Archive for December, 2010

“The Finite World” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 12/27/10)

December 28, 2010

          What a lot of ink is expended to explain  the condition of the economy, by charlatans and honest reporters alike; yet, it is still difficult to know what is happening.

          Honest reporter Paul Krugman continues to refer to the economic downturn as a recession that is still being felt in the United States. In his latest column, he does label it a “severe global recession,” and in past columns has referred to it as the “”Great Recession” or the “worst recession since World War II.”

          If this downturn is so severe and tenacious, as manifested by the dire unemployment situation, why isn’t it a depression? Second question: how can the United States be in a recovery if unemployment remains so high?


“Pakistani Outposts Struck By Large Taliban Assault” & “NATO Night Raid In Kabul Leaves Afghan Guards Dead” (TIMES, 12/25/10)

December 28, 2010

          The so-called “necessary war” in Afghanistan requires patrolling a vast territory that spills over into Pakistan, the use of NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) and mercenaries like Tiger International. Is it any wonder that “faulty intelligence” should come into play?

          With this kind of mish-mash, how can U.S. commanders on the groundf distinguish the good guys from the bad guys? The U.S. death toll in the region has reached 1426 with no let-up in sight, yet the “crusade” plods on.

          How many American service members will die before the Obama administration acknowledges that we are wallowing in a quagmire created by the arrogant defense secretary of a shadow presidency?

          At the very least, Obama should stick to the 201 deadline for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces. Will the pathetic leadership of the Democ

“Experts Citing Rising Hopes For Economy” by Sewell Chan (TIMES, 12/24/10)

December 28, 2010

          With little expectation of an imporvement in the employment situation, Republicans continue to accentuate the positive when they discuss the economy. Unemployment will remain high in 2011 but there will be a recovery, they predict; but how can this be so?

          If the unemployment rate remains above nine percent throughout next year, as they are saying, there can hardly be a recovery. Sewell Chan then concluded his column with a quote from Republican representative Kevin Brady of Texas: “Consumer confidence seems to be on the upswing and business angst is dropping…It hasn’t swung into the confidence column yet, but the negativity is lowering.” 


“U.S. Commanders Push To Expand Raids In Pakistan” (TIMES, 12/21/10)

December 28, 2010

          Well, it was bound to happen, especially after Obama claimed the war in Afghanistan is “necessary.” 

          Since the Afghan insurgents use the tribal areas in North Waziristan as safe havens, U.S. ground forces will be deployed across the Afghan-Pakistan border to engage them.

          Forty years ago that happened along the Cambodia-Vietnam border. It constitued an escalation of that “dirty little war” at great cost in human life, and to no avail.

          Is Obama going to trust the CIA-organized “militia”? How many U.S special forces units will be deployed to bring the enemy to he nogotiating table? Can it be done by the summer of 2011?

          And Donald H. Rumsfeld boasted that he didn’t do quagmires!

“Weighing Costs, Companies Favor Temporary Help” (TIMES, 12/20/10)

December 28, 2010

         “Workplace uncertainty” will continue “going on forever” until some real reforms are implemented immediately.

          The U.S. economy is in the grip of a depression which requires active governmental intervention to bring to an end. Federal funds are needed to finance a massive hiring of workers in the public sector. Such an army of labor would engage in work that needs to be done (e.g., repair of the infrastructure).

          It is the only way to lower the unemployment rate that is responsible for so much of the pessimism paralyzing the private sector and will pump money into the marketplace as well.

          When cautious entrepreneurs  see a healthier economy manifested by more people with money to spend, they should be willing to hire a permanent work force at better wages and working conditions.

          With so many business leaders currently sitting on their cash, expecting a “trickle down” to take place is naive. The funds required to finance a recovery can only come from the government.

          Better John Maynard Keynes than Ebenezer Scrooge!

“The Postman Always Pings Twice”(TIMES, 12/18/10)

December 28, 2010

          What a good idea from the chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission! It is an example of how a government that serves the people can operate.

          It is also heartening that Post Office trucks could serve that important service to the people of the United States, thus arresting the upward spiral of unemployment there.

           If the Obama administration would function like the one headed by Franklin Roosevelt did during the economic downturn he inherited, many of our social and economic problems could be solved.

          Congratulations to Michael Ravnitsky for reminding us that a government which serves the people is possible in the USA.

“Afghan Review Finds Progress Remains Frail” (TIMES, 12/17/10)

December 28, 2010

          “The White House reports on Afghan strategy…reports some real military gains, but acknowledges that they remain fragile.” If the gains are fragile, how can they be called real? More doubletalk from our government.

          “NATO troops will need more time to achieve their goals” follows on the heels of the above assertions. In a war already nine years old, how much time will still be necessary? And shouldn’t that be British and German troops? There is not much of a commitment from the formidable-sounding North Atlantic Treaty Organization. More misinformation that contradicts any progress being made.

          In that little box headed “Names of the Dead,” often printed alongside such misinformation, we read that there are now “1421 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations.”

          Moreover, according to a “” senior fellow for defense strategy at the Council on Foreign Relations…private security companies (mercenaries like Xe Services) cannot keep the peace either.

          Obama should rue the day he said the war in Afghanistan is “necessary.” Will he be booted out of office beause of this statement, as Carter was during the Iranian hostage crisis?

          ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE dead and still little sign of progress! MAy the blue dogs in the Democratic Party choke on their wakeup coffee as they read “All the News That’s Fit to Print”!

“U.S. Intelligence Offers Dim View of Afghan War” by Elizabeth Bumiller (TIMES, 12/15/10)

December 15, 2010

          Congratulations to Elizabeth Bumiller, one of the more perceptive reporters of the war in Afghanistan, for highlighting the dispute between more realistic U.S. intelligence analysts and military commanders who “promote ‘can do’ optimism.”

          The former establish their credibility on the accuracy of their reporting; the latter need to demonstrate a willingness to continue fighting in all circumstances. Since promotions go to those with a “can do optimism,” not only can’t soldiers surrender; they are reluctant to even retreat from an untenable position. 

          If we listen to such military careerists, the war in Afghanistan could drag on for years, despite Obama’s claim that a withdrawal is forthcoming.

“Ben Franklin’s Nation” by David Brooks (TIMES, 12/14/10)

December 15, 2010

“Americans could well become the champions of the gospel of middle-class dignity.” What a bold expression of capitalist triumphalism from conservtive columnist David Brooks! This opinion was undoubtedly made easier by his inability or unwillingness t take stock of the widespread unemployment and poverty throughout the world. 

          “American culture was built on the notion of bourgeois dignity.” In the slave states too, where agricultural production played an important role in creating a favorable balance of trade? Did “King Cotton” develop bourgeois dignity with the whip and the branding iron?

           And what about the profits from war? Didn’t the Civil War accelerate the growth of capitalism and World Wars I & II greatly expand the wealth of the USA? Of course, old Ben Franklin was not around then.

          Aside from the fact that all this talk of bourgeois dignity is so much propaganda, Brooks continues to defame the role (“we’ve never had much proletarian consciousness”) ad condition (double-digit unemployment) of the working-class.

          David Brooks shuold have his eyesight checked.

“Block Those Metaphors” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 12/13/10)

December 15, 2010

          Kudos to Paul Krugman for explaining the inadequacy of the “Obama-McConnell tax-cut deal,” which will actually be “a year of modestly better (economic) performance” for “$850 billion in additional debt.”

          By stating the situation clearly Krugman has made it obvious that the United States is experiencing a depression; i.e., we are in an economic downturn that is worse than a recession and that fact has to be admitted.

          All the efforts to qualify the “recession” as the Great Recession or “worst economic downturn since World War II,” only obfuscates the true situation and , as Krugman himself has suggested, is preventing those in charge of economic policy to remedy it.

          In other words, we are not looking at a sprained ankle; it is a broken leg. That means it will take a more effective treatment to fix it.