By the time you read this, I'll be somewhere out on the Atlantic, enjoying an R Family Vacations cruise with my family and a whole bunch of other gay families, and co-facilitating a blogging seminar with Dana of the fabulous Mombian blog. And since you'll be reading this on Monday, the hubby and I will also have gotten hitched onboard the ship. I've got a few posts scheduled to go up, since I don't know how often I'll be online. But Family Pride is live-blogging the cruise, so perhaps I'll be able to join them in that. Meanwhile, here's a round-up post of stuff I meant to blog about but ran out of time.
Friday was president Bush's 61st birthday, and I'm sure we all wish him many happy returns of the day. The White House may have actually given Bush critics a gift, when a spokesperson inadvertently confirmed what many of us already suspected: that this administration has no understanding of equal justice.
Q Scott, is Scooter Libby getting more than equal justice under the law? Is he getting special treatment?
MR. STANZEL: Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." But this is a unique case, there's no doubt about that. And we have said that there are a lot of people on all sides of this issue who've made good points. The President took a very measured approach to it. He believed that the jury verdict should be respected and — but he did feel that the sentence was excessive, in terms of jail time. But this is a unique case, and there's no doubt about that.
You can almost hear him thinking to himself, "Equal? Justice? What is this "equal justice" you speak of?"
And if there's any doubt about that, Prometheus has an informative take on the Supreme Court ruling that apparently gave the thumbs-up to school re-segregation.
Deeper than that was the construction of the 'diversity' concept. How was this done? Well, if being educated in a segregated environment is inherently unequal, what do white folks lose? Seeing the advantages given the actual segregated schools gave white folks, the only thing missing was the experience of dealing with non-white folks. The analysis turned Brown v. Board on its head…when Brown v. Board became about diversity instead of racial justice it became focused on White America's requirements. Seeing that most white folks saw segregation as an advantage, getting to this point was inevitable.
The problem is, it has never been acceptable in the United States of America to simply state that race relations suck. America has lied about race relations from "happy slave" days to the present, because it's one of the only accusations you can make where the ill is definitively locatable in the ruling class. And it makes them feel bad…which means they know it's evil.
That's something that only the "little people" are concerned about in Bush's world, and that's probably because only the little people make sacrifices in Bush's world.
"On this Fourth of July, President Bush compared the Iraq war to the Revolutionary War and called for 'more patience, more courage and more sacrifice,'" writes Paul Krugman in his column published in the New York Times Friday. "Unfortunately, it seems that nobody asked the obvious question: 'What sacrifices have you and your friends made, Mr. President?'"
Krugman adds, "On second thought, there would be no point in asking that question. In Bush's world, only the little people make sacrifices."
…The Bushies, it seems, like starting fights, but they do not believe in paying any of the cost of those fights or bearing any of the risks. Above all, they do not believe that they or their friends should face any personal or professional penalties for trivial sins like distorting intelligence to get America into an unnecessary war, or totally botching that war's execution.
Suffice it to say, Scotter Libby isn't one of the little people. Or at least he's a little person "embiggened" by his service to "People Who Matter," the reward for which was a commutation that's really a pardon.
The federal judge who sentenced former vice presidential aide I. Lewis Libby for lying to federal investigators and a grand jury on Tuesday raised the possibility that Libby might not have to serve two years on "supervised release" after all. In a two-page order (found here), U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton told lawyers on both sides to file briefs on the issue by Monday.
When President Bush in granting clemency on Monday nullified the 30-month prison sentence Walton had imposed, the President said he would leave intact the part of the sentence that required two years of supervised release — a form of probation. But Walton on Tuesday noted that the federal law governing such a requirement states that it is to be served "after imprisonment."
To which Todd at The Blue State adds:
Expect Libby's lawyers to argue that it would be unprecedented for their client to go on "supervised release" if he never went to jail. They will want the probation waved.
Even if the probation is waved, Libby still has to pay the $250,000 fine. However, Libby's friends, such as Fred Thompson, are continuing to raise money for him — which would more than cover the cost.
Bush will not even need to pardon Libby at all. He already has been pardoned. He is not going to jail. He might not serve probation. His friends will help him pay the $250,000 fine. So Justin was correct in reporting on Monday that Libby succeeded in "Getting Off 'Scoot' Free."
And some of the biggest sacrifices aren't even counted, as they're made by Iraqis. Some 10,000 Iraqis per month, according to some reports.
A state-of-the-art research study published in October 12, 2006 issue of The Lancet (the most prestigious British medical journal) concluded that — as of a year ago — 600,000 Iraqis had died violently due to the war in Iraq. That is, the Iraqi death rate for the first 39 months of the war was just about 15,000 per month.
That wasn't the worst of it, because the death rate was increasing precipitously, and during the first half of 2006 the monthly rate was approximately 30,000 per month, a rate that no doubt has increased further during the ferocious fighting associated with the current American surge.
…Reputable researchers have accepted the Lancet study's results as valid with virtually no dissent. Juan Cole, the most visible American Middle East scholar, summarized it in a particularly vivid comment: "the US misadventure in Iraq is responsible [in a little over three years] for setting off the killing of twice as many civilians as Saddam managed to polish off in 25 years."
It's quite an accomplishment when you think about it. Cole noted a while back on his blog that the estimated 300,000 killed by Saddam Hussein during his 37 year reign adds up to a rate of 8,000 per year. (That's not taking into consideration that at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq there was no evidence of any large scale massacre in Iraq, and in fact Saddam's bloodiest days were decades behind him.) So, if even the most conservative estimates of Iraqi casualties are close to correct, what Cole said then is still true.
Even if the figure of 300,000 for the number of civilian victims of the Baath regime is not an exaggeration, that would be over 37 years, or 8,000 per year. That is, American Iraq is presiding over a civilian death rate greater than the highest estimates per month per capita for that of the Baath regime.
Some of those Iraqis, though not killed by U.S. forces or actions, are gay Iraqis killed by religious anti-gay death squads that are adapting their tactics to use the web more effectively, in a destabilized Iraq created by the U.S. invasion and occupation.
The Madhi Army has been involved in the torture and execution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iraqis and many other Iraqis, especially women, who do not conform to its harsh interpretation of Islam.
Ahmed's and Zaid's story reveals how Muqtada al-Sadr's men have adopted a new tactic, borrowed from the Iranian secret police.
They are posing as gays in online chat rooms, in order to lure gay men, arrange dates and kill them.
Is a dead gay an "ex-gay"?
Depends on how you look at it I guess.