I feel certain that the thousands of mid-level GM and Chrysler executives recently put out to permanent pasture due to the restructuring, were strong proponents of outsourcing. "Why, boss, we can save $1.75 per car by having this part made in China." I imagine that never once did it occur to them that one day it would be their turn to walk up the chute to the killing floor. "Oh, and by the way, executive pensions weren't protected in the bailout agreement, so give the wife all my best!"
Capitalism's loyalty is only to money. When you become more attractive as food than labor, the mob will turn on you, with knives, forks and barbecue sauce at the ready.
We find ourselves divided, separated and polarized, by race and by age, by party and by religion. During the presidential campaign the differences between the candidates were stark and clear. John McCain was ensconced in the status quo; he would stay in Iraq a hundred years if need be. His opponent, Barack Obama, offered Hope and Change and an end to the Bush tax cuts. And an end to business as usual in Washington, an end to torture and an end to secret prisons and indefinite detention. Oh, the world was going to be so different.
Comedian Bill Mahr hit it squarely on the nose. "We now have a center right party and a crazy party." Candidate Barack Obama entered the White House cocoon and metamorphosed into a beautiful butterfly named "George W. Bushus Americanis." While I have questioned many of the actions taken by the President, I rationalized that it is not a perfect world, and that politics is the art of compromise. Then my emotional side began to kick in and ask, "Well f*ck! When are we, the people, going to win just one?"
We lose every time. The banks get $800 billion to split amongst a dozen or so banks, while the stimulus bill and the jobs bill together are riddled with tax cuts and spent piecemeal so that almost a year later two-thirds hasn't been spent yet. The banks were in trouble and got a check in a week. The people are in trouble and they get an unemployment extension? Earth to clueless, if you were bringing home $600 a week, how long do you think you can last on $300 a week?
But my trip through the slaughterhouse began when the President made his speech to an audience at West Point. Gosh, it took me back to a time when the President only spoke at military bases where the audience could be controlled.
"To address these issues, it is important to recall why America and our allies were compelled to fight a war in Afghanistan in the first place. We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women, and children without regard to their faith or race or station." Barack Obama, December 1, 2009
To start with, 9/11 was a criminal act perpetrated by criminals and we were not compelled to fight a war. We were posturing for a war for political reasons, which have nothing to do with 9/11. "They struck at our military and economic nerve centers." This one has always bothered me. Imagine that you're a terrorist and you can plant one bomb in Washington. How high would the Pentagon be on your list? But by attacking the Pentagon it gave ample leeway for a full military response. What did the terrorists hope to accomplish? Did they hamper the US military in even the slightest degree?
The President in his speech mentioned al Qaeda either by name or by inference a dozen times. "Under the banner of this domestic unity and international legitimacy - and only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden - we sent our troops into Afghanistan. Within a matter of months, al Qaeda was scattered and many of its operatives were killed."
The Taliban claimed that they didn't know where Osama bin Laden was, and nine years later the point seems more valid than ever. But since the President brought it up I am compelled to ask, why hasn't Osama bin Laden ever been charged with the crimes that occurred on 9/11? I think that is fair question considering the cost in blood and treasure and for the families of the victims. Why does the government continue to talk one way and act the opposite?
Last week it surfaced that three Guantanamo inmates supposedly committed suicide at the same time. The initial Pentagon investigation called it "an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us," a planned operation designed to embarrass the United States. As Mark Twain remarked, "Man is the only animal that blushes or needs to." Apparently the plan failed because the Pentagon hushed the matter up, until Seaton Hall law students began to investigate only to discover that two of the suicide victims had shoved rags so far down their throats that they could only be retrieved during an autopsy. Strange that these inmates would go to such lengths to embarrass the United States.
There was very little press on what can only superficially be called suicides. Where is our free press, anyway? Well, they have been quite busy actually. Suddenly since the President's speech the press is full of stories all about dangerous Muslims and homegrown terrorists.
The Washington Post- "Arrests suggest U.S. Muslims, like those in Europe, can be radicalized abroad
"A spike in terrorism cases involving U.S. citizens is challenging long-held assumptions that Muslims in Europe are more susceptible to radicalization than their better-assimilated counterparts in the United States."
Translation, be afraid, be very afraid!