PDA

View Full Version : The End of America



FRED
11-25-07, 05:23 PM
Highly provocative presentation. Worth a listen.


<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/RjALf12PAWc&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/RjALf12PAWc&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>


<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933392797?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwitulipcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1933392797">The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwitulipcom-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1933392797" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />


<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/3FQxjeZdki4&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/3FQxjeZdki4&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/dvu12z832Xc&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/dvu12z832Xc&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

metalman
11-25-07, 05:42 PM
Highly provocative presentation. Worth a listen.



heard her on the radio. blocked it out.

drones to be used against citizens in the usa (http://www.click2houston.com/video/14655819/index.html)

Spartacus
11-25-07, 06:04 PM
I would suggest that the beginnings of most of this was the war on drugs - that was the thin edge of the wedge, the agent provocateur that let the authoritarians start their campaign. Or in the vernacular of Mussolini, the government-corporate partnership.

Many of the basic rights were already gone before Bush "turned the heat up on the frog", it's only just now that some of the frogs are noticing.

The lights turned on for me with the now 10 year old 60 Minutes story on Cops seizing the property of citizens for sale (proceeds to go to the cops) on the say so of informants.


Highly provocative presentation. Worth a listen.

metalman
11-25-07, 06:37 PM
I would suggest that the beginnings of most of this was the war on drugs - that was the thin edge of the wedge, the agent provocateur that let the authoritarians start their campaign. Or in the vernacular of Mussolini, the government-corporate partnership.

Many of the basic rights were already gone before Bush "turned the heat up on the frog", it's only just now that some of the frogs are noticing.

The lights turned on for me with the now 10 year old 60 Minutes story on Cops seizing the property of citizens for sale (proceeds to go to the cops) on the say so of informants.

as much as i dig wolf's work, she does sound a bit hysterical in the second video. gonzales was in the end kicked out. rumsfeld is gone. yeh, there's a list but the press is still open enough to talk about it...


Unlikely Terrorists On No Fly List (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/05/60minutes/main2066624.shtml)

Anyone who has passed through an airport in the last five years and has been pulled aside for extra screening knows that the government and the airlines keep a list of people they consider to be security threats. Every time you check in at the ticket counter your name is run through a computer to make sure you are not on something called the "No Fly List." It's part of a secret government database compiled after 9/11 to prevent suspected terrorists from getting on airplanes. As correspondent Steve Kroft reports, if your name is on the list or even similar to someone on the list, you can be detained for hours.

It began as a project of the highest priority. In 2003, President Bush directed the nation’s intelligence agencies and the FBI to cooperate in creating a single watch list of suspected terrorists. A version of that list is given to the airlines and the Transportation Security Administration to prevent anyone considered a threat to civilian aviation from boarding a plane. The government won’t divulge the criteria it uses in making up the list or even how many names are on it. But in the spring of 2006, working with a government watchdog group called the National Security News Service, 60 Minutes was able to obtain a copy of the No Fly List from someone in aviation security who wanted us to see what the bureaucracy had wrought.

The first surprise was the sheer size of it. In paper form it is more than 540 pages long. Before 9/11, the government’s list of suspected terrorists banned from air travel totaled just 16 names; today there are 44,000. And that doesn’t include people the government thinks should be pulled aside for additional security screening. There are another 75,000 people on that list.

With Joe Trento of the National Security News Service, 60 Minutes spent months going over the names on the No Fly List. While it is classified as sensitive, even members of Congress have been denied access to it. But that may have less to do with national security than avoiding embarrassment.

seems that there are dead people and presidents on the list. keystone autocrats?

Uncle Jack
11-25-07, 06:57 PM
One of my extended family members is on the list, sort of. He gets pulled aside every time he flies because of his name - Jim Smith. Shit you not! Retired bank president and currently about mid-70s, grew up and lives in the bread basket of america. Can't fly without a hassle. It's beyond nonsensical. I felt free to disclose his name because if you can pinpoint him with that name, you're a better sleuth than the federal government.

Verrocchio
11-25-07, 07:47 PM
Have you heard this one? "You got nuthin' to hide; you got nuthin' to worry about." Stephen Colbert told Naomi this when she appeared on his show to promote her book. It won't matter if you've nothing to hide if the trend to totalitarianism that she projects advances unimpeded. In terms of the mission of this Web site, think currency controls, confiscation of property property, and so on.

Rajiv
11-26-07, 12:04 PM
Statement of James E. Smith (http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/insurance/initiative/smithaba.pdf)

Uncle Jack
11-26-07, 12:28 PM
no relation.

GRG55
11-26-07, 02:33 PM
One of my extended family members is on the list, sort of. He gets pulled aside every time he flies because of his name - Jim Smith. Shit you not! Retired bank president and currently about mid-70s, grew up and lives in the bread basket of america. Can't fly without a hassle. It's beyond nonsensical. I felt free to disclose his name because if you can pinpoint him with that name, you're a better sleuth than the federal government.

Maybe they're just trying to keep Mr. Smith from going to Washington. They probably remember how it turned out last time... :)

brucec42
11-26-07, 02:52 PM
This sort of thing is why I can't share this website with anyone I know. It's borderline kooky.

Not a fan of the current administration, they certainly push the limits on freedoms. But I find this speech ultimately anti-American and naieve. When the bombs start popping off randomly these are the same people who when they are in power will call for much harsher means to protect us. We're dealing with an enemy who uses the "rules" against us. Is that so hard to understand? At some point you have to have some trust in the courts and media to protect us from such abuses. Maybe I missed something, has the Bush administration had any political enemies jailed w/o trial yet?

This woman in particular is not someone a wise person would want to hitch their wagon to to make a point. She's a well known fool from way back.

FRED
11-26-07, 03:36 PM
This sort of thing is why I can't share this website with anyone I know. It's borderline kooky.

Not a fan of the current administration, they certainly push the limits on freedoms. But I find this speech ultimately anti-American and naieve. When the bombs start popping off randomly these are the same people who when they are in power will call for much harsher means to protect us. We're dealing with an enemy who uses the "rules" against us. Is that so hard to understand? At some point you have to have some trust in the courts and media to protect us from such abuses. Maybe I missed something, has the Bush administration had any political enemies jailed w/o trial yet?

This woman in particular is not someone a wise person would want to hitch their wagon to to make a point. She's a well known fool from way back.

Over the weekends, we try to push the limits of what our community finds comfortable.

Are you afraid to send friends to watch Hardball? Chris Matthews has Wolf on to represent a position in a serious debate about the U.S. Attorney General. We wouldn't do that. We have her video here to provoke thought and discussion.

How about the video of guy on Fox News? Ok, so he's selling a book.

But how is concern for Americans' constitutional freedoms un-American? Wolf represents the outer fringe that pushes the system back toward the center. Ron Paul also fulfills this role. Without them, the process of giving up freedoms to "protect" security goes on unchecked. It is far easier to solve security issues by taking away freedoms than it is to address the root causes.

No, the Bush administration has not had any political enemies jailed without a trial. Yet.

Granted Wolf is extreme. Her point about the gradual process of erosion of freedoms is correct. Everyone has their own threshold. Political enemies jailed without a trial is one that has not happened yet. For others, the threshold is the establishment of prisons outside the U.S. legal system. For others, passage of laws that allow a U.S. law enforcement organization to write its own search warrants and makes it illegal to discuss the warrant with legal counsel is another. An apparently arbitrary list of 44,000 U.S. citizens who cannot fly without being subject to detention is another. These have happened.

The courts and media will not be able to protect us if they are intimidated. Trust and faith in the courts and press will not ensure that the process is checked. Only pressure will.

Thanks for listening.

Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled programming: the crash of the housing bubble that the trusted and faith-inspiring press didn't report until after the fact, and the resulting foreclosures, defaults, and recession that the press can be trusted to cover in gruesome detail.

Contemptuous
11-26-07, 03:36 PM
Have to agree (to some extent with Brucec42). She sounds like a bit of a yapper. I patiently watched through the entire first movie clip. I think my teeth started grating when she got to the bit (I'm paraphrasing as I'm recalling it from yesterday evening):

< "like, how many of us took civics in college?" > accompanied by copious trendy pulling up of the already short and bunched up sleeves on her jacket. She also repeatedly compliments the audience on their 'courage' to attend her seminar? Yeesh. Go spend some time being politically outspoken in Russia or Kyrgizstan and then come back and talk to me about raw political risk, and courage.

Despite many thought provoking warnings on infringement of civil liberties, this 'author' is not my cup of tea really. She indulged too many specious references to parallels with Weimar, without keeping her critique anchored to more sober analysis.

The increasing financial parallels I accept, but those equating the encroachment of civil liberties by brown shirts fascist paramilitary in Weimar Germany to "Blackrock Mercenaries" now hired to ride roughshod over the American public, provide only a very superficial resemblance to the issues the West faces today from international groups who have demonstrated extremely patient, highly sophisticated civilian bombing and terror operations capability.

If you spend even a liesurely Saturday afternoon compiling a list of international terror events, spanning back 25 years, you begin to see the increasing scale and severity that's accumulating - 09/11 was just one of a long series - and what is very 'untrendy' to observe today is that far away from factional petty American left vs. right squabbling about the significance of terrorism, in the middle east, there is a good deal of continuing vitality and ferment in the 'terrorism industry' - which evidences every interest in prosecuting further such 'unconventional warfare' worldwide in the future.

To leaven this steady diet of dire warnings about America's slide into Fascism, people need to do some serious digging and compilation of the frequency of terror attacks worldwide, mapping frequency and patterns stretching all the way back to 30 years ago. Put it all together on a chronological map and you've got a really nasty issue, which crossed the line into a major issue after 9/11. Screw all the hackneyed left / right political stereotypes that have made this issue so politically tired it's suffering from metal-fatigue.

The fact if you mention 9/11 today you're tagged as a lame-brain leaning on hollow slogans is only public apathy, now masking an issue that's going to grab the world by the throat in the next decade.

The fact is, the 30 year progression that led inexorably to 9/11 is a warm up act, and the split with fundamentalism will grow into a lethal issue for the world in the next 20 years. There will be NO BYSTANDERS in this issue.

This is where I foresake the liberal left in America, although I spring from three generations of their ranks. In their ardor to identify America's slide into fascism, they reduce what is happening in Fundamentalist Islam to a footnote. "If we would just have enough brains to leave them alone, they'd leave us alone - It's just an 'excuse' for the elite in America to stage a silent coup! Duh!" - all of which is delivered to a supposedly eternally stupid American populace with all the conceited proselytizing tones of a seer. Unfortunately these seers happen to also be wrong.

This is the specious liberal indictment of the admittedly nerve rattling slide in America to authoritarianism. Yes indeed! That authoritariansim is a real risk, but I won't sit with people who decry it while misrepresenting it's roots in very real history (and it's a good deal more history than just 9/11!) and then fall coyly mute as to the real causes. I consider their conceits to be highly dangerous. And I really, really don't like an 'author' who continually compliments herself and her audience as to how educated they are while sprinkling her entire conversation with "like, this" and "like, that".

Dear Ms. Wolf, did you really "went to college"?

metalman
11-26-07, 03:57 PM
Have to agree (to some extent with Brucec42). She sounds like a bit of a yapper. I patiently watched through the entire first movie clip. I think my teeth started grating when she got to the bit (I'm paraphrasing as I'm recalling it from yesterday evening):

< "like, how many of us took civics in college?" > accompanied by copious trendy pulling up of the already short and bunched up sleeves on her jacket. She also repeatedly compliments the audience on their 'courage' to attend her seminar? Yeesh. Go spend some time being politically outspoken in Russia or Kyrgizstan and then come back and talk to me about raw political risk, and courage.

Despite many thought provoking warnings on infringement of civil liberties, this 'author' is not my cup of tea really. She indulged too many specious references to parallels with Weimar, without keeping her critique anchored to more sober analysis.

The increasing financial parallels I accept, but those equating the encroachment of civil liberties by brown shirts fascist paramilitary in Weimar Germany to "Blackrock Mercenaries" now hired to ride roughshod over the American public, provide only a very superficial resemblance to the issues the West faces today from international groups who have demonstrated extremely patient, highly sophisticated civilian bombing and terror operations capability.

If you spend even a liesurely Saturday afternoon compiling a list of international terror events, spanning back 25 years, you begin to see the increasing scale and severity that's accumulating - 09/11 was just one of a long series - and what is very 'untrendy' to observe today is that far away from factional petty American left vs. right squabbling about the significance of terrorism, in the middle east, there is a good deal of continuing vitality and ferment in the 'terrorism industry' - which evidences every interest in prosecuting further such 'unconventional warfare' worldwide in the future.

To leaven this steady diet of dire warnings about America's slide into Fascism, people need to do some serious digging and compilation of the frequency of terror attacks worldwide, mapping frequency and patterns stretching all the way back to 30 years ago. Put it all together on a chronological map and you've got a really nasty issue, which crossed the line into a major issue after 9/11. Screw all the hackneyed left / right political stereotypes that have made this issue so politically tired it's suffering from metal-fatigue.

The fact if you mention 9/11 today you're tagged as a lame-brain leaning on hollow slogans is only public apathy, now masking an issue that's going to grab the world by the throat in the next decade.

The fact is, the 30 year progression that led inexorably to 9/11 is a warm up act, and the split with fundamentalism will grow into a lethal issue for the world in the next 20 years. There will be NO BYSTANDERS in this issue.

This is where I foresake the liberal left in America, although I spring from three generations of their ranks. In their ardor to identify America's slide into fascism, they reduce what is happening in Fundamentalist Islam to a footnote. "If we would just have enough brains to leave them alone, they'd leave us alone - It's just an 'excuse' for the elite in America to stage a silent coup! Duh!" - all of which is delivered to a supposedly eternally stupid American populace with all the conceited proselytizing tones of a seer. Unfortunately these seers happen to also be wrong.

This is the specious liberal indictment of the admittedly nerve rattling slide in America to authoritarianism. Yes indeed! That authoritariansim is a real risk, but I won't sit with people who decry it while misrepresenting it's roots in very real history (and it's a good deal more history than just 9/11!) and then fall coyly mute as to the real causes. I consider their conceits to be highly dangerous. And I really, really don't like an 'author' who continually compliments herself and her audience as to how educated they are while sprinkling here entire conversation with "like, this" and "like, that".

Dear Ms. Wolf, did you really "went to college"?

i took this as weekend rant and rave stuff. agree with what you say. couple of points...


This is where I foresake the liberal left in America, although I spring from three generations of their ranks. In their ardor to identify America's slide into fascism, they reduce what is happening in Fundamentalist Islam to a footnote. "If we would just have enough brains to leave them alone, they'd leave us alone - It's just an 'excuse' for the elite in America to stage a silent coup! Duh!" - all of which is delivered to a supposedly eternally stupid American populace with all the conceited proselytizing tones of a seer. Unfortunately these seers happen to also be wrong.

isn't this ron paul's thing? last i checked, he's not exactly a lefty.

look, we've had terrible diplomacy and botched foreign policy for decades. all of the arguments you make about the threats of radical islam are the same that were made about the soviet union that drew us into vietna m. escalating threats and so on. domino theory. they turned out to be paper tigers. so are the radical islamists... unless we give them a nuke and put a strongman in power who takes away his peoples' rights and freedoms who then gets thrown out by the radicals on behalf of the people whose rights and freedoms were lost ala pakistan today and iran 30 years ago.

the wise diplomat knows that backwards is forwards. want to radicalize a political faction in any group? attack them. iranian students were nearly there taking over iran before the u.s. invasion of iraq. want to radicalize the chinese government to re-enforce the hard liners in the ccp? make a public statement about the usa backing taiwan... grandstand with tibeten leaders. stupid, stupid, stupid.

these guys will never learn.

how do i feel about rolling back usa freedoms because 30 or 40 years of botched foreign policy and diplomacy made radical groups more radical and anti-american and dangerous? frankly, pissed off. bush and condi rice? a friggin disaster.

i ain't no lefty but i ain't stupid, either.

Spartacus
11-26-07, 04:08 PM
If the people who see trouble brewing on the horizon wait until they get thrown in jail, won't that be just a
__ teensy bit __
too late to issue warnings?


Yeesh. Go spend some time being politically outspoken in Russia or Kyrgizstan and then come back and talk to me about raw political risk, and courage.

World Traveler
11-26-07, 04:10 PM
While I don't agree with everything that Naomi says, most of her points are valid. I heard a famous quote once "Fascism will come to America in the quise of National Security".

There have been other periods in America when rights were taken away and later restored, i.e., Abe Lincoln and Habeas Coprpus during Civil War, Palmer Raids during WW I, McCarthy Witch Hunts, Nixon's Excesses.

But none in my opinion have gone as far as the Bush Administration (except maybe the Palmer Raids).

So there is reason for hope, both in historical context and in the pushback we are seeing from both the Right (Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, etc.) and Left (ACLU, US attorney scandals, etc.).

But as a very famous patriot said "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance".

Contemptuous
11-26-07, 04:11 PM
Metalman -

There's a lot of wisdom in what you say.

<< all of the arguments you make about the threats of radical islam are the same that were made about the soviet union that drew us into vietna m. escalating threats and so on. domino theory. they turned out to be paper tigers. so are the radical islamists... unless we give them a nuke and put a strongman in power >>

However you've inadvertently put your finger precisely on the reasons I genuinely hesitate to imagine Ron Paul being a wise or sophisticated steward of the US's foreign policy. This is one of his big plus points for you, but for me it is dangerously naive. His domestic policy for the US is one of the best I've heard, but the conception of which way the world will turn if the US will only 'turn inwards' has truly disastrous implications - which in my view is the only point in your 'world view' where I think you are being really, really naive.

Power abhors a vacuum. Do what Ron Paul suggests we do, and America can become like Switzerland. We'll shore up our finances, create a very sound economy, but we sure as hell will be looking at an uglier world twenty years after embarking on your and Ron Paul's experiment.

You overlook that when the US withdraws, all lessons in history promise that another will step in to fill that large power vacuum - and those other contenders today, whom you imagine to be so harmless, are primarily Russia (which does not inspire great confidence as they are addicted to 'tsarist' rule and cannot get a grip on the democracy thingy) and China, who I think needs no further introduction as to deep cynicality of their own foreign policy.

You are dreaming if you think the US has been the primary agent of creating the problems out there Metalman. This is where you and I part in terms of point of view.

Contemptuous
11-26-07, 04:16 PM
WorldTraveler -

<< So there is reason for hope, both in historical context and in the pushback we are seeing from both the Right (Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, etc.) and Left (ACLU, US attorney scandals, etc.). >>

I'm on board with you on this general concern - just please don't let it be Naomi Wolf's insights which carry us there - and please don't let it be Ron Paul's simplistic conceptions of the role of US foreign policy in countering the 'scrupulous interests' of Russia and China.

Anyone who cannot understand the meaning of 'power vacuum' in international affairs needs to take a crash course in history. If you think the US imperium has been bad, you have not seen anything yet.

One of the corrolary effects of the US's inevitable fiscal collapse will be the dawning of a 'new chapter' in international affairs, where we will see China's real ethics laid bare upon the international stage, and I predict many here who feel their blood rise in indignation at the US's iniquities will pine for the 'good old days' twenty five years from now, as they examine the whole new complexion international power politics takes on under the aegis of the Chinese politburo's niceties.

metalman
11-26-07, 04:37 PM
You are dreaming if you think the US has been the primary agent of creating the problems out there Metalman. This is where you and I part in terms of point of view.

no, silly. you forgetting all my rants about paul? totally naive. a disaster. every right wing hate group on earth proclaims a love for paul and sends him money and he stupidly takes the money and sits by and says nothing. he's clever but he's not wise.

i'm not saying we stop foreign diplomacy. i'm saying we stop being boneheads. stop helping radical groups by feeding them reasons to lead moderate groups. without bush there'd be no ahmadinejad and no chavez. stop being the counter weight for dictators. trying being the smart guys for a change.

metalman
11-26-07, 04:42 PM
If the people who see trouble brewing on the horizon wait until they get thrown in jail, won't that be just a
__ teensy bit __
too late to issue warnings?

zackly. can't wait around for the usa to become russia or kyrgizstan before preventing it. let's hear it for the fringe! the kooks!

Contemptuous
11-26-07, 05:02 PM
Metalman -

This is an article of faith on your part. Where did you acquire that faith? According to your logic, if Bush hadn't been elected, 09/11 would not have happened. False. What's more the 'equivalents' of Ahmadinejad and Chavez were approaching inexorably, not because of Bush, but because of the approaching peak of world oil production.

Your thesis remains naive, to my view.


without bush there'd be no ahmadinejad and no chavez

bart
11-26-07, 06:29 PM
If the people who see trouble brewing on the horizon wait until they get thrown in jail, won't that be just a
__ teensy bit __
too late to issue warnings?

Cool - one more that doesn't need glasses to see what's likely (but not guaranteed) to be directly in front of us.

Contemptuous
11-26-07, 07:11 PM
OK guys, just please, please find someone other than Ms. Naomi Wolf to be the collegiate spokesperson for the heroic civilian resistance to totalitarianism? :o

How do you call it, when they put the index and ring fingers together on each hand and wave them in the air to say "now I'm quoting this that or the other erudite source for you"?

This to me is the 'hallmark' sign of the "latter day college preppy", either student or prof, who is steeped in the glow of sublime certainty they've seen all the angles and are delivering to their audience the "whole truth that's fit to worry about".

Ms. Wolf has a piece of the story, although her method of delivery replete with "like, you know" and "we're all college educated here" makes me want to reach for the barf bag. But I admit, that's a minor detail. The main thing is, she's got nothing to say about the rest of the story regarding actors outside the US. Nothing at all, but a big fluffy pillow down of silence.

If you rely on the likes of Ms Wolf to lead us into a new crusade against government oppression, we still retain an even chance to get suckerpunched really good by some unsavory characters coming from somewhere else entirely (i.e. NOT Federal Agencies - think religious bigot from some place far away instead) who don't give a rat's ass whether Ms. Wolf is successful in leading us to reclaim our habeas corpus or not.

My candidate for enlightened author would speak lucidly about the risks to civil rights in the US, while also carefully weighing this against some emerging harsh realities abroad. I am guessing this other topic would leave Ms. Wolf sorely perplexed for insights.

Rajiv
11-26-07, 07:59 PM
Paul Craig Roberts on Naomi Wolfe and Pat Buchanan - Pat Buchanan’s Day of Reckoning: Good-bye to America? (http://vdare.com/roberts/071125_goodby.htm)



Pat Buchanan’s Day of Reckoning: Good-bye to America?<!--mstheme-->

By Paul Craig Roberts (http://vdare.com/roberts/index.htm)

Pat Buchanan (http://www.vdare.com/buchanan/index.htm) is too patriotic to come right out and say it, but the message of his new book, Day of Reckoning (http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FDay-Reckoning-Ideology-Tearing-America%2Fdp%2F0312376960%2F&tag=vdare&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325) is that America as we have known her is finished. Moreover, Naomi Wolf agrees with him. These two writers of different political persuasions arrive at America’s demise from different directions.

Buchanan explains how hubris, ideology, and greed have torn America apart. A neoconservative (http://search.atomz.com/search/?sp-a=000a298a-sp00000000&sp-q=neoconservatism&sp-p=all) cabal with an alien agenda captured the Bush administration and committed American blood, energy, and money to aggression against Muslim countries in the Middle East, while permitting America’s domestic borders (http://blog.vdare.com/archives/2007/11/23/the-domestic-surge-frank-talk-on-immigration-from-democrats/)to be overrun by immigrants and exporting the jobs that had made the US an opportunity society. War (http://www.vdare.com/roberts/060109_america.htm) and offshoring (http://www.vdare.com/roberts/070612_offshoring.htm)have taken a savage economic toll while open borders (http://www.vdare.com/sailer/050814_wsj.htm)and diversity (http://www.vdare.com/guzzardi/071109_diversity.htm)have created social and political division.

In her new book, End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot (http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FEnd-America-Letter-Warning-Patriot%2Fdp%2F1933392797&tag=vdare&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325)http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=vdare&l=ur2&o=1, Wolf explains America’s demise in terms of the erosion of freedoms. She writes that the ten classic steps that are used to close open societies are currently being taken in the US. Martial law is only a declaration away.

The Bush administration responded to September 11 by initiating military aggression in the Middle East and by using fear and the “war on terror” to implement police state measures at home with legislation, presidential directives, and executive orders

Overnight the US became a tyranny in which people could be arrested and incarcerated on the basis of unsubstantiated accusation. Both US citizens and non-citizens were denied habeas corpus, due process, and access to attorneys and courts. Congress gave Bush legislation establishing military tribunals, the procedures of which permit people to be condemned to death on the basis of secret evidence, hearsay, and confessions extracted by torture. Nothing of the like has ever been seen before in the US.

Contemptuous
11-26-07, 08:58 PM
Hey Metalman -

Looks like I'm bending your ear all over again. Sorry. I keep doing that. Bad. Bad. Bad. Lukester Bad. Go stand in the corner Lukester.

Rajiv
11-26-07, 10:49 PM
I think you should read the following

Welcome to the Jackboot State, Ann Arbor Division (http://counterpunch.org/cockburn11242007.html)


Welcome to the jackboot state, not to mention the jackboot campus, anno domini 2007. A doctor gives verbal advice to protect the life of an unconscious man and she duly gets hit with attempted felonies by vindictive campus cops, with the connivance of the University of Michigan. Jury selection for her trial starts on Monday in a county courthouse in Ann Arbor.

Contemptuous
11-26-07, 11:03 PM
Great post Rajiv - I am sobered. Please also note, in my above posts nowhere did I state the erosion of civil liberties was not an issue. You who are so punctilious on detail and precision, re-read them carefully to see where my objections lie.

I wish you to know that I greatly respect all your work on this site. If push comes to shove and the erosion of civil liberties becomes yet more egregious, you will probably find me in your camp.

But there are severe shortcomings in the critique constructed by the likes of Ms. Wolf. She succumbs to the same malady which you are susceptible to. In the face of all these dangers, she becomes polarized into a view that cannot admit even the existence of some horrific human rights violations by parties altogether outside of this country, and the social system you are putting here under a microscope. These entities play a very large role in what America is becoming. There is no uncertainty or equivocation in that insight. It's a plain fact, born of the past eight years history.

It is the willful myopia towards those massively contributing issues, which actually weakens her (and your!) cause, because it prevents agnostics like me from joining her struggles wholeheartedly.

I cannot abide condemnation of injustice which turns a blind eye to yet more atrocious murderousness elsewhere. It's simple. I've PM'd you on several occasions and explained this in quite fine detail. You must surely understand my points Rajiv?

Rajiv
11-26-07, 11:29 PM
a view that cannot admit even the existence of some horrific human rights violations by parties altogether outside of this country, and the social system you are putting here under a microscope.

I cannot abide condemnation of injustice which turns a blind eye to yet more atrocious murderousness elsewhere. It's simple. I've PM'd you on several occasions and explained this in quite fine detail. You must surely understand my points Rajiv?

Lukester, I understand your point of view. In fact I and others whose POV you now object to, have been outspoken about those Human right violators for over 30 years -- and have found that those same human right violators were tacitly supported by one or another super power - and have found that the operating principle has been - on all sides - "Our dictators are not human right violators - but are great benevolent statesmen - greatly beloved by their countrymen -- This by the way included Sadaam Hussain circa 1979 -1990

See also Regime Change: How the CIA put Saddam's Party in Power (http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/51/217.html)

What you will find is that human rights have been the sacrificial lamb in the chess game of the superpowers -- it is only now that the chickens are coming home to roost -- and I had hoped that you would realize that what is happening now in the US is only just a faint hint of a stench in the air compared what the US and other super powers have been doing in other parts of the world for more than a century!

bart
11-26-07, 11:38 PM
A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.
-- Adlai Stevenson

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of Human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt, Colonial America sympathizer, British House of Commons, November 18, 1783


Stop quoting laws to us. We carry swords.
-- Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus


“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.”
-- Thomas Paine

Contemptuous
11-27-07, 12:26 AM
Rajiv -

As Bart has posted in the words of Thomas Paine, this is the standard we are indeed measured by:

< “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.” >>

-- Thomas Paine

Now show me one country in history that ever lived up to it as it grew to any preeminence. The "stench" we are smelling only a trace of in our own country in a state of sheeplike and privileged innocence is the same stench that has permeated the history of nations. That which outrages you has been there for centuries, and untold numbers of other countries. Once you widen your field of vision and take in the entirety of it, you lose your innocence in believing that "this time it will / must be different" in our own age.

It was even worse under the "pan-humanist" experiments in socialism in the first half of the twentieth century, and therein lies a clue. As we reach out to withdraw, and correct, our own cynical dealing in the world, inspired by the words of Thomas Paine, there are invariably others who will reach in to grasp what we withdrew from, because they could care less about the words of Thomas Paine.

That is the difference of understanding between idealism and pragmatism. You know it on some level, probably better than I, as you are more widely read than I. But you do not wish to acknowledge it, and I certainly cannot draw you to it, as there is nothing admirable about it whatsoever. It is what it is and has been for centuries. What conceit of the present makes you think that in our generation, after hundreds before us, it will be different?.

bart
11-27-07, 12:46 AM
Rajiv -

As Bart has posted in the words of Thomas Paine, this is the standard we are indeed measured by:

< “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.” >>

-- Thomas Paine

Now show me one country in history that ever lived up to it as it grew to any preeminence. The "stench" we are smelling only a trace of in our own country in a state of sheeplike and privileged innocence is the same stench that has permeated the history of nations. That which outrages you has been there for centuries, and untold numbers of other countries. Once you widen your field of vision and take in the entirety of it, you lose your innocence in believing that "this time it will / must be different" in our own age.

It was even worse under the "pan-humanist" experiments in socialism in the first half of the twentieth century, and therein lies a clue. As we reach out to withdraw, and correct, our own cynical dealing in the world, inspired by the words of Thomas Paine, there are invariably others who will reach in to grasp what we withdrew from, because they could care less about the words of Thomas Paine.

That is the difference of understanding between idealism and pragmatism. You know it on some level, probably better than I, as you are more widely read than I. But you do not wish to acknowledge it, and I certainly cannot draw you to it, as there is nothing admirable about it whatsoever. It is what it is and has been for centuries. What conceit of the present makes you think that in our generation, after hundreds before us, it will be different?.



Although what you say is true, defending freedom starts at home and expands from there. My take is that is what Rajiv is saying.

There are very serious challenges and issues and factually almost heinous things going on the the US... and being sanctioned. There are even certain areas or issues on which I will not comment in public these days, and for the first time in my life too.

Contemptuous
11-27-07, 01:13 AM
Bart -


Although what you say is true, defending freedom starts at home and expands from there. My take is that is what Rajiv is saying.

The housecleaning can indeed much better start at home, than it ever can abroad.

If you try to apply Thomas Paine's ideas abroad in troubled parts of the world, your admirable actions will be quite brusquely and unceremoniously co-opted by some nation state players that give a whole new meaning to the term "ruthless".

Hence practically the only place we can begin the "Thomas Paine" purification is right here at home. Not abroad, because the abroad is a snake pit of utterly cynical interests, whose machinery has been grinding away with the same cynical inevitability for millennia. Nations do not have allies, they only have "interests" which means they are generally taking a bite out of things and spitting out the small bones.

America has had a long love affair with the public illusion that high principle could be brought to bear on international affairs, while it schizophrenically carried out it's actions much more cynically, in direct contravention to it's delusions of operating on Wilsonian principle. Many foreign nations more experienced than America in foreign policy must have been looking at our international Wilsonian delusions for decades with utter amazement.

It's one thing to talk about deterioration of American civil liberties, and it's a very serious matter. Being an agent of instability and consequent bloodshed in other countries is also a very serious matter indeed, with severe consequences. But be prepared to dump those principles at least partially out of the window in international affairs, because Woodrow Wilson demonstrated all too well how brilliantly the application of principled idealism translates into world peace (NOT!). It's not a bad objective, and one should always attempt to steer towards it, but the real world leeway to follow it's precepts literally is the cherished illusion of every presidential hopeful before they actually wind up inside the office.

Wilsonian idealism in international affairs is strictly hit and miss in terms of results. Ask the French, who have steered a reasonably rational course in the past seventy years internationally by adhereing strictly to the art of the possible.

bart
11-27-07, 01:25 AM
...
My whole point is, it's one thing to talk about deterioration of American civil liberties, and it's a very serious matter. But be prepared to dump those principles at least partially out of the window in international affairs, because Woodrow Wilson demonstrated all too well how brilliantly the application of principled idealism translates into world peace (NOT!).
...




Ah yes, grasshopper... but the subject as I understood it actually is overall freedom and issues in the U.S., but I also admit I don't know Rajiv's full viewpoint.

Principled idealism alone *never* works, and if it appears to then one has just not found or seen the full picture including behind the scenes actions.

To counter balance Wilson and then some, go back just a few years to the man who spoke softly and carried a big stick... and did his homework too.

Contemptuous
11-27-07, 01:44 AM
Thanks for all your sober input Bart.

I have greatest respect for Rajiv. He's actually one of my favorite posters around here with a very fine sensibility, very widely read, and keenly intelligent - but he drives me barmy sometimes.

You hear that Rajiv? You drive me barmy sometimes (and I'm sure I'm doing a good job driving you up a tree as well!) !! :rolleyes:

bart
11-27-07, 01:52 AM
Moi? Sober?!? Where have I gone wrong?
http://www.nowandfutures.com/grins/burp.wav ;)

Without some barmy now & then, what would we do for amusement?... :eek: :D

BiscayneSunrise
11-27-07, 02:00 PM
Right after 9/11, it was popular to say that the world changed on that day. My response was the world didn't change on 9/11, it was just that the average American got a much better and visceral understanding of the world in just a couple of hours.

With that in mind, I believe that both sides of this argument are correct and suggect that this debate is not a new one.

I do find it bothersome that it is so easy for people to cry "security" as a way to shut down debate or dissent (try debating regulations while at an airport security checkpoint or a flight attendant or my favorite, among anti-growth people, a new development/industrial plant could potentially be the target for terorists)

While we may be on a slipperly slope in many areas, human rights are still better protected here in the US than probably anywhere else in the world. For instance, a westerner may feel more free to do as they please in places like Vietnam, Uraguay or Ukraine but cross the wrong people there and I'm sure it would be immeasurably more difficult to extricate oneself than it would be in the US.

It is important as Americans to insist on civil liberties while remembering we live in a dangerous world where other groups would love to see our demise.

It is a delicate balance, which is perhaps why Lady Justice carries both a scale and a sword.

Contemptuous
11-28-07, 03:20 AM
OK, I just slogged through Naomi Wolf's article posted here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html (http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html)

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps


<< From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all >>

This is Ms. Wolf's thesis, and she sets about constructing it's logical compartments with a workmanlike but slightly rigid conceptual style. Everything written must illustrate the "Fascism in Ten Easy Steps", with easy to understand parallels to all the other places in history where those ten steps were followed , so we can get a "before and after" glimpse of where America is inevitably going.

As I progress through this article I feel the literary "steel shoehorn", dynamically following it's agenda, unimaginatively and mercilessly squeezing assertions in with facts into the "ten steps boxes" - to make all the analogies "fit" our hapless predicament under this Republican Administration.

The (she suggests - I will refrain an opinion) ideologically plug-ugly resident of the White House is the bright Republican spark bringing all this about, the "brilliantly evil motive force" that's inspiring it all. - But meanwhile, apparently unnoticed by Ms. Wolf, her perhaps ill advisedly partisan political logic winds her up in something of a box itself - specifically because of some events coming up in the near future.

I don't have the patience, and no-one here has the patience probably, to pick the whole article apart. But if you do read it through you'll maybe see the (political, of course) box Ms. Wolf is unwittingly packing herself into, by describing this whole creep to Fascism as A) "dire" and B) produced by "right wing neo-con etc. etc". (And no, this is not because neo-cons aren't costing us a tremendous political and financial capital - they have, but the issue is another one entirely). It's all about her description of the inroads on democracy wrought specifically by this "Republican Administration".

OK, say they have indeed done all of that damage. And they probably have one of the worst records imaginable in that regard, with all the "emergency powers" the current administration wishes to accrue to itself. I feel the fear and apprehension too. But I'm not sure I see the coherence in Ms. Wolf's thesis - in how it extends itself into the next four or eight years along the lines she's thinking, which are all about exceedingly "dire peril".

What happens to this author's thesis, of the "unmistakeable signs of the rise of Fascism in America" when the Democrats win the elections? :rolleyes: Will we have the same civil rights squeeze going on under the Democrats? Or does the "dire peril" meekly pack it's bags and go back to the dark netherworld in the weeks and months after a Democratic inauguration 2008?

The thesis I read posted by so many members of iTulip is more flexible than Naomi's. The rise of authoritarianism is suggested by many of it's proponents here as being created by irresolvable massive debt burdens (ties back to Naomi's Weimar, but differently). That seems a much more plausible thesis, because it is much more curtailed in the extent of it's speculation - it merely observes the extet of the financial disarray. So probably, the iTulipers here who also believe in the rise of authoritarianism think it's only rational that if there is real authoritarian strains emerging here, they'll keep right on rolling under left of center administrations as well, because the causes are recognized by people in this community as being t the roots a financial implosion which is now seemingly inevitable?

I'm a lot more on board with that possibility.

So my question is, and it's a question Ms. Wolf seems to box herself in on most clumsily, is this authoritarianism something that is really neither left nor right ? I thought you were supposed to have to go far to the left of plain vanlla center-left American liberal to re-encounter Fascist strains, where they approach the far right strains of the same ailment at the far side of the political circle? Or is this neo or proto Fascism (or whatever the know it all's call it now), as Ms. Wolf seems to reiterate many times, a product of an aberrant Republican administration alone?

If it's just the Republican administration that is causing all this nasty neo-fascist regurgitation of past failed history, how grave an issue is this, given that Hillary Clinton or some other liberal Democrat will be taking over shortly and we can all presumably breath a sigh of relief and shelve the whole bad dream of rising Fascism in America?

Here's what I find wearying about having Ms. Wolf as the standard bearer for my concerns about encroaching authoritarianism in this country - What's overtly implied by Ms. Wolf, if we remove the rightwingers who are instigating all this bad, bad stuff, and promptly install a Democratic administration, then the "Fascist America in Ten Easy Steps" she has laid out for us so graphically along party lines must immediately pack it's dirty bag of sleazy tricks and go away, no?

Where in Ms. Wolf's passionate call for "vigilance" does she try to give her thesis a little more depth or dimensionality, by venturing into an analysis of the potential rise of authoritarianism in this country that might thrive equally under a pacifist, Democratic administration too? And conversely, if that pacifist Democratic administration is antithetical to Fascism, then the whole Fascism thingy was a big noisy boondoggle! ??

And so if we can install a Democrat government who will summarily remove us from half the foreign bases, and all the wars in the world in which this country became stupidly embroiled, then the "inevitability" and "dire peril" of Fascism Ms. Wolf has been warning us about must have been over-estimated? In the end, we simply voted out a bad government and suddenly the Fascist danger went away? Wow, "defeating Fascism" was sure easy there, huh? All we had to do was vote the other guys! :rolleyes:

So what have we gained from reading Ms. Wolf?

Thesis # 1) Republicans will slide us into Fascism out of kneejerk fear. Unless we veer to the center left, we will / must go to that bad place. Ergo, Fascism is a political problem, rooted in the differences between the LEFT and the RIGHT (here I emit a cavernous yawn and slide out of my chair in a sleepy stupor).

Thesis # 2) As soon as we elect a center left government back to the Whitehouse all this will be rolled back, the US will re-demonstrate the vitality of it's two party democratic process, and the "rise of Fascism in America" will be blown away like a bad dream?

Problem: - Ms. Wolf can't have it both ways. Either this is a rising, deeply rooted, truly dire threat which will render even Hillary Clinton's government just as corrosive to liberty as was the Bush administration, or the Democrats will be the cure, and make all the bad neo-Fascist stuff "go away". If the Democrats can make neo-Fascism "go away" however, that means we never really had fascism at all, because whatever it was, we simply VOTED IT OUT!

Which is it to be, Ms. Wolf? If Hillary is elected and we can all breath a sigh of relief, where was your deadly threat to Democracy in this country lurking? We voted it out!

This is the kind of ideologically cramped, two dimensional "resistance to Fascism" which makes me feel, if I ever went to the barricades with these people, that I would be hanging out with people who's minds are in an ideological shoebox. They have some "clear ideas" about the left and the right which frankly leave me bewildered. I might join them on those barricades if things got bad enough - but I'd always feel slightly like I was living the experience on some kind of two dimensional acid trip in terms of the breadth of political horizons which such people employ to get where they want to be going.

Orforded
12-01-07, 05:48 PM
“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.” - Thomas Paine


BERKELEY, Calif.--A Halliburton subsidiary has just received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to provide "temporary detention and processing capabilities."- New America Media, Feb 08, 2006

"At some point you have to have some trust in the courts and media to protect us from such abuses."

Hmm. I am a lawyer and I can tell you first hand that to access the protection of the courts, one needs lots of $$$$$. And as to the media, which Murdoch franchise are we going to rely on?

My first post, hope I didn't screw it up.

Contemptuous
12-01-07, 08:57 PM
Orforded -

You need to refer this observation to Brucec42, as you are quoting him, not me.


This sort of thing is why I can't share this website with anyone I know. It's borderline kooky ... At some point you have to have some trust in the courts and media to protect us from such abuses. Maybe I missed something, has the Bush administration had any political enemies jailed w/o trial yet?
_____________

With regard to financial "barriers to entry" for people of lesser means to obtain effective legal represenation in the US, your observations are of the "activist for change" variety, because you are merely observing a process that has existed for decades, under many different administrations.

I certainly don't object to your views, nor have I posted comments contrary to your expressed views about what's wrong, if you'll check. Under both Republican and Democrat administrations going back a good number of decades, we've had a legal system thriving on the highly litigious "commercialization" of legal interests in this country that absolutely are not this much exploited to multiply lawsuits in many other countries in the world.

We are a very litigious society, which in part is why your profession are able to derive a higher standard of living from it than (for example) many solicitors in European countries, and certainly so in many other parts of the world, where solicitor's function and opportunities are far minor.

The courts in many European countries provide perhaps lower barriers to entry in terms of expense, but having lived there 25 years I assure you they more than compensate for that in the "entropy" department (in some countries - not all) by reducing legal procedure to a glacially dysfunctional pace which makes American court cases seem like world class sprinters in comparison.

As for honey-pot deals between the Department of Homeland Security and Halliburton, if that contract was not won on an open bid and on competitive criteria it's an open disgrace, and I'm aware this process has been considerably abused under the current administration.

I'm only slightly to the right of center politically, and I really don't like fitting haplessly into anybody's political stereotype cookie cutter, so if you automatically tag me as "one of those conservatives" and think you have my views all mapped, I resent it.

Despite my emphatic arguments against silly cartoon stereotypes of this administration, created and hugely popularized by too many intellectually lazy Liberals who seem incapable of putting forward instead the many perfectly legitimate (and devastating) arguments that could indeed be made, I never voted for this president and government, either the first or the second times.

May I ask why you are addressing these observations about a faulty legal system and bid-rigging for Halliburton to me? Is it perhaps because these are critiques which liberals habitually address to conservatives and you've read some posts of mine and interpreted them to imply that I'm "Conservative" according to the textbook of what "all Conservatives are supposed to think"?

If so, I suggest the smart Liberals and Conservatives all rise above such partisan position taking to evaluate, approve and condemn multiple issues in a politically agnostic way, that cuts straight across all ideological stereotypes and all party lines. This may be a rare bird, and I regret that if you've encountered very few of them, your faith that they exist may be diminished.

It's just my view, but I think Left - Right ideology is for dummies.

Spartacus
12-01-07, 10:01 PM
Nah, actually what he said was

"all it takes to stop evil is to shout loudly it's not happening and make fun of and try to shout down people who say it's happening."



So there is reason for hope, both in historical context and in the pushback we are seeing from both the Right (Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, etc.) and Left (ACLU, US attorney scandals, etc.).

But as a very famous patriot said "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance".

sunny129
12-01-07, 10:37 PM
:(

Those willing to trade liberty for security, deserve neither!
Ben Franklin

One more '9/11' like event leads to Patriot act III - Marshal law. (Remember how many lawmakers even knew/read the Patriot act I, when it got passed 99-1). Fascism will be accepted as a necessary evil in the name of national security and survival. Main media has become a lap dog of White house. Otherwise we wouldn't have Iraq mess.

Ms. Wolf may sound extreme but events since 2003 make her arguments less than rediculous like some of you suggest.

Contemptuous
12-01-07, 11:51 PM
Sunny129 -

If you read my posts you'd note I conceded Ms. Wolf indeed has a valid issue. I just don't like some of her (one-sided) exaggerations, particularly the large international issues she omits factoring in that initially prompted this chain of events over here.

You take the same lopsided view she does. You say "if we have another 09/11 then we'll really slide into fascism", as though the only issue worthy of comment there was what your government did in response, not those who actually carry out that second 09/11 itself?

You comment on this without making the smallest reference to the issues occurring outside the US which brought that second 09/11 here.

The vast majority of people hyperventilating about the curtailment of our freedoms are so far removed from previous generations of Americans, that they would look blankly at another bombing of Pearl Harbor as even being an act of war. That is to say, the only villain you seem to have in your universe worth getting concerned about is your own government (that's fine, they are a disaster and they probably deserve our concern, but do you really have the whole picture?), so when someone or other bombs the crap out of five, or ten or twenty thousand of your CIVILIAN countrymen INTENTIONALLY you are anxiously examining your government for signs it may be impairing your civil liberties? What's missing in this picture (which frankly seems more like a cartoon to my mind)?

Do you know what an act of war is, generally speaking? How about a dirty bomb which takes out 30,000 people next time, rather than 3000? Think it really can't happen, and this is all sinister government inspired propaganda? If so, you are living in a cocoon. The republic of Slovakia just busted a small group attempting to sell, for a measly one million USD, enough enriched uranium tailings to make a decent sized dirty bomb, and the US borders despite the buffoonery of Homeland Security are Swiss Cheese, with 98% of all containers coming into Los Angeles harbor not even inspected.

Forget that your buddies tell you that all that alarmism spread (and heavily abused) by NEWSMAX is the Government and Dick Cheney trying to manipulate your viewpoint. If you believe these risks are not real, then you are living in a state of considerable innocence.

Have you read a little history? There was a time, long ago, when nations believed that if they were massively attacked, along with casting a beady eye upon infringement of their civil liberties by their own government, they did also cast a beady eye on those people who had just bombed the daylights out of their countrymen. But I surmise that kind of thinking is dismissed as "reactionary" or some such tripe today.

It is this slightly limp, "late epoch" American, who no longer understands that if he witnesses an industrial scale terrorist event mowing down 3000, or 30,000 of his countrymen, that is not something he has the luxury of leaving entirely to "his government" - that instead, like it or not, it is also his own responsibility, to have a coherent response when some entity outside of your country comes in and blows your ass up.

If in response to this, you are then looking merely to your own government in a critical appraisal of that "second 09/11" as you put it, to analyze it's shortcomings to the exclusion of all else - this could be rationally described as having a childish quality to it, because you are omitting a serious understanding of the other half of the picture? Ms. Wolf disappoints me because she also simply ignores any part of this recognition - for her it's a soft pillow-down of silence about which she has "no comment".

You would need to demonstrate the same sense of responsibility to the people coming in to your country from abroad, who came in to bring about this "second 09/11", as you might have if those who died from it were your own immediate family members. Then it may inspire you to look at the things Ms. Wolf does not talk about, while you instead portray the entire event as entirely a matter of your government's paranoid response, with no other comment as to who from abroad did some shocking thing against civilians in a premeditated, willfull, planned way, which would be a good part of what was causing your government to get paranoid in the first place!

To give you an idea how far people with this mindset have come from their origins, an American from sixty years ago would regard this kind of nerveless response to a terrorist mass attack upon your civilian countrymen with some amazement.

Sunny129, my post above asked the question, if you bring in a peace-loving, left of center government in 2008, but then notice that the encroachment of civil liberties here continues, then this whole disapproval of the Bush administration on your part is missing the main point, see? It's not Republican or Democrat - it's a combination of real mass terror events, and really severe economic events, and the Bush administration is only one part of what you should be condemning - you are reasoning just like Ms. Wolf does down a one-way street, imagining that by removing this admittedly poor government you remove the problem! NOT!

Change your government, and the US catastrophic debt is not changed one iota - that debt has been built over many administrations. Change your government, and the really nasty little fuckers organized overseas currently in the process of subverting the proud people of Lebanon, together with the various other really nasty little fuckers scattered up in the Afghanistan - Pakistan mountains, are all just as likely to get their jollies from trying the "hypothetical 09/11 number two you have mentioned. Except you mentioned it as only something of interest to you insofar as it may cause your government to become more repressive. What is it you are missing here in the wider picture?

Orforded
12-02-07, 11:14 AM
Lukester, my apologies. I did not intend my message to be a direct response to you, rather a general post to the forum. This was my first post, and obviously I didn't get it right, reminding me that one of my favorit quotes:

"A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again." - Alexander Pope

applies not only to the sublime but also the mundane, like figuring out how to post messages correctly. My response was in fact more directed to Bruce 42 but I neglected to identify him as making the statement.

As far as Lukester is concerned, I have been decidedly impressed by the level of engaged discourse between you and other posters. I totally agree that casting identity in the right/left genre often defeats the meaningful exchange of ideas- once you marginalize the other, its easy to disregard what they say.

I joined iTulip yesterday because I was intrigued by Eric Jansen's economic insights and wanted to gain investment ideas from his perspective. But, stumbling on this forum I got aborbed in the very thoughtful dialogue, spending the better part of yesterday afternoon reading all of the posts, even though I didn't watch the video- limited to dial up here in the wilderness, takes forever to download video. I didn't learn much about investing but it was sure an interesting discussion. What I did learn is that most of the posts I read were the product of careful thought, intelligence and consideration. This alone lends credibility to the posters and thereby gives me a comfort level when I get around to listening to the forum's views on the economy and investing.

I look forward to it.

Contemptuous
12-02-07, 01:45 PM
Orforded -

Thanks for your gracious reply. And welcome to iTulip!

sunny129
12-02-07, 04:10 PM
Lukester:

All the points you have raised is well taken but focusing on '9/11' only and not prior to the world, when USA got away 1.with 'colonial' treatment of countries in not step with her interest 2. Anti democratic-destabalization of Govts by CIA operatives eg Argentina, Iran, Pakistan etc etc, is deceptive. Rajiv has brought up these factors nicely on his posts previously. One has to accept USA foreign policy during the later half of 20th century had put the seed for the current resentment from the world. It acted like a brazen bully and the same time preached on a moral high ground, on various platforms like democracy, free speech, free press, liberty, free market and capitalism. Hypocrisy at it's worst and world swallowed it up for a while but not any more!

Right after 9/11, the whole civilised world was behind USA. But Bush/Cheney ( neo cons) completely squandered that good will and a golden opportunity to put the nation on self reliance on energy and other progressive policies for which public was willing to sacrifice. We had budget surplus! Even the master bubbler Mr Greenspan uttered the word' oil' asthe sole cause for invasion of Iraq!

The credibility of our Govt lead by Bush/cheney is suspect. so is mainstream Media controlled by 6-7 giant coroporations. American foreign policy is controlled by major corporations for the several past 4-5 decades. Remember Eisenhower's 'military- industrial' complex!

Goldman sachs is on record (see Ben Stein's article on yesterday's NYT) having sold-long atleast 100 billion 'toxic' loans to public on clients' money but short on the same securities by parters' money and made a bundle! It was done under Henry Paulson, the current Secry of Treasury NOW trying to head a solution for the mess created partly by his/cronies own doing. This summarizes the situation at the Govt. You want me to believe what they say, broadcast and legislate in their view, what's good for the nation! I am not that naive.

Contemptuous
12-02-07, 05:33 PM
Sunny129 -

How did I guess you would come up with the 'neo-colonialism has caused it' objection? No, I'm not asking you to believe what Henry Paulson, or Bush / Cheney say, I'm asking you to believe what I say, which is much more limited.

What I say only makes one or two very simple points, about the 'here' problem, which is debt, and about the 'abroad' problem, which is that changing your government and shifting it to isolationism (the only logical outcome of Democrat's hugely popular demands now) will do very little to change the course of events in certain other parts of the world. Those events are heading to something far worse than even we see now. Contrary to very popular (populist is more like it) belief, a wholesale retreat of the US from supporting it's allies overseas will accelerate the problems, not diminish them, because it's not the nice countries who will step in to fill the void, it's the 'not nice' countries who will step in.

Bush / Cheney out! Yes alright, I agree. But now what have you got? The same problems you have today. What you have after a changeover of government, is the same ugly realities that will stick to your back like a howling monkey, long after Bush / Cheney are gone from the government.

Debt is one monkey - iTulipers have discussed that one plenty enough.

But there is another monkey, called "payback from fundamentalist bigots" which is still on your back, although you told it you absolutely weren't interested in it long ago. Unfortunately, it did not take the hint and go away.

Americans are very insular. You think, oh, that's BS, if we don't step into those foreign problems we are well clear of it. Your posts suggest it does not interest you very much. But the previous actions of those people "that don't interest you much" changed the course of your country's history.

If they get the itch to "change your country's history" a second time, your disinterest will become a little more difficult to maintain. That's when you'll see the Democratic government you thought was better (and it probably is, but only marginally), start to look a lot like this government you want to lose (that is, we'll have increasing Govt. repression once again from their side) - and that transformation will come about partly because of real bad debt problems, which Bush's removal won't fix, and partly because of that 'problem overseas' that doesn't interest you today.

Sapiens
12-03-07, 10:50 AM
http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Homeland_Security_turns_firefighters_into_domestic _1129.html


Firefighters asked to report people who express discontent with the government
11/29/2007 @ 10:09 am
Filed by David Edwards and Muriel Kane

It was revealed last week that firefighters are being trained to not only keep an eye out for illegal materials in the course of their duties, but even to report back any expression of discontent with the government.

A year ago, Homeland Security gave security clearances to nine New York City fire chiefs and began sharing intelligence with them. Even before that, fire department personnel were being taught "to identify material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities" and were also "told to be alert for a person who is hostile, uncooperative or expressing hate or discontent with the United States."

Unlike law enforcement officials, firemen can go onto private property without a warrant, not only while fighting fires but also for inspections. "It's the evolution of the fire service," said a Phoenix, AZ fire chief of his information-sharing arrangement with law enforcement.
Keith Olbermann raised the alarm about the program on his show Wednesday, noting that "if the information-sharing program works in New York, the department says it will extend it to other major metropolitan areas, unless we stop them." He then asked Mike German, a former FBI agent who is now with the ACLU, "This program seems to be turning [firefighters], essentially, into legally protected domestic spies, does it not?"

"That's the entire intent," German replied, noting the serious legal issues involved. "There is actually still a fourth amendment," he pointed out, "and what makes a firefighter's search reasonable is that it's done to prevent a fire. If now firefighters are going in with this secondary purpose, that end run around the fourth amendment won't work, and it's likely that they will find themselves in legal trouble."

Olbermann, however, was most strongly concerned about the implications for civil liberties. "Is what disturbs you and the ACLU the same thing that just jumped off the page for me?" he asked. "That one phrase, 'look for people who are expressing hatred of or discontent with the United States?' Discontent?"

German agreed that there are serious first amendment issues raised by the focus of the program on constitutionally-protected literature, such as books that might be considered "terrorist propaganda."

Olbermann asked in conclusion whether firefighters could be used under this program to plant evidence. German agreed that the way it is defined "really plays to people's prejudices and gives them the opportunity to do damage to someone."



<p><br>
This video is from MSNBC's <em>Countdown</em>, broadcast on November 28, 2007.<br>
<br>
<embed src="http://www.rawprint.com/fvp/flvplayer.swf" width="400" height="320" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" flashvars="file=http://www.rawprint.com/media/2007/0711/msnbc_ko_german_firefighter_spying_071128a.flv&amp;ima ge=http://www.rawprint.com/media/2007/0711/msnbc_ko_german_firefighter_spying_071128a.jpg&amp;log o=http://www.rawprint.com/fvp/rsvidlogo04.png&amp;link=http://www.rawstory.com&amp;autostart=false&amp;lightcolor=0x5577 22&amp;backcolor=0x000000&amp;frontcolor=0xCCCCCC&amp;showicon s=false" />
<br></p>
<a name=comments></a>

metalman
12-03-07, 11:50 AM
http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Homeland_Security_turns_firefighters_into_domestic _1129.html





This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast on November 28, 2007.




<embed src="http://www.rawprint.com/fvp/flvplayer.swf" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" flashvars="file=http://www.rawprint.com/media/2007/0711/msnbc_ko_german_firefighter_spying_071128a.flv&image=http://www.rawprint.com/media/2007/0711/msnbc_ko_german_firefighter_spying_071128a.jpg&logo=http://www.rawprint.com/fvp/rsvidlogo04.png&link=http://www.rawstory.com&autostart=false&lightcolor=0x557722&backcolor=0x000000&frontcolor=0xCCCCCC&showicons=false" height="320" width="400">





anyone who says there's no threat of the usa turning into more of a police state is deluded. the only debate can be over degree. the populace is ignorant of the process and it's happened before... just before entry into wwii. it will happen again just before us entry into wwiii... the resource wars, i'd suppose launched by don putin or some other event. that will kick the process off as 9/11 did.

maybe you'll just take yet another step back and draw yet another line in the sand marking your new "acceptable" level of loss of personal liberty. but at some point it'll be too late... all of you here who say wolf is extreme will fall silent just like she says she will... you will not speak up then. you will be too afraid.

remember what happened to bill maher when he spoke the truth about iraq? enjoy your last views of oberman et al. they'll be off the air within 2 yrs. maybe when they go off the air you'll take a stand? is that your line in the sand? do you have one?

on the fire dept. spies... i used to live in an area of a city where cars were getting broken into. the cops couldn't do much except arrest them and they'd be out in no time... prisons too full of war on drugs convicts. so the neighbors developed a system. when anyone saw guys breaking into cars, they'd call the night watchman at one the local office buildings. he'd then report the breakins to the local fire dept. the firemen then came over, grabbed the robbers and beat the shit out of them. soon enough, no more car break-ins. true story. if some new "bad guys" are identified for those firemen... i have no doubt they'll do the job.

don't forget where fire dept.s came from. they were originally started and funded by the insurance co.s to protect buildings from fire to reduce losses.

Contemptuous
12-03-07, 02:15 PM
Sapiens, Metalman -

You comments about the encroachments of traditional democracy in America are fully appreciated, and I would join your activism to roll that back, 100%. , However, if you re-read my posts (which i infer are what your are replying to), actually my quite explicit argument was another one.

It's not that authors lke Ms. Wolf are making a false argument about serious erosion of democracy - it's that they are making a highly partial argument, and the part of the discussion Ms. Wolf (for one) misses seems to be missing from your comments as well.

I am interested to hear more from people here about the international issues which have created the quantum jump in the depth, scale and dispersion of international terrorist methods of "warfare" on the part of entities outside the US, insofar as it's manifestly clear (to me at any rate, but it seems an uphill slog to convince others here) that international terror has contributed greatly to not only America's slide into repressive government (aka "Paranoid" government) but also, and critically important to accept, has contributed to America's truly disastrous, budget busting "war on terror".

Of course, the "war on Terror" is full of canards and some elements of gross falsity, and has been heavily abused for lowly political ends by the current administration, but I submit a considerable majority of people here, in their quite legitimate disgust with our government's handling of this complex chain of events, has utterly forgotten, or willfully disbelieves, that the recent history which kickstarted the "War on Terror" contains an overwhelming portion of absolutely real, quite dangerous, and very harsh truth springing from groups entirely outside of the US today. If you think all such components are pure falsity then you and I have little to talk about in common.

There is a can of worms there with a life of it's own, which your average intelligent, Bush-regime-skeptical American today simply has grown to disbelieve or chooses to ignore in the false assumption that "terror" is a Bush invention to get where Bush wants to go. The fact is, those terror groups exist entirely independently of Bush, and will continue to exist and thrive long after this administration is gone.

Americans are really very insular. I see a powerful reversion, after eight years of this administration's "bending our ear" about terror this and terror that, for many people to remain planted firmly in wishful thinking or mere political distraction on this one topic. That terrorism has coalesced and vastly strenghthened from the 1980's and 1990's, into something far different in this decade. Bush's co-opting of this theme and wearing it out for hackneyed political ends, has created a skepticism in many of you which I submit is false, and indeed will eventually be shown to be dangerously false

This "discredited fact" has instead progressed to a model which moves into entire nations and subverts their sovereignty. This is why I posted a series of head's up about Lebanon / Syria, which is a classic case in the mould of Afghanistan, and we can clearly trace attempts to co-opt Iraq as well, by groups who's modus operandi in this brave new century is to take over entire nation states who display any weakness (opportunism of a virus) and make those weak states "amenable" to hosting extranational terror groups with agendas far beyond merely co-opting that one country.

iTulip is a very sophisticated community. But there is under the surface a latter-day "disgusted-with-Bush" - "Northeast Liberal" bias at work here, and it takes this form of thinking, (which I think, tunes out some pretty major factors):

Bush has piggybacked on the "terrorism thingy" for so many years, and so disastrously, that the only real story here regarding terrorism is to recognize and expose that this Administration have simply co-opted terrorism to further their agenda, an agenda which is dangeorusly corrosive to our Democracy.

The "corrosive to democracy" part is absolutely true (it's what you two are limiting yourselves to remarking on). But the terrorism part is critical to our near term future (the next decade) and has become utterly lost in your bias that most of the worst of what's occurring today is brought about by this wretched US government, who are co-opting mere slogans just to willfully create a repressive domestic agenda.

I firmly believe this is false, by virtue of being only a partial truth, with one of it's most important components amputated altogether from acknowledgement.

Easily one of the worst things that is developing in the world today is the rise of proto-fascist nation-states in OTHER parts of the world. I've posted about Lebanon here on several occasions, because it is the "canary in the coalmine" about what's showing every intention of seeping into further countries as well, powerfully aided by the approaching scarcity of oil.

What Hezbollah did to Lebanon, and what Hamas has done to the Palestinian people in Gaza, where they now truly live under a the terrorism of Hamas against their own people, are very unfashionable issues to discuss here, precisely because they fall in so neatly with the concerns of a certain Mr. G.W. Bush. Venezuela is another example, and things are so egregious there, it sounds like they may be on the cusp of a counter-revolution.

Americans are doing what they've always done so well - talking up the national issues they dislike (and are quite legitimately concerned about) while inadvertently greatly simplifying the international corollaries which in our present decade have GREATLY CONTRIBUTED not only to America's corrosion of civil liberties, but also, critically to it's bankrupting itself in a "War on Terror".

How about people here recognizing that there is even a very powerful component of runaway US consumerism added as an overlay? The Government and Federal Reserve were spooked into goosing the entire Real Estate bubble by the need to "get America spending again" not just by the 2000 stock market crash, but also, (in net terms to date, for vastly larger amounts of debt than the 2000 market crash aftermath!), by the destruction of the world trade center and highly expensive launch of the resulting wars abroad. I see a huge reluctance on the part of most people who dislike the knee-jerk NEWSMAX prop-agit rubbish (as we well should!) to recognize that in spite of that prop-agit rubbish, the issue behind it, international terrorism, all grown up now and attempting to eat up entire countries, was merely appropriated as a tool for this administration's propaganda. That is a quite imprecise assumption. The fact is, that sleazy appropriation of the 'terrorism thingy' was a far cry from the actual issue's non-existence. This is the fallacy too many people fall into, and it's comports a moral atrophy just as much as ignoring loss of civil liberties at the hands of one's government comports moral atrophy. What a nice, subtle distinction, eh?

Seen in this light, the advent and metastasizing growth of international terrorism has had a truly vast impact on all of America's fiscal problems, which are one topic everyone on iTulip has an interest in to the point of excluding other valid topis like the reality of international terrorism which i call to your attention. This is a very stark, powerful new reality - the really, really large potential of terrorism to join hands with oil scarcity in the coming years to spread the model of "co-opted nation states" far further and change the world you thought was familiar into something quite new.

This trend is huge, and central not only to the US (who's own peacefulness in the world we all agree is now compromised), but ALSO to many, many genuinely peaceful other countries in the world which in former times America worked actively to support as allies. That will change soon, and it will be one of the biggest changes of the past 60 - 70 years, but no-one here finds it important, because the focus on the encroachment of US civil liberties is the "bandwagon" popular issue to discuss.

International terrorism (and the US Govt. massive, clumsy response to it) was in no small part, at the source, and at the center, of all the events which we comment on in these pages to do with massive, uncontrollable debt, but if you read your objections, which focus entirely on the encroachments of US government upon liberty, I for one note that no mention at all is made to the foreign "abroad" causes of America's slide.

I suggest iTulipers are being sucked in by the simplistic, reductive agenda of political groups who's primary task is the removal of the current Administration. I think their task is a good task - but I am concerned to see the "large silence" which has emerged in this other direction I describe.

I get the feeling rather, whenever I post anything about international terrorism, that the vast majority here look at me like some sort of hopelessly deluded rabid conservative. It's not a delusion, and I'm not a rabid dumbed down Bush conservative (I never even voted for the guy!!). If anything, the delusion (quite manifestly, if you look around the world at current events) is suffered by all those here who regard discussion of terrorism as "irrelevant". If you do, you are living in a state of willful innocence.

The reason making these points seems so discredited today has to do with that sorry assed creature, party politics. If you point out that terrorism, and the co-opting of nation states are real, and very dangerous, you are providing "ammunition" to the current administration, and not in any way aiding the opposition. Hence the Democrat opposition has gradually diminished, de-legitimized, and reduced to near invisibility any mention of international terrorism as having much significance any more, because to do so is to give votes away (however misguided these voters are) to the current administration.

It's one short conceptual step from there to leading Americans, and many concerned and moderate people throughout the world, to conclude thereafter that "Terrorism was an excuse" so over time they become progressively less concerned about it, until you arrive at authors such as Ms. Wolf, product of America's university pedigreed (and to my mind dangerously smug) 'conscience movement" (whose principles for Democracy I completely agree with however, although their smugness as to the full range of issues grates on me) who has seemingly completely "cut out" any consciousness of the huge importance of the reality of the international terror-state from her speaking engagements, books, possibly her dinner table chit-chat, or I suspect even her consciousness.

This is highly incomplete analysis, to my view, descending into partisan viewpoints which risk the same narrowness as those of the current Administration, and it was that which I wanted to point out. Seems a lot of people here buy it without reservations, but I disapprove of it vehemently, because it extracts the US from a global context and de-legitimizes the massive impact upon the US of some very large events happening internationally in this new century. We are sliding into repression from debt. But that debt landslide was initiated by terrorist actions.

Why is this issue considered so plug-ugly ideologically, for many here to acknowledge, eh? I bet you think it smells slightly, as though it had an ideological 'taint' to it. If so, the party politics has a real good grip on you, and is leading you around by the nose. :D

Uncle Jack
12-07-07, 01:42 PM
Statement of James E. Smith (http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/insurance/initiative/smithaba.pdf)

Remember the smith I told you about? Watch this>

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/1rV9IFzHLt8&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/1rV9IFzHLt8&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

TimM
12-16-07, 06:20 PM
Sapiens, Metalman -

I suggest iTulipers are being sucked in by the simplistic, reductive agenda of political groups who's primary task is the removal of the current Administration. I think their task is a good task - but I am concerned to see the "large silence" which has emerged in this other direction I describe.

I get the feeling rather, whenever I post anything about international terrorism, that the vast majority here look at me like some sort of hopelessly deluded rabid conservative. It's not a delusion, and I'm not a rabid dumbed down Bush conservative (I never even voted for the guy!!). If anything, the delusion (quite manifestly, if you look around the world at current events) is suffered by all those here who regard discussion of terrorism as "irrelevant". If you do, you are living in a state of willful innocence.



Lukester,

You seem to be placing a lot of words in other people's mouths. I think your posts are the only ones in this thread that tie in party politics with the general theme of rising fascism in this nation. Possibly because you feel your positions are being attacked?

I have not seen another post on this board anywhere and by anyone that is soft on terrorism or unprovoked violence on innocents. What I find missing from your point of view, however, is a simple acknowledgment of cause and effect in the international scene between oppression by a powerful nation and the growth of radical terrorism in those oppressed areas in response.

You talk a lot about "Power Vacuum" like none of us have ever heard of it, or worse that we're brushing it under the rug. Your mistake is confusing a reduction in imperialism with treating other nations with respect. That is, you throw the baby out with the bathwater. Ron Paul has clearly stated that his position is one of non-intervention, not one of helplessness, pandering or isolation. There is nothing wrong with having a powerful military while simultaneously being respectful. Your position seems to be that you feel that intervention is a necessary evil. Is that the case? If so, I feel that YOU are perhaps too innocent, if you feel there aren't consequences to such.

My problem with your position is that it is not consistent. You assert that terrorism is a problem while simultaneously endorsing the root cause of that terrorism, because of some fuzzy notion of "Power Vacuum". Perhaps you wish to elaborate.

Do you accept that most terrorism is almost entirely caused by external oppression? If not, why? My read on history shows this to be a fairly straightforward causality.

Contemptuous
12-17-07, 02:20 AM
Tim -

With regard to Ron Paul, I much admire the man, but find his conception of a functional foreign policy, at least in the present or last centuries, to be hopelessly idealistic - the fact is, some truly ugly consequences arise from disengagement just as many equally ugly consequences spring up from engagement.

There are more than a few, really quite ugly state actors out there in the world, and I am not on board with you that they all either would never have appeared, let alone that they all reform, simply because the US retires from their local scene.

If you were the entire electorate and voted this guy in, while he has some very sound ideas for the reform of our internal affiars, you would bear the responsibility for his "highly experimental" ideas about foreign policy, in which many of your foreign allies quite paradoxically, would lose all trust in your support (and go find other friends) if you simply "went away".

Your quixotic decision to "just go away" because as a nation we are "tired" of our obligations everyywhere, (AKA the new isolationism) could easily be to your considerable surprise, regarded as actually quite damning in the eyes of more than just a few nations around the world, in that you did not abide by many security guarantees this country has extended (and maintained) to various allies for the past sixty years.

Take Japan for example. In a new Isolationist America, we become pacifist of constitution like Germany for example, and Japan's security guarantee from the US vanishes. Poof! Suddenly you've got a situation where Japan must re-arm and change the constitutional scop of their military because the US umbrella has withdrawn. Then what have you got? A brand new regional arms race! What a triumph of foreign policy that would be, huh?

Withdrawing spheres of interest is actually just as much a "can of worms" as being enmeshed in them, but I'm willing to bet, you have half the college campus undergraduate political science professors in America inculcating into their students the firm belief that the antithesis of US imperial overstretch will result in a more peaceful world. It might, as a remote possibility twenty years after the fact - but I take one look around at the general neighborhood of squabbling, unsavory SOB's running countries all over the place today and I frankly doubt it.

Now that may not make sense from certain parts of your ethical point of view, but the international game has quite obviously been played by those sphere of influence rules for centuries, and it is highly improbable that it will change in deference to the admittedly laudable idealism of Ron Paul.

Look about you, at other nations who may step in where the US steps away from influence - take a close look at what they are - we are maybe bordering on a banana Republic - it's a very popular idea around here - but some of these "new players" stepping in where we choose to step out under Ron Paul may considerably disappoint you in your quest for a more peaceful world where parassitical terror groups fade away because suddenly their nations are free of exploitation. The US does not have a corner on the exploiting business you know - not by any means.

TimM
12-17-07, 10:02 PM
Tim -

With regard to Ron Paul, I much admire the man, but find his conception of a functional foreign policy, at least in the present or last centuries, to be hopelessly idealistic - the fact is, some truly ugly consequences arise from disengagement just as many equally ugly consequences spring up from engagement.

There are more than a few, really quite ugly state actors out there in the world, and I am not on board with you that they all either would never have appeared, let alone that they all reform, simply because the US retires from their local scene.

If you were the entire electorate and voted this guy in, while he has some very sound ideas for the reform of our internal affiars, you would bear the responsibility for his "highly experimental" ideas about foreign policy, in which many of your foreign allies quite paradoxically, would lose all trust in your support (and go find other friends) if you simply "went away".

Your quixotic decision to "just go away" because as a nation we are "tired" of our obligations everyywhere, (AKA the new isolationism) could easily be to your considerable surprise, regarded as actually quite damning in the eyes of more than just a few nations around the world, in that you did not abide by many security guarantees this country has extended (and maintained) to various allies for the past sixty years.

Take Japan for example. In a new Isolationist America, we become pacifist of constitution like Germany for example, and Japan's security guarantee from the US vanishes. Poof! Suddenly you've got a situation where Japan must re-arm and change the constitutional scop of their military because the US umbrella has withdrawn. Then what have you got? A brand new regional arms race! What a triumph of foreign policy that would be, huh?

Withdrawing spheres of interest is actually just as much a "can of worms" as being enmeshed in them, but I'm willing to bet, you have half the college campus undergraduate political science professors in America inculcating into their students the firm belief that the antithesis of US imperial overstretch will result in a more peaceful world. It might, as a remote possibility twenty years after the fact - but I take one look around at the general neighborhood of squabbling, unsavory SOB's running countries all over the place today and I frankly doubt it.

Look about you, at other nations who may step in where the US steps away from influence - take a close look at what they are - we are maybe bordering on a banana Republic - it's a very popular idea around here - but some of these "new players" stepping in where we choose to step out under Ron Paul may considerably disappoint you in your quest for a more peaceful world where parassitical terror groups fade away because suddenly their nations are free of exploitation. The US does not have a corner on the exploiting business you know - not by any means.

I still feel you are handwaving. I understand your stated opinion, but the inconsistencies are still there.

First off, your response consists of nothing but conjecture. Do you have any historical evidence that a measured non-interventionism causes throwback despotism? After the advent of the nuclear bomb I do believe that the rules of the game changed forever. And by the way, Japan has been inching towards the armament door for some time now, seeing our weakness. I have trouble guessing what's going to happen tomorrow, much less creating an elaborate future involving Japan or any other country with any accuracy, as you have done above. Secondly, you have tons of assumptions about how such a non-interventionist policy would be implemented. You assume, simplistically, that we simply withdraw support all over the world without measured discussion, timelines, and planning. I find that idea silly.

You also assume, again, that pacifism is the same thing as non-interventionism. They are NOT, as I mentioned before. We don't stop being players in the world just because we're not up in everyone's business. Diplomacy is still a vital part of Germany's "Pacifist" doctrine, correct? Are they isolationists in your view?

Anyway, my questions to you about your stance on terrorism still stand. You bring up the terrorism card while still maintaining imperialism, never linking the two. Is that your stance? That they are unrelated?

Finally I would like you to clarify what your objective is. You feel an interventionist philosophy is called for because ...??? That's a missing piece of your motivation for me. If the objective is a strong America capable of remaining potent militarily and economically, I think imperialism is deadly to us. Our job as Americans is NOT to prevent SOBs from oppressing their local populations. That is their cross to bear. When they win their freedom, if they desire it, it will be that much more valuable to them. Instead, the job of the US Gov is to defend the rights and privileges that we enjoy here. And this is threatened, in my opinion, by poorly defined policy that incubates terrorism directed at us. With the added bonus of bankrupting us fiscally and morally.

Contemptuous
12-18-07, 12:57 AM
I still feel you are handwaving. ... You also assume, again, that pacifism is the same thing as non-interventionism. They are NOT, as I mentioned before. ... Diplomacy is still a vital part of Germany's "Pacifist" doctrine, correct? Are they isolationists in your view?

Tim -

You write << I still feel you are handwaving >>

Well, that's ultimately your prerogative, Tim. I'm willing to bet I'll have to live with your prescriptions for a new US foreign policy at some point fairly soon anyway, as we are manifestly bankrupt, so if you don't mind I'll consider the remainder of my lesson in your views deferred until then - whereupon I'll experience it in real-time? In case you missed it, I don't buy your premise of a good outcome. You can't reform them all old chap.

World Traveler
12-18-07, 02:50 AM
Article and link follow. She is a citizen of and living in Iceland who recently came to shop in US. In 1995, she over-stayed her visa by 3 weeks. At airport, it came up in her records, she was arrested and shackled, and taken from airport to jail.

Reason I am posting this is because I have read of 2 other similiar occurances recently. All had the same things to say about US Customs, Homeland Security, and Immigration folks. One guy, a European musician who had performed in old Soviet Union even said "The KGB were more professional and polite than the US officials..."


Blog by Erla Ósk Arnardóttir Lillendahl: (http://erla1001.blog.is/blog/erla1001/entry/388660/)
(English Translation: Gunnar Tómasson, Certified translator

During the last twenty-four hours I have probably experienced the greatest humiliation to which I have ever been subjected. During these last twenty-four hours I have been handcuffed and chained, denied the chance to sleep, been without food and drink and been confined to a place without anyone knowing my whereabouts, imprisoned. Now I am beginning to try to understand all this, rest and review the events which began as innocently as possible.

Last Sunday I and a few other girls began our trip to New York. We were going to shop and enjoy the Christmas spirit. We made ourselves comfortable on first class, drank white wine and looked forward to go shopping, eat good food and enjoy life. When we landed at JFK airport the traditional clearance process began. We were screened and went on to passport control. As I waited for them to finish examining my passport I heard an official say that there was something which needed to be looked at more closely and I was directed to the work station of Homeland Security. There I was told that according to their records I had overstayed my visa by 3 weeks in 1995. For this reason I would not be admitted to the country and would be sent home on the next flight. I looked at the official in disbelief and told him that I had in fact visited New York after the trip in 1995 without encountering any difficulties. A detailed interrogation session ensued. I was photographed and fingerprinted. I was asked questions which I felt had nothing to do with the issue at hand. I was forbidden to contact anyone to advise of my predicament and although I was invited at the outset to contact the Icelandic consul or embassy, that invitation was later withdrawn. I don't know why. I was then made to wait while they sought further information, and sat on a chair before the authority for 5 hours. I saw the officials in this section handle other cases and it was clear that these were men anxious to demonstrate their power. Small kings with megalomania. I was careful to remain completely cooperative, for I did not yet believe that they planned to deport me because of my "crime". When 5 hours had passed and I had been awake for 24 hours, I was told that they were waiting for officials who would take me to a kind of waiting room. There I would be given a bed to rest in, some food and I would be searched. What they thought they might find I cannot possibly imagine. Finally guards appeared who transported me to the new place. I saw the bed as if in a mirage, for I was absolutely exhausted. What turned out was something else. I was taken to another office exactly like the one where I had been before and once again a long wait ensued. In all, it turned out to be 5 hours. At this office all my things were taken from me. I succeeded in sending a single sms to worried relatives and friends when I was granted a bathroom break. After that the cell phone was taken from me. After I had been sitting for 5 hours I was told that they were now waiting for guards who would take me to a place where I could rest and eat. Then I was placed in a cubicle which looked like an operating room. Attached to the walls were 4 steel plates, probably intended to serve as bed and a toilet. I was exhausted, tired and hungry. I didn't understand the officials’ conduct, for they were treating me like a very dangerous criminal. Soon thereafter I was removed from the cubicle and two armed guards placed me up against a wall. A chain was fastened around my waist and I was handcuffed to the chain. Then my legs were placed in chains. I asked for permission to make a telephone call but they refused. So secured, I was taken from the airport terminal in full sight of everybody. I have seldom felt so bad, so humiliated and all because I had taken a longer vacation than allowed under the law.

They would not tell me where they were taking me. The trip took close to one hour and although I couldn’t see clearly outside the vehicle I knew that we had crossed over into New Jersey. We ended up in front of a jail. I could hardly believe that this was happening. Was I really about to be jailed? I was led inside in the chains and there yet another interrogation session ensued. I was fingerprinted once again and photographed. I was made to undergo a medical examination, I was searched and then I was placed in a jail cell. I was asked absurd questions such as: When did you have your last period? What do you believe in? Have you ever tried to commit suicide?

I was completely exhausted, tired and cold. Fourteen hours after I had landed I had something to eat and drink for the first time. I was given porridge and bread. But it did not help much. I was afraid and the attitude of all who handled me was abysmal to say the least. They did not speak to me as much as snap at me. Once again I asked to make a telephone call and this time the answer was positive. I was relieved but the relief was short-lived. For the telephone was set up for collect calls only and it was not possible to make overseas calls. The jailguard held my cell phone in his hand. I explained to him that I could not make a call from the jail telephone and asked to be allowed to make one call from my own phone. That was out of the question. I spent the next 9 hours in a small, dirty cell. The only thing in there was a narrow steel board which extended out from the wall, a sink and toilet. I wish I never experience again in my life the feeling of confinement and helplessness which I experienced there.

I was hugely relieved when, at last, I was told that I was to be taken to the airport, that is to say until I was again handcuffed and chained.Then I could take no more and broke down and cried. I begged them at least to leave out the leg chains but my request was ignored. When we arrived at the airport, another jail guard took pity on me and removed the leg chains. Even so I was led through a full airport terminal handcuffed and escorted by armed men. I felt terrible. On seeing this, people must think that there goes a very dangerous criminal. In this condition I was led up into the Icelandair waiting room, and was kept handcuffed until I entered the embarkation corridor. I was completely run down by all this in both body and spirit. Fortunately I could count on good people and both Einar (the captain) and the crew did all which they could to try to assist me. My friend Auður was in close contact with my sister and the consul and embassy had been contacted. However, all had received misleading information and all had been told that I had been detained at the airport terminal, not that I had been put in jail. Now the Foreign Ministry is looking into the matter and I hope to receive some explanation why I was treated this way.

http://eggmann.blog.is/blog/eggmann/entry/389611/

TimM
12-18-07, 10:56 PM
Tim -

You write << I still feel you are handwaving >>

Well, that's ultimately your prerogative, Tim. I'm willing to bet I'll have to live with your prescriptions for a new US foreign policy at some point fairly soon anyway, as we are manifestly bankrupt, so if you don't mind I'll consider the remainder of my lesson in your views deferred until then - whereupon I'll experience it in real-time? In case you missed it, I don't buy your premise of a good outcome. You can't reform them all old chap.

I wish it were true, that you would have to live with an outcome like non-interventionism. ;) However, I doubt we'll be so lucky. Populations don't generally learn their history lessons very quickly if at all, and unfortunately I think it'll get worse before it gets better. It took two devastating wars in Europe for them to catch on. Same with Japan.

Our lesson will likely be a flirtation with the poor house and/or some more obvious form of fascism before we figure it out. Hopefully we all stay intact through the process.

Contemptuous
12-19-07, 02:19 AM
TimM -

This article is a wonderful illustration of why I regard a very large group of Americans who are heartily cheering Ron Paul's message of a "new American non-interventionism" as a bunch of wilfully naive people who urgently need to familiarize themselves with the implications of "power vacuums" - which have been amply demonstrated in history to create almost as much havoc, disintegration of nations, and bloodshed as have the interventions themselves.

Nobody has ever demonstrated that reality is willing to follow clearly delineated black and white morality tales - do no evil and evil will not find you - is a childish precept when reviewing the uninterrupted history of mayhem and power plotting, and wars and bloodshed which is modern human history anyway.

The mob of insular Americans, caught up in the new populist mantra which is a visceral reaction against the recent disastrous (and indeed, immoral) wars, with only the vaguest sense of the delicate web of interactions propping up the current world order (which America is now unfortunately thoroughly enmeshed in), are going to be hotly proclaiming the advent of a radically new direction in American foreign policy after 2008, which will put all of our current friends around the world on notice that from here on out, we believe in the virtue of "laissez faire" and they will have to sort out any of their regional problems themselves.

I hope they'll give me time to hide under my desk or in the basement, as a lot of shit and flying bricks are going to hit the fan internationally as a consequence of this new American infatuation, which is almost as quixotic, bumbling and naive as the wars we let our current Administration get into recently.

When you read this article, try to imagine how delighted Russia will be with this new American vision of virtue, as it opens up vast new ambitious vistas of "influence" which the Russians (and others) can cultivate and let flower, not only in outlying areas, but even as centrally as Western Europe, which itself has wobbled precariously on it's own initiative before Russion pressures to "influence" it in past decades.

The fantasy of American "non-interventionism" is a testament to that uniquely American quality - a large, formerly blessed, and powerful nation, with less familiarity and more naivete' about global history than a great number of other nations abroad. I cringe at the exent of the populist innocence inherent in the new "non-interventionism" replete with visions of a new "home-spun" American profile. It promises all the awkward misunderstanding of the reach and potential ability to create compounding mayhem, of hostile foreign entities that was indulged by the former president Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter was absolutely visionary on energy, but his understanding of the realities of other nations profoundly and persistently cynical dealings in foreign policy was not among the more astute among our former US presidencies.

Read this article and try to understand the extent of the seething, writhing can of worms out there that will double and redouble in trouble-filled activity as soon as they realise a "new American non-interventionism" has been installed into government. When this article hit my mailbox I knew it would (might?) provide you with some serious food for thought on the implications of Ron Paul's desire to retreat or scale down from international obligations. That scale down is of course on one hand what America desperately needs to heal it's disastrous budget and public image, but on the other hand it incrporates the very great fallacy of believing that good will come of it abroad.

An example which this article references, is NATO. What is key to understanding the ability of Nato to exert any stabilising effect in situations as that described below, is to grasp that if the US turns inwards, NATO will be quickly and inexorably transformed into an entity with about the same degree of vacillating indecision as the UN, whose ability to adjudicate "thorny issues" is notoriously feeble. This is implies a new US turn inwards is a recipe for a more fragmented international balance of powers, not as you hope, for a world that's more peaceful. You will see it come about.


Russia: Kosovo and the Asymmetry of Perceptions

<!--BODY COPY-->By George Friedman

Kosovo appears to be an archaic topic. The Yugoslavian question was a 1990s issue, while the Kosovo issue has appeared to be one of those conflicts that never quite goes away but isn't regarded very seriously by the international community. You hear about it but you don't care about it. However, Kosovo is getting very serious again.

The United States and Europe appear committed to making Kosovo, now a province of Serbia, an independent state. Of course, Serbia opposes this, but more important, so does Russia. Russia opposed the original conflict, but at that point it was weak and its wishes were irrelevant. Russia opposes independence for Kosovo now, and it is far from the weak state it was in 1999 -- and is not likely to take this quietly. Kosovo's potential as a flash point between Russia and the West makes it important again. Let's therefore review the action to this point.

In 1999, NATO, led by the United States, conducted a 60-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia and its main component, Serbia. The issue was the charge that Yugoslavia was sponsoring the mass murder of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, just as it had against Bosnian Muslims. The campaign aimed to force the Yugoslav army out of Kosovo while allowing a NATO force to occupy and administer the province.

Two strands led to this action. The first was the fear that the demonstrable atrocities committed by Serbs in Bosnia were being repeated in Kosovo. The second was the general feeling dominant in the 1990s that the international community's primary task was dealing with rogue states behaving in ways that violated international norms. In other words, it was assumed that there was a general international consensus on how the world should look, that the United States was the leader of this international consensus and that there was no power that could threaten the United States or the unity of the vision. There were only weak, isolated rogue states that had to be dealt with. There was no real risk attached to these operations. Yugoslavia was identified as one of those rogue states. The United States, without the United Nations but with the backing of most European countries, dealt with it.

There was no question that Serbs committed massive atrocities in Bosnia, and that Bosnians and Croats carried out massive atrocities against Serbs. These atrocities occurred in the context of Yugoslavia's explosion after the end of the Cold War. Yugoslavia had been part of an arc running from the Danube to the Hindu Kush, frozen into place by the Cold War. Muslims had been divided by the line, with some living in the former Soviet Union but most on the other side. The Yugoslav state consisted of Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Muslims; it was communist but anti-Soviet and cooperated with the United States. It was an artificial state imposed on multiple nationalities by the victors of World War I and held in place after World War II by the force field created by U.S.-Soviet power. When the Soviets fell, the force field collapsed and Yugoslavia detonated, followed later by the rest of the arc.

The NATO mission, then, was to stabilize the western end of this arc, Yugoslavia. The strategy was to abolish the multinational state created after World War I and replace it with a series of nation-states -- such as Slovenia and Macedonia -- built around a coherent national unit. This would stabilize Yugoslavia. The problem with this plan was that each nation-state would contain substantial ethnic minorities, regardless of attempts to redraw the borders. Thus, Bosnia contains Serbs. But the theory was that small states overwhelmingly consisting of one nationality could remain stable in the face of ethnic diversity so long as there was a dominant nation -- unlike Yugoslavia, where there was no central national grouping.

So NATO decided to re-engineer the Balkans much as they were re-engineered after World War I. NATO and the United States got caught in a weird intellectual trap. On the one hand, there was an absolute consensus that the post-World War II borders of Europe were sacrosanct. If that wasn't the case, then Hungarians living in Romanian Transylvania might want to rejoin Hungary, Turkish regions of Cyprus might want to join Turkey, Germany might want to reclaim Silesia and Northern Ireland might want to secede from the United Kingdom. All hell could break loose, and one of the ways Europe avoided hell after 1945 was a cardinal rule: No borders would shift.

The re-engineering of Yugoslavia was not seen as changing borders. Rather, it was seen as eliminating a completely artificial state and freeing genuine nations to have their own states. But it was assumed that the historic borders of those states could not be changed merely because of the presence of other ethnic groups concentrated in a region. So the desire of Bosnian Serbs to join Serbia was rejected, both because of the atrocious behavior of the Bosnian Serbs and because it would have shifted the historic borders of Bosnia. If all of this seems a bit tortured, please recall the hubris of the West in the 1990s. Anything was possible, including re-engineering the land of the south Slavs, as Yugoslavia's name translates in English.

In all of this, Serbia was seen as the problem. Rather than viewing Yugoslavia as a general failed project, Serbia was seen not so much as part of the failure but as an intrinsically egregious actor that had to be treated differently than the rest, given its behavior, particularly against the Bosnians. When it appeared that the Serbs were repeating their actions in Bosnia against Albanian Muslims in 1999, the United States and other NATO allies felt they had to intervene.

In fact, the level of atrocities in Kosovo never approached what happened in Bosnia, nor what the Clinton administration said was going on before and during the war. At one point, it was said that hundreds of thousands of men were missing, and later that 10,000 had been killed and bodies were being dissolved in acid. The post-war analysis never revealed any atrocities on this order of magnitude. But that was not the point. The point was that the United States had shifted to a post-Cold War attitude, and that since there were no real threats against the United States, the primary mission of foreign policy was dealing with minor rogue states, preventing genocide and re-engineering unstable regions. People have sought explanations for the Kosovo war in vast and complex conspiracies. The fact is that the motivation was a complex web of domestic political concerns and a genuine belief that the primary mission was to improve the world.

The United States dealt with its concerns over Kosovo by conducting a 60-day bombing campaign designed to force Yugoslavia to withdraw from Kosovo and allow NATO forces in. The Yugoslav government, effectively the same as the Serbian government by then, showed remarkable resilience, and the air campaign was not nearly as effective as the air forces had hoped. The United States needed a war-ending strategy. This is where the Russians came in.

Russia was weak and ineffective, but it was Serbia's only major ally. The United States prevailed on the Russians to initiate diplomatic contacts and persuade the Serbs that their position was isolated and hopeless. The carrot was that the United State agreed that Russian peacekeeping troops would participate in Kosovo. This was crucial for the Serbians, as it seemed to guarantee the interests of Serbia in Kosovo, as well as the rights of Serbs living in Kosovo. The deal brokered by the Russians called for a withdrawal of the Serbian army from Kosovo and entry into Kosovo of a joint NATO-Russian force, with the Russians guaranteeing that Kosovo would remain part of Serbia.

This ended the war, but the Russians were never permitted -- let alone encouraged -- to take their role in Serbia. The Russians were excluded from the Kosovo Force (KFOR) decision-making process and were isolated from NATO's main force. When Russian troops took control of the airport in Pristina in Kosovo at the end of the war, they were surrounded by NATO troops.

In effect, NATO and the United States reneged on their agreement with Russia. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian Foreign Ministry caved in the face of this reneging, leaving the Russian military -- which had ordered the Kosovo intervention -- hanging. In 1999, this was a fairly risk-free move by the West. The Russians were in no position to act.

The degree to which Yeltsin's humiliation in Kosovo led to the rise of Vladimir Putin is not fully understood. Putin represented a faction in the intelligence-military community that regarded Kosovo as the last straw. There were, of course, other important factors leading to the rise of Putin, but the Russian perception that the United States had double-crossed them in an act of supreme contempt was a significant factor. Putin came to office committed to regaining Russian intellectual influence after Yeltsin's inertia.

The current decision by the United States and some European countries to grant independence to Kosovo must be viewed in this context. First, it is the only case in Yugoslavia in which borders are to shift because of the presence of a minority. Second, it continues the policy of re-engineering Yugoslavia. Third, it proceeds without either a U.N. or NATO mandate, as an action supported by independent nations -- including the United States and Germany. Finally, it flies in the face of Russian wishes.

This last one is the critical point. The Russians clearly are concerned that this would open the door for the further redrawing of borders, paving the way for Chechen independence movements, for example. But that isn't the real issue. The real issue is that Serbia is an ally of Russia, and the Russians do not want Kosovar independence to happen. From Putin's point of view, he came to power because the West simply wouldn't take Russian wishes seriously. If there were a repeat of that display of indifference, his own authority would be seriously weakened.

Putin is rebuilding the Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union. He is meeting with the Belarusians over reintegration. He is warning Ukraine not to flirt with NATO membership. He is reasserting Russian power in the Caucasus and Central Asia. His theme is simple: Russia is near and strong; NATO is far away and weak. He is trying to define Russian power in the region. Though Kosovo is admittedly peripheral to this region, if no European power is willing to openly challenge Russian troops in Kosovo, then Russia will have succeeded in portraying NATO as a weak and unreliable force.

If the United States and some European powers can create an independent Kosovo without regard to Russian wishes, Putin's prestige in Russia and the psychological foundations of his grand strategy will suffer a huge blow. If Kosovo is granted independence outside the context of the United Nations, where Russia has veto power, he will be facing the same crisis Yeltsin did. If he repeats Yeltsin's capitulation, he will face substantial consequences.

Putin and the Russians repeatedly have warned that they wouldn't accept independence for Kosovo, and that such an act would lead to an uncontrollable crisis. Thus far, the Western powers involved appear to have dismissed this. In our view, they shouldn't. It is not so much what Putin wants as the consequences for Putin if he does not act. He cannot afford to acquiesce. He will create a crisis.

Putin has two levers. One is economic. The natural gas flowing to Europe, particularly to Germany, is critical for the Europeans. Putin has a large war chest saved from high energy prices. He can live without exports longer than the Germans can live without imports. It is assumed that he wouldn't carry out this cutoff. This assumption does not take into account how important the Kosovo issue is to the Russians.

The second option is what we might call the "light military" option. Assume that Putin would send a battalion or two of troops by air to Belgrade, load them onto trucks and send them toward Pristina, claiming this as Russia's right under agreements made in 1999. Assume a squadron of Russian aircraft would be sent to Belgrade as well. A Russian naval squadron, including the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, already is headed to the Mediterranean (http://www.stratfor.com/products/premium/read_article.php?id=300183). Obviously, this is not a force that could impose anything on NATO. But would the Germans, for example, be prepared to open fire on these troops?

If that happened, there are other areas of interest to Russia and the West where Russia could exert decisive military power, such as the Baltic states. If Russian troops were to enter the Baltics, would NATO rush reinforcements there to fight them? The Russian light military threat in Kosovo is that any action there could lead to a Russian reaction elsewhere.

The re-engineering of the Balkans always has assumed that there is no broader geopolitical price involved. Granting Kosovo independence would put Russia in a position in which interests that it regards as fundamental are challenged. Even if the West doesn't see why this should be the case, the Russians have made clear that it is so -- and have made statements essentially locking themselves into a response or forcing themselves to accept humiliation. Re-engineering a region where there is no risk is one thing; re-engineering a region where there is substantial risk is another.

In our view, the Russians would actually welcome a crisis. Putin wants to demonstrate that Russia is a great power. That would influence thinking throughout the former Soviet Union, sobering eastern Central Europe as well -- and Poland in particular. Confronting the West as an equal and backing it into a corner is exactly what he would like. In our view, Putin will seize the Kosovo issue not because it is of value in and of itself but because it gives him a platform to move his strategic policy forward.

The Germans have neither the resources nor the appetite for such a crisis. The Americans, bogged down in the Islamic world, are hardly in a position to deal with a crisis over Kosovo. The Russian view is that the West has not reviewed its policies in the Balkans since 1999 and has not grasped that the geopolitics of the situation have changed. Nor, in our view, has Washington or Berlin grasped that a confrontation is exactly what the Russians are looking for.

We expect the West to postpone independence again, and to keep postponing it. But the Albanians might force the issue by declaring unilateral independence. The Russians would actually be delighted to see this. But here is the basic fact: For the United States and its allies, Kosovo is a side issue of no great importance. For the Russians, it is both a hot-button issue and a strategic opportunity. The Russians won't roll over this time. And the asymmetry of perceptions is what crises are made of.

Distribution and Reprints

This report may be distributed or republished with attribution to Strategic Forecasting, Inc. at www.stratfor.com (http://www.stratfor.com/). For media requests, partnership opportunities, or commercial distribution or republication, please contact pr@stratfor.com.

brucec42
01-09-08, 02:15 PM
It's interesting how emotional this topic can make people. My points were that this wasn't a particularly credible speaker for the issue and that "freedoms" as we understand them are a concept that can be used against us by an even modestly intelligent enemy. I read a lot of military history and I'm not seeing a lot of evidence of life carrying on on the homefront as before during wars of any kind. Vietnam was one example, perhaps. But then we weren't routinely giving student Visas to North Vietnamese students at the time, nor were they blowing things up outside their own country. This is a different kind of war indeed.

I would also add that you have to cooly analyze the risks vs the rewards of any actions. One action of eliminating all the "abuses" mentioned above would be a higher likelyhood of a catastrophic attack of some sort. In that scenario do you really think life as you know it would go on undisturbed after a dirty bomb or even chemical attack? Besides the devastation of your economic life (our consumption based economy is very fragile) my guess is they'd crack down hard to prevent further attacks, with the result being an even more oppressive regime than currently.

Conversely, if we allow just any action to be done 'for security" we could wind up in a slowly warming pot of tyranny. What's fine for them to do to some foreign agent might not be so great if we wind up under suspicion.

So you have to make your choices, and reasonable people can disagree on what is the best course. But pure totalitarianism nor "freedom as usual" is not the answer.

It's important to understand that philisophical purity to either extreme is the real danger. Life doesn't always fit into neat concepts like that.

That said, so far I can't complain about the results. I expected many many attacks carried out by this point in time. Perhaps the measures taken have done the trick. Perhaps the US actions in Iraq had an indirect "Khadaffi" effect we haven't realised. Or perhaps it's just in their plan to not attack at the present time. The key to a good guerrilla war plan is patience, they say.

bart
01-09-08, 03:17 PM
This article is a wonderful illustration of why I regard a very large group of Americans who are heartily cheering Ron Paul's message of a "new American non-interventionism" as a bunch of wilfully naive people who urgently need to familiarize themselves with the implications of "power vacuums" - which have been amply demonstrated in history to create almost as much havoc, disintegration of nations, and bloodshed as have the interventions themselves.


There is no "power vacuum" implied by any position of Ron Paul's, unless one believes empires are necessary and that no other solutions work.



More Reasons to Like Ron Paul…
For those who may be still 'undecided'


by Elizabeth Cameron (elianeal@copper.net)
by Elizabeth Cameron

<!-- Copyright 2001-2002, Clickability, Inc. All rights reserved.--> <script language="javascript1.2" src="http://a449.g.akamai.net/7/449/1776/000/button.clickability.com/10/button_1/button.js"> </script>
<table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="180"> <tbody><tr> <td width="15"></td> <td> <table style="width: 165px; height: 45px;" border="2" bordercolor="#0000ff" cellpadding="7" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr> <td>
</td> </tr> </tbody></table> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="15">
</td> <td> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> Policy positions aside, what follows are characteristics in a person that would serve us very, very well in a President.
1. He tells the truth.
It is not fun to hear that our country is going bankrupt, or that our government is out of control, or that we are losing our liberties at a dizzying rate. It is scary and upsetting. But if we are to regain the country that we like to think we live in, the truth must be heard. Dr. Paul discusses with great frankness the actual reasons for troublesome conditions we now face, and while this may be bitter medicine, it does point the way to reversing the spiral and regaining our footing as a peaceful, free, and prosperous nation.
2. He is unflappable.
When others are in an uproar, Congressman Paul demonstrates a remarkable level of equanimity. On the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Jan 7th), for example, he discussed FOX’s shameless decision to exclude him from their "Republican debate" without the slightest hint of rancor or hostility; he even showed a sense of humor. When he has been scoffed at in debates, he has ignored the jeers and gone on to explain his positions in a mild and deliberate manner. This calm demeanor would be a great asset in dealing with the myriad clamorings that make their way into the Oval Office.
3. His story does not change with the political winds.
For many long years, Dr. Paul has been talking about the same crucial topics: sound money; honoring the Constitution; protecting life, liberty and property; friendly relations with other nations and entangling alliances with none; maintaining a strong national defense; honoring our veterans, etc. It doesn’t seem to matter where he goes or who is listening – the story remains the same. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the President of the United States had an unswerving commitment to principles of freedom that you could depend upon, once he was in office?
4. He is polite.
If you notice how Dr. Paul behaves in debates, you will see that any annoyance he demonstrates is strictly on policy matters. No matter how much pressure he is under, he is unfailingly polite and respectful, and does not join the game of tossing out rude barbs to trip up or embarrass other candidates. Consider how important might be the simple fact of Presidential good manners in dealing with testy foreign nations.
5. He obeys his oath of office.
When Congressmen (and Presidents) take office, they take the following oath: I, loyal citizen of the Republic, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God." In ten terms in Congress, Dr. Paul has an untarnished record of adhering to this oath. Who else can say that? Nobody. It is, sad to say, practically unheard of. And if we ever needed it in anybody, surely it is in the head of the Executive branch.
6. He is open about what he is doing.
An example of this can be found on Dr. Paul’s campaign website, where in prominent display are the totals, minute by minute, of money flowing into his coffers from campaign contributors. I’ve seen no other candidate do this. It is a small example, perhaps, but it is telling.
7. He is neither owned nor cowed by special interests.
In his years in the House of Representatives, Congressman Paul has proven beyond doubt that he cannot be bought. Lobbyists, I am told, don’t even bother trying to get in to see him, since they know that if government funding of their pet projects would be unconstitutional, they are wasting their time. The pressures on a President to bow to powerful interests are sure to be tremendous, and a man who can stand up to them is a very great man indeed.
8. He believes in the America of our Founders.
It has been a slow and painful awakening for some of us to realize that the America in which we now live is not the one our Founders gave us. Sadly, our peace, prosperity and freedom are all under assault. We still have a lot to be thankful for, there is no doubt of that, but we cannot afford to let our freedom keep slipping away, and I want the guy who remembers where we came from and wants to make good the original Revolution.
9. He is modest.
When Congressman Paul talks about his success, he attributes it to the popularity of the ideas he espouses. It is the ideas, not the man, that are carrying this movement, as he has repeatedly said. But the truth is that in the world today, it takes a giant of a man to carry this torch, and he, who is such a man, carries it with grace and modesty. This suggests to me that he cares more for the ideas and for the freedom of his countrymen than he does for his own ambition, and who wouldn’t want a President like that?
10. He addresses the issues that matter.
There is always political noise about something, but Dr. Paul cuts under the fray to get at what is causing situations to occur. This sort of approach lends itself to solutions. It is interesting to consider that under a Paul administration, the tide might be reversed, and we might actually regain some of our freedom and prosperity and peace.
11. He is courageous.
If we ever needed a brave man in office, it is now. The pressures that threaten freedom in our land are formidable, and a mere politician, I think, could not stem the tide. Only a statesman could do that, and in Dr. Paul, by the grace of God, we have such a man. Even he could not do it alone, though, and it is heart-warming to see the great numbers of people who are rising up to rally around this cause. This is a movement of historic proportions, and may give us the best chance we’ll ever have to restore the foundations of our Republic.
12. He is a nice person.
The President is the first and most public Ambassador of the United States of America. Dr. Paul shows in many ways that he would uphold this responsibility admirably. He demonstrates through example the tenets of his faith (like wanting to treat other nations the way we would like other nations to treat us); he demonstrates professionalism and honesty, scholarship and humor, compassion and integrity. By example alone, he would improve America’s standing in the world.

January 9, 2008
Elizabeth Cameron is a writer and farmer who lives and works on a small, diversified homestead in Illinois.

Contemptuous
01-09-08, 04:06 PM
There is no "power vacuum" implied by any position of Ron Paul's, unless one believes empires are necessary and that no other solutions work

Bart - I understand all the above cited reasons why Ron Paul represents a clean sweep of superior attributes returning to government - I understand it quite as well as you do, and I also heartily approve of them. However the only comment in your rejoinder to do with foreign policy is the above, and it is not an analysis of American entanglements in global international relations, so much as an assertion. A large chunk of the world is intimately structured around that America's misguided empire building from many past decades - it has accreted over 70 years). America is committing the same classic error of multiple declining great powers before it, and is accelerating it's decline by persisting in this error. A retreat from this now questionable foreign policy is indeed urgent, not only to improve our very poor standing in the world but also to shore up an increasingly enfeebled country.

But here's the real point I was trying to make (which seems to have been ignored) if you pull out the foreign policy underpinnings of that accreted foreign policy and introduce Ron Paul's, you will get a lot of 'hyperactivity' in the very large pile of status quo interconnections between nations worldwide resulting. Make no mistake - Ron Paul's foreign policy views and resulting change of stance will represent a massive earthquake in the way America's foreign commitments are percieved by those counterparties. This is equivalent to pulling a stick out from under a sandcastle and expecting there will be no repercussions. It is a radical change, and it promises some very real dangers, in highly unpredictable configurations and extent. Americans have a national trait - on the one hand they consider themselves a great country - on the other hand they have this blissful belief that they can take on or reject large foreign policy commitments in the world without causing even a whole series of resulting earthquakes.

I am certainly not asking or suggesting you post a long dissertation on why a withdrawal or shrinkage of American "unsolicited engagement' abroad may or may not have repercussions in the world. It would be a waste of effort in fact, as I actually fully agree with you - empire is disastrous. If you thought my post above was an apology for empire you have misunderstood it.

The only point I wished to make, but it seems to get fogged up in a lot of people's inflamed feelings about the grievous recent abuse of "American Empire", is that a large chunk of geopolitical circumstances have accumulated around this ill-conceived empire building in the past 60 years, and a Ron Paul presidency putting these non-interventionist ideas into practice will represent a *very* radical break with that. My point: To assume this can be accomplished with *less* global disruption and danger, as opposed to *more* disruption and danger, in the ensuing decade, is a very naive assumption.

I really do protest what I read here, as your assumption I've been posting as an 'apologist for empire'. This requires a little more thinking through than simply chalking it up to that.

bart
01-09-08, 04:45 PM
The only point I wished to make, but it seems to get fogged up in a lot of people's inflamed feelings about the grievous recent abuse of "American Empire", is that a large chunk of geopolitical circumstances have accumulated around this ill-conceived empire building in the past 60 years, and a Ron Paul presidency putting these non-interventionist ideas into practice will represent a *very* radical break with that. My point: To assume this can be accomplished with *less* global disruption and danger, as opposed to *more* disruption and danger, in the ensuing decade, is a very naive assumption.

I really do protest what I read here, as your assumption I've been posting as an 'apologist for empire'. This requires a little more thinking through than simply chalking it up to that.


There is some truth to my comment having been a set of assertions but I also believe your post was far from a full and unbiased treatment too.
I also don't see you as posting as an 'apologist for empire'.

No matter what occurs in the intermediate term future, with or without Ron Paul in office, there will be truly huge changes in the world - probably larger than at any other time in history on a relative basis in the disruption and danger and many other areas.

My basic point is that I believe that the end results and effects and especially the long term effects of Ron Paul being in office would be worth the disruption and danger.

TANSTAAFL applies too.

Contemptuous
01-09-08, 04:51 PM
... I also believe your post was far from a full and unbiased treatment too. ... (but) I also don't see you as posting as an 'apologist for empire'.

<< The only point I wished to make, but it seems to get fogged up in a lot of people's inflamed feelings >>

bart
01-09-08, 05:04 PM
<< The only point I wished to make, but it seems to get fogged up in a lot of people's inflamed feelings >>

Sorry I didn't come across well.

Being somewhat inflamed about actual conditions isn't a bad thing in my opinion too.