Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 27, 2005

Another Open One

Other news, views, opinions ...

Posted by b on July 27, 2005 at 7:33 UTC | Permalink

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is either very bad or perhaps it's going to be a good thing. People involved in the US Labor unions will have a better idea.
The article which reports the disaffiliation of the Teamsters and SEIU from the AFL-CIO can be taken as a sign that the right has finally managed to drive a wedge through the middle of one of it's main opponents to it's enslavement of everbody to corporate ethos.

On the other hand in the article

"The 939 delegates who registered for the convention held in Chicago's cavernous Navy Pier would get no chance to evaluate proposals, only peruse letters slipped furtively under their hotel room doors by Change to Win squads imparting the news that a few union presidents had decided things without bothering to consult them."

If the labour movement has got that undemocratic and modelled itself on the dems rather than providing a viable democratic model for the dems to emulate, perhaps it is time for a massive purge followed by reconstruction.

The article also says

"The one interesting moment of the convention's first day came over a couple of resolutions concerning diversity. One gives additional slots on the federation's governing bodies to black, female, gay, Latin and Asian representatives; the other mandates that by the next convention each delegation will have to represent the racial and gender make-up of a union's membership.

These changes involve more than cosmetics because of how they came about. Over the past few months of top-tier to-ing and fro-ing over labor's future, the AFL's constituency groups, especially the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, began to insist that the domination of the discussion by older white men indicated problems with organized labor's leadership, focus and priorities more than any matters of internal scaffolding or dues structure."

If the AFL/CIO has really waited until 2005, 50 years after the success of the civil rights movement which is nearly as long as the time it has been campaigning for EEO from employers to fix it's own structure, then it's a miracle it lasted this long.
Apropos the 'Cease Fire Violation' thread its gotta be time to walk away from these dinosaurs because if things are this primitive in the unions they will be worse in the political arm of the labour movement, laughingly called "The Democrats" which I suppose fits in a country where the imperialists call themselves 'republicans'.

If that sounds harsh I'm sorry because there is absolutely no justification to suppose that people who live in the US are innately more backward than elsewhere, but at some point people, ordinary battlers have to make a stand.
I'm not trying to be holier than thou just cause at the moment I live in NZ where I'm unaware of any white male holding a position of power in either the government or judiciary or union movement for that matter. I have nearly as much problem with that as I do with the US where it seems only white males hold power. Nations like the UK and Australia aren't shining beacons of equality either but the fact that they have modified their structures a long time ago to ensure that the hegemony of the whitefella is over at least informs us that there is genuine impetus to try and have the power structures reflect the community.

If the US labor movement and dems haven't ever got past tokenism that means they have never really had the sort of revolution that people's organisations need to have to be effective now.

I really think the best thing to do is to walk away and start again because who really needs to keep fighting the old battles when there are a lot of urgent new battles to be won.

[lifted to a posting - b]

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 27 2005 11:56 utc | 1

Gene Lyons on Iraq:


Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 13:55 utc | 2


Excellent thoughts on the US housing bubble by Mike Whitney, citing FT and Economist articles.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 14:05 utc | 3

A photoshop request mr billmon, please.

I saw someone use the name "The Traitor Bunch" somewhere in blogistan, and that is just begging for Karl Rove as Alice and Bush as the Lovely Lady and Cheney having three kids of his own...Libby...uh, well, I haven't worked it out, but maybe Judith Miller can be Jan and Jeff Gannon can be the youngest one in curls.

Maybe Bolton is Marsha.

But then, you probably need flash, too, so they can all look at each other adoringly...and then Wilson and Plame and Chalabi and Ghorbanifar will probably have to be in panels too, or maybe just a gif that looks up and...

Someone needs to help come up with some good lyrics, too.

Here's a story, of a man named Rover,
but he's called Turd Blossom by the prez.
When he heard Wilson was gonna out him,
He got the wife instead.

okay, just a first pass, anyone game?

Posted by: fauxreal | Jul 27 2005 18:40 utc | 4

Here it comes again. Rumsfeld has made another unannounced whistlestop in Iraq. A one-para reprise:

Our Secretary of Defense really does want Syria and Iran to stop funding insurgents (whether because we have already provided sufficient explosives and weapons to them, or because he is worried about inflationary pressures on the Iraqi economy, he didn't say). He also encourages progress on the Constitution (or else). Casey says that the insurgency is not exactly getting stronger, but they are blowing more people up, which obviously isn't good for their cause (so we're definitely winning the war against liberals). Legal work is proceeding apace to firm up US basing agreements (the green shoots of optimism spring eternal). And Rumsfeld says that the Iraqi government really should take time out once in awhile to say "thank you" (you know, like you did to Iran the other day).

It's hard to imagine that the Secretary of Defense would drag his staff all the way to Baghdad just to repeat the usual talking points. Meetings with the Iraqi government were in closed session, so God only knows what this visit was really about.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 27 2005 19:01 utc | 5

Good take on the rebranding of the GWOT by d r i f t g l a s s

Posted by: beq | Jul 27 2005 19:15 utc | 6

And the next step in our battle against terrorism is...a new acronym.

But the shallowness gets deeper still. The Times story doesn't notice what appears to be the driving force behind the new slogan—a desire for a happier acronym.

Look at the first letters of Global War on Terrorism. GWOT. What does that mean; how is it pronounced? Gwot? Too frivolously rowdy, like a fight scene in a Marvel comic book (Bam! Pfooff! Gwot!). Gee-wot? Sounds like a garbled question (Gee what?).

Then look at Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. Its acronym is GSAVE—i.e., gee-save. We're out to save the world, see, not wage war on it. Or, as national security adviser Stephen Hadley puts it in the Times piece, "We need to dispute both the gloomy vision and offer a positive alternative."

Do these people really believe that all we need to win hearts and minds around the world is better marketing? Do they really think changing Gee-WoT to Gee-SAVE will make a difference?

Gee whiz.

Posted by: lonesomeG | Jul 27 2005 19:23 utc | 7

since it's been tough to make the terrorist label stick when we do it, surely it'll be easier to accept that our aggressions have been both "extreme" and "violent". fallujah is a tragic textbook example of our violent extremism. they've really spun themselves into a spiderhole w/ this one.

Posted by: b real | Jul 27 2005 19:31 utc | 8

We pretty much agreed that "Dem" party ranges from irrelevant to inimical to our welfare on the previous thread.

Yesterday I was thinking about what needs to be done. We need a produce locally consume locally model. We need to get on w/creating that. Vote or not when the time comes, but in the meantime concerning ourselves w/the party is a waste of time.

What came to me is the value of the Dean Model, not for politics but for Economics. We need to apply that model to production.

Firstly, I don't remember if it was posted last week, but if not, everyone needs to trot over NYT & read their article on Costco -it's on their most emailed list. The guy who put that together should be our model, our hero, our teacher & hopefully our helper. Consider him on one hand vs. Roberts & the Federalist Society & DLC on the other hand. He balances everyone's interests, instead of only caring about capital. That's the way our country must be run again. It's the difference between the FDR model & the DLC-Repug model.

(I'm jotting notes here - just throwing things out for people to think about & build on.)
Other person most interesting is Catherine Austin Fitts - was on board of Dillon-Read Investment House; turned down position on Fed's governing board - in short top flight finance person... (see She's working on models of community re-investment. Instead of letting Wall Street have our money - from CostCo. art. it's clear They Are the Enemy - they're WalMart, we are CostCo - we must invest in building our own communities, according to her.

So, let's take that idea & apply the Dean model. What do we need. F--- waiting for venture capitalists to drive it. Let's do it ourselves.

We need to Kick the Oil Habit urgently & we need jobs.... Ok, immediately we have to chuck gas powered cars in favor of compressed air powered cars. They're ready to license them. Using the Dean model, I'd bet you that around every metropolitan area we can find one million people to each put up/invest $500 to build the factory. It'd be like stock in a investment, low return, but you'd get a car...Pickup at the factory, no advertising...cost plummets...helluva lot of jobs...let's see what else do we need...clothes...I'll set aside $200/mon. to invest in building regional factories, co-ops, what have you, around where I live...contracts w/CostCo...what else do we need...

Wall Street as we've seen is now the leading predator in the world. Let's go. Forget 'em. We have a country to rebuild which they've ransacked.

Anyway, it's a start. If you don't like it, you can always stick w/the plutocratic, male-supremacist, police-state model Hillary represents.

Posted by: jj | Jul 27 2005 20:53 utc | 9


Better marketing is exactly what Tom Brokaw recommended, either just before or just after the official start of the invasion. His proposal was to set folks in the Third World up with satellite dishes so they could share in our brainwash, er, broadcasting. Then they would have common interests with the United States of America. Just like that. Don't have the link handy, but I do remember falling off my chair when I read it.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 27 2005 21:00 utc | 10

@b real

they've really spun themselves into a spiderhole w/ this one.

Quite the contrary. Extremism in defense of freedom is no vice. Extremism in defense of fascism is a vice. We are defending freedom. They are fascists. Ergo no contradiction. So long as you keep your referents for we and they properly up to date.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 27 2005 21:11 utc | 11


I've been having many similar thoughts myself. It seems to me, despite my angry comments about there only being one real party on the scene, that there are currently schisms going on in both the Democrat and the Republican parties. The Republicans who wish to distance themselves from the neocon wing are not as ethically against the wall as the Democrats who can not get on board with the Rockefeller Republicans that are the DLC... but, still, if anyone wants to break ranks and work towards a more sustainable and inclusive future for everyone, I'll take any comers.

Unfortunately, finding a platform for a progressive/populist party that appeals to people of the Capitalist "I got mine!" psychology is not going to be an easy thing. I recall the short-lived Gramm-Rudman Act in 1985 and how unpopular the idea of Conservatives actually conserving something was in practice. The general populace are pretty much agreed that drastic changes need to be made, as long as nothing is required from them personally. Of course, that is exactly why the Mammon Party is currently the only game in town, but maybe people are more fed up with it than they were twenty years ago. Speaking cynically, though, if people grumble too much, it is now a lot easier to point to specific policies and personalities that have necessitated their sacrifices.

It is a mistake, though, to assume that just because we (strongly!) disagree with the current face of American politics that we are all cut from the same political cloth. My current thinking is admittedly going not going to gain a large groundswell of approval. Primarily, I believe the rôle of the federal government needs to be reduced drastically. I believe that its primary purview needs to be the ministration of its citizenry as far as social programs go and that the rôle of the military as it stands (basically, the penultimate welfare program that the poor turn to when every other option dries up) needs to be de-emphasized. A national health care program could very easily have been instituted with the money we have sunk into wasteful and unnecessary military ventures.

The bugbear we are facing (and I can not recall who it was on this board that brought it up; I'd give them full credit for it if I could remember) is the hysteria factor. The idea that an external enemy is lurking around every corner has facilitated the consolidation of power into the hands of the most unscupulous... and this issue needs urgently to be addressed. It is accepted that a weak position on national security will sink a candidate. This is preposterous. The populace need to recognise and internalise that no draconian policy is going to make them invulnerable and that the federal government is not an ersatz parental figure. We will never be entirely secure and we are less secure the more militaristic we become. This needs to be addressed and dispensed with immediately. Nobody is attacking Canada or Sweden because they are not defying anyone to attack them. Cheap, sane and sensible.

Along those same lines, the issue of US support for Israel needs to actually become part of the national dialogue instead of being the elephant in the room. My unequivocal position on this is that US financial support for Israel needs to come to a screeching halt until Israel terminates its aggressive policies vis-a-vis its neighbors. Period. Our blatant favouritism on that issue has engendered more wasted lives and money than perhaps any of our other follies and it needs to end. The Middle East (and the rest of the world) need to be dealt with evenly and humanely... and not with one set of rules for Likuds or wealthy Sauds and another set for everyone else.

We are facing an imminent petroleum crisis and need to wean ourselves on to other alternatives. Period. Many of my ideas are tied up with that one (I will not go into too much detail due to space considerations and the fact that I am conscious that few people want to hear any ideas from an semi-anonymous person like myself anyway), but I believe that this issue can be addressed with another issue... and that is the strengthening of community participation.

People who work for multinational corporations suffer a decreased quality of life because they are not invested in their labour. They have no sense of identity and a contempt for the faceless, ethereal forces that make all the policy decisions behind their backs. By empowering citizens on a community level, that is to say sustainable local commerce and government, the citizens are actually immediately invested in what they are doing, become less apathetic about political decisions that affect them, and enjoy a much higher quality of life (if one is not too married to the idea of a Playstation in every home).

This might sound like I am hearkening back to a 19th century dynamic, but that is really missing the point of my argument. In order to correct mistakes, some degree of backtracking is necessarily going to have to occur... but the specific quality of life in any given community should be governed almost exclusively by that community insofar as it affects only themselves. This is not to say that the federal government has no regulatory function... quite the contrary. But the priorities of this regulatory function as it is currently employed need to be severely re-evaluated.

I am, principally, anti-capitalist... but what I am describing here is actually fundamentally capitalist in nature. Every empowered community in this paradigm is in competion... not for capital per se, but for population. A community that consistently makes poor decisions in relation to its constituents runs the risk of losing those constituents to its neighbours. This mechanism allows for a degree of self-regulation and individual investment. We were discussing the same thing on a larger scale in another thread by talking about giving up and going to Canada. The difference I am proposing is giving up on less harmful people than the current state and moving ten miles away to another community who run things a bit more in line with the way you are comfortable. To me, that seems a hell of a lot more reasonable, but how to achieve it?

Well, in the long run, corporate disincentives need to be employed. There's really no way around this one, anyway. Between an equitable taxation rate and stringent pollution controls, it should be cheaper and ultimately more satisfying for the entrepeneur to run a local business. It is ridiculous that we are pursuing Bill Gates-levels of wealth. Certainly, none of us could spend it and there is no reason for this cultural value except to cement power in the hands of a (necessarily corrupt) few who are forced to implement suicidal measures to ensure it.

But enough with the Utopia-talk. These are mostly "long-run" visions. As far as an actual working platform go, I can only reiterate the de-emphasis of security hysteria and overturning the "burglar under the bed" mentality, placing severe limits on defense spending and a more equitable foreign policy, reeling in corporate malfeasance with non-negotiable penalties and disincentives, and social programs such as universal health care and incentives to local employers, farmers and manufacturers.

Ultimately, none of these things will change anything until the cultural consumer value system is overturned and a genuine preference towards sustainability and social justice can be implemented. That will take time and a concentrated marketing effort, but I see no reason why jingoistic nationalism can not be subverted into productive local pride.

For what it's worth.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jul 27 2005 22:48 utc | 12


Posted by: Mega-M | Jul 28 2005 0:21 utc | 13


The unifying power of hysteria was one of my rare substantive observations.

Mancur Olsen wrote that there are two main sources of economic growth: efficiency gains; and market expansion. Of the two, market expansion ramps up much more quickly, and it is the source of growth that the investment world chases most fervently. It will be sad to see it go when the oil runs out, but for the present it is the engine behind the world we know.

The downside of market expansion has always been that it increases crime levels, because increases in mobility make monitoring more difficult. The dispassionate view is that the losses have always more than offset the gains. This is true of interstate commerce and property crime -- and also of cellphones, air travel, the Internet and terrorism. In the current climate of hypertrophied crisis talk it sounds strange to say so, but the US economy and the international economic system are not seriously threatened by terrorism. People with high-level corporate experience (the "Cheney administration") should know this better than anyone.

Seems that way to me, anyway.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 0:45 utc | 14


Don't forget Condoleezza Rice :

The Source Beyond Rove

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jul 28 2005 1:58 utc | 15

Full credit to you, then, Jassa. Fortunately, this is one genie that can go back into the bottle (no matter how catastrophic 9/11 was). Independent observers can laud the neocons for how successfully they have exploited the terror mentality, but this is not a tactic that can be utilised indefinitely and still have any impact. Unless the neocons are one-trick-ponies, or unless we can have daily anthrax attacks and suicide bombers, this tactic has hit the point of diminishing returns.

Simply put, we have become a car-alarm culture. When deadly warnings go off ubiquitously, we stop caring about them. Even if someone actually is breaking into a car, who drops everything they are doing when they hear that obnoxious alarm go off? We were more inclined to call the police or intervene because of suspicious noises before suspicious noises became so prevalent. So it is with the war on terra. You can't be terrorised forever, even on days when the colour code is fuschia. It just stops having any meaning.

The message that we need to get people to understand is that the government is only capable of making them less secure by their actions... it is simply not within anyone's power to make anyone more secure. It's like Heisenberg's principle... you can't measure a panicky idiot without affecting their panickiness or idiocy. But after the panic wears off, you are just numb to it. I'm hoping that's where the culture is now... or at least I hope that they can keep their sudden awareness of their own mortality out of the national debate and let us get on with the business of addressing things we can do something about.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jul 28 2005 2:07 utc | 16

Norman Solomon finds the Bayh/Clinton/Kerry DLC/RNC line faithfully echoed at the bottom of Friedman's column of 27 July:

Thomas Friedman, Liberal Sadist?

Perhaps a more telling sign that rationality is beginning to take hold, that people are beginning to connect the dots between four decades of unjust foreign policy in the Middle East and the mass murders of 9/11, between the invasion and occupation of Iraq and the terrorist attacks of 7/7 is the desperate, outright fascist proposal by Friedman (echoing the Memri, David Horowitz, and Daniel Pipes) on 22 July:

Giving the Hatemongers No Place to Hide

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jul 28 2005 2:39 utc | 17


Norman Solomon finds the Bayh/Clinton/Kerry DLC/RNC line faithfully echoed at the bottom of Friedman's column of 27 July ...

You know, once you have given up on civilization, this article is actually quite funny. A war on graffiti! And merit badges for people who state the obvious and then don't get themselves killed! I think ol' Tom's got the plan for turning this one around. Boy, that was close. For a couple of years there, I almost thought the world might be headed for a spot of trouble.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 2:55 utc | 18

CAFTA "debate" on cspan now. Pelosi's on NOW. She's pretty damn good. It's LIVE.

"Globalism" just means those controlling the money can prowl the globe in search of the greatest profits. Enough already. Minimize transportation costs & maximize human welfare, control capital & provide a fair rate of return.

Posted by: jj | Jul 28 2005 2:58 utc | 19


Full credit to you, then, Jassa.

(Uh-oh. Me and my big mouth.)

I think what will happen with the global war on terror thing (er, sorry, the global struggle against violent extremism thing) is what happens already with common or garden crime; it will be reported in waves that have little connection with real changes in the rate at which things and people are actually being blown up (or otherwise rendered inoperative). To the extent that the perennial crisis is used as a tool for manipulating public opinion, it can be controlled through selective reporting.

I have a feeling that the constant thrumbing on the heartstrings is going to get really tiresome. "[D]ispute ... the gloomy vision and offer a positive alternative" indeed. The reality of the human suffering by everyone who has been touched by this poisoned chalice is going to make the ersatz melodrama of what I am sure will be Karen's "America Cares" offensive all the more ... offensive.

But who knows, maybe Tom Friedman's offer of merit badges will bring forward a truth teller now and then to tell us what a chain of searing experiences this really constitutes. Somehow I think that his precious "light of day" won't reach to the bottom of the well, though.

Bah. Humbug.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 3:27 utc | 20

Jassalasca Jape - Extremism in defense of freedom is no vice. well they'd better start delivering some freedom somewhere then, and in metrics that actually mean something to more than just their base. eventually, as Monolycus mentions wrt the panic button, the propagandists will reach their saturation point & start experiencing diminishing returns. but why wait for the rest of the crowd to realize that this reality that this administration is making is only happening because of public aquiesence? a key theater in this battle is that of the mind, and they are vulnerable w/ this "retooling" on many fronts. bring on the strategic semantics subversion forces!

Posted by: b real | Jul 28 2005 4:00 utc | 21


Here here. Or rather, here.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 4:10 utc | 22

Now that you mention it, I do remember old Tom's suggestion. Pathetic to think that there are so many people in influential positions who believe that the words marketing and communication are synonyms. At least all this BS fertilizes humorists; you seem to have a bumper crop of definitions for your dictionary this year. The old Soviet Union was famous for black humor and I'm sure Iraq produces it's share today in between the tears.

These people have overlooked the fact that there has to be some correlation between marketing and real world experience for marketing to be effective over the long term. For instance, Madison Ave's perception management campaign a couple decades ago couldn't turn the Yugo into something people wanted to buy. BushCo's "on message" marketing strategy will eventually fail for the same reason: they're selling crap. It takes more than marketing to create reality.

Posted by: lonesomeG | Jul 28 2005 4:25 utc | 23

the war on terrorism kicked off in 1981 when reagan and haig shifted national priorities from human rights policies to terrorism. this war on terrorism served to both divert attention from the escalating state terrorism & human rights violations that the u.s. both engaged in & supported, esp in their "backyard", while providing a cover for aggressive, overt operations which concurrently pumped up the military budget, and distracted the masses from the plundering going on w/ reagan's domestic agenda. it worked. that's why they pulled the war on terrorism out again for this cowboy. and he's f**ked that up too. they aren't changing the name b/c they plan on going after ELF, or in order to get their rollout before august. they've changed it from a position of weakness. an extremist, in doublespeak, is "an advocate of change sufficient to have an effect." they're now the ones w/ a sense of terror.

Posted by: b real | Jul 28 2005 4:28 utc | 24

How surprising - like father like son. Repugs offering $10k reward for anyone w/information leading to indictment & conviction of Mayor Richard M. Daley. link .

Time for Larry Flynt, or... to step in and offer real money for information leading to indictment & conviction of Cheney-Bush on 911..or take yr. choice of any other treasonable offense they've committed.

Posted by: jj | Jul 28 2005 4:44 utc | 25

It's not Friedman's merit badges that caught my eye, it's his system of defamation :

' We also need to spotlight the "excuse makers," the former State Department spokesman James Rubin said. After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed. '

I am one of those who traces 9/11 to American support for Israeli expropriation of Palestinian lands, to America's military presence in the Middle East. I am "one notch less despicable than the terrorists" according to Thomas Friedman.

Certainly Thomas Friedman's opinion of me makes no difference; but his and the nascent DLC/RNC party line is to make all of us opponents of their world war "one notch less despicable than the terrorists" themselves.

"There is no political justification for 9/11, 7/7 or 7/21."

This line to me is the tell.

I in no way "excuse" or justify the terrorist murders. I point out that they are the predictable consequence of a foreign policy based upon injustice.

Thomas Friedman and the others of his ilk have invested everything over the years in constructing a "justification" of Israel's "works" in Palestine, so it is their nature to assume that their critics are following their lead; in any case it is their desperate desire to paint that picture.

The world is caught up in a cycle of terrorist violence which ultimately has its source in US foreign policy toward the Middle East, which is based upon greed. The oil lobby wants Arab/Persian oil. The Likud lobby wants Palestinian land and water. The war lobby wants a continuation of war, against "terrorism", against "violent extremism", makes no difference.

Friedman's Giving the Hate Mongers No Place to Hide is an admission that the Likudnikons cannot repeal the law of cause and effect. Unjust, violent deeds do have consequences and Friedman's, the Likud's, the Christian Right's constant drum beat of war, constant invocation of hate cannot hide that forever.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jul 28 2005 4:49 utc | 26


Quite right. Friedman seems to crave a world like that depicted in Terry Gilliam's Brazil, in which (in the scene in which the hero meets with his mother) acts of violence have no meaning until a spoonfed interpretation arrives through the telly. It's too abhorrent for words.

Your penultimate para captures the current state of play nicely. A perfect storm of venality.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 5:07 utc | 27

I only picked up the NYT habit during the build up to the Iraqi slaughter so I had no idea of Friedman's foulness in earlier conflicts until I read the link you posted to Norman Solomon's article.
It's a damn shame I just can't justify the use of violence on anyone anymore because this Friedman fellow is badly in need of witnessing extreme violence 1st hand. Perhaps then he may not think it's a good idea to "give war a chance" or that the destruction of power stations, water pipes, bridges and hospitals is a legitimate military objective.

One can fall into despair sometimes since this Friedman worm appears to be able to add up, string a sentence together and must be past his adolescence by now, so how can he justify the deliberate incitement to mass murder?

I suppose he has the old "If I didn't do it someone else would. It's only really about making a buck at the end of the day anyway" attitude that is common amongst what Galloway likes to refer to as popinjays.

The Cheneys and even the Bushes are understandable if despicable but I have never ever been able to comprehend the motivation of relatively powerless apologists for despots and tyrants.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 28 2005 5:42 utc | 28

I'm afraid it's worse than that Debs. Friedman and his boss, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr, are players in this nightmare.

They are very signiicant players in the neocon cabal and given the once credible organ inherited by Sulzberger, had a very big hand in shaping popular opinion running up to, and now sustaining the war.

Judith Miller of the NYTimes was even more intimately involved day to day with the "work at hand" of the neocon cabal, under Sulzberger's direction. It was a sort of Pinch and Judy show. Pinch is Sulzberger's nickname. His dad used up Punch.

All they have managed to do in the end is to destroy the credibilty of the NYTimes.

That and murder 100,000 Iraqis and 1800 Americans in the war itself. And hundreds of thousands of wounded. And a country (two?) destroyed. And a world poised before total war.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jul 28 2005 6:52 utc | 29

For the record:,16132,1537613,00.html">Brazilian did not wear bulky jacket

Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian shot dead in the head, was not wearing a heavy jacket that might have concealed a bomb, and did not jump the ticket barrier when challenged by armed plainclothes police, his cousin said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with the Metropolitan police, Vivien Figueiredo, 22, said that the first reports of how her 27-year-old cousin had come to be killed in mistake for a suicide bomber on Friday at Stockwell tube station were wrong.

"He used a travel card," she said. "He had no bulky jacket, he was wearing a jeans jacket. But even if he was wearing a bulky jacket that wouldn't be an excuse to kill him."

Posted by: b | Jul 28 2005 6:52 utc | 30

The Brits' cold-blodded murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, on the floor of the train, "looking like a cornered rabbit" was bad. Sad, sad, sad indeed.

The sorry excuses for the murder put up on the BBC's public comments, "have your say", site were much, much worse.

Most were along the lines of "if he ran he must have been guilty". Only lily-white Londoners could say something that stupid. Racism is unleashed in London and given the "OK" as of 7/7, as it has been in the USofA since 9/11.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jul 28 2005 7:13 utc | 31

Speaking of having cache around here, as I believe Slothrop was on another thread, does anyone know anything about Kate Storm??I've been really concerned about her. Occas. I stop in @allspinzone & haven't seen her there either. I miss her contributions & fear the worst - lost job, mortgage, casualty of ec. war, illness....

Posted by: jj | Jul 28 2005 7:14 utc | 32


Remember that no one knows you're a dog on the Internet; there's no telling where those comments are coming from, or what proportion of them reflect the views of Londoners. It's not just the BNP that has an interest in milking racial and ethnic fault lines there.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 8:00 utc | 33

FBI seeks to probe senior Israeli diplomat in Pentagon spy case

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is demanding that Naor Gilon, head of the political department at the Israeli embassy in Washington, be interrogated in connection to the Pentagon spy case.

It is possible the FBI will also want to interrogate other Israeli diplomats in connection with Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin, an Iran expert under investigation for allegedly passing classified documents to Israel via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).....

Posted by: Nugget | Jul 28 2005 8:00 utc | 34

That said, the bland announcement by the Metropolitan Police that the public should expect further mistaken killings of innocent people was chilling.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 8:02 utc | 35

Hastert to Can Patrick Fitzgerald?

Late this evening I got emails from a few readers who told me about a news story on Chicago's Channel 9, WGN-TV which pointed out that Patrick Fitzgerald's term as US Attorney in Chicago is coming up in October and that pressure is building to deny him a reappointment.

Puts a new perspective on Pat Roberts recently announced "investigation."

[Sen. Roberts' spokeswoman Sarah]Little said the Senate committee would also review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been investigating the Plame case for nearly two years.

Is Rove trying to get Roberts and Hastert to do a Saturday Night Massacre for Bush?

Posted by: lonesomeG | Jul 28 2005 13:02 utc | 36

If Fitzgerald can bring out indictments before his term expires we'll have a lot of momentum to impeach the coxsackers.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jul 28 2005 13:56 utc | 37


Posted by: | Jul 28 2005 13:57 utc | 38

Kate Storm stopped in with a couple of posts here or at the spin zone a couple weeks ago jj. I missed any details on why she's been away though.

Thanks for the TPM link LG. Every day the evidence builds and the consensus builds. It looks to me like we are past the tipping point finally and it scares me; these reptiles will cause as much damage as possible on their way out.

Posted by: rapt | Jul 28 2005 15:17 utc | 39


By all appearances, Wal-Mart stands some chance of success.

The store on the outskirts of the city was packed with thousands of people, some of whom had travelled from adjacent provinces to queue for hours, waiting for the outlet's doors to open.

Many looked as if they had just gotten out of bed as they dashed around the brightly lit store in pajamas and flip-flops, arms laden with cans, bottles and plastic shopping bags.

"This is chaos, just utter chaos. I've never seen so many people show up for a store opening and we're struggling to make sure things remain stocked," store assistant Yang Yihua shouted above the cacophony, as shoppers grabbed cans of porridge from her hands before they made it to the shelves.

Posted by: beq | Jul 28 2005 15:20 utc | 40

Looks like British Intelligence also falls under the "one notch less despicable than the terrorists" label.

How dare they ascribe rationalizations to those who would kill civilians.

Posted by: catlady | Jul 28 2005 17:43 utc | 41


I got your posts on both this thread and the "Labour Struggle" thread but it is indeed curious why the dearth of posts.

Is everyone on summer vacation or WHAT'S UP? Yes, I'm shouting. Is there anybody there to hear me?

Posted by: Juannie | Jul 28 2005 18:37 utc | 42

All gone to watch the exodus.

Posted by: beq | Jul 28 2005 19:29 utc | 43

I came across this today: Tom Hayden, SDS founder and Los Angeles state senator, writing about Co-opting The Radical Instinct.

"How do we contain and stop this direct action movement? ... they created a chart. At one end were the radicals ... anybody who understands that globalization is a system. ... Their prescription was to isolate and discredit them ... because they were pointing out that it was a system.
The second group on the spectrum were the idealists ... who want to give the system a chance. They believe in the same social justice values that the radicals do, but ... they don’t have a cold, cynical view that nothing is possible under the system. So, it’s extremely important, the study said, that the idealists don't become radicals.
You have to give the idealists occasional victories in order to keep their hope in the system alive.
Third on this continuum came the pragmatists ... former idealists who’ve won some victories, who start to believe that the system works. So, they said, it’s extremely important for the idealists to have victories — not because of justice, but because that way they become pragmatists. And you want the pragmatists to be able to say: See? The system works. Be pragmatic.
And the final part of the spectrum ... is that you can become an opportunist ... a pragmatist who gets attracted to the money, the glamour, the status, and the power. And then they had a whole workshop on how this could be done. How to discredit the radicals, cultivate the idealists, make them pragmatists, and then find the opportunists among the pragmatists. And there — you have the story of my generation, the 60s generation."

This was written in 2000, I'm interested in any other details of this analysis. Hayden offers no prescription in the article, "I have not found an answer to this problem, but I’m here to tell you it is the problem. And you are its answer."

Posted by: jonku | Jul 28 2005 20:15 utc | 44

Humm, beq,

I've not been around here a lot lately myself as I've been thinking similar thoughts, although around reality based takeovers. Guess it's all a futile effort to try to revive our tribal vestiges. Maybe I just need to keep working on it more right here at home in my familiar community and culture.

Posted by: Juannie | Jul 28 2005 20:43 utc | 45

beq, Juannie,

Looks like Christianity in the United States of America is finally catching up with its more modern cousin.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 20:53 utc | 46

beq, juannie,

Oops. The site I linked above leaves out the minor detail of the The Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 21:16 utc | 48

There are a series of rather long posts over at rigorousintuition, by Emad I think, which relate well to jonku's post above. They go into, in some detail, some of the shenanigans we've seen in the last half century, connecting them to Italy and the Vatican. Like Iluminati taking over the Catholic Church etc etc. Very interesting, especially the contention that the Bushes, I and II were whacked earlier in life and replaced by body doubles, two cousins from the Italian Gelli family.

I would not be so gullible as to recommend this except for the rather obvious but totally unremarked substitution of one of Saddam's doubles for the character who is awaiting trial.

Anyway, take a look and see if it doesn't make some sense in context. This guy Emad seems to have some credibility. Later I might paste a piece of it here but for now scoot on over and see for yourself. Plenty of details on who did what and when.


Posted by: rapt | Jul 28 2005 21:29 utc | 49

rapt: Fascinating.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 21:49 utc | 50

Photoshop alert.

Posted by: Friendly Fire | Jul 28 2005 22:04 utc | 51


Your link to "... ?topicID=22" doesn't work for me. I get an error message that says: "The post you selected no longer exists. It may have been recently deleted."

Are they that hot onto our gig? :-)


It's a small wonder that Twain is still accepted let alone sometimes required reading in the public school system here. If I worked at mind control center I think I would have all his books burned. Hadn't heard of the The Mountain Meadows Massacre before but as horrific as it was it doesn't surprise me nor that it was Mark Twain who publicized it. In high school I was memorized by the just released “Letters from the Earth”. It made my atheism acceptable and respectable to myself.

Posted by: Juannie | Jul 28 2005 22:16 utc | 52

We know that there is no bottom to the depth of depravity the mad Leopold administration will sink but I am becoming more and more repelled by the way US media are reporting the UK bombing murders.

Living in a small country as I do, our information often comes to us second hand.

For some reason our major network has a deal with ABC News (US not Australia) and they have run a number of stories about the murders that were made for US consumption and their tenor is horrifying .

The first story I saw from ABC was made a couple of days after the first bombings and it's 'angle' was that the British had bought the bombings on themselves. Whaa you mean they said that the invasion of Iraq had angered some psychopaths sufficiently to commit murder? No of course not. They argued with virtually no evidence apart from a few 'security experts' opinions that the British tolerance of Islamic people combined with lax security (ie too much emphasis on personal freedom) had provided an environment that not only endangered themselves but also put the US at risk. The last point being the one that was most heavily stressed.
As far as I'm concerned this is akin to the people in the US media who started berating the Spanish people about 'giving in to terrorism' the moment the first Madrid bomb exploded. Not only is it insensitive behaviour toward people in shock and grief, it is self defeating. Poorly informed commentary like this does nothing more than encourage people to stubbornly resist.

A couple of nights ago I flicked across the channels to see what Fox were up to. This particular night the Fox Trots had a "BREAKING NEWS STORY ON LONDON BOMBERS". The Fox 'exclusive' was that one of the second group of psychos had been in receipt of government assistance. The fellow was incapable of keeping his head above water and had got a rent subsidy. Hardly surprising when you think about it, suicide bombers are unlikely to be high functioning individuals capable of negotiating their own way through society, but this wasn't the Fox angle.

The angle was that as long as the Brits encouraged 'hand-outs' they would have suicide bombers and it is their 'fault' for having these lame socialist programs. They even had an interview with some Tory member of the house of Lords, possibly one of Ruperts personal poodles, I dunno. The sub text was that of course if you're going to encourage bludging then the sort of people that bludge will also blow you up at a moment's notice. We are lucky in the US that we don't allow bludgers otherwise we'd have more 'terrarists'.

Anyway this sort of stuff is par for the course on Fox and hardly worth commenting on except it may have the slimy prints of the Rove machine all over it. The story came out very quickly after the Brits found the subsidised apartment in question almost as if someone in the security services was tipping off the US media, since there wasn't anything like as much detail in the couple of minor Brit stories on the subject.

Today's Independent has an article which discusses some aspects of the construction of the bombs the murderers used:

"The confidential Metro-politan Police photographs were shown yesterday on the American television network ABC News. Pictures of the carnage caused by the suicide bomber at King's Cross, in which 27 died, were also broadcast. It is the latest leak to come from the United States and has caused anger among British police and intelligence agencies."

So is this one of the many tasks CIA Director Porter Goss has been placed to oversee? After all destroying a bi-national intelligence relationship is a small price to pay for a couple of pieces of good spin that keeps the sheeple from worrying about agents being 'outed' or whether the Iraq invasion has made things better or worse.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 28 2005 22:45 utc | 53

TalkLeft Tuesday :: July 26, 2005
Alberto Gonazales: Roberts Not Obligated to Follow Roe v. Wade

Posted by: Ray | Jul 28 2005 22:48 utc | 54

The angle was that as long as the Brits encouraged 'hand-outs' they would have suicide bombers and it is their 'fault' for having these lame socialist programs.

I can see that. By cancelling all social programs, we can induce these people to blow themselves up in a blind rage sooner, before they have had an opportunity for detailed study. That will certainly make society safer.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 23:01 utc | 55

Time for me to get back to work now, but meanwhile here is a heartwarming story about a cute little boy that had his face handed back to him by friendly doctors in the United States of America -- and his ungrateful, irrational father who flew into a "tirade" because the nice Americans gave him presents to take home to Baghdad.

You can see why the Democrats didn't oppose Karen's appointment; she will provide lots of opportunities to let those caring Democrats show off their good works to their deeply concerned constituents. Unity. It's so ... oh, it's just ... I'll be back, I have to go for a tissue.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 28 2005 23:26 utc | 56

"I can see that. By cancelling all social programs, we can induce these people to blow themselves up in a blind rage sooner, before they have had an opportunity for detailed study. That will certainly make society safer."

Well, the way we do things in the States is to make the military the only employment/health care program for our lowest classes. That way, when those left with no social options are killing and getting killed, they are at least doing it in a state-approved direction. Brittania is being faulted for having "hand outs" because it keeps the riff-raff from on the streets and off the front lines.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jul 28 2005 23:27 utc | 57

Reviewing events of the last week or so today, I think we're well & truly f---ed. It looks like the Admin. appeased the factions on Wall Street & CFR that wanted their ouster. I fear the only hope is they'll realize this is their chance to get them & if they don't do it now, they really will invade Iran w/consequences beyond imagining.

To appease Wall Street, pls. note that they got the Chinese currency unpegged from the dollar & rammed CAFTA through last night. I'd also said that they'd had it w/the "war on terra" paradigm, and the final straw was when Gelb came back w/the report on the debacle in Iraq followed by BabyBu$h's speech on how he was staying the course. This week we hear that there's no longer a "war on terra" - it's called something else, but that's the beginning of we know not what - and there's yak about reducing troops next yr.

When you put it altogether, the changes are more than merely cosmetic; however, the powerful factions driving toward impeachment, would be foolish to think they have these Totalitarian Apocalyptic Fascists under control, merely 'cuz they've wrung a few concessions from them.

(I'm not including links to these developments, as I trust that the locals are well enough read. I'm just trying here to pull together recent developments & put them in the context of our discussions the past few weeks. Speaking of which, bloggers thoroughly disgraced themselves in not covering 911 events last weekend in Washington. Sadly, they're proving to be a bunch of incredibly well trained seals. I heard a talk by one of the guys today. He's highly recommended by G. Vidal & his talk will be on CSPAN this weekend. He gives the history of "terror" as a political device, dating from it's origins @Conference in Israel in '79 attended by Bu$hDaddy. Had the bloggers been more on top of it, Impeachment would be a lot more hopeful as the popular movement would be building faster.)

Posted by: jj | Jul 28 2005 23:36 utc | 58

Juannie, I just transferred the url from the relevant page on ezboard, which may not work so well.

Go to, click discussion, then forum #2, then go down to Calvi:murder commissioned in Poland. You can then scan thru emad's posts.

Here's one little piece:

RE: Vladimir Putin He is yet another lookalike. The real Vladimir Putin was executed way back in the late 1970s by CIA black ops in the run up to Ronald Reagan's 1980 White House presidential campaign.

All three principal characters today - Bush Jr, Blair and Putin - were 'planted' by a cabal of bent US, UK and mainly Mossad spooks hired by cold war politicians and financiers after the Cuban missile crisis.

I have compiled the entire family tree relating to the Gelli and Freeman crime families which are at the core of this lengthy deception which started immediately after the 1917 Bolshevik uprising and the fall of the House of Romanov. My sources are published material mainly from UK mainstream press, held at the British Library on microfiche. Over 50,000 news items, features and articles going back to circa 1952. Approximately 4,000 hours spent researching, scanning, collating and copying material.

There's a lot more.

Posted by: rapt | Jul 28 2005 23:47 utc | 59

Follow up. Here's a link for more info. on this weekend's CSPAN presentation I mentioned. Political History of Terrorism & 911. His talk today was history of political usage of "terrorism" as well as details of xUS relations w/so-called "terrorist groups". This is the only talk all weekend that CSPAN chose to film. I don't think he's involved w/details of events that may/may not have transpired that day!!!

Posted by: jj | Jul 28 2005 23:51 utc | 60

Rapt, how are we supposed to map that information into anything we can relate to, or is it meant as sci-fi anyway?

Posted by: jj | Jul 28 2005 23:52 utc | 61

Well, the way we do things in the States is to make the military the only employment/health care program for our lowest classes. That way, when those left with no social options are killing and getting killed, they are at least doing it in a state-approved direction.

Cool! Looks like the recruiting officer who signed up Timothy McVeigh needs to get with the program, though.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 29 2005 0:50 utc | 62

I just spotted this in the SMH.

"British officials declined to confirm reports that the suspected mastermind behind the July 7 London suicide bombings was detained in Zambia, as the hunt stepped up for the men who carried out another attack two weeks later.

Reports in the Los Angeles Times and on CNN television came as British police interrogated one of four suspected bombers wanted over last week's botched attempt to repeat the July 7 carnage in London.

The gist appears to be that the Brits are getting close to the heart of the London conspiracy. Unfortunately their attempts to keep it quiet until they round up everyone which is pretty standard in this type of operation are failing. They want to keep the murderers they haven't caught yet in the dark about what is happening but sensitive details keep appearing in the US media.

But that's OK cause the Brits bought it on themselves as in

"Aswat, a British-born Pakistani, is also wanted in the United States over attempts to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon.

CNN quoted US officials as saying Aswat was "in their grasp" one month before the London attacks but British counterparts would not let them detain him.

Now I feel uncomfortable taking the pommie establishment side on anything, but since they have detained numbers of suspected terrorists on extremely specious grounds before, could it be that their reluctance to detain this chap was due at least in part to that well known fly in the ointment 'lack of proof'.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 29 2005 1:41 utc | 63

@fauxreal, @slothrop

it has taken me a while to get back to the interesting subthread from Robust Australopithecus -- the side discussion about Dworkin/MacKinnon and the ethics of the porn/prostitution industry.

first I would say that coining a name like "Macdworkin" to conflate the life work of these two very different femininists (and to reduce that life work to one unsuccessful legislative campaign) to my ear indicates a dissy approach to start with, not likely to lead to productive discussion. it is kind of like starting any discussion about feminist issues with "let's see what the feminazis are saying about XYZ". or perhaps more aptly, a discussion of the Clinton era by referring to Clinton as "Billary". well perhaps less extreme, but the bias is in from the git-go :-)

suggesting that AD's agenda is identical with that of the US Right is either disingenuous, or symptomatic of a failure to read her actual writing; this is often a problem with Dworkin-bashers, who tend to respond to things that AD never actually said or wrote, but which have been attributed to her by her political enemies.

rightwing is the last label I could hang on AD -- she was vilified by the US Right for (among other things) her anti-Likudnik stance (cf the heartfelt essay 'Planting Trees in Israel') and her open support for lesbians (despite her committed relationship of decades with male partner Jon Stoltenberg). her book Right Wing Women remains a classic attempt to describe and understand the mindset that motivates a Phyllis Schlafly (let's say). it was not well received by the subculture she sought to anthropologise. oddly enough AD is/was taken far more seriously as a C20 radical philosopher in France than in her native land the US. she has perhaps an unusual distinction, among US literati, of being hated and badmouthed with almost equal venom by both Left and Right....

a complex figure, and one of the most powerful US literary voices of the last century. she was also admired and read by an unusually mixed audience -- smaller than the army of her detractors, one suspects, and less well funded :-) -- after her recent death a small>memorial web site was installed, and the comments there indicate some of the startling range of her admirers: international, widely diverse in age, and of both genders.


as to the benevolence, harmlessness, or sheer bloody irrelevance of pornography and prostitution to a progressive politics, this>recent API review of a fresh book on the subject suggests reasons to rethink the reflex middle-class liberal American defence of the industry:

The most refreshing thing about Not for Sale is its radical departure from those tired debates about 'dirty pictures' and the 'objectification of women'. What we are seeing in contemporary pornography gives lie to the suggestion we are simply talking about any old images of 'sex'. (Whisnant p 17) Contemporary researchers on pornography inevitably incorporate in their work a focus on international human rights violations. What we are increasingly seeing is the eroticization of all sex crimes: rape, gang rape, harassment, molestation, confinement of women, the sexualisation of childhood, the infantalising of adult women, 'documentary' pornography and the direction of the industry towards the more and more 'extreme'. (Whisnant p 17) There is an increasing 'cruelty of touch'. (Whisnant p 14)


Not for Sale reworks the insistence that pornography and prostitution equate to sexual liberation and progress. Frankly, those who define the sex business as a force of liberation overlook the fact that women and children are prostituted most commonly through violence and poverty. They overlook the life expectancy of sex workers, the average age of induction, the average income of sex workers and, most urgently, their inability to leave their situations. To coerce women and children into this work, to permanently affect their lives in this way, and then to force them on a daily basis to fake enthusiasm, suppress fear and disgust, and to tolerate violence and humiliation to their bodies is no banner for sexual liberation. [...] What freedom means in this case is 'no more than the "freedom" of men to access the bodies of women and children. It's predation redefined as progress'. (Clarke p 169)

Despite this, it remains easy for contemporary consumers of pornography to distance themselves from the harm and the sweatshop that lies just on the other side of the screen. After all, 'women are there because they choose to be'. Perhaps, as some of the sex workers make painfully clear to us in this book, 'voluntary slavery' is a better concept to describe the situation. Female sex workers live in that unsympathetic space between the appearance of choice and the overwhelming, relentless coercion behind that choice. (Farley and Lynne p 113)

the same might be said of the globalised working class (trapped in that netherworld between just enough agency to flee the starving village for the prison-like factory [they 'choose to be there'], yet without the agency or political power to improve conditions in either venue). there are many parallels. much of commercially distributed porno is made under maquiladora conditions, and much of global prostitution is conducted under maquiladora (or worse) conditions. yet the sweatshop aspect of this very large capitalist enterprise is overlooked or excused by many observers who would otherwise be vocal in their criticism of labour abuses, capitalist exploitation, the for-profit commodification of human relations, etc.

in most popular discourse, to critique this rapacious and often abusive transnational industry is immediately to be labelled "anti-sex", which to me seems as absurd as calling people who protest over McDonalds' labour or enviro record "anti-food", or people who protest at GAP stores about sweatshop garment labour "anti-clothes." surely mass produced corporate schlock is not the be-all end-all definition of clothing, food, or sex. but then Monsanto et al does repeatedly slander critics of its GMO skulduggery as "wanting the third world to starve" so I suppose the porn industry's very successful marketing effort to paint its critics as a bunch of dour Puritans is not so surprising.

it is true that the US right has a small echo chamber devoted to "global trafficking," often dedicated to showing how the US official enemy du jour is a notorious trafficking haven (somehow this charge seems never to be levelled by the rightists at allies such as Israel or Saudi, despite the substantial "import business" in trafficked women in both countries). Donna Hughes comes to mind as a highly visible "rightwing feminist" scholar who has published widely on the topic. but to regard the issue as untouchable simply because it has been adopted by a subsection of the US Right is, I think, too squeamish. after all, the US Right gleefully "adopted" the Poor Downtrodden Afghani Woman when it suited their agenda of bombing the hell out Afghanistan; that opportunistic politicking didn't render the Taliban's real abuses of real women any less ghastly or worthy of serious study and opposition (by supporting RAWA and other indigenous resistance groups, for example).

rightwing persons may occasionally get angry about issues that progressive persons also get angry about (torturing small animals is usually frowned upon by the saner elements on both sides, for example, and very few people of either faction can be relied upon to support child molestation as a harmless hobby). as the old Godwin-baiting saying has it, just because Hitler loved his dogs doesn't make all dog lovers Nazis...

Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 29 2005 1:44 utc | 64

Hear Hear DeAnander. I have always assumed that people who adopt 'the porn/prostitution is a legitimate way for women to express themselves and gain economic independence' stance are either very foolish or more likely have little real world experience with the women who are in this industry.

Yeah I'm sure there are a few women who have successfully used this sick industry as a stepping stone to advancement and economic independence but they would be in the minority.

By far the bulk of the people (women and men) I have met who sell themselves as sex playthings are doing so because they lack the self esteem to work at a job that requires skills knowledge and/or they feel unable to relate to other people especially the opposite sex in any way other than sexually.

Both are classic signs of 'victimhood' frequently brought on by abuse from an early age. These humans aren't 'in control' they feel themselves to be inconsequential and buffetted by the currents of life.
Society's attitude towards them is so demeaning that working in the 'sex industry' only serves to reinforce victimhood.

The only real debate should be what is the best way for societies to deal with the sex industry.

Criminalising and censoring the industry probably exacerbates everything since it makes it far more likely that the workers will be further abused by their 'employers' at the same time as the workers feel even more marginalised. Along with that consumers of these services can then rationalise about their 'right' to participate in a 'victimless' pastime.

However just because the workers shouldn't be made criminals, that need not apply to their employer (particularly if they are of a different gender to the workers) or the clients. Where selling one's sexual favours is legal it is far more likely that workers will self identify within the community and Joe Public will get a much better insight into the predicament of the prostitute and hopefully become less inclined to see prostitution as 'harmless'.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 29 2005 3:19 utc | 65

@debs Yeah I'm sure there are a few women who have successfully used this sick industry as a stepping stone to advancement and economic independence but they would be in the minority.

Well as with the garment industry really -- for every Coco Chanel or Laura Ashley there are legions of teenage Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Malaysian women sweating in hellhole FTZ factories for pennies an hour. There's a global aspect to the trade that closely parallels any other extractive industry -- cheap sex tourism for wealthy Western men, for example, or "recreation centres" set up by Western oil/timber/mining companies in 3w countries with local "comfort women" for their workforce. And certainly major tie-ins with US militarism, base ownership, etc.

And then there's the lucrative side effect of the IMF interventions: wherever they crash an economy and throw millions into poverty overnight, piratising and eroding social services, a sudden trove of hungry young women is thrown on the global market, at considerable profit to the mafiyas and other pimps. For example iirc shortly after the fall of the FSU, "Russian girls" were a hot item. They were hungry and desperate, they answered ads for "au pair" and "housemaid" and "escort" positions that turned out to be flypaper; then the usual MO, passports confiscated, earnings docked for "room and board and expenses", the usual company town tactics that would be familiar to any student of sweatshop labour, old TVA mining towns pre-union, etc.

I often suspect that if prostitution were really rendered "harmless" (say, by unionisation, comparable pay scales to other demanding and dirty jobs, OSHA style health and safety regulations, workers' coops instead of bullying pimps or mafia management, genuine prosecution of johns who beat or kill prostitutes rather than the "who cares, she was only a whore anyway" attitude currently prevalent)... that for many men all the fun would go out of it. One of the satisfactions of prostitution, for many of the clientele I suspect, is precisely that the prostitute is despised, marginalised, vulnerable, socially powerless. She can be treated in ways that one would never treat an equal, or a friend, or a lover whom one ever expected to see again, or a wife who could hire a lawyer, etc.

Even a relatively powerless man can know, securely, that someone else is even more vulnerable, even more marginalised, and available for them to do whatever he wants to her (and obliged to smile and pretend she likes it) -- and if he can't afford a US prostitute, he can always go across the border to Mexico where rates are cheaper (kind of like global capital chasing vulnerable cheap labour eh?). You can find web pages out there (I found one by accident once when doing some Cuba-watching) informing potential sex tourists where they can find the cheapest girls this year, the "best deals" -- no surprise, they were in the poorest countries. The invisible hand jerks off, I guess.

I suspect sometimes that ubiquitous porno and prostitution is a very effective (and profitable) way for bully capitalism to placate and disperse the class anger of underpaid, underemployed, insecure men of the working and lower middle class. Perhaps it offers the same social function as the Untouchable caste in India -- a social ranking so low that even the lowest prole can feel superior to it. If that is the case then the institution would crumble (as we now know it) if the social standing of prostitutes were improved and it became "a job like any other". But that of course would require unwiring 3 or more millennia of cultural beliefs about sex, female virtue and vice, body tabus, notions of taint and purity, and the symbolism of male sexual dominance that asserts itself daily in casual utterance. Prostitution will be a respectable, reputable trade the same day that "F**k You" is no longer an insult or a put-down. I ain't holding my breath.

For US liberals, prostitution and porno seem to be rather like military service for wealthy US Rethug war-hawks -- it's a fine, acceptable career for someone else's kid. But not for me or mine.

I once realised that we know everything we need to know about double standards in gender and morality when we consider that "she's such a whore" is an everyday, readily-understood insult, but "he's such a john" is never heard and many people would have to think twice before they figured it out. And of course in our present hyperactive corporate/media culture, pimps are cultural heroes -- and why not, they represent the triumph of the financial transaction and the contractual relationship (the Market) in the most intimate realm of human interaction... how perfect for late capitalism -- the ultimate ueber-Dickensian Boss in the ultimate laissez-faire unregulated market.

Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 29 2005 4:42 utc | 66

jj- bloggers thoroughly disgraced themselves in not covering 911 events last weekend in Washington

yup. it was frustating how much these events were ignored by even the independent media. heard part of peter dale scott's presentation on pacifica and guns & butter will do some shows off the different speakers, but you really had to search for any mention at all of this thing. didn't expect to see mention of it on partisan vehicles like common dreams or buzzflash, but even the indymedia sites and the likes of informationclearinghouse, whatreallyhappened and others didn't carry much if any. nobody wants to touch this w/ a 10ft pole. amazing.

Posted by: b real | Jul 29 2005 5:55 utc | 67

@b real, I heard today specifically that ny indymedia spiked it. Maybe they've been threatened/warned after having been shut down so many times.

Thanks, I'll check guns 'n' butter. Peter Dale Scott is Always worth listening to.

I was surprised - I thght. that since it came from Nat'l Press Club & included a member of BabyBush's admin. '01-02, they'd overcome their usual trained seal behavior.

Posted by: jj | Jul 29 2005 6:11 utc | 68

Monocyclous wrote:

“Independent observers can laud the neocons for how successfully they have exploited the terror mentality, but this is not a tactic that can be utilised indefinitely and still have any impact....

Simply put, we have become a car-alarm culture. When deadly warnings go off ubiquitously, we stop caring about them. Even if someone actually is breaking into a car, who drops everything they are doing when they hear that obnoxious alarm go off? We were more inclined to call the police or intervene because of suspicious noises before suspicious noises became so prevalent. So it is with the war on terra. You can't be terrorised forever, even on days when the colour code is fuschia. It just stops having any meaning.”

Yes and No. People do become inured to danger signals (color code alerts, car alarms, terror warnings, etc.) when they are never followed by the predicted events.

However, the installation of fear, suspicion and hate of others holds. The feeling of diffuse menace leading to a defensive position is easy to instill, and very hard to defuse. Psychologists struggle with people in the grips of these terrifying feelings - even in a situation where both parties (patient and doc) admit the feelings are irrational it is an uphill road, success comes in small steps only. When the entire culture re-inforces the feelings the struggle becomes impossible.

Recently, I have seen educated and reasonable Americans here in Switz. and France show real and irrepressible repulsion and fear of Muslims and Arabs. Women in Arab dress seem particularly horrifying, ‘untouchables’ of some sort, and the men, even when obviously non-menacing, and integrated into their local culture (French-speaking, conventionally dressed, etc.) are seen as potential threats.

I need not fill in the rest..

(I for one am on vacation. It is proving scarily instructive..)

Posted by: Noisette | Jul 29 2005 9:31 utc | 69

DeA wrote:

“I often suspect that if prostitution were really rendered "harmless" (say, by unionisation, comparable pay scales to other demanding and dirty jobs, OSHA style health and safety regulations, workers' coops instead of bullying pimps or mafia management, genuine prosecution of johns who beat or kill prostitutes rather than the "who cares, she was only a whore anyway" attitude currently prevalent)... that for many men all the fun would go out of it.”

The ‘harmless’ situation is what pertains in Switzerland, more or less. (For ‘legal’ prostitutes, not for illegal immigrants, who cannot inscribe for health care or pay taxes, etc.) My judgment (no numbers, sorry, but vague impressions from no. of ads, no of massage parlors, students who now openly admit to earning money as prostitutes, etc. etc.) is that it has increased trade sharply.

DeA is forgetting the men (and increasingly, the women) clients who previously refrained from hiring prostitutes through fear of illegality, fear of the milieu in general (e.g. of pimps, who now no longer exist), of disease, etc. When prostitution is made completely legal and regulated - normalised - it becomes “safe” and respectable for both for the service provider and the client. The usual marketing and rating processes take hold (unionisation, too!), creating a boom...

Posted by: Noisette | Jul 29 2005 9:37 utc | 70

Anyone seen this? Anyone got a comment on LaRouche?

The most compelling evidence of this "Guns of August" plan, LaRouche emphasized in discussions with colleagues, is the pattern of eyewitness reports of Dick Cheney's state of mind. Cheney is living out an American version of "Hitler in the bunker," lashing out at Republican Senators who have dared to resist his mad tirades, accusing anyone who fails to follow his orders—including senior members of the United States Senate—of being "traitors" and worse.

Posted by: DM | Jul 29 2005 10:54 utc | 71

I seem to remember him as a failed conspiracy theorist. He has an entry in wikipedia. For what it's worth.

I wouldn't be surprised if Dick Cheney's nerves were a bit frayed these days. But firing nuclear weapons in anger ... hard to imagine this side of $150 per barrel.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 29 2005 12:00 utc | 72

I've been up all night, so hopefully this will be coherent.


I am really no expert on this subject, and as I said earlier, I've not read up on things for a while, though I have read both Dworkin and MacKinnon, and do not agree with their reasoning. I also disagree with Carolyn Gilligan, or did from the things I read from her earlier (In a Different Voice, for instance.)

My question was: what is the difference in the OUTCOME of Dworkin vs. Dobson's view of the regulation of sexuality. I don't necessarily have an answer. I have lots of questions, and still do, such as the ones mentioned on the earlier thread asking where the laws AD and CM proposed fit for lesbian or gay people who make porn for the same sex, or who view that porn.

fwiw- Slothrop, who tends to support them, called them MacDworkin, but it appears it is a shortcut in common usage.

in addition, there are really two issues here. one is porn and one is prostitution. beyond those two issues, there are definitions. as I said long ago, one person's porn is another person's French billboard.

I have not read your links, but I will later and hopefully have a more thoughtful response. However, when discussing the issue of porn as a free speech issue, that is really not the same as discussing the international sex trade/prostitution, or the direction of porn (and, fwiw, I'm not even a fan of porn, etc. so I find myself in an odd situation of defending something that I don't really have anything to do with, aside from issues of speech...but to me it might be comparable to defending the right of someone to say something I find offensive, like slurs against women, etc.

And, of course, there are questions from history, like Ulysses banned as porn, or Henry Miller's work, or Anais Nin, for that matter.

Debs- My position was not, again, about prostitution or porn as a way to empowerment. Again, my questions concern first amendment issues as well as questions about the basis for the CM and AD argument. These are two distinctly different points.

And, I never took the position that it's a fine career for anyone...and especially not someone's kid. As far as the issue of whore vs john..whore is actually someone who doesn't get paid, right? So that makes the female worse, I suppose, if she doesn't demand some financial payment, whether it's a dowry or a house in the burbs, or lots of golden braclets... or a few hundred for sexual access to a female?

...and again, this totally leaves out the issue of male prostitution.

But language has long denigrated females, as you surely know, in that so many female-identifying words developed deprecating secondary meanings, such as mistress or queen or bitch, etc. While Master, King, etc. generally have not.

Interesting info, Noisette. How long has prostitution been legal in Switz?

And another issue vis a vis porn is drawing, or imagined women (not that porn isn't already imagined...but women who do not actually exist in human form, but exist as an image made from pen or ink, etc.

That brings up another issue, which is not simply about work, but also about depictions. Is it okay to have porn if, say, a female draws an imaginative work and makes money from it, or is that another issue entirely?

Again, I don't claim to know the answers to things, but I do take issue with the statement, for instance, that "normal" sexual relations b/t males and females is not quite as bad as rape, but in society as it exists... (and this ties in to my question above about dowry vs. one-time payment/access.

...I'm sure you remember Shulamith Firestone who posited that males and females could not be equal until babies were gestated in a test tube and, I suppose, fed formula. I don't think her solution was an answer to issues of power relations b/t people, in this case male/female, because, for one thing, giving birth is something desirable to some people, as is nursing, as is being a caretaker for your own child.

In addition, the side issue of her theory now comes into play in the issue of cloning and genetic engineering and all that.

I guess I tend to be more libertarian than anything else in regard to "vice" issues...I also think all drugs should be legal and regulated.

But more important than freedoms to choose or speak, etc. regarding these issues is the fundamental one about economics and a state that strives to avoid a nasty, brutish and short way of life. Who knows what would be at issue if people had a basic level of financial security, health care, and opportunity.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jul 29 2005 12:05 utc | 73

It some obscene hour of the day here as well and I just wanted to assure you I wasn't trying to insinuate that you did argue porn/prostitution is a way to empowerment. My post was more a response to DeAnder's one on the repressive aspects of porn/prostitution.

I am interested to see that you view these quite seperately since the workers in both 'industries' are frequently interchangeable. I have tended to view porn as prostitution by proxy. That is the 'john' isolates him/herself from what he/she perceives to be the seamier side of the business thereby enjoying the benefit of repression/objectification and avoiding the 'dangers'.

I have never considered the written word as porn. It frequently can perpetuate the same underlying ideas as porn but doesn't usually include the use of actual victims.

I also question the morality and efficacy of banning these foul practises. Most societies have criminalised prostitution and as has been already said in here, that just contributes to the marginalisation and disempowerment of prostitutes.

On the other hand I too live in a society where prostitution is legal and have already taken issue with a commercial run on our publicly owned TV network. It shows a young woman in black silk rolling on a bed covered in 50 dollar bills. The voiceover goes something like "Do you want to work part time, night time anytime?"
The commercial comes on late at night in between the ads for exercise equipment and self improvement courses. The TV company argues that this is to protect the young who will be safe in bed at that hour. Maybe in the nice home he/she lives in but out in the real world all sorts of people are watching late night TV. The one thing they have in common is they aren't sleeping often because they are already feeling pretty vulnerable.

So although criminalising this industry hasn't worked, I doubt that de-criminalising will 'fix' it.

As far as the power relationships in allegedly 'non-commercial' human relationships such as marriage goes to me that is a seperate issue.

Humans being what they are it seems that many, many, relationships derive their momentum from an imbalance of power. That is one partner psychologically exploits the other. Yes probably that is the male most often in a traditional heterosexual marriage, but that is by no means always the case. Non-traditional relationships can also get impetus from exploitation.

Perhaps the behavioural evolution of the human will catch up with humanity's societal changes.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 29 2005 13:29 utc | 74

This guy is good !

Over There – Hollywood Joins the War Party
War means never having to say you're a tired, cliché-ridden Hollywood hack
by Justin Raimondo

Barely two minutes into the premiere episode of Over There, Steven Bochco's gritty television series about soldiers fighting in the Iraq war, and already the myth of the "stab in the back" – the nutty idea that we are, somehow, not being allowed to win by pansy generals and public relations hacks – had reared its ugly and all-too-familiar head. The Americans are moving in on a mosque that is chock-full of insurgents, taking fire, while "Sergeant Scream" – AKA Chris Silas, played by Erik Palladino – is bellowing at his troops that he's being kept in Iraq for an extra 90-day stint. All the while they're being pinned down by enemy fire, he's complaining that they aren't allowed to just go in there and blow everyone to smithereens "because al-Jazeera has a reporter in there" and "some general 1,000 miles away" is more concerned with "public relations" than with winning the war.

Sergeant Scream's ranting rages continue throughout episode one, and, one suspects, throughout the series, although we are soon no doubt to be clued in that he really has a heart of gold. This rapid-fire stream of abuse, self-pity, and untrammeled rage is echoed – albeit less harshly – by the rest of the platoon, all freshly recruited to our noble Iraqi enterprise. These people are constantly talking – even as they're blowing apart insurgents, taking enemy fire, slinking through the desert, or just hanging out back at their base. The chatter is incessant, like the sound of cicadas in summer, and always about the same subject: their lives, their troubles, their cliché-ridden histories. What few Iraqis we see are merely stick figures waiting to be mowed down, moving through the garish yellow of the desert like zombies in Night of the Living Dead. This war might as well be taking place in an Arizona trailer park for all the characters seem to be aware of or even faintly curious about their surroundings. It isn't about Iraq, it's all about the Americans – their feelings, their class and ethnic divisions, and their endless narcissistic banter.

Tying it loosely together is an overarching view of soldiering as an inherently noble and valorizing activity, one that is not necessarily tied to country or ideology. The aesthetic quality of military life that brings out the human capacity for teamwork is underscored in the opening battle scene, as the unit sticks together under enemy fire. Yet these are not unthinking automatons: they disobey orders and spontaneously fire back, even though they've been told to hunker down – while Sergeant Screamer faces down his superior officer by protesting orders that contradict the rules of engagement "and common sense," as the Screamer avers. As if the U.S. military, which decimated Fallujah and is systematically leveling the Sunni Triangle, isn't being aggressive enough. Yeah, that's the real problem, isn't it? After all, we've only killed around 100,000 Iraqis so far – what're we waiting for?

Quite a few Iraqis are killed in the first episode, while the Americans suffer a single casualty – a blown-off leg. In the aftermath of the mosque battle – which the Americans suddenly and inexplicably win, even though they start out at an apparent disadvantage – two soldiers are standing over the corpse of an insurgent. Looking down at the fallen Iraqi as if he were a rabbit bagged on a hunt, one says to the other: "Nice shooting."

There isn't much time for character development in the initial episode, but there are premonitions of purest cardboard, overlaid with a thin patina of ethnic and idiosyncratic color. The "nice shooting" remark takes place in a dialogue between the two African-American male characters, the Good Black Male and the Baaaaad Black Brutha. The Good one is a former choirboy who joined the Army out of pique at not having won the National Choirboy Contest – and no, I am not making that up. I only wish I were. The Baaaaad one is rejected by Mr. Choirboy in their first interaction when the former offers the latter a pact of racial solidarity. Choirboy disdains this black nationalist subversion and upholds the multi-culti ideal of the cohesive military unit: we're in the Army now, bud, and we have to stick together as soldiers. This point is made, self-consciously and insistently throughout the first episode, and yet there is, oddly, hardly any interracial dialogue, at least among the male characters. A strange segregation seems to have slipped into the script: the U.S. military, according to the producers of Over There, is rather like a prison or a high school cafeteria, i.e., strictly divided along racial lines.

The interactions among the white kids are similarly hackneyed – and unbelievable. I had to laugh when they introduced Frank "Dim" Dumphy, played by Luke Macfarlane. We are supposed to believe that, having graduated from Cornell University, "Dim" somehow decided to sign up with the U.S. Army as a lowly private. He is the intellectual of the group – you can tell because not only did he go to Cornell, but he also wears glasses, the expensive rimless kind that accentuates the WASPy patrician severity of his face. And those thoughtful, soulful eyes!

Dim Dumphy is clearly meant as the authorial voice, the one who imparts Meaning to it all: the gratuitous sex, the melodramatic gore, the perpetual chatter is given thematic heft by his pretentious maundering. It is Dumphy who, in a video message to the girl back home, gives full expression to Bochco's brand of bullsh*t masquerading as profundity:

"We're monsters, and war is what unmasks us. But there is a kind of honor in it. A kind of grace. I guess if I'm a monster, it's my privilege to be one."

Just like it's an honor to be her husband, he adds, segueing easily into the familiar narcissistic soliloquy: the war has somehow pushed him further along his own personal road to self-fulfillment and a happy marriage. It's a just-war theory that upholds mass murder as a means to self-realization.

Dumphy is an example of that heretofore unknown species, the neocon in uniform. He tells Bo Rider – a fresh-faced, gung-ho blonde mimbo who burbles "I love the Army!" as they're pinned down by insurgent fire – "You're a natural leader. I'm trying to figure out why that is." The condescending tone, the faintly derisive smile, captures perfectly the tone of our neoconservative intellectuals as they valorize the warrior spirit and coldly contemplate its uses.

The climax of the nonexistent plot comes when they decide to go on a highly improbable "beer run" – American boyz boogie in the desert! Cruising down the road, they discover that everybody has a cute nickname. And they all talk about it endlessly. This happy chatter is suddenly shattered, however, when their truck is hit by a tremendous explosion, and the ugly realism of war is brought home to us as the camera closes in on the severed leg of an American casualty, hanging there in mid-air like so much ground chuck.

One is tempted to ask Dumphy: So where's the "grace" in this? Is it "honor" – or just plain horror?

The idea that Hollywood is a bastion of left-wing antiwar sentiment, a pocket of Blue State subversion amid a sea of Red State jingoism, ought to be dispelled by the premiere of this series. The fictionalization of a war that has yet to be concluded – and on television yet – lends itself easily to the suspicion that we are somehow being manipulated into believing this conflict is what it isn't: a winnable fight, an heroic quest, a noble cause betrayed. Over There has some good music, a haunting theme song, is photographed beautifully – and holds out great promise as possibly the most effective war propaganda since Hollywood jumped on the pro-war bandwagon during World War II.

Posted by: DM | Jul 29 2005 13:54 utc | 75

faux: Concerning prostitution, one can’t consider CH as a whole because the Cantons are so autonomous. In the Canton of Geneva, legal prostitution has always existed (since mid 19th cent). Prostitution was (and still is in part) regulated by the police; the prostitutes carried cards, and were subject to various rules, including obligatory ‘sanitary visits.’ At that time, prostitution was more or less confined to ‘maisons de tolerance’ or in French French, ‘maisons closes.’ At the same time, clandestine prostitution flourished, but was not considered a serious problem, as it was carried out by illegal immigrants (for the most part) who could, and most often were, expelled from the Canton, just as occurs today. The activity itself is not illegal, but working without a permit was, and is.

Maison closes were forbidden in 1925. Legislation evolved...the latest frill is that prostitutes must pay VAT.

However, it has often been questioned whether the legalising framework actually helps prostitutes. In Geneva, illegal or clandestine prostitution - some of it very miserable with its human slave trade aspects- is rife. Yet, pimps and other profiteers do have a very hard time of it, and an independent legal prostitute can have a good life.

Obviously, many of the changes over time are the outcome not only of (more) tolerant laws, but also of changing attitudes towards sex (acceptance of homosexuality, a certain chicness to sado-masochism, the thrill of sex exchange clubs, the social acceptance of sex without a relationship, etc.) as well as growing exploitation of all types world-wide linked to economic conditions, globalisation, war, etc.

Here, girls from ex-Yugo sometimes enter packed into trucks like sardines... and some turn up dead from time to time. Other girls come from Brazil, stay for two years, laugh and make a fortune (avoiding VAT and all that nonsense.)

Posted by: Noisette | Jul 29 2005 14:45 utc | 76

Again, as I understand MacKinnon, if sex/desire is the flipside of labor/money in the maintenance of capitalist social relations, then regulation of these resources will transform the mode of producing these social relations.

I'm still reading through all this lit, but haven't figured it all out.

Anyhow, shows just how monstrously difficult it is to create forms of life ungendered. But. I'll tell you, based on dworkin/mackinnon writings, I'm convinced these forms of life exist and are alterable.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 29 2005 15:40 utc | 77

... bloggers thoroughly disgraced themselves in not covering 911 events last weekend in Washington ...

The 9/11 ‘movement’ is stagnating because:

1) No really new evidence has emerged, and the same old ground is being picked over endlessly, with the old hands trying to educate newbies and gather new adherents.

2) The facts themselves (what there is of them!) have become conventionalised and rigidified. For example, the myth of Atta’s passport being found in the WTC wreckage, the fact that some of the perps are alive and well and living in Saudi Arabia, and so on, have become disconnected folklore that can no longer be critically examined, or, more important, fitted into some kind of overall scheme. They serve to feed skeptical attitudes, not more.

What could have been accomplished with these diverse facts, described events, conjectures (the temperature of melting steel, NORAD stand down, Vigilant Guardian, lost black boxes, green Pentalawns, etc. etc.) has been done (e.g. the books by D. R. Griffin) and has accomplished little. The body of the ‘research’ remains stuck in conspiracy land; all of it arguable, refutable, ignorable - disconnected, sloppily argued.

3) Likely, disinfo. and internal quarrels and dissent amongst the various factions (LIHOP, MIHOP, the ‘no plane’ crowd, etc.), as well as the interference of opportunists and cranks, have taken a heavy toll, absorbing energies, muddying the issues, and driving the competent and determined away...

4) The road forward is blocked because new actions and ideas are required. I am certain some people have some but naturally these new ideas, if they are to take hold and lead to coordinated action, must be seen as having a definite, or at least probable, impact or result. They must be expected to ‘work’.

Et c’est la que le bat blesse..

Going beyond saying the Emperor is not quite himself to yelling he has no clothes on would be dangerous. Note that no Gvmt. or official entity or organisation has debunked 9/11. They limit themselves to obliquely expressed doubt (e.g. Saudi Arabia) and smarmy lip service (e.g. France). Enthusiastic supporters (e.g. Blair; Putin after the first shock) are very circumpect and avoid direct, detailed mention, emphasising general aspects (extremism, terror, etc.) The mixture of self-interest, fear and uncertainty as to results of an exposure that keeps Gvmts. quiet gags individuals as well. Add to that, the individuals or citizen groups are powerless, uninformed; moreover, those good ideas are hard to come by.

There, I fear, the matter will rest. I suppose that is what many have concluded, consciously or not.

It has been a long time now; the fact that no outcry arose end 01, mid 02, or even in 03, and that the official investigation was apparently accepted ...well. The mainstream media effectively ...runs the show.

It is to be an open secret, an accepted pretend fact, a conventional ‘as if’.

Posted by: Noisette | Jul 29 2005 15:50 utc | 78

I think I'l take exception to that Noisette.

There are still quite a number of dedicated investigators out there pulling together more evidence. Just today I saw a story of a third credible witness coming forward to confirm that a plan was in the works as early as 1987 to use the bombing of the WTC towers as a way toward world domination. Check Kos for this story.

You must acknowlege that there exists a powerful "invisible" cabal going back a long time which is able to suppress a lot of info; and what doesn't get totally suppressed is minimised in its exposure.

So we have plots within plots within plots and much of the info has been hidden or destroyed. The power of the official agencies is usurped and useless for this enterprise so we are left with underfunded amateurs, who are doing a great job considering the dangers and obstacles.

It won't die out. 9/11 was too much for most sensible citizens to let slide, no matter how long it drags out. If you are waiting for the FBI so suddenly wake up and pursue the leads, it'll never happen. We'll have to watch and see how it develops; I see some very important new stuff coming out every day now. No wonder bushco was in such a hurry to invade before the shit hit the fan.

Posted by: rapt | Jul 29 2005 16:19 utc | 79>OK, it's not super serious. But it kind of made my morning. scroll down to the Update, that is the good part.

Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 29 2005 19:29 utc | 80


Why link to Amazon's site when the give so much to the Republican party?

Link your books to Barnes & Noble; they're bluer!

Posted by: Weave | Jul 29 2005 21:16 utc | 81

Debs- again, I guess it depends on what your definition of porn is. Is the Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee tape porn? What about actresses who undress for Playboy for that porn? What about all the women flashing their...chests at Mardi Gras, as people take pictures...or girls gone wild...which has to be the most annoying thing I've ever seen, fifty times a night, if I'm up late with the tv on as background.

As far as I know, those people are also not involved in prostitution.

Maybe what you're talking about is hardcore porn, vs. the silly playboy video porn with storylines written in service to a sex scene every twelves minutes?

Is something like "A Very Long Engagement Porn?" It features sex scenes, but the story isn't only about those sex scenes.

And, back to the issue of power...what I've wondered so often is how to value traditional female work in the traditional way in a society like America...i.e. by payment. Euro countries have allowances for families, no matter what their income...that would really go over well here (snark). But what sort of protections do women have who use their most prolific earning years doing unpaid labor...or, rather, labor that is paid via a secondary source?

Isn't marriage, the conservatives claim, the most basic institution in society? So why don't they recognize the unpaid labor that women perform...and how can you adequately value those things?

You say these two issues are separate, but I don't see it that way because, as far as I can see, there are no societies that do not separate females from their child-bearing functions, which stem from the same activities that are presented in porn as a variation on that theme...i.e. sex in which children and the responsibility for them magically disappears.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jul 29 2005 22:29 utc | 82

that would societies that separate women from...

and, yes, I think that repression feeds prostitution, esp. in groups like homosexuals, who are not supposed to exist, as far as conservative churches go...

...and how many females just want to get away from their repressive families so badly that they make bad decisions...and some are much worse than others? Or, again, how many females in the sex trade were abused when they were younger, and paid sex is about power/revenge?

I actually know someone who is nominally involved in prostitution. She's disabled and in the course of her job, men who were her clients would ask her for sex. She was really having problems making enough money, and so she took them up on the offer. She has no john, her clients are, as far as I know, fairly everyday men, and she can afford to buy groceries. She's not especially smart, in a book way, but she's not "bad." I've seen her with guys I know, and wonder if... When I first found out about it, my reaction was "eeeeuuuuuuwww."

But it seems like the difference in her situation is the guys don't bother with pretending they're going have any more of relationship than what exists as is. How is she different than those disgusting women who wrote or read that book...forget the name...The Rules? about how to manipulate a man in order to get married?

That's worse, as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jul 29 2005 22:41 utc | 83

I will continue the debate a bit longer primarily because I can't get interested in finding the most obscure quotation to describe US imperialism or worry too much about which brand of comb-over is going to lose to the repugs in Ohio (yeah I'm snarky this morning).
The Pamela Anderson tape is porn (I haven't seen it and have no idea how explicit it is) because it has a real extant victim in Ms Anderson who regardless of her acting abilities was being exploited by a bloke who used his skill at draining the power of another to find fulfilment. This Tommy guy may have been a celebrity within the US but the tape enjoyed circulation around the rest of world where he was strictly the 'aging rocker husband of Ms Anderson'.
There is another even more unsavoury aspect to it. I don't know the details as I really don't keep up on alla that celebrity/PR stuff that fills the airwaves/newstands. There appears to be a possibility that the tape was released by someone close to the aging rocker in a fit of pique at her having the gall to assert some independence. I realise that no-ones relationship let alone one observed thru the filters of gossip can be reduced to she good, he bad, but there is something about Ms Anderson that has the bruised look of a biker's old lady.

The Playboy stuff depends on individual circumstances of each photo shoot I guess. I certainly don't believe the image of the human body can be per se classed as porn. This is why the whole subject of porn can't be easily reduced to a couple of simplistic statements/laws and why we need to be hesitant of any regulation that rings of censorship.

If attitudes toward women in society do change it will be because people within that society have changed their own attitudes and not because they have been forced to change their actions.

Without an extended litany of prostitutes I have met, let me say that the vast majority of 'workers in the sex industry' that I have come across are sad and feel trapped. Of course some of that is due to the condescending attitude the rest of society has towards them, but in most cases the source of their grief goes back way further than when they first decided to allow others to do what they wilt in return for cash.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 29 2005 23:38 utc | 84

Anyway to try to change the debate I came across this in this a.m.'s fishwrap. It's a story about a project by National Geographic to map the migration of human's across the earth by DNA sampling:

The US-based Genographic Project, sponsored by National Geographic, IBM and a family of American philanthropists, aims to spend the next five years mapping the migratory journeys of prehistoric humans by sampling the DNA of 100,000 indigenous volunteers.

The project could be worthwhile if helps people understand exactly how close they are to each other. Unfortunately in the current climate of hostility and mistrust towards the US and its institutions across the world it is unlikely to get off the ground.

The project's Australia/Pacific chief scientist, Robert John Mitchell, is worried that Maori may not participate in the project if their fears cannot be allayed.

The concerns stem from at least two areas of mistrust. Firstly that scientific evidence will be used to denigrate traditional beliefs thereby diminishing indigenous culture. The second concern is that the participants could end up losing ownership of their DNA, certainly a possibilty under current 'intellectual property' law.

Five years ago the same concerns would have been raised and the chances are mediation and compromise to ensure that there was no misuse of data would have resulted in the project going ahead with most people re-assured that any hidden agendas had been defused.

I doubt that will happen now. Nobody feels able to trust undertakings given by any US entity even one as formerly highly regarded as National Geographic.

Another critic who met National Geographic representatives Kim McKay and Sarah Laskin in Auckland, academic Mere Kepa of Auckland University, said she was suspicious of the organisation's motives in sponsoring last month's Maori International Film Festival in Wairoa.

But Ms Laskin said the festival sponsorship was part of a long-standing National Geographic commitment to indigenous film, and had no connection with the project.

Lets face it in the remote possibility that this research did turn up something worth patenting how long would it take for the fix to be put in to a few politicians and any pre existing undertakings were abolished. Sure that might have happened another time but now most people believe that it certainly would happen. So that even indigenous scientists that would normally be the beneficaries of this project are opposed:

Maori experts in biotechnology, including Aroha Mead of Victoria University and Paul Reynolds of Auckland University, doubt Genographic will be able to meet ethical standards or obtain the informed, collective consent of indigenous people.

I wonder how many US citizens know much less care that as anti-americanism has moved from the fringe to the mainstream they have become international pariahs?

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 30 2005 0:21 utc | 85

Demographic stats (perhaps not all are reliable, but it seems unlikely that all are unreliable) bear out Debs' anecdotal evidence of sadness and entrapment.

The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years (M.H. Silbert and A.M. Pines, 1982, "Victimization of street prostitutes, Victimology: An International Journal, 7: 122-133) or 14 years (D.Kelly Weisberg, 1985, Children of the Night: A Study of Adolescent Prostitution, Lexington, Mass, Toronto). Most of these 13 or 14 year old girls were recruited or coerced into prostitution. Others were "traditional wives" without job skills who escaped from or were abandoned by abusive husbands and went into prostitution to support themselves and their children. (Denise Gamache and Evelina Giobbe, Prostitution: Oppression Disguised as Liberation, National Coalition against Domestic Violence, 1990)

Estimates of the prevalence of incest among prostitutes range from 65% to 90%. The Council for Prostitution Alternatives, Portland, Oregon Annual Report in 1991 stated that: 85% of prostitute/clients reported history of sexual abuse in childhood; 70% reported incest. The higher percentages (80%-90%) of reports of incest and childhood sexual assaults of prostitutes come from anecdotal reports and from clinicians working with prostitutes (interviews with Nevada psychologists cited by Patricia Murphy, Making the Connections: women, work, and abuse, 1993, Paul M. Deutsch Press, Orlando, Florida; see also Rita Belton, "Prostitution as Traumatic Reenactment," 1992, International Society for Traumatic Stress Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA M.H. Silbert and A.M. Pines, 1982, "Victimization of street prostitutes," Victimology: An International Journal, 7: 122-133; C. Bagley and L Young, 1987, "Juvenile Prostitution and child sexual abuse: a controlled study," Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, Vol 6: 5-26.)

80% of prostitution survivors at the WHISPER Oral History Project reported that their customers showed them pornography to illustrate the kinds of sexual activities in which they wanted to engage. 52% of the women stated that pornography played a significant role in teaching them what was expected of them as prostitutes. 30% reported that their pimps regularly exposed them to pornography in order to indoctrinate them into an acceptance of the practices depicted. (A facilitator's guide to Prostitution: a matter of violence against women, 1990, WHISPER - Women Hurt in Systems of Prostitution Engaged in Revolt Minneapolis, MN)

90% of prostituted women interviewed by WHISPER had pimps while in prostitution (Evelina Giobbe, 1987, WHISPER Oral History Project, Minneapolis, Minnesota).

"About 80% of women in prostitution have been the victim of a rape. It's hard to talk about this because..the experience of prostitution is just like rape. Prostitutes are raped, on the average, eight to ten times per year. They are the most raped class of women in the history of our planet. " (Susan Kay Hunter and K.C. Reed, July, 1990 "Taking the side of bought and sold rape," speech at National Coalition against Sexual Assault, Washington, D.C. ) Other studies report 68% to 70% of women in prostitution being raped (M Silbert, "Compounding factors in the rape of street prostitutes," in A.W. Burgess, ed., Rape and Sexual Assault II, Garland Publishing, 1988; Melissa Farley and Howard Barkan, "Prostitution, Violence, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder," 1998, Women & Health.)

78% of 55 women who sought help from the Council for Prostitution Alternatives in 1991 reported being raped an average of 16 times a year by pimps, and were raped 33 times a year by johns. (Susan Kay Hunter, Council for Prostitution Alternatives Annual Report, 1991, Portland, Oregon) 85% of prostitutes are raped by pimps. (Council on Prostitution Alternatives, Portland, 1994) [... more ...]>Summary Paper from US anti-rape site, source of the 'Rape Is...' educational video

I find it impossible to draw a neat line between pornography and prostitution -- i.e. to claim that the first is mostly harmless even if the second is often harmlful. If we consider the etymology of the first "p word", it means the writing (or graphic depiction) of whores, or writing about whores. Not just any whores, but the porne class of whores in classical Greece. (porne I am told derives from the verb pernemi, to sell.) Iirc the high-class or 'geisha' prostitute in that era was called hetaira. Hetairae I believe were occasionally literate, certainly influential with their powerful patrons, etc. Porne otoh were the expendable underclass of sexual peonage -- 'cage girls' or 'crib girls' in trad brothel parlance. One way that porne were recruited was via the exposure of unwanted girl babies -- also the children born to porne were fresh material for the brothels, as is the case today in India and other third world economies. I believe the genre starts in the classical Greek era, as "witty" plays written by literate men, claiming to reproduce the talk and antics of porne, as stage buffoons or for satirical impact. How witty they really were I suppose depends on how you feel about minstrel shows -- since women were not allowed to appear on the classical Greek stage and all parts were played by men and boys...

Anyway, I digress as usual... Much of pornography since the invention of photographic reproduction is basically the photography or videotaping of prostitution -- but the loose C19 use of the word, to mean any material with sexual content, has thoroughly confused the issue. There are many categories of "material with sexual content," some do not require the use of live human beings to produce. Some which do involve live human beings are not (to my mind) pornographic because the human beings are not treated as whores in the production.

DH Lawrence's famous novel about Mrs Chatterley's gamekeeper lover was considered pornographic in its day and denounced by the male power structure (the same men, some of them, who patronised the thriving brothels of their time). Yet it was not, by and large, consumed as a commodity item for the stoking of sexual titillation (except perhaps by some disappointed schoolboys). Wouldn't the mindset and intention of the consumer have something to do with definition the function of the cultural material?

Are "sex education" (sexual technique instruction) videos pornographic? Probably not, if the participants are voluntary, adequately paid, uncoerced, etc. So nudity, and explicit portrayal of sexual acts, are not sufficient to make a video pornographic. Is objectification (regarding a human being as an aesthetic object to look at) the same thing as harm? Probably not, if the image being looked at was not produced by harmful means (coercion, deception, etc.) and if the subject being looked at is not posed in a humiliating or demeaning way. [a male psych student at my U did an experiment in which he recruited male volunteer subjects and had them pose (fully clad) in the same postures as "soft porn" models, as accurately as they could. the men reported feelings of embarrassment, anger, and discomfort assuming the "attractive" contortions required of female porn models -- and those were just cheesecake shots.]

But there are many forms of pornography which imho involve harm, and many are inextricably linked to physical prostitution. The images being circulated may be taken without the subject's consent (concealed cameras, etc) thus constituting a gross violation of privacy; or they may have been taken with consent on the understanding that they were a private form of love play, and then sold or posted online without the subject's consent (violation of privacy and betrayal of trust). The images may have been produced using an unwilling or coerced subject, or a subject who was willing uo to a point but was then coerced into doing more extreme or more dangerous things than she had consented to (this is not so uncommon in commercial porn where there is a premium for unprotected sex and actors are under considerable pressure to consent to condomless intercourse). The images may document actual abuse being done to the subject (as with the pornographic collections of Abu Ghraib images collected and traded by US troops in Iraq). The images may be taken using willing subjects and simulated harm, yet be part of a larger pattern of harm such as racism/militarism (cf the "fake Iraqi rape" porno sites which used US porn models in uniforms and burqa for photo shoots allegedly depicting the gang rape of Iraqi women by US troops in a desert setting). The images may be taken of prostitutes in the course of their work, and then sold or distributed to extract extra profit from the operation (which of course is not shared fairly with the workers). The images may be used to blackmail the subject into consenting to prostitution. The images may be used to instruct prostitutes in their duties, or to instruct wives and girlfriends in how to behave more accommodatingly (more like prostitutes).

In general I would hazard a guess that the content of material is pornographic if it celebrates the abuse of power. This covers both the pornographic TB coverage of the bombing of Baghdad, and the oodles of 'genuine live nasty rape footage' available online. Gratuitous rape/battery/torture scenes in conventional film, playing to prurience and voyeurism, might also qualify. This definition would cover the porn (even if soft) which dwells on a prurient fascination with Massa/Slave and Nazi/Jew fantasies, or focusses on the humiliation of Asian, Black, or other non-Caucasian women. As a further guess I would venture that material is pornographic if it used live human beings who, in the course of production, were treated like porne, that is, like second class citizens, people with no rights, people with no control over the uses to which images of their vulnerability will be put, and who receive no fair share of the profit.

Where this leaves such items as Japanese mangaporn, with its endless fascination with the violent rape of big-eyed schoolgirl moppets (but all in cartoon form, no live schoolgirls involved) I am not sure. Cultural taxonomy is always a frustrating endeavour as any lit critic can attest when faced with a really good new novel or play that doesn't fall neatly into the Dewey system :-) At any rate, a definition of "pornographic" other than that which veils the breasts of Justice with a handy curtain, would require thinking about power and abuse, rather than whether nipples are shown on camera or not.

As to "gay porn", I am sure it can celebrate the abuse of power, or not, just as variably as any other cultural material... seems to me the same criteria roughly outlihed above would apply regardless of the genders involved...

Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 30 2005 0:39 utc | 86

Bling. That's the best summary of mackinnon/dworkin you're likely to find anywhere.


Posted by: slothrop | Jul 30 2005 1:10 utc | 87

@slothrop, to whom was that telegraphic thanks directed and for which post? just checking.

... class, power, money, race, gender -- sometimes it seems like a buckyball structure, you can't isolate just one strut or spar and understand the bigger picture....

Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 30 2005 1:18 utc | 88

@sloth forgot to say I don't actually care for MacKinnon's writing all that much... I think the work of e.g. Waring, Wichtericht and similar feminist critics of global corporate capitalism place prost/porn more accurately in the context of labour, commodification, and human rights... actually Bob Jensen at UT is a pretty trenchant critic of the industry and its connections to militarism and colonialism also...

Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 30 2005 1:25 utc | 89


can you whip out a few authors to read? thanks.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 30 2005 2:27 utc | 90

@Slothrop, while reading & understanding are important in context, your understanding would be greatly enhanced if you set aside books a few evenings/wk. & volunteered at yr. local center for abused women. And meet women who've resurrected their lives, getting a job, building self-respect, gaining their independence... Your comment about "petit-bourgeois feminism being a disaster" was one of the most brutally ignorant & misogynist things I've read in a long time. You have no clue, or don't care to have, about women as human beings, as subjects of their own existence. Just reading books about women, safe from the feeling & lives that give any words meaning will just make you sound better, I fear.

Posted by: jj | Jul 30 2005 3:04 utc | 91


We part company w/ any feminism, any ism, that finds its freedom in the exploitation of labor. You demonstrate here what I believe to be a false consciousness of the social relations that contribute mightily to any powerlessness experienced by women, laborers, disabled persons, and so on. Don't lecture me about walking a mile in so and so's shoes. You do not know me, and do not know my experience.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 30 2005 3:19 utc | 92

generally speaking, why is it when a person demonstrates an eagerness to learn by reading, others attack that person for an obvious lack of experience in the "real world"? Where is the proof of such correlation?

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 30 2005 3:22 utc | 93


btw. what makes you so certain I'm a man?

I can tell you, in all seriousness, I am not a man.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 30 2005 3:28 utc | 94


"Yes and No. People do become inured to danger signals (color code alerts, car alarms, terror warnings, etc.) when they are never followed by the predicted events.

However, the installation of fear, suspicion and hate of others holds. The feeling of diffuse menace leading to a defensive position is easy to instill, and very hard to defuse."

You raise a very good point and one that I had not taken into consideration (mostly because it follows that Yoda-esque formula that "fear leads to hate... hate leads to..." et cetera). It might explain the sense of nausea and unease I experience whenever I view certain key political speakers on the news or read about them on the web. The GWOT (I'm sorry... I refuse to use "GSAVE" like an obedient consumer) has not given me a deep-seated, irrational fear of dark skinned people in turbans or burkhas, but it will take years of therapy before I am able to sublimate the paranoid hatred of wealthy politicians I have developed.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jul 30 2005 4:39 utc | 95

I know I don't need to say this because your response when the mega fool came in the other day demonstrated admirably your understanding of the concept that we criticise each others ideas in here and when we do so we aren't criticising the person.

The net being what it is how could it be any different? There is no way that any of us could really know who/what gender/type of person another poster is and why would we want to?

Someone was talking about the Heisenberg principle in here the other day. That is by observing an event, the act of observation can influence that event. I've always considered that Heisenberg flows two ways that is the event effects the observer and for that reason I have come to prefer deduction made upon my own observation rather than someone elses.

But that is just me and it would be unreasonable to expect everyone else to reach that conclusion since there are a myriad reasons for anyone to choose to do anything.
Don't imagine that because you prefer using published sources to advance your arguments in here that the rest of us neccessarily think that is how you live your life or more to the point if you do that you don't have sound reasons for doing so.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 30 2005 4:57 utc | 96

from the Huffington Report -- fairly astonishing Judy Judy Judy story:

Foer cites military and New York Times sources as saying that Miller’s assignment was so sensitive that Don Rumsfeld himself signed off on it. Once embedded, Miller acted as much more than a reporter. Kurtz quotes one military officer as saying that the MET Alpha unit became a “Judith Miller team.” Another officer said that Miller “came in with a plan. She was leading them… She ended up almost hijacking the mission.” A third officer, a senior staffer of the 75th Exploitation Task Force, of which MET Alpha was a part, put it this way: “It’s impossible to exaggerate the impact she had on the mission of this unit, and not for the better.”

What did Miller do to create such an impression? According to Kurtz, she wasn’t afraid to throw her weight around, threatening to write critical stories and complain to her friends in very high places if things didn’t go her way. “Judith,” said an Army officer, “was always issuing threats of either going to the New York Times or to the secretary of defense. There was nothing veiled about that threat.”

In one specific instance, she used her friendship with Major General David Petraeus to force a lower ranking officer to reverse an order she was unhappy about. (Can we stop for a moment and take the full measure of how unbelievable this whole thing is?)

No shit!
The idea of a NYT reporter in Iraq actually, in some degree, calling the shots? Unbelievable, and I've had this suspicion all along about her and her refusal to talk -- that its been more about HER role in via Plame of, if not being one, "then playing one on TV", a government (or CIA) operative with the paper. Not only cranking out the party line, but also, it seems influencing what she was supposidly reporting on .

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 30 2005 6:38 utc | 97

that would be>The Huffington Post (not report.)

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 30 2005 6:43 utc | 98

it is always dangerous to put words into someone else's keyboard -- but I am suspecting that slothrop's comment on the failure of petit-bourgeois feminism may be directed more to the type of feminist discourse that focuses on the number of female CEOs or millionaires. kind of like the notion that Condi represents a great leap forward for Black Americans... not.

there was actually a class-conscious feminism in the US in the 70's -- the publications of the Redstocking Collective come to mind. the second wave movement became quite interested in class -- to the extent of developing a marxist-feminism with a literature of its own, and a great deal of taxonomic enthusiasm for determining exactly what class everyone in any discussion group belonged to :-) some of the marxist-feminist thinkers had been marxist radicals in the 60's, who split with the male-dominated "established radical Left" due to frustration with the clueless misogyny of the young men running that scene...

the feminism of the 70's was also, at its more radical fringes, connected to anti-imperialist and anticapitalist movements; it declared solidarity with S American liberation movements and opposed US/CIA interventions, etc. one of the most startling feminist documents of the decade was "Born in Flames," a radical indie film about feminist culture jammers and saboteurs taking down a national television network (among other things). Flo Kennedy has a marvelous character role. the film is a reminder of the degree to which anti-racism, solidarity with liberation struggles, class consciousness, a kind of Situationism, etc. were cross-pollinating with US feminism at the time and were integrated rather than treated as reductionist separate issues... it's an astonishing document.

then what happened? Hayden I think tells part of the story. the Reagan years happened. feminists -- like gays and lesbians -- made significant advances, sufficient to offer the tempting option of assimilation and reconciliation with "the system" (i.e. with the worst abuses ameliorated or at least the appearance of amelioration, the urgency of radical action becomes obvious to fewer and fewer people as comfort levels rise)... radical ideas were toned down and made acceptable to bureaucrats, liberals, Democrats :-) protective and health services for women that had started out as grassroots, spontaneous efforts became professionalised, government-funded, etc. there's always dilution when the mainstream manages to swallow a small dose of social change. I think papers have been written about this inevitable process, as radical ideas are assimilated into the larger society and scaled down or tamed in the process. the end result is some degree of progress for the society as a whole, but also the loss and marginalisation of the original ideas and their promoters, who are often ridiculed after the fact by those who have had the benefit of the institutionalised ameliorations... thus a majority of Americans can ridicule "commies" and "unions" while enjoying the weekend, the 40 hour week, and other rights which were only won by desperate struggle by unions and communists :-) and young women who have the right to be heard and examined by a female police officer and female doctor after a rape, can talk with scorn about the "old fashioned feminists" who won that minimal decency after considerable struggle...

Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 30 2005 7:02 utc | 99

@anna_missed -- remember T E Lawrence and Gertrude Bell swanning around in Mesopotamia when the Brits were unsuccessfully trying to maintain a colonial presence in the mid 'teens? this Miller story sounds strangely reminiscent.

Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 30 2005 7:03 utc | 100

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