Thursday, July 08, 2004

Gitmo Law

If they were innocent, they wouldn’t be suspects, would they?

That was Reagan’s attorney general, Ed Meese. The Supreme Court didn’t agree with him, and gave us the Miranda warning, so familiar to every TV viewer. Cops and prosecutors found they could live with it very well, but the Meese crowd never did buy it. Well, last week the Supreme Court- the most reactionary one in a century, admitted that even a foreign suspect held on foreign soil had some rights. So now the Pentagon says okay, we’ll provide him with counsel -- not a lawyer, perish forbid --but a military officer, who won’t tell him the charges against him but will let him guess what they are and deny them. Or whatever.

Meanwhile, we’re taking more prisoners, and casualties, every day. The man Bush handed Iraq’s sovereignty over to last week with the words, "Let freedom reign," has declared a state of emergency. He said he’d impose curfews, to keep folks off the streets, while he rounded up suspects. Also he may have to delay elections and would in any case ban parties hostile to his regime. In other words, martial law. But he doesn’t have an army able to enforce it, yet, so guess who will have to stay the course? To all this, more and more Americans are asking, Why?

Winning Ticket?

The news is not only absurd -- sometimes it’s downright funny. Like the front page of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, the New York Post, showing Kerry shaking hands with his running mate, Gephardt. If you snagged a copy, you should be able to peddle it at a profit on e-Bay. The editor borrowed an explanation from Dick Cheney -- he said it was none of our business.

The newspaper of record got the ticket right, of course. But Daily Howler.com points out that what he calls The Phantom struck again. The headline said "KERRY CHOOSES EDWARDS, CITING FORMER RIVAL’S POLITICAL SKILL." Which implies that skill was something Kerry knew he badly needed. Actually, Kerry opened with a paean of praise for Edwards’ as "a champion of the values of middle-class Americans and those struggling to reach the middle class." Then he mentioned Edwards’ "guts and determination -- and political skill." The Phantom had to reach down to this phrase to put a down beat to what was after all a big day for the Democrats, and a bad, bad day for the Bushes.

The Bushes know that very well. Hear them whining about Edwards’ lack of foreign experience -- as if George Dubya ran last time as a statesman -- and about Edwards making all that money, whereas George never earned an honest dollar in his life. We can brush aside all those phony polls. Many Americans will only now begin to seriously consider the choice that will be offered them in November. True, they are four multi-millionaires, and they’re all reading from Ronald Reagan’s cue cards. But there are differences. Most importantly, people think they are different, and they send different messages when they vote -- or, when they stay home.

So let the games begin. And let’s try, now and then, to smile.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Too Nice?

No sooner did Kerry name his pick for a running mate than the media spun into its Bush defense mode. Its main complaint was one that one of my children once invented. Unable to decide whether the bath water was too hot or too cold, he said it was too nice. Yep -- they suggested this morning that Americans did not want a vice president -- or a president -- who was too nice.

But they might not mind a presidential adviser being nice. Last week a network aired a profile of Condoleezza Rice that said she was nicer than one might think. It said she began life as a musical prodigy, learned to read music before she read English, and won a national competition at age 15, playing this piano concerto by Mozart. They gave us all of the final movement. Wonderful. Then the spinmeister said they couldn’t find a tape of the competition -- that was Artur Rubenstein with the Philadelphia Orchestra, but after this message we’ll discuss what her choice of this piece tells us about her.

I tuned out, but how about, bait and switch? Actually, Condy Rice has explained why she gave up music as a career. She thought she might not make it as a worldwide star, and didn’t want to spend her life teaching 9-year-olds to murder Beethoven.

Evidently, she was not cut out to coach children. Instead, she went on to coach George Bush on how to murder who? We are filling in the blanks, every day.