Effect Measure

Freethinker Sunday Sermonette: Guernica

Let’s identify the enemy correctly. In a democracy, the enemy is cynicism. All enemies of democracy want you to be cynical about whether you can affect anything your government does. Cynicism is deeply anti-democratic. Even on a day where we gathered by tens or hundreds of thousands to tell our political leaders they must stop the madness and they are deaf. On such a day, especially, cynicism is the enemy.

CNN’s (pathetic) coverage of yesterday’s large visit to Washington, DC by antiwar lobbyists (why are we protesters but Halliburton’s pro-war profiteers are lobbyists?) lasted a few hours on its front page. It was shortly replaced by the more usual news of the day: Bombs at Baghdad market kill 15; 7 U.S. troops die.

So we also return to the main subject. Our Guernica:


  1. #1 O'Leary
    January 28, 2007

    Revere, I appreciated your question: Protesters vs lobbyists, (why the difference in terminology?). It is something obvious that I have never thought of before. Interesting to compare the coverage of the meeting in Nairobi and the meeting in Davos.

    Apparently the protest ( or rather, massive lobbbying attempt) didn’t make the front page of the Times, but it was carried by TV all around the world yesterday and even again today . So, every person that took a day of his/her life and went to Washington did something important in that we who are outside of the US can see that the people are at last leaving the internet and taking to the streets.

    Guernica. Over and over and over again.

  2. #2 K
    January 28, 2007

    Thank you Revere – I was pleased to see at the end of the clip. 911truth.org and 911blogger.com

    Another mislabeling is to say that alternative views of what happened are conspiracy theories and the official version is not. In fact the official version is a conspiracy theory – that Osama and 19 followers conspired to bring down the towers and hit the pentagon. It is a conspiracy and it is not proven.

    It might interest folks to know what is seldom covered in the US press (just as antiwar lobbyists are not covered)

    New 9/11 Zogby Poll: 70 Million American Adults Say “New Investigation!”

    Zogby Poll: Over 70 Million American Adults Support New 9/11 Investigation

    Download this press release as an Adobe PDF document.

    The poll is the first scientific survey of Americans’ belief in a 9/11 cover up or the need to investigate possible US government complicity, and was commissioned to inform deliberations at the June 2~4 “9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future” conference in Chicago. Poll results indicate 42% believe there has indeed been a
    cover up (with 10% unsure) and 45% think “Congress or an
    International Tribunal should re-investigate the attacks, including whether any US government officials consciously allowed or helped facilitate their success” (with 8% unsure).

  3. #3 K
    January 28, 2007

    PS – just watched the movie about Edward Murrow – Good Night and Good Luck – well worth the watch and speaks to the political climate we have now that is becoming worse than the McCarthy era.

  4. #4 caia
    January 28, 2007

    O’Leary: many people in the U.S. did so before the war too, in an international day of protest the largest the world has ever seen. The U.S. protesters didn’t get a lot of mention, and the world protests failed to accomplish much.

    Revere: your question about protesters vs. lobbyists is a good one, but I think asking it answers it. Lobbyists represent people who pay for access, if not for favors. Protesters don’t grease that palm, and so they’re on the outside.

    But since lobbyist is practically a dirty word in my book, I’d rather be (and have been, although not yesterday), a protester.

  5. #5 Benny
    January 28, 2007

    The last election did not solve these problems because Bush is still in office; hopefully, we can move further forward in 2008.

  6. #6 Greg
    January 28, 2007

    Caia, world-wide protests were *very* effective. Many governements, which had been withering under intense US pressure, gathered courage from their citizens, and refused to participate in the invasion. Others placed firm limits on the numbers of troops sent and on their missions.

  7. #7 Greg
    January 28, 2007

    When Colin Powell went before the United Nations, on Feb 5, 2003, to make his case for war against Iraq, instructions were given to cover the tapestry copy of Picassos Guernica on the wall behind him.

    search google for ‘ “colin powell” guernica ‘

    The masters of war worry.

    As you note, Revere, the victims are learning how to fight back.

    However, there is better.. Despite all the news of attrocities and intolerance, people all over the world are taking enormous risks to reach out to their traditional enemies. Even governments.

    For example,, and this is but one of countless, beneath the notice of your local authorized network tv,, following the assassination this past week of Hrank Dink, “Turkish and Armenian youth are talking”. Some have been for a generation already. Even the goverment of Turkey has taken the opportunity to extend (gingerly) an armload of palm branches to the government of Armenia. Especially encouraging is that the Islamists, the Stalinists, and the NeoCons are singing in harmony.


    Go anywhere. You will find people, sneaking around the priests and the politicians, around the censors and the guards, discovering their neighbours just want to get on with planting the next harvest and the next generation.

  8. #8 bar
    January 28, 2007

    “on a day where we gathered by tens or hundreds of thousands to tell our political leaders they must stop the madness and they are deaf. On such a day, especially, cynicism is the enemy.”

    Your government can ignore it’s people’s displeasure because there is no real time mechanism for overriding your government’s decisions, no way of dismissing the government in real time. Your government (and the media of the day) reassured us that there was only a small vocal minority because usually a demonstration is only a small (less than 1%) sample of voters.

    When I was in California, I saw people collecting signatures outside big supermarkets. Californians knew that those signatures could create or demolish legislation or dismiss governors. Not is 2 years or 4 years but now. That is probably why there were long queues of people waiting to sign.

    Venezeula has a very bad press. Big media are trumpeting Chavez’ intention to stop regular elections.

    When I look at Chavez I see a man who introduced legislation that permitted the Venezeulan people to remove him from office by the same method that Grey was removed in California. I see a man who some (i.e. less than 50%) of the people of Venezeula attempted (unsuccessfully) to remove, using the very legislation that Chavez introduced. They had a vote, but Chavez won, unlike Grey.

    So I see Venezeula as more democratic than the USA. Even if Chavez eliminated fixed terms, I would think that Venezeula was more democratic than the USA. Why bother have an election if everyone is happy with the government, and know that they can dismiss it anytime they become unhappy with it? Of course, the electoral machinery must be incorruptable, and that is a problem, even in the USA and here in Australia.

    If we want people to be less cynical, we need a system in which people can participate and control their government.

    Not exert that control in 2 years or four years, but NOW.

    Surely with the availability of the internet and bank security we could invent a better system for polling, and have closer to real time participation in government?

  9. #9 deepwelll
    January 29, 2007

    Until the “Gnomes of Zurich” are defeated the world will continue to be what we have seen for the last sixty years…violence and death…nothing else will ever make as much money, or be as good for business…

    Anyone who spends more than an hour a day giving deep thought to the realities of this planet cannot explain all that is going on without accepting that it is orchestrated from a place of evil intentioned power….

    Cynicism is the reality of understanding where one stands in the current state of affairs…I personally know that when enough of us get together and really decide to change things than the true nature of Democracy will be apparent…you can only be truly free when you are willing to live at the point of laying down your life in payment for your freedom…

  10. #10 Ana
    January 30, 2007

    I would like to echo Greg. Many Gvmts. were very surprised. (Europe.) They understood that they would not get people on board for this particular murderous adventure, in contrast to Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. (That point is vital but I can’t elaborate in a short post.) This lead them to mute their attitudes, in various ways, backpedal, stay quiet, agree to cooperate minimally, then change their minds again, or even refuse. (As well as collaborate with the US sub rosa.) Moreover, many politicians (take it from me) were directly affected or influenced, not by the demos themselves, but by op-eds, bloggers, their constituent’s furious arguments, etc. which were legitimised, by – the demos of course. Similarly, ‘anti-war’ pols had the demos to back them up, and many (even very minor ones count!) became vocierous where before they would have shut up. Remember Bush’s pathetic Coalition of the Willing? Remember the US trying everything to get more nations on board by any means possible? Including straight out payment? I may be over-estimating the effect as I myself participate and like to think it is effective; nevertheless the effect was I think undeniable. And the repercussions were far-reaching; lead for ex. in part to the election of Zapatero (Spain).

    Of course, it did not stop the tragedy in Iraq.

  11. #11 maryinhawaii
    February 1, 2007

    And now, right on schedule per the “Pax Americana” – and totally predictably – the great american nazis are ramping up their rhetoric to justify a preemptive strike against Iran. The way they wag that poor little dog, i can only hope all the shaking loosens his bowels and he defecates all over those who have hold of his tail.

  12. #12 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 1, 2007

    Hey guys, I told you this was going to happen several months ago. Big Deal. I think we still have a few more to put into place but the facts are facts. A nuclear armed Iran simply will not be tolerated by the west, or the east. Upsets the nuclear apple cart. Iran started to get them, now Jordan is talking about it, Saudi Arabia too. Egypt has a fairly adept little crew themselves and all of it relates to Iran and/or at the time Iraq and their weapons of mass destruction… Now they didnt find what they were looking for but Unkle Hans Blix and company including Al-Baradei say that they were well on their way right up until we started to go in and then whoops, not there. So no nukes, but there was 2000 gallons of VX which if used properly could have killed everyone on a continent and really the planet if it was airburst. Hey but lets worry about nukes and keep that up on the table. What you could fit into a thermos is enough to do NYC.

    Oh and then there are all our allies. Like Germany and the French. So helpful in stopping illegal trade with these countries as per international agreements. Did we break it? Yep, but only after they started selling them chemistry sets and nuclear technology. Lets level the playng field here. The Cold War was over so we should have been putting our toys back up on the shelves. Instead we found that our little NATO friends were back dooring us with all sorts of stuff that could kill Americans. But it was done thru third party brokers so yeah, thats okay huh?

    Chirac the pres of France said today and now he is trying to retract it and its a quote, “We shouldnt worry about Iran having nuclear weapons, because if they ever used them Teheran would be demolished.” Okay, so what do we do? Let them blow up say, Madrid and until then we shake our fists and use the rhetoric of past presidencies, or do we do something about it? Is there anyone out there that feels getting rid of Saddam was a bad thing? Please do tell me about flawed intelligence and the reasons for going to war were not valid. Sheyit, we have lost 3000 and a few soldiers so far. Thats less than 1/20th of the small town I live in. We were losing that many in a week at times in Vietnam.

    So now we have Teheran. Today the announcement was that with extreme efforts on their part and with help from the Norko’s and the Chinese they might be able to put a nuke together in about 2 years. For me thats two years plus a million that I want to add to the time that a radical, fundamentalist Muslim nation has before they get a bomb. It has but one purpose and its not internal defense. It is an offensive weapon and one that would be used to intimidate or eventually use. We cant let them get one from a tactical and strategic standpoint. Oil yes Mary, K, Revere because thats what keeps the lights on and the plastics going and yeah the whole damned thing stinks but it is the economy of the world. If they hit a carrier battle group with say 2 or 3 we couldnt defend against it. Or the smart plan would be the same dont go into the hood. If fired in volley one or more would get thru. We as a result would have to project power into the region from thousands of miles away. Coupled up with existing Norko missile technology they could still hit us on Diego Garcia. A nuclear covered Straight of Hormuz becomes a Iranian Lake. They then tell all of their Arab buddies what they are going to charge for oil. No wonder Hugo Chavez is on board with this, including Castro as they have found huge oil deposits off of Cuba. Their oil would be worth billions. To hell with alternative fuels. They are not realistic just yet. 100 a barrel oil would be realistic but not without total destruction of the economies of the weaker nations. It would flatten ours too for a long time until the conversion happened. Once there then we could tell the Arabs to go pound sand. Until then its confrontation after confrontation.

    Thats it in a nutshell. I am not going to comment any further on this one as what I have said will set everyone off on their own little tangentals. I am not going to say any of you are right or wrong either. You are right and you are wrong. Me too but I see no other way around this and dont talk about diplomacy when they are building a nuke. They unsealed those centrifuges under Clinton and not Bush and here we are. Knocking out Teheran is and will be applauded even by the Dems in private because no one gets elected if oil is at 100 per barrel. Chaos and anarchy would be rampant and unemployment off the scale across the planet. No. Even Hillary would get this one right. The rhetoric is about to go up. The Iranians will test us and we will use it as a justification to whomp a goodly portion of the south of the country. If they do it again then you can expect us to pop the snot out of Teheran… Rigged? Shit even if it was it would still be a good idea. Not an Eisenhower invasion, just take the mullahs out of power. It would take about a month of hard hitting and losing a few good men and women but dammit its time someone ends this UAR bullshit that started almost 50 years ago. Pax Americana? Maybe Mary, but as long as we are on the oil standard you had better get used to it. Chavez will be next.

  13. #13 revere
    February 1, 2007

    Randy: I rather doubt it will happen. I grant you they’d love to ddo it. But they no longer have the wherewithall. The nuclear facilities are too deep and they aren’t going to use nuclear bunkerbusters. Cost in world opinion too high. It’s gun boat diplomacy but the Iranian leadership doesn’t give a shit because the US is a paper tiger thanks to Iraq. Clearly the biggest foreign policy debacle in US history. As I said at the time.

    We shall see.

  14. #14 Greg
    February 2, 2007

    Yes, Ana, the invasion happened. However, it is seen as an invasion, not a ‘police-action’. And the effects have been mitigated through sheer lack of political cover and of enough idiots with guns to do the damage.

    Iran was not invaded or bombed. Probably won’t be. Syria was not invaded. Won’t be. The Turks did not roll over the Kurds.

    Sometimes you cannot prevent absolutely the disease. It is still worth caring for the ill and controlling transmission.

    Only bullies expect unconditional surrender. For the rest of us, to win is to get as much as fair or possible, and especially to stop losing.

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