A Paradox or Two to End the Year
On one hand we're asked to believe that the post-spying--warrant-getting process needed to comply with FISA is so burdensome that the most bloated Federal Government in recent memory simply can't handle the extra work. On the other hand, George W. Bush has spent more time vacationing while in office than just about any of his predecessors. Now maybe it's just my Midwestern work ethic, but it seems to me that the paperwork that ensures judicial oversight (which ensures the civil liberties of American citizens are given as much due as possible) might get done if the President spent one or two fewer days clearing brush each year. I mean, I'm assuming they could still do the paperwork without him there, but just in case his signature is needed or something, couldn't he cut the biking time just a bit? Is earning his entry in the Guinness Book of Records for most days off for any POTUS really as important to him as reassuring the American people that he's not being absolutely corrupted by all that power?
Everytime the President is challenged, whether on the issue of torture, secret prisons, secret spying, suspect adherence to signed treaties and conventions, suspect designations of people as "enemy combattants", etc. ---all things that the populace would clearly be right to be alarmed about were they to become standard operating procedure---we're told it's only that way because "WE'RE AT WAR WITH TERRORISTS!" Don't worry, it's not a reflection of our "real" principles. We wouldn't treat normal enemies this way or our citizens this way during peace time. These are extreme circumstances that require extreme measures. But when we ask why Bush is the first President in history to fight for ever greater tax cuts DURING a war and a record Federal deficit (one that only entitlement programs are being slashed to try and curb) or why a draft isn't instituted, we're told, "Well, this is a low-grade war...one that will likely go on for many many years, and we have to live our lives as normally as possible throughout." So, what I want to know is why the President gets to cherry pick which principles are important to give up for the war, and which ones (like shared national sacrifices) are not? I know he has supernatural executive powers that conveniently lift him above the law when it's too much bother to follow the law, but does he also have supernatural powers that show him who's supposed to sacrifice and who's supposed to get obscenely wealthier through all this?