Friday, January 07, 2005
Mr. Krugman also points out that Mr. Gonzales was in charge of "vetting" Bernard Kerik for head of Homeland Security. Mr. Gonzales either failed to uncover any of the many reasons Mr. Kerik was unfit to serve as a beat cop, let alone head of Homeland Security - or he didn't tell the President - or he let the President appoint a blatantly incompetent and corrupt man to a critical public safety post without protest. Is Mr. Gonzales incompetent or is he merely what Molly Ivins calls "ethically impaired?"
How did we find ourselves living in a bad novel? It was not ever thus. Hypocrites, cranks and scoundrels have always been with us, on both sides of the aisle. But 9/11 created an environment some liberals summarize with the acronym Iokiyar: it's O.K. if you're a Republican.
The public became unwilling to believe bad things about those who claim to be defending the nation against terrorism. And the hypocrites, cranks and scoundrels of the right, empowered by the public's credulity, have come out in unprecedented force.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Scenes We'd All Like To See
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Another Iraqi "Corner" Looms
When "lawlessness" turned into "insurgency", the Bush administration blamed "a few dead-enders" and Saddam loyalists. They confidently claimed the violence would end when we captured Saddam Hussein. Yes, capturing Saddam would allow us to turn the corner to a new democratic Iraq.
As violence steadily increased after Saddam's capture, the Bush Administration observed that Iraqis didn't want the US running their country. Yes, we would turn the corner as soon as an interim Iraqi government was in place.
Belatedly realizing that there were insurgents in Fallujah, and that the US presidential election was over, Mr. Bush sent US troops into the city to "root them out." After Fallujah was destroyed (er, I mean saved), the US proudly noted that we had "turned the corner on the insurgency" by depriving insurgents of a protected base.
Alas, violent attacks have increased. Today, Baghdad's governor was assassinated. However, we will have turned the corner once Iraq's January 30 election is held.
On April 8, 2004, the Washington Post observed the US had already turned five corners in Iraq. I've lost count of the corners turned in 2004 - I merely note that there's always another corner up ahead with Mr. Bush in charge.
I wonder what the next "corner" will be when the elections fail to prevent the coming Iraqi civil war? However, I'm sure Karl Rove will find a way to blame Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Bush Tax Cuts Destroy Worker's Pension Protections
From the BBC:
Taxpayers may have to bail out the US agency that protects workers' pension funds, leading economists have warned.
With the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) some $23bn (£12bn) in deficit, the Financial Economists Roundtable (FER) wants Congress to act.
Cash-strapped US companies, including those in the airline, car-making and steel industries, had argued in favour of the 2004 rule change, claiming that funding the insurance premiums adequately would force them to have to cut jobs.
"With a little firmer hand on the pensions issues in the US, I think that Congress could avoid having to turn to the taxpayer and instead turn the obligations back onto the companies that deserve to pay them," said Professor Dennis Logue, dean of Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma.
Our CEO President is truly running the country like a Fortune 500 company - looting workers' pension funds to pay for today's executive bonuses (ie tax cuts.)
Sunday, January 02, 2005
Bush vs. Reality: Iraq's Hearts and Minds
With characteristic dry English understatement, The Economist's embedded reporter (Economist pieces are unbylined) notes, "[W]hen America's well-drilled and well-fed fighters attempt subtler tasks than killing people, problems arise." Their contempt for Iraqis is undisguised and dramatically expressed: a soldier, confronted by "jeering schoolchildren," fires canisters of buckshot from his grenade-launcher at them, and marines busting down doors in Ramadi scream at trembling middle-aged women: "Bitch, where's the guns?" Small wonder, ventures the correspondent, that "many Iraqis are probably more scared of American troops than of insurgents."
The last grafs of the report recount a big whoopy-do operation in the smugglers' haven of Baij involving a convoy of 1000 troops supported by Apache attack helicopters targeting three houses that had been linked to Zarquawi's terrorist band, according to a local informant.
There was no one in the houses except women and children. Rather than return to base empty, they pay homage to the last reel of Casablanca and round up the usual suspects."...they detained 70 men from districts indentified by their informant as 'bad.' In near-freezing conditions, they sat hooded and bound in their pyjamas. They shivered uncontrollably. One wetted himself in fear. Most had been detained at random...
LINK (Emphasis added.)
The Economist is not known for its liberal tendencies. If we're not hearing this from our own press, it is because they've read the election results and recall Mr. Bush's well-known instinct of taking revenge against anyone insufficiently servile.