HA! Kidding, of course. Saying those two words in the same breath can get a man killed in Florida, especially these days. Half of Miami and every newspaper from there to Palm Beach has gone batshit insane over Fidel's surgery. The fact that even the Palm Beach Post fills its front page with breathless rapture-like accounts of Fidel's possible death leaves me scratching my head. With everything that's going on in the world, is this old codger's gastro-intestinal tract really the most newsworthy item?
What about Lebanon? What about Israel? What about Iraq? What about the fact that, if the Bush administration has its way, America will look a lot like Cuba? I doubt a lot of the Cubans dancing down Calle Ocho care too much, since as long as it comes from the right-wing it can do no evil as far as they're concerned, but a few news stories that should have been major news dropped completely off the radar over the post couple days. Taken together, they essentially cast aside Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the recent Supreme Court decision that found Bush's treatment of so-called enemy combatants to be unconstitutional.
This may be yet another naked power grab by the executive branch, yet another ruination of the system of checks and balances. But it's probably the biggest so far.
First, there's the Associated Press report of Bush's new terror detainee bill. According to the draft of the bill, the military would be able to detain any and all "enemy combatants" until "hostilities cease." The term "enemy combatants" is then defined as anyone "engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute."
OK. So, since the War on Terror essentially has no end -- not even the craziest of the Strangelovian neo-cons believes terrorism can be completely eradicated -- this bill essentially gives the military the right to detain "enemy combatants" forever. And that broad definition of "enemy combatants" pretty much gives the military the right to arrest and give a life-term without possibility of parole to just about anybody.
Oh, and while they're cooling their heels for the rest of their lives, these alleged "enemy combatants" will spend their days being slowly tortured to death, if Attorney General/Grand Inquisitor Alberto Gonzales has his way. According to a New York Times story that came out yesterday, Gonzales is asking Congress to specifically define torture -- with the understanding, of course, that his jackbooted thugs will then be able to carry out whatever gruesome tactics Congress fails to include in its definition.
Grand Inquisitor Alberto Gonzales, alleged sadist
I mean, just look at that guy. Look at that leering, sadistic grin. Doesn't he remind you of Peter Lorre, a man whose weaselly persona practically had him typecast as sadistic toadies?
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
This creepily soft-spoken loon represents everything that has become degraded in the American character during the Bush presidency. The very idea that America's attorney general has gone to Congress to ask for a narrower definition of torture than that of the Geneva Convention should fill this country's citizens with outright disgust. I can't speak for the rest of the country, but down here in South Florida, Gonzales doesn't even appear as a blip on the radar. We're too busy drooling over Castro's bloody intestines.
Some old dude whose life and/or death has no effect on me
What I really like about all the Castro coverage on the local TV news stations, though, is how amazingly black-op it all seems. How many times a night now have we heard anchors say something along the lines of, "Miami Cubans call for Revolution in Cuba!" or "Coming up next... Miami Cubans take to the streets and tell their brothers in Havana to do the same!" or "As Miami's Cuban population marches through the streets, they await a similar turn of events in Cuba" and so on and so on. Christ, if I didn't know better, I'd say our media is as state-controlled as Cuba's.
All of this, of course, is not to say that Castro isn't a total douchebag -- he is. But he's not our douchebag. And we've got so damn many of them to deal with that it's disheartening when one of them can just waltz into Congress, say, "Yeah, can we get a little leeway on this torture thing?" and then go back to the important business of trying to scrub all of that blood off his hands.