Monday, December 03, 2007

A full day in the United States Senate


Elections, elections. Chavez’s referendum lost “for now,” as he put it, words he famously used after the failure of his 1992 coup attempt, when he had surrendered and was allowed to broadcast a call for the other coup commanders (Chavez surrendered first) to do the same. He seems rather subdued today, considering 51% of the electorate have turned out to be “traitors,” as he called opponents of the referendum last week.

And Putin’s party “wins” the Russian parliamentary elections. Wouldn’t a straightforward dictatorship without the trappings of election which fool no one just be simpler? Or hold the election, but make up the results, as in Chechnya where there was a 99% turnout and a 99% vote for United Russia. Instead, they went to really a lot of effort to coerce millions of people into getting absentee ballots and filling them out as directed. Seems like a lot of wasted effort to me, but perhaps threatening people and breaking up demonstrations is just how they stay warm.

Andrei Lugovoi, the man believed to have murdered Alexander Litvinenko with polonium, has been elected to the Duma, gaining parliamentary immunity. Hurrah for democracy!

Bush made another little speech attacking Congress this morning for not doing his bidding fast enough on the budget, Telecom amnesty, warrantless electronic surveillance, and the alternative minimum tax. He even made a little joke: “In a political maneuver designed to block my ability to make recess appointments, congressional leaders arranged for a senator to come in every three days or so, bang a gavel, wait for about 30 seconds, bang a gavel again, and then leave. Under the Senate rules, this counts as a full day. If 30 seconds is a full day, no wonder Congress has got a lot of work to do.” He’s just jealous that they get to bang a gavel and he doesn’t. And because if they gave him one, it would take him a full day just to figure out how to make it work.

Now if he could only find some other sort of symbol...


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