From Jamie Dimon to Ukraine to Ross Douthat

This month I am starting a new approach to my column for TPJfPD.  As some of you know, we have a Facebook page.  I regularly post comments on current events on that page.  Now, in my monthly columns I will be sharing with you a set of those comments from the previous month.  They will of course be on several different topics.  I hope that you will enjoy them, and also that on occasion you may visit our page as well, to see what else is up there.  Hey, you never know.  You may “Like” us!

For starters (actually last month, Jan. 31, 2014), remember Jamie Dimon’s raise?  Indeed, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, got a grand increase for 2104.  How could that be, many folks have said.  The company paid a record $20 billion in fines for “improper practices” last year.  And this man got a raise?  Ah folks, it’s not what Dimon didn’t do (to avoid civil charges and civil settlements), it’s what he did do: he made sure that NO criminal charges were brought against, not only himself, but also members of the Board (remember the fiduciary responsibility of boards), top employees, and etc.  THAT’s what he getting compensated for: making sure that no one, including himself, ends up in the clink (which is of course where banksters should go).

Then (also on Jan. 31, 2014), there was Rand Paul trying manfully to deal with the GOP War on Women.  He claimed that in Bill Clinton’s extra-marital affair with a consenting adult he acted as a sexual predator.  (Rand stated that Monica Lewinsky was 20 at the time, but actually she was 23.  But Rand, like his namesake, has never been known to be too swift with facts, like just what sort of qualification as an ophthalmologist has.)  THEREFORE, according to Rand, the Democratic Party, now, should stop talking about the GOP War on Women. (The poor guy, apparently having not much else to talk about, is still trying to use this matter in a variety of venues.)  It’s as if almost 20 years ago whatever it was that Clinton did (some say that Monica flashed HIM), and he surely shouldn’t have, is the equivalent of the GOP’s demanding the criminalization of abortion based on religious belief, claiming that the reason why women use contraceptives is because they cannot control their libidos, and defining rape into two classes, “legitimate” and “not legitimate,” the latter apparently not to be taken too much notice of.   And seriously.  Rand thinks that he should be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate?

And then, towards the end of February (the 25th to be exact), we have, in the strongest possible terms, U.S. UN Ambassador Susan Rice warning Russia against intervention in Ukraine.  Obviously the US is doing this because if Russia intervened that would get in the way of the long-standing intervention in the self-same country by the U.S./European Union/International Monetary Fund triumvirate (ah, yes, Ukrainians, think Greece[!])  And, oh yes, in doing so the U.S., cheered on by the ever-present warmonger, Sen. John “Negative Ace” McCain, is aligning itself in par with a Ukrainian fascist tradition that goes back to World War II when Ukrainian units fought with the Wehrmacht against the Red Army and numerous Ukrainians staffed the extermination camps.

Speaking of Ukraine (and Venezuela as well), on 2/26 let’s pity President Obama.  He can’t take credit for two huge, potential, US foreign policy triumphs.  One would be prying Ukraine away from the Russian trade pact into the European Union).  The other is the possible overthrow of the semi-socialist, but hugely oil-rich, definitely anti-U.S., democratically elected government of Venezuela.   “Victory” in either or both would be a victory for McCain-style foreign policy (even as the Senator pounds away at Obama for “being weak”).  Yet in both cases, to take public credit would be to admit that the U.S. intervened in the domestic affairs of another country.  Now Obama could not possibly do that, could he?  Among other things, it would be a clear violation of the UN Charter which, through Article VI of the Constitution, the U.S. is treaty-bound to uphold.  So let’s just give the Pres. a big “awwwww!”

Finally, for a change of pace, let’s visit with one Ross Douthat (on 2/19), on the subject of the French Revolution.  Of the right-wing Op-Ed columnists that The New York Times always seems to feel obligated to publish, Ross Douthat makes his right-wing stable-mate, David Brooks, look like a flaming liberal.  Recently, so Charlie Pierce of Esquire Magazine so pungently tells us, Douthat took umbrage at a broad-side posted on a large storage building in Manhattan (the New York City one, not the Kansas one): “The French Aristocracy Never Saw it Coming Either.”  Far be it from Douthat to be able to deal with the meaning of the saying for our time: “You, the Corporate Class, keep going the way you’re going, and --- surprise --- there will be a revolution here.”  And so, he immediately charged the writers with sanctioning one of the unfortunate outcomes of the French Revolution, the Terror (which, most unfortunately led then to the end of the Republic, and to Napoleon, and then back to the Bourbons, under whom the whole thing had started).  Hey, dummy, the sign is warning you and your corporate-class sponsors of what your policies, if not altered significantly, will eventually lead to.  But like any true-blue reactionary, Douthat will never deal with the true causes of what’s wrong with this country.  Like all the rest of them, he just changes the subject and then takes dead aim at the messenger, probably without even thinking about it, so automatic are his retrograde political reflexes.


Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books, and is a regular columnist for BuzzFlash@Truthout, The Greanville Post, and The Planetary Movement.  He is also the Editorial Director of and a Contributing Author to The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy. Dr. Jonas' latest book is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel, Brewster, NY, Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, and available on Amazon.