Friday, July 16, 2004

First Whoopi, now Corrine Brown....

Congresscritter Corrine Brown (D-Fla) suggested on the floor of the House that the 2000 election was a coup d’etat (during a debate which resulted in a 243-161 vote to ban any federal official asking the UN to monitor US elections, as Brown had suggested). So they censured her, threw her out for the day, and struck her words from the record. She didn’t tell anyone to fuck themself, didn’t call anyone a name, she just expressed an opinion. The justification for the party-line censure was that she accused other members of a crime, viz, stealing an election.

Today the NYT reported that investigations by the Senate into prisoner abuse incidents in Iraq have been shut down or postponed. The story has certainly slipped off the radar screen, so that Seymour Hersh’s comments and German tv reports about more incidents involving rape and child prisoners, and no doubt rape of child prisoners, haven’t been picked up by almost anyone.

One reason for that is that the Bushies have stopped putting people forward to talk about Iraq, except for Shrub’s "Americans are safer" speech. Where has Bremer been since he left Iraq? When’s the last time you saw Mark Kimmitt, Military Moron? Or even Rumsfeld? Has John Negroponte gone in front of the press once? Hell, they refused even to comment on the report, which I can’t say I believe, but it’s not entirely implausible, that Kapowie Allawi personally shot 6 prisoners dead last week.

The New Republic has an article by Jonathan Chait that places that blackout in the context of the many things Congress no longer bothers to oversee, and how the Bushies routinely simply refuse to testify or supply information, with no consequences. Chait notes that the admin has gotten many of its signature policies passed by hiding information--the cost of Medicare changes, how much Iraqi oil revenues would really amount to, etc. "over the last few years, misinformation has become fundamental, rather than incidental, to the political process." The article also goes into the abuse of process in Congress, where anything proposed by the D’s isn’t allowed to reach the floor, while everything else goes through with little or no debate allowed, the abuse of conference committees to rewrite legislation in secret, etc. Bush has yet to veto a single bill, because he doesn’t need to. If all this seems familiar material--I’ve certainly written about every example he cites--it’s woven together into a scary picture indeed. His conclusion: "most of the abuses under Bush--things like suppressing cost estimates, or redistricting more than once a decade--have violated norms, not rules. When you violate norms, you're limited only by your sense of shame and your party's willingness to stick together. Which suggests the most frightening lesson of the Bush administration: The institutional restraints on an anti-democratic presidency are weaker than we believed."

Right after Blair is exonerated--or so he claims--by the Butler report, comes news that his government essentially lied to two previous inquiries, not telling them that MI6 had reversed itself on several key issues. That’s called a cover-up, although at present they’re trying to blame MI6 for it.

Bush accuses Cuba again of welcoming sex tourism and indeed child prostitution.  "We have put a strategy in place to hasten the day when no Cuban child is exploited to finance a failed revolution and every Cuban citizen will live in freedom." There's probably a really bad pun about No Left Child's Behind that I could use here, but I'll refrain.

Baghdad has a city council of 750. It has to be that large because they keep getting killed, 61 this year, 6 since the "handover." The same is happening with other councils. The councils were actually almost sorta elected, under an indirect process overseen by the American occupiers and their private contractors.  Link.

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