Saturday, August 28

WHY I'M ON THE LEFT ... AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO

The "trickle down" economic theory posits the notion that those at the bottom benefit most when those at the top benefit most. Therein lies the inherent contradiction.

"Run the country as a business!," decry the corporate pundits. "Efficiencies only occur in the private sector!"

Let me ask you then: How efficient is your elderly Mother? Or baby daughter? Or Alzheimer's patient?

How "efficient" is the infrastructure in Newfoundland?

Corporate profit imperatives are not the only principles by which a society can be run.

A government's role is not only about creating the conditions for corporate success, with the assumption those efficiencies simply "trickle down" to the bottom rung of the social classes.

Governments, by definition, do different things than big business. Governments, like citizens, are not shareholders.

Does that mean that governments, like multi-nationals, should be unbridled?

The answer is no. Government bureaucracies never seem to have enough money. In that way, their self-interest and greed takes on a life of its own. Like an organism that exists to feed--like corporate profits.

And while big cities inherit, by magnitude, social problems that other places don't, many of those problems can be immediately helped by throwing money at them directly--from the bottom up, in other words.

A healthier bottom also helps big business. Can there be a "trickle up"?

We're seeing the attenuation of the middle class, who are shouldering a disproportionate amount of the tax burden.

Do corporate elites secretly, or unconsciously, prefer a land-holder position like earlier agrarian societies, or third world countries like Latin America and the Philippines where millions go without and a small group of families have everything?

While corporations have moved into a hyper "post-national" phase, the citizens--at least the ones who are not shareholders--remain circumscribed.

Profits don't need passports.

And they don't have faces either.

Monday, August 2

WHAT DO NEO-CONSERVATIVES REALLY WANT?

An integrated car and truck bomb attack on several Christian churches in Baghdad today was prompted, say insurgents, by America's attempt to adulterate, alloy and weaken Islam.

These people in Iraq aren't stupid. They may not read all the Pentagon and NSA briefing papers, but the get the gist of it. They know the plan.

Let me tell you about the plan--and the mindset that spawned it.

Prominent neo-conservatives, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, took part in a 1996 study prepared for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recommending a turn away from the Oslo peace process.

In fact, much of neo-conservative writing, from the tepid An End To Evil, to the Hitlerian Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunites In American Foreign and Defense Policy, fixates on a militarized Middle Eastern foreign policy, an absurd fixation with Israeli defense, and a colonial attitude toward Muslims.

What the "white man's burden" was to British colonials in Africa applies today to neo-conservatives in the Middle East.

Take, for example, their approach to the faith of the people of Iraq. In May 2003, a document circulated around the civilian authority in Bagdhad discussed removing Islam as the state religion: "Only as a last resort should we agree that Islam should be the religion of the state."

The document was circulated to neo-con academics--such as Bernard Lewis--and George W. Bush's "six pack" of State Department sidekicks.

While neo-con critics cry conceptual overreach and a lack or pragmatism, I think there is more than hubris at work here. Theirs is an ignorance born of arrogance.

Transformation of a centuries-old tribal culture into a McDonald's drive-thru is no different than the imposition of dictators like Thieu in South Vietnam in the early-'70s.

Americans didn't recognize, or care, about the Vietnamese struggle for independence. Americans never qualified the differences between a nationalist banner, and one subsumed by Communist ideology.

Today, with the same ignorance, we've conflated the Middle East's many divisions into simple black and white American projections.

The world is in colour--more than red, white, and blue.

With these neo-con policies prevalent in the Middle East, and a rank obsession with Israel as a prerequisite, where will Arab moderates be?

We are quickly turning the region into a Central and Latin American model.

The difference is that these folks will kick the U.S. back.

Can you blame them?