Saturday, May 14, 2005

With His International Agenda "Accomplished", Bush Turns to Domestic Concerns

President Bush, having returned home from his Eurpoean trip and accomplished his broad, sweeping international agenda to bring freedom and democracy to all parts of the world, will now refocus on his domestic agenda, the Washington Post tells us on Saturday. But before we allow the preznit to refocus on his domestic agenda, we should take a penetrating look at his foreign affairs record so we Americans can all bask in the glow of the preznit's greatness.

Here are some of the international stories in the newspapers and American media sources today:

Hundreds of protesters were killed in Uzbekistan on Saturday by government troops. Uzbekistan, an American ally who allowed the U.S. to stage military operations into Afghanistan following 9/11, tortures and represses people who oppose the government.

Anti-American rioting has spread in Afghanistan from the eastern city of Jalalabad to the capital city of Kabul. At least 15 people have been killed in four days of anti-American demonstarions which have stemmed from a May 9th report in Newsweek that "interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba had placed copies of the Koran in bathrooms and flushed one text down a toilet." There were also peaceful anti-American demonstrations in Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Palestinian territories on Friday, but the protests in Afghanistan have become a concern for the pro-American government of Hamid Karzai as anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan has swelled in the last year, stoked by a resurgent Taliban.

There seems to be no end to the Iraqi insurgency, which has been declared on the decline many times since the President Bush issued his "Mission Accomplished" address in May 2003, but only seems to be growing in strength. United States Marines took to the offensive this week in a stretch of desert near the Syrian border in an effort to destroy Iraqi insurgents and Islamic jihadis. Dubbed Operation Matador, the U.S. military estimates that 100 insurgents have been killed in the offensive while 9 marines have died. There have been many operations like this in the past, from Operation Iron Hammer in November 2003 (where U.S. forces "destroyed" many insurgents in Baghdad, Tikrit, Baquoba, Fallujah, and Kirkuk) to Operation Vigiliant Resolve in April 2004 (where U. S. and Coalition forces "pacified" violent elements in and around Al Anbar Province after the killing of four American contractors) to Operation Phantom Fury in November 2004 (where 10,000-15,000 American troops and 2,000 Iraqi forces assaulted the city of Fallujah and rooted out 2,000-3,000 entrenched Iraqi insurgents) . As can been seen by the recurrent nature of the violence in Iraq, these operations have made Iraq safer and have severely hampered the insurgency's ability to strike at Iraqi military forcres, Iraqi civilians, and Americans.

Meanwhile back in Baghdad, another suicide bomber blew himself up next to an Iraqi police patrol, killing at least four people. Over 400 people have been killed in less than two weeks as violence has erupted all over Iraq, taxing the newly formed Iraqi government's ability to provide security. The United States military has urged Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari to retaliate to the insurgent violence with swift military action as civilian confidence in the Iraqi government has steadily eroded.

Yes, the preznit surley has made the world safer for us all as he spreads democracy and freedom across troubled parts of the world. Just think how unsafe the world was in the 90's before the preznit won his stirring mandate in 2000 and think how much safer you feel now in 2005. And with the preznit ready to take on Iran and North Korea, you'll feel even safer in 2006 and 2007!

But wait! Before he tears Kim Jong ll another one and shows those Iranian mullahs who's boss, the preznit's got some domestic business to attend to. He's got a Social Security program to partially privatize, an environment to pollute through his new energy policy, a federal budget to further bankrupt through tax reform, and low income and middle income American citizens to enslave into serfdom through his "class warfare" economic policies. The Wall Street Journal, no bastion of wishy-washy liberalism, reported yesterday that economic mobility is now easier to achieve for low income and midlle income folks in Europe than in the United States.

Money Quote:

But the reality of mobility in America is more complicated than the myth. As the gap between rich and poor has widened since 1970, the odds that a child born in poverty will climb to wealth -- or a rich child will fall into the middle class -- remain stuck. Despite the spread of affirmative action, the expansion of community colleges and the other social change designed to give people of all classes a shot at success, Americans are no more or less likely to rise above, or fall below, their parents' economic class than they were 35 years ago.

Although Americans still think of their land as a place of exceptional opportunity -- in contrast to class-bound Europe -- the evidence suggests otherwise. And scholars have, over the past decade, come to see America as a less mobile society than they once believed.

The Journal article says that Americans tolerate a huge income gap between rich and poor in this country because they believe the myth that their children or grand-children can become wealthy in a land of opportunity. The consequences of this mistaken assumption are widespread:

Many Americans believe their country remains a land of unbounded opportunity. That perception explains why Americans, much more than Europeans, have tolerated the widening inequality in recent years. It is OK to have ever-greater differences between rich and poor, they seem to believe, as long as their children have a good chance of grasping the brass ring.

This continuing belief shapes American politics and economic policy. Technology, globalization and unfettered markets tend to erode wages at the bottom and lift wages at the top. But Americans have elected politicians who oppose using the muscle of government to restrain the forces of widening inequality. These politicians argue that lifting the minimum wage or requiring employers to offer health insurance would do unacceptably large damage to economic growth.

Despite the widespread belief that the U.S. remains a more mobile society than Europe, economists and sociologists say that in recent decades the typical child starting out in poverty in continental Europe (or in Canada) has had a better chance at prosperity. Miles Corak, an economist for Canada's national statistical agency who edited a recent Cambridge University Press book on mobility in Europe and North America, tweaked dozens of studies of the U.S., Canada and European countries to make them comparable. "The U.S. and Britain appear to stand out as the least mobile societies among the rich countries studied," he finds. France and Germany are somewhat more mobile than the U.S.; Canada and the Nordic countries are much more so.

Our fine preznit has been living off the stupidity of Americans who buy into the Amercian dream mythos he sells while ignoring all of the incontrovertible evidence before their eyes that they are falling down the economic ladder, not climbing upward. Bush, the Republican Party and the Republican propaganda machine (FOX News, Washinton Times, etc.) are very skilled at selling their Reverse Robin Hood agenda while pursuing a vicious class war against the poor and middle income people. They are very good at attacking any progressive who takes issue with their policies as a "liberal" or a "Marxist". They have used cultural wedge issues to get poor, working class, and middle class folks to vote against their own interests. In the past twenty years, they have made this nation into an economic oligarchy, have destroyed worker's protections, and are in the process of dismantling the social safety net. The preznit and his minions have made us poorer at home and put us more at risk in the world.

And I wonder, given that the American media would rather laugh at his wife's handjob jokes than hold him accountable for his crimes against humanity, if any of this will stop before the nation descends into a total feudal state.

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