In Greece, the New Democracy party narrowly defeated the anti-austerity Syriza party, a great relief to wealthy investors throughout the world, who are now free to continue the policy of letting Europe's top 10% devour the bottom 90%, a lemming-like rush to collapse that continually widens the scale of disaster, but does nothing to combat the disease. Stay tuned for more trouble.
Lawyers for Jerry Sandusky tried to paint the former Penn State assistant football coach as an overly affectionate but tragically misunderstood pillar of the community, whose work with boys was motivated by altruism, not lust. Meanwhile, author Edward Conard ("Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong") was reviewed in the New York Times, arguing that the superrich make life better for everyone, routinely risking billions to create the rising tides that lift all boats. The conclusion is obvious: The superrich are to the rest of us what Jerry Sandusky was to young boys. Why isn't more gratitude shown to these great public benefactors?
President Obama signed an executive order halting the deportation of somewhere between 800,000 and 1.2 million young illegal immigrants, a move he previously declared would be unconstitutional. The White House insists this is not political pandering in an election year, even though Obama has done nothing about immigration for his entire term to date, after promising to propose a comprehensive immigration reform bill his first year in office.
Of course, no one tries to make sense of why these "immigrants" are here in the first place. They have come largely because the neo-liberal austerity policies favored by Obama uproot people from the land and deposit them in hideously unlivable cities, from which they often seek relief by seeking unauthorized employment in the United States. Then Obama portrays himself as a champion of human compassion by giving short-term visas to a fraction of the "illegals" trapped here, when in fact he is proving himself a master of cynical opportunism by exploiting their desperation for short-term political advantage.
Adidas has canceled the release of an athletic shoe featuring orange shackles and chains after a public outcry that Reverend Jesse Jackson added to by calling the company's new product "offensive, appalling, and insensitive." The cowardice of Adidas in surrendering to Jackson's political correctness is difficult to fathom. A reverend should know better than anyone else that profit is sacred, however earned. Can't he be put on trial at the World Trade Commission for restraint of trade?
Cuban officials have denied that Alan Gross, an American in prison in Cuba for aiding dissidents attempting to overthrow the government, is in poor health. Havana wants to trade Gross for the "Cuban Five," a group sent by the Cuban government to infiltrate Miami-based terrorist networks harbored by Washington for decades. The F.B.I. arrested them, not Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, who successfully blew up a Cuban airliner in mid-air, killing everyone on board. George W. Bush has unaccountably remained silent on the matter, though the Bush doctrine clearly states that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves, and must be handled accordingly: by bombing and invasion.
Private profit fundamentalists continue to insist that all the economic trouble in the world is caused by "welfare state" socialist measures that are crippling what would otherwise be capitalism's soaring engine. They call for an entirely new approach of conservative free market individualism, which is a little like calling for an entirely new approach to curing headaches by boring holes in the skull to let the evil spirits out.
Adam Davidson writing in the New York Times Magazine cautioned against unfounded economic pessimism based on this month's report of only 69,000 new jobs. Since the margin of error is around 100,000, the real new jobs figure might be as high as 169,000, which should make tens of millions of unemployed and under-employed Americans feel terrific. Of course, it might be the case that we actually lost 31,000 jobs this month, since the margin of error swings both ways. But Davidson's point is well taken: The secret to creating economic growth is getting consumers and businesses to feel "optimistic about the future." Unfortunately, mass pre-frontal lobotomy appears impractical, so what does he propose? It's rather difficult to feel optimistic about the future with millions of pensions looted, millions of mortgages underwater, millions of jobs exported to "free trade" zones abroad, and not one arrest for the extensive accounting and securities fraud that crashed the economy into disaster in 2008.
"The Week: The Best of the U.S. and International Media," June 29, 2012