The failure is sundered within each of us, it festers as blame to others, a manifestation of the shame that belongs not to ourselves but of the participants of a deadlier game. Yet innately the affectation begins with our own visceral manumission of guilt, and sadly, empirically lies buried in our own personal failings. We ponder all that which seems inherently wrong. We awaken to ourselves each morning and gaze at the soul that stares back at us, and ask, “What do I know of such things?” Politically we are involved in a myriad of wars; our own political system has become moribund and incapable of decisive and thoughtful long-term beneficial actions. At the same time we have managed to cause a global warming process that may not be reversible, with unfathomably catastrophic consequences. Yet we no longer trust our scientific community, as we undermine their ability to help them help us make informed decisions. Corporations are now the new soulless leaders of the same communities that we raise our children in: our children, pain and agony none withstanding, are but fodder for their institutionalized thought and labor. Lobbyists are but jackals, which obfuscate and enable the lack of clear and forward thinking that would be required to navigate through these complicated times. Woe be to the participants: the excoriated politicians, the confused and parsed scientists, the unfeeling and automatonic corporations, the jack-booted lobbyists with their narrow-minded obfuscations, and still there are bureaucrats, the ever-plodding stewards of the status quo. All are to blame. It becomes utterly confusing and so we consequently throw up our hands and hope that serendipity might take us all to the promised land of Biblical and Koranic paradises of no responsibility and perfect harmony for all eternity. When we each awaken in the morning and look in the mirror, the failure should be obvious. Our visage stares back at us in mute mirth smirking at our lack of insight. How convenient that they should all provide themselves as cannon fodder for our obvious shortcomings. Chaos complexity theory applies here in its truest sense. Things are not so simple, and become ever more complicated and require ever more attention then before. The problems today are more complicated; any pandering to a simple explanation is an abject definition of ignorance. There are no backwoods colloquialisms that fit a particular situation, present day analogies aside. The query remains, what we know as a collective, intrinsically defined by what we know individually, and how we apply this knowledge so we can make informed decisions in our lives as well as a people. Requiring less dooms us to failure as the founders of democracy failed in old Greece. Guilt is a primordial emotion we all feel, and all are too familiar with its cold narcissistic touch. We wrap ourselves in a comforting cocoon of justification, but as the feeling is primordial it is useless to try and escape its darkening touch. It declares us to be unfit fathers and mothers, a chronic waster of valuable time, its ball peen steeliness pounding into us the failures that we truly are. But what an enlightened group we have become, and let us pat ourselves on the back as congratulations are due, as the self-help nation is within its goal of declaring victory on its war on guilt, puncturing its effectiveness and regulating it to some type of psychosis. Perhaps there might be a reason for guilt for it to be a primordial emotion, as is it possible that the survival of our species requires this most irritating and pervasive type of thought. Does complete victory deign us capable of justifying anything? The fault is our own, in each and every one of us. Ask yourself what you know of history? Middle eastern history might be of value at this point, but what pray tell do you know of any of the underlying political issues of the day? Have you researched them, or are you listening to the ever-shortening descriptions provided by someone else you may know, or perhaps the 15 second sound bite doled out by our media? What do you know of the education system we currently use? What do you know of stem cell research? Are any of the short synopses you’ve heard something that you would be satisfied with if you or your loved one’s life depended upon it? What is string theory? For that matter, what is quantum physics? It has been around for 75 years, and is it really too complicated, or are you really so lazy you just couldn’t spare the time? When was the last time you picked up a book, a real book, not a piece of tripe? I know you suffer from the guilt, I do and I read fifty or odd tomes a year, we all suffer, and should. Guilt is defined as the punishment one can receive when guilty of a moral wrong. Our punishment is as aforementioned and fully justified for the innate failure within each of us not to take the time to be overly educated and informed, to never reach for what we do not know, to not search and forever fulfill the emptiness of our knowledge. Guilt has judged us and is providing the punishment as we speak.
Western civilization’s lone bastion in the Middle East has lost sight of its holistic long-term visage, and is behaving like a fracturalized cornered animal, lashing at all within its grasp. Israel fails to remember Chaim Weizmann’s precursor to entering Palestine, an inclusive benefice for both Palestinian and Israelite, while Hezbolla solidifies its political gains by building hospitals, schools, and sadly, but historically predictable, terrorism. Israel lurches forward in its current flailings as a self-destructive proponent of blood extravasation, adding and fortifying its enemies amidst its long and arduous journey, not to peace and prosperity, but instead towards slowing progress as it perches on the precipice of…nowhere. Let us delve into a little pragmatism and prognostication. Israel’s current war against Hezbolla, Gaza, and Lebanon will result in nothing gained except a continuance and perpetuation of a shortsighted blood extravasation. Blood extravasation, a leakage of blood from a vessel to tissues surrounding it, applies here as Israel’s current destruction of infrastructure in Gaza and Lebanon will lead to further extravasation to the Middle Eastern societies and cultures, galvanizing the blood letting and hatred with further participation. Israel is simply demarcating its status as she holds the power to walk through her neighboring states as easily as a scythe through wheat. Apparently, albeit falsely, Israel feels a demonstration of this power will somehow help her towards her long-term goal of peace. Under normal circumstances Israel would be in no position to be throwing its teenage temper tantrum, as the United States would have slapped them upside the head for confusing an already tense situation. But alas the US is in no position to provide the corporeal punishment that Israel so richly deserves as the US herself participates in an awkward and ungainly foreign policy that Stephan Hawkings would be hard put to figure out. So prognostication as follows: Israel will stomp around Lebanon and Gaza, because they can, to no result except more extravasation, they will eventually tire out, or decide they have done enough damage and find some pretense for ending the carnage, but feel better. Syria is the cat on a hot tin roof, as it doesn’t really want to participate at all, but will buck up with verbal support for their so-called breathen, lets remember they were just forced by Lebanon and the international community to unoccupy Lebanon, and privately will enjoy watching their little breathen get the stuffing knocked out of them. Iran the recent proverbial peacock, will puff out its chest and make lots of noises, but will participate in the morass clandestinely, as usual. Recall that Iran, at the cost of a whole generation of their male population, couldn’t even beat Iraq in a real war and fought to what war always fights to, a simple redemarcation of the status quo. As Iran furiously tries to gain 60 year old technology and a certain hegemony in the area, it means little, Israel is specifically letting them know that even if Iran had the bomb, which Israel will never let them do, they have had historical successes against its middle-eastern foes time and time again and they could walk through Iran if needed . This is a simple reiteration of the fact, demonstrated for all to see. So much ado about nothing, civilian death, mutilation, infrastructure destruction aside, extravasation proceeds in a bloodletting to no purpose. Let us then give a whack at pragmatism for a paragraph or two. The problem is cultural. Funded by our lack of understanding of the middle-eastern mind, western culture reveals its hardheaded thinking that tries again and again to fit its square head into a round hole. Lets identify first that Israel’s problem is systemic and comes from a lack of clear and long-term thinking. The 20th century, bless its heart, tried to deal with the age old problem of the Jewish nation that wasn’t a nation, and Chiam Weizmann with the Balfour Declaration in tow, gave light and hope to the Zionist cause to battle the diasporas and pogroms of those times. They proceeded to buy their way into Palestine, a really great deal for the Palestinians at the time as the area was the proverbial backwater of the middle east, by bringing electricity, sewer systems, schools and libraries into the region: the very same infrastructure which Israel is now blowing up. In return, Zionism would have a place to start, a beacon of light so to speak for the Jewish nation to look to as they were being systematically brutalized around the globe. Unfortunately the 20th century also brought the Wilsonian 14 points and an intense desire for any type of nationalism. The Palestinians were no different than any other sovereign nation and could clearly see they would be overwhelmed by the influx of Jews into Palestine, and fought back well before the war of 1947 that formalized the nation of Israel. Here we come to the systemic problem, both are right. As with all real problems both are right, and if you were born on either side you would be swayed depending on what birth mother you have. The solution is complex and as with all things will take time, education, understanding, and TOLERANCE. Instead of territorial war, which by definition would require that the winning side commit genocide to actually win, Israel must go back to their initial policy of investment, infrastructure, education, largess, and benevolence. They are a western civilization smack in the middle of an old eastern culture. Israel is no longer and has not been for thousands of years a middle eastern country, but rather a western country surrounded by middle eastern culture, which unfortunately isn’t ready and hasn’t evolved to WANT to participate in a western way of life. They may be close, but they certainly are not there. Hence the democracies that elect Islamic fundamentalist governments and our square headed lack of patience and tolerance in waiting for our fellow humans to be ready, then and only then, can we lend support for a true change in subjective thinking. Until then refer to the above, bury your dead on both sides and wait patiently to celebrate with unbridled glee your day of redemption, peace and prosperity. As a fundamental policy Israel must return to its long-term thinking and think holistically about its real goal of peace and harmony with its perpetually hostile neighbors. A documented historical reminder, war never works, I repeat, NEVER works. She must return to her long-term policy of benevolence and understanding in the midst of terror instead of participating in a blood extravasation that will lead only to her perpetuating her time on the precipice to…nowhere.
Rabid anti-Semitism, coupled with inane and outlandish conspiracy theories of world dominion, is easy to counter and dispel. It is the more "reasoned", subtle, and stealthy variety that it pernicious. "No smoke without fire," - say people - "there must be something to it!". In this dialog I try to deconstruct a "mild" anti-Semitic text. I myself wrote the text - not an easy task considering my ancestry (a Jew) and my citizenship (an Israeli). But to penetrate the pertinent layers - historical, psychological, semantic, and semiotic - I had to "enter the skin" of "rational", classic anti-Semites, to grasp what makes them click and tick, and to think and reason like them. I dedicated the last few months to ploughing through reams of anti-Semitic tracts and texts. Steeped in more or less nauseating verbal insanity and sheer paranoia, I emerged to compose the following. The Anti-Semite: The rising tide of anti-Semitism the world over is universally decried. The proponents of ant-Semitism are cast as ignorant, prejudiced, lawless, and atavistic. Their arguments are dismissed off-handedly. But it takes one Jew to really know another. Conditioned by millennia of persecution, Jews are paranoid, defensive, and obsessively secretive. It is impossible for a gentile - whom they hold to be inferior and reflexively hostile - to penetrate their counsels. Let us examine anti-Semitic arguments more closely and in an unbiased manner: Argument number one - Being Jewish is a racial distinction - not only a religious one If race is defined in terms of genetic purity, then Jews are as much a race as the remotest and most isolated of the tribes of the Amazon. Genetic studies revealed that Jews throughout the world - largely due to centuries of in-breeding - share the same genetic makeup. Hereditary diseases which afflict only the Jews attest to the veracity of this discovery. Judaism is founded on shared biology as much as shared history and customs. As a religion, it proscribes a conjugal union with non-Jews. Jews are not even allowed to partake the food and wine of gentiles and have kept their distance from the communities which they inhabited - maintaining tenaciously, through countless generations, their language, habits, creed, dress, and national ethos. Only Jews become automatic citizens of Israel (the infamous Law of Return). The Jewish Response: Race has been invariably used as an argument against the Jews. It is ironic that racial purists have always been the most fervent anti-Semites. Jews are not so much a race as a community, united in age-old traditions and beliefs, lore and myths, history and language. Anyone can become a Jew by following a set of clear (though, admittedly, demanding) rules. There is absolutely no biological test or restriction on joining the collective that is known as the Jewish people or the religion that is Judaism. It is true that some Jews are differentiated from their gentile environments. But this distinction has largely been imposed on us by countless generations of hostile hosts and neighbors. The yellow Star of David was only the latest in a series of measures to isolate the Jews, clearly mark them, restrict their economic and intellectual activities, and limit their social interactions. The only way to survive was to stick together. Can you blame us for responding to what you yourselves have so enthusiastically instigated? The Anti-Semite: Argument number two - The Jews regard themselves as Chosen, Superior, or Pure Vehement protestations to the contrary notwithstanding - this is largely true. Orthodox Jews and secular Jews differ, of course, in their perception of this supremacy. The religious attribute it to divine will, intellectuals to the outstanding achievements of Jewish scientists and scholars, the modern Israeli is proud of his invincible army and thriving economy. But they all share a sense of privilege and commensurate obligation to civilize their inferiors and to spread progress and enlightenment wherever they are. This is a pernicious rendition of the colonial White Man's Burden and it is coupled with disdain and contempt for the lowly and the great unwashed (namely, the gentiles). The Jewish Response: There were precious few Jews among the great colonizers and ideologues of imperialism (Disraeli being the exception). Moreover, to compare the dissemination of knowledge and enlightenment to colonialism is, indeed, a travesty. We, the Jews, are proud of our achievements. Show me one group of people (including the anti-Semites) who isn't? But there is an abyss between being justly proud of one's true accomplishments and feeling superior as a result. Granted, there are narcissists and megalomaniacs everywhere and among the members of any human collective. Hitler and his Aryan superiority is a good example. The Anti-Semite: Argument number three - Jews have divided loyalties It is false to say that Jews are first and foremost Jews and only then are they the loyal citizens of their respective countries. Jews have unreservedly fought and sacrificed in the service of their homelands, often killing their coreligionists in the process. But it is true that Jews believe that what is good for the Jews is good for the country they reside in. By aligning the interests of their adopted habitat with their narrower and selfish agenda, Jews feel justified to promote their own interests to the exclusion of all else and all others. Moreover, the rebirth of the Jewish State presented the Jews with countless ethical dilemmas which they typically resolved by adhering uncritically to Tel-Aviv's official line. This often brought them into direct conflict with their governments and non-Jewish compatriots and enhanced their reputation as untrustworthy and treacherous. Hence the Jewish propensity to infiltrate decision-making centers, such as politics and the media. Their aim is to minimize conflicts of interests by transforming their peculiar concerns and preferences into official, if not always consensual, policy. This viral hijacking of the host country's agenda is particularly evident in the United States where the interest of Jewry and of the only superpower have become inextricable. It is a fact - not a rant - that Jews are over-represented in certain, influential, professions (in banking, finance, the media, politics, the film industry, publishing, science, the humanities, etc.). This is partly the result of their emphases on education and social upward mobility. But it is also due to the tendency of well-placed Jews to promote their brethren and provide them with privileged access to opportunities, funding, and jobs. The Jewish Response: Most modern polities are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural (an anathema to anti-Semites, I know). Every ethnic, religious, cultural, political, intellectual, and economic or business group tries to influence policy-making by various means. This is both legitimate and desirable. Lobbying has been an integral and essential part of democracy since it was invented in Athens 2500 years ago. The Jews and Israelis are no exception. Jews are, indeed, over-represented in certain professions in the United States. But they are under-represented in other, equally important, vocations (for instance, among company CEOs, politicians, diplomats, managers of higher education institutions, and senior bankers). Globally, Jews are severely under-represented or not-existent in virtually all professions due to their demography (aging population, low birth-rates, unnatural deaths in wars and slaughters). The Anti-Semite: Argument number four - Jews act as a cabal or mafia There is no organized, hierarchical, and centralized worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Rather the Jews act in a manner similar to al-Qaida: they freelance and self-assemble ad hoc in cross-border networks to tackle specific issues. Jewish organizations - many in cahoots with the Israeli government - serve as administrative backup, same as some Islamic charities do for militant Islam. The Jews' ability and readiness to mobilize and act to further their plans is a matter of record and the source of the inordinate influence of their lobby organizations in Washington, for instance. When two Jews meet, even randomly, and regardless of the disparities in their background, they immediately endeavor to see how they can further each other's interests, even and often at the expense of everyone else's. Still, the Jewish diaspora, now two millennia old, is the first truly global phenomenon in world affairs. Bound by a common history, a common set of languages, a common ethos, a common religion, common defenses and ubiquitous enemies - Jews learned to closely cooperate in order to survive. No wonder that all modern global networks - from Rothschild to Reuters - were established by Jews. Jews also featured prominently in all the revolutionary movements of the past three centuries. Individual Jews - though rarely the Jewish community as a whole - seem to benefit no matter what. When Czarist Russia collapsed, Jews occupied 7 out of 10 prominent positions in both the Kerensky (a Jew himself) government and in the Lenin and early Stalin administrations. When the Soviet Union crumbled, Jews again benefited mightily. Three quarters of the famous "oligarchs" (robber barons) that absconded with the bulk of the defunct empire's assets were - you guessed it - Jews. The Jewish Response: Ignoring the purposefully inflammatory language for a minute, what group does not behave this way? Harvard alumni, the British Commonwealth, the European Union, the Irish or the Italians in the United States, political parties the world over ... As long as people co-operate legally and for legal ends, without breaching ethics and without discriminating against deserving non-members - what is wrong with that? The Anti-Semite: Argument number five - The Jews are planning to take over the world and establish a world government This is the kind of nonsense that discredits a serious study of the Jews and their role in history, past and present. Endless lists of prominent people of Jewish descent are produced in support of the above contention. Yet, governments are not the mere sum of their constituent individuals. The dynamics of power subsist on more than the religious affiliation of office-holders, kingmakers, and string-pullers. Granted, Jews are well introduced in the echelons of power almost everywhere. But this is still a very far cry from a world government. Neither were Jews prominent in any of the recent moves - mostly by the Europeans - to strengthen the role of international law and attendant supranational organizations. The Jewish Response: What can I say? I agree with you. I would only like to set the record straight by pointing out the fact that Jews are actually under-represented in the echelons of power everywhere (including in the United States). Only in Israel - where they constitute an overwhelming majority - do Jews run things. The Anti-Semite: Argument number six - Jews are selfish, narcissistic, haughty, double-faced, dissemblers. Zionism is an extension of this pathological narcissism as a colonial movement Judaism is not missionary. It is elitist. But Zionism has always regarded itself as both a (19th century) national movement and a (colonial) civilizing force. Nationalist narcissism transformed Zionism into a mission of acculturation ("White Man's Burden"). In "Altneuland" (translated to Hebrew as "Tel Aviv"), the feverish tome composed by Theodore Herzl, Judaism's improbable visionary - Herzl refers to the Arabs as pliant and compliant butlers, replete with gloves and tarbushes. In the book, a German Jewish family prophetically lands at Jaffa, the only port in erstwhile Palestine. They are welcomed and escorted by "Briticized" Arab gentlemen's gentlemen who are only too happy to assist their future masters and colonizers to disembark. This age-old narcissistic defence - the Jewish superiority complex - was only exacerbated by the Holocaust. Nazism posed as a rebellion against the "old ways" - against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the European order. The Nazis borrowed the Leninist vocabulary and assimilated it effectively. Hitler and the Nazis were an adolescent movement, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state. Hitler himself was a malignant narcissist, as Fromm correctly noted. The Jews constituted a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that was "wrong" with Europe. They were an old nation, they were eerily disembodied (without a territory), they were cosmopolitan, they were part of the establishment, they were "decadent", they were hated on religious and socio-economic grounds (see Goldhagen's "Hitler's Willing Executioners"), they were different, they were narcissistic (felt and acted as morally superior), they were everywhere, they were defenseless, they were credulous, they were adaptable (and thus could be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They were the perfect hated father figure and parricide was in fashion. The Holocaust was a massive trauma not because of its dimensions - but because Germans, the epitome of Western civilization, have turned on the Jews, the self-proclaimed missionaries of Western civilization in the Levant and Arabia. It was the betrayal that mattered. Rejected by East (as colonial stooges) and West (as agents of racial contamination) alike - the Jews resorted to a series of narcissistic responses reified by the State of Israel. The long term occupation of territories (metaphorical or physical) is a classic narcissistic behavior (of "annexation" of the other). The Six Days War was a war of self defence - but the swift victory only exacerbated the grandiose fantasies of the Jews. Mastery over the Palestinians became an important component in the psychological makeup of the nation (especially the more rightwing and religious elements) because it constitutes "Narcissistic Supply". The Jewish Response: Happily, sooner or later most anti-Semitic arguments descend into incoherent diatribe. This dialog is no exception. Zionism was not conceived out of time. It was born in an age of colonialism, Kipling's "white man's burden", and Western narcissism. Regrettably, Herzl did not transcend the political discourse of his period. But Zionism is far more than Altneuland. Herzl died in 1904, having actually been deposed by Zionists from Russia who espoused ideals of equality for all, Jews and non-Jews alike. The Holocaust was an enormous trauma and a clarion call. It taught the Jews that they cannot continue with their historically abnormal existence and that all the formulas for accommodation and co-existence failed. There remained only one viable solution: a Jewish state as a member of the international community of nations. The Six Days War was, indeed, a classic example of preemptive self-defense. Its outcomes, however, deeply divide Jewish communities everywhere, especially in Israel. Many of us believe that occupation corrupts and reject the Messianic and millennial delusions of some Jews as dangerous and nefarious. Perhaps this is the most important thing to remember: Like every other group of humans, though molded by common experience, Jews are not a monolith. There are liberal Jews and orthodox Jews, narcissists and altruists, unscrupulous and moral, educated and ignorant, criminals and law-abiding citizens. Jews, in other words, are like everyone else. Can we say the same about anti-Semites? I wonder. The Anti-Israeli: The State of Israel is likely to end as did the seven previous stabs at Jewish statehood - in total annihilation. And for the same reasons: conflicts between secular and religious Jews and a racist-colonialist pattern of deplorable behavior. The UN has noted this recidivist misconduct in numerous resolutions and when it justly compared Zionism to racism. The Jewish Response: Zionism is undoubtedly a typical 19th century national movement, promoting the interests of an ethnically-homogeneous nation. But it is not and never has been a racist movement. Zionists of all stripes never believed in the inherent inferiority or malevolence or impurity of any group of people (however arbitrarily defined or capriciously delimited) just because of their common origin or habitation. The State of Israel is not exclusionary. There are a million Israelis who are Arabs, both Christians and Muslims. It is true, though, that Jews have a special standing in Israel. The Law of Return grants them immediate citizenship. Because of obvious conflicts of interest, Arabs cannot serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Consequently, they don't enjoy the special benefits conferred on war veterans and ex-soldiers. Regrettably, it is also true that Arabs are discriminated against and hated by many Israelis, though rarely as a matter of official policy. These are the bitter fruits of the ongoing conflict. Budget priorities are also heavily skewed in favor of schools and infrastructure in Jewish municipalities. A lot remains to be done. The Anti-Israeli: Zionism started off as a counter-revolution. It presented itself as an alternative to both orthodox religion and to assimilation in the age of European "Enlightenment". But it was soon hijacked by East European Jews who espoused a pernicious type of Stalinism and virulent anti-Arab racism. The Jewish Response: East European Jews were no doubt more nationalistic and etatist than the West European visionaries who gave birth to Zionism. But, again, they were not racist. On the very contrary. Their socialist roots called for close collaboration and integration of all the ethnicities and nationalities in Israel/Palestine. The Anti-Israeli: The "Status Quo" promulgated by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, confined institutionalized religion to matters of civil law and to communal issues. All affairs of state became the exclusive domain of the secular-leftist nomenclature and its attendant bureaucratic apparatus. All this changed after the Six Days War in 1967 and, even more so, after the Yom Kippur War. Militant Messianic Jews with radical fundamentalist religious ideologies sought to eradicate the distinction between state and synagogue. They propounded a political agenda, thus invading the traditionally secular turf, to the great consternation of their compatriots. This schism is unlikely to heal and will be further exacerbated by the inevitable need to confront harsh demographic and geopolitical realities. No matter how much occupied territory Israel gives up and how many ersatz Jews it imports from East Europe, the Palestinians are likely to become a majority within the next 50 years. Israel will sooner or later face the need to choose whether to institute a policy of strict and racist apartheid - or shrink into an indefensible (though majority Jewish) enclave. The fanatics of the religious right are likely to enthusiastically opt for the first alternative. All the rest of the Jews in Israel are bound to recoil. Civil war will then become unavoidable and with it the demise of yet another short-lived Jewish polity. The Jewish Response: Israel is, indeed, faced with the unpalatable choice and demographic realities described above. But don't bet on civil war and total annihilation just yet. There are numerous other political solutions - for instance, a confederacy of two national states, or one state with two nations. But, I agree, this is a serious problem further compounded by Palestinian demands for the right to return to their ancestral territories, now firmly within the Jewish State, even in its pre-1967 borders. With regards to the hijacking of the national agenda by right-wing, religious fundamentalist Jewish militants - as the recent pullout from Gaza and some of the West Bank proves conclusively, Israelis are pragmatists. The influence of Messianic groups on Israeli decision-making is blown out of proportion. They are an increasingly isolated - though vocal and sometimes violent - minority. The Anti-Israeli: Israel could, perhaps, have survived, had it not committed a second mortal sin by transforming itself into an outpost and beacon of Western (first British-French, then American) neo-colonialism. As the representative of the oppressors, it was forced to resort to an official policy of unceasing war crimes and repeated grave violations of human and civil rights. The Jewish Response: Israel aligned itself with successive colonial powers in the region because it felt it had no choice, surrounded and outnumbered as it was by hostile, trigger-happy, and heavily armed neighbors. Israel did miss, though, quite a few chances to make peace, however intermittent and hesitant, with its erstwhile enemies. It is also true that it committed itself to a policy of settlements and oppression within the occupied territories which inevitably gave rise to grave and repeated violations on international law. Overlording another people had a corrosive corrupting influence on Israeli society. The Anti-Israeli: The Arabs, who first welcomed the Jewish settlers and the economic opportunities they represented, turned against the new emigrants when they learned of their agenda of occupation, displacement, and ethnic cleansing. Israel became a pivot of destabilization in the Middle East, embroiled in conflicts and wars too numerous to count. Unscrupulous and corrupt Arab rulers used its existence and the menace it reified as a pretext to avoid democratization, transparency, and accountability. The Jewish Response: With the exception of the 1919 Faisal-Weitzman declaration, Arabs never really welcomed the Jews. Attacks on Jewish outposts and settlers started as early as 1921 and never ceased. The wars in 1948 and in 1967 were initiated or provoked by the Arab states. It is true, though, that Israel unwisely leveraged its victories to oppress the Palestinians and for territorial gains, sometimes in cahoots with much despised colonial powers, such as Britain and France in 1956. The Anti-Israeli: This volatile mixture of ideological racism, Messianic empire-building, malignant theocracy much resented by the vast majority of secular Jews, and alignment with all entities anti-Arab and anti-Muslim will doom the Jewish country. In the long run, the real inheritors and proprietors of the Middle East are its long-term inhabitants, the Arabs. A strong army is not a guarantee of longevity - see the examples of the USSR and Yugoslavia. Even now, it is not too late. Israel can transform itself into an important and benevolent regional player by embracing its Arab neighbors and by championing the causes of economic and scientific development, integration, and opposition to outside interference in the region's internal affairs. The Arabs, exhausted by decades of conflict and backwardness, are likely to heave a collective sigh of relief and embrace Israel - reluctantly at first and more warmly as it proves itself a reliable ally and friend. Israel's demographic problem is more difficult to resolve. It requires Israel to renounce its exclusive racist and theocratic nature. Israel must suppress, by force if need be, the lunatic fringe of militant religious fanatics that has been haunting its politics in the last three decades. And it must extend a welcoming hand to its Arab citizens by legislating and enforcing a set of Civil Rights Laws. The Jewish Response: Whether this Jewish state is doomed or not, time will tell. Peace with our Arab neighbors and equal treatment of our Arab citizens should be our two over-riding strategic priorities. The Jewish State cannot continue to live by the sword, lest it perishes by it. If the will is there it can be done. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.
The terrorists are winning. Gradually but perceptibly, the USA and the United Kingdom (UK) are shedding their liberal democratic veneer, axing their traditions, reinterpreting their constitution (USA) and case law (UK) and, thus, becoming police states. Both the US Patriot Act, recently extended by Congress and Tony Blair's newly acquired powers to exclude and deport not only active terrorists but also people who disagree with his foreign policy suspend long-standing and hard-won human and civil rights. The right to privacy has been all but eradicated in both countries. Blair and Bush exercise self-defense through moral suicide. Visitors to the UK as well as residents and naturalized Britons must adhere to Britain's set of values and observe them, thunders the former. Presumably, it is the same set of values that Blair is so bent on bending and ignoring. And as for Bush - remember Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib. The UK will maintain a registry of undesirables. Please add me to the list, Mr. Blair. I believe that the terrorist attacks in London were a desperate and criminal response to your own war crimes throughout the world and, lately, on a monstrous scale, in Iraq. Terrorism is deplorable and red in tooth and claw. It should be fought with determination and imagination - not with oppression and slaughters of the innocent. Your mother should have taught you that hanging around bad company invariably ends badly. Evidently, she failed in this particular respect. You cast your obsequious lot with a narcissistic, thuggish, gun-toting, trigger-happy, bible-thumping, and dangerously violent nation, the United States of America. Violence breeds counter-violence and profound contempt. You found yourself on the receiving end of both in ample doses in July 2005. The taste of one's medicine is always bitter. In a string of uninterrupted and unpunished war crimes, the UK and the USA (and Israel and France) taught Muslim militants that civilians are potential warriors and merit no special treatment or protection. International law has become the self-interested and biased "justice" of the victors, a policy tool, a discriminatory travesty, worthy only of condemnation. From Dresden to Hiroshima, through Vietnam and Yugoslavia, and down to Palestine and Iraq, the hectoring and hypocritical West itself made no distinction between peaceful population and combatants. Lately, it took to invading or threatening to invade Muslim territories, occupying holy places, and massacring tens of thousands of innocents in the process. More than 100,000 civilians died in Iraq since the American-British led "liberation". Yet, as New-York and Madrid and London can attest, ignoring one's own rules of engagement in warfare is a recipe for recurrent disaster. By courting the USA, Blair is courting a pernicious transformation in the nature of his people and country that generations of future patriots and compatriots are bound to mourn.
America is the greatest country in the world. Our citizens are caring, generous, trusting and forgiving. Those are some of the traits that make our country so great and so strong. Those traits can also be some of our biggest weaknesses. We are always willing to give people a second, third or even a fourth chance. We want to believe in the goodness of others even when they have shown us time and again that they are not good. We are always ready to give others the benefit of the doubt. Because of the foregoing, we get taken advantage of over and over again. We believe that France is our friend and ally, even though it has proved, time and again, it cares only about itself. The cold war is allegedly over and we call Russia our ally, even though they try to sabotage almost everything we get involved with and even though they constantly support our enemies. We call China our friend and trading partner, even though the leaders of China would like nothing better than to oversee the demise of the United States. Some of us cheer at the thought that, Hillary Clinton might be our next President, even though, in my opinion, she cares nothing about the United States or it's citizens. In my opinion (Note: These are all strictly my opinions. I am not not an expert and I don't know everything.), Hillary Clinton, cares for nothing, other than her own desires for power over the rest of us, and I don't trust her any further than I can throw the White House. She is very intelligent, probably far more intelligent than I am, and she can be very charming when she wants to. She talks the talk, but I have never seen her walk the walk. She talks about dealing with the rights of women, but as far as I can tell, she has never done anything other than talk. She talks about helping minorities, but again, the only thing, that I can tell that she has done is talk about it. She talks about supporting the war effort, however, she always adds a 'but' to her statements and by the time she gets through explaining the 'but' you don't know what she really thinks. She seems to leave everthing open to interpretation. The only person, that I know of, that is better at 'doublespeak' than she is, is her husband. If Hillary Clinton runs for the Presidency, she will have liberals voting for her because they will believe that she is a liberal, not as liberal as they are, but liberal enough. She will have moderates voting for her because they will believe that she is a moderate, not as moderate as they are but moderate enough. She will have some conservatives voting for her because they will believe that she is a conservative, not as conservative as they are but conservative enough. Some people will vote for her solely because she is a Democrat and others will vote for her solely because she is a woman. No one, however, will really know what she truly believes in or stands for. I believe that no one can know because, the only thing that she believes in or stands for is herself. Hillary Clinton, in many ways, reminds me of President Nixon. The main difference, as far as I can see, is that she is better at hiding her arrogance, ruthlessness, lack of respect for the American people, etc., than he was and she is smoother and much better at fooling the American people into believing that she stands for whatever they stand for, no matter what they stand for. Additionally, she probably will not be foolish enough to tape her White House conversations. She also reminds me, very much, of her husband, except that she appears to be smarter, considerably more ruthless and I doubt if she is a womanizer. She is, however, just as good at fooling the people, just as good at taking credit for good things done by others, just as good at laying the blame for bad things, that she may have done, on others and just as hungry for power. I believe that if Mrs. Clinton does run for the Presidency, she will make whatever behind the scenes deals that she has to, make any promises that she has to and step on any people that she has to in order to assure herself a place in history as America's fourty fourth President. I also believe that when she leaves office she will, like her husband, leave this country is worse shape than, it was in, when she took office.
Reprinted with permission from: "The Second Civil War in the USA and its Aftermath" by Sam Vaknin (second, revised impression, 2029) Summary of Chapter 83 "The polities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries swung between extremes of nationalism and polyethnic multiculturalism. Following the Great War (1914-8), the disintegration of most of the continental empires - notably the Habsburg and Ottoman - led to a resurgence of a particularly virulent strain of the former, dressed as Fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism. The aftermath of the Second World War brought on a predictable backlash in the West against all manner of nationalism and racism. The USSR, Yugoslavia, the Czech Republic, the EU (European Union, then European Community), the Commonwealth led by the United Kingdom, and the prominent USA epitomized the eventual triumph of multiculturalism, multi-ethnic states, and, in the Western democracies, pluralism. Africa and Asia, just emerging from a phase of brutal colonialism, were out of synch with these developments in Europe and North America and began to espouse their own brands of jingoistic patriotisms. Attempts to impose liberal-democratic, multi-cultural, tolerant, pluralistic, and multi-ethnic principles on these emergent entities was largely perceived and vehemently rejected by them as disguised neo-colonialism. The disintegration, during the second half of the twentieth century, of the organizing principles of international affairs - most crucially Empire in the 1960s and Communism in the 1980s - led to the re-eruption of exclusionary, intolerant, and militant nationalism. The Balkan secession wars of the 1990s served as a stark reminder than historical forces and ideologies never vanish - they merely lie dormant. Polyethnic multiculturalism came under attack elsewhere and everywhere - from Canada to Belgium. Straining to contain this worrisome throwback to its tainted history, Europeans implemented various models. In the United Kingdom, regions, such as Scotland and Northern Ireland were granted greater autonomy. The EU's "ever closer union", reified by its unfortunate draft constitution, was intermittently rejected and resented by increasingly xenophobic and alienated constituencies. This time around, between 1980 and 2020, nationalism copulated with militant religiosity to produce particularly nasty offspring in Muslim terrorism, Christian fundamentalist (American) thuggish unilateralism, Hindu supremacy, and Jewish messianism. Scholars, such as Huntington, spoke of a "clash of civilizations". Ironically, the much-heralded conflict took place not between the USA and its enemies without - but within the United States, in a second and devastating Civil War. Americans long mistook the institutional stability of their political system, guaranteed by the Constitution, for a national consensus. They actually believed that the former guarantees the latter - that institutional firmness and durability ARE the national consensus. The reverse, as we know, is true: it takes a national consensus to yield stable institutions. No social structure - no matter how venerable and veteran - can resist the winds of change in public sentiment. In hindsight, the watershed obtained during the Bush-Cheney presidency (2001-2009). The social and political concord frayed and then disintegrated with each successive blow: the war in Iraq (2003-7), the botched evacuation and rescue efforts in the wake of hurricane Katrina (2005), the failed assassination attempt on the President's life (2006), the further restrictions placed on civil and human rights in Patriot Acts III and IV (2008), and, finally, the nuclear terrorist attack on Houston in the closing days of this divisive reign. From there, it went only downhill. As opposed to the first Civil War (1860-5), the Second Civil War (2021-26) was fought within communities and across state boundaries. It was not territorial and classic - but total and guerilla-like. It cut across the country's geography and pitted one ideological camp against another. It may be too soon to objectively analyze and evaluate this gargantuan conflict. It was preceded by a decade of violent demonstrations, home-grown urban terrorism, and numerous skirmishes involving the National Guard and even, in violation of the Constitution, the armed forces. Some historians cast the whole period as a battle of the religious vs. the secular. It clearly was not. By 2021, most Americans professed to being deeply religious, in one manner or fashion. No one seriously disputed the importance of the Church - but many insisted on its separation from the state. Hence the protracted (and heated) confrontation between pro-life and pro-choice advocates when Wade vs. Roe was overturned by a politicized and weakened Supreme Court in 2007. Hence the drawn out (and violent) debates about the teaching of evolution theory in schools or the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research. Nor was the Civil War fought between isolationists and interventionists. An ever more brazen brand of post-September 11 global terrorism and a growing dependence on international trade inexorably drove most Americans to accept their new role as an Empire. They actually learned to enjoy it, both emotionally and economically. Thus, even erstwhile Jacksonian isolationists reluctantly acquiesced in their country's foreign exploits. But they insisted on blatant unilateralism and the projection of American might merely and only to protect American interests. They abhorred the missionary ideology of the neo-conservatives. Spreading values, such as democracy, should better be left to NGOs and charities - they thundered. The Civil War was not about the preservation of East Coast liberalism, as some self-serving scholars would have it. America was never less racist and homophobic than in the years immediately preceding the conflagration. The debate, again, revolved around institutions. Should changing mores be enshrined in legislation and case law? Should the national ethos itself be rewritten? Should the very definition and quiddity of being an American (white, male, straight) be revisited? Neo-Marxist chroniclers attribute the causes of the Second Civil War to the growing disparities of wealth between the haves and the haves not. Presidents Bush and Cheney surely reversed L. B. Johnson's Great Society. They and their successors erased the numerous entitlements and aid programs that many of the economically disenfranchised came to depend upon and to regard as a birth right and as a cornerstone of the social contract. Turning the clock back on affirmative action and food stamps, for instance, indeed provoked widespread violence. But such outbursts can hardly be construed to have been the precursors of the gigantic flame that consumed the USA a few years hence. Finally, the Civil War was not about free trade (beneficial to the service and manufacturing based economies of some states) versus protectionism (helpful to the agricultural belts and bowls of the hinterland and to the recovering Gulf Coast). America's economy was far too dependent on the outside world to reverse course. Its national debt was being financed by Asians, its products were being sold all over, its commodities and foods were coming from Africa and Latin America. The USA was in hock to a globalized and merciless economy. Protectionism was campaign posturing - not a cogent and coherent trade policy. So, what were the roots and causes of the Second Civil War? None of the above in isolation - and all of the above in confluence. For decades, the citizenry's trust in a packed and rigged Supreme Court declined. Politicians came to be regarded as a detached and heartless plutocracy. Americans felt orphaned, cheated, and robbed. The national consensus - the implicit agreement that together is better than alone - has thus evaporated. The outcome was the shots and explosions that rocked the United States (and the world in tow) on January 20, 2021."
The majority of worldwide respondents to the last two global Pew enter surveys (in 2002 and 2006) regarded the United States as the greatest menace to world peace - far greater than the likes of Iraq or China. Thinkers and scholars as diverse as Christopher Lasch in "The Cultural Narcissist" and Theodore Millon in "Personality Disorders of Everyday Life" have singled out the United States as the quintessential narcissistic society. This pathology can be traced back and attributed to a confluence of historical events and processes, the equivalents of trauma and abuse in an individual's early childhood. The United States of America started out as a series of loosely connected, remote, savage, and negligible colonial outposts. The denizens of these settlements were former victims of religious persecution, indentured servants, lapsed nobility, and other refugees. Their Declaration of Independence reads like a maudlin list of grievances coupled with desperate protestations of love and loyalty to their abuser, the King of Britain. The inhabitants of the colonies defended against their perceived helplessness and very real inferiority with compensatory, imagined, and feigned superiority and fantasies of omnipotence. Hence the rough, immutable kernel of American narcissism. The United States was (until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s) and still is, in some important respects, a pre-Enlightenment, white supremacist society. It is rife with superstition, prejudice, conspicuous religiosity, intolerance, philistinism, and lack of social solidarity. Its religiosity is overt, aggressive, virulent and ubiquitous. It is replete with an eschatology, which involves a changing cast of demonized "enemies", both political and cultural. Americans' religion is a manifestation of their "Chosen People Syndrome". They are missionary, messianic, zealous, fanatical, and nauseatingly self-righteous, bigoted, and hypocritical. This is especially discernible in the double-speak and double-standard that underlies American foreign policy. American altruism is misanthropic and compulsive. They often give merely in order to control, manipulate, and sadistically humiliate the recipients. Narcissism is frequently comorbid with paranoia. Americans cultivate and nurture a siege mentality which leads to violent acting out and unbridled jingoism. Their persecutory delusions sit well with their adherence to social Darwinism (natural selection of the fittest, let the weaker fall by the wayside, might is right, etc.). Consequently, the United states always finds itself in company with the least palatable regimes in the world: together with Nazi Germany it had a working eugenics program, together with the likes of Saudi Arabia it executes its prisoners, it was the last developed nation to abolish slavery, alone with South Africa it had instituted official apartheid in a vast swathe of its territory. Add to this volatile mix an ethos of malignant individualism, racism both latent and overt, a trampling, "no holds barred" ambitiousness, competitiveness, frontier violence-based morality, and proud simple-mindedness - and an ominous portrait of the United States as a deeply disturbed polity emerges.
"The thin and precarious crust of decency is all that separates any civilization, however impressive, from the hell of anarchy or systematic tyranny which lie in wait beneath the surface." Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963), British writer I. Overview of Theories of Anarchism Politics, in all its forms, has failed. The notion that we can safely and successfully hand over the management of our daily lives and the setting of priorities to a political class or elite is thoroughly discredited. Politicians cannot be trusted, regardless of the system in which they operate. No set of constraints, checks, and balances, is proved to work and mitigate their unconscionable acts and the pernicious effects these have on our welfare and longevity. Ideologies - from the benign to the malign and from the divine to the pedestrian - have driven the gullible human race to the verge of annihilation and back. Participatory democracies have degenerated everywhere into venal plutocracies. Socialism and its poisoned fruits - Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism - have wrought misery on a scale unprecedented even by medieval standards. Only Fascism and Nazism compare with them unfavorably. The idea of the nation-state culminated in the Yugoslav succession wars. It is time to seriously consider a much-derided and decried alternative: anarchism. Anarchism is often mistaken for left-wing thinking or the advocacy of anarchy. It is neither. If anything, the libertarian strain in anarchism makes it closer to the right. Anarchism is an umbrella term covering disparate social and political theories - among them classic or cooperative anarchism (postulated by William Godwin and, later, Pierre Joseph Proudhon), radical individualism (Max Stirner), religious anarchism (Leo Tolstoy), anarcho-communism (Kropotkin) and anarcho-syndicalism, educational anarchism (Paul Goodman), and communitarian anarchism (Daniel Guerin). The narrow (and familiar) form of political anarchism springs from the belief that human communities can survive and thrive through voluntary cooperation, without a coercive central government. Politics corrupt and subvert Man's good and noble nature. Governments are instruments of self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement, and the reification and embodiment of said subversion. The logical outcome is to call for the overthrow of all political systems, as Michael Bakunin suggested. Governments should therefore be opposed by any and all means, including violent action. What should replace the state? There is little agreement among anarchists: biblical authority (Tolstoy), self-regulating co-opertaives of craftsmen (Proudhon), a federation of voluntary associations (Bakunin), trade unions (anarcho-syndicalists), ideal communism (Kropotkin). What is common to this smorgasbord is the affirmation of freedom as the most fundamental value. Justice, equality, and welfare cannot be sustained without it. The state and its oppressive mechanisms is incompatible with it. Figures of authority and the ruling classes are bound to abuse their remit and use the instruments of government to further and enforce their own interests. The state is conceived and laws are enacted for this explicit purpose of gross and unjust exploitation. The state perpetrates violence and is the cause rather than the cure of most social ills. Anarchists believe that human beings are perfectly capable of rational self-government. In the Utopia of anarchism, individuals choose to belong to society (or to exclude themselves from it). Rules are adopted by agreement of all the members/citizens through direct participation in voting. Similar to participatory democracy, holders of offices can be recalled by constituents. It is important to emphasize that: " ... (A)narchism does not preclude social organization, social order or rules, the appropriate delegation of authority, or even of certain forms of government, as long as this is distinguished from the state and as long as it is administrative and not oppressive, coercive, or bureaucratic." (Honderich, Ted, ed. - The Oxford Companion to Philosophy - Oxford University Press, New York, 1995 - p. 31) Anarchists are not opposed to organization, law and order, or the existence of authority. They are against the usurpation of power by individuals or by classes (groups) of individuals for personal gain through the subjugation and exploitation (however subtle and disguised) of other, less fortunate people. Every social arrangement and institution should be put to the dual acid tests of personal autonomy and freedom and moral law. If it fails either of the two it should be promptly abolished. II. Contradictions in Anarchism Anarchism is not prescriptive. Anarchists believe that the voluntary members of each and every society should decide the details of the order and functioning of their own community. Consequently, anarchism provides no coherent recipe on how to construct the ideal community. This, of course, is its Achilles' heel. Consider crime. Anarchists of all stripes agree that people have the right to exercise self-defense by organizing voluntarily to suppress malfeasance and put away criminals. Yet, is this not the very quiddity of the oppressive state, its laws, police, prisons, and army? Are the origins of the coercive state and its justification not firmly rooted in the need to confront evil? Some anarchists believe in changing society through violence. Are these anarcho-terrorists criminals or freedom fighters? If they are opposed by voluntary grassroots (vigilante) organizations in the best of anarchist tradition - should they fight back and thus frustrate the authentic will of the people whose welfare they claim to be seeking? Anarchism is a chicken and egg proposition. It is predicated on people's well-developed sense of responsibility and grounded in their "natural morality". Yet, all anarchists admit that these endowments are decimated by millennia of statal repression. Life in anarchism is, therefore, aimed at restoring the very preconditions to life in anarchism. Anarchism seeks to restore its constituents' ethical constitution - without which there can be no anarchism in the first place. This self-defeating bootstrapping leads to convoluted and half-baked transitory phases between the nation-state and pure anarchism (hence anarcho-syndicalism and some forms of proto-Communism). Primitivist and green anarchists reject technology, globalization, and capitalism as well as the state. Yet, globalization, technology, (and capitalism) are as much in opposition to the classical, hermetic nation-state as is philosophical anarchism. They are manifestly less coercive and more voluntary, too. This blanket defiance of everything modern introduces insoluble contradictions into the theory and practice of late twentieth century anarchism. Indeed, the term anarchism has been trivialized and debauched. Animal rights activists, environmentalists, feminists, peasant revolutionaries, and techno-punk performers all claim to be anarchists with equal conviction and equal falsity. III. Reclaiming Anarchism Errico Malatesta and Voltairine de Cleyre distilled the essence of anarchism to encompass all the philosophies that oppose the state and abhor capitalism ("anarchism without adjectives"). At a deeper level, anarchism wishes to identify and rectify social asymmetries. The state, men, and the rich - are, respectively, more powerful than the individuals, women, and the poor. These are three inequalities out of many. It is the task of anarchism to fight against them. This can be done in either of two ways: 1. By violently dismantling existing structures and institutions and replacing them with voluntary, self-regulating organizations of free individuals. The Zapatistas movement in Mexico is an attempt to do just that. 2. Or, by creating voluntary, self-regulating organizations of free individuals whose functions parallel those of established hierarchies and institutions ("dual power"). Gradually, the former will replace the latter. The evolution of certain non-government organizations follows this path. Whichever strategy is adopted, it is essential to first identify those asymmetries that underlie all others ("primary asymmetries" vs. "secondary asymmetries"). Most anarchists point at the state and at the ownership of property as the primary asymmetries. The state is an asymmetrical transfer of power from the individual to a coercive and unjust social hyperstructure. Property represents the disproportionate accumulation of wealth by certain individuals. Crime is merely the natural reaction to these glaring injustices. But the state and property are secondary asymmetries, not primary ones. There have been periods in human history and there have been cultures devoid of either or both. The primary asymmetry seems to be natural: some people are born more clever and stronger than others. The game is skewed in their favor not because of some sinister conspiracy but because they merit it (meritocracy is the foundation stone of capitalism), or because they can force themselves, their wishes, and their priorities and preferences on others, or because their adherents and followers believe that rewarding their leaders will maximize their own welfare (aggression and self-interest are the cornerstone of all social organizations). It is this primary asymmetry that anarchism must address.
DETROIT -- The regime has already produced so many ignominious legacies that historians in the near future will be able to feast on the task of measuring the damage from the wretched deeds the Busheviks have wrought. Certainly, the unnecessary pre-emptive war in Iraq, sold with lies, will echo for generations as a symbol of America's failed experiment in empire cloaked as proselytizing democracy. Our actions in Iraq have created a terrorist breeding-ground that makes George W. Bush the greatest friend al-Qaeda leaders will ever have. Unsustainable budget deficits used to fund tax cuts for the rich and create fiscal havoc will be a legacy that will leave our children with an unconscionable burden. Slashing programs for the poor will do the obvious: create more poverty and more misery for people living on the margins, especially children. Bush, a child of the opportunities flowing from family privilege, has presided over an era of declining economic opportunities for working-class Americans. Real wages have declined, manufacturing jobs have vanished, and the trade deficit isn't sustainable. Forty-five million Americans are without health insurance, and each day more working people are losing their health benefits, or being forced to pay significantly more for them. The administration is systematically defiling the environment and refuses to recognize the threat of global warming. Real science is ignored and pseudo-science is nurtured. Rivaling all of those horrors, though, is the assault on human rights and constitutional protections the Busheviks are waging, selling it as a way to keep us safe from lurking terrorists. Whether with "enemy combatants" or with our own citizens, the effort to deprive people of fundamental rights has been relentless, dangerous and an affront to our national tradition that bows to no king and resists tyranny. The Republicans who run the Congress have shown little willingness to challenge the president's claims to do just anything he wants with suspected terrorists. Detention without charges, torture and secret prisons -- these are tactics more suitable for Stalin than a successor to Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter. What Bush has done to trample on individual liberties may well be what historians see as his most egregious political perversion. American citizen Jose Padilla spent three years in prison without being charged with a crime. No magistrate or judge reviewed the government's reasons for incarcerating Padilla, or considered any facts in the case. Padilla was jailed because Bush declared himself a king, with the authority to jail citizens because he alone deems they are threats and "enemies." No president has ever before claimed this blanket authority. Bush disregarded the constitutional guarantee of "the right to a speedy and public trial." The fundamental civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution did not apply to Padilla because Bush said they should not. Originally, the Justice Department claimed that Padilla planned to detonate a "dirty bomb" -- a crude nuclear device that would release radioactive materials on an American city. John Ashcroft, then attorney general, said Padilla was a trained terrorist on a mission to kill thousands. When Padilla, also known as Abdullah Al-Muhajir, was taken into custody at Chicago's O'Hare Airport in 2002, Ashcroft described just how dangerous his captive was, saying, "Let me be clear: We know from multiple independent and corroborated sources that Abdullah Al-Muhajir was closely associated with al-Qaeda and that as an al-Qaeda operative he was involved in planning future terrorist attacks on innocent American civilians in the United States." On the strength of that assertion, the Brooklyn-born Padilla was declared an "illegal enemy combatant" and shipped off to a military prison in South Carolina. In 2004, Padilla finally did get to talk to lawyers. They went into federal court challenging Bush's claim that he can imprison and detain people indefinitely and that citizens accused of terrorism cannot be dealt with through the criminal justice system. The government released a document claiming Padilla was involved in a plot to blow up apartment buildings in Chicago. Not quite a nuclear weapon, but certainly a disturbing accusation. Padilla's case was heading to the U. S. Supreme Court after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, a known legal bastion for the executive-can-do-anything school, upheld Bush's position. Supreme Court justices are not prone to toss out the Constitution and, in effect, declare that, in dealing with suspected terrorists, the president is king. The Justice Department charged Padilla, but not with being the "dirty bomb" delivery boy or as a "known terrorist," an apartment bomber or anything remotely related to "planning future terrorist attacks on innocent American civilians in the United States." Padilla was charged in a criminal indictment with "aiding terrorists and conspiracy to murder U. S. nationals overseas." But wait. We were told only the military could handle the case. This man was plotting domestic terrorist attacks. What's this "overseas" crap? Padilla's lawyers still want the Supreme Court to hear his case. Bush's propensity to dispense with the Constitution must be stopped. Padilla is no saint. He's a street thug. But he's entitled to the protections the Constitution provides all criminal defendants. The Busheviks, while claiming to export freedom to Iraq, are threatening it at home with the greatest assault ever on the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution. At long last, a handful of lawmakers are resisting the renewal of provisions of the horribly misnamed Patriot Act without specific assurances that civil liberties will be protected. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), the only member of the Senate to vote against the original law, is getting some company in his threat to filibuster the renewal unless it goes far enough in "making reasonable changes to the original law to protect innocent people from unnecessary and intrusive government surveillance." A bipartisan group of senators is now working to curb the flirtation with fascism found in many provisions of the law. So far, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, Joe Biden and Teddy Kennedy are not among them. Several individual European nations and Europe's top human rights watchdog are investigating the CIA's secret detention centers suspected to have operated in Poland and Romania. CIA planes are believed to have landed at several airports in European nations while transporting suspected al-Qaeda members to the secret prisons. Council of Europe, the EU's human rights organization, finds the claims "extremely worrying." Satellite photographs are being examined to verify the CIA flights and landings. Torture is suspected of being routinely used at the secret prisons operating outside any independent inspections. European Human Rights Commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles told a French news agency, "Such practices would constitute a serious human rights violation, and further proof of the crisis of values that the use of certain methods in the fight against terrorism is proving." The "crisis of values" is at the heart of the Busheviks' support of torture and their disdain for basic human liberties. That may well be their most horrible and lasting legacy. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@sbcglobal. net. Niagara Falls Reporter niagarafallsreporter Nov. 29 2005
DETROIT -- Deception, arrogance, greed, hubris, corruption, incompetence and isolation -- the seven deadly sins of political life -- snared President George W. Bush and his cronies long ago. That's how they gained and maintain power. While praying and thumbing their Bibles, loudly proclaiming their virtue and righteousness, the faith-based Busheviks claim to be the chosen and anointed, carrying out God's work on earth. In fact and in deed, they behave like the devil's disciples. Now, with inspired irony, the sins they've served so well are their undoing. George W. Bush and his servants are being singed with the fires of political damnation, and they know an inferno is coming. Alone and naked in their sinfulness, they shiver in fear in the face of truth and justice. The evil empire is crumbling. Praise the Lord! Bush's speechwriters use apocalyptic incantations all the time. Words like "evil" and "hate" roll off his smirking lips with relish. Forgive me, the style is contagious. Bush's war in Iraq, his supreme deception, is a certain failure and the only uncertainty is how much more blood will be shed before the inevitable withdrawal. Now, polls show, only one-third of the American people support the war and most recognize the great lie Bush sold when he conflated Saddam Hussein's Iraq with al-Qaeda terrorism and the Sept. 11 attacks. Bush's plan to march into the heart of Islam with our British allies and then expect democracy to blossom in the Middle East has proven to be one of the most monstrously bad ideas in our nation's history. That aggression has made us despised around the world. An advisory panel to the State Department has concluded, "America's image and reputation abroad could hardly be worse." Bush's old friend and former flack, Karen Hughes, just returned from a mission to improve the U. S. image in the Muslim world and show them what swell folks we really are. Hughes, who is now undersecretary of state and responsible for public diplomacy, made her first venture into the Middle East, with disastrous results. Hughes, with no foreign policy experience, made a feeble attempt to cozy up to our critics. She told women activists in Istanbul how wrenching it was for Bush to decide to invade Iraq. Hughes told the gathering that "no one likes war," but "to preserve peace sometimes my country believes war is necessary." Unlike the handpicked town meetings the White House typically arranges, the Turkish women didn't smile and cheer on cue. Feray Salman, a human rights advocate, stood up and told Hughes, "War is not necessary for peace." Salman scoffed at the notion of imposing democracy through war: "We can never, ever export democracy and freedom from one country to another." This week, Bush plans yet another speech to explain how well his arrogant vision for Iraq is working and how much safer our nation is. Hughes began her diplomatic road show in Cairo, where she tried to sell Bush's pipe dreams for the Middle East. Her amateurism showed as she told the Egyptians, "Many people around the world do not understand the important role that faith plays in Americans' lives." That must have been reassuring for the Muslim audience. Hughes said, "Terrorists, their policies force young people, other people's daughters and sons, to strap on bombs and blow themselves up." Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political scientist who's done extensive research on the motives of suicide terrorists, says Hughes is way off the mark and that her trip actually comforts terrorists. Pape told the Guardian's Sidney Blumenthal, "If you set out to help bin Laden, you could not have done it better than Hughes." Pape rejects the view that suicide terrorism naturally flows from Islamic fundamentalism. He argues that outside intervention and specific circumstances set the stage. Pape told Blumenthal, "Of the key conditions that lead to suicide terrorism in particular, there must be, first, the presence of foreign combat forces on the territory that the terrorists prize. The second condition is a religious difference between the combat forces and local community. The religious difference matters in that it enables terrorist leaders to paint foreign forces as being driven by religious goals. If you read Osama's speeches, they begin with descriptions of the U. S. occupation of the Arabian Peninsula, driven by our religious goals, and that it is our religious purpose that must be confronted. That argument is incredibly powerful, not only to religious Muslims, but secular Muslims. Everything Hughes says makes their case." Not to be outdone by the State Department, Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department continues to aid and abet terrorists and provide them with young recruits. More evidence of prisoner torture in Iraq is emerging, showing the horrors of Abu Ghraib were not isolated. Army Capt. Ian Fishback of the 82nd Airborne Division and two sergeants have come forward to report that members of their unit routinely beat, abused and tortured Iraqi detainees. Fishback, a West Point graduate, says he tried for more than a year to get his superiors to listen, but only got their attention when he brought his complaints to Human Rights Watch and members of Congress. More photos of the abuses at Abu Ghraib may soon be made public after a federal judge ruled the Pentagon could no longer censor them. Gen. Richard Myers, the freshly departed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had argued in court papers that releasing the photographs would aid al-Qaeda recruitment, weaken the shaky governments in Afghanistan and Iraq and incite riots against American troops. The judge correctly ruled the photos are the best evidence of what happened at the notorious prison. Myers was a shameless toady who would parrot any lines the Busheviks fed him. He did great and lasting harm to the U. S. military. He will be remembered as the most thoroughly compromised and politicized commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He should expect a big medal from Bush and a job with some military contractor. Vice President Dick Cheney is worried about more than his health problems these days. His chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has now been named as the source New York Times reporter Judith Miller went to prison to protect. Miller got out of the slammer last Thursday after doing a 12-week stretch. "I was a journalist doing my job protecting my source until my source freed me to perform my civic duty to testify," Miller said after testifying before a federal grand jury. Put aside for a moment the arguments about the need for a federal shield law to protect reporters from being compelled to reveal their sources. That's a First Amendment issue that merits another column. But let's focus for now on why Cheney and his henchmen sought out Judy Miller to share their information about undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. The Busheviks outed Plame to retaliate against her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson. He blew the lid off the Bush administration's infamous deception that Iraq was shopping for enriched uranium in Niger, Africa. Cheney loved that big lie and repeated it often. Bush used it in a State of the Union address. Wilson found the truth and had the guts to tell the world. Retaliation came in an act of treason. Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, masters in treachery -- another cardinal political sin -- leaked to reporters Plame's CIA connection and the suggestion that she engineered her husband's assignment to check out the Niger story. Rove and Libby may soon be indicted. Condi Rice is also up to her designer boot tops in the scandal. Libby and Rove believed Judy Miller, a faithful lapdog, would help their cause. They threw her the Plame-CIA bone, expecting she'd use it. Since Miller had been so reliable in peddling a bundle of Bush administration lies to make the case for war with Iraq, they expected her continued loyalty. Miller's pre-invasion reporting -- largely based on leaks from Cheney's office and the word of Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi expatriate and notorious liar -- described Iraq as having huge arsenals of deadly weapons. Miller's "exclusives" were spattered all over the front pages of the Times. The inflammatory reports led the march to war. They were also horribly wrong. The paper has since apologized for some of that coverage. Miller never has. Others in the mainstream corporate media picked up on Miller's dead-wrong stories. NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, would pounce on Miller's crap and, night after night, repeat the lies Cheney's boys had crafted. From Chalabi to Cheney to Libby to Miller to Mitchell and on to a huge television audience, the great deceptions echoed. In a recent interview on "Real Time with Bill Maher," Mitchell admitted reporters did little to question Bush's rush to war. "And since 9/11 and after 9/11, there was a sort of rallying around -- an understandable sort of patriotic effect -- and I think reporters were less challenging," Mitchell said. No kidding. When Bush's people couldn't co-opt reporters, they did it the old-fashioned way -- they bribed them. Federal auditors say the administration broke the law when it paid conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and others to churn out favorable news coverage about Bush's education policies and the No Child Left Behind Act. I'm sure House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who's on a leadership sabbatical following his indictment on charges of conspiring to violate Texas election laws, would see no problem in using public funds for political propaganda. DeLay looks up at the gutter. For years, he has literally sold his radical Republicans in the House to the highest corporate bidders. Over in the Senate, Majority Leader Dr. Bill "Dirty Hands" Frist keeps lying about his blind trust that managed to have 20/20 vision when it came to unloading his stock that was about to tank. Frist is a fraud, a Martha Stewart in drag, a greedy manipulator who should have had his medical license yanked for the public health policies he's fostered that leave 45 million Americans without health insurance. He uses his public position to protect private hospitals -- shocking as that is -- and the usual suspect drug and insurance companies. In these trying, sin-laced times, Bush and his crowd usually would turn to the holy trinity of radical Republican (RR) virtue for grace and salvation -- Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Bill Bennett. But alas, the liberals have done them wrong and caused great consternation. Rush is frantically fighting prosecutors seeking his medical records and the sources of his illegal drugs. Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, whose phone sex aggression caused great harm to a female subordinate and cost Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.'s shareholders millions of dollars, is dueling with another demon. Media Matters for America, a Web site that reviews media accuracy, has found Mr. O'Reilly spins lies, deceptions and distortions at the pace of a 9-year-old in Bangladesh making shirts for Wal-Mart. O'Reilly is a serial liar, plain and simple. Those who listen to him expecting the truth don't get it. Bill Bennett -- the RR's chief custodian of virtue, Ronald Reagan's secretary of education and Bush the Elder's drug czar -- is on a new high after revelations about his gambling addiction. Bennett admits he had a long-term affair with the one-armed bandits in Vegas, dropping millions in coins, pumping and stroking the machines for fleeting gratification. It's my money, he said, money made preaching virtue. But now Bennett, our vicar of virtue, has a new theory, which he preached on his radio show. He sees abortion as reprehensible, but says it might have some societal benefits. "I do know that it's true if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in the country, and your crime rate would go down," Bennett said. When the heat followed, the flip-lipped Bennett whined he was quoted out of context and what he said was only a "thought experiment." My thought experiment is that Bennett, George W. Bush and their ilk reflect on their own sins and leave public virtue to others. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@sbcglobal. net. Niagara Falls Reporter niagarafallsreporter Oct. 4 2005
: I would imagine that even before the ink on the Declaration of Independence had dried, the sentences: "Are we gonna have a flag? We gotta have a flag! Britain has a flag!" were echoed by members of the Continental Congress. But then, a flag is important. It is a symbol representing a group and their beliefs -- a means of identification. It has long been reported that in May of 1776, Betsy Ross sewed the first version of the flag we use today. The American flag has, of course, gone through several design transformations since then, as states were added to the nation and stars were added to the design. Symbolism Abounding Unique and appealing as the design is, I think our flag is also full of symbolism. To me, the red stripes indicate courage, blood and suffering. The white stripes mean truth, purity and open-mindedness. The word stripes, itself, is associated with oppressions, struggles, punishments and lessons learned. An enduring flag represents a state of surving or coming-of-age the hard way. To me, the stars on our flag represent goals, dreams and the future -- what we all aim for, in our own way -- the infinite, the stars. The color blue is usually identified with peace, tranquility and spirituality. Hopefully, our dreams and future will be surrounded by peace and spirituality, just as the stars on the flag are surrounded by the blue. Our flag is very much like our country. It is woven together by many threads, just as our nation is woven together by many nationalities, religions, philosophies and personalities. The flag needs to be held up and supported to wave free, just as our country needs support to continue to remain as free as it has been. Any little breeze can cause a reaction. A harsh wind can make the flag angrily whip around on its foundation. But, even when it becomes weathered and torn, hanging on by only a few strands, as long as it is still connected to its foundation, it will continue to hang on and wave freely. It's the wind blowing against the flag that keeps it waving, that allows the stars (as well as the stripes) to be seen. It's the winds of properly-channeled protest and criticism brought against a nation that keeps it changing and shaping and thus, prevents it from sinking into a false euphoria or apathy...or worse. Not as Simple as it Seems The flag is not black and white, and neither are most issues involving it. You will note, that there is one more red stripe than white, showing that there will be more pain and struggle than there will be purity and truth. An amendment ("H. J. Res.10") giving Congress the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag, has been up for vote several times. However, "desecration" means more than being burned or shredded in anger and protest. Through the popular sale of interpretated versions of our flag that's been placed on items ranging from paper notebooks and jewelry, to shirts and table cloths, it's been proven that the flag has a marketing appeal as well as a patriotic one. But Title 4, Section 8-d, 8-g and 8-i of the U. S. Code (rules and regulations) forbids wearing it or placing an image of it on anything that is meant to be thrown away. The code also says that it is not be be used for advertising purposes. Therefore, it is always interesting to see how "desecration" is interpretated. An Implied Pledge? Any flag represents a nation or group's future, as well as it's past. So, before you burn it or praise it, condemn it or pledge allegiance to it, you should take another look at it and really see it for what it represents. Sometimes I think that our nation's "pledge" has gone to another rectangular object...a green one. With all the crime and corruption in this country, it's as if the "Pledge of Allegiance" has been subconsciously rewritten to:
I pledge allegiance to the dollar of the United States of America. And to the buying power for which it stands. One cartel, under the stock exchange, insatiable, with affluence and greed for the fortunate.
May Our Flag Always Wave Free! Since the 9-11 tragedy, the red, white and blue American flag has been seen on more cars and flying from more buildings than ever. Maybe we should continue to wave our flag even more and be ever cautious to see that it continues to represent the freedom, justice and integrity for which it has always been known.
European intellectuals yearned for the mutually exclusive: an America contained and a regime-changed Iraq. The Chinese are more pragmatic - though, bound by what is left of their Marxism, they still ascribe American behavior to the irreconcilable contradictions inherent in capitalism. The United States is impelled by its economy and values to world dominion, claimed in March 2003 an analysis titled "American Empire Steps Up Fourth Expansion" in the communist party's mouthpiece People's Daily. Expansionism is an "eternal theme" in American history and a "main line" running through its foreign policy. The contemporary USA is actually a land-based empire, comprising the territorial fruits of previous armed conflicts with its neighbors and foes, often one and the same. The global spread of American influence through its culture, political alliances, science and multinationals is merely an extrapolation of a trend two centuries in the making. How did a small country succeed to thus transform itself? The paper attributes America's success to its political stability, neglecting to mention its pluralism and multi-party system, the sources of said endurance. But then, in an interesting departure from the official party line, it praises US "scientific and technological innovations and new achievements in economic development". Somewhat tautologically, it also credits America's status as an empire to its "external expansions". The rest of the article is, alas, no better reasoned, nor better informed. American pilgrims were forced westward because "they found there was neither tile over their heads nor a speck of land under their feet (in the East Coast)". But it is the emphases that are of interest, not the shoddy workmanship. The article clearly identifies America's (capitalistic) economy and its (liberal, pluralistic, religious and democratic) values as its competitive mainstays and founts of strength. "US unique commercial expansion spirit (combined with the) the puritan's 'concept of mission' (are its fortes)", gushes the anonymous author. The paper distinguishes four phases of distension: "First, continental expansion stage; second, overseas expansion stage; third, the stage of global contention for hegemony; and fourth, the stage of world domination." The second, third and fourth are mainly economic, cultural and military. In an echo of defunct Soviet and Euro-left conspiracy theories, the paper insists that expansion was "triggered by commercial capital". This capital - better known in the West as the military-industrial complex - also determines US foreign policy. Thus, the American Empire is closer to the commercially driven British Empire than to the militarily propelled Roman one. Actually, the author thinks aloud, isn't America's reign merely the successor of Britain's? Wasn't it John Locke, a British philosopher, who said that expansion - a "natural right" - responds to domestic needs? Wasn't it Benjamin Franklin who claimed that the United States must "constantly acquire new land to open up living space" (the forerunner of the infamous German "Lebensraum")? The author quotes James Jerome Hill, the American railway magnet, as exclaiming, during the US-Spanish War, that "If you review the commercial history, you will discover anyone who controls oriental trade will get hold of global wealth". Thus, US expansion was concerned mainly with "protecting American commercial monopoly or advantageous position". America entered the first world war only when "its free trade position was challenged", opines the red-top. American moral values are designed to "serve commercial capital". This blending of the spiritual with the pecuniary is very disorienting. "Even the Americans themselves find it hard to distinguish which matter is expanding national interests under the banner of 'enforcing justice on behalf of Heaven' and which is propagating their ideology and concept of value on the plea of national interests." The paper mentions the conviction, held by most Americans, that their system and values are the "best things in human society". Moreover, Americans are missionaries with a "manifest destiny" and "the duty and obligation to help other countries and nations" and to serve as the "the beacon lighting up the way for the development of other countries and nations". If all else fails, it feels justified to "force its best things on other countries by the method of Crusades". This is a patently non-Orthodox, non-Marxist interpretation of history and of the role of the United States - the prime specimen of capitalism - in it. Economy, admits the author, plays only one part in America's ascendance. Tribute must be given to its values as well. This view of the United States - at the height of an international crisis pitting China against it - is nothing if not revolutionary. American history is re-cast as an inevitable progression of concentric circles. At first, the United States acted as a classic colonial power, vying for real estate first with Spain in Latin America and later with the Soviet Union all over the world. The Marshall Plan was a ploy to make Europe dependent on US largesse. The Old Continent, sneers the paper, is nothing more than "US little partner". Now, with the demise of the USSR, bemoans the columnist, the United States exhibits "rising hegemonic airs" and does "whatever it pleased", concurrently twisting economic, cultural and military arms. Inevitably and especially after September 11, calls for an American "new empire" are on the rise. Iraq "was chosen as the first target for this new round of expansion". But the expansionist drive has become self-defeating: "Only when the United States refrains from taking the road of pursuing global empire, can it avoid terrorists' bombs or other forms of attacks befalling on its own territory", concludes the opinion piece. What is China up to? Were this - and similar - articles a signal encrypted in the best Cold War tradition? Another commentary published a few days later may contain the public key. It is titled "The Paradox of American Power". The author quotes at length from "The Paradox of American Power - Why the World's Only Superpower Can't Go It Alone" written by Joseph Nye, the Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense: "Hard power works through coercion, using military sticks and economic carrots to get others to do our will. Soft power works through attraction ... Our attractiveness rests on our culture, our political values and our policies by taking into account the interests of others." As it summarizes Nye's teachings, the tone of the piece is avuncular and conciliatory, not enraged or patronizing: "In today's world, the United States is no doubt in an advantageous position with its hard power. But ... power politics always invite resentment and the paradox of American power is that the stronger the nation grows, the weaker its influence becomes. As the saying goes, a danger to oneself results from an excess of power and an accumulation of misfortunes stems from lavish of praises and favors. He, whose power grows to such a swelling state that he strikes anybody he wants to and turns a deaf ear to others' advice, will unavoidably put himself in a straitened circumstance someday. When one indulges oneself in wars of aggression under the pretext of 'self security' will possibly get, in return, more factors of insecurity ... Military forces cannot fundamentally solve problems and war benefits no one including the war starter." Nor are these views the preserve of the arthritic upper echelons of the precariously balanced Chinese Communist party. In the same month, in an interview he granted to Xinhua, the Chinese news agency, Shen Jiru, chief of the Division of International Strategy of the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, reiterated his conviction that "the United States aims to create a unipolar world through the Iraq issue". Mirroring the People's Daily, he did not think that the looming Iraq war can be entirely explained as a "dispute on oil or economic interests". It was, he thought, about "the future model of international order: a multipolar and democratic one, or the US strategic goal of a unipolar world". China has been encouraged by dissent in the West. It shows that the "multipolar international community" is an "inevitable" momentum of history. Why this sudden flurry of historiosophic ruminations? According to Stratfor, the strategic forecasting consultancy, "for Beijing, the only way to stymie the fourth phase is through promoting multilateralism; barring that, China must be prepared to confront the United States in the future, and U. S. history can give some guidance ... Thus, Beijing continues to focus on the concept of multilateralism and the legitimacy of the United Nations as the best ways to slow or even disrupt U. S. expansionism. At the same time, Beijing is preparing to face a future confrontation with the United States if necessary." When its economy matures, China wants to become another United States. It has started emulating America two decades ago - and never ceased. Recent steps include painful privatization, restructuring of the banking system, clamping down on corruption and bad governance, paring down the central bureaucracy, revamping the military and security apparatus and creating mechanisms for smooth political transitions. China sent a man to the moon. It invests heavily in basic science and research and development. It is moving gradually up the manufacturing food chain to higher value added industries. It is the quintessential leapfrogger, much of its cadre moving straight from the rustic to the plastic - computers, cellular phones, wireless and the like. Ironically, it could never have made it even this far without its ostensible foe. Thousands of bright Chinese students train in the United states. American technologies, management, knowledge, capital and marketing permeate Beijing's economic fabric. Bilateral trade is flourishing. China enjoys the biggest share of the world's - in large part American - foreign direct investment flows. Should the United states disintegrate tomorrow - China would assuredly follow.
Iraq stands at the junction of three different and competing cultures for the control of the country. Kurds, Shia and Sunni Arabs all want to control their own affairs and that of the Iraqi state. Since each of them have their own distinct identity and their own supporters the potential for conflict is great. The first group entails the Kurdish people who have developed an independent living arrangement for their 25 million people spread among Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Despite not having their own state they do have their own government, schools and military. They are in effect a state without borders and without international legitimacy. Their race for statehood started in 1920 during World War I when President Woodrow Wilson promised them independence in return for support. The Treaty of Sevres was to have accomplished this. However, when the Ottoman Empire was reformed into Turkey the Kurdish people lost their legitimacy. Sunni Arabs make up the second group of contenders for Iraq. Even though they are slightly outnumbered by the Shia in Iraq they are major contenders for the country because 95% of the 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide are Sunni. They are the orthodox Muslims with a level of legitimacy unseen by the other groups. In recent times there has been a surge of calls for the reforming of an Islamic state and leader (Caliph). Therefore the Sunni insurgents are supported by other Muslims with weapons, money and recruits. Throughout Chechnya (Caucasian), Afghanistan (Indian), and Iraq (Arab) you are beginning to find coordination of tactics and recruits. It is becoming common to see Muslims from different nationalities fighting along side of each other because they have the same vision for Islamic independence. The final group is the Shia which represents approximately 3% of all Muslims worldwide. The Shia became famed with the Iranian revolution which is one of the first Shia Muslim states. Iran is actively supporting the Shia in Iraq and trying to export their revolutionary ideas throughout the region. As we can tell from the past rhetoric between the U. S. and Iran that they are not supports of American democracy and make every attempt to thwart it. Due to sanctions and rigorous development Iran has developed their own military industry that is sophisticated. If these weapons show up in Iraq there is likely to be great bloodshed. Iraq is a country on the verge of civil war. The three contending groups each have their own particular strength. The Kurds have a pre-established governmental institutions and military, the Sunnis have the support of the wider Muslim people and the Shia has the staunchly anti-American Iran. If the U. S. looses control of Iraq or withdraws from it in the near future it is unlikely that the country will be able to withstand a civil war where each group has a highly concentrated region. The end of civil war could potentially mean three distinct countries all competing for Iraq’s oil reserves. It is also likely that such a war will not be easily quenched and may produce one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Once started it is wholly possible that Sunni countries will begin to get involved against their Iranian rivals. All of them will be against any Western influence and are unlikely to heed any calls of quiet until they have exhausted their resources.
The following are the opinions of the author and although I believe them to be true I am not stating them as anything other than my opinions. Ever since the time of Abe Lincoln, Democrats and Republicans have been fighting for control of the United States Of America. In the beginning, both political parties contained liberals, moderates and conservatives. As time wore on the Democratic Party moved more to the left or 'liberal' and the Republican Party moved more to the right or 'Conservative'. This left room for fewer and fewer moderates. Over the last several years, however, the far, far left has been taking over control of the Democratic Party and now the coup is almost completed. The far left zealots have virtually pushed most of the slightly left, the moderates and the conservatives out of the Democratic Party. Most of the moderates and conservatives left have learned to keep quiet and go with the tide in order to stay in office. Now the battle, for control of this country, has changed, it is now the far left against everyone else. People like Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Joseph Biden, Robert Byrd, Barbara Boxer, etc. (I don't include Edward Kennedy because, in my opinion, he lost touch with reality long ago and just talks in order to see and hear himself on the news.) along with their Hollywood friends, Barbara Streisand, Susan Saranden, Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Sheen, Spike Lee, etc., now run the Democratic Party and more moderate people, like Joseph Lieberman, are being ignored or vilified by the party, the party's supporters and a large part of the press. The far left only wants people, that think like they do or will do what they tell them to do, in the Democratic Party. They fear and dislike moderates, conservatives, moderate liberals and anyone that they can not control. The far left has gone so far left that, in my opinion, they make liberals seem like hard right wingers. I don't believe that the far left cares about America, the American people or anyone else except themselves. The far left politicians want power and they will do anything to get and keep that power. They claim to support our troops in Afganistan and Iraq, yet they do everything they can do to ruin the troops moral and aid the terrorists. They use their Hollywood friends and the ultra liberal press to spread half truths, lies, rumors and ridiucule about anyone who does not agree with them. They have even taken to giving responses to President Bush's speeches before he makes the speech. They have learned from President Clinton how to take credit for anything good that happens and how to lay blame on others for anything bad that happens. They use people like President Carter, one of the kindest, most caring, most honest and most trusting men to ever hold public office, to critcize the present administration's policies. President Carter, does not have an agenda, he is just, as always, slightly naive about and too trusting of the good will of others. He believes that there would be peace on earth if people followed the dictates of the far left, so the far left uses him as a front. The far left uses celebrities who are not only naive but insulated from the real world. Celebrities who are surrounded by yes people telling them that they are smarter and better than the rest of us, celebrities who are wealthy, do not have to go to a supermarket to do their shopping, who fly first class, drive whatever kind of car they wish, live in expensive homes or apartments and pay people to do most everything for them. These celebrities can afford to be idealistic and fight for ideals that can't work. They can talk about raising taxes, after all, they can't spend all the money they already have, demand rehabilitation for drug addicts, after all, the only drug addicts they actually deal with are other celebrities, rage against nuclear power plants and new oil drilling, after all they can afford to pay their electric and gas bills, no matter how expensive they are, fight for the rights of criminals and gun control, after all, they have bodyguards, many of whom are armed, and expensive security systems, to protect them so why should they worry about a storeowner who has been robbed three or four times or a woman who is raped and killed in her home. Most of these celebrities mean well, they just don't know what it is like to live in the real world. Don't tell me that many of these same celebrities had bad or poor childhoods. That was then and this is now. Celebrities that do have an idea as to what is really going on and speak out against criminals, or support the war against terrorism, or fight for cheap utilities or heaven forbid support acknowledging god or who back moderate politicians or even worse support President Bush are ridiculed and ostracized. Some, no matter how talented, even have trouble obtaining work. Michael Moore, produces a poorly made anti administration movie and is lionized by Hollywood while Mel Gibson makes a well made movie about Christ and is ridiculed and put down by Hollywood. The fact that the people greatly prefered Gibson's movie didn't matter to Hollywood. I am a slightly conservative moderate with many slightly liberal beliefs, however the far left is pushing me more and more to the right. I used to believe that you should vote for the person not the party. Now I am forced to vote straight Republican because I can't trust any Democrat to stand up to the far left. I like Joe Lieberman but would not vote for him because the odds are that the far left will eventually push him out of office or force him to support them. I disliked and never trusted President Nixon but today I would have to vote for him rather than any Democrat. I consider President Kennedy to be one of our best modern Presidents but could not, today, vote for him. Pleople say to me "What about Hillary Clinton? She is a moderate.". I say "baloney, as far as I can tell, Hillary Clinton does not believe in anything. She says and does whatever, she thinks, will get votes and help consolidate her power. I don't believe that she cares any more for this country or it's people than her husband did. If she believes that the far left can get her what she wants she will become one of their most rabid members. The far left has hijacked the Democratic Party and they are at war with anyone and everyone who does not follow their dictates. They hide under the title 'Democrat' and claim to want to change America for the better. What they really want to do is to rule this country and make it over into their own image. They want us to be free to do what they think is best, not what we think is best. They believe that the end justifies the means and in order to gain their rule they will lie, cheat, support our enemies, spend whatever amount of money they have to and do anything else that may help them. As far as the far left is concerned, their biggest enemy, at this time, is President Bush. They hate him and fear him, so they are doing everthing they can in order to ruin him. They blame him for everthing that has gone wrong in the world. Their celebrity spokespeople have people believing that the problems caused by hurricane Katrina are all his administration's fault. The fact that, both the Democratic Mayor of New Orleans and the Democratic Governor of Louisiana were extremely slow to act in calling in the Federal Government doesn't matter, the fact that it appears that several crooked politicians spent money given to them, prior to the hurricane, for levy repairs, on themselves, doesn't matter, the fact that the people of New Orleans never bothered to prepare themselves for a category 5 hurricane, doesn't matter. All that matters is if they keep telling everyone that it's the President's fault, pretty soon everyone will believe it. People like Jay Leno, David Letterman and other celebrities and comedians constantly joke about how stupid the President is. The fact that he was smart enough to earn a university and a post graduate degree, doesn't matter, thefact that he was smart enough to become Governor of Texas, doesn't matter, the fact that he was smart enough to become President of the United States doesnt matter, the fact that he was smart enough to marry Laura Bush, doesn't matter. All that matters is that Leno and Letterman joke about his being stupid, therefore he must be stupid (This country has elected many Presidents that may have done a bad job at running this country but, I don't believe that we have ever elected a stupid President, and if we did elect a stupid President, doesn't that make us stupid for doing so.). I could list numerous other examples but this article is already to long, so I won't. The citizens of this country better wake up and start fighting back or soon we will no longer be a two party system or have a democratic republican form of government. We will have one Party, the far left, and they will rule us. They will be telling us what to think, when to think it and how to think it. I don't know about you, but I like my freedom. I want a country with liberals, moderates and conservatives. I want to have a choice in who to vote for. I want to be able to think for myself. I don't want to be ruled by the far left anymore than I want to be ruled by the far right. I want a country that represents everyone, a country that is "one country, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".
: I know that there are some people who are celebrating France’s recent troubles with delicious glee. I guess I can understand how they feel, given France’s ongoing hypocrisy concerning the Iraq War [hmmm…whose hand is in that oil-for-food cookie jar?] and the all too common and world renowned snooty attitude displayed by many Francophiles toward outsiders. Time for you to eat some humble pie, France. Your troubles are upon you but they can be resolved. Guess what? You have to look at America’s example for your solution. I am not smiling…okay, maybe just a bit. So, there you have it. France is in a pickle and they aren’t quite sure why. I have three Latin words for the French to consider: E Pluribus, Unum Translated in English it means this: Out of many, one. In France, immigrants remain outsiders always while in America we assimilate new folks. One or two generations after moving to France, many Muslim young people [born in France] feel as if they are on the outskirts of French society. They dress differently, talk differently, and they live in enclaves apart from the native French people. In short, they have no real future. Yes, their religion is different but that shouldn’t matter given France’s and the whole of Europe’s embrace of secularism and the eschewing of all things Christian. Hmmm, perhaps that is part of the problem too. Anyway, I am not saying we in America are perfect given our history of civil rights. Still, fifty years removed from Rosa Park’s defiant and brave act and forty years after many marches on Washington, DC [as well as on capitols across our fair land] we here in America have learned our lesson. I believe it is time for the French to take a chapter from the pages of our American history books in order for them to get through this difficult time. If they do not, additional unrest can be expected. Let not arrogance rule the day; this is a time for the people of France to stand up and demand that her leaders respond accordingly.