Topic: Bush Administraiton
A reporter asked W. if he really thought Harriet Miers was the most qualified person for the Supreme Court job, out of all the lawyers and judges in the US. "Yes, otherwise I would have not put her on." I think he's putting us on: this nomination is so clearly yet another political pay off for services rendered it's embarrassing. What must other countries be thinking of our government? We just experienced a very painful lesson in New Orleans of the consequences of putting people in positions of power that they are in no way qualified for and W. goes along and does something like this. No doubt, Ms. Miers is a very good lawyer and is good at what she does but is she really the best this country has to offer for the highest court in the land?
Utah senator Orrin Snatch, for one, things so. "A lot of my fellow conservatives are concerned, but they don't know her as I do. She's going to basically do what the president thinks she should..." I don't know if that's exactly a ringing endorsement of the nominee; I mean, I thought judges weighed the evidence and made fair and balanced judgments free of any preconceived prejudices. I think it is pretty well established already that she is anti-abortion, is a born again Christian and owes her high position and now her potential appointment to the Supreme Court to George W. Bush. When he and Orrin Hatch say 'trust us' I get real worried.
As if the Republicans in congress don't have enough to worry about with DeLay and Frist, now they have to grin and bear it and vote for this very weak candidate that their fearless leader is foisting on them. Miers is such a mixed bag it's hard to tell how her upcoming nomination hearings will go. Either the Republicans are going to jump ship over her past support for civil rights for gays and other moderate transgressions or the Democrats are going to actually grow a pair for once and fight the appointment over something like the anti-abortion thing or maybe even her, as yet unknown, views on the torture memos and the rights of detainees at Gitmo. This is a real Achilles heal for Bush & Co. if the Dem's can get a hold of any of her legal papers.
Again, I say, the mind boggles at the state of our country and the pathetic condition of our governing institutions. This kind of corruption and patronage was fine back in the Grant administration when we were basically a small and unimportant country in the grand scheme of world affairs, but now we're the center of the universe and these idiots running our country are running it into the ground and taking the whole world along for the ride.
In Iraq news today:
The Shiites and their Kurdish co-conspirators have relented on their sneaky plan to prevent the Sunnis from vetoing the referendum, due to pressure from the UN and the US. This is not to say it will make that much of a difference; I'm sure the various Shiite militias and Iraqi "security forces" will be out in force in the Sunni areas on Oct. 15 the make sure the polls are "secure" from voting. The idea that the Sunnis will be able to veto the Constitution by getting enough votes to block it in at least three of their four provinces is a little far fetched anyway.
In related story, I hear today that the Iranian foreign minister has postponed a trip to meet with his counterpart in Saudi Arabia. The reason given is technical difficulties, but one has to wonder. I hear the Iraqi Interior Minister, Bayan Baqer Sulagh, called the Saudi foreign minister a "Bedouin on a camel," the other day, which sort of highlights the growing tensions between the Sunni Saudis and the Shiite Iranians and their Iraqi clients. The Saudis have been making noises for weeks about their discomfort with Iranian influence in the south of Iraq, but it is unknown what the US is going to do about it. [News flash: Brits blame Iran for all their casualties this year. BBC]
We might have the largest army in the Middle East right now, but we're nothing more than just another militia in the already raging civil war in Iraq. At some point, we're going to have to decide who we're allied with: the Saudis who fund the foreign Sunni al-Qaeda elements, but also give us tons of oil: or the Iranians who are helping our allies in the Iraqi government, like Ayatollah Ali-Sistani and Ahmad Chalabi. Our only other option is to go with the Kurds, but then we'll alienate the Turks who we are trying to get cozy with again. Its a very sticky wicket, but I'm sure our foreign policy is in the capable hands with Condi Rice.
Able Danger. Again.
In the NYT on Oct. 1, Douglas Jehl reported that, " a second Republican member of congress had said that Steven Hadley, who was then the deputy national security director, was given a chart shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks that showed information collected about Al-Qaeda before the attacks by a secret military intelligence program called Able Danger." Representative Dan Burton (Once on the cover of Sanity Fair), said that on the 25th of Sept. 2001 he attended a meeting with Hadley along with Rep. Curt Weldon at which Weldon showed Hadley the chart.
After initially refusing to comment on this account, Hadley's spokesperson has now said that Hadley did see the chart but didn't recall seeing it with Weldon and that no record of the chart has been found: "Mr. Hadley did in fact meet with Congressman Weldon on Sept. 25 2001. He recalls that in that same time period receiving a briefing on link analysis as a counter terrorism tool. But he does not recall whether he was shown that chart in the meeting with Mr. Weldon or in another meeting. Either way Mr. Hadley does not recall seeing a chart bearing the name or photo of Mohammed Atta."
The 9/11 commission doesn't recall seeing it and neither not does the pentagon, but Weldon keeps whacking away at this story, mainly because he wants the government to pump a bunch of money into data mining something that's controversial because it involves fishing around in people's personal information in order to maybe get lucky and find a terrorist. John Poindexter tried it and got fired.
One of Weldon's chief sources for this Atta-on-a-chart story, who supposedly worked in Able Danger, is Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer. The AP reported, also on the 1st, that Shaffer had his top security clearance revoked a day before he was to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the 21st of Sept. for breaking numerous military rules."The reported infractions by Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, 42, include obtaining a service medal under false pretenses, improperly flashing military identification while drunk, and stealing pens, according to paperwork from the pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency that his attorney showed the Associated Press."
Shaffer's lawyer says the pentagon is trying to discredit him because of his speaking out about Able Danger. He claims that these charges were a long time ago and were merely "youthful indiscretions." Oh, I'm so sure, but stealing pens? This story is so farcical, when is Weldon going to get a real job and stop wasting our time?
[post post post: reports are today that Iraqi president Talabani doesn't think PM Jaafari should resign: "I don't think Mr Jaafari should resign, I think he should correct his method of work," Talabani said at a news conference in the Czech capital. "We asked him to respect the law and to respect the equilibrium between the Kurdistan alliance and Shiite alliance, that's all." AFP]