The Kensington Review

6 April 2005

Latest Commentary:

Congress Holds Hearings on Patriot Act -- As White House Counsel, Alberto Gonzales approved the use of torture writing that the usual prohibitions against barbarism did "not apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants." He also wrote that the war on terror "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." Now, as Attorney-General, he is pleading with Congress to renew all the provisions of the Patriot Act. If his judgment about torture doesn't call his judgment here into question, then a look at the alliance against him should -- it includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Conservative Union, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of blue state Illinois and Republican Senator Larry Craig of red state Idaho.

Blair Sets UK Election for May 5 -- The worst kept secret in Britain of late was the date for the next general election. By law, the next election had to be held no later than 2006, and traditionally, the PM calls an election about 4 years into the 5-year life of a parliament. Since England and Northern Ireland were scheduled to hold local elections on that day, the two-birds-with-one-stone approach made May 5 the ideal time, that and the fact the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown presented his budget in March that was full of "enticements" to voters to mark their ballot for Labour. While there is every reason to believe in a re-election for Mr. Blair and his New Labour crew, there are some interesting issues arising.

Oil Companies Booming Thanks to Record Oil Prices -- Soaring crude oil prices act like a tax on the economy because so much of the economy relies on oil, not just for fuel but for many manufacturing processes as an ingredient. Unlike a tax, though, the money is not recycled into better schools, sounder pension plans or greater national security. Instead, the money is transfered to the shareholders of the companies that produce crude and its distillates. A rather ridiculous belief has crept into the discussion by those who claim the "poor" oil companies have to pay higher prices charged by OPEC. While it is true that few petroleum producing countries are suffering, the big oil companies are doing quite nicely as well.

Lord Taverne's The March of Unreason Challenges the Counter-Enlightenment -- Dick Lord Taverne is a lawyer-politician married to a scientist. He's the sort of guy one expects to rely on reason and fact every second of the day, a life peer in the House of Lords who was ennobled for being clever. Unfortunately, the trend to dogma and faith-based hope in place of fact and reason is growing. Lord Taverne's new book, The March of Unreason, seeks to put a finger in the dyke of the Enlightenment and protect it from those who are, frankly, uncomfortable with thinking. If the book has a flaw, it is its inherent preaching-to-the-choir nature.

Copyright 2005 by The Kensington Review, J. Myhre, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Fedora Linux.

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