Master of the double standard

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguistics professor and political activist Noam Chomsky — the world’s best known public intellectual — says somewhere that the United States’ prescriptions for other economies it wouldn’t dare follow itself, knowing how catastrophic the consequences could be to its own economy.

As if to once again prove Chomsky right, the US government has put together a record-breaking $700 billion plan to acquire the distressed assets of US private banks and other financial firms to save them from ruin, and possibly stave off a devastating depression.

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Sleepless in Somalia

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As if it didn’t know, the New York Times last week wondered in an editorial what John McCain was thinking when he chose Sarah Palin to be his vice-presidential running mate.

At 72, Republican Party presidential nominee McCain is only a year younger than Ronald Reagan when the latter won a second term in 1984 at the age of 73. Given the vagaries of time and red meat-eaters’ clogged arteries, Palin’s ascension to the US presidency is at least within the realm of possibility. As the Times put it, “If he (McCain) seriously thought this first-term governor — with less than two years in office — was qualified to be president, if necessary, at such a dangerous time, it raises profound questions about his judgment.”
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Wag the dog

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Somewhat like God, if 9/11 didn’t happen it would have had to be invented. The attack on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon were exactly what US neo-conservatives and US oil interests needed: an excuse for regime change in Afghanistan, and later, in Iraq, as part of an aggressive policy of military, political and economic consolidation and expansionism. It was the tail that wagged the dog.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the only remaining superpower attacked Afghanistan to remove the Taliban from power. The excuse was the capture of Osama bin Laden. The invasion occurred despite a proposal by the Taliban regime to surrender bin Laden to the United States if there was evidence that he was indeed responsible. The US rejected the proposal even before bin Laden accepted responsibility for the attack.

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Waste paper

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The Commission on Human Rights resolution released last Monday acknowledged the value of press freedom — but reminded journalists (don’t call them newsmen) that they had responsibilities.

The good commissioners didn’t specify what they thought these were. Otherwise they might have had to declare that the most basic is providing the public the information it needs. Instead the resolution told the press how to cover those moments of crisis, such as the November 29, 2007 incident, that haunt the country of our perdition. Among its least profound observations was this ungrammatical mouthful:

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