Saturday, December 1, 2007

Us versus Them

People who I like tend to think that war is terrible, and while some see no justification for it ever, others believe that it should definitely be the option of last resort, sort of along the lines of the permissable uses of force in the UN Treaty. We certainly don't believe that wars should be based on bald-faced lies, and conducted with mercenaries who have been granted absolute legal immunity for anything and everything, or by troops whose every outrage is covered-up by their superiors and then rationalized by a jingoistic media should they ever be exposed.

We tend to care about the environment and if the vast majority of the world's scientists say that our constant belching of gigantic clouds of smoke and other dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere is having a major and worrisome effect on the planet, we take it seriously. Especially if the scientists who reject this analysis appear to all be funded by the oil companies or other contributors to the alleged problem. That, or they're unpublished cranks who Alexander Cockburn has dredged up in a desperate attempt to maintain a disproven thesis.

We certainly don't go to war, or ignore the possibility of global warming, if the people who tell us to are the biggest, absolute idiots in all the world. People who feel compelled to abuse respected Canadian scientist and eco-activist David Suzuki with all manner of hateful abuse; calling him a charlatan for his warnings about the danger of global warming, while at the same time being able to believe in the contradictory theses that the world is not warming up AND that the world is warming up because the whole solar system is warming up.

It's a serious subject dipshits, which is it? Is the world heating up or isn't it?

People who I like tend not to think that the authorities should be empowered to sweep anyone and everyone off the street and hold them indefinitely without even charging them with anything, subjecting them to torture to produce useless "confessions" and using these "confessions" to go after people of a similar skin colour or political orientation.

People who I like tend to be sane, reasonable, humane people with an natural tendency to prefer the truth to stupid, insulting lies.

People who I don't like believe these stupid lies. They repeat them and tell their own. They're ugly-minded, useless people. People like the execrable Werner Patels, or as some have taken to calling him: "Weiner Prattles."

When faced with a clear case of unjustified police brutality (brutality is never justified, but occasionally you can see a reason for it) as the recent shameful, black-eye for Canada, when four RCMP officers tasered, swarmed and killed an unarmed, distraught man at Vancouver International Airport, Werner is quick to side with the out-of-control cops and cast aspersions on the victim:

Exactly. The Taser is the best approach available. The public needs to be protected from such animals. In the (good) old days, he would have been shot; with a Taser, death is not the most common outcome at all. But as I also said, if you act like an animal, you have to be prepared to face the consequences, including death

Again, when Canada is disgraced (Hello! The RCMP was involved again! How about that?) by our complicity in helping the bush II regime ship Canadian citizen Maher Arar to Syria to be tortured, Werner is once again quick to blame the victim and defend the perpretators:

Another such case of ‘manipulation by media’ was the hoopla around Maher Arar, a Syrian living in Canada who was deported by the US government to Syria, where he remained for some time before he was released and returned to Canada. Arar claimed that he had been tortured in Syria but to this day has failed to provide evidence (circumstantial or otherwise) of his allegations. The Canadian government, to avoid a lawsuit he had filed for several hundred million dollars, decided it was better to pay him C$10 million and get him to shut up once and for all.

What ridiculous, hateful stupidity. Patels describes Arar as "a Syrian living in Canada," which is wrong. Arar is a Canadian citizen. Syria doesn't allow anyone to renounce their citizenship, but even if Arar wanted to be a dual-citizen, he would still be a Canadian. Werner doesn't want to be called "a piece of shit that fell out of Mrs. Patels and is now lying around in Canada" does he? I could go on, but the lies and stupidities are too pervasive.

Why am I discussing this imbecile? It's part of a wider argument, bear with me. (Or don't. It's a free country.) The main reason I know anything about Werner Patels is through the work of Canadian Cynic, who somehow has the strength to daily keep tabs on the right-wing blogosphere and report on their various and sundry atrocities. It was also due to Canadian Cynic that I encountered one Tony Phryllis, who saw fit to link approvingly to Werner's idiotic diatribe:

The crux of the writer's argument, at least the way I read it, is that conservative blogs help deliver truth in a world where the mainstream media is biased while liberal blogs help perpetuate the bias.

Read the article by Werner Patels for yourself to see if it makes sense.

Okay, big fucking deal. One stupid loser links to another stupid loser. But here's the thing; Phyrillas has this link to a book called Tip of the Spear, which is apparently about one citizen standing up to corruption in Philadelphia politics

Musician, businessman, politician, citizen activist, revolutionary. Russ Diamond has been a lot of things during his 44 years. Add author to the list.The founder of PACleanSweep, which led the fight to repeal the July 2005 pay raise and punish members of the Legislature for their betrayal of the public trust, Diamond has chronicled his efforts to reform state government in a new book, "Tip of the Spear." ... Makes a wonderful holiday gift for that political revolutionary in your life.

I don't know much about Pennsylvania politics. Matter of fact, I know sweet dick-all about the subject. But if this right-wing doofus points to Tip of the Spear as an admirable example of citizen activism, I'm sure the book is as lame as Werner Patel's political analysis.

But this Russ Diamond fellow has (allegedly) had some sort of impact on the world of Pennsylvania politics, beyond empty-headed bloviating. In this, he is quite similar to all the right-wing foot soldiers, all the Christian-right chumps and saps, who have lined-up to make sure that the unions that could have protected them, the environmental laws that could have preserved their world, the welfare state that could have shielded them from their masters' economic policies were destroyed. About the only non-negative thing they've achieved is to make illegal all the homosexual behaviour that they're so evidently prone to. (I said "non-negative" but not positive. By this I mean they wrote laws that did things, albeit bad things.)Just like the happily witless Toronto Sun letter writers who bitch endlessly about immigrants, taxes, and spending on the people, I'm sure that Diamond has had a real influence on his world, all of it bad.

That's what makes Phryllis momentarily important to me. This unremarkable US right-wing idiot, the creation of a community of losers, scum, madmen, is part of gigantic network of similar idiots from the pitifully insane Werner Patels to this Russ Diamond fellow. And while their wave has crested, they did a powerful amount of damage during the almost thirty years they had in power.

The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 is a convenient signpost for the movement represented by the goons of our present times. The significance of Ronald Reagan is that he represented a conscious decision to embrace fantasy over reality, to celebrate ignorance over inconvenient reality, to use simplistic slogans over nuanced deliberations, and to engage in naked agression over the pretence of diplomacy. Reagan was not so much different from Jimmy Carter insofar as the outcomes were pretty much the same (see El Salvador for instance), but in the inane justifications, and the abusrd evidence he and his handlers would use as arguments for his destructive policies.

Ronald Reagan was an actor, and a simple-minded individual as well. He was therefore perfect in acting the role of a heroic American president, in a simple-minded fantasy just perfect for all the simpletons who had been mourning their lost privileges and shattered delusions since the 1960s.

By "simpletons" I mean the slow-witted authoritarian white males, anyone who ever felt threatened by the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Minority civil rights, feminism, environmentalism, the peace movement, ... all these challenges to the bigoted status-quo of racism, sexism, destructive consumerism and plunder, militarism. Also, there was the gay rights movement, religious pluralism, and the intellectual challenges to entrenched capitalism spreading through academia. In short, a thorough, and long overdue challenge to the whole gamut of prejudices, delusions, superstitions, and cultural bullying of a large portion of society.

Reagan's victory came at a very significant point in his nation's and the world's history. The US empire was weakening for reasons unrelated to beginnings of democratic upsurge. An overvalued US dollar until Nixon abandoned the gold standard in 1973, had weakened US industry for years. Imperial overstretch, especially in Vietnam, where the nationalist resistance had the support and protection of both the relatively powerful Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China, had brought on a political-military crisis. The recovery of Cold War clients of Western Europe and Japan was a further challenge to US economic superiority. The "Third World" was feeling its strength in the surging world economy, demanding higher commodity prices and a better deal from the international economy overall. The best example of this "Third World" insurgency was the successful oil price revolution of the OPEC cartel. In the USA's "backyard" of Latin America, decades of repression and (inevitably) failed capitalist development schemes had produced a widespread insurgency, similar to what we're seeing now in the early-21st century.

Finally, and most traumatically for the American people, on top of all this, the people of Iran rose up against the brutal, corrupt, US puppet, the Shah, and Iranian university students invaded and occupied the American Embassy in Tehran in anger over their suspicions that the US government was continuing to plot with the Shah to destroy their revolution. Several US Embassy staff were taken hostage and the occupation lasted for months. During the crisis, the Carter Administration attempted a military rescue of the hostages which ended disastrously and seemed to be representative of then-current worries of the USA's "weakness."

This perception of "weakness" had stemmed from the USA's supposed "defeat" in Vietnam. (They had been unable to impose a puppet government against the will of the vast majority of the Vietnamese people and against an organized North Vietnamese military backed-by the two great communist military powers.) In the face of the obvious lies and incompetence of successive US governments on Vietnam, the American people were reluctant to endorse further military adventurism for years afterwards, compelling the Carter Administration to have to pursue diplomacy and negotiation with international adversaries, rather than instantly resorting to brute force. This brief period of sanity was referred to as "The Vietnam Syndrome."

The decline in US dominance was not due to "decadence" and "weakness," arising as some sort of unavoidable consequence of women getting decent pay, treating blacks as equals, driving smaller cars, or not sacrificing one's children to Moloch, but from real structural causes. In 1945, the United States of America was the world's creditor nation, the only economic great power with an intact industrial base, with by far the most powerful military capabilities the world had ever seen. The economy was humming along because of new-found consumer strength, because of postwar reconstruction, military Keynesianism, and other causes. But such an artificial position of total dominance could not last. When its rivals had recovered, when capitalism's enemies found new sources of strength, when the US began to be challenged as it moved into the former European empires after 1945, the image of pristine supremacy of 1945-50 could not be sustained.

But this was all too difficult for morons seeking scapegoats and easy answers. Just as Western civilization was getting smarter, Western imperialism was getting injured enough for the morons, thugs, imperialists, racists, assholes, weeping over their lost entitlements, to blame the good people for these geo-political developments. "Reaganism" was to be the antidote. Union-busting. Tax-cuts for the rich. Deregulation of the economy. Shredding of the welfare state (even the stunted US one). And unapologetic support for brutality, imperialism, and militarism worldwide.

A group of right-wing hacks and war-mongers calling themselves the Committee on the Present Danger had concocted a fraudulent analysis of Soviet military power (similar to Democratic Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy's fraudulent "missile gap" with the Soviets, and the recent fraudulent PNAC analysis) claiming that the USSR was overtaking the USA militarily. Obviously the thing to do was to rachet-up military spending enormously. (This last gasp of counter-cyclical military Keynesianism might have actually helped Reagan on the economic front. It certainly mitigated the high-interest rate recession which occured at the beginning of his first term.)

It has been downhill ever since. Reagan was allowed to say any fool-ugly thing that popped into his head. Trees caused pollution. The Nicarauguan Contra rebels, raping and murdering their way throughout that poor country were the moral equivalent of the US founding fathers. Libya was to be bombed. Tiny Grenada was invaded and treated as an example of US heroism. Black welfare queens were responsible for the deficits. And, in the Iran-Contra scandal, some of the most significant crimes of any US president were excused by their being carried-out by a confused, kindly grandfather and an allegedly telegenic US Marine colonel.

Neurotic, far-right whacko billionaires responded to the increased influence of sane people in the media and decided to meet the challenge by funding hack publishers and pro-business think-tank/propaganda mills. And they bought up geneuine media outlets and gave guaranteed careers to shameless professional liars, and denied access to the voices of reason. And certain sectors of the population, those who had been forced into some mild form of reticence about their love of war, injustice, bullying, and theft, lapped it all up. America was great. America was strong. The thing to do was to push all the feminist bitches, faggots, atheists, and darkies, back into the shadows, and let the upstanding white Christian [allegedly apparently] heterosexual men, those who had proven incapable of keeping up with the changing times, back in charge. We now have an entire network FOX news, and a culture of lies, swallowed up by deluded, ugly shits.

And of course, these morons, being morons, have fucked everything up. As their movement went from strength to strength, they gained in the self-confidence of their bankrupt ideas and their impunity at ever facing a reckoning for their corruption and brutality. But now their control over the system is at its peak, and their influence over the population is self-destructing. This article:

Does an admirable job of outlining their moral decline. And now, they have barfed up stammering moron bush II, and the "brains" behind their operation (the laughable Cheney and Rumsfeld) were allowed to pursue their hubris to its fullest extent, producing the greateset US foreign policy disaster in their nation's history. They have brought ruin to the economy, hollowing it out in their pursuit of maximum individual profit. And they have revealed the full extent of their sleazy hypocrisy with the implosions of various "Christian" movements ... Ralph Reed's cynical work for Jack Abramoff, and Falwell and Robertson's ghoulish blaming of the victims after 9-11. It's all gone wrong, because these people are wrong, stupid, losers.

We on the left, we in the reality-based community have to be poised to seize the moment.


Russ Diamond said...

Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. :)

Tip of the Spear is available to media outlets (including bloggers) who pledge to review it.

Excerpts are also available at the website.

thwap said...

Well Mr. Diamond,

I'm judging you by the company you keep. Perhaps that's unfair. But at this stage in the game, Werner Patels (mentioned in my post) and Tony Phryllas, aren't great testimonials for your abilities.

But I'll tell you what. I sent the following comment as a reply to your colleague's post:

PHRYLLAS:"I came across an interesting article on a blog called AGORA VOX: The Citizen Media about the difference between conservative blogs and liberal blogs.

The crux of the writer's argument, at least the way I read it, is that conservative blogs help deliver truth in a world where the mainstream media is biased while liberal blogs help perpetuate the bias.

Read the article by Werner Patels for yourself to see if it makes sense.

THWAP:"That's pretty funny! So, right-wing blogs tell us that

-Iraq had WMDs even though David Kay and bush II couldn't find them

-the insurgency in Iraq is over and that's why you had to send 30,000 more troops who have solved the problem of violence that didn't exist in the first place because the insurgency was in its last throes.

-That the world definitely isn't heating up, but if it is, it's because the whole solar system is heating up

-That "Rathergate" is about a phony memo that only confirmed a true story: re - Bush is a hypocrite and a deserter

-That Jamail Hussein doesn't exist, except that he does, but okay he's lying

-That a middle-class family that qualified for S-CHIP are frauds and their kids are cheating scum, except they weren't

-That people with Parkinson's Disease who endorse any candidate who might help find a cure for Parkinsons are fakers who are being exploited

-That Western Civilization is mortally threatened by a few thousand Arab terrorists with rocket-launchers, explosives, and exacto knives

And right-wing blogs don't discuss the conditions at Walter Reed, the obvious lying of Alberto Gonzalez about the politicizing and degradation of the Justice Department, the warrantless spying on US citizens, the use of torture disgracing the US, and on and on.

And after all this dreck, these years of obvious lying and buffoonery, you have the goddamned nerve to accuse the people who were right all the time of being dishonest??

How your team's blatant shilling for a chicken-hawk moron is "rebellion"?

For the first time in your life man, pull your head out of your ass and look at reality.

It doesn't appear that Tony is going to allow it to appear, or even try to accomodate the reality that "the right" is AT LEAST as complicit as "the left" in muddying understanding of the world.

If you or Tony choose to actually deal with the points that I tried to raise in my response to his blog post, I'll provide an in-depth, detailed review for your book here.

(I'm not that you're bowled-over with my amazing offer. It's meant to be only what it is.)

fergusrush said...

"We tend to care about the environment and if the vast majority of the world's scientists say that our constant belching of gigantic clouds of smoke and other dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere is having a major and worrisome effect on the planet, we take it seriously."

Presuming that you do take it seriously, why is the Kyoto Protocol the solution of choice for the "progressives" when its obvious flaws render it useless as a practical answer to the problem? Why not accept that any plan that allows China to continue its ways is dead-in-the-water and begin looking for a different solution?

thwap said...


Well, the logic is that China and India are inevitably going to raise their emissions as their economic development continues.

The Kyoto Accord puts the onus on the already industrialized and wealthy countries to do something about their emissions because we are the biggest contributors at present and we have the scientific and economic capabilities to do something about it.

At least we're not building our response to global warming on oil-financed hacks who deny that there's a problem in the first place while (as I said) often simultaneously admitting there's warming but blaming it on some other concocted theory.

Harper and his puppet-masters call for further study, meanwhile, neither North America, Europe, or China have to do anything about their emissions. That's a solution?

fergusrush said...

Do we actually have the "economic capability" to lower our emissions to the levels required by Kyoto? I've only heard about the percentage targets, not concrete plans to achieve them without gutting our economy. The issue has degenerated into mostly political name-calling and recrimination. Have you read any details about practical methods to reach the Kyoto goals?

thwap said...

seems to me that winding-down the incredibly wasteful, polluting tar-sands project would help.

As would retro-fitting all our homes with the latest in insulation and thermal windows.

Driving smaller cars and driving them less.

Abandoning urban sprawl as a development model.

Have you ever read a serious account as to how Kyoto would devastate our economy?

A quick Yahoo search brought me a paper prepared by everyone's favourite, David Suzuki.