Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 14, 2006

"The terrs have won"

The last time I visited the U.S. was in fall 2000. A friend in Santa Barbara had invited me to his wedding. Before I have visited the U.S. some 25 times and have been to about 20 states on business and private trips.

But since the U.S. attack on Afghanistan, I instituted a private little boycott and vacated elsewhere. Some American friends thought it was a stupid thing for me to do and laughed at me. Eventually they came to Europe to see me.

I recently was invited again, I declined to come and yesterday I sent this link.

In court documents filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., the Justice Department said a new anti-terrorism law being used to hold detainees in Guantanamo Bay also applies to foreigners captured and held in the United States.
That law is being used to argue the Guantanamo Bay cases, but Al-Marri represents the first detainee inside the United States to come under the new law. Aliens normally have the right to contest their imprisonment, such as when they are arrested on immigration violations or for other crimes. "It's pretty stunning that any alien living in the United States can be denied this right," said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney for Al-Marri. "It means any non-citizen, and there are millions of them, can be whisked off at night and be put in detention."

While I would like to visit the U.S. again, if some nerd within the U.S. government feels like constructing some writings in this little blog as "supporting terrorists", that visit could turn out be longer than expected and quite restricted location wise. It could even turn out to up to my death and there would be absolutely no way to challenge such an outcome.

Unlikely? Sure. Impossible? Not anymore. Just sad, very sad. But why should I take that risk when there are a million other places to go?

The friend answered today: "Ok, the terrs have won."

Posted by b on November 14, 2006 at 16:49 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Glad to see I'm not the only one who flat out refuses to use American airlines or American airports.

When they rejoin the list of nations under law then I'll consider it. Until then I see no reason to give them a penny of my money or to even risk having some moronic ill-trained "security" operative masturbate their herrenvolk complex by pawing either me or my property. Moreover the companies that run most of the US airport security are Israeli owned and managed (something nobody bothered to say during the outbreak of thinly concealed racism about the ports deal) and I've been boycotting Israeli firms for years.

As you say there are lots of other places to go.

Posted by: markfromireland | Nov 14 2006 17:22 utc | 1

Ye Gods your capctha graphics are fiendish! That took two goes !!

Posted by: markfromireland | Nov 14 2006 17:23 utc | 2

Aw b. The "w blasters" (and we know who we are) would bust you out and whisk you away! [or at least we'd hang around and keep you company]


Posted by: beq | Nov 14 2006 17:39 utc | 3

sorry b, i don't think being out of the country is going to stop them if they want you..

CIA acknowledges existence of presidential order authorizing it to detain, interrogate terror suspects overseas

In response to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, the CIA has finally acknowledged the existence of a presidential order authorizing the agency to detain and interrogate terror suspects overseas.

"For more than two years, the CIA had refused to either deny or confirm the existence of the documents and had argued in court that doing so could jeopardize national security," the ACLU notes in a press release received by RAW STORY.

Posted by: annie | Nov 14 2006 17:52 utc | 4

Aww, come on b, there is always this:

Many taking military shortcut to U.S. citizenship

immigrants gaining citizenship through military service (25,000 in the last 4 years).You could become a dual citizen like Rahm Emanuel!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 14 2006 17:55 utc | 5

Rumsfled has cancelled his trip to Germany. Heh and that was a real typo I was just going to correct.

Good for you B, I keep sending those kinds of links to Americans and am usually met with incomprehension. Good people need not fear. Incredible.

Many International conferences are no longer held in the States because of Visa problems for attendees and the refusal of many to accept that venue.

Aren’t these the kinds of regulations the Democrats could do something about? Tourism and the Hotels have been suffering, I believe, not to mention Universities.

Top corps aren't bothered, they pay cash on the counter, 10 000 bucks per employee for ‘expedited visas.’ That info. can be found buried somewhere on Gvmt. sites. I know one person who got one - one phone call and one day.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 14 2006 18:05 utc | 6

b, did you read londonyank's diary on dkos today? Keep Your Torturing, Extrajudicial Police State At Home, Please Seems like you really don't have to come here to be introduced to the Department of Homeland Security.

Posted by: conchita | Nov 14 2006 19:19 utc | 7

Living within 1 1/2 hr of the US, it is sometimes inconvenient to not visit the US. Still we haven't been there since 9/11, and don't plan on going any time in the near future.

Perhaps those refusing to travel to the US might want to consider the next step: stop buying US products and services. I started a generalised boycott of US products about 2 years ago.

Posted by: edwin | Nov 14 2006 19:25 utc | 8

I think that's coming Edwin - here (Denmark) at any rate and it won't be just "blatantly" American firms either. Firms owned by American firms are going to be targeted too. I wonder if the same applies to Germany and France. I've anecdotal evidence that it is. B? R'giap? Any comments on that?

Posted by: markfromireland | Nov 14 2006 19:49 utc | 9

Firms owned by American firms are going to be targeted too. I wonder if the same applies to Germany and France. I've anecdotal evidence that it is. B? R'giap? Any comments on that?

Hard to tell - I am boycotting products from the US since 2001 and of Israel as long as I remember. I can't avoid all of them (as an IT guy - Intel CPUs for example). Not sure this is a general scheme. But there are, some attempts of the German Israel lobby (yes, we definitly do have that too) to label fruits form Israel as African fruits - guess why - and there are at least two local brands of coke like drinks that ain't pepsi and coca cola and have grown incredibly through the last two years.

So there is something going on ...

Posted by: b | Nov 14 2006 20:03 utc | 10


i'm in the fortunate position of being banned from entry from those united states when i was just a wee thing who'd given medical aide to the viet cong & to the north vietnamese

have been invited by american universities & have been refused entry three times & the last time they sd not to bother - so i know i did something good in my life

(here) in france - there are organised boycotts of american products - as much a response to globalisation as the illegal wars of afghanistan & iraq but as a culture france is completely comprimised by both high & popular culture from thos united states - some would say we suffer from ravishment (in the jurisprudential meaning of that term)

mark i seem to remember you are an aide worker & have been to the newer fronteirs of the empire - have you suffered directly for yr point of view

i have also been invited to israel where i have many friends but since the first intifada that has been completely out of the question & now certainly so

i am not so old but i have very real & living memories of what was done by those united states in indonesia, vietnam, greece & chile & the whole of latin america & since childhood implicated intricately in what could be called anti imperialism

(you will note today that rupert murdoch in his infinite wisdom has suggested this week, spectrally, that countries should struggle against their anti - u s positions)

that is one of the ironies - that yues even tho i have spoken to american at conferencs & colloques - & en passant on visits to this or that country - it was not until i started posting at moon & at le speakeasy that i have had what i would call a real dialogue with its people & one that i profit from, humanly

i think the americans here tell me there is another america & they remind me that a spark can start a prairie fire & that the people that have influenced my living like huey p newton, fred hampton - even the imprisoned economist david gilbert who will never see outside the walls of a prison

& bush's america was a useful kicking of the pricks - making sure that i should never forget the political prisoners that fill the prisons of america because this administration has not forgotten & has gone back to the 60's & 70's to use its most criminal henchmen (who were to have starring roles in iran-contra), nixon corrupted the judiciary but not on the level that bush has completely collapsed what might be called an american jurisprudence & it has hunted & that is the appropriate words peoplme from that era

i never approved of the ultraleftism of the weathermen/weatherpeople/weather underground but their moral imperatives were appalingly obvious to me

at 50 i still remember the port huron statement of tom hayden & sds & the promise of another form of politics in america but i'll have to dissapoint my companero conchita to suggest that dkos does not constitute the modern form of those politics

there is something that stays with me still from the cadre schools in china in the 70's that still remains true even if all the rest has left me completely & that is to live an exemplary life & by that exemplarity influence the practical thinking of others

& i remember the slogan from that time - john brown - live like him

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 14 2006 20:26 utc | 11


i hope that hamburg is a possibility if you are not living so far away in denmark

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 14 2006 20:29 utc | 12

It's nice to see others that have come to the same conclusion as my wife and I – not travelling to the US and not buying US products where possible.

Sounds nice…

(Oh Israel isn't on my list either – but I have given up all other boycotts in order to more effectively not buy US products given their massive penetration into the Canadian market.)

Posted by: edwin | Nov 14 2006 20:31 utc | 13

now that europe has congregated into its stable market, happily uniting the peoples of its continent and opening its doors to the wretched of the earth, indefensibly integrating arabs & africans without the old fears of cultural pollution, and giving us not global capitalism but avuncular charity, like an old uncle who visits at christmas and performs missing penny pallidan hat tricks and passes out licorice to the wide-eyed children, we'll be better off without those vulgar goddamned americans.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 14 2006 20:32 utc | 14

"Perhaps those refusing to travel to the US might want to consider the next step: stop buying US products and services. "

"- I am boycotting products from the US since 2001"

Boycott Brokeback Mountain !
Boycott BB King !
Boycott Google !
Boycott Whiskey Bar !

Yes, by all means .. punish the empire's enablers, both high and low.

Posted by: bianco | Nov 14 2006 20:34 utc | 15

it's truly amazing to me that the problems created by europeans in the m.e. re: post-ottoman borders and kingdoms, israel, russian german british destruction of sovereigntiees in oil rich regions like iran, postcolonial cynical division of third from first worlds and the usual "development of underdevelopment", etc.--all this is now an american problem.

the euro-arrogance is hilarious.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 14 2006 20:43 utc | 16


i think what was being suggested was a little more targeted - that is to say to oppose those companies that have direct links to the war & to the profiteering from that war

& that is not impossible & it is being done. for a start there has been a boycotting of those companies that you will find in that splendid film 'iraq for sale'

& i am writing this on a macbook so it is not a more pious than thou

& slothrop is completely incorrect that a boycott of the war profiteers - (nearly all with their home offices in the u s )- is a self indulgent european - it is an effective form of opposition & resistance

when i was younger i am proud that i was an important part of a movement that isolated noneywell corporation who was visiting untold destruction on the vietnamese & that opposition was taken to a higher level

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 14 2006 20:49 utc | 17

& my colleague is performing a little sleight of hands - everything & i mean everything that has gone on in the countries oif the dispossessed has been of special interest to successive us administration from the beginning of last century

& i would suggest again that people in the us & in other countries can do a real service by oppossing war profiteers wherever they may be situated in whatever forms are possible

& for example & congressional investigation of halliburton, bechtel & blackwater would be well served by broader opposition elesewhere

it is not a question of words slothrop but of deeds

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 14 2006 20:54 utc | 18

the euro-arrogance is hilarious.

I and others are from Europe - that does neither mean that we endorse the official European policy (there is none buy the way) nor that we damn people in the U.S.

To set this up like a split, as you do, is redicules.

Posted by: b | Nov 14 2006 20:55 utc | 19

My kids took up the boycott on US products as well last year some time following one of the atrocities probaly Fallujah, I forget now there have been so many.

I hadn't included them in the boycott which I have been sticking to for many years, as I wanted them to make up their own minds.

The fact that my daughter's ipod, which was about the only 'merikan thing she owned, malfunctioned within a short time of purchase and now sits in the box of broken bits I need to fix may well have played a part in her decision.

Fortunately most stuff still has many alternative suppliers. There are some monopolies but there is usually a way to ensure that is one does have to utilise an amerikan monopoly, that it doesn't profit by one's use.

Software is easy since it can be obtained without payment from a plethora of sources, but gas is more difficult in NZ since the only people who sell the stuff here are USuk companies and I have no greater liking for uk corporations' theft by capitalism than US or Israeli. So the only option is to do the enmvironment a favour and use cars as little as possible. Bicycles and public transport have knocked the household gas bill down to under $20 a week which is much less than we were spending before the '03 price gouging began.

The transportation/tourism thing is interesting especially when one looks at the people who have embraced this unofficial and largely untalked about boycott.

NZ's location means that flights into Europe and the UK take forever. The usual 30+ hours non-stop is marginally quicker if people fly via L.A. and then get a direct over the pole flight into Heathrow or Frankfurt. It can shave 6 to 10 hours off the journey but less and less people are doing it.

The reason is best explained in a yarn my brother in law, who is such a fuckin boring middle class white male stereotype that his anger about this suprised me, told about his first and last trip to Europe via the US since 911.

The first hassle is that all flights going via the US require passengers to check in a few hours earlier than any other flights. I don't know anyone who enjoys sitting in airport waiting rooms for hours so there's a turn off for most of us, however I suspect that the likes of my brother in law who normally buy the whole amerikan imperial pie, probably accepted that as being the price of freedom from un-white individuals having a say in world affairs.

The real trouble began at LAX where some underpaid and opressed non-english speaking person in a unform decided that the classic piece of overweight whitebread that is my b-i-l, represented a terrorist threat and demanded he remove his clothing. All of this must have been done by sign language as the uniform had no english according to b-i-l, and b-i-l prides himself on knowing no other language.

Much chaos, complaining, and wanting to speak to someone in charge lead to confrontation with the ubiquitous redneck in overly pressed and starched uniform which sensible visitors to the US avoid at all costs.

Long before 911 this class of amerikan had such a well developed sense of amerikan exceptionalism that all non-citizens even ersatz ones such as the b-i-l were regarded as sub-human and therefore lacking in any rights whatsoever.

Post 911 redneckii amerikanus became convinced that any 'furrener' was a terrorist unless proven otherwise. Naturally he attempted to prove this and subjected b-i-l to full search including all cavities.

Now b-i-l was only on a short stopover and this process took a considerable amount of time so he missed his flight to Europe and was stuck at LAX for another 30 hours.

When he finally got to Europe he spent most of his time there attempting to change his flight and come back via anywhere-but-amerika but as that would have entailed buying a new ticket (about US $2000 at that time of year) and he's such a tight ass (well not so much anymore LOL) in the end he thought he would chance it and return via the US.

They were waiting for him and snatched him outta the immigration shuffle line to rinse and repeat the intrusion.

His concern and complaint about the first search must have put him on a watchlist.

The gathering where b-i-l was regaling this incident to all was wall to wall with his fellow travellers; ie middle aged, middle class, whitefellas who normally spout the same line of piffle as the amerikan assholes who turned him over. These guys are the stereotypical 'business traveller' that the tourist industry is always fighting over and they were all nodding their heads and pretty soon a game of "That's nothing when I went through LAX. . . " developed.

The b-i-l's yarn was far from unusual.

No wonder that the most popular carrier operating in and out of NZ at the moment is Emirates the Dubai airline who can get NZers to Europe via Asia and the ME faster and more economically than anyone else.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 14 2006 21:02 utc | 20

really, the congeniality of europeans--the eleemosynary compulsion which must be genetic, it is so extraordinary--isn't natural, or earned, or serendipitous. this heroic congeniality of the european is largely the effect of the u.s. expulsion of euro war profiteers from the scene of disaster.

euro investments do nothing to contribute to the prosperities of ge, raytheon, exxon and boeing? this is just naive.

there's no utility whatsoever in this boring transmutation of guilt from your side of the pond to ours.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 14 2006 21:05 utc | 21

Ah yes - the do nothing option of boycotts.

The US is currently the country that is responsible for more of the world's misery than any other country. Frankly, like South Africa, every dollar I keep out of the United States is one less dollar that will find its way to killing people in a variety of countries, but currently in particular Iraq.

There are other leaders who are worse, in that – say Dear Leader from North Korea were to replace Dear Leader in the United States, he would be worse. The point is though, that North Korea does not cause the same pain and suffering as the United States because of the position the US occupies on the planet. The US spends about as much on military as the rest of the world combined. I am hard pressed to think of progressive things that the US is doing anywhere. Why would I want my money to go to the US?

What better place to try to make sure my money does not go?

Posted by: edwin | Nov 14 2006 21:17 utc | 22

@slothrop - really, the congeniality of europeans--the eleemosynary compulsion which must be genetic, it is so extraordinary--isn't natural, or earned, or serendipitous. this heroic congeniality of the european is largely the effect of the u.s. expulsion of euro war profiteers from the scene of disaster.

euro investments do nothing to contribute to the prosperities of ge, raytheon, exxon and boeing? this is just naive.

there's no utility whatsoever in this boring transmutation of guilt from your side of the pond to ours.

has anyone her ushered such "transmutation"? what's your point? you'll call me a nazi in your next comment?

If you are living in the U.S., there is hardly a chance to boycott it. But to be envious of those who live eleswhere, who have a slight chance to do so and try, is pretty dumb ...

Posted by: b | Nov 14 2006 21:40 utc | 23

I even challenge the assumed efficacy of your little protest. if you boycott, let's say, colonel sanders or ford or microsoft, much of your effort will afflict domestic incomes and foreign workers. I suppose boycott of some companies have better efficacy: caterpiller for example. boycott of media, like newscorp or time has zero saliency as a political act given the global investments of these kinds of companies. we live in a global economy after all.

I'm satisfied your protest is inconceivable given the realities of global capitalist exploitation. the truth is, there's almost nothing you do on any given day that isn't insinuated in this form of universal, total domination. if you continue to believe yourself inoculated from this totality, it is because your belief is a luxurious blindness supplied by the u.s. army.

and no, I don't think you're a nazi. in this ibnstance, you are only maudlin.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 14 2006 22:04 utc | 24

"making sure that i should never forget the political prisoners that fill the prisons of america"

and prisoners of conscience. the forgotten people.

we are still a long ways from validating our humanity. we are the real prisoners.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 14 2006 22:15 utc | 25

no slothrop is quite wrong in here in both practical & tactical terms

a real & functioning boycott can be carried out against the war profiteers. of this there can be no question

as i sd if conyers & waxman really do the work of investigating - those profiteers as both of them have promised to do - an international boycott & campaign against halliburton et al would have the most potent resonances, especially inside the belly of the beast

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 14 2006 22:17 utc | 26

Living in Canada presents few chances to boycott the US as well. Our attempt began Mar 19, 2003 and since then The Hudson's Bay Co. and Zellers (higher and lower end dept stores) are now US owned. The company I worked for is US owned and the HO is exerting more influence - demanding profits of 10, 15 and 19 percent over the last three years or "else".

There are few Canadian retail firms left. Hell, we only get 30% of the profit from our oilngas. I saw a NatGas pipline being built in the Maritimes. I was surprised to learn it runs to Massivetwoshits because the local market is "too small".

Do not think I'm unaware of Canadian complicity in this mess - Litton Systems was bombed in the late seventies, early eighties I think (collapsed the front of the building - after hours) for cruise missle guidance systems and SNC-Lavalin currently makes ammo. Our wealthy are profiting as grotesquely from this clusterphuque as any other.

It would be nice, but near impossible, to boycott China too. National Geographic had an article recently aboot "China Rising". It spoke in glowing terms of the benefits of industrialization. 50 men brought the equivalent of $37000 to their little village - woohoo!! All they had to do was abandon their families for a factory 10 hours a day for 353 days - 1 day off a month. And probably making sex toys or IT parts.

The US chose to take up the imperialist mantle from Europe and have done nothing to address their M.E. phuque-ups of eighty years ago. It is also leading this privatization/globalization - alright fascist - parade. So, yes it is their problem now.

Posted by: gmac | Nov 14 2006 22:22 utc | 27

it's global capitalism--not globalist trade, coca-cola, or my dell computer--that's the source of many of our gravest problems. you may have not noticed it, but you canucks and euros are post-industrial service workers and "symbolic-analysts." your jobs are fungible, for the most part, and your consumption is made possible by debt and violence. your gain, even for the humble engineer in hamburg, is made possible by the abattoirs in iraq an afghanistan. you're all guilty.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 14 2006 22:35 utc | 28

@slothrop but you canucks and euros are post-industrial service workers and "symbolic-analysts."

what's your role?

Posted by: b | Nov 14 2006 22:59 utc | 29

what's your role?

parasitic welfare scum w/ sequestered income. i'm a child of bismarck.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 14 2006 23:25 utc | 30

Most aware people have a type of general boycott in place at all times. This boycott against products which are markedly more polluting than their competitors, or whose manufacturers are known to be more rapacious than others don't have the 'destruction of the corporate entity' as their sole motivating factor.

The prime reason most would give for committing to these boycotts of a particular corporation or product is that it is one of the few ways which an individual can express his/her distaste for a particular entity's lack of ethics.

It is the same motive which compels most people to refuse to purchase goods produced by US entities.

Will it drive the US manufacturer or more likely, marketeer into bankruptcy? No but it is one way of expressing dis-satisfaction with the corporation however un-heeded that may be.

People tend to customise their boycotts to suit their demeanour and most of all their needs and this is why they usually don't advertise them widely because there is always someone who opposes the notion, ready to criticise the boycotter for not doing enough and of therefore being a hypocrite.

For example Israel is easy, the only Israeli goods I've ever seen for sale in Australia or NZ were synthetic nappy (diaper) liners, now apart from their limited pool of potential consumers there are many reasons not related to zionist expansion which should pesuade a consumer not to use synthetic liners for nappies, the fact that someone using non disposable nappies is probably reasonably environmentally aware makes that boycott a no-brainer.

France (during the time it had a penchant for polluting the South Pacific with radiation and murdering the indiginous people of New Caledonia) was also not very difficult as it's wine was over priced and there was a perfectly acceptable Spanish aftershave around which passed the non-animal testing and torture standard. Mind you that was just me, everything was easier before parenting became the raison d'etre.

Apartheid South Africa wasn't difficult (except for the Paul Simon creep) as apart from tinned fruit of indeterminate taste, the products which they peddled were chiefly gold and diamonds and most reasonable people didn't have much use for either until the 80's tech boom by which time even large corporations were trying to avoid South African sourced goods in their products.

Most US made goods are easy to avoid except the TV shows and muzak.

Nothing against the artists but they aren't the people who profit from US TV and muzak sales anyhow. The publishers who have lobbied hard to have the grossly oppressive and undemocratic copyright laws that the Clintonistas introduced to amerika, enforced throughout the world are the major beneficiaries of these sales.

I confess that my boycott of US produced software began long before the illegal invasion of iraq.

this was primarily because of the way that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) had been foisted on amerika then on the rest of the world.

How does one boycott a TV show?

Since I mostly watch prerecorded stuff (when I want to watch is infrequently when the station broadcasts) I got in the habit of running back and making a note of what products were being advertised and boycotting them.

Most people don't have the inclination to go to this extreme which is fair enough.
But one of the ironies of a decaying empire is that as it festers the quality of it's popular art improves.

Twenty years ago I couldn't think of a single US made TV show that I would consider watching whereas there was a couple of english ones worth the effort. Now that the english appear to have found 'their place in the world' albeit as offsider to amerika, the quality of brit tv is shit.

On the other hand as amerikans have become less certain of themselves the quality of a few limited parts of their popular drama has improved to the point of being watchable.

The whole boycott the advertisers thing became unnecessary now that xvid encoded versions of TV shows appear on my (Dutch) news server within an hour of being screened. In the case of 'The Wire', before they are televised thanks to some corrupt reviewer out to make a dollar.

As I pointed out above the purpose of all this is more to try and minimise the impact one's own actions have on promulgating amerikan hegemony more than causing some mega-corp any financial disruption.

That said, the argument that such boycotts disadvantage one's own economy more than the amerikan one is entirely fallacious.

If it were true there would be no perceived advantage for a nation in getting another nation to purchase it's corporations' products.

As we can see from this article in today's Guardian US officials engage in a heap of arm-twisting and extortion to get other nations especially so-called allies to buy their country's wares.

Apparently the whitehouse believes that the Bliar should let amerikan pharmaceutical bandits loose on brits' National Health Service.
Bliar has just about totally destroyed it but even he may draw the line at that coup de grace.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 14 2006 23:39 utc | 31

what must remain clear while the morgues of iraq are full to overflowing are that there are people responsible for that being the situation

& it is simply wrong-headed fro slothrop to bring up again a global capitalism that is without headquarters & the inferred claim on that - that everybody is innocent, that everybody is guilty. that isn't the case. in fact it is far from it

95% of the companies making profit from this war are entities of the united states & of the united states only

is slothrop suggesting that somehow these companies, these businesses of blood & bones should not be held up to accountability. to suggest that even by inference is a form of logic that i think even the lofty slothrop cannot follow

those businesses should be put before committees, commissions & juries. they should face the full weight of whatever justice the democrats can rummage up from the rubbish bin that is american jurisprudence. they are accountable for many & multiple crimes

blackwater & titan are war criminals & should face criminal charges

if slothrop is suggesting in any sense that these security corporations, or the contractors who have neither built bridges or building but pissed billions of the people's money against the wall while their brother in arms , the army went its way slaughtering the people of iraq

even a limited marxist critique would suggest that the corporations face a form of punishment & if those united states cannot provide that punishment - then it ought to be found where it can - even in the european commissions & courts

these people can be punished & should be. honeywell corporation years ago was forced to drop its weapon enginerering because of the forms of oppositions against it

boycotts do work when they are targeted & they can be a profound punishment as apartheid south africa found out

yes whatever sanctions other countries could organise would be small potatos compared to the criminal sanctions that already killed a million people even before the invasion

sanctioons, boycotts & criminal prosecutions whether they are launched from the congressional floor or a german courtroom are required & necessary - because the war needs to be brought home to hurt the people who prosecute & are complicit in that illegal war

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 15 2006 1:37 utc | 32

sure sure. the "businesses of blood & bones" should be burned. but it would be foolish to think the business of war is an american monopoly. as a leftist, I always want to find the forest among the trees and would like to avoid the distraction these horrors are an intrinsic appetite of this or that dubiously american enterprise. and much too often here the eagerness to extol european/nz/canadian (jesus, look at all those anglos!) virtues is accomplished at the expense of the ruthless critique of capitalism. all i'm sayin.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 1:56 utc | 33

and all we're sayin' is that the US is leading this pack of anglo jackals

Posted by: gmac | Nov 15 2006 2:14 utc | 34

well well well well. what to say, where to go. living here it is impossible to boycott america. on the other hand we can always buy blue, and buy local.

recently i took a little visit on a ferry to do a drop in w/neighbor of a fellow garden club member who had finally bought her dream property and built her house on the island. spending so much time in the car i of course couldn't help myself from delving into the political yet always conscious of not too offending my passenger, tho she was a captive audience. after i expressed myself on the state of the empire she decided to knock me down a touch by mentioning how some people actually donate time and do things civil for their community (her way of implying i did little but read the news) and then proceeded , what kind of say can a person like me have anyway etc and we have so little opportunity unless we become immersed bla bla, to which i responded

well, it just so happenes that every friggin time you spend a dollar you speak your mind.

and then i gave her my whole wrap about being aware of who we support. and then i couldn't help myself.. i reminded her that the person we were visiting, our garden , tea drinking, herb collecting, organic eating and everything pc ing friend spent 1/2 her friggin year working on an oil barge for standard oil. and it is one thing filling your tank and quite another actually putting in 20 years for one of these companies. of course i had to do this raaather gently since she was bery good friends w/her and i like her too but i always feel a little weird about not confronting her and ruining out lovely tho rare encounters w/my political speels.

when we arrived at her home, the home we had heard about for years from the intiail plans, the ones she had saved for and planned ever so carefully, the enormous architectural beauty that could easily house 10, all milled from her land, w/every doorknob carefully chosen at 100 a piece no doubt, well lets just say a regular working person does not accumulate this kind of luxury.

ok, ot i know. a little. sure, when i buy my milk i don't always buy blue, sometimes i'm lazy. but whenever i have any large chunk $$ i don't let it sit in B of A. i avoid plastics. i avoid packaged foods, i buy recycled stuff when building.. most of the time, i don't go to the big stores, every little bit counts.

Posted by: annie | Nov 15 2006 3:00 utc | 35

The only virtue Canada has is that our elites haven't yet instigated battering brown skinned people (Vietnamese, Phillipino, Iraqi, Honduran, Salvadoran, Laotian,
Cambodian... Poles) into economic and cultural submission (directly or by proxy) by falsely claiming that the barbarians are already at our gates or very, very soon they will be with mushrooms.

I am guilty of having the good misfortune to have been born in a nation whose elites are quite happy to profit from these deadly shenanigans and now haven't the yarbles to tell these pirates to FO. Harper is so far up Bush's ass he's suckling Howard's toes as Howard felches Blair. Politically, economically, militarily and evangelically speaking of course. Not that he's much different than any recent PM as NAFTA guarantees we sell fuel to the US regardless of Canada's requirements - thank you Lyin Brian whose sphincter was surfed by Ronnie Raygun. And that shit-in-a-suit Cretin took credit for it as well as speaking to an imaginary homeless man on his walk into work.

Posted by: gmac | Nov 15 2006 3:18 utc | 36

and all we're sayin' is that the US is leading this pack of anglo jackals

this is a datum doing nothing to advance our understranding of the the vast complexity of systemic domination shared by all those anglos.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 4:03 utc | 37

I'll also add the intermittently comprehensible but usually interesting dissection of conspiracies offered here also does not contribute to a critique of power--unless your preferences for critique are found in the john le carre novel. I'd rather read samir amin myself.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 4:08 utc | 38

threads like this prove why "the left" should always be cautiously presented within scare quotes.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 4:11 utc | 39

I'm looking forward to meeting y'all in Guantanamo!

Posted by: Susan | Nov 15 2006 4:37 utc | 40

@b (and the other non-US citizens who have weighed in here)

I just wrote a response for the past hour and half and lost it all at the inadvertant stroke of a key. Maybe that's for the best. I just wanted to let you know that I understand and respect your position here.

I just wanted to let you know, however, that I disagree that the "terrs" have won. When such beauty and hospitality as I have known in my youth are denied to so many, nobody can be said to have won anything. We've all lost.

I wish that I were able to give you all a tour of the land of my birth, but that country no longer exists. This thread has made me profoundly sad.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 15 2006 4:39 utc | 41

but that country no longer exists.

is that chief joseph or dolly parton? just curious.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 5:00 utc | 42

i completely understand why bernhard and others would choose not to come here and to boycott u.s. products. it is more than impossible for me to do and it would complicate at best my aim of buying local. i buy local whenever possible and when i don't i choose fair trade over free trade. i refuse to buy clothing that says "made in whatever outsourced sweatshop", and thought i would have to give up one of my favorite (non-local) designers, agnes b., because her labels started to say made in poland, hungary, etc., but was told by the store employees that she is paying the same wage outside france as in france and is making a conscious effort to employ a wider group of people. all of that said, i do not buy israeli products nor do i support israeli-owned businesses in new york unless i am left with no other choice. it may not stop the march of globalism or convince the israelis to stop brutalizing the palestinians, but it is a way in which i can personally make a difference even if it is a small one. i liken it to the tiny vote i cast last week. i can't see the point of ridiculing people for boycotting companies whose practices are an affront. and if boycotting companies of a particular provenance forces these companies to put pressure on their governments to change policies and practices then surely something has been accomplished. and still even if wide-sweeping change is not the end result, at least i will have been true to my principles to the extent possible.

Posted by: conchita | Nov 15 2006 5:09 utc | 43

"is that chief joseph or dolly parton? just curious."

Are you a troll or an attention whore? Just curious.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 15 2006 5:14 utc | 44

Probably a rectal-crainial invert troll, but I would have to do a forensic examination to be certain.

Posted by: Dr. Quincy | Nov 15 2006 6:00 utc | 45

Uh, so I'm confused, I have no problem with you guys boycotting the United Snakes Of Amorica, but I can't for the life of me think of anything we (America ) makes anymore, virtually everything here is imported; mostly from China and the east.

I understand Monolycus's saddness, as America has changed dramatically in the last twenty or so years. Or maybe, it was my illusion of America.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 15 2006 6:14 utc | 46

A lotta good consumers around this here bar. We lose our Constitution & you worry about buying/not buying shit...

b- how about talking around & getting Germans to deluge newspapers & legislators w/demand that Rumbo be indicted for War Crimes - and since it is a European Union, folks in other countries can certainly support it?

Just a thought.

Posted by: jj | Nov 15 2006 6:28 utc | 47

But by all means don't subject yourselves to the indignity of coming here. I can't imagine why anyone would consent to being treated that way. They're strip searching 70+ yr. old retired professors w/grandchildren. Can you still fly around Europe w/out being searched etc?

Posted by: jj | Nov 15 2006 6:30 utc | 48

Every political action we take is valuable.

Buying, selecting employees, shooting the breeze, whatever.

slothrop, I defy you to admit that taking any ill- semi- or even misinformed action in support of one's principles is a good thing.

It is a good thing. I defy you to deny that.

Taking political action of any kind is a Good Thing.

Why? Because for one (1) it is a risk taken for principles. The very act strengthens one's will for political action. Don't say taking political action is not a good thing. If so we are all chops, I mean lost sheep.

Secondly, (2) the act of exercising political will in any form is an experiment in growth. We learn what is effective, what we are comfortable with, we discover which arguments are valid, which need more information. It is a way of testing our ability to change the world towards our view.

Whether the effect is long-term good or long-term bad, who are we to say? As a self-named leftist you must accept that each proletarian whether they even heard of Marx let alone read a book can make up her own mind.

In that case we better for goddam sure encourage everyone to learn to read, to think, to discuss and to exercise the right to choose where they shop, what they buy.

Whatever the motivation, be it advertising, the sales coupon discount or jst being talked into it, the consumer choice is the most powerful voice available to the people on this freakin' planet.

When someone asks you to play the game of not spending dollars on US companies or the retailer that has locked out workers, the bit of shared community creates a glow of comradeship.

Finally, (3) not taking action when you know it is possible leaves you empty and critical. The life-saving mechanism of feeling and taking action, including discussion, is a necessary part of life itself.

Thanks for introducing me to many new words and ideas, s.

Posted by: jonku | Nov 15 2006 6:34 utc | 49

To continue, boycotts are silent. That means no one knows why you bought rice crisplies instead of corn flakes.

So the boycott is a very safe way to engage in political action.

That reminds me of a story.

She was a student working summers in a bank in a boom town, unpaid overtime each weekly payday.

Saving for the coming college year, each dime was skint. Working past the last bus on Fridays but the manager refused to give cab fare.

So she felt the bank owed her the cost of the late ride home. Not the overtime, that would be going too far.

But she took one dime from each roll of coins until the exact cab fare was made up.

Yes, I know the bank didn't pay the community did.

But it's the principle of the thing.

Posted by: jonku | Nov 15 2006 7:00 utc | 50

Here's my two bits' worth on the whole boycott thing. A boycott is an act of violence. The only thing that distinguishes a boycott from a trade embargo is that it is more likely to be ineffectual. That fact does not change its fundamental character. The idealized objective of the boycott of a firm must be to threaten it with bankruptcy, whatever the actual prospect of bringing that about might be. It is by nature a form of hardball, but with a very small ball thrown from a very great distance.

A boycott is a negotiation tool, if it is to have any civilized purpose. One needs to know at what point or under what circumstances it will or would be lifted. If you can't answer that question, and if you don't have a positive reason for the choices involved you're just engaged in pointless, low-level violence.

What would be ideal objective of a generalized boycott of "the United States economy" be, I wonder?

(I should perhaps add that I greatly sympathize with those who choose not to visit the US, and respect the choice of those who choose to attempt to boycott US products, however defined. But the purpose of the latter is, well, very unclear to me.)

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Nov 15 2006 7:31 utc | 51

Wasn't it a threatened boycott of the banks continuing to transfer funds to the Palestinian authority that has brought the Palestinian people to the edge of starvation? Just as in the UBS scandal, if a bank is not allowed access to the international financial markets, they will fund or defund anything.

My frustration matches Slothrop (I think). I have been boycotting products also for years, but it is puny against a financial apparatus that continues to engorge itself on other people's misery.

Posted by: ww | Nov 15 2006 7:36 utc | 52

Jassalasca Jape, I disagree that "a boycott is an act of violence" but I do agree that the ultimate threat is bankruptcy as I interpret that to mean loss of customers.

Violence I think is about physical harm. Economic harm is a different thing unless you will die if the local plant closed down.

So let's be clear. Boycotts are not violent. Prove me wrong.

As for the effectiveness, WW makes an incorrect statement that government-sanctioned seizure of Palestine's funds is a boycott. That's a red herring that has nothing to do with the discussion.

Posted by: jonku | Nov 15 2006 8:02 utc | 53


I agree with your disagreement (ha!) but Jassalasca Jape makes a valid point: a boycott without some sort of public announcement doesn't really help because it doesn't let the companies/countries/whatever know why they're being boycotted. If Ford loses a majority of its business outside the U.S. but nobody says anything, how will they know it's because of a deliberate boycott and not just because people just don't like their cars? (<sarcasm>...and how would they be able to tell that from a sudden worldwide outbreak of good taste?</sarcasm>)

Also, a corollary: if there is no condition that can be met by the target which would result in lifting the boycott, then the boycott is probably unfair. So "I refuse to buy this because the company which made it is run by Americans" may not be helpful. A far better policy would be to research the individual companies and boycott the ones which have things wrong which can be fixed.

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Nov 15 2006 8:17 utc | 54

B and Annie just provided the absolute and definitive proof the US is currently a rogue state that has basically declared war on the rest of the world and that its government should be put to sleep like any rabid dog, by any means necessary.
I've yet to have a proper explanation why they aren't considered pariah state, and, more to the point, why every single American going abroad isn't arrested and given the choice either to be jailed until the US regime changes, or until the poor guy just renounces its citizenship and publicly burns his passport.
I know this is vastly unfait to many Americans who are just pissed off with this, but considering what the US thinks it can get away with, any kinder treatment would just encourage them.
Such a behaviour from US administration isn't tolerable and should cease at once. This is the kind of stuff a totalitarian state like Stalin's USSR or Nazi Germany would do.

And speaking of boycott, if you assume it is an act of violence, then you probably have the answer to your question: a boycott doesn't aim to change the company's or country's policie; it seeks to economically destroy it.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Nov 15 2006 9:51 utc | 55

Public announcements are not necessary. Limits are not necessary. The US government and those people in the US industry know that they are being boycotted for travel. No announcement is necessary. If they actually care, they will find out why, not that that is hard either.

Perhaps boycott is the wrong word. I just am not interested in having my money support brand America. I don't care if it is directly or indirectly. There are some nice people who live under brand America. They still contribute to brand America because it is so difficult not to, or perhaps for other reasons. Too bad. Well, I really, really hate brand America. I want brand America to go away. If brand America wants me to buy their products they can do the market research and decide what I, as a potential customer wants. If they aren't willing to make the effort, too bad. While I don't like brand China, I don't like them less than I don't like brand America. So I'll buy the competition.

What the f- is this you must buy brand America, and if you don't it's violence? You want my dollar? Earn it. Otherwise, as a consumer, I will consume somewhere else – thank you very much!

Posted by: edwin | Nov 15 2006 14:59 utc | 56

slothrop, I defy you to admit that taking any ill- semi- or even misinformed action in support of one's principles is a good thing.

well, good luck parsing what factor endowments you consume are "american" and "not american."

in my view, it is certainly strange people w/ the best intentions demand power be fixed in time and space so that power can be assaulted. among other things, capital is surpassingly powerful because it is virtual and its domination absolutely and always transgresses the limits it establishes for itself. that's why it's capital. as castells nicely puts it, in order to understand this power, you must understand the difference between the space of flows and the space of places. the latter "place" is where one pointlessly finds in america capitalism epitomized in all its evil, but in sweden, oh happy days! the former is where one finds capital, in the global compression of time & space, and where one embattles capital. no easy task to be sure, but a confrontation that excludes a boycott on "american" hotdogs and reruns of will & grace.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 16:22 utc | 57

but that country no longer exists.

seriously. is it:

a) mary tyler moore
b) mikey from life cereal commercial
c) your dead border collie, "sargeant"
d) the little packets in daddy's dresser drawer
e) the funeral of cotton mather

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 16:32 utc | 58

raymond williams says early in the town & country book that the longing for the past utopia is as old as the verses of virgil. ideological claptrap.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 16:34 utc | 59

I used to travel to the U.S. for business up to ten times per year. After the run-up to the Iraq war, with the machinations in the UN and elsewhere, I decided I wouldn't. And haven't since. Had my hopes up in the 2004 election, but no dice.

Not buying, flying or supporting American until this administration is history, and preferably impeached. I do share Billmon's dream vision of the perp's being the cast of Nüremberg II.

Posted by: SteinL | Nov 15 2006 16:36 utc | 60


so because no one can expect to beat capital, no one should do anything at all? no matter how significant it may be?

that sounds defeatist to me.

What do you find so laughable about taking a position on an issue and doing something about it. Of course I won't cause Pepsi to go down the tubes if I don't buy their pop but they are not getting my money either. I can give it to someone else or I can just keep it. I feel better, and if others see me not buying Pepsi maybe they will stop too once they know my reasons.

I dread returning to the US when I visit my family. It is not the country I left and I do not have my reality based on TV shows and commercials. The right has spread much hatred around and this has somehow benefitted them to everyone else's detriment. It wasn't always like this, perhaps you have only known this especially if the first president you remember is Reagan.

Posted by: dan of steele | Nov 15 2006 16:53 utc | 61

I don't do much posting here, but feel I need to to take a stand with poor out-numbered slothrop.

You people need to get the hell off your high horses. Unless you are poor citizen of a third-world country, you've benefited as much from "American" Imperialism as Americans have - more so, in fact, considering that you don't have to foot the bill for our military and political expenses. There you are, typing on a keyboard with components assembled in some Southeast Asian sweatshop, made from plastics derived from oil that likely came from the Mid East or South America, and transported (and probably powered) using that same oil (or uranium mined in Africa, etc.). You are, in fact, very likely nestled in a cocoon of such “luxury” items, enjoying your free healthcare and 2 months of paid vacation that your government was able to provide because it didn’t have to spend the money or get its hands dirty keeping those cheap products flowing (not to mention keeping the Soviets off your asses for 3 decades).

Now, I’m not saying that American foreign policy is by any means altruistic, or that Americans weren’t the primary beneficiaries. But you people are like that little punk that acts as a toady to the neighborhood bully – taunting the victims over the shoulder of their tormentor; taking a cut of the stolen lunch money, and then later bad-mouthing your bully friend even as you buy candy and ice cream with your ill-gotten gains…

Get over yourselves.

Posted by: Daldude | Nov 15 2006 17:06 utc | 62


like I said: good luck parsing what factor endowments you consume are "american" and "not american."

for ex., when mr & mrs lupin buy their sunday bagette in french rural lalaland, dollars to donuts even such a simple particularly local purchase implicates the domination of capital by virtue of the exchange relation itself, not to mention the real human costs of french ag subsidies, etc. this is one of the many reasons marxists defend the notion of a soicial "totality."

also, it is demonstrably untrue "american capitalism" exists as separate entity. we live in an increasingly global economy. so, your belief europe or elsewhere is happily exempted from the contradictions of global capital accumulation is fantasy. the horrors of the last century in europe are empirical evidence you are wrong.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 17:16 utc | 63

the larger battle is against "civilization"

Posted by: b real | Nov 15 2006 17:21 utc | 64

Ah, a clear answer to my #44. A little from column A and a little from column B.

@dan of steele (#61)

"I dread returning to the US when I visit my family. It is not the country I left and I do not have my reality based on TV shows and commercials. The right has spread much hatred around and this has somehow benefitted them to everyone else's detriment. It wasn't always like this..."

I returned to the US in 2004 to vote in the Presidential election (I didn't want to screw around with the absentee ballot) and came to the same conclusion. My friends told me it was "reverse culture shock" I was experiencing while we shared a pitcher under the newly-installed, ubiquitous black hemispheres that hung from the ceiling of every public establishment. I'm not convinced... being present throughout incremental change tends to inure people to it. I suppose that's one of the many ways in which travel broadens the mind; you're at least able to starkly contrast what is with what used to be.

I'm frequently asked when it is that I am planning to return home... kind of lost a bit of meaning there.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 15 2006 17:23 utc | 65

so, it's the "black spheres," is it?

if we remove them, will you come home wolfboy?

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 17:28 utc | 66

just fucking w/ you

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 17:30 utc | 67

I suppose that's one of the many ways in which travel broadens the mind; you're at least able to starkly contrast what is with what used to be.

now you're just cutting and pasting excerpts from hernando de soto's letters to mama recounting the value of his "meetings" w/ the "indians."

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 17:47 utc | 68

just fucking w/ you

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 18:03 utc | 69

again, it is clear to me that my friend is puposefully obscufacating - what are in essence not only progressive possibilities & are in effect, common sense

i defy slothrop to deny practically that 95% of the businesses profiting from the blood of others in iraq - are entitites of the united states

halliburton & a titan can be oppossed - concretely - to say otherwise is excusing their part in the mass murder of innocent

i have a concrete example of when honeywell corporation was oppossed in all senses of that word from sanctions right up physical acts against it - it stopped its manufacture of the components that were killing the vietnamese

perhaps they have returned to the business for murder but for a tiome they stopped because it threatened their other business's - which included domestic products

the real profiteers from crime - halliburton et al can be affected very practically by sanctions, boycotts, protest & resistance

i too am mystiified by the global capitalism of slothrop & i think i have read the same books - negri et al - but in his argument he implicitly argues against a form of protest & resistance that has already proved its efficacy in the past

is slothrop saying because a german has a share in halliburton that it should not be oppossed, is he suggesting that because they rearrange tax to their proper benefit that they 'share' their workload & benefits with others - that it is a reason to not demand the absolutely necessary investigations, commissions & trials

you have some background in economics slothrop look at that 95% of companies who are benefiting diurectly from this immoral war

& i warn of making an abstraction of theory when its real use is to understand the concrete underpinnings of unequal societies & it should never be used as an excuse for inaction because it is the inaction which is the complicity

& i would suggest as lin piao has before me that anything you do to wound the beast is a healthy thing, nay is the correct thing to do - not out of some form of orthodoxy but as a human being who takes theior civil responsibilities & their humanity seriouslly

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 15 2006 18:10 utc | 70

It seems to me there is more than one issue here, and one doesn't necessarily impact the other.

1. visit the U.S. or not.

If I were not an American, I would not feel comfortable coming here for a visit. After 9-11, the govt. made life hellish for some grad students, for instance, whose only crime was that they studied in the U.S. One guy here, an Iranian, was denied entrance to the country at the beginning of last year because he went home to visit his family. His advisor went to the newspapers to make his case known.

He wasn't detained. He was denied a visa.

As I said here before, I know ppl who used to visit here more than once a year to work. When the U.S. started acting like a totalitarian state, they no longer wanted to come here. they have nothing to fear, except the insanity of the current powers-that-be. But that's would be for me if I weren't a citizen.

And I still keep my options open after next year, to see what sort of work I can find elsewhere in my field. If I could go to Canada, for instance, I think I would do it.

2. boycotting - who can say who has to buy where? I haven't been in WalMart for a decade, and so I'm denying poor rural people the minimum wages that Wally World offers. So, should I shop at WalMart, even tho I detest their policies? No. Am I holier than thou? No. It's my choice where I spend my money.

3. Yes, all western nations participate in the oppression of third-world nations. WITH the complicity of those nations' elites. Europe, for instance, subsidizes their own companies' banana production in the tropics so that Jamaica cannot enter the market. America sells powdered milk to Jamaica that is cheaper than the milk from cows the farmers have to pour the milk away, sell off more of their herds...

how were any of the people who live outside of the U.S. stating that they were holier-than-thou by saying they boycott U.S. products?

Maybe it's more of an issue that Americans are ashamed of their country's actions and our inability to enact change through legislation as the NAFTA superhighway cuts a gash through the U.S. and allows third wage produced products to go to rust belt stores whose working class lost their jobs when the companies they worked for took production south.

When I lived in Europe and came back to the U.S., I was disgusted. Kids were hysterical about some product or another that was sold to them on U.S. tv via commercials and cartoons that were merely props for merchandise. My kids soon feel into the same behavior...even when they know they're targets... it's so pervasive it's impossible to avoid unless you home school in montana and wait for big foot to come get you.

things are too big here. when I first saw an Expedition, I wanted to throw up. I want to flip off people in hummers...or ask them why they're trying to compensate for such a teeeeny tiny penis...I don't do that (usually) but believe me, I am so tempted to get out of my car when waiting behind a hummer...actually there's a lot of hostility where I am (and other places, I hear) toward hummer drivers.

who needs to live in a macmansion with three car garages on former farmland that would be better planted with trees than cheaply constructed homages to consumption?

I read somewhere this year...Harpers or the New Yorker, maybe, that NYC is one of the "exemplars" of how to live...for most ppl...with mass transit and living quarters that are not 4000 sq ft for three ppl. The closet example of this form of living, beyond other major cities here, is Europe.

So I guess there's something to gloat about.

As far as military in's my understanding that the U.S. WANTED to be there b/c of the aftermath of WWII. Same with Japan. Now, sure, withdraw the troops. Spend the money on mass transit or solar shingles or windmills. Works for me.

I boycott the military. I won't give my child to them for unjust wars. I guess that makes me smug, too.

Posted by: fauxreal | Nov 15 2006 18:14 utc | 71

just fucking w/ you

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15, 2006 1:03:45 PM | 69

You are raping and it is disgusting.

Posted by: b | Nov 15 2006 18:20 utc | 72

In my little corner of the world we as an 'organized group' are managing to fight off the *well* organized "Big Box" economic leviathan with reasonable success without appearing to be organized 'Economic Terrorists'.

I just can't stop using the word "Organized" darn it.

It's tough though. Remember what happened in 1933 when an organized group of 'money changers' in Germany declared 'economic war' against the government that appeared to be socialist at the time.

Posted by: pb | Nov 15 2006 18:22 utc | 73

I've yet to have a proper explanation why they aren't considered pariah state, and, more to the point, why every single American going abroad isn't arrested and given the choice either to be jailed until the US regime changes, or until the poor guy just renounces its citizenship and publicly burns his passport.

To begin with: if you burn your passport and renounce your citizenship, it makes no difference. In fact, it just gives the U.S. government something they can come after you for. Next time you set foot in a country with extradition and are recognized, they'll bring you back and try you for tax evasion over the years you didn't pay taxes as a "citizen" should. There are some cases of this on the books, even pre-Bush. Dual citizenship is fine with Uncle Sam (as opposed to Uncle $cam, our local link artiste) but just try to renounce your U.S. citizenship and see where it gets you. And these days, they probably wouldn't even wait if they decided they wanted to get you -- you'd be extraordinarily rendered so fast your head would spin. (And for that matter, suppose that U.S. citizens were held outside the country like that -- if 1% of us were taken like that, it would be 3 million people, more or less. What country is so eager for immigrants that it would accept them?)

But on the broader question: America isn't condemned, I think, because in the minds of the leadership of most countries, and their money- and power-holding elites, and probably a substantial portion of the citizens as well, what America does around the world is something which has to happen, and although the leaders would like a bigger piece of the pie, they're content to allow America to take the lion's share of the profits as long as America takes the blame as well, which it does at the moment. Not all of European leadership actively supported the demolition of Iraq, for example, but the ones that didn't were still thinking, deep down, "cheap oil for the west and one less tyrant, and I don't have to lift a finger. I can live with this." Of course, it didn't work out that way, but that's just as good for these people -- now they can take credit with their populations for not having wasted any troops on a lost cause, just as, in the event of cheap oil, they would have taken credit for an economic boom.

Consider how Blair and Merkel are content to be American sock-puppets, and think how long it has taken for serious opposition to come up against either one. It isn't just American voters who object more to losing than to going to war, or who don't mind killing some brown folks to improve the economy. Europeans are just a bit more farsighted about what it would take to win, and realized that Bush didn't have it lined up. If it had been an effectively-planned, well-manned operation, our European antiwar posters on this board would be a tiny, tiny minority in countries which were celebrating the smooth operation in Iraq and talking about Iran like crazed neocons. As it is: which governments put up serious opposition to CIA renditions and secret prisons within their borders? How long did it take for them to even admit they were taking place?

And then, of course, there's the problem of dollar-linked currencies and investments. Some countries can't put up any serious resistance to American economics, because if America goes down the tubes, it will take their economies with it. And as for the Euro -- an awful lot of these American multinationals have major European funding behind them. As long as that's true, the Powers That Be in Europe sure aren't going to push too hard to stop American finance. And the current American (Bush-related) slump means that withdrawing the investments would mean huge losses. And if they withdraw, someone might ask some nasty questions about why they waited so long. Better to just keep quiet and hope Bush can be contained for a few more years and somebody sane gets back in.

Boycott America if you must, but the more horrible companies will just move their headquarters to other countries that want the business and keep on with business as usual, maybe even use legal action to get their names removed from the boycott lists, and by the time that the greater mass of boycotters realize they've been had, it'll be too late to do anything about it.

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Nov 15 2006 18:35 utc | 74

You are raping and it is disgusting.

i give what i get. in some places, what i often do is called "humor"

you too could offer up a better defense of your ideas here. but, it's your blog.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 19:03 utc | 75

you have some background in economics slothrop look at that 95% of companies who are benefiting diurectly from this immoral war

i don't disagree at all w/ you. i would like to move the discussion to a more useful plane of abstraction where it is possible to inspect and understand how to oppose a system of domination which, by its own logic of development, must culminate in murder and dispossession. i have long thought this was the purpose of any "left" worthy of the name.

negri is brilliant, but autonomous marxism is a failure.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 19:09 utc | 76

Hmm - I intended the little story about my private boycott to be just an intro to the fact that the U.S. government is now snitching foreigners who are legaly in the U.S. off the streets and puts them away for live without any chance for them for redress.

"then they went for the legal foreigners, and I didn't protest, because I was no legal foreigner .."

or somewhere along these line.

But there seems to be no need for that discussion but quite a need for a discussion on the value or not of a trivial boycott ... including a pissing contest about Europes rape history versus the U.S. one (Europe will win that one easily - more history and girls are always the ones who can piss farther).

Just make sure the point is understood - I would like to visit the U.S. - I don't - I'm quite probably "hurting" myself more than any U.S. company.

The point is that it is no longer save for me to visit the U.S. - and that is a real change.

Posted by: b | Nov 15 2006 19:11 utc | 77


you're the one who mentioned "boycott" inviting the usual america sucks thread with the euros and expats lining up to piss on america as if america were the universal problem.

but, as we see from this thread, people really do believe that the problem in the world is immoderate american aggression and difficult custums policy. really, they do.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 19:25 utc | 78

fuck it

it is like listening to abizaid before congress - where at no point is any reference made that perhaps the american invasion & occupation of iraq - might be affecting how things are going

as if the iraquis are living an indepedant existence - that lie is morally corrupt

95% of the corporations plundering & tearing iraq apart are american

they can be oppossed & should be

that opposition can & has had in the past a powerful effect

& combination of jurisprudence(because at least on a superficial level they are the ones always hammering away at the 'rule of law') & people's actions can be effective

halliburton can be isolated - not by theory but by practice

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 15 2006 19:25 utc | 79

I'm down w/ you, rgiap. I just cancelled my internet order for clusterbombs and night vision goggles. i will also refuse to accept rides from f22 pilots.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 15 2006 19:29 utc | 80

hmm, about those pissing contests. not the one on america, imean the ones on posters who don't agree w/ones ptv. i've noticed around here once and awhile the tendency , seemingly arbitrary for it doesn't happen all the time, of this 'take down ' mentality. this instinct also can affect me when i sense a clear disrespect for the space we share and the posters we share it with than the ideas being debated. but i imagine it is clear to even the least sensitve amoung us how transparent this need to personalize the attacks and go for the jugular while laughing or snubbing. really very immature and primitive.

so go on back to top dogging it. if the shoe fits that is..

Posted by: annie | Nov 15 2006 19:33 utc | 81

What I do when I enter in Control and Security area in airports if any uniformed tell me something : I say (with a very serious face and in low voice): Fear!. Normally they said, what? why?. I repite very serious and in low voice: fear. I have fear.
They said :fear of fliying? . I: No, only fear.

Till now , they scan me with the electronic wand, pass all bags for de XRay scan, and thats all.
Yesterday, (I must travel by plane every week), one uniformed told me: you are the fourth person today saying the same.

Is all what I want. They sell fear. OK I have fear!.

Posted by: curious | Nov 15 2006 19:49 utc | 82


Posted by: | Nov 15 2006 19:52 utc | 83

but, as we see from this thread, people really do believe that the problem in the world is immoderate american aggression and difficult custums policy. really, they do.

The posting I did was not about a "custom problem" as you would like to put it, but about a student with a legal visa that is sitting in a military brig now for years already without any chance for redress.

Even if that is just a "custom problem" for you, I don't even wish you to have that "custom problem".

Posted by: b | Nov 15 2006 20:01 utc | 84

"your belief europe or elsewhere is happily exempted from the contradictions of global capital accumulation is fantasy"

Several here have made it quite clear that we are well aware of our own nation's complicity and by extension, our guilt, in the great game. Nor do I see anyone calling for some bucolic past utopia filled with noble savages.

Should we feel guilty for where the womb lottery plopped us?(Would you get that, Dierdre?) No, not in the least. This con was on long before any of us was squeezed out onto the beautiful blue marble and bombarded with propaganda about how great it is to consume freely for infinity. (How this is to be accomplished on an inarguably finite marble is never really explained.)

We have chosen to share ideas about how to lessen our personal impact within our national shame of being remoras to the US great white. There have always been remoras and the great white has been, British, French, Roman, Persian... And yes, due to the global nature of the great con, compromises will have to be made. That does not mean nothing can be done or that a large enough effort wouldn't be felt.

Except that a large enough effort is tres difficile in this age of komfort macht frei. Still, a few can snowball. Many in Europe flat out rejected the corporatist "constitution" their pirates tried to foist on them.

I will not take up arms against someone else that has bought into the great con and fallen prey to the nationalistic ministrations of their local pirates, so I will have to try other means.

One candidate came right out and said no to Afghanistan in the last fed election, so we voted for him. They also spoke out against NAFTA, so I voted for him another time. Are those votes wasted because 'my party didn't win'?

We no longer travel to the US, nor buy their produce - good thing too given all the e-coli and salmonella the increasingly self-regulated agri-business lets pass. Buy local from the Farmer's markets and grow our own as much as we can.

We don't watch the NFL, NBA or Olympics anymore. Gave up on baseball after the strike in '94. Don't buy any of their merchandise.

In short, we do what we can with our votes and our wallets and through the grape vine.

slothrop would have us do nothing because we can't cover all the bases or be 99 44/100ths percent pure (due to the omnipresent nature of the problem at hand) and laugh at our simple efforts at affecting a complex hydra of a global corporatist crime syndicate.

When an investigation is launched into a crime syndicate, is there no concern as to whom is leading it? Isn't the idea of limitless growth capitalism of a purely American genesis like apple pie and the Radio Flyer? The US military is obviously the muscle behind this gobal cabal.

Putting economic pressure on the sheeple (present company excluded - including slothrop) in the US so that they feel the pinch may cause more of the them to want to go and kick their congreessperson in the nuts/kakuchala.

Or at least be open to the idea of a general strike

Posted by: gmac | Nov 15 2006 20:49 utc | 85

unfortunately, many might be convinced to turn on us as enemies as well. that ol' tribal magic

Posted by: gmac | Nov 15 2006 21:13 utc | 86

Fair warning: it has been my experience that anytime a hive mind or group of like thinking people (in this instance blogs) come together to talk "class" and especially the flag word "boycott" ,and if they are making progress in any form of solution as to what can be acomplished to combat a system, soon the cointel pro types show up and disrupt and splinter the ideal and people. Be it trolls or deep cover Cheka-esque Provocateur's. They make it job #1 to facilitate the discrediting of groups.

As Wardchurchill writes in From the Pinkertons to the PATRIOT Act: The Trajectory of Political Policing in the United States, 1870 to the Present, the the Patriot Act, and in this case, the snooping in on blogs online surveillance etc, "provides a veritable carte blanche to domestic elites avid to preserve their own positions of power and privilege through the placement of arbitrary and generally severe constraints upon the range of activities/expression allowed dissident or "unruly" sectors of the body politic."

In short, this trajectory is a multi-faceted and nuanced approach and the ptb are well aware of the power of the internets.

For example, this caught my attention of late:
"Former President Bush Blames ‘Bloggers’ for ‘Ugly’ Political Climate

"Former President Bush Blames ‘Bloggers’ for ‘Ugly’ Political Climate Last night on Fox News, former President George H.W. Bush said the current political climate has “gotten so adversarial that it’s ugly.” Asked to offer an explanation for why there is this “incivility,” Bush pinned the blame on bloggers. “It’s probably a little worse now given electronic media and the bloggers and all these kinds of things,” he said. Watch it:

Also, Bush revealed that he enjoys using “the email” but lamented that his son, President George W. Bush, cannot for fear that the emails would get subpoenaed. Bush worried that presidents who used email would be forced to prove “that you were telling the truth and all this stuff.”

Digg It!


GRETA: You are a letter writer. Tons of letters.

H.W. BUSH: Not anymore. Because now I use the email. And the computer. And I find that I don’t do near as much writing as I used to, letters as I used to. I don’t save them. And I am worried about that a little bit not that I have that much more to say, but I think it’s too bad in a way that email will detract from the historical record of presidents. I don’t think that the President Bush uses email.

BARBARA BUSH: He doesn’t.

H.W. BUSH: You worry about it. People are going to subpoena the email records and we are going to, you know, you’ve gotta prove that you were telling the truth and all this stuff. I mean, it’s gotten so adversarial that it’s ugly.

GRETA: Why do you think it’s gotten so adversarial? Tonight is literacy. Everybody comes in from all different sides and wants to help. It seems like oftentimes in Washington, you know, on something we all want to work towards it’s not necessarily so civilized. It’s not so pleasant.

H.W. BUSH: It’s true but that’s not new really. I mean, you go back in history and you’ll find that there was always adversarial politics. There was always gut fighting. And it’s probably a little worse now given the electronic media and the bloggers and all these kinds of things. But I don’t despair about it. I think things — there is a pendulum at work at times so you swing away from the incivility back to more normal climate."

"No matter how paranoid you are what they are really doing is worse
than you can possibly imagine." - Ralph J. Gleason, from something
called _The First Law of American Politics After Watergate_, as quoted
in Robin Ramsay's _Conspiracy Theories_, p.39.

Goddess I hope he wuz wrong. (Can you imagine?)

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 15 2006 21:56 utc | 87

i would like to move the discussion to a more useful plane of abstraction where it is possible to inspect and understand how to oppose a system of domination which, by its own logic of development, must culminate in murder and dispossession.

I'm glad to hear that, because I've been starting to wonder if you're in a complete funk of despair over the possibility of doing anything to oppose this system for murder and dispossession.

I wonder if you are in despair because I think that you, certainly you, know that individuals do not affect systems, not as individuals. Rather they take up roles. The only time individuals get to change systems is when they change the minds of other individuals in sufficient numbers that these individuals get to dictate new rules in the system. Which is why I find your opposition to boycotts odd: why no ear for new rules?

Maybe what you're really objecting to is that real change is so g-damn slow. Maybe. Because yes, Arthur Anderson goes out of business to become something else. Jet Blue crashes once too many and it becomes ATA. Whatever, what's the difference! Give up! Except that out of those little changes can come whole new perspectives, whole new hegemonic opinions . Sometimes you're Gandhi and you get a whole new nation, but that was not so simple either. Mostly you get the bastards to take cover a while from the dangerous new opinions.

But I think it would be a lie to suggest that people battle the stystem straight. You know that is impossible. Human beings exist in fewer dimensions that sytematic beings. You can confirm from your own experience that a two dimensional being would not even be able to see a three dimensional one, most less do battle with it. Yet as individuals, all our fights will be here in the human version of Flatland, the less-than-systematically dimensioned place where the actual people are. Okay, that's a metaphor, but you know full well that people can neither touch nor see systematically, not unless they act in the capacity of rulemakers to the games that systems play. And that only happens when we all change our minds, and force the rulemakers to give up the old grift.

Which brings us back to boycotts. Boycotts ask individual purchasers to articulate what they hate about the rules we're forced to play by. People in boycotts inspire each other to demand different rules, and sometimes we really do get new rules - like service at the counter, like a national government instead of an aristocracy, like Botha handing off the government to Mandela, or like U.S. colleges lobbying the government to get out of Iraq because the colleges are losing their largest body of full-fee paying students.

What I am suggesting, slothrop, is that your despair is costing you your theoretical understanding of how to bridge the gap from individual action to systemic change. Small and gradual may be all we can achieve in the absence of historically determined revolutionary times. Is that enough for you?

Posted by: citizen | Nov 15 2006 22:44 utc | 88

Not to try to derail this discussion-- but I think it is an intricate part of this medium and should be included as part of the discourse-- that it is of utmost importance we be aware of the machine that is quitely cranking up and setting it's site on us...

Judith Miller: Times reporter who pushed Iraq War worried about blogger standards...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 15 2006 22:57 utc | 89


of course, all this on the heels of Ms. Miller's recent testifying of her reverse scopophilia...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 15 2006 23:38 utc | 90

Some days, it's better to look at this blog on an empty stomach.

"i give what i get. in some places, what i often do is called "humor"

If that were true, you'd be ignoring me. No idea what the root of your attacks is, but I'm not your problem, pal. What you often do is called "being an invidious prick", and what you need to get is "help" for your antisocial disorder.

just fucking w/ you

"Fucking around" while others are being genuine is what you do, fuckstick. It is because you are "fucked up". Now, "fuck off".

And I'm not fucking with you.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 16 2006 0:38 utc | 91

slothrop, is that your despair is costing you your theoretical understanding of how to bridge the gap from individual action to systemic change.

no, not depressed, just pointing out the silliness that buying croissants in the french countryside implicates domination. I wonder how many starved africans have been caused by french agri subsidies. the number must be immense.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 16 2006 0:50 utc | 92


what's w/ the potty mouth? with your purple cloak of power and laser light sword skills, i'm no match for you.

but, i'll suggest club owners uninstall the black spheres as a first step to reclaiming our country.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 16 2006 0:54 utc | 93

also monolycus. one can be genuine & stupid at the same time.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 16 2006 0:59 utc | 94

Just for perspective, the Helsinki Complaints Choir

Posted by: catlady | Nov 16 2006 1:01 utc | 95

Still not getting enough attention? It took you two posts to say... well, nothing, apart from "look at me!" As usual. Carry on, idiot.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 16 2006 1:05 utc | 96

perspectives on general angst, not the catfight just prior.

Posted by: catlady | Nov 16 2006 1:10 utc | 97


your point is becoming less & less salient

even you have accepted a minimalist position that us imperialism is the point man of international capital & it was you who presented that thesis - then any opposition against it, theoretically is a step in the right direction

but i'm finding the international capital thesis a little fluffy & in iraq is simply not supported by the evidence. there the evidence is clear. 95% of the companies plundering her are entities of the united states

i do not care how you fight with me - but i think the way you are responding to other people here is in bad faith & it would seem to me that you are not listening ; bernhard began this thread with his fear of how the patriot acts & the absence of habeus corpus affect him as a foreigner who has visited those united states. those fears would seem real to me & have substance. i have a colleague here who was stopped for nearly a day at one of the us airports & was treated digracefully & with no recourse to what was done & there are many stories like that. i do not think you have responded substantively in any way

with other posters you are simply being cruel & in my mind cruelty bataillean or otherwise is the province of the powerful & is not a tool to be used against people here in any form

the battles between us can take any form but i feel cruelty is beneath you & i consider your insults & that is what they are - to monolycus for example - as reactionary in nature

irony is one thing, cruelty quite another

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 16 2006 1:12 utc | 98

@ catlady #95:

Posted by: beq | Nov 16 2006 1:22 utc | 99


& the cities of birmingham & hamburg have their choir too


i like the melody more than the maladie

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 16 2006 1:26 utc | 100

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