Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Democrats who are clamoring for this have already voted against John Bolton


The White House is determined to distance itself from any attempts at bipartisanship, refusing to hand documents over to the Senate which the D’s say bear on John Bolton’s fitness to serve as ambassador to the UN. Sez Scotty McClellan, “The Democrats who are clamoring for this have already voted against John Bolton. This is about partisan politics, not documents. They have the information they need.” What Scotty is forgetting is that the Senate is supposed to be a deliberative body, in which decisions arise out of open discussion and debate: the “clamoring” D’s may have made up their own minds, but they still have a perfectly legitimate need for information they can use to try to convince others to reconsider. That would be how it would work in a truly deliberative body where decisions weren’t based on party label, where congressional members of the president’s party are not expected to support his every decision mindlessly and automatically.

While the anti-immigrant lobby in the US talks about making driver’s licenses “real” identity cards, a London School of Economics study estimates that Tony Blair’s plan to introduce mandatory identity cards, with those neat biometrics and all the Orwellian bells and whistles (by the way, Eddie Albert’s obit says he played Winston Smith in a 1953 tv version of 1984; there’s probably a joke in that), would cost £300. Can you say “poll tax?” And the American government is insisting that it be able to read those cards too.

A NYT article about a federal case being tried in Vermont says that John Ashcroft overturned a deal reached by the US attorney to avoid the death penalty in this case, but fails to mention that it was Ashcroft’s policy to go for the death penalty in states that did not have it at the state level (the Clinton admin was more or less deferential to states’ policies). Remember, the next time Bush talks about the “culture of life,” that states which oppose the death penalty are being forced to host trials and provide jurors for these death-fests.

Speaking of the culture of life, Bush, in his weekly radio address, said: “Throughout our history, America has fought not to conquer but to liberate. We go to war reluctantly, because we understand the high cost of war.” Oh dear God I’ve gone blind! The glare of the whitewash has blinded me!

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