Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Discarded toupees of the past

A couple of quotes about a moron Republican president: he devotes his public life to translating a complicated world of public affairs he barely comprehends into those values he never questions. Like much of America, he contained contradictions, but never experienced them.

About Reagan, but there is a certain familiarity, no?

Lott’s embrace of Strom the racist as well as Strom the man has finally made the NY Times, as he issues a non-apology apology, which says he doesn’t embrace the discarded policies of the past. Not the “wrong” policies or the “racist” policies of the past, just the discarded ones. Jesse Jackson has demanded he resign. I’d go further and demand that Tom Daschle resign as well, for this comment on Lott: "There are a lot of times when he and I go to the microphone and would like to say things we meant to say differently, and I'm sure this was one of those cases for him, as well." Salon has tried to get comments from Joe Lieberman, Nancy Pelosi etc, without success.

Bush is evidently working on a plan for prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients--but only if they move from fee-for-service to HMOs and pay higher fees for doctor visits. Shame.

Today’s NY Times has headlines at opposite ends of the front page, one about the US being the first to get the Iraqi report, the other that a judge lets Cheney keep his energy policy contacts secret. Transparency is for other people. The judge, a Bush appointee, fancy that, used to be deputy for Kenneth Starr, when he had a very different set of ideas about the level of privacy due to the White House.

Incidentally, the Iraqi report will contain the names of the Western companies that helped it build up its weapons inventory. Expect some familiar names.

So the new secretary of the Treasury is to be a railroad executive. Yes, railroads, the model for the American business of the future. Well, CFX is the largest railroad company in the East, and I guess its fierce competitiveness did manage to drive into bankruptcy United, the largest company selling travel on those new-fangled flying machines (it’ll never catch on). Snow is one of those executives who benefitted by his company lending him money to buy stock in the company, and then forgiving the loan when the stock plummeted (a practice since made illegal). It must be nice when your actions or incompetence have no personal consequences whatsoever. It must also be nice not to have to pay taxes, like CFX (see the report from the Citizens for Tax Justice).

Speaking of United, is it really the function of the federal government to be engaged in screwing employees, refusing to give the company a loan as long as its mechanics and pilots are making above minimum wage?

Salon reminds me of the most famous Iran-Contra-hearings quote from John Poindexter, now head of the Total Information Awareness program: “to the best of my knowledge, I can’t recall.” I guess knowledge isn’t power, after all.

Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?: The Bush admin is thinking of defining membership in Al Qaida as a war crime for the purposes of its military tribunals. Guess that takes care of that whole “finding evidence of a crime” problem.

The US will spend $92 million for 6 Iraqi opposition groups which share our values, including the Movement for Constitutional Monarchy and the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (which is based in Iran). Because the world needs more monarchs and more Islamic revolutions. Can’t have enough of them.

We are also going to sell arms to the vicious government of Algeria.

Georgia Republicans are planning a law to make women intending abortions (called “executions” in the bill) to go to court to get a death warrant. Then a guardian would be appointed for the fetus, who could demand a jury trial....

From the Telegraph: A vicar has apologised for giving a sermon at a children's carol concert in which he told them that Father Christmas could not "scientifically exist". Parents said they were horrified after the Rev Lee Rayfield told the children, some aged three, that Father Christmas and his reindeer would "literally blow up" if they had to deliver all those presents.

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