Wednesday, September 03, 2003
::: Short Takes: Iraq, 9-11, EPA , Labor :::
Some special links
A Deadly Day for Charlie Company
The Marine unit was supposed to have backup as it entered battle in Iraq. But it was alone, and chaos exploded.
We got a man down! We got a man down!
The Marines' light armor had been pierced, and with it any illusion that this would be easy. They would take the bridge, but at a cost. Eighteen men from a single company were killed that day and 15 wounded, making it the deadliest battle of the war for U.S. forces
Had things gone as planned, the 200 Marines in their lightly armored vehicles would have avoided the densely populated heart of Nasiriyah, a city of 500,000. They were supposed to take a roundabout route to the north bridge, swinging east of the city behind a dozen M1-A1 Abrams tanks and a second Marine unit, Bravo Company.
Bush Denies Aid To Some Overseas Groups - Broadens Gag Rule
Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund: "The world's poorest women and their children again are bearing the brunt of Bush's obsession with appeasing his domestic political base. This is the real face of Bush's compassionate conservatism."
Dust and Deception
A draft E.P.A. report released last December conceded that 9/11 had led to huge emissions of pollutants. In particular, releases of dioxins — which are carcinogens and can also damage the nervous system and cause birth defects — created "likely the highest ambient concentrations that have ever been reported," up to 1,500 times normal levels. But the report concluded that because the outdoor air cleared after a couple of months, little harm had been done.
Immediately after 9/11 there was a great national outpouring of sympathy for New York, and a natural inclination to provide generous help. President Bush quickly promised $20 billion, and everyone expected the federal government to assume the burden of additional security. Yet hard-line Republicans never wanted to help the stricken city. Indeed, according to an article by Michael Tomasky in New York magazine, Senators Phil Gramm and Don Nickles attempted to slash aid to New York within hours of Mr. Bush's promise.
Bush Declares Carbon Dioxide Not A Pollutant
The decision reverses a 1998 Clinton administration position. It means that the Bush administration won't be able to use the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars.
EPA General Counsel Robert Fabricant took the opposite position in his 12-page decision Thursday. "Because the (Clean Air Act) does not authorize regulation to address climate change," he wrote, "it follows that (carbon dioxide) and other (greenhouse gases), as such, are not air pollutants."
Auto industry representatives lauded Fabricant's position.
"Why would you regulate a pollutant that is an inert gas that is vital to plant photosynthesis and that people exhale when they breathe?" said Eron Shosteck, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a Washington-based industry lobby. "That's not a pollutant."
More Pitt on Labor Day
A man said, "On this Labor Day weekend, Americans pay tribute to the spirit of hard work and enterprise that has always made this nation strong. Every day, our workers go to factories and offices and farms and produce the world's finest goods and services. Their creativity and energy are the greatest advantage of the American economy."
What man said that? George W. Bush said that, on Saturday, from his ranch in Crawford Texas. Does anyone else appreciate the irony? This house is on fire, and George is sitting in the front yard with a great big flamethrower and a grin on his face. The history of unions has always been a story of the people versus the powerful, the worker versus the bosses, the folks scratching to keep the lights on at home versus the folks taking CEO salaries home that are so big they need a fleet of Brinks trucks to drive them, laughing, all the way to the bank
We shouldn't be surprised by this, by the cynical way Bush pats workers on the back with one hand while gutting their income with the other. This administration has made much of the need to support our troops in Iraq, something I am sure each and every person in this room agrees with. How, then, does this administration think it is supporting the troops by pushing a policy to cut hazard pay - overtime pay at the extreme definition - for our soldiers still under fire in Iraq?
A long time ago, a man named Benito Mussolini invented something called Fascism. In the time since, fascism has come to be defined by Nazis, by war, and by crimes against humanity that defy description. But when Mussolini invented fascism, those definitions had not yet established themselves. Mussolini, the inventor of fascism, defined it differently. "The first stage of fascism," said Mussolini, "should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and Corporate power."
Now, even with all my tough talk about hard words and doing away with caution, I am appropriately cautious about using so bloody a word in this setting. Well I should be. But I ask you: What do we have today if not the beginnings of the merging of state and corporate power? Even if you refuse to see our current situation through Mussolini's eyes, even if you refuse to use that hardest of words, the simple fact that the corporate world and the federal government are becoming one and the same is clear, and unavoidable. Is that merger complete in America? Certainly not. Are we headed in that direction? Lawyers use a Latin phrase: "Res ipsa loquitor." The thing speaks for itself.
What will the place of unions be in such a world? Where are the rights of workers?
A great, great many Americans are well aware that the folks running things today do not have their interests in mind, but instead serve the interests of entities that would see workers' rights ground to powder.
Shameless Exploitation - Docudrama DC 9/11: Time of Crisis
The upcoming Showtime feature DC 9/11: Time of Crisis is a signal advance in the instant, ongoing fictionalization of American history, complete with the president fulminating most presidentially against "tinhorn terrorists," decisively employing the word problematic in a complete sentence, selling a rationale for preemptive war, and presciently laying out American foreign policy for the next 18 months. "We start with bin Laden," Bush (played by Timothy Bottoms) tells his cabinet. "That's what the American people expect. . . . So let's build a coalition for that job. Later, we can shape different coalitions for different tasks."
A movie that attempted to reconstruct Bush's actual activities on 9-11 would be fascinating, if not entirely heroic. A detailed attempt to account for the president's movements and actions on what he later termed that "interesting day" may be found at the Center for Cooperative Research website (cooperativeresearch.org): Bush had just arrived at a Florida elementary school for a pre-planned 9 a.m. photo op when he was informed that a plane had crashed into the WTC 15 minutes before. Bush would later make the impossible claim that he saw the event televised live. (In early December, the president told an Orlando audience he'd been watching TV that morning and saw "an airplane hit the tower of a-of a-you know . . . and I said, 'Well, there's one terrible pilot.' ") As Secret Service men evidently were watching TV in another classroom, however, news of the second crash reached him almost immediately. Bush's startled response, documented on video for all eternity and seen by millions, is restaged in the movie: As Chief of Staff Andrew Card appears beside Bush and whispers in his ear, the president responds with visible shock and panic (the real Bush was more expressive than Bottoms). Missing from DC 9/11 is the president's next move-picking up a children's book called The Pet Goat.
Pardon my French but, son-of-a-bitch! Will someone please wake up the real America?
Pre-emptive policy is an unholy alliance having its own ‘axis of evil’ – greed, arrogance, and deception.
Vacations are not to be interrupted for this dime-store president and his nickel-plated cadre of fundraisers. The image of a leader heading to the White House and working in the name of peace and international stability is not as important as the drive for campaign money and supporting the theft of democracy in California and Texas and elsewhere in America. And it is that attitude that explains what is going wrong in Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and throughout the Middle East.
Does it not bother anyone that this White House wants to cut the hazardous duty pay for the very troops they claim will win the war? Or that this gang of unctuous thieves, want to cut veterans medical benefits for soldiers who have faithfully served their country? You know how old soldiers are; they survive wars just so they can sponge off the government for the rest of their lives.
And someone please, please tell me what happened to the free press? Oh I know jokes abound about the American press corps being embedded on golden kneepads in the Oval Office. But let’s face facts; these guys are flat on their backs like a cheap convention hooker.