Blog of Mass Distraction

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Death, Remembrance and Renewal

It's Remembrance Day. And Yasser Arafat passed away last night. His funeral will be in in Cairo, Egypt, where he spent some of his youth. There is a mixed reaction to his passing among different groups. The majority of the Palestinian people are upset with his passing but many are hopeful that it will bring a new opportunity and a new era of leadership for them. Some in Israel share this sentiment in hopes for peace, but some of the extremist conservative Israelis were celebrating his death, singing and dancing in the streets.
There has been a lot of speculation and pundit-wagging over the ramifications of Arafat's death on the Israeli Palestinian peace process. But I really don't see a lot changing in the near future. Arafat's role, particularly in the last few years, seemed largely symbolic. He did run the Palestinian Authority, but Sharon refused to deal with him and Sharon wouldn't bother making a reasonable effort at peace anyway. Ehud Barak and Netanyahu didn't, and Sharon is supposed to be more of a hawk than either of them (well on top of his past, grisly human rights record). Though Sharon will not likely be the leader of Israel for long anyway because of the massive opposition to his Ghaza pull out plan. But anyone who takes his place will likely not have any legitimate plans for peace either.
Closer to home, an Ontario woman died in a house fire on their family farm a couple of nights ago. The tragedy took not only her life, but all of her seven children; and if that weren't enough she was also pregnant. They all died of smoke inhalation, though there was very little left of the house after the fire was out. The local volunteer firefighters weren't able to save them after arriving on the scene (even though they apparently got there quite quickly).
There are a couple of other things of note. Attorney General John Ashcroft resigned from his position a couple of days ago, along with close Bush associate Commerce Secretary Don Evans. Ashcroft resigned stating that his work was done and the US was safe. Ashcroft was widely criticized for his application of the Patriot Act and infringing civil liberties over the last few years. But there have also been some rumours that his resignation frees him up for a possible appointment to one of the soon to be open positions on the US Supreme Court.
There has also been some speculation about who else would be shed from the new Bush government. Colin Powell is widely expected to leave. For some reason people think he's too centrist to really get along with the rest of the Bushites. I don't think so but I think he will likely leave his position. I've also heard rumours that Tom Ridge might go, but nothing substantiated. Finally, there's been a lot of talk about the fate of Donald Rumsfeld. Ole' Rummy, it is hoped by many, will sit out the younger Bush's second term in office. And because of the colossal intelligence failures and massive embarrassments (like prisoner torture) it might be expedient to shed the old hawk. But I don't think he'll be going anywhere. I don't really have a lot to base that on, but I think Rumsfeld is a key figure in Bush's entourage and Bush isn't worried about re-election or pleasing anyone. He's got majorities in Congress and Senate, so I'll think he'll keep Rumsfeld just as he'll push forth with his radical right agenda. But I could be completely wrong.
Hmm, a friend asked me to write a post about the G8, WTO, protests, etc ... Oh well, next time.


  • Ashcroft appointed to the Supreme Court ... that would be a crazy headline!! You have to give us the links and/or sources of those rumors!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 AM  

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