writing v. communications professionals

“Our cultural discourse is being dumbed-down by mass-media prose that is written too quickly, and therefore fails to due justice to the complexity of the world. On the other hand, prose that is revised and that the writer lives with awhile can go deeper and deeper and become more nuanced and truthful. This doesn’t happen for me in one or two or even five drafts. At the one-level draft, I don’t feel I really have much to offer. I am just: Guy, Typing.”

–George Saunders, from his blog on Amazon.com


1.5 political parties

Bush quietly advising Hillary Clinton, top Democrats, says new book
Bill Sammon, The Examiner
2007-09-24 23:33:00.0
Current rank: # 4 of 5,087

Washington, D.C. –
President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president.

In an interview for the new book “The Evangelical President,” White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said Bush has “been urging candidates: ‘Don’t get yourself too locked in where you stand right now. If you end up sitting where I sit, things could change dramatically.’ ”

Bolten said Bush wants enough continuity in his Iraq policy that “even a Democratic president would be in a position to sustain a legitimate presence there.”

“Especially if it’s a Democrat,” the chief of staff told The Examiner in his West Wing office. “He wants to create the conditions where a Democrat not only will have the leeway, but the obligation to see it out.”

To that end, the president has been sending advice, mostly through aides, aimed at preventing an abrupt withdrawal from Iraq in the event of a Democratic victory in November 2008.

“It’s different being a candidate and being the president,” Bush said in an Oval Office interview. “No matter who the president is, no matter what party, when they sit here in the Oval Office and seriously consider the effect of a vacuum being created in the Middle East, particularly one trying to be created by al Qaeda, they will then begin to understand the need to continue to support the young democracy.”

To that end, Bush is institutionalizing controversial anti-terror programs so they can be used by the next president.

“Look, I’d like to make as many hard decisions as I can make, and do a lot of the heavy lifting prior to whoever my successor is,” Bush said. “And then that person is going to have to come and look at the same data I’ve been looking at, and come to their own conclusion.”

As an example, Bush cited his detainee program, which allows him to keep enemy combatants imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay while they await adjudication. Bush is unmoved by endless criticism of the program because he says his successor will need it.

“I specifically talked about it so that a candidate and/or president wouldn’t have to deal with the issue,” he said. “The next person has got the opportunity to analyze the utility of the program and make his or her decision about whether or not it is necessary to protect the homeland. I suspect they’ll find that it is necessary. But my only point to you is that it was important for me to lay it out there, so that the politics wouldn’t enter into whether or not the program ought to survive beyond my period.”

The Examiner asked Bush why Democratic candidates such as Clinton and Barack Obama, who routinely lambaste his handling of Iraq, should take his advice.

“First of all, I expect them to criticize me. That’s one way you get elected in the Democratic primary, is to criticize the president,” Bush replied. “I don’t expect them to necessarily take advice from me. I would expect their insiders to at least get a perspective about how we see things.”

He added: “We have an obligation to make sure that whoever is interested, they get our point of view, because you want somebody running for president to at least understand all perspectives, apart from the politics.”

Besides, Bush suggested that Clinton and Obama just might benefit from his advice.

“If I were a candidate running for president in a complex world that we’re in, I would be asking my national security team to touch base with the White House just to at least listen about plans, thoughts,” he said.

So far, Bush has been encouraged by the fact that Democratic candidates are preserving enough wiggle room in their anti-war rhetoric to enable them to keep at least some troops in Iraq.

“If you listen carefully, there are Democrats that say, ‘Well, there needs to be some kind of presence,’” Bush said.

A senior White House official said the administration did not put much stock in pledges by Democratic presidential candidates to swiftly end the Iraq war if elected.

“Well, first of all, if you’re a presidential candidate,” the official said, “you’re able to [finesse] the public posturing that you may be required to do, or that you fall into doing.

“The other thing is, they are being advised by smart people,” the official said. “We’ve got colleagues here on the staff who have good communications with some of the thinkers on that side.

“And there is a recognition by most of them that there has to be a long-term presence by the United States if we hope to avoid America being brought back into the region in a very precarious way, at a point where all-out resources are required.”

One topic discussed by the White House and Democratic presidential campaigns is whether such a long-term presence should be inside Iraq, as Clinton prefers, or just outside, as Democratic candidate John Edwards has suggested.

Asked by The Examiner whether the Democrats were reluctant to have private contacts with the administration, the White House official replied: “No, I think they sort of welcome conversation.”

Besides, he said, Democrats understand the negative consequences of moving too quickly to reverse Bush’s Iraq policy. The official noted that in the wake of Vietnam, anti-war Democrats “suffered for 20-some-odd years because they were identified as the party, when it came to national security, of being weak.”

“If I were a Democrat, I would not want to be in a place where I was forcing us to withdraw in ’08,” he said. “It’s an election year and any bad consequences would immediately be on their head.

“One of two things will happen if a Democrat gets elected president,” he said. “They will either have to withdraw U.S. troops in order to remain true to the rhetoric — in which case, any consequences in the aftermath fall on their heads. Or they have to break their word, in which case they encourage fratricide on the left of their party. Now that’s a thorny issue to work through.”

Vice President Dick Cheney was philosophical about the possibility of a Democratic president fundamentally reversing the policies that he and Bush have worked so hard to implement in Iraq.

“It’s the nature of the business, in a sense,” he shrugged during an interview in his West Wing office. “I mean, you get two terms. We were fortunate to get two terms. And I think we’ll increasingly see a lot of emphasis on deciding who the next occupant of the Oval Office is going to be.”

army fascists

According to the head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannat, it is intolerable that British troops returning from Iraq to England are greeted by the public with indifference.

“We must move from being a society that uses the military as a political and media football and more towards seeing the military for what it is.” What the military is in Dannat’s view is “the instrument of foreign policy conducted by a democratically-elected government acting in the name of the people”.

Holy. Fucking. Shit. What la-la land is this guy in?

If the people fucking don’t like the war, though their fucking minimally-democratic government engages in war, then it stands to reason that the people will not be in love with the military. Indifference in that kind of context is extremely civil.

A “democratically-elected government acting in the name of the people” is a fucking legitimation construct, not an expression of the people’s will. What is Dannat asking for? Liberal representative democracy –dominated by Anglo-American capitalist interests–to be experienced as if it were direct democracy? Where does the insult and contempt end? Now everybody must rejoice and hug the police?

Goddamn, these fucking fascists really believe they’re doing us all a favor with their little oil-based worldwide kingdom of crap.

The reason why American soldiers receive such adulation in the US is because a tremendous percentage of the population–led by business firms–is happy with US imperialism. Because the US is a fascist country. Do you know how those people in the South think? Really. Really! Now take that and just spread it around the whole country, like it were, say, shit. And there you go: Garbage in, garbage out. In sum, garbage.

I fail to see why the Brits should kiss the hairy ass of old fascist Sir Dannat or his now-tough guys-now-sensitive-kittens cannon fodder.

I fail to see why the only working class people we should understand as human–both capable and in need of love and understanding–are soldiers. If it’s fuck equality, health, the environment and the welfare state for the rest of us, then throw your own parades and bake yourself your own cookies, jackasses.

capitalism v. democracy

Launching a new project:

I am assembling the record of US leaders’ anti-democratic statements, including opposition to social democracy.

First, I intend to gather quotes from Kissinger, as Naomi Klein (“Disaster Capitalism”) has recently brought up his opposition to to the good governance of Allende’s social democracy in Chile.

Below I quote Michael Parenti on capitalist anti-democracy:

“Consider the case of Cuba. We’re told that decades of U.S. hostility toward Cuba-including embargo, sabotage, and invasion-have resulted from our distaste for Castro’s autocratic government and from our concern for the freedoms of the Cuban people. But why this sudden urge to “restore” Cuban liberty? In the decades before the 1959 Cuban Revolution, successive U.S. administrations backed a brutally repressive autocracy headed by General Fulgencio Batista.

The significant but unspoken difference was that Batista was a comprador leader who kept Cuba wide open to U.S. capital penetration. In contrast, Castro eliminated the private corporate control of the economy, nationalized U.S. holdings, and renovated the class structure more equally and collectively: that’s what makes him so insufferable.

Far from supporting democracy around the world, the U.S. national security state since World War II has actively destroyed progressive democratic governments in some two dozen countries. In justifying the 1973 overthrow of Chile’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, Henry Kissinger argued that when pressed to choose between the economy and democracy, we must save the economy. More precisely, Kissinger wanted to save the private big corporate economy.

In two short years, Allende’s Popular Unity government noticeably shifted the gross national income away from wealthy elites who lived off interest, dividends, and rents, and toward those who lived off wages and salaries. In Allende’s Chile, the rich had their consumer goods rationed and were expected to pay taxes for the first time. Some of their holdings and businesses were nationalized. Meanwhile, the poor benefited from public works employment, literacy programs, worker cooperatives, and a free half-liter of milk each day for every child.

A few of Chile’s radio and television stations began offering a view of public affairs that differed from the ideological monopoly of the nation’s business-owned media. Far from endangering democracy, Allende’s Popular Unity government was endangering the privileged oligarchies by expanding democracy. What alarmed leaders like Kissinger was not that social democratic reforms were failing, but that they were succeeding. The trend toward politico-economic equality had to be stopped. In the name of saving Chile’s democracy, the CIA and the White House destroyed it, instituting a fascist dictatorship that tortured, executed, and “disappeared” thousands, and suppressed all opposition media, political parties, labor unions, and peasant organizations.

Immediately after the military coup, General Motors, which had closed its plants after Allende’s election, resumed operations, demonstrating how much more comfortable Big Capital is with fascism than with social democracy. Far from rescuing the economy, the CIA-sponsored coup provoked an era of skyrocketing inflation and national debt, with drastic increases in unemployment, poverty, and hunger.

Official Washington cannot reveal to the American people that its gargantuan military expenditures and belligerent interventions really make the world safe for General Motors, General Electric, General Dynamics, and all the other generals. Instead we are told that our nation’s security is at stake.”