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Sunday Drizzly Sunday: Of Drunk Sailors, Ralph Nader and the End of the American Empire - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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Sunday Drizzly Sunday: Of Drunk Sailors, Ralph Nader and the End of the American Empire [Oct. 17th, 2004|05:12 pm]
Young Geoffrey
Despite the drearily appropriate autumnal weather, I managed to drag myself from my lair this Sunday afternoon, a rarity of late. Pumped the tires in preparation for tomorrow morning's load of hockey gear and rolled the bike onto the street, then set off east for the Drake hotel and the latest Canzine, where (mostly) young(er) people set up to trade, sell and, sometimes, give away their work.

The old Gladstone Hotel was happily packed and it took me a while to locate missnegativity, who had a table with the new issue of her zine, Ye Drunken Sailor, now with a colour cover and coming out of a real print-shop, rather than a Kinko's. We exchanged promises (to go drinking one of these days - I'll be holding you to that, young lady!) and money (for the magazine). I have only paged through it at this point, but it is clearly a lot more about politics than it is about drinking or sailors.

Still, as has been my wont of late when in a crowd, I was not terribly socialable. I made a round of the tables, picked up some promising-looking reading material, then hopped on the machine and pedalled for home, eschewing a compulsive stop in at the Cadillac Lounge.

Still, I'm glad I went. A body needs to be reminded from time to time, that there are still people out there who have not been beaten down, but who are following their own visions and putting out work, no matter that the likelihood of financial return is small indeed. Acts of creation are acts of hope, cries of defiance in the face of a world it would be easy to see as headed for the kind of collective madness that snuffed out the lives of a hundred million people - or, probably, more - during the 20th century, and left billions struggling just to survive.

When Junior Bush and John Kerry's final "debate" comes down to two schoolboys each insisting the other is a liar; when Kerry's "solution" to the war in Iraq is to do what Bush proposes - er, but better; when our own government, led by the apparently intelligent but clearly gutless Paul Martin, seems set on joining in with the US on "Star Wars"; when Israel and Russia continue to slaughter civilians in their respective "trouble-spots"; and when even liberal Iraqis are turning to fundamentalist monsters to fight the invaders, Young Geoffrey feels the dark night of cynical despair descending upon him.

When even Noam Chompsky, despite his own analysis, signs a petition encouraging Americans in "swing states" to hold their noses and vote for Kerry, rather than Nader, I can't help but wonder if all hope is lost.

I am not, thank god (if my Gentle US Readers will forgive an apostate's appropriation of that term), so my analysis of the upcoming election is relatively free of concerns about what a 2nd Bush mandate will mean for the US internally. At the risk of sounding like something out of the Red Brigades, having Bush reveal the jackboots beneath his tailored suit might make for a good wake-up call for the perpetually dozing American people.

By size, the American Empire puts the British imperium to shame. Spanning the Globe, the Pax Americana has bases and troops in 144 (if memory serves) countries around the world. And yet, it is an empire without a name; the American people see themselves as peace-loving folk and are baffled that so many foreigners seems to think of them as bullies.

How can it be that Noam Chomsky, of all people, believes that voting for Tweedle Dum, rather than Tweedle Dee? Does he really believe one would be a significant improvement over the other?

Clearly, he does, but I can't see that it will make much of a difference.

  • Kerry is as beholden to the corporate hegemony that has (almost completely) hijacked the American experiment;

  • Kerry has said his administration will continue the war in (on) Iraq, but believes he will be able to do it more effectively than Bush. He will continue the "War on Terror", "modernize" the US military to continue its role as global policeman, and, er, "... free America from its dangerous dependence on Mideast oil." Well, by tapping American ingenuity," that's how.

At best, a Kerry government will slow down the kleptocracy that has used American imperialism as a private bank - the Haliburtons of the United States will likely receive a little less in the way of unearned money, but not much. Though his website says
We must always remember that terrorists do not just target our lives - they target our way of life. John Kerry and John Edwards believe in an America that is safe and free, and they will protect our personal liberties as well as our personal security

his website, on quick perusal, didn't promise to revoke the Patriot Act. Rather, it talked about beefing up counter-intelligence and other security measures. Nothing about getting at the cause of the problems in the first place.

And so, were I a Yank, I would vote for Nader. Because whichever of the two "real" candidates wins, nothing much will change and I would prefer to be able to tell myself I didn't support the lesser of two evils.

The first quarter of the 21st century isn't going to be a lot of fun, folks.

The corporate mask will continue to loosen, showing its facist fangs; the Moslem world, whose savage governments are mostly supported by the powers-that-be in Washington, will get ever more desperate and savage in turn.

Those countries, like North Korea and (especially) Iran - where there was a strong movement against its religious, fundamentalist rulers only a couple of years ago, have learned the lesson of Afghanistan and Iraq: one's rule is only safe if one has the Bomb.

My predictions for the near-term:

  • Whoever wins, the war against Iraq will continue. The US will suffer 10,000 casualties (the Iraqis 200,000) before pulling out, shortly before 2010. The puppet regime they leave in "charge" won't last a year;

  • Iran will announce it has nuclear weapons by early 2006;

  • by the end of this decade, the US people will look back on the stagflation of the '70s as a golden age; and

  • Someone, somewhere, will use nuclear weapons by 2015 - if we're lucky, they'll be small ones. If I'm lucky, they won't fall anywhere too close by.

Well. So much for my intention to get all mushy about the lovely night and part of a day I spent with Laura, or what fun we had at Second City.

I'm going to order a pizza, smoke a bowl, watch the Simpsons then go to sleep in preparations for distraction at the Bill Bolton Arena.

But be of good cheer, Gentle Readers. This too shall pass.

[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2004-10-17 05:07 pm (UTC)
You have just been drafted into writing something for the next YDS.

And Y.D.S. so has some drinking in it. It has princessrugger getting spun through a laundry machine. I am going to insist on an all-sailor, all-pirate issue at some point in the future, however, as it's been a fuck of a long time since that sort of thing has happened.

We must indeed go drinking soon.

I am now going to order a pizza and watch The Day After Tomorrow. Woo!
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2004-10-18 04:18 pm (UTC)
I didn't say it contained nothing about drinking, only that it seems to be "a lot more" about politics. And you call yourself an editor ...

I nevertheless appreciate your opening paragraph, and your penultimate - I'm terrible about this sort of thing, so how's about you suggest a time, date and place?
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[User Picture]From: sooguy
2004-10-17 06:34 pm (UTC)
I am afraid your insight into the American situation is all too realistic to argue. I know people on both sides of the board want to see Bush deposed, but as you correctly pointed out Kerry is no less driven by the same corporate masters.

Candian's have unfortunately bought into Kerry as an alternative leader without bothering to read the fine print. Kerry/Edwards win will by no means be any more palatable to Canadians in the long run as he does away with incentives for films to be shot in Canada and tightens the borders further to travellers and trash alike.

Sigh, I want to join you in your cynical prognostication about what the next 10 years will bring. I am afraid if John Brunner was alive today he would be even more depressed at our state of affairs. I am not sure if you are familiar with Sheep Look Up or Last Stand on Zanizbar both are very cynical looks at "futuristic" (ie. 21st Century) global politics.

In one of those books as a throw away in a news report of the day - Brunner talks about Pakistan and India exchanging nukes. I think this may be closer to the truth than we think.

Take care my cynical friend.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2004-10-18 04:21 pm (UTC)
It's been more than a decade since I've read any Brunner, so I can't comment on any similarities my thinking might share with his.

What really pisses me off is that it was all so unnecessary. When the Berlin Wall came down, and the Soviet Union disintegrated, the world was blessed with a golden opportunity to close the door on the old way of doing things and open that which faced an exciting, largely peaceful future.

The latter door is still there, of course, but somebody's gone and piled one hell of a lot of furniture up against it.
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[User Picture]From: fromaway
2004-10-17 11:38 pm (UTC)
I can't decide what I think of this. Part of me agrees with you on Bush/Kerry, entirely. Part of me thinks the right-wing insanity has to get really bad before the majority of Americans will acknowledge that it's bad at all, let alone do anything about it. (It still amazes me how many Americans think America as a whole is "moderate" or even "too liberal," and sometimes it really enrages me that they think that way.)

On the other hand, even agreeing with Zmag-type people that the Democratic Party is a "demobilizing force," I still can't dismiss that. I am truly frightened of what Bush might do domestically if he were elected. I don't kid myself that Kerry will do anything wonderful, but as a woman, even one beyond the direct control of U.S. law, I am afraid of Bush.

It may be that I am operating on emotion right now, and my current field of vision doesn't stretch as far beyond Roe v. Wade as I'd like it to, and that's not good. But if Kerry is elected next month, I will be enormously relieved, even knowing I probably shouldn't be.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2004-10-18 04:29 pm (UTC)
This is very interesting; I hadn't really given much thought to women's issues when I wrote my bit yesterday - living in Canada, it's easy to forget just how much more powerful are the forces of reaction there than here.

I am now really thanking the powers-that-be that I don't have a vote in November. I don't blame you, "as a woman", for being afraid of Bush.

I think you've changed my mind on the question of Nader (though, sadly, not on my large-picture prognostications).
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From: patriarch420
2004-10-18 04:57 pm (UTC)
2015 for nukes seems pretty arbitrary m'dear...

But I'll give you a a shiney nickle if you're right.

And I'll skip all the "you're wonderful" business for now.

I just went to the dentist (a different one) who seconded the opinion that "Laura needs a root canal!" so, I'm getting a root canal.... boo:( I dont know when though.

Anyway, goodnight sleep sweet etc ((Im actually semi caught up on things now!!)) would it be alright if I maybe dropped by tomorrow ?

xoxo much love,

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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2004-10-18 06:53 pm (UTC)
2015 was grabbed somewhat - but only somewhat - arbitrarily. My thinking was as follows. Due to the US acting like a thuggish bull in a delicate teashop; due to Israel's long-time status as a nuclear power - without international repurcussion and despite (I believe) it being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty; and due to North Korea's inarguable success at declaring itself a nuclear power (and let's not forget both India and Pakistan), the result of which was to be taken seriously by the US, rather than treated as a meaningless target, a number of countries are going to decide to get into the game. Sooner or later one of those countries will have an unstable enough ruler to use them or (perhaps more likely) will have a lousy-enough security system to permit the "transfer" of a bomb or two to a non-governmental organization (Al Qaeda, anyone?) who will, quite happily, use it.

Nevertheless, I'd rather be wrong and have you keep that nickel.

I'll skip it too, then; you know how wonderful I think you are in any case (as do all of my Gentle Readers, no doubt).

I'm sorry about the root canal, darlin'; and pleased as punch that you've (semi) caught up on things.

Finally, I'd love to see you tomorrow. :)
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From: patriarch420
2004-10-19 02:48 pm (UTC)

2015 For Nukes...

or two to a non-governmental organization (Al Qaeda, anyone?) who will, quite happily, use it.

Your second option (as seen above) seems like a more plausible scenario, unfortunately.

I'm not so much worried about India/Pakistan, as they've been in the nuke game a little longer than North Korea. But, like the Cold War (I realize times have changed quite a bit but I'll use the comparison anyway because it's all I've got...) *ahems*. As I was saying, like the Cold War I'd say the nukes are used moreso as a security blanket. I mean, Russia and the States had nukes pointed RIGHT AT eachother for decades and neither even edged towards that big red button that said "FIRE ZEE MISSILES!!"

Ohhh that reminds me of an absolutely wonderful flash file at....


It's of much relevance, I assure you. Albeit, YOU USE LINUX AND WONT BE ABLE TO HEAR THE SOUND WHICH IS KEY!!


Right, moving on, sorry I didn't come by today ((I'm sure you missed me Oh! so much)) But I went home and took a nap instead...

Tomorrow after work though? If you aren't busy...

xoxo, much love


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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2004-10-19 07:54 pm (UTC)

Re: 2015 For Nukes...

I take your point in comparing India/Pakiston to the US/Soviet stand-off. But must add, that both countries are a little more (apparently) unstable than were the US and the Russians - and the latter came disturbingly close to blowing it a couple of times. In other words, they did edge forward a few times, but managed to pull back before disaster struck.

(I'll have a look/listen to that flash-file at the office tomorrow. Incidentally, it's not because I use Linux that I can't hear the sound, it's because I haven't bothered to learn to use it properly. Ahem - for the record.)

Don't worry about not coming by. I figured you were either busy or tired and, since we didn't make specific plans, you didn't owe me an explanation.

As for tomorrow, we should grab a bit at Squireley's - call me and I'll provide directions.

Much love to you, too, my sweet.

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From: patriarch420
2004-10-20 06:36 pm (UTC)
Squirleys is nice, thank you for taking me there :)

Care to come over for a dinner shin-dig on Oct. 30th? it'll be mostly Jane's kids etc. They're uber cool (like Paul, who you met).

Talk to you tomorrow (or something)

xo love you *kiss lix*

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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2004-10-21 04:49 pm (UTC)
"Or something", darlin'.

Glad you liked Squirley's - I stopped in there tonight and - whoo-hoo! - managed to pen more than a few paragraphs. I think I even like some of them.

As for the 30th: possibligh - we'll talk about it on Saturday. I've already informed my young friend Heath that we'll be attending (as, quite likely, will both Vern and Helen).
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[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2009-09-02 03:07 pm (UTC)

I wonder...

If Kerry did win, would Obama have had a chance of being elected?
Given that anti-republican sentiments were a huge part of what powered Obama's campaign and made many people who would have voted for a Nader vote for Obama.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-09-02 03:36 pm (UTC)

Re: I wonder...

I suspect not, at least not when he did get elected. Kerry would probably either have been re-elected in '08, or would have bombed so badly the Republicans would be back in office. *shudder* How's McCain/Palin look to ya? :)
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