Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘democracy

Is the Muslim World ripe of any kinds of popular vote? (Dec. 30, 2005)

Posted on September 30, 2008 and written in Dec. 30, 2005

Mind you that this article was written in 2005, way before most of Bush Jr. troops withdrew from Iraq, before the “Arab Spring” upheavals, before ISIS (Daesh) was created, before the global war on Syria…Before mass transfer of mercenaries to Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Somalia, Yemen…

Under the threatening banner of fighting terrorism in the Greater Middle East (GME) region and installing “democracy and freedom of speech” instead of extremist Islamic salafist religious’ dogmas the USA and its allies are encouraging civil wars among the people and splintering the region into smaller and smaller self governing state-nations.

Every killing civilian attempts, perpetrated every where in the World, are labeled a terrorist act and the perpetrators heaped on the Al Qaeda group which was supposed to have been wiped out in Afghanistan or in most instances blamed on other Islamic extremist offshoots.

Meanwhile, the Western Nations are enacting laws restricting freedom of speech in Media and publications, extracting war executive orders to detaining of suspects without due legal recourse, spying on their own citizens and listening on communication calls against the rules of law in the name of fighting terrorists’ plans and their organizational and financial resources and capabilities. 

The political atmosphere in the USA and many European countries is heading toward applying Martial Laws and these restrictive and restraining climates against Liberty and Freedom could be viewed as training sessions for the coming open war.

What is this GME policy? 

The USA was feeling comfortable after World War II as to its global strategic military superiority and its naval and land military bases throughout the five oceans. and continents 

The absolute monarchies, oligarchic and dictatorial regimes in the “Arab World” were facilitating the USA policy of dominion, and Israel was its local heavy stick whenever any regime ventured to resist it by simply recovering lands captured by Israel or to exhibit independent tendencies with the support of the Soviet Union.

The advent of Worldwide organized “terrorist attacks” and the inability to contain that movement with classical military interventions, mainly after the failure of the USA to maintain peace and stability in Iraq, led to a smoke screen change in the tactical approach for preserving hegemony in the Arabic Islamic World.

The code name is to divert the attention of the Islamic masses by offering minimal political representations within the oligarchic regimes which might satisfy the disposition of the people to a first step democratic level of governance and more leeway for freedom of speech and publication.

It is interesting to study the small changes that the USA means to bring to the region through the electoral systems in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. At this pace these two countries might require a century before any meaningful democracy is established: For starter the female gender has still to be permitted to drive officially in Saudi Arabia. 

It is also interesting to hear the howl of despair coming from the US administration every time the extremist Muslim political organizations are about to win any election.

For example, Hamas in Palestine is to be forbidden to participate in the Parliamentary election if any election is to take place, and the Muslim Brotherhoods in Egypt are detained and fraudulent election admitted as legitimate.

The election results in Iraq need more than 3 weeks to be officially declared while the wide sweeping victory of the Islamists in Algeria was militarily canceled and savagely contained a decade ago.

Not that the people in this region care to have Islamic salafist doctrinal political systems installed, but a reaction to the complete failure of the US and colonial powers to regard the people but merely modern slaves in an area flush in oil. 

For more than 80 years, the people in every Arabic country have been trying to experiment with democratic systems and these attempts have been aborted by the tacit support of the US to monarchic, oligarchic and one party regime.

The war strategy is not concerned with the governments, already subjugated and controlled for decades, but targeting the Muslim people in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain and the Arab Emirates. 

The Muslim countries that are Not socially or culturally closely related to Arabic or Persian influence or having large Muslim minorities will be drastically contained through strict financial and economic constraints such as Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Malaysia in Asia, and Nigeria and the Northern non Arabic African people in Chad, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Guinea.

What is being offered is basically a psychological “feeling good” attitude toward the prospect of fair representation without any substantial variations in the system of governance that suit grandly the interests of the US/colonial powers imperialists.

The policy of the GME striving for mega Media propaganda of “feeling good” attitude of forthwith democratic change is a sick chimerical gamble hoping that the average masses will be tamed into moderation or the regimes would have an opportunity to win a majority that would permit them to repress the extremist elements.

The Arabic people and Muslims in general have digested the smoke screen tactics of the US and Western World and their god fatherly dialogues that make their blood curl, and they cannot be fooled for long.

In the meanwhile, precious time is burned away mindlessly with no serious alternatives to genuine solutions.

So far, Iran has grasped the extent of that visible danger and has been feverishly acquiring military deterrence power, economic self sufficiency and utilizing the mass Medias to enlighten the Muslim World to the coming calamities. 

The Iranian regime is diffusing the message of unity and integrity among the Muslim masses and projecting the image of confident defiance: it is steadfast on its Uranium enrichment program on its proper soil for nuclear deterrence, saving its oil production, negotiating with Russia, China and India for economic cooperation and openly casting Israel as a spearhead colony of the US in the region

Iran is not about to relinquish its influence in Iraq or in Lebanon, through the powerful political party of Hezbollah or in Western Afghanistan where its Foreign minister is currently spending a few days there to keep strong links with its citizens. 

Iran is heading to become the catalyst of the next world calamity with the tacit economic and military support of China and Russia.

The alternative to prevent this dangerous trend and revert to a rational and peaceful coexistence is a secular, democratic and national Arabic force to take control of its destiny.

Unfortunately, what is required is inexistent, not even in its embryo, because of the perennial foolish US policy in this region of squashing the spirit of secular and democratic nationalism for short term benefits.

The US cannot win the looming war in the long term in the Greater Middle East, unless the purpose is indeed to set this region ablaze and its populations impotent for centuries to come, because the masses consider the US policies as the master evil in the world in planning and execution.

The reaction of the Muslims, in face of the sustained heavy handed and total disrespect of the US policies to support our claims for human rights and fair representations, and abusing the United Nations to squeeze our survival capabilities through economic and financial embargoes and sanctions, is toward fundamentalism.

This process is typified by the successes of Hamas in Palestine and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the Parliamentary and municipality elections and the strong inroads of the Islamic Jihad political parties in Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan in the societies’ fabrics.

It seems that the Muslims are reverting to staunch dogmatic principles reminiscent of a coming war with the infidel Crusaders and with valid rhetorical and logical reasoning.

There are a few baffling signs that this GME policy might not survive or a more viable alternative supercede the current policy of alienating the Arabs and Moslems.

For example the pressures on the Bush Jr. administration to rescind the restraining laws on private freedom and telephone and internet communication and acknowledging the flimsy basis for conquering Iraq and a popular waves of demonstrations against the all encompassing powers that the administration has snatched from Congress and concentrated in the executive branch under the prerogatives of war on terrorism.

I am leaning toward the option that by coining the term “terrorists” to connote Islamists and acknowledging that terrorism is stronger and far reaching than contemplated that the momentum for carrying the GME policy is becoming a bipartisan policy throughout the USA and the Western World.

The quagmires that the international forces are experiencing in Iraq are driving them out. Though it appears a tactical maneuver to regroup and figure out a strategy to crank the vise on the GME people and let them succumb under a wretched life of lack of freedom, democracy and poor economic and social development.

The European Union is about to give up on the application of human rights in the GME and is ready to adopt shortcuts to our difficulties and may temporary let us die slowly and vanish in the night.

Let us not fool ourselves.

Every time discrimination on the basis of religion or color or gender or nationality or custom is condoned inside or outside the boundaries of a nation, whenever human rights are baffled, people detained on flimsy charges and without due normal legal recourse, prisoners tortured to extract confessions and killed in their detention centers… then the spirit of extremism has indeed taken roots and the dictatorship system is deeply entrenched regardless of how developed a nation is or how loud they claim to have democracy and the rule of law and order among its citizens.

If we had to rely solely on the United Nations to temper the drive of the most powerful Nations, nations that have the tendency of bypassing genuine diplomatic procedures into direct military interventions toward the weaker nations, then we should be pessimistic about the coming war. 

There are a few realities that might prevent outright declaration of war by the Western World to the Islamic Arabic and Persian World:

First, the European Union is a complex assembly of Nations that could not be easily ruled solely by France, Germany and Britain in matters of participating in wars with multiple interactions with other bordering Nations;

Second, the Latin American countries are leaning toward socialism and are verbally antagonistic to USA imperialism;

Thirdly, the Far East with a heavy concentration of Muslims is not about to endanger its economic cooperation by internal political struggles that do not enhance their survival as a viable economic and financial block; and

Fourthly, Russia is too aware of the importance of the stability of its former Islamic Nations bordering Iran, Turkey and Pakistan to gamble on a fruitless policy of discrimination against the Muslim people. (The decision of Russia of intervening strongly in Syria changed the done, Not only in Syria but also in Russia strategy in the entire region)

However, if war is declared and any powerful nation sides with the Islamic masses and support it militarily, then we might witness the prophetic vision of George Orwell for future social and political organizations based on Communist blueprints as he described in his book entitled “1984”.

An era of constant low level wars among three super blocks of nations.

One other thing, if another world war is declared against the “Muslims” our puppet regimes would collapse and, win or lose, Israel will cease to exist before an armistice is reached.

If the attack on the Twin Towers occurred during the invasion of Iraq, then the US would have declared war plainly and simply and the Muslim and Arabic people would have not vacillated for so long and remained manipulated, extorted and abused by the reactionary Arabic regimes holding on for dear life.

That would be far better than this tactics of low-level wars, targeted assassinations of key resistance leaders, massive economic and financial sanctions… that are reducing the people to a chaotic views of the long-term objectives of the colonial powers and a rapid descent to Underdeveloped States, totally reliant of colonial powers rescue missions.

Powdered milk, in exchange for childhood?

They gave us powdered milk…and took away our childhood…
(By late Muhammad Maghout)
They gave us watches and robbed us of the Time
They handed us shoes and exploited the Roads
They offered us rings and perfume and hided from us Love
They brought us the swings and prevented us from Celebrating
They lavished on us chemical fertilizers and stole the Springs
They initiated us with Parliaments and denied us Freedom
They made us buy guards and locks and robbed us of Security
They gave us powdered milk and took away our Childhood
They infiltrated insurgents for us and wasted our Revolution…
Note 1: You may read another translated poem of Maghout of “Story-of-eagle-and-storm” https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/time-says-my-story-of-eagle-and-storm/

 

 

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.

Political self-criticism: kinds and applications, (December 17, 2008)

Let me offer you samples of political self-criticisms and you determine if the criticism is compatible to how you define it.  Examples of Lebanese leaders’ self-criticisms:

“I embezzled the government. I ransomed the people. I slaughtered citizens on confessional basis.  I jailed citizens in deep wells for years.  I am not apologizing.  I am just stating facts that all the others also committed” (Druze leader Walid Jumblat)

“I admit that I made errors, mistakes, atrocities…, but it was all for the good cause” (Samir Geaja, leader of the Lebanese Forces)

“I committed the worst atrocities to thousands of citizens, but those who assassinated my father did the unforgivable.  My country Lebanon can go to hell, but I insist on my revenge.”

“I admit to errors and mistakes and would do them again under the same conditions”

“I admit that I made errors and mistakes like all the other parties and militias did” (Nabih Berry, head of parliament)

“I served jail term for the mass murders and the assassination of government officials, clerics, and army officers; the other leaders were rewarded for doing the same atrocities.  I demand the same power and all the benefits that I was denied” (Samir Geaja)

“I admit that I made errors, mistakes, and committed genocide because I was young, active and dedicated” (Bashir Gemayel)

“I admit that I made errors, mistakes, and assassinated on confessional basis, but I refuse to submit any records”

“I am willing to admit errors if the other parties and militia leaders do the same”

“I admit to errors, mistakes, and spying against my people, but I was pressured by external forces”

“I admit to mistakes against human rights, but mine were much lower in numbers”

“I admit to frequent errors, but mine were not fundamental and critical”

“The political conditions were very confused, intricate and beyond comprehension for my naive mind”

“The social conditions were not amenable to diplomatic means of resolution: Time was of essence…”

 “I am ready for reconciliation, but I reserve revenge for personal harms”

“It is very unfortunate, but I was following orders”

“I did my best to reduce violence, but the main culprits were the Italians, French, Americans, Iranians, Syrians…

“I did not make any errors in decisions regarding the safeguarding of the independence and self-autonomy of Lebanon. Unlike the other isolationist leaders, I had the courage to change political directions”

“My history of a staunch patriot is unblemished and my openness to all parties and States that act for the preservation of Lebanon’s self-autonomy is for the benefit of our future generation”

I am asking whether it is appropriate to indulge in superficial self-criticisms if we are not ready to take on the responsibilities for our deeds.  Would any political leader in Lebanon admit to errors and mistakes if there were strong central government and serious division of functions among the legislative, executive, legal, and control independent institutions?

Would not the admission of a single error or mistake that is developed and detailed and analyzed far superior in quality and effectiveness than general mocking self-criticisms?

Lebanon suffered 17 years of civil war and hundred of thousands dead and many fold permanently injured, mutilated, handicapped (physically and mentally), and the outcome was for a resolution to integrate the militia leaders in the parliament and the successive governments.  Could any other State envision a creative solution than letting the wolves care for the sheep?

Our kind of democracy is an image of our “leaders”” self-criticisms.  Maybe it is time to redefine political concepts if the United Nation is not willing to horde all our leaders to tribunal of crimes against humanity.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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