Monday, December 29, 2003

Anti-imperialist election dilemmas, 1900 and 2004

Sam Koritz points out that nineteenth century free market classical liberals, like modern antiwar leftists, libertarians and conservatives, had intense debates about the comparative advantages of third party and major party strategies. In 1896, many, because of their support for the gold standard and hatred of Bryan's inflationist views, many of them had defected from the Democratic Party to form the National Democratic Party third ticket. The NDP later disbanded. In 1900, classical liberal anti-imperalists faced a very different dilemma. They were faced with a choice between President William McKinley (the expont of America's new colonial empire) and their old nemesis William Jennings Bryan.

Bryan had endorsed anti-imperialism but refused to tone his inflationist support for free silver, thus directly attacking the gold standard that classical liberals had long championed. What would they do?

They split into four camps. As Koritz notes, many held their noses and voted for Bryan. Others stayed home. A few backed McKinley because of his continuing defense of the gold standard. Some stalwart classical liberals as Oswald Garrison Villard, Senator Carl Schurz, and Moorfield Storey, made plans for a third ticket.

Villard even made a personal visit to former president Grover Cleveland (a classical liberal anti-imperalist) to urge him to run as a third party candidate in 1900, possibly under a revived National Democratic banner. Cleveland, believing that the voters had no interest in what he had to say anymore, politely turned down the offer. But Villard, Storey, and their allies were not quite ready to give up yet. At virtually the last minute, they hastily organized the National Party to run Senator Donelson Caffery, a pro-gold/anti-imperialist Democrat from Louisiana. The campaign collapsed, however, when Caffery (without explanation) pulled out of the race. McKinley went on to defeat Bryan yet again and a new classical liberal/anti-imperialist party was stillborn.

Koritz properly cites the parallels to 2004 but the differences are also significant. Many classical liberals had one good reason to vote for McKinley. For all his faults, he had upheld the gold standard. In 2004, by contrast, Bush does not offer any similar temptation. Because of his unrelenting big-government approach, most recently with the Medicare bill, he has not only abandoned free market conservatives and libertarians in domestic policy but thumbed his nose at them. Does this mean that libertarians and anti-war conservatives should consider voting for Dean much like their ideological ancestors who backed Bryan? I do not think so... but will save that for a later blog.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Neoconservatives, Libya, Israel and WMD

Justin Raimondo hits one out of the park today in an article about Libya's abandonment of WMD. Does the Libya agreement provide proof that Dubya's saber rattling is the best guarantee of world peace? Not at all. Libya has been intensely interested in turning over a new leaf since the 1990s though Clinton and Bush (until now) showed little interest in these feelers. Raimondo speculates that Gaddafi wants to restore his country's pre-modern role as a Mediterranean power.

Raimondo predicts that the neoconservatives and other enthusiastic pro-warriors will condemn the agreement as a ruse. Why? Because it might put the squeeze on Israel to abandon its own WMD and ease up on other hard-line policies. As if almost on cue, Raimondo's prediction has been confirmed today in two articles. First, Joseph Farah frets that Libya's action will increase "international pressure" on Israel to abandon WMD.

Farah is a pussycat compared to Ariel Natan Pasko who defends the inalienable right of Israel (and no other country in the Middle East) to own WMDs. In what has to be the most priceless neoconservative quote of the week, he uses the pages of the normally secular Frontpage to proclaim: "Sure Israel should 'Ban the Bomb'; When the Messiah comes!"

Sunday, December 21, 2003

1984 Bush Style

In Orwell's novel of life under technological despotism, Winston Smith's job was helping to eliminate old news records that no longer fit current political priorities. Stories and photograps no longer useful were destroyed. 1984 came and went, and George Orwell's dark dystopia seemed less and less likely as a future for the human race. Here in the US we proudly pointed to Stalin's efforts at this kind of thing as one of the key differences between a free and totalitarian society. It can't happen here, we congratulated ourselves.

But today we see Orwell's prediction that government would come to control history showing signs of vigorous life in the Bush administration, which is now actively eliminating and altering web pages it published which no longer agree with the current line.

To give but one of many examples, according to the Daily Misleader,
"on April 23, 2003, the president sent his top international aid official on national television to reassure the public that the cost of war and reconstruction in Iraq would be modest. USAID Director Andrew Natsios, echoing other Administration officials, told Nightline that, 'In terms of the American taxpayers contribution, [$1.7 billion] is it for the US. The American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this.'
The president has requested more than $166 billion in funding for the war and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan this year. But instead of admitting that he misled the nation about the cost of war, the president has allowed the State Department 'to purge the comments by Natsios from the State Department's Web site. The transcript, and links to it, have vanished.' (The link where the transcript existed until it caused embarrassment was http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/nightline_042403_t.html).
"When confronted with the dishonest whitewash, the administration decided to lie. A Bush spokesman said the administration was forced to remove the statements because, 'there was going to be a cost' charged by ABC for keeping the transcript on the government's site. But as the Post notes, 'other government Web sites, including the State and Defense departments, routinely post interview transcripts, even from "Nightline,"' and according to ABC News, 'there is no cost.'"

More can be learned in a December 18 story in the Washington Post.

Despite his incessant sanctimonious cant about morality, George Bush, and those who work for him, have compiled a record of lying that dwarfs any previous adminustration, largely because their actions are so out of line with the American people's values, if they but knew what they were up to. For a historical overview go here.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Does Wolfowitz Hate America?

Tim Dunlop's Road to Surfdom quotes Paul Wolfowitz from last May:
"....there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people....The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it."

As Woilfowitz and the rest of anyone paying attention now knows, neither the first nor the second reason for invading Iraq was valid. Only the third exists.

Paul Wolfowitz has yet to say the war is a mistake. Hundreds of Americans have died, and are continuing to die for a war that Wolfowitz says cannot be justified for the reasons that currently apply. But he has not admitted he made a mistake, despite these deaths. Why does he hate America? Or is patriotism secondary to his ego?

Threat to Free Elections Looms Ever Bigger

While the so-called free press in this country titillates us about Michael Jackson's alleged sleeping habits, there is the real possibility that our democracy is being stolen right in front of our eyes. Perhaps the reason is that the corporate conglomerates that control the news no longer find democracy profitable. Too many talking heads and uncertainties. Crony capitalism is far more profitable.

Article after article has been printed about the unreliability of Diebold voting machines, Diebold's acknowledgement of defective codes, Diebold's efforts to suppress reports about those defects, Diebold's opposition to installing paper trails, ad nauseum. Democrats want paper trails required, Republicans do not. WHY? What does this say about many Republican politicians' commitment to democracy and the Constitution? But the trained gibbons masquerading as journalists in our country mostly ignore the story.

Wired has a list of stories about this grave threat to the values this country claims to be all about. Go there, look around, and alert others. Who knows, you might even know a journalist who takes his or her profession seriously. Pester them until they pay attention.

What a tangled web we weave

The Washington Post reports on the "scrubbing" going on at the White House lately. More proof that the foundation on which this presidency rests is pillared by untruths.

"It's not quite Soviet-style airbrushing, but the Bush administration has been using cyberspace to make some of its own cosmetic touch-ups to history."

Earlier this year, the director of USAID, Andrew Natsios, infuriated the White House by suggesting that the reconstruction effort in Iraq would only cost taxpayers $1.7 billion. But you wouldn't know that by checking information on any government website, because "the government has purged the offending comments by Natsios from the agency's Web site. The transcript, and links to it, have vanished."

"The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID have removed or revised fact sheets on condoms, excising information about their effectiveness in disease prevention, and promoting abstinence instead. The National Cancer Institute, meanwhile, scrapped claims on its Web site that there was no association between abortion and breast cancer. And the Justice Department recently redacted criticism of the department in a consultant's report that had been posted on its Web site."

My favorite example: "After the insurrection in Iraq proved more stubborn than expected, the White House edited the original headline on its Web site of President Bush's May 1 speech, 'President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended,' to insert the word 'Major' before combat."

More proof that this administration not only lies to the American people, but they lie again and again when earlier ones are disproved--and around and around we go. For more on the Bush administration and the presidency of lies, see Gus diZerega's essay, "American Shadow"

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Guantanamo and the rule of law

Brigid O'Neal, a research associate at the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute has just published an article on "Uncle Sam's Guantanamo Prison: Outside the Rule of Law."

Friday, December 12, 2003

What about the pro-war Commies?

I have already mentioned that pro-war bloggers often stress the involvement of extreme Marxist groups, like International ANSWER, in the anti-war movement. As far as it goes, it is entirely just and proper for them to point this out. International ANSWER is indeed a slimy group.

However, according to Justin Raimondo's column today, the pro-war effort to root out and expose commies is conveniently selective. Many of the same bloggers who effusively praised the demonstrations earlier this week in Iraq, for example, were completely silent about the significant role played by the Communist Party in bringing them about. The Communists were highly visible at the rallies. Scores of them proudly marched with flags depicting the hammer and sickle. In the past, conservative websites have often highlighted photos of similar demonstrators carrying pro-commie signs and banners at antiwar rallies, but strangely not in this case.

Apparently, for some on the pro-war side, red-baiting is only a one way

That Explains It!

Atrios alerts us to the following statement by Condi Rice:

"There's nothing I am worse at than long-term planning. I have never run my life that way. I believe that serendipity or fate or divine intervention has led me to a series of wholly implausible steps in my life. And I've been open to those twists and turns because I didn't have a long-term plan."
As of Dec. 11, 2003, there have been 455 American deaths, 53 Britons, one Dane, 17 Italians, one Pole, one Spaniard and one Ukrainian. There have also been thousands upon thousands injured and maimed, not including the Iraqis killed in the occupation thus far. Apparently Condi's God didn't look out for them very well. And they certainly won't be making any long term plans now, either.

The same attitude seems to apply to George W. Bush as well, given his long history of mismanagement in the business world before becoming governor of Texas.

Feel secure?

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Imperial ____Troopers for the American Century

Here is a visual image of the future the Bush regime seems to be planning for the world.

Some people have written that the link does not work for them. If you have that problem, go to Atrios where I first saw this unbelieveable image, and scroll down to the photo in today's post. If you come upon this post later, you will recognize it in his archives by asking yourself what the standard uniform of servants of the Sith Lords looks like.

New Bloggers

With his first post today, we introduce a new member of our blogging team, David Beito.

David Beito teaches history at the University of Alabama and writes for the Liberty and Power Group Blog, ( http://hnn.us/articles/1292.html ) a libertarian Blog associated with the History News Network. Many excellent criticisms of the Bush regime and the radical right from a market liberal perspective can be found there. David and other members of the L&P Blog will contribute on these issues. I anticipate a lot of good stuff from David and his partners.

In addition, I am looking forward to blogs from Bill Berkowitz. Bill writes a regular column for Working for Change. A full list of Bill's columns can be found here. I have known Bill, for years, and think he offers an extremely valuable and knowledgeable perspective on the political crisis that threatens us all, especially as it involves the religious right. I am looking forward to all he finds time to send us.

David Horowitz's double standard

David Horowitz is complaining again about the role of wacko and extreme groups like International ANSWER in the antiwar movement. International ANSWER is indeed a scary, pro-Communist sect which deserves to be slammed by all people of good will. In fact, many antiwar activists, writing in journals such as Salon, have done precisely that. I find it a bit disingenuous, however, that Horowitz is so ready to criticize extremists in the antiwar movement but is silent about the loonies on the pro-war side.

A case in point is Hal Lindsay, the author of the Late, Great Planet Earth, and a zealous supporter of the war. Lindsay believes that the entire Jewish population will be wiped out in the end times, except for 144,000 Jewish "Billy Grahams."

When Horowitz leads by example and starts exposing and criticizing Hal Lindsays among his pro-war allies, he might be able to make a more credible case.

Friday, December 05, 2003

The '60s generation: Right Again

The faddishly reviled '60s generation was proved right again when Kinight Ridder reported today that a recently translated transcript of Henry Kissinger's October 1976 meeting with Argentine Admiral Cesar Augusto Guzzetti showed him clearly endorsing the regime's riegnof terror, where some 30,000 Argentines disappeared after being taken away by the military. The atrocities had gotten so bad that Congress was discussing applying sanctions to the junta. Kissinger told the admiral otherwise: "Look, our basic attitude is that we would like you to succeed" he said. He added sympathetcally, "We read about human rights problems but not the context. The quicker you succeed the better."

A 1983 report by an Argentine truth commission showed the killings accelerated in late 1976, and contoinued for two more years, according to this article. It may be found in the Portland Oregonian, December 5, 2003, p. A18.

The popular right-wing attack on the '60s generation has blinded Americans froim a lesson rooted in the words of our Founders and the blood soaked events of many subsequent years: that those with power are not to be trusted. This historical forgetfulness is leading us into another such era.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

George W. Bush = Miserable Failure

The folks at Blah3 have come up with a brilliant idea to make more people aware of the miserable failure that is the George W. Bush administration. On Google, whenever someone types in the search term 'miserable failure', Bush's White House biography tops the list of search results.

Being that we at deal-with-it.org like to support any effort such as this, we have decided to participate. We urge all people who consider Bush a miserable failure to do so as well.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Spades = politicians

Some people have wondered whether we intended any kind of racial joke, however bad in taste, by labeling Condi Rice the "Queen of Spades." We did not.

Spades, as we explain in our web site, are the politicians, hearts the 'moral" leaders, clubs the media bullies, and diamonds the crony capitalists. Rice is the most prominent woman in the Bush administration, by far. No one else is close. We had originally slated that spot for Gale Norton because initially Rice appeared to act with some integrity, and we pick only people acting without integrity for the Spades suit. But as the lies-about-Iraq issue heated up, Rice became increasingly prominent as a major defender as well as spreader of them.

We were in a touchy position because the term Spades as used in our deck - and historically hundreds and hundreds of years before it became a name for African Americans - was connected to their being most powerful suit in the deck. Hence its association with politicians, people in government. Our initial decision to exclude Rice due to her apparent integrity ceased to apply - as we excluded Colin Powell, who would also be a Spade - because we deemed him a relatively moderating influence in the administration. Subsequernt events put a pall over Powell as well, but nothing like the pall over Rice.

We could just as easily be accused of racism of we did NOT put Rice as Queen since she most definitely is the most prominent woman. refusing to acknowledge her centrality could be interpreted as demeaning her because she is Black.

Please note that Clarence Thomas is the 9 of Hearts. Not the 9 of Spades. The categorization is entirely race-free.

Crime on the Floor of the House of reps.

Slate reports the following from Robert Novak:
On the House floor, Nick Smith was told business interests would give his son $100,000 in return for his father's vote. When he still declined, fellow Republican House members told him they would make sure Brad Smith never came to Congress.
This is a crime. Smith so far refuses to say who bribed him - but it was clearly a Republican member of the House.

More law and honor, Radical Right style. Will Smith aid and abet the commission of a felony - or will he report who committed the crime? Let's see.

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