Archive for February, 2010

“Despite Signs of Recovery, Chronic Joblessness Rises by Peter S. Goodman (TIMES, 2/21/10)”

February 22, 2010

          When the TIMES claims it is publishing “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” you are assuming a responsibility of using the clearest language as possible. Goodman’s article does not warrant the above heading because he has not indicated much evidence of “recovery.” Indeed, if “chronic joblessness” is actually rising, the economy is not recovering.

          “Jobless recovery” is an oxymoron. If the acceptance of joblessness by the business community is as deeply entrenched as Goodman indicates, the likelihood of a recovery is remote. Instead of claiming that there are “signs of recovery” in the “worst downturn since the Great Depression,” the TIMES should be warning its readers about how bad the situation really is.

          Moreover, dodging around the use of the word “depression” to describe this severe economic downturn is clearly part of the problem. “Great Recession” (always upper case) has apparently been dropped. Is that because the situation has improved significantly since that term was coined or was it too negative a phrase for a business community that is ever accentuating the positive?

          If the editorial staff of the TIMES believes the USA is experiencing another depression, that is “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

“The Power Elite” by David Brooks (TIMES, 2/19/10)

February 22, 2010

          The existence of a meritocracy does not prove the existence of democracy. For centuries the Chinese had a meritocracy that served an autocrat and that benefitted the country’s big landowners.

          From the time that autocracy was established in the Third Century BCE, it was challenged by the peasant masses advocating genuine changes that could have made that system more equitable.

          Though those challenges sometimes culminated in huge rebellions that swept all of China and toppled some dynasties, the system was not essentially changed. The Chinese needed a revolution to consign the “old curiosity shopsign of Confucianism to the dustbin of history.” But when such a revolution seemed to be succeeding in the last century, it was compromised by an international order too strong to resist.

          That international order was then and is now dominated by the USA. The commitment of the U.S. rulingclass, which has not changed very much from the late 18th century, is to a New World Order that stands in the way of a genuine democratic system and no meritocracy currently active can change that situation.

“General Says 2 Iraq Politicians Have Ties to Iran” (TIMES, 2/17/10)

February 22, 2010

          Ahmed Chalabi can’t be a bad guy!

          It was on his advice that the USA invaded Iraq in 2003. General Odierno should talk to former shadow president Dick Cheney and one-time prime minister Donald Rumsfeld. Those two will quickly straighten him out on their old pal’s reliability. Hell, Cheney and Rumsfeld believed everything he told them!

          Now that good old Chalabi has disqualified several hundred candidates, we can be sure the election of March 7th will be a fair one and democracy will triumph on Iraq.

          Surely, Rummy can explain it all on a Fox News Channel.

“The Lean Years” by David Brooks (TIMES, 2/16/10)

February 22, 2010

          What is a social entrepreneur?

          Isn’t a conservative like Brooks being disingenuous when he expects the government to act nimbly in anything? With the rightwing media posed to howl bloody murder at any significant measure to relieve the death grip of unemployment, it is a wonder the government can function at all.

          The USA needs another New Deal (i.e., a GOVERNMENT program) to relieve the plight of the unemployed, not anymore entrepreneurs beholden to the business community. It was unsupervised entrepreneurial hustlers who plunged the USA into the present depression.

“Obama Advisers Predict Unemployment of 8.2% by 2012” by Sewell Chan (TIMES BUSINESS DAY, 2/12/10)

February 15, 2010

          After warning that the unemployment rate might not fall at all this year, ” and would remain wall over 6 percent until 2015,” the “Economic Report of the President projected” that it would “fall to 9.2%” in 2011 and “8.2% in 2012, when President Obama would be up for re-election.” (Whew, what a mouthful to swallow!)

         I don’t have the time to read this “458-page document” but it sounds like a promise that the unemployment rate will be about two percentage points lower than the 10% average this year when the voters cast their ballots in 2012.

          This wouldn’t be wishful thinking; would it? Remember, the champions of capitalism claim that economics is a science; yet, this article doesn’t sound very scientific.

          The court jesters of the medieval era wore funny costumes. How do your business reporters dress when they sit at their computers?

“Halting Start for Expert Military Corps in Afghanistan” (TIMES, 1/6/10)

February 15, 2010

          The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, favors the formation of an elite contingent of officers who would be expected to bring order to Afghanistan. It is presently being called an “expert military corps,” which might not be the best name for a governmental organization of a country that revers democracy as the USA does.

          Schutzstaffel, an elite bodyguard of yore, might be a better appellation, but that literally means “protection squadron,” which suggests a protective device (like a condom). That, in turn, could too easily be twisted into a slang term I learned when growing up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and which certainly cannot be repeated in the pages of All the News That’s Fit to Print.

          No wonder Admiral Mullen is having trouble recruiting officers into this unit.

“The Tea Party Teens” by David Brooks (TIMES, 1/5/10)

February 15, 2010

          David Brooks, Joseph McCarthy without the five o’clock shadow and angry stare, is bleating again about the “educated classes” being the enemies of the people. 

          This self-styled “moderate conservative” demonstrates again what a reactionary he actually is as he blames the progressives for the opposition to progress. If the educated classes would only shut up, he seems to be saying, things would move forward to a rational conclusion.

          I am puzzled, though, by his claim that he is not a fan of the tea party movement. Quite the contrary, he acts more  like a rallying force of this reaction.

          Can we refer to David Brooks as a moderate rabblerouser or should it be rabblerousing moderate? However we label him, the end result of his jive is obfuscation. He can only bewilder people.

“Jobless Rate Falls to 9.7%, Giving Hope Worst Is Over” by Peter S. Goodman (TIMES, 2/6/10)

February 8, 2010

          How nice to read that the economy is “recovering after the longest recession since the Great Depression.” Does this mean the USA is not suffering a “Great Recession” or could it mean the economy is in a Mild Depression? With all the contradictions in this article, it is difficult to know.

          Such uncertainty is amplified by the revelation that the “Labor Department revised previous data”; i.e., “the economy lost 150,000 jobs in December, far more than the 85,000 initially reported.” Presumably, though, the report for January is accurate. (Hmm)

          Christina D. Romer, head of the president’s council of economic advisers, “acknowledged that she and her colleagues failed to grasp the magnitude of the employment crisis last year” but now everything is clear. (Hmm) And, there’s more.

          “Disappointingly slow growth” would seem to indicate that things “are getting bad less rapidly.” The economy hit bottom, “but there is no evidence of a robust turnaround.” (Hmm)

          Surely, Peter S. Goodman didn’t write the headline for this story?

“Ford’s possible Challenge to Gillibrand Splits Democratic Donors” (TIMES, 2/3/10)

February 8, 2010

          Hot diggety ding dang dog! There’s a real race in NYC to see who will be the Democratic Party’s senatorial candidate. New York being a “liberal state” and all, it will be a genuine democratic contest; i.e., all the rich people will give equal time to these two sterling candidates.

          And, ooh la la, all the good food and drink that will be swilled down as this grand exercise in democracy takes place. What a shame dear old Bernie Madoff is not around to toss his (?) money into this campaign.

          Now, let’s see, who will make the strongest appeal to the “poor middleclass” (lower case), Ford or Gillibrand? Difficult to know with candidates from the party ever shedding copious tears for that strata of the bourgeoisie. 

          Right now, of course, they have to sell their souls to the wealthy power brokers whose backing they need. Next, they’ll kiss the asses of the leaders of the “middleclass” at high noon on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Then, last but not lest, they will urinate on that part of the workingclass which they have not yet disappeared. These are the three steps to victory.

          Ain’t U.S democracy just grand?

“The Geezers’ Crusade” by David Brooks (TIMES, 2/2/10)

February 8, 2010

          Political reactionary David Brooks blames everybody but the real culprits for the current economic crisis: “idiot workers” who buy things they can’t afford, “Washingtonians” (?) who constitute the rulingclass in the USA and now it is “the elderly.”

          At least since the time Alexander Hamilton was the Secretary of the Treasury, the boldest thieves in this country have been the very rich: commercial princes, plantation barons, banking tsars. They traded everything for their own profits, from human beings to drugs. Some of the first families of the USA amassed their wealth in the slave trade; others sold opium in faraway China. And such people had the largest measure of control of the government of the United States, even as necessary democratic reforms were continually being introduced from the earliest period of the republic. 

          It has been conservatives like David Brooks who have been standing in the way of a true democracy and a rational economic system. Ever posing as a”moderate,” Brooks continues to sound like a lapdog of the very wealthy.

          I do agree with his assertion that the human brain still works all right with aging. In fact, if I was sure that Brooks was being truthful, I’d say my brain at age seventy-eight works better than his does. However, I often find it difficult to believe he actually believes what he is writing.