SocraticGadfly: 11/20/05 - 11/27/05

November 22, 2005

Bush knew no Hussein-al Qaeda connection 10 days after 9/11

Murray Wass has the details.

If anything, Hussein was on “our side” on this; Wass notes the only credible connection was that of the secularist Hussein monitoring al Qaeda.

Barak Obama still doesn’t get it

And why is he so great? Asking the obvious question

The day after Iraqi leaders called for us to fully withdraw with a timeline attached, Sen. Obama’s event horizon is still limited to a limited pullout.
”The strategic goals should be to allow for a limited drawdown of U.S. troops, coupled with shift to a more effective counter-insurgency strategy that puts the Iraqi security forces in the lead and intensifies our efforts to train Iraqi forces.”

And he made clear just what this meant:
”Notice that I say ‘reduce’ and not ‘fully withdraw,’” Obama said.

If he were white, would this middle-of-the-road, DLC-listening Senator get the press he does? Would he have gotten the Democratic nomination last year? The general election.

My answers:
1. No.
2. Probably
3. Yes, because of GOP ethics problems

November 21, 2005

Here’s an idea — let’s screw Iraq out of billions

Say, to the tune of $200 billion or so. Now, are Republicans — and a significant percentage of Democrats — going to stop lying that this war wasn’t about oil?
Iraqis face the dire prospect of losing up to $200bn (£116bn) of the wealth of their country if an American-inspired plan to hand over development of its oil reserves to US and British multinationals comes into force next year. A report produced by American and British pressure groups warns Iraq will be caught in an “old colonial trap” if it allows foreign companies to take a share of its vast energy reserves. The report is certain to reawaken fears that the real purpose of the 2003 war on Iraq was to ensure its oil came under Western control.

And this idea didn’t pop up out of nowhere.
Yesterday's report said the use of production sharing agreements (PSAs) was proposed by the US State Department before the invasion and adopted by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Of course, our Vice President Dick — head of the Iraq invasion will claim it’s “unpatriotic” and “revisionist” to say this.

Should the Hammer be hearing footsteps?

Former Tom DeLay aide and Jack Abramoff lobbying partner Michael Scanlon has not only pled guilty to one conspiracy count, he rolled over for the government five months ago.. And this is going much wider then Ohio Rep. Bob Ney, who’s already been contacted in conjunction with the Indian tribe casino lobbying scandal that is the biggest thing to hit Washington since Watergate.
On Monday, the Justice Department's statement of facts that Scanlon signed went considerably beyond the earlier charging document, revealing that trips, tickets to sporting events and campaign contributions went to other public officials besides Ney in exchange for official acts.

Lemme see, we’ve got a month until Christmas. It would be nice for DeLay to get a honker-sized lump of coal in his stocking in exchange for his part in perpetuating the decades of grief American Indians have received.

Bloomberg says, “Worry like hell, Tom.”
“It’s likely that Abramoff has lots of dirt on Tom DeLay,” Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, said. “The further Abramoff sinks into trouble, the more likely he is to start pitching that dirt.”

And, let’s see him try to “partisan witchhunt” a federal charge.

Can’t Bush cut Dick off?

Other than the snarkiness of that head, it’s a legitimate question.

After Bush said, again, that people opposing the invasion of Iraq shouldn’t have their patriotism criticized, Cheney goes out and does that again Nov. 21.

Is this more “good cop, bad cop,” or is Cheney still that much of the OC rogue?

I lean toward the latter, compounded with a dash of Bush dysfunctionality, further general splitting between the two, and a limping White House losing more and more control of the game.

I salute the Congressional Lonely Three

That would be Congressmen Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, Jose Serrano of New York and Robert Wexler of New York. They are the only three who voted in favor of Duncan Hunter’s “let’s leave Iraq now” resolution. It took guts and integrity.

Half a thumb up to the six who voted “present” — Michael Capuano of Massachusetts, Bill Clay Jr. of Missouri, Maurice Hinchey of New York, Jim McDermott of Washington, Jerry Nadler of New York and Major Owens of New York.

That said, I am disturbed that more House Democrats who are in relatively safe seats and who have strongly questioned the war — George Miller of California, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, are you listening — didn't at least avail themselves of the "present" option.

I'll be posting more later on Democrats, militarization and culpability, as part of a review of Andrew Bacevich’s The New American Militarism.

November 20, 2005

What’s wrong with journalism today?

According to Arthur Silber, problem Numero Uno might be that many leading lights in the MSM regard themselves as high priests of an arcane cult of Access.

Extending his analogy further, we might talk of a hermeneutics, metaphysics and more of this new cult. As with the Aaronic priests penetrating the veil into The Most Holy Place, and not revealing that the “unnamed source” is an empty box, so too, this conclave won’t tell what really is — or isn’t — behind the screens of confidentiality.

Marty Kaplan’s comments on the Huffington Post are the perfect follow-up to this.

For example, he notes of this priesthood, “They make the rules up as they go along.” Well, sure. It’s the equivalent of a “new revelation.”

And that’s just the start of the analogy.
We also know now that the MSM is largely useless for adjudicating between conflicting claims and establishing what the facts are.

Well, like any religion, the mythos about the religious establishment, not the truth values of its pronouncements or actions, are the bottom line.

One thing neither one asks is whether the system of top granduate schools, such as Missouri, and even more Northwestern, and above all, Columbia, where you can now get a fricking Ph.D. in journalism, aren’t part of the problem. That, of course, would be compounded to the degree the highest of the high priests are asked to be guest lecturers, etc., at these seminaries of journalism.

And, does an increasing emphasis on a corporate bottom line add to this?

Well, if the priests are marketed as being essential to the system, yes.