Update April 21: Again the censors at the Times found fault in a comment regarding their Editorial Board item titled
A Rational Budget for the Pentagon
Here’s what I wrote that was, admittedly rather more drastic than the comments of others, though mentioned by others were Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, the fact that the US spends as much on military items as the rest of the world combined; none however suggested cutting to fit, well, a rational assessment of real threats.
Rational cuts requires a rational look at supposed “threats” to America. The US spends as much annually on arms and other warring-minded things (like the CIA, various so-black-items we can’t be allowed to know about them; etc.) as the rest of the world does combined. Most of that “rest of the world” are our allies. We could rationally cut our “defense” (it really means offense) by, say somewhere from 2/3rds to 3/4’s, meaning down to 2 trillion instead of 7 point whatever trillion. But it’ll never happen until our bloated corrupted military-run society collapses into its own imperial footprint, because the military-industrial complex, which President Eisenhower (Republican, famed General) warned us about, did as he foresaw, and took over (behind the scenes, of course) the US government. Wars R Us(a). Shaving 400 billion or 200 billion is nothing. The military-industrial complex needs a hard-core crewcut of at least 3-4 trillion over the next 10 years. Read Eisenhower’s Farewell address for a compassionate explanation why. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwightdeisenhowerfarewell.html“
Guess which corporate entities butter the New York Times’ bread.
Update April 20: Again the censors were busy so here’s what they didn’t allow on the “Comments” on April 19.
In response to Brooks’ item on Donald Trump:
“He emerges from deep currents in our culture, and he is tapping into powerful sections of the national fantasy life.”
Yes, he’s on that good old American hard-core vein of fool’s gold. That any poll shows him leading the Republican pack of fools tells all too much about the abysmal state of America’s “conservative” wing of political thought. Oh boy.
And don’t worry, America has no monopoly on such characters: see Silvio in Italy, and, well, there’s lots more. How about Silvio’s buddy in Libya, recently hosted, tent and all by Sarkozy in Paris. Politics breeds these kinds of psychos all the time.
In response to Joe Nocera’s item on how the oversight agency for the banking industry doesn’t do its job:
Like most of the government, the OCC has been bought. On a practical level it would be interesting to know how many on the OCC staff were there during Bush’s let’s-not-regulate regime, the one that produced the BP blow-out and, well, the 2008 fiscal nose-dive. I suspect most of the bureaucrats in the OCC now were there then. And whomever was appointed to head them doubtless thinks the same way. The business of America is business, so it was said, and at the OCC it is business as usual.
In response to Douthat blog:
It is interesting how from the strident yells of objection to “death panels” a year or so ago, in regard to health care reform, now the self-same hard-right basically proposes “death panels” in the form of Ryan’s reforms: Douthat comes right out and says it in his last line here, but of course in good Orwellian style for this occasion he phrases it differently and even includes a little racist accusation undertone in it as well. Those darn white old fogies aren’t going to die off gracefully and expect the darker majority to pay up for them. Hmmmm… Boy, when painted in a corner does Douthat get painting ugly.
Like it or not, looking at the fiscal horizon, America is going to, all together now, get poorer. The right is desperately working to make sure it won’t be all together, and that only everyone not in the top 1 to 2% will do the getting poorer (and all the better for those 2% who will have cheaper gardeners, nannies, etc. and some of them might even be white !!)
Well if a rising tide carries all boats higher, let’s make sure a lowering one works the by the same principle.
And then in response to an Editorial board item on Republican State house actions of late:
Republicans – but Democrats as well – have for some time offered a con-man’s quick shuffle to please voters. Republicans have done it more directly, and are sometimes a bit more plainspoken about it (except when it comes to the matter of the military, in which case they are duplicitous as they are with, oh big ag, the oil biz and other favorites). In the interest of pleasing the voter both parties have offered something for nothing: you can have a fire department, police, roads, schools, and… you don’t have to pay for it ! And for the most part the greedy, needy public went for it, and now the bill has come due. The infrastructure is falling apart, the big corporations outsourced all the labor to cheaper places, the schools don’t work, and now the rich sliver on top are directing their propaganda outfits (like Fox) to blame the hoi polloi, and by the way, less taxes on the rich, please.
As the old saw goes, You made your bed, now sleep in it.
Both parties have sold the public a fraudulent bill of goods and now the con is done. Digging out from the falsehoods of the past will take a lot of work, but both sides lost all credibility. And so did the gullible public.
And then I replied to the numerous respondents to some editorial thing about economics and I didn’t save my stuff – about 8 of them. None published so far, but sometimes those are slow.
End of update.
Saturday and Sunday’s censoring scissors were out in force, making me wonder if having bowed to the pay wall, one is now to be cut out of the little opportunity of playing a bit-part in the commentariat. Here’s what evidently offended someone in a cubicle at the New York Times:
In response to a Maureen Dowd item on Mitt Romney.
Well, then who is the one who cheated on his wife? I thought Mormon men could have multiple wives but I didn’t know the wives could have multiple husbands. This is really interesting.
Which we can’t say about anything else regarding Mitt.
In response to a David Brooks blog item which says a study shows the rich conservative is more generous than liberal income-re-distributionists:
If, because you are very rich, having gained control over the government (bought it) so that you can dictate tax policies, and you hence have still more and more money – as has happened in the USA in the last 3 decades – and you give some little fraction to a charity of your choice (to guide policy more where you want it), you may if you wish claim great generosity. I am sure the Koch brothers perceive themselves in such a way.
If on the other hand you think paying taxes is appropriate so you can have roads, police, social welfare, and that those taxes should be “progressive” (i.e., the more you earn/have the more you can afford to pay for the social commonwealth of which you are a rich beneficiary), having paid those taxes you feel due, you have less to “give” away. You already “gave” it away.
The survey you cite is most dubious in its premises and execution, but it is certainly something that would attract you, trying to show how our very wealthiest have charity deep in their souls.
In response to Ross Douthat blog on Obama’s speech responding to Paul Ryan’s “plan:
“Nor was it his refusal to match Paul Ryan’s honesty”
You need to check in a dictionary (or your conscience) what “honesty” means: Ryan’s plan was at best disingenuous, or at worst a carefully considered pack of lies which he hoped no one would call him out on. But it didn’t work, and his “plan” has been duly shown for the fraud it is – like most Republican/conservative claims of the last few decades or more.
Trickle down = ever more concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands;
“freedom of choice” = not with your womb;
“liberty” = corporatism uber alles;
“free speech” = if you can pay for it to match corporate “personhood”.
“honesty” = Ryan’s fraud
Welcome to 1984 a little late, Ross.
And to Roger Cohen’s adoring puff-piece on Sarkozy:
All this and no mention of French colonial involvement in, well, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and all the way down to the Cote d’Ivoire. And how these involvements did not evaporate away with those former colonies’ “liberation” and how lots of French money/business just happens to be tied up in these places. Or that in the usual manner of colonies, the former colonials now occupy many places in La France and present their own domestic problems.
Somehow, aside from electoral angling and muscle flexing, I sense that some hard-core real-politic is lurking there in the foreground. I think the seeming idealism has more to do with a somewhat belated understanding about which way the historical winds are blowing and trying to get downwind, so Mr Sarkozy decided to jump out of the once cozy beds of the wheezing old madames, and jump into bed with the thrilling young ones. He knows something about this, as surely you and all of France are aware. Perhaps it will indeed become an electoral plus for him as it is rumored the French approve such things (discreetly, of course).
And lastly, on Maureen Dowd’s Sunday piece on Paul Rand and Ayn Rand:
That we have an entire class of political “thinkers” basing their supposed philosophy on a bad romance novel tells all too much about the level of our social discourse. You can buy it at the check-out counter in any discount store, along with the other soft-porn for women. It though follows naturally that those rooting their economics in a fiction would likewise be impervious to facts, such as the utter failure of trickle down to do so. More a case of Golden Showers for the underclass. So it doesn’t matter if their policies resulted in catastrophe, if the magical fraudulent Free Market Economy merely licensed criminality in pin-stripes, warped the political arena with pure greed, and otherwise introduced hard-core corruption as the new American norm. They have their novel, and like the other book some of them like to thump, it was written by a god(dess) and it must hence be true.
I recall another country not so long ago went traipsing after another book and its author. Perhaps Mein Kampf is Mr Ryan’s second favorite book.
I sent in another version, minus the “Golden Showers” in case that was too offensive, but neither made “the cut.”
And a last item, in response to an article on Republican efforts at the state level to push back environmental protection laws in the interests of business:
Slash and burn. This is the Republican policy whether it is war, economics, the environment or social policy. A short-sighted we-want-profit-now behavior pattern is the norm for them. That it is often masked clumsily under nice words – especially of late their legal bills are draped with Orwellian lies – makes it even worse.
Let them eat cake, they say. What’s next?
Lemon Cake by Wayne Thieboud