Bruisin’ News Cruisin’

Big Dig undermines Massachusetts…

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.

Iraq troop cuts due in early Fall…

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.]


4 Responses

  1. Interesting format lately. As for mas transit the Commonwealths primary entity is a corrupt overfed monster that has the nickname T. I could tell you some stories-I used to work for the Authority. I agree with you though especially when you analyze Boston and the metropolitan area and see how well it could be served by a better transit system.


  2. Alfie –

    Oh crap, I’ve got a format? 🙂

    Actually today and yesterday were supposed to be brief little bits, but I got carried away. Apparently I have a prolix gene that is out of control.

    From what I’ve been reading lately, it sounds like a whole bunch of Boston government/services are deeply fucked up. The firefighters come immediately to mind, given the latest corrupt bit involving Mr. Arroyo’s muscles. But even the friggin’ Boston Public Library!!? Is nothing sacred anymore?

    Maybe you should do a piece on the T.


  3. In the 1950s, in the wake of Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” plan, Pakistan obtained a 125 megawatt heavy-water reactor from Canada. After India’s first atomic test in May 1974, Pakistan immediately sought to catch up by attempting to purchase a reprocessing plant from France. After France declined due to U.S. resistance, Pakistan began to assemble a uranium enrichment plant via materials from the black market and technology smuggled through A.Q. Khan. In 1976 and 1977, two amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act were passed, prohibiting American aid to countries pursuing either reprocessing or enrichment capabilities for nuclear weapons programs.

    These two, the Symington and Glenn Amendments, were passed in response to Pakistan’s efforts to achieve nuclear weapons capability; but to little avail. Washington’s cool relations with Islamabad soon improved. During the Reagan administration, the US turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear weapon’s program. In return for Pakistan’s cooperation and assistance in the mujahideen’s war against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the Reagan administration awarded Pakistan with the third largest economic and military aid package after Israel and Egypt. Despite the Pressler Amendment, which made US aid contingent upon the Reagan administration’s annual confirmation that Pakistan was not pursuing nuclear weapons capability, Reagan’s “laissez-faire” approach to Pakistan’s nuclear program seriously aided the proliferation issues that we face today.

    Not only did Pakistan continue to develop its own nuclear weapons program, but A.Q. Khan was instrumental in proliferating nuclear technology to other countries as well. Further, Pakistan’s progress toward nuclear capability led to India’s return to its own pursuit of nuclear weapons, an endeavor it had given up after its initial test in 1974. In 1998, both countries had tested nuclear weapons. A uranium-based nuclear device in Pakistan; and a plutonium-based device in India
    Over the years of America’s on again off again support of Pakistan, Musharraf continues to be skeptical of his American allies. In 2002 he is reported to have told a British official that his “great concern is that one day the United States is going to desert me. They always desert their friends.” Musharraf was referring to Viet Nam, Lebanon, Somalia … etc., etc., etc.,

    Taking the war to Pakistan is perhaps the most foolish thing America can do. Obama is not the first to suggest it, and we already have sufficient evidence of the potentially negative repercussions of such an action. On January 13, 2006, the United States launched a missile strike on the village of Damadola, Pakistan. Rather than kill the targeted Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s deputy leader, the strike instead slaughtered 17 locals. This only served to further weaken the Musharraf government and further destabilize the entire area. In a nuclear state like Pakistan, this was not only unfortunate, it was outright stupid. Pakistan has 160 million Arabs (better than half of the population of the entire Arab world). Pakistan also has the support of China and a nuclear arsenal.

    I predict that America’s military action in the Middle East will enter the canons of history alongside Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Holocaust, in kind if not in degree. The Bush administration’s war on terror marks the age in which America has again crossed a line that many argue should never be crossed. Call it preemption, preventive war, the war on terror, or whatever you like; there is a sense that we have again unleashed a force that, like a boom-a-rang, at some point has to come back to us. The Bush administration argues that American military intervention in the Middle East is purely in self-defense. Others argue that it is pure aggression. The consensus is equally as torn over its impact on international terrorism. Is America truly deterring future terrorists with its actions? Or is it, in fact, aiding the recruitment of more terrorists?

    The last thing the United States should do at this point and time is to violate yet another state’s sovereignty. Beyond being wrong, it just isn’t very smart. We all agree that slavering in this country was wrong; as was the decimation of the Native American populations. We all agree that the Holocaust and several other other acts of genocide in the twentieth century were wrong. So when will we finally admit that American military intervention in the Middle East is also wrong?


  4. I’d just really like to see some people in my government capable of appreciating the difference between war amongst nations and military action against non-state actors.

    That especially applies when my government instigates war with other nations because it’s easier to sell than military action against ill-defined enemies lacking fixed address.


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