New report commissioned by the Dutch government cites ethnic ghettos and ‘sink schools’ —Sydney Morning Herald [via walker]. This is a simmering social problem throughout Western Europe, fueling the appeal of xenophobic right-wing parties in a number of European nations. The Dutch contended with the fiery Pim Fortuyn until his assassination two years ago, and Jean-Marie Le Pen‘s worrisome showing in the last French election has been widely covered as has the resurgent German skinhead movement. Especially with the demonization of Islam since 9-11, hateful eyes are turned on ethnic minorities who are often Arabic. Many trace the origins of the problem to the ‘guest worker’ policies by which Western European nations imported Eastern European, Middle Eastern and North African laborers during boom times. As the economies have contracted, support for immigrant labor policies has waned and the guest workers have been seen as competing with indigenous job-seekers. American interest in this problem has been stoked by Bush’s recent immigration policy reforms which some characterize as the tantamount to turning illegal immigrants into a ‘guest worker’ underclass similar to the discredited European one.
Greg Palast: “You said it … and then that little tongue came out; that weird way you stick your tongue out between your lips like the little kid who knows he’s fibbing. Like a snake licking a rat. I saw that snakey tongue dart out and I thought, ‘He knows.’
And what you know, Mr. Bush, is this: you’ve ordered this testing to hunt down, identify and target for destruction the hopes of millions of children you find too expensive, too heavy a burden, to educate…
You know and I know that this is not an educational opportunity program – because you offer no opportunities, no hope, no plan, no funding. Rather, it is the new Republican social Darwinism, educational eugenics: Identify the nation’s loser-class early on. Trap them, then train them cheap. The system will provide the new worker drones that will clean the toilets at the Yale alumni club, to punch the McDonald’s cash registers color-coded for illiterates, to pamper the winner-class on the higher floors of the new service economy order. ” —Guerilla News Network
‘Hey People It was Only a Tower and I Swear by God that They [the U.S.] are the Ones Who Pulled It Down’. “”Kharittat Al Tariq’ (Road Map) is the name of the song which gives voice to widespread views in the Egyptian street regarding the September 11th events and the U.S. – Iraq standoff. The song talks about the road map and includes quotes from U.S. President George W. Bush about the plan’s implementation. The song goes on to describe how America is the spitting image of Israel and it carries out its desires, making the world into a ‘jungle.’ But it does not stop at that point. Abd Al-Rahim goes on to boldly sing that the USA is the perpetrator of the September 11th attacks.
”Hey people it was only a tower and I swear by God that they are the ones who pulled it down.’ Abd Al-Rahim further sings that they purposely did it to make people think that Arabs and Muslims are terrorists and were behind that disaster. Now the U.S. can do what it pleases to the Arab world since everyone thinks they are to blame.” —MEMRI [via walker]
by Andrew Sullivan: “Bush could have laid out an agenda for the future last night.
Instead, he dwelled on the battles of the last three years.”
This is not Reaganism. It isn’t Gingrichism. It’s Big Government Moral Conservatism: fiscally liberal and socially conservative. It will please the hard right and the base. And it will alienate libertarians and moderates. It struck me as a speech that comes out of a political cocoon, from a president who doesn’t grasp that he is in fact politically vulnerable, and who intends to run not on what he plans for the future but on what he has done in the past. That’s a high-risk strategy. We won’t know how high a risk until the Democrats produce a nominee.
by Jonathan Cohn: “Bush’s heath insurance proposals were a hodgepodge of unserious
retreads…The ideas are so unserious they’re barely worth considering, except insofar as they demonstrate just how far out of touch this White House really is.”
by Michael Crowley: “Far from rising above the fray of the campaign, Bush used last
night’s speech to define his Democratic opponents in the most
unflattering ways possible.”
Marriage of Convenience
by Michelle Cottle: “Bush’s new marriage initiative is unlikely to work. Then again,
it’s not supposed to.”
…(C)heap-ass, feel-good initiatives aimed at promoting strong marriages–all in the name of happier, healthier children, of course–are something only the most amoral neo-Marxist feminazi could object to. Who cares if the programs actually work? Nearly all of us can agree that they should work–that it would, on the whole, be a positive thing if somehow they could work. And, in an election year, that kind of broad consensus is as good as gold.
“The Kerry victory in Iowa reminds me, not unsurprisingly, of Gary Hart’s come-from-behind victory in New Hampshire in 1984. At the time I was working for the presidential campaign of Sen. Ernest Hollings. I’d written a profile of Hart a year earlier and decided that while somebody like Hart was the ideal Democrat, Hart himself was too strange, and his judgment too suspect, for him to be president. .. (T)he rest of the campaign did more or less correspond to a scenario in which Democrats found out more about Hart and decided ‘on second thought, no.’
I expect a similar scenario to unfold with John Kerry. The idea of John Kerry is appealing. The reality is less so (and a lot more less so than was the reality of Hart). As the primaries proceed, my guess is voters will learn more about Kerry and his support will fade…
I don’t want to commit–or rather, by predicting Kerry’s quick demise, I’ve already committed–what a Slate colleague calls the Howell Raines Fallacy, the assumption that the great and good American people, in their wisdom, will inevitably come to agree with you (or, in Raines’ case, the New York Times editorial page). It’s an easy fallacy for a democrat to slide into…” —Slate
I agree that the reality of Kerry (and I have been watching him for awhile, as the junior senator from my state about whose Presidential aspirations the Mass. media have been filled for a long time) lacks something. Who was it? Maybe Steve Gilliard, who said succinctly, “There’s just no there there.” But he is not the candidate; Kaus’ ’62-38 defeat’ line is, as usual for him, pure contrarian, but he is serving a useful function in pointing out that a bandwagon effect around the results of the byzantine Iowa caucus would be, to say the least, ill-advised and premature. And in warning the Democrats not to take any support for granted.