Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Slowly Turning Wheels of Justice

Tom DeLay - I hope you sleep a little less soundly tonite. I know you have sold your soul to Beelzebub, and you have good reason to believe that he will protect you. But maybe he wants you closer to him, because I know you must feel the fires of political hell warming your back. For example, I see that three of your top aides have been indicted.

(Houston – September 21, 2004) John Colyandro, executive director of Tom DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC), along with two other top aides, Warren Robold, a Washington, DC fundraiser and Jim Ellis, a key DeLay aide, were indicted today by a Travis County grand jury. Following a two-year investigation into illegal solicitations of corporate contributions for Republican state legislative races, the grand jury handed down a 32-count indictment. These are the first official charges stemming from two separate ethics investigations into illegal fundraising by DeLay and his lieutenants.

Oh well, we can only dream of you in prison, Tom.

Oh, and here's a cute article about how the Republican Majority keeps you, the voter, in the dark about legislation they are passing.

The wee hours of a Friday morning tend not to be a busy time for most people. But it’s been a very productive period for House Republicans, who passed six bills during that time in 2003.

Democratic Representative Sherrod Brown cataloged the list of legislation passed between midnight and 6 a.m. on Fridays last year for a St. Louis Post-Dispatch column recently. Many of these bills passed by just a handful of votes. The measures cut veterans’ benefits as well as Head Start funding and secured $87 billion for Iraq. At 5:55 a.m. on a Saturday, the House passed a prescription-drug bill. As Brown noted, it’s convenient to approve measures in the first hours of a Friday morning because coverage is relegated to the Saturday morning papers.

Brown told me that it wasn’t this way when Democrats ran the House, or even when Newt Gingrich was speaker. But, he added, “None of this is a surprise -- it’s taken to a level no one has ever seen.”

And the USA Today has an article about how a significant fraction of the US Military in Iraq is becoming stridently anti-Bush.

"[For] 9 out of 10 of the people I talk to, it wouldn't matter who ran against Bush — they'd vote for them," said a U.S. soldier in the southern city of Najaf, seeking out a reporter to make his views known. "People are so fed up with Iraq, and fed up with Bush."

Lastly for now, I thought this was an interesting article in the Guardian (that of course got no play in the US media).

Leaked Whitehall documents present an extraordinarily revealing picture of how Tony Blair's closest advisers and his foreign secretary, Jack Straw, warned him of the pitfalls of following the Bush administration's march to war against Iraq.

For Blair, it was inconceivable that the US would invade without Britain. He was desperate to get UN approval to satisfy parliamentary and public opinion. We know that Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, changed his advice to suit his client's wishes.

The secret papers, leaked to the Daily Telegraph, disclose the extent of concerns in Whitehall about Washington's openly stated objective - namely, regime change, considered illegal by British government lawyers - and the lengths to which senior British officials connived to manipulate opinion.

The documents provide an exceptional insight into the mindset of Blair's entourage during a bout of high-level contacts across the Atlantic in the spring of 2002, a year before the war.

They have added significance in the light of comments last week by Kofi Annan, who said the invasion was "illegal", and of the draft final report by the Iraq Survey Group, which found no sign of WMD (the British justification for war) and no evidence that Saddam Hussein was trying to resume his nuclear arms programme.

The documents show that early in March 2002, ministers were warned by Cabinet Office officials that the Bush administration was pushing hard for an invasion to topple Saddam even though there was no evidence he posed more of a threat than previously, or supported international terrorism.

Oh well, enough for now. Tell me what YOU think.