Saturday, September 23, 2006

where's a real cowboy when we need one?

* there were some great comments to my " Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures" post

* calipendence:

It seems like we're heading to an opposite scenario posed by the movie in the 60's "Seven Days in May", where a loyal military advisor, played by Kirk Douglas, to an otherwise decent president had to expose and stop a coup by what many publicly saw as a good general (Burt Lancaster), but who had other goals of an "extremist takeover" probably from a crowd of the same likes of what Bushco is now. Now in reality, the good guys and the bad guys are reversed. That is what is so scary. When you get to this point its hard to put "trust" in a set of "good guys" to help restore our consitution and system of checks and balances, when they could have just as much ulterior power motives as those that they are pushing out of power. This is why, once we get Bush and his cronies out of power, if and when we do so, we need to make sure to put in some additional ammendments to the constitution (like a no-confidence citizen vote process or something like that) where we allow for a people-generated solution (without resorting to violent measures) can be used to force out a conspiracy of abusers like we have in power now.

I think the big problem we have today that I've been saying for some time, and in my mind is becoming bigger over time, is that we have a both a blessing and a curse of having had a decent, peaceful, and civilized society in the most powerful country now on earth for those generations that are living. Few people are left from the times of the depression or the civil war before that.

I say it's a blessing, since ideally it is what we all want to have (not necessarily to be the most "powerful" country, but one where outside forces can't take away this good situation from us). I say it is a curse, because I think that fear of the unkonwn if we try to work outside of our constitutional system of balances is paralyzing most of us into inaction now, unlike what would be the case in other countries, where they've had more recent times that they or their parents can remember of knowing when the time had come that they have to use force to change a bad situation, and also knowing that later, a better system could be restored after the chaos was overcome.

We don't have that experience here. We don't know what would be the endgame if we decided to take up arms. There's no centralized organization that we can all work with that would be organized and powerful enough to take on that of the most powerful government on earth if we needed to. We don't know if they would brush us aside (through th emedia, etc. like they've been doing with lesser contentious civil disobediance we've been engaging in over the last few years), or if they'd draw the line at some point and start using more extreme measures to shut dissent down, as was hinted by the "testing of microwave weapons". Most of us are afraid to take on that unkonwn outcome. We don't want to upset the apple cart we've had for so long and risk making this the worst possible government on earth if martial law is declared here.

In other countries in the past, the citizens in these situaions, even if faced with a very powerful government against them, have felt that there were other governments or world entities as powerful or more powerful than the government they are dealing with, that could through various means come to their aid to help them shut down any move towards oppression, though in many cases that's not happened. Nevertheless, that gave folks hope that helped them do things as needed to bring down a government. If the U.S. didn't exist at the time the Soviet Union fell, I wonder if their people would have had the courage to stand behind Yeltsin, etc. to stand up to their government. They knew that we would help support forces that would help bring down any move towards extreme opression if it happened. And so did those in control of the communist government at the time. We unfortunately don't have that scenario here now. There is no outside entity we can count on that would take on a Bush regime if they decided to suddenly suspend the constitution and come down on our citizens hard. Whether or not the EU or others might come in forcefully to help us, the perception that they won't or won't be able to is what keeps our climate of fear more debilitating.

This is why there was the most misunderstood part of V for Vendetta movie recently that I think struck a nail on the head. Many couldn't understand why V would go through with the masquerade of torturing Evie, etc. and still be true to wanting to "liberate" the people from the dictatorship posed in that movie. The key was to get rid of the fear of death or anything else that the state could do to the individual. This is what the Islamic extremists have learned. They've lost their fear of death, and that's what make them such a threat to this administration. Now terrorism itself at times when it is massacring innocent people is another thing that I don't care to justify here, but until we here all collectively shut down our fear of death and the unkonwn, this revolution won't happen.

One thing I'm hopeful for is that if we do get enough vets coming back from Iraq who've been put into extreme situations and have lost their fear in simliar ways that Evie had in a similar fashion, that many of them running for congress as Dems (and hopefully winning seats), will use this greater relative courage, to help lead us at times when we do need to put aside our fears if more extreme measures are needed.

I don't think our systemic means to fight this regime are worn out yet, but there will need to be some more radical responses needed at times I think. Perhaps even something like California secession (which my handle kind of was set up in sympathy for back in 2004), which might lead other states to do the same thing, might force the federal government's hand, but bring state resources to bear in helping us fight this government oppression. That means we first need to vote out Arnold and Bruce McPherson this November, and follow up with perhaps voting on a state proposition to set up a state militia to be used for state business instead of what we'd normally appeal to the national guard to do, which could also serve as a starting point for having an opposition military force later if that's needed. At some point, if we here in California continue to be asked to pay in more than we're getting back from the feds, we might declare that we'll stop doing so as a first blow in such of a move towards secession. California as a separate nation would be theoretically the fifth most powerful on earth (economically, etc.), though a lot of logistics would have to be worked out to make it independent. Therefore it perhaps could be that "extra entity of support" that would remove citizens fear of moving against an oppressive Bush regime government. Especially if states like Oregon, Washington, New York and other eastern states joined on at some point (and made a coalition with Canada).

We're a bit far away from this at this point, but if we do get to what's being discussed here, at some point it may come to that. Though I'd like to hope that a well meaning general would do the right thing and put back in place a constitutionally run government after the smoke clears, we might have to be prepared for the military being a problem too afterwards.

It is movements like that, and not just random citizen unrest, which will be needed to throw out this regime by force if it is needed."

* damien:
Calipedence, some excellent points and very well said. I'm a bit doubtful about the public context in which changes are taking place within the US and globally. It's a question of awareness and public perceptions as they now stand. What is it, 70% of Americans currently believe Iran possesses nuclear weapons, or is close to getting them? That kind of disinformation is a powerful mechanism for drowning out any voices of protest. If there is a nuclear 'October Surprise' then the propaganda value would be almost insourmountable. Police state mechanisms, heavy censorship, web site crackdowns, Republican gains in the Nov elections etc. It simply may not be possible to generate any public acceptance for civil protest. US society will be deeply divided and the majority will be driven by fear and not in the mood to entertain 'wild conspiracies' of any kind.

There are other ingredients. Remember, for a lot of Americans the war on terror is still far away. The shops are open, the Dodgers are playing better, American Idol and Katie Couric are all 'evidence' to many people that the mechanisms of US democracy are functioning just fine, despite the war in Iraq. So there are enormous social and cultural factors at work against asking any hard political questions. A nuclear explosion - or even a dirty bomb - is a hell of a shove towards social compliance.

I'm not very hopeful. I read the papers in my own country, Australia, and I am appalled at the superficial, uninformed and jingoistic material there. Our leading newspapers are all Murdoch owned with feature writers somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan. Our letters columns are full of heated debate about whether muslims are 'good' or 'bad'. But there is almost no informed debate because the kind of background material we get here with Lukery, and elsewhere, is just totally absent. People are discussing the Middle East as they would football teams, with a thick spread of 'war on terror' pasted on top.

Undoubtedly Europe is very different and I expect that they would take a far more vigorous stand if Bush decided to go nuclear against Iran (or by proxy, through Israel). If Iran gets seriously attacked just keep in mind that China, Russia and Iran have a mutual defence pact and that events in the US could be completely overshadowed by conflict in the ME with those countries.

The capacity of US as a society to resist the fait acompli that would follow any nuclear-type terrorist incident within the US is almost zero, in my view. These power bunnies are not going to give up without a fight, and they will use EVERY false statement and piece of propaganda they can to achieve their ends.

It's a strange aspect that a US military revolt may provide the only solution. I know some Americans whose passports are in place if things turn nasty.

One thing I have figured out about these guys. They ARE on a complete par with the 1930s German leadership. Completely criminal, unpredictable and VERY dangerous. Let's hope that luck prevails and these bozos forgoe the big pusch. Cheers.

* anon:
"I cannot believe it would be "a hope" to see this happen either...or for our "saving grace." But if Fitzgerald, the US military and whatever uncorrupted officials, agents and anyone else sworn to uphold the Constitution don't get off their @sses and call a halt to this VERY soon-like within the next week or so-the United States of America as we all knew it is OVER. Democracy cancelled...
I'll never forgive any of them if this happens-and they shouldn't bother to call themselves Americans since they are aiding and abetting an un-American, illegal form of government and allowing its overthrow to be complete.
Rove has stated he has an "October Surprise" for the nation. Only God and the devil know what that may be...
Who knew America was so full of cowards...where's a real cowboy when we need one?"
thnx everyone


Superteemu said...

Calipendence: "we have a both a blessing and a curse of having had a decent, peaceful, and civilized society in the most powerful country now on earth for those generations that are living"

Very, very good post!

However, to the above I'd rather say disinterested, phlegmatic and comatose. I can't exactly define where the line between passive observing and criminal negligence should be drawn, but - as someone said of porn, "I know it when I see it" - I know that current passivity of masses is as much acceptable as Mr. Goatse's famous pose is an innoncent piece of tasteful nudity.

(If you don't know what I'm referring to, I suggest you not to look it up.)


Cali: It is movements like that, and not just random citizen unrest, which will be needed to throw out this regime by force if it is needed.

Also, it's movements like that can be used to justify to really come down like a ton of bricks on civil liberties.

lukery said...

teemu: "Also, it's movements like that can be used to justify to really come down like a ton of bricks on civil liberties."
indeed. the question is whether it is better to be a slowly boiled frog. revoultion is dangerous. incrementalism is dangerous.

calipendence said...

Luke you took the words out of my mouth. I had after I posted thought about putting in the slow boiling frog analogy myself. Great minds think alike. I know what he's saying though. It's kind of like the decision Sibel has of trying to pick at the small opportunities to "legally" get out her story or coax others to figure it out through hints, vs. coming out and taking the state head on and risk being shut down quickly so one can't be effective at all and are living in prison to boot.

It's not an easy decision to make. But the slow boiling frog syndrome as Luke mentions is also in some respects more dangerous, if the frog boils too long.

lukery said...

But the slow boiling frog syndrome as Luke mentions is also in some respects more dangerous, if the frog boils too long.
imagine what we would have done in DEc2000 if we knew that we'd be where we are today.