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Archive through July 03, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru January 2003 » The Monkey Hole » Arafat calls for free elections, new US Chief Executive » Archive through July 03, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2002 - 4:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

So it's ok for the Nepalese to defraud the US or any other aid giving nations, and do environmental damage at the same time, but it's the 1st world fault if Cambodia doesn't have the spine to stand up for it's people?

I tend to get defensive about these discussions because they crop up in almost every forum I'm in. Idealistic socialists that are convinced that the US government is a totally corrupt evil on the Earth, and any voice against it is a "brainwashed drone".
Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2002 - 12:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

If the Nepalese can pull a stroke like that and get away with it then I say good luck to them. I'm sure they won't cause even a tiny fraction of the ecological damage caused by McDonalds year after year as they chop down huge forests to graze more cattle and make more hamburger wrappers. I'd far rather the Nepalese government bought themselves a few more jeeps than the senior management of McDonalds bought themselves a fleet of new private jets.

Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2002 - 12:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Do not assume that my point was directed primarily at the USA. You seem a touch defensive here. My point was aimed at Western governments as a whole.

As to foreign aid, well this is not given out of a sense of altruism. It is given with strings attached and is given to benefit the interests of the nations who are giving the aid. Sometimes both parties benefit ftom the aid giving, but the giver ALWAYS benefits. This is what motivates the giving of foreign aid. As for the amount of foreign aid given, the US does not give more per head of population than most other Western nations. This misconception seems to be common among US citizens (just as the misconception amongst many British citizens that the UK takes in more assylum seekers than any other country in Europe).

I believe that your distinction between the actions and motivations of major corporations and the actions of Western governments is extremely naive. Western governments are funded by the major trans-national corporations, our governments are on the payroll of these corporations. Our governments act in the interests of their paymasters. He who pays the piper chooses the tune.

Of course our governments tell us that since the interests of big business coincides with the interests of the public therefore they are acting in the interests of the public. Bullshit, our governments' prime concern is to please their sponsors thus ensuring they continue to be well sponsored.

Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2002 - 10:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

One point that is overlooked when the US gives money to "help developing nations" is that the money is used to pave the way for American corporations to gain a foothold. We talk about giving other companies jobs, but it's done by opening up a new Coca-Cola plant or somesuch.

A buddy of mine from Egypt said that a lot of these "american foreign aid plans" actually hurt the local economy in the long run, by putting local businesses out of production, since they can't compete, and then the amount of "new jobs" in the area dwindles to nothing. The only change is now locals are working for an American firm, instead of a local one.

On the flip side, I've heard of countries milking the aid for all it's worth, like Nepal. They clear-cut an entire forest, selling the expensive hardwood to India, and using the money for gov't buildings. Then they call in the aid people, saying "Look, deforestation, such a problem!" The money they get then pays for new jeeps and uniforms for the government employees.
Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2002 - 4:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

...not much about the politics of running a country, I suspect. With an attitude like that, you'll never get the chance. If, by some act of deity or genie you were magically put there, it sounds to me like you'd be dead within a week.

Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2002 - 3:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

If I were in charge of a country, I would change my laws to protect my people, fuck the corporations.

But then again, if I were in charge, I would put the interests of my country first, and the interests of myself and my friends second, so what do I know?
Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2002 - 12:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Why would countries receiving millions of dollars in US aid change laws, losing not only the income from American corporations, but also upsetting the US politicians who keep giving them aid?

Seems to me that much of US foreign aid is about protecting US interests . . . that is, the assets and cheap labor of US-citizen-owned corporations.
Posted on Monday, July 1, 2002 - 11:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


I disagree with you, in part, on your statement that everything the government does it's doing for money.

Oft times, when a natural disaster strikes, the US is one of the first to offer aid.

However, those that demonize the US as some sort of global bully tend to forget that.

The US gives out billions of dollars in aid to developin nations.

Again, forgotten or ignored by the anti-US elements.

And as for corporations working in the 3rd world... well, I think you're right, I think that Nike, Gap, et al are doing some horrific things in SE Asia and S. America. However, if the US were to change it's laws, the corporations with their exceedingly deep pockets would find or create more loopholes.

The trick is going to be getting the governments of the host countries to change their laws, and inforce them.

Good luck though.
Posted on Monday, July 1, 2002 - 10:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


The ruling is a bitter blow but I think he's not off the hook completely. If he ever turns up in Belgium (very unlikely) then I believe he will have been found on Belgian soil and then can be prosecuted according to Belgian law. Anyway since Belgium is not exactly a major military power with the capability to search him out overseas and arrest him, this would have been the case anyway.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres' comment one the issue was a bit repulsive

"One nation cannot judge another nation. A nation that doesn't, fortunately, have to fight terror and war will hardly understand a nation that has to do it."

So he's not even trying to deny what Israel orchestrated in Sabra and Shatilla, he's implying that what happened was justifiable. The systematic butchering, disembowelling and torturing to death old men, women, children, babies in refugee camps was acceptable. So long as you claim to be 'fighting terror' you can do what you like to whoever you like, unarmed civilians, old men, children, babies. He also tries to contrort things by suggesting that Israel was on trial by Belgium for war crimes. Sharon was on trial, Sharon is not Israel, Israel is not Sharon.

Posted on Monday, July 1, 2002 - 10:35 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


You're right in what you say. There is no morality anymore, there is only money.

Money is the only thing that our society and our governments value. No matter how they like to dress up their actions, everything our governments do is done in the pursuit of money. Fuck all their hypocrisy about 'doing the right thing', about 'defending democracy', about 'defeating evil'. As long as you are acting in pursuit of money then anything that is done is acceptable and justifiable. Who controls the purse-strings? The major corporations do and our governments are merely their puppets.

With the WorldCom financial scandal in the USA, ordinary people are (quite rightly) enraged, but when we compare it to what major corporations are prepared to do to make money (trample over human rights of citzens in the third world citzens, destroy the environment, support brutal and corrupt regimes etc.) a bit of false accounting in order to (appear to anyway) make a hefty profit is hardly surprising.

Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 1:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Gob -


It's odd the way we put Milosevic on trial for war crimes and eagerly go after Karodic, and Mladic for their attrocities in the Balkans but when it comes to the actions of Sharon we turn a blind eye. Indeed we treat him like a respectable statesman, roll out the red carpet for him and wine and dine him in the White House. What message does this send out?

At the risk of being perceived as an evil bigoted anti-Semite, I would say it sends the message that American Jews put a lot more money into American politicians' pockets than American Muslims, and that money induces myopia.
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 1:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Sharon is still under investigation for war-crimes for his role in this affair.

The charges (the ones brought in Belgian court) have been dropped, not because he's innocent, but because they have decided that their war-crimes statute only applies to war criminals captured within Belgium.

AFAIK, no other charges have been filed. Israel, like the US, is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court...
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 11:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

That Landover site is pretty weird. Is that put on by THE ONION?

I still say it's the capitalist/christian world vs. the muslim world, and we've got all the SUV's. Now all we need is a good supply of gasoline to... D'OH!~

Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 10:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

"...the leader of Isreal--who was responsible for the massacre of hundreds of civilian refugees in Lebanon..."

Actually a lot more than this.

Israeli government figures at the time put the figure at 800.

Palestinian figures put the death toll at over 7,000.

Israeli journalist Amnon Kapelioukwho was the first journalist to arrive in the camp after the massacre reported seeing 3,000 corpses.

A body count by the International Committee of the Red Cross revealed 2,750 dead.

Since it is unlikely that thousands of corpses would materialise or that the Red Cross would count every corpse 3 times I think we can safely say that several thousand Palestinians were slaughtered at Sabra and Shatilla.

Those slaughtered were mainly women children and old people, the Palestinian militants from the camp having gone to fight in Beruit. Sharon is still under investigation for war-crimes for his role in this affair.

It's odd the way we put Milosevic on trial for war crimes and eagerly go after Karodic, and Mladic for their attrocities in the Balkans but when it comes to the actions of Sharon we turn a blind eye. Indeed we treat him like a respectable statesman, roll out the red carpet for him and wine and dine him in the White House. What message does this send out?

Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 8:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


I'm not a fan of contemporary Christianity either, but even the most extreme factions aren't nearly as bad.

Not in the US, perhaps, but there is a great deal of uglines performed in the developing world by Christians. People just aren't prone to think of, say, the Columbians as an "oppressive Catholic regime", the way they would consider Iraq to be a Muslim regime, even tho Iraqi government is no less secular than Columbia's. People don't tend to look at the Balkans in terms of Orthodox Christians oppressing Muslims (and Catholics), but that is certainly a fair assesment. The Catholic Philippines has been doing the same thing to the Muslim Moros for decades that Muslim Indonesia did to Catholic East Timor.

There are numerous factors contributing to the strife in the Middle East, not the least of which is the fact that you have fairly undeveloped nations sitting on a pot of gold. But, honestly, the strife and oppression in the Muslim world is comperable to that you can find anywhere outside the developed West. The reason you find so much strife in Muslim countries is, well, there are nearly a billion Muslims in the world, and the religion is quite common in poorer nations.
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 7:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

hey fanatomist! my god's less vicious than your god!
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 7:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


throughout history you don't hear of Jews killing those who refuse to believe the same way they do.

Tell that to the Anakites, Ammonites, Jebusites, etc....

Jews have lacked any substantial political power for most of the last 2000 years, so it isn't fair to assume that their lack of acts of religious persecution, relative to the other World Religions, has anything to do with the nature of the faith. While the lack of a missionary facet to Judaism does cut down on the likelyhood that they would try to force their religion on others, it can just as easily open the door for disregarding the lives of outsiders, just because the are NOT Jews. The history of the modern state of Israel seems consistant with this.

I think ANY group, finding itself in a position of power over another group, has the potential to become sorely oppressive.
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 7:19 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


Islamic law is misogynistic, but the Christian bible dictates just as many misogynistic beliefs as Islam does.

More, in fact. The Quran is remarkably advanced in its treament of women for its time. Granted, it was written many centuries after the Bible, but in contrast even to the New Testament (not to mention the writings of the Early Church Fathers), women are given significant rights ad freedom, not to mention credit for their importance in society. Early and even Medieval Christianity had a bad habit of treating being a woman like a greivous sin.
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 7:12 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


Judaism seems like the least fucked up of the major monotheisms. I'm not a serious student of the religion, but it seems to me lighter on unquestioning dogma and heavier on open-ended inquiry than the other big 2.

That depends on which school of Judaism you are talking about. Some of the more Orthodox sects (who hijacked the Zionist movement some time ago) are every bit as repressive, xenophobic and blindly dogmatic (not to mention violent) as any of the extermist Islamists. In some ways, even moreso, since, unlike Islam, they have no interest in spreading their message to outsiders. They create their own little world, with little regard for the rest of the people.

Really, considering that it is a remarkably small religion, Judaism manages to pretty much cover the whole spectrum from almost purely secular observence of tradition (Israel has a larger portion of Atheists than the US) to theocratic extremism.

The one thing that sets Judaism from the other two Religions of the Book is that it is not missionary in nature, which I tend to find more paletable, but, as I said, it can foster isolationism as well. Judaism's tradition of scholarship is, indeed, admirable, but quite comperable to Islam's (for much of ancient Jewish scholarship took place in the Muslim world), and in both cases, the more extreme reactionary elements have been the ones seeking to stifle intellectual growth.


If the relative power of the Isrealis and Palestinians were reversed, the Palestinians would conquer without hesitation, killing or imprisoning every Jew they could catch.

What makes you so sure of this? Now, it might well be accurate if it happened today, after years of oppression and death at the hands of Israel, but the Palestinians are no more innately bloodthirsty than any other people. They made no effort to wipe out Jewish settlers when they had them well outnumbered, and violence did not begin in the region (initially by anti-semitic Palestinian CHRISTIANS) until the Zionist settlers began to push the Palestinians off their land and out of power.

Contrary to popular rumor, the Arab nations never vowed to "drive [Israel] into the sea." Jews had lived in relative peace and properity for more than 1000 years in the Arab world. Hostility between the two faiths did not begin until the rise of Zionism.
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 6:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


The current bloodshed is Clinton's legacy.

Oh, I think the people who keep ordering troops to fire on civilians and the folks who keep strapping bombs to themselves probably have a bit more to do with it than Clinton. Likewise, the leader of Isreal--who was responsible for the massacre of hundreds of civilian refugees in Lebanon--chosing to take a strol through the third holiest site in Islam, and the Palestinian leader refusing to act against terrorists in his midst, might be a bit more to blame than Slick Willie.

I'm just saying...
Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 12:33 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


Most Middle-Eastern states are not run by Islamic religious extremists. There are very few Islamic states in the region. This is a a misconception widely held in the West. Political extremism and religious extremism are not the same. Who is the West's main bogeyman in that region? Sadam Hussain. He is not a religious extremist, nor is President Assad, nor is Col. Gadaffi. The vast majority of states in the middle-east are not Islamic states.

And as for the states that are run by Islamic religious extremists, well the most extreme of these is the USA's strongest ally in the region, Saudi Arabia. Saudia Arabia is the key enforcer of extreme Sharia law, public be-headings, public hand choppings of petty thiefs, public stoning to death of 'adulterous' women etc. etc.

The conflict between the West and many middle-eastern nations is not about the West versus radical Islam, we support the most radical Islamic state in the region.

Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 12:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


What you seem to be forgetting that Palestinian and Muslim are not synonymous. There are a great many Palestinian Christians in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian Christians were booted off their land by the Israelis and into refugee camps exactly the same as Palestinian Muslims. Palestine is not a mono-religious nation, unlike Israel which is without any reservations a mono-religious state. Israel is a nation set up by people of the Jewish religion, for people of the Jewish religion. Judaism is enshrined in this state's laws, ethos and governments. As someone who seems so in favour of secular government your apparant support for Zionism seems a bit contradictory. Israel is not a secular state. It is a sectarian religious state that would not survive without massive levels of US funding.

As to your implication about middle-eastern nations being rabid Islamic states, well this is just not so. States like Egypt and Jordan are moderate states in both their political and religious outlook. Indeed there are very few Middle-eastern states of an extreme religious nature. The most extreme being Saudi Arabia (our best buddy in the region and most enforcer of the most extreme interpretation of Sharia Law), then there is Iran, Yemen, and that's really about it.

As to your statement that Islam has brought us nothing of value. Much of Mathematics was developed by Muslims as a direct result of the importance of Mathematics to the Quran. Algebra was developed by Muslims in the 9th century (the name algebra comes directly from Kirah al-jahr wa'l-muqabalah). Then we have trigonometry, geometry and number theory, all developed by Muslims. Then we have the first ever scientific astronomical observatory built in Persia, which was the model used by later Western observatories. The oldest university in the world was established at Fez in Morroco (still in operation today). Then of course we have Islamic tesselation patterns such as those from Alhambra and the Islamic architecture of the Cordoba Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Taj Mahal. Then of course there's the Islamic contribution to Physics, Medicine, Pharmacology...

When most of this was being developed, Europe was in the Dark Ages, with nothing going on except war, slaughter, and monastery burning. Islam kept the light of research and learning on while Europe was plunged into darkness. Without Islam, in many disciplines, we would have had to start from scratch.

Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 3:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Jdm telling me I have a typical, narrow-minded world view... now THAT is laughable. I was not reciting an old cliche for the purposes of condescention, I was relating a personal experience as part of a specific analogy. You continue to misunderstand basic aspects of what I say in conjunction with making unwarranted, sweeping generalizations about my entire character and worldview. I feel pathetic even responding to it.

Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 3:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Enjoy yourself...


Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 3:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"The worst part about being old is remembering when you were young".--The Straight Story

"The worst part about being a young Absintheur is forgetting what just happened"--Me

Anyway, time for the GT. Later monkeys. Have a glass for me. I'll be having 30 for you!

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