Thursday, August 26, 2010

26 August 2010




Joe Bageant: "honk if you love caviar" OK, the essay is actually entitled "Understanding America's Class System," but I like the subtitle Joe appends to it. The video above is an excerpt from a documentary about him that's due out shortly.


Helena Cobban, "The Iraqi skeleton in America's closet"


Aug. 14, CBS News, "Historians Rethink Key Soviet Role In Japan Defeat"
Historians: Soviet Offensive, Key To Japan's WWII Surrender, Was Eclipsed By A-bombs


Oh please. This new "theory" is a smokescreen designed to obscure the better established and better documented position, put forward by Gar Alperovitz and James Carroll and others, that Truman used the bomb precisely because of the Soviets, to send them a signal of postwar resolve and strength. At any rate, the Japanese were ready to surrender before the first atom bomb was dropped.


CNN Poll: Opposition to Iraq, Afghanistan wars reach all time high

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report: "Obama Snarls at the Left, But Winks at the Right"


For some reason the Christian Science Monitor seems to be shifting ever so slightly rightward. This is very discouraging to me because for the longest time they struck me as one of the last decent yet sort of mainstream US news portals. But consider these two recent items:


"Amid record debt, we need a welfare state we can believe in – and afford" This was authored by one "William Voegeli." Sounds like a pseudonym to me. I wonder if he also answers to Alan Simpsoni.

"Jimmy Carter: Can Obama trust him in North Korea talks?"

Maybe it's just the op-eds. Either way, I have a hard time understanding the supposed need to add right-wingers for "balance" when they're durn near everywhere already.

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3 Comments:

At August 27, 2010 5:17 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

That essay is one of Joe's best, I think, demoralizing though it is. I mentioned it in a post a few days ago. (Can't get over the $15,000 toilets at Chelsea's wedding; I know people whose annual income is exactly that amount.)

 
At August 27, 2010 4:51 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Hi Jonathan,

I agree with you on the atomic bomb thing. Truman was quoted as saying, “If it explodes as I think it will then I’ll really have a hammer on those boys.” Truman was of course referring to the first testing of the bomb and the boys he refers to are the Russians. I think that it is fairly clear that the use of the bombs on Japan was to impress the Russians. There are some other problems with that article as well like why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in the first place. As far as I know the U.S. provoked an attack by cutting off Japan’s oil supply at sea. I’m fairly certain FDR was very grateful to the Japanese for attacking Pearl Harbor as at that time most Americans weren’t enthusiastic about entering WWII while FDR wanted to. Which just goes to show that though people can be idiots they can also have more sense than their leaders. However there is a tendency for Americans to down-play the Russian role in the defeat of Germany. The Russians paid a much higher price for that victory than Americans did. In fact some insist that it was America’s needless entry into WWI that caused WWI to last longer than it would have otherwise and that it also led to WWII.

I agree with Mimi, that is one of Joe Bageant’s best pieces. Good stuff.

 
At August 27, 2010 5:54 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Rob,

I've heard the argument that the US entry into WW1 encouraged the British to keep fighting rather than sign an equitable armistice with the Kaiser, but I don't know if I buy the argument that the less equitable one that actually ended the war in 1918 inevitably caused WW2.

A lot of things could have been done in the years from 1918 to 1932 to reduce hardships on the Germans, and prevent the rise of the Nazis. But of course I'm no expert, & even the experts disagree.

Mimi n' Rob,

It is a great article. I sometimes think of Joe Bageant when I think to myself, how do I explain to people who just pay attention to things at the headline level that

1.Yes, there are many reasons to find the Obama presidency awful, but

2.No, he is NOT a socialist, and in fact is probably more similar to John McCain and George Jr, at least ideologically, than the media let on...

3. Yes, the tea-partiers are nuts, and very likely racist, but their criticism of insurance mandates are absolutely correct, even if the overall shape of their critique of healthcare reform is off the mark...

4.But the so-called Obamacare healthcare reform plan IS a disaster, but not for the reason the tea-partiers and their ilk suggest...

and so forth--

I tell myself if anybody can explain these things, surely Joe can. But maybe I should try to explain them myself. Maybe seven or eight people who already agree with me will read it!

(You right of course, about how venting steam and creating a sort of fellowship of the like-minded is probably a better reason to blog, because once you worry about a bunch of people reading it, you might get all pwoggy, per Alan Smithee's parlance, and worry about what Arianna might think of your prose, etc, etc.)

 

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