Saturday, January 15, 2005

Waiting for Georgot.

The last few days have seen some stories that would, in previous times, have the press falling all over themselves to dig deeper, shout it louder, editorialize about it to the hilltops. But we live in surrealistic times. So much of what we hear is spun to a fare-thee-well by the pundits. Our attention is diverted from the real stories to local murder trials that take on national importance or separations among the glitterati.

So maybe not a lot of people paid attention to these.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that our invasion of Iraq has created a haven for terrorists:

Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.

Iraq provides terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills," said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats. "There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries."

Well that went well, didn't it?

And from this morning's NY Times, a story about how we're going to use some of those "endangered" funds to push for the President's plan for reform:

Over the objections of many of its own employees, the Social Security Administration is gearing up for a major effort to publicize the financial problems of Social Security and to convince the public that private accounts are needed as part of any solution.

The agency's plans are set forth in internal documents, including a "tactical plan" for communications and marketing of the idea that Social Security faces dire financial problems requiring immediate action.

Social Security officials say the agency is carrying out its mission to educate the public, including more than 47 million beneficiaries, and to support President Bush's agenda.

"The system is broken, and promises are being made that Social Security cannot keep," Mr. Bush said in his Saturday radio address. He is expected to address the issue in his Inaugural Address.

But agency employees have complained to Social Security officials that they are being conscripted into a political battle over the future of the program. They question the acuracy of recent statements by the agency, and they say that money from the Social Security trust fund should not be used for such advocacy.

"Trust fund dollars should not be used to promote a political agenda," said Dana C. Duggins, a vice president of the Social Security Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents more than 50,000 of the agency's 64,000 workers and has opposed private accounts.

Deborah C. Fredericksen of Minneapolis, who has worked for the Social Security Administration for 31 years, said, "Many employees believe that the president and this agency are using scare tactics to promote private accounts."

Did I mention this is your social security taxes they're using?

You can't go wrong underestimating the arrogance and absurdity of this Administration. Just when you think it can't get any more ridiculous, it does.

Beckett would be proud.


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