United States: The US and Israel

I didn’t waste my time watching the foreign policy “debate,” but I caught a recap on RT last night.  They edited a bunch of clips together of Obromney and Rombama heartily agreeing with each other.  In one segment Obama was smiling as Romney fell all over himself in an attempt to demonstrate his approval of one of the president’s war-mongering policies.  I was waiting for Obama to say, “You know, Mitt, I kinda like you.  You’re not nearly as much of a douche as my supporters say you are.  I have an idea.  Why don’t we quit all this pointless debating [big air quotes around that last word] and work together?  I have a cabinet position that I’m sure you’d love…”

In a similar vein, here’s Raimondo on how the debate was more like a contest to see who loves Israel more.  I used to think the idea that Israel has too much influence on Washington was just an obsession among Alex Jones listeners and other fringe types always on the lookout for threats to “our democracy” or “our sovereignty,” depending on whether they were coming from the “left” or “right,” but at this point you’d have to be deaf and blind not to notice that demonstrating fealty to Israel has become all but an official qualification for any serious white house aspirant.

This is your brain on Fox News

At a family dinner the other night, the subject of the protests against austerity measures in Greece and elsewhere was brought up.  The person who brought it up predicted that a worldwide depression was going to happen soon because “the Greeks are going to default on their debts and drag the rest of us down with them.”  He went on to inform the captive audience at the dinner table that the reason for this unmanageable level of debt is that the Greeks (and other Europeans) want all kinds of free handouts from the government but are “too lazy” to work more than 30 hours a week.  He then began to mock the mandated 30-hour work week in some countries:

Imaginary worker who just can’t get enough of toiling away for the boss-man: “But I want to work more.”

Boss-man: “Nope, sorry, you’re only allowed to work 30 hours.”

This little bit of fantasy theater was followed by a tedious paean to the glorious American work ethic, which is what has allowed us to stay “ahead” of all those latte-sipping Euro-bums all these years.

Somebody, perhaps sensing that they were being fed a pre-fab line of bullshit, said, “Is it because they’re lazy, or is it something else?”

“Oh, it’s because they’re lazy,” the instigator (and his wife) shot right back.

At this point I had to chime in: “Who wants to work 40 hours a week?  I don’t.  And who decided that we have to work 40 hours anyway?  It wasn’t the workers.”

The conversation more or less fizzled out after that, but it occurred to me later (of course) that what I should have asked was: “It wouldn’t by any chance have anything to do with the banker-thieves crashing the financial system with their pyramid schemes, would it?”  But then again, maybe it was better to not ruin the simplistic “narrative” that it’s us against the lazy Greeks, and that Wall St. isn’t giving us the shaft, too.

Creating the NSA Subjects of Tomorrow

“What kind of lesson does it teach our children if they’re chipped like cattle and their every movement tracked?” asks Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the ACLU’s Washington, D.C. office. “It doesn’t create the kind of independent, autonomous people that we want in our democratic society.”

It may not create the kind of independent, autonomous people that you want in “our” democratic society, but I imagine there are some people—like, the ones in power—who think this is exactly the kind of lesson “our” children should be learning.  Hence, the public school system.

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