Apart from the noose, this is an everyday story of modern America
The first Sean Hannity heard about it was last night when Reverend Al was trying to bring it up and Hannity assumed he was talking about Megan Williams, the young black woman who was tortured and sexually assaulted by those crazy hillbillies in West Virginia. Cryptkeeper Colmes tried to explain but as usual Hannity didn’t hear a word he said.
The Jena 6 case began last fall when a new black student to the mostly white, rural Louisiana town of Jena sat under the “white tree,” so called because it was the place where the white kids at school congregated. The next day three white boys on the rodeo team hung three nooses from the tree.
Blackwater, Oil and the Colonial Enterprise
Blackwater USA’s mercenary mission in Iraq is very much in the news this week, and rightly so. The private military contractor’s war-for-profit program, which has been so brilliantly exposed by Jeremy Scahill, may finally get a measure of the official scrutiny it merits as the corporation scrambles to undo the revocation by the Iraqi government of its license to operate in that country. There will be official inquiries in Baghdad, and in Washington. The U.S. Congress might actually provide some of the oversight that is its responsibility. Perhaps, and this is a big “perhaps,” Blackwater’s “troops” could come home before the U.S. soldiers who have been forced to fight, and die, in defense of these international rent-a-cops.
The nation’s biggest telecommunications companies, working closely with the White House, have mounted a secretive lobbying campaign to get Congress to quickly approve a measure wiping out all private lawsuits against them for assisting the U.S. intelligence community’s warrantless surveillance programs.
Fears of dollar collapse as Saudis take fright
Saudi Arabia has refused to cut interest rates in lockstep with the US Federal Reserve for the first time, signalling that the oil-rich Gulf kingdom is preparing to break the dollar currency peg in a move that risks setting off a stampede out of the dollar across the Middle East.
“This is a very dangerous situation for the dollar,” said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas.
Ignorance of Iraqi death toll no longer an option
News report tallies suggest some 75,000 Iraqis have died since the US-led invasion. A study of 13 war affected countries presented at a recent Harvard conference found over 80% of violent deaths in conflicts go unreported by the press and governments. City officials in the Iraqi city of Najaf were recently quoted on Middle East Online stating that 40,000 unidentified bodies have been buried in that city since the start of the conflict. When speaking to the Rotarians in a speech covered on C-SPAN on September 5th, H.E. Samir Sumaida’ie, the Iraqi Ambassador to the US , stated that there were 500,000 new widows in Iraq . The Baker-Hamilton Commission similarly found that the Pentagon under-counted violent incidents by a factor of 10. Finally, a week ago the respected British polling firm ORB released the results of a poll estimating that 22% of households had lost a member to violence during the occupation of Iraq, equating to 1.2 million deaths. This finding roughly verifies a less precisely worded BBC poll last February that reported 17% of Iraqis had a household member who was a victim of violence.
Bush inartfully suggests Saddam killed Mandela
In a press conference this morning, President Bush tried to assert that Saddam’s brutal rule over Iraq wiped the country clean of potential democratic reformers — individuals who may have possessed leadership skills like former South African President Nelson Mandela. In doing so, Bush inartfully suggested Saddam killed Mandela
George W. Bush’s Thug Nation
It’s said that over time Presidents – especially two-termers – imbue the nation with their personalities and priorities, for good or ill. If that’s true, it could help explain the small-minded mean-spiritedness that seems to be pervading the behavior of the United States these days, both at home and abroad.
On a global level, the world reads about trigger-happy Blackwater “security contractors” mowing down civilians in Baghdad, the U.S. military killing unarmed people under loose “rules of engagement” in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and the CIA “rendering” suspected Islamists to secret prisons or to third-country dungeons where torture is practiced.