POLITICS: Daily Round-Up

Check out this article on the dearth of quality media coverage concerning the prevalence of poverty from Eric Alterman, an excellent columnist and historian, though a Mets fan (just joking, though he really is a Mets fan).  The Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) study on which he based a good deal of it can be found here.  Particularly compelling in the FAIR study is the paucity of media coverage devoted to in-depth issues of poverty vis-a-vis the attention mainstream media outlets lavished on the Michael Jackson trial, with twice as much devoted to the latter.  Also crucial is how mainstream media outlets have racialized poverty, with more African-Americans represented in pieces on poverty (38%) than their numbers of poor nationally (24%).  Hmm, and why is it that too many people speak as if black equals poor..?  As far as I am concerned, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is far and away the best media watchdog outlet around.

Ron Suskind has alleged in a new book that the White House itself was behind the forged document scandal back in 2003 that explicitly sought and failed to attach Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship to al-Queda.  While the White House has denied it, Joe Conason pieces together some vital bits of circumstantial evidence at Salon.com to consider that Suskind may be right.  Fascinating reading, and I remember several years ago, once Newsweek had debunked the forged memo, thinking that this was something that probably went to the top of the Bush Administration (somewhere around Dick Cheney’s office) given how desperate it had been to “prove” that Iraq tried to obtain fissionable nuclear material.  Note also the timing, that domestically this was during and just after the time when the Bush administration had smeared and outed former covert CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who himself had been to Iraq and said in a July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed that the administration exaggerated unsubstantiated claims about Iraq trying to obtain yellow-cake uranium.  This bears continued watching.

Tell me that this wouldn’t get ugly in a hurry.  Cold War politics by another name.

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 9:06 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. we can only hope that there will be prison sentences after this shameful administration ends- preferably after war crimes trials in the hague.

    i can dream, can’t i?

    good old joe conason- i went to bard with his sister julie–he was just getting started back then with the voice.

  2. Pretty harsh Mike. I personally regard international law and international criminal courts as garbage. The state system is anarachical and states act in their interests regardless of circumstanes. War criminals are only those who lost a war. See the Nazis, Japanese Government in 1945, etc. Bush and Company are not war criminals. The US Government’s job is to ensure the security of its citizens. The Europeans can try and bludgeon us with angry argumentative words, but they have no power to make the US comply in supporting the International Criminal Court.

    The Democrats can try and impeach him if they dare. However, be forewarned that both impeachment attempts in US History failed. The country in both attempts reacted very badly too them. Impeachment is not something you undertake without absolute proof. The only attempt that could have succeeded was against Nixon because there was a smoking gun.


    Tim The Wizard

  3. Tim , you’re really saying two different things on war crimes. On the one hand, you’re rightly saying that issues of enforcement against “winners” and “losers” in wars, including US political leaders, are relevant in determining who gets tried as war criminals. On the other, you’re saying “Bush and Company are not war criminals” based on the presumption of motives such as “ensur[ing] the security of its citizens” at the same time that you’ve admitted that you didn’t support the war against Iraq “because I was never convinced they had anything to do with September 11th,” again right that they didn’t. Given that they weren’t ensuring the security of American citizens, members of the Bush administration could technically be tried for war crimes. They conducted an aggressive war against a non-combatant based on lies. That’s a war crime. Will they be tried? I doubt it, for reasons you said–primarily power of enforcement. That isn’t to say they aren’t war criminals, however.

    On impeachment, don’t forget that Richard Nixon was impeached before he resigned. So one could say that it was actually successful. There’s no doubt that Nixon saw the writing on the wall. Plus, impeachment is a process elastically defined to probe and rule on issues of “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” That was intentionally vague because of disagreements between Constitutional framers over whether impeachment should be used against incompetence or only criminal acts. I think a very strong case for impeachment exists against the current administration based on various acts and incidents–the war on Iraq, illegally spying on Americans, the president’s incredible mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster (which for what [few] doubters might have remained, truly revealed that not only did the emperor have no clothes, but was also clothed only in his own stupidity, ignorance, and inability to effectively govern in a national crisis), and more. A smoking gun is not necessary for impeachment. Nor would I say one doesn’t exist to effectively illustrate the grotesque malfeasance of the Bush administration, which by the way at every turn has maintained unprecedented levels of state secrecy with documents and wanton disregard for separation of powers (itself grounds for impeachments) so as to render “a smoking gun” extremely difficult to obtain.

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