The Last Few Days

Events in Washington the past few days:

1) Rookie Rep. Jean Schmidt, a Republican from Clermont County Ohio, claimed in her very first speech on the House Floor, “I pledge to . . . refrain from name-calling or the questioning of character. Harsh words often lead to headlines, but walking this path is not a victimless crime. This great House pays the price.” But as we know, hypocrisy is so ingrained in the GOP these days, it only took a couple short months before she was on the House Floor essentially calling Rep. John Murtha, a veteran of two wars and decorated Marine, a “coward.” According to Schmidt, she was only the messenger, the original message having originated from a Marine colonel in her district who supposedly asked her to “send Congressman Murtha a message — that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.” Needless to say, since the incident caused more of an uproar than Schmidt evidently imagined, she apologized to Murtha (an apology which he accepted) and has now gone AWOL according to the Cincinnati Post. That article also mentions the “represented Marine” by name, and quotes him as saying that Schmidt took him out of context.

2) Whilst listening to Rush Limbaugh the other day (I was happily bored and needed to raise my blood pressure), I was rather interested that he and his callers were talking about the Murtha event, and how the Iraqis supposedly don’t want us to leave. Someone called up and said when he was over there and there was talk about Americans leaving the country, all the Iraqis had “tears in their eyes” at the thought of us leaving. Huh?? And Rush agreed, saying there was no evidence that they wanted us to leave, and all the polls were wrong. Interestingly enough, the very next day, Iraqi leaders made it very clear they wanted us to leave, stating that Iraq’s opposition “had a legitimate right” of resistance. So much for those tears, eh Rushbo?

3) Buzzflash has a huge headline today referencing an article in the National Journal. The Bush administration is evidently not releasing its September 21st, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief, although the administration acknowledges that one does exist. The content reportedly contained wording that stated the “U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.” According to the National Journal article, “Much of the contents of the September 21 PDB were later incorporated, albeit in a slightly different form, into a lengthier CIA analysis examining not only Al Qaeda’s contacts with Iraq, but also Iraq’s support for international terrorism.” This CIA document was given to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and several other high-level officials in the White House (including Condaleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld). If this document is eventually turned over, and it contains what is alleged here, it would obviously mean that not only was Bush lying about the reasons we went to war, but he also lied about lying about it. What a surprise. The article also lays out a case that Cheney had been briefed on the correctness or incorrectness of statements he was making regarding the Iraq-Qaeda connection, but that he continued to make incorrect statements to push the case for removing Saddam from power.

4) According to USA Today, 6644 people are still missing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, with approximately 1300 dead, and 301 of those still unidentified. One wonders how much more the death toll will rise from that 1300 figure, and how many might have been saved had the Bush administration put responsible people in critical government posts instead of putting cronies in there as a reward.

5) And finally, would you like to know just how bad the Bush presidency has been for the Unites States? A piece on Alternet.org pulls out the charts: did the Bush tax cuts create jobs? (no); did they also cut the budget deficit in half as Bush promised? (no); did he make health insurance more affordable, as he had promised to? (no). Is there anything this administration can point to as a success? (only if you count “quickest national decline of every statistical mark available”)…

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