Archive for December, 2011

“2 Sides Faulted in Deadly Strike” (TIMES, 12/23/11)

December 31, 2011

     When two “allies” distrust each other like the United States and Pakistan do, how can they pursue an effective military strategy against their mutual enemy?

     It calls into question, even at this late date, the resolution to continue fighting this war until December 31, 2014.  Three more years wallowing in a quagmire inherited from the previous Republican administration borders on insanity.

     Why do more U.S. service members have to risk their lives in this futile endeavor?  How can our government continue financing a war in the midst of an economic depression?

     An exit strategy from Afghanistan should be the order of the day.


“U.S. General in Afghanistan Says Troops May Stay Past ’14” (TIMES, 12/21/11)

December 31, 2011

     Keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 is a bad idea and would indicate that General John R. Allen, the senior American commander there, is not on the same page as his commander-in-chief.

     President Obama has made it clear that all U.S. troops will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.  The majority of the American people support that position.  In fact, a good case could be made for an earlier withdrawal, given the painfully slow “progress” that has been made so far.

     When stuck in quicksand, trying to make progress could lead to disaster.  Rather, our troops should be withdrawn as safely and as quickly as is possible.  Already more than 1800 have died in Rumsfeld’s quagmire and the financial cost of this “necessary war” (?) is staggering.

“Help for Homeless Veterans” (TIMES, 12/19/11)

December 26, 2011

          Kudos to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki for his efforts “to eliminate the homelessness among veterans by 2015.”  The actual progress  toward achieving this goal has been modest (only a 12 percent improvement from 2010 to 2011); however, it is good to know that this retired Army officer is looking out for his former charges.

     It should be remembered that this is the one-time head of the Army who was forced into early retirement when he differed with his boss, then Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, over the strategy of the war in Iraq.  Shinseki, who thought more troops would be necessary than was favored by that “lean and mean” martinet, proved to be right , but to no avail.

     Unlike many senior officers of the armed forces who retire to lucrative executive positions on the boards of directors of defense industries, Shinseki is trying to help the grunts.   May he live a long life and maybe testify someday in an investigation of “I don’t do quagmires” Donald H.  Rumsfeld.

“Pakistanis Have a Point” by Bill Keller (TIMES, 12/18/11)

December 26, 2011

     If the Pakistanis “have a point,” Bill Keller did not make it 


December 19, 2011

     As Charlie Savage (page 1) and Michael Cooper (page 21) clearly report, conservative assaults on the working class continue unchecked.

       They have passed laws in various states to restrict voting of those people likely to support progressive programs for the country and powerful corporations continue to intimidate state governments into submitting to their demands.

       States’ Rights, once used to justify slavery, is now being utilized to disfranchise the working class and to kowtow to wealthy corporations, thus moving the United States ever closer to a bourgeois dictatorship.

“Depression And Democracy” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 12/12/11)

December 19, 2011

      Kudos to Paul Krugman for finally admitting that the economic downturn in the United States is, in fact, a depression.

     The situation is not yet as bad as the Great Depression (1929-1941) that had a stranglehold on the world economy of that period, but it is a depression nonetheless.  With a proper diagnosis of the seriousness of the problem, there is a better chance that relief can be found, even with the obstructionist Republicans opposing government remedies.

     Since the business community is unwilling to invest money in stimulating a recovery, it is the responsibility of the government to jump start the economy.  The USA needs another New Deal and a significant first step in that direction would be congressional support for President Obama’s $447 billion jobs proposal NOW!

“4 Afghan Men Held in Acid Attack Connected to a Spurned Marriage Proposal” (TIMES, 12/10/11)

December 17, 2011

     Somewhere on Obama’s to do list should be a plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan BEFORE the year 2014.  Why risk the lives of more American service members trying to drag a medieval society into the 21st century?

     Making such a move now, with the election campaign in full swing, may be difficult, but early 2013 would be a good time.  1833 American service members have been sacrificed in this quagmire of Rumsfeld’s making.

     What will that figure be by 2014?

“The Gingrich Tragedy” by David Brooks (TIMES, 12/9/11)

December 17, 2011

     That Newt Gingrich “comes closest” to David Brooks’ “world view” is a truly startling revelation from this “moderate conservative” columnist!

     Of course, to a leftist like me, the “godfather of gridlock” (TIMES, 12/8/11) is an anti-proletarian dirt bag who has the morality of a clam, so I have to be aware of my predilections.

     Nevertheless, I have to ask Brooks if he has heard about Gingrich’s child janitors idea.  Does he really think such an obviously racist “soluation” will “increase growth,dynamism and social mobility”?  To me it sounds like something Ebenezer Scrooge would have advocated!

     The impression I have of the ghetto and barrio inhabitants who Gingrich obviously despises is that the majority of them work all the time, often for more than one employer, but they are not paid well.

     One of these days Brooks needs to tell his readers why he identifies himself as a “moderate” conservative.

     Newt Gingrich?  Yuk!

“Democrats See 2-Horse Race, Adding Whip” (TIMRES, 12/8/11)

December 17, 2011

     The “godfather of gridlock” mprobably will not be President Obama’s Republican opponent in the 2012 election.  The plutocrats who finance the Grand Old Party (GOP) will not back Newt Gingrich, even if he stays ahead of Mitt Romney in the  polls.  It is wishful thinking on the part of the Democratic leadership.

      These pundits advising the president should be keeping their eyes open for a dark horse, somebody who supports the GOP program of aiding big business and will be acceptable to (or, at least not vilified by) the Tea Party multitudes that they need to win the election.

     Be warned, you leaders of the Democratic Party: keep your eyes open for any hint of just who that person will be!

“Been Down So Long…” (TIMES, 12/3/11)

December 13, 2011

     The sub-heading–“The latest jobs report offers little reassurance about the weakened economy”–says it all.  Though the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in November, it was mostly because “315,000 people dropped out of the work force.”

     But those people did not drop off the planet, so we do not know precisely how bad the situation is and other factors (some beyond the control of the United States) are threatening the economy.

     One remedy to this bleak situation would be the full implementation of President Obama’s $447 billion jobs program, which could reduce the unemployment rate by one or two percent, as well as pump cash into circulation.

     Such a measure would not only arrest the downturn but it could also win the 2012 election for the Democrats.  Then, with the obstructionist Republicans out of the way, maybe a genuine New Deal could be put into operation.