Friday, February 24, 2006

Other Items

So exactly what does the New York Times do today? Not a whole lot. They fawn over officials as usual.

Such as with Steven R. Weisman and Robert F. Worth's "Violence Strains U.S. Strategy and Imperils Pullout Plans:"

Senior administration officials in Washington and Baghdad said the next few days would test American and Iraqi resolve, as the United States military, despite pressure to intervene and angry accusations that it stood by while Iraq erupted in revenge killings, holds back to see if Iraqis can quell violence themselves. An unusual daytime curfew in Baghdad scheduled for Friday Prayer could help, the officials said.

Did the officials say that? Well then it must be true and it must be recorded by the paper of record.

Meanwhile the Davids (S. Cloud and E. Sanger) team up to tell you what must be the most important development in the port story -- from "Dubai Company Delays New Role at Six U.S. Ports:"

The Dubai company at the center of a political furor over its plans to take over some terminal operations at six American ports said Thursday night that it planned to close the deal next week, but that it would "not exercise control" over its new operations in the United States while the Bush administration tried to calm opposition in Congress.
The statement may provide a little time and political breathing room for President Bush, who has appeared stunned at the opposition from Republicans and Democrats alike over the deal involving one of the country's few close Arab allies.

Bully Boy might get breathing room? Surely that is the most important detail in this story . . . in the eyes of the New York Times which, more and more, reads less like a newspaper and more like a club newsletter. At this rate, tomorrow's port story will inform us of whether or not the Bully Boy is still regular or if constipation has set in as a result of (backdrop) the controversy over the ports issue.

The Times also leaves it to the Associated Press to cover the Philipines, two paragraphs online,
as Brenda points out. From Reuters' "Emergency in Philippines After Report of Coup Plot" (via the Washington Post)

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo invoked emergency rule in the Philippines on Friday, shocking analysts and driving down the country's currency, after security forces said they had foiled a coup attempt.
Rumors of plots against Arroyo, who survived a crisis last year over allegations of vote-rigging and corruption, have been running high around this week's anniversary of a "People Power" revolt that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Also in the Post, Alan Sipress' "In 20 Years Since Marcos, Little Stability for Philippines:"

Indeed, Arroyo declared a state of emergency today, saying she needed expanded authority because of a coup plot scheduled to coincide with the Marcos anniversary.
The blame for the country's problems of governance, Philippine analysts say, rests with the country's political system -- first put in place by the United States during four decades of colonial rule -- and the family dynasties it allowed to cement their power. Today, Philippine democracy is little more than a ruthless contest among rival clans with such names as Aquino, Arroyo and Marcos. Political parties are largely irrelevant, and most Filipinos are relegated to the role of spectators.
The cost to the economy has been tremendous. The perpetual political crisis has scared off investment, both domestic and foreign, while national leaders have often been too preoccupied with their own survival to pursue long-term strategies of development that could reverse the country's slide into poverty.
"The political system pieced together by the American colonial administration is incapable of performing the functions of a modern state," said Joel Rocamora of the Institute for Popular Democracy in Manila.

Deidre notes Margaret Kimberley's "Dead Eye Dick Cheney" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

Dick Cheney first emerged in the Bush campaign in 2000 when he was responsible for vetting potential running mates for Dubya. Suddenly the vetting stopped and he became the running mate himself. It isn’t clear if the process was all for show or if Poppy Bush decided that Dick would be the best baby sitter for his son. In any case he was the perfect choice to carry out the Bushies' schemes.
Cheney is the Bush administration bad cop. Bush pretends to be the compassionate conservative, while Dick boldly states that we are all going to die if we don't give him our votes. Bush mouths Christian piety, Dick tells United States Senators to go f_ _k themselves.
Dick was packing heat from the early days of the Bush campaign for president. Now he is packing heat literally. Cheney shot, accidentally we are told, Texas lawyer Harry Whittington during a hunting trip. We didn't get the news from the Vice President's office or the White House. Katharine Armstrong, the well connected hunting party hostess, spoke to Karl Rove and got her marching orders to contact the local newspaper the day after the shooting.
The White House immediately went into attack mode when they were unable to control the story. The only thing that stopped the well-oiled smear campaign against Whittington was news that a shotgun pellet had lodged in his heart. Fear of his death changed the White House tune and sent Dick running to the warm embrace of Fox News.
Harry Whittington is a mover and shaker himself. They are the only people who get face time, no pun intended, with Dick Cheney. Despite his influence, or maybe because of it, Whittington remembered the rules of the game. Upon leaving the hospital he said, "Accidents do and will happen," and expressed sympathy for Cheney. "My family and I are deeply sorry for everything Vice President Cheney and his family have had to deal with." Whittington knows better than the rest of us the consequences of crossing the Bush team.
On the same day that Cheney talked to Fox News, more photos of mistreatment, abuse and humiliation at Abu Ghraib prison were made public. The photos were a reminder that Cheney and company are not just violent with quails. It was also a lesson about why the Arab and Muslim world are angry with the West.

Kyle notes two things from NOW. First Kim Gandy's "Birdshot in the Behind" (Below the Belt):

What a month!
News in Washington travels fast. News on the Armstrong Ranch, it seems, suffers a bit of a delay.
The "news" -- by the time it reached us the next day, it was more like history. Dick Cheney shot an acquaintance, Republican Harry Whittington, on a quail hunt at a lobbyist's Texas ranch (just another weekend with his favorite lobbyists?)
Why did he wait nearly 24 hours? I can make an educated guess about that one. When I was growing up in Louisiana, my dad went on lots of hunting trips to Texas, hosted by his employer for senior management -- and they did a LOT of drinking. My guess is that if anything had happened, and medical care was already available, they might well have waited long enough for the alcohol to leave everyone's system before notifying the authorities. After all, that would have made for a very different story on the evening news.
The news was like an alarm clock -- or, perhaps, birdshot in the behind -- for the mainstream media. Clucking mad that the report reached them nearly 24 hours post-shot, they cried foul to the White House. "When did the president know?" "Why did it take so long to reach the public?"
I, for one, am a little confused. Did the media expect something more? Actually the surprising thing is that anyone learned about it at all.
This is the same lack of responsibility and accountability that has stretched the war in Iraq to nearly four years and that de-funded Army Corps of Engineer rebuilding plans for the levees in New Orleans. This administration invented the "Shoot first, answer questions later — but only if you feel like it" strategy. And now reporters are crying foul?

Second, Kyle notes this action alert:

Tell Your Senators to Oppose the PATRIOT Act
Despite some minor tinkering, the PATRIOT Act violates our civil liberties. Please take action NOW to oppose its reauthorization in the current form. It's up for a Senate vote on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Take action!

Lastly, Dominick notes Fred Barbash's "Roadside Bombs Kill 7 U.S. Soldiers in Iraq" (The Washington Post):

Seven more U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq by roadside bomb explosions, the military announced today.
The deaths, in two separate incidents, came amid a wave of killing and conflict among Iraqis following the bombing of a Shiite holy shrine in Samarra yesterday. The military did not mention any link between the U.S. deaths and the current troubles.

Remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) of Democracy Now! today.

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