Posts tagged ‘Politics’

November 10, 2011

How To: Democracy

by nkwilczy

A Professor today, towards the end of a class which had predominantly featured the Frontline Special “The Long Walk of Nelson Mandella” asked us how democracy could be “taught” to people inexperienced in its practice.

The words, though I know he did not mean them in such an abrasive way, struck me as thick in Western thoughts of cultural superiority; I had this vision of unwashed masses beseeching the wisdom of a “more experienced” people. I saw Kipling, and he asked me to share his burden.

But I know my Rousseau, so I tried to explain that a government of any sort, and especially a democracy, if it is to succeed it has to be tailored to the needs and customs of the people who practice it. Greek democracy did not look like German democracy, does not look like American democracy, and none of these look like Japanese, Brazilian, or Swedish democracy.

So I tried to go into details, about how you have to know the nuances of a culture, that the concepts must be translated into their intellectual pantheon building on what these hypothetical unwashed masses already know and believe. Most of all, that if what you seek to impose on these masses is an idea formulated by foreign academics without popular support, then what does democracy even really mean? It must build on the democratic tendencies of the culture and seek to combat the harmful civic tendencies, or else it fails to incorporate the ideas of the governed and fails primae facie to be a democracy.

Like many things I say, no one seemed to understand.

So, after a few moments of awkward silence he ended the class with the question, “Well, who would want the job of teaching these emerging countries about democracy.”

No one raised their hand and I was not surprised, it is hard enough to teach people in the United States about democracy.

March 16, 2011

Wisconsin

by nkwilczy

For those of you who look for abrasive political comments from this blog, I am sorry to disappoint. I’ve been too burned out to write anything (that’s how the man wants you, you know). In any event if Republican hypocrisy and their idea that stockbrokers provide for our future better than teachers do was going to be rejected by the public it would have been rejected long ago. It would be like invading the moon, sure nobody is going to defend it except for disembodied floating space heads, but then again nobody on earth really cares too much. Except for the teachers I suppose, but again….

I’d probably just be better off wishing you luck in finding a phone charity that won’t rip you off on donations to Japan.

December 14, 2010

Negotiating with Terrorists

by nkwilczy

So, I’ve been reading Griftopia by Matt Taibbi. As I mentioned his blog is one of my blogging influences, he’s an editor for the Rolling Stone and I personally think that the Great Derangement is one of the best books available on the subject of modern American politics. Derangement is better, Griftopia is not quite so plain simple or readable, but it tells an important story. Although it works better in magazine article format, Taibbi is also known for his straighforward, plain english explanations of the financial crisis. That is the subject of Griftopia, that point in history where Goldman Sachs and AIG threatened to collapse the US economy unless they were given a trillion dollars.

But reading it in that context, where it just sounded so supervillan-ey, I had a sort of revelation. You see, usually when I think about the common psychological problem that weaves through all of America’s modern struggles I would say that it is apathy. Apathy is why we haven’t solved any of these things yet, why we let W go to Iraq, who cares, why we haven’t fixed global warming or international terrorism, who cares? But when you think about us literally giving into terrorist supervilians demands for ransom maybe the answer is simpler than that. Maybe we’re just a bunch of cowards.

Maybe that’s why we’re afraid to change the focus of our economy to clean domestic eneregy, allow illegal immigrants a path to citizenship or to lower millitary spending. This is a more optimistic appraisal though, because cowardice is much more easily remedied than apathy. You can’t do anything about apathy, who cares?

But there is a political actor or two who learned this lesson before me. And once they figured it out they started taking hostages. So I guess what I’m saying is, call your senator or representative and with regards to the Bush Tax cuts, remind them that here in America we don’t negotiate with terrorists.

November 29, 2010

Economic Dialectic and You

by nkwilczy

If there’s one thing I’ve found out in my years on this earth it is that people, and specifically Americans, do not much care for economic dialectic. Well, tough shit, this world is very economic and if I learned anything from the financial crisis it was that those who do not understand economics are getting boned. The easiest way for me to conceptualize and try to explain economics is in the dialectical format. When I was originally interested in this dialectic, in high school, to understand it I read three types of books, Ayn Rand’s pro-capitalist propaganda that was kind of light on economic substance, books like the Gulag Archipelago that were also light on economic substance, and also Marx’s manifesto, which is primarily a introduction to economics with the intent of enraging the audience. So I understand the economic angle as a Marxist dialectic rather than in the manner of Friedman, Von hayek, or Keynes.   This is how I understand it:

To some extent, the problem with communism as it has been practiced on Earth is that the theoretical communist tradition that most are based on, Marx’s work, is not a nationalistic philosophy. It is not intended to be a workable system except as a total world system, what I mean to say is that there is no such practical thing as military communism, the external threats pose too much of a distraction from the work of the proletariat for nationally based communist organizations to succeed. Mao and Stalin both retrofit much of the ideology regarding economics into a nationalistic philosophy that did not seize existing means of productions so much as create and administer new ones. In this way the similarities between communism and capitalism are even more pronounced, if you compare Wealth of Nations and the Communist Manifesto you can see that they posses much of the same message, the nature of the world is economic and the way to gain power and succeed at one’s goals is to dominate the means of production. The primary difference between these two books is the target audience. What this means for Marx’s predictions is that his philosophy has not become so much the post capitalist model as an alternative model to capitalism for establishing industrial development within a country. This industrial development is fundamentally unequal, regardless of the ideological structure that contributes to it’s growth there will be low skill labor contributing to production with the use of various means of production that are managed externally, even if that external management is a ward of the proletariat. Like any manager for stockholders the communist officials have to seek the maximum return on investment, even if it means devaluing the contributions of individual “stockholder/citizens.” This runs counter to our instincts about the nature of communism, but so far as communism ever worked to preserve economic equality it always served to limit civic equality between party members and non members, rural and urban citizens. To some extent in China the system has undergone a transition, with the state extending some civil liberties, such as internal migration rights, in exchange for avoiding some of their formal obligations that previously supported property equality.

It might seem silly, internal migration rights are something that we take for granted in America, but it points to a strength in the communist model. If communism is not so much an inevitable result of capitalism but an alternative method to achieve industrial society and an internal national economy then they both have at their heart the same goal and the same destination, of creating a nation with a robust economy where the population’s demand for food and shelter are met and productive sustaining effort is invested into the means of generating wealth and exchange value. Since this sort of a system is the product of effective synergy between the organization of the state and private actors I consider it best to visualize their final shared goal as lukewarm water, some would probably say tepid but I am an optimist and would prefer to put positive spin on these ideal operational economies. Such things will consist of government regulations to protect consumers, government support for the most integral supporting industries, such as commercial, and I emphasize commercial, banking. But this working economy will also require a large number of private actors to contribute their own effort willingly, and this motivation can most effectively be secured by monetizing self improvement. This lukewarm system will incorporate both philosophies about the means of production into a productive internal synergy for a state, much as it did in the United States throughout the Twentieth Century with large subsidies for the agriculture sector and federal deposit insurance, Interstate Highway programs, Social Security, the FDA, all working hand in hand with private distributors of goods and services who operate without direction from Washington in the name of profit motive, with labor that has a stake in the means of production. Both systems have different capacities to regress and become less stable, with communism because the wards of the proletariat are always so few there are clear and obvious problems of top down corruption, and personal goals preventing positive progress for the citizens. Within capitalism there is the urge to decentralize everything and to avoid central administration in any case, even in those cases where it has previously proven effective at solving obvious problems.

My point about the strength of the communist path in seeking the eventual shared lukewarm goal is that communism, it seems to me, takes the approach of heating the water as much as possible first and then letting it gradually cool to lukewarm, where capitalist democracies work to increase the heat from cold water in order to reach that goal. The difference is that within capitalist democracies every regulation, tax, provision and program, things that might very well be necessary for the economic growth of the country requires a great deal of expended effort in order to enact, popular support has to be found, you have to convince the media, you have to sell it to party whips and combat the influence of moneyed interests. On the other hand it is significantly easier to liberalize a highly controlled society. China, for instance, has to only make minor strides to decriminalize internal migration, and because of the context, the strictly regulated society, they are able to cash in on this liberalization because their citizens will happily forfeit their rations and subsidies and work as migrant labor to increase the Gross Domestic Product. In fact because of the currency manipulation they have little choice but to do so and as of the nineties there were estimates that the migrant labor force was totaling over a hundred million, although no official count exists.

Most proponents of globalization would defend it based on it’s stated goals. Much like the communist and capitalist economic models that preceded the globally integrated model, the stated goal of lowering inequality is a noble one, and to the proponents of globalization those intentions are more than good enough to pave with. But when evaluated in a historical context the question should no longer be one of “why are these systems not creating equality,” because none of these systems exist to create economic or political equality, they have all stubbornly refused to do so every chance they got. The goal of capitalism, communism and globalization is instead something much simpler, these systems exist to create and perpetuate industrial production and to unevenly distribute economic growth, to whom and how are usually the particulars most specific to the system. The people who benefit from the development of globalization as a system to promote global inequality as opposed to those who traditionally benefited from the previous systems, not to discount the presence of former acolytes of both in the globalization camp, are disparate, and those benefits are distributed in ways that are broad and often taken for granted. In fact this is another shared purpose of both systems. Communism engages in their policies, to create and utilize industrial production and agriculture frequently at the expense of individual contributors for the benefit of a broad and disparate base, when capitalist measures are the ones that enact individual cost for broader benefit those intentions are again invoked in order to preserve the moral basis for the system. For that reason I do not believe that capitalism, communism, or globalization are engineered by specific individuals, the so called “haves,” in order to promote the inequality that they benefit from and that each system promotes, I do not believe that it is a scam or scheme or that the wool has really been pulled over everyone’s eyes as it may seem when evaluating the practical implications of my thesis: that globalization exists to perpetuate and promote internal inequality for states. What I believe instead is that these systems of economic management are a product of widespread and multifaceted gradual social development on the part of the entire sum of the human race. These unequal societies have been the basis for successful human societies to date. Jesus said that we would always have the poor, and in the context of both capitalist and communist societies you can clearly see that despite the bounty of this world and our obligation to care for our fellow man we have, one human being at a time through the hourglass of history, decided regardless of the ideology we were given that economic strife and scarcity are the most effective motivations to perpetuate a society of any sort. Theoretically it motivates both the have-nots to seek a higher economic status through the various established perceived paths, party loyalty or capital utilization and investment, and it also motivates the haves to continue behaving in a successful and innovative manner in order to avoid losing that status. These things were less obvious under previous systems, it was easy to blame either industrialists or party officials who benefited most obviously from the systems but with the advent of global integration and the demand side, reduced cost focus of successful retailers such as Wal Mart it is clear that the people who benefit most from these systems are so diverse and disparate that it cannot be understood except as a large scale social development for the purposes of providing food and shelter to anybody who can figure out how to play the game right.

November 2, 2010

Happy Election 2010!

by nkwilczy

First, since it is a political day, allow me to show you something political that I was introduced to at the Rally, the website of the Unknown Presidential Candidate. There are a variety of political cartoons there that are extremely well done.

I also want to provide some music for the occasion, I always have said that the greatest representation of Brutus and Cassius sneaking up on Caesar at the Senate steps my generation has been given is what Green Day and Blink 182 did to Punk Rock, and for sure, they are traitors, but today, let’s kick it old school anyways, this one is for everyone with no short term memory trying to take us back to the regrettable age of George Bush and Conan O’Brien.

October 28, 2010

Election 2010

by nkwilczy

Harry Reid is fighting like a motherfucker I’ll tell you that. I get an email from that guy every six hours on the dot to ask for money or tell people about the evils that Sharon Angle represents. I think she’ll probably be an even bigger representation of those evils post-election, when she’s the biggest and onlyest win the tea party manages, fuck you Joe Miller, fuck you Christine O’Donell, and fuck you Sarah Palin, it aint happenin.

So I’ve been doing my part to close the enthusiasm gap, calling people for the Dems in Guilford County when I get the chance, if I get a couple hours, and I don’t know if you can tell by my lack of blog posts but I haven’t had a lot of free hours. I also spent less than an hour calling people to support prop 19.

And although I am more than happy to man to battlements, while I greatly enjoy this fight, I want to establish that I don’t care how it turns out, I don’t think it will make a big long term difference. If Republicans DO win and shut down the government then they will only serve to invigorate democrats in two years when they throw a hail Palin. And I have been more than happy to announce to people that during the original government shutdown in the nineties Bill Clinton spent his time helping to solve one of the most intractable foreign conflicts of our age, where do you think the IRA went?

Hamas can go that same place, Republicans, please win. But it’s only going to cost you in two years when you’ve made such a big deal about how now you’re running things and they still aren’t getting better.

Hell yeah Prop 19, go for it. If anyone needs a ride to D.C. from G-Boro on Saturday for the Jon Stewart rally then you should probably find someone else, my car is full.

October 9, 2010

The G is for Gentrification

by nkwilczy

I have the strange opportunity to live in the South. The Southeast corner of North America is, geographically speaking, a beautiful area. North Carolina is the specific state and when you think of the oft sullied history of the South North Carolina comes out of it alright. It doesn’t have typical southern geography, with easy access to ports and broad expanses of rich farmland. NC is a state that is one third swamp, one third sandy soil that grows little but Tobacco, and one third mountains and hills, so it is fair to say that Cotton wasn’t king here. NC did their share of slaveholding, sent soldiers to maliciously murder their countrymen in the Civil War, and even perpetuated the deaths of many millions of Americans with their cigarettes, but the Civil War was hardly their idea and I mean, come on, it’s not Georgia or Alabama.

But because it is in the south there are certain issues of race here. Consider the difference between North Raleigh, South Raleigh, Cary and Durham, and you will soon come to the conclusion that in the 21st Century North Carolina remains a solidly segregated state.

But in Greensboro, the home of a new Civil Rights museum that celebrates our city as the place where the sit in movement began, we are able to buck the trend somewhat. I don’t mean to say that Greensboro is not a segregated city, it totally is divided into Northwestern and Southestern sections and the racial and economic divisions between those two sections of town are stark. But on the other hand, throughout much of the city you will find that you are always near a ghetto. I don’t mean it as a bad thing that the city is divided almost block by block into homogenous communities of students, immigrants, and a variety of populations I lack the patience to come up with politically correct and simultaneously accurate names for. I celebrate this diversity, it is one of my favorite things about Greensboro.

Greensboro was founded by Quakers you see. Quakers. They were an extremely unpopular minority in North Carolina and were basically exiled out to the hills in the early 19th Century. The city that stands there, in my mind, because of the wide diversity of the population, filled with Vietnamese, Koreans, Dominicans, Africans, Mexicans, Peruvians and every Euro-American polyglot, it is a place of refuge for everyone. There are Hookah bars, Carniceras, Night Clubs and bars where you can hear every type of music on the earth.

There is an economic inequality between these various neighborhoods as one might imagine. And this has led to an understanding of the obvious need to rework Greensboro’s business model as a city. You see, our main claim to fame is that we are located halfway between D.C. And Atlanta and so we have passing truckers depositing new money into the community, we have a railroad and an airport and invest frequently in these things to actualize our vision of the boro as a transportation hub. We also have a massive Colosseum, we can get Jay-Z to play it every couple of years, most of the time we use it for amateur hockey games and stuff. This is supposed to be the other big engine of economic growth in Greensboro as far as I can tell.

OK, I guess that’s not totally fair because Greensboro has one other big industry that serves to explain its existence after that paragraph. Education. There are at least five respectable universities, and on top of that a community college and a variety of vocational schools.

So, to enhance access to the Colosseum, which sits about directly in the middle of the city with regards to the aforementioned Northwest/Southeast division the city has designated High Point Rd. as a reinvestment corridor and purchased up a lot of slums and poorer neighborhoods with the stated intention of turning them into things like parking spaces and townhouses, for student living. These things are wholly unnecesarry, there is plenty of parking near the Colosseum and there is plenty of student housing in Greensboro, it has been a major part of the way that the education industry pays off for Greensboro for a long time.

I do not have a better plan for the space. I have not actually spent too much of my time designing engines for a city’s economic growth so I won’t claim to know shit about what sort of solar cell processing centers or other you know, job creating industries we could be working on bringing to Greensboro. (Have I mentioned that the unemployment rate in Guilford county is over 10%) It just seems to me that concrete, profitable jobs, are more useful than housing and parking. The location of the buy up, the southward march of urban Kiplingism, I have felt no small outrage about this for some time, but I do not have a plan to you know, do anything about it, so I kept my mouth shut. Also in NC and particularly in Greensboro the city Zoning comissioner is the final authority and his decisions are not subject to popular input.

But I have a very empty blog, so there are the facts of life in G-Boro.

P.S. If you are not trying to sell Enzyte and your comments have been deleted then I sincerely apologize. If I do not check my blog on a daily basis for comments then Akisment will delete everything that requires moderation and assume it is spam. I will try to be more diligent.

September 17, 2010

Political Independence

by nkwilczy

I want to start this post off with a short bit about our newest member of the Supreme Court. The only “dirt” that could be found on her during the confirmation process was a paper she had written on how internal divisions gutted the socialist movement in New York. It’s funny how much Supreme Court Justices spend most of their previous careers acting like they belong to a sleeper cell. Still, I think an obvious lesson can be taken from the premise of the text.

For my purposes I will divide the mass of politically aware Americans into three categories. I understand these three categories to represent oversimplifications, and I feel like I should warn people of that before I start talking about any of them. A lot of people use words like “conservative” or “liberal” as though they are all encompassing worldviews and total political ideologies, as though if you are pro-choice then you have signed a contract swearing to uphold the interests of trial lawyers or if you support gun rights then you must also support supply side economics. These broad generalizations and parodies of political ideologies work to form the basis for a sort of mild paranoia about the “other party” that reinforces loyalty and group cohesion among the two parties.

So that in the end, regardless of where you started out as a single issue voter, let’s say you are an environmental activist, in the end you will work with the teachers unions or the trial lawyers because it’s better than the “GODDAMN REPUBLICANS” or on the other hand if you work towards a smaller government then you can also end up supporting pro-life or various religious causes because again it’s better than the “GODDAMN DEMOCRATS.”

These are all people who started out as single issue voters. Many of them still are. The way that Americans have entered into political awareness for generations has been as single issue voters and it is a clear, logical system and a cornerstone of our democracy. You get into one issue, you maybe have some success with local government petitions or elections, you get that notion that you have made a productive addition to our democracy in some way and then you’re hooked. And then you start working on other issues.

I am explaining here that the connections that bring the two dominant political parties together are illusory. The perceptions reinforce the reality until the connections seem much more concrete than they actually are. We ally with the other “democrats” or “republicans” because we are told by other people that they are on our side, not because there is an actual ideological connection. If you compare it to parliamentary systems then the two political parties in America resemble coalitions more than actual political parties. Some of the most successful politicians in American history have made their reputation on that fact, “Big Tent” anyone?

I said at first that I would divide politically conscious Americans into three camps and so far I have only provided two. Democrats and Republicans. But there is a third option and I will explain it in a word: Unaffiliated.

I have personally been an Unaffiliated voter in this sense since I registered. I registered Libertarian and they lost their party status in NC a month after I registered and though they regained it I never bothered to re affiliate. In any event for our purposes here Unaffiliated voters include people who associate with every and any third party as opposed to the two dominant parties.

But Brah, you might say, then you are lumping in the Green Party with the Constitutionalists and the Libertarians with the Socialists. There are no ideological connections here, and in fact some of these groups disagree with each other on critical issues. If you say this then you clearly understand my point. In American political alliances these things do not matter.

There is a saying about managing the Democrat’s electorate, that it is like “herding cats.” You can see how this is caused by exactly the sort of factors that I’m talking about though, the lack of ideological connection between the factions. I don’t mean to understate the political diversity of the GOP, they are neither all corporate lackeys or ignorant rednecks, there is a wide variety of political tradition to their coalition. I won’t deny that the coordination and discipline of the party officials is uncanny, and when you see them mobilize every single seat they have in the Senate to block job bills or unemployment benefits for their own constituents. But I would argue that this sort of tight personnel organization does not in fact reflect any stronger of an ideological bond.

Those of us who prefer not to affiliate ourselves with either party wear our independence with pride. We are not tied to your issues. We care about what we care about and when issues that are important to us come up, and we vote erratically (in every sense that the combination of words can be understood). We make up our own minds to the extent that we are able, and this independence is a real virtue, the saving grace of the American democracy is the freethinking electorate.

But we can make our virtues into idols. And when we allow our political independence to get in our way and undermine our political goals. Because we let it divide us so that we don’t even bother going afield to find new perspectives to solve problems in other ideologies, we ignore compromises we never even know are there.

If bringing together Democrats is like herding cats then what I propose is a substantially more daunting proposition. Politically conscious Unaffiliated Americans are like snapping turtles. Many of them are involved in proselytizing people at any opportunity. They want to bring in new voters to the system, hoping for protest votes from people who would usually protest the system by abstaining, or if you openly disagree with them on fundamental issues (as independent minded people are wont to do) then they will even go so far as to argue with you. What I propose is that snapping turtles should put their differences aside and try to find common ground.

Why? What do they have to gain? What do we have to gain?

There is a need in this country for a serious national dialogue. There is a need for new ideas and new approaches to the problems that face 21st Century America. Internet Piracy has created a world where we will have to re-evaluate in a serious way the existing copyright system and it’s enforcement. The demand driven consumer capitalist post-industrial economy is showing serious signs that it may not in fact be a self-perpetuating model, and there is an obvious need to deal with the massive trade deficit that ensues. There is a need to reform much of our corporate model, where there is high regard for executives who add little actual value to the products and have frequently over the past decade offered little in the way of leadership. There is global warming. There are on top of this all sorts of real and obvious problems with a petrified two party political system that has failed to address even the most basic of these issues. We are talking about a political system that only in the last year managed to pass the sort of basic healthcare reform that Richard Nixon proposed our nation could use.

I don’t want to tell you that these things will mean the end of the American Era. I don’t mean to say that it is the end of the world. We can’t have that sort of freaked out mentality about these problems if we want to solve them. These problems are not bigger than life, they are life sized.

But it will require serious discussion of these problems. We will have to break down the barriers that keep us from talking to the people who disagree with us if we want to have those conversations. We can all agree on one thing, the two party system is not solving America’s problems. Start finding places to agree.

But then again we are snapping turtles…

September 10, 2010

September 11th

by nkwilczy

  This is a sad anniversary.

It starts with the loss of life on 9/11/2001. The events of that day are in and of themselves tragic, and really depressing from a number of angles.

But it gets worse than that, because you can’t look at 9/11 as an isolated event. It had serious consequences for most of the last decade. Look at the way we as a nation reacted to them. We went to open ended war with everyone. Afghanistan, Iraq TERROR. Now we have been fighting abstract concepts with bullets for decades with the war on drugs and that’s one thing. One incredibly expensive unsuccessful thing. The war on terror, though, in the last decade also incorporated a strange element of thoughtcrime. See, getting high might be an abstract concept, but it enjoys corporeal manifestations where you would think if you could stop the flow of coke/opium/hash you’d be able to stop the getting high. But Terror is a wholly abstract concept, and much more open ended than the war on drugs. We’re talking about people who are using box cutters, lighting their shoes with matches, or filling their underwear with fireworks. Throwing any rock they can get their hands on at the edifice of what they perceive as Babylon.

So in this environment the primary enemy is “thoughts of opposition to the American hegemony,” and among the various things that fell under this category were the “loyal opposition.” The people who would have said “You know going to war in Iraq is a terrible idea,” were unAmerican. Let alone the poor Truthers.

This gets to another part of this anniversary, the Truther movement. It is another sad consequence of the attacks that when calculated into the final equation, has made us less as a nation. Yeah, I said it.

I’ve spent a lot of time looking into the evidence and have determined with conclusive finality that even if George Bush, or shadowy cartels embedded into our government, conspired to kill Americans nine years ago, that they will not be brought to justice for it. As far as I am concerned that is the final word on the subject. I won’t get into the evidence because the truther movement has plenty of good questions to ask and plenty of good evidence for their claims. What I’m trying to say is that maybe they are right, but if they are right then their tactics are counterproductive. Not just to finding or illuminating the “truth,” but their tactics also are divisive and paranoid, rarely compiled into factual or coherent arguments. They are uninterested in redemocritizing our government, which is what is necessary if their claims are true, they are uninterested n any constructive work to fix the problems that they instead lock themselves up and worry about.

The problem is that we have proven conclusively that sheer evidence is not enough to convict anyone in the previous administration. If we were gonna prosecute for 9/11 we should have prosecuted their Geneva convention violations that we blared the evidence of on network news for weeks after the inauguration. This is yet another event where the Truthers were out tilting at windmills instead of seeking real justice as well.

And while they were tilting at those windmills what happened? Afghanistan is the longest war we’ve ever been in. We invaded Iraq and wasted billions of dollars building foreign infrastructure while our own infrastructure literally crumbles beneath our feet. If the membership of the truther movement wanted battles to fight then there were battles to fight in spades, but they were all caught up in the 9/11 phenomenon.

We still hear the echoes of 9/11 here and from what I’ve seen the Truthers are out in force this year. It’s a real shame.

9/11 also represented a turning point in social organization. Not that it was alone in doing it, but the fact is that some of the most effective organizations in the twenty-first century are not states or mutinational institutions like NATO or the Warsaw Pact or the UN. On 9/11 it was clear that the real people with power were the ones who organize themselves across national boundaries and put themselves above the rules. Organizations like Al Qaeda and Wal Mart had spent the last decade building in force until it was clear at that point that they had more control over the economy than the government and that they could also make war like governments. Only without any restraints, since these organizations place themselves above the law, and were organized tightly and across national boundaries and they could lure the mightiest nation in the world to spend billions of dollars not to mention thousands of American lives, chasing people from cave to cave in the desert.

This seems to me, to be a scarier world than, say, the Cold War. Let alone the post-historical decade of the nineties.

And then there’s the Islamaphobia, I don’t mean that irrational hatred of Islam didn’t exist in America before 9/11, but the ensuing decade has seen it become trendy. Burning Korans? Telling people where they are allowed to worship?

On the whole I feel like the experience has left us less strong as a nation. It has frightened us into submission or incited paranoia. It has divided us and we have turned on each other with unnerving quickness. We have all chased specters, we have sent our brothers and sisters abroad to chase specters. It has all been counterproductive.

So I say, let’s move on. That seems to me our only option. Let there be mosques wherever they want, this is America goddammit, don’t burn Korans or yell at Truthers or yell truth at the ignorant. Let’s just figure out how to solve this decade’s very real problems. The truth is that for democracy to work you have to love and trust your neighbors. That’s the important truth, fuck the Pentagon tapes.

So in the light of all the paranoia it’s stirred up, let’s maybe give somebody the benefit of the doubt this year.

August 14, 2010

Bobby Gibbs

by nkwilczy

Robert Gibbs says ( according to The Huffington Post) that the administration still wants to feel pressure from the left.

This comes after he derided them as radicals who insisted on socialized medicine and dismantling the Pentagon. And I have no problem with these accusations. If I were running for office this year that would be my platform.

My problem was this, during the backpedaling and apologizing (not apologizing, he didn’t apologize) but his excuse was that he basically watched cable news all day and was moved by their portrayal of the left. He found it easy to get angry at the things he saw there.

Now, you want pressure from the left I’ll give it to you right here: Fire Robert Gibbs. Not for slandering the political base of the president (base is a strong word, considering how the administration treats them), Robert Gibbs should be fired because he gets his news from Cable News. That’s a big problem if you’re the press secretary for the white house, or so it seems to me. He’s the guy that cable news networks go to when they want to get the story. He’s supposed to have really good sources, he should have access to all the declassified documents sitting around the white house, he ought to have good enough office connections to know what is happening.

If he saw polls, if he saw RAW DATA that provided a base for his claims, then I would understand what he’s saying. When he says “Oh, I’m just feeding back into this massive echo chamber we’ve built from D.C. to N.Y. to ignore you people,” well that leads me to believe that he does not have a good grasp of his job.  If he can’t do his job, if he’s getting information from the people who rely on him for information then we have a serious problem.

And so, let me go ahead and say, retire brah. It’ll give you more time to catch up on what Bill O’Reilly thinks.