Our Liberal Media, Part II
At least our news magazines, which have staff that can reflect on seven days of news for each issue, and which are less burdened by the minutiae that can bog down newspapers, radio, and television, can look at the morass in Iraq from a reflective and historical bent.
The past week shows that major weekly news magazine investigated how the Bush administration is working with Saddam Hussein's old henchmen.
Sorry. That is not an American news magazine. It is a Canadian news magazine, Maclean's. I apologize for mixing it up with its American counterparts, one of which devoted its cover last week to the presidential candidates' spouses.
Labels: Bush, Iraqi "government", Stupid reporting tricks
Our Liberal Media, Part I
Last night, El Pais published Spanish translations of transcripts of george Bush and former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar which reveal some of the duplicity behind the early war effort.
Bush tells Aznar that the United States will invade Iraq with or without a war resolution; he expects the war to cost $50 billion; and he effectively admits to strong-arm tactics against poor countries which were wavering in their diplomatic support.
In a country with an actually liberal media, the front pages of said media's newspapers would have at least some mention of these transcripts, perhaps a translation of them, or (may we speculate that the media's investigative reporters could actually investigate something as important as the call to war) the original version in English.
Labels: Aznar, Bush, El Pais, Stupid reporting tricks
How sad is the notion of an Iraqi state? Sad enough that it is not enough for the American army to prop it up, but that is also needs American soldiers of fortune.
Iraq's probe into a deadly shooting by Blackwater USA in Baghdad last weekend has expanded to include allegations about the security firm's involvement in six other violent episodes this year that left at least 10 Iraqis dead....
Bassam Ridha, a senior adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, conceded that the Iraqi government, at least for now, cannot follow through on a ban on Blackwater, even though the firm has been operating without a license for more than a year. "The reality of the matter is we can't do that," Ridha said.
One could compare Iraq to South Vietnam, circa 1970, but that hardly seems fair to the Vietnamese.
What one can see with respect to Blackwater is merely an exemplar for the whole Iraq fiasco. The Iraqi state is a wisp of a shell of a phantom. The people of Iraq are united by only one thing—they all want the Americans, their "security consultants," their army, their Green Zone, and their photo-ops, gone.
From another story on Blackwater, we are reminded of just how ludicrous the situation of Blackwater is.
It is unclear whether Blackwater could be criminally prosecuted in Iraq. A U.S. regulation called Order 17 enacted after the invasion by Iraq's U.S. administrators provides immunity from prosecution for private security contractors.
[Iraqi Lieutenant General Hussein] Kamal, a lawyer by training, suggested that Iraq's government could file lawsuits against Blackwater in U.S. courts to seek compensation for the victims.
"If Order 17 provides them with immunity from being questioned or the right to be tried under Iraqi law, it does not prevent the Iraqi government from filing suit in an American court," he said.
Imagine, if you will, if Americans helping to maintain order in an actually functioning country were immune from prosecution in that actually functioning country's actually functioning courts.
Labels: Blackwater, Iraqi "government", stupid consultant tricks
Guess who has a huge belief in common with the Club for Growth gang?
Figured it out yet?
Yes, the folks who love the flat tax with a zeal approaching fundamentalist religion ought to love the low-tax message of Osama bin Laden.
"To conclude," bin Laden says [in a recently released video], "I invite you to embrace Islam." He goes on to say: "There are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling 2.5 percent."
Indeed, stressing both tithing and lowering taxes sounds like something straight out of, say, the Texas Republican Party platform.
Labels: low tax proponents, Osama bin Laden, strange bedfellows
Another great blogger closed up shop this past weekend. Max Sawicky moved on to bigger and better things, and as a consequence shuttered his blog MaxSpeak, You Listen. Max wrote passionately about economics and policy, and knew full well that the Democrats were hardly the alpha and omega of politics. His work on social security alone would make for a great book, if there really were a left-leaning media worth speaking of.
Fortunately, several of Max's co-conspirators and friends have started EconoSpeak, which promises to be a great clearinghouse for the economically heterodox.
Labels: bloggers economics, heterodoxy
Do As We Say
David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo notes that former New York Times scribe Judith Miller is now working for the right-wing Manhattan Institute.
The Insitute's web site lists her as an adjunct fellow and a contributing editor at its City Journal.
I wonder how the Manhattan Institute reconciles Miller's bamboozling readers of the Times in the run-up to the Iraq war with its mission statement, prominently displayed to top right on its web pages?
The Mission of the Manhattan Institute is to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.
Individual responsibility, I suppose, makes more sense for the poor and underprivileged, but it has a different meaning for Adjunct Fellows and their friends.
Labels: Judith Miller, Manhattan Institute, stupid pundit tricks