutions for Thee but Not for Me

It seems the United States can prosecute torture – as long as it was someone else who did the torturing:

While fiercely loyal establishment spokespeople such as The Washington Post‘s Ruth Marcus continue to insist that prosecutions are only appropriate for common criminals (“someone breaking into your house”) but not our glorious political leaders when they break the law (by, say, systematically torturing people), the Bush administration has righteously decided that torture is such a grotesque and intolerable crime that political leaders who order it simply must be punished in American courts to the fullest extent of the law . . . . if they’re from Liberia:

MIAMI (AP) — U.S. prosecutors want a Miami judge to sentence the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 147 years in prison for torturing people when he was chief of a brutal paramilitary unit during his father’s reign.

Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Charles “Chuckie” Taylor Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9 by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. His conviction was the first use of a 1994 law allowing prosecution in the U.S. for acts of torture committed overseas.

Even in the U.S., it’s hard to believe that federal prosecutors who work for the Bush DOJ were able to convey the following words with a straight face:

A recent Justice Department court filing describes torture – which the U.S. has been accused of in the war on terror – as a “flagrant and pernicious abuse of power and authority” that warrants severe punishment of Taylor.

It undermines respect for and trust in authority, government and a rule of law,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Heck Miller in last week’s filing. “The gravity of the offense of torture is beyond dispute.”

Why, yes. Yes, it is. Which is bloody well why we should have Bush, Cheney et all locked up in cells awaiting the displeasure of the court.

There is an excellent fucking case to be made for delivering Bush and his cronies to the Hague:

A political scientist named Michael Haas has just published a book titled George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes:

Based on information supplied in autobiographical and press sources, the book matches events in Afghanistan, Guantánamo, Iraq , and various secret places of detention with provisions in the Geneva Conventions and other international agreements on war crimes. His compilation is the first to cite a comprehensive list of specific war crimes in four categories-illegality of the decision to go to war, misconduct during war, mistreatment of prisoners of war, and misgovernment in the American occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Haas accuses President Bush of conduct bordering on treason because he reenacted several complaints stated in the Declaration of Independence against England, ignored the Constitution and federal laws, trampled on the American tradition of developing international law to bring order to world politics, and in effect made a Faustian pact with Osama Bin Laden that the intelligence community blames for an increase in world terrorism. Osama Bin Laden remains alive, he reports, because Bush preferred to go after oil-rich Iraq rather than tracking down Al Qaeda leaders, whose uncaptured presence was useful to him in justifying a “war on terror” pursued on a military rather than a criminal basis without restraint from constitutional checks and balances.

The worst war crime cited is the murder of at least 45 prisoners, some but not all by torture. Other heinous crimes include the brutal treatment of thousands of children, some 64 of whom have been detained at Guantánamo. Sources document the use of illegal weapons in the war from cluster bombs to daisy cutters, napalm, white phosphorus, and depleted uranium weapons, some of which have injured and killed American soldiers as well as thousands of innocent civilians. Children playing in areas of Iraq where depleted uranium weapons have been used, but not reported on request from the World Health Organization, have developed leukemia and other serious diseases.

If actions like this do not make our leaders war criminals worthy of trial and conviction, nothing does. We have no right, none, to prosecute and imprison people for doing what we ourselves have done.

Digby excoriates the prevailing political winds blowing in the direction of forgive, forget, and pretend we can keep it from happening again without going through all the ickyness of a trial. She takes that down with alacrity, finishing with a stark reminder:

And this is one issue where there is absolutely no room for compromise — the world is watching and our national security depends upon Obama completely and without reservations ending these programs, closing Guantanamo, following the Geneva conventions and standing firm against any kind of lawless and unproductive anti-terrorism measures. Investigating and exposing the full extent of what went on is also, in my view, a necessity if we are to restore any kind of credibility around the world. If he doesn’t do these things, this moment will be as squandered as the world’s sympathy was squandered by Bush after 9/11. The world will be unlikely to give us a third chance at getting this right.

Second chances are hard enough to come by. We were extraordinarily lucky that Obama came along and restored the world’s faith in us. We need to show them their faith is justified.

And yes, there is something we can do about it. We can apply some pressure.

Ari Melber at The Nation has a good suggestion:

The Obama transition team is taking questions again at Change.gov, throwing open the site this week for citizen input. The first run of this experiment was a mixed bag. The platform was open and transparent, but the official answers felt more like old boilerplate than new responses. When the submitted questions parrot toics in the traditional media, of course, the exchange can feel like a dated press conference. But here’s a vital question that few reporters have ever presented to Obama:

Wil
l you appoint a Special Prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?

That question ranked sixth in voting last time — out of over 10,000 submissions — but the transition team only answered the top five questions. Now that Vice President Cheney confessed his support for waterboarding on national television, flouting the rule of law, the issue is even more urgent. Activist Bob Fertik, who has submitted the question twice, explains how you can vote to press this issue on the transition team:

  1. Sign in at http://change.gov/openforquestions
  2. Search for “Fitzgerald
  3. This will display several similar questions, so look carefully for “Bob Fertik”
  4. Look right for the checkbox, mouseover it so it goes from white to dark, then click to cast your vote

Now that we’ve shown we have the stomach to prosecute other countries’ citizens for torture, we need to stop being big fat fucking hypocrites and prosecute a few of our own.

Obligatory New Year’s Day Post

2009 is off to a rather rocky start. My roommate came home after a blissfully long absence. My Muse left in a snit. The two of them don’t get along at all, which is why I’m looking forward to April. Solitude will be mine… MIIIINNNNEEEE!!1!11!!

Ahem. Sorry ’bout that.

I have done nothing more interesting tonight than watch a few desultory fireworks shot off by a neighbor and moved heaven and earth on the intertoobz looking for new music. I like my New Years that way. If they changed the year at midsummer, I might consider dragging me arse from the house, but cold weather + stupid drunk people = Dana staying happily home.

This year will bring a few changes. I don’t play the resolutions game, but I have Plans. Oh, yes. They are:

1. Keep this blog fat and happy.

2. Move into a happy home o’ me own.

3. Write me arse off, with the first half of the year spent worldbuilding and the latter half beginning the novel, which will take me into 2010.

Along the way, I’m sure I’ll pick up a few new friends, fall in love with new bands, discover interests I never knew I had, find fabulous new authors and savor new novels from my favorites, see the Peacemakers a few times, and do other fun and exciting things that will make life worth living for yet another year. Rather looking forward to it.

Many of us have our own particular New Year’s traditions. Aside from taking the opportunity to sneak in a few extra hours alone with my characters, I play U2′s “New Year’s Day” without fail. Care to join me? You can see Bono with no wrinkles and really bad hair:

I don’t know about you, but I’m amused.

My fondest memory of 2008 is getting to meet all of you. Having you lot around makes me a very happy Dana indeed. And so, fill a glass with whatever’s to hand, raise it in your honor, and please do accept my favorite Scottish blessing, because it’s exactly what I want for you:

“May the best you’ve ever been be the worst you’ll ever see.”

Happy New Year, my darlings. I hope you’ll have a wonderful one indeed.

I Guess the Romance is Dead

Deary, deary me. Someone draw up the divorce papers – I do believe the bloom is off the rose:

Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public policy at Focus on the Family Action, makes the extraordinary claim that Mitt Romney “has acknowledged that Mormonism is not a Christian faith.”

This statement seems to have come as something as a surprise to Mittens:

But that’s news to the Romney camp, according to Michael Scherer:

On Saturday, I read this quote to Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s traveling press secretary. He did not hesitate or mince his words. “The governor has not made that acknowledgment,” Fehrnstrom told me. “He has said that his belief is not the same as others. But there is no doubt that Jesus Christ is at the center of the LDS church’s worship.”

In fact, the Church of Latter Day Saints, also know as the Mormon church, holds as a central belief that it is a Christian faith. This belief is a concern for some evangelical Christians, who see Mormonism as a competing religion. On the campaign trail, Romney has avoided discussing his faith in depth, and he has acknowledged that there are differences between his faith and others. But he has not been quoted saying Mormonism is not a Christian faith.

Why did Focus on the Family Action’s Tom Minnery think that Romney admitted that Mormonism is not Christianity? This quote from Romney’s speech on religion:

There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history.

What we’ve got here is a bad case of FoF hearing what they want to hear. Now that they’ve used the Mormon church’s power and money to keep icky gays from getting *gasp* married in California, evangelical Christians are right back to insisting the Mormons are just some bizarre cult, totally unlike Real Christians™ .

It’s too bad they can’t just admit they’re all making shit up. Amusing as it is to watch them assassinate each other, it’s also rather pathetic watching adults argue over whose fantasy is really real, especially after they’ve just finished using their fantasy to unite in denying such a simple human (dis)comfort as marriage to people they don’t like.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Happy New Year’s Eve, my darlings. If I wasn’t at work, we’d do something a little special for the last Happy Hour of 2008, but as it is, we’ll just have to content ourselves with the usual parade of idiocy.

For a change, let’s start out with a little Dem fucktardedness. And what could be more fucktarded than the replacement for Obama’s Senate seat playing the race card?

One can make a reasonable case that Roland Burris’ appointment to the Senate should go through, Rod Blagojevich’s scandal notwithstanding. But this is the wrong way to make the argument.

In an interview this morning on the CBS “Early Show,” Rep. Bobby Rush compared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s refusal to seat Roland Burris with the actions of leading segregationists from decades past, including George Wallace and Bull Connor.

Seriously, he did. Rush specifically said, “[T]he recent history of our nation has shown us that sometimes there could be individuals and there could be situations where school children — where you have officials standing in the doorway of school children. You know, I’m talking about all of us back in 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m talking about George Wallace, Bull Connors and I’m sure that the U.S. Senate don’t want to see themselves placed in the same position.”

Burris himself appeared on NBC’s “Today” this morning, and raised the same point, though in a more passive way: “Is it racism that is taking place? That’s a question that someone may raise.”

This strategy is a mistake. Blagojevich almost certainly considered Burris’ race before making his announcement, but there’s no evidence at all that Senate Democrats or Barack Obama are basing their opposition on anything but the governor’s corruption allegations. The comparison of modern-day Senate Democrats to George Wallace and Bull Connor is baseless and irresponsible. For Burris to even raise the possibility that racism is a factor here isn’t much better.

You know, when Senate Dems said they weren’t going to seat anyone appointed by Blagojevich, they didn’t say, “Unless, of course, we’re accused of being racists.” And running around screaming racism doesn’t really fly when Obama himself is backing the Senate Dems. This is just spectacularly pathetic.

Burris may be qualified. But anyone who accepted a seat from a man who was trying to sell that seat calls his own integrity and motivations into question. And it really looks bad when the appointee has created a monument to himself. Seriously. Go look at it. Can anyone say “self-absorbed”?

For fuck’s sake.

Of course, that drumbeat of inanity is rather drowned out by the thunder of Con dumbassitude. As always. Where to begin? How about with the Bush appointee who was literally asleep at the helm at OSHA:

From The Rachel Maddow Show Dec. 29, 2008. Sadly as someone who has read Molly Ivins’ book Bushwhacked and after watching the debacle during Hurricane Katrina, nothing any Bush appointee does surprises me very much.

But first, it‘s time for a few underreported “holy mackerel” stories in today‘s news. The “Washington Post” front-pages a story today on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, the part of the federal government that deals with workplace safety. They provide information about workplace hazards. They regulate workplace conditions so that they are safer.

Of course, in the Bush administration, OSHA does a lot less of that. They do 86 percent less of that, if you want to be precise here. OSHA under President Bush issued 86 percent fewer significant workplace safety rules and regulations than OSHA under Bill Clinton. Now, that‘s not necessarily a big political surprise. Republicans are the pro-corporation, anti-regulation party even when they can‘t really agree on anything else.

But what is a surprise about OSHA under President Bush which we learned in today‘s “Washington Post” is—I‘m not actually sure that I can improve on the facts as they are presented in today‘s “Washington Post” article by the reporter, R. Jeffrey Smith.

Quote, “In 2006, Bush‘s first OSHA director, a former Monsanto employee was replaced by Edwin G. Foulke Jr., a South Carolina lawyer and former Bush fundraiser who spent years defending companies cited by OSHA for safety and health violations. Foulke quickly acquired a reputation inside the Labor Department as a man who literally fell asleep on the job.

Eyewitnesses said they saw him suddenly doze off at staff meetings, during teleconferences, in one-on-one briefings, at retreats involving senior deputies, on the dais at the conference, at an awards ceremony for a corporation, and during an interview with candidate for deputy regional administrator.

His top aides said they rustled papers, wore attention-getting garb, they pounded the table for emphasis or gently kicked his leg, all to keep him awake. But if these tactics failed, sometimes they just continued talking as if he were awake – ‘We‘ll be sitting there and things will fall out of his hands; people will go on talking like nothing ever happened,‘ said a career official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to a reporter.

In an interview, Foulke denied falling asleep at work, although he said he was often tired and sometimes listened with his eyes closed,” end quote.

Dear. Fucking. Gods. And people wonder why this country got so fucked up.

As for insight coming from these clowns, fuggedaboutit. Here’s Gonzo, feeling all sorry for hisself because people hate him and he just can’t understand why:

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales left office in disgrace 16 months ago, and has kept a low profile since. His reputation has not improved in the interim — Gonzales has struggled to find a law firm willing to hire him — but at least he hasn’t said or done anything ridiculous since his departure from public life.

Gonzales, however, is apparently interested in some kind of comeback. The former A.G. is writing a book about his tenure in the Bush administration and chatted with the Wall Street Journal about how mean everyone has been to him.

“What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?” he said during an interview Tuesday, offering his most extensive comments since leaving government.

During a lunch meeting two blocks from the White House, where he served under his longtime friend, President George W. Bush, Mr. Gonzales said that “for some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I con
sider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror.”

Is Gonzales really that confused about what he did that was “so fundamentally wrong”? I suppose he proved during multiple congressional hearings that his memory is similar to that of someone who’s suffered serious head trauma, but Gonzales’ list of scandals is hard to forget.

Just off the top of my head, there was the U.S. Attorney purge scandal, Gonzales signing torture memos, his conduct in John Ashcroft’s hospital room, his oversight of a Justice Department that was engaged in widespread employment discrimination, and his gutting of the DoJ’s Civil Rights Division. Gonzales was even investigated by the department’s Inspector General on allegations of perjury and obstruction.

Ah, well. At least the blogs are having fun reminding him just why he’s so universally despised. That’s something.

And here’s the WSJ, ending their year as they began, spewing conservative talking points and doing their best to convince everyone that the world will end in mayhem and ruin if the Dems do what Americans want them to do, like ensure people have proper health care:

The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal took another shot at President elect Barack Obama’s health care proposal yesterday, warning readers that Obama’s appointed health care leaders — incoming Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Daschle and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes — “will ration your health care“:

People are policy. And now that President-elect Barack Obama has fielded his team of Tom Daschle as secretary of Health and Human Services and Melody Barnes as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, we can predict both the strategy and substance of the new administration’s health-care reform.

The prognosis is not good for patients, physicians or taxpayers…. Americans can expect a quick, hard push to build more federal bureaucracy, impose price controls, restrict medicines and technology, boost taxes, mandate the purchase of health insurance, and expand government health care.

The Journal’s ‘predictions’ are as predictable as they are erroneous. Conservatives have spouted the same-old tired arguments against reform since President Clinton’s failed 1994 effort, and the Wonk Room, along with some other progressive blogs, has been actively disputing their assertions.

And Norm Coleman ends the year firmly in denial:


Norm Coleman has done it again: He’s filed a lawsuit at the state Supreme Court.

This newest lawsuit is an attempt to force the inclusion of the 650 rejected absentee ballots that his campaign wants put into the count, which the local election officials from around Minnesota have not included in the lists of ballots that they say were thrown out because of clerical errors. In short, Coleman is suing to include ballots that the county officials say were thrown out properly — and which local media analyses say are from areas that Coleman swept in the election.

On a conference call with reporters just now, lead Franken lawyer Marc Elias ridiculed the Coleman campaign for having throughout this whole recount dismissed the idea that there were any significant number of wrongly-rejected ballots, only to have a very sharp change of position now that they’re behind in the latest count by 49 votes.

“This is a campaign – the Coleman campaign, that is – is a campaign that is remarkably fond of do-overs,” Elias said. “Their strategy seems to be to first object to something, then when that something happens to fight it. Then when it’s clear that they’re not going to prevail, to start over again.”

Sounds like a typical Con. And I’m sure we’ll have plenty more to look forward to in the coming year. Some things never change.

I’ve Gots ‘Splaining To Do

Regulars to the cantina have probably noticed a rather abrupt falling off in volume lately. There’s a reason for that. I’ve just been too busy to ‘splain.

Writing fiction again, you see.

My Christmas tradition for these many years has been to shut out the rest of the world and put the extra day or two off to good advantage. I haven’t written fiction in months, didn’t even have scenes running through my mind, but that was no reason not to write. I’ve missed fiction. So, instead of world-building, instead of research, instead of those one-billion-and-one things I should be doing, I just started writing scenes for the sheer delight of wordsmithing. I skipped around here, there and everywhere within my universe, playing with a description here, a metaphor there, savoring each sentence. And it felt fantastic.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped writing and started reading instead. Last year, I wrote several chapters in a book I wasn’t even supposed to be working on because it comes so late in the sequence. But the scenes were there, demanding to be written. Total compulsion. I justified it by telling myself that I needed to get this stuff down while it was fresh in my mind, and the practice wouldn’t hurt. After all, the first book in the series needs to be outstanding. It’s going to take tremendous skill to pull off what I want to do. Skill is developed by practice. Ergo, use these scenes to practice.

As I was writing, it seemed as if things were inspired. Seemed like I could actually do a fair job of capturing this stuff.

Reading it now, I do not think I was wrong. I found plenty of rough edges – a writer worth their shit will always find flaws with their work. But I also found a lot to be excited about. I used to suck at the mushy-gushy stuff, for instance, which was unfortunate because so much hangs on the unique connections between certain of my characters, deeply emotional relationships beyond mere love and romantic entanglement. Those scenes are now starting to take on the transcendent quality they needed.

I’ve also had an enormously difficult time capturing grief, which was also vital to the story I wanted to tell. That’s getting far easier. And I think I’m avoiding the wanker trap – I’ve never wanted my grieving characters to turn into o-woe-is-me sniveling weenies. They’re stronger than that, despite crushing pain. And those scenes seem to be working too.

There’s an enormous amount of work to be done. As I’ve mentioned before, certain assumptions have to be rethought. There’s a vast amount of worldbuilding still unfinished. I have to go over everything from the beginning, decide what must stay and what can be safely discarded, strengthen the weak areas and figure out the science behind the fantasy. None of it will be easy, but it’s going to be worth doing.

That being so, this blog is likely to see a bit less posting than usual. Apologies in advance, my darlings. I’ll do my best.

(BTW, If anyone wins an insane amount of money in the lottery and wants to free me from my day job with a modest stipend, thus allowing me a full blogging schedule on top of my storytelling duties, I could be persuaded to accept such a thing. Just so’s you know.)

Pardon Me – Your Logical Fallacy is Flapping in the Wind

I don’t usually filch from PZ because I figure most of you have already been over to Pharyngula, but this little gem of a logical fallacy needs to be set like a solitaire. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rep. Mark Souder:

I personally believe that there is no issue more important to our society than intelligent design. I believe that if there wasn’t a purpose in designing you — regardless of who you view the designer as being — then, from my perspective, you can’t be fallen from that design. If you can’t be fallen from that design, there’s no point to evangelism.

You know what? He’s absolutely right. Spot-on. I agree with his last two sentences without reservation.

Never mind that it’s a big ol’ logical fallacy (looks like the ol’ appeal to consequences to me). Let’s just take him at his word: if there’s no design, you can’t be fallen from that design, ergo evangelism has no point.

Hmm. Evolution has rather put paid to the whole design idea….

Huzzah! Fundamentalist religion is dead. No point in evangelism anymore – let’s drink to it’s demise!


I love it when someone’s own logical fallacy works to our advantage. What a perfect way to start the New Year.

The Law of Unintended Consequences: Biting Israel’s Butt

You’d think that Bush’s Global War on Terror having turned in to the greatest single recruiting tool for al Qaeda would’ve given other world leaders a bit of a clue. Alas, stupidity knows no borders:

Benjamin Netanyahu was on CNN today saying “We’ll have to bring down the Hamas regime.”

And how’s that going, Ben?

The disproportionate and heavy-handed Israeli attacks on Gaza have been a bonanza for Hamas. The movement has renewed its standing in the Arab world, secured international favor further afield and succeeded in scuttling indirect Israeli-Syrian talks and direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. It has also greatly embarrassed Israel’s strongest Arab neighbors, Egypt and Jordan.

While it is not apparent how this violent confrontation will end, it is abundantly clear that the Islamic Hamas movement has been brought back from near political defeat while moderate Arab leaders have been forced to back away from their support for any reconciliation with Israel.

Epic fucking fail.

Carnival of the Elitist Bastards VIII: To Boldly Go


The HMS Elitist Bastard leaves the high seas for deep space over at Submitted to a Candid World. Captain Ames helms the ship as we explore strange new worlds, seek out ignorance, and then blast it into oblivion with phasers set to “vaporize.” The only question remaining unanswered: how good is Ames at the Picard Maneuver?

Set a course for wisdom. Warp factor 9. Engage.

Postdated so as to leave no crew member behind.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

If there wasn’t so much Con stupidity happening today, I’d highlight Blagojevich’s supreme fucknuttery. As it is, should you want to have fun laughing at his expense, see here and here. I have some Con bottoms to spank.

Allow me to start with John Bolton, who is one of the most ridiculous chickenhawks on the face of the earth. It’s not enough for him that we’re already stuck in two useless wars – he wants us to go for a triple:


Yesterday, on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes, Iran war hawk John Bolton said that Israel’s recent bombing campaign in Gaza is all the more reason for the United States to bomb Iran now. “So while our focus obviously is on Gaza right now, this could turn out to be a much larger conflict,” he said, adding that “we’re looking at potentially a multi-front war here.”

“You would strike Iran right now?” asked host Alan Colmes. “I would have done it before this,” Bolton responded. Colmes asked whether tensions and war across Middle East would escalate if the U.S. or Israel were to bomb Iran. Bolton said that the many Arab countries would secretly be cheering if Iran were attacked…

[snip]

It’s hard to believe that the Arab world would be pulling out the party hats if Iran were attacked. Thanks to the policies of President Bush, the U.S is immensely unpopular across the Middle East. Iran, on the other hand, enjoys unprecedented support in Iraq, which is supposed to be America’s greatest ally in the region.

The stupidity here is overwhelming in its scope. I have no idea what sort of fantasy world this man is living in, but apparently it involves hallucinogens. Lots and lots of hallucinogens.

Speaking of overwhelming stupidity, some Cons apparently think that sending out a CD with “Barack the Magic Negro” on it is a fine joke and not worth worrying over:


Indeed, taking this to the next logical step, some RNC members are saying that Duncan and Anuzis may have hurt themselves by criticizing Saltsman’s judgment. One RNC member told the Politico, “Those are two guys who just eliminated themselves from this race for jumping all over Chip on this. Mike Duncan is a nice guy, but he screwed up big time by pandering to the national press on this.” Several more have “expressed anger toward Duncan and Anuzis ‘for throwing a good Republican under the bus.’”

So, to summarize, a leading candidate to lead the Republican National Committee promoted a song calling the next president a “magic negro.” This has improved his chances of getting the job.

Only Cons could think that extraordinary racial insensitivity is a feature, not a bug, in a political leader.

And forget about Congress working quickly to rescue the economy from the catastrophe they let it become:

President-elect Obama has made it clear that one of his first priorities when he takes office will be an economic stimulus package that could reach around $800 billion. Top economists have said that such investment — in areas such as infrastructure, health care, energy, and education — is essential for boosting the economy. As Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has stated, the “risks of being too small are much bigger than the risks of being too big.”

Despite the urgency after eight years of the Bush administration doing nothing, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now saying that he and his fellow conservatives are in no rush to provide this important economic relief and plan to put the brakes to attempts to quickly pass a package. From a statement he issued yesterday:


As of right now, Americans are left with more questions than answers about this unprecedented government spending, and I believe the taxpayers deserve to know a lot more about where it will be spent before we consider passing it.

According to the Washington Post, McConnell has also “called for a weeklong cooling off period between when the bill is drafted and when it is voted on, allowing time to dissect it for signs of ‘fraud and waste.’” Conservatives have the power to filibuster the legislation if they oppose it.

Funny how they only worry about “fraud and waste” when they’re not the ones stuffing both hands in the cookie jar. After the last eight years of fraud, waste and fuckery, I really don’t think these assclowns have any credibility when it comes to watching out for taxpayers’ money.

And if I ever hear them howling over campaign finance improprieties again, I shall pee myself laughing:

For Republicans opposed to campaign finance regulations, it appears that enforcing the law is just so last year.

Bloomberg reports that the Federal Election Commission’s three GOP members all voted against fining the Chamber of Commerce for illegally spending money in 2004 on attacks against John Edwards, that year’s Democratic vice-presidential nominee. The 3-3 final vote tally meant the commission took the rare step of rejecting an FEC counsel recommendation to impose the fine.

The November Fund, a 527 group run by the Chamber, had been found to have broken campaign spending laws by using $3 million it received from the chamber to attack Edwards over his trial lawyer background. Bloomberg notes that 11 other 527s were accused of violating campaign spending laws, and all but the Chamber paid a fine.

I don’t even know what to say. Apparently, the Cons in the FEC believe that finance fuckery is perfectly acceptable as long as it’s Cons engaging in the fraud. Charming.

And, finally, reports of Bush’s passion for reading have been greatly exaggerated:

As part of its end-of-presidency wrap-up, Vanity Fair notes this interesting tidbit from Richard Clarke, the former chief White House counterterrorism adviser.

[snip]


“The contrast with having briefed his father and Clinton and Gore was so marked. And to be told, frankly, early in the administration, by Condi Rice and [her deputy] Steve Hadley, you know, Don’t give the president a lot of long memos, he’s not a big reader — well, shit. I mean, the president of the United States is not a big reader?”

Funny, just last week Karl Rove told us the president is a voracious reader, who reads dense texts “to relax and because he’s curious,” and for 35 years, George W. Bush has “always had a book nearby.”

I’m so sick of these lying morons I could scream. In fact, I think I’ll go outside and do that right now.