Friday, July 12, 2002

Committing public order offenses with his feet

Bush has gotten bored with going after the corporations, and thinks everyone else should be too: “I believe people have taken a step back and asked, ‘What’s important in life?’ You know, the bottom line and this corporate America stuff, is that important? Or is serving your neighbor, loving your neighbor like you’d like to be loved yourself?” Of course George has usually had much richer neighbors than the rest of us.

And his friends can afford their own drugs, which is why he’s opposing Democratic plans for drug coverage for the old. He says the plan, by making existing drugs affordable, would cut back on the incentive for drug companies to come up with new drugs that people can’t afford. Come to think of it, his argument is that the plan would be too expensive, but drugs under it would be too cheap.

New in the South African version of Sesame Street: an HIV-positive Muppet. Maybe the Cookie Monster can provide some marijuana brownies.

Guardian headline: Police Praise IRA for ‘Calming Clashes’. I’m assuming that here “calming” is used as a verb rather than an adjective.

Six Afghan governors are demanding that the US military get their permission before conducting military operations in their states. Good luck, guys. This alliance actually looks like a de facto separatist Pashtun region.

The Congressional hearings on the Heimat Security Agency suggest that the legislative branch has begun to realize what a power grab the proposal was. In the name of flexibility, the Bushies are trying to wrest from Congress the ability to shift funds and personnel at will. In addition to scaling down Congressional oversight, it would also ride rough-shod over civil service rules, or to put it another way, screw some large unions that generally support the D’s.

So the chair of the New Mexican Republican party gets a donation from someone he won’t name and insists he doesn’t really know who the guy was acting for, in order to bribe the Green Party (which refused to play) to run spoiler candidates for the United States Congress. This should be a big deal, but it won’t be, like earlier this year when I was the only one in the state complaining that Gray Davis was running ads to influence the primary of another party.

Speaking of which, the aptly named State Dept under-sec for Latin America, Otto Reich, tells Bolivia which of their candidates for president they will not be allowed to vote for, if they know what’s good for them. The ambassador tried that before the first round, and the guy’s numbers went way up.

I was pleased that the story I sent on the 2nd about the gang-rape ordered by the Pakistani local council got so much press, for a couple of days anyway. But the story goes on. If you’ll recall, the rape was ordered as punishment for another family member, her younger brother, who was accused of dating a member of a higher caste. In fact, he was accused of raping her. He was 11, she 30. In actual fact, it was he who was raped, by 3 men of an upper-caste. To cover that up, the 30-year old made her accusation. So the story just keeps getting scummier.

This week’s Private Eye cover is entitled New Osama Threat to America, with a picture of bin Laden saying, “Forget terrorism, I’m going to become an accountant.”

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