Saturday :: Jul 31, 2004

George's War On 'Mer'ca


by pessimist

So You Think Workers Should Be Drugged?? Kid This!!!

As if we needed further proof that those who support George Warmonger Bush are not from the same universe the rest of us are, check this out:


Unhappy Workers Should Take Prozac --Bush Campaigner

A campaign worker for President Bush said on Thursday American workers unhappy with low-quality jobs should find new ones -- or pop a Prozac to make themselves feel better.

"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?" said Susan Sheybani, an assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt. The comment was apparently directed to a colleague who was transferring a phone call from a reporter asking about job quality, and who overheard the remark.

Nearly 1.1 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office in January 2001.

When told the Prozac comment had been overheard, Sheybani said: "Oh, I was just kidding."

We won't be kidding come November!

George W. Bush is at war against America, at least the America the lowly 99% live in. Cuts in Federal spending and the loss of well-paying jobs add up to serious troubles in the nation's cities.

But if our cities were sitting on large pools of a diminishing natural resource, maybe then Bush might pay some attention to their plight. I don't have to surmise this. I have proof - direct from the (mis)Administration of George W. Bush itself.

I have information from two different articles. For the purposes of contrasting these two situations and the attitudes of the Bush (mis)Administration toward them, those from Iraq will be in normal font. Those from the domestic scene will be in italics.

My comments will follow.

Source Links:

Powell: U.S. Will Help Iraq Create Jobs
A War Against the Cities

Powell made an unannounced visit here Friday in a show of support for the month-old interim government. Powell said the two countries are facing big challenges which they are determined to overcome. He said the Iraqi leadership is working under extraordinarily difficult conditions. "It's important to note the leaders of Iraq are very courageous, they put themselves at risk every day," Powell said. "We have to make sure that these insurgents understand that we will not be deterred ... . The terrorists will be defeated, there can be no other option."

Paralyzed by a war in Iraq that we don't know how to end or win, we're in danger of forgetting completely about the struggling cities here at home. This is nuts. We know that low levels of crime and violence are essential if cities are to thrive. Tremendous progress - in some places, like New York, almost miraculous progress - has been made in reducing crime since the crack-crazed, gun-blazing days of the late 80's and early 90's. To even begin rewinding the clock to that time of madness would in itself be an act of madness. Yet that's what we're doing.


Secretary of State Colin Powell promised Iraqi leaders Friday that the United States will speed up spending to rebuild the country's infrastructure and create jobs, and said doing so will help make Iraq safer.

A clearer sense of the rot that's starting to reestablish itself in America's cities was offered in an article out of Cleveland by The Times's Fox Butterfield on Tuesday. "Many cities with budget shortfalls," he wrote, "are cutting their police forces and closing innovative law enforcement units that helped reduce crime in the 1990's, police chiefs and city officials say." Cleveland has laid off 15 percent of its cops - 250 officers. Pittsburgh has lost a quarter of its officers, and Saginaw, Mich., a third. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has waved goodbye to 1,200 deputies, closed several jails and released some inmates early. In Houston, police officers are taking up the duties of 190 jail guards who were let go.


Powell said the he believes a faster-paced reconstruction effort will enhance public support for the interim government. "We want to rebuild the infrastructure. We want to create jobs," he said. "We want to show the Iraqi people that this money is being used for their benefit and do it as quickly as we can."

Mayor Martin O'Malley of Baltimore, who co-chairs the Task Force on Homeland Security for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, told me in an interview that budgetary horror stories are coming in from police officials all over the country. There are many reasons, he said, including the recession and the weak recovery that followed, the antiterror obligations that have fallen to the police since Sept. 11, and "the cascading effect" of enormous federal tax cuts at a time when the nation is at war. Local taxes have gone up sharply, and services have had to be cut back even as federal taxes have decreased.


Powell didn't announce specific figures. But Iraq's deputy prime minister, Barham Saleh, who joined Powell at a news conference, said $9 billion in U.S. reconstruction money will be disbursed by December.

In an address to the Democratic convention Wednesday night, Mayor O'Malley echoed many other municipal officials when he said police and fire departments are not even getting sufficient help from the federal government to maintain their antiterror efforts.


U.S. lawmakers and others have long criticized the snail's pace at which occupation officials spent more than $18 billion Congress approved for reconstruction last year. To date only $458 million has been spent, officials said, partly due to bureaucratic red tape in the U.S. government contracting process. And the first government audit of reconstruction spending in Iraq showed that U.S. authorities spent hundreds of millions of Iraqi dollars without keeping good enough records to show whether they got some services and products they paid for.

"This is all compounded," Mayor O'Malley said, "by the fact that there is just less money coming in from Washington" for traditional crime-fighting efforts. The first responders, he said, cannot continue to finance their homeland security responsibilities "with increased property taxes and fire hall bingos."


Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer said after his meeting with Powell that rebel forces have been increasing violent attacks recently because they realize they have no chance of winning. "The bad guys, the army of the darkness, are getting more helpless and hopeless. That's why they are stepping up these things. Time and the place is on our side," al-Yawer said. Al-Yawer expressed confidence the violence will not deter Iraq from electing a transitional government in January. "We are working around the clock to make sure we are on time," he said.

Local police, fire and other agencies have also been affected by the call-up of thousands of military reservists and members of the National Guard. In addition to losing their services, most cities pay the difference between the municipal salaries of these men and women and the substantially lower pay they receive from the military.


U.S. lawmakers and others have long criticized the snail's pace at which occupation officials spent more than $18 billion Congress approved for reconstruction last year. To date only $458 million has been spent, officials said, partly due to bureaucratic red tape in the U.S. government contracting process. And the first government audit of reconstruction spending in Iraq showed that U.S. authorities spent hundreds of millions of Iraqi dollars without keeping good enough records to show whether they got some services and products they paid for.

The crime-fighting difficulties and underfunded homeland security responsibilities are part of a parade of very serious problems that have descended on cities in recent years. Tax cuts for the wealthy and the administration's hard-right ideology have removed much of the social safety net that we managed to weave over the past several decades, leaving us with a swelling population of vulnerable men, women and children. This has had a disproportionate impact on cities, and the outlook, both short- and long-term, is bleak at best.


"Reconstruction and security are two sides of the same coin," Powell said. Improving the economy and restoring vital services such as water and electricity "contributes to a sense of safety and a secure environment," he said. Powell came here two days after a terrorist bombing killed at least 70 Iraqis northeast of Baghdad. There also has been a sharp increase in attacks on foreigners, including beheadings. Powell flew to Baghdad from Kuwait aboard a military aircraft and then by helicopter to the heavily guarded "Green Zone" where the U.S. Embassy is located.


Safety and security, but only for the Top 1% whose activities can provide the financial support necessary to continue the plundering of oil-rich nations - while the 'Homeland' rots away from neglect.

Powell can't even trust his safety to his hand-picked Iraqi minions! How is he going to guarantee the safety and security that 25 million Iraqis need and deserve? He can't - it can only come from the Iraqis themselves, and they are busy ridding their country of an unwanted occupation. They will also have to settle how they will govern themselves once we are gone, for the imposition of an Oil-igarchy isn't going to flow. It isn't going to be pretty, and civil war is a real possibility.

There is no excuse for neglecting the safety and security of 290 million Americans, either. Just as the Iraqis are working out, so must we ourselves take on the task of providing the means to secure both safety and security, not only for individuals, but for the nation as a whole, for we also have an unwanted occupation to be rid of. Our own Oil-igarchy has to go, and the signs are good that it will happen.

We can then decide how we are going to govern ourselves, and by doing so, be in a better situation to assist Iraq. We need to reestablish our own credibility, and our moral authority, in order to again lead the world toward a better future.

We have our own civil wars to end in our cities, but it can't happen if our government is only focussed on capturing control of the world's currently-most-precious commodity with an eye toward rapacious greed. We must recapture our government, our cities, and our future from these pirates.

As Bob Herbert says in the domestic source: "These are important issues that could be wrestled with if cities were on anybody's agenda."

Let's make that agenda ours.


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pessimist :: 5:06 AM :: Comments (8) :: Digg It!