Friday, May 19, 2006

Political Corner

From Lo, an interesting editorial. Republicans are always going on about the "Looney Left" so it's nice to see someone launch the same accusation at the right.

The politics of lunacy

Molly Ivins, a syndicated columnist based in Austin, Texas: Creators Syndicate
Published May 19, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas -- I hate to raise such an ugly possibility, but have you considered lunacy as an explanation? I mean, you announce you are going to militarize the Mexican border, but you assure the president of Mexico you are not militarizing the border. You announce you are sending the National Guard, but then you assure everyone it's not very many soldiers and just for a little while.

Militarizing the border is a totally terrible idea. Do we have a State Department? How much do you want to infuriate Mexico when it's sitting on quite a bit of oil?

It's quite possible that lunacy and politics are closely related. It's damned hard for the Guard, though, which continues to be heavily deployed in Iraq. And the Army Reserve is "in grave danger of being unable to meet other operational requirements," according to Lt. Gen. James Helmly, head of the Army Reserve. Happy hurricane season to you too.

But right-wingers are very unhappy with Bush right now, and this is a strong, red-meat gesture that will make them happy, even if it does nothing to shut down the border.

You want to shut down illegal immigration? You want to use the military as police? Make it illegal to hire undocumented workers and put the National Guard into enforcing that. Then rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement and invest in Mexico.

Meanwhile, further proof that the GOP is cuckoo comes to us with the passage of another $70 billion tax cut for the rich. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the average middle-income household will get a $20 tax cut, while those making more than $1 million a year will get nearly $42,000.

President Bush and Veep Dick Cheney are still going around claiming if you cut taxes, your tax revenues increase. No, they don't. Now we're just in whackoville. It's not true. Their own economists tell them it's not true, but they go about claiming it is with the same desperate tenacity they clung to false tales of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. How pathetic.

Speaking of lunacy, the saddest report from Iraq is that American soldiers showing signs of psychological distress and depression are being kept on active duty, increasing the risk of suicide. As I have reported before, the military is unprepared to deal with the flood of head cases coming back from Iraq. How many ways can we mistreat our own soldiers, while the right makes this elaborate show of devotion to "the troops"?

The consistent pattern that runs through all these problems is the failure to distinguish fantasy from reality. Mexican immigrants keep crossing the border because they can get jobs here--and most of those jobs are provided by companies whose chief executive officers support George W. Bush. That's where he can have an impact on the problem, should he choose to do so.

The $70 billion tax cut is part of a continuing right-wing fantasy going back to the Laffer Curve. Of course, clinging to demonstrably false economic precepts is understandable when you benefit from them, but at some point reality does intervene.

As for the Iraq fantasy and those who pushed it on a reluctant country through lies, disinformation and bending intelligence--isn't there a law against that?