Molt Be Blog

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What a Week

I'm in Colorado visiting the grandparents for four days before starting my new job but have been managing to keep abreast of current events thanks to their much appreciated addiction to PBS.
I watched Miers' withdrawal on the screen on the back of the seat in front of me just as I took off from DC and was reminded of my.entry back on Oct 6th (I'd link, but it never works when typing from the blackberry). In that entry, I said that Miers would get shut down and that it would give Bush the opportunity to nominate a real conservative. Along the same lines, last night on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, David Brooks said what a lot of people aren't willing to admit: When asked if he thought that the next nominee would be another woman, Brooks explained that the president had *already made the gesture* and would not have to nominate a woman this time around. I have to wonder what's coming down the pike, but whatever it is I think that this is what Bush (or really Rove) had in mind all along. Harriet Miers was a ridiculous nominee and everyone knew it. She was a crony with no judicial experience and would probably have had a difficult time getting appointed to a circuit!
court, let alone the SCOTUS.
I also read a Krathauer OpEd in the NYT the other week that predicted this exact method of withdrawal for Miers (again, no linking), ie using the asking-for-documents-i-cannot-provide reason.
There were plenty of good predictions out there about the failure of the Miers nomination, but I wonder if anyone else thinks that this was a strategic move that planned for the withdrawal as well. I'd be surprised if an extreme conservative wasn't nominated next. Some suggest that if Bush bows to his base he'll end up with an intensly bitter battle in congress, but that if he nominates a moderate he'll alienate the extreme conservatives who've put him where he is. He's up a creek, that's for sure.

The other big news out of Washington was the indictment of Libby this morning. I'm glad that something came out of the investigation, but imagine that a lot of others share in my dissappointment that Rove seems to have escaped unscathed. My mom, who's visitng the gps with me, thinks that Scooter will take the fall for everybody. Not that he doesn't deserve it if he's guilty, but I have a funny feeling that he wasn't the one who came up with the idea of outing Valerie Plame.
One interesting thing that I noticed in statements from both the Vice President and a prominent conservative law-maker was that instead of using the phrase *innocent until proven guilty*, they're using phrases like *innocent until proven otherwise*. I heard this kind of doublespeak at least three or four times this afternoon as I watched CNN. It's as though one of the bulletpoints in some memo focused on not using the actual word *guilty* in association with the case, as it might skew the mind of the public to have the word and Libby's name uttered in the same context. They're probably right, but it's interesting to realize it.
There was enough good talk on the Libby stuff on PBS tonight and a lot of really good talk from the lead investigator, Fitzgerald, during his one hour press conference, so I won't waste too much thumb energy on the subject.

Unfortunately, the Miers and Libby news pretty much buried some other big news that came out on Thursday, the release of the final UN report on the Oil for Food scandal. On Wednesday, a coworker and I used our lunch break to attend a speech on the investigation into said scandal given by former head of the Fed and investigation leader, Paul Volcker. As the report wasn't coming out until the next day, he couldn't go into too many specifics as to its content and instead summmarized some of the logistics of the investigation. He expanded more on the content of the forthcoming report during the question and answer period and made it clear that there was definitely corruption found at the UN. He also seemed to think that there was a lack of administrative capability and oversight that allowed this corruption to continue.
The report that came out on Thursday named over 2,000 individuals and companies that had some corrupt practices in connection with the Oil for Food program and the story seems buried under the deluge of information regarding Miers and Libby. Too bad. The only interesting point that I had after listening to Volcker's speech was to wonder why the UN hadn't tried to foist the difficult administrative and logistical tasks of the Oil for Food program onto a body that was more experienced and capable, like the IMF or the World Bank. It seemed that a lot of the problems with corruption could have been stopped dead if a group with better accounting and audit skills had been around from the beginning. The UN is good at peacekeeping, but I don't know how good they'll ever be at managing the exchange of oil for food and medical supplies.

Ok, I need to kick this cold before I start my new job on Monday. Pardon any typos and the asterisks (*) instead of quotes, but this is what happens when you type with your thumbs and email blog posts.
Sent via blackBerry wireless handheld.

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