Op-Eds

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With this president, every week is Ironic Failure Week. I’m sure that if he announced an upcoming energy conference the lights would go out in the middle of his rambling, self-aggrandizing screed. Then he’d claim that Thomas Edison called him afterwards to apologize for spoiling the greatest speech of all time.

The president deserves an award for every abject failure, because he’s pretty much a defective human being at the molecular level. But what about the ordinary folks who serve as apologists for fraud and deceit?

To recognize their contributions, I propose we have an Unscrupulous Liars Week. The first one would go to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I thought Sean Spicer took the cake, but he always looked troubled when he lied to make the president’s insane, fraudulent or illegal activities look normal. Sanders apparently watched Spicer from the wings as he sputtered and withered in the glare, and said, “Send me in coach!”

It probably doesn’t hurt that her dad made a living lying to the clueless for money. It’s one of those acorn-tree sorts of things.

The Top Quark is said to be the shortest-lived elementary particle in the universe, but it takes second place to Anthony Scaramucci. He gets the Potty Mouth Award for his meteoric rise to fame, which is a tiny scale model of the president’s private commode. There’s a little figure of Reince Priebus at the bottom of the bowl, caught in mid-swirl.

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Frank Rich’s Op-Ed yesterday in the NYT was especially powerful. Here’s the most popular comment on it as of today, Monday morning. It’s by Jon Jost:


One of our problems is that for most Americans the concept of \”graveyard of empires\” doesn’t ring a bell, as most Americans, as they were taught, don’t think we are an empire, ergo, it can’t be our graveyard. We are instead the champions of liberty, saviors of Europe in WW2, pushers of democracy, and that is sufficient to explain our 700 military bases around the world, our policies of backing whichever corrupt dictator will suit the moment for us, and we’ll bend our perceptions to suit.

As one who spent 2 years in prison for refusing the draft (during the Viet Nam period all of 500 people went to prison thusly), and participated in the draft resistance movement, I must say the best thing for America would be to re-institute a draft that the likes of Cheney and Bush couldn’t evade or otherwise cheat on. This might have some meaningful effect on our foreign policy. It would seem the one thing (I was going to say two, but McChrystal missed on the other – controlling the press, which so far the government has done a good job on doing, unfortunately) the government learned from Viet Nam was that having a draft was to be avoided for political reasons. So now we have a professional military of so-called volunteers (economic refugees many of them), which consumes half the Fed budget, half the oil the US consumes (and hence must have oil wars), and the public sits on its ever broadening butt and doesn’t notice its economic situation is directly related to our Wars R US status.
Very Foxy.

www.jonjost.wordpress.com
www.cinemaelectronica.wordpress.com
Recommended by 852 Readers

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Gemli from Boston hits the nail on the head with this comment on Frank Rich’s great Op-Ed (as usual) in today’s NYT.


It’s futile to expect conservative Republicans to participate in government when their cynical goal is to dismantle government. They don’t simply have a philosophical difference with liberals as to how best to serve the populace. The pretense that serving the populace has any place in their philosophy vanished long ago. Occasionally you see their true face, when they call the president a liar during a national address, or when they apologize to BP for the government’s rudeness in expecting financial restitution for the disaster they precipitated.

The conservative tactic of lying to the ignorant to mobilize them into a great destructive army is the most reprehensible of their ploys. The idea that people like Limbaugh and Beck believe in the essence of their hateful rants is ridiculous. It takes intellect to deploy straw men with such aplomb, and to make convoluted illogical arguments without stepping on a logical landmine that might reveal the scam. I find it hard to stomach the idea that smart people would spend their time deceiving the ignorant for money and political power, but many conservative mouthpieces and politicians seem to be fine with it.

Conservatives view the populace as expendable pawns to be either manipulated or ignored as they implement their true goal of dismantling government to pave the way for our Corporate Overlords. Liberals are not always right or honorable, it’s true, but they don’t seem to move in such lockstep to the wishes of the corporate agenda, or to do it with such relish.

The political atmosphere is so strange of late that it’s like being in the Twilight Zone. And that TV program, so many years ago, gave a prescient warning that we might heed today: If you see a conservative reading something titled, “To Serve Man,” run away. It’s probably a cookbook.
Recommended by 389 Readers

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Here’s Phil, in the mountains of Kyushu, Japan, telling it like it is to David Brooks. He’s commenting on David’s Op-Ed, The Larger Struggle, in the July 14, 2010, NYT online..

You really out-do yourself with your nice books with nice theories.

Today, reading another book giving simple views of the world, you summarize its nice simplicities, saying “Under state capitalism, market enterprises exist to earn money to finance the ruling class.” What a hoot this is, as you don’t realize that this is exactly what also happens under the economies you alternatively call democratic capitalism.

In America, in case you don’t know, the schools are failing, the infrastructure crumbling, the need for fast rail and green energy investments going begging, with millions unemployed and underemployed. But those atop Corporate America are fat. The bankers are giving themselves mega-million-dollar bonuses. Industrial Ag fattens on multi-billion-dollar subsidies. The health biz has the nation hostage. The military-industrial complex gets all the wars and all the military bases at home and abroad that it wants. The oil companies grease the national waters by ignoring safety and grease their own profits by making sure the military keeps reliant on mega-consumption for its constant, never-ending wars and provocations to more wars.

You’re reading too many nice books projecting the world into nice, simple theories. So you’re missing how the habits of greed and recklessness that sustain Corporate America make its captains every bit as sinister as those anywhere in the world.

Recommended by 939 Readers

Need I say more? Yes, it’s the Republicans, including our dear Maine Senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, together with Blue Dog Democrats who support those fat leaders atop Corporate America. How can we change this situation? Your guess is as good as mine.

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This is the title of the Op-Ed by Frank Rich today in the New York Times.

I’ve been reading through the over 800 comments on his piece, and here’s one by a Pauline from NYC that struck a special chord with me. The most popular comment, with over 1300 recommendations, is excellent as well. But none that I’ve read so far has hit the note of this one. But then again I’ve read only about ten of them.


Frank, the reality is that this anger has been building since last year, and it is not only the Tea Partiers.

As dangerous and deranged as these people are, people of every stripe are full of rage at the conditions in this country. For mostly valid reasons.

Quite apart from economic suffering, the daily assault of what life is becoming in America today renders people helpless — and that is the greatest incubator for rage.

The contemptuous dishonesty of the banks, to which anyone who has a checking account or credit card is subject; the corporate stranglehold on everything that touches our lives; the constant wars; torture as a regular topic of discourse; a destructive health care system in the hands of a corrupt, predatory industry; abysmal and worsening education standards and opportunities.

And all of this abetted, supported and kept in place by a platoon of corrupt, bribe taking political hacks.

This is not some crackpot interpretation!!! It is the reality that life in the USA is, and the average middle class person is being bled dry, daily.

LIFE IN AMERICA, FOR PROBABLY 30% OF THE POPULATION, HAS BECOME A BRUTAL, PITILESS EXPERIENCE.

Who would not be enraged? It is in fact astonishing that it has taken this long. But the saddest thing is that it’s the wingnuts who are making the noise.

If the mainstream, who are suffering badly, would in their own way make their voices felt, and stand up to the corporate/state union, they might stave off what all this portends: a slide toward fascism.

Recommended by 551 Readers

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…. the fact that our country is once again falling into a morass if not an abyss, namely Afghanistan. Not that it makes much difference what I say here. My loyal readership has dropped down to a precious few, while most of it, such as it is, comes from people searching for Frank Zappa, Pearl Harbor Day, or other things largely irrelevant to the present moment. How did I ever set up this blog for such an outcome?

Anyway, getting back to Afghanistan, Frank Rich in the NYT today has a block buster of an Op-Ed called “The Missing Link From Killeen to Kabul”. I think this is a must read for everyone, even those searching for Frank Zappa. (By mentioning Frank Zappa here, maybe some in their searching will chance upon this post?)

Here is the number one comment by readership popularity on Frank Rich’s article:

Fort Hood is an example of how religious doctrine can be used as an excuse for mentally unbalanced people to assume the role of the God they claim to worship. It’s not only Muslims who fall in this category, but Christians who blow up Federal buildings and murder abortion doctors. It also applies to ultra-Orthodox Jews who assassinate Israeli prime ministers.

There are hotheads of all types and sizes looking for a holy war. Cooler heads should prevail.

Afghanistan is the latest chapter in America’s attempt to play God in another fashion, by recreating the world in our own image. It’s time to quit wasting our soldiers’ lives and our resources and focus on what it will take to finally bring the U.S. infrastructure, education, and social safety net into the 21st century.

This comment, by Aredee of Madison, WI, is getting 560 reader recommendations with the second most popular getting 367. Practically all of the many comments on Frank’s article are for America getting out of Afghanistan. Check ’em out, after you read the article.

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Most popular comment on Paul Krugman’s Op-Ed this morning:

I’m beginning to believe that George W Bush was the president the American people deserved. I can’t believe the take away from President Obama’s press conference was his comment about the idiocy in Cambridge. The American people’s brains have been turned to mush. Too much Fox News, American Idol, etc…has rendered people into easily duped dolts. We now have a chance to take a positive step towards fixing our Health Care embarrassment, and the debate is off the charts ridiculous. In a simple nutshell: do you want to keep being screwed by the Corporate Health Insurance Companies, or do you want to move towards fair, moral, universally accessible Health Care. It’s that simple.

Thank you Mark C. from San Francisco.

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After reading Gail Collins’ Op-Ed (see previous post) in the NYT this morning I read Bob Herbert’s Holding On to Our Humanity and should have been utterly nauseated by the horrible crimes he describes happening in Darfur. That I wasn’t shows that I have become inured to hearing about this sort of thing. What can we do about it? I feel utterly impotent to act, to know what to do. How can mankind be so vicious to its own? I don’t know where to begin on this.

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I won’t spend much time on this other than to express my total disgust with the stupidity and hypocrisy of it. Gail Collins in her Op-Ed today, Jon & Kate Begin to Grate, sums it up perfectly. Here’s her closing paragraph:

There’s much to mull. But at minimum, when a listmaker of the future starts compiling the Ten Worst Multiple-Birth-Reality-Show-Meltdowns-of-the-Millennium, the Gosselins will have found a place in history.

How can people waste their time paying attention to this crap? No wonder the world’s going to hell in a handbasket.
🙄 😈

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Taxes are way too low in this country. They need to be raised, but only on the high income groups, and raised somewhere around where they were during our great post-World War 1 economic boom.

Here’s why:

Bob, while I agree with you, and respect Felix Rohatyn greatly, his being “one of the biggest supporters of the creation of an infrastructure bank” does not answer the question of whether the government (we) can afford it.

I’ve recommended readers subscribe to John Mauldin’s weekly E-Letter before. http://www.frontlinethoughts.com… While I disagree with Mauldin’s politics (Republican) and almost of his socioeconomic policies and prescriptions (e.g., blasting Obama on national healthcare), to get economic facts he offers a concentrated and readable dose for free. This past Friday’s letter begins: “As of this week, total US debt is $11.3 trillion and rising rapidly. The Obama Administration projects that to rise another $1.85 trillion in 2009 (13% of GDP) and yet another $1.4 trillion in 2010. The Congressional Budget Office projects almost $10 trillion in additional debt from 2010 through 2019. Just last January the 2009 deficit was estimated at ‘only’ $1.2 trillion.” Mauldin goes on to explain why this is an optimistic set of estimates, followed by data on Europe and “The Global Recession Gets Worse” that reminds of Mr. Brooks’ image today of the “disembowelment scene in ‘Braveheart.'”

Mauldin asks where is the money going to come from?
“The world is going to have to fund multiple trillions in debt over the next several years. Pick a number. I think $5 trillion sounds about right. $3 trillion is in the cards for the US alone, if current projections are right.” He then talks about why bond rates are rising in what appears to be a deflationary period and concludes this thought with “I think the bond market is looking a few years down the road and saying that $1-trillion deficits are simply not capable of being financed. And if the debt is monetized, then inflation is going to become a very serious issue.”

As much as I dislike Republicans, sometimes we have to know what the analytical and thoughtful among them are saying. Mauldin is not a Bush, or Cheney, or Limbaugh. The irony is that while his facts appear to be sound, and pale yours today, he never seems to even realize that he’s making an argument for national healthcare, a wealth tax, slashing military spending, and in various ways coming up with enough funds for such as an infrastructure bank.

Way down deep — perhaps not all that deep — guys like Mauldin and the superrich (he’s more their advisor than one of them, as best I can tell) are worried that when the music stops they will no longer have a chair. And they’re correct, I think. We simply cannot have a nation in Great Recession I and almost in depression — sure to come if we don’t act — that does not take some drastic steps. Since there is no surplus at the bottom, and consumer-spending our way out of the crisis cannot be done, there remains only the top to pay for getting us out. Given that they got us into this mess, why not require them to bail us out? Yes, I know, the American consumer went a little crazy. Perhaps really nutty crazy. But who aided and abetted them? And who gained from consumer madness? We all know who, including our politicians in bed with these irresponsible and greedy Masters of the Universe. Bring ’em down, before we all go down.

— Butler Crittenden, San Francisco, CA

My man, Butler Crittenden is at it again. See my earlier post, Response to Krugman.

The “Bob” who Butler is replying to is Bob Herbert who has a great Op-Ed, Our Crumbling Foundation, in the NYT today.

Butler agrees with Bob that it would be great to have a national infrastructure development bank to turn this economy around, but asks how are we going to pay for it? So why not increase taxes on the super rich who got us into this mess, and who are way under taxed compared with those in most industrialized countries?

And I agree with him! In fact I think it’s time for a mass revolt in this country!

Here’s another sobering response to Bob’s article:

How many times have we heard these concerns voiced before? Add them to the lengthy list of things we know we need to do in the U.S. that go unaddressed while we save the skins of corporate bankers with trillions in taxes on current and future generations. It is interesting how what now look like insiginificant tens of billions were unthinkable sums to spend on education, health, transportation and infrastructure, while all it took was one weekend’s thought to cough up hundreds of billions, trillions, when it came time to save the banks.

One of the lessons the right wing took from the rebellions of the 1960s is that a populace that is well paid, educated and free is a danger to their wealth and position. They will bring the whole house down on our collective heads rather than risk masses of Americans who are free from fear and ready to ask that the resources that they produce be put to good use rather than merely fill the coffers of the wealthy.

— Vincent Amato, New York City

Right on, Vincent!

But in reality what will we do? Sit back and do nothing.

Boy am I pissed. Is anybody else?

Let’s rise up, masses, and fire calls and letters at our senators and reps, form community groups of like minded people, send barrages of letters to our newspapers (newspapers?), hit the incredibly stupid right wing talk shows. Blast Limbaugh, Cheney, and all the other idiots on the right. Blast the mainstream media as well. As we know, they just go along with their corporate sponsors!

Boy, am I pissed. Is anybody else?

OK, I’ll let CJGC have the last word:

The question is whether good sense and an acknowledgment of our obligation to address our social and physical structural problems to prevent even more dire problems in the future is going to prevail over the small-minded bean counters who can’t see beyond the ends of their noses and those politicians who want nothing more than for Obama to fail.

It’s touch and go. A perfect example is serious reform of health care financing by offering a single payer option. It’s the only way to cover everyone and bring costs under control. So far only the health care industry and the health insurance industry have been invited to participate and Senator Baucus assures us that single payer will never pass.

“Yes we can and change we can believe in” have morphed into “No we can’t. The comfortable hold the reins of power so the rest of you just sit down and shut up.” Of course the comfortable are also going to fall into the holes they think they are just digging under our feet.
Are there special bridges for the defenders of the status quo so they won’t fall in the river too?

Yes, it should be a no-brainer. Sadly, many sitting in comfortable chairs don’t themselves have enough brains to notice. Too smug.

— CJGC, Cambridge, MA

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