Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 28, 2006

Fresh OT

Niews & views ...

Posted by b on February 28, 2006 at 20:23 UTC | Permalink


Professor Mark LeVine writes:

If the US thought that by generating enough chaos in Iraq it could dig itself in so deeply that Iraqis would eventually stop trying to push it out, the attack on the Golden Mosque reminds us that the wages of chaos are steep indeed. The Bush administration's Israeli-inspired application of chaos theory in Iraq could well wind up spelling the end not just of a united Iraq, but of the Bush administration's imperial ambitions as well.

Unless, of course, splitting up Iraq has been the long-range goal all along, as some administration critics have argued since the buildup to the invasion.

Perhaps the most frightening idea is that Iraq is going exactly as Vice President Dick Cheney, former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of the hardcore neo-realpoliticians hoped it would. While such a scenario is indeed hard to imagine, one thing is for sure: the worse things get, the more money the oil, defense and heavy-industry companies, whose profits have soared thanks to the violence, will grow.

Iraq might take down Bush, but in the process it will make ExxonMobil, Halliburton and others richer than ever.

Posted by: b | Feb 28 2006 20:30 utc | 1

Helena Cobban is in Palestine now. Check here reports

Before Oslo-- even at the height of the first intifada-- Palestinians could come and go between East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank fairly easily, could come and go between Jerusalem and Gaza fairly easily. Actually, during nearly the whole of that first intifada, 1987-93, East Jerusalem was the bubbling hub of the intifada's entire nationwide organizing effort.

But then immediately after Oslo the Israeli campaign to strangle Jerusalem off from the rest of the West Bank really got underway in earnest. I was there in 1995 and saw the process near its beginning. Poor old Faisal Husseini, the late leader of the Jerusalem Palestinian community, an extremely decent and hard-pressed man, was tearing his hair out in frustration... Not only because of what he saw the Israelis doing every day there befoire his eyes but also because of his sense that Yasser Arafat really didn't have a clue about what was happening to Palestinian Jerusalem. (One of the things that was happeninbg was that much of the land owned by Jerusalem's historic Husseini family, of which Faisal was the heir, had been designated by the Israelis as a "nature zone" area, so first of all Faisal's family was forbidden to build anything on it, and then the Israeli government expropriated it completely. Just a few years after that, guess what, the "nature zone" designation was lifted and an entire settlement for ultra-Orthdox Jews was built on it. So much for protecting the environment, eh?)

Posted by: b | Feb 28 2006 20:51 utc | 2

Unless, of course, splitting up Iraq has been the long-range goal all along, as some administration critics have argued since the buildup to the invasion.

Perhaps the most frightening idea is that Iraq is going exactly as Vice President Dick Cheney, former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of the hardcore neo-realpoliticians hoped it would. While such a scenario is indeed hard to imagine, one thing is for sure: the worse things get, the more money the oil, defense and heavy-industry companies, whose profits have soared thanks to the violence, will grow.

Iraq might take down Bush, but in the process it will make ExxonMobil, Halliburton and others richer than ever.

BINGO! Expressing the unexpressable. Despite the fact that it is well documented in neo-con and PNAC writings.

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 28 2006 21:00 utc | 3

"Despite the fact that it is well documented in neo-con and PNAC writings."

Yes, I mention this to people and yet I am considered a conspiracy theorist. I tell them to think that if they will, but know that on the 'conspirators' laid out much of what is happening now years sgo and in the document called "Rebuilding America's Defenses" on page 51, the PNAC signataries (many of whom are in and around the current administration) admit that their plans wouldn't likely come to fruition without some catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbour.

The only comment in reply was "Oooh, you read all the way to page 51, I'm surprised"

People don't seem to care or can't cope with the thought that all governments do bad things

Posted by: gmac | Feb 28 2006 21:28 utc | 4

It's too frightening

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 28 2006 21:34 utc | 5

Larry Johnson says Iraq is now in a civil war.

He is right. Sad.

Posted by: b | Feb 28 2006 21:34 utc | 6

Addiction leads to perdition. It doesn't matter what the addiction. Drugs, Alchohol,sex, money or power or as Bush stipulates *oil*. Trouble is: it can't be stopped by outside intervention. It has to come from within. Until the 'addict' realizes the error in direction, there will be no change. It has to be worth more to quit the addiction and find a better way. Hopefully before the 'bottom' is reached. This administration may bottom out along with various greed motivated 'think tanks' but eventually the futility of freedom from 'rules and regulations' regarding capital will prove untenable.

Posted by: pb | Feb 28 2006 22:09 utc | 7


Posted by: Groucho | Feb 28 2006 22:57 utc | 8

I don't mean to brag, but I predicted here months ago Iraq was headed to civil war, breaking up into three areas backed by three different factions. The US will back the Kurds, the Syrians (Saudis also) the Sunni, and the Iranians the Shia while being co-oped by the US. The US is only interest in southern and northern Iraq because thats where the oil is.

This whole things has Bushie in a free fall and all the Dems need to do is watch. Throw a little fit about UAE and how Bushie is weak on port security and selling out national security for commerse and wah la, this falls campaign. With Bushie at 34% approval what more do the Dems need to do?

Posted by: jdp | Feb 28 2006 23:01 utc | 9

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their governments…governments should be afraid of their people.”

V for Vendetta may be--why hedge? is--the most subversive cinematic deed of the Bush-Blair era, a dagger poised in midair. Unlike the other movies dubbed “controversial” (Fahrenheit 9-11, The Passion, Munich, Syriana), it doesn’t play to a particular constituency or polarized culture bloc, it’s working on a deeper, Edger Allen Poe-ish witch’s brew substrata of pop myth.

Wolcott's review makes out this movie to be something to see.

this angry, summoning Tom Paine moral dispatch that puts our pundits, politicians, and cable news hosts to shame. V for Vendetta instills force into the very essence of four-letter words like hate, love, and (especially) fear, and releases that force like a fist. Off come the masks, and the faces are revealed.

Posted by: citizen | Feb 28 2006 23:57 utc | 10



Posted by: Groucho | Mar 1 2006 0:17 utc | 11

excellent analysis & writing re: the American Character ( four pt series).

Walking into the Iran Trap


Posted by: hanshan | Mar 1 2006 0:38 utc | 12

errr - 6 part (links embedded)

"Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments...and of being bored and repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity."

Walking into the Iran Trap


Posted by: hanshan | Mar 1 2006 0:50 utc | 13

citizen- V for Vendetta was the first "fantasy graphic novel" I read that really had an effect on me. (Maus was something else entirely.) The Watchman, Moore's big deal, couldn't match V for Vendetta to me, because of its female protagonist and because its "solution" to fascism is so disturbing, as Wolcott notes, to people who want to think we can work things out. I loved it/hated it...but loved it more. That was many years ago.

After Bush took office, I re-read the book with an entirely different mind. (As Wolcott notes, its premise is that a fascist govt took over G.B. back when Maggie was snuggling up to Ronnie.) It scared me in a different way. dont' know where the movie sets the story.

beq and I have been talking about graphic novels some lately. I've read Satrap's "Persepolis" vols. (2), and David B.'s "Epileptic" and things by Seth, from Canada, and I was wondering if the heavy black ink of the three of them is considered a "french style" of graphic novels, unlike, say, Chris Ware or Joe Sacco's comic journalism.

Does anyone here (or in France) know about "The Association?" Do the various comix writers have a similar style?

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 1 2006 0:58 utc | 14


lupin,mr & ms are the experts on that as they write produce & publish graphic novels, i think

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 1 2006 2:12 utc | 15

Jeez, Groucho.... It won't be safe to walk the dog then.

Posted by: gylangirl | Mar 1 2006 2:53 utc | 16

fauxreal! cool

Posted by: annie | Mar 1 2006 3:29 utc | 17

I'm not sure Iraq is in a Civil War, but I've always been certain that xUS elites have to try like hell to foment one - otherwise how to justify their continued presence...supposing all was well & peaceful - that'd be an xAm. elite nightmare; and, they have to prevent Iraqis from coalescing around a demand that xUS forces withdraw.

Speaking of which, I consider this an even more impt. article - and we definitely know who is behind this:

In a letter to a friend in Europe, Abdul Razaq al-Na'as, a Baghdad university professor in his 50s, grieved for his killed friends and colleagues. His letter concluded: "I wonder who is next!" He was. On January 28 al-Na'as drove from his office at Baghdad University. Two cars blocked his, and gunmen opened fire, killing him instantly.

Al-Na'as is not the first academic to be killed in the mayhem of the "new Iraq". Hundreds of academics and scientists have met this fate since the March 2003 invasion. Baghdad universities alone have mourned the killing of over 80 members of staff. The minister of education stated recently that during 2005, 296 members of education staff were killed and 133 wounded.

Not one of these crimes has been investigated by the occupation forces or the interim governments. They leave that to international humanitarian groups and anti-war organisations. Among them is the Brussels Tribunal on Iraq, which has compiled a list to persuade the UN special rapporteur on summary executions to investigate the issue; they do so with the help of Iraqi academics, who risk their lives in the process. Their research shows that the victims have been men and women from all over Iraq, from different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds. Most were vocally opposed to the occupation. For the most part, they were killed in a fashion that suggests cold-blooded assassination. No one has claimed responsibility.
Like many Iraqis, I believe these killings are politically motivated and connected to the occupying forces' failure to gain any significant social support in the country. For the occupation's aims to be fulfilled, independent minds have to be eradicated. We feel that we are witnessing a deliberate attempt to destroy intellectual life in Iraq.

Death of a Professor

Posted by: jj | Mar 1 2006 3:45 utc | 18

More dirt under our fingernails, eh, jj.

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 1 2006 3:59 utc | 19

So glad to hear from you again.

Persepolis was the first book I read that made the Iranian Revolution make some kind of human sense. I knew Marjane had another one coming, but hadn't realized she'd already done it.

Just wondering, this is not a graphic novel, but it felt almost like a whole new genre to me: have you read Lynda Barry's Cruddy?

Is this "The Association" you're looking for?

Posted by: citizen | Mar 1 2006 4:02 utc | 20

From Groucho's Zogby link:

Almost 90% think war is retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9/11, most don’t blame Iraqi public for insurgent attacks

Now, how hard would it be to explain to the troops that the Chimperor himself said on numerous times, THAT THERE WAS NO CONNECTION. I guess our military leaders are quite cognizant of what would happen to morale if our troops weren't intentionally brainwashed.

I guess our most salient freedom is the freedom to be ignorant.

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 1 2006 4:09 utc | 21

citizen- this is L'Association I'm talking about. But publishers weekly doesn't really say much about the style itself in relation to other's does say they were "underground" --but that's in relation to Asterix and Tintin (aka Kuifje)

just stopping by to ask a question from the many multi-talented folks here. I'm loving what I'm doing, but it's taking up lots of my time.

r'giap- I thought of you the other day when I saw Lo'Jo on community tv --a tape of when they were here in 02. I love "Jah Das Kool Boy." --esp. the version they did for the concert in the Sahara with Django. --but this was a local live performance recording. I hope they come back here soon.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 1 2006 4:20 utc | 22

Professor Mark LeVine kyped his analysis from earlier writings on the British Mandate of Iraq under Sir Percy Cox, so I'll kype mine from Wiki.

When Iraqi nationalists' League of the Islamic Awakening and Muslim National League were formed, beginning the Great Iraqi Revolution, the British responded by creating a neo royalty, a militia to support that royalty, and a national plebicite that could only return in their favor.

Thirty long years passed.

Americans, of course, overthrew the royalty, installed their own general (Saddam), built up his militia into an army capable of crushing all opposition, and everything was hunky-dory for the American's collective conscious, until Kuwait.

Ahh, Kuwait. What the heck was that about? The Americans found they could work both against the middle, supplying the Kuwaitis with horizontal drilling equipment to steal Iraqi oil from across the border, while they (and the other Persian Gulf royals) pushed Saddam to attack Iran before fundamentalism had re-established itself, using forged agriculture subsidies back-channeled into US, English, German and Russia bio-chemicals.

Oh, beautiful for spacious lies. Saddam woke up.

He kicked Kuwaiti ass, burned a daisy-chain of oil derricks that were lining the Iraq-Kuwait border (didn't you ever wonder why??), and in return got his ass kicked firmly back in place,
launching Colin Powell's brief ignominious fame.

Statis. Gnosis. Total lockdown for ten years.
500,000 innocent Iraqis died from US sanctions, about the number of folks displaced by Katrina.

9/11. Boom.

Then comes George W. Bush, ta-da!, a US economy in free-fall (look it up), the world's bankers screaming (look it up), stock markets crashing (look it up), royals screaming (oil fell all the way to $12), until Dick Cheney had a brain fart.

"Start a small war!"

The rest has been hashed and rehashed ad nauseum.

Give the Iraqis their Great Iraqi Revolution! If history is any guide, they'll come crawling back to the West for high technology and financing, just about the time Peak Oil needs them to. If they don't, Canada will have picked up the slack.

And it won't cost you, or me, a g-ddamn thing.

This war isn't about Iraqi, it's about Lucre.
“It is a wofull thyng ... ffor lucre of goode ... A man to fals his othe." And failing his oath, George Bush should be indicted and impeached.

The UAE deal will just add onto his sentence.

Posted by: Larry Ellison | Mar 1 2006 6:11 utc | 23

Marketing lecture: Microsoft designs the Ipod package

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2006 7:06 utc | 24

I dunno if this has showed up here yet, as I haven't been able to scan all the comments thanks to new employment, but the Stop Me Before I Vote Again website Uncle $cam linked to some time back dug up this gem.

Why Mommy is a Democrat

The tagline is:

Kids want to know...
Kids need to know...
It's up to you to tell them...
A different kind of children's book.

And it's only $8, for hour after hour of sadly ironic enjoyment.

Posted by: Rowan | Mar 1 2006 8:40 utc | 25

Guantanamo Force-Feeding Tactics Are Called Torture

Lawyers for a captive at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say their client was tortured to coerce him into abandoning a lengthy hunger strike, and they contend that tactics used to force-feed detainees explicitly violate a new federal law that bars cruel or degrading treatment of people in U.S. custody.
The new procedures were instituted in early January. They include strapping detainees to a chair, forcing a tube down their throats, feeding them large quantities of liquid nutrients and water, and leaving them in the chair for as long as two hours to keep them from purging the food, according to detainee accounts and military officials. Detainees told their attorneys that the tactics, first reported last month in the New York Times, caused them to urinate and defecate on themselves and that the insertion and removal of the feeding tube was painful.

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2006 9:06 utc | 26

Creating "terrorists": Terror Jury Hears Informer's Urging

An FBI informer was heard repeatedly encouraging a terrorism suspect to attend an al-Qaeda training camp in secretly recorded conversations read to jurors Tuesday. The conversations raised questions about whether Hamid Hayat, 23, intended to train as a terrorist and return to the United States to carry out attacks, as federal prosecutors claim.

Hayat, a U.S. citizen, is charged with lying about attending an al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan and providing material support to terrorists. If convicted, he could be sentenced to as long as 39 years in prison.

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2006 9:08 utc | 27

Surely Americans will not put up with this censorship ?!

We always thought that it was a piece of work that needed to be seen in the US. Created from the journals and emails of American activist Rachel Corrie, telling of her journey from her adolescent life in Seattle, Washington, to her death under a bulldozer in Gaza at the age of 23, we considered it, in a sense, to be an American story, which would have a particular relevance for audiences in Rachel's home country. After all, she had made her journey to the Middle East in order "to meet the people who are on the receiving end of our [American] tax dollars", and she was a killed by a US-made bulldozer.

But last week the New York Theatre Workshop cancelled the production - or, in their words, "postponed it indefinitely". The political climate, we were told, had changed dramatically since the play was booked. As James Nicola, the theatre's artistic director, said yesterday: "In our pre-production planning and our talking around and listening in our communities in New York, what we heard was that after Ariel Sharon's illness and the election of Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections, we had a very edgy situation." Rachel was to be censored for political reasons.

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2006 9:18 utc | 28

Democrats Vow Not To Give Up Hopelessness

Posted by: correlator | Mar 1 2006 17:24 utc | 29

News in the U.S.:

Federal Government further de-funds critical thinking, rules to give college aid money to online, for-profit colleges.

Courts edge closer to ruling that First Amendment is dead, because fiction authors should never be allowed to use history, not if the history book is still under copyright. Now that's a neat trick for stifling debate.
Don't think that The DaVinci Code case could possibly bury a Constitutional Amendment under commerce clauses? Remember, the U.S. buried the 2000 election there.

In Chicago,
The Fraternal Order of Police is protesting the almost-complete process of renaming a street to honor Fred Hampton.

The street name proposal has infuriated Fraternal Order of Police president Mark Donahue, who called it a "dark day" in the city's history "when we honor someone who would advocate killing policemen."

No comment from Mr. Donohue on how to honor people killed in their beds by police.

And in Paris, fashion designers promoting fear of women

Posted by: citizen | Mar 1 2006 18:07 utc | 30

There’s a precedent.

Billy C and the Prince of Darkness (Wesley Clark), with the help of the EU, NATO, specially Germany, managed to break up Yugoslavia into impotent statelets, to take over the industry, ressources, corridors there, etc.

No problem. Off the radar. Milosevic has green claws. Serbs and ethnic hate put paid to that place.

::: Too sad. What can you do. Tyranny must die, democracy must live. Bomb! Kaboom! :::

Clinton, and after him Bush, have been very very quiet - deathly silent - about their support for Muslim revolutionaries (mostly Bosnians) who either started that ball rolling or were the convenient patsies.

I guess Bushie-boy was jealous. Up the ante!

Iraq was bigger, more troublesome, and the stakes were just that much higher. Although invading it had been prepared for for a long time, actually going into action mode is a weighty decision.

Don’t forget, Gulf War I was paid for mostly by Japan and the EU. The US hardly shelled out at all, though it now has to deal with the veterans. (DU, Anthrax vaccinations, etc.)

Iraq, different story. At that point in time (say early 2002), in view of commercial interests, the general geo-political situation, the EU and Japan as well, partly following, and using as an excuse their populations, opted out. (Subtract Bliar, Poland, Australia... ) They made secret moves to support, or offered public but merely symbolic aid. Holland, Ireland, Germany, perhaps Denmark, did work secretly. Tentative, playing both sides against the middle. The disaster was plain to predict, no matter what the long term US plans were.

Everyone was wary. Yugo was a tin pot place, isolated, and previously dependent both on Russia and the West, easy to knock down; Iraq has oil and is placed slap bang in the middle of the Great Game Region. The logistics are (were) entirely different. Opinions diverged. Infighting took place. Saddam was really a friend of the West. And so on.

Posted by: Noisette | Mar 1 2006 18:29 utc | 31

Gulf War Veteran Gets Placebos Instead Of Real Medicine

"She told me there was this new drug out that would really help me with all of my physical conditions, and my pain. She really wanted me to try it," said Woods.

But when the pill provided no relief, Woods did some research and learned that Obecalp isn't a medicine at all, but a sugar pill. He was shocked to learn the word "obecalp" is placebo spelled backward.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 1 2006 18:57 utc | 32

The Patriot Act - Judge says it's not just for terrorism anymore

Posted by: citizen | Mar 1 2006 19:17 utc | 33

incest is a family value

Posted by: citizen | Mar 1 2006 19:23 utc | 34

wayne madsen has a long piece on dubai, bushCo (& cronies), AQ, and viktor bout today (march 1st). where's HKOL to help sort this all out?

Posted by: b real | Mar 1 2006 19:24 utc | 35

Yikes! get all those copies of Slaughterhouse Five off the shelves.

I tell you, the news is getting scarier and scarier.
Nice post, Noisette.

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 1 2006 19:43 utc | 36

robert mcchesney critiques The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America: David Horowitz and the Attack on Independent Thought

Horowitz’s mission is clear: to attack critical work in the academy, especially critical work that does not restrict itself to the classroom, but sees intellectuals as having a necessary public role. Visible public outreach is A-OK for Milton Friedman, Stephan Thernstrom, the neo-conservative crowd, and denizens of the right, but strictly off-limits for liberals and the left.

For these reasons I would imagine that principled conservatives will run from this book faster than they would run away from a line-up for a voluntary IRS audit. But the book is important and requires a response that goes beyond pointing out its sloppiness and incoherence; we need to put what Horowitz is doing in a broader context. In my view, the best way to make sense of the book and what it represents is to see it as part of the broad attack on the autonomy and integrity of institutions and individuals who conduct independent and critical thought. It is this type of independent and uncorrupted inquiry – work that is not under the thumb of powerful political or commercial interests -- that is mandatory if viable self-government is to succeed. The space for this type of inquiry has to be fought for and preserved, and it is always considered with a certain amount of suspicion by those in power, who prefer minimal public interference with their exercise of power.

Posted by: b real | Mar 1 2006 19:53 utc | 37

background music to the current crisis:

Oil prodduction in Iraq has been cut to around 50% of pre-war levels
for the last 4 months.

Fuel and gasoline are now in severe shortage, particularly in Baghdad. Turkey and Saudi-Arabia have stopped exports into Iraq for non-payment, Kuwait is threatening to do the same.>LINK>The General Union of Oil Employees of Basra recently had a one day strike to protest non-payment of wages, working conditions and neglect by the Oil Ministry. They have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the privitization of Iraqi oil. This union did mnot exist before the US invasion, it now has 25,000 members.

The domestic price of gasoline and fuel oil has been tripled to secure conditions for IMF loans to the new Iraqi government.

Long term>Production Sharing Agreements are currently being negotiated between the yet unformed new Iraqi government and western oil interests.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 1 2006 19:55 utc | 38

whoops, wrong thread, should be on the iraq one. maybe i should just go to work.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 1 2006 20:01 utc | 39

Harpers Editor on Bush: The Case for Impeachment

We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal—known to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child's tricycle. Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2006 20:58 utc | 40

Can someone explain to me a 95-4 vote for the renewal of the patriot act? Why would 40 some Dems yea on this? If your vote doesn´t matter, why not vote no and get a bit of credibility?

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2006 22:06 utc | 41

Pedophilia and Repression of the Press in Mexico: The Power of Corruption and the Corruption of Power

Last year, a journalist in Cancun—a Mayan word for “nest of serpents”—uncovered and wrote about an international ring of pedophilia. The leader, Jean Succar, was subsequently arrested and is in jail in the state of Arizona, awaiting extradition.

In her book, The Demons of Eden, the courageous journalist, Lydia Cacho, mentions a close friend of Succar's—Kamel Nacif—the owner of a string of textile plants in the central Mexican state of Puebla.

Nacif is a wealthy and powerful man; his connections with political figures from Mexico's former ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, go way back and have served him well. Known as the “King of Denim,” his mistreatment of textile factory workers and abuse of power in the region have been denounced repeatedly but without affecting either his influence or his fortune.

A series of taped phone conversations delivered to the Mexican daily La Jornada reveal that Nacif, who is actively supporting Succar's defense, plotted to get revenge on the journalist who cracked the child sex and pornography ring. By pulling strings with friends that included the governor and attorney general of the state of Puebla, the judge, and the owner of business concessions within the state prison, Nacif had Cacho arrested in Cancun for defamation of character and sent to prison in Puebla. According to Cacho and other testimonies, her arrest and transport violated basic human rights. The tapes indicate that to further punish the audacity of the journalist, arrangements had been made to have her raped in jail—a fate she narrowly escaped.

Posted by: b real | Mar 1 2006 23:12 utc | 42

Its called triangulation, or the single party state. The dems are actually running to the RIGHT of the Republicans on 'national security.' You know, Bush didn't run the war right, we can kill more efficiently.

Chipping away at individual rights has been a bi-partisan elite concensus for some time. Remember, the Dems had no problem with Ashcroft, of Gonzales. The 'unitary executive' was employed by Clinton too.

According to the ACLU, extraordinary rendition traces its origins to the Clinton Administration.

This article by Merlin Chowkwanyun and Joshua Frank traces more civil rights abuses to Clinton, Feinstein, and other Dems.

But most damning is this 1996 essay by civil libertarian and Village Voice columnist (and father of an old friend of mine who became a circus acrobat) Nat Hentoff from Talk Left:

There have been American presidents to whom the Constitution has been a nuisance to be overruled by any means necessary. In 1798, only seven years after the Bill of Rights was ratified, John Adams triumphantly led Congress in the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, which imprisoned a number of journalists and others for bringing the president or Congress into "contempt or disrepute." So much for the First Amendment.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln actually suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Alleged constitutional guarantees of peaceful dissent were swept away during the First World War -- with the approval of Woodrow Wilson. For example, there were more than 1,900 prosecutions for anti-war books, newspaper articles, pamphlets and speeches. And Richard Nixon seemed to regard the Bill of Rights as primarily a devilish source of aid to his enemy. No American president, however, has done so much damage to constitutional liberties as Bill Clinton -- often with the consent of Republicans in Congress. But it has been Clinton who had the power and the will to seriously weaken our binding document in ways that were almost entirely ignored by the electorate and the press during the campaign.

Unlike Lincoln, for example, Clinton did a lot more than temporarily suspend habeas corpus. One of his bills that has been enacted into law guts the rights that Thomas Jefferson insisted be included in the Constitution. A state prisoner on death row now has only a year to petition a federal court to review the constitutionality of his trial or sentence. In many previous cases of prisoners eventually freed after years of waiting to be executed, proof of their innocence has been discovered long after the present one year limit.

Moreover, the Clinton administration is -- as the ACLU's Laura Murphy recently told the National Law Journal -- "the most wire-tap-friendly administration in history."

And Clinton ordered the Justice Department to appeal a unanimous 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision declaring unconstitutional the Communications Decency Act censoring the Internet, which he signed into law.

There is a chilling insouciance in Clinton's elbowing the Constitution out of the way. He blithely, for instance, has stripped the courts of their power to hear certain kinds of cases. As Anthony Lewis points out in the New York Times, Clinton has denied many people their day in court.

For one example, says Lewis, "The new immigration law . . . takes away the rights of thousands of aliens who may be entitled to legalize their situation under a 1986 statute giving amnesty to illegal aliens." Cases involving as many as 300,000 people who may still qualify for amnesty have been waiting to be decided. All have now been thrown out of court by the new immigration law.

There have been other Clinton revisions of the Constitution, but in sum -- as David Boaz of the Cato Institute has accurately put it -- Clinton has shown "a breathtaking view of the power of the federal government, a view directly opposite the meaning of 'civil libertarian.' "

During the campaign there was no mention at all of this breathtaking exercise of federal power over constitutional liberties. None by former senator Bob Dole who has largely been in agreement with this big government approach to constitutional "guarantees." Nor did the press ask the candidates about the Constitution.

Laura Murphy concludes that "both Clinton and Dole are indicative of how far tbe American people have slipped away from the notions embodied in the Bill of Rights." She omitted the role of the press, which seems focused primarily on that part of the First Amendment that protects the press.

Particularly revealing were the endorsements of Clinton by the New York Times, The Washington Post and the New Republic, among others. In none of them was the president's civil liberties record probed. (The Post did mention the FBI files at the White House.) Other ethical problems were cited, but nothing was mentioned about habeas corpus, court-stripping, lowering the content of the Internet to material suitable for children and the Clinton administration's decided lack of concern for privacy protections of the individual against increasingly advanced government technology.

A revealing footnote to the electorate's ignorance of this subverting of the Constitution is a statement by N. Don Wycliff, editorial page editor of the Chicago Tribune. He tells Newsweek that "people are not engaged in the [political] process because there are no compelling issues driving them to participate. It would be different if we didn't have peace and prosperity."

What more could we possibly want?

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 1 2006 23:20 utc | 43

Being a good journalist is one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet now. Being a poor one is one of the most profitable.

By the way, Democracy Now talked about RFID tags.

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 1 2006 23:25 utc | 44

Overcoming the Totalitarian Past

Russian philologist and culturologist, Victim of Soviet repression ... Sergei Averintsev

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 2 2006 4:40 utc | 45


Thank you so much for your brilliant post the other day as well as your input on the anti-zononist jews post I posted earlier, even In my naivete I learn ;-)

Between your The Role of the Public Intellectual in the Formation of Public Opinion, logical fallacies etc, having just watched Adam Curtus's The Century Of The Self , I kinda blew a mental fuse or overamped between that and your amazing post, for which I am still processing. Which is part of the reason for my lax posting of late...

No, no...don't get up, I'm okay, just pour me a scotch on the rocks, no, make that a double and call me a cab. I have to drink my way through this one.

The Century Of The Self. It's a documentary, and the four parts are available at [2][3][4] -- with a higher quality bittorrent option [ via mindhacks ] The program is about the use of psychoanalytical techniques to manipulate and control the "bewildered herd", "engineering consent" in a world fraught with "irrational impulses"
more here...

For those who don't know and don't bother to read the links, it's by Adam Curtis, the man who made The Power of Nightmares.

*As regards b, wonderful as always post on journalist's and journalism I think the Cheneyco has learned a few things from the Russians, for example, [Note the] deepening alarm that Klebnikov's murder brings the total number of journalists killed in Russia since 2000 to fifteen, making Russia one of the most dangerous countries in which to be a journalist:

The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN, meeting at its 70th Congress
in Tromso, Norway

Expresses concern about the assault on freedom of speech and self-expression caused by the absence of any independent media in Russia resulting in the holding of presidential elections in the Russian Federation where the general public had no access to alternative sources of information other than that provided by the government in power, a contradiction of the concept of democracy;[...]

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 2 2006 5:30 utc | 46

@ Uncle $cam:

You're a cab. (Well, you asked me to call you one...)

I'll watch it today.

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 2 2006 14:46 utc | 47

uncle, i just watched the first segment of the series. fantastic.

the bar has been so stimulating lately, thank you everyone

i am short on words, and suppose will be like this for the time being. major meltdown in the kiln, literally. starting over. but... visit on breaks w/regularity.

is larry ellison the same oracle i quoted in the port deal thread? what an excellent addition to the threads.

Posted by: annie | Mar 2 2006 17:13 utc | 48

More fascist news, although this judge did eventually get set straight:

A Naperville woman who on Tuesday refused a judge's order to view a videotape of her alleged rape could be jailed on a contempt of court charge if she does not change her mind Wednesday, and the judge is considering a request to drop sexual assault charges against the Burr Ridge man on trial. "I am ordering you to answer these questions," Judge Kerry Kennedy told the woman after an hourlong recess to discuss her refusal. "The consequences are that you would be held in contempt of court, with incarceration possible. Are you still refusing?" "Yes," she responded.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 2 2006 20:36 utc | 49

McCain had his grand stand with an anti-torture law.

Turns out of course, it was just for show.

U.S. Cites Exception in Torture Ban

Bush administration lawyers, fighting a claim of torture by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, yesterday argued that the new law that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody does not apply to people held at the military prison.

In federal court yesterday and in legal filings, Justice Department lawyers contended that a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, cannot use legislation drafted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to challenge treatment that the detainee's lawyers described as "systematic torture."

Posted by: b | Mar 3 2006 10:49 utc | 50

This from Buchanan ..

And so the president is now being offered a way out by his neocon counselors: escalate. Take the war to the enemy, as we should have from the beginning. Use U.S. air power to wipe Iran's nuclear facilities off the map. Go all-out for victory. Emulate Lincoln, Churchill, FDR, Truman.

With his poll ratings in the pits, and his party facing almost certain and heavy losses in the fall, Bush may yet yield to the neocon temptation. For unlike LBJ in 1968, he does not seem reconciled to going back to his ranch as a failed president.

.. "as we should have from the beginning".

All's quiet on the Eastern Front at the moment, but are these evil little fucks really gonna do this?

Posted by: DM | Mar 3 2006 11:56 utc | 51

Behind the Numbers: Untold Suffering in the Congo

The British medical journal Lancet recently took greater notice of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) than all western media outlets combined. A group of physicians reported that about 4 million people have died since the “official” outbreak of the Congolese war in 1998. The BBC reported the war in Congo has claimed more lives than any armed conflict since World War II. However, experts working in the Congo, and Congolese survivors, count over 10 million dead since war began in 1996—not 1998—with the U.S.-backed invasion to overthrow Zaire’s President Joseph Mobutu. While the western press quantifies African deaths all the time, no statistic can quantify the suffering of the Congolese.

Some people are aware that war in the Congo is driven by the desire to extract raw materials, including diamonds, gold, columbium tantalite (coltan), niobium, cobalt, copper, uranium and petroleum. Mining in the Congo by western companies proceeds at an unprecedented rate, and it is reported that some $6 million in raw cobalt alone—an element of superalloys essential for nuclear, chemical, aerospace and defense industries—exits DRC daily. Any analysis of the geopolitics in the Congo requires an understanding of the organized crime perpetrated through multi-national businesses, in order to understand the reasons why the Congolese people have suffered a virtually unending war since 1996.

Posted by: b real | Mar 3 2006 15:28 utc | 52

Sometimes I start hoping again. Especially when a big business promoter like Dobbs expresses concern over where we are headed.

take a look at this @ crooks and liars

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 3 2006 16:09 utc | 53

Scott Prime from the First Draft blog is now blogging from New Orleans He made some devastating videos.

Posted by: b | Mar 3 2006 19:22 utc | 54

Religious wingnuts are always Muslim. Right?

Riots after Jewish man throws firecrackers in Nazareth church

A Jewish man accompanied by his Christian wife and their daughter detonated fireworks inside the Basilica of the Annunciation in the northern Israeli Arab city of Nazareth on Friday evening, triggering riots that led to the wounding of five police officers, witnesses said. Police said the man has a history of mental illness.

The three assailants hid firecrackers and small gas canisters in a baby stroller and detonated the firecrackers inside the church during a special prayer for the opening of Lent.

The Jewish man and the two women entered the basilica compound disguised as Christian pilgrims.

Posted by: b | Mar 3 2006 19:26 utc | 55

Another conservative gives up on Iraq:

[John Derbyshire

Well, I'm with Bill Buckley and George Will. This pig's ear is never going to be made into a silk purse, not by any methods or expenditures the American people are willing to countenance. The only questions worth asking about Iraq at this point are: How does GWB get out of this with the least damage to US interests, and to his party's future prospects? I wish I had some answers.

Posted by: b | Mar 3 2006 19:50 utc | 56

Fabius Maximus: America’s Most Dangerous Enemy

Seeking to fight communism, we allied ourselves with doomed feudal and puppet regimes. We made enemies of immature regimes that we might have befriended with our vigorous culture and wealth. The history of Indochina 1945 - 1975, from French colony to unified new State, illustrates these errors.

Fear of the other, the unknown, of change – all these are natural. As is it natural for a great power to see change as threatening. But political and social evolution cannot be prevented. We cannot freeze the world in a mold of American supremacy.

America should not fear change. Large, rich, with the most innovative culture this planet has seen for millennia – we should of all people face the future with confidence, not anxiety.

Unfortunately, these fears are neither accidental nor quirks of fate. Perceived enemies feed the economic and political needs of our elites. The military-industrial complex converts the public’s fear into defense contracts. An array of shadowy fears encourages us to surrender our freedoms in exchange for our elites’ promises to protect us.

Posted by: b | Mar 3 2006 22:16 utc | 57

Alexander Butterfield Moment

excellent driftglass rant

Posted by: citizen | Mar 4 2006 0:26 utc | 58

Alexander Butterfield Moment

excellent driftglass rant

Posted by: citizen | Mar 4 2006 0:26 utc | 59

Sorry about the double - thought I'd previewed, not posted.

I am still seething about an academic talk today. The idea of the talk was that the new imperialism of the U.S. doesn't need racism ("differentiation from the Other"), and that this has made possible a new model of empire, an Iraq Invasion and Occupation - something that the Serious Professor said achieves both local sovereignty in the imperial peripheries and an ideology of identity (not racism) between ruler people and ruled people.

Serious Professor: Imperialism can be differentiated from Colonialism because it seeks to identify the ruler and the ruled. Modern Imperialism (U.S. in the 21st C.) has superceded a religiously focused imperialism that found commonality in the potential for all to be Christian. Samuel Huntington's approach will fade out because it is fundamentally opposed to the ideology of empire.

ME: [still trying to grasp how his thought worked, and therefore silently I'm confused. Isn't this a Christian colony, too? Has this guy listened to the Generals? Has he looked at Iraq's new laws?]

SP: To be sure, Baghdad has the world's largest embassy compound, a kind of castle. But still, sovereignty is local, and that makes this an empire, not a colony.

ME: [No, the fact that Americans get killed outside the wall is what makes it not a colony.]

SP: Conceptually, imperialism is separate from colonialism because imperialism always seeks to identify with the Other, to seek a universalist ground of commonality. Thus the Dubai/Ports debate had the government sounding good, and the critics racist.

Perplexed: Somehow, because a country finds a foreign policy equivalent of Nixon's Southern Strategy, we are meant to believe that imperialism does not require racism? He actually said "identify with the Other" and seemed to mean it... Now, I know that Bosh has made a great point about how egalitarian he and we are, but holy Koresh, how does a politician's speech count as evidence of no racism? I'd have been able to work with him if he mentioned all the corporate ties with oil money, but that still wouldn't work out to universalism/humanism.

ME: beginning to grasp why this doesn't work for meI'm confused, SP, your approach relies on individuals and nations as the major characters in a social story. But as social scientists, shouldn't we also take account of social things such as "corporations", and the role they might be playing in forming this new imperialism. Under your scheme of individuals and nations, the corporations are hard to identify as part of how imperialism constructs itself. But what if the key difference in 21st century U.S. imperialism is not that it sees all people being the same, but that this empire is run for corporate loyalties that don't particularly care about individual self/other problems and national sovereignty, except as things to use.

SP: So then the people in the empire nation would count as a periphery against the corporate center. Hmm. Well, you don't hear that point of view much anymore.

That's all I hear the USCongress (in the laws it passes), and the think tanks, and the management schools, and the financial papers saying, every @#$% day.

How can we extract more resources from our people so that we can better battle with other corporations?
Nope, nothing to see hear. Move along now, move along!

Posted by: citizen | Mar 4 2006 1:43 utc | 60

The definition of hubris

He could still be in for a shock and get judged in this world before the next.

Posted by: DM | Mar 4 2006 2:39 utc | 61


But as social scientists, shouldn't we also take account of social things such as "corporations", and the role they might be playing in forming this new imperialism.

Amazing how "corporation" and capitalist class evades many studies of all things imperial.

One sure example is the occupation of the commanding heights of the economy by corporations. And yet this fact is frequently excluded in discussions about the realities of imperialism. weird.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 4 2006 2:55 utc | 62

****************** CALLING DEBS **************

Are you around? Are you feeling alright? Anyone else concerned?

Posted by: jj | Mar 4 2006 3:03 utc | 63

yeah, i'm concerned. i was just thinking about him a couple minutes ago because he hasn't shown up lately , especially on the what topics thread. when i was commenting i thought of how i took out my shitty mood on him the other night. he was probably kinda right about a few things. yuk, i can't stand eating crow.

i was going to make an aside about russel but this probably is not the format.

Posted by: annie | Mar 4 2006 4:21 utc | 65

Great post, citizen.

Your SP is a sophist of the first degree, confusing his audience by making his case wiithout first defining his terms.

"[T]o seek a universalist ground of commonality" - What does this mean? It sounds like a tautology wrapped around a truism. This is worse than the previous phrase I ridiculed, the 'the nonkinetic problem set.'

I wouldn't walk into the same restroom as your SP, much less share an adjacent stall.

SP: To be sure, Baghdad has the world's largest embassy compound, a kind of castle. But still, sovereignty is local, and that makes this an empire, not a colony.

It is important to understand that your SP is so identified with power that, like the PBS show, "Washington Week," which I just watched, you are given the marketing slogans, the apologies--not the academic analysis.

O.K. Let's step back, and first set out the terms we are discussing and examine them: Imperialism, Colonialism. Can we discuss either of these concepts without first defining statehood and examining the changing role of the state in world affairs? Weber supplies us with the commonly accepted modern definition, "a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory." This alone should give us pause when discussing the case of Iraq, and accepting your SP's quote above, much less, discussing the singularity of terrorism.

Your SP is smart enough to employ the term, "Modern Imperialism," thus implicitly implying a distinction with the historical Imperialism. We will come back to this.

Wikipedia supplies us with a political definition of Empire, " [O]ne could classify as an empire any large, multi-ethnic state ruled from a single center." You can see that your SP is playing with this, admitedly, limited concept of empire. As to Colonialism, Wikipedia has this to say, "the extension of a nation's sovereignty over territory and people outside its own boundaries, often to facilitate economic domination over their resources, labor, and markets." So we are given a political definition for 'Empire,' and an economic definition for 'Colonialism.' This should make us question whether we are not comparing apples to oranges: Empire as a system of governance and Colonialism as a system of economic exploitation.

I propose that we are best served by looking at Industrial, Economic, and Systematic definitions of Empire as well. Let's make this simple: Who controls the affairs of the world, and how is the stuff within it divided up?

To answer those questions, we must return to our old friend, Marx, "What are the means of production?"

In the 'old' Imperialism (as Rumsfeld might say), one state would become stronger than its neighbors, wage war upon them, and conquer them. States were largely agrarian. Modes of production were not changed, nor was trade, to any significant degree. Ricardo's principle of Comparative Advantage existed, and if the conquered state grew a wood more suitable for oars, for instance, that wood would then be used. By the main way relations between states changed was economic--the conquered state was required to transfer taxes exacted upon its populace back to the center of power. There was also the political aspect, whereby the ruler of the conquered state was subservient to the Empire. Industrial relations did not change.

Empires grew over time until large swathes of the globe were covered by them. Spheres of Influence developed relative to the developing ruling hegemonies.

The industrial revolution saw an important change which had crucial ramifications: Modes of production changed. Scientific advancement and Industrial development, especially compared to other states, now conferred decisive advantage. The concept of 'Progress,' as a way to quantifiy this advantage (and perhaps more notably today, the public's perception of that advantage) came to the fore.

Previously, civilizations and their societies were relatively independent of each other; they made and grew most of what they needed. Now they became more interdependent. There are many ways of viewing and analyzing this new 'World Order.'

On the left, Immanuel Wallerstein, drawing on the work of Fernand Braudel, developed his "World Systems Theory," which postulated that there was now reallly only one world of commodified economic exchange relationships, and that a fundamental and institutionally stabilized division of labour created geographic and functional divisions, which he termed core, semi-periphery and periphery. To quote Wikipedia, "[T]he core has a high level of technological development and manufactures complex products, the role of the periphery is to supply raw materials, agricultural products and cheap labour for the expanding agents of the core. Economic exchange between core and periphery takes places on unequal terms: The periphery is forced to sell its products at low prices, but has to buy the core's products at comparatively high prices.

This is essentially a unified field theory of what is commonly called "Colonialism." There are two weaknesses. One, it doesn't specifically address, and hence downplays, the impact of other forces, cultural and religious for instance, which drive world affairs. Secondly, the problem exists of how to understand the internal dynamics at play when there are, on some level, two semi-independent world systems, as existed during the days of the Soviet Union.

This is addressed from the right, by, among others, Daniel Yergin in his book, "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power," and the PBS series derived from it, "Commanding Heights." In this view, what is crucial for understanding power, is not the systems, but the essential building blocks of modern industrialized life: Huge capital-intensive modern industries such as steel, and car manufacturing, and the essential resource of oil which powers all industrial production.

So, back to your Stupid, I mean Serious Professor.

It is clear now that what distinguishes Colonialism from Imperialism, is the reordering of systems of production within nations to fit within a whole hegemonic system, and for the benefit of the center of power.

Your SP states:

"Modern Imperialism (U.S. in the 21st C.) has superceded a religiously focused imperialism that found commonality in the potential for all to be Christian. Samuel Huntington's approach will fade out because it is fundamentally opposed to the ideology of empire."

Firstly, we note that there is nothing in the definition of Imperialism which mentions religion. Religion is not the 'focus' of Imperialism any more than "Bush's noble mission to spread Democracy in the Middle East" is the 'focus' of US involvement in Iraq. Religion is merely a tactic to ensure the compliance of the ruled population with the greater goals of the center of power.

When one seeks to control people, one moves from the realm of Economics, to the more mystifying realms of Sociology and Anthropology. And this is where your SP goes:

SP: Conceptually, imperialism is separate from colonialism because imperialism always seeks to identify with the Other, to seek a universalist ground of commonality.

Again, harkening back to our definition of Imperialism, we see that, due to the 'unfortunate' fact that the planet was populated by small groups of independent tribes, the successful conjoining of groups of these tribes of differing ethnicities into a greater whole, is a necessary hurdle to be overcome in forming a viable Empire. Identification with the 'Other' is not. The first focus of Cultural Anthropology was kinship and identity, from which we can derive our understanding of its oposite, the "Other."

So what we see here again, is your SP talking on a different level, the psychological level of manufacturing consent, of ensuring the local population's identification with the goals of the greater Empire. It is difficult to debate someone who is continually speaking in different languages and terminologies without explicitly identifying this. You pick this up in your musing s on Nixon's Southern Strategy.

OK, we have distinguished Empire from Colonialism, now let us distinguish what your SP terms "Modern Imperialism" from the former two.

In the 21st century we see that the rules which Wallerstein explicated in his "World Systems Theory" have broken down and are now changing rapidly. We can look at this in two ways. We can say that the core no longer manufactures complex products, or to some extent, even maintains its prior high level of technological development. Or we can say that the concept of 'state' has eroded, allowing the functional core to fragment and migrate.

The engine of this change is the emergence of the unparalleled power of the Transnational Corporation (TNC). The magnitude of the change is causing worldwide social upheaval. Power is devolving from State-identified elite to capital-endowed elite identified with TNCs.

What is the remaining function of the former core of empire? Threefold, first there is the maintainence of the increasingly fragile Monopoly of Violence with which to control the New World Order of the 21st century Empire. We see this in the seeming dichotomy that, as the high tech components of the old core disperse, its military component and mission grows exponentially.

Second, the core must maintain an ideology and supporting legal framework to support its hegemonic dominance. This is known popularly as 'Free Trade' or Intellectual Rights, but formally, it is the varied structures of the IMF, World Bank, WTO, GATT, and more importantly, GATS, among others.

Third, as exemplified by your SP, we see that the ideological mission of the old core in assuring the confomity of the populations of the different divisions of empire, despite conditions of extreme turmoil and great human suffering, also multiplies exponentially.

Let us examine the ideological mission and chart its development. First, let us note that the ideological mission is essential to control 'who gets what' in Imperial systems. Second, let us note that it is not necessary for the elite to believe in the ideology, but merely to promulgate it and ensure compliance with its strictures. Jefferson (quite literally) loved his slaves; that did not prevent him from having slaves and also exhibiting racist characteristics.

It is also important to be aware that ideological systems are constantly under attack by the subject populations, and adapt as necessary to mitigate these social pressures while still assuring conformity. Racial ideological components were essential to the Imperial system as long as we had huge populations of Native Americans to do away with. They were also essential to the brutal Southern plantation system. As the influence of corporations, and their relentless search for ever cheaper labor, grew during the mid-ninteenth century, the slave system, and its racial underpinings, became less important. Their function then became one of setting marginalized group against marginalized group (poor whites against poor blacks), as a way of maintaining elite dominance. Even this prejudice largely gave way when it was necessary for both groups to serve their Imperial master in Vietnam.

The current expansion of Empire into Muslim, and other, lands, necessitates a religious component to the ideological belief system. Even more flexible is the development of a cultural sense of superiority and entitlement, as this type of ideology can adapt to a myriad of different settings. So we see tank crews employing the same familiar heavy metal songs played at full blast as they enter into battle. This, and other methods, create a group identity arrayed against an unexplored and feared "otherness."

One might say at this point that, in contra-distinction to what your SP claims, Imperialism does not seek to identify with this "otherness," but to render it powerless by appropriating it, and subsuming it within the greater cultural hegemonic whole. The "otherness" can no longer claim its "otherness", just as a drumstick you have chewed and consumed can no longer claim to be a chicken.


SP: So then the people in the empire nation would count as a periphery against the corporate center.

What your SP is saying with unalloyed irony here is actually quite profound. This is the true new structural rearrangement of Wallerstein's core and periphery. Because this rearrangement is causing such profound suffering, the ideological cloak must be invoked at all times to mystify the new power structure to peripheral subjects.

This insight also suggests that in conceptualizing and speaking about current events like the Dubai ports deal, or the Indian nukular (sic) deal, we are not talking primarily about nation vs. nation, or religion vs. religion. These are outmoded ideological devices employed to cover up the Imperial relations of the parts to the whole. Instead, we might better speak of "the military function of the corporate center" against its peripheral citizens. We must frame concepts the way we conceive of them.

It is true that in our present system of 'New Imperialism," the elite must appeal to the nationalistic tendencies of the people, and it is even possible that some leaders still preserve within themselves a vestige of this feeling. This leads to nations continuing to jockey for positions of power relative to each other. And this force must not be overlooked, because it is at the root of the short-sighted, ever more voracious consumption of the earth's limited resources that is rapidly driving this planet and its most hubristic species to annihilation.

But, at the same time, it must be acknowledged that structurally, each and every 'sovereign' nation, whether the US or India or China, is acting according to the ever more demanding and unyielding mandates and dictates, of the greater "corporate center." It then follows logically that it is the fight against this "corporate center" that is the core of the fight against Empire, and for survival.

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 4 2006 7:37 utc | 66

On a lighter note:

Gore Vidal on "Capote," "Brokeback Mountain" and why "Match Point" is the Best Picture of the Year

May we ask you about “Capote”?

Oh, Capote. [Sighs.] I spent half a century trying to avoid him, in life, and now suddenly I’m surrounded by him.

He was a pathological liar. He couldn’t tell the truth about anything, and he’d make it up as he went along. He always wore dark glasses, and his eyes would drop behind the dark glasses, and he would seem to be looking down at his nose, and then as he got more and more frenzied—the lies really very frenzied, they were orgasmic—you would start to see the eyes begin to roll up to see if you’d fallen for what he was saying.

And it was always about famous people, some he’d barely heard of before. I remember he told me once “I’m the American Proust.”

So I said, “So who’s your Mme Verdurin?”


He had not heard of one of Proust’s principle characters. He was confidently illiterate. It’s highly suitable that he would become iconic, because he didn’t know anything, and never told the truth. Doesn’t he fit in the age of Bush? ....

But I just avoided him for years…. You know, there is a second Capote movie coming up, and I’m in it. I’m being played by quite a good British actor—Rupert Everett. I ran into him recently, and he told me he was playing me, and so I said well, have a good time, and he said, “You know I’ve been complaining it’s such a small part.”

I said, “Because I avoided Capote!” [Laughs.]

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 4 2006 8:23 utc | 67

A really great post Malooga -- serious paradigm potential there.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 4 2006 10:10 utc | 68

For those of you who might want to watch some good TV: Our local PBS affiliate has been playing the Independent Lens episode "The Loss of Nameless Things," a gripping episode about genius, limitations, tragedy, redemption, and a living theatre. Highly recommended.

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 4 2006 17:16 utc | 69

"poetic injustice"? or...

Marriage Made in Hell?

"A fascinating and important insight from the ever-astute French commentator Michel Gurfinkiel (subscription required) suggests that Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of France’s neo-fascist National Front, is poised to strike a strategic alliance with French Muslims. Those who have just done a double-take over that last sentence because they assume that French neo-fascists, like the British BNP, detest all immigrants equally and Muslims in particular, should think again.

First, one of the most striking aspects of today’s politics of racial hatred is the axis that links the far left, the far right and Islamists. If you read the websites and utterances of all three, there are certain areas where the point of view and indeed the language and the imagery are virtually identical. Three guesses what those areas are. Yup, got it in one: hatred of the Jews and of Israel."

More Classic triangulation>

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 4 2006 19:27 utc | 70

Bioweapons - The US government’s Nuremburg Crime

Before I even begin to review this ‘weapon of critical information’, I urge you not only to buy it but when you’ve finished reading it (it’s real short, so it shouldn’t overly tax our attention-deficit culture), post it to your MP, Congressman, Senator, the UN, your vicar/priest/imam/holy man/rabbi; give it to your neighbour, teacher, workmate, brother, sister, mum and dad. In short, shout it out from the rooftops; that the US government is an international criminal of staggering proportions and the entire Bush administration should be indicted as war criminals and every last one locked up and the key thrown away.

Okay, what are we dealing with here? Boyle’s short and impassioned book deals with the US government’s illegal multi-billion dollar biological weapons programme. A programme, that as Boyle makes abundantly clear presents itself as “defensive” but of course, in order to produce a ‘defense’, requires the development of offensive bioweapons. In fact, the penalties involved for engaging in even the research into biological weapons under US domestic law are life imprisonment and under certain circumstances, even the death penalty as well as impeachment for the president (followed rapidly one hopes by life imprisonment).... more?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 4 2006 20:20 utc | 71


Excuse me, if I don't get excited ..

If and when it happens then thats different.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 5 2006 10:00 utc | 72

Or we can say that the concept of 'state' has eroded, allowing the functional core to fragment and migrate.

This is precisely what was botherting me about his terms. Serious Professor was looking to explain why Wallerstein and other powerful explanations can't do justice to the New Imperialism, but he refused to put his argument in terms that would suggest more complex reasons behind this novelty. One cannot coherently address this problem by speaking as if "sovereignty" were not a beast that has already eaten itself. The new, uncanny beast that has resulted has corporations for brains and boundaries.

Your way of putting it quite elegantly points out how we need to understand events through a new organizing center or mode, and that would have to be corporations. I wasn't sure SP was following my logic, but then when he said, "So then the people in the empire nation would count as a periphery against the corporate center. Hmmm. Well, you don't hear that point of view much anymore" I was absolutely stunned. Stunned because that is what I had been trying to get across to him. It is a perspective I have been ablot to articulate for myself through discussions here at the Moon, and to hear that my Serious Professor both understood it, and dismissed it because it was no longer necessary for him as an academic to deal with any theory that smelled even remotely like a critique of capitalism - well that shocked me in a room full of people all comfortable using words like "regulation theory."

For me, the term you used that best pushes the discussion forward, is the term "corporate center." This helps us discuss modern imperialism. Why? Probably because you can't say "corporate center" without A) realizing that there are centering mechanisms such as the IMF, GATS, etc.; and B) because it reveals that the standard faux-nationalist discourse of the Business Schools and media outlets is patent nonsense, designed to be plausible, but not to explain how anything actually works.

So I'm going to use "corporate center". And perhaps this is a topic for a thread: Of what actions is the "corporate center" capable? How does the world act differently because of something we shall call the world's corporate center? And who are the subjects that can act in the corporate center?

Posted by: | Mar 6 2006 1:06 utc | 73

Backing up a moment, to the distinction between colonialism and imperialism with regards to corporate imperialism. So if we regard one essential difference(not the only one) between colonialism and imperialism is that with colonialism the center taxes the perifery, it is interesting that with the "corporatist" imperialism, taxation is frowned upon even with regards to the center. The move from colonialism to imperialism to corporate imperialism is mirrored inversly in a reduction in taxation, as a means of capital accumulation. Could then privitization be seen as a main functionary in the ddrive for a "universalist ground of commonality"?

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 6 2006 3:02 utc | 74

anna missed,
I don't take it that the colonialist center taxes the periphery but the imperialist center taxes less so. I believe it may be the inverse. A colonial government's mother country can only tax relatively lightly, because it must leave some resources to the local governments that run the colonies. Whereas an empire can tax away with abandon in what are its own territories.

What might better explain the so called falling taxes is rather the shift of the center from a geographic center to a corporate center. The taxes are actually rising on all peripheries, including U.S. citizens not closely aligned with corporate power. Where taxes are falling is on the center, on the people (via their ownership of corporations) who are increasingly served not only by compliant governments, but very profitable cash-cow governments. For example, all oil companies having their security paid for by taxpayers. Excuse, I redundify. All oil companies.

"Privatization" seems like an increasingly outmoded term from the days when public money was contrasted with private money and privately financed activities. We live in a day when taxpayer money is quite often devoted to corporate purposes, and less and less allocated to public goods such as education and health. So if private and public are increasingly difficult to separate, let's use words that serve us. Let's call it the corporatization of government. After all, we're talking about business deals between governments and corporations, not (legally) governments and individuals. So the game is proceeding under that sort of rules, beholden NOT to competing individuals so much as to competing corporate teams.

But remember, Diego Maradona can play for more than one team in this league. So, perhaps "privatization" isn't the most helpful concept.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 6 2006 5:24 utc | 75


I guess I was thinking that in a corporatist society, privitization, politically is glove in hand with anti-tax legislation (particularly for elites) as the "universalist common ground". This then is supposedly in sync rhetorically with the notions of "freedom" or the "ownership society", (used to sell the scheme) despite the regressive nature of such taxation in reality. Privitization is basically the modality where government function is replaced by corporatism, and where taxation is replaced by a new form of consumption.

If the occupation of Iraq can be seen as a model of corporatist imperalism, it seems hard to ignore that privitization was the central economic policy that was employed (by the CPA). This would also differentiate the occupation from others, like the British occupation or the American occupation of Japan. My general sense is that the Bush administration really believed these policys would accomplish the goals of stategic desires for the region, but in fact, accomplished the reverse -- actually caused in large part, both the emergence of an insurgency and the escalation of sectarian strife.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 6 2006 9:07 utc | 76

And no, I'm not attempting to ignore how the occupation has worked out in the short run to the great benifit for the usual suspected US corporations contracting in Iraq, or the windfall profits to oil corporations due to the invasion, and, these can be seen as a sort of "corporate tax" to the citizens of the world -- its just that in the more narrow view of the occupation, these policies have led directly to the ultimste failure of the occupation independent of the short term gain. The US is now in the position, because of the massive failure of the privitization scheme, of having lost all mechanisims of control of the situation (short of precipitating a coup d-etat or civil war) The new government has the legal authority to regect any or all of the CPA dictates, including (oil)production sharing agreements, and the US military status.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 6 2006 9:41 utc | 77

anna missed - US corporate socialism is about reducing taxes for the wealthy, while growing government using regressive tax deficits that the periphery must pay, essentially forever. We are already a sharecropper society now, net negative savings is just another word for wage-slave. Yet the Neocons have grown government faster than even Lyndon Johnson could have imagined is his wildest Great Society. Only this ain't a Great Society, it's just some Neocon boomer's profit engine.

Posted by: Clarence Michaels | Mar 7 2006 5:31 utc | 78

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