Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for

Iraqi Spending to Rebuild Has Slowed, Report Says

After the United States spent more than $40 billion to rebuild Iraq’s faltering electricity, water, sewage, transportation and petroleum sectors, with mixed results at best, Iraq’s failure to devote its own resources to continue the task brought severe criticism from Western government and technical organizations.

The reasons for that failure, Iraqi and American officials said, included the challenges of carrying out construction projects in a dangerous countryside, a lack of expertise in a nation drained of technical talent, and a fear that new anticorruption measures would be widely used to prosecute Iraqi officials accustomed to operating in a culture of bribes and financial back-scratching.

Without native professionals its difficult to see how Iraq will move beyond different degrees of strife. Its both the real world reality and the psychological aspect of choosing to live or being stuck in a disaster area, Iraq as a permanent Katrina. Better Data Needed to Assess Iraq’s Budget Execution

Violence and sectarian strife delay capital budget execution by increasing the time and cost needed to implement contracts. Recent refugee flows and the de-Ba’athification process have contributed to the exodus of skilled labor from Iraq. In addition, U.S. and foreign officials also noted that weaknesses in Iraqi procurement, budgeting, and accounting procedures impede completion of capital projects.

Excuse the semi-heresy, but bombing the hell out of people does have the effect of quieting certain elements of the population even those that think they have a gang of virgins waiting for. On the other hand if you have a family and you’re a teacher, a nurse, a policeman etc do you sit there cross your fingers and hope that the bombs only hit the bad guys or do you move to Jordan or anywhere there are not bombs dropping.  From a purely military tactics point of view that WaPO article makes a sense, but if you’re an Iraqi you tend to see the bombing as a daily to weekly lottery draw where the losers get a coffin.

Lawbreaking telecoms still conniving to obtain immunity from Congress. The behavior of Senators Jay Rockefeller and Harry Reid as regards the telecom shamnesty is particularly disappointing in that their stances coincide more with the flow of telecom money rather then the will of their constituents. These are bad people or bad Senators, but they are deeply tragically wrong to set legal precedents in which Congress retroactively waves a magic wand and makes illegal conduct seem like it never happened and as far as anyone can tell for no other reason then expediency. Those that care to might send then an e-mail politely explaining that the 2006 elections were a vote for a change in course and a mark of trust by the American electorate and that it would behoove the senators to honor that trust.

Jon Stewart Goes After Jonah Goldberg and ‘Fascism’ — He Responds 

NEW YORK Columnist Jonah Goldberg stopped by Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” on Wednesday night to tout his provocative new book, “Liberal Fascism.” Jon Stewart clearly didn’t buy the premise, asking at one point in exasperation, “Organic food is fascist???” and “I must say you are unbelieavably misrepresenting” what the Progressive era was all about.

Apparently the taping went on so long, and with so many nuggets, that (as Stewart had warned) some of it had to be aired in choppy sound bites.

Most touchy moment for Jonah came when Stewart asked him if one of the things he was against was people throwing around the charge “fascism” far too easily. Jonah said yes, then Stewart picked up a copy of the book and simply pointed to the title, “Liberal Fascism” — adding, so why are you doing this?

Goldberg is never going to deal with his honesty or rather lack of honesty in what he has written. So far every time he has been challenged he has countered that you haven’t read the book, he has “experts” that support his premise, or the challenger just can’t grasp the new earth shattering insights that Goldberg is so graciously sharing with the world. That Goldberg has written this bit of right-wing psycho babble is great. Even better then Michelle Malkin’s unhinged tome or Ann Coulter’s screed. Each of these works is a chance for the public to get a good look at the dark side of Conservatism, the modern equivalent of dragging a nest of vampires out into the light.

Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for. ~ Will Rogers