Saturday, June 9, 2012

More News From a Political Nuthouse

The Wall Street Journal, celebrating the defeat of the recall of Wisconsin Tea Party Governor Scott Walker, declared that Big Labor's "monopoly claim on taxpayer wallets" was at an end, and that politicians around the country should heed the message that, "An aroused electorate can defeat a furious and well-fed special interest."

The only thing missing from this is a laugh track. The idea that there is anything like "Big Labor" in the United States is laughable. The political clout of public sector unions is quite modest, and obviously nowhere near that enjoyed by big business and the Israel lobby, both of which bear direct responsibility for fiscal disaster on the state and local fronts with their endless promotion of imperial wars. (As Indian author Arundhati Roy pointed out on a visit to the U.S. in 2003, the initial $30 billion disbursement for the Iraq war was paid for with service cuts at the state and local level in the year prior to the Iraq invasion.) These two lobbies are the only ones that can accurately be described as having a "monopoly claim on taxpayer wallets," witness the limitless and separate tab established for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the trillions of dollars in bailout money extended to shore up worthless assets in banks deemed "too big to fail." The Journal's final point, however, is on target. An aroused electorate can indeed defeat a well-fed special interest, but the Journal is oblivious of the fact that the special interests the American public needs to defeat are big business and the Israel fanatics, not public sector workers.

New figures on the employment front demonstrate that media references to "recession" and "recovery" are highly misleading, if not arbitrary and meaningless. The unemployment rate in "recovery" continues to exceed what it was in the beginning of "recession," with the latest jobs report registering an increase in joblessness. And keep in mind that when discouraged workers quit looking for work on the quite rational grounds that there aren't any jobs out there for them to find, this registers as a drop in unemployment, since there are fewer workers actively seeking work. Orwell would have been impressed.

The New York Times has disclosed that President Obama, from the early days of his administration, took charge of deciding which "terrorists" to kill with drone strikes. In regular "Terror Tuesday" sessions at the White House, Jo Becker and Scott Shane report, Obama and his advisers pore over "baseball cards" depicting official enemies and decide which ones to execute. Not one to shirk his "manly" obligations, Obama feels he has a "moral responsibility" to not delegate these duties to someone else.

Who counts as someone deserving of death? Anyone and everyone. The CIA counts all "military age males" killed in a drone strike as enemy combatants, even if they're unidentified, on the assumption that if an "Al Qaeda" evildoer is present, everyone around him is a terrorist, too. This allows Washington to concede that it is firing drones at non-uniformed people in civilian neighborhoods, but killing few or no civilians. As for the children killed, well, they are mere "collateral damage." Perhaps the White House should take a page out of Wall Street's book and declare itself "too arrogant to fail."

Meanwhile, "opposition" Republican Senators Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and John McCain of Arizona claimed not that their president was a psychotic mass murderer, but that he was unfairly cultivating a "tough guy" image designed to win re-election in November. Thank God George Bush never did that.


"The Week - The Best of the U.S. and International Media," June 15, 2012

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