Wednesday, September 19, 2001

The Justice Department has draft legislation allowing Attorney General Palmer, I mean Ashcroft, to detain and deport aliens, including those with green cards, without showing evidence to any court. The "terrorists" he can deport are defined as people who use a weapon, any weapon including a pen knife, for any reason other than "mere personal monetary gain." I love that "mere."

Opposition has come to an end, with those jets evidently having sheared off the balls of the Democrats, shriveled though they were. Ashcroft's nonsense (and I hope you all understood the Palmer reference, although I noticed not one of you noticed what I swear was a typo last week when I gave the wrong year for McKinley's assassination. For shame) and his wiretapping bill will doubtless pass. The ACLU's press officer has all week been telling the press, without a hint of irony, “I'm not at liberty
to say anything”; the Dems dropped a provision in the Pentagon budget stopping missile defense testing that violated the ABM treaty; and the Sierra Club has decided not to criticize Bush on anything whatsoever. Thank god you still have me, eh?

Chihuaha state in Mexico has repealed a new law reducing the minimum sentence for rape to 1 year if it could be proved that the victim had "provoked" it.

In Spain today, the very first attempt to steal euros. Didn't succeed.

British rats have learned how to dive for mussels, shell and eat them. Expect the rat population to explode. Still, not a surprise after the last week that the rats are getting smarter, is it?

There's always that problem when someone's stated rationale is valid, but isn't their real motive. The Taliban are saying that before they hand over bin Laden, they'd like to see some actual evidence that he's guilty of something. Hey, you and me both. Remember we never heard of this guy before 1998 (when long-time readers will remember I expressed my doubt about whether he really was the '90s Blofeld), and have never been presented with anything resembling evidence. What I've heard doesn't even amount to circumstantial evidence. "Well, it's terrorism, right? And he does that kind of thing, right?" Oh sure, it's secret intelligence stuff, so it can't be made public. Then how do you expect to hold a trial? Not that bin Laden could get a fair trial. Maybe we should stop using legal words altogether. Afghanistan isn't refusing to "extradite" him--there is no extradition treaty with Afghanistan, whose government we don't recognize. Any process would be extra-judicial. Which may be acceptable under the circumstances, but let's not pretend it's something other than what it is, an act of pure power politics.

The evidence would presumably come from the same intelligence agencies that last week fucked up fairly dramatically. And what is the standard of evidence applied by the Bushies, anyhow? If they're convinced that bin Laden is responsible, does that mean the evidence is better than that suggesting that arsenic in the drinking water is bad? better than the evidence for global warming? better or worse than the evidence that Star Wars will work?

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