Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I’ve survived my week of day shift. Time now to see if I can survive the remaining months of the Bush farce.

Digby points out why we should all sign the ACLU’s petition to stop the regime from declaring the entire earth a battlefield:

The ACLU has put together an action to try to stop this dangerous notion of the congress “declaring war” on Al Qaeda and terrorism. You can sign up here:

Tell Congress: Reject Endless War and a Torture Cover-Up

President Bush and Attorney General Mukasey have a plan to make the entire globe — including the United States itself — a “battlefield” where the president decides who will be locked up forever.

The legislation Mukasey is pushing would also subvert the Constitution, authorize indefinite detention, and permanently
conceal the Bush administration’s systemic torture and abuse of detainees.


I think we all know what an awful policy this would be. If the United States is to ever regain the tiniest bit of its reputation for trustworthiness and decency, it has to reject this entire regime. This whole thing makes us less safe, not more.

But let’s get shallow and talk about the politics of this. The Republicans couldn’t be more obvious than to lay this minefield before they get out of office, giving themselves all the tools they need to hamstring every initiative that isn’t fully approved by their most fervent warmongers for years to come.

It is a huge mistake to let them revive the GWOT as an organizing principle for American foreign policy. Bush’s Iraq debacle managed to discredit the right wing’s patented flogging of the boogeyman as the dominating narrative of American politics. People no longer take for granted that we are under siege from enemies and must “sacrifice” everything to keep the babies safe. Now is the moment for Democrats to offer a different vision of American strength and leadership. Declaring unending war will put us right back in the pre-invasion mindset, as if Iraq never happened and we are fighting The War of The Worlds.

And it will put Democrats back in a perpetual defensive crouch. Endless war and “fiscal responsibility” are political straight jackets that keep the progressive agenda cramped and unrealizable, thus ensuring that
conservatism can make its big comeback, once they’ve rested up from all the raping and pillaging.

She’s absolutely right. All they have left is fear. They’re trying to make us afraid enough to let them put us in chains. Put a stop to it.

I don’t even know why these stupid fucks think they’re qualified to fight a war. Not after this little gem the Seattle Times ran today. If they can’t even run the military well enough to keep a missle crew from falling asleep while in charge of the missiles, how are we supposed to trust them to keep us safe, eh?

And then there’s the whole “Obama’s acting like presidental material OMG HOW DARE HE?!?!!” meme that’s going around since the European trip. They’re upset because Obama’s not following McCain’s lead and acting like a doddering fool. They toss around words like “arrogant” and “presumptuous” and somehow neglect words like “smart” and “prepared:”

Yesterday, The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder reported that “Sen. Barack Obama has directed his aides to begin planning” for his presidential transition, should he be elected. Sen. John McCain’s campaign responded with derision, saying that Obama had “poor judgment” and was “dancing in the end zone” by making such preparations. But over at the Wonk Room, Center for American Progress Action Fund Director of Homeland Security P.J. Crowley argues that such advance work is necessary for any potential president:

Why is this important? Attempted attacks have become a staple of groups like al Qaeda. Given this heightened risk, one of our earliest conclusions was that the two candidates cannot wait until November to focus on this challenge. Advance work will be necessary to have an effective leadership team ready, establish relationships with key stakeholders across the
country, prepare the public for what lies ahead and outline concrete priorities for the first 100 days and first year in office.

This is not being presumptuous. Actually, it is being presidential.

Imagine that. The nerve of a dude who wants to be elected president actually taking the responsibilities seriously when he should, right? I mean, who wants a president who’s actually prepared to run the damned country?

Just, you know, something like nearly 300,000,000 of us, give or take several million severely deluded Faux News viewers.

Seeing as how it’s Friday, let’s end this on a happy note. If this doesn’t put an enormous grin on your face, nothing will:

It’s been a slow burn at the hearing on the 2004 elections at the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. With two separate panels, Hans von Spakovsky didn’t get around to testifying until 5:00 PM ET.

But Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) made it all worth it.

Ellison threw tact to the wind in questioning von Spakovsky, berating him for the disenfranchisement of a group of a dozen elderly nuns and battering him with inquiries on his communications with U.S. attorneys on voter fraud prosecutions. We have video coming, but to tide you over, here’s the transcript:

ELLISON: Now here’s something that happened on the May 7th Indiana election. A dozen nuns and another unknown number of students were turned away from the polls Tuesday in the first use of Indiana’s stringent voter ID law since it was upheld last week by the United State Supreme Court. Mr. von Spakovsky, you wanna stop nuns from voting?

VON SPAKOVSKY: [silence]

ELLISON: Why don’t you want nuns to vote, Mr. von Spakovsky?

VON SPAKOVSKY: Congressman Ellison, uh-

ELLISON: I’m just curious to know.

Isn’t that delightful? You want more, don’t you? You know you do. Here ya go:

ELLISON: What involvement did you have in the voting prosecution brought by Brad Schlozman in Missouri?

VON SPAKOVSKY: I had none, I was at the Federal Elections Commission. Why would I have anything to do with what the Department of Justice was doing when I wasn’t even working there?

ELLISON: Maybe because you have an obsessive fear that people might vote who you don’t want to, so you try to contact the U.S. Attorney’s office to try to stop people from voting.

VON SPAKOVSKY: That’s a fantasy that you’re making up. I had nothing to do with federal prosecutions going on at the Department of Justice when I was at the Federal Elections Commission. That’s ridiculous.

ELLISON: Well, I’m asking you, you’re on record now. And we’ll see if it matches up with the facts.

VON SPAKOVSKY: Are you accusing me of lying Congressman?

ELLISON: I’m asking you questions sir, haven’t you been here?

Isn’t he terrific? Doesn’t he just remind you of a snarkier Lucius Fox from Batman Begins (tell me you remember the last “Didn’t you get the memo” bit)? I’m tempted to pull the entire damned transcript for both the hope that this is how Bush lackeys will be treated in the future and for the sheer entertainment value.

Thank you, TPM, for having a transcript! And thank you, Rep. Ellison, for giving these assclowns the respect they deserve!

Happy Hour Discurso