Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday, 18 June 2010



above, Dean Baker on The Real News:"Decades of high unemployment likely"



Guernica Magazine,"Obama’s War"
by Tariq Ali, June 2010

I talk about “the surge” because this is something new. This was President Obama’s policy to differentiate himself from the Bush/Cheney Administration. The Iraq war was bad and we were going to pull out. That’s what we were told. But the pullout is not going to happen, in my opinion. They are going to be in Iraq now in these huge crusader-style fortresses for eternity, as they promise us, unless the Iraqis drive us out. The British did it in the forties and fifties and were finally driven out. So whether that happens, we’ll see. But that’s another story. There’s been no withdrawal from Iraq either, except a withdrawal from these towns to these big bases. But that was what was promised—withdrawal from Iraq but escalation in Afghanistan and religious language was used, citing the Cold War rhetoric of Reinhold Niebuhr, of fighting evil, “good versus evil,” that’s how it started. That’s what we are in Afghanistan for, to “fight evil” and of course we can’t leave. That is why we have to send more troops, to stabilize the situation so we can leave. If you want a particularly contorted defense of this position written, I hate to say this, but really written for idiots who know nothing about Afghanistan, I would recommend the article of the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in the New York Review of Books. It is truly appalling, without understanding what’s going on in the country, bland, one cliché dripping onto the pages after another, but at least saying one thing which is of interest: that we can’t stay there.

Even General Eikenberry has said we can’t stay here forever because the big difference between the situation now and when the U.S. landed is that the occupation itself has made the country angry. You read between the lines or in the lines even, of what the people who go to Afghanistan from the United States say, intelligence, non-intelligence, intelligent journalists, unintelligent journalists, they all come back with one story that no one challenges: the bulk of the people don’t want us there; we have antagonized them. And that is why Eikenberry opposed the surge, because he said if you send in more troops, you kill more civilians, and if you kill more civilians, you antagonize whole new swathes of Pashtuns who join the insurgents and the resistance.


The emphases in red are mine. It's a longish article but well worth reading.[via John Emerson's facebook page.]

John Cole defends Obama from the likes of us; at Balloon Juice


via "Blckdgrd"


Sam Smith, "Liberals in denial"


Beverly Mann, "Oh, but Justice Souter, these days Judging is VERY easy"


via
Rdan at Angry Bear



Reason.com: "Feds: Fatty Meat Is Bad for You. Now Shut Up and Eat Your Government-Provided Fatty Meat"
via Charlie Davis.

[Tim the commenter: Thousands of years from now they will ponder how we constructed those idiotic food pyramids.]

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9 Comments:

At June 20, 2010 10:00 AM, Blogger rob payne said...

John Cole should not write about politics until he gains a basic concept of how things work.

 
At June 20, 2010 3:28 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Does anyone else have a problem with Dean Baker saying Geithner, Bernanke, Rubin et alia "messed up" in running the economy?

Baker seems to assume they want the economy to serve everyone's interests, when it's crystal clear that they wanted the economy to serve their own interests, and to hell with anyone else.

This is a standard problem among "progressives" -- they assume people in power are benevolent, not malignant.

Fed politicos and their Wall Street pals are self-serving. So their "economic management" will serve their own interests, not the greater good.

This is the problem with the meritocratic progressive mindset: assuming good will where it doesn't exist.

Baker made some half-decent points, but in the end he's arguing about process and not about motivation. When he starts talking about motivation, he may be worth listening to or reading, but for now, from what I've read and heard from Dean Baker, he's as clueless as the average Obama fan.

 
At June 20, 2010 6:42 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Rob,
John Cole and his co-bloggers occasionally make interesting points, although I agree that he's basically wrong about BHO. As far as the supposed healthcare reform goes, for example, I think it illustrates what Charles is saying about trusting people's motivations, because I think it's designed to bankrupt medicare and further entrench for-profit insurance companies.

Incidentally, Cole used to be a Republican and supported GWB in '04, presumably shocking some of his readers when he endorsed Obama in '08. I link to him with an asterix partly because he has a useful blogroll that links to many establishment bloggers I don't want to link to. (So I guess I'm also a blog snob. :^))

Charles,
a few years ago I wouldn't have agreed with you and agreed with Baker that they "messed up" but now I think that powerful forces are in fact trying to run the US economy into a ditch because the World Bank will have to float us because like Citibank, et al, we're "Too Big To Fail."

But I wonder if the Chinese and the the EU will just say screw it, let them eat their nukes, the Americans have caused enough trouble.

 
At June 21, 2010 5:16 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Jonathan,

How are they running THEIR part of the economy into a ditch?

I don't see that.

What I see is them crashing the fiscal wherewithal of us peons.

Despite the EconoWizards' near unanimity on "market theory" and the Marxist notion that "labor capital" makes the system run, in a scheme based mainly on number manipulation, human capital is irrelevant, and the peons can be shafted forever.

Literally forever.

Until they die.

Which, I might guess, is the aim.

 
At June 21, 2010 7:46 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Charles,
I don't think we're arguing about substantive points here. Possibly you think when I say "the economy" I mean the Dow or the S&P 500 or some other such measure, but I meant it more broadly.

Or possibly you realize that I feel that shredding the remnants of the New Deal will hurt everybody's long term economic security down the road, and you don't agree because the libertarian in you just wont let you.

And maybe that's correct, and tearing the 20th century welfare state apart will just be detrimental to 90-95 percent of us.

 
At June 21, 2010 9:12 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Jonathan, I think you're still missing an awful lot.

And when you talk about me being a libertarian, I begin to wonder if you have any idea what I'm talking about, since I'm not a libertarian of the sort that most people consider. I don't look to Ron and Rand Paul for anything.

I wonder how you imagine they're "destroying the economy." What "economy" are you talking about?

The stock indicators are not the economy. Nobody running the Fed political show is cutting his or her own throat here.

What exactly are you talking about?

Sounds to me like you are offering liberal platitudes that aren't far off from Bob in Pacifica's usual themes. I guess if unreality is going to be the focus of your argument, there isn't much you and I have to talk about.

I'm talking about what's happening, while it seems to me you're talking about a mirage on which you've founded an entire socio-political-economic understanding of America.

I'm suggesting you don't understand things very well.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I very seriously doubt it.

 
At June 22, 2010 12:04 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

"I'm suggesting you don't understand things very well.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I very seriously doubt it."


Do you realize how ridiculously pompous and narcissistic you sound?

Charles, I don't want to hurt your feelings even though you are being so obnoxious, but how am I supposed to engage you? Should I humor you, or pity you?

I already quite explicitly said that I meant something more than the stock market when I was talking about "the economy," but you insist on criticizing me that anyway.

Or maybe you're angry precisely because what I'm suggesting dovetails with your argument, and you know I see it as vindication of the New Deal, and you don't want your argument to serve as a foundation for an argument in favor of the 20th century-style welfare state.

Anyway, you are smart enough to know how disingenuous your various rhetorical strategies are. For example you acknowledge you are indeed a libertarian but also take umbrage at me calling you one, evoking the Pauls,whom I never even mentioned, while suggesting in a roundabout way that I did, and that this reflects how limited my understanding is. Oh, please.

The most annoying CFO shtick, however, is how you call the other person to task and insist he define his terms, while you simultaneously insist on your own slipperiness, refusing to define your own. (You do this a lot, not just with me.)

I guess you are large, and contain multitudes, and little people like me just wouldn't understand, huh?

 
At June 22, 2010 7:32 AM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Jonathan,

I don't know what you mean by "schtick," I'm talking about what I know.

And what, from your posts, you appear to NOT know.

If you know more than you are posting, perhaps you could remedy that by offering it.

Or you could cover it up, by attacking me personally.

Your choice.

 
At June 22, 2010 7:37 AM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

PS: Here's the sort of thing I'm talkig about: Your calling me a "libertarian" doesn't make me one. The fact that you erred on the labelling and cubbyholing is precisely why I said you are being like Bob in Pacifica, who sees everything as Bob's Great Progressives, and everyone else as Evil Rethuglican. Very binary.

To your credit, you've created a 3d choice. "Libertarian." Which you haven't defined, but which you use in a derogatory fashion, much like Bob's hated Rethuglicans.

What is a "libertarian," in the manner you have called me one? What makes a person such a thing?

Please define it, would you?

 

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