Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 24, 2005

Open Thread 05-75

News, views, opinions ...

Posted by b on July 24, 2005 at 6:39 UTC | Permalink


Rumbo's boys may not have built crematoria - that we know of...yet - but in other ways they're Worse Than Nazis:

Another successful landmark has been reached in our occupation of Iraq: The World Monuments Fund has just placed the country on its list of the Earth's 100 most endangered sites. ("Widespread looting, military occupation, artillery fire, vandalism, and other acts of violence are devastating Iraq, long considered the cradle of human civilization.") This is the first time that the Fund has ever put a whole nation on its list and so represents a singular accomplishment for the Bush administration, which knew not -- and cared less -- what it wrought.

The destruction began as Baghdad fell. Words disappeared instantly. They simply blinked off the screen of Iraqi history, many of them forever. First, there was the looting of the National Museum. That took care of some of the earliest words on clay, including, possibly, cuneiform tablets with missing parts of the epic of Gilgamesh. Soon after, the great libraries and archives of the capital went up in flames and books, letters, government documents, ancient Korans, religious manuscripts, stretching back centuries -- all those things not pressed into clay, or etched on stone, or engraved on metal, just words on that most precious and perishable of all commonplaces, paper -- vanished forever. What we're talking about, of course, is the flesh of history. And it was no less a victim of the American invasion -- of the Bush administration's lack of attention to, its lack of any sense of the value of what Iraq held (other than oil) -- than the Iraqi people. All of this has been, in that grim phrase created by the Pentagon, "collateral damage."

Worse yet, the looting of antiquity, words and objects, not only never ended but seems to have accelerated. From well organized gangs of grave robbers to American engineers building bases to American soldiers taking souvenirs, the ancient inheritance not just of Iraqis but of all of us has simply headed south. According to Reuters, more than 1,000 Iraqi objects of antiquity have been confiscated at American airports; priceless cylinder seals are evidently selling on-line at eBay for a few hundred dollars apiece; and this represents just the tiniest fraction of what's gone. The process is not only unending, but in the chaos that is America's Iraq beyond counting or assessing accurately.


I put this up there w/exploding the Atom as another Major Signpost that we're approaching self-obliteration. I'm not even sure that we have grasped the forces in our psyche that it has unleashed.

Posted by: jj | Jul 24 2005 7:26 utc | 1

If nothing else, the desecration allowed to take place in Iraq, through willful ignorance, or active participation --- will live in perpertuity as the face of the American hegemon. In that it encompasses the full and exact sociopathic taboo meaning of the expletive the world knows all to well as -- motherfucker.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 24 2005 9:06 utc | 2

On a slightly more pedestrian tack, I recently attended a talk by Mac Destler of the School of Public Policy in the University of Maryland. One of the points he made was that an important factor driving the radicalization and polarization of US politics has been the ten-yearly boundary battles brought on by the redistricting requirements imposed by the Supreme Court. The end result of repeated compromise over time has been that most seats have come to be safe seats. As a result, few candidates feel threatened in the general election; their worry is rather that they may be unseated in the primary. The base, therefore, becomes increasingly important to candidates in both parties, leading to a far more extreme polarization of views in Congress than one finds among people on the street.

If this is right, then we have an engine creating the incentives for ever more pronounced polarization that is driving media and the game plans of media masters, rather than the other way around.

I don't much like where the logic of this leads. In the event that the system "recovers" (i.e. all expectations are violated and the Democrats recover some measure of political participation), there will still be very strong pressures to set up a common enemy that gives the nutty fringe on both sides of the aisle an excuse to act together.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 24 2005 10:24 utc | 3

jal ja

such is the thoroughggoing brutality of this system that a milem can post whaat are essentially obscenities without a second thought

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 24 2005 11:49 utc | 4

i have just two words for mark l & any one of his number

wake up

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 24 2005 11:54 utc | 5

Thanks for that jj, I'll be posting that link in the Today in Iraq blog tomorrow.

Hang your heads in shame.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jul 24 2005 13:58 utc | 6

for the murder of innocents - u s imperialism must & will pay dearly

for what has happened to our cultural resource in iraq they can never be forgiven - & in its nature not so very different from what the taleban did to bouddhas - only the scale & the depth of the profanation differs

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 24 2005 14:32 utc | 7

I can't even start to tell you how I feel lately being hardly able to absorb all the bad news around the globe and in Australia...
It's all so bad that makes me depressed to the point where I feel need to avoid facing reality...and I try not to watch TV but those news, they are coming from everywhere.
Can't even start to explain all my fears and anxiety... really am hardly coping and all tho I felt similar way living under Milosevic I always felt I have exit ...I can go west and feel free and alive and relevant again...I don't have any choice now.
I don't want to live anywhere where people can be prosecuted and deported for “verbal crime” … and where people can be prosecuted for their "criminal" thoughts...Stalinism comes to mind. They will not have to deport me I’ll leave my self if they manage to legislate these “ offenses”.
62% of Australians believe that police and equivalent of CIA (Asio) should be given additional (or clearly what ever they need) power. It was hard to listen to some viewer's letters tonight on TV...Basically pure racism, chauvinism, nationalism...clearly hatred that they spread trough TV openly now...I can only imagine how Muslims feel because I feel terrible being a white Christian.
I still hope that I'll just wake up from this nightmare.
But I already had that hope before...

Posted by: vbo | Jul 24 2005 14:58 utc | 8

We can be thankful for>low casualty #s tis month.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 24 2005 15:25 utc | 9


Posted by: slothrop | Jul 24 2005 15:28 utc | 10

hang in there vbo. solidarity and all that. be strong, don't let the bedbugs bite.

Posted by: annie | Jul 24 2005 15:56 utc | 11

Aesop's Melancholia

Well, we're back to pick up one last load of "stuff",
and then leave for Neo SouthEast for good. The
Huntsville area is very and real anglo, but
has the IT jobs. Sure beats living in El Segundo!

No sooner had we got back, and rounded up the
pets from our friends, than the robins started in
shrieking like Bill O'Reilly. The cat came trotting
around the corner with a baby bird in its mouth.
I grabbed it away, soothed it in my hand with a
caring touch, then it opened its eyes, looked in
mine, wide-gaped open its mouth and peeped.
Oh great!. So we rummaged around under the
compost for worms, figured how to stuff them
down its gullet, gave it a drop of water, then it
fell fast asleep in my hand. Little sweetheart.

The robins were still screaming, and here comes
the cat again with another chick. I had to chase it
down this time, and corner it with a broom to get
the thing away. It slunk off with a malevolent look,
like Condi Rice on a bad heir-to-the-throne day.
I started to worry, now I've got two more mouths
to feed, and two screaming parents. I'm feeling
tense. No sooner had that regret filled my head
than the bird opened its eyes, looked at mine,
and then went limp. Oh great, now I have guilt!

Eventually I got the surviving bird back in the nest,
which the parents had built too small for two birds
after all. Then moments later, packing the U-Haul,
here comes the crows, attracted by all the ruckus.
One galumped down off its perch, scooped up the
surviving chick by the head, and flew off, distraught
robin parents in hot pursuit. One of those days!

So much for the sparrows and the lilies of the field
and a helping hand, when the Dark Lord's about.

We'd packed for no more than a half-hour when our
youngest came around the corner, "The oscar isn't
moving!" Our prize fish, as big as your hand, and I'd
forgotten to locate the air pump in all the boxes when
I'd seen it gulping air. But then there were the chicks,
the cat, the kids, making lunch, packing a ton of stuff.
So now the oscar's dead of neglect, like the people
of Dafur, still waiting for the $10,000M George Bush
promised Africa when he tried to sleeze Kofi Annan's
UN buyoff for the invasion. And Kofi fell for it. Cripes!
Just how does Colin Powell sleep at night, anyway?

Last night, we're crowded around the little 13" TV
while I made macaroni and salad. Our dachshund
puppy starts screaming outside. Here this huge
racoon bandit, searching for blood in this drought,
has puppy by the face, dragging it off! It's go time!
The youngest grabbed the racoon, which freaked
it out, (and sure freaked me out (!), then I grabbed
the puppy (and the youngest) and we ran back in
the house, while the racoon tore up the bushes
like Cheney when he couldn't get his EPA passed.

The poor thing was chewed up and bleeding from
the eyes and nose, going limp fast. Somehow we
kept it alive, cuddling it all night long, and today it's
laying with a head swoll up the size of a grapefruit.
Hope puppy makes it through this.

All of which is just my final ad hominem, a passion
play if you will, no moral really, except to keep those
you care for close, and try to enlarge your circle of
hope, because the Homeland Defense crows are
watching in the trees, and the racoon bandits on
Capitol Hill are tearing up America we once knew.
Lose interest, get distracted, ignore your chores,
forget to care, even for a *moment* ... they got you.
And if they get their hooks in you, you're gone, baby!


Posted by: tante aime | Jul 24 2005 17:49 utc | 12

tante aime,

me neither, sure nice to have you around.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 24 2005 18:28 utc | 13

Congratulations to Lance Armstong!

Posted by: b | Jul 24 2005 19:06 utc | 14

Far be it for me to be negative, but I'm sick of "Lance." I know the positives: cancer survivor. But, he and Nike have also used the disease to sell tennis shoes. You'd think cancer is an attitude, dude.

Also, he and his team have helped to turn cycling from a sport into an event. Forget about the kind of riders we will never see again: Merckx, of course, jalabert, kelly, etc.--all season cyclists. Armstrong is a creature of his time, to be sure. Why ride all season when you can make 30+ mill riding the tour?

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 24 2005 19:19 utc | 15

@Slothrop, couldn't agree more. It's not even sport or contest anymore, it's a Purely Commercial Spectacle. I poked about a bit last yr. after his record breaking ride to see if it was more than meets the eye, or perhaps less. I concluded the latter.

Looking just @this yr. the race was largely handed to Lance again. Ivan Basso, who's only a few mins. behind him in 2nd place, was required to ride Giro d'Italia. Announcers said next yr. he'll be set up to win & won't be required to do so. So, he comes in tired out, while Lance & Co. spent the time practicing out on the course. Who do you think is going to win.

Remember the riders may look like individuals, but they are Employees of the Oligarch on their jersey. They have to follow the orders of the Sporting Director who tells them if they can breakaway, go for a win etc. I expect that both the Tour & the Euro Oligarchs figured they'd maximize their profits by building up American following, so they'd ride the Lance trail as long as possible.

I'm not saying Lance isn't a first-rate rider, but it's not even remotely a level playing field. You cannot begin to compare him to Tiger Woods or Roger Federer - the greatest male ever to play tennis & currently #1 - or Mickey Mantle, or the legendary cyclists of Tour history. Tiger & Roger play on a level field, while the previous cyclists rode the entire circuit w/out a car following & telling them they needed to increase their pedalling cadence to win. Those guys were on their own & each were as tired as their fellow riders.

For starters you have to look at the budgets & who rode what. I found a chart last yr. where someone calculated money spent/victory. US Postal was at the bottom of the list 'cuz Lance only really competed in France. It wasn't until this yr. that they ruled that teams had to compete in ~every race, but still doesn't require that cyclists compete in each, or even min. number.

Then I asked myself what the hell is US Postal? That's the US gov. Then I realized it was a US assault on a sacred French tradition, pure & simple. They aren't even participating in the same race as others essentially. Commercial entities hire racers for exposure, to promote business. They have limited budgets. US Postal can & does spend whatever it wants to accomplish it's mission. It can hire the best riders to help Lance; rather than hiring one or two top riders to compete in a few breakaways for corporate exposure. It can hire the best engineers, designers etc. in each area of concern to reduce seconds here, there, wherever.

And then there's the minor matter of Lance himself. He's so thoroughly dislikeable that finally the Guardian noted in recent art. that he's vindictive & very bitter. And Lance's drug use is so well known even Wikipedia has the story of Lance threatening a rider during the tour, Simeoni, who revealed that Lance worked w/the guru of hiding drug use in cycling. Simeoni was subsequently not hired by any company. Lance gives these companies precious exposure & they don't want the cash cow disturbed. From an article I found yesterday from AFP it may be that Lance's drug use sets the tone for the Tour requiring others to do it to have any hope of keeping up. The thoughts of known clean riders here are very interesting. These guys do very well in the other races they ride, but they cannot keep up in Lance's Tour.

As for going in to politics - he's a brutal narcissistic bastard & apparently can't stand not being the center of attention for very long. He'll fit right in w/the Fascists. Suffering is what he does best, so he'll have no trouble inflicting it on others. Hopefully, we'll be spared that, as cyclists often drop dead very young from heart attacks from all the drugs required by the overly long macho races.

Posted by: jj | Jul 24 2005 20:12 utc | 16

Well I know that "capitalism is bad" is enough for some people, but this note on Kos is as interesting to me as Jerome's assertion that the catastrophic French investment in nuclear power was a good accounting decision.

Posted by: citizen k | Jul 24 2005 22:02 utc | 17

JJ: the tour itself is quite cool, but an odd culture. The injury rate among cyclists is appalling - apparently the scent of roasted flesh is common when someone hits the asphalt at 60Kmh. And the bitter edge of competition draws out people with something to prove: Lance was abandoned by his father at an early age, but supposedly this is such a common story among the top cyclists that it is not considered worth mentioning. Nobody dominates a major sport like that without being obsessive about winning at any cost.

Posted by: citizen k | Jul 24 2005 22:08 utc | 18

@Citizen K, I was not criticizing bicycle racing, or the riders themselves so much as trying to puncture the Huge Myth they're trying to build of Lance's victories being perhaps the greatest sporting triumph, possibly ever. And secondly, I think the Tour has been seriously compromised by allowing corporations to reduce bike racers to means of boosting their name recognition. This needs to be looked at. I remain to be convinced that Lance wasn't allowed to win so many because the Tour discovered the cash cow of the American market, so there was a disincentive for a European companies to build a top flight team. This was the first year any effort was made in that direction & it was pretty minimal.

Thanks for your insight into the racers. I didn't know that, though from observing Lance, it seemed the 2 most important criteria were genetically mutant huge lung capacity & an endless capacity to suffer. In Lance's bk. he apparently says something to the effect that racing masked/offset his inner pain. I thought that was very sad & wondered if seeing a therapist might not be a better solution.

Personally, it pisses me off that Lance was so arrogant that he refused to retired & leave the honors for most wins to Europeans. Bicycle racing has deep roots in French culture, growing out of the culture of rural boys growing up & competing against one another to prove themselves. In America car racing prob. has some of the same meaning, but bike racing has no meaning to us. Just more ugly Americanism to me.

Posted by: jj | Jul 24 2005 23:01 utc | 19

Why should zose Franch have rights to the tour? How about all them Dominicans and Cubans dominating in the US national leagues when baseball has such deep roots in rural American culture. Did you feel offended when when Olajuwan and Manute Bol and Dikembe Mutombo were humiliating American basketball players. Would you be annoyed if a Nigerian or Chinese or Cuban was winning? And of course, bike racing has a lot of meaning to some americans and it's a very safe bet that Lance was not worried about National Glory.

Posted by: citizen k | Jul 25 2005 0:49 utc | 20

Reading about Lance and le Tour, reminds me of the fabulous Triplets of Belleville with the doggedly depressed thighbound cyclists and overbearingly grosses américaines.

Posted by: catlady | Jul 25 2005 1:10 utc | 21

Gidday all. I seem to have vented the bile sufficiently yesterday to even feel benevolent towards Lance Armstrong. I'm sure he's probably not a nice person and like over-achievers everywhere is driven by forces that he has no insight into. My respect for him isn't that he's a self proclaimed cancer survivor, because who knows what that's all about and for every person Lance's stern imprecations will have assisted they will be many more whose last days on this life will have been filled with the self loathing and despair that comes from believing yourself to be a 'failure'.
Actually the reason I respect him appears to be the same reason that a lot of people appear to dislike him. That is he consistently won the Tour de France. From this perspective looking back it seems that the organisers like it when Armstrong wins because it raises the profile of their event (and thus tv ratings and advertising revenue).
Tour de France officials only came to theis view after Armstrong had won repeatedly, prior to that non-French nationals competing in the tour frequently complained of the chauvanism of race administrators and team officials. In fact if I remember correctly the reason Lance put together the US Postal team was that he was consistently made to step aside to allow a 'French' victory when he was a member of a European team.
Yes he probably did win it too many times, and the drug allegations are quite probably correct as well but at the start of it all he showed a dedication, self belief and effort that few others have managed in any chosen pursuit.

The worst news from the Armstrong camp is that he is sounding out his potential for a future in politics. Men of Lance Armstrong's ilk, that is dedicated and successful self helpers are usually found in the 'dog eat dog and devil take the hindmost' section of the library of personality disorders so he is likely to to want to be the next repug Prez outta Texas.

All things being equal he won't make it past Assembleyman and will while away his days agitating for privatisation of the local water supply (I betcha he has some good connections with certain french
corporations ).

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 25 2005 2:09 utc | 22

The BBC reports 'Police leaders say they will not abandon their "shoot-to-kill" policy and warn more innocent people could be killed in the fight against terrorism.'

So its official. It takes a terrorist state to fight terrorism.

Better put England on the list of states in which you are likely to murdered by state-sponsored terrorists.

Witnesses said that Jean Charles de Menezes looked like a scared rabbit as his assassin pumped five bullets into his head and back.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jul 25 2005 2:29 utc | 23

Thoughts on Lance: He was a complete asshole in his earlier career, a constant whiner and outsider who was shunned by most of the pelaton for his lack of grace and unwillingness to follow cycling's etiquette. I think facing his own mortality truly changed him although it took a few years for him to change his ways.

As for drugs, he probably did no more or less than the average professional. He always had above average capacity and intelligence.
He has done significant amounts of charity work, both for cancer patients and encouraging young people to get involved in cycling. It's hard to say what is the person, the package or the PR org. behind him, but he's about as real as one can expect in this day and age. For people who need sports heroes, better Lance than a Mantle or a Earnhart.

I think the key reason for his success is pain tolerance. If you look at cyclists that are able to come back after severe injuries, it seems that the pain of pushing through a hard ride probably pales compared to the pain suffered in acccidents, etc. Jalabert broke his face, Pantani his leg, Meuseeuw's gangrene- all made surprising comebacks.

Indurain's reign was pretty boring too. Lance will probably end up a Hank Aaron to Eddy Merckx's Babe Ruth, in the books but not in most people's minds.

Next year should be much more interesting.

Posted by: biklett | Jul 25 2005 2:54 utc | 24

Toms Dispatch has picked up one of the details in the arrest warrants issued by Italy for US CIA operatives involved in extraordinarily rendering a cleric from Milan to Egypt for torture.

"The CIA agents took rooms in Milan's 5-star hotels, including the Principe di Savoia ("one of the world's most luxuriously appointed hotels") where they rang up $42,000 in expenses; the Westin Palace, the Milan Hilton, and the Star Hotel Rosa as well as similar places in the seaside resort of La Spezia and in Florence, running up cumulative hotel bills of $144,984."

This apparently doesn't include meals. After flying the captive to Egypt in a Gulfstream V the agents took some R&R in Tuscany and Venice - all at US taxpayer expense.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I guess if you are involved in kidnapping, torture, violation of international treaties and subverting congressional oversight; who's going to quibble about some expense overruns.

Posted by: PeeDee | Jul 25 2005 3:06 utc | 25

Can anyone imagine the Feds stepping forward to take responsiblity for gunning down a Brazilian in cold blood like the Brits just did? In your dreams. By now Fox would have trashed him, his family, Brazil, and soccer worldwide. There would be a three-quarter time dancing boycot to support our men in blue and camo.

Posted by: Malcolm | Jul 25 2005 4:17 utc | 26

Conservative Hipocrasy explained part 57:

Since the London murders most anti-Iraqi slaughter and colonisation people have been deliberately circumspect about crying I told you so or in anyway attempting to use this tragedy to advance their argument. Some would say that newspapers such as the Independent or politicians like the UK Liberal Democrats (heheh how long would a party last with that name in the US) have ben so circumspect they appear to have moved into support of the massacres and torture in Iraq.
Despite that the mildest attempt to query any connection between bombings and Iraq, has resulted in a sound tongue lashing from Bliar or Straw or somesuch. Anyway raising this issue is regarded as being beneath contempt for trying to politicise the death of 'innocents'.

But when we look over into the warmongering way of the world what do we see?
This issue is being used by the murderers and torturers to advance their cause. Blair has been doing a Rudy Guiliano and using these deaths to increase his popularity with the electorate .

Even worse, bastions of human rights such as Alberto Gonzales have been using this tragedy to excuse the introduction of draconian and repressive laws. All in the name of liberty of course. As Gylangirl says elsewhere vomiting is the only way to purge this poison.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 25 2005 5:04 utc | 27

Joe Wilson's neighbor writes in USA Today: A neighbor's view of Valerie Wilson's 'outing'

Posted by: b | Jul 25 2005 7:45 utc | 28

If someone has such a faulty memory, should he be able to become a Supreme Court judge?

Roberts Listed in Federalist Society '97-98 Directory

Roberts has burnished his legal image carefully. When news organizations have reported his membership in the society, he or others speaking on his behalf have sought corrections. Last week, the White House told news organizations that had reported his membership in the group that he had no memory of belonging. The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Associated Press printed corrections.

Over the weekend, The Post obtained a copy of the Federalist Society Lawyers' Division Leadership Directory, 1997-1998. It lists Roberts, then a partner at the law firm Hogan & Hartson, as a member of the steering committee of the organization's Washington chapter and includes his firm's address and telephone number.

Yesterday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Roberts "has no recollection of being a member of the Federalist Society, or its steering committee." Roberts has acknowledged taking part in some Federalist Society activities, Perino said.

Posted by: b | Jul 25 2005 8:11 utc | 29

Rebuilding Iraqi agriculture; read it and weep.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jul 25 2005 14:34 utc | 30

for the past five days the heat index in this part of the us has hit at least 105 degrees F. my thermometer yesterday showed an air temp of 107 so the heat index was probably 115 or more. today's forecast calls for an air temp of 103 this afternoon. if other parts of the country are also getting hit w/ this, it should lead to a more popular critical opposition to bushCo's criminal disregard of global warming/climate change, given an effective movement linking the weather trends over the past years & political/big oil forces to ignore reality. the recent g8 strong-arming of the us to water down international action is only obvious reminder that this administration is working against the interests of humanity. and why not try to pin this whole global warming thing on bush anyway... the heat makes people do crazy things. 'twould be nice to have that energy shaped & aimed in a productive direction.

Posted by: b real | Jul 25 2005 15:15 utc | 31

Blair's really LOOKING GOOD

Posted by: Groucho | Jul 25 2005 19:03 utc | 32

Mob Rule in London: Five Shots to the Head for Fashion Mistake

So here's what happened. Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, a man from Brazil, working in London as an electrician, walks out of an apartment building that the police were casing as part of a terrorist investigation. The cops don't like the look of his bulky coat, so they come after him. But these are not uniformed officers strolling up to ask him some questions – it's a gang of up to 20 armed undercover agents in plain clothes coming toward him, the BBC reports. That's right; a foreigner living in London sees a mob of 20 men coming at him, shouting at him to stop, telling him they are the police. What if they're not the police? What if they're a gang of yobs, rightwing hooligans looking to stomp some convenient foreigner? What should he do, what's the best course of action in this situation? He only has a second or two to decide. [Yes, the very same rationale later offered incessantly for the officers' actions in the shooting.] He decides:...

Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque analyzes the story of a man who took a walk at the wrong time.

Posted by: citizen | Jul 25 2005 21:17 utc | 33

Tom's Dispatch has a thought provoking article by Rebecca Solnit on how we can see a victory as a defeat because of the complexities of the real world.

On the face of it the contention is easy to accept. The world is a complex place and it is unrealistic to expect complete vindication of your position following negotiated settlement.

But I hesitate to give blanket approval to compromise not because compromise is in itself bad but because so often we have seen the spineless bouffainted main chancers that pose as our people's representatives use compromise to excuse inaction.

On the other hand one of the reason's I loathed negotiating with the bosses when I was a "people's representative" in the union movement was because those union activists contemptuously referred to as "The Trots" by the paid union officials just couldn't accept anything less than complete victory when it came to a final result. In other words if I went with the union fundies I would never get a result because in the end the bosses' representatives are people too and if you don't give them something they can take home as a partial victory, they won't go home. Nothing is ever resolved except the members get the s...s and toss in the towel.

For a while I managed to follow my conscience/beliefs and managed to stay unaligned with either faction but able to work with either. That couldn't last of couse and predictably I had both sets of unionists treating me with contempt. Somehow I managed to maintain the support of those who had selected me to represent them but that became a bit superfluous as it was impossible for me to get anything done. No one would work with me. Eventually the members would recognise the folly in supporting a political eunuch, no matter how 'sincere' he appeared.

So what is the solution to this dilemma? Take a side and become a silver tongued pragmatist that always gets a 'good result' even if the outcome isn't so good. Or should our representatives stick to their guns come hell or high water and risk getting no result at all?

Neither. People should avoid being represented by idealogues or professionals. We badly need a system of representation where the representatives are only in position as long as they are effective for their 'voters' and where the method of selection is fair and open without being a popularity contest.

I have 'run for office' in several distinct stages of my life and have come to realise that the desire to be selected for office is as aberrant the need to feel in control of others lives. Running for election is a very seductive way of eliciting approval from those around us. It is more subtle than asking someone if they like your haircut but success is a far more concrete affirmation.

Yep that may just be my problem and others may run for other reasons. I haven't found that to be the case. The first time I ran for office was early in my life in student politics and I'm sad to say I don't remember any of my colleagues as being well adjusted. They all had some sort of personality disorder which IMHO rendered them incapable of making sensible decisions. Most of them have gone on to be successful in politics and business and when I bump into them I can't help but notice that nothing has changed except that they have become rather more proficient at concealing their hang ups.

The next time I became involved which was much later, was in union politics and the only thing that had changed was that I noticed the prescence of another group, the ones called "The Trots". They didn't run for office to seek approval from others. Quite the reverse in fact. I suspect they ran in the secret desire to elicit rejection from those around them, to confirm their self hatred (Ralph Nader or Howard Dean?). They always seemed content when they had lost and discomforted by victory.

I have had a couple of other attempts over the years at 'community activism' and learned that it's mostly the same except that the closer to the roots of the decision one is, the less likely it is that hubris or angst will effect the outcome and the less 'terms' one is selected for the more likely it is the representative will carefully weigh the consequences of any decision and consider the impact of those consequences on those one represents as the most important issue.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 26 2005 1:40 utc | 34

Lost ya on that last sentence debs i d. Otherwise an entertaining post.

Posted by: rapt | Jul 26 2005 2:07 utc | 35

propaganda is hard work -
Pentagon Repeats Quote In Separate Car Bombing Statements

Following are the two quotes as provided by the U.S. military in news releases:

Sunday's news release said: "'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified."

The July 13 news release said: "'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. 'They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.'"
-- cnn

Posted by: b real | Jul 26 2005 14:44 utc | 36

Shades of identical "astroturf" [grassroots] pro-war letters from GI's to their hometown newspapers, often without the knowledge of the GI. Not surprised that Pentagon did it again. But surprised that CNN reported it.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jul 26 2005 18:50 utc | 37

a daydream indeed

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 26 2005 19:37 utc | 38

Now that the Shuttle is up, people are up in super patriotic mood again. Why isn´t anyone looking at costs. The russions do the same load to orbit for a tenth of the cost.

Posted by: b | Jul 26 2005 21:54 utc | 39

A little link for you, Bernhard:


Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 1:41 utc | 40

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