Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Which of These Things Is Not Like the Other?

1. We believe it was the Los Angeles Times that broke this story: "Pentagon documents released today disclosed a series of alleged abuses of Iraqi detainees at a little-known converted palace used as a prison north of Baghdad, including the sodomy of a handicapped man and the death of his brother, whose body was tossed atop his imprisoned sister. Up to 90 alleged cases of mistreatment of detainees at the Ademeyah palace were among dozens of incidents described in hundreds of pages of Pentagon documents obtained in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The documents released today also include investigative reports that indicate possible involvement in abuses by secret Pentagon counterterrorism units."

2. The Philadelphia Enquirer reports, "The Bush administration will ask Congress for about $80 billion in new funds for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration and congressional officials said yesterday. The package, which administration budget officials were expected to present as early as today, would be in addition to $25 billion approved for fiscal 2005."

3. El Presidente, who didn't want to be seen with those people, nevertheless phoned in his message to the Right to Life Rally a block from his home yesterday: "President Bush told thousands of antiabortion marchers yesterday that his administration is making progress toward fostering a 'culture of life' by enacting measures that limit abortion and stem cell research while expanding the legal definition of life."

Ah yes! The "culture of life."

On the incessant, ironic preaching in American culture, Fareed Zakaria related this conversation in Newsweek:

"I often argue with an Indian businessman friend of mine that America is unfairly singled out for scrutiny abroad. 'Why didn't anyone criticize the French or Chinese for their meager response to the tsunami?' I asked him recently. His response was simple. 'America positions itself as the moral arbiter of the world, it pronounces on the virtues of all other regimes, it tells the rest of the world whether they are good or evil,' he said. 'No one else does that. America singles itself out. And so the gap between what it says and what it does is blindingly obvious -- and for most of us, extremely annoying.' That gap just grew a lot bigger."

In the meantime, perhaps those born-again zealots are beginning to get a clue that El Presidente is using them like cheap 'hos. Last night on The Daily Show, right-wing direct-mail guru Richard Vigurie told Jon Stewart that he was sick and tired of so-called "conservative" presidents who don't deign to show up at the annual Right to Life tribal stomp on the Ellipse. And this a.m., the NYTimes headlines this story: "A coalition of major conservative Christian groups is threatening to withhold support for President Bush's plans to remake Social Security unless Mr. Bush vigorously champions a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage."

Meanwhile, according to this a.m.'s WashPost, Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate have drawn up their top ten wish list for legislation they intend to push this session. A ban on gay marriage did NOT make the list.

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