Quick Links

Yesterday I linked to LGM arguing that we should push to apply safety regulations to US corporations and manufacturers, no matter where they set up factories or sweatshops. In regard Matt Yglesias made the counter-argument—relating to the death of 161 workers when a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed—that the safety laws that are important to the United States aren’t necessarily what Bangladeshis want: Maybe having a job is more important to them than being safe, so we should respect that. And besides, risk equals reward: Dangerous gigs pay more.
Erik Loomis of LGM responds that low-paid work is often extremely desperate: It goes to desperate people who take shit jobs for low pay and have lousy working conditions to boot. And the assumption that workers are “choosing” to accept low safety in return for jobs assumes a)they have some say in this and b)they have any say in anything (union organizers in third-world countries get murdered). Fellow poster Scott Lemieux adds that the owner blatantly violated the safety regulations that did exist, so it’s not as if Bangladesh thinks what he did was acceptable either.
•Republicans are apparently promoting a new set of talking points explaining that George W. Bush’s presidency was an unqualified success: He fought for freedom in the third world, took out governments that threatened us in Iraq and Afghanistan, made the economy boom, lowered taxes, kept us safe from terrorism … While I don’t have time or space to detail every piece of bullshit, I will make a few notes:
•America’s worst terrorist disaster happened on Bush’s watch. So did the anthrax letter and terrorist Jim Adkisson (who shot up a Unitarian church out of the stated desire to kill all liberals).
•Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq were a threat to us. Even at the time nobody claimed Afghanistan was a threat, it was simply taken out for hosting bin Laden and the Taliban. And every claim about how Iraq was a potential threat to us was bullshit. As I note here, either W swallowed everything despite lots of contrary evidence because he wanted to attack Iraq (Bob Woodward quotes Bush as announcing on 9/12 that he “knew” Iraq was behind it), or he lied through his teeth.
•W sanctioned torture. Which is a crime under both US and international law (international laws we’ve signed off on, not some abstract theory). He locked up people without trial, in defiance of the Constitution, including an American citizen, and kept them locked up despite evidence they were innocent.
•He passed tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefited his own economic class, and did so with the specific intention of gutting the Clinton-era surprlus (as he stated before becoming president). He then ran up deficits to a record high through massive war spending ($8 billion of which has never been accounted for. Though admittedly the military has never kept an accurate budget so I can’t blame that on Bush).
•Like every other American president since WW II ended, he backed tyrants and dictators as long as they played for our team (Saudi Arabia being a prime example, but not a unique one). And we’ve had multiple accounts of the governments in Iraq and Afghanistan violating human rights to boot.
•He tried to privatize Social Security, which is not “saving” it.
In general, he was the worst president of my lifetime, and that includes Reagan.

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Filed under Politics

One response to “Quick Links

  1. Pingback: Tuesday’s child is fair of links | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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