Monday, November 04, 2002

So that's how Bush maintains his human visage

In the Idaho race for US Senate, both candidates are pro-gun, but the D, Alan Blinken, is accusing his opponent of not using his own gun enough. This from his tv ad: “Larry Craig talks about the rights of gun owners but he hasn't even had a hunting licence in Idaho for years. I came to Idaho to hunt and fish.” My god, Craig is practically a communist.

On the local news last night, saw Gray Davis trying to start a chant of Four More Years among some not very enthusiastic members of some union. Uh, isn’t someone other than the candidate supposed to lead the chanting?

In a discussion of the right to die in the Observer, a writer refers to the existing state of affairs, in which terminally ill patients are assisted by unqualified family members or secretly by doctors, as “back-alley suicide.”

Here’s a story from “liberated” Afghanistan:
The Afghan Supreme Court has dismissed a female judge for not wearing an Islamic headscarf during a meeting with US President George Bush last month. Marzeya Basil was attending computer courses in Washington at the invitation of the US government when pictures of her, bareheaded, standing with Bush were carried by the world media. She was sacked days after her return to Afghanistan.

Sacked for not wearing a sack. I trust you’ve also been following the stories of girls’ schools there being burned down or threatened. But they can still fly kites, right? I just read a review of a book in which an article appears, saying that Islamic fundamentalist revolutionaries promise utopia but because they reject history as a deviation from early Islamic purity they lack institutional models for social transformation so that, for example, Iran retained traditional ideas of property. The result is that revolutionary transformation winds up being restricted to the sphere of individual conduct, burquas and kites and so on.

Belarus has banned any religious organizations which have been in the state under 20 years (i.e., those which were not banned by the communists), has introduced censorship of relig literature and bans foreigners from leading relig groups. All very retro. I especially like that 20 year thing, which I believe Russia tried but abandoned. The Orthodox Church using the repressive laws of the godless Soviet communists to prop up its own monopoly, you have to admire the irony, you really do.

The Russians are meanwhile reimposing controls on the increasingly puppified media. During the theater siege they shut down web sites and tv stations, pressured various news outlets and removed normal encoding from all mobile phones, and has since passed a law barring reporting of anti-terrorism operations or any criticism of same.

And continuing our theme of the day of a slide to the bottom, the US has given up, or at least postponed for a year or more, plans to set up military tribunals, because it has realized it has no need of even the pretense of rule by law.

The Islamist party wins Turkish elections. The BBC shows them dancing in the streets, which will no doubt soon be outlawed. The party’s head is barred from office because he once read a poem the authorities didn’t like. Interestingly, the Islamists state their highest priority to be joining the EU (which will never happen). The US also wants to force the EU to admit Turkey, and has told Germany that the way back into Shrub’s good graces is to push this.

And Israel’s government is lurching to the right, if possible. Who knows what secret deals are being made, but the parties that might be brought in to prop Sharon up tend to be of the Death to All Arabs variety, people whose very presence in government amounts to a declaration of war. The new defense minister is being investigated for war crimes.

In further bad news, a plot to kidnap Posh Spice was foiled. I’m thinking “The Ransom of Red Chief.”

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