Category Archives: Elections

Our planet needs a global recession

Just popping in to offer up a thought about the current thinking regarding climate change and the economy in relation to current political discourse and media. It is generally accepted thinking that economic recession is bad. It is also now generally accepted that climate change is a serious global problem which needs to be addressed in a very serious manner by governments and citizens.

Let me point out the hard truth which will never be uttered by any candidate for U.S. president, not even Barack Obama who seems to have a great deal of support of liberals and progressives in the U.S. No current Democratic or Republican candidate is even close. If we are going to solve the climate crisis we must reduce our carbon emissions immediately and let me be clear by what I mean by reduce and immediately. I mean that we need a reduction of 50% by yesterday and 90% by tomorrow. We need a global economic recession because we need an immediate end to economic growth. We need an end to a global economy that is based on ever increasing consumption and which promotes consumerism as a way of life. It is not what most people want to hear and it is not what a candidate will say if they want to get elected. But it is the truth.

Our level of public and political discussion regarding climate change and natural resources reflects our thinking on the issues and it is purely delusional. The time for making gradual but serious changes to our way of life was 1990. In 2008 we have runaway climate change and a planet of 7 billion people which has reached peak energy production.

Buckle up for a very rough ride.

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Stolen Elections and Empire

Juan Cole has an interesting post on How the Republicans are Stealing the November Elections:

Or, Bushes and Bonapartes

On November 7, the American people delivered a stiff rebuke to the Bush Administration and the Republican Party over its far-right policies. They were especially worried about the Iraq fiasco, and upset over the mounting US and Iraqi casualties. But they also worried about Bush’s coddling of the Religious Right and the erosion of the separation of religion and state, along with the assault on civil liberties.

You see, we do not have a democracy, with the Bush administration in power. We have an elective dictatorship. The elections are like lotteries. Many of them don’t even reflect the popular vote or the general will. The Rehnquist Coup of 2000 was not intrinsically different from the Rounds Coup (if it happens) of 2006. Nor would the techniques whereby elections are “won” bear much scrutiny. Ask Tom Delay, through the penitentiary window. And the incumbents feel they owe nothing to the electorate, nothing whatsoever. They have the Power. They act as they please. The rest of us are just onlookers.

So Bush’s response to the clear public demand for a change of course and a disengagement? It is to run to Henry Kissinger’s apron strings. And what does the Butcher of Chile and Indonesia urge? That Bush should put another 40,000 US troops into Iraq!

The problem is that Iraq is a 500,000 troop problem. Another 40,000 are just going to anger locals. And, apparently, they would be sicced on the Shiite Mahdi Army in hopes of permanently crippling the Sadr Movement headed (in part) by Muqtada al-Sadr. And maybe they’d be used in a new offensive against the Sunni Arab guerrillas.

Let me explain why it won’t work. It won’t work because Iraqis are now politically and socially mobilized. This means that they have the social preconditions for effective political and paramilitary action (they are largely urban, literate, connected by media, etc.) And they are politically savvy and well-connected. They are well armed, gaining in military experience, and well financed through petroleum and antiquities smuggling and through cash infusions from supporters abroad. The Mahdi Army fighters can be defeated by the US military, as happened twice in 2004. But they cannot be made to disappear, as they were not in 2004. That is because they are an organic movement springing from the Shiite poor, and are the paramilitary arm of a large social movement with a national network and ideology.

Attempts to crush popular movements once they have mobilized have most often failed. No attempts at counter-revolution in France in the 1790s were successful. Even powerful empires like Austria were helpless before the mobilized French infantry (who for the first time used large numbers of conscripts).

I am not saying that popular protests cannot be crushed. They can and have been. I am saying that when you have a whole country that is politically mobilized and has substantial resources, a crack-down is likely doomed unless it is almost genocidal (Saddam’s use of chemical weapons in 1988 and of helicopter gunships against civilians in 1991 are examples, as is Truman’s use of the atomic bomb against Japan).

The US is not going to commit the half a million troops it would take to have a chance of winning in Iraq. Nor is it going to use genocidal methods to strike absolute terror into the hearts of the Iraqi people.

Bush is the Napoleon of our age, trampling on whole peoples, a Jacobin Emperor mouthing the slogans of liberty and popular sovereignty while crushing and looting those he “liberated.” And Kagan and Kristol (playing Talleyrand 1798) and Emperor Bush are readying a further slaughter of our US troops, 24,000 of whom have been killed or wounded, and of innocent Iraqis, 600,000 of whom have been killed by criminal and political violence since spring of 2003.

And you thought a mere election would make a difference. No one had to elect the American Enterprise Institute. No one needs to crown the emperor, he can do it himself. Welcome to Year 1 of the Empire.

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You think there will be an election in 2008? How quaint.

I’ve been saying now for 3 or 4 years that there would be no presidential election in 2008. The theft of the 2004 elections just affirmed it for me. Now, for any Republicans that may stumble upon this post, let me be very clear about something from the very get go. I’m not a Democrat and I don’t like the Democratic Party any more than the Republican Party. I think they are both deeply flawed elements of a very broken system. In fact that brings me directly to my first point.

The two party system is a false set of choices and always has been. America is not, in any way, a democracy. Never has been. The democracy of this republic has never been anything more than a facade created to give the appearance of democracy. Another way to describe it would be to say that it is a carefully designed cage that is large enough and fine enough to give the appearance of freedom and a sense of mobility and choice.

As a facade “our” democracy has functioned fairly well in terms of its real purpose. But even its performance as a facade is now beginning to break down. I think that’s because the real structure underneath is strained and it’s flaws, fundamental and deep, are beginning to weaken. The real engine has run into social, political, and ecological realities that it is unable to adapt to and may not have planned for. The result is that the foundation is now out of balance and is shifting quite a bit and that energy carries over into the facade.

Seems to me that the facade only really works as long as a middle and moderate path is taken because the whole point is to sustain the illusion of freedom and democracy. It has to keep the majority happy by giving them a sense of control in its periodic swings to the left and then the right and that’s not just for it’s own citizens but also its image in the larger community of nations. In the past few years, really the past few decades, we’ve taken such a significant swing to the right that the sense of balance is gone. This current group in the White House is, in many ways, a logical and predictable result… at least certain aspects of it are. Other aspects of it are, in a strange way, the contradiction to what was really needed.

The contradiction is that this swing too far to the right is detrimental to the existence of the core machine, often called the “State”. The State is something that exists in the background, it is the real power center. Of course global capitalism also plays a role and there are relationships between the two. But the entities that make up the State and Capital, powerful as they may be, must still deal with the reality of billions of people on a planet of finite resources and this is perhaps the fundamental problem at the moment. Peak oil and peak energy will become a major issue in the short term and I believe that the effects of climate change will only complicate the matter. Add to this scenario the many variables and complications of expanding war in the Middle East and the situation begins to seem dire.

In an article describing the well developed pattern of lies by Bush and his fellow Republicans, Juan Cole has this to say about the one-party state:

The United States has a one-party state. The presidency, the vice presidency, the cabinet, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court– are all and have for some time been in the hands of the same party. Not only that, but the most extreme factions within the Republican Party: the theocrats, the Neoconservative ex-Trotskiyites, the John Yoo Torture Apologists, the Grover Norquist advocates of Mr. Scrooge plutocracy, the corrupt Abramoffist lobbyists and Delayist horse thieves–they are ascendant. Parties don’t investigate themselves. They are about power, interests, and money. They are about winning. They aren’t a charity.

The American public has been unwise to allow this one party state to grow up, which is chipping away at our liberties as Americans and creating a new monarchy and a new aristocracy. It works by lies and cover-ups.

Another four years of the one-party state, and the Republic will be finished, if it is not already.

I would add to this that the two-party state is not much better. I’d also add that the Republic is already finished. There are very dark times ahead but in truth, I think they’ve been a long time coming and are probably a necessary development. Americans have been living in fantasy land for the past 50+ years. We took the bribe of suburbia, gadgets, and cheap entertainment, we traded in our role of citizen for that of consumer. The simple truth is that freedom and democracy, if they are to be meaningful and real, must be a part of everyday life. Which brings me back to the original point of this post: the 2008 elections.

Over at Another Day in the Empire Kurt discusses Keith Olbermann’s July interview with former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean. He writes that Dean “comes within a hair’s breadth of declaring the neocons have specifically created terrorism in order to run roughshod over our former republic. Of course, as ample documentation reveals, this is precisely what the neocons have done.”

I agree with that and also his assessment that last week’s approval of HR 6166, S 3930 was the next step and that a clamp-down will soon follow. This is the New America:

Dean’s interview is interesting as well because he describes the neocons as dangerous authoritarians who will do anything to remain in power and aggressively foist their agenda on the nation, even if it ultimately destroys the nation.

As the so-called “detainee bill,” more accurately characterized as the Habeas Corpus Murder bill, reveals, the neocons will sacrifice our republic without a second thought in order to realize their forever war agenda.

The Habeas Corpus Murder Bill is an obvious attempt to remove all constitutional restraint prior to the coming authoritarian clamp-down, as dissent will not be tolerated after the neocons shock and awe (with nukes) Iran in the anticipated kick-off of World War Four, a catastrophe that will demand the sort of imperious society Straussian neocons have dreamed of implementing for decades.

Elections in 2008? I don’t think so.

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