Monday, November 29, 2004

A basic human right all of us should treasure

The Dept of Homeland Security is forcing employees to sign pledges not to disclose non-classified information. See if any 20th-century English authors come to mind as you read this statement by dept spokesmodel Valerie Smith (if that is her real name): “The nondisclosure agreements do not limit the dissemination of information in any way.”

Did you all come up with Orwell? Of course you did, how could you not. Now see if you can read another part of Ms. “Smith”’s statement without laughing bitterly: “The notion that the agreement would be used to cover up evidence of wrongdoing is baseless.”

The Iraqi elections will be fought by 200+ political parties. Each one will have its own logo, although the WaPo reports that “some logos have been prohibited, including a Koran with a halo around it, a mass grave and a Kalashnikov rifle.” Um, was that party for or against mass graves? If anyone sees a website with any of these party logos, please pass it on.

A WaPo editorial argues against postponing elections, “the only peaceful means for establishing an Iraqi government with real authority,” in the same paragraph that it says those elections will require “continued U.S. and Iraqi military operations to clear insurgents from Sunni towns”. The WaPo must be using some arcane definition of the word “peaceful” with which I am not familiar. Oh dear, we’re all thinking about George Orwell again, aren’t we?

Speaking of “War = Peace,” numerous blogs have mentioned this site, selling t-shirts in support of the Marine who shot the unarmed POW in Fallujah, and other overpriced t-shirts to buy for the sociopath who has everything.

Well, as long as we’re in full-Orwell mode, here’s what the British home secretary David Blunkett said today about mandatory identity cards (which will involve a £2,500 for those who resist, and a £1,000 fine for moving without telling the government): “Strengthening our identity is one way of reinforcing confidence and people's sense of citizenship. Knowing your true identity and being able to demonstrate it is a positive plus [double plus good?]. It is a basic human right all of us should treasure”.

I missed this: in this month’s election, Tom Parker, an aide to Roy Moore, was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court. He is known for his love of the Confederate flag and recently attended a party commemorating Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (but not, as the Associated Press says, the founder). This in the same election where the state failed to pass a referendum removing segregationist language from the state constitution.

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