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"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mr. Biafra Writes to Washington

Punk rock rabble-rouser and astute political activist Jello Biafra has submitted a plethora of timely and sensible policy proposals to our incoming president and soon-to-be disappointment-in-chief in an Open Letter to Barack Obama.

For example, on drug policy reform:

Prohibition is as absurd and fruitless today as it was when Eliot Ness ran around shooting up Chicago trying to stamp out illegal beer.

Well worth reading, although it seems doubtful as to whether the President-Elect and his team will be seriously considering any of the suggestions, much less adopting them as policy, under the new administration. Which is a shame and a measure of how disappointing the Obama presidency is likely to feel just a short time from now.

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Anonymous Smyf said...

Jello seems to be trotting out all the easy answers and accepting a bunch of bizarre myths about the motivations of Islamic terrorists. I guess he's the chickenshit conformist these days.

17 December, 2008 20:15  
Blogger Steve said...

On the contrary, it seems pretty clear that if Biafra was a conformist (of any stripe) then he would have jumped on the Obama bandwagon the way that 99% of everyone else to the left of the Rev. Pat Robertson seems to have done. Many people - both in the US and abroad - seem to be harbouring unrealistic expectations as to what "change" we are going to get with the new administration. Biafra clearly understands that the "change" that's coming is likely to be a matter of style rather than substance. Whether or not you agree with Jello's policy prescriptions (and I do agree with most of them), that alone makes his viewpoint a valuable one.

17 December, 2008 21:41  
Anonymous Smyf said...


I tend to think that the chattering classes seem to be down on the wars and that the rebels are the people voicing support for them. Jello seems to jump to a number a strange conclusions. For example what does he mean by a neutral Muslim force to police Iraq? That seems to be suggesting that this is a war of opposing religions, whilst at the same time ignoring the fact that the people doing the majority of the killing are Muslims killing each other. So the solution is to send in more armed Muslims, presumably from a lawless state like Pakistan?

And how would Iran hurt the US by withholding oil? Presumably they still need to sell the stuff somewhere.

The biggest cause of terrorism is poverty? That would suggest that sub-Saharan African's would be the biggest terrorists - not that doctors would be bombing airports. The biggest cause of terrorism is Islam.

Jello also seems to be suggesting that people shouldn't have to pay back money that they have borrowed. I'm not sure if he's thought this through as there are pretty serious implications to this. Like for example, nobody getting mortgages in the future.

Having said all that, DK's were such a great band!

18 December, 2008 12:05  
Blogger Steve said...

The biggest cause of terrorism is Islam? Substitute "Islam" for "religious fanaticism" and I'd agree but, as it stands, you're coming across as an ignorant bigot and I make no apologies for saying so. Look at the actions of fundamentalist Christians (bombing abortion clinics, shooting doctors), Jewish zealot settlers, Hindu nationalists, etc. and suddenly Islam doesn't seem so exceptional in terms of turning out individuals and groups willing to kill and to die for dogmatic religious beliefs. In some cases, people turn more closely to fundamentalist religion as an outlet when faced with political or economic repression, so in that sense I do agree that poverty is often, though perhaps indirectly, part of the equation as regards religious terrorism.

20 December, 2008 13:11  
Anonymous Smyf said...

It's neither bigotry or ignorance. It's just some basic reading comprehension and an ability to count. I'm sure I can count on one hand the number of abortionists killed by Christians in America - you'd need the fingers of half the Chinese population to count how many people have been killed by Islamists in the last few decades.

29 December, 2008 11:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, the number of people killed by islamic terrorists pales into nothing when compared to the number of iraqi civilians killed since the us/uk invasion of iraq, or the number of afghanis killed since the invasion of their homeland, or the number of palestinians killed by the israelis over the last 10 years. What makes these cases different to instances of terrorism?

05 January, 2009 06:56  
Anonymous Smyf said...

The US/UK invasion of Iraq, as wrong as it is, doesn't automatically mean that all the deaths there are due to the invading forces. It's not the British Army that is setting off bombs in crowded markets.

And you'd prefer the Taliban in power in Afghanistan rather than hiding in the mountains?

Accountability is the big difference between the cases you mention.

07 January, 2009 12:32  

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