After Bush Leaves Office, His Budget’s Costs Balloon- one of the Bush administration’s key rhetorical tricks is to always talk about the future. Economy doing badly? Bush’ll just tell you he thinks it’s going to get better. Iraq going badly? Well that’s going to turn around. Without a time machine, it’s impossible to argue with someone like that. But we now see one reason he’s always talking about the future: his back-loaded budgets. For example, this article notes, Bush’s plans for ruining Social Security will cost taxpayers $79 billion in 2007 and 2008, but in the five years after Bush leaves office, it’ll cost us $675 billion. The article is vague on specifics, but predicts that Bush’s budget eats America alive once he’s nice and retired.
Bush wants $82 billion more for Iraq, Afghanistan- you’ve also gotta love how the White House will draw up a complete budget, and then say “oh yeah, and we need more money for blowing shit up”.
Iraq Winners Allied With Iran Are the Opposite of U.S. Vision- and you’ve got to love the irony of the necons spending $300 billion to beat the Middle East into its political shape of choice, only to have Iraq on the verge of becoming a Shia quasi-theocratic state. Remember, the US paid Saddam Hussein to battle the Shia in Iran for a decade. Now the two states are likely to become pals.
Shiites Take Absolute Majority in Parliament, Iran Scores Victory in the Iraqi Elections- article by Juan Cole about the Iraqi election outcome. I am intrigued to see that Cole claims that the (Shia) United Iraqi Alliance party has won a majority of the seats in the new Iraqi parliament, while CNN Headline News has been saying just the opposite (seemingly to downplay the US failure). But Cole points out that it’s very likely that the UIA will form a coalition with second-place party the Kurdish Alliance, leaving the third-place Iraqiya (Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s party) out in the cold.
CNN is now saying that the UIA did indeed get a majority of parliamentary seats, 140 out of 275.
Frankly, I don’t know if this election could’ve gone any worse for US plans. The UIA is looking towards Islamic Sharia law , and the second plank of their platform was to ask the US to make public their plan for departure from Iraq. And the Kurdish Alliance’s prime interest is in Kurdish autonomy, if not outright independence– which would greatly piss off US ally Turkey.
And what are the odds that this neocon clusterfuck will cause these puppetmasters to pause briefly and reconsider their plans to invade Iran and Syria? I’ll grip my “Understatement of the Year” trophy and say “slim.”
Palestinian caution is warranted- Eric Margolis sums up the state of the Israel-Palestine conflict in a heartbeat:
The basic problem is this: Israel already has what it wants, the most fertile or militarily important parts of the West Bank and Golan, which it continues to colonize at a furious pace. So it’s stalling.
Only two things will motivate Israel to relent — intolerable Palestinian violence or enormous U.S. pressure. So far, neither seems likely. Nor does a genuine, lasting peace, if Palestinians see that nothing will change and Abbas is merely the latest U.S.-imposed overseer in the Arab world.
He also sums up Israel’s goals:
[Ariel] Sharon’s vision of a Palestinian “entity” is three of four separate cantons, or apartheid-style Bantustans, isolated by Jewish-only security roads and checkpoints, all surrounded by a high “security wall.”
Jewish settlements may occupy up to 58% of the West Bank. Palestine’s air, land, sea and telecommunications contacts with the outside world will be entirely controlled by Israel. This is not peace. It’s a penitentiary.
And he also announces his suspicion that Yasser Arafat was killed by foul play. I don’t rule out this possibility, but Margolis really gives us little reason to accept his theory. Maybe in another column.
More on Wal-Mart’s Sweetheart Deal with the DOL- long story short: the Department of Labor has agreed to let Wal-Mart shred all of its incriminating documents before it launches an investigation into any of Wal-Mart’s misdeeds. Essentially.
Beyond ‘Fair and Balanced’- an in-depth look at the nefarious Sinclair Broadcast Group. Partisan, nutjob bullies.
The News Is Broken- well, we knew that. Actually, the article is a summary of the “Jeff Gannon” scandal. Who’s Jeff Gannon? Long story short, it’s the pseudonym of a Republican hack, masquerading as a journalist, who’s role seems to have been to ask Republican-friendly questions at White House press conferences.
No Cities Left- anecdote and thoughts about the nature of alienation and social relationships in the Big City.
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