would never be of such fatal consequence to the public weal, as the practices of a man, whose inclinations led him to be corrupt

If you’re a Eudura Welty fan this is a must read, A Pondered Life By Lorrie Moore a combination mini biography and review of several biographies written about Welty. From the last paragraph,

In letters Welty wrote, especially toward the end of her life, she said she often dreamed in galley proofs, and the struggle of the dream consisted of trying to make corrections on the type. She wrote at a desk with her back to the window, the quiet cruise and trespass of tourists insufficiently obscured outside.

I can relate to this in that I wish I was a better on the fly kind of writer that blogging really requires. I regret everything I post, not in content, but by way of prose. In college I was outline plus third or fourth draft kind of writer.

This WaPO article uses the Burns-Tester race out in Montana as an example of Corruption That Shook Capitol Isn’t Rattling Elections,

“Burns has been extraordinary in his ability to bring money to poor little old Montana,” said Tom Britz, a consultant to the credit card industry who lives in the booming northwest Montana town of Whitefish. “When it is time to vote, the many people who have been touched by that money know where their bread is buttered.”

What may also matter in the Senate contest here is the atypical optimism of many Montanans, as compared with voters’ attitudes in most states.

“This is one of the few places in the country right now where people are not hankering for change,” said John Russonello, a Washington pollster who works for Democrats and liberal nonprofit groups and who has led focus groups on social issues across Montana this year.

Unlike some Republican incumbents facing reelection, Burns has embraced the war — and Bush’s conduct of it — as essential to the country’s fight against terrorism. Betting that most Montanans see Iraq as he does, Burns has launched blistering TV and radio attacks on Tester, accusing him of taking money from “extreme liberal groups that mocked American deaths.”

“Tester’s not tough,” one ad says. “He is deceitful, and he’ll say anything to get elected.”

In the recent debate, Tester responded to those accusations by saying that Burns, whom he described as bought and paid for by lobbyists such as Abramoff, is just not honest.

“Washington has changed him,” said Tester, pointing at Burns. “The fact is we have to have people back there who have Montana values.”

Burns smiled and said he had not changed and never would: “I have the same wife, the same kids; got the same principles, same values.”

As pro-Tester hecklers booed, hissed, cursed and at one point called the senator “psycho,” Burns spent much of the 90-minute debate reminding the crowd that he — not Tester — is a specialist in funneling federal money back home. By these lights, a candidate who knows the corridors of insider Washington might have an advantage. “It is going to take a guy who has got a little seniority and a little position to get it done,” he said.

Burns is corrupt and unlike a real conservative has done his best to earmark pork for Montana. His supporters can probably rationalize that. Still it doesn’t speak well for the Republican party that they feel no shame about their corruption or ties to corruption. Money floating in and out of political coffers in exchange for legislation and special favors isn’t just the titillating story of the day, it is about fundamentally undermining democracy. That Burns and his supporters find nothing wrong with that is indicative of the what really matters is that they get theirs.  Its an odd kind selfishness where with one hand they swear they love their country and with the other undermine the trust that we need in a free society to sustain business and government.
Housekeeping, one more point about How Bad Is the Senate Intelligence Report? Very bad. by Stephen F. Hayes 09/25/2006, Volume 012, Issue 02 at The Weekly Standard. Hayes writes,

There is no mention of alleged Iraqi complicity in Abu Sayyaf attacks in October 2002 that claimed the life of U.S. Special Forces soldier Mark Wayne Jackson. One week after that attack, Filipino authorities recovered a cell phone that was to have detonated a bomb placed on the playground of a local elementary school. The cell phone , which belonged to an Abu Sayyaf terrorist, had been used to make calls to Abu Sayyaf leaders. Investigators also discovered that the phone had also been used to call Hisham Hussein, the second secretary of the Iraqi Embassy in Manila, just 17 hours after the attack that took the life of the American soldier. Hussein was ordered out of the Philippines for his associations with terrorist groups, including Abu Sayyaf.

Maybe this phone called occurred or not. Previously Hayes had produced documents that said proved an on going collaborative relationship between Iraq and Abu Sayyaf. Only those documents were inconclusive at best, Stephen Hayes Strikes Out (Again)


1. Both of the Iraqi documents Hayes cites show that Iraq declined to support Abu Sayyaf, financially or otherwise, because of its terrorist activities.

2. Neither of the documents proves that Iraq ever supported Abu Sayyaf. According to Hayes, this is the key passage, from an Iraqi document describing their response to an Abu Sayyaf kidnapping: “We have all cooperated in the field of intelligence information with some of our friends to encourage the tourists and the investors in the Philippines…The kidnappers were formerly (from the previous year) receiving money and purchasing combat weapons. From now on we (IIS) are not giving them this opportunity and are not on speaking terms with them.” Hayes says this passage “seems to confirm” to that Iraq provided Abu Sayyaf with financial support. But the language (as Hayes implicitly acknowledges) is vague and could refer to financial support from another country.

3. Sporadic contact between Iraq and Abu Sayyaf is old news. As Hayes acknowledges, the State Department’s Matthew Daley publicly testified about some suspected contacts between Iraq and Abu Sayyaf in March 2003.

Much of the basis for Hayes recycled claims about Iraq rest on a store of documents that have been recovered from Iraq since the invasion. Most of them not even translated yet. Saddam was/is an easy figure to demonize considering his abysmal human rights record and that is an area on which we can find some agreement, but that isn’t the point. Did Saddam collaborate with al-Queda in attacks against the U.S. To date no evidence exists that he did. Hayes has made a subtle transition in fact. The test is no longer whether Saddam had collaborative ties to al-Queda, but if he had ties to any nefarious group over the last forty years. It is little wonder that much of the country has turned on the neocons when they would send out the nation’s children and spouses to die in wars over some incident or fleeting association from before many of these soldiers were even born.

In choosing persons for all employments, they have more regard to good morals than to great abilities; for, since government is necessary to mankind, they believe, that the common size of human understanding is fitted to some station or other; and that Providence never intended to make the management of public affairs a mystery to be comprehended only by a few persons of sublime genius, of which there seldom are three born in an age: but they suppose truth, justice, temperance, and the like, to be in every man’s power; the practice of which virtues, assisted by experience and a good intention, would qualify any man for the service of his country, except where a course of study is required. But they thought the want of moral virtues was so far from being supplied by superior endowments of the mind, that employments could never be put into such dangerous hands as those of persons so qualified; and, at least, that the mistakes committed by ignorance, in a virtuous disposition, would never be of such fatal consequence to the public weal, as the practices of a man, whose inclinations led him to be corrupt, and who had great abilities to manage, to multiply, and defend his corruptions.
from Gulliver’s Travels, Chapter 6 by Jonathan Swift