... so it must be Thursday.
Blogger has been especially dodgy today (on my desktop at least) so I am just going to throw all my verbal diahorrhea into one dirty fat post today.
Let's start with Bush's approval ratings hitting 33%. That is LOW. Read the story with your best smirk on your face:
The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar."These kind of poll numbers have many Republicans telling Bush it's time for some new blood in the White House. Here's one Bush buddy and GOP senator, Norm Coleman:
All of a sudden we're hearing the phrase 'tin ear'. That's a phrase you shouldn't hear. The fact that you're hearing it says that the kind of political sensitivity, the ear-to-the-ground that you need in the White House, isn't there at the level that it needs to be.Bush might not have his ear to the ground, but he is certainly sucking the floor. Pressed to respond, Scotty "Boy" McLellan positively "bristled" at his naughty Press Corpse and said he was getting "tired" of "these questions" which he called Washington "parlor games".
On that subject, R J Eskow says it is time to admit that the Washington Press corps is corrupt:
The media don't skew facts toward the Bush Administration because they're ideologically right-wing. They do it because they know that the cabal in power is ruthless and cruel when you make it angry, but indulgent (if patronizing) when you appease it. Play ball and the President will give you a nickname. Refuse, and Scotty will never call on you again.Eskow also publishes a Beginner's Guide To The WaPo with numerous intances of pro-Bush bias.
The fact that dollars haven't changed hands doesn't mean the press isn't corrupt. It just means it can be bought cheap - for a good seat at the press conference, for the occasional exclusive, for not being frozen out like Helen Thomas.
Personally, I think it is too easy to diss the whole WaPo staff (or boycott the NYT). There is a low-level Civil War brewing in the USA, a totally pacific one at the moment, pitting pro- and anti-Bush voices against one another. The WaPo news floor is just one of many battlegrounds. Bloggers who want to make a real difference should focus on the individual reporters (and editors and publishers) involved.
And speaking of Civil War, I can't stop wondering about that US security contractor in Iraq who was arrested with a car-load of "weapons" and "explosives". ICH links the Reuters story to an interesting article by Scott Ritter:
According to press accounts, the Pentagon is considering the organisation, training and equipping of so-called death squads, teams of Iraqi assassins who would be used to infiltrate and eliminate the leadership of the Iraqi resistance.Ritter tries to make sense of the current wave of violence, claiming the US employed Badr Brigade (mostly Shiite) death squads to take out Baathists (mostly Sunnis) after the fall of Baghdad. The Sunnis later took their vengeance, after Paul Bremer had left town.
Called the Salvador Option, in reference to similar US-backed death squads that terrorised the population of El Salvador during the 1980s, the proposed plan actually has as its roots the Phoenix assassination programme undertaken during the Vietnam war, where American-led assassins killed thousands of known or suspected Vietcong collaborators.
Perhaps it is a sign of the desperation felt inside the Pentagon, or an underscoring of the ideological perversity of those in charge, that the US military would draw upon the failed programmes of the past to resolve an insoluble problem of today.
Having started the game of politically motivated assassination, the US has once again found itself trumped by forces inside Iraq it does not understand, and as such will never be able to defeat.Ritter says history will condemn the immorality of the American occupation, which is doomed to failure on multiple levels.
Another nail in the coffin: Salon has now published the whole set of Abu Ghraib pics and videos.
Finally, if you are into Conspiracy Theories (and what independent-minded citizen can afford NOT to at least consider them these days?) you might want to take a look at Jorge Hirsch's URL-stuffed article on the odd relationship between bird flu and the casus belli against Iran. Hirsch suggests that a human-to-human strain of bird flu emerging from Iran could be used as an excuse for a quick-strike nuclear attack. Here is an IMAGINARY (warning!!!) news report:
The U.S. has gathered intelligence revealing that Iranian scientists have been working intensely in hidden underground facilities to develop a strain of the H5N1 virus that is transmissible from human to human...Hmmn... If that's the best idea Rummy's got, he better go back to the Secret Undisclosed Location for a while. I mean, it wouldn't make much sense for Iranians to purposefully release such a deadly virus within their own borders, would it? Might as well get sharks with frikkin' laser beams attached to their heads!
Dual-use facilities disguised as Iranian chicken farms are being used to test how fast the virus can be transmitted from a wild duck to a chicken and on to the humans handling the chicken, and from them to their family and friends. In the last few weeks, a breakthrough was achieved, and the perfect strain was finally found. Iranian ecologists are currently at work in the Iranian wetlands to deploy the mutated virus among wild ducks, swans, and geese, in preparation for the launching of the birds along their migratory paths toward the Western world in early April.
Still, Hirsh reminds us of an odd fact that I noticed when assembling yesterday's post: Bird Flu has been around for centuries, and even the particularly virulent form H5N1 has been known since 1959. And given that the IAEA says Iran is still ten years away from developing a nuclear weapon, the current hysteria is more than passing strange.