An american Werwol... president in Lo... Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | User List | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration
Night Shade Message Boards » War » An american Werwol... president in London « Previous Next »

Author Message
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 03:59 pm:   

So Georgie boy is coming to London to visit the queen...

What does everyone think of this?

Personally I'm just annoyed at the over the top security arrangements- where does he think London is?

Liverpool??
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 08:35 pm:   

Uhh many British people are angry with him so security is probably a good idea.

I'm tempted to hold my tongue otherwise, but what the hey.

I don't exactly see the big deal here. Britain is our ally, why not have the President go there? Or to France or Canada or wherever. No matter what Prez it may be. Even if you think the worst of him, it's not like the British have never had worse leaders visit. In fact I seem to remember when the Chinese leader came to the UK a few months ago or so there was little concern and only sporadic Tibetan rights protesters. Yet the Chinese government executes more people then any nation on Earth, turns political prisoners into slaves, and imprisons or kills peaceful Islamic organizations. Right wing groups like Amnesty International I think have even discussed this. Here recently a senior Chinese official even stated Taiwan's "extreme push for independence" is crossing China's red line and runs the risk of war.

Yet the US is the "greatest danger to peace in the world" and Bush is I guess the planet's worst dictator. Umm okay Britain, if you say so.

(It's like when people thought Clinton was the worst President ever, read history and then talk)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 12:49 am:   

I don't reckon for a minute that the Bush-baby is the worst dictator on the planet!

But Right Wing (and I don't use that as an insult you understand) commentators like yourself always make us of the argument that Bush isn't as bad as some others in the world... so he must be ok!

----------> but anyway- what exactly is the POINT of him coming here? I don't really understand all this jet setting important folk like him do these days. When our beloved Prime Minister Blair (cough*twat*cough) was jumping around the world pressing the flesh about six months back there was an abundance of things he could have done at home... and dealt with all the world leaders through the miracle of THE TELEPHONE... if this peice of technological wizardry had been used in this case ("Hi Tony, It's George... Whattcha doing?") we could have saved Londoners the hassle of having all their moble phones switched off and having to hand in all peices of silver that could be melted down into bullets...

"No George, you hang up..."
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 01:46 am:   

Nahh. I was more referring to the protesters than you.

Hate Bush all you want. Think he's a lousy President. I voted for him, and probably will again, but it's not like I know him or agree with him in all things. I just get tired of the excessive demonization of either side. Like the nonsense some here did about the French and Germans.

As for just using the phone, in business and elsewhere you do have to have face to face meetings at times. The phone doesn't express all the nuances of conversations. I guess they could talk via satellite, but I'm not sure that's a good road to go. We might as well all stay in our homes and not go anywhere as it'd "save money."
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 02:29 am:   

mmmm- kind of understand that...

It was just that when President Blair WAS doing his globe trotting bit there were disasters going down on all sides over here...

Our satirists made numerous jokes about him visiting a third world country with no public services or education in an attempt to gain support for the war...

only to realise that he was in England!

He left John "Two Jags" Prescott in charge as well... a man mainly famous for knocking a protester's lights out when he was hit in the face with an egg.

Nice.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Iain Rowan
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 04:15 am:   

Couple of things to add.

First, about the purpose of the visit, and whether it's best done by phone or email or text message or scratchings on a wax tablet. Bush is here from Tuesday to Friday. Blair and Bush are meeting to discuss Important Things for an hour and a half. Ninety minutes.

That's hardly the Camp David talks and I doubt they'll discuss anything that couldn't just be sorted out with a quick phone call. The whole thing is about PR, on both sides, as these things always are, whatever the political flavour of the people involved.

And in order to provide our leaders with their photo opportunities, it's costing us five million quid to cover the security. As I said in a discussion elsewhere, that five million quid would vaccinate 200,000 children against the most common fatal childhood diseases. In my opinion, five million quid on something worthwhile, is fine. Five million quid - of *our* money - on some PR opportunities and the chance to have tea with the Queen and a less-than-two hour chat with Tony is a ridiculous waste.

Second point was that it was interesting to see someone write that "In fact I seem to remember when the Chinese leader came to the UK a few months ago or so there was little concern and only sporadic Tibetan rights protesters". Interesting and sad. That visit's actually been mentioned quite a lot in the run-up to Bush's visit, as it did cause a stir here. A lot of people did go out to protest (admittedly nowhere near the numbers that there will be this week, but then again we've not gone to war at China's behest) and were cleared off the roads by the Met so that the old murderer wouldn't have to have his eyes offended by protestors. Legitimate, peaceful protestors were cleared from the streets, had banners confiscated, huge trucks parked in front of them so that they were obscured from Xiang Xemin's view. An utter disgrace.

There was quite a lot of controversy about that, and the government pretending that it was nothing to do with them, and just the police being overzealous, which nobody believed. I think the Met are concerned to be seen not to be repeating this. After all, we're supposed to be fighting for freedom, aren't we? Aren't we?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 04:18 am:   

"President Blair" !!!????

What an unusual error for a subject of the crown to make, Jim.

I second Thomas's opinion that face-time between decision makers is important. And I would argue that its over dinners and on the tennis court or golf course etc. that most real business gets done anyway.

VTCs don't and never will take the place of a smile and a handshake for primates like us.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 05:15 am:   

I stand by my words!!

General Blair- father of the third way, friend to children everywhere, imortal governor of our people- has a tendency to act as if he was our head of state.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not a rapid monarchist complaining about the shiny faced git replacing our Queen! I don't even like the Queen!

But the emphasis on Blair's personality in international/domestic politics is more in keeping with the Presidential style of government- than our system.
The way I think of it is- He is the PRIME minister- the most important minister of many... rather than the big boss he likes to present himself as...

(Note- I'm not suggesting Blair is the first to do this. He's not even unusual. PMs have been acting like they were more important than Parlement for ever... In fact Maggie Thatcher acted as if she were an absolute dictator!)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brian Frost
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 05:28 am:   

I hope Prince Charles catches him with his back turned, if you know what I mean.

Yours,
Brian
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tim Akers
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 06:27 am:   

I like how Bush keeps making statements like "Glad to see free speech is alive and well" when asked about the demonstrators. Yeah, "free", as in "packed away in a corner where I don't have to look at it."
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Minz
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 07:51 am:   

Thomas:

fas•cism
Function: noun
1: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.


Read up on the Patriot Act: you too could be locked up for months and be allowed no contact with legal counsel, much less any family or friends. The agents of the Executive Branch (i.e. Justice Dept/Homeland Security/FBI) could break into your home, take what they please, and leave again, and never even have to _tell_ you, much less present a warrant. The Executive Branch has never had this kind of power before, and if it doesn't scare you, you haven't read enough. (Hell, they used Homeland Security and the FBI to track down those Texas democrats who attempted to avoid the vote for redistricting.)

Not to mention the billions upon billions we're spending demonizing a religious culture and attacking foreign nations that we don't like, ignoring any sort of international opposition to such aggression.

Where's our improved national security? The blackout was chaos--the official government response was minimal, aside from wrongfully blaming Canada. Millions of people were trapped on Manhattan. If it had been coordinated with a deliberate attack of chemical or biological weapons, I shudder to think of the body count--all those sitting ducks (my wife and I included).

And let us not forget the last Presidential "Election" where Republican Congressional Staffers physically assaulted and harassed election officials in Florida.

It's also worth mentioning what our gal Norton is doing as the Secretary of the Interior: another 2.6 million acres of protected federal land got the axe last week; the EPA has been told to stop prosecuting those companies violating the Clean Air Act; basically, the EPA has become a lapdog for Big Business. (And if you think this is irrelevant to my argument, simply frame this as the Executive Branch (Secretary Norton) overriding acts of Congress (the Clean Air Act).)

Did you even notice that last month George W’s OWN FATHER gave the 2003 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service to Senator Edward Kennedy, one of his sons most vocal opponents. (Of course, back in 1980, I thought George Sr was the best candidate for the job.)

That you could even consider voting for one of the most despicable leaders in the world boggles the mind. (He's not as bad as the Chinese--that's certainly a wonderful qualification for the supposed leader of the “free” world.)


Here’s a scenario for you:
There’s this nation that’s extremely rich in oil and natural resources. It is being run by the son of the former head of the secret police—who also used to run the country. Now this son of the former head of the secret police happened to come into power based upon a disputed election that was decided in the province that is run by his brother.

This man decided to have his country invade another country—one that was extremely rich in oil--despite huge international opposition, using deliberate lies as justification. His friends and cronies both outside and inside the government have made windfall profits as a result.

Sound familiar? It's usually the kind of scenario we use to justify military action. But we're the invaders.

Hell, that’s practically the same scenario as when Saddam Hussien invaded Kuwait, only it was Saddam _and_ his kids doin’ it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Iain Rowan
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 08:42 am:   

I'd agree with Jim - the presidentialisation (shoot me now, please) of the office of Prime Minister has been a feature of UK politics in the last 20 years, and it's perhaps more pronounced with Blair than with his predecessor.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 09:58 am:   

Minz: I do have a history degree, studied the Holocaust, and knew someone who lived under Francoist Spain. It really galls me people throwing around the word Fascist like that. It reduces the word to a catch phrase. Besides did I call your side Communist?

Ian: You might have a point that this is all PR.

Finally I did try to be as balanced as I can be, but honest about my views. I was never implying that as Bush was better the Chinese he's okay. I have my own reason for supporting him, but I have great respect for those who hate him. I just don't understand the over-the-top protest of him.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Minz
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 11:21 am:   

Actually, Thomas, I owe you an apology. The Chinese comparison was out of line, and out of context on my part. You were chiefly using it to compare to the hoopla/security in London issue.

And I will admit my loathing of Bush is on some true gut level that I can't even begin to explain. It reaches much deeper than the issues--though I find I cannot agree with Bush on virtually anything. I had lots of problems with Reagan, but I never hated him like I do W. (Of course, I agreed with Reagan on foreign policy often enough.) I never thought I'd share anything with the Clinton-bashers, but I do now believe that I can at least empathize with them--it's a bottom-of-your-soul, despise-him-for-all-his-days sorta thing that's not completely rational. Ugh.

But that being said, I never called anyone a fascist. I provided Webster's definition, and outlined some of the things this administration has been doing. Certainly one can say I'm making an implication, but I never called anyone a fascist. I just provided the trail of bread crumbs and let the reader make the final leap. I actually tried to not be overly judgmental in my last post (honest). I was simply trying to lay out some of the things being done by the Executive Branch. (Okay, looking back, I can see that it didn't take long for the foam to begin to seep out the sides of my mouth, but the facts I talk about are facts. I shouldn't have brought up the Chinese, nor brought up the issue of your vote--it's your vote. But for the most part, I was just letting Bush's actions speak for themselves.)

And as someone who's studied history, how can you look at the Patriot Act and _not_ see obvious comparisons to 30s Germany? Obviously, we're not anywhere near that level, but it's not exactly a stretch. There hasn't been any widespread abuse of this yet (a cynic might add "as far as we know", but I don't believe there has been widespread abuse). But it's there on the books. It's a huge stride down a very ugly slippery slope that indeed cries out for historical comparisons so that people wake up.
(And yes, in fact it was passed by _Congress_, but they had little choice in terms of being under the bootheel of post-9/11 presidential bullypulpit. Legislators who questioned even minor points on the Patriot Act were being labeled pretty horrid things.)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

richard
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 12:44 pm:   

Thomas - I saw a John Pilger report a few weeks back (not sure if this will ever get aired on US TV) in which he interviewed, among others, an ex-CIA analyst. The dialogue went something like this (apologies for inexactitude, it was a while ago):

JP - Norman Mailer has said that in America we are now living in a pre-fascist era.

EX CIA A - Well, without wishing to be flippant I would say that's positive, because many people would say that it's already gone way beyond that.

In the same programme, Pilger was also summarily stopped (on camera, by voices off demanding that said camera be switched off) from asking questions to a state department official about the justifiability of deaths caused in Iraq.

Plus: Guantanomo Bay, summary detentions of both US and foreign nationals without trial or access to a lawyer et sickening cetera. I don't think the word fascism is out of place here (but I suspect that people in Italy and Germany in the late nineteen twenties/early nineteen thirties also figured there probably wasn't anything to *really* worry about.) I'm with Minz on this one. And let's hope the streets of London are packed solid with angry protesters
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

paulw
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 12:59 pm:   

Amen.

What's that quote about fascism in America -- how it will come disguised as anti-fascism? That's exactly what Bush & Co. have done, both explicitly and implicitly (Axis of Evil) linking al-Queda et al. to fascist enemies of the past while impugning the patriotism and loyalty of anyone here who questions the imposition of laws that increasingly diminish the rights and freedoms that American citizens (and non-citizens!) have traditionally enjoyed.

I think ol' Norman is right on target here.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ellen
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 01:11 pm:   

I think Bush & Co are more dangerous to the US than any foreign power. They've dismantled or are in the process of dismantling in four years programs that took decades to create--in environmentalism, health (medicare), not to mention the Constitution.

I'm horrified by the indefinite detention of anyone without charge of a crime or access to lawyers. But I'm just really repeating what Jim M, PaulW, and Richard are saying. This is how fascism comes to power.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Cheryl
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 01:48 pm:   

Oh my. Well you expect the political satire programs to make Stupid Bush jokes, but having Gary Lineker making a Stupid Bush joke during soccer coverage shows just how far the meme has penetrated.

For the benefit of Americans, this is approximately equivalent to having some notoriously dim lineman make a Stupid Blair joke on Monday Night Football.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 05:34 pm:   

I shouldn't post when I go off to class.

First though, no the situation is not similar to Italy or Germany. It's been awhile since I took the class, but I have a passable memory I trust.

In Germany they had lived under a basically authoritarian system, with some elements of Enlightenment moderation, until about WWI. Then they had the Weimar Republic which lasted about fifteen years. Then economic depression led to the dictatorship of, I believe, Von Papen. Under him local authority, etc. were suppressed. He was later deposed then he made a deal with Hitler.

Hitler was very up front from the beginning that he wanted Jews to disappear somehow and that he loathed democracy. There's this idea that as the laws got progressible worse people were being "boiled slowly" but this is at best misleading. Most of the people felt democracy was new and that it had ultimately failed. However it was understood that an instant change could cause unneeded rebellion in some quarters. Even at that the Nazis were nowhere near as shrewd and cunning as people believe. At a very early point they purged the SA of Ernst Rohm, under the pretext he was homosexual which was bogus as they always knew that but before didn't care, and others they felt too chaotic. They rather rapidly led destroyed or expelled the opposition parties. That death camps took a few years isn't exactly a sign they were going slow. Indeed euthanizing of the disabled I think also occurred quite early.

Mussolini's rise was merely rapid and bloody. Somewhat like Franco's except maybe faster. Before WWI he was a Socialist, after it a Fascist. He gained power amongst a group of Right wing extremists in part funded by elements outside Italy who feared that nation going Socialist/Communist. By 1922 he marched on Rome and took over. There was no gradual turning of a democratic country into Fascism, there was just Fascism blasting into a world of postwar chaos.

Perhaps Singapore could be vaguely analogous. Increasing restrictions came in starting soon after independence under the auspices of Lee Kwan Yew. He kept a firm grip on power for thirty years and in the most recent election no one ran against his party. They are now a rigid, if curious, nation. A place where the poor non-Chinese were paid to be sterile and drug dealers get executed. Where concensual oral sex is a crime, even within marriage as a spurned wife took her husband to court because he had once agreed to do it, but prostitution is legal. Is this Fascism? I'd say no actually. Not everything bad is a form of fascism. Could it happen here? Maybe, but I'm not sure. They also began as a nation poor, under imperialism, and crime ridden. Even now some see Lee Kwan Yew as a Third World hero who turned them into a modernized dynamo despite the unpleasant side.

I won't say it's categorically impossible we're a pre-fascist state, but I don't see it as plausible. The chaos, the poverty, and the need to submit to authority to diminish personal fears/responsibility is not there. There are no expressions of returning America to its imperial borders. Meaning little to no talk of returning the Philippines or Cuba back as territories. We are a nation listed as the second most competitive economy on Earth, with a literacy rate over 95%, no runaway inflation, and where Bill Maher still has a TV show.

In fact even Janeane Garofalo I believe has said she experienced no harm to career for her views, and Sean Penn I think had a well received film not too long back. Democratic Party women are taking the governorship in the South. Pre-Fascist? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Also think of this. In 1941 we had many of the ingredients mentioned. Unemployment was high, women could remember an age when they could not vote, FDR was voted in pass the traditional two terms, lynchings remained a real issue, and organized crime remained a concern. Then we enter a war which lead to the internment of the Japanese and massive abuses of civil liberties. Where are top allies were an avowed racist and one of history's most genocidal dictators. Yet that was one of the most just wars of all time and no reasonable person would claim FDR destroyed democracy.

(I must add though internment was obviously wrong. If Bush had interned all citizens of Arab descent or Islamic faith I would have hated him for all times)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 10:43 pm:   

"The chaos, the poverty, and the need to submit to authority to diminish personal fears/responsibility is not there."

Per your own arguments, Thomas, I would suggest that the United States is a few "called markers", and another terrorist attack short of exactly what you describe above. The federal debt is at historic highs, and the federal government is cutting its social safety net left and right. Right now, the United States economy makes Brazil look like a solid performer. The U.S. has long term structural deficits. You seem to be up on your history, but how is your economics. There is not a single economist (outside of the Bush administration) that says the current economic policy is sustainable.

We are definitely in a pre-fascist state... The president has already declared an ongoing and perpetual “state of war”. His “war” on terrorism can never be won, as long as there is someone with a truck full of ammonia and fertilizer, and a grudge. Thus, we are being conditioned to accept the first state of fascism… a perpetual military state. Internal scapegoating is already under way. Public officials in the bush administration have gone on record to the press saying "If another terrorist attack happens, Internment camps are inevitable". The President and Attorney general have declared the right to suspend constitutional protections for US citizens on a case by case basis. More importantly, the kind of classic fascism described by Mussolini.. the interweaving of state and corporate power matches the current US/Corporate interactions perfectly. The methods of fascism are being used by the current administration – karl Rove is an extraordinary propaganda minster... By your argument, all that is needed is economic and social turmoil, and a little bit of fear. Another Terrorist attack, and continuing the current economic policy should will do just that.

You may see things differently though. Right now, we have the right to disagree. I hope it stays that way.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 11:40 pm:   

I'm confident we always will.

I'll say a few things in the order I wish to deal with them then bow out for awhile.

First: Brazil, of course, has a poverty rate well above ours and an economic growth rate well below ours. The gap between rich and poor is also more radical in Brazil. In fact it's more radical then almost any place on Earth. I'll assume that example was deliberately extreme then.

Second: You're confusing what Mussolini style corporate government means. The "interweaving of state and corporate power matches the current US/Corporate interactions perfectly" could be perhaps better said of 80s-90s Japan then Mussolini Italy. It's not really about the interplay of corporate America and politics. That's been happening here since the beginning and was mostly worse from 1870-1900. It's about the state becoming a corporation. (Fascism is a bit less clear than Marxism in fact so I'll admit I may screw up some details) One where the "CEO" or "Il Duce" acts as a boss able to control resources and people for the corporation's goals. I can't see this society granting Bush even the level of control FDR had on industry in WWII.

Third: We've been in states of war against drugs, crime, or whatever for decades. I know SF encourages a "if this goes on" attitude, but twenty years after Nixon it hasn't yet happened here. I don't see why I should believe doomsayers now.

Four: What officials said we'd start interning people based on ethnnicity or religion? I need more then vague assertions someone did for a claim that grand.

Five: This is still a nation with a long history of democracy and free market. A nation with single digit unemployment, lower then most of Western Europe, and a poverty rate below even the UK's. It's certainly possible such a nation could go Fascist, although I can't think of a similar nation where that came anywhere close to happening, but it's not especially plausible. But sure, alright. If an engineered plague kills a million, inflation reaches a 100%, and we get 20%+ unemployment then I'll concede it might happen. Louisiana, Indiana, and some Native American Reservations have gone through periods of massive unemployment, despair, or confusion that led to KKK governors, Huey P Long, the corrupt government the second Wounded Knee group in part protested. So it's happened on our soil, although excepting maybe the Sioux none of these regimes lasted more then a few *years, but on a nation scale is unprecedented and extreme. Closest I can think of would be Andrew Jackson and his blithe ignoring of the Supreme Court and Congresses.

*In fact Fascism in general I think is almost given more credit than it deserved. Almost all Fascism regimes collapsed faster then Communist ones did. Mongolia stayed Communist for 70 years. I don't think Franco lasted much more than half that and in some respects he was more a Carlist. (Reactionary old school Spanish nationalist)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 04:25 am:   

I am not sure about Brazil's economic growth rate, but if it is worse than that of the US it cant be much worse . . . The real problem with the US economy however has nothing to do with growth, but debt. Our debt situation is truly worse than most third world countries. Truth be told, any third world country with a debt as big as the US's would have no credit whatsoever. And, yes, fascist states dont usually last very long, but while they last it seems that they manage to do a reasonable amount of harm.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tim Akers
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 06:46 am:   

Okay, this is a fascinating conversation, but the word fascism is being thrown about a little too glibly. Let's clear some stuff up.

Yes, the US has an enormous deficit. It also has an enormous economy. It's the ratio between the two that's important. No question we need to get it under control, but let's not be so silly as to compare our debt situation to those of smaller countries, most of whose debts are to the world bank. Sheesh.

And yes, the patriot act is a horrible thing. Immediately after 9/11 there was a real sense of pervasive fear in this country, and bush & co. used it pass some stuff that would never have passed in stable times. They took advantage, capitalizing on a traumitized nation to pocket a little more power. They haven't abused it, and I suspect the next democratic president will appeal fat tracts of that thing, but for now there are some there invasive laws on the books. That's not a good thing.

Now, you can say that it's a necessary evil, that we as americans have become too comfortable in our civil liberties, and that we need to give up a little freedom in the name of safety. There's some validity to that. Most european nations, including the UK, have privacy laws in place that would have the US democratic party up in arms. But where bush's justification falls apart is when he contradicts his own standards. This administration has fought tooth and nail to ensure the privacy of gun owners and gun buyers. Now honestly, that's just a crock. They can arrest you for checking out library books, but are prevented from even knowing what guns you own. At least they recognize that a thinking man is more dangerous than a redneck with a shotgun.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

barth
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 07:27 am:   

i'll step in and take a swing at some of your points, thomas, if you don't mind. you can bow out and i'll bow in. :-)

"Second: ... It's about the state becoming a corporation. . . One where the "CEO" or "Il Duce" acts as a boss able to control resources and people for the corporation's goals. I can't see this society granting Bush even the level of control FDR had on industry in WWII."

the legislative branch has ceded tremenous power to bush, and big business already sees him as its leader. i think we're close to the situation you describe, though i agree, it's not at FDR proportions...yet. you would probably argue, thomas, that we have a democratic set of checks and balances which allowed for the iraq war to happen, but i see the argument for war as a manipulation of our democracy, bending it to bush's (big business') will. the war has been the very marshalling of resources for the benefit of corporate interest that you describe.

"Third: We've been in states of war against drugs, crime, or whatever for decades. I know SF encourages a "if this goes on" attitude, but twenty years after Nixon it hasn't yet happened here. I don't see why I should believe doomsayers now."

you make jeremy's argument for him. the war on drugs was an earlier step in the pre-fascist march, which gets the populace accepting a largely covert war against an unnamed enemy that doesn't need to be reported in the free press. the war on terror, before iraq, was a combo covert/overt war, which the press *did* report on, but with very little detached analysis. soon this "war on terror" will go really public, and we'll have iraq-style wars bubbling openly, everywhere - syria, libya, north korea - this according to both theorists like robert kaplan and wardreamers like karl rove. and many americans i've spoken to actually hope this perpetual war happens.

"Five: This is still a nation with a long history of democracy and free market."

democracy, sure. but free market? you're repeating the corporate lie. US agriculture is one of the most heavily protected markets in the "free" world, it's the only sector of the US economy that consistently runs in the black as a result, and it isn't grandad's 100 acre farm that benefits. cargill, monsanto, and ADM are the biggest recipients of US farm bills.

i bring this up because it's a superb example of how democracy wilts in the face of corporate interest. voter by voter, small farmers outnumber corporate farmers. why then do corporations receive such a grossly imbalanced share of federal welfare? because there's not a big enough return from grandad's farm.

personally, i'd rather see a different term than "fascist" to describe what's happening to the US. really, bush is too dimwitted, too incapable of being the mussolini/peron/mayordaily to be an old-school "fascist." really, he's just a corporate figure-head whom americans believe is a rugged individualist looking out for joe six-pack's best interests. he's not. he's a CEO making the shockingly easy decision to glom a big return for the investors who got him the presidency - all consequences be damned. CEO's don't need to be fascist thugs, nor do they have to crack skulls. they simply have to cater to the moneyed interests that put them in power.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

paulw
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 07:49 am:   

Right. The president doesn't need to exert a dictatorial control over big business -- as long as their interests coincide, the result will be the same. In fact, one misleading element of this whole discussion, I think, is that fascism is traditionally thought of as a dictatorship, with one leader in control of a state and its various economic and political and cultural institutions. But "American-style" fascism, should it arise, will be, I think, very different, very much along the CEO model discussed by others here, in which leaders are replaceable and, in a sense, ultimately even irrelevant, as long as the corporation, or, in our case, the web of corporations linked by common interests, endures.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Minz
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 08:20 am:   

>>We've been in states of war against drugs, crime, or whatever for decades.

C'mon Thomas, that's a very weak analogy. Programs targeting social ills is _nothing_ like declaring war on an enemy that is taking deliberate violent action against your people, and the nationalist sentiments and hatemongering that are the response to that violence. We haven't invaded and overthrown two nations' governments as part of the War on Drugs.

And it won't take an attack that kills a million. A well-placed car bomb in Heartland Town, USA would have _huge_ repercussions. Hell, next chance you get, talk to a Sikh and ask them if they've felt any discrimination as a result of 9/11--people who come from an entirely different region and practice a different religion (a group that has been at odds with the Muslims for a very long time but ironically has borne it's fair share of anti-Muslim discrimination since 9/11). It's a pervasive mood among the American people that could explode if suddenly the soccer moms in Des Moines end up having to seriously worry about the non-descript van that just pulled into the parking lot at the super market. A successful attack could trigger a powderkeg. And Bush is fueling this.

Again, I have not called anyone a fascist. We aren't anywhere near that. But we've taken scary steps in that direction, steps that I find almost unfathomable. Can you honestly tell me you ever thought we'd see something like the Patriot Act enacted in this country? That's why my initial post was laid out the way it was: I just laid out what has been happening, and folks made the leap, even you Thomas. I have never called Bush a fascist, and we are most definitely not anywhere near a fascist state. But indiviuals' rights is one of the core freedoms upon which our republic is based, and they've been trod on in a way that I never even fathomed possible in America.

And Tim, if you were an Arab-American you might have a different opinion of whether the Bush Administration has abused the Patriot Act. I agree there has not been widespread abuse, but there have been victims aplenty.

Bush is practically following the terrorists script down to the last line. Not only have they stirred up fear and hatred among the American populace, they triggered violent overresponse that has isolated and polarized US both internally and internationally. And we're tearing down our own freedoms that are the ideals that make us strong. If we are a free and open society, it will make us an easier target. But it will also make us a shining example. Freedom, and the message of freedom, can win out, but we need the strength to see the course.

Right now, I am literally embarassed to be an American, based upon the actions of the man who did not even receive the majority of votes in this country.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tim Akers
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 08:51 am:   

* And Tim, if you were an Arab-American you might have a different opinion of whether the Bush Administration has abused the Patriot Act. I agree there has not been widespread abuse, but there have been victims aplenty. *

Actually, I considered editing that post, but didn't bother. Basically, the patriot act *could* be easily and widely abused, but there haven't been examples of the massive abuse that's possible. Personally, I think arab-americans have less to fear from federal agents than they do from illeducated citizens.

And I'm never embarassed to be an american. Perhaps disappointed in the actions of our idiot leader, disgusted with his abuse and with the control corporations have here. But I think dissension is a fundamentally american right.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Minz
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 10:33 am:   

>>Personally, I think arab-americans have less to fear from federal agents than they do from illeducated citizens.

Especially if that next attack happens. (I'm going to be an optimist and say "if")


I was in London when the troops went in to Iraq (in fact, I was literally stepping over the threshold of Bloody Mary's tomb in Westminster Abbey when the vicar came on announcing the troops had gone in--talk about creepy omens), and I felt extremely self-conscious, even as I realized that the Brits had it worse, given the fact that Tony Blair, who, while intellectually speaking is vastly superior to Bush, was being Bush's sockpuppet.

While in Toronto for Worldcon, I talked politics with Canadians, and embarassed didn't even begin to describe how I felt. Ashamed might be more accurate. Though I was quick to point out he hadn't even gotten the majority of our votes.

And this is just one administration, though one that's doing their damnedest to take the title for most longterm damage to the US ever. If he actually gets re-elected, I'd literally consider moving out of the US. No joke. (Of course, my wife probably won't tolerate my histrionic nonsense.)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 11:42 am:   

This is one for the readers from the UK:

"Professer Liebstrom!! Hehhehehehehe"
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 01:53 pm:   

I got to go to class soon and finish a report if I can. Still I'll pop in a bit as some good points were made.

Tim, I can go with you on the gun thing. You're right that's inconsistent. Although I'll vote for Bush like all politicians he does do stuff to please his core voters or comfort his core financial backers that I disagree with. Like the protectionism on steel.

Barth if the drug war is part of the same thing then this is almost just the state of life. Before that we had Communism, before that alcohol, before that Masonic conspiracies or the Indians. Goofy paranoia worth railing against, but it's not all hopeless. Also no market is entirely free. I didn't mean to suggest we were a totally free trade libertarian zone. Sure agriculture and other things are protected, as they are in many other capitalist societies.

Yikes, got to go.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

S. Hamm
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 01:54 pm:   

Have a look at David Neiwert's essay "Rush, Newspeak, and Fascism: An Exegesis," originally published at his website, Orcinus:

Is fascism an obsolete term? Even if it resurrects itself as a significant political threat, can we use the term with any effectiveness?

My friend John McKay, discussing the matter at his weblog archy, wonders if the degraded state of the term has rendered it useless. After all, it has in many respects become a catchall for any kind of totalitarianism, rather than the special and certainly cause-specific phenomenon it was. Anyone using the word nowadays is most often merely participating in its degradation . . . .

[The purpose of the following essay] is, if nothing else, to give the reader a clear understanding of fascism not merely as a historical force but a living one . . . .
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 02:33 pm:   

Just as a side note to all this, since Democracy and a Free Market society seem to be being touted as things inherently positive. . . . Are they though? . . . . Is the US really even a democratic society? . . . . Who chooses the choices of leaders? . . . . I am not sure there can be a true democracy in a country the size of the US. . . . I will still vote against Bush, for whatever that is worth.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

barth
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 02:55 pm:   

"Barth if the drug war is part of the same thing then this is almost just the state of life."

well, thomas, i think that was the original point, that we've grown to accept a constant state of war. the war on drugs, however, is a tad more fascistic in its implications than your war on the free masons.

brendan, i agree. in a democracy, one would think that a democratic control of capital would be a given. but that's a sin in a capitalistic society. capitalism and democracy, in my mind, are fundamentally at odds. which are we?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 08:49 am:   

Democracy and Capitalism (or “free markets”) are not the same thing. I just had to get that off my chest.

Thanks Thomas for demonstrating my point about the drug war... You have been conditioned to accept that the federal government has the right to seize your property without bringing any charges against you (Drug seizer laws, put on the books in the 80's, and abused like crazy since then). You have been conditioned to believe that the "war" on drugs is a natural state. Its not. But it is big business, with big profits. These profits then shape our political policy, which causes things like the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

The "administration official" who made the comments was not a member of the Bush Cabinet... (sorry, my bad)... he was a controversial Bush appointee to the Federal Civil Rights commission. His statements are quoted here... "http://www.freep.com/news/metro/civil20_20020720.htm"
Note, he says the he doesn't "support" interment camps, but states that they are "inevitable" if another terrorist attack occurs. During the same week, Dick Cheney and others stated that "another terrorist attack is inevitable". This kind of circular logic can justify anything, and scares the hell out of me.

As for unemployment in this country: The "actual" unemployment rate in the United states was 9.1% in August, (http://quickstart.clari.net/qs_se/webnews/wed/bu/Qus-economy.RCp2_DSB.html) and has only gotten worse since then. Double digit unemployment? It’s literally a couple months away. The government keeps “revising” how it measures this figure, so that the politicians in charge can look better. This began under Regan, and was just changed again in the last few years. There are several organizations that give various "true" measures of unemployment, and show how their calculations compare with the calculations used historically. Feel free to seek them out if you are interested.

The other thing that you are missing, vis-a-vi the economy is that not only is the debt at a historic high, but the debt is a historically high percentage of the GDP, and YES... it is pretty damn close to the percentage faced by Brazil.

Yes, the differences in wealth distribution between the poor and the wealthy in Brazil is staggering. But the same wealth distribution patterns exist in the US, and, historically, since the mid 70’s has been getting more and more Bazil-like. I'm not sure where you've been the last 20 years, but this has been a historic trend that has been repeatedly and easily measured. Doing away with the estate tax, and the massive tax cuts to the rich this year will certainly accelerate these trends.

Are you familiar with the right wing "starve the beast" method of economic theory? That is precisely the policy that is being carried out by the current administration. In about five-ten years, expect the government to simply shrug and say "sorry, we don't have enough money to pay for all these new deal era social programs... we cut them, or we default on our debt." This is a structural imbalance that is being set up right now – the current republican majority is stacking the deck so that no matter WHO controls the congress and the white house, the economic situation will be so dire, there will be no other choice.

If the economic policy of the US is not dramatically altered, in 5-10 years, the elimination of the social safety net, or a default on our debt WILL happen. When it does, things are not going to get "better" in this country -- they probably will get much worse. How much worse will things have to get for the current administration, or an administration like it to declare marshal law, and suspend all constitutional protections? I hope we never find out.

Basically, you don’t see “fascism” in the US as a likelihood. I’m suggesting that your perception of where the US is at, and where it is going is VERY skewed by the corporate information sources that have a vested interest in convincing you that things aren’t much different then they have always been, and that there is no need for anything to change.

Your attitude towards the war on drugs, and toward the national debt, amongst other things, has led me to this perception. Please note, I’m not trying to attack you. I’m just suggesting that we have been exposed to radically different sets of information. One of those information sets is right. I hope it’s yours. I really do.

Just to take a barometric reading… what is your perception of “global warming”?

-JL
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 10:18 am:   

Hi Jeremy,

I was not saying that democracy and free trade are the same things. I was just sort of questioning the validity of the argument that these things are inherintly good. People these days, particularly Team Bush, use both words all the time—yet I question if they know what they are talking about. For instance, in my opinion (yes this might seem radical)—In my opinion, a good dictatorship can most certainly be better than a lousy democracy; and a good King can certainly be better for a nation than a crooked senate. Particularly when things like the environment are concerned. . . .
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

paulw
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 10:49 am:   

I find it of interest that Thomas is apparently a student. I have no idea how old he is, and don't mean to imply any kind of criticism of his views on the basis of age.

But I saw a poll recently that reported that college-age students are more supportive of Bush et al., percentagewise, than other age groups of the population.

The 60s, this ain't!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 10:56 am:   

Brendan,
I wasn't addressing you specifically on that point. The media, and the Bush administration's constant use of the terms interchangeably, and the popular misconception that one has anything to do with the other frustrates the hell out of me. I just had to say it.

As for "good dictatorship". Power corrupts. Any "good" dictatorship inevitably only lasts for a lifetime, or at most two. The benevolence of a dictatorship rest squarely on the shoulders of the individual in charge. By its very nature, there is no way a dictatorship can ensure the repeated and reliable transfer of power to future benevolent rulers.

Similar problems have face Revolutionary governments throughout history. The first generation that sizes power may be idealistic and benevolent, but the thuggery associated with violent revolutions usually asserts itself within a generation, and usually sooner. Similar sorts of thuggery are part and parcel of any dictatorship, and usually asserts itself when a strong willed, principled leader is replaced by a weaker one.

A benevolent dictatorship may be more EFFICIANT then democracy, but it is not more SUSTIANABLE.

-jl
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 11:58 am:   

Jeremy--

Re: Bush and co. continuously using the words democracy etc.

Yes, I suppose that was my whole point: is that I too find the continuous use of these words frustrating. My reasoning obviously is sort of far out--but I find it annoying that Bush etc. have latched on to the term "democracy" and sort of claimed ownership to it.

What you say about a dictatorship being unsustainable is obviously true. But all political systems are. And, truth be told, when a president has both houses essentially under his thumb, there is not a huge difference between him and a dictator or caesar. Thus far in his term at least, Bush has done pretty much whatever he has wanted.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 03:14 pm:   

I'm 26, graduated magna cum laude with a degree in history. I'm not a child of the 60s I'll admit. I'm quite thankful for that.

Bart: Capitalism and democracy fundamentally at odds? What are you thinking? Name me a communist society that was democratic outside a small scale commune. The New Englanders with their system of town meetings had more even distribution of wealth, but were proto-capitalist. In fact they were known for being based on trade, commerce, etc. I'm not sure I can name a non-capitalist direct democracy. Further I think it was clear I just meant democratic in the popular meaning, not in the direct democracy sense.

Jeremy: I've probably been as conditioned as you have. Our life experience and education will influence our outlooks. If you are meaning to imply that disagreement with you must involve the person being akin to brainwashed then I'm disappointed.

You feel my views are very skewed, and I feel the same for yours. Much to most of the things that led me to my views came from studies in Denmark, Japan, Britain, the UN, etc. I watch French news and Deutschewelle on C-SPAN on occasion. Also some rather banal things like reference and history books. Some of the history books or studies were Marxist or by Scandinavian Social Democrats. If all these groups are part of the corporate information club, I'm not sure what to say. Still they all seem to point to the notion that on the negative the US is a nation with higher violent crime, poverty, wore infant mortality, and unequal distribution of wealth than most of the modern world. Yet at the same time they state the US is in least among the 5 most competitive economies, has an unemployment rate below the larger nations of Western Europe, the second highest per capita income in the world, etc. In education PISA scores were within European range while the US tracked as less corrupt than Italy, France, or Japan.

I'm not a rah-rah patriot. I'd love to try living in Ireland or Canada or maybe even Finland. Yet I don't see the need to invoke hysteria or "skewed by the corporate ideology" statements in order to think that or garner concern for domestic ills.

As for the Bush staffer's quote now that I've read I see what he means. There is a strongly anti-Islamic and anti-Arabic element right now. After 9-11 I think one poll stated over 40% supported interning all Muslims or Arabs. This sickens me, and I agree he's being too pessimistic. I think people do learn from the horrors of the past to a degree.

The comparisons of the US to Brazil are not quite worth taking seriously. However if you wish to take it seriously, Brazil reacted to their conditions by electing a populist Left winger.

For the record I think global warming, or global climate change, is in least in part created by the fossil fuel infdustry. Granted CFCs are also contributors and I'm open to the fact natural cycles play some role. I think it's not quite as apocalyptic as some fear, but has the potential to be quite harmful. I admit I don't know enough about the Kyoto agreement, but environment is one of the areas I'm not in accord with this administration. I wish he was more like his brother even on that. (Jeb Bush I think was honored by Audubon awhile back for conservationism)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 05:56 pm:   

>I'm 26, graduated magna cum laude with a degree in history. I'm not a child of the > 60s I'll admit. I'm quite thankful for that.

I’m not quite sure why you would feel the need to say you are thankful for that. Do you think that are current conversation has anything to do with the 60s? Does your view of the 60s have some kind of bearing on how you view and interpret current events? If so, that is a bit short sighted.

>Capitalism and democracy fundamentally at odds? What are you thinking?

He is thinking that “capitalism” has resulted in some of the most profoundly undemocratic actions throughout the world, throughout most of the 20th century, and long before that. Citing communism as a counter-example does not undermine this assessment. The slave trade was a capitalistic endeavor. The East India trading company was a capitalistic endeavor. So was United Fruit. All of these capitalist endeavors worked overtly and covertly to subvert and overthrow democracies, and democratic institutions throughout the world. The IMF and World bank are new expressions of this. There are leaked memo’s which show these organizations knowingly and purposefully have tried, and succeeded in some cases to destabilize democratically elected governments in order to get better “terms and concessions” from countries.

>Jeremy: I've probably been as conditioned as you have. Our life experience and >education will influence our outlooks. If you are meaning to imply that >disagreement with you must involve the person being akin to brainwashed then I'm >disappointed.

I never said that you were brainwashed, and I am disappointed that you immediately jumped to that conclusion. I thought my statement about “not attacking you” made this clear. We have experienced different things. Did you live through the S&L Scandal, or the Iran-Contra Scandal, or the Watergate Hearings? We’ve experienced different things in our lifetimes. We all selectively apply filters that we think are relevant and appropriate. I was actually trying to find some common ground with you, and concede that my perceptions are not entirely unbiased.

>Also some rather banal things like reference and history books.

No need to be snide or condescending. I read books too – a lot of them. I actually publish books on occasion… but, unlike you, I’ve lived through some of those things you’ve only read about in books.


>Yet at the same time they state the US is in least among the 5 most competitive >economies,

Germany had a competitive economy in 1939 too. As did most of the “Asian Tiger” economies of the mid 90’s, which are now prime recruiting ground for Al Quida. This “statistic” is not entirely relevant to the scope of our discussion. A population can be radicalized despite its “competitive” economy.

>has an unemployment rate below the larger nations of Western Europe,
I already addressed this… If large western European nations measured unemployment rates the same as the US does, you would see a different picture. As it is, you are comparing apples and oranges.

>the second highest per capita income in the world, etc.
Per capita? Is that the Average, or the Mean, or the median. Once again we get back to wealth distribution. And a High income doesn’t mean anything when your cost of living outpaces your income. It is the standard of living that matters. The US somewhere in between 30th and 40th, by most measures that I have seen.
Again, Per capita income is a meaningless statistic when trying to gauge the level of destitution and propensity for radicalization amongst a population.

Nearly 60% of the population of the united states is one medical disaster (car accident, heart attack, etc) away from personal bankruptcy. That is a very specific and very real fear that most of American faces. Fear radicalizes populations.

>I'm not a rah-rah patriot. I'd love to try living in Ireland or Canada or maybe even
>Finland. Yet I don't see the need to invoke hysteria or "skewed by the corporate
>ideology" statements in order to think that or garner concern for domestic ills.

I’m not trying to invoke hysteria. I’m trying to get you to take a realistic assessment of the state of the nation. Economically and socially. All the indicators are pointing in one direction. I see which way the wind blows, and I’m trying like hell to convince people that it is NOT hysteria, or partisanship… the there is in fact an ill wind blowing. There have been historical and fundamental shifts within the political and social, and economic structure of the United States.

You keep citing western European countries, and American’s standing compared to them. I would argue that, because of strict budgetary rules enforced by the EU, those economies are fundamentally more sound than the US economy. Ask any trained economist about the state of the US economy. It is balanced on a pinhead. When it goes over, in any direction, comparisons to Western Europe are not going to be even close. Why do you think that the European moneyed interests have spent the last 20 years expending vast amounts of capitol to create a world financial market that is not dependent on the US dollar. The EU, and the Euro are in place so that European economies will not be devastated when the US economy comes crashing down. The smart money is currently betting against the US economy.

What happens in third world countries when they can no longer service their debt? What happened just 4 years ago, during the Asian economic crisis? Many large, competitive country’s economies turned into basket cases overnight… why? One of the main reasons was that there was massive amounts of corruption in both the commercial and government sectors. Most of those “Asian Tigers” still haven’t recovered, and oddly enough, many of them are prime recruiting ground for Al Queda. The radicalization of populations can happen overnight. Particularly in industrialized countries that have an expectation of a high standard of living. Like Germany or Italy, for example.


>As for the Bush staffer's quote now that I've read I see what he means. There is a >strongly anti-Islamic and anti-Arabic element right now.

The Bush Regime has used these sentiments, and the fear that 9/11 generated in order to get a pass on its radical empire-builing agenda. Have you stopped to read any of the “Project For a New American Century” policy papers that people like Dick Cheney have been publishing for the last 12 years? They are implementing them right now, and using 9/11 as an EXCUSE to do it. They had these plans long before “terrorism” was a media buzzword.


>The comparisons of the US to Brazil are not quite worth taking seriously.

You don’t take the comparisons seriously? Political corruption and graft… Crony capitalism run-amok. A self-regulated stock market that is filled with insider trading and outright fraud. A historically high Budget deficit that represents a significant portion of GDP. Which country and I talking about? The comparisons are incredibly apt. Its only the scale that is different.


Perhaps our differences in perspective lie in simple life experiences. My life has been directly and measurably impacted (in a negative way) by the corrupt cronyism of the Bush regime. The California energy crisis was demonstratively manufactured, and completely avoidable, and had a measurably negative impact on the California economy. The FERC could have stopped it, but there was a political calculation by the Bush Regime. “Fuck California, because we can, because it enriches our boys, and because we might be able to bring down a Democratic governor in the process.” My tax dollars are sitting in the portfolio’s of Texas energy companies. Companies that used to do business in California (and paid CA taxes) have moved to Texas and other places because California had an “unreliable energy grid”, which is insult to the 8 billion dollar injury of “long term extortion” contracts which created the budget deficit in the first place.

You may look at the enron/global crossing/Arthur Anderson debacle and think that it was a one time thing. I look at it and say “I’ve seen this before ” --repeatedly. The same people who got rich of the S&L scandal got rich of the stock market scandal of the late 90’s. And they are the same people and institutions that got bailed out during the “Mexican Currency Crisis”. I look at that and say the system is broken, and needs to be fixed. Deregulation didn’t work in the 80’s and it didn’t work in the 90’s. Why do people keep buying the same lie? Because it is sold to them every day by the media that benefits from the lie.

I look at the airline industry, and wonder why my tax dollars are bailing it out. If it is so critical to our national security and economy, why isn’t it regulated so that it doesn’t need to be bailed out? You can’t have it both ways.

You have a lot of book learning. So do I. Come talk to me in 10 years and tell me if you see the world the same way you do now. My worldview definitely changed after getting out of college and living in the real world for 10 years. I’m not trying to be condescending. I’m simply stating that we are in different phases of our life, with different experiences, and that might have something to do with how we can look at the same data and see different things.

As I said in my previous post, I hope your right, and things aren’t as dire I think they are. But I would be the worst kind of citizen if I just ignore the problems that I see, and hope they go away, or wait for someone else to fix them.

-JL
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 09:50 pm:   

I’m not quite sure why you would feel the need to say you are thankful for that. Do you think that are current conversation has anything to do with the 60s? Does your view of the 60s have some kind of bearing on how you view and interpret current events? If so, that is a bit short sighted.

Thomas R: Doh! That was directed to paulw. He hinted at curiosity about my age and mentioned the 60s. Just on the most banal though if I'd been born in the 60s I likely would not have been able to get the same kind of education or life. That's simply the reality no matter what my politics would be.

He is thinking that “capitalism” has resulted in some of the most profoundly undemocratic actions throughout the world, throughout most of the 20th century, and long before that.

Thomas R: Which is why I didn't say capitalism alone, but democracy with capitalism. I'd certainly prefer the most socialistic of free nations, Norway perhaps, then some capitalist despotism like Chile under Pinochet. As there are alternatives to both extremes there's no need to think on that much. Also I never meant to imply one requires the other. In the modern world they do tend to be linked. I know of free market fascist nations and some socialist influenced democracies.

I never said that you were brainwashed, and I am disappointed that you immediately jumped to that conclusion

TR: My apologies, I did say I would be dissapointed if you were saying that. I honestly did not assume that you were. It was just unclear to me because I wasn't sure what conditioning meant here. It seemed a peculiar word to use. I tend to think of it as a Skinnerian kind of deal which I associate somewhat negatively.

No need to be snide or condescending. I read books too – a lot of them. I actually publish books on occasion… but, unlike you, I’ve lived through some of those things you’ve only read about in books.

TR: Apologies again. I'm sure I've lived through many things you have not as well. In fact I'm positive of this. But that's beside the point, can ask what works on international policy and history you have written?

Germany had a competitive economy in 1939 too. As did most of the “Asian Tiger” economies of the mid 90’s, which are now prime recruiting ground for Al Quida.

Thomas R: Germany 1939 was already Nazi. I thought we were discussing the rise of such things not their outcomes. Besides which Nazi economic policy was in fact a disorganized mess. It's main success was its ability to turn a nation into a machine for war. That being the whole point of fascism.

The main Asian tigers were Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and I think Hong Kong. Exempting maybe Hong Kong and Singapore none of these are breeding grounds for Al-Qaeda. Both those were essentially not democratic societies. Hong Kong being ran under an almost white over Asian apartheid for decades. The other three are either less than 20% religious, Japan, or have like a 90% Buddhist majority. Malaysia has been tyrannized by an Anti-Semitic fanatic for twenty years. Indonesia went through Dutch imperialism then decades of dictatorship. I meant these economic elements only to go along with the US's overall history of democracy which would render the more alarmist fears unlikely if not impossible.

I already addressed this… If large western European nations measured unemployment rates the same as the US does, you would see a different picture. As it is, you are comparing apples and oranges

Thomas R: To a degree yes. Still the 9.1 figure you cite is still well below much of Europe. I'll concede European unemployed generally live better than ours. I think that has positive and negative aspects to it.

I’m not trying to invoke hysteria. I’m trying to get you to take a realistic assessment of the state of the nation. Economically and socially. All the indicators are pointing in one direction. I see which way the wind blows, and I’m trying like hell to convince people that it is NOT hysteria, or partisanship… the there is in fact an ill wind blowing. There have been historical and fundamental shifts within the political and social, and economic structure of the United States...

TR: These are your interpretations. They will likely be supported by everyone here, but not me.

You keep citing western European countries, and American’s standing compared to them. I would argue that, because of strict budgetary rules enforced by the EU, those economies are fundamentally more sound than the US economy. Ask any trained economist about the state of the US economy. It is balanced on a pinhead. When it goes over, in any direction, comparisons to Western Europe are not going to be even close. Why do you think that the European moneyed interests have spent the last 20 years expending vast amounts of capitol to create a world financial market that is not dependent on the US dollar. The EU, and the Euro are in place so that European economies will not be devastated when the US economy comes crashing down. The smart money is currently betting against the US economy

TR: They're simply being smart. Much of Asia was dependent on Japan which proved to be a mistake. The world economy shouldn't have all it's eggs in one basket and I wish the Europeans well.

What happens in third world countries when they can no longer service their debt? What happened just 4 years ago, during the Asian economic crisis? Many large, competitive country’s economies turned into basket cases overnight… why? One of the main reasons was that there was massive amounts of corruption in both the commercial and government sectors. Most of those “Asian Tigers” still haven’t recovered, and oddly enough, many of them are prime recruiting ground for Al Queda. The radicalization of populations can happen overnight. Particularly in industrialized countries that have an expectation of a high standard of living. Like Germany or Italy, for example.

TR: See above on the Asian Tigers. Further the decades long collapse of the Japanese economy has not led to anything like this. We have a greater debt sure. However we also have a greater industrial, university educated, etc. base than Japan ever had. Also unlike most of the Asian Tigers, including Japan, we have a solid two party system. As well as different banking rules and regulations.

I hesitate to add misspelling Al-Qaeda is fine, it's transliterated from Arabic so no one version is "right", but could you in least try to be consistent in the spelling you use. We're not in Elizabethan times you know:-)

You don’t take the comparisons seriously? Political corruption and graft… Crony capitalism run-amok. A self-regulated stock market that is filled with insider trading and outright fraud. A historically high Budget deficit that represents a significant portion of GDP. Which country and I talking about? The comparisons are incredibly apt. Its only the scale that is different.

TR: This is a bit overboard and I wonder if you are simply making a point through extremes. You can dismiss the studies I mentioned that show we're way less corrupt then Brazil. As well as groups from the far Left, Communist even I think, to the far Right that have shown that. Think about what Brazil actually went through in recent years. Think about what lead to them electing Lula in the first place. And in this case let me inform you I do have some personal experience. I didn't live in Brazil, but I've lived and studied with those who have. Not just people who stayed there for a few years, but those born and bred. Watch some of the films that come out of that country. Then think about this and find some perspective.

You have a lot of book learning. So do I. Come talk to me in 10 years and tell me if you see the world the same way you do now. My worldview definitely changed after getting out of college and living in the real world for 10 years. I’m not trying to be condescending. I’m simply stating that we are in different phases of our life, with different experiences, and that might have something to do with how we can look at the same data and see different things.

TR: Sorry for any huffiness. This has been a fascinating discussion. I think it highly implausible my view will become anything like yours in ten years, but I don't doubt I have much to experience still.

As I said in my previous post, I hope your right, and things aren’t as dire I think they are. But I would be the worst kind of citizen if I just ignore the problems that I see, and hope they go away, or wait for someone else to fix them.

TR: I admit I'm not good at activism. However for the problems that concern me I have been willing to write letters, contribute aid, etc. I admit though I don't do enough. Also in real life I dislike politics as my family is so political. From their perspective I'm moderate to center Left in a way.

Which is why this time I'm going to try to just leave. It was a fun discussion and at times I enjoyed trying to play devil's advocate. Perhaps when I get my Masters and some history books published I can be better equipped. Still I hope in least provided a few moments of worth.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 04:50 am:   

Ding!

To your corners gentlemen!

TR you get back here!

No need to get personally critical of each other, is there? I think reading your argum . . .umm, discussions are interesting.

Frankly, in my personal opinion you both are leaving lots of things unsaid - like the economic toll that Europe's shrinking labor force is going to take in the near term, or the negative impact of over-regulation on economic growth and technological innovation . . .

Us vs them is not the best way to look at it economics and the future of the world. Like it or not, we're stuck with each other. . . at least until 'off-world' becomes reality (which it may never, because there is little incentive for venture investment, at least at this point in time).

More interesting to me is considering what is going to happen when Europe, Russia, Eurasia & Japan have to import hundreds of millions of workers from China, India, the Middle East and Africa to keep their economies going at all? What will happen to the already dying concept of the nation state with all of these transnational people - living in one country and owing shreds of allegiance, partial taxes and possibly a vote to another?

Let's try not to shout past each other, eh? Last I checked, we were still entitled to our own opinions.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

barth
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 05:32 am:   

>Capitalism and democracy fundamentally at odds? What are you thinking?<

i'm thinking that the principle of "one-person/one vote" is inherently at odds with the corporate principle of a single individual being able to buy shares (votes) and obtaining a majority. perhaps i should have said "corporate" instead of "capitalistic" to be clear.

i broke it down this way because americans are eager to apply the corporate model to government. we have no problem with bush and his moneyed croneyism because "it's just business." imho, "just business" has torn down the last vestiges of a democracy.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

richard
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 10:11 am:   

I think practically everything that can be said on this subject has been said in great and well researched detail, so I don't feel I have much to contribute, but the tone of the thing is fascinating. Thomas, your argument seems to be more or less - "sure, there are some things going on that I don't like, but hey we're still far better off/more stable/freer than people in X, so let's vote Bush in again." Critics weigh in with their concerns, and your response is simply to shift ground slightly and repeat along the lines of "okay, well that may be true but we're still far better off/more stable/freer than people in Y." New critic with more evidence, new shift: "...better off/more stable/freer than people in Z". And so on. And on.

Now, to me, this smacks of an emotional grounding for your attitudes rather than one based on facts or reasons - a sort of watered down version of the "America - Love It or Leave It" stance.

But surely the point is that there *is* cause for concern (and rather a lot of it) - those who voice critical opinions here are worried precisely because the evidence they cite shows that America *is* sliding rapidly in the wrong direction (may always have been in fact, but that's another argument). And given that as a starting point, surely you don't just wait around saying "Ah, could be worse you know" and voting Bush until things *are* as bad as in Brazil or Indonesia or thirties Germany or thirties Italy or >insert really shitty regime here<. At a minimum, *surely*, you change your President (if he'll let you near the ballot boxes again, that is).
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 11:41 am:   

Alright Laura I'll pop back in to explain a bit. I really do get a bit too much of this everywhere though. I lack willpower some times though, but I'll try harder next time to stay gone:-)

I feel like I explain myself clearly, but people seem to have an extraordinary ability to think I say almost the opposite of what I mean.

Richard.
Thomas, your argument seems to be more or less - "sure, there are some things going on that I don't like, but hey we're still far better off/more stable/freer than people in X, so let's vote Bush in again." Critics weigh in with their concerns, and your response is simply to shift ground slightly and repeat along the lines of "okay, well that may be true but we're still far better off/more stable/freer than people in Y." New critic with more evidence, new shift: "...better off/more stable/freer than people in Z". And so on. And on.

TR: If this what you wish to see that's fine. This is surely not my intent. My intent is to say American is a stable country with a long history of democracy. That it ranks well in economics, better than many of its critics on corruption, and less badly in education than believed. That its institutions, structures, etc are not the kind of pre-fascist state some argued. That the fears of "ill winds" blowing are unjustified and based on absurd efforts to compare us to Third World or unstable nations.

I was hesitant to say why I like Bush because I'm unpopular enough here as is. Supporting Bush at Nightshades would be like supporting gay marriage at a Christian Coalition meeting. I do have my reasons. I like that he ended the Taliban, promised money for AIDS in Africa, and other issues. I dislike all the Democrat candidates who I think are either well meaning but ineffectual or would be worse for the economy/world than we have now.

I think you're confusing the fact that I'm willing to make concessionary points with the notion I "basically agree" with the other side but then shift things. I was discussing that we pretty much can't become Fascist Italy, Brazil, Pinochet Chile. Brazil and Fascism were not brought up by me if you check. I countered why we are not like those places because the issue was raised.

Now, to me, this smacks of an emotional grounding for your attitudes rather than one based on facts or reasons - a sort of watered down version of the "America - Love It or Leave It" stance.

TR: Than I have failed utterly to communicate. Which makes me both glad I came back and frustrated as any effort I make is unlikely to help.

In my mind the other side is based almost entirely on emotion. On fearmongering because they dislike the guy. I've tried to state time and again the facts, studies, etc. why I feel these statements are extreme. I've tried to avoid these emotional buzz words of "ill winds" and "fascism" except to ask or counter sides using them. I've tried time and again not to argue through extremes. To use sources that are as objective as possible. To concede that this country has problems and that I recognize them.

If I felt the evidence sufficient for me to go against Bush I would. In a heartbeat. Instead I find vehement diatribe and sources linked by people with clear axes to grind. Even the cliche "Love it or Leave it" The 60s-70s are over. I wasn't even born when All in the Family was on. If you sincerely believe Bush is terrible, then good for you. I'm glad people have principles and vote their conscience. If you honestly believe anyone who disagrees with you is some kind of terrible person or caricature, then this is a shame.

Still for what it worth I'll admit if I had the money I wouldn't mind seeing what nations are better. This is just a place, not a cult.

But surely the point is that there *is* cause for concern (and rather a lot of it) - those who voice critical opinions here are worried precisely because the evidence they cite shows that America *is* sliding rapidly in the wrong direction (may always have been in fact, but that's another argument). And given that as a starting point, surely you don't just wait around saying "Ah, could be worse you know" and voting Bush until things *are* as bad as in Brazil or Indonesia or thirties Germany or thirties Italy or >insert really shitty regime here<. At a minimum, *surely*, you change your President (if he'll let you near the ballot boxes again, that is).

TR: If you feel that strongly yes go with your conscience. I thought I made it clear I don't believe things are headed that way. That the country and institutions are fundamentally sound, this is hype, etc. However I have a tendency to be unclear when online.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 03:17 pm:   

Welcome back TR.

This forum does tend to be quite "liberal", which is exactly why we need conservative voices who will calmly explain their case like you just did.

I myself lean a bit left of center - moderate democrat - but appreciate well stated opposing opinions.

Dialogue is always better than talking in the mirror - at least to me it is.

Thanks for the AIDS in Africa comment - that is a subject near and dear to my heart.

BTW: have you ever consulted anyone at HSS in NYC about OI? I used to be a researcher there (in my previous incarnation) - its an amazing place.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 05:35 pm:   

Oh I admit I likely don't come off as reasonable as I'd like. I do wish to, and that is my ideal. However in the end it is somewhat true my life experience is limited and like anyone I can misread posts or get annoyed.

I admit I do have some concern the AIDS in Africa thing won't go as well as I hoped. There is an element of the Republican party I don't like, and there's a similar version on the Left, that buys into the notion we're way screwed up on our own so should be using the money here. Still as a whole it seems like sub-saharan Africa is the one place that needs the most help yet always gets about the least. Still the situation is dire and whoever it is that does it, I hope it gets done. Botswana's one that really saddens me. They are the most progressive and least corrupt nation in Africa, but AIDS has left them with one of the world's lowest life expectancies.

As for NYC it's a long ways a way. I know they have an OI research place in Maryland, and I know some people in DC, so I've considered doing my doctoral work in that area. I liked Maryland when I visited, but I here it has problems when you live there. As for NYC itself used to the idea of visiting it terrified me, but lately I've considered it. I just worry about the traffic. Do they have any kind of handicapped accessible mass transit deals?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 05:36 pm:   

Two sentences in a row beginning with "Still" I really should leave, or quit writing in general:-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 12:54 am:   

Just as a note on the AIDS in Africa comment. I figure it is worth mentioning that that aid package was married to a regulation making it difficult, if not impossible, for any non-government group that performs or offers counseling on abortions to recieve funding. As a result many many places that were previously recieving funding no longer are, and therefor the money is possibly doing as much harm as good. In truth, some communities are now without any health care provision whatsoever, because they have been forced to shut down.

So if this is one's reason for liking Bush, it is just another reason why I dislike him.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 05:37 am:   

Unfortunately, you are right, Brendan. And in areas where AIDS is spread by needle-sharing, US assistance (usually) cannot be used to assist IDUs. It is a shame.

However, that said, its also a shame that no leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa - other than Uganda's Museveni - care enough about the people they govern to start their own HIV/AIDS programs. ALL except Museveni have sat back and done nothing about HIV-1 while it has ravaged their nations. They have, however, spent billions on wars, insurgencies, arms purchases and other PRIORITIES.

So some assistance from the US for AIDS, is better than none at all. But ultimately, I agree, it would be better if US monies were not doled out along conservative social guidelines.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

richard
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 07:18 am:   

Laura and Brendan - good, *informed* points re AIDS aid. Similarly, Thomas, the coalition's actions in Afghanistan have not "ended" the Taliban - like a lot of the western public, you've been sold a PR dummy. In fact in Aghanistan an initial upwelling of liberal reform is now being stifled and extreme Islamic warlords (who were largely the creation of western covert action during the Russian occupation) are back in the squabble for power. Further, I understand that the single Afghani woman cabinet minister has had to step down and is receiving death threats, while the general informed consensus appears to be that the resurgence of a regime not dissimilar to the Taliban is not far off. As with the pulling down of Sadam Hussein's statue and the "end of hostilities" (LOL) in Baghdad, the coalition have announced a simplified and simplistic version of the facts, and the corporate media have endorsed it.

The truth, as always, is far more complex, but men like Bush have no use for complexity. Big abstract idiocies (Good, Evil, God, The Devil, The War on Terror, The War on Drugs) play much better to a soundbite culture convinced of its own moral superiority. And it gives rise to bald statements like "America is a stable country with a long history of democracy". LOL. Try telling that to blacks living in the deep south. They've had (badly mauled) access to "democracy" for about thirty something years, max. Try telling it to the people whose lives were ripped apart during the McCarthy era, less than fifty years ago. Try telling it to those in Florida who never got to register their vote less than one Presidential term ago.

Like any other western nation, my own emphatically included, what the US has is a long history of blood-drenched, slavery-based colonial oppression - and the sooner we own up to it, the better. Because once we accept that unpleasant fact, it becomes a lot easier to see the potential for more oppression around the corner, and more importantly to take action against it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ellen
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 08:57 am:   

Thomas: You asked about handicapped accessible mass transit in NYC. Most, if not all MTA buses are wheelchair accessible. Some of the subways have elevators but I gather they don't always work.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 09:24 am:   

On one level, I'm in accord with Thomas -- the US is a relatively stable country, not prone to be affected by winds of change. What amazes me is that most of the people here see Bush as a drastic change from the past. To my mind he's simply the next step after Clinton, who destroyed welfare, instituted the horror of NAFTA and et al. When I was in France recently, I was on a panel relating to the State of the Union, and people were asking the empanelled Americans, What happened to the American Dream?, implying that Bush and his associates were somehow antithetical to that idea. My response was that this is the American Dream -- world domination. Manifest destiiny. Whatever you want to call it. Ever since the Spanish-American War and Teddy Roosevelt, we've been on this course... for over a century. World domination, naturally, begins at home through control of the media. That achieved, the indoctrination of minds begins and we get people saying things like, hey, things aren't so bad and believing it, because they've never known any different or because they've forgotten what they knew, inundated by the wash of media bullshit. Whoever gets elected, it's not going to make much difference. You'll get a cosmetic improvement or two, things will be better for certain segments of the population for a time, perhaps, but the overall flow of events will continue toward a facist and oppressive state. There is no viable opposition in this country to this process. We're governed by millionaires and their corporations. By the people, for the people, etc. is a shuck and has been for some time.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 10:40 am:   

Thomas says " I dislike all the Democrat candidates who I think are either well meaning but ineffectual or would be worse for the economy/world than we have now. "

My sole response is to wonder how anything could be worse for the economy then Bush's current policies. If one does not know anything about economic theory, or policy, it is easy to miss what is right in front of you. By any unbiased measure, Bush's economic policy has been an abject failure.

When Regan's ideology didn't actually work in the real world, he threw it out and implemented a policy that did sort of work. When Bush Jr's ideologically based economic plan again fails to work, he obstinately continues down that path... He’s definitely well meaning, and proven ineffectual. Thomas, Do you in fact favor the “shrink the beast” method of cutting popular government programs? If that is a long-term goal you agree with, then I can see why you would favor bush. Otherwise, I don’t see where you could possibly be coming from.


Lucius, as always brings a nessessary perspective... what most democracts don't want to admit is that most Republican policies are simply Democractic party policies, except more extreame. We've been skidding along in this direction for some time. The pace has meerly been excelerated.

-JL
PS I'll try to avoid the 2000 word screeds in the future. :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

paulw
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 10:53 am:   

The idea that there is an equivalency between the parties was exploited by Ralph Nader, to the glee of Karl Rove. I believe that Bush's record thus far is a succinct refutation of this popular canard.

There is a difference between the democrats and the republicans. There is a difference between Bush and Gore, and more than merely gradations of greyness.

Otherwise, why bother to get pissed off or concerned about anything? If you believe that we're already ruled by corporate aristos, and that the established political system cannot change this fact, and this fact is worth changing, then it seems to me that your choices come down to: (1) violent revolution, (2) emigration, (3) abdication.

I don't see too many throwing bombs or voting with their feet. And Lucius, despite his words, is, I know, deeply involved in many ways in making changes non-violently.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 10:55 am:   

There's so many things to comment on here. . .

Richard, I'm in basic agreements with your comments about Afghanistan and Iraq - I think a few years to a decade out, both countries will be basically the same "lawless frontiers" that they were before the current "wars for freedom".

About US domestic issues, however, I think that class is a major issue that adds color to - and contradicts - some of your statements.

Educated, middle class people of color, women -insert name of "oppressed" group here - of which there are now quite a few - have access to the same or nearly the same opportunities as any white person of the same class. We still have affirmative action, title IX and other laws designed to level out the playing field at least a bit. These laws have done wonders, and are still hanging on - albeit with increasing opposition.

Differences in education, democracy, opportunity seem to me to effect more poor urban or poor rural groups than anyone else. And yes, they do tend to take a heavier toll on people of color than whites ofthe same socioeconomic background.

There are, however, poor white folks in the mountains of the central Atlantic or upper NY who have far fewer opportunities than middle class blacks in downtown D.C.

I see the haves and the have-nots in the U.S today lining up along class lines more frequently than color lines these days.

***

Lucius, I'm in agreement with your historical points, but not with your future projections. I see "threats" to US hegemony coming from quite a few domestic and international sources within the next 15-25+ years.

The principal domestic sources are likely to be the increasingly disenfranchised lower-middle and lower classes who will have seen their jobs flee overseas, but are unable to follow.

The international sources will likely be the booming Asian consumer markets and export of European regulatory policies that will force the US to deal with multiple new "rules" makers.

I think this was evident in the recent Cancun talks. The US tried a foolish, "its our way or the highway" approach to negotiation, and the rest of the world said, "No".

What a wake-up call for the US that was! The aftershocks still have those of us who worry about these things reeling.

The world may still be lurching towards corporate monopoly, and authoritarian rule, but the US is no longer the lone driver of these trends.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 11:08 am:   

Laura says "Us vs them is not the best way to look at it economics and the future of the world."

I apologize if that is the perspective my rantings implied. The basis of our conversation was how easily the U.S. population could become radicalized. In this context, I felt it important to emphasize the basic economic differences between the US and Western Europe, which Thomas kept referring to as a benchmark of stability.

The labor shortages in Europe that you site are also playing out in the US as well. It is quite common now to find central and south American "unskilled illegals" throughout the united states... In particular, most of the agricultural industry in the US, from Washington State to Nebraska to Minnesota relies on immigrant labor. Only 15 years ago, this labor force was mostly restricted to California, and other Mexican border states.

What is the current state if Immigrant labor in Europe? Does eastern European/south east Asian labor fill the niche that central/south American labor does in the US?

What kind of implications does this trans-national labor flow have for the idea of "nation state" and the current "war" on terrorism? Does this labor flow increase or decrease “third world” resentment of the west? How does this compare with the flow of manufacturing jobs to the third world? Do these labor shortages increase this flow, or cause it? What kind of impact do these flows of labor and jobs across borders have on nationalistic movements? You’ve opened up a can of worms…

-jl
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 12:12 pm:   

Paul, granted there are differences between Rs and Ds, but there are to my mind far more similarities, and though a Dem administration would have preferable to Bush, in my view such an admin would have only slowed our decline from democracy, not changed the course. Laura, I don't think I made any future projections other than to say that the govt would become increasingly oppressive.

As to Thomas R, well, as far as I can determine, when his 2 and his 6 are reversed, unless he's part of the rising oligarchy or one of its housepets, he'll likely be sitting in some gray place gnawing on a raw potato like the majority of his peers. My ex girlfriend used to hand me the same line of crap he disposes, things are better blah blah blah -- its reflects a blindness and self-absorbtion that isn't worth debating. People who profess this kind of drivel have seen nothing of the world, or if they have seen anything, they are so brainwashed, they don't notice what they see. I'm reminded of a time when I was in Nicaragua toward the end of the Sandinista rebellion. After the success of the revolution, I traveled to Guatemala City, where I had dinner in the home of a development banker, one of those who's job demanded he hold certain beliefs. When I told him I had just come from Nicaragua, he exclaimed that what with the Sandinistas slaughtering people in the streets, I was lucky to be alive. I informed him that this wasn't the case, he said, Oh no, you must not have seen it. They're killing people by the thousands. I told him I had been all over the city, mostly in the company of western journalists, none of whom were reporting any such slaughter. But eyewitness testimony was insufficient to persuade the banker of any truth contrary to that he needed to believe in order to justify his existence, his stance toward the American roots of injustice and poverty and terror in that part of the world. I've had enough of these bland uniformed pronouncements to last me -- I have no patience left for such.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 12:24 pm:   

Ellen thanks for the info. I figured NYC had stuff like that and it's good to know in case I go there. Funds being what they are I think that'll be awhile.

As for the political stuff I see little point in me saying any more. There are several things I'm tempted to respond to, but I don't imagine any good would come in doing so. It was a fascinating discussion and I'm glad I learned some on why people think as they do. Perhaps "my" side can get better representation than me now. Or perhaps it can simply disappear as in discussions like this it ends more as an irritant than as a useful position.

I will make a brief comment though on something from way back that I meant to respond to earlier. Minz there were countries invaded and leaders overthrown in the Drug War. I think that's what the Panama deal was largely about.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 06:13 pm:   

http://www.angelfire.com/ca3/jphuck/Book23Ch.10.html
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 07:48 pm:   

Wow/ "The Panama deal." What was it about? Well, it wasn't about the Drug War, pal. Though it was made out to be a shock that Noriega was a drug dealer, it has been common knowledge to the govt and the State Department that not only Noriega was a drug dealer, but every Panamanian president within memory was a goddamn drug dealer. It was part of our contract with that country that their govt dealt drugs and we looked the other way. "The Panama Deal" was likely just a flexing of the muscles, a show of force, a message to the next Panamanian president to be less of a pain in the ass than Noriega. Like, hey, you give us shit, we'll pop down, slaughter a few thousand of your citizens and pop your butt into a show trial on CNN. The US is prone to that sort of thing down in CA -- you could look it up whenever you get tired of counting your blessings.

The thing that pisses me off most about neocons is rhat whenever they get two "facts" they can rub together, it's like a baby when he first catches sight of his weenie. It's like they're the first one ever to make this discovery and by god they're gonna spread the news, For years I sat back and listened while someone I cared about filled my head with neocon theory -- darned if the fact that the use of transistor radios in Sao Paolo has increased by 9 percent doesn't mean that poverty is on the wane in that region! Who'd have thought it, what with all those other stats about increases in infant mortality, devalued currency, the destruction of the agrarian class by intensive farming, etc, etc? But no, that boost in transistor radio sales, that told the tale. I dearly wish that there is a god and one day the fatcats who promote the trickle down theory in order to pad their bank accounts will be in a position so that the former poor can trickle down onto their sorry, facile-logic-spewing asses.

Sam Hamm sent me (and others) an article that really struck me today. Gen. Tommy Franks, the Shock and Awe guy, commented in the magazine Cigar Afficionado that the American constitution would likely have to go if a WMD were successfully used on US soil, and the military would then run the country. Jesus Christ. What blew my mind was the forum. Cigar Afficionado. I can just imagine the interviewer nodding sagely and then saying, That's all well and good, General, but how do you like that Habanero Deluxe you're puffing on. Though I'm certain many generals have wetly discussed this possibility in private over the years, my god, twenty years ago a general makes this comment in any public forum and he's out the door, fired, stripped, gone. Now all he likely gets is a box of fifty dollar stogies. I'm sure any good neocon would say, hey, it's no big deal. It's like that hole in the ozone deal, that Panama deal, just a blip. No biggie. Transistor radio sales are up and all's right with the world.

Ah, what's the point. Like Judge Judy says, Beauty is skin deep, but stupid is forever.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

paulw
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 03:55 am:   

Lucius, as for the likelihood that the gov't will be come more oppressive, I can only agree. When a man like Tom Daschle is accorded the power of minority leader and a man like Robert Byrd is viewed as nothing more than a doddering crank, then the democratic party has indeed seriously lost its way. I fear more and more that this country is going to have to taste some very bitter years before it wakes up to what it's allowed to happen, all it's given away. I only hope that we can take it back by then.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 04:39 am:   

Lucius:

I agree with much of what you say - believe it or not - but, you know, I really hate it when you call people stupid and launch into other types of hateful personal rhetoric against them when they don't agree with you.

You probably don't care that you have a PR problem, but its shuts down the lines of communication, and weakens your arguments when people see you resort to insults instead of informed statements.

As to Frank's words, they are taken totally out of context. There may have to be a short-term suspenion of the constitution in order to keep people in one place in the event of an attack with a contagious agent. Because when the word WMD or biological weapon is mentioned in the fear-mongering media, everyone is going to try to "get out of Dodge".

The movie "Outbreak" by Wolfie Petersen dealt nicely with this potentiality. Terrified people were running away from epicenters of disease - spreading the virus as they fled. I thought the movie portrayed the fear on both sides of the line (citizens AND soldiers) well.

This is something that the biodefense community thinks about a lot. If you can suggest a way to keep frightened people in their homes after a WMD attack other than calling in the guard, please let me know.

I'm no neocon, and I do think it would be a big deal, even if a temporary measure, but I'd like to hear alternatives for mitigating the after-effects of an attack if you have them.

As a personal aside, I have a friend who was on the first ebola team. He was mobilized so quickly that he didn't have a chance to ask a lot of questions. He was on the horn reporting to his CO the horror of people bleeding to death through every orifice. He asked what would happen if he or his team members got the disease: Would they be evacuated, given pallative care, or just left to die? The response from home was 20 seconds of stony silence, to which he replied, "Yes, sir," and signed off.

"Calling in the guard" is basically how SARS was just contained in China and how the Russians kept the Aralsk smallpox epidemic that arose from biological weapons tests in 1974 under wraps.

The point of all this is that people who think they might need to call in the guard to keep an airborne ebola or something equally terrible contained don't see other choices to mitigating the impact and the numbers of deaths. If you do - honestly - please let me know - I'll pass on your suggestions.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

paulw
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 05:34 am:   

Laura, I haven't seen any quotes from the article to suggest that Franks was talking about a "short-term suspension of the constitution" as a result of the scenario you postulate. On the contrary, from what I've seen quoted, he seemed to be guessing that in the event of a WMD attack in this country or elsewhere, the population itself would likely insist upon abrogation of the constitution forever, leading to the loss of "freedom and liberty." I'd be grateful if you can provide more quotes from the article for additional context.

“It means [said Franks] the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important.”

Considering that our current administration has shown itself eager to go that route already, and in fact is demonstrably attempting to instill a sense of fear and panic in the population, so that further encroachments of basic rights and liberties can be imposed, I think Franks' statements are particularly chilling, in that they illuminate a blueprint that, I believe, may well already be well along in execution . . . but then, I'm fairly paranoid about this administration, and have reached the point where I basically believe they are guilty until proven innocent.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 06:49 am:   

Well then, Franks is speaking for himself - not the folks that think about mitigating the effects of a WMD attack. (Frankly, it doesn't surprise me that Franks is speaking for himself - he often does).

So, I stand corrected on this point - thanks Paul.

I am a scientist who works on biodefense issues, and NO ONE I know of is talking about permanent suspension of rights. In fact how to re-institute them after the danger is past and what sort of societal aftershocks we can suspect are hot debate topics.

In terms of references about military being used to institute quarantines - there are lots out there - see scenarios Dark Winter and TopOff for a start. I will try to dig up something more scholarly in the mean time, and get back to you.

I jumped in to try to explain what the biodefense community was thinking, and didn't realize what Franks was talking about. You're right, his statements are chilling. But, as far as I know, they are reflective of only his own fantasies or thought experiments.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 07:55 am:   

Laura, I wasn't addressing my remarks to you. I'm sick of callow youth. In times like these, youth has no business being callow -- It needs to get informed. I don't particularly care about shutting down lines of communication on this level, because to my mind they're basicallty BS. I spend a considerable amount of time dealing with people who don't have the luxury of opinion, and when I hear opinions such as were blurted forth by young Thomas, it pisses me off. If that offends you, I'm sorry. I've reached a point in my political life when I don't respond well to the blissful ignorance of the priviledged. Which is why I don't comment more than I do. Bluntness is out of fashion here in TVland and I'm afraid bluntness is a liability of mine. In any case, I've said my piece -- I'm outa here.

I will say, however, that I don't believe Franks was speaking ONLY for himself. I firmly believe that for many in the military, the abolition of the constitution is a wet dream.

Hasta luego
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 09:12 am:   

Well it looks like I really stuck my foot in it this time. Apologies all 'round.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 11:43 am:   

Thomas... the big bad Lucius is gone. Its safe to come out from your hiding place.

Seriously... Do you believe in doing away with popular government programs via duplicitous methods?

Are you in favor of the "foreign policy" envisioned by "The Project For a New American Century"?

Are you in favor of a massive rollback of environmental protections?

If you are, that’s fine. Everybody has a right to their opinion. But do you REALLY support these things?

or are you more of a traditional conservative?
Where is the conservative ideology when it comes to budget deficits. Why does it take a Democratic president to be fiscally responsible, and a republican one to break the bank?

Where is the conservative ideology when it comes to "foreign entanglements"?

Where is the belief that the free market is supreme? This administration is trying to subsidize the fossil fuel industry with its boondoggle of a "national energy bill".

Where is the conservative belief in "states rights"? I guess that only applies when the states want to oppress people of color and not when they want to make medical marijuana available to the terminally ill, allow assisted suicide, or allow two people who love each other to be married. Give ME a conservative who really believes in states rights, instead of one who believes that that is a good slogan to get racist voters to flock to the polls.

I LOVE conservatives. I LOVE people who embrace traditional conservative values. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any in the republican party at the federal level.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Minz
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 12:06 pm:   

>>I LOVE conservatives. I LOVE people who embrace traditional conservative values. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any in the republican party at the federal level.

A-friggin-men.
I was a conservative once, but I got so lonely looking for a political party . . .
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 03:33 pm:   

I don't want to discuss politics anymore, but I feel the need to set some things straight.

First: I wrote my Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 12:24 pm post while Lucius posted his. I did not see his post, therefore it had no affect on my decision. In fact seeing it may be part of why I've decided to come back and explain some things. That and a little nudging from Laura. After all Lucius would not make me go into hiding. I make my own decisions on such things. I just felt the discussion was going nowhere, and that ultimately I was tilting at windmills.

Second: The privileged statement by Lucius is interesting. That he could come to this conclusion based on knowing next to nothing about me as a person is part of the interest. Be that as it may I see the validity. Compared to my parents I am privileged. Unlike my Mom I did not spend my childhood living on welfare in a house full of rats. Unlike my Dad my parents weren't forced from their home by the Depression and I never plucked chickens. Unlike much of the world I have never been starving, homeless, or without drinking water if I wish it. I had a loving home. When I've seen rich kids neglected by their parents and addicted to drugs or poor kids whose Mom forced them to steal I realize how lucky I was.

Yet on the other hand there's an implication which is invalid. The term often devotes wealth or affluence. Something I've never known. I was born poor in rural Arkansas, the fifth of sixth children. By the age of twenty-one I had had 200 fractures and respiratory failure in least twice. I'd also lived through having my brother almost beaten to death. I hesitate admitting this, but as an undergraduate SSI disability was perhaps my main source of income. I have never seen what life is like in Latin America because I don't have the money to travel to such places. Indeed the only time I saw the East Coast it was because I won a contest. Am I poor? I don't think so, but I've been poor. Have I ever been wealthy? Not by most defnitions. Yet I know to the average Sri Lankan or maybe even Navajo I am rich. In the former case I know by experience as I have an adopted Sri Lankan cousin who made me quite aware of it.

However that would be true of most of us here, and was indeed part of my point. That we are not at that level of poverty and despair, nor will Bush in anyway lead us to it, and therefore when it comes to the future of democracy I'm more worried for the places that are in such straights. Places like Guatemala where polls show record numbers of people disillusioned with democracy and preferring a return to authoritarianism.

Anyway wasn't going to do politics. I'm sure this explanation will satisfy no one. Still glad to get it out there regardless. Good luck in the future Lucius, and Happy Thanksgiving to all. Hopefully later discussions with you guys we'll be more pleasant.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 04:07 pm:   

"I don't feel the need to discuss politics anymore..."'

That's good, man, because you weren't doing that, just parroting bullshit.

Everybody's got a sad story, dude...Most of us don't feel the need to lay them out there.

Why should discussing politics be pleasant. Politics isn't a pleasant subject. When you talk about it right, it's not in the least politically correct -- it's mean and nasty and angry.

Screw your Good Luck. You want to have a discussion, be prepared to fight for what for you believe, to get passionate behind it. The namby pamby warmed over baby gruel conservatism you've been laying out here isn't worth either respect or politesse. I'm fresh out.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 05:05 pm:   

Very well then Shepherd.

I did hesitate mentioning my story. However you brought up the notion I was privileged, I was just showing why that was inaccurate.

Despite what you stated I did the best I could to discuss things. I expressed my view of things in an environment I knew might be hostile. Do you need me to restate those views for you yet again? As they were based on facts and real life observation, which everyone seems to agree were fed to me by the vast right wing corporate conspiracy, I could see your difficulty in understanding. Also I guess I failed to have the passion of the true zealot you wish. Darn.

Usually I tend to blame myself for failures to communicate. Not this time. If you don't want anything but mean angry discussions that's all you deserve. As for your respect, I can only thank God that you have none for me. Your respect is the last thing I need right now. I'd nearly gotten to the point where I considered trying your work. Thank God again that you brought me back to sanity. The only thing I wish for you now is that we never meet again. Either online or in real life.

Angry enough for you my gigantic paranoid adversary?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Elton Minz
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 07:36 am:   

Can you feel the love tonight?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 09:17 am:   

Lucius wrote: Screw your Good Luck. You want to have a discussion, be prepared to fight for what for you believe, to get passionate behind it. The namby pamby warmed over baby gruel conservatism you've been laying out here isn't worth either respect or politesse. I'm fresh out.

You know what, buster? You are way out of line, published or not. Sure politics is a nasty, gritty, angry topic but there is no reason why people with opposing views can not be rational in discussing such topics.

As for personal experiences, I find that the generally demonstrate why someone holds a particular political point of view (including those points I DON'T agree with) in the first place.

Or to sum up in very simple terms. . .

Understanding does not equate Agreement.

Frankly, chasing after someone who took the time to come to what is most definitely a Left Leaning Ditto Forum only goes to verify that the Left has very much become like the political enemy they complain about.

As it is, it is not like the Left is a party without it's own bigotry and ideological prejudices. God knows they treat combat veterans with the same level of contempt that the KKK reserves for African-americans.

Sad news is, if you're an African-american combat veteran, you get screwed on both ends.

Steven Francis Murphy
Unrepentant First Gulf War Veteran and Very Repentant Former Democrat (now a registered Independent)
Usually found over at Asimov's, a friend of Thomas R, and frankly disgusted by the treatment I've seen of him over here.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 09:34 am:   

there is no reason why people with opposing views can not be rational in discussing such topics

and then...

God knows they (the Left) treat combat veterans with the same level of contempt that the KKK reserves for African-americans.

Sure buddy.

Nick Mamatas
Able to keep an idea in his head for longer than thirty seconds.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 10:38 am:   

One of the members of the senate that fought tirelessly for Veterans, and veterans benefits was the most "liberal" or "leftist" of them all. Look up the voting record of Paul Wellstone -- his record puts most republicans to shame on this issue.

At the same time the current Republican majority keeps screwing both veterns, and current military with funding cuts right and left. If anybody is spitting at combat veterns, it is the current congress that wraps them selves up in the "support the troops" slogan while shamelessly working to cut veteran’s benefits, combat pay, education for dependents, etc etc.

And thank you Nick, for pointing out Steven's obvious hypocrisy.
-jl
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 11:38 am:   

I don't know. I know an awful lot of "left" people and have never heard a one of them speak darkly about veterans, combat or otherwise. . . . Actually, many of the most left leaning people out there are veterans. . . . But where did this come from anyhow? Who was putting down veterans? Most of us were just saying quiet things about Bush. . . . And a few words about Pea-head Franks. . . . Hardly war heroes.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 12:22 pm:   

And of course, KKK-style contempt would mean left publications would be chock full of lies about veterans and crude caricatures of them. Veterans would be blamed for every social ill, and the target of violence. Socialists would be riding down to VA hospitals at night and burning them down, homeless and poor veterans would be snatched off the streets and lynched in parks...

The most pernicious thing about playing the veteran card is the assumption that all veterans must think the same way. I wonder what Steven thinks of Former Special Operator Stan Goff's open letter to American troops.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 12:27 pm:   

This has become distinctly unpleasant - kind of like watching a poorly acted "Lion in Winter."

I do believe that people who disagree can speak rationally about their views, but obviously that sentiment is not shared by the most people on these couple of threads.

Pity.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 12:38 pm:   

This has got nasty!!!

Stop it! All of you- or I'm taking my thread and going home!

If you can't get along get out of each other's faces- theres about 5 million threads here- room enough for everyone!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 12:53 pm:   

The Lion in Winter . . . Now that is a boring one—even with good actors!

As far as nasty goes: Most threads turn a bit nasty when people start talking about these sorts of subjects. It is pretty much inevitable. . . . The problem is is that these are things people actually care about, and that lives depend on—so anger is not unlikely to arise—and we no longer live in the age of duels, where people suppressed their emotions publicly because they were not good blades or for fear of scandal.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 01:39 pm:   

La sir- you doth have a good point... veirly...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Minz
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 02:39 pm:   

And to further document the fine treatment of veterans by the Republican Party, let's talk about the campaign put on by the GOP National Party to oust Max Cleland, a decorated, triple-amputee Viet Nam War Vet who was compared by the GOP to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden in TV ads. They said he was soft on national defense and homeland security. This, about a Senator who voted in favor of invading Iraq (which he's since retracted due to the outright lies used to justify it) and helped co-author the Homeland Security Bill.

Repugnant.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

E Thomas
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 05:29 pm:   

This is the nastiest thread I've ever seen about politics on a s.f. or fantasy forum. I guess the boards I usually frequent are a lot more respectful of differences in opinion.

For the record, I disagree with a lot of the politics of S.F. Murphy and Thomas R. I'm a liberal Democrat. However, I think that both have a record for being polite, calm, and back up their beliefs with evidence, both personal and academic. Whether or not you agree with their opinions or the strength of their evidence, I would just like to repeat the statement made by a few posters above that personal insults and attacks made on this thread were way out of line, especially considering how calm and rational Thomas R was in his original posts.

Yes, S.F. Murphy generalized about the Left after he said that people could have rational conversations about differences in opinion. However, I don't blame him. Why? Perhaps because I know of that his personal experiences have colored his perception of the left as just as intolerant as the right, calling him a "baby-killer" and signalling him out in college because of his military background. And wow, the actions of many of the posters in this thread just justifies his perception of the political left as just as inflexible and intolerant as the political right.

I am ashamed that a board which should be full of forward-thinkers would treat respectful fellow s.f. readers in such a manner. It's mob mentality in online form.

Laura MK -- Thanks for being a voice of reason. Unfortunately volatile topics like this one often have little to do with reason. :-)

Well, that's my two cents, for what it is worth.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 07:22 pm:   

You know, a few years ago, a book called The Spitting Image was published. It took a look at the traditional narrative of the returning Vietnam veteran and found something very interesting:

Many of the stories about veterans being spit on, attacked, denounced, etc., could not have happened. They were internally inconsistent, involved imaginary troop landings in cities that were never destinations for troops, no police reports (even though many stories took place in the middle of airports!), etc.

Not saying it never happened. Not saying it never happened to Murphy. What I am saying is that the "baby killer" trick has been used very often as a canard, as a demonization tactic, as a great way to blow smoke while veterans increasingly end up on the street begging for change, where they get spit on for real for being homeless.

At any rate, such a defense of Murphy's rank stupidity, even if true, is about as insipid as saying that one shouldn't blame someone for calling blacks "a bunch of niggers" if that person was once mugged by a black person.

The impulse some people have to hitch up their pants, put their foot down, and set everyone straight, when they can't even create a coherent argument, is amazing (and hilarious!) to me. I know it's close to Thanksgiving, but does every blowhard uncle in the world have to come onto the NS board as a tune-up for making a fool out of themselves at the dinner table on Thursday?

I also find it very odd that somehow an "s.f reader" is a privileged position. What about people who buy whole wheat bread? How much respect do they deserve?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ellen
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 07:45 pm:   

E Thomas:
Thomas R backed up nothing. Jeremy Lassen asked some pertinent questions about Thomas's political beliefs back on Sunday. Thomas never responded. To me that's avoiding discussion of the issues.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 04:14 am:   

Ellen:

This thread has to be read in conjunction with the one that follows it. In that thread, Nick attacked nearly every word that Thomas uttered and leveled every manner of abuse at him. If Thomas grew weary of arguing with someone who contributed nothing but piss and vinegar to the discussion, I don't blame him.

As to you, Nick. When the young men on my staff start behaving like you have been for the past few days, I usually lend them some money so they can go get laid in Norfolk. I don't know you, but would be happy to extend the same charity to you, as a public service to us all.

Further, getting rough and tough on a message board filled with writers, intellectuals and other academics isn't frankly very hard. I think you need to go test your skills against a real adversary. SF has a different meaning to some of us than science fiction.

I apologize to everyone except Nick for the abuse I just hurled. I'm sick of being called names by the likes of him.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 04:48 am:   

ET: "I guess the boards I usually frequent are a lot more respectful of differences in opinion."

Personally, I delight to see this sort of thing. Polite respect for another's opinions can take us so far and no farther. It can't step on the toes of dogma, and those are the toes most needing a good hard stomping. As for the left being just as intolerant as the right... Go figure. Give a people -- any people -- membership in a group that does all their thinking for them, and don't be surprised if what comes out the other end is genteel fascism and mealy-mouthed conformity.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Mark Gerrits
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 05:43 am:   

"SF has a different meaning to some of us than science fiction."

San Francisco?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 05:55 am:   

Oh Mark please don't be facetious-

SF clearly stands for- Stephen's Feet...

Named after Stephen Brighs-Murphy- the prominent New England Satanist and contributor to Cosmopolitan magazine- famed for the size of his feet- who disappeared on night in 1986- with only the all pervading smell of sheep skin to mark his passing.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 07:16 am:   

Published or not, I'm way out of line?

Gee, Stephen Francis Murphy, that's truly a ridiculous way to put it. I don't get angry at ignorance because I'm published, but because I'm sck of ignorance. And I'm damn sick of Thomas, who slithers around on these boards, offering inane opinions and then always pulls the same tactic, stating that he just a little tiny guy and now he's gonna go hide and be silent in his room. Which of course he does not, because people say, ah, Thomas, don't hide. Which is exactly what he wanted, to conjure sympathy in his typical passive aggressive way. Well, not me. Go hide, Thomas. Stay hidden. That'd be cool.

The idea that political debate should be calm and rational and kindly and sweet beggars political reality. Nothing of consequence has ever been decided by a lack of passionate discourse and often passionate discourse involves anger and offensiveness. Sometimes it's necessary to get things moving off the schnide. The idea that there should be some etiquette involved is simply warm fuzzy liberal BS. Speaking of which....

E Thomas. Let me make something clear, I'm not a liberal, I'm a leftist. I probably have far more in common politically with Murphy and Thomas than I do with you. I was just on a panel regarding the state of our union in France, one of whose members was a liberal democrat and when the panel was asked the question What happened to the American Dream?, the liberal went on about how his dream had been hijacked and how the left was all about kindness and tolerance and benign wisdom and etc. Terrry Bisson grabbed the mike and said, quite accurately, the Left's not about kindness and tolerance. The Left is about socialism. And I chimed in that I didn't see why people were so surprised by Bush -- he was simply the latest step in a process that's been going on since Teddy Roosevelt rode up San Juan Hill. Manifest Destiny. What's happening in the world today, I said, that is the American Dream and you're just waking up to it. The liberal then changed the subject -- this was just too confrontational for him. So he retreated into a profession of oddly Republican souning elitism, which included the statement that the "cheerful robots" of the working class have no part in the political conversation in the US. It got real interesting on that panel, because people were angry and actually spoke their minds instead of half-assing it and being nice and trying to accomodate one another. It was the only panel I've ever been on in which something meaningful was laid out and the audience really got into it, became involved and learned some shit. Politics is far too important and nasty a subject to play games like "let's all be nice" with. Sometimes anger and passion lead to great accords, because people actually speak their minds.

As far as Thomas R goes, the only time I had any respect for him was when he got angry at me. But his anger lapses into cowardice. He never wants to meet me, to see me, to read my work, etc. etc. You know, when I come across someone who gets in my face, my reaction is completely opposite. I want to learn where they're coming from. I'd be delighted to sit down across from Thomas or anybody and tell them what I've experienced in the way of realpolitick and see how they reacted. But Thomas R really isn't after discourse -- he's networking, basically. Which is fine. He simply should be more up front about it. And yes, TR, you are priviedged. Anyone who lives in this country is priviledged.
If, as I assume, a medical condition was responsible for your fractures, the chances are high you wouldn't be alive if you weren't born in the USA.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 07:44 am:   

Laura: "As to you, Nick. When the young men on my staff start behaving like you have been for the past few days, I usually lend them some money so they can go get laid in Norfolk. I don't know you, but would be happy to extend the same charity to you, as a public service to us all."

Laura, I sincerely hope this is unlike you. That's possibly the only truly insulting thing I've read on this thread. It's analogous to assuming any woman with an opinion, the confidence to express it, and an unwillingness to suffer fools gladly is "on the rag."
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 07:58 am:   

This thread has to be read in conjunction with the one that follows it. In that thread, Nick attacked nearly every word that Thomas uttered and leveled every manner of abuse at him.

Actually, the entirety of my participation in that thread takes place after the backing down Ellen mentions. In fact, it didn't start until after I pointed out that you were engaging in circumstantial ad hominem attacks. Bitter much?

When the young men on my staff start behaving like you have been for the past few days, I usually lend them some money so they can go get laid in Norfolk. I don't know you, but would be happy to extend the same charity to you, as a public service to us all.

Well I can see why you don't sign your last name, having just admitted to solicitation of prostitution and all. And here I thought you just lacked the courage to write your full name next to your dippy attempts at argument..

I think you need to go test your skills against a real adversary. SF has a different meaning to some of us than science fiction.

Why Laura, I do believe you are calling me out. But gee, I'm not hard to find. Listed number, listed address Nearly unique surname. Tell you what, instead of sending your boys down to your favorite whore, send 'em my way and I'll give 'em a Thanksgiving stretching. I'll be in the city tomorrow and will meet them in midtown. Btw, I'm 40 feet tall, made of Mylar, and shaped like Underdog.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 08:08 am:   

Cool... that'd be worth watching. Stick it on pay per view and make a few bob,
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 08:42 am:   

Lucius: "the statement that the "cheerful robots" of the working class have no part in the political conversation in the US"

I'd love to hear more about his line of reasoning, if you can recall what it was. How did he characterize the American working classes, politically? Where did he think their voice went? What did he think should be done about it?

I ask because this is one of the most severe dividing lines between American liberalism and the Left, and the strongest argument for keeping the categories distinctly separate. Many liberals of my acquaintance share with their Republican compeers a profound mistrust for anyone below middle class, or anyone who hasn't been "educated" enough to swallow holus-bolus their own blinkered line of reasoning. Both camps are paternalistic; they just argue about who gets to be pater, who gets to shepherd the meek and take the unruly child in hand.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 08:58 am:   

Lucius said:
The idea that political debate should be calm and rational and kindly and sweet beggars political reality. Nothing of consequence has ever been decided by a lack of passionate discourse and often passionate discourse involves anger and offensiveness.
I don't know about the "kindly and sweet" part, but judging from many of Mr. Murphy's posts, I would say he holds to the ideal that political debate should at least be civil. And, whether that ideal "beggars political reality" or not, it is one that can be striven for. After all, it's civil as in civilization, an ideal that also to a large extent "beggars political reality".

As far as I am aware, this is not a political forum, and nothing of consequence is going to be decided here, so I question the validity of your comparison.

But even setting that aside for the sake of discussion, I would point out that in, for example, the US House of Representatives, where things of consequence are decided, there are rules of etiquette that are generally adhered to during floor debate. They refer to each other as "the honorable Member", and only very rarely engage in personal insults. The speeches are often passionate, yet not personally offensive.

And if you've ever listened to "Question Time", when the British PM faces Parliament, a body that also makes decisions in matters of consequence, you know that there are also rules of civility that they adhere to. And as pointed and stinging as the questions can become, they still avoid being personally offensive.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jim
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 09:14 am:   

Question time?

Civil?

Come off it- you know that they introduced the "no one crosses the red line" rule because two many people were hitting their opponents- right?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 09:23 am:   

I would say he holds to the ideal that political debate should at least be civil.

And he demonstrates this by comparing everyone he disagrees with in a debate to the Ku Klux Klan on his first post on a thread.

I also find it amusing that you think governance in parliament is a matter of civil debate rather than horse trading, powerplays, and showboating. Exhibit A: recent filibustering and counter-filibustering, scheduled around the convenience of Fox News, who encouraged the filibuster in the first place.

That's the issue in the nutshell: the same people who complain that the debate isn't civil or rational set the tone for the debate with their irrationality and uncivil, largely passive aggressive behaviors.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

barth
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 10:27 am:   

let's talk about pigs.

in the late eighties the reagan administration instituted a national pork "check off," which meant that if you produced pork in the US, you had to pay a couple cents per pound to sell it on the US pork market. the money gathered was then kicked back to the National Pork Producers Council.

what if you didn't belong to the NPPC? tough shit. the check-off turned the NPPC, representing mostly large, corporate farms, into a medieval guild, glomming up $50 million a year from members and non-members alike. it was simply the price of doing business, according to reagan's america.

in 1998, small pork farmers and non-members of the NPPC banded together and got the USDA to hold a national referendum on the check-off. american pork farmers voted 53% to 47% to end it. as one of his last acts as president, clinton formally ended the check-off in january, 2001.

the bush administration, however, overturned clinton's order and re-instated the check-off on behalf of the NPPC. small pork farmers again rallied and challenged the decision in court. last march, judge richard enslen concluded that the pork check-off was "unconstitutional and rotten." no duh. but USDA sec ann veneman found herself in the unenviable position of ramming bush's pro-corporate line down the hog industry's throat and *appealed* enslen's ruling. she claimed that the government's first ammendment's rights were violated by the decision. in october, the 6th circuit court struck down her appeal with equally harsh language.

(don't bother making sense of her argument, btw. the real goal was to eek out another year of funding for the NPPC. mission accomplished.)

i bring all this up for two reasons:

1) to illustrate lucius' point that clinton, like every other president, was little concerned with "democacy." did the democratic president support american farmers' democratic vote? no. he waited almost 3 years to strike down the check-off, and then, did it only when he was sure al gore wouldn't get stuck in the crosshairs of monsanto, cargill, and ADM (the biggest members of the Pork Council and recipients of this corporate welfare). conclusion: clinton was such a whore for corporate america that, like the supreme court in 2000, he didn't care a whit for a democratic vote.

2) to illustrate nick's point that parliamentary procedure is little more than "horse trading, powerplays, and showboating." and it requires people getting pissed off and dragging issues through the checks and balances while we still have them. i would argue that "bush leaguers" like the bush administration, who simply mean to bash down democracy, federalism, or anything resembling a commonwealth, are actually easier to deal with than professionals like clinton who could murder democracy without leaving a finger print.

i agree with those who say that politics should be argued at a pitch, because those who "represent" us (o, how i laugh until i wet my pants) would rather we didn't get our blood up. you think those small hog farmers got anywhere speaking civilly to one another, or to opponents in their own industry? democracy starts when two people get spitting mad, wherever they are. even here.

if we're not arguing with some heat in our faces, something's dead wrong in the democracy. or just dead.

ok. that's my lunch break. thanks for listening. i gotta get back to work.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 12:29 pm:   

Lucius,

Tiny or not, Thomas is respectful and civil.

I spend a lot of my existence with latent anger and I DO NOT respect someone that gives into it. I certainly do my best not to give into mine. I also don't think very highly of people who go around beating up on "tiny" people.

As for Thomas, this is a man who knows more about pain than any of us will ever care to know (I know a little more about Thomas R in the real world than you I suspect). In my eyes, it looks like bullying and frankly, if I saw this take place IRL between you and Thomas, I'd punch your lights out.

That's just fair warning. I don't think such an event will ever come to pass, but that is how I feel about it.

How is that for anger?

BTW, E Thomas has me pretty well nailed down on why I am the way I am.

And I don't care for Leftists and I know the distinction.

S. F. Murphy
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 01:10 pm:   

SFM: "this is a man who knows more about pain than any of us will ever care to know"

Turn off the Lifetime Network for a moment and ask yourself whether you really mean to imply that a person's expressed political views should remain unchallenged because of past pain or current handicap.

SFM: "I'd punch your lights out...That's just fair warning...I don't think such an event will ever come to pass, but that is how I feel about it...How is that for anger?"

Sounds more like a cat-call from a passing car to me.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 03:54 pm:   

Nick Mamatas said:
I also find it amusing that you think governance in parliament is a matter of civil debate rather than horse trading, powerplays, and showboating.
Read the post again. I was addressing Lucius's contention from his post of Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 07:16 am that
The idea that political debate should be calm and rational and kindly and sweet beggars political reality. Nothing of consequence has ever been decided by a lack of passionate discourse and often passionate discourse involves anger and offensiveness.
Lucius clearly was addressing the issue of the debate itself. So was I. I assume Lucius was referring to public discourse, since I do not assume him to be privy to behind-the-scenes "horse trading, powerplays, and showboating". If you want to claim that public discourse is irrelevant to the decision-making process, though, that's fine with me -- but it would seem to nullify Lucius's contention that it should be (allowed to be) passionate to the point of incivility.

I mean, if public discourse is just meaningless window-dressing anyhow, why waste time with it at all? Better to get into the game the way it's really played, yes?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

E Thomas
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 04:59 pm:   

Hmmm, well, I have said my two cents and that is all, folks. :-) I do want to thank the people who responded.

I suspect that Mr. Shepherd is right (oops, I mean left) and that the two of us do not have a lot in common. This conversation is muddied with so many separate issues right now that it is hard to keep them straight, but the idea of "Manifest Destiny" as an American value certainly doesn't seem off base to me. It certainly isn't MY personal value, but the U.S. does have a history that coincides with that idea.

Ellen, you're right that Thomas R didn't answer Jeremy's question, but I think he was trying to bow out of the discussion a few times before Jeremy asked the questions. Unlike Mr. Shepherd, he doesn't like to argue with people, just discuss, and the inflammatory attacks made him want to leave. Now I'll stop talking about this issue, as it clearly makes everyone angry, and (liberal that I am :-)) I don't like to get people angry and upset.

I normally don't post on political threads, so I am going to leave this section of the Nightshade forums as well. :-) Before I do, though, I just wanted to thank you all for your responses. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. :-) I know I'm going to enjoy mine.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 05:08 pm:   

Hey, Murphy....

Punch my lights out? A threat over the internet? Sounds like normal chickenshit web BS to me....As far as I know, you're wee Thomas' sock puppet. You sound like it, anyway, Either that, or you're saying Thomas is so pathetic a logician, you'd have to intervene physically to prevent his delicate psyche from being broken. That's sad. I wasn't bullying Thomas -- I was calling him on his passive aggressive tactics and general lack of information about real life. But if it makes your eagle big to play Yogi to his Boo Boo, go for it.

As for your soldier thang, I have a lot of respect for soldiers -- most Leftists (as opposed to liberals) do --but if the Gulf War is your credential, I've seen a lot more war than you and experienced my own share of backlash. I did need lessons in brutalirty and/or pain from anyone. If you feel the need to punch me, man, I'm not all that hard to find. Exert yourself. I might have something for you.

Peace out.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Laura MK
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 05:22 pm:   

No Neal:

This discussion is about society. Who is "in" it and who is "out" of it.

I can be called "stupid" by Nick even after I have recanted a mistake in my judgment (about Smirking Chimp) and no one will say a word against Nick.

I indulge in the same sort of nasty attacks that he has engaged in to undermine people's arguments and I am deemed, "on the rag" by one of my most civil acqaintances in the ether.

Its not about politics. Its about who is vested, and who is not in this particular segment of society.

We were having a decent and rational political discussion before Nick arrived. People with diverse opinions were getting along nicely with only a few snags here and there, to which we all owned up to within a day or two.

Nick came along and started proclaiming everyone "stupid" who didn't agree with him. . . and no one "in society" said a word. . .

But you have all commented on my barbaric response.

Perhaps you like to watch such events, but I am long past being anyone's gladiator. I prefer civil discussions as I have said numerous time in the past.

Nick, it is tempting to send a dog after you, believe me it is, but I confess, that

1.)It would be an appropriate use of funds, and

2.)You're not worth worrying about. We have enough trouble following up on "issues" that concern us.

When and if this thread resumes its previous timbre, I may be back to contribute my views. I really do enjoy threading with folks on some on these issues. I just refuse to take abuse without fighting back.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 05:24 pm:   

Neal, regarding the "cheerful robots" statement....The context was this. One of us, I forget who, was making the point that the media had essentailly been suppressing a public dialogue concerning the root causes of 9/11 and this guy, Mr.Liberal, said this was untrue, that an hour after the event he had been involved in a "deep critique" of the whole mess on a college campus. I made the point that most of the populace wasn't privy to said deep critique and relied, unfortunately, on the media for their information. At this point, the cheerful robots line was uttered. I feel he was simply playing to the audience, trying to give them what he thought they wanted to hear. Logic and solutions and et al were not involved in his presentation. I agree in general with your characterization of liberals as mistrusting the working class, of displaying an elitist stance toward them, and I can't argue that many of the extreme left have a paternalistic view of the working class. I will, however, state that those of an activist bias don't manifest this paternalistic attitude to a marked degree.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 09:30 pm:   

Sardonicus,

Actually, what Lucius was discussing was the "political reality" of debates, which is that civility is an abstraction. Further, I suggest you pay a bit more attention to the news: the horse trading, power plays, et al. are hardly behind the scenes.

Laura,

Actually, you didn't recant the smirkingchimp thing. You didn't say "I was wrong to disparage a source based on a c-ah fallacy," you just realized that the smirkingchimp was actually showing an LA Times article.

And of course, Jeff V, who co-moderates this board, did say a word against me.

Further, nobody suggested that you were on the rag. Read the post that uses that phrase veeeeeeeeery carefully. You'll see that Neal was making a foolish attempt to reason with you, by suggesting that saying men aren't worth listening when they've gone without sex is the roughtequivalent to the equally dubious tactic of dismissing whatever a woman says by suggesting that she is menstruating.

This failure to comprehend simple English sentences is why you're not taken very seriously, btw. You've created entirely different narratives, whole cloth, more than once on this thread.

You want a rational discussion? Then START OFF being rational. Blasting Jeremy with irrational fallacies means you DON'T actually want a rational discussion, it means you're a passive aggressive little twit.

And I have to say that I find it both hilarious and utterly predictable that you managed to flip from wistful disappointment about the tone of the thread to threats to call out jackbooted thugs to beat people up. That's centrists for ya.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 09:35 pm:   

Huh I haven't checked the place out since Sunday. I decided to turn my computer back on and heard some about it on other threads. I'd kind of burned out on politics by that day. The discussion was also starting to distract from real life concerns. I had work to get done before the holiday.

Anyway ellen that sort of answers your statement about Jeremy. By that time I was burned out and realizing this was too big a distraction. Now the holiday is about here so what the heck. Also I have had time to reflect. I can't promise to be very regular though as I still have other committments to family and class.

I know there's a problem with this. I did respond to some of the personal stuff after that. In hindsight I'm not sure that was a good idea, but I don't exactly regret it. To a degree I was even kind of prodded to by people off and online.

I sort of thought I made it clear my views on Bush in many areas. I can't promise to respond to all Jeremy's points, but here's some summaries. I disapprove of Bush on environmental policy and protectionism on steel. Also I feel like he turned a blind eye to human rights abuses in China against peaceful Muslim separatists. Also he is too soft on the Saudis. I approve of most everything else. Including issues like stem cell research and late term abortion. As well as the war in Afghanistan and to a lesser extent Iraq. I much prefer his handling of North Korea to the previous administration who essentially just paid them off without dealing with the underlying concern. The economic decline began before he entered due to dotcom burst, Asian economic flu, etc. However under him the numbers are coming back up and even going by Jeremy's adjustment unemployment is fairly standard for Westernized economies. Which is not to deny the suffering of many Americans. Further Americans are more willing to help people privately which counterbalances this some. The Economist I think did something about how per capita the average American, especially rich American, gives more than the average European or Japanese. As well as the fact many to most unemployed people are short term.

I believe in state's rights, but with limits. After all states rights was the banner that supported segregation or slavery too. So it's wise that states must obey federal law and the Constitution. To do otherwise would be akin to nullification. So legalization of say marijuana has to be done at a federal level. Do I approve of that? Begrudgingly yes. The alternative could lead to Balkanization. What do I personally feel on drug legalization? I'm opposed. Legalized drugs are linked to more death and murder than almost anything in our society. Why would we want more of them? Further I don't think the electorate wants it. It's like prostitution. Nevada has shown a state can legalize it if wanted, but no other state so wants.

Jeremy discussed the debt at length. However the US debt, though worrisome, is not comparable to Third World debt. As I believe Tim Akers mentioned the US has a much stronger economy and stable system. Our creditors are also in less of a position to make demands. This doesn't mean it's acceptable, but it does make it to a degree manageable. For it to lead to any kind of collapse would require something truly bizarre.

Maybe I should go on to discuss all my political beliefs. I supported and still support NAFTA. Mexican kids are doing better in many areas of education than us and now have a more democratic system. The situation for the Mayas and border peoples I'll agree is abhorrent, but it was so before NAFTA. At the very least the Mexican government and system bear some responsibility for this. Making ourselves feel guilty is fine, but it's also a form of narcissism I think. Blaming ourselves solely or mostly for their failure is a short step away from crediting ourselves when these nations succeed. Which renders their own efforts either way insignificant. I'm in least moderately Anti-Choice as I think mentioned. Since you want total honesty it's not so moderate. However I'd accept it being purely an unacceptable medical operation. For example even by "my body my choice" there is a problem I feel. Example my kidney is part of my body, but I can't have it removed and destroyed without medical cause. I'm opposed to the National Endowment for the Arts. I favor private funding for art and several other concerns. By private I don't mean corporate. I mean something like the patronage system that artists from Da Vinci to Picasso worked under. I accept the existence of PBS though as it's different than art. Ideally it's educational and therefore similar to say public schooling.

I'm not sure that's everything, but hopefully that's enough until say Sunday.

As for my opinion of the opposing side. The Democrats seem divided between unelectable extremists and pragmatists who have no beliefs at all. For the last 20-30 years I'd say they consistently fail at even their own goals. Carter, while well intentioned, screwed up the economy more than Bush could even dream. Clinton was little more than a ditto-head to whatever the force in Congress was at the moment. When it was GOP he essentially became a moderate Republican. Wellstone and Feingold are the only Democrats I felt had something like a combination of integrity and sanity. I may not have liked Wellstone, but I respected him. I think he believed in things and stood up for them.

More troublesome I feel to counteract what they lack they deflect. They invoke fear against the Right. That the Patriot Act is a step in the direction that Woodrow Wilson or FDR took. They seek to frighten the elderly by playing off on fears about Social Security and even using the specter of Herbert Hoover.

Not that the Republicans lack problems. Truth be told I still think of myself as independent. I vote against Republicans when they run unopposed or believe in things I despise. However I think they're ultimately less evil. And in least somewhat less hypocritical in the areas that count.

Final notes.

I appreciate the support of those who did so. With that said I think Neal Stanifer said something that is a concern for me. I don't think because I'm disabled I should be above criticism. A part of me was hesitant even to mention it. Truth be told I'm quite happy to be who I am as it's all I've ever known. I stated I felt privileged to live in a modern country and in this age. Although in truth there are many nations better with OI than this one. My chair comes from Sweden. Americans won't make chairs for people like me due to the fact the lawsuits would outweigh the profit. It's a rare condition. A good deal of the research on OI came from Australia. The UK and Denmark are also generally better.

Sorry I'm starting to ramble. As far as I'm concerned feel free to disagree with disabled people, including me. To do otherwise is patronizing. Further if a disabled person is being a jerk to you, act as you would with anyone else.

What I disliked was the personal hostilty and the lopsidedness. As for "passive aggressive" I'd admit I'd prefer that to "aggressive-aggressive." I don't really want to be liked, but I don't care to be hated either.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 09:52 pm:   

As for "passive aggressive" I'd admit I'd prefer that to "aggressive-aggressive." I don't really want to be liked, but I don't care to be hated either.


Then you should probably be aggressive-aggressive, which is at least straightforward.

Passive-aggressiveness is a callow manipulation, and people who see through it often have their hate switches flipped.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 10:06 pm:   

I doubt I'm either. I also doubt you're a psychologist. However with people who wish to needle or provoke me I can ignore them or walk away. The people who truly wish aggression or malice are worse. It's a matter of taste I guess.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 12:07 am:   

So, Thomas, are you saying the Patriot Act is going in the right direction?

I was not clear if this is what you actually meant.

I hope not.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 06:09 am:   

" I supported and still support NAFTA. Mexican kids are doing better in many areas of education than us and now have a more democratic system. The situation for the Mayas and border peoples I'll agree is abhorrent, but it was so before NAFTA. At the very least the Mexican government and system bear some responsibility for this. Making ourselves feel guilty is fine, but it's also a form of narcissism I think. Blaming ourselves solely or mostly for their failure is a short step away from crediting ourselves when these nations succeed. Which renders their own efforts either way insignificant."

LOL!

On what do you base this "opinion?" Have you ever been to Mexico? Have you ever spoken to a Mexican? Have you seen Juarez since NAFTA was initiated? Where in the hell do you get the information that funds your declarations, the Rush Limbaugh Heritage Foundation?

"Legalized drugs are linked to more death and murder than almost anything in our society. "

But illegal drugs, there's none of that with them, huh?

I understand how it is to be prodded on and off line to respond, Thomas, because that's what brought me onto this thread, people saying you ought check a couple of these posters out, they'll make your saliva get all thick and ropy.
So I did. Politics are personal with me and when people start yacking on shit they apparently have only superficial knowledge about, stuff that has been a matter of personal involvement for me, it pisses me off, because the bland massed weight of such uninformed opinions is what gums up the works and makes it difficult to effect change. All I'm gonna say at this juncture is that anyone who makes the statement which I quote at the top of this post needs to take a closer look at Latin American history. I've seen democracy in action in Mexico. I've seen the cars pull into the villages and the candidates step out, and I've listened as the chief of police introduced the voters to the men they were going to vote for...or else there might be problems. I've seen firsthand the workings of the contra war, the unpleasantness in El Salvador, and I have made a long study of American involvement in--in particular--Central American. Those countries have been and continue to be our Balkans. Do you know who Lee Christmas was? Machine Gun Guy Molony? Have you studied the Banana War? The Soccer War? How much do you know about FDR's involvement with Nicaragua's original Somoza? What do you know about Boca del Toro? El Mixote? El Pulpo? What do you know about the current ecomomic situation on the Mosquito Coast? How do you feel the oil lease situation serves the Miskitia and the Peche? And you need to take a real hard look at NAFTA, you need to dip your fingers into its blood, before you tell me what a wonderful thing it is. I don't expect you will exert yourself in this direction. I have the sense you rely on more statistical truths, on official histories. That's too bad, if so.

Of course the governments of these countries are responsible for the ills within their borders, but who the hell do you think props those governments up? Doesn't what you call "the Panama deal" make that plain? To countenance the actions of our government in Central America in terms of our guilt and narcisissim is just so yuppie of you. Why would you concern yourself with this element of the problem, with assigning blame, and give that primacy over the effects of our actions in that region? It;s as if apportioning blame is your chief concern. That's a very priviledged attitude. Kind of a Pontius Pilate thing. And a very Repiblican thing -- It was them mainly, not us. Well, to a great extent, it is us. It's them and us. And we should concern ourselves with our portion of the responsibility, however large you want to paint it.

Okay, I;m gone. Prattle on.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 06:34 am:   

FYI, here's an incomplete history of US interventions in CA....There's lots more, but this is somewhat indicative of our involvement.

1846  The U.S., fulfilling the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, goes to war with Mexico and ends up with a third of Mexico's territory. 
1850, 1853, 1854, 1857 U.S. interventions in Nicaragua.
1855  Tennessee adventurer William Walker and his mercenaries take over Nicaragua, institute forced labor, and legalize slavery. "Los yankis... have burst their way like a fertilizing torrent through the barriers of barbarism." --N.Y. Daily News-- He's ousted two years later by a Central American coalition largely inspired by Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose trade Walker was infringing. "The enemies of American civilization-- for such are the enemies of slavery-- seem to be more on the alert than its friends." --William Walker 
1856 First of five U.S. interventions in Panama to protect the Atlantic-Pacific railroad from Panamanian nationalists. 
1898 U.S. declares war on Spain, blaming it for destruction of the Maine. (In 1976, a U.S. Navy commission will conclude that the explosion was probably an accident.) The war enables the U.S. to occupy Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.
1903  The Platt Amendment inserted into the Cuban constitution grants the U.S. the right to intervene when it sees fit. 
1903 When negotiations with Colombia break down, the U.S. sends ten warships to back a rebellion in Panama in order to acquire the land for the Panama Canal. The Frenchman Philippe Bunau-Varilla negotiates the Canal Treaty and writes Panama's constitution. 
1904 U.S. sends customs agents to take over finances of the Dominican Republic to assure payment of its external debt. 
1905 U.S. Marines help Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz crush a strike in Sonora.
1905 U.S. troops land in Honduras for the first of 5 times in next 20 years. 
1906 Marines occupy Cuba for two years in order to prevent a civil war. 
1907 Marines intervene in Honduras to settle a war with Nicaragua.
1908 U.S. troops intervene in Panama for first of 4 times in next decade. 
1909 Liberal President José Santos Zelaya of Nicaragua proposes that American mining and banana companies pay taxes; he has also appropriated church lands and legalized divorce, done business with European firms, and executed two Americans for participating in a rebellion. Forced to resign through U.S. pressure. The new president, Adolfo Díaz, is the former treasurer of an American mining company. 
1910 U.S. Marines occupy Nicaragua to help support the Díaz regime. 
1911 The Liberal regime of Miguel Dávila in Honduras has irked the State Department by being too friendly with Zelaya and by getting into debt with Britain. He is overthrown by former president Manuel Bonilla, aided by American banana tycoon Sam Zemurray and American mercenary Lee Christmas, who becomes commander-in-chief of the Honduran army. 
1912 U.S. Marines intervene in Cuba to put down a rebellion of sugar workers. 
1912 Nicaragua occupied again by the U.S., to shore up the inept Díaz government. An election is called to resolve the crisis: there are 4000 eligible voters, and one candidate, Díaz. The U.S. maintains troops and advisors in the country until 1925. 
1914 U.S. bombs and then occupies Vera Cruz, in a conflict arising out of a dispute with Mexico's new government. President Victoriano Huerta resigns.
1915 U.S. Marines occupy Haiti to restore order, and establish a protectorate which lasts till 1934. The president of Haiti is barred from the U.S. Officers' Club in Port-au-Prince, because he is black. "Think of it-- niggers speaking French!" --secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, briefed on the Haitian situation.
1916 Marines occupy the Dominican Republic, staying till 1924.
1916 Pancho Villa, in the sole act of Latin American aggression against the U.S, raids the city of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 17 Americans. "Am sure Villa's attacks are made in Germany." --James Gerard, U.S. ambassador to Berlin.
1917 U.S. troops enter Mexico to pursue Pancho Villa. They can't catch him. 
1917 Marines intervene again in Cuba, to guarantee sugar exports during World War I. 
1918 U.S. Marines occupy Panamanian province of Chiriqui for two years to maintain public order. 

1921 President Coolidge strongly suggests the overthrow of Guatemalan President Carlos Herrera, in the interests of United Fruit. The Guatemalans comply. 
1925 U.S. Army troops occupy Panama City to break a rent strike and keep order.
1926 Marines, out of Nicaragua for less than a year, occupy the country again, to settle a volatile political situation. Secretary of State Kellogg describes a "Nicaraguan - Mexican - Soviet" conspiracy to inspire a "Mexican - Bolshevist hegemony" within striking distance of the Canal. "That intervention is not now, never was, and never will be a set policy of the United States is one of the most important facts President-elect Hoover has made clear." --NYT, 1928 
1929 U.S. establishes a military academy in Nicaragua to train a National Guard as the country's army. Similar forces are trained in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. "There is no room for any outside influence other than ours in this region. We could not tolerate such a thing without incurring grave risks... Until now Central America has always understood that governments which we recognize and support stay in power, while those which we do not recognize and support fall. Nicaragua has become a test case. It is difficult to see how we can afford to be defeated." --Undersecretary of State Robert Olds 
1930 Rafael Leonidas Trujillo emerges from the U.S.-trained National Guard to become dictator of the Dominican Republic. 
1932 The U.S. rushes warships to El Salvador in response to a communist-led uprising. President Martínez, however, prefers to put down the rebellion with his own forces, killing over 8000 people (the rebels had killed about 100). 
1933 President Roosevelt announces the Good Neighbor policy.
1933 Marines finally leave Nicaragua, unable to suppress the guerrilla warfare of General Augusto César Sandino. Anastasio Somoza García becomes the first Nicaraguan commander of the National Guard. "The Nicaraguans are better fighters than the Haitians, being of Indian blood, and as warriors similar to the aborigines who resisted the advance of civilization in this country." --NYT correspondent Harold Denny 
1933 Roosevelt sends warships to Cuba to intimidate Gerardo Machado y Morales, who is massacring the people to put down nationwide strikes and riots. Machado resigns. The first provisional government lasts only 17 days; the second Roosevelt finds too left-wing and refuses to recognize. A pro-Machado counter-coup is put down by Fulgencio Batista, who with Roosevelt's blessing becomes Cuba's new strongman. 
1934 Platt Amendment repealed. 
1934 Sandino assassinated by agents of Somoza, with U.S. approval. Somoza assumes the presidency of Nicaragua two years later. To block his ascent, Secretary of State Cordell Hull explains, would be to intervene in the internal affairs of Nicaragua. 
1936 U.S. relinquishes rights to unilateral intervention in Panama. 
1941 Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia deposes Panamanian president Arias in a military coup-- first clearing it with the U.S. Ambassador. It was "a great relief to us, because Arias had been very troublesome and very pro-Nazi." --Secretary of War Henry Stimson .
1943 The editor of the Honduran opposition paper El Cronista is summoned to the U.S. embassy and told that criticism of the dictator Tiburcio Carías Andino is damaging to the war effort. Shortly afterward, the paper is shut down by the government. 
1944 The dictator Maximiliano Hernández Martínez of El Salvador is ousted by a revolution; the interim government is overthrown five months later by the dictator's former chief of police. The U.S.'s immediate recognition of the new dictator does much to tarnish Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy in the eyes of Latin Americans. 
1946 U.S. Army School of the Americas opens in Panama as a hemisphere-wide military academy. Its linchpin is the doctrine of National Security, by which the chief threat to a nation is internal subversion; this will be the guiding principle behind dictatorships in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Central America, and elsewhere. 
1948 José Figueres Ferrer wins a short civil war to become President of Costa Rica. Figueres is supported by the U.S., which has informed San José that its forces in the Panama Canal are ready to come to the capital to end "communist control" of Costa Rica. 
1954 Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, elected president of Guatemala, introduces land reform and seizes some idle lands of United Fruit-- proposing to pay for them the value United Fruit claimed on its tax returns. The CIA organizes a small force to overthrow him and begins training it in Honduras. When Arbenz naively asks for U.S. military help to meet this threat, he is refused; when he buys arms from Czechoslovakia it only proves he's a Red. Guatemala is "openly and diligently toiling to create a Communist state in Central America... only two hours' bombing time from the Panama Canal." --Life-- The CIA broadcasts reports detailing the imaginary advance of the "rebel army," and provides planes to strafe the capital. The army refuses to defend Arbenz, who resigns. The U.S.'s hand-picked dictator, Carlos Castillo Armas, outlaws political parties, reduces the franchise, and establishes the death penalty for strikers, as well as undoing Arbenz's land reform. Over 100,000 citizens are killed in the next 30 years of military rule. "This is the first instance in history where a Communist government has been replaced by a free one." --Richard Nixon 
1957 Eisenhower establishes Office of Public Safety to train Latin American police forces. 
959 Fidel Castro takes power in Cuba. Several months earlier he had undertaken a triumphal tour through the U.S., which included a CIA briefing on the Red menace. "Castro's continued tawdry little melodrama of invasion." --Time, of Castro's warnings of an imminent U.S. invasion.
1960 Eisenhower authorizes covert actions to get rid of Castro. Among other things, the CIA tries assassinating him with exploding cigars and poisoned milkshakes. Other covert actions against Cuba include burning sugar fields, blowing up boats in Cuban harbors, and sabotaging industrial equipment. 
1960 The Canal Zone becomes the focus of U.S. counter  insurgency training. 
1960 A new junta in El Salvador promises free elections; Eisenhower, fearing leftist tendencies, withholds recognition. A more attractive right-wing counter-coup comes along in three months. "Governments of the civil-military type of El Salvador are the most effective in containing communist penetration in Latin America." --John F. Kennedy, after the coup. 
1960 Guatemalan officers attempt to overthrow the regime of Presidente Fuentes; Eisenhower stations warships and 2000 Marines offshore while Fuentes puts down the revolt. [Another source says that the U.S. provided air support for Fuentes.] 
1960s U.S. Green Berets train Guatemalan army in counter insurgency techniques. Guatemalan efforts against its insurgents include aerial bombing, scorched-earth assaults on towns suspected of aiding the rebels, and death squads, which killed 20,000 people between 1966 and 1976. U.S. Army Col. John Webber claims that it was at his instigation that "the technique of counter-terror had been implemented by the army." "If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetary in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so." --President Carlos Arana Osorio. 
1961 U.S. organizes force of 1400 anti-Castro Cubans, ships it to the Bahía de los Cochinos. Castro's army routs it. 
1961 CIA-backed coup overthrows elected Pres. J. M. Velasco Ibarra of Ecuador, who has been too friendly with Cuba.
1962 CIA engages in campaign in Brazil to keep João Goulart from achieving control of Congress. 
1963 CIA-backed coup overthrows elected social democrat Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic. 
1963 A far-right-wing coup in Guatemala, apparently U.S.-supported, forestalls elections in which "extreme leftist" Juan José Arévalo was favored to win. "It is difficult to develop stable and democratic government [in Guatemala], because so many of the nation's Indians are illiterate and superstitious." --School textbook, 1964 
1964 João Goulart of Brazil proposes agrarian reform, nationalization of oil. Ousted by U.S.-supported military coup. 
1964 The free market in Nicaragua: The Somoza family controls "about one-tenth of the cultivable land in Nicaragua, and just about everything else worth owning, the country's only airline, one television station, a newspaper, a cement plant, textile mill, several sugar refineries, half-a-dozen breweries and distilleries, and a Mercedes-Benz agency." --Life World Library 
1965 A coup in the Dominican Republic attempts to restore Bosch's government. The U.S. invades and occupies the country to stop this "Communist rebellion," with the help of the dictators of Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras, and Nicaragua. 
"Representative democracy cannot work in a country such as the Dominican Republic," Bosch declares later. Now why would he say that? 
1966 U.S. sends arms, advisors, and Green Berets to Guatemala to implement a counter insurgency campaign. 
"To eliminate a few hundred guerrillas, the government killed perhaps 10,000 Guatemalan peasants." --State Dept. report on the program.
1967 A team of Green Berets is sent to Bolivia to help find and assassinate Che Guevara. 
1968 Gen. José Alberto Medrano, who is on the payroll of the CIA, organizes the ORDEN paramilitary force, considered the precursor of El Salvador's death squads. 
1970 In this year (just as an example), U.S. investments in Latin America earn $1.3 billion; while new investments total $302 million. 
1970 Salvador Allende Gossens elected in Chile. Suspends foreign loans, nationalizes foreign companies. For the phone system, pays ITT the company's minimized valuation for tax purposes. The CIA provides covert financial support for Allende's opponents, both during and after his election.
1972 U.S. stands by as military suspends an election in El Salvador in which centrist José Napoleón Duarte was favored to win. (Compare with the emphasis placed on the 1982 elections.) 
1973 U.S.-supported military coup kills Allende and brings Augusto Pinochet Ugarte to power. Pinochet imprisons well over a hundred thousand Chileans (torture and rape are the usual methods of interrogation), terminates civil liberties, abolishes unions, extends the work week to 48 hours, and reverses Allende's land reforms. 
1973 Military takes power in Uruguay, supported by U.S. The subsequent repression reportedly features the world's highest percentage of the population imprisoned for political reasons.
1974 Office of Public Safety is abolished when it is revealed that police are being taught torture techniques. 
1976 Election of Jimmy Carter leads to a new emphasis on human rights in Central America. Carter cuts off aid to the Guatemalan military (or tries to; some slips through) and reduces aid to El Salvador. 
1979 Ratification of the Panama Canal treaty which is to return the Canal to Panama by 1999. "Once again, Uncle Sam put his tail between his legs and crept away rather than face trouble." --Ronald Reagan.
1980 A right-wing junta takes over in El Salvador. U.S. begins massively supporting El Salvador, assisting the military in its fight against FMLN guerrillas. Death squads proliferate; Archbishop Romero is assassinated by right-wing terrorists; 35,000 civilians are killed in 1978-81. The rape and murder of four U.S. churchwomen results in the suspension of U.S. military aid for one month. The U.S. demands that the junta undertake land reform. Within 3 years, however, the reform program is halted by the oligarchy. "The Soviet Union underlies all the unrest that is going on." --Ronald Reagan 
1980 U.S., seeking a stable base for its actions in El Salvador and Nicaragua, tells the Honduran military to clean up its act and hold elections. The U.S. starts pouring in $100 million of aid a year and basing the contras on Honduran territory. 
Death squads are also active in Honduras, and the contras tend to act as a state within a state.
1981 The CIA steps in to organize the contras in Nicaragua, who started the previous year as a group of 60 ex-National Guardsmen; by 1985 there are about 12,000 of them. 46 of the 48 top military leaders are ex-Guardsmen. The U.S. also sets up an economic embargo of Nicaragua and pressures the IMF and the World Bank to limit or halt loans to Nicaragua. 
1981 Gen. Torrijos of Panama is killed in a plane crash. There is a suspicion of CIA involvement, due to Torrijos' nationalism and friendly relations with Cuba. 
1982 A coup brings Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt to power in Guatemala, and gives the Reagan administration the opportunity to increase military aid. Ríos Montt's evangelical beliefs do not prevent him from accelerating the counter insurgency campaign. 
1983 Another coup in Guatemala replaces Ríos Montt. The new President, Oscar Mejía Víctores, was trained by the U.S. and seems to have cleared his coup beforehand with U.S. authorities.
1983 U.S. troops take over tiny Granada. Rather oddly, it intervenes shortly after a coup has overthrown the previous, socialist leader. One of the justifications for the action is the building of a new airport with Cuban help, which Granada claimed was for tourism and Reagan argued was for Soviet use. Later the U.S. announces plans to finish the airport... to develop tourism. 
1983 Boland Amendment prohibits CIA and Defense Dept. from spending money to overthrow the government of Nicaragua-- a law the Reagan administration cheerfully violates. 
1984 CIA mines three Nicaraguan harbors. Nicaragua takes this action to the World Court, which brings an $18 billion judgment against the U.S. The U.S. refuses to recognize the Court's jurisdiction in the case. 
1984 U.S. spends $10 million to orchestrate elections in El Salvador-- something of a farce, since left-wing parties are under heavy repression, and the military has already declared that it will not answer to the elected president. 
1989 U.S. invades Panama to dislodge CIA boy gone wrong Manuel Noriega, an event which marks the evolution of the U.S.'s favorite excuse from Communism to drugs. 
1996 The U.S. battles global Communism by extending most-favored-nation trading status for China, and tightening the trade embargo on Castro's Cuba.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 06:59 am:   

My take on all these free trade things is they are simply a way to exploit workers from other countries—so that First World corporations can get cheaper labour.

The thing that actually I understand least about your ideas Thomas, and the ideas of many people, is this thing about "economics". You say that Bush has done better than Carter, but I don’t think so at all. On what level? Fewer jobs lost? Smaller debt? No. So what?

But as I was saying. . . . This idea that “economics” is actually a good reason for supporting a person or a cause or a country, seems awful. The US might have a strong “economy” (compared to Brazil), but who gets the money? There is no country in Europe with as many homeless as the US. Who profits from Bush’s economic policies? Certainly not the worker—who might get a lousy couple of hundred dollars in tax returns in place of having their social institutions endangered and the rights of the worker placed in shackles. . . . So, for me, the whole discourse on economics rings false—because it is a sort of heartless fantasy where truth and justice are bartered off for a bunch of figures (GDP etc.) which hardly one person in one-hundred thousand even understand.

So, your two reasons for supporting Bush were, if I remember correctly, economics, and because of the AIDS money to Africa. I think in both cases the he has proved himself to be a no good fellow (see my previous comment about African AIDS funds). . . . But maybe your reasons are more along emotional lines?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 09:10 am:   

Nick Mamatus aid:
Sardonicus,

Actually, what Lucius was discussing was the "political reality" of debates, which is that civility is an abstraction. Further, I suggest you pay a bit more attention to the news: the horse trading, power plays, et al. are hardly behind the scenes.
Civility is more than just an "abstraction", it's an ideal. And the particular aspect of civility pertaining to keeping personalities out of debates in deliberative assemblies goes back several centuries at least. The fallacy of argument involved was named considerably before that.

And I meant it when I said that it was fine with me if you wanted to say that public debate was irrelevant to the decision-making process, because I do follow the news. I would ask, for example, just how much public debate there really was about the USA PATRIOT Act before it was rubberstamped^W passed by Congress. Or, for the expansion of its powers recently slipped into a spending bill: Congress Expands FBI Spying Power

If you want to say it's "okay" to use insults as a first resort, then you had better not object when Team Bush begins the campaign with an ad dealing with critics of the war in Iraq by, in effect, branding them all as unpatriotic. Heck, it's a lot easier than dealing with the merits of issues.

But if you want to deal with the nuts and bolts of organizing an election, or taking a case to court, calling your opponents a bunch of doodyheads won't get you very far along the way.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 09:36 am:   

Laura MK: "I indulge in the same sort of nasty attacks that he has engaged in to undermine people's arguments and I am deemed, "on the rag" by one of my most civil acqaintances in the ether."

If you're referring to my comment, it was a cautionary analogy, not an accusation. I thought that was pretty clear from context. "You just need to get laid" is just as sexist, and for just the same reasons, as "What is it, your time of the month or something?" Take Nick to task on his vituperative vocabulary, or his constant resort to schoolboyish exposure of logical fallacies while introducing red herrings, or his eagerness to jack up the rhetorical heat at the drop of an ad hominem. But don't suggest that sex will make a man more rational. It doesn't really work that way, and we both know it.

Lucius: "I will, however, state that those of an activist bias don't manifest this paternalistic attitude to a marked degree."

You're preaching to the choir, Lucius. I'm not as activist as I was in my undergraduate years, but I'm still an internationalist socialist (though not without a healthy admixture of reactionary American artisan republicanism).

And thanks for the context. I thought as much. I wonder how many of those "cheerful robots" your panel-partner has met and shaken hands with. I've worked before with university journalism instructors and had long, heated arguments about spin in the media. For some reason -- my own thick-headedness or my own recurrent faith in human reason -- I am always appalled afresh by the confessions I can draw out of self-described liberals who honestly believe that the common man is too stupid or uneducated to make rational choices for himself, and this justifies spinning the news to engineer consent. And these are the good-hearted friends of the working class responsible for providing us with unbiased coverage of national and world events? Bullshit. They're just as arrogant and manipulative as their Fox News compeers.

Thomas R: "With that said I think Neal Stanifer said something that is a concern for me. I don't think because I'm disabled I should be above criticism."With that said I think Neal Stanifer said something that is a concern for me. I don't think because I'm disabled I should be above criticism."

Never said you did. I was responding to SFM's hallmark-card sentimentality, his "leave-the-little-guy-alone-or-I'll-kick-your-ass" bullshit, not your own remarks.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 09:47 am:   

That's quite a list, Lucius. It brought to mind a couple of remarks associated with a couple of the items on it.
"It may be necessary to kill half of the Filipinos in order that the remaining half of the population may be advanced to a higher plane of life than their present semi-barbarous state affords."
-- General William Shafter, 1900
And folks in the '60's and '70's quailed about having to destroy a village in order to save it?

"Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."
-- FDR, ca. 1933
Of course, in 1933 FDR did have other bad guys to worry about -- like Hitler and Stalin. And the economy wasn't doing too well at the time, either...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 10:52 am:   

Civility is more than just an "abstraction", it's an ideal. And the particular aspect of civility pertaining to keeping personalities out of debates in deliberative assemblies goes back several centuries at least. The fallacy of argument involved was named considerably before that.

You keep assuming that deliberative assemblies actually deliberate, or indeed, are even actually capable of deliberation. I think there is far more predictive and explanatory power in looking at what material interests assemblies represent (some represent more than one; in the US generally only one, with slight variations for regional differences, is represented) and what the logic of the era, political economy, and exogenous challenges to a system dictate.

An ideal isn't something that reality approaches asymptotically depending on how well or how poorly folks respond to schoolmarm lectures by idealists, an ideal is an imaginary relationship with the real.

Neal: People were screeching on this thread, and on this topic, looooooong before I showed up. And which red herrings have I introduced? Like I said before, "don't start none, won't be none." There's a little rule in martial arts: it is generally a bad idea to pick or start physical fights. Not just because it is unethical to assault another, not just because it is legally problematic, but because one has no idea what the person they choose to punch might be capable of in response. It's worth keeping in mind on the rhetorical level as well.

Happy Genocide Day, all!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 11:04 am:   

Thomas: "After all states rights was the banner that supported segregation or slavery too."

Slavery and segregation didn't need the doctrine of states' rights; apathy was enough. The North was generally fine with slavery -- it was the South's "peculiar institution," after all, which permitted the North to feel so superior -- until the Compromise and the Fugitive Slave Act forced northern states and their citizens to enforce the laws of slave-owning states. This was inconvenient and insulting, in part because it violated the integrity of northern states. It was also the first time people in northern states had been forced to make a real moral decision. Prior to that time, abolitionist sentiment outside the true activist communities (like the Quakers) was just that -- sentiment. It effected no change because it was politely conducted.

In one way, then, the American Civil War was about the preservation of northern states' rights at the same time it was a challenge to southern states' rights.

And as for segregation, I suggest you read some of the slave narratives of the Jackson years. The repeated refrain is that escaped slaves found the North an inhospitable place where they were judged on the basis of their skin color. The difference between North and South is often portrayed as a choice between evils where the North is the lesser of the two. The North may not have had slavery, but it had plenty of segregation. The famililar separation of services and conveniences for blacks and whites was already well-established. The workers' story papers and pamphlets published in the North were often openly resentful of abolitionists and blacks, as many white workers felt the public's concern with the slavery issue was distracting from the plight of white men and women struggling with the new forms of capitalism in the burgeoning cities of the North.

And as we all know, segregation did not die away with the end of the Civil War.

Just a reality check. Slavery and segregation were bad, but they were not coterminous with the doctrine of states' rights.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 12:20 pm:   

Dr. S, yeah, that Somoza quote's one I use a lot when I give presentations....

Of course I'm sure you realize that the list of interventions I made is the tip of the iceberg. That's just the ones made a big noise. Intervention is constant and often comes disguised as corporate venture. For instance, in order to initiate the contra war, Reagan had Lytton Industries construct a base near the town of Trujillo in Honduras where certain of the contras were "trained." Lytton built the base in 10 days in return for certain government contracts. The training done there involved the kidnapping of teenagers, many of them El Salvadorians, and their internment. After a term in tiger cages to mold their wills, they were trained as snipers and sent into Nicaragua to shoot teachers and social workers in the villages, attempting to disrupt the agrarian infrastructure. This is not conjecture on my part. I have testimong, oral and written, from US soldiers who participated in these activities, and quite a bit of paper evidence as well. Spook activity is omnipresent in Honduras, and is especially high now that massive oil deposits have been discovered on the Mosquito Coast.

Going further back, we have to look to the activities of United Fruit, which essentially controlled Central America for the better part of the 20th Century. They even fought a war back in the 20s, the Banana War, that involved a great deal of CA, against another fruit company, Standard Fruit, in order to try to perserve their hegemony. The history of Central America is basically the history of American intervention.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 01:51 pm:   

Well, Lucius, I hadn't heard as many details of the Reagan-era escapades in Nicaragua as you did, though I did hear some "interesting" stories from a guy who flew military helicopters that "covered" some of those escapades, or helped get the operatives out when things went wrong and they wound up in a firefight.

I actually remember more about the seemingly endless series of "military exercises" staged in neighboring Honduras, named Big Pine 6 through 47 (or whatever the successive integers actually were). One of the results of this series of "exercises" was a revolt by various State governors, who, along with their constituents, did not support Administration policy in Central America. They refused to sent their National Guard troops for the Big Pine exercises. Eventually the Supreme Court ruled they had to, because these military exercises qualified as using the Guard "in service of the United States". I found this state of affairs rather ironic, since Reagan was so big on talking the talk of "States' Rights".
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 05:33 pm:   

Brendan:You say that Bush has done better than Carter, but I don’t think so at all. On what level? Fewer jobs lost? Smaller debt?

Thomas: Inflation, unemployment, quality of life, etc. You can argue Clinton was better I guess, but to argue Carter was better is more difficult. Maybe he was a better person, even then I'm not sure, but better President on the economy? I don't think so.

So, your two reasons for supporting Bush were, if I remember correctly, economics, and because of the AIDS money to Africa. I think in both cases the he has proved himself to be a no good fellow (see my previous comment about African AIDS funds). . . . But maybe your reasons are more along emotional lines?

TR: Your problem on the AIDS money was related to the abortion issue. As I feel opposite there that has little affect on me. Your reasons on the economy I think are simply wrong. The life of average people is improving as is their confidence regarding the economy.

After Ellen asked I listed other reasons I prefer Bush to his opponents. Some of it is emotional, but some of your opposition is also emotional. We're living in a polarized time and ultimately we're still people. I don't see how we can divorce ourselves from emotion entirely.

Neal:Never said you did. I was responding to SFM's hallmark-card sentimentality, his "leave-the-little-guy-alone-or-I'll-kick-your-ass" bullshit, not your own remarks.

TR: He's a friend from another board. When he told me what he had done I was not entirely happy. I think he meant well, but I feared he'd just make it worse for me than ever. I really didn't want people keeping that whole ugliness alive.

Just a reality check. Slavery and segregation were bad, but they were not coterminous with the doctrine of states' rights.

TR: True. What you say about the North is also true. However states did use "states right" to justify official segregation. Federal law and the Constitution as mentioned does have to be above the states to keep abuses or decentralizing forces at bay. Switzerland has maintained a system with strong canton rights for centuries, but not without some cost. Some cantons did not allow women to vote until well after they could on a national level. A federal system like ours allows for a good deal of local autonomy, which is good, but states rights need some limits as you likely would agree.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 11:57 pm:   

Thomas: Unemployment? Most certainly more jobs have been lost under Bush than Carter, which means that in this category his performance is worse.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 11:58 pm:   

As to the AIDS issue, then I take it that you think it is cool that many people are without health care in Africa because of the terms the AIDS money was given on? You did say you felt the opposite.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 12:53 am:   

Okay I'll admit when I'm wrong. Even though it means risking being a backpedaller or what have you. It looks like unemployment didn't go up under Carter the way I thought. It was certainly much higher than now, but when he came in it was high. Sorry about that. Overall though unemployment was still worse than now, inflation was higher, quality of life worsened, etc.

As for AIDS it sounded like funding was being withheld to non-governmental agencies that performed abortions. First as they are non-governmental I don't see why they can't continue with non-governmental funding. If the Left, in general not referring to anyone present, really cared about this as much as they claim I think they'd try to pick up the slack. Second these groups apparently value their stance on abortion above the other services they can provide. Third I'm unconvinced this would result in a net loss for Africa at all. Even you seem to say "it may do as much harm as good." So we should avoid helping more people because some communities may be made worse off? Fourth I'm Anti-Choice.

Which oddly leads to why I'm not totally unsympathetic. If a Catholic medical organization was told they'd only receive funding if they allowed abortions, on principle they'd have to drop funding. Some of these organizations you cite I suspect on principle can't drop the abortion element of themselves. So it's the same kind of scenario. However in practice people who care about either side should get involved in such cases. Through money and involvement of those who care.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 03:15 am:   

Thomas: Funding is withheld from any organisation that gives so much as advice on abortions—family planning. In other words, many of these places do not perform abortions, but simply offer counselling. And though you are anti-choice, do you really think it a just thing to use this position as leverage when battling such an awful disease as AIDS? Would it not be better to fight that battle separately? Is it right that communities where help is needed are denied this help because of this issue? Does the fact that someone holds a different point of view from you mean that they should suffer needlessly?. . . For instance, if I knew there was a community where abortion was considered abhorrent, but there was an epidemic of syphilis, I would not tell them that unless they allowed abortions they could not receive funding—because such a standpoint would be immoral.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 08:50 am:   

Nick Mamatus said:
I think there is far more predictive and explanatory power in looking at what material interests assemblies represent (some represent more than one; in the US generally only one, with slight variations for regional differences, is represented) and what the logic of the era, political economy, and exogenous challenges to a system dictate.
If there were "only one" material interest being represented, and it were determinative, there wouldn't be much basis for "horse-trading", or much to grandstand over, would there? Never mind.

But consider this. Members of the House and Senate from time to time disagree completely on an issue -- this did and still does happen. But to a much greater extent in times past than now, when the legislative fight was over, these folks, both sides, could and would still get together and have drinks or dinner together. They could still be friends. And this sort of thing hardly happens at all any more. My take on it is, they've let political fights get too personal. It makes it more like unrestricted warfare than a mere professional rivalry.

How unrestricted? Well, that 40-hour publicity stunt recently staged in the US Senate gives a window on this. The Democrats have several of Bush's judicial nominees blocked. They're using the filibuster to prevent a floor vote. The Republicans can't muster the 60 votes (three-fifths) required for "cloture" (i.e. to end floor debate and bring the question to a vote). And so, for sure, they also cannot muster the 67 votes (more than two-thirds) required to suspend or change the Rules of the Senate. So one plan the Republicans have devised is for Vice-President Cheney, as President of the Senate, to override the Senate Parliamentarian, and rule from the Chair that judicial nominees simply can't be filibustered. Because this would, in effect, toss the Rules of the Senate into the wastebasket, this plan is called "the nuclear option". Perhaps you don't think it would change much if this were done. But I do.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 11:56 am:   

If there were "only one" material interest being represented, and it were determinative, there wouldn't be much basis for "horse-trading", or much to grandstand over, would there?

Of course there would be. There are regional variations in interest (as I mentioned), and differences in perceived interest on the finer points, that mostly just cause trouble for the administrators of the state in the short-term. It's worth noting that pure partisan voting and bickering has increased even while the differences between the two major parties have shrunk thanks to party dealignment.

Grandstanding is a slightly different issue: while maintaining a single interest, American politics has to put on a show of a responsive, democratic, multi-interest government. Grandstanding is a circus performance.

And no, I don't think it would change all that much. Justices are no more immune to the ebb and flow of politics as anyone else is. Justices that were put into place in order to make decisions conservatives like have ended up being fairly liberal. The reverse is also true.

As far as the doomsday scenario that the rules may be thrown at the window, it doesn't take long and it doesn't take much to realize that the rules have always been chickenwire and papier mache. What, for example, does the House-Senate conference committee do? It's supposed to reconcile differences between House and Senate version of bills.

Well, it recently "reconciled" a bill that would have eased travel restrictions to Cuba -- which was passed by majorities in both houses -- by excising the Cuba clause entirely. House votes to ease restrictions. Senate votes to ease restrictions. A single conference eliminates the result of both votes entirely.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

richard
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 01:24 pm:   

Thomas - "Fourth I'm Anti-Choice."

Well, no surprises there, but still it is refreshing to see you take an unequivocal totalitarian/colonial stance for once. I guess since they're only women, their rights to self determination aren't worth a damn and you think you can safely come out and say so. You were a little more circumspect with Central America and Afghanistan, hiding behind bogus statements about the war on drugs and liberation from the Taliban. But *women*, hell, who gives a shit about them - colonise their bodies and slap 'em down if they rebel.

Earlier, I bowed out of this discussion because I thought Lucius had got too medieval on your ass - now I see he was right on the money. You might as well sign up for your swastika right now, pal. Either that or book your one way passage on a time machine back to the Victorian era you so obviously belong in, where you can enjoy the conditions of crushing poverty and suffering that pre-civilisational attitudes to women inevitably engender. No wonder you're going to vote Bush.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 02:54 pm:   

I expected overreaction to that. As it wasn't relevant to the conversation at first I felt no need to mention it. Than I realized I had little to lose, and it had become relevant, so decided to mention it.

Anyway you're opinion on people with such views is misinformed. In present day Germany abortion is banned or severely limited after the third month. Insurance companies will often refuse to cover it. Yet they have the 11th highest rate of women in legislature. They are also very secularist. Ireland has had two female leaders and is only 1% below us in women in the legislative branch. They're even more restricted on abortion than Germany.

It's not necessarily some backward religious thing. If Bush is withholding funding to groups that mention any forms of birth control or condoms I wouldn't agree with that. I'd also find it perplexing as he's not of a religion that has any views on that. I'm Catholic, but I know for non-Catholics it's irrelevant. I wouldn't ask or expect everyone to follow the rules of my faith. That would be intolerant and foolish.

Further women's rights isn't so single issue. It doesn't rise or fall on abortion. Indeed many of the most significant gains women made predated Roe versus Wade by many years. Gains in education, employment, respect, etc. Indeed better education and respect for women has always been what I considered most important in the overpopulation issue. Even now I think women are often unfairly diminished in the business or even SF world.

Further abortion was often allowed in Medieval and early Victorian times. Especially before what was deemed the "quickening" which was around the time the mother could feel the baby kick. (4-5 months as I recall) So rather than being backward the drive against it was due in part to a better understanding of pregnancy and women's health in general.

As for the Victorian age in general I'd loathe it more than you. That's part of why I hated To Say Nothing of the Dog by Willis. It seemed to idealize a truly terrible age. Where kids were forced to work, British imperialism led to slaughter in Southern Africa and humiliation for the Chinese, and women couldn't vote. Indeed the Canadians had women in Parliament before the British.

As for the swastika comment, please. Playing the Nazi card is almost always a sign the person has no idea what they're talking about. The Soviets had very liberal abortion laws, so does that make you a Stalinist? Of course not.

Maybe you object to my using the term "Anti-Choice" but I figured it'd save time. It also has some validity. The whole point of law is to state some choices should not be made. If a man wished to be castrated, it's unlikely any respectable doctor would let him make that choice. If a woman 7 months pregnant gives birth it's unlikely her choice to throw the baby out of a hospital window would be accepted. Even in anarchic societies like the Nuba some limits on your choices exist for the well being of the community.

Anyway the abortion issue is one where I'm even out of the mainstream with people online that I like.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ellen
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 03:24 pm:   

Thomas, both Germany's and Ireland's restrictive abortion laws are the result of the influence of the Catholic Church in those countries. They are NOT the will of the people.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 03:32 pm:   

Thanks, Ellen....I was biting my foot, trying not to jump in. It is a backward religious thing. Good thing Tomas isn't Syrian -- he'd be placidly explaining to one and all the virtues of purdah.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 04:07 pm:   

Further abortion was often allowed in Medieval and early Victorian times. Especially before what was deemed the "quickening" which was around the time the mother could feel the baby kick. (4-5 months as I recall) So rather than being backward the drive against it was due in part to a better understanding of pregnancy and women's health in general.

Your second sentence does not follow from your first at all. There's nothing in the change that demonstrates that a better understanding of pregnancy (ridiculous, given the claim of "ensoulment" -- a superstitious, not scientific notion) and women's health, as opposed to the need to oppress women and expand populations, is what led to the change.

Phony claims about concerns for women's health have historically been an ideological smoke-screen for oppression. Well, of course they cannot read, or work, or go out in public without their father or husband, or engage in the pettiness of owning property...the poor hysterics would shatter under the strain, or be ravished by hordes of rope-cocked Negroes, to be sure! Hmm, better isolate the Negro as well then...

The early 19th century saw the nuclear family rising in importance, and the industrializing world needed white hands to work. That's what worked to limit birth control and abortion, cement a sexual division of labor, and also helped allay racialist fears. The Catholic Church came out against abortion and birth control in order to help maintain its spiritual power in spite of its ever shrinking locus of temporal power, the Vatican states. Abortion laws in the US and Canada were explicitly racialist; too many white Protestants were having abortions, leading to them being castigated as race traitors for failing to crap out enough kiddies to keep up with burgeoning ethnic populations.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 04:25 pm:   

Ellen: Germany is only 6% more Catholic than us. German Catholics practice their faith far less than ours do. If the Church had this kind of power in Germany than why is Germany known as being progressive on things like gay rights?

Nick: From the 19th c. to 1973 women's rights advanced, they didn't retreat. Total Fertility rates also dropped dramatically. That's not related to abortion being illegal, but if abortion being illegal was meant to increase population growth and enslave women it failed miserably.

Women are barely more supportive of abortion than men, if at all. You can trot out the notion this is conditioning of men, but I have a bit more faith in women's ability to make up their own minds.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 05:30 pm:   

Random facts all scattered together do not an argument make.

German Catholicism remains very powerful partially because there is a long tradition in Germany (and throughout Europe) of explicit religiousity in party politics. German Catholics are also more likely to bow to Vatican prescriptions than American Catholics. "Americanism" is a well-known element of the conflict within the Catholic Church -- the Church has historically had difficulty with with autonomy on American Catholics: Protestant oppression of Catholics, the fact that the American Catholic church is actually a large number of national/language churches who served their immigrant communities in different ways, and an adaption to American traditions of liberalism blunted the power of the Catholic church.

Incidentally, anyone who knows anything about the history of Catholicsm in America knows this.

Nor is Germany's record on gay rights exemplary. Until 1969, German men were regularly found guilty and imprisoned for having relationships with other men -- over 50,000 were in fact. Recent gains in gay rights for Germany had to do with a very strong and politcally motivated gay rights movement as well as the history of gay oppression under the Nazis and after being an obvious black mark on any claims for a civil society.

Conservatives lost the initiative on that issue, while gaining the initiative on others. This is hardly unusual; a right-wing Supreme Court recently struck down anti-sodomy laws in this country as well, because of a powerful seismic shift in the culture itself sparked by the gay liberation movement of the 1960s.

I have to say I find it unbelievable that someone was able to graduate with a BA in history and still make such ridiculous arguments. You were taught absolutely nothing about how history actually happens, it seems.

From the 19th century to 1973, women's rights advanced, retreated, advanced, and retreated again. Take a look at women working outside of the home, you're not going to see a straight line of increase.. You're going to see bulges and trenches, depending on the needs of industrial capitalism. Fertility rates dropped because children became a private cost rather than a private benefit thanks to industrialization; the idea behind outlawing abortion was nonetheless explicitly racialist. Take a look at the arguments of the time.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

richard
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 05:33 pm:   

Thomas - >Women are barely more supportive of abortion than men, if at all. You can trot out the notion this is conditioning of men, but I have a bit more faith in women's ability to make up their own minds.<

First sentence - based on what evidence?
Second sentence - if you have so much faith in women's ability to make up their own minds why are you so keen to support legislation that would prevent them from exercising exactly that ability?

My swastika commment was advised - Nazi Germany placed great value on the reproductive value off women above all else (with a sideline in supplying sexual relief), and worked hard to keep them in exactly that role. As are the neocons (and people like you) now.

And to assume that because I'm British and you're not, I'm therefore more comfortable with atrocities committed by the British empire shows you haven't been paying attention. I am not a patriot.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 08:25 pm:   

I didn't know you were British richard. I don't really know you at all. Yes the Nazis did value women's reproduction above all. So did several other groups from various perspectives. From the unpleasant like Maoists and Ceaucescu, to the more ambiguous like Mormons or the Hmong.

For the record I don't value women that way. Thankfully we aren't living in a world where women can only gain respect through reproduction. As education and opportunity for women improves elsewhere this will hopefully rise. Germany & Ireland's population increase rate is close to zero. Their total fertility rate is below replacement. How does that translate into Nazism, and valuing women only for reproduction? Abortion is neither the safest nor most affective form of limiting family size.

Further if this right is so sancrosanct what about all the other rights we don't have involving what's in our bodies? You can't sell your kidney. You can't even get your tonsils taken out anymore unless you have a very good reason. Also as mentioned the point of laws and rules in general is to say some choices are not acceptable. Especially when/if your rights infringe on others.

Now to Nick I guess.

German Catholics are also more likely to bow to Vatican prescriptions than American Catholics. "Americanism" is a well-known element of the conflict within the Catholic Church -- the Church has historically had difficulty with with autonomy on American Catholics: Protestant oppression of Catholics, the fact that the American Catholic church is actually a large number of national/language churches who served their immigrant communities in different ways, and an adaption to American traditions of liberalism blunted the power of the Catholic church.Incidentally, anyone who knows anything about the history of Catholicsm in America knows this.

TR: Yes it's the great American Catholic myth. I know of it. It's along the lines of "Americans are so much freer than other peoples, we speak our minds more, etc." The reality is European Catholics criticize the Vatican and make Pope jokes in ways that stun American Catholics. American Catholics who visit Europe, even if not that religion, are often dismayed by how little they care what the Church teaches. German Catholics themselves have shown quite often a willingness to ignore such things when they want to.

True the Christian parties might be part of why German law is as it is, but the Christian parties agendas I think are rarely inline with Catholicism. Indeed in France I think the church was actively opposed to Christian parties because they feared they would lead to the laity advocating what they believed in under the banner of "Christian." Even if/when this contradicted the Church.

However on this issue I know I'm out of the mainstream with most SF readers. Also I know this thread has become humongous and is hopefully winding down.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 08:54 pm:   

Lucius,

My name is Steven Francis Murphy.

I live at 1610 Orleans Avenue
Apartment 1-D
North Kansas City, Missouri
64116
The phone number is 816-472-1558.

You'll forgive me if I don't come to you (whereever the fuck you are) but money concerns prevent that. But I'm RIGHT where I say I am except between the hours of nine am to five pm unless I'm at the gym, or writing myself.

Drop by anytime. Your fat lip is waiting for you.

By the way, Thomas R. has brittle bone disease (I don't know what the proper term is, if you you've seen the movie Unbreakable and you remember the problem Samuel L. Jackson had then you know what the issue is with Thomas.

So, I say again, pick on someone your own size.

BTW, Nick, I dare you to ask any Vietnam veteran (repentant or not) about the truth of veterans discrimination. Most of the Vietnam veterans I've dealt with, to include my father (are you calling my father a liar, get a plane ticket and follow you're buddy Lucius to NKC) state the the discrimination is real.

BTW, while I like Thomas R., I'd think an established, award winning SF writer would know better than to beat up on a reader/customer. Christ. I understand that you don't agree or like Thomas, but attacking him strike me as being spineless.

S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 08:57 pm:   

Lucius,

My name is Steven Francis Murphy.

I live at 1610 Orleans Avenue
Apartment 1-D
North Kansas City, Missouri
64116
The phone number is 816-472-1558.

You'll forgive me if I don't come to you (whereever the fuck you are) but money concerns prevent that. But I'm RIGHT where I say I am except between the hours of nine am to five pm unless I'm at the gym, or writing myself.

Drop by anytime. Your fat lip is waiting for you.

By the way, Thomas R. has brittle bone disease (I don't know what the proper term is, if you you've seen the movie Unbreakable and you remember the problem Samuel L. Jackson had then you know what the issue is with Thomas.

So, I say again, pick on someone your own size.

BTW, Nick, I dare you to ask any Vietnam veteran (repentant or not) about the truth of veterans discrimination. Most of the Vietnam veterans I've dealt with, to include my father (are you calling my father a liar, get a plane ticket and follow you're buddy Lucius to NKC) state the the discrimination is real.

BTW, while I like Thomas R., I'd think an established, award winning SF writer would know better than to beat up on a reader/customer. Christ. I understand that you don't agree or like Thomas, but attacking him strike me as being spineless.

S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 09:04 pm:   

Americanism hardly a myth and has nothing to do with freedom. The reality is that Americanism was an important enough issue that Pope Leo XIII condemned it, and that it continues to be discussed and analyzed today -- there isn't much in the way of work denying the existence of Americanism at all.

Given you that mischaracterized Americanism as related to an artifact of "freedom" (as opposed to an artifact of American Catholicism being several different ethnic churches, oppression by Protestants who feared the rise of a movement to Catholicize America, and adaption to liberalism --which is not the same as freedom) even after its basis was explained to you shows that you are just plain ol' tie-the-retard-to-the-bedposts-so-he-won't-jerk-off-all-day-long stupid. You know nothing, nothing at all, of the topic.

And your counter to the extraordinarily well-founded notion of Americanism? European Catholics today make jokes? How ridiculous. Christian parties might be a part of German politics? The Christian Democrats in Germany are rarely in line with Catholicism? And yes, you have the very beginnings of a point in France, but guess what, French Catholicism was heavily influenced by the phenonemon of Americanism -- check out the life and work of a fellow by the name Isaac Thomas Hecker and his influence on French bishops. Only talk about what you know, Thomas R., not other things. I realize this will mean the end of any communication with anyone else in the world, but you know what they say about open mouths and suspected fools.

Let me clue you in on how one can tell the difference between an intelligent person and an idiot: an intelligent person gathers facts, then develops an opinion that is necessarily and always provisional, though of course some opinions can be more well-founded than others. An idiot starts with a conclusion and when discussing his ideas, spits out random irrelvancies and then pouts. The discussion on the other thread has been won by me: I defy any person knowledgable in the subject to read your response about Americanism and then defend your brain.

Before you go, tell us what college you went to. The campus needs to be razed and the black earth salted.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 09:09 pm:   

SFM I know you're trying to be nice, but if you really want to be nice to me please quit reminding everyone of my condition. OI is part of who I am, and I like who I am most of the time, but I don't need special favors for it. If people ask about it that's cool. Like when Laura did or Ellen helped me with that info on NYC. However I worry the way you bring it up only makes things worse for me.

I hope this doesn't affect how we get along elsewhere. I also hope this thing burns itself out soon, but I imagine that's passive-aggressive:-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 09:22 pm:   

Steve,

On the contrary, returning veterans were spit on, as the article I quoted mentioned. They were almost always the "repetant" veterans-turned-anti-war activists, who were generally spit on by skeezy lowlife assholes like yourself.

And yep, I've talked to many a Vietnam vet, including Stan Goff (I've edited both his books, and also linked to an article by him above) and none of them ever experienced the sort of baiting sympathy sluts like to pretend happen to him. Tell you what, Goff will be touring the country to support his next book come the new year, you can talk it over with him. He's a sweet guy, but tends to ramble.

By the by, I noticed that you claim to be a writer. And yet, you don't know how to read. Don't you think that would be an obsctacle? Because if you could read, you would have read what I said about spitting incidents: "Not saying it never happened. Not saying it never happened to Murphy. What I am saying is that the 'baby killer' trick has been used very often as a canard, as a demonization tactic, as a great way to blow smoke while veterans increasingly end up on the street begging for change, where they get spit on for real for being homeless."

Has the DU been rotting your brain, sonny?

And while you're at it, why not post your father's address, so I can fly out to where he is and interrogate him on his claims. We'll see if they actually hold up. If it turns out that he is a liar, don't worry, I'll kick his ass so you won't have to. If it turns out he isn't a liar, I'll give him a big ol' American non-homoerotic hug and we'll bond over the fact that he raised a dipshit for a son.

Btw, thanks for posting your address. I really really appreciate it. Do you like catalogs? How about sex toys?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 09:25 pm:   

Nick Mamatus said:
House votes to ease restrictions. Senate votes to ease restrictions. A single conference eliminates the result of both votes entirely.
The fact that conference reports often produce bizarre results isn't pertinent to the issue of agreeing to play by the rules. The fact that the legislative process doesn't guarantee that a bill, or provisions of a bill, agreed to by both houses, will go to the President's desk, doesn't make the rules "chicken wire and papier mache". A bill agreed to by both houses can also fail to become law if it is vetoed by the President. And I rather suspect that, if the easing of Cuban travel restrictions had remained in the bill, it would have been vetoed. Perhaps there weren't enough votes to override a veto. In that case, leaving in the easing of Cuban travel restrictions would have caused all provisions in the bill to come to naught. Would that have been a better result?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 09:42 pm:   

The point, Doc, is that the conference committee, as a rule, isn't supposed to have the power to change bills in the way that happened -- it only has a responsibility to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions. In practice, it has virtually limitless powers. The de facto undermines the de jure.

If Bush did veto the bill, and you're right that he likely would have, then Congress could have attempted an override of the veto. Not now though. Thus the problem. One of many.

As far as the results, if that's the primary measure of political efficiacy, then we're again at the place where the rules don't matter, which was my point all along.

Btw, that's Mamatas. All As. Thanks.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 09:43 pm:   

Nick. I said the American Catholic myth. Not that Americanism in general is a myth. European Catholics are even more independent than their American brethren on obeying or believing Church teachings. This is simply the reality. They attend Church less, they believe in God less, they place religion as less important in their lives, etc.

I also don't feel the need to put too highly the opinion of someone who considers "Senor Droolcup" to be the height of wit. Or who was still blathering about me when I'd been gone for days. As much of a jerk as Lucius can be in least he had a modicum of style. The closest you came to that is repeating him. Which is probably why you made me laugh more than anything.

I learned some and enjoyed some. Overall though I deeply regret this. After a point I think I started saying things I'd normally keep to myself out of respect. I guess I figured I had nothing to lose by that point, which may have been less true than I thought.

It's too late now though so I might as well admit that the first argument I had online was with Lucius. It was over NAFTA and I used the names Yurek Rutz and then Vomact after David Marusek objected. In my estimation I was a jerk then. Obsessive, snotty, etc. I mentioned those days to Ellen at Sci-Fiction, but we got along there which was good. That was possible as I've improved myself a great deal. I imagine none of you would agree. Choosing to get tangled in this mess makes me wonder myself. In least I'm young and there's still time.

As to that I've spent way more time here than was good for me. I had the second post and then I just kept going. It was lazy and irresponsible. Being self deprecating like this is also harmful because at this point it just validates the belief I'm playing the victim. But I don't care. Indeed I'm so tired of this I'll just say what might be the most irritating thing possible.

I wish you success in your endeavors and I hope we can all move on soon.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

lucius
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 09:45 pm:   

So because Thomas has a physical ailment, I'm supposed to treat him like a mental midget? Because I'm an established writer I'm not supposed to engage in argument with potential customers? You're a fucking retard, Murphy. Seriously. You're brain damaged. Either that or logic and human behavior are particular failings of yours. Thomas wouldn't want that kind of treatment. That's more of an insult to him than anything I've said. And yeah, I'm going drop everything, novel, social committments, et al, and rush off to Kansas because you want the opportunity to punch me. Brilliant. You must want me bad.

My anger at Thomas was based on a political difference, on honest anger. I wasn't picking on anybody -- I didn't know Thomas was handicapped and even had I known, that's no reason for me to treat him differently in a debate than I would anyone else. How is that spineless? You;ve made his illness an issue, when it has no place in the discussion. I wonder how he feels about that.

You, on the other hand, are just flexing your cybermuscles because maybe you're bored, maybe your other message boards have dried up on you, maybe you haven't been able to hook up with any 14 year olds in chat rooms. I have no clue as to the cause or the shape of your pathology...only to its enormity.

Pick on someone my own size? Well, that leaves you out, bubba, since you obviously have the mental capacity of frozen dough.

My behavior is off-putting because I expressed anger in regards to a political matter? Just imagine how your behavior is impressing
those who might potentially buy your work.

North Kansas City. My god. No wonder you're so unfulfilled.

:-)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 10:03 pm:   

European Catholics are even more independent than their American brethren on obeying or believing Church teachings. This is simply the reality.

Except that it is not the reality. One great example of how it is not the reality: their success in limiting abortion rights in Ireland and Malta, and to a lesser extent, Germany.

Further, in Germany, Catholics are far more devout than Protestants. About 25% attend mass, compared to 5% of Protestants attending church weekly. And there is a generational split, plus the impact of reunification with the East, which raised two generations of atheists, to account for. But power isn't held by the young, or in the East, but by entrenched institutions based in the West, including the churches. Catholic influence in German politics remains great. It is simply undeniable that the phenomenon of limited abortion rights in Germany is independent of the power of the church in that country.

Which of course was the point all along.

See, that's "reality." Ignoring all the things that contradict whatever you overheard some drunken parish priest go on about once isn't intelligent. It doesn't tell you what reality is.

As far as Senor Droolcup being the height of wit, it's funny that you think you rated the A material. Though I bet you'll mention Senor Droolcup again and again as the years go by and your life gets a little lonelier each day.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 12:20 am:   

But Thomas: You still have not replied to my comparison dealing with AIDS in Africa and using American taxpayer money to push an ideological abortion issue at the cost of African healthcare.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 12:25 am:   

Well Thomas, the death penalty is also illegal in Germany, but I would just bet that you are pro death penalty. Am I right? . . . So what is this all about anyhow? . . . You said you supported Bush on the grounds of the Economy and his fight against AIDS, but it seems clear that you support him rather on ideological grounds--which means that logic does not control your choice at the voting booth.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

paulw
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 03:54 am:   

Not to pile on or anything, but I'm surprised everyone let this assertion of Thomas' pass by uncontested:

"If Bush is withholding funding to groups that mention any forms of birth control or condoms I wouldn't agree with that. I'd also find it perplexing as he's not of a religion that has any views on that. I'm Catholic, but I know for non-Catholics it's irrelevant."

Since when are the issues of birth control and condoms irrelevant to born-again zealots like Bush? Birth control and condom use have even been equated with abortion by these people -- and by Catholics . . . which just goes to show that prejudice makes strange bedfellows!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 08:23 am:   

Nick,

If you come to my house, I'll just give you a fat lip.

My Dad, he'll shoot you. That is why I didn't post his address.

Lucius,

I find myself wondering if you act like this in person. Would you treat someone like Thomas the same way if you saw them in person at an SF convention? That was my point.

As for assertions of intelligence and what not, many have said I'm dumber than a warm bucket of shit. They may be right, they may be wrong. I tend to believe that they are wrong.

And no, Nick, I didn't read your posts through. Didn't really see much of a point. It is more of the same shit I've heard spouted out of my grad school and undergrad professors since 1993.

As for North Kansas City, the only failings of my particular part of the world is wintertime and a hefty population of labor union Democrats who don't realize that their party has been fucking them in the ass for the last thirty years.

And I do putter with the pen from time to time, even submit ever so often. Might even be stubborn enough to make it, who knows. God knows I can't do a worse job than some of the crap I've seen published over the last ten years.

:-)

Thomas, you are arguing with idiots and uncivil, backward, close minded, goose stepping ideologues at that. There are other threads around here to visit that are having civil, normal conversations (preferably with people who are not trolling after fourteen year old boys like Lucuis). Might browse around and see where the adults are at.

S. F. Murphy
The Dumb D.U. infected vet with Bachelors and Masters degress in History that didn't come from a Cracker Jack Box (Park University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, give them a call, they'll verify).
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ellen
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 08:43 am:   

Thomas,
This is an excerpt on German reproductive rights
http://ippfnet.ippf.org/pub/IPPF_Regions/IPPF_CountryProfile.asp?ISOCode=DE

"The intervention by the Pope to make the German Catholic Church to withdraw from government funded abortion counselling caused nationwide heated debate and demanded of Pro Familia numerous political and media initiatives."
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 08:49 am:   

Nick Mamatas said:
The point, Doc, is that the conference committee, as a rule, isn't supposed to have the power to change bills in the way that happened -- it only has a responsibility to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions.
What do you mean, "isn't supposed to" and "only"? You used the term de jure. So, where are those written into law? Good grief, a conference committee merely has to fail to agree on a report, and the whole bill dies. You can't change a bill much more than that!

Meanwhile, back to your premise that
(some [assemblies] represent more than one [material interest]; in the US generally only one, with slight variations for regional differences, is represented)
Only one material interest represented by Congress, on behalf of the whole country? With only slight variations for regional differences? What is this One Interest? The Jews? The Masons? The Illuminati? Oh, wait, I know. It's the Military-Industrial Complex, right?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 09:23 am:   

"I find myself wondering if you act like this in person. Would you treat someone like Thomas the same way if you saw them in person at an SF convention? That was my point. "

No, that wasn't your point, asshole. You had no pointl You came belching and farting onto the board like a drunken hick, saying Get off my little buddy! How I might behave at a con has nothing to do with anything said here, but fyi, if anyone put forward the drivel that Thomas has here, I'd laugh in his fucking face. What should I do? Say, Oh, you're in a wheelchair, therefore I love your opinions. That would be respectful, right? I know it's beyond your comprehension, but some of us here aren't just flapping our lips, we're actually involved in politics, and that involvement makes us a little oversensitive toward people who belch party-line swill that flies in the face of reality... particularly, in my case, as regards the idiocy T spouts about Latin America.

I find it interesting that both you and Thomas are historians. Goes a long way to supporting Menckyn's position that history is bunk.

And hey, everybody, Murphy thinks we're idiots.
Time to rethink our positions, huh?

"There are other threads around here to visit that are having civil, normal conversations (preferably with people who are not trolling after fourteen year old boys like Lucuis)."

I am not a fourteen year old boy...Oh, I see! Your syntax is as garbled as your thought processes. You're so fucking retarded, you can't even come up with your own insults. Those entrance requirements for Park University (Is that on Park Place, near Boardwalk?) must be staggeringly high!

"God knows I can't do a worse job than some of the crap I've seen published over the last ten years."

Somehow, man...I got a feeling you might be able to pull it off.

"Might want to browse around and see where the adults are at..."

I'd recommend the Rush Limbaugh Institute for Hillbilly Heroin. I think y'all would find a lot of folks there with whom you could share.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 09:42 am:   

Doc

Nope, it is the interest of the US ruling class. One notes the failure of a labor-based party to emerge in the US (usually thanks to co-optation on the part of the Democats) even though there are labor or social democratic parties in most other industrial countries.

Btw, feel free to apologize for trying to tar me with a conspiracy theory/anti-Semitic brush. Or lick my asshole clean. Either is fine.

As far as where as the responsibilities of the conference being de jure, one hardly needs statute to be part of the law. And yes, if the bills cannot be reconciled they will die. However, removing certain portions of a bill, portions that were identical and needed no reconciliation, is hardly within the scope of what the actions of the committee -- what you cite as a more extreme example is actually a less extreme example. This demonstrates, and it is only one of several hundred examples, that your precious deliberative assembly, with respect for all and a respect for the oh-so-important decisions being made, is an illusion.

Steven:

You didn't read what I wrote, but you know what it says? And if people continue to disagree with you, you'll continue to threaten to assault them. And yet, in spite of the fact that you're so smart that you know what things say withoue reading them (and yet still manage to get it wrong), and you're so tough that you never leave the house unless it is for the gym or for writing (no girlfriend, huh, loser?) you don't even have an extra $300 to your name to come to NYC, throw your little punch, then take the beating you'd get in return?

Tell you what, why don't you and your father go down to the bus station and offer handjobs for nickels and blowjobs for dimes. You'll have the money to come down here by January. If papa wants the opportunity to see you coughing up your ribs, we can schedule for February, or you can bring mama along on your fund-raising excursions as well and get two tickets that much sooner.

Or hell, do you ever go to cons? Worldcon in Boston, maybe? See you there, boy.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 09:52 am:   

Oh, btw, Steven, did they teach you to form your opinion before reading at the undergrad or graduate level?

I'm also wondering why you're so proud of the degrees if, as you said, "It is more of the same shit I've heard spouted out of my grad school and undergrad professors since 1993."

So, you have two degrees in Fecal Studies. No wonder you think disagreeing with a disabled person is the equivalent of being the KKK or a goosestepper.

Funny, nobody here wondered if you ever raped and killed a little South Korean girl, or shot surrendering Iraqi troops in the back, or peeled government potatoes improperly, but then, of course, nobody here has your advanced study in being a shit-for-brains.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 06:53 pm:   

Nick Mamatus said:
Btw, feel free to apologize for trying to tar me with a conspiracy theory/anti-Semitic brush. Or lick my asshole clean. Either is fine.
Bull. You'd twice indicated One Interest dictating the proceedings of Congress without specifying what that Interest was. I felt compelled to press you to say what that Interest was, by your lights. So I asked you flat-out, naming the most commonly-mentioned "Single Controlling Interests" I've heard tell of. To me, one Single Controlling Interest is no more ludicrous than the next. The whole idea is ridiculous. You answered, "the US ruling class". That's more than a little vague. Care to be more specific?

As far as where as the responsibilities of the conference being de jure, one hardly needs statute to be part of the law.
If it ain't writ in the rules governing House-Senate conference committees, it ain't de jure, as you claimed it was. Meaning you were slinging terminology around without knowing what you were talking about.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 08:02 pm:   

So I asked you flat-out, naming the most commonly-mentioned "Single Controlling Interests" I've heard tell of.

Ah, bullshit. The only way someone in 2003 is going to hear the "Masons" more often than, say, "corporate America" or "the liberal elite", to give two examples, is if they're posting from a mental hospital. You didn't choose likely or common possibilities, you chose insane and racist ones. I guess that's all part of being enamored with a "deliberative assembly" as long as the people assembled are in the day room at Bellevue. You're one of those patients who likes to pretend to be one of the doctors, right?

You got called out for rudeness and responded by further proving yourself to be a little shit. Nice return to the "u" there as well.

As far as "ruling class" being vague, the notion of a ruling class should be fairly obvious to anyone who has ever taken a class in pretty much ANY social science, even on the high school level.

If it ain't writ in the rules governing House-Senate conference committees, it ain't de jure

You mean like this rule, from the Standing Rules of the Senate? 2. Conferees shall not insert in their report matter not committed to them by either House, nor shall they strike from the bill matter agreed to by both Houses. Garsh, there it is! I guess this means that you're the one slinging shit. Incidentally, the rules of the rest of that clause, which deal with the points of order being raised when a cc does break the rule by excising matter agreed by both houses, was also sabotaged. They broke the rules. That is just one example of the rules not being worth shit. Power plays. Horse trading. Spectacle.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Neal Stanifer
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 06:34 am:   

Nick: "One notes the failure of a labor-based party to emerge in the US (usually thanks to co-optation on the part of the Democats) even though there are labor or social democratic parties in most other industrial countries."

I wonder how much of this has to do with the largely right-wing identifications of many American working-class citizens. The Dems may co-opt planks from labor platforms, even dwell in the pocket of union interests, but they aren't solely to blame for the impotence of social democratic parties in the U. S. Part of that blame has to fall squarely on the shoulders of people making rational (if lamentable) identifications with the upper classes. The so-called American Dream. Part of it, too, is something in the national character. I know that sounds nebulous. Historically, even in times when the working classes in America had most to gain through socialism, a strong anti-Left sentiment kept herding them back to the two most powerful parties.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 09:02 am:   

Ah, but Neal, "sentiments" don't emerge out of nowhere. Lesser evilism is certainly a powerful argument, but the Dems also cherry-picked from the left, especially during FDR's first term, and attacked that which it could not win over. For all his pro-labor rhetoric and occasional reforms, FDR also managed to call out the National Guard to use force against strikers more often than any other President.

There are also structural impediments toward a non ruling class party emerging implicit in America's peculiar parliamentary system.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 09:32 am:   

Nick Mamatas said:
The only way someone in 2003 is going to hear the "Masons" more often than, say, "corporate America" or "the liberal elite", to give two examples, is if they're posting from a mental hospital.
The Masons, and "conspiracy theories" about them, have been around for centuries. Mozart's opera The Magic Flute is called his "Masonic opera". You did know that, didn't you? And much was (and still is) made of the fact many of the Founding fathers of the US were Masons. You are aware of this, aren't you?

Likewise with the Jews, only more so. Anyone who follows the news is aware that just before Mohamed Mahathir recently retired as Prime Minister of Malaysia, he gave a speech before an assembly of Moslem leaders, in which he said that "Jews rule the world by proxy". And that within the last couple of years, Egyptian TV aired a production of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" - presenting it as a documentary. That antisemitism is on the rise in Europe. That tapes of conversations between the Reverend Billy Graham and then-President Richard Nixon recently came to light, in which they commiserated over the deplorable "fact" that Jews control the media, etc. That -- well, enough. And the Illuminati -- conspiracy theories about them are a dime a dozen, and have been around seemingly since forever.
You didn't choose likely or common possibilities, you chose insane and racist ones.
But -- but -- many likely and common possibilities for a Single Ruling Interest are racist, or insane, or both!

I confess I don't know anything about posting from mental institutions, and will not ask how you come by expertise in this area.

As far as "ruling class" being vague, the notion of a ruling class should be fairly obvious to anyone who has ever taken a class in pretty much ANY social science, even on the high school level.
I'm not asking about the notion of a "ruling class", I'm asking about its existence and identity. You assert the existence of a Single Controlling Interest, which you refuse to identify. Calling it "the US ruling class" is simply renaming what you've already asserted to exist -- while still refusing to make an identification. How do I know you're not talking about the Illuminati?

BTW, it was not I who coined the term "deliberative assembly". It was, rather, Edmund Burke, in 1774, referring to the English Parliament. The term has come to be used in a wider sense since then. It has, thus, shown remarkable persistence and vigor for a mere abstraction.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 10:38 am:   

You refuse to lick my ass in apology, but your mouth is full of shit anyway.

You see, your claim was that you listed "most commonly-mentioned" ruling interests.

And your proof is...Mozart? Egyptian television? You really spend more time reading papers and talking to people who discuss Masonry and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion than "corporate America" or "East Coast liberals"? Are you a Klansman or just insane? If so, then it makes sense that Masonry and Jewry are the dubious elites who hear "most commonly mentioned." If not, you're just a liar who tried to serve up a bowl of shit and instead got his face ground into it.

As far as what I mean by the ruling class, I guess we can take this to mean that you've never studied any sort of social science at all, if you think that I still may mean the Illuminati.

Yes yes, Burke has been a powerful ideological bludgeon for years. Jesus whooping it up with the Holy Spirit for far longer. The geocentric model of the universe for longer than both, though that finally fell out of favor a long time ago. Longevity doesn't relate to a correpondence between idea and reality.

And of course, Burke is a red herring. The issue was whether the US Congree or British Parliament let things get out of hand, rather than calling one another by honorifics and following the rules. Jim described punchups in Parliament, I showed that Congress breaks its own rules in the pursuit of power. Funny how you dropped that whole argument...

At any rate, the ruling class is that empowered minority that serves to keep what Burke called the "swinish multitudes" in line and productive enough to support the reproduction of both classes and the enrichment of their rulers.

Keats, on the ruling class:

"In noisome alley and in pathless wood Oft may be found a singleness of aim
That ought to frighten into hooded shame
A money-mongering, pitiable brood.'"
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 11:33 am:   

So you still refuse to answer my question and identify to whom you are referring when you say "the US ruling class", preferring to spew vituperation instead. Must be the Illuminati, I guess.

As to citing Burke and Keats regarding the "ruling classes", I point out that they weren't referring to the US, so your quotations are red herrings. I merely citted Burke as coining a term you had attached to me.

As to the arcania of conference rules, I suppose that you are aware that beginning in 1996, Senate Rule 28 was effectively nullified by allowing the insertion of new provisions in conference. This situation persisted for a few years until a provision putting a stop to it was inserted into a bill in conference
;-)

One important aspect to the Rule you cite is the definition of the term "matter agreed to by both Houses". Unless the House and Senate versions of a provision are exactly the same, the Rule does not apply, even if they are substantially the same. But even if they are exactly the same, ways can be found around it. You might find the following of interest:
[Congressional Record: November 15, 2001 (Senate)]

[[Page S11882]]

Madam President, how much time do I have?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 5 minutes.
Mr. GREGG. I yield the remainder of my time to the Senator from New Hampshire.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Madam President, I thank my colleague for
the 5 minutes.
I simply want to use this time to raise a point that I think should
concern all of us in the Senate in terms of procedures. I understand
that the Parliamentarian would rule against me and so, therefore, I
will not offer it. I cannot because of the unanimous consent agreement,
but I raise this point--and I hope the Parliamentarian will pay
attention--because I believe this is a serious matter.
There was language in both the House and Senate bills that dealt with
taxpayer dollars not being used to interfere in any pending lawsuits
with some of the survivors of the Bataan Death March.
It was a controversial issue, but both the House and the Senate
agreed verbatim with the language. Not one word, no date, no comma, no
letter, nothing, nothing misspelled, no changes in spelling; it was
verbatim. The language was exactly the same.
Under rule 28.2, it states:

Conferees shall not insert in their report matter not
committed to them by either House, nor shall they strike from
the bill matter agreed to by both Houses. If new matter is
inserted in the report or if matter which was agreed to by
both Houses is stricken from the bill, a point of order may
be made against the report, and if the point of order is
sustained, the report is rejected or shall be recommitted to
the committee of conference if the House of Representatives
has not already acted thereon.

This is very complicated and it is parliamentary language. It is
difficult to understand. In essence, what has happened here is the
House and the Senate, as prescribed by rule 28.2, had identical
language. And because under the rules you substituted the Senate bill
for the House bill, you have now used that as a technicality to rule
against me and to rule against this provision.
What happens is, the House and the Senate agree on something. You go
into conference. Nobody disagrees. But it comes out. Mysteriously, it
is taken out by somebody in the conference committee, of which the rest
of us are not privy. It violates the rules. And if it does not violate
the rule, it violates the spirit and intent of it, clearly.
This is very troubling. It is not just this issue. It could be any
issue down the road where somebody has worked hard on both sides, the
House and Senate, to put in the language. Then it is taken out in
conference in violation directly of rule 28.2. It clearly violates it.
When you say you can substitute a Senate bill for the House bill to
get around that, that means any provision to which we agree can be
held, if you want to apply that standard. That is simply wrong.
I would just say to the Parliamentarians that we ought to clarify
this. If this is what we are going to do, then throw out rule 28.2 and
say it is irrelevant. You are throwing it out because you are using
this substitute which is a gimmick to take out language that somebody
just decided they didn't like.
Again, the language is the language. You have a bunch of POWs now who
are going to get screwed by this, to put it bluntly. That is not the
issue as much as it is who is next and how many times does this have to
happen before we correct it and do the right thing.
I am not picking on this particular bill or the two managers here.
The point is, it happens to be something I was involved in and I know
about it.
If I had had the chance, I would have made the Parliamentarian rule.
But I didn't get down here in time before the unanimous consent. I
think you should rule and we can prove that it is an incorrect ruling.
You have to decide. I hope we will take 28.2 out, if that is what we
are going to do. My preference is that it would stay in and you would
stop the interpretation, because if you can substitute a Senate
substitute for the House, how then can you have a conference? What is
the purpose of a conference if you can say, I am going to substitute
the Senate version for the House version, take the House version and
throw it out the window? That is where it goes, right out. There is no
conference. You have now substituted bill A for bill B, and there is no
conference. And anything that you have in here, whatever you have in
this book, in your report, is no good. The language is irrelevant
because you have now said you can substitute one bill for another.
It is wrong. It is absolutely wrong. It is what makes the American
people sick of what we do here, that they see stuff passed. They see it
in both Houses. They see it go into conference, identical language. At
least you could have changed the date and made it legal. Instead, you
took verbatim language and threw it out. It is wrong. And I want to
make that point. I am very sorry it happened.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
The Senator from South Carolina.
Mr. HOLLINGS. Madam President, the distinguished Senator from New
Hampshire, generally speaking, is correct. We tortured over this.
Bottom line, the White House opposed it. So question: Do we pass a bill
that is going to be approved or do we pass a bill that is going to be
disapproved?
On page 171 of the report language:

The conference agreement does not include language proposed
in both the House and Senate bills regarding civil actions
against Japanese corporations for compensation in which the
plaintiff alleges that, as an American prisoner of war during
World War II, he or she was used as slave or forced labor.
The conferees understand that the Administration strongly
opposes this language, and is concerned that the inclusion of
such language in the act would be detrimental to the ongoing
effort to enlist multilateral support for the campaign
against terrorism. The conferees strongly agree that the
extraordinary suffering and injury of our former prisoners of
war deserve further recognition, and acknowledge the need for
such additional consideration.

In fairness to the position of the White House, we did have in 1951
the treaty of San Francisco settling the claims of prisoners of war
against the Japanese Government. Maybe it wasn't adequate. For 50 years
we have adhered to that treaty, and now with the terrorism attacks in
the United States out with an affirmative action plan to win friends
and influence people, to form a coalition, now is no time for us to
take treaties and start abrogating them 50 years past or 1 year hence.
The truth is, the U.S. Senate ratified that treaty. On this
particular vote, the Senate bill was--the Senate bill--in the nature of
an amendment to the House bill. The entire bill was in the nature of an
amendment. That is how technically, under the rule cited by my
distinguished colleague from New Hampshire, it can be found as
parliamentarily sound. That is what we had to do in order to get the
bill approved. I am sorry these occasions arise. It was a measured
judgment.
We agree with our distinguished colleague from New Hampshire, but
that is the best we could do under the circumstances.
Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Will the Senator yield for 30 seconds?
Mr. HOLLINGS. Yes.
Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. I say to the Senator from South Carolina,
you are correct. I am not challenging the technical aspect. I think it
is a violation of the spirit of the rule. My point is, I know how you
feel about it. We had the debate on the floor. I respect your view. I
know you respect mine. The House, by 393 to 33, disagreed with you. And
the Senate, by a vote of 58 to 34, disagreed with you. I thought we had
separate but equal branches of Government. If the White House wants to
veto the bill over that, then veto the bill over it. We will bring it
back here and talk about it. I don't think it is right to violate the
spirit and intent of the rules.
Mr. HOLLINGS. It was just like President Lincoln, during the Civil
War, when he put a vote to his Cabinet and all the Cabinet voted aye
and President Lincoln voted no. And he said: The "no" vote prevails.
That is what prevailed here.
I yield the remainder of our time under the agreement.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 11:58 am:   

So you still refuse to answer my question and identify to whom you are referring when you say "the US ruling class", preferring to spew vituperation instead. Must be the Illuminati, I guess.

So, you can't comprehend this sentence then: " At any rate, the ruling class is that empowered minority that serves to keep what Burke called the "swinish multitudes" in line and productive enough to support the reproduction of both classes and the enrichment of their rulers."

It's also worth noting that the ruling class isn't only a national class, ruling classes are frequently international in scope - Burke and Keats need not be describing America to accurately describe the notion of a ruling class. Burke and Keats are there to show that the notion of a ruling class, far from being the precinct of your racist or crazy buddies from whom you apparently hear about it all the time, is a notion to familiar to pretty much any educated person.

I merely citted Burke as coining a term you had attached to me.

Wow, you sure are fucking stupid. I never attached that term to you. You were the first to use it on this thread on your post of the 27th: "And the particular aspect of civility pertaining to keeping personalities out of debates in deliberative assemblies goes back several centuries at least."

You brought up the notion and gleefully attached it to yourself. Is that sort of basic memory lapse that comes from too much Thorazine, or not enough?

As far as Cuba, the House and Senate provisions were identical. And you're right, there are ways around the rules which allow conference committees to do whatever they like. That was the point all along: you dab your eyes with a hanky at the notion of sweet ol' deliberative assemblies, and I point and laugh at how stupid you are because such assemblies are clearly just fora for horse trading, power plays, and spectacles. Thanks to the fact that you're an idiot, your attempt to prove me wrong actually provided a wonderful example of what I'm talking about. So it looks like we're agreed. Keep this up, and your shrink may just give you a day pass to visit the zoo and get some ice cream.




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - 09:19 am:   

Nick Mamatas said
(quoting the Doc) I merely citted Burke as coining a term you had attached to me.

Wow, you sure are fucking stupid. I never attached that term to you.
In your post of Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 09:42 you referred to
your precious deliberative assembly
If you're calling it mine, you're attaching the notion to me. But I didn't originate the concept, and I'm certainly not the "one material interest" controlling the US Congress, so I in no sense own any such assembly. I may be "stupid" to like the idea of doing things in a civil fashion, but but if so it would appear that I'm in good company. People have written whole manuals of parliamentary procedure -- Thomas Jefferson for example. Was he stupid? Or how about General Robert, to say nothing of the millions who have bought and used his Robert's Rules of Order for all sorts of organizations, large and small? All stupid as well? If you want to say that all "deliberative assemblies" are illusory, what do you propose in their stead? Local warlords shooting it out as they squabble over their little fiefdoms? Total anarchy? An absolute dictator? What?

I'm still amazed at your insistence on the singularity of "one material interest" controlling the Congress, to say nothing of it being worldwide. You'd think that one interest could get by with fewer lobbyists.

And then there's your insistence on ascribing bad motives, feeling "tarred" or slighted or offended or whatever. And then using the motives you ascribe to justify your own highly exaggerated responses and vituperation. I don't know whether you merely need to drink coffee out of smaller containers, get more sleep, or what, but you really need to learn to relax!

I'm also a bit curious over your repeated references to asylums, shrinks, Thorazine etc. Are such things a particular interest of yours? If so, why?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - 11:13 am:   

I accept your content-free rant as an acknowledgment that my point about the arbitrariness of conference-committee rules stands.

As far as the rest, we'll just do this in list style:

1. if you didn't want to defend the idea of a "deliberative assembly" you might want to stop bringing it up over and over again, and declaring the only alternatives to be warlords and the like.

2. Jefferson/Robert: argument from authority, dismissed on its face. At any rate, rules are useful when they help power get things done, they are not useful and are thus ignored when they stand in the way of the goals of power. Example: Louisiana purchase.

3. My alternative would be real limits on power. Since your alternative to basic comprehension is repeatedly implying that people who disagree with you must be nutty, racist, conspiracy theorists or advocates of totalitarianism, I will use my limited power to moon you repeatedly and bid you to lick my hairy Greek ass. If you were capable of a real discussion on political philosophy, I'd be happy to have one. You're only capable of shitting yourself and shouting, "HEY, WHO FARTED!" so I don't feel the need to have one. What's so hard to understand?

4. Members of a class, especially an elite class, have economic interests in common, even as they compete through lobbyists and other forms of horse trading and powerplays. Two bakeries on the same block, for example, may compete fiercely, but both depend on the price of flour not being too high, on bread not being declared dangerous or made illegal, and on zoning and labor laws that suit small business. Thus, they have the same interests. Really, this is high school stuff.

5. I'm interested in asylums, shrinks, etc., because in the past couple of weeks or so this thread has attracted a number of people from other boards with obvious mental deficiencies. You know, brain damage, Excessive Assholery Syndrome, that sort of thing. That guy who tells you to burn things when you look in the mirror, that's one of the folks I'm talkin' bout.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - 10:14 am:   

I accept your content-free rant as an acknowledgment that my point about the arbitrariness of conference-committee rules stands.I acknowledge nothing of the sort. The fact that rules are gotten around occasionally doesn't make them "arbitrary". You seem to have a great deal of trouble with making distinctions of degree. But I'll point out a few things about the excerpt from the public record I posted, that seem to have escaped your notice: First, Senator Smith expressed willingness to abide by the Rules of the Senate, and the ruling of the Senate Parliamentarian. Second, he didn't like the way the rules had been used; but, he offered constructive alternatives to the current state of the Rules of the Senate -- either chuck the rule in question, or enforce it better. And, he addressed the question of whether including the provision and having the bill vetoed was a better alternative than what was done. He said it was. So again, he offered a constructive alternative. Less easy, perhaps, than simply proclaiming civility and the whole notion of a deliberative body to be a sham -- but then, actually trying to do something about a problem is always harder than stating a vague generality, or simply proclaiming a situation hopeless.
declaring the only alternatives to be warlords and the like.
You're lying. I didn't declare anything of the sort. In the first instance, I used the term "warlords" in the course of asking a question. You seem to have trouble maintaining the distinction between declaratives and interrogatives -- something most of us learned in grammar school. In the second place, I explicitly indicated (by the phrase "Or what?") that your response was not limited to the specific alternatives I used merely as examples. And you knew I was asking a question -- "What is your alternative?" -- because you did in fact try to supply an answer of sorts.

After exerting your mental faculties to their utmost, you came up with
My alternative would be real limits on power.
Unfortunately, without a method of implementing this idea, it's merely an abstraction.

And you know what? People have tried putting this idea into practice! Your illustrious forebears in Athens had a system to take care of those who got too ambitious. They held an unpopularity contest, in which people could scratch the names of the most egregious offenders on shards of pottery. The "winner" of this contest was banished. The clay fragments were called "ostraca", which you may recognize as the root of a word in present-day English. Unfortunately, the process was subject to abuse, the fate of Themistocles being testament to this.

And golly gee, I seem to recall learning something in school about our whole present system of government -- deliberative assemblies and all -- being designed for the specific purpose of imposing real limits on power -- while, of course, allowing it to function as a government. But I guess if I even mention the guys who drew up our Constitution, you'll just say it's "an argument from authority, easily dismissed". Or maybe you'll say they were a bunch of mental defectives, I dunno. But I happen to think that Jefferson, Madison, et al didn't do too badly.

So, Nick, what's your plan for implementing this great idea of imposing real limits on power? Or are the messy details of actually trying to put it into practice beneath your lofty considerations?

Members of a class, especially an elite class, have economic interests in common, even as they compete through lobbyists and other forms of horse trading and powerplays
Given the usual definitions of political or economic "class", class members having common economic interests is practically a tautology. And, "class", "elite class", "horse trading", "powerplays"! Append an "om", and you've got yourself a mantra!

Having some common interests doesn't mean that everyone in a given "class" has "the same interests" (i.e. that their interests are identical, which they're clearly not), let alone that a whole class is "one material interest". I learned the difference between "some" and "all" well before high school, as well as the difference between "one" and "many". Your bakers, (who are not an example of a "class", let alone an "elite class", but, rather, a profession), though having a common interest in in wanting the price of flour to be low, might find themselves at odds with millers, fellow members in the "entrepeneurial class". And, unlike with two bakers, who can still both do well as bakers despite possibly being in competition, the price of flour isn't going to make both the millers and the bakers happy. The "entrepeneurial class" can not be "one material interest" on this question. So even if the government gets involved with setting the price of flour, the "entrepeneurial class" will not be "one material interest" regarding the issue.

And it may not be the government that has bread "declared dangerous or made illegal". You have heard of the Atkins Diet, haven't you? The popularity of low-carb diets has bread sales down. There was just a big bakers' powwow about it. Individual bakers may respond by producing low-carb baked goods, or by declaring the Atkins Diet a bunch of hooey, but I don't see much room for "horse trading" between the competing interests of bakers and the proponents of low-carb diets.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nick Mamatas
Posted on Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - 01:11 pm:   

When I look at a mess like this, I hardly know where to begin.

Let's see: The fact that rules are gotten around occasionally doesn't make them "arbitrary".

"Arbitrary" means " depending on discretion and not fixed by law." If one can change the rules or ignore them according to one's own discretion, it is arbitrary.

So, you see, it doesn't matter what you acknowledge. You made an argument about rules, I refuted them, you threw out a red herring about du jure, I refuted that, you tried to prove you point by showing that the rules were as arbitrary as I described them, I thanked you for my victory, you took a big ol' shit all over your nappies. The end. You can waddle around with a shitbirck in your pants all day and we'll smell it, even if you say "I DON'T SMELL ANYTHING!"

The text is clear. It doesn't matter what you acknowledge.

You seem to have trouble maintaining the distinction between declaratives and interrogatives

On the contrary. Because, unlike you, I'm not a victim of Asperger's Syndrome, I know that utterances have subtexts. For example, "Gee Dr. Sardonicus, what are you, the biggest dipshit in the world?" isn't actually a question. It's me, letting you know that I realize that you are the biggest dipshit in the whooooooole world.

In same way, your 'questions' about Jews and Masons, or warlords and dictators aren't really questions, they're utterances with a subtext of derision and disblief. You're about as civil as a turd squeezed into a punchbowl, sonny.

Having some common interests doesn't mean that everyone in a given "class" has "the same interests" (i.e. that their interests are identical, which they're clearly not), let alone that a whole class is "one material interest"

Ah, well this will be easy. Yes it does. "The same interests" doesn't actually map onto "identical interests and no interests held independently." Back to kindy-gar-dun for j00!

At any rate, do you even know what the term "material interest" refers to? I guess not. Perhaps you'll google it.

As far as what you learned in school about the American system and limits of power, I'll be brief and blunt: what you learned in school was inaccurate. Classical liberalism wasn't about limiting power, but limiting the power of one class for the benefit of another; it maps rather transparently onto the final decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the bourgeoisie. Maybe a little advanced study would help you out. You know, anything after 4th grade will do.

How to limit power? I think a few million people all over the world are working on that every day. Read a newspaper, perhaps you'll figure out what it is I'm talking about.

Are bakers a class? No. I was using what human beings who aren't autists call an "analogy."

but I don't see much room for "horse trading" between the competing interests of bakers and the proponents of low-carb diets

Gee, I do. How do you think ideas like the "four food groups" and more recently, "the food pyramid", which are recommendations of state agencies, are created and promulgated? Pure objective science? Of course not. Agricultural interests influenced the make-up of the food pyramid. How? Through horse trading, powerplays, and spectacle. What do you think that big NBLC powwow you allude to was about? Hand-wringing? Throwing in the towel and saying "Ah, forget about bread!" Of course not. It's about generating a spectacle, examining the "problem" and outfitting the troops to fight back.



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brian
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 07:09 am:   

Well as a a jewish freemason (admitedly one who hasn't been to temple in a while) I can assure you I don't rule the world... like to... but don't

:-)

(I'm also a shape shifting lizard- but that is my lifestyle choice- and not for you to judge.)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

paulw
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 12:24 pm:   

what goes on? Didn't a bunch of posts just get disappeared?

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | User List | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration