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June 04, 2003
I'm not blogging

Really. Just...making a few comments is all.

I thought Salam's first Guardian column deserved a mention and a bit of fanfare. (Sound of fanfare.)

Does this sound right to you? I'm just asking,

On May 8, the committee, controlled by Republicans, voted along party lines to tie reform of US immigration laws with a requirement that Mexico open up its state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) to US corporate investors.
Think about it. They're refusing to reform immigration laws unless Bush's favorite industry gets to take over Mexico's oil production. (I know, it says "corporate investors" but anyone who thinks it won't end up with a takeover is naïve.)
What is perhaps not inaccurately being called the "Halliburton Amendment,"
(Boy, it's interesting how the same corporate names keep showing up again and again under this Administration, isn't it?)
began as a completely different resolution attached to a routine funding bill for the State Department, known as the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. Its sponsor, Democratic Congressman Bob Menendez (NJ), said that his amendment, calling on the Bush administration to act on its long stalled promise to reach an immigration accord with Mexico, offered an "opportunity to recognize the worth of the farm worker in the south and southwest, who puts food and vegetables on our dinner table." It was, he said, "a chance for dignity and human rights," and an opportunity "to improve our countries' relationship" by pursuing "a series of migration initiatives over the course of the next six months to a year."

Instead, the Republican majority, under the leadership of Committee Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois, hijacked the amendment and replaced it with one of their own, offered by Rep. Cass Ballenger of North Carolina. This amendment declares that "Pemex, the Mexican state monopoly, is inefficient and plagued by corruption. It needs a substantial reform of private investment in order to offer sufficient petroleum production to Mexico and the United States to nourish future economic growth. This, in turn, would slow down illegal immigration to the US."

I'm sorry, but whatever inefficiency and even corruption that "plagues" the Mexican oil industry is none of Halliburton's our business. The last time I checked, they were still a sovereign nation.

In any case, as long as we're doing business with murderers, torturers, and totalitarian dictators, I think it's a little hypocritical of us to get all high and mighty because a neighbor isn't perfect, okay? Expletives deleted. A country with the kind of corporate scandals in our recent past should just keep their mouth shut or offer, at most, a little advice on finding the crooks. Not that we can find the crooks, of course. We mostly wait for a multi-billion dollar company to go under and then start the finger pointing.

Lookee here:

To repeat, there was always a good case to be made for taking out Saddam Hussein on humanitarian grounds alone – those us who work in the human rights movement were making that case back when the Reagan administration was arming Saddam Hussein. It was not, however, the case made by the Bush administration, in part because we are still supplying weapons to other monsters (Algeria, anyone?).
I really enjoy Molly Ivins' writing.

And, for what it's worth, I was wondering what the Republicans had to gain, aside from more money in the pockets of millionaires, by eliminating a few million poor people from the recent tax bill. Turns out, it was part of a plot to get some more tax cuts for rich people. The current crop of Republicans in power really are a bunch of bottom-feeders, aren't they?

Lemme see...while the Democrats are forming a group to think for them we find the Republican Party American Enterprise Institute, a conservative and very influential think-tank advising that we amend the Constitution to allow Congress to "reconstitute itself" in the event terrorists do in a bunch of House members. Maybe I'm just cynical, so I won't comment on my immediate thought that no one seems to have much faith in "Homeland Security" and their ability to deter future terrorism.

And maybe it's just the AEI's name attached that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck with some statements.

“Under the Seventeenth Amendment, governors can fill [Senate] vacancies within days by temporary appointment, therefore the Senate would reconstitute itself much more quickly than the House.”

Therefore, the commission concluded that “the cleanest constitutional solution for filling vacancies in the House of Representatives would be to adopt the same procedure the Senate has employed since the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment: providing for the filling of all vacancies, even those occurring on a routine basis, with members appointed temporarily by the governor until a special election is held.”

The commission said that a constitutional amendment should be of a “general nature that allows Congress to address the details through implementing legislation. It believes it is essential for such a procedure to operate under emergency circumstances if many members of Congress were dead or incapacitated, but the commission leaves Congress to decide the exact circumstances under which the procedure will take effect.”

It's the "general nature" part that gives me the heebie-jeebies. Because, to paraphrase from West Wing this is an area of government where we want as much ambiguity as possible.

An amendment may be needed, but I favor amending the 17th Amendment to extend the power to cover the House. I don't want an entirely new Amendment, crafted by the American Enterprise Institute or Tom DeLay that's full of "generalizations" about just how it takes effect.

Real Live Democrats Hee. Hee. Since I'm not a member of the Democratic Party, I feel free to mock said Party when its leadership tries to distance itself from those icky left-wingers.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:30 AM