AUSTIN, Texas -- Not that any of us is in a position to
criticize the Great Scriptwriter in the Sky, but don't you think She's been
going a little heavy on the irony lately?
All those folks who had conniption fits over Bill Clinton's
affair are now pooh-poohing Arnold Schwarzenegger's sexual misconduct -- and
vice versa. The right-wingers who are always griping about Hollywood stars
who express political opinions -- "Shut Up and Sing" -- suddenly find an
actor perfectly fit for high political office based on his experience as The
Professional patriots who would have been screaming with horror
had the Clinton White House ever leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent
now struggle to justify or minimize such a thing.
President Bush has spent $300 million trying to find weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq and come up with zip, so now he wants to spend $600
million more. And let's mention the president's interesting theory that NOT
finding any weapons of mass destruction means the Iraq war was fully
Connoisseurs of political folly who have been enjoying the
antics in California should not overlook the doings in the Great State,
where Texas Republicans have achieved such a pluperfect snafu that the
state's primary will be delayed next year.
The Iraqi Governing Council is complaining because the United
States is wasting so much money in Iraq.
Rush Limbaugh is apparently facing drug charges.
Attorney General John Ashcroft demanded that federal prosecutors
seek the maximum penalty in every case just before some perp(s) in the White
House apparently broke the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which
carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. All in all, a fine fall Irony Fest.
Less ironic and more in the sickening vein is the naked
profiteering by various Bushies on the Iraq War. Bob Dole used to wander
around the country demanding, "Where is the outrage?" Where's Dole when we
Joe Allbaugh, who was one of Bush's "Iron Triangle" when he was
governor and later as his presidential campaign manager and head of the
Federal Emergency Management Agency, is now in the Baghdad biz. Already the
head of one consulting firm, Allbaugh and two partners, both lobbyists and
former aides to Poppy Bush, have formed a new firm.
"The opportunities evolving in Iraq are of such an unprecedented
nature and scope that no other existing firm has the necessary skills and
experience to be effective both in the United States and on the ground."
Salivating over unprecedented booty and swag while American soldiers are
getting killed every day is considered kind of tacky, in some circles.
A former partner of Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense and
a major player in pushing the war, has joined a nephew of Ahmed Chalabi,
head of the Iraqi National Congress and apparently the source of much
misinformation before the war. The nephew has opened a law office in
Baghdad, and Feith's erstwhile law partner is marketing the firm in the
Hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts have already been
awarded -- without competitive bidding -- to American businesses, including
Halliburton and Bechtel. Hey, no favoritism there. Appearance of
impropriety? Don't be a churlish nitpicker.
Sen. Tom Daschle's office has documented the "gold-plating" of
cost estimates in dozens of contracts. These include such gems as $6,000
each for handheld radios and satellite phones, as well as $200 million to
protect 100 Iraqi families, at an average cost of $200,000 per family
member. The federal witness protection program costs $10,000 per person per
While the main cell-phone contract has yet to be announced, MCI
has the preliminary contract. MCI has no experience in building cell
networks -- and it also perpetrated the largest accounting fraud in history.
We're footing the $87 billion-and-counting tab (not including
the $79 billion we already spent) for this venture, and the Senate Finance
Committee has the chutzpah to consider granting a $100 billion tax break to
corporations that make profits overseas. This dandy notion would permit
American firms to "repatriate" overseas profits at a reduced tax rate of
5.25 percent, rather than the current 35 percent. Now, does anyone think
that doing so might, just might, encourage more corporations to move their
El stinko to high heaven-o.
To find out more about Molly Ivins, and read features by other
Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web
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