Category Archives: Foreign Affairs

Mississippi leaders to fight closing of any military bases | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

Excuse me! Excuse me! Ex-cusssse Meeeeee! Aren’t you conservatives always saying government can’t create jobs?

“[B]ut our philosophy is that government doesn’t create jobs. Government’s job is to create an environment in which business can thrive. Businesses create jobs.” – Ms. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves

They don’t really believe that so they crank-up the smoke machine. Sen. Roger Wicker, R. M, in response to proposed funding of the military base closings and realignments commission appropriation bill, indignantly responds,

“I’m opposed to this proposal,” Wicker said. “We have seen with the embassy threat, this isn’t the time to be talking about closing military bases.”

The imaginary correlation of keeping Mississippi bases open to protecting embassies aside, aren’t the conservatives and their Teabagger Republican Guard such penny-pinchers that they think we can’t afford to fund embassy security?

“For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected.”

So if Republicans really think, like Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who “absolutely” voted to cut the funding for embassy security because “we have to make priorities and choices in this country,” then keeping bases open in Mississippi, to the extent that they had any embassy security mission, would not be the “conservative” thing to do since government spending, contrary to Keynesian principles, is bad.

Furthermore if you are prioritizing, the Tea-Bagger-Chaffetz way, you may decide to reorganize for efficiency sake, because cutting government jobs is the way to “grow” the economy and the deficit, wink, wink, is stifling economic growth. So, for efficiency sake, maybe some of the things accomplished by Mississippi’s military bases could be accomplished more efficiently in Louisiana or Alabama or Arkansas or some of the other conservative strongholds that receive so much in federal benefits or some other state (pull the transfer payments, tax revenue and borrowing transferred to the have-nots, whether they be veterans benefits, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, etc. from many states in the union and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between those states and some third world country). But let’s go back to our examination of how this efficiency operation plays out. “Fort Knox was known as the home of the Army’s tank and armored vehicle training for more than seven decades, before the Pentagon completed the move of the school to Fort Benning, Ga., in 2011”

So consolidations and operation transfers under this model should be a dream come true for the hyper-deficit sensitive Teabaggers. However, the Mississippi Teabaggers didn’t show up to protest the pigs at the troth at the press conference in Mississippi the other day where elected officials stressed the need to “protect the $2.6 billion economic impact the military has in Mississippi. There are 37,000 Mississippians employed in military jobs with a payroll of $1.7 billion.” They didn’t show up because it would have been an attack on their class. You see they aren’t against all government programs because they are in fact the beneficiaries of some of them. The official Mississippi response to the base closing commission is superficially about things like embassy security but actually it is an admission that government transfer payments are beneficial to the state. The actions taken by elected officials were primarily to protect a powerful political block in the state, a powerful group of government workers in uniform. Why else would officials fight to get the federal government to transfer funds to the state of Mississippi to maintain installations that may very well represent inefficient resource allocations? The Pentagon is eliminating Fort Knox’s “3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division as part of a major restructuring that will reduce the Army’s active duty combat brigades to 33 from 45. The cuts will reduce the size of the Army from about 570,000 in the midst of the Iraq war down to 490,000, which includes personnel in units that support the brigades.” So the threat to Mississippi’s federal government workers is real. But you don’t find the conservatives, mitigating the possible damage done by any base closings by acknowledging the multiplier effect of having the federal government pay for healthcare in the state through the Affordable Care Act. Those benefits don’t affect or enhance the lifestyle of people who are benefiting from military transfer payments, directly, at least to their reckoning. It’s covert class warfare.

If the conservative power structure was really concerned about the average worker and not the big insurers’ profits and the taxes on higher incomes (some derived from the government) and the returns on their investments(like insurance company shares), if the conservative power structure wasn’t sustained by the voting pattern of other government workers who are insulated by the benefits from they received from the government (like good healthcare) they would be working to repeal the insurance industries anti-trust exemptions and expand Medicaid. If the conservative power structure was concerned about the working poor all who were burdened by constantly rising premiums long before Obamacare, it would ignore the pleas from Heritage and Cato to block the efforts to open insurance exchanges. But the hypocrisy exposed in the pursuit of government benefits while denouncing government benefits reveals the neo-feudal terrain which is Mississippi.

Mississippi leaders to fight closing of any military bases | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

A Truly Great Phony – Thomas Sowell – Page full

The man was indeed a very talented phony. He could convince almost anybody of almost anything — provided that they were not already knowledgeable about the subject.

This is not the judgment of a national syndicated columnist about George “weapons-of-destruction” Bush or Dick “we-will-be-greeted-as-liberators” Cheney (who was associated with no-bid Halliburton) or Condoleezza “smoking-gun-mushroom-cloud” Rice or John “the-fundamentals-of-the-economy-are-sound” McCain. This is the judgment of Thomas “my-readers-are-so-dumb-they-think-I’m-smart” Sowell.

Thomas “easy money” Sowell calls Obama a phony for not being able to find enough “”shovel-ready” projects that would quickly provide many much-needed jobs” or referring to the Malvinas as the Maldives. You would probably be hard-pressed to find an instance where Thomas “robbing-conservatives-every-week” Sowell ever listed any of the public gaffes by that great non-reader George “I-didn’t-read-the-Bin-Laden-determined-to-attack-PDB” Bush. You probably never read a column by Sowell where he listed anything Bush said like:

“One of the very difficult parts of the decision I made on the financial crisis was to use hardworking people’s money to help prevent there to be a crisis.”—Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2009 – Bush

“In terms of the economy, look, I inherited a recession, I am ending on a recession.”—Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2009 – Bush

“I’m telling you there’s an enemy that would like to attack America, Americans, again. There just is. That’s the reality of the world. And I wish him all the very best.”—Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2009 – Bush

I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”—Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2008 – Bush

“I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans right here in the Oval Office.”—Washington, D.C., June 26, 2008 – Bush

Should the Iranian regime—do they have the sovereign right to have civilian nuclear power? So, like, if I were you, that’s what I’d ask me. And the answer is, yes, they do.”—Speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., July 2, 2008 – Bush “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000 – Bush
“Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”—Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004 – Bush

Man, there is good, easy money available in that Republican Noise Machine for junk like the following:

Many years ago, I was a member of a committee that was recommending to whom grant money should be awarded. Since I knew one of the applicants, I asked if this meant that I should recuse myself from voting on his application.

“No,” the chairman said. “I know him too — and he is one of the truly great phonies of our time.”

The man was indeed a very talented phony. He could convince almost anybody of almost anything — provided that they were not already knowledgeable about the subject.

He had once spoken to me very authoritatively about Marxian economics, apparently unaware that I was one of the few people who had read all three volumes of Marx’s “Capital,” and had published articles on Marxian economics in scholarly journals.

What our glib talker was saying might have seemed impressive to someone who had never read “Capital,” as most people have not. But it was complete nonsense to me.

Incidentally, he did not get the grant he applied for.

This episode came back to me recently, as I read an incisive column by Charles Krauthammer, citing some of the many gaffes in public statements by the President of the United States.

One presidential gaffe in particular gives the flavor, and suggests the reason, for many others. It involved the Falkland Islands.

Argentina has recently been demanding that Britain return the Falkland Islands, which have been occupied by Britons for nearly two centuries. In 1982, Argentina seized these islands by force, only to have British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher take the islands back by force.

With Argentina today beset by domestic problems, demanding the return of the Falklands is once again a way for Argentina’s government to distract the Argentine public’s attention from the country’s economic and other woes.

Because the Argentines call these islands “the Malvinas,” rather than “the Falklands,” Barack Obama decided to use the Argentine term. But he referred to them as “the Maldives.”

It so happens that the Maldives are thousands of miles away from the Malvinas. The former are in the Indian Ocean, while the latter are in the South Atlantic.

Nor is this the only gross misstatement that President Obama has gotten away with, thanks to the mainstream media, which sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil when it comes to Obama.

The presidential gaffe that struck me when I heard it was Barack Obama’s reference to a military corps as a military “corpse.” He is obviously a man who is used to sounding off about things he has paid little or no attention to in the past. His mispronunciation of a common military term was especially revealing to someone who was once in the Marine Corps, not Marine “corpse.”

Like other truly talented phonies, Barack Obama concentrates his skills on the effect of his words on other people — most of whom do not have the time to become knowledgeable about the things he is talking about. Whether what he says bears any relationship to the facts is politically irrelevant.

A talented con man, or a slick politician, does not waste his time trying to convince knowledgeable skeptics. His job is to keep the true believers believing. He is not going to convince the others anyway.

Back during Barack Obama’s first year in office, he kept repeating, with great apparent earnestness, that there were “shovel-ready” projects that would quickly provide many much-needed jobs, if only his spending plans were approved by Congress.

He seemed very convincing — if you didn’t know how long it can take for any construction project to get started, after going through a bureaucratic maze of environmental impact studies, zoning commission rulings and other procedures that can delay even the smallest and simplest project for years.

Only about a year or so after his big spending programs were approved by Congress, Barack Obama himself laughed at how slowly everything was going on his supposedly “shovel-ready” projects.

One wonders how he will laugh when all his golden promises about ObamaCare turn out to be false and a medical disaster. Or when his foreign policy fiascoes in the Middle East are climaxed by a nuclear Iran.

Recommend this article

A Truly Great Phony – Thomas Sowell – Page full

Solyndra, a diversion by any other name would not be as sweet.

There it was again. A Republican, this time Marco Rubio in the Republican response to the President’s 2013 State of the Union Address, was using Solyndra as a reason to pull back from clean energy investment, sweet music to the Heritage-government-is-the-problem crowd.

“Instead of wasting more taxpayer money on so-called “clean energy” companies like Solyndra, let’s open up more federal lands for safe and responsible exploration,” comes the Rubio sugary-soaked gruel.
What makes this appeal so dangerous is that it echoes the ignorance of a base which believes, after years of saccharine-sounding sedation, that free markets actually exist, a base which thinks that the reason that Solyndra failed was that it was a terrible company and that governments shouldn’t and don’t favor and aid industries in their bid to be successful. What Rubio won’t say to his base because his well-heeled donors won’t allow it is ““the Chinese government poured $33 billion into its solar industry in 2010, allowing Chinese companies to produce solar panels at a fraction of the cost that American companies like Solyndra were paying.” That’s what the oil and gas industry doesn’t want the Fox viewers to know.

“As part of the conspiracy to monopolize the solar market and as part of the Export Plan, the China Development Bank, the Bank of China, and the Export-Import Bank of China loaned defendants over $17 billion at below-market rates,” according to the suit. “Through a scheme known as “extend and pretend” the co-conspirator banks roll over loans from year to year, rather than requiring payment when the loans are due. Suntech, which has nearly $1.6 billion in loans due this year, has banked on the ‘extend and pretend’ scheme, intending to roll over most of its loans until (at least) 2013.”

But the Republican base cheers every mention of Solyndra seeing it as an attack on the Obama Administration, never realizing that China is engaged in a real honest-to-goodness trade war with their country (America) and this honey-coated dung pile leaves the American taxpayer less able to afford the medical and educational infrastructure it needs to thrive and aides and abets the demise of the American middle class which allows comfortable-cat-bird-seat conservatives to cast many more American’s, who don’t have the ability to stash cash and profits offshore, as 47% er’s while concentrating wealth in the hands of those most connected with fossil fuels by diminishing alternative energy’s appeal and viability. The Chinese sympathizers (those who selectively see and complain about and attack the American government’s involvement in markets conveniently ignoring the same by the Chinese) those sympathizers who benefit most as they amass wealth, some while capping wells for which they held leases that didn’t bring sufficient “profit,” must think everytime the product of Heritage-Cato-Koch-brothers propaganda, some misguided, middle-class conservative or poor conservative even in places like Mississippi, utters the name Solyndra, they must think “how sweet it is” to have so many “conservatives” naively preserving our putrid, perfumed poop pyramid, smothered in un-needed subsidies stacked on booby-traps of Deep-Water-Horizon-Exxon-Valdez-Colonial-Pipeline(Greensboro North Carolina)-sized externalities. And they’ve convinced the public that green energy technology is too expensive all the while gushing concern about debt left to our children. Yeah, that’s the ticket!!!

We could have bought what?

The next time RepubliCons say we can’t afford “entitlements” our answer should be oh, yes we can!

If we can spend four trillion on military miss-adventures (see Iraq war) and essentially be the world’s police force, then certainly we can take care of our unemployed, poor, and elderly and educate our own people, I’m talking GI-bilL type higher-education and vo-tech funding for the general public here. And the next time RepubliCons tell you “we” can’t afford to do these things tell them “we’re” not broke because “we” have too much untaxed offshore money for which corporations are unjustifiably seeking tax amnesty. And we need to change or industrial policies so that they favor home-based production and work. It makes no sense to give any advantage to off-shoring and outsourcing as it is depleting “our” accessible resource base and degrading “our” ability to contribute to the programs we love at home while giving big corporations the ability to evade contributions to those same programs including education and retirement funding. The RepubliCons are religiously committed to their god (the supposedly “free-market” with its invisible hand) and the granting of amnesty to unproductive capital, the production and accumulation of which was made possible by American protections and laws, while denying it to undocumented workers who have made life better and cheaper for Americans here in America. How’s that for patriotism from the RepubliCons, who don’t believe in evolution but love social-Darwinism.

Pathways of Privilege

Being white and male gives you legacy advantages that you probably don’t realize you have, even in the age of Obama. John Kerry is obviously eminently qualified to be Secretary of State. It is the pathway to those qualifications, even in liberal Massachusetts, which played a role in his nomination. I might add that those pathways to qualifications have also greatly restricted African-American access to contributions to represenstation in the South (and to a lessor degree nationally when you take into account U.S. senators from Illinois and Massachuessetts) since the Redemption of the 19th century. Part of the foundation for this observation was the things like the following:

“After sustaining criticism from Republican Senators including John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-Ga., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Rice said in a letter to President Obama, “I am convinced now that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly– to you and our most pressing national interests and international priorities.”

Kerry, in contrast, began his confirmation process with a series of jokes to his colleagues. ”I don’t want this to affect your opening questions. But let me say I’ve never seen a more distinguished and better looking group of public officials in my life,” Kerry said to laughter. In a show of bipartisanship, McCain introduced “[his] friend Senator Kerry” along with introductions from Clinton and newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.” “““`MSNBC

The presence of Secretary of State Clinton and Senator Warren and many other women, along with President Obama is evidence that the pathways are multiplying and opening. This is evidence of the liberal evolution of the nation. But you’ll have to drag the South into this bold new world, because that Republican Southern Strategy intersected with anti-labor pro-corporate strategy that continues to assist in hurtling American labor on a downward trajectory in a fashion that has made certain that there has not been one black U.S. Senator or U.S. Representaive or Governor in places like Mississippi, Alabama, or Louisiana (places with substiantial black populations) since the Redemption. It is in this world that photo ID is used as a new access restriction device. Restrict the number and economic groups of people who participate in the democratic process and you can determine the gender and race of the representatives and the democratic content of the policies (including how widely prosperity is dispersed)that the government produces.

A Toast to a Gorgeous Mind.

Senator John Kerry will make an outstanding Secretary of State and will be an excellent replacement for Secretary of State Clinton, who has through her service enhanced her stature as one of the ablest representatives these country has every had. I like Senator John Kerry. I voted for Senator John Kerry for President of the United States. I thought the whole swift boat thing was a new low in American politics. But having glimpsed Senator Kerry’s confirmation hearings, collegial in many respects, for Secretary of State, I now have a thing for Ambassador Susan Rice. She saw that support for her for Secretary of State from within the party was pretty quiet. Oh, President Obama defended her on the Benghazi thing, but no one really got behind her as a potential Secretary of State candidate. And I thought and wrote about how hypocritical Senators McCain and Graham were on Benghazi vis-à-vis their positions on the Condoleezza Rice-smoking-gun-mushroom-cloud-Iraq thing. But being the intelligent woman she is, Ambassador Rice, could see right through the obvious duplicity to determine who the other candidates were and what was the relationship of the prospective candidates to her attackers. Reminds me of how my grandmother took her children and slipped off from a share-cropping plantation because the usurious, exploitative conditions militated against their survival. When the deck’s stacked, don’t play the game. Here’s to you Ambassador Rice, thanks for the lesson in reasoning. Having seen the unfolding of the Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod situations, your conduct proves that “wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

Inviting Fiasco

Foreign affairs can sap a nation of it’s energies and divert resources away from unfinished domestic affairs.

A white person with a criminal record is more employable than a black person with a college degree.
I am an Obama supporter but even I know that Lupe’s chance of being invited to an Obama inauguration should have been as likely as the Martin Luther King of 1967 being invited to an LBJ inauguration. My wish is that Black people were more knowledgeable about world affairs but if you look at our incarceration and homicide rates it’s apparent that our understanding is still too primitive to influence foreign policy. Enough of us have gotten through the hole in the fence that we haven’t even challenged the domestic agenda enough to counteract circumstances in which a white person with a criminal record is more employable than a black person with a college degree and no criminal record

Inauguration 2013: Lupe Fiasco leaves concert after antiwar rant