19 May, 2007

Placeholder

Topic:

- All peoples, religions, cultures are not created equal
- The myth of political correctness
- The superiority of progressive values, the inferiority of progressive values inherent inability to capture the imagination of mass movements
- What is neo-conservatism, how is it a child of progressive politics, how has it become a tool of military hegemony and what lessons can we learn from its failures

18 May, 2007

Patrick J Buchanan is Right, Giuliani is a Douche and Ron Paul may be the Mike Gravel of the Right

Lest we forget, Osama bin Laden was among the mujahedeen whom we, in the Reagan decade, were aiding when they were fighting to expel the Red Army from Afghanistan. We sent them Stinger missiles, Spanish mortars, sniper rifles. And they helped drive the Russians out.

What Ron Paul was addressing was the question of what turned the allies we aided into haters of the United States. Was it the fact that they discovered we have freedom of speech or separation of church and state? Do they hate us because of who we are? Or do they hate us because of what we do?

Osama bin Laden in his declaration of war in the 1990s said it was U.S. troops on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia, U.S. bombing and sanctions of a crushed Iraqi people, and U.S. support of Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians that were the reasons he and his mujahedeen were declaring war on us.

Elsewhere, he has mentioned Sykes-Picot, the secret British-French deal that double-crossed the Arabs who had fought for their freedom alongside Lawrence of Arabia and were rewarded with a quarter century of British-French imperial domination and humiliation.


Buchanan is of course correct -- and our dumbed-down rhetoric with respect to the Middle East and Muslims does the United States great, grave harm.

Osama bin Laden did not order the attacks of 9/11 because he hates "our freedom." He did it because we have troops in the Holy Lands, including Israel, an apostate Nation (and we know the punishment for apostasy).

Now, I am not advocating that we appease these animals, nor and I suggesting that Israelis don't have a right to defend themselves. I think there are ever more root causes to foment Arab, Middle-Eastern, Central Asian or otherwise Muslim aggression (but the root causes for bin Laden, and before him Sayyed Qutb, and others are well known -- hint, pre-D.H. Lawrence relations between the region and Europe).

So where does this leave us in terms of foreign policy? Well, I don't have a simple answer and I don't suppose Buchanan does either. I really don't think Giuliani has the answer and I know Mitt Romney nor the rest of those clowns do either. Bill Richardson has some experience in this area, Hilary Clinton would be able to cobble together a coalition of egg-headed party operatives of the Carville or Stephanopoulis stripe; which is why I'd rather see what the new kid in town, his Omabinatiousness, the Obaminator, Doc Barack has up his sleeves.

But more on this and other things later, fucking Stargate SG-1 is on.

17 May, 2007

the war on oil

How did that Gas-out work for you?

Did you save $1 the next time you filled up, or did it cost $1 more than the last time?

Did you, when you were penetrating your gas tank with that rapist pump feel some extra guilt? Where does that gas come from, anyway? Does it come from a country that slices off women's labias to prevent them from enjoying sex? Perhaps one of the oil magnates' cousins tragically died on September 11, 2001,.. while piloting an airplane into the World Trade Center.

For far too long radical right-wing extremists in our country have been using tragic events to justify their war on freedom. On a Sunday morning in December of 1941 we were attacked by the Japanese. Our response was to intern every Japanese-American we could find in an act that is universally reviled as anti-Democratic and anti-freedom.

Unlike the Japanese in the 1940s, terrorists in our day and age are a real threat. Our military leaders and top political advisers know this, not just because of the carnage of Beirut, the Gulf of Arabia or the World Trade Center, but because we train and enable them in pursuit of our lazy energy policy.

Some people say that questioning our questionable foreign policy is "blaming America first." A reasonable, intelligent adult should be able to discern that the victim of an horrendous attack like the September 11, 2001 attacks must have somehow invited that attack. So, let's "blame America first."

Let's do that and figure out what we did wrong and FUCKING FIX IT.

My first step would be to stop giving billions upon billions of dollars to countries that slice up their womens' genitals.

Am I crazy to think that?

ETA - I'm "edgy"

16 May, 2007

perceptions

In my youth I think in a way, in a fashion, I tried to appear more smart and more mature than I was.

In fact, I did try to appear more smart, more mature than I was. This was my last defense as a nonathletic, underachieving socially maladroit youth.

I was not exactly a suck up to the adult authority figures. I butted heads with teachers, I stole, I engaged in breaking and entering, I committed wire fraud. I was not a model suck up, I was not one who made an extra effort to appease the adult power structure.

But I felt more comfortable in my encounters with those adult authority figures who acted within the semi-rigid formalities of polite adult society than I ever had with my peers when I was in high school.

To wit, my peers were rude, and cruel, and lacked any moral framework at their age to know better than to brutally attack their peers. I was very sensitive to those attacks, and so I found that engaging adults was far less risky than engaging my peers. I cannot point fingers, because I too engaged in behaviors that I now find reprehensible; those sins are the subject of another post.

As smart and as determined I may be, I feel I have failed in a significant way by way of my inaction to sway the opinions of my friends, my peers, and the general public away from what to me is our government's obvious affront to the American way of life.

I have made a living on being smart for the sake of being smart, but I have not made any impact. I am smart for the sake of my own personal, short termed well being.

I am not so smart.

01 May, 2007

Gas Protest and Other Stupid Ideas

Updated I - Updated II - Updated III
On May 15, some percentage of MySpace users will show their solidarity and not buy any gasoline for a single day. This is, of course, a ridiculous idea.

The bulletin reads thus (there are a few different versions, I am picking on the most common):
Dont buy gas may 15th PROTEST
Body: DON'T PUMP GAS ON TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2007

In April 1997, there was a "gas out" conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.On May 15th 2007, all Internet users are to not go to a gas station in protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most places.There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the Internet network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up.If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take $2,292,000,000.00 (that's almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companys pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on May 15th and lets try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for at least one day.If you agree (which I can't see why you wouldn't) resend this to all your contact list. With it saying, ''Don't pump gas on May 15"

The anonymous author wants us to envision a panicked DEFCON-like underground war room full of fat oil tycoons watching in sheer terror as, like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, their gas profits blink off across the country like the power grid winking off in entire cities, counties, states. The horror, the horror!

Folks, lets come back down to reality. Gas is the food that makes the corpus of our nation go. If you and I don't eat for a day, then we are even hungrier the next day, or the day after, or whenever we end our fast. Or we die.

But what is this "protest" about anyway? What social good does lower gas prices do America as a society? Or is this simple a punitive measure, a desperate cry of irate consumers who subconsciously want to punish someone, anyone for the feeling of a loss of power?

In that light, this protest, ineffective as it will be, makes more sense. In the Summer of 2007, likely to be one of the hottest on record, we find ourselves mired in a war which has claimed more lives than the unrelated event that caused a very vocal minority in power to seek to prosecute this war. Our leaders on the right and the left are as corrupt as ever. American's have lost hope, which is why Sanjaya gets a better voter turnout than national elections, forget about local general elections. A growing meritocracy of wealthy lobbyists and think-tanks guide our nations policies, making the voter nearly irrelevant.

Who wouldn't want to "stick it to the man?"

Well, boycotting gasoline for a single day isn't a very good way to do it, and the raison d'etre of wanting to lower gas prices is wrong headed. The may 15 gas protest is another idiotic ideal of supposedly progressive liberals which will only embolden the status quo. I put this idea in the "ethanol column", because pressuring our government to "do something" about rising gas prices will only tether us further to Arab and South American oil producers. (Ethanol requires more gas to create and transport than is saved in using corn instead of oil).

I dont plan on pumping gas may 15th or probably the fifteen days preceding and following may 15th.

Much of the trouble we get ourselves into stems from the artificial deflation of gas prices. But if gas prices were in line with the prices in europe (roughly $7 a gallon), Americans would:

  • conserve energy
  • buy smaller cars
  • carpool
  • ride bicycles
  • use mass transit
  • reduce the number of vehicular injuries and fatalities

    Are our policy makers are afraid of hemorrhaging jobs overseas if gas prices shoot up? We have been for decades, in case anyone hasn't been paying attention in Cleveland or Detroit or the rest of the rust belt.

    America has been without meaningful new industry since world war II. Steel manufacture is down, consumer electronics is barely alive, and our auto industry relies on the kindness of strangers (Japan and Germany). Why not invest in green industry? This is what Global Climate Change deniers do not acknowledge, because maintaining the status quo is Big Oil's number one goal, yet surely there are jobs there.

    Furthermore, the rate of employment simply cannot dip under a certain rate or there would be no one to sell products to, or worse, no one to pay taxes (the rich don't, the government has to make money somewhere). Oil price caps do not take a long view of enconomics. Oil price caps are therefore bad policy. In order for our government to ensure we pay half of what Europeans pay for petrol our foreign policy effort support ogliarchies of all stripes, dictatorships and anti-Democratic governments the world over. Your tax dollars are at work, and for that cheap price-tag at the gas pump women are still held in servitude as second class citizens in the Middle East, genocide is overlooked in sub-Saharan Africa, coups are fomented in South America.

    Do we really want to continue our secret and not-so-secret machinations, putting flame dangerously near to the powder-keg of second- and third-world societies for the sake of cheap oil?

    I can think of roughly 6,300 reasons not to.

    Update - 5/7/2007
    Excellent post on Green Options about the ineffectiveness of the gas out:
    What a great idea: 72-million MySpace members avoiding gas stations for one day. I didn't do the math ( too complicated for me!), but based on a fill-up costing between $20 and $30, the boycott would cost the Middle Eastern oil companies more than $2,000,000.000 in revenue. That's $2 Billion. Wow!

    But, wait a minute. There's only one hitch to this great idea. To pull it off, all 72 million who drive a gasoline-fueled vehicle would have to leave their cars, trucks or whatever, home for 24 hours and take a bus, ride a bike, walk or hitch a ride with someone who doesn't care. You can bet your baby-blue-booties it ain't gonna work.

    And what about those who do avoid filling stations for 24-hours and still drive? Well, bunky, think about this. On May 14, the price of gas will be, let's say for the sake of argument, $2.85 a gallon. So you drive on the 15th, and you burn several gallons of gas, which eventually has to be replaced. On the 16th, the price of petrol jumps to $2.95 a gallon. So on your next fill-up, you'll pay $.10 more for a gallon of gas, and the oil companies would have made a modest profit anyway.


    Update - 5/9/2007

    And of course, I refer you all to Snopes.com "Gas Out" article:

    Gas Out

    Claim: Participating in a boycott of selected oil companies will lower gasoline prices.

    Status: False

    This article deals specifically with the May 15, 2007 "Gas Out".
  • The difference between a country with a volunteer army and a compulsory one?

    It would seem that a country with compulsory military service is more accountable than one without.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/05/01/israel_war/index.html

    Will comment further later.