Sunday, December 18, 2005

Two Topics to Consider

1. Consider Oil.
Got a sneaky old politico trying desperately to get ANWR drilling approved ASAP (hey, like all those letters?) by attaching it to the military spending bill. Senator Stevens is apparently frustrated with his fellow Republicans, who've refused to pass a budget bill if drilling is involved. Democrats are exploring their options and trying to figure out how to de-tach, should it come to pass. But Senatorial folks may get pissy about it all--afraid it will look bad if they don't pass the military spending bill and support those soldiers.

Speaking of how things look, Peter Maas had a fascinating poke in the eye for all of us who so champion keeping America oil-drilling free. He suggests that we're ever so slightly selfish in our attempts to keep the US pristine, as Americans have shown no inclination to reduce our consummation of oil. Instead, we expect other countries, to their great detriment, to drill for our oil. Our beaches stay clean, theirs become foul and fowl-less. And we sacrifice nothing.


2. Consider Our Commander-in-Chief's Weekend
Bush's handlers have apparently decided it's time to get tough. Or at least look tough. He sent his boss, er, Vice President to Iraq, on a top secret visit designed to puff up the accomplishments of the war on Iraq while drawing media attention away from negative stories.

Condi Rice showed up on, surprise, Fox News to proclaim the absolute necessity of spying on Americans without a court order. Then she attacked the press for focusing on the issue, saying

(Like the terrorists didn't already know you would find some way to know about their activities?)

And Bush himself will speak to US twice. He's already done a live radio address, and will do an Oval Office speech in a few hours. Here's my favorite pre-released quote from the speech to come: "But it (the election) is the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East." I'm glad someone is going to have a constitutional democracy. Feels like this one is on the wane at the moment, with a President seizing power whenever and where ever he likes.

The point of the National Security Agency's set up was to provide some protection, however small, against precisely the type of actions the President's order expressly approves of. Don't believe any of the administration's baloney about the need for speed. Please. According to Talking Points, the law surrounding the NSA "specifically empowers the Attorney General or his designee to start wiretapping on an emergency basis even without a warrant so long as a retroactive application is made for one 'as soon as practicable, but not more than 72 hours after the Attorney General authorizes such surveillance.'"

There is no need for speed. There is only, on the part of the President and his pack, a salivating desire to answer to no one. And this is just one area of intelligence in which Bush is tossing the lawbooks over his shoulders, with about as much care as David Letterman shows when he tosses his cue cards over his shoulder each evening. Political Animal highlights the "worrisome pattern" in which we are all at risk of losing our freedoms in the defense of "freedom".

Time to get off, get a glass of wine, and ready myself for a dose of Bush telling me what he's doing to defend me and mine. If only I felt as free as he thinks he's making me.

Until tomorrow,


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