|4 Nov 2004 @ 00:26, by ov. Politics|
Over at The Smirking Chimp there was an article about how Bush won the election because he kept his platform to a very simple agenda, which turned out to be a successful strategy since the majority of Americans were stupid. The author also mentioned that the real reason driving the US foriegn policy was oil. So I made this reply and thought I would repeat it here and perhaps with a little more research expand this into a publishable article.
There are three aspects of the oil thing 1)as a consumer product for energy and transportation 2)as the means to mobilize the military -- if you can control all the oil you can shut down every other countries military (or at least restrict it to the MADD of nukes), and the most urgent is 3)that of petrodollars vs petroeuros - which is the only thing that is keeping the US from bankruptcy.
Digging deeper though is that every US political arguement must start with the premise that the "American Dream" is legitimate and must be defended at all costs. To bring morality into the discussion is a direct threat to American hegemony and subconsciously the Americans know this; at the intuitive hive level of the herd they are much more intelligent than the intellectuals. When the long term good of the planet is in opposition to the short term gain of America then it is indeed a with us or against us situation, and to go against the American interest is treason. The problem is compounded by the fact that stupidity is not a crime but treason is, so stupidity is a defense mechanism of the wise.
Howl now and let me know how close to the core of the taboo I have touched. More >
| 3 Nov 2004 @ 17:11, by ming. Politics|
Dan Gillmor (via BoingBoing) sums it up well:
"The Republicans have an even stronger congressional majority. They have shown how gladly ruthless they can be in using their power. Bush and his allies have never believed in compromise. They have even less incentive to govern from the middle now, even though the nation remains bitterly divided.
I agree. But unfortunately a majority of Americans seem to prefer it that way. It is shocking and puzzling what they make their decisions based on. I had hoped that there were more common sense in circulation.
There's no secret about what's coming. We don't have that excuse this time.
Here comes more fiscal recklessness -- as we widen the chasm between the ultra-wealthy and everyone else, cementing a plutocracy into our national fiber, we'll pay our national bills on the Treasury Bill credit card for the next few years. Many economists expect a Brazil-like financial crisis to hit the U.S. before the end of the decade. If we muddle our way though the near term, we'll still have left our kids with the bill.
Here comes an expansion of the American empire abroad, a fueling of fear and loathing elsewhere on the globe. This is also unsustainable in the end. Empire breeds disrespect.
Our civil liberties will shrink drastically. This president and his top allies in Congress fully support just one amendment in the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. Say goodbye to abortion rights in most states. Roe v. Wade will fall after this president pushes three or four Scalia and Thomas legal clones onto the Supreme Court. Say hello, meanwhile, to a much more intrusive blending of church and state.
The environment? We'll be nostalgic for Ronald Reagan's time in office.
This is not sour grapes. This is reality."
The only comfort is that it will be Bush who will stew in his own mess, and that it might collapse faster, so that something new can emerge. As opposed to Kerry trying to deliver on the promise to essentially deliver more and better of most of the same things Bush was doing. With some luck this might mean that real change will come around sooner. But not now. More >
|2 Nov 2004 @ 08:13, by ov. Politics|
Tonight on CBc's "Ideas" Naomi Klein gave a talk on her one month journalism expedition to Baghdad last April, the details which can be found in this Harpers magazine article Baghdad Year Zero, but I liked the radio title better, "War and Fleece." This article clears up a lot of mysteries about what and why is currently happening in Iraq.
Naomi opened her talk by saying she was going to discuss the details of an illegal invasion and occupation by fundamentalist terrorist, and that these were economic fundamentalists and the terrorists were the United States government. She said it wasn't true that Bush didn't have a post war plan, he had a plan, it just wasn't a good plan. The plan was to disappear the previous culture and in its place install a "gleaming showroom for laissez-faire economics, a utopia such as the world had never seen. Every policy that liberates multinational corporations to pursue their quest for profit would be put into place: a shrunken state, a flexible workforce, open borders, minimal taxes, no tariffs, no ownership restrictions."
Paul Bremmer lead the US occupation of Iraq from May 2 2003, and initiated an economic and cultural shock and awe campaign to the reconstruction. In one summer he was able to make more changes in Iraq than the IMF had been able to make in three decades in Latin America. While the fires were still burning, his first job was to fire 500,000 state workers (without even giving them back pay), and With unemployment running at 67% and no social assistance. Back in the western world we hear of $18 billion in reconstruction but there were no cranes, no bulldozers, no electricity in Baghdad, but in the military controlled green zone construction was going non-stop on 16 permanent military bases. Then within a month Bremmer had thrown the doors of the country wide open to unrestricted foriegn investment. The theory of placing an entire country under such an extreme state of shock that the population would be unable to resist was based on the same torture theory for individuals, and it's worth while reading the article for the details.
Iraqi exciles that were pushing for the invasion were divided into two camps, the pragmatists "who favored getting rid of Saddam and his immediate entourage, securing access to oil, and slowly introducing free-market reforms"; and the Year Zero camp "who believed that Iraq was so contaminated that it needed to be rubbed out and remade from scratch. The prime advocate of the pragmatic approach was Iyad Allawi, a former high-level Baathist who fell out with Saddam and started working for the CIA. The prime advocate of the Year Zero approach was Ahmad Chalabi, whose hatred of the Iraqi state for expropriating his family’s assets during the 1958 revolution ran so deep he longed to see the entire country burned to the ground—everything, that is, but the Oil Ministry, which would be the nucleus of the new Iraq, the cluster of cells from which an entire nation would grow."
On the American side of the table the pragmatists were Colin Powel and the military generals who wanted to hold quick and dirty elections and then establish permanent military bases on the model of the Phillipines. The PNAC crowd wanted this plus an idealist free market that delivered everything on a multinational corporation's wishlist.
One problem with the pillage plan was that it was illegal. UN resolution 1483 did give US and Britian the position of legal occupiers but there was also the provision that they had to abide by the Geneva convention and the Hague resolutions, both of which had safeguards to prevent this kind of massive theft. The corporations were reluctant to come swarming in to the newly opened market because the insurance companies wouldn't give them political risk insurance against future nationalization.
Time is ticking away and the privatization of Iraq, with it's 40 year contracts needs to get in place before the elected government takes over in the promised six months which was the original plan A. The reason for the alternate plan B of the appointed interim government, ala Allawi was to create a loophole and solve the resolution 1483 problem. The interim government could make the privatization deals and subsequent governments would be stuck with them for the next 40 years. This was why the people were so adamant about not having the interim government and why they wanted an election rather than a selection.
Naomi delivered a great talk and cleared up a lot of little mysteries about why the neo-cons continue to keep repeating lies that have already been proved to be untrue, namely because there are serious legal implications down the road once this finally lands up in the world courts, and it will land up in the world courts. My personal opinion is that the only thing that can delay this is by Bush staying in power and which is why I think he will steal the election tomorrow and it will be the last election the US has for a long time. More >
|1 Nov 2004 @ 04:14, by bkodish. Politics|
God only knows.
Good and moderate people will vote for both Kerry and Bush.
I'm voting for Bush. In spite of mistakes, I believe we will be better off with him at the helm for another four years. I am working against Kerry because I do not trust his ability to lead and see his "always know better" positions as unworkable and dangerous.
Mark Steyn puts some of what I perceive and fear about Kerry into words:
" In another perilous time - 1918 - Lord Haig wrote of Lord Derby: "D is a very weak-minded fellow I am afraid and, like the feather pillow, bears the marks of the last person who has sat on him." It's subtler than that with Kerry: you don't have to sit on him; just the slightest political breeze, and his pillow billows in the appropriate direction. His default position is the conventional wisdom of the Massachusetts Left: on foreign policy, foreigners know best; on trade, the labour unions know best; on government, bureaucrats know best; on defence, graying ponytailed nuclear-freeze reflex anti-militarists know best; on the wine list, he knows best."
See He was complacent, arrogant and humourless. How they loved him More >
|1 Nov 2004 @ 00:10, by ov. Politics|
Is there any doubt that Vice President Cheney is an influential person in the Bush government, and yet there is almost a total absence of media coverage concerning him, or at least in the American controlled mass media. Lately all attention has been focused on the George and Kerry horse race as each attempt to outdo the other on how severely they will smite the 'evildoers' once they are elected, nobody even knows who Edwards is, and the mass media is valiantly trying to keep Cheney out of the spotlight. Cheney's profile from "Project for an Old American Century" a PNAC watch group (also the source of the above picture).
HalliburtonWatch.org is one of the sites that keeps up to date on the latest tricks and dirt of Halliburton and its number one man in the White House, Dick Cheney. Dick claims there is no conflict of interest between himself and Halliburton but the facts beg to differ. Dick still receives a deffered salary, and he still has stock options in the company.
Halliburton has also been given no bid contracts for military support that cost plus, which means the bill is determined by expenses plus an additional percentage of expenses as profit, and yes that means the more money you waste the more profit you make, what a sweetheart deal that is, eh.
There have been attempts to bring him to justice, even to the point of subpoena but those apparently don't apply to vice presidents. As long as Dick stays within the boundaries of USA he is exempt from the law. Halliburton on the other hand is subject to law and sanctions by other countries, and Dick as well through his connections as former CEO.
The list just goes on and on, it never ends, so I'm opening this topic to serve as a repository more than anything. However, if anybody does want to jump into the frey to discuss this, please do.
enron hesitation on an end run and too late
if press house pets turn into feral hyienas
barking at barbarian pounding down the gate
multiple coverups play out political arenas
fools peekaboo and poke persuasive rhetoric
at the naked president whereas the big dick
and kenny boy are artfully dodging subpoena
|31 Oct 2004 @ 12:23, by jazzolog. Politics|
Lives based on having are less free than lives based on either doing or on being.
The River moves, moon travels rock,
Streams unreal, clouds there among the flowers.
Sails go: They can't know where.
Let each one turn his gaze inward and regard himself with awe and wonder, with mystery and reverence; let each one work his own influence, his own havoc, his own miracles.
Guerrilla Warfare (Picket Duty in Virginia), 1862
A very dear, caring and empathetic Internet friend in Scotland advised me yesterday to remember: all this is not "your very own responsibility". She was referring to the flurry of activity in my life now, particularly as the Election approaches. I'm sure many of us in America are feeling the intensity, even if we're not particularly busy volunteering. Harvest may be done, but there's cleanup and lots of preparation for winter in the northern areas. There always are assignments at school and duties at church or synagogue this time of year. Caroline particularly of course was referring to my recent surgery and continuing health concerns. More >
|23 Oct 2004 @ 11:31, by jazzolog. Politics|
Explaining a koan to Satsu, Hakuin said: "Now do you understand?"
Satsu said: "Will you please explain it again?"
Just as Hakuin opened his mouth to speak, she interrupted and said: "Thank you for your trouble," and with a bow, left the room.
Hakuin exclaimed: "I've been overthrown by this terrible little woman!"
Even if I could utter a wise word, the hearing of which would guarantee you instant enlightenment, it would still be like throwing shit on your heads.
Moonlight and the sound of pines are things we all know
zen mind and delusion distinguish sage and fool
go back to the place where not one thought appears
How shall I put this into words for you?
A couple of incidents yesterday make me realize how far from a discussion of issues politics has strayed in the United States. Maybe the goal no longer is calm discussion or learned debate. Maybe instead we want Opinion And Passion, which is the logo of an AM talk radio station I was listening to. Perhaps we've forgotten how to disagree with someone in a civilized fashion. Does anyone learn the skill at home or in school anymore? More >
| 20 Oct 2004 @ 16:39, by ming. Politics|
Article in the N.Y.Times by Ron Suskind: Without a Doubt (registration required). A sober and brilliant analysis of what I would agree is the most disturbing and dangerous aspect of George Bush's presidency. Essentially that the major program points are based on his personal "messages" from God and that there's nothing to talk about, nobody else to listen to, and no room for new facts, or old facts, or differing opinions.
This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. Nothing could be more vital, whether staying on message with the voters or the terrorists or a California congressman in a meeting about one of the world's most nagging problems. As Bush himself has said any number of times on the campaign trail, "By remaining resolute and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful".Personally, I'd much prefer *anybody* starting out with *any* kind of outrageous program points, as long as they would adhere to a principle of examining the facts and talking with those who need to be talked with, and then make decisions based on that. Open dialogue. Listen to what people have to say. Be willing to learn about the things you don't know. Well, the article is full of horrifying inside stories documenting that what is there now is a totally different scenario. For probably the first time in U.S. history. It is also puzzling what the hell happened. Apparently Bush used to be quite a different man, a pragmatic down-to-earth kind of guy, quite able to improvise and have a free-flowing dialogue and debate the issues. It used to be one of his strong points. Something changed, suddenly no dissent was tolerated, and he became the Messiah. And a Zombie. Now, listen to this part:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
Now, that's disturbing. Also because it is right. They directly aim for creating a particular reality. And, yes, then they can move "ahead" much faster than anybody who has to stop and examine facts and ask people what they want. It works. It is an amazing piece of work. Brilliant piece of mass manipulation. The trouble is just that the reality they're manifesting is a pretty horrible one. And since it wasn't really based on what the world needed, or on any actual situation in our reality, for that matter, it probably won't work at all. But it can all stick together for a surprising amount of time, if you have confidence.
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
George W. Bush, clearly, is one of history's great confidence men. That is not meant in the huckster's sense, though many critics claim that on the war in Iraq, the economy and a few other matters he has engaged in some manner of bait-and-switch. No, I mean it in the sense that he's a believer in the power of confidence. At a time when constituents are uneasy and enemies are probing for weaknesses, he clearly feels that unflinching confidence has an almost mystical power. It can all but create reality.
Apparently it speaks to quite a large percentage of the U.S. population. The ones in the middle. Hardworking, simple, churchgoing folks who don't read the New York Time, and who wouldn't dream of reading alternative news sources on the net, and who don't care much about facts. But they care about faith. And the right buttons have been pushed, and they believe Bush has been chosen by God. Scary. Very scary. More >
Whether you can run the world on faith, it's clear you can run one hell of a campaign on it.
|18 Oct 2004 @ 03:34, by koravya. Politics|
Here is a brief response essay I wrote this afternoon for my students, since I am asking them to write a response essay to a video that I will be showing them this week. I’ve got quite a few very conservative people in some of these classes, and a reasonable minority of them are relatively liberal people. It’s a good class of responsive, thoughtful, and opinionated minds. (relevant link is [link]) More >
|8 Oct 2004 @ 08:37, by jazzolog. Politics|
White dew on the bramble,
on each thorn.
An artist is usually a damned liar but his art, if it be art, will tell you the truth of his day. And that is all that matters. Away with eternal truth. The truth lives from day to day, and the marvelous Plato of yesterday is chiefly bosh today.
From the evening breeze to this hand on my shoulder, everything has its truth.
While I was in college in the late 1950s, the Government Department at Bates changed its name to Political Science. I feared the worst, and began to read poetry instead of constitutional law. Political scientists (if there be such things) not only tell us what happened in 2000, they go on to predict 2004. With the mess in Florida lurching the entire world into the US Supreme Court back then, a few states in this country have been seized upon as "swing states," in which our presidential election will be decided. I'm sure someone other than a fortune-teller can tell us how such precognition is determined. I can't though, nor have I been interested in finding out such things since Government changed its name.
Ohio is one of these states. Even if those scientists of the polis hadn't told me, I might have guessed something was up, since at least one of the major candidates is here every day. Most Ohioans I talk to are delighted to receive all this attention and up close contact with these guys. Friends elsewhere in the country and around the world envy us and ask for insight as to what's going on---somehow not satisfied with American news services anymore. Until this week I've felt the giddy power of a junior high school kid who knows a secret everybody wants to find out. Unfortunately that party now is over, and the story breaking out of Ohio is frightening in the extreme. More >
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