Meh Culpa

What should happen to McChrystal: In case anyone was wondering. Or not.

When  Congressional subcommittees or committee-committees chew you out, it doesn’t mean anything.  It’s only PR masquerading as a consequence when nothing bad is really going to happen to you. Bad things don’t happen to the Big People, they happen to the Little People.

For instance, the American auto execs were chewed out for flushing their businesses (and lots and lots of jobs) down the national toilet.  The chewing-out did not stop the same execs from taking private planes to their meetings (hadn’t they heard of carpooling?) or from standing up the President of the United States.  One executive head rolled, but only one.  Not that bad.

The heads of Banks Too Big To Fail might have squirmed a little when they were introduced to a new orifice courtesy of a committee hearing, but nothing happened to them either. They continued to collect vast bonuses and so did their underlings. We could probably balance the budgets of several states using the money they doled out to themselves. OK, so Ken Lewis might get a little hand slapping for not talking about the problems with Merill Lynch’s balance sheet, but then again maybe not.   Lewis has already portrayed himself as a patriot doing his civic duty, as not having a choice because Hank Paulson said so.

Fast-forward to Tony Hayward’s testimony before yet another freakin’ committee looking for air time so its members can emote righteously and pretend that it means something.  Because it doesn’t.  There isn’t going to be any meaningful regulation on the oil industry any more than there were regulations sicked like rabid dogs on the bankers, who were then free to do everything they did before the recession, which will bring our economy land in even more do-do.  Nope,  most if not all of our politicians are basking in the well-lined pocket of  industry, like tanning addicts bake in the sun, no matter what that industry’s name.  BP has been and/ or will be penalized, but the industry itself will keep on chuggin’ like the little engine that could.  I mean,  a Federal district judge just lifted the President’s moratorium on drilling because the administration hadn’t proven that all of the new offshore rigs in question were bound to fail as BP’s Deepwater Horizon did because of a faulty assumption.  The thing is, I’m not sure it can be proven that any or all of the rigs are not bound to fail.  The point is that it’s more important to secure the oceans and shores from spills extending for months, and perhaps years if the relief wells don’t work, than it is to generate oil.  The environment depends on it; our people’s livelihoods depend on it.   What we can’t depend on are the courts,  the oil companies, and the politicians to make sure it never happens again.

So, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, what should happen to McChrystal after the disaster that is the snarktastic  Rolling Stone article?  The same thing that happens to everyone else–a little public humiliation, then back to work for the sucker.*

* I don’t really care about McChrystal.  He was ineffably stupid to be that free and easy around a journalist, but I don’t really care.  But as a rule I am against war.  I’m against the Afghan War on  that principle as well as on the grounds that we can’t win. Trying to win in Afghanistan bankrupted the Soviets.  Then their government crashed and burned. Who is to say we’ll be any different? (Hint: it takes a big helping of hubris to assume we won’t be.) So as far as I’m truly concerned, we can just end the war and bug out while out soldiers still have an intact country to go back to. No matter how many millions of dollars in minerals we succeed in letting corporations dig up, prolonging this war just isn’t worth the cost.

June 23, 2010 Posted by | Afghan War, Afghanistan, automakers, bailout(s), banks, Congress, Economy, Foreign policy, House of Representatives, politics, Russia, Senate, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

National Guard Defense Subsumed by Army?

Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman reports that on October 1, 2008, the 3d Infantry Division’s 1st Combat Brigade Team will report to Northern Command on US soil to help with civil unrest and crowd control and to assist in various terrorism scenarios. This is the first time in US history that the Army has been used for such a mission, since as per the 2nd Amendment it is the purpose of the US National Guard and other Reserve forces to act as the “well regulated militia”, handling domestic emergencies under US CODE Title 32, § 904 as well as foreign invasions.

Many are calling the move the beginning of martial law. The concern is not helped by the existence of Presidential Directive 51, which provides for a policy of continuity for government structures during a “Catastrophic Emergency,” defined as any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.” Some, including the editors of Tennessee’s Chatanoogan consider this directive, which Bush signed into law May 9, 2007, to prepare for martial law and to establish a dictatorship under the current president.

According to the directive, when the president decides a catastrophic emergency has occurred, he can take over the entire government. “Ironically, the directive sees no contradiction in the assumption of dictatorial powers b the President with the goal of maintaining constitutional continuity through an emergency,” the editors of the Chatanoogan wrote. In addition the directive provides for presidential succession in consultation with the Vice President as if the Constitution does not.

Although unlikely, it is possible the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Combat Brigade has been deployed to the States because the National Guard has been stretched thin in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Forces Press Service reported in May that “About 25,000 active-duty troops assigned to a division headquarters and seven brigade combat teams will begin to deploy to Iraq this fall, and continue through the year’s end.”

However, as late as November 2007, California Assemblywoman Loni Hancock argued for bringing the National Guard home, saying that the depletion of the National Guard on American soil has left the states with smaller resources in case of natural disasters. Others have expressed similar views.


September 26, 2008 Posted by | 51, Bill of Rights, Bush administration, civil liberties, Defense, politics, Presidential Directives, U.S. Northern Command, US Constitution | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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