Monday, November 23, 2009

THE LAST STINKING STRAW!

I don't know about you, but I have been opposed to the U.S. military misadventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, and various and sundry neighboring countries, from the word go. The ostensible raison d'etre for our seemingly endless military expeditions in the region is nothing less than the maniacally twisted "War on Terror", itself an obscene racket that, contrary to main stream media cant, is now, given the United States' desperate financial condition, likely little more than about procuring gargantuan profits from the enormous Afghan heroin trade.

Sorry if my calculus offends you, or if it's just too much to get your head around. Allow me to offer my apologies to any of you who subscribe to Hallmark card notions regarding the manner in which the United States, the world's only remaining military super power, operates on the world stage. U.S. soldiers aren't firing off their M-4s, and pilots aren't strafing the enemy from state of the art aircraft, for Democracy, baseball, motherhood, apple pie, or for any once glorious Detroit auto manufacturers now in receivership. We are doing it for purposes that have nothing to do with anything but the raw, naked, exercise of power, and our fear of losing it before sundown tomorrow.

The military con game is easily equivalent, if not greater in scope, than the scams enacted on behalf of AIG, the big banks, and one erstwhile investment bank in particular. If anything, U.S. war machine operations are worse, if for no other reason than they involve people dying horribly violent deaths on a regular basis. And where there isn't copious death, there is the only slightly less heart rending permanent maiming and wounding, physically and mentally, of young men and women in the full flush of youth. Bravo, America!

And now, as if this horrid state of affairs weren't enough, we have this to contend with. How dare you, you disgusting, pathetic, excuses for public servants, David Obey and Carl Levin, even suggest that we should pay to expand our ghastly, wrongheaded, monstrosity in Afghanistan. How dare you wrap yourself in sanctimonious appeals for sacrifice on behalf of this sham of a sham military operation. The logic from these cretinous mountebanks, "If we have to pay for the health care bill, we should pay for the war as well" is truly vomit inducing swill of the lowest order. Can anyone not see the problem, the lack of coherence- and that is being kind- in such a statement?

If not, let me help.

1.) BESIDES YOU, AND YOUR JACKDAW ILK, WHO ARE IMPOSING YOUR SCREWED UP "HEALTH CARE" SCHEME ON THE NATION, WHO SAID WE EVEN HAD TO HAVE THIS BILL, LET ALONE PAY FOR IT?

2.) DON'T YOU THINK THAT IT MIGHT MAKE A SMIDGEN MORE SENSE TO BRING OUR TROOPS HOME, THAN TO ADD SOME (PROSPECTIVELY FOUR OR FIVE DIGIT) NUMBER OF SOLDIERS-MANY OF WHOM WILL VERY LIKELY REQUIRE INORDINATE AMOUNTS OF CARE FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES- TO THE, AS YET CREATED, AND SURE TO BE OVER BURDENED, NEW HEALTH CARE SYSTEM?

WELL, DON'T YOU?


FOLKS, IT'S TIME TO RID OURSELVES OF THE FEDERAL LEGISLATURE BEFORE THEY DO US ALL IN! YES, I AM AFRAID IT HAS COME TO THAT! AND NO, I AM NOT JOKING!


19 comments:

Toby said...

Good stuff Edwardo!. I don't know if you caught a speech by Harold Pinter American foreign policy circa 2005? I found this excerpt which might interest you:

"Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to U.S. foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be, but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self-love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people', as in the sentence, 'I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.'

It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the U.S.

The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain."

Keep up the good work.

Edwardo said...

I hadn't seen that particular piece of analysis/criticism from the late Harold Pinter, but thanks for providing it. As for keeping up the good work, you too.

Thai said...

Without criticizing, I am curious to understand what your alternative approach to Afghanistan on day 1 would have been after the events of 9/11?

Edwardo said...

Well, given that a bunch of Wahabbist Saudis were the known perps of the great crime in question, though even that is almost certainly far from "the whole truth" regarding the Alpha and Omega of 9/11, a different focus and approach than the one we employed in Afghanistan would have been a lot more sensible and defensible.

But a scattershot operation made against what amounts to a tactical abstraction-that would be "terrorism"- inside a country that happens to encompass the biggest heroin producing region in the world (though at the time of our initial incursion much of the heroin trade was closed due to efforts by the otherwise awful Taliban) was chosen instead, because our military operations were designed to meet other goals than redressing the crimes of 9/11.

Thai said...

Agreed

But what would have been a better approach?

Edwardo said...

A better approach would have involved dealing with "The Kingdom" from which the "terrorists" were spawned. However, you are having a conversation with someone who isn't enamored of the official version of how 9/11 came about. From where I sit, 9/11 was a Reichstag Fire or Gulf of Tonkin incident, though we will likely never know even half the details involved.

Thai said...

But how do you suggest we could have done this?

Really, details. The devil is in the details.

Edwardo said...

Get real, Thai.

Edwardo said...

Here's a follow up to "get real'' there probably would have been no reasonable and effective way to inspire the Saudis to deal with their internal "problem."

But, in my view, "details" palaver entirely misses the point, Thai, which is that were the U.S. not so unjustifiably and desperately tied into the fortunes of sand dune oligarchies, we would not need be suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with such events as 9/11, and that is assuming that 9/11 went according to officialdom.

That said:

For we Americans, the cost of a gallon of gas and a barrel of oil is far higher than the NYMEX spot price because, to employ the lyrics of James Talyor for a moment, we pay for it in sweet dreams and fine machines in pieces on the ground.

In summary:

If, in this instance, it's not enough for me to tell you what I wouldn't do-because knowing what could have been effected is unknowable- then I don't know what to tell you.

Thai said...

You misunderstand my point.

It is more a frustration with endless criticism without a viable alternative I tend to get frustrated with.

I agree America wants to liberate ourselves from foreign oil, I further agree the true price of oil is not reflected in the price we actually pay at the pump, but I am not sure that even if we had changed this discrepancy after 9/11, it would have made the decisions with what to do with Afghanistan any easier.

Iraq is obviously an entirely different matter.

Edwardo said...

Thai wrote:

"It is more a frustration with endless criticism without a viable alternative I tend to get frustrated with."

I understand you, Thai, but here I think your frustration is misplaced.

To wit:

As nature abhors a vacuum, it is worth noting that NOT taking a particular action amounts to a "viable alternative." Imagine had the U.S. Government bailed out the Wall Street banks on stringent terms instead of bending over. Imagine had they bailed them out at all. Things might be worse now, but we might also be rid of an absolute menace that stands like a massive red wood tree-in a forest where no one with power wants to play lumberjack- in the way of desperately needed economic and financial reform.

I wonder, would you want details about that as well?

Thai also said:

"but I am not sure that even if we had changed this discrepancy after 9/11, it would have made the decisions with what to do with Afghanistan any easier."


My view is that Afghanistan wasn't a decision, it was a fait accompli. And that gets to my point, though it can wait for the passage of a few long sentences. Who, besides a few, rabid, so called "right wing" imbeciles were clamoring for an invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11? In any event, the American public, en masse, wasn't.

More's the pity, because in general, the public has no real say with respect to epic decisions like going to war in Afghanistan, Iraq, or really anywhere else. They have almost as little influence, in the aggregate, on the conduct of domestic affairs.

Between the onslaught of the MSM, which acts as a tool to disseminate propaganda and assist in the manufacture of dissent, the tenuous circumstances of most folks vis a vis making ends meet, and the hideous default position of some critical number of Americans with respect to possession of a decent general knowledge about the world we live in, the electorate stands little chance of acting as much more than a rag rug before the trampling feet of a rogue government that has been acting against the best interests of the citizenry-and in egregious violation of The Constitution- for at least a generation.

Edwardo said...

Imagine had they NOT bailed them out at all.

Thai said...

But to argue that the average American does not have much say in the actions of the government is absurd!

There are very few times where the average citizen has had much say in the actions of any nation on this planet.

And even if they did, it is not clear to me that they would change anything.

How much say does your average neuron have in deciding your behavior???

And I do not mean this sarcastically.

How much do you take a particular neuron into account when you make personal behavioral decisions?

So re: "the electorate stands little chance of acting as much more than a rag rug before the trampling feet of a rogue government that has been acting against the best interests of the citizenry-and in egregious violation of The Constitution- for at least a generation."

I say "BS". What is the will of the people they are ignoring?

... I think you and I may be looking at different manifolds here.

Without going all fractal on you, this issue is even more complex. For just in case you have not figured it or ever wondered: consciousness is an emergent property of the brain itself. As I have said in the past, there is no "there" in Edwardo. You can't find one, ever. If you ever spend a little time with stroke victims, this would be quite apparent.

You are the one who reads about complexity science, so please keep reading. For Edwardo is an emergent property of the system itself and
the evidence for this is very strong... Or you can listen to the same thing on a TED video from a different neuro-anatomist with a slightly different viewpoint if you prefer.

Do you Edwardo the emergent property worry about your liver or particular liver cells when you make decisions for the whole? I would suggest it is the liver and not the cell you think of (to the extent you think of these things at all). And there is nothing wrong when you do this- indeed you could not function/cooperate with yourself if you did not.

There is nothing wrong about this even if particular individual liver cell says "you are creating slaves"/are not looking out for the interests of an individual liver cell or listening to an individual cell- e.g. a problem with endless variations on point of view.

But I would bet that if we spoke to emergent consciousness "Edwardo" and said his Saturday night boozing is probably not looking out for the interests/listening to individual cells, in the context of all the other issues "Edwardo" must balance, you might agree or you might say "BS" depending on what you though was going on. For the individual liver cell does not see the whole picture the way the emergent consciousness does, etc...

And even if the two both saw the same thing, still they might not agree unless they shared similar moral matrices/values.

And I might remind you that America has undergone a lot of change in recent times and am not sure at all that we share the same moral systems right now. Further, it is going to be a while before we come to a more universal agreement on moral systems.

This same banking thing has happened in many countries many times in history, it is not the end of the world.

As for imagining what would have happened had the banks not been bailed out, I have tried to imagine this many times and I have to admit I don't know as I do not see enough of the interworking parts to honestly say one way or another.

Yet I suspect the following: there would have been a lot of pain and suffering and a new order would have emerged that looked pretty much the same as the one we have... I admit I could be wrong.

Thai said...

I can say that had it happened, I do not see a world where the people in charge would be listening any more to the average man than they are today. I do not see the average man as "better off" if that is what you are saying- I see SOME as better off and others as much worse off. Just like the civil war, only in that instance we sometimes decide that the zero-sum nature of things is worth going to war over as too many of us see things as too ugly from one view vs. another.

20% of Americans are on disability, how would a collapse of our economy help these people out? The receipts of the payroll taxes of the working man care for our infirm, our elderly, etc... How would letting the economy collapse help these people?

I just don't see it. The more I read into this issue, the more I see it as zero-sum and the one who are most upset are either the ones who are getting screwed in the current system or the ones who stood the most to gain if it changed.

Just my 2 cents

AND I am not saying that egregious things are not happening in banking. And where they are, blast the mother fuckers. ;-)

Thai said...

As for not taking an action, I can agree with this concept- indeed it is fundamental to medicine.

The idea of not doing anything at all with 9/11 or Afghanistan... Humm.

This is an interesting point I am ashamed to say I have never considered.

I am thinking about it now...

I will say that it requires that you and I (we the people) have a conversation or two and clear up a few things and agree on another few things before we can do nothing.

Edwardo said...

Thai wrote:

"But to argue that the average American does not have much say in the actions of the government is absurd!

-I see, well then, by your reasoning striving to achieve the promise of representative Democracy is a waste of time then.

There are very few times where the average citizen has had much say in the actions of any nation on this planet.

And even if they did, it is not clear to me that they would change anything.

-If it's not clear to you, I don't know what to say except you sound like man who discounts history, let alone the history of this nation. And please don't quote Santayana to me.

How much say does your average neuron have in deciding your behavior???

-I must confess when you compare the realm of the the brain and the dynamics of neuro-chemistry to the realm of the individual in a dynamic social system, you've lost me.

So re: "the electorate stands little chance of acting as much more than a rag rug before the trampling feet of a rogue government that has been acting against the best interests of the citizenry-and in egregious violation of The Constitution- for at least a generation."

I say "BS". What is the will of the people they are ignoring?

-I guess you weren't around when the first "No Banker Left Behind" Bailout was put together against the wishes of the citizenry who phoned in, emailed, and faxed their opposition to the bill at a rate of 300 to 1.

... I think you and I may be looking at different manifolds here.

-It would seem so, and I'm afraid that lost me with the "there is no Edwardo there" assertion." I will endeavor to try and understand your position in isolation, and as you may have intended it with respect to the larger discussion/debate.

In the meantime, however, you have put me in mind, very strongly so, of the deconstructionist Jacques Derrida, who, as part of his creed, argued that there was no such thing as authorship, to which someone responded- and here I paraphrase- then I guess you won't mind if I receive the royalties from your books.

"20% of Americans are on disability, how would a collapse of our economy help these people out? The receipts of the payroll taxes of the working man care for our infirm, our elderly, etc... How would letting the economy collapse help these people?

- A collapse is coming. It's already in play, papered over, as it were, by the monetary authorities, and given the shortest shrift possible by the aforementioned propaganda machine. All that has been done is to change the nature of the collapse,-probably from a bad, old fashioned deflationary depression, to a hyper-inflationary crack up boom/debacle- and the magnitude of the collapse-more damaging and more drawn out then had we taken a different course some years ago.

Thai said...

re: "In the meantime, however, you have put me in mind, very strongly so, of the deconstructionist Jacques Derrida, who, as part of his creed, argued that there was no such thing as authorship, to which someone responded- and here I paraphrase- then I guess you won't mind if I receive the royalties from your books."


LOL!!!!!!!!!

I do love your writing skills. ;-)


re: "the promise of representative Democracy is a waste of time"

I AM NOT saying representative democracy is a farce. Far from it.

And I am not saying an individual cannot change history at all. What do you think the butterfly effect is?

And these are black swans.

I have never missed an election and hope I never will. And again, there are 300 million Americans and I am one vote.

Are there thieves in banking and government: "absolutely yes".

Is the system corrupt or are individuals corrupt, there is an element of both but personally I think the system will always have flaws.

It is the individuals, who do not show personal responsibility, we need to go after in my own opinion.

Take me as saying something similar to what you were saying when you said going after Afghanistan does not go after an illusive shadow organization. Going after the organization goes after the culprit. Going after a country does not.

And re: "more damaging and more drawn out then had we taken a different course some years ago."

Of course, but this has always been true and we did not listen 15 years ago either. How long have people been warning us that we better come to some kind of agreement on this or it will be a really big mess.

I hear everyone saying "as long as the other guy gives in" they will agree to a cease fire.

It doesn't work that way unless we want scorched earth.

It appears that we want scorched earth.

re: "I guess you weren't around when the first "No Banker Left Behind" Bailout was put together against the wishes of the citizenry who phoned in, emailed, and faxed their opposition to the bill at a rate of 300 to 1"

As I have said numerous times, I too was one of those people who phoned, emailed and wrote my congressman saying "don't bail them out". Please call a spade a spade. That is not what I am saying.

If fact, I get the sense my point is not getting across. Therefore,
I surrender. I do not wish to argue.

attempter said...

The dedicated tax notion is repulsive for several reasons.

Cash is of course fungible, so no intelligent person would fall for this as "the war is now being paid for".

If they really had any responsibility and had the guts to impose a tax, why not use it for some constructive purpose, like a real jobs offensive?

Or if they're really so scared about "the deficit", then reduce that.

But however you look at it, this changes nothing about the moral depravity and financial idiocy of this war.

(I guess I am a little concerned that if they do this then some stupid people might buy the notion that the war's now being responsibly "paid for", which is of course the political goal of it.)

Edwardo said...

The deficit is the ultimate arena for purposeless hand wringing it seems.

Thai, I'm sorry that we seem to be at loggerheads.
I'm afraid that I'm simply not seeing some of the connections you would like (the non-existent) me to see.