August 17th, 2012

How can you tell when Joe Biden is correct?

Answer: The more right on he is, the louder the right-wing noise machine is going to characterise whatever he said as a "gaffe" and Biden as "an idiot." This is the case with regard to Biden's recent speech in which he told a predominantly black audience that Romney would unchain Wall Street and put them back in chains. While this might not have been the most diplomatic way of putting it, it's fundamentally sound in principle.

Unbridled capitalism and the gross greed of bankers and brokers tends toward reducing the middle and lower classes to a state of peonage, or debt slavery. Like miners and sharecroppers who were required to buy at the "company" stores with the result that they were in continuous debt and never had either free money or the freedom to consider other employment, many of us today find ourselves in the same state. We are in continual debt to the mortgage holders, the credit card companies, and, in extreme cases, to the payday loan store and the "rent to own" store--loan sharks in legitimate clothing that the Republicans have fought to keep legitimate. Given the tough economic times and the high unemployment rate, we are unwilling to take any risks and cling on to the jobs we have. This is another thing that big business and the Republicans actually encourage: by maintaining a tight job market, wages and benefits can be held down, lowering labor costs.

As I've said before, it's all about control. Shop at the stores they own or invest in (HugeMart, yes--Mom & Pop Shop, no--); bank at the banks they own, paying their interest rates and fees (down with credit unions!); if you have a retirement fund, invest it in funds they run so that they get their cut (privatize Social Security--); YOU must pay YOUR taxes like a good citizen so that they can be siphoned off to pay subsidies to Big Oil, Big Timber, Big Pharma, Big Agriculture--all of which hide their own enormous profits in tax shelters and offshore subsidiaries. Ultimately, every dollar you make will be plowed right back to those you earned it from while you have nothing to show for it but subsistence.

And if you lose your job? Sucks to be you--. One way in which peons are actually worse off than regular slaves is that the masters have no need or interest to care about the welfare of the workers. If you aren't working to make money for the bosses, what's the Tea Party battle cry? Oh, yes--"Let him die!"

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Right-wing hypocracy in action

The right-wing has no shame about being totally hypocritical when it suits them. The latest is the "Swift Boat" style group calling itself OSPEC or the "Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc." They accuse Obama of claiming undeserved credit for the May 2011 U.S. raid by Navy SEAL commandos which killed bin Laden, and castigate the administration for alleged news leaks.

"Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden, America did. The work that the American military has done killed Osama bin Laden. You did not," Ben Smith, identified as a Navy SEAL, says in the film.

Well, I have two words as an answer to Mr. Smith--"Jimmy Carter". Although Jimmy Carter as President was no more, and probably less, involved in the planning of the ill-fated "Desert One" hostage rescue operation, he and his adminstration accepted the blame for the failure, which definitely damaged his re-election prospects. If the Bin Laden raid had been a failure--for example if both helicopters involved had crashed instead of just one--the blame would have fallen on Obama's "incompetent" leadership, and any attempt to shift the blame would justly have been seen as cowardly.

And--who took the credit for overthrowing Saddam Hussein? That's right, George W. Bush. There was no modest shifting of credit to the US Armed Forces in that case that I recall.

Long and short? If it happens on your watch, it's your responsibility for good or ill.

And, as for the alleged "leaks", in my opinion, it's a non-issue. I pay as much attention to these matters as anyone, and, in my opinion, nothing's been released that any reasonably involved observer wouldn't have been able to work out on their own.

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