Friday, April 01, 2005

Thrown a Curve

In case you were lured into watching CNN's ghoulish ghoulfest "Life and Death: America Speaks Out" gongshow last night, a three hourish parade of absolute slimy gutterring gusterbunk, the network milking for one last time the Terri Schiavo media carnival, with its "priests for life" calling the Schiavo death a "killing" and a "judicial homicide", in case you got sucked into that, you might have missed the rolling out of the presidential bipartisan commission's report on how we and the media all got snuckered by the president's Iraq war propaganda, which, in the final analysis, after the war was over, and the two years since, has resulted in not one iota of evidence to sustain the "weapons of mass destruction" claim trumpted by the administration and used by its lackeys in the media into intimidating us all to support the immoral Iraq invasion.

Now, I will attest to the fact that as Lindsay Beyerstein notes, this report follows the sad tradition of its predecessors investigating 9-11 in passing the buck of blame to the nation's "intelligence" agencies instead of the political administration that heads and manipulates them. In addition, it might be tempting to think that because we now all know what a farce the rhetoric in the lead up to the war was, that this report has all the value of a wad of phlegm, too little, much too late.

But bretheran, sisters of the ya ya liberal order, I beseech you to give the report and its coverage in the newspapers a glance. The Rude Pundit has. And you should to. Because the report provides us with an introduction to the Iraqi dupe used by the administration to buttress its case with its phony information. His name? Special Agent Iraqi Special Informant "Curveball". Curveball was the code name given to this source that provided much of the bogus information used in then Secretary of State Powell's UN presentation that did so much to build support in the country for the invasion and to moderately pacify those nations that disagreed with the Project for a New American Century's Leader. Now this Curveball is quite a piece of work as the Rude Pundit explains. The short version of course is that this "Curveball" served the administration some curveballs of its own, dubious claims of Iraqi mobile biological weapons. the administration brandished in the lead up to the war but in its aftermath was found to be eroneous.

But while CNN and the other cable TV "news" shoutfests were giving us yet one more comprehensive play by play, while medical expert Pat Boone was given one more chance to be on national television to preclaim his belief that Terri Schiavo could have recovered, a report on Curveball was being issued about the curveball thrown us by the administration in its Iraq war methods. Now maybe some of you saw CNN interrupt its coverage of the Schiavo aftermath or its coverage of the Pope's condition to bring us an analysis of the commission's report, but I'm afraid I must have missed it. Thrown a curve by both the administration and its ratings happy media outlets, we might have missed the addition of yet another damning report on the administration's conduct, that however clouded in blame for patsy agencies, provides additional illumination on the administration's values and goals.

Speaking of the "special" three hour "news" coverage by CNN (the most trusted name in news!), you know it says a lot to say that the professional wrestling show Smackdown! which aired at the same time, was, despite its well documented choreographed and oversexed promotional "sporting" highlights, by far the classier of the two programs airing last night.

And just to recognize what strange bed fellows this media-congressional republican led onslaught on decency and privacy has made, I hope you'll all go over to Crooks and Liars to see Christopher Hitchens give Joe Scarborough a scathing smackdown of his own, blasting the former congressman's and media's treatment of the Schiavo marathon. Who ever thought I'd have anything good to say about Hitchens ever again, but I do.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The NRTLC Continues To Shill for Bush

Last week I tendered an email to the National Right to Life Committee asking them to explain the inconsistency between their opposition to the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube with their support of Texas legislation passed and signed by then governor George W. Bush in 1999 that explicitly gave hospitals and medical professionals the prerogative to disconnect life support measures--including feeding tubes--when they believed further care was futile.

Although NRTCL didn't personally respond to my email they have added a link on their web site attempting to explain their dually competing positions.

Basically their response is that the bill W signed and which the NRTLC helped write was the best they could do and better than existing law. So there.

But this response is just bupkes.

First of all, the ten day window for finding an alternative care-giver doesn't even remotely prevent the discontinuing of life support when in fact, no alternative providers or institutions can be found. The family of Sun Hudson only recently discovered this fact as Sun, a seven month old child, was taken off life support against his mother's wishes and died when no alternative care could be arranged. And as has been documented elsewhere, had Terri Schiavo lived in Texas, the law there would have ensured her a speedier demise than in Florida.

Second, the NRTLC claim that the Texas law was the best they could do is just lame. Texas is well-known for its allegedly conservative values. If the preservation of life was really the issue, it shouldn't have been difficult to line up enough support in the legislature (and from governor Bush) to ensure a law that as the president now says would have allowed the state "to err on the side of life".

If the NRTLC wants to throw charges of murder against Michael Schiavo, the multi governmental level and bipartisan judiciary that has consistently ruled on his side, and congress, then the NRTLC will have to do a lot better than a bill in Texas that is "far from ideal".

On the other hand, as befitting an organization that is above all dedicated to the election of conservative Republicans to high office regardless of their performance, then the flimsy NRTLC defense of themselves and their president is at least partially understandable if not commendatory.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Recent Study Shows Anti-Intellectuals and Ideologues Opposed to Science and Debate Under-Represented among University Faculty

Good Grief. There they go again. Yet another "study" documenting the alleged "liberal bias" of America's colleges and universities.

Gee, I don't know. Maybe conservatives will be more widely represented in academia when they decide books should be read, not burned. Maybe there'll be more conservatives in college when they decide that open mindedness, intellectualism, and tolerance for the ideas and values of others are good things.

Of course, for conservatives there's always the option of teaching here, where they can be assured that only their view of history can be promoted and nary a dissenting voice will be heard.