Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Yr Enemies R Stupid

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  • giovanni tiso,

    The very same. The long version is better viewed on an empty stomach, kind of like an episode of the Office.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The problem for Naomi is over 800 million people within developing nations have been freed from grinding hand to mouth subsistance poverty by themselves reforming to increase market participation.

    You're channelling rightwingtalkingpoints.com right?

    They didn't know what was coming next, but they now knew that there was no limit to the scale of attack if the weapons were available.

    I've rewritten this for you:

    IF there were martians, and IF they had superdeathray guns, and IF they didn't like us, man, we'd all be fucked. No limit to the scale of the attack.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Kyle, you forgot the next part that goes "we will protect you from this fearful catastrophe if you give us all your money and the power to spy on you, torture people and generally act like feudal dictators".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    On the 'screw up vs conspiracy thing', I just reject the framing. It's both and more.

    But it's mostly a big 'known unknown'. We're not going to find out much either so speculation is all we got. Irresponsible not to.

    The already mentioned Feith ('stupidest fncking guy on the face of the planet' according to the senior uniforms that had to work with him) running his little 'B team' intelligence op in the DOD. Same game plan that came up with the whack estimates of Soviet strength. That's the neocon angle. Rock Iraq, roll Iran. Real men go to Tehran and Egypt is the prize. Yadda yadda.

    It's a test case, could'a been anything. The point was to do it. Break lot's of laws and tell the congress to Feck off.

    It's Cheney. Guy was real pissed at Nixon. Not for what he did. Not even for getting caught. For resigning.

    Cheney reckons the President should just tell congress to go pound sand, and that Nixon's resignation was the beginning of the end of the American Republic. His goal since has been to restore that republic. That's why they no longer even to show up to talk to congress.

    That's why he just laughs at them. "Wanna talk to the President? I'll be holding his hand, no recording, no oaths and no transcripts. Whaddaya gonna do about it? Thought so. Go fick yourself."

    (The lame-o congress critters are holding some hearings at the moment about whether or not all the torture and illegal detention of who knows how many people, and the lying about everything, is more or less impeachable than lying about a blow job. But they've already decided, before beginning, that they won't impeach or press charges no matter what they find. What a whimper.)

    Read the church committee hearings sometime, the watergate break in gets shown up as the barely relevant clown show that it was. COINTELPRO baby. That's what Nixon got away with. Spying and more on US citizens. Wiretaps, the works.

    Cheney felt that it was a damn shame that Nixon didn't stand up for that sh1t. When he said back in 2000 that he hoped to leave the Office of the President in a better condition that what they found it in; That's what he was talking about. Nothing to do with interns. FFS.

    Out of the church committee hearings came FISA, so that was the top of the target list.

    They had they telecom companies giving them access before 9/11. That's a known known. (Though now they've got immunity, we'll never know what went on, just like with the energy hearings.)

    All this zombie stuff that just keeps coming back when the GOP gets in charge. If they're not selling guns to the Iranians to fund death squads in central, they're fantasising about little pebbles of death that will fall from the sky. Every time it's the same, put some rakish chump in the hot seat and surround him with the undead. Cheney is at the heart, but Rummy and wolfie, feith and bunches of others that avoided jail for the Iran contra business are all still there, or bloviating about honor on the radio. They never go away, they always get forgiven.

    Now they've stacked Justice to the railings with nutjobs and clones. They've near broken the military, blackwater's building an air force. They're running two wars on the credit card, same time as cutting taxes and is there oversight on war profiteering? Is there fuck. They're torturing people and saying it's probably legal, as long as the main intent is not to cause pain. But Clinton was a parser, and that was bad. Bastard.

    Unfortunately Shakespeare is dead.

    Just kidding James ;)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Simon, Maureen Dowd! You mean the elderly schoolgirl of the NYT. Doesnt get any lighter weight than that.

    Oh, okay, if you say so. The reason I posted that was not because of Dowd but because of those she quotes in the piece, all of whom are taken from other places, and much quoted. I'm guessing those folks are lightweights too?

    Your ad hominem swing against Dowd is neither here nor there....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Nice summary Alex.
    The only thing I have to add is..
    Someone stood down NORAD for a few hours.
    Certainly worked out well for PNAC's "new Pearl Harbor".
    How convenient.
    But of course it was a cock-up. Not intentional. Oh no. Never.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    It gets worse.

    The official US policy on security is, in parts, a cut / paste of the PNAC document cited. The rest is a slightly more palatable re-expression of almost all of the fundamental points in the PNAC "draft".

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.pdf

    The trashing of competing centres of power (UN and EU) and dismissal of international law (implicit - not explicit)......it's all there.

    What has amazed me for the 6 or more years since I read the PNAC material is that how little attention it has received through the media and through official channels more or less anywhere.

    China read it. Russia read it. They signed an alliance explicitly to counter it back in 2001. They could see it for what it was and the roles of those involved. China has a space program with the goal of landing people on the Moon and mars BECAUSE of the policy approach outlined by the PNAC founders who ran the US government once Bush was elected. Bush's response to China was to announce the US, too, would go to the Moon and Mars.

    For anyone who has been paying attention, the events of the past few years were broadly predictable....and the consequences (higher interest rates, more expensive oil, declining US dollar) were also predictable....and I have been predicting them since 2002 if not earlier, based in large part on the chain reaction one could anticipate as a consequences of idiots like Wolfowitz, Cheney and Rumsfeld being allowed anywhere near the White House.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    You're channelling rightwingtalkingpoints.com right?

    Noting the positive effect of reforms supported by, amoung many others, the Chinese Communist party, Congress of India and the ANC is very rarely seen as "channelling rightwingtalkingpoints.com". The reforms are international phenomena, widely supported because of the positive effects they confer.

    How many time does the woman need to repeat that she's not against globalisation before her Sunday critics stop claiming that she is?

    If she ceases descibing reforms toward free markets are an evil blight upon world driven by a cabal of war-mongering American corporate imperialists. In other words, not this month.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Wurr,

    reforms toward free markets are an evil blight upon world driven by a cabal of war-mongering American corporate imperialists.

    Actually Angus that's a pretty good description that sums it up really! Well done.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    But of course it was a cock-up. Not intentional. Oh no. Never.

    I think the record of massive incompetence displayed by the Bush administration from there on sort of supports the cock-up theory, no?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Now they've stacked Justice to the railings with nutjobs and clones. They've near broken the military, blackwater's building an air force. They're running two wars on the credit card, same time as cutting taxes and is there oversight on war profiteering? Is there fuck. They're torturing people and saying it's probably legal, as long as the main intent is not to cause pain. But Clinton was a parser, and that was bad. Bastard.

    Awesome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Seaneen,

    The report “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century” was only but one milestone in the Necon Push for War

    1992 Draft Defense Planning Guidance
    Written by then-Defense Department staffers I. Lewis Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, and Zalmay Khalilzad for then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney
    The report called for massive increases in defense spending, the assertion of lone superpower status, the prevention of the emergence of any regional competitors, the use of preventive—or preemptive—force, and the idea of forsaking multilateralism if it did not suit U.S. interests.

    1996- Report: Why removing Saddam is crucial to Israel.
    Written by Feith, Wurmser and Fairbanks. (members of the Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies IASPS)
    Delivered in person by Perle to the Israeli Prime Minister.
    Perle was a member of both the PNAC & IASPS and was Defense Policy Board Chairman for Rumsfeld.

    1997- PNAC's founding "principles" signed by necons:
    Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby, Abrams.

    1998- PNAC letter to Clinton: removal of Saddam ... military efforts
    signed by: Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton, Abrams.

    1999- The Neocons' book on US/Israeli strategic interest in Iraq called “Tyranny's Ally: America's Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein”
    "Iraq's strategic importance to the US derives from a source beyond the pernicious, extortionist character of Saddam's regime. Iraq occupies some of the most strategically blessed and resource-laden territory of the middle east. ... Iraq also has large, proven oil reserves, water, ..." [Note that lack of water is a long-standing Israeli problem.]

    Sept. 2000 - "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." Signed by Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense secretary, I Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, William J Bennett, Reagan's education secretary, Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush's ambassador to Afghanistan and Jeb Bush (George W’s brother).
    Nov. 2000 The close election that brought Bush and Cheney to the White House hinged on the outcome of the Florida’s votes. At this time, the governor of Florida was Jeb Bush, also a PNAC signator. Jeb Bush, along with Katherine Harris, his secretary of state, were accused by the US Commission on Civil Rights of "injustice, ineptitude and inefficiency," and "gross dereliction [of duty]" with regard to Florida’s 2000 presidential election, which was riddled with numerous voting fraud issues

    Feb 2001- Paul O’Neil, W’s Secretary of the Treasury claims that the U.S the war in Iraq was planned from the first National Security Council meeting, soon after the administration took office with potential oil spoils charted in early documents

    September 11, 2001

    2001 - War selling by neocons' PNAC
    Sept. 11th - Rumsfeld: "Go massive. Sweep it all up. Related and Not."
    Sept. 15th - At Camp David, Wolfowitz made the case for action against Iraq.
    Sept. 19th - Rumsfeld & Perle call two-day meeting. Outcome summarized in The PNAC Letter, signed by Perle. "Even if evidence does not link Iraq ... remove Saddam Hussein." Focuses on Iraq, Hezbollah, the Palesinian Authority, little on Bin Laden.

    All that remained was to convince Bush, and they had him surrounded.

    No conspiracy? Yeah right

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    That Johan Norberg/Cato review of Klein's book shoots itself in the foot quite amusingly.

    Klein's analysis is hopelessly flawed at virtually every level. Friedman's own words reveal him to be an advocate of peace, democracy, and individual rights. He argued that gradual economic reforms were often preferable to swift ones and that the public should be fully informed about them, the better to prepare themselves in advance. Further, Friedman condemned the Pinochet regime and opposed the war in Iraq.

    And I hear he was kind to animals as well ... But his "condemnation" of Pinochet was a long time coming and he defended his relationship with the dictator by insisting that if Allende had been allowed to stay in office there would eventually have been worse abuses.

    Norberg's fanboy gushing gives way to plain historical ignorance:

    Klein's historical examples also fall apart under scrutiny ... She also argues that Thatcher used the Falklands War as cover for her unpopular economic policies, when actually those economic policies and their results enjoyed strong public support.

    That's hilarious. Early in 1982, Thatcher's government and its policies were deeply unpopular -- she was widely expected to lose the general election. The recovery of her fortunes was a direct result of her handling of the Falklands War.

    I suppose it might be an excuse that Norberg was only nine years old at the time, but it's very hard to take anything else he writes seriously.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    @seaneen great outline, but that doesn't amount to a conspiracy. that's an interest group.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Bruce,

    Thanks, its easy as piss though. All you have to do is disengage brain and make 3 to 6 correlations.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    No mention of Roger Douglas or Ruth Richardson? We may all be young - and some of us contemptuous of any idea that wasn't invented in the last ten years - but just because we weren't born when Douglas made his Mont Pellerin speech - forecasting how he would subsequently push his unpopular Chicago School ideas through - this surely doesn't excuse ignorance of recent NZ history.

    How can an intelligent analysis of anything that's going on be made if we think that - as one correspondent does - that Clark, Cullen and Bolger instigated free market reforms in this country?

    Some of us seem perfectly happy to agree with a right wing analysis of Klein's book without having thoroughly read it - or perhaps not having read it at all.

    She is not, for instance, 'incapable of understanding that authoritarianism of the sort represented by Pinochet may be as moved by a lust for power as by a lust for profits.'

    She says: 'He took power with unseemly relish, adopting the airs of a monarch and claiming that 'destiny' had given him the job'. She also describes his lack of economic expertise which led him to listen to the 'Chicago Boys', the subsequent economic collapse as a result of their policies and the accompanying social consequences - dreadful poverty, 30% unemployment and all social support stripped away.

    Then she describes how Pinochet was forced to renationalise industries that 'the prihanas' the Chicago Boys' policies let in had asset-stripped, Enron style. The move away from Friedman's policies, Klein asserts, is why the country eventually prospered.

    Jonathan Chait seems to be an apologist for Milton Friedman, who has attempted to simplify and ridicule Klein's anlysis so that we'll all look the other way, while the neo-cons get on with the job.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    No mention of Roger Douglas or Ruth Richardson?

    I was honestly waiting for that - I wouldn't have dreamt of raising it myself. But she doesn't mention it in the book either, and one has to wonder if the fact that Lange got a second term was too hostile to her argument - there are questions about her intellectual honesty that the book begs a little too often.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Worthington,

    I think Norberg argues quite convincingly that Klein has no real grasp of Friedman's political or economic philosophy. But really, shoudn't Klein's omission of the fact that Friedman opposed the Iraq war from the beginning be enough of a WTF for Klein's thesis?

    Attacking Friedman for not vehemently opposing Pinochet's regime seems kinda weak to me, on par with criticizing Noam Chomsky for being an apologist for the Khmer Rouge (to give a comparable example).

    I suppose it might be an excuse that Norberg was only nine years old at the time, but it's very hard to take anything else he writes seriously.

    Norberg footnotes that claim, the paper is here (gated unfortunately). The abstract follows:

    Mrs Thatcher's decisive and determined stand during the Falklands crisis in 1982 has been widely credited with restoring the electoral fortunes of the Conservative party in the run-up to the 1983 general election. This article argues that the Falklands war produced a boost to Conservative popularity of at most three percentage points for a period of only three months. Government popularity was already accelerating as a result of macroeconomic factors before the outbreak of the Falklands crisis, in particular 'personal economic expectations' proved to be of critical theoretical and empirical significance, and can be modelled satisfactorily on the basis purely of objective macroeconomic indices. Thus macroeconomic factors were at the root of the revival of Mrs Thatcher's political fortunes, and most of the boost to government popularity which occurred in the spring of 1982 derived from intelligent (or cynical) macroeconomic management. The Falklands crisis merely coincided with a jump in government popularity which would have occurred anyway in the wake of Geoffrey Howe's 1982 Budget.

    Since Jan 2008 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Attacking Friedman for not vehemently opposing Pinochet's regime seems kinda weak to me

    Big difference between not vehemently opposing and actively helping out - Friedman did the latter, no matter how careful he later became to combat the perception that he was working for Pinochet. He was invited to give lectures by an independent foundation (cue Tui ad slogan), and he had at least one private meeting with Pinochet when Allende's body was still warm. That would be enough for me, even if the Chicago school hadn't mantained ties for years with the regime. (Which it did.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The Falklands crisis merely coincided with a jump in government popularity which would have occurred anyway in the wake of Geoffrey Howe's 1982 Budget.

    Having been in London at the time the bounce from the very real and tangible patriotic fervour was obvious. The, for want of a better phrase, working class, embrace of the 'gotcha' fever, the patriotic songs in pubs and the gung-ho-ness of traditional labour voters was hard to miss. I well remember groups of guys chanting 'Maggie-Maggie-Maggie' in the streets.

    Whether it would've lasted is another matter of course.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    onathan Chait seems to be an apologist for Milton Friedman, who has attempted to simplify and ridicule Klein's anlysis so that we'll all look the other way, while the neo-cons get on with the job.

    Er, hardly. These are the opening paragraphs from his article from September last year, Feast of the Wingnuts:

    American politics has been hijacked by a tiny coterie of right-wing economic extremists, some of them ideological zealots, others merely greedy, a few of them possibly insane. The scope of their triumph is breathtaking. Over the course of the last three decades, they have moved from the right-wing fringe to the commanding heights of the national agenda. Notions that would have been laughed at a generation ago--that cutting taxes for the very rich is the best response to any and every economic circumstance or that it is perfectly appropriate to turn the most rapacious and self-interested elements of the business lobby into essentially an arm of the federal government--are now so pervasive, they barely attract any notice.

    The result has been a slowmotion disaster. Income inequality has approached levels normally associated with Third World oligarchies, not healthy Western democracies. The federal government has grown so encrusted with business lobbyists that it can no longer meet the great public challenges of our time. Not even many conservative voters or intellectuals find the result congenial. Government is no smaller--it is simply more debt-ridden and more beholden to wealthy elites.

    It's a great read.

    OTOH, he was one of those liberals who supported the Iraq war then almost immediately changed his mind.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    The recovery of her fortunes was a direct result of her handling of the Falklands War.

    There was that.

    But this:

    Thus macroeconomic factors were at the root of the revival of Mrs Thatcher's political fortunes, and most of the boost to government popularity which occurred in the spring of 1982 derived from intelligent (or cynical) macroeconomic management.

    Conveniently ingores the self destruction of the Labour party and its near takeover by what were seen as extremists - typified by Militant Tendency.

    The context of 1983 had *nothing* to do with the popularity of economic reforms, they were very unpopular, but everything to do with the fact that at the time, compared to the opposition, Thatcher was the "centre". And we all know where elections are won from, right?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Worthington,

    Big difference between not vehemently opposing and actively helping out - Friedman did the latter

    But that seems even weaker. Since when is it a sin to give policy advice to any country that isn't a liberal democracy? I doubt you or Klein would have had any problem with this if his advice had been to establish a Nordic-style social welfare state.

    And "actively helping out" consists of a few public lectures, one meeting with Pinochet, and a letter, all of which featured exactly the same policy prescription that Friedman gave everywhere throughout his life.

    Since Jan 2008 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    __Big difference between not vehemently opposing and actively helping out - Friedman did the latter__

    But that seems even weaker. Since when is it a sin to give policy advice to any country that isn't a liberal democracy?

    Since always. And Friedman's remark that if Allende had been left in power a few years down the road the Chileans would have fared even worse than under Pinochet is despicable to say the least. The man wasn't deposed; he was murdered.

    It seems difficult to fault Klein here: her argument is that Friedman and the Chicago school jumped at the opportunity to test their theories on a nation that could be turned into a blank slate precisely because democracy had been brutally suspended. Claiming that it was no sin really is no rebuttal - it was what it was, we can all judge for ourselves.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Since always. And Friedman's remark that if Allende had been left in power a few years down the road the Chileans would have fared even worse than under Pinochet is despicable to say the least. The man wasn't deposed; he was murdered.

    That reminds me of Owen McShane's infamous quote about how Allende et al never got credit for the way they paved the way for democracy in Chile. He didn't seem to grasp that the guy they killed had been elected.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

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