Monthly Archives: April, 2006

Project for a New American Revolution

The following is an e-mail I go the other day. – Klintron

Two things happened today. First, I received a forward. I rarely get
them, as I make it clear that I don’t much like them. Every once in a
while though, one is actually worth reading. This one was, but I’ll
spare you of it since it’s already seen wide circulation.

Later an article directed my attention back to the Project for a New
American Century page. I haven’t been there for a while, but again
read their asinine and poorly written Statement of Principals. The
most impressive thing about it is still that they were able to get 25
signatories who were willing to go on record as being in agreement
with such a amoral and imperial vision of American foreign policy.

Anyway, I was inspired to edit it for them, and give them a similar
document, with a conscience. I attempted to avoid some of their
incoherencies and incomplete sentences, but the structure falls
largely in line. To take a look at the original, go to:
http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm

After having done this, I’d like to hope that a more enlightened
vision of our Republic’s future could garner more signatures than they
got. Read on, if you agree, add your name and pass it on. If you like
it enough, and have the skills to throw up a web page on which to host
this, it would do better at collecting signatures there.

Without further adieu:

Project for the New American Revolution
Statement of Principals

American foreign and defence policy has lost its moral and strategic
compass. Conservatives and Liberals alike have criticized the
self-destructive policies of the Bush Administration and PNAC. They
have also fallen prey to divisively partisan issues such as gay
marriage, abortion, and immigration. These have distracted them and
diluted the message, preventing a unified voice of opposition from
being heard. No plausible alternative guiding principals of American
foreign policy have been presented, and we have not fought to maintain
an American society that inspires respect and awe worldwide in order
to advance American interests in the new millennium.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for
American global leadership.

As the 20th century drew to a close, the United States stood as the
world’s preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold
War, America faced an opportunity and a challenge: Did the United
States have the vision to maintain cultural and governmental alliances
with our Cold War allies, and to build strong ties with its former
enemies? Did the United States have the resolve to resist the calls
for needless warmongering which would doubtlessly rise from the
behemoth military-industrial complex inherited from a bygone era?

We have so far squandered the opportunity and failed the challenge.
Only a few years into the new millennium we have nearly completely
destroyed the capital – both the military investments and the foreign
policy achievements – built up by past administrations and in the wake
of September 11th. Haphazard and poorly implemented foreign affairs
and defense initiatives, utter contempt for the tools of statecraft,
and consistently disastrous leadership have made it increasingly
difficult to maintain American influence around the world. Reckless
decisions, such as administration support for the opening of the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, demonstrate how the
promise of short-term commercial benefits threaten to override
strategic considerations. As a consequence, our nation has failed to
address present threats, and to deal with potentially greater
challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential lessons of every competent
administration’s success: authority exists partly through respect, and
cannot be won by fear alone; democracy cannot be spread while being
simultaneously redefined to exclude individual freedoms; and
leadership cannot be maintained while undue secrecy causes public
distrust.

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and expose the
consequences of their abandonment. Here are four steps toward remedy:

• We need to decrease foreign energy consumption and defense influence
significantly if we are to make military decisions based on our
republic’s founding ideals rather than falling to temptations of
imperial powerplay;

• We need to increase our participation and regard for international
bodies charged with analysis and enforcement of proper behavior in
world affairs, and accept that our influence should be peddled with
their consensus and assistance;

• We need to evenly promote the cause of political and economic
freedom abroad without regard to strategic and economic gain.

• We need to accept that America’s role as a worldwide police force is
now greatly out of favor worldwide, and in a unipolar world it
engenders fear and bitterness. It must be ended in order to extend an
international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our
principals.

Such a Franklinist policy of military restraint and moral clarity may
not be fashionable today, but it is necessary if America is to build
on the successes of its short history, and to ensure our freedom,
esteem, and influence live on in the new millennium.

Jay Snyder

Your Sunday Atheism Service by Richard Dawkins (For Trevor, of course)

Richard Dawkins BBC Documentary: The Root of All Evil

His answer: competing and irrational fundamentalist strains of Christianity and Islam and Judiasm.

You just don’t ever see this kind of thing in the United States. Check out the teapot analogy at the end of part 3.

Part Two of the show.
Part Three of the show.

Also: Watch Colbert on You Tube

You can also catch the Colbert speech here, here and here. (It’s easier than torrent…)

Colbert is GAWD!

Stephen Colbert, of Comedy Central & ex-daily show staffer, was invited to give a tribute to President Bush at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night. (Who Came Up w/that Brilliant Idea??) Did he ever…When it was over, the president and First Lady gave him quick nods, unsmiling, and left immediately. Laura looked pissed! It was basically 30 mins of continuous uninterrupted mocking of the president, while he was sitting 10 feet away ; he eviserated the whole administration and the press. Ball of steel; of course he should stay out of small jets from here on out. Finally, if I were Colbert I’d have a hazmat suit on to open my mail from now on.

Addendum: This is truely must see media, discribed by one commenter as, “It was like [watching] Prince Hamlet’s uncle Claudius watching the play version of Claudius poisoning his brother, the King of Denmark, and marrying then marrying the freaking Queen.”

For those who use torrent files:
The C&L video is incomplete — for the full show, try
http://www.mininova.org/tor/296239

The Predator State

This is one of those – If You Read One Article this Month – offerings.

WHAT IS THE REAL NATURE of American capitalism today? …

Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class struggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature—a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy; it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature, the leading force. And its agents are in full control of the government under which we live.

Our rulers deliver favors to their clients. These range from Native American casino operators, to Appalachian coal companies…Everywhere you look, public decisions yield gains to specific private entities.

For in a predatory regime, nothing is done for public reasons. Indeed, the men in charge do not recognize that “public purposes” exist. They have friends, and enemies, and as for the rest—we’re the prey. Hurricane Katrina illustrated this perfectly, as Halliburton scooped up contracts and Bush hamstrung Kathleen Blanco, the Democratic governor of Louisiana. The population of New Orleans was, at best, an afterthought; once dispersed, it was quickly forgotten.

The predator-prey model explains some things that other models cannot: in particular, cycles of prosperity and depression. Growth among the prey stimulates predation. The two populations grow together at first, but when the balance of power shifts toward the predators (through rising interest rates, utility rates, oil prices, or embezzlement), both can crash abruptly. When they do, it takes a long time for either to recover.

The predatory model can also help us understand why many rich people have come to hate the Bush administration. For predation is the enemy of honest business. In a world where the winners are all connected, it’s not only the prey who lose out. It’s everyone who hasn’t licked the appropriate boots. Predatory regimes are like protection rackets: powerful and feared, but neither loved nor respected. They do not enjoy a broad political base.

But if the government is a predator, then it will fail: not merely politically, but in every substantial way. Government will not cope with global warming, or Hurricane Katrina, or Iraq—not because it is incompetent but because it is willfully indifferent to the problem of competence. The questions are, in what ways will the failure hit the population? And what mechanisms survive for calling the predators to account? Unfortunately, at the highest levels, one cannot rely on the justice system, thanks to the power of the pardon. It’s politics or nothing, recognizing that in a world of predators, all established parties are corrupted in part.

So, how can the political system reform itself? How can we reestablish checks, balances, countervailing power, and a sense of public purpose? How can we get modern economic predation back under control, restoring the possibilities not only for progressive social action but also—just as important—for honest private economic activity? Until we can answer those questions, the predators will run wild.

USA Today: Mexico votes to legalize small amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana

Mexico’s Congress approved a bill Friday that would legalize drug possession for personal use — decriminalizing the carrying of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and even heroin. The only step remaining is the signature of the president, whose office indicates he will sign the measure, despite the implications for the war on drugs. The bill, approved by the Senate on a 53-26 vote with one abstention, had been approved earlier by the lower house of Congress.

[...] “The presidency congratulates the Congress for approving the reforms,” said presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar. “This law gives police and prosecutors better legal tools to combat drug crimes that do so much damage to our youth and children.” The bill legalizes possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, ectasy and marijuana. “No charges will be brought against … addicts or consumers who are found in possession of any narcotic for personal use,” the bill reads.

U.S. trying to halt suit against NSA

It’s official: The Bush administration formally said Friday that it will try to halt a lawsuit that accuses AT&T of helping the National Security Agency spy on Americans illegally.

Net Freedom Now!

AT&T and Verizon blocked you from viewing your favorite podcasts and blogs?
BellSouth cut off your net phone because you weren’t using their service?
Comcast forced you to download MP3s from their store while slowing other music sites?

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