Republican shamelessness, part (?? I’ve lost count) —

I’m smacking this up a day later than I intended, so you’ve undoubtedly seen the stink somewhere (e.g., Altercation, Eschaton, Political Animal, and the Progress Report). Demonstrating just how willing the press is to regurgitate administration talking points, CNN reporter Kelli Arena tells us that Al Qaeda wants John Kerry to be elected because they’ll have a better chance of winning Iraq. How long will the press get away with this crap? The Eschaton link above has the email address for registering your disgust…

Meanwhile, was the latest warning really necessary, or was Ashcroft just starting to miss being in the spotlight? You know how he likes his face time.

Sad but true? —

George Monbiot has some bitter reflections on the western brand of “democracy.” These two paragraphs are not sequential in the essay; I’ve snipped them out for the points they make…

The real reason why Kerry won’t discuss the issues Kettle lists or, for that matter, any issues at all, is that the powers behind the powers in the US forbid both meaningful discussion of policy in public places and meaningful dissent in private places. This, of course, is why Kerry is the Democratic nominee, rather than someone who represents that portion of the electorate which isn’t married to heiresses and didn’t learn its politics at Yale’s Skull and Bones club. He could have offered the citizens of America free healthcare, but only if he was prepared to lose the support of the medical companies which will help to fund his re-election. He could have voted against the decision to attack Iraq, but only if he had been prepared for Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and every other major media outlet to ensure that he never again dared to show his face in public. John Kerry is the product of a system which has reduced democracy to a spectator sport. Democracy is the means by which the elite resolves its trifling differences while the rest of us look on…


From time to time a genuinely popular government, like Nelson Mandela’s ANC or Lula’s Partido dos Trabalhadores, will win the popular vote and stay in office. But it will retain power on one condition: that it compromises with capital (Mandela’s failure to pursue a coercive land reform programme, Lula’s capitulation to the IMF) until it differs from a government of the propertied class only by being a passive rather than an active partner in exploitation. Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall (and for quite a while before that), the triumphalists of the West have insisted that democracy is impossible without capitalism. It should surely be pretty obvious by now that democracy is impossible in the presence of capitalism or, for that matter, any system which permits the concentration of wealth.


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  1. I read Kelli Arena’s comment suggesting that Al Qaeda may believe they have a better shot at beating us with Kerry in the White House than Bush. It seemed like a perfectly legitimate comment to me. She never said that Al Qaeda WOULD have a better chance with a President Kerry, only that they MAY THINK they would.

    Well, they may think that, but that would reflect their misreading of Kerry and the defense-oriented Democrats he represents, not any objective reality.

    The rhetoric of radical Islamists has alwayed betrayed an even greater misunderstanding of us than we have had of them. They may respect Bush for his determination, but underestimate the value (to them) of his incompetence and that of his advisors. Since his thought processes are so much like their own, and they think of themselves as superior beings, it would be surprising if they did not respect him.

    If they could think in less Manichean terms, they would be much more fearful of a US President who knew where to fight and where not to, who could repair our working relationships with the rest of the civilized world, who would replace rapturous obsessions with pragmatic flexibility.

    If I were a part of the Al Qaeda network, and understood how much the ideologically-driven incompetence of Bush and the neocons had damaged our ability to track them down and kill them, I would pray every day for his reelection. But that would require more than psychotic cunning. It would require something beyond ANY religious fanatic: insight.

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