Sunday, September 16, 2007

"Thanks for the Support"

Thanks For the Support
words and music by Roy Zimmerman
© 2007

You've got that yellow ribbon stuck on your H-2
Thanks for the support
Memorial Day weekend you threw a bar-b-que
Thanks for the support

I can feel the love seven thousand miles away
And I'm a partiot, as I was trying to say
When you cut me short
Thanks for the support

I was gunning for Osama, and you sent me for Saddam
Thanks for the support
Now I'm sitting down to dinner - it's another can of Spam
Thanks for the support

You say complete the mission, and I say count on me
‘Cause I don't even know what mission there might be
To abort
Thanks for the support

You sent me here a third time, and my house was repossessed
Thanks for the support
Now my wife is in a trailer, but she sent a kevlar vest
Thanks for the support

And I think of her only every time I bleed
And someday we will meet again at Walter Reed
The resort of last resort
Thanks for the support

And you hired those mercenaries who make eight times what I do
Thanks for that
And you dropped in on Thanksgiving with a turkey and a camera crew

Now you're giving guns to the ones who shot at me
The tank is full, but the strategy might be
Down a quart
Thanks for the support

I ‘preciate the stopgap, and I ‘preciate the Surge
Thanks for the support
Another twenty thousand voices to harmonize this dirge
Thanks for the support

And to the Democratic Congress who could have brought me home
Who must have come down with a new Gulf War Syndrome
Of some sort
Thanks for the support

And if I die tomorrow, won't you ship me home at night
Thanks for the support
And if I have a funeral, make sure it's outta sight
Thanks for the support

In the final seconds you've got a plan to win
Cut those taxes and let Jesus put one in
From half-court
Thanks for the support

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nobel Prize Winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz on the Cost of the Iraq War, and Bush's Skewed Priorities

A juicy quote in an interview with Mother Jones

MJ: You predicted that the total cost of the Iraq war
would top a trillion dollars. Can you put a number
like that into perspective?

JS: That was last year. I think it is clear from what
has happened since then that a trillion dollars was a
vast underestimate. We are talking at least between
one and two trillion dollars now. To put that into
perspective, President Bush went to the American
people at the beginning of his second term, saying
that we have a major crisis with our Social Security
system. For somewhere between a half and quarter of
the cost of the war in Iraq you could have fixed all
the problems associated with Social Security for the
next 75 years and still have had a lot left over. Put
in another way: We are now spending something like $10
billion a month—$120 billion dollars a year—on Iraq.
The amount the entire world gives in foreign aid, on
an annual basis, is about half that.

Friday, September 7, 2007

On A Popular Christian Diagnosis of Social Ills: A Critique

A large number of Christian leaders fret over the social ills of America: Poverty, violence, a cartoonishly hyperbolic individualism, without concern for our fellow human beings. What is the cause, they say? Secularism grounded in sin.

Can I make a suggestion? This is clearly wrong. Here's why: Consider the other first-world countries, such as Canada and the Western European countries. These are *radically* secular relative to the United States, and yet their crime rates and poverty rates are miniscule to ours, and their standards of living, wealth per capita, and social lives are the envy of the world -- even the United States, as they trump us in all these areas by a long shot.

So I think it's clearly not secularism that's the cause of American social ills. What, then, is it? Can I make another suggestion? Unlike the United States, these other first-world countries don't have the crazy, unpoliced, radically de-regulated form of free market capitalism we have (although, as we follow the foreign news, and as people like Thomas Friedman have pointed out, this is less and less the case. Our radical version of free market capitalism is now a *global* phenomenon, and so the only way for any country to stay economically stable is for it to follow suit in adopting our form of capitalism -- or face the consequences of isolationism, as Cuba does to this day. Our capitalism is now "infecting" the world). They're more democratic, and so they're unwilling to give up the public sector to the free market. In other words: the diagnosis isn't *secularism*, it's (a ridiculously unconstrained version of) *capitalism.* We don't have the social safety nets they do that prevent radical poverty and homelessness, and so the crime rate is much, much lower. And since they haven't allowed a radically de-regulated free market, they don't let their airwaves get hijacked by corporations to use them as organs for the propaganda of commercials, which indoctrinate us into conceptualizing ourselves as, at bottom, *consumers*, and therefore radically individualistic. They see each other as members of a society more than they see each other as little islands unto themselves, like we do.

In short, many Christian leaders (though of course not all -- there are a lot of sensible Christians out there) falsely diagnose the ills of America in terms of *secularism*, when in fact it's due to (massively unpoliced) *capitalism*.