Thursday, June 23, 2011
We are now past the expiration date of the US debt limit, and living on the scraps and bits of money that we can scrounge up in the treasury, but the Obama administration hardly looks like they are facing a screeching halt. The only ones who are facing that eventuality are the members of the Tea Party who appear to have taken John Boehner captive and are threatening to oust him from his Chair after only a few months of his achieving the life goal of his ambition in Congress. If we were to believe the mouthings of the national press, there remain only a few months until everything would stop, including even the few nickels it would require to pack up the US effort in Iraq and Afghanistan and get the warriors home. So it looks like the only reality that would match the effort is that Obama is preparing to cede once again to the bluster of a few maniacs. If he were actually playing the game of Chicken that he says has him trapped, he would certainly be having the forces pack up for a decent departure back to the Western Hemisphere while there were a few cents left to pay their way Home. Instead, GOP can always complain that his body English was always consonant with their having him over a barrel and that he was always moving to conform to the force majeure. Indeed, he has left that message with people like me, and that is why so many of us on his Left are responding to polls with the opinion that we are not satisfied with this conduct of the Government. It is clear that all he wants is a plausible tale to cover his surrender, and that is all GOP is planning on letting him have. On the other hand, if he gives the order to prepare to bring the forces home, the ball would then be in the Tea party’s court, and we might see a two-sided game of Chicken.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The US Supreme Court has never actually ruled that anyone who had a billion dollars was entitled to a billion extra votes, but it began to feel like it. Certainly the Koch brothers had more influence on the outcome of the 2010 vote in WI than the hundreds of thousands of voters who had been persuaded by their slick advertising that it was not worth the time and effort to get down to the polls and vote. And that on top of those who felt that if the Dems could not get over the obstructionist tactics of GOP, then it didn’t matter who won the election. So it is proven again that if the People did not take account of who was primed to do them more damage (not to mention the few that were actually acting in their interests), then Plato’s dictum on the worthlessness of democracy would be reinforced. On top of that, the prospect that the Kochs didn’t have to say who was paying for the slick ads that flooded the TV made it appear as the cool thing that year was to “turn the rascals out” or to “starve the beast” or any of the shallow slogans by the use of which they could be persuaded to act against their own better interest (not to mention their best ones). It must, after all have looked like the Dems would lie battered in the ditch after deciding that it would be ungentlemanly to give GOP a dose of what the representatives of the billionaires had been offering the negligent People as the strategy that they said was their way out of the dead end. Both in DC and in Madison, it seemed that those who were threatening to kill off the People’s democracy and blame it on either the machinations of the Dems or at least a law of nature were going to get away with it and secure an almost unconditional surrender for the hirelings of the Plutocrats. So it looked to many that the appropriate way to punish their false friends in the Center Left was to vote to empower their true enemies on the Far Right.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
From time to time we hear reports from the US Government about events in the Great World in which this nation or another stands in the court of public opinion. Sometimes DC will contribute this principle or that to indicate which nation or another is in violation of something that DC likes to call the opinion of humankind. It often happens that the choice of judgment coincides with whether the accused country is a US ally or not. Today we are witnessing the opening of the trial of Serbian General Mladic. People parroting the US line are saying that since he was in charge of the Serbian army at the time, any violations of common understanding can be laid to his command, and that he is thus individually guilty of many crimes, one of which is murder. Yet when the accused is a major political figure of a DC ally, or even DC itself, a different set of rules is adduced, notably what actions the accused has provably done. Just as a coincidence, the past 2 weeks featured the exhumation of President Salvatore Allende of Chile. The Nixon administration, which had borne the accusation by many observers of having sponsored the Pinochet coup, was thought by many to have murdered President Allende. But they had Allende buried without a post-mortem and all succeeding presidents, including Pres. Obama, have not rushed to condemn Nixon, who announced that Allende had killed himself with his AK47. The burden of individual conviction for murder, they said, required proof of individual action beyond reasonable doubt. General Mladic, by contrast, was said to be convicted by the suspicions of the observers. Now, by coincidence, it is reported that Allende’s body showed 2 shots: a small caliber to the head and a major one from the assault rifle. It is hard to imagine the scenario, in which a coup soldier had found the corpse and put an extraneous bullet in the head, which can still be tested for as the cause of his death. I think that he was murdered, and that under the Mladic precedent, Nixon must be accorded the status of his murderer.