Tuesday, September 06, 2005

We're With the Government, We're Here To Help You.

Is there a lesson in all that we’ve seen, in the acts and deeds of the Federal Government of late? Is there a clear and resounding message coming from the Bush administration and all levels of the Federal Government?

I think there is. From the Supreme Court’s recent eminent domain decision, to the new draconian bankruptcy laws, to thousands dead in New Orleans, and numerous other anti-citizen decisions, the message is clear.

And the message is, give us your money, the sweat of your brow, your lives, your love, your faith, your patriotism and don’t you dare ask for anything in return.

Through this crisis, we’ve learned that our Federal Government has slashed many more programs than many American could possibly be aware of. And yet, our taxes are relatively unchanged and the government is letting the deficit soar. Bush gave the middle class a what? $500/tax break while giving many substantial tax breaks, to the wealthiest Americans. Billions in subsidies to Exxon for instance.

Whether this trend is incompetence, negligence, indifferent neglect or an active movement to destroy the American way of life really doesn’t matter. What we need to understand is that the US government is done with returning value to its citizens, for our sacrifice in tax dollars. And doesn’t it make sense? The federal government likely earns more money through deficit spending, than it does from any other source. It’s a self sufficient entity that feeds on itself for sustenance.

And what does that mean for us, what should we do? Hell if I know. Waco and Ruby Ridge tell us that the Government is in no way going to let citizens stand up to it. So I guess all we can do is give the government money, while the government slashes reinvestment in the things that keep the US humming. If we get in trouble, then the message from the federal government is to, ‘Just Die’.

And I suppose with the specter of peak oil and the end of growth knocking on the door, this is the logical progression for a nation to take. In just a few short years, natural gas is going to make a dramatic decline in the US. With that, our ability to manufacture concrete will diminish with it. Construction all over the US will wind down to nothing. Many of our freeways will lie unfinished. What will the apologists and blamers of victims, be saying then? That our lack of faith in the Free Market, killed our God?

And finally it’s late, so I don’t know the answer and I’m hitting the hay rather than research it. But on which Presidential watches have more Americans died from war, disease or natural disasters, than on President Bush’s? Would Abraham Lincoln have that distinction? Let’s pray that Bush doesn’t beat him out over the next three years.

The latest rumor pertaining to Homeland Security, they are expecting 40,000 dead from Katrina.


At 2:23 AM, Anonymous isaiah said...

you have a great eloquence for saying many of the important things that need to be said. We have become slaves to a fascist corporate-political empire without even looking up. "Just Die" is our new slogan, both domestically and internationally. fits right in with PO and overpopulation...

well, it was fun! (or we can at least pretend). i think laughing is the only way to keep sane sometimes...

At 4:12 AM, Blogger Russel said...

We can theorise about the effects of PO on the west / USA 'til the cows come home but I can tell you now that it has already hit the rest of the world. On a recent trip back home [South Africa] I discovered this first hand. Even in Israel [where i live today] there are noticable effects.

As for democracy well, be glad you don;t live in South Africa or Indonesia, two democracies that don't know how to work it:

Bali: The price of democracy
John Aglionby: NEWS ANALYSIS

Viewed through a prism of headlines, Indonesia can easily appear to be an unstable nation being ripped asunder by radical Islamists. Four big terrorist attacks by locally recruited militants in three years -- the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing, the 2003 bomb at the Jakarta Marriott hotel, last year’s bomb at the Australian embassy in Jakarta and last Saturday’s second Bali bombing -- suggest not only incompetent security forces but something profoundly wrong with society.

A further problem is the authorities’ refusal to rein in orthodox Islamist groups that have bullied more than two dozen churches into closure over the past two years and repeatedly attacked the Indian-based Ahmadiyah sect’s premises on the grounds of alleged deviancy, as well as a decision by the national ulemas council to ban pluralism and liberal teachings.

The most populous Muslim nation undoubtedly has its problems. Outposts of radicalism have taken root in much of the sprawling archipelago over the past seven years and militants continue to stoke communal conflict in the eastern islands of Sulawesi and the Moluccas.

Jemaah Islamiyah, the terror network linked to al-Qaeda that wants to turn most of South-East Asia into a caliphate, has put down deep roots in the country and some leading members, such as Azahari Husin (the Malaysian being blamed for orchestrating the last three of the four attacks), have been forming their own organisations with even more radical agendas. Azahari’s is called Thoifah Muqatilah (combat unit) and it is thought to want to escalate the struggle. Like the organisers of the London attacks, he uses fresh recruits unknown to the authorities who are willing to make martyrs of themselves.

Azahari and his cohorts are tapping into the resources of other radical groups, such as Kompak, based in Sulawesi; the Indonesian Mujahideen Movement, whose leader is Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, the alleged former head of Jemaah Islamiyah; and Darul Islam, a 55-year-old network that spawned most of the newer offshoots, including Jemaah Islamiyah.

Afraid of being seen as Western pawns by the country’s Muslim majority, the past four presidents have declined to crack down as hard as they could have on these radical groups, thereby allowing them to expand. The government and its people are now paying the price, having to quell extensive periods of unrest and prevent terrorist attacks with security and intelligence forces which, until very recently, were far from first-rate.

Having said all this, the radicalism must be placed in context. Despite its impact, the movement’s numbers are tiny and not growing fast. And despite the perceived global assault on Islam, the majority of Indonesia’s 190-million Muslims remain moderate. Islam arrived in Indonesia through trade rather than conquest, so not only does it lack some of the characteristics prevalent elsewhere, but it is also diluted by cultural traditions that predate its arrival. This is becoming manifest in domestic politics: Islamist parties are faring well, but only because they espouse clean, well-run government and shy away from demanding an Islamic state.

And history cannot be ignored. Radical Islam was born during the colonial era but was violently repressed during the 32-year dictatorship of General Suharto, supported by the West. When his regime collapsed in 1998, it was as if the lid had been blown off a pressure cooker. Radicalism thrived on the oxygen it had been starved of.

The other major development in Indonesia since 1998 is that it has transformed itself into a flourishing democracy. Indonesians directly elected their president for the first time this year and a return to authoritarianism seems unlikely. A new respect for law and order means that Indonesia is not willing to copy Malaysia and Singapore -- or the United States -- by detaining alleged militants and terrorists indefinitely without charge.

The Bali bombings are undoubtedly a partial consequence of this openness and no one doubts there will be more attacks. While the great majority of the nation condemns them, there seems to be an acceptance that giving everyone a voice is part of the price of becoming a democracy.


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