Friday, May 05, 2006

pinions of buddy don: is that pendulum swangin back?

fer the last thrity years or so, the pallitickull pendulum has been swangin to the rite, hepped by big pushes frum greedy rich folk such as richard mellon scaife, joseph coors, harry bradley n charles koch, to name a few of em. tiz amazin whut folks lack these have accomplishd, but fack is, a pendulum has gut to swang both ways, jes lack a childs swang, no matter how hard sumbidy mite push.

so heres sum articulls on the pendulum swangin back –
  • Specter Grants Judicial Nominee Second Hearing; Kavanaugh to Answer Questions on Role in Torture and Spying:
    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter today averted -- for now -- a possible Democratic filibuster over D.C. federal appeals court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh by granting a hearing into the White House aide's possible role in controversial Bush administration policies.

    Specter (R-Pa.) said Kavanaugh would appear before the committee Tuesday to respond to questions about whether he had a role in the administration's torture and domestic surveillance policies and whether he had dealings with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
  • Rumsfeld Is Confronted by Antiwar Protesters:
    ATLANTA, May 4 -- Antiwar protesters repeatedly interrupted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during a speech Thursday, and one man, a former CIA analyst, accused him in a question-and-answer session of lying about prewar intelligence on Iraq.

    "Why did you lie to get us into a war that caused these kind of casualties and was not necessary?" asked Ray McGovern, the former analyst.

    "I did not lie," shot back Rumsfeld, who waved off security guards ready to remove McGovern from the hall at the Southern Center for International Studies.
    With support for the war in Iraq remaining low, it is not unusual for top administration officials to encounter protests and hostile questions.

    But the outbursts Rumsfeld confronted on Thursday seemed beyond the usual.

    Three protesters were escorted away by security as each interrupted Rumsfeld's speech by jumping up and shouting antiwar messages. Throughout the speech, a fourth protester stood up in the middle of the room with his back to Rumsfeld in silent protest.
  • $100 Rebate: Rise and Fall of G.O.P. Idea:
    WASHINGTON, May 4 — Senate Republicans were frantic. Returning from a two-week recess that had been dominated by a spike in gasoline prices — and heading into a midterm election looking increasingly good for Democrats — they began scrambling for ways to calm angry voters.

    The date was Wednesday, April 26. Inside the Capitol complex, Senator John Thune, a first-term Republican from South Dakota, pressed his idea for a gas-tax holiday before a handful of colleagues who called themselves the Energy Working Group. But the group rejected the idea, leaving aides to the Republican leader, Senator Bill Frist, groping for another way to address the issue.

    That night, Mr. Frist's chief of staff, Eric Ueland, and a handful of other Senate staff members — the worker bees who drive the machinery of Congress while their bosses take either the credit or the heat — came up with their own version of an idea that had been circulating among Democrats: a rebate to taxpayers, in this case for $100. Mr. Frist signed off and made plans to introduce it at a news conference the next day.

    But the idea, part of a larger eight-point plan, fell flat. It was ridiculed by consumers and scorned by fellow Republicans in and out of Congress, including some of the seven senators who, like Mr. Thune, had stood beside Mr. Frist to announce it.
  • Our Sick Society:
    Is being an American bad for your health? That's the apparent implication of a study just published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

    It's not news that something is very wrong with the state of America's health. International comparisons show that the United States has achieved a sort of inverse miracle: we spend much more per person on health care than any other nation, yet we have lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than Canada, Japan and most of Europe.
  • Iraq: Get out now:
    The prewar dream of a liberal Iraqi democracy friendly to the United States is no longer credible. No Iraqi leader with enough power and legitimacy to control the country will be pro-American. Still, President Bush says the United States must stay the course. Why? Let's consider his administration's most popular arguments for not leaving Iraq.

    • If we leave, there will be a civil war. In reality, a civil war in Iraq began just weeks after U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein. Even Bush, who is normally impervious to uncomfortable facts, recently admitted that Iraq has peered into the abyss of civil war. He ought to look a little closer. Iraqis are fighting Iraqis. Insurgents have killed far more Iraqis than Americans. That's civil war.

    • Withdrawal will encourage the terrorists. True, but that is the price we are doomed to pay. Our occupation of Iraq also encourages the killers — precisely because our invasion made Iraq safe for them. Our occupation also left the surviving Baathists with a choice: Surrender, or ally with Al Qaeda. They chose the latter. Staying the course will not change this fact. Pulling out will most likely result in Sunni groups' turning against Al Qaeda and its sympathizers, driving them out of Iraq.

    • Before U.S. forces stand down, Iraqi security forces must stand up. The problem in Iraq is not military competence. The problem is loyalty. To whom can Iraqi officers and troops afford to give their loyalty? The political camps in Iraq are still shifting. So every Iraqi soldier and officer risks choosing the wrong side. As a result, most choose to retain as much latitude as possible to switch allegiances. All the U.S. military trainers in the world cannot remove that reality. But political consolidation will. Political power can only be established via Iraqi guns and civil war, not through elections or U.S. colonialism by ventriloquism.

    • Setting a withdrawal deadline will damage the morale of U.S. troops. Hiding behind the argument of troop morale shows no willingness to accept the responsibilities of command. The truth is, most wars would stop early if soldiers had the choice of whether to continue. This is certainly true in Iraq, where a withdrawal is likely to raise morale among U.S. forces. A recent Zogby poll suggests that most U.S. troops would welcome an early withdrawal deadline. But the strategic question of how to extract the United States from the Iraq disaster is not a matter to be decided by soldiers. Carl von Clausewitz spoke of two kinds of courage: first, bravery in the face of mortal danger; second, the willingness to accept personal responsibility for command decisions. The former is expected of the troops. The latter must be demanded of high-level commanders, including the president.

    • Withdrawal would undermine U.S. credibility in the world. Were the United States a middling power, this case might hold some water. But for the world's only superpower, it's patently phony. A rapid reversal of our present course in Iraq would improve U.S. credibility around the world. The same argument was made against withdrawal from Vietnam. It was proved wrong then, and it would be proved wrong today. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the world's opinion of the United States has plummeted. The U.S. now garners as much international esteem as Russia. Withdrawing and admitting our mistake would reverse this trend. Very few countries have that kind of corrective capacity. We do.
  • A rising tide that lifts only yachts:
    Incoming White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten has promised "more happy talk about the economy" as part of his five-point plan for righting the president's poll numbers. And President Bush himself has been bragging that "thanks to tax relief, and spending restraint, and pro-growth economic policies, this economy is strong, businesses are booming and the people in this country are working."

    Strangely, though, the public doesn't seem to be listening. Americans are more than twice as likely to give pollsters a negative assessment of the economy as a positive one — 64% disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy. It's strange. The macroeconomic numbers are decidedly robust, but the public remains determinedly glum.

    If you dig a bit deeper than the base growth statistics, though, the picture clarifies considerably. Our economy has grown so starkly unequal that the statistician's view now says surprisingly little about the average American's experience. Last quarter may have seen 4.8% growth, but hidden in those numbers was a depressing factoid: Wages had only grown 0.7% — slower than housing, health or gasoline costs.

    That's been the story of the last few years, a rising tide that lifts only yachts. It used to be that economic growth ensured wide benefits across society. But the last four years of economic expansion have been historic for the steadily increasing poverty rate — a depressing sign that inequality has so split the poor from the rich that the two hardly inhabit the same economy.

No comments: