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By Philip Shropshire
(Some of my various message board postings)
do you hate America Dave Appell? Whyyyyyyy moaned the reactionary and dull
simulacrum of a drear Pro Bush administration droid with blood...
I'm just kidding of course. I'm actually jealous of a lot of things the
Iraqis will get. Sure would like that universal healthcare and a commitment
away from fundamentalism in our public sectors. Yep. Sure would be nice.
PS: What's your take on the
Discover Story about the Miracle Waste converter that can end our energy
problems. I think its cool but I'm not a scientist. Steven Den Beste, who is
a scientist, thinks its poppycock, but he is an ideologue. What's your take?
Remember: there is a working prototype. It's so unlike my cold fusion
powered time machine as I mentioned at one of my sites...
Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 03:24 PM EST
Actually in many cases, the American public does own it. In
fact, the government has regular auctions where leases for oil rights are
sold. (Do a google for "oil lease auctions.") A minor detail, but mineral
rights do not automatically belong to the person who owns the land above it.
I don't know the exact percentage, but I believe most people don't own the
mineral rights below their land. Which frequently comes as a surprise to the
land owners when some company wants drill for the oil beneath the land. The
owners have to provide access.
In any case, Bush's statement was more about convincing the world that the
US wasn't going to steal Iraqi oil. As I understand it, significant portions
of Iraqi oil fields are already under lease to French and Russian oil
companies. Since the US claims that these leases were made under ruinous
terms for the Iraqi people, I expect that these leases will be cancelled by
the new Iraqi government.
Dean said @ 04/25/2003 03:53 PM EST
Welp, when Bush says it--and
I'm sure that you're cognizant that Bush is a lying sack of manure, in my oh
so humble objective opinion--he makes it sound like more than the Iraqi
people own their oil in some theoretical land lease sense, but more in The
Iraqi people just went out and bought 22 million time share condos on the
Riviera kind of sense. By the way, that's the way I'd like to own my
American oil, enough so that my rent is paid for life. That would be
different than my current American reality where corporate monopolists pay
bribery money to my elected officials so that they can legally rape me. But
that's just me. I have been known to hate America, especially when the
policies of my country are transparently vile and evil and have that ominous
Doc Doom flavor to them.
But I like what you're saying as a potential GOP talking point, no doubt to
be echoed spontaneously on many a Clear Channel radio station. (See today's
Prospect blog.) We tell the world it's their oil and then we procedurely
take it away from them so that they don't get a cent, unless it's heavily
leveraged by some IMF top down loan sharking like agreement...And after
that's done, the Iraqi people will own their own oil, much in the way that I
benefit from Texas crude, which is to say very very little at all...
Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 04:19 PM EST
My, my Steely Dan. I must have hit a sore spot. David,
remember how you recently mentioned the outright hostility of the blog
world. I think this is a perfect example of the problem. Let's not have
rationale discourse, its far better to fling insults.
Steely Dan if you would like to actually discuss the issue. We can try. But
before we do (and before you fling insults), maybe you would like to
actually learn my opinion of Bush. Did I vote him? No. Do I think he is a
good president? No. Do I think his domestic policy sucks? Yes. And the left
wonders how they alienate so many people.
Dean said @ 04/25/2003 05:33 PM EST
Did you support the war? I
think that's the important question. Do you think that we're going to create
anything that looks like democracy in your alleged "iraqi government"? I
mean, hey, I'll play along. Feel free to discourse rationally. You haven't
done it so far. By the way, I actually like the free for all style of net
debate. I feel that I actually learn something when people aren't being nice
to each other...But in the spirit of your Oxford debating style lineage,
please tell me how the Bush regime is helping the Iraqi people or why it
simply isn't, as Kofi Annan accurately called it, an occupation?
Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 06:50 PM EST
Did I support the war?...
In Iraq, I felt that we had basically three options:
1) Go to war and people die.
2) Continue the sanctions and inspections, and according to the UN and other
groups, thousands of children would continue to die from the lack medical
supplies and food. Plus those who die from Saddam's torture chambers. So
3) Say we've done all we can, and end the sanctions and inspections. Based
on Saddam's history in Kuwait and Iran and against the Kurds and Shiites,
people will die.
So anyway you looked at it, people would die. The question was how could we
minimize the death and suffering. I voted for war. Based on the reactions of
the Iraqis, I voted right.
Yes, I know about the relatively small demostrations against the US. But
that is overwhelmed by the support we have received in the North, the
cooperation we've received, and the lack suicide bombers or other attacks on
Dean said @ 04/25/2003 07:25 PM EST
I see that you've answered
the pertinent question: do you support the war. And as I've guessed that's
really the important one. By the way, I'm glad you weren't around when we
were making these same kinds of calculation during the cold war and Stalin.
I was under the odd impression that we were able to liberate the Soviet
Union and South Africa without having to "liberate" anybody. And frankly, I
would've liked us to have tried your option number 3. But as I've argued in
my policy (i.e. yelling match) stomping grounds American Samizdat and
Warblogger Watch, that would mean nothing without a US that doesn't commit
itself to a world community. That means a commitment to the UN, a commitment
to the concept that global warming might be real and it would be nice to
enthusiastically join the world court, with the possible caveat that
American citizens be tried under American judicial rules. Our fuck you
attitude about the world is frankly contrary to what I think would be far
wiser and far smarter actions than unilateral invasion (plus one). We
essentially changed South Africa by way of a massive organized shunning. It
was slower. It took longer. It took intelligent leadership. But it's result
has and probably will last longer and is seen with more legitimacy than
anything that comes out of Iraq under this particular wretched crew. By the
way, there is a right wing argument in support of evolution of Saddam's
authoritarian regime, and that's Jeanne Kirkpatrick's classic essay
comparing Authoritarianism vs. Totalitarianism. I never bought the crux of
it, but I think it's right in this case. I think that Iraq would've evolved
into something better...just like Cuba would if the sanctions were lifted.
As far as the stuff about our glorious victory in Iraq, I feel like Al
Pacino in the Godfather asking Diane Keaton "Are you that naive?" The
rallies attended by those against us and who rightly and correctly ask us to
leave their country--oddly bereft of weapons of mass destruction and which
haven't been found so far unless you're a propagandist and/or Fox News
employee--have been massive and in full swing. And they're right. It's not
our stuff. Liberation has just become another word for theft...It deeply
shames me as an American. Actually, if the Bush administration and if their
crony like greed about that Trillion in crude wasn't so overwhelming, and
they were smart (ha!), they would leave immediately and let the
international teams take over. The war isn't over by the way. In fact, now
the Iraqi people, who still have a lot of their arms, will be fighting not
for Saddam (an immediately depressing motivation for anybody) but for a free
and democratic Iraq or more likely a closed off and theocratic Iraq if they
get anything like majority rule...but this time they'll be fighting for
themselves. It's a horrifying spector. This is why the reporting about the
region has slowed to a crawl from the usual jingoistic Instapundits. This is
something we, the anti war side, predicted by the way. The horror of the
"peace". Take a very close look at what's happening in the north by the way.
Which side do we choose between the Turks and the Kurds? I'm sure you've
thought this out. Perhaps we should just kill them and let...well, you know
PS: You do admit this is an occupation right? This is something that civil
people don't do, right? If not, then I will be happy to come over to your
house, Dean, and "liberate" you. You'll own your own stuff, but won't profit
from it in any way. You might live worse than you did under the old ruler,
but that's "American Democracy" for you. Fox news and Clear Channel will
tell you it's all right as I rape your nubile young wife, all for America of
course. I will be shocked, just shocked by your terrorist actions to remove
me from your house...
Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 08:16 PM EST
Steelydan, what I find amazing is how much you think you know
everything about me, and at the same time how totally wrong you are. I don't
watch Foxnews. Rarely listen to the radio, certainly no Clear Channel
stations. The few times I've watch Fox, I've found them to be so over the
top, to be ridiculous. My primary news sources are the BBC, The Guardian
(England), and NPR, along with reading on a regular basis about twenty to
thirty foreign newspapers.
You wrongly assume because I supported one war that I support them all. If
Bush tried to start another war now, I would be the first one in the street
protesting. I pray for his defeat in the next election. And sincerely hope
that the first act of his successor is to "repeal" Bush's preemptive strike
doctrine. The stupidest concept in modern American history.
The biggest problem with someone like you is that you are a bigot but won't
admit it. You fit everyone into a stereotype, and refuse to acknowledge any
other possibility. But with that I will end my last conversation with you.
I'll wait to debate someone who is actually mentally-equipped for it.
Dean said @ 04/25/2003 09:04 PM EST
Quite frankly, if you
supported this war you're not much of a leftist to begin with. And if you've
been reading John Pilger or Robert Fisk and the BBC I have a hard time
imagining that you think that we've won this war. Either that, or you simply
can't read. And you have the gall to question my admittedly modest
And could you cease with the name calling stuff and address a point? Or are
you conceding that this administration has failed to learn the lessons of
the cold war and our involvement in South Africa? Are you conceding that you
don't understand the Kirkpatrick argument? Are you conceding that the
situation in the North is unstable and nightmarish? Are you conceding that
the Iraqi people, theocratic zealots that they may be, have a right to ask
the US to leave their country? Are you conceding that I can "liberate" the
Dean household and put your wife in a benevolent trust fund where I frell
her repeatedly? (Please email me your address so that I can begin my
liberation...I find you vaguely threatening and your wife to be very
hot...)And finally, and this is the weakest point on your behalf, why are
you not willing to admit that this is an occupation and just plain
wrong...you've failed to answer this point in two consecutive posts. It's
kinda glaring out here...
Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 09:17 PM E
From Warblogger Watch Again
(Couldn't really play with the fonts to get the effect I wanted
over there but here...)
I think that Oliver Willis makes a clever
strategic decisionso rare among the Warbloggersto be pro war but anti-Bush.
Quick question: Who would give you more confidence the proper pronunciation challenged
resident Bush or a war veteran, or even a guy who has the magical ability to pronounce
Malfeasance or is it really Malfeant
What a Frellin
Anyway, heres some of Olivers wacky headlines:
D-Day 'Invasion' Violates French Sovereignty
Amnesty Int'l Accuses Allies of Human Rights Violations in 'Wholesale Slaughter' of
America Vs. Japan: Why We Should Give Up The Hawaiian Islands
Oh thats rich there Ollie. But youre assuming that well have FDR,
arguably one of our greatest presidents, and a comparatively unbought off legislature. Lets
reimagine those headlines and freely ripoff the John Dos Passos Newsreel technique. (Heres
a page of other
imitators by the way
), some Phil K. Dick alt history and our current Fearless
Leader and away we go
BUSH DECLARES ITALY, CHINA AND AFGHANISTAN
TO BE AXIS OF EVIL
(AP): President Bush vows the Chinese will pay for
this Day of Infamy. And in another development the President refused all calls for food
and gas rationing, refused to rethink the nations industrial output in a time of
war, refused to allow the hiring of women for industrial jobs, refused to initiate the
temporary legalization of hemp production and refused to answer questions about his familys
involvement with the Naziswho we are not at war with.
ALLIANCE WITH OUR NEW PALS THE GERMANS
AREN'T GERMANS THE REAL
UPI Editorial by Helen Thomas
I cant believe were not at war with the Germans. The Germans
are really evil. Theyre bad. True, they give a lot in campaign money and now that
theyve conquered all of the countries in the mideast (It was rumored they were going
to attack Russia but they shifted their forces
) I guess were dependent on
them. But were really not dependent on them. Its as if the government chooses
not to do the right thing because of certain special interest groups. Of course, the
question is does the government act on behalf of the best interests of the country, of
mankind even, or on behalf of American and German industrialists
Its as if we
inhabit some horrible alternate reality that would make for great Hollywood movies thirty
years from now.
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL
We find ourselves baffled by the
presidents decision-making. Its clear that we should be attacking Japan, not
China. Furthermore, we are of the opinion that Hitler and his Third Reich are more of a
threat to our ideals than Afghanistan. We think that our new dependency on Germany,
brought about by their invasion and total conquest of the mideastern oil reserves has
clouded the presidents judgment, not to mention the fact that his family has an oil
background and looks to be raking in the big bucks. We just dont get it. Plus, he
seems to be a nepotistic dolt who cant pronounce words. No wonder the stock market
falls whenever he speaks. What a Frellin Moron. (Look, the New York Times
editorialists talked that way back then
V STANDS FOR VICTORY IN ITALY
(AP): The proxy troops that were employing to fight the evildoers
conquered Italy today. Oddly enough, there were very little casualties as it turned out
the opposing fascist forces simply threw up their hands, shook the hands of our proxy
forces and proclaimed alliance with our new transparent puppet government. The evildoers
were allowed to keep their weapons, return to their villages and renew their lucrative
heroin trade. V is for Victory gushed President Bush, hidden in an undisclosed
location, but who managed to correctly pronounce victory.
BUSH CONDEMNS ACTIONS OF TERRORIST
AND DEFENDS GERMANYS RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF
NO MORAL EQUIVALATION SPOUTS THE PREZ
IN FACT EDITORIAL BY GEORGE SELDES
ARE GERMANS WORKING ON SUPER WEAPON?
This so-called war has been a complete
disaster. Abroad its made us at best a mockery of our best aspects and at worst
allied with the values of Fascists, who mask their power grabs and their civilian murders
with the rhetoric of patriotism and national security. We fought by proxy in Italy (We cant
find Mussolini or any of his top captains
) and its not sure if we actually won
anything other than the complete hatred of the Italian people. Clearly, the war should
have been against both Japan and Germany, where there are rumors of a Jewish massacre, but
the complete monied corruption of the administration only allows us to bomb Afghanistan, a
small incidental pawn in this The Great Game. At home, the war has been used as a thin
excuse to crush civil liberties and roundup opposition members. Its rumored that
there are more than 6 million being held secretly without the benefits of trial or defense
counsel. To be frank, its not known if theyre alive or dead. We can certainly
count on the fact that they face misery or torture. Theyll probably be coming for me
soon. Whats worse, theres this rumor that Germany is working on a super
weapon. Of course, Einstein, now dead, and Leo Szilard were deported back to Germany. Was
the germ of this world destroyer an idea in their heads? President Bush suspended all
American research into new weapons and energy resources because it was clearly known that
he thought that such research would harm the interests of the oil companies and our good
friends the Germans and their indirect thralls the Saudi monarchy
What are the
Germans working on? What?
At Ellison Webderland
Philip "The Official Webderland Super Villain" Shropshire <email@example.com>
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States - Thursday, July 25 2002 12:3:56
Prologue: Yes. All is right and noble in this my wicked wicked
world. Soon, there shall be a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India. This will
destroy the oil fields and set the stage for a nuclear exchange involving the United
States, China, Israel and one of the former Soviet Republics. The Earth will be full of
vile death. Then I shall journey from the netherworld to plunge my arms into the rivers of
blood, devastation and hopelessness and then I will know joy, true decadent joy. I will
also make sure that Adam Sandler makes another film. For I am the Evil One, fallen from
The Eternal Ones side and with my son the Antichrist as president I
When was the last time that I posted over at Ellison Webderland. Yessss. Must spread more
of my vile evil
.bhahahahah and etcetara..
Well, Ive tried to hold my tonguenumerous times I might note--for I feel that
Ive said my piece. But I have to clarify a few points here Jimbo.
One.) When I was debating you I had no intention of doing that piece for Locus. I was
enjoying the debate when Rick kinda stopped it. Had Rick not stopped it, I probably would
have been content to keep the debate down here. But there were some important points I
wanted to make and so I made them at what I feel was a neutral court. Thats all.
When I was debating you I had no idea that someone would sort of step in and accuse me of
being a troll or whatever.
Two.) Ive listened to your arguments and I patiently rebutted them. Look, if you
guys had compelling arguments then AOL would be appealing the Ninth circuit in order to
overturn Harlans favorable $10 million summary judgment verdict. Hey, Ill even
kick Harlans attorneys ass if that will you make happy. Ready to go Charles,
or are you too busy putting my childhood hero onto the public streets, tincup in hand with
a sign that says Will Curmudgeon For Food And Damn That Internet
or whatever. High noon. Friday. If youre up to it
Old Boy. (And yes thats
the phrase used by the Bond villain in From Russia With Love. I mean, that guy
ruled. He had that watch wire thing and if I recall he decapitated Mr. Bond. Then he went
on to make Thunderball: Another Perfect SPECTRE Operation and then it was You Dont
Really Live Twice
Yep. That blond Russian guy was a winner
Sincerely, from the official Ellison Webderland Board Villain,
PS: By the way, and this probably needs to be mentioned, if I truly despised Harlan
Ellison then I would encourage him in this lawsuit. For, to make a grotesque point, well
be lucky if Harlan can squeeze ten more years out of his body. Every second he spends on
this case is a precious second that he wont spend writing fiction or screenplays.
Remember what happened to Lenny Bruce and his preoccupation with the courts during those
Never let it be said that you were never told, to quote the aging male
psychiatrist in the Sopranos
From Warblogger Watch
And now for something completely different: a nuclear exchange between
Pakistan and India.
While we're wondering what George knew and when he knew it, or whether
he ever knew anything (a point open to vigorous question), you might note that there are a
million troops at the borders between India and Pakistan. It looks like they're about to
launch their nuclear warheads at each other. Let's all pray, even us athiests, that they
choose peace and cooperation and diplomacy. However, if you look at the language of India
and also Sharon you might notice that it's the same language of vile uncompromise being
spouted in Washington after 9-11. Those Bush memes include, but aren't limited to: The
"other" side is evil and "evil" only. Massive retaliatory force will
work, even though there's much evidence to show that it won't work (And hasn't). And last
but not least: diplomacy and treating these acts as criminal as opposed to problems
between nation states (Except Saudi Arabia. They have oil.) is for pussies. Thanks George.
It would be nice to know that the US could go to both sides in this horrifc conflict and
argue how rational we were after 9-11, about how we strengthened and supported the World
Court, or demanded that Pakistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia initiate democratic reforms, or
insist upon a multinational force in Israel...but no. And as the bombs fall and the
massive death toll becomes obvious, it will be clear that the leaders (soon to be extinct
if the weapons fall) will have in fact mirrored the very violent policy of the United
States with one small difference: only pick on weaker nations that don't have nuclear
PS. I noticed that our favorite warmonger Glenn is wavering between
optimism and pessimism about this situation. Here's a hint Glenn: Pessimism is the place
to be my friend. Here's a quote from a story where the implications of fallout are
discussed with defense analsyt Paul Beaver:
"Environmentally we don't really know, to be honest, because
nobody's done it. We know what happened when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine
exploded... it sent radioactive particles into the atmosphere... they came down in places
like northern Finland and Norway...even here in the United Kingdom, Welsh hill farmers
could no longer sell their lamb because they were contaminated by fallout... That was a
nuclear reactor, that was a reasonably small escape of radioactive material. If there was
an exchange of nuclear weapons...and the Indian sub-continent.. we don't know what would
happen to the climate for a start...El Nino in the Pacific, and the problems that that's
caused, I think would be considered to be child's play compared to what would happen.
There's not only that, but the huge death toll on both sides, and the risk of bringing in
other nations... it could well be something which would strat a third world war - any
exchange of nuclear weapons is a doomsday scenario because we don't know how controllable
it would be."
From A Retort at Amygdala (About Left Wing Paranoia)
Well, here's the rub: left paranoia about the powers and evils
of the man are quite justified. Let's just take a look at
reporters who spoke out against the war. From my last count
there were four reporters who were fired outright for daring to
speak out against the war effort and posing, what I thought,
were the kinds of questions that we allegedly pose in a
democracy. And other people who spoke out against the war,
especially professors, were either fired or threatened with
removal because of speaking out against the war. I've heard one
or two warbloggers openly ask that Chomsky be removed from his
tenured position. How American.
On the other side, who were the right wingers who were removed
because they supported the war effort too vocally? Who were the
reporters who were fired because they thought the president to
be a smart guy despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary?
Who are the reporters who were fired for referring to the
Palestinian resistance as "homocide bombers" and defended tank
rollouts over civilian habitats as "self defense"? Was there a
one? And it's not just the war effort, there was a recent book
published by muckraking reporters who took on big companies and
big advertisers. What did they have in common: They were all
removed from their jobs. Why doesn't Greg Palast work for an
American newspaper? I mean, I think that anti warblogger Eric
Blair should give his or her real name but I can understand
their hesitancy. The fear is real and tangible and littered with
the careers of folks who dared to speak out and that's not a
myth or a persecution complex...
(There was a story about a remote controlled toy car at Tech TV. The kid
wanted to attach the car
to a cellphone so he could control it anywhere in the city. I noted the pros and cons...)
I've always had that idea of
using remote controlled blimps, cars, aibos and other stuff to trawl the city's roads and
skyways but I'm an aspiring science fiction writer and not a tech head. Impressive. That
could be so cool. I would love to attach one of those video game wheels to it and just
cruise the city at night. Perhaps my vehicle could be fueled by solar or fuel cells. I
wish enterprising reporters or news organizations could use off the shelf tech like this
to create their own news drones, in order to go to places that they wouldn't ordinarily
Those would be cool uses, not necessarily lawful, but within the boundaries of legal.
On the other hand, I could also attach a gun or a pipe bomb or stalk my ex girlfriend in
real time using these kinds of remote controlled devices as well...Just something to think
about as these "harmless" toy cars drive by you in the night...
Good luck to that kid in bringing us the future, full of thrills and dangers...
At Warblogger Watch Yahoo Group
Id like to add something to that Pakistan point.. It clearly
points out one of the many crazy contradictions of the war effort. One, the war isnt
about democracy or democracy building. Mike Walzer, in his Dissent article pointed out
that the Left wont recognize the wonderful reality of a freed people in Afghanistan.
Well, any regime would be better than the one that they had and I might point out that it
was the feminist left (the brilliant Katha Pollitt and others) who had been pointing out
the evils of the Taliban theocratic patriarchy for years and years. Its the position
of the principled Left that you dont drop bombs on people in order to save them, but
we dont look at the destruction of the Taliban as a great loss or some kind of
impenetrable proof that Force is Good. By the way, Mike, a principled Left tries to think
through problems not kill the guy who has a different opinion. Its also not clear
that Utopia has come to Afghanistan as it seems poised to collapse into yet another one of
its wars between feuding tribal warlords, yet again. Were also waiting for the
administration to change its tune on all those Saudi women still in chains
they have oil. Nevermind. It should be noted that the Bush administration was still
looking for a way to get that Afghan pipelinetalking deals with the Talibanup
to and until the Twin Towers collapsed into swirling, dusty wisps. Oh yeah were the
Good Guys all right
This is where some of us find Chomsky so compelling by the way, his
proofs are often found to be true. One of his proofsat least according to my reading
of his workpoints out that the pattern of American involvementfrom El Salvador
to Indonesia to Chile (Were still waiting for Glenn to applaud Chile for going after
Kissinger by the way. Lets all hold our collective breaths by the way waiting for
that to happen
)is in fact a Neo Imperialistic one where we generally sort of
work like an International mafia, busting knees, taking payoffs and killing people who get
in our way. Super journalist Greg Palast points out that the IMF does bad things to people
in Argetina and elsewhere (Are we going to see that link anytime soon Glenn
stunner of an interview with the World Bank economist Joe Stiglitz?). In fact, the whole
actions of the IMF/WTO/NAFTA apparatus (Were also waiting for Glenn to say something
negative about the secret tribunals in those organizations (And no fainthearted
backtracking on a Bill Moyers special isnt enough.)
Glenn is, afterall, an
alleged attorney.) seem to resemble the Tony Sopranos tactic of the Bust Out. Yet instead
of sports stores we get to bankrupt whole countries
Oh yeah, were the Good Guys
Two, in kind of a back handed agreement with the Invade Pakistan
argument, it is true that Pakistan has the nuclear weapons so therefore they are the
dangerous ones. Its most likely that if a coup were to occur thats the first
place I would look for the availability of the very scary Islamic Theocratic Nuclear Bomb.
Thats because we know that will be a bomb that would be detonated. So, of course, we
probably shouldnt help Pakistan with the billions were about to pour into
their economy because they would more than likely build more nuclear weapons, which one
day could fall into Khomeini like hands, right? Wrong. Theyre our current
alliesundemocratic and led by a military coup leade who is somewhat
ambivalent in terms of actually helping (Allowing our troops to chase the bad
people into Pakistan with no strings might be a start if youre really into this war
)and not really committed to turning over the killers of Daniel Pearl to
American authoritiesand so represent the American commitment to Democracy and
Freedom. Its not unlike funding Hitler to beat Mussolini. But our alliance with
Pakistan does make sense in terms of the Unocal argument put forth by seriously courageous
Ted Rallwe all remember Rall right(?), the guy who actually had the guts to go to
AfghanistanRalls unit had more casualities than just about any
American military unit sent in so farand do some reporting as opposed to sitting on
a comfy chair on some Knoxville campus and pontificating away, safe from harm. How brave
you are Glenn, between classes.
Some of us out here are hoping that the contradictions collapse under
their own weight and without horrendous blood. But we doubt it.
And here are some links: Greg Palast Interview with Stiglitz http://www.gregpalast.com/
Courageous Ted Rall on Unocal Angle http://www.uexpress.com/tedrall/site/viewru.cfm?uc_full_date=20020402&uc_comic=ru&uc_daction=X
Kissinger and Chile http://www.counterpunch.org/reillychile.html
From Space Com
The person who I believed
coined the term military industrial complex was the muched missed scholar and sociologist
and probably socialist C. Wright Mills. I believe it's also called the Iron Triangle. I
was particularly amused by this observation:
"I can't believe that CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Al Jezera, Washington Post,
NY Times, AP Newswire, and a host of other are all owned by the
"industrial/military" complex. If the "military/industrial" complex is
powerful why do Americans have more freedom than anyone else or why are there so many news
sources to begin with."
More freedom? In what way exactly? I was under the impression that
Western Europeans and some of the Pacific Rim countries enjoyed the highest standards of
living in the world. I suppose we have the best soccer team too. Whatever.
But here's several examples of why the media leans rightward. One big
reason of course is that the media is owned by conservative multinationals, individuals
and/or arms makers. General Electric sells arms and they also make nuclear plants. Fox is
owned by notorious rightwinger Rupert Murdoch. ABC is owned by Disney and CBS is a
conglemerate unto itself. You might say well what about public television? Well what about
it? All of their political programs are hosted by conservatives or centrists. They're
isn't a leftist in the bunch. Fox news could be called the right wing propaganda service.
The Beltway boys are right and extreme right, respectively. In Europe, you actually have a
left press. There are papers of both the left and right that openly dual from London to
Paris. I link to the Guardian at my site because there is no left daily in the United
States. They also have the Independent. Where are the left daily equivalents in the United
The other point has to do with media concentration. Seven media
companies pretty much own it all. I'll give you a personal example. I make my living as a
freelance writer. I went to a website and submitted my work and found that it was owned by
AOL and they were in a working partnership with Microsoft. I suppose I could submit an
article criticising both companies but would anybody print it? That's known as tacit
self-censorship by the way. But lately, in terms of the war effort, reporters were fired
outright for daring to criticize the war. Some free press. A.J. Leibling once joked that
the freedom of the press belonged to the person who owned one.
There's actually a famous book about Media Monopoly, which I can promise
you has never been reported by respectable news outlets, called in fact "The Media
Monopoly", written by Ben Bagdikian. He introduced this idea that 10 huge media
companies pretty much own everything. That has since been reduced to seven. They do
updates in the Nation about all the big companies that own everything. These companies
present a very rosy of the world that is incredibly distorted. They don't do foreign news
to any depth because generally we do terrible things abroad. The rest of the world knows
about it but we don't. So when the bad things happen we say "Why do they hate us and
boy that came out of the blue..." Whatever. It's also why news is pretty much vapid
anyway. The real interesting news is the examination of power and the abuses of
power...but what if it power owns the media. Or here's a riddle for you: When does the
emperor really have new clothes? When the networks that cover him say so...afterall, that
last election was ok right? Bush isn't as dumb as they say, right? The war effort is going
great, isn't it?
Whoops. I've exceeded Grok's attention span. But if you would like to
learn about this perspective on the media, you could go to Google and type in: Noam
Chomsky, Robert McChesney, A. J. Leibling, George Seldes and Ben Bagdikian.
PS: I do think that the internet is a democratic medium, although there
are moves afoot to change that. It's why I have two sites. I wanted to own my own press to
Here Are Some of My Recent Posts At My Message Board and Ellison
From the Harlan Ellison Ellison Webderland Board
Philip Shropshire <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pitttsburgh, Pennsylvania United States - Friday, March 22 2002 7:53:41
You know the really sad thing Xan is that Ive probably read more
Harlan than you have. Just for the record, I own two sets of the Glass Teat
books (Glass Teat One and the Other Glass Teat), which includes the original editions and
the newer ones with the Barclay (corrected from original post) covers if memory serves me
correctly. I own vintage editions of the collections I Have No Mouth and I Must
Scream and the Deathbird Stories. I own Edge in My Voice
(correction). I own the hardcover version of Shatterday. I own Approaching
Oblivion in hardback. I own two sets of the Dangerous Visions
anthologies, softcover with the Dillon artwork and I also have them in hardcover, but I
believe I may have given one or two of the books away. I even have the Clarion
workshop anthology. (Clarion is where my parents met and married and where I went to
college. Some of the English profs actually have memories of Robin, Harlan and Chip
Delaney.) I own the I Robot script that he wrote. I own the Sleepless
Nights anthology essays. I own Paingod and other stories.
I own Gentleman Junkie. I own the Beast That Shouted Love At The
Heart of the World. I own Harlan Ellison Partners. I own Love
Aint Nothing But Sex Misspelled. I own the novel Spiderkiss.
I own the massive Comics Journal interview with Harlan. I own the RBCC fanzine that had
pictures of Harlans house. I even own the Isaac Asimov novel Murder at the
ABA because the lead character is reportedly based on Harlan.
So, just to attempt to mimic the subtle and unique stylelings of the Master, ahem: Dont
dare talk to me about buying Harlan you clueless brain-dead sorry ass excuse for a Real
Fan you motherless Fuckity Fuck. Burn in Hell. I no longer consider you a member of the
Philip Shropshire Universe. Harumph.
I might note, Im done with the impression by the way, that Im not suggesting a
Get Rich scheme. But Im convinced that someone could make a lot of money doing
micropayments or something like it. I agree that the Postrel example probably isnt a
good one. (I was waiting to see if someone would catch that.) But Andy Sullivan reportedly
makes $8,000 a month just in tips and Glenn Reynolds does pretty well with tipping as
well. But theyre not attempting to sell content. I believe that Harlan
could be the first. He could be the First Mover. What sounds better to you: a measly $2000
grand donated or $8000 a month in tipping and/or microcontent fees? Do the math. As I said
before, Ill try to explain my full views in another venue.
Philip Shropshire <email@example.com>
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States - Thursday, March 21 2002 19:37:52
As that I feel that I'm a bit of an unwanted presence in one particular
man's universe, I'm trying to lurk peacefully. But, like Beetlejuice, if you call my name
I will hideously appear from my hiding place in the attic unless you call me Shroppy or
something--that's just plain silly and it's the exact term of reference used by one of my
crazed chattering autistic classmates back in high school, in any event...
I don't know what to make of Paypal. It's clear that they're Invisible Bankers (That's the
name of a book written by Andrew Tobias about insurers but if fits here as well...), but
they don't want any of the responsibility of being a bank, not that there are any real
responsibilities for big banks and multinationals these days. They clearly have some
problems, but they also have some competitors. If Harlan should dip his toe into offering
cheap online content, then I'd recommend allowing several choices for the consumer:
Amazon, debit/credit cards, Paypal, etcetera. That way you can sort of compare and
contrast. Paypal probably offers a better deal for tipping in that they take a smaller
percentage of payments. (On a bizarre side note, I really like Paypal founder Elon Musk.
And no he's not a Heinlein character, that's his real name. He's joined the Martian
Society and is working to fund the privatized exploration of space, which I think is our
best shot for seeing the stars, or at least the near planets in our lifetimes...)
Actually, I kinda wish Harlan and his pal Ben Bova would revive Galaxy Online. They had
the content, just not the right price. Try that Cool Beans price of $2.95 (Not exactly
Micro, but cheap enough for some of us.)or the Salon mix. Offer some content for free
(Wouldn't you love to see a Harlan weblog? It would require that Harlan actually surf the
web and embrace new tech (You're a science fiction writer dammit! You warn us about Future
Shock not succumb to it...) but I feel that he's up to it....)Or Harlan could go it alone.
Quite frankly, it should have nothing to do with the lawsuit. I actually don't support the
lawsuit on its merits. The DMCA is evil and so is its successor that was recently
introduced by Hollings. I just think that Harlan could get rich doing this and then spend
the money as he sees fit. Please don't tell me about the slave labor or where diamonds
come from. I just want my downloadable MP3 of Harlan reading The Deathbird Story. I mean,
his position could very well be "Damnit. I'm an old living legend and I'll do what I
please," which is all fine and good and probably quite true. I just think there are
positive uses of the Internet that someone of Harlan's massive talents just isn't seeing.
PS: By the way, this is the Cool Beans website that I think science fiction people should
be ripping off. It only takes $2.95 to join and its growing.
Here are other webloggers. For those of us who are stunned by the vibrancy of Harlan's
prose, nearing seventy, you may very well conclude that Harlan blows these guys away. Yet
they make money on the web and are using it to their advantage. Shouldn't Harlan?
From My Own Message Board
Feb-17 11:49 pm
Well, I still find your answer puzzling, but not if I used Postrel's
theories to interpret it.
First, we know what these guys are gonna say. They're probably going to "advise"
the president to say no to everything that biotech has to offer. It's a done deal. There
won't be any "deliberation" or "ethical speculation" about what these
technologies mean, because they've already made up their minds. One, I reach this
conclusion because Postrel has decided that the Senate is better off in Democrat hands.
For someone like Postrel, and I've been been reading her for awhile and she has noted her
contempt for the traditional left in almost all of its forms and positions, to essentially
switch to the "evil" democrat party like this is quite remarkable. I presume
she's made that switch because we know what the outcome of the advisory commission will
be: It will be anti-technology and anti-growth, something that I thought conservatives
were against. I mean, I found it ironic that the guy in the National Review article (By
the way, you're missing an opportunity here to quote left writers and thinkers with your
links. Go to the Greenspeace message board or the Jeremy Rifkin homepage and you'll
probably find the exact same message, which, I believe, does prove Postrel's proof)
thought that there were some things that were beyond free markets...Really? Again, that's
not the conservative line I'm used to hearing. Whatever corporations do at the expense of
the public is just fine, according to you guys. Let's just take a look at the newest
issues of Tech Central and the National Review and we find that global warming is still a
myth and the free markets will do the right thing, we shouldn't let Enron destroy the plan
to privatize social security (oh that's funny) because free markets are wise and good, and
my favorite: DDT Saves lives over at Tech Central, if only them damn consumer laws didn't
get in the way of banning DDT, then the good and honest free markets would've helped us
all, rising cancer rates notwithstanding...But when it comes to Big Pharma pursuing
medical research we have to ask them to stop because this is too important for free
markets? Compared to what? I just don't get it...Postrel is consistent in that she
consistently thinks that the will of corporations should always trump the will of
government and mere "citizens" and their namby pamby stasist concerns for
safety, efficiency and the centralized greater good. By the way, I might add that
corporate rule is one of the primary definitions of fascism. This is also a word that I
don't use lightly. I mean it. And I think that the actions of this administration reflect
the rise of the corporate theocratic state.
Two, and this is the thing that scares me about Kass, is that he's pro death. As you may
or may not know if you've been perusing the links at Three River Tech Review, there's a
very good chance that a number of technologies--computing power, nan, biotech--will rise
and take us to a Singularity level change in terms of human health. There are techs right
around the bend that could extend our lives, in theory and according to some experiments,
involving genetic manipulation in toads or even caloric restriction. Kass is already on
record as being against this! In other words, if there's a pill that could be called a
super antioxidant that could extend your life to some degree, Leon would oppose it!
Postrel derisively calls Kass the leader of the Pro Death movement. I might also add that
you might wish to rethink your pro life position. The same kind of rules that would
prohibit a woman from getting an abortion on demand could also extend to men who wish to
attain life therapies. The same principles apply. The state knows better than you do about
what you can or should be doing with your own body. I can't figure out why that's
conservative or even common sense. On the other hand, and I believed that I mentioned this
over at Nanodot, a lot of these guys are getting up there and will be facing death pretty
soon. I hope they're principled about their God's Will, Pro Death philosophy and don't use
the Demon tech to survive. I hope they die when God tells them they're supposed to...There
are some things beyond free markets don't you know...
October 6, 2001
(I had some fun over at Media Whores. This is a site that I generally
enjoy but they've joined the terrorists are evil and only evil school. Ignore that man
behind the curtain and our failed policy in the Middle East. So I went over and pointed
out that the man they despise, Christopher Hitchens, agreed with them...The guy I debated
signed as anonymous so I'm sure he won't mind me pasting his/her comments here...I'm not
sure if I won the argument, but I enjoyed making it...)
There's a debate between Hitchens v. Chomsky over at the Nation. I'm
openly curious as to who the folks at MWO are rooting for. You see, Hitchens agrees with
the MWO management team that any attempt to equate the bombings with the situation in
Isreal and the general American predilection to support despots and churls is at fault.
Chomsky, who was also crucified for noting the apparently scandelous opinion that the
bombers weren't just crazy freedom hatin' bad people, debates Hitch on this point.
I agree with Chomsky. And certainly MWO should agree with Hitchens. Is he still a whore?
Can we now thank him for his critiques about Kissinger? Can we now acknowledge that this
hatred of Clinton stemmed from his hatred of the DLC and its attempt to turn the dem party
into republican lite?
You don't have to a whore to be wrong October 6 2001, 4:30 PM
Hitchens is and always will be a whore and if I found myself agreeing with him on any
issue I'd reexamine my response on that basis alone.
I don't think Chomsky is a whore (media or otherwise) but I also don't think he's correct.
I think Chomsky, in trying to make sense of sheer evil finds comfort in the idea that if
the U.S. did something to cause the terrorist attacks then we can stop doing whatever we
did and the terrorists will stop attacking.
To me that argument is as invalid as trying to figure out what the Jews did to annoy the
Nazis or the Muslims did to tick off the Crusaders.
I think we have to look at history... October 6 2001, 5:01 PM
Well, if you think they're just crazy terrorists, then your solution is once their dead
stops. I hope that's not your argument because it happens to be not true. Where if you
investigate conditions, say crazy Isreal or Saudi kings or pakistan militias and chinese
dictators--our new allies in this war by way--you might come up with a better answer. You
know, usually these things don't bother me. I didn't like Hitch's position on Clinton but
it wasn't a matter of life or death. Whereas in this case you may be ratcheting up a war
where we don't win. Or at least, for the first time, the "bad people" may have
tactical nukes and anthrax at their disposal...
As far as the Nazis analogy, well, let's think about this for a moment. What caused the
Nazis? Were they bad people or was it punitive sanctions that they received after world
war 1 that allowed nazism to flourish? Personally, I think it was the sanctions and not
that they were bad people. What can we learn from this? Well, maybe the sanctions against
Iraq aren't such a good move...Maybe arabs don't like our policy on Isreal. Perhaps
people, even freedom hatin' arabs,look at our support of dictators throughout the globe
and have decided that we talk a good game but don't support democracy.We have to look at
the motivations behind these people so that we can prevent them from doing it again.
That's all I'm saying.
What's your solution? Genocide in Afghanistan? Without thinking about the underlying
By the way, just to respond to the guy who called me a republican, I'm a former DSA
member, I run a Bush watch page and completely believe our current resident is a moron,
and I'm a registered democrat who hates the DLC...Do I sound like a republican to you? I
might add that the republican position (they are just bad people who hate freedom) mirrors
MWO's. Why? Because no self-respecting repub would want an investigation into our bloody
foreign policy patterns, where we prop up dictators who support multinationals and the
permanent slave labor third world economy...
Evil October 6 2001, 5:54 PM
I didn't say the terrorists were crazy I said they were evil. Craziness might be cured or
controlled or possibly even ignored - evil kills, slaughters, maims and hurts because that
is the nature of evil.
Mankind has spent millennia trying to explain evil because if we can find a rational
explanation we can hope to find a rational solution.
I certainly don't agree with all U.S. foreign or domestic policy (for that matter I don't
agree with all of any nation's foreign policy). I think the ever growing gap between rich
and poor is atrocious. I think in this nation and all nations there is far too little
respect for the rights of the powerless and far too much willingness to exploit them. I
deplore prejudice and bigotry based on race, gender, religion or anything else.
And I don't think any of those factors motivates or explains Osama bin Laden any more than
I think the conditions imposed on Germany after World War I motivated or explained Hitler
or the government's action at Ruby Ridge or Waco motivated or explained McVeigh. They were
merely excuses society gave to try to explain why megalomaniacs did what megalomaniacs do
- destroy whatever the don't control and eventually even what they do control simply
because they can.
They are evil, we didn't make them evil, we can't stop them from being evil and I don't
think we can construct a policy to respond to terrorist threats without keeping that
firmly in mind.
The Marshall Plans Were Wrong? October 6 2001, 6:55 PM
Well, let's just go back to Germany again. You say that you don't think that punitive
sanctions had anything to do with the rise of Nazism. Well, first, it's a well regarded
historical fact that punitive sanctions did cause the rise of Nazism. You might also note
that our government in 1945 acknowledged this as well and that's why they initiated the
Marshall Plans that rebuilt Europe and Japan. If you were right, and history means
nothing, then why did they do this. They could have just put their heads in the sand and
concluded that the economic prosperity of Europe has nothing to do with the creation of
fascist regimes. Thank god they didn't come to the same conclusion that you have.
They initiated the Marshall plans because they didn't want to make the same mistakes
But okay: What does it mean to understand underlying conditions? How should that affect
our policies? Okay. I have to admit that I didn't have an answer for that a few weeks ago,
but I think I have them now. Here are some solutions:
We should change our New War on Terrorism into a War on Global poverty. That means
Marshall Plans for the world. We need to give everyone a reason--that means material
goods, hope for their children, getting laid, whatever--to prevent them from thinking that
guiding a plane into a building is the best option they have.
We should also declare a war on despotic regimes. That means we don't cut deals with the
Pakistan militia or Saudi kings or Chinese dictators. We should only align ourselves with
countries that have democratic institutions or have made commitments toward same. That
means a free press, that means elections, that means a free speech amendment. You might
then say how we can fight war against evil? Well, to me, Pakistan with its two dozen or so
tactical nukes is more of a threat to me than terrorists...Why build an economy that isn't
committed to democracy? That like's funding Hitler to beat Mussolini
don't think that a military approach will work. I don't think a targeted approach would
work and I don't believe a crazy approach would work. Its clear that Bin Laden wants us to
attack, either because he has something up his sleeve (tactical nukes, anthrax, pick your
poison) or he wants to spark a holy war...Either way we play into his hands.
Under my plan, we create wealth around the world. That means, by the way, of thinking of
things like decertifying corporations that dont pay the American minimum wage
abroad, or at least a wage that is above poverty level. So thats my plan: pro
democracy, pro wealth creation (Obviously, we need to rethink the WTO, NAFTA, the IMF,
You might say, well what about the 6000? I want blood you're probably screaming. Well, why
don't we forgive. Actually, considering the millions that have died in East Timor, Vietnam
and Latin American I'll take 6000 karmically. It would also be a great lesson for Isreal
and one that they need. When you answer the policy request in my next point, keep in mind
would you like to be as safe as the average Isreali? Does eye for an eye work? Let's call
off the war and determine these to be criminal acts....
So what is your plan? You have brilliantly concluded that they are evil. Well so what.
Whats your policy and who do you kill? Expound freely here..
Read My Lips (or at least my post) October 6 2001, 11:58 PM
I can only conclude that you keep putting your words in my mouth and attributing thoughts
to me I never expressed because you find it more convenient to debate a straw man you've
"You say that you don't think that punitive sanctions had anything to do with the
rise of Nazism."
I never said any such thing - I said I didn't think the conditions imposed on Germany
after World War I motivated or explained Hitler. (You know, this is
Phil here and I'm kind of cheating, but he says that I never said that he said punitive
sanctions caused the rise of Hitler and then he goes on to say that "I didn't think
the conditions imposed on Germany after WWI motivated or explained Hitler." Okay
As you so condescendingly point out the punitive conditions imposed on Germany after the
first world war caused economic hardship and political unrest. The Nazis used that unrest
as an excuse, had the punitive conditions not been imposed the Nazis would have concocted
a different excuse.
Hitler, who is the individual I said was evil, didn't need an excuse, he wanted to control
and/or destroy the world because he was evil. Osama bin Laden doesn't need an excuse, he
is evil. If the U.S. pulled out of Saudi Arabia tonight Osama bin Laden would immediately
shift to a different "grievance" and continue to murder people.
You are like the those people who encourage a battered woman to stay with her abuser and
tell her to make sure she keeps the house cleaner and has his dinner ready on time and
dresses up before he comes home and...and...and... They refuse to acknowledge that nothing
she does or doesn't do will stop him from battering her because he isn't battering her as
a result of anything she does or doesn't do.
Jim Jones didn't lead a mass suicide because a Congressman visited his camp, Vlad didn't
impale thousands of his own people because they laughed too loudly, Hitler didn't
exterminate millions of Jews because the German economy was bad, Tourquemada didn't burn
thousands of souls at the stake because they were heretics. These men did these things
because they were evil and there was nothing any of their victims could have done or not
done to change their evil actions.
There are undoubtedly many things that can and should be done to make the world a fairer,
healthier and safer place. But if the United States and the United Nations created a
paradise on earth creatures like bin Laden would try to destroy it.
You talk about a War on Global Poverty, Osama bin Laden is a Saudi millionaire from a
family of Saudi millionaires. Should we help the poor - yes. Will doing so stop bin Laden
- no. You talk about giving people something to live for - bin Laden's suicide bombers
rejected the many reasons they had to live because of their overwhelming reason to die -
they believed they would achieve a guaranteed and immediate afterlife in paradise.
I agree with you about the despotic regimes even though talk about our own free press and
elections rings rather hollow right now.
"Furthermore, I don't think that a military approach will work. I don't think a
targeted approach would work and I don't believe a crazy approach would work. Its clear
that Bin Laden wants us to attack, either because he has something up his sleeve (tactical
nukes, anthrax, pick your poison) or he wants to spark a holy war...Either way we play
into his hands."
Osama bin Laden wants us to die. He wants us to believe he controls whether we live or
die. He wants us to feel terror.
"Under my plan, we create wealth around the world. That means, by the way, of
thinking of things like decertifying corporations that dont pay the American minimum
wage abroad, or at least a wage that is above poverty level. So thats my plan: pro
democracy, pro wealth creation (Obviously, we need to rethink the WTO, NAFTA, the IMF,
A lovely plan which will not do one single thing to stop bin Laden.
"You might say, well what about the 6000? I want blood you're probably screaming."
I might say that but I didn't so stop making dramatic assumptions about what I'm
screaming. At the moment I'm more likely paraphrasing a reminder to Clinton during his
It's the evil stupid.
"Well, why don't we forgive. Actually, considering the millions that have died in
East Timor, Vietnam and Latin American I'll take 6000 karmically."
I'm sure the 6,000 and their families are pleased your karma can accept their death. How
many more can you accept - another 6,000 ... 60,000 ... 600,000 ... 6,000,000 ... what's
the magic number at which bin Laden crosses your line? (Incidentally why should we base
national policy on your karma?) (Actually, I kind of thought
anonymous got me on this point...)
"So what is your plan? You have brilliantly concluded that they are evil. Well so
what. Whats your policy and who do you kill? Expound freely here.."
Neutralize Osama bin Laden and whoever acts under Osama bin Laden's instructions or kills
in his name, and whoever harbors him, finances him or enables him to continue his evil. If
that menas killing him - well my karma can accept that but personally I'd prefer to see
him captured given sex change surgery and returned to live under the Taliban as a woman.
I'll Read Your Lips When You Sign Your Name
October 7 2001, 2:31 AM
Well, first, you have mischaracterized my argumentfocusing on semantics and not
intentand you have missed the major argument and question, spending your shot so to
speak on a minor point. Just for the record: You call them conditions and I call them
punitive sanctions. For the record, its considered a historical fact, if you want
Ill go on the net and get you some evidence, that the poverty and the misery of the
German people led to the rise of Hitler. If the Marshall Plans were wrong, then the neo
nazis in Germany should have overrun the country because they are just patently evil and
evil doesnt feed off of poverty. So come on, rebut the main point. I might add that
General Marshall made this point in favor of wealth creation. He was of the opinion that
were less likely to fight with people that are well fed and that were trading
with. I guess it has to do with this concept that countries that have McDonalds dont
get into fights with each other. Im guessing that there arent too many
McDonalds in Afghanistan. Its also why were not quaking in fear of Japanese and
German terrorists. Thank god you werent running things in 1947 anonymous, whoever
As far as you getting Bin Laden, your prescription doesnt make me feel any safer.
For example, the doctor who treats Bin Laden is probably just as important. The doctor is
also a master of disguise and uses plastic surgery. Hell probably look Japanese when
he comes over here. But remember that this organization has roots in over 60 countries
worldwide. Its also fueled by nationalist Moslem movements from Chechnya, China to
Indonesia, not to mention the whole of the Middle East. Youre telling me, with an
anonymous straight face, that if you get one guy all this stops and you can just relax.
Forgive me if I dont share your level of comfort. The organization will still be
intact and it will have the fuel of mideastern poverty, Palestinian genocide, and our
contradictory alliances with despots and churls in the name of fighting of despots and
churls. Perhaps you can buy this argument, but I doubt if you can sell it to the
impoverished Muslim youth who Bin Laden wants to recruit. I might note that left leaders
in Germany and France have stated the same thing. We have to address poverty issues. I
mean, thats when Ill feel safe. When everybody in the world can be as fat and
comfortable as Americans. With my plan, you get to root causes and you also get to fight
on principle. In your plan, which resembles the Bush plan by the way, you support the evil
Saudi, Kuwait, Pakistan governments in order to get the Taliban (Keep in mind which
country has the nukes by the way...) I think the Marshall Plans worked before and they'll
work again. Keep in mind that it doesn't matter that Bin Laden is rich, the majority of
his followers aren't.
It's the underlying conditions stupid...
Theres also the problem with our new found friends, the Saudi kings, who may or may
not let us land planes, the Pakistani military, who may or may not hold off a takeover by
Islamic fundies, and the Chinese, well known for the high regard for civil liberties. And
of course we wont do any thing about that whole Isreali situation. You combine all
this with a forced sex change of Osama and this renders your sleep peaceful, comfortable
in the knowledge that you wont be breathing any anthrax spores
Well, I hope
youre right. Youre probably going to get your war and your blood. Forgive me
if I dont feel any safer and start focusing my efforts on space exploration
Would Say 6000 is my Karmic limit... October 7 2001, 3:01 AM
By the way, I was very saddened by what happened Septermber 11th. But if you value life,
truly value life, you have to think about what solution preserves life the most. I think
that we have to take out the network. But the value of terrorist cells is that you never
take them out. Did Britain ever take out the IRA?
You could kill Bin Laden, kill everyone in Afghanistan, wipe out cells in all 60 countries
and this problem still wouldn't go away and you won't be any safer. Trust me on this. We
have to address root causes. True, evil is evil, but poverty and injustice fuels it and
makes it blossom...
We need some new solutions. Oh, and as far as the point about who are we to lecture people
about freedom of press and fair elections with our fired journalists and our broken
machinery I think you're right. So we would have to change here as well and who knows?
Maybe the guy with the most votes will win...
October 7 2001, 12:36 PM
Your response to my arguments is to tell me to sign my name. Your response to Osama bin
Laden killing thousands of innocent people is to forgive him and send everybody in the
world who might be annoyed at the U.S. or western civilization for whatever reason lots
and lots of money. You talk about the Marshall Plan - it was implemented after Hitler was
defeated. Since you're such a historian I'm sure you know what happened with the efforts
to appease Hitler before World War II.
(Posted over at Smirking Chimp in response to yet another
rightward move by Lieberman on Colombia...)
Let's face it: The DLC is a problem. They give the Green Party so much
more credibility. What do I say to your angry Green. Gee, I guess the conversation would
go something like this...
Entrenched Dem: Hey there, evil Green I see that you're gearing up to run candidates in
2002 and 2004? If you do that the evil republicans will win and things will be
Green: On what issues exactly?
ED: Uh, taxes for example! If you let the Republicans in they'll screw the rest of us and
give the surplus away to the rich...
Green: Well, that's already happened and had members of the Democratic Party in the senate
showed some spine they could have halved that cut
or at least put some triggers on the cut. True, it was mostly DLC members who caved in,
but what kind of real opposition allows its opponents to start a group within its own
party that works against the interest of its base..There's no Republican Leadership
Council. They wouldn't stand for it.
ED: All right, you got me there. But what about the environment? Isn't Bush terrible? Why
strengthen his hand?
Green: Personally, the real threat to the environment is globalization. And again, with
the DLC and the republicans that will go right on schedule. The democratic party just
isn't much of an opposition party. In fact, its clear that at least half of the party, or
the DLC, clearly wants to be as bought off as the republicans are currently. You also get
this evil idea that they're constantly selling out their trad base and whispering into the
ears of their big contributors "Look, the majority of us will vote against the latest
evil republican tax/arctic drilling/whatever bill, but don't worry the DLC will always tip
it into your corner...that way we can go back to our nagging base (nag nag nag) and show
them that we voted as a majority against it but give you the victory...And keep that money
rollin' in and of course public financing of elections is a bad idea.." I mean,
that's what I think as a Green.
EDem: Okay, you got me there...uh, but aren't the republicans evil sons of bitches and
aren't the dems our best chance..
Green: Look, I believed in Clinton and never cared about who he slept with. But he backed
NAFTA and GATT, those terrible trade agreements. These are agreements where the public
can't even watch the judicial proceedings, these are kangaroo courts, these are,let's call
them what they are, fascist pro corporate arrangements. The democratic party establishment
backs those agreements...I can't in good faith support the party anymore no matter how
evil the republicans are...
EDem: I'm still voting Gore Lieberman in 2004. or whatever DLC guy they put up there..
Green: But do you know why?
EDem: I guess the courts, but a lot of the Clinton appointees were pretty bad. Look at how
the dem court appointees acted in Florida, they were centrist and by the book while the
GOP appointees were partisan...had the black judge thrown out those votes the Supreme
Court would've had a harder time intervening and in fact the Supreme Court would've
allowed the vote to continue because that would've been bush's best shot to win. Those are
the courts now: Republican judges are partisan and dems are principled losers...what am I
Green: My point exactly..Makes that whole Colombian Lieberman thing seem kind of small
don't it (They shake hands and EDEm starts weeping about his horrible choices...)
Brought to you by Very Bad Playwright Productions
Our Motto: Hey we're political and we don't do dialogue that well..
(Posted Over at Smirking Chimp in Response that CNN May Be Moving
Back when I worked for evil Scripps-Howard (Hilariously described by Nicholas Von Hoffman
as a chain that was Dead Above the Neck) as an intern reporter, I had an
interesting discussion with my then mentor. Back in the eighties we had two dailies in
Pittsburgh: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Press. The PG was so left back
then it kind of felt like the Village Voice and the Press represented some kind of
mediocre sentimental Republicanism, as another friend would describe it. Anyway, SH had
just brought in new management and the thought was that they were going to push the paper
in a leftward or more moderate position. By doing this, my mentor gently explained, this
would push the PG even further left into something he described as the untenable
position. I had to roll my head around that one for awhile. I finally figured out
that what he meant is that if the PG moved leftward, it would do things that papers
usually dont do very well: investigate the abuses of supermarket chains, the slavery
of foreign labor that produces so many of our products, your citys usual allotment
of suspiciously murdered black men by the police, etcetara. The untenable
position here of course is that if a communications medium actually did stories like
that its advertising basecomposed mostly of big money GOP leanin
multinationalswould dry up and go away.
After years to ponder this dilemma, I have concluded that it might well indeed be
untenable for a broadbased communications medium to move leftward. You do risk
your advertising base when you move leftward. There was a recent story out of New York
where one of the papers out there did that expose on area supermarkets and guess what:
They lost all their supermarket ads! If youve ever looked at how many market ads are
in your daily paper you would realize thats real money.
So, to bring the point back around, the only direction that CNN can go is rightward. If
they were to choose any other direction, then it might be called untenable.
That actually might not be true because this is a national network afterall. But Im
sure thats what the suits who run the big multinatiional that is CNN think. And
dont get me wrong, I would never move CNN rightward if I was running it. I would
dump Larry King for somebody more interesting, or just plain younger. And I would look
closely at shows like Politically Incorrect and Mike Moores TV Nation just to see
how shows with a perspective could be done in an interesting way. I would step up my
science and tech coverage. Get rid of all those meaningless Chandra stories and do the
real story about the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters by antiquated voting
And then I would wish upon a Star and become King of the World and me and
Nicole Kidman would go away to someplace quiet
Oh, sorry about that.
Im just saying that the people who run CNN would never conclude that offering a left
version of Fox was viable. The only viable answer for them is to turn CNN into Fox. I
dont condone it. I just think thats just the way they think.
Personally, and Ill say it again. We need to do what we can to hurry broadband
along. Mix clips of Chomsky in with videos of music bands. Once broadband kicks in the
Smirking Chimpster will have the proven advertising model of television to live off of and
he can produce his own programming. Thats really the lefts best shot of owning
a news network (Even though it seems as if theres a concentrated effort to slow down
broadband deployment. I suppose if I was paranoid I could conclude this might be done to
actually prevent the Smirking Chimpster from owning his own tv network, but no. That
cant happen here. This is America.)
Meanwhile, we have to watch the appalling
conundrum of our political system played out between media networks: CNN might decide that
the only tenable thing to do is move rightward, just like the Democratic Leadership
Council did. And what if the DLC is right? What if it turns out that if the Democratic
Party became a real opposition party funding would dry up and then the Republicans would
just buy everything
What horrible choices we have in networks and parties. These are very dark times
(Posted in response to what the left needs to do to gain its own
I guess Ive been thinking about this for awhile now, so forgive me
if I prattle on.
I think that it is necessary for left and progressive forces to create their own media.
Whenever I think about the things that are wrong with the country and that need to be
addressed it always come back to the problem with the corporate media establishment. How
can you talk about antiquated voting machines or the problems of big money influence on
politicians or the media emphasis on meaningless stories if the same people who own the
media benefit from the currently corrupt and bankrupt system? Its pretty tough.
The only way that the left can influence Big Media is to become Big Media. The problem
with this is that buying a network is probably beyond the means of even a Barbara
Streisand. However, a coalition of 100 people in that same Striesand tax bracket might be
able to make some pretty big purchases. The next time an ABC or an NBC or even a UPN is on
the block someone should put in a bid. Its about time that artists owned something anyway.
I might add that the Hollywood Left needs a voice not only to fight the incredibly blatant
evils of the republicans, but the dopey morals assault led by DLCer Leiberman of all
The other hope, and I think that this is more immediate, is the fruition of a democratic
broadband. If its concentrated broadband in the hands of a few people, then there
will be the same problems.
(One thing that Streisand or others on the wealthy left might be interested in is
investing in broadband that apparently doesnt require heavy infrastructure
investment by either ATT or the baby bells or the cable companies. There are two companies
that can deliver broadband speeds over by way of electrical outlets. Here are the links in
case anyone rich is reading this. The trick is getting this technology into the country as
fast as possible. Once, broadband becomes affordable to the masses then it will be much
cheaper to create your own channel.
Heres the story about the Canadian firm.
Heres the link to the Canadians firms website. This company is looking
for investors, Barbara.
Heres the link to the American firm
If I was a rich, liberal person then I would buy these firms, not with the idea of being a
monopolist, but with the idea that once this tech gets out then the barriers put up by the
baby bells to broadband will start to fade.)
One thing the Hollywood left can do immediately is buy out Salon, which, quite frankly, is
the only national publication that even allows the left perspective a fair hearing. You
could then make Salon the basis for more investigative and cultural reporting. And once
broadband happens, you could slowly turn Salon into something more visual. By the way, the
kind of left television reporting that is both entertaining and interesting is already
being done by Mike Moore. If CNN let Mike Moore run the network, then they would be very
competitive with Faux news, which, to give the station some credit, does exude passion and
heat, even if its in the service of a fascist agenda. Of course, they would never
hire Mike Moore, even though he's kind of what they need. So well have the pleasure
of watching Faux news probably become the number one news network in the country. Yet
another reason we need those wealthy liberals to step forward and buy some media.
Yet getting back to that Mike Moore point, I really think the way to go is to create an
entertainment network which does news. Personally, if accessible broadband became a
reality and someone handed the Smirking Chimpster about $10 million dollars to create a
left network then I think the way to go is to do music videos mixed in with news. Ten
minute blocks just before the hour and a one hour show daily that focuses on the arts and
music and politics. And since were dreaming here, lets give the public some
really good music. How about Portishead and Bjork and old Gil Scott Heron on heavy
rotation and no boy bands! In other words, you would be serving the very much
underserviced over 30 music listener. The reason why I think that you need music is that
would be the way that you draw in people to your politics. With that kind of money you
could also finance your own record labels and give musicians a much much better deal than
they have now. (Please read the Courtney Love statement on how shes getting screwed
out of her music royalties in that past issue of the Nation
) Then again, a Mike
Moore approach to television news would be so entertaining and so funny I could probably
watch that all day long without music. Of course, with broadband, you could start several
streams of services at one, in the hopes of drawing in as diverse a crowd as possible. You
could do documentaries, films, sitcoms even. You could even do flash media style stuff,
everything from South Park to unabridged adaptations of novels. The potentials are
endless. The idea though is to draw people in through art.
On a final note, the other folks who have the money and resources to do this kind of
thing, and they could do it now, is big labor. There are some very progressive unions out
thereIm thinking the Communications Workers and the Electrical
workerswho might be interested in starting there own network. I would, again,
recommend that they buy out Salon and real quick. There's also the potential that these
could become money makers for the unions. Last I heard, tv networks were pretty
profitable...And I strongly that Mike Moore hire as creative consultant/president.
(I posted this over at Plastic in response to the
assertion by Ted Rall that violence is a nessary factor in any revolution.)
I've always been a big fan of Ted Rall (I even link to him on my sites)
but keep in mind that Rall's whole childhood was one tortuous eye for an eye experience
called "My War With Brian", which is a funny read if you're really into violence
and vengeance fantasies.
Yet I must say he has a point about the nature of violence in political change.
Personally, I think his argument is that both peaceful and not quite so peaceful tactics
have to be used. For example, the writer above used the example of Martin Luther King vs.
Malcolm X, when, if the truth be stated, their movements complimented each other. Take
heed of the nice minister from the south otherwise you will deal with the spector of a
violent ethnic war. I believe that's currently the strategy of the prolife
movement...Ignore our constitutional bans eh? How about a pro-life bullet of Love between
your eyes...? (I'm pro-choice but I understand the tactics..)
The other point that makes me sympathetic to the Rall argument is the fact that you can't
do much legally to change things in the United States without a lot of money, which most
of us don't have. Your vote doesn't really mean that much anymore. The last election was
proof of that. And even if you get your guy in so what? He's more beholden to the special
interest money that talks to him every day and that contributes to his campaign. The
courts are shot and again the last election proved that. You're probably right that you're
being gouged by the utility industry but go ahead just try and prove it in an
"impartial" court of law. Our civil liberties are slowly being eaten away and
what can you do? You have the choice between the completely bought off party and the
somewhat bought off party and a system that makes it almost impossible to create viable
third parties. Personally, my choice is to create a new libertarian/progressive community
on Mars and stop trying to move the immovable force, but maybe you don't want to leave and
the rate that the space program is going you probably won't be able to leave even if you
So, will you see me blowing up buildings adorned with ski mask and righteous anger?
Probably not. But I will understand those people that do.
PS: Oops! Forgot about Carnivore! Uhhh...Let me say that I would never intellectually
defend the use of violence in order to attain any political goal. Anyone who would do that
is a bad person. Who I hate. Long live George Bush! The Smartest Man in America...
(posted over at Plastic in
response to Europe becoming more like the United States)
I read the piece and thought the stereotype
of Bush as "A shallow, arrogant, abortion-hating, Christian-fundamentalist
buffoon" is not only funny, but probably on the mark. But I hope that she's wrong
about Europe converging with the United States. Frankly, I think a United Europe is the
world's best hope.
I think these are dark times for the world, which is about to exist under a reality where
the power of multinationals often usurp national interests and boundaries. Here in the
United States, ground zero for private greed and rights trumping even the faint whispered
notion of individual rights and public health (greatest good for greatest number, yeah,
right), we live in what might affectionately be termed as the "corporate
theocracy". A society whose only high function is to consume stuff and pray,
presumably to the Orwellian Money God who will bless you with the right to acquire more
cool stuff. As one of my favorite writers once said through the lips of his best creation
Howard the Duck: "If a guy doesn't want to spend all of his time buyin' and consumin'
stuff, there's nothin' for im to do. The United States is nothing but one big dateless
Saturday night!" (quote might be a bit off, can't find HTD 7 at the moment...)
Europe, I think, offers a more humane future for people. I thought that the whole
motivation behind the European Union was not only to offer an alternative to American
hegemony--getting grosser and dumber by the picosecond--but to also be a kind of foil
against the rising power of multinationals. For example, in the article it states that
Microsoft software is pervasive in Europe, but I believe that the EU is also investigating
Microsoft for using anti-competitive practices. I don't think that's possible without an
EU. Microsoft vs. Italy sounds about as promising as Tyson against a journeyman
I just think they're more humane over there in Europe. I think there are many cases where
its clear that Europe encourages art and not rapacious commerce(think: European investment
in the arts compared to the US), clear that they favor human fights over the rights of
multinationals (think: health care, shortened work weeks and generally a higher standard
of living) and subsequently, a better and more humane future. Over at space com, I make
the argument that I hope that the Europeans beat us to space. I'd like to live in a
European settlement where somebody cares about my health and won't just throw me out of an
airlock when I'm fired and work tirelessly to undermine my social safety net.
So, hey, Europe: Keep up the good work. Maintain your own identity and aim your higher
standards toward Mars and beyond.
(Posted in Plastic. Submitted in response to syrupy nice
essay on the virtues of Oilmen.)
There are some things that Greg says that make sense and are
thoughtfully argued. Then there are things that Greg says that reminds me why I no longer
buy or peruse the New Republic and its not the fact that your nonfiction writers have
occasionally engaged in elaborate fiction, its just that theres something
intellectually dishonest about the whole, neocon, Nuevo-liberal (whatever you guys call
yourselves now) movement. The reason why people refer to oilmen in such a disparaging way
is that theyre oilmen: greedy, slick, profit at any cost kind of folks. The kind of
people who would sell out not only their own people at home to make a buck (Cheney and
Bush I think are kind of an American Junta-like regime that the oil barons abroad use much
in the way that we use puppet governments in El Salvador or Honduras
), but would
certainly go to war in the mideast to protect their investments
To hear Greg tell it
these heroes were much more interested in Democracy in Kuwait. Yeah, right.
The kind of Norman Rockwell language that Greg uses to describe these slick and greasy
guys is appalling. His one line where he describes gluttonous oil folks as keeping
children's bedrooms warm and keeping their milk cold, as if they were a
multinational version of Santa Claus, and not the rapacious, ruthless machines who aid and
abet the murder of Nigerian activists whenever it suits their interests
As if they
werent in it to make a buck and making a buck only...
The other problem, and this goes to my one man jihad to fight the hideous Virginia Postrel
meme that states Multinationals is Good People (I will fight the meme wherever
) is that the oil industry has interests that directly conflict with the
greater good of the American People. This seems to be missing from the arguments
equations. It may be that oil companies drill better and smarter, but, quite frankly, they
could care less about the caribou if it got in the way of a good buck (no pun intended).
That would explain the administrations almost unreal position against conservation.
They are against conservation, which, I might add, probably would mean we wouldnt
have to take a rational look at nuclear or drill in the arctic, because it
means less money. A big gas guzzling America means more profit for the oil industry. I
dont know why this motive would shock Greg, these gallant oilmen who feed his kids
and keep them warm, but just everything that the administration has done and has tried to
do is tied to some kind of corporate payoff. Theyve shown a contempt for renewables,
proven by their tying the funding for aforesaid renewables to oil drilling in the arctic.
Of course, to your average oilmen, a future of biofuels, solar, wind, conservation and
clean air is a nightmare that must be stopped. This is something that evil oilmen do.
Theyre evil. That is their wont. That is their way. To pretend otherwise, well,
thats worse than naivete, thats a kind of an articulated stupidity, a refusal
to look at the evil oilmen, with their dripping fangs and thinly concealed profit motives,
and to define them as what they are: The living embodiment of corrupt American capitalism.
(I posted this over at Plastic in response to Colin
Powell's trip abroad to Africa and the absurd contention that the country could really
help Africa by changing the rules on textile exports, which only the evil
Well, I see that Virginia Postrels hideous meme has already infected the
elite punditry: Multinationals are the Poor's Friends. Tell that to AIDS victims in
Brazil. To be frank, I could think of some other things that might be used to help the
poor, both here and abroad. I'll stop typing when I get tired.
1.Well, the first thing that you could do is shift the administration's position on drug
aid for AIDS victims in Brazil. It's a completely indefensible position, even Virginia
Postrel hasn't defended it so far, and it shows quite graphically the evil that
multinationals do and show that they aren't in fact in favor of helping poor people. In
fact, I thought the whole reason that multinationals go abroad is to exploit poor
people...In the Postrel worldview the Maquiladoras are just wonderful places to work.
2. Another way that Colin Powell and the administration could help the poor is to withdraw
from the WTO until stronger protections for workers are included and, here's a thought,
opening up the process to the public so that we could find out how they deliberate on
cases like Brazil blatantly acting on the behalf of its own people and public health.
3. Instead of attacking a textile union which ostensibly works to protect American workers
from joining the working poor, how about talking openly about laws that would force
American multinationals to pay the American minimum wage abroad. Is that too high? Or the
enforcement of the 40 hour week? I know, it's kind of crazy.
4. You don't have to look abroad for your huddled masses. If Bush is really interested in
helping the poor, then he could do something to help the Californian working classes who
will be creamed by the rise in energy prices. He could tap into the reserve, muscle the
oil barons whoses asses his dad saved, or even do simple things like increase fuel
efficiency for vehicles.
5. Or here's my favorite: "I, Colin Powell, as I sit by my friend and inspiration
Nelson Mandela, am taking this opportunity to make a personal choice based not on
politics, but conviction.
"I am resigning my post effective immediately. I thought that I could work within to
change the most corrupt and evil party the Earth has ever known but I see now that I'm
being used. When the admininstration passes laws that hurt black people, it will be my
face that they present. When the administration backs the slaugher of people of color in
the Third World (many of whom I have killed myself in Grenada and Panama), it will be my
face as the token symbolic salve for the increasingly bloody drug war. I have finally
determined that I am contributing to what Bertram Gross called the friendly, multicultural
face of fascism.
"Oh...God. I simply can't continue the big lie anymore. I resign. Let white men
represent the evil that they themselves do. And...resist! Resist I say!"
Well, a guy has to have dreams...
Months after the coup, Im still debating the
merits of the Ralph Nader presidential run. On the Ralph screwed us big time side is Katha
Pollitt at the Nation and Todd Gitlin and Sean
Wilentz at Dissent. On the other side supporting Saint Ralph is Mike Moore and Ellen Willis over at Dissent. (Dissent,
allegedly a left outfit, makes it very difficult for me to link directly to
the very fine Gitlin/Wilentz vs. Willis debate over there. So you have to go to the main
page and search it out for yourselves.) Personally, I took a pragmatic view and voted for
Gore, although Im a huge Nader fan and in fact probably owe him my life in that I
have survived a number of car crashes and breathe much better without second hand smoke.
After reading through all the briefs I have come to the conclusion that perhaps there was
merit to the Nader run. Willis points out that as a leftist Im playing a losing game
that I have to watch being played in front of my horrified eyes. She makes the point that
when the Republicans win, they fight relentlessly and ruthlessly for their loathsome,
swinelike base. That, by the way, makes tactical sense. You want to give your base a
reason to go to the polls. Where, during the long eight year reign of the DLC Clintonistas
the left got nothing or we got stuff that we really didnt want. He didnt even
do little things like fully funding public television. We got welfare reform, aspiring
trillionaires and NAFTA, which might as well be called a corporation rights bill. I might
add that all of these things undermine the Democratic Party base. Clinton didnt even
fight for the courts. Weve seen where that led us. Tactically, this makes no sense.
Why would you pursue policies that undermines your base? But theres a point in the
Willis argument that sheds some light on this where she states:
Conservative Republicans hang together, stand up for their beliefs, and police the
moderates in their ranks, while the Democrats every impulse is toward
compromise and appeasement. If anything, their behavior suggests that they are threatened
by the potential power of such mass constituencies as labor, blacks, and women, and would
rather lose than risk unleashing it.
This brings up a point that no one has thought about or at least brought up in public, but
that someone should bring up: If you were a white man and you represented a party whose
constituency represented parties that for better or worse believed in a future that
lessens the power of the white man, would you enthusiastically support that party?
Especially if it turns out that your opposition party foes are for the white mans
privilege, the whole white mans privilege and nothing but the white mans
privilege. You might say that youre open minded about sharing power consciously, but
what about unconsciously? Maybe, secretly, you really want the other side to win.
Right now, the last remnants of the Great Society are in the hands of
the 50 or so Dem senators, many of whom like Breaux and Miller seem to be Republicans in
drag, in the US Senate. So far, they havent used the filibuster once. If the
situation was reversed, the Republicans would be using their filibuster powers every, oh,
four seconds or so. I can only conclude, being that theyve totally
bought into the Tony Coelho We Can Be Republicans To Big Money mantra, that
they want the other side to win. Lets give Bush a big tax cut. Lets rollover
on those judges. I think Willis uses the word supine. How appropriate.
(Actually, the Dems havent rolled over just yet. I sure hope they get some
Yet another salient point that Willis brings up is that were kind of in a no-win
situation. We lose slowly with Gore and quicker with Bush. And even though I agree with
many of the practical points put forth by Gitlin/Wilentz everything revolves around
globalization, which Gore supports. He would have been better than Bush on many issues,
but economically those trade agreements undermine the union base, arguably the most
powerful arm of the Dems, and everything else we stand for. Again, why do that unless you
want the other side to win.
Just to add to that, I might point out that its the structure of the winner take all
system that makes any kind of progressive change almost impossible. The lack of a
progressive, left-wing media makes this difficult as well. Part of the problem revolves
around the conundrum presented by the old Orwell quote: They cant be conscious
until theyre free and they cant be free until theyre conscious.
Likewise, we cant have freedom until we have modern working democratic institutions,
but you cant have working democratic institutions until you have freedom. I
dont see how we win the puzzle.
Frankly, I dont think the left will win in the United States. In fact, we might not
even win on Earth. Thats why I think Im the only leftist on Earth who is not
only pro technology, but pro space exploration. Instead of playing this game on Earth,
where the Casino has decided for us to lose, we should think about playing some new games
here, in either artificially created nations like Sealand or offworld. My personal
preference is Mars. More on this when I finally complete A Left Argument for Technology.
The always compelling Katha Pollitt
takes apart every argument that the Greens made for the
Nader presidency. There is a difference between the bad and the worse. I do have this
dark thought, however, that Gore could have more effectively pushed the globalization
agenda because he wouldnt have touched choice and he could have been pretty good for
the courts. But, in that sense, the Nader argument makes sense: globalization is the worst
thing that could happen to world. It would allow multinationals not only to ignore
whats left of the public safety net in the United States but to increase their
rapidly escalating attempt to eradicate those safety provisions in other countries. Ralph
may have made the choice that defeating the DLC and helping to elect our doofus president
might be the best longterm strategy. Where Bush is such an inarticulate clod, his
inadequacies undermine any stance that he takes. Or as the Canadian Prime Minister noted
recently, our president doesnt seem to know anything. What a great environment for
world leaders. Lets wait until the president leaves the room so that we can actually
talk about issues.