Wednesday, October 24, 2007

At long last

In part of his Cuba speech (see previous post), Bush ostensibly addressed members of the Cuban police, military or government, asking them, “When Cubans rise up to demand their liberty,” not to, you know, shoot them. He told them, “There is a place for you in the free Cuba.” They might be wondering why George Bush gets to decide who does and does not have a place in the free Cuba.

Speaking of people giving themselves undue powers, Hillary Clinton told the Guardian that she would give up some of the extra-constitutional powers Bush has grabbed for himself, but declined to specify which ones, saying she would decide after a “review” – after she took power. There are several reasons why this is disquieting. 1) That statement indicates that she plans to keep one of those extra-constitutional powers: Bush’s claim that only the president gets to decide what powers the president exercises. 2) In the system of checks and balances we’re supposed to have, it is actually already her job as a United States senator to “review” the exercise of presidential power. 3) Just as candidates for office need to lay out their positions in order for the democratic process to have legitimacy – if all she said about Iraq was that she would have to “review” what her policy would be after the election, she could not claim a democratic mandate for that policy – we also need to know what office candidates are actually running for. We might think that someone was qualified to be dogcatcher but not governor, and we might think that Hillary was qualified to be an ordinary, garden-variety president, but not one with all the chimperial powers Bush has claimed for himself.

Morons of the day: 24 Oklahoma state legislators (out of 149) will refuse to accept the Korans they given by a state panel on ethnic diversity, because “Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology,” according to Rep. Rex Duncan, who read all about the Koran on the internet (as opposed to reading the copy of the Koran conveniently provided to him). I can’t be bothered to read all about Rex Duncan on the internet, but he is the brains behind Oklahoma’s new “Global War on Terrorism” license plates.

Tom Tancredo asked the INS, or whatever they call it these days, to raid a press conference held by Dick Durbin for a bill to legalize illegal immigrants of high school age, because he was pretty sure there’d be illegal aliens there. Durbin issued a statement: “Congressman, have you no shame?” Um, no. Has he ever met Tancredo before? Indeed, has anybody who has ever been asked that question since Joseph Welch first posed it to Joseph McCarthy actually had any shame whatsoever?

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