Archive for October, 2009

“NATO Ministers Support General On Afghan War” & “Biden Dismisses Cheney’s Criticisms…” (TIMES, 10/24/09))”

October 26, 2009

“I’ll hold your coat,” the coward would say when his best friend was about to fight a fierce adversary. I think Bob Hope used that line in one of his comedies too.  It’s an old joke I remember from my youth in Brooklyn.

NATO “defense ministers” think McChrystal has a good plan for the war in Afghanistan and have apparently given him a hearty hip hip hooray, but, as the sub-headline stated it, “NO specifics on forces.”

Then there is former shadow president Dick Cheney still rattling the sword with all his might before his neo-conservative followers who is meekly “rebuffed” by vice-president Joe Biden with his limited warfare ideas! Cheney’s way or Biden’s, that’s the choice! More troops or less, empty cheers from the unwilling allies of the USA, all clamoring for a WAR with no end in sight.

Obama should rue the day he claimed war in Afghanistan “is a necessity.” By saying that, he stumbled into Rumsfeld’s quagmire, but only up to his shins. There are even senior U.S officers, active and retired, who would back the president on a withdrawal.

Contrary to the rantings of the reactionaries, withdrawal is always an option in warfare. Remember Iwo Jima, an island that did not need to be taken and made no sense to defend.

A capable commander-in-chief should know when to retreat.

“The Quiet Revolution” by David Brooks (TIMES, 10/23/09)

October 26, 2009

Leave it to moderate conservative David Brooks to see revolution where there is hardly even reform. More often than not he denounces genuine reform as “revolutionary.”

Since the U.S rulingclass is NOT interested in educating workers, public education on every level will always be in jeopardy. The only reason public education is still tolerated is because the economy needs trained workers in the factories and offices. They don’t need to be educated.

Trained workers are taught to get to work on time, concentrate on what they are doing for their employer and only ask the questions who, what, when, and how,  but NEVER why.  The latter, of course, often identifies the truly educated person. If these undereducated workers get uppity, just play a few bars of the “Stars’ Spangled Banner” to calm them down.

The first calls for pubic education in the USA came from the labor unions of the free states in the early nineteenth century, culminating in the efforts of the Knights of Labor. Such reforms were more important to them than workplace changes.  (The South didn’t get public education until after the abolition of slavery.)

Since Brooks doesn’t know the difference between trained and educated, how can he distinguish reform from revolution?

“$13 An Hour? 500 Sign Up For 1 Opening” (TIMES, 10/22/09)

October 26, 2009

Congratulations to the TIMES for printing a story about the condition of the U.S workingclass. They are few and far between, though there are probably reporters like Michael Luo who would be willing to search out more.

Since having a better idea of the actual economic situation in the country would help us decide what to do about it, a detailed account on a monthly or quarterly basis is greatly in need.

A lot of voters really don’t know how bad the economy is because they accept the “official unemployment” figure of 9.8%, while many observers are claiming it is closer to 17%.

Doesn’t publishing accurate unemployment figures come under your claim to publish “All the News Thats Fit to Print”?

“The New Untouchables” by Thomas L. Friedman (TIMES, 10/21/09)

October 26, 2009

Graduate from college as a genius and you will never want for a well-paying job, not even during a “Great Recession.”  Hallelujah!

Apparently, this “wisdom” was “whispered” to him by a former “global executive” and now an “international investor” (i.e, a typical representative of the business elite). Indeed, had that nonsense been uttered out loud in that meetingplace, the laughter from the audience might have broken Friedman’s ear drums; though the message of that ridicule probably would not have penetrated his brain.

Employers hire cheaper, not better. U.S workers often cannot compete with foreign workers who will toil for much less money. That’s true for the skilled as well as the unskilled labor force.

“To Beat the Taliban, Fight From Afar” By Robert A. Pape (TIMES, 10/15/09)

October 19, 2009

Behind the academic gibberish of political scientist Robert A. Pape looms the shadow of the dinosaur Curtis LeMay, the Air Force general who once advocated bombing an enemy “Back to the Stone Age.”

LeMay has had disciples who have repeated this message in wars the U.S has been involved in since that great tragedy in South East Asia. Don’t risk U.S casualties; attack from “over the horizon” with high-flying aircraft or guided missiles. We’ve heard it all before.

Does the political scientist Pape think the people of Afghanistan won’t know it is the USA that is killing them and destroying their homeland? Won’t such a strategy of widespread destruction have the same effect as the presence of large U.S armies on their soil?

Though a popular subject in the U.S universities, Political Science has often been wanting in explaining current events, foreign or domestic. It was apparently added to the curriculum in the U.S to counter Political Economy, a major subject (influenced by Marxism) taught in European institutions of higher learning since the 19th century. Despite the fact that Communism is no longer a major threat to Capitalism, these “scientists” are still plying their trade.

“C.I.A Is Cagey About ’63 Files Tied to Oswald” (TIMES, 10/17/09)

October 19, 2009

Almost forty-six years have passed since President Kennedy was assassinated and we still don’t know the truth.

This is so primarily because bureaucrats from U.S intelligence agencies have hidden information from the public.

If such people can cover up the assassination of a president, what can’t they do? 

“NOW IS THE TIME” 10/19/09

October 19, 2009

When the Democratic Party acts out of character, it can only look indecisive or just like the Republicans, weak as a kitten or tailing the reactionaries.

Obama has about six months when he can act, then he will be inhibited from “doing anything rash” by the off-year election. His window of opportunity will close by the late winter of next year, so NOW is the time to do something constructive. 

The Democrats have shut their eyes to the travails of working people in order to “restore the health” of the banks, meaning the suffering on Main Street will continue for some months.

Obama’s “solution” to the war in Afghanistan will probably be to modify the recommendations of General McChrystal (i.e, he’ll get something less than the 40,000 troops he wants). As a result, the war will stumble along as it has been with no end in sight.

If the people who want a progressive agenda (probably the majority) complain, the pathetic leadership of the Democratic Party will expect us to wait until after November 2010.

U.S deaths in Afghanistan are now 868. What will that figure be by then?

“The young & the Neuro” by David Brooks (NEW YORK TIMES, 10/13/09)

October 19, 2009

Brooks’ editorial is better than “The Young and the Damned” (an old movie?), I guess, but it still left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Do we really have to “define and systematize the emotions” before we can rectify the glaring problems hobbling humankind?

Except for making money, conservatives are never in a hurry in what they do. After several decades of neuroscience, we may have a sensible health care system and not have to wait (ala John McCain ) a hundred years to end the war in Afghanistan!

“…any social science that treats individuals as discrete decision-making creatures is nonsense,” is a deeply pessimistic notion which could be utilized to justify a dictatorship of the worthy brilliant (i.e., “experts” usually recruited from big business or the armed services.

Neuroscience, Brooks thinks, “may even help policy wonks someday see people as they really are.”

Does David Brooks know how people “really are”?

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

October 12, 2009

          Awarding Obama the Nobel Prize before he has achieved anything like peace, but is pursuing a “necessary war” in Afghanistan and slowly withdrawing from Iraq, is similar to the promotions given to senior U.S officers before they have actually accomplished their objectives.

          No matter how the truth is bent, nor to whose benefit, it is a bad idea to do so. Not only are people deceived, they are also dumbed down. The more confusion that is created as a result, the more difficult it becomes for people to show good judgment.

          The sooner the USA extracts itself from the quagmire created by the shadow presidency of 2001 – 2009, the better it will be for everybody.

          May Obama live up to the Nobel Prize and may the promoted officers measure up to their new ranks.

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October 12, 2009

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