[OPE] When all is not what it seems (factoids musing)

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Sat Jan 10 2009 - 19:01:24 EST

Curiously, the 35 US senators who in December 2008 voted against the
bailout loans to General Motors, Chrysler and Ford individually received
60 percent more in campaign donations from the auto industry than the 52
who voted for the loan: $161,365.89 compared to $101,134.98. Car dealers
gave 152 percent more money in donations to senators who voted against
(most of whom were Republicans) than those who voted for ($133,299.17
compared to $52,987.54).

IPS reports that "U.S. Economy Goes Down, Congressional Pay Goes Up".
But, taking the figures provided by IPS, it works out as a nominal 2.7%
rise in pre-tax salary per Congressman. Since however the US
CPI-measured inflation rate is now running at about 4.15% on an annual
basis, IPS fails to mention that effectively the US Congress is taking a
cut in basic salary, in real terms. See:
Probably that is not a real worry though, given that the median net
worth of a US Congressman was about $684,000 in 2007, with 39 percent of
members having net worths estimated to be at least $1 million. Senators
had a median net worth of approximately $1.7 million in 2007, the most
recent year for which their financial data is available, and 62 percent
of the Senate's members could be considered millionaires (1 percent of
all American adults can be considered millionaires).

It is said that the first casualty in a war is the truth. Israeli
newspaper Ha'aretz, normally noted for perceptive and nuanced reporting,
seems to have lost the plot altogether about the Gaza offensive of the
IDF, reporting for instance that: "Nevertheless, despite its good
intelligence, Israeli troops still killed dozens of innocent civilians."

"Dozens" of innocent civilians? They've got to be joking! The propaganda
effort seems like a rerun of the style which has become familiar since
the first Gulf War and the war against Yugoslavia, where the Air Force
would release footage of "precision bombardments" which were supposed to
avoid civilian casualties and only hit targets of military significance.
It's only later that the full extent of the real carnage becomes known,
and then it's dismissed as old news about "collateral damage".

Israeli socialist magazine Challenge comments on the Jewish siege
mentality encouraged by rightwing forces:

"Israel's military operation called Molten Lead started on Saturday,
December 27, 2008 and took more than 200 lives in its first day, much to
the satisfaction of the Israeli public. Already on Friday there were
cries of "Go get 'em!" from the columns of the leading newspapers, and
on Saturday the Gazans got what Israelis have long been wishing them.
This was no spontaneous operation, no mere response to the recent firing
of rockets on the towns of the Negev. In the preceding half year of
calm, while warning that Hamas was arming itself, Israel carefully
planned the attack to extract the highest possible price. (...) But what
is Israel's real situation? Is it as strong as it is trying to appear by
spilling blood in Gaza? What effect will the pictures of torn bodies,
scattered in the yard of the Police Academy, ultimately have on
Israelis? Or the piercing shrieks of the mothers? Most Israelis want to
reach some form of normality and become a society that, in the words of
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, "it's fun to live in." Where is the "fun" in
such massacres, recycled for 60 years?"

It looks to me that one of the effects of the economic depression is
likely to be increasing "information closure" - we will no longer have
much access to adequate objective information enabling a sensible
evaluation of political situations, just images and utterances which
could mean any old thing.


Theres so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

- Dire Straits, "Brothers in arms"
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Received on Sat Jan 10 19:03:12 2009

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