Thursday, March 29, 2007

Movement is a physical act

Murray Bookchin argued that once you begin to eliminate the domination of humans by humans, only then can you begin to eliminate the domination of nature by humanity. A system of infinite production and infinite need is by its essence a dominating system. The illusion of infinite need can only be impressed upon a minority, since by physical impossibility all humans cannot have access to infinite material wealth. On the contrary, the majority must not have access to even the most basic resources for a pleasurable life in order to uphold this pyramidal system of infinite need for a minority. Ignoring the fact that this system manufactures poverty, and in fact must manufacture poverty in order to thrive are the rags-to-riches myths, which do happen but not at the extent represented in popular first world media - myths that accuse the majority poor of being lazy, stupid and/or genetically inferior, ultimately a product of their own choice to live in poverty.

Contrary to Al Gore's assertions of adjusting individual personal habits, it's clear that the only thing we can do for "the environment", or more accurately, the survival of our species, is to shut down the pyramidal system manifested in its utmost extreme in corporate globalisation (or the redistribution of wealth to the upper .01% of humans), to shut down the system of infinite resource plunder which ultimately turns the planet into a garbage heap and necesseties the domination of human over human and human over nature.

The inverse of our current system would be a directly democratic, egalitarian society in which all forms of domination and hierarchy are eliminated. It would be a society which does not lay waste to natural resources for profit but works with nature to produce needs for the society in a way that sustains the natural environment. This does not advocate a trustafarian idealism, a return to primitive tribal ways of life, which is an impossible joke, but a new way of life that uses technology in such a way that does not lay waste to the ecosystem for the purposes of keeping a hierarchical system of infinite profit for an elite minority in place.

So how do we go from here to there? By definition it cannot happen through actions of elite groups of rich activists. There must be mass popular movements for such drastic changes. Latin America is ripe for such a mass movement - the Zapatistas and others have already made considerable progress by declaring themselves independent of the Mexican government and setting up their own cultural institutions.

The US, however, is not. We are sitting within the walls of the castle enjoying our panem et circenses.

Certainly the Iraq war is a manifestation of the pyramid system at its most violent. It's textbook imperialism, and if you want to ever live in a society based on egalitarianism and direct democracy, resisting the Iraq occupation is a good place to start.

So here I entertain the idea of advocating for a draft. Mass movements from within the castle walls are only possible when a great number of people and their children are physically threatened by power. In our current culture, it is especially easy for the individual to lock himself away in a prison of virtual reality- a fantasy world created by mass media which renders the physical person immobile and so manipulates the emotions that the prison is made to feel like its opposite- an escape from the harsher world of reality.

So you have to physically pull people from these virtual realities. In regards to US foreign policy, a draft would do this. In the early 20th century, thousands of American socialists, communists and anarchists took to the streets of the USA in protest to US economic policy because they worked extremely hard, long hours in grueling conditions, yet still had empty stomachs. Probably the only thing that made rebellion fashionable and got a great number of middle class youth out into the streets during the Vietnam War was the physical threat to them in draft form.

But the draft will never happen. Private military contracting will increase as American combat forces slowly withdraw, and other US forces will remain on their permanent bases in Iraq. These private military companies - unaccountable to the US public - will continue to use torture, murder, and other forms of atrocity, or hire out paramilitary groups to perform these deeds for them, and this will continue to be ignored or glossed over in the mainstream US press, who will probably ignore Iraq as though the war is over, as it ignores Colombia as though we haven't been at war there for decades.

Since there will not be a draft, there must be other methods to physically remind people about the war, and one of these methods is physically organizing (not just on the internet) and taking over a street or an intersection or a highway. We just have to get more people who are willing to do this. It would be nice if just as many people were willing to take over whole city blocks for reasons other than a basketball victory, or other forms of panem et circenses, but until they are physically or at least emotionally compelled to do so - even if they are mentally against the war - they will remain locked into the approved forms of organization - that of attending sporting events or getting together to watch the Super Bowl on TV.

Iran and British sailors

I was on the road for about 8 hours yesterday, so I was listening to mainstream reports about Iran arresting British sailors on both AM radio and NPR. If the facts matter and you want a better understanding of the situation, it'd be a good idea to read the Guardian's Q&A., in which you get an amount of context not approved by the mainstream media in both the US and UK.

Did the incident take place in a diplomatically sensitive area?

Yes. Iraq and Iran have disputed navigation rights on the Shatt al-Arab since 1935, when an international commission gave Iraq control.
...

What are British naval forces doing in the Gulf?

British ships are working with a US naval force that has recently expanded with the arrival of a second aircraft carrier battle group, led by USS Stennis. The ships are engaged in routine patrols, and the west has naval forces in the area as a matter of course to ensure the safe passage of oil tankers.

The US is committed to protecting Iraq's southern oil terminals against attack until the Iraqi navy can prove it is capable of ensuring the six miles of shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz stay open. Up to 80% of Europe's trade with Asia, and a substantial proportion of the world's oil and gas, are shipped through local waters.

US officials say they want to send a message to Iran that America has plenty of military muscle in reserve despite its commitments in Iraq.

A large western naval presence can be seen as part of a war of nerves as the US puts pressure on Iran to halt the nuclear work the Bush administration believes is for an atomic bomb.



I doubt the British military personnel are in any real danger, although I don't understand Iran's motivation for making the woman wear an Islamic headscarf and having her appear in a video. Though I do understand the reason Iran is trying to counter the military build-up in the gulf that a power system naturally does when it is threatened. They don't have the negotiating power of a nuke, so they take prisoners. If Iran was building up its military presence in the Gulf of Mexico, the US government would never take Iranian sailors prisoner. They'd just bomb the aircraft carriers to the bottom of the sea, and not one mainstream reporter would bat an eye.

Follow up on Bushopedia

There IS one.

B U S H O P E D I A

A Comprehensive Alphabetical Guide to George W. Bush, the Bush Administration, Other Aspects of the Far Right, and Related Topics.

by Bill Potts

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tool!

This is the dipshit I was talking about.

"I never listened to Iron Maiden but it's hip to support America and wear a Maiden shirt with my beard"

Give him the bizness, Seann William Scott!

More coverage
http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/555857.html

This News Observer story characterizes Dip Shitinson as the "lone dissenter". Wrong. He was the lone conformist among hundreds of dissenters. If you are adhering to US government policy, you are not dissenting, at all. You are a conformist.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20070321/cm_thenation/4177843

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Life and Times Spencer Batchelder

I came across this blog searching, ironically for army recruitment propaganda that I plan to use for some local Shadow Government (shdogovt) counter-recruitment activity.

This is some of the best writing on the Iraq war I've ever read, from a soldier deployed there. Nothing like first-hand experience. You can't find quality stuff like this in the New York Times. This is from "Why I Write this Blog":

A fear stricken public elected Bush again allowed him to take away our rights and freedoms, wire tap our homes and businesses all unpunished. My new fear of this deployment is what is happening to America. We cut social programs to line the pockets of corporations. Is this the country I swore to defend? The anger I felt during the last deployment is nothing compared to the hatred I feel today. I guess I am bitter, I am slowing turning into the thing I most despise, the disgruntled veteran. I have had such a hard time dealing with this more than any other issue in my life. But I see so much wrong with America. Maybe because I have sacrificed so much for this country I feel that I do have the right to express my opinions or that they should count more than people like Ann Coulter who have done nothing but poison public opinion. I also serve in a different Army than I once did. The liberal soldier or the politically active soldier is an endangered species today. Gone are the days when I or the people I serve with could say, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Soldiers that join today know exactly what they are getting into; they know they will go to Iraq over, and over, and over again. They know that they risk their lives for lies. Yet they still serve, it goes to show you the power that recruiters have over young impressionable minds. It saddens me that some of the army’s best and brightest get out because their government has betrayed them. I am disappointed that in America, when I signed a contract to protect our citizens I now count on them to defend me. I guess that I have no viable option but to join my brothers in arms and leave an organization I so believed in, whose principles I swore to uphold to the best of my ability. I can no longer serve a government that lies to its people, which tortures, murders, and exploits the ideals it was based upon. I can no longer fight a war that I find morally reprehensible. That I have seen people lose their lives for. I have been to more memorials than I can count on two hands. I have seen the faces of the men displayed above empty pairs of boots who have never met the children born to them during the deployment. I have shed tears for their wives, children, mothers, and fathers whom I have never met. I have scrubbed the blood of Iraqis off my boots, looked into their lifeless eyes and saw the idealism that our country was founded upon. I discovered extremes of hatred and compassion I never knew were possible while serving in this country. And while I feel I have grown and learned much serving here I do miss a day when serving your country meant what it said, not as it is today where I am serving the interests of large corporations and lobbyists. So that’s why I write this blog. To share my life, my story, and my views to involve people in the country in which they live. It is the obligation of every citizen of this nation to become involved in politics, that is the basis of which our country is founded upon. A government of the people for the people is an ideal we in this country must uphold because the inaction of her citizens will be her demise.


And from a recent post:

There is such a lack of concern in the states, or even interest in what happens here in Iraq that frankly I am disgusted and deeply concerned about the moral fabric of our nation. People carry on with their daily lives like we aren't occupying a nation half a world away. I really wish at this point that something drastic would happen. Perhaps a draft because that is the only thing I fear that would make people actually get involved in their political process. I am sure that if little Nancy Soccer Mom in her 2.5 bathroom, 5 bedroom home in some upper middle class suburb of Chicago had to kiss her son goodbye because he received a draft card people might actually care about this war and the men and women who are fighting it.

I guess Tillman didn't support himself

According to Jeremy Staat:
A former NFL player who joined the Marines and was motivated by college roommate Pat Tillman, who died in Afghanistan, was heading for the war in Iraq Tuesday night.
I love how Fox Sports completely ignores Tillman's story, zero mention of the fact that Tillman became anti-war, zero mention that Tillman was killed by American fire.
"The way I look at it, we're spreading freedom, and you have to support the troops and you have to support the war," Staat, 29, told KITV in Honolulu on Tuesday as he prepared to leave from Hawaii. "You can't just tell some Marine who just lost his buddy that we supported you but not the war, because in that case you're basically saying that Marine, his buddy, just died for nothing. We're one team."
You know what? I've been tired of being told I don't "support the troops", whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean. He's not going to be spreading freedom. That's total bullshit, and I fail to have any respect for anyone who still believes this. It's goddamn sad. This poor stupid meathead is going to end up maimed or dead because this country refuses to teach kids about history or to help them develop critical thinking skills. Instead, kids are enthusiatically taught about sports, which is fine, but to the expense of all else, so they can be trained to respect authority and be good little followers at all costs. Fuck that.

Tillman went to Afghanistan because he thought, like many of us, he'd actually be fighting the people responsible for 9/11. And to compare this dipshit to Tillman is also a disgrace. Tillman wasn't an "ex-NFL player" farting around in the arena league. He turned down $3.6 million with the Cardinals because he thought he'd be serving his country.

From all I've read about Tillman he was an intelligent dude, and he turned against the war later on before his death. So I guess Tillman didn't "support the troops"? Using Staat's logic, that's exactly what he's saying. But we don't need logic when we think in slogans.

Guess what, you fucking shithead? Everyone who died in those wars died because it's making a few billionaires richer. Not to protect us. Not to spread freedom. But to protect the interests of a few billionaires who want to have strategic control of the middle east. It has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, or any of that shit, and it's been made obvious to ANYONE paying the SLIGHTEST BIT OF ATTENTION, over and over and over and over and over and over again, YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKERS!

From Wikipedia, of course not mentioned in the Fox Sports story:
The September 25, 2005 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reported that Tillman held views which were critical of the Iraq war and did not support President Bush's re-election. According to Tillman's mother, a friend of Tillman had arranged a meeting with Noam Chomsky, to take place after his return from Afghanistan. Chomsky confirmed this [12].
Did this Staat asshole even pay attention to what his former roommate believed??

Petition to NC congress to repeal 2006 Military Commissions act

Why the hell not? Signing petitions and writing emails to newspapers or politicians is the least I can do. From this day forth I might as well write an email or sign a petition every single day I can. It might not do anything, but at least I'm letting the bastards know I'm here.

http://www.petitiononline.com/stopMCA/

We oppose the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This is an unjust law that violates the basic human rights of citizens and non-citizens. It does away with habeas corpus rights (to a prompt court hearing to determine whether one's imprisonment is legal, to know what charges have been brought, and to have legal counsel). It also gives the executive branch power to allow interrogation techniques that violate the Geneva Conventions and human decency. No one should be subject to arbitrary arrest or to detention without a prompt and fair trial, and no one should, under any circumstances, be subject to torture.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Woo hoo! That was a good lunch

<-photo from DailyTarHeel.com

For more info go to http://march20antiwar.blogspot.com/

Students organized by Students for a Democratic Society walked out of class met in the Pit at UNC today at noon. They spoke through a megaphone in the Pit for a while, and then I'd say about 300 students/citizens/staff (well, I was there, I don't know about any other staff) marched through campus, marched up Columbia street (without a permit) and took over the intersection between Franklin and Columbia for about 20 minutes, stopping and turning around traffic, then marched east on Franklin before returning to campus. A single hipster counter-protestor held up a flag and was chanting "Win the war" the whole time. I wanted to go up to him and tell him to fucking enlist, because most of the men my age I know who are gung ho about winning wars actually had the balls to join. I don't agree with them, but I respect that they're willing to die for it. But I didn't need to school this little shit, because out of nowhere an old man with a briefcase, on his lunch hour went down and schooled his ass. I couldn't hear the conversation but that old man was chewing his college-aged, pro-war-but-too-much-of-a-pussy to enlist hipster ass out in the Pit. The only part of the conversation I hear was the end, when the hipster sheepishly said "Thanks for your service". An old WWII veteran schooling a single pro-war counter-protestor. Sometimes you get good days. He sure gave him a Piece of his Mind.



But the most dispicible thing to me was, pro-war hipster had an Iron Maiden shirt on. Asshat probably never listened to Iron Maiden in his life, but now it's "hip" to wear their shirt, because it's ironic or some bullshit. That offended me personally as a teenage metalhead.

Yep, Yours truly was there. I'm sure the reactionary student newspaper will have a negative editorial tomorrow, but I haven't felt that good since the Steelers won the Superbowl. I was on the Southside of Pittsburgh, along with thousands of other people. And if UNC wins basketball game there'd be thousands on Franklin Street, not hundreds like there were today.

Why? Not because Americans are stupid. One of the elements that contributes to enthusiasm for sports and apathy toward government/world affairs/history is Americans were enthusiastically educated about sports, enthusiastically engaged in sports by their parents, coaches, teachers. History and Current Affairs are presented in the most bland and boring way imaginable in public schools.

But if American children were as enthusiastically educated about history as they are about sports, there'd be weekly rioting in the streets in this country right now, and now you can see why Americans aren't educated about history.

Inevitably there's much reactionary response about "What good does it do?" The war could be ended if Americans would step out of their ordinary lives, with many things to distract them from what their government is and what it does, and pressure their government officials on a massive scale. During Vietnam, many more Americans died and were injured, and there was a draft, so many more Americans' personal lives were affected. Also to an extent the media was much more responsible. Now, we have to step in and disrupt the flow of traffic, disrupt people to jolt them out of their everyday realities and make them think about the world outside of the comfortable bubble of this American life, and also outside of the bubble that the mainstream media creates. We have to take to the streets, especially without permits, and make people listen. Sure, maybe they'll just be pissed off and react negatively, but at least they thought about it. Making people even THINK about Iraq in this country is a step in the right direction.

This must happen on a wider and wider scale. There should have been thousands, not hundreds taking the streets today.

If nothing else, it was good practice for the revolution.

Media Coverage:
http://media.www.dailytarheel.com/media/storage/paper885/news/2007/03/21/Features/whose.Streets.our.Streets-2783765.shtml
"Thanks to the organizers staying calm and disciplined, there were no arrests or serious incidents," he said, adding that police officers couldn't have controlled the crowd even if they wanted to because they were vastly outnumbered.
"If we don't find our justice and our democracy in Washington, we will find it in the streets," Gilbert said.
"You can expect more of this."

http://www.newsobserver.com/100/story/555583.html
It said "few". More like one guy.
http://www.nbc17.com/midatlantic/ncn/news.apx.-content-articles-NCN-2007-03-20-0003.html
http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=triangle&id=5134832
http://www.heraldsun.com/orange/10-831403.cfm
http://charlotte.com/115/story/58104.html

Folks come out in Raleigh http://rdu.news14.com/content/headlines/?ArID=102060&SecID=2
High School kids walk out in Asheville http://citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770320039&source=rss
SDS Students Arrested in Die-in in Rhode Island http://media.www.browndailyherald.com/media/storage/paper472/news/2007/03/20/Metro/Student.Arrested.At.Sds.dieIn.Downtown-2782022.shtml
Walk out in NY http://www.bupipedream.com/pipeline_web/display_article.php?id=4540
http://media.www.technicianonline.com/media/storage/paper848/news/2007/03/21/News/WalkOut.Brings.High.School.College.Students.Together-2783380.shtml
http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770320088


Pre-coverage
http://wral.com/news/local/story/1241586/
http://www.heraldsun.com/orange/10-831014.cfm
http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/555544.html

Happy Anniversary!


Today marks the 4th year of the Iraq occupation. I just wanted to post to remind you we're never leaving Iraq. NEVER EVER EVER. As long as Republicrats are in office, there will be military bases in Iraq, along with occassional fighting, forever and ever and ever.

I'll be participating in a Walk-out and rally today at the university. I'll let you know if anything significant happens.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bush administration scandal of the week

I won't comment on the Gonzales firing of US attorneys other than to say there needs to be a Bushopedia for all the wonderful scandals, lawlessness and corruption thinking folk have had to endure for the past 6 years.

The Ides of March are come

Yesterday was March 15, the Ides of March.

On this day in 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated. From Wikipedia:

Caesar summoned the Senate to meet in the Pompey's Theater on the Ides of March 44 BC for the purpose of reading a petition, written by the senators, asking him to hand power back to the Senate.

This was 4 years after Caeser, then proconsul of Rome (the "most senior magistry of the republic"), crossed the Rubicon on January 10, 49BC with his army, after the Senate ordered him back from conquering Gaul, and accusing him of treason because of his monarchical aspirations. Crossing the Rubicon ignited a civil war and the Roman Empire went from a democratic form of government to a dictatorship under Caesar. Yet the Senate still remained as a shadow of its former self, with no power to put in check the power of the chief executive.

A few days later...

As the Senate convened, Caesar was attacked and stabbed to death by a group of senators who called themselves the Liberatores ("Liberators"); they justified their action on the grounds that they committed tyrannicide, not murder, and were preserving the Republic from Caesar's alleged monarchical ambitions.

And now, in 2007 AD, near the Ides of March, our Senate acts boldly against our modern day Caesar....

Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the leadership had decided to strip from a major military spending bill a requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.

And left establishment NPR promotes kinder, gentler protesting "Have a fundraiser!"

Tell 'em Ajax!
I'm sicka these WIMPS!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Democrats and Iraq

Can Congress End the War? Democratic Leaders May Prefer to Claim They Tried But Failed By David Swanson:
So, clearly the question before us is not just what Congress can do to end the war, but also how the American public can persuade a Democratic Congress to want to end the war. Most Republican members of Congress still follow White House orders like sheep, and leading House Democrat Emanuel is openly telling the media that he'd just as soon have the war still going on in 2008. The war has cost an estimated 655,000 Iraqi lives and over 3,000 American ones in its first 4 years, with the death rate increasing over time, so by a safe estimate Emanuel has just written off perhaps another few hundred thousand lives for the sake of an electoral strategy.

A few examples of getting them to want to:

1. UNC Chapel Hill SDS members occupy Democrat David Price's office in Chapel Hill, are dragged away by police on trespassing charges.
2. Code Pink members camp outside Democrat Nancy Pelosi's house in San Francisco.
3. Occupation of Democrat Edward Markey's office in Mass. by Veterans for Peace, in which he pledged to vote against Iraq war funding.

Other occupations can be found on the Occupation Project's website.

This should keep happening on greater and greater scales for those who can afford misdemeanor fines or a lawyer. As Republicrats continue to ignore the people, the people should continue to ignore the law.

Democrats kneel to King George once again

Jonathan Schwarz posting on Thismodernworld.com pointed me towards this bit of sickening but not surprising news:
Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) and other members of the leadership had decided to strip from a major military spending bill a requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.
The justification for it, as Schwartz points out, is of course absurd, in the typical Republicrat fashion:

Rep. Shelley Berkley (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., said in an interview there is widespread fear in Israel about Iran, which is believed to be seeking nuclear weapons and has expressed unremitting hostility about the Jewish state.

"It would take away perhaps the most important negotiating tool that the U.S. has when it comes to Iran," she said of the now-abandoned provision.

"I didn't think it was a very wise idea to take things off the table if you're trying to get people to modify their behavior and normalize it in a civilized way," said Rep. Gary Ackerman (news, bio, voting record) of New York.

Schwartz states the obvious truth:

Obviously the proposed language wouldn’t “take away” the possibility of the U.S. using force. It would only take away the possibility of Bush using force without Congressional approval.

And anyone who knows a bit about this history of Israel and Palestine knows this business about Ahmadinejad wanting to "wipe Israel off the map" was not about bombing Israel into the Mediterranian with nuclear bombs, but his belief, which nobody but hardline Islamic militants share, that Israel should return her land to Palestinians and go back to where it was before 1948, and cease being a sovereign state. This is obviously never going to happen. What most people believe is that Israel should withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza,and end their brutal oppression and aparteid of the Palestinian Muslims and Christians in those territories, as well ending the illegal occupation of Sheeba farms in Lebanon and the Golan Heights in Syria, and return thousands of civilian political prisoners who are held in Israeli jails.

While such inflamatory and stupid language is being used as a propaganda tool in the US media to get Americans to be unjustifiably afraid of Iran's nuclear capabilities (and they are 5-10 years away from having a bomb) so we won't stop the Democrats from allowing Bush to launch another Republicrat terrorist war there, Israel is right to consider Iran a threat. It's also safe to assume Iran is pursuing a nuclear bomb. What the big threat of a nuclear Iran is to the US and Israel is not that they'll use it to "wipe Israel off the map" - Ahmadinejad has no interest in the destruction of his country which would happen if they nuked anybody, as world forces would ally to bomb Iran back to the stone age. The real danger to US and Israel is that Iran will have negotiating power with a bomb that they don't have now.

But a unilateral attack on Iran (I doubt even the UK would be on board) would guarantee the annihilation of the United States. We may already be doomed from our stupid actions in Iraq. It's certainly created more terrorism and helped the anti-American jihadist movement more than anything else I could imagine. The pan-Shiite movement in the region, now from the majority Shiite taking control in Iraq, who are allied with Iran and Syria, will be given a golden opportunity to be a world superpower if the US invades Iran.

I just can't grasp the insanity of the Republicrats right now. An invasion on Iran will go against their own interests of US global domination. Our military is not large enough, a draft would ignite a domestic revolt, the treasury has already been looted by the Bush regime, Iran is a much stronger nation that Iraq was (Iraq was crippled by a decade of sanctions, and Saddam's military was in tatters), and Bush's incompetance kept him from achieving his goal in Iraq, which was of course to make it a client state. You'd have to be psychotic to even dream that any of this could be achieved in Iran.

Unless chaos is itself the goal. It's certainly profitable in the short term.

Arthur Silbur has a few choice words for the blue war criminals.

And Noam Chomsky weighs the possibility:

Despite the sabre-rattling it is, I suspect, unlikely that the Bush administration will attack Iran. Public opinion in the US and around the world is overwhelmingly opposed. It appears that the US military and intelligence community is also opposed. Iran cannot defend itself against US attack, but it can respond in other ways, among them by inciting even more havoc in Iraq. Some issue warnings that are far more grave, among them the British military historian Corelli Barnett, who writes that "an attack on Iran would effectively launch world war three".

Then again, a predator becomes even more dangerous, and less predictable, when wounded. In desperation to salvage something, the administration might risk even greater disasters. The Bush administration has created an unimaginable catastrophe in Iraq. It has been unable to establish a reliable client state within, and cannot withdraw without facing the possible loss of control of the Middle East's energy resources.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Iran War - It's Up to Us

Two years ago when I started this blog, some of my earliest posts were about the buildup for War in Iran. Sure, I could show the average person, who has a slight interest in mainstream news, where in 2005 I predicted a war in Iran and make myself out to be some sort of prophet. But the reality is, what I do is simple. 1) I believe nothing the government says outright, but pay attention to what they say as an indication of what they'll do, with the realization that most of their language is Orwellian. 2) I pay attention to journalism critical of US foreign policy, which is almost exclusively outside the mainstream. In fact, I don't even have a television anymore. Democracy Now! comes on my radio at 6:30pm when most of the country is watching Katie Couric.

One of the ways to gauge Bush administration foreign policy is to read exactly what they wrote, and what Katie Couric will never bring up. The neoconservatives in the administration were part of an organization called the Project for a New American Century, which outlined their plans for global power during the Clinton administration.

The basis of their ideas are outlined in their Statement of Principles.
The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire.
This in effect means the US government should be able to attack anybody, since anybody is a potential dire threat. Before crises emerge, not when they exist. And since the crisis is yet to exist, we can safely assume that in our "representative" form of government the Commander in Chief and his administration are the ones who will decide when and where crises will come into existance. So this doctrine gives the US power to attack whoever the fuck they want. And is it just an unbelievable coincidence that the neocons have decided crises and dire threats just might emerge in oil-rich nations, whose leaders don't readily cut deals with us?

Neoconservative doctrine is further fleshed out in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States of America. Neocon goals become transparent by simply taking a look at the strategy's outline - "global economic growth" through coercion and force (ironically known as neoliberalism). A global economic system so wealth can flow up to the upper 1% through corrupt economic policy that the Clinton administration helped put in place. Forcing markets on the poor. This is going on in all corners of the globe. The World Bank & IMF infiltrate poor nations by offering them funding with certain conditions - mainly that their markets become dominated by multinational US-based corporations. This is happening in Iraq. It's happened in Jamaica, India, countless examples. Family farmers become factory workers, wage slaves, because they can't compete with the cheap price of global agribusiness produce.

And again in the 2002 Strategy the neocons reassert the 1997 PNAC principles of preventive attack, based on their own judgement. And we're supposed to believe it's just a coincidence that oil-rich Iran is being threatened and not North Korea.

For more information on Iran, you can read articles from the people who warned us about Iraq, Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh. Hersh and Ritter have contacts from inside the govenrment, so when the government wants to let people know of it's plans, they let people like Hersh and to a lesser extent Ritter know about what they are going to do, and it has a very Watergate/Deep Throat feeling to it, because Hersh is getting inside information and exposing it. The people who read Hersh are going to be anti-war anyway, and government officials know exactly what they're doing. "Leaking" is mostly a propaganda tactic by people in high office, not a whistle-blower who was so overwhelmed with moral outrage that he just had to risk his career to let Sy Hersh know about these horrible plans. Although, with the extreme actions of the neoconservative administration there have been quite a few whistleblowers. But it's easy to tell the whistleblowers from the those who deliberately and anonymously leak information as part of a propaganda plan - the leakers still have a job. In any case, Hersh and Ritter are the canaries in the mine, thus a good indication that an Iran attack is being planned.

But whether that attack is carried out is up to us. If you want to stop an attack on Iran, and get the wimpy ass Democrats to act on Iraq - there are various things you can do.

1. Email, write, call the people that represent you in congress.

2. Organize or join a local antiwar group. Organizing is the fundamental first step in challenging any system of power. You can't do shit without organizing.

3. Email or send a letter to a local newspaper.

4. Attend antiwar protests. There are a lot of egotists that do go to these things, and they get the most news coverage, but mostly it's old ladies. Just going is important. The next on is on St. Patrick's Day in DC, the March on the Pentagon

5. And, if the US does attack Iran, I am going to organize with a local antiwar group and pick a day to get arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. Basically, you go to the office of your local representative with a group of your friends, read a list of demands for that representative (namely - we'll sit here until he takes action against the war, etc), and sit there until the police are called in to drag you out. If you're like me, you'll have to get some funds together to pay for fines and court costs, and you won't mind spending a night in jail, which I've done before and it's not that traumatic, especially if you are with friends in the same holding cell. I figure if people have the balls enough to join the military and fight the war, I should have the balls to spend a night in jail to resist it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Privitization of Walter Reed may have led to poor conditions

I was listening to our local AM radio reactionary, Bill Lumaye, on my commute home from work yesterday. He suggested that the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center were because of the "bureaucracy", big government, publically funded services, all that horrible stuff, and then went on to suggest that if the hosptial was privatized, as in turned over to Halliburton or a subsidiary, the conditions would magically improve immediately.

My reaction to this was "Oh! They want to privatize it!" I thought maybe why attention was finally being paid to conditions that have been deteriorating over the past four years. I was wrong, it turned out.

Bill then got four or five veterans on the line to ask them about their experiences, the majority of whom said their overall experience was just fine and dandy at veteran's hospitals - not to say that reflects the current experience - but the point is it backfired Bill's plan to help promote privatization.

So what happened at Walter Reed? According to this Army Times report, the reason I was wrong in my initial reaction was that the very fact Walter Reed HAS BEEN PRIVATIZED was exactly the thing that was causing problems.

The [Committee on Oversight and Government Reform] wants to learn more about a letter written in September by Garrison Commander Peter Garibaldi to Weightman.

The memorandum “describes how the Army’s decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was causing an exodus of ‘highly skilled and experienced personnel,’” the committee’s letter states. “According to multiple sources, the decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed led to a precipitous drop in support personnel at Walter Reed.”

...

“The conditions that have been described at Walter Reed are disgraceful,” the letter states. “Part of our mission on the Oversight Committee is to investigate what led to the breakdown in services. It would be reprehensible if the deplorable conditions were caused or aggravated by an ideological commitment to privatize government services regardless of the costs to taxpayers and the consequences for wounded soldiers.”

The letter said the Defense Department “systemically” tried to replace federal workers at Walter Reed with private companies for facilities management, patient care and guard duty – a process that began in 2000.

“But the push to privatize support services there accelerated under President Bush’s ‘competitive sourcing’ initiative, which was launched in 2002,” the letter states.

During the year between awarding the contract to IAP and when the company started, “skilled government workers apparently began leaving Walter Reed in droves,” the letter states. “The memorandum also indicates that officials at the highest levels of Walter Reed and the U.S. Army Medical Command were informed about the dangers of privatization, but appeared to do little to prevent them.”

So I wrote a little email to Bill, asking him to address this in his show today. I'm sure he will.

For more information on this, read "The long-term wounds of Walter Reed" by Mark Benjamin. and you can also listen to an interview with him on CounterSpin.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I don't think there's even an illusion with Edwards

From my new favorite blogger, Arthur Silber ... the obvious truth about my fellow Tar Heel John Edwards:
Edwards' overall perspective, and the basic assumptions underlying his more specific prescriptions, are those that have driven U.S. foreign policy for the last century. As I am documenting in the "Dominion Over the World" series, this perspective and these assumptions are shared by Democrats and Republicans alike. I emphasize once more that Bush is an unusually blatant and crude embodiment of these views -- but, with regard to the most fundamental issues, Bush's overall objectives and his primary justifications have been and are shared by any number of Democrats, including Edwards himself.

Friday, March 02, 2007

More evidence Paul Street was right about The Obama Illusion

Notice how this headline is a big sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top for rightist reactionaries:
Obama blames U.S. for stronger Iran
It's also a lie. He's blaming the Bush administration, not "the U.S." which I presume would mean the US government. A right wing reactionary would take that as "blames America".

"He's blamin' America fer Eye-ran's doins? That dang Muslim libril!" is how you're supposed to react if you tend to vote for people with (R)s after their name.

But when you read the story, like a few of us do, you find that Obama is not saying anything that goes out of the firmly established Republicrat boundaries. He doesn't even get close to the boundaries. Just as programmed, this Charismatic Young Politician with a Vision recites allegience to Israel:

Obama also emphasized in his speech his commitment to protecting the security of Israel, which he called "our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy."

"Our job is to renew the United States' efforts to help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share this vision," Obama said.

And in the next breath is a megaphone for Republicrat Iran policy, and we're supposed to think he's a leftist because his first thought would be to "try" diplomacy. But of course, an attack on Iran's population, which of course would kill and cripple hundreds and then thousands of Iranian civilians, crush any hopes of real democracy or Reform in Iran as the population will turn to militant elements for defense, kill and cripple more Americans, further drive the US into debt that will not be paid in our grandchildren's lifetimes, manufacture more anti-US terrorism, further destabilize the region, further increase anti-Americanism, mobilize Russia and China to support Iran and work against the US. is not an option "off the table" for this "progressive" :
"While we should take no option, including military action, off the table, sustained and aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions should be our primary means to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons," Obama said.

The Bottom Line on Iraq

"Our ongoing occupation of Iraq, which no one is prepared to even try to end, has resulted in the fragmentation and significantly increasing strength of a global jihadist movement -- which many experts (and non-experts) predicted before this catastrophe began. We have created far more enemies than we had before, and we therefore face greater dangers now than we did four years ago. Those dangers continue to increase every day that we remain."

Arthur Silber
3/1/07
http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/