The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

Hyperbolic Rice: Here We Go Again…Again…

Just thought I’d share this:

We are very concerned that the policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge to American security interests in the Middle East and around the world.” (1)

We haven’t heard that one before either

Lets look at the other greatest challenges we’ve faced according to the Bush Administration:

Bush said preventing bin Laden from striking the United States again is ‘the greatest challenge of our day.‘” (2)

In all that we do, we will never lose sight of the greatest challenge of our time: preserving the freedom and security of this nation against determined enemies.” (3)

The greatest challenge facing people of conscience is to help the forces of moderation win the great struggle against extremism that is now playing out across the broader Middle East.” (4)

I would like to point out that although each of these separate quotes are similar, they were all said at different times when support for unique situations was needed. Also, I don’t intend to at all diminish the seriousness of these issues, however, I do intend to point out that such hyperbolic speech is not productive in the realm of rational discourse.


October 24, 2007 Posted by | Condoleeza Rice, General Discourse, George W. Bush | , | Leave a comment

Private Security Contractors: Now $4 Billion from the State Department

The New York Times published a story today that explores the drastic increase in State Department spending (federal money) for private security contracts over the past four years, which now stands at a little under $4 Billion. Here is this year’s State Department budget in brief, and here is next years budget as it stands now (recall that Bush requested an additional $45.9 Billion earlier this week).

The largest problem seems to be the lack of ability of the State Department to manage all of these contractors. I discussed this yesterday with respect to a possible private contractor oversight program.

“State Department contracting officials complain that they do not have nearly enough people to properly oversee the more than 2,500 contractors now under their informal command around the world. And a proposal to charge contractors a fee to pay for additional government compliance officers has stalled in the State Department bureaucracy.” (1)

In the past, for the most part officials have done little to try to submit contractors clearly in the wrong to any sort of reasonable justice process. This example stuck out to me:

Congressional investigators say the security bureau has sought to minimize episodes like the shootings of civilians.

‘We are all better off getting this case — and any similar cases — behind us quickly,’ one State Department security official in Iraq wrote to another, after Blackwater guards killed a father of six in Hilla in 2005, according to an internal State Department memo turned over to Congress. He recommended paying the man’s family $5,000.” (1: Page 2)

Monetary compensation of $5,000 for irresponsible behavior that resulted in death hardly seems equitable. In any case, this and similar examples aren’t near this level of contemplation because there first has to be some recognition of accountability before specific terms can be discussed.

October 24, 2007 Posted by | Blackwater, Department of State, Economics, Iraq War, Private Security Contractors | , , , | Leave a comment

President Declares Major Disaster: San Diego Fires

This morning President Bush declared the fires of San Diego a serious disaster. He announced the availability of federal aid those affected in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.” (1)

This is a tragic disaster to be sure. Here are the estemated numbers as of this morning:

More than 900,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes in the face of the fires.

More than 20 fires have scorched 400,000-plus acres from the Mexican border to northern Los Angeles County and inland into the San Bernardino Mountains since the weekend.” (2)

To all those affected, and especially all of my friends who live in San Diego, I hope the fires stop soon and immediate and effective action is taken to remedy this situation.

October 24, 2007 Posted by | George W. Bush, Natural Disasters | , , , , | 1 Comment