Skip to main content


Showing posts from February 2, 2003
Remora All Terrorism, all the time There's a profile of the dangerous Mr. Zoellick, Bush's free trade ambassador, in the NYT today, penned by ELIZABETH BECKER and EDMUND L. ANDREWS Inevitably, Zoellick spouts the Bush line about what he does: "The long-term war against terrorism has to include trade, openness and development," he said in a recent interview." I can't wait until somebody tells us that the war against terrorism has to include privatizing social security. Or has it already happened? Anyway, the profile is worth reading not only to find out what Zoellick is up to, but also because there's an unexpected bitchiness in the thing. This is our favorite part" "A prolific writer and a man driven to make his mark on the world stage, Mr. Zoellick has been plagued throughout his career with assertions that he lacks the kind of bonhomie and people skills that would help him widen his influence inside the administration and
Remora Ah, for the time to make a long, leisurely post about the tax shelter shell game that was apparently played by Ernst and Young! To sing of how they roped in the greedy, incompetent CEO class (their pockets bulging with stock option money they evidently did nothing to earn, and that soon receded into the electronic ether from whence it came, paper wealth to paper loss, dust to dust, worldcom without end, amen)! I mean, is LI above smirking at such a relic of the nineties as this piece of news, from the NYT business section ? "Two firms being sued, Ernst & Young and KPMG, offered shelters that they said would make taxes on salaries, stock option profits and capital gains from the sale of a business either shrink to pennies on the dollar or disappear. :The fees and savings on taxes can be enormous. Ernst & Young charged some clients $1 million just to hear a sales pitch, according to court papers. And the firms made millions from the sale of each shelter.
Note Our best friend Dave leaves a message on the recorder: your last refutations didn�t refute anything. Ah, he knows how to stick the knife into LI�s heart. We imagine that we are the great refuters, the universal refuters. Like a village wrestler, our world is bounded by our strength, and our strength is untested by the wide world. So� it turns out we didn�t present an overwhelming case for peace in our last couple of posts. But� we can�t help but think that the real value of the post that Dave is referring to (not the Kipling post, surely, which wasn�t a refutation) is our use of the words "surreption" and "clanculation." Long after our Mesopotamian misadventure has sunk to the dusty status of the War of Jenkins Ear, we like to imagine that the OED will have an entry for clanculation, quoting, well, we blush to say, but LI. What are current events compared to the long history of the language?
Remora And now, for an entre-act in LI's unremitting stream of anti-belligerent propaganda: There's a nice essay about Kipling in Hudson Review -- one with which LI disagrees mutitudinously, but one which we urge our readers to look at. Or those of our readers who have read Kipling. The concentration here is on Kim, but we must admit never to have finished Kim. Our Kipling is the Kipling of the short stories. We were recently reading the short stories again (background to our endless paper about James Fitzjames Stephen) so that we came to the Hudson Review essay with some thoughts of our own. Every essay about Kipling begins with the same note: he was a secret pleasure, for political reasons, of the dominant literary class. His art, by achieving an uncritical popularity, became, perforce, suspect among those who were popular only, sometimes, among the critics. He was admired by Eliot, Orwell, and Wilson. The politics of these tropes goes back to that certain pall of re
Remora "Thus the word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, you live in the midst of a rebellious house; they have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious house." -- Ezekiel My ears heard Colin Powell make a long speech to the UN and basically re-iterate the Bush administration's position, exemplifying it with some examples culled from military telecommunications that mean very little. Actually, they mean more than the administration may want them to mean. If the Iraqi military is calling each other up saying hey, haul those nerve gas cannisters that we are going to use on the Kurds over to site 7, you would think the U.S. would have a much easier time making its case, at least in as far as the surreption and clanculation of the famed Weapons of Mass Destruction are concerned. However, LI's ears aren't Vernon Loeb's, the Washington Post's excitable National Security correspondant. In his online
Remora Cupidity on a scale unexampled... Last week, with little fanfare, FERC released information conclusively showing that Reliant closed down electric generating plants in order to create artificial energy shortages, and thus raise prices, in California in the great energy heist of 2000 . Jason Leonard of Counterpunch has a nice, detailed article about this. Here's the smoking gun graf -- of course. You can't have a scandal without a smoking gun, anymore: "This latest smoking gun in the ongoing investigation into California's energy crisis, a transcript of a conversation between a trader and a power plant operator at Houston-based Reliant Energy in which the two discuss shutting down some of the company's power plants in California between June 20 and 22, 2000 to create an artificial shortage so the price of power would skyrocket, was released by the FERC Friday. The tactic worked. It caused power prices to reach "unjust and unreasonable" l
Remora It was Napoleon who made the phrase "nation of shopkeepers" famous. As it happened, he was quoting Adam Smith -- who coined the phrase in the chapter that considers the motives animating the building of empires. The passage is arresting : "To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers. Such statesmen, and such statesmen only, are capable of fancying that they will find some advantage in employing the blood and treasure of their fellow-citizens to found and maintain such an empire. Say to a shopkeeper, "Buy me a good estate, and I shall always buy my clothes at your shop, even though I should pay somewhat dearer than what I can have them for at other shops"; and you will not find him very forwa
Remora Deficits and us LI is not a deficit hawk. We felt that the budget surplus under Clinton was a mark of shame, rather than a badge of honor -- it represents the lost opportunity of finally implementing a true national health care system, which in the end would be a much more valuable asset to this country than paying down on the national debt. Our idea is that the question of the deficit has to start with the premise that all deficits are not equal. One has to judge a deficit on the basis of where the money has gone, and where it will go. The supply siders have formed a meretricious cult around a fundamental truth: a budget is part of an ongoing process. It is embedded in a history. Deficits now may make way for surpluses later. Why? Because the money borrowed was spent wisely. What is wise spending? Spending that benefits the general welfare in health, education, science, infrastructure, etc. What is unwise spending? Spending that leads to death, or increases inequality, or i
Remora Yesterday, LI went with a friend car-buying. The friend thought she�d like to buy a car from a dealer in Georgetown; or at least check out his lot. He told us, casually, that he�d come in at eight, and on the way in had seen the Shuttle break up in the sky. That is all we can contribute about the sad news � a bystander of a bystander�s account. We hope this doesn�t interrupt the shuttle for too long � and we wonder how the three crew members up there on the shuttle are going to get home. We suggest an article from, of all places, the Cato Institute today. The libertarian think tank is better known for coming up with hairbrained schemes to privatize social security than for its dovishness. But there is a considerable tradition on the American right that suspects that the impulse driving imperialism is a kissing cousin to the impulse driving big government elsewhere. This ties in with a Burkean suspicion of all schemes to better mankind that impose an order of ideas fro