Pontificator: News and Commentary

Wednesday, May 28, 2003 :::
I'd Hate to Play Poker with These Guys

The Bushies have reconfigured their infamous Iraqi deck of cards -- elevating the position of several Iraqis who have already been captured. No explanation was given.

This latest deceit -- while trivial -- perfectly captures the the Bush-Rove modus operandi. Set a goal, fail to meet it, change the goalposts, brainwash the press into declaring a Bush victory.

Weapons of Mass Destruction anyone?

If someone calls Bush a straight shooter one more time I swear I'll. . . .

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:29 PM

Safety Last

Under Bush, we get less safe every day. The latest travesty -- firing 6,000 of the new Transportation Security Agency baggage screeners:

The Transportation Security Administration is planning to cut 6,000 of the screeners over the summer. The cuts are coming because the TSA's budget was cut by Congress, the same Congress that was whipped by President Bush into a $350 billion tax cut.

Several airport directors, including Logan's Thomas Kinton, worry that the cuts send a message to terrorists that airport security is returning to the lax days before Sept. 11. Even the directors of smaller airports are worried. After all, some of the Sept. 11 terrorists started their day by flying out of Portland, Maine. After officials at the Greater Binghamton airport in New York realized that the TSA cuts would eliminate their armed guards and force them to rely on law enforcement officials 15 minutes away, the Broome County security director, Carl Fenescey, told the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin: ''Don't cut us below one. With everything going on, this just doesn't make sense. Doesn't make sense. We're playing the odds.''

But don't worry, at least there's money left over for the executives at Halliburton to get filthy rich off corrupt no-bid government contracts!

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:18 PM

Drinking Rumsfeld's Kool Aid

Anyone who believes that Saddam destroyed his weapons of mass destruction prior to the allied invasion, in secret, as Rumsfeld suggested the other day, is drinking the administration's Kool-Aid (as the Jim Jones-era expression goes).

It makes absolutely no sense to think Saddam would do such a thing. If he were to have destroyed his illegal weapons, don't you think he would have invited Hans Blix and the weapons inspectors to watch him do so, in public, and thus save his regime from a destructive invasion, as well as get positive international attention from France and the allies that were willing to give him a break?

For gosh sakes, when Saddam released the Iraqi political prisoners before the war started, he did so with great fanfare and publicity. Why on earth would he do the opposite by destroying the illegal weapons -- in secret!

If Saddam had destroyed the illegal weapons publicly, Tony Blair would have had no choice but to pull out of the coalition, and war would have been averted. By destroying them privately, all Saddam would have done is destroy his best weapons for use in the war -- the very war he was inviting by keeping the fact of such destruction secret.

By suggesting such an outlandish theory, Rumsfeld is ignoring a much more sensible, logical and NOT COMPLETELY IDIOTIC theory, that there were no such weapons of mass destruction in the first place!!!

::: posted by Pontificator at 2:25 PM

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 :::
Something is Rotten on the O'Reilly Factor

O'Reilly is lying again -- this time about the country of Denmark. He said, on the air, that child molestation and child rape is legal in Denmark. WTF???

Does O'Reilly really think child molestation and child rape is legal in Denmark? That's what he said on the air, in the "highest rated" cable news show. Now the country of Denmark is demanding a retraction:

In the O’Reilly Factor show on May 13, 2003, in an interview with an attorney from the National Law Center, Bill O’Reilly said:

“You know, in Europe, this kind of child molestation and child rape is – you know, they let them do it. They don’t enforce it. And in countries like Denmark, it’s even legal.” – taken from transcript of the show made by FDCH e-media, Inc.

This is not true. Child molestation, child rape and child abuse in any form is illegal in Denmark. Spreading, acquiring or possessing child pornography is also against Danish law.
. . . .

The Danish Embassy has today written The Fox News Channel demanding that they issue a retraction of the statement in the O’Reilly Factor.

O'Reilly is either an idiot, insane, or simply doesn't care about the truth if it doesn't fit in with his reactionary political agenda. One of these days, this guy is going to get sued for libel, and his whole lifetime of outright lies and despicable, slanderous innuendos is going to get hashed out in court. I look forward to that day.

::: posted by Pontificator at 5:16 PM

Rehnquist and O'Connor are Retiring

Why else would they depart from their typical pro-States rights stance on Federalism cases and actually rule that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to the States? O'Connor and Rehnquist are political animals, and they are trying lower the volume on judicial controversies prior to their retirement, in hopes of making in easier for Bush to appoint right-wing radicals. We can probably expect to have the Texas anti-sodomy statute struck down as well, for the same reason. So at least we'll get a few reasonable decisions this term, but let's not be fooled, it's all for the prupose of radicalizing the judiciary. When Rehnquist and O'Coonor retire, there will be no excuse for not fully mobilizing against any right-wing ideologue nominated (which, if you read the papers, seems to be just about everybody under consideration except for White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez).

::: posted by Pontificator at 2:05 PM

Another Must-Read from Krugman


The lunatics are now in charge of the asylum." So wrote the normally staid Financial Times, traditionally the voice of solid British business opinion, when surveying last week's tax bill. Indeed, the legislation is doubly absurd: the gimmicks used to make an $800-billion-plus tax cut carry an official price tag of only $320 billion are a joke, yet the cost without the gimmicks is so large that the nation can't possibly afford it while keeping its other promises.

But then maybe that's the point. The Financial Times suggests that "more extreme Republicans" actually want a fiscal train wreck: "Proposing to slash federal spending, particularly on social programs, is a tricky electoral proposition, but a fiscal crisis offers the tantalizing prospect of forcing such cuts through the back door."

And that is the goal -- force a fiscal crises, and then get rid of government, all of it, except for those big Halliburton contracts that keep Cheney and his revolving door pals in the money. But it's not just economists like Krugman who believe that this is the Republicans plan. The Republican elite actually admits that is their goal, and has done so in somewhat colorful language:

According to hard-right Republicans, killing off government to make way for corporate rule is truly at the core of the so-called "conservative agenda." For example, the lead cheerleader for Bush's tax-cutting fervor is a man named Grover Norquist, well known to every politician in Washington.

"I don't want to abolish government," Norquist told National Public Radio's Mara Liasson in a May 25, 2001 Morning Edition interview. "I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

Charming, isn't he.

::: posted by Pontificator at 2:09 AM


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