My daily reading of information about events in the world brings me images of such staggering inappropriateness that I am almost bereft for words.
This weekend we have seen Auntie Hil, schoolmarm to the world, sitting through the negotiation of a compromise solution to the problems in Syria which would require both government and opposition to stop the firing and get together in a unity government, and then, as soon as the ink was dry, taking the microphone to denounce the Syrian leader as a person unfitted to remain in government because of “the blood on his hands.”
Excuse me, madame, are you not the representative of a government that has recently caused blood to flow in copious quantities in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which countries you attacked and invaded in defiance of all the norms of international behaviour? Do you not represent a government that has fifty times more blood on its hands than any leader of Syria? Are you not convicting yourself by your speech of an act of monstrous hypocrisy? And not only that, does your speech, totally inappropriate to the moment, not blast and sink any prospect that the compromise solution might possibly bring peace in Syria? Which surely must be the ultimate aim of your government?
Is it not time that this dreadful person, who looks more like death warmed over on each appearance, be put out to pasture by her master? Of course, it is time for that, but it is certainly not going to happen, because, as Patrick Seale has pointed out in a perceptive article in Gulf News, her master, President Obama, “remains oblivious to America’s meandering foreign policy.”
Then there are other things that have come to my notice in recent days. A recent speech on the floor of the US Senate by Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, (the only socialist in either house of Congress), which has just been distributed by the invaluable Information Clearing House, but has otherwise been ignored by Fox, CBS, NBC and all the other mainstream media, has produced some extraordinary information, viz:
“Today the wealthiest 400 individuals in America own more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people. Today, the six heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune now own more wealth than the bottom 30% of the American people. One family owns more wealth than the bottom 30%, 90 million Americans. Today the top 1% own 40% of all of the wealth in America. The top 1% owns 40% of all the wealth in America. What do we think the bottom 60% of the American people own? I ask this question a lot around Vermont. People say maybe they own 15%, maybe they own 20%. Well, the answer is they own less than 2%. Less than 2%. So you got the bottom 60% of the American people owning less than 2% of the wealth, top 1% own 40% of the wealth.”
One can sense Bernie’s frustration through his constant repetitions of the information, as if he realizes that just to say it once will not suffice to bring it to public attention.
So, its goodbye to the American dream that Obama was chuntering on and on about during his election campaign.
But an even more devastating nail in the coffin of decent politics was hammered in yesterday in an article by Sarah Jaffe entitled Can We Call It Class War Yet? published on AlterNet. She quotes a writer who in a new book has identified a whole new industry, known as the “income defence industry,” that has sprung up in the wake of this galloping inequality in the United States. (I warn you: this is so grim it could almost be described as a sick joke):
“Chris Hayes, in his new book Twilight of the Elites, notes that the ultra-wealthy have spawned a whole ‘income defense’ industry dedicated to preserving their wealth and power, an industry that works tirelessly to push policies that favor the rich. He writes:
‘Over the last decade, the political arm of the income defense industry has been wildly successful. The tax cuts passed by Bush and extended by Obama represent a total of $81.5 billion transferred from the state into the hands of the richest 1 percent. Meanwhile, hedge fund managers and their surrogates have deployed millions of dollars to lobbyists to maintain the so-called carried interest loophole, a provision of tax law that allows fund managers to classify much of their income drawn from investing gains as ‘carried interest’ so that it is taxed at the low capital gains rate of 15 percent, rather than the marginal income rate, which would in most cases be more than twice that. It was this wrinkle in the law that helped Mitt Romney, a man worth an estimated quarter of a billion dollars, pay an effective tax rate of just under 14 percent in 2010. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, the House of Representatives passed a bill closing the loophole, only to see it beaten back by an intense wave of lobbying in the Senate.”
I could go on. The whole scenario, with Auntie Hil out there trying to hector smaller nations on the virtues of the American way of government, while the evidence of its corruption and departure from the normal standards of decency that should animate government in the best interests of the governed, appears to grow more persuasive every day, reducing a mere scribbler to appalled semi-silence. I rest my case.