Today the Boston Globe, in a story by Sean P. Murphy, revealed that the infamous Big Dig that put a big leaky hole under the city of Boston didn’t really cost the $15 billion that the State said it did.
It cost $22 billion when the accounting is done honestly.
And there are side effects.
The state is paying 80 percent of its highway workers with borrowed money. Before the Big Gouge the number was 14 percent.
The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is on the verge of going under, crushed by debt from the Rampant Ripoff. Ironic justice, perhaps, since the MTA managed the project.
And the State pays a higher percentage of its highway budget on debt than any other state.
All this for a leaky, dangerous set of tunnels that set a remarkable benchmark for corruption, graft, and incompetence. And let’s not forget that the people who put this together have already killed one civilian who made the mistake of driving through it.
Massachusetts will be paying for this boondoggle for a long, long time, while the people responsible, up and down the line, will get off scot free.
And what have we got to show for it? Just another highway, badly made, that does nothing but invite more cars and trucks, thus creating its own excuse for failing to alleviate traffic problems in a few years.
Mass transit, anyone? Oh, well, just another side affect, there’s no money to improve that now either, and that system is crumbling.
Imagine if the morons who came up with the Deep Ditch had instead been replaced with rational, intelligent people who saw some value in mass transit; who with the tiniest bit of critical thought might have foreseen that cars are not the wave of the future.
But, nope. We were governed by idiots then. Now we’re governed by some of the same idiots and a new wave of idiots whose answer is to borrow and borrow and borrow to pay off and cover up the misdeeds of the previous wave of idiots, and put the whole mess off on the next generation.
By then of course it won’t matter, because it’s not improbable that the tunnels, indeed much of Boston, will be under water. But we’ll still be governed by egotistical idiots.
Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the group responsible for carrying out President George Bush’s catastrophically stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced yesterday that a bunch of soldiers might be able to leave Iraq early this Fall.
Said the big man, “I expect to be able early this fall to recommend to the secretary and the president further troop reductions.”
Of course this is about two things.
One is the so-called surge, known to the cognoscenti, which includes only people who are not Republicans and who have a brain capable of critical thinking, as an escalation of the war.
The escalation is over, say the JCS and others. We had 132,000 troops in Iraq when it started. Now that it’s over we have 150,000 troops in Iraq.
Oh. Wait, The Lion is slow with math…
The second thing at issue is the election this fall. Isn’t it just too precious that the commander in theater, General David Petraeus, will make the announcement before the election (‘early Fall’) that some soldiers will leave Iraq, ostensibly because the effort there has been so successful? Of course the marks of success include only that the Iraqi army and police have gotten bigger (sort of like Saddam Hussein’s), and that violence is for the time being down. (Just ignore the sounds of those car bombs going off in the middle of cities.)
The only problem with all this rosy wonderfulness is that the soldiers leaving Iraq aren’t really coming home.
They’re just going across the way to the other disaster Bush and the military have foisted on us, the one in Afghanistan, another country the Republicans are dedicated to destroying so they can save it and make their testosterone levels rise up so they will be more capable when molesting Congressional interns.
Senator John ‘Bomb Bomb’ McCain, the Republican candidate for screwing the country, of course likes this scenario. He’s dedicated himself and the country to keeping the wars going over there for another hundred years, whether the country wants to go or not.
Interestingly, Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for screwing the country not quite so badly as McCain, also wants to keep fighting in Afghanistan in order to impose a government the Afghanis don’t want so that wussy Americans can feel safer from an Afghani invasion of the United States. The plan, apparently, is to continue bombing wedding parties in Afghanistan and Pakistan, thereby creating tons and tons of people who hate the United States more and more.
Somebody should tell him that when the military takes territory in places like Afghanistan all they succeed in doing is putting the enemy in their midst, kind of like an amoeba enveloping a bit of food that will kill it.
One thing all of these fools talk about is ‘winning’.
World War II was winnable.
There is nothing to win in these wars. Fanatic criminals killed 3,000 Americans and knocked down some buildings. In return we have killed over a million people who had nothing to do with that attack. We have destroyed two countries. We have bombed innumerable wedding parties. And the criminals behind the attacks in 2001 are still free, no closer to capture now than before.
Kill this one, kill that one. So what? It’s meaningless. American actions have created more of their kind. Using a sledge hammer to kill a gnat pretty much guarantees that you’ll miss the original gnat and piss off the rest of the gnats, and when you miss the gnat you probably hit the beehive or the wasp nest. Given the intellectual, ethical, and moral quality of Republican leadership since 1994, and before, we can’t really expect anything better.
It’s just sad that Senator Obama is buying into the stupidity.
[Interesting op-ed to this point by Howard Zinn.]
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