Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Favorite headline of the day: Senator Helms Moves to Rehabilitation. Presumably at the Betty Ford Center for Recovering Assholes. I believe he received a pig heart, which is too good and fitting a story to ruin by checking the facts, so I won’t.

Oh, driving on I5 I passed an old VW wagon filled with college signs, with a cardboard sign in the rear window saying “Show Us Your Tits.” I thought about it, but in the end failed to comply.

Second favorite headline of the day: Cabbage Machine Crushes Man to Death. And cuts off another guy’s arm. It’s not every day someone dies in the cause of cole slaw.

An even better death (hey, I had to drive 400 miles listening to the radio whitter on about dirty bombs, I deserve a little gruesome entertainment) was that of Peter Mokaba, one of South Africa’s “There is no such thing as AIDS” brigade. I don’t think I have to tell you what he died of.

So what *really* happened at the loya jirga today? The whole thing always seemed like a way to broker deals under the spurious guise of “tradition,” instead of the usual spurious guise of rigged elections. But the self-selected body really wanted the king back, and the Americans stepped in to, what, bribe? threaten? him into refusing any part, thus ensuring (helped along by the occasional assassination and assassination attempt by the CIA) that the US’s puppet government continues another term of puppetry.

The Washington Post Monday caught up with the Bush Doctrine, which I mentioned a few days ago. No longer will we be able to complain about Pearl Harbors and cowardly sneak attacks. Those will be ours. The Bushies are now trying to sell NATO, sort of. The sort of is that they’re claiming preemptive attacks aren’t explicitly ruled out by the NATO charter, so they must already be NATO policy. In the 17th century and beyond, various European countries had sumptuary laws, which said what clothes certain classes were and were not allowed to wear, the idea being that social class should be visible at all times. The Bush Doctrine proclaims the same sort of thing for certain weapons. Especially symbolic of this is that they are trying to develop small nuclear devices to destroy well-protected, dug-in weapons of mass destruction. Rumsfeld has told NATO that the standard of proof need not be very high, either, before an attack is launched.

The UN World Summit on Food is meeting in Rome to discuss world hunger. They are too embarrassed even to vote on whether there is a “right to food.” The delegates were, of course, well fed (the menu may be found in the London Times article on the story), although those from the richer countries didn’t dare show up at the banquet.

The Tuesday Post has a piece that wonders how the US will deal with armies containing conscripted 12-year olds, as so many do.

A guy shot up a Benedictine monastery today, killing two monks. The Church wanted to know if the guy was a priest, because they’re allowed one atrocity or child-rape free under the Two Tykes and You’re Out policy.

The Supreme Court rules 5-4 that prisons can punish convicted sex
offenders who refuse to admit guilt during therapy. I think mandating therapy is already a violation of their 1st Amendment rights, but that issue doesn’t even seem to have come up. Instead the Supes astonishingly saw no violation of the 5th Amendment in a requirement that a prisoner sign an “admission of guilt” form and, oh yes, list all his victims. The punishments involved seem to include going into maximum security and taking away his tv, but you know that some states must be keeping prisoners in jail for more of their terms. So it’s not just “terrorists” who have no rights in the US.

And note that Bush was able to remove all the rights of an American citizen unconvicted of any crime (the dirty nuke guy), including the right to see an attorney, or to any form of trial whatever, simply by signing a piece of paper. Just the way to treat someone who hates liberty, I say!

I haven’t decided whether to take the whole dirty bomb thing seriously or not.

So why wasn’t the ATF included in the Heimat Security Fiefdom, even though it was key in breaking the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and involved in Oklahoma City and other terrorist investigations? Think it’s part of Ashcroft’s campaign to make sure that no information on gun ownership is ever used for law enforcement purposes? Me too.

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