Bob Herbert’s last column for the NY Times

Losing Our Way:

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.


Wildly inappropriate

Another reason Jeffrey Immelt, G.E.’s CEO, shouldn’t be the chairman of Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness:

General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.

The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.

Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.


Not so quietly

Headline: Japan Quietly Evacuating a Wider Radius From Reactors

Correction: Japan was quietly evacuating…

I’ve heard this before

NY Times Headline: US Led Assault Nears Goals in Libya

Who wants to bet we’ll be reading similar headlines next year, and the year after, and the year after that…

Unanswered questions on Libya

From John Cole:

When do we know we have “won?” Who are we protecting? What do we do if Qaddafi survives? What do we do when we figure out the people we are “saving” hate us, just slightly less than they hated Qaddafi? What about civilian casualties? How much is this going to cost? How long is it going to take? Who is going to pay for it? Are we going to raise taxes, or do we just proceed with devastating cuts to the poor to finance another war. Are we going to have to stay and protect people after we “win?” Will we have to create bases to protect the war profiteers who are going to swoop in and start drilling and reconstructing what we just blew up? What is the reaction going to be in other Arab nations? What kind of blowback will there be from this?


My bad

I went on vacation for 4 days, and the U.S. jumps into another war! Obama must have done this on purpose to escape a scathing blog post.

Sorry guys.

‘Acute case of The Embarrassments’

IOZ on Obama’s complicity in Bradley Manning’s torture:

Here is a fine opportunity to engage in a little free and painless magnanimity, to make vague noises about according decent treatment even to one’s enemies, to blather a bit about America’s committment to the humane treatment of all God’s precious children, to give the poor kid some boxer shorts and a couple of books to read, and to throw that paltry bone to his supporters in the Democratic faction, who would immediately beatify him as better-than-Cheney, and he passed on it. He said, no, we’re going to go right on torturing this person, who has not been convicted of any crime, lest he commit suicide before we are able to consign him for the rest of his life to the tortures we are already visiting upon him. Here, then, is a man who considers torturing a kid barely past his youth for an alleged crime whose principal result to-date has been an acute case of The Embarrassments, more important, more pressing, and more necessary than the public maintenance of his own image as a moderate reformer and as a conciliator.


Obama embraces the Dark Side

The President has now firmly embraced the teachings of Darth Cheney:

… in Barack Obama’s administration, it’s perfectly acceptable to abuse an American citizen in detention who has been convicted of nothing by consigning him to 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement, barring him from exercising in his cell, punitively imposing “suicide watch” restrictions on him against the recommendations of brig psychiatrists, and subjecting him to prolonged, forced nudity designed to humiliate and degrade.

Our military is torturing Bradley Manning, and it needs to stop. The laws against torture apply equally to innocent people, criminals and traitors.


The Tea Party viceroy in Michigan

From the people who pay lip-service to fiscal conservatism and limited government:

Read more here.

Biblical disaster in Japan

Incredible. Hopefully the death toll is low, but I haven’t seen any estimates yet.

Only positive is that at least this hit a rich and well built country like Japan. Imagine something like this happening in Brazil. Hell, think back to what happened in Haiti.