Friday, November 28, 2008

Shadows on the Wall

It’s to be expected, it goes without saying, it’s as sure as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening. They had to say something. It’s only proper that they should. Still, though I know that the inevitable is inevitable the immense hypocrisy of it just blows me away time and again. Where do they get their unmitigated gall? Are their brains split into two separate pieces? Do they, can they, sleep at night? Is their world view so bound up in adamantine granite that they aren’t even aware of what they are and what they do? And so I wonder just where my blind spots are, what don’t I see, am I as gigantic a hypocrite as they are? Maybe I don’t want to know.

From the Guardian.


The Mumbai attacks drew widespread international condemnation as cowardly acts of terrorism. But beneath the stock responses was an undercurrent of anxiety that the atrocity could aggravate latent tensions between India and Pakistan.

George Bush offered his condolences to the Indian people as the White House convened a meeting of top intelligence and counter-terrorism officials. President-elect Barack Obama was briefed by the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and said in a statement: "These coordinated attacks on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism. The US must continue to strengthen partnerships with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks."

In Moscow President Dmitry Medvedev said: "We are concerned about the loss of life and consider acts of terrorism of this type are harmful to the whole international order and a challenge to humanity."

The Pope and the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon both deplored the violence.

Gordon Brown said: "I think I speak for the whole world - shocked and outraged at the tragic destruction of innocent lives. I have already sent my sympathy and support to prime minister [Manhoman] Singh. We will do everything we can to help the Indian government."

Bush offers his condolences (as if he had any) but where are his condolences for the well over one million dead victims in Iraq? But Obama, ever the opportunist, uses the bodies of the dead victims to further his own goals of escalating the War on Terror. The U.S. must root out and destroy terrorists. No doubt these are one and the same as the innocent people blown to smithereens during marriage ceremonies in Afghanistan. But that’s different you see, we’re doing the killing so that’s okay, no prob. Never mind that the tragic circumstances are blowback from that same War on Terror as the U.S. extends its bloody claws into Pakistan murdering whoever is deemed a terrorist so yes, by all means, let us continue to stir the pot. There is nothing quite like making more intractable enemies which fits in quite nicely for plans of dominating the Middle East. First we murder people and when their friends, family and neighbors object (how unreasonable of them) we point at them and say “See?” It’s their fault! Who could have guessed? Why don’t they love us? Americans are cute and cuddly, aw shucks and golly gee, aren’t we?

World leaders are truly an astonishing and amazing thing. They are like paper doll cutouts, lose one and there is plenty more where that came from. They are no more substantial than shadows on a wall, phony, shallow, cynical, mass produced stamped out in an assembly line. World leaders remind me of the stuffed animals made when I was growing up, the ones that had a plastic ring attached to a string on the side of their necks. You pull the string and out came the recorded words. “America is the greatest nation.” “God is on our side.” “A shining city on a hill.” “I pledge allegiance to the flag, and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation, under God, with truth, liberty, and justice for all.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thinking frontal and backward

I am always interested in the human condition. Why do people behave the way they do? Not only the way people behave as individuals but as societies. More than that, why do we make the same damned mistakes over and over?

There was a science paper out recently that theorized that there was an egalitarian revolution in human behavior during the Pleistocene (1.8 million to 10,000 years ago) during the period when hominids' frontal lobes grew to their current size.

[Here is the original paper. Good luck with the math formulas. Here is an article about the paper, which is a little more digestible. Here is a podcast from Radiolab, a neat public radio science show, about how the brain makes choices. It relates to this discussion.]

If you go back five million years ago to when we and the great apes had a common ancestor our apelike social life was hierarchical. There was an alpha male at the top of a group. He was on top because he could beat up the lesser males. He got to mate whoever he chose. The rest of the relationships in a group were based on the big guy: who was on the ins with him, who was on the outs. Eventually someone knocked him out of being the top dog and became the alpha male himself. And so it went for millions of years.

As the apes separated and evolved, speciated if you will, some apes exploited the jungles of Africa, others the savannas. Some spent more time in trees and became climbers, others became better walkers and runners. And the apes that became humans grew bigger brains.

If you look at pre-civilized hunter-gatherer groups the people are quite egalitarian. In fact, leaders in such groups are mostly only nominally leaders. Hunter-gatherers make consensus decisions. (Compare this to the "Tarzan super male" fantasies of primitive societies that Western culture has generated over the years.)

So at the beginning of the Pleistocene hominid societies were hierarchical, with the big tough guy ruling, and at the end we were democratic socialists. How did that happen?

The theory says that as the human brain evolved and our frontal lobes expanded it allowed hominids to develop empathy towards others and to create alliances within the group. As hominids could remember past favors and slights within the group they could keep a mental scorecard as to whom each could trust. Within a group alliances could be built that weren't based on the alpha male, whose role as leader was based on power and fear. Even the biggest alpha male is no match for two or three other males. And, of course, female hominids were even more inclined to egalitarian behavior based on their maternal roles. The survival of the group was the ultimate goal and once there was no alpha male decisions quickly fell to the group at large.

It was only when more complicated societies began developing with the beginning of agriculture and the raising of livestock that there was a swing back towards the hierarchical again, buttressed by religio-civil impositions on the individual. The individual was again subservient for two reasons.

First, the leadership of a group (whether a village, a city or a nation-state) had control of the granary and had the best weapons. A farmer with a wooden plow was no match for a soldier with a sword. And now a person could not go off and pick berries or hunt a rabbit. He was dependent on the people who controlled the food. His role in life was often bound to the land he worked or the trade he plied. The structure of society created an imbalance of power greater than the fists and teeth of any alpha male.

The other great power held in the hands of the rulers was the power of religion. As the human mind began figuring out how things worked it was left with no answers for the larger issues. What causes thunder and lightning? What causes the seasons? Why don't the crops grow some years? What happens when you die? Curiosity about the unknown pushed human intellect to look for the Great Alpha Male, the guy who ruled the regions in the back of the head. And it's no surprise that all those civilizations linked religious power with the rulers. Most rulers proclaimed that they were gods' representatives on earth if not gods themselves. (Today the Queen of England rules by the grace of God, Iranian mullahs claim the blessings of Allah and even George Bush claims God's personal guidance whenever he's about to invade a country.) As gods the pharaohs and kings were far more powerful and presumed infinitely wiser than a simple man who toiled the land or made pottery or hammered wood could imagine himself being.

And so a new hierarchy was created for man.

The egalitarian theory tied with brain development has some parallels to Paul MacClean's "triune brain" theory, which divided the brain into three regions: the reptilian brain, the "limbic system" and the "neocortex"; the reptilian brain handled the most basic brain functions (like a pulse), the limbic system handled more complex tasks (like fight or flight), with the neocortex handling the higher intellectual functions.

The brain turns out to be a lot more complicated than that. Certain tasks may be performed in certain regions of the brain, but at any moment the brain is working on many levels, some absolutely primitive and others handling highly complex thought. The different levels of the brain work together seamlessly. The most highly intellectual thought is tempered, maybe even created, by the most basic fears. Without fear I may never have learned my times tables. Our brains have expanded and we have gained the gift of rationality, empathy, compromise and a host of other tools to help us work with others. And yet we (the editorial "we") find ourselves fighting wars based on fear and hate. In fact, our leaders like it that way.

Today all brain-healthy humans walk around with brains firing in both the frontal lobes and back in the amygdala. But we are trained, in certain areas of our life, to rely on our fears when we make decisions.

Take a look at this recent election:

The general Democratic message was: "Things are bad (fear, but an acknowledgement of the reality of the current economic crisis) and we know how to fix this mess caused by Bush and the Republicans."

The general Republican message was more disjointed, but it had things like "palling with terrorists", or "Muslim" or, in more pejorative terms, "black guy". Everything the Republicans offered was fear. It's not surprising that the Republican Party is the more hierarchical political entity. Or rather, it serves the hierarchy. We got into a war with Iraq with the use of fear. If it wasn't "9/11" being waved to the fearful and angry crowds, it was "anthrax". Each individual felt fear in those dark days and the Bush Administration rode that fear into a war to secure the oil fields in Iraq.

Ultimately, the real fear of the economic crisis with (vague) plans to get out of the crisis were more convincing than unfocused fear. Republican rule had itself become something to fear.
Back in September of 2001 I was a field director for my postal union. On September 12th I visited one of the many mail facilities in San Francisco. Everyone was still in shock over the events of the day before. One guy with an overactive amygdala came up to me trembling, his eyes bugging out, sure that Osama was going to target that very building for destruction, as if bin Laden and his henchmen were gathered in some cave in Afghanistan thinking, "Hmm, first we take out the World Trade Center. Then we follow up with a U.S. mail sorting facility in San Francisco."

Now it turns out that several postal workers (in the District of Columbia) were the victims of terrorism, anthrax infection, but the source turned out to be domestic, and evidence and logic points away from a lone nut working for the Defense Department as the source of evil. It was almost as if, dare I say it, the fear was generated by people within the hierarchy to push Americans into supporting a phony war to make people at the top of the hierarchy even richer and more powerful.

Fear can and usually does overwhelm logic in politics. People who think that Obama is the anti-Christ have already been imbued with a religiosity that allows for a supernatural bad guy to scare them. (Maybe there were people years ago who thought Walter Mondale was the anti-Christ, like the giant Pillsbury Doughboy in "Ghostbusters"). People who think that having a person with black skin as President spells ruin for our country are filled with the hierarchy of racism and every fear that goes with it. If you try to explain anything to them logically you are faced with a truly reactionary wall of hate and fear.

These days whenever there is a Democratic victory it appears to be a victory of the frontal lobes over the brain stem. Unfortunately, in times of crisis fear usually trumps logic, and the party of reaction (the Republican Party) owns fear. Every election cycle Democrats worry about another "October Surprise", shorthand for a dirty trick or some threatening event on the world stage that causes fear in the hoi polloi and inevitably drives them to vote Republican.

Of course, it's never absolutely clear who will own fear. While Eisenhower warned America about the military-industrial complex, the ground zero of fear itself, his Secretary of State and Director of Central Intelligence were the personifications of it. Kennedy Cold Warred Nixon in the 1960 election and then found himself unable to control that same military-industrial complex. After that it was always there, in control.

And it stayed in control by generating fear. Fear of Communism and the Soviet Union kept us spending money and giving up our rights for a long time. When the USSR collapsed we needed something to fear. Panama? Hardly, although I bet some did. After all, Reagan talked about how close those Nicaraguans were to Texas. But something that had a longer shelf life. How about Iraq, and Islamofascists?

Investigative reporter Jonathan Kwitny once wrote a book named Endless Enemies. It could easily have been called "Endless Things To Fear". It was about manufacturing enemies for our military-industrial complex. Right now the majority of Americans are afraid of the economy, and that makes the military-industrial complex something to fear. In six months maybe we will all be afraid of another manufactured enemy. But right now this is a chance for America to grow up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Chameleon: A Lizard for all Seasons

There was never any hope from this farce we call electing a new president. The iron grip of Corporate America would never have allowed anyone that represented change into the White House. Every weapon in the corporate arsenal was brought to bear in order to dupe the populace including propaganda, fear, hate, and big bucks. There were a few candidates that might have started the Ship of State down a road of change for the better but the propaganda machine we call the news media squashed those candidates very early in the game through ridicule and refusing to give them a fair shake but mainly by ignoring them. The DLC, a collection of warmongers and corporate whores, also did their part to prevent any candidate outside their little circle of crony capitalists from posing any challenge to their own manikin candidates. Also liberal bloggers with their mindless group-think did their part to keep any candidate that would represent real change from the national debate either by shucking for their beloved Democrat insiders or not discussing the rather obvious problems with their beloved leaders while viewing anyone like Ralph Nader as a threat to their sainted Democratic candidates though it is doubtful that blogs had much impact either way despite their self-congratulatory antics. Then of course there is the puerile U.S. world view shared by almost every U.S. citizen that entails a self-imposed ignorance and refusal to look at the reality of their sinking nation, a nation that is rapidly collapsing under the weight of its own hubris. After all we are a brand-name nation and most people feel more comfortable with big name-brands than the more unknown brands.

Ejecting one warmonger we have replaced him with another warmonger who worships at the altar of Presidential power and prestige. Obama has shown himself to be a true chameleon with a very clever campaign where he presented himself as the candidate that could be everything to everybody through a purposeful vagueness and clever speeches that allowed everyone to hear what they wanted to hear. Now that Obama has grabbed the brass ring the colors of the chameleon are fading to reveal the true nature of the lizard beneath. I would imagine that a great number of people voted for Obama in the primary because Hillary Clinton was a proven warmonger, the poster girl for the DLC. I can only wonder how they must feel confronted with the possibility of Obama appointing Hillary as Secretary of State. All I can say is get ready for endless war. Is this the price Obama had to pay for winning the presidency? That to be sure that a half white would follow the DLC agenda he must surround himself with the same liars and cheats of the former Clinton administration who brought us NAFTA, the brutal bombing of Yugoslavia, the sanctions against Iraq that murdered over one million people? It may just be a guess but I can just visualize the scene in a dark lit room where sitting at a table with DLC leaders Obama made his deal with the devil while turning a radiant smiley-face to the public. Or is it just that Obama knew all along what the corporate establishment expected of him. Take your pick, it doesn’t really matter for the end results are the same, endless war.

It would be good not to forget that it was Clinton/Gore that began calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein. During the Clinton Regime Al Gore was traipsing about the countryside giving speeches saying Saddam must be removed from power and now that Bush II actually did destroy Iraq Obama is ringing himself inside a circle of the same Clintonian ding-bats that did so much to lay the groundwork for invasion.

Alexander Cockburn writing for The Nation…


For a Man of Peace, Gore has plenty of blood on his CV. Looking back through the 1980s, we find that on every relevant issue, whether it was supporting the contras or Reagan's bombing of Libya in 1986, shilling for the Pentagon's latest weapons systems, voting for nerve gas or backing the Reagan/Bush position on NATO deployments in Europe, Gore's hawkishness was unflagging. In the course of his career he voted for the neutron bomb, the B-2 bomber, the Trident II missile, the MX missile and the Midgetman. He also backed the mini-Star Wars plan. The defense contractors always loved Al, the same way the nuclear plant manufacturers do today.

When it came to Bush Senior's attack on Iraq, Gore's antics astounded even his hardened colleagues in the Senate as they debated the war resolution. Of course he had long since decided to vote aye on war, having been a hardliner on Iraq since 1988. But on January 12, 1991, he spun out his supposed travails in coming to this decision in prime-time posturing, speaking of his "heavy burden of conscience" and the lonely weeks "questioning, probing, searching for the truth." Saddam, he proclaimed, "has more troops than Hitler did in the early years of World War II." In the New York Times he wrote, "We can no more look forward to a constructive long-term relationship with Saddam Hussein than we could hope to housebreak a cobra" and that the Iraqi dictator is not "an acceptable part of the landscape."

In Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign Gore was told to earn his keep with constant pummeling of George Bush Senior for having been soft on Saddam. Gore duly crisscrossed the country yoking Saddam and Bush in fervid denunciation. "The cover-up of Bush's arming of Saddam was," Gore shouted, "bigger than Watergate ever was."

In January 1993 Vice President-elect Gore announced that there could never be normal relations with Iraq so long as Saddam remained in power. He reiterated the call for a coup, if not by the Iraqi military then by the CIA. Vice President Gore was then given authority in the Clinton Administration for Iraq policy. In this capacity he presided over the sanctions that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many of them children. The mid-1990s saw Gore as a major voice urging NATO's bombing of the Serbs. In his 2000 presidential campaign he publicly distanced himself from the Clinton Administration on Iraq policy, reiterating that Saddam had to fall and pledging support for Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.

It was Hillary who encouraged Bill to bomb, bomb, and bomb Yugoslavia (though Bill didn’t need much encouragement). Hillary couldn’t bomb enough, and now Bombs away Hillary is likely to hold one of the most powerful positions in the Obama administration. Then there is the other callous and unfeeling monster among the Obama advisors, Albright of the “I think it was worth it” queen of the child killers. The list of Clinton cronies just continues to grow and with each new addition hope fades like a wisp of ground fog ‘neath a hot summer’s sun. More murder, mayhem, thievery, corruption piled on corruption, welcome to your world, the world of the DLC.

Perhaps it is unfair to blame just the DLC because there really is only one political party in our “two-party” system with the Republicans and the Democrats being merely two different factions of the same monstrous Scylla whose entwining tentacles have a strangle-hold on what we, in all “seriousness,” call government. It would almost be amusing if it wasn’t so tragic to think of how the liberal bloggers must be going through all sorts of rigorous intellectual contortions as Obama continues to stick a red hot poker up their nether regions. They’ll talk in minute detail about whatever miniscule and unimportant matter that comes to their mind but will keep their traps shut when it comes to Obama and what is becoming clearer and clearer with each passing day is we should be ready for endless war. But then the U.S. has become a modern day Sparta, a military state, without the Spartan life-style, though it shall become Spartan enough in due time.

There are really only two choices facing Obama. One is to continue down the road to doom called the Imperial Road or he can stand up on his own two feet and do everything in his power to end the mindless, brutal, idiot slaughter to save not only the victims but the health of a nation that is crumbling. Clearly as he plots with his cronies for an all-out war with Afghanistan he has already made the wrong choice which by any sane account is unwinnable whatever winnable means. And that is the rub for when there is no definition of winning there can be no end, war without end, endless war, until the empire disintegrates into the same dust as the Roman Legions became, and indeed, Obama seems to be already treading on the outer marches of reality. In fact, Afghanistan is the elephant’s graveyard of previous imperial endeavors where their bones lie bleaching in the sun.

Simon Jenkins of the Guardian writes…


The error of Afghanistan is far more serious than the error of Iraq. If the resulting insurgency is now exported to Pakistan, both errors will seem peccadillos. Pakistan is the sixth largest state in the world, and nuclear-armed.

The awful prospect is that Obama and Brown may feel too weak to learn from Iraq and pull back. They will blunder on, not to a clean defeat but to something far worse, a war of attrition whose poison will spread across a subcontinent.

Via Chris Floyd

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Deification and other conceits

"Tuesday the world changed. It was a great day. Monday it rained hard for the first time this season and on Election Day, everything in San Francisco was washed clean. I went on a long run past several polling places up in the hills around my home and saw lines of working people waiting to vote and contented-looking citizens walking around with their "I Voted" stickers in the sun and mud.

People have again found one of their -- our -- most buried and powerful desires: to make a better world together. I ran across an online collection of photographs of people crying in public, so moved by what is happening in this country, and I cried a little myself last weekend and choked up again when my local paper ran a story on a woman who'd crossed the country 40 years ago for Martin Luther King's funeral and left her polling place Tuesday singing hallelujah, amazed like so many older people that she'd lived to see the day."- Rebecca Solnit (via ATR)

"You've made it clear that no matter how bad they become, you'll still dutifully march into the booth in November and give them your vote. All the agonized indecision and ethical struggling in the world don't matter one bit at that point; the votes count the same whether they're cast enthusiastically or under protest. All they want is for you to put them back in power so they can ignore you and piss on your deepest concerns for another few years—until it's time for you to do it all over again."- John Caruso

"Make no mistake, people. Barack Obama will disappoint all of us at some point in the future. That's because we live in an imperfect world with a far worse political system, one driven not merely by cynicism but also money, power and status that derives from all the worst qualities that popular people exploited in high school. But he is, I felt that night and continue to feel today, the absolute best and brightest our political system has produced since John and Robert Kennedy and perhaps since Franklin D Roosevelt. And need I add, both FDR and JFK were not merely white, but also incredibly rich, born to enormously influential and ambitious political families. Barack Obama did it all on his own."

-Eric Alterman

"Obama's uncanny ability isn't the nuance and vision Solnit describes. It's something much simpler: a highly refined talent for performance. Above all else, this is what Americans across the political spectrum have desperately missed for the last eight years: a convincing, well-spoken liar whose mind is as sharp as his teeth."-- Arvin Hill, " The Man. The Myth. The Mass Delusion." "it's a new day"[video link]

Is it possible to be pleased that McCain didn't win while concerned that Obama did? It must be, because I am, and Descartes' famous saying about the proof of existence should work both ways. I've been incredibly fatigued of late, recovering slowly from a lingering bug and going to work, because I really can't afford not to, which is the main reason my posting here and at Hugo Zoom has been very light of late. I would like to call attention to the commendable yeoman work of the inestimable Rob Payne of late, more than holding his end up, seemingly leading a Dead Horse to water and making it drink, if you'll forgive me my questionable taste in puns. More soon.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Eric Holder the Chiquita Banana Republic Man

Here we go again, another bad choice by Obama if he appoints Eric Holder as Attorney General.

Mario A Murillo writes…


Most news accounts about the pending appointment seem to be limiting their criticism of Holder to one of his final acts as President Bill Clinton's deputy attorney general in 2001. At the time, on the last day of Clinton's term, Holder apparently said he was "neutral, leaning toward favorable" for a presidential pardon for Marc Rich, the wealthy commodities dealer whose ex-wife, Denise, was a major donor to the Democratic Party. Clinton's pardon of the tax-evading Rich was criticized as politically motivated, leading to a congressional investigation over the matter.

What is not being discussed too much, and was not even mentioned in today's New York Times report, is Holder's key role in defending Chiquita Brands International in a notorious case relating to the company's funneling money and weapons to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, AUC, the right-wing paramilitary organization on the U.S. State Department's own list of terrorist organizations.

In 2003, an Organization of American States report showed that Chiquita's subsidiary in Colombia, Banadex, had helped divert weapons and ammunition, including thousands of AK-47s, from Nicaraguan government stocks to the AUC. The AUC – very often in collaboration with units of the U.S.-trained Armed Forces - is responsible for hundreds of massacres of primarily peasants throughout the Colombian countryside, including in the banana-growing region of Urabá, where it is believed that at least 4,000 people were killed. Their systematic use of violence resulted in the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of poor Colombians, a disproportionate amount of those people being black or indigenous. In 2004, Holder helped negotiate an agreement with the Justice Department for Chiquita that involved the fruit company's payment of "protection money" to the AUC, in direct violation of U.S. laws prohibiting this kind of transaction. In the agreement brokered by Holder, Chiquita officials pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a fine of $25 million, to be paid over a 5-year period. However, not one Chiquita official involved in the illegal transactions was forced to serve time for a crime that others have paid dearly for, mainly because they did not have the kind of legal backing that Holder's team provided. Holder continues to represent Chiquita in the civil action, which grew out of this criminal case.

Click on the link above for the whole story.

What is Obama thinking? As Murillo points out if you bother to read the whole article Obama recently spoke against the Colombia-U.S free trade agreement because of human rights issues. But typically for Obama what he says and what he does are two different things entirely.

According to Wikipedia the AUC was added to a list of terrorist groups by the U.S. State Department.


The AUC's main enemies are leftist insurgency groups, the FARC and ELN. All three are in the European Union's lists of terrorist organizations and also classified as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department. The US State Department added the AUC to the list in 2001, condemning it for massacres, torture, and other human rights abuses against civilians.

According to the Colombian National Police, in the first ten months of 2000 the AUC conducted 804 assassinations, 203 kidnappings, and 75 massacres with 507 victims. The AUC claims the victims were mostly guerrillas or sympathizers. Combat tactics consist of conventional and guerrilla operations against main force insurgent units. AUC clashes with military and police units gradually increased, although the group has traditionally been friendly with government security forces.

A February 2005 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that, during 2004, "the AUC was responsible for 342 cases of violations of the cessation of hostilities. These include the presumed reincorporation of demobilized persons into its ranks, massacres, forced displacements, selective and systematic homicides, kidnappings, rape, disappearances, threats, intimidation and lootings. These actions took place in 11 departments and targeted the civilian population, in many cases indigenous communities." [2]

This is the group that Chiquita was supplying with weapons the same company that Holder continues to represent. Let’s hope that Obama comes to his senses. But then hope has never been a great plan for change.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Homogenized Planet for a Hegemony World

Planet Earth seems to be heading towards a really boring place, the Westernization of the world. Instead of treasuring the diversity of Planet Earth humanity seems to be moving toward a homogenized sameness where everyone wears the same clothes, eats the same food, thinks the same thoughts, and shares one world view. In one sense this is being driven by modern technology and communications but it is also being driven by war like the U.S. War on Terrorism. The whole idea of nation building is to make other nations more like us isn’t it? We want them to have democracy so that they will think more like us which will somehow make darkies less threatening to fat white Americans and make the world a safer place. Nobody seems to question the wisdom of turning the world into one where everyone is a greedy self-absorbed jerk hogging more than they could ever need. It should be a great place where everyone and everything is half-assed and mediocre. In Tibet the Buddhist Monks will be playing Nintendo while swilling booze instead of pursuing enlightenment of the mind. In India instead of preserving their traditional music they will listen to the same dismal garbage that passes for music in the West, pop music, Barf-a-Roni. Already China and India are busy industrializing their nations which is another way of saying that they are being westernized. People of the Western World rarely assume that ancient cultures have anything worthy to offer rather they relegate other cultures to the past replacing anything that takes effort and thought with useless technological garbage that nobody really needs.

One danger of a homogenized planet is becoming readily apparent with the economic woes that began in the U.S. and has rapidly spread to other nations. Not only does news, and information, most of it misinformation by self-appointed experts, spread with the speed of light but so do economic recessions. I don’t claim to know much about economics but then nobody else does either except for a small handful so I find it annoying when almost everyone claims to know where the blame for our economic woes lie. Sasan Fayazmanesh a professor of economics at CSU Fresno discusses why economic downturns are unpredictable and the state of economic experts.


Why were the experts so wrong? They were wrong mostly because economics is an underdeveloped discipline dominated by pure, unabashed ideology. The dominant school of economic thought during the Great Depression was, and remains to this day, the “neoclassical” or marginalist school. But in the “neoclassical” world there is no such thing as a crisis. This is not the real world in which we live. It is a classless world, consisting of “consumers” and “producers.” It is a harmonious world modeled mostly after mathematical physics. In such a world there is no history; there is no past, no present and no future. Nothing of consequence ever happens in this world, especially no catastrophic event. This unreal, insipid and a-historical marginalist world should have been abandoned a long time ago, particularly after the Great Depression. Yet, its seemingly mathematical elegance combined with its unadulterated and brazen defense of capitalism, or “free market” as its proponents prefer to call it, has kept it alive. Of course, since the Great Depression the “neoclassical” theory has been somewhat amended by a few ideas from the British aristocrat John Maynard Keynes, ideas that tried to add some elements of reality to the unreal theory. But the result, the so-called “neoclassical synthesis” or “neo-Keynesianism,” is no more than a hodgepodge of disjointed, unclear and incoherent ideas that are fed to the students of economic theory under the rubric of “micro” and “macroeconomics.”

Click the link above to read the rest.

While reading the above essay I was struck by this sentence… “In such a world there is no history; there is no past, no present and no future. Nothing of consequence ever happens in this world, especially no catastrophic event.” This is also in part quite true of the main stream news media where news articles often repeat whatever a national leader says like so many tape recorders or they report that so-and-so will now be the next Secretary of State or whatever without even a moment given to what said candidate has done in the past. Indeed when I read the news I often note the complete disconnect between a more complete reality and whatever topic a given news article is reporting on. When Donald Rumsfeld was replaced by Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense Gates was hailed as a “Realist” by all and sundry as well as lauded as a sign of hope, another “Steady hand behind the loose nut behind the wheel” in a manner similar to that of Powell, a smarmy slug by any other name, much earlier during the build-up to the Iraq War. Compare and Contrast is always a good thing to attempt so let us turn our attention to the following glowing article by the New York Times about Robert Gates of “Realist” fame.


WASHINGTON — The last time a Democratic administration moved to town, 15 years ago, Robert M. Gates was a key player in the effort to assure a smooth transition of power from a Bush presidency to the fresh occupant of the White House.

Mr. Gates, who served as director of central intelligence through Bill Clinton’s Inauguration Day, even traveled to Little Rock to deliver a global intelligence briefing to Mr. Clinton, who was then the governor of Arkansas, during the presidential campaign. The substantive issues selected by Mr. Gates remain remarkably resonant today, and included “the turmoil in Russia,” as well as “developments in Iraq, North Korea, China, and Iran,” according to the C.I.A.’s official history of the transition.

And if one listens to informed conjecture, or at least to Beltway rumor, Mr. Gates might be asked to play a key role again, this time even after the inauguration of Barack Obama — and this time with the nation at war.

It is a case being made publicly by columnists and commentators, and quietly by leading Congressional voices of Mr. Obama’s own party — that Mr. Gates should be asked to remain as defense secretary, at least for an interim period in the opening months of the new presidency.

Although Mr. Obama’s vice president, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, is among the party’s most respected experts on foreign policy, the president-elect himself has more modest credentials in military affairs. The security threats facing the new president are daunting, as the nation tries to negotiate a military-to-military agreement with Iraq and scale down its commitments there, stabilize a worsening campaign in Afghanistan, prevent another terrorist attack and manage a menu of significant security risks from Russia to Iran to North Korea — and those are just the known challenges.

A career intelligence professional, Mr. Gates has worked for Democratic and Republican administrations as a C.I.A. officer, and also spent nine years on the staff of the National Security Council, under four presidents of both political parties.

Since returning to government in December 2006 as defense secretary, he has scored high marks on Capitol Hill for his ability to reach across the aisle to leading Democrats. At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, the chairman, Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, opened the session by saluting Mr. Gates.

Well, you can read the rest if you have the stomach for it but you get the general drift. Gates the reliable, Gates the experienced, Gates the realist, blah, blah. The Times gives us a very brief history of Gates but what they have left out of the Gates history is quite substantial and by its absence helps slant the news article into what amounts to an out and out lie about the true nature of Robert Gates. Robert Parry, an investigative reporter who helped blow the whistle on the Iran-Contra affair regales us with a much more complete history of the Golden Boy Gates and offers up a stark contrast to the Times article.


When the Soviet Union – the CIA’s principal intelligence target – collapsed without any timely warning to the U.S. government, the CIA analytical division was derided for “missing” this historic moment. But the CIA didn’t as much “miss” the Soviet collapse as it was blinded by Gates and other ideological taskmasters to the reality playing out in plain sight.

Goodman was not alone in identifying Gates as the chief culprit in the politicization of the CIA’s intelligence product. Indeed, Gates’s 1991 confirmation hearing to be George H.W. Bush’s CIA director marked an extraordinary outpouring of career CIA officers going public with inside stories about how Gates had corrupted the intelligence product.

There also were concerns about Gates’s role in misleading Congress regarding the secret Iran-Contra operations in the mid-1980s, an obstacle that had prevented Gates from getting the top CIA job when Casey died in 1987.

Plus, in 1991, Gates faced accusations that he had greased his rapid bureaucratic rise by participating in illicit or dubious clandestine operations, including helping Republicans sabotage President Jimmy Carter’s Iran hostage negotiations in 1980 (the so-called October Surprise case) and collaborating on a secret plan to aid Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein (the Iraqgate scandal).

Despite significant evidence implicating Gates in these scandals, he always managed to slip past relying on his personal charm and Boy Scout looks. For his 1991 confirmation, influential friends like Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman David Boren, D-Oklahoma, and Boren’s chief of staff George Tenet made sure Gates got the votes he needed.

Also this.

Gates’s connections – and his timing – served him well when he was placed on the Iraq Study Group in 2006 along with its co-chairs, Lee Hamilton and Bush Family lawyer James Baker. By fall 2006, the ISG was moving toward recommending a drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Meanwhile, President George W. Bush found himself in need of a new Defense Secretary to replace Donald Rumsfeld, who had grown disillusioned with the Iraq War.

Though Rumsfeld was viewed publicly as a hardliner, privately he sided with his field commanders, Generals George Casey and John Abizaid, in favoring a smaller U.S. “footprint” in Iraq and a phased withdrawal. Rumsfeld put his views in writing on Nov. 6, 2006, the day before congressional elections.

With Rumsfeld going wobbly, Bush turned to Gates and – after getting Gates’s assurance that he would support Bush’s intent to escalate the war, not wind it down – Bush offered him the job.

Rumsfeld’s firing and Gates’s hiring were announced the day after the Nov. 7 elections and were widely misinterpreted as signs that Bush was throwing in the towel on Iraq.

Rumsfeld’s memo was disclosed by the New York Times on Dec. 3, 2006, two days before Gates was scheduled for his confirmation hearing. [See’s "Gates Hearing Has New Urgency."]

But Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee were so enthralled by the false narrative of Bush tossing over the ideologue (Rumsfeld) in favor of the realist (Gates) that they took no note of what the real sequence of events suggested, that Bush was determined to send more troops.

Gates was whisked through to confirmation with no questions about the Rumsfeld memo and with unanimous Democratic support. Sen. Hillary Clinton and other senior Democrats praised Gates for his “candor.”

There is much more so click the above link to read the rest, it is well worth your while.

So as Obama continues to surround himself with Washington “Insiders” and other unsavory characters, many of whom are responsible for many of the ills facing the U.S. and the rest of the world, I wonder just where is this wondrous change I have heard so much of for so long is supposed to come from?

Personally I cannot think of a more deserving bunch than the Western World (Though it affects much more than just the West) for a nice little depression considering its bloody past of centuries of slaughter and mayhem much of it directed at weaker peoples and nations mostly of the Third World variety steeped in vainglorious terms such as Manifest Destiny and other such egotistical drivel as they have marched down the Imperial Road. There is also a remarkable silence by so-called liberals as Obama continues to stick knives and swords into their persons with his flip-flopping on issues that I had assumed, perhaps mistakenly, that were core and of the utmost importance to progressives. This time of “Transition” is when the progressives should be the loudest as Obama puts his Cabinet together and makes plans for what he would like to accomplish as President. But all I hear is the sound of silence, that or unmitigated malarkey, much of it from people who know better.

Meanwhile the homogenized mass group-think of American Hegemony marches on into the dark night. War planes roar and thunder over numerous Third World Nations dropping death from the sky as bodies are blown apart and blood drenches the earth.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Changing the World: The Obama Jihad

One of Senator Obama’s war whoops is that he wants to change the world. This is part and parcel with the American Exceptionalism that all presidents going back at least one hundred years have shared that is to say that they all believed that the U.S. is the world’s last best hope and it is our destiny to enlighten a benighted world. Naturally Obama is no exception to this and with his announcements of taking the War on Terror into Pakistan unilaterally, intensifying the war in Afghanistan, and his bilateral threats against Iran. Obama has also spoken of confronting Russia. Since the U.S. has a one hundred year history of attacking only those nations that cannot defend themselves I suspect his tough talk on Russia is just that, tough talk. After all, Russia still has the second most powerful army in the world, nuclear weapons, and nuclear subs, in short Russia is still a world power to be reckoned with. Pakistan on the other hand is seen by Obama as a nation that cannot defend itself from the onslaught of U.S. military might and is therefore fair game for invasion. However, today’s New York Times has a story on the war now raging in Pakistan between the Pakistan government and the Taliban that could be a chilling preamble to what a U.S. invasion of Pakistan might hold in store for Obama and his cadre of warmongers.


After three months of sometimes fierce fighting, the Pakistani Army controls a small slice of Bajaur. But what was initially portrayed as a paramilitary action to restore order in the area has become the most sustained military campaign by the Pakistani Army against the Taliban and its backers in Al Qaeda since Pakistan allied itself with the United States in 2001.

President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to make the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan a top priority. The Bajaur campaign serves as a cautionary tale of the formidable challenge that even a full-scale military effort faces in flushing the Taliban and Al Qaeda from rugged northern Pakistan.

Pakistani officials describe the area as the keystone of an arc of militancy that stretches across the semiautonomous tribal region of Pakistan and into Afghanistan.

Under heavy pressure from the United States, Pakistani officials are vowing to dislodge the Taliban fighters and their Qaeda allies who have taken refuge in the tribal areas.

The whole article is worth reading if you wish for a glimpse of the Obama future -- war, war, and more war. This is what Mr. Presto Change-o has in mind despite the soaring national debt and an economy that is crumbling. And just how important is the Global War on Terror? To be sure there is a threat of terrorism mostly due to our humanitarian (gag) interventions in the Middle East which has become a self-fulfilling prophesy just as the Pakistan military is finding out with its war on the Taliban. But how big is the terrorist threat? Terrorism is a sign of military weakness. It is what people resort to when their nation is invaded by more powerful forces. The whole War on Terror gig is of course utter bullshit, a thin disguise for the U.S. plan to first dominate the Middle East no doubt followed by all of Europe, the North and South Poles quickly followed by the entire universe which includes all of space and time. The only real question is how long can the U.S. spend money it doesn’t have before the entire nation collapses under its own weight? Under the Obama Regime I believe we will find the answer to that question.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Time After Time

During Obama’s campaign for president he spoke of talking with Iran but once again Obama is stepping to the right echoing Bush-like bellicosity toward Iran. Obama recently made the following statement.


"Iran's development of a nuclear weapon, I believe, is unacceptable and we have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening," Obama said Friday, in his first press conference as U.S. president-elect.

You might wonder why in the face of evidence that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon Obama chooses to ignore this fact.


In December 2007, the United States National Intelligence Estimate (that represents the consensus view of all 16 American intelligence agencies) concluded, with a "high level of confidence”, that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and "with moderate confidence" that the program remains frozen as of mid-2007. The new estimate says that the enrichment program could still provide Iran with enough raw material to produce a nuclear weapon sometime by the middle of next decade but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons” at some future date.[36][37] Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said 70 percent of the U.S. report was "true and positive," but denied its allegations of Iran having had a nuclear weapons program before 2003. Russia has said there was no proof Iran has ever run a nuclear weapons program.[38] The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, has stated that he has seen "maybe some studies about possible weaponization", but "no evidence" of "an active weaponization program" as of October 2007.[7]

But will this shake up the faithful? I doubt it very much. While the faithful roll on the floor in ecstasy gibbering in tongues and frothing at the mouth over the election of a Black man reality rolls on its grim course toward more war with the “peace candidate” Obama making war whoops and leading the way. But don’t be surprised if Bush initiates a war with Iran before Obama is sworn into office. Despite the consensus of all 16 American intelligence agencies that Iran halted its nuclear weapon program in 2003 Obama insists they are pursuing a nuclear weapon. I would hazard a guess that what we see unfolding is that the Democratic Party wishes to prove once and for all that they are as strong on “defense” (for defense read war) as the Republican Party because they want to stay in power. As usual the wishes of the masses are completely disregarded and thrown out with the wash along with truth. But above all else the Democrats believe in America's right to lord it over the rest of the planet, this is the one overarching element of Obama's makeup that will make his presidency a continuation of the nightmare we have been living in for the last eight years.

The New York Times reports that under Secret Orders the U.S. has been carrying out secret previously undisclosed attacks in as many as 15 to 20 different nations including Pakistan, Syria, and Somalia but there is no mention of the American Death Squads that come in after whatever murderous attack, which usually results in the killing innocent women and children, to murder anyone left alive. Kudos to the New York Times who as usual leaves out major details like death squads.

Chris Floyd

The brutal conflict in Somalia – which has seen the U.S. bombing of fleeing civilians, "renditions" of innocent refugees to Ethiopia's torture dens, the usual "collateral damage" from botched "targeted assassinations" by American forces and the cheerfully admitted use of American death squads to "mop up" after covert ops – has been almost entirely ignored by the U.S. media and political establishments. [For copious links to these and other aspects of the U.S. involvement in Somalia, see Willing Executioners: America's Bipartisan Atrocity Deepens in Somalia.] It has not figured in the U.S. presidential contest at all; neither John McCain nor Barack Obama is in the least bit troubled by this killing spree on the imperial frontier.

These broad and not so secret powers are what Obama will be in charge of taking up where Bush left off, indeed, the Obama presidency is quite likely to be George Bush Act II. But all the faithful can proclaim is “Thank God Obama is here.” Just what will it take for the faithful to see what Obama is? When wars rage in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, and Somalia while the nation goes deeper into debt and financial recession and Martial Law has been declared? Perhaps not even then. As the hammer of tyranny falls on their heads no doubt they will continue to bleat and mewl over their Sainted Savior. Unrelentingly and time after time Obama has made the wrong decisions from FISA to appointing Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff and still the faithful continue to make excuses and apologies for their fast talking con man President-elect Obama.

Friday, November 07, 2008


It may be dawning on some that with the nomination and election of Obama they have bought the proverbial lemon. It reminds me of the time when a friend of mine bought a truck. The truck had a brand new paint job and looked great. It even ran great …for a little while. When my friend drove it home about 20 miles down the road white smoke began to pour out the exhaust pipe in huge billowing clouds. The previous owner had poured sawdust into the engine in order to cover up the fact that the rings were worn out and that the engine needed a complete rebuild. With Obama we barely got out of the driveway, not that there weren’t previous signs of trouble ahead.

John V. Whitbeck discusses the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff.

In the first major appointment of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama has named as his chief of staff Congressman Rahm Emanuel, an Israeli citizen and Israeli army veteran whose father, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was a member of Menachem Begin's Irgun forces during the Nakba and named his son after "a Lehi combatant who was killed" -- i.e., a member of Yitzhak Shamir's terrorist Stern Gang, responsible for, in addition to other atrocities against Palestinians, the more famous bombing of the King David Hotel and assassination of the UN peace envoy Count Folke Bernadotte.

In rapid response to this news, the editorial in the next day's Arab News (Jeddah) was entitled "Don't pin much hope on Obama -- Emanuel is his chief of staff and that sends a message". This editorial referred to the Irgun as a "terror organization" (a judgment call) and concluded: "Far from challenging Israel, the new team may turn out to be as pro-Israel as the one it is replacing."

That was always likely. Obama repeatedly pledged unconditional allegiance to Israel during his campaign, most memorably in an address to the AIPAC national convention which Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery characterized as "a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning", and America's electing a black president has always been more easily imagined than any American president's declaring his country's independence from Israeli domination.

Indeed, we can look forward to a smooth transition from Bush to Obama with very little change on the horizon. There may be some small change in domestic issues but with Obama’s bellicose stance toward the Middle East and Russia there is very little to look forward to regarding the U.S. imperial program.

Washington Times

William J. Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, who took part in a multilateral meeting in July with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, heads the State Department transition team, along with Patrick F. Kennedy, the undersecretary for management.

The department has set up "one-stop shopping" for the transition team on the first floor, where Mr. Obama's nominees for secretary of state and other senior posts will be briefed by both career diplomats and political appointees.

"We are trying to move issues as far down a constructive path as we can and make as much progress as we can," Mr. Burns said. "We'll move quickly and do everything we can to accelerate the confirmation process, which will be very important given the pace lots of issues are moving."

Officials predicted "continuity" on two of the five most urgent challenges -- North Korea and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On the other three -- Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan -- they said the new administration is likely to "build on" the Bush team's recent policies and take them much further.

"There aren't great alternatives on those issues," the State Department official said. It is clear, he added, that more troops are needed in Afghanistan, Iran should not have a nuclear weapon, North Korea's nuclear programs must be dismantled, troops in Iraq have to start pulling out, and an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal must be reached.

“Build on Bush policies and take them much further” while chilling should be no surprise if you actually listened to what Obama has been saying all along. That Obama will be able to reach a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israel is hardly likely if Obama continues to back the Israeli genocide and theft of Palestinian land. On Iran the most likely scenario is that Obama will make demands of Iran that no one would accept, point his finger at the Iranians claiming they won’t deal and use that as an excuse to bomb and invade that country with all the inherent dangers of such actions. We already know of Obama’s plans to further inflame the Middle East with his plans for sending more troops to Afghanistan, “the right war” as he likes to call it. Has everyone lost their senses? It wasn’t too long ago when people, including liberals, believed that hunting down terrorists was a job for police action, cooperation between various nations, but certainly not the job that militaries were created for as has been illustrated all too dismally with the Global War on Terror. Despite this Obama has promised to unilaterally send troops into Pakistan on wild goose chases with no regard at all for the people of Pakistan or their fervent wish that U.S. troops be kept out of their country. Isn’t this the exact same kind of thing Bush has been doing? It is Bush policy in no uncertain terms.

In the mean time the blood bath continues as the U.S. wages war against children.

While America continues its giddy, self-congratulatory celebration of "change," Afghans find themselves mired in the tragically familiar: yet another round of mourning for yet another massacre of innocent civilians in yet another blind, bludgeoning air strike by American forces.

This time almost 40 people, including 10 women and 23 children, were ripped to shreds of bone and viscera when an American missile struck a wedding party in the remote village of Wech Bakhtu, according to Washington's own hand-picked native satrap, President Hamid Karzai. As the Guardian and National Post report:

The bombing on Monday of Wech Baghtu in the southern province of Kandahar destroyed an Afghan housing complex where women and children had gathered to celebrate. Body parts littered the wreckage and farm animals lay dead.

Abdul Jalil, a 37-year-old grape farmer whose niece was getting married, said at the scene of the bombing that US troops and Taliban fighters had been fighting about half a mile from his home.

A short while later fighter planes bombed the complex, killing 23 children, 10 women and four men, he claimed.

"In the bombing, mostly women and children were killed," said villager Hyat Ullah. "Some lost their head. Some lost their hand. They were in very bad condition."

Such mass slaughters of civilians are now a regular occurrence in the occupied land. At last 18 people -- three women and 15 children -- were killed by an allied air strike in Helmand in mid-October. Some 90 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in a night raid on the village of Azizabad in September -- an atrocity that the Pentagon at first tried, My Lai-like, to cover up completely, but was eventually forced to partially acknowledge, admitting "only" 33 civilian deaths in a report that contradicted the eyewitness evidence gathered by the Afghan government, NGOs and UN investigators who detailed the much larger true death toll. In July, Americans bombed yet another wedding party in Nangahar, killing 47 civilians -- including the bride, as the NY Times notes.

I have to agree with Chris Floyd, just what does the U.S. have to be proud of?


But you can expect a smooth transition from Bush to Obama with no change or hope of change in the next four years unless Obama has a change of heart, if he has one that is.

from the Internet Archive:"a tale of two cities", 1946

This short film was made by the War Department in 1946.[public domain;link]

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama v. Onion

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Honeymooners

The honeymoon between Obama and his faithful will soon begin and a lot of answers about just who Obama is will be in plain sight for those who wish to see it. For me I hope that I have been completely and entirely wrong about Obama but I fear the worst. Obama is now perhaps the most dangerous individual on the planet. He obviously holds a charisma for many Americans and charismatic people worry me. Obama has made no effort to hide his plans for expanding the Global War on Terror, he has stated this many times on his long journey to the heights of power. The danger lies in Obama’s ability to put a more pleasant face on the slaughter of the victims in far-flung lands across the globe. Those very same powers that were handed over to George Bush by a self-centered and shameless Congress will be inherited by Obama. So now that power, instead of being in the hands of a meandering brainless fool, will be in the hands of a careful and competent Obama. I have often marked how once some precedents are set they have a tendency to become a permanent fixture, in this case, endless enduring war.

Obama pledged his fealty to the genocidal government of Israel and as if right on cue there is more violence between Israel and Gaza. If you criticize Israel for its violence the Democratic faithful will come right back with well it takes two to fight and while this may be true about fights in general it completely obscures the actual truth that Israel has been stealing Palestinian lands for years while brutalizing the Palestinians in what is actually a very one-sided affair with the sticks and stones of the Palestinians on side and a modern well equipped Israeli army backed by billions of U.S. dollars on the other. Likewise the Obama happy face will cause his faithful to line up behind him as he widens the War on Terror. Obama propelled himself to win the nomination with his opposition to the Iraq War yet the devil is in the details and few have the patience for details. Obama’s objection to the Iraq War was not that it was wrong, despite the lack of WMD or any Iraq connection to terrorists, but that it was not handled correctly. There is a universe of difference between opposing naked murderous aggression because it is wrong and opposing it because it was not done in a competent manner. Another detail glossed over by the Obama faithful is that Obama has pledged to withdraw from Iraq combat troops only which consists of about half of the U.S. troops stationed in Iraq nor does it address the equal number of thuggish hired killer mercenaries like Blackwater. These details are important yet they somehow fall between the cracks for the faithful and this spells danger for many innocent people who may find themselves in the path of Obama’s war machine.

It is a great misfortune that Obama has tied his own hands with his aggressive rhetoric concerning Afghanistan, a war that promises to be even more protracted than the war in Iraq. Worse still, we are not told what the conditions of victory would be meaning that it will be Obama who decides what victory is which hopefully does not mean murdering every man, woman, and child now living in that war-torn nation. In other words victory will be decided at some unknown date with unknown criteria, the very definition of an endless war. Clearly the election of Obama was due to people rejecting the Republican Party who played host to the parasitic neocons as much as it was due to Obama’s own charisma so how ironic it is that Obama will intensify our invasion of Afghanistan that may well make the Iraq War pale by comparison in the scope of its destruction both abroad and at home. Then there is Pakistan and Iran also in Obama’s crosshairs. It would be a cosmic joke if Obama pulls combat troops out of Iraq by sending them into Iran so conveniently located next to Iraq. In the end Obama’s charisma may make it easier for the U.S. to continue its imperial wars, wars that can only lead to the direst results with the faithful tagging along like puppy dogs, tails wagging, and tongues hanging out, as they fall in line with the Obama program of death.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I Traitor

It’s an appropriately gloomy and grey day here in coonskin country, otherwise known as Butte County California, which is an appropriate contrast to the bright hopes of Obama supporters who are chewing their nails over a possible Obama loss due to evil machinations by that devil incarnate John McCain on this penultimate day before our historic election. For me there is no joy in Mudville only a sick feeling in my gut as I watch the hopeful fawn-eyed Obama supporters who mean well in their desire to see the end of the open ended Global War on Terror though perhaps more importantly for the true believers a deliverance from a grim future of joblessness and accumulated bills that they may not be able to pay. Casey is up to bat again but it is strike three before the last pitch is flung.

George Bush the Younger may be leaving office soon but his policies shall live on in the guise of a young Senator from Illinois whose greatest asset is his ethnicity without which he would be seen for what he is, a lack luster con artist with a less than shining record as Senator whose qualifications for being president are less than inspiring much less the greasy little man he has chosen to be his running mate, Joe Biden of warmonger fame.

I wonder as well how long it will take the populace, if ever, to realize that the rotting and decadent platform atop which our “government” sits is well beyond the point of being able to fix itself. Though this is indeed an historic moment when our nation whose bloody and violent history toward African Americans will elect a Black Man to the Presidency Obama is in reality as white as you can get. His entire world view is that of White America and has not shirked his duty to criticize Black Americans with racial stereotyping of the worst sort. I also marvel at the ability of Obama’s supporters to repeat time and again that their modern day Moses is a liar and that is why they will vote for him. Obama doesn’t really mean what he says when he wants to increase the size of an already bloated military or that he really doesn’t want to spread the pall of death from Iraq to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. I for one do not believe that Obama is a liar, I believe him emphatically when he makes these claims. After all, that is the only reason that corporate America has allowed Obama to come this far as he sits on the threshold of becoming the next president.

This is why I don’t believe that this election, despite its historic-ness, is important at all. In fact, I view it as one of the most unimportant elections ever as both candidates agree on just about everything giving Americans a choice between brand A and brand A. But these are really none of the reasons I have decided to not vote in this election. I choose not to vote because what Obama and McCain intend to continue with, the War on Terror, is so evil, so amoral and soul sickening that I cannot bring myself to cast a vote for either of these lackeys to unbridled power. If people wish to vote for the “perceived” lesser of two evils, whoever that may be, well that is fine and I respect that. Others will vote for third party and independent candidates and that is fine as well. We can only do what we believe is right. For myself I choose not to support either “serious” candidate by not voting at all. I know a lot of people will find that unacceptable behavior considering democracy is a religion never to be questioned but if anyone believes that this election or any other election is going to “fix” anything you are more deluded than I ever imagined.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Should you vote? Does it matter? pt 1

1.Noam Chomsky and the "lesser of two evils":

2."He Will Probably End the War" - Obama Rally in WI, via the Veracifier:

I note that The Real News has changed the title of the Chomsky piece. Now it's "Chomsky: In swing states vote Obama without illusions." Another video snippet of their talk with him is here: "Chomsky on the Economy."

As far as the Veracifier piece goes, I can't help but feel a little sad, and think that even though kids are supposed to see things as they are in an unvarnished light, the girl who adds the caveat "probably" is nevertheless apparently enthusiastic about the probable end of the war and the probable savior, even as her qualification suggests that his hemming and hawing has registered with her-- well,probably.

But back to the questions, and Mimi's question from about a week ago-- if you should vote, and if it makes any difference, and how do ordinary people do something about our lumbering, out-of-control empire?

I don't think not voting is a valid option, but I'm not quick to put down people who don't vote. Sure, maybe it's laziness, maybe it's contentment, in some quarters. But I imagine for many non-voters it's the sense that US Democracy is an incredibly extravagant dog-and-pony show, and who ends up winning is unlikely to matter terribly much. Is that so easy to refute?

At the YearlyKos convention, the mixed reception for Hillary Clinton is more evidence that the liberal blogosphere might not take sides in the coming Democratic primary.

The only candidate who was booed louder than Clinton at Saturday's presidential debate was the unlikely left-winger Dennis Kucinich. He made the mistake of aping one-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who regularly attacked the Democratic leadership as a bunch of sellouts. "Why don't people vote?" Kucinich asked, rhetorically. "It's because they don't think there is much of a difference between the two parties." The booing immediately drowned Kucinich out. He had committed a cardinal sin, demeaning the Democratic Party before a crowd that works countless unpaid hours a week to make the party stronger. He had also provided, inadvertently, another reason for Clinton to smile. The YearlyKos community may not be her most natural constituency, but it is also unlikely to be her enemy.

more recently, Xymphora writes:
A very big Republican loss would be very good for the United States, not because the Democrats will be much better (they won't), but because it will entail a complete reevaluation by the old-school Republicans of the fundamental nature of their party, and the forced removal of the Christian fruitcakes from mainstream American politics.

more later.

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