I really don't understand the United States. Since the Gore/Bush election the President's Office has been like a long-running Saturday Night Live sketch. Throw a cartoon figure into the role of the President, have him lie to the country, talk like a hillbilly from Deliverance much of the time, and lead the nation into a terrible war, and then just keep going - dragging the sketch on and on until you want to shoot the television.
Not only has Bush so far escaped impeachment (see a lot more in this post), he's now going to be able to decide how cruelly terrorism suspects can be tortured -
The measure would create military commissions to prosecute terror suspects. It would bar blatant abuses of detainees but allow the President to decide which interrogation methods are legally permissible. It would also protect CIA agents from being prosecuted for war crimes in connection with interrogations. (from the New York Daily News).
So let's think about how awesome this is:
- George Bush looks every American soldier straight in the eye and basically says this, boys, I need you to keep America safe by going to war in Iraq. I'm sending you in because Saddam helped Al Qaeda attack us, and because he has WMDs and could attack us again.
As we now know, all of this is a lie and thousands of U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, because (as far back as 1998) neo-conservative republicans had identified securing mid-east oil supplies as essential for America's continued reign as the planet's one superpower.
- Now, the U.S. is allowing the man who has no moral qualms about sending poor American kids to their deaths on the basis of a lie, the right to determine what an acceptable level of torture is. It's just stunning. I guess he is now, truly, the DECIDER.
And then there's that line about War Crimes. Of course they're protecting themselves against war crimes again, they've been doing that forever. The United States has fallen head over foot trying to evade international treaties regarding war crimes because they know they'll be the first ones to be nailed by such treaties. Heck, they haven't even fully ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. (And they've obviously never signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, although Canada hasn't signed this either).
Anyway - deep breath - cycling.
Today is Joe's Bike Friday and I hope it went really well for everybody. My toes were freezing on my ride this morning. Tanya over at Crazy Biker Chick has a GREAT "Open Letter to Motorists Who Dislike Cyclists" that I'd recommend you read. AND - Martino's Bike Lane Diary has this hilarious You Tube video from the Rainforest Action Network about the side effects of Petroleum.
I think I've made my decision about whether to stay in Toronto and commute to Oshawa all winter, or take a cheap place near work: I reallly really really want a cyclo-cross-commuting bike like the Specialized TriCross or the Bianchi Axis, so I'm going to stay in Toronto and save my pennies. This spring is NEW BIKE TIME!!!
And just because this is such a moving picture, here is an Annie Leibovitz photo from Sarajevo in 1994. A boy is riding his bike up ahead of the car Leibovitz was in, a mortar hits, and the bike is all that is left.