Friday, January 16, 2004

No word for caucus

Even by Bush administration standards, this photo breaks the irony-ometer. (I’ve replaced a link to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which had a similar picture, but without the soldier-looking guy--sniper?--standing on top of the bus. Why did they go with the weaker picture?).

Oddly, even while reporting elsewhere that the Secret Service told a local group of people who knew ML King to wrap up their tribute early so the Boy in the Bubble could get his photo op, the WashPost insisted on titling another article “Bush Courts Black Voters.” Thing is, if you read the article, Bush talked about giving federal money to religious groups. Read it; there is nothing specifically for blacks. Does the Post, or Bush, think that black is synonymous with Christian? Although I suppose it does imply that, all appearances to the contrary, black people do have a prayer under Bush.

Oh, and while he didn’t want to see any protesters, he went on to a $2,000 a plate fundraiser. No word on how many of those people were black (waiters don’t count).

(Later): oh for fuck’s sake, and today he tops off his King celebrations by putting racist shithead Charles Pickering on the 5th Circuit by a recess appointment, which is itself a procedure that should never ever be used for a judicial appointment. And he tried to sneak it through on the Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend, not even having the courage of his contempt for constitutional checks and balances.

The Post explains why recess appointments for judges undermine judicial independence.

Haven’t explored the site yet, but this link is to 5.5 million aerial reconnaissance pictures of Europe taken by the British during World War II.

Israel announces plans to assassinate the quadriplegic founder of Hamas. Isn’t that special? The deputy defense minister said “Sheik Yassin is marked for death, and he should hide himself deep underground where he won't know the difference between day and night. And we will find him in the tunnels, and we will eliminate him.” Sure, follow the wheelchair tire tracks.

Speaking of annoying Muslim clerics, the London Times has this rather delightful headline: “US Baffled by Shia Leader Who Refuses to Cut a Deal.” What is he, some sort of communist? Actually, he must be, since his last fatwa was against the black market in gasoline (worked, too), and the one before was against revenge attacks against Hussein officials. I’m looking forward to watching Bushies denounce Sistani for demanding democracy, which is our current retrospective rationale for the war, since the WMD thing has been so thoroughly debunked.

(Later:) gosh, it’s actually more insulting than that; the Post, obviously (and lazily) taking dictation from someone in the US government, says “On substance, the United States is not even sure how well Sistani understands the complicated U.S. plan to hold 18 regional caucuses to select a national assembly, which would pick a government to assume power when the occupation ends. Complicating the problem is the fact that there is no precise equivalent in Arabic for "caucus" nor any history of caucuses in the Arab world, U.S. officials say.” So...Sistani is against this plan because it’s complicated and opaque and alien to Arab political culture. Um, aren’t those all reasons why the plan is a bad idea which won’t lead to a legitimate government, even setting aside the condescension? The Post goes on to say that the US is looking for someone who can explain Sistani’s thinking to them. In other words, Sistani can’t understand their hideously complicated plan, but neither can they understand his remarkably simple plan.

Sistani also wants a vote on whether US troops will remain in the country.

The US wants to get the UN involved in endorsing this travesty. Since it involves one country picking the people who pick the rulers of another, the UN needs to stay the hell out.

Left I
quotes the Post, “The United States...says security is too poor and voter records too incomplete for fair elections." and comments, “So...unfair elections it is!”

Speaking of unfair elections, the Supreme Court is allowing the redistricting of Texas to go ahead. The D’s should have stayed in New Mexico.

Tony Blair said of yesterday’s massive demonstration in Iraq, “They now have the freedom to demonstrate. They never had it under Saddam.” US troops have fired far too often into crowds of demonstrators for anyone to claim credibly that there is a freedom to demonstrate. And he said, “The demonstrators are a small minority of the local Iraqi population.” Gee, now how would you go about demonstrating what the majority thinks? How about through democratic elections, the very things those Iraqis were calling for?

Speaking of the majority of Iraqis, the “governing council” has voted (Dec. 29, why didn’t we hear about it before? although the vote was behind closed doors) to destroy the rights women had under Hussein, opting instead to expose them to the tender mercies of sharia. Bremer had damned well better veto this, and should have done it immediately.

Yesterday I wondered which leaders besides Berlusconi have had plastic surgery done. According to the Times, Carlos Menem of Argentina (hairline, cheekbones). And it reminds us that Gerhard Schröder sued a news agency which pointed out his rather obvious dye-job.

On BBC World News today, I saw an orchestra practicing for a radio performance of John Cage’s 4 Minutes and 33 Seconds of Silence. Practicing. It was originally written for solo piano. Click here to listen.

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