Attention all grammarians, armchair shrinks, and nitpickers. This was the last sentence in an article by Helene Cooper in today's New York Times:
“As the wealthiest nation on earth, I believe the U.S. has a moral obligation to lead the fight against hunger and nutrition and to partner with others,” Mr. Obama said Friday morning in remarks in Washington.
a) The professorial prez has used a dangling modifier. President Obama inadvertently refers to himself as the wealthiest nation on earth. He should have said: "As the wealthiest nation on earth, the U.S. has a moral obligation...." I,yi yi, yi yi! (I just never got over my eighth grade sentence-diagramming days in Catholic school.)
b) He said we have a moral obligation to lead the fight against hunger and nutrition. Does this guy like to always have it both ways, or what? If I were a Freudian, I would call this a slip. Our president satiates our hunger with his populist speeches, yet fails to follow through on actual policies that would nourish the body politic. He calls Jamie Dimon the greatest banker of all time at the same time he says we need to rein Jamie Dimon in. He brags about the Volcker Rule now, even though his team of banker enablers has been working to delay it until 2014 or later.
We are all, of course, keeping a close watch on the happenings in the Chicago Police State, where the paramilitary thugs have already pre-emptively arrested some demonstrators in front of Obama's campaign HQ and elsewhere, and even charged a group of OWS protesters with being terrorist threats. I think that after this week, the meaning of NATO might be changed to "New Austerians Tase (Terrorize? Torture? Threaten>) Occupy". Most of the international bellicose bubbleheads gathering for the power elite confab are calling for the hoi polloi to share the sacrifice. But somehow, money is never an object when it comes to perpetuating the military-industrial complex. Except for Francois Hollande, who is still too much of a newbie to have been co-opted, the NATO apparatchiks and their guests are there to celebrate the hegemony.
Meanwhile, the judge who just declared the indefinite detention clause of the NDAA unconstitutional wisely listened to Chris Hedges and his co-plaintiffs, who'd asserted the intentionally vague law was having a chilling effect on their writing and their activism. Would merely having a conversation with someone the administration arbitrarily calls a terrorist make the interviewer also a terrorist in the government's eyes, and thus subject to detention without trial? Since the government left that question dangling by refusing even to answer, the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. That, of course, did not prevent the House from voting for indefinite detention yesterday. And not only that, the phony deficit hawks also proved their austerity rhetoric a sham once again by approving expenditures for useless military hardware and the construction of a massive East Coast anti-missile system. This, from GOP pod-people like Eric Cantor and John Boehner, who keep insisting the debt is destroying the country.
President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, not so much because of the money or the indefinite detention clause (which he is totally for, as the wealthiest nation on earth) -- but because of the clause banning same-sex marriages on military property. Far from being concerned about the death of due process and free speech and assembly, the White House worries that the anti-gay clause might be illegal:
And it might really get sticky if two gay Occupiers want to get married at West Point and have as their witnesses journalists who once interviewed suspected Yemeni militants. But as an obscure blogger, this scenario may probably never cross the president's mind. Like that clumsy sentence and the one at the top of this post, vague statutes are deliberately kind of left dangling, open to whatever interpretation any future leaders care to give them. In the meantime, Obama can indeed get away with claiming "L'état -- c'est moi."The defense budget would also prohibit same sex marriage ceremonies on any military installation. The White House described the provision as a “troublesome and potentially unconstitutional limitation.”