Thursday, January 26, 2006

 

Who’s Feeling the Heat?

According to this article, Mushroom-Cloud Lady says that Iran is “feeling the heat” of international pressure over its nuclear program. Sure, Iran is feeling a little heat, but there’s a lot more sweating going on in Washington because they know that when Iran opens its oil bourse in euros, it’s going to deal a devastating blow to the US dollar. The neocons are trying to use this nuclear issue to somehow cripple or slow Iran’s moves. It’s clear in this case who’s more desperate, and it ain’t the Iranians.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

 

Bush’s Successful Policies

We often hear critics of George W. Bush talking about his “failed policies” and “failed presidency.” From the usual point of view, certainly Bush’s policies appear to have failed miserably, and his presidency is a disaster. With all the horrible things happening in America and abroad thanks to Bush, it’s natural for normal people to assume that his policies and presidency have “failed.”

But think about it for a minute. How on earth could anyone screw up so badly, especially when surrounded by experts and spin doctors and all sorts of other people to wipe the chief’s ass and clean up the mess? It seems incredible until you approach this matter from the opposite direction, that is, you assume that Bush administration policies are having the intended effect, and are therefore successful.

For example, it certainly appears that Bush and his people have disdain for the poor, and therefore his screw-the-poor policies and the massive transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich are the results of successful policies, not failures.

The New Orleans debacle, the secret torture gulag, disaster in Iraq, the sinking economy, the rising police state, disappearing freedom of speech, the energy crisis, the gathering planetary environmental catastrophe — all these appear to be the intended consequences of Bush’s policies, which means that they are successful. In this sense, the Bush presidency has been one of the most successful ever. Think about it.

 

Belafonte Speaks Out

Entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte has again spoken out against George W. Bush and his policies, characterizing the Department of Homeland Security as the “new Gestapo.” The fact that his comments were greeted with “a roaring standing ovation” shows that he has definitely struck a chord with many other Americans.

There is little doubt he is being spied on by the FBI and NSA as an “enemy of the state” for exercising his rights to dissent and free speech. How long before we hear reports confirming this?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

 

Alexander

If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s perhaps worth a view to see what was probably unintended by the makers: a view of the self-absorption, self-righteousness, cruelty, ruthlessness, and murderousness of people with absolute power. One “highlight” is when Alexander is giving his troops a pep talk just before engaging the Persian army, filling their heads full of self-serving lies about glory and whatnot. “Oh, So-and-so, how I still mourn your brother’s death,” or some such line is delivered to a guy who will likely spill his guts within the next hour to help fulfill Alexander’s dreams of empire. Balderdash. If “great leaders” really cared about us, they wouldn’t use us as cannon fodder to realize their own plans for world domination. They’ll always use the old trick of pumping the troops up for a fight with a line of BS that conceals their real reasons: empire, domination, more land, more slaves, more resources, bigger markets, and what have you. A key component of this belief system is that the conquered will benefit from domination and slaughter because they will now be “free” and have “democracy.” Please.

Alexander was considered “great” for what reason? He achieved “greatness” at what price to others?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

 

The China Model, Again

Over at Common Dreams, Professor Robert Reich seems, like Arianna Huffington, to have missed the point when comparing China and the US. Reich similarly points out how authoritarian China is, how its gap between rich and poor is widening, how it has no democracy, and how there is no freedom of speech or freedom of the press. He means to say, of course, that the US does have these.

Well, it still does more than China. But as I pointed out before, Bush and his neocon operators have been busy implementing the “China Model” in the US. Freedom of speech has gone downhill considerably, the secret police listen to and read every word we utter or write, Americans can be arrested on the flimsiest of pretenses, the US for all practical purposes has a single political party that rules the nation with an iron hand, elections are sham, and with each passing day the mainstream media look increasingly like party organs. And now, as observed in the previous post, it can be illegal to “annoy” another person with an email message or blog posting.

Surely Professor Reich hasn’t missed these and other changes. Surely he can see how the US is becoming more like China every day. Yet he and Huffington appear to miss the obvious implementation of the China Model in the US.

One other thing: Reich claims that democracy needs capitalism because “capitalism decentralizes economic power.” Excuse me? Take a look at what is touted to be the world’s representative capitalist democracy, the US, and you will see the gross inaccuracy of that statement. Capitalism on the contrary has done a bang-up job of concentrating most of the wealth and economic power in the hands of a few elites who exploit the rest of us, and the situation is only getting worse. I’ll leave it for others to guess why Professor Reich shills for a system that has concentrated unprecedented wealth in the hands of a few while impoverishing millions, but the proof of his statement’s untruth is right in front of our eyes every day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

 

Thinking Blog

Before I proceed any further in this second year, allow me to state that this is a thinking blog, not an annoyance blog. Readers come here to think about issues, not be annoyed. After all, anyone who is annoyed by this blog will stop visiting, right?

The reason I say what should not be necessary to say is that — I kid you not — it is now a crime to “annoy” people with emails and blog postings. Thanks to Dubya, free speech is further imperiled because if someone doesn’t agree with what you have to say, they can claim they are “annoyed” by your statements.

So in exercising your right of free speech in web postings or the internet, be careful not to “annoy” anyone!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

 

All-Seeing Eye in Japan

The all-seeing eye is also making its debut in Japan. We’ve heard a lot lately about how Britain is tracking vehicular traffic with ubiquitous video cameras. In Japan the government is now running a pilot program, using taxis, on tracking vehicles with “smart plates,” or license plates with RFID tags that are read by roadside antennas. (I have seen nothing in English on this, but pertinent Japanese-language articles can be found here and here).

Welcome to the panopticon society.

Monday, January 02, 2006

 

Bush Spies on Those Whom He Fears

Previously I pointed out how the right is afraid of the people. My case is further reinforced by the latest Bush spying scandal (the one which the New York Times concealed for a whole year; what else are they hiding?). Bush is not spying on ordinary Americans to find terrorists; he’s spying on us because he’s afraid of us. It’s part of a clear pattern. Observe how Bush insulates himself from Americans: Press conferences are few and scripted, audiences are carefully screened to eliminate non-supporters, and activist/dissident organizations are labeled “terrorist” and spied on by the FBI. Bush is famous for existing in a “bubble.” Now we know that literally all Americans are covered by Bush’s spy machine.

Normal people may well laugh at the idea that Bush is afraid of Joe Sixpack, Jane Doe, and people who advocate peace and justice, but why else would Bush be spying on them, and illegally at that? Why are ordinary Americans subject to intimidation, such as requirements to show their IDs on public transportation? Why are demonstrators exercising their First-Amendment rights isolated into “free speech zones”?

The pattern is clear: The American people scare Bush. They are seen as “terrorists” because they terrify Bush and his rich elite friends. And it is natural for those in power to spy on those conceived as enemies.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

 

A New Year’s Message to America’s Christian Missionaries

American churches and mission groups send missionaries all over the world to do good and win people over to Christianity. Some of these missionaries risk their lives in dangerous places, and all missionaries face huge challenges.

But believe it or not, the greatest barrier to their work is the United States itself, along with its political and moral leadership. Yes, you read that right.

While American missionaries station themselves all over the world teaching peace, Christian love, self-sacrifice for the poor and afflicted, forgiveness, and other values deemed to be Christian, the United States of America — which we are constantly told is a “Christian nation” — goes about bombing, shooting, burning people alive, invading, torturing, rattling its saber, and otherwise afflicting the rest of the world. At home the US government coddles the rich, screws the poor, trashes education, allows horrible pollution, and generally demonstrates an appalling lack of concern for the welfare of its own citizens. The US has shockingly high crime rates and prison populations, stunningly poor energy efficiency, and a crumbling economy. Corruption reigns, elections are stolen, and government officials lie through their teeth, even to start wars. Our government and corporations callously let their fellow Americans starve and freeze (prompting other governments to step in and help!). These things are done by people who claim to be “Christian,” not least of all George W. Bush himself.

And what about prominent religious leaders? The US of A is honored to be represented to the world community by Eminent Holy Man Pat Robertson, who unabashedly advocates murder and other mayhem. Similar sentiments of universal love and forgiveness can be heard from numerous conservative commentators who likewise claim to live according to Christian principles.

A question for American missionaries is: Do you think the people of the world get their impression of “Christian values” from you, or from these prominent persons I have just discussed?

What little good you are able to do is far outweighed by the evil perpetrated by these pseudo-Christians. When the people of the world think of “Christian values” as professed, advocated, and practiced by Americans, they think of America’s leaders and government, not you. You can teach love, forgiveness, compassion, care for the poor, peace, and nonviolence until you drop, but your teachings and your actions are cancelled out a hundred times over by the US government, which does the opposite.

And so, a suggestion: If you want to perform your missionary work where it will do the most good, go home to the US and preach to our politicians, who need it desperately. If you want to minister to the poor, there are plenty of them right at home, waiting for someone to save them from freezing and starvation. You might point out their existence to rich man President Dubya and tell him that if he wants to put his Christian values into practice, he should sell all he has and give the money to destitute Americans.

As it is, all that talk from America’s leaders about “Christian values” is perceived by the world to be the empty posturing and self-serving lying that it is.

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