The Political Moment
As dangerous as things have been in general, this is perhaps the most dangerous moment. The Bush administration is starting to self-destruct, with public squabbles and distancing (repudiations of vp Cheney’s demagogic insistence that Iraq was behind 9-11). Bush has never been weaker, with a very public perception that he doesn’t have a clue what to do next, about Iraq or the economy. The chickens are coming home, and while that is more or less inevitable, it’s an invitation to desperation on the part of an administration not known for moderation or even good sense.
It’s a good bet for instance that the heat is on the exploited soldiers in Iraq. They are likely under intense pressure to distract the world with a win, like getting Saddam. It’s going to get more Americans killed, and a lot more Iraqis.
It's a moment in which desperate people with no concern greater than their political power (so they can keep their corporate sponsors happy) may do truly desperate things. Suddenly a new military confrontation somewhere. As adversaries smell disarray, they may do something just provocative enough to excuse big violence. The first official use of atomic weapons since World War II is not beyond this Bush bunch. That'll get people back to where they want them: shocked and awed.
Because the chickens are not only coming home, they’re talking, and squawking. The U.S. Conference of Mayors pointedly pointed out that two years after 9-11, fully 90% of American cities have not received federal funds to take effective measures against terrorism. Homeland Security is a fraud.
Speaking of frauds, the most straightforward charge of such concerning the war in Iraq came from Senator Ted Kennedy last week. The response to his unminced statements was especially desperate. Media pundits implied he was drunk. Republican leaders charged him with personal hate filled attacks, noting that he had more bad things to say about Bush than about Saddam. Then their rabid right minions renewed their standard personal attacks on Kennedy, with references both veiled and open to his weight and of course Chapaquidick. So longer ago now its spelling has fled, but the rabid right has long ago enshrined it as one of the articles of faith.
It’s also quite interesting that what he actually said was less reported than the reactions to it. The best a google search could do was the AP report, from a newspaper in Tapei. If you’re interested, that AP report follows.
On the homefront meanwhile, it's been reported that after a two year decline, the wealth of the wealthiest Americans is once again on the rise. It jumped 10% this year. The Bush tax cuts are having their intended effect, it seems. Meanwhile add "jobless recovery" to your vocabulary. What's next--the return of Stagflation?
ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORT
The case for going to war against Iraq was a fraud "made up in Texas" to give Republicans a political boost, Senator Edward Kennedy said on Thursday.
In an interview, Kennedy also said the Bush administration has failed to account for nearly half of the US$4 billion the war is costing each month. He said he believes much of the unaccounted-for money is being used to bribe foreign leaders to send in troops.
He called the Bush administration's current Iraq policy "adrift."
The White House declined to comment on Thursday.
The Massachusetts Democrat also expressed doubts about how serious a threat Saddam Hussein posed to the US in its battle against terrorism. He said administration officials relied on "distortion, misrepresentation, a selection of intelligence" to justify their case for war.
"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud," Kennedy said.
Kennedy said a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office showed that only about US$2.5 billion of the US$4 billion being spent monthly on the war can be accounted for by the Bush administration.
"My belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops," he said.
Of the US$87 billion in new money requested by President George W. Bush for the war, Kennedy said the administration should be required to report back to the Congress to account for the spending.
"We want to support our troops because they didn't make the decision to go there ... but I don't think it should be open-ended. We ought to have a benchmark where the administration has to come back and give us a report," he added.
Kennedy said the focus on Iraq has drawn the nation's attention away from more direct threats, including al-Qaeda, instability in Afghanistan or the nuclear ambitions of North Korea.
This North Coast Weekend - The action this weekend moves to Blue Lake, where the 2013 Mad River Festival opens with *Dell'Arte's *production (or version) of Shakespeare's *The Come...
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