"Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing."
—Bernard Shaw, "Maxims for Revolutionists," Man and Superman, 1903.
(Swans - July 15, 2013) IT'S SUMMER, time for a vacation, at least in Europe where the economy remains in recession territory but vacations are sacred. We'll have to wait till September for the political tenors to talk again about the economy and the growing unemployment lines. Everybody awaits the German federal election, hoping that Mrs. Merkel will be reelected. In France they are already campaigning for the 2017 presidential election. The Tour de France runs its 100th edition. Lance Armstrong is nowhere to be seen -- totally censured -- and the spectators are becoming more obese than Americans. It rained at Wimbledon. Serena did not win but Marion did, and Andy brought joy and pride to the British crown -- the right timing for Downing Street to announce the UK mailing system is to be privatized. Plus ça change... At least the French won the under-20 FIFA 2013 World Cup. Cocorico.
IN THE USA, calm is the order of the day. Congress keeps debating Obamacare and immigration reform. A plane crashed in San Francisco. A guy has been making the news non-stop for the last two weeks. He is accused of having killed a young kid. Most of the ads are about cars and big pharma. The secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, resigned to become president of the California University system. President Obama has been traveling overseas and his administration has been struggling with events in Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon that are getting out of hand. In Africa, war does not pause during summer. Some argue it is the price to pay for democracy. Fortunately it's far from home and no one cares. Out of the news, out of sight.
THE SNOWDEN DISTRACTION, however, has been much more embarrassing to Mr. Obama, both at home and abroad, and quite puzzling. Here is a youngster who decided in the name of whatever principles to spill the beans about the activities pursued more or less secretly by the American security apparatus at home and around the world. It made the days of the politicos, the pundits, and the alternative press. All feigned to be shocked, especially the governments of many states that pretty much do the same in cooperation with the NSA and others. Obama should simply have said that no government would be pleased to see one of its country's citizens steal more or less secret national data and leak it to the media and should do its best to avoid such happenstance, and told his pal Putin to let the lad go wherever he wanted without any computer or stored data. The story is bound to continue for a while. Books will be written, careers made. I can see the $ sign everywhere. It won't change people's perception of and mistrust in their respective governments.
SNOWDEN impassioned intrepid reporters, kitchen intellectuals, and the multitude of drumbeaters, but I'd rather keep my eyes on the price of gas this summer. The chaos in Egypt and Syria and most of the Middle East and Northern Africa can suddenly threaten oil supplies to the West and get Israel enmeshed again in this mess (think Lebanon). Compared to the violence and turn of events in the Mideast (have you looked at Iraq lately?) the Snowden affair is truly a distraction. No one has yet to point out what ails Egypt (peak water, peak food, galloping fertility, and huge inequalities). The military won't address the issues. The new puppet government -- whichever it is -- will not either. Deposed President Morsi could not -- not because he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or a weak man, but because he could not escape the socioeconomic structure that dominates the world. None of us can escape that structure except if we are willing to go live in autarchy in the countryside, a privilege currently bequeathed to the northern half of the Western hemisphere driving Volvos and Subarus to the local supermarket for the food that is not grown on the commune -- you know, O.J., coffee, beef, and the like. Or we can change if we can agree and unite. Agree and unite? Smile and visit the Internet.
IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS, actually almost two years, I've been asking myself and others a lot of questions with no answer and many disappointments. Time to question, think more, look for healthier times, and change location. Readers may not understand but I cannot fully explain at this time.
. . . . .
C'est la vie...
And so it goes...
La vie, friends, is a cheap commodity, but worth maintaining when one can.the life line won't hurt you much, but it'll make a heck of a difference for Swans.
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