Commentary on the present and future of culture, politics, economics, and social values................... "At any given instant/All solids dissolve, no wheels revolve,/And facts have no endurance." W.H. Auden.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

US Imperial Proconsul and Triumphalism

Condoleezza Rice has been touring the world not as US secretary of state but as the proconsul of the new US empire. Hers has been a tour of US triumphalism. When she was not being a clotheshorese, she engaged in scolding, condescending, accusing, denouncing, and saber rattling.

Are we tired of her yet?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Schiavo Case and Culture War

Look how quickly the case of Terri Schiavo has been transformed into a battle in the culture war dividing the US. That transformation is a result of the combined efforts of the media, politicians, clergy, lawyers, judges, and the "talking heads" who preside over television network fare.

In all this racket, the best interests of Terri Schiavo are being ignored.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Price of Oil

The news media reported that yesterday the price of oil rose above $56 a barrel, the highest price in history. There seemed to be little public reaction. This ho-hum response shows why the price will continue to rise. Unless the public gets up in arms over the rising price, makes political protests, and begins self-rationing, the price will continue to climb.

As long as the increases are gradual, they will continue unchallenged. Look for the price of oil to rise to $100 a barrel over the year ahead.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Mine Is Bigger Than Yours!

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee yesterday, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made the following comparison in justification of his policies:
The world has seen, in the last 3 1/2 years, the capability of the United
States of America to go into Afghanistan . . . and with 20,000, 15,000
troops working with the Afghans do what 200,000 Soviets couldn't do in a
decade. They've seen the United States and the coalition forces go into
Iraq. . . . That has to have a deterrent effect on people.

In the Rumsfeld lexicon of power, we now compare our military efforts to those of the discredited Soviet Union. So much for the onward march of democracy!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Suck It Up, Condee! You Are Not In Charge Anyway.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice managed to avoid having John Bolton named Deputy Secretary of State. But she ended up with him being named ambassador to the United Nations, a far more powerful post, probably the second most important post in the US foreign policy establishment.

The Bush Administration managed to flip the finger at a number of people in making this appointment: the Democrats, moderate Republicans, the United Nations, Kofi Annan, our European allies, and the Third World. Not a bad score to make with one appointment!

Bolton, neocon extraordinaire, was the candidate of Cheney and Rumsfeld. These two continue their slow-motion coup d'etat, trying to place the entire US government under neocon and Defense Department control.

Rice should understansd that she is not in control of State. She is a figurehead. She has no capacity to resist the Cheney/Rumsfeld juggernaut.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Just When We Thought Things Can't Get Worse...

Reports are that the top candidates the Bush Administration is pushing for the position of president of the World Bank are Carly Fiorina and Paul Wolfowitz.
Who said things can't get worse?

Carly Fiorina was a failure as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard and had to be dumped by the corporation's board after doing years of stunning damage to the company. She brought the company to a low and led the plunge in stock value to the basement. What makes anyone think she could manage a more important job?

Paul Wolfowitz, the manager of the US war and occupation in Iraq, has shown the manifest incompetence of a man guided by ideology rather than information. Does the World Bank need that level of incompetence at the top?

The World Bank is the major influence on the global economy and economic development around the globe. Does the Bush Administration want to make it a tool of US imperial policy? Or does it want to turn it into a fumbling, blundering institution?
Nothing Succeeds Like Failure: the Paradox

The paradox in Washington these days is that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's power is increasing as the war in Iraq fails. Is this an example of the old axiom twisted: nothing succeeds like failure?

Rumsfeld is more powerful now than he was just beore the Iraq war started. Part of this change is explained by the departure of impediments to his power: Powell of State and Tenet of the CIA, most notably.

But there is another factor. Rumsfeld does not see the Iraq war primarily as something to be fought and won. It is rather a means for him to increase his control in the bureaucratic war in Washington. And he has played that game well.

It is true that at the top level of the US government, Rumsfeld and his neo-con cronies are called "the crazies." That does not matter since it is their power and not their policies that matter. And their power is increasing. Only President Bush can stop Rumsfeld, and it is clear that he lacks the will to do so.

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