Saturday, March 31, 2007

The passivity and incompetence of the Bush administration (guest post by Uranus)

U.S. harrassment of Iran drove oil to $66.30 Friday.

"Prices quickly escalated given increased tension in the Middle East. It shows the underlying tightness in the market despite a period of seasonally low demand," said Gerard Burg, an analyst from National Australia Bank.

At a time of increased sensitivity, the United States sent two carriers to the Gulf but said "they are not there to provoke any kind of conflict with Iran".

Saudi Arabia and Iran don't need Condi's inertia, and here's another warhead about to go off in Washington's face:

It may be a sign of the contempt with which the Bush administration treats the American media that Condi expects such a Pollyannaish pantomime to be reported as if it were history-in-the-making. And it may be a mark of the naivetŽ with which much of the U.S. media has, over these last years, chronicled Condi's adventures that, in fact, it is reported as if it were history-in-the-making. The Secretary of State has not only chalked up the miles in the air recently, in media terms here in the U.S., she's invariably been given a free ride.


In reality, if significant diplomatic maneuvering is currently underway in the Middle East, it is the work of the Saudis. The Saudi royals had grown so alarmed by the passivity and incompetence of the Bush administration - and by the rising influence of Iran as well as Islamist movements in the Arab world (whose popularity and credibility is boosted by their willingness to stand up to Israel and the U.S.) - that it launched an uncharacteristically robust diplomatic campaign on a number of fronts. The Condi-spun media tends to explain this as the Bush administration coaxing Riyadh's royal wallflowers onto the diplomatic dance floor. The Saudi efforts are, however, so clearly at odds with administration policies and desires on key issues that this characterization is impossible to sustain.

I'm not the only one who's noticed the increased cost of EVERYTHING:

In approximately the last two years, almost everything we need to survive has jumped up in price by at least 100%.

When this same incredible jump in prices occurred in 1979, everyone screamed bloody murder about "Runaway Inflation". Heads rolled. But when the exact same thing is happening now, NOBODY talks about inflation....

What's the difference between then and now?

Here's the difference.

In 1979, every media outlet in America was constantly letting us know that our country was suffering from inflation. Now we have to figure all that stuff out all by ourselves. According to a graph supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of inflation in 1980 was 14%. And today the rate of inflation is only between two and three per cent. So. Technically, we are NOT suffering from inflation right now. BUT. What does it feel like to you?

Here we are, scurrying around, tightening our belts, doing all of the desperate things we did in 1979 (and much more) -- only now we are doing it individually and gratefully, grateful as heck that our misery is of our own doing and NOT because America is suffering from inflation!

We need to stop being sidetracked by statistics and to start learning to trust our own experience at the grocery store and the gas pump instead. We need to start flying by the seat of our pants.

Remember that old adage, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?" Well, here's a new adage. "If a price raises at the supermarket and the media doesn't report it, does inflation still exist?" You bet!

If inflation cost Jimmy Carter the presidency after only one term, how come Bush wasn't thrown out of the White House in 2004? Two reasons. First, the rate of runaway inflation since GWB took over the White House wasn't hyped in the news constantly like it had been during the 1980 presidential election race. And, second, "If election fraud steals an election, does the winner still get to be President?"

Good question.


rimone said...

great post, Uranus and wonderfully written.

steven andresen said...

So, hype the inflation.

Make our own index. Take five to ten staple items, have people tell us their cost around the country, keep track over time.

Ask why the increased cost of these items does not mean we have an inflated and ever increasing cost of living.

The cost of the war should injure the economy at home, guns or butter. Shouldn't that be an issue for us?

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Thanks, Rimone. I copy/pasted most of it. What have you been doing? I've been missing you. That last article by Ms. Stillwater tracked the cost of certain produce items and showed the same things I've noticed in costs in central Oklahoma. Yes, Steve, it is an issue for all of us, no less for people with more money: they lose more value than those with less. It's especially hard for someone like me, on a fixed income. Two years ago I had discretionary income. Today I have no wiggle room at all. But, it's like the register operator told me, nobody says anything and they just keep shopping.

God, the news was boring today. Lots of stuff about increasing tension with the U.S./Britain/Iran. Robert Parry as usual has a good article, and that's what it's about.

I have to keep asking myself, "why?" Yesterday Janet asked me (in some other words) why the GOP had become the party of oppression, and I told her it's because there are a lot of stupid buttholes in the world, and they congregate. They may be stupid buttholes, but they have the good sense to organize. It's said good is stronger and triumphs over evil, but it doesn't sitting on its ass with its mouth shut.

I haven't written anything about my research into the inexplicable "cat leash law," but found this interesting blurb in the March 31 Democracy Now:

Probe: Senior Interior Official Interfered in Endangered Species Studies
And an internal investigation at the Interior Department has concluded a top-level senior official repeatedly interfered to effect policies in favor of private landowners. Julie MacDonald -- the deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks -- is said to have altered scientific reports to minimize endangered species protections and disclosed confidential information to private groups seeking to change policy decisions.

I've been trying to follow a trail to the source of this dumb cat law, and this item suggests it could come from skewed information gathered by our own Department of Interior, no less. The story seems to be feral cats in the woods prey on threatened species of ground nesting wild birds. The reality is, I suspect, big landowners, or some other imaginary group, want public funds to exterminate wild and free roaming domestic cats because they hate 'em. I'm filling in the blanks on the last two things. I don't know that free roaming cats eat almost-endangered birds, or that the Interior Department says they do, or that landowners are beneficiaries, and it sounds stupid. But so far, that's the way the signs point. Ain't life stranger than fiction?

I'll post some stuff on the front page if I find things of interest. If you guys read any stuff you like, please share. Janet's moving this week so you can bet I'll be out a lot.

rimone said...

what have i been doing? write me, i can't find your addy cos i'm on my site's webmail (ugh) and can't access my apple mail due to corrupted mails that won't delete and they fuck up everything.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

They should be able to help you with that, if you like being on the phone half a day. I have three addresses for you and maybe one will work.

I was paying 78 cents for a loaf of bread before the first of the year. This morning it cost $1.18, an increase of 66 percent. Gasoline cost about $1.50 a gallon when Bush became president. Today the Alaron Trading energy analyst said he expects it to go to $4 a gallon this summer, an increase of 267 percent. What do you think that will do to the cost of everything? And while we're at it, how much will a gallon of gas have to cost and how much inflation will people stand before there is open insurrection?