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Monthly Archives: February, 2007

Zimbardo on Milgram and the production of evil: Situationist psychology in practice

I bring you what I like to call, ‘dumpster diving at dkos’; yet another thinking post that the orthrian politics of kos herd would rather not think about?

Clocking in at a mere 34 comment’s a no recommends…

The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain. ~Colin Wilson

Chalmers Johnson on Democracy Now Tue 2/27

Chalmers Johnson: “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic”

In his new book, CIA analyst, distinguished scholar, and best-selling author Chalmers Johnson argues that US military and economic overreach may actually lead to the nation’s collapse as a constitutional republic. It’s the last volume in his Blowback trilogy, following the best-selling “Blowback” and “The Sorrows of Empire.” In those two, Johnson argued American clandestine and military activity has led to un-intended, but direct disaster here in the United States.

or perhaps, read;the transcript.

A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both.

[George] Washington said [!] that the great enemy of the republic is standing armies; it is a particular enemy of republican liberty. What he meant by it is that it breaks down the separation of powers into an executive, legislative, and judicial branches that are intended to check each other — this is our most fundamental bulwark against dictatorship and tyranny — it causes it to break down, because standing armies, militarism, military establishment, military-industrial complex all draw power away from the rest of the country to Washington, including taxes, that within Washington they draw it to the presidency, and they begin to create an imperial presidency, who then implements the military’s desire for secrecy, making oversight of the government almost impossible for a member of Congress, even, much less for a citizen.

According to the official count right now — it’s something called the Base Structure Report, which is an unclassified Pentagon inventory of real property owned around the world and the cost it would take to replace it — there are right now 737 American military bases, on every continent, in well over 130 countries.

Jesus, after Chalmers Johnson, and Seymour Hersh’s latest (see below) I need a drink, and I don’t even drink.

The Redirection

Seymour Hersh’s new New Yorker piece details the ways that, as our Iraq policy has gone all to hell and the dysadministration has turned more to destabilizing Iran, we end up finding common cause with some of our so-called enemies in the Twat ® (“the war against terror”). The New Yorker, helpfully, links to all of Hersh’s Iran pieces, which make interesting sequential reading:

  • The Coming Wars (1/24/05): “What the Pentagon can now do in secret.”
  • The Iran Plans (4/17/06): “Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?”
  • Last Stand (7/10/06): “The military’s problem with the President’s Iran policy.”
  • The Next Act (11/27/06): “Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?”

Teh Gay

Andrew Anthos Dies After Attack. We’re sorry to inform you that Detroit-based Andrew Anthos died after being attacked early last week. Anthos and his niece were riding a bus when a man asked Anthos if he were gay. After getting off the bus, Anthos found himself at the receiving end of the man’s pipe – and not in a good way. Unfortunately, the 72-year old Anthos’ injuries were so extensive that doctors were unable to revive him and he died quietly Friday night. A passionate man, Anthos rode public transport as part of his continuing effort to get politicians to light up the Capital Dome in honor of America’s veterans.

Lesbian Gets Lesson in Lending a Helping Hand. It seems an unidentified lesbian met a pair of traveling men at a mall, told them they could stay on their couch, and then tried to curb their sexual advances by coming out of that pesky closet. Too bad one of the men isn’t down with the sapphic struggle, because he proceeded to beat the shit out of her. One of the men attacked the woman after she rejected sexual advances from him and his friend, police said. The woman was punched and kicked in the face and head, causing serious injuries, according to police. She told officers that her attacker’s friend told him to stop but didn’t intervene to help her.

Top 5 good trends

1. The overall decrease in armed conflict. With the Iraq war, the Darfur crisis, the Israel/Palestinian conflict, and other armed conflicts in the news (with good reason), it’s sometimes hard to remember that the world is actually much more peaceful now than it was just over a decade ago.

2. Steady donations for disaster relief. Despite various bureaucratic mishandling of Katrina, the Tsunami, etc., a positive trend emerged: generous giving on the part of both individuals and governments all over the world. It’s good to see people stepping up to help their fellow humans, even in other countries.

3. Cities fighting global warming the “think global, act local” strategy may actually have some impact here. While the US federal government turns a blind eye to global warming, people through the country are working on local legislation to reduce green house emissions.

4. Green Design. This is such a broad category, but this site and World Changing are full of stories about new, more environmentally friendly technologies. Of particular note to me are innovations that save energy and materials – good design is green design.

5. International disease control. See this column by Bruce Sterling about SARS, and think about how Bird-Flu hasn’t turned into a global pandemic either.


The upshot of all of this? We’re killing each other less, cooperating more at an international level, and making progress to reduce green house emissions and avert a global energy crisis. There’s a lot to do still (particularly in the areas of poverty and disease), but these are very positive trends.

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