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September 11, 2009


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What the Afghans want is capitalism. Teach a man to fish, and all that. Set every man-jack of them up with his own Orange Julius stand, I say.

You might ask who would buy the product if everyone owned his own business, or how most of them could afford regular patronage of the novelty beverage market, much less up-front franchise costs. Fair questions.

A World Bank loan (backed by the United States) would take care of the seed money. Occupying troops (U.S. and NATO -- currently numbering in excess of 100,000) would provide a captive market.

In the event of troop reductions, the Afghans could let-off a little bomb or two, to bring them back. A sample media release by the Taliban:

Dearest Infidels,

We deeply regret the necessity of our recent actions, but third-quarter sales are weak. We demand that you take immediate steps to improve revenue...also that you stop meddling in the affairs of Muslim nations, etc.

For a limited time, a complimentary plate of buttered eggs is included with every purchase: large, soft creamy clots, like Roedean schoolgirls, yum.

...Oh yes, almost forgot: "Allahu akbar".

Fondly yours,

The Taliban

Obama's explicit promise - that by changing our tone we would change our nation - has failed. The large crackpot minority rules by sheer force of decibel and spittle. The media dutifully and evenhandedly report the "debate". It just happens to take place between the utterly unhinged and whoever happens to be the latest Democratic president.

There is no rescue in this imperial crack-up. We kept organizing ourselves around the most plausible enemy. Over here, The Evil Empire. Over there, Islamo-fascism. Yet the most potent enemy was here at home, where liberalism had ruined everything by giving black people too many rights.

That's why our economic elites are so comforting. In our white skin, we find not only kinship but purpose. We can return to a better time by imagining ourselves stalwart and engaged, a nation of yeoman farmers (as it were) pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps without government handouts. Now, if we just keep those damnable liberal hands off our Medicare.

Soleri's comments are interesting, in light of a statistic I read today in the Friday, September 11th issue of The State Press, ASU's campus newspaper.

The statistic appeared in an article entitled "ASU attracting record number of Hispanic Scholars", and included a quote from James Rund, Senior Vice-President of University Initiatives, who had just mentioned that many of ASU's National Hispanic Scholars are Arizona Natives:

"Hispanics make up about 50 percent of school-aged children in Arizona."

If true, what does such a statistic bode for the future of Arizona politics: not merely with respect to the issue of immigration reform and policy, but in terms of Arizona's political development? Hispanics are demographically more likely to vote Democratic, as are young voters.

In the time it takes these children to mature (a decade or so) we may see remarkable changes in Arizona's political dynamic.

One wonders, also, about the results of similar demographic changes in certain other parts of the country. Could we actually witness the beginning of a "blue revolution" changing the face of American politics?

How will neo-convervatives respond to this, as they inevitably must if they wish to preserve their political viability? Will they shift to the left, or is it more likely that media and academic campaigns to condition the political thinking of the population will incorporate changes intended to target the sensibilities and biases of Hispanic youth, perhaps attempting to link cultural identification (e.g., appeals to religion since many Hispanics are Roman Catholic) to broader Republican political platforms? Will this be enough?

Speaking of national debates we're not having, single-payer healthcare is one of them: once again, political pressure (brought by powerful economic forces) has all but removed it from the table of debate.

Physicians For A National Health Program has an excellent review of legislation proposed by Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. (Similar legislation has been introduced by Rep. John Conyers, with the difference that the program would be administered federally instead of by the states.)


What is the future of democracy in a country where the terms of debate have been hijacked by credulous and ignorant individuals afraid to let the president address schoolchildren, much less to let adults debate real healthcare reform?

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