Thursday, August 12, 2004

Out to Lunch

The lead headline in the Times says "U.S. Holds Back." The fourth paragraph says in brackets that according to Reuters, our offensive has resumed. Maybe the editor in charge was out to lunch.

You could say the Washington Post scooped the Times by getting that headline right. But it was weeks behind the Times in confessing that it played up the propaganda that got us into the war, and played down evidence that it was a pack of lies.

Does this mean that they’re both going straight? Don’t hold your breath. Here’s a Times editorial that scolds protesters for refusing to be penned up like cattle behind barbed wire during the Republican convention. It says, heck, the Mayor even offered to water them. You can look it up.

The Times also reports that Rudy Giuliani is taking a big role in the campaign. He’s there to downplay the loopy conduct of George Bush and company on September 11th. We’re supposed to think instead of an heroic Republican mayor -- America’s mayor -- taking charge at Ground Zero. In all of its soul-searching, the Times has never seriously examined how Giuliani’s conduct really affected what happened on that awful day. So now he’s playing hero again.

Will somebody pass the water bottle? And please, Officer, a warm meatloaf for Mike Wallace.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Chuck Chuck

Who’s writing John Kerry’s lines? Karl Rove?

Actually, it’s the Clinton gang, but Dubya can count on them to bail him out.

By now, just about everyone knows he deceived us about his reasons for going to war. So Kerry says he would still vote to go, only, he would wage a more "sensitive" war.

A majority of Americans would surely vote no. But on the issue of war and peace, we have effectively been disenfranchised.

True, Ralph Nader will be on the ballot in many states, and David Cobb as well, but we come down to the line in a turmoil over whether a vote for peace would count as a vote for Bush.

For one set of answers, check Counterpunch.org and its new book of essays called A Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils. It cuts the difference down to a zinc penny that can flip either way, but there IS a real difference in what people have in mind when they vote Republican or Democratic.

Meanwhile, here is one reason to register Democrat. There’s a primary coming up - with chances to vote for a number of progressives like Frank Barbaro and, especially, to vote against Senator Chuck Schumer. I can hardly wait.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Digging Deeper

Did it hurt Dubya when he said "Our enemies…never stop thinking of ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we"? I dunno -- his audience cheered. To be sure, they were handpicked -- Dubya had to read off from a card the question one of them forgot to ask him, and the answer.
You can’t say the opposition was being mean to him. There’s an old saying that if you dig yourself into a hole, the first thing to do is, stop digging. Well last week, our forces dug in by killing more Iraqis than in any week since the war began. They said they did it at the request of our new president, Ahmed Allawi. He replaced our former president, Ahmed Chalabi, who used to be our favorite Iraqi in the whole world, then suddenly became a suspect and is now hiding in Iran from a US and Iraqi warrant for his arrest for murder and sundry other crimes. Hiding with him is his nephew, whom we saw the other day prosecuting Saddam Hussein.

The current president, Allawi, demonstrated our progress toward democracy by closing down a TV news bureau and by listing 80 or 90 grounds for capital punishment, including dangerous talk. Allawi’s an old henchman of Saddam Hussein who has kept up the practice of executions with his own hand. And by the way, recent pictures of torture of prisoners by our Iraqis appeared yesterday in the Portland Oregonian.

All this and then some, in a week of terrible news for Dubya. And the best line Kerry could come up with was a promise to wage "a more sensitive war."

Lord help us.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Tainted Inspection

Back in the days of Jimmy Carter, when deregulation came into fashion, I invited advocates to go eat uninspected hamburgers. By golly, they did. Worse yet, they served uninspected meat in schools and nursing homes. Lately we’ve had several outbreaks of illness and some deaths as a result.

That’s one of many results of the popular conclusion that, as Ronald Reagan liked to put it, Government is the problem, not the solution. The government did have inspectors in packing plants, because the public had demanded them after reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle a hundred years ago. But they were only there to check the plumbing. If they noticed, say, a smudge of manure on a carcass, they could tell a foreman about it. But to actually slow the line down and check it out was a big deal that required appeals and approval from on high.

After many cases of food poisoning and many local scandals and the usual punishment of whistle-blowers, a regulation was drafted to give FDA plant inspectors the right and duty to act on the spot. President Clinton signed it as he was leaving office. But he timed it to go into effect three weeks later. So it was one of the measures that Bush killed when he took power.

Note that Clinton had been in the White House for eight years. Why did it take so long to approve such a simple and obvious reform. Note also that he came from Arkansas, and so does Tyson Foods, the great chicken packer -- which used to love Clinton and now loves Bush even more. Subsidiaries of Tyson figure in some of our sickest food scandals. Their chickens live so tight they can’t spread their wings, and need dangerous amounts of antibiotics to survive. A recent video tape shows men stomping on chickens just for fun -- like our MP’s in Iraq. The moral is, I guess, buy organic, and vote organic.