Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Think of Russell Baker

As I'm attempting to recuperate from the flu, which seems to bear no relation to the "flu vaccine" I was given earlier in the year (I do wonder if they injected me with sugar-water), I've been inflicting cable-news on myself. So I watched the Spitzer-debacle unfold yesterday. Of course, the cable-outlets covered almost nothing but the scandal; meanwhile, the U.S. president had just vetoed a bill that would have banned water-boarding because water-boarding is, irrefutably, torture. Nor did the president argue that water-boarding is not torture. Instead, he chose to make the one argument that is easily disproved. He implied that "it works," whereas everyone who seems to know anything about interrogation claims that torture "doesn't work" in the sense Bush understands (?) the terminology.

So the governor of what envisages itself to be our most important state pays several thousands of dollars for sex and drags his wife to the ensuing press-conference, and a president once supported by "the Christian right" takes the side of Pontius Pilate and vetoes an anti-torture bill. It all made me think of the title of a book by Russell Baker--a book of humor, meant to salve minds as they attempt to confront absurdity. It's called So This Is Depravity.

It could be--and has been--worse. In Mississippi, where there's a primary election today, it could be 1958 instead of 2008. Sometimes thinking about African American history (for example) provides some perspective.

Nonetheless: Why is Bush president? Why are Rove and Libby not serving time for outing spies? Why is Guantanamo not closed? Why is it legal for Bush to practice torture? Why was it legal for Bush to invade Iraq? By what laws, if any, are Bush, Cheney, and Blackwater bound?
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