Friday, November 07, 2003

A forward strategy of freedom

From the Daily Telegraph: “Making a mobile phone call could soon be as simple as clicking your fingers and putting your forefinger in your ear.” Yes, technology has finally caught up with what crazy homeless people have been doing for years.

The Schwarzenegger people smeared one of the women who accused him of groping her, the day before the election. They misled lazy and rushed reporters into accessing the criminal record of someone with the same name and a different birth date, but the careful wording of their email to the press strongly suggests to me that they knew it wasn’t the same person.

The Arnold’s search for the real groper will consist of hiring a private detective, who would of course be working for him and, since Arnie presumably knows what he did, the only purpose in using a PI is to find out what can be proven, and hence this is not about discovering the truth, but part of the cover-up. Hell, if the PI talks to Arnie’s victims it looks like harassment, if not there’s not much point. That’s probably obvious, but the LA Times etc aren’t saying it. Arnie talked to the Cal. attorney general Bill Lockyer (who a couple of weeks ago dismissed the alleged criminal acts against women as frat-boy stuff and said he’d voted for the alleged criminal) about this. Lockyer told him it wasn’t good enough, then told the press. Arnie accused him of violating attorney-client privilege; Lockyer noted that Arnie isn’t governor yet (he also isn’t governor-elect as the press keeps saying; the election isn’t certified)(also, it wouldn’t matter; the atty gen isn’t the governor’s private lawyer). It’s always nice to have someone else to point your over-sized muscular finger at. Also, it gives him an excuse not to show Lockyer the results of his “investigation.”

Immediately after getting its nominee to head the EPA approved by the Senate, the admin decides to drop 50 Clean Air Act investigations, effectively gutting the act retroactively, and stop protecting all sorts of bodies of water under the Clean Water Act.

Well, I thought the stupidest secret mission I’ve heard of this week involved an MI5 agent who met an asset in a public place, having forgotten to take off her MI5 name-badge. And then Israel beamed a live feed of the control room of a secret missile test to every satellite dish in the Middle East. “Hey, I’m getting officials punching in launch codes! Where’s my porn?” Oh, and the test failed.

Dubya is pretending to be interested in democracy in the Middle East, or as he put it “a forward strategy of freedom.” Arab dictators might have been worried, but he quickly added, “This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before. And it will yield the same results.” In other words, jack shit. Bush criticized 60 years of Western nations accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East. I’m curious what he thinks started 60 years ago. Anyway he says that all that accommodation “did nothing to make us safe” and that it “would be reckless to accept the status quo.” He used the word “security” more than once, meaning ours, not theirs. In other words, our status quo is to be preserved by undermining theirs. Actually, in a speech reported as if it ended the old hypocrisy regarding democracy, Bush actually continued the old policy of threatening regimes we don’t like with democracy while whitewashing others. In the parts of the speech that weren’t reported, he praised Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Kuwait, Indonesia and even Saudi Arabia for whatever slivers of democracy they have. If the speech was Reaganesque, it reminds me of the “demonstration elections” staged in Honduras and El Salvador in the 1980s.

Finally, in a speech that insisted that Islam was not incompatible with democracy, he didn’t stop himself concluding “May God bless your work. And may God continue to bless America.” Just couldn’t help himself.

Speaking of democratic standards, a few of the new Iraqis being deployed as police are getting from the US a full 3-week course covering ethics and everything else, most are getting less than that. Fortunately, many of Saddam’s old cops are returning to work, and I’m sure he made sure that they were well versed in ethics and the rule of law. And, according to “Jerry” Bremer, “Iraqis bring vital language and cultural skills to the task of fighting terrorism.” Yes, they speak Arabic, and that’s good enough. Bremer: “The Iraqis will be better able to tell who the bad guys are. They are going to be out in the streets, they will recognize the strangers, they will hear different accents, see different customs, see different ways of dressing and be able to help us identify the strangers and particularly the foreign fighters and the terrorists.” In other words: profiling.

The WaPo reports that the White House has decided to stop answering any questions about how taxpayer money is spent that come from Democratic congresscritters.

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