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President Obama’s escalation speech.

02 Dec

Last night, the president gave a speech stating his reasons for escalating the occupation (I refuse to call it a war, you may call it what you like) in Afghanistan.  I happen to think that actually, this was a speech on the jobs summit findings, given in advance of the actual jobs summit. We want the TAPI pipeline right where the Taliban are. What a pain in the ass. So we have to move them, kill them, whatever. Let’s hope the public confuses the Taliban with al-Qaeda, very subtly done by Obama last night, I thought, to keep up support for the occupation.  We have to support war (this one, that one, any one) because that’s the only place we have job growth. Job openings in the military, mercenary groups, big weapons manufacturers, no-bid contractor companies like Bechtel and KBR, CIA/Homeland Security, and now private civilian corps, who will certainly do something useful and profitable overseas after they finish their training in Ohio (or wherever).

There are even jobs for the Taliban in this. Part of the Obama plan is to find “reluctant” Taliban (those who are only Taliban because they’ve got nothing better to do) and re-integrate them into tribal life by finding them jobs, which we will pay for. Partly funded by lowering the amount of money given to USAid and the other groups which build medical clinics, etc. No wonder Obama didn’t talk about helping women in Afghanistan.

Our money is all in a few big banks now and they aren’t lending it out, they are hoarding it. These big banks have so much on hand (roughly a trillion in excess funds that we taxpayers gave them and that the Fed simply printed up and gave them) that Bernanke and Geithner are worried about excess liquidity in the market which would lead to hyper-inflation. The Fed or hell, Congress, could require the banks to lend it out, make the banks put the money back into actual service in the economy, use it to stimulate small business growth and job creation, but instead, the Fed has decided to do “reverse repo’s”. This is a tricky little maneuver wherein the Fed takes the cash from the banks and gives them an IOU with interest. The Fed basically warehouses the money for a year, and at the end of the year, gives it back to the banks with 1% interest.

This means the Fed doesn’t have to raise interest rates and it staves off hyper-inflation, but it also means the banks have another year to piddly-fart around without lending to anyone. And then get 1.1 trillion bucks back. Of our money.

So there IS no jobs plan, beyond endless war, which is now THE jobs plan.

I got so used to listening for Bush’ code words that when I hear them now they tend to jump out at me. I found certain parts of the speech last night troubling because of the implications domestically. I am focusing for the moment on the problems we have right here at home and the implications raised by a few of Obama’s remarks, rather than analyzing the Global Hegemony aspects of the speech.  (I know this makes me a “protectionist”, but then, I live here.)  As I said earlier,  endless war is basically the only answer Washington seems to have for economic troubles: create a war to create jobs. It’s a very old Republican solution to this issue.

Obama managed to mention the deficit in this speech. He’s been making lots of little comments about the “deficit” and “balancing the budget” lately.  “Balancing the budget” is Republican for “lowering the taxes on the wealthy while simultaneously cutting entitlement programs”.  Although why a program like Medicare or Social Security, paid for directly by taxation from paychecks is considered “entitlement”, I’ll never figure out.  Unless, of course, the meaning of the word is, in those cases, the actual definition of “entitlement”: you are naturally entitled to it because you put the money in that account yourself.   Somehow, I don’t think that’s the usage they intend; they use the word “entitlement” sneeringly, as though people who receive medicare were getting something to which they never contributed.  In any case, all this talk of deficit trimming doesn’t bode well for meaningful health care reform, which isn’t going to happen in any case, if one can judge by the crap bills the House and Senate have come up with. It also doesn’t look too good for job creation, further stimulus or protection of the Medicare and Social Security systems.

And what was THIS nugget?

From Obama’s speech: “And we can’t count on military might alone. We have to invest in our homeland security, because we can’t capture or kill every violent extremist abroad. We have to improve and better coordinate our intelligence, so that we stay one step ahead of shadowy networks.”

If Bush said that, and combining it with the “terror alert” aspects of Obama’s speech, also very Bush-like, we would know instinctively that we were about to lose one more little civil liberty and spend a gazillion dollars on some Spy on Your Neighbor program. When Obama says it, it sounds to me like his FISA vote before the election was not aberrant at all, but one of his actual (as opposed to professed) beliefs. It sounds like maybe we should be prepared to lose one more little civil liberty and spend a gazillion dollars on some Spy on Your Neighbor program.

But maybe that’s just job creation, too, and one we can do right here at home. Sigh. And Obama put his usual emphasis on bi-partisan unity; we should all support and get behind the occupation/war. Actually, that’s at least a little honest; why even pretend we have two parties any more?  However, I bristle at the thought of being united in the blame for this.  Some of us never did support the endless “wars on terror”, gave good reasons for it, and should not feel bullied into sharing the shame of them in the name of bipartisan unity.

Any day now, our “Change” President will rip off his shirt and reveal the big R painted on his chest.

Which is why the escalation speech was the jobs speech.  Join the military, or work for GE or Lockheed.  That’s all we got.

It worked for Rome – half the population in the military, the other half working themselves to death to support the military – at least, it worked until the sucker collapsed, but the ending so spoils the story, I think.

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