My country may be rubbish, but I’m not going to leave. I’m going to stay here
and try to do something about it.
 — an anonymous Burmese writer 

How many snowflakes does it take to break a branch? I don’t know, but I
want to be there to do my part, if I’m a snowflake.
 — Joan Chittister

 

* * * * *
DISASTER CAPITALISM: THE SHOCK DOCTRINE
WORD FROM CANADA AND ELSEWHERE
 
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In This Issue:

David’s Notes
Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine
A Quote from W. H. Auden
Reader Responses to JME #40
Retired Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez on Iraq
A Call for a General Strike by Garret Keizer
Shrubbie Swiftboated:
From the Reagan Diaries:

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David’s Notes:
After no JME for almost a year, here comes a second one in a matter of weeks.

My friend, and hand drummer extraordinaire, Michel Bonneau, of Montreal, Quebec, is responsible for this new issue of the JME. He sent me recently an email with three important items in it: some YouTube links to Naomi Klein’s lecture about her new book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, a quote from W. H. Auden and a link to Garret Keizer’s article, A Call for a General Strike, which appears in the September issue of Harper’s Magazine. I thought all three of these things were so important and urgent that I wanted to get them out ASAP.

Recently my friend, and host of CBC Radio Noon, Anne Lagace Dowson sent me a review copy of The Shock Doctrine. [For our too-American friends, CBC is short for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.] We will have more to say about The Shock Doctrine in a future issue of the JME. For this issue: a precis of the book, a link to YouTube and a review.

Also in this issue: responses from some of our readers to JME #40, an excerpt from a BBC report on Retired Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez and an incredible, if inaccurate, quote about Shrubbie from Ronald Reagan’s Diaries.

Fight on!

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Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine
Canadian journalist Naomi Klein has published a book that the mainstream media in the United States, including NPR, is doing everything it can to ignore.

The thesis of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is that America’s “free market” policies are founded on the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

Whether it is Shell and BP claiming oil reserves in Iraq, or private enterprise taking over public housing, hospitals and schools in New Orleans or tourist resort developers building condos on the beaches of tsunami devastated Southeast Asia, in all these, and myriad other places, free market capitalists step in to take advantage of disaster. And if the disaster isn’t natural–a tsunami or a hurricane–they invent one as the U.S. did in Iraq. Klein reviews the last 35 years and connects dots that always seemed unrelated and in doing so reveals the extent and power of “free market capitalists” to destroy the last vestiges of democracy.

As Arundhati Roy says, “Naomi Klein has written a brilliant, brave and terrifying book. It’s nothing less than the secret history of what we call the “free market.”

To hear Naomi Klein herself talk about The Shock Doctrine visit YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kieyjfZDUIc There are six parts to her talk.

For a review of The Shock Doctrine go to: http://thetyee.ca/Books/2007/09/11/ShockTherapy

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* * * * *
Epitaph on a Tyrant
by
W. H. Auden
Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.
—–

From Another Time by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1940 W. H. Auden, renewed by The Estate of W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

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Readers Respond to JME #40
and to the Issues of Paralysis and Depression
I’ve got to admit I’m one of those citizens who just feels bludgeoned into fatalism about this war–the only thing to do: hold one’s breath until a different president is elected.

–Howard Nelson, Moravia, New York

* * *
Bonjour David,–Just to let you know I truly share your depression “at the state of politics in America”; I might also add that, from where I stand, (somewhat North of the border from you, by the St-Laurent oozing out of MontrŽal that you can almost hear: “I’m outa here…Yes! The open sea, give me the open sea!!”), America includes this still country of mine, taken over by yet another right wing conservative party, our prime minister another born again Christian and our “brave troops” picking up after Bush in Afghanistan.

–Michel Bonneau, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

* * *
I think as far as I am concerned, it is anger more than depression. Maybe that is the next stage.

–Christine Zehl Romero, Winchester, Massachusetts

* * *
They say anger expression cures depression. I am struck by the elegance of the anger in the latest issue of JME. Could not agree more with the sentiments expressed. Not a one that’s escaped my own attention. And yet it’s been months since I yelled at The Emperor on TV, and I’ve stayed away from sticking pins into dolls. Instead I put the devil behind me and remember, everything comes to pass, nothing comes to stay. ‘Course that sounds like bullshit when we’re knee-deep in it.

–Lawrence Willson, Birmingham, Alabama

* * *
Everything stated in the [Rashaan Roland] Kirk rant is right on! These people are just plain mendacious — our fear is Bush will declare martial law and cancel the elections.

–Kathy White, Beaufort, South Carolina and Newport, Vermont

* * *
This is the most depressing political time that I can remember… ‘m sick-to-death with the political system and non-coverage about how many mercenaries we have out there who’ve killed how many at what cost. Now we get a soundbite on Iraq wanting to kick Blackwater out. What I don’t get is why they don’t want to kick all of us out. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

–Jordie Brener, Wolcott, Vermont

* * *
It’s hard not to despair – Democrats’ subservience, media’s complicity . . . Yet, so weirdly, among the bus drivers, teachers, carpenters, classroom aides, mechanics I know, there is such a deep disgust with and mistrust of the administration. You have to look pretty hard now, I mean among normal people and not on the TV talk shows, to find reactionary nuts. They’re in a small minority. Yet they have power. There’s just something unreal or surreal about it.

–Jim Ellis, Auburn, New York

* * *
Like you I was almost depressed into a coma-like state over the political landscape. But yesterday I watched students from A.&T. and Bennett College [in North Carolina] ‘git on the bus’ for Jena, Louisiana. They were so 1960’s Black I almost got religion. . . . Course now I’m saving bail money and praying they get back to Greensboro without coming to any harm.

–Willi Coleman, Greensboro, North Carolina

* * *
Go get ‘em dad!

–Nadine Budbill, Nevada City, California

* * *
It seems fighting depression is more than half the battle, and would certainly get the better of me were it not for faith in the healing Spirit of the Risen Christ, which does sustain me in word and mission, especially as I find ways to engage with and support, assist, or just befriend the homeless stranger, the exoffender, the juvenile delinquent, etc, wherever people struggle on the margins of society. That focus helps me ‘stay the course.’

–David Benedict, Williamsburg, Virginia

* * *
I was thinking the unthinkable today, that, much as I hate him, I have to give George some credit for courage in persevering, going to Iraq in spite of danger, and continuing to stay the course, as his daddy said, in spite of being reviled and hated. I disagree profoundly with his interpretation of what is going on in the middle east, and with how to act toward other countries in the world in order to make it a good place to live . . . but he is a remarkably persistent idiot.

–Lorna Chafe, Five Islands, Maine and Chapel Hill, North Carolina

* * *
thanks for your latest . . . too depressing to think much about, but it helps to share the sorrow for the present state of things.

–Leslie Rowell, Craftsbury, Vermont

* * *
You sound mightily discouraged. And the bad news just piles up. . . What I still think was miraculous, though, was the feeling I (and I suspect millions of others) had BEFORE our ideological reflexes kicked in, the simple, open-mouthed, open-hearted attempt to take in what had happened WITHOUT explanation or worldview or ideology or Opinion. It was a sacred moment. . . . It’s heart-breaking to feel how badly we failed the moment.

–David French, Shelburne, Vermont

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Retired Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez on Iraq

A former US military chief in Iraq has condemned the current strategy in the conflict, which he warned was “a nightmare with no end in sight”. Retired Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez also labeled US political leaders as “incompetent” and “corrupted”.

He said they would have faced courts martial for dereliction of duty had they been in the military.

The best the US could manage under the current approach in Iraq was to “stave off defeat”, Gen Sanchez warned. “There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight.” . . .

Gen Sanchez branded [the] so-called “surge” strategy a “desperate attempt” to make up for years of shortcomings. “The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat,” he warned. . . .

Gen Sanchez was commander of coalition forces in Iraq for a year from mid-2003.

—–

Excerpted from the BBC, October 13, 2007

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Garret Keizer Calls for a General Strike
Garret Keizer, who lives just over the hill from here, has issued a manifesto in the September Harper’s Magazine calling for a General Strike on this coming Election Day, November 6th.

In it he says, Of all the various depredations of the Bush regime, none has been so thorough as its plundering of hope. Iraq will recover sooner. What was supposed to have been the crux of our foreign policy–a shock-and-awe tutorial on the utter futility of any opposition to the whims of American power–has achieved its greatest and perhaps its only lasting success in the American soul.

This, we thought, was another good expression of what we had to say in JME #40 and in the responses from readers to that issue.

If someone were to suggest, . . . Keizer goes on to say, that we begin a general strike on Election Day, November 6, 2007, for the sole purpose of removing this regime from power, how readily… would you find yourself producing the words “It won’t do any good”? Plausible and even courageous in the mouth of a patient who knows he’s going to die, the sentiment fits equally well in the heart of a citizen-ry that believes it is already dead. . . .

Keizer says that all of us in our depression, paralysis, ennui are abetting the abuse the Bush administration has visited upon us. We are, in our dolour, enablers. And the way, he says, to stop being an enabler is TO DO SOMETHING.

An Election Day general strike would set our remembrance of those people [who died on 9/11] free from the sarcophagi of rhetoric and rationalization. It would be the political equivalent of raising them from the dead. It would be a clear if sadly delayed message of solidarity to those voters in Ohio and Florida who were pretty much told they could drop dead.

In short, Keizer asks: As long as we’re willing to go on with our business, Bush and Cheney will feel free to go on with their coup. As long as we’re willing to continue fucking ourselves, why should they have any scruples about telling us to smile during the act?

—–

to read all of Garret Keizer’s manifesto go to: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/10/0081720

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Shrubbie Swiftboated:
from the Reagan Diaries

May 17, 1986:

A moment I’ve been dreading. George brought his ne’er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida. The one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I’ll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they’ll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.

—–

According to Global Research at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6580 the quote above, from the Reagan Diaries, is a hoax. But since everybody knows how unreliable posts on the internet are, maybe this notice of a hoax is also a hoax.

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