Greece under the yoke

English: Various Euro bills.

Reuters reported that:

Greece must surrender control of its budget policy to outside institutions if it cannot implement reforms attached to euro zone rescue measures, the German economy minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

The fact that the German Economic Minister made this already credible statement indicates that Greece lacks control over its budget. The issue at hand is whether the European Union would exercise direct or indirect control over the Greek budget, not whether Greece would control its own budget.

Quote of the day

Channeling the spirit of the psychoanalytic Marxist Wilhelm Reich, David Rosen wrote:

Are hypocrites born or made? Is false consciousness a social disease? These are among the unasked questions haunting the 2012 Republican presidential race.

The four surviving candidates are hypocrites. Mitt Romney is the guy-next-door everyman with a quarter-billion-dollars in his pocket; Rick Santorum is the blue-collar everyman who has learned to work the corporate con for self-serving ends; Ron Paul is the white everyman standing before a giant Confederate flag proclaiming that the South was right seceding from the Union; and then there is Newt Gingrich, the shameless everyman who sheds his past like a snake loses its old skin.

Gingrich is the most hypocritical presidential candidate in modern history. But the significance of his hypocrisy can only be fully appreciated in terms of his surprising Jan. 21st primary victory in South Carolina. Approximately 40 percent of registered Republicans willingly accepting his fiction. This is the politics of false consciousness.

What happens in Florida on Jan. 31st will be illuminating. It may well cut the Republican primary field being cut to two plus one; Santorum may exit while Paul hangs on like Ralph Nader did in 2000.

From the mouths of fools

English: American author and columnist Jonah G...

Glenn Greenwald, during his polemic with Jonah Goldberg and Spencer Ackerman over the morality of Israel criticism, referred to this shocking — but not wholly or even significantly shocking — story:

Andrew Adler is the publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, and soon he’ll have to spare some time from his busy schedule to answer questions from Secret Service agents. Why? Because, when opining last week on just how Israel should deal with Iran, Adler unleashed a fantasy, and wrote that “[option] three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.”

Wow. Adler has since issued a non-apology: “I very much regret it, I wish I hadn’t made reference to it at all,” he told the JTA.

Rightwing terror in Missouri

Adam Peck of ThinkProgress stated:

Five Democratic State Senators in Missouri discovered large, orange crosshair stickers over their office nameplates on Tuesday in the Capitol Building in Jefferson. The targets included all four Democratic women in the state senate, as well as the Democratic minority leader. One Republican state representative also found a similar sticker outside his office.

It is ironic that these acts were likely committed in order to coerce the targeted Senators into voting to block the implementation of the Obama health care reform legislation. It is ironic because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is health care reform a Republican ought to love. But these facts do not impress America’s reactionary element. They just hate Obama.

Re: The State of the Union

There are so many nits to pick, foolish claims to debunk, neoliberal hooey to ridicule…. I shall limit myself to three points the President failed to address last night:

  • Weakening the dollar
  • Dismantling America’s empire
  • Planned reindustrialization

A strong dollar cheapens the price of America’s imports. It also feeds Wall Street with foreign capital. It is, in other words, the chief reason the United States has a service economy dominated by the FIRE sector.

America’s empire absorbs capital and labor power, it wastes both on non-consumable goods, it drives the growth of the security-surveillance apparatus, it directly and indirectly undermines the Constitution and it creates political and military debacles which produce blowback. It must go as quickly as it can be safely dismantled.

Education and training will do Americans little good if they fail to find jobs which make use of their cultural capital. In fact, an educated and trained work force that fails to make good on its talents is one that wastes resources. To avoid wasting these resources, the United States ought to institute an industrial planning agency with the capital resources and legal means to develop an ecologically sound industrial sector. It makes no sense to demand a low rate of employment for a well-educated workforce when those workers will work at service sector jobs that pay little.

These reforms are radical with respect to the social system now in place. If achieved,they would decisively change the identity of that system. But they are not comprehensive and do not touch on so many related problems that would also need to be addressed. These include reforming the tax code, making it strongly progressive; developing public transportation; reforming the campaign-finance laws; etc. But the three points listed above would be one place to start.

Mitt’s two faces

Sir Mick a closet Tory?

English: Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones NYC...

He says it ain’t so:

Mick Jagger has pulled out of pulled out of an event due to be hosted by David Cameron at the Davos summit, complaining of being used as a “political football”.

The Rolling Stones singer had been due to attend a tea party at the Swiss resort as part of a campaign to promote Britain alongside others such as the model, Lily Cole, and the inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee

But he said in a statement on Tuesday: “During my career I have always eschewed party politics and came to Davos as a guest, as I thought it would be stimulating.”

He added: “I have always been interested in economics and world events. I now find myself being used as a political football and there has been a lot of comment about my political allegiances which are inaccurate. I think it’s best I decline the invitation to the key event and curtail my visit.”

The rule of law in America today

Does it exist? Is the United States a Nation of Laws? It is clear that some rules do exist. But do they conform to the spirit and letter of the rule of law doctrine?

Glenn Greenwald thinks not. He recently identified four rules of American justice:

(1) If you are a high-ranking government official who commits war crimes, you will receive full-scale immunity, both civil and criminal, and will have the American President demand that all citizens Look Forward, Not Backward.

(2) If you are a low-ranking member of the military, you will receive relatively trivial punishments in order to protect higher-ranking officials and cast the appearance of accountability.

(3) If you are a victim of American war crimes, you are a non-person with no legal rights or even any entitlement to see the inside of a courtroom.

(4) If you talk publicly about any of these war crimes, you have committed the Gravest Crime — you are guilty of espionage — and will have the full weight of the American criminal justice system come crashing down upon you.

It is thus clear that some Americans are not subject to the rule of law. The rule of law makes sense only when everyone is subject to the same laws. The United States is not a country governed by laws.


Update

David Dayen of FireDogLake walks over some of the same ground as Greenwald:

The Administration has reserved some of its most punitive uses of their prosecutorial discretion for government leakers and whistleblowers. Government information gets leaked all the time, of course, often by official sources doing so on behalf of the Administration for political reasons. But no Administration has prosecuted as many government officials for leaking as this one; in fact, the six criminal cases are more than all other Presidents combined. It has unquestionably had a chilling effect on other whistleblowers. The case against former NSA official Thomas Drake, which thankfully collapsed last year, is the most celebrated of these cases. But the inadequacy of that case has not stopped the Justice Department from continuing to wage war on leakers.

Quote of the day

David Vest took stock of the national Republican Party and its anti-Obama politics:

When the GOP retook the House and promptly made it clear that the supreme goal was to prevent Obama’s re-election, they showed themselves to be united by opposition, as never before. Nothing mattered except turning the president out of office. Nothing seemed more inevitable than Obama’s defeat.

And now look at them: a party dominated by evangelical Protestants, yet forced to choose from a pool of candidates that has so far included two Mormons, a couple of Catholic has-beens, a manifest dimwit from Texas, a wild-eyed nutjob from Minnesota, a singing pizza salesman and Ron Paul.

If there existed a sinister Republican plot to make Obama look like Charlemagne by comparison, how would it be different?

Vest on Newt:

If the media uncovered proof that Newt had stolen food stamps from his blind grandmother, shot three orphans in the back, and paid for a former gay lover’s sex change operation with taxpayer funds, would they dare to report it and suffer the fate of CNN’s John King? If so, Gingrich would promptly gather one hundred evangelicals together and explain that so great was his love of country, that his hard-working patriotism led him into houghmagandy with whoever was handy, in ways that were not always in accordance with his blah blah blah, and besides the elite media loves to use this kind of trash to tarnish America and protect Barack Obama. (Insert standing ovation here.)

Rodney Howard-Browne blesses Newt’s campaign

The logo of Revival Ministries International; ...

Sarah Posner reported that:

Today Newt Gingrich made an appearance at River Church in Tampa, Florida, pastored by Rodney Howard Browne. Slate’s Dave Weigel tweeted that in introducing Gingrich, Browne prayed that America “will not allow the killing of unborn babies, and the takeover of Islam” and “the Constitution that we have, and your word, and Jesus is the only way we can be delivered from this plight.”

Howard-Browne is a charismatic revivalist who preaches the Prosperity Gospel. His sect is called Revival Ministries International.

Gingrich, on the other hand, belongs to a well-known church to which many Republican politicians belong, the Opportunistic Pettifoging Mudslingers. I’m sure Howard-Browne and Gingrich have found common ground on which to stand.

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