Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wolfowitz: banking's answer to Katrina

David Seaton's News Links
It is amazing how normal all this is beginning to seem. These people start wars that fail miserably, they fail at everything they touch, they lie, they steal, people die, but little or nothing happens to them beyond being moved to other well paid jobs. Sometimes they get medals too.

The behavior of Bush and Bush's people is like that of officials in a dictatorship. In a dictatorship, the dictator and his coterie enjoy full impunity. So seemingly do Bush and the bushies, but at the same time they are having their dirty linen being constantly washed in public, something that never happens in a dictatorship, except when someone is being deliberately disgraced, on orders of the dictator. In the Bush regime everything is revealed, but precious little happens.

I lived the Spain of Franco and rumors of all sorts of malfeasance of the Wolfowitz type flew among insiders, but none of it ever showed up in the media, of course. Nobody was particularly shocked either, nepotism, favoritism and the like were the heart of the system. Dictators become dictators to facilitate themselves and their friends. However, one of the reasons that many Spanish conservatives were longing for democracy was to introduce accountability into the system in the interest of efficiency, if for no other reason. At that time even those of the far left, who abhorred much about the United States, frankly admired how Watergate was carried out and how Nixon was removed. The United States was a model of sorts for both left and right at that time.

I wonder if Franco were dying now, would the United States be considered any sort of model for an aspiring Spanish democrat of any political color? DS

Wolfowitz Dictated Girlfriend's Pay Deal - Washington Post
Abstract: according to documents released by the bank's executive board yesterday.(...) Wolfowitz joined the bank in 2005 after working at the Pentagon, where as deputy defense secretary he was a principal architect of the Iraq war. This made him a controversial figure at the bank, where he fostered resentment among its member nations and 7,000 Washington employees. World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz personally dictated the terms under which the bank gave what it called his "domestic partner" substantial pay raises and promotions in exchange for temporarily leaving her job there during his tenure,A number of the bank's leading donor nations, including Britain, expressed public concern about aspects of his leadership long before the current uproar over his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, which began when details of her pay package were publicly revealed last month. As bank staffers and development activist groups continued to call for Wolfowitz's resignation, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said that he has President Bush's "full confidence" and that "we expect him to remain as World Bank president." Defenders also surfaced from other quarters. The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial that "the forces of the World Bank's status quo," angered by Wolfowitz's efforts to fight "corruption-as-usual" and institute more accountability in the institution's lending practices, had seized on a trivial issue to bring him down. One former bank staffer said that "some of the countries who failed to block his election are trying to set him up, and he walked into that trap really well." But while few knowledgeable observers were prepared to predict Wolfowitz's departure, many expressed concern that the turmoil is threatening to undermine the work and credibility of the bank. "The issue now, as far as many of us are concerned, is a matter of corporate governance," said a senior bank staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. "The Europeans want him out. The U.S. remains silent, and the board is divided." Others expressed concern about the effect that the controversy could have on this year's negotiations to finance the International Development Association, the bank's lending vehicle for the world's poorest countries. Europe contributes 60 percent of the IDA's funding, and the United States and Japan together give about 26 percent. U.S. contributions and pledges to the current three-year program total about $3 billion.(...) In a memo to the bank's vice president for human resources dated Aug. 11, 2005, Wolfowitz wrote, "I now direct you to agree to a proposal which includes the following terms and conditions." Riza was to be "detailed to an outside institution of her choosing while retaining Bank salary and benefits." She was to receive an immediate raise with approximate annual increases of 8 percent. By 2010, when Wolfowitz's five-year term expired, she would reach a salary of $244,960, significantly above the maximum of $226,650 allowable for her pay grade. On her return to the bank, she would be automatically promoted to the level of senior country director; if her return were delayed another five years by a second Wolfowitz term, she would be elevated to the level of bank vice president.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shorter neocon: "We are not the problem, you are."

We can no longer say that "they" have lowered the bar of acceptable accountability...the bar does not exist anymore.