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  1. The Unbearable Emptiness Of Democracy...

    Posted 8 May 2008

    The past few months of political intrigue around the new Serbian government are one of the best case studies for the vacuity of democracy in modern times.

    What is democracy, really? The Greek compound that meant "rule of the people" in Athenian practice denoted a political system in which decisions were made by a simple majority of present citizens (excluding women, slaves, children and foreigners). Socrates and his disciples spent a long time debating human motivations, nature, truth, virtue and justice, because they had to. Democracy itself was blind to virtue or vice; the will of the majority at any given time was supreme, even though that same will could be completely different the following day. Athenian philosophers thus devoted their lives' work to figuring out a way to make the majority's decisions good and moral. They never found one. Socrates was democratically sentenced to death for "blasphemy and corrupting the youth."

    What is democracy today? Is it just multi-party elections? Tolerance of political opposition? Freedom of the press, speech and thought? Everyone talks about democracy, but no one dares say what it means. When Serbian political magazine НСПМ reprinted one of my columns last year - in which I assailed the arbitrary definition of democracy by the Empire - I was criticized by another contributor for disputing "universal values.” What values?

    How can something that's absolutely undefined can be some sort of universal value, or a moral and ethical category? Yet "democracy" is being presented as both.

    For four days this month, Tomislav Nikolic was the Speaker of the Serbian assembly (Skupština). It's a largely administrative post, charged with presiding over the sessions and making sure the rules of order and conduct are followed. Now, it is true that under extreme circumstances, the Speaker could become the President of Serbia; this was used by the late Prime Minister Djindjic, who appointed his crony Natasa Micic to the spot just before arresting and extraditing President Milutinovic to the ICTY. However, given the atmosphere in the Serbian assembly, one would think only a hardcore masochist would want a job best described as "herding wildcats."

    Nikolic' s election was protested by EU commissars. A scheduled delegation from Brussels canceled its visit. The world media (otherwise known for their fair and impartial coverage of Serbs, right?) are spreading panic about Nikolic being an ”ultra-nationalist” etc. President Tadic, head of the Democratic Party, said Nikolic's election was ”harmful to state interests” and a ”democratic Serbia.” Or was that a Democratic Serbia?

    Tadic's party has been negotiating (or not) for months with the old PM Kostunica about a new government, without results. They claim they got the most votes, so they can dictate the make-up of the government. One teeny little problem with that argument is that the Radicals actually got the most votes. But that's an inconvenient truth, and thus overlooked in "democratic" discussion. Because, you see, only the "democratic bloc" can act democratically and build democracy in a democratic state... At which point I'm getting flashbacks to an 1980s cartoon where every Smurf smurfs smurfingly the entire smurfing day!

    The United States is (yes, singular, alas) the self-proclaimed pinnacle of democracy, a country that has arrogated itself the right to spread this concept of government throughout the world (by force if need be), and to judge everyone else's degree of democracy. So they are bothered by Nikolic, or Milosevic, or Lukasenko, or Putin - but not by a star like Saparmurat Niyazov. This recently deceased "president" of Turkmenistan, who declared himself a prophet, erected hundreds of golden statues to himself, abolished libraries and imposed his own book as the only literature Turkmens would ever need, etc. Turkey is considered a "democracy" even though the military has to stage a coup every couple of years to prevent Islamic radicals from getting into power via ballot-box. Boris Yeltsin, the recently deceased president of Russia, democratically sicced tanks on the parliament in 1993, with the roaring applause of Washington. Now that same Washington is jeering his successor Vladimir Putin for "autocracy" because he cracked down on NGOs receiving funding from abroad without adequate tax paperwork. I wish someone would try that sort of stunt in the "democratic" US of A, where no one messes with the IRS. In fact, the IRS is a favorite tool for cracking down on dissidents and undesirables, even though some years back there were those tanks and teargas in Waco...

    Come to think of it, Bush the Lesser got fewer votes than Al Gore in November 2000, thus becoming Emperor - er, President - on account of some shady voting in Florida. Relative thing, this democracy. Once all is added up, it turns out democracy is whatever the government in Washington or the commissars in Brussels say it is. At least the autocrats in Washington are elected; who voted for Olli Rehn, Javier Solana, or their fellows? To be clear, I honestly don't think being elected gives anyone legitimacy, but one can't exactly pontificate about the be-all-and-end-all character of democracy without even bothering to at least respect its forms!

    Did the Radicals get the most votes in the January election? Yes. Was it shocking that their leader became Speaker of the assembly? Yes, but it should not be. Was Nikolic's election democratic? Absolutely. That this bothers people whose mouths spew democracy daily is just proof of their hypocrisy. Either that, or that they don't know what democracy means. I'm not sure what's worse.

    Now, it's a whole different story that the Radicals refuse to propose a government of their own, because it's easier to criticize the "democrats" from the sidelines. It's as if politics were a reality-show contest rather than the very serious business of running a country in crisis. That's why I cringe at the popular exp​ression in Serbia, the "political elite." If this is "elite," then no wonder Serbia is in trouble.

    American Founders, back in 1791, didn't put a word about democracy in their Constitution (which had seven articles and ten amendments). It is said that Benjamin Franklin, asked about what the Convention had produced, replied, "A republic, if you can keep it." Ask an American today if his country is a republic or a democracy, he'll say "A democracy, of course." Poor Franklin was right about the "if" part.

    It was no accident that Orwell attempted to describe totalitarianism through the abuse of language. Every time I hear modern political discourse I get a feeling I'm listening to exercises in blackwhite doublethink of doubleplusgood duckspeakers.

    Democracy isn't half the things the "democrats" of all stripes claim it is. Nor is it intrinsically good or moral. It is simply a decision-making process in a political system that assumes the will of the majority is the best way to reach a solution. As to the validity of that assumption, I suggest you talk to Socrates.



    Though this is old and I for one believe in rule of majority as the best way to settle differences whether they be right or wrong; I thought he had a distinguished argument about what todays democracy means and what democracy is at its core.

    I would like to remind everyone that USAmerica praising a leader of a foreign country for being democratic while they bomb their own parliament or lock up political opponents is hardly new or isolated. Something not mentioned in the article is that the Nazis got re-elected in Germany after WW2 ended and USAmericans had to 'encourage' re-election. Same thing happened when the Baath party were elected after USAmerica had taken control of Iraq and again there was some 'encouragement' from the universal champion of democracy to re-elect. Lastly (something a bit more subtle) was that when the Democratic Opposition Coalition rioted in the streets of Belgrade and took over several government buildings they set most of the ballots on fire after they claimed the Socialist party had rigged the election. There are dozens of examples of outright transgression and subtle transgression on democracy made by the champion of democracy.
  2. Get The Evil Terrorist... Nelson Mandela?

    Posted 15 Apr 2008

    Long Overdue: Clearing Nelson Mandela’s Record
    By The Editorial Board
    Nelson Mandela needs a special waiver to visit the United States. In 2008.
    You read that right. The former president of South Africa, an icon in the struggle against apartheid, cannot enter this country without special permission.
    It’s a hold over from the past — and a travesty. Fortunately, Rep. Howard Berman of California, the new chairman of the House International Relations Committee, is trying to fix the problem.
    He has introduced legislation that would remove from U.S. databases any notation that would characterize current and former members of South Africa’s African National Congress — the anti-apartheid organization that Mr. Mandela once headed — as terrorists. It’s long overdue. Click here to read the text of the bill.
    South Africa’s apartheid regime banned the ANC in 1960 and its leaders were either imprisoned (like Mr. Mandela) or forced into exile. The organization engaged in armed struggle against apartheid for decades and was branded a terrorist group by both South Africa and the United States.
    Apartheid eventually collapsed under the weight of internal and external pressure. In 1990, the ANC became a legal political party and four years later, it won a landslide general election victory and Mr. Mandela became South Africa’s first black president.
    The United States no longer considers the ANC a terrorist group. But because it was designated as such by the South Africa’s long-discredited apartheid regime, its current and former members still show up on America’s travel and terrorism watch lists.
    Until recently, State Department officials preferred to grant ANC members waivers for travel to the United States on a case-by-case basis. They feared a more permanent exemption would open the floodgates to similar requests by other former terrorist groups. But that objection apparently now has been wisely dropped.
    As Mr. Berman has correctly observed: “The ANC sets an important example: It successfully made the change from armed struggle to peace. We should celebrate this transformation, and not continue a policy that is nearly two decades out of touch with reality.”


    I didnt know that Nelson Mandela was such a threat to USAmerica. I didnt know Nelson Mandela was ever a threat to USAmerica.

    I guess its true what they say: one mans champion for the overthrow of an evil and corrupt regime is another mans terrorist.
  3. 9/11 Denial

    Posted 4 Feb 2008

    It was the decisive moment of the South Carolina debate.
    Hearing Rep. Ron Paul recite the reasons for Arab and Islamic resentment of the United States, including 10 years of bombing and sanctions that brought death to thousands of Iraqis after the Gulf War, Rudy Giuliani broke format and exploded:

    "That's really an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of 9/11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I have ever heard that before, and I have heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11.

    "I would ask the congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that."

    The applause for Rudy's rebuke was thunderous – the soundbite of the night and best moment of Rudy's campaign.

    After the debate, on Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes," came one of those delicious moments on live television. As Michael Steele, GOP spokesman, was saying that Paul should probably be cut out of future debates, the running tally of votes by Fox News viewers was showing Ron Paul, with 30 percent, the winner of the debate.
    Brother Hannity seemed startled and perplexed by the votes being text-messaged in the thousands to Fox News saying Paul won, Romney was second, Rudy third and McCain far down the track at 4 percent.

    When Ron Paul said the 9/11 killers were "over here because we are over there," he was not excusing the mass murderers of 3,000 Americans. He was explaining the roots of hatred out of which the suicide-killers came.

    Lest we forget, Osama bin Laden was among the mujahideen whom we, in the Reagan decade, were aiding when they were fighting to expel the Red Army from Afghanistan. We sent them Stinger missiles, Spanish mortars, sniper rifles. And they helped drive the Russians out.

    What Ron Paul was addressing was the question of what turned the allies we aided into haters of the United States. Was it the fact that they discovered we have freedom of speech or separation of church and state? Do they hate us because of who we are? Or do they hate us because of what we do?

    Osama bin Laden in his declaration of war in the 1990s said it was U.S. troops on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia, U.S. bombing and sanctions of a crushed Iraqi people, and U.S. support of Israel's persecution of the Palestinians that were the reasons he and his mujahideen were declaring war on us.

    Elsewhere, he has mentioned Sykes-Picot, the secret British-French deal that double-crossed the Arabs who had fought for their freedom alongside Lawrence of Arabia and were rewarded with a quarter century of British-French imperial domination and humiliation.

    Almost all agree that, horrible as 9/11 was, it was not anarchic terror. It was political terror, done with a political motive and a political objective.

    What does Rudy Giuliani think the political motive was for 9/11?

    Was it because we are good and they are evil? Is it because they hate our freedom? Is it that simple?

    Ron Paul says Osama bin Laden is delighted we invaded Iraq.

    Does the man not have a point? The United States is now tied down in a bloody guerrilla war in the Middle East and increasingly hated in Arab and Islamic countries where we were once hugely admired as the first and greatest of the anti-colonial nations. Does anyone think that Osama is unhappy with what is happening to us in Iraq?

    Of the 10 candidates on stage in South Carolina, Dr. Paul alone opposed the war. He alone voted against the war. Have not the last five years vindicated him, when two-thirds of the nation now agrees with him that the war was a mistake, and journalists and politicians left and right are babbling in confession, "If I had only known then what I know now ..."

    Rudy implied that Ron Paul was unpatriotic to suggest the violence against us out of the Middle East may be in reaction to U.S. policy in the Middle East. Was President Hoover unpatriotic when, the day after Pearl Harbor, he wrote to friends, "You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bitten."

    Pearl Harbor came out of the blue, but it also came out of the troubled history of U.S.-Japanese relations going back 40 years. Hitler's attack on Poland was naked aggression. But to understand it, we must understand what was done at Versailles – after the Germans laid down their arms based on Wilson's 14 Points. We do not excuse – but we must understand.

    Ron Paul is no TV debater. But up on that stage in Columbia, he was speaking intolerable truths. Understandably, Republicans do not want him back, telling the country how the party blundered into this misbegotten war.

    By all means, throw out of the debate the only man who was right from the beginning on Iraq.


    Seriously, Rudy says ‘we’ as if U.S civilians and the U.S military are one and the same.
  4. Libertarianism

    Posted 24 Sep 2007

    I don't see how voting for someone with no chance of winning isn't the same as wasting a vote. I know all the people who voted for Nader a while back figured they were making siome big statement, but since that's pretty much forgotten and Nader might as well be dead for all the press he's getting, they might have been just as successful with their "statement" had they stayed at home, not bothered to vote, and then bitched about politics on this very site.

    But what do I know. Go ahead and vote for soemone who can't possibly win, then tell everyone that you're neither left nor right, or whatever it is that allows you to feel you don't have a stake in the system. In the end you know that either a Republican or a Democrat will come into power and send troops somewhere to defend US business interests abroad.

    If everyone (who was disenchanted with the way Democrats and Republicans ran things) got off their asses and actually voted, Libertarians wouldn’t be a third party. Though I think it would be best if all the third parties started a coalition.

    QUOTE (Slade @ Sep 24 2007, 03:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Cobnat: Libertarians are greedy, selfish people with a political mindset that belongs in the 1700s. (I mainly take offense to their open support of laissez-faire capitalism and total negligence of the protection of people from being voliated by other people.) Unless you want to fight tooth and nail to the top, you'll get uncermoniously stomped on by the rest of them because you'll be in their way.

    I’m guessing your one of those people who believes in a welfare state with high taxes and a caste economic system.
  • Order 66 And Other Things

    Posted 16 Sep 2007

    I will try to break down ‘Order 66’, among other things. In Star Wars Battlefront 2; at the end of the first level (not including the training sequence) you find out that the clone troopers had no idea that the Jedi could be tricked yet you find out that they were planning to kill the Jedi from the beginning. Now I (like many others) have come to wonder how the Jedi did not suspect that the troopers will turn on them; that can be answered by Knights Of The Old Republic 2: Sith Lords. In KOTOR 2 you find out that Anton Reed was a Sith Assassin and that Sith Assassins undergo special mind resistance training so that those who can control and manipulate the force cannot sense the presence of Sith Assassins. So it could be possible that the clones could have been trained in mind resistance. This raises other questions like; why wasn’t the Jedi council suspicious when they found out about the clone factory, wouldn’t they want to know what those clones had been trained for? Anyway; the clone troopers (from what I can tell from SWBF2) hate the Jedi and think they are corrupt. I can only guess that they were trained to think that way. Of course this doesn’t explain why the clone troopers took orders from the Jedi during the Clone War. Lets put aside logic for a second and concentrate on the Order 66. No doubt that while issuing Order 66, Palpatine had to use a radio. The Order was issued before the attack on the Jedi academy and during the fight for control of the Jedi academy (SWBF2) the Jedi decide to destroy all their holocrons before Palpatine/Vader can get his hands on them. This begs the question; why didn’t they destroy the holocrons before Vader arrived? They had plenty of time (a few days). Which brings me to my next point: I can only suspect that the person who erased Kamino from the archives must have been Palpatine because (if you followed AOTC) only a Jedi could have accessed the archives; so why didn’t he get the information he needed in the first place before he erased Kamino from the archives?
  • My Information

    Member Title:
    Viva Phillippena Radio!
    16 years old
    December 25, 2005
    I am in atheist heaven.
    Body Disposal.


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      arien Icon

      09 Nov 2007 - 09:54
      HEY COBNAT. You have abandoned the FR forum as of late. What gives?
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