Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Battle in Seattle

Admit it: You weren't aware, as I wasn't, of what all those folks who were throwing rocks at the Seattle cops in 1999 were protesting. I mean, "globalization" and the International Monetary Fund and the WTO and such-like? What's the problem? In fact, even after I heard a Ralph Nader speech about the evils of these concepts (harm to American labor, harm to the world's environment, etc.) I was unmoved.

Well, now I'm fascinated, as much about how wrong I was to be ignorant then as about how prescient those protesters were. Fascinated enough to read with attention the entirety of this long piece about the longlasting detrimental impact of globalization upon the US working class and its contribution to the growing income disparity between workers and those who boss them. I'll save you the trouble of reading it. Bottom line: Globalization, for the American working class, means cheaper underwear and DVD-players, but no money to buy them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Am I crazy or is Bush?

Here's a quote from a Bush news conference today:

"We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel," he [Bush] said. "So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

This madman in the White House is using language straight out of Dr. Stranglove, not in connection with an imminent attack on the US, not even an imminent attack on a treaty-bound ally, but to threaten world war based on a titular-president's rhetorical attack on foreign nation with which we have no reciprocal-defense treaty obligations. Furthermore, Bush's threat is made solely on the prospect that Iran might obtain the "knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." My God--talk about moving the goalposts, now our nation is going to start a world war because another country has "knowledge"? Because another country's president has made some untoward remarks about another nation? What about our statements about Iraq/Iran/North Korea/Libya/many others? We've been much more threatening to them that Iran is to Israel (and certainly to the US) and our threats aren't mere rhetoric but are backed by demonstrated nuclear weaponry.

Look, I knew before we invaded Iraq that Bush was going to go forward regardless of the protests or that facts "on the ground." But I've so far pooh-poohed the prospect of his attacking Iran. Call me stupid or in denial or just plain Pollyanna-ish, but I've until lately believed that with respect to Iran, Bush was "all hat and no cattle." But I fear I've been wrong. Language like the above demonstrates to me that he's absofuckinglutely nuts, that he's decided already to take out Iran's nuclear reactors/facilities whatever the state of negotiations/evidence/diplomacy. There's no other explanation for such incendiary language by the commander-in-chief of a world power.

Folks, we've got Dr. Strangelove in the Oval Office. Worse, we've got General Jack D. Ripper.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A graphic

is worth a million words.

Letter to the LA Times

In the past, my letters to editors have been to the SB Independent and News-Press.
With the following letter, I've decided to go bigtime. If anyone should see it in print in the Times, please let me know, because I'm only an occasional reader of that fine paper.

Dear editor:

I am curious. I wonder if any of your readers could point to a single feature or measure of the Bush administration—just one, in any field (except corporate profits and rising stock prices)—that has proven successful. We know too well the mind-numbing string of failures. The faulty pursuit of Osama bin Laden; the illegal and inept invasion and occupation of Iraq—and (it lately appears) Afghanistan; the worsening Middle East mess; the declining dollar; the loss of decent American jobs and the gigantic gap between rich and poor; the health care debacle; the growing environmental crisis; the upward-spiraling price of oil; the humongous federal deficit and international trade imbalance; the alienation of our allies and the disdain in which the US is held around the globe; the violations of our civil liberties; the corruption and incompetence of government; the decline of our military readiness—to name a few. Even the rise in home ownership that President Bush once touted has proven to be a Potemkin village, as thousands of foreclosures of easy-credit mortgages have reversed the numbers, resulting in a net decline in ownership during Bush’s tenure.

Some will argue that the U.S. hasn’t been attacked again since 9/11, to which the easy answer is this: If the purpose of bin Laden was to wreck America and instill fear and uncertainty in its citizens, he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, aided and abetted by the abhorrent policies and ruinous actions of his effective accomplice, George W. Bush.