Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘democracy

 

 

Austerity, Democracy, left and right wing parties, Greece (Syriza) and Spain (Podemos, we can)

In extended time of austerity due to after war conditions or financial default problems, people feelings swing to extremes: either the people opt for a left-leaning social reforms or they retract to their cocoon of right wing tendencies that lead to authoritarian political systems.

It may be odd to use a Roman metaphor to describe a Greek political event, but in this case, it’s apt.

Just as Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river because he could, in spite of the warnings of the Roman Senate not to, so Alex Tsipras, leader of the anti-austerity party, Syriza, has decided to try to end austerity in Greece, in spite of Europe’s leaders saying he shouldn’t.

Whether Tsipras will succeed is still unclear, but whatever happens, his victory represents a crucial turning point for Europe—a signal that time has run out on austerity policies.

Spain is following suit as Europe is facing an extended period of deflation and social unrest.

Give people jobs and they quiet down. How to reform a capitalist system so that worthy and honourable jobs can be created and sustained?

Austerity vs. Democracy in Greece

A “Tsipras” had to happen somewhere eventually, because there’s only so long you can ask people to vote for impoverishment today based on promises of a better tomorrow that never arrives.

If voting for impoverishment brings only more impoverishment, eventually people will stop voting for it—and the timing of “eventually” will depend on when people’s assets run out.

In the Greek case, backers of the incumbent New Democracy party and its austerity policies constitute that quarter of the electorate who still have assets (pensions, paper, and portfolios) after 5 years of depression and who want to preserve what they have.

The 36% that voted for Syriza were the young, the asset-less, and the unemployed—people who either lost what they once had or never had much to begin with.

Greece’s 1.9 percent of growth last year means essentially nothing to a society that has lost nearly 30 percent of GDP in a little over half a decade.

On the current course, it would take, by latest estimates, two generations for the country to get back above water.

Syriza’s victory presents two lessons for the rest of Europe.

First, no one votes for a 15-year-long recession.

Second, you can’t run a gold standard in a democracy. Either the gold standard goes, or democracy goes, and that is the choice Europe may face sooner than it thinks. (Why? Is the USA system truly a democracy after they flaunted the gold standard in 1968?)

The Euro is the gold standard that pretends that it’s not one—and therein lies the rub. While Europe has a plethora of national parliaments and free and fair elections, as well as a European parliament and multiple institutions with delegated power to represent the interests of citizens, once a country is a member of the eurozone, certain things happen that bypass any possible democratic checks.

On the upside, its credit history gets rewritten. Greece and Italy get to borrow like Germany (with predictable results). On the downside, when a eurozone country is hit with an economic shock, it cannot respond to it through the exchange rate (devaluation) or by using the printing press (inflation).  (Only Germany has the monopoly of printing the Euro money)

It must choose between default, which is not allowed, and balancing its books through internal devaluation (austerity).

And if that means a couple of constitutional coups d’état have to happen in the heart of democracy to get the policies through, as happened in Italy and Greece in 2011, then so be it.

So austerity becomes the only game in town. Although it may be rational for any one country to be austere, when multiple countries that share the same currency with no common fiscal policy do so, the result can only be a massive contraction of GDP and a corresponding increase in debt—which is exactly what has happened in Europe in recent years.

The boost in consumer and investor confidence that austerity was supposed to provide never materialized, and the eurozone as a whole slid into recession, and then, in the periphery, into depression and deflation. Now that all of this has occurred, however, the politics of sustaining the euro have changed, and changed utterly.

Until now, Eurozone policymakers’ obsession with fighting inflation has given them a one-sided understanding of politics. (Why Europe has to fight deflation too? It is good for the common people to survive their daily expenses)

In fact, Europe has not had an inflation problem of any magnitude since the 1970s. What it now faces is deflation—and since the politics of inflation and deflation are very different, the wrong policy choices produce Syrizas.

Inflation, after all, is not a general malaise that hurts all members of society equally, but a class-specific tax.

Those with assets, particularly paper assets, lose harder and faster than other groups that can pressure the state to accommodate them, which is why under inflation creditors suffer and debtors prosper. (Not in the USA)

Consequently, periods of inflation produce a type of politics where creditor interests come to the fore and the state is forced to retreat. The 1920s were one such period and the 1970s another—which is when Europe, and the euro, began to take their current form.

Deflation is different. Rather than creditors losing and debtors benefitting, in a deflation almost everyone loses, regardless of asset class.

Consider the choice of whether to work. A worker who decides to take a pay cut to price herself into a job is individually rational. But collectively, if all workers try this, the result is a collapse in consumption. (If the price of commodities drop commensurate to the pay cut, there is no problem. Common people will refrain from taking vacations abroad and patronize their own sceneries).

Employers get cheaper labor, to be sure, but also less demand for their products. Their logical individual responses are to cut prices to spur sales—but once again, the aggregate effect of such responses is to lower prices further. This increases real wages at a time when the economy is shrinking, which leads to more layoffs (Cannot comprehend this logic).

In such a world, with practically everyone losing, calls ring out for state intervention to stop the bleeding, and eventually, they are heard. It happened in the 1930s, and it is happening once again today.

This is what Tsipras and Syriza represent: the moment Europe drifted from ever-deeper and ever-wider open capital markets and institutionalized neoliberalism to a system in which the state comes back to reassert sovereignty over markets. (What if investors are reluctant to buy State properties as in Greece, on the assumption that the State will eventually lower its asking price?)

At that point, either democracy trumps markets, which need not be a progressive move, as Syriza’s immediate choice of coalition partners demonstrates, or markets undermine democracy to protect their asset values.

Which course European countries choose will be determined in the next few years, but a glance around the continent suggests that such a choice is indeed coming.

Greece may have crossed the Rubicon first, but due to its size in the European economy, Spain may be the game changer.

In Spain, Podemos is likely to form a winning left-wing coalition after that country’s general elections this fall, especially after the demonstration effect of Syriza.

In Ireland, Sinn Fein is cut from the same anti-austerity cloth and has risen substantially in the polls.

Although such parties are often called extreme, it is important to stress that their support bases, regardless of their leader’s dodgy connections, are democratic political forces whose core claims—­an end to self-defeating austerity and impoverishing wage policies—echo mainstream social democracy and the recommendations of many prominent economists on both sides of the Atlantic.

With regard to debt relief, these parties are merely restating the standard economic case that their countries’ debt overhangs are too big for investment to be resuscitated to levels that would permit high growth.  (The time of big countries waging wars against defaulting countries as during the colonial period is a tenuous alternative. Actually, big countries foment civil wars to buy very cheap State properties in exchange of the default debt)

Maturities can be extended indefinitely, but unless growth is restored, the game is over, and not just for Greece.

For those who fear Syriza and its left-wing counterparts, it is worth looking at the alternatives on the radical right.

From Britain to Hungary, political parties—whose ideology spans the spectrum from the explicitly Nazi (the Golden Dawn in Greece) to the nationalist–populist (the United Kingdom Independence Party and the French National Front)—are busy working to channel public anger in a different direction.

Harkening back to Europe’s darkest days, they translate negotiable conflicts over economic policy into non-negotiable conflicts over ethnic identity. They attack European integration even more than the left-wing parties, question the democratic rights of existing citizens, and fan the flames of xenophobia toward ethnic minorities and immigrants.

If Europe’s ruling elites want to save the European project, and the Euro at the heart of it, they need to start actively engaging with democratic left-wing parties such as Syriza and Podemos rather than shunning them.

If they don’t, they will drive some of these parties into volatile left–right alliances, or, if they fail in their mandates, leave the stage open to political forces whose goals will be far more radical than mere debt restructuring and opposition to austerity.

What is at stake now is not simply Syriza’s next moves or even a possible “Grexit.” These are symptoms, not causes.

The problem is that European authorities, driven by Germany, are enforcing a politics of deflation under a pseudo-gold standard, expecting citizens to vote indefinitely for their own impoverishment in order to save the asset values of creditors.

In such a world, both radical left- and right-wing forces can only stand to gain ground across many supposedly stable countries, and quicker than we think. To avoid that fate, the continent’s powerbrokers should make some sort of deal with Syriza now—because what may follow it may be far worse.

Evil polititians and Professional polititians

Note:  I re-edited and expanded on “The professional politician: Barack Obama” under a new title.

Democracy generates two major categories of politicians:  Professional politicians and evil, half-cooked politicians.  Obviously we may discriminate extensively on sub-categories and develop a taxonomy of politician’s types, but his is not the main purpose of this short article.  Sure, we can discriminate among politicians who can be excellent on a restrictive community level, but deficient as Congressman or Senator.

Professional politicians walk the streets, visit voters, love to communicate with people, they are people oriented: they keep up their training skills and develop their knowledge.  They care for the plights of people and listen to their demands and needs.  They have proven records of constancy in the struggle, frequent attempts to acceeding to political positions, and carrying on their programs with transparent processes. 

They worked hard for “serving the people” and they negotiate and discuss extensively complex problems before reaching acceptable resolutions. They are reluctant to going to war; thus, they honestly and steadfastly try out all the diplomatic venues and political alternatives for adequate resolutions of differences.

Half-cooked politicians inherit the position either from a political family or because a baron of industry wants one of his offspring getting in politics and profiting by open highway robbery. They are brought to political positions by hired political professionals, consultants:  Funding is mainly financed by big lobbying industries and multinational financial institutions.  

Half-cooked politicians are necessarily evil: they live in secluded closed environment and have high flatulent concepts to imposing on society. They have no patience for the “little people” harassing demands and want to preserve their comfortable life style and peace of mind.  They first decide on pre-emptive wars and then work out the political institutional restraints and procedures to carrying out the decision.

This introduction needs development and examples. For example, there is a qualitative difference between Obama and Bush Junior.  There is also qualitative difference between Bill Clinton and Bush Senior. The differences go beyond Democrats and Republicans or any ideological differences.

The main difference is that Obama and Clinton are professional politicians in their own rights:  They love to communicate with people and comprehend the harsh demands of people and are willing to sacrifice their comfort and peace of mind to serve the people.  They are aware of the attributes and job specifications of the professional politician. 

Bill clinton never talked of “The Evil Empires”, “evil enemies”, “evil axes”, or any evil spirits.  Obama didn’t so far mentioned any evil enemies and he will not.   Obama walked the streets for years and continued his political education; he continued his training and practised his political qualities and talents. Obama knows what it takes to serve the public and has the correct patience to grab the adequate moments for pressing the programs he promised to pass.

The Bushes and Ronald Reagan for example were selected and shouldered by their party and supported by the political professionals and consultants in their party.  The Bushes and Reagan had no valid qualifications as people lovers; they were mostly living in secluded environment, never relinquishing their life style of comfort and sheltered attitudes.  They get very upset when foreigners disturb their quietude and put pressures on them to meet frequently with their aids, congress, read reports, and be forced to make balanced decisions.  That is too much work and unsuited to their dispositions.

The Bushes and Reagan totally relied on their aids and political consultants; not only because they were limited in the mind and need all the help to comprehend the complex interactions in world problems,  and those foreigners they cannot understand, but mainly because the laziness of their minds and the necessary demands on professional  politicians were terribly deficients:  They were not people oriented, and communication was a necessary evil to them.

The Bushes and Reagan relished shortcuts:  They adopted simplified models of world’s problems and the consequent devastating resolutions.  Just blurting out who to them is the evil enemy was a mechanism that set their mind at peace; they resumed this “coherent” ignorance in their simplistic directions throughout their tenure.  Their political consultants felt relieved from exposing  elaborate concepts and detailed knowledge that would upset the limited mind of their Presidents.

Bush Junior must have prayed to fail in the first presidency.  Somehow, he succeeded by a very short margin.  A genius in his team knew his weaknesses and must have whispered in his ear: “God wanted you to win.  God has a project for you.  You cannot fail God’s wishes.”  Bush Junior took seriously this infamous hint and started to believe that he is fulfilling God’s directives. 

GW. Bush political chaperon, Dick Cheney, was too sick physically to educated his protegee and he indeed became senile quickly to be of any value to Bush Junior.  The consultants and aids were selected to be one-sided individuals who were not professional politicians, but half cooked academics.  The world had to lick his wounds, and the million of collateral  CIVILIAN DAMAGES HAD TO BURY THEIR DEAD.

We all agree that doing politics is a serious profession.  Not anyone is capable of assuming his mandate to serving the community: A voted-in political candidate is to be at the beck of his community 24 hours a day and fielding all kinds of requests; he has no reliable methods to controling his daily activities and set aside relaxation periods. 

And yet, candidates to “serving the public” are not taught and trained in schools like all the other professions. Actually, most of the students graduating from high schools and universities have a terrible bad connotation for the term “politics” or “doing politics”.    The field of political science does not train people in the social and psychological behavior of people, which are the right tools for doing politics.  Acquiring sketchy understanding of the macro politics, by lumping whole nations as a single entity or whole regions as potential enemies, is not the correct way for training politicians to thinking rationally and for the good of the people in the long term.

Our problems with our politicians stem from two factors.

First, most of the politicians inherit their jobs, one way or another; they realize soon that they are not up to the requirements and don’t want the hassle; and thus they delegate their responsibilities to people who were not elected in the first place. 

Second, politicians don’t work for the long term success because they don’t find the time to read, reflect, and grow their inner power.   Among the very few politicians who satisfy the two criteria of proven records of capable providers and verbal intelligence only those who realize the need to strengthen their inner power through reading and reflection and actually taking short “sabbaticals” away from the media have the potentials to become leaders of people.

In “Hiroshima my love” Marguerite Dora says: “Human political intelligence is a hundred folds lower than scientific intelligence”   On the face of it, many would be nodding their heads in consent.  We have got to analyze political intelligence from a different perspective to appreciate that the previous statement is not correct.  When we deal with human behaviors that are first, in the hundreds of varieties and ever changing with time and conditions and second, the inability of human cognitive powers to assimilate the different interactions of even four factors or variables at the same time and third, juggling these interactions in real time and under pressure then we can grasp the far complex intelligence requirements of doing and thinking politics. 

Democracy is the most difficult and intricate political system: voters have to know the detailed personal characteristics of the candidates that qualify them to be professional politicians.  Instead, voters are sidetracked by political programs that can be altered though individual characters and attitudes cannot.  Without prior selection of politicians, based on cognitive and emotional testing for mental capabilities, voting in a candidate is tantamount to more of the same repeated errors and mistakes for the public good.  Political intelligence would then be vastly appreciated to its own merit when candidates satisfy cognitive and emotional criteria before submitting their applications to public political posts.

The vote of the people would make much more sense when people are initiated and exposed to the complexities of serving the people and offering a higher value for the term “doing politics”.   Half-cooked politicians are necessarily evil: they end up discarding the rights and aspirations of the little peole and increasing the chasm for opportunities in society.

  Voters are to investigate the track records of the professionalism of politicians in doing politics.

The necessary condition, though not sufficient, for a politician is to have proven that he loves to communicate with people and to field requests around the day, as is the main job of public server:  He learns to be pragmatic because he is listening to the demands of the people. 

Hardworking Mina on a war path; (Apr. 12, 2010)

            Eleven years ago, Mina found a job weaving carpet in Morocco.  Her more “experienced” co-worker incited Mina to check with syndicate for membership and was chased out beaten.  Mina then paid a visit to the work inspector who let the owner of the factory on Mina visit. The boss convoked Mina and treated her worthless whore with no sense of loyalty: Mina was supposed to appreciate the boss as a “father figure” and then she was dismissed.  For 6 months Mina could not find work in the same city: all the bosses were informed of Mina’s “disloyal” behavior.

            Mina worked for 10 years weaving carpets and then had hone of her wrists broken. Mina was dismissed with no compensation or even for covering medical expenses. Mina worked and was paid daily and had no papers or documents as a working citizen.  Her highly educated friend, Fatima Mernissi, paid Mina a visit to the hospital and then mindlessly suggested to Mina to have recourse to the work inspector. Mina got in a state of anger and frustration and threw her veil to the ground and replied: “Fatima, you are very educated but I am no stupid” and she told her friend the story of her work conditions. Mina resumed: “Allah is my defender, my work inspector, and my syndicate. God said “if any of my servants asks for my intervention then I will be by his side”. May Allah hear my demands; I want the factory burned down and the boss broken to pieces”

            A few nurses barged in to cool down the shouting and Mina chased them out saying: “If you don’t leave immediately then I will add your names to the list of the work inspector and the syndicate.”  In Mina’s mind, the incidences that she experienced 11 years ago with the work inspector and the syndicate are still valid: nothing has changed since then in the relationship of workers and bosses and control institutions.  Mina’s assumptions might be correct but lack of stable and equitable institutions drove Mina from a rational thinking person to an extremist “khawarej” attitude: she wouldn’t mind taking the most extreme of measures if supported in her frustration.

            Extreme codification of life behaviors, even in developed States with strong central institutions, to controlling and managing people generate extreme reactions in periods of civil unrest.  For example, the USA is witnessing terrorist acts (kamikaze) by its citizens against targeted institutions such as the Pentagon and the IRS (tax revenue) offices. It appears that the life of little people is extremely codified in developed States but the barons of industries and elite classes get off with a slap on the wrist: huge loopholes in laws for the barons and a justice system based on financial means is dooming little people for lack of serious justice.

            At least, in Islamic world, people have this exit alternative to lamenting to Allah and have the right to ask Allah to chastise unjust people.  Just figure a citizen in the developed States asking his God to burn and maim the boss: the boss might probably have a claim to drag to justice the disgruntled worker for incitement to physical hurt intentions.

            Democracy in most of the developing States is a mystery with no corresponding physical application; democratic institutions are shells devoid of any democratic rights to individual responsibilities and serious participation.  The UN Charter is a super law relative to human and civil rights and freedom of expressions but this charter is still the best kept secret to most students and adult people in developing States.  In kindergarten, kids learn their religious laws but the UN super laws are not available or taught or even required to be exhibited.

            Colonial powers didn’t practice their brand of democracies operating at home: as soon as a semblance of democratic institutions (such as parliament) were established that the colonial power flaunted it and disbanded it at the first free expressions of freedom, liberty, and equality.  Even today, the former colonial powers have no interest of witnessing democratic institutions in the developing States as long as oil is available at low prices and the market for arms is booming.  Bush Junior claimed that democracy had priority on his list of changes in the Greater Middle East! Bush Junior never was specific on what kinds of democracies he had in mind; anyway, the method he applied to invading Iraq in 2003 had nothing democratic about it!  Saudi Arabia is still disseminating and financing terrorist tendencies and all the Arab despots kept their martial laws that were instituted 40 years ago.

Once atop the Galaxy; (Feb. 17, 2010)

Back then, not that long ago at all, on mount Mitchu Pitchu,

A stocky small and rather whiter man, embarrassed with a dirty long beard,

Clad in stinky clownish garment;

(Water anathema to this sugary new breed);

Mounted on a lovely horse, not known in the New World,

Said: “This is how I think”.

His black clad monk rejoined: “And that’s what his God said”

For over four centuries, the same kind of rather whiter man,

Backed up by the same missionary,

Landed around earth’s shores and ventured inland.

He said what he thought and what his God said.

A sort of a universal whiter civilization exploded and expanded.

This new culture didn’t even try to explain:

It claimed that conscious is unique;

That natural human moral is similar under all weather and clime;

That value system is one and superseding all archaic systems.

The rather whiter man said:

“Democracy, under all its minor variants (not so minor at all),

Is the ideal political structure to be governed in modern societies.”

He resumed unabashedly: “Capitalism is the main economic mechanism to spread wealth;

That world market should be entirely opened to My products and services.”

Once atop the Galaxy (why go beyond our Milky Way?)

Weird specie with obviously a developed Neo Cortex,

Strong with more versatile and complex sensory organs,

Varied and sophisticated reaction limbs attached to a disfigured body,

Thumbs rotating all the way, a little finger (not that little at all)

Designed to catch saucers and balls of any shape;

A sexual organ not so shamefully protruding;

And not mating as we do:

Female lays eggs or ovaries;

Male sprays his sperms over ovaries;

Unlike us,

Us exercising for naught over walls and trees;

Nobody, male or female, feels to possess a mate

And dominate for servitude.

Once atop the Galaxy,

This newer breed said what he thinks and what his God says;

Mankind re-shaped his vision of the world:

His set of values coincided with the new Master’s vision.

A newly freed slave who vanquished his mental slavery

Was more attuned to this degrading, oh, so many times “deja vue” process;

He stood up to the new master and growled:

Fuck you!

Christ was crucified again.

The Church of Rome re-instituted its religion

Galactic scale: Confederate of the Universe.

This time around, a newly free-spirited freed slave

Thundered, a voice louder than Superman,

Reverberating for eternity:

Fuck you!

Before a new cycle of slavery system takes roots.

Nonsense: it is better being normal; (July 20, 2009)

I don’t recall much of my childhood.  I know I was in a boarding school for six years. I don’t recall feeling cold or hot. I have no idea if I had spare change of clothes or where and how they were stored. I don’t recall pissing or shitting.

I can feel splashing my face with the coldest water at 6 a.m. I recall vividly wetting my bed in the cold winter season, in a dormitory of over sixty bed-wetters. I reckon that I assumed I was the sole culprit; thus, my shame was the more intense. I recall getting busy hiding my crime: my crude versatile methods enhanced instant discovery of the maid for trying hard to tamper with evidence. 

            It is a truism that all boarding school “detainees” are constantly hungry; except me. I don’t recall feeling hungry or even eating anything. My aunt of a nun tried in desperation, and many times, to force feed me with disgusting raw eggs by squeezing my nose shut, until I swallowed the content in the shell. I longed for Saturday breakfast: fried eggs with tea.

            One summer, the students managed to slid in a tiny opening in the foodstore, and ransacked the reserves of chocolate, crackers, cheese,  and anything that didn’t need cooking.  Mass punishment was declared and the students lined up to receive four resounding slap of a venomous stick. The principal, after a split second hesitation, skipped me: I was innocence incarnate; I was the tiniest sickly student of my age, but I could endure suffering and pain without crying.

This event of being spared punishment was an instant great relief and the bitterest feeling of shame the moment after.  Even the most naïve kid that I was, I could sense that I will submit to the wrath and despise of the masses of “detained students”.

            Before that affair, I was already shunned and isolated, but then the indictment was final with no possible recourse to contemplate.  The mass of students conjectured, by common accord, that I was a sneak to the administration. I could have rather die than telltale on others. Heck, I don’t recall speaking too; I just played.

The administration demonstrated that it did not encourage telltale, by adopting mass punishment instead.  The mass wanted an easy and convincing scapegoat to release its bottled up anger.  The irony of it all is that I was not conscious of being isolated; I was told by innuendos very much later; and it dawned on me like a thunder.

            This shame is reinforced in a variety of forms and intensity, everytime I experienced preferential treatments because of my limitations; I cannot withstand privileges.  When the masses clap you had better clap; when they shout that they are hungry then you better feel hungry. 

My nun aunt made it her privilege to protect me from harms, reinforced by my mother letters from Africa to seek for my safety: I was not to join boy scout, no rollerskating, no joining the other students for the two-week vacation outside the confine of the school…The ultimate sheltered “frail kid my ass” who don’t recall ever falling sick and kept running during breaks, like a toy supplied with a mega-battery.

Masses need to select scapegoats at every occasion. A few of these scapegoats are labeled “leaders”. The masses elect a leader to dump over his shoulders all their responsibilities and expect to reap all the gratifications.  The mostly lazy masses that refuse to get organized, never attempt to shoulder a tiny bit of the responsibilities: they want their leaders to fail. 

The leader must fail and go into exile to escape lynching.  A leader’s only good exit for the “masses interest” is to fall a martyr: he was selected for that purpose.  Only martyred leaders are inducted in pantheon.

            Democracies are the ultimate systems for perpetrating the rituals of human sacrifices: that was done in all City-States that opted for democracy. The offerings are not done to an angry God; no, not to angry Gods.  Human sacrifices are a recognition of our awareness of our total impotence in this wretched, limited, and “unbearable lightness of being”.   Societies would have been far tolerant if life expectancy was continuously decreasing: No time for the blame game, just getting on with survival.  

Nonsense, it is far better to have been born normal and live among normal people.

What Secular States we mean?   

Note: This essay applies to all States, western, orient, animists, pagans, monotheists, secular, semi-secular, democratic, theocratic and other political systems.

 

In the sixties, Charles Malek, the philosopher and Lebanon’s representative to the United Nations proclaimed that Lebanon cannot survive as a State unless all Lebanese convert to Christianity.  Lately, the Moslem Sunni salafist proclaimed in 2006 that the State of Lebanon should be governed Caliphate style.  The Moslem Shiaas of Hezbollah want to establish the rule of the “Wilayat of Fakeeh”, an Ayatollah who would lead both the spiritual and political powers.

 

For example, the Christians during the civil war wanted to establish Christian cantons exclusively for the right wing Christian Lebanese since they over ran the Palestinian Christian camps and evacuated the lucky one from the massacre outside the Christian cantons. The Christians in the Levant have ground to be worried.  What Islam means by “Jihad” is in fact the right to proselytize Islam everywhere and all the time.  As if the western nations have not been carrying their own brand of “Jihad” since Medieval Age everywhere they wanted to colonize.  The Christians in the Levant have grounds to be apprehensive: the Christian sects have refrained from converting Moslems because conservative Islam sects demand as “halal” the blood shedding of the “blasphemous” re-converted Moslems.

The Moslem Sunni salafists in north Lebanon twice fought the Lebanese army within two years; hundreds of soldiers died and were handicapped for life. The Qaeda of Ussama Bin Laden has the same political objective with a twist; the Qaeda wants to establish the restrictive and ultra conservative Wahhabit sect as the essence of selecting Caliphates.  The Wahhabit sect is the one adopted by the Saudi Arabia theocratic monarchy.

In 1925, the Sunni Ali Abel Razzak wrote in his book “Islam and origin of governance” that “Islam is innocent of what the conservative Islam understands of the Caliphate.  The Caliphate was never in the religious planning, and neither were the religious judges nor any of the civil administrations in the government.  The Prophet Muhammad didn’t recognize them or order them or denied them.  The political and civil administrative issues were left to the Moslems to decide upon them.  Thus, it is proper that we engage our mind and consider the experience of nations, and the rules of politics that are the best around for our Nation.”

In Iran, Ayatollah Borojardy was detained because he wanted to separate States politics from religion, thus, resisting the “Fakeeh” concept of government. In Lebanon, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasr Allah, publicly harangued the Shiaa to considering “Wilayat al Fakeeh” as the official political system; and Nasr Allah is speaking as a clergy too and in every religious ceremony, blending religion with politics with resistance to the Zionist Apartheid State.

The State of Israel would like you to believe that a mythical leader they named Moses had a revelation by a superior being named Yahveh to conquer land by the sword and genocides for it was “promised” to the horde of tribes following him.  Thus, Israel would like to establish a Jewish theocratic State in Palestine.  It has been categorically proven that the Old Bible was initiated in the second century before Christ in Alexandria and then chapters were added many centuries later to and re-edited several times.

 

If you are nowadays following Lebanon’s politics and the preparations for the election in June 7 then you might have the impression that it is the political leaders of the sects who are manipulating the sacerdotal castes of our 18 officially recognized religious sects.  Don’t be fooled; ask any Lebanese and he will tell you that he is forced constitutionally to pay his first allegiance to his sect.  In fact, the sects were given the right to administer the civil status of its co-religionists from birth to death and the central government is totally helpless in interfering; even if any serious government  wishes to change it would never want problems to blow in its face..

 

My question for the western States’ citizens is: Do you believe that the separation of State and religion is implicitly a de facto reality?  Do you believe that religions have desisted from meddling in State affairs; that during voting periods the religious sacerdotal castes do not impress on the political climate? Do you believe that there is no religious backlash on religious minorities? Isn’t religion recognized in your constitutions?  Are not the civil administrative posts implicitly submitted to a quota system? I am sincerely worried about the practices of those hypocritical Secular States who force its minorities to submit to the litmus test on the ground of applying civil laws and regulations.

 

Personally, my position is that religious doctrines and stories are a bunch of hog wash nonsense of myths and abstract concepts that even zero IQ individuals refuse the premises.  The religious sacerdotal castes would like you to substitute you belief in a Creator from watching the cosmos and the mysteries of life into total faith in their particular ideological constructs and set of values.

 

I feel limited in finding a resolution where check and balance can be erected to cope with the all permeating power of the sacerdotal castes in every States around the world.  Constitutional laws need to be thought out to restrict the implicit power of the thousand tentacles that religions have instituted to infuse their ideologies.

One of the best and most efficient methods is to encourage the establishment of opportunities to exercising choices in every aspect in our lives from birth, decentralized schooling systems, kinds of marriages, legal divorce alternatives, and burial at each of the legislative, legal, and executive branches. Only available opportunities for choices, backed by political determination to honor those choices in the workforce, in the daily living, and in society structure, can permit a fighting chance for all those free minded and reflective citizens and families who respect their potential power for deciding what is best for their spiritual development.

Iraq: License to kill (January 3, 2009)

 

A major part of this article was extracted from a chapter in the book of Robert Pelton “License to kill”

In a matter of months after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, private security firms increased wildly and many had multi-billion contracts such as Blackwater, HART, Triple Canopy, DynCorp, ArmorGroup, Control Risks Group (CRG), Erinys, and Aegis.

The pentagon was officially contracting with 60 such “private security” firms, but the unofficial subcontractors doubled the number of firms; for example, Zapata Engineering which handled gathering, transporting, and demolition of ordnance had its own security services; not to mention Halliburton and the like.

           

At the end of the “Cold War” in 1989, the US military force was downsized by 30%. (In my opinion it was not just an economic necessity as it was a political shift of image control; Clinton didn’t want to be cornered by the military for alternatives that can be resolved diplomatically). 

Thus, the military enhanced its policy of privately outsourcing logistical supports

In December 1985, the first Army’s Logistic Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) was introduced; it permitted for civil corporations to supply sanitation, shelter, maintenance, transport, food services, and construction.

           

In 1992, Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense to Bush Senior, contracted Brown and Root (later acquired by the Texas-based Halliburton) to offer a dozen fictional scenarios that could require the deployment of 20,000 troops in 5 base camps for 6 months.  During the Clinton Administration, Cheney headed Halliburton from 1995 to 2000.  In 2001, Cheney secured to Halliburton an extended term of 10 years.

           

Even with the over billing schemes of the private contractors, the military saved money but the main objective was political cost savings when things went wrong: the companies could be blamed, contracts annulled, and their employees lost their jobs without due prosecution.

           

Bush Junior invaded Iraq with about 250,000 troops because, except Britain, no country would contribute forces but the total manpower on the field was much higher because of the private suppliers.  The US refused to increase its forces to at least 400,000 in order to maintain law and order and thus relied on private security services.  

Without the necessary forces on the field Iraq drifted into total chaos.  The chaos sparked impunity for the violent criminal groups that didn’t exist during the reign of Saddam.  Colonel T.E. Lawrence warned 80 years ago about the region “A tissue of small jealous principalities incapable of cohesion, and yet always ready to combine against an outside force.”

           

(Among the multitudes of private providers were dozens of Israeli companies, coordinating their activities with the Mossad intelligence service, looting Iraq, its historical monuments and artifacts, and assassinating the scientists and Iraqi intellectuals).

           

While 50% of the Iraqi was unemployed the private suppliers hired foreigners from the Philippine, Turkey, Pakistan…because they could not trust the Iraqis.  The Iraqi population stayed quiet for 6 months hoping for the reconstruction of the country to take off but it never materialized. The US allocated $20 billions for the reconstruction, mainly from the Iraqi oil production (Bush Junior signed Executive Order to confiscate Iraqi property in the US and funds in American banks and the UN allowed 95% of the income from petroleum export sales to be diverted to the Development Fund for Iraq “to promote the welfare of the Iraqi people through the effective administration of the territory”). 

In 2005, Congress increased the Fund to 55 billions to the year 2007, an influx that benefited the private US sector but not the Iraqi.

           

More than 600 private security contractors have so far died and were not accounted for in the total number of casualties.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

June 2020
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