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May 14, 2003

Tom DeLay, in a blatantly partisan move, thinks the Fibbies should go get those Texas Legislators and force them back into Texas.

Accusing Texas Democrats of cowardice, U.S. House Republican Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday that if federal law allows, FBI agents should travel to Oklahoma, arrest the holed-up lawmakers and deliver them to Austin.

"It's just so contrary to what Texas is all about, to turn tail and run and not fight for what you believe in," he said.

His mistake is in thinking that a strategic retreat isn't a legitimate battle tactic. (His other mistake is in helping draw national attention to an unorthodox and legally questionable move on the part of the Texas government to redraw district lines.)

In any case, it's none of the Feds' business how Texas legislators are behaving unless they're breaking Federal laws, is it? I don't mind DeLay speaking out on behalf of his party, but saying he wants to bring the FBI in goes over the line.

Here's the history of the current dispute, by the way.

And, in one of the cheesiest gimmicks I've ever seen, they constructed playing cards featuring the faces of the absent legislators.

Makes you think doesn't it? When the Republicans equate those involved in a domestic political dispute with a totalitarian regime responsible for the deaths of thousands? Yeah, that's totally the kind of people and politics I'd like to be associated with.

The Texas Democrats wrote a letter to the Texas House Speaker.


And, speaking of tactics and strategy, read Ornstein on the beauties of the filibuster and the attacks the Congressional one has come under in the recent past. And not all Republicans think the draconian measures being threatened are such a good idea, either.

Making War on Iraq

As Helen Thomas points out, motives matter. Especially when murky or hidden motives lead to killing people.

The gov'mint's motives aside, Pinkerton makes a case for the idea that our "victory" in Iraq is unraveling.

Meanwhile, in Belgium, war crimes charges have been filed against Tommy Franks.

I have to go find the USAToday article quoted in that article.

Second, there's the mysterious matter of the weapons of mass destruction. A headline in USA Today said it all: "U.S. begins to downplay hunt for banned weapons." The article notes the "before" and "after" quotes of top Bush people. Before the war: chapter-and-verse specifics about the location of Saddam Hussein's WMDs. After: vague calls for patience.
I've been wanting just this kind of before and after comparison and hoping someone else would save me the trouble of putting it together.

(Hmmm...having found it I find it's less of a 'before and after' list than I'd hoped. Looks as though I may yet have to do it myself.)


You want to know why consolidation of the media is a bad, bad idea? Because when the media is controlled by a few corporate giants, it becomes very easy for the voices of democratic dissent to be stifled.

But it looks like a significant number of people have spoken out against the USofA news media in the only way that really matters. They changed the channel during the Iraq war. (We watch the Beeb at home and have ever since we got access. It's amazing what a different view it gives you of the world than the USofA nightly news offers.) Our access to this alternative viewpoint could be in danger, though.

The government, or at least some representatives of it, are sitting up and taking notice of the current deregulation plan and they don't like what they're seeing.

Terrorism in Algeria

Did you know that 35 tourists had disappeared in Algeria and were discovered to have been kidnapped by terrorists? I didn't either. That's another fault of the USofA news media. If it's not about this country, or about a major natural disaster, they tend not to cover it. (I've noticed the same problem in the local nightly news. They go through extraordinary contortions to find a "Colorado angle" to every story.)

Beyond Dyncorp, Private Armies

Looks like a relative, or maybe 'competitor' would be a better word, of Dyncorp's is about to become a household name.

We were shocked and saddened to hear about the attacks in Saudi Arabia and the deaths of at least 91 people there, including ten Americans.

But the fact that one of the targets was a U.S. private military corporation called Vinnell raises serious questions about the role of "executive mercenaries," and corporations who profit from war and instability. This is the second time in eight years that Vinnell's operations in Saudi Arabia have been the target of a terrorist attack. In 1995 a car bomb blasted through an Army training program Vinnell was involved with. The following year, Bill Hartung, a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute wrote this article for the Progressive magazine.

Read this article. You need to know what it has to say.

Feed me

In old news that no one seems to care about any more, that famine everyone used to discuss in Ethiopia has gotten a lot worse recently and is still killing people. For the price of just a very few bombs, we could save thousands of children. I wonder if Bush's compassionate conservatism would stretch that far?

That's all, folks

This is one of those days when the news is so varied and so interesting that I could keep this up all day. But, as I might have mentioned, I'm gainfully employed and occasionally feel the need to reward those who sign my paycheck with a little of my time and attention. This is one of those moments. (Anyhow, it could all be academic if the world actually ends tomorrow.)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:44 AM