Monday, January 03, 2005

A Cavernous Voice Laiden With The Screams of the Damned

I just watched Henry Kissenger on Fox talking about humanitarian relief. Maybe he got confused and wandered on set when he heared there was a disaster in Indonesia.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Morphology

Fallujah is an atrocity. It’s a war crime that is never likely to see any justice meted out in recompense. No one in a position of power is ever going to ever face any consequences. Instead, punishment will inevitably fall on those unfortunate enough to loose control of themselves in the heat of battle in a nonsensical war of attrition. Its clear that US policy has totally jettisoned any pretense of following the Geneva Conventions. Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva convention states: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed," and "collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” The leveling of an entire city of several hundred of thousand for harboring a guerilla movement falls under that under any reasonable definition. The men that weren’t killed were arrested. The guerilla leaders left before the attack with most of the population - if they were there at all. What have we done? How is it going to help one bit? What happens when the people come back and find most if not all of their city and its 77 mosques destroyed? Fallujah was the birthplace of the rebellion that threw out the British in 1920. It’s something that they’re proud of, and we have given them reason after reason to do it again.

The battle was deliberately timed to begin after the election. If it was so tactically important to “retake” Fallujah, why the wait? If the purpose of the attack was to help prepare the way for elections in January, why are Sunni candidates threatening to boycott the election because of it? If the Sunni’s boycott you can kiss a legitimate government goodbye. Once people start coming back to the city and the true extent of the destruction and death is known a boycott will probably be a sure thing, barring some kind of miracle. Why destroy the entire city? Why keep the Red Crescent out (Middle Eastern Red Cross)?

This was an old school slash and burn job. Its one of the oldest tactics for dealing with rebels. It’s a one two punch to beat down the rebel fighters themselves and scare the shit out of the civilians who actively and silently support them. The idea is to kill and destroy as much as possible. One step closer to the dark side. Bush is trying to have it both ways: He wants to brutalize and make the Iraqis fear us enough to abandon hope of pushing us out, but he also wants to be seen as trying to help, protect, and safeguard the Iraqis. The result is going to be a disaster. You can’t mix and match. Its either or. Mix and match gets you Algeria, Vietnam, Soviet Afghanistan, North Ireland, etc… As a country that supposedly works for democracy and human rights, the only reasonable choice is doing the right thing and make an honest attempt at rebuilding. But the only thing on the minds of our Pentagon friends were no bid contracts and creating a government for the benefit of the American Enterprise Institute. Why is everyone surprised that the Iraqis got angry at us? We blew their shit up, stole from them, tortured them, killed them, and for that they’re supposed to thank us? “Winning” in Iraq now means killing a lot of Iraqis. We are not the good guys. We are not the underdog. We are not the White Knight or the Good Sheriff. We are The Galactic Empire. We make a desolation and call it peace. We reelected Abu Ghraib.

This is Marlboro Marine thing is bullshit. What the fuck is wrong with people? He was under orders to go and kill people. This is not sexy. He was there because the Bush administration are less than worthless and bordering on avaricetic. The failure of our policies is what led to this mess. There is a line between support and fetishizing. A sexual icon should be the last thing that comes out of all this.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A Manifesto For Radicalization

Tough times are coming. Even if Kerry had won there wouldn't be a whole lot he could do. Since we have reelected a mind-shatteringly incompetent government you can feel it coming much faster. In response, liberals in general and the Dems in particular, are radicalizing as I type. You can see it clearly in the liberal response to the election. Things like Jesusland, while hi-larious, have very real sentiments behind them. People who used to be moderate are moving towards partisanship, and current centrists and moderates of both wings are finding themselves ignored and diminishing in number. Centrism is a luxury afforded by periods of wide spread and sustained prosperity. The post WWII consensus is no longer operable. That constitutional order is collapsing as the Agrarian civil war era and the Coal Gold standard era economies before it.

Our current order is based on oil to provide large cheap energy for a liberal welfare state and the suburban lifestyle. You can call it the energy/black-gold standard. Theoretically our money is based on our economic output and not pegged to the price of any sort of commodity. But our output is determined how much energy we can produce and ultimately you can reduce all production down to the common thread of energy costs. IE how much oil we have to burn. Suburban life is possible because of cars. Cars and highways make it possible for us to use large amounts of land. That widening of the land supply makes it cheaper and lets people have a life style that would be impossible in a big urbanized city. Thus we trade capital for energy and energy for less rent. This process has been repeated for things like strip malls, supermarkets, and Wal-Mart style retailers. But we have hit the limits of substitution for a couple of reasons. One is that oil reserves are limited in the US and so we have to buy it from other countries. Two the bandwidth at which we can pump and distribute oil is limited as well. The restrictions on substitution started around the 70s, but not because we're going to run out of oil. To combat this the ideas of globalization and "free-trade" was born.

"Free-trade" in sarcasm quotes is of course nothing of the kind. Globalization shifts energy costs to poor nations where energy use is much lower thus saving businesses oodles of money. Ironically globalization has exasperated the problem in two ways. Firstly the social contract that came with globalization promised to replace lost jobs in manufacturing with white collar service and information jobs. For a while it was kept and let to the tech boom in the 90s. But then businesses realized they could substitute these jobs as well. Globalization led to booms in places like China and India. The growing economies and huge populations gave birth to a huge professional class willing to work for much less than US workers. Also these countries are finally beginning to industrialize thanks to the huge flow of money. They've quickly burned through huge amounts of coal and now are trying to convert to oil. In 10 years China alone will use more oil than the entire world does now. The US is BLEEDING money to try and sustain energy production because its that energy that keeps our huge appetite for consumption going. Exhibits A and B are the deficit and the current account deficit; both are the largest ever. The rest of the world is literally supporting us.

We're caught in a catch-22. The rest of the world is supporting us, but we support them as well. The relationship is very, very fragile. The US is the only country with a population that has enough capital to absorb the huge amount of excess production that fuels the economies of countries like Japan and China. But we do that buying with enormous amounts of debt. But we're the only country with a military that can keep the supply of oil flowing. We are the oil police. So we keep the oil going so production can keep gong so we can keep buying. But that cycle is headed for collapse. As the supply of available oil shrinks it becomes more valuable. The middle east which has the largest percentage of oil reserves is becoming increasingly unstable. The authoritarian governments we support/ed have or are about to be toppled. These new governments are very hostile to the US and are likely to disrupt the oil flow. Iraq was, indeed, about oil, but not the way you might think. Oil had been creeping up in price for a while. Iraqi oil was effectively untouchable because of Sadaam. We didn't go in to seize it for ourselves we went in to put oil back on the market and keep oil prices down for everyone. But its gone all wrong. Production is constantly being hammered by attacks. Our military is bogged down and we have lost the industrial world's consent to be its policeman.

All these forces are coming together to produce a crisis. Since the Democrats have largely controlled the post-war order the Republicans have been radicalized for some time and have already formulated a response: fascism to bring about a feudal style socio-economic order. The idea is to freeze growth so that the current order can stay competitive as energy costs rise. They'll do that by marginalizing and cannibalizing the industrial and technology economies and the urban growth oriented lifestyle they support and turn that capital towards the military, agriculture, and a new aristocracy. The military acts like a huge bottomless pit for money. Civilian contractors get paid 100,000 for driving trucks in Iraq. A bullet's value is gone after its used and doesn't ever have to be expended. But it probably will be. Feudal societies are very war like and highly religious. Two characteristics of many conservative republicans and certainly the Bush administration. Since the 70s, year after year more and more programs are gutted or replaced with less expensive and less effective alternatives. As the viability of the welfare state continues to deteriorate more and more people are going to turn to the Republican solution for stability. That solution requires religious adherence and economic trade-offs for welfare-like support from the church - which was the function of a national church in feudal times. Wealthy corprate Republicans have made a deal with fundamentalists. The wealthy and the religious leaders will form the nobility. They have agreed to trade growth for power. The Wealthy become the aristocracy and the only ones capable of charging rend and owning pattens. The aristocracy empowers the church to enforce its beliefs on the population. People trade growth and liberties for stability and support from the church. Classic feudal society.

Democrats have not formulated a response. They've been busy trying to maintain the viability of the current order. Now that they've been marginalized they can finally get around to reorganizing to create a progressive alternative to the Republicans. Its going to be nasty. Two radicalized parties in a less-than-zero-sum game. So we come back to the centrists. While they're complaints are heart-felt there is no alternative. Its time to choose sides. Its time to put aside childish consumer politics. This is serious. If 2000 wasn't clear enough 2004 better fucking be. We're not going to win by offering the same god damn shit again, or by appealing to religious sentiments. Conservative Christian fundamentalism is about creating a new social order that runs completely contrary to liberalism. In order to win votes Dems need to offer a radically different approach that diffuses the appeal of the Republican position and achieves the liberal goals of modernism, progress, and justice. Call it the Real Deal after the reality-based-community if you want. I would. It isn't about moving more to the left or right or center. Its about creating a liberal society and an economic structure that can maintain strong growth for decades. Real growth and progress are the only things that are going to give people enough hope and economic ablility to sacrifice their traditions and join the Democrats.

What does that mean? It means undertaking energy reform like we undertook the space race. It means cutting the military down. Its also going to mean some kind of conscription to dilute the uniformity of the military caste. Its going to mean the urbanization of suburban sprawls like Southern California, and other parts of the west. Its going to mean the end of traditional forms of subsidy and replaced by commodity and technology subsidy. It also means strong support of... I can't believe I'm saying this... free market capitalism. Like it or not capitalism is the best system for producing growth. Ideally this will be capitalism on liberal terms. There won't be any room for compromise. Liberal capitalism will stand in stark contrast to the running in place that results from feudal communism. It has to, or else we lose. The only choices are growth or stasis, and as far as I'm concerned stasis is the death of liberalism.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Worse Than Useless

Rohrabacher and Cox.

Oh maaaaan... At least someone had fun on tuesday.

I went to bed thinking that hey at least they won't concede until every vote is counted this time. Boy was I surprised when I woke up.

The first lesson that the Democrats should have learned after last year was to fight; fight until you're dead. Gore lasted longer than this. Pathetic. It was a long shot but Kerry could have least made a show out of it. Show that he was willing to go all the way to defend his party and his people.

No presidency and lost more of congress. Uhg. Its great Obama won, but he was running against Alan Keys, the craziest stooge the Republicans have.

I watched Kerry try to out conservative Bush during the debates. What was he doing? Why are you trying to appeal to conservatives? What is your platform? What are you doing? People don't trust Democrats to implement a conservative agenda, and with good reason. They have Republicans for that. It isn't about tactics, its about substance. Even this year the media noise was all about how the two candidates are the same. When are they going to get it? In an election between a fake centrist conservative and a real conservative they're going to pick the real one.

The Democratic party needs to dump the centrists and the technocrats like hot rocks; like YESTERDAY. They didn't want to win. They abandoned their constituents and betrayed the trust of the new political apparatus that was built to put them in power. If the power of a global network that can raise millions of dollars and can run attack and defense for you for FREE can't put you in power, NOTHING will. EVER. Neolibralsim needs to DIE. Now. It needs to die as dead as paleolibralism.

Politics as a consumer culture needs to die. While the Democrats are wasting elections trying to find the particular flavor of centrism that people want, the Republicans are consolidating their power.

There was no fatal mistake that would have saved Kerry. He lost by millions of votes. Edwards couldn't have done it either. He's another conservative Democrat. He would have been tarred as inexperienced, or not religious enough, or too gay friendly, or SOMETHING. Hillary wouldn't do any better nor would any of the other goof balls holding their tails between their legs.

The third way, the new way is the way of neomodernism, the way of the reality-based community. Democrats need to stop lying and face reality. The reality is that we are facing an energy crisis. We cannot afford our current lifestyle for much longer. The world is going to become more and more hostile to us as we try to grab and burn as much oil as we can. It will happen even faster if Iraq slips into chaos, which is likely. Our threat of invasion will no longer be credible. Democrats need to field people who understand this. People who will lead instead of pander, and who will fight for civility instead of giving in to insanity.

Modern democrats will have to show people that the old America, America as the only super power is a myth, and a lie. They will show people a better way to live. They will create an America that has a future instead of selling a doomed future to pay for the present. To get that party requires sacrifice. The current party has shown it is not up to that task and chooses instead to lie to its constituents and continue on the current path to insignificance. Being a liberal is more than health care and government programs. Its about fighting for justice on all fronts. These Democrats will not fight and they are not liberal. Throw them out.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The Debates

Why does fake news have more substance than real news? Maybe its fitting though since everybody is crazy nowadays. These are days where only a comedian has the skill to properly engage a subject seriously and still be funny. John Stewart walked all over Giuliani, part time asshole and the former mayor of the countries biggest city who's still got that national hero smell. He had it coming I suppose. He had the impossible job of defending the indefensible, and his weak babbling candidate chose to avoid answering for his own decisive leadership every chance he got. George Bush, in a brilliant tactical move, chose instead to viciously attack entire legions of nefarious straw men. He was entirely victorious, and by the end of the 90 minute brawl, he stood triumphant; towering over his opponent mounted on the corpses of his imaginary enemies. There was no contest of wills; not one drop of sweat was shed as he hacked away. So great was his power, he sighed with irritation and rolled his eyes at the futility of it all. George Bush lost the facts debate, but he certainly could win the narrative debate. Facts cannot be changed, but the story of what happened can be redrawn by force of will and imagination. If I've learned anything, its that republicans have infinite capacity to imagine the most seductive and optimistic of fantasy lands. I don't know if you heard, but Iraq was a success. That’s what they said anyway, and they deserve a chance to have their story told. Newton's Law of Journalism: for every story there are two equal and opposite opposing sides. At this moment there are hundreds of republican elves making beautiful toys for all the good little journalists out there. They'll be way more fun than anything democrats will give them. Democrats don't know how to make fun toys.

JFK on the other hand was not another JFK. He certainly sounded Presidential and looked stately and serious. But he was arguing the Facts debate, and he certainly won. The facts are as he stated, and he is arguing action based on those facts. With facts as your ally its hard to loose, but you have to attack in order to win. He did not shoot to kill. You don't have to hulk out to attack someone in a debate, and in fact you'll automatically loose if you do. But all it takes is a word. Kerry should have Killed Bush with a sentence. Something calmly stated. A matter of fact conversational bitch slap, like something from a British period drama. I wanted tears. I wanted to see him suddenly stripped naked; clutching desperately at the podium trying to hide his sad contemptible shame before the entire world. I wanted to see Kerry the God of Life and Death. The one they tell stories about. But no. Alack-a-day, he played it safe and certain. He let Bush escape with his life, and he'll have to fight a constant uphill battle to combat the sound-bite sized arguments Bush pathetically delivered. Inevitably, context will be lost as the mass of republican operatives swarm over the airwaves declaring the president won because he didn't utterly fail. Tomorrow at 5am Eastern they'll activate the loom, spinning, using the President's unmistakable words to weave a grand web of lies that is more real that what really happened. When you're not wedded to using facts to advance your argument, its easy. If democrats still want to use facts and win, they'll have to learn the art of evisceration. Expose lies and incompetence in the most ruthless way possible. As long as what they're saying is tied to the real world I would whole heartedly support such a move. As for tonight, my team "won". Over the next few day's we'll see if someone hasn't gone back with an eraser and turned Bushes "F" into an "S". For Success.


Friday, September 10, 2004

Hey It Only Took 18 Months

From This Is Rumor Control:

ABC's Nightline will be taking a bold step tonight at 11:35 pm by revealing the media's "dirty little secret" of not reporting how horrific war really is. By failing to show the truth about war's deeply disturbing images, has the media made war too easy to accept? Nightline will grapple with the question of how far the media should go in protecting viewers from real life images of war, atrocities and terrorism. Would our nation learn a different lesson from reporting the truth? Nightline intends to stretch the envelope beyond the confines set by the administration and military to shield the public.

A caution to viewers. Nightline will present graphic images never shown before on television. Even the producers are torn over what to air and what is too disturbing for anyone to watch. Take heed.

Anyone that's seen Fahrenheit 9/11 already has an idea of the disconnect of tone and accuracy the coverage from the reality. I'll be watching this all the same. Everyone should but war advocates have a particular duty to do so. If there was any justice in this world war supporters from all ages and all places should be forced to see exactly to what the consequences of their support have brought to those far away places.

Source Link

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Iran-Contra Part Deu

Everyone knows its cool to be retro and party like its 1986. I'm over here with my Voltron, you're over there imagining you're that chick in Flashdance, and those guys in the Pentagon are breaking laws and making back-ally deals that involve everyone's favorite theocractic Middle Eastern state. No not Afganistan, Iran! Now, maybe no one noticed when all those guys from Iran-Contra were given their jobs back. Hey thats cool, who read the news anyway? As long as they don't fuck things up too bad yeah?

Oops.

This is one of those conspiracies that makes people believe the crazy ones. I don't quite get it all yet, but it all involves the neoconservatives in the pentagon, the war in Iraq, Iran, Isreal, Italian foreign intelligence service (wtf?), the forged documents that were used as evidence to show Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger, and the outing of a CIA agent. Anyway, go read this article from the Washingtom Monthly, and here from mid-east expert Juan Cole.