Topic: General News.
Ok, so I was gloating a little when I heard the news about Tom DeLay’s indictment, I admit, but now I’m sticking strictly to business. David Brooks on ATC yesterday put it all into perspective for me when he in effect said, ‘big deal,’ the Republicans weren’t happy with DeLay anyway. He caused them too much grief and “he skated to close to the edge.” And having said that: what did DeLay do anyway? No one has said what he did, so let’s not get too far ahead of this.
You know, Brooks is right, all this “hysteria” over DeLay is much to do about nothing and anyway he didn’t do anything. I’m sure the Republicans are perfectly happy to have their defacto leader under indictment and they welcome the challenge of convincing America that Ronnie Earl is a “political zealot.” DeLay says, “I’m innocent,” and we all should believe him. What more needs to be said?
And while we’re at it, the Republicans welcome an SEC investigation into Senate leader Bill Frist’s sale of HCA stock, which just happened to come days before the price of the stock plummeted. Frist says he was only trying to comply with ethics regulations and now he’s being crucified by a pack of partisan fanatics at the SEC for trying to play by the rules. How unfair.
And what about Michael Brown? He’s just a regular guy who is being used as a scapegoat. There’s a lot of evidence that Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin blew it before Katrina hit, Brown tried warn them! He was frantically calling the White House again and again to tell Andy Card that Katrina was “going to be a bad one.”
He’s overseen over a 150 presidentially declared disasters and he did a heck of a job! Of course, this last disaster was pretty much of his own making, but he still did a heck of job. If you really look at the response to the aftermath of Katrina objectively, it was a tremendous success.
And there’s an upside to this whole thing for the Republicans. They’re likely to win more congressional seats from Louisiana now that a large portion of democratic voters from New Orleans has moved on to other parts of the country, the oil companies are buckling under an avalanche of profits and all the big government contractors, like KBR and Shaw, are going to be able to bilk the American taxpayer for decades even after we’re out of Iraq. Win win!
Speaking of corruption and cronyism, Timothy Flanagan is on the hill today to begin his confirmation hearings to become a deputy Attorney General. His little and inconsequential lobbying job at Tyco which involved hiring Jack Abramoff to lobby Karl Rove is hardly an impediment to his confirmation. So what if his new job at the DOJ might mean he oversees all the various criminal investigations into Abramoff?
There’s no conflict of interest there, unless you’re a jackbooted, partisan fanatic like Ronnie Earl. So what that Karl Rove is also embroiled in the Valerie Plame scandal, big deal! I’m sure Flanagan is just a regular guy who will apply the law fairly without attempting to go easy on Abramoff like John Ashcroft is suspected of doing in the Guam judges case. There will be no partisan witch-hunts on this blog!
Enough of all this scandal and corruption, John Roberts is likely to be confirmed today, which is a big win for W. Hopefully W. will be in town when the vote comes down, I think it’s been at least 24 hours since he last made a trip down to the Gulf Coast. He’ll probably stick around DC today to conserve energy, and besides, Cindy Sheehan is gone. No fancy motorcades for W. anymore. He’s taking the Metro from now on and he’s making sure to turn off his X-box after he’s done playing.
Roberts will probably be sworn in soon after confirmation and will get right to work making public schools safe for “intelligent design” and eviscerating all those pesky environment regulations that are preventing the private sector from coming to the aid of all those hurricane Katrina victims. Another big win, right under the noses of those brain dead democrats. High five!
Here are just a few news clips I’ve seen in the past few days that have coaught me attention, not in any particular order:
Luis Posada Carriles
Reuters reports a federal judge has ruled that Luis Posada Carriles cannot be deported to Cuba or Venezuela because he faced the threat of torture in those countries, which would violate the UN Convention Against Torture. His lawyers have said that Carriles will apply for American citizenship!
So, now the government is concerned that a terrorist and mass murderer might be tortured if he’s extradited to face trial for his many crimes. They’re all about that UN convention against torture when the terrorist is one of theirs but not so much for innocent types like Maher Arar.
What if the US government got one of those letters from Fidel that said he promised not to torture him? I hear we’ve ok’d renditions to Egypt and Syria when they crossed their hearts and hoped to die if they tortured al-Qaeda suspects, I think Hugo Chavez is about as trust worthy as Bashar al-Asad.
Faces of death:
Ton Shanker in the NYT reports that the US military is investigating a web site that provides free porno for US troops and also lets them post photos of dead Iraqis. The Online Journalism Review identified the operator of the site as Chris Miller from Florida (Of course.) who says the photos, “are from the soldiers slant. This is directly from them.
They can take the digital cameras and take a picture and send it to me, and that’s the most raw you can get it. I like to see it from their point of view, I think it’s newsworthy.” Some namby pamby Islamic rights group says the photos of Iraqi body parts and corpses burned to a crisp “bring dishonor to the military,” and the military has admitted that this type of thing undermines the war effort in Iraq, but this is war.
The photos shouldn’t just be on some porno site, they should be on the front pages of all the major US newspapers. Up till now the military hasn’t even wanted pictures of flag draped coffins being shown. If we’re ever going to get out of this war and prevent other such wars of choice, the American people need to see the actual results of their faux patriotic air punching. We’re number one!
If you’re a parent, do you want your 19 year old going to a war where the standard boredom killer is playing with corpses and viciously beating helpless prisoners? I wonder why they never mention this sort of thing in the recruiting ads? It’s your patriotic duty, mom, sign your kid up or we will.
In Iraq, by the way, it’s all going to hell, but W. is confident all will go well. Bush says the insurgents will, “do everything in their power to try to stop the march of freedom. And our troops are ready for them.” Bring ‘em on! Hell, we just killed Zarqawi’s number two, Abdullah Abu Azzam, the supposed al-Qaeda leader responsible for the bombings in Baghdad; don’t you feel another corner being turned?
There have been 8 US soldiers killed since Sunday [make that 12], a car bomb was found less than a mile away from the US embassy inside the green zone, a woman suicide bomber killed 6 army recruits in newly liberated and secure Tal Afar, five school teachers were lined up and shot in their class room, but other than that, it’s going pretty well.
Once this referendum is done with, of course, there will be another round of violence as the country prepares for elections in December, which will doubtless lead to even more furious Shiite infighting between the Iraqi and the Iranian factions and don’t forget about the Saudis.
Don’t you get the feeling at this point with all the various Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni militias running around Iraq killing each other, that we’re just one of the bigger militias? It’s like in the Lebanese civil war, but this time we’re involved. And maybe, in the near future there will be other militias coming to the party. Despite the good news coming out of the White House spin machine, the Saudi foreign minister says the Iraq is hurtling toward disintegration according to Joel Brinkly in the NYT. Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters at the Saudi embassy in Washington that,” There is no dynamic now pulling the country together. All the dynamics are pulling the country apart.”
He says he’s been warning the Bush administration about the dire situation in Iraq and they respond that things are getting better and use the elections and the constitution as examples. Al-Faisal says, “ But what I’m trying to do is say that unless something is done to bring Iraqis together, elections alone won’t do it. A constitution alone won’t do it.” I think what he means by bringing Iraqis together has more to do with the Sunnis and their alienation from the process by branding them all as Ba’athists.
The most important thing al-Faisal is saying to Condi & Co. is that the other countries in the region aren’t going to sit back and let Iraq become three different countries, especially a Kurdish one. This could, “ bring other countries in the region into the conflict.” Turkey considers an independent Kurdistan a red line, one that cannot be crossed.
I hear lately we’ve been cozying up to Turkey, National Security Director Stephen Hadley was just there, and have offered to help them with their PKK problem in the South-East of Turkey. Again, I say, bad idea. We’ve got enough problems without getting involved in Turkey’s ethnic cleansing.
No matter how you look at it, the future of Iraq has more potential looming disasters in store rather than happy outcomes. Who got us into this mess in the first place?
John Roberts is the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by a vote of 78-22. Way to lay back and take it democrats!