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Congress Shall Make No Law ...

Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007 1:54 AM

With the House following the Senate's lead in passing a measure condemning the now-infamous ad calling General Petraeus, 'General Betray Us,' America's elected representatives have decided to mug Liberty and leave her bleeding in the gutter.

Don't get me wrong � I still think the ad was a self-defeating piece of ego puffery that did nothing but give conservatives something to bitch about (notice how no one is talking about Petraeus' testimony?).

But what we're seeing here is Congress passing a resolution about the expression of political speech, when the country is suffering from a surfeit of churlish behavior passing for news and commentary, and the partial deification of the military.

Right behind that comes the passage of the Liberman-Kyl resolution calling for a more active approach to fighting terrorism via stomping on Iran.

That we're doing this on the basis of more because-I-said-so intelligence seems to be going unnoticed.

A preliminary copy of President Bush's speech to the U.N. General Assembly was inadvertently published on ABC's website. It drew notice because it contained several phonetic pronouncers for countries like Kyrgyzstan and Mauritania, and foreign dignitaries like French President Sarkozy.

Consequently, there's a lot of 'See! Bush is an idiot! Who doesn't know how to pronounce Kyrgyzstan?!?'

Except that this is common practice in the news business to assure correct pronounciation, and nothing unusual. (Though, having met Sarkozy only a few weeks ago, you might think Mr. Bush would remember how to pronounce the man's name.)

What is more significant about Mr. Bush's speech (apart from an irritating analysis by CBS' foreign analyst where she sounded like a high school girl with a crush on the rich Texas boy) is his citing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Because while using it to hammer regimes like Zimbabwe, Sudan, Myanmar, and Cuba ... he studiously ignored:

Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (You may recall that the Bush Administration had asked for 'clarification' on this point when noodling over the Military Commissions Act.)

Article 9: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. (If there are no charges, it's arbitrary.)

Article 12: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. (This is a double whammy, as the Bush Administration doesn't give a shit about your privacy, and also ignored the 'protection of the law' part.)

Article 30: Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein. (Except when God whispers in your ear and tells you you're the Great White Hope sent to liberate those poor, backwards peasants in the Middle East. And look at all that oil!)

What was that criticism Bush slammed Al Gore with? Says one thing and does another?

If the shoe fits ...

And in the We're Professionals Department:

ABC News' terrorism analyst, Alex Debat, may have lied about his credentials, including a non-existant degree from the Sorbonne and a fictional interview with Barack Obama.

CBS News' Katie Couric whipped out her claws like a good little wind-up doll and lambasted former anchor Dan Rather, saying, 'sloppy work is sloppy work.' Yup, we'd know all about that, right, Katie? It's not like you ever had a producer who plagiarized a column out of the WSJ that you promptly put your name and face to without blinking ...

NBC's Today Show has a new expert on the Middle East. It's Bill Donohue, Catholicism's self-appointed guardian. Oh, and he's also an expert on college education, too. (Expertise implies a certain clinical detachment, which Donohue has never evinced.)

And buried in the back pages is a rumor that Blackwater USA was operating in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Hmm. A private army at the government's disposal, not bound by posse comitatus ... or perhaps that's the real reason for changing that bit of law back in 2006, the same kind of retroactive flimflammery that we're seeing with the new, 'improved' FISA.

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