I hope that I am not putting this in the wrong place; I'm not active on DU so I don't quite understand how this works.
Ranj Niere, realpolitic/fovea on DU, died on June 21st of a massive heart attack in his sleep.
A memorial will be held at 6pm on Friday July 3rd at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival site. Parking is in the performer's lot. It will be a celebration of Ranj's life, according to his often-expressed wish. If anyone local wants to come and is able to make it, please do--consider it a personal invitation from me, and please come introduce yourself to me.
Dress is casual, and please bring your cameras. In lieu of flowers, we are collecting donations to dedicate a memorial bench to Ranj on his beloved Katy Trail (write to firstname.lastname@example.org for details). If you prefer, you may make a donation in his name to the American Heart Association here: http://honor.americanheart.org/site/TR/Eve...
DU gave Ranj a lot of enjoyment (and frustration, and cause to tear his hair and rant to me) over the years, and I am so grateful to all of you for being a part of his life.
If you want to reach me, you can email me at email@example.com.
Looking at the sweep of my life as history I think some overarching themes, and their possible meanings appear. As a child, the world was unabashedly anti-communist, but with a blind spot for the New Deal, which was seen as the real reason the depression did not look like the Weimar Republic in the 30s. Business leaders had finally, by 1960, regained some measure of respect. The cold war was serious, but was a 'good war' until the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. We learned absolutely nothing from the whole scary debacle, indeed, we became more obscessed with the space race (for bigger, better sputniks), bomber gaps, missile gaps. And at the hight of the madness, a 600 ship navy.
At that point, no one seriously thought about depletion of oil, no one realized the hot war the cold war was a proxy for was unsustainable even for the short run. At that point, no one saw that America was all dressed up for the wrong kind of war (it still is). Vietnam, came, and America's strategy became more brutal well before Tet, and impotently desperate after. This was the next important teaching moment America did not learn from. Pure Hubris. But at least America was working; buzzing furiously to make cars, roads, houses, weapons. Texas was pumping our oil.
That is why the oil crisis of the 70s was so devastating. It revealed a fatal flaw, a hard limit to American power and its captive markets. From that point onward, our global stance between Israel and the Arab world became one of being forked, and became a focus for the next series of proxy wars between us and the Soviets. Our industries fared unevenly. Old shipyards flourished, aircraft, and other military suppliers fared well. Petro support was still robust, Dresser industries was still merrily coating America with asbestos, Dioxin was being sprayed on dirt roads in Eastern Missouri.
But by the Reagan years, union busting was just a formality. Outsourcing was already happening to electronic component systems, gasoline engines, and more significantly to our desires for global hegemony, computer hardware had moved to Indonesia, and other states whose alignment was not assumable. By this point, the paradigm of capitalism had changed in America from manufacture to financial industries. Union membership started dropping. Soon after, we ignored yet another teaching moment. It was called Silverado. How do I say we did not learn? Neil Bush is walking free.
Through the whole sweep of these years, one fundamental idea propelled all activity: progress would continue unabated, growth and higher efficiency would outstrip Malthus. This idea was like many articles of faith, not much examined. No one seemed to question where the limits were.
Even now, if you listen to the media, we will soon return to the old status quo, with a few tiny tweeks. But here is what I see. We have reached the telos of the church of endless growth. Factories that run themselves hire no workers, and no widgets are sold, because Ford's rule has been abandoned in favor of the cult of finance and service. Now, that this is revealed as a non-viable economic model, going back to the status quo is not possible. Neither is the oil market going to help us, as the former large producers are at or past peak production, and neither exploration or refining capacity reflect an industry that thinks it has a future.
We are at the end of the old. Getting to the new is not going to be easy or pretty, but one thing is for certain.
The fat cats, war pigs, and hedge fund buccaneers are going down hard. I think we need to squeeze them like a bushel of hemp seed, until a social safety net for all Americans appears.
Because otherwise, getting to that new paradigm of lean energy budgets, new labor based economies in manufacture and agriculture is going to be unacceptably rugged. The assumption is not of endless growth, but the ability to provide and sustain with less efficiency
That is the new beginning.
Posted by realpolitik in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Fri May 22nd 2009, 01:50 PM
It was not about *them* declaring war on us.
The *United States* declared war on Japan on Dec 8th 1941.
The war with Japan was concluded by the Treaty of San Francisco on Sept 8th 1951
We declared war on Germany on Dec 11, 1941 and the war was concluded by the Treaty of Vienna in 1955(?).
al Qaida, like the Barbary Pirates *has* committed acts of war against the US.
It was a mistake in the 1800s when we allowed an executive branch war against the chaos of Tripoli.
Congress needs to actually declare war on al qaida, but that would be a de facto war on Saudi Arabia.
The fact that we feel that we cannot, is an advantage that the Saudis used against us.
The Saudis caused 911. That is just fact.
They are as complicit as Afghanistan and Pakistan, more, in fact.
Yet look at our foreign policy stance on those three states.
Then, ask again why Iraq had to go instead.
Which was sitting on more oil than Saudi Arabia has left?
Saudi Arabia could not boost its production when oil was over 100/bbl.
That means something, eh?
Can we haz solar and wind now?
Can we haz public transit now?
Can we stop fellating fucking Bedouins for oil?
We either need to declare war on our real enemies, brown people with our oil under their sand, or stop what we are doing for oil.
But that would take a big effort for little profit, as measured by MBA's.
If we cannot declare war on al qaida, it means they are criminals, not prisoners of war.
It may also be evidence of the Bush administration's possible criminality.
I think no one wants to hear a mullah testify which back room deals were cut for western access/ resource capitalism.
That is, before everyone stabbed everyone else in the back.
I am going to suggest the unthinkable. But it needs to be brought up and discussed.
Let me begin with a couple premises.
First, we are a nation that tortures. We do not extent constitutional rights to persons of interest or enemy combatants (or whatever we are going to call them now).
Second, the behavior of financial service executives, whether or not it is actually criminal., it rises to the level of economic terrorism.
This leads us to the possibility of waterboarding the masters of the universe for information about their criminality.
Since we cannot get their bonus money back, we need to consider that the only moral hazard left for these economic terrorists is extraordinary rendition.
Doing this, however, does vindicate Cheney.
So what is it to be then?
Do we torture the bastards?
I am proud of the heroism of my socialist military protection. I honor the fallen socialist firefighters, police, and paramedics.
My socialist school nurse gets my vote anyday, the pinko air traffic controller gets too little love. That commie who sells me a beer on Amtrak, or cadres who inspected the hot dog I ate with it..
All heroes of the glorious socialist movement, where people work to improve the lives of other people, and make a decent living at it.
as Tom Pendergast was to the Missouri Democratic party. The eminence gris.
If Tom Benton were painting a mural of America today, Rush would have the same damn cigar in his hand that Benton put in Pendergast's.
Only Pendergast dressed better and had a better class of friend. You tell me, if Rushbo's chief producer got gunned down in the street, would his last words be "Tell Rush I loved him."?
But Rush is the go to guy right now. Mike Steele is like Tom Shannon. Head of the Goat faction, but still a Republican. He is full of fail.
But he's got the old money and the mil Intel on his side, and Rushbo having the love of the ideological right by itself is not a winning strategy when the glocks are drawn by one and all.
The GOP is about to have its Union Station Massacre. Mr. Schlozman may well be their Johnny Lazzia. Or perhaps that role is better understood as Rove's. Brian was just driving his car.
In any case, it was the GMen who won, in the end.
It is over, really. Our policy goals in the middle east, based on the stated goals of PNAC, are in shambles.
Beyond the obvious, that one cannot establish victory conditions over an abstract noun, other equally
dubious assumptions fated T.W.A.T. to failure.
Lack of mission discipline. The world's unconditional support rested on the following proposition-
That the mission was tightly constrained to bring 'evil doers' to a justice of sorts.
That being the restriction, certain requirements would be inescapable.
1. Much of the action would be focused on Saudi nationals, and official response and action would be required by those nations
whose religious fanatics executed the plot.
2. Innocent parties (here defined not in absolute terms, but as actors with no culpability for 9-11) would have nothing to fear.
3. That actions would ensure the security of, rather than the economic position of the United States.
When it became obvious that the strategic arc did not meet these requirements, the winning coalition created by his father never materialized
with boots on the ground in Iraq.
At that point, there was no winning the war on an abstract noun.
of whatever bud Dennis Kucinich smokes to the rest of the freakin House?
Just because us old hippies love him, does not mean that he is 100% right.
I am sure that a lot of folks don't want to hear this, but TFB.
Everytime we talk like we are the moral leaders of the world we were when
Jack Kennedy declared himself a yummy pastry in Berlin, we make more enemies.
Because we ain't done anything for the world on the scale of the Berlin airlift for quite some while.
Here's how it is on the ground.
My beloved is now in another nation, getting a PhD.
I have seen a couple families emigrate here, get to know the place, and proceed to move to other places, in one case returning to *Bosnia*.
The newcomers I know of Middle Eastern extraction are finding it hard to integrate *outside* their ethnic community in ways that
European Jewry did, but not to this degree. The same opportunities exist in many cases as did the mid 19th through mid twentieth C Eastern European immigration .
But the hostility is greater, I believe.
A Jordanian cabbie I know says he gets it both ways.
"They get in the cab, they think I am Mexican, and they
look down on me. Then I say something, and they won't look at me at all."
The 'they' he is referring to are exurbanites on the epic fare from NimbyCounty (made famous by Th. Franks) southwest of town, to the Nimby International Airport thirty miles north.
Our level of ignorance and xenophobia as a population is shocking.
You can't be as stupid, arrogant, and afraid as we have become and remain a democracy.
If the first decade of the 21st century teaches us anything, surely it should teach us that.
I would have a difficult time believing in the laws of thermodynamics
--their existence in a non-numinous universe.
Matter is neither created or destroyed. Energy is neither created or destroyed.
Quantum Physics demonstrates that information is shared between photons at a spooky distance.
In highly complex software systems, complexity and increasing loss of atomicity sometimes generate unanticipated
results. Object Orientation and scoping reduce this to a great degree, but fortunately for all those who live maintaining code
do not completely eliminate them. In the non platonic world of bump and grind, atomicity is meaningless. You have inhaled the dust of Adolph Hitler
and the victims of Hiroshima. Some of your molecules were created in a supernova.
In such a universe, how *could* the information that comprises a soul completely disappear?
The question always is, will I know myself among the universe?
The answer seems to be that I will know that I am a part of the universe.
And hopefully, I will know the part of the universe I am.
Without that, who'd want to live *forever*?
I have heard Self Professed Christians discuss this very thing.
Literally the size of the stick you should strike your spouse or child with.
At the age of roughly five, my supposed father sent me out to harvest the
willow stick he would switch me with. Thinking on it now-- at 20 I was winning sword fighting tournaments. But surely that is coincidental.
What makes this more horrible is its ubiquitousness. Violence is part of the grain of the human race.
I think what you are hearing is clerics and laic Sunnis trying to moderate the behavior of their
camel racing dads. Remember, Moe Six-pack will be chugging ODoul's, not Tequila out of the bottle.
So while he may not be boozed up all the time, when he does decide to drink, there are big moral censures.
He is beyond the bounds of normalcy by being drunk to begin with. all the traditional drugs move through the hood as well.
They are not the only culture that is to tightly wound. The Japanese are pretty damn formal. But the Nippon drinks,
they've never met a drug they didn't like from what I can tell. They seem to live the directed life, in a swarm of other directed lives.
But the Oil Patch has a cultural problem that has been brewing since the Europeans showed back up en masse in the 19th Century.
Oil has skewed the culture of the middle east and central asia. Arabia went from being a region of trade cities and nomads to a hugely wealthy collection of quirky nation states.
In western terms, Imaging if Jed of the Beverly HIllbillies got elected president... ok, don't go there, it's too close. But you get the idea.
But what's our excuse for snake handling preachers and out and out cults of personality in the twenty first century?
I mean, my early Christian experiences drove me to polytheism in some ways. It was horrible beyond description.
But then so were some of the celebrants. Not all churches act as a shepherd- some are wolves.
I found the same to be true of many religions. They are vehicles for out experience of the numinous, and therefore worshipers are far more suggestible than normal.
The restraint of clerics is far more influential than the letter of dogma, IMO. Certainly the Catholic church has been dealing with this difficulty too with a different issue.
Older Catholic schoolkids grown up tell stories about a particularly brutal nun, or overly friendly priest.
This all reminds me of Jefferson's insistence that America was not a Christian nation.
I think he saw the danger in that regarding dealings with the Islamic world.
Ideas become lean and supple by rubbing them against each other vigorously.
Eventually, their progeny are handsomer, more clever at parties, and thus conjecture proceeds onward to satori.
is a watered down version of anhydrous ethanol.
Capitalism as you, yourself describe it is a very watered down version of what Milton Friedman would describe,
or Adam Smith, for that matter.
In fact, what you call capitalism, most would call a mixed system. They exist along a spectrum, from almost fascist to almost marx-mao-castro levels of central economic control.
Soviet Communism was a bastardized version of what Marx describes.
Social Democracies are a far cry from what Lenin cobbled together.
The problem is that these terms you use are both terms of art in political science, and vices in a long playing right wing morality play.
You are tending to use them in the latter way. Using the specter of communism as a boogie man. I am living in a nation that suspended habeas corpus and read its citizen's email without a thought of due process, and you are red baiting? I, for example do not think that workers should control the means of production, but I damn well think they should not be wage slaves either.
They should have all the tools of legal, peaceful collective bargaining at their disposal in any shop bigger than your living room.
Does that make me a member of the Red Army? Of course not, though being able to sing the internationale in slavic would be suspicious.
Let's deal with this on a less dramatic level. There are some really valid things that are government business. Functions that extend the benefits of human society upon all. Like the gentle rain and summer sun, the benefits of human society rightly fall on the virtuous and the foolish. To do else would require more than our duty to our species and our conscience should allow, no? Those things are at least as dear as a 600 ship navy, because without them, what besides the fortunes of the few are we protecting? Paying for those functions can occur via several mechanisms. One of those is taxation; another is tariff. Yet another is state management of a specific resource for the public good.
If you think the way to go is a straight flat income tax, then you have skewed the game very favorably to those who enjoy massive capital gains. Take away inheritance tax, and you just loaded your family in the SUV and took the entrance ramp for the Interstate To Serfdom(tm).
I advocate constraints on massive wealth because I do not think that a republic is well served by having a familial overloardship. Aristocracy cannot sustain, and it is a brutal form of governance. Democracies flourish best in a flat linear distribution of wealth and a uniform availability of opportunity. At least so far the EU seems to be verifying this in the real world.
Like my SIG line says...
communities have the ability to create community sized low impact transit systems. I think that there is a lot more room for paths and pedestrian/cycle routes and facilities.
The Riverfont Trail in KC has an elevator to a bridge that crosses over 8 tracks of UPac, BNSF, KCSouthern railways. We need more community influence against entities that sequester public spaces and natural pathways for communities like rail easements(for rail with trail) and levees.
We need more safe routes to school built into communities and that implies both design and re-design. We need evacuation routes for community disaster evacuation. We need traffic flow designed for neighborhood electric vehicles and more cyclists both electric bike and adult trikes for the aging population. Most trips are less than three miles, why not design the street system for vehicles appropriate for that task?
Rail can link communities, there is nothing wrong with thinking of systems from the bottom up. I suspect achieving sustainability starts with that approach.
Your generation single handedly made the termite the unofficial symbol of the conservative movement, and now you're wondering why the tree is lying across your Lexus?
Now put yoor Gordon Gecko mask back on, there's a whole crowd of former 901k holders who are getting impatient for their NeoCon ride.
While it is attractive and inclusive to phrase the reconstruction of American politics as a return to 'the center' or 'the middle' it is not good for progressives or even moderates to do so at thecurrent time.
Ownership of the Frame:
The republican party has owned not only the executive branches power to define the narrative and the terms of the narrative. It has also owned the 'liberal' media and treated them to both frontal assault and back office ownership. It has bent these twin powers to the task of owning the following terms.
Socialist, Left, Center, Free Market, tax relief, and Conservative.
When we invoke these terms, they are overloaded with the NeoCon connotations.
We not actually wanting the policies that Faux and Rove have defined for the middle of the curve. They have sucessfully shifted the overton window too far to the right.
We are better served by saying that our actions are stability motivated by the bush economic crisis and that our progressive policies are based on sound Keynesian economics.
We need to say that we have returned pragmatic progressive policies to America after eight years of absence, *even though we need to radically constrain the privateers of the global economy*.
We need to stress pragmatic progressive policies as the antidote to compassionate conservatism.
This addresses the key narrative change in American Politics. Decisions based on other priorities than partisan advantage and shrill hackery will be replaced by consensus of a new broad social contract. It will look a bit more like Sweden, but it will be sustainable and based on a non-polarized consensus. It overwrites the left right blue red frame with a green, community centric philosophy of governance.
The middle and the center in that political landscape is now a Wide Stance Party construct, and will be until we entirely invalidate it.
We are now in full FDR mode, ladies and gentlemen. Or if not now, we will be on Jan 20th.
The ten most recent threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums.
FL GOP tries to close state pension system to new workers, yet take THEIR pension at 2X accrual rate
FL GOP denies $51 billion federal Medicaid to poor, yet order cheap health care for themselves
Happy Mother's Day
I love DU2!
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R) ran company now accused of Medicaid fraud (Rick Scott redux)
Mediterranean diet cuts risk of heart dis-ease
By No Elephants
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
Use the tools below to keep track of updates to this Journal.
Today's Featured Forums