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April 28, 2007

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» http://instapundit.com/archives2/004647.php from Instapundit.com (v.2)
VIA THE NEW YORK TIMES: surprisingly good news from Iraq. Especially surprising since it's via the New York Times. "Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence i... [Read More]

» http://instapundit.com/archives2/004647.php from Instapundit.com (v.2)
VIA THE NEW YORK TIMES: surprisingly good news from Iraq. Especially surprising since it's via the New York Times. "Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence i... [Read More]

» http://instapundit.com/archives2/004647.php from Instapundit.com (v.2)
VIA THE NEW YORK TIMES: surprisingly good news from Iraq. Especially surprising since it's via the New York Times. "Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence i... [Read More]

» NYT Late to the Party from Mind in the Qatar
But before the NYT starts patting itself on the back for printing a good piece of journalism, it ought to be asking itself "What took so long?" [Read More]

» http://instapundit.com/archives2/004647.php from Instapundit.com (v.2)
VIA THE NEW YORK TIMES: surprisingly good news from Iraq. Especially surprising since it's via the New York Times. "Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence i... [Read More]

» Good News Bad News In Iraq from the Times-Heavily Updated from A Second Hand Conjecture
On one hand the construction and other infrastructure projects we have been funding are still struggling: In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling ... [Read More]

» SURGING ALONG from Word Around the Net
Sounds pretty terrible, right? This is the heart of Saddam country, the triangle of towns he came from and thus his tribe lived in and which got the most benefit from his regime lay in this province. This is where Hussein was found in a spider hole. ... [Read More]

» http://instapundit.com/archives2/004647.php from Instapundit.com (v.2)
VIA THE NEW YORK TIMES: surprisingly good news from Iraq. Especially surprising since it's via the New York Times. "Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence i... [Read More]

Comments

Specter

Finally the MSM is catching on?

I really don't have much hope that is the case. I suspect it is a momentary loss of insanity.

BarbaraS

The Times have to print something. More and more good news is coming out of this area. Of course, they have damned the surge with faint praise. They still have to print that we are still losing in Iraq even with these wins. They have to say the wins are fragile and shaky at best. But in order not to entirely lose their credibility they have to print something.

PeterUK.

I won't believe a word of it until Mullah Hari al Reid issues a fatwa.

ajacksonian

What is forgotten out in Anbar is that not all of the tribes were loyal to Ba'athists or Saddam, and were treated just like anyone else the tyrant didn't like: they were targeted for special treatment by the various secret police organizations. Last AUG-SEP the tribes formed their own coalition and shifted to government allegiance in Anbar and that winning over of the tribes (25 of 31 locally) started the influx of Sunni Arabs into local police and the New Iraqi Army. Additionally the tribes agreed to slowly integrate their existing militias until better forces could take over for them. Looking across the spectrum of Iraq one sees a mosaic theme arising of how little trust the local people have in *any* government due to the level of terror and death inflicted on them over the decades of Saddam and Ba'athist rule before him. Even under Saddam Falluja was considered to be a relatively lawless place and US Forces coming in saw that the most reliable, trustworthy unit of government was the *family* not necessarily the *tribe*. Any one who has lived in any Nation on the planet that has some basic government that is quasi-reliable will not see that. Even repressive regimes get a bit of tempering out in regions far from direct control across the Middle East and Africa. What it takes to so play tribes against each other that families inside them no longer give them full trust is a long-term attack on civil society.

Even where the tribes have remained in relatively good standing, like Ramadi, the MNF-I could not do more than basic garrison there for years and only late last year did that change. The slow turn of Ramadi and the day-in, day-out of retaking neighborhoods from al Qaeda is slow, but with help from Iraqi Army and Security Forces this has happened to the point where re-opening factories will start this year and actual *employment* begin. As factories depend upon supply chains and infrastructure for water, sewer and electrical services, that means they are also coming along. Still the distrust in places like Ramadi is one where they have actually trusted the Iraqi Army *more* than neighboring city's police forces. That, too, is a telling sign of long term social structure decay that was specifically done by the previous regime.

For those wondering why the older styles of counter-insurgency were not done, that single underlying reason of no *trust* in any government structure is it. The 'oil drop' concept, even in Nations that have a reliable government and some small amount of trust have problems, long term, with quelling insurgencies. To this day in South and Central America, parts of Africa and Asia there are still ongoing, low level insurgencies that have been going on for decades with the occasional bomb blast, assassination and general terror attack on governments and civil organs of government.

From two on-the-ground sources we get that direct view that the Ba'athist regime did not stay around to be held accountable but disintegrated. Both John Burns and Michael Ware have stated as much after spending years talking with folks on the ground in various parts of Iraq. As all the pre-war plans counted on there being something left of the Ba'athist regime they all failed in the non-presence of it post-conflict. The dismissal of the regime was not a sending home of anyone, but a recognition of there was no one there in power *to* send home. Even if we had more than a few weeks of reliable HUMINT, this would not have been expected as those Nations *with* reliable HUMINT did not warn us about the frailty of Iraqi society.

In the West we assume much about society, continuity of government and basic understanding of why even awful government needs to be kept around to prevent anarchy. Saddam's regime removed that as a viable basis for any post-war work and had spent decades at just that work attacking the next most reliable form of trustworthy government: the tribes.

How long does it take to establish that level of trust for basic services that are *not* used as a cudgel against people within a society? A decade? Two? A generation? Two? Three? That can and must be done, primarily by Iraqis, but they are pointing out that their indigenous forces are still only about half-strength at this point in time. Out of all the Provinces Iraqis completely control 3 of them, and the rest are held under Iraqi command but via MNF-I control, with a couple of them, like Anbar, still uncontrolled.

The tribes stepping up to the plate is a matter of their placing trust in their government and the MNF-I. They have had first-hand experience with an Iraqi Army that actually *helps them* and *defends them* and finds ways for society to be knit back together. Yes, Sunni tribes in Ramadi and Falluja trust Shia members of the IA and ISF! That is not a country heading towards sectarian 'civil war', but one with externally funded and employed insurgencies infiltrating men, arms and cash to undermine what is being built. This is a grave threat to extremist sectarian groups across the Middle East and is forcing them to coalesce to counter this.

That is what one party in the US wishes to abandon: common civil government held in common by a people of a Nation of all ethnicities and all religions. Run away from that and you run away from the Peace of Westphalia in 1648... the basis for Nation States to allow people within Nations to have separate outlooks in religion. It took hundreds of thousands, millions, dead in Europe due to religious wars to establish that. 15-20% of the population base in the 30 years war *separate* from plagues, although that sure did not help. That is Western Civilization having found accommodation of religion separate from Nation. Enemies who target that are striking at the underlying foundation of Nations to have democracy, to have liberty separate from religion of the State.

A very strange thing to retreat *from*.

Not protecting it can expect to see decades like the 30 years war on a global basis. If you think a car bomb or two a day is hard, imagine the scale of violence that will remove 15-20% of the present day global population over the next 30 to 100 years. And no assurances that Nation States as a concept will survive. Our Enemy opens up that pre-1648 world and is slowly taking out those old concepts and dusting them off. They like that idea of Religion over all of Mankind.

And it is no help that some folks want to prop the time vault door open and point out the best ways to bring down Nations or just cheer them on. A lacking in a basic survival instinct, that... how unfortunate that they are the woolly, gelatinous, spineless masses sitting Upon the Hill and at the levers of government.

Digger

From a few days ago “the tipping point in this war” doesn’t depend on what happens on the ground in Iraq, rather what happens in the minds of the drive-by media here at home.

kate

I think the real frustration here is the total lack of fight left in President Bush. He has many opportunities to take on his domestic enemies. For instance, after Pelosi's disastrous trip to Syria, he could have sent a team of diplomats to "repair the damage". Put those fools on the defensive for a change. He's just not in the game.

I hope he vetoes the bill with a group of Silver Star recipients in the background.

His communication skills have gotten worse, not better. Heck, even little Jessica Lynch has improved her communication skills. She performed well at Waxman's show trial.

Bush's performance last week with the Japanese Prime Minister was a disaster.

Other Tom

Bush does, indeed, seem to have lost his stomach for counterattacking the Democrats. I believe he is simply determined to continue to carry on in Iraq until January 20, 2009, in the hopes that that will be enough time to allow the Iraqi political establishment to survive as a democracy.

It is crystal clear that the Democrats are actively hoping for a defeat. Anything other than outright defeat would be disastrous for them, as they have repeatedly declared that it has already occurred. It's quite a shameful spectacle.

Cecil Turner

I'm not sure what the President can do to affect public perception. His use of the bully pulpit is obvioulsy less than optimal, but the media response (focusing on minutiae, airing opposing views after each event, and questioning every assertion) is far more effective at opinion shaping.

The media myths are more persistent than reality. For example, check out yesterday's Truth: first casualty of Iraq, which hits all the bases:

  • No WMDs or programs were found;
  • Wilson debunked the Nigieren forgeries;
  • The forgeries formed the basis for the uranium claims;
  • The WMD assessment was based almost entirely on "Curveball" and stovepiped intel from Chalabi.
If you look at the amount of Administration time and effort that went into debunking these contentions--including declassification of the NIE, public statements from the CIA chief that Wilson's report never mentioned documents at all--you can see it's a losing proposition. In fact, far from proving the main points that the consensus of the intel community supported Administration claims, minor caveats were trotted out as further evidence of duplicitousness. The bottom line is that the media runs the story, and if they insist on lying about it, they can.

kate

I actually think President Bush's last energetic performance was in the 2002 campaign. In 2004, his effort was mediocre and he almost lost to a weak candidate. His debate performances were just bad.

But 2005 was the pivotal year. The media decided to run down his numbers and they did it very successfully. He never fought back. It might be too late.

I get the impression he is tired of the job. He needs a team of top communication experts to fight daily the lies if he is too tired.

I am frustrated with him. He's not just fighting for himself, he needs to fight for the country, the troops and his supporters.

I notice even Steyn and Hanson are now getting depressed with him.

Other Tom

On the other hand, there is this absolutely wonderful news:

"The Harris Poll. April 20-23, 2007. N=1,001 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"How would you rate the job House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doing: excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?"

2/2-5/07
Excellent/Pretty Good 38%
Only Fair/Poor 45%

Compare those numbers with those of less than three months ago:

4/20-23/07
Excellent/Pretty Good 30%
Only Fair/Poor 56%

Considerting that she has been speaker for less than four months, these numbers are (to use Harry Reid's words) "compelling and astounding."




Other Tom

As you can see, I screwed up the placement of the numbers. The April numbers should have been displayed first, followed by the February ones. But you get the picture: she's real low, and going down.

kate

Other Tom...this is good news. I look forward to seeing how Bush handles the veto this week. He can use this as an opportunity to restructure the debate. I'm hoping for a strong performance and when he speaks I hope it is concise and strong, without stammers or hesitations.

boris

the media runs the story, and if they insist on lying about it, they can.

This is the bottom line. Blaming Bush for this reality is pointless. Reagan was able to overcome this for a few years but if you recall his second term, it was also blighted by the same forces.

The choices are: (1) Stand firm and pretend to ignore it OR (2) do something about it. Look what happened to Libby when Cheney tried (2).

In fact option (2) is really a job for the VRWC. Instead of compaining about Bush ... conspire.

PeterUK.

Boris,
I would agree.We live in an age where there is no truth only competing narratives,time to weave a new narrative.

clarice

The weaving's been done..the need is for a better channel to communicate them more broadly. (Sadly the owner of one of the biggest IT sites--FR--seems to be going thru some kind of breakdown.)

PeterUK.

Clarice,
Word of mouth,rumour,a bit of scandal,a dash of intrigue and lashings of conspiracy.

clarice

For that, we certainly will need your master touch and how can we at SCAM spare you?

PeterUK.

Thank you Clarice,
The most pressing question is why Nancy Pelosi could find the time to go to Syria to meet the dictator of a tin pot resourceless nation but would not deign to meet with General Petraeus,the commander of your troops in Iraq.
What a terrible snub to your gallant military,dare not Pelosi not look them in the eye as she betrays them.Or are they beneath her?

clarice

I am waiting for Chavez' battleship to sail into SF Bay so I can reprise Lotte Lenya's Und das Schiff mit acht Segeln und mit fünfzig Kanonen

PeterUK.

Clarice,
Won't be long before the Barbary slaver's galleys are mooring in SF bay.

clarice

Heh--there are so many bondage fanciers there, the ship will be overrun by volunteers.

lurker9876

And Pelosi and Reid will welcome those Barbary pirates with wide open arms, according to Doug Ross!!

Well, well, looks like freerepublic took a major hit. Check sweetness and light.


PeterUK.

Clarice,
We can sell them tickets,but they will have to offload their offsets cheap!

BTW,it might pay to stir up the netroots

lurker9876
Thank you Clarice, The most pressing question is why Nancy Pelosi could find the time to go to Syria to meet the dictator of a tin pot resourceless nation but would not deign to meet with General Petraeus,the commander of your troops in Iraq. What a terrible snub to your gallant military,dare not Pelosi not look them in the eye as she betrays them.Or are they beneath her?

Because Pelosi was handling another version of the House Defense Pork bill. Apparently, Pelosi had already made up her mind and did not need Petreaus' inputs.

What a crock.

lurker9876

Not much of a turnout, huh?

Other Tom

I love the impeachment stuff. It's one fairly bright line for separating the ordinarily daffy left from the outright loons. The outright loons have never gotten over the Clinton impeachment, and they've been dreaming about revenge ever since. The ordinarily dafft left is, well, daffy, but they know it would be a dumb thing to do and would fail in any event.

Jane

I'm watching Tenet's performance on 60 minutes. I didn't plan to believe him, but boy he really comes across as a liar to me. He's just too reactive.

clarice

Good thing, I swallowed my coffee before reading:
"“We’re going to have to scrap the big plan,” George Ripley, the protest’s leader, announced. He advised his allies to rearrange everyone. They would still form I-M-P-E-A-C-H-!, he insisted, only on a tad smaller scale. "
ROFL

lurker9876

Yeah, me too.

You have to think twice, thrice why Flopping Aces titled his President Bush Sets Benchmarks & Timetable for Congress

Good for him. Will Bush adjourn the Congress or will Congress force a government shutdown? The contractors weren't impacted during those two government contractors years ago.

clarice

Jane, per the NYT's review today he claimed he spoke to Richard Perle on 9.12 and quotes him saying Hussein would have to pay for this. I just hung up from a call with Richard--he was out of the country on 9/12 and was unable to return until 9/15..Tenet is clearly delusional or lying.

lurker9876

Incidentally, what happened to the frontpagemag site? It appears to be offline for the moment.

Other Tom

Here's an excerpt from an enjoyable piece on the current Powerline blog:

"The truth is that the Bush administration has been extraordinarily scandal-free. Not a single instance of corruption has been unearthed. Only one significant member of the executive branch, Scooter Libby, has been convicted of anything. Whether the jury's verdict was right or wrong, that case was an individual tragedy unrelated to any underlying wrongdoing by Libby or anyone else.

"What other 'scandals' are consuming the White House? Eight United States Attorneys, who are political appointees serving at the pleasure of the President, were replaced. So what? Was it a scandal when Bill Clinton replaced all 93? So far, not a single fact--I'm drawing here the subtle distinction between 'fact' and 'speculation' that so often escapes our liberal pundits--has emerged to render the replacement of those Justice Department employees scandalous in any respect."

As for Tenet on 60 Minutes, we're on pins and needles here on the left coast, where it's still over two hours away. I shall capture it through the miracle of Tivo, and watch it upon return from an evening of heavy eating and drinking.

lurker9876

Oh, sorry about your coffee, Clarice. Didn't mean to surprise ya with the "Impeachment" link.

Yanno what my prediction will be more Memorial Day of this year?

A large crowd turnout for the Gathering of Eagles!

Will the Gathering of Eagles do the same for July 4th? Need to promote and foster patriotism and freedom of our land!

Why's everyone writing articles about the decreasing number of memberships for GOP of late?

Have to read this title twice after reading Flopping Aces's President Bush Sets Benchmarks & Timetable for Congress

Will Bush adjourn the Congress? I bet.

Will Congress force a government shutdown? Probably not. It'll backfire on them and they know it. But dang it, I wish they would. Contractors were not impacted by the previous two government shutdowns.

Any predictions of what will be front page news this week?

Tenet
Defense Pork bill
Pafey / Tabois

What else?

Maybeex

Bush's performance last week with the Japanese Prime Minister was a disaster.

I didn't see that. I have heard, however, that Bush's speech in East Grand Rapids was really great, complete with power point presentation.

lurker9876

What's going on in Texas?

HB 3678 was on the House floor last week and will be taken up again on Monday, April 30.

HB 3678 would allow voluntary student-initiated expression of religious viewpoints in public schools.

Jane

Jane, per the NYT's review today he claimed he spoke to Richard Perle on 9.12

Did he say Perle? I thought he said someone else. But I love the instant fact checking. You go girl!

lurker9876

Bush's performance last week with the Japanese Prime Minister was a disaster.

I didn't see that. I have heard, however, that Bush's speech in East Grand Rapids was really great, complete with power point presentation.

Did Rove put together this PowerPoint presentation? How come Waxman hasn't gone after this PowerPoint presentation...yet????

Other Tom, I loved that Powerline post about the scandal-free Bush adm. So far, I like what Powerline has posted. There are now a few times that I did not like what Ed Morrissey and Patrick Frey posted of late.

richard mcenroe

Yeah, those Impeachment Stunts can be tricky...

richard mcenroe

Yeah, those Impeachment Stunts can be tricky...

so can links.

clarice

Well,Jane, Bill Kristol beat me to this "exclusive"
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/593daqmw.asp>Tenet's imaginary conversation

Barry

Tenet just proves what I've known all along, he wasn't up to the task. He is nothing more than a dishonest political hack. I noticed there was no correction to the "WH outed Plame" question either.

Jane

Tenet just proves what I've known all along, he wasn't up to the task.

Frankly I was amazed by his performance. I wouldn't hire him as a receptionist. I wouldn't be surprised if someone said he was on drugs. And I didn't think much of the interviewer either. I tell ya, it gives me no confidence in our government.

kate

I read about President Bush's presentation with the PowerPoint but did not see it. I recall good comments about it. Perhaps he should try it again, this time in prime time.

I want the President to turn this around and reconnect with the American people. I'm hoping he can do it.

Enlightened

Ok, just a quick OT drive by - I would dearly love some Truther to explain how 6800 gals of burning fuel melted this steel and concrete structure - top to bottom - but the same thing did not happen at the WTC.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/29/BAGVOPHQU46.DTL

Happy Sunday All !

Enlightened

Ok, so nevermind. Malkin was all over it. Jeesh. It's the weekend fercrissakes.

Other Tom

That's easy, Enlightened: this was simply the first time that fire has melted steel. At least as of September 12, 2001 it had still never happened before. Who said the laws of physics can't change?

hit and run

Clarice:
Good thing, I swallowed my coffee before reading:
"“We’re going to have to scrap the big plan,” George Ripley, the protest’s leader, announced.

I had NOOOO idea I had gotten this big.....

But only 150 or so showed up, far fewer than the 1,000 organizers had hoped for. As their photo opportunity approached, they knew they’d be lucky to spell I-M-P.

H&RDS?

vnjagvet

kate -- you and me too!!!

You have put your finger on what I think is the critical failure of this President.

He is like Harry Truman in that respect.

Tony Snow may be able to help here.

That was at least one great recruiting job accomplished by GWB.

Maybeex


I read about President Bush's presentation with the PowerPoint but did not see it. I recall good comments about it. Perhaps he should try it again, this time in prime time.

I want the President to turn this around and reconnect with the American people. I'm hoping he can do it.

I hope so too. But as we all know, it isn't the President's fault if you (or others) didn't see his powerpoint presentation. He doesn't have state run media to run it on.
Had he said something really stupid, it would have gotten played over and over again. You would have seen that.

Section9

The President does need to get out in the country more and orate.

Meantime, TMG's statement that the party's are making a twenty year bet is dead-on. I just believe that the Democrats are making a hideously bad bet.

Betting on the defeat of an American army in the field so you can gain Senate and House seats is craven, at best.

No one will trust you with the national security of the country, because no one should. It's because of this that Rudy will win the next election in a walk.

Barry

The more I think about it Tenets "Richard Perle" memory reminds me of John Kerrys "Seared" memory.

Maybeex

Maybe he meant Richard Clarke.

clarice

Looks to me like Wolfowitz has called the WB Board's bluff:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/29/news/wolf.php

M. Simon

Here is the new narrative:

I Support Democracy In Iraq

for those really animated on the topic:

I Support Democracy In Iraq - The Animation

I'd like to hear the Dems say they are against democracy.

M. Simon

Clarice,

It looks like a surrender, not a compromise. And it is Wolfie who is expected to surrender.

I'd like to see Wolfie fight the Board of Corruption.

clarice

I don't read it that way, M Simon--I think the oppo will continue to fight a rear guard action, but Paul won't resign and the Board won't dare fire him.

Other Tom

I just knew it--those arrogant Martians are using way too much toilet paper:

"From The Sunday [London] Times April 29, 2007

"Climate change hits Mars

"Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.

"Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

"Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena."

Maybeex

It looks to me like Wolfie is expected to surrender, but there's nothing to make him surrender.
They've gone from:
We will oust you for your corruption!
to
You must resign for your corruption!
to
Resign because we want you to!
and
(if you do leave, please don't tell anyone how much money we all make. thanks)

clarice

That's how I read it Maybee...and if he hints he'll overturn more rocks than their salaries, they will probably offer to redecorate his office.

I think the Euroweenies and thieves made a gross miscalculation.

Barry
...Euroweenies and thieves

Is there a difference?

clarice

Bloomberg finally takes a look at WB compensation--something I know a great deal about (and BTW it does not include lifetime medical care which is also given IMF and WB staffers and officers and their spouses):
A closer look at bank pay suggests the trouble here isn't that Riza gets a ``girlfriend'' salary, a mysterious wage not quite tethered to market reality. It is that World Bank staffers also do -- and almost all without spending a minute alone with the bank's embattled president. The World Bank has an administrative budget of $1 billion a year. It employs more than 10,000 people. Thousands of others consult. It doesn't publish current salaries. But according to the 2006 annual report, a senior professional, or ``G'' level employee, starts at $92,230 and can go up to $167,860, a little more than the $165,200 for a member of the 110th Congress. A manager, or ``H'' level staffer, can make $226,650. This was the category for which Riza was on the shortlist. In Line Pay Some 1,000 employees are in the H range. So the portrayal of Riza as someone receiving unheard-of compensation is inaccurate. The next salary level, ``I,'' includes directors or senior advisers, who earn as much as $268,560. There are more than 200 of these, and they supervise many others. Wolfowitz stirred ire by bringing two allies into the bank at salaries of, reportedly, $240,000 and $250,000. He may have taken a misstep in the execution, but the ``I'' data suggest those pay levels weren't out of line. Move up a tier to the 25 or so professionals, the ``J'' level employees, or vice presidents. Top salary: $289,540. Senior vice presidents and managing directors who have made it to the ``K'' class received as much as $311,000. The president's pay, when you include expenses, lands in the mid-$400,000 range. Life for Locals In other words, Wolfowitz is paid like the U.S. president, a foundation head, or a not-very-good securities analyst. Income alone hardly tells this compensation story. When the bank was established in 1944, non-American employees were exempted from U.S. income and Social Security levies. Some three- quarters of the bank's employees aren't American. Those who are also get a break on federal taxes -- they are worse off than the non-Americans, but better off than those outside the bank. Compare that with life for the locals. Allowing for a $375,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, a spouse, and real-estate taxes of $4,000 a year, a non-bank American resident of Washington would need to earn $350,000 to net $225,000, the top for ``H'' level bank employees. A married New Yorker would need $364,000. And the tax break isn't all. The World Bank budget has historically included private-school tuition reimbursements, though it is cutting back. Then there is the bank's surreal job security. Of the six regional vice presidents, four joined before 1981. Gold-plated pensions complete this picture -- tax-free again. What's more, almost 1,000 retired employees have consulting agreements with the bank, sometimes lavish, that come on top of the pension. Try to Justify Staffers might try to justify their compensation by arguing that they are more akin to Wall Streeters than to Agriculture Department paper pushers. They could note that the administrative budget comes out of profits from the bank's investments, so what the bank pays is its own business. But these arguments don't hold. Most World Bank jobs are closer to non-profit than for-profit work -- the kind of jobs that would pay five figures. While the bank is backed by callable capital from its member governments, those nations in turn are backed by the goodwill of the citizen taxpayers. If the world's taxpayers evaluated the bank's salaries, they would deem them askew. The only reason the World Bank can compensate as it does is that it falls between jurisdictions. If no one is looking at World Bank pay, no one is monitoring other aspects of the bank's work sufficiently either. Diversion Tactic Hence the ferocity of the criticism -- this crowd of loyal lifers thinks that by training the spotlight on Wolfowitz's perks, or Riza's, they can keep it off their own. Hence the critics' attacks on Suzanne Rich Folsom, the head of the bank's Department of Institutional Integrity. Folsom, an ethics lawyer, is in charge of investigating corruption in bank projects abroad and to look into possible wrongdoing by staff at home. Of course Folsom's probes might show that bank performance is optimal. But the staffers fear that they won't, and they are probably right. Maybe the staff's salaries should come down. Maybe the quality of their work needs to improve. Maybe crooks and laggards should leave and others should be paid still more. Maybe the bank staff should start paying U.S. taxes. Maybe the whole gray area between for-profit and not-for-profit needs adjustment. In any case, the old corporate rule holds yet again: When salaries seem odd, something is out of balance -- just not always in the way you think. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_shlaes&sid=aN24BW8B5Kqo>Munificent pay for WB

clarice

And Bloomberg hasn't revealed the half of it--lifetime medical care for staff and their spouses; annual paid trips home; free college tuition, munificent pensions; highly subsidized lifetime memberships in a nearby country club.

clarice

***free college tuition FOR THEIR CHILDREN***

Rick Ballard

"Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena."

Suggests?!?!

I wonder what the hypothesis for supernatural phenomena looks like. Are they proposing that it's an act of divine intervention? NASA goes ID?

I definitely blame this one on Bush.

PeterUK.

Mr Ballard,
We all know it is the sun,but until such time they can tax it,the main culprit will have to be CO2.
It would appear that the Almighty is rather fond of George.

hit and run

This wasn't me.

Thief betrays himself to get free beer
Fri Apr 27, 11:45 AM ET


BERLIN (Reuters) - A German phone thief led police right to his front door when they called the stolen mobile to say he had won some free beer and he willingly gave his address.

"An officer called and said, 'You've won a crate of beer'," said a spokesman for police in the eastern town of Neustrelitz Friday.

"Then he asked where he lived so he could drop the beer off, and the guy told him. I think the man was drunk."

Other Tom

It appeared to me that Tenet is far too volatile and emotional a guy to be head of the CIA. Strange man; troubling to think of him in that job.

Maybeex

I've only been able to see a few excerpts of the interview- although I'll be able to see Tenant on Larry King tomorrow. I'm certain Larry will give him a grilling.

Anyway, I do have some empathy for Tenant as a man. He knows his successes, and I've read before he personal guilt he has felt for some of the CIA failures. For example, Ghost Wars describes how the women of the anti-terrorism unit yelled at him that the blood was on his hands after the African embassy bombings. I'm sure that any person in that job would feel that.
How difficult it would be to be known only by your failures, when successes can't be discussed openly. I'm glad he has his book to describe some of them, because I think it's good for the American people to know how close we've come to some disasters.
Having said that, Tenant probably needed to be out of that job sooner- before his reputation was lost. I certainly don't like these blamey books.

For all of his shortcomings, I admire Colin Powell's ability to ignore what must be offers of millions of dollars to do what Tenant is doing now.

Jane

I was simply blown away by his demeanor. It reminded me of times I've dealt with company big-wigs and realized in the first 5 minutes the companies would not survive.

PeterUK.

Of course you would say that wouldn't you Schlagen und Laufen?

Other Tom

If Larry King gives Tenet a grilling, it will be the first grilling he's ever given in his life.

clarice

More on the machinations of the euroweenies at the World Bank.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010008

Appalled Moderate

Clarice:

No matter how craven the Euros have been, Wolfie bears responsibility for his own fix, which is textbook conflict of interest. If a person is going to be a reformer, he MUST keep his skirts clean, because there will always be a cabal against him.

It may be unfair. The Euros may be utterly awful in this. But Wolfie knew he would be marching into a pit full of his adversaries when he took the job. And he didn't have the sense to protect himself.

My guess...Wolfowitz will be paid an awful lot of money to walk away from this after a few more weeks of theatre.

clarice

My guess--he won't resign.
As for the conflict, you are obviously relying on the first leaked reports from the WB. The record shows he asked to be recused, the Bank officials refused that request, dictated the terms of the settlement with Riza and forced him to negotiate it. Then the Ethics Committee twice reviewed the agreement and found it ok. Finally, Wolfowitz engaged independent counsel who reviewed it and agreed it was fair.

Interestingly, in today's WaPo, Andrew Young pens a spirited defense of Wolfowitz' work at the Bank.

Appalled Moderate

clarice:

Actually, no. I am aware Wolfowitz was told he had to dictate the terms to the HR person. (That procedure, by the way, is totally bizarre.) He should have had he sense to refuse, based on the utter impropriety of the situation. Again, if you want to be a reformer, don't give your enemies tools.

I think Wolfowitz is being treated badly, as a prelude to a Euro-coup. I just do not think the US can command the international support necessary to stop it. It's one of the penalties of Iraq.

I think, in a battle, the World Bank will look very bad, and some of those Euro-cuties will have their reputations blackened. That's why, when Wolfowitz goes (because, when faced with the inability to achieve his reform agenda, he will go), he will be paid an awful lot of nontaxable cash.

PatrickR

Condi seems to have had the same reaction to Tenet's new 'slam dunk' story as I did; he said it, he meant it.

The only interesting thing Tenet said in the 60 Minutes interview was that he believed bin Laden had been trying to acquire nukes since 1993. Which means that Bush was right to be worried, post 9/11, about Saddam's interest in Niger.

Why wouldn't bin Laden try to get nukes from Iraq if they had them? He even had a former officer in Iraq's army who could have helped.

PeterUK.

Today's Wall Street Journal has another interesting editorial about the players in the Wolfowitz saga. The ad hoc committee that was supposed to decide whether Wolfowitz has acted unethically is dominated by Europeans most of whom are former politicians and they decided before hearing either him or Ms Riza that he was guilty, despite the evidence, and had to go.

On Saturday, the Washington Post cited "three senior bank officials" as saying that the committee has "nearly completed a report" concluding that Mr. Wolfowitz "breached ethics rules when he engineered a pay raise for his girlfriend." The Post also reported that, "According to bank officials, the timing of the committee's report and its conclusions have been choreographed for
maximum impact in what has become a full-blown campaign to persuade Wolfowitz to go." So there it is from the plotters themselves: Verdict first, trial later.

The timing is crucial in another way. President Bush is about to meet Commission President Barroso and Chancellor Merkel in a summit. He will, presumably, be put under some pressure from them to rid the World Bank of Wolfowitz and let it lapse back into its cosy, corrupt cronyism.

The article is scathing about certain Dutch politicians in particular:

The "ad hoc" chairman is Herman Wijffels, a Dutch politician who has his own blatant conflict of interest in the case. One of the main "witnesses" against Mr. Wolfowitz is Ad Melkert, another Dutch politician who had previously run the bank board's ethics committee that advised Mr. Wolfowitz to give the raise to his girlfriend that is now the basis for the accusations against him. Whom do you think Mr. Wijfells is going to side with: His fellow countryman, or an American reviled in Europe for wanting to depose Saddam Hussein?

Mr. Melkert has played an especially craven role by running from his own responsibility in the case. As head of the ethics committee in 2005, he refused to let Mr. Wolfowitz recuse himself from dealings with Shaha Riza, who had been long employed at the bank. Then Mr. Melkert advised him to ensure that Ms. Riza got a new job that included some kind of raise or promotion to compensate for the disruption to her career. Now, however, Mr. Melkert claims he was an innocent bystander who knew nothing about Ms. Riza's raise.

How very European. This is the same Ad Melkert, who on October 24, 2005, after Ms. Riza had been told of her new job and salary, wrote in a letter to Mr. Wolfowitz that "Because the outcome is consistent with the [Ethics] Committee's findings and advice above, the Committee concurs with your view that this matter can be treated as closed."

And it is the same Ad Melkert who absolved Mr. Wolfowitz after inspecting two whistleblower emails from an anonymous "John Smith" that circulated around the bank in early 2006 and charged malfeasance. A January 21 whistleblower email included a reference to Ms. Riza's "salary increase of around US$50,000" and was sent to the entire bank board.

Oh and one more point. Ms Riza, details of whose employment and salary were leaked to the media against all rules, has not had a chance to give her side of the story. Until now.

EUReferendum

Labels: anti-Americanism, tranzis, World Bank

hit and run

Carl Bernstein to go after Hillary...

Watergate reporter demolishes Hillary’s career story
Sarah Baxter, Washington

Drawing on a trove of private papers from Hillary Clinton’s best friend, the legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein is to publish a hard-hitting and intimate portrait of the 2008 presidential candidate, which will reveal a number of “discrepancies” in her official story.

Bernstein, who was played by Dustin Hoffman in the film All the President’s Men, has spent eight years researching the unauthorised 640-page biography, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Bernstein reaches conclusions that stand in opposition to what Senator Clinton has said in the past and has written in the past,” said Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Knopf, which publishes the book on June 19.

With the thoroughness for which he is famous, Bernstein spoke to more than 200 of Clinton’s friends, colleagues and adversaries. He stops short of accusing the New York senator of blatantly lying about her past, but has unearthed examples of where she has played fast and loose with the facts about her “personal and political life”, according to Knopf.

clarice

I'll believe it when I see it--He's had writer's block for years..and I am wary of the publicity pr machines that gin up before the release of each new political"scandal" book.

hit and run

Well damn, I knew I shoulda put the Cooper question mark on that one.

clarice

PR WIRE:
Writing anonymously as hit & run a subruban father of two exposes the debauchery of life lived on the edge between trips to the hardware store to get the mover blades sharpened, car pooling to soccer games, and fetching beer for the wild evening parties.

He throws in some helpful advise from his friend Protein Wisdom on removing paint and glue from family pets.

clarice

***Helpful adviCe***

Rick Ballard

H & R,

"He stops short of accusing the New York senator of blatantly lying about her past," is like a flashing strobe - why would anyone in the world stop short of accusing either Clinton about lying about his, her or their past?

Bernstein will turn out to be a real attack Chihuahua - I do admire him for taking a leaf from Woodward and putting his main focus upon a voice from the dead rather than the living. Maybe he'll do better with that angle than Woodward did with his postmortem interviews with Casey.

Other Tom

I strongly recommend this piece by Michael Ledeen who sheds some very interesting light on George Tenet. (I'd provide a link, but I don't know how. Someone explained it to me once, but it seemed real hard, perhaps as a result of excessive alcohol.)

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MGVlNjM5MTVkNDA3YjJlNTI3ZDAwODkxNzY1MWVhOGI=

hit and run

Clarice, I was going to fisk that...but turns out I didn't have much to disagree with.

I do own a bench grinder though and sharpen my own mower blades.

Other than that...

hit and run

Other Tom, Ledeen article

Blame Bush, Blame Global Warming, Blame Islamofascism, Blame Chlorine in the Drinking Water, Blame Liberal Appeasement, Blame Campaign Finance Reform, Blame Don Imus, Blame Rap Music, Blame El Nino, Blame the MSM, Blame Halliburton, Blame an Alien Abduction, Blame the Coarsening of the Culture, Blame Daylight Savings, Blame New Math, Blame Revisionist History, Blame Your Parents, Blame Me, But Do NOT Blame the Alcohol....

PeterUK.

Interesting take on the WoT,withdrawal in Iraq will simply move the conflict elsewhere,Afghanistan,the Balkans and the other immemorial cockpits of the worldYou can run but you can't hide

Maybeex

If Larry King gives Tenet a grilling, it will be the first grilling he's ever given in his life.

Other Tom! I am shocked you would say such a thing.

maryrose

Going to watch Larry King or 24 whichever proves to be more interesting...

hit and run

Via Ray Robison at American Thinker, a comparison...


General David Petreaus:
Iraq is, in fact, the central front of al Qaeda's global campaign and we devote considerable resources to the fight against al Qaeda Iraq.
...
[T]he spectacular car bomb attacks, which we believe are generally al Qaeda and elements sort of connected to al Qaeda. Typically, in fact, still we believe that, oh, 80 percent to 90 percent of the suicide attacks are carried out by foreigners.


Senator Chuck Hagel:
"Iraq is not embroiled in a terrorist war today." Hagel, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, cited "national intelligence" attributing "maybe 10 percent" of the insurgency and violence to al-Qaeda.

cathyf

Uh, maybe Hagel doesn't know that al Qaeda are foreigners? Similar to politicians who don't know the difference between shia & sunni, or think that Niger is the only country in Africa...

hit and run

I do like that "national intelligence" is put in the "scare" "quotes", to undermine it's "legitamcy" and "accuracy". I know that's "not" what Novak "meant" by doing so, but "reading" it again, that's the "reality-based" "impression" I am left with..........

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