America’s foreign policy is revealed as a slave to rightwing drift, terrified of a bomb exploding abroad or of a pro-Israeli congressman at home. If the cables tell of the progress to war over Iran or Pakistan or Gaza or Yemen, their revelation might help debate the inanity of policies which, as Patterson says, seem to be leading in just that direction. Perhaps we can now see how catastrophe unfolds when there is time to avert it, rather than having to await a Chilcot report after the event. If that is not in the public’s interest, I fail to see what is.
Clearly, it is for governments, not journalists, to protect public secrets. Were there some overriding national jeopardy in revealing them, greater restraint might be in order. There is no such overriding jeopardy, except from the policies themselves as revealed. Where it is doing the right thing, a great power should be robust against embarrassment.
Simon Jenkins, writing in the Guardian, about the import of the recent Wikileaks release of American diplomatic documents.
But there is also a larger question: What kind of a country do we aspire to be? Would we really want to be the kind of plutocracy where the richest 1 percent possesses more net worth than the bottom 90 percent?
Oops! That’s already us. The top 1 percent of Americans owns 34 percent of America’s private net worth, according to figures compiled by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. The bottom 90 percent owns just 29 percent.
That also means that the top 10 percent controls more than 70 percent of Americans’ total net worth…
I’m appalled by our growing wealth gaps because in my travels I see what happens in dysfunctional countries where the rich just don’t care about those below the decks. The result is nations without a social fabric or sense of national unity. Huge concentrations of wealth corrode the soul of any nation.
And then I see members of Congress in my own country who argue that it would be financially reckless to extend unemployment benefits during a terrible recession, yet they insist on granting $370,000 tax breaks to the richest Americans. I don’t know if that makes us a banana republic or a hedge fund republic, but it’s not healthy in any republic.
AMC has just canceled Rubicon, pulling the plug on the conspiracy-minded political thriller after only one season. Although Rubicon eventually found a loyal group of fans after an incredibly slow build—and the network praised its “rich and compelling story” in a statement—it failed to land a wide audience, even by basic cable standards (perhaps because it took forever to get anywhere). It’s sort of a bittersweet decision, considering its cancellation ensures it will only grow in cult stature, and all but secures its place on those lists of “too smart for TV” programs that are always kicked around, to be discovered and mourned anew by future generations.
Seriously, rent the DVDs (if they ever come out) and watch them all back-to-back-to-back-to-back and try not to go crazy.
“The point, it seemed to me, was that politics isn’t all there is to life, there is something slightly off about those who think it is, and that political ideology has come to define us culturally and personally far too much.”—
“Arriving there about four o’clock on a bright afternoon in October, I found every preparation that was necessary to sweep me from my feet with the conviction that sure enough this was the city of cities to look for prosperity of the Negroes and the greatest amount of friendly feeling between…