Friday, September 04, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
The truth is that government, for all its flaws, manages to do some things right, so that today few people doubt the wisdom of public police or firefighters. And the government has a particularly good record in medical care.
A study by the Rand Corporation concluded that compared with a national sample, Americans treated in veterans hospitals "received consistently better care across the board, including screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up." The difference was particularly large in preventive medicine: veterans were nearly 50 percent more likely to receive recommended care than Americans as a whole.
"If other health care providers followed the V.A.'s lead, it would be a major step toward improving the quality of care across the U.S. health care system," Rand reported.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
California's wildfires are not only burning trees – they're burning state cash, and setting off a cascade of other problems in the state. Already, as the fires appeared to have spread in the past 24 hours, they have delayed a ballot count in two special elections.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Twice in the past month, my private communications have been splashed about the internet. That such a thing would happen is unfortunate, and dishonorable, but sadly inevitable, I suppose. I ignored the first case, in which a rather pathetic woman acolyte of Greenwald's published a hyperbolic account of a conversation I had with her at a beach picnic on Cape Cod. Now, Greenwald himself has published private emails of mine that were part of a conversation taking place on a list-serve. In one of those emails, I say that Greenwald "cares not a whit for America's national security."
Therefore, I have seen no evidence that he [Greenwald] cares one whit about the national security of the United States. It is not hyperbole, it is a fact.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Former Vice President Dick Cheney lashed out at President Obama and the attorney general on Sunday, saying the Justice Department's recent decision to investigate whether CIA operatives broke the law in their interrogation of terrorism suspects was politically motivated and dangerous to U.S. national security.
"I just think it's an outrageous political act that will do great damage long-term to our capacity to be able to have people take on difficult jobs, make difficult decisions, without having to worry about what the next administration is going to say," Cheney said in an interview that aired on " Fox News Sunday."
The formal interview, conducted last week at Cheney's Wyoming ranch, was his first since Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. announced last Monday that he was conducting a preliminary review into the actions of certain CIA interrogators who might have gone beyond the techniques approved by the Bush administration's Justice Department.
Of course, an effective administration investigates its own wrong-doing, as how Janet Reno did under Bill Clinton, so Cheney has a point to make: any investigation should have rightly been carried out under the Bush DoJ.
Which seemed to have issues with indicting a ham sandwich, to stretch the famous analogy.
Or Congress could have, as it did in the early 70s for President Nixon's crimes, the 80s for Iran-Contra, and the 90s for the Lewinski affair.
I don't know about you, but my instinct tells me CIA agents violating international treaties probably ranks higher on the crime scale than a blow job.
But I digress...
It is true that, in none of the above scenarios was the investigation of a previous administration left as the dirty work for the next group of bureaucrats.
But then no administration, in conjunction with a Congress best described as "whorish to the self-interests of the administration," had ever had such an abysmal record of dictatorial, almost tyrannical, abuses of authority as the Bush administration, which includes ignoring the fact it might have been breaking the law.
It was, in short, a perfect storm of corruption and scandal, with a "look the other way" mentality that was at once abhorrent and antithetical to the good and welfare of the nation.
In shorter, it was the blind leading the deaf leading the dumb.
The dumb being us.
There are higher issues at stake here than whether some rogue CIA agents violated even the very liberal torture policies of an autocrat. There are issues that go to the very heart of what we stand for as a nation: do we allow torture so blatantly (because no one believes the US is always right and always innocent) or do we shove it back in that dark corner where we occasionally get upset at the things done in the name of freedom?
For that, and that reason alone, Dick Cheney should shut the fuck up.