Regular readers of dailykos may know that I am a fan of the Boston Globe, particularly of its ope ed writers, links to whose work I often post,the msot recent being a terrific peice by James Carroll entitled "America's Mortal Secret about which I diaried here
Today's edition of the paper has a number of superb editorials and op eds. Thus I am using this, my second and final diary of the day, to bring them to your attention. Details below the fold.
The first item is an editorial entitled An Indefensible Outcome
, and is the editorial's staff's reaction to the guilty plea by Lynndie England and what it means for our full undesrtanding of Abu Ghraib. Let me offer the final paragraph
The Schlesinger report of last August has been the only high-level civilian review of prisoner mistreatment. But all four members of that panel were members of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board, and their report came before the full extent of abuses was clear. Congress must put partisanship aside and appoint a blue-ribbon commission including members of Congress and human rights advocates to prove to a world increasingly cynical about US ideals that the nation can -- fairly and unflinchingly -- examine and correct its own human rights abuses.
The next, an op ed by the superbe Derrick Jackson, is entitled Kenneth Clark's Unfilled Dream. In it Jackson talks extensively about how the use of the N word is a betrayal of that which Clark worked so hard to correct. I offer below three selections, including the first paragraph and the last two:
THE MOST twisted moment of Kenneth B. Clark's historic psychological research was when he showed a black doll to a black boy in Arkansas. Clark said the boy pointed to the doll, smiled, and said, ''That's a nigger. I'm a nigger."
Clark did not work hard to see black people sell themselves cheaply. Sure, racism, bad public schools, and lack of jobs in central cities continue to play a terrible role in depressing black opportunity. But that cannot excuse the fact that all 10 of Billboard's Top 10 rap singles artists at the close of 2004 use the n-word on their uncensored albums.
James Baldwin once wrote, ''You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger." When all Top 10 rappers use the n-word, including Kanye ''Jesus Walks" West, that is a depressingly wide swath of destruction. Many of the top rappers and hip-hop artists who use the n-word were in the Top 20 of the general Billboard 200 at the end of 2004, such as West, Outkast, Jay-Z, and G-Unit. Often, the n-word is used in conjunction with glorifying violence.
This cannot bode well for the future. Schools a half-century after the Brown decision have become more segregated. The image of black males in the privacy of headphones is more perverted than ever. At some point a black child hears the n-word enough and decides -- through bad grades, pregnancy, or crime -- to destroy himself or herself. At some point a white boy or girl hears the n-word enough and decides -- when they become adults and leaders of industry -- that those people are not worth their time. Clark tried to show us a twisted mirror a half-century ago. It is time for parents, civil rights groups, and America to pick up this mirror and smash it to bits.
Next is an op ed by middle of the roader Scott Lehigh entitled Checks and Balances which comes out firmly in support of the filibuster as a protection against tyranny and one clearly intended as such in the design of the Constitution. Let me offer three short paragraphs from the middle of the piece to give a sense:
Actually, the Senate was specifically designed to resist that sort of domination by the majority.
Worried about the power of an unchecked executive and the runaway passions of the people, the Founding Fathers devised an institution strong enough to counter both. Indeed, their study of history had taught them that no republic had long endured without such a senate.
The Senate, James Madison told the Constitutional Convention, would ''protect the people against their rulers" while also protecting ''the people against the transient impressions into which they themselves might be led."
Finally, an op ed by Robert Kuttner entitled Not Rich? Not Poor? Watch out. It is a devastating analysis of Bush's Social security proposal. I will offer three selections to give a taste:
THERE IS one useful thing about President Bush's ''progressive indexing" proposal for Social Security. It finally makes explicit what we suspected -- that Bush intends benefit cuts for most American workers in order to finance his privatization plan.
Privatization, let's recall, requires either new taxes or increased government borrowing or benefit cuts -- you can't spend the same money twice. Under the present system, payroll taxes pay the cost of Social Security retirement checks. Bush would divert some of that tax money to optional private accounts. Consequently, privatization would worsen Social Security's modest projected shortfall by trillions of dollars unless benefits are cut.
For example, someone with an income of $36,500 -- roughly the median -- would get a 13 percent benefit cut by 2030, a 21 percent benefit cut by 2050, and a 40 percent cut by 2080, depending on when retirement began.
An upper-middle-income earner with a current income of $90,000 would get steeper cuts: 24 percent by 2030, 41 percent by 2050, and 60 percent by 2080. And these cuts would apply whether or not you diverted part of your payroll taxes to private accounts. These would be cuts in the guaranteed part of the benefit.
Why did Bush finally admit the need for benefit cuts? His privatization plan has not been getting good reviews. His own political base includes people worried about fiscal irresponsibility. His strategists evidently calculated that of the three possibilities -- higher taxes, greater borrowing, or benefits cuts -- the last option would be the most palatable if it could be camouflaged as merely a technical change in indexing for inflation and its impact postponed for decades.
Judging by the White House spin, there is one other coy reason. By retaining the present benefit structure for the lowest-income wage-earners, George W. Bush can present himself as a friend of the poor.
I urge in the strongest term that kossacks take the time to go read all of these pieces. And you might find it wortwhile to signup for an email notification of the contents of the Globe so that you don't have depend on people like me to inform you when there are riches such as this available.