Daily Archives: December 6, 2012

Mr. President, Tear Down This Wall

The Nation of Change has published the Pepe Escobar article Mr. President, Tear Down This Wall.

Let’s start with the obvious but important: on entering the Oval Office in January 2009, President Obama inherited a seemingly impregnable three-decade-long “Wall of Mistrust” in Iran-U.S. relations. To his credit, that March he directly addressed all Iranians in a message for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, calling for an “engagement that is honed and grounded in mutual respect.” He even quoted the thirteenth century Persian poet Sa’adi: “The children of Adam are limbs of one body, which God created from one essence.”

And yet, from the start he was crippled by a set of Washington misconceptions as old as that wall, and by a bipartisan consensus for an aggressive strategy toward Iran that emerged in the George W. Bush years when Congress ponied up $400 million for a set of “covert operations” meant to destabilize that country, including cross-border operations by special forces teams. All of this was already based on the dangers of “the Iranian bomb.”


With an Obama 2.0 administration soon to be in place, the time to solve the immensely complex Iranian nuclear drama is now. But as Columbia University’s Gary Sick, a key White House adviser on Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the Tehran hostage crisis of 1979-1981, has suggested, nothing will be accomplished if Washington does not start thinking beyond its ever-toughening sanctions program, now practically set in stone as “politically untouchable.”

Reading this full article might get you thinking outside the box in which the administration seems to be locked.

Many of you will probably react with anger over the mild suggestions in this article, possibly due to the propaganda you have been fed by our own mefdia and politicians.

I am not naive enough to think that Pepe Escobar may not have his own agenda. Yet, long before I read this article, I have been thinking that the U.S. position on Iran has been unnecessarily and unproductively  bellicose. This article just explains the reasons why I have felt the way that I have.

I do not want you to think I am hiding anything here, so I will feed you some information that may reinforce your biases.  But remember that what is being reinforced for you may be a bias.

According to TomDispatch.com, where I think this article may have first been published:

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times, an analyst for al-Jazeera and the Russian network RT, and a TomDispatch regular. His latest book is Obama Does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).


Arithmetic For Republicans: Why Boehner’s ‘Offer’ Just Doesn’t Add Up

The Nation of Change has the Joe Conason article Arithmetic For Republicans: Why Boehner’s ‘Offer’ Just Doesn’t Add Up.

Summing it all up, Conason ends with the following:

Unless and until the Republicans start talking about real numbers that can actually add up, there is nothing to be gained from pretending to negotiate. Nor should the president start negotiating with himself, as he has sometimes done in the past. Instead, he ought to make sure that the opposition understands what will happen when they fail to act responsibly. After Jan. 1, he will bring them an offer they cannot refuse to restore cuts for the 98 percent — and they will be held accountable for any consequences caused in the meantime by their stalling.

The preceding points in the article give some details of the failure of Republican arithmetic.  The Republican proposals actually hide more than they reveal about what they really want to do to us.

Cliff Notes on the Three Real Perils Ahead

The Nation Of Change has published Robert Reich’s article – Cliff Notes on the Three Real Perils Ahead.  The executive summary is:

Yes, America does face a cliff — not a fiscal cliff but a set of precipices we’ll tumble over because the GOP’s obsession over government’s size and spending has obscured them.

The three cliffs are:

The child poverty cliff.

The baby-boomer healthcare cliff.

Healthcare costs are already 18% of GDP. Between now and 2030, when 76 million boomers join the ranks of the elderly,those costs will soar. This is the principal reason why the federal budget deficit is projected to grow.

The Affordable Care Act offers a start but it isn’t nearly adequate to limit these rising costs. The President and the Democrats have to lead the way in using Medicare and Medicaid’s bargaining power over providers to get lower costs and to move from a fee-for-service system to a fee-for-healthy outcomes system of healthcare.

But we can’t avoid the fact we have the most expensive and least effective system of health care in the world that’s spending 30 percent more on paperwork and administration than on keeping people healthy. The real healthcare cliff can only be avoided if we adopt a single-payer healthcare system.

The environmental cliff.

For people obsessed with the deficit, read the section on The baby-boomer healthcare cliff. It is a good explanation of what the real problem is, what Obama has tried to do to solve it, and what more needs to be done. All the rest of the malarkey coming from the Republicans is just noise.