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Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?

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Posted on Aug 12, 2008
McCain and Saakashvili
AP photo, Mary Altaffer / Irakli Gedeniedze, pool

October comes early? Sen. John McCain and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

By Robert Scheer

Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser.

Previously, Scheunemann was best known as one of the neoconservatives who engineered the war in Iraq when he was a director of the Project for a New American Century. It was Scheunemann who, after working on the McCain 2000 presidential campaign, headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

There are telltale signs that he played a similar role in the recent Georgia flare-up. How else to explain the folly of his close friend and former employer, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, in ordering an invasion of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, an invasion that clearly was expected to produce a Russian counterreaction? It is inconceivable that Saakashvili would have triggered this dangerous escalation without some assurance from influential Americans he trusted, like Scheunemann, that the United States would have his back. Scheunemann long guided McCain in these matters, even before he was officially running foreign policy for McCain’s presidential campaign.

In 2005, while registered as a paid lobbyist for Georgia, Scheunemann worked with McCain to draft a congressional resolution pushing for Georgia’s membership in NATO. A year later, while still on the Georgian payroll, Scheunemann accompanied McCain on a trip to that country, where they met with Saakashvili and supported his bellicose views toward Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

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Scheunemann is at the center of the neoconservative cabal that has come to dominate the Republican candidate’s foreign policy stance in a replay of the run-up to the war against Iraq. These folks are always looking for a foreign enemy on which to base a new Cold War, and with the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, it was Putin’s Russia that came increasingly to fit the bill.

Yes, it sounds diabolical, but that may be the most accurate way to assess the designs of the McCain campaign in matters of war and peace. There is every indication that the candidate’s demonization of Russian leader Putin is an even grander plan than the previous use of Saddam to fuel American militarism with the fearsome enemy that it desperately needs.

McCain gets to look tough with a new Cold War to fight while Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, scrambling to make sense of a more measured foreign policy posture, will seem weak in comparison. Meanwhile, the dire consequences of the Bush legacy that McCain has inherited, from the disaster of Iraq to the economic meltdown, conveniently will be ignored. But the military-industrial complex, which has helped bankroll the neoconservatives, will be provided with an excuse for ramping up a military budget that is already bigger than that of the rest of the world combined.

What is at work here is a neoconservative, self-fulfilling prophecy in which Russia is turned into an enemy that expands its largely reduced military, and Putin is cast as the new Josef Stalin bogeyman, evoking images of the old Soviet Union. McCain has condemned a “revanchist Russia” that should once again be contained. Although Putin has been the enormously popular elected leader of post-Communist Russia, it is assumed that imperialism is always lurking, not only in his DNA but in that of the Russian people.

How convenient to forget that Stalin was a Georgian, and indeed if Russian troops had occupied the threatened Georgian town of Gori they would have found a museum still honoring the local boy, who made good by seizing control of the Russian revolution. Indeed five Russian bombs were allegedly dropped on Gori’s Stalin Square on Tuesday.

It should also be mentioned that the post-Communist Georgians have imperial designs on South Ossetia and Abkhazia. What a stark contradiction that the United States, which championed Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, now is ignoring Georgia’s invasion of its ethnically rebellious provinces.

For McCain to so fervently embrace Scheunemann’s neoconservative line of demonizing Russia in the interest of appearing tough during an election campaign is a reminder that a senator can be old and yet wildly irresponsible.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, August 21, 2008 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

Re Issywise,

“As for whose personal “judgment” is better, the last word that can be said of Obama’s is that he didn’t see through the issue of mass voter disenfranchisement. To me that’s the big story of 2008: party officials exercised a newly asserted power to disenfranchise by the million and some candidates endorsed it and—in Obama’s case, took the abuse further. Worse, the gormless public accepted it and embraced the worst offenders. What issue do you think will be more important in the long run? Who do you want exercise power in the future over deciding if you son or daughters vote should count? I say nobody. You don’t even recognize the question is before you.”
—————————————————————————-
Issywise,

I was looking at your previous posts and I guess you were referring to this one. Well, I still have no idea what you are talking about. What particular thing did Obama do or say that you are objecting to with such vehemence. You don’t even say.

This is just the sort of thing cyrena has been pointing out. When it gets down to specifics, you are not there. You just give innuendo and vague negative attacks. Put up or shut up, Issywise. Exactly what the hell are you talking about in this case, if it is a case?

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By Tony Wicher, August 21, 2008 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

To quote Bob Dylan, “...you ask why I don’t live here. Honey, do you have to ask? ...you ask me why I don’t live here. Honey, how come you don’t move?”

I’ve already told you: When Obama endorsed vote voiding by the millions, when he said the votes couldn’t be counted because HE decided not to campaign for them, when he said HE’D “allow” the millions of votes to be counted if HE got to say how they were cast—an “acceptable formula” he called it, he lost my vote forever. I’ve seen to the bottom of his soul and at his core he’s a self-promoter without a democratic impulse in his bones.
—————————————————————————-
Issywise,

I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I suppose I missed some previous post of yours. Would you mind giving me a clue?

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By Folktruther, August 21, 2008 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Do I think that the US, Cyrena, needs a military for Defense.  No, not much of one.  Neither Canada, Mexico or Grenada, or Cuba is going to invade, and a reduced navy can help keep the sealanes open.  For defending the territrory of the US, a tenth or a twenty of the current military is necessary.

If a candidate were to announce that he or she is eliminting nine tenths of the military and using the money to povide necessities for the population, I have no doubt that the population would be for it. 

But the population does not determine policy; the power structure does, led by the ruling class.  They need the military, police and other gunmen to protect themselves against the population.  The inner meaning of Defense in American ideology is defense of the power structure, not defense of the population.

Issy, during the US War on Communism, when the US led the Free World against the red menace, marxist theory and marxism was largely repressed in the US.  As the British historian Francis Conor Saunders has documented in WHO PAID THE PIPER?, the CIA and other agencies funded anti-communism liberals to attack communism and marxism.  That is why the US was oneof the only countries to have a progressive movement of liberalism rather than socialism, liberalism being a conservative movement in most European countries.

During McCarthyism, begun under Truman, who instituted Loyalty Oaths, marxists and radicals were fired from their jobs and their careers destroyed.  Simultaneously the FBI infiltrated progressive movements and manipulated, imprisoned and murdered progressives, often minorities.

As a consequence marxism, and socialism, was largely wiped out of US public debate in the 20th century.  The attacks on it were usually of the form of distorting it to set up straw men and knocking them down, but the Educated were inevitably genuinely ignorant of what Marx, and Marxists, advocated, since no free discourse was permitted in the mainstream truth.

I have to say however that you are the first truther that I have ever read, and I have read many, that concieved Marx as “Naive”, as you discribed his views on another post.  You may have formulated a profound new insight into marxism, Issy, but you have to understand that the poor man did not have your enoormous insight in political and social reality to guide him.

You appear, Issy, to value the counting of votes above all things politically, and this value has led you, with your accostomed insight into the power process, to vote for the first time in your life for a Republican president.  Many TD truthers have pointed out the, um, disjuction between your premisses and conclusions.  To no avail I would suspect.

Ed Harges suggested with the same logic, now that the price of gas is so high,  you might want to buy a gas guzzling truck, perhaps a semi.  I understand that Hummers are going at a quite reasonable price.  You might consider one because that is as close as you are going to get to the reasonable in this election.

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By Anarcissie, August 21, 2008 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher: ’... Another thing that people with a Marxist bent always seem to forget is that while powerful interests within the “ruling class” may conflict with the interests of “the people” as a whole, they may also be the same as those of the people as a whole. The rational self-interest of a truly enlightened ruling class is for peace and prosperity for society as a whole, from the top all the way to the bottom. ...’

I think much of what you say here is debatable.  I’ll forgo explicating my doubts about anyone knowing what people with a Marxist bent always forget; it seems likely to me that any sane person not doing propaganda would agree that the interests and desires of rulers and ruled often coincide. 

However, universal peace and properity do not strike me as useful to a ruling class, because its raison d’être, its stock in trade, its excuse, is efficient leadership through conflict and crisis: military leadership in time of war, corporate leadership in the struggle for ever-increasing production, and authority at all times to guarantee security against monsters and bogeymen.  What use would a competent, happy, unthreatened people have for rulers?  Hence a good deal of the work of a ruling class must be to provide and regulate the elements of danger, scarcity and disorder which make it necessary.

Beyond that, I have to question whether people with a thirst for power over others can ever be accurately called “enlightened”.  They seem like exemplars of mental disease to me, and sure enough, frequently fall prey to breakdowns of self-control, intelligence and decency ranging from cheesy marital infidelities to world wars.

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By Anarcissie, August 21, 2008 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Issywise: ’... Oh, get off it: you can’t hide in self-created fuzziness. Marx wasn’t talking in aspirational terms.  He, unlike you, was precise in his advocacy as well as his criticism. He specifically rejects democracy as a mode of governance because—he believed, democracy would always serve the business and professional classes at the expense of unskilled workers. ...’

Well, I haven’t read everything Marx wrote, but what I have read was pretty short on specifics for either carrying out revolution or administering the subsequent socialist state.  I am not the only one to get this impression.  According to the Manifesto the capitalist order is going to just naturally fall apart because of its contradictions, and the working class, disciplined by its role in industrial production, is just going to have power fall in its lap and will know what to do with it, too.  Meanwhile, while waiting for the great day, Communists are instructed to vote like Social Democrats (where voting is permitted).  In short, a lot of handwaving.

If you have any quotes or cites to the contrary I’d like to know about them.  Give chapter and verse if possible; I have a lot of things to do besides wade broadly through Marx’s writings just now.

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By Tony Wicher, August 21, 2008 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, August 21 at 7:58 am #


Tony Wicher: ‘… There is no such thing as “the ruling class”, but only various powerful interests competing for political control. These interests are not monolithic, range from the reactionary to the progressive like those at lower levels of the social pyramid. ...’


A ruling class does not have to be monolithic to be a ruling class.  Consider the various lords and chieftains of the Middle Ages, who often fought with one another.  Surely they constituted a ruling class, regardless of their conflicts.

However, a member of a ruling class who goes substantially against the interests or common desires of the class as a whole will almost certainly be severely disciplined or eliminated, especially in societies like our own which are much wealthier, technologically advanced, and more thoroughly organized than those of the Middle Ages.  In the U.S, members of the ruling class are allowed to profess a wide variety of ideologies including ones which contradict the class system, like freedom and equality, as long as they don’t do too much about them, but this should not be mistaken for significant practical conflict. 
——————————————————————————
Another thing that people with a Marxist bent always seem to forget is that while powerful interests within the “ruling class” may conflict with the interests of “the people” as a whole, they may also be the same as those of the people as a whole. The rational self-interest of a truly enlightened ruling class is for peace and prosperity for society as a whole, from the top all the way to the bottom.

These powerful interests say and do whatever they have the power to do. There is no one to “allow” somebody like, say, Warren Buffet to say what they while “punishing” them for actually doing something. Warren Buffet has criticized the Bush Administration for ruining the U.S. economy with its tax cuts, and has both advocated and done whatever is in his power to get his friend Barack Obama elected. That is he favors income redistribution and and greater economic equality because he thinks it will help the whole economy and the people as a whole, including Berhshire-Hathaway, of course. No one is going to “punish” him for this.

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By Paracelsus, August 21, 2008 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

The Other Wrecking Crew

http://www.prisonplanet.com/potential-obama-vp-is-pro-war-pro-patriot-act-neo-con.html

Evan Bayh served with John McCain on neocon Committee for the Liberation of Iraq to propagandize for invasion in 2003

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The man who many are tipping to become Barack Obama’s running mate is a pro-war, pro-patriot act, Bilderberg member who was an honorary co-chair of the neocon Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a group that aggressively propagandized for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Ladies and gentlemen - meet Senator Evan Bayh.

“Top Democratic Party officials are expecting Sen. Barack Obama to select Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh as his running mate as early as midweek,” according to US News and World Report.

So exactly where do the sympathies of the Indiana Senator lie and do they jive with Barack Obama’s proclaimed platitude to be offering “change” in the upcoming presidential election?

(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)


According to Wikipedia, “On October 2, 2002, Bayh joined President George W. Bush and Congressional leaders in a Rose Garden ceremony announcing their agreement on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War, and was thanked by Bush and Senator John McCain for co-sponsoring the resolution.”

Not only that, but Bayh served as an honorary co-chair of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq along with John McCain, Obama’s Republican adversary.

As Talking Points Memo notes, “The Committee is a neo-con group that was formed to propagandize the country into war. It boasted such illustrious neocon members as Bill Kristol, former CIA director James Woolsey, and even McCain senior foreign policy adviser and Chalabi-bamboozler Randy Scheunemann.”

In a February 2006 interview with the Washington Post, Bayh “refused, as some of his fellow Senators already had, to renounce his support for the war”.

Bayh also voted for the re-authorization of the USA Patriot Act in 2006.

The Senator is also a keen supporter of the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, having previously described his “lifelong affection for the state of Israel” at an AIPAC luncheon.

Bayh has warned that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon, despite the National Intelligence Estimate having refuted this claim, and the Senator has also introduced sanctions against Iran, repeatedly denouncing the country with heated rhetoric on national television.

Bayh is also a Bilderberg Group kingpin, having not only attended its meeting but also giving a keynote speech at their 1999 confab in Sintra, Portugal.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Bayh is nothing more than another pro-war, pro destruction of the constitution, elitist neocon scumbag. What makes him more dangerous is that he is - just like Obama himself - a wolf in sheep’s clothing, camouflaging himself amidst the mindless rhetoric of “change” while in reality representing nothing more than the status quo.

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By Tony Wicher, August 21, 2008 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

By cyrena, August 21 at 1:22 am #

So really folktruther, in all reality, once we break down your basic con, we see what this is about. It’s pretty much in the same vein as the old Max Shields technique. Just keep twisting these things that Obama is allegedly ‘for’ or ‘backs’ or ‘against’ if only by innuendo, to make it appear as something the opposite of what it actually is. Some may be fooled. Others are not. At least not anybody who’s work involves contemplating and evaluating such arguments. I’m a scholar Folktruther. You would FAIL every exam.
——————————————————————————-
You are a scholar, cyrena (more of one than me) and this post demonstrates both the solidity of your research and your powers of conceptual elucidation. Keep it up!

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By Issywise, August 21, 2008 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie

I visited your site. You’re right, I don’t see much practicality, but when you get right down to it….what the heck do I know? Sorry for all the ranting. I’ll shut up and leave this a less noisy place.

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By Issywise, August 21, 2008 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

———-
By “dictatorship of the proletariat”, Marx probably meant a government or general social order in which the needs, interests and desires of the working class were paramount…  I don’t think any specific political structure or action was implied by the phrase.
———————————-

Oh, get off it: you can’t hide in self-created fuzziness. Marx wasn’t talking in aspirational terms.  He, unlike you, was precise in his advocacy as well as his criticism. He specifically rejects democracy as a mode of governance because—he believed, democracy would always serve the business and professional classes at the expense of unskilled workers.

Marx specifically insists, like Hobbs, that all political power must be focused dictatorially into few hands. He wasn’t talking about amorphous social orders. He was advocation a specific governmental form and structure.  Just as democracy isn’t amorphous, nor was his advocated alternative.

Not only that, Marx tells his readers that dictatorship is necessary because there is an inevitable historical dialectic that requires a dictatorship to bring on a following utopia. Do you buy that Hegelian crap?

He didn’t mumble or muddle up his prescription: he was clear as a bell and you are trying to either hide from that truth to conceal your own true advocacy of his alternative to democracy.

Below, you muddled up what democracy means—making it some amorphous cultural movement. It is a concrete form of government with real, required structures. You read purple fuzzies into Marx’s equally clear red prescription for how we should be governed.

If your criticism is so powerful, there should be a corresponding constructive offering. You still haven’t articulated one. You slip-slide away holding onto your role as a critic without assuming the duty to also be an advocate on behalf of a better future.

You don’t believe in democracy. You don’t believe Marx was a authoritarian.  What do you believe in?

I think all of the humanistic impulses Marx expressed can be accommodated by democracy, if people put the time and energy into it. Standing aloof and pointing at failures is not putting the time and energy into it. Rejecting alternatives by redefining them into something they are not is also is also not putting the time and energy into it.

Wishing for a better world and not having any positive steps to take toward it is perhaps gratifying, but it ain’t all that useful.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 21, 2008 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher: ’... There is no such thing as “the ruling class”, but only various powerful interests competing for political control. These interests are not monolithic, range from the reactionary to the progressive like those at lower levels of the social pyramid. ...’

A ruling class does not have to be monolithic to be a ruling class.  Consider the various lords and chieftains of the Middle Ages, who often fought with one another.  Surely they constituted a ruling class, regardless of their conflicts.

However, a member of a ruling class who goes substantially against the interests or common desires of the class as a whole will almost certainly be severely disciplined or eliminated, especially in societies like our own which are much wealthier, technologically advanced, and more thoroughly organized than those of the Middle Ages.  In the U.S, members of the ruling class are allowed to profess a wide variety of ideologies including ones which contradict the class system, like freedom and equality, as long as they don’t do too much about them, but this should not be mistaken for significant practical conflict.  As evidence, consider the very persistent resort to armed force characteristic of the U.S. government since World War 2 regardless of the party in power or the ideology being proclaimed.  It should tell you something.

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By Issywise, August 21, 2008 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

cann4ing

You say: republicans are “ruthless fascists;” McCain is “the embodiment of a radically subversive movement..bent on destroying the United States Constitution and the rule of law;” say the conservatives have “worked tirelessly over the past forty years to radically alter the federal judiciary, replacing judges devoted to upholding the civil liberties protected by the constitution with judges devoted to creating a president with unchecked, dictatorial powers.”

I do not agree conservatives are “ruthless fascists” and I doubt John McCain is radically bent on destroying the rule of law. I can disagree with someone without demonizing them.

I do not think the right’s interest in court appointments has had anything to do with “creating a president with unchecked, dictatorial powers.” You ignore that they know that some presidents will not be of their ilk–such has been the case in at least 13 of the last 40 years.

I do admit there are important things at stake in the appointments to the federal judiciary. The conservatives, while not desiring a dictator presidency, have wanted the judiciary to gut reform legislation by interpretation, to apply a Herbert Spencer economic philosophy to all commercial issue litigated and to allow a breaking-down of the wall between church and state.

On the church and state issue, Obama is no better than McCain. Obama—the office seeker, is courting politicized religious organizations just as fervently McCain is.  He wishes to tuck them into his “governing coalition,” just as Bush desired. Barack is sure some “new kind of politician.”

You obviously haven’t read Boumediene v. Bush (2008) nor Al Odah v. United States (2004)–the Bush era habeas corpus opinions. Perhaps, you’ve never even read the constitutional provision regarding habeas corpus—- U.S. Const.  Art. I, Sec. 8 and Art. III, Sec 2. Congress has the power to suspend the writ and to regulate the reach of the courts’ jurisdiction to issue it.

Both of these Bush era cases had nothing to do with the power of the presidency. In both cases, the relevant and dispositive legal consideration was the intent of Congress in passing laws that regulate habeas corpus. The cases absolutely were not about presidential powers.

Now, I know this is a surprise to you because the press–and particularly the partisan and ideological part of the press played-up both of these cases as fights between good and evil. Excuse me for interjecting facts where agitated opinion can apparently more comfortably serve.

Finally, getting back to how much difference this election will make, both men, if elected, can only choose judicial candidates who stand a chance of being confirmed by the senate. For a president from the senate’s majority party, this means he must be able to muster 61 votes to close a filibuster. For a minority party president, this means he must accommodate the wishes of the majority in the senate.

Obama isn’t a golden bullet, What’s needed is more programmatic. Deeper commitment in the general public to opposing the accommodation of the zealous minority demanding a politicized judiciary and a tighter accountability by leaders to the alert desire of that public.  Obama can’t and won’t bring around either of those changes. He is one of the more than 41 senators whom had the power to block Roberts and Alito, but chose not to do it.

You ignore Obama’s endorsement of vote voiding and manipulations of the voided votes to enhance his personal chances. Are those completely irrelevant to your world view? Not mine.

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By cann4ing, August 21, 2008 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

“finger-in-the-wind decision making”?  Issy, the one thing you are not is “wise.”  While it is true that the corporate sector of the Democratic Party has been far too willing to compromise principle for political expediency, the base line of the ruthless fascists who now call themselves Republicans is that they could care less what the vast majority of Americans either need or desire.

You say “there isn’t a bucket worth of piss difference” between Obama and McCain.  I say that you are full of that brown sticky substance and have no clue what you are talking about.  I say that John McCain is the embodiment of a radically subversive movement that is bent on destroying the United States Constitution and the rule of law; that this hard-right movement has worked tirelessly over the past forty years to radically alter the federal judiciary, replacing judges devoted to upholding the civil liberties protected by the constitution with judges devoted to creating a president with unchecked, dictatorial powers that are greater than those held by the British monarch at the time of the American Revolution.

There can be no greater example of the fundamental difference than their respective positions on Boumediene where Obama praised the slender 5-4 decision holding that the provisions of the Military Commission’s Act which purported to suspend the right of habeas corpus—the right to challenge executive detention in a court of law which dates back to the Magna Carta—as unconstitutional, whereas McCain sided with the four jurists from the Robert Bork-founded, Richard Mellon Scaife funded Federalist Society.

Obama, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Law School who went on to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, gives every indication that he will take serious the constitutional obligation of every president to faithfully execute the law.  McCain, the son of privilege who barely scraped through Annapolis, graduating 894th in a class of 899, gives every indication that he will complete the dismantling of the constitution, trampling on the rule of law in the same manner as Bush/Cheney.

Can’t see the difference?  Then take off your ideological blinders.

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By Anarcissie, August 21, 2008 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

Issywise—it’s the forms of government that we observe now that put blood in the streets.  The supposedly democratic United States attacks other countries regularly, and there is plenty of repression and unnecessary state violence at home, too, so apparently democracy / liberalism / capitalism are not solving the problem.

I don’t think I’ve given an exposition of my positive suggestions on this web site.  There is a sketch of some ideas at http://www.1freeworld.org, but I am pretty sure you will find them impractical.

By “dictatorship of the proletariat”, Marx probably meant a government or general social order in which the needs, interests and desires of the working class were paramount, as opposed to a “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie” which is what he observed around him in Germany and Great Britain, in which the needs, interests and desires of the bourgeoisie were paramount.  I don’t think any specific political structure or action was implied by the phrase.  In any case I don’t care very much.  Marx is not my bible and I don’t have to practice close interpretation of every phrase to know what to think and do.

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By Issywise, August 21, 2008 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher

To quote Bob Dylan, “...you ask why I don’t live here. Honey, do you have to ask? ...you ask me why I don’t live here. Honey, how come you don’t move?”

I’ve already told you: When Obama endorsed vote voiding by the millions, when he said the votes couldn’t be counted because HE decided not to campaign for them, when he said HE’D “allow” the millions of votes to be counted if HE got to say how they were cast—an “acceptable formula” he called it, he lost my vote forever. I’ve seen to the bottom of his soul and at his core he’s a self-promoter without a democratic impulse in his bones.

Folks here bitch about all kinds of things and don’t have the insight to notice that none of it will be improved until a functioning democracy is restored. I do not want to put-in office for four or eight years a man with Mr. Obama’s lack of democratic values.

There isn’t a bucket of piss worth of difference between him and McCain. McCain will accommodate the Christian right with court appointment, true and Obama will have to make appointments that can slip past a conservative filibuster in the Senate. Either will follow economic and taxation policies that serve the people who’ve bellied up to the trough and put down the hundreds of millions of dollars that got the winner his job. Both’s foreign policy will be governed by geopolitical realities; neither will walk blind-eyed ideologically through foreign affairs—meaning both will be different from Bush. Both will accommodate the propensities of a Congress that will go through this election largely un-refocused. 

Both will govern by a finger-in-the-wind approach to decision-making. Both are standing for election on positions that they’d toss out with the garbage if a mild expedience could be served.

As for whose personal “judgment” is better, the last word that can be said of Obama’s is that he didn’t see through the issue of mass voter disenfranchisement. To me that’s the big story of 2008: party officials exercised a newly asserted power to disenfranchise by the million and some candidates endorsed it and—in Obama’s case, took the abuse further. Worse, the gormless public accepted it and embraced the worst offenders. What issue do you think will be more important in the long run? Who do you want exercise power in the future over deciding if you son or daughters vote should count? I say nobody. You don’t even recognize the question is before you.

Let me ask you a question you persistent needler: What do you think should be more important to me than having my vote counted? I’ll give you my answer to whatever you suggest in advance:

Having votes count and matter is the only truly radical proposal being floated in this pool of discontent. It is the only change that will bring about the changes all of the malcontents here aspire for. Yet, some of here offer no alternative to the status quo they hate, others suggest restoration of the ancient governing default of authoritarian rule—Marxist or Theological; and still a third group think electing a man vetted by the system will somehow result in a change in the system.

I won’t vote for Obama because I think it is YOU that is wrong.

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By Issywise, August 21, 2008 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie

If you are reading Uncle Karl for poetry purposes than I suppose you do not endorse his dictatorship of the proletariat alternative to democracy. But you articulate all of his indictments of it and offer no positive alternative (realistic—a simultaneous worldwide overthrow of nation-states ain’t realistic).

It seems to me that people who have so much criticism and heap so much scorn on the status quo should offer solutions somewhat proportional to their bile venting.

I ask again, do you offer a positive program?

Mine is repairing our sick democracy. Make voting the true center of the political process—one-person one-vote as a universal rule, criminalize manipulation of the voting process, pass laws to ensure the public airways marketplace of ideas serves the democracy rather than the owners of of the outlet.

Is too mamby-pamby for you? Do you need to see blood in the streets to know some good is being done.

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By cyrena, August 21, 2008 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

I of II

Folktruther, August 20 at 12:50 pm

Yep, I’ve read it Folktruther. A global sequel to the God Father, eh? I’m perfectly familiar with the habits of economic hit men and their accomplices. They’re generally in the same line of work as any other gangsters, and the global version is no different than the same version that has existed here since long before my own appearance. In both current and former US regimes, the gangsters are in DC, and the targets are global. Not a new thing there. The US has been overthrowing (by economic corruption and/or assassination) foreign regimes for close to a Century. A more knowledgeable historian can probably take it further back than that. The CIA is always in the mix, and they answer only to the president. Or, in the current case, Dick Cheney et al.

But, we’re back to your same tactics in this post. There’s a term for this that I simply cannot call to mind right now, but it’s the continuation of what I’ve already suggested. You say here:

•  “While it is true, Cyrena, that Obama at the present time doens’t back a missile defense system in Poland, he equivicates.  He is not for it because He says he is not sure it would work.  It is in reality, as he very well knows, a first strike capacity based against Russia.

YOU interpret this as ‘equivocation’ when as a lawyer, he probably means what this says. Foremost, he’s NOT for it. Period. If he offers up the reason that he doesn’t think it will work, (for whatever the gangster regime gives as a reason) so what? So what if he knows that it is a first strike capacity on Russia? He’s NOT FOR IT! How much clearer does a presidential candidate need to be?

Any person with any concept of reality and real politick, would KNOW that cautious people don’t commit themselves to shit that is clearly uncertain. I’m tired of citing examples of this in Obama’s case, because they are readily available to all. He’s been saying forever now, that we NEED TO TALK TO IRAN! He said it again last week, mentioning *again* that we cannot make any kinds of recommendations and/or confirm any potential actions when we don’t have a clear picture of what the Iranians want, or would be willing to negotiate on, because nobody in the current gangster cabal will talk to them. They have used the demonizing propaganda for years now, and there’s never been the least bit of an attempt by anybody other than the IAEA and reports like the NIE, to know.

Since the current regime refuses to accept the validity of that information, (Iran is NOT developing weapons, but advancing their civilian program) the plans for Iran have continued to be on target with the original Cheney-Neocon agenda. Obama, (OUTSIDE) the neocon agenda isn’t about to make any definite commitments to anything that he cannot verify himself, and specifically by talking directly to Iran himself.

Now I know this may seem really ‘odd’ to some ideologically challenged people, but the reality is that it’s pure and simple good sense pragmatism. It’s statesmanship. It’s solving problems by finding out what the hell is going on first. As a Jr. Senator, he can’t possibly be privy to all of the shit the gangsters have been cooking up, since Cheney has the most secret organization in the history of the US. MEATIME, erring on the side of caution is standard behavior for any intelligent specimen of humanity.
So when he says that he doesn’t back the missile shield plan, it’s the same as saying, I’m not signing on the dotted line here, because I don’t like the language in the deal. If YOU think it means that he’s saying that he isn’t willing to sign on to provoking a war with Russia, (which is what you imply here, or it can be interpreted that way) then ALL THE BETTER. IOW, according to you, HE KNOWS that it represents a first strike capacity against Russia, (and Russia obviously sees it as such) and..HE NOT BUYING IT. Again, you make my case.

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By cyrena, August 21, 2008 at 2:22 am Link to this comment

II
•  “…He has already stated that the military (nuclear?) option must be left open to attack Iran…”
When has he said that the “nuclear” option was to be left open to attack Iran? You at least had enough sense to put the question mark in, but since when has a ‘military’ option, WHICH THE US HAS BEEN USING SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD FOR THE PAST SEVERAL DECADES, included as SOP, a NUCLEAR option?

And if you’re so clear on all that Obama is ‘for’ or what he ‘backs’, why are you not aware of the multiple commitments he’s made to the complete ELIMINATION of nuclear weapons? Some of us may be more aware of that than others, just because (such as in my case) it’s been a cause I’ve been dedicated to for years, and my own organization (The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation) has communicated with him on this. Even so, if you’ve paid any attention to any of his speeches, (the most recent mention included in his speech in Berlin) you’d know damn well that his own stated commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons hardly comports with a threat to use them against Iran or anybody else. It’s the mere fact that Pakistan DOES have the things in such a destabilized environment that would speak to his concern. (and should to anybody, unless you’re one of the “Near Ender’s, calling for a ‘bring it on’ of the destruction of the Planet).

So really folktruther, in all reality, once we break down your basic con, we see what this is about. It’s pretty much in the same vein as the old Max Shields technique. Just keep twisting these things that Obama is allegedly ‘for’ or ‘backs’ or ‘against’ if only by innuendo, to make it appear as something the opposite of what it actually is. Some may be fooled. Others are not. At least not anybody who’s work involves contemplating and evaluating such arguments. I’m a scholar Folktruther. You would FAIL every exam.

As for Afghanistan, he may change his mind on that as well. He’s got 5 months to watch what happens there, and contrary to the case that Blue Eagle was trying to make, (Obama’s decisions being those of his campaign adviser’s decisions, like Brzezinski) even he doesn’t think this is such a good idea, possibly because of his own mistakes in the past. Same goes for Pakistan. The have a new regime now, and may well fix the situation there themselves. It has always been clear that Obama’s frustration with that situation has been the huge amounts of money provided to Pakistan/Musharraf, for basically doing nothing.
As for adding to the military in capacities such as the Peace Corps, or any of the other functions that military personnel have historically done, that seems like a no-brainer to for any American that isn’t comatose. Have you been paying ANY attention lately, to the destruction of that part of the military that is represented by human beings? Have you noticed that if there is an emergency here at home, (Katrina comes to mind, as well as multiple others since) our NATIONAL Guard is otherwise occupied?

There’s another vague lie by innuendo and distortion that ‘your coalition’ keeps floating; this so-called ‘increased military spending’. Do you have a breakdown for us on that? Like how this supposed ‘increase’ is to be spent. Does anyone consider that the military used to be called the Department of DEFENSE, because most countries have them, (militaries) for that explicit purpose; to DEFEND themselves, as opposed to waging aggressive wars on the rest of the globe. Do you not suppose we might be in need of such a DEFENSIVE force – after decades of pissing off the rest of the world? If so, we DON’T have it now! We might be able to repair it to a degree if we close those 700+ bases, and bring our military home. But right now, we’re in pretty sad shape here on the home front, with most of our people either away, or here, but wounded, and homeless. Do ya think that ‘increased spending’ you can’t site might be used to take care of some of THEM? I damn sure hope so.

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By Tony Wicher, August 21, 2008 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

cann4ing, August 20 at 10:11 pm #


Anyone who cannot see the fundamental differences between McCain and Obama is either blind or intellectually dishonest.
————————————————————————
cann4ing,

So it seems to to me too. Of course folktruther will say that we are deluded by government propaganda into thinking there is a difference when in reality there is none, or not enough to matter very much.
For him the ruling class is in control in either case; what we call democracy is a sham, an illusion produced by the mainstream media at the bidding of their corporate masters. This concept is far too simplistic. There is no such thing as “the ruling class”, but only various powerful interests competing for political control. These interests are not monolithic, range from the reactionary to the progressive like those at lower levels of the social pyramid. They contend for political power within the ruling class as within the rest of the population, and they do so within the field of electoral politics as we know it. Sure a candidate cannot win without representing some powerful interests, but it matters a lot which ones. The whole U.S. economy has been hurt by the antics of the Bush administration, and much of corporate America other than oil companies and defense contractors are not happy about that.

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By cann4ing, August 20, 2008 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

folktruther, like George Bush you see the world through a Manichaein lens, albeit from the left rather than right. 

While I agree that Obama is far too cozy with the corporate global project, I think you underestimate the complexity of the man and the fundamental differences between he and John McCain.  The fact is that progressives are faced with a fundamental choice—throw one’s vote away on Nader or McKinney, permitting the final slide into a fascist America via a permanent majority on the Supreme Court of radicals in robes devoted to the concept of a lawless “Unitary Executive” with unchecked, dictatorial power, as McCain marches us irrevocably off an economic and perhaps even a nuclear cliff, or elect Obama while working diligently through the PDA to replace but Repugs and corporate sector Dems in Congress and local governments with real progressives prepared to take on the military-industrial complex, the corporate security state and the corporate global project.

This constant idiocy of some on the left that things have to continue to get worse before the People can be awakened from their slumber is a fools errand that has caused untold death and misery these past eight years.  Anyone who cannot see the fundamental differences between McCain and Obama is either blind or intellectually dishonest.

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By Folktruther, August 20, 2008 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

While it is true, Cyrena, that Obama at the present time doens’t back a missile defense system in Poland, he equivicates.  He is not for it because He says he is not sure it would work.  It is in reality, as he very well knows, a first strike capacity based against Russia. 

He has already stated that the military (nuclear?) option must be left open to attack Iran.  He is for INCREASING the military in Afghanistan and EXCALATING THE WAR TO PAKISTAN, A NUCLEAR NATION.  He is for increasing the amount of money and personaell of the military.  His proposal to withdraw combat troops from Iraq is a guise for leaving in three hundred thousand contractors.

I agree with Blue Eagle that a vote for Obama is a vote for war, possibly nuclear war.  A vote for McCain is a vote for a greater possiblity of such a war.  They are both instruments of Dem and Gop neocons.  Obama is smarter and more stable.  But they are both the instruments of evil.

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By Sepharad, August 20, 2008 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The thing I love about Truthdig posters is that we start out with a discrete subject—Georgia and the Russians—and it devolves into disquisitons on Marxism v. capitalism, the nature and problems of democracy, the imperialist nature of (fill in the blank), alleged Zionist conspiracies and possibilities of Israel colonizing America, discovering who individual posters are going to vote for in the US Presidential election, nature of a free press, the free marketplace of ideas theory, and whether vetted/referreed books and journals are better or worse intellectual nutrition than website musings. In my opinion the former is better intellectual nutrition, but the latter is more appealing in this interactive age—but only as useful as the information each commentator brings to it, filtered through each of our biases and experiences and—hopefully—non-drug-enhanced reading of stuff printed on paper. (My bias there is that as a retired journalist, mag editor, FoI and civil rights activist, now historian and writer, it pains me to see smaller newspapers and presses disappear while the larger ones shrink and shrink and make more and more use of wire services.) Anyway, my husband handed me a book—he wants me to lighten up—both informative and entertaining that touches on many things we argue about here and gives just about everyone on this thread something they can agree with—amazing in itself—and laugh at. (“Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present.” by Michael B. Oren.)

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By Tony Wicher, August 20, 2008 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

Re cyrena, August 20 at 5:57 pm

I’m testing Issywise by making him defend his stated preference for McCain. Issywise or Issynotwise? Let us find out.

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By Tony Wicher, August 20, 2008 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

By Issywise, August 20 at 7:11 am #

These are not often openly acknowledged because these critics understand their seat in the choir would be lost if they proposed what they see as an positive program that they know others will see as ideological wackiness.
——————————————————————————
Issy,

There is no “choir” here. I have not noticed that any two people posting here agree about everything, and posters run the gamut from left-wing radicals like Folktruther and Anarcisse to progressive Democrats like cyrena and me to disgruntled Clintonistas like Maani to Ron Paul libertarians to centrists like you, to more right-wing Republicans like Russ to anti-Semites like Saggy and Jojo to to extreme Zionists like Howard and Lefty to Palestinian sympathizers like Fadel and Robert to Ron Paul libertarians. I enjoy being here in this fine political zoo. I will agree with you that this blog tends to attract more people somewhere on the left of the political spectrum, and that is indeed why I am here - because I also have my roots in the left, but I wish the left to avoid the mistakes it has made in the past, mistakes which have led to forty years of right-wing reaction, culminating in the second Bush Administration. That’s why I’m joining with you in regretting the negative tone, the vitriol, the carping criticism that you read in so many of these posts.

But if you say you’re voting for McCain, you have an argument on your hands from me, because unlike the posters you are rightly complaining about, I do offer a positive and realistic alternative, namely, the election of Barack Obama. Unlike those posters, I believe in American democracy enough to think there is a huge difference between McCain and Obama. One represents further reaction, more war, the continuation of neocon policies of world domination, a new cold war, the bankrupting of the country through military adventures…and that’s just foreign policy. Don’t get me started on domestic policy! Obama, my positive alternative, represents a turn toward diplomacy, a policy that seeks peace instead of war, one that will strengthen international alliances and international law and will actually be affected by considerations of human rights, at least to some extent. Like I said, don’t even get me started on the domestic policy differences!

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By cyrena, August 20, 2008 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

By Tony Wicher, August 19 at 9:17 pm

•  “The name is Wicher, not “Wicker”. It’s also not “Wincher”, OK, cyrena? Sorry to be persnickety about it.  Incidentally, you two seem to have some kind of bad chemistry between you. Your differences seem to be more personal than political…just an observation. “

~~~~~

Tony, you’re correct about the bad blood, though I couldn’t quite figure out how and why it got going, at least until very recently. It appeared to kick off with a ‘reaction’ from Issywise to a comment he choose to take out of context and zero in on, in reference to a book review on The Kingmakers. HE took it out of context, when everyone else observing seemed to get the overall point. Specifically, the WEST (including Western Europe) has a history of imperialism and colonization dating back at least 500 years. In short “The West” has a history of invasion, occupation, and colonization on many continents and sub-regions/continents. For instance, the British, French, and Spanish occupation of North America (when just us Indians were here). The British in India. A whole bunch of them in Africa. (list too long to name), and of course the Middle East and parts of Asia. This is history, and we know it to be historical fact. We also know it to be historical fact that the Euros who perpetrated this extended practice over several centuries, (AND CONTINUES to do so), happen to be white. There’s nothing much to be argued on that, since it’s just the way facts come down. It’s not a good or bad, or a evil v goodness thing. It’s just the way it is. At the same time, it just also happens to be that the ‘targets’ in these multiple imperial projects have been, 99% of the time, (and continue to be) areas occupied by people of color. Having run though all of this very obvious history, (even for one with only a rudimentary knowledge of geography) I made the off-hand (summary) comment, that it might appear to be culturally genetic in white people, to advance this imperialism.

Now Issywise just went totally off the deep-end, when anyone else, (removing themselves from the emotionalism of it all) could and would take it in stride. Not him. So, that at least ‘appears’ to be what kicked it off. But, the more I read, the more I realize there to be a very specific and personal agenda with Issywise, based on whatever…I cannot know. Still, it let to the standard accusations of me being racist. (he was REALLY annoyed with Fadel, so that might be where it began even sooner). All of that said, a careful read of his stuff will confirm that Issywise ‘interprets’ things in his own manner, and with full hubris, assumes that everyone else should interpret them in the same manner.

All of that said, he also goes on and on about others failing to offer alternative POSITIVE suggestions, even when the subject matter is inappropriate for such. In other words, when the discussions involve any sort of theoretical (as opposed to practical or relative) analysis, he can’t tell the difference. He also can’t take objective criticism, or any other fact based counter to his arguments. It’s always very visceral reaction from him, even though he attempts to use intellectual theories to support them. (or vice versa).

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By cyrena, August 20, 2008 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

Part 2

At any rate, it finally dawned on me, (and only last night) that Issywise has been here before under at least one other identity. Do you remember Ardee, from about a 18 or so months ago? I can’t remember if you were posting at the time. Anyway, not that it’s all that important, but I remember now, that “Ardee” was one of the first posters to respond to a post that I made, when I first began participating on this site. He didn’t stay around long, for the same reasons that he’s now complaining about, in all of the other posts. IOW, he’s inclined to pick up his marbles and go home, if he cannot dominate the discussion, or if he doesn’t like what he hears. That is a difficult position to maintain on a forum such as this, which really (as we know) is not that strictly monitored. So, one needs a thicker skin that Ardee/Issywise seems to have been able to acquire. Everybody has issues. He’s one with as many as the NYT.

An example is his comment about posters on this site having suggested that the US should convert to Islamic Shari’a Law, and that it would be helpful in countering imperialism. That’s pure bullshit, since no one has suggested anything of the sort. There was the very briefest of mentions of Shari’a Law in a comment or two, (and I don’t even remember who first mentioned it) but NO ONE has ever suggested (at least not on these threads) that it should be incorporated into the US legal system. And, while several people (including me) have asked him to point to such a thing, he cannot.

As I said, everyone has issues, and that includes me. My huge obsession is with anyone making claims that they cannot substantiate, or failing to clearly state the difference between fact and their opinion. It makes me crazy, just as do rumors, lies, exaggerations, innuendo, distortion and all the rest.

So, even while I’m very liberal and tolerant of the views of others, believing that there are rarely any ‘specifically” *right* answers to theoretical questions, there ARE *wrong* ones. More to the point though, when I hear or read someone, (ANYONE) make a statement that is patently FALSE, and particularly in an accusatory manner, I’m likely to call them on it.  When people do that, the circumstances generally fall under a couple of broad categories. Either they don’t know that it is FALSE information, and they are simply repeating what they’ve heard, oftentimes throwing their own bias in the repeating of it. Other times, people are CLEARLY AWARE that what they are saying is patently false, and the disinformation is intentional.

I just noted an example of this with Blue Eagle on another thread, when he claims (as fact) that Obama ‘backs’ the missile shield program for Eastern Europe. That is patently FALSE. Then he goes on to say that a vote for Obama is a vote for the same perpetual war, even though it may be disguised as peace, or something to that effect. The *first* part of his statement, that “Obama *backs* the missile shield program is outright false, and can be easily proven as such. (just from what he has said himself) Then he follows it up with the far more ambiguous stuff about the vote for Obama being a vote for continued war, which is not as easily proved as the first, because no one can prove a negative. Still, it’s posed cleverly, and merged with some quoted text (for which he does not provide a source) that does not prove his statement, or even provide reasonable connection to his analysis. Yet, people do this all of the time, and the average NON-critical thinking/questioning reader, will frequently take it as the face value it has been carefully constructed to relay. And of course there are those circumstances (even more difficult to untangle) when the result is a combination of all of these broad ‘categories’.

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By cyrena, August 20, 2008 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

Part 3

But, I digress. As a mostly reasonable person, (most of the time) I certainly cannot commit myself to challenging each and every falsehood (intentional or otherwise) that comes from the mouths of strangers. (I’d make myself as crazy as half the folks represented here). But for issues that represent serious and collective consequences, (such as the lies on Obama) I will challenge the most obvious, as you’ve known me to do.

The thing with Ardee/Issywise is NOT that serious in a collective respect, at least not on its face, but rather in unintended consequences. In fact, it’s clearly based on his own personal agenda, and therefore directed personally at me, because I challenge it. So, if I am personally attacked, (even though he does it in the standard sly/sneaky way), then I will respond there as well. The Shari’a issue is an example. I don’t know who first mentioned it in terms of the conversation we were having on the Kingmaker thread, I did weigh-in on it with my opinion from an academic perspective. My field includes comparative law, and I while I don’t have an extensive knowledge of that legal system, (and Shari’a Law IS a complex and comprehensive judicial system within a broader framework of Islamic Law) I know enough of the basics to say that in terms of overall effectiveness, FOR THE SOCIETY THAT CHOSES TO PRACTICE IT, it is as effective or non-effective as any other. Like anything else, it’s relative to the culture and traditions of the society.

Issywise, (and he’s certainly NOT alone in this) has trouble accepting any system outside the ego-centric American system that claims itself as a democracy. Many Americans have a problem, in assuming that they can just ‘export’ entire legal systems to other places, all under the guise of calling it a ‘democracy’, when in fact WE don’t even have a ‘true’ democracy. We are set-up as a Constitutional Republic, with inherent flaws in that very blueprint. Still, it serves its general purpose. (or at least it used to).  Even for those who don’t necessarily insist on ‘democratizing’ the rest of the world, there is still the arrogant assumption that the so-called “democracy’ as practiced by the West is the ONLY ‘democracy’, when that is simply not the case. If any given society CHOOSES to practice a system of jurisprudence based on theological foundation, that is as much a democracy as any other, in terms of relativity.

However, Issywise here is obviously an ideologue, and a frustrated/fearful person who appears to have an acute case of the Islamaphobia that has been so rampantly perpetrated in our own culture for several years now. I base that ‘assumption’ on his willingness to make the huge leap to accuses anyone who recognizes the relative validity of other legal and jurisprudential systems *besides our own* , recommending that such a system (Shari’a Law in this case) should be incorporated here in the US. It’s a ludicrous and preposterous accusation/assumption, and it’s annoying as hell. Muslim Americans make up a mere 1% of our population, and there isn’t a single speck of evidence *ANYWHERE* that suggests they want the rest of us to swap out the Constitution for the Sunnah, or the Criminal Justice codes with fiqhs and fatwas while running around with Qur’ans in hand, reciting hadiths and dressed in hijabs, abyas, galabiyyas and the like.

So it’s just more of this chicken little hysteria of ‘The Islamists are coming, the Islamists are coming”!  More than annoying, it’s dangerous in it’s inaccuracy in what are the most perilous times that we have collectively faced in many, many, decades.

In fact, if there were such a danger, it has long since gained force and momentum in the 40 million strong movement of the radical Christian (so called evangelical) movement committed to bringing on Armageddon just because they’re crazy, and have decided that it isn’t coming fast enough for them. The gangster regime in DC is apparently as equally committed.

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By Tony Wicher, August 20, 2008 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

Adam’s Apple, August 20 at 3:08 am #

I would not let my son near any organized religion at such a young and tender age. I must confess however that I sent him to the Temple Beth Israel pre-school, even though we are not Jewish, because I thought it was a good pre-school, and there seems to be something beneficial for intellectual development in Jewish early childhood education. It was heartwarming to see him come home with a rock with the Ten Commandments attached to it they taught him to write. So for one year at the age of five he thought he was a Jew. These days he’s a rampant atheist, but I think that early childhood experience gave him a lifetime innoculation against anti-Semitism. Do we believe in the Ten Commandments? Hardly. We’re both fans of George Carlin. We believe the Three Commandments: (1) Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie, (2) Thou shalt try really hard not to kill anyone, and (3) Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.

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By Anarcissie, August 20, 2008 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Issywise—I don’t think I can be considered a Marxist, except for purposes of name-calling.  Let’s say I read Uncle Karl’s stuff for the poetry.  But I do use some of the political terms and concepts evolved by 19th-century theorists as more than stylish accessories.

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By cann4ing, August 20, 2008 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

folktruther, the book’s title is “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”—and it was written by John Perkins, a former insider of the imperial economic project.  If you haven’t read it, you should.

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By PatrickHenry, August 20, 2008 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

By Issywise, August 20 at 7:11 am #

That was about as clear as mud.

We are far from utopian society, irregardless of what form of government we choose.

The U.S. needs to close all foreign bases starting with Guantanamo, bring the troops and fleets home and cut military aid to all countries.

Economic aid to poorer countries should consist of non GM seed, tractors, water purification equipment and goods and products made in the U.S.

Mostly the U.S. should export benevolence instead of the malevolence we now provide.

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By Folktruther, August 20, 2008 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

There is a book, Cyrena, called something like MEMOIRS OF AN ECONOMIC HITMAN which tells of the author’s job of going around to small countries bribing their leaders.  IF the leaders couldn’t be bribed the “jackals” as he called them would come in and assassinate them.  It’s like the narcotic leaders say, “we make you rich or we make you dead.”

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By cyrena, August 20, 2008 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

Reply to Robert, August 20 at 8:58 am

From the Paul Craig piece

•  “When the Bush Regime began its wars in the Middle East, I predicted, correctly, that Musharraf would be one victim.  The American puppets in Egypt and Jordan may be the next to go.”

Robert, thanks for this latest from Paul Craig. On the above, Lawrence Wilkerson has recently suggested the same, and EVEN hinted at Saudi Arabia as well. There would seem to be so little time left for them to accomplish this, (more overthrows) but I’ve long since stopped trying to predict anything.

Same here:

•  “Back during the Nixon years, my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, Warren Nutter, was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.  One day in his Pentagon office I asked him how the US government got foreign governments to do what the US wanted.  “Money,” he replied. “You mean foreign aid?” I asked. “No,” he replied, “we just buy the leaders with money.”
Yep, straight from our pockets to whomever it is. In this case…billions to Musharraf.

• 
”The American-educated thug, Saakashkvili the War Criminal, who is president of Georgia, was installed by the US taxpayer funded National Endowment for Democracy, a neocon operation whose purpose is to ring Russia with US military bases, so that America can exert hegemony over Russia.”

Damn. I didn’t know this. See how much there is to miss, even when we think we’re trying to keep up?

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By Issywise, August 20, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

I know what the terms “bourgeois” and “ruling classes” mean. I know they can be used by somebody other than one who espouses a class warfare intellectual construct for analyzing all historical and contemporary events, but the terms did get picked up by Marx and are favorites of those who believe in his deterministic evolutionary history.

I have proposed to you below that there is more than one way to look at foreign policy: the imperialist construct is useful, but so is the balance of power and so is the Wilsonian “idealism” perspective and so are are many other ways of looking at foreign policy. You seem aware of these other ways of looking at foreign policy, but keep focusing your criticism through an imperialist analysis.

The same is true on the issue of what’s best for our future.  Marxism is one way of looking at things and your word choices seem to suggest you are using his analytical paradigm. Are you a Marxist?

Do you believe democracy is just a conglomeration of contentless forms contrived to keep the gormless masses happy in their impotence?

When you suggest imperialism and militarism will only end when the nation-state system is swept aside by a worldwide revolution, you sound like you follow Marx’s theory of deterministic historical evolution. When you habitually frame things in the context of class struggle, it looks to me that you’re viewing things through a Marxist lens. Is there something else behind all your criticism?

What is your positive program?

Folktruther admit the appeal of Marxism and holds open his options for the future.

I think Marx did a great service to social science and particularly economics when focused analysis not on capital but labor, but his political ideas were naive. Democracy can and does work better than dictatorships (even those on behalf of the proletariat). The dictators never step down and, like Orwell’s pigs, end up looking just like the autocrats they displaced.

Centralized economic planning has failed where it was attempted—in both democracies and autocracies.

In the end, accountability to the people through real elections causes better response to public needs than disengaged planning by autocratic bureaucrats.

These notions have all been chewed over by folks a whole lot smarter than me. Attraction to such views should invite investigation into them. Instead, I see them tossed into the conversation here and not acknowledged by those doing the tossing and not tested by those reading them.

I’ve questioned. What is your positive program?

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By Anarcissie, August 20, 2008 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

Issywise:’... Not all the people holding the words “bourgeois” and “ruling classes” ready on their lips here are just general dissidents tossing trendy ideological sounding accusations. ...’


I hope you don’t think I use these terms imprecisely.  I will define them or explain them if necessary, but I think it will prove pretty tedious.

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By Anarcissie, August 20, 2008 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Rus7355:
I believe if you take a longer look you’ll find that the Soviet Union was being outmaneuvered by Germany at almost every turn. The Soviet Union, in short, was unable to beat back Hitler’s Germany.

In the winter of 1941-42, the Soviet Union was able to conclusively stop the German advance toward Moscow and took back some territory.  In the subsequent summer, the Germans, doubtful about success in the center, turned toward the south, trying for the Caucasus and its oil; this led to the Battle of Stalingrad, in which a large German army was stopped, encircled, and destroyed.  As far as I know this was a classically executed double encirclement.  The Germans’ last attempt to advance in Russia ended with the Battle of Kursk, wherein the Germans were again defeated due to thorough defensive preparations, including preparation for an effective counteroffensive.  See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalingrad_(battle)
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kursk
The Wikipedia articles go along pretty well with the other histories of World War 2 I have read, so I believe they are reasonably accurate.

Looks to me like the Soviets beat back the Germans pretty effectively once they got themselves organized.  Of course, had the U.S. and Great Britain not been involved in the war, it would have gone on much longer and possibly ended in a stalemate.  Speaking in terms of manpower and materiel, there was never a time when 2/3 or more of German forces were facing the Soviets, but 1/3 or 1/4 is still a significant diversion.  As I said, however, the Soviets did the heavy lifting.

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By Robert, August 20, 2008 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

August 19, 2008

The Mindlessness is Total
Are You Ready for Nuclear War?

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

“Pervez Musharraf, the puppet installed by the US to rule Pakistan in the interest of US hegemony, resigned August 18 to avoid impeachment.  Karl Rove and the Diebold electronic voting machines were unable to control the result of the last election in Pakistan, the result of which gave Pakistanis a bigger voice in their government than America’s.

It was obvious to anyone with any sense—which excludes the entire Bush Regime and almost all of the “foreign policy community—that the illegal and gratuitous US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israel’s 2006 bombing of Lebanon civilians with US blessing, would result in the overthrow of America’s Pakistani puppet.

The imbecilic Bush Regime ensured Musharraf’s overthrow by pressuring their puppet to conduct military operations against tribesmen in Pakistani border areas, whose loyalties were to fellow Muslims and not to American hegemony.  When Musharraf’s military operations didn’t produce the desired result, the idiotic Americans began conducting their own military operations within Pakistan with bombs and missiles.  This finished off Musharraf.

When the Bush Regime began its wars in the Middle East, I predicted, correctly, that Musharraf would be one victim.  The American puppets in Egypt and Jordan may be the next to go.

Back during the Nixon years, my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, Warren Nutter, was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.  One day in his Pentagon office I asked him how the US government got foreign governments to do what the US wanted.  “Money,” he replied.

“You mean foreign aid?” I asked.

“No,” he replied, “we just buy the leaders with money.”

It wasn’t a policy he had implemented.  He inherited it and, although the policy rankled with him, he could do nothing about it.  Nutter believed in persuasion and that if you could not persuade people, you did not have a policy.

Nutter did not mean merely third world potentates were bought.  He meant the leaders of England, France, Germany, Italy, all the allies everywhere were bought and paid for.

They were allies because they were paid.  Consider Tony Blair.  Blair’s own head of British intelligence told him that the Americans were fabricating the evidence to justify their already planned attack on Iraq.  This was fine with Blair, and you can see why, with his multi-million dollar payoff once he was out of office.

The American-educated thug, Saakashkvili the War Criminal, who is president of Georgia, was installed by the US taxpayer funded National Endowment for Democracy, a neocon operation whose purpose is to ring Russia with US military bases, so that America can exert hegemony over Russia.”

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts08192008.html

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By Folktruther, August 20, 2008 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Your last comment, Issywise, was sincere, honest and relevant.  I have been criticized, justly, for criticizing without offering positive alternatives.  But we are in a period of ideological transition and I honestly don’t knwo what to do. That is why I participate in these discussions to work it out.

The 20th century was one when marxism revolutionized world social theory.  This theory revolution was largely repressed in the US during the War on Communism, when the US led the Free World, consisting mostlyof oppressive dictatorships, againsst the red menace.

Now marxism is mutating into something else, and the second generation theory is still quite immature and undeveloped.  It will opppose the Amercian ideology that you espouse, but what it will be for is still not coherent.  But your critique of TD comment is quite sharp.

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By Issywise, August 20, 2008 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

PatrickHenry

Shariaism is here, as is Marxism. This site isn’t all just deconstructionist criticism. Some here actually have an positive alternative in mind.

Search the site for those who acknowledge preferring dictatorship to democracy. It has been written here within the last week or so.

Look for those who use the words “democratic relativism”—it’s a catch phrase used by fundamentalist worldwide to indict democracy as just an ongoing program of compromise with apostasy. To them, there can be no true law unless it was handed down by God himself. To them, their version of God’s will should be imposed on all through the coercive power of the state. If democracy is ridiculed for being “relativistic” then you can bet the ridiculee is a fundamentalist.  If that species of ridicule is paired with advocacy of the violent destruction of Israel, seek clarification and you’ll come to the same conclusions I have.

I came here because many of the criticisms of current events here comport with my own. But I found nearly all the acidic criticism untied to any positive alternate program. I’ve try to explore for such programs with pointed questions that should elicit responsive explanations. I most often get back vitriol and defensiveness—name calling is big here, but I have elicited some explanation of alternatives to the befouled status quo. They are not new ideas but the same tried and failed absolutisms of fundamentalism and Marxism.

Not all the people holding the words “bourgeois” and “ruling classes” ready on their lips here are just general dissidents tossing trendy ideological sounding accusations. Not all of them have come here just to enjoy the company while they gratifyingly hold themselves above and piss all over the actors making a muddle in the world. Some are studied enough to hold perspectives with specific programs in mind.

These are not often openly acknowledged because these critics understand their seat in the choir would be lost if they proposed what they see as an positive program that they know others will see as ideological wackiness.

So they get to play half their game here—the tearing down part, without risking proposing the “building up” part. And you guys let them do so unchallenged.

Try exploring their meanings, when someone says something you agree with but uses adjectives or adverbs that are historically tied to some debunked ideological movement, ask them about the adjectives and adverbs. If they don’t just call you names or reveal themselves as lost in the woods, you might find that while you agree with them about some things, you disagree about other things that are very much more basic.

Elevate your skepticism when reading those who agree with you. Sometimes they’ll take you to places you never suspected.

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By Adam's Apple, August 20, 2008 at 4:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In regards to:By Tony Wicher, August 19 at 9:17 pm
“I have so far not met anyone on Truthdig who wants to convert to an Islamic Sharia. Who might that be?”
—Question to Wincher-would you trust your 12 yearold son,alone with the Pope?
FYI: Fact, two religions Christianity and Judism has killed thousads of millions,more than any other religion. Cure for the world is to rid ourselves of these two evil organizations :^)
Most folks in America/ Canada/ Europe don’t bother worshipping any type of religion—it’s a scam—tokenism.All western religions are in it to make money and for weak minded fools who fear death and some guy living down under called devil or now-Bin Laden.
What really puzzles me is that non-whites flock to this whiteman’s evil phonie child like religions.Blacks would flock to Sinagods but are restricted.—Southern Saps & Fools abound in America!

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By PatrickHenry, August 20, 2008 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

By Tony Wicher, August 19 at 9:17 pm #

“I have so far not met anyone on Truthdig who wants to convert to an Islamic Sharia. Who might that be?”

Lefty.

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By Tony Wicher, August 19, 2008 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

Re Issywise, August 19 at 5:39 am #
“Tony Wicker:”
——————————————————————————-Issywise,
The name is Wicher, not “Wicker”. It’s also not “Wincher”, OK, cyrena? Sorry to be persnickety about it.  Incidentally, you two seem to have some kind of bad chemistry between you. Your differences seem to be more personal than political…just an observation. 
——————————————————————————-“I don’t deny that the US is imperialistic. With over 700 foreign military bases, what else can we be? I believe it and shout it from the top of the house.”

Thanks for clearing that up.
——————————————————————————-
“Democracy doesn’t have a damn thing to do with imperialism.  Democracies can be and are imperialistic.  The existence of an imperialistic national policy does not vacate a domestic democracy.  All it takes for a democracy to have an imperialist policy is for the people to allow it.”
——————————————————————————-
70% of the American people supported the Iraq war when it first started. But that was because the MSM was blanketed with lies by the imperialists. So, did the American people “allow” these neocons to do what they did, or were they misled and kept in the dark by a bunch of gangsters?
——————————————————————————-
I do quibble with some here who think our imperialism is no more than unbridled greed, hubris and racism—even “racial hubris.” I quibble with those here who think that by converting to an Islamic Sharia we’d restrain imperialism—history says otherwise.

I have so far not met anyone on Truthdig who wants to convert to an Islamic Sharia. Who might that be?

——————————————————————————
“I quibble with those here who equate modern imperialism to classic imperialism—conquest to enslave. They do not distinguish Rome and the Mongols from Teddy Roosevelt, whose motives were mixed—good and bad, when he developed a muscular American foreign policy.”
——————————————————————————-
True, our motives are a mixture of the humanitarian and democratic with the militarist and imperialist.  But very often, we justify the imperialist actions with the democratic ideology. Thus Bush justifies his invasion of the Middle East for oil, a purely imperialist policy, by saying he is spreading “freedom and democracy”.  The justifications are not always phony, but they often are, and in the case of the Bush administration they are utterly phony.  His policy is pure, unadulterated, imperialistic blood for oil. 
——————————————————————————-
“I quibble with those here who say democracies MUST be imperialistic, or that free markets REQUIRE imperialism. Both are unsupported by experience and denied by much experience.” 

I quite agree.

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By Tony Wicher, August 19, 2008 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

Issywise, cont.
—————————————————————————-
“The mixture of motivations “justifying” American imperialism includes such unlikely components as idealism and desire for peace. Many sincere Americans actually believe our militaristic foreign power is necessary to achieve idealistic and desirable goals.”

Obviously we need a military and it has a right use. Imperialists, like Bush-Cheney misuse the military for imperialistic ends. That is why we need to elect Barack Obama, to stop this misuse of the our military for the private gain of Bush-Cheney, Halliburton and Exxon, and not McCain, who represents a continuation of Bush-Cheney militarism and imperialism. 
——————————————————————————-
“On this site, those sincerely felt and idealistic beliefs find demonization and dismissal—personal attack and insult.  The hate and vitriol poured on these sincere peoples’ real idealism by folks on this site is appalling. Too bad that when people who think alike gather, they spend so much time hating those who disagree.”

It is too bad when people hate, period. I agree with you that the vitriol spewed by many posters here is unfortunate.  There is indeed a good side to this country; it is not for nothing that it used to be admired all around the world. Because of Bush, it is now despised. That is why we need to elect Barack Obama as a symbol of the America the world used to know and love and not McCain who will be a symbol to the world of the continuation of Bush-Cheney imperialism.
——————————————————————————-
“That hatefulness is why all of these angry posters are self-marginalized: by not taking the time to understand and recognize the good will of those who hold attitudes different from their own, these local posters ensure they’ll never get anywhere. Who works with angry crackpots? Even their good ideas are hard to see through the fire and smoke of their rage.”
——————————————————————————-
Quite

——————————————————————————-
“But, in the end, on the imperialism-military issue, this is a quibble. I’m just as dedicated as anybody here to stepping-down the nation from its internationalist militarism.”

Then you are going to vote for Barack Obama, right? If not, why not?

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By Folktruther, August 19, 2008 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment

You’re right, Issywise, the Teanster reformers were corrupted.  It made me realize that America could not be changed that way.

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By Issywise, August 19, 2008 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther

I’m just holding a mirror up for the self-satisfied malcontents, so they can see themselves as they toss turds in the pool and then rant that it’s crappy.

Also, if I think they don’t understand something—and understanding it will ease their apparent pain, I’ll hash it out for them. I sought and found good schools.

Too bad, you are letting you daughter waste her time in a school where she’ll miss learning the things that now she won’t understand and then perhaps spend pathetic years railing about.

Democratizing the teamsters…...which side: the reformers who “cleaned it up” and then were convicted out of jobs for doing the same things as the old crowd, or the Hoffa counter-“reformers” who are back at the helm?

Democratizing the Teamsters: It sounds like trying to teach Mike Tyson to control his temper by insulting him. It might work, but damn what a learning curve.

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By PatrickHenry, August 19, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

The latest Georgia action by this administration demands the electorate to RIF our present government from the top down.

It will take years to reappoint and investigate the outgoing neocons.

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By Anarcissie, August 19, 2008 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Rus7355:‘If not for America Hitler’s Germany would have likely controlled East and Western Europe for generations. ...’

The Soviet Union did most of the heavy lifting when it came to defeating Hitler.  If you were going to award virtue points for fighting Hitler, the bad old Evil Empire would get the prize.

It might also be interesting to note that if it hadn’t been for America, Germany would have won the First World War and there would have been no Hitler regime—and probably no Bolshevik regime in Russia, either.  Although who knows.

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By Folktruther, August 19, 2008 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

I, too, Issywise, hope my daughter gains a better understanding of the world than the one I manifest here, although I am quite confident that this will not happen through American Education.  And I agree also that I have an obligation to help make the world better for her sake.  I will tell her of your concern.

And you are quite right that I am a malcontent.  But I’m not bitter.  I think malcontentry is fun, fun, fun.  I’ve been a shitkicker from way back.  I spent ten years in trying to democratize the Teamster’s union, unsuccessfully as it turned out.  But I’m sure that this pales against your own efforts to instill democacy.

Saggy is quite right that most people aren’t interested in theory, so I thought I would simlify the conceptual language to make it easier for people to understand poltical and social reality. Like Dubya Bush, I don’t do nuance.  The simpliest conceptual structures turn out to be mathematical.But most people don’t understand that math is much simplier language than natural languagge.

It turns out however that my disinterest in a particular theory, namely Saggy’s that the holocaust never occurred, disqualifies me from all theory.  Pity because I find Saggy’s and yours interesting.  Be sure and take your meds, Saggy.

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By cyrena, August 19, 2008 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

By Issywise, August 19 at 9:53 am #

cyrena

If it helps, I quit reading your posts a couple days ago. Whatever you are saying should not be addressed to me. I wish you well in life. Other’s may very well value your insights. Count me a lost cause.

~~~~~

Nope, doesn’t help Issywise, since you’re still writing and I’m still reading. So, I’ll keep responding to your unsubstantiated claims and the twisting of language that you continue to engage in.

But, IF IT HELPS…I won’t direct it to you with this particular handle. Instead, I’ll just say,

“I do quibble with ‘some’ here, or I do quibble with ‘those’ here.”

Hopefully that’ll work out better for you.

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By Issywise, August 19, 2008 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther,

I hope your daughter gains a better understanding of things through the education you support than you manifest here.

It isn’t just words.  It is in operation and having effect on your life. Folk wisdom is nice, but if it justifies you denigrating somebody else’s viewpoint as pap, you just my be a bitter discontent.

Get off your self-satisfied butt and do something about the world your daughter going to live in. Wallowing in superiority and disgust is disgusting.

The picture I’m painting is every bit as skeptical and nuanced as anything you’ve said.

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By Issywise, August 19, 2008 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

I think we might be saying the same thing. Though from what you’ve said further below, I fear what you are say here implies is a much darker picture than I hold is warranted.

The 17th and 18th Century liberal thinkers were, of course, trying to break free of the ancient notion that government was an expression of God’s mandate on Earth and that everything took place only by leave of the state. Government was seen as vested with plenary authority from which tradition, in the form of constitutions, granted narrow exceptions enjoyed by certain individuals.

Those Enlightenment liberal thinkers wanted to turn that notion on its head. Freedom was to be the default and government intrusion into it only allowed when justified by public purpose.

The framers of our government took the upside down notion that government was an expression of the will of the people (majoritarianism) and hardened those formerly narrow exception to serve two liberal purposes—protect individuals from government (as before) and protect the political process from majoritarian excesses.

Prior to our national founding—and well known to some of the founders, Greek city-state history, along with Swiss and Danish experiences with total majoritarian democracy demonstrated that unbridled majoritarianism always soon resulted in assumption of dictatorial powers by somebody, either with the consent of the majority or through a process where authorization to oppress minorities resulted in the state manipulating the polity itself.

So yes, there is always present in modern democracies a tension between majoritarianism and liberal notions of the limited state. Balancing that tension is necessary to keep a functioning democracy alive. I believe it is possible to maintain that balance indefinitely. You seem not to so believe—if you think it ever existed.

On a factual point, I disagree with you totally when you say there is little press freedom in the US.  As a result of the interpretive enactment of J.S. Mills liberal political principles into constitutional doctrine by the Supreme Court in the middle half of the 20th Century, the United States enjoys great legal freedom of the press. Legally coercive prior restraint is nearly out of reach for government and public figures are stripped of tort remedies that might inhibit a robust marketplace of ideas.

What is deficient is that the gatekeepers to the marketplace of ideas—the corporate owners, publishers, editors and reporters, lack diversity of viewpoint and are gormless (boy I love that word) servants of commercial interest. A civic virtue viewpoint is lost in our press.

This isn’t a lack of freedom. It is a lack of exercise of freedom that is the problem. A complacent irrelevant press is worthless for the purposes for which it is so well protected in law.

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By george in toronto, August 19, 2008 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Watch this video—about one hour length.I wonder if Flordia would approve it for Debunking History 101.
http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewphoto/2344/Bush_Drunk_at_Olympics/
After watching this video—I felt sorry for the victums hung on lies. It’s been band on youtube.
  I sometimes wonder if the Bush family is from Jewish bloodlines—Does anyone know how Marvin Bush’s first name came about?

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By Anarcissie, August 19, 2008 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

Issywise:’... I demure on your delinking democracy from a free press and an independent judiciary. ...’

You subsequently argue that without a free press democracy would be ineffective, or at least not as efficient as one with a free press.  That may be so, although the U.S. has gotten along with very little media freedom for generations.

However, if we define democracy as government by the people, then it is the people who determine whether or not the press will be free, not someone’s abstract principles of political efficiency.  If we believe the people’s will can be expressed in elections and referendums, then the people can vote to restrict or terminate the freedom of the press.  Indeed, a democracy can vote to terminate itself, as some have.  In the United States, the constant diminution of our rights seems to be quite popular, so maybe that’s what’s going on here.

Democracy, taken seriously, presents many problems; as is often said, it’s the worst system of government imaginable except for all the others.  I think the root of these problems is the contradiction between the idea of the state and the idea of freedom, which democracy mitigates but cannot cure.  Of course, the common solution has been to use the word but ignore the meaning.

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By Folktruther, August 19, 2008 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

Issywise, you appear to identify with democracy and so do I but we have opposite conceptions of it, mine approaching closer to cann4ing’s and archocissie.

The US has been a democracy by definition historically, no matter how many people are enslaved, imprisoned, impoverished or deprived of the vote.  The crucial power decisions have not been made by the population but by a capitalist plutocracy assisted by a professional-managerial class.  If voting in elections actually changed anything it would be illegal, as it IS for those racial and impoverished minorities who most need change.

Democracy is not possible when a few people have a lot of money and most people don’t.  They only way the ruling class can keep their money and power is by frightening, corrupting and deceiving the people. 

In the US they are deceived by the naive schoolbook-corporate media ideological theory that you espouse, while railing at the theories of others.

The population is encouraged in the corporate media, owned by members of the ruling class, to vote for one of two parties both financed and supported by the ruling class.  Both parties at the present time are led by neocons financed largely by the 25-30% of the ruling class who are Jewish, and truthed by a large Jewish Educated population. 

Both Christian and Jewish Zionism helps form the ideological gluethat binds together the neocon power structure.  It is necessary to get the population to withdraw ideologically from the Dem-Gop opposition and to oppose the neocon leaders of both parties.

What I am telling you here is a highly uneducated truth which is not taught to the young.  I am Jewish myself and I tell my daughter that she has to get good grades in school or they’ll kick her out of the religion, but not to believe anything they tell her.  Otherwise she might wind up with the kind of unreality, irrationality and delusion that you espouse, Issywise.

But you appear to be a political seeker and are trying to do the best you can to convince others of your views. Fine. But you should know that some people, and I am afraid I am one of them, consider your theories very naive.

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By Issywise, August 19, 2008 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

cyrena

If it helps, I quit reading your posts a couple days ago. Whatever you are saying should not be addressed to me. I wish you well in life. Other’s may very well value your insights. Count me a lost cause.

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By Issywise, August 19, 2008 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, you say:
__________________
Neither a free press, nor an independent judiciary, nor a representative government necessarily produce, or are produced by, democracy, where democracy is held to be government by the people in general.
____________________
On second reading, I’ve got huge problems with this statement. I whole-heartedly embrace all of the rest of this post of yours: everything below, but I demure on your delinking democracy from a free press and an independent judiciary.

1. FREE PRESS: Democracy can only exist where a free press functions. Madison described the process as a cycle—elected leaders educate the public by their performance in office, the public instruct the leaders at the ballot box.  Without a free press, the education part cannot take place and so there can be no informed instructing on the other side of the cycle: democracy breaks down….is breaking down.

Lincoln said it should be a government “of..the people.”  The notion is that the government will emerge from the brewing pot of society, to represent it, to act on behalf of the people who are society itself. If there is no free press, there is no way for that “of the people” nature of the government to arise from the societal stew.

Finally—on a free press, the founders believed a civic dialogue would ensure that policy choices compete for consensus acceptance and gain enactment into law or policy. By this process—as opposed to somebody’s fiat, the best policy was most likely to be selected.  It was at root a belief in human rationality. Without a free press, there is no place for the civic dialogue to take place.

2. INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY: It is human nature for a majority to wish to suppress an obnoxious minority. This means, in a democracy, the majority will sometimes vote to apply the coercive power of the state to oppress the obnoxious minority. The rule of law—administered by an independent judiciary, is absolutely necessary for a democracy to exist. The majoritarian impulse to suppress can only be itself suppressed by an independent judiciary.

If the coercive power of the state is allowed to suppress minorities, the state obtains the power to affect what is brewing in the societal stew from which it is supposed to freely emerge.

It is, in fact, the rule of law that protect those 18th Century liberal values you spoke of—individual rights, including freedom of the press. The press is horribly unfitted for the task of protecting minorities. It is too excitable.

Obviously, if there is no independent judiciary, the rule of law itself will be subject to majoritarian impulses—destroying its very purpose.

3. DEMOCRACY IS NOT AMORPHOUS: The idea democracy is some amorphous conglomeration of social propensities—free markets, cultural openness and—God forbid, commercialism, is a modern confusion—a function of our bad education system.

Democracy is not an economic theory or a cultural fashion. It is a form of governance that is possessed of certain required structures. Those structures include real elections; freedom of conscience, speech and the press; available checks on majoritiarian impulses by an independent judiciary and—at bottom, an informed and committed citizenry.

Coca Cola is not inherent to democracy.

4. If a democratic people vote to change the form of their government to something non-democratic then it ceases to be a democracy—-end of democratic story. How would you vote?

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By cyrena, August 19, 2008 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

By Issywise, August 19 at 5:39 am

Twisting words and interpretations again Issywise, with no back up other than your own bloviating and desire to hear yourself talk.


•  “I do quibble with some here who think our imperialism is no more than unbridled greed, hubris and racism—even “racial hubris.”

Like here, you’re quibbling with yourself, because nobody else has suggested that imperialism is ‘no more than’ racism, or ‘racial hubris’, which is a stupid term anyway, unless you’re talking about the Slave Trade of 500 years ago, and that kicked off before there even WAS a ‘US”. (though it sure stayed popular for a really long time, long enough to build the foundational US economy). Would you call that ‘imperialism’? I guess that depends. Was it HUBRIS? It damn well was! Or, can you find a better name for it? The involuntary enslavement of any human being (regardless of what color the captives or the capturers are), is clearly HUBRIS. And in this case, it reeks of unbridled greed as well.

And here, you specifically reference ‘our’ imperialism. Just who/what do you mean by ‘our’? Presumably the US. So, if that’s the case, nobody here has suggested that ‘our’ imperialism is racism or ‘racial hubris’. It just so happens, that the UNBRIDLED GREED, (which is definitely a component of the imperialism) happens to be for things that are located where people of color happen to be indigenous. If there was no OIL in the Middle East, we probably wouldn’t be ‘imperializing” it! Same with everyplace else.

So yeah, US imperialism IS all about unbridled greed and hubris. Racism is coincidental, because that just happens to be the way it’s worked out, based on the places the US has chosen to ‘imperialize”. That doesn’t explain the destruction of Vietnam, seeing as how they had nothing to steal. So that was just imperialism for the sake of imperialism. So it’s pretty clear here Issywise, that it is YOUR interpretation that puts race in the equation with imperialistic ventures by the US. Now, if you can think of a single place that the US has invaded since WWII that has NOT been occupied by people of color, go for it. But I think it would probably be safer for your ‘quibbles’ to just leave it alone, because you’re likely to end up legitimizing this very thing that you’re complaining about.

Now are you suggesting here, in this same thought, that there is some other ‘good’ component to imperialism? That’s what it sounds like. Some people think imperialism is ‘nothing more than..blah, blah, blah’. So if that’s the case, what ELSE explains the reasons for this imperialism, and what do you happen to find ‘good’ about it? Is it ‘good’ imperialism when it’s just for stomping out other ideologies, (ie communism) as long as there’s no ‘greed’ attached? (the hubris is embedded).

Here’s another doozey…

•  “…I quibble with those here who think that by converting to an Islamic Sharia we’d restrain imperialism—history says otherwise…”

Would you be willing to direct me/us to any (even one) post on this site that makes such a claim as “converting to Islamic Shari’a Law would restrain imperialism?” I’ve read most of the comments on this and other threads, and not one has suggested this. NOT ONE!!

So, when you complain of people seeming to be ‘hateful’ for pointing out how exceedingly disingenuous you are in your posts, (intentionally or otherwise). THIS is why. Unless you have Alzheimer’s or some other physiological problem, it would appear to be intentionally dishonest.

Same here:

•  “I quibble with those here who equate modern imperialism to classic imperialism—conquest to enslave.”

Imperialism is imperialism. “Modern” designates an historical period. “Classic” does not. Conquest to enslave is the same as colonialism. Nobody cares about the Mongols or Rome in terms of US Imperialism. US Imperialism is global hegemony via military force.

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By Issywise, August 19, 2008 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie

You’ll get little argument from me on the content of your two most recent posts. My question is: does it have to be that way?

Can’t a democracy free itself of whatever obstructs the the link between the leaders and the voting public?

Can’t an environment be created where a free and effective press actually functions to serve the cycle of information that allows the government to be “of” the people rather than “of” some group of manipulative elites?

Can’t election laws be fashioned to ensure one-person one-vote is not only the partial pretense but the actual reality in America?

Can’t we expunge the political process of the opportunity for professional manipulators to stand between us and our government?

Aren’t these mechanics correctable without abandoning all hope for democracy.

Anarcissie, do you actually believe—as you suggested below, that democracy is a failed experiment that should be tossed into the wastebasket of history? Can we only wait for an Arcadian epoch to arrive when all nation-state government is superseded in one worldwide revolution?

I disagree that bad policies are proof that the government isn’t accountable to the people. I am not saying there isn’t a lack of accountability, just that bad policy isn’t necessarilly proof of it.

I disagree that militarism and imperialism are proof of a failure in democracy. Democracies tend to reflect the values, ambitions and collective self-image of their citizenry. Bad policy isn’t necessarily a failure in the machinery of government. The machinery’s functioning will produce bad results if that people desire it—at the worst, or tolerate it—at the least. The failure is in the people, not the governmental mechanisms.

Yeah, Woody Wilson’s high mindedness justified him bombing Veracruz—which in hindsight seems ludicrous. Sure, foreign policy missteps have all been dressed up in idealistic clothes. But, where you miss an important point is that many people are actually, sincerely affected by that idealism—their heart is in the right place: they offer up their children for national service because they believe they are providing for a better future. You need to factor them into your highly negative perspective.

I also think your seemingly absolutist anti-militarism is a prescription for more insecurity in the world that will result in an even greater cycle of re-militarization in the future.

Your lights shine penetratingly into the darkness, but you somehow end-up not seeing some of the most important components for making use of what you see.

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By cann4ing, August 19, 2008 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Your assessment, Arnarcissie, coincides with my own.

“In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy.  The press was to have served the governed, not the governors.  The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government.  The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.  Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.  And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending
them off to distant lands to die….”
  —Justice Hugo Black,
  New York Times vs. United States (1971)

Note that Justice Black referenced press “responsibilities” even as he referred to it as “free and unrestrained.”  The framers did not envision a press that was free to join in with government in deceiving the people.  Just as the framers saw fit to divide governmental power between three branches—executive, legislative and judicial—each with a constitutional obligation to check the other, so too the framers envisioned a free and unrestrained press that would provide the vehicle for the ultimate check against usurpation of power.

But the concept of the press as the Fourth Estate operating within the constitutional framework has a serious drawback.  While the First Amendment insures press freedom from government censorship, it contains no provision to mandate that the press exercise the responsibility for ensuring that information vital to informed decision-making is conveyed to the people.  The framers’ unstated assumption was that once free of fear of government reprisal, a vibrant press would act to expose the deceits of those in power; not throw in with them. 

The framers simply failed to envision that an all-encompassing media would be controlled by a handful of giant corporations who find it far more profitable to throw in with power rather than oppose; a media which employs stenographers who simply parrot their official sources, avoiding the time and expense of independent investigative reporting.  And this is why, the corporate media has degenerated into a propaganda arsenal of the rich and the powerful.

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By Anarcissie, August 19, 2008 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

Issywise:’... The mixture of motivations “justifying” American imperialism includes such unlikely components as idealism and desire for peace. Many sincere Americans actually believe our militaristic foreign power is necessary to achieve idealistic and desirable goals. ...’

Let us not forget, though, that every empire has claimed noble motives for itself, like “The White Man’s Burden” and the “Mission Civilisatrice”.  American imperialism, at least starting with Wilson, is probably the all-time world champion when it comes to professions of noble motives, but there are some strong contenders out there.

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By Anarcissie, August 19, 2008 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

Rus7355:... What I was referring to in my last post was in regards to a free and critical press, an independent judiciary and a representative government. I don’t believe I was throwing around the word or the idea of an American democracy. ...

Neither a free press, nor an independent judiciary, nor a representative government necessarily produce, or are produced by, democracy, where democracy is held to be government by the people in general.  Quite often, people have voted for suppression of the press and in favor of dictatorship.  You’re actually referring to classical liberalism, which, in its earlier stages, didn’t contemplate democracy in the contemporary sense I mention above.  Of course, the word is used pretty loosely—as I suggested before, it often seems to mean “capitalism” or “openness to Western investment and influence or control” which of course have nothing to do with government by the people.

In the case of the United States, the state has a number of democratic forms, but the actual persons and policies which come to power are not generally determined by the public in general but by elites.  Hence we observe that while the American people are in general not very interested in foreign countries, and certainly not interested enough to attack them, the government embarks on a new aggressive military adventure every two or three years on the average.  This behavior can only mean that the U.S. government does not reflect public will and is not a democracy (unless the term is being used very loosely).

I don’t agree, by the way, that the press is effectively free.  Newspapers and other media are owned by and reflect the interests of rich people and high corporate management.  These people seem usually quite slavish in their desire to get along with the rest of the ruling class, hence (for example) their failure to criticize and expose Bush’s lies with regard to Iraq.  Freedom of the press is like government by the people: the forms are there, but they are empty, and decisions are actually made by elites whose interests, view of things, and will are quite different from the general public’s.

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By cann4ing, August 19, 2008 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Good post, Cyrena.  And I agree, reading Saggy’s posts causes one to ask, “When did I slip through the rabbit hole?”

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By Marnie, August 19, 2008 at 7:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Saakashvili apparently did not study US history at Columbia.  This country’s leadership has an extensive history of using and abusing their “allies.”
 
Doesn’t this latest remind you of the tacit permission given by the American ambassador or vice ambassador in Iraq, giving permission for Hussain to invade Kuwait?  (She was spirited out of Iraq and hidden.  Has any body tracked her down and questioned her?)

How many Presidents, many who thought the US an ally, have we plotted to overthrow and how many have we connived to murder?
How has the US responded when, say, the USSR or China, has tried to set up alliances with smaller weaker nations in our sphere of influence?
The US is interfering extensively in Russia’s sphere of influence.  Why would we expect them to react with any less violence than we do ourselves?

At a guess Russia has been waiting for the proper event to allow it to show that they have had enough of US meddlings in their sphere.

How wonderfully exquisite that the repocons flaunt the patently false claim that Reagan ended the reign of the USSR thus ending the cold war, - and have now started it up again? 

(If any one person deserves the credit of ending the USSR it is Leck Walesa.  In reality it was the corporate act of the people of Eastern Europe who finally brought down the Iron Curtain.
All Reagan did was spout platitudes and preside over the first American administration that ran a negative balance of trade and allowed more petroleum to be imported than exported for the first times in American history.)

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By Issywise, August 19, 2008 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicker:

I don’t deny that the US is imperialistic. With over 700 foreign military bases, what else can we be? I believe it and shout it from the top of the house.

Democracy doesn’t have a damn thing to do with imperialism.  Democracies can be and are imperialistic.  The existence of an imperialistic national policy does not vacate a domestic democracy.  All it takes for a democracy to have an imperialist policy is for the people to allow it. 

I do quibble with some here who think our imperialism is no more than unbridled greed, hubris and racism—even “racial hubris.” I quibble with those here who think that by converting to an Islamic Sharia we’d restrain imperialism—history says otherwise. I quibble with those here who equate modern imperialism to classic imperialism—conquest to enslave. They do not distinguish Rome and the Mongols from Teddy Roosevelt, whose motives were mixed—good and bad, when he developed a muscular American foreign policy.

I quibble with those here who say democracies MUST be imperialistic, or that free markets REQUIRE imperialism. Both are unsupported by experience and denied by much experience. 

The mixture of motivations “justifying” American imperialism includes such unlikely components as idealism and desire for peace. Many sincere Americans actually believe our militaristic foreign power is necessary to achieve idealistic and desirable goals.

On this site, those sincerely felt and idealistic beliefs find demonization and dismissal—personal attack and insult.  The hate and vitriol poured on these sincere peoples’ real idealism by folks on this site is appalling. Too bad that when people who think alike gather, they spend so much time hating those who disagree.

That hatefulness is why all of these angry posters are self-marginalized: by not taking the time to understand and recognize the good will of those who hold attitudes different from their own, these local posters ensure they’ll never get anywhere. Who works with angry crackpots? Even their good ideas are hard to see through the fire and smoke of their rage.

But, in the end, on the imperialism-military issue, this is a quibble. I’m just as dedicated as anybody here to stepping-down the nation from its internationalist militarism.

I just happened to be well-read enough in history to know that when the British public made its government demilitarize between 1920 and 1937, the result was the need for a new round of much more intense militarization.

If we’re going to do it—and we should, we’ve got to do it in a flexible, determined, non-ideological way. It does no good to repeat history’s mistakes.

After WWI, the British public just made up its mind that they’d not tolerate militarism at home and that by not tolerating it at home (the capitol of the greatest empire in world history) they would ensure there would never again be a need for militarism anywhere in the world.  They were wrong and their sons died in a far worse round of militarism that could have been prevented had more realistic policies been pursued. Blindness and hubris in service of “peacefulness” brought on a cataclysm.

If one adopts a single ideological perspective as an exclusive analytic tool, one takes the risk of finding out the hard way that the tool’s edge wasn’t fit for the job.

By all means, let’s eliminate militarism from the world—let’s recognize imperialism in its modern guise. But overthrowing the government, waiting for a worldwide revolution to overthrow all national governments, imposing an American Sharia, expecting wealth-gathering to soon pass from the history of the human species or accusing those of disagree with you of being…..well, just look at the list of what I’ve been called here, is just pissing in the wind. It may be warming some knees here, but I ain’t doing any good.

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By Issywise, August 19, 2008 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

Democracy is only as good as the people who make up its polity. Democratic governments reflect the population of the governed. It’s faults are their faults.

Democracy links the people to the government and the government to the people. An undemocratic regime cannot credibly pretend to be democratic unless the people assent to that pretense.

Democracy, as it is practiced in the West, is actually functioning—which is to say the people still do retain the power to dictate who’ll hold power and through that power what policies will be followed.

If there are blockages to the smooth operation of the link between the people and the government(and there are), the blockages exist only because the people tolerate them. The people in democracies, under the rule of law, have the means to eliminate any blockages to restoring their direct rule—-money’s hold on politicians and an unworthy press can be legislated out of existence and replaced with social forms that actually do function. All it takes is present, active will and consensus.

I agree with nearly all of the criticisms enumerated here about specific American policies and the functioning of our democracy (reserving a minor demurral that some of you apparently get your facts from bubblegum wrappers), but these do not represent inherent failures in democracy;  but are rather failures in how we operate our democracy. The weak link is us—the people. It isn’t the form, it is how we are using it.

It is not a case for dismissing democracy as a tradition and heritage to pass on to your children that you’ve done a crappy job operating one.  It is a cowardly surrender to abandon democracy because one is too ignorant of history, too ideological to see current events from any but one perspective, and too ignorant of the comparative realities of other systems to take-up ones necessary role in this democracy.

Those of you here arguing that theocracy or Marxist dictatorship are better forms of government ignore the comparative realities between democracy and those forms.

Those of you who look at our many faults without any context in which to evaluate them other than your own casual, unstudied emotional reactions are not fulfilling your role in democracy. Sure we suck, but it’s because you suck and you are part of the team.

Democracy is premised on the notions that power can be vested in the hands of the people and that the people will invest the time and energy to insure they are fit citizens—meaning educated and informed enough, to operate the government through responsible elected leadership.

If you don’t like our militarism, change it. If you don’t like the role of money in our political system change it. Don’t tell me it’s democracy’s failing—it is your failing.

I refer you to the the drug addled political theorist John Lennon who said,

“You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead”

Pick out a serious history, a dull book written by a professional academic—a scholar whose work is subject to extensive peer review and educated criticism and begin to educate yourself. Quit getting your intellectual nutrition from websites, magazines and political tracts. Read the original sources for ideas bouncing around the internet in their 19th generation watered-down form.

Rub your eyes clear of the blinding self-certainty of ideology. Approach your studies with an unceasing skepticism and you will find yourself less certain about many things, but settled on a few: those will tend to be the most important.

I can’t talk you all out of your loud, angry, hate-filled certainties.  I can only point out that they are there: It is YOUR job to recognize them in yourself and set about educating yourself out of them. You owe it to your kids.

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By Vince Liberty, August 19, 2008 at 4:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi Tony,

Thanks for commenting on my post, but one correction - my point was that the US IS both Democratic AND imperialist. We let the public vote on almost everything here, and that is part of the problem with Democracy. Once the rights to life, liberty, and property are subject to modification, infringement, or abrogation by a majority vote, it ceases to be an ideal worthy of free people and begins to look like two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

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By avi, August 19, 2008 at 2:12 am Link to this comment

hi, guys I am rocky I think about it I myself said something like that on several occasions on these threads. I, with a Palestinian background, can live in peace with a person like yourself as a trusted neigbor, and I can trust you with my property, home and even my life, because you’re a decent fair-minded human being. The British press took its cue. “Flight from genocide,” wrote the Daily Mail. “Echoes of the Holocaust,” chorused the Sun and the Mirror. In parliament, the heroic Clare Short compared to Nazi propagandists those (such as myself) who objected to the bombing of defenceless people. By June 1999, with the bombardment over, international forensic teams began subjecting Kosovo to minute examination.

rocky
owa Drug Treatment

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By cyrena, August 19, 2008 at 12:21 am Link to this comment

By cann4ing, August 18 at 3:19 pm #

•  “Saggy, you and I are not having this conversation.  Your denial of the holocaust is so absurd that I do not deem it worthy of any further time for discussion.”
~~~~~

Ernest, I know this isn’t funny. Still, in ‘visualizing’ my own and others’ voice inflection or body language combined with the “you and I are not having this conversation’ I had to laugh. It’s like the many times I wonder out loud, to myself or a colleague, “OK, are we in the rabbit hole now? This can’t be happening. How do we get out?”

It’s beyond absurd, but I’ve heard it from Saggy before. He ain’t got nothin’ on Imadinnerjacket, eh? (rowdy’s name for Ahmadinejad).

In fact, even Ahmadinejad knows the holocaust occurred, and simply makes the point, (which you’ve also made here again) that the Holocaust has been USED, by Zionists, to justify their own similar actions. But, Saggy won’t even acknowledge that, because that’s how deep in the rabbit hole he is. (or wherever it is that people go to revise reality and other historical facts.)

Anyway, you’ve gotta admit, sometimes a foray into these comments is enough to tempt one to pinch themselves, just for confirmation. I haven’t decided if the confirmation is good or bad. wink

SCJ. Thanks for the links..I was particularly taken with the title of this one: “Us plays monopoly while Russia plays chess”

Isn’t that just SO typical? Even without reading it, I already knew what it was gonna say. The title says it all. US blasts away, and blunders around, grabbing up gobs and gobs of whatever they can get their hands on, with ZERO thought or planning…like those old “Run Through the Warehouse contests, when the contestants have like 90 seconds to recklessly grab everything they possibly can off the shelves, or slap a US flag on it, and claim it. Meantime, Russia is there like the careful strategic chess players, planning all moves based on all foreseeable consequences, well in advance.

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By Tony Wicher, August 18, 2008 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

By jojo, August 16 at 5:10 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

Tony Wicher ,please name what other religious group hides behand phonie wasp +++ names and other religions but practices Judism in secret and conives with their bloodlines to control the world.
Take Mel Gibson,he stated a fact and the guy is toast in his business affairs.  All he said was—Jews started all wars. It’s a fact,if you have a problem with it—why Georgia is in hot water and a mess in Iraq,Afaghistan? Our Jewish controlled media has ruined America—just wait for the next year coming.
http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/wag_the_dog.php
Zaggy is right on and Tony is asleep.
—————————————————————————
Jojo,

Funny thing, Jojo, but Mel Gibson had lots of Jewish friends in the entertainment business. After that Mel Gibson drunk driving incident where he went into that anti-Semitic drunken tirade, there was a real debate in the Jewish community about whether Mel Gibson should be forgiven. I saw this extremely funny Jewish commedian on TV at this time saying in a humorous yet very kindly sort of way that this sort of behavior is to be expected from an Irish Catholic drunk with an anti-Semitic father, and he should be forgiven. I agreed with this with all my heart, and I think it shows how kind and forgiving Jewish people can be. No doubt there are still many Jews in the other camp, but the last I saw Mel was cranking out all kinds of wacky gibsonish movies (“Apocalypto”) and doing pretty well in his career as far as I know. Needless to say, no anti-Semitic words have fallen from his lips since that time.

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By Tony Wicher, August 18, 2008 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

By Vince Liberty, August 18 at 8:00 pm #


Issywise:  ‘Here some proof that democracy works: relative social peace in democratic states—no religious wars, no class warfare; relative widespread prosperity in democratic states; greater total wealth of the democratic states; civil freedom enjoyed by the citizens of democratic states; prevelance of the rule of law in democratic states.  Do you deny these conditions prevail in North America and Western Europe and do not prevail in places where dictatorships, autocracies and theocratic regimes replace one another by force?’

The United States Government has made aggressive war on, since 1945; Korea, Iran, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand,Egypt, much of Central America, Iraq, Bosnia,Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq again, and possibly very soon Iran, as well as covert wars on dozens of other peoples, and a bang-up job on its own people in the War on Drugs. All conducted without a declaration of War, as required by its Democratic-Republican constitution, making them illegal domestically as well as internationally. The United States is the largest government, with the largest military ever to emerge on the face of the earth by many, many times. Under Democrats and Republicans, in war and at “peace” it never stops oppressing people.  Exactly how does this prove the cockamamie theory that Democratic regimes are peaceful? Relative domestic somnolence aside, where is the peace?

And as to alleged “peaceful” transfers of power - how, in any sense of the word can you refer to the transfer of power from one set of murdering thugs (i.e., Clinton and Albright) to another (Bush and Cheney, especially in light of the 200 election) as “peaceful”?
——————————————————————————
Issywise, Vince:

Issywise denies that the United States is imperialistic, and Vince denies that the United States is democratic. You’re both half right and half wrong. The United States has a light side and a dark side. Throughout its whole history it has been half imperialistic and half democratic. We are fighting for its better half, the democratic half. To say that the democratic half does not exist is to be anti-American. But democracy is under heavy attack, as neocon imperialists have completely taken the reigns of power for the last eight years, and the nation is in danger of becoming a military dictatorship.

The democratic forces in this country are and must continue to unite behind Barack Obama. We have three months to stop these neocons. If they win in November it’s all over. I see those who continue to see no difference between McCain and Obama as elitist leftists who never did really understand or value democracy, and certainly do not understand the alignment of forces in this country.  We are in a very serious situation, and in my view these people are naive at best and are doing the Republican’s work for them. I am here at Truthdig to convince as many of these people as possible of the error of their ways and prevent them from misleading others.

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By cann4ing, August 18, 2008 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie:  The real question when one scans the globe and the history of numerous U.S. invasions, covert actions, not to mention the presence of more than 760 US bases spread throughout the world, not to mention run-away expenditures on history’s most awesome arsenal ever assembled, is when, if ever, during the past sixty years it can be said that the United States was truly at peace?

The secondary question, of course, is what impact the quest for U.S. imperial hegemony has had on the remnants of the American democratic Republic?  While many of the uneducated cite the quadrennial ritual of selecting from amongst the corporate state’s chosen candidates (Democrat and Republican) for chief executive officer, there is little question but that the pseudo-justification for imperial conquest under the guise of “spreading democracy” is destroying democracy here at home.

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By Vince Liberty, August 18, 2008 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

Issywise:  ‘Here some proof that democracy works: relative social peace in democratic states—no religious wars, no class warfare; relative widespread prosperity in democratic states; greater total wealth of the democratic states; civil freedom enjoyed by the citizens of democratic states; prevelance of the rule of law in democratic states.  Do you deny these conditions prevail in North America and Western Europe and do not prevail in places where dictatorships, autocracies and theocratic regimes replace one another by force?’

The United States Government has made aggressive war on, since 1945; Korea, Iran, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand,Egypt, much of Central America, Iraq, Bosnia,Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq again, and possibly very soon Iran, as well as covert wars on dozens of other peoples, and a bang-up job on its own people in the War on Drugs. All conducted without a declaration of War, as required by its Democratic-Republican constitution, making them illegal domestically as well as internationally. The United States is the largest government, with the largest military ever to emerge on the face of the earth by many, many times. Under Democrats and Republicans, in war and at “peace” it never stops oppressing people.  Exactly how does this prove the cockamamie theory that Democratic regimes are peaceful? Relative domestic somnolence aside, where is the peace?

And as to alleged “peaceful” transfers of power - how, in any sense of the word can you refer to the transfer of power from one set of murdering thugs (i.e., Clinton and Albright) to another (Bush and Cheney, especially in light of the 200 election) as “peaceful”?

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By yellowbird2525, August 18, 2008 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

you claim democracy works because: I can tell you that “democracy” has become the most despised & despicable name on the planet BECAUSE of the way it is run in the USA; and in other countries like Iraq they KNOW dictatorship & say it is far far far worse than under Saddam; they wish he were alive again cuz while yes it was bad under him, it was NOTHING as bad as it is now: UNFORTUNATELY, MOST Americans have NO CLUE what is going on: they are LIED to repeatedly, thru PRINT & TV & RADIO due to consolidation of the mega Corps who work together with the Gov (THIS IS DEMOCRACY????????) it’s very NAME states that what is done is by the WILL OF THE PEOPLE: was it YOUR will that our own country was behind the 9/11 attacks? Or that our leaders don’t follow oaths of office, laws of the USA, internation laws, laws of Congress; and since THEY appointed the “Supreme Court of the LAND” they are never prosecuted or very seldomly; once in a “blue” moon one is tossed to the public; to APPEAR to be something other than what they truly are; no other country has done as much human right abuse of its own citizens; as the USA; “they” claim it is democracy to EXPLOIT and VICTIMIZE it’s people; really? where was THAT voted on for HONOR, HONESTY, INTEGRITY, and EVERY MAN CREATED EQUAL found? why don’t YOU email YOUR congressman in THIS democracy which is so wonderful & ask how now that they have perfected the birdsflu virus how it is going to be distributed amongst it’s “wonderful” cuz of no wars in the COUNTRY at the moment “democracy?????????? Think NOT they didn’t develope aids; think NOT that they are “bankrupt” the way they pretend; why does every other country on the planet that the PEOPLE pay taxes have excellent benefits from it????? NOT USA; worst country on the planet in more than 1 way.BTW, BIG difference between GOV, (who is the worst) the PEOPLE of the country who are ignorant, because they FAIL to open their eyes, minds, ears, and LEARN: and alas, like most other countries say: by the time that they do, it will be far to late for most of them to care;

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By Anarcissie, August 18, 2008 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

Issywise:  ‘Here some proof that democracy works: relative social peace in democratic states—no religious wars, no class warfare; relative widespread prosperity in democratic states; greater total wealth of the democratic states; civil freedom enjoyed by the citizens of democratic states; prevelance of the rule of law in democratic states.  Do you deny these conditions prevail in North America and Western Europe and do not prevail in places where dictatorships, autocracies and theocratic regimes replace one another by force?’
——
Rus7355:  ‘Again, you are dead on regarding the historical facts. ...’

The center of a successful empire is usually better off than its periphery.  And there is a considerable body of political thought that sees prosperity as preceding liberalism and democracy and making them possible, rather than following from them.  There is the additional problem that terms like “democracy” are often used in a highly selective way.  For instance, although Iran and Serbia had contested elections, they were not supposed to be democracies, whereas Georgia with very much the same sort of political procedures is a democracy (according to the U.S. government and the mainstream media).  In the case of Nicaragua, the country was held to be a democracy when it elected for pro-U.S. candidates and not-a-democracy when it elected anti-U.S. candidates.  The term “democracy” needs to be defined better before throwing it around so freely.  I would suggest substituting “capitalism” for “democracy”, which is often what it means in government and boss media discourse anyway.

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By cann4ing, August 18, 2008 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

Saggy, you and I are not having this conversation.  Your denial of the holocaust is so absurd that I do not deem it worthy of any further time for discussion. 

I do get the impression, Saggy, and I say this most delicately, that you are not simply anti-Zionist but anti-Semitic.  There is a major difference between the two since anti-Zionists are anti-racist, where anti-Semites are racist to the core.  I hope I am wrong about that, but I suspect I am not irrespective of any denials you may wish to make.

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By SCJ, August 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Think Russia would trade off its alliance with Iran for the ability to recoup the Ukraine and Georgia. Or stop the missle bases and stop their entrance into Nato.  “Us plays monopoly while Russia plays chess”  http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page.html

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By Anarcissie, August 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment


The US still keeps the Nazi records it captured, more than 50 million documents, SECRET, at Bad Arolsen….

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arolsen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Tracing_Service
http://www.its-arolsen.org/en/homepage/index.html

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By Tony Wicher, August 18, 2008 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

By cann4ing, August 18 at 1:39 pm #


Saggy, if you were to try to make the case, as Prof. Norman Finkelstein effectively does in “Beyond Chutzpah” that Zionists abuse the history of the holocaust as cover for falsely impugning anyone and everyone who challenges Israel’s brutal 40 occupation of Palestine, I could heartily agree with you.

But when you attempt to conflate that into “the holocaust never happened” you only appear the fool, or insane, or easily deluded by neo-Nazi propaganda. 

I am really saddened to find an otherwise reasonable progressive so deluded, but I don’t know what other conclusion one can reach about your thoroughly erroneous beliefs on this subject.
——————————————————————————
cann4ing,

I agree 100%.

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By cann4ing, August 18, 2008 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Saggy, if you were to try to make the case, as Prof. Norman Finkelstein effectively does in “Beyond Chutzpah” that Zionists abuse the history of the holocaust as cover for falsely impugning anyone and everyone who challenges Israel’s brutal 40 occupation of Palestine, I could heartily agree with you.

But when you attempt to conflate that into “the holocaust never happened” you only appear the fool, or insane, or easily deluded by neo-Nazi propaganda. 

I am really saddened to find an otherwise reasonable progressive so deluded, but I don’t know what other conclusion one can reach about your thoroughly erroneous beliefs on this subject.

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By Tony Wicher, August 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Re Folktruther, August 18 at 12:17 pm

Folktruther

I’m probably crazy to do it, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that in this post you sound like a human being I can agree with about some things. Now if only you would stop calling me a neocon and a torture advocate, which I am anything but, maybe we could discuss our theoretical differences in a constructive way.

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By cann4ing, August 18, 2008 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

From the very link provided by Saggy to substantiate his insane claim that the Holocaust never happened.

“The online data presented here comes from two of dozens of extant corpuses of camp documents: Death Books and Record Books of the so-called Gypsy Family Camp.

“We should remember that the Nazis destroyed most of the documents they created and that a list with the names of all Auschwitz victims does not exist. If the name of a person looked for does not appear in this database there is still a chance it is included in other documents, which are not online yet. To find out more you should contact the Office for Information on Former Prisoners.
Death Books

“This data base uses the partially preserved Death Books (Sterbebücher) of Auschwitz Concentration Camp prisoners. The 46 volumes of political department (camp Gestapo) record the deaths of almost 69,000 prisoners who were registered in the camp and who died between July 29, 1941 and December 31, 1943.”

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By SCJ, August 18, 2008 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

re: Issiewise Its not genetic although it gives the impression since white anglo saxons have been colonizing since the roman empire. Looks more cultural as a tactic, (divide an dcongure),  to bring the masses up to fight for their games end, for the elite of society.  One of the best over all comprehensive articles on the georgia conflict I have read is on http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page.html the title is:  US plays monopoly while Russia plays chess.

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By Folktruther, August 18, 2008 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Saggy, I happen to be sympathetic to people in the grip of political obsessions, even if they are racist.  I remember that I used to play in a tennis tournament when one of the players came up to me and told me in a thick German accent that he wasn’t a Nazi.  Fine.  Most people aren’t. 

But my approval was apparently not enthusiastic enough, because he came up to me every year for perhaps five years to explain his non-Nazi political beliefs (which were reactionary.)  I tried to be more vigorous in my sympathy but he wan’t satisfied.

It turns out he was in the Hitler Youth League when the war ended and he was then told, when he was an andolescent, that everything he was taught and identified with was horrible.  He was sixty or so when I knew him but he couldn’t get over it.  He would write me little messages, like I am writing you, explaining why we was not a Nazi and that no one should be.  He knew that I liked him personally but I could never satisfy him or give him enough approval for being a non-Nazi.

I now have to say something Saggy that may offend you, but I honestly don’t mean to.  I know you are very interested in the holocaust.  But I’m not.  I don’t care whether 6 million or 2 million people were killed, or what kind of gas was used, or if they were shot instead.  It was a horrible event in the nightmare of history, where horrible events tend to pile up.

Cann4ing gave some personal evidence that the killing did occur and his story could be repeated many, many times.  I would be surprised if it made any difference to you.  Nor could my looking at pictures in a book convince me of anything, since it has been known to happen that pictures that proved political points in a book might be falsified.  I am sorry to say that whether or not these buildings had windows or not does not loom large in my worldview of reality.

I think you’re as crazy as a loon.  But I don’t mean that in a bad way.  Sometimes I don’t feel so good myself.

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By cyrena, August 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Here’s more dot-connecting for you Issywise

I
The Real Story Behind Kosovo’s Independence
  By Jeremy Scahill
  AlterNet

  Saturday 23 February 2008

All of a sudden, DC establishment figures care about “international law” when it suits their interests in Kosovo.
  This is picking up midway through the article, the entire piece should be read for the appropriate context.

~On March 24, 1999, President Bill Clinton began an 11-week bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Like Bush with Iraq, Clinton had no UN mandate (he used NATO) and his so-called “diplomacy” to avert the possibility of bombing leading up to the attacks was insincere and a set-up from the jump. Just like Bush with Iraq.

  A month before the bombing began, the Clinton administration issued an ultimatum to President Slobodan Milosevic, which he had to either accept unconditionally or face bombing. Known as the Rambouillet accord, it was a document that no sovereign country would have accepted. It contained a provision that would have guaranteed US and NATO forces “free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout” all of Yugoslavia, not just Kosovo. It also sought to immunize those occupation forces “from any form of arrest, investigation, or detention by the authorities in [Yugoslavia],” as well as grant the occupiers “the use of airports, roads, rails and ports without payment.”

Additionally, Milosevic was told he would have to “grant all telecommunications services, including broadcast services, needed for the Operation, as determined by NATO.” Similar to Bush’s Iraq plan years later, Rambouillet mandated that the economy of Kosovo “shall function in accordance with free market principles.”

  What Milosevic was actually asked to sign is never discussed. That it would have effectively meant the end of the sovereignty of the nation was a non-story. The dominant narrative for the past nine years, repeated this week by William Cohen, Clinton’s defense secretary at the time of the bombing, is this: “We tried to achieve a peaceful resolution of what was taking place in Kosovo. And Slobodan Milosevic refused.” Refused peace? More like he unwisely refused one of Don Corleone’s famous offers. Washington knew he would reject it, but had to give the appearance of diplomacy for international “legitimacy.”

  So the humanitarian bombs rained down on Serbia. Among the missions: the bombing of the studios of Radio Television Serbia where an airstrike killed 16 media workers; the cluster bombing of a Nis marketplace, shredding human beings into meat; the deliberate targeting of a civilian passenger train; the use of depleted uranium munitions; and the targeting of petrochemical plants, causing toxic chemical waste to pour into the Danube River. Also, the bombing of Albanian refugees, ostensibly the people being protected by the U.S.

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By cyrena, August 18, 2008 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

II The Real Story Behind Kosovo’s Independence

  Similar to Bush’s allegations about Iraqi WMDs in the lead up to the US invasion, in 1999 Clinton administration officials also delivered stunning allegations about the level of brutality present in Kosovo as part of the propaganda campaign. “We’ve now seen about 100,000 military-aged men missing ....They may have been murdered,” Cohen said five weeks into the bombing. He said that up to 4,600 Kosovo men had been executed, adding, “I suspect it’s far higher than that.” Those numbers were flat out false. Eventually the estimates were scaled back dramatically, as Justin Raimondo pointed out recently in his column on Antiwar.com, from 100,000 to 50,000 to 10,000 and “at that point the War Party stopped talking numbers altogether and just celebrated the glorious victory of ‘humanitarian intervention.’” As it turned out “there was no ‘genocide’ - the International Tribunal itself reported that just over 2,000 bodies were recovered from postwar Kosovo, including Serbs, Roma, and Kosovars, all victims of the vicious civil war in which we intervened on the side of the latter. The whole fantastic story of another ‘holocaust’ in the middle of Europe was a fraud,” according to Raimondo.

  Following the NATO invasion of Kosovo in June of 1999, the US and its allies stood by as the Albanian mafia and gangs of criminals and paramilitaries spread out across the province and systematically cleansed Kosovo of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Romas and other ethnic minorities. They burned down houses, businesses and churches and implemented a shocking campaign to forcibly expel non-Albanians from the province. Meanwhile, the US worked closely with the Kosovo Liberation Army and backed the rise of war criminals to the highest levels of power in Kosovo. Today, Kosovo has become a hub for human trafficking, organized crime and narcosmuggling. In short, it is a mafia state. Is this the “democracy” Hillary Clinton speaks of “promoting” in “the heart” of Europe?

  It didn’t take long for the US to begin construction of a massive US military base, Camp Bondsteel, which conveniently is located in an area of tremendous geopolitical interest to Washington. (Among its most bizarre facilities, Bondsteel now offers classes at the Laura Bush education center, as well as massages from Thai women and all the multinational junk food you could (n)ever wish for). In November 2005, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described Bondsteel as a “smaller version of Guantanamo.” Oh, and Bondsteel was constructed by former Halliburton subsidiary KBR.

  Herein lies an interesting point. The Serbian government is largely oriented toward Europe, not the US. The country’s prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, is a conservative isolationist who is not enthusiastic about a US military base on Serbian soil any more than Cuba is about Gitmo. He charged that, in recognizing Kosovo, Washington was “ready to unscrupulously and violently jeopardize international order for the sake of its own military interests.” To the would-be independent Kosovo government, however, Bondsteel is no problem.

  Russia and a few other nations are fighting the recognition of Kosovo as an independent nation, but that is unlikely to succeed. Still, this action will undoubtedly reverberate for years to come. “We have in Serbia a situation in which the U.S. has forced an action - the proclamation of independence by the Kosovo Albanians - that is in clear violation of the most fundamental principles of international law after World War II,” argues Robert Hayden, Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. “Borders cannot be changed by force and without consent - that principle was actually the main stated reason for the 1991 U.S. attack on Iraq.”

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By cyrena, August 18, 2008 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

III The Real Story Behind Kosovo’s Independence

  And this brings us full circle. International law matters only when it is convenient for the US. So too are the cries for “humanitarian interventions.” And despite the extremism of the Bush administration, this is hardly a uniquely Republican phenomenon. In a just world, there would be a humanitarian intervention against the US occupation of Iraq - with its indiscriminate killings of civilians, torture chambers and widespread human rights violations. There certainly would have been such an intervention during the bipartisan slaughter, through bombs and sanctions, of Iraq’s people over the past 18 years. But that’s what you get when the cops and judges and prosecutors are the criminals. US policy has always operated on a worthy victim, unworthy victim system that is almost never primarily about saving the victims. Humanitarianism is the publicly offered justification for the action, seldom, if ever, the primary motivation. With Iraq, Bush wheeled out the humanitarian justification for the occupation - Saddam’s brutality - only after the WMD lies were thoroughly debunked. In Yugoslavia, Clinton used it right out of the gates. In both cases, it rang insincere.

Entire piece is at the link.

http://www.truthout.org/article/jeremy-scahill-the-real-story-behind-kosovos-independence?print

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By cyrena, August 18, 2008 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

John Pilger

I

Kosovo - the site of a genocide that never was - is now a violent “free market” in drugs and prostitution. What does this tell us about the likely outcome of the Iraq war?

Muted by the evidence of the Anglo-American catastrophe in Iraq, the “humanitarian” war party ought to be called to account for its forgotten crusade in Kosovo, the model for Blair’s “onward march of liberation”. Just as Iraq is being torn apart by the forces of empire, so was Yugoslavia, the multi-ethnic state that uniquely rejected both sides in the cold war.

Lies as great as those told by Bush and Blair were deployed by Clinton and Blair in their grooming of public opinion for an illegal, unprovoked attack on a European country. Following the same path as the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, the media coverage in the spring of 1999 was a series of fraudulent justifications, beginning with the then US defence secretary William Cohen’s claim that “we’ve now seen about 100,000 military-aged [Albanian] men missing . . . they may have been murdered”. David Scheffer, the then US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, announced that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59” may have been killed. Blair invoked the Holocaust and “the spirit of the Second World War”. The British press took its cue. “Flight from genocide,” wrote the Daily Mail. “Echoes of the Holocaust,” chorused the Sun and the Mirror. In parliament, the heroic Clare Short compared to Nazi propagandists those (such as myself) who objected to the bombing of defenceless people. By June 1999, with the bombardment over, international forensic teams began subjecting Kosovo to minute examination. The American FBI arrived to investigate what was called “the largest crime scene in the FBI’s forensic history”. Several weeks later, having not found a single mass grave, the FBI went home. The Spanish forensic team also returned home, its leader complaining angrily that he and his colleagues had become part of “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines, because we did not find one - not one – mass grave”.

In November 1999, the Wall Street Journal published the results of its own investigation, dismissing “the mass grave obsession”. Instead of “the huge killing fields some investigators were led to expect . . . the pattern is of scattered killings [mostly] in areas where the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army has been active”. The Journal concluded that Nato stepped up its claims about Serbian killing fields when it “saw a fatigued press corps drifting toward the contrary story: civilians killed by Nato’s bombs . . . The war in Kosovo was cruel, bitter, savage. Genocide it wasn’t.”


One year later, the International War Crimes Tribunal, a body in effect set up by Nato, announced that the final count of bodies found in Kosovo’s “mass graves” was 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army. Like Iraq’s fabled weapons of mass destruction, the figures used by the US and British governments and echoed by journalists were inventions - along with Serbian “rape camps” and Clinton’s and Blair’s claims that Nato never deliberately bombed civilians.
Code-named “Stage Three”, Nato’s civilian targets included public transport, hospitals, schools, museums, churches. “It was common knowledge that Nato went to Stage Three [after a couple of weeks],” said James Bissett, the Canadian ambassador in Belgrade during the attack. “Otherwise, they would not have been bombing bridges on Sunday afternoons, and market places.”

http://globalresearch.ca/articles/PIL412A.html

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By cyrena, August 18, 2008 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

II

Nato’s clients were the Kosovo Liberation Army. Seven years earlier, the State Department had designated the KLA as a terrorist organisation in league with al-Qaeda. In 1999, KLA thugs were feted; Robin Cook, then foreign secretary, allowed them to call him on his mobile phone. “The Kosovar Albanians played us like a Stradivarius violin,” wrote the former UN commander in Bosnia, Major General Lewis MacKenzie, last April. “We have subsidised and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure Kosovo. We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early 1990s, and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today, in spite of evidence to the contrary.”

Continued at the link

http://globalresearch.ca/articles/PIL412A.html

More coming up for you Issywise, just have to search my files for it.

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By cann4ing, August 18, 2008 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Saggy, I used to work with a guy who served in Patton’s Fourth Armored Division, who entered the camps at the end of the war, and who told me what he saw first hand.  I have personally met holocaust survivors, am old enough to recall watching the Eichmann trial in black and white, and have seen extensive, high placed Nazi documentation on the Final Solution and the use of Zyklon-B set forth in documentaries on the Nuremberg trials.  Any attempt to deny the occurrence of so well-documented an event borders on insanity.  But its a free country, so if you wish to post such utter rubbish, be my guest.

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By cann4ing, August 18, 2008 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

OMFG, we actually have someone who denies the holocaust here at TD—nothing short of astounding!

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By cyrena, August 18, 2008 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

By Issywise, August 18 at 3:15 am

•  “..I have to say, to suggest that the “racial cleansing” conducted by the Serbians on their neighbors didn’t happen and was an invention of later public relations efforts by the victims is just nuts.”..

Yeah, it would be ‘nuts’ (what a corny word) to suggest that this genocide didn’t happen. But, NOBODY HERE HAS SUGGESTED THAT IT *DIDN’T* HAPPEN!

This is what is so typical of you Issywise. You twist whatever was originally said, which was broad in context, and only suggested that the details that were relayed via the mass media (western media of course) did not present a clear and true picture of ‘how’ it occurred, or what led up to it. NOBODY has said that this ethnic cleansing did not take place at all, and that it was *all* an invention. Is your dishonesty completely intentional?

Meantime, I’m in a rush, so here’s something for you to ponder until I can return and explain it to you.

You say this…

•  “…To argue that the United States is responsible for the Serbs killing their neighbors is also just nuts.”

My question: Is it also ‘just nuts’ to argue that the United States is responsible for the Iraqis killing each other, as with the Sunni and the Shia? One hint, they weren’t doing it before they were invaded and occupied by the US.

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By Anarcissie, August 18, 2008 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Folktruther:
You have a perfect right, Saggy, to argue your views about the holocaust or any other historical event.  I think that they are loony….

They are indeed.  I’m old enough to have met and talked with people who were in the camps.  In my early 20s I worked for about a year with a Polish woman named Regina who survived only because, as a small blonde child, she was able to hide with a neighboring Roman Catholic family when most of her own family was seized, and was not captured until late in the war.  Not a single other member of her own family, nor of the Roman Catholic family that had sheltered her, nor any of her childhood friends, survived, or at least none of them showed up after the war.  An American woman looking unsuccessfully for her disappeared daughter “adopted” her and got her into the U.S.  But she was pretty much a destroyed person.  Her personality had been razed, you might say.  But she went on breathing anyway.

If you have any doubts I recommend you go to the historical evidence and take in as much of it as you can stand.  It isn’t easy.

I think the interesting question here, though, is what function Holocaust denial serves.  It seems to crop up as a method of breaking up certain conversations about other subjects, as for instance the one in this topic, about Georgia and, peripherally, the Balkans, which the Caucasus and its troubles resemble in many ways.  You’ll notice it as well in any dialogue involving criticism of Israel.  Isn’t that curious?

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By Folktruther, August 18, 2008 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

You have a perfect right, Saggy, to argue your views about the holocaust or any other historical event.  I think that they are loony and are reinforced by the idoelogical anti-Semitism and racism inherited in our religious, political and scientific ideology.

But what do I know.  Lot’s of things I thought were loony turned out to be true.  Who knows, maybe there is some truth in what you say.  Certainly the holocaust is used by Israel and the neocons to reinforce racism and the oppression of the Muslims.  But this could be the case and the historical event still have occrurred.

It’s difficult to tell the simple reality based truth when it conflicts with the emotional truth.  My grandparents were killed by the Nazies because they were Jews.  But we have to allow the discourse of reality based truth no matter how emotionally difficult its implications are.  This is never allowed by power systems, especially in the US. 

But it is essential in de-educating and de-informing the population of delusive truths that have been instilled to convenience power.  Say what you have to say, Saggy.  But by the same principle you have to allow other people their say as well.  Who knows, maybe you are mistaken.  It’s conceivable.

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By The Teacher, August 18, 2008 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

Not a word about American “advisors” being killed fighting with the Georgian army… check out the newspapers in Isreal…very good history about the present conflict, and investment in the Georgian economy.  There are military “advisors” from Isreal in Georgia as well as American. It appears that when the Russians bombed the military airbases in Georgia the possible preperations for an Isreali strike on Iran was set at least a few months.  Where is there a better place to strike Iran ... one hundred miles from the border. There is another interesting tidbit of info ... there are two naval battle groups from England and France somewhere in the Middle East… includes aircraft carriers. Note the lack of reporting about American casulties from our very informed news media.  Could it be that the Russians stopped an air attack on Iran, or did the Georgians react too quickly on poor intell? One must remember American intelligence was very surprised the Russians reacted so quickly?

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By Anarcissie, August 18, 2008 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

Issywise—in regard to the Balkans, if you pursue some of the sources whose URLs I posted, and use the method I suggested, you will probably get a different picture of the events than you now have.  The URLs mostly refer to media distortions, rather than the facts on the ground, but you can get to the facts on the ground.

The thing that first caused me to smell a rat was not my ideology but the fact that the Serbs were always portrayed as evil in the mainstream media, where as the various other guys were always portrayed as innocent victims of Serbian aggression.  That didn’t comport well with my view of human nature.  Sure enough, a closer look showed that there were about 20 different parties carrying on violent activities in the remains of Yugoslavia, all with different agendas.  Few of them, from whatever nation or ethnic group, restricted themselves to noble acts.

The role of the U.S. government and ruling class is ambiguous.  My guess is as follows: at first, the U.S. (in opposition to the German government under Kohl) didn’t want Yugoslavia to be broken up; they hoped to Westernize it as a unit.  They also were among the governments who told the Croatians they would not recognize an independent Croatia unless credible steps were taken to protect the security and rights of minorities within Croatia, particularly those of Serbs, on the theory that otherwise the entire region would break down into a set of race wars (as it did).  Kohl, however, went ahead and recognized Croatia without any reassurance as to the Serbs, which put the fat in the fire, because the right-wing Croatians then in control of the country began to cleanse the Serbs—fire them from government jobs, burn their houses down, and so on.  The result of that sort of thing was pretty predictable, indeed, had been predicted.  The U.S. government then revised its strategy and assisted the Croatian government in building up its armed forces and cleansing the Serbs from Croatia.  The general rule, then, was that the U.S. government did not promote ethnic cleansing against the Serbs, but once it started was willing to go along with it, since the overriding consideration was to discipline the Serbs in the interests of ensuring that Yugoslavia become pro-Western.  There seems to be a kind of Festung Europa mentality at work. 

Anyway, as to U.S. government motivations I interpret preceding and subsequent events in Kosovo in the light of this drama.  It is more difficult to know about the intentions and actions of the other warring parties since there are quite a few of them and most of them communicate in Serbocroatian, a language I don’t know.  I would agree that the U.S. bombing of Serbia probably discouraged the Serbian government from continuing to cleanse the Albanians from Kosovo, but the U.S. has more or less tolerated the cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo by Albanians, as they did the cleansing of Serbs from Croatia, so I don’t think they are deeply opposed to ethnic cleansing in general.  Probably, though, they think it is not nice.

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By Issywise, August 18, 2008 at 4:27 am Link to this comment

SCJ,

I don’t get you? You tell me I need to define what I mean by “genetic trait,” you assert that “it can be argued quite well that the white race has genocidal tendancies…” and then you proceed to make my point that “Theses are not genetic traits inherited in white nationalities DNA.  But they could be argued as behavior by products of society or parts of society.”

There is only three points that I would add to the totality of what your saying: 1) Arguing something without any factual basis is futile. 2) Arguing something in the face of overwhelmingly contrary facts is sophistry or self-delusion, saying any behavior is genetically linked to any particular race is racism. 

I can argue that pigs fly, but why should people have to take it seriously? Why should I take it serious?

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By Issywise, August 18, 2008 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie

Again, I state that facts are better researched then argued. There was comprehensive world wide press coverage of the Balkans at the time. How you came away believing the Serbs weren’t the perpetrators or that America is somehow responsible is a wonder to me. It can only be by ideological self-blinding—pounding facts into a shape that serves your self-hate of America.


I have to say, to suggest that the “racial cleansing” conducted by the Serbians on their neighbors didn’t happen and was an invention of later public relations efforts by the victims is just nuts.

To argue that the United States is responsible for the Serbs killing their neighbors is also just nuts.

Do you deny that it is a fact that we militarily intervened there to stop the murdering? You said you weren’t aware of our military intervention in Darfur—well enough, we are all ignorant about some things, but you claim knowledge on the Balkans and yet ignore the most salient fact—our military intervention to end the murders.

Can you let that little truth escape from your ideological lips?  Can you just brew-up enough objectivity to admit that American arms saved lives in the Balkans and did so without any possible imperial advantage benefiting our evil asses?

Black and white—that is how you ideologues have to have it.

I read your continuous Marxist usages (ruling classes, exploitation of the masses and all that other crap), your denigration of democracy and wonder: Are you a Marxist?

Do you believe democracy inherently must serve an economic elite and predate on the working classes? Do you believe a violent revolution is necessary to displace that predatory bourgeois rule with a dictatorship of the masses which must then evolve naturally into an Archadian era of utopian civil development.

Here some proof that democracy works: relative social peace in democratic states—no religious wars, no class warfare; relative widespread prosperity in democratic states; greater total wealth of the democratic states; civil freedom enjoyed by the citizens of democratic states; prevelance of the rule of law in democratic states.  Do you deny these conditions prevail in North America and Western Europe and do not prevail in places where dictatorships, autocracies and theocratic regimes replace one another by force?

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By cyrena, August 18, 2008 at 2:34 am Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, August 17 at 4:29 pm

Anarcissie,

My profound thanks for the links. I will indeed follow them carefully, as I at least like to think of myself as a conscientious researcher, though I agree that the most difficulty in accomplishing that, is what you’ve already stated. The information isn’t always available, and when it is, it’s been edited by MSM for consumption. Still, I’m pretty patient at sniffing things out, and generally inclined to skepticism until I can prove facts, at least to myself. Sometimes, that has to be enough, because of what you write here:

•  “The tactic worked, even among leftist (and rightist) dissidents; one received as much flak for critical thinking from one’s own as from the mainstream.”

I have considerable experience with how this tactic has worked so well; seems like I’ve bee taking flak for critical thinking from all directions, for as long as I can remember. After a while, I guess we become mostly accustomed to it.

Anyway, I’ll get to these soon. I’m generally never in a hurry these days, since this stuff takes time anyway. I came across another excellent piece not long ago, (about the US political interests in the Balkans) and I’ll try to find it to post. I know that I did keep it for one of my own projects, which I’m delayed in finishing up. So, that should be a good prod for me to get it done.

Thanks again.

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By Folktruther, August 18, 2008 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

The figure of twentyfive or thirty percent, Parcelus, comes from a report about a book of Petras called something like THE ISTRALI LOBBY IN THE US, written in 2006.  Let me emphasize that I haven’t read the book but I’ve read other articles about what Petras calls the “Zionist Power Configuration.

I didn’t pay that much attention to it because it seem to me at the time quite fantastic, that Israel could in effect colonize the US.  It still seems to me fantastic, and perhaps Petras overemphasizes, but now I think a large part of it is true.

You are quite right of course that the people who take the heat are not the powerful who provoke it.  This is true not merely in the historical discrimination of Jews but in every military struggle where the working class dies for the sins of the ruling class.  Totally unjust, as you say, but it has been happening for thousands of years.

I intend to read the book when I get time.  I should emphasize though the neocons are Christians as well as Jews, Zionists all, and have largely hijacked both the Gop and Dem parties. Obama has now been toadying to Aipace, etc.

        ***********

There is a long article in the NYTimes that states that not only did McCain’s advisers support the Geogean president, McCain himself called him in April offering his support.  But most damning, Rice was there in July and stated “we always fight for our friends.”  But its conceivable that McCain,etc pressured or lobbied the Bushites.

The US power system is too disorganized to be an effective military power.  Which doesn’t mean that they can’t kill an awful lot of people.

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By Paracelsus, August 17, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

@Folktruther, August 16 at 12:42 pm

“A fourth or 30% of the ruling class are Jewish,and a significant number of both Jews and non-Jews are Zionist.  They support the neocons in both parties.”

I do know from Israel Shahak’s book that the bureaucratic machinery that ran feudalistic nation-states was predominantely Jewish so as to protect the king or prince from usurpation by his rival nobles and countrymen in the bureaucracy. But I would like to know where Folktruther got his 30% figure for the present ruling class.

I wish to point out that an elite group of Jews profit as managers and traders, but when populations get angry at the Jewish face of many European intermediaries of power for kings, governments, and banks, it is the more impoverished and close by Jews who bear the brunt of the pogroms and purges. Needless to say this is quite unfair.

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