Wednesday, August 22, 2012
My remarks today have to do with newspaper reports and opinions of columnists and commentators dealing with the US presidential campaign and potential threats by China, primarily, Iran and "the bomb", and territorial disputes between Japan, South Korea, and China.
The Presidential Campaign. With the designation of Paul Ryan as Republican VP nominee comes revelations that are factual regarding not just his budget for the 1%, but his positions on abortion and, notably, diminishing women's concerns, and defunding Planned Parenthood. These positions have come into sharp focus wth the statements made by Congressman Tod Akin defining "legitimate rape". Romney has tried to distance himself from his VP nominee's allegiances and Ryan's working together with Akin anti-abortion that include no abortions for rape victims, and anti-women's health bills. Romney, in disagreement with his VP selecction would allow abortions for women that have been raped, that word undefined as has Akin has defined it. All of this added up characterizes the Republican party as for the wealthy and against women, and, therefore, unfit to govern everyone. That's the reality, and, all of the words about Romney's chances by commentators and columnists, as well as media bloviators, have no meaning at all considering that characterization.
The Obama campaign is mostly negative. To defend himself and his administration from lies and their underlying racist attacks is required, to avoid the "swift boaters" and criticisms that he is a "wimp", not fit to govern as President. A good man, a moral man, a brilliant orator and deft politician, Obama's failures can be summarized as wasting his party's two year dominance by trying to the point of failure to have bi-partisanship with a totally recalcitrant Republican party. The Republicans have moved so far to the right, thanks to the Tea Party, that there is no middle ground for negotiation. In that environment, his achievements largely go unnoticed, and his attempts to regird a failing economy have largely failed because the the recovery from the economic melt-down is threatened by the banks, financial houses, and insurance companies' continued risk taking and failure to invest in the future. Largely unnoticed by the media are the connections between the US financial world and the global meltdown in Europe. Being the President of the US, all of these problems are, thus, Obama's.
Iran. Iran has become a "threat" because largely Israel has defind it as an "existential threat" to its security, by way of Iran's so-called nuclear program. The "fear" is that that program is to build a bomb, not to develop a nuclear-powered electrical grid. The reality of that has yet to be proved and considerable confusion has ensued by way of CIA and other reports that such a development is either years off or imminent. No-one really knows, but because Israel is an iron-clad ally of America and that American Jews are the source of much political funding, the US has thrown in its lot to protect Israel from all threats. This is modified by Obama's constant communications with Israel to back off from an attack.
In truth Pakistan is an either equally or significantly greater threat: as a nuclear nation with its stockpile of weapons, its unstable economic and political condition, and its continuing support of the Taliban by its secret service. This is a lot more convincing a threat than a meddling Iran that does not yet have a bomb and that does not fuel an ongoing Afghanistan war of ten years.
That Iran is a Mid-East meddler there is no doubt. Something is going on, whether it's Iran's alleged supply of arms to the Assad Syrian regime, or its skirting of ineffective international sanctions with its oil trading with China, Russia, and other neighbors. That its statements that there was no Holocaust and that Israel should cease to exist translates into an all-out war with Israel that leads to its destruction and the embroiling of neighbors in a ceaseless war has yet to become reality. How much of a threat Iran poses has not been established, except in the agenda of the media who know a juicy story when they see one.
China. China has become a major economic power with growth statistics that are mind popping. But recently, the economic engine has begun to stall with lower growth statistics and inventories of crucial components of this growth growing. It is viewed as a potential threat by the US and others mostly because it has begun rebuilding its military with one new aircraft carrier and investments in its military; and because its economy threatens to eclipse that of the US. But the reality is that it is still ruled by Old Communists from the Soviet era. Further, the political regime and its economic engine are corrupted by political suppression, lax safety and quality standards, overvaluing of its real estate and its manipulation of its currency's value. These are factors in reassessing how much of a threat it really is. And one measure of an economy's dominance and strength is the gap between the so-called wealthy and the tens of millions of its citizens that live in grinding and abject poverty. Which in China's case is a severe gap. I have posed the form China likes to present against what is really going on that does not fill out that advertised form.
Israel is a racist state that is a de-stabilizing force in the Middle East. Torn apart politically by multiple political parties, the violent reactions of the ulta-orthodox Jewish community, its attitudes toward immigrant Africans, its unwillingness to allow medical school graduates to take licensing exams, and the behavior of radical settlers on the Golan Heights on former Palestian land, it is impossible not to conclude that racism is alive and well there. There is no doubt that this is standard behavior for most nation-states. But in Israel's case, a comparison between its founding goals and its current state of affairs do not make Jews all over the world any more tolerable than before. Anti-semitism has shown itself again and Israel's less than exceptional behavior fuels it. I am a Jew and I can feel it and I see it daily in the media reports.
Territorial disputes between China, Japan, and South Korea over islands in the Sea of Japan appear in the media all of a sudden. This in addition to China's investments in Africa fan the size of its "threat". These arguments are never about land so small it is hard to detect even on a large scale map are more about economic and military dominance than anything else. What is always disturbing are the imperialist behaviors of such a large land mass to acquire a little more land. China has provided the cheap labor that sucks at Japan's and South Korea's economy; and why not fight over territory than face their own economic situations?
This concludes my ranting for today. My claim is that I have a somewhat firmer grip on reality than what countries and the media are willing to reveal. I am not a journalist, nor an historian, nor an economist, nor a recognized expert on any of these issues. I merely read the newspapers and first class magazines, and watch and listen to the media.