Happy Campers in Clover

Written by Chris Floyd 22 September 2005 4589 Hits

Roger Gathman at Limited Inc gives one of the best explanations for the Democratic Party's flaccid "opposition" to the Bush Faction steamroller that I've seen in quite a while. There is of course no genuine opposition to Bush at all in the American power structure; there are only varying degrees of craven collusion, punctuated by occasional spasmodic regurgitations of sham dissent – cynical evocations of past glories, all talk, no action.

Gathman, displaying his usual slashing erudition, takes off from a demolition of David Mamet's recent piece in the Los Angeles Times, moves on to the court of the Byzantine emperors and brings the hammer down squarely on the agonizing reality of the present day.

A Rule for Reading Newspapers
The whole piece is worth reading, but here's an excerpt:

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Broken Light: Work, for the Night is Coming

Written by Chris Floyd 21 September 2005 6431 Hits
(Below is an excerpt from the book, Empire Burlesque. It might help explain a little bit of the ethos behind this blog, for anyone that's interested.)

Black milk of daybreak, we drink it at evening.  
-- Paul Celan, "Deathfugue"

The children were walking to school. The young people were going out to a dance.
The children stepped on a booby trap planted by a soldier. The young people were shredded by the nails of a suicide bomb. They were all blown up, destroyed.


One moment, the force of life animated their biological matter
, their brains seethed with billions of electrical impulses, the matrix of consciousness brought the entire universe into being, within them, within each of them, each solitary vessel of knowing.

The next moment, only the matter remained: inert, coagulated, decaying. There was no more knowing, no more being; the universe had come to an end.

Why?

We drink it at midday and morning; we drink it at night.


They would have us believe it is because Ishmael warred with Jacob. They would have us believe it is because this or that Divine Will requires it. They would have us believe it is because ethnicity or nationality or religion or some oth
er arbitrary accretion of history and happenstance must override both the innumerable commonalities of all human beings and the radical, irreplaceable uniqueness of each individual.

They would have us believe anything other than the truth: that everyone and everything will die; that all nations, ethnicities, religions and structures will fall away into rubble, into nothingness, and be forgotten; and that even the planet itself will be reduced to atoms and melt away, like black milk, into the cold deeps of empty space. And in the face of this truth, nothing matters ultimately but each specific, fleeting instance of individual being, the shape we give to each momentary coalescence of atomic particles into a particular human situation.

That's all we have. That's all there is. That's what we kill when we murder someone. That's what we strangle when we keep them down with our boot on their throat.

We drink and we drink.

Is it not time to be done with lies at last? Especially the chief lie now running through the world like a plague, putrescent and vile: that we kill each other and hate each other and drive each other into desperation and fear for any other reason but that we are animals, forms of apes, driven by blind impulses to project our dominance, to strut and bellow and hoard the best goods for ourselves. Or else to lash back at the dominant beast in convulsions of humiliated rage. Or else cravenly to serve the dominant ones, to scurry about them like slaves, picking fleas from their fur, in hopes of procuring a few crumbs for ourselves.

That's the world of power -- the "real world," as its flea-picking slaves and strutting dominants like to call it. It's the ape-world, driven by hormonal secretions and chemical mechanics, the endless replication of protein reactions, the unsifted agitations of nerve tissue, issuing their ignorant commands. There's no sense or reason or higher order of thought in it -- except for that perversion of consciousness called justification, self-righteousness, which gussies up the breast-beating ape with fine words and grand abstractions.

And so the fine words and breast-beating goes on and on -- prosperity, freedom, holiness, security, justice, glory, our people, our homeland, God's will be done, we will prevail.

We shovel a grave in the air where you won't lie too cramped.

Beyond the thunder and spectacle of this ape-roaring world is another state of reality, emerging from the murk of our baser functions. There is power here, too, but not the heavy, blood-sodden bulk of dominance. Instead, it's a power of radiance, of awareness, connection, breaking through in snaps of heightened perception, moments of encounter and illumination that lift us from the slime.  (c0ntinued)
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Cannibals on Parade

Written by Chris Floyd 21 September 2005 3879 Hits

Brilliance from Leah at Corrente, on the absolute ghoulishness of the Bush Faction goons who want to feast on the corpses of the Gulf Coast victims to fatten their own pocketbooks and advance their radical, rapacious agenda. Read it, and be sure to follow the links which highlight one of the most emblematic elements of this cannibals' rout: the attempt by ludicrous Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (right -- very right) to find dead rich white people killed by the storm. Why? In order to advance the Bushists' perverted obsession with eliminating the estate tax on the nation's wealthiest dynasties, of course. And as Leah shows, this is just one small front in the Bushists' on-going war to strip American citizens of any protection from the predatory elite.

I've said it before, and will say it again: What quadrant of hell is hot enough for such men?

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End Game

Written by Chris Floyd 21 September 2005 8910 Hits

This week has seen another major -- and malevolent -- turning point in Iraq, the significance of which has gone unnoticed by the American press. The incident in Basra -- where British forces sent tanks against the city's police to rescue two undercover British agents who had  allegedly been shooting at Iraqi civilians -- has exposed the ugly reality of the situation in the supposedly quiet and quiescent Iraqi south. Basra is of course largely in the control of fundamentalist Shiite militias, some allied with Iran, others fiercely loyal to young extremist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The militias have infiltrated the region's police forces and are quickly establishing Taliban-style rule over government and society. As Juan Cole notes, "The entire episode reeks of 'dual sovereignty,' in which there are two distinct sources of government authority. Social historian Charles Tilly says that dual sovereignty signals a revolutionary situation."

Other reports underscore the alarming fact that most of Baghdad is now in the hands of insurgent factions. American forces continually stage massive military actions against "rebel" towns, dropping 500-pound bombs on residential areas, using thousands of troops, air power, armor, etc., to "clean out an area." And they succeed. But just as in Vietnam, as soon as the US forces move on, the insurgents move back and take over the town again. As one U.S. commander noted last week, "We've taken Samara four times, and lost it again four times." There is every indication that the same thing will happen to Fallujah, which was subjected to ungodly destruction late last year.

The war is lost. Three years after the invasion, the occupation forces control less and less of the country all the time. The level of wanton violence -- from all sides -- keeps rising. The physical infrastructure of the country continues to deteriorate. The social fabric is in tatters. "Reconstruction" has degenerated into outright robbery and all-pervasive graft. A piecemeal, many-sided civil war has begun. Each day of the occupation is a fresh boon to violent Islamic extremism. Each day of the occupation further brutalizes and decimates the American military, sinking it deeper into the dishonor of serving a criminal cause: the illegal, unwarranted invasion and occupation of a sovereign country, on behalf of a radical political faction that deliberately lied its way into war.

Yet there is not a national leader on either side of the Atlantic -- even in the opposition parties -- who will stand up and speak the truth about the situation. They all prattle, to one degree or another, about "staying the course" or "getting the job done" or "doing the job right." This is sheer lunacy -- the lunacy of the powerful and comfortable, who never have to face the bloody, ruinous consequences of their pious rhetoric and empty posturing. 

Simon Jenkins, late of the Times and now with the Guardian, has laid out a succinct case for withdrawal from Iraq: To say we must stay in Iraq to save it from chaos is a lie.

The whole piece is well worth reading, but here are some excerpts:

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War! What is it good for? Never-ending profits!

Written by Chris Floyd 19 September 2005 8130 Hits
We've said it before and we'll say it again and we'll keep on saying it because it is the indisputable, undeniable truth: Bush and his faction waged war on Iraq for money. That's it. That's all there is to it. Yes, they wanted leverage over the oil. Yes, they had (and have) grand geopolitical designs that "required" the invasion. Yes, they had blinkered ideologues willing to use the blood and guts of 100,000 innocent people as raw material for their lunatic experiments. But behind all of this is the unbridled lust for ill-gotten, unearned loot -- loot on an unimaginable scale, loot which will augment their political power by several magnitudes and extend their malign influence on domestic and world politics for generations.

They have ransacked the Iraqi larder and stripped it of everything they could lay their hands on. They have transferred billions upon billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars into the hands of a few well-connected cronies, secret bagmen, soulless gun-runners and elite investors with nice clean fat white hands.

It is for this reason that George W. Bush sent U.S. forces into Iraq -- illegally, in the middle of the UN weapons inspection process that he himself had insisted upon. It is for this reason that he has caused the needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people, that he has brutalized, traumatized, overstrained and decimated the military forces of the United States. It is for this reason that he has gutted the American treasury, criminalized the American government and tyrannized the American people.

For money. Murder, for money. Easy money, greasy money, blood money. That's all there is to it, that's what the war in Iraq is all about. Anyone who tells you different is either deluded -- or hoping to get in on the scam.

Here now is the indefatigable Patrick Cockburn of The Independent on the latest outrage in this on-going epic rapine:

What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?
Excerpt (but read the whole thing): One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons....

The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions. Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry. Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and "rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes....

The [total] sum missing over an eight-month period in 2004 and 2005 is the equivalent of the $1.8bn that Saddam allegedly received in kick- backs under the UN's oil-for-food programme between 1997 and 2003.

Juan Cole has more:
Security Situation in Baghdad Sinking like the Titanic

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Enabling Act: Bush Cashes his Blank Check for Tyranny

Written by Chris Floyd 16 September 2005 12920 Hits

This is an expanded version of the column published Friday, 16 September in The Moscow Times. The Times version contains extensive annotations and sources.

Four years ago, America was hit by a terrorist attack. Three days later, Congress signed away the people's freedom, writing a blank check for tyranny to a ludicrous little man who had taken power after losing the popular vote in the most dubious election in American history. Last week, the poisonous after-effects of this abject surrender took yet another sinister turn, as Bush factotums in the courts once again upheld the Leader's arbitrary power over the life and liberty of his subjects.

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