Maxed Out 

Asterisks mark microbits of summer news

Page 2 of 3

That’s not really any better, is it?

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South of the border, the republicans had their national convention this week. I don’t know what happened because I had to write this before it took place. That, because of a trip to Malta researching the origins of malted milk, is something for which I am grateful because I would have had to watch and I don’t think I could have stood watching, so offputting have the Repubs become. If there is any justice in the world, their week in the Big Apple will be plagued by riotous demonstrations and an ourpouring of outrage not scene since Chicago’s 1968 Democratic convention.

New York was preparing for the planned protesters. All holidays and days off were cancelled for police and firemen, the Guard – those not in Iraq at least – was called up, and Mayor Bloomberg rolled out the ultimate anti-terrorist weapon, Peaceful Political Activist buttons. The buttons, requiring only a fingers-crossed promise to protest peacefully, are good for discounts at restaurants, theatrical events, museums and other Big Apple features.

Apparently the Republican National Committee debated long and hard before endorsing Mayor Bloomberg’s plan. Unnamed sources close to the RNC reported a strong contingent who disagreed, stating, "Philosophically, discounts are for Democrats. The Republican way would involve tax credits and defense contracts."

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The other reason I’m grateful for missing the Republican’s convention is TV rage. I’m sure I’d come down with a nasty case of it. It’s not their inherent meanness; I expect that from believers in Burkean conservatism. But their latter day perfection of hypocrisy gets me boiling and nowhere is this so apparent as in their chest-thumping, warlike demeanour.

I don’t fault George Bush for using his father’s influence to open the doors to the Texas Air National Guard to keep his partying butt out of Vietnam. I don’t fault him for wasting taxpayers’ dollars learning to fly fighter jets. I don’t fault him for choosing to serve his country by ducking out early to work on a congressional campaign. And I don’t fault Dick Cheney for his handful of student deferments that kept him out of Vietnam nor the same deferments used by, among others, John Ashcroft and Paul Wolfowitz.

I used student deferments for the same purpose until I thought up something better. So did most of my friends. Oddly though, I would consider most of us rather dovish when it comes to war and aggression, first-strike doctrines and weaponizing space.

I can’t understand how a group of guys so against serving in the military can be so gung-ho to sacrifice those willing to serve. I can’t understand how a bunch of draft dodgers can approve of a front group questioning the motives and actions of a guy who volunteered to get shot at. I can’t understand half a nation who would support such a group of conniving hypocrites.

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