Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thanks so much

You may recall that the stalwart Senator Feinstein expressed her confidence in the new Alberto Gonzales (via Digby):

"I do believe he will be a truly nonpolitical, nonpartisan attorney general; that he will make his views very clear; and that, once he has the opportunity to do the evaluation he believes he needs on waterboarding, he will be willing to come before the Judiciary Committee and express his views comprehensively and definitively," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, one of the six who voted with the majority for confirmation.

Who has already turned out to be same as the old Alberto Gonzales:

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) said that he'd been getting the impression that Mukasey really thought about torture in relative terms, and wanted to know if that was so. Is it OK to waterboard someone if a nuclear weapon was hidden -- the Jack Bauer scenario -- but not OK to waterboard someone for more pedestrian information?

Mukasey responded that it was "not simply a relative issue," but there "is a statute where it is a relative issue," he added, citing the Detainee Treatment Act. That law engages the "shocks the conscience" standard, he explained, and you have to "balance the value of doing something against the cost of doing it."

What does "cost" mean, Biden wanted to know.

Mukasey said that was the wrong word. "I mean the heinousness of doing it, the cruelty of doing it, balanced against the value.... balanced against the information you might get." Information "that couldn't be used to save lives," he explained, would be of less value.
Ted Kennedy asked Mukasey if it would be torture if Mukasey himself were to be waterboarded. Mukasey refused to give a non-subjective answer.

Thus did we end up at the place where we started.

Senator Feinstein is so utterly predictable. When there is sufficient distance between a Republican outrage and the Constitution, or the rule of law, or some other cornerstone of democracy, we can always count on DiFi to seek middle ground between right and wrong.

Well, Senator, there is a wonderful old saying: if you pour a spoonful of wine into a barrel of shit, you still have a barrel of shit. And if you pour a spoonful of shit into a barrel of wine? You still have a barrel of shit.

Based on results, it is difficult to to avoid the conclusion that ending up with a barrel of shit is not a mere accident, but in fact the object of the game DiFi is playing.

Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Buh bye!

I'm so glad we had this time together,
Just to have a laugh, and sing a song.
Seems we just got started and before we knew it
Came the time we had to say, 'So long.'

Seems the Republican electorate isn't quite ready for a cross-dressing adultering fascist after all.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I take back my heartfelt eulogy.

The Editors is so not dead.

Welcome back, The. We hardly didn't know ye.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Frame shop

As Glennzilla has already pointed out, Chris Dodd's December heroics did not kill telecom immunity; the White House and its enablers from both parties are already laying the groundwork for another run at selling off the last fragment of the rule of law. And the framing is oh-so-familiar:

"Do they or do they not want our intelligence agencies to be listening in on conversations between terrorists in the Middle East who may be plotting to hurt America?" Rove asked.

As usual, there is no effective counter-spin coming from the loyal opposition. But the right framing struck me last night, and it is pretty damned obvious.

We don't need new laws to allow the CIA and FBI to listen when al Qaeda is on the phone. In 2001 they legally intercepted plenty of al Qaeda messages. What we need is a law requiring George Bush to listen when the intelligence community tries to tell him about those messages -- remember "bin Laden determined to attack in U.S."?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

EPA allergic to the sun

Invoking executive privilege, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday refused to provide lawmakers with a full explanation of why it rejected California's greenhouse gas regulations.

The EPA informed Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., that many of the documents she had requested contained internal deliberations or attorney-client communications that would not be shared now with Congress.

"EPA is concerned about the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting," EPA's associate administrator Christopher P. Bliley wrote.

Who writes the laws the EPA (purportedly) enforces? Congress. As an administrative agency, with the ability to promulgate rules intended to carry out Congress' intent, the EPA is in part an extension of the Congress. Delegating rulemaking power to agencies is controversial. When it goes too far, many think this sort of thing is a Bad Idea:
Since the New Deal, Congress has ceded more and more of its legislative authority to executive branch agencies. This delegation of lawmaking power is ill advised and illegitimate, for several reasons:

* Delegation violates the Constitution, subverting the central structural principle of that document: the separation of powers.

* Delegation severs the people from the law, undermining democracy by allowing vitally important decisions of governance to be made by unelected, unaccountable officials.

* Delegation is a political shell game, allowing legislators to simultaneously support the benefits and oppose the costs of regulation.

* Most importantly, by allowing those who enforce the law to make the law as well, delegation subjects the lives, liberty and property of Americans to arbitrary rule.

So what wild-eyed big-gummint liberal wrote that?

The director of Natural Resource Studies at... the Cato Institute. In 1996.

Boiled down to a Hollywood script pitch level, the situation is this: Congress passes law; Congress grants agency power to enforce law; agency asserts Congress has no right to inquire as to how agency enforces law.

If chutzpah was an energy source, oil would now be at $10 a barrel.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Just doing my job, Ma'am

A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that four former Guantanamo prisoners, all British citizens, have no right to sue top Pentagon officials and military officers for torture, abuse and violations of their religious rights.
The appeals court cited a lack of jurisdiction over the lawsuit, ruled the defendants enjoyed qualified immunity for acts taken within the scope of their government jobs and held the religious right law did not apply to the detainees.

Governmental immunity is a well-established doctrine, but it only applies, as the court pointed out, if the thing the official is accused of was within the scope of his or her employment. I didn't read the opinion itself, but what I assume this means is that court found that, even of the plaintiff's factual claims were true (that is, that they did authorize torture), the plaintiffs failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted.

In other words, the court here effectively ruled that authorizing torture is just another day at the office in George Bush's United State of America.

Don't it make you proud?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I guess this one is making the rounds. A friend chain-blogged this to me, and expected me to come up with 4 headlines.

Headline I most fear seeing in 2008:
Bush Declares Himself Winner of Third Term; Congress Declines to Investigate, Writes Letter Expressing 'Strong Disappointment'

Headline I most want to see in 2008: "We Give Up": D.C. Bureaus of NYT, Washington Post Resign En Masse, "Follow Passion" and Join Staff of Entertainment Weekly

Headline I most expect to see in 2008: Collapsing Economy, Administration Scandals, Endless War "good news" for Republican Hopefuls, Pundits Say

Headline I least expect to see in 2008: Mortgage Crisis Abates; Real Estate Market Rebounds

Hey, Esoder --tag, you're it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A future without ponies

Sadly, I think it is time to call it.

The Poor Man seems to have left the building for the last time. His postings became sporadic and perfunctory months ago. He gradually stopped responding to stimuli; the site would go offline without warning, sometimes for days at a time. I am guessing that when Kaye Grogan stopped offering up the tasty morsels of stupid that had given him so much sustenance over the years, he just lost the will to go on.

I'd like to think The Editors has gone on to a better place. But I will always treasure our time together. And I will always consider myself a part of the Poor Man Institute for Freedom, Democracy, and a Pony.

Vaya con Dios, The.

see web stats