Thursday, July 31, 2008

Operation Scheduled Departure

The Bush administration has launched a new initiative in its war on NAFTA refugees by inviting them to deport themselves at their own expense. Surrendering would incur no penalty other than to return to one's home country, where the same conditions that encourage border-crossing -- landlessness, joblessness and hunger -- remain.

The move may be seen as a last-ditch effort for the White House to expel as many "illegal people" before the end of the Bush term. The administration's prior strategy -- raiding private homes with tactical assault teams in order to "capture" illegal suspects -- proved less popular with local communities.


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened Mexican markets to subsidized US agro-exports -- like corn -- which undercut local farmers. It also eliminated Mexican subsidies for small and mid-sized farming, displacing many peasant communities, and consolidated land-holdings under multinational conglomerates. This had the anticipated effect of pushing Mexican peasants either into domestic manufacturing or, in many cases, over the border and into the US.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mustafa Barghouti: Palestinians have already compromised a compromise


"In one case, an experienced terrorism prosecutor who was considered by some in the DoJ as 'head and shoulders' above other ­candidates was denied a counter-terrorism job by Ms Goodling because his wife was active in Democratic politics. The post was later filled by a registered Republican candidate who did not meet the basic experience-­related qualifications of the job."
That's What She Said

"When you have a systemic challenge like the war in Darfur, it requires more than a few mercenaries, even very well equipped and very well trained," he said.

[UN chief of peacekeeping Jean-Marie] Guehenno was responding to a question about an editorial in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal titled "Mercenaries for Darfur."

Monday, July 28, 2008

What Batman and Bush Have in Common

from the Wall Street Journal

There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war.

This is the best piece of political satire not to appear in The Onion in a very long time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Murdoch's Journal

The Wall Street Journal has sponsored a poll asking American voters whether they better identify with the "background and values" of a white POW on one hand, or a non-white, multi-ethnic, Ivy league-educated man who was raised by a single parent in Indonesia and whose middle name is "Hussein," on the other.

The responses form the basis of a front-page feature in today's paper -- so dense with intrigue one gets the impression it was applied by trowel with Mr. Murdoch's own quaking hands.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Petrol-funded US thinktank says 100% green energy possible in 10 yrs

from the FT

Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington thinktank, said: "Mr Gore has moved a long way from the solutions recommended in An Inconvenient Truth : replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescents, buy a hybrid car, and telecommute from home.

"We couldn't come close to [his] goal of producing all our electricity from solar, wind, and geothermal energy in 10 years without coercive, even authoritarian government."

It's not always easy getting the "other side" of a story, journalistically speaking. Especially when one side is Al Gore speaking about global warming. Invariably, protesters will either be energy companies or -- as in this case -- the organizations funded by them.

This is a good example of how even high-end reporting can be undermined by the twin perils of time-constraint and a lack of willing takers.

The paradox in this case is that Mr. Ebell is right: confronting global warming will require governmental "coercion" of the interests he represents, as prescribed by an overwhelming majority of Americans -- in other words, a fairly straightforward democratic process. That he has chosen to label this authoritarian is more than likely because the outcome does not benefit his employers.