Today in Bad Government
Highlighting the worst in governments around the world for your enjoyment and education.
The Game is Rigged
Today in Bad Government (TBG) starts in America at the normally shill-tastic SmartMoney website, where Brigid McMenamin presents you with 10 Things Your Congressperson Won't Tell You. Did you know that lobbying is the top career choice for departing Congresspersons. "According to a 2005 report by Public Citizen, since 1998 more than 43 percent of all eligible departing congresspeople went into lobbying."
You also may not be aware that Congress gets far more options in Health Care than the Congressionally mandated Health Care package you get. (And don't expect your Congressperson to sign up for Obama's new Health Care plan either. The chances of that happening are between zero and nothing.) Oh, and there is gifts too!
"House ethics rules allow them to accept gifts, luxury jet rides, and free overnight trips of up to seven days abroad for meetings, factfinding missions, and speaking gigs, provided they’re related to official duties and not sponsored by lobbyists. Between 2000 and 2005, congresspeople and staff accepted 23,000 of these trips, often to vacation spots and worth nearly $50 million, according to the Center for Public Integrity."
I couldn't imagine a day in Bad Government without a visit to Iraq, where the cadre of central planners and schemers of the local government declared yet another victory. As American forces retreat from positions in Baghdad: 40 people are killed in Kirkuk by a truck bomb and international Oil & Gas companies start the lucrative process of haggling over Iraqi licensing agreements. Shock and awe, indeed!
Continuing on the theme of sweet victory, the Afghan government thanked America for lying and covering up the deaths of dozens of civilians in Farah Province on May 5th. After failing to verify that a targeted building was teeming with Taliban, a B-1 bomber pilot let loose and annihilated the fortification. Though he didn't follow U.S. and Coalition targeting procedure, he will not be held accountable for his actions... in this lifetime. Meanwhile, no one knows for sure who was in that building, since there was nothing left. What we do know is that no one on the ground verified the target before our Cockpit Cowboy let loose from miles away. Fog of war, I suppose.
You Sell Drugs Too?
Our next stop is Honduras, where President Zelaya won the Presidential election despite an approval rating in the 30% range (scary to think that Bush might have won in 2008 with similar numbers. Three cheers for democracy!) The Honduran Army decided that their vote mattered most and ousted Zelaya in the middle of the night. As Zelaya was being courted off in his pajamas (hopefully they weren't footsie pajamas - now that would be embarrasing), rumors circulated that Zelaya had ties with the drug cartels. TBG is calling bogus on this one. Everyone knows that the drug cartels already own the Army. Why would they oust one of their own?
Vaccinate or Die
The esteemed doctors, er bureaucrats, of the Arkansas State Health Department are defending mandatory vaccinations. "The law goes back 100 years," says this enlightened bureaucrat. Meanwhile, TIME magazine reminds us all that we are too stupid to understand serious health issues. TBG wonders when they're going to make soma available.
You Mean We're Supposed to Read the Bill Before We Vote?
Over the weekend, Congress passed a 1,200 page bill with a cute name - "Cap and Trade" - without reading a single word (until a failed filibuster forced these noble men and women to listen to about a quarter of the contents against their will.) At least one guy thinks this is probably a bad idea.
Pakistan School of Economics
You've heard of the Chicago School, the Keynesians, and maybe even the Austrian School, but a new (well, not really) idea of economics is flourishing in Pakistan: deficit financing.
Pakistan’s domestic debt is mounting towards the Rs4 trillion mark — it has swelled to Rs3.884tn from July 2008 to May 09, 2009, a report said yesterday. In 11 months of the current financial year, the domestic debt had reflected an alarming increase of Rs618bn or 19%, which is the highest-ever growth in a year.
Hey, everybody else is doing it. What could possibly go wrong?
From Fascism to Socialism
England has finally decided it has had enough of government granted monopolies in the railroad business. National Express, which was granted rights over the East Coast mainline, has been nationalized by the English government. When a government granted monopoly fails to meet government mandated pension, health, and wage requirements; has no need to innovate; and suddenly can not compete for the customer's dollar, it is a failure of the free market. Got it? And Santa Claus really exists too!
David in Qatar