After a night of frequent heavy showers, the dogs and I took advantage of a lull in the rain this morning to go out walking beneath a fat wedge of golden moon floating in a wisp of cloud. It's headed toward new on Saturday, and we've got the winter solstice — the true start of the new year — on Wednesday, so it's a big week of transitions and fresh starts ahead.
Let's hope that's true for North Korea, now that its “leader” — if one can even use that word for a person who has devastated his own nation — is dead.
Unfortunately, some of the more troublesome provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are not. The $662 billlion spending bill, which got an aye vote from Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono, is now on its way to be signed by Obama. The U.S., which has always prided itself on being a nation that promotes the rule of law, is about to enact a bill that allows the military to indefinitely jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world — without charge or trial.
While it's still unclear whether the provision applies to American citizens on U.S. soil — a question that may ultimately need to be resolved by the courts, and hopefully not while a suspect is languishing in jail — how can anyone who believes in due process support detaining anyone indefinitely on mere suspicion alone? What kind of example are we setting for the rest of the world?
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta weighed in on whether the long, expensive, bloody Iraq war was worth it with a comment that shows the Administration is deeply mired in wishful thinking:
“As difficult as [the Iraq war] was,” and the cost in both American and Iraqi lives, “I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world,” he added.
"There is no question that the United States was divided going into that war," he said. "But I think the United States is united coming out of that war. We all recognize the tremendous price that has been paid in lives, in blood. And yet I think we also recognize that those lives were not lost in vain."
Mmmm, I guess he didn't see the opinion polls that showed 67 % of Americans say the Iraq war was not worth the loss of American blood and treasure. But then, it wouldn't be the first time a government official was out of touch with the people.
Speaking of out of touch, if you've been wondering what Grove Farm plans to build after it evicts 13 families and destroys a charmingly distinctive century-old plantation camp, take a look at this. Tip: to avoid gagging, turn down your volume first.
Reminds me of the song: “and they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same....”