Category Archives: Bush

Grading the Obama administration: Regulatory issues

OMBWatch is a great tool for groups and individuals interested in tracking how our government applies the laws passed by congress to protect the public, with regards to transparency and accountability. This new, three part report (pdf) entitled The Obama Approach to Public Protection: Enforcement, delves into how the Obama Administration creates and administers rules and regulations that protect the public with regard to health, safety and environmental issues and standards. From OMBWatch’s introduction to part one of their report:

This is the first of three OMB Watch reports evaluating the Obama administration’s record on regulatory issues. This report covers health, safety, and environmental rulemaking at federal agencies during the Obama administration from January 2009 through August 2010. The second report will cover many of the same issues and areas as this report but will focus on regulatory enforcement. The third report will focus on the regulatory process, including issues of transparency, participation, regulatory analysis, and scientific integrity, and will more deeply examine the role of the White House, specifically the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in shaping the administration’s record.

Part one is roughly 34 pages long. From part one, a short assessment of their findings:

Based on the research presented here, several trends emerge. First, in stark contrast to the George W. Bush administration, the Obama administration has taken its role of protecting the public seriously and has been far more active in pursuing its rulemaking responsibilities. Obama’s philosophy regarding the role of government is very different from the Bush philosophy. This contrast emerged early in Obama’s tenure as agencies spent considerable time and energy addressing many of the “midnight regulations” the Bush administration enacted or finalized, most of which rolled back essential environmental, public health, and workplace safety standards. While not wholly successful, the Obama administration deserves credit for looking both forward and backward.

Second, the new administration has begun to restore agency resources, recommit leadership to agency missions, and address the toll of neglect from previous administrations. Rebuilding the regulatory agencies, their staffs, and their programs will, however, take years and consistent resources.

Third, in comparison to expectations, the Obama administration has fallen short. The administration has not changed the dysfunctional regulatory process that agencies must navigate. The rulemaking process is full of procedural hurdles that hinder how quickly and, sometimes, how effectively agencies can respond to public needs. The process is tilted heavily in favor of special interests that have the resources and access to impact the substance of rules; the public’s voice is often drowned out.

 I will give Obama and his minions this: The Obama administration has made a valiant effort to undo much of the fuckery foisted upon us by Chimpy’s administration, including all the Midnight reg’s issued in the waning days of that friggin nightmare of an administration that were designed to weaken enforcement and protection of the public.It’s a long, tedious process and ProPublica keeps track of all of them here.

The watchdog group, OMBWatch, was created in 1983. The group has championed many issues, including the batshit crazy rightwingers ongoing attempts to defund and close down many of our federal governments regulatory agencies. In 2008 they created, a searchable database of federal contracts, grants, and loans dating back to FY 2000.

OMBWatch does all this work as a non-profit agency. Any donations to their work are tax deductible.

Juan Cole gets it right-friggin-on about W.

Thanks and hugs to Betmo for turning me on to Cole’s post today on The Shrub. Juan Cole is usually a great read, but this one really hits all the marks for me. He says all the right things I could never put together if my life depended on it..I am much too hot-headed. A few choice paragraphs to peak your interest to read the entire post:

Bush is my slightly older contemporary. I knew guys like W. in college, the frat boys who painted the local lighthouse windows red in the middle of the night after binging on cheap beer and chasing skirts instead of cracking their books. The guys who were rude and arrogant because they did not know how to wear their inherited wealth gracefully, the loudmouths who parroted Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley without having the integrity of the former or the eloquence of the latter.
W. wasn’t up to dealing with the Middle East. It is a complex, vital, fractious place and is notorious as the graveyard of modern presidencies. Carter was done in by Iranian hostage-takers. Reagan embroiled himself in Iran-Contra. Bush Sr. imprudently took on the Israel lobbies over loan guarantees for Israeli colonies on the West Bank, and that misstep helped cost him reelection.
There are weasels among the pundits who say that Bush has been vindicated, insofar as Iraq has regained better security than it had in 2006. This is like saying that the Norwegian brown rat was vindicated when the Black Death ran its course, having killed a third of Europe before it subsided.

Isn’t that simply delicious? is my favorite part of all:

W. is a frightful combination of ignorant, dull, and pigheaded when to succeed in the Middle East he needed to be well-informed, bright and intellectually agile.

Go read it, it is SO fucking worth it…you will not be disappointed m’dear readers. It says everything that needs to be said about the worst President in our nation’s history. BTW, CBS’s last poll on The Shrub came out today:

President Bush is leaving office with the lowest final approval rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago. Just 22 percent say that they approve of the way Mr. Bush has handled his job as president over the last eight years, while 73 percent say they disapprove.

Adios you worthless FUCKTARDO…don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya. May you and your cronies rot in Hell or the Hague, your choice…for all eternity.

Top graphic by the inimitable Worried Shrimp. Bottom graphic by Dark Black the Magnificent.

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ps….I get more tests tomorrow to figure out wtf is wrong w/my body. Now the docs don’t have a clue…I thought medicine was an exact science? Ye old jalopy just ain’t running on all cylinders and its a real bitch to be me..which it usually is whats the diff? ;>P

Another goodie from Steve at Bring it On.

Thank you SteveO 😉

Trying to force a regime change in Iran the old fashion way-through covert ops.

The old fashioned way is using clandestine and/or covert ops by various US governmental agencies. The usual agencies are the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Seymour Hersh addresses these operations in his latest article for the New Yorker.

Mr. Hersh received the information on new covert ops against Iran from various military, intelligence, and congressional sources, per his article. The President received funding for these ops late last year from the Democratic-controlled Congress. The dollar amount Bush was seeking is in the ballpark of $400 million.

Christ, that is some ballpark isn’t it? If you think this is something new in Bush’s War on Terror, think again. From Hersh’s article in July’s New Yorker:

Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.

Serious questions? No…really? Who the hell wouldn’t have serious questions about such actions by our government? Well, the Gang of Eight has been briefed as well as the upper echelons of the Republican and Democratic Congressional leadership. When such covert ops are to begin, the President must issue what is known as a “Presidential Finding“. This is a highly classified executive directive from Bush and its similar to an Executive Order. for a peek into this PF, Hersh has this:

“The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.” The Finding provided for a whole new range of activities in southern Iran and in the areas, in the east, where Baluchi political opposition is strong, he said.

Evidently the congress critter’s with questions about these tactics/operations were appeased since the funding for these operations did get approved by both the Senate and the House. This is all done in secret of course. Interestingly enough, this all came to pass right around the time the NIE came out which stated Iran had stopped work on their nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Can you smell the irony? I can..but I digress.

So BushCo is pushing all the buttons that need to be pushed for his attack on Iran. There are, however, substantial opinions, Robert Gates among them, that bombing Iran would be a huge clusterfuck that would see our children’s children fighting Jihadists, and not only abroad but here on US soil. Again, from Hersh’s article:

A Democratic senator told me that, late last year, in an off-the-record lunch meeting, Secretary of Defense Gates met with the Democratic caucus in the Senate. (Such meetings are held regularly.) Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a preëmptive strike on Iran, saying, as the senator recalled, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.” Gates’s comments stunned the Democrats at the lunch, and another senator asked whether Gates was speaking for Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. Gates’s answer, the senator told me, was “Let’s just say that I’m here speaking for myself.”

Whoa, isn’t that some shit? The Joint Chiefs of Staff aren’t crazy about BushCo’s plan to bomb Iran. Neither are plenty of “the four-star officers who direct military operations around the world”. Before he was shit-canned, Admiral William Fallon, who until recently was the head of U.S. Central Command, was a very vocal advocate for NOT bombing the bejesus out of Iran. Admiral Fallon has quite a bit to say to Mr. Hersh on the subject of Iran and the covert ops:

“Did I bitch about some of the things that were being proposed? You bet. Some of them were very stupid.”

The Democratic leadership’s agreement to commit hundreds of millions of dollars for more secret operations in Iran was remarkable, given the general concerns of officials like Gates, Fallon, and many others. “The oversight process has not kept pace—it’s been coöpted” by the Administration, the person familiar with the contents of the Finding said. “The process is broken, and this is dangerous stuff we’re authorizing.”

To continue reading this post, click here.

Iraq doesn’t like our offer..go figure.

The US and Iraq have been in ‘negotiations’ for awhile now over a permanent..cough..pact. A pact that will govern how and what we are allowed to do within Iraq’s borders. No matter what Bush says, Iraq is a soveriegn nation, right? Yes, we saved them from themselves and brought democracy to all the citizens of Iraq and yet, they have the audacity to bitch and piss and moan that we are pushing them around. The nerve! (snark) From Reuters:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Friday talks with the United States on a long-term security pact were at a stalemate because of U.S. demands that encroached on Iraq’s sovereignty.

The United States and Iraq are negotiating a new security deal to provide a legal basis for U.S. troops to stay in Iraq after December 31, when their United Nations mandate expires, as well as a separate long-term agreement on political, economic and security ties between the two countries.

Some folks in the Iraqi government have gone so far as to say…wtf dudes? We don’t need your stinking bases and thousands of troops! The wingnut Al-Sadr hasn’t been quiet either on this issue. Flapping his gums so to speak, via a letter, to the great unwashed masses he said this, via CNN:

“the resistance will be exclusively conducted by only one group. This new group will be defined soon by me.”

Sigh…Al-Sadr didn’t stop there of course. He had to bring up the “M” word a few times as well:

“We will not stop resisting the occupation until liberation or martyrdom.”

One of the reasons the deaths in Iraq have dropped is because Al-Sadr’s army is in a ceasefire mode. Bush or Petraeus conveniently forget to mention this when they are bragging about how low the death count has been lately. Johnny McCain doesn’t either. Imagine that.

The Iraqi government is threatening to pull out of the talks and write their own ‘take it or leave it’ pact for the American occupiers. BushCo mouthpieces whine that Iraq is circumventing the whole process by taking their gripes public. Seems the Iraq government just doesn’t cotton to us as the ‘great liberators’. Could this be because we want to build roughly 50 permanent bases in their country, control their airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors?

Nah, that can’t be whats pissing them off..cough. Oh Hell No!

Artwork by The Worried Shrimp. Crossposted at Bring It On!