Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish leaders quietly adopted new rules over the weekend that will make it virtually impossible for the constitution to fail in the coming national referendum.
The above is from Robert F. Worth's "Election Move Seems to Ensure Iraqis' Charter" in this morning's New York Times. Here's the second paragraph:
The move prompted Sunni Arabs and a range of independent political figures to complain that the vote was being fixed.
Of course, fixing the vote could also include attacking Sunni dominant areas in the lead up to the election. But here's the change, two-thirds (*see correction below) of the registered electorate were needed for the charter to pass. Shiites and Kurds have altered that. It only needs two-thirds of the vote of people turning out to vote. So anything that suppresses the Sunni vote helps the charter. (Worth reports that there is talk of a Sunni boycott.)
Beth e-mails to note Philip Shenon's "Second Indictment Issued Against DeLay:"
A grand jury in Texas issued a second indictment on Monday against Representative Tom DeLay, accusing the Texas Republican and two aides of money laundering in a $190,000 transaction that prosecutors have described as a violation of the state's ban on the use of corporate money in local election campaigns.
[. . .]
Within hours, Mr. DeLay and his aides had been indicted on the new money-laundering charges, which can carry a prison sentence of up to life in prison. Mr. DeLay and his lawyers described the new indictment as a last-minute effort by prosecutors to avoid the humiliation of seeing their case against the former majority leader collapse only days after it was brought.
Note that the article, unlike many for the Times, notes that Ronnie Earl has prosecuted Democrats and Republicans.
??? e-mails to note Jeffrey St. Clare's "The Great Green Scare" (CounterPunch):
Over on FoxNews, blinking eco-terrorist alerts have replaced Tom Ridge's color-coded threat level as the latest alarmist metronome to distract viewer attention from the plight of Karl Rove, the convictions of corporate tycoons and the deepening bloodbath in Iraq.
FoxNews devoted extensive coverage to congressional testimony earlier this summer by John Lewis, the FBI's Deputy Director for Counterterrorism. Deftly sidestepping border vigilantes, anti-abortion zealots, and white supremacists, Lewis pointed to environmentalists as the great looming internal threat to the security of the nation. Lewis breathlessly claimed that the FBI had documented more than 1,200 acts of eco-terrorism over the last 15 years, inflicting $110 million in property damage-or about the same amount that timber companies steal from the national forests each year. Oddly, executives at the Weyerhaeuser Company--a repeat offender--haven't done any time in Pelican Bay lately.
Once again these hotly reported stories have mostly fizzled out, with the supposed acts of eco-terrorism turning to be insurance scams, disputes between neighbors or angry employees venting their rage with a match and a gallon of gasoline.
In December of 2004, more than a dozen homes in a Maryland subdivision near a wildlife reserve were torched. Before the embers from the smoldering houses had cooled, the FBI publicly fingered eco-terrorists for the arson. But it soon emerged that the fires in the largely middle-class black neighborhood had been committed by a drunken gang of white power pyromaniacs called The Family. Close, boys, but no cigar.
Lloyd e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's "Clinton Redux" (Ruth Conniff's Online Column, The Progressive):
In the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Matt Bai writes a political analysis of Hillary-style triangulation that takes us back to the heyday of neoliberal triumph. Here it is all over again: the appeals to values and the ritual swipes at corrupt liberal culture (remember Sister Souljah?), the "brilliant" strategy of wish-fulfillment for feminists, labor, and the Democrats' other traditional allies, coupled with conservative, pro-business politics and an active courtship of the Right (remember welfare reform? The execution of Ricky Ray Rector?).
The whole story is bad deja vu. Even the way Bai writes his magazine piece--using broad brushstrokes to paint that gang of aging hippies who run the "interest groups" in Washington as the enemies of progress, and "most Americans" as the kind of simple, values-loving, black-and-white, right-and-wrong, rock-and-roll folks those passé hippies just don't get.
There is a name for Bai's kind of reasoning--based on generalizations and a breathless spinning of a theory that seems only here and there tacked down to facts: It's called sophistry. That Hillary Clinton is a "new" new Democrat, who can save us from the "old" Democrats and their stale, class-based politics is so patently silly you might giggle--if it didn't appear that the Democrats may, in fact, hitch their star to this twice-defeated strategy.
We are not living in the age of Bill Clinton anymore. Bai, it must be noted, points this out. He talks a lot about the activist blogosphere as the next wave of politics. But that's not the half of it. The world is going up in flames--Iraq burning, New Orleans drowning, the rollback of government services, the permanent huge tax cuts for the rich. . . . America is being transformed, on our watch, into the cowboy capitalist frontier the Right has long dreamed about. "Right and wrong" and "moral values" are indeed appropriate to the current moment. But not in the empty, stylistic gestures the Clintons have both managed to perfect.
Rod e-mails to note a scheduled topic for Democracy Now! today:
Tuesday, October 4:* The nomination of President Bush's friend and attorney Harriet Miers as Supreme Court justice.
(Thanks again to Rebecca.)
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the new york times
the new york times
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A front-page article yesterday about new election rules in Iraq that seem intended to ensure voter approval of the constitution in the Oct. 15 referendum misstated the size of the majority needed in the National Assembly to amend the transitional law, a document written under the American occupation in 2003 that remains the supreme law of Iraq pending a constitution. It is three-fourths of the National Assembly, not two-thirds. (Go to Article)
The above is from this morning's New York Times -- yesterday's "Other items" here (by me) contains the following summary:
Of course, fixing the vote could also include attacking Sunni dominant areas in the lead up to the election. But here's the change, two-thirds of the registered electorate were needed for the charter to pass. Shiites and Kurds have altered that. It only needs two-thirds of the vote of people turning out to vote. So anything that suppresses the Sunni vote helps the charter. (Worth reports that there is talk of a Sunni boycott.)
I'll add the correction to yesterday's entry (hopefully tonight)
Shirley adding correction to this entry per C.I. Correction was noted in Wednesday's entry.