Friday, April 08, 2011

on certain Green's defence of military intervention


I just had a serious flame-off at Rupert Read, a Green Party Councillor for Norwich, and strident advocate of military intervention in Libya. I fully confess to provoking him by accusing him of suffering from 'Johann Syndrome' over his support for the war, in the manner of Johann's support for the Iraqi invasion, subsequently recanted. Johann, in his most recent article for the Independent, has laid out some pretty damning ground for considering the UK and US's motivations for intervention to be utterly suspect. Not least that "Libya is among the 10 top oil producers in the world". 

I simply don't believe that Rupert, as a Green Party Councillor, is ignorant of the fundamental addiction of modern society to oil and the consequent geopolitical importance of its supply. So for him to write that "I don't care why Cameron and Obama are intervening. Only that they've saved the freeLibyans from decimation" is to utterly ignore the preponderance for Western governments, particularly the US and UK, to act utterly immorally in order to secure oil supplies without a shade of concern for the life or liberty of the people who might currently be occupying the suddenly valuable land. Its simply incredulous that someone in such a position of prominence for the 'left' can fall for the concept of "humanitarian intervention" without considering the geopolitical importance of the target nation. 

Its even more laughable that Rupert claims that:
"[Johann's] argument fails because motive is not relevant. What matters is that we do the right thing 4 #Benghazi" 
That's just moral abdication of the lowest order! Motives are entirely suspect when dealing with  the geopolitics of one of the top-10 oil producing countries in the world!!!

The most insane aspect of Rupert's implausible endorsement is his failure to endorse similar action in a host of similar humanitarian and democratic crises in recent history (crises in nations which weren't cursed by abundant fossil fuel reserves). 

Even in light of recent events in Libya, which were utterly predictable to anyone who bothered to follow the history of NATO's many, many similar 'collateral losses', he has failed to post anything remotely regretful. 

I'm, proud to say that I finished matters in a predictably unequivocal, punkscience-fashion:
@GreenRupertRead I'm concerned you haven't got the msg yet: I think you're a vacuous, unprincipled prick. Get bent you fucking cunt.
*sigh* It seems that even otherwise intelligent and insightful members of the Green Party aren't immune from moments of fucktardery and moral failure. 

Now, who does that remind you of . . . ?

Anyway, enough crudely self-referential deprecation. Some Chomsky to close:
"Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the more astute of the senior planners and analysts, pointed out in the journal National Interest that America's control over the Middle East "gives it indirect but politically critical leverage on the European and Asian economies that are also dependent on energy exports from the region." If the United States can maintain its control over Iraq, with the world's second largest known oil reserves, and right at the heart of the world's major energy supplies, that will enhance significantly its strategic power and influence over its major rivals in the tripolar world that has been taking shape for the past 30 years: US-dominated North America, Europe, and Northeast Asia, linked to South and Southeast Asia economies.
It is a rational calculation, on the assumption that human survival is not particularly significant in comparison with short-term power and wealth. And that is nothing new. These themes resonate through history. The difference today in this age of nuclear weapons is only that the stakes are enormously higher."

fucking pinko-commie-cyclislamofascists! *


I'd love to hear what a yank thinks of this:

I know its very flat in Holland, making cycling long distances much more practical than in hilly places like where I've lived (Plymouth, Auckland), but surely a little creative city planning won't find that a challenge.

I bought a bike the other day, BTW. Off the NZ equivalent of fleabay. It was a 10 year old racer that I paid $145 for. I've put commuter tyres on it (700x28) & have bought mountain bike handle bars to swap for the 'racer' ones that I dislike. My nephew also found out about this uber-awesome 2nd-hand bike shop on Symonds St which has a basement full of rebuilt and revamped bikes, as well as filing cabinets full of pre-loved parts that I rifled through to find a pair of matching brake levers which I subsequently paid the princely sum of $2 for! TEH AWESOME!

I'll post a picture when I can be arsed.

* Respect to General J. C. Christian for inspiring the title

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

no, actually that's what stupidity looks like


Watching the ongoing campaign by UK Uncut against the various shades of cad, tosser and bastard on the high street is particularly warming. However, the joy I derive from the spectacle of Barclays branches being occupied is diminished somewhat by the underlying feeling of A Seriously Missed Point. Why are people targeting banks, which no one can reasonably resent attempting to maximise profits within the existing legislative framework, instead of politicians? Its politicians who create legislation regulating how much tax banks and other businesses pay. Its politicians who decide whether to gut the HMRC of its valuable staff, leaving the playing field even more insanely one-sided for the megacorps and their legions of top-flight accounting staff that run rings around the underresourced and undermotivated HMRC staffers.

The same phenomenon of misguidance is equally evident on the other side of the Atlantic where impassioned articles such as this one are becoming increasingly common (see where the title of my post comes from?). In contrast to such myopathy, the legendary Matt Taibbi does an awesome job of revealing the utter moral bankruptcy and mendacious sociopathy of the big finance houses but he has also done a fantastic job drawing attention to the hollow institutions of government whose job it should be to police such corporations. If the government won't govern then there's little point trying to get corporations to listen to their social consciences as they don't have one. At all. Corporations exist to maximise shareholder value and their directors are restricted by law to acting solely in that interest. Calls to action against corporations and businesses will achieve little. If you want to change how much tax corporations pay you need to lobby the government. UK Uncut obviously does this as well as targeting businesses and there is a credible argument to be made that engaging in direct action against tax avoiders grabs media attention and "gets the message out". It can also be argued that it confuses the message by suggesting that corporations act  immorally by engaging in tax avoidance measures when they are simply staying afloat in the race-to the-bottom that is neoliberal capitalism.

The problem is that many lobby groups already do target politicians. Its damning of UK society that the commentariat of the 4th estate has to argue the case for more tax officials. See Richard Murphy, George and Johann for more info. And that is my point: As with most issues, this one boils down to a fundamentally unrepresentative, unaccountable and undemocratic government. Its pretty clear that the UK public don't want Vodafone to get away with their epically cunty tax avoidance scheme but the UK's political elite disagree and there's no way for the public to force them to act.

What comes first: A just tax policy or an accountable and representative government? I'm pretty certain that you won't get the former without first establishing the latter and so I'm afraid that, without widening their goals to include the establishment of an representative and accountable government, the current protest movement is doomed to failure.