Archive for March, 2010

“The Return of History” by David Brooks (TIMES, 3/26/10)

March 29, 2010

          Economics will become an art, suggests “moderate” conservative David Brooks, but his columns will apparently remain fantasy fiction of the gloomiest kind.

          Week after week, he peddles the same old message; i.e., nothing can be done to solve the problems facing the USA. Brooks is like those priests of the Middle Ages who “counseled” the poor and the downtrodden to resign themselves to their worldly fate and trust in God’s mercy in the afterlife. 

          A modern government answerable to all the people, not just the rich and powerful, certainly can emerge from an open and honest debate. Of course, nothing of the kind is possible in a society controlled by a monority ruling-class; nor is a real debate possible in a newspaper that can’t deliver on its slogan.

          That being the case we get economic policies justified by a combination of patriotism, voodoo and psychobabble.

“The Broken Society” by David Brooks (TIMES, 3/19/10)

March 29, 2010

          David Brooks reports that in England a “Red Tory” named Phillip Blond wants to “remoralize the market, relocalize the economy and recapitalize the poor.”

          When was the market moral? When was the economy local? When did the poor have capital? 

          Wouldn’t a massive jobs program directed by a federal government cognizant of the people’s needs be the fastest and best way to fix “the broken society?”

“Charges a Countercharges of financial Misdeeds Rile Union’s Leadership” by Steven Greenhouse (TIMES, 3/16/10)

March 29, 2010

          Praise be to crusading reporter Steven Greenhouse for courageously exposing “financial misdeeds” in a California labor union! More than $2,000 was at issue! Good grief, Charlie Brown, what would this country do without media heroes like Greenhouse? Oh, those big, bad union thieves!

          Now, we all know that there would not be any corruption in the unions if they were run with the business ethic in mind and I am sorely disappointed with Greenhouse for not holding up Wall Street operators as models for those dastardly union officials to follow.

          The next job for Crusader Greenhouse should be to root out all the leftwingers from the Democratic Party. Don’t be fooled by the flag pins in the lapels of their expensive suits. Underneath that disguise lingers the spector the world was warned about in 1848.

          Hail the great NEW YORK TIMES ever at its post publishing ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT!

P.S Question: When can the readers expect a full and honest report of the condition of the U.S. work force?

“Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants” (TIMES, 3/15/10)

March 15, 2010

          The Defense Department is still employing Duane “Dewey” Clarridge? No wonder the USA is making little progress in the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iraq war. 

          That rightwing sleaze bag should have been called to account a long time ago. He has been a rulingclass bully boy since his days as a college undergraduate in the Ivy League.

          It all goes back to Donald H. Rumsfeld and his policy of keeping the U.S armed forces lean and mean. Certain tasks perforce were contracted out to mercenaries and the U.S command found good old Dewey in that barrel of slime.

          Isn’t Dewey still wearing silk suits? The jacket he was wearing in the accompanying photo looks more like linen.

          Of course, if they fire this old fart, Erik Prince of Xe Services will step forward, modified Hitler haircut neatly trimmed for the photographers, to take his place.

         Somebody should tell the tea partyiers what the tab is for all these schmucks.

“Getting Obama Right” b David Brooks (TIMES, 3/12/10)

March 15, 2010

          Obama is a “center-left pragmatic reformer,” according to moderate conservative David Brooks. What “information cocoon” does he inhabit? Center-left pragmatic reformer is mush, which is mostly what we get from this columnist week after week. 

           If Obama’s foreign policy “has continued about 80 percent of the second Bush term” and he’s a center-left pragmatic reformer, how would Brooks label the second term of the shadow presidency?

          There is a definite “hunger for federal activism” in the country. It can be found among the workingclass but, of course, how could Brooks see such people from inside his conservative cocoon.

“House Rejects Plan to Leave Afghanistan by Year’s End” (TIMES, 3/1/10)

March 15, 2010

          Fifty-six years ago today I was inducted into the US Army and immediately sent off to Fort Dix, New Jersey for basic training. My father served in the American Expeditionary Force from 1918 to 1919, so I am a second generation veteran of the armed forces. Six of my male cousins from my mother’s side of the family also served in the military between the years 1942 and 1958.

          Nevertheless, I was deeply disappointed to read that the House of Representatives rejected by a vote of 356 to 65 Representative Kucinich’s call to withdraw U.S troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. An exit strategy is the only course of action that makes sense. Afghanistan is a quagmire created by the shadow presidency of  2001 – 2009 . 1003 American service members have already died there, another 4373 in Iraq; yet, after years of warfare, neither country seems very stable.

          Elsewhere in this once commendable newspaper, there was a very brief report that unemployment remains a serious problem which is not being addressed adequately by the same House of Representatives. A large pool of jobless youth means the armed forces will have little trouble filling their ranks and wages can be kept low.

          War and unemployment is a formula for disaster.

“Gates & Afghan leader Leader Review Plan for a Kandahar offensive” (TIMES, 3/9/10)

March 15, 2010

          On the day U.S dead in Afghanistan surpassed one thousand we read that a “major American-led offensive in the city of Kandahar… could get underway this summer.”

          The commander who is planning this offensive, General Stanley A. McChrystal, has at least implied that Afghan troops will play a major role in the fighting at Kandahar.

          Absent any supporting evidence, the general’s expectations seem overly optimistic. It’s more likely that U.S forces will handle the real combat chores (and risk the casualties) while the Afghan Army will play a minor role in the fighting.

          Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and senior representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, can’t agree on what percentage of Pashtuns support the Taliban.

“Flat jobless Rate a Sign the Worst of Slump Is Past” by Peter S. Goodman & Javier C. Hernandez (TIMES, 3/6/10)

March 8, 2010

          Who chooses the article headings, the reporters who write the story or some kind of editor? The above headline seems oxymoronic to me and I read the item twice.

          The writers have not demonstrated that the “slump is past”; in fact, they have revived the term “Great Recession” to describe the current economic situation.

          I assume that a “flat jobless rate” is better than an increasing rise in unemployment, just as a Great Recession is better than a depression. Nevertheless, I am not  sure that means a turnaround in the economy is on the way. This is especially true when it is realized how faulty is the reckoning of unemployment.

          In the USA, when people stop looking for work, they can be dropped from the unemployment rolls; therefore, “discouraged workers” can hide the depth of the downturn.

          Next time Goodman and Hernandez write about the state of the economy, they should provide a musical score. Bing Crosby used to sing a tune that might provide inspiration to these two writers. The lyrics went like this:

          “You’ve got to accentuate the positive.

          Eliminate the negative

           And don’t mess with Mr. Inbetween….”

“Pakistani Embodies a Policy Puzzle” (TIMES, 3/4/10)

March 8, 2010

           In Brookly we used to say: “You can’t follow the ballgame without a scorecard.” 

           How are Americans supposed to follow the wars in southwest Asia? Who are our friends; who are out enemies? More than a scorecard is needed to understand what is going on.

           Yet the wars there continue: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq. Will those U.S leaders responsible for this quagmire ever be called to account?

“Why I’m Not Running For the Senate” by Harold Ford Jr (TIMES, 3/2/10)

March 8, 2010

          Good news that New York will be spared the candidacy of another Blue Dog who claims to be an “independent Democrat.” The people of the state don’t need this carpetbagger and second generation politico who won’t be independent of Wall Street influence.

          New York needs what most of the states need, a government program that will put millions of people back to work. If the unemployment level remains at the current level or gets worse, there can be no recovery of the economy.

          It is time for progressive candidates for office to acknowledge the fact that the United States is experiencing a depression whose major victims are working people. Another “new deal” is what the Democratic Party should be implementing. Real action to remedy the situation is the order of the day; not empty words which are forgotten after the vote has been tallied.