Today’s opining on the public discourse.
Every day, something happens that makes me wish we could just jump ahead to January. And every day, something happens to convince me that if McCain gets elected in November, I’m gonna become an Aussie. Or a Canadian. Possibly a Spaniard, Italian or Brit. Except my damned morals mean I’d probably end up right here, fighting for another four years to try to keep my country from being completely destroyed by raving fuckwits.
Damn you, morals!
So let’s see what’s out there today making me wish Bush was out of office and Obama in tomorrow.
Oh, look. Bush is in a big ol’ hurry, too. Didn’t I tell you guys he’d try to fuck up absolutely everything he possibly could before he got his arse booted from the White House? Lessee, in the last few weeks, Bush has ensured (with far too much help from Dems) that the Fourth Amendment got gutted. The EPA’s on a fast track to ensuring the air we breathe isn’t breathable, and that polar bears will have to worry about heat stroke. Rules got pushed through that try to control a woman’s right control her reproductive system. And now he’s smooching his big bidness buddies while giving workers every opportunity to die horrible deaths (thanks to Efrique for the tip):
Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers’ on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.
The agency did not disclose the proposal, as required, in public notices of regulatory plans that it filed in December and May. Instead, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao‘s intention to push for the rule first surfaced on July 7, when the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted on its Web site that it was reviewing the proposal, identified only by its nine-word title.
The text of the proposed rule has not been made public, but according to sources briefed on the change and to an early draft obtained by The Washington Post, it would call for reexamining the methods used to measure risks posed by workplace exposure to toxins. The change would address long-standing complaints from businesses that the government overestimates the risk posed by job exposure to chemicals.
Fantastic. Is there anything that these fuckers don’t want seen turned into a toxic waste dump? They must be pining for the world before regulations, when rivers caught on fire and the air was one big chemical cocktail.
But they want you to think they like clean air and water. John McCain wants you to believe he believes in such things so much that he tried to use a hurricane as an excuse not to visit an oil rig. Of course, he’s a lying sack of shit, so let’s just dig around for the real reason, shall we? Ah, yes, Carpetbagger has him nailed:
Recognizing the interest in Barack Obama’s speech in Germany today, the McCain campaign came up with a photo-op that would have captured at least some attention — John McCain would hop on a helicopter and give a speech from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Louisiana coast. The campaign knows how important oil prices are to voters, so McCain assumed he could fool a few of them into thinking coastal drilling would give them relief at the pump.
But just an hour after the photo-op was finalized and the media was alerted, the event was off. The campaign said the weather just wasn’t cooperating. Jonathan Martin noted, “The campaign declined to comment any further about the quick decision to spike the trip other than to cite the weather.”
Truth be told, I hadn’t thought too much about this, other than to notice McCain’s streak of bad luck lately. But it turns out, there are two salient angles to this story.
First, as ThinkProgress noted, the cancellation of the photo-op doesn’t exactly reinforce the talking points about oil rig “safety.”
Ironically, the “weather” of concern is the strengthening Hurricane Dolly, which has been bumped up to a category 2 hurricane (Katrina was rated a category 5) with winds up to 100 miles per hour. Today, Dolly made landfall in Texas.
As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has noted multiple times,
McCain and his surrogates have for weeks been peddling the false claim that Hurricane Katrina caused no major oil spills to push for expanded drilling. […]
As McCain makes his push for increased oil production, Louisiana officials are also dealing with a barge collision that caused a spill of an estimated 9,000 barrels of fuel into the Mississippi River, resulting in a 12-mile long oil slick. “Television stations reported the stench of diesel fuel wafting across the French Quarter.”
Which leads to the second point: the weather is actually fine off the Louisiana coast today, and it’s the oil spill that probably prompted the cancellation.
Yeah, ‘cuz it’s kinda hard to tell people how safe and clean oil is when tons of it are gunking up major shipping lanes and making the place stink to high heaven.
Speaking of things that stink to high heaven, guess what? The Bush regime thought torture’s just not torture without specific intent:
Today, the ACLU released a series of memos exchanged between the Justice Department and the CIA from 2002 through 2004. According to Raw Story, the memos effectively say that “as long as CIA agents could convince themselves they were not deliberately inflicting severe pain or suffering on detainees, they wer
e free to do virtually anything in
their questioning of suspected terrorists, including waterboarding.” Here’s an example from an August 2002 memo:
To violate the statute [against torture], an individual must have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering. Because specific intent is an element of the offense, the absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture. As we have previously opined, to have the required specific intent, an individual must expressly intend to cause such severe pain and suffering.
This is useful. I’ll have to remember it next time I’m tempted to cause someone severe pain and suffering – I’m not actually torturing them unless I meant them to experience “severe pain and suffering.” So if I slam someone’s balls repeatedly in a hot oven door, as long as I believe I didn’t mean it to hurt a lot, we’re all good.
Does this make sense to you? Doesn’t to me, either.
And, finally, our day wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Grade-A fuckwittery from John McLame. This is actually beyond Grade-A:
The major Sunni sheik who John McCain said was protected by the surge and subsequently helped lead the Anbar Awakening, was actually assassinated by an al-Qaeda led group in midst of the surge.
On Tuesday evening, McCain falsely claimed that the downturn in violence in Iraq’s Anbar province was a result of the surge, when in fact the surge began months afterward. Moreover, he said, if it weren’t for the work of U.S. forces, the major Sunni figure leading that awakening wouldn’t have had the protection he needed.
“Colonel MacFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks,” said the Senator. “Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening.”
The Arizona Republican’s campaign went further the next day, claiming that the major figures that turned around Anbar province would have been killed had the surge policy not been in place. “If Barack Obama had had his way, the Sheiks who started the Awakening would have been murdered at the hands of al Qaeda,” said spokesman Tucker Bounds.
Sadly, that murder took place even with the surge underway.
I’m not even going to say a word. Irony like that doesn’t need any added snark.
This is our nation’s government, ladies and gentlemen. Feel free to weep.