Friday, May 23, 2008

Most Powerful Job? Sure
Gibbon observed that one of the marks of a declining empire is when the vassals start exploiting the empire rather than vice versa.
Israel and Cuba are two of the world’s smaller states. Their combined populations wouldn’t add up to a suburb in China. Yet you cannot get elected president of the putatively all-powerful United States of America without ritually kissing the ass of the former and kicking the ass of the latter.
This weird rite has little to do with either Israel or Cuba and almost everything to do with the power of lobbies. The Israel and Cuban lobbies perpetuate and enlarge their clout by constantly intruding themselves between Washington and the two countries. They thrive on conflict, manufactured when not available in reality.
Both represent themselves far better than they do their clients. At best, the Israeli lobby speaks for the most rightwing elements in that country. For its part, the Cuban lobby’s constituency lives in Florida rather than Cuba. If Israel was at peace with its neighbors, the Israeli lobby would have no more influence than the Iceland lobby. If Washington was cool with Havana, the Cuban lobby would have as much juice as the Cyprus lobby.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Way the Media Work 2
Jeffrey Dahmer rules over an anthropaphagusian autocracy with Charlie Manson as his secretary of defense. He accepts Wall Street investments and hosts a U.S. military base. He buys lots of pots and pans and knives from American firms. The media dub him a “moderate” and a “valuable ally” in the war against terror.

Jesus Christ returns, bringing Heaven to a small corner of earth. The Empyrean economy is share and share alike. Jesus declines both U.S. investment and military alliance. The media classify him an “extremist” and a “dangerous enemy” in the war on terror.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Idiocy or Stupidity? You Decide
It was on tv and everything!
1. Last November the U.S. intelligence community released an official finding that Iran shut down its nuclear weapons program in 2003. The official position of the International Atomic Energy Agency is that there is no evidence that Iran even had such a program. Iran has repeatedly denied it has, is building, or wants nuclear weapons. What’s more, the Iranians, nee Persians, are pleased to share the easily Wikied info that they have not attacked another nation in several centuries.

Nevertheless, Obama, Clinton, McCain, Democrats, Republicans, the media and, not least of all, the Bush administration keep right on warning us around the clock that the nuclear threat from Iran is growing around the clock. Indeed, Hillary promised to “obliterate” Iran (i.e., erase 70 million human beings and one of humanity's oldest civilizations) should it nuke Israel with weapons no serious observer believes it has.

2. Over the last five years, the hard-line conservative Bush administration has directed the best units of the world’s self-proclaimed most powerful military against an enemy in Iraq that the administration characterizes as a “very small minority of dead-enders and losers.” That elite military is lately obliged to pay tens of millions a month in tribute to those dead-enders so that they won’t attack it. Furthermore, it is unable to defend its own headquarters from daily mortar and rocket attacks. Given the fact that the vaunted Israeli army remains unable after 41 years to pacify three million Palestinian Arabs imprisoned on a couple of postage stamp-sized bits of land, neither John McCain or anyone else has so far explained how a much smaller American force will eventually pacify 27 million Iraqi Arabs spread over a country the size of California.

3. Google up “corruption in Iraq” and you can busy yourself for decades exploring 2.5 million results. The basic story is that countless billions taken from our taxes or, increasingly, the profits of Chinese enterprises, have disappeared. Most, it’s assumed, was filched by contractors. But it should be remembered that Iraqis have no place but home to stash their valuables, and that our heroic war consists mainly of busting into private homes in search of young men and weapons. That Iraqi family jewels should end up in San Diego pawn shops is no big surprise.

This presidential campaign, a billion dollar profit center in its own right, is already 16 months old with seven to go. Among the major issues thus far has been the non-existent threat from Iran. Among the major non issues has been the utter incompetence and cosmic corruption of the Iraq war effort. As of this week and probably for months to come, a key topic will be whether a President Barack Obama will be as “tough” as the failures, fools and fraudsters currently running the show in Washington.

Idiocy or Stupidity? You Decide.