Tuesday, December 09, 2003

pinions of buddy don:
is it jes me, or is the news all over the map?


i have a habit of collectin news stories and punditry. i cull the ny times, wash post, la times, boston globe, knoxville news-sentinel, wash times (fer fun), bbc, n a passel of otherns. i copy the stories into a draft email n save the draft. over the years ive colleckted sevrul thousund of em.


i wuz looking thru em fer idees bout whut i wood rite today, n it struck me how odd the news wuz, with dimcrats actin lack publicans n publicans attackin the presdint lack dimcrats, tho thar is sum normal partisan stuff mxed in, witch we mite as well start with that.


bob herbert of the ny times (requires registrayshun, witch they dont charge but they wont a tiny bit of informayshun) cums in with a perdicktable story called 'Stalking the Giant Chicken Coop' bout the new medicare welfare fer drug cumpny bill:




    • The drug benefit will be delivered almost entirely through private insurance plans. It would have been more efficient and cheaper to deliver it the same way other Medicare benefits are delivered. But that's not the idea. The Bush administration has mastered the art of legalized banditry, in which tons of government money -- the people's money -- are hijacked and handed over to the special interests.

    • Drug company stock prices soared with the passage of the Medicare bill, a sign that another government vault had been blown open and the big Medicare money was in play. The Republicans are not subtle about these matters. The bill, for example, specifically prohibits the government from negotiating discounts or lower drug prices, and bars the importation of cheaper drugs from abroad.

nex cums a odd story bout newt gingrich sayin purty much the same thang folks is gittin on senator hillary clinton fer sayin:




    • Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said yesterday that the Bush administration has gone "off a cliff" in postwar Iraq and that "the White House has to get a grip on this."

    • In a blunt critique by a leading Republican, Gingrich said the administration has failed "to put the Iraqis at the center of this equation. . . . The key to defeating the bad guys is having enough good guys who are Iraqis," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

    • The administration did not send enough Iraqi Americans there after the war, Gingrich said. On the main online site of the U.S. occupying authority, he added, "up until last week you didn't see a single Iraqi on that Web page," and now there is only one.

then thars dana milbanks story bout how the right is gittin on bush bout his reckless spendin habits:




    • The Wall Street Journal editorial page accuses Bush of a "Medicare fiasco" and a "Medicare giveaway." Paul Weyrich, a coordinator of the conservative movement, sees "disappointment in a lot of quarters." Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis, pronounces himself "apoplectic." An article in the American Spectator calls Bush's stewardship on spending "nonexistent," while Steve Moore of the Club for Growth labels Bush a "champion big-spending president."
    • But in the long term, the conservative leaders say, their discontent could spread to a popular backlash if spending continues to swell, pushing up deficits and interest rates. And the free spending is already limiting Bush's policy options. For example, economist Bartlett said, "the budgetary situation is getting so off track that you simply can't propose any more tax cuts without looking like a complete idiot."

howard dean picks up a cuple of endorsements, one frum al gore, tuthern frum molly ivins:




    • Although Al Gore's impending endorsement of Howard Dean must be disturbing news for all of the front-runner's rivals, it will strike most sharply at Joe Lieberman. John Kerry also badly wanted and needed the endorsement of Gore, who nearly selected the Massachusetts senator as his running mate in 2000.
    • The conventional wisdom first dismissed Dean (the man has never been to a Washington dinner party!), then condescended to him, then graciously offered him instruction on how he should be running his campaign -- which seemed to be going along quite well without that input.
    • I talked to some big-money guys who assured me that Dean Can't Win. But of course I'm noticing this interesting thing: Dean has so much money that he actually turned down public campaign financing. (I'm a card-carrying liberal, so I was naturally deeply unhappy over this. But Dean's money comes from Real People instead of corporate special interests, so I'm not that unhappy.) Let me second the notion that this year, the Internet is to politics what television was in the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon race.

finally thars this new film out bout whut they call 'Bush's lies about Iraq," witch it almos seems lack the lef it pullin sum of the tricks the rite used, tho aint nuthin nex to that video jerry falwell wuz hawkin in the 90s called 'The Clinton Chronicles' accusin clinton of drug smugglin n murder:




    • The movie does more than just present the case against the hawks, though. Greenwald wants to make sure that the administration's prewar claims don't disappear down the memory hole now that most of them have proven false. To this end, he compiles footage of Bush and Condoleezza Rice warning of mushroom clouds and of Paul Wolfowitz telling Congress that Iraq can pay for its own reconstruction. Lately, conservative pundits like Andrew Sullivan have claimed that the administration never suggested that Iraq was an imminent threat. Greenwald offers an implicit rejoinder with a montage that begins with Bush saying, "Delay, indecision and inaction could lead to a massive and sudden horror." It then cuts to Rice, who says, "It simply makes no sense to wait any longer." Then Rumsfeld: "Take action, before it's too late." And Bush: "We will not wait." The sequence ends with Vice President Dick Cheney saying, "As President Bush has said, time is not on our side."
    • Again and again, Greenwald juxtaposes scare-mongering quotes from the administration with expert debunking. First, he shows Bush saying, "Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." That's followed by Peter Zimmerman, former chief scientist for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying: "Any sarin that they were making in 1990, 1991, had a known shelf life of about two months. Well, if you made it 12 years ago and it had a shelf life of two months, it may not be safe to drink, but it isn't sarin nerve gas any longer. And there's no way the agency could not have known that."

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