2
   

An accurate view of the USA?

 
 
JTT
 
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 10:38 am
Quote:
Chomsky Discusses the 2008 Election
By Subrata Ghoshroy
SPECIAL TO THE TECH
October 31, 2008
This is the third of a three-part interview with Institute Professor Noam A. Chomsky, conducted in early September by Subrata Ghoshroy, a researcher in the Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group at MIT. In this part, Ghoshroy and Chomsky discussed the 2008 presidential election.

Another version of this interview was previously published at Alternet.org.

Subrata Ghoshroy: If Obama wins, will that bring any changes in U.S. foreign policy?

Noam Chomsky: The prior question is whether he will win. My assumption all along is that McCain will probably win. Now that he has picked Sarah Palin as his vice president, I think those probabilities have increased, for reasons that are understood by party managers and have been expressed very well by McCain’s campaign manager.

He said the election is not about issues, it is about character and personality, and so on. Meaning, it is not a serious election. That is the way U.S. elections are run. Issues are marginalized. They don’t talk about them and the media coverage is about Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons or Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter.

McCain is supposed to be a specialist on national security issues. Why? Suppose that some Russian pilot was shot down bombing heavily populated areas in Kabul and tortured by Reagan’s freedom fighters in the l980s. Well, we might feel sorry for him, but does that make him an expert on national security?

But McCain is an expert on national security because he was shot down bombing heavily populated urban areas in Hanoi and he was tortured by the Vietnamese. Well, we feel sorry for him, but he is no expert on national security. But you can’t say that. These elections are run by the public relations industry. The intellectual community goes along. Issues are marginalized. …

In that terrain, the Republicans have a big advantage. They also have a formidable slander and vilification machine which has yet to go into full operation. They can appeal to latent racism, as they are already doing. They can construct a class issue. Obama is the elite Harvard liberal; McCain is the down to earth ordinary American, and it so happens that he is one of the richest people in the Senate.

Same thing they pulled for Bush. You have to vote for Bush because he is the kind of guy you would like to meet in a bar and have a beer with; he wants to go back to his Ranch in Texas and cut brush. In reality, he was a spoiled fraternity boy who went to an elite university and joined a secret society where the future rulers of the world are trained, and was able to succeed in politics because his family had wealthy friends.

I am convinced, personally, that Bush was trained to mispronounce words to say things like “mis-underestimate” or “nu-cu-ler” so liberal intellectuals would make jokes about it; then the Republican propaganda machine could say see these elitist liberals who run the world are making fun of us ordinary guys who did not go to Harvard (but he did go to Yale, but forget it).

These are games run by the public relations industry, which is a huge industry. It spends enormous resources manipulating attitudes and opinions. They design and control elections so that the public in effect is marginalized.

They keep away from issues for a very good reason. We know a lot about American public opinion. It is a very heavily polled country, mainly because business wants to keep its finger on the public pulse. So there is a ton of information, valid information.

On a host of major issues, domestic and international, both political parties are well to the right of the population. So therefore, you don’t want to talk about issues, not if you want to keep the business parties in power.

Further, the population is aware of this, but the press won’t publish it: 80 percent of the population says the country is run by a few big interests, looking out for themselves, not the benefit of the people. By about 3-1, people object to the fact that issues are not at the center of the campaigns. They want issues to be discussed, not personalities.

Party managers know that, but they won’t go along with it; it is too dangerous. They have got to make sure that the two factions of the business party, Republicans and Democrats, stay in power. So you don’t deal with public concerns.

SG: Some in the Left and progressive community say that Obama’s campaign is a historic opportunity.

NC: I prefer that Obama be elected without any illusions. He is a centrist Democrat who will very likely back away from the more extreme, crazed elements of the Bush programs, but will go pretty much to the center.

After all, what is traditional U.S. policy? So people were outraged by the Bush doctrine of preventive war? What was the Clinton doctrine? It was official. The Clinton doctrine was explicit, it was literally more extreme: The U.S. has the right to use force unilaterally to protect markets and access to raw materials without even the pretexts that Bush insisted on.

He [Clinton] said it quietly in a message to Congress. He was not brazen; he was not waving his fist in their face. We could pretend it was not there. Why did they bomb Serbia? It can’t be reported here because it conflicts with the image of America’s nobility and Serb villainy. We know from the highest levels of the Clinton administration, but it can’t be reported.

Strobe Talbot, the highest Clinton administration official in charge of Eastern

European affairs, wrote an introduction to a book by his associate John Norris, in which he says: If you want to understand the thinking at highest levels of the Clinton Administration during the Kosovo war, this is the book that you have to read.

Norris speaks with full acquaintance of the Clinton administration at top level. What does Norris say? He says that the bombing had nothing to do with concern with Kosovar Albanians. It was because Serbia was not carrying out the required social and economic reforms. In other words, it was the last holdout in Europe to the Clintonite neo-liberal policies.

That is straight from the top level of the Clinton administration. You won’t find a word about it in the press or in the intellectual journals because it conflicts with the party line.

This is a very free country, but also a much disciplined country. Intellectuals keep to the party line. They don’t depart very far. Even though they are free to and they won’t be punished for it. …

The same is true of Iran, the major upcoming foreign policy issue. The mere fact that the U.S. and its collaborators happen to be opposed by most of the world and by the majority of the American population cannot be published. Nobody knows it.

Going back to the election, it is the same story, major issues of concern to the population have to be marginalized. It must stay focused on personalities; on character; on qualities. Everything we hear about McCain is that he is a war hero and so on.

Even liberal critics, like James Carroll in the Boston Globe, says of this noble character that people who opposed the Vietnam war have to go to McCain to apologize. Why do we have to go to McCain to apologize? In Russia, did people who opposed the invasion of Afghanistan go to some pilot who was shot down to apologize? American and western intellectuals can’t understand this, can’t comprehend this.…

Take Obama, I think that the talk about the surge is mostly false, but let’s suppose it were true. Suppose that the U.S. surge had succeeded in cutting down violence in Iraq. What would that mean? That would mean that Bush was almost as successful as Putin was in Chechnya. The Russians destroyed the place, there were massacres, but it is quiet, it is rebuilding. The New York Times says there is a building boom, there is electricity. Do we praise Putin for that? No! we condemn him for that.

The fact that they were able to pacify a country, you don’t praise them for that. On the other hand, if the U.S. were able to achieve anything like that in Iraq, it would lead to accolades and praise. And Obama would be silenced. After all, he had no principled criticism of the war. His only criticism was that it was pointless, silly, or waste of money.

SG: Or, that it was a distraction from the war in Afghanistan, which has become the standard line. It gives the Democrats a chance to be for a war.

NC: It is kind of interesting. As the pretexts for the Iraq war are collapsing, weapons of mass destruction, promoting democracy, all of that, and it becomes harder to stand up to Iraqi opinion and even the Iraqi government which is pressing for withdrawal.

As all of that is happening, there is a little honesty beginning to creep in about the real reasons for the war. Washington Post editors had a very interesting comment when Obama made his speech saying that Afghanistan is the top priority. They said he is making a terrible mistake; the priority is Iraq because Iraq is the country where the oil resources are, which is at the center of the Middle East’s energy producing region. So, Iraq must be the top priority.

Finally, they are telling the real reasons for the war, after lying about it since 2003. OK, no weapons of mass destruction, no promoting democracy, no liberation. We want to maintain control over energy resources. That’s why we invaded. Sure.

SG: And Afghanistan?

NC: You can have a low intensity war going on for 30 years where you send predator drones to bomb madrassas in Pakistan and kill dozens of people. Who cares?


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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 3,772 • Replies: 26

 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 11:03 am
The link:

http://tech.mit.edu/V128/N52/chomsky.html
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  -2  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 11:21 am
This election coming up is not about centrist versus rightest. It is not about who is most popular with the people.

It is about jobs, and the erosion of a hard-working middle class. It is about the anathema to the policy of earning money and then having it spread around to others. It is about Americans that like the American flag. It is about national borders. It is about our American English language. It is about not being forced to purchase health insurance. IT IS ABOUT OUR HISTORICAL FREEDOMS AS AMERICANS REGARDLESS OF OUR BACKGROUNDS.
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 11:25 am
@Foofie,
You certainly have the freedom to remain one of the seriously duped, Foofie, one of the abysmally ignorant.

Don't do anything to change. You're so sweet that way!

Is it one of your historical freedoms that you can murder others with impunity, steal their resources, torture and rape at will?
djjd62
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 11:26 am
@Foofie,
Laughing

thanks, i needed a laugh
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 11:28 am
i picture foofie standing on a hilltop, with a flag blowing in the background while he/she typed that (and perhaps an indian crying over some litter off to one side)
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 11:34 am
@Foofie,
http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/offical-sign-protester.jpg
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 08:02 pm
That was interesting. During the run-up (it was a marathon, not a sprint) to the election, I went back and forth, wondering whether or not sarah palin would prove an albatross to a mc cain victory. I felt then and continue to feel that sarah palin was offered as a sacrifice by the Republican Party to demonstrate its disdain for the Joes who make up the American public. What better way to say I disdain you then to offer a not so virginal bimbo?

I did think that no Republican could have won in 2008 and so the party offered an old and embarrassingly doddering war horse a last hurrah: You won the nomination, old boy! Enjoy!

I agree with several of Noam's points: that the advertising industry really runs the company; that the press and the intellectuals keep their mouths shut and that Barack is a centrist Democrat. Can hardly wait for our resident wingnuts to emerge from the slime with which they regenerate themselves to tell Noam and me that we are loony.

I will pass this on. I know a great many people who will read it and ponder over how tethered America is.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 08:36 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

You certainly have the freedom to remain one of the seriously duped, Foofie, one of the abysmally ignorant.

Don't do anything to change. You're so sweet that way!

Is it one of your historical freedoms that you can murder others with impunity, steal their resources, torture and rape at will?


Your use of the "you" above, in your last paragraph, has nothing to do with me. Please learn to convey your thoughts without slandering.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 09:20 pm
@Foofie,
Quote:
Your use of the "you" above, in your last paragraph, has nothing to do with me.


It's the general 'you', Foofie and it wasn't a direct reference to you. However, if you provide cover and support for war criminals and mass murderers, you implicate yourself.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 09:36 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
Your use of the "you" above, in your last paragraph, has nothing to do with me.


It's the general 'you', Foofie and it wasn't a direct reference to you. However, if you provide cover and support for war criminals and mass murderers, you implicate yourself.


I never heard of the "general you" in standard English. I have heard of phrasing "one's" sentence with the word "one," rather than "you."

Regardless of your colloquial speech, one does not "provide cover and support" by not agreeing with your concerns for humanity. One just is not concerned about all of humanity. Do you see that they can be mutually exclusive? Not agreeing with your concerns does not equal anything other than not agreeing with your concerns. You do not seem to allow for a neutral position. One is allowed to have a neutral position.

Following your paradigm of reasoning, one can then accuse someone who is not pro-Israel, according to your apparent logic, that they would have been for the extermination of Jews in WWII, since Israel would have been a safe haven. Illogical, yet this seems to be the line of reasoning you promote?
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 09:56 pm
@Foofie,
Quote:
I never heard of the "general you" in standard English. I have heard of phrasing "one's" sentence with the word "one," rather than "you."

Regardless of your colloquial speech,


You don't know what you're talking about, Foofie, but nice try. What you've heard and what you believe you know about the English language could be measured in thimble fulls, at least a couple of them anyway.

Quote:
one does not "provide cover and support" by not agreeing with your concerns for humanity. One just is not concerned about all of humanity. Do you see that they can be mutually exclusive? Not agreeing with your concerns does not equal anything other than not agreeing with your concerns. You do not seem to allow for a neutral position. One is allowed to have a neutral position.

Following your paradigm of reasoning, one can then accuse someone who is not pro-Israel, according to your apparent logic, that they would have been for the extermination of Jews in WWII, since Israel would have been a safe haven. Illogical, yet this seems to be the line of reasoning you promote?


Your example is fatuous. It's not even close to the same. Not being concerned with others is different than defending and supporting actual war criminals/mass murderers. It's no different than defending and supporting Hitler.

One example will suffice: Reagan planned, funded, illegally, I must remind you, a genocide against the people of Nicaragua. Reagan, the war criminal/mass murderer/terrorist extraordinaire, called the murderers he had trained the equivalent of the founding fathers.

Reagan planned and ordered the illegal mining of Nicaraguan harbors. Reagan planned and executed drug running in order to provide funding for these activities.

And you have supported and defended Reagan.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 11:26 pm
@JTT,
Hey Mom, look, I made it as a tag!

Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation
Foofie
 
  0  
Reply Sat 23 Oct, 2010 09:20 am
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
I never heard of the "general you" in standard English. I have heard of phrasing "one's" sentence with the word "one," rather than "you."

Regardless of your colloquial speech,


You don't know what you're talking about, Foofie, but nice try. What you've heard and what you believe you know about the English language could be measured in thimble fulls, at least a couple of them anyway.

Quote:
one does not "provide cover and support" by not agreeing with your concerns for humanity. One just is not concerned about all of humanity. Do you see that they can be mutually exclusive? Not agreeing with your concerns does not equal anything other than not agreeing with your concerns. You do not seem to allow for a neutral position. One is allowed to have a neutral position.

Following your paradigm of reasoning, one can then accuse someone who is not pro-Israel, according to your apparent logic, that they would have been for the extermination of Jews in WWII, since Israel would have been a safe haven. Illogical, yet this seems to be the line of reasoning you promote?


Your example is fatuous. It's not even close to the same. Not being concerned with others is different than defending and supporting actual war criminals/mass murderers. It's no different than defending and supporting Hitler.

One example will suffice: Reagan planned, funded, illegally, I must remind you, a genocide against the people of Nicaragua. Reagan, the war criminal/mass murderer/terrorist extraordinaire, called the murderers he had trained the equivalent of the founding fathers.

Reagan planned and ordered the illegal mining of Nicaraguan harbors. Reagan planned and executed drug running in order to provide funding for these activities.

And you have supported and defended Reagan.


One should not support one's President? Was he not elected democratically?

Do not answer. I know too little about you to continue this exercise in futility. I do not know your age, your background, your religion from your family, your region (small towner, or urbanite), your education. I know nothing about you, and therefore, as a believer in sociology, I have no understanding as to what might have given you your outlook. So, rather than communicate to a mysterious poster, I am elsewhere.
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Oct, 2010 09:21 am
@JTT,
congratulations, i aspire to tagdom some day myself

shame they couldn't have left spaces between the letters so it would all be capitalized, some people just don't care for others feelings
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Oct, 2010 09:26 am
@Foofie,
Foofie wrote:
Do not answer. I know too little about you to continue this exercise in futility. I do not know your age, your background, your religion from your family, your region (small towner, or urbanite), your education. I know nothing about you, and therefore, as a believer in sociology, I have no understanding as to what might have given you your outlook. So, rather than communicate to a mysterious poster, I am elsewhere.


you really are a piece of work aren't you

he/she provides opinions, where they come from is really of no consequence, you either accept them and debate or not, but to think knowing if he/she is "small town or urbanite" (among other things) is ridiculous
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Oct, 2010 09:46 am
@Foofie,
Quote:
One should not support one's President? Was he not elected democratically?


He didn't function democratically. He functioned in the manner of the worst of felons, the worst of war criminals. He abused the principles of democracy in a fashion that should have and still should make you weep for what he did to the USA.

He was duplicitous in his dealings with the Russians. When they wanted to reduce the arms race, Reagan and his cronies sought to escalate it.

All excellent reasons for you to support your president, Foofie.

You're been had, badly, by a series of crooks who make sure that the military/industrial group is well taken care of, that there profits stay at ginormous levels while American die for lack of medical care, while American newborns die at a rate that's higher than Cuba.

While the poor and the innocent of the world have their resources stolen, while those same people are subjected to American brutality.

More good reasons to support war criminals, Foofie. Keep up the good work!
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Oct, 2010 03:48 pm
The following is from another thread. It was composed by Ceili. Rather than let it be lost in the bowels of A2K, I've moved it here, [without permission from Ceili] because it addresses the central theme of this thread.

If she sues me for breach of copyright, so be it. It'll be well worth it.

Quote:

@Finn dAbuzz,

Finn, this is how I see it, in a nutshell.

I was in Ireland last year. I took a lot of walks with my uncle, a very wise, well traveled, educated man. He's a very respected man who has made a very comfortable life for his family in an area that is rather inhospitable at times. He has many friends and business associates on either side of the divide, if you will.

Before you think I'm fixated on Ireland, let me explain.
We discussed the violence that had been a predominant force in his life. I found it shocking. I don't come from an area that is without its own troubles but nothing on the level they endured. There are areas in Canada with the same basic genetic make up of N. Ireland, same religious differences but not anywhere near the same murder or crime rate. So what is the difference?
It's an acceptance of violence. In one place it's de rigeuer, in another, it's greeted with appropriate horror.

So maybe burning a Koran isn't a crime against humanity, but it can quickly go that route.

Americans have a long history of eating their own. A knack of building people up and tearing them down, or just kicking them down. You have a history of hating and you haven't learned from your past.

The U.S. is often portrayed as a melting pot, but one gets the message that if you don't quite fit in, you're either the pot or the stew. Your politicians have for a very long time preached from bully pulpits about true americans, hard working, god fearing, red blooded americans.

And yet, if you were an indian, a black slave or a commie or a hippie or a vietnam vet or a brown guy in arizona or a muslim just about anywhere or a japanese fisherman during the war or a 2nd generation immigrant wop off the boat, or the returning heros from an ongoing war, that come home, not to open arms but homeless shelters, if you're left or you're right, you some how never measure up.

You live in a divided state, a country of two divides. A two party state that seems to never agree on anything but how much they can **** the other party over. You hate the blue states, or the red ones and somehow the 'other' never measure up either. You produce enough guns per annum to pretty much arm the world because you don't trust your neighbours or your government or anybody really.

Any you have some of the highest murder rates in the world. You hate criminals and you kill 'em and yet, those states have the worst crime records of them all. You hate the poor, homeless, welfare, single mothers, and the sick and dying. You'd rather people suffer and go bankrupt than follow the example of the vast majority of the world and reduce yourselves to being called socialists. I shudder.

Weird since you all profess to live in the best country in the world.
God Blesses the USA and all that, and you really do, live in a great place but...
You all seem so grumpy, paranoid...

As a people you seem terrified of and a little shaky when it comes to the isms. Socialism, communism, fascism, Muslims, Hinduism, Judaism, Catholicism, atheism, environmentalism, feminism blah, blah, blah.

You preach the separation of church and state and yet, if your president doesn't go to church you get your selves in a tizzy.

Instead of building an appropriate monument to the victims of 911 or doing something constructive to stop the violence, thousands of angry hateful people picket a proposed place of worship, and not just in NY, it's happening all across the States. Have any of these people done anything to prod action or pay for a memorial. Nope, probably not, but they can act like buffoons toward their fellow citizens. Question their red blooded americaness... Thank god for the American constitution.

I'm not sure you or I or anybody can pinpoint the number of "jihadists" in the world. I can tell you that it's probably a very small minority. I can tell you that it's probably a growing movement, with every imagined and/or real slight they feel they've been put upon. I can tell you that some of their complaints are justified. I can also tell you that all "jihadists" do not speak for all muslims and that not all "jihadists" are suicide bombers. But they are an angry lot too. Just like y'all. Their message started out on bully pulpits too.
Just like, not all "koran burners" speak for all americans, and all "koran burners" are capable of violence, but... and I stress, not all people that hear the message are pussycats. You only have to look at your own history to see that ugly ideas can become a reality. Need I remind you of the Alfred P. Murrah building or lynchings?


As far as Left and Right.... I'm not an Ayn Randian. While those ideas are a favourite compunction in the USA, or at least the moneyed set, most of the worlds other democracies don't consider themselves communists either. In other words, in most places, I wouldn't be considered a lefty. You're welcome to judge me otherwise though, you do that well.

0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Oct, 2010 06:49 pm
@djjd62,
djjd62 wrote:

Foofie wrote:
Do not answer. I know too little about you to continue this exercise in futility. I do not know your age, your background, your religion from your family, your region (small towner, or urbanite), your education. I know nothing about you, and therefore, as a believer in sociology, I have no understanding as to what might have given you your outlook. So, rather than communicate to a mysterious poster, I am elsewhere.


you really are a piece of work aren't you

he/she provides opinions, where they come from is really of no consequence, you either accept them and debate or not, but to think knowing if he/she is "small town or urbanite" (among other things) is ridiculous



Not "ridiculous" if one subscribes to sociology of having some truths. Small town folks are much more parochial, in my opinion, than many of the cosmopolitan urbanites. There really is a difference in the social mores in the two demographics. You need not subscribe to this belief, but calling it "ridiculous" is just sort of sour grapes, in my opinion, for all the people that might be stuck in a small town, or stuck in a city, and wanting to rationalize that the two are the same, as far as one's thinking goes.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Oct, 2010 06:57 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
One should not support one's President? Was he not elected democratically?


He didn't function democratically. He functioned in the manner of the worst of felons, the worst of war criminals. He abused the principles of democracy in a fashion that should have and still should make you weep for what he did to the USA.

He was duplicitous in his dealings with the Russians. When they wanted to reduce the arms race, Reagan and his cronies sought to escalate it.

All excellent reasons for you to support your president, Foofie.

You're been had, badly, by a series of crooks who make sure that the military/industrial group is well taken care of, that there profits stay at ginormous levels while American die for lack of medical care, while American newborns die at a rate that's higher than Cuba.

While the poor and the innocent of the world have their resources stolen, while those same people are subjected to American brutality.

More good reasons to support war criminals, Foofie. Keep up the good work!


You keep alluding to some importance that I do not have. You should argue your point, but making references to the poster's opinions, as reflective of the poster's character, is just the standard ad-hominem argument that is invalid in all debating paradigms.

But, if you value our free speech in the U.S., you should stop making allusions to poster's opinions as reflective of the poster's character, since that can be seen as an attempt to disenfranchise the poster from his/her right to an opinion (aka, free speech). You are not arguing a point; you, in my opinion, are just functioning as the thought police with no recourse to anything but character ad-hominems when a poster, such as I, is candid enough to say, "F*ck foreigners in foreign lands." [Foofie was proud of his succinct concluding statement.]
 

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