Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 19, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

FAMILY PLANNING AND THE WORLD BANK....Here's yet another reason to think that maybe Paul Wolfowitz wasn't such a hot choice to head up the World Bank:

Under beleaguered President Paul D. Wolfowitz, the World Bank may be scaling back its long-standing support for family planning, which many countries consider essential to women's health and the fight against AIDS.

In an internal e-mail, the bank's team leader for Madagascar indicated that one of two managing directors appointed by Wolfowitz ordered the removal of all references to family planning from a document laying out strategy for the African nation. And a draft of the bank's long-term health program strategy overseen by the same official makes almost no mention of family planning, suggesting a wider rollback may be underway.

....[The managing director, Juan Jose Daboub] said he did not ask that family planning be struck from the Madagascar report. "It is not true," he said.

Yet internal e-mails obtained by the Government Accountability Project appear to indicate otherwise. Referring to Daboub as the "MD," an acronym for his title as managing director, Madagascar country program coordinator Lilia Burunciuc wrote to colleagues on March 8, 2007: "One of the requests received from the MD was to take out all references to family planning. We did that."

It's bad enough that Republican administrations routinely remove funding for family planning from American foreign aid budgets, but this makes it look like the administration is trying to bully the World Bank into doing the same thing. And keep in mind: this isn't just about abortion. It's about all family planning. I'm sure the Republican base will be delighted.

Kevin Drum 11:48 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Comments

Not at all surprised. These morality fascists are not interested in monetary policy, just imposing their insane ideas of morality on others. Of course, fascists like Wolfowitz feather their own nest first.

Posted by: POed Lib on April 19, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Defunding family planning is a form of hostility to women -- much as paying for sex with a woman.

Wolfowitz is true to form.

Posted by: Slothrop on April 19, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

This is a long standing paradox of the Republican and the American conservative ideology: they firmly believe in the superiority of one race and culture over the rest, but they insist on witholding aid for family planning in countries with supposedly inferior cultures and races.

Posted by: gregor on April 19, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who has sex while married should have a baby, every time.
Anyone who has sex not married should get a disease.
The Bible says so.

Right, Al? This is the right-wing view of "personal responsibility" -- Jeebus' will.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on April 19, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Given that Wolfowitz was one of the primary "architects" of the Iraq war (and like all architects, has no practical experience in building anything), I never understood why the rest of the members of the World Bank didn't tell Bush to stick it with his choice. History be damned. Why would you reward one of the most incompetent "true believers" in U.S. history with such a plum position? If there was ever a time to break with tradition, it was then.

Posted by: JeffII on April 19, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

It's because they value human life sooooo much. Except for life that already exists, of course.

Posted by: Kenji on April 19, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK
This is a long standing paradox of the Republican and the American conservative ideology: they firmly believe in the superiority of one race and culture over the rest, but they insist on witholding aid for family planning in countries with supposedly inferior cultures and races.

Gregor, I was just preparing to note that disconnect, but it occurred to me that unfettered growth among the populations they detest feeds their paranoia and keeps the base riled up & anxious, which is far more valuable to the right than actually addressing the issues-- even their pet issues-- could ever be. Really, their entire approach to any policy is self-involved to the point of being masturbatory, basically feeding their own need for stimulation & release more than anything else.

Posted by: latts on April 19, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Under beleagured President Paul D. Wolfowitz, the World Bank may be scaling back its long-standing support for family planning, which many countries consider essential to women's health and the fight against AIDS.

Wrong. There has been no scaling back. We know that because Wolfowitz said so.

Link

"whether the Bank has changed its policy on family planning, Wolfowitz denied there had been any changes.
"Absolutely not," he said. "I have seen rumours about that. Let me make it very clear. Our policy hasn't changed"
Al

Posted by: The_Real_Al on April 19, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

I am not going to be posting any more comments on this site. Not that this is a
great loss for other readers or for me (I waste too much time writing here, so it
will probably be to my benefit).

Here is the reason:

This morning I posted a comment on the "World Opinion" thread, in response
to a comment from rdw to the effect that "Japan knows it cannot count on the
UN to defend it against China."

My comment said that Japan had no need for the UN or anyone else to "protect"
it against China, given that China is currently Japan's second largest trading
partner and is expected to overtake the USA as Japan's largest trading partner
this year, and given that Japan is investing heavily in China.

I cited, linked to and excerpted two sources for the above information: a press
release from the Japan External Trade Organization and an article from China Daily.

My comment was deleted by someone without explanation. In place of my comment, that
someone posted the remark "I don't know which one of you is worse"
-- leaving my handle and email address in place, which is liable to give the impression
that that remark was mine.

If Political Animal has a policy as to what content is and is not permitted in comments,
then that policy should be made known so that contributors can comply with it.

If posted comments are deleted, they should either be deleted entirely or replaced
with a neutral, informative text such as "comment deleted because of unacceptable
content", and not replaced with rude remarks posted over the signature of the
person whose comment was deleted.

If Political Animal's policy is that comments will be arbitrarily deleted, without
explanation, and replaced with snide, arrogant, juvenile remarks from the "moderators",
then these comment pages have less than zero value as a forum for discussion.

This is the second time I have attempted to post the above comment. I posted it on the "True Believers" thread and it was immediately deleted. I also see that all of the comments I posted yesterday on the "Responding To Tragedy" thread, which were mainly links to and quotes from CNN news reports, have also been deleted.

It is clear that I am no longer welcome here, and that comments about Political Animal's "moderation" policy are unacceptable content for this site.

I am gone.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 19, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

As awful as Wolfie was in many was, I thought, *at least* he's a modestly "rational" neocon, with what that entails about things like family planning. But if he's really a shill to the theocons, then he's just awful, period.

Posted by: Neil B. on April 19, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Why the hell were SecularAnimists posts deleted?

This makes no sense at all.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 19, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

As awful as Wolfie was in many was, I thought, *at least* he's a modestly "rational" neocon, . . .
Posted by: Neil B

Where'd you get that nonsense? The initial plan, Wolfowitz' initial plan for the conquest for Iraq was drawn up just after the first Gulf War. He was obsessed with overthrowing Saddam for about fifteen years. I don't think that's a definition of either rational or reasonable.

Posted by: JeffII on April 19, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, moderator!

Have you considered disemvowelling trollish coments? See Making Light for details. Then if people want to figure out what was said they can, while most of us can gloss over it.

I am also puzzled about this particular poster being deleted. Explanation?

Posted by: EmmaAnne on April 19, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist deleted? This is outrageous. I was deleted some time back for a comment on unions. It contained a biscuit dry analysis by Stephen Roach on global labor arbitrage. What exactly is the policy here?

Posted by: bellumregio on April 19, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII: You have a good point. I meant "rational" in the technical philsophical sense, of secular rationalist - not about prudence or practical rationality.

Posted by: Neil B. on April 19, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK
What exactly is the policy here?

There isn't a policy, there is a rather inconsistent moderator (or set of moderators) that edits comments willy-nilly, replacing some or all of the content in edited comments with their own commentary, set off in square brackets, on the edited posts.

Its not quite the worst moderation system imaginable, but its not at all good. Given the range of better options, including ones that empower readers, available and practical, its a horrendous choice of ways to handle it, even though for the most part the moderations has, until recently, focussed on the well-established trolls and thus generally not detracted from the conversation too much.


Posted by: cmdicely on April 19, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

well, Wolfowitz is pro-choice and quite socially liberal (in fact, at least until the late 90's he was considered a Democrat). so I simply don't buy this as his doing.

easy enough to believe that the managing director at issue did it on his own though.

Posted by: Nathan on April 19, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

What do Wolfie's personal beliefs have to do with it, Nathan? Where the heck have you been? You don't get that job or any job with the Bush administration unless you are a Bush loyalist and first-class ass-kisser.

And thank you, Kevin, for pointing out that this isn't just about abortion, it's about BIRTH CONTROL.

As unpleasant as the thought may be of Wolfowitz having sexual intercourse (excuse me, I just threw up a little in my mouth) would somebody ask him if the woman he pays to have sex with him uses birth control? How about asking all these right-wing hypocrites the same thing? Why deny desperately poor and struggling people access to what they themselves use?

Posted by: LAS on April 19, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Nathan is a proven liar -- not to mention a reflexive water carrier for the right -- so I don't buy his claim that Wolfowitz is pro-choice and quite socially liberal.

As for SecularAnimist's comments being deleted, the moderatros have some 'splainin' to do.

Posted by: Gregory on April 19, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, thank heavens the bank is pursuing all that is right and most holy. Now, they just need to imitate the Office of Faith-Based Programs and make all charity dependent on finding Christ. Sure, you can seek assistance from our Salvation Army-style government and the Salvation Army-style World Bank, but you most grovel and abase yourself before our glittering Christian idols. (See how they shine and glimmer in the light! All hail Mary Mother of God!) And the whole premise of the bank needs to be reworked. The big earth-moving projects like the dam in China are a good start, so let's keep moving mountains in order to give huge profits to big multinational corporations. But these little, piddling assistance programs that aid poor people in Africa and Asia, etc., must stop. Why can't they just lift themselves up by their bootstraps? They're obviously not beloved of God and among the Elect, the way the Republicans are.

Posted by: nmjcttt on April 19, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, substantive criticism of Wolfowitz's actions at the World Bank.

Posted by: Brian on April 19, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

The World Bank is a joint operation between many countries, not a US owned and operated agency. Forcing other countries to follow US policy is therefore absolutely wrong. The US is merely one of many countries who control and participate in the World Bank.

Also, wasn't this all reported in the New Yorker in the past few weeks?

Posted by: Fred on April 19, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Brian approves of Wolfie breaking WB policy and giving his lover a big fat... salary increase.

Posted by: Disputo on April 19, 2007 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

I have also noticed a recent upturn in moderation, but not for anything as benign as what SA describes. I agree that an explanation is in order.

Posted by: Disputo on April 19, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo,

According to The Monthly's own TA Frank, the WB's board agrees with me:

"The first accusation, that he improperly secured favorable employment and pay for Riza, seems undercut by documents showing that he consulted with the bank's board at the time about how to deal with the situation."

How about that?

Posted by: Brian on April 19, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Cute cherry pick. That isn't the whole story, you liar. He consulted with the Board, and then ignored their advice.

Back to trolllimbo with you.

Posted by: Disputo on April 19, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Incorrect, dumbass. The Chairman even sent him a handwritten memo signing off on the hiring.

Posted by: Brian on April 19, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

The US is merely one of many countries

huh? when did that happen? has the President been told about this?

Posted by: thersites on April 19, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, we need to see some "policy" guidelines for moderation here. SecularAnimist is a productive contributor to this forum, and these deletions make no sense.

If there are guidelines, then they need to be made public so we know what is or is not "acceptable" here. Otherwise, we have a rather odious form of anarchy going on, and that is not in line with what has always been Political Animal. Whoever is "in charge" of this nonsense needs to get a reign on things in a positive manner and cut out this schoolboy foolishness.

Signed,
"Otolaryx"
A PA reader from the Old Days
Age 72

cc: sent via email to Kevin

Posted by: Otolaryx on April 19, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

``... but this makes it look like the administration is trying to bully the World Bank into doing the same thing.''

strike ``this makes it look like'' and you've got it. no need to qualify the assertion. it's beyond obvious.

Posted by: secularhuman on April 19, 2007 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

My nominal cousin de non de plume secularanimist is one of the best if not THE best of the commenters on this blog. it's a shame to exclude him.

Posted by: secularhuman on April 19, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Permit me a rebellious notion.

Most of the World Bank's Top Down ideas have been very harmful to third world countries. Think: massive hydroelectric plants that shackle nations with untenable debts, that ruin ecological systems, and that offer no benefit to the populace.

Now think of ideas that have benefited third world countries: microlending, 'illegal' manufacturing of patented drugs, cell phones.

They are all Bottom Up reforms.

I could easily be convinced that the Top Down family planning programs are unworkable -- simply because they are Top Down.

But then again, Bush/NeoCons were never concerned with effectiveness, but only ideology.

Posted by: absent observer on April 20, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Did it ever occur to any of you that while you all believe yourselves to be politically astute you really only have an expertise in the hatred of George Bush and all things conservative? Having a any real political expertise requires not just a knowledge of the existence of conservative positions but a genuine understanding of why good people might think conservatively. It also requires insight into the fact that, since you learned to understand what the television said, you've undergone a subtle but deliberate attempt to push you leftward. Anyone old enough to remember the 50s and 60s knows that the democrats of that time would despise the democrats of today. At that time today's outright hatred of Republicans by Democrats was largely nonexistant. Opposition? Hell yes! Personal hatred? Just wasn't an accepted way to operate like it is today. You all seem to have been duped by the technique of demonization. Don't you guys ever wonder who's pulling the strings? Getting back to the old democrats: The attacks on religion (particularly Christians) would have gotten some of you thrown out of the democratic party permanently. Religious hatred was just not a Democratic Party plank.

Posted by: DougW on April 20, 2007 at 6:09 AM | PERMALINK

Let me don my tinfoil feminist hat. Lack of access to contraception and health care goes hand-in-hand with lack of access to education and jobs. Women who are educated, employable, and in control of their fertility are able to be independent of men. It shouldn't be news to anyone that the Republican party has sold out to the religious right in this country. Imposing rightwing christian beliefs on other countries is a logical outgrowth of this.

Posted by: Rugosa on April 20, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Your tinfoil hat fits very well.

Posted by: Brian on April 20, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Just another example's of Wolfie's arrogence

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