Wednesday, August 23, 2006

  • The always-enlightening Robert Reich recently stated on Air America that wage earners (80% of the U.S. work force) are earning less today in inflation-adjusted dollars than thirty years ago. Incredible.

  • Apparently Bush's poll numbers have bumped up, by about 5% to 42%. Most cite the recent terrorist break-up as the reason -- uh, despite the fact it was the Brits who used old-fashioned intel techniques (as opposed to shock & awe bombing) to foil the entire thing! As a reminder, even the worst of stocks always tend to enjoy periodic mean-reverting "dead cat" bounces before heading south again.

  • With Israel/Lebanon, we once again observe that shock & awe bombing = fueling deep-seated hate which lays groundwork for future terrorism. In the NYT:
    Like many of the people who were finding their way back to their old neighborhoods, Mr. Kubaisy blamed the United States as much as Israel for the destruction, saying the conflict had only redoubled his allegiance to Hezbollah. "If Nasrallah will raise his hand, everyone will follow," he said. "This time we defended our land, next time we will take the offensive."
  • Meanwhile, sounds like Israel PM Olmert can feel GW's pain. He's declaring the Hezbollah attack a triumph, but admits to "failings and shortcomings." OK, it took GW years to admit any such fault with his offensive, but both underestimated and lacked the proper planning of what they were getting themselves into. There's now a growing call for Olmert's resignation.

  • In July, nearly 3,500 Iraqi civilians were killed making it the most lethal month of the war thus far, and surpasses the number killed in the Israeli/Lebanon conflict by at least threefold. From the NYT:
    “The insurgency has gotten worse by almost all measures, with insurgent attacks at historically high levels,” said a senior Defense Department official who agreed to discuss the issue only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for attribution. “The insurgency has more public support and is demonstrably more capable in numbers of people active and in its ability to direct violence than at any point in time.”
    Bush's plan? To repeat "stay the course" and pray. Oh, and he still maintains democracy is the goal in Iraq, stating such just a few days ago, despite this:
    “Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,” said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.

    “Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect,” the expert said, “but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy.”
    I wonder what form of government -- other than democracy -- they'll decide on?
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