Bob Franken

UNFAIR RULES

July 17, 2007
Unfair Rules (Bob Franken)
@ 10:07 am
This country is about equal opportunity, not equal outcome. How many times have we heard that? It’s the American way to give everybody the same fair chance at success. What a wonderful theory.

So let’s talk about all the equal opportunity here in the U-S of A, shared by rich and poor alike:

Sure. Like equal education opportunity — decrepit public schools, which in so many cities get failing marks, versus the high-tuition private academies where any parent who loves his children would send them, IF he could afford to. Healthcare that is first-class for many — Third World for millions of others. Safe neighborhoods — usually affluent suburbs and other gated communities are safe — the not-so-rich take their lives in their hands every time they go out.

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THEM THAT GOT V THOSE THAT DON’T

July 16, 2007
Them That Got v. Those That Don’t (Bob Franken)
@ 12:23 pm
Let’s talk about our economic system. More and more it is ruled by a Tyranny of the Quarterly Report. Profits über alles. No longer is business governed by anything more than the amoral push to constantly increase earnings and reduce expenses. That has become the only way top executives can keep their jobs and their obscene compensation.

And how do they do that? Let’s see: They can “improve productivity,” which often means cutting jobs. They can reduce expenses, which often means cutting jobs and product quality. They can move their operations to a Third World country where they can pay near slave wages, and leave their workers and communities in the dust, as well as the consumer, who is less likely to be protected from dangerous goods.

It’s nothing more than class warfare fought by Them That Got against Those That Don’t. And government is a bought-and-paid-for accomplice. In return for “political contributions,” the laws are stacked to make sure regulations don’t get in the way of unsafe products, shoddy business practices, tax evasion.

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LYING IN STATE

July 13, 2007
How a Tightly Run Ship Began Sinking (Bob Franken)
@ 12:02 pm

Remember “Message Control”? All public information about and from the Bush administration was held very close. Nothing came out unless it had high-level approval from the White House commissars. Deviation could be considered a capital offense. Not only were facts grudging dispensed but many topics were taboo — just about anything that ran afoul of the Bush ideology. If truth had to be misrepresented, so be it. If lies had to be told, well, it was for a greater good.

Of course, we in the news media were pliant little puppies, yipping for approval, and not daring to do anything that would cut off our carefully sanitized little scraps.

When it came to how the informed electorate was informed, it was not. The people around the president sailed a tightly run ship.

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GLASS WARFARE

July 12, 2007
Glass Warfare (Bob Franken)
@ 11:35 am

Let’s look at the latest report card:

First of all, we had the White House assessment of the Iraq war. It’s clearly a case of the glass that’s half-empty or half-full. And that’s the White House glass.

At the same time, a top official with the National Intelligence Council was telling Congress that there have been “Few appreciable gains” in Iraq. So maybe the glass is one-eighth full.
But which glass? Doesn’t the administration always insist that Iraq and al Qaeda are all part of the same struggle? Well, then, what should we think about the the Homeland Security secretary’s “gut feeling” we are facing threat of attack and the assessment that al Qaeda has managed to build itself back to pre-Sept. 11 strength? Remember, we are nearly six years into a Global War on Terror that has consumed thousands of lives, billions of dollar and uncounted civil liberties (uncounted, that is, because so many of the details are classified).

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THE HOBSON’S CHOICE

July 11, 2007
The Hobson’s Choice (Bob Franken)
@ 10:23 am

Is it me, or does anyone else see the irony of the McCain in McCain-Feingold having severe campaign fundraising problems? And also the irony of his being in such miserable shape because of his unwavering support for some of the least popular policies of his erstwhile nemesis, George W. Bush?

But there he is — out there on the limb on Iraq, supporting a war that so many others say is unsupportable. But the very arguments he and the president make about staying the course, and the opposite “get-out-while-we can” arguments made by their adversaries, point up the real dilemma here: There are only lousy choices.

Stay-the-course argument: If the United States pulls its troops now or at some predetermined time in the future, Iraq will dissolve into a bitter war between segments of its population that could draw its neighbors into regional conflict. Frankly, that sounds like that’s probable.

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