Thursday, June 01, 2006


I really don't get why some in the mainstream press are fawning over the Bush administration's announcement that they will enter into negotiations with Iran. The NY Times and the Washington Post are acting like this is a major step forward - exactly the line that the Administration is pushing. How lazy can you be, folks? Have you learned nothing over the last 5 years?

First of all, the Bush Administration offered up one obstacle: that Iran must halt it's nuclear efforts immediately. It's a precondition that the Iranians have already refused and it's been demanded by the Bush folks from day 1. It's a precondition that, unless the Iranians get some pushing from their allies, is designed to make certain that the talks will fail. As with Iraq before, the Bush cons will claim that they stood with the rest of the world and tried to talk some sense into the Axis power, but it was unreasonable to the world's modest demands.

Secondly, the Times and the Post both got burned by their coverage and lead up to the Iraq war. The Bush cons are following the same game plan that they used to lead the country into Iraq with regards to Iran. They'll say that they want negotiations and talks all the while preparing to ramp up to a barrage of air strikes. One would think that these papers would recognize this and present a more skeptical position, but then that would suppose that these papers were anything more than mouthpieces much of the time. As Stephen Colbert noted, they don't make the news, they take dictation.

OK, after bashing the Post a bit on the Iran story, I'm publishing a link to their story on Fatherland Security funding for states and cities. New Yorkers are outraged as are the people of Washington, D.C. There is some reason to question the priorities, though, frankly, I think much of the spending on these grants has been an enormous boondoggle that wreaks of pork barrel spending waste. It's hard to justify Louisville getting a huge grant increase while these two cities take even larger cuts. Then again, it's an election year and New Yorkers and D.C. residents are not likely to vote Republican, so why not cut them and try to boost your base? Is that cynical? Maybe, but it's also realistic. Here's some choice quotes:
In addition to Washington and New York, the grant decisions included a 46 percent drop for San Diego, where several of the Sept. 11 hijackers lived; a 61 percent decrease for Phoenix, where an FBI agent suspected that terrorists were taking flight training; and a 30 percent reduction for Boston, the point of origin of the two jetliners that crashed into the World Trade Center.

...Undersecretary for Preparedness George Foresman told reporters that although the program was formed with anti-terrorism objectives in mind, the money is meant to improve readiness for "an act of terrorism or an act of Mother Nature."

Yet one of the big losers was hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, whose grant award dropped from $9.3 million to $4.6 million.

Frankly, this department's funding needs to be reigned in, focused, and depoliticized. But that's not going to happen for a while. No one should get used to feeding at this trough.

In related news, Wired has a great article by a reporter who crashed the wiretapper's convention. Clip:
He sneered again. "Do you think for a minute that Bush would let legal issues stop him from doing surveillance? He's got to prevent a terrorist attack that everyone knows is coming. He'll do absolutely anything he thinks is going to work. And so would you. So why are you bothering these guys?"
In much lighter news, it's refreshing to think that Halle Berry is wearing her Storm costume when having sex.


Albatross said...

The Iran "overture" is a transparent example of "going through the motions." It's an administration ploy designed to offer justification for the invasion of Iran, planned for October. Keep an eye peeled for "unprovoked" Iranian cross-border attacks on US troops sometime this fall...

As regards Halle Berry, I wouldn't kick her out of bed regardless of her outfit, but I'd prefer her Catwoman outfit, RrrOOWrrr....

B.D. said...

I completely agree with you; including the time line. I've noted before on this blog that I think the fix is in with Iran - bombing begins in October just in time for the next election. Blair and Bush meeting this week was to work out some of the details because, if memory serves, the British could take some huge hits since their troops are on part of the border with Iran.

Regarding Berry: I hear you about the outfit, but I kinda dig the Storm wig.