*The upheavel in France is not about raising the age for Social Security from age 60 to 62, though that is what is being portrayed in the American media, especially the right-wing contingent. The main group of people in France will have their retirement age extended from 65 to 67. And the President of France promised during the election campaign that he would not raise the retirement age. Factor in also that in the U.S. we openly debate these sorts of issues in legislatures, not on the street ...though there are exceptions. But that is the French way. The strikers will calm down and the proposal will take effect. To a certain extent, it is much ado and much news coverage for a change that is coming to France.
*It is interesting to watch the right-wing try to convince us that the overwhelming political position of the media in the U.S. is liberal. That is simply not true. What the right-wing wants is a media that kow-tows to the clout of money and influence of the big corporations. And the big corporations already own much of American media. I am old enough to remember when the media in the U.S. was farther to the left. Today it is not. And in today's world, the major media would not dare anger the commercial enterprises that own them, and that buy their advertising space and time. The New York Times, the newspaper of record in the U.S., can afford to take a middle ground because it is not quite as beholden to big corporations. But the N.Y. Times is not liberal, it simply is not right-wing. And that is enough for the right to try and discredit it. We have in the U.S. a right-wing, unprincipled, lacking journalistic profesionalism, self-serving, deceitful, and narrowly focused media [e.g. Rush, Glenn, Washinton Times, Murdoch, etc.]; and another conglomerated media that represents many political viewpoints, shares a wide spectrum of political perspective, and tries to do a relatively honest job of reporting without being beholden to the commercial interests of the right. The right-wing media gets audiences because of its "big news" sensationalism. Getting audience numbers is no indication of principle or accuracy. If you want audience numbers, simply put pictures up of pornography, blood and murder, pedophilia, etc. Getting audience ratings is no evidence of journalism...none.
Almost from the first day of the invasion of Iraq I began to write about the huge mistake that was [and is]. While I hated Saddam as much as the next person, there was absolutely no intelligent, measured, or truthful reason to invade as we did. Rather quickly, our invasion allies began to get out. And as things were revealed about the Bush administration's outright lies, even our closest allies could no longer stomach it. But as I said then, this was not about the immediate invasion of one nation, Iraq. It was about the entire Middle East. Our actions in the Middle East after 9-11 were so misjudged, mismanaged, and poorly considered that one has to wonder how any administration could be so ill-informed about the nature and history of the region. I predicted wider problems. And I saw the U.S. using its powerful military might to make enemies of our friends. Today we live with the monstrous mistakes of Bush policy. Iran now holds far more inflluence in the region than before we stumbled into the invasion in Iraq. And our stupid idea that sheer American firepower would overcome all obstacles in the Middle East was what caused this current nightmare. We are on the edge of outright war with Pakistan. Iraq and Iran, once sworn enemies, are now bed partners. Afghanistan's government runs its corrupt government depending on hand-outs from Iran. We have caused a rebellion in Pakistan that will result in the overthrow of the government and their nuclear arsenal in the hands of a new, shaky leadership there. We are being drawn in closer and closer as an ally of Saudi Arabia, and our taking sides will eventually cause us more and more trouble in the Middle East. Lebanon is skaky. Somalia and Yemen are now home to more terrorists than ever. Iran feels more confident than ever in insulting the U.S. Russia is now being forced to take sides. We are no longer welcomed in Turkey and the Caucauses. Syria and Iran are working out old hostilities to become a common enemy of the U.S. Bush's ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian problem has caused more deep-rooted hatreds to evolve. And soon, when Iran is added to Pakistan and North Korea, there will be a possible unified nuclear alliance against the U.S. All of this could have been avoided with a more intelligent handling of the Middle East in the early 1990s.
*Everyone should vote in the upcoming election. Of course not everyone will vote. The majority of Americans are closer to the Democrat Party than to the Republican. But right-wing people cannot stand it if someone with a different political perspective than their own is elected. That is the nature of the most politically uncompromising people. And so the right-wing comes out to vote in far greater numbers. And currently there is a dislike for everyone in politics. This means more votes against the majority party, the Democrats. And during "off-year" elections, Democrats always come out in fewer numbers. When unemployment is an issue, and the debt keeps growing, people feel helpless and react negatively. These are the groups who will come out in the largest numbers: right-wingers, tea partiers, fundamentalists, pentecostals, the rich, and Republicans. Liberals are always more jumbled in what they want to happen, and therefore they are less likely to vote in a bloc. And Obama depended on the vote of younger people, who traditionally stay home on election day that does not include the Presidency.
*At some point Americans are going to grow very, very tired of the debacle in Israel-Palestine. When that finally reaches an exhaustive point, the average person in the U.S. will be less prone to automatically support Israel. There has been a tendency among Americans to become less enchanted with the Israeli policies. However the militant mistakes by the Palestinians, along with their splintered voice, has put a damper on any inclination to hear their side of the story. It is a conundrum. And I get terribly dismayed when I watch and listen to people who want to over-simplify possible solutions. It is in the best interest of both sides to find a solution. If it were easy, it would have already been done. And the nature of human beings is to fall prey to this dilemma: war is easy, peace it hard.