The Recall and Other News
After playing hooky for a couple of days due to work demands, I was gratified that the site stays in good hands with the fine work of Mary and CA Pol Junkie. Great work guys!
Some short bits:
I admit my embarrassment to be a Californian right now. It’s bad enough that we have a recall one year after an election because a multimillionaire weasel could write a check to pay for it. It’s even worse to see over 500 people take out papers to place their name on the recall ballot for governor, people ranging from Austrian, monosyllabic action movie stars to porn stars and smut magazine publishers. In the media’s rush to coronate Arnold the next governor, they seem to miss the point that his rash action last night on Leno not only caught his advisors and staff off guard, but managed to sandbag as well the one true crossover candidate who could pull Democratic votes. After telling the media that he would not run if Arnold did, and after being led to believe that Schwarzenegger would not make the race, former LA mayor Dick Riordan had to find out that Arnold changed his mind by watching TV last night. So today, Riordan dropped out of the race, as did the putz who bankrolled the recall in the first place, Darrell Issa. Of course the media will now get its three weeks of cable TV coverage of all things Arnold: Fox, CNN, and MSNBC will cover this and the Kobe Bryant story for the next month and nothing else. But at some point after this media swoon over Arnold loses its legs, one reporter will ask Arnold several simple questions and find out that the Terminator has no clue what to do to fix the mess in Sacramento, except for what the old Pete Wilson cronies around him tell him to say. And when Arnold is unable to put together a coherent answer that addresses the questions, the voters in California will find that Arnold is nothing more that a front for some corporate interests with White House ties that want to recapture the statehouse to cut corporate taxes and labor protections, and make our problems worse.
Second, the Post’s Walter Pincus writes tomorrow that despite the effort by the Bushies to say that the discredited African uranium claim in the SOTU was a relatively isolated instance, in fact the discredited information was used by the White House as part of a campaign many times in the run-up to the war. So any claim by the White House that objections by the CIA would have nixed this from the SOTU are bogus, since the claim, already nixed from an earlier Bush speech the previous October, had already been reinserted into the White House propaganda campaign as part of the Cheney/Rice pack of lies.
Third, a political group comprised of labor, women’s, and environmental groups and the big-bucks backing of billionaire George Soros among others has been formed to beat Bush next year. The group, Americans Coming Together, will be led by exAFL-CIO heavyweight Steve Rosenthal and will raise $75 million for GOTV and other organizing efforts next year in the key states of Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and West Virginia. This is a promising way to compete with the corporate ATM that Bush will have at his disposal, by targeting key states with lots of money for GOTV.
Fourth, a story in the Friday Times reports what you already suspected: Halliburton has been given an unfair advantage in getting the bulk of the business in rebuilding the Iraqi oil industry infrastructure. It is now so bad that Bechtel has given up getting the business and the Corps of Engineers is being accused of a conflict of interest.
Lastly, a good story from the Knight-Ridder Washington bureau gives a good overview of why the Bush jobless recovery may go on for awhile. Even though the productivity numbers may increase, and even though the jobless claims may go down (really due to more and more people giving up hope), the truth is that there is no job growth on the horizon. And if there is no job growth on the horizon, then Bush is toast.
And if you want proof of that, a new Pew Center poll released today reveals that Bush now has only a five percent lead over an unnamed Democrat, with most voters now saying that the economy is the number one concern, not terrorism.