Monday, December 15, 2003

Capture reaction
After reading and re-reading my post on Sunday about the capture of Saddam Hussein, I realized that maybe I was a little too harsh. However, last night, I read Greg Palast's take on things, posted on Common Dreams: ["Jessica Lynch Captures Saddam; Ex-Dictator Demands Back Pay from Baker"].

While having his hair styled by US military makeover artists, Saddam listed jobs completed at the request of his allies in the Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations for which he claims back wages:
1979: Seizes power with US approval; moves allegiance from Soviets to USA in Cold War.
1980: Invades Iran, then the "Unicycle of Evil," with US encouragement and arms.
1982: Reagan regime removes Saddam's regime from official US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
1983: Saddam hosts Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad. Agrees to "go steady" with US corporate suppliers.
1984: US Commerce Department issues license for export of aflatoxin to Iraq useable in biological weapons.
1988: Kurds in Halabja, Iraq, gassed.
1987-88: US warships destroy Iranian oil platforms in Gulf and break Iranian blockade of Iraq shipping lanes, tipping war advantage back to Saddam.
In Baghdad today, the US-installed replacement for Saddam, Paul Bremer, appeared to acknowledge his predecessor Saddam's prior work for the US State Department when he told Iraqis, "For decades, you suffered at the hands of this cruel man. For decades, Saddam Hussein divided you and threatened an attack on your neighbors."
In reaction to the Bremer speech, Mr. Hussein said, "Do you think those decades of causing suffering, division and fear come cheap?" Noting that for half of that period, the suffering, division and threats were supported by Washington, Saddam added, "So where's the thanks? You'd think I'd at least get a gold watch or something for all those years on US payroll."
Exactly, exactly, exactly! I am so thankful that I wasn't alone in my take on this.

Speaking of Palast [and the clueless New York Times ...]
I forgot to post this on Thursday but I watched part of C-Span's "Washington Journal" which was broadcast from the D.C. newsroom of the New York Times. Two guests which I saw during the three hour program were editor Richard Berke and one of the Washington Bureau Correspondents, Sheryl Stolberg: ["Washington Journal Entire Program"].
I got a little excited because I thought by listening to the program that I would get a little more insight into how the NYT's Washington Bureau operates and how they go about getting their stories. Thought wrong. Very little insight was given into how they both came up with stories to cover. Both of them also came across as pompous and arrogant asses [It's the Times, this shouldn't have surprised me] and both seemed like they didn't want to be there. Stolberg was especially smug and obstinate. On a number of occasions, she corrected callers on such little points that one had to wonder why she bothered even coming in to work that day.
The callers, both left and right however, were really dead on.
The first caller on, from Henniker, N.H., wondered why there wasn't investigative reporting done in newspapers and questioned whether more coverage should be devoted to Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the connections to the Bush Administration. Berke pooh-poohed the question. When Brian Lamb pointed to an article in the Baltimore Sun, Berke said he hadn't read it and he didn't know the reporter. Huh? You don't read your competition? You don't know other Washington Bureau reporters? How clueless is that?
Then Berke got two zingers:
From a guy in Texas: I wonder why you guys won't publish any of Greg Palast's stories?
Berke: "I'm not familiar with what stories the caller is talking about ..."
A woman, also from Texas, brought up the fact that the NYT ignored Dennis Kucinich's play in the debate and wondered why. She also talked about the problems with Diebold electronic voting machines and wondered why the NYT was not doing its own investigations. She also said: "This gets no coverage but his date with some woman, that is in the news."
Berke said the paper had to make some hard choices about who got covered "Kucinich doesn't have the organization, the money, the support, to merit such attention as Howard Dean." But he didn't even mention the voting machine issue.
Again, how clueless is this guy? He doesn't know about Palast? He doesn't know about the voting machines? He creates a tier system as to which candidate should get covered. This is the newspaper of record? Oh my Lord.

Nader, Kerry, Kucinich and Lieberman
Yesterday, John Kerry supporters - attending a rally with Sen. Ted Kennedy in Portsmouth - attacked Ralph Nader, according to a Union-Leader correspondent: ["Kerry camp disdainful of possible Nader run"]. Wasn't able to find the link though. Maybe I'll post it tomorrow.
There was a cute little note in the Concord Monitor "Capital Beat" column this week:

Ralph Nader, the former Green Party presidential candidate, quietly landed at Manchester Airport Monday, one day before the big debate. Though he obviously didn't crash the debate, we haven't been able to find out what Nader was doing in the Granite State.

Note to Barrick & Skalka: Dennis Kucinich invited him to the debate.

We do know that a young guy wearing a Lieberman button picked Nader up at the airport. A spokeswoman for the Lieberman campaign stressed that Nader's chauffeur wasn't a Lieberman staffer or volunteer and that campaign officials had no plans to meet with Nader.
Latest poll numbers
The Boston Globe/WBZ-TV released a poll this morning showing Howard Dean with a huge lead in New Hampshire: Dean 42 percent, John Kerry 19 percent, Wesley Clark with 13 percent, John Edwards with 7 percent, Joe Lieberman at 5 percent, and Dick Gephardt slumping with 3 percent. The rest had 1 percent or less. The poll was conducted by KRC Communications Research.
Social Research Lab has a poll out of Arizona: Dean at 22 percent, Clark at 12 percent, Lieberman at 9 percent, Kerry has 8 percent, and Gephardt with 7 percent.
In Texas, Dean also leads with 16 percent. But Clark and Lieberman are close behind with 14 percent, and Gephardt has 12 percent. The poll was released by the Scripps Howard Research Center.