Thursday, August 24, 2006

Been Spun So Long It Looks Like Up To Me

Alterman today, on the similarities and differences between Israel's war and America's:

The same thing happened in Israel as in the US, by the way, which is that the nation’s leaders were faced with a political problem and they used war to try to solve it. The war made everything about the problem far worse.

The rest of it is short but well worth reading (click the link above). The man has a gift for compressing truth without distorting it.

HRW gives the numbers and the uncomfortable details. AI also has a report, with video. To my mind, the time is way past when we could afford to whitewash such atrocities. This is not a Republican or a Democratic problem, because the whitewashing has been done from every point on the linear iron bar of political affiliation. The point now is that it's a critically human problem, and must be addressed forthrightly by real humans. The trouble only comes in finding such animals among the leaders of the so-called civilized world. So we've got to take care of that problem, too, even as we call the predators currently in power to account.

And if you'd like some perspective on the Iraq War, you can't do better than the timeline published by Mother Jones this month. For $10 a year, you can't find a better bargain on quality journalism. Subscribe now. Meanwhile, the timeline I mentioned will be online later this month, and I'll pick it up and present it here. But really, subscribe to this wonderfully written and deeply researched magazine ASAP.

Finally, it's another day to thank god for Jon Stewart. Click the graphic and watch.

And now we bring you a rare mid-week offering from my co-blogger, Mr. Terry McKenna:

Last week the president signed a bill to shore up traditional pensions. Embedded in his comments is a stern a warning to Industry that it must keep its promises to workers; see if you can locate that warning.

THE PRESIDENT: Americans who spend a lifetime working hard should be confident that their pensions will be there when they retire. …

Some businesses are not putting away the cash they need to fund the pensions they promised to their workers. These companies get into financial trouble and go bankrupt, their under funded pension plans can leave some retirees with checks much smaller than the ones they were promised. …

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 will help shore up our pension insurance system in several key ways. It requires companies who under fund their pension plans to pay additional premiums. …

The message from this administration, from those of us up here today, is this: You should keep the promises you make to your workers. If you offer a private pension plan to your employees, you have a duty to set aside enough money now so your workers will get what they've been promised when they retire.

How ironic!

What about social security?

The president should be increasing taxes on large corporations, closing loopholes, demanding full enforcement – and rolling back the estate tax dodge. And only after that, he should propose some prudent changes to social security benefits – for example: 1) apply the social security tax (for the old age and pension benefits) to wages above the current maximum of $94,200; 2) reduce benefits for early retirees; 3) use sound actuarial analysis to determine how much of a benefit reduction is needed to sustain the system through 2046 – including a fair payback for Social Security funds borrowed by the treasury for current expenses.

The president does not want to hold the government to the same standard as he wishes to hold industry.

But no one noticed!

—T. McKenna

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