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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 26, 2023 by Tony Wikrent   “U.S. Announces Plans To Reclassify Everyone’s Race Based On Net Worth” [The Onion, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 3-25-2023] “‘It is resolved by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that any American whose wealth exceeds $1 million shall be white,’ read the bipartisan legislatio […]
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Satellite Distraction

I don’t purport to be an expert on spycraft, or Intelligence issues. Very few are. But the Republicans love to boast, and shake their fists, and yell loudly about all of it, as if somehow saber-rattling means that you are brave and determined and smart.

I happen to remember Vietnam, though perhaps not as well as some. It was a foolish never-declared war, which we could not win, because just as the Russians later found out in Afghanistan, a country whose people want you out, and will fight fiercely against you, cannot be defeated, unless you want to destroy the whole country. That is what the American Far Right wanted to do to Vietnam. One of the generals said something about “destroying the country in order to save it.”

There actually were people, almost all from the Far Right, who wanted us to drop nuclear bombs on Vietnam. President Johnson , who kept escalating the war, refused to get even close to that, as his biography detailed his fear that China would enter the war. China has billions of people.

The United States has to find some way to co-exist with China and Russia. A nuclear war cannot be won, it would end in the destruction of the human race. But the people who kept urging Johnson to “nuke’Vietnam, didn’t know that, or were in love with their own posturing and fist-waving.

So we jump ahead to a few days ago, just when we produced the best Jobs Report ever, or very close to it. That scarcely made headlines. They were all taken up with a large balloon belonging to China, moving across our country. China said that it was a weather balloon blown off course, but our Intelligence Agencies believed that it was a spy satellite which was intended to gather information.

I saw Congressman Jinn Himes, who was named as Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, after Kevin McCarthy removed Adan Schiff from it, interviewed on Friday. Himes is well respected for his knowledge of such matters. He said that while this was obviously not good, that China had its satellite flying over our country, we had our own spy satellites,, as did Russia, and other countries, and they were sent out to gather information, which countries gain from many sources of information. He noted that the United States had now been able to block all information from this satellite.. He hoped that we would not completely destroy it, so that we could glean even more information

As we learned later, President Biden had given the order on Wednesday to destroy the satellite, but as it was very large, they wanted to wait until it was over the ocean, to remove the risk that debris would risk hitting people on the ground. So they disabled its devices, and then yesterday, blew it up. They will try to recover some of the data.

But none of that was good enough for the Republicans, who were excited to be able to get away from the great economic news, and accuse Biden of blundering, or cowardice, or risking the safety of the country; Now, it used to be that there were at least some Republicans, mostly in the Senate. who had some knowledge of these matters, and who would almost always support the President, Democrat or Republican, when it came to military decisions, which they knew were reached after consulting with the highest ranking military people. Cohen, Hegel, Lugar, Burr, as Republican Senators, almost always offered support and intelligent analysis.

But there are none of those left in what is now the insanity of the Republican Party. Congressman Gosar had a picture taken of him pointing a gun upwards. Congressman Biggs said that Biden is allowing foreign countries to invade us, just like he allows the immigrants at the border in. Now the Republicans who took control of the House, are trying to pass a resolution condemning Biden.

And of course Trump, whom Musk let back on Twitter, typed an insane screed which blamed Biden for all sorts of terrible things, saying that if he were president, none of this ever would have happened.Today, the Pentagon said that during Trump’s four years as president, there were three different Chinese spy planes which flow over the United States. Somehow, we did not hear about them from Trump, nor did he do anything about it.

We don’t want China spying on us, but they do it all the time. It is known that they had spies all over Mar-a-Lago, including an attractive young woman who seemed to be given carte blanche to roam all over the grounds. No Republican in office said one word about any of that.

We do not have a “loyal opposition” in the Republicans. We have a group which wants complete power, and which will seize on anything which might allow them to inflame anger, blame Biden, and create a narrative which tries to purvey him as weak, and incapable of defending the country. Actually, Republican have done this from 1946. accusing Democrats of being appeasers of Communists, afraid to fight wars (except the wars that they blamed Democrats for causing).

The damage that Trump did to America’s standing in the world is immense; just look at various international polls among our allies. The Biden Administration is building it back, as newer polls show That doesn’t mean that everything that Biden does, or will do, is perfect. But screaming from the rafters that Biden allowed a Chinese spy plane into the country; and that even if he didn’t, he should have immediately blown it up, and not attempted to gather any of its data, is simply bellicosity without any logic. The same thing that MacArthur did in the Korean War; that Nixon kept doing throughout the 1950’s; that all the Neocons wanted us to do in Iraq. Speak loudly, and blast away, and call it patriotism.

The actual problem raised by the spy satellite is rather small. The desperate attempts by Republicans to reflexively attack Biden and the Democrats for everything; every bit of economic news, any story about spying, or documents, or his son’s laptops, or a young NFL player suffering cardiac arrest which they attributed to him being vaccinated for Covid, are much more dangerous, with one goal only–winning the next election, by creating the next Whitewater or Benghazi or email invented scandal.

The absolutely appalling calls are coming from Republicans to pass a resolution condemning Biden–for what? For apparently handling the situation well; disabling the satellite, blowing it up, recovering data? All they wanted was another chance to dominate the Sunday news shows, and get the narrative away from the economy, or George Santos, or more revelations about Russian interference in the elections in 2016, which now seem even more treasonous on the part of Trump, Stone, and the rogue FBI agents, than could even have been imagined.

The responsibility of the media is to cover all important stories, but to avoid being misdirected by the Republican machine which has only one aim in mind. I am not expecting them to rise to this challenge any better than before, but it would nice to be surprised to the upside by them. But I didn’t watch one second of the Sunday shows, because I doubted that they would.