Thursday, December 08, 2005

Say, Where Can I Buy Some of Those Rose-Colored Glasses?

Mr. Bush says Mosul and Najaf are signs of progress in the reconstruction of Iraq.

In a tale of two cities, President Bush yesterday heralded progress in northern Mosul and southern Najaf as new models for rebuilding Iraq.

But last Friday, Iraq's government imposed emergency law and a curfew in Sunni-dominated Mosul and throughout Ninevah province, and a senior U.S. official in Baghdad yesterday referred to the city of about 1.7 million as "nasty Mosul."

In Najaf, militia fighters of the two rival religious parties that control the Shiite holy city recently clashed in street battles. A few days ago, former prime minister Ayad Allawi was attacked during a visit by an angry, rock-throwing mob that some Iraqis charge was backed by a militia -- and that Allawi called an assassination attempt.

Mr. Bush says the rebuilding of the teaching hospital in Najaf is a sign of progress in the reconstruction of Iraq.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 - President Bush on Wednesday cited a teaching hospital in Najaf as perhaps the top example of a successful rebuilding project in Iraq. Since the American-led attack against local militias leveled large portions of Najaf in August 2004, however, the hospital has been most notable as a place where claims of success have fallen far short of reality.

During two visits to the hospital by reporters for The New York Times over the past year, the most recent in late summer, work on refurbishing it had been limited to largely cosmetic work like new ceilings and lighting and fresh paint. Critical medical
equipment was missing and the upper floors remained a chaotic mess.

Numerous Iraqis at the site said the hospital had not been ruined by the militia that occupied it during the 2004 fighting, but instead by looters who entered after the American military left it unguarded after the battle.


The hospital, named after Mr. Sadr's father, is an example of the slow pace of rebuilding. Wayne White, a former State Department official whose responsibilities included Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and who is now at the Middle East Institute, a research organization, said the American mission in Iraq was often undermined by that slow pace.

"Not only does it run far behind Iraqi expectations, but in some areas we have not even recovered to what Iraq was before the invasion," Mr. White said. He noted that some industries, including those involving metals and chemical production, still had not recovered from the invasion and the aftermath of looting, either.

A major problem with assessing the progress in Iraq is that it is too dangerous to allow visitors to visit the projects freely, said Rick Barton of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"I bet if we could get around and see these places that they would not be the story that he's telling," he said. "And I think he'd be shocked to see the story he's being fed."

He wouldn't be shocked. He knows he's being fed B.S. That's just how he wants it.
In other words, Mr. Bush is full of it.

Stunning to see the mainstream news media actually doing its job and reporting on Mr. Bush's half-truths -- and in real time, no less.

They're Scared

Trying to wash the stink off:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 - In a sign that Republican leaders are increasingly anxious about the image of the House after bribery convictions, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert raised the prospect on Wednesday of new ethics training for lawmakers.

House members and aides said Mr. Hastert broached the subject in a closed-door session with House Republicans while they discussed former Representative Randy Cunningham, the California Republican who pleaded guilty last week in an extensive corruption case that has stunned colleagues.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Everybody Knows There's No Such Thing As Racism!

Tuesday, several African-American victims of hurricane Katrina testified at at a congressional hearing that they felt racism played a role in the government's slow response to that disaster.

One woman told having guns pointed at her 5 yr-old granddaughter by law enforcement officers.

But Republican Representantative Christopher Shays of Connecticut doesn't believe it.

Perhaps he missed the news reports of what happened on Highway 90 three days after Katrina struck. If so, his staff needs to get on the stick before their boss makes an ass of himself again.

Or maybe he just can't believe that law enforcement in contemporary US would treat innocent black people as criminals. If so, he needs to get out more.

Either way, Shays showed once again how little regard the national Republican Party has for the lives and well-being of black folks.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

And Now, Her Career Is Officially Over

If I were Joe Wilson, I would personally kick Libby's, Rove's, Hadley's, and Bob Novack's asses over this:

WASHINGTON — Valerie Plame, the diplomat's wife whose secret resume was exposed in a newspaper column that eventually led to the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, is leaving the CIA on Friday, people familiar with her plans said.

Plame, 42, worked undercover for the CIA tracking weapons proliferation but saw her clandestine career imperiled after she was identified as an agency operative in the summer of 2003 in a syndicated column by Robert Novak.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The War on Black Voters

Expanding on last week's post on the Justice Department...

There is an editorial in today's New York Times tracing the same trend I had pointed out, in which Bush appointees at the department have been overruling professional lawyers working there who have cited various state moves as violations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. To those actions we must remember to add to efforts of Republican Senator Chris Bond of Missouri to limit the numbers of poor voters allowed to cast ballots.

Bond has sought to pass legislation in the Senate that would outlaw voter registration activities in public housing developments (more commonly known in the big cities as "the projects"). His rationale, laughable on its face, is that housing built with public tax dollars should be used for only one thing: housing.

The obvious, and more honest, explanation is that housing projects are full of likely Democratic voters -- poor blacks and Latinos -- and that Bond, like so many in his party at the national level, is simply flexing his creative muscles in looking for new ways to disempower and dienfranchise these communities toward the goal of increasing his own paty's power.

There was a time when those concerned about such flagrant injustices could turn to the federal courts for relief. But with the courts being salted with appointments made by George W. Bush -- a man who came to the White House through the disenfranchisement of countless blacks -- our chances for justice there have declined in recent years.

A best recourse remains an informed populace. It becomes too easy for those with designs on our electoral influence to steal that which is rightfully ours if we aren't prepared to raise an educated ruckus. Spread the word; keep these chumps honest (relatively speaking).