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2004-11-05 17:53:26.59275+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

My "Daily Reads" over there on the right side aren't really daily any more. But one of the ones I do drop into more often than others is John Robb's Weblog because he posts the critical observations from Global Guerillas in short snippets. Although I think I'll have to start reading the latter, because I found this beauty:

There is, however, a crucial difference between the chess master and the master intelligence analyst. Although the chess master faces a different opponent in each match, the environment in which each contest takes place remains stable and unchanging: the permissible moves of the diverse pieces are rigidly determined, and the rules cannot be changed without the master's knowledge. Once the chess master develops an accurate schema, there is no need to change it. The intelligence analyst, however, must cope with a rapidly changing world. Many countries that previously were US adversaries are now our formal or de facto allies. The American and Russian governments and societies are not the same today as they were 20 or even 10 or five years ago. Schemata that were valid yesterday may no longer be functional tomorrow.

From Chapter 3 of The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis

Last night Charlene and I got to talking about the ethics and economics of using illegal immigrant labor (because of recent practical applications, although I took a "don't ask/don't tell" approach...) and this got me to thinking about the economics of outsourcing, spurred on with some of my recent conversations about where and how development is being done, and by conversations with Jeff (who piped in again this morning). I'm realizing that a lot of things are changing globally, brought on partially by the net and reduced international communication costs, and relatively stable shipping, alhtough "terrorism" has an effect on both, and I need some kicks to see economics in a fresh way.

[ related topics: Politics Books Psychology, Psychiatry and Personality Ethics Economics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-05 19:30:25.859421+00 by: jeff

I agree with much of what is being tossed around at John Robb's Weblog and at Global Guerillas. It will be interesting to see how much "stability" is wrought in Iraq by the leveling of Fallujah. At the outset of the war, the Baathist party comprised approximately 6% of the population (1.5 million people). How many of these folks have dispersed from Fallujah is an interesting dynamic to understand. The schemata is constantly changing, and the rate-of-change is increasing.

The business analogy I draw with the situation with Iraq is one of "hostile takeover." Often times companies not wishing to be purchased swallow a "poison pill," (i.e. borrow excessive amounts of cash, etc.) in order to prevent takeover. While not quite the same, I've never seen the ROI of occupying Iraq for an extended period of time, in terms of human costs, political costs, and economic costs. In the business world it is sometimes best NOT to take on "bad" or "high-risk" opportunities, no matter how much "black gold" is involved. I would digress to talk about the real reasons we went to war with Iraq: (Israel's Security: www.cameronphoto.net/pnac)

The war cast aside, I see the overt outsourcing of jobs by this administration as helping to ACCELERATE the loss of "real wealth" and ownership of America by Americans. As Robb's weblog cites, ownership of America by Americans is decreasing by 1% a year, and that rate "de-ownership" is increasing for the reasons he cites. There is no end in sight to this phenomenon, and I agree (at a minimum) with Dan's assessment that we may be headed towards the same kind a malaise which has plagued Japan's economy for years. Worst case, we could end up bankrupt for the same reasons that affected the Soviet Union.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-05 19:46:54.430247+00 by: jeff

While we are on the topic of mindsets, is anyone aware of this pending bill (Constitution Restoration Act) in Congress? Are we heading towards our own Taliban-style of government? Did the demographics of the "religious right" allow Bush to secure his victory over the rest of US? If so, we may be heading towards a military theocracy (if we don't go bankrupt, first.) How can this act possibly be "named" the Constitution Restoration Act? What has happened to the separation of church and State?

I can see it now. Bush with his finger on the nuclear trigger, with Pat Robertson standing by his side? Is "fire and brimstone" going to become a self-fulfilling prophecy with these kind of people in power? The emerging bi-model distribution of wealth also fits this "religious-state-model." Where is Paul Revere when you need him?

Do a Google search on "ignorant barbarians in babylon" and you might see something returned like this:


If enacted, the Constitution Restoration Act will effectively transform the United States into a theocracy, where the arbitrary dictates of a "higher power" can override law.

By Chris Floyd

One of the sticking points in crafting the just-signed "interim constitution" of the Pentagon cash cow formerly known as Iraq was the question of acknowledging Islam as the fundamental source of law. After much wrangling, a fudge was worked out that cites the Koran as a fundamental source of legal authority, with the proviso that no law can be passed that conflicts with Islam.

We in the enlightened West smile at such theocratic quibbling, of course: Imagine, national leaders insisting that a modern state be governed solely by divine authority! Governments guaranteeing the right of religious extremists to impose their views on society! What next -- debates about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Oh, those poor, ignorant barbarians in Babylon!

Well, wipe that smile off your face. For even now, the ignorant barbarians in Washington are pushing a law through Congress that would "acknowledge God as the sovereign source of law, liberty [and] government" in the United States. What's more, it would forbid all legal challenges to government officials who use the power of the state to enforce their own view of "God's sovereign authority." Any judge who dared even hear such a challenge could be removed from office.

The "Constitution Restoration Act of 2004" is no joke; it was introduced last month by some of the Bush Regime's most powerful Congressional sycophants. If enacted, it will effectively transform the American republic into a theocracy, where the arbitrary dictates of a "higher power" -- as interpreted by a judge, policeman, bureaucrat or president -- can override the rule of law.

The Act -- drafted by a minion of television evangelist Pat Robertson -- is the fruit of decades of work by a group of extremists known broadly as "Dominionists." Their openly expressed aim is to establish "biblical rule" over every aspect of society -- placing "the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere under Christ the King." Or as Attorney General John Ashcroft -- the nation's chief law enforcement officer -- has often proclaimed: "America has no king but Jesus!"

According to Dominionist literature, "biblical rule" means execution -- preferably by stoning -- of homosexuals and other "revelers in licentiousness"; massive tax cuts for the rich (because "wealth is a mark of God's favor"); the elimination of government programs to alleviate poverty and sickness (because these depend on "confiscation of wealth"); and enslavement for debtors. No legal challenges to "God's order" will be allowed. And because this order is divinely ordained, the "elect" can use any means necessary to establish it, including deception, subversion, even violence. As Robertson himself adjures the faithful: "Zealous men force their way in."

Again, this is no tiny band of cranks meeting in some basement in Alabama, as recent reports by investigators Karen Yurica and David Neiwert make clear. The Dominionists are bankrolled and directed by deep-pocketed, well-connected business moguls and political operatives who have engineered a takeover of the Republican Party and are now at the heart of the U.S. government. They've made common cause with the "American Empire" faction -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, the neo-conservatives -- who seek "full-spectrum dominance" over the globe. The Dominionists provide money and domestic political muscle for the Dominators' imperial ambitions; in return, the Dominators provide a practical vehicle -- overwhelming military might and state power -- for making the Dominionists' dreams a reality.

The Dominionist movement was founded by the late R.J. Rushdoony, a busy beaver who also co-founded the Council for National Policy. The CNP is the politburo of the American conservative movement, filled with top-rank political and business leaders who set the national agenda for the vast echo chamber of right-wing foundations, publishers, media networks and universities that have schooled a whole generation in obscurantist bile -- just as the extremist Wahabbi religious schools funded by Saudi billionaires have poisoned the Islamic world with hatred and ignorance.

One of the chief moneybags behind the rise of Dominionism was tycoon Harold Ahmanson, Rushdoony's protege and fellow CNP member. In addition to establishing theocracy in America, Ahmanson has another abiding interest: computerized voting machines. As reported here last year, Ahmanson, a fervent Bush backer, was instrumental in establishing two of the Republican-controlled companies now rushing to install their highly hackable machines -- with untraceable, unrecountable electronic ballots -- across the country in time for the November election.

The Dominionists also have strong backing on the Supreme Court, Yurica notes. Justice Antonin Scalia, author of the unconstitutional ruling that gave Bush the presidency, declared in the theological journal First Things that the state derives its moral authority from God, not the "consent of the governed," as that old licentious reveler Thomas Jefferson held in the Declaration of Independence. No, government "is the 'minister of God' with powers to 'revenge,' to 'execute wrath,' including even wrath by the sword," Scalia wrote. He railed against the "tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government."

Meanwhile, the tools of dominion keep expanding. Just days after the Congressional Bushists launched their theocratic missile, General Ralph Eberhart, head of America's first domestic military command, said the Regime must now bring the experience learned on foreign battlefields to the "Homeland" itself, including the integration of police, military and intelligence forces, "wide-area surveillance of the United States" and "urban warfare tactics," GovExec.com reports.

Put this juggernaut at the service of democracy-hating extremists with no legal restraints on their enforcement of "God's sovereign authority" -- plus a proven track record of subverting the law to gain political power -- and what would you have? A mullah state? A military theocracy?

Or should we just call it "a second term"?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-05 21:03:16.578907+00 by: jeff

Search the library of Congress (http://thomas.loc.gov) for "HR 3799" and you'll find the current status.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-06 17:58:29.908481+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

For those who haven't read it, it's a pretty short bill - the heart of which states:

...the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review... any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an element [or officer] of... government (whether or not acting in official personal capacity), by reason of that element's or officer's acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.'.

As usual, the devil is going to be in the interpretation. I can think of one local case, however, where this bill would seem to have exonerated a state patrol officer who detained (handcuffed) a young couple on their way to an abortion appointment and forced them to attend a kind of intervention meeting. (The officer did not know the couple - they had been pulled over for something else.)

Even if one believes God to be the source of such, this seems to me to be bad law. Even the faithful can't entirely agree on what is and isn't approved by The Almighty.

My father believes we are headed for religious civil war(s) in this country. It's becoming harder and harder to dismiss the possibility.