Archive for January, 2010

“The Underlying Tragedy” by David Brooks (TIMES, 1/15/10)

January 18, 2010

          Voodoo is not the problem for Haiti; the loss of its sovereignty is the major reason the Haitians are always living on the cusp of disaster. 

          For all its flaws, the People’s Republic of China restored its sovereignty in 1949, enabling it to use resources (including foreign aid) to the best advantage.

          Except for a very short period in its history, Haiti has had nothing like sovereignty. It is a semi-colonial country whose economy is directed by foreign capitalists, making corruption and the continued impoverishment of the Haitians that much easier.

          After two nice sentences, “This is not a disaster story. This is a poverty story,” Brooks falsely claims that “we don’t know how to use aid to reduce poverty.”

          Yes, we do; the problem is the U.S rulingclass has no desire to reduce poverty, not even within the borders of this country. They want as large a reserve army of cheap labor as is possible.

          If Brooks wasn’t such a close-minded conservative so enamored of the capitalist system, he might see that.

“U.S. Companies Race to Take Advantage of Iraqi Oil Bonanza” (TIMES, 1/4/10)

January 18, 2010

          Ain’t the New World Order something? The withdrawal of U.S forces from Iraq hasn’t yet been completed and the big oil and engineering corporations are salivating at the profits they want to make. 

          Read the list (in fact, copy down the names) and beware: Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Weatherford International, Schlumberger, KBR, Bechtel, and Parsons! Like the vultures they are, the new robber barons are ready to cash in on the unnecessary war that cost the lives of over 4000 U.S service people.

          They know how to run things, these jackals brag, and they are anxious to get in on the ground floor. I wonder if they will raise a monument to the former shadow president or will Dick Cheney get some kind of “finder’s fee”?

          With all the help he extended to such corporate hustlers, it should be as large as the Statue of Liberty. Only, please, don’t erect it in beautiful New York Harbor!

“Senate Hopeful With a New State Airs His Views” (TIMES, 1/13/10)

January 18, 2010

          Vote NO for Harold E. Ford, Jr.; he has opportunist written all over him.  It is bad enough having Blue Dog Democrats in Tennessee; it is intolerable for New York State. 

          Believe him when he says he is a “capitalist,” which is quite obvious. He’s pretty, he’s macho, he’s ambitious. That is the foul odor he is giving off.

           And he is NOT his own man. At the first whiff of success, he will be grovelling before potential big money backers.

          Beware New Yorkers! Give this smart-assed hick the cold shoulder.

“Doubts on Regulation and Renewal Hang Over Wall St.” (TIMES, 1/1/10)

January 4, 2010

          If the “giants on the banking industry” made a comeback “because of taxpayer lifelines and other support from Washington,”what was remarkable about it?

          Despite their screwups, they got their money back. That being the case, why should anybody think they will “change the way they do business”?

          More importantly, why is Lawrence H. Summers still the “chief economic adviser to president Obama”? Isn’t Summers one of the “experts” responsible for the deep divide “between Wall Street and Main Street”?

          The USA needs oversight of its financial institutions. Summers is too close to Wall Street to be very effective.

“The BIg Zero” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 12/28/09)

January 4, 2010

          Yes, indeed, the decade from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2009 can be called the “Big Zero”! It was ten years of major disaster for the economy, the political system and , especially, for the majority of the population.

          For a full eight of those ten years, the USA was under the control of a shadow presidency, a fact Krugman failed to mention. Just how the executive branch of the government functioned is still somewhat murky; however, there is considerable evidence that Dick Cheney, officially the vice-president, acted like the chief executive. No doubt, that is the reason he is currently being viewed as the strongest vice-president in the U.S history.

          It will be the job of contemporary journalists to continue exploring the necessity of such an executive arrangement., with special attention given to the connection between the zero decade and this undermining of the political system. 

          In order to get to the bottom of this situation, it will surely be the necessary for those who created the shadow presidency to answer for their actions in a court of law. We are counting on journalists like Krugman to keep such an investigation open.

Unemployment (TIMES, 12/23/09)

January 4, 2010

           Congratulations for the two editorials about the unemployment situation in the USA and what little is being done about it. Coverage of this serious problem by the media has been generally remiss.

          Is the economy picking up, as the business- friendly optimists are venturing to say, or will the other shoe fall after the holiday season ends?

          I guess it will be January or February before we learn the truth: the “recession” has finally ended or we are actually mired in a depression?

          Happy Holidays to the staff.

“Aides Recount Plan To Replace Afghan Leader” (TIMES, 2/17/09)

January 4, 2010

          While a top U.S general was planning a way to “save” Afghanistan, a senior U.S official was trying to oust its president. As I first heard it when I was in the U.S army a half a century ago, “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” 

          Our commander-in-chief is surrounded by ambitious officials mainly interested in advancing their own careers or business interests. Oil wells, higher ranks or prestigious posts are what commands their attention.

          Meanwhile, the dirty little war will consume American youth who could not go to college or find a decent job. They will be the casualties of the quagmire created by the shadow presidency. 

          Doing the right thing is far better than insuring the attainment of a second term as a president. If Obama cannot extricate the USA from the mess made by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, then he can at least resolve to hold fast to the withdrawal deadlines in both Iraq and Afghanistan, or his supporters have no obligation to re-elect him.

“Obama’s Christian Realism” by David Brooks (TIMES, 12/15/09)

January 4, 2010

          In 1954, I graduated from Brooklyn College so was fortunately spared a John Hibben commencement address. David Brooks always sees the evil in the world coming from the right and the left, so the good guys should plant themselves firmly in the middle. As a “moderate” conservative that’s where Brooks claims to be, but he is actually closer to the right. His implication that the Western democracies equally opposed the threats from the right and the left is wrong; in fact, they preferred the right (at least temporarily).

          After World War I, Fascist leader Benito Mussolini was welcomed as a boon to a healthy Italian economy and a bulwark against communism.  It didn’t matter very much to them that he bashed democracy in the process. As long as the trains ran on time, he could imprison all the leftists he wanted. J.P. Morgan even backed him with a loan.

          Later, at the very threshold of national disaster, French conservatives were still shouting, “Better Hitler than Stalin.” That’s why the “naive”  (?) Neville Chamberlain went to Munich and pointed Hitler to the Ukraine as the lebensraum he was seeking. That’s why France and Great Britain staged a phony war from September 1939 to the spring of 1940. That’s why the Japanese militarists were able to conquer so much of East Asia. An effective resistance would have necessitated arming the colonial masses and strengthening the left (better the Japanese than Ho Chi Minh).

          The appeasement of Adolf Hitler to the very eve of Pearl Harbor was the policy of conservative Americans. Evil as the Nazi-Soviet pact was, few people (least of all Chamberlain) expected that it would last. On the contrary, the British and French were counting on it being terminated. Why else was the “western front” quiescent for months after their declaration of war on Germany in September 1939?

          Evil can be overcome by a genuine democratic effort. Imperialism in any guise should be defeated in all possible ways.

“Disaster and Denial” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 12/14/09)

January 4, 2010

          Paul Krugman wrote an honest article that, while it clearly reveals his naivete, does at least suggest the nature of the communication problem in the USA; i.e, some people simply close their ears to a rational argument. The reason is too many “centrists” act that way because they want to be right (correct) and rich at the same time.

          A genuine criticism of capitalism in its entirety or even of its parts would expose some Marxist influence, thus identifying the critic as a leftist. As soon as some people make such an identification, they immediately lose their hearing because they don’t want that label, even if they agree with the argument. German Social-Democrat August Bebel once disparaged centrists as “the swamp”, seemingly throwing up his hands to ever reaching them.

          All the News That’s Fit to Print needs to hire a Marxist to create an atmosphere of genuine debate which might advance the discussion to a higher level. When that happens more people should realize that ultimately they have to ACT on their beliefs.

          Or, dear fellow, am I being naive?

“Blackwater Guards Tied to Covert Raids by CIA” (TIMES, 12/11/09)

January 4, 2010

          Isn’t it time to break the contract with those Blackwater mercenaries (aka Xe services) the CIA has been employing for its dirty work? Such hired warriors will continue to be a political liability to the USA in much the same way as the Hessians were to the British during the War of Independence. And at $10,000 a month for each mercenary, they are expensive.

          With the Obama administration seemingly intent on winding down the U.S commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, a withdrawal of American personnel (e.g, State Department employees) should be underway soon, making Xe Services unnecessary.

          Get those thugs out of the picture before they do anymore harm to this country.