Rant. Muse. Eat. Sleep. Recycle.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
This is long but worth it... worse than any horror movie!
The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)
CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: "We'll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us." The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be "communists," but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.
This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious "School of the Americas." (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the "School of the Dictators" and "School of the Assassins." Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.
The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."
The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.
The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington's will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator's control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this "boomerang effect" include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.
The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization. The CIA cannot be reformed — it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Reagan was a monster; Bush is a disaster. There, I've got that off my chest. My problem with both men is they have this imperial view of the world that suggests dissent is a capital crime and should be squelched at every turn. Granted, it was Margaret Thatcher, not Reagan, who began the process of neutering the Fourth Estate, but Thatcher was simply the distaff side of Reagan's imperial nature.
We are at a crossroads and we're not thinking clearly. Rupert Murdoch and his ken have dulled our senses with American Idol, Survivor and a pantheon of drug-addled, oversexed celebrities.
Given the distracted state of the proletariate; my fear is that we may never have better in the White House because Republicans are dead set against change. I'm not saying Republicans are any less drunk on pop culture. It's just that most are reaching for the lowest branch. They are people who hate strongly and see kindred spirits in the Bushes, Reagans, Thurmonds and Santorums of the world. Honestly, I'm never dispirited to see a Ferrari with a Bush-Cheney bumper sticker. That at least makes sense. I'm amazed at the rundown cars and rundown car owners -- probably toting three mortgages -- who support the present regime. It's like me writing a monthly check to Bob Jones University. The sap has grown so thick in many of our heads that we're petting rabid wolves and saying, 'Nice doggy.'
The resultant bankruptcies, diminished liberties and overall loss of freedom is a no-brainer prediction.
Conservatives are holding the line against time and any idiot can see how that contest is going to turn out. Worse, they are couching it in terms of religion, which basically says no discussion is allowed. After all, it's a matter of faith, right?
Change is a scary proposition and entire agencies -- the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the GOP and some elements of the Democratic party are dedicated to stopping change. They don't want the White Male Power paradigm changed; they don't want the USA uber alles mentality changed; they don't want technology they don't understand; they don't want to change their lifestyle because of global warming; they don't want to hear different languages in America; they don't want diversity.
I think the thing that makes them angriest is the fact that in less than four decades, American white people will be a minority. I almost think this is a "last minute" heyday for them.
What they want is Davenport, IA, circa 1919 -- an all-white caste system wherein a handful of men made the decisions and everyone else lived with them.
But, despite their best efforts -- Bull Connor, Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond -- things did change. They killed King to silence us and he became a martyr. They refused to pass the ERA and women became governors and senators.
The irony is that conservative white people don't have to be afraid if they lay a foundation of respect for humankind. Just as bombing Iraq creates more terrorists, jailing a MILLION black men perpetuates a criminal element. Conservatism creates the things it fears.
So, all that remains for conservatives now is the fear card -- which can become the race card or the class card at a moment's notice.
Liberals and progressives have accomplished all the growth in America. Why? They attack the hard questions; they don't sweep them under the table. There are some seriously hard questions for liberals to address -- what is the proper amount of force to maintain national sovereignity, yet not become imperialist?; what global lifestyle can the earth support?; when does conservative speech tip over into hate speech and what should our reaction be? For conservatives those questions translate, respectively, to: Who wronged us and when can we kill them?; What lifestyle do I want -- damn the planet; Why do the PC Police want to censor me for calling black people niggers, Mexican spicks and gay people faggots?
On this forum, an unspoken question is whether we should rise up against the conservative powers that be. Should that be peaceful, violent, armed or political? We know there is something wrong with the paradigm, but we're not going to assume it will fix itself. We are brave enough to ask that question in a climate when that can mean death for us.
After all, the extreme conservative element has already shown its colors -- assassination is one of its tools, with lying a close second. Liberals and progressives have to be fearless because there is so much to fear from their foes. After all, King got killed, not Connor. Conservatives in this country have entrenched themselves in power by disregarding the rules. Liberals are at a disadvantage because we adhere to the rule of respect for humanity. That's why the death penalty is anathema to true liberals, while conservatives can rally around unborn babies and yet foam at the mouth crying for adults to be put to death.
If you are a progressive, a liberal -- I want to commend and you urge you to continue the fight. If you are a conservative, I ask that you not be afraid and plead that you pay attention.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Private profit is destroying the world
I posted this last Friday over at my blog and it prompted some good discussion. I really do believe that we need to talk about different ways to produce and consume goods- especially after the global warming report that came out recently. Being against capitalism in the US automatically gives you a label as a "radical" or some other hyperbolic name. I don't think there is anything radical about it. It may take several generations, but we need to bring the conversation into the mainstream. I often wonder how American democracy would react.
Exxon Mobil and Shell made a combined 180 million dollars a day of clear profit last year. Exxon made damn near 40 billion dollars in 2006, which is a record for any American company ever (they beat their old record). At the same time scientists have pretty much confirmed the long held belief that human activity is causing global warming. That human activity that is doing so much harm to the earth is allowing a select group of individuals to become obscenely rich. They have proactively fought any idea or person that might challenge their ability to make such massive profits.
I think it is worth noting that they are doing exactly what their institution was designed to do. This is not a case of "a few bad apples" as people so often like to say. It is also worth mentioning that a capitalist economy will always produce these "private tyrannies." It doesn't matter how much regulation or how you try to "reform" capitalism, the blood just keeps on pouring out. After a while it becomes an insult to keep putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound.
Left unchecked, global warming has the potential to do damage that the world's most vicious dictators couldn't even fathom. This is serious stuff. We really need to question the way we produce and consume goods. We as a country and we as a world.
Global warming is glaring proof that an economic system based around private profit is simply not sustainable.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen
Bread and Circuses
.... that is all.
More from Mr. Clegg
I hate it when stuff is taken out of context just to prove a point, so I must mention that, contextually, it looks like he was telling a joke. I'd say he told it about as well as John Kerry told his.
Clegg being asked what sorts of opposing viewpoints he encounters when asked to speak about anti-Affirmative Action.
"The audiences are generally polite, too. I get called a racist now and then, usually by an obnoxious white kid trying to prove something or other, but so far I've not experienced the threats or shouting-down attempts that Linda Chavez or Ward Connerly sometimes get. Maybe that's because, as a white male Southerner, it is clear that, whatever my many failings, at least I'm not a race traitor."
Ha Ha Ha -- those crazy Republicans! Not a race traitor... that's good stuff.
By the way, I have never heard a word mentioned about Cleggs or Ward Connerly's political affiliation, yet I'm sure they're Republican. Anyone care to disagree?