By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
We're two weeks into January and already George W. Bush is hitting the wall. The president's military commanders have been widely quoted as being against the war he'd so love to wage in Iraq. UN arms inspectors say it could take a year to finish their work, and then only if Saddam Hussein cooperates. The UN Security Council won't give in until the results are in. Even Bush's one staunch ally, British prime minister Tony Blair, is dragging his feet, asking that the inspectors be given more time.
Now come reports of a revolt within the Senate Republican establishment. Led by John Warner of Virginia, senators at last week's GOP retreat lashed out over Bush's "arrogance." It's payback time for an administration that has at best ignored lawmakers and at worst deliberately kept them in the dark.
Warner is quoted by Bob Novak as having ripped into White House chief of staff Andrew Card: "I will not tolerate a continuation of what's been going on the last two years." Warner was quickly backed up by Kansas senator and former marine officer Pat Roberts. Senator Kit Bond of Missouri even asked Card to explain the connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
Bush's troubles within his own party are playing out as the economy remains in the doldrums, with no sign of relief in sight save Bush's nutty dividend taxation plananother sticking point for GOP senatorsand a wacko new policy aimed at replacing unemployment insurance.
Envisioned as a sort of bootstrap fix, the $3.6 billion Personal Re-employment Accounts scheme would provide some unemployed workers with $3000 to spend on training and "supportive services," with leftover money becoming a cash "re-employment bonus."
Dan Mitchell, the Heritage Foundation's freewheeling, libertarian-minded economic expert, tells the Voice the plan would be better than the current system, which he says pays people not to work. "On the surface," Mitchell says, "these accounts just look like the government giving out money. They are actually the precursor to future reform."
But Bruce Meyer, an economist with Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research, argues the accounts have the makings of yet one more government rip-off. Meyer says a third of all eligible people don't file for benefits, believing they won't be out of work long enough to collect more than a few hundred dollars. "Now, if someone is suddenly eligible for $3000 when they show up at the unemployment office, a lot more people are going to be willing to do it," he says.
Last week frightened men from Pakistan and other Muslim countries began lining up to register as required by the Justice Department. What practical purpose can these registrations possibly serve? They're unlikely to turn up terrorists. But they would prove very useful should the government decide to round up Arab immigrants.
Think mass internments couldn't happen again? Consider the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II, whoas the Museum of the City of San Francisco chronicles at sfmuseum.orgwent from being a vital part of West Coast society to spy suspects to prisoners.