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Friday, April 6th, 2007
1:17 pm

With a keyboard on loan from God, I am the Independent Blogger of the Office of the Independent Blogger. Allow me to introduce you to my site if you haven't heard of it before. I do hope you visit and stay -- add it to a Feed, bookmark it.

My latest post is a satire of Mitt Romney, who is more Elmer Fudd than John Wayne, more Michael Dukakis than George H.W. Bush. It's a look at his -- and his state's -- Looney Toon Politics.

Earlier today, I wrote about Disney recognizing gay relationships, which is good news, and Florida law forbidding people from feeding homeless people, which makes even a sane man wish himself Libertarian!

A couple of days ago I looked at Newt Gingrich's comments about bilingual education and the whole ugly matter of textbooks being censored or neglecting portions of history.

For those of you interested in Congressional politics, I looked at portions of the Democratic agenda and outline the potential pitfalls and my own opinions on these ideas. A small excerpt, in response to Price's warning of the price Democrats might pay for going too far with certain things: "I’ll buy that. If the Democrats, say, pass a bill legalizing gay marriage and pledge to give money to terrorists, they’d be homosexual Ronald Reagans — and out of work come 2008." And then I took a serious look at their agenda. The Democratic Agenda.

Here I chide Bush's chief policy strategist in 2004 for now saying Bush is wrong. (Of course he's wrong -- my argument is that Dowd is not someone to appreciate in any sense of the term because his whole behavior suggests he's an idiot.)

Here, at OkayStupid, I Got It! we've got a look at Online Politics and the recent announcement that Barack Obama raised more money than Hillary did...on the Internet, and the dishonest, ridiculous manner the whole situation was covered in by the media and on the Internets. (And here we've got a deep apology to Barack Obama's intern...who I told that I was a Republican because I can't possibly donate to his campaign on principal or prudence.)</a> (And here, on a final note on the matter, we've got a better look at the media's coverage of Obama/Clinton and a casual look at billionaires v. government when it comes to newspapers.)

A short post here, pithy, that would be longer in summary than whole!

Small post here, too, about Thompson's Presidential announcement. An excerpt:

I didn’t know that the Department of Health and Human Services was a launchpad for Presidential ambitions, but I suppose it is now with Tommy Thompson’s announcement that he’s running for President. I, for one, am not sure what to make of it. He’s angling himself as a reliable Conservative but that’s what Senator Brownback is in the race for. Perhaps he’ll catch fire if Brownback’s big mouth catches up to him, but otherwise I don’t think he’s got much of a chance to make waves.

Of course, there are hundreds of posts beyond that, and I update daily. I'd like to think I have a good idea what I'm talking about and an excellent sense of humor, but I'll leave that up to you, and I hope you agree to stay at the Office of the Independent Blogger, open daily for business!

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Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
4:56 pm

Hello everyone, I am the Independent Blogger of the Office of the Independent Blogger. Before we talk politics, I've got a new section on my website that I'd like to quickly plug: the Office of the Independent Poet. You'll find a bunch of the poems I've written on there, and it's all in good fun, I say. Now, to politics, which.....aren't.

In regard to political analysis, there's this, where I talk about Joe Lieberman's recent defeat, and I stand up for him, more or less, because I believe he deserves to be stood up for. Similarly, there's this, about Hillary Clinton's chances to run/not run in 2008.

An Excerpt.Collapse )

Additionally, there is criticism of the Lebanese Invasion and the Bush Administration's treatment of it. On the subject of War, we have my thoughts here, specifically about the recent statements made by Generals in the military about Iraq. In response to an embarrassing story about George Bush's lack of knowledge preceding the Invasion, I write this: "I’d like to know what type of deal George Bush made with the Devil to give him the Presidency, but so far, Antonin Scalia won’t answer my phone calls, and William Rehnquist is dead!"

You can read the criticisms here, as well as a look at the Ukraine's recent politics. I love Eastern Europe.
Here, we have a look at Cuba and War Profiteers, and here we have one of my favorite posts, an entry looking at the "inevitability" of War with Iran, in which I look at past "inevitable conflicts." It's a good read, but then again, I believe everything on my site is, as, excuse my lack of humility, I believe that my blog is the best under-the-radar look at politics online. While I'm sure there's disagreement with that notion, my blog is very good, and I'm proud of it.

Finally, on an International and more traditionally Liberal note, there's this: Cold as Ice, where we have a post about the savage beating of Seals, as well as a silly anecdote about an old project of mine involving Seal E., seal claps and Arctic Ice City. Given that we're talking about ice, let's talk about global warming.

Read through, and bookmark it, please!

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Saturday, May 13th, 2006
6:00 pm

I am, as you undoubtedly already know, the Independent Blogger of the Office of the Independent Blogger, independent in the same sense that Ken Starr was meaning "not very independent" indeed. I blog with a keyboard on loan from God, and here we go.

My latest post, and the first I'll direct you to, is Apples and Oranges, where the subject turns from the polling of the President to Iran's wacky letter, with a stop in front of the political fights of the week (Howard Dean v. some critics, Frist v. critics, Boehner v. critics, and Muffin Man v. Baker) before closing with the price of butter in Langley.

Not bad, eh?

In my next post, we talk politics, thus leading me to title the post, "Talking Politics." Reverse Federalism and State's Rights are discussed, along with the inherent seriousness of an Al Gore candidacy, followed by some points about John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.

On a personal level, I have been criticized by many Liberal Democrats for two things: my support of the War and Iraq, and my timid opposition to the NSA's wiretapping. Before, I used to condemn the program but I didn't go so far as to call it an abuse of power. In light of recent revelations, however, I don't think there's a way to deny that George Bush is Richard Nixon Reloaded. A preview:

Richard Nixon Reloaded.Collapse )

The day before that, I'd labeled President Bush Jimmy Carter With Rabies, and I think it's fair to stand by that. In that post, I discuss his human rights record and a few impressive notes, but then we get to the CIA.

My view of the CIA, currently, is that it is the victim of an Honor Killing of sorts. Yes, I'm willing to say that Bush is attempting to kill the CIA for "honor."

Afterward, you can look here for an analysis of the UN and the global poker games being played, including my first note on the Iranian Letter to Bush. My thoughts on it at the time?

A few more poker matches are left to talk about. The first involves Iran. First, Blair today said that any suggestion of “nuking Iran” is “absurd.” It is. I’m proud of him for saying that, as it’ll provide some level of sanity to the discourse. Next, on Iran, their President has written Bush a letter in what they’re labeling an attempt to push forward talks. The Iranians say they’ll publicly release it when Bush receives it. Here’s to hoping they knew to put enough stamps on and, you know, write it in English.

To close, here there's talk of the spooky shenanigans going on in the world and at the UN, this post about the men in power who are dropping like cash at an Abramoff meeting.

If you'd be so kind, check out the site and if you enjoy it (I don't see how you couldn't) then do do me a favor and forward links to it to your friends or make a post in your own blogs. I'd surely return the favor, if asked.

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Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
12:26 pm

I am the Independent Blogger of the Office of the Independent Blogger, and I have a variety of posts to highlight from my blog.

First we talk about Dinosaurs, Awards and Politics, specifically relating to Ted Kennedy, Bipartisanship, unauthorized leaking and Richard Nixon. An excerpt? "Pat Buchanan is out calling any leak of classified information treasonous, and bemoaning the granting of a Pulitzer Prize to the woman who ran the article on secret CIA prisons. In other news, he still thinks Richard Nixon the greatest President since Caligula."

Strength in Numbers, where we talk about the military backlash against Rumsfeld as well as the effect of sagging poll numbers. The closing line, "As everyone knows, strength is something that can be found in numbers, but not always. Hundred million dollar lawsuits don’t bring strength to Maury Povich much like thirty two percent approval ratings don’t help the average President, but George Bush isn’t the average President. Charges of incompetence and lack of evidence serve as spinach to Bush’s popeye, bubba, and he wouldn’t have it any other way."

Next we talk about Cursed Terms, specifically the Second Term Curse,</a> Karl Rove's clipping, the Phone Jamming plot that's starting to become Bush's Watergate, and a ripping of Bush for his label as "the freedom President." An excerpt: "Even a few months ago, I’d have never imagined that this sort of phone-jamming incident would be occurring in today’s Washington, but I shouldn’t have given Bush that much credit, I guess. What’s the difference between Karl Rove and Chuck Colson? One of them claims to have reformed himself, while the other wants to firebomb Iran!" If you know your 1960s history, then you know Chuck Colson is notorious for wanting to firebomb the Brookings institute. More on the Watergate-sequel can be found here, along with some notes on Brent Scowcroft.

Here we have a pithy post about gas prices.

Next up is Carnal Congress about the oversexed Katherine Harris and the nature of Republican government today. Excerpt: "I am aware that this post is heavier with sexual entendres than Harris’ face is with makeup, but that’s okay. When you’re dealing with a carnal Congress that loves screwing people over, it’s all right to be explicit. Besides, I’m only making a point as to the nature of the Republicans we’re dealing with — people who pretend to be puritans but cuddle on the floor of the House. How do Republicans get away with this? By promising to outlaw sex toys in South Carolina. Maybe that’s Karl Rove’s next platform to run on? Or maybe it’s because we’ve got people with goals such as those listed above that our country’s wallowing in so many problems?"

Here we look at politics as a game of survival, and specifically talk about Hillary Clinton and the 2008 elections, Iraq's Prime Minister, Rick Santorum and Karl Rove.

Finally, there's Iran and Global Warming, including notes on Al Gore.

To close, we have Brokeback Washington about the Bush White House, and it's a nifty satire, if I do say so myself.

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Wednesday, April 5th, 2006
7:43 pm

Hi everyone. I'm Gregory Pratt, the Independent Blogger from The Office of the Independent Blogger. Since Christmas, my website was on a hiatus due to a variety of small issues but now it's back, and so am I. It's back for good, and in that regard, so, too, am I.

I'm still "Independent" in the same sense that Ken Starr was. Which means "Not Very Independent" indeed. I blog from the Left side of the Political Spectrum, but I flirt with Conservatism on Iraq, and maybe one or two much smaller things. Which means that my wisecrack about being as Independent as Ken Starr is me Kidding on the Square -- kidding, but meaning it to a point. Or maybe I really am Independent like Starr, who, while a Right Wing Hatchet Man of the Worst Kind, also happens to do noble work against the Death Penalty.

I share his independence, if we look at it that way, to a point. But I don't hunt after the President's penis like he does. No sir. Truth be told, some people have told me that I flirt with Conservatism, and I like to say back, "I don't. I tease Conservates." Jokes aside, I'm quite fond of my blog, both because I try to interject humor into the issues of today and because I love government. And so allow me to pique your prurient interest with a few titillating articles I've got up. First we've got the Tax Code Samba, similar to the Texas Two Step in that you'll never see me doing it. You see, I'm not much of a dancer. Or a fighter, for that matter. I play baseball instead.

My favorite post of the week is (Democratic) Party Like It's 1999 about the Clintons, DeLay, Al Gore and the future of Congress, 2008 and a brief mention of Larry Flynt and The Gingrich who Shut Down the Government.

Then there's "Gobble Gorba," an article refuting the recent statements of Mikhail Gorbachev who has found the time to sneak out of his grave and praise Vladimir Putin while tackling America. The premise of it is that Gorbachev is a turkey. A noble concept, to be sure.

With the demise of Tom DeLay dominating the news this week, here's my take on the failed exterminator. I find it deliciously ironic that the gas man poisoned himself in his haste to wipe out his enemies.

Next we talk about a stupid article and Savings. There's no further precursor to that.

In the next picture, I Policy Wonk about Isolationism, the Policy Wonk Chief of Staff, and the CIA.

Finally, I write about Incessant Bothers in Government and Society.

That's not all on the blog, just the more recent posts.

So, yes. Go visit the Office of the Independent Blogger, independent in the same sense that Ken Starr was. Enjoy yourselves.

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2005
7:24 pm

Today, to my school came Bernadine Dohrn. She was the leader of the Weather Underground, the 1960s Communist group that planned to overthrow the government, set off bombs in the Pentagon and the US Capitol Building, and raised hell. The Dohrn of today is a different woman, calmer, less dogmatic and willing to engage in a dialogue. Our class questioned her, with me easily taking the lead role, and her answers were candid and worth reading, for sure. Here it is, my write-up of all that occurred.

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Wednesday, December 14th, 2005
8:51 pm

I'm Greg Pratt, the Chief of the Office of the Independent Blogger. The headline of my site reads, "Independent in the same sense that Ken Starr was which means not very Independent indeed." For almost all of the time that I've had this website, since the Spring, that has been a sarcastic joke. Now, as we approach tomorrow's elections in Iraq, I have found myself to be Bipartisan by Iraq. Check it out and, in the meantime, here's two paragraphs that I'm quite proud of:

Read more...Collapse )

If I were less capable of spelling, our current path on the matter of Iran would elicit just as much support as Iraq does from me but it doesn't. When you've caught fire in a chemist's lab, you don't stop drop and roll: you shower yourself in the corner of the room. It's the same with Iran. Give it a read through -- you'll never believe how ridiculous some Conservative ideas are for dealing with the Mullahs. Want a hint? "Leave the Nukes, Take Out The Mullahs." Brilliant, if only it would work.

Ever have the government ban smoking in your city? I have. And have you ever been bothered by your party's reaction to an article that may be fake? I have. Ever thought that the President was being less than candid? I have, and you can read about these things here. While we're talking about a political potpourri, there's Tookie Williams, who has now been executed, and here is Me on why he's Not Redeemed At All.

Surprisingly, for a Liberal, I am not a huge fan of the 9/11 Commission. I think they're as out of order as they claim our current security measures are. So is the Congress, the Pentagon and the Law Schools who have a Case before the SCOTUS. I consider myself a candid guy. I'm honest. There's just no two ways about it as I call things like I see them and keep an open mind. Here, I write about a lack of candor, and end on this note: "Candor, on a last note, is increasingly hard to come by and al-Qaeda has none to spare. Bin Laden’s top Deputy to America: “bin Laden still alive and in charge.” More like, “Either hiding like a scalded dog or dead in the mountains.”

On December Seventh, Republicans Pearl Harbored Al Gore, accusing him of having given Russia permission to sell Iran nuclear weapons. For a moment, let's ignore Cheney's lobbying on behalf of an end to sanctions on Iran in the 1990s and talk about "the case against Gore," or, as I like to call it, a failed and transparent attempt to slander him and his dead father. Saddam Hussein's trial, the Right's fear of a Fight over Alito, the War on Christmas! and Rick Santorum's claim that he's helped "save Social Security" are all discussed here.

There are rumors of Chief of Staff to the President Andrew Card being fired and sent to Treasury, with Rumsfeld resigning and Lieberman taking his place. All of this would be bad for the country and wrong politically, for all parties involved, and so here is me on White House Politics. You've all heard the expression that Truth is Stranger than Fiction, correct? Well, in today's Washington Truth is Stranger Than Gingrich. That's all I'll say about that for now.

On December Third, I attended a Hillary Clinton speech in Chicago and here's my writeup. There were protesters, too, and it was an interesting day. Interesting as this post about the poisoning of our political stream. I know it's not exactly an original thought, that one, but it's still worth commenting on and I'd be mighty glad if you checked it. Finally, let me direct you here. Enjoy!

I am the Independent Blogger of the Office of the Independent Blogger.

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Saturday, October 22nd, 2005
9:01 am

There's a bizarre saga unfolding on my blog, at the Office of the Independent Blogger. A few days ago, I made a blog entry dissecting a Jesse Jackson Jr. (Congressman from Illinois) article, and I wrote about how Jackson is considering a run for Mayor of Chicago, but is seeking out help from the Republicans, according to my source, failed Republican Congressional candidate, and nephew of a Bill Clinton Cabinet Secretary, Tony Cisneros. I wrote to reporters from the Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune, asking them to write about it as "Jesse Jackson Jr. Seeks to Unseat Daley with GOP Help" is a legitimate news story. I know that they contacted Mr. Cisneros to find out more about his conversation with me (which is detailed in that entry, or the Jackson part is) because Cisneros then commented on the entry.

Following this, I made an entry defending myself from Tony Cisneros, and rebutting him, which you can find here. You want to know more about Cisneros? Read those comments and the first thing that'll strike you is that he writes in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. But you want to know more! you say? Well, Cisneros is off-the-wall, Bob Jones University (he went there) nuts: He preaches that the Catholic Church ordered the hit on Abraham Lincoln. Cisneros responded to that right here, and, last night, I fired back once more.

Naturally, the fact that a Republican Congressional candidate with significant influence in the Chicago GOP is having a nasty fight with a teenage blogger isn't being covered by the liberal media elite.

The most important thing to note, for me, is that my story about Jackson is accurate as my source on that, Mr. Cisneros, has never denied it or hinted at denying it.

Karl Rove is facing some serious legal problems (more on that right here) while the rest of the Republican Party is crying "persecution" in regard to Karl Rove and all their other scandals. So is Judith Miller, who just may be the biggest hack in journalism.

The Supreme Court of the United States recently declined to hear a case from Missouri about an abortion which violates State Law. Basically, a woman in jail wants an abortion and the prison is willing to take her to a clinic for it. However, state funds are not to be used for abortions in Missouri, but she doesn't have the money to pay for the bus and guards (about 300$) to take her to the clinic. She argues that she can borrow for the abortion, but not transportation, and the ACLU was all-too-willing to be her lawyer against Missouri. I think it's an abomination that the SCOTUS didn't hear the case, as this is one that should have been heard and reversed: If she wants an abortion, she has to pay for it and the transportation to it herself.

State laws mean something, okay kids?

This President, known for his secrecy, has decided to declassify the genome of the 1918 bird flu, making Americans more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. How selectively secretive of him! There are other news quickies at that link, which I'm sure you'll enjoy, so give it a go.

Finally, George Ryan of Illinois (my state), Tom DeLay of Sugarland Texas, and Saddam Hussein are all on trial while Robert Bork attacks Harriet Miers.

I am the Independent Blogger of the Office of the Independent Blogger. Check it out and enjoy it before I'm classified an enemy combatant and taken off the Internet.

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Tuesday, September 27th, 2005
5:43 pm - per the "racist" Katrina photos

Seems as though there's still misinformation running rampant about a certain notorious pair of photos - if only everyone went to Snopes when sent a forward.
To digest:

Snopes "It's difficult to draw any substantiated conclusions from these photographs' captions. Although they were both carried by many news outlets, they were taken by two different photographers and came from two different services, Associated Press (AP) and Getty Images via Agence France-Presse (AFP)."

Salon Jack Stokes, AP's director of media relations, confirmed today that [photographer Dave] Martin says he witnessed the people in his images looting a grocery store. "He saw the person go into the shop and take the goods, " Stokes said, "and that's why he wrote 'looting' in the caption."

Chris Graythen, Getty photographer "I wrote the caption about the two people who 'found' the items. I believed in my opinion, that they did simply find them, and not 'looted' them in the definition of the word. The people were swimming in chest deep water, and there were other people in the water, both white and black. I looked for the best picture. there were a million items floating in the water — we were right near a grocery store that had 5+ feet of water in it. it had no doors. the water was moving, and the stuff was floating away. These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics. They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow."

x-posted to liberal

current mood: annoyed

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Wednesday, September 7th, 2005
11:14 pm - Open Source National Law Project (x-post)
rayne_vandunem Hi, I'm going to Oglethorpe University, and one of my 4 courses is Business Law I.

Well, as I do have a long-lasting interest in politics, as well as in computer technology, this particular class has inspired me to concoct this particular idea that combines law and open source in a potentially earth-shaking manner. This is what I was writing just a few minutes ago:

Read more...Collapse )

What do you think?

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Tuesday, April 12th, 2005
5:30 pm - Summarizing Iraq

Although I consider myself moderate, I find myself having many issues
with the Bush administration, nearly all of which stemming from the
declaration of war on Iraq.  I've been asked about it more than
enough, so about thirty minutes ago, I decided to just make
an entry about it.  It sort of skips back and forth from
moments of angst and calm, but I tried to keep it
simple and informal as not to completely lose
the feel of it's being written sporadically.
And there are some overtones of Bill
Maher. You are forewarned.


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Thursday, January 13th, 2005
4:53 pm - X-posted

Okay, hypothetical situation.

If a group of militant radicals put guns to your head and your families' heads and told you that you had to do one of these two things or they're gonna kill you and your family, which would you choose and why?

a) Watch each and every one of Michael Moore's movies one right after the other (including all DVD extras).


b) Listen to each and every one of Jello Biafra's spoken word albums one right after the other.

And yes, the radicals will be watching you to make sure you are, in fact, either watching or listening. And no, there is no option c.

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Wednesday, January 12th, 2005
5:42 pm - X-posted


The following communities are also interested in "liberal".

330 matches

The following communities are also interested in "conservative".

229 matches

The following communities are also interested in "moderate".

37 matches

Is it just me or is there something very wrong with this picture?

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Monday, January 3rd, 2005
11:03 am - Top 5 reasons why being a white Jewish male moderate sucks (x-posted)

1. I'm too right for the Left.

2. I'm too left for the Right.

3. I'm too white for the non-white moderates.

4. I'm too male for the female moderates.

5. I'm too Jewish for all 4 of the above.

EDIT: I'm also too middle class for the Jews.

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Thursday, October 28th, 2004
10:30 am - THE DRAFT. (*musical sting*)

This one is for liberals and conservatives. I welcome all responses, as long as they're honest assessments and not "KERRY/BUSH IIS TEH LAMORZ LOL!!!1!!"-style flames.

The Bush campaign has continually insisted that Bush will NOT reconstitute a draft. Kerry's supporters argue that our resources are stretched so thin in Iraq that he's running out of options, and they point out (correctly) that Bush has resorted to (for example) loopholes in the contracts of retired military to force them back into action. They complain that Bush refuses to explain how he'll maintain troop levels in Iraq without a draft. Yet I've heard the Bushes say that he intends to reorganize troop levels in Europe, moving those troops into positions in the Middle East to alleviate pressure on our forces in Iraq.

Needless to say, my head is spinning.

So, Bushes: can you please explain how Bush intends to finish this war without non-volunteer forces? If he's using this heavily-touted reorganization of European troops, how many troops are we talking about? Will it be enough? And how much longer will they keep us active in Iraq?

Kerries: Can you prove that Bush's reorganization of European troops will NOT solve our military shortage in Iraq? And unless Kerry is intending to rapidly abandon Iraq, how will HE deal with such a shortage?


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Monday, October 4th, 2004

It seems to me that one of the most powerful arguments against Bush's foreign policy doctrine (in all of its mutations and adjustments) can be found in Hayek's contribution to economics (I'm speaking of Frederick Hayek, not Salma Hayek).

Frederick Hayek is one of the most eminent Austrian economists who followed after Ludwig Von Mises. Without Mises and Hayek, neoliberal theories on the benefits of capitalism and decentralized market economies may be quite different, if not non-existent.

Some of the best articles I read by Hayek were "Economics and Knowledge" (1937) and "The Use of Knowledge in Society" (1945). The Mises Institute summarizes some of Hayek's thoughts here:
Much of the knowledge necessary for running the economic system, Hayek contended, is in the form not of "scientific" or technical knowledge--the conscious awareness of the rules governing natural and social phenomena--but of " knowledge, the idiosyncratic, dispersed bits of understanding of "circumstances of time and place." This tacit knowledge is often not consciously known even to those who possess it and can never be communicated to a central authority. The market tends to use this tacit knowledge through a type of "discovery procedure" (Hayek, 1968a), by which this information is unknowingly transmitted throughout the economy as an unintended consequence of individuals' pursuing their own ends.
The writings really should be viewed in their totality, not as summarized by secondary sources (I highly recommend them if you’re interested in economics). Nonetheless, I shall summarize that Hayek essentially observed that economies only successfully work when the system taps into the environment of diffused knowledge, not by trying to aggregate information into a central authority.

He was both right and wrong though. The Soviet Union, however much a miserable failure it turned out to be, was actually successful at certain economic tasks. For example, while the Soviet economy couldn't innovate (let alone have central planners dictate how many toothbrushes to make that year), it was quite efficient and effective at accomplishing directed and simple goals. If you wanted a steel mill with these specifications built at this place by this time, the Soviet planners could do it. It was a simple goal. However, in the long run, economics is more than accomplishing simple goals, so the Soviet system failed.

There seems to be Hayekian lessons to be drawn here in regards to the Bush Doctrine. For whichever form you take the Doctrine to be in, it is quite measurable to Reagan's Doctrine. While there is room for controversy about the wisdom of Reagan's Doctrine, given the simple environment of dealing with Soviet foreign policy, it worked to a certain extent because the goals were relatively simple. Soviet Union is in Latin America. We go to Latin America with these goals and these strategies. Soviets place missiles here, we place missiles there. The centralized, top-down, secretive nature of the Reagan Doctrine worked (arguably) because of the simplicity of the foreign policy goals (relatively).

With the new "war on terror," goals are much more complicated. Strategies are even more clouded. In this environment, there are no simple missions and calculable results. The calculable nature of the Cold War was much higher than the current situation where enemies are in decentralized, unrelated cells, operate incoherently, and ferment their power through international recruitment. Thus, it seems that Hayek's emphasis on utilizing decentralized knowledge is much more pertinent in today’s international relations.

Bush's reliance on American intelligence, forgoing of international cooperation (to whatever extent you want to measure it, there is some dismissal), and insistence on treating this as a "foreign policy war," instead of a "global police problem," is characteristic of what I'm terming as a "centralized structure." This alienates us from other possible sources of information. Either by losing allies, failing to build up stronger international police communication structures, or handing the "war on terror" to more decentralized levels, we are losing out on a wealth of knowledge that should be used against terrorists. The culmination of this centralized structure’s ineffectiveness was evident when it turned out that our own intelligence failed through either 1) insufficient information at different times pre-9/11 and after, 2) poor communication at different times pre-9/11 and after, and 3) reliance on information from misleading informants such as the one who called himself “Curveball.” I think both pre-9/11 and post 9/11 international relation strategies could have been more successful if they were built on a decentralized structure. Nation-state and international organization actors would pursue their own interests by networking information and cooperating in a similar way that the global economy works. A set of incentives could be built through international organizations too, however, I think many nations would cooperate for the sake of their own safety and in order to earn diplomatic brownie points. Dealing with this as an international police problem, even at the threat of exposing our intelligence system to other nations, seems to be more sensible given that international nation-state threats (for now) seem to be dampened through the ever tightening interdependency effect of the global economy.

Kerry has called the current terrorist threat one of a "police problem" while Bush calls it a "war." Kerry, in effect, is advocating for a more decentralized strategy while Bush is vying for a more centralized one. How has our classical liberal/ neoliberal intellectual, Hayek, somehow landed in the camp of Kerry?

Thoughts on this transplanting of neoliberal/ classical liberal/ truly conservative economic theory to international relations?

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2004

Adam Przeworski and Fernando Limongi published a study in 1997 in the World Politics Journal. It was entitled "Modernization: Theories and Facts." In the study, they looked at every country between 1950 and 1990 to correlate economic development and democracy building. They found that in a democratic country that has a per capita income of under $1,500 (adjusted for inflation here), the regime on average lasted about eight years. Between $1,500 and $3,000, it survived for about eighteen years. Any per capita above $6,000, democracy usually worked (the chances of it dying were 1 in 500). Every country that started their democracy when per capita was $9,000 have all lasted. None of the 32 countries in that category have died.

If you read the new 2004 Human Development Report on the United Nations site, you'll find that China's per capita GDP is at $4,580. Growth of per capita income is a mixed bag. Rural residents are seeing a decline in their speed of growth, which is now somewhere around 2 percent. Urban residents, however, are seeing slight increases in growth, which is currently growing at a pace of 7 percent.

Iraq's per capita income is obviously distorted with the previous ten years of sanctions. Nonetheless, whatever the cause may be, there is some concern that Iraqi per capita income is $480. And it's declining.

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Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

Why Neoconservative foreign policy is wrong.

Read: Why Bush's foreign policy is wrong and Clinton was right.

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2:02 pm - Alleged Hamas figure arrested by Md. police

Va. man called 'material witness' in terror case was taping Bay BridgeCollapse )



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Thursday, August 19th, 2004
3:07 pm - How Republicans Can Take The Black Vote.

After a rather rousing discussion with one of our more ardent conservative members, I began to think: how COULD the Republicans win the hearts and minds of Black America? So, I decided to write-up a preliminary twelve step program. Read and distribute, and discuss. Note that this program is in an embryonic stage, presently under review by the company's Minority Caucus (a.k.a. my lunch crew), and will likely change. (Example: "You need something in here about how white people need to stop acting like they know what it's like to be discriminated against. Unless you've been followed around for an hour and a half by a K-Mart employee, you got no idea!")

1. Admit that you have a problem. Acknowledge that minorities aren't voting Democrat because of the liberal media, or because they're so easily manipulated, or because they're sheep, but because the Republicans have a Godawful history of minority representation.

2. Declare that the Republican party is, here and now, going to begin working to deserve the minority vote. Openly acknowledge that you have a long way to go in doing so, but that you are going to work hard to prove that you can fairly represent minorities. (By the way, Bush did an excellent job of this in his speech to the Urban League. Build on that.)

3. Stop trying to hide that history. Stop clinging to Abraham Lincoln and the old Republican party like either of them would approve of you now. Admit that the Republican party of today was the Democratic party of sixty years ago, the party of Strom Thurmond and Trent Lott, who called blacks "the N***** race" and fought our government to prevent desegregation. Accept that these were mistakes, and that no one is at fault but you.

4. For God's sake, learn rhythms that aren't derived from a hymnal. Learn how to clap on the off-beat of a song (Hit the Road [clap] Jack [clap). Most importantly, do it because you like music, not because you want to win votes.

5. Publicly denounce the racist arm of your party. Announce that your party will no longer fund ANY openly racist candidate (and yes, you still do.) When you get money from the White Knights and the Neo-Fascists, politely send it back. Tell them that you don't want your vote. Make sure it's covered by every paper in the country as a front page story.

6. Stop throttling welfare mothers with your cut-backs. Yes, people abuse the system like all Hell, but peers forget the ten friends of theirs that abuse the system when they know just one who's being hurled against it. Instead of slashing funding to welfare, find smart ways to increase funding in key areas (like employment) that will cut the need for funding over time.

7. Find the voices in your party that managed to come out of the 60s on the side of black America. Give them lots of money, prestige, and stage time. Let them talk to people. Listen to what they have to say. Encourage their ideas. Let them breed the next generation of Republicans.

8. Figure out what the deal is with Usher. (If you find out, let me know.)

9. Become the champions of D.C. Statehood. Inside the Beltway, the Republicans have made it clear that the only reason they won't let D.C. Statehood pass is because they don't want two more solidly voting liberal Senators in congress. Make the investment now by being the party that champions the initiative. (Along the same lines, lift the painfully racist ban on voting for persons convicted of felonies. A lot of those guys were put in jail for five years for attacking the white cop who raped their wife. And even those that committed genuine crimes should be considered citizens once they've done their time. If we don't, then we have to acknowledge that prison isn't about rehabilitation - it's about revenge.)

10. Stop attacking politically-active celebrities. Black people respect celebrities, because white people have made it so Goddamned hard to become a poltical role model that young black men now look forward to their chances in the NBA and Rap Music. Now you're gonna be mad at those people for having the clout to express an opinion? Encourage blacks into political office, give them REAL power (not token positions with lofty names where no one really listens to them), and then let them tell stories of how the Republican party got them there. If you don't like the fact that so many celebrities are liberals, try to figure out what it is they don't like, and fix it.

11. End the AIDS crisis, worldwide. Blacks account for a little over half the new diagnoses of HIV and AIDS in this country, almost eleven times the rate of whites. Life expectancy in Africa has dropped fifteen years. If you could be the first to publicly announce funding for a cure, you'd relieve millions. Notice I said funding for a cure, not abstinence training. Abstinence training doesn't work. The sooner you figure that out, the better off we'll all be.

12. For Crissake, be patient. This won't get you the vote overnight. Nothing will. But complaining about the vote will only make you look like the whining kid who doesn't like the rules once he started playing the game. Be willing to work toward fairness and equality, and you CAN regain that trust.

(cross posted, with apologies.)

current mood: ambitious

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