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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Wednesday, 20 July 2005

Topic: World View

Rush to Judge: Reactions to the US Issues from Our Man in Paris

In reaction to what we posted on the news of Bush nominating Roberts to the open Supreme Court seat, and how that news pushed all the "leak" scandal news, and news of Iraq, out of the media, Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, sends along a post:

From dirty old Europe, filthy Paris, on Wednesday, 20 July:

Editor of Just Above Sunset: I'm with the editors of the legal site Talk Left in deciding to hold off - "I'd like to know more about him before I make up my mind. I don't think it helps that liberal groups are coming out swinging so soon. It has the appearance that they would oppose anyone Bush would nominate."

Editor of MetropoleParis: What can be so wrong about opposing anybody Bush nominates? It's what the rubes do to dems. Bush isn't going to nominate a civil rights liberal, is he? "It's obvious we're going to get a conservative Supreme Court nominee. Bush is President and the Senate is Republican-dominated."

Christopher Hitchens in Rove Rage: "Joseph Wilson comes before us as a man whose word is effectively worthless."

Editor of MetropoleParis: Was Hitchens in Africa? He's as good as calling Wilson a liar. Then he goes on to say that the law Rove may have broken is stupid and silly. Is he an anarchist? Is he a Godless Un-American?

Hitchens: "In the same way, the carefully phrased yet indistinct statement of the 9/11 Commission that Saddam had no proven 'operational' relationship with al-Qaida has mutated lazily into the belief that there were no contacts or exchanges at all, which the commission by no means asserts and which in any case by no means possesses the merit of being true."

Editor of MetropoleParis: All the words following 'al-Qaida' above are Hitchens' personal fantasy. He is 'energetically mutating' the facts. The whole Wilson affair is a load of 'shoot-the-messanger' disinformation. It's in the same toilet with 'John Kerry is a coward.'

Editor of Just Above Sunset: The real mess, as Frank Rich argued over the weekend in the New York Times, is that "This case is about Iraq, not Niger."

Frank Rich: "The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - [...] - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11."

Editor of MetropoleParis: The nutshell. Not Wilson and not Rove, but the 'GANG' who cooked up the phony war. Still, Rove is still a member of this gang. (The list of CIA operatives - all 'former?' All fired or retired?)

Editor of MetropoleParis regarding London:
Meanwhile, across the pond - is anybody following the Brit story about the identification of the London bombers? Isn't it kind of odd how the bombers left enough traces to be able to track them back to Leeds fairly quickly? Is this how a mysteriously masterminded operation happens? These clowns, like four boy scouts, simply arrive in London together - with return tickets! - with bombs in backpacks. Then set three off simultaneously, practically on-camera?

It'll all a bit too pat, too tidy, except for the bus bomb. Also, there's too many wits around who don't think these guys were like that. What's happened to the so-called chemist who was bounced in Cairo? Can't the Brit cops afford to pay the ransom? Maybe they don't want to because the guy is clean.

The bad news is that we are supposed to believe a band of yahoos in Leeds just got together with some fertilizer and happened to decide to bomb London's public transport one fine morning. It could have been any group of disaffected suburban youths according to the theory. London's 25,000 video cameras were no dissuasion nor were all the transport police, all the spooks and all the cops. Public transport is an indefensible target.

But compared to repetitive suicide truck bombers in Baghdad, the score was low. I mean, they could have hit some place where there was a big concentration of people - like the WTC - but they settled for the relatively small number in a subway wagon. Minimum training, minimum bombs, minimum objective? Was it a test?

If so, they could start a radical transport union and hold random strikes to hang up even more people more often.

But this isn't how Britain runs these days. One of my correspondents wrote to say that there are no longer any unemployed in the UK. They are all 'job-seekers' now, and they are far from few.
Ah, to clarify one matter, see this: "CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Egypt said Tuesday that a detained chemist wanted by Britain for questioning about the London bombings had no links to the July 7 attacks or to al-Qaida. …"

But as for the rest? It is a mystery. Were these London bombings a training run, or some sort of amateur operation? Just what is going on?

As for unemployment, here we're doing something like the Brits. Our unemployment rate is down to five percent - but that counts only those who have filed for unemployment benefits. It doesn't count those who never filed, or those for whom the benefits have expired, or those who just gave up looking for work. The homeless sleeping in the vacant buildings or under the freeway ramps are not unemployed, per se. They're homeless. Different thing. Those with no more benefits, living on savings or family funds or whatever, are also not unemployed – they've "left the workforce." (When you give up you don't count - and that helps the statistics.) What's called "workforce participation" - the percent of those who could be working and actually are working - is at a record low of sixty-six percent. Real wages, adjusted for inflation, have been flat or declining for four or more years. But the unemployment rate is just fine.

Everything is just fine.

Posted by Alan at 14:27 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

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