Sunday, November 30, 2003

Hold The Bush Administration's Feet To The Fire

President Bush and his cronies should not be allowed to weasel out of Iraq by speeding up the transition while not handing control over to the international community. This should be avoided at all costs. These gentlemen and women should be forced to accept that their intransigence and arrogance in momentous times of war has led them down the wrong path. They need to own up to it.

If we allow the Bush Administration to hand over power to Iraqis without bringing in the UN, we face two likely possibilities. One, that the Bush Administration hopes to end up with another authoritarian regime, another strong man, it can attempt to coopt in the name of our interests. This is unacceptable, and would be an example of extreme lack of moral accountability. Or, two, that we end up with another Iran on our hands, financed by our own tax dollars. Instead of one Ayotollah to deal with, we'd now have two.

Of course, it's possible that democracy in Iraq could go completely hunky dorey, and that Ayotollah Sistani will be a leading light of Islamic democracy, but I doubt it. These people are clearly calling for an Islamic state run by Islamic law, which will mean the subjugation of women, minorities, and conscience.

The best hope for Iraq, and the effort we have put into it at this point, is to accomplish the original (rhetorical) plan. To stay the course, provide security and badgering until a Constitution is formed, that ensures the essential dignity and rights of minorities, women, and conscience (not everyone is Islamic over there), and assures that there is at least a chance that Iraq will not turn into a totalitarian Islamo-fascist state.

The only way this will happen, with legitimacy and security, is to hand the operation over to the UN. This is not Yugoslavia. The factions in Iraq are not fighting each other - they are fighting us. The Americans. They will not fight the UN, for the vast majority of Islamic fundamentalists do not preach hate of the UN. By handing this over, you provide some dissonance as a preemptive absorber of currently expressed dissent and resistance. The enemy is not the UN, unless they are seen as the patsy of the US.

So the UN should be given full control. The Bush Administration should have to hand it over, and admit that they mismanaged things and soured relations without due cause or reason. And the Iraqis should be forced to sit at a table and work things out between the relevant peoples and interests, before they are given full legitimacy and a license on state-sanctioned violence.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Morally And Intellectually Bankrupt

You are defeating the terrorists here in Iraq, so that we don't have to face them in our own country.

It's time President Bush makes up his mind. Have we killed upwards of thousands of Iraqi civilians in order to free Iraq, or in order to draw our enemy into Iraq so we can fight them there instead of Peoria?

I'm guessing the answer is both, which, upon analysis, doesn't fit. If we are just fighting Saddam's henchmen, then we are just fighting for Iraq's liberation. Saddam was no direct threat to us in the homeland.

If we are also fighting a cadre of terrorists we've drawn into Iraq by our presence, and who are contributing to the chaos and terror in the Iraqi countryside, then we have greatly raised the ante of our responsibilities, and find ourselves in the odd position of liberating a people we are using as pawns on a chessboard.

As our strategy becomes more and more untenable, and its definition of success, in the face of dire conflicts, more and more diminished, we are left in a very undesirable situation. We have to succeed, to avoid leaving Iraq to a chaotic world of terror and civil war, and to avoid the inevitable moral accounting of our acts in Iraq, in terms of their effects on the innocent civilian, over the past decade.

The number of deaths in Iraq, due not only to this war but to the irresponsible sanctions since 1991, is staggering. We have to ask ourselves why.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Slightly ill today. Still, would like to wish everyone a day of thanks and appreciation. Also, I'd like to thank our president for visiting the troops today. That means something. Such an action, to my immediate knowledge, is unprecedented, shows great courage, and deserves praise.


Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Halliburton Gas Gouging

Congressional leaders are calling for an investigation into price gouging by Halliburton in Iraq. It seems they're charging at minimum $0.90/gallon over the acknowledged average price determined by the Army and over $1.50/gallon more than Iraqis claim to be able to do.
In a letter to the Inspector General of the US Defense Department, Senator Joseph Lieberman and Representatives John Dingell and Henry Waxman alleged that while Halliburton is charging US taxpayers 2.65 dollars per gallon to tranport gasoline from Kuwait to Iraq, the Iraqi state oil company pays only 96 cents per gallon and the Defense Department's own fuel distribution center pays between 1.08 dollars and 1.19 dollars per gallon.

"Transparency and accountability are essential if the efforts to reconstruct Iraq are to succeed," the three lawmakers wrote in their letter to Defense Department Inspector General Joseph Schmitz.

"We hope you will help restore transparency and accountability to this process by undertaking the important investigations described in this letter."

As always, our buzz words are transparency and accountability, and, in the previous post, the freedom of information. By ensuring these we can assure all of the rest of the promises of liberal democracy. Without them, we are left to the mercy of the elites, and the darkness of suspicion and conspiracy.

Media Reform Compromise?

I'm not sure there's ever been a bigger bunch of crooks and cynical manipulators controlling Congress than the current bunch. If I was a Republican, and a moral individual, I would be ashamed. Ashamed. These guys craft their own compromise against media reform opposition that came from outside of their circles and trumpet it as a win-win for everyone.

How do they plan on getting away with it? Oh, by shifting this "compromise" legislation, with all of the other pork, into the omnibus spending bill which is not going to make it through Congress in its present form. No, it'll have to be picked up again after the Thanksgiving Break, and attempted to be passed before the end of the year, and it better change drastically before that time, or all hell is going to break loose.

This current Congressional session is appalling. Even the conservative groups are up in arms. We can't run our democracy like this. We can't accept our congressional strategists and committees shacking up with special interests and lobbyists to craft legislation, crammed with pork, and then have them drop it on the rest of the legislators with just a few days to evaluate historic and lengthy provisions, as in the case of both the Medicare and Energy bills, before taking a vote.

It's absurd, regrettable, and indicative of who's in charge and the rudder that steers them. There is no moral leadership in America, in the sense of respecting our founding ideals and balanced processes, and the GOP is leading the way. Even their own conservative foundations are sounding off against them. They've given in to the very worst of their greedy conceptions of self-interest as the highest ethic of the land, and are leading us down a dead end.

I don't care if Rupert Murdoch thinks this media reform would be a good compromise. That (in itself) tells me there's something wrong with it. Murdoch is not supposed to get what he wants because he can pay to play, the American people are. We've stated loudly and very clearly that we want diverse and distributed media in America. We want assurances that the freedom of information and the integrity of the press estate will be respected.

Rupert Murdoch is the number one exemplar of how we're moving away from this. His Fox News is a travesty of a news organization, just as our current Congressional leadership is a travesty of our forefathers. It's time to end the madness, and return some sanity and foresightedness to our cherished republic.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Why Dean Would Win In 2004 - Version 1

Howard Dean was right, and not radical, about the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and how we justified it. The facts and reality bear that out.

Howard Dean is a fiscal conservative, who has balanced budgets when not even legally required to do so (unlike every other state governor), and can win the votes of libertarians and fiscal conservatives everywhere who are horrified at the free spending of the Bush Administration and GOP over the past few years.

Howard Dean will promote a winning health care reform platform, and will have the credibility to get people behind it.

Howard Dean will promote electoral reform and IRV on his platform, and thus cement the votes of most independent voters, along with attracting record numbers of nonvoters to get back to the polls. Just the number of new voters he will attract by this alone could possibly make the difference.

Howard Dean will have the money to assure that GOP attack ads and irrationalism are effectively and directly countered. Along with that money, he will have a virtual army of bloggers doing fact checking and spin recycling to assure that the mainstream media honestly and accurately does a fair and balanced job of reporting during the campaign.

Howard Dean will not undermine liberty in the name of liberty, and will succinctly point out how the Bush Administration and GOP hysterics is and are.

Willie Horton won't work.

Howard Dean will win the debates.
Bush Didn't Make Up The "Terrorists Hate Freedom" Meme

Last night, I discovered that Bill Clinton was declaring terrorists the enemies of freedom himself back in 1999. He deserves, at least on this point, equal criticism, should criticism be forthcoming, which it surely ought to be for greatly simplifying, and in many ways mischaracterizing, the (varying) aims of terrorist groups, and their reasons for targetting us.
In the struggle to defend our people and values and to advance them wherever possible, we confront threats both old and new -- open borders and revolutions in technology have spread the message and the gifts of freedom but have also given new opportunities to freedom's enemies. Scientific advances have opened the possibility of longer, better lives. They have also given the enemies of freedom new opportunities.

Last August, at Andrews Air Force Base, I grieved with the families of the brave Americans who lost their lives at our embassy in Kenya. They were in Africa to promote the values America shares with friends of freedom everywhere -- and for that they were murdered by terrorists. So, too, were men and women in Oklahoma City, at the World Trade Center, Khobar Towers, on Pan Am 103.

I came across this passage while reading a book on "superterrorism" (chemical, biological, nuclear) last night. Though this turn of rhetoric is similar, in the sense of characterizing terrorists as "enemies of freedom" (undoubtedly our freedom), there are definitely differences in approach between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to be noted, and you can begin to see them a bit later in the speech.

Let me say first what we have done so far to meet this challenge. We've been working to create and strengthen the agreement to keep nations from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, because this can help keep these weapons away from terrorists, as well. We're working to ensure the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention; to obtain an accord that will strengthen compliance with the biological weapons convention; to end production of nuclear weapons material. We must ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to end nuclear tests once and for all.


But we cannot rely solely on our efforts to keep weapons from spreading. We have to be ready to act if they do spread. Last year, I obtained from Congress a 39 percent budget increase for chemical and biological weapons preparedness. This is helping to accelerate our ongoing effort to train and equip fire, police and public health personnel all across our country to deal with chemical and biological emergencies. It is helping us to ready armed forces and National Guard units in every region to meet this challenge; and to improve our capacity to detect an outbreak of disease and save lives; to create the first ever civilian stockpile of medicines to treat people exposed to biological and chemical hazards; to increase research and development on new medicines and vaccines to deal with new threats.

So, as we can see, none of what happened in 2001, at least in terms of the anthrax attacks, was unexpected, or even not already being prepared for in concrete plans and initiatives. The question would be how much was initiated under Clinton's watch, and whether that was continued or stymied after W. Bush took office. It's obvious here that Clinton continued to see clearly the wisdom of international treaties against weapons of mass destruction, including an outright condemnation of any further nuclear testing, which the Bush Administration has essentially turned on its tail.

And, as usual in his broader appeals, Clinton peppers his presentation with unexpected details, and seeks to engage all of his ideological constituents, one example being this bone seemingly thrown to unrestrained free market defenders near the close of his speech.

I should say here that I know everybody in this crowd understands this, but everyone in America must understand this: the government has got to fund this. There is no market for the kinds of things we need to develop; and if we are successful, there never will be a market for them. But we have got to do our best to develop them. These cutting-edge efforts will address not only the threat of weapons of mass destruction, but also the equally serious danger of emerging infectious diseases. So we will benefit even if we are successful in avoiding these attacks.

Finally, Clinton wraps up with some passages that, again, set the boundaries with which he intends to act much differently so than George W. Bush seemingly has accepted. Here is where the Democrats, if they really wish to challenge the GOP, need again to lay down the gauntlet - to "not undermine liberty in the name of liberty".

In all our battles, we will be aggressive. At the same time I want you to know that we will remain committed to uphold privacy rights and other constitutional protections, as well as the proprietary rights of American businesses. It is essential that we do not undermine liberty in the name of liberty. We can prevail over terrorism by drawing on the very best in our free society -- the skill and courage of our troops, the genius of our scientists and engineers, the strength of our factory workers, the determination and talents of our public servants, the vision of leaders in every vital sector.

I have tried as hard as I can to create the right frame of mind in America for dealing with this. For too long the problem has been that not enough has been done to recognize the threat and deal with it. And we in government, frankly, weren't as well organized as we should have been for too long. I do not want the pendulum to swing the other way now, and for people to believe that every incident they read about in a novel or every incident they see in a thrilling movie is about to happen to them within the next 24 hours.

I wonder who that sounds like?

Monday, November 24, 2003

Tihs Is Cool And Faisncitnag

I just have to repost this on its own.
acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy, the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen't mttaer. the olny thnig thta's iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eervy word is in the crorect ptoision. the rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil albe to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.

This phenomenon and Internet memefest (apparently circulated in September, but I seem to have missed it), is thoroughly examined and the srouce discovered by Matt Davis of the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. He really get to the nitty gritty of it, including examples in over a dozen different languages, examples that don't work as suggested, and programming scripts developed, in response to this jumbled paragraph making its rounds, that will automatically scramble words for you.

We are inventive creatures, aren't we?

Still Super Busy, But A Cool Redirect (Or Two)

Being a member of an Ernest Becker newsgroup, it was a proud moment for all of us today when The Denial Of Death was listed as one of Bill Clinton's 21 favorite books (one wonders why it's 21, rather than 20, but the presence of one of Hillary's books makes this fact even more interesting).

I decided to do some checking up on some of the other books, and, at least with the non-fiction, discovered a trend that "history has a purpose", and that purpose is greater complexity, cooperation, and intelligence as embodied by human beings and their culture. This kind of thinking believes, to no surprise, that America is the pinnacle of this development.

Clinton also listed some excellent poets, including Seamus Heaney and William Butler Yeats, and actually represented an impressive array of writers. Others listed range from George Orwell and Ronald Neibuhr to Max Weber and Marcus Aurelius. Bill Clinton is definitely an odd one, in some ways, as no normal person would list Max Weber or any number of historical analysis tomes as their favorite books, or one entitled "Politics As A Vocation".

With this in mind, one wonders and may even grimace (or break out in hysterical laughter) at the prospect of what George W. Bush would list as his favorite 21 books (or 20, has his wife wrote a book?), but I'm willing to listen and keep an open mind about it.

Also, an Amazon reviewer of Carrol Quigley's book (in Clinton's list), redirects a curious peruser to this book, The Illuminati Manifesto, as a related work involving elites and the realization of history's grand plan, and it surely must have been an oversight that Bill left this one off the list (or he expected us to find it through Amazon, as he knows that's the first thing that blog geeks are going to do). I'm going into all of this actually in order to publish this fascinating piece of information gleaned from one of the Amazon reviewers of this book.
acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy, the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen't mttaer. the olny thnig thta's iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eervy word is in the crorect ptoision. the rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil albe to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.

Amazing, isn't it?

Friday, November 21, 2003

Events Have Taken Me Elsewhere

On Wednesday I planned on coming back the next day and expanding ideas regarding human rights, transparency, accountability, and the freedom of information. I got sidetracked. I'm currently out-of-town, but did manage the redirect post from yesterday (next one down).

Hopefully I'll be able to post a little later, but, if not, will do so during the weekend. The latest bombings in Turkey are disturbing, and show the ability of Al Qaeda to plan their attacks in order to steer media attention away from the leaders of the U.S. and Britain.

It seems Michael Jackson also has this ability. Such a combination, Michael Jackson and Osama Bin Laden, surely had never come to the mind of anyone, including myself (or either of those guys). In all fairness, this isn't really about Michael Jackson, in terms of the media timing, but the District Attorney of Santa Barbara.

With this in mind, I would like to encourage everyone to pay little or no attention to the Michael Jackson case, and maximum attention to Al Qaeda's ability to (not so) randomly conduct suicide bombings with (seeming) impunity.

In this light, it's obvious what our foreign policy focus should be in America - countering Al Qaeda, and the question of how to do this is unclear. Military adventures seem to be a non-starter, since we have no way of predicting where or when Al Qaeda will hit, or, if we have some hints beforehand, surely not enough information to prevent them from occurring.

Most importantly of all, we must continue to wonder why we chose to spend so many resources in Iraq, in bringing regime change there, when Saddam Hussein seemed to be the least of our worries. To me, it begs the question of the wisdom of our current leaders, and their fitness for that position.

With the invasion of Iraq, and our conduct in justifying it, we've managed to knowingly and intentionally divide the world, and this after Al Qaeda had shockingly and unprecedentedly brought it together in the aftermath of 9/11. We crucially need to do whatever it takes to bring ourselves and our allies back together again.

This means equinamity in the war against Al Qaeda, since we have no claim to superiority in this type of effort. Indeed, only by working together will we overcome this great challenge, through sharing intelligence and showing united strength and will. This process should begin by surrendering control of the occupation of Iraq to the UN and NATO. Judging by the events of the past days and weeks, there is no time to lose.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


Either someone is intentionally releasing embarassingly false information, i.e. Hellblazer's source, or the world is changing in mysterious ways. Would the U.S. spurn our traditional allies, and instead align with Iran? To deal with the situation in Iraq? Or is this our last option, having ourselves been spurned by our traditional allies?

Regardless, who are the strategists we employ who are allowing our set of options to diminish to this embarassing degree? What was their original game plan? Are these individuals still employed? If so, why? For how long?

Are butterflies free?

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Still Reading Chomsky

Sometimes it can be downright disheartening to read this stuff. The litany of events and atrocities that Chomsky lists are devastating. I'm not saying that reality is indeed how Chomsky says it is, but he certainly marshalls a lot of facts and sources to back his account.

Ultimately, this is why I consider Chomsky's work "high-value" or "high-quality" information. There's a real payback in terms of the quantity of information given. Compared to the Bush Administration, and all the false and misleading information you get, all the divisive and self-serving spin, Chomsky is an information tycoon.

Also, I find some of the most value in reading Chomsky from his emphasis on words and acts, irrespective of "useful fictions", "necessary illusions", and "national mythologies". He comes across as a concerned and responsible human being who considers the inalienable, the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence, human rights and justice, as something of real value, something to be aspired to and realized, rather than left as a resort and device of rhetoric, parroted but ultimately betrayed by the narcissism of "in" and "out" group relations (not to mention greed and avarice).

So I'm reading and reflecting on Chomsky, along with various other mainstream and alternative theorists and historians, and wondering how we can take our history and legacy from here, continuing to grow and realize a more inclusive and less coercive political state of affairs. In other words, practicing what we preach.

Tomorrow, I'll talk more about the freedom of information, transparency and accountability, and the inalienable rights of human beings. All human beings. And, contrary to the claims of the Bush Administration, this will inevitably include considerations of the institution and binding nature of international law, respected by all nations, and assuring the rights and dignity of human beings before any other consideration.

As an American and a patriot, I see no contradiction, or threat, in taking this path. To me, this is America. Our legacy, and our destiny. Freedom and security for all men and women, by the means of mutual aid and equality before the law.
Comments On The Fritz

Enetation is starting to let me down in regards to the comments section. It's been acting weird for several days now, which isn't exactly considered good business practice in the web industry (in fact, it's usually a death sentence). Still, I'm being patient, and even wondering, since they're based in the UK, if with President Bush's visit going on the British blogosphere is aflame and sizzling.

Is that it? Are British bloggers on high-alert with W. in town? Whatever the reason, it's pretty dang weird. When you try to get the comments, you normally will get an archived version of the comments from a few days ago, even though the number of comments will reflect up-to-date comments. Then, every once in awhile, the new comments actually show up. So, in case anyone is wondering, I have no control over this, and I hope that the comments are back in order shortly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Reading Chomsky

Reading Chomsky's latest. Really like the "superpower" of world public opinion emphasis, as a counter to American state power, among other things. His use of the term "terrorism" in describing American foreign policy is quite dissonant, and also not quite clearly explained and justified to those unfamiliar with Chomsky. Some will be turned off by that.

A few chapters in, and will only say so far that the establishment has a daunting task trying to debunk this. I've been keeping up with Chomsky's work for a decade, and feel qualified enough to rate him at the top of his game right now. Noone should ignore this information. Challenge it, debunk it, discredit it, absorb it, assimilate it, recharacterize it, champion it. Just don't ignore it. It's high-quality information, and deserves consideration and scrutiny.
Oh, The Irony

Couldn't help having a chuckle this morning. Before the war, and immediately upon its inception, I couldn't get the LA Times to even sniff at my letters to the editor, which were clearly against the war. Representative samples are linked to in the previous post.

Now, I finally write and send something seemingly supporting the war, or at least taking care to be aware of our responsibilities if we consider withdrawing, and I get printed. They actually did a fair job of editing the letter, which turns out to be a post I put out a few days ago. Like I've said, the weekend was a wild one. Does this mean I should remove my old post now, since it's the property of the LA Times (at least their edited version)?

So I'm on the record as supporting the war and forcefully implying that Europe should come on board and do the same. The context will be hard to draw from that letter, but it does speak for itself, in terms of reminding everyone the focus should be on the everyday Iraqi not involved in the violence.

The combination of our sanctions over the past decade and this latest military engagement have raised the spectre of a health and immunization disaster in Iraq. Our decisions need to be made with this primary focus, and not whether we have total control over the future of Iraq's government. We need to immediately turn this operation over to NATO, on the military occupation side, and to the UN, on the civilian and institutions side.

This should be enough to win back enough of the hearts and minds of Iraqis to turn the tide against the guerrillas. Maybe. Either way, it's the best chance at this point, in the face of the known risks. Security needs to be reestablished in Iraq, so that international aid agencies and NGO's can get back into the country and serve those who desperately need assistance.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Bringing The Wrath?

A wild weekend of blogging it was. So much so that I actually used the word "wrath", referring to myself. A little overwrought perhaps? Sure. But this is what happens when the San Diego Chargers get my hopes up and then shatter them.

It was a long day. And a fruitful one. Productive. For I didn't just get angry at another blogger for being, in my opinion, spiteful and petty. I channeled that anger. Constructively. Apparently, somewhere along the way I sent an email to the LA Times too. A letter to the editor. They called me this morning, and said that it's scheduled to run tomorrow. We'll see. She emphasized "scheduled", and you never know until the paper is printed.

In retrospect, some of the pettiness in the blogosphere bothers me, and I find it symptomatic of the larger problems of political communication in America. People are less concerned with the ideas, and policies, then they are the personalities. Depending on who's doing something, the value of an action or proposal seems to vary.

I especially get annoyed when assumptions are made about someone. Or a pithy personal attack is launched as a means to undermine another's credibility. I used to run into this over at Kos all the time. Exchanges like this actually occurred as a method of "counter-argument", or meta-commentary (paraphrased from memory)...

"That freelixir is just a little too excitable."

"Yea, he/she sounds like an overeager college student."

"Oh, definitely a teenager or college student."

This kind of crap really does go on. Or quick jibes about being a "troll" or "freeper", when it's clearly undeserved and unsupported. As for being excitable, I'm guilty. That's why I'm here in the first place. When the war propaganda was starting to peak, I couldn't take it anymore. Couldn't stay silent or on the sidelines anymore. So I wrote this.

That's excitable. And sober. You can practically taste my outrage, and see the smoke coming out of my ears. I'm tired of business-as-usual, and exercises in military futility to solve problems that could have been addressed previously in a more civil and egalitarian fashion. Especially without informed consent.

I'm not sure if many people ever read this, as that was my first mass emailing, but I did get some great feedback on Craigslist (along with some attacks by war supporters), where I simultaneously posted to Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.

When I realized the war was nearly a foregone conclusion, a few days later, and that dissent and demonstration was meaningless to our leadership, I crafted this essay, in an effort to bridge ideological divides and difference and find common ground and vision. Ever since, I've been around The Agonist, Daily Kos, Counterspin, Atrios, and Cal Pundit (among others), bringing these ideas and a consistent vision to the debate.

If you care to get to know me, you need only read those two pieces. They explain why I'm here, and what I'm all about. Base any derision against me on the ideas presented therein, or anywhere else on this site or elsewhere, but please end the personal sniping and attacks.

As John Kerry likes to say, the "politics of personal destruction" is for losers.
Questions For President Bush's Next Press Conference

The New Yorker has published a few questions for the next presidential press conference. It's pretty funny, in that "just skirting on the edges of joking about things that we shouldn't joke about while very effectively stating a few important points" kind of way.
Friendly question: “Sir, although your supporters’ predictions that Iraqis would greet our troops with flowers haven’t been borne out, isn’t it possible that, given the problems with the water supply and the infrastructure in general, there is a serious shortage of flowers over there and that Iraqis might be greeting our troops with flowers if Iraqis had any flowers?”


Strategic-planning question: “Sir, now that you’ve acknowledged that there was never any evidence of Iraqi involvement in the September 11th attacks by Al Qaeda, does it remain your policy that in the event of any future Al Qaeda attack against this country we would still retaliate against Iraq, and, if so, how would you avoid hitting our own troops?”

Follow-up question to strategic-planning question:“If not, then did you have some other country in mind to retaliate against?”

Coalition question: “Is Bulgaria still part of the coalition, and, if so, what have they done for us lately?”

There's many more of these questions if you follow the link. Perhaps humor is the key to getting through to well-meaning but uninformed Americans. Or even to other members of our mainstream media.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Check Yourselves

Noone is safe who posts on the blogosphere. There are sharks, there are vultures. There are also champions. There are the petty, there are the confused.

Here you find clarity. Anywhere you find "freelixir", you will find the same. If you're unsure what the identity is asserting, then check back here.

So you don't make the mistake that Julia made. Disparaging the good name of a man, and bringing the wrath thus deserved.
Me And Julia - I (Revised)

Here are excerpts from the dustup (so-called, really Julia barking at shadows), at Lisa English's blog.

...I still think this debate is weighed too heavily against Nader. The onus and spotlight is too much on Nader and the Greens, and not on the Democrats, their failures, why they won't support the one sure thing that lost them the election (electoral reform), and why beyond that they've lost credibility with independent-minded voters.

Nader DID NOT lose the election for the Democrats. That's cherry picking. The Democrats lost the election on their own, and they may do the same if they don't actually stand up with some spine and principle.

Right now, it seems that many of the Democrats in the ranks, though not the candidates like Dean, Kerry, Clark, etc., seem to think that the only success necessary in politics the next cycle is beating Bush. Who's the reactionary party now?

And that's not real change or progess, as measured from 2000. If people are fed up, which they are, THAT'S the time to throw something ambitious and novel at them! Don't you get it?

Once you're back in the White House, all comfortable that Bush is gone, and getting ramrodded unfairly in the media again by Right wing slush money, what will you actually accomplish? What will be your mandate?

Will you champion anything once back in the winner's circle, or is that good enough? What makes you think you'll come up with an action plan people will get behind AFTER you've already won?

Posted by freelixir at November 11, 2003 04:34 PM


I agree with Freelixir, and Richard and Natalie make good points too.

It's very simple. You want the votes of Greens for the Democratic candidate, you earn them. By giving Greens something positive they can vote for, policies they can support.

You don't do it by trying to scare them with the threat of Bush.

I see too many Democratic partisans bashing Nader, bashing Greens, denigrating real progressives in the Democratic party like Kucinich and Sharpton, and then they expect Greens to vote Democratic.

Folks, that ain't gonna work. You may have some short term success in 2004, but in the long term it will only bring the Democratic party down.

And I say this as someone who is likely to vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is. Until the Democratic party treats Greens with respect, it has no right to expect their votes.

Posted by Al-Muhajabah at November 12, 2003 12:51 PM

I'd really like to see some discussion of why it's acceptable to assume that when Democrats argue against a Nader run it's because they're "expecting" Green votes, rather than because they want them.

It's a trope, and I don't think it's an adequately supported trope.

Posted by julia at November 12, 2003 02:27 PM

Julia, it's because of what Al-Muhajabah just said, you never pretend to earn their support. You just hang the threat of the enemy, i.e. Bush, over their head while haranguing them for the enemy being in charge in the first place (and also while conveniently ignoring the large number of Democrats who voted for Bush).

That's politics at its basest. Like I've said all along, offer electoral reform and no independent in their right mind would not jump on your Democratic bandwagon this year.

It's that simple. No threats necessary.

Just don't give the BS that it's too radical or not possible. Look at what the neocons are doing. That's radical.

Posted by freelixir at November 12, 2003 03:04 PM

freelixir, I've run into you before.

you are a troll.

I don't debate trolls.

Posted by julia at November 12, 2003 08:35 PM


(I'm wondering where Julia has run into me before. I've never even heard of her before she met me in this thread and then subsequently banned me. so if you're wondering about the four-letter word...)

By the way, that's how reality goes down in the blogosphere. Julia just can't cope with counter-argument. Who the hell is this woman?
A Word Of Caution

I mean what's said here. That should be obvious. Disparage me all you like, but focus instead on the ideas. This is no joke. People are dying, and I don't give a s@#t who is president. This runs deeper. Here, I'm digging for information, and articulating a vision. Join in.
Internationalizing The Iraq Effort

Europe should join us now that the Bush Administration has come full circle and asked for assistance. There is no time to lose. Beyond the decisive result of the military action itself, the fate of the Iraqi people hangs in the balance. Their health. They need clean water, functioning infrastructure, and immunization programs back on track.

We've taken Iraq from controlled chaos to uncontrolled chaos. The hammer of our sanctions in the past decade is undeniable. There is no more time for treating the people of Iraq as pawns on a chessboard. They deserve some respect, and real action, from those who have spoken in their name but have for the most part consigned them to doom for years.

Put plans on Iraqi democracy and self-determination in motion, but let's not forget our primary responsibility. The health and well-being of Iraqi men, women, and children who are not accomplices in this bloodletting. It's time to secure Iraq, and send a message to these so-called resisters, who are nothing but degenerate thugs, that the world will not stand by silently this time while the fate of the less fortunate is decided.

United, we can bring order and stability to Iraq, and allow them the opportunity to establish their freedom and democracy. For the international terrorists and Saddamist thugs in Iraq, the stooges we propped up in the past at the expense of the people, we should only promise one thing - to drop the hammer.
A Real Lack Of Courage And Vision In The Blogosphere

I am going to take this opportunity to call bloggers on the carpet. Many of you have no class, and even less courage. When it comes to the blogging enterprise, you look to the big centers, the main go-betweens, and aspire to be there yourself. If one of them engages in an action that is deplorable, far be it from you to even consider criticizing them. No, your righteous criticism is saved for President Bush and Darth Rumsfeld.

Why is that? To me, it makes no sense. I push for ideas on this site, and I set up an altar for no cult of personality. Yet, all that said, the venomous Julia over at Sisyphus Shrugged has the audacity to accuse me of a vanity mission. She thinks I'm trying to push my site at her blog. Anyone who's followed my activity for the past few months knows that is absurd.

I don't post as much over at Kos or Atrios, and never cruise back over to the Agonist, where I helped lead the charge against war jingoism in the spring (check the record...I'm all over it), and all this lack of activity because I'm on an intense software project that needs to get done. I don't care about my traffic, and I don't get much. That's fine. When I tried to push it in the early days, I did so aggressively, where there was no question, and I ended up with about 30 or so incoming links.

That's plenty. For now. I will upgrade this site, and make the information in it more accessible, organized, and navigable, but I just can't make that a priority right now. As for people like Julia, who falsely claim to believe in principles and ideals that they aren't willing to practice or actually defend in reality, I refer you to the concept of karma.

Julia is a liar, and even worse, she is a censor. Not only that, but she treats individuals with disrespect, when at the very least she could make an effort for individual communication in regards to differences. I've had differences with many on the Internet, and most have been resolved and settled via personal email. These are primarily individuals who share a similar world view and political orientation, but due to disagreement over a particular issue, and personality factors, somehow escalated to being more than the ideas being engaged.

This is what Julia needs to learn. On the streets, they would call her "a punk". I've never published a comment on Julia's blog, other than the short one that she excised, and have never harrassed or otherwise given her reason to 1) censor me, 2) disrespect me, and 3) misconstrue me.

Even after the Billmon episode, every email I received supported me that I should not have been banned for disagreeing with Billmon. Every one. Nearly every one also said that they disagree with me, and most for Billmon, but that's fine. I respect that. That's all about turning over ideas and engaging in discussion.

If the defenders of American liberalism don't think they can tolerate dissent within their own ranks, then they have a problem. When everyone wants to be the superstar of the blogosphere, and are willing to criticize the "out group" but wouldn't even consider doing so openly in the "in group", there is an even bigger problem.

This is the nature of politics. People kiss a@#. In the "in group". Cognitive dissonance theory is not far away, and I will be bringing it back with a vengeance in the week ahead. Julia will be my latest foil, and the example I will make. Not because I disrespect her, but because she disrespected me, and to make a point.

It's downright silly. If we can't get past "patronage politics" here in the blogosphere, especially amongst those who portend to champion liberal democracy and the inalienable, then this medium will be no different than any other.

I'm going to do my part to make sure that doesn't happen. Don't bet against me. This isn't about my pride, or ego, but about deep-rooted desires to see freedom work and realized in the world. Around the globe. Not just here in America, but everywhere. All men and women. It's time to get over the selfish narcissism that rules politics and consciousness in America today, and see that there is a worldwide struggle today for liberation, and it's been going on for awhile.

It starts with information. America needs to be involved, and taking a leadership position. Will you?

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Nanosurveillance - The Emerging Age Of Little Brother And The Nano-Panopticon?

Never failing to blow my mind, The Ecologist has an intriguing article up about the coming age of "Little Brother". I've posted on nanotechnology here previously, but this one tops nano armor and WMD in a big way.
Invisible control is power. The founding editor of Wired magazine once suggested that the more significant a technology is, the less able we are to recognise it as a technology at all. Technologies such as writing and clocks long ago ceased to be noticed as technologies yet continued to be used by those in power to extend control. Today nanotechnology, and microscale technology, already operating in the realm of the near invisible, offer a new platform to do the same. We may be some way away from the molecular surveillance cameras that thicken the air of sci-fi dystopias, but as the fledgling nanotech industry emerges alongside the 'war on terrorism’, a trajectory towards a nano surveillance society is coming worryingly into focus.

One leading nano-commentator, Michael Mehta, Professor of Sociology at Saskatchewan University in Canada, has given it a name: the nano-panopticon – describing the emergence of a future without privacy in which every aspect of society will be tracked, measured and visible from the bottom up. Mehta points to the emergence of nano-enabled devices such as 'lab on a chip' technology which can gives insurers and employers fast and cheap access to genetic data - – and are likely to increase genetic discrimination. Alongside this are being developed a host of miniature sensors and tracking mechanisms that could strengthen state and corporate power and undermine workers.

Like I've been saying all along, a separation of powers, and balance of powers, is essential to the American way of life and government. "The people" need to be added into this equation, along with corporations, and the best way this should be done is by total and open transparency and accountability. The freedom of information.

I'll repeat. If there is going to be a surveillance state, or what I sometimes lovingly call the Diaper State (because of a desperate longing for security in a dangerous and chaotic world), then the surveillance needs to go both ways. The information needs to flow both ways. From the citizens and to the citizens. If we do not assure this, we will surely slide into tyranny and/or totalitarianism. At some point. I don't see how we couldn't, judging by the devastating power of our military, the need for security in the face of terrorism, and a failure of the doctrine of federalism and the separation and balance of powers.

Liberal Bans Liberal?

Man bites dog? And who's wondering why the Left and the Democratic Party can't get their act together? Hmmm.
Dissent In The Blogosphere

There is a deep-rooted problem with dissent in the blogosphere. Bloggers bunker down in ideological encampments, and tolerate very little deviation from the party line. The latest example is Sisyphus Shrugged. Apparently, I've been summarily banned over there, without provocation or explanation, with the unfair insinuation, since she's removed my post, that my intention was to "plug my blog".

It seems that Julia thinks I'm a "troll". I find that very amusing. What I don't find amusing is that people like Julia fancy themselves defenders of America and liberal democracy, but can't seem to find it in themselves to engage in discussion with those who don't see things their way. I'm unclear on the conception of America and liberal democracy this would espouse.

It's too bad they can't practice what they preach. In the case of Julia, she's banned me and even removed my post, and I wasn't even disagreeing with her, but actually commending her on her post, and asking for an apology for calling me a "troll" over at Ruminate This. Just as in the case of Billmon, if you examine our ideas and beliefs you'll see we agree on most. Why this morbid fixation on disagreement on particular issues? Sloppiness and laziness is probably the best way to describe it, as Julia probably doesn't even know that we are similarly-minded.

And she also is probably one of those who wonder why everyone isn't agreeing with them and voting Democratic. Should we say hypocrisy? Does Julia expect me to believe her, when she doesn't practice what she preaches?

Since this is a family blog, I won't say what I'd really like to say to Julia, but needless to say it would involve a four-letter word followed by "you Julia". Some would call this immature, but I would prefer to think of it as genuinely American.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Casualty Of War - Iraqi Health

Putting aside discussions about the military occupation of Iraq, will we turn our backs on them in other ways should we strategically pull out in the months ahead? In a new report by the medical charity Medact, it is asserted that Iraqis face the prospects of "poorer health for generations [to come] as a result of the war".
Medical charity Medact says this year's conflict disrupted immunisation programmes and destroyed water systems, increasing levels of disease.

Continuing insecurity in Iraq, along with the breakdown of public health services, are exacerbating the problem.

Entitled Continuing Collateral Damage: the health and environmental costs of war on Iraq, the report estimates that between 22,000 and 55,000 people - mainly Iraqi soldiers and civilians - died as a direct result of the war.

Before any decisions are made about leaving Iraq to the resistance, who do not have the welfare of everyday Iraqis in mind, we should at least examine our responsibility for managing the health crisis we've caused. In my mind, we are responsible, and thus need to make whatever concessions are necessary to get the world on board in Iraq.

The world doesn't want to see Iraq fail, and the fate of the everyday Iraqi surely hangs in the balance. Will they get healthcare if the U.S. retreats and the world stands aside? Surely the security situation wouldn't improve fast enough for international aid agencies to get back to work in Iraq promptly.

The dogs of war are unleashed. No matter your opinion of the war, the hounds must be sensibly regathered and secured, if worst-case scenarios and disasters upon the innocent are to be avoided.

Stream Of Commute - Mystical Moments - November 13, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

in the past, when rule was by an iron fist, how bad did you want to resist? to fight back? your family was on the line. they could kill a son, rape a daughter. so you stayed quiet, spread your seed, and hoped for the best. prayed to the Bible. The Koran. The Buddha.

what you wanted was freedom, justice, and self-determination.

so the apocalypse is now, the kingdom of God is here, emergent, in this age. for this is the time when we can cement freedom for and to all men and women. when we can put aside the days of dictators, tyranny, and iron rule forever.


don't assume linear. for we keep adding novelty to the system, increasing information, media outreach, and are aiming for a phase transition, where the old systems of rule and religion, which served to control and assuage humanity, will be transcended, and left behind.


saudis giving business to family. just like russian oligarchy.

(this thought on the nature of authority and nepotism)


challenge is today for freedom. to keep america going forward, and defeating iron rule, and the savagery of tyranny against humanity and family.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Stream Of Commute - Touchscreen Voting - October 14, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

touch-screen misalignment and problems - solutions

1. after every selection, the actual selection should be shown on screen, with the text, and confirmed, or backed up to redo (and an alert sent to poll staff to determine why errors are happening)

by law, this display should be required in code to come from a redirect from the storage file, and not just from memory from the selection screen. this would greater ensure that the information, as selected, was entered into the storage file correctly.

in addition, this storage file should be read-only without exception. any modifications to the vote, initiated by the voter by a perceived discrepancy, MUST be a separate entry, and signed off specifically with the full signature, as opposed to the initial, of the voter, along with a poll worker that such and such modification happened at this time for ballot # X.

2. print-outs must be made, and ok'd/signed off by voter, if even requiring voter initial by each individual selection

#1 and #2 would ensure greatest levels of error handling by attentive voters (those voters in a hurry, or not taking care to see choices, will just initial down without distinction, but these kinds of voters can never be accounted for by any system)


allow for "not enough info" option for candidates and issues, so that we know if the information is getting to the electorate to make a sound choice. this could avoid random yes or no votes, and raise the standard by which such measures would pass, since yes's would still be required to have over 50%, or a plurality against the no's and don't know's.


one cannot count on each machine's printer to work, so should be networkable to main printers set up at polling place, to allow for paper review of election choices.


find a way to have unique id for each vote selection, accompanying the item on the paper receipt, so that the exact day and time of the selection, along with the voter registration number, may be determined (if this is currently associated with the ballot, the voter reg number, if not, then just the time, day, booth, and location). this should work with a complex algorythm, and be able to determine, in cases where fraud may be suspected, that the actual votes, as counted, on the paper receipts, occurred at the times and place that the polling place officials had logged in the voter.


Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Protests, Pessimism And Political Hate Speech

So this is what the Right Wing thinks it can divide America with in the upcoming elections. Very interesting. At first blush, I must say that this will be a historic and perhaps unprecedented defeat - for the Right. Who's going to believe this nonsense?

For decisions based on assessments and outcomes of pessimism, see the president and his men and women. This is why there is a policy of preemption. Because they expect the worst, and seem to expect it soon. The evidence is not so clear. So is realism pessimism, or optimism encased in a strategy of aggressive and preemptive violence?

I won't even talk about the biblical apocalyptic streak of pessimism that seems to prevail among some Americans, politicians, and generals, but I'll give you one's not coming in from the Left.

As for political hate speech, well, that's easy. Too easy. If this will be the election of doublespeak, of doubletalk, of just outright lies and distortions, that will play perfectly with the historical record of the Bush Administration to date. Bring it. You better hide your Ann Coulters, Rush Limbaughs, and all the rest of your snarky bunch, because sensible people won't be buying it come 2004.

The Right, and their slush money media and politics machinations, have perfected the art of political hate speech, lying, distortions, myth mongering, and so on. The evidence is all out in the open.

As for protests, I assume they mean freedom of speech. Of the right to peaceful assembly. All gains in the franchise and expansion of liberty in America have come out of the womb of protest. Of speaking out against the lyers, cheaters, and deceivers, those who would hold others down to further themselves and their own selfish interests. Protest is the strength and legacy of freedom in America we should be most proud of. And we are. America is great because of our struggles, not in spite of them.

So bring it. Bring it on. This will be the first election where all the lights will be on, and millions will be on the Internet linking and cross-linking to the available information. An Orwellian electoral strategy of divisive spin may be in the offing, but it will be soundly and resoundingly defeated.

What this world needs is a little less division, based upon spin and selfish manipulation of information, and a little more humility and appreciation of the values of working together and soundly examining the information at hand. For our security. For our freedom. For our legacy.

And, most of all, for our integrity and peace of mind.
Stream Of Commute - November 10, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

imagine the world if we had not won wwII, and hitler had won it, or hitler and stalin had teamed up to win it. what would the world be like? look at the world now. though we make, and have made, mistakes, we in America are not evil. there is no better alternative than what we have accomplished over the past few centuries.

europe ridded itself of powerful monarchs in WWI, and fascist dictators in WWII. they did so because of us. because of our help. otherwise, all of europe would be a fascist alliance with pockets of resistance, perhaps now irrevocably stamped out.

warts and all, America is the champion of liberal democracy. so far.


as for my point about self-determination in an earlier post, one example of how this is never totally free may be seen by our example of the Civil War. the South seceded, or tried to secede, and were stopped from doing so. violently. was this a violation of their self-determination (looked at solely from this particular lens)? were their people in support of the secession, or if in support duped into such? yes, and unlikely. the South wanted to do their own thing, and they were prevented from doing that by the dictates of an outside power. other-determination. this other overwhelming the "self" in order to change its image of itself. to a larger self that encompasses the larger wishes of the more fit and winning power.

a war not of extermination, or aggression, but of assimilation.

ecology and evolution.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Stream Of Commute - November 1, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

global movements, mindchange, and American patriotism, defense of liberty

perhaps the answer is the corporate charters? so that movements across nations would become less radical?

answer is defense and expansion of freedom here in America, with its effect on the rest of the world


what is terrorism? terror? definition being blurred as the "enemy", or the "other", becomes terrorist. without question terrorism means to use violence as a means to affect political change. is the success of the 9/11 terror attacks unprecedented in modern history?

what I see as near-cowardice amongst some American thinkers and intellectuals in their response to 9/11. for the world didn't change then, didn't have to. it's not the airplane attacks that really scared everyone, it was the anthrax.

regardless of intent by the actors, what is the psychological effect of the anthrax riding side-saddle behind 9/11?

this must be engaged, and dispelled. healing and recovery. trauma lifted.


my project now the intersection of global activism and American politics. the "global mind" and patriotism. how we can bring this back home.

lose the radical edge.

soften the edges.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Stream Of Commute - November 9, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

the dangers we face. uncertainty. if the ship might go down, we may as well do so living and acting out the principles we preach. it's either that, or sacrificing everything for safety and to become a hypocrite.


why freedom before democracy?

meditating on this. democracy is the "power of the people". heridotus. the only problem is that anyone can get elected, including Hitler. so we have the difference between liberal and illiberal democracy, as zakaria would put it (the future of freedom). the problem is that we can no longer tolerate the proliferation of illiberal democracies.

so perhaps freedom before democracy would mean that the free nations of the world, banded together, would assure the rights and dignity of humanity, in the rule of law, globally. we would use our current advantage of force, along with our legitimacy of force as exercised by the state, to essentially force all nations, no matter whether democracy or other form, to abide by full transparency, and the inalienable right of humans. eventually, this would more likely than not lead to global democracies, but that would be predicting the future.

what we need to focus on is the establishment and protection of liberty, everywhere on the planet, along with the cooperation that will be needed to assure the protection of the planet's ecology. with the current pace of consumption and population, we must do this, there is no going back.

thus, we don't worry about establishing democracies, which would be an empty measure at best, since votes can be spun any which way, and we instead focus on the inalienable. now, it's possible that there really is no way to establish this other than alongside the establishment of democracy, but that again is speculation. interested nonelected elites wanting to keep power may just play by the rules in order to stay in charge. sooner or later, one would guess that would pass into democracy eventually.

this needs to be fleshed out too since the dominant form of organization in the world today is the corporation, which is hardly democratic. so there is a base realism to this strain of thinking too.

by saying liberty before democracy, we remember what we're fighting for. the inalienable. dignity. the rest follows. morally. practically, these would seem to follow from a system of democracy, with the monopoly of force in the state legitimized by the people.


if we're going to have a surveillance state anyway, which seems nearly inevitable, then surely we need to assure the balance of power between people and state, in the tradition of constitutional liberalism, do we not? this would mean transparency and accountability. in fact, full transparency and accountability would more likely than not improve global living conditions to the point where the fanatical apocalyptic may go away. there would still be the lone psychos and serial killers, but much could be improved here. regardless of the conditions which lead to despair, if there's going to be surveillance, it needs to go both ways, and include the corporation along with state, church, and society in the balance of powers.


example of the legacy of the Civil War. we didn't conquer the South and establish democracy there. we fought for the inalienable (among other things). the South was already a democracy, and wildly in support of slavery. so the means of democracy was not good enough here, until a fitter and more just system was implemented in its place.
Synchronicity At The Book Shop

I go into the book store yesterday with an inkling for something in the Current Events section. In this particular case, it's the Political Science section of Borders. The last time I came in, I started from the beginning of the alphabet, and didn't make it all the way through, so this time I start from the end of the alphabet.

The very first book I see, that catches my attention, is tucked into the edge. Black, but with interesting colored lettering. The Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria. I glance it over and I'm This is right on the theme of "freedom before democracy". Or along the same lines anyway.

So I buy it. Along with Superpower Syndrome by Robert Jay Lifton, which comes at things from a psychological perspective. I'm enjoying both of these books, and really didn't know anyone was thinking along these lines. You don't really hear it out here.

It almost seems impossible to keep up with all the books that come out though, to even know who's pursuing what ideas outside the political and media mainstream. I know that here in the blogosphere, ideologies seem to harden fast, and the rest is pure struggle and conflict between believers. Not a lot of independent thinking going on, to put it another way.

Putting aside our partisan political battles, and coming up with solutions for today, for our political malaise, for our challenges around the world, seems of the first order. We don't really have time to wait until 2004 to start coming up with original ideas and effective plans for dealing with our reality as we experience it today.

With that in mind, what is the future of freedom? How can we secure freedom and peace in the world?

I'll report back on Zakaria's book in a few days. In the meantime, the following Stream Of Commute is also from last night.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Follow Up On Freedom Before Democracy

I'd like to emphasize that walking the talk is essential when it comes to rhetoric, and I'm the last to believe that George W. Bush has done a total reversal in favor of "power to the people". I do see it as unexpected that he came right out and pronounced our errors in supporting "dictators for oil" for the past half-century. Don't you?

I'm guessing that Noam Chomsky isn't going to believe the rhetoric either, but the president of the United States just basically "fessed up" to some of the main currents of Chomsky's "radical" criticisms of American foreign policy.

Not that Bush touched rhetorically on our Israeli policy, another main component of Chomsky's criticisms (and I'm not holding my breath for that), which would mark a complete vindication. Could you imagine if he did though? I would be left breathless, Chomsky wouldn't have to write any more books, and President Bush likely would garner the endorsement of Billmon. :)

(and this will mark my last jibe at the great American blogger Billmon for banning me and disparaging freedom of speech and dissent)

Stream Of Commute - October 26, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

why do american people believe that saddam and aq linked?

perhaps due to use of "evil"? that it goes without saying that evil will shack up with evil? what more needs to be said. it's us against them. good against evil. of course they are allied, and working together, because they are evil, and enemies of good, of us.


nothing wrong with mixing sharia and rights doctrines. we do it here in America, having still remnants of moral law based upon our religious traditions. we also have laws on decency and obscenity, of which rights and harms are not the prevailing imperative.

so all is well with sharia. but if it means women can be killed after being raped, by family members no less, then the free peoples of the world will not stand passive. affronts on basic human dignity, and life, will not be ignored. to do so would be to endanger ourselves.

no, a bedrock of human life and dignity, of the inalienable, must be established, and determined, and respected, by all peoples, everywhere. those who choose to violate these foundational principles will be at war with the free peoples of the world. for where any man, or woman, is not free, we are all in chains.


distributed model of information, aka the internet, a military project, is a brilliant plan. against terrorism. by distibuting power centers, information centers, centers of free peoples and liberalism, we assure the survival of America and civilization.

this military project has initiated the greatest defense of freedom ever established. perhaps not as intended, but the in the open, free market, the values of freedom, justice, and dignity will prevail. these memes will spread and have countless centers, and the ideas and virtues of what America stands for will germinate, multiply, and flourish.


challenge is literacy and education. reasoning and rhetoric. communication and engagement.


many becry the threat to, or end of, civilization. here is your response. your strategy.


what does quantum theory, evolution of science, spiralling technology, postmodernism, mean to non-western cultures? to islamic world? to the "non-moderns"? these are challenging questions.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Stream Of Commute - October 14, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

stream of consciousness rant - never quite know where it's going to go


bloom in WSJ. examine his rhetoric, appeal to his authority as historian and academic, vague and generalistic references to Rome, appeal to another authority, and then a sudden shift into endorsing Clark because he's a general. weak.


study rhetoric and persuasion. psychology, philosophy, and rhetoric. philosophy and scientific method for determining level of certainty, rhetoric and persuasion for techniques to manage uncertainty in the aims to influence.


in and out group relations. use this as analysis tool of history, of progression of freedom, of efforts to expand enfranchisement and further inclusion.


all students should be taught how to rhetorically parse newspaper and television. ads and features. for messages, values, and norms. for ways and means of influence, attempting to operate on them.


rhetoric needs to be expanded to take in the psychology and study of influence and persuasion.


the rhetoric of liberation

Friday, November 07, 2003

Freedom Before Democracy

It seems that much has changed since last month. George W. Bush seems to be gaining greater awareness and information beyond his immediate circle. This has to be seen as a good thing, not to mention a bit of self-defense against a coming political firestorm in regards to "the slack in Iraq". His expression of regret for our "errors" of the past, in regards to fostering elites to sustain our free lives of privilege, is a welcome development. There is a lot of blood money and suffering repressed people to acknowledge.

As for spreading freedom and democracy around the globe, we need to be more precise with our language. Freedom is what we should spread, as a means of peace, and we need to do the same just as powerfully here at home. By adopting full accountability and transparency. The freedom of information. For on the scarcity of information, and the curtain of secrecy, all corruptive elites thrive.

Looking back at history, democracy isn't good enough by itself. Democracy with a certain measure of liberty isn't good enough either. Hitler was elected. And then he used the people against themselves to transform political instruments of liberalism to repression. The same could happen anywhere, and has happened frequently in the past century.

Checks and balances are in order. The people need to be the first order check and balance, and this can only happen in alliance with a free and independent media. With this in mind, full transparency and accountability are not only desirable, but necessary, in order to assure the growth and survival of freedom. Not to mention peace. Eliminating the dictates of secrecy would remove much of the malfeasance that escalates to extreme elite deviance in the case of war.

Indeed, in a world of deadly weapons of mass destruction and genetic engineering, state or corporate secrecy is really not a valid option anymore. Institutions, both domestic and transnational, which assure global transparency from the get-go will work far more effectively, and at a much more reasonable price, than open-ended and hopeless investment in competitive human intelligence, which is not a win-win game.

The world is no longer an innocent place. It never really was. Here in America, and around the globe, we're awaking to the potential and threat of the future. Of the present. Of business as usual. Now is the time to open our eyes and make sure we can see everything we need to see to assure our freedom, security, and peace of mind. This is not a radical proposal, in the light of common sense and reason, but is truly revolutionary when it comes to politics and elite deviance as usual.

Just speaking for myself, I love challenges. And this one has so many dimensions, and has so much at stake, that it's the challenge of all challenges. Will we realize freedom, and peace, or will we eventually perish in a spiralling world of violence and despair? We make the call.
Stream Of Commute - October 8, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

free market and information scarcity and availability

information is skewed and manipulated in order to sell

advertising and public relations

so the idea is not actually to sell you what you want, that you get what you want, but that you get what you are convinced that you want

open trickery

in response to claims that political communication is by nature more skewed the economic and social communication, or information exchange. why would this be so? by what principle of information exchange? reality?


is labor just another commodity?

I would say no, as we need to include "agents" in a more expansive economic theory

a commodity does not "act", or "communicate", or spin "information", as an "agent" does

also, a more realist theory must ground itself in moral doctrine - the prevailing one in society, not a fanciful self-interest theory

the inalienable

all human created equal

life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness

this is moral core

these people, or agents, are labor. labor is not differentiated per se from investor, or owner. these are varied roles of agents within system, not qualitatively different, and each guaranteed the inalienable before economic analysis and modeling (reasoning) begin

commodity and capital are not agents. do not communicate. do not share information. they are units. agents are not units. labor is not measured in units. not primarily.

units are given value by agents. wants and desires of agents determine value of a particular unit. unit does not determine this. not in its nature. its nature may be harmonious with perceived desires of agents, i.e. consumers, but this is a social quality. information and value always reside in the agent.

labor, owners, investors, and consumers are agents. playing different roles.
Stream Of Commute - October 7, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

bush - cult - where he gets his information - only from trusted advisers - no outside sources


philip morris - buying stock - limited punitive damages - movie about guy who leads property assault on philip morris stockholders - goes to trial - only does so for publicity - in the end agrees with torn prosecutor who becries tactics even if robin hoody - calls it off when convicted - explains only to cause controvery, so information would be reported


corporate purpose - high punitive damages against philip morris probably doesn't work - shift more sales globally to marketing to kids and bring profits back to pay judgements and to regroup politically and pay politicians and lobbyists - how to stop this would be to require corporate purpose style legislation - you must obey american laws to operate in america - WHEREVER and WHENEVER you operate - in order to avoid race to the bottom - if evidence can be shown that living two codes, and breaking american charter responsiblity, then death penalty - trial by jury - this the only way to effectively combat race to the bottom globalism - since our market has so much money, you either play by the rules, or be consigned to the poorer markets where you can prey - little practically we can do about that - but we can control our own ship, and determine who is worthy and honorable enough to do business with us

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Stream of Commute - I've Been Neglecting

Seems I've got a backlog of my meditations, while reading the news on the way to work, that I've been neglecting to put up here. This project is about total transparency, and since I don't always have time to flesh things out, it's sometimes just as well to throw them out unedited. These truly are stream-of-consciousness, as I'm chilling on the bus wondering how we can make this world a better place, so take them and develop them, or criticize them, but please don't attack me about them. They are unfiltered by any political membrane other than my most deep-rooted beliefs about freedom, democracy, accountability, transparency, responsibility, and the freedom of information.

With that in mind, I'll drop a few out a day, until I catch up. Also, I will note the date of the stream as well.

Stream Of Commute - September 25, 2003

American values, liberty and justice, little guy championing the underdog, growing bigger, in danger of becoming the very thing hated from the beginning, the bully, rather than the benevolent big guy.

first duty as citizen to vote, to be informed, to be involved, to participate, to provide for the means of education for the young and old, ongoing and continuing, critical thinking and current events, knowledge of the workings of the world in terms of citizenship before anything else. no duty to economy, or to anything else. as citizen, to vote. as family member, to support. critical thinking should be taught at all levels of education, in various disciplines but always coming back to current events, the stuff of everyday politics, what's in the newspaper. on the news.


free labor. labor must be free. otherwise, no free market. if capital can move without restriction, and labor cannot, how fair is that? how free? to whose advantage? only in free nations can labor be free. only in nations where the monopoly of violence is with the sovereign people, citizens. otherwise, as can be seen, violence will check labor, constrict it, enslave it, not just in the backwards parts of the world, but right here in America, where Cesar Chavez was getting beat up not long ago.

otherwise, we make a risky deal with the devil, by asserting that "free" trade will help liberalize and free the rest of the world, rather than have the opposite effect of undermining the freedom and security of free labor at home, by lowering standards and costs by taking advantage of "hostage" labor.

labor cannot move. cannot follow market. politics and violence stands in the way. capital and investment has much more play, and power. this is an unequal condition, that speaks less of a free market than an oligarchical one, a return to feudalism-of-a-sort. a new aristocracy of corporate chiefs and board members, where the company investors buy the right to vote.

you can't call it free jazz if the rhythm section must play from the songbook, without variation, while the saxophonist and guitarist can improvise to their heart's delight. either all are free, or free is not the way to describe it. a little food for thought...
Stream Of Commute - October 1, 2003

(these are spontaneous thoughts, flowing from head to keyboard, on the daily commute)

crony capitalism must stop

1) iraq profit center - bush's cronies
2) dirty tricks in un
3) no un debate
4) deride democratic leaders listening to own people
5) slander and defame long time allies for disagreement
6) exaggerate, distort, and mischaracterize evidence
7) cover up this exaggeration, distortion, and mischaracterization
8) stall and avoid discussion of risk and costs of war (in favor of only emphasizing "not" going to war)
9) no-bid contracts to halliburton, cheny's cronies, and little benefit seen from it (iraqi firms way cheaper)
0) question patriotism and loyalty of those who opposed the war
X) blow cover of undercover cia agent as response to man's criticism of evidence concealment and exaggeration, not only for revenge but as message and intimidation to any others who may consider revealing the truth

war against truth

deception, dirty tricks, and corruption

la times - u.s. advised to invest in its image - "changing minds, winning peace" - Edward Djerejian

why should Iraqis pay for our damage? is this why we are so eager to push the meme that it was saddam who allowed the infrastructure to lag, rather than us merely blowing the stuff up and/or failing to secure key ministries and facilities from looting when saddam fell?

schism in Republican and Democratic parties, between moderates and conservatives/liberals. this is why we need IRV. it's time for a third major party, that fuses the moderate centers of the two main parties into a centrist party, with a conservative and liberal party the other main parties.

the two-party system is breaking down. it's time for at least three, with room for others to have a voice with IRV.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Consequences Of Immediate Pullout From Iraq

Yesterday, I was meditating on the future of Iraq. Given complete self-determination, as peoples led by their chosen leaders, it seems almost beyond contention that Iraq would become three separate nations. Iraq, as is, is merely an imperalistic construction. The model wouldn't be Lebanon, but Yugoslavia, in the sense of decomposition into more natural groupings.

Unfortunately, in this world, there is no such thing as complete self-determination. If we immediately withdraw from Iraq, after having removed Saddam Hussein as the prevailing influence for the three peoples (Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds), we will also no longer be exerting a palpable influence on its future.

With that in mind, the Iraqis are free to do what they want, right? Wrong. There are other nations just itching to expand their influence in the area. Iran, with the Shiite lands. Turkey, with the Kurdish lands. Perhaps Syria, with the Sunni lands. Essentially, you'd have three strong and competitive nations coming into to compete for the scraps, while the Iraqis would be left, on their own resources and organization, in chaos and seeking assistance from the first caller.

This would be a foreign policy recipe for disaster, and is the real reason why noone with any sense is calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Imagine the fate of the Kurds. Would this again be an abandonment of them? Would they be better off or much worse?

No, as foolish and misguided as rushing into war with Iraq indeed was, it would only make matters worse, in the bigger picture, to just cut and run now that the going is getting tough. It's only President Bush's fault that he's been bragging about our success, and making it inevitable that in comparison to the reality on the ground people would be worrying about a quagmyre.

It's going to be a "long, hard slog" in Iraq, and unfortunately it has to be done. We need to bring the world on board. Iraq should no longer be our trophy, and hunting ground for Halliburton and its ilk, and instead we should join with our long-time allies and bring NATO and/or the UN in with real power and influence in this operation.

The fate of Iraq, the world, and terror hang in the balance. Iraqis need to be free, even if they will no longer be Iraqis, or even if there will no longer be an Iraq. But we can't just leave it to the wolves because the resistance is smarter and tougher than we realized. To have invaded Iraq for the result of a greater Iran and Syria would seem like a truly dastardly and blitheringly idiotic enterprise. Keep that in mind.

At this stage, the people of Iraq will only become free, or less so, through the influence of others. Conditions on the ground seem to dictate this. Should these "others" be the free world, or should they be the repressive Islamic theocrats? You make the call.