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« Bill Frist Performed Surgery On General Petraeus | WILLisms.com | Why Ditching The Debates Is Dumb »

The Eleventh Mainstream Melee -- Bureaucracies & Change Do Not Mix.


It's a non-blog adventure.


Bloomberg: "Wolfowitz's One Sin Was Waging War on Corruption"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

This whole flap over Paul Wolfowitz and his girlfriend is contrived and trumped up by people who hate reform and love the status quo.

Super Succinct Snippet-

Wolfowitz obstructed the flow of funds to countries that he viewed as corrupt, often disregarding staff judgments. This heightened the staff feeling of resentment.

In the same chat, Folsom said the fight isn't over: ``It's still a struggle, though, to be honest. There are still a small number who don't value the work of this department.''

Is it any wonder that delicious details about Wolfowitz and his girlfriend are being leaked to the press?

Yet the connection to a corruption investigation raises red flags. Why are the staff and the board so worried about Wolfowitz's anticorruption campaign?

So, Wolfowitz comes into the World Bank, which already had his girlfriend on staff. He asks the World Bank ethics committee what to do regarding that fact, they tell him, he does it, and a couple years later he gets "scandal" associated with his name because he is not playing by the status quo.

Bureaucracies are inherently inefficient, undemocratic, and anti-progress.



OpinionJournal: "A Tale of Two Scandals"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Evidence of a double standard and agenda behind the Wolfowitz non-scandal scandal.

Super Succinct Snippet-

magine that a top civil servant at a major multinational institution arranges a job for a fortysomething female colleague that comes with a $45,000 raise and brings her yearly salary to about $190,000, tax free. Now imagine that the couple has been photographed at a nudist beach--him wearing nothing but a baseball cap.

The latest sordid twist in l'affaire Wolfowitz? Not at all. This is the story of G√ľnter Verheugen, first vice president of the European Commission in Brussels. In its contrasts and similarities with the "scandal" now absorbing the World Bank and its president, it offers timely instruction on the nature and power of modern bureaucracies.

Bureaucracies are inherently cliqueish, corrupt, and resistant to reform.



The Wall Street Journal: "Girlfriend Salaries for Everyone at World Bank"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

The girlfriend of Paul Wolfowitz, who was a World Bank employee, was paid way too much. WAAAY too much. In other words, she was paid exactly what other World Bank employees of her status make.

Super Succinct Snippet-

Maybe the staff's salaries should come down. Maybe the quality of their work needs to improve. Maybe crooks and laggards should leave and others should be paid still more. Maybe the bank staff should start paying U.S. taxes. Maybe the whole gray area between for-profit and not-for-profit needs adjustment. In any case, the old corporate rule holds yet again: When salaries seem odd, something is out of balance -- just not always in the way you think.

This whole deal proves that a President "having a guy" at an organization is practically meaningless, if that organization is a large bureaucracy.



The Weekly Standard: "Crying Wolfowitz . . . while the United Nations bankrolls dictators."

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Wolfowitz being ousted is ridiculous, in the face of what is happening in other organizations.

Super Succinct Snippet-

For two of Paul Wolfowitz's most prominent critics, Mark Malloch Brown and Ad Melkert, the war over the World Bank presidency could not have come at a better time. Whatever else the ousting of Wolfowitz has achieved, it has done plenty to distract from the North Korea Cash-for-Kim scandal that just four months ago was threatening to engulf the United Nations agency piloted for the past eight years first by Malloch Brown and now largely by Melkert.

It's all media-driven, these scandals-- or lack thereof.



The Wall Street Journal: "World Bank Scholar: Paul Wolfowitz's judges may have ethical issues of their own."

Super Succinct Synopsis-

A World Bank director (Tom Scholar), a critic of Paul Wolfowitz, has the same "girlfriend" thing going on, it's been known for a long time, but he has not faced any negative consequences whatsoever.

Super Succinct Snippet-

Since the original complaint was filed about Mr. Scholar more than a year ago, there has been no indication that any action has been taken by the board--and no way of finding out if the matter was even discussed. But a new complaint regarding Mr. Scholar was sent directly to eight members of the board this Tuesday. Signed "John Smith"--it is not clear whether the author is the same person who filed the earlier complaint--the one-page letter restates the allegation regarding Mr. Scholar's undisclosed liaison with the bank employee.

Yeah. Bizarro-world.


The previous Mainstream Melee.

WILLisms.com and many other blogs sometimes focus too much on our fellow bloggers, while excluding well-done professional journalism from our posts.

The Mainstream Melee is a quick survey of five non-blog sources, coming atchya at completely random intervals. The stories are either underreported, particularly well-written, interesting, or otherwise important to the big picture. But generally there will be a theme of some kind in the choices.

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 May 2007 12:05 PM


All are op/ed pieces that leave out key details or basically misrepresent the facts.

Additionally, when is "he did it, too" a viable defense?

Posted by: Jadegold at May 19, 2007 12:27 PM

Heheh, Jadegold, you have a very loose and self-serving definition of what a 'fact' is.

Funny, too, that Jadegold, whose repertoire of stunted rhetorical skills amounts to little more than ad hominem attacks and deliberate misreadings of what people write, should complain about 'leaving out facts' or using 'he did it too' as a defense.

Heh, plus the idea of a leftist complaining about anyone being biased in their reporting is just . . . well . . . pretty funny.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at May 19, 2007 12:45 PM

But having said that, welcome back Will!

Posted by: Ken McCracken at May 19, 2007 12:46 PM

I understand facts are mere inconveniences for you, Ken. Especially when you have opinions.

Fact: Wolfowitz was the one who came to the WB and said ethical business practices were going to be his number one priority.

Clearly this turned out not to be the case.

BTW, his girlfriend was not the sole issue; Wolfson had established a history at the WB of rewarding his friends disproportionately.

All in all, this is yet another instance of one of Young Master Bush's cronies demonstrating corruption and incompetence.

Posted by: Jadegold at May 19, 2007 04:00 PM

jadegold - "Clearly this turned out not to be the case." It's not clear to me.

Try, just for fun. Just to show that you have the ability to consider other points of view, and can acknowledge a reasonable opponent. Identify something in the post that you think is legitimate.

An inability to acknowledge even a 1% correctness on the other side is in itself pathological.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at May 19, 2007 04:07 PM

I just read the Falwell thread, and I will repeat my previous request with emphasis: jadegold, if you wish to discuss things with reasonable people, you will have to discuss things reasonably. The ability to make distinctions is necessary for intelligence. You make false claims (such as stating that Falwell did not think gays were human), and when called on them, switch to new unsupported insult.

Demonstrate your ability to understand what is said to you by making distinctions between what parts your disputant says are reasonable and which you disagree with.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at May 19, 2007 04:25 PM

Again Jadegold, your definition of what constitutes a 'fact' seems to morph and change and expand with however far someone pushes you into a corner.

Heh, Wolfowitz issuing standard boilerplate such as 'I promise to be ethical' is hardly a critical fact in this story.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at May 19, 2007 06:50 PM