Archive for November, 2010

“Winning the Class War” by Bob Herbert (TIMES, 11/27/10)

November 29, 2010

          Yes, Bob Herbert, U.S. workers are losing the class war. This is so in great part because they have been made to disappear. They aren’t recognized very much by the media. Most of the news is about the middleclass and how they are suffering.

          There are many decent people in this country who think of workers as those people who didn’t do their homework in high school. Had they applied themselves to their studies, they would be rocket scientists, doctors or lawyers today. Such people only acknowledge workers when they are scolding them. “It’s your own fault,” they pontificate (not that they are unemployed, but that they are workers!).

          The reactionaries in our midst despise workers as a criminal subclass susceptible to radical propaganda. They are either outlaws or communists who have to be kept in tow. If they are allowed a voice in U.S. society, it will be raised to wreak vengeance on “legitimate authority.”

          Another problem for workers are those in their ranks who deny their actual status, insisting that they are middleclass. If they bathe and change their underwear every day and speak in a courteous manner, they expect to be recognized as such. They are delusional.

          Those people in U.S. society who cannot pay the bills for the necessities of life, are not middleclass, no matter how dignified their demeanor. In the USA, it is possible to own a “nice” house in a “good” neighborhood where the furniture has been repossessed  or the place cannot be heated in the winter.

          For workers to improve their conditions, they must first acknowledge that that is their state of existence. The poor middleclass (nowadays not an oxymoron) will remain so as long as they believe that eventually some kind of trickling down of wealth will accrue to them. If they continue to identify as middleclass, they think they will get the furniture back.

         The truth is, if they get a good-paying job, they will get it back, and securing gainful employment is something for which they can fight. First, know who you are; then state what it is that is wanted.

         Dare to struggle; dare to win!


“Suffering, Haitians Turn to Charismatic Prayer” (TIMES, 11/25/10)

November 29, 2010

          Does “God” appreciate that some Haitians still believe in a Christian deity?

          To an atheist like me, the travails suffered by the Haitian people prove that there is no god.

          How could any compassionate deity stand by all these decades 

“With a Swagger, Wallets Out, Wall Street Dares to Celebrate” (TIMES, 11/24/10)

November 29, 2010

         I guess this story is appropriate on Thanksgiving Eve. The middleclass has more money to spend this year than it did in the previous two years.

         However, there was no mention of the workingclass in this glowing paean to the resilience of the capitalist system. What of them?

          Should we even ask? With unemployment still between 17 and 18 percent (if a proper count is done), there won’t be too much swagger on Main Street; nor will there be many stuffed wallets.

          Maybe these poor people can obtain a bag of food at some charitable institution? Didn’t I see Congressman Charlie Rangel handing out turkeys somewhere in the city?

          Happy Thanksgiving!


November 29, 2010

          “Foreign Morons in Afghanistan Continue to Screw Up” should have been the headline over the stories about the Taliban imposter fooling negotiators and the NATO jerk reporting about Kabul’s children being safe (TIMES, 11/23/10).

          My first inclination was to laugh at the imposter story but then I read about that English idiot (who has more in common with Ebenezer Scrooge than he has with Charles Dickens).

          Neither the USA nor NATO can solve the problem of Afghanistan. Maybe, if it could function properly, the UN can bring about a settlement there.

         Donald H. Rumsfeld created a quagmire there that will only deepen as the invading forces continue to thrash about in it.

          What is needed is  an exit strategy that will remove foreign troops as quickly and as safely as possibly.

“There Will Be Blood” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 11/22/10)

November 22, 2010

When he was a senator, Alan Simpson usually came off like a sneering lout contemptuous of anything that smacked of social welfare. He was always a hardcore Republican who would be stone deaf to any policy tat might help working people or equalize the difference between rich and poor.

   Now that this snide reactionary is retired nobody should see him as a mellowed conservative politico capable of being “reasonable.” If Obama thought that when he appointed him co-chariman of a special comission on debt reduction, he was probably listening  to the conservatives in his own party who often favor placating its right wing.

     Oaul Krugman would have better served his readers by reporting that this “special commission” will not come up with anything worthwhile. The first priority of an economic strategy should be a massive federal jobs program.

“It’s Not Over” (TIMES, 11/19/10)

November 22, 2010

The last sentence of this editorial reads: “The recession may be over, but it is not going away.” Precisely what does that mean? 

The economic downturn, which is actually a depression, is far from over. It is being hidden in various ways, so it cannot be properly described.

  Since it has been described as the worst since the end of World War II and even labelled a Great Recession (i.e., as something worse than a recession), would one be remiss to charge that the media, including the TIMES, is deliberately misinforming the public?

When can we expect an honest appraisal of our economic troubles? A newspaper that claims to publish all the news that’s fit to print should lead the way.

What are you waiting for?

“To Save Lives, NATO Is Razing Booby-trapped Afghan Homes” (TIMES, 11/17/10)

November 22, 2010

          Blowing up houses, wine sheds and village walls in Afghanistan calls to mind that infamous quote from the Vietnam war: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” It is the moronic mindset of a military thrashing about in a quagmire.

          Since the insurgents are retreating before this latest surge, the NATO forces are counting such destruction as signs of victory over insurgency. Every mud hut blown up is added to a scoresheet meant to prove a victory is in sight. At best, it is self-deception; at worst, it is misinformation. 

          What will Afghanistan look like after this destruction is completed? How much of its population will be living in caves or tents? When will General David Petreaeus announce his candidacy for president of the United States?

          Meanwhile, 1373 “American service members…have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations.” And this “necessary war” will continue until 2014!

“National Greatness Agenda” by David Brooks (TIMES, 11/12/10)

November 15, 2010

          “It will take a revived patriotism to motivate Americans to do what needs to be done,” according to David Brooks, or the USA will continue “careening toward bankruptcy.” I missed the musical accompaniment. Was it “God Bless America” or “Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles”?

          Patriotism? Lets see if we can locate some U.S. patriots who could make this effort.

          Is it the patriotism of the nine-teen-year-old from Nowhere, USA who enlisted in the MArines because he couldn’t go to college or find a decent job?

          Is it the patriotism of those who support huge military budgets “in defense of America,” then hide their money in offshore bank accounts?

          Is it the patriotism of the U.S. corporations who move their factories to other countries?

          Is it the patriotism of those Americans who loudly celebrate the Fourth of July weekend but spend the real money on extended vacations abroad?

          David Brooks should talk to his rich pals, like the “warmhearted Machiavellian” Rahm Emanuel, who may soon be the Mayor of Chicago (and the employer of this “moderate” conservative?).

          Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels and scoundrels won’t hlep us get out of the quagmire in which we are wallo

“U.S Tweaks Message: Troops Will Still Be in Afghanistan in 2014” By Elizabeth Bumiller (TIMES, 11/11/10)

November 15, 2010

          The Indians of the American wild west, at least in the movies of my youth, would complain when betrayed: “The great white father (i.e., the U.S president) speaks with forked tongue.”

          Obama’s mishandling of the mess in the Af-Pak-Iraqi region of Asia continues to worsen. First he claimed the war in Afghanistan was necessary, which was clearly a sop to the conservative democrats in his ranks upset about the promised withdrawal from Iraq. Then he put his trust in his ambitious senior officer to squeeze a victory (or the perception of one) from the stalemate in Afghanistan. Now he is reneging on the promised exit from that battleground next summer.

          The withdrawal from Iraq proved to be a fiction; the sme can be said for Afghanistan. He has made the mess of the shadow presidency his own and it wil continue to cost him dearly. Though there is time for his to push for the progressive program he promised us, if he doesn’t get it underway soon, he might be another one-term president.

         Will the Democrats even bother to re-nominate him?

“Cholera Moves Into the Beleaguered Haitian Capital” (TIMES, 11/10/10)

November 15, 2010

          When I was a Catholic I would have said of Haiti: What a godforsaken place!

What do I say as an atheist?

          The earthquake struck the island on January 12th, almost ten months ago. Decent housing with modern plumbing could have been built by this time. So many people  still living in tents on land heaped with garbage and covered with filthy waterholes is disgraceful. Reports that only a fraction of charitable donations actually reach the needy inhibit potential donors.

          Who is in charge of the relef effort? It sure can’t be the God I learned about in my youth. I can remember praying to a “merciful Jesus.”