Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.
Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.
In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.
At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.
Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.
John Stuart Mill
Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.
The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.
The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.
Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.
A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
Don't let schooling interfere with your education.
All generalizations are false, including this one.
A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
The Public is merely a multiplied "me."
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we."
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.
Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.
Otto Von Bismarck
When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.
I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.
Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.
Be polite; write diplomatically ;even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.
A witty saying proves nothing.
If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.
When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics.
I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.
To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.
Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.
All I know is I'm not a Marxist.
The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
The US Military as a 'Global Oil Protection Service'
While the Bush Admin and Bush-backers everywhere have been ridiculing Michael Moore and anyone else who suggested that the Second Gulf War was--at least in part--about the oil, that same Bush Administration has been quietly turning the US military into 'a global oil protection service'.
It has been argued that our oil-protection role is a peculiar feature of the war in Iraq, where petroleum installations are strewn about and the national economy is largely dependent on oil revenues. But Iraq is hardly the only country where American troops are risking their lives on a daily basis to protect the flow of petroleum. In Colombia, Saudi Arabia, and the Republic of Georgia, U.S. personnel are also spending their days and nights protecting pipelines and refineries, or supervising the local forces assigned to this mission. American sailors are now on oil-protection patrol in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the South China Sea, and along other sea routes that deliver oil to the United States and its allies. In fact, the American military is increasingly being converted into a global oil-protection service.
The situation in the Republic of Georgia is a perfect example of this trend. Ever since the Soviet Union broke apart in 1992, American oil companies and government officials have sought to gain access to the huge oil and natural gas reserves of the Caspian Sea basin -- especially in Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. Some experts believe that as many as 200 billion barrels of untapped oil lie ready to be discovered in the Caspian area, about seven times the amount left in the United States. But the Caspian itself is landlocked and so the only way to transport its oil to market in the West is by pipelines crossing the Caucasus region -- the area encompassing Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the war-torn Russian republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and North Ossetia.
American firms are now building a major pipeline through this volatile area. Stretching a perilous 1,000 miles from Baku in Azerbaijan through Tbilisi in Georgia to Ceyhan in Turkey, it is eventually slated to carry one million barrels of oil a day to the West; but will face the constant threat of sabotage by Islamic militants and ethnic separatists along its entire length. The United States has already assumed significant responsibility for its protection, providing millions of dollars in arms and equipment to the Georgian military and deploying military specialists in Tbilisi to train and advise the Georgian troops assigned to protect this vital conduit. This American presence is only likely to expand in 2005 or 2006 when the pipeline begins to transport oil and fighting in the area intensifies.
Or take embattled Colombia, where U.S. forces are increasingly assuming responsibility for the protection of that country's vulnerable oil pipelines. These vital conduits carry crude petroleum from fields in the interior, where a guerrilla war boils, to ports on the Caribbean coast from which it can be shipped to buyers in the United States and elsewhere. For years, left-wing guerrillas have sabotaged the pipelines -- portraying them as concrete expressions of foreign exploitation and elitist rule in Bogota, the capital -- to deprive the Colombian government of desperately needed income. Seeking to prop up the government and enhance its capacity to fight the guerrillas, Washington is already spending hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance oil-infrastructure security, beginning with the Cano-Limon pipeline, the sole conduit connecting Occidental Petroleum's prolific fields in Arauca province with the Caribbean coast. As part of this effort, U.S. Army Special Forces personnel from Fort Bragg, North Carolina are now helping to train, equip, and guide a new contingent of Colombian forces whose sole mission will be to guard the pipeline and fight the guerrillas along its 480-mile route.
We have been involved with these countries for decades but for a variety of reasons, of which the presence of oil was only one. Now, it has taken precedence over everything else. In Columbia, for instance, the battle against the drug lords' private empire is being largely abandoned in order to shift troops over to pipeline-protection. A casual glance at a map suggests that Rumsfeld's massive force-reordering mission places an extraordinarily high emphasis on oil-rich areas at the expense of more dangerous non-oil-rich areas like the Korean Peninsula.
Last night in the second of the debates, challenged by an audience member to explain why he was pulling troops out of South Korea, Bush answered that they were no longer needed because the Soviet Union was no longer a menace. Mr Bush, who showed astounding ignorance for a President on a number of issues last night ranging from the Dred Scott decision to his own environmental policies, apparently doesn't realize that Korea is more about Communist China than Soviet Russia and that the Communist Chinese are still very much with us.
Given the role oil is increasingly playing in determining the deployment of our troops overseas, the lack of an energy question either last night or on Tuesday--this despite Kerry's charge that during the invasion we had chosen to protect the oil ministry while allowing museums and the Mukhabarat HQ to be looted at will--was a shocking and unexplainable lapse, particularly on Tuesday when the man who is in charge of our energy policy, the man who when conducting meetings to determine that policy had refused to talk to anyone who wasn't an oil industry executive or lobbyist, the man who in October--five months before the war--met secretly with a number of top oil executives to pour over maps of the Iraqi oil fields and divvy up the spoils of a war Bush was then claiming he hadn't yet decided to launch, when that man was actually before microphones and could have been questioned.
It isn't as if this question is going to fade away any time soon, no matter what happens in Iraq. Our pitiful dependence on oil--which Jimmy Carter wanted to start undermining 30 years ago by switching over to renewable fuels, an effort which was cut dead by the raw political power of the oil companies--is going to demand even greater concentration on military protection as the oil supplies dwindle and and we continue to refuse to develop an alternate policy.
The use of American military personnel to help protect vulnerable oil installations in conflict-prone, chronically unstable countries is certain to expand given three critical factors: America's ever-increasing dependence on imported petroleum, a global shift in oil production from the developed to the developing world, and the growing militarization of our foreign energy policy.
America's dependence on imported petroleum has been growing steadily since 1972, when domestic output reached its maximum (or "peak") output of 11.6 million barrels per day (mbd). Domestic production is now running at about 9 mbd and is expected to continue to decline as older fields are depleted. (Even if some oil is eventually extracted from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, as the Bush administration desires, this downward trend will not be reversed.) Yet our total oil consumption remains on an upward course; now approximating 20 mbd, it's projected to reach 29 mbd by 2025. This means ever more of the nation's total petroleum supply will have to be imported -- 11 mbd today (about 55% of total U.S. consumption) but 20 mbd in 2025 (69% of consumption).
More significant than this growing reliance on foreign oil, an increasing share of that oil will come from hostile, war-torn countries in the developing world, not from friendly, stable countries like Canada or Norway. This is the case because the older industrialized countries have already consumed a large share of their oil inheritance, while many producers in the developing world still possess vast reserves of untapped petroleum. As a result, we are seeing a historic shift in the center of gravity for world oil production -- from the industrialized countries of the global North to the developing nations of the global South, which are often politically unstable, torn by ethnic and religious conflicts, home to extremist organizations, or some combination of all three.
Whatever deeply-rooted historical antagonisms exist in these countries, oil production itself usually acts as a further destabilizing influence. Sudden infusions of petroleum wealth in otherwise poor and underdeveloped countries tend to deepen divides between rich and poor that often fall along ethnic or religious lines, leading to persistent conflict over the distribution of petroleum revenues. To prevent such turbulence, ruling elites like the royal family in Saudi Arabia or the new oil potentates of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan restrict or prohibit public expressions of dissent and rely on the repressive machinery of state security forces to crush opposition movements. With legal, peaceful expressions of dissent foreclosed in this manner, opposition forces soon see no options but to engage in armed rebellion or terrorism.
It's a bleak picture. Dependence on foreign oil is turning the US military into the enforcement arm of US energy corporations, particularly oil corporations, and corporate-driven alliances with dictators are pushing us toward increasing imperialism and the necessity for crushing democratic movements that might threaten our control of the black gold. Other nation-states in world history have gone down this road, and it has ultimately proved ruinous for the societies that gave in to it.
"Netpolitik is a new style of diplomacy that seeks to exploit the powerful capabilities of the Internet to shape politics, culture, values, and personal identity. But unlike Realpolitik — which seeks to advance a nation’s political interests through amoral coercion — Netpolitik traffics in “softer” issues such as moral legitimacy, culturalidentity, societal values, and public perception." - The Rise of Netpolitik
PUN-DIT (n) : A learned man; a teacher; a source of opinion; a critic: a political pundit.