Archive for August, 2011

“Cheney Says He Urged Bush to Bomb Syria in ’07” (TIMES, 8/25/11)

August 29, 2011

     Dick Cheney is a piece of work.  Struggling with heart disease  since his first attack at age thirty-seven, he has survived several seizures, attacks and operations that could have killed an olympic athlete.  It has to be acknowledged: the guy is tough.

     However, the notion that he was “something of an outlier” does not ring true.  Cheney was rarely “away from the main body” (Webster’s Dictionary definition); rather, he seemed to function as the major adviser to the callow youth of a president.  Didn’t he brief Bush every week during both their terms in office?  Has any other U.S. president been so served by his vice-president?

     Shadow  President would be a better description of Cheney than “outlier.”  He was very much in on all the major decisions of the 2001-2009 presidency.


“Obama, Tiger, Golf And Politics” by Thomas L. Friedman (TIMES, 8/24/11)

August 29, 2011

     Friedman hit the nail on the head by noting the craziness in the United States today: “We’re having an economic crisis and the politicians are having an election.”  How true that is !

     The  Democratic Party resembles a football team that won’t throw a pass (might be intercepted) or try an end run (might fumble), so depends on their punting unit to get them closer to the  goal line (maybe the Republicans will fumble).

     In November 2008, we elected a  Democratic administration into office until noon January 20, 2013.  We said nothing about a second term, so expected the new government to be at the job of governing.  Instead, we are being hustled to keep this administration in power until noon January 20, 2017.

     President Obama has to pay attention to the agenda he needs to rule well and forget about the popularity polls that he thinks will get him re-elected.  He has approximately 17 months left, which is a long time to be doing too little to end this depression we are experiencing.

“The Rugged Altruists” by David Brooks (TIMES, 8/23/11)

August 29, 2011

     Has David Brooks been observing “rugged altruists” or guilt-ridden masochists?  Admittedly, that is a difficult question to answer after reading his thin column, which asks: “Who is doing good in the developing world?”

     There is little indication of what his three subjects accomplished in the dangerously grim places where they “served others.”  Instead, we learn about what sacrifices they made in being where God wants them to be.  Is Brooks simply praising a different form of self-flagelation?

     The widespread human suffering that exists throughout the world, including right here in the United States, requires the existence of rational governments of honest officials serving the greater society.

“More Excuses and Delays From the V.A.”

August 29, 2011

     Can it really be true that 18 veterans are committing suicide each day?  That would mean 6570 in the course of one year, or am I making some kind of miscalculation?  You see, I can’t believe something like this can be happening.

     Where are all those patriots who continually profess their admiration for our “people in uniform ,” those 100% Americans with flag pins in their lapels who sing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch in  all our baseball stadiums?

     Surely, they will rally to the aid of these suffering veterans and eliminate the delays to their getting the attention they so desperately need?

“An Empty Regard” by William Deresiewicz (TIMES, 8/21/11)

August 29, 2011

     Kudos to William Deresiewicz for an article that has been long overdue.  However, after reading his warning: “Pieties are ways to settle arguments before they begin,” we need “to see what they’re hiding.”

     There are a couple of skeletons that I think are lying hidden in all this sentimental palaver: (1.) an analysis of the classes in our military ranks (i.e., who are the grunts and who are the officers?) and (2.) are they actually viewed the same after being equally seen as “heroes”?

     Based on my careful reviews of those little TIMES information boxes about the dead, I have the distinct impression that these heroes come mostly from small towns and the majority are non-commissioned officers (NCOs), with a smattering of junior  commissioned officers.  There are no senior officers among the dead.  Would it be fair to say that the majority of all casualties are from  the American workingclass or would that be unsentimental?

     Another subject that is hidden relates directly to the question of casualties; i.e., reports that our wounded heroes are not receiving the best treatment in various veteran hospitals, which is often blamed on “necessary” budget cuts.

     Finally, there is information from time to time about how well senior officers are treated after retiring from active duty with very lucrative pensions, receiving high  executive positions with companies who (would it be unsentimental to say?) are profitting handsomely from these two wars.

     Mr. Deresiewicz, nobody has to be kicked in the pants.  A full exposure of these conflicts, how and why they were begun and  the consequences in human lives lost and resources wasted would go a long way in waking up the people.  Such an exposure should come from “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

“Heroes, Until They’ve Arrived” by Frank Bruni (TIMES, 8/18/11)

August 20, 2011

     At this early stage in the 2012 election campaign, especially during the dog days of summer, the Republican candidates for president serve the purpose of holding the attention of their voters.

     Trumpeting the current Republican campaign message (Obama is a failed president who can be defeated in a re-election attempt) is their main service to the Grand Old Party.

     Frank Bruni is right: the more exposure they get, the worse they look.  These wannabes are not being taken seriously by the GOP leadership, nor by their deep pockets backers.

     Who, then, will be the Republican candidate for president in 2012?

     It will be somebody with “political stature” who can overshadow the “Muslim president,” someone who earned his spurs in a respected leadership capacity, an honorable soldier like Dwight D. Eisenhower (who dwarfed ex-haberdasher Harry Truman in 1952).

     It will be David H. Petraeus, former top commander in Iraq and the present leader of the Central Intelligence Agency. 

“Waiting for Mr. Obama” (TIMES, 8/17/11)

August 20, 2011

     President Obama needs to come up with policies “big enough to get the economy growing again.”  He has to fight for a “comprehensive plan” that includes a massive federal jobs program. “If he loses to obstructionist Republicans, Americans will know who is to blame” and will vote accordingly.

     Now that the editors of the TIMES have pointed that out, they have to print more articles about the actual economic conditions in the country.  For example, are we facing a “double-dip recession” or have we been experiencing a depression since 2007?

     Your newspaper has to make clear how appalling is the condition of the workingclass that is being asked to await the outcome of an election more than 14 months away before real relief will be forthcoming.

     In other words, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

“What Is Business Waiting For?” by Joe Nocera (TIMES, 8/16/11)

August 20, 2011

     Guided by the quest for short-term profits, business is waiting for the government to jump start the economy, as Nocera himself intimates.  They are averse to taking risks, even to halt the economic downturn plaguing the country.

     Therefore, his comment that the “ball’s in business’s court now” is off the mark.  Nobody can prevail on the greater business community to invest any of the cash it’s holding.

     At this point, it is only the federal government that can break the log jam by initiating a massive jobs program.  In other words, the ball’s in Obama’s court.  He is the point guard who should lead the way to ending this depression.

“A Jobs Agenda, Anyone?” (TIMES, 8/15/11)

August 15, 2011

     “For the past two and a half years, there have been more than four unemployed workers for every job opening” and a large margin of Americans “have told pollsters that job creation is more important than budget cuts”; yet President Obama hesitates sending a jobs plan to Congress.

     Pressure has to be put on this cautious president by the Democrats to implement a massive federal jobs program.  Sitting back and blaming the Republicans for this unwillingness to take a forthright stand is getting stale.

     The fact that the  Republicans have the majority in the House of Representatives should not prevent the Democrats from making the effort to deal with the country’s unemployment problem.

     The only way to end this depression that is upon us is to create a New Deal program like the one which went into effect in 1935.  That pump-priming strategy is precisely what is needed to jump start the U.S. economy.

“Holding Rumsfeld Accountable” (TIMES, 8/14/11)

August 15, 2011

     Is it really possible that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will have to answer in a court of law for his role in the Iraq War?

     It sounds too good to be true.  Surely, this arrogant martinet who played so significant a role in the Shadow Presidency of 2001-2009 will slip the net that has been thrown over him.  A revolution would be necessary to bring Rumsfeld before the bar of justice and that is highly unlikely now or in the foreseeable future.

     The makers of the quagmire in the Af-Pak-Iraq region might never answer for what they did but historians will certainly have a field day exposing them, and that might help change things for the better.