The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Shock Doctrine

American Renewal and Restoration Watch

Now that President-in-exile Gore has won an Emmy, an Oscar (or rather his producers did), and the Nobel Peace Prize, and has yet to definitively disavow that he is running for the nomination, the question still remains: is he running or isn’t he? He has said that he didn’t see the need to run in such a long pre-election campaign, but he needs to get his name on some ballots between now and when the primaries start happening, and some of those deadlines are coming up in the next couple of weeks. So maybe he isn’t really running. On the other hand, there are these three brief videos, posted just yesterday, on Gore’s website. They are obviously position statements, to restore the fourth amendment, to pull out of Iraq, and for single payer universal health care. Why would he post them if he were not running? And note how he continues to campaign directly to the citizenry, doing an end run around the press corpse. Nicely done, Mr. President.

9/11 Changed Everything Watch

If the claims of Joe Nacchio, who is the former CEO of Qwest, the only large telecom business which apparently did not go right along with the administration’s warrantless eavesdropping scheme, are true, then not only did this administration begin illegally spying on the population (including Democratic politicians, political activists, and journalists) almost immediately upon arriving in office, at least seven months before September 11th, but that spying program failed to stop both the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks. So, this story takes away both of the bogus justifications for such gross lawbreaking: that it could help stop terrorist attacks, and that it was necessary after 9/11.

Two Naomis Watch

Two brilliant women who both happen to be named Naomi have excellent, important books out right now. The first is Naomi Wolf, whose book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, was foreshadowed by this article in which she described the ten warning signs of an authoritarian takeover of a government. Her message is urgent and timely. You can watch Ms. Wolf discuss her book with Stephen Colbert, and while you are at it, see Colbert’s Daily Show feature “So, You’re Living in a Police State”. Wolf wrote a short piece recently describing some of her experiences on her book tour, and her call to action against authoritarian government trends.

The second Naomi is Naomi Klein, who has written what I think is probably the most important book in the last 40 years. It is called the Shock Doctrine, and I’m about 2/3 of the way through it right now. Her thesis is that there is a group of people who really do believe that the world would be a better place (for them) if people were valued only as much as they created profit for corporations. These people have been instrumental in the multinational corporation pillage of countries starting with Chile’s Pinochet government. These people, disciples of Milton Friedman’s University of Chicago school of economics, always favor completely unfettered capitalism over democracy. And they are in charge of the IMF, the WTO, and other organizations that use debt as a club to force democracies to privatize their assests and destroy worker protections and social programs. The first part of the book is a recent history, starting in the mid 1960s, of the reforms in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Poland, South Africa, Russia, Indonesia, and the meltdown of the Asian markets in Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea in the last decade. Everywhere these ubercapitalists go, they spread economic destruction, death, misery, and repression of the people, coupled with authoritarian strongmen. After reading the first part of the book, seeing the same pattern emerging again and again, you begin to realize that what is going on in Iraq is just part of the same pattern. In fact, it becomes inevitable after knowing the histories of these other countries. Iraq has been opened up, not for democracy, but for capitalism, and the worst kind of corrupt, horrible, Hobbesian capitalism at that. An extremely erudite, crystallizing book. You can read Jane Smiley’s review of the book, or see Klein discussing her ideas in a brief, or a longer, format. If you read only one book this year, you should read more books! Actually, read this one if you get a chance. Here’s an excellent article on the “neoliberal” school of Friedmanite economists, as well.

Top Ten Idiots Watch

Check out this week’s Top Ten list at Democratic Underground.

#5 Blackwater

In Idiots 309 I noted that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Naturally) had been out and about defending the mercenaries of Blackwater after they allegedly massacred 17 Iraqi civilians. Issa argued that an attack on Blackwater is essentially an attack on General Bringing Sexy Back Petraeus, and obviously we can't have that.

I wonder how Issa feels about Blackwater after this news was reported last week?
The colonel was furious. "Can you believe it? They actually drew their weapons on U.S. soldiers." He was describing a 2006 car accident, in which an SUV full of Blackwater operatives had crashed into a U.S. Army Humvee on a street in Baghdad's Green Zone. The colonel, who was involved in a follow-up investigation and spoke on the condition he not be named, said the Blackwater guards disarmed the U.S. Army soldiers and made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV.

No, wait, don't tell me... wondering whether mercenaries should go around disarming U.S. soldiers and making them lie on the ground at gunpoint is an attack on General Petraeus.


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