Monday, July 31, 2006

We're All About Regional Stability

On Chavez's arms deal with the Ruskies: "WE repeatedly talked to the Russian government that the arms purchases planned by Venezuela EXCEEDED its defense needs and are not helpful in terms of regional stability." US State Department spokesman
You can't make this stuff up! How much irony can drip from one statement? How canthe guy keep a straight face?
The US decides the quantity of other countries defense needs thankyou? How much did Saudi Arabia need this year? Why, 42 billion dollars worth, because they have a lot of defendin to do. How many arms did we send Israel? Were they helpful in terms of regional stability? How much to Columbia?
And how does Hugo reply to State Dept. concerns he has exceeded his defense need quota? He visits Cuba and Belarus. He cashes the latest oil profit check and says fuck you very much.

Bush said yesterday that "the consequences of transforming countries ..will be profound." One quick study old GW. What worries me is where all the other news goes when the headlines move on. Remember the murder of those Iraqi civilians? Whats going on in Somalia or the Congo, Afghanistan or Gaza? Remember Jack Abramoff? Seems like ages ago. Matt Lauer, on the Today Show, was wondering if Israel was losing "the high ground" with the child murdering and all. Once again the world reacts to photo journalism, to agonizing images, to pictures and portrayals and the cameraman has incredible power over reality. The Spectacle continues. Stock Market is up, oil is 75.20 and the "death tax" is gone but not forgotten.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

War Is Messy

It turns out War Is Hell, messy, no fun ( Rumsfeld) and dead UN monitors and women and children have been collateralized, dirivetized, financialized, etc...One wonders if all those Christians in all their big Churches and all the Jews in their Temples, Muslims in their Mosques are praying for the "innocents" this morning and just where they draw their lines. Where does prayer leave off and politics begin? Does this mean Condi's Peace Prize is just a prayer? She so wanted that baby, next to all her diplomas and medals and Certificates of Suck- sess.

"American officials say that while the Arab leaders need to take a harder line publicly for domestic political reasons, what matters more is what they tell the United States in private, which the Americans still see as a wink and a nod." Like this, you know, she SAID she didn't want to but I could TELL that she really did, her NO really meant YES and her screams showed she really enjoyed it. Or are the American Officials telling us this with their own wink and a nod? Truth and Illusion.

"100 Katyusha rockets were fired into Israel... two Israeli citizens were killed and 132 taken to hospital.." How do 100 rockets only kill 2 people? Shitty aim? No explosives? What?

In the Blame America First category we have Prof.M'Shahid Alam on the subject of context: "We too must constantly revisit the history of Western depredations over the past four centuries to connect the worlds present miseries to this infamous history."
Connect? History? What the hell...?

I see where Hugo Chavez is now showing the Charlie Chaplin classic Modern Times all around Venezuela. This guy is way sharper than anyone thought. Beautiful Bolivarians. The Missoula Statue Erection is being planned.

Weather is freakin weird here. Brings to mind the John Prine line about the Mexican desert: "The moon is going down and the sun is holding it's breath".Hot, clear , sunny ,windy for weeks on end.Im going to go fish Hebgen Resevoir

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Nation

I have long been a subscriber to Americas "opinion journal of dissent" , mainly perused as a vehicle into the mind of the "progressive, liberal, semi-highbrow" type constituent. I was about to diss the recent issue after reading the envoronmentalism piece but I have to admit they finished strong with Michael Hardts essay on Empire. Here is my quick rundown:

The environment article can be summed up with this select quote; " Not only has global warming finally been widely acknowledged as an urgent problem, it is now undeniable that fighting it can be extraordinarily profitable." People, people, people.. Is every aspect of existence ,finally, only about making a lousy buck? Profit from death and suffering?

The next article on "Rage Against the Mainstream Media Machine" gives us this little bullet: "But despite the progressive netroots intense focus on the media there is no clear sense of what is wrong with the system.Smart ,perceptive well meaning bloggers can outline at length and in great detail the flaws in press coverage, but they can't say WHY the coverage is so fatally flawed." I say, steer testicles to that crap. "Progressives" need to take the blinders off and recognize class conflict when they see it, and I know just the blogs they can read that contain concise , in- depth analysis.

Now we get to Greiders piece on "Rubinomics". He captures well the boot licking approach Robert Rubin so naturally assumes."Rubins central objective ,however, is to control the terms of the debate; to address the economic disparities globalization has generated but WITHOUT DISTURBING ANYTHING FUNDAMENTAL in the global system itself." The Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons lap this shmegma right up.
Hardts essay, while I may not agree with his entire thesis, is a burst of fresh air sorely needed in these stifling, stagnant times. Keep my subscription and send out a few to friends.

On a closing note, I want to throw this out for my syndacalist/anarchist comrades, it's a moral argument for the existence of the State: It is a unit that expresses the human choice to live together under laws of ones own choosing. Of the Multitude, by the Multitude , for the Multitude, in all its pluralistic, diverse, human glory.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The General Rides Again

Calling all Bolivarians! Following Newts denunciation of Irans having erected a statue of Simon Bolivar in Tehran, I call on all freedom loving People to join me in erecting a statue of "The Liberator" on the courthouse lawn in downtown Missoula Montana. Date to be announced. Sorry about that sentence structure.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Whatever You want To Call It

Juan Cole does an admirable job in providing necessary background and analysis on the growing 'war birth pangs conflict turmoil etc' in Middle East. Whatever You Want To Call It. I call it capitalism at work but an interesting aspect is summed up by one commenter asking Mr.Cole to justify his assertion that "most Palestinians (or Muslims in general) accept peace (not merely a truce) with a Jewish Israel". This loaded question goes to the heart of the matter ( a point the Syrian ambassador was trying to make to Tim Russert) of what a "peace " might look like . Peace?
Peace including the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees? ( the Common Mind scoffs, "that would be suicidal for Israel") ? Peace meaning a return of the West Bank to Palestine in it's entirety and of the Golan Heights to Syria? A removal of the Separation Wall? How about roads and water and checkpoints? Peace ,in other words, means alot of things. Do "Muslims in general" accept the State of Israel? Besides the fact there is no Zogby poll on this question, it matters not what one "accepts", it matters what one does. "Accepting" is passive, done in the mind.Resisting or attacking is an action. Can "Muslims in general" refrain from attacking an Israel that provides a just and equitable solution and viable State for Palestinians? This is the REAL question.

Again I want to point out a pattern of violent, often unintended, consequences to US action. We forcibly removed Saadam without a realistic analysis of what the situation might devolve into. (or maybe they knew! ) We demanded Syria disengage from Lebanon and opened the door to total de-stabilization. We removed the Taliban in Afgahnistan but failed to consider tribal and ethnic structures. Going back to the Shah of Iran or the Balfour Declaration, Neo-liberalism forced on Latin America or myriad other instances, the Blowback is the Lesson We Never Learn. Ask the people who supported the installation of Pinochet if they still think that was such a good idea. Our children will be writing about our current actions years from now with disbelief at either our simplemindedness and naivete, (seen from one perspective) or our brutal disregard for norms, law and human life.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Bad Mouthing Rich People; continued

Here at the Exclusive Fish Camp there is no talk of war ,destruction, death etc.. as the Rich Mans armies work their way across the globe. In fact, everything is hunky dory for those who have hedge funds or have a shoe- in incumbent congressman on their payroll. The young people talk gayly of all the golden opportunities life presents, fast cars, sunny vacations, offers from prestigious firms and pretty young women anxious to "marry well'. The old guys have cigars and wine and scotch to discuss and favorite beats on their salmon stream.
A-rabs and Jews could be hacking themselves into little pieces and it's all page six.Oil prices go up and of course you complain, though the dividend from your Exxon holdings is paying for the entire trip. Black babies starving in some God forsaken desert can prompt a "harumph" or two and talk about laziness, sexual proclivities, experiences as a young man etc..
Life is good when your guide has the right fly on and the chablis is cold. We simply don't talk talk about religion, politics, money or current events and things proceed swimmingly.

Big Bake

The high pressure from Hell has settled over Montana bringing extreme temperatures ,bright blue skies and warming rivers. These poor trout have survived through eons but this is still rough. Im going to break the hooks off my clients flies today and save the poor creatures a little stress. Subversive Trout Giuiding!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Waste for Profit

Che Bob reminds us that we are trampling on our childrens future with our waste ,toxicity, violent destruction. consumption habits etc..etc.. Here where I work, a luxury flyfishing lodge for americas elite, we thow away enough food weekly to feed a small refugee camp, homeless shelter, prison, all the lovely things Capitalism gives us to isolate and oppress the under-class.Each guest is given way more than they can possibly consume because this is the "standard" for luxury accomodations. The higher status you assume, the more "waste" you are entitled to create. They are , of course , charged for all they waste and so we are able to make a fine profit on rapaciousness. Nice system.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

They're Idiots, No, They're Oilmen

No, actually, they're both. At first glance it is easy enough to assume the planet has been commandeered by morons and madmen. But there is a method to these oilmen's madness, a logic, as it were. As sick and demented as it is, this War Of Terror and the conflagaration it has devolved into is the logical extension of Spectacular Hegemony, the Northern/Western hemispheric domination and subsequent struggle for resources, markets and labor necessary for an unprecedented expansion of global wealth ,commodification and consumption.
If one coveted control of the energy resources of the Middle East yet could no longer maintain the "practical arrangements"made after WWII ( Saudi, Iraqi, Iranian client states) for various reasons (ideological, racial, religious, political) , how convenient would it be to have the battle over the region portrayed as one of Reason and Enlightenment VS Religious Intolerence and Nihilistic Extremism? And What would be the most effective way to create such an easily demonized Enemy? One whose extermination a frightened public would readily condone?

One rather diabolical technique might be to have some proxy nation in the region, one historically endowed with a sympathetic global constituency, and embracing its own State Religion, oppress and expell a dysfunctional minority with it's own regional ethnic and religious allegiances. At the same time , you might also aid ,equip and arm this proxies sworn religious and ideological enemy, thereby guaranteeing "perpetual violence". If you were truly devious you might also, with the aid of the mass media,the government bureacracy and your corporate sponsors, convince the general populous of the North/West Axis that starting a regional war is in the best interest of "the people" and that to the degree that enemies are provoked and arise they must be met with force and destroyed.

So it may be what we are witnessing now is a level of brinkmanship not seen since the Cuban Missle crisis. In our bid to drive all the oil holding states of the region into crisis and failure,we are willing to risk the annihilation of Israel and attacks on our own global interests. In order to win the Spectacular War on Islamic Extremism we are willing to create sectarian militias and jihadists that may plague us peripherally for decades to come. From the slums of Jakarta, Somalia or Sudan will rise poorly armed, (unless Russia gets a wild hair) fanatical resistance which we will feel entirely justified in exterminating in the names of Democracy, Christianity and Free Markets.

The Neo-con dream of a world free of Palestinians, Sunni or Shia Mullahs, Saudi princes, Latin American "populists" and slum dwellers lies just beyond those killing fields ("We will fight them there so we don't have to fight them here").The arms manufacturers will also make a killing .(see neo-liberal militarism, Afflicted Powers by the Retort Collective). Islam will again be set back another century and the world will be safe for WalMart. These are moron and mad oilmen with a very deliberate and "logical" agenda. We must revolt.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Be Vey Afraid

I just watched Sunday morning mainstream news and analysis and while it is bright and sunny outside I feel a darkness spreading. Oh my. The Today Show has two reports, one from Haifa and the covered bodies, grieving Israelis, gaping missle hole in the roof, the other report from Beirut where we are told only of the effort to remove Americans from the coming firestorm.No bodies, no grief. Bob Shiefer introduces Condi Rice demanding we enforce UN resolution 1559, she says it over and over again like a mantra, 1559. The right to defend itself. Whatever means necessary.Clear out southern Lebanon. Israeli victims.Sheifer says over and over his mantra. Reason woud dictate such and such "but this is the Middle East."This is with a sigh and shrug of mixed frustration, resignation, disgust. Now bring on the clowns, Tim Russert and an intense debate with madman Newt Gingrich and that fountain of "reasonable " contradiction ,Joe Biden. Or was that a dream? It seems fantasmagorical but I think Newt was calling for Armageddon, all out world domination, war on N.Korea, Iran , Syria and whoever else posed any threat at all. Terrorists in Madagascar? Nuke it Newt. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Newt even interjected the Iran/ Venezuela connection to emphasize the degree to which we are surrounded. Under siege. Bay of Pigs was mentioned. Oh my, oh my.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Milo Minderbinder For President

I think that was the guys name in Hellers Catch 22 (read 40 years ago) who was being paid by the enemy to bomb his own troops and by earning that profit felt he was justifiably defending The System. We have officially slipped into a fictional dream world and we are powerless (shocker!) to affect it or our collective fate. Would you die to defend this system? In a fictional, dreamlike death? This existential Rant Inspired By World Events.

On a somewhat lighter note, my wife was discussing her enlightening experience negotiating the urban bus systems of Portland and Vancouver. Ever wonder where the poor people, the working minorities, the disenfranchised are as you commute Americas highways and byways? They are riding the bus. A public transportation system which few of the middle class and none of my fishing clients have ever experienced or even considered. The bus takes much longer. So there is the temporal dimension to bussing. After a hard day at the factory or construction site or house cleaning it will also take a long time to get home.Then there is the diversity and the contact, often direct contact with strangers and people who don't speak much english and don't look like you. In our cars we don't have to make eye contact with strangers, we don't end up in conversations, we don't realize they exist. We don't have to get off at a corner where a large group of hispanic men stand with their lunch pails and thermoses. My daughter, who is very much of the world, and very worldly, rides the bus daily in Portland. I did also when I lived in europe for a few years, and as a vagabond in this country for a few years as well.I now realize what I miss. Strangers and the strange.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Revolution American Style

Again Ms. Arendt: "Opposition to public opinion, namely to the potential unanimity of all, was therefore one of the many things upon which the men of the American Revolution were in complete agreement..." Madison in particular was conscious of the "tyranny of public opinion" and realized plurality , a diversity of conflicting interests, were necessary for a true public realm to exist. This realm dissapears and all exchanges of opinion become superfluous when all equals happen to be of the same opinion. Multiple factions must continue, he said "as long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it."

I watched a panel discussion the other day where the question was asked of the audience: Do you think political discourse has become to partisan? One woman stood up and stated her opinion (not an unusual one ,in my experience) that they should do away with political Parties and everyone should just "come together".Think the Same. This is the Middle of the Road position, the great amorphous Center,where we all agree on everything. Screw that.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rousseau and Buddha Nature

Hannah Arendt explains Rousseau's construction of Enlightened political theory as resting on this interesting, and to my mind Eastern, view of the 'public will': "..the nation need not wait for an enemy to threaten it's borders in order to 'rise like one man' and to bring about the union sacree'; the oneness of the nation is guaranteed in so far as each citizen carries WITHIN HIMSELF the common enemy as well as the general interest which the common enemy brings into existence; for the common enemy is the PARTICULAR INTEREST of the particular will of each man."

This opens up a lot of discussion, eh? Who is The People ( as opposed to the multitude)? What is this idea of inner self? I find it all remarkably similar to Buddhist conceptions of enlightenment, this idea of transcending self and Oneness with the many. All this is subverted by capitalist ideology, it's emphasis on self interest and reality reduced to commodity. It is a system which must always have "outside threats" and therefore rejects the notion of compassion (also a Christian value of course). That is why a conservative, "traditionalist", free marketeer, etc.. finds it such a derogatory slur to call someone a "bleeding heart". Compassion and putting others first is contradictory to successfull entrepenuership but is necessary to be a Citizen in the enlightened sense.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Extra Extra Read All About It

Headline in the Butte Standard : Religious Strife Inflames Iraq. What can you say? All the News Thats Fit To Print. What about the Purple Fingers? What about the New Government? Why don't they tell us about the Good News? Didn't they find some WMDs? My friend just suggested they will end up re-installing Saadam and claim victory as the last copter leaves the Green Zone.Don't burn any flags.Don't marry any gays and stay away from abortions. "Some of them were tortured with drills," he said of the bodies."Some of them were hanged by ropes." North Korean Missles. Iranian Reactors.Whats on page two?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Say The Word

And you'll be free. And be like me. Im talking here about Capitalism, a word which has vanished from the middle brow American discussion, and not Love, a word which still gets bantered about endlessly. Watching Gwen Eifel (PBS newshour) lead a panel at some sort of Aspen Institute "ideafest"I was struck by the quality of the discourse, quite high, along with the fact that they danced and darted and skirted what is ,after all, the essential question, the economic system. They talked about war and civil liberties and poverty and rights but the word capitalism is never mentioned at that level of discourse. It is in fact taboo. It is never said on your TV, in your newspapers, and rarely in your magazines. It's right here in the blogosphere though, everyday.

In a winning essay (Nation Student Writing Contest) young Sarah Stillman's analysis is brilliant as far as it goes, but she can't say the Word ,can't make the leap.Describing her generations conundrum:"Our left brains are working furiously to catalogue and explain innumerable injustices, while our right brain screams that we must respond creatively...we are a generation...utterly confounded about how to bridge our intellectual realizations about social problems with our imaginative capacity to enact solutions."
Its called the Left, darlin, and it was not that long ago that the idea had force. Say it Sarah, Capitalism. Say it a couple of times, it will get easier and easier.

It looks like Commandante Marcos and the Zapatistas got what they wanted. Am I wrong or are there parallels with the Ralph Nader Voters getting what they wanted in 2000? Maybe it is the best strategy for REAL change, but the practical me still thinks an Obrador win would have been a victory for the true Left. Onward through the fog.

We are getting lots of rain here in Montana, the land is green and the rivers are still running high. The trout are loving it and look good, the skinny Big Hole rainbows notwithstanding.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Comfortable in Their Stupidity

So what we want to do is limit your freedom, that is, reduce your liberty, by making it against the law to "desecrate" the symbol of our liberty. A piece of cloth with stars in the corner and stripes across the rest. Because we are not interested in the nuanced argument , the subtle debating points, the reasoned discussion.
Now what exactly does "desecrate" mean? Is that a religious term?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Lies Without Consequences

First was the column in the Wall Street Journal calling Hugo Chavez an anti-democratic dictator,( Im referring to recent attacks),also an attack by Montanas Governor Brian Shwietzer (see Che Bobs response) and now a" heated debate" in the US House of Unrepresentatives over Our Role in Latin America. (see Venezuelanalysis.com) Lies, distortions and misrepresentations came from both sides of the aile with a few defenders, such as Meeks from New York, Delahunt from Mass. and Barbara Lee from California tring to cut through the propagandistic vitriol. My point here is, anybody can now say anything and there is no consequence in terms of credibility, penalty, loss of prestige etc. The boldest lie now recieves absolutely no retribution. Idiot Wind, blowing everytime they move their teeth.

Every little once in awhile there is some discussion on media ownership, but even more rare is the global context. Murdoch, Berlusconi, GE, and now author Richard Gott (who wrote a well researched pro-Chavez book) weighs in with a book about Latin Media Mogul Gustavo Cisneros. It is reviewed in the May/June New Left Review and worth checking out.

"Thousands in Egypt Demand Holy War Against Israel" reads the headline. The Zionists are not exactly big believers in "measured response" and I am wondering where is the Great Diplomat Condi Rice? Superwoman needs to start untangling this web ( Im being snarkastic). I am also wondering, why isn't Al Qaeda leading a Terror Campaign against Israel? What am I missing here, in terms of Apocalyptic Logic?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Disciplined Attention

Marilynne Robinson gives us these wise words concerning the advance of liberal Protestantism in her article on personal holiness in the Spring issue of The American Scholar.
"Acting with due reverence for the human situation, including the fact of one's own life, if that were possible, would be saintly. Instead ,we all struggle with our own insufficiancy. To put the matter another way, we baffled creatures are immersed in an overwhelming truth. What is plainly before our eyes we know only in glimpses and through disciplined attention."

The Dali Llama could not have said it better. Mindfullness, attention, intention, right -thinking all with a degree of discipline. In politics as well, a little attention goes a long way in nuetralizing what so many call "human nature" or our "fallen state". Corruption, greed , laziness, you know the list of imperfectability, become the basis for capitalist as well as evangelical cynicism about creating a just and peaceful system. The "no hopers" as it were, think there only salvation lies in being "born again". I say,Hell with being born again. Smarten up, pay attention, make this life worthy. This so-called Great Awakening of modern neo-fundamentalism is nothing but a drug induced haze and this foggy condition makes them pawns of the new "military neo-liberalism". Thats a lot of neos , I know, but with a little discipline we can short-circuit their cynical arguments.