Archive for June, 2011

“Tea Party to Come Up With Debt-Cutting Proposals” (TIMES, 6/27/11)

June 27, 2011

          That Tea Party “supporters have often struggled to explain how, exactly,” they would cut the rational debt should come as no surprise. For the most part they are the non-violent squadristi of a corporate elite which has an agenda favorable to big business. They are not genuine populists.

          Your reporters could be a real service to the debate on economics if they would reveal more information about organizations like Freedom Works, especially the source of its funding.

“Bitter Feud Between Top Iraqi Leaders Brings Government to a Standstill” (TIMES, 6/26/11)

June 27, 2011

The fact that Maliki and Allawi are not speaking to each other and there is no functioning government in Iraq fifteen months after an election is NO EXCUSE TO KEEP U.S. TROOPS in that sorry country beyond the deadline set by President Obama.

4462 U.S. service members have died there since the ill-conceived invasion was unleashed by the shadow presidency of 2001-2009, which has witnessed the making of a quagmire. Someday, probably in the distant future, the U.S. culprits who created this disaster will answer to a court of inquiry for their actions (leading suspects in the order of importance: Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush).

In addition to the lives being lost in this rightwing adventure, there is a financial cost that cannot be sustained by the present U.S. economy. Even the lackies of the military-industrial complex realize that. No country can wage permanent warfare, not even the rich and powerful United States.

“Them That’s Not Shall Lose” by Charles M. Blow (TIMES, 6/25/11)

June 27, 2011

Kudos to Charles M. Blow for pointing out that politicians must “understand what it means to be poor” before they can take measures to end the economic downturn gripping the country.

That “nearly half of all members of Congress are millionaires” might explain their insensitivity. It makes it easier for “pitiless Republicans” and “pitiful Democrats” to be obsessed with balancing the books.

THis is NOt the time to worry about budget deficits. What is desperately needed now is a massive federal jobs program which will end the suffering of the poor and jumpstart the economy. When that happens, even the most cautious entrepreneurs should invest some of the money they are presently withholding. 

“Petraeus Says Afghan Pullout Is Beyond What He Advised” (TIMES, 6/24/11)

June 27, 2011

Oh, those senior offices in the U.S. Armed Forces! When dressed in their medal-covered uniforms, they have the authority of the feudal rulers of old.

General Petreus, often touted as an “honorable soldier,” can criticize the decisions of the commander-in-chief as long as he “salutes smartly.”

Soon, this honorable soldier will be directing the activities of the CIA sans the well-tailored uniform and the fruit salad. How will he relate to the commander-in-chief then?

Afghanistan (TIMES, 6/23/11)

June 27, 2011

If “military experts” (!) think withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan during the “fighting season” is a bad idea, then remove the entire 33,000 by 12/31/11. After that is accomplished, a drawdown of the remaining 68,000 can begin BEFORE the 2012 “fighting season.”

Since the decision to withdraw has been made, the quicker it is done, the better. Exciting the country too slowly will allow ambitious Taliban. Commanders more time to claim they are driving out “retreating imperialists,” thus encouraging them to launch attacks to make names for themselves.

“Military experts” should know how to conduct a safe, orderly retreat which would minimise, if not avoid, losses. Surely, among all those sernior officers who are leadinf the U.S. forces, there is someone who can organize a successful withd

“100 Days” by Thomas L. Friedman (TIMES, 6/22/11)

June 27, 2011

Thomas L. Friedman makes a good point when he says the government has to function beyond the first hundred days of its tenure. Too many of out politicians absent themselves from the service they were elected to do. Instead, they spend their time running for the next election.

 Unfortunately, this AWOL problem is inhibiting President Obama from doing his job. He has to be reminded that he is on duty for four years, which means every day from January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2013.

Though I’ll probably vote for him in November 2012, I didn’t give him eight years in November 2008; i.e., I didn’t guarantee his re-election. In fact, if he does anymore footdragging on handling the serious problems (e.g., unemployment) facing the country, I might not vote for him in 2012.

Obama has to do more than run for re-election because he is on duty now, and much has to be done NOW.

“Smart Power Setback” by David Brooks (TIMES, 6/21/11)

June 27, 2011

 I suppose we should be grateful that David Brooks is reporting on the failure of the U.S. effort to promote development in Afghanistan.

However, when he claims that violence “doesn’t stem from poverty” but from “grudges, tribal dynamics and religious fanaticism,” he minimizes the Afghani opposition to a foreign presence.

“Smart power” is not viewed as beneficial to Afghanistan because it emanates from an occupying army. No matter how well-intentioned such “aid” might be in the hands of some genuine reformers, it is viewed as the work of imperialism.

Moreover, the U.S. economy cannot support it, certainly not for generations. Whether he likes it or not, Brooks has made an argument for the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

 

Afghanistan articles (TIMES, 6/20/11)

June 20, 2011

In terms of the U.S. lives lost (1606 dead) and the money being spent ($2 billion a week), the cost of the so-called “necessary war” is too high. On the other hand, the size of the force trying to secure Afghanistan is too low.

To accomplish what outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants would necessitate the complete conquest of the country.

In short, the expectations of solving the Afghanistan problem are unrealistic and that fact should be faced squarely by the executive and legislative branches of the government.

“The Banking Miracle” by Joe Nocera (TIMES, 6/18/11)

June 20, 2011

Kudos to Joe Nocera for explaining why and how the Glass-Steagall Act was passed in 1933. It renounced investment banking and created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation at the lowest point of the Great Depression, both of which restored public confidence in the nation’s banking system. It “helped keep the banks out of trouble for 70-plus years.”

When conservative elements overturned Glass-Steagall in this century, they allowed greedy Wall Street gamblers to play havoc with our financial system, which is a major cause of the economic downturn the United States is experiencing. 

Is there any way to bring this progressive legislation back?

“Who is James Johnson?” by David Brooks (TIMES, 6/17/11)

June 20, 2011

The scandal of Fannie Mae “has sent the message that the leadership class is fundamentally self-dealing,” says David Brooks with a straight face!

Yes indeed, which is precisely the reason the workings of capitalism have to be supervised by a government agency answerable to the interests of all the people. 

And, yes, the Democratic Party has plenty of corporate lackies in its ranks, but the Republicans are much worse.

The major victim of this bourgeois dictatorship ruling the United States is the working class.

I wish Brooks would maker a better effort to explain why it is he calls himself a “moderate conservative”? Despite the intellectual camouflage, he sounds like a staunch defender of the Republican Party.

Who is David Brooks?