Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Betting Pool: Imperial Collapse

by DeAnander Thu May 17th, 2007 at 10:36:20 AM EST

The ever-reliable Chalmers Johnson -- how trying it must be to be an intelligent political analyst in an age of such aggressive idiocy:

Imperialism and militarism have thus begun to imperil both the financial and social well-being of our republic. What the country desperately needs is a popular movement to rebuild the Constitutional system and subject the government once again to the discipline of checks and balances. Neither the replacement of one political party by the other, nor protectionist economic policies aimed at rescuing what's left of our manufacturing economy will correct what has gone wrong. Both of these solutions fail to address the root cause of our national decline.

    I believe that there is only one solution to the crisis we face. The American people must make the decision to dismantle both the empire that has been created in their name and the huge (still growing) military establishment that undergirds it.[...]

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob


Apologies for the lengthy quote, but CJ's multipoint, specific, and pragmatic political programme is lucidly expressed here and I doubt I could summarise it as well as he has.  A related point of interest not raised by CJ is:  what can other nations do to help encourage such a reform programme, i.e. to promote democratic renewal inside the rogue state?

I believe that there is only one solution to the crisis we face. The American people must make the decision to dismantle both the empire that has been created in their name and the huge (still growing) military establishment that undergirds it.  It is a task at least comparable to that undertaken by the British government when, after World War II, it liquidated the British Empire. By doing so, Britain avoided the fate of the Roman Republic - becoming a domestic tyranny and losing its democracy, as would have been required if it had continued to try to dominate much of the world by force.

    For the U.S., the decision to mount such a campaign of imperial liquidation may already come too late, given the vast and deeply entrenched interests of the military-industrial complex. To succeed, such an endeavor might virtually require a revolutionary mobilization of the American citizenry, one at least comparable to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

    Even to contemplate a drawing back from empire - something so inconceivable to our pundits and newspaper editorial writers that it is simply never considered - we must specify as clearly as possible precisely what the elected leaders and citizens of the United States would have to do. Two cardinal decisions would have to be made. First, in Iraq, we would have to initiate a firm timetable for withdrawing all our military forces and turning over the permanent military bases we have built to the Iraqis. Second, domestically, we would have to reverse federal budget priorities.

    In the words of Noam Chomsky, a venerable critic of American imperialism: "Where spending is rising, as in military supplemental bills to conduct the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would sharply decline. Where spending is steady or declining (health, education, job training, the promotion of energy conservation and renewable energy sources, veterans benefits, funding for the UN and UN peacekeeping operations, and so on), it would sharply increase. Bush's tax cuts for people with incomes over $200,000 a year would be immediately rescinded."

    Such reforms would begin at once to reduce the malevolent influence of the military-industrial complex, but many other areas would require attention as well. As part of the process of de-garrisoning the planet and liquidating our empire, we would have to launch an orderly closing-up process for at least 700 of the 737 military bases we maintain (by official Pentagon count) in over 130 foreign countries on every continent except Antarctica. We should ultimately aim at closing all our imperialist enclaves, but in order to avoid isolationism and maintain a capacity to assist the United Nations in global peacekeeping operations, we should, for the time being, probably retain some 37 of them, mostly naval and air bases.

    Equally important, we should rewrite all our Status of Forces Agreements - those American-dictated "agreements" that exempt our troops based in foreign countries from local criminal laws, taxes, immigration controls, anti-pollution legislation, and anything else the American military can think of. It must be established as a matter of principle and law that American forces stationed outside the U.S. will deal with their host nations on a basis of equality, not of extraterritorial privilege.

    The American approach to diplomatic relations with the rest of the world would also require a major overhaul. We would have to end our belligerent unilateralism toward other countries as well as our scofflaw behavior regarding international law. Our objective should be to strengthen the United Nations, including our respect for its majority, by working to end the Security Council veto system (and by stopping using our present right to veto). The United States needs to cease being the world's largest supplier of arms and munitions - a lethal trade whose management should be placed under UN supervision. We should encourage the UN to begin outlawing weapons like land mines, cluster bombs, and depleted-uranium ammunition that play particularly long-term havoc with civilian populations. As part of an attempt to right the diplomatic balance, we should take some obvious steps like recognizing Cuba and ending our blockade of that island and, in the Middle East, working to equalize aid to Israel and Palestine, while attempting to broker a real solution to that disastrous situation. Our goal should be a return to leading by example - and by sound arguments - rather than by continual resort to unilateral armed force and repeated foreign military interventions.

    In terms of the organization of the executive branch, we need to rewrite the National Security Act of 1947, taking away from the CIA all functions that involve sabotage, torture, subversion, overseas election rigging, rendition, and other forms of clandestine activity. The president should be deprived of his power to order these types of operations except with the explicit advice and consent of the Senate. The CIA should basically devote itself to the collection and analysis of foreign intelligence. We should eliminate as much secrecy as possible so that neither the CIA, nor any other comparable organization ever again becomes the president's private army.

    In order to halt our economic decline and lessen our dependence on our trading partners, the U.S. must cap its trade deficits through the perfectly legal use of tariffs in accordance with World Trade Organization rules, and it must begin to guide its domestic market in accordance with a national industrial policy, just as the leading economies of the world (particularly the Japanese and Chinese ones) do as a matter of routine. Even though it may involve trampling on the vested interests of American university economics departments, there is simply no excuse for a continued reliance on an outdated doctrine of "free trade."

    Normally, a proposed list of reforms like this would simply be rejected as utopian. I understand this reaction. I do want to stress, however, that failure to undertake such reforms would mean condemning the United States to the fate that befell the Roman Republic and all other empires since then. That is why I gave my book Nemesis the subtitle "The Last Days of the American Republic."

    When Ronald Reagan coined the phrase "evil empire," he was referring to the Soviet Union, and I basically agreed with him that the USSR needed to be contained and checkmated. But today it is the U.S. that is widely perceived as an evil empire and world forces are gathering to stop us. The Bush administration insists that if we leave Iraq our enemies will "win" or - even more improbably - "follow us home." I believe that, if we leave Iraq and our other imperial enclaves, we can regain the moral high ground and disavow the need for a foreign policy based on preventive war. I also believe that unless we follow this path, we will lose our democracy and then it will not matter much what else we lose. In the immortal words of Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

This is the rousing conclusion of one of CJ's typically  well-footnoted and carefully composed screeds.  As with Chomsky, there's a deceptive legalistic dryness to the style that tends to anaesthetise the reader somewhat to the actual (radical) honesty of the content.  The rest of the article -- the somewhat lengthy preamble documenting the current level of corruption, incompetence, and megalomania w/in the governing elite -- is well worth reading... particularly for Eurolanders curious about how the US could have deterioriated to this point of embarrassing self-caricature, or wondering what the Sarko political machine may be aiming for at home (i.e. a climax ecosystem of crony capitalism and finance feudalism).

I question at least one of CJ's assumptions, i.e. that the UK is securely democratic (D notices, ubiquitous surveillance, security state apparatus, national ID, camp follower of US wars, etc).  But his overall diagnosis of imperialism as a quotidian fever in the body politic, with a poor prognosis for longevity or happiness, seems sound enough to me.  Alors faites vos jeux mesdames et messieurs --  sometimes it seems we are getting pretty close to the moment where rien ne va plus.  Do we feel lucky?

Poll
Will the American Electorate act in time to restore the Republic and dismantle the Empire?
. better than 90 percent chance for a successful Reform movement (I'm optimistic) 0%
. 75 percent, I think with a little encouragement and good luck this could happen 2%
. 50 percent, it's all in the balance, could go either way from here 15%
. 25 percent, slender hope, the mil/ag/pharm/media mafia are too deeply dug in 27%
. 10 percent, I'm hanging on to any shreds of hope I can find 15%
. you must be kidding -- the US has jumped the shark and it's too late for remedial action 38%

Votes: 44
Results | Other Polls
Display:
I think generally empires simply push the envelope until they get themselves into a war they can't win, and they are overrun. It is possible that a war will put the empire under such strain that there is a revolution (see the Second German Reich and the Russian Empire, which both unravelled during—and because of—WWI). A more fortunate possibility is that when the rot sets in, a new leader will carry out a controlled demolition (see Gorbachev).

For the US, the best one can hope for is a President who becomes a reformist after assuming office (as in the case of Gorby, if it were obvious that they set out to reform the system, they wouldn't be allowed to assume power) and then one can only hope that when internal conflict is unleashed it doesn't spill over.

Otherwise the US is going to have to lose WWIII, or something.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 05:43:28 PM EST
The reckoning will be economic and the account will be reckoned in dollars and oil.

The US will simply be unable to afford to fuel their colossally far-flung outposts.

Those who think the US economy is a house of cards are correct in financial terms.

But the sheer scale of US human resources in terms of ingenuity, knowledge and sheer entrepreneurial spirit are phenomenal. So too, the massive agricultural and other resources currently given over to monoculture and cash crops.

If the US could turn their phenomenal capacity to constructive use, instead of using it to drain the lifeblood of so many regions through conflict and debt, then anything is possible.

And what gives me hope was the fact that within 18 months a 19 year old single-handedly destroyed the (US-dominated) business model of the global music industry.

This process of peer to peer connection and disintermediation is beyond the point of no return, and I believe that a "tipping point" is approaching.

China, Japan, Russia and the rest will soon be holding their dollar bills up to the light and seeing them for what they are: worthless pieces of paper.

Then it will not matter how powerful the US is in military terms: their government will not be able to save their economy - but I believe their people can.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 06:25:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least under Communism people knew they were being lied to.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 06:52:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a really depressing thought.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 07:49:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you talking about my sig or about the perfection of our propaganda apparatus?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 02:22:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 02:37:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 04:37:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us...."

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:41:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once the base for the empire is gone, even a small war can tip it. The Sardaukars are still milling around and the long shadows of former wars are enough to keep the empire going until they loose.

The base of the US empire is clearly economic and if it is gone, the Irag war might be all that is needed to finish it. Iraq becomes to the US empire what Afghanistan was to the Soviet empire.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 07:43:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's interesting about the US position is that it could--with sufficient direction and energy -- turn the country around quite quickly. It would need a couple of things. First, as rdf pointed out in an excellent comment over at ProgressiveHistorians,
much US militarism these days is (implicitly) promoted as Keynesian economic stimulus. If we cut back on useless or destructive military projects we would toss many people out of work. There is no room in the political spectrum to discuss whether this stimulus could be applied to other sectors instead.

This is spot on. My only follow up questioned why is there no room in the political spectrum for advancing alternate stimulus packages? (outside, of course, that we are ruled by troglodytes) I think that's where activists need to start pushing, re-funnel much of the government defense spending into alternate energy solutions (desperately needed), subsidize a nationwide 'solar/wind initiative' for new and older homes, create the next e-vehicle and revamp our transportation infrastructure, make every government building energy self-sustaining by 2050, grow AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps dramatically, pay off our UN dues, etc...  We can quibble about the details, of course, and I know folks like Starvid would argue for nuclear, but just getting the discussion centered on redirecting funds towards broadly speaking C02 free technologies would be a massive improvement. Any of these ideas would contribute funds directly to private and public sectors in the US which would pour money back into the economy.

As for the military? Let the USAF hold a bake sale to pay for their next F-22, as they used to say...:-) The dependence on military spending economics is what's killing us at bottom, if those resources were redirected toward R&D to make self-sustaining CO2 free technologies highly marketable, we could solve global warming, and sell the technology out to the rest of the world at a profit-- the American way, afterall.

But it's a long shot, really. Given where we are. On the poll, I only gave us a %25 chance--and even that is probably a shade too optimistic--though I would love to be proved wrong.

by delicatemonster (delicatemons@delicatemonster.com) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 10:04:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This doesn't work because it doesn't square with the US narrative of aggressively potent machismo.

The right especially believes that it's living in a fantasy world where all it has to do is swagger into town with its massive weaponry and the rest of the world acknowledges it not just as heroic winners, but as saviours.

Iraq is just one more example of policy being dictated by a stale collection of old men who really believe this is how it works.

You can't retool the economy without retooling the national psyche. And since the mythology more or less goes back to the first days of the US, that's not an easy thing to do.

Narratives only usually seem to get retooled when people get a nasty reality check that tells them what they used to believe was wrong. And even then, people usually jump in the direction that saves patriotic face rather than dealing with the new reality like adults.

It would take an exceptional leader to change the direction of the narrative. And there would be a significant proportion of the population who would hate him (or her) passionately for trying to make them give up the guns and big toys.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 05:33:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iraq is just one more example of policy being dictated by a stale collection of old men who really believe this is how it works

I am not entirely convinced it isn't working. They have regained an access toehold to the resources of Iraq, and better than that in the Kurdish region. Despite their claims to the contrary a balkanization of the country is a likely outcome and perhaps one they wanted all along. The bushistas who started this mess will be crucified but the conditions to access and exploit most of the resources will remain.

by Fete des fous on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 11:34:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are two separate issues here. One is whether or not military resource grabs work. And they do - at least up to a point. Especially when the goal is to create instability, which seems to have been what happened in Iraq.

But there's also the narrative, and that's clearly nonsense, as it was in Vietnam and in so many other places.

I'm not sure how cynical the leaders are. Bush keeps making interesting Freudian slips which suggest that he knows it's all a joke and that he's really the sales manager, not the CEO.

But a lot of popular support - such as it is - for the right comes from that macho rescuer here-comes-the-cavalry narrative.

Many Americans will tell you that it was the US that saved Europe from the Nazis - even though it was the Russian campaign that effectively destroyed at least half of the German army, and even though Eastern Europe was sold to the Soviets at Yalta.

And that was partly because the Western faction was too spineless and inept to take more of a stand during the negotiations.

So I don't know if it's a Straussian two-level system of rhetoric for the proles and realpolitik for the pols. Or whether they truly believe their own PR.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:08:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree my remarks are not central to your point. Concerning resource grabs in Iraq, I am not sure I can imagine the details but it seems they had little to lose considering Saddam's designs w.r.t. the reserve currency and partnership in the development of the 2nd (1st?) largest oil reserve on the planet, in the midst of Peak Oil. Access to much of the resource could be retained even if the US was forced to eventually withdraw.

The spokespeople can appear to believe in the P.R., yet it seems improbable that much is left to chance or incompetence in the running of the empire.

by Fete des fous on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 02:47:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm feeling optimistic tonight  so I'll go for the 50%

most nights I'd  be down with the shark jumping mob.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 06:02:11 PM EST
When no one is left to finance our debt, you can bet there will be war in the streets when the government says "sorry, we need 100% of your tax dollars to build nuclear subs."

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 07:02:15 PM EST
It's getting mighty close to 50% now. I don't see a revolution at 100%. Besides they will never say they need 100% any more than they are saying they need 50%.

Lack of social services at 100%? Already the middle class and the upper class don't seem to depend much on social services outside of the police and military - and the police seem to be more and more self-financing.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 07:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no money for roads, police, emergency services, or schools - I can't imagine people just taking that. There is a breaking point, particularly, I think, if it becomes common knowledge that the living conditions in other countries are better.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 12:34:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Currently the conventional wisdom among a nonnegligible fraction of the population is that everywhere outside the US is the 3rd world. See my "depressing though" above" on the chances of that changing.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 02:33:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This of course explains their view of Europe, which is barely a little above 3rd world, and will only pull itself out of its mud hut and starving goat heritage if it does things The American Way.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 05:36:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're just jealous...
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 05:50:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(do I need to put </snark>?)
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 05:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not really.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 10:03:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Barely?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:00:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I said "if it becomes common knowledge" I meant it. Your (and everyone else's) point about the state of the information this country is getting is valid, but propaganda of any sort has limits.

While a lot of people will disagree with this, the current difference in social and living conditions between the US and Europe is very narrow. It's certainly narrow enough for that sort of propaganda to work on a certain portion of the populace, even the portion that suffers from our poor distribution of wealth in the US vs. Europe.

If we come to a place where American cities are in full decline, unemployment is rampant, jobs are unavailable, and opportunity is gone (I'm thinking 1930's depression), but the same is not true of Europe - that sort of reality can't be completely hidden. Unless the media comes under full control of the government, such an event WILL be covered, as advertisers have no values, and anything that stokes negative emotions gets people to watch TV.

Not wanting to start a pie fight here, but I don't like the hyperbole contained in your comment. Deep seated fear comes with any superiority complex. When the US was in recession in the early 90's and the auto industry was on its death bed while Japan was conquering the capitalist world, there was deep regret and fear of Japanese prowess and American inferiority. Let's add a bit of nuance.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 01:51:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
conditions are never better anywhere else -- the grass is always greenest on our side of the fence because it's our grass...

I'm repeatedly surprised at e.g. the number of USians who call Canada "Canuckistan" and consider it a "commie" country -- and/or believe that thousands of people die in Canada from inadequate health care and hundreds of Canadians cross the border begging for superior US medical attention.  this Big Lie about Canadian health refugees (in general the refugee problem is in the other direction) is repeated by wingnuts intermittently and seems a very popular tall tale...  one among many about the inherent superiority of America in every sector.

it all gives me a lot more historical insight into the Soviet reality bubble in its heyday...  it really is possible to construct a kind of information bell-jar, a kind of Truman Show, w/in national borders -- if you have sufficient monopoly/oligopoly control of the air waves and print media.  the current wave of anti-blogger rantings, "urgent need to bring the Internet under control" panics etc. could not unreasonably be viewed as a manifestation of elite fears that there is an information channel not yet under their control;  however the Internet works just as well for their agenda as against it (ah, those busy little Freepers) so... who knows how that will play out in the end.

frankly it all makes me want to pull the covers over my head.  anyone else have those moments?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 03:03:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]

frankly it all makes me want to pull the covers over my head.  anyone else have those moments?


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 03:16:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I go board a plane to sign loans on one billion euros worth of wind farms (more on that soon, I hope).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 03:18:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So where do I invest - or does only Big Wind get to play? :)
by Number 6 on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 06:31:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can buy shares of Wind Turbine manufacturers. Vestas, Gamesa, GE, Siemens...

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 06:36:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks!
Greed is Good.
by Number 6 on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 07:27:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that their stock might be overvalued even assuming the Wind Turbine market has a healthy future.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 07:38:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
frankly it all makes me want to pull the covers over my head.  anyone else have those moments?

You have moments when you don't want to?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 04:06:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

But Reality has a habit of intruding.

Truman DID get out of the Show...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If "The Truman Show" had been reality, the producer would not have called off his storm. Truman got out because it is fiction.
by det on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:27:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Disagree: the producer was acting "rationally" in the circumstances.

Simple calculation.

"If I kill Truman: end of show. It I let him live, I might persuade him to stay, and the show goes on."

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point. Truman was lucky he had a rational producer. Unfortunately, I don't know that we can say the same for ourselves.
by det on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:58:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You sound like civilised gentlemen playing tennis.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:59:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No-one civilised plays tennis any more....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 09:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as the media controls the message and most American get their news from about 12 minutes TV watching every three days; the country will remain controlled by the elite Imperialists. The weaker the US dollar; the greater ris ein the stock market and house prices.

What I do see the US doing is undermining the strength of the British Pound and Euros in order for the US dollar to 'appear' stronger.

by An American in London on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 12:22:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for an example of the hermetic seamlessless of the media system I think about recent flaps over shock jocks and hate-talk radio, wingnut TV etc... there's a fuss about some on-air wannabe Goebbels who goes a bit "too far" with his racist or misogynist drivel, and he gets allegedly fired, usually just shuffled off to some subsidiary network of the same corporation;  and then the "first amendment liberals" come out of the woodwork invoking every case of State censorship ever recorded and yapping about the necessity of protecting our precious freedoms of speech from the heavy hand of the State...

like they don't understand that the same 4 companies who own all their media -- including the shock jocks and the hate-talk radio stations -- are the same companies that own the bomb factories and whose revolving doors staff the national policy agencies and whose slush funds buy politicians right, right, and centre...  like they don't understand that the shock jocks are the State, the ideological shock troops of the State... that the State is the corporate elite... the racism and gaybashing and misogynist drek on the airwaves are the unofficial component of the recruitment campaign to send them or their kids overseas to Prove Their Manhood (who wants to be a faggy peacenik) and kill brown people whom they've been trained to despise and contemn by listening to hate-talk radio...  like the Boss doesn't love getting the underemployed, insecure, angry electorate/workers to hate their neighbour or the immigrant down the street or Uppity Wimmin or Unnatural Queers or Inferior Darkskinned Subhumans and blame them for all the unemployment and crumbling infrastructure and dearth of social services and police crackdowns... rather than pointing the finger upwards, at the Old (white) Boys Club that runs the show and shovels our tax dollars into their private pockets.

the Bosses have really got it figured out -- they can pump their propaganda out on the public air waves 24x7, for profit, and get the listeners to agitate angrily and vociferously for their right to be spoonfed state/corporate PR and brain detergent.  it's beyond anything Terry Pratchett could satirise.  it's just a win-win-win situation -- for the Bosses.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 02:22:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in general the refugee problem is in the other direction

It's why the government of Ontario has phased out the original health insurance cards that were red and white, and replaced them with health cards with photos. Too many Canadians were loaning their cards to US friends and family.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 02:44:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US workers have no guarantee of paid leave
WHEN it comes to paid leave, US workers don't seem to get a break.

While the French get 30 days of paid leave and most other Europeans receive at least 20, the country with the world's biggest economy does not guarantee workers a single day, researchers said overnight.

Most US businesses do give employees vacations, but the lack of government guarantees means one in four private-sector workers do not get paid leave, said researchers for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank.

"The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays," said economist John Schmitt.

"Relying on businesses to voluntarily provide paid leave just hasn't worked," he said.

"It's a national embarrassment that 28 million Americans don't get any paid vacation or paid holidays."

most expensive, least effective health care system

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world but ranks last compared with five other developed nations on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes, according to the third edition of a Commonwealth Fund report analyzing international health policy surveys.

While the US did well on some preventive care measures, the nation ranked at the bottom on measures of safe care and coordinated care.

Another new Commonwealth Fund report comparing health spending data in industrialized nations published today reveals that despite spending more than twice as much per capita on health care as other nations ($6,102 vs. $2,571 for the median of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] countries in 2004) the US spends far less on health information technology--just 43 cents per capita, compared with about $192 per capita in the UK.

"The United States stands out as the only nation in these studies that does not ensure access to health care through universal coverage and promotion of a 'medical home' for patients," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "Our failure to ensure health insurance for all and encourage stable, long-term ties between physicians and patients shows in our poor performance on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and health outcomes. In light of the significant resources we devote to health care in this country, we should expect the best, highest performing health system."

Best and Worst Countries for Mothers and Children -- US/UK tie for 10th place.  Numero Uno?  Sweden :-)

I could go on but really... why bother.  literacy, infant mortality, academic skills by age of student, technical innovation... not a lot of golds for the US these days.  a bronze now and then.  but hey, we incarcerate a higher percentage of our population than any other country on earth, and we consume more energy per capita, so we really are Number One in some things...  by some odd statistical coincidence, the US constitutes 5 pct of the world population and 25 percent of the imprisoned world population;  and the US consumes about 25 percent of global fossil energy resources annually.  the 5/25 symmetry is eyecatching but probably meaningless.

before the accusations of America-bashing begin, lemme just say I'm not saying it's the worst hellhole on earth to live in (though I am, personally, trying to get the hell out).  what troubles me is the disconnect between actual metrics and the persistent USian illusion that the US is the gold medal winner in every conceivable category.  proof is often offered in the form of the flood of refugees and immigrants trying to get in -- even when what they are fleeing from is US bombs or US-installed warlords/dictators, but that's a whole other rant...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 07:17:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nitpick: "Best and Worst Countries for Mothers and Children -- US/UK tie for 10th place.  Numero Uno?  Sweden :-)"

That was last year. This year the UK is number 12 and the US at number 26

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a bummer posting an outdated footnote -- egg on face -- but a bonus when the updated one makes one's point even more pointedly.  thanks for the correction.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:49:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a series of Golds for the US:

First in Oil Consumption
First in Carbon Dioxide Emissions
First in External Debt
First in Military Expenditures
First in Weapons Sales

"In this gold-medal tally of firsts, there can be no question that things that go bang in the night are our proudest products. No one makes more of them or sells them more effectively than we do."

Who's number 2 (and are they trying harder?)

Nevertheless, Russia retained its position as the second leading arms dealer behind the United States for the third consecutive year, concluding new sales valued at $5.8 billion. Moscow's rank, however, is largely attributed to deals with two countries, India and China, both of which have concluded major co-production agreements with Russia in recent years to make advanced fighter aircraft and, in India's case, tanks. The Kremlin is also working to secure major new sales with Iran and would pursue deals with Iraq if UN arms sanctions were lifted, according to the report.

As they have for the past couple of years, leading European arms suppliers trailed the United States and Russia in negotiating new deals last year. France tallied $2.9 billion in agreements, while Germany had $1 billion in sales and the United Kingdom's sum equaled $400 million. China made agreements to sell $600 million in arms.

On the other end of the trade, Israel ranked as the leading developing world arms buyer with $2.5 billion in agreements for 2001. Other top buyers were China with $2.1 billion in purchases and Egypt with $2 billion.

Over the entire eight-year period, the United Arab Emirates, which signed a contract for 80 US F-16 fighters two years ago, topped all buyers with $16 billion in weapons deals. Its neighbor and fellow US arms buyer, Saudi Arabia, had the second highest total at $14.1 billion. Yet, Saudi Arabia was unrivaled for actual imports, receiving $65 billion in arms between 1994 and 2001. (Amounts in this paragraph are in current dollars.)

footnote

The arms trade functions as quite a money laundry:  a lot of e.g. US "aid to Israel" comes right back home to US weapons manufacturers.  Aid to Bomb Builders is more like it.  When I think seriously for a moment about the colossal amounts of ingenuity and resources being invested in more and more  "efficient" ways to kill or incapacitate large numbers of people, it is mind boggling... maladaptive hypertrophy in real time.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 21st, 2007 at 07:30:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
oh hell, I can't resist just one excerpt from the initial URL above...
Maybe the only way to break through this paralysis of analysis would be to stop talking about weapons exports as a trade at all. Maybe we shouldn't be using economic language to describe it. Yes, the weapons industry has associations, lobby groups, and trade shows. They have the same tri-fold exhibits, scale models, and picked-over buffets as any other industry; still, maybe we have to stop thinking about the export of fighter planes and precision-guided missiles as if they were so many widgets and start thinking about them in another language entirely - the language of drugs.

     After all, what does a drug dealer do? He creates a need and then fills it. He encourages an appetite or (even more lucratively) an addiction and then feeds it.

     Arms dealers do the same thing. They suggest to foreign officials that their military just might need a slight upgrade. After all, they'll point out, haven't you noticed that your neighbor just upgraded in jets, submarines, and tanks? And didn't you guys fight a war a few years back? Doesn't that make you feel insecure? And why feel insecure for another moment when, for just a few billion bucks, we'll get you suited up with the latest model military... even better than what we sold them - or you the last time around.

     Why does Turkey, which already has 215 fighter planes, need 100 extras in an even higher-tech version? It doesn't... but Lockheed Martin, working the Pentagon, made them think they did.

     We don't need stronger arms control laws, we need a global sobriety coach - and some kind of 12-step program for the dealer-nation as well.



The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 21st, 2007 at 08:37:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
British arms export trade:
Three months before his election in 1997, Tony Blair wrote in BAE Systems' newsletter that his government would champion arms exports and a "strong defence industry". That, despite the hoopla surrounding the idea of an "ethical" foreign policy, was always the prime minister's ambition. A decade on, a new set of figures reveals the devastating extent to which he has succeeded.

Yesterday's report by the NGO Saferworld documents the £45bn worth of arms delivered by Britain in the past 10 years, making us the world's second-largest arms exporter. In the past three years, arms have been exported to 19 of the 20 countries identified in the Foreign Office's annual human rights report as "countries of concern". The Colombian military and its paramilitary allies have killed thousands of people in the country's civil war. Yet last year Britain exported armoured all-wheel-drive vehicles, military communications equipment and heavy machine guns, alongside a military aid programme. Indonesia has received more than £400m worth of military equipment since 1997, while using British military equipment for internal repression on a dozen known occasions.

Britain has exported more than £110m worth of military equipment to Israel during its occupation of Palestinian territories and war with Lebanon. Exports doubled in 2001, as Israeli offensive military operations were stepped up on the West Bank. Another growth market is China. Despite an EU arms embargo, Britain has managed to export £500m worth of military and dual-use equipment - nominally "non-lethal" items. These include components for tanks, components for combat aircraft, and military communications equipment.

Over the past four years, 199 export licences have been approved to the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands - territories without armies. The equipment includes small arms and ammunition, anti-riot shields, CS hand grenades, crowd-control ammunition and even nuclear, biological, chemical filters and respirators (for the Cayman Islands). It is anybody's guess where this equipment is destined. And this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Government statistics show the destination of only a quarter of all arms exports - the public are not told where the rest goes.

The Channel Islands???

Who knew there was a major insurgency in the Channel Islands?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 01:49:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arms exports are thriving not because of any domestic economic benefits. Academic research shows that the public subsidises arms sales by between half a billion and a billion pounds annually - far outweighing any economic stimulus they provide. What drives the growth is that arms sales support foreign policy by strengthening relations with key allies, who are often repressive elites. But there is also a huge influence wielded by big arms corporations, as reflected in the "revolving door" between them and the Ministry of Defence. At least 19 senior MoD officials have taken jobs with arms companies since 1997, while 38 out of 79 personnel secondees to the MoD between 1997 and 2003 came from arms companies.

A truly ethical foreign policy would see the shutdown of Britain's arms export industry. But, at the very least, it must be held up to public scrutiny and forced to halt exports to states abusing human rights.

that's from the same article cited above.  never believe the porkbarrel PR.  the arms industry is a way for the aristos to levy taxes on the domestic peasantry for the purpose of arming their comprador and merc forces to protect their investments overseas...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 02:31:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's like Viet-Nam: in order to save the village, we had to destroy it.

Well, I think there is a great future for "America" and our people (as there is for Russia), but the US of A has to come apart (as did the USSR) before it can be built.

by Lupin on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 12:45:32 PM EST
good diary thanks.  It is right on.  

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 01:07:17 PM EST
Voting 50% makes me a dreamy optimist on this site...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 05:56:53 PM EST
Audaces Fortuna iuvat.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
moi aussi

and I thought I was the official house pessimist.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:11:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We meet again, in unexpected places! ;-)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember a time -- only a few years ago -- when believing in the forthcoming collapse of the present US of A made me look like a kook with extreme views, even on lefty forums, eh Jerome? Now my views are mainstreaming.

In the past I've used Isaac Asimov's FOUNDATION as an analogy. I don't think we can stop the collapse of the American Empire, it's already built-in; and frankly I don't think we should.

But we all can acieve a lot in determining what the post-Empire future will be like.

That's why I've lost interest in Kos' goals to rig the present system, which IMHO is doomed anyway.

The leaders of tomorrow are not Hillary, Obama, etc. These are the Andropovs or at best the Gorbachevs of America.  

The code for the future is being written today, and past the next decade, say, I'm actually quite optimistic.

by Lupin on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 05:09:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW I want to post an apology to rdf who also flagged this story and actually beat me to posting a diary.  I'm afraid my lazy long excerpt and poll seen to have stolen  the readership for the other diary...

rdf said

As I have stated many times before, without a realistic plan on how to overcome the power of the vested interests there is little chance of any of this happening. Expecting the people to demand reform is wishful thinking. It is nice for someone to put the whole argument in one place, however.

and I think this goes to the heart of the matter -- a troubling question that should be engaged seriously: how can the power of vested interests be overcome -- aside from the very expensive and destructive well-known ways like armed revolution, civilisational crash, etc?

any examples from history of a ruling class being deposed peacefully?

one way to overcome the vested interests is to withdraw from their official, command/control economy and divert more and more of the nation's labour, intelligence and wealth into the informal sector, until the institutions of the informal sector simply replace the atrophied, sclerotic institutions of the old elite.  this building of parallel institutions and withdrawal from official structures is a very old technique:  Gandhi and his charka and salt-gathering, for example, or various local currency efforts.

all it would take to bring down Coca Cola or Mickey D's is for everyone to stop buying their stuff.  this vulnerability to the customer is imho what drives their obsession with creating captive markets and monopolies, so that the customer will not have that option.  right now f'rexample Big Chemical Ag is mobilising to try to exterminate organic agriculture -- or utterly co-opt it -- because more and more consumers are voting with their pocketbooks for organic food.  so Big Ag mobilises via "health" scares, HSA "food security" laws, more and more restrictive legislation to strangle small farmers and producers, rewriting organic standards into semantic nullity, stuffing FDA upper echelons with their myrmidons, etc.  meanwhile the gene vandals are doing their damnedest to contaminate every form of plant life on the planet with GMO pollen, so that there will be no non-GMO option for consumers to choose.  just like the auto/rubber/oil barons made sure that LA residents no longer had the option of rail transit.  and so on.  capitalists may preach about choice and swashbuckling entrepreneurial risk-taking all day long, but their actions are all about eliminating choice (for the customer) and risk (for themselves).

eventually their control mania -- be it Big Ag or the MPAA/RIAA or the Fibbies or whoever wants to be the boss of us -- gets so intense that they leave so small a space of "legitimate" activity for the citizenry that most everyone is outside it -- the majority of the population becomes by official definition insurgent or outlaw or scofflaw.  this I think is the tipping point where a majority of the people have no confidence/trust in or respect for the regime, and exist in sullen covert, or enraged overt, resistance to it...

so what happens when everyone gets sick of Windoze and uses Linux, when everyone gets sick of copyrighted music and video and just makes and trades their own, when everyone gets sick of being id'd and xrayed and interrogated and stop-n-searched and just stops travelling except by foot, bike, and hitchhiking?  what happens if local currencies spring up everywhere and the finance feudalists can't get their mitts on local transactions to skim the cream?

I know I'm dreaming here.  these examples are far too simplistic.  but it's the only (mostly) nonviolent way I see to muzzle the power of the corporate overlords.  most of what they sell us, we don't need;  they spend billions per annum trying to make us believe we do, which tells us everything we need to know, right there... :-)

anyway, I think rdf's practical question -- how do we even get near CJ's sensible proposals, with so much powerful vested interest poised to crush any such programme by any means necessary [don't forget rootless' list of murdered 3w leaders]? -- is terribly important.  I gnaw on this question daily.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:37:46 PM EST
Oh I forgot another time tested nonviolent way for the people to convey disapproval and a strong reprimand to the elite:  a general strike.

Strikes and marches in Pakistan in support of a separation of powers and an independent judiciary

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:12:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
        "The Trouble With Our State"
        By Daniel Berrigan

        The trouble with our state
        was not civil disobedience
        which in any case was hesitant and rare.

        Civil disobedience was rare as kidney stone
        No, rarer; it was disappearing like immigrant's disease.

        You've heard of a war on cancer?
        There is no war like the plague of media
        There is no war like routine
        There is no war like 3 square meals
        There is no war like a prevailing wind.

        It flows softly; whispers
        don't rock the boat!
        The sails obey, the ship of state rolls on.

        The trouble with our state
        -we learned only afterward
        when the dead resembled the living who resembled the dead
        and civil virtue shone like paint on tin
        and tin citizens and tin soldiers marched to the common whip

        -our trouble
        the trouble with our state
        with our state of soul
        our state of siege-
        was
        Civil
        Obedience.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:57:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, i'd rather be intelligently depressed, than blissfully ignorant, no way back to that, since blogging came to stay.

you speak the fears we rarely dare to name, de, and i for one am very grateful.

i gave a rosy-with-the-light-of-spring vote of 25%, normally i would be in the last category.

america is a mostly (sorta) educated country, with a lot of people who share a generously healthy dose of what passes for common sense these days. they are also liguistically and technologically connected in ways that are beginning to seriously subvert the rich capitalist white boys-with-token-minorities status quo. i can't believe they will stay under the radar for long, let alone ever.

as many have pointed out, like howard dean, fr'example, WE have the power, and could bring the truman show crashing down with a general strike as crowbar. add ghandi-level civil disobedience, and 'they' have to show the exceedingly ugly and unjustifiable cards left in their hand.

they do not seem to have any problems with doing so, and persuading vassal states like europe to go along, overtly or covertly, but sooner or later they will have to go too far domestically, another kent state, for example, or some scamdal-du-jour will be the last straw....wtc traced back to the WH would qualify, or some other 'terrorist attack' and the removal of all civil liberties, or....take yer pick, the list is long!

the whole ball of wax is so totally unsustainable it's a stone miracle it's holding together at all.

if the usa is 'asked' to give up too much empire too quickly, the yes, it's back under the covers again...spent most of my mental life there anyway, so used to that funk...

if we did muddle through though, i'd find it more dignified to have done a little more than that to help bring it about, so right now i'm clinging like a polar bear to a melting ice spar to the comforting illusion that the space brethren are watching o'er us....or that dkos' readership will quantum leap to 12. 20, 40 million readers and suddenly a gaggle of inspired populists will break loose, form a new 'grown-ups' party, led by a cross between bill moyers, jim hightower, amy goodman, and studs terkel, with a dash of bonnie raitt for added colour....hemp will be legalised, and people will chill, working 20 hour weeks and swapping dvds on bittorrent, and leaving 'success' behind, releasing the inner slacker and realising if everyone was a bikeriding vegan there would be no need for resource wars and we could all stay home and play donkey kong, or piano, or a novel blend of both...and the oil would never run out because hemp grew in every ditch and alley, and thc had located and uploaded to every cannabinoid receptor still single..

and the earth snored on in untroubled slumber...while we silly humans did what we do best....how did kurt put it...just fart around?

being goofy and prolonging the ecstasy


ecstasy |?ekst?s?| noun ( pl. -sies) 1 an overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement : there was a look of ecstasy on his face | they went into ecstasies over the view. See note at rapture . 2 chiefly archaic an emotional or religious frenzy or trancelike state, originally one involving an experience of mystic self-transcendence. 3 ( Ecstasy) an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric and hallucinatory effects, originally promoted as an adjunct to psychotherapy. (abbr.: MDMA) .ORIGIN late Middle English (sense 2 ): from Old French extasie, via late Latin from Greek ekstasis `standing outside oneself,' based on ek- `out' + histanai `to place.'



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:09:20 PM EST
from Old French extasie, via late Latin from Greek ekstasis `standing outside oneself,' based on ek- `out' + histanai `to place.'

since "place" and "zone" are conceptually similar, does this translate to "zoning out"?

just had to introduce a slightly lighter note, no matter how feeble...

btw melo, I have recently discovered Sandor Katz's books on the underground food movements and wild fermentation... very exciting reading.  are you already familiar with them?  seems like you might be.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:15:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'conceptually similar'....there's many a slip 'tween cup and lip...

theory'n'praxis, rock'nroll....

'zoning out' smacks of 'escapism', an ancient and noble pursuit of happiness, no matter how fleeting...

paranoid tho i be, i will ignore the perjorative undercurrent in your question, since you prolly didn't mean it that way!

i see it more like the drop returning to the shining ocean, the illusion of seperatemess (!) dissolves along with the tyrannical bond of teleology.

the cosmic giggle that realises we are already home, if you take time and space out of the equation, or at least curve it all the way to ouroboroussic circularity.

so we pull the snake's rail from its mouth in order to maintain a fiction we agree to forget, because we prefer plot to purpose, being the quirky beasts we are.

why do so many choose to forsake the easy way out to the great white luck (chinese description of death) when floating up above their beds while their bodies below are undergoing surgery?

because they don't want to read the last page until they've read every preceding one...

or because relaxing too much before one's work is done means not actualising one's potential?

a cosmic copout?

a googling i will go to find out who Sandor Katz is when he's at home, is he a relation of the sandoz katz, or is felinity an alternative to desertification?

hope you are considering italy if/when you succeed in bailing!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 09:44:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no pejoration intended...  just a rather clumsy jokule.  guess I'm not feeling very funny these days.

<dives back under blankies>

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 10:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've just seen the second Republican debate (watch it here) and it was such a desastrous display of crazy idiots without a clue that it shocked me way more than I thought it could. Whoever said they would torture suspects most brutally got the most applause. Only one candidate thought that US foreign policy might have had something to do with 9/11. And they seem to believe what they're saying, so it's even worse than in the final years of the Soviet Union.
In the end, I was only waiting to hear this sentence: "We are determined to defend our life with all means without consideration for whether the surrounding world sees the necessity for this fight or not." Because, as you might know, the next sentence was "Thus, Total War is now required."

/ in case that doesn't ring a bell.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:35:45 AM EST
On some other blogs, your'd immediately be bashed on the head with the club of Godwyn's Law...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 04:21:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know, but I couldn't help it (it's Godwin, btw).

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 11:37:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know what? Now that you mention it, the similarities are uncanny.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 12:09:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you misunderstand, I think your reference was entirely apt, it's dismissing Third Reich analogies with reference to Godwin's Law that annoys me :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 12:33:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was only waiting to hear this sentence: "We are determined to defend our life with all means without consideration for whether the surrounding world sees the necessity for this fight or not."

You mean you haven't heard it enough times in the last few years?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 05:29:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"We are determined to defend our life with all means without consideration for whether the surrounding world sees the necessity for this fight or not." Because, as you might know, the next sentence was "Thus, Total War is now required."

Just two days ago:

"I don't think anyone expects the United States to permit a veto on American security interests," [Rice] said


Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 05:35:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it's been coming for years. But it's the first time I realized just how similar it sounds and that the audience would probably have reacted with applause in exactly the same way.
Makes me shudder. Your sig, sir, is getting more frigthening every day.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 11:42:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Adam G. Mersereau on Total War & Military on National Review Online

Why Is Our Military Not Being Rebuilt?
The case for a total war.

By Adam G. Mersereau

...If we are going to win a total victory in the war on terrorism while deterring other major wars around the globe, we will first have to rid ourselves of our aversion to total war.

By "total" war, I mean the kind of warfare that not only destroys the enemy's military forces, but also brings the enemy society to an extremely personal point of decision, so that they are willing to accept a reversal of the cultural trends that spawned the war in the first place...

This is frequently mis-attributed to Michael Ledeen, but the latter said:

Again and again we were dragged into war, and we invariably tossed our enemies onto history's trash heap of failed lies. We wage total war, because we fight in the name of an idea -- freedom -- and ideas either triumph or fail.

...and, of course, there is Richard "Prince of Darkness" Perle:

ZNet | Foreign Policy | The Colder War (by John Pilger)

Vice President Dick Cheney, the voice of Bush, has said the US is considering military or other action against "40 to 50 countries" and warns that the new war may last 50 years or more. A Bush adviser, Richard Perle, explained. "(There will be) no stages," he said.

 

"This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there ... If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 06:13:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if France is on that list.

And Belgium. Let's not forget Belgium.

Luxembourg? Monaco?

Maybe it's time for Rockall and the Isle of Man to declare their independent support for the War on Terra.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 07:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
our children will sing great songs about us years from now

I assume everyone knows the Anglophone rude words to the Colonel Bogey March?

never assume you know what kind of songs your kids -- or other people's kids -- will be singing about you a generation from now...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 02:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paupp on the End of Empire

KZ: Your book faces up to a key question that is rarely discussed in the U.S. media -- American Empire. I expect many in the media and the public do not think of the U.S. as an empire. Please explain why you call the U.S. an empire?

TP: You are quite correct in noting that the U.S. media fails to even acknowledge that Americans live in an empire. I call the U.S. an empire because it is clear to any serious student of history that it became one in the aftermath of World War II when England surrendered its colonies and accepted the protection of the U.S. nuclear umbrella from the beginnings of the Cold War.

The entire period of the late 1940s through the early 1960s was an age of de-colonization from the empires of Britain, France, and Germany. Yet, during this period the Cold War provided the context for the U.S. to embark upon neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism in order to protect the so-called "Free World." The reality is that the Free World is not really "free" in terms of civil liberties and human rights. It is free to open access by U.S.-based corporations and multinational/transnational business interests.

To assist in this structuring of the world economy in line with the American Establishment, the IMF, World Bank, and WTO have been established to govern the world economy and as many countries as possible within its orbit. To that end, both Wall Street and the U.S. Treasury Department -- as the centers of U.S. finance and capital -- give the rest of the world within its "sphere of influence" their marching orders. We see this as Third World nations have structural adjustment programs shoved down their throats by the IMF. These structural adjustment programs, SAPs, that are imposed by the IMF function so as to order the governments who are the recipients of these loans to break up labor unions, suspend wage structures that benefit workers, and condone the rape of the environment.

All of this is undertaken by the U.S. Global Empire in the furtherance of its corporate allies and in its strategic search for obtaining natural resources -- such as oil, tungsten, ore -- to shore up its domination of the planet. In fact, the Pentagon has said as much in its planning documents since 2001 when it writes of "full spectrum dominance." What is that? It is the control of not only land, air, and sea by the American Empire, but outer space as well.

The weaponization of space is a high priority for the Bush-2 regime [...]

and now for the good news:

KZ: You also claim that the American empire is falling. What evidence do you have of that?

TP: I do claim that the American Empire is falling. To begin with, the U.S. Governments borrows $2-billion dollars a day from China just to keep the American economy going. China is basically borrowing worthless U.S. Treasury Bonds that are backed up by nothing more than the promise of the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. Government. Ever since the U.S. went off the gold standard during the Nixon presidency, the dollar is not backed by anything -- except the military strength of the nation and its worldwide domination over most foreign currencies. However, those days might well be ending as the Euro takes its place as the dominant currency of the European Union and Europe begins to follow different policy choices and paths from the architects of the American Empire.

Additionally, the breakdown of the so-called "Washington Consensus" in the late 1990s means that the economic model of Neo-liberalism is no longer a viable model for the developing nations of the Third World and those nations -- such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Ecuador that want to walk an independent path from that proclaimed by the architects of the empire and expressed through the policies of the IMF, World Bank WTO, and Free Trade Agreements (such as NAFTA and CAFTA).

[...]

KZ: Should the U.S. empire end? From the perspective of Americans, is it bad for us? Don't we get cheap products, a variety of produce, and access to critical resources? What do we lose by being an empire? Do we have to choose between empire and democracy -- are they, in the end, mutually exclusive?

TP: Should the U.S. Empire end? Yes, it should end because it is not sustainable for either the average American or for the rest of the world. It is equally bad for Americans as it is for billions of people trapped in poverty throughout the Global South.

The tragedy is that the average American does not know how bad it is or that he/she is an expendable subject within the empire. Certainly the middle-class is starting to see the effects of this empire when jobs are "outsourced" to cheap Third World labor markets and are not replaced, when the tax structure favors the richest two percent while gaps in national inequality continue to grow, when the education system continues to collapse, when political action becomes irrelevant within a two-party system that is owned and paid for by the same corporate elite.

The question becomes: "What do we lose by becoming an empire?" The short answer is that we lose our democracy. That is because empire and democracy are mutually exclusive. A choice has to be made between the two -- either consciously or by default. I wrote Exodus from Empire in the hope that enough Americans would read it in order to prevent the choice being made by default.

[...]

Americans are directly harmed by the fact that their civil liberties under the Bill of Rights have been shredded. Further, America's place in the world is diminished by the fact that as U.S. Corporations -- operating under the protection of the American Empire -- repress wages and workers throughout the Global South, so too, wages are depressed in the United States itself. Higher levels of inequality throughout the entire period of the Bush years are a testament to that reality - as is the absence of affordable health care for most Americans. As a result, Medicare is going bankrupt because the insurance companies and AMA lobby and the pharmaceutical industry-lobby remain protected enclaves of capitalist profit and exploitation. Congress is either powerless to rectify the situation or simply too corrupted by pay-offs to correct the situation.

meanwhile, Bush grants himself special emergency powers:

With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.

In a new National Security Presidential Directive, Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a "catastrophic emergency."

Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility "for ensuring constitutional government."

He laid this all out in a document entitled "National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51" and "Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20."

The White House released it on May 9.

Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.

The subject of the document is entitled "National Continuity Policy."

It defines a "catastrophic emergency" as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function."

This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include "localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies."

maybe we need a new poll:  will there be any US national elections in 2008?  or will there be an an "incident" which will justify a State of Emergency?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 21st, 2007 at 06:37:34 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]