Friday, March 21, 2008

"empty shirts"

"fool me once, shame on you, etc"

every four years, the jerks line up for 'democracy' drill. "choose a president, you lucky people!" from a selection of two. hmm, maybe not so lucky. still, two is better than one.

unless one is dubya, and the other is disqualified by too much education, intelligence and character. too much for the american voter, any way. twice. but then the american voter backed nixon twice too. do you see a pattern here? americans prefer crooks, fools, good ol' boys. they yearn to be be cheated, stole from and sent to war.

bush is america, his so-called lies are just the fresh paint on the national character: crooked, violent, bigoted, and ignorant of anything going on across the county line. they ain't lies, they're the national country music.

every so often i quit trying to be polite, in expressing my opinion of the character and intelligence of the american voter. the quote above was a post in 'salon' which got a few approvals from other writers, who were also inclined to admit that "the government you deserve" was the relevant summation. but one made a point that it wasn't just the voters who were lacking, that the democrat party had put up "empty shirt" intellectuals that had no appeal to garden variety yanks.

the 'gvy' should have voted for the empty shirts. they were electing a president, not choosing a drinking buddy. but the principle of the objection is right: what if the alternative candidate is equally inadequate?

that is why democratic government is not government, but administration. that is why national law and policy should be set by referendum, and why the clerks and managers must work in public, carrying out the plans approved by the electorate. that is why democracy is rule by laws, and all other governments are rule by men.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

“In the valley of elah”..

.. is a good movie with excellent acting and a reasonable script. It is also a snapshot of where the usa is, in it’s journey through history as the paramount power of the late 2oth century. The story only concerns itself with showing the effects of participating in the iraq war on a few soldiers.

Whatever they were when they went, they are sociopathic monsters when they return. even the winners, in the war on terror, pay a high price.

The war on terror began in 1933, with a handshake. Ibn saud handed over the oil drilling rights on Arabian soil, esso arranged for the american government to guarantee protection of the saud family against all enemies. America had created it’s first middle eastern dictatorship. Then there was the invasion of Palestine by jewish refugees after the holocaust, using (privately supplied ) American guns and money. The pahlavi dictatorship of iran followed, after the murder of prime minister mossdegh and consequent destabilization of the Iranian parliamentary republic. When the Iranian people finally managed to throw out pahlavi, they put themselves into the ‘cuba’ class of enemies of the usa, never to be forgiven. But I think the support of saddam Hussein encapsulates the essence of america’s covert war: the man was a known monster, but he was willing to make war on iran, as long as America kept him supplied with munitions. In the middle east, America had no morals, and didn’t bother to disguise themselves.

That was the war on terror. For the first 50 years, it was almost entirely one way. And it was called, not a war on terror, but merely ‘guarding america’s interests.’ Resistance from the people of the middle east was ineffectual, until September 11, 2001.

Then the American people learned that foreign policy had consequences to themselves. The ensuing panic was remarkable. The home of the brave gave up it’s civil rights, started two unnecessary and unwinnable wars, and gutted their already tottering economy, out of simple fear of what 19 angry Moslems could do, and might do again. "the war on terror" was already lost, for americans were terrified.

Perhaps the worst consequence to America will be the iraq veterans. Many are going to be expensive medical dependants. Many others have been taught to kill on impulse.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

power and legitimacy in oz

legitimacy is the label put on the acceptance of the forms of governance by the general community. a government without acceptance as legitimate must govern through application of power.

governments avoid rule through power, it's expensive and dangerous. traditionally, the king strikes a deal with the high priest: the priest says the king is god's ruler, the king says all must worship in the high priest's church.

it's not that simple, anymore. religion has been supplanted by 'media'. the high priest is replaced by media proprietors. worse, the king has been 'assisted' by his public servants and politicians, into irrelevance.

why does the king linger on? legitimacy. the monarchy is the figleaf over the seizure of power by a guild of political bandits.

does it matter? it matters a lot. the legal basis of operation of the nation is founded on a lie. the constitution is a nonsense. as a result, law is only an assertion of current power-holders. this reality will percolate through the community and rot the legitimacy of the state.

does it matter? it matters if the current eruption of corruption in nsw convinces you that "enough is enough!" the corruption that never leaves the news, the incompetence that makes discussion of roads, hospitals, water, power generation, environment a matter of on-going despair is the natural and inescapable result of parliamentary government.

if you want a better result, if you want to pass on an oz as good or better than you got, it's time ozzians put themselves at the head table of government. it's not hard. politicians have no legitimacy but your vote. put it to use to put them at the service of the people.

if you want to move toward democracy, admit you haven't got it. then we can talk about how to get it, as well as why.

or just say "she'll be right" and go back to the racing guide.
Posted by DEMOS, Tuesday, 26 February 2008 7:23:06 PM
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

farewell fidel

'onlineopinion' had some discussion of castro on the occasion of his formal resignation. much was disparaging, but someone took the trouble to get some numbers, rather than just spewing out prejudice:

According to the UN Human Development Index, Cuba ranks 51st out of 177 countries. The US ranks 12th.

* On GDP per capita (in international dollars) it ranks 94th ($6000 per head). The US is 2nd ($41,890)

* On average life expectancy at birth it is 32nd (77.7 years). The US is 31st (77.9 years).

* On literacy of the adult population it is 2nd (99.8% of the population. (US no data).

* On combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio it is 35th (87.6%). The US is 19th (93.3)

* On the Gender Development Index, which measures female life expectancy, adult literacy and combined enrolment as a percentage of the male figure, Cuba ranks 2nd out of 156 countries. The US is 107th (down there with the UAE, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe).

* On the Human Poverty Index, Cuba ranks 6th out of 108 developing countries - it is ahead of Singapore (GDP p.c of $29,663 - not clear why they call that a developing country since it's income is higher than Germany's!). The US has no data.

In other words, on about one seventh of the US average income Cuba managed to produce health and educational outcomes that are equal to or very close to those of the USA. Compare with the Dominican Republic (HDI rank 79, GDP p.c. $8,217) or El Salvador (rank 89, GDP p.c $5,180)
Posted by Lev, Friday, 22 February 2008 9:41:56 AM

compared to the performance of batista, and many other dictators embraced by the usa, castro has nothing to be ashamed of. was he a saint? noooooo. but while he shot a few people who were trying to kill him, various american presidents, champions of 'democracy' each one, were engaged in mass murder in south east asia, in central america, and lately in iraq and afghanistan.

and he continued to point this out, which may have made worse the determination of american politicians to starve cuba into submission. he's guilty, there. clearly he should have laid down and died. quietly.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

was tet the turn of the tide?

vietnam was a temporary setback, soon rectified, think of the brilliantly successful campaign against grenada.

a better measure of a nation's health is to look at the budget. unlike other large nations, the usa spends more on defense than the rest of the world. combined. this may explain why they spend so little on schools, education, health care, and physical infrastructure.

they have been importing educated people for a long time now, it's cheaper than educating americans. i suspect the principle will be extended to importing ignorant labor soon. for the army. americans won't pick fruit for the wages offered and it's getting to the point they won't sign up to spread democracy anymore also, even though everyone makes sergeant if they get through basic.

an american 'foreign legion' will have many good points for politicians. no relatives complaining about casualties for instance. and some day the general commanding can look forward to being chosen president. by his troops.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

'democracy' in oz? hardly!

hard to believe a person educated in law could be so profoundly ignorant of reality. i suppose his mother told him about the emperor's new clothes, but clearly he did not re-visit the idea in philosophy 101.

perhaps he didn't do philosophy 101. he certainly never examined '1984' and the application of newspeak to australian english.

australia is not a democracy. not even close. it is legally a dictatorship of the governor general. that is the fundamental law of the land. it is daily flouted by the politicians who run parliament. when the leaders of society despise the rule of law, they are bandits, themselves contemptible.

the reason they operate in this shadowy, wink and nod fashion is simple:

the only two sources of legitimacy in society are god and the will of the people. as the british aristocrats had no intention of sharing their dominance of the monarch with the plebs, they preserved the monarchy as a conduit for god's approbation of their rule. the monarch got the appearance of relevance and status, parliament got the reality, and the plebs remained in the sheep pen.

the british had no need to call this state of affairs 'democracy', and didn't. churchill only insisted he lived in a democracy when he needed americans to help him fend off hitler.

in oz, this culture is preserved with a few superficial additions from the u.s.a. there is no democracy in it, for selection of leaders by voting is not democracy, it is elective oligarchy.

democracy will not breakout in oz anytime soon. oligarchs don't give power away, and the polititians guild has several regulations they all subscribe to, notably: pollies rule! the people of oz will have to take power if they want it. they don't, any more than sheep want to run the station.

parliamentary rule will continue to be ineffectual in meeting the challenges of global warming and resource exhaustion. the people of oz will suffer in result, but oz culture can not be active suddenly, when everyone in it has been raised to submit to the power of parliament.

Posted by DEMOS, Friday, 8 February 2008 7:38:31 AM

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

tra la la la.

clinton and obama are having an interesting contest, and both are raising more money than mccain. should be a shoo-in,with the burden of the dubya regime.

but a couple of american chatterati have suggested this might be a real contest. the core republicans either don't know bush has been a disaster, or don't care. the middle/independents may be attracted to mccain's supposed reasonable republicanism and macho chest thumping toward the 'terrorists'.

and there is in america some majority combination of people that managed to swallow dubya, twice. from their point of view, mccain is a big improvement on bush without having admit bush was wrong, except in his choice of secretary of defense. a nation that can elect a nixon, reagan, or bush2 is capable of anything.

or so we will be writing, if the nightmare comes to pass. but it won't. it won't, will it?