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Stan
Reply with quote  #1 
Here's an interesting article about what the Bush regime would like to ┬┐accomplish? in Iraq

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/ali-allawi-this-raises-huge-questions-over-our-independence-840511.html

Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #2 

No good news on the Iraq front, of course, with the "Democratic" Congress once again coughing up $160,000,000,000 additional dollars to squander on nothing of value to Americans. Even worse, the same "Democratic" Congress just caved in to Deputy Dubya and the telecommunications companies on the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights to privacy -- the so-called "compromise" (i.e., capitulation) FISA bill. As Republican Senator Kit Bond exulted:

Quote:
When the Government tells you to do something, I think you all recognize, uh, that that is something that you need to do.


Senator -- and now presumptive Democratic Party nominee for President -- Barack Obama joins majority leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in agreeing to these twin sell-outs of American citizens -- stealing their money and their liberties -- because, well, otherwise the despised and discredited Republicans will say more bad stuff about Democrats. To quote Colonel Kurtz somewhere in the deepest jungles of Southeast Asia: "Oh, the horror!"

In this "time of grave threats" to America, as Senator Obama and Deputy Dubya Bush keep moaning in unison, it obviously makes no sense to uphold the basic rights of Americans because, obviously, if Americans have no freedoms then the "terrorists" will have no reason to attack America. Free Americans will always live in danger. Slavish Americans can only feel perfectly safe. Yes. I think I've finally figured out the despicable duet that Deputy Dubya Bush and Senator Barack Obama now sing as one virulent, venal voice. 

There you have it, fellow Crimestoppers: more of the same that some people wish to call "change." I don't believe it, and I don't believe in it.

 

Stan
Reply with quote  #3 
Mike

You are exactly right which is why, as I have said many times, I have never held out any hope for America. One thing though that I may disagree with you about. Indeed leaders are supposed to lead their people by example and sacrifice. If those same people however say to them that they are afraid and that they would prefer security over liberty what's a politician to do? Although polls are leaky, they have consistently shown Americans to be afraid and willing to make that sacrifice that Ben Franklin demanded. Why are free people so anxious to forego their freedom?

Belief in these polls brings me to the topic of Belief as espoused by CS Peirce. He propounds that belief is only the culmination of the dynamic called doubt. Without that doubt their is no reason for inquiry and the belief in something. Good points all but does that reflect the attitude of Americans about the need for national security? Does that fuel the pernicious attempts by politicians to blackmail people into wars and extravagant military expenditures? Yes indeed, because it seems that the business of politicians, US politicians especially, is to sow that doubt in the populace. Then the public is presented the usual pseudo facts to support the thesis about the threat. The public then concludes via polls (believes) that the threat exists and gives the politician free reign to take their rights. A vicious circle made more vicious by a belief in a lie.

Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #4 

Thanks for the comments about C. S. Peirce, Stan. However, in the present context of fear-induced American political subservience -- especially as evidenced by the present Democratic Party "leadership" -- I think you misconstrue what he meant by "doubt" and "belief." Peirce made the neurological analogy (long before Alfred Korzybski) of an "itch" (doubt) that one cannot refrain from scratching until the irritation goes away, as opposed to "belief" which shows itself in the satisfied, anticipatory habit of salivating at the smell of a peach. Beliefs mean only the habits they manifest, Peirce claimed, and when any real doubt arises as to just how we ought to behave, a struggle ensues to reduce uncertainty to fixed habits that will guide future behavior in similar circumstances. As Peirce went to great lengths to show:

Quote:
"Belief does not make us act at once, but puts us into such a condition that we shall behave in some certain way, when the occasion arises. Doubt has not the least such active effect, but stimulates us to inquiry until it is destroyed. ... With doubt, therefore, the struggle begins, and with the cessation of doubt it ends. Hence, the sole object of inquiry is the settlement of opinion."


As you've read, Peirce claimed that we remove (or avoid) true doubt so as to fix our belief-habits through one of four methods: Tenacity, Authority, A-Priori Reasoning (rationalization), and Scientific Method. In our present unhappy and maladjusted political environment, the two right wings of America's single Janus Party have resorted to fear and loathing (the nebulous "time of grave threats") once again as stimulants to evoke predictable, habitual subservience in the browbeaten populace -- hardly the true "doubt" that leads to scientific inquiry as espoused by Peirce. For a fleeting moment I once thought that Barack Obama would prove that rare political exception who trusts the people to confront doubt by reasoning in a real way about how we might best overcome our difficulties and re-establish lawful, peaceful government of ourselves, by ourselves, and for ourselves. Yet his most recent twin betrayals of that brief promise only demonstrate Peirce's dictum that:
Quote:
"The method of authority will always govern the mass of mankind; and those who wield the various forms of organized force in the state will never be convinced that dangerous reasoning ought not to be suppressed in some way. If liberty of speech is to be untrammeled from the grosser forms of constraint, then uniformity of opinion will be secured by a moral terrorism to which the respectability of society will give its thorough approval. Following the method of authority is the path of peace."  

The "Democratic" presidential face of the corrupt Janus Party nearly always betrays the "left" that nominates him (or her) in favor of courting the reactionary right (euphemistically called the "center") in the general election. Senator You-Know-Her made the mistake of thinking that she could just skip the pro-forma courting of the "liberals" entirely and get right to the betrayal business after only about one month for perfunctory voting, if that. Senator Barack Obama more astutely did the traditional thing of first paying lip service to "liberal" concerns about worthless war and ruinous corporate rapacity before ultimately distancing himself from the "lefties" the moment they had handed him his nomination. Barack Obama now finds himself the "leader" of a "Democratic" Party half of whose caucus will vote in lockstep with the solid Republican minority on every issue eviscerating America's hope for a lawful, peaceful future. And where the rabid reactionary Republican-Democrats lead, Barack Obama seems only too willing to follow. He just talks better about doing so than the dyslexic dwarf chimpanzee Deputy Dubya Bush.   

Stan
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Mike

Let me say forthwith that I do intend to comment on the whole of Peirce's "Fixation on Belief" much more comprehensively after I have digested the essay several times. Peirce is not difficult per se (as insisted by Menand) but I believe he requires a few readings to get your brain to fully realize his innermost concepts. By that I mean that each time i have reread this essay (Fixation..) I have found something new. My reading on doubt I now feel to be the reverse of what he actually meant. That is that Doubt which would lead to inquiry is eliminated in the US, as it was in many regimes, by Authoritarian indoctrination as opposed to my preferred method Tenacity,, which he says is asocial, on behalf of the self without regard to the opinions of others. Of course where would you get consensus without the social means? More about that at another time.

What you describe as the flavor of today's US regime of course fits perfectly into his second  method of belief, Authority. BTW I liked the first method, Tenacity, best as it most adequately describes my method of everything. If at first I don't believe try try again and again. In my case it always results in going back to the drawing board for another reading and ending up agnostic. His Authority of course also confirms US religious and political indoctrination. In today's US anyone who wants to talk about peace is an enemy of the state (militarism), anyone who admonishes Israel is anti semitic, anyone who talks about mass transit is unAmerican ad nauseum. Non believers, that is freethinkers, are purged by various and sundry means, drummed out of jobs in journalism, marginalized into the shadows etc.

I heard Marco of Koz this morning discussing the gradual incing away from his principles evinced by Obama lately. He averred that; where else does the base have to go after Obama renegs on all his primary promises? Nowhere I guess except maybe back to good old reliable Nader which in the over all picture is nowhere. My son argued this to me the other night insisting that he can vote for no one but Ralph given the choices. As I told him that will be a comfort to him but not the US. Geez, it's the same old argument over and over. No wonder I have given up hope and devoted (great word no) myself to this kind and generous counrty where I now reside.

katbarb
Reply with quote  #6 
I heard Nader commenting on the race a couple weeks ago, on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now.  His commentary on the presidential elections has for each cycle been priceless and is much more valuable than his candidacy.  I only wish it were getting more airplay.  It would cut through so much banality and well, I guess that's why it doesn't get more airplay...but, we sure need it. 

On Obama he said, "we now have to examine Obama very carefully" and I agree.  I've been disappointed.  Well, I was disappointed early on, pretty much writing him off after he embraced ethanol in Iowa which I thought was pandering in the extreme (I share Fidel Castro's position on ethanol).  When I started listening to him, after he took off, I miss the feeling I used to get, that he was talking up to his audience, challenging them, and showing a capacity for responding to them, that the other candidates did not, that distinguished him at first.  His refrain for unity is still intact, welcome, balm to tattered souls, both Democratic and Republican (yes, this bloodsport of words has wounded many, but more I think is a rising realization that we are in a hell of a mess, and in it together, and this offers a way out). 

An independent caller (Washington Journal divides callers into Repub, Dem, and independent) and grassroots activist for Barack Obama called into Washington Journal this morning and was irate with the Obama campaign, saying no one could get a message through to him, he was being 'handled' to soft-pedal and centralize his message, and that the Clintons were now controlling him.  I think it's time for Barack's supporters to start planning to pressuring him to make some concrete statements like, correcting the broken FCC, restoring internet neutrality, and calling licensee networks back to their original mission as trustees of a public resource. 

I saw snippets of the joint Clinton/Obama appearance in Unity, NH, all the news today.  I was glad to see it.  The Hillary Bitterees are still there, forming groups like PUMA "Party Unity My Ass" and others I forget, and noisily proclaiming their intention to vote for McCain.  So Hillary's heartfelt message was well received, and they chose a place least likely to find anyone in the audience who wasn't going to echo and exemplify the theme of the day.  Hillary will be welcome in the campaign and in the administration; I can think of much I would turn her loose on: fixing our broken regulatory system[s] for example. 

But it remains for Obama to continue to prove himself all the way to the election.  It sadly looks like he will figure on pocketing the liberal wing of the party and taking it for granted (as so many other Democratic candidates have) that they'll vote for him, so he can mosey over to the middle to look as mooshy as possible, kind of a cornmeal mush campaign.  I never did like mush.  As for not being able to get a message to him, that is infuriating and rings true.  Lord knows I have looked all over his site for a place to send him a message.  It is not there. 

And happy solstice, to all who might have noticed.  I did not stay up all night.  Well, I might have. 

I'm feeling good, been making pilgrimages to the sticks and back.  Saw a house today that could be bought for probably $55,000.  In paradise.  Not that Paradise, the one where it is burning, but a sequioa glade, rich in green, softly humanized, and villagelike.  "Christiania with Sequioas" I thought.  Can't tell you it's name, it might be discovered.

Better yet, it [the house] slumps on the hill like a moth, badly broken, but still solid.  "not a doorknob worth saving!" exclaimed my friend, the contractor.  There is a lot of property up here with asking prices you probably thought you would never see again.  I had a thought the other day.  Let's inherit the earth while we can, hell, who knows how long we've got left?
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