Archive for November, 2009

“After Cheney” by James Traub (TIMES MAGAZINE, 11/29/09)

November 30, 2009

          Let’s discourage Joe Biden from becoming the second most powerful vice-president in U.S history. After having endured the recent shadow presidency, the people of the USA shouldn’t have to worry about such an eventuality being repeated.

          The Constitution (Article II, Section 1) stipulates that the vice-president can only assume the “powers and duties” of the top executive if the president is removed from office, dies or is unable to discharge said powers and duties.

          There is no suggestion that the vice-president can serve as a standin for the president, as Dick Cheney often seemed to be doing during the administration in office from 2001 to 2009.

          It makes no difference how “competent” the older Biden may be, nor how”inexperienced” the younger Obama seems. The voters chose the latter to be their president, not the former.

          And no puff job from James Traub should even imply that it should be otherwise.


“Stacking the Deck Against the Kids” by Bob Herbert (TIMES, 11/28/09)

November 30, 2009

          Kudos to Bob Herbert for the following lines: “The American economy is broken,”ruined by the greed and irresponsibility of fabulously wealthy corporate chieftains and their shabby acolytes and enablers in government.”

          A sentence like this one is the reason I make a special effort to read the Saturday issue of the TIMES. It is the day of the week, I’ve noticed over the years, when the editors come closest to living up to the slogan on their masthead.

          I do object, however, to Herbert’s use of the term “Great Recession,” which supposedly describes the present condition of the U.S economy. Accepting the use of “recession” was sometimes difficult for me, a child of the Great Depression (1929-1941), but I’ve learned to live with the two terms (i.e, depression and recession).

          Great Recession sticks in my craw. If the economic situation is worse than a recession, it should be referred to as a depression. Or can Bob Herbert tell us precisely what distinguishes these terms each from the others?

          That one percent of Americans whose collective wealth is greater than the bottom ninety percent can hire an army of doubletalkers who obfuscate or distort the information necessary to understand economic conditions. Let’s not make their sleazy “reporting” easier.  


“Obama May Add 30,000 Troops in Afghanistan” (TIMES, 11/25/09)

November 30, 2009

          So it’s the 30,000 troop plan for Afghanistan and a vague reference to an “exit strategy” sans “exit timetable.” When the Clinton-Gates-Mullen choice is implemented, the size of the U.S force there will be just under 100,000 troops.

          This means the war in Afghanistan will continue indefinitely and the Obama administration will conduct itself with the same “caution” it has been showing.

          Apparently, the Democrats are hoping to win big in next year’s congressional elections., the way they did in 1934, before they actually get into gear. What a pity!

           After the long winter of the recent shadow presidency, our long-suffering troops and neglected workingclass will have to endure another year of danger and privation.

          How many fortunes will be made on Wall street (during this alleged “recovery”) from right now to Election Day 2010? What will be the unemployment level by that time? How many service people will be dead by then?

          There better be a good turnout of voters!

“THE VALUES QUESTION” by David Brooks (TIMES, 11/24/09)

November 30, 2009

          David Brooks is a true conservative because he thinks things will always be as they are now. Distrustful of change, he cannot imagine that people can come to view situations and issues differently; that is, they can alter their outlook given the changing circumstances of their existence. 

          He also continually exaggerates they dynamism of the U.S economic system, especially during the earliest decades of the USA, which he sometimes portrays in near utopian language.

          How “wide-open” was the United States to the slaves who accounted for a significant proportion of the surplus wealth, to the indentured servants (many of whom were women) who were another important part of the work force and to the Indians whose lands were stolen from them? For such people as these (the majority?), U.S society was hardly wide open. This great mass usually walked about with heads bowed ad mouths shut.

          The colonists of the eastern seaboard of North America did make a revolution in that they created a republican form of government, rather than an American monarchy, as they won their independence from Great Britain, which was a progressive development.

          But let us not get carried away. There were economic downturns (called panics) in the fledging capitalist system from the very beginning. and, as is the situation today, the disfranchised suffered far more than an upper class of plantation owners, merchants, bankers, and industrialists who monopolized all the “sweetspots.”

“U.S Fears…” by T. Williams and “Gates Says U.S Could Cut Aid…” by E. Bumiller (TIMES, 11/21/09)

November 23, 2009

          The U.S troops should be withdrawn from Iraq by June 30, 2010 and out of Afghanistan by June 30, 2011. Enough blood has been shed for these disasters created by the recent shadow presidency (4355 U.S dead in Iraq and 909 in Afghanistan).

          The new, properly-elected administration of Barrack Obama has to end this nightmare without further delay. The U.S officials in charge now (both civilian and military) must know that both wars have been futile. A faster exit strategy from both quagmires is the order of the day.

          That order has to be given by the commander-in-chief, even if it jeopardizes his running for a second term. Government officials, whether voted into office or appointed, have jobs to do. Public service involves more than simply getting elected. And getting elected does not mean a second term is guaranteed.

          The USA is currently fighting two wars that are NOT necessary and moving slowly on ending what is euphemistically being called the “Great Recession.” To set the issue straight: it is a quagmire over there and a depression right here

          Face the facts, Mr. President, and do the job you were elected to do. If your top advisors do not agree with you, they can resign honorably.

“Clinton Emerges…Unsteady Leader (TIMES, 11/20/09)”

November 23, 2009

          No, Hillary Rodham Clinton is not the knight on a white horse who can save Afghanistan. There have been enough American proconsuls, some still bungling along, who played that role to no avail.

          The U.S commander-in-chief should be the one in charge and his only course of action for Afghanistan is an exit strategy. Better assignments can be found for the U.S officials (Petraeus, McChrystal, Holbrooke) who are still trying to win Rumsfield’s folly and advancing their own personal ambitions.

           Over 900 U.S service members have already died in this nasty little war and there is no end in sight. And the cost in dollars is staggering to a country mired in a “Great Recession.”

          A good general knows when to retreat, especially from a situation created by other, less competent leaders. President Obama has to muster up the courage to tell the people the truth; i.e, the war in Afghanistan is NOT necessary.

“Obama Demands Afghan Reforms Produce Results” (TIMES, 11/19/09)

November 23, 2009

          President Obama’s demands of Afghan leader Hamid Karzai will be essentially ignored, just as were the admonitions of other U.S presidents by Chiang Kaishek, Syngman Rhee, Ngo Dinh Diem, and Ferdinand Marcos. Corrupt and inept minions of the U.S New World Order (originally printed in lower case in the popular publications of Henry R. Luce), they were all on the wrong side of history. 

          The New World Order does not sound any better coming from the charismatic and articulate U.S president, even as its opponents are traditional Muslims seemingly living in the Middle Ages. Imperialism in any guise is unacceptable and will continue to be resisted throughout the world, even by social reactionaries.

          Instead of arguing about the size of the U.S force in Afghanistan, an exit strategy should be devised. Maybe the United Nations or some coalition of neighboring countries can save Afghanistan, but it cannot be done by the United States.

“Celebrating Revolution With Roots In a Rumor” by Dan Bilefsky (TIMES, 11/18/09)

November 23, 2009

          “It was a revolution that begun with a lie” in a country called Czechoslovakia trapped behind the iron curtain. Now we read of a celebration in a state known as the Czech Republic, “a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union.” 

          The existence of the Czech Republic and a separate Slovakian state as the result of the “velvet revolution” represents the second breakup of Czechoslovakia. The first dismemberment was the nasty work of Hitler’s Third Reich and was widely condemned in the USA.

          The “honest journalist” Dan Bilefsky is probably right in thinking the second dismemberment will be better than the first. Nevertheless, he should have bolstered his view by giving his readers more information about the actual social and economic conditions inside the Czech Republic and the advantages, if any, of its being a “partner” in the New World Order.

“The Nation of Futurity” by David Brooks (TIMES, 11/17/09)

November 23, 2009

          “Moral materialism fomented a certain sort of manic energy,” according to David Brooks, causing Americans to go off on “righteous crusades.” Well, what can you expect from a minion of William Buckley?

          That moral materialism, which has caused Brooks to drool, quickly led to the destruction of the “forests that seemed to stretch to infinity,” the slaughter of the original inhabitants who tried to live within the bounds of that wilderness, the enslavement of millions of Africans to work for the profits of these energetic moral materialists, and the arrogance of “manifest destiny,” which tried to justify their control of all of North America.

          And these frenetic bastards are still with us, only they are not “looking to the horizon,” as they should be; rather, they are worried about “Chinese optimism.”

          No, that’s not it at all. The U.S advocates of the New World Order (i.e., imperialism) are concerned about Chinese sovereignty. The moral materialists (e.g., Henry Luce) liked China better when its streets were full of beggars who sometimes pleaded for help at the feet of Christian missionaries.

          Oh, for the good old days before Mao Zedong!

“A Recovery For Some” (by Rob Herbert, TIMES, 11/14/09)

November 16, 2009

          “Where’s the rescue plan for millions of jobless men and women?” is a naive question from an experienced columnist like Bob Herbert.

          For decades the two major political parties have been effectively disfranchising the U.S workingclass, so that the government only concerns itself with the needs of the very wealthy and an amorphous middleclass. The workers (rapidly being replaced by technology) don’t matter to the economic “experts” anymore.

          This essentially bourgeois dictatorship is aided and abetted by a mostly compliant media that in one way or another makes U.S workers disappear (e.g, when they are dropped from the unemployment rolls).

          The media also employ unclear language and doubletalk when it speaks about the economic situation. Depression displaced panic by the turn of the 20th century; then recession displaced depression. Now, we have the “Great Recession”! Is there anybody at the TIMES to tell us the difference?

          If this is not a “normal recession” we are experiencing, Mr. Herbert, would is be a depression or a Great Recession ; and which is worse (or should I say better?)?

          Nothing to worry about folks; it’s only a Great Recession! Nobody is going back to work but the recovery is underway! All the experts have to do to lower the unemployment rate is convince those without jobs to stop looking for work.

          In the immortal words of former Republican President Calvin Coolidge, “when people are out of work, the result is unemployment.” Apparently, things have changed since good old Cal caught up on his sleep in Washington. In the USA of today, you can make workers disappear and, POOF, there goes the unemployment problem.