Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bits and Pieces from America

A few items in the US news that I can’t let pass without mentioning:

Here we go again

According to a Reuters report, the Bush White House angrily dismissed a draft CIA assessment of Iran’s nuclear programme that claimed “the CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency."

According to the article, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the assessment was another "error-filled piece.” It went on to quote her saying, “The White House is not going to dignify the work of an author…whose articles consistently rely on outright falsehoods to justify his own radical views.” Hang on a minute—is she talking about the assessment author or Bush? I’m confused, because it could clearly be either one.

Truth is now “top secret”

In an editorial, the Washington Post brilliantly attacks the Bush Administration for claming that a prisoner held and tortured by the CIA can’t talk about his treatment because it was “top secret”. So, not only were these people held in secret CIA prisons without charge or recourse to any legal system, and not only were they tortured, they are forbidden to talk about any of it.

Bush and the Republicans went farther, removing civilian federal courts’ jurisdiction over detainees at
Guantanamo and the secret CIA prison system. All of which means that Bush & Co can do whatever they want and can’t be held accountable for any of it. Ah, democracy in action.

The Blue Dog Lie

One of the myths of the 2006 US election is that the victory was won by “Blue Dog Democrats,” a coalition of “centrist” Democrats, most of whom are, in fact, much farther to the right than they are anywhere near the centre.

The Daily Kos does a great job exploding the myth that right wing, “centrist” and Southern Democrats were solely responsible for the Democrats taking control of the US Congress. The actual results point to a strong future for progressive Democrats by focusing on existing coastal strongholds and swing Midwestern areas.

The breast that attacked

Remember the golden days of 2004, when the most important thing in
America was a 1/16 of one second flash of Janet Jackson’s breast? The FCC, America’s broadcast censor, fined broadcaster CBS US$550,000 for the famous “wardrobe malfunction”, and now CBS is appealing the fine.

It wasn’t indecent, CBS says, because it was “unscripted, unauthorized and unintended”. They also claim that Jackson and Justin Timberlake “independently and clandestinely devised the finale”. Oh, no! What else were they plotting, apart from the wholesale destruction of
America and its vulnerable morality?

The way
America went apoplectic over something so utterly stupid and unimportant speaks volumes about what’s wrong with American culture. Still, it’s probably just human nature to go after the easy things and ignore the difficult ones. Maybe that’s why Bush & Co have gotten away with so much for so long.

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