Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Kruger Man

A Failed Revolution
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
Friday 29 December 2006

After first attempting to deny the scale of last month's defeat, the apologists have settled on a story line that sounds just like Marxist explanations for the failure of the Soviet Union. What happened, you see, was that the noble ideals of the Republican revolution of 1994 were undermined by Washington's corrupting ways. And the recent defeat was a good thing, because it will force a return to the true conservative path.

But the truth is that the movement that took power in 1994 - a movement that had little to do with true conservatism - was always based on a lie.
As long as people like Mr. Armey, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay were out of power, they could run on promises to eliminate vast government waste that existed only in the public's imagination - all those welfare queens driving Cadillacs. But once in power, they couldn't deliver.

[G]overnment by the radical right has been an utter failure even on its own terms: the government hasn't shrunk. Federal outlays other than interest payments and defense spending are a higher percentage of G.D.P. Today ... 14.8 percent in fiscal 2006, compared with 13.8 percent in fiscal 1995.

Unable to make good on its promises, the G.O.P., like other failed revolutionary movements, tried to maintain its grip by exploiting its position of power. Friends were rewarded with patronage: ... Adversaries were harassed with smear campaigns and witch hunts: Congress spent six years and many millions of dollars investigating a failed land deal, and Bill Clinton was impeached over a consensual affair.
In the end, Republicans didn't shrink the government. But they did degrade it. Baghdad and New Orleans are the arrival destinations of a movement based on deep contempt for governance.

Dyer Hope for Middle East

2006 Year-Ender
18 December 2006
By Gwynne Dyer

It is now clear that America's moment in the Middle East is coming to an end. It has been a rather long moment -- the United States has called most of the shots in the region since the 1960s -- but recently it has turned into a classic case of imperial over-stretch. So we will soon find out if a strong American presence really was vital for all of those years to keep the oil flowing, keep the crazies from seizing power, and keep Israel safe.
Will disaster ensue? Probably not, except in Iraq (where it has already arrived) and perhaps in Lebanon. Except for those two countries, the Middle East is a massively stable area where no regime has been overthrown since Iran in 1979. Many of the region's other countries also contain aggrieved religious and ethnic minorities, but the awful price that Iraqis and Lebanese paid when the status quo was destroyed makes people elsewhere very reluctant to consider radical change. The legions are going home, but the barbarians are not at the gates.

3 Funerals & a Vetting

James Brown – the death of America's Soul
Gerald Ford – the death of America's Moderation and Integrity
Saddam Hussein – America's attempt to kill its Shadow

... as vetted by Snerd

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Quagmire on the Ground ... Grounded in the Mind

It seems to me that these Neocons have taken terrorism, which was a manageable threat and by ignoring Clinton's warnings, escalated it through hyping nonexistent threats, through denial of existing ones, and through bad policy even more badly implemented, raised it to heights unimagined before they came to office.

In the Arab world, before the 'Project for a New American Century', Islamists were clearly a threat, but minor and sidelined in terms of broad public support. With Bush's mono-dimensional PNAC foreign policy, Islamists have been able to lever the huge, heavy, colossal power of the west to do its bidding.

The Islamist goal of a Pan Arab theocracy required the destablization of monarchies and secular regimes in the Middle East, for their project to have any possibility. Since they themselves lacked sufficient direct influence to bring this change about, they needed something or someone else to help them do it ... Enter an adolescent heroic archetype, a 1940's cinematic version of a western sheriff in the form of Jr. ... apparently too irresistible an image for the MSM.

However, out maneuvering the USA, Islamists have not only been able to create a destablized environment they can exploit, but also have been able to provide a 'good/evil' story line, where even moderate Muslims who do not support a radical Islamist theocracy, can still see the west as wrong, if not evil ... and to add ironically to tragedy, inflicted this storyline on the land where advertising is king. For the Islamists, it is indeed "Mission Accomplished"

One of the many justifications for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and for staying now, is the prevention of destablization and greater radical Islamist influence in Iraq and the Middle East. However, these justifications are now even more valid AFTER Neoconservative 'PRE-ventative' intervention. This regressive slide into a debacle, has concurrently now exhausted military options, as well as US public and world trust.

'Situations' such as this, often get the mind thinking in 'What if?' terms.

'What if Afghanistan had been effectively provided actual governance and economic development, before the Taliban had 4 plus year to re-establish themselves?' What if initial efforts had begun to altered the kind of poverty and exclusion from politics, that breeds the rational for radicalism?' 'What if', this 'o-mission' had been noticed while reconstruction was still possible?

But was exclusive Coalition 'Reconstruction' (grimy enticement and punishment offered up from the 'morality' of the 'Values Guyz') ever really an option in the Neocon tool box ... except as a means to obscene corporate profits?

Aside from the facts 'on the ground' that support this question, isn't it the neocon 'compassionate social mind' that wants to punish the disadvantaged, to 'awaken' them to their own responsibility, for the conditions of their poverty at the bottom of the capitalist pyramid? It is the sort of mind that now demands that Iraqis take responsibility for the chaos unleashed by the USA when it removed an existing social order (however troubled it was), and not replaced it with another (sans any US accountability for doing so).

'What if' , BEFORE incompetent implementation of negligently created policy, Bush had listened to Clinton and eliminated Bin Laden?

'What if' the MSM had dealt investigatively with Bush's 9/11, or with forces in the Middle East, as opposed to providing infotainment? 'What if' the MSM had provided actual facts around the Bush foreign policy, in other than talking points and public opinion polls that measure their dissemination? Would we now be in this position where we can NOT leave Iraq without creating catastrophe, while we can NOT stay in Iraq without furthering chaos?

To complicate matters, if Juan Cole is correct, we now have the Baker-Hamilton Commission attempting to create a realignment of the Administration's Middle East policy, with a return to a Bush Sr. orientation towards the Sunnis (Saudi Arabia in particular, and which would now also include Syria).

Whether that is so or not, it appears Jr. is attempting to prop up the Iranian aligned Shia government of Maliki, while being unwilling to accept Iranian involvement or victory as a consequence ... Is this even rational?

If NOT, is the MSM contributing to the hopelessness, from the apparent lack of 'viable options', by treating Jr's 'rhetorical re-tooling' of his 'stay the course' to 'success', as rational?

It seems clear at least up until now in the MSM, almost nobody in positions of effective responsibility are willing to make real contextual sense of the Administration's policy and actions. Up until now, everything was formed in faux values, with faux story lines. For example, the MSM ignored the interchangability of justifications for War, replacing one another virtually without any real accounting, and simply keying in on the 'new campaign' slogans ... Truly Orwellian!

But at some point, public pressure however it is constructed and however it is informed, will come into play in Iraq - just as the lack therefore allowed certain political options to be viable for the Neocons, going in to Iraq. It will again bring its influence to bear and allow another limited range of options, Bush's stubbornness included.

In part, this pressure will emerge from its own Green Zone like, MSM experience. It will be limited by a MSM intellectual environment, already polluted by its refusal to step outside the 'protective' walls of rhetorical talking points, to provided sufficient investigative facticity to allow for much more than the odd incursion into informed debate, from the periphery.

We also see the Democratic Party, victorious after running a no platform campaign, struggling to come to grips with its 'NOT (R)' mandate, attempting to create policy and direction out of the ambivalence it nurtured in the mid terms.

Is this a public 'informed' by a MSM, as well as a Party, with insufficient 'command' of facticity to extricate themselves from the simplicity of rhetorical talking points? Are they too mired in this (and therefore their own), intellectual quagmire ... too stranded in faux Values, addressing faux events, and so only capable of seeing and supporting faux options?

If so ... one wonders where the events in the Middle East will stagger too next, if this is where public pressure and alternative policy emerge from ...


Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Z a c c a r d e l l i ... i l l e d r a c c a Z

Z a c c a r d e l l i ... knew
I l l e d r a c c a z ... didn't know then, that I'd know it later
Z a c - d e l l i - c a r ... now I know, that I didn't know when I knew, now that I know what I knew when I didn't know, but thought I did ...



Apparently Zaccardelli showed up for work this afternoon after resigning this morning. He claimed he did not know this afternoon, that he'd resigned this morning, but said he remembered it tomorrow.

RATIONALITY and SSM ... Mutually Exclusive, Phil?

I did not want this attempt at a discussion with Phill from, to get lost in accumulating threads there and in cumulative obfuscation, be it intentional or not.

The topic of SSM was covered very well by Red at, and so it is not my intent to repeat the content here. Instead, I am interested in exploring 'how' Phil establishes his 'content', his position … and am interested in engaging Phil in that process. So, I am presenting it here in its own thread.



: You do not respect marriage as something between a man and a women, so why respect marriage between two people?
SG: You do not respect marriage as something between two people, so how can you respect marriage between a man and a women?

The QUESTION (presented now for the F-O-U-R-T-H time to Phil) is, given the structure of the (R)-Goo-ment you've chosen Phil, isn't it a proof of bias rather than an argument proving its so called conclusion?

Since the argument works in reverse, doesn't it show one's axiomatic starting point is one's axiomatic conclusion - and therefore there is no difference between the two. So, isn't the (R)-Goo-Ment and therefore its conclusion ONLY a reflection of 'original bias', and NOT an argument at all?

In fact, I think it is a stronger case to say 'appreciating the general case for Love and Marriage between Any Two People (ATP) includes the particular Hetro Sex Marriage (HSM)'
Only appreciating the Particular (HSM), because it rejects the General, Any Sex Marriage (ASM), is minimally deficient in its appreciation of Love because of this exclusion, and so is a deficient position on Love and Marriage, if the two have any link.

The failure to admit the Love-Marriage link, heads us down the road of Traditional Arranged Marriage and the possible legislation of cultural and religious preference …

So isn't your '(R)-Goo-Ment' not only NOT an argument, but when examined points to ASM as a stronger case?

2. If SSM, then NO MARRIAGE at all

The SSM = Polygamy + Man/Dog Marriage (R)-Goo-Ment is ...
'If you don't draw My Line (HSM), then you can draw Any Line' … if you do not arbitrarily hold the line at 'Straight' marriage, then you CAN NOT draw any line at all, demarcating Marriage. You CAN NOT draw the line (arbitrarily and/or volitionally), say at Marriage is between Any Two People.

This is a silly argument and collapses upon itself, with minimal thought ... if applied that is ...

Nevertheless, it is curious how the Arbitrary Absolutists continue to see changing a boundary equating to NO BOUNDARIES at all. Or conversely, if one does not adopt their boundaries, then NO BOUNDARIES are possible.

Arbitrary Absolutists reserve the right to draw this line, for themselves ... exclusively. They are able to have particular boundaries, but 'anyone else' is NOT ... WHY!?

There is no logical justification for this exclusivity. And since there is none, what's the logically constructed case for the inclusion of their double standard, then?

... The 'thoughtless' I L L O G I C of FEAR ... EXCLUSIVELY ... I think ...


Tuesday, December 5, 2006