Friday, May 3, 2013

Last Call: Worse Than You Know Who

Former Dubya-era White house press flack Ari Fleischer talking about the Gitmo hunger strikes, go home, you're drunk.

The events sparked a debate on CNN last night, prompting former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer to defend his former boss’s decision to open Gitmo to begin with. “We have it because these people did not even follow the law of war, let alone the rule of war,” he said, adding, “These people didn’t even wear a military uniform. They engaged in battle against America as terrorists, a violation of the laws of war. That’s why Guantanamo got invented.”

But most legal experts say detention practices at Gitmo violate international law.

“This country fought Adolf Hitler. And I don’t really believe that Osama bin Laden and his group are worse or more dangerous than Adolf Hitler,” CNN legal expert Jeffery Toobin countered Fleischer, adding, “We managed to defeat Adolf Hitler by following the rule of law.”

 Free advice:  He's a bad guy.

Backed in a corner, Fleischer then went a bit off the rail:
FLEISCHER: They [the Germans] followed the law of war. They wore uniforms and they fought us on battlefields. These people are fundamentally, totally by design different. And they need to be treated in a different extrajudicial system.

Oh sure, a snappy uniform makes all the difference, Ari.  Jesus wept.  Jackass.

Dispatches From The Green Lantern Pundit Corps

News that unprecedented GOP obstruction of President Obama’s executive appointments (not to mention sequestration) has left several cabinet departments and federal agencies simply unable to function has gotten the usually reasonable Jonathan Bernstein to pen an application to join the Green Lantern Pundit Corps over the glacial speed to which the GOP has reduced the President’s vetting process to.   Faster, President!  Vet!  Vet!

Their motto:  “In brightest day, in blackest night, if Obama just had the will to fight!”

The answer is to reduce, as much as possible, the vetting that goes into these choices. Yes, that probably increases the chances of a scandal down the road sometime. But that cost, visible as it is when it happens, just isn’t as important as the cost of leaving offices empty — and of disqualifying perfectly good men and women who want to give some of their abilities to the public.
I’ve talked before about getting cover for change on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue by putting a commission together dedicated to stopping the madness. But Obama can do most of this on his own. It just takes realizing that the cost of the current levels of vetting are in fact huge, and that it really isn’t that big a deal if a bad apple (or someone who can be portrayed as a bad apple) sneaks in every once in a while. Reduce vetting now!

The problem here remains the Republicans, Jon.  Accepting the framing here that Obama needs to be the one to change to accept the “new reality” of GOP blocking is exactly what the Republicans want, because then that becomes the acceptable norm for the next 44 months.

The far greater cost than the empty agency positions is the damage the Republicans are doing to the idea of good government itself, and the fact that we’re letting them get away with this petty crap only means that “a bureaucracy that can’t possibly function correctly because it’s been hamstrung” is the new normal, and what Americans will be conditioned to accept.  Furthermore, the next time Republicans are in charge, they’ll simply redefine the framing and move the goalposts to “We can fill these positions with whomever we want, plenary executive, suckas!”

Besides, if President Obama speeds up or eliminates the vetting process, A) Republicans will keep obstructing the process anyway, meaning that this isn’t a solution to the root cause of the problem, B) a scandal is exactly what the GOP will need in order to “prove” that Democrats can’t govern, and C) pretty sure President Obama thought of A and B and is going this route anyway.  The actual solution to the problem is to do exactly what the President is doing, carefully vetting and to continue to point out that the Republicans are making governance impossible.  That particular message is penetrating the public.

What this isn’t however is an issue of the sufficiency of the President’s willpower.  The.  Problem.  Is.  The.  Republicans.  Period.  Generate your own willpower to fight them and vote them out of power.

Even More Nullification Nonsense

Once again, South Carolina Republicans are trying to deliberately sabotage federal health care laws as the GOP-controlled state House has quit tinkering around the edges and has now passed legislation that would make any implementation of Obamacare a state felony.

The South Carolina state House on Wednesday passed a so-called “nullification” bill that declares President Barack Obama’s health care reform law to be “null and void,” and criminalizes its implementation.

The South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act was passed by a state House vote of 65 to 39. The bill intends to “prohibit certain individuals from enforcing or attempting to enforce such unconstitutional laws; and to establish criminal penalties and civil liability for violating this article.”

The measure would allow the state Attorney General “to restrain by temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, or permanent injunction” any person who is believed to be causing harm with the implementation of the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Any South Carolina taxpayer who is forced to pay a penalty due to the federal health care mandate would be able to deduct the full amount of the penalty from their state taxes.

Additionally, the measure would outlaw state and local government from creating or using non-profit health care exchanges a outlined by the health care reform law. 

Fort Sumter all over again.  The state's Senate is expected to pass the law and it could be on Gov. Nikki Haley's desk by the end of the month.  The question now becomes if Haley, who has sworn not to enforce or implement the bill, will subject the state to federal lawsuits by putting that stance into a clearly unconstitutional state law that will cost taxpayers millions to defend in court.

Meanwhile, I say Republicans should continue to overplay their hand on Obamacare, and throw ridiculous Gadsden Flag fits in public like this.  The people who will get hurt will be red state voters, and if they go to these lengths to make implementation impossible under state law, it's Republicans who then own the consequences, 100%.

We'll see where it goes.


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