Peanuts in the Shit

I like a good Obot v. Firebagger deathmatch as much as the next person, but in the next version of this recurring theme, can we please take a moment to recognize that we’re being played by those assholes in Congress? ABL is right when she points out that the indefinite detention bill is not simply a bill about detainees–it’s basically the Department of Defense spending authorization bill. I make that point not to stir up another argument, but to ask a question: What does our detainee policy have to do with the DoD budget?

The answer, of course, is very damn little. But the reason the detainee policy is embedded into one gigantic turd that Congress takes months to poop out is because it makes using the Presidential veto a very difficult proposition. The same is true of the Omnibus Spending Bill that just passed Congress. As Steve B. points out, at least Democrats were able to kill some of the worst Teabagger amendments in that shitpile, but the Omnibus still wraps up spending for almost every agency of government into one take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

This is nothing new. When I worked as an intern in a Congressional office in the 80’s, I still remember fielding a call from a pissed-off constituent who had was extremely upset about my Congressman’s supposed efforts to kill Social Security. It turns out that the bill she referenced was an obscure amendment in a thousand-page omnibus that some influence group was trying to spin as a Social Security killer. The difference between then and now is that the practice of using giant bills is so embedded in our political culture that voters have come to understand and accept that most votes on multi-thousand page budget bills mean nothing.

It’s all a part of the way that Congress has been working to evade responsibility for its actions. If it’s one giant bill that is make-or-break for the year, most are going to vote for the bill. And, yes, Obama could have vetoed it, but he then risks that a pissed off Congress will try to embed fresh idiocies into the big turd.

Again, I’m not trying to stir up the argument on that point. Maybe he should have taken a stand on this one and killed it. What I’m trying to point out is that the practice of embedding everything into a single bill is about as pernicious as the use the threat of filibuster to routinely block appointments, but it’s taken for granted while we rage on about what the President did or didn’t do. The cure is simple: only accept germane amendments on funding bills and break budgets into department-sized chunks. Maybe someday someone will start asking Congress why they can’t do that.






136 replies
  1. 1
    henqiguai says:

    Rabble-rouser

  2. 2
    amk says:

    When, how and who started this hide-everything-in-1000-page-omnibus process ? When, how and who will end this dishonest practice ?

  3. 3
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    This post should have been called “Weakest Sauce,” not due to content but rather to complete the series. I am upset.

    @amk: Don’t try to blame this on me.

  4. 4
    Samara Morgan says:

    /yawn
    the reason this happens is that its built into the system. Even stupid people get self-representation in the Grand Experiment. Conservative elites exploit that god an’ country uberalles bulshytt to perpetuate the warfare state that benefits the military-industrial complex and informs the ecophagy of the “freed” market.
    American paranoia reflex is their greatest resource.

    The interesting question is what happens next.
    Will America descend into white christian nativism/fascism before the demographic timer goes off in 2020?
    who can say?

  5. 5
    Elizabelle says:

    @amk:

    Maybe it starts with us and others in the intelligent blog community.

    Watching abuse of the fillibuster, and perpetual fundraising, and seeing that congresscritters represent their funders, not their human constituents:

    they’ve been making the rules– which benefit themselves, to the detriment of their public duty — for too long.

    Their job is to represent us, and they do not. It’s a separate career path.

    Maybe we could do a lot about this, with persistence and — a la OWS — showing up in person to drum up support for the changes that must be made.

    The House and Senate work for us, and they’ve changed the rules, over so many Congresses, to make them unaccountable to us.

    I think we could do a lot, actually.

    And — unlike the Tea Party — we are neither suffering false nostalgia nor selfish.

  6. 6

    only accept germane amendments

    Isn’t that one of the changes that Speaker Oompa-Loompa swore the R’s were going to institute when they took over last year? Why yes, I believe it was.

    I just can’t imagine why it hasn’t happened that way.

  7. 7
    Formerly Formerly (Formerly Formerly) says:

    @amk

    Corner Stone did it.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    chopper says:

    the funniest thing is that the detention portion of the bill, while shitty, doesn’t say what all the people freaking out say it says. i’m sure it’s been pointed out, but the bill doesn’t change anything in terms of the legality of detaining citizens and the legality of that was spelled out forcefully by the scotus years ago.

  10. 10
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: ekshually, the post title should be The Weak Sauce is a Lie.
    Did you know we built FUCKING FIVE HUNDRED bases in Iraq over the last nine years?
    Wallah.
    how much did that cost d’ya think?

  11. 11
    Snowball says:

    Maybe we could do a lot about this, with persistence and—a la OWS —showing up in person to drum up support for the changes that must be made.

    To quote Barney Frank: How about simply just show and vote like the Tea Party folks did? If the OWS has a much support as they claim that they do, why didn’t they vote in the 2010 election?

    Elections have consequences…

  12. 12
    Hill Dweller says:

    Ultimately, they passed the defense appropriations bill with a veto proof majority(at least in the Senate; I’m not sure about the House). That leads to two questions: did Obama drop the veto threat because he knew the majority would be veto proof or was the margin veto-proof because he dropped the veto threat?

    That being said, Republicans are mainly at fault, but there are too many cowardly Dems in congress, especially on national security, who are willing to undermine Obama if they think it will help them get elected. The vote to cut off funding for transferring Gitmo detainees was a prime example. Even the real Democrats that we love so much voted to cut off funding, and it was at a time when the President still had high approval ratings.

  13. 13
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Elizabelle: the reason you cannot actually change the model yet is this is what the founders and framers built.
    It wont change until the electorate changes, and then the system will work for our side. The system is damped against radical and instantaneous change.

  14. 14
    Josie says:

    Thank you, mistermix. It is a relief to finally see someone cut through to the root of the problem and realize it is in the legislative branch of the government and not the executive. The arcane rules and practices of the former have nothing to do with the constitution and everything to do with holding on to their jobs.

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    Yet again the Republican party demonstrates its shit-the-bed approach to governance. If you American people do not vote them out of a House majority next year, as you must do in order to save your nation, I shall be deeply disappointed.

    @Samara Morgan:
    I have no idea what you just said, but I agree completely.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Samara Morgan: No, dear.

  17. 17
    amk says:

    @Hill Dweller: Is it cowardly dems or corrupt dems ?

    @Snowball: Until the left learns to use their votes smartly, they and the rest will continue to suffer.

  18. 18
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    The vote to cut off funding for transferring Gitmo detainees was a prime example.

    America is suffering from paranoia reflex still.
    At this point dont even the firebaggers and emoprogs have to admit that O used his political capital in exactly the right place? Health Care reform?

  19. 19
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: you didnt know we built FIVE HUNDRED bases in a country we are being kicked out of?
    wallah.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Samara Morgan: Not my point.

  21. 21
    Samara Morgan says:

    can we please take a moment to recognize that we’re being played by those assholes in Congress?

    Actually the left is continually played by conservative elites pandering to their base.
    For example, according to Eminent BJ Expert Catsy we are not allowed to talk about mormonism because it makes us look like bigots.
    Did you know mormons do not believe in the Jeffersonian separation of church and state?
    They believe Jesus wrote the constitution.
    How would that affect a Romney presidency?
    I dont know.
    But i think its important to discuss it.

  22. 22
    Hill Dweller says:

    @amk: A good question that I can’t answer definitively.

    A more educated and engaged electorate would certainly help. There should have been mass demonstrations after the Citizens United case, but I’m not sure people even grasp the consequences, even now.

  23. 23
    Snowball says:

    @amk:

    Yup. We saw the result of that in 2000 when they thought Al Gore was no different than George W Bush. Even a monkey would see how wrong they were in hindsight. Dumb, expensive wars, unpaid tax cuts mostly for the very wealthy, 2 far right wing judges appointed to the USSC, etc etc

    I remember on dailykos during the health care debate when for short while one of the committees were debating whether to allow the states to decide whether they wanted the public option or not. Most of the influential folks on dailykos were against it. They wanted the public option for everybody or not all. And look where we are now. Nobody has the public option.

    I wish I was making this stuff because it sounds so incredible. Yet it is real.

  24. 24
    gnomedad says:

    @spartacus:
    Yes, liberals need to be very selective about allies, especially these days.

  25. 25
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Amir Khalid: the 2010 elections were a direct result of the Distributed Jesusland model, the 2008 Jesusland Map minus the majority/minority cities.
    And you are right.
    All we have to do is GOTV.
    In colorado, we were able to do that. The front range cities turned the red wave to beach break. Rasmussen was spoofed by the cell-only demographic and Tancredo and Buck went down in flames, even tho they had been predicted to win.
    There were at least two issues that brought out the liberal, youth, and hispanic vote. The personhood amendment (went down in flames again 70% to 28%) and Buck’s viral video rant about eliminating federal funding for student loans that we promoted on colorado campuses.
    Hispanics just hate Tancredo, so that lead to a down ticket/up ticket effect.

  26. 26
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Snowball:

    They wanted the public option for everybody or not all. And look where we are now. Nobody has the public option.

    President of Exchange: Mortimer, your brother is not well.
    Daily Kos channeling Mortimer Duke: F!%k him!

  27. 27
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    For example, according to Eminent BJ Expert Catsy we are not allowed to talk about mormonism because it makes us look like bigots.

    That’s not what Catsy said at all. Catsy said that if liberals exploit Republican bigotry against Mormons like Romney, as you said they should do, then they too are bigots. Such a strategy is unacceptable because it is morally wrong.

  28. 28
    Lojasmo says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    He dropped the veto threat because they had veto-proof majorities in their pockets.

  29. 29
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Amir Khalid: but just the act of talking about mormonism is “exploiting” according to her.
    I was only pointing out that 8% of white voters that will not vote for Romney because of anti-mormon sentiment is a NON-TRIVIAL amount.

  30. 30
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Lojasmo: You can make a case, though, that with those veto-proof majorities he’d be well-served to go ahead and veto, knowing that he’s insulated from the downside. Then let the bastards override the veto, putting the onus on them for having approved the detainee policy.

  31. 31
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Such a strategy is unacceptable because it is morally wrong.

    and that is my point.
    why do we have to have morals when the other side doesnt?
    Was it immoral for our GOTV effort to make a commercial of Buck ranting about student loans?
    Why would it be immoral to make a commercial about Mormons believing Jesus wrote the American constitution?
    Does Romney believe that? i dont know.
    But i think its important to find out.

  32. 32
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    OFlipYrWhig: Of course, then he gets skewered for “not supporting the troops…”

  33. 33
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    why do we have to have morals when the other side doesnt?

    Because, if you act no better than the bad guys, how are you the good guys?

  34. 34
    Elizabelle says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    Good morning Samara.

    PACs are a development of the 1970s, if memory serves.

    Executive overcompensation — to where the CEO makes 400 times the average worker’s salary — took off during the 1980s, if memory serves. (Remember Graef Crystal and his warnings from the time?)

    The Founders intended many things, but to allow their beloved republic to become a prisoner of a capitalist aristocracy — and then allow that oligarchy/plutocracy to game the system for all they are worth — is not one of them.

    And on Capitol Hill you are seeing hereditary congressional seats.

    This situation did not arise overnight; neither will it be settled overnight, but it’s beyond time to shake up the status quo.

  35. 35
    JGabriel says:

    mistermix @ Top:

    As Steve B. points out, at least Democrats were able to kill some of the worst Teabagger amendments in that shitpile, but the Omnibus still wraps up spending for almost every agency of government into one take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

    One thing I find striking in our modern political brouhaha (bwahaha?) is the strength of the House of Representatives.

    The Senate was intended to be the senior body of the two, and one assumes the stronger body, or at least a peer. And yet, because of arcane supermajority rules in the Senate, the House Republicans easily dominate the Senate Democrats (despite their majority) in getting their legislative desires passed.

    It’s paradoxical.

    .

  36. 36
    hildebrand says:

    It always works this way because we want a King, not a President. Not only do we want a King, we think that we have a King. Said King has unlimited powers (well, not really, but don’t pay too close attention to the details) to do what we want him to do, except for those times when he uses his powers for things we don’t like, then we pitch a fit and decry his unlimited powers.

    All the while we pretend that the congress isn’t actually the institution that is running roughshod on the whole governing thing – we blame the King. As has been mentioned countless times (but is seemingly ignored by a great many, even here) – we need to work on getting the jackasses (of both parties) in the bloody Legislative branch to start acting like adults and do their jobs in the manner in which they professed (i.e. upholding that lovely little thing called the Constitution – which I don’t think most of them have actually read). Oh, and we have to convince the media that treating the President like the King is a rather unhelpful way of presenting all this governing stuff.

  37. 37
    zoot says:

    the thing that the jackwads at this site don’t seem to realize or are too jaundiced to care or something is that all these skirmishes are games of chicken that THE OTHER IS STARTING AND WILLING TO RISK whatever they’re put at stake, and that every time OBAMA CAVES HE ENCOURAGES MORE OF IT!!!!.

    so yea, the defense authorization was at risk in this case: so – fvcking – what! Let it die. Its the OTHER SIDE that put it at risk by putting things in that shouldn’t be in. It is obama (and his fvcked-up supporters) that perpetuate this hostage taking BY SUCCUMBING TO IT!!!!

    republicans are crashing and burning the country on purpose no matter what. At least if obama had some backbone and didn’t cave EVERY GODDAM FVCKING TIME, there would be a clear difference between the parties and people would know who to blame. By obama playing along, i.e., ENABLING republican distopia, he and all his fvcked-up supporters are complicit.

  38. 38
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @amk: House of Commons, mid-late 19th c.

  39. 39
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @zoot: That would be VMPOSSSIBLE if we just CRASHED it FIRST.

  40. 40
    amk says:

    @zoot: wow, talk about cd and incoherent ranting.

  41. 41
    Anya says:

    @Snowball: Also, too, why don’t they occupy Senators Levin’s and McCain’s offices — the sponsors of the horrible amendment that codified the current shitty law, instead of President Obama’s campaign office in Iowa? These fuckers lost my support when they made Michael Moore their leader.

  42. 42
    LTMidnight says:

    @zoot: I’m sorry, kid, but I don’t speak MORONESE. Could you repeat what you just wrote in ENGLISH please?

  43. 43
    Formerly Formerly (Formerly Formerly) says:

    did Obama drop the veto threat because he knew the majority would be veto proof or was the margin veto-proof because he dropped the veto threat?

    Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

    This is really how govt works, y’all.

    What president would spend precious political capital on this when there majorities that big in both houses?! Obama has little capital to spend right now; surely you purists will continue posing and preening, but they know how to whip votes at th White House, don’t they?

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Snowball says:

    @Anya:

    And why don’t they occupy Russ Feingold’s home and Bernie Sanders’ office; they voted voted against closing Gitmo. The selected outrage on the far left is confounding. Everything seemingly is Obama’s fault and literally NOTHING is anybody else’s fault.

  46. 46
    chopper says:

    @LTMidnight:

    NAW, IT’S RUBBISH

  47. 47
    Dr. Squid says:

    What does welfare for the Koch Brothers have to do with our FICA withholding?

    Oh yeah and @hildebrand: This.

  48. 48
    TheStone says:

    @Elizabelle: Under the original provisions of the Constitution, only white males who owned property were allowed to vote. What exactly did they intend?

  49. 49
    OzoneR says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    Did you know we built FUCKING FIVE HUNDRED bases in Iraq over the last nine years?

    505, there are none left

  50. 50
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Amir Khalid: because we arent the good guys. we arent even the better guys.
    we are the stupid guys.
    Dont you think that is a question that should be asked? Does Romney believe in Jeffersonian separation of church and state? Or does he believe Jesus wrote the constitution?

    El Cid – December 17, 2011 | 8:26 am · Link
    __
    I think it’s worthwhile to recall that in discussions of the political effects of Mormonism, there is the matter of one’s individual religious beliefs which people aim to respect; but there is indeed also the institutional and organizational power and role of a particular incorporation: the Mormon church. It’s perfectly legitimate to be extremely concerned about the empowerment of that body.

  51. 51
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @amk:

    Meth in your coffee will do that.

  52. 52
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @LTMidnight:

    Those damned Moronians… Moronis… Moronistianians… fuck it…

    Morons!

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    because we arent the good guys. we arent even the better guys.
    we are the stupid guys.

    Then why should someone vote for “our” side?

  54. 54
    Elizabelle says:

    @TheStone:

    Yesh. That’s a good point.

    Actually going after the “it’s the way it’s always been” plaint. (Not going after Samara personally, at all.)

    Because, as you’ve pointed out, the situation can change for the good as well.

    I have been wondering how much power a group of concerned citizens — actual human citizens — could have in changing the way the Senate and House do business.

    They need to work for us, and if this Senate shit like holds and abuse of the filibuster gets in the way, I am wondering if there is anything we can do about that. (PS: voting them out does not seem to be much of a threat.)

    Oh, and I don’t think they should get pensions or lifetime healthcare.

    Face it, most congresscritters are already way above median income before they even contemplate a run. They can take a haircut.

    The working conditions are too good, and the work product too fetid.

  55. 55
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Anya These “Senators” of which you speak interest me. Tell me more. Are they like Presidents, but smaller? Like Shetland ponies?

  56. 56
    Hawes says:

    First, mistermix is right that the fundamental issue in ABL’s link was that “there is no bill, there is only a rider attached to a much bigger bill”. Obama has shown again and again that he prefers the government to function than to not function. That gives the asshats in the House and Senate an opportunity to put crap into bills that doesn’t belong there.

    If Obama vetoes this defense bill, how long before he gets another one passed? How many layoffs in that interim period?

    Given that the President can currently kill an American citizen overseas if he’s talking war with America, I don’t see how detaining him is all that big a deal.

    And I do think Obama’s veto threat changed the language of the original rider which could have included citizens here in the US, which seems a direct violation of ex parte Milligan.

  57. 57
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @Snowball:

    God, I really hate strawman arguments like this. I’ll bet you can’t find a single critic of Obama from the left on the planet earth who “only blames him and nobody else”

    Too dumb for words.

  58. 58
    Hawes says:

    @Elizabelle: I was just thinking about this, as I considered the death of Vaclav Havel and the Revolutions of ’89.

    We tolerate a lot of dysfunction because 230+ years of tradition create a certain amount of inertia. Some of that inertia is good, as it prevent wild eyed teatards from wrecking havoc. Some of it is not, as in the abuse of the filibuster and such.

    The Framers did envision change coming slowly. And they did envision strong minority rights.

    But there’s a reason why few nations around the world emulate our system of government.

  59. 59
    TheStone says:

    @Elizabelle: 1st priority is to somehow undermine the fetishization of the Constitution, a malady not limited to Teabaggers. A constitution should be viewed as a means to an end (“good” governance, whatever that may mean in the eye of the beholder), but it has become a document of quasi-religious import to many Americans. This fetishization has the distinct advantage of offering easy solutions to complex problems, if we would just rely on the sage counsel of men who had never even contemplated the existence of many of the these complex problems.

  60. 60
    different-church-lady says:

    @LTMidnight:

    Could you repeat what you just wrote in ENGLISH please?

    Or not. Not is an option too.

  61. 61
    Zagloba says:

    Sure is a lot of pie in this thread.

  62. 62
    El Cid says:

    @Samara Morgan: I should caution you, though, that I wouldn’t presume that in every case an individual’s Mormon belief’s indicated a surefire empowerment of institutional Mormonism, though I’d rather not find out.

    In Romney’s case, for example, people can make grounded arguments based on his actual record as Governor, and then the question would be how that would related to the very different situation of the Presidency.

    Nor does my point endorse, say, a simplistic throwback to fears that JFK was going to be a “Papist” robot, because, there too, there was more than theoretical data to draw upon.

    But the question of institutional empowerment versus individual religious belief is a real one, and the latter to me is interesting for political office as it becomes a significant predictor of policy (directly from those beliefs) or of institutional empowerment.

  63. 63
    Elizabelle says:

    @Hawes:

    Yup. And there’s a reason they’re not emulating our healthcare “system” either.

    So, understanding inertia and that you do want protection from radicalism:

    what can we do to effect change? Us, right here at Balloon Juice and similarly populated blogs?

    Mitch McConnell and other obstructors can only do their worst in a situation where people have checked out (looking at you, mainstream press) and feel helpless to change the status quo.

    Cynicism is too cheap, and what malefactors count on.

  64. 64
    Elizabelle says:

    @TheStone:

    Good point. Enough of the fetishism of the Constitution.

    And defense spending should not be the only jobs program that Congress will ever support.

  65. 65
    Snowball says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn:

    Oh please!

    Take a look at dailykos or other so called progressive websites. When it comes to Gitmo for example, they literally always blame Obama, which is hilarious considering he was actually the one trying to close the damn thing. There’s rarely a word about Congress and the progressives who is actually at fault here. Do these folks really think they will impact policy by blaming the one good guy and giving a free pass to all the bad guys?

    As you said and I quote – “too dumb for words”.

  66. 66
    Ira-NY says:

    I think the tough discussion on this matter has been well worth it.

    Today, after everyone has had their say and those who were participating in good faith have listened to the various points of view, the heat seems to have dissipated and the light seems to be more prominent.

  67. 67
    chopper says:

    @TheStone:

    This fetishization has the distinct advantage of offering easy solutions to complex problems, if we would just rely on the sage counsel of men who had never even contemplated the existence of many of the these complex problems.

    this sort of behaviour sounds vaguely familiar.

  68. 68
    chopper says:

    @Ira-NY:

    part of it is that some people have actually read the bill. you have to remember with freakouts like this, the first few days’ worth are based mostly on rumor and innuendo. once people actually digest the bill it comes off as much more benign. of course the crazies will keep their marching orders from the beginning. it’s one of the ways crazy political memes are born.

  69. 69
    Trurl says:

    Your desperate attempt to shift the blame for Gulag America from the noble and justice-loving Obama to those perfidious weasels in Congress is undermined by the inconvenient historical fact that even before Congress denied him funds to close Guantanamo, Obama announced his plans to establish indefinite detention without trial on American soil. (Though only for super Evil people. Said super Evil-ness to be established by the President saying so. And who wouldn’t trust such a noble and justice-loving man to resort to that extreme measure only when it was really, totally necessary?)

    If you want to re-elect Obama because you think Romney would be worse, knock yourselves out. (Not only is there not a dime’s worth of difference between Obama and Romney, there isn’t even a penny’s worth.) But stop embarrassing yourselves with these pathetic attempts to deny the reality that Obama likes having a gulag at his disposal. And will happily use his dwindling “political capital” to make sure no DFHs take it away from him.

    This is who you support. The gulag administrator. The warmonger. The best friend the 1% could buy. If you can’t bear to acknowledge this reality, that’s your own fucking problem.

  70. 70
    jakethesnake says:

    For me, the problem isn’t congress. I honestly don’t give a fuck about their rules and the fact that they tacked this onto the larger general funding bill. We call it the indefinite detention bill simply because that’s what it is. The military gets funded no matter what. He could veto this bill and every dem and repub that is married to the military industrial complex would come back to DC on xmas day to make sure our war with the rest of the world continues, fully funded. Obama has a terrible record on civil rights, arguably much worse than Bush. Let’s not get our panties in a wad because Obama is rightfully taking heat for wiping his ass with the bill of rights, again. Blame congress all you want, they always do the stupidest shit ever. We need a strong president with the balls to say no, not this jackass.

  71. 71
    Joel says:

    I’m with you mistermix. We need to lay waste to the Republican Party and its ideas. First and foremost.

  72. 72
    TheStone says:

    @chopper: Is that the “Constitution is not a Death Pact” argument that I am hearing?
    If so, I must say that I find the Bill of Rights and the constitutional provision for habeas corpus to have withstood their robust tenure rather well. I am all for an analysis of the Constitution, provision by provision, on the merits as it operates in the here-and-now. With regards to the portions I referred to above, I find that they are still indispensable. Even considering the sudden appearance of violent fanatics with box-cutters and fertilizer bombs.

  73. 73
    Suffern ACE says:

    Feeling like a pendant, but this is the Defense Authorization Act. The Defense Appropriations Act is a different thing.
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/.....2:H.R.1540:
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/.....2:H.R.2219

    Also, I don’t know if this is the one that would serve as a good example of the complaint. The NDAA is everything Congress wants the defense to do. One of the things it wants the DoD to do is hold terrorist suspects.

  74. 74
    MikeJake says:

    This is why we need a single subject clause added to the Constitution.

  75. 75
    OzoneR says:

    @jakethesnake:

    He could veto this bill and every dem and repub that is married to the military industrial complex would come back to DC on xmas day to make sure our war with the rest of the world continues, fully funded.

    Sure, after they take him to the woodshed on Sunday talk shows about how he hates the military and beats him down until he accepts and even worse bill.

    That’s the point

  76. 76
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @Snowball:

    Your position is LITERALLY insane. At least you now injected the word “almost” into your ridiculous strawman argument. Getting better, but still embarrassing.

    And DKos???? Holy Crap. I stopped posting there because you couldn’t criticize anything Obama ever did without getting ripped to shreds over it. Seriously, you must have not only drank the Obama kool-aid, but threw it in an IV drip and strapped it to your arm.

  77. 77
    OzoneR says:

    @JGabriel:

    The Senate was intended to be the senior body of the two, and one assumes the stronger body

    Actually the Senate was meant to be the weaker body because the House actually represents the people, Senate the states. that’s why spending and taxation bills must originate in the House.

  78. 78
    amk says:

    @Trurl: It’s fema camps, you dunce.

    Obama likes having a gulag at his disposal.

  79. 79
    Snowball says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn:

    Have a nice day!

  80. 80
    OzoneR says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn:

    I’ll bet you can’t find a single critic of Obama from the left on the planet earth who “only blames him and nobody else”

    I can find 20

  81. 81
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    Cultists, like ABL and others here don’t know they are cultists. Cultists never know it when they are in a cult, even as they pass around the kool-aid on a daily basis. Cultists only know they were in a cult after they’ve been rescued and de-programmed.

  82. 82
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @OzoneR:

    Find me one.

  83. 83
    kd bart says:

    And this is why every President wishes to have line item veto power.

  84. 84
    amk says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: spoken like a true cultist.

  85. 85
    Tom Hilton says:

    All true. You know what else makes vetoing this a very difficult (or rather, pointless) proposition? The veto-proof majorities by which it passed.

    Given that inconvenient fact, anyone who’s complaining that the President didn’t veto it is just completely full of shit.

  86. 86
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @amk:

    Um, that actually makes even less sense than your previous idiotic posts.

  87. 87
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Snowball:

    To quote Barney Frank: How about simply just show and vote like the Tea Party folks did? If the OWS has a much support as they claim that they do, why didn’t they vote in the 2010 election?

    Well, IIRC, a bunch of rich guys with Republican Leanings paid to keep the Tea Party organized and riled up. The Democrats spent their time passing resolutions condeming and defunding a group that was engaged in registering voters who were likely to vote for them and didn’t bother to replace that organization.

    I see a difference in the strategy there.

  88. 88
    amk says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: spoken like a true idiot.

  89. 89
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @amk:

    Cultists hate it when you tell them they are members of a cult.

  90. 90
    Corner Stone says:

    @Suffern ACE: Why are you feeling like a piece of jewellery?

  91. 91
    amk says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: spoken like a true cultist….

    Nah. This is getting to be boring. Whine away.

  92. 92
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Corner Stone: Because I don’t spell check or proofreed.

  93. 93
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    Just curious. If it was a veto-proof majority, then what harm would it have been for Obama to veto in the name of civil liberties and have other villains own this abomination?

  94. 94
    Snowball says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    So when the going gets tough, just give up?

    The so called progressives (not just the Dems in Congress) spent that same time attacking themselves with the proverbial circular firing squad. It didn’t matter what Obama did, the people on the left didn’t like it.

    By the way it is easy to just attack the Dems in Congress for ACORN. But where were the progressives in it defense? If they were so concerned about ACORN, why didn’t they primary the Dems that supported defunding of ACORN?

  95. 95
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Yet again the Republican party demonstrates its shit-the-bed approach to governance. If you American people do not vote them out of a House majority next year, as you must do in order to save your nation, I shall be deeply disappointed.

    Not nearly as disappointed as some of us will be…

  96. 96
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @Snowball:

    Golly, that would have been a great idea! It’s so easy to wrangle up a candidate to primary any given rep who votes for something we don’t like! Snap ones fingers and you can find a viable candidate, willing to primary an incumbent, and start an actual campaign! Damn, why didn’t we realize how simple that is?! Thanks for the advice!

  97. 97
    Dresslar says:

    Jesus Christ on a hockey stick mistermix, so you think it might be helpful to do some research on why he threatened a veto in the first place and why he withdrew it? WTF.

    He threatened the veto in the first place because he thought it placed too many limits on HIS options with respect to detainees. He has, since he’s been in office, ALWAYS supported indefinite detention as a policy for foreign and American citizens at his discretion. His administration admits it publicly. Argues for it constantly in court. He changed his mind on the veto because they changed the language that he found restrictive to his powers.

    How could you possibly not know that?

    He brags on TV about murdering an American citizen (Al-Awlaki) without charges, much less a trial. What is wrong with you?

    And, you wonder why reasonable, measured people can question the objectivity of some people when it comes to this President?

  98. 98
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn:

    Cultists hate it when you tell them they are members of a cult.

    So do non-cultists.

    That’s what makes cults so darned insidious!

  99. 99
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Dresslar: It’s objectivity, perhaps, but not measured objectivity. Face it, there’ll never be a president to suit your taste.

    You’d have to elect a different electorate first.

  100. 100
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    True. Except how often do you see people accused of being in a cult who aren’t in a cult? Here at BJ we have cultists, so debating that particular cult is pointless based on the principle that those in a cult don’t know they are cultists. But in the rest of humanity, normal folks all seem to agree on who is in a cult and who isn’t. For example, say we visited Jim Jones compound before the mass murder/suicides. How many there in the beginning would say, yeah, I’m in a cult! Hardly any of them. And those who would, we’re the ones who wanted to leave but were afraid for their lives. Here, there is not threat to ones life, so one can safely assume those cultists simply believe they aren’t in a cult. Now, take the rest of the planet, and ask them if Jim Jones compound was a cult. You’d get a pretty universal yes for answer. Here at BJ, we’re literally in the center of the compound. If those at the Jim Jones compound told the rest of humanity that it was they who were in a cult, the rest of humanity wouldn’t get “angry,” because it’s simply absurd.

  101. 101
    Craig Pennington says:

    ABL is right when she points out that the indefinite detention bill/blockquote>

    YOU LIE!

  102. 102
    Craig Pennington says:

    ABL is right when she points out that the indefinite detention bill/blockquote>

    YOU LIE!

  103. 103
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    Marcy has some thoughts on how best to make some lemonade from this.

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2011.....mie-dimon/

    “Kagro X and I were engaging in a little thought experiment on Twitter to show how easy it would be to solve our dangerous bankster problem by indefinitely detaining them.

    It turned out to be pretty easy to do. Here’s how.

    First, before you indefinitely detain a bankster, you need to show either that he is,

    A person who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or who has supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

    Or, you need to show he has supported (using the Iraq AUMF that we’re keeping around to make sure the President’s authority isn’t limited to just al Qaeda),

    another international terrorist group that the President has determined both (a) is in armed conflict with the United States and (b) poses a threat of hostile actions within the United States;

    Now, making that case with Jamie Dimon is very easy to do, because his company, JP Morgan Chase, has materially helped Iran. We have several pieces of proof it has done so. First, there’s the Treasury Report showing that JPMC:

    Gave a $2.9 million loan on December 22, 2009 to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, which the Office of Foreign Assets Control has found to be involved in WMD proliferation
    Advised and confirmed a $2,707,432 letter of credit on April 24, 2009, in which the underlying transaction involved a vessel identified by OFAC as blocked due to its affiliation with the same Iranian shipping line
    Processed nine wire transfers between April 27, 2006 and November 28, 2008, which totaled $609,308, some of which involved sanctioned Iranian and terrorist entities
    Transferred 32,000 ounces of gold bullion valued at approximately $20,560,000 to benefit a sanctioned Iranian bank on May 24, 2006
    We need no further proof that JPMC has done these things. Not only has JPMC admitted to them, but as Janice Rogers Brown has made clear, we cannot question the Executive Branch’s intelligence reports, so all of OFAC’s claims must be accepted as true for the purposes of indefinite detention. And all of that illegal support for Iran happened while Jamie Dimon was President of JPMC.”

  104. 104
    Samara Morgan says:

    @El Cid: wasn’t kennedy explicitly asked if he would follow papal dictates over american law?

  105. 105
    Corner Stone says:

    @Suffern ACE: Maybe it’s because you shine brightly for those around you and have a highly developed sense of self-worth.

  106. 106
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: demographics.
    :)

  107. 107
    hells littlest angel says:

    The voters of each district have the right to send a representative of their choice to Congress. If enough districts elect rank, rotten shit-heads to the office, then the shit-head caucus has the power to get provisions they like into spending bills, and the deal-making process practically insures that some of what they want will get passed. This is not only the way it is, it’s actually the way it’s supposed to work.

    Democracy is fucked up like that. But what are you gonna do?

  108. 108
    OzoneR says:

    @hells littlest angel:

    Democracy is fucked up like that. But what are you gonna do?

    We’re going to plug our ears with our fingers, close our eyes and pretend everyone agrees with us.

  109. 109
    OzoneR says:

    At the end of the day, I don’t know why all of you are hammering about this. If this is unconstitutional, a court will overturn it. If they don’t, well that’s life and organize voters to overturn it, Occupy detainee location centers or something. If Americans are as outraged as you, they’ll get people elected on both sides; Ron Pauls and Al Frankens, to end stuff like this.

    And if they don’t and they actually have no problem with indefinite detentions of Americans…well, that’s America.

  110. 110
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    well, that’s America.

    “How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.”

  111. 111
    hells littlest angel says:

    @OzoneR: Yeah, that’s about the size of it. This is why I’ve re-branded the United States as Ignorantmotherfuckerland. Even people I agree with are becoming insufferable.

  112. 112
    ruemara says:

    @Snowball: They did it because they were principled. And thusly, despite much time spent on Thom Hartmann’s radio program every friday, Sanders is never called out for it except once where his principled stance that kept Gitmo open was praised.

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: I can show you 7. Pundits and writers and general people. there’s a whole link of stupid at that xtranormal vid that sums up the basic argument that is making the rounds.

  113. 113
    dogwood says:

    @OzoneR:

    And if they don’t and they actually have no problem with indefinite detentions of Americans…well, that’s America.

    There you go. They won’t do that because they know they aren’t anywhere close to having even a hint of majority opinion behind them. Most Americans don’t give a shit about detention policy, sad to say.

  114. 114
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @ruemara:

    Obama is the Leader of the Party. He sets the example. In the vacuum that is our principled position, there is no lifesaver-ring to grab on to. It would be nice if Sanders hung on his own petard, just for the symbolic value, I guess.

  115. 115
    Suffern ACE says:

    @dogwood: I’m being fair here. The way to get this overturned in the past was through the courts. The courts either punt or agree with indefinite detention. The civil libertarians are used to going through the courts to seek justice and could provide a lifeline to those groups. That is being denied in this case. They are not used to having to wage PR battles in ways that create mass movements.

  116. 116
    agrippa says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: Cultists, like ABL and others here don’t know they are cultists. Cultists never know it when they are in a cult, even as they pass around the kool-aid on a daily basis. Cultists only know they were in a cult after they’ve been rescued and de-programmed.

    You are posting rubbish

  117. 117
    agrippa says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: Cultists, like ABL and others here don’t know they are cultists. Cultists never know it when they are in a cult, even as they pass around the kool-aid on a daily basis. Cultists only know they were in a cult after they’ve been rescued and de-programmed.

    You are posting rubbish

  118. 118
    agrippa says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: Cultists, like ABL and others here don’t know they are cultists. Cultists never know it when they are in a cult, even as they pass around the kool-aid on a daily basis. Cultists only know they were in a cult after they’ve been rescued and de-programmed.

    You are posting rubbish

  119. 119
    agrippa says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    Will America descend into white christian nativism/fascism before the demographic timer goes off in 2020?
    who can say?

    lol!!

    great self parody!!

  120. 120
    Tom Hilton says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: What would the value have been?

  121. 121
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    One of my New Year resolutions was to un-register for emails. Why clog up my inbox with crap.

    I think this is the first time I fulfilled that promise before the New Year.

  122. 122
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    Leadership? Albeit, after-the-fact, but leading from behind is better than none at all.

  123. 123
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @agrippa:

    Let me guess, you are posting this with one hand while the other mixes a new batch of kool-aid?

  124. 124
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    Taking a stand for what is right needs an explanation?

  125. 125
    Cain says:

    @hildebrand: @hildebrand:

    they want a king because they have given up talking to the American people.

    we as a nation, are regressing to political immaturity.

  126. 126
    mdblanche says:

    @Trurl: You lost me at “not a dime’s worth of difference.” I still remember when Romney used that phrase to describe his pro-choice position on abortion. Turns out he was lying.

  127. 127
    dogwood says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Oh, I certainly didn’t have you in mind when I responded to Ozone. I was thinking of the lazy banality of those who argue with invective- gulag, cult, kool-aid. That stuff is as ignorantly self indulgent as anything coming out of the mouths of Limbaugh, or Hannity and equally removed from the reality that is public opinion on a broad scale.

    Your point about the judiciary is well-taken. So much of the progress in civil rights has come through the courts when groups could scarcely hope to receive relief at the hands of legislatures. This is why I took some pleasure in the process that led to the repeal of DADT, and the passage of gay marriage rights in New York state. Leaving these issues for the Courts to decide is often a cop out. But that said, leaving the make-up of the federal judiciary in the hands of Republicans should be unthinkable to people who think civil rights and civil liberties are important in the long run.

  128. 128
    Samara Morgan says:

    @agrippa: well chu kno….this stuff i think about when i cant sleep. Like since COIN isnt going away anytime soon…..might we start practicing COIN on our local insurgencies?
    Like OWS maybe?

    drones gotta drone chu kno.

  129. 129
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    @dogwood:

    I love when the cultists accuse those who point out their shut-up-and-clap-louder approach of being like right wingers. The irony! Mindless Dear Leader worship is a hallmark of the right.

  130. 130
    Fed Up In Brooklyn says:

    Right wingers applaud when Bush does something, claim its the personification of evil when Obama does the same thing,

    Obama-cultists rant against Bush actions as being vile and criminal, before making excuses for same actions the moment Obama embraces them.

    Others hold all POTUS to the same rigorous standards.

    You judge who has a better approach….

  131. 131
    Tom Hilton says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: What exactly is the value of [ironicairquotes]Taking A Stand[/ironicairquotes] when it doesn’t actually accomplish anything?

  132. 132
    doofus says:

    @Fed Up In Brooklyn: Since you too are posting to the BJ cult, that makes you a cultist too? Just trying to spot the cultists in my midst…..(although now that I’ve posted, I must have joined the cult too.)

  133. 133
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Tom Hilton: Self-expression. That’s what politics is. It’s certainly not about governing ourselves.

  134. 134
    OzoneR says:

    @Benjamin Franklin:

    “How did this happen? Who’s to blame?

    Do you really think there was a time in American history where this would be unpopular? I don’t.

  135. 135
    William Hurley says:

    The omnibus fits the accountability-free model of business-as-usual to a “T”.

    If a “bad seed” or “bad apple” cannot be fingered and blamed, isolating the mark from the heard, then the alternative strategy to to declare that “we’re all guilty” and as such that no one’s guilty because we can’t all be guilty.

    Witness this elixir served up generously as the rationale/excuse to forgo legal actions in the matters of:

    – starting and prosecuting the Iraq military action

    – the housing bubble and its implosion

    – the financial bubble and its implosion

    …and that’s just for starters.

    The equally pervasive, equally evil myth that’s the former’s ally if not twin is the Capra-esque depiction of “one man” (or woman) standing up to the system/machine/mob/… makes a difference. Difference occurs when changes are instituted that regularly effect the state of outcomes of a process.

    Politicians who finesse the process to exploit either of these 2 myths – moral individualism or moral equivalence – are neither special nor worthy of support that rests upon the suspension of disbelief in no small quantity.

  136. 136
    mclaren says:

    But the reason the detainee policy is embedded into one gigantic turd that Congress takes months to poop out is because it makes using the Presidential veto a very difficult proposition.

    Really?

    Why?

    America has no enemies of any singificance. We don’t need to be pissing away 1.45 trillion dollars per year on our military.

    Veto the goddamn defense appropriation and keep vetoing it. Then when congress overrides the veto, sequester the money. When they threaten to impeach, Obama can threaten to use the unconstitutional powers congress gave him and have the people in congress voting to impeach him declared enemy combatants. Use extraordinary rendition on the bastards.

    Then when real hysteria sets in, Obama can go on TV and point out, “Hey! Assholes! These are the unconstitutional dictatorial powers you people gave me. This is what happens when a society becomes totally miltiarized. It turns into a police state run by martial law. Don’t like it? The un-militarize America. And how do we un-militarize America? By ending our 1.45-trillion-dollar-a-year piss-down-a-rathole military spending!

Comments are closed.