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April 5, 2003

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Neal Pollack::

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 03:07 PM:

Yes. I've been thinking for 2 days about making a post in my LJ asking if anyone has any sanity to spare. Lots of non USians read my journal, so maybe some of them do, I'm really out of sanity, patience, ciivility and all other sorts of things which help make life worth living. And the administration attack dogs have already started casting aspersions on those who would replace the CiC while there's a war on. The next 18 months are going to be so ugly.


Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 03:45 PM:

Civility derives from clarity.

Clarity of place -- people like me act like foo -- and clarity of objective -- people like me are better off if qux happens.

If the normal political discourse is full of a coherent pattern of lying, it gets very hard to tell what either place or objective ought to be, and it turns into a contest of doctrines -- picking which fantasy world out of the haze of lies one prefers.

It's all about insecurity management.

For the folks doing wealth concentration, they're insecure because the people around them have the power to compel them to stop, on the one hand, and because they're running out of stuff to loot, on the other. (The US economy is tanking; that's a symptom of excessive looting, and they recognize this.)

So they're trying to do two things; arrange matters so that the people around them have no power to compel them whatsoever -- rule by unquestionable and unquestioned dictatorial fiat -- and to expand the pool of stuff available to be looted. (Apparently starting with Iraqi oil, but who knows where that will end?)

This is really, really obvious; the wealth concentration came first, the patterns of alliance derive from that effort, the common objectives among the ruling coalition relate to that, it's the basic uniting factor. (Religion can't be; almost none of them *are* religious, because real religion has got awe in it.)

And yes, there's a bunch of folks hanging on the coat tails, to get an agenda of domestic compulsory obedience to a particular doctrine through along with the removal of the ability to compel power through the rule of law, but that's a frippery in the main pattern.

The problem is that either one has to recognize that this is going, and address it -- pretty much overwhelming -- or come up with a reason why this really is in one's best interest after all.

All those reasons are in some way or another contrafactual, so those folks go crazy -- deliberately believing something you know to be false is pretty much a definition of crazy -- and then defend the craziness because, well, it's in their self-defined self interest to be crazy.

The first group of folks wind up trying to maintain a belief that civility suffices, that the rule of law will take care of things, that they personally aren't going to be called upon to put their entire life on the line in order to restore something like democracy and something like a wealth-creating economy, because, well, that's *not* in their immediate personal best interest, almost all the time; it's in one's indirect long term best interest if one happens to survive the necessary collective effort, but that's not the same thing.

Y'all know that picture of Dubya wearing the One Ring?

That's what he's there for; he's the guy to chuck into the volcano. He's not the architect of this present state of affairs, and he's entirely expendable to those who *are* responsible.

It's not enough to defeate one President, one administration, one set of electoral opponents; if you want peace again, you need to get rid of the entirety of the faction, that their names shall be lost to the knowledge of men.

If we want peace again, we need to figure out how to help you, too.

Scott Martens ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 04:04 PM:

I'm beginning to understand what European exiles in the 30's must have felt, living somewhere far away and reading the news from their homelands with growing horror.

Rachel Heslin ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 05:02 PM:

I'm not doing too badly. I stopped watching the news.

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 05:12 PM:

I now know how my great-grandfather felt when he knew it was time to get out of Russia.

Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 07:46 PM:

I'd like some help from people smarter than I am for the Big Drive to Sanity. Like, tell me what I can actually do to help remove Bush and his neocon allies from power in the United States.

Should I volunteer in 2004 to make telephone calls for the Democratic party in a non-Democratic state? Who, in the Democratic Party, do we write letters to, to convince them that _campaign ads, public statements, and platforms for 2004 should underscore facts about what the current administration has done? Not manufactured issues, but honest statements about the impact of Republican actions on the voter's quality of life.

They don't need to manufacture issues. They just need to publicize the truth:

Members of the Bush administration are wealthy, and serve the wealthy, not them.

Members of the Bush administration have systematically corrupted the legislative process in this country to put forth agendas that serve a small minority of Americans.

Members of the Bush administration have demonstrated a lack of integrity in their dealings with the public.

Members of the Bush administration have adopted a simplistic, bullying "might-makes-right" approach to foreign policy that is destroying 75 years of good will that the United States had previously built up in the world community.

Members of the Bush administration are blind to the long term economic and ecological health of the United States. They fire and dismiss scholars and scientists who warn them of the problems with their short-sighted approach to large economic and ecological problems.

Who do we need to write to or talk to, to get these issues into the press and into the campaign statements of Democratic candidates? Which envelopes should we stuff? Where?

Is there any mileage to be gained from _friendly_ political theater? I may be foolish, but I still believe that the plays of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Crosby & Nash's "Wind on the Water," Neil Young's "Alabama," the songs of Bob Marley, the efforts of punks like the Dils and the Clash, folk musicians like Simon & Garfunkle, the Indigo Girls, Tracy Chapman, and so on, have had a benefical effect on our ability to think and act. I'm not ready to consign all of the mimes and puppeteers to the dust bin.

((Remembering Ned Seagoon's heroic address to Parliament from same.))

But I'm willing to do more than sing songs and clown around. I see getting the truth into the press and into campaign statements as one important goal. What are some others?

Andy ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 08:29 PM:

Well of course living in Canada means that one is a part of the continental craziness sweeping over us. I'm not saying that it's as as bad in the U.S. but I've been in fierce arguments with friends over the war. There is also the spectacle of the Alliance - one of two major right wing parties on Canada - and also one founded on the ideal of democratic grassroots populism saying that in the case of war, Canadian popular opinion is wrong and Canada should have forces in the war. Erm, except that we do have ships enforcing the blockade in the Persian Gulf and in fact have more forces in theatre than say, Spain, who are a paid-up member of the Coalition of the Willing. We have another spectacle in Paul Celluci, the U.S. ambASSador lecturing Canadian politicians who (gasp!) dared to be critical of the U.S. He said that the U.S. would be there for Canada if the tables were turned so I think we should, I dunno, invade Brazil (Canada and Brazil have had nasty trade disputes around subsidies for aircraft manufacturers) and get our American pals to ante up some troops.

Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 05:11 AM:

Lenny (and anybody else): one of the best things you can do in the big drive to sanity is maintain the integrity of the ballot boxes. Right now, there's potential for serious mischief there. Otherwise, you're just going to get this sinking feeling that people are really stealing the elections out from under you.

Seeing the Forst has been doing the most on this:


God knows I don't trust the electronic ballot boxes at all.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 11:16 AM:

I like Pollack's phrase "random acts of dumbness," though I must say that getting in fights in bars definitely fits in that class.

Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2003, 07:56 AM:

I've given up on reality for the month of April, and am concentrating on playing The Sims instead.

This is a necessary sanity-preserving defense mechanism in my case, even though the side-effects (seeing think-bubbles and flashing blue plus-signs or red minus-symbols above everybody's head) can be disconcerting.

doggo ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2003, 11:52 AM:

I'm not sure if there are liberals and conservatives as such anymore. At least not in terms of what those two labels orginall meant. See here. But what I've come away from watching this war is this, the "conservative", flag-waving, support-the-troops/president crowd is not gonna be swayed. So all of the anti-war protests, and all of our head shaking is really preaching to the choir.

Unlike "liberals", whose whole problem with this war in the first place for the most part, the "conservatives" couldn't care less about the consequences, economically, socially, or diplomatically, of engaging in this war.

No matter how you couch the doubt about the wisdom of this war, you're branded a pussy, un-patriotic, or worse, a traitor. Facts mean nothing to these boneheads.

Alledgedly these people are not stupid, but they will not be swayed from their dogma no matter what scenarios you present them with. If the facts are not from their right-wing-goodhousekeeping-seal-of-purity sources, they dismiss them as untrue.

That's not to say that there's not skewing of stats by the left, nor that there's not an agenda for the liberals. But it seems to me that except for the rabid far-left, most liberals and moderates take the time to think about consequences beyond some hatred of "sand niggers", and the personal vendetta of the Bush family.

There's no reasoning with someone who shouts at anti-war protestors through a bullhorn, "who do you support, the Republican Guard? BS, that's BS!...", etc. There's no reasoning with people who say, "If you're not with us, you're against us."

And yet when I talk with people around me, most people are against this war. Not the troops fighting it. Not in any way supporting Saddam Hussein. But not having a war.

For me, it's not so much the allied (what coalition?!) troops or civilian deaths. It's a war, that stuff is unavoidable. It's the fact that GWB started this war in the first place. There wasn't, and still isn't a legitimate reason for us to attack Iraq.

Like the man said, the Japanese who ordered the pre-emptive strike on the US during WWII were hanged as war criminals.

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2003, 02:12 PM:

Rubber bullets fired at antiwar protestors:


Mike ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2003, 09:33 AM:

Graydon - You said "It's not enough to defeate one President, one administration, one set of electoral opponents; if you want peace again, you need to get rid of the entirety of the faction, that their names shall be lost to the knowledge of men."

Are you proposing a programme of liquidation?