Thursday, July 31, 2003

The Prodigal Media, The Prodigal Congress

There's no sense in being angry with the mainstream media. Now that they seemingly have regained their footing, and good sense, spirited public debate seems to have returned to the land, along with reason and hope.

We shouldn't forget to thank our wayward Congress either, missing in action for so much of the Bush Administration, for the media revival. Clearly 9/11 marked a new sort of challenge, the kind that Congress was not ready for. Thankfully, the men and women in our halls of democracy have emerged from their trauma, and realized that they were not eliminated by anthrax attacks, that they in fact are still around, and in power, and may still contribute.

All kidding aside, it really is good to see American public life reinvigorated. Contentious. For this is the stuff of democracy, and for too long we've shucked freedom and democracy aside in the crusade to defend or install freedom and democracy elsewhere. Thankfully, the time for this foolishness has nearly run its course. Freedom and democracy are means, not ends. The ends are love, happiness, good feeling, good will, satisfaction, and the like.

We must never forget what it means to be human, what this has always meant. In this age, freedom and democracy are our birthrights, as best expounded in the Declaration of Independence. These are the ways and means by which we pursue happiness and our dreams. We must never relinquish them, as Ben Franklin has so eloquently stated on a previous occasion, in the face of fear or insecurity. Certainly not without due and diligent consideration should we suspend any aspect of our birthright, and then and only then, after such consideration, with a determination and precise explanation of the effectiveness of such suspension, and its proscribed, and definite, duration.

Welcome back members of the mainstream media. Of Congress. Let this be a reminder to you of the dangers of democracy. The contingency. A new community has joined you, right here in cyberspace. On the Internet. Use it as a tool, and have no doubt of engagement. Listen. The people have found a voice, and, as such, your job has become that much easier.
Stream of Commute - 7/30/2003

Political Speech

Thinking about campaign finance reform. About limiting dollars citizens can spend on advertising and media. For this to be fair, since political speech involves spending to some extent, similar limits would seemingly have to extend to government, to be fair.

For, if the government, as in the military sphere, gains non-competitive dominance in media access and influence, then what's to keep them in line, and in order? 500,000 people on the streets of New York is still effective, but for how long? Give the state utter and complete dominance both of military means and media penetration and what is to stop an effective and ruthless leadership from successfully rendering democracy moot?


Free Markets

Meditating on the power of markets to solve all problems - it's a lie, because these market defenders only believe in free markets selectively, for economic benefit, and not for political and cultural markets (exchange). They overemphasize the economic sphere, underemphasizing or denigrating the political, cultural and spiritual, and in the process end up with a skewed worldview that inevitably greatly favors those with more economic capital.

Thus, economic capital is power, and the bigger the better. This favors corporate governance of the world, not just America, and since the nature of corporate charters is highly authoritarian and has very little to do with the stuff of democracy, and America, these market philosophers are not patriots, and are not defenders of humanity, human values, self-government, inalienable rights, or the American Dream.

Fundamentalism and free markets do not mix, of any variety. Be it religious fundamentalism, or economic fundamentalism, the results will be the same. Skewed markets, and overemphasis in one sphere over another. We need a separation of human powers - cultural, political and economic - in order to duly respect the full sense and experience of humanity, and ensure life and happiness, liberty and justice, security and decency, to everyone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

If Protecting Intelligence Sources Is So Important... President Bush asserts as a justification for keeping some of the 9/11 report secret, then why is it so unimportant to investigate who in his administration leaked the name of Valerie Plame to a journalist? After all, Plame is a covert intelligence operative, presumably dealing with intelligence sources, and specifically in the realm of WMD. Am I missing something here?
5 Reasons The Terrorist Futures Market Is A Dumb Idea - An Economic Analysis

Over here. This really is a stupid idea.
The War On Terrorism

Has the war on terrorism already gone the way of the war on drugs, more a cover story for unaccountable military expenditure and operations? The war on drugs has always been an abject failure, costing millions upon billions of dollars, and never amounting to much. But it sure justified a lot, and made for excellent political capital.

Will the war on terrorism be the same? Less a fact than a charade, used as a justification for anything and everything politically desired? Or will we really build a global coalition, and root out and defeat these terrorists, along with examining and changing our own destructive actions that feed them?

We are not without responsibility for the state of the world today. We are not innocent. And not perfect. If we never address our own shortcomings, we will not engage the whole struggle. The enemy and evil is not only outside, they are also within. If we ignore our own shadows, we will only fight an enemy that continues to exist into perpetuity, as long as we ourselves exist.


Ultimately, the technological shadow will also have to be engaged. What is the vision of the world in which we are not threatened by WMD, and yet we continue to respect freedom, sovereignty and conscience, individual and national? These are tough questions, and they are not answered by the Project For A New American Century. Catastrophes may happen by natural means, and by indirect means of humanity, such as ecological catastrophes. We must engage all of the emerging threats, all of which are shrouded in uncertainty.
Scraping Flypaper Over An Open Sore

I leave the blogosphere for awhile and all hell breaks loose. The latest scandal going the blogger rounds is the "flypaper" strategy. Let me explain why this is such a crock...

Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations, are not stupid. They have outsmarted us on a number of occasions. It is safe to assume, from our reaction after the 9/11 tragedy, that we are not racking up more victories over them. Thus, we go public with our efforts to defeat them, pushing aside the wise adage not to give legitimacy to terrorist groups. Yes, you can't ignore the 9/11 tragedy, but you don't have to declare war on terror either.

That aside, let's stay on focus. Flypaper. The idea is that we will lure all of the terrorists into Iraq, where we will be able to engage them with full firepower. If they were stupid. Unfortunately, they're not. Yes, we have stirred up a hornet's nest over there, and certainly there are more terrorists today than there were pre-9/11, but as far as we know terrorists are not our scourge in Iraq, it is Iraqi resisters of various varieties. There may be some terrorists over there, but nothing substantial.

Rather, as overextended as we are militarily, and with North Korea rattling up tensions, the terrorists, including AQ, are probably extending their operations, the idea being that they can cause us trouble all over the globe, and make us do something about it. They can start cutting deals with other resistance forces, and taking matters into their own hands, in their strategy to disrupt key economic flows, like oil pipelines. Thus, wherever there are oil pipelines, or other such key economic infrastructure, we will be forced to defend it, to provide security, which raises uncertainty and costs a lot of money.

There is no reason to believe the flypaper bit at all. Why would the terrorists flock en masse into Iraq? Exclusively? It may be one site among many, and certainly an attractive target for economic disruption, but only one among many. As always, their strategy likely continues to be global in scope, with quick hit-and-run missions with small cadres of operatives. Such a strategy is not flypaper but liquid, as is readily acknowledged by the real planners and strategists of the West. Sending in Special Forces after the fact won't help. Only intelligence, and global cooperation, will.

Iraq should not be the center of the war against terrorism. It never should have been. It was a secular, Arab nationalist state, and not even remotely linked to the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Having the same enemies does not ipso facto mean cooperation, especially when the two so-called allies consider each other enemies, though perhaps enemies of a different magnitude.

The only reason Iraq is the center of the war on terrorism is because we desperately want it to be so. We've spent all of this money, and essentially for nothing as far as fighting Al Qaeda and other terrorists goes. It was the Project For A New American Century all along, and eventually this will be acknowledged by the administration's defenders, such as the Wall Street Journal, which is almost to that point already of disavowing the publicized reasons in favor of the actual reasons, and explaining it away by postulating a need for misdirection in order to win support for the war.

When this happens, the American people should stand up, and make the administration, and their defenders, walk on flypaper. Barefoot. Heated to 120 degrees. Why? They deceived everyone, spent billions of dollars rushing into a war that didn't have to happen yet, if at all, and have lined the pockets of the corporations they previously worked for (whether it's about that or not doesn't matter, the facts speak for themselves). It's time for a full accounting, so that this nation can get back on track, regain faith in global relations and the economy, and reinvigorate the war on terrorism.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

U.S. House Guts FCC Regulations

Michael Powell cannot say he wasn't warned. Why wait to step down? He should do so immediately. Today, the House of Reps put a stop to the 45% rule, and this is just the beginning.
Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chief sponsor of the provision that would derail the liberalized FCC rules, acknowledged in an interview that a tough fight lay ahead over keeping the language intact in the bill's final version. But he declared victory, for now.

"It's extremely rare to be able to reverse a regulatory decision that gives away the store to the big boys," Obey said.

Not that there isn't mischief afoot. The Bush Administration is threatening to veto any bill that tinkers with the FCC's media decisions, but I've yet to hear a good argument why. President Bush hasn't made this a crucial item for himself, and for good reason. America doesn't want it.

Despite GOP control of the White House, Congress and the FCC, the House vote set the stage for what may ultimately be an unraveling of a regulatory policy that the party strongly favors. The fight now moves to the Senate, where several lawmakers of both parties want to include a similar provision in their version of the bill.

Top Republicans are hoping that, with leverage from the threat of a first-ever veto by President Bush, the final House-Senate compromise bill later this year will drop the provision thwarting the FCC.

President Bush won't speak out on it, and he won't follow through with his veto. That would be the depth of idiocy. How will he explain such a veto? "I will not tolerate reversal of decisions made by my appointed bureaucrats, especially by the elected representatives of the people." Somehow, I don't see him saying that.

So the Senate should get on with it and send it along to President Bush's desk. Double-dare him. He's full of hot air, and everyone knows it. He's not going to veto anything, or it will shine a light on this tawdry affair that was not meant to be broadly noticed. The Internet blog community dispelled that fantasy, and more surprises are to come. The American people speak for themselves now, along with our representatives, and we want more information, and more media diversity, not less. It's time our leaders get with the new program, or move aside.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

States Leading The Way In Electoral System Innovation - IRV Next?
The California draft Help America Vote Act (HAVA) plan was released on June 17. It has very clear language about promoting compatibility with instant runoff / ranked choice ballots and with cumulative voting. Vermont's draft HAVA report also has strong language about equipment supporting instant runoff voting, and New Jersey's draft HAVA report has language about proportional voting methods in general. See excerpts and links below.

In addition, legislation moving in New York state on voting equipment has clear language on ranked-choice systems. The bill, which passed the assembly on June 19, states that new voting machines must "possess the capacity to, or capacity to be easily modified so as to, provide for ranked order voting and cumulative voting." The senate will take up the bill in the fall.

As we have argued in our national testimony, we believe the case is strong that requiring this capacity when obtaining new equipment is cost-free, while waiting to add it to existing equipment in the future can be very expensive. We believe this is likely true of other potential democratic innovations that are well worth seeking to anticipate in the purchasing stage.

This is great news, and well worth your perusal. We will implement electoral reform, whether the emperors like it or not, and whether they choose to wear clothers or go au natural. This is not a partisan issue. It is to make our democracy work better, and to strengthen our freedom and voice as a people.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Dubious Democracy 2003-2004
We believe presenting this information effectively is extremely important. There is a disturbing and powerful message in the array of numbers in this report. We hope all visitors to this site will leave it with a better understanding of U.S. House elections -- and why democracy as practiced in elections to the U.S. House of Representatives has indeed become all too "dubious."

The report features state-by-state statistics on U.S. House elections from 1982 to 2002. It has important information on voter participation and on the degree of competition - or lack thereof - in states over this period of time.

From the Center For Voting and Democracy.

A National Security Scorecard for the United States
Afghanistan: D — For lack of follow-through
Iraq: F — Plain and simple
Proliferation of WMD: D
Security in Asia: Another D
Relations with Europe: F
Globalization as a security issue: Another F

So what are the Americans — and the world — to make of this record? This is not a winning strategy: There are way too many failing, incomplete or near failing grades. The administration is banking on U.S. dominance for a long time to come without perceiving the reaction this goal is engendering. If this scorecard is correct, we may see the opposite — growing unhappiness with U.S. dominance and a yearning for a more responsive and engaged American leadership.

From Gordon Adams over at the Globalist. Some very harsh assessments...are they deserved? In many ways, I would have to think so. Putting aside our initial show of dominant force, which is a given considering our military expenditures and superiority, how are we really doing? Will our commitment to see this through, stretched already as we are while alienated from some of our deepest allies, alongside the long emerging threat of North Korea and our unsustainable economic debt, be sustained and ultimately effective? Or are we just blowing our wad, and making things more difficult, and our security less assured in the long run?

Stream of Commute - 7/11/2003

clearly the opposition to the war, the mobilization in the streets, in this nation and worldwide, put a lot of pressure on those attempting to justify it. in fact, as momentum picked up against the war, the competition got hot. this competition for the hearts and minds of people is what caused the distortions and falsehoods. in order to keep pace, assertions and threats became more forceful and threatening, with less veracity and certitude. the game was on. war is not a game. politics often is. this trend continued when the war started, which needed to be "won" at all costs and as quickly as possible. again, to stem the momentum. to put a knife in the opposition. it seemed to work in the beginning, but those in the know suspected a ruse. and yes, since we've "won", it seems it's been nothing such. the resistance to this war is not discredited, the arguments for sensibly and respectfully engaging our allies and the process before going to war all the more reasonable.

on three continents we have the chickens coming home to roost...

the trend is clear, keep the pressure on, there is no more sensed prize or jewel to latch onto (for the war proponents), and thus rather than extending in the face of pressure for the desired, you will see a strategic and contested retreat, a backing down, as the hits just keep on coming and the positive now so seem to have paled in comparison to the costs and negatives of war.

all in the pursuit of certitude, about the threats we may face, in the face of fear. acts of disrepute, bad character.

now those we ridiculed, and sewed the seeds of culture war, such as France and Germany, for disagreeing with us, for acting on their freedom to do or to not do, are now deemed needed or desirable now that we've hit the wall, and are not so invincible after the fireworks (shock and awe) are over, the realities on the ground day-to-day hitting home.

Monday, July 14, 2003

When Broad Is Not A Good Thing
In Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech, Brooks counted 39 examples of "empty language...broad statements that are so abstract, and mean so little, that they are virtually impossible to oppose."

Excerpt from Cursor, while referencing an out-of-the-box analysis of President Bush's communication style.

Clinical psychologist Renana Brooks argues that while President Bush "is generally regarded as a mangler of the English language. What is overlooked is his mastery of emotional language -- especially negatively charged emotional language -- as a political tool."
Who Said The Smoking Gun Might Be A Mushroom Cloud?
"It is ludicrous to suggest that the president of the United States went to war on the question of whether Saddam Hussein sought uranium from Africa," Dr. Rice said on Fox. "This was part of a very broad case that the president laid out in the State of the Union and other places."

Maybe. But who was it again who frightened us with the image of the smoking gun being a mushroom cloud? Where was the rest of the case involving nuclear weapons - i.e. mushroom cloud makers? Certainly not the phony aluminum tubes charge.

Where is the evidence? Is this all just science fiction? Or have we ever been talking about reality? Hijacking and crashing airplanes is one thing, not too difficult to imagine or seemingly pull off with lax security. All of these other fear-mongering scenarios show very little attention to reality, and certainly almost no direct link or connection to Saddam Hussein.

Was there ever any real, defendable, verifiable evidence?

Monday, July 07, 2003

Berlusconi Keeps Racking Up Points

Even though seemingly unable to recognize his fate should he continue to be a pretentious billionaire oligarch, Berlusconi keeps racking up victories at home, which is always instructive to keep an eye on because it underscores the struggles we are enduring here at home (in America).

As especially in regards to the media, and who owns it, either Berlusconi will soon be a relic, or a signal of the troubling future.
While European leaders fret about Silvio Berlusconi's conflicts of interest and legal problems, the Italian government is pushing legislation that would allow his already dominant media empire to grow more rapidly.

The Italian Senate's public works commission on Thursday approved a wide-ranging media bill that would remove prohibitions on Fininvest, the Italian prime minister's media holding company, from directly owning newspapers.


Mr Berlusconi is accused by many Italians of influencing 90 per cent of the country's television market and its news coverage through Mediaset and RAI, and of further propounding his views through numerous newspapers and magazines controlled either by Fininvest or his family.

The accusation appeared well-founded on Tuesday when the news show of RAI Uno, the main state channel, gave little air time to the diplomatic clash caused by the premier's "Nazi" slur against a German member of the European parliament. Canale 5, Mediaset's main channel, presented a more forthright news programme, although the newsman for Rete 4 continually defended Mr Berlusconi and attacked his critics.

We can at least be happy about one thing. Well, actually two. Neither Berlusconi or Rupert Murdoch were born in America, so we know they won't ever become president. As far as being the future governor of California though, who knows?

Global Corruption Report 2003
"The right to access information is a powerful weapon and protection against the corrupt. That is the message that runs through the Global Corruption Report 2003," said Mame Adama Gueye, President of Forum Civil, the Senegalese chapter of Transparency International (TI), at the launch in Paris today of the French language edition of the GCR 2003. The report was prepared by TI, the world's leading non-governmental organisation fighting corruption. "From the assets of politicians and public officials to government spending and corporate accountability, transparency - enforced by disclosure requirements - is a vital check on the abuse of entrusted power," said Mame Adama Gueye, a member of the international Board of Directors of TI.

Transparency International (TI) has released their Global Corruption Report 2003. It's chock full of relevant information worthy of your immediate review, and puts itself squarely in the camp of those championing the freedom of information. Human nature being what it is, secrecy is a losers' game, while transparency keeps everyone honest as we all stick up for ourselves and balance each other out.

Wholesale reform is needed to improve corporate governance, writes TI Board member, Jermyn Brooks, in the GCR 2003. "Truly independent directors should hold a majority on the board and should chair audit and remuneration committees," he writes. "All elements of directors' remuneration should be fully disclosed in the financial statements and be subject to separate voting at each annual general meeting." The audit committee, he continues, "should approve any non-audit work awarded to auditors". Auditors should be in a position "to demonstrate that they have reviewed their clients' anti-fraud and anti-bribery systems and recommended improvements."

TI recommends the adoption of codes of conduct and related compliance programmes, and that details of implementation and monitoring results be published in each annual report. Codes of conduct should include rules designed to combat bribery at home or by subsidiaries abroad. To this end, TI has developed, with companies including BP, General Electric, Shell and Tata, a set of Business Principles for Countering Bribery. These include training programmes with guidance for all employees to ensure that bribery - direct or indirect - is eliminated.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Ruminating On This

Where the heck is Lisa English? Did she move to Timbuktu, and can't get an Internet connection? Has the family cat turned savage? I'm almost getting worried about her. Everyone, let's rouse her with emails to return to the blogosphere. (All three of us:)

After all, the media battle is not won yet.
Speaking Of California

The GOP has no idea what they're getting into. The facts and accusations will come out about Ken Lay, Enron, and our energy crisis come the next big election. If they steal the governorship in this ridiculous recall effort, they will lose so badly, and so dishonorably, in 2006 it won't even be funny. And forget about gaining anything in the House or Senate.

I highly recommend the GOP drops this effort. Now. The hornet's nest stirred up would be far bigger than anyone has yet realized. And let's face it...Gray Davis is not a threat. Nationally. What's the point?

Talk about wasting your capital. Geez.
Splendid Editorial Over At The Philadelphia Inquirer

Best I've read in a long time. Via Thomas Spencer over at Thinking It Through. About Iraq, "bringing 'em on", and facing reality. It's so good, I'm using the word "splendid", which I'm not sure I've ever done before. It's not very California.
Stream Of Commute - Last Wednesday

1. imaginary crimes - freedom - God's Laws are not to be instituted by man, by caveat, but to be understood and accepted or rejected by free will - the root of freedom - along with that, humanity forms own laws, which by our standards revolve around rights and harms - too indirect a connection between acts and harms endangers this principle - we've gone too far - made wide range of imaginary crimes real

2. people, suffering, just keep on keeping on. do they contemplate suicide when the chips are down, when this is a normal thing? thinking of Camus, do they commit suicide over grand ideals, over great principles, or do the majority see this as odd? what is the natural situation? people just being here, and living, and thus striving, and doing what people do?


shouldn't be deprived of life, liberty and estate because of differing moral view than majority. this is tyranny of the majority against the minority. yes, as far as the public sphere goes, morality legislation may come into play, but in terms of the private sphere there is no jurisdiction of the state, no trump to use by the state to enforce morality and private behavior that does not "harm" another's rights.

this is the ironclad principle. there is no "harm" here, and no public interest, other than a rival moral belief acted upon in private. this is not the realm of government, or the state, and any limited government conservative should freely see it as such.


seems the whole thing is a confusion of sex and reproduction, sex and marriage, when sex has become more than that in the modern world, and independent of both marriage and reproduction.

this is the real culture war, and it's already been won, at least until a devastating std epidemic may once again change social mores.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Why Wasn't Congress Evacuated Much Earlier?

On the morning of 9-11, a second hijacked jet struck the World Trade Center, at 9:03am. Surely, something was amiss, whether or not individuals or organizations were privy to suspicions of such possible events beforehand. Yet, with the nation in chaos, people staring transfixed at their television screens, and others dying or about to die in the World Trade Center, our Congress was not evacuated.

No, not until around 10:00am, several minutes after the White House was evacuated, 15 minutes after the Pentagon was struck at 9:43am, and almost an hour after the second strike on the World Trade Center, was Congress finally evacuated. I don't know all the facts here, but how could this be possible? We could have lost almost our entire legislative branch.

This should be part of the investigation. How could we be so incompetent with information that, barring the actual prevention of the attacks, once they were clearly underway it took an hour to begin evacuating the halls of American democracy? This is incompetence of the highest order, and someone should be fired.

When the Pentagon was struck, it just as easily could have been Congress, or the White House (which also wasn't evacuated until after the Pentagon was struck). Where was the Secret Service, and how come they weren't privy to the information about imminent terrorist strikes?

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Duty And Work Call

Very busy today. Added a few Stream of Commute posts, and that will have to do for now. Please feel free to critique, expand upon, or utilize the thoughts and insights found here. Much to come this week, and several previous Stream of Commutes not yet published.

A few thoughts. I'd like to credit President Bush and his team for pushing hard against both Israel and Palestine. If they can succeed in this mission, it will be a great triumph. This conflict has been going on far too long, and only serves as a barrier to larger efforts to secure the world for and in freedom and democracy. Obviously, much more is to come, and these efforts have been largely futile in the past. Let's hope that the Bush Administration does not lose focus.

Second, the Supreme Court has given much food-for-thought in the latest round of decisions. The institution is clearly not a threat to democracy, despite the showing in the Bush/Gore elections. In fact, analysis of the main decisions shows more centrist and moderate concessions by the Right then the Left in this past session. This is surprising, and bodes well. One must address the facts of experience and the world as they are, and in this case the Supreme Court has emerged as hardly a partisan party to Right-wing takeover of America. It's time for this nonsensical talk to stop among the denizens of the Left.

Last, we must deal with the disappearing rainforests in Brazil and the larger Amazon region. If anything, the "lungs" of the world would seem to demand more of a relaxation of sovereignty and aggressive international security action than the case with Iraq. We cannot allow the forest to be cut down. Period. The commons, especially its most critical components, must be protected. Along with this, every nation will have to show good faith by accepting shared sacrifice. As long as this good faith happens, then a very compelling case can be made that if Brazil cannot control the clearcutting, then the international community will have to. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Biological disaster may occur without human intent, or by the indirect effects of human acts. We must grow up and begin to integrate these concerns and realities, in the framework of freedom, democracy, and law, and juxtaposed against concerns of security and sovereignty.
Stream Of Commute - Oil - 3

wake up to the world around us. see through the haze of denial and greed in order to see the effects of our actions. we spend so much time and resources nursing our dependency on oil that we are unable to address the more pressing issues of survival that confront us from technology and overpopulation. the cutting down of the rainforests, the "lungs" of the earth, is a far more pressing issue, and one that we are losing. if anything would require the relaxation of sovereignty, and armed intervention if necessary in order to guarantee security, it is the maintenance of these forests, which our truly a global resource and commons.

yet our leadership seems to want to ignore these problems, or brush them under the rug, because this is what they are paid to do. get paid to do by the actions that lead to the decline.


evidence required for war justification, and evidence required for global warming. evidence required to show the harm of drugs, evidence required to show the harm of pollutants and estrogen.

in almost every case, a pattern of denying evidence and demanding rigorous and strict standards for assertions that go against economic self-interest, along with a pattern of unremittingly and overconfidently citing assertions based on sketchy and anecdotal evidence in the matter of "moral" issues, and where no prevailing and established economic interest exists (except the underground economy or organized crime).


was the Capitol evacuated (during 9/11)? if not, why not? certainly we must have known by this point that prominent buildings were targets...
Stream Of Commute - Oil - 2

why is iraq so different than any other dictatorship?

oil, and weapons sophistication. why weapons sophistication? oil revenue.

(larger strategy of freeing Iraq, the most secular Islamic state already, makes little sense)

why is oil so important to us?

economy, and automobile culture. what are we doing about reducing our dependence on oil, let alone foreign sources of oil? not much. hummers may be purchased as a tax write-off, and SUV's are the chosen vehicle of the land.

greed (and/or selfishness).

what are the risks of oil consumption? global warming, pollution, noise, accidents, dependence. are these honestly acknowledged and integrated? no. global warming links to tailpipe emissions conveniently edited out of EPA report.

so global warming is held to the most strict and rigorous standards of scientific proof, before we do anything about it. even though it is acknowledged that the effects may be disastrous to civilization, and our security and freedom.

what are the standards for justifying war? as compared to the standards of justifying environmental policy? who's ignoring this, denying this, falling into greed? The American people.

who benefits from oil? a minority. where are these people? almost entirely in different lands than where the oil is extracted. who benefits from clean air and stable ecology? everyone.

who is the only party that can do something about this? everyone. who will definitely not go out of their way to reduce their advantage? the minority. who are the vast majority of the minority? Americans. All Americans. Who are the minority in the oil-extraction lands who benefit from oil? privileged dictatorial elites. what of the standard of living, freedom and prosperity of their people? horrid. have we done anything about it? no. why? oil.

Stream Of Commute - Oil - 1

the american people must change. we must each individually choose freedom, demand power and information, and accept responsibility for our actions and nonactions.

highest, subtle form of the political game, of denial of our oil ambitions, greed and empire, is to pinpoint it on the Right, and on the Bushes. in fact, we are all responsible.

why is it about the oil? well, isn't it that it IS about the oil, but not in the way it's made out to be? well, yes and no. yes, it is different than it's generally made out to be, in the sense that oil does bring revenue to opposing leaders such as Hussein, but no in the sense that the larger picture very clearly speaks of our need for this oil. thus, our enduring presence and influence on the scene.

really though, this is a collective denial of the American people at large, protected subtly and, if necessary, less than subtly and vociferously by our leaders and elites. not just because they make money off of it, but because that is what the people want. to be whitewashed. to be cleansed of the guilt, of the responsibility for our dependencies.


selfishness. narcissism. national.
July 2003