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Weekend reflections

April 9th, 2010

It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language please.

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  1. Rationalist
    April 9th, 2010 at 18:44 | #1

    “CHANGES TO AUSTRALIA’S IMMIGRATION PROCESSING SYSTEM
    Effective immediately, the Australian Government has today introduced a suspension of the processing of new asylum applications from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.”

    Opinions?

  2. Chris Warren
    April 9th, 2010 at 19:08 | #2

    Asylum is a right that should be accessed equitably by those being persecuted.

    Why should we let those who access a criminal pathway, to take a position that may have been better filled by victims, suffering more, but without the funds to pay criminals.

    I would not get too excited about what happens at the end of the pipeline, when it is the pipe itself that is the problem.

  3. April 9th, 2010 at 19:15 | #3

    @Rationalist

    [refugee processing changes]

    Appalling pandering to xenophobia, but in some senses, a natural development from the focus on population we’ve had over the last couple of weeks. It was always headed in this direction, whatever the rationales offered by its apologists.

  4. paul walter
    April 9th, 2010 at 19:54 | #4

    And where does the”pipeline”start?
    The militarised economy of the US with its penchant for trialling its new hi tech toys on third world “non persons”in out of the way locations that just might be useful for resources or geo strategically significant, could be a start.?
    Certainly all the tinpots and puppet generals at least then know then how many dissidents or insurgents they will need to kill and purchase the billions of dollars worth of junk thru dodgy credit lines that further indebt the given state, thus bankrupting their populations before they bomb them, whilst further increasing the excuse for big powers to further intervene in their inevitably bankrupt countries later on, as well.
    So, I quite agree that the pipeline is the trouble, the trouble is, where it should lead TO, is faulty.
    Instead, after the Americans or whoever have finished mangling a place, then it becomes the responsibility for the clean up for the broad masses rather than the munition manufactureres and so forth who actually advocated, engineered and prosecute these wars .
    I think that’s why the masses tend to bridle, this notion that THEY should then be responsible for the collateral fallout of imperialist aggression, rather than Wall St, City of London, Washington etc.
    When others create these messes without any accountability, the ordinary people have a right to ask why then, they should shell out when their resources are so much less than the resources of big capital and nation state politics and exponents, who create these messes in the first place.
    I’d love to see the sorry-plighted boat people in Merak, brought here for a start, and many other poor sods from Africa and the like as well.
    But if the Americans are constantly going to go back to these places, knowing we will help white wash the results of their callousness afterwards, what’s the point?
    Once yes, constantly, no. Particularly when this only encourages the real culprits runing bigpowers further in their nefarious pursuits.
    If (god forbid) across the world people shreiked “no more refugees”, human disasters that followed in these victim locations would shame the big powers, through public opinion, into abandoning further refugee creating situations?

  5. Freelander
    April 9th, 2010 at 20:05 | #5

    Asylum seekers provides an excellent arena for the practice of dog-whistle politics. Talk of ‘Border Protection’ and the crocodile tears about the risk to the lives of refugees traveling on leaky boats. How are they a risk to Australian borders? And if there is concern about leaky boats why not provide refugees with a safer means of getting here?

  6. paul walter
    April 9th, 2010 at 20:24 | #6

    Better still, Freelander, how about we have an international system not predicated on violence and its attendant cponsequences, from waste of precious resources and human suffering,to refugee creation. No refugees; no problem.

  7. Alice
    April 9th, 2010 at 21:08 | #7

    @Freelander
    Lets get everything in perspective now – 35,000 boat refugees in three decades is literally a tiny drop in the ocean of our population – microscopic in fact and far far far less than most other OECD and western countries admit every year.

    The boat people is a political red herring…a football… and could only happen here in backwoods Australia. The media hyperattention is worthy of being given the “cultural cringe” gold award.

  8. Alice
    April 9th, 2010 at 21:11 | #8

    @Alice
    Give them a job. Let them work on temporary proection visas. It would cost far less and contribute to the economy. The rest – the incarceration of boat people – is utter political garbage that is cruel in the extreme.

  9. paul walter
    April 9th, 2010 at 22:07 | #9

    No, Alice it is not a “red herring” (in one sense , yes; racism is being played upon by reactionary politicians). Throughout Britain, The US, and Western Europe let alone the poorer countries, conversations are being conducted on these issues right now, mainly because of the lack of frankness concerning these problems from people in authority or who have influence. Race hate is passed off as the reason for scepticism on both the refugee and immigration issues, but what people really hate is the fobbing off of dreadful and deep responsibilities onto a hapless, dumbed own public.
    Please reread my comment, #8.
    If a bunch of bikies smashed up your place, you’d expect the restitution from the culprits, not seek to penalise youi neighbours or some innocent bystander for someone else’s crimes?
    If you agree with my proposition that actually liability should end with America, China and the like, and that American foreign policy is just bikie behaviour writ large, you will begin to see that its the equity of the issue that offends people, not “race”, for goodness sake, most working class aussies live in multi cultural streets these days. Give me my migrant neighbours to some of the local rough trade, any time.
    No, its the sense that with both Rudd’s population plan and the US and its never ending sequence of imperialist wars, that we’re being played for suckers yet again, like we were over the Wall St bailout.
    Remember the global financial meltdown. The masses payed, while executives got paid up to half-billion dollar bonuses for running huge banks into the ground.
    If Obama turned around said, “ok, our wars are unproductive and cause much suffering, were going to stop and use the trillions wasted on”defence” to end suffering across the Third World, AT SOURCE”, particularly if you just help us out with the human cost of this last lot of debacles”, I’d say “great”.
    But , as I said in my previous post, if there seems about as much chance of this happening as pigs flying, why do refugee advocates pretend “its just this once”, when its a continuous additional impost in kind imposed by the US on every one else, that strengthens it at everyone else’s expense., that actually won’t stop soon at all and only entrenches the current hegemonic system thru accedence.
    I don’t mind helping refugees- I DO object to helping the Americans evade their responsibilities by abetting them in their creation of yet more, by a tacit support movement; housing the victims they should be paying for, entailing cleaning up the human cost of their actions after them.
    Ordinary Aussies are shamed by middle class people over refugees; if as much time was spent by the intelligentsia showing what and who causes the trouble as trying to fool others into an acceptance of something as a bandaid solution that is no solution at all ( paralleling the idiot policy on greenhouse emmissions),to salve theirown consciences, maybe people would see that refugees are not the real enemy and the mending of theThird World could begin.
    As for imigration, I can only repeat, yet again given that STILL no one with economic training wants to discuss it, my sense that “big population” has no sense at all to make with the globe’s ecology on the verge of collapse and the parallel anal refusal of politicians to fix here BEFORE large numbers of people start coming here, that I must remain sceptical.

  10. paul walter
    April 10th, 2010 at 04:01 | #10

    Having said all I said above, I’m not ashamed to admit disappointment in the Friday decison of the government to stop processing Afghani and Tamil applications.
    The one thing worse was Abbott’s nasty “not hard enough” response.
    What ever hope of moving things on with this sort of politics going on.

  11. charles
    April 10th, 2010 at 06:23 | #11

    Howard showed that you can use boat people to hide a sensible immigration policy from the xenophobic. With the immigration policy coming under political pressure I am not surprised an effort hasn’t been made to use the same trick again.

  12. El Poppin
    April 10th, 2010 at 07:46 | #12

    @Chris Warren #2

    This comment is baffling. As a starting point the persecution always begins with the people that are able to mount a challenge or compromise. This usually happens to be the middle classes because they have the means to organise themselves legally and provide the alternative leadership. Indeed the first people knocked off are anyone who can provide leadership – two examples: 1 the bolsheviks did not execute the czar first that was months later, instead they murdered his brother who was seen as more capable; 2. During the Rwandan genocide the persecution began with the muder of the moderate Hutus. So those who are able to flee first usually have the means to pay.

    The next point of consideration is that airports, and other points of departure are usually blocked. Hence you end up in small fishing villages or remote rural points from where you can evade capture.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that so many citizens are scared witless that they will denounce you. Sometimes there is even a reward. This means that perhaps only the criminal elements may indeed be the only ay out.

    neighbouring countries? Well lets just say you got there and so can the persecutors. Indeed general Pinochet had no troubles in getting collaboration from neighbouring countries and when they didn’t collaborate car explosions were the thing (USA).

    So I am not surprised that people fleeing have to use rust buckets to flee. Nor am I surprised that unorthodox channels had to be used.

    Oh and the poor sods that don’t have the resources? Well yes they do get terrorised no doubt but that will be a random beating/murder unless it is genocide.

    I did note that the government stated that conditions have improved in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan so I would expect the PM to announce a diplomatic visit to Afghanistan months ahead and tour the country with the same amount of security as if he was touring NZ. After all things have impoved haven’t they?

    As for me, well we were lucky, we came to the attention of the Australian embassy and eventually found refuge here.

  13. April 10th, 2010 at 08:50 | #13

    @El Poppin

    As disgusted as I am with the change in policy El Poppin the well-founded fear of persecution standard for asylum is not satisfied by the mere fact that a given jurisdiction is lawless. Indeed, even persecution by non-state actors (e.g as occurs in Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and the DRC) has been deemed in the past not to meet the UNHCR standard for asylum. This occurred here under the Howard regime.

    I’d prefer that we stopped defining persecution separately and adopted a broader humanitarian standard to permit resettlement, along with quotas and a budget to do the job. Where a given person or group of persons could show a reasonable basis for thinking they could be subject to life-altering violence on the basis of their apparent cultural identity, they could get emergency relief while being added to the humanitarian resettlement program.

    Key of course would be devising, funding and securing a program of the size needed to make this assistance meaningful. In the case of Afghanistan (and perhaps Pakistan), we ought to be looking at a program large enough to resettle much if not most of the populace.

  14. Chris Warren
    April 10th, 2010 at 09:15 | #14

    @El Poppin

    yes I have noticed that middle classes seem to have better means to access rust buckets and pay-as-you-go criminal pathways than others, who may have suffered more. Your term ‘unorthodox channels’ is deliberately vague. Why should most opportunities for cherry-picking resettlement destination be filled by those who “flee first” because “they have the means to pay”. This is a class privilege.

    I would hope these issues are adjudicated through UN mechanisms.

    You are confusing issues. Refugees arriving in Australia are not “fleeing” from Indonesia, or arriving in remote rural points to evade capture. Also it is clear that their so-called “alternative middle class” leadership was being killed in Indonesia.

    Your lack of concern for the “poor sods” is obscene. They must not be disproportionately left to suffer “random murder” or to be “terrorised”. There is no hierarchy in murder or terror.

    There should be no class-based hierarchy in Australia’s response.

    As far as I know the UNHCR treats everyone the same, and if it takes additional resources, then the UNHCR should get those resources either through a Tobin Tax, or by Australia buying one less stupid jetfighter.

    There is no reason why middle class refugees should not follow normal immigration procedures once they are in Indonesia or India.

  15. Chris Warren
    April 10th, 2010 at 09:17 | #15

    errata

    Also it is clear that their so-called “alternative middle class” leadership was NOT being killed in Indonesia.

  16. Alice
    April 10th, 2010 at 13:19 | #16

    @paul walter
    Paul
    Couldnt agree more with this comment of yours “No, its the sense that with both Rudd’s population plan and the US and its never ending sequence of imperialist wars, that we’re being played for suckers yet again, like we were over the Wall St bailout.
    Remember the global financial meltdown. The masses payed, while executives got paid up to half-billion dollar bonuses for running huge banks into the ground.”

    No I dont ignore any of this but the refugees arriving by boat are literally overplayed to the hilt in Australian media. They are literally a drop in the ocean. Do we hear about this “boat people refugee problem in New Zealand? No. We dont but they arrive in New Zealand as well. The difference between Australia and New Zealand’s approach to refugee processing is stark and New Zealand has gained an international reputation for humanitarianism as a result. It was New Zealand that accepted 130 Afghan refugees picked up by the Tampa while Howard was accusing them of throwing their children overboard.

  17. April 10th, 2010 at 14:01 | #17

    @Alice

    I have to agree with many of the sentiments expressed above. Dog whistle politics? Yes. Pandering to the right wing media who whipped this up as an issue? Yes. A betrayal of people who thought the Rudd government would offer something different to the Howard years? What can one say?

    The numbers of people are tiny. According to the UNHCR the numbers of refugees seeking asylum globally has remained stable for some time. Applications to Australia have increased 30% since 2007 (from 4200 to 6500). Not a huge increase. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees:

    “High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on Tuesday dismissed claims that asylum-seekers are flooding into developed nations as his agency released provisional statistics showing that the overall number of asylum-seekers in industrialized nations was stable in 2009.

    “The notion that there is a flood of asylum-seekers into richer countries is a myth,” said Guterres. “Despite what some populists claim, our data shows that the numbers have remained stable.”

    FUD. Fear, uncertainty, doubt. Trademarks of the populist press. I’m sure we can name them in the Oz press… fantasy is driving reality here, and our government has responded with both harshly and inhumanely.

  18. April 10th, 2010 at 19:19 | #18

    I just finished reading “JFK and the unspeakable – Why he died and why it matters” by James Douglass (381pp + Appendix, notes and index). It was first published in 2008. Of course it blows apart to tiny pieces the single crazed gunman assassin nonsense, but what impressed me even more was to learn what a truly decent and well-motivated leader President Kennedy was.

    On at least three occasions he refused his Generals demands to launch a nuclear first strike against the USSR. On that basis alone all of humankind owes President Kennedy an undying debt of gratitude.

    Although he did not stop the CIA orchestrated Bay of Pigs invasion that he inherited from President Eisenhower, he adamantly refused to support the invasion with US armed forces as the Generals demanded when the invasion, against CIA predictions, failed to trigger an uprising against the Castro government.

    He negotiated an atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty with the USSR and then almost singlehandedly turrned US public opinon overwhelmingly opposed to the treaty to being overwhelmingly in favour. If he had not died the Cold War would almost certainly ended by 1965 and the nuclear Sword of Damocles hanging ove all our heads removed.

    He stopped the escalation of the war in Laos in 1961 and was starting the process that would have led to the complete withdrawal of US forces by 1965 when he was murdered on 22 November 1963.

    This far from exhausts the list of his achievements and what he tried to achieve.

    JFK’s example puts to shame the crop of so-called leaders in control of the world’s destiny today, particularly those in Australia and no doubt they would prefer to keep us ignorant of that example.

    And in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary many supposed left-wing intellectuals, including John Pilger and Gore Vidal, continue to fallacioulsy depict JFK as a warmonger, unprincipled and corrupt.

    My hard-back copy cost me $52 with postage, but, even with my modest bdget it is easily worth twice that.

  19. Donald Oats
    April 10th, 2010 at 20:13 | #19

    Blowed if I know what the “delay” in processing new refugee arrivals from Afghanistan and Iraq actually means. The media-speak didn’t provide me with enough detail to determine the actual policy as opposed to the media-positioned version of it. Nevertheless, it sounds like the Labor government has shunned the UN human rights conventions yet again, which is a drop downwards towards the standards of the Howard era.

    Back in late 2007 to early 2008, the Labor government should have explained clearly to the Aussies that an increase in boats as a mode of asylum seeker arrival would probably increase, and that that would be, in part, the cost of having a more humane policy for handling them. They could also have explained about how sources of refugees were increasing globally, and that all modern countries were experiencing a growth in asylum seekers. Labor may have taken a hit in the polls (briefly), but people would have known what to expect, which may have been important in defusing future attacks by the opposition, should the numbers increase.

    Instead, Labor never made clear the trade-off between policy and asylum seeker arrival rates, all other things being equal. Humane treatment of people versus a possible increase in arrival rate of boats. I think most people would have grasped that concept. But, Labor failed to explain their policy and possible secondary consequences; now Labor is being simply reactionary to the opposition’s political attacks. Quite a disappointment.

  20. Alice
    April 10th, 2010 at 20:14 | #20

    @daggett
    So Daggett – the mad ugly right in the US had Kennedy killed and killed young along with some of his kin.

    What we have all suspected ..and what we all know. He wasnt the warmonger the powerful wanted. Did you know Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were privatised primarily because budgets were in trouble after Vietnam?.

    Maybe the mad right ideologies and the GFC can be traced to yet another wasteful war by the US. Vietnam – the world knew that was wrong and came out to protest. US market dominance and thought and pholosophies somehow turned ugly somewhere along the way in the past century. Maybe its a sign they are just losing it all. They cant tell wrong from right, good from bad, sense from nonsense and they allowed greed, influence and corruption to govern. Stiglitz is right. They need to get the anti trust laws fighting on behalf of all Americans again (and millions of others globally – how long will that take or will we have another financial crisis yet? Im not convinced by the recent recovery in share prices – not at all).

  21. Chris Warren
    April 10th, 2010 at 21:14 | #21

    @daggett

    Americans like to look back in time and present favourable myth-like versions of their history.

    Several years ago I researched the Cuban missile crisis, and I found Kennedy’s nuclear diplomacy quite lacking. His brother Robert Kennedy (then AG) was much more balanced.

    Robert K – took the line that nuclear missiles in Cuba were the tit-for-tat for Jupiter missiles in Turkey. JFK declared the Cuban missiles a unilateral clandestine threat – without telling the US public that America was already doing the same against Khrushchev.

    Robert K was then sidelined in the executive committee.

    JFK also ignore the streams of invasions and assassinations launched by terrorists based in America (exposed by Church committee).

    So I would not be too quick to accept a reading of history from one source.

    The National Security Archive has excellent documentation, and many authors have trawled through the Kennedy years.

    It would take a lot of work to prefer one version over another.

    Many authors seem to take the Pilger – Vidal line (H Zinn, N Chomsky) etc. and their general perspective seems preferable – at least as far as the Cuban missile crisis is concerned (for people who have reviewed the Church Committee stuff, the placement of Jupiter missiles, and the terrorist emigremafia elements in Florida).

    Khruschev got all that he wanted – Jupiter missiles gone; Cuba guaranteed.

    So Kennedy infuriated the terrorists in Florida, which possibly led to a his death.

    Kennedy also failed in Vietnam where he, as a new president, escalated the terror in 1961.

  22. Freelander
    April 10th, 2010 at 22:20 | #22

    @Chris Warren

    I agree with you. JFK took the world to the brink of nuclear war unnecessarily. Unfortunately it is also true that successive US Presidents have been surrounded by warmongering ‘advisors’. A dangerous believe in US exceptionalism has blinded Americans from seeing disputes from their opponents perspective, and from seeking even handed solutions. This has led to many mistakes in the past and promises to lead to more in the future.

    Barrack Obama is perhaps the best President they have had in a long time but even he suffers from the blinkers of American exeptionalism. Dropping these blinkers becomes increasingly important for the US and the rest of the world as the US fades as a power.

    What Kennedy did during the Bay of Pigs invasion, canceling air support at the last minute because he didn’t want people to know it was a US invasion, demonstrated that he was not fit to lead. The invasion should never have gone ahead. It was wrong on so many levels, and even if there were no concern for right and wrong, it was wrong because it was a silly and destabilising action. But having decided that it should go ahead, suddenly canceling the air support because of a fear of bad press, and thereby sealing the fate of the invaders and ensuring the invasion would be the humiliating failure it was, quite rightly earned him the contempt of the CIA and the military.

    During his short and bumbling administration he made many enemies in the US. I agree that the non-conspiracy version of his assassination does seem a bit of a stretch. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to know the true story even though we may have already heard it. With a free press secrets are easier to hide because you can hide the real story of a conspiracy in a forest of faux conspiracy theories. It seems the only reason the Watergate conspiracy came to light was because some powerful forces were out to get Nixon, probably because his peace making overtures to the Soviet Union and China were not good for business.

    The process by which Americans rapidly deify assassinated Presidents is interesting. Both Kennedy and Lincoln were far from star performers as Presidents but both could give good ‘speech’ and that is apparently what matters. Across the Atlantic, Churchill could give good speech and he was also somewhat defective. (Remember Churchill is the bright spark who dreamed up Gallipoli.) Hitler is another reputed to have been able to give a good speech. Apparently, except in the last case, what they said rather than what they did has been history’s yardstick.

  23. gerard
    April 10th, 2010 at 23:13 | #23

    Barrack Obama is perhaps the best President they have had in a long time but even he suffers from the blinkers of American exeptionalism.

    Bailing out the banks, keeping Guantanamo open, escalating the war in Afghanistan, abandoning the public health insurance option, why has Obama been such a consistant disappointment?

    Well I’ve heard it said that upon taking the oath of office, all new Presidents are taken by representatives of the higher intelligence agencies to a hidden room with a television screen.

    The screen is turned on, and it quickly becomes apparent that what they are watching is footage of the JFK assassination. But this is secret footage that has never been released to the public, footage taken from a different angle, through a different camera – a rifle scope in fact, with crosshairs at the center.

    After watching the assassination, the President is asked if there are any questions.

  24. April 10th, 2010 at 23:13 | #24

    Climate negotiations have resumed in Bonn. The main issue so far is whether to have the chair incorporate the Copenhagen Accord into the negotiating text. Also up for discussion is how many meetings to have before the main meeting in Cancun. Some more details are on my blog.

  25. paul walter
    April 11th, 2010 at 03:05 | #25

    The sweetest fruit the ripest. Some really good thinking and ideas. Donald Oats, then Alice cracks it open like a squirrel with a nut
    Vietnam.
    The event that tore away a naivety based on the subtle electronic veils cognitively erected thru radio and B and W teev, that came with the economic miracles of the ‘fifties and ‘sixties. Gone were the certainties of old aunts with homemade jam tarts and stern uncles in double breasters on the way home from church, for the boomers.
    As we grew up, “Father knows Best” was replaced with images of truncheon wielding troopers in Motown hammering skinny black guys or nice guys shooting Chinese -looking people in the head in a Chinese-ee sort of public street somewhere.
    It was the time when America’s previous “Jet Jackson” image and its credibility crunched as it’s moral infallibility was critically undermined. Following the horrors of Kissinger, the Cheney of his era and Nixon the “Dubya of same, came the impacts caused by US borrowing to finance the squillion dollar war and all the other things that needed doing also, so into into the gloomy morning-after seventies, and so on.
    Am still smiling at Chris Warrens pithy comments, following.
    Magisterial.

  26. April 11th, 2010 at 10:50 | #26

    Of course there’s a lot I could write on the issue of JFK.

    Kennedy’s role in key events in his term need to be understood in terms of his circumstancse in office. He was amidst the very ‘military industrial complex’ of which former President Eisenhower warned. So, at times he made decisions that he almost certainly found abhorrent, but which he judged to be necessary compromises, and sometimes he even lied publicly in the course of his manoevres against these people. One was when actually seemed to defend involvement of the US in Vietnam (which I think was a serious error of judgement on his part), but the intention of National Securtiy Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263 was clear to withdraw 1,000 personnel in 1963. His intnerion was to implement Robert MckNamara’s recommendations to plans were to complete the withdraw “the bulk of US personnle by 1965″. He also intended to sack Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge who was working behind his back to escalate the war, but all that, of course, changed after he was murdered.

    When asked why was profoundly against the escalation of the war and wasting of US lives in that war, because, as he said, “because I was there!”, having visited Vietnam in 1954 (or around then) and having learnt first hand of the war the French had waged to hold on to theri colony. (Sowhere early in “JFK and the unspeakable”, can’t cite the page right now.)

    I think many would find the denial of the incontrovertible evidence of JFK’s good intentions by much of the left perplexing.

    Much of the truth of JFK’s assassination is known and is to be found in Douglass’s book and I don’t intend to discuss it here except to say that the claim that LHO killed him can very easily be seen to be a lie. Aslo, there is evidence, that whilst working undercover for the CIA and also as an FBI informant, Oswald came to admire the man whom he was accused of murdering:

    Lee Oswald had become personally interested in the life and vision of Kennedy. On July 1 1963, as library records revel, he checked out of the New Orleans Public Library William Manchester’s cameo of Kennedy, Protrait of a President. He followed it up two weeks later by reading JFK’s own Profile in Courage. He became so interested in Kennedy that when he returned Protrait of a President he took out another book, The White Nile by Alan Moorehead, only because Manchester had mentioned in passing that Kennedy had read it recently.

    Oswald told his wife, Marina, as she revealed later, that he “liked and approved of the President and believed that for the United States in 1963, John F. Kennedy was the best President the country could hope to have.” (Douglass pp330-331)

  27. Tristan Ewins
    April 11th, 2010 at 11:28 | #27

    Wage-Productivity Gap helped cause crisis…

    In today’s ‘Left Focus’ post – economist, Boris Anisimov argues that there is more to the world economic crisis than meets the eye. In fact, stagnating wages are impacting upon demand, with ramifications for economies the world over. Lower wages, in other words, are bad for the economy.

    see: http://leftfocus.blogspot.com/2010/04/wage-productivity-gap-caused-crisis.html

  28. Chris Warren
    April 11th, 2010 at 12:18 | #28

    @Tristan Ewins

    Very good article, particularly given ILO auspices.

    he finds the problem ….

    Let me simplify it even more – if all the employees in a particular country put their wages and salaries together, they will not have enough money to buy all the goods and services that they have produced. The same principle applies when we talk about the entire world economy.

    But does not look for underlying causes for this worrying symptom…

    So is forced to conclude …

    Thus, it is rather difficult to come up with a solution when the entire economic model caves in. This only proves that the existing economic paradigm (including college courses in economics and MBA’s) that serviced that model must change as soon as possible.

    This does not really help.

  29. smiths
    April 11th, 2010 at 16:24 | #29

    i read it about 3 months ago daggett, great book i thought

    on the asylum subject its all ok, cos afghanistan and sri lanka are safe,

    so the troops will be home immediately presumably?

  30. April 11th, 2010 at 21:37 | #30

    Glad to know that you share my very high regard for “JFK and the Unspeakable”, smiths.

    In most instances the value of political leaders is exaggerated out of all proportion. The example which come to mind are the two scoundrels who were the subject of that recent tome by Paul Kelly.

    However, in JFK’s case, he deserves all the adulation anyone can ever heap upon him.

    Gerard, that’s interesting. However, even if that did not occur, no knowledgeable person, least of all any President of the United States could possibly be left in any doubt about who killed JFK and why.

    What you right roughly concides with Russ Baker’s hypothesis of US Presidents being effectively prisoners of the US security state.

    The reason why JFK was not as malleable as the rest, as explained in “JFK and the Unspeakable”, is that he literally did not fear death. This was exmplified by his heroism in the Second World War when he saved the lives of the surviving members crew of PT 109 that he commanded after it had been rammed and broken into two in the middle of the night by a Japanese destroyer in the Solomon Islands.

    After they managed to reach an island with Kennedy dragging a badly burnt crew member the whole distance, he swam out into the middle of the sea the follwoing night in the hope of being able to draw the attention with a torch of other PT boats that he hoped would be patrolling the area in the middle of the night. He actually became unconscious and somehow did not drown. By the morning, by sheer luck he found the currents had taken him back in a circle instead of dragging him out deeper into the Pacific Ocean, so he was able to swim back to shore.

    He had medical problems all his life and came close to death on many occasions, so by the the time he became President he had overcome any fear of death he may ever have had.

    Chris Warren, Freelander,

    Those perceptions of JFK’s role are completely wrong.

    Much of the evidence to the contrary has been known for decades and at least since 1992 when material related to the JFK assassination was released in response to Olver Stone’s JFK. That all those people continue to uphold their demosntrably wrong views about President Kennedy is not to their credit.

    In regard to the Bay of Pigs invasion, as I said, Kennedy inherited it from Eisenhower. Whilst some may choose to judge Kennedy for not stopping it altogether, he made it clear that he was not prepared to authorize US military forces to back it up if the invasion failed.

    One reason he tolerated the invasion was that he was still a captive of anti-communist Cold War ideology (which I consider understandable given the crimes of Stalin and the brutality of the USSR’s post-war occupation of Eastern Europe), so he would have regarded the overthrow of the “Communist” Castro government by a popular uprising that the CIA assured him would be triggered by the Bay of Pigs invasion, as not an altogether bad thing.

    When the Bay of Pigs invasion failed (as the CIA always knew it would contrary to the story they fed Kennedy), Kennedy refused to accede to demands that he authorise US armed forces to back up the invasion. Kennedy said, “They were sure I’d give in to them and send the go-ahead order to the [Navy's aircraft carrier] Essex. They couldn’t believe a new Presidnet like me wouldn;t panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.”(Douglass p14)

    After it failed Kennedy sais he that he wanted to “splinter the C.I.A. in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” (Douglass p14). He began to put this into effect by sacking CIA Director Allen Dulles.

    Alice.

    That’s interesting about Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac. I recall that J K Galbraith opposed the Vietnam War because he realised the cost of it would undermine the whole New Deal project started by President Roosevelt.

  31. paul walter
    April 11th, 2010 at 22:14 | #31

    Glad the introduction of the Kennedy’s and their competence or otherwise into the conversation has not stopped it from remaining civil.
    Am a boomer, so remember the era as a kid. The “Perils of Communism” was the big night terror, so my off the cuff comparison would be Kennedy as comparison today with someone like Rudd or Obama wafffling on about the”Perils of Terrorism”.
    Which should not be surprising, since Kennedy was the first of of a subspecies followed by so many, Whitlam, Blair (early)Clinton, Carter etc.
    Half beleiving it too.
    Yes,I am taking the coward’s way out and adopting the Warren and Daggetts position as the two poles between where something exists that would express my view.

  32. Chris Warren
    April 12th, 2010 at 09:26 | #32

    @daggett

    I don’t think you wil find much that is “completely wrong” and if you think there is an alternative view from a few particular sources then OK for you.

    I agree that Kennedy was driven by various forces, but this was because he was obligated to act as the President of America even against his personal inclinations. He specifically told his brother that he had to act in this way otherwise he would have been impeached.

    The Cold War is not the whole story – America has long wanted to invade Cuba well before the Cold War.

    The Cold War heighten matters, but Cuba had huge justifiable fears about an American threat, greater than whatever America could reasonably fear from Cuba.

    Cuba was no real threat to America but some “threat” could be artificially whipped up by political rascals in their own interests, and using convenient Cold War tools.

    Anyway as an interesting sidelight: America never had any proof that the missiles in Cuba were nuclear, it could have been a clever ploy by Khrushchev.

    Proof that there were nuclear weapons only came out in 1995 when Soviet and Americans met in an international conference to discuss the episode.

  33. smiths
    April 12th, 2010 at 10:33 | #33

    Cuba was no real threat to America

    any country which demonstrates an alternative to the american sytem is a threat

  34. April 12th, 2010 at 10:34 | #34

    Chris Warren,

    Unfortunately my most recent post (on my browser, numbered 31) is ‘awaiting moderation’, possibly because it is lengthy and contains quite a few links. I was spurred to write much of it when I discovered, just this morning, that material I had posted over two months ago to a Facebook discussion amongst people who were members of Trotskyist parties in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s had been deleted. (So much for the Trotskyist tradition of being practitioners of free and open disucssion. In the 21st century, most who wear that label seem to be as averse to free and open discussion as the Stalinists ever were.) In spite of the length, I believe it is likely to be of interest to more than a few here.

    I intend to adapt it in order to post it to my blog, so if it doesn’t appear here it can be found there.

    The reason that it is important that we learn the truth about JFK is that it is important to know that principled, well-meaning and uncorruptible people can attain high political office. The widely held ‘structurlalist’ claim that all political leaders who go anywhere near the real levers of political power must necessarily become corrupt and tools of the ruling elites has served to dissuade decent honest activists from seeking to attain office and has, consequently, left unchellenged the the stranglehold that the current class of corrupt political leaders have over our political institutions.

    JFK’s story, and to some extent, the story of his younger brother Bobby Kennedy is a powerful repudiation of that myth.

  35. Freelander
    April 12th, 2010 at 10:39 | #35

    I find it difficult to believe (and believe that Kennedy believed) that Kennedy would have been impeached if he had cancelled the invasion of Cuba. How can you be impeached for not doing something that the US was trying to pretend it was not doing anyway. There seems to be substantial airbrushing of JFK going on here.

  36. April 12th, 2010 at 10:43 | #36

    smiths I am sure Cuba posed a threat to the American oligarchy, but not to the American people.

    None other than Henry Kissinger said so in 1970, although in regard to Salvadore Allende’s Chile, rather than Cuba:

    The example of a succesful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impoct on—and even a precednt value for —other parts of the world, especially Italy. (cited in “The Shock Doctrine” (2007) p451 by Naomi Klein)

    So much for economic neo-liberal dogma that socialism is inherently less efficient than the free market.

  37. Chris Warren
    April 12th, 2010 at 13:58 | #37

    Freelander :
    I find it difficult to believe (and believe that Kennedy believed) that Kennedy would have been impeached if he had cancelled the invasion of Cuba. How can you be impeached for not doing something that the US was trying to pretend it was not doing anyway. There seems to be substantial airbrushing of JFK going on here.

    Are you pulling my leg? In this day and age – there is no excuse for such agnosticism:

    Just google

    “He would be impeached” kennedy

    and all will be revealed.

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