Friday, July 28, 2006

The Illusion of the Free Flow of Ideas

As he often does, Noam Chomsky sums up the state of political debate in our country in a very few words:
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate. "
---Noam Chomsky

Our current leaders have the concept down in spades: any argument or statement of fact that would damage their house-of-cards reality is immediately labeled "unpatriotic".

Unfortunately too many Americans buy into this crap (e.g. - WMD, Iraq - 9/11 connection, Democracy as a cure-all, Free markets as a cure-all, etc. etc.).

I have a news flash: words and debate don't kill people -- only the policies you implement as a result of them can possibly have that effect. By controlling the debate to the extent they have, the loonies in power still have more than 50% of Americans believing that Iraq has WMD.

How can real democracy exist in such a bizarro world?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Leadership Vacuum

It’s been a while since I’ve posted… just too busy with work lately.

But I have to ask. I hear a great deal of noise about how strong our “leadership” is… Frankly, I see nothing from Washington:

The country continues to move in the WRONG direction: the gap between the middle-class and the “haves” at the top continues to spiral out of control.

Health care: a friend in the aerospace engineering business runs his own “one man consulting” firm – he, his wife and kids are all relatively healthy: no chronic illnesses, etc. Yet he pays $950/month for health insurance…. The largest percentage of American’s in recent history current don’t have insurance.

How can the system continue when we pay 25 cents of every health-care-dollar to administrators (the highest percentage of any industrialized nation)?

The debt and deficit are both rampaging out of control: don’t kid yourself. Debts, with interest, represent lost spending power: because we’re borrowing money we’re less likely to be able to afford to fix problems like health care, SS and Medicare in the future.

Gas prices: we're have NO plan to transition this economy from oil to 'the technology of the future' ... Don't kid yourself - the free market won't address this issue until it is too late: we need leadership from government to get us on the right track.

So what ‘leadership’ do we get? Election year antics like a flag burning and gay marriage amendment: policies, even if adopted, that would affect NO ONE (unless someone wants to explain how stopping Tom from burning a flag in protest or keeping John and Bill from filing a joint return affects them).

No – we have less than leadership in Washington right now.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bush doctrine dies - takes 2500+ Americans with it - The end of cowboy diplomacy - Jul 9, 2006

Maybe the preznut can learn...

Bush, the candidate, pledged to pursue a humble foreign policy. He argued against the (in hind-sight, relatively tame) interventionalism of the Clinton years.

Of course, that's not what we got... And before I get the flood of comments stating that "9/11 changed everything" let me say "yes, it did".

But did the events of 9/11 require the forward-leaning, pre-emptive strategy that has entangled our forces in a war while simultaneously dragging our image through mud (i.e. - torture, rendition) and bleeding the nation's economic and military resources. The architects of the Bush doctrine openly proclaimed that the use of American military might could be used to remake the world -- and make it a better place. 9/11 gave them all the license they need to carry out the experiment.

We've seen the result... And some of us actually recognize the implications of those results: The Bush doctrine is a complete failure on all fronts:

The threats, blustering and out-right aggression has served not to make the world safer, but has helped to embolden and even prop-up dictators and terrorists.

Iran, N-Korea and others totalitarian regimes have used our leaders words, and our actions, to insight nationalistic furor.

But there is at least some hope. While we had to listen to our fearless leader bluster about a non-existent threat in Iraq – and how it had to be dealt with immediately, what do we hear about the REAL threats from Iran and N. Korea.

We hear “give diplomacy a chance” … we hear “it takes time”… “we need to work with our allies in the region”. All the phrases the conservatives used to bash the Democrats with in the run-up to war.

At least dear-leader appears to have given up on the idea of bending other nations to our will using military might. The problem is, Bush’s education came at a cost… An ongoing cost in Iraq (American and Iraqi lives, our image) and an ongoing cost here at home (budget deficits, war profiteering).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Ally Warned Bush on Keeping Spying From Congress - New York Times

Ally Warned Bush on Keeping Spying From Congress - New York Times
In a sharply worded letter to President Bush in May, an important Congressional ally charged that the administration might have violated the law by failing to inform Congress of some secret intelligence programs and risked losing Republican support on national security matters.
Looks like emperor G is even pissing off his conservative lap-dogs in Congress...

When will Congress stand up and assert itelf as the check on power it was intended to be?

"I have learned of some alleged intelligence community activities about which our committee has not been briefed," Mr. Hoesktra wrote. "If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the administration, a violation of the law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the members of this committee who have so ardently supported efforts to collect information on our enemies."

He added: "The U.S. Congress simply should not have to play Twenty Questions to get the information that it deserves under our Constitution."