President Obama continues to follow the pattern of his presidency: propose or do one good idea and push two bad ones.
He introduces a rule making millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay to fight the dastardly employer trick of misclassifying workers as contractors. His National Labor Relations Board recently allowed minimum-wage workers to organize a union in the fast-food industry. Good.
At the same time Obama is waging war in six Middle East countries. Bad. The invaded Mid East nations are Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.
“America’s participation in these wars may include training the local army, using drones to attack suspected terrorists, providing weapons, offering logistical support and sending combat troops,” Rachelle Marshall writes in an analytical op-ed article in Truthout. “But none of the six countries poses a threat to U.S. national security.”
Yemen is a catastrophe: food, water, medicine and fuel are scarce. Most of its hospitals have been forced to close.
The carnage is the result of a bombing campaign by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates. Bombing is indiscriminate. Homes, schools, factories and power stations are all alike. Toll: 3,000 Yemenis dead, 12,000 wounded. Most of the victims are civilians.
The Saudis have clamped a blockade on Yemen. Yet U.S. aid continues to them despite their ruthless mini-holocaust. An American official called the aid necessary to assure the Saudis that a nuclear treaty with Iran is nothing to worry about.
Power politics prevails, not fairness and justice.
Marines have landed!
A Truthout dispatch reported that 180 Marines have been deployed in Honduras as a preventive measure for the hurricane season.
Both the White House and the Marines insist deployment will be temporary. Perhaps. Temporary usually becomes permanent.
Indeed, regional political observers declare that Marines at the Honduran Soto Cano base in Palmerola signal a new round of U.S. empire-building in Central America. (They recall the struggle between leftist pro-contras and the rightist anti-Sandinistas in the 1980s.)
The U.S. has supported the Honduran regime despite its coup removing a duly elected president from office. The U.S.–no surprise–supported the plotters.
The villain of the piece: Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. In her book, “Hard Choices,” she confessed that “she used the power of her office to make sure the president, Manuel Zelaya, did not return to office.”
God’s authority invoked
Defying a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, a county clerk in Kentucky refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple. One gay partner asked: “Under whose authority?”
“Under God’s authority,” the clerk replied.
She was rightly jailed for invoking an authority without jurisdiction in a nation with a clear demarcation between church and state. Conscience does not give her the right to avoid official duties.
As Judge David Bunning of U.S. District Court in Morehead, Ky., ruled: “The court cannot condone disobedience of its order. People cannot choose which laws to obey and which to ignore.”
A few days later Bunning lifted the contempt citation and freed the clerk, deeming that her deputies were fulfilling her obligation.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. (firstname.lastname@example.org)