Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Shocked! I Am Shocked! Although we haven't covered the issue very much on the MLWL (it applies to old people, not the swinging young demographic we cater to), the Bush administration's successful attempt to make the privatization of Medicare a fait accompli by adding a prescription drug benefit to it will go down as one of the gang's most infamous deeds. Case in point: the Associated Press learns that the companies that now have the federal contract to issue "Prescription Drug Discount Cards" (that's what old people have to use in lieu of Medicare benefits for drugs until 2006) donated a combined total of $35 million to Republicans in 2003. Before you shrug your shoulders and say "c'est la vie," bear in mind that these discount cards are totally worthless because the pharmaceuticals have already countered by jacking their prices up. But guess who's paying for them anyway? The American taxpayer. Join me while I bow my head and softly hum "God Bless America."

Next Year in Antioch The Bush administration is preparing to announce economic sanctions against Syria this week, according to this report, in retaliation for Syria's alleged failure to stop terrorists from infiltrating Iraq. You know, things have been going so badly in Iraq and Afghanistan that I kind of hoped the administration wasn't going to pursue a third insane quagmire. That's what I get for hoping.

I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (A Song Other Than "Fuck You, Stupid American") For the first time since such research has been conducted, U.S. brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald's are declining worldwide, in large part because of the U.S. government's various foreign policy blunders. Remember the heyday of globalization, when we were assured that the world would eventually become one Global Village, united by capitalism and worldwide universal consumption of crappy American products like Nike? Yeah, apparently, the Shitty Consumer Goods Millenium is still a long way from dawning.

Quack Quack! A Scalia-Related Lawsuit! The Gannett newspaper chain and the Associate Press have filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Marshals for illegally confiscating reporters' tape recorders during a speech at a Mississippi high school given by loose-cannon Supreme Court justice Antonin "Quack Quack" Scalia. A spokesman for the marshals declined to comment on the suit, but earlier said that taking tape recorders from journalists while a Supreme Court jurist was giving a speech about the freedoms of the Constitution was perhaps "a faux pas on our part." That's big of you to admit.

Ivan Marchenko, Call Your Office If Marchenko, the former Auschwitz commandant who had a Zelig-like ability to pop up in seemingly every civil war and military massacre in the post-WWII era, is still alive, I'm betting that he's heading to Iraq. After all, it seems like anybody can get hired by the private contractors the US uses to do some of the dirtiest work in the country, like the two fellows mentioned in this story. Earlier this year, they were "civilian contractors" working for SAS International, a private security firm. Back in the 1980s, though, they were members of the South African police force responsible for dozens of massacres and firebombings of apartheid opponents. Hey, but that was years ago, right? Today they're heroes of freedom!

-Consider Arms