Thursday, November 18, 2004

News For Real

Re-Double Standard Watch
Remember the outrage? The moral indignation flowed like hot lava. How could he do it? He was unfit to serve and had to be impeached. How could he serve the people now that we knew he was involved in a crime?

Republicans spent most of the Clinton Presidency raging about one imagined crime or another until they finally got their hooks into one they thought would drive a stake into the percieved Anti-Christ’s heart – a lie about his sex life. (Actually it may have said more about a lack of a sex life – but that’s another matter.)

Anyway, Clinton was -- Republicans puffed -- clearly unfit for office and had to be impeached and PDQ.

Fast forward six years and lookie here… the shoe is on the other foot. Now it’s one of their own with his pecker stuck in a judicial grinder. House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, is under investigation in Texas for running a political money laundering operation. A Texas grand jury in September indicted three of DeLay's political associates on charges of using a political action committee to illegally collect corporate donations and funnel them to Texas legislative races.

The group, Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee, was created by DeLay for just this purpose. Indications are that DeLay’s former associates are in no mood to take the fall for him and are trying to cut a deal. That bodes ill for DeLay since he would be the most valuable chip they have to trade.

This created a problem for the House GOP majority – which largely owes its majority status to Tom DeLay and his gerrymandering ways. So, what to do if he gets indicted? The current rules require he step down immediately. That would just dandy if DeLay were a high-ranking Dem but not their Tom. Not “The Hammer.” The man who said, "We all need to understand that you cannot stand up for America--you need to kneel down for America and stand up to God!"

So, today House Republicans will kneel down for Tom Delay and try to change that now troublesome rule. DeLay would not have step down if indicted by any state authorities and the House would reserve the right to waive the rule later that will still require he step down if indicted by federal authorities.

My, my, my – where is the moral indignation of old? Is this the party that swept the election thanks to Christian right and other voters concerned about “values?”

Memo to Values Voters: You’ve been suckered… again.

Binge and Purge
When Nixon’s thugs got caught red handed rummaging through Democratic campaign offices at the Watergate, his first instinct was to put the blame on the CIA. George W. Bush tried the same dodge when it we all discovered there were no WMD’s in Iraq after all. The CIA was not amused and began its own campaign to redistribut
e the blame more evenly. The White House was not amused and, with four more years under its belt, has begun a Stalin-like purge of the CIA headed by former GOP Rep. Porter Goss.

Now, I am no particular fan of the CIA. I have written too many stories over the years detailing that agency's often Keystone Cop quality operations. But what is happening over there now is truly troubling. One of the most important things we learned from the 9/11 and Iraq WMD experiences is that when an intelligence agency is politicized it becomes an unreliable source of intelligence.

With heads rolling faster at the CIA than Iraq Goss has cleaned house. And, with the blood of now gone veteran agents still fresh on his office carpet Goss warned those remaining that, unless they want to join the ranks of martyrs, they better tow the line.
"As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies," Goss wrote in the memorandum, which was circulated to CIA employees late on Monday. He said in the document that he was seeking "to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road."

Even as Goss neuters the CIA, Donald Rumsfeld over at Defense has been furiously working to build up the DODs own proprietary intelligence apparatus. All this is in direct opposition to all the key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.. which Bush opposed to begin with and which he embraced before the election only after 9/11 families made avoiding it impossible. Now Bush is about to make the Commission’s work and recommendations irrelevant by gutting the CIA and moving intelligence to DOD.

If Democrats were still a party they would throw a public fit and stop this in its tracks. Don’t you think?

The Ungovernable
Some nationalities are simply ungovernable by anything less than a despot. Yugoslavia could not survive the death of strongman Tito. Iraq, as we are now learning, spun apart the instant Saddam’s police state apparatus ceased to exist. And, now we see the same in Palestine following Arafat’s demise.

In all three cases the populations are consumed with hatred for one another. Tribal passions and centuries of grudge settling always trump any attempts at creating harmonious, lasting social institutions.

Yugoslavia is no more. In its place are collection of enclaves that must be watched over by armed NATO troops or they immediately will start killing each other again over something that happened 300 years ago.

Iraq will eventually become three states - Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite. Iran will control the Shiite entity, Syria the Sunni and the Kurds will try to mind their own damn business and just hope Turkey lets them. And no amount of US blood or "free elections" will change that. Because, like the Serbs, Croats and Palestinians, the Iraqis suffer from a shared Arab persecution complex laced with clinical-level paranoia and an inability to "get over" anything. It's in their DNA.

So, to no ones surprise, yesterday two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, announced they prefer fighting to building a stable homeland. Both said they would not take part in the Palestinian presidential election set for Jan. 9.

As has been said, the Palestinians never pass up and opportunity to pass up an opportunity.

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