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United States

Journal Journal: the bush administration: 13 strikes and you're.... still in?

I must admit I didn't know it was as bad as this, but it seems the Bush administration is just as bad at fudging facts domestically as in its foreign policy.

I still can't believe that someone hasn't been censured over the Iraq debacle. Bill Clinton was censured for a goddamn blowjob but it's apparently OK to invade a sovereign country on false pretences, against the supposedly democratic wishes of the world, ie: the UN.

I think the word "democracy" has a completely different meaning in the mind of Dubya Bush... something like "the people elected me, therefore i am free to exercise my personal (and business) agendas with impunity".

User Journal

Journal Journal: mark latham, prime minister of australia

Delegates, I believe in grassroots democracy. It's the new type of politics the Australian people are calling for.

I don't want people campaigning for better community services. I want them running them getting involved in their local community and having their say.

When I first got interested in politics 30 years ago, it was an honoured profession. This was the noble ideal of public life a life lived in the service of others.

But let's be frank. The Australian people no longer see it this way. After years of broken promises and broken programs, they no longer trust the political system.

They see a system that looks after the powerful, not the people.

They see election campaigns with too much spin-doctoring and stage management.

They see political entitlements with too many rorts and too much featherbedding.

So I commit myself here today to this great national purpose: reinventing and revitalising our democracy, opening up greater public participation, cleaning out the excesses of the political system, governing for the people, not the powerful.

it is rare, almost a contradiction of terms, to be inspired by the rhetoric du jour that passes for politics these days. and yet, the would-be prime ministerial candidate for the federal opposition, mark latham, delivers passages such as the above with a kind of conviction and ruggedness that stirs my natonal pride and rekindles my faith in the kind of noble egalitarianism that real leaders inspire in people to feel and act like they are *part* of their country, and not just some income bracket.

maybe it's the not so moderate amount of wine i've consumed, but i really feel proud of the fact that one of our would-be leaders has stood up and finally pronounced the thing that speaks to the root of the concerns of everyday australians -- why isn't our government listening to us?

User Journal

Journal Journal: john howard is a cheat, a liar, and a fool

john howard, the prime minister of australia, is a fool if he thinks that australians can be as easily swayed by the smoke/mirror/disinformation tactics so successfully employed by the US government on its own people.

from the article:
Mr Howard said the victory in Iraq had made the world a little safer from terrorism[...]

"I can predict now that the next time there's a terrorist attack, the perpetrators will say it's in reprisal for what America and the coalition did in Iraq - I want to predict that right now," he said.

hmmm. complete contradiction aside, what planet did little johnny arrive from where (unprovoked) violence ever prevented further violence and hatred?

the only way to stop terrorism is to stop indulging in it. in using military power - terror - to police and manipulate the countries of the world, the US is plunging us back into some kind of feudal, militaristic dark age.

with the US now turning its bully and propaganda tactics on syria, for supposedly possessing WMDs (how about finding some in the country you just invaded first hey?), i'd like to know when the US is planning on divesting itself of its own WMDs. course, it will never get rid of its massive number of nukes - it needs them to bully people with - but how about ditching its biological and chemical weapons? how can the US not expect to be hated when it continues to employ such school-yard bully tactics and blatant double standards?

and what use is a democracy if the government does not obey or even listen to the will of its people? what use is freedom of speech and of the press if the press is little more than governmental cheerleading?

United States

Journal Journal: America: dream or dreamer? 1

i just read this post on K5, which is just pretty much how i feel about the US, iraq and US imperialism. i don't normally repost other's writings, but damnit i will this time:

America: dream or dreamer? (none / 0) (#723)
  by decmalone on Mon Mar 31st, 2003 at 07:52:46 PM EST

1. Is the Iraqi military justified?

  I don't think that the military should be using such tactics, but I think that as a country being attacked by invaders, it's probably justifiable. Something that the invaders seem to have been completely blind to is that Iraqis are a proud and nationalistic people. With or without Saddam.

  Note that the attack was directed against soldiers, and not against civilians. That makes it much less heinous than it would otherwise have been. People have been adding "what-ifs", so I'll add one. What if combatants have hand grenades and believe horrific stories of beatings, torture and "disappearances" at the hands of their captors? On a personal level, does that justify a combatant from blowing up a few of the enemy when they're captured? Remember how Vasquez ends up in Aliens?

  2. outrage, anger, surprise ... coalition ... liberate

  I don't believe in righteous outrage or righteous anger, and righteous surprise is downright silly. In other words, you're not asking a question about what the appropriate moral position is or what the correct response should be. So, the question is just an appeal to visceral emotion and not worth answering.

  Two notes on this: there is no "coalition". Let's face it, it's a US-UK invasion, with some yesmen from Australia to support the illusion that this illegal and unjust war has wide-ranging support. Also, I believe that the black humour inherent in calling this a "liberation" has already been mentioned on K5 before. To recap: the last time the British invaded Iraq, they proclaimed (as they did this time, almost word for word) that they come not as conquerers, but as liberators.

  3. are valid tactics

  I note that you only asked if it's valid (not right) as a tactic (not a policy, philosophy or belief). So I would not condemn a tactic without equally condemning war.

  I was watching Euronews and ITV last night and reading the papers over the past few days and was disgusted to find out the US and UK troops have been getting training on street-fighting techniques from the Israeli armed forces. We've got plenty of examples of the atrocities perpetrated by the Israelis (who *have* so-called weapons of mass-destruction, including up to 200 nukes, and have consistently snubbed their noses at countless UN resolutions---probably more than against Iraq) against the Palestinians. I can well see why a frustrated and oppressed Palestinian population would have to resort to suicide bombings as a way of fighting against systematic repression and collective punishment. If Israel is getting involved in Iraq, too (I guess it's callled a "consultancy" role...), then we shouldn't be surprised if Iraqis adopt the same tactics as Palestinians.

  This element of "surprise" that Americans feel really just goes to show how little they understand what has been going on in the Middle East with the support of the US for many years. Israel is the largest recipient of US arms money, and I won't bother with the various US-Israeli motives for wanting to conquer Iraq, but three are easy to figure: water, oil and the US dollar, and removing/demonising any strong Arab leader. Unfortunately, anyone who states such truths is labelled as "anti-semitic", worse than a dog.

  It starts at home--the average American has been a useful idiot to his warmongering leaders for many, many years. You spend more money on war machinery than all other countries *combined*, and you don't even grumble when you don't have proper education, social welfare, health insurance, or even a clear idea of what goes on in the rest of the world.

  Sometimes I watch Fox and CNN to see through the eyes of the average merkin (yes, bushwig). Take the reports of anti-war protests around the globe. On European channels, we could see (almost invariably) peaceful protests across Europe, the US and other places in the world. CNN and Fox picked only Arab countries (to re-inforce the dehumanising and demonising propaganda of "us" and "them"), and only places where they could show violent and anti-US pictures. Is it any wonder that the world fears American power, when this sort of hate, mistrust and ignorance is deliberately cultivated by tptb against its own population?

  4. what difference?

  what's the difference between an apple and an orange?

  If you start from a fallacy (this question), you can quite easily go on to prove anything. Go and read the Athiest FAQ which will give you a full knowledge of this and other matters relating to constructing a logical argument.

  5. a) would I do it?
    b) should America do it (or worse)?

  a) I doubt it. Not for America, not for Ireland.
  b) The premise is so absurd (what, the only hyperpower is ganged up on by the rest of the world? please...) that any answer is meaningless.

  That's not to say that America should not try to set a good example, to bring transparency and real democracy---not to Iraq, but to the US itself. It could set a good example by dismantling its own machinery of fear, suffering and bullyboy control. It could wrest voting rights (and the ability to engage in state and parliamentary politics) and ill-gotten powers (to pollute, steal, lie and cheat) from corporations and give the stewardship of the country back to the people.

  Unfortunately, America is living a dream, and the dreamer doesn't seem to want to wake up.

  pax americana: oderint, dum metuant.


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