Archive for July, 2011

“Acrimony Reigns As Speaker Quits Debt Limit Talks” (TIMES, 7/23/11)

July 25, 2011

It has become “clear that rank-and-file” House Republicans” will not agree “to raise revenues on wealthy Americans.” Moreover, they will “not approve an increase in the debt limit without the ‘cut, cap and balance’ package becoming law.”

Doesn’t this behavior demonstrate that the Tea Partiers are non-violent stormtroopers serving the interests of the wealthiest Americans and the big  corporations? How can any rational person still claim that they are “right-wing populists”?

“The Lesser Depression” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 7/22/11)

July 25, 2011

     Kudos to Paul Krugman for identifying the economic downturn we have been experiencing since 2007 as a “lesser depression.”  It is about time that so perceptive an economic reporter like Krugman has stopped referring to it as a “recession,” a “Great Recession” or the “worst recession since World War II.”

     Too many commentators who should know better have, unfortunately, been misinforming the public by soft-pedalling their accounts of this serious economic downturn.  The USA has been in the throes of a depression in these four years and there is little sign of any letup.  On the contrary, it could get worse, especially if the Republicans get their way.

     Which brings me to my next point in responding to Krugman; i.e., he should stop telling his readers that the country is experiencing a “recovery,” which is highly questionable.  Of course, this word too has been qualified by modifers like “anemic” and  “jobless” nevertheless, the patient (the U.S. economy) is still pretty sick, so “recovery” is an inaccurate description. 

“As Rivals Stir, Romney Sticks to Playing It Safe” (TIMES, 7/21/11)

July 25, 2011

     Is Mitt Romney “playing it safe” or is he only angling for the second spot on the Republican ticket?

     Right now, the GOP strategy for winning the presidency in 2012 is concentrated on bashing Obama, in convincing voters that he cannot continue at the helm.

     Later on, when he’s covered with mud, the Republican leadership will push forward its Mister Clean candidate: “honorable soldier” David H. Petraeus.

     He won’t be clad in armor nor mounted on a white horse, but he will shine  like a newly-minted penny nonetheless and will get plenty of exposure as the director of the Central Intelligence agency.

“City of Rhode Island Asks Retirees to Sacrifice” (TIMES, 7/20/11)

July 25, 2011

     Does anybody know how many cities are in the same condition as Central Falls, Rhode Island?  This article mentioned Prichard, Alabama, “which stopped paying retirees in 2009 after its pension fund ran out of money.”

     The message that should come from situations like this one is the United States needs  a sensible and fair taxation system.

     The conservative solution of cutting taxes indiscriminately is an invitation to disaster.  Cutting the taxes of the wealthiest Americans borders on the criminal.

     What is needed now, before this economic downturn we are in gets worse, is the establishment of a New Deal government which will be able to mobilize the full resources available in this country.

“The Road Not Taken” by David Brooks (TIMES, 7/19/11)

July 25, 2011

     David Brooks thinks this might be “a glorious moment in Republican history.”  If they “sweep the next election,” it could “herald in an era of conservative greatness.”      

     The idea that “greatness” could come from the antics of John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell, the Three Stooges of the military-industrial complex, is laughable. 

     But, how could this shallow media pundit, who still believes there are “practical conservatives in the GOP,” do a real analysis of the political situation now prevailing in the USA?

     Haven’t the “Gods of the New Dawn” set a squad of mud-slinging faux presidential candidates on the loose to demonize Obama?  Then, at the right time, won’t those “practical conservatives” hailed by Brooks reveal their actual candidate–David H. Petraeus?

     Conservative greatness will be the strong central government that Alexander Hamilton wanted, run in the 21st century by a managerial elite capable of manipulating elections.

“2nd Killing In a Week Claims Ally Of Karzai” (TIMES, 7/18/11)

July 18, 2011

 

When two gunmen can gain entry to the walled home of a “close adviser to President Hamid Karzai” in Kabul, the most secure city in Afghanistan, less than  a week after the assassination of his half brother, we have proof positive of the failure of the U.S. strategy there.

 

Afghanistan is a quagmire. Nothing is being changed by the so-called “surge.“ It is risking the loss of more U.S. service people and can no longer be financed during this economic downturn.

 

President Obama should acknowledge that fact and order the implementation of an exit strategy ASAP. Remaining in that pit until the end of 2014 makes no sense whatsoever. A safe withdrawal can be mobilized to have all the troops out by 12/31/11.

 

Just do it!

 

“Another Union Yields on Pay In Agreement With New York” (TIMES, 7/17/11)

July 18, 2011

 

Well, it’s happening! Union agreements can be broken with layoff threats. New York State’s “second largest union of public workers” agreed to “significant wage and benefit concessions in order to save the jobs of its members.”

 

Labor Day in this third year of the Obama Administration should not be a celebration but a protest against the attacks on the working class spearheaded by the Republicans and acquiesced to by the Democrats.

 

The economic misery gripping the country could be alleviated by less focus on the dear old middleclass (with whom too many workers identify) and more attention given to the workingclass. Voices have to be raised for justice in the workplace and for a massive federal jobs program.

 

“Blundering Toward Recession” (TIMES, 7/16/11)

July 18, 2011

“Death And Budgets” by David Brooks (TIMES, 7/15/11)

July 18, 2011

In Brooklyn, New York, where I grew up, when exasperated by fools or villains, we could tell them to drop dead. One wonders when this so-called “moderate conservative” will discuss the deaths of the young Americans being sacrificed in Afghanistan and Iraq?

 

Of course, it is true that if more sick people would commit suicide, it would reduce the budget. If more morons did the same, it would surely improve the quality of life in the United States.

 

When Brooks examines U.S. military budgets as closely as he scrutinizes welfare spending, he may gain credibility as a media commentator.

“At Pentagon, Panetta Era Begins With Blunt Talk” by Elisabeth Bumiller (TIMES, 7/13/11)

July 13, 2011

Blunt talk from someone who is on the wrong page of the game plan is nothing to cheer about. Is Secretary of Defense Panetta in agreement with President Obama that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from the Afghanistan quagmire by the end of 2014?
It is bad enough that the U.S. will still have 70,000 troops there at the end of 2012. Winding down the war in Afghanistan too slowly can work against actually completing the withdrawal, especially in the wake of Ahmed Wali Karzai’s assassination (TIMES, 7/13/11), which could be used as an excuse to put everything on hold.
1646 American service members have already died in this war. Does blunt-talking Panetta know what that number will be by the end of this year?