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Tilting at Windmills

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April 6, 2009
By: Hilzoy

Republicans: You Lost.

Scott Horton:

"Senate Republicans are now privately threatening to derail the confirmation of key Obama administration nominees for top legal positions by linking the votes to suppressing critical torture memos from the Bush era. A reliable Justice Department source advises me that Senate Republicans are planning to "go nuclear" over the nominations of Dawn Johnsen as chief of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the Department of Justice and Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh as State Department legal counsel if the torture documents are made public. The source says these threats are the principal reason for the Obama administration's abrupt pull back last week from a commitment to release some of the documents. A Republican Senate source confirms the strategy. It now appears that Republicans are seeking an Obama commitment to safeguard the Bush administration's darkest secrets in exchange for letting these nominations go forward. (...)

The Justice Department source confirms to me that Brennan has consistently opposed making public the torture memos -- and any other details about the operations of the extraordinary renditions program -- but this source suggests that concern about the G.O.P.'s roadblock in the confirmation process is the principle reason that the memos were not released. Republican senators have expressed strong reservations about their promised exposure, expressing alarm that a critique of the memos by Justice's ethics office (Office of Professional Responsibility) will also be released. "There was no 'direct' threat," said the source, "but the message was communicated clearly -- if the OLC and OPR memoranda are released to the public, there will be war." This is understood as a threat to filibuster the nominations of Johnsen and Koh. Not only are they among the most prominent academic critics of the torture memoranda, but are also viewed as the strongest advocates for release of the torture memos on Obama's legal policy team.

A Republican Senate staffer further has confirmed to me that the Johnsen nomination was discussed at the last G.O.P. caucus meeting. Not a single Republican indicated an intention to vote for Dawn Johnsen, while Senator John Cornyn of Texas was described as "gunning for her," specifically noting publication of the torture memos.

That's a lot more plausible than Newsweek's claim that the administration does not want to embarrass countries whose names it could simply redact. It's also completely appalling.

For one thing, the slurs on Koh and Johnsen are vile. They are widely respected legal scholars. For heaven's sake, Ted Olsen, Bush's solicitor General and his lawyer in Bush v. Gore, supports Koh:

"The President and the Secretary of State are entitled to have who they want as their legal adviser," Olson said in a phone interview with me.

Olson was sharply dismissive of claims that Koh is too solicitous of international law. While he declined to discuss the specifics of the case against Koh, much of which has been already debunked, he pushed back hard against the broader claim that Koh's regard for international law is cause for suspicion.

"I have the greatest respect for Harold Koh," Olson said. "He's a brilliant scholar and a man of great integrity."

Besides the ugliness of the attacks, what the Republicans are doing is really unprecedented. First, the President has traditionally been given deference in the choice of his advisors. If some President wants to have someone in his cabinet, the presumption is that he ought to be able to do so, absent illegality or some sort of manifest incompetence. For the Republican Senators to hold these appointees up not for those reasons, but because they disagree with their policies, is just wrong; if this happened every time a new administration came into office, the opposition party would filibuster half the nominations and no one would never govern at all.

Second, what the Republicans are trying to do is to dictate to the President a matter that is purely his prerogative: deciding whether or not to unclassify documents. This is insane: it's as though Obama threatened to withhold funding for the Senate unless Mitch McConnell fired some staffer he didn't like. [UPDATE: Adam Serwer points out that it isn't even optional: a judge has ordered that the memos be turned over. Oops: see here.]

And the combination -- holding appointments hostage while trashing people's reputations in order to keep Obama from making a decision he plainly has the right to make -- is unconscionable.

I am not, in general, a big fan of saying: Republicans: you lost. Get over it. But in this case, I'm going to make an exception. The Republicans do not seem to be willing to allow the President to do things that are plainly his prerogative: appointing the reasonable, qualified, law-abiding people of his choice, deciding which documents should be declassified, and so forth. Any moment now they'll threaten not to pass the budget unless he sets his air conditioner at their preferred temperature.

Two other things: first, I would hope that not every Republican will go along with the idea of filibustering these nominees. They don't have to like them. They don't have to vote for them. But they should recognize the difference between not supporting a nominee and being willing to filibuster him or her. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Dick Lugar, and Orrin Hatch: I'm looking at you.

Second: this is one more piece of evidence that the Senate is broken. It needs to change its rules. I support keeping the filibuster for judicial nominations, which are for life. I can imagine a world with a sane opposition in which I would support keeping it generally. But this is not that world. At the very least, the rules need to be changed to force people who want to filibuster to actually be present in the Senate chamber.

Hilzoy 1:52 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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Comments

You notice how it is always Republicans threatening to "go nuclear" and to "go to war" followed promptly by Democrats appeasing them. As you said, the GOP lost. If they want a war over this, bring it on.

This is the problem with the Dems -- they are ALWAYS playing defense. Who fucking cares if the GOP filibusters? Just use that as a cudgel to bludgeon them ("up or down vote," "obstructionists," blah, blah, blah).

But i'm smoking crack. That won't happen.

Posted by: Jim on April 6, 2009 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Those Republicans must have some kind of corporate sponsorship.

A national boycott linking those companies to these nuts on this issue could be very effective.

Posted by: alan on April 6, 2009 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Repubs, you lost, but remember Dems - you won. Act like it. You're way too deferential to the minority, and way too easily intimidated. Who cares if you hurt a few Repub feelings? And while we're on the subject... SEAT FRANKEN!!!

Posted by: Geneva Mike on April 6, 2009 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Harry Reid will find some way to crumple and fold on this one -- I'm excited to see what sort of surrender he engineers to avoid hurting the delicate feelings of his Republican colleagues. Here's hoping Obama and Rahm slip some spine stiffener into his orange juice at the next White House breakfast.

We shouldn't forget, however, that it wasn't just Republicans who allowed this CIA torture program to go forward. Democrats like Feinstein, Rockefeller and Schumer have a lot to answer for here, too. I wonder what their offices have to say about this?

Posted by: jonas on April 6, 2009 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

High time Dems thought of themselves as Republicans' bitches and cured themselves of the Battered Wife Syndrome.

Unfortunately none of this is gonna happen- if history is any guide. The dems will cave in, the memos will be suppressed and Republicans will continue to exercise influence over policy that is not consistent with their loss in the 2008 elections.

Posted by: gregor on April 6, 2009 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

A primary problem that Obama has with the Senate is that Reid has no balls. It's tough to have to constantly figure in to the political dynamic that your major support in the Senate will cave at minimal pressure.

Obama has no choice but to navigate the DOJ political appointee process on his own. Maybe someday the Senate Dems can come up with a more stalwart majority leader, who will support his president's nominees and not allow the opposition to frame the debate.

I am grateful that we have a supremely intelligent president. Unfortunately, he has the Senate majority that currently exists, not the Senate majority that he wishes exists.

Oh, shades of Rummy!!!! Gak!!!!

Posted by: jcricket on April 6, 2009 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, too late in the night, and equally depressing is the Dems' behavior.

High time Dems got rid of the thought of themselves as Republicans' bitches and cured themselves of the Battered Wife Syndrome.

Posted by: gregor on April 6, 2009 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

first, I would hope that not every Republican will go along with the idea of filibustering these nominees. They don't have to like them. They don't have to vote for them. But they should recognize the difference between not supporting a nominee and being willing to filibuster him or her. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Dick Lugar, and Orrin Hatch: I'm looking at you.

At what point in the past 20 years has any of these named individuals ever "done the right thing"??? They all talk a good line and then they vote with the fascists.

After 8 years of Bush, I am amazed at what a Pollyanna you still are, Hilzoy. We're long, long past "civilized discourse." These people are The Enemy.

Posted by: TCinLA on April 6, 2009 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

The Democratic "leadership" (such as it is) behaves like a battered spouse, cringing and ducking, always fearing the next blow.

Why is this? I think it's because they're taking bribes from the same people the Republicans are, and they're afraid if they demonstrate any real independence, the generous flow of money will stop. They like to act as if they have principles and care about the interests of their constituents, but it's all kabuki.

Wagging fingers and stern words at Congressional hearings only go so far, and as far I'm concerned, it's not nearly far enough.

Will Obama stand up to the Republicans this time? I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: Helena Montana on April 6, 2009 at 3:57 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans obviously missed the press conference on the aircraft carrier when President Hilzoy stood in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner and declared that the war between Democrats and Republicans was over because the Democrats won.

The Republicans are not just attacking Obama's sacred prerogative to appoint his own advisors. They are defending the prerogative of Bush and Cheney and future Republican presidentoids to torture and to shred the constitution.

The issues are torture and tyranny. Not appointment etiquette.

Posted by: Ross Best on April 6, 2009 at 4:17 AM | PERMALINK

I would argue that it is a failing of Democrats that they haven't used such tactics often enough in the past.

Posted by: Anthony on April 6, 2009 at 4:55 AM | PERMALINK

If Obama went ahead and declassified the memos, they wouldn't have any REASON to hold up the nominees, would they? Unless they wanted to make it clear it was simple revenge.

Call the bastards' bluff.

Posted by: Arachnae on April 6, 2009 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK

As I recall, the compromise reached by the Senate's "Gang of Fourteen" was: the minority will refrain from filibustering the President's nominees, in exchange for which, the majority will refrain from using the "nuclear option"--from changing the Senate's rules of debate to disallow filibusters, or to make them easier to kill. (The rules of debate can be changed by a simple majority vote.)

At the time, Republicans were the majority and Democrats were the minority. Apparently, the Republicans think this compromise should no longer apply now that they are the minority. OK, then, let's use the nuclear option!

My advice to the Dems would be: don't threaten. Just do it. Without advance warning. Just suddenly have someone introduce the nuclear option, and have a vote on the motion before the Republicans realize what's going on. Then, let them huff and puff and rant and rave until they burst.

The filibuster is unconstitutional anyway. The Constitution says you're supposed to be able to pass a bill through the Senate with a SIMPLE MAJORITY.

Posted by: SoMG on April 6, 2009 at 5:11 AM | PERMALINK
the opposition party would filibuster half the nominations and no one would never govern at all.
Ding ding ding ding -- we have a winner! This is the core goal of movement conservatism: Dismantle the government by demonstrating that government "can't" work. Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on April 6, 2009 at 5:33 AM | PERMALINK

Ditto to those pointing at Reid as the weakest link.

Maybe Obama needs to haul in some people in Congress and point out that he is also the only thing between THEM and the pitchforks as well.

Posted by: JohnN on April 6, 2009 at 6:15 AM | PERMALINK

Six little words. Just six; no more, and no less, both express and illuminate the entire plot in all its criminality:

safeguard the Bush administration's darkest secrets

We know that crimes have been committed; the world knows, and the Republicans know. What we now have is a collection of individuals---all members of the Unites States Congress---who are expressly threatening to obstruct the rightful actions of the President, thereby violating the Separation of Powers clause explicitly identified under Federal Law, if the President does not become part-and-parcel of the obstruction of justice by concealing said crimes from the light of justice.

What this Congress-Critters need is to be gathered together in a room filled with reporters and television cameras, and told point-blank:

This administration is going to proceed with the actions it deems necessary. It will release these memos; it will release other materials it deems fit to release; it will, if the evidence shows the need, conduct investigations; it will, if warranted by the outcomes of those investigations, prosecute on criminal grounds all those believed to have committed crimes in violation of the Law.

Seeking to collectively prevent these actions constitutes obstruction of justice under federal statutes. If the release of data and the investigations lead to the legal conclusion that any crimes committed constitute acts against the Constitution, then those who participate in the obstruction of this administration's actions risk implicating themsleves as accomplices to those acts, and will likewise be prosecuted to the fullest extent under the Law.

The collective commission of, and participation in, criminal activity is, under federal definition, called "racketeering." This is prosecutable under the law.

Any organized effort to obstruct or otherwise obfuscate possible evidence of criminal actions that could be deemed as a crime against humanity, or as a crime of war, constitutes a direct violation of various international treaties and laws to which the United States is a duly-bound signatory---up to and including the Geneva Conventions---and those who wish to participate in that obstruction do so at the risk of extradition to any State seeking to legitimately exercise their legal mandate to prosecute such obstruction.

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 6, 2009 at 6:17 AM | PERMALINK

Rule changes, in addition to the requirement for the filibustering side to be present, could also include assigning a "cost" of 2 votes to each filibuster: in any calendar year, the first filibuster would need 60 votes for cloture; the second would require 58 for cloture; the third 56, etc. That way the opposition would pick its filibusters very carefully, using them only to obstruct bills they strongly and unanimously oppose.

Posted by: richard greenslade on April 6, 2009 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

First, please edit: "no one would never govern at all."

Second, I agree with the poster above: call their bluff. Have a debate. Why not lay the whole thing out openly and make it a priority. Make them say "These memos can't come out because we're afraid of what they reveal" or some absurdly transparent lie. The more light one shines into the corners, the more the cockroaches scurry.

Posted by: Buffalonian on April 6, 2009 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

They should tell the Republicans, ok, we won't release the documents if you permit a non-filibustered vote on these two persons. Then once they are confirmed, release the documents anyway. When Republicans howl, say that the "deal" reached was completely illegitimate, and that these documents are more important than any petty deal.

Posted by: RWB on April 6, 2009 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

Chiming in from Buffalo.. Screw the Repubs. They seem to want to create a "hostage situation" with the appointees. Evidently, they must have done something they want to be kept secret.

Interesting that in first two and a half months, Obama's initiatives for bipartisianship and reconciliation have been rebuffed by Republicans, Iranian leaders and Taliban. OK, what do these three have in common? (Not a trick question)

Posted by: Ken on April 6, 2009 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Why don't they just release the torture memos right now and get it over with, then there will be no argument.

Posted by: JS on April 6, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

If this was all happening 160 years ago the Republican Party would have seceeded from the Union by now. That is the message they are sending. It is plain from their actions -- obstructing Obama on virtually everything, claiming the perogatives of a majority at a time when the public has made them a minority -- that their radicalism runs that deep. The GOP is plainly in the hands of Limbaugh and others who are quite willing to wage unremitting ideological trench warfare with the American public that has made it plain in the last two elections that they want this country to move in another direction. The GOP is perfectly willing to bring the nation to a grinding halt rather than admit to the legitimacy of the Obama presidency and the repudiation of conservatism has it has been practiced the last 20 years. And to justify their own radicalism they have convinced themselves that in President Obama they confornt an antagonist who is equally radical and extreme. That is the point of all this wild talk from FOX and talk radio about socialist dictatorships and liberal fascism. This is not our fathers Republican Party but something far more radical and disturbing.

Posted by: Ted Frier on April 6, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't Congress in, oh, what's the word I'm looking for... oh yeah! Recess!! So Obama should appoint whomever he wants right now. Including Johnsen, Koh and Tammy Duckworth.

I heard a tantalizing rumor that the administration had already given up any hope of achieving bipartisanship with the crazy Republican criminals in Congress. This would be a perfect chance to prove it, while at the same time doing the right thing and making a lot of supporters happy.

Posted by: gradysu on April 6, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

S. Waybright on April 6, 2009 at 6:17 AM has hit the nail on the head, and I believe this is exactly what should be done (and is also what the Rupub's fear most!). Why do the Dem's cower? Culpability!

During the entire Bush tenure, crimes were committed, and Dem's are now a party to them. Bush should long ago have been impeached, as should Cheney, and the entire criminal enterprise prosecuted. Never happened. Congress does NOT "police" itself. Now, we can only hope Spain will succeed where our own "system" has failed us!

Dem's are just as mixed up in this entire criminal mess (from illegal wars, to the theft of the treasury by the MIC, to the Wall Street de-regulation/theft/fraud/cover-up mess) as the Repubs are. By turning away from Truth, and Honor, they have bought into the entire sordid mess and made themselves accessories. Of course they'll cave in. They can't very well allow it all to come out, and if the Repubs are cornered, they'll make SURE and take everyone with them when they fall.

Posted by: Otolaryx on April 6, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

The emergence of the filibuster as a headline-making issue speaks volumes about the radical transformation of the Republican Party now that it has been whitted down to a right wing ideological rump, located mostly in the reactionary South.

The filibuster is a rule of the Senate, not part of the Constitution, which is quite explicit on the issues that require supermajority votes in the Seante to pass -- such as treaties and Constitutional amendments. Its legitimacy as a tool by which the minority is able to protect its rights presumes that there exists a willingness by that minority to work cooperatively with the majority wherever possible and shoulder its share of the national burden of governing.

That is what is plainly lacking from today's GOP. By their obstructionism on virtually every issue, they have shown they have no interest in making a positive contribution to any institution that they do not affirmatively control.

Everything that they have done since Obama took office is to position themselves, however ineptly, to regain power. In this they are very much like the South before the Civil War, which insisted as the price for staying within the Union that it would have an absolute veto over all actions by the federal government. And this radicalism was happening at precisely the moment when power was drifting inexorably away from the Southern planatation elite which had dominated national politics for the nation's first 70 years, much as the Conservatiave Movement has been thoroughly repudiated by the public since its high water mark in the 2004 Bush re-election.

If the filibuster should become something like John C. Calhoun's "concurrent majority" -- namely a device whose misuse facilitates minority rule instead of preserving minority rights -- then in self-defense the majority must consider taking unilateral steps to limit the filibuster's reach.

It seems clear that today's Republican Party are quite willing to use the filibuster to make this country essentially un-governable, just as antebellem Southerners were willing to destroy a country they no longer dominated.

Posted by: Ted Frier on April 6, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

>"they're taking bribes [campaign money] from [mostly] the same people the Republicans are, and they're afraid if they demonstrate any real independence, the generous flow of money will stop"

Bingo. It's a bit less blatent now, behind the curtains, but big money is still firmly in charge.

Full public financing of campaigns is the answer... even if we spend a billion per election cycle it would be the best investment of the millenium. However, big money isn't about to let that happen, and it won't until the people get angry and motivated enough to take to the streets en masse.

Posted by: Buford on April 6, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

The Repubs are holding up running government during a crisis, and radicalizing their supporters against the current party in power.

If this gets them back in power or further marginalizes their party remains to be seen, but they're turning it into an all-or-nothing proposition. What happens if more Repubs lose office in 2010? They do more of the same?

It's plain to see the Repubs are willing to double down and gamble with the fate of their party (and how it impacts our country) just like the guys on Wall St doubled down and lost our 401Ks. Always willing to put power, wealth, and party ahead of country.

Posted by: Glen on April 6, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans: you lost.

That would be true if the game was representative democracy, in which one expects momentum and power to shift from time to time.

That's not the game they're playing. They see politics as the functional equivalent of war; vanquish the enemy -- moderates and liberals -- by whatever means necessary. No truce, no retreat, no surrender. Nothing short of total victory regardless of how much or whose blood is spilled.

Whenever a Democratic president is elected, it's an aberration. Going after Clinton was nothing but an attempt to overthrow the outcome of elections by other means, just as removing Davis was in California, just as doing their best to see that Obama does not succeed is an attempt to thwart the will of the people as demonstrated in November.

What was all that talk about a permanent Republican majority if not the expressed intent to void representative democracy?

Posted by: beep52 on April 6, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

1. Prohibit the Federal Reserve from paying interest on excess reserve deposits. That disrupts the economy.

2. Stop using depleted uranium. It’s absurdly toxic and its toxicity has been absurdly ignored for 60 years.

3. Start shopping mortgage cram-downs and the Employee Free Choice Act around in especially hard-hit Republican enclaves, to see if they would be willing to trade any earmarks like aid to fix their problems.

4. Offer a public choice of universal health care, including preventative (i.e., no deductibles, no co-pays) care — which has a bang-per-buck ratio of 1.40.

5. Simplify the tax code to be highly progressive, with the lower bracket of 0%, and the upper bracket of whatever it takes to pay for all this, with the cusp set such that 95% of the people get a tax cut. Teacher salaries should be doubled, class sizes should be halved, double the physical plant space should be built, research science should be robustly funded at the colleges and universities, and in general the education budget shouldn’t look like a blip on the radar compared to the defense budget.

6. Try to get the atmospheric concentration of CO2 back to 350 ppm. Mostly this can be done by subsidizing wind power and lithium. Wind energy should be subsidized with a floating subsidy, such that wind always costs a fraction of the least expensive fossil fuel.

7. Lithium subsidization should be performed primarily though orders of plug-in hybrid vehicles, because transportation is about half the carbon budget.

8. We can also use technology like http://ice-energy.com/ and pumped-storage hydroelectricity to balance the load from intermittent wind.

9. Alcohol and nicotine prohibition makes a lot more sense than marijuana prohibition. However, it seems to me that if you had to pick one of the three, marijuana would not be it. All the victimless crimes (”crimes against society”) should be charged only in proportion to their actual harm (local District Attorneys may need our help with these aspects.)

10. Banking reform should include strong anti-trust actions to create reasonably sized, competitive banks. Usury should be eliminated, as a means of breaking up the largest of the banks. Anti-trust laws should be firmly enforced against any monopolies or collusions.

Given recently stated goals of trying to get back to levels of about 350 ppm CO2, the diagrams on page 45-51 of this document seem considerably short of the mark. How much fossil fuel, as a proportion of the entire amount of installed capacity, would need to be replaced by renewable energy, and how much biochar and other forms of carbon capture and storage would be needed to get back to 350 ppm CO2 by 2020?

Posted by: jps from ThinkProgress WonkRoom on April 6, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

The president is out of the country. Once he gets back, he'll deal with this mess, but right now his team is dealing with other stuff.

I seriously doubt that Obama would make policy based upon the threat of a filibuster, and I also doubt that Hok or Johnston would accept their positions if the policy changed to allow them in.

If this is the republican strategy, it is senseless: hide the memos or we won't let you appoint anyone who wants to release the memos. Totally stupid. Obama is not changing his policy on this, good to know that Brennen got kicked out of his desired spot for good cause...the opposite of what confronts these two nominees.

Posted by: tomj on April 6, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy is sadly correct that the filibuster rules must be changed. The Republicans are trying to use the rule to protect criminal malfeasance. That just cannot stand. Perhaps another procedural safeguard against tyranny of the majority can be devised. But the tyranny of the current Senate minority is corrupt.

Posted by: Bob C on April 6, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate republicans? If not, consider it said.

Posted by: CDW on April 6, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

THESE are the people who tried to hang Clinton for the 'high crime' of fooling around with an intern? You'd think they made some choice speeches then about their expectations for the President. Where are those? They truly need to be slapped down hard for being such hypocrites.

Posted by: Bilfred on April 6, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Count me in the "bring on the war" contingent -- as long as Harry Reid requires the filibusterers to actually stand up and filibuster. By all means, let debate on the nominations go on for days, while the filibusterers show up all across the nation on C-SPAN in all their idiocy and the Senate's morality caucus calls them out for their criminal (literally) blackmail. As they say down here, throw me in that briar patch. I wouldn't call the loss of two key Obama nominations, should they actually be lost, a small price to pay for getting a televised national debate on holding torturers accountable -- something we should have begun no later than 2004 -- but I think it would be an acceptable tradeoff.

Posted by: Lex on April 6, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I am confused about your posting by Hilzoy on the Republicans: You Lost
Living here in MA, Howard Koh is a medical doctor and he was nominated for a post with Health and Human Services. Am I correct, is this the same Howard Koh? He was the head of MA Department of Public Health. No?
Just wondering?

Posted by: Tess on April 6, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Understand that I am a Conservative Patriot, not a Republican or Democrat. And I agree that documents that do not pose a threat to the security of the United States of America should be released. When someone refuses to release documents, I have to wonder what they are trying to hide.

How about this? Obama could lead the way with the good faith gesture of releasing a factual, fully documented birth certificate, (not some phony C.O.L.B.), that may help to settle the question as to where he was born and whether or not he is Constitutionally eligible to serve as President.

Possibly, Obama could even release his student loan paperwork from Occidental, to show he was not there by way of a foreign student loan. Or maybe he could explain how he managed to travel to Pakistan at a time it was illegal for anyone with an American passport to do so.

But that would probably be too much to ask of someone that has already invested so much money in legal fees to fight the release of these documents. Ah yes, transparency.

Posted by: David E. Stark on April 6, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I cant believe all you commie libs! When the GOP had majority, the libs did the same thing! They even shut down the government to get there way. Now the Repubs are doing it and its totally wrong! When the Dems do it they are rightous. CEO's of Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac, Mr. (ponzi)Madoff, AIG, Goldman Sachs, Leiman Bros., All card carrying Commie Liberals, and "W" is to blame for this meltdown? Liberalism is a mental disease. It will be only eradicated with the 2nd comming of the Lord-Soon...

Posted by: Ken on April 6, 2009 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK
I support keeping the filibuster for judicial nominations, which are for life.

Then let's make judicial appointments not for life. My understanding is that in Iowa, judicial appointments have to be renewed every 8 (I think) years or so... that would be a lot cleaner solution.

Posted by: Sean Peters on April 6, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK
2. Stop using depleted uranium. It’s absurdly toxic and its toxicity has been absurdly ignored for 60 years.

Bzzzt. From the link: "DU is less toxic than other heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury." Not to mention lead, which is what, you know, 99.999% of all other bullets are made of.

But thanks for playing.

Seriously, we have real problems in defense procurement - like the fact that we spend about 5 times as much as we need to spend. Screwing around with non-issues like DU is a 1) a waste of time, and 2) takes an important capability away from our troops - the metallurgical properties of DU are unique and can't be replicated with something like tungsten. But I guess tungsten does have the advantage of having a non-scary name.

Posted by: Sean Peters on April 6, 2009 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

So what do I tell Cornyn that may make him act like a grownup? This kind of behavior is so Delaylike in character that I am ashamed to be associated with this scum in any way. And it is so common here in the Republic.

The speaker of the state house who was recently deposed, had kept his position by refusing to recognize people who were going to offer a motion to vote on him. And then he reassigned the parliamentarian when his gambit was deemed illegal. That's why Cornyn behaves the way he does because that's what he learned back home. Texans just don't play nicely with others - Delay, Armey, Gramm, Craddick, ...

Posted by: Texas Aggie on April 6, 2009 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Sarah on April 6, 2009 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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