10/22/2005

the STINK

this has been another banner week! Harriet Miers' three shoeboxes- worth of papers came in, and sifting through the mementos -- a lock of the Commander-in-Chief's hair tied with a red, white, and blue ribbon, some coupons for Toll House cookies, etc.-- was a poll she'd taken back in the eighties declaring her absolute opposition to abortion. Whew, we were all starting to wonder where she stood on that one. Meanwhile, Tom Delay's lawyers demanded that the Hon. Bob Perkins, the judge in his conspiracy and money laundering case, step down. They say he has made contributions to Democrats and, as the AP put it, "their liberal allies." This amounted to $3,400 in donations over the years. Perkins said he thought the most expedient way to address the grievance was to "defer further proceedings" and let state administrative Judge B.B. Schraub decide whether Perkins should recuse himself. As the AP reports: "Schraub, a Republican,... from 1989 through 2002, contributed at least $1,500 to federal Republican campaigns.... He donated an additional $4,900 to Texas GOP candidates between 1998 and 2001." In the Tangled Web department, Judith Miller, the Times journalist jailed in the Valerie Blame case, turned out to have been a pawn and puppet of the White House, who not only bent over backwards to protect her source (reported to be Prince of Darkness Dick Cheney's right hand man, Scooter Libby), but knowingly distorted the story to his satisfaction, helping mislead investigators in the case. Miller also served the administration well by spreading distortions about WMDs. Knowing that reporters critical to the administration were shut out, reporters like Miller with access to the White House routinely sweetened the story, working, more or less, as the administration's unpaid propagandists. Saddam Hussein had his day in court, for crimes against humanity. The trial will have several parts, starting with Dujail, which was fairly obliterated by Saddam in retaliation for an assassination attempt on his life there in 1982. The more notorious Halabja massacre will not come until later, because, some speculate, it is a more complex case and will be harder to prosecute, plus, others have conjectured, the level of tacit complicity on the part of the US in this latter atrocity is harder to finesse. But the US looked away in Dujail as well, mainly because Iran was a bigger concern. Saddam was given cart blanche in return for cooperation on Iran. Later will come the trial for the 1988 massacre of those kurds in Halabja nobody seemed to give a rat's ass about until recently. Subsequent to these atrocities, of which the US most assuredly had knowledge, the Iraqi regime was rewarded by the US, with billions in loan guarantees and agricultural credits, the sharing of intelligence, and leniency on weapons materials. It was the same crowd under Reagan and Bush I that knowingly created the monster now on trial: Cheney, Bush I's Secretary of Defense. Wolfowitz, his right hand man. And Rumsfeld was the one who courted Saddam under Reagan, as his envoy to the Middle East. As Congressman Bill Delahunt has written: "The record is hauntingly clear: the Reagan and Bush Administrations did not just look the other way after Halabja. They aggressively undermined the Congressional response to Saddam’s atrocities and actively supported his tyranny, right up to the day his tanks crossed into Kuwait." It really is a tangled web worthy of Shakespeare, and with Saddam looking more and more like Lear -- those wild eyes and that beard -- I can't wait to see it staged. With lines like: "I shit on the international community!" the script is sure to be worthy of the Bard as well! Speaking of Iraq: as of 7:36:22 a.m., the war has cost us $202,646,454,093 and 1,993 American soldiers' lives. In the "ho hum, so what else is new" department: The end is near (again). Dispatches from the Amazon say the rain forest is disappearing twice as fast as anybody thought. Another huge hurricane, Wilma, a category 4, is pounding the gulf. Ditch your bird friends or die. If they sneeze on you it's all over. Bird Flu is still poised to wipe out the planet. And there's no vaccine! Locally, Massachusetts' own Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey's in hot water over her husband's apparent abuse of the state's corporate welfare system. The difference between corporate and ordinary welfare is that corporate welfare junkies don't use checks to fund their crack habits -- they use them to fund their campaign habits. Of course, Healey's hubbie is funding what looks more and more to be his old lady's run for the not-soon-enough-to-be-vacated governor's office. Teddy Kennedy's latest effort to raise the national minimum wage failed miserably in the Senate. Kennedy noted that lawmakers have voted themselves seven raises totalling $28,000 a year in the eight years since the minimum wage was last raised. Meanwhile, Salvatore DiMasi, Speaker of the House, agrees with Governor Mitt Romney that Bay Staters should be forced to buy health insurance. As reported in the Globe, DiMasi said the House plan ''will make people take personal responsibility when they are able to purchase health insurance for themselves and their families." According to the Globe, "the Romney administration estimates that about 200,000 of the state's roughly 500,000 uninsured make enough money to afford private insurance." Well, Millionaire Mitt should know. Opponents of the proposal, like John McDonough of Health Care for All, want to remind the governor that ''You've got families in Greater Boston that are paying over their income for rent."

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