Molly Ivins biography

Published on Thursday, November 10, 2005 by Working For Change
Some Kind of Manly
Bush administration, dead to morality, says torture is the American way
by Molly Ivins


"We do not torture," said our pitifully inarticulate president, straining through emphasis and repetition to erase the obvious.

A string of prisons in Eastern Europe in which suspects are held and tortured indefinitely, without trial, without lawyers, without the right to confront their accusers, without knowing the evidence or the charges against them, if any. Forever. It's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Another secret prison in the midst of a military camp on an island run by an infamous dictator. Prisoner without a name, cell without a number.

Who are we? What have we become? The shining city on a hill, the beacon and bastion of refuge and freedom, a country born amidst the most magnificent ideals of freedom and justice, the greatest political heritage ever given to any people anywhere.

I am baffled by these "arguments": But we're talking about really awful people, cries the harassed press secretary. People like X and Y and Z (after a time, one forgets all the names of the No. 2's after bin Laden we have captured). The SS and the Gestapo and the KVD weren't all that nice, either.

Then I hear the familiar tinniness of the fake machismo I know so well from George W. Bush and all the other frat boys who never went to Vietnam and never got over the guilt.

"Sometimes you gotta play rough," said Dick Cheney. No shit, Dick? Now why don't you tell that to John McCain?


If you are dead to all sense of morality (please let me not go off on the stinking sanctimony of this crowd), let us still reason together on the famous American common ground of practicality. Torture. Does. Not. Work.

Torture does not work. Ask the United States military. Ask the Israelis.

There seems to be some fantastic scenario floating around -- if Osama bin Laden had an atomic bomb hidden in a locker at Grand Central Station, and it was due to go off in 12 hours, and we had him in prison ... I seem to have missed some important television program on this theme. I am told it was fiction, but it must have been really scary -- it certainly seems to have unbalanced the minds of some of our fellow citizens.

Torture does not work. It is not productive. It does not yield important, timely information. That is in the movies. This is reality.

I grew up with all this pathetic Texas tough: Everybody here knows you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs; and this ain't beanbag; and I'll knock your jaw so far back, you'll scratch your throat with your front teeth; and I'm gonna cloud up and rain all over you; and I'm gonna open me a can of whup-ass ...

And that'll show 'em, won't it? Take some miserable human being alone and helpless in a cell, completely under your control, and torture him. Boy, that is some kind of manly, ain't it?

"The CIA is holding an unknown number of prisoners in secret detention centers abroad. In violation of the Geneva Conventions, it has refused to register those detainees with the International Red Cross or to allow visits by its inspectors. Its prisoners have 'disappeared,' like the victims of some dictatorships." -- The Washington Post.

Why did we bother to beat the Soviet Union if we were just going to become it? Shame. Shame. Shame. Read more in the Molly Ivins archive.

Molly Ivins is the former editor of the liberal monthly The Texas Observer. She is the bestselling author of several books including Who Let the Dogs In?

Molly Ivins:  Bush is
A Divider, Not a Uniter
Kerry will beat Bush because of the intensity factor.

Molly Ivins Commentary  

   Click here for more Molly Ivins Columns from Creators Syndicate


Molly Ivins Creators Syndicate  10.19.04

No more years
Favorite moments from Bush's one-term presidency
AUSTIN, Texas -- Four more years?

Seems like every group and its hamster has put out some kind of dossier on the last four years. Top Bush Lies. One Hundred Mistakes Bush could admit to. Best scandals. Biggest Bush flip-flops. Iraq. The economy. The environment.

Corporate pork and payoffs galore. Homeland insecurity. The deficit. On and on it goes.

But I like to remember the little things, those itty-bitty things that really made it special. Those touches of style. The je ne sais quoi of it all. Like choosing Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday to announce his administration would oppose affirmative action in the University of Michigan case, calling it "divisive," "unfair" and "unconstitutional." Classy timing. Of course, Bush (Andover, Yale, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Harvard Business, three failed oil companies rescued by Daddy's friends, set up by Daddy's friends in baseball and given a huge cut for a tiny investment) never experienced affirmative action in his life. Made it all on his own, pulled himself up by his bootstraps -- black people can do it, too.

Timing is kind of a Bush specialty. In February 2001, the day a major earthquake hit the Northwest, Bush killed a federal program designed to help communities deal with the effects of natural disasters. Of course, Florida in an election year -- different story.

Remember when he went to visit the rescued miners from Quecreek, Pa.?

It was a great photo op. Except the year before, Bush had cut the mine safety budget, halted regulatory improvements and reduced enforcement of safety standards. The Department of Labor stopped work on more than a dozen mine safety regulations from the Clinton years. But hey, Bush was really glad those nine guys made it out alive. And what a photo-op it was.

You probably don't remember the time he visited the Youth Opportunity Center, a job training site in Portland, Ore. Hailed it as a model, praised the center and its staff. A month later, he cut it out of the budget.

Here's one of my faves. In his big address of 2002, Bush said: "A good job should lead to security in retirement. I ask Congress to enact new safeguards for 401(k) and pension plans." The Bush plan allows companies to switch from traditional fixed-benefit plans to what's called cash-balance plans. It saves corporations millions a year -- in the case of large companies, as much as $100 million. Older workers can lose up to 50 percent of their pensions. The Bush rules not only permit the conversions, they also give cash-balance plans a tax advantage, as well as protection from age discrimination lawsuits. It's the perfect Bush plan: Corporations get to screw workers, and they get a tax break for it -- plus, nobody can sue.

Nobody paid any attention to this one except the beneficiaries, since it was during the Iraq war: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the one that laid the groundwork for Enron and is supposed to protect investors from abusive practices, passed three new rules in March 2003. According to The New York Times, the rules "reduce the quality of disclosure required in reports of past performance, increase the opportunity for advisers to put some clients' or their own interest ahead of others and curtail the already lax regulation on operators of hedge funds."

Hedge funds are derivatives on steroids, and the near collapse of one hedge fund, Long Term Capital Management, nearly caused the financial equivalent of "the China syndrome." Alan Greenspan and Fed officials convinced bankers to join the LTCM rescue effort only when they pointed out that failure would result in "chaos" in financial markets and could damage economic growth worldwide. Less regulation, you bet.

Bait and switch is a constant Bush tactic. Right after 9-11, Bush went to Ground Zero and threw his arm around a firefighter and assured him and other rescue workers he was with them. It was the photo-op seen 'round the world and was endlessly memorialized at the Republican convention. Except in August 2002, Bush pocket-vetoed $150 million in emergency grants for first-responders. The New York firefighters never got their money.

My favorite mixed metaphor: "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom-shaped cloud."

Mission accomplished.

I have so many other favorite moments -- hilarious promises like $15 billion for AIDS in Africa. Those amusing judicial nominations, so bad even the spineless Democrats finally had to filibuster. All the precious photo-ops with the little children of color just before he squashed some other program to help them. The time they threatened Turkey, our oldest democratic ally in the Middle East, with a military coup so we could bring democracy to Iraq.

It's been a ball. But I've had enough. Read more in the Molly Ivins archive.

Molly Ivins is the former editor of the liberal monthly The Texas Observer. She is the bestselling author of several books including Who Let the Dogs In?


Fascism any day now?
The handling of a TV program attacking John Kerry on his opposition to the Vietnam War is a perfect example of right-wing misbehavior.


Creeping Fascism at Sinclair
Don't look now, but your local network is a propaganda machine.
Posted on Oct 14, 2004

Mr. President, you're blowing it
Surely we're not that dumb
The president seems to think that much of America has serious memory problems.

How Dumb Does Bush Think We Are?
You have to assume your audience is a bunch of borderline morons to tell as many whoppers as George Bush does.
Posted on Oct 12, 2004

Our Petulant President
Sheltered from anyone who would question his authority during the last four years, Bush has adopted a 'bubble-boy' style of debating.
Posted on Oct 7, 2004

Enduring this is hard work
Perhaps the government could take that Star Wars money and put it into Internet access for people who need it.

And in other news …
Think about this while you're considering whether your reduced overtime pay will be offset by your lower taxes enough to cover your higher gasoline bill.

Debate This
Stuff you won't learn about in the presidential debate, or, half a dozen ways you're getting screwed
Posted on Sep 30, 2004

Not in Kansas anymore
We can't win a war by pretending that it's going well when it's not. And to say that such criticism endangers the troops or encourages the enemy is despicable.

The Twilight Zone of Wonderland
When things get this weird, one metaphor just isn't enough.
Posted on Sep 28, 2004

Keep your eye on ...
Are American voters getting suckered? What do you think?

Molly Ivins is a best-selling author and columnist who writes about politics, Texas and other bizarre happenings.

How Fascism Starts
If you look at why Abu Ghraib happened, you realize just how easy it is for standards of law and behavior to slip into bestiality.
Posted on May 20, 2004

Killing People for Their Own Good
The accumulation of American errors has cost us the goodwill of the great majority of Iraqis and put everyone at greater risk of terrorist attack.
Posted on May 18, 2004

Neo-con Man
How did we get into this mess? Just ask the neo-cons who fell for Ahmed Chalabi.
Posted on May 6, 2004

Just Like Saddam?
Realism, not pessimism: Americans oversee looting, corruption, and torture in Iraq as civil war looms.
Posted on May 4, 2004

Sinners Unite!
Bush tax cuts for rich leave local governments only sin to pay bills.
Posted on Apr 29, 2004

Who Decides?
A report from the March for Women's Lives.
Posted on Apr 27, 2004

Fantasyland of the Free
What does it take to provide security and ultimately success in Iraq? Way more than we could ever give.
Posted on Apr 22, 2004

Be There
This Saturday's March for Women's Lives is a life or death decision.
Posted on Apr 20, 2004

Making Progress in Iraq
America stays the course in Iraq -- making mistake after mistake.
Posted on Apr 15, 2004

Didn't You Get the Memo?
America is left in the dark about what really happend before 9/11 and what's happening now in Iraq.
Posted on Apr 13, 2004

The Death of Democracy
DeLay and Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick may have achieved the near impossible by breaking Texas campaign finance laws.
Posted on Apr 8, 2004

Iraq. What. A. Mess.
Deeper into the quagmire, one has to ask, 'so what do we do now?'
Posted on Apr 6, 2004

Strange Peaches This Election
The race has hardly begun and already we're in most bizarre territory.
Posted on Apr 1, 2004

Environmental Assaults
There's no way to keep up with the Bush administration's assaults on the environment, they're just endless.
Posted on Mar 30, 2004

Bomb Mexico!
The Bush administration bombs for peace, robs for reform.
Posted on Mar 23, 2004

Election Year Double Standard Time
Pretend Republican outrage abounds over some bold comments by candidate Kerry.
Posted on Mar 18, 2004

Wave Jobs Goodbye
Anthony Raimondo, Bush's new man in charge of creating jobs for Americans, is a master at outsourcing the jobs of his own employees to China.
Posted on Mar 16, 2004

Bush Fights Firefighters with Fire
Bush screwed the firefighters in a famous case of his favorite bait-and-switch tactic, and now he has the chutzpah to exploit them anyway.
Posted on Mar 9, 2004

The Race Begins
Candidates Bush and Kerry begin what promises to be a very interesting match up.
Posted on Mar 4, 2004

Whacking the Hornet's Nest
If Haiti is any indication, Bush has learned nothing from the dangerous game he played in Iraq.
Posted on Mar 2, 2004

Oversight Past Due
Deregulation threatens to turn the ballooning debt of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into another S&L nightmare.
Posted on Feb 26, 2004

Teacher Terrorist
Education Secretary Rod Paige calls the largest teachers' union a 'terrorist organization' for lobbying for more resources.
Posted on Feb 25, 2004

Life without Dean
A whole lot of people who should have known better freaked out over Dean, treating a mostly mild-mannered, perfectly sensible and quite cheerful fellow as some kind of anti-establishment antichrist.
Posted on Feb 23, 2004

Gun Battle
A British citizen, Katherine Gun, faces a stiff prison term for blowing the whistle on illegal US-UK spying during the runup to Iraq.
Posted on Feb 18, 2004

Dubious Claims Indeed
On both sides of the Atlantic, folks are wondering if their leaders misled them into fighting a dangerous war.
Posted on Feb 4, 2004

Thoughts on Iowa
There's nothing better than a huge political scrum where the front-runner stumbles, the guy everyone wrote off six weeks ago comes roaring back, an unknown emerges, and an old war-horse drops out.
Posted on Jan 27, 2004

IVINS: The State(ment) of the Union
While Bush plans to highlight his compassionate policies and his role in the surging economy, the reality is far less flattering.
Posted on Jan 20, 2004

New Bushism for a New Year
My long-reigning favorite Bushism has now been edged out by a fresh contender I cannot resist.
Posted on Jan 16, 2004

IVINS: Bush's Bracero Program
Bush's brilliant new immigration proposal primarily benefits one group and one group only -- big business.
Posted on Jan 14, 2004

WMD Search Ends
The resignation of David Cay signals the end of the all important search for weapons of mass destruction.
Posted on Jan 6, 2004

Read Right
An annual roundup of great books.
Posted on Dec 23, 2003

IVINS: Axis of Avarice
Unlike the Germans, the French and the Russians, Halliburton was not punished by the Bush administration for dealing with the dictator.
Posted on Dec 18, 2003

IVINS: The Perfect Holiday Gift
Tired of holiday shopping? Skip the mall and save the world -- for just 37 cents a pop.
Posted on Dec 16, 2003

IVINS: The Cockroach Theory
Talk about the lunatics running the asylum. Former lobbyists for special interests now dominate the top of the bureaucracies -- not to regulate, but to facilitate corporate rip-offs.
Posted on Dec 11, 2003

Dean for a Fightin' Chance
If 2004 is the year to be sensible, look for a winner, find a moderate and all that good stuff the expert political players do, then Dean is the man to support.
Posted on Dec 5, 2003

IVINS: The Grownups Have Left the Building
Call them -- irresponsible ... Call them -- unreliable ... Throw in -- undependable, too ... Yes, it's undeniably true -- the Congress of the United States makes Bart Simpson look like Averell Harriman.
Posted on Dec 2, 2003

Energy Industry Gets Boost
Congress' record-shattering bad legislation immediately eclipsed by record-shattering bad legislation.
Posted on Nov 26, 2003

If He Says It's Progress, It Must Be, Right?
Sheesh, it's hard to keep up with this administration. Forget a constitution, we have to hand it all over to the Iraqis right away.
Posted on Nov 17, 2003

Won't Run, Will Bug Out
It's hard to keep up with a White House that one day says we'll stick it out in Iraq no matter what and then does a 180-degree shift the next.
Posted on Nov 14, 2003

Call Me a Bush-Hater
Sneering, jeering, bad manners, hideous diplomacy, threats, demands, lies, arrogance, bluster, tax cuts for the rich. And you wonder why we think he's a lousy president?
Posted on Nov 14, 2003

The Corporate Welfare Congress
Congress has conspired to rip off senior citizens while padding the wallets of drug companies and big oil.
Posted on Nov 11, 2003

IVINS: Remembering Reagan
We've just had a fierce public debate over a docudrama no one has seen, culminating in a form of censorship.
Posted on Nov 6, 2003

Little People
So what's been going on with your money in mutual funds? Late trading, short trading and insider trading.
Posted on Nov 4, 2003

PR Smokescreens
Despite what I am sure are the invaluable services of the many PR people of our nation, sometimes it is actually smarter to attack the problem itself than the public relations surrounding it.
Posted on Oct 28, 2003

IVINS: The Latest
No weapons of mass destruction and still more lies are told by Bush and company all the time.
Posted on Oct 23, 2003

DeLay's Bacardi Mix
Tom DeLay suggests an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill designed to give campaign contributor favorite Bacardi an edge over rival Havana Club rum.
Posted on Oct 21, 2003

The Great Liberal Backlash of 2003
It ain't just Bush-hating. You don't have to hate the guy to know he's wrong.
Posted on Oct 16, 2003

IVINS: Mutual Fund Manipulation
Whether or not there is any leadership from the Bush administration, it is time for those creaky regulatory agencies to bestir themselves before something awful does happen.
Posted on Oct 14, 2003

Iraq Booty
The naked profiteering by various Bushies on the Iraq War is downright sickening.
Posted on Oct 9, 2003

Dubya Dubya II
Good thing we won the war, because the peace sure looks like a quagmire.
Posted on Oct 7, 2003

Missing Link
No weapons of mass destruction and no link to Al Qaeda -- I think we need to go back and explain how we got where we are.
Posted on Oct 2, 2003

Dems' Class of 2004
For Democrats only: I think our field is shaping up quite nicely. But we really need to winnow it down.
Posted on Sep 30, 2003

Richard Grasso -- Predictable Symbol of American Greed
People -- like former NYSE CEO Richard A. Grasso -- who have special advantages almost always manage to convince themselves that they are entitled to those advantages.
Posted on Sep 25, 2003

It is not necessary to hate George W. Bush to think he's a bad president.
Posted on Sep 23, 2003

Under Clear Skies
Clear Skies sets up a system under which dirty plants can buy "pollution credits" from clean plants and keep polluting.
Posted on Sep 19, 2003

Stop the Thieves
Conservatives are stealing the idea that there's a common good, that we're all in this together, that we all do better when we all do better. And it's up to us to take it back.
Posted on Sep 17, 2003

Case Closed
Unless a miracle occurs, Sept. 13 will see the end of the open courts provision of the Texas Constitution.
Posted on Sep 11, 2003

Won't Just Get Over It
I opposed our unprovoked, unnecessary invasion of Iraq on the grounds that it would be a short, easy war followed by the peace from hell. I was right, and I'm not going to apologize for it.
Posted on Sep 9, 2003

Reconstruction Run-around
In an effort to be constructive, even in the face of a developing catastrophe, I have been combing the public prints in an effort to find something positive to suggest.
Posted on Sep 4, 2003

The Old Insult to Injury
What the Bush administration knows about working-class Americans would fit in a gnat's eye.
Posted on Aug 28, 2003

Mr. Schwarzenegger
Arnold simply doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to public policy.
Posted on Aug 26, 2003

Disagree with DeLay, You'll Be OK
When in doubt, I find it most useful to consult those two polar stars of utter wrongheadedness, Tom DeLay and The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.
Posted on Aug 21, 2003

All-American Blame Game
It would be a refreshing change, would it not, if somebody just stood up and said, "My fault."
Posted on Aug 19, 2003

Bad Ideas of the Week
The general theme of the week seems to be that the country is going to hell in a handbasket.
Posted on Aug 14, 2003

Mileposts in Degradation
Let us stop to observe a few mileposts on the downward path to the utter degradation of political discourse in this country.
Posted on Aug 11, 2003

Government by Deception
Leaving aside the missing weapons of mass destruction (hey, we found the oil), I found so many little things that fit the same pattern of lies.
Posted on Aug 5, 2003

But It's Not Fair!
That's the reason 12 Democratic senators from Texas are on the lam in New Mexico.
Posted on Aug 1, 2003

Intelligence Fiasco
Intelligence agencies are suffering not just from mismanagement, but by political manipulation that renders their work all but meaningless.
Posted on Jul 30, 2003

The Other Great State
It is so easy to fall in love with Alaska, and most of the people are as enchanting as the wildlife -- friendly, hospitable, helpful, tough and resilient.
Posted on Jul 24, 2003

The Decline in Civility
Has the adversary system at the heart of the legal profession produced the decline in civility?
Posted on Jul 22, 2003

Fixing Education
There are two keys to better teachers: higher salaries and better schools of education.
Posted on Jul 18, 2003

The Peace from Hell
That the occupation is not going well is apparent to everyone but Donald Rumsfeld. Now is not the time to stand back timidly hoping it will work out well in the end.
Posted on Jul 15, 2003

Charlie Wilson's War
Charlie Wilson funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, where they gradually bled the Red Army to death and caused the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Posted on Jul 8, 2003

Happy Birthday, America!
Two-hundred twenty-seven years old and still ready to boogie 'til we puke.
Posted on Jul 3, 2003

Supreme Tantrums
Recent Supreme Court decisions have caused certain justices to throw nasty tantrums.
Posted on Jul 2, 2003

Emissions Omission
Bush's solution to global warming: Eliminate references to studies concluding that warming is at least partly caused by rising concentrations of smokestack and tailpipe emissions.
Posted on Jun 26, 2003

Medicare Prescription for Disaster
Everybody's in favor of a plan to help senior citizens with prescription drug costs. The question is whether the bills currently in the House and Senate are actually an improvement.
Posted on Jun 24, 2003

A WorldCom of Trouble
The Iraqi Gold Rush is on. Even corporate criminal WorldCom --perpetrator of the largest accounting fraud in American history -- is getting in on the riches.
Posted on Jun 20, 2003

The Clinton Wars
Recent books by Hillary Clinton and Sid Blumenthal recall the scandal plagued Clinton presidency.
Posted on Jun 18, 2003

People First
All this big talk about tax cuts from Washington comes down to taking away after-school programs and health clinics and firefighters.
Posted on Jun 12, 2003

One Word 'Wind'
Wind power makes so much sense that no one really needs to make the case for it.
Posted on Jun 10, 2003

Working for Nothing
All over this country, working people are losing out. 2.7 million jobs have already disappeared and we stand to lose much more.
Posted on Jun 5, 2003

The WMD Question
"Where are the weapons of mass destruction?" is a fairly obvious question at this point. But if you ask, expect to be shot down.
Posted on Jun 3, 2003

Rotten, Old-Fashioned Corruption at the FCC
The FCC has been captured by the industry it is supposed to regulate.
Posted on May 29, 2003

Texas Toil
It was horrible and sickening, but I could not stop watching the final days of the Texas Legislature. Fellow Texans, the ripple effects of this disaster will come to haunt us all.
Posted on May 27, 2003

Um, Folks, This Doesn't Look Like Victory
Good thing we won the war, because the peace sure looks like a quagmire.

Posted on May 22, 2003

Lawmakers on the Lam
True, it has been 50 years since a legislature has overturned a court-ordered redistricting plan; on the other hand, nothing says they can't.
Posted on May 16, 2003

'Damn, We're Americans!'
The Bush administration apparently feels entitled to take actions punishing close old friends for not siding with us in a war we may have lied about.
Posted on May 8, 2003

Weapons of Mass Deception
The rest of the world is not going to forget that WMDs were our primary reason for an unprovoked, pre-emptive war.
Posted on Apr 29, 2003

Workplace Flexibility
The Bush administration is leading the charge with proposed new rules that will erode the 40-hour workweek and affect more than 80 million workers now protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Posted on Apr 24, 2003

Is There Anybody Here with a Lick of Sense?
New nominations for the hotly contested "What Were They Thinking?" title, also known as, "Is There Anybody Here With a Lick of Sense?"
Posted on Apr 21, 2003

Scary Times in the USA
Feeling paranoid about government control lately? You've got good reason to be concerned.
Posted on Nov 24, 2002

Bush administration makes a mockery of corporate cleanup
Molly Ivins is very smart so we all say yes yes yes.
Posted on Nov 5, 2002

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