Tuesday, July 20, 2010

on republics

The bushes are in disagreement with the heat
This is my happening and it freaks me out

L.A., The Fall -- surf rock by post-industrial Mancunians, c'mon and swim this fine summer's day with Mr. and Mrs. Smith

I'm just about finished with a tremendous book recently recommended(tx tom g), Count-Duke Olivares: The Statesman in an Age of Decline. I'm going to write a longer review, early 17th century Spain has plenty of lessons for 21st century America. Most importantly, necessary reform calls for pissing off established power, there is no alternative. Secondly, when you have a system atrophying under centralization, the underlying mean to all reform is breaking up the centralization, which is even more relevant for a republic than a monarchy. The value of a republic is in dispersed power allowing for healthy change. In the US, we continue toward increased centralization, thus stagnation.

The Post has an excellent piece today showing the dire situation created since 9/11 by increasing centralization and privatization of DC intelligence services in the name of reform:

The Post's estimate of 265,000 contractors doing top-secret work was vetted by several high-ranking intelligence officials who approved of The Post's methodology. The newspaper's Top Secret America database includes 1,931 companies that perform work at the top-secret level. More than a quarter of them - 533 - came into being after 2001, and others that already existed have expanded greatly. Most are thriving even as the rest of the United States struggles with bankruptcies, unemployment and foreclosures.
Nothing better illustrates the bankruptcy of American politics, where bipartisan insolvency combine into what can only be described as fatal incompetency, looting, and ever encroaching militarism. Here you have the unaccountable National Security state feasting on New Deal democratic philosophy of centralized government, combined with the neo-Republican love to privatize activities that are by definition of the government. In this case, you create a system not only making us less safe, but so riled with corruption and waste it helps drain the rest of the economy. Nothing better illustrates the insolvency of contemporary politics.

The silly season fast approaches, and I have little to say, and really, no one should talk about elections in this country if you're not being paid. The two parties only advantages are each other, it looks like the Reps understand this, while the Dems are still struggling with the idea that the only thing they have going for them in November is the Republicans. Few tears will be shed if the Dems lose the Congress, but the thought of the Rep side of our political class taking power, and Im not talking about the "Tea party," but the criminal element that's lurked in DC for the past couple decades, is distressing, but that's where we are until we create an alternative.

I've told a couple Dems, and I'll repeat as there's no chance of them taking the advise, they need to adopt the Themosticles defense. Themosticles was an Athenian citizen at the height of ancient Athen's glory. He fought at Marathon, one of history's great battles, where the Greeks first defeated the Persians. He went back to Athens telling his fellow Athenians the Persians would be back and for years advocated they needed to build a navy and be prepared to abandon Athens and take to the sea for battle. You can imagine how popular that idea was, nonetheless, after years of cajoling, Athenians followed Themosticles, built a navy, abandoning Athens, and defeated the Persians. So, the Dems should abandon their marginal incumbents and go after the Rep incumbents, not likely, for as one Democrat said, "The party is nothing more than incumbent elected officials."

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