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April 27, 2003

Daily Outrage

I know I should stop this. Really, I do. By "this" I mean the regular posts about the newest outrage from Yubbledew, Inc. I mean, what's the point? The conservative, imperialist offensive is so outrageous there's no way to keep up. (And besides, it just invites me to use high-flown rhetoric that makes me sound like a raving partisan. Oh wait, perhaps I am a raving partisan.) In the past week we get this from Republican Senator Rick Santorum:

Santorum compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. He also said the right to privacy does not exist in the Constitution. *

And, of course, Yubbldew, Inc. (figureheaded by "the most dangerous president ever") backs Santorum all the way. Wonderful. (See also the full transcript of Santorum's comments and Greg Goelzhauser's links to blawg comments on this issue.)

Meanwhile, Dumsfeld (Mr. Untidy)also continues to spew his own special style of imperialist hubris as he dictates exactly what the future will not hold for Iraq:

"A vocal minority clamoring to transform Iraq in Iran's image will not be permitted to do so," he said. "We will not allow the Iraqi people's democratic transition to be hijacked by those who might wish to install another form of dictatorship."

Where do you even start with that? If it's "the Iraqi people's" future we're talking about, then if they decide to follow their religious leaders instead of the leaders the U.S. picks for them to follow, what grounds does the U.S. have to stop them? And, if it's "the Iraqi people's" future, then won't it only be a "democratic transition" if the Iraqi people want it to be? Enter Rumsfeld, blowing the whole little lie wide open. The future of the Iraqi people depends little on their desires; instead, it's going to be dictated by the U.S., or more precisely, U.S. interests:

Like one of the 19th-century European colonial empires, the Bush government is calling on Bechtel, Halliburton, and other major corporations to take over the job of running the Iraqi colony. These companies are to act in the name of the government. They are to be paid out of our taxes. It might just as well be the British East India company. The colonial corporations become the instrument of the nation-state, in this case to undertake the reconstruction of Iraq. They, not the government, are the purveyors of laws and customs and democratic ideals.

And even as I wonder how those who supported this war can see a difference between American imperialism today and British imperialism 150 years ago, I have to remind myself that such distinctions don't matter to neoliberals and neoconservatives because everyone else on the planet is, by definition, just plain wrong. These distinctions also don't matter because everything comes down to markets and money, which is why the empire being protected and developed in Iraq is not a United States Empire, but the Empire of Western Corporate Interests. The U.S. gov't. and military are the instruments we see at work, but they are not working for their own benefits, they are working for the corporations that will profit from those markets.

What's more, this imperialism is happening here at home. The Yubbledew, Inc. agenda is clearly calculated to bankrupt the public sector (via tax cuts and military spending) in order to make the world in its privatized, corporate-controlled, someone's-going-to-earn-a-profit-from-every-breath-you-take worldview. (As Eric Alterman notes, Yubbledew, Inc's actions certainly aren't calculated to increase security within the U.S. Oh, and in this world you can't be gay, ok?) It's much like Morpheus' explanation of "The Matrix":

Do you want to know what it is? The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.... Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

Which brings me back to where I started: What's the point of these political rants? If you have to see the Corporate Empire for yourself, my thoughts on these matters aren't going to do any good. I don't have any red pills, and I am not "The One" ("yeah, the Oracle hit me with that, too"). I realize that. Yet, you still find these rants at ai because they are a growing record—for me, mostly—of where we are, where we're going, and how we're getting there. I compose these posts because they cover things I don't want to forget and because tomorrow I want to be able to easily find the articles and quotations published today. It's ok if you don't read them. I understand.

* I don't know what to say about Santorum's claim that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee the right to privacy—I'll save that for after I've taken Con Law, maybe. (Anyone care to explain?) But on the subject of, um, "creative" readings of the Constitution it's worth noting that Molly Ivins' latest column in The Progressive quotes Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia saying the government has great power to ignore civil rights during war time. (Unfortunately the column doesn't seem to be online.) Scalia said:

The Constitution just sets minimums. Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires.

Ivins replies:

He is dead wrong. The only right affected by war is the Third Amendment: "No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house, without he consent of the owner, nor in tie of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." The Ninth Amendment specifically says: "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

So what's story here? Ivins is no lawyer (I don't think), but is Scalia "dead wrong"?

Posted April 27, 2003 01:47 PM | general politics

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