Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony

For those that say Bush and Cheney are the consummate bunglers and can’t improve anything, Afghan opium production soars

Afghanistan produced dramatically more opium in 2006, increasing its yield by nearly 50 per cent from a year earlier and pushing global opium production to a record high, a UN report said Tuesday.

The annual report also found that the estimated level of global drug use has remained more or less unchanged for the third year, although cannabis use continues to decline in North America.

Afghanistan’s opium production increased from about 4,500 tonnes in 2005 to 6,700 tonnes in 2006, according to the 2007 World Drug Report released by the Vienna-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Opium is the main ingredient for heroin.

In 2006, Afghanistan accounted for 92 per cent of global illicit opium production, up from 70 per cent in 2000 and 52 per cent a decade earlier. The higher yields in Afghanistan brought global opium production to a record high of nearly 7,300 tonnes last year, a 43 per cent increase over 2005.

If they could serve another term that would make a memorable bumper sticker to note just one of their many missions accomplished: Vote Bush/Cheney we pushed opium production to record highs.

As crazy as it sounds some of the Right are giving this story some credence, including neocon brain trust Michael Leeden: Murdoch’s Muckraker Invents Iranian Invasion

Marty Lederman writes about Bush’s continued use of signing statements, So Much for the President’s Assent to the McCain Amendment

The President signed the Defense Appropriations bill on Friday. In his signing statement he did at least two notable things.

First, with respect to several provisions of the bill, the President signaled his intention to reserve his authority, as Commander in Chief, to ignore statutory mandates.

When the president signs a the law and ignores it or interprets it in a way that Congress did not intend he is no longer acting as president he is acting as a legislator. Signing statement are some some gimmick meant for him to hide behind anymore then Cheney’s claim that he represents some shadowy fourth branch of government. Bush has only two Constitutional options, veto the law or sign it and obey his oath of office. Almost guaranteed for the next twenty four hours the bulk of the press will report he signed the bill end of story. Stay tuned for more on Paris Hilton, that s really whats important.

Three Bad Rulings

Nor did the court’s concern for free speech extend to actually allowing free speech in the oddball case of an Alaska student who was suspended from high school in 2002 after he unfurled a banner reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” while the Olympic torch passed. The ruling by Chief Justice Roberts said public officials did not violate the student’s rights by punishing him for words that promote a drug message at an off-campus event. This oblique reference to drugs hardly justifies such mangling of sound precedent and the First Amendment.

If you’re a student the court has decided that the school’s authority is long a chain and streches all the way from school to off-campus events. I wonder what the Court would have decided if the banner read God Tortured his only son for your sins. The Robert’s Court is clearly intent on legislating from the bench. So blatant hypocrisy continues to be the Menthos of conservative intelligentsia making the erosion of your most basic rights seem minty fresh. I Need a Bong Hit. And Not in That Good Pro-Drug-Message Sort of Way.

In Morse, Roberts goes to great lengths to insert meaning into the silliness of the words on the student banner. He insists the phrase “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” can be read as “celebrating drug use”; indeed to get there he needed only insert the imaginary words, “bong hits [are a good thing].” When did we enter into the era of constitutional interpretation through inserting pretend words? The sign could have as easily been read to say “bong hits [will kill you].”

We know what you said that you meant, but we read it as what we think you meant when you said “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”. Maybe the Righties on the Court are at least quasi-intellectuals. How else to explain what a weird funny message on a banner actually means and be so utterly sincere about your interpretation.

Having effortlessly decoded the unintended pro-drug message behind the student speech in Morse, the chief then takes the issue ad in FEC at face value. The commercial that Wisconsin Right to Life wanted to run—which didn’t say “don’t elect Russ Feingold” but asked you to think darn hard about what Feingold did and to let him know that he is a bad, bad man—is protected “core political speech,” regardless of its effect on viewers or the integrity of elections.

Attention students: You can still be political at school. But the Constitution stops protecting you the moment you cross the line into merely weird.

Satire is now against the law, I guess if John Stewart were eighteen he’d have to film his show in Canada. Any non-serious political signage is a bad bad thing and anyone out there with an odd sense of humor better watch your step.

King Arthur: I am your king.
Woman: Well I didn’t vote for you.
King Arthur: You don’t vote for kings.
Woman: Well how’d you become king then?
[Angelic music plays… ]
King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.
Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

At any almost anytime between the war in Vietnam and the day Dubya became president I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a tour in the military or even a career. One aspect of conservative leadership of the military is that it has taught us a lesson about unquestioned unchallenged authority. I’m not talking about mutiny, there’s an incredible gulf of difference between airing legitimate differences of opinion and disobeying your civilian or military superiors. We obviously need to challenge the status quo of the way the military is run. Jeff Huber explains more at Kos, Judging the Generals, Part II

This educational process, according to Hanley, is in keeping with well-established practices of careerism in the military officer corps.  “You advance in the military by making your mind conform to that of your boss,” he says. “To express a dissenting view on policy–no matter how beneficent or perceptive–is to risk being regarded as someone who is disloyal in outlook if not in deed.”