Sunday, July 29, 2007

Patients in the U.S. choosing Mexican hospitals

[Title Link] What this puts into relief for me is the absolute fear America in general has of countries outside of itself, whether they're Mexico or Canada. Quote:

"All around I was very impressed, and the experience surpassed any expectation I had," Mr. Woods said. "I could have been in Zurich, Switzerland, but it was Mexico. I found the care to be top quality, what you would expect at a U.S. hospital and more."

The article focusses on Texans going to Mexico, which makes sense since it's so much closer to Texas.

But back to the "Americans fearing other countries" thing. People seem to feel that other countries are extraordinarily foreign, even Canada, which people kind of look at weirdly but don't really understand. But other countries have hospitals...schools...cities...and the people there live in ways recognizable to the ways in which people live in the United States. I'm being ironic. Of course they do. Even cities in foreign countries that are based on totally different cultures aren't truly non-understandable. But when people talk about going to Canadian pharmacies for drugs, the U.S. government raises questions about the safety of Canadian pharmaceuticals, as if the Canadians either don't get exactly the same drugs that people in the U.S. get or they have worse quality control standards than the U.S., which has seen recalls of popularly prescribed drugs in the past few years because of fatal complications. Also, the U.S. government somehow tried to link Canadian pharmacies with terrorism and Al-Qaeda, the reasoning being that if people in the U.S. started to go to Canadian pharmacies in large numbers than Al-Qaeda, which is everywhere, lurking behind trees and plotting against Americans, could target them and secretly poison the drugs that Americans get.

Bwa ha ha! That shifty eyed Al-Qaeda! They'll think of anything to get back at Americans, even striking at our attempts to get decently priced prescription drugs!

Anyways, the border with Canada is now more tense than ever, with Canadians being rightly ticked off about Americans harassing Canadians wanting to go to the U.S. and responding by making things harder for people from the U.S. who want to go to Canada. Mexico has a fence on the border and the scare about illegal immigration is causing even more drastic and racist measures there.

First it was that Mexican border, during the height of the Drug War, was a major drug trafficking spot, now, with an actual war replacing the phony "War on Drugs", it's a border that's allowing people in who threaten our White Christian Male heritage. I guess no one thought about maybe going over to Mexico and seeing what life was actually like over there.

The Canadian thing is more immediately relevant to me since I'm about two and a half hours away from Vancouver, which is a huge, wonderful, city. From what I understand. I've never actually been there, and I'd love to go, but I just know that if I go up to the border alone that there's going to be problems, bullshit problems but problems nonetheless, and so far I haven't found traveling companions to go with me up there. All of this, mind you, is for going to a city that's about as foreign to the U.S. as Toronto is, which is to say it might as well be in the U.S., although of course there are differences due to the unique Canadian identity. But then there will always be differences when going to a foreign country! There are differences when you go from a city in on the East Coast to a city in the Southwest. There are differences going from, say, Chicago to a city in the south, like New Orleans. For that matter there are differences going from Chicago to Detroit. So the really, really, foreign territory of British Columbia really isn't anything new, and neither is Mexico, although of course you can play up the cultural differences between there and here to the point where it seems utterly exotic and foreign.

I mean, the U.S. and Canada....don't you think that people experience a culture shift when they go from France to Germany, or from Spain to Denmark? Yet people still travel up there and they've actually formed a kind of Union between countries of various cultural backgrounds, which people in the U.S. might know as the E.U., that seems to be doing all right.

Why can't we have that attitude here?

Friday, July 27, 2007

It never ceases to amaze me...

How bloggers, admittedly more mainstream bloggers than me, with bigger readerships, who play by the rules and then go over the line catch shit, while people like me who have consistently gone over the line from the start get some sort of a pass, like people are saying to themselves "Oh, that's just him. That's what he does. Don't get too upset over it." Case in point, a few days ago I wrote about Joe Bageant's new book about white folks in rural Virginia, who he's holding up as being populist heroes representative of the American working class, and I implied that they probably spend their spare time killing black people, and absolutely nothing. But I say something about the Clash and suddenly the sky has fallen....

The thing about Bageant is serious, though. I know that people are probably sick of me complaining about authors, but in his published writings, on and Counterpunch, Bageant has explained away parts of the lives of these people that are highly objectionable. These are the same people who joined the Klan and who commit hate crimes against blacks this very day. That doesn't mean that everyone of them does it, or that they all approve of it, but if you're going to write about a group of people you should take them on warts and all and not brush over things like racial violence.

This applies to the actual American working class too, i.e. the people who live in urban areas that aren't agricultural, and that aren't isolated from the rest of the country. I grew up in the Detroit area and during the eighties there was insane anti-Japanese sentiment in Detroit, sentiment that was overtly racist, because of the competition from Japanese auto manufacturers who people thought were the cause behind all the problems in the auto industry. One unfortunate man of Chinese ancestry was beaten and killed in Warren Michigan, where part of my family is from and where several large auto plants are located, because they thought he was Japanese. The response, as people have recalled it, was muted.

If I was to write about the working class in the Detroit area it would be dishonest of me to not point out things like that, or to point out the very real racial tensions between blacks in the city of Detroit and whites in the working class suburbs that border the city, tension that also flares up into violence every so often. There's a difference between an apologia, an apology for something, and a sympathetic viewpoint.

Fascism, a definition

Not the union of State and Corporate power, but the merger of reaction with an acceptance of revolution. In the post-World War I world there was a common sense, expressed for instance in Arthur Moeller van den Bruck's work "Germany's Third Empire", or "Germany's Third Reich", that the destruction of the Hohenzollern state and monarchy, which was Prussia, along with the abolition of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and states, as well as the fall of Imperial Russia, signaled the end of the possibility of achieving reactionary measures just by relying on conservative legislation and movements that looked to preserving the past. Instead, the people who would become the leaders of the fascists in Italy and Germany viewed any conservative return to power as having to be based on a revolutionary action which would transform society in a way parallel to the French and Russian Revolutions but with drastically different values.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Anglophile authors of history....

I was reading "The secret voyage of Francis Drake", by Samuel Bawlf, when I went looking for information about it on the internet. The book is about navigator Francis Drake's exploration of the West Coast of the United States in the 16th century. He landed somewhere along the northern part of the coast, maybe in northern California maybe further up, and claimed it is "Nova Albion" or New Albion. Bawlf's book, which states that he actually landed on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and that he explored the entire coast of British Columbia up to present day Alaska, is contended by pretty much every scholar to be a fraud. Moreover, it turns out that Bawlf is a councillor in Victoria, B.C., which is on Vancouver Island.

One commenter points out the anglophilic tone of the book, which starts very early in declarations that Drake's voyage was the most spectacular feat of exploration in the history of navigation. Which brings us to the main topic here: the very curious tendency of English historians, or Canadian historians in this case, to be so centered on English achievements that they lose all perspective on the actual significance of the events. Another example of this deals with the battle of Trafalgar.

The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval battle between the British Navy and Napoleon's forces, who were attempting to take over England. The English won. British historians have given the event world historical significance, saying that the defeat of Napoleon by the British saved Europe. When they get right down to it, what they actually claim is that it cut off trade between England and the part of the continent controlled by Napoleon, creating some kind of economic hardship for Napoleonic Europe. And it saved England! Restricting trade isn't exactly the same as Saving Europe, and it's clear that what they really mean when they say "Saved Europe" is "Saved England". The actual consequences of the lack of trade with England were kind of different than what they say.

What happened was that because of the lack of trade Napoleon had to rely more on what was called the "Continental System", which was basically a system where goods were manufactured by territories controlled by Napoleon for the rest of the territories controlled by Napoleon. So instead of trade in English fabric, fabric making in some country in the Continental system would be sponsored. But it gets better.

I leafed through a book on Napoleon and Napoleon's campaigns in a bookstore where I found a really schmaltzy book on the Battle of Trafalgar and looked for references, looked for what this author thought the significance of the battle was. Turned out that in terms of the significance of it for Napoleon's over all strategy Trafalgar only got a mention in passing. In other words, this great event that's considered to have "Saved Europe" is considered to be way down on the list of essential events relating to Napoleon and his campaigns.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sebastiane by Derek Jarman

Sebastiane is a feature length film by English filmmaker Derek Jarman about the martyr Saint Sebastian.

People, like whoever wrote the very brief Wikipedia entry on it, don't do the film justice when they say that it's about a homosexual relationship in the Roman legion. The issues are much deeper.

St.Sebastian starts off by being demoted from a position high up in the Roman guards to languishing in a desert outpost because he objects to the arbitrary killing of a person who offended the Emperor at a celebration. He continues to refuse to do things related to killing and fighting, like cleaning swords, at the outpost, which sees no action, and is repeatedly punished for it.

As the film develops the basic tension reveals itself to be between Sebastian's view of the world, which is peaceful and effeminate, and that of Rome, as represented by many of his fellow soldiers and by the commander of the outpost, which turns out to be hateful and to encompass many of the negative features of masculinity.

The Romans stand in for straight society; Sebastian embodies gay society and a point of view that objects to coercion and macho violence. Very interestingly, the homophobia and brutality of the Roman soldiers doesn't fully manifest itself until the end of the film. Before that there seems to be some ambiguity surrounding their attitude to homosexuality in that the matter is openly discussed and people engage in homoerotic masculine games like playing a game throwing a ball to each other nude in a lake. Eventually a couple forms between two of the men, with their love for each other beautifully rendered, but they seem to be reduced in prominence within the larger group after they come together.

The finale comes when the commander of the guard, on seeing the two men embracing in a pool of water, tries to force Sebastian to have sex with him. Sebastian declares that he'll never be able to have him or love him. This is sort of emblematic of straight society, that tries to force people to obey its code and also wants them to except without protest when they want to break that code for their own edification. Either way is victimization.

The film captures both the beauty of male love, rendered in a setting where bodies are showcased through the lack of clothes in a desert environment, and the profound vulnerability of non-straight people in straight society. Sebastian is whipped, tied down in the hot sun, and finally tied to a post and executed by means of arrows for failing to cooperate.

But, he says, he believes in a world beyond this one, beautiful and golden.

Free trade isn't even free

When people make the argument for free trade one of the things that they often point out is that people have been trading with each other for centuries and that often this trade has enriched all of the countries participating in it. Chinese goods that couldn't be made in Europe would be exchanged for European goods that couldn't be made in China. Middle Eastern traders traded with the nations along the horn of Africa. Russians traded with Central Asians and in turn traded with Western European countries, supplying goods like honey that Russia specialized in. However, there's an essential difference between that kind of trade and the free trade that's being promoted now, and it can be reduced to one word: subcontracting.

You see, although Chinese companies make a lot of the goods consumed in the U.S. they don't develop them their selves. What happens is that an American firm does the research, tests the product, turns it into a saleable item, then finds a factory that has the equipment and the skill to implement and produce the product. The product is made according to the specifications of the company and then shipped back to the United States. The Chinese company is a client of the American company, it's participating in a global scale outsourcing project, and while it can produce all the goods it wants it will never be an independent company designing and producing its own goods for sale as long as it remains linked to the company it subcontracts for.

When you see a garment that says "Made in Vietnam" or "Made in Thailand" it hasn't been produced by a Vietnamese or Thai company acting on its own. And that's not free trade. Free trade, in its positive aspect, depends on companies innovating on their own and marketing their goods to other countries in order to fill unique niches that aren't being filled by other companies.

With subcontracting there's no possibility of innovation except in developing production processes that are more efficient. The large companies that send the plans to the subcontractors and make sure that they're implemented properly, large multinational corporations that make up most of the brand names that we're familiar with in the U.S., are the ones that have permission to truly innovate.

Unless laws governing countries' ability to regulate the companies that do business with them, as well as laws dealing with government sponsored infant industries, are changed from being extremely restrictive to allowing the governments to intervene "free trade" will continue to be about first world countries using third world countries for their benefit and not about countries innovating in order to increase their wealth and to increase the quality and diversity of goods available on the world market.

****on edit: I'm trying to get this article printed by progressive yet not radical media, so some of the sentiments are toned down. Maybe I should point out that outsourcing globally just transfers jobs overseas and doesn't really create a situation where the jobs lost can be easily replaced.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Again, context for right wing Christian stuff

From The Boiling Point, which is cartoonist Mikhaela Reid's blog, which is very good.

" Attention non-virgins: you're nothing but a used-up linty piece of tape
Saw this in the NY Times a few days ago, and had to mention despite my obscene lack of sleep lately:

“You have to look at why sex was created,” Eric Love, the director of the East Texas Abstinence Program, which runs Virginity Rules, said one day, the sounds of Christian contemporary music humming faintly in his Longview office. “Sex was designed to bond two people together.”

To make the point, Mr. Love grabbed a tape dispenser and snapped off two fresh pieces. He slapped them to his filing cabinet and the floor; they trapped dirt, lint, a small metal bolt. “Now when it comes time for them to get married, the marriage pulls apart so easily,” he said, trying to unite the grimy strips. “Why? Because they gave the stickiness away.”

Huh? More on this from Feministing."

This really sucks for kids in East Texas, who get this stuff as part of an effort by the power structure there to control and punish them, but I have to question what relevance it has to the rest of the country beyond giving a heads up to a sad thing going on down there.

The internet has made it very easy to pick up stories from anywhere, meaning that on the one hand a lot of news that would otherwise be obscure, but which is important (maybe because without the internet it would stay obscure and unknown to the rest of the world), but on the other that it's easy to get upset about things happening in these places as if it was happening in your own backyard.

But it's not. It's important to know that things like this are going on in East Texas, but at the same time I know that the few organizations here in the Seattle area that believe this sort of thing have close to no influence beyond a small circle of conservative Christians. So it isn't like this sort of thing is going to take over Seattle tomorrow because it's in East Texas today.

When it comes right down to it, things like this, as well as things like the creationist museum in Ohio, are interesting and important to know about, but perhaps putting them in perspective would be a good idea too.

Just a thought.

And before that I was in NYC

Continuing the personal history started in the Olympia-Seattle post. Took off for New York CIty in August of 1998, participated in my first big demonstration there, the annual October protest against police brutality, came back home to the Detroit area in the spring, left again the following August, and then took off for Florida in December of 1999, after attending the SOA protest that happened to be going on at the same time as WTO. I was too new to the activist scene to be hooked into WTO in the sense of knowing people who were going there or being part of an organization that was participating, although I knew what the WTO was and what it was doing in the world. Plus, I was living in the midwest at the time, and it takes quite a lot of personal involvement in things to bring somebody out across a three or four day drive to the Pacific Northwest and back for a demo.

What does it mean for a country to be both rich and unequal?

Both of those things are true of the United States, with inequality steadily increasing. Well as this article indicates, it may mean that a lot of that wealth is being squandered on absolutely useless things. I mean, the money is going somewhere, and if it's not going to things like wages for people who need the basics and programs like health care it's probably going towards the grand and noble tradition of taking excess to places never seen before. To seek out new worlds, new frontiers, of money wasting bullshit.

Which is really a shame, because of course with the wealth of the United States a lot of things could be done; instead we're just pissing it away.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Now in Seattle from Olympia

Went back to Olympia today for my second to last trip to my old apartment to clean up some stuff and take some last things back up here. Like with any place you leave I have mixed emotions about Olympia. The primary emotions though are burnout, and gratefulness to be in a place with more creature comforts. The burnout part is easy to explain: I've lived in alternative communities for roughly the last seven and a half years, minus half to three quarters of a year, off and on, in an ultra conservative, heavily Christian community. Lived in the Florida Keys, Gainesville in Florida, which is home to UF, Ocala, which is the fore mentioned ultra conservative place, and Olympia.

None of them is a big city, none of them is a big city, none of them really has much to offer in terms of making a very long, like more than a few years, commitment.

But specifically, I chose to drop out of society by moving to the Florida Keys, and I chose to live in these places (except Ocala). In fact, I sought them out. I've lived a long time in small, very alternative, very radical, towns and have spent significant amounts of time seeking out and visiting other towns like them across the country. Now, it's time to go back to living in a city.

I left the Detroit area in late summer of '99, with a small interlude elsewhere in the midwest before leaving for the Florida Keys in December of '99.

It feels good to be in a place that doesn't have the same kind of concentrated intensity as these alternative towns, especially Olympia, where I not only lived for three and a half years but also finished up school in, at The Evergreen State College.

The two combined, wow. I need a break from that sort of intensity, and it's always nice to be in a place where you can catch an espresso drink in a cafe spilling out onto a sidewalk, that's in a neighborhood where you can reach everything you need to live by foot.

Creature comforts + getting away from the concentrated intensity that alternative towns can bring with them.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Google bombing Joe Bageant

As the Dude said, this will not stand. The people who praised Joe Bageant's book "Deer Hunting with Jesus" deserve to know where he really stands on issues. So here we go "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish". "Joe Bageant declared that ethnic Americans are "Two shits from the outhouse Irish".

Funny how the American Revolution was fought against encroaching royal power

And yet the UK ended up with an executive less powerful than that in the United States. The President is more like a King than like a Prime Minister.

President and Congress---King and Parliament?

The Bush administration has recently declared that Congress has no power in the fired attorney case to pursue contempt charges against the people responsible. This is only the latest rebuke against Congress' efforts to exercise power over the government. It may be a little overwrought but this sort of standoff reminds me of the standoffs between King and Parliament that preceded both the English Civil War and the French Revolution. In both of those cases the Parliament had no executive power and was instead just a body to pass laws every now and then and approve budgets. But when crises regarding royal authority happened the Parliaments first tried to stop the action of the executive through legislation, then got into contests pitting them against the executive. In both cases, the Parliaments won, but the price was high: the conflict between royal authority and the parliaments caused the English Civil War and the French Revolution.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ah, it's like the Daniel Cassidy book

"How the Irish invented slang". Like with that one I know Joe Bageant from the myriad of columns he writes. Like that one, if the many columns are any indication, it's a white washing of white America's real status in the U.S. My opinion of the essays of Daniel Cassidy's that have appeared on Counterpunch is that they're pseudo-scientific amateur attempts to prove that gaelic was behind things like African American slang, something that should rightly go to African Americans themselves and not to the Irish. If they were convincing essays I wouldn't say that, but they appear to be on the level of the guy who's trying to prove that Magyar, the language of the Hungarians, was the language of Atlantis.

Amazingly, some dude accused me of being racist towards Irish people for criticizing Cassidy. Racist? Isn't racist by definition someone who judges other people because they fall into a different racial category than them, with the acknowledgement that 'race' itself is not scientifically valid? What arrogance to declare the Irish a 'race' and to accuse people who try to deflate some of the Celtophilia that sells in the United States of being racist, as if attacking this stuff was on par with saying that blacks are stupider than whites and naturally prone to violence.

What arrogance.

It looks like Joe Bageant has a new book out

Joe Bageant, famous in my book for declaring that ethnic european Americans, specifically Poles and Italians but by implication also Jews, Czechs, etc... were "Two shits from the outhouse Irish", has written a book about life in rural Virginia among whites there entitled "Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War". It's marketed as populist, as if the number of whites living in rural areas were really representative of the working class. Judging from his other works, I'm guessing that this one should be retitled "Deer Hunting with Jesus, and killing a few Niggers on the Side: Dispatches from Virginia's poor rural whites".

Honestly. Like someone commented about the "Blue Collar Comedians", they're not blue collar, they're from the country. There's a huge difference. The idea that the people he's talking about represent the working class in Chicago and Detroit, who are mostly blacks, Latinos, and "Two shits from the outhouse Irish", is ludicris. It's offensive too. It represents more of whiter than white America trying to claim the status of "most oppressed" in the United States, which is objectively false.

Maybe he should have done the book in the Bronx. Or better yet, why not arrange a field trip for his Virginia folks to the Bronx? It'll be a cultural exchange which no doubt will be edifying for both parties.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Holy Shit! "Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout"

This might not seem like good news but it's an enourmous step forward to getting America out of Iraq and restoring sovereignty to the Iraqi people. Understand, I'm not gleafully saying "Yeah! Kill American Troops!", quite the opposite. This will lead to less troop deaths and will ultimately save people fighting from dying through pulling out. But let me quote the article (title link):

"Seven of the most important Sunni-led insurgent organisations fighting the US occupation in Iraq have agreed to form a public political alliance with the aim of preparing for negotiations in advance of an American withdrawal, their leaders have told the Guardian."

"....said they would continue their armed resistance until all foreign troops were withdrawn from Iraq, and denounced al-Qaida for sectarian killings and suicide bombings against civilians."

"Leaders of the three groups, who did not use their real names in the interview, said the new front, which brings together the main Sunni-based armed organisations except al-Qaida and the Ba'athists, had agreed the main planks of a joint political programme, including a commitment to free Iraq from foreign troops, rejection of cooperation with parties involved in political institutions set up under the occupation and a declaration that decisions and agreements made by the US occupation and Iraqi government are null and void."

"The aim of the alliance - which includes a range of Islamist and nationalist-leaning groups and is planned to be called the Political Office for the Iraqi Resistance - is to link up with other anti-occupation groups in Iraq to negotiate with the Americans in anticipation of an early US withdrawal. The programme envisages a temporary technocratic government to run the country during a transition period until free elections can be held."

""Resistance isn't just about killing Americans without aims or goals. Our people have come to hate al-Qaida, which gives the impression to the outside world that the resistance in Iraq are terrorists. We are against indiscriminate killing, fighting should be concentrated only on the enemy," he said. He added: "A great gap has opened up between Sunni and Shia under the occupation and al-Qaida has contributed to that.""


This is an amazing step forward, something that takes us out of the realm of seemingly unorganized groups randomly attacking people and into the realm of a coordinated political resistence movement that could potentially force the U.S. out of Iraq.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Does the First World have the right to dominate the Third?

With the contradiction between capitalism and socialism out of the way via the demise of the Soviet Union the first world has turned its attention on an underlying tension that existed but was submerged during the existence of the USSR: the tension between the freedom of the Third World for self determination and the desire of the first world countries to totally dominate the globe, exporting capitalist models of economic development based on neoliberal theories of globalization as well as western modes of dress, western culture, western languages like English, and western religious and political values.

The question is if the Third World has the right to determine itself in the face of this threat, which through globalization seeks to co-opt every culture and every country and, whether consciously planned and executed or not, integrate the globe into a single system of control with the first world on top and the formerly third world on the bottom as subjects. Subjects for economic exploitation as well as junior partners in westernization who, eventually, may be let into the club once they become either culturally white or western enough, "White" interestingly meaning in the U.S. roughly what "Western" means in the rest of the world.

If so, then what form might such resistence take? Cultural and religious resurgence perhaps, in the face of the media onslaught?

While September 11th was an awful attack and an awful loss of life, couldn't it be seen as an example of this Third World striking back at the first, as an event moving history and our current historical dilemma, that of the tension between western capitalism and the rest of the world, forward?

Neoliberal capitalism had been dominating the globe, the globe that had been dominated struck back, then of course western capitalism as embodied in the Bush administration and in the corporate power structure of the United States struck back at the Third world, first invading Afghanistan in the name of imposing western values on a regime that the west had determined had "Gone to Far" from its own values, then invading a blameless country for both the sake of establishing a beach head in a troublesome are to U.S. and Western global capital, the Middle East, and also for the purpose of positioning the particular U.S. capitals into a position to more efficiently exploit the Middle East.

Globalization teaches that there's no alternative to both unregulated capitalism and the growth of western cultural norms, the Third World strikes back, the first world even more explicitly declares that the rest of the world will have to go along with the West's standards or face military action against it.

I see the U.S. today in Iraq and in Afghanistan as representing the Iron fist behind the Velvet glove of globalization.

Now we have torture legalized, people held in legal limbo, in places where the United States won't let international agreements on treatment of prisoners of war be enforced, domestic spying, all internally, while externally we're expending lots of energy and money trying to keep a Third World which is increasingly going off the tracks of western integration in check.

It won't be able to do it forever; sooner or later, probably sooner, the chaos in the middle east will spread to other countries in the region, which may actually be a good thing in that increased instability there might open up the door to rewriting borders and political systems in such a way that the area is free from the heritage of 20th century colonialism as well as 21st century globalization.

To answer the question in the title, no, the first world does not in any way have the right to dominate the third, but you already knew that. Al Qaeda is bad but the popular frustration that groups like them tap into is very valid, a valid response to the world around them.

Hopefully more progressive organizations will come to the forefront that, even if coming out of a generally "Islamic" worldview, aren't conservative theocratic groups.

What happens when a UK writer takes a cruise sponsored by an American conservative magazine?

Hilarity ensues. The title link leads to "Ship of Fools: Setting Sail With ‘The National Review’", by Johann Hari of "The Independent". Hari writes, in reference to a presentation:

"There is something strange about this discussion, and it takes me a few moments to realise exactly what it is. All the tropes that conservatives usually deny in public - that Iraq is another Vietnam, that Bush is fighting a class war on behalf of the rich - are embraced on this shining ship in the middle of the ocean. Yes, they concede, we are fighting another Vietnam; and this time we won’t let the weak-kneed liberals lose it. “It’s customary to say we lost the Vietnam war, but who’s ‘we’?” the writer Dinesh D’Souza asks angrily. “The left won by demanding America’s humiliation.” On this ship, there are no Viet Cong, no three million dead. There is only liberal treachery. Yes, D’Souza says, in a swift shift to domestic politics, “of course” Republican politics is “about class. Republicans are the party of winners, Democrats are the party of losers.”

and this:

"The Reviewers confine their Mexican jaunt to covered markets and walled-off private fortresses like the private Nikki Beach. Here, as ever, they want Mexico to be a dispenser of cheap consumer goods and lush sands - not a place populated by (uck) Mexicans. Dinesh D’Souza announced as we entered Mexican seas what he calls “D’Souza’s law of immigration”: ” The quality of an immigrant is inversely proportional to the distance traveled to get to the United States.”

In other words: Latinos suck."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Socialism proves Darwin wrong?

Ok, that belief, which unfortunately became Stalinist orthodoxy and which I mentioned in passing below needs some explaining.
It wasn't a case of totally not believing in evolution, which being good materialists and atheists they supported, so much as how traits were developed and passed on. The belief of the time, associated with Trofim Lysenko who was appointed head of the Academy of Agricultural Scientists in the USSR, was that genetics wasn't as determining as some people thought and that aquired characteristics could be passed on. That meant that if through manipulating environmental conditions you could get crops to grow bigger that that feature would be passed on when the plants reproduced, meaning that in the next generation you wouldn't need to manipulate the environment to get them to grow bigger; they just would. Or that if you physically toughened up seeds in order for them to survive in winter that eventually that hardiness would be transferred to them and they'd survive automatically.

The political reasoning behind this was that if environment determined things, like through the economic structure of society, that surely the same could be said about the natural world. Because if it didn't then what was to prevent things like human genetics determining destiny from being real?

Unfortunately this fear about genetic determinism didn't take into account the idea that, because humans live in more complex societies than plants, believing in some genetic determinism for plants wouldn't automatically mean having to believe that the same thing was true for humans as well.

Too much partisanship? re: semi-Herbert Aptheker

Herbert Aptheker was an interesting fellow. One of the first pioneers of African-American history he was also a devoted member of the Communist Party, and from what I can tell not one its more progressive members. Aptheker wrote a little pamphlet entitled "The Nature of Democracy and Freedom", which advanced an argument for a one party state. Aptheker's argument is extreme and extraordinarily self serving, but it goes like this: political parties are formed around distinct political philosophies that have their point as justifying totally different systems of society. In this view conservatives represent modified feudalism, liberals represent modified capitalism, and of course the Communist Party represents socialist government. Because of that, if you support socialism of course you should support the Communist Party! And if the Soviet Union allowed other parties it would essentially have been advocating the self-overthrow of its system, so if you believe that Communism is right then surely you wouldn't support letting competing parties into a socialist society.

Aptheker is wrong about one party states but at least you can squeeze out of his concept the idea that political philosophies or ideologies or whatever you want to call them really do fucking matter. Which is how the charge of too much partisanship gets into this. There's been a sea change and it isn't just people associated with the Democratic Party that have been affected. The country is in the process of having a big portion of its citizens break away from centrist oriented liberal politics and taking its views a little more seriously..........but, okay, I'm laughing as I type that because the distance many of these people are breaking away from mainstream liberal politics is very slight, as can be seen in the recent morphing of "The Huffington Post" into something resembling mainstream liberalism + anti-Bush stuff.....nevertheless, people have begun to take their politics more seriously and this is pissing off people on the right.

The point is that in a sense Aptheker was right in that politics potentially can embody different worldviews so fundamentally at odds, relating to such very important issues, that it's right to fight over them tooth and nail. It's an alternate formulation of fellow Communist Michael Parenti's phrase that "Reality is Partisan", which I suppose is his way of saying that reality follows the Communist Party line. And socialist science proves Darwin wrong a la Lysenko, right, whatever, but I digress. Partisanship, not in the sense of being for a particular party, not even in the sense of being hardcore about a very particular permutation of a given ideology, is in fact important, and hopefully we haven't seen anything yet in the development of this in the United States.

And maybe the greater Progressive movement will actually have some guts and remember that there are also other issues out there besides Bush and besides the Iraq war that also need attention and that will need attention after Bush is gone and the Iraq war is over.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bush links Iraqi insurgents, 9/11 hijackers

Outright: "Aske for proof of the connection between insurgents in Iraq and the 9/11 hijackers, Bush said both had pledged their allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

"The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq are the ones who attacked us on Sept. 11," Bush said." (title link).

There's such a thing as overplaying your hand, which means that if you start to make too many claims that are implausable people will start calling your bluff. Bush seems to be nearing that point right now. I'm hesitant to say "This is it", because there's been hundreds of other moments, some small some extremely large, that could have been it, that some people predicted would be it, but have turned out to go nowhere.

But now he's making the Al-Qaeda claim outright. Where's there to go from here? That the 9/11 hijackers actually were Iraqis that worked for Hussein?

That level of fantasy reminds me of a comic by Nicholas Gurewitch:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reason for leaving Olympia for Seattle #3578

Slack jawed inbreds from the greater Olympia area staring at me open mouthed when I walk past them. I don't look like a conventional European male, and my skin is darker than most Europeans, yet I'm not a racial minority. These two facts apparently confuse them, making them unsure how to respond. Olympia itself is great, it's just the towns that surround Olympia that are, shall we say, behind the curve. At least the people who live there are. You have to treat them with special respect because they're special and don't understand the ways of the outside world.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Socialist Thought

Here are some pieces that I wrote elsewhere:

Surplus Value

Interesting concept. Something that like a lot of Marx's writing is mechanically quoted and commented on by people who don't ahve a basic understanding of things.

The idea of surplus value came out of the understanding of the classical economists, like Adam Smith, about how the economy operates. For Smith and Ricardo, his succesor, the economy first off operated in such a way that it reproduced itself, collectively and sometimes on an individual basis. What that means is that people need a given amount of food to eat, factories need a certain amount of raw materials, and labor has to be provided to factories, farms, mines, etc.... in order for society as a whole to break even. If society as a whole doesn't break even there's a shortage in one essential sector. If society as a whole does better than breaking even, has succesfully reproduced itself and now has more stuff left over, it's produced a surplus, which can then be used to procure surplus goods that can be distributed across society.

An example would be food productivity increasing, creating a surplus of food. Since there's a surplus of food this round, in the next round the resources that would have been devoted to raising that amount of food can be spent on things like making extra consumer goods.

But in a market economy no one directs things like that. It's just a figure of speech.

The surplus value is the value of the general amount of stuff produced above the basic need for societal reproduction. How do you measure that value? Good question, one I'm going to dodge, but I'll say this: it's not the same thing as a money valuation, for reasons that will become clear shortly, so it's based on another type of scale of valuation...and because it's measuring components of an economy that aren't homogenous and can't be readily compared like they can in the dollar scale it has to be a rough measurement.

Now, in the thought of Adam Smith and company Surplus Value was something produced collectively by all enterprises and sectors of society, which in general lead to the succesful reproduction of the economy. Some businesses might do badly and go out of business, some might do good and get extra business and grow, but overall society reproduced itself. It wasn't a question of particular businesses being able to do it, but of the interplay of production and consumption determining it.

Marx was trying to create a system that could describe capitalism with as little emphasis given to the effects of the market on driving growth and determining the economy as possible. This is one of the reasons that he focussed on Capital: Capital in Marx's scheme of things was able to structure the economy significantly, with the market playing a subordinate role. Capital in turn is the..........

It's late! Anyways, you can think of the economy as being the transfer of goods from one set of Capital to another, capital being facillities, equipment, raw materials, labor, money. A person works in a factory making shoes. They need to eat. Another person works at a farm raising crops. They need shoes. So some sort of exchange is worked out between crops and shoes that ...shit, it really is getting late.

I'll save my run up to the concept of markets being venues where value is redistributed between concentrations of Capital and why the push and pull of the market, which not only serves as a means of distribution but also punishes businesses for either making too much of something or doing what they do badly, doesn't seriously threaten the Marxian interpretation of the economy....because of that the issue of the Transformation Problem, which deals with the problem of translating labor values, from which Surplus Value is drawn, into market prices and then back into labor values that can then be used to calculate the next iteration of manufacture, isn't a serious issue.

Markets are a moment in the circulation of capital, according to Marx....with the Capital phase leading to the interstitial of the market phase, leading to the next capital/manufacturing phase, leading to the next market phase. But, like the good Hegelian that he is, this schema of Marx's is only an abstraction from reality....done for clarity.In reality there's no discrete 'selling phase' and 'making phase' in an enterprise; selling and making go on all the time simultaneously. It just makes it easier when you separate the two and analyze them as if they were two discrete elements in a cycle.
Plan and Market

The point of a socialist economy, on the macro level at least, is for the control of capital growth and accumulation to be put into the hands of society in general as opposed to being the responsability of capitalists. The direction of capital, which would be planned for growth in certain areas, would be established socially and not in response to market forces. This doesn't mean that markets wouldn't be present, but that although market activity might indicate a direction that people planning growth for the economy should consider, market activity itself wouldn't determine the long term direction of the economy.

Market activity would be subdued, because it's a force that if it's allowed to run rampant will destroy society.

An interesting way to go about planning an economy would be to establish goals for the economy, allocate more money and resources for that sector than is necessary, and allow the people who are putting it in action to creatively make use of the resources at hand in order to move towards those goals. Market mechanisms would be in place for distribution of the goods, and so the people administering it would be competing against each other in order to get market share in order to fulfill the goal. But the competition wouldn't be cut throat, and not everything would depend on the competative model, just as although the means of market distribution and market share would matter they wouldn't matter as much as in a capitalist economy.

So there'd be incentives for innovation and creativity, although they might not be financial incentives.

The big thing is not tie more power in society, in terms of status or access to goods, to winning in the competative market arrangements.
Money and access to goods

Building on the below post, one of the goals of a socialist economy would be to create a parallel economy that would replace the money based economy. How this worked in some countries was through a voucher system, where there were basic things provided at a subsidized cost, subsized so that the cost people paid bore little relation to how much the service or good actually used in its production, and where there was a social contract of sorts guaranteeing some things like food and clothes for free. The problem that arises is how to sort out who gets more than that and why in a way that doesn't create a new sort of unfair inequality. You can't use money as a guide, not even money in the reduced sense of money that's only partially convertable to goods. If you use money as a guide to how much people can get over and above the minimum you create a money economy where eventually the accumulation and quest for money will sabotage the capital planning system and erode the foundations of society. So that's out of the question all together. Another way would be to link greater access to goods, albeit in a way that's not completely unequal, to social advancement, but what does that mean? That if someone has a high position in an enterprise or a hierarchy that they should naturally get more?

If we had a system where there were incentives, whether in terms of advancement or in terms of something else, given to people in positions in business enterprises that did well in the semi-competative planning arena, then wouldn't these people getting more benefits than other people recapitulate the system of stratification where the capitalist class benefits on its own purely because of its business performance and not because of any sort of valuable contribution to society beyond that?

So ultimately. Well, before I get to that, maybe there would need to be several kinds of money: money that could be used for housing, money that could straight out be used for consumer goods, etc...

Ultimately, the solution would be to find an alternate system of valuation of social contribution besides economic contribution to measure compensation by.

Actually, in the present, it would be good if the U.S. had that right now.
Prestige and social advancement

I don't pretend that in a socialist society prestige will be enough to motivate people. There has to be some kind of material benefit as well, but how that benefit is apportioned and what it consists of is something else. But also, there's the question of jobs.

Although some people would say that society should be structured so that there's no significant hierarchy in terms of employment I think that in advanced industrial economies that this simply isn't possible--if you want a standard of living close to what it was before.

There has to be division of labor because it increases efficiency. This means that there will be good jobs and there will be bad jobs, or at least worse jobs. There will be jobs that carry a lot of prestige, things that people want to shoot for. So the pursuit of a better job, along with the promise of at least some increase in the standard of living, would be a motivating factor in society.

The problem is how to keep privilege and prestige from reproducing itself. It's not fair if the children of people who have prestigous positions in a socialist economy get better treatment and get increased acccess to the mechanisms that decide who gets into priviledged positions. It undercuts the ethic of society as well as denying people from less prestigious backgrounds the opportunity to fairly compete for those positions.
Agricultural and extractive industries and their place in the economy

Too often in socialist countries the agricultural and extractive industries, which are mining and timber harvesting, for instance, have served as internal economic colonies: areas which are exploited for the benefit of the central cities and don't get much back. They function this way in the United States as well.

Ideally, in a good society, this would be rectified by the funding of cities in the agricultural and extractive regions, New Urbanist cities devoted to increased quality of life and liveability, not just anonymous cities. They'd get funding related to the value of the crops and materials they extracted and grew. Additionally, there'd be increased worker self management so that the tendency of these type of industries to devolve to a corporatist arrangement would be countered.

In fact, a good country would do the same with industrial centers as well. Places that were concentrated around industry, like steel making or car assembly, would get cultural funding and funding for civic development in order to create real cities with downtowns and, hopefully, vibrant city life. The point is to not exploit regions and cities by having them do a great deal of work that benefits larger central cities while getting little back. There should be some parity there.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I used to care about intra-blogosphere concerns

But not so much anymore. What I mean by concerns are things like people wanting to teach creationism in schools, or crazy anti-feminist people. Really crazy anti-feminist people. I woke up one day and realized that outside of particular parts of the blogosphere no one really cares about people in isolated, conservative, areas who want creationism taught and actually have a chance of influencing their school board. There isn't some sort of pan-U.S. anti-Evolution movement, no matter what people say.

Most people in the U.S., when confronted with some concerns that bloggers give a lot of virtual ink to would say "Yeah, they're crazy fucks", or some equivalent, and go on about their business.

Why give more press to something that's really marginal?

And if this is objectionable, please point out to me the schools in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, California, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusets, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, etc... that are direly threatened by parents demanding that the schools teach creationism.

See what I mean?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Give us your poor--or not. The immigration act of 1924

This builds on the previous post "But immigrants don't understand democracy!". The 1924 immigration act, which, based on racist notions, did things like limit Italian immigration to 1/50th of what it had been before, had an interesting exemption: if you were what they called a "professional", like a doctor or a lawyer or a businessman, the quota system didn't apply to you.

So, using the break down of quotas given by this page at George Mason University, while only 344 poor people could emigrate to the United States from Lithuania per year, if you were a doctor, a lawyer, or a businessman you could just skip to the head of the line.

But immigrants don't understand democracy!

That's one of the arguments that the right uses to attack the idea of immigration, meaning immigration from Mexico. Although Mexico was in fact a one party state until fairly recently I don't think that the right wing commentators who make the assertion about Mexicans are actually basing their statements on an understanding of the history of the PRI, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, but are instead acting on a general racist impulse against Mexicans, as well as other Latino peoples. Yes, often times in the past when the question of dictatorships in Central and South America has been brought up in the public arena there's been either overt or covert suggestions that the reason they exist is because Latinos don't understand democracy. They don't say much about U.S. foreign policy.

But what's interesting is that this "don't understand democracy" argument, along with the idea that if there are enough immigrants that the U.S. will collapse into some sort of third world dictatorship, isn't new. In fact, it was used at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century as a justification to shut out immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, a campaign that actually succeeded after World War I. Why did they say that?

The argument was that Southern Europeans, principally Italians, came from a state without democracy, which wasn't true post-Italian unification in the 19th century, were racially inferior, and were Catholic, so would be under the sway of the pope and not able to make independent political decisions.

The argument against Eastern Europeans, actually Central Europeans, not people from Byelorussia, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria, which are the true Eastern European countries, was that, unlike the Italians that at least had some sort of democratic state in the past, in the Renaissance and Rome, Eastern Europeans had never had anything like that, were essentially outside of history (an interesting concept coming from Americans who then more than now had no idea about geogaphy), spoke languages not even resembling English, and were Catholic as well.

The thought that people of Slavic descent could never understand democracy because of general backwardness and probable racial inferiority to Anglo-Saxons and Northwest Europeans.

Jewish people of Eastern European descent were even more of an unknown, outside of history, with classic anti-semitic fears being added to the mix.

In fact, although I only briefly looked at it, there was a book written pre-World War I, a classic "They're taking our jobs" book, named "The Slavic Invasion", dealing with mine workers from Slavic countries, which I'm assuming also meant Hungary and Baltic states even though they're not slavic.

Like I said, they eventually did pass a restrictive immigration bill, the Immigration Act of 1924, which was heartbreaking in its simplicity. Besides outlawing immigration entirely from many Asian countries, it instituted a 2% rule, something that demonstrates the absolute need to look at context to understand things. The 2% rule stated that only a number equal to 2% of the total number of people identifying as being of that ethnicity could immigrate to the United States. The census numbers used to compute this were from 1890 as well, which preceded the influx of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. ***on edit*** it seems that a total of 125,000 people per year were allowed in by the act, so the proportions gotten from the 2% calculation were then related to 125,000 people.

So because there was a large proportion of people identifying themselves, because they had recently emigrated or their fathers and mothers had recently emigrated, as Irish or German, in 1890, these ethnicities got preferential treatment in immigration while the others received official discrimination after 1924. Even though immigration had slackened off from Germany and Ireland.

Here's an example from Wiki:

"As an example of its effect, in the ten years following 1900 about 200,000 Italians immigrated every year. With the imposition of the 1924 quota, only 4,000 per year were allowed. At the same time, the annual quota for Germany was over 57,000. 86% of the 165,000 permitted entries were from the British Isles, France, Germany, and other Northern European countries."

Because North-Western Europeans, including the Irish here (who, despite all the Celtophilia surrounding them in the United States and their claimed history of oppression here, were thought to be better than Italians and Slavs and Jews), were thought to be able to understand democracy and be in harmony with the national character, while Southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans weren't.

It's funny how soon people forget these things and how, unfortunately, those who were abused in the past and are still at the bottom of the White ethnic hierarchy in the United States, like Italians, sometimes form part of the vanguard against immigration from Mexico today. Like people named "Tancredo". My intuition here is that Tancredo isn't an English name that you can find in the British census records going back centuries. Instead, if the Tancredos had tried to come over from Italy after 1924 there's a significant chance that they'd have been refused.

***Here is a chart put together by George Mason University showing the numbers of people allowed in after the act passed.

An example: 3,954 were allowed in from France per year, although French immigration to the United States was miniscule, while 3,845 Italians were let in every year, although 200,000 had been coming in yearly since 1900.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

America: an argument against Hegel

Hegel had an interesting philosophy that showed in one way how he derived the natural world from abstraction and how the natural world could be raised to abstraction. One of the things he said was that quantity would be replaced by quality eventually. What that means is that, say, if you fill a tire up with air and keep on filling it eventually it will pop. The popping of the tire is a qualitative change in that it's something different than the tire just filling up with more air. It's a change from one state, an intact tire, to another state, a tire that's busted. The same principle can be applied more generally to one's everyday experience.

In terms of America, the hope would be that after experiencing enough quantitative wealth and consumption, especially of course by the richer classes, that it would lead to a qualitative change, like figuring out that simple accumulation of things isn't everything in life and that things beyond simple consumption, like art and quality of life, are more important.

Unfortunately, this has not come to pass.

American consumerism: 1

Hegel: 0

Things you'd never believe were real until you saw them yourself

#815. People in the Seattle area who dress like Bill Gates. Never believed that this actually happened but yes, indeed, there are people out there, presumably computer programmers, who cut their hair like Bill Gates, have similar eye wear, and dress in the same sort of patterned dress shirt and slacks that Gates does. Saw one in Olympia, have seen a few in Seattle. Strange that one would be in Olympia, must be like a fish out of water.

My only speculation on this phenomenon is that fashion trends get started by all sorts of people, so why not Bill Gates?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Gambling can lead to heroin according to WA. State...

At least that's what a recent poster seen on a side of a bus seemed to imply. It was aimed at families with kids. Had a gaming table with four cards standing on end with four suits, only the suits were a pot leaf, a hypodermic needle, a cigarrette, and a bottle of liqour.

Yep. First thing they're hitting the tables, next thing they're mainling $20 of heroin at one go.


Mr. Rogers responsable for spoiled kids? What about advertizing?

That's what this article, from the Wall Street Journal, says. The article is essentially a bunch of people saying why they think Mr. Rogers had a bad effect on children. No studies, not even that much reasoning, just a bunch of people saying "Yeah, I think Mr. Rogers fucked them up":.


"Don Chance, a finance professor at Louisiana State University, says it dawned on him last spring. The semester was ending, and as usual, students were making a pilgrimage to his office, asking for the extra points needed to lift their grades to A's.
"They felt so entitled," he recalls, "and it just hit me. We can blame Mr. Rogers.""

"In America today, life often begins with the anointing of "His Majesty, the Fetus," he [not the LSU professor] says. From then on, many parents focus their conversations on their kids. Today's parents "are the best-educated generation ever," says Dr. Rosenfeld. "So why do our kids see us primarily discussing kids' schedules and activities?"


"You're special." On the Yahoo Answers Web site, a discussion thread about Mr. Rogers begins with this posting: "Mr. Rogers spent years telling little creeps that he liked them just the way they were. He should have been telling them there was a lot of room for improvement. ... Nice as he was, and as good as his intentions may have been, he did a disservice."


Wow. Leaving aside for the moment the idea that more children are spoiled or self centered now than in the past, something that sounds like a grand cop out for parents who don't know what the fuck they're doing, let me ask you this: is it more likely that a long running children's show on PBS had this extreme influence on a generation of kids or that a multi million dollar advertizing industry, that's admitted it targets children as young as pre-school age, bombarding kids with messages to consume, to want things, to get mom and dad to get them things, is responsable?

What about all those commercials with hordes of kids running around screaming about a new product, or the ones that feature really fast bright lights, fast cutting, bright colors, everything tripped in a sensory overload designed to get kids really excited about whatever it is the company is selling?

My money is on the multi-million dollar advertizing agencies, who buy up all the ad space on every channel that has kids' shows every day, especially saturday mornings.

There's a difference between Selfish and Special. Selfishness is something that kids figure out on their own, Specialness is something that they have to be told about.

Not to put a damper on that nice thought, but I notice that the article was written by a guy named "Jeff Zaslow". Why does this not surprise me? There's been a spate of books an articles recently attacking the idea of individualism as a good thing---not attacking the bad parts of individualism, like not caring for others or caring about society, but attacking the basic notion that it's good to think of yourself as being a unique individual....and guess what? It seems that much of it has been written by people of Polish descent. Some of the most reactionary, anti-humanistic, fucking stupid, small minded, provincial crap has come out of conservative Polish authors. It's disconcerting to think that this is one of Poland's exports to the world.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Conspiracy is as conspiracy does...

Responding to a frequent e-mail commentator, who always makes sure to know that he/she is keeping up with what I'm writing.
It'll be useful at my trial**cough**cough...wait, how did that come out?

Anyways, after all the shit that the Bush administration has pulled, how can anyone who works for the government say that things like what I wrote regarding pre-Homeland Security manifestations of a comprehensive monitoring system are conspiracy theories?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Yes, the Fourth, the day we celebrate our

Founding Fathers, thin rich WASP men who took over the reigns of government after the British ceded American independence. Oh, those old, unenlightened's not like we have a government dominated by thin rich WASP.....hey, wait a minute...

Man beats peacock he said was vampire

Title link. the story is that a Peacock wandered into a Burger King parking lot in Staten Island. That would be nice, something for a little neighborhood paper to write about, but it just happened that this was a Burger King with a difference: the exotic bird wandering around a borrough of New York City made the mistake of wandering into the parking lot of a Burger King where a man was eating at who believed that Peacocks were vampires. He saw the bird, exited the restaurant, and began beating it, causing it to lose many tail feathers as a result. The poor bird was ultimately euthanized.

Talk about a one in a million coincidence...

Original story comes from the Associated Press

Thank you, oh founding fathers

For making the invasion of Iraq possible by your fight against the British.

How Larry King is Destroying Democracy One Inane Question at a Time

Wow, a takedown of the media that's actually entertaining, and most probably written by someone under 50. The article is by Jennifer Matsui and Carl Kandutch, and is from Counterpunch. The title link leads to the article. I have to admit that one of the things that drew me to the article, which was on the Counterpunch sidebar, was that it was subtitled "Electric Larryland", which is the name of a Butthole Surfers album that I've recently mentioned here. The reference is indicative of the article in that when someone gives their article an inside joke subtitle referencing the Butthole Surfers you know you're not going to be dealing with the same tired, worn out, journalism.

Here's an excerpt:

"If there is one reason to watch 'Larry King Live - unrelated, that is, to a perverse pleasure in testing the limits of banality and tedium to life-threatening extremes - it's the chance to play "Are You Optimistic? - a drinking game based on the CNN host's Tourette's-like penchant for asking his squirming guests if he/she is "optimistic". For the uninitiated viewer, this usually occurs whenever 'The King of Talk' has run through his entire repetoire of non-sequiter softball questions before his hour of dead airtime is up, thus opening up the playing field for a spirited round of blood alcohol poisoning that the whole family can enjoy. And unless you enjoy the thrills of competitive flatlining, watching this Gab-Fest equivalent of a frontal lobotomy (without the benefit of a bottle in front of you) is like having to endure, fully conscious, botched brain surgery performed by a Borscht belt hack on the back alley abortion circuit. And being fully sober throughout an entire episode of LKL means being unable to fully appreciate the mawkish, shlock appeal of Larry, CNN's even dumber 'Cable Guy'.


Although I'd like to get a hold of some of that Ecstasy spiked kool aide they talk about in a drinking game in another paragraph, methinks they've been spending a little too much time around "Planet K", which is a chain of headshops that also sell alternative literature, zines, etc... that is located in Austin.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jackpot! Origin of JTTFs and counter intelligence in document

Which is related to the previous four posts, which go into some detail, especially the post entitled "Homeland Security started in 1999" . This file is what I'm getting this from, which is also available through the title link. Notice the date: this was established in '98s, although it's been rolled into the Department of Homeland Security, along with the NDPO, which I talk about in the previous posts. looks like all the functions, along with an organizational structure similar to that of the Department of Homeland Security existed from '99.

Intelligence Collection and Local Capabilities

OBJECTIVE: Increase State And Local Awareness And Intelligence-Gathering
Capabilities Regarding Terrorist Activity
While the ability of state and local agencies to acquire information about terrorist
activity in their regions has increased as a result of recent federal outreach efforts, challenges
remain. As indicated by the responses to the State and Local Questionnaire, state and local law
enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies, such as emergency responders, agree that they
would benefit from more training and information about terrorism, particularly information that
is regional in focus, or that addresses emerging issues such as cyber-terrorism, or the use of
chemical or biological weapons. Such training and information sharing would help local
agencies focus their own counter-terrorism law enforcement and intelligence efforts. It would
be especially beneficial to those agencies that do not have strong intelligence gathering
capabilities. Particularly in rural areas, local law enforcement agencies may not have sufficient
personnel to support their own intelligence unit or even to participate in federal
intelligence-sharing task forces. Similarly, state and local law enforcement agencies may not
have the equipment or training to take advantage of existing electronic systems for

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communicating intelligence information. Another obstacle to effective communication is that
intelligence gathered by federal agencies is often classified and, therefore, federal agencies
must either facilitate the necessary security clearances or sanitize the information of its
classified details.

Expand Joint Terrorism Task Forces And Related Federal Efforts To
Improve Communications Among Federal, State And Local Law
Enforcement Agencies
For most state and local agencies, the primary federal source of information and
intelligence about terrorist activities is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
obtains intelligence from a variety of sources including intelligence agencies such as the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the FBI's own intelligence gathering and law enforcement
operations, as well as the operations of other agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms (ATF) and the Customs Service; and, to a lesser extent, from state and local law
enforcement agencies.
The FBI uses several means of communicating terrorism information to state and local
agencies. When intelligence information reveals a potential terrorist threat, the FBI relies on the
Terrorist Threat Warning System (TTWS) to get vital information to the U.S. counter-terrorism
and law enforcement community. If the threat information warrants broad dissemination, the
FBI can quickly transmit unclassified messages to state and local law enforcement agencies
nationwide over the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS).
information that is less urgent, the FBI can communicate through the Law Enforcement
On-Line (LEO) system. These systems are a critical link in the federal/state/local
counter-terrorism partnership. They should be continued at robust levels.
While state and local law enforcement authorities appreciate receiving such vital
information in a timely fashion,
many identify a need for regular periodic intelligence analysis
and reports, particularly concerning groups operating in their jurisdiction. FBI field offices
routinely share information through their ongoing working relationships with state and local
law enforcement agencies. To strengthen these existing relationships and improve
communication about terrorism issues, the FBI created Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFS) as
a mechanism for interaction between federal agencies and their state and local level
counterparts in specific jurisdictions. The JTTFs, which exist in 18 major metropolitan areas,
are composed of state and local officials, and local representatives from the FBI and other
federal agencies, such as ATF, the Customs Service, the Secret Service and the Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS). Participants work together, usually on a full-time basis, to
gather, analyze and disseminate intelligence, and to jointly investigate terrorist activity. The
FBI also recently established a regional terrorism task force to serve several rural states with

See Appendix: State and Local Questionnaire, responses to question 5.
Similarly, warnings can be sent using the Awareness of National Security Issues and
Response (ANSIR) program, which utilizes the Law Enforcement On-Line (LEO) system and
is designed to provide unclassified national security threat and warning information to U.S.
corporate security directors and executives, law enforcement, and other government agencies.
Appendix: State and Local Questionnaire, responses to questions 4-9.

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common terrorism concerns. In addition to ongoing intelligence sharing, these task forces
sponsor regional terrorism conferences to train local law enforcement agencies about the
terrorism threat in their region. These face-to-face working arrangements not only improve the
flow of information from federal intelligence agencies to localities, but they allow federal
agencies to obtain intelligence from local sources.
The existing 18 JTTFs involve participation by approximately 260 full- and part-time
federal, state and local personnel plus 420 FBI agents. State and local law enforcement
personnel endorse such federal, state and local joint efforts. Many report that they would
participate in JTTFs if they were available to them.
Based on local interest and an assessment
of terrorist activity, creation of a dozen additional JTTFs over the next three years may warrant
In the State and Local Questionnaire, 69% responded yes to this question. See
Appendix, responses to question 3.
Where appropriate, over the next five years, the FBI also will establish domestic
terrorism working groups in field offices. Such working groups would provide a supplemental
means of increasing cooperation and intelligence-sharing among federal, state, and local law
enforcement officials. They would be particularly important in those parts of the country where
there are not enough state and local resources to support full-time JTTFs. No additional funding
is required for this initiative.

Assist Local Law Enforcement Agencies To Identify And Gain Access To
State And Federal Intelligence Systems
Many local law enforcement agencies report that the lack of resources to support their
own intelligence infrastructure is a real barrier to effective counter-terrorism efforts. Often the
problem is as basic as the inability to spare officers to perform intelligence activities. To some
extent, participation in JTTFs can address this need because the FBI makes overtime money
available to compensate state and local participants. However, this cannot redress the problems
faced by many small town or county law enforcement agencies, which may have only a handful
of officers to perform all duties. Ideally, at a minimum, a local law enforcement office unable
to perform its own intelligence activities should have access to a state or regional electronic
information system that provides real-time, accurate intelligence, a system that should include
timely federal information on criminal and terrorist activity. However, even this solution often
is out of reach for local police or sheriffs offices because of the lack of resources to procure
computers, appropriate software or the training needed to acquire access to electronic
information systems, or because of the unavailability of a reliable, centralized repository of

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Within the next fiscal year, the FBI, in cooperation with associations representing state
and local law enforcement agencies and with the advice of the Intelligence and Assistance to
State and Local Authorities working groups of the NSC s WMDP Group, should determine the
extent to which local law enforcement agencies do not have access to such systems; identify
existing successful methods of bridging such gaps; and develop concrete proposals to
strengthen these vital state and local capabilities.
An example of an existing federal program that has improved state and local intelligence
gathering capabilities is a cooperative arrangement between the FBI and the Alaska Department
of Public Safety, Division of State Troopers. Since 1995, the FBI and the state have operated,
under FBI auspices, a Statewide Law Enforcement Information Center (SLEIC). The SLEIC
combines analysts from the Alaska State Troopers under FBI management at an FBI supported
site. It gathers intelligence from multiple sources in a centralized database with full text query
capability in order to give state law enforcement agencies efficient access to current and
historical information. One of its specific goals is to provide immediate on-scene information
management support for administrative and operational activities during a critical incident,
such as a terrorist threat.

Develop More Effective Means Of Sharing Classified Information With
State And Local Law Enforcement And Emergence Response Agencies
Even where mechanisms for developing and sharing terrorist information exist, state
and local officials express frustration because of their belief that critical information is often
denied or delayed because it has been classified. This problem is greatly diminished in areas
with JTTFs because all federal, state and local law enforcement participants must obtain Top
Secret clearances before joining a task force. Law enforcement agencies in general are likely to
have personnel with necessary security clearances, which means that this perceived problem
may be alleviated through better working relationships between FBI field offices and their state
and local counterparts. Thus, expansion of JTTFs and similar cooperative arrangements may go
a long way toward solving this problem. Nonetheless, other solutions may be needed. The FBI
should assess the degree to which security restrictions on dissemination of information have
impeded its work with local law enforcement agencies and whether the FBI needs to pursue
additional remedies, such as greater efforts to sanitize classified information and report such
information on a more regular basis.

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Lack of access to classified information may be an obstacle to non-law enforcement
agencies as well. Many emergency responders believe that security restrictions on information
possessed by the federal government have prevented dissemination of sufficiently detailed
information to allow them to plan or react appropriately in an emergency.
On the other hand,
many members of the intelligence community believe that much intelligence information is not
relevant to planning or response needs, and that there are mechanisms for sharing essential
The need to protect national security information from unnecessary disclosure must be
carefully balanced against the need to ensure timely and adequate dissemination of relevant
intelligence to state and local first responder officials who are ultimately responsible for the
safety of their communities. Emergency responders ordinarily cannot participate in JTTFs
because the JTTFs actively investigate terrorist crimes and accordingly, their membership must
be restricted to law enforcement personnel.
To increase confidence among the emergency response community that federal agencies
are sharing necessary intelligence, and thereby increase intergovernmental coordination, new
approaches are needed. The appropriate working groups within the NSC's WMDP Group,
drawing on the expertise of national security and public safety specialists from the federal, state
and local government levels, should study the feasibility of establishing a system for granting
the necessary security clearances to a small number of senior public safety personnel so that
they can access to classified information relating to terrorist threats as needed.
At a
minimum each state and the nation s most heavily populated urban areas should be assured
access. This assessment should have no budget implications.
A closely related issue is the extent, if any, to which restricted information needs to be
shared with security officers in certain critical private sectors, such as the nuclear power
industry. The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) and the critical infrastructure
In response to the State and Local Questionnaire, a substantial number of law
enforcement, emergency response and medical personnel identified issues of inadequate
information sharing and the lack of security clearances as factors that limit the usefulness of
information or threat assessments obtained from the federal government. These state and local
personnel seek more timely dissemination of more localized and specific information. See
Appendix, responses to questions 6 and 9.
One such proposal has been advanced by the Competency Panel on Civil Integration
and Response of the Defense Science Board. See Report of the Competency Panel on Civil
Integration and Response at page 16. This Panel, proposes that an average of three to five
public safety personnel who are responsible for planning and directing the public safety effort
in the community, rather than political leaders, be provided with security clearances for the
purpose of receiving this classified information. Under this proposal, access to classified
documents would be restricted to reviewing the material at cleared facilities maintained by the
federal government (such as an FBI field office, Secret Service office, U.S. Marshal s Service
office or military installation). The cleared public safety personnel could be notified of the need
to review a classified threat analysis either by personal visits from locally based federal agents
or by unclassified messages instructing them to report to a secure facility to access the
particular material.

Page 15
private sector liaisons developed under PDD 63 are required to establish effective threat
warning and security information systems to serve key infrastructures.
As these systems are
established, the NSC s Critical Infrastructure Coordination Group should assess the need for
dissemination of classified information to security personnel in these sensitive areas. The
National Coordinator and the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Of flee will also play key roles
in assessing the need for dissemination of classified information.
Another hindrance to intelligence dissemination is uncertainty about which
organizations have equipment and storage capability for classified information. Many local law
enforcement and most emergency response agencies lack secure communications equipment
and secure storage for sensitive or classified information. As part of its assessment of other
barriers to intelligence sharing. the FBI will assess whether lack of equipment is a significant
barrier to effective exchange of intelligence. If so, the FBI should recommend appropriate
remedial actions which can be coordinated through the NDPO"


the Five-Year Interagency Counter-Terrorism and Technology Plan

This is the other main thing that Clinton established after Oklahoma City, the NDPO being the other.This one looks to have established the primary intelligence gathering apparatus of the anti-terrorist program in general. Ah, this is the thing that established Joint-Terrorism Taskforces, or JTTFs. I'm reproducing some here, but there's such a whopping amount that the next post is going to be solely information from this document, specifically about counterintelligence.

From here

"The Conference Committee Report accompanying the 1998 Appropriations Act for the
Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies required the
Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the
Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Director
of Central Intelligence, to develop a Five-Year Interagency Counter-Terrorism and Technology
Crime Plan to serve as a baseline strategy for coordination of national policy and operational
capabilities to combat terrorism in the United States and against American interests overseas.
The Attorney General was charged with creating a Plan that would be representative of all
participating agencies involved in the government's counter-terrorism effort, drawing upon the
expertise of academia, the private sector, and state and local law enforcement. The Conference
Committee directed that the Plan contain concrete proposals for implementation over the next
five years relating to a broad range of topics encompassing our efforts to prevent and deter
terrorist attacks, manage a crisis created by a terrorist incident, and handle the consequences of
such an incident, including issues of cyber terrorism, the use of conventional and
unconventional weapons by terrorists, and research and development projects designed to
combat the terrorist threat"

"Improving state and local capabilities begins with information and intelligence sharing.
In order to prepare for a terrorist event, we must know as much as we can about the potential
threat. One way to accomplish this on the state and local level is to increase the participation of
state and local authorities in task forces and working groups with their federal counterparts to
facilitate the sharing of information. In addition, regular, periodic sharing of information
concerning terrorist groups active in a particular locale -- not just threat warnings tied to a
specific incident -- would be helpful to local officials"


Oklahoma City...Clinton...Bush...Homeland Security?

I wonder, in light of the below post, whether in looking for the ultimate origin of the Department of Homeland Security we should look at questions like why did Timothy McVeigh know so many FBI agents?

Clinton was a loyal corporatist. I'm not a Clinton hater beside the fact that he's a quintessential neoliberal. Now, at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing certain groups, ironically from the far left as well as the far right, that were both hostile to the expansion of the state, wrote that the bombing was like the Reichstag Fire, something that would be used as an excuse for a dictatorship. Of course, the years went on and Clinton's America didn't become a dictatorship, or even something like we possess right now under George W. Bush, and so those people who said that were gradually dismissed as being out of their minds.

But. It appears that during this time, starting with the passing of the crime bill by Clinton, as well as his formation of two new governmental bodies specifically devoted to terrorist preparedness, the groundwork was laid that Bush used after 9/11 to construct the Department of Homeland Security on. More than that, it looks like something resembling the Department of Homeland Security actually existed in the background, and had for several years by the time 9/11 happened.

Like I said, maybe, while giving Bush and Cheney the evil credit that's due to them, we should go back to the Oklahoma City bombing and ask why Timothy McVeigh knew so many FBI agents*

*who were part of the crew that he knew at a white supremacist compound where he stayed while he ironed out the details for the Oklahoma City bombing.

Homeland Security started in 1999

This isn't hyperbole. A number of interesting pages come up when you search for Homeland +1999 +Grant, one of which contains this, from a South Carolina page entitled "Gov. Sanford Announces Homeland Security Grant Allocations":

The purpose of the 2003 State Homeland Security Strategy (SHSS) is two-fold. First, this
document provides the framework for completing any unfulfilled objectives from the 1999 State
Domestic Preparedness Strategy (SDPS). Second, the new Strategy describes the State’s
vision, focus, goals, and objectives that will guide the State’s preparedness efforts for the next
three years

The National Strategy for Homeland Security makes terrorist incident prevention the number
one priority of the Federal government. The 2003 South Carolina SHSS strongly reflects
current National priorities and continues the implementation of regional response and
emergency medical preparedness programs that were begun in 1999. South Carolina will focus
on the following during this Strategy period.


Ok, so what about this State Domestic Preparedness Strategy? It seems like an outgrowth of FEMA, but only under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense. Under the program the SDPS would cooperate with the DoD and FEMA in the event of a terrorist attack. Not a lot to do with intelligence, right? But look at this, from a reportentitled "Combatting Terrorism:Opportunities to Improve Domestic Preparedness Program Focus and Efficiency, given to Congress on the act:

"As noted in our December 1997 report and in our April 1998 and
October 1998 testimonies, the many and increasing number of
participants, programs, and activities in the counterterrorism area across
the federal departments, agencies, and offices pose a difficult management
and coordination challenge to avoid duplication, fragmentation, and gaps.
Recent interagency coordination initiatives to deal with the increasing
number of consequence management training and equipment programs
are underway both within and outside the National Security Council. A key
proposal involves the transfer of the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic
Preparedness Program to the Department of Justice. We did not examine
the effectiveness of these coordination efforts or the details of the
proposed transfer of the program to the Department of Justice"

This, in other words, is the department of homeland security, which the State Domestic Preparedness Strategy would set the stage for...but...this is still about co-ordinating services in the event of a terrorist attack, right? Shouldn't that happen? Even if it includes the National Security Council...?

Well, but then there's this, from an interesting site called "Chaos Across America" about a national executive branch office around then entitled the "National Domestic Preparedness Office": it's a report derived from a nation wide meeting between state, local, and federal emergency responders in 1998, about what they need in the event of an attack. Here's an interesting excerpt:

"Group Two: Communications and Intelligence:

Support creation of a nationwide, standardized communications system that addresses: Interoperability Among Responders, Secure Access, New Technology, Sustainability, and Removal of Regulatory Impediments.

Improve the intelligence-sharing process to reflect an understanding of the real-time roles and responsibilities of local, state, and federal governments before, during and after a terrorist event.

(emphasis mine)

So...we're not just talking about when an event happens but about sharing intelligence, not just being able to communicate effectively if an event is happened but sharing intelligence, from the local to the state and federal levels, before a terrorist attack. That means sharing surveillance.

But wait again....shouldn't the federal government share surveillance with state governments if they think a disaster is going to occur?

Glad you asked. It turns out that the NDPO, which seems to be a direct precursor to the Department of Homeland Security, was transitioned from being under the Department of Defense to being administered by the FBI, in the U.S. Department of Justice, in, 1999?, as documented in this, "BlueprInt or the National Domestic Preparedness Office" (which came out in 1999).

"Similarly, WMD Coordinators within the 56 FBI Field Offices nationwide are another asset
of the FBI which NDPO can access. With their assistance, the NDPO can utilize the FBI’s
communications systems and infrastructure to disseminate awareness-based information to the state
and local response communities.

The FBI, in conjunction with other agencies represented within the NDPO, will assist state
and local planners in developing threat and risk assessments, as well as providing, on request,
assistance in the development of integrated domestic preparedness plans at the state and local levels.
Along with the other agencies, the FBI will have representatives within the NDPO to coordinate these
programs within the broader federal domestic preparedness effort."

****The "Threat and Risk Assesments" that are mentioned are based on surveillance. An "integrated domestic preparedness plan" isn't just about a response to external threats, it's about responses to perceived internal threats. The police at the Port of Olympia were acting according the Domestic Preparedness Plan, and a Homeland Security Officer was on the premises...he identified himself as such to one of the participants.

Then this, from further on:

"Some of the first tasks will be:
Special Bulletin -- The NDPO will coordinate with an analytical team from substantive units within
the FBI that regularly receive intelligence information, including those within the International
Terrorism Section, the Domestic Terrorism Section, National Infrastructure Protection Center, and
others. This analytical team will serve as a clearinghouse group to ensure that awareness-based
domestic preparedness information is properly compiled, sanitized, and uniformly disseminated to
recipients in the state and local communities. The NDPO will disseminate this information in the form
of Special Bulletins through the single points of contact appointed by the Governors, through
appropriate law enforcement channels or directly to the appropriate personnel. Prior to the actual
dissemination of the bulletin, the appropriate federal agencies represented within the NDPO will
receive a draft copy for review"

Ok, but...what else? I Googled "National Infrastructure Protection Center", which was an FBI body created for stopping cyber attacks, I guess, and found reference to Clinton era legislation passed in the wake of the Oklahoma city bombing.

Then there's this: The "Five Year Interagency Counter Terrorism and Technology Crime Plan". There's so much there on that one, which is more directly geared towards counter-intelligence, that I'll have to reserve it for another post.

What appears to have happened is that the actions that would lead to the formation of the Department of Homeland Security started after the Oklahoma City Bombing, and that by the late '90s, certainly after 2000, something very much like the Department of Homeland Security, the National Domestic Preparedness Office, was operational in some capacity, maybe not at the level that it assumed after it morphed into the Department of Homeland Security but operative nonetheless, although it's existence was buried within the government bureaucracy.