Remarks From Remarksman

April 5, 2009

Obama and Nuclear Proliferation

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 4:32 pm
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I have been encouraged to hear that Obama, in Europe this week for a variety of meetings, is talking with Russia about reducing stocks of nuclear warheads, but in the same week he has a couple of contradictory speeches.

First, Obama reiterated his support for missile installations in east Europe, claimed to be to protect Europe from a theoretical attack by Iran. How can he justify asking Russia to reduce armaments while continuing to add arms in eastern Europe?

Second, North Korea launched a missile that they claimed was to put a communication satellite in orbit. US forces tracking the missile claim no orbital insertion was achieved, but North Korea says it was a success. Immediately afterwards, Obama spoke of the importance of stopping proliferation. The obvious double standard: It is OK for the US to build missiles and emplace them all around the world, but it is not OK for North Korea to launch a missile, even if they claim it is for peaceful purposes.

The double standard also stands with Iran, of course, where enrichment of uranium is not to be tolerated by other countries, even if Iran claims it is only for nuclear power.

While Obama so far seems to be much more of a “straight talker” than Bush was, he is definitely capable of massively hypocritical statements within just a couple of days.

Speaking of senselessness, Noam Chomsky had some interesting points about the continued existence of NATO during an interview on Democracy Now. Why does NATO continue to exist when it’s stated purpose, protection of western European states from Russia and “the east,” is no longer an issue? Why has NATO turned into a “global intervention force” for the US?

October 27, 2008

Iron Knee on How Screwed We Are

Iron Knee has posted a couple articles, today and yesterday on, discussing the awful actions the Bush Administration is taking during its last few months. Here is a list of recent events (most of it enumerated in the Political Irony posts):

  • Banks are using the bailout money to buy up other banks.
  • Banks are using the bailout money to give bonuses to investment bankers.
  • The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) has failed to enforce the Stream Buffer Zone Rule in regards to mountain-top-removal coal mining in Appalachia, so now they’re planning to just do away with the rule.
  • Bush (along with a willing and apparently stupid Congress) agreed to sell nuclear technology to India, which never signed the NPT. (I wrote about this when the bill passed.)
  • AIG (one of the largest recipients of federal bailout money) may have used bailout money to lobby Congress to pass that India nuclear tech bill.
  • And now we are apparently killing people in Syria via cross-border raids from Iraq.

It seems that Bush and his corporate welfare administration cronies are concentrating on extracting every dollar and benefit, and executing every idiotic plan they can during these next few months because it looks like Obama will win the election. It’s difficult not to feel like we’re looking for deck chairs on the Titanic on a grand scale. Like Iron Knee says, we are screwed.

The Wrong Bailout

The administration is trying to loosen the credit market by pumping money into banks by buying supposedly preferred shares (which have no voting rights). Their idea seems to be that if banks have plenty of money, they will hand out loans. As we’re seeing, that is not what banks will do with the money. Instead, the government should be creating new business. It could increase spending on critical infrastructure: fix up a bunch of our decaying highway bridges, build new electric transmission lines, build big solar thermal plants in the southwest, build big wind power fields in the northeast, build geothermal power plants in the northwest. Build or subsidize these kinds of projects and in addition to creating jobs, loans will be requested by contractors — loans which have a great chance of being repaid. Loans that the banks will be happy to make.

The Works Project Administration (WPA) from the Great Depression didn’t hand money out to banks, it built valuable infrastructure for the country and put unemployed people to work. But just last week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress they should start thinking about another stimulus package. Congress already seems to be thinking along the same lines as the “economic stimulus package” from earlier this year. Note to Congress: Handing out cash to taxpayers so they can buy new plasma screen televisions is not the same as the WPA.

I’d be surprised that Congress and the Bush Administration can get it all so wrong, but it’s not surprising if you consider how much the financial industry spends on lobbying and campaign donations. And don’t forget “Clean Coal.”

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