Prayer, perks and Perle: Isn't that
BY MOLLY IVINS Syndicated columnist: Seattle Times,
Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards observed
the other day that the price of gasoline has gone so high in Texas that women
who want, to run over their husbands have to carpool.
needed a laugh before plunging back into the war. Here's a lovely item.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports U.S. soldiers in Iraq are being asked to
pray for President George W. Bush. Thousands of Marines have been given a
pamphlet, put out by In Touch Ministries, called “A Christian’s Duty.” It is a
mini-prayer book that includes a tear out card to be mailed to the White House
pledging that the soldier who sends it has been praying for Bush.
have committed to pray for you, your family, your staff and our troops during
this time of uncertainty and tumult," says the card. "May God's peace be your
case you hadn't noticed the next-to the-last paragraph in all the stories about
Richard Perle being forced to resign from the chairmanship of the Pentagon's
Defense Advisory Board, here's the catch. He resigned from the chairmanship but
not from the board, whence he will continue to dispense his invaluable advice
despite the glaring conflict of interest. He has been retained by Global
Crossing to help get approval from the Pentagon for sale of the company to a
Hong Kong billionaire. The Pentagon and FBI initially objected on
national-security grounds, and Perle has been retained to help get approval for
the sale, national-security problem or not. Global Crossing will pay Perle
$600,000 on top of his $125,000 retainer fee if the Pentagon approves the
Perle has been pushing
for "regime change" in Iraq for more than a decade. In May 2002, Perle said that
Iraq could be taken with a force of 40,000 American troops. He also predicted
“Support for Saddam, including his military organization, will collapse at the
first whiff of gunpowder.”
A guy that smart, we can't afford to
do without him.
Imagine how charmed I was to find that Rush Limbaugh
and other distinguished media critics from the right feel the "liberal media"
are insufficiently enthusiastic about Gulf War II. As Will Rogers says, "This is
more than exciting, Christiane."
Meanwhile, back at the ranch… A
special salute to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which was so
helpful to Enron. It was set up to protect investors from abusive practices in
commodities trading, and, to that end this alert guardian watchdog of
commodities has proposed three new rules, that would, according to The New York
Times, “reduce the quality of disclosure required in reports of past
performance, increase the opportunity for advisers to put some clients' or their
own interests ahead of others' and curtail the already lax regulation on
operators of hedge funds. Using language that could have come straight out of an
Enron annual report, the commission said the rules would streamline
regulation, allowing 'greater flexibility and innovation.’ “
we need! Less financial regulation! I can't wait to see those hedge funds cut
loose. We can make Enron look like peanuts. HealthSouth will be a mere blip on
the radar compared to what's to come. Ah, the genius of the free
special salute to the executives of Delta Airlines, who have just awarded
themselves a $42 million "perk package." The airline is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy
and is begging Washington to have the taxpayers bail it out. Duane Woerth,
president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said: "Thousands of airline
workers have lost their jobs or given significant wage, benefit and work-rule
concessions since Sept. 11 to help save their companies. Therefore it is disconcerting, if not
outrageous, that airline executives are lining their pockets while employees are
subsidizing these bonuses and bankruptcy-protected retirement
Delta's top five
executives got full salaries plus bonuses totaling $4.8 million, while the
company is hemorrhaging money. Another 55 second-tier executives got six-figure
bonuses totaling $12.5 million. Delta also spent $25 million setting up special
accounts to protect certain executives' pensions in the event of
bankruptcy. The plan calls for two more payments this year and
I can't wait to help bail them out.
And of course we
are all happy to learn that the Bush administration plans to provide universal
health care and massive school construction for postwar Iraq, while
simultaneously cutting health and, education funding here at home.
Those of you who feel an impulse to raise your hand and ask, "Uh, what about
us?" are just being selfish. If we get universal health care and massive school
construction (between one-third and one-half of all American schools are
somewhere between dilapidated and flat falling apart), why then, Bush couldn't
afford to give a $350 billion tax cut to the richest 1 percent of Americans. You
see how selfish you're being?
Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's
Defense Fund has a depressing new set of statistics about the damage being done
to American children - more falling into poverty, more homeless, and cuts to
Head Start, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program, after-school,
preschool, food programs ... on and on the list goes. Edelman calls it "an
ideological coup d'etat." Did anyone vote for this?
The other night in Ames, Iowa, a man stood up
to ask me a question. "I'm from Texas, but I left 50 years ago," he said. "I
guess I've just forgotten. Could you explain to me just what you Texans mean
when you say, 'Compassion'?"
Molly Ivins is a columnist for the
Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Her column appears Monday on editorial pages of The
Times. E-mails can be directed c/o email@example.com