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afraid of what?

solid article on the rise of a new form of capitalist in the wake of the terrorist attacks on american soil in 2001.

probably the key point for me is the distinction to be drawn between the stated goals in the "war on terror" and the actual goals of those contracted to keep americans (and their allies) safe. these contractors and their government champions can talk all they want about increasing security, but the economics of the situation speaks for itself: those companies are in business for one reason, which is to make money. anything that increases their profits and the return to stockholders (for those that are publicly held) is, by definition, good.

but good economics does not necessarily make for good defence. leaving aside, for a moment, the question of whether or not the american state's foreign policy has increased or decreased the threat of a terrorist attack, look for a moment at the programs they have pursued at home. or, more specifically, the programs they haven't.

for instance, the current administration has cut funding to programs designed to improve security on the country's railways and public transit (what could possibly go wrong?). as well, the government has never moved forward on any legislation that would regulate the inspection of chemical facilities (i wish i were making this up). so while we all get to take our shoes off going through airport security and have our facial cleanser confiscated if it's in a container that holds more than 100ml, so that we have a visual reference to tell us that we are more secure, the truth is rather sadly removed.

Comments

Richo said…
I always thought wars were generally about money, but the issues surrounding the "war on terror" strike some particularly hard, and disturbing, blows. Who needs soma when fear creates an even greater opiate for the masses...?
Its funny because I always thought that the whole idea, nearly expressed publicly by the Bush Administration was to kick-off the economy: in every war before, the war effort has led to an economic boom. Besides the surveillance and security sectors, every other sector of the economy is falling rapidly. Its also showing how hollow the US economy is, as so much of it is based on lies and accounting manipulations that cannot be sustained forever. The recent crapping out of the housing sector, followed by the loans, will most likely be followed by the banks. Enron was just the tip of the iceberg. The Titanic administration is drunk with power and cannot see that they are steering the ship straight into the icefields; after all, what do they care, all of their buddies are off in the lifeboats already...
Michael Begg said…
I had a curiously depressing moment a week or so ago whilst watching a TV re-run of Fahrenheit 9/11.

Remember when the film first came out? Remember thinking that it might - just might - provoke something beyond formless outrage and lead to some kind of accountability? Revenge? After all, how could any individual, any administration, recover from such a round house kicking?

Well, of course, they did. The film is now a historical document, of its time, meaningless in the moment at hand.

The trick for all governments, it seems, is to keep still and let the uppity concerns of the "people" drift by in a cloud of squabble and temper. Then back to business.
flora_mundi said…
yes, michael, i certainly remember the (in retrospect) jejune sense of optimism that accompanied the release of that film.

the thing to keep in mind, though, is that the actions of the u.s. government are almost diametrically opposed to the wishes of the large majority of the population. policy is dictated from the top down- in spite of, not in line with, the wishes of the people.

if the current administration- or any administration for that matter- wants to credibly claim to be promoting democracy, they should start by doing so at home.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…

mental health mondays :: separate and not equal

given the ubiquitousness of racial disparities in the united states, there's no reason why we should be surprised that they exist in mental health care. unlike a lot of other areas, the people in power have acknowledged the problem for decades. but the situation isn't getting any better. 
the united states surgeon general documented the differences between white and non-white mental health care back in 2001 so we can assume that it was already a known problem at that point. two years later, a presidential commission said the same damn thing and groups like the national association for mental health seized on this to develop guidelines on how to bridge the ethnic gap. from the turn of the century through 2007, the number of papers and publications talking about the mental health care gap spiked. the issue was viewed as being on par with obesity when it came to urgent problems.

starting in 2004, researchers undertook a massive project that involved the records of nearly a quart…