Wednesday, June 22, 2005

oil and the flag

The war in Iraq isn't about oil, it's about WMD. Oops, wait, scratch that, it's about spreading democracy or some such crap. But even if Iraq isn't about oil, high oil prices are on Americans' minds nowadays. Not that you could tell from the Administration's policies. Given that 2/3 of US oil consumption goes to gassing up our cars, you'd think it would make sense to look at encouraging better gas mileage in cars. But Congress and the Administration, backed by Detroit and the UAW, are ignoring this obvious idea. So, instead of acting now to ease a transition to a future where oil will cost more, we will just wait for a serious energy shock to come along and really nail us. Leadership, Republican-style.

There is a lot of oil in Iraq, and maybe not entirely coincidentally, there are a lot of our men and women in uniform. Most of them are concentrating on their primary task, which is to Not Be Killed. And they are no doubt protecting the American flag. So I'm sure they'll be delighted that House Republicans have introduced a Constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the Stars and Stripes. Ohio Congress-being Deborah Pryce thinks the Democrats just don't care enough about our troops or the flag: "...Democrats (are) putting everybody in the world before our soldiers and the American safety. They're so worried about what's going on at Guantanamo Bay. And the flag has a place in that debate."

A heroic leap in logic by Pryce, and a nice purely fictional slander of Democrats that Pryce obviously thinks care more about tariffs faced by Bhutanese butter manufacturers than the safety of Americans, civilian and uniformed. A fine example of the typical Republican tactic of yelling "look over there!" to distract attention from the huge pile of stinking elephant turds in the middle of the living room. One Republican with a particularly big turd to deal with is San Diego Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Cunningham got a defense contractor to give him $1.7 million for a house that was only worth $1 million AND while in Washington he lives for free in a luxury yacht on the Potomac River owned by the same contractor. Cushy arrangement for an alleged servant of the people. California Democrat Pete Stark likes the idea so much he's advertising for the same deal.

The amendment on flag desecration is a cynical joke; it'll grab some headlines, distract a little bit of attention from Iraq, the economy, health care, the fact that we are breeding new terrorists through our actions in Iraq and Cuba, and the rest of it; cheap posturing is so much easier than dealing with difficult issues. Meanwhile, the troops in Iraq, whom Deborah Pryce claims to have in mind in this flag amendment, would probably prefer more armor for their Humvees and some idea of when they will be able to go home.

It might be fun to burn a flag if Cunningham and Pryce would wrap themselve in it first.

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