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April 17, 2003
Blogs and other news Via

Blogs and other news

Via Avedon Carol, we get to Digby's post on those DynaCorp rent-a-cops that we're told may be used in Iraq. Charming bunch of guys and certainly just the types you want to send to an Arab country that already suspects we want to bring Western decadence and lack of morals to their shores.

Hesiod takes on the hypocrites who are pointing at the "children's prison" in Iraq, challenging them to step up to the plate on jails for kids in other countries. Like the U.K., Israel, and Spain.

While the Administration and the media were getting their war on, some other business did take place in the country. Among other things:

In Congress, some members "reintroduced legislation that would significantly reduce the burden on power plants to slow emissions of so-called greenhouse gasses" as a 'thank you' to heavy campaign contributors.

The House passed a bill April 9 that prohibits plaintiffs, and particularly local governments, from suing gun manufacturers and distributors for damages resulting from their products, in another 'thank you' to a big money campaign donors.*

The health care debate rages on over one bill with one side insisting it will lower premiums and the other side insisting it will raise them.

And I think we all know already, so no link required, that Republicans are trying to make the temporary powers of the Patriot Act permanent.

(* Personally, I'm ambivalent on this one. Manufacturers should be exempt. Distributors, maybe not so much, depending on the circumstances. The NRA should prove their claim that they're not in favor of guns being used to kill people by allowing bans on semi-automatic and assault rifles, which no law-abiding citizen has any need for. Also, I think, pistols, which hardly fall under the heading of "hunting and sport" weapons.

If the government can mandate seat belts for citizens too stupid to drive carefully, why can't they outlaw the kinds of guns involved in most in-home accidents?

I'm not anti-gun. I'm just anti-idiot. And, while I don't normally encourage legislation to protect idiots, considering that we might be better off without them under Darwinian principles, the people paying the price in this case are all too frequently the children of idiot parents. Death seems like a harsh penalty for being born into the wrong family, don't you think?)

Take a look at the Corporate Crime Reporter's Top 100. It's the Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the Decade

The 100 corporate criminals fell into 14 categories of crime: Environmental (38), antitrust (20), fraud (13), campaign finance (7), food and drug (6), financial crimes (4), false statements (3), illegal exports (3), illegal boycott (1), worker death (1), bribery (1), obstruction of justice (1) public corruption (1), and tax evasion (1).
Just in case you're one of those citizens who likes to vote with their checkbook as well as in the voting booth, this will tell you what corporations to avoid. (I'm working on a list of the largest USofA corporations with names of all of their subsidiaries. There's probably a list already on-line somewhere, but it's an educational pastime.)

Another independent blogger who just happens to be a media employee in Iraq has been shut down. Don't just go over because you think he was muzzled. Read all of it because any unwhitewashed reports from Iraq are worth seeing.

For instance, what happened in Mosul? Will we ever really know? It's hard to figure it out, reading the USofA media. Undernews takes on the task of providing a lot of links, from all over the place, to try and give a rounded view not only of the killing but of the variations in media coverage.

Also keep reading the on-going debate about whether the ends justify the means in this war. Me, I don't think so, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. (I insist upon pointing at things like the disaster of Afghanistan as proof that this Administration might know how to kill, but it doesn't have the legs to finish a decent job of regime change. At the same time, I'm willing to accept that the lust, really, there's no other word for it, for making war on Iraq that overshadowed the real, and legitimate, conflict in Afghanistan might distort the results. This Administration never really cared about bin Laden, you know. Not half as much as they cared about Hussein, anyhow.)

(Also, because I think Mark Morford is funny, I suggest you go read The Lie of Liberation from 4/11.

Yay! The gorilla has crushed the mouse. The bazooka has blown apart the BB gun. The dinosaur has stomped the fly. Yay!
Hee. Hee.)

If you don't think the looting of Baghdad is important, if you scoff at those who mourn the burning of books, you're just not understanding what's been lost.

On a more serious note, Jimmy Breslin, over at Newsday, offers us an oddly moving tale of death and dogwoods.

And a POW says she was treated by Iraqi doctors who said they wanted to prove the Iraqi people "had humanity", but the POW doubts that said treatment had much to do with proving humanity.

Asked what she thought of that now, she said: "I appreciate the care that I was given. But I also know that there was a reason behind it. They didn't give me care just for the humanity of it."
I say that's ungrateful and shortsighted. If people were prone to acting "humanely" without the pressure of public opinion to prove themselves, we wouldn't need the Geneva Conventions. Or, indeed, a large percentage of the criminal laws on the books of civilized countries today. So, that POW should be darned grateful that a doctor wanted to prove his people aren't savages. (Also, it's possible she's just wrong. I'm sorry, but I don't subscribe to the belief that Arabs and Muslims are automatically barbarians. The man was a doctor. That means something about "humanity" in almost any culture.)

(The column is well-worth reading anyhow and details the story of the POWs who were captured alongside Lynch. And, I might add, it shows quite a lot of "humanity" on the part of the POWs' captors, some of whom used their own money to provide food for the captives.)

On the torture trail, the government finally responded to accusations of torturing detainees. Of course, it's one of their non-responsive responses, so it's useless except to show that they do still feel a certain obligation to acknowledge public opinion.

And, as I said, I'm against the sort of sensation-mongering that's encouraged by publishing tell-all books about public figures. Unless, of course, there's some kind of criminal behavior potentially involved.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:15 AM