Tuesday, January 04, 2005

January 3, 2005

You Need to Know ..
The number of people who died in the tsunami is roughly the same
as the number of Iraqis who have died as a result of the US invasion.

Now, this...
Stuck, In the Middle
With You

I am still too hung over to write anything that even pretends to resemble a thoughtful essay on pressing matters. But, I am awake enough to recognize what is annoying or just plain-ass crazy when I see it.

Crazy AND Annoying
It turns out that the Bush administration has decided that when it comes to the war on terrorism we must destroy freedom in order to protect it. The administration has been faced with mounting pressure from US courts (you know, those “activist judges”) over the continued non-judicial incarceration of terrorist suspects. One by one courts are ruling that the administration cannot suspend the U.S. constitution's due process rights just because it makes life easier for them.

In response the administration has hatched a plan to build and operate terrorist prisoner camps outside the US where detainees against whom they have little or no evidence, but lots of suspicion, can be held indefinitely, even for life, without trail. These “camps” would be built in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

How terribly American of you Mr. Bush. Is this one of the “traditional American values” you talk so much about? If so I must have been sick the day in school they covered that part of our history.

Maybe this one of your signs that “democracy is on the march around the world?” Is this how you plan to mentor repressive nations in the Middle East towards the “rule of law,” by building U.S.-run concentration camps on their soil? “Do as we say, not as we do,” is that your democracy marching chant?

Imprisonment w
ithout representation, without trial, without the right to confront your accusers, is just about as un-frigging-American as it gets, George. If you get to do this can summary executions be far behind? I know you don’t read much, George, but please, curl up one night soon with our Bill of Rights. You will find it a revelation.

(PS: By the way, you might want to take a flashlight to bed and read them under the covers after Karl Rove goes to sleep – you know, so he does not roll over and catch you.)

Speaking of Annoying
There is nothing quite as intoxicating as victory. And House Republicans are drunk as skunks on the stuff right now. Sweeping the November elections has handed them control of both the Executive and Legislative branches of government and they are so close to it they can taste control of the judiciary as well.

Of course, as in all coups, some laws had to be broken along the way to victory, and now its time to reward and protect those who took the risks. Chief among lawbreaking GOP patriots is House Majority Leader, Tom Delay of Texas. It seems a Texa
s prosecutor is hot on DeLay’s tail and close to indicting him for gross violations of the state’s campaign finance laws. The problem is that current House rules would not allow DeLay to continue to serve if indicted. So what to do? Change the rules, of course.

In the aftermath of ethics rebukes of their popular but controversial majority leader, Tom DeLay of Texas, House Republicans today are expected to consider rule changes that would make it harder to bring ethics complaints against lawmakers. One proposal would require that a majority of House ethics committee members approve any investigation of a House member. Currently, an inquiry can move ahead even if the ethics committee, which has five Republicans and five Democrats, is deadlocked. Another proposal, its critics argue, would make it more difficult to enforce ethics rules unless the improper conduct is clearly spelled out in the rules.

Do we see a pattern here? Me thinketh so. In the first story we have the GOP’s CEO, George Bush, changing the judicial rules for those accused of terrorism when there is not enough evidence to prosecute them under current US laws. And, in Congress we see the GOP’s junior executives changing the rules when there IS enough evidence to prosecute one of their members under current US law.

I know it’s trite. I know it’s a cliché and invoking it surely diminishes me. But when I read this kind of stuff in my morning paper I feel like one of the barnyard animals in Orwell reading the daily piggy rule changes on the barn wall.

I’d make a break for the borders but I was raised in California and it’s just too damn cold in Canada. And going south has it’s own disadvantages. The Mexicans don’t cotton much to illegal immigrants and refuse to change all their signs into English or give me a driver’s license if I sneak into their country.

So I’m stuck - here - in the middle with you -- fools to the left of me, clowns to the right.

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