Friday, September 30, 2016


You know, at some point you kinda have to stop saying "Worst Congress Ever" because the downward spiral has to end and genuine competent leadership somehow earns its way behind the driver's seat of the national bus.

But not this week.

And this was a special kind of stupid on display: the Bipartisan version where both parties in Congress committed a collective brain fart. Granted, I'm going to end up yelling at the Republicans more BECAUSE THEY'RE THE IDIOTS IN CHARGE OF THE WHOLE CAPITOL BUILDING but still, credit where credit's due the Democrats were a bunch of morons about this too...

What exactly is getting my last nerve frazzled?

This (per the Atlantic):

The enactment on Wednesday of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act should have been a triumphant moment for Republican leaders in Congress. They had succeeded, after years of trying, in overriding a presidential veto for the first time and forcing a bill into law over the strenuous objections of Barack Obama.

Just remember, Obama objected to the bill.

“It appears as if there may be some unintended ramifications,” McConnell lamented at a press conference barely 24 hours after all but one senator voted to reject the president’s veto of the legislation, which would allow victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. court. On the other side of the Capitol, Ryan said that he hoped there could be a “fix” to the very law he allowed to pass through the House—one that would protect U.S. soldiers abroad from legal retribution that the Obama administration had warned for months would follow as a result of the law.

Just remember, Obama's administration warned for months there were legal ramifications that Congress - made up of lawmakers who are supposed to UNDERSTAND the law and its ramifications - needed to consider about this bill.

...How could a Congress plagued by gridlock pass legislation with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, initiate a rare veto override, and then immediately voice regret about the problems the new law might cause?
The answer is a mix of sensitive 9/11 politics, an unusually powerful bipartisan alliance, election-year timing, and a heavy dose of mistrust and miscommunication between two branches of government that rarely see eye to eye.

Also known as the Perfect Bullshit Storm.

For years, victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families have pushed for a change in the law that would exempt acts of terrorism on U.S. soil from the principle of sovereign immunity, which prevents lawsuits against foreign governments and officials in American court. The families want to sue the Saudi government for damages over its alleged ties to the 9/11 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi citizens. The Saudis have denied any involvement, and as CIA Director John Brennan made clear on Wednesday, the U.S. government has backed up their denial...
...The 9/11 families had two influential senators in their corner: Charles Schumer of New York, likely the next Democratic leader, and John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican. With their backing, a revised version of the bill cleared the Judiciary Committee in the spring and then passed the full Senate on a voice vote—a rarity for legislation that drew such vociferous opposition from the White House. Any senator could have objected, but then as now, none wanted to go on record against a proposal billed as “justice for 9/11 families.” 

Political Courage at its finest, across the board, which is why I'm none too happy with Democrats about this mess. Just for the record, Schumer should be barred from any leadership role with the Senate Democrats regardless of minority or majority seating, just on this craven stupidity alone.

...Yet because the legislation first passed the Senate without debate, many members only became aware of the administration’s concerns in the last several weeks after Congress returned from a long summer recess. The House passed the bill in similar fashion—without much debate—two weeks ago, and Obama returned it with a veto message last Friday.
“This is a bill that should have been given a greater airing,” Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland told me on Thursday. “It was not on my radar screen until after the train was leaving the station. The next thing I know, it’s on the president’s desk.” Cardin is no backbencher; he is the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee and along with the panel’s chairman, Bob Corker of Tennessee, he spent the last several days scrambling to work out a compromise with the Obama administration that would have kept the bill, as written, from becoming law. Time ran out this week, however, as McConnell decided to bring up the veto-override vote just before lawmakers left to campaign for reelection.

This is where the sins of letting Congress set its own vacation schedule - itself an insane process where they take so many days off NOTHING REALLY GETS DONE - have come back to bite these morons on the ass.

Either way, neither Democrats nor Republicans objected to the vote, and the 97-1 tally was an overwhelming rebuke of the White House. Only Harry Reid, the retiring Democratic leader, supported the president’s veto. Vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine wasn’t in town to vote, but following the lead of Hillary Clinton, he said he would have gone against Obama and overturned the veto. Hours later, the House voted 348-77 to make the bill a law.

And why, exactly, was this override a bad thing?

Appearing at a CNN veterans forum Wednesday night, Obama called the override “a mistake” motivated by lawmakers’ understandable concerns about emotional 9/11 politics and the looming election. He reiterated the objections he outlined in his three-page veto message—that by overturning sovereign immunity even for terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, Congress could be exposing U.S. personnel to lawsuits and other legal action all across the globe. Under current law, the U.S. government can exempt a country from sovereign immunity by having the State Department designate it as a state sponsor of terrorism (which it has not done for Saudi Arabia). “This is taking that out of our military and our intelligence and the hands of our national-security professionals and putting it into the courts,” Obama said. “And that’s a mistake.”

Hence the Congressional leaders' sudden outpouring of "Oh Crap" about the law they just confirmed. All of a sudden a lot of survivors from Iraq and Afghanistan are getting emails and faxes from lawyers up and down the National Geographic atlas.

This is what happens when you get a combination of partisan brinksmanship, localized pandering (Schumer playing to his voter base back in NYC), and outright ignorance of the consequences by those who should know better about the law they are supposed to craft.

And while I admit both parties are to blame, I'm still aiming most of my ire at the idiots among the Republican leadership. It's THEIR House and Senate they control, it's THEIR rules for getting bills passed, it's THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE DOING.

And of course, these damned Republican leaders, such profiles of leadership, are blaming Obama instead of themselves:

For their part, Republicans blamed the White House for waiting too long to warn lawmakers about the bill’s “potential consequences,” as McConnell put it. “That was, it seems to me, an example of a failure to communicate on a piece of legislation that was obviously very popular,” the Majority Leader told reporters.

I'm sorry, Mitch, but what part of those tidbits I highlighted - that the Obama administration had warned for months, and He reiterated the objections he outlined in his three-page veto message - did you NOT FUCKING NOTICE? Did you even READ Obama's veto notes? Aren't you required in your duty to, you know, get an inkling of what your political opponents are talking about just you can adequately rebuke them? Weren't you at all worried about the military and intel people - the ones who are actually part of a civil service that tries to remain nonpartisan - yelling at Congress "HOLY SHIT YOU MORONS DON'T PASS THIS BILL"?

YOU FAILED, MITCH, YOU FAILED TO DO YOUR OWN DAMN JOB. Blaming Obama for your own idiocy is no excuse.

Swear to God, every Congressional moron responsible for this shitshow should apologize to the nation on bended knee or resign, and yes I will say both sides. Starting with the morons at top - McConnell and Ryan - and work our way down to any intern caught abusing the vending snack machines. I don't care if that Milky Way bar is overpriced at $4.25 a pop, it's your damn fault you live in a metro with an excessively high cost-of-living.


1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

No, see it was Obama's responsibility to figure out how to get the information past the "Oh, we hate that guy" response of dismissing and blindly opposing everything he does they have adopted for his entire presidency. He should have beamed it to the chips they had installed in their heads in the FEMA camps by ther death panel...

-Doug in Oakland