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TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Click here for articles after 2005
Presidential candidates
Do we trust this country?
Pinter against the USA
Unite the USA and Canada
Exporting human rights
How to win a war
What google should do
Did Bush lie about Weapons of Mass Destruction?
No conspiracy theory?
The international war on terrorism
Why you shouldn't give any money to the relief effort
Hands off the strategic oil reserve
The difference between Pat Robertson and Osama bin Laden
Able Danger
Another boom of immigrants
Corruption out of control
Shut down the Internet
The 9/11 Families and the ideology of no prevention
Condoleeza Rice, prophet
The real terrorists killing Americans for real, day after day
Guantanamo or How to lose the war on terrorism
The prospering market for nuclear technology
The great presidential robbery
How Bush handed Osama a victory
The test for Transformational Diplomacy
Robbing the poor and the elderly
2004 articles

  • (December 2005) Presidential candidates. The next presidential elections are still three years away but discontent with the Bush administration is making many USA citizens dream of who will be next (and better). There is no question that three issues are top on the voters' mind: 1. Katrina (the government proved to be comically inefficient in preventing a catastrophe and helping its victims), 2. The Iraqi war (that in the eyes of many has become a self-sustaining mess), 3. Illegal immigration (the USA borders are wide open to millions of illegal immigrants while efforts are made to block terrorists from taking a plane). Other factors could rise in 2006. The economy does not seem to be much of an issue anymore. Unemployment has been declining, gas prices have gone down. But a burst of the real estate bubble could send new shock waves. Petty crime seems to be on the rise in many cities. This administration has done a lot less than the Clinton administration to protect ordinary families against criminals. As thousands of households across the country suffer from vandalism, theft and burglary, a grass-roots rebellion may be in the making. Third, health care is becoming prohibitively expensive for everybody, both individuals and companies. There must be a limit when people stop behaving like chickens standing in line at the slaughterhouse. Fourth, as corruption cases continue to mount (Tom DeLay is only the tip of the iceberg), being associated with Washington could become a bigger and bigger liability. Fifth, the government's intrusion in controversial cases such as Terri Schiavo's have created a general anti-Washington sentiment around the country of a different kind: the government should mind its business. After the fundamentalist orgies of the last few years (that peaked with Kansas' decision to downplay Darwin), moral values are unlikely to be one of the main concerns of the silent majority. Unfortunately, neither the death penalty (the USA's shame number one in the world's eyes) nor guns (the USA's number-one domestic problem) nor oil (the USA's number-one cause of foreign-policy problems) are likely to be much of an issue any time soon.
    • Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, a Republican: by far, the most admired Republican politician in the USA and abroad
    • Former New York City mayor Rudi Giuliani, a Republican: a reassuring figure who is widely identified with common sense, determination and ability to lead, and not contaminated with Washington politics
    • Arizona senator John McCain, a Republican: one of the USA's strongest moral voices, who saved the USA democracy at a time when the Bush administration was trying to turn it into a police state.
    • New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat: the only major politician who has consistently beat the drum of illegal immigration, going as far as to declare a state of emergency (the sensible thing to do when your country is invaded by millions of foreigners)
    • Former vice-president Al Gore, a Democrat, who has strongly opposed the war in Iraq and pretty much everything that George Bush II has done as president. He is by far more popular with democrats than, say, John Kerrey.
    • New York senator Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, whose only real merit is to be a celebrity (but celebrities do get elected, even dumb ones like former stripper Schwarzenegger)
    • Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold, a Democrat, the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001.
    • Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, a Republican, the only political figure to benefit from the Katrina hurricane.
    • Former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards, a Democrat, who is still identified with his campaign against poverty.
    • Virginia governor Mark Warner, a Democrat, a respected political insider
    • Virginia enator George Allen, a Republican, a respected political insider
    • Illinois senator Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan immigrant
    However, recent elections prove that it is not the people who decide elections: the parties have their way to decide what the people must vote. The will of the people matters less and less in the USA, which has become de facto a two-party dictatorship.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (December 2005) Do we trust this country? Bush and the other members of his administration never miss an opportunity to emphasize that the security of the world (well, at least the "western" part of it), and, in general, civilization as we know it, depends on the USA.
    Unfortunately, the USA never misses an opportunity to dismay the world with acts of senseless and reckless stupidity, that make the world wonder what is better, the problem (e.g., Islamic terrorism) or the solution (the USA).
    Stanley Tookie Williams, the co-founder of the notorious "Crips" street gang of Los Angeles ("notorious" only in the USA), was executed at the much more notorious San Quentin prison (worldwide "notorious"). The governor of California, Austrian-born stripper, soft-porno star and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, refused to grant clemency, despite all sorts of appeal. Millions of people worldwide watched horrified as the state of California carried out a cold-blooded murder.
    Is this meant to be an example of what the USA means by "civilization"?
    When California goes about its business (i.e., its economy sinks lower and lower), the world hardly pays attention to the name of its governor. But when tragically grotesque events such as this one take place, the whole world can't help wondering how in heaven did Californians elect someone like the "Terminator", who was known to be as incompetent as any random citizen can be even before he became governor of the most important state of the USA.
    How is the world supposed to trust this country that chooses its leaders among the dumbest and bloodiest available celebrities (the owner of a baseball team for president, a Hollywood actor for governor)? The world is not necessarily terrified by Osama Bin Laden, but it is certainly terrified at the notion that someone like Schwarzenegger decides who has to live and who has to die. And it is certainly terrified by the idea that the defender of "civilization" is a country that still carries out capital executions, at a rate second only to mainland China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (December 2005) Pinter against the USA. Harold Pinter, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (see Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter's anti-American rant), has recently delivered a devastating speech about "the crimes of the USA". He claims that "US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all."
    One wonders in which planet he used to live, since the stories of Pinochet in Chile or the Contras in Nicaragua have been the subject of thousands of books, dozens of films, and even several investigations by the USA congress (replete with jail sentences for those who broke the law).
    He claims that the facts about the crimes committed by communist regimes are more widely available and well known. I beg to disagree: I routinely meet Europeans who have never heard of Stalin's crimes and Mao's crimes, but are very knowledgeable about Pinochet's coup. In fact, I believe that Pinochet's regime, and the USA's collaboration with it, is the single best known fact of post-war history in western Europe, whereas, for example, very few Europeans know who Pol Pot or Menghitsu were (Pol Pot's regime killed 2 million people, and Menghitsu one million). Most Europeans are convinced that millions of people disappeared in Chile (the real number is 2,000) but hardly known that anyone was killed by Stalin's or Mao's regime (the numbers are in the dozens of millions). We have very accurate headcounts for the people killed by right-wing dictators (mainly because, outside the Arab world, they have all been replaced by democratic systems), but we still have only vague knowledge of the numbers for left-wing regimes (especially those that are still in power, such as North Korea).
    Anyway, He goes on to lay praise on the communist regime of Nicaragua, that was in his opinion overthrown by the USA (it simply lost every election since the Nicaraguan people were allowed to vote), and then to quickly summarized that hundreds of thousands of people were killed by USA-supported regimes in Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. All of which is perfectly recorded, documented and, alas, well-known (contrary to what he claims is a conspiracy to hide them).
    Pinter's rant is typical of today's anti-Americanism. The distortions and omissions in his speech are emblematic of the system of thought that is being creted in western Europe and many other places.
    • Britain (and every other European power) did exactly the same (or worse) when it was the most powerful country in the world. If nothing else, Pinter could have mentioned that his country set the standard.
    • The vast majority of the facts that he reports are, in his opinion, not well known. Nonetheless, he is talking about them, and I suspect that his audience of hundreds of millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Americans is perfectly aware of them. So they are not so unknown as he claims.
    • The reason they are not so unknown is that a vast network of information exists in the USA (starting with the mainstream media) that has made those facts known to the whole world. The information about the crimes committed by the USA (or the regimes it supported) came mostly from inside the USA itself. Pinter fails to see the difference between this fact and the fascist and communist regimes.
    • Far from being hidden or suppressed, those facts (about the USA's involvement in war crimes) are far more publicized than the good that the USA has done. For example, Pinter never mentions the amount spent by the USA in purely humanitarian aid to the poor or the sick of the world. Why? Because that one is, indeed, mostly unknown. What is very known around the world is precisely the topic of Pinter's speech (America's crimes), which he claims is not well known.
    • Pinter claims that the crimes committed by the USA are not well known, when in fact they are well known. On the other hand, he does not spend a single word discussing the least publicized of all facts: how many people's lives have been saved by the USA? This is the good old Soviet-style propaganda: the USA nuclear bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people in Japan. Nobody argues with this statement. But how many lives were saved by the nuclear bombs on Japan? One only has to look at the number of Japanese killed by the Soviet Union in two weeks, or the number of Germans killed by the combined allied attack, to realize that a prolonged war could have killed a lot more Japanese than two atomic bombs. (Not to mention USA soldiers, of course). The same reasoning may (may) apply to all the other conflicts that Pinter accuses the USA of, but Pinter does not spend one second discussing this little-known fact. Somehow he thinks that the current civil war in Iraq is hidden and not well known, when in fact we are shown daily the horrifying images of the carnage and millions of people march in protest. Is there any day when one can watch tv and not hear someone criticize the Iraqi invasion? Somehow he doesn't realize that what is not well known is the opinion of the Iraqi people, who keep voting in favor of democracy despite all the terrorists and all the anti-Americans like Pinter. How many times have you heard on tv that more Iraqi voters went to vote (despite the threat of suicide bombers) than Polish voters (and a lot more than in Venezuela)? The turn-out was higher in the Iraqi elections than in the last European Union elections: you didn't know this, did you? Pinter has an odd perception of what is well publicized and what is not.
    • Pinter asks "How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal?" An interesting question indeed. The allies who fought against Hitler killed several million people. Those allies (Britain and USA) had not been attacked by Hitler. Are Churchill and Roosevelt to be considered "war criminals"? I guess for Pinter the answer is "yes". Are the Italian partisans who fought against Mussolini (and killed many more fascists than fascists had ever killed dissidents) to be considered "war criminals?
    • Pinter notably omits to mention the two biggest carnages carried out by the West after the end of World War II: Algeria and Vietnam. They were both started by France, that also supported all sorts of mad dictators, from Bokassa to Saddam Hussein (and did little to prevent the genocide in Rwanda). One wonders if Pinter is ready to deliver a similarly devastating attack against France, since France is guilty of pretty much the same crimes as the USA.
    • He accuses the USA of being indifferent to the number of people who died, but it seems to me that Pinter is precisely guilty of the same crime. He is totally indifferent to the millions killed by Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and so forth (in fact, he never mentions them, as if USA foreign policies had nothing to do with the spread of communism), while, on the other hand, he considers "mass murder" anything that was done to contain those mass murderers.
    • Pinter commits a much bigger crime than any the USA has committed: he completely ignores the will of the people. He never bothers for a second to wonder what the people of Nicaragua or the people of Iraq wanted. If the Sandinistas were such a nice regime, so much loved by the people, why did they kept the people from voting? And he seems unimpressed by the fact that, on the first time they were allowed to speak, the Nicaraguans voted against the communists. He commits the worst of all western crimes: the good old fashioned attitude that "we western intellectuals known better than you ignorant colonies". Thus he does not ponder for a second if, by any chance, the average Nicaraguan wanted the USA to do exactly what it did, i.e. help the Contras fight the communists. Nor does he spend one second asking a Kurd or a Shiite whether they wanted the USA to overthrow Saddam Hussein: he is obviously not interested in hearing the answer, but only in telling them what "his" opinion on the matter is. The good old "i know better" attitude.
    • Pinter is exemplary of the "relativistic" attitude that would like us to believe that living in a world dominated by Hitler, the Soviet Union, Osama bin Laden or the USA does not make much of a difference. They are all mass murderers anyway. The danger is precisely in this subtle message: that we might as well return to nazism or communism. More and more people subscrive to Pinter's views and to his subtle message. Therefore it becomes more and more likely that, sooner or later, they will indeed go back to nazism and communism. Which will cause millions of people to flee to the USA and its allies. Which will cause the USA to support the cause of those who fight against those regimes. Which will cause wars all over the world. Which will end with the victory of the USA and the defeat of regimes hated by their own people. Which will result in a world dominated by the USA. Which will result in a new generation of failed intellectuals like Pinter claiming that there is no difference between the USA and those regimes. Do we really want this cycle to repeat itself forever?
    So who is the real problem in the world? I believe it is "still" Pinter. What I mean is that Pinter's "we know better" attitude has been at the source of the vast majority of the problems that the world is facing (except maybe Islam, which is a mostly self-created problem). Pinter embodies the western attitudes that created colonialism, the slave trade, communism, fascism and caused two world wars and a Cold War. The tragedy is that he doesn't realize it. Which means that he is likely to create more problems, while totally convinced that he is solving problems.
    (This does not absolve the USA of the crimes and mistakes it committed, of course. But the USA society is, at least, aware of having committed them, from Vietnam to Iraq, while Pinter does not seem aware of the tragedies that his attitude has cost humankind. Thus one tends to trust the president of the USA better than Pinter. I suspect that most of the world would vote for Bush, the most hated of all USA presisents, if the alternative was Pinter).
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (December 2005) Unite the USA and Canada Periodically, the issue of the French-speaking province of Quebec comes up to haunt Canadian politicians. Somehow English-speaking Canadians are obsessed by the idea of Canada, a British invention that never had any ethnic, geographic or historical sense. Quebec has received huge aid from the central government to make sure that its citizens do not demand a free Quebec. Instead, about half of its citizens still demand a free Quebec. The reason is very simple: people who don't want a free Quebec are more likely to migrate somewhere else than stay in Quebec. The Quebec issue is a lose-lose proposition.
    Surprisingly, almost noone in Canada (or the USA, for that matter) discusses the "USA issue". Instead of stubbornly focusing on keeping Quebec into Canada, why not contemplate a union with the USA? Isn't it more natural to unite with a nation that speaks the same language, believes in the same economic system and is already your main trading partner than with a nation that insists on speaking a different language, believes in a more socialist system and is jealous of its identity? The linguistic issue is becoming comic outside of Quebec because this bilingual country has now more Chinese-speaking citizens than French-speaking citizens outside of Quebec: why should the other provinces print laws in English and French instead of English and Chinese? Other minorities (Indians, for example) are also multiplying rapidly. The bilingual nature of Canada will soon look very, very anachronistic.
    Americans (those who are citizens of the USA) should also consider the benefits of a union with Canada. First and foremost, of course, power: the USA would become an even more impressive world power. Second, it would reverse a geopolitical trend towards secession (Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czech-Slovakia, Ethiopia-Eritrea, and soon perhaps Iraq) that threatens to create smaller and less controllable political entities. Third, the economies of Canada and the USA complement each other almost perfectly: Canada has the resources that the USA industry needs, and both have the best intellectual power in the world to manage both resources and industry. Fourth (and here comes the beef), Canada enjoys a huge trade surplus with China just when the USA is the victim of a huge trade deficit with China. Unite the USA and Canada and one gets the best of both worlds: cheap import Chinese without losing a single penny. Why would Canada be willing to pay for the USA's debts? Because Canada would be the first one to suffer if the USA's deficit becomes unmanageable. Fifth, they are both countries of immigrants, but increasingly different kinds of immigrants: Canada favors educated high-tech engineers from Asia, whereas the USA favors cheap laborers from Latin America. The two complement each other: the USA needs more of the former, and Canada needs more of the latter. As a matter of fact, often the former migrate to Canada only to obtain a Canadian passport and then relocate to the USA, where demand is also high but immigration laws are a bit silly.
    There are, of course, many other benefits. Some of them would not be apparent to the citizens of the USA, but are indeed valuable to the whole planet: Canada uses the metric system (a sign of civilization), Canada has abolished the death penalty (a sign of civilization), Canada is not controlled by a gun lobby (a sign of civilization), Canada is not controlled by churches (a sign of civilization), etc. By looking at their profiles, a citizen of planet Earth tends to trust Canada as the world superpower better than the USA. Or, put it this way, one is less alarmed by Canada's domestic curriculum vitae than by the USA's.
    The main obstacle to integration of the two nations is not so much the two sets of values (best exemplified by death penalty, guns and tele-evangelists) but the attitudes towards foreign policy. Since the end of WW2, the USA has been forced to take up a role of protagonist in defending and spreading western civilization. Canadians are much more indifferent towards the destiny of humankind. They hardly invested in helping defeat communism. If it were up to Canada, the Soviet Union would still prosper and probably occupy more than half of the world. Canada has benefited from the world that the USA created without having to pay a price for creating it: a free lunch. Even globalization (that has greatly benefited Canada, more than it has benefited the USA) was pushed through and is defended daily by the USA, not by Canada. But this is a danger: the well-being of Canadians has come to depend too much on the foreign policy of the USA, while Canadians have virtually no way of influencing it (the USA owes them no debt of gratitude). Everything is fine as long as the USA's foreign policy has, coincidentally, the involuntary effect of helping the Canadian economy. But how long do Canadians want to live gambling on coincidence?
    (And, if Canada, why not Australia and New Zealand?)
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (December 2005) Exporting human rights? On a sad day for western civilization, the USA carried out the 1,000th execution since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. This is the same country that lectures China on human rights and liberates Iraq from a dictator. Something is very wrong with the USA society if its citizens cannot see the paradox. The only countries that execute more people than the USA are China, Iran and Vietnam: what a company. The USA is the only western country that still has the death penalty. A very sad day for the USA and for all western "civilization".
    How about importing some human rights from other countries before we export them to other countries?
    (To be fair, three southern states, Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma, account for more than half of the 1,000 executions performed since 1977. Texas alone has happily carried out 355, making it one of the most murderous governments in the world).
    (And popular support for this barbaric tradition has been falling steadily over the last few years, despite a blood-thirsty president, although that has more to do with the advent of DNA testing than with Christian mercy: DNA testing has proven the innocence of many of the people who were destined to the electric chair, a fact that makes us wonder how many innocence this country, defender of human rights, has murdered in the name of justice).
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (November 2005) How to win a war. There have been many advocates of a USA withdrawal from Iraq, but mainly anti-war fanatics (which often means pro-dictator fanatics). A much more serious, credible and clever argument is being advanced by the influential Democrat and expert of military matters John Murtha, who originally supported the invasion of Iraq but is now calling for the immediate withdrawal of USA troops from Iraq. (See this article)
    Murtha demands USA withdrawal from Iraq not on the basis that the USA must cut and run, but on the basis that a) the USA did accomplish its mission (as Bush claimed), namely to remove Saddam Hussein from power and declare Iraq free of weapons of mass destruction; and that b) the presence of USA troops in Iraq is "uniting the enemy" (his expression to mean that Islamic fundamentalists, Saddam's old guard, tribal militia, and many other groups are joining forces despite their historical differences and distrust).
    All the trouble is now limited to the Sunni triangle, with only episodic attacks in the south and the north. Sure, many Iraqis live in Baghdad, but the area that the "insurgents" destabilize is (geographically speaking) relatively small. If the USA left, the Iraqi government (basically run by Shiites and Kurds) could decide what the Iraqis want to do: a) strike back massively at the Sunnis for supporting this insurgency, b) split Iraq into three countries, c) ask for United Nations peacekeeping (including all the countries that so far refused to help), or whatever else. Basically, the problem would turn from being a war between the USA and the Sunni Arabs to being a violent uprising by the Sunni minority.
    He makes the case that the USA is, basically, overstaying. The Iraqi people did welcome the invasion, and did welcome the removal of Saddam Hussein. But the USA's clumsy attempt to install a democratic regime has simply turned the tables, painting the USA as the aggressor instead of the liberator. Polls show that Murtha is largely correct (although noone has proposed a referendum to ask the Iraqi people what the USA should do, and although the democratically elected leaders of Iraq have repeatedly begged the USA to stay a little longer).
    Murtha's main point is two-fold: a) the Iraqi troops will never learn to do their job if all they have to do is call the USA to solve all problems; b) the anti-democratic front would fragment the moment the USA left Iraq, and would therefore be easier to control and eventually defeat. He thinks that a USA withdrawal would make the Iraqi army stronger and would make the enemies weaker.
    It sounds, indeed, like a strong argument. The key aspect of Murtha's argument that, unlike most anti-war activists and assorted fans of Saddam Hussein, Murtha has decoupled two completely different issues: 1. whether it was right or wrong to invade Iraq in the first place; 2. whether it is right or wrong to withdraw from Iraq. Those are two different issues. Anybody who treats them like the same issue (whether he is the vice-president of the USA or an anti-war veteran) is partisan (and therefore not credible) by definition.
    There are two reasons to be cautious about withdrawing any troops from Iraq: a) Murtha might be wrong just like Bush was wrong (we have learned not to trust USA politicians who tell us they know all about Iraq), and b) there is no question that all Islamic terrorists will claim victory, and that the public opinion of the Islamic world (and of the entire world) will think so too. We know too well what happens when the USA withdraws: Lebanon, Somalia and Afghanistan are three different stories that have in common the sudden withdrawal of USA troops or interest. All three fell into chaos that cost the lives of thousands and offered terrorists a haven. Lebanon became the training ground for suicide bombers and Afghanistan became the headquarters of Al Qaeda: the USA paid a dear price too for running away from its responsibilities. Did Murtha study history? Is Murtha the new Ronald Reagan, who runs away from wars that are too difficult to win and leaves future generations to deal with the consequences?
    But there is one more reason (that Murtha forgot) for withdrawing: the withdrawal of the USA troops would force the population people to take a stand. Right now they can afford to criticize the "occupation" knowing that the USA is going to stay. They can afford to stay home and ignore the bloodshed (as long as none of their relatives or friends gets killed); let the USA do the dirty job and pretend that they have nothing to do with it. They can play neutral, pretending that they do not side with either camp (USA or insurgents). If the USA decides to withdraw, the Iraqis will have to make up their mind which side they are on.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (November 2005) What google should do. Google's initiative to create a large digital library by scanning all the books of the libraries in the world is noble and ambitious, and deserves our support. But, ultimately, I think that Google is missing something in the picture. The most frustrating and depressing fact about the classics of literature (not the obscure tomes) is that so many of them are not easy to find, either because they have not been widely translated or because some of those translations are no longer in print. Google wants to make them available on the Internet, but the everyperson (who does not speak all the languages of the world) will not fully benefit.
    What we need is not so much access to millions of books, but access to at least the classics... in our home language. Google would be more useful to the masses if it made available translations of the classics (just the classics) in all languages of the world than it will be by making available millions of books (classic or not) in their original language. Who is going to read a medieval English book? Only an expert in medieval English literature. That English is just too difficult to understand for most English speakers, and beyond comprehension for the rest of humanity.
    What we need is a publishing company that will publish (and, please, print them on paper, since most of us commoners still depend on the printed paper) the classics of all literatures in (yes) all the main languages of the world at a price affordable for the masses.
    This would:
    • give a job to thousand of brilliant graduates from the developing world and from the developing world who are struggling to make a living our of their language expertise;
    • spread culture and information worldwide, which is still embarrassingly nationalistic even in the most developed countries (French students can name several minor French poets of the 19th century, but have no clue what the Don Quijote or the Orlando Furioso are about. USA students know by heart terrible poems of the early USA poets but have never heard of Baudelaire or Rilke).
    • foster understanding of foreign cultures (each classic could be prefaced by an expert who provides adequate introduction to the cultural background);
    • increase the degree of education worldwide.
    When Gutenberg invented the press, the effect on the masses was very small, because the masses (mostly illiterate) couldn't read his books anyway. We're in the same situation with Google's digital world library initiative. We're all illiterate in the age of globalization.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (November 2005) Did Bush lie about Weapons of Mass Destruction?
    President Bill Clinton in 1998: "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction program".
    Former vice-president Al Gore in 2002: "We know that Saddam has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
    Senator Hillary Clinton in 2002: "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical- and biological-weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear program."
    Senator Ted Kennedy in 2002: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
    If Bush lied, he was in good company.
    If Bush had wanted to lie about WMDs, all he had to do was to ask the CIA to plant some anthrax and some radioactive material in Baghdad. Then he would have gone on tv to say "Ah ah, we found the WMDs!" Bush had full control of Iraq and could have distorted anything he wanted to. He could have said that he found WMDs in Saddam Hussein's palace or even in the market of Baghdad. He could have. But he didn't. So that is one accusation that does not make sense.
    Impeach him for many kinds of wrongdoing (see Corruption out of control, Torture, The real terrorists killing Americans for real, day after day, The great presidential robbery, Robbing the poor and the elderly), but not for lying about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.
    Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, use them and threatened to use them again. The inspectors of the United Nations found plenty of them and documented them.
    Whether Saddam Hussein destroyed them or hid them, it was not a lie to claim that he had them.
    The last thing we should do is criticize the USA when it fights dictators. We only boost the morale of all the other dictators in the world.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (November 2005) No conspiracy theory? It is odd how anti-Americans construct the most unlikely conspiracy theories but miss the most obvious ones. It is now widely reported that it was Italy (not the USA) that provided the evidence of Iraq's nuclear program that convinced Bush of the urgency to topple Saddam's regime. There was no CIA conspiracy, but there was definitely a piece of damning information coming from the government of Italy. Somehow, nobody seems to be interested in speculating why Italy provided the USA with such evidence, that eventually led to the invasion of Iraq. Imagine if that piece of information had come from Israel...
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (October 2005) The international war on terrorism The international war on terrorism was largely an invention of George W Bush. Most of the world did not perceive any war (just a number of problems, some of them quite serious, like the "invasion" of western Europe by millions of Muslims). Some countries (Philippines, India, not to mention Israel) had been the victims of fundamentalist Islam or of some other kind of terrorism (Britain, Spain, Italy) for some decades, but never called it an "international war on terrorism". Then in 2001 the USA were attacked, and Bush decided that there was now an "international war on terrorism", similar to World War II.
    He now looks like a prophet: "after" his statement, the number of terrorist attacks by Islamic fundamentalists has not only increased dramatically but spread all over the world. There is a daily attack in Iraq, there is a weekly attack in Afghanistan, there is a yearly attack in western Europe, and there are attacks in Indonesia and Pakistan. Now there is indeed an "international war on terrorism".
    Many Europeans suspect that Bush did it on purpose: the most effective way to drum up support for his wars of conquest was to make his problem an international problem. Now that Europeans are targeted too, they are more likely to show some enthusiasm for his policies. (If so, it is not working: Europeans look less and less likely to join any future military initiative by the USA, and they are trying harder and harder to accomodate their Muslim minorities, almost taking for granted that their continent "will" eventually become Islamic, and it is just a matter of deciding how smoothly that will happen).
    It is more likely that the USA simply miscalculated. The USA thought that the same logic that applies to westerners must apply to Arabs. It does not. The USA thought that removing Saddam Hussein from power was a good action, and would galvanize the Arabs in favor of the USA, seen as the liberators the same way that western Europeans saw the USA as a liberator against Hitler and Mussolini. It did not.
    The USA failed to understand that Arabs don't think that way. (See The Arab mind). Arabs think that Saddam Hussein is bad the same way they think that a flood or an earthquake is bad: it is sent by Allah, and one has to live with it. But even one single infidel soldier who walks into a Muslim land is a much more serious offense. Arabs who were indifferent to what Saddam Hussein was doing are definitely not indifferent at all to an army of infidels entering an Arab country such as Iraq. Religion matters: the Muslim masses consider an invasion by infidels as the worst of all crimes, much worse than any problem that these armies propose to solve. Centuries of Islam have brainwashed the Muslim masses to think almost only in terms of "us versus them". There is precious little chance that an Arab would see an invading non-Muslim as a friend, no matter what this invader is trying to do. You can bring freedom, democracy, justice, food, money or medicines, but you are, ultimately, an infidel. Most Arabs would rather do without freedom, democracy, justice, food, money and medicines.
    In fact, the Arab masses seem to perceive any democratically elected government as a puppet of the USA. Their logic is that, by definition, if it was elected with democratic elections, then it is an un-Islamic phenomenon, it is a form of government imposed by the infidels on the Islamic world. Democracy itself, if perceived as coming from the non-Muslim world, may backfire badly precisely because it is not part of their history and culture.
    So was the invasion of Iraq a mistake? It was the right thing to do: the USA upheld the values it claims to believe in, and not give in to political or (worse) religious ideologies. The USA should always fight (not support) tyrants, period. This sends a clear message to the world.
    Was the implementation wrong? Certainly. The USA made some colossal mistakes, starting with the lack of security after the invasion all the way to the fact that Iraqis still do not have the water and electricity that they had under Saddam Hussein. Any anti-American can easily convince millions of Arabs that the USA's intentions were evil: just look at what they did for the Iraqi people after the invasion.
    Is there a way out of it? Not really. Every time the USA withdraws from a Muslim land, the fundamentalists (and also the moderates) interpret it as a defeat by the USA. This perception only encourages more and more Muslims to take on the holy war against the USA, as it happened after Lebanon and Somalia. Islamic fundamentalists do not believe in a western ideology (such as communism or nazism) but in... God. Thus their logic is based on the will of God: if the facts show that God wants them to fight a jihad, then they will fight a jihad. A USA withdrawal would be interpreted as such a sign from God. Now the USA needs democratic elections to legitimize its course of actions, and can hope that the Muslim masses will be slowly convinced by the future if they were not by the past.
    Did it backfire? It is hard to answer "no" when thousands of Iraqi civilians are being killed by the very Islamic fanatics that the invasion was supposed to prevent from operating in Iraq. It is hard to answer "no" when thousands of people around the world, from Madrid to London to Bali to Jedda, have been killed by terrorist attacks. Bush, who is always out of touch with ordinary people, might be pleased with the "progress" that is being done, but ordinary people in Europe, the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia and many other places live a much less safe life than they lived two years ago.
    George W Bush's great invention, the "international war on terrorism", has misfired against the USA and against millions of non-Muslim and Muslim people around the world. But maybe there was no way to avoid this confrontation: sooner or later it would have happened anyway. It is, ultimately, a confrontation between the progressive forces and the conservative forces within the Islamic world. It is ultimately a civil war within the Islamic world. (See Decolonization and the Islamic civil war). Now the trick is to be able to help the "right" side, not the other side. This is where the entire world has reason to fear: George W Bush is a man who can start a war, but definitely not a man who can understand what he has just started.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (September 2005) Why you shouldn't give any money to the relief effort.
    In the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane that devastated Louisiana and Mississippi, president George W Bush has reacted by asking his father George Bush and Bill Clinton to collect donations.
    As sorry as they are for the victims of the Katrina hurricane, Americans have to understand that this tragedy could have been prevented and, once it happened, it could have been dealt with in a much more civilized manner if the president of the USA had not turned billions of dollars of federal surplus into trillions of dollars of federal deficit. Now (yet again) he is begging the American people to pay for the costs that the USA government (by now completely broke) cannot afford to pay for. By giving money, Americans will simply help Bush continue his criminal policy of low taxes for the rich that make the USA more vulnerable to any kind of emergency and make the poor and the elderly the more likely victims of any economic downturn. Americans need to recognize that George W Bush and Congress caused this tragedy with a criminal tax cut that left the poor to fend for themselves, while the rich can watch the scene from their villas and yachts. Americans need to recognize that George W Bush caused this tragedy with his criminal budget deficit that left the states to fend for themselves, while corrupt Washington politicians can hand out billions of dollars in contracts to the lobbies. Americans need to recognize that the solution is not to foot the bill that a corrupt administration cannot afford, but to impeach George W Bush and replace him with a fiscally responsible president. If the head of a family wastes all the money s/he gains, the solution is to replace the head of the family.
    Police officers, firemen and coast guards could have been hired, but there were no funds because the federal government was broke after Bush's tax cut.
    The levees could have been improved, but there were no funds because the federal government was broke after Bush's tax cut. (In 2002 the Army Corps of Engineers all but stopped work on sinking levees because of lack of funds, and the chief of the Corps, who complained against the Bush administration's decision, was invited to resign, in a scenario eerily reminiscent of what happened to anti-terrorist experts who warned Bush of terrorist attacks before september 2001).
    Groups of armed men roam the streets of New Orleans overnight, looting the abandoned stores and houses: these are the friends of president Bush and of Congress, the beneficiaries of their pro-gun laws, the proteges of the National Rifle Association. These are the people for whom the Republican Party asked to make it easier to buy and carry guns. These are the good customers of the gun industry for which the Republican Party removed all liabilities. Today these well-armed thugs own the streets of New Orleans, robbing, killing and raping. Tom DeLay's vision at work: a lawless city awash in guns.
    Four years after september 11 we hear officials state that the disaster is made worse by the breakdown of communications. Where have the billions been spent that were supposed to address precisely these problems in the event of another terrorist attack?
    After the fall of Baghdad the world watched in shock and disbelief as the USA army was doing nothing to stop the looting and anarchy. The exact same scene repeated in front of the world's eyes in New Orleans. It is hard to believe that the Bush administration, as idiotic as it can be, made the same mistake twice. It is easier to believe in a calculated decision to sacrifice the lives and possessions of ordinary people. Ordinary people just don't matter that much to president Bush. Ordinary people are disposable for the Bush administration. There is no security for the inhabitants of New Orleans the same way that there was and is no security for the people of Iraq: the pattern is too obvious to be mistaken for yet another oversight.
    Today there should be a hundred more time people and vehicles and goods available for the victims of the hurricane, but there are almost none because the federal government is broke after Bush's tax cut and Congress' massive robberies. (See Corruption out of control). So Bush asks former presidents Clinton and Bush senior to come out and launch a charity: he wants ordinary Americans (for whom Bush has no sympathy, respect or sense of duty) pay for this disaster.
    Let's show that America cares. Let's raise taxes dramatically: a 50% increase for the rich, and a symbolic 5-10% for the middle class. This will pay for national security, for social security, and for any emergency such as the Katrina hurricane. And the USA will leave the ranks of third-world countries and rejoin the rank of rich countries. But also let's remove this president as soon as possible, so he cannot steal the money faster than it can be used by the needy.
    It will only get worse if Americans accept the Bush logic: "I, George W Bush, give your money to the rich, and when you, the poor of America, need money because of some tragedy, let's go beg the rest of the country for spare change." There will be more Katrinas, and there will be more deaths, and there will be more devastation.
    Every state in the Union is in the same situation: safety and security programs have been cut or shelved for lack of federal funding. Almost every state is running a deficit and can't afford to spend on preventing problems, since it doesn't even have enough money to take care of existing problems.
    The proper way to solve the problem is to put tremendous pressure on the Bush administration for an immediate tax hike that will collect more money and faster than a pathetic relief effort led by two pathetic former presidents. Then demand the impeachment of the president. While the tax money is distributed to the needy in Louisiana and Mississippi, get a new president with the specific goal of balancing the budget and restoring financial responsibility in Washington. This will not only help the victims of the Katrina hurricane, but prevent future tragedies like this one, strengthen social security, protect USA borders, and pay for anti-terrorism.
    Congress rushed a $10.5 billion recovery bill to president Bush: more hand-outs to the Washington lobbies. How much of that money will reach the victims, and how much will be pocketed by the friends of this corrupt administration? We have seen this movie before in Iraq, where people still don't have water and electricity after two years and billions of dollars.
    The problem is not a hurricane: the problem is a this class of politicians who have been in power forever and that the people seem to have no power to remove (let alone try in a court of law for high treason). Osama is a terrorist who strikes every so many years. These are terrorists who strike every single day.

    (Note: obviously it is always a very good idea to donate money to reputable charity organizations who operate worldwide, such as the Red Cross, Oxfam, Care, etc. It is not a good idea to donate money to the Bush administration.)

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (August 2005) Hands off the strategic oil reserve. The Bush administration has been craving for years to deplete the strategic oil reserve. A natural disaster in New Orleands (the Katrina hurricane) has given them the perfect excuse to pillage and plunder as they dreamed of doing. Energy secretary Samuel Bodman ordered to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to help refineries hurt by Hurricane Katrina. refineries are precisely the close friends of the Bush clan who had been clamoring precisely for this move. The lives of one thousand Americans (the ones who died in the hurricane) are being exploited by politicians to carry out yet another national robbery.
    The strategic oil reserve is there for an emergency situation. There is no emergency in a country where gasoline costs half of what it costs in Holland and in Britain. The only emergency is that gasoline (a good that the USA has to import from enemy territories at a devastating cost of wars and terrorism) is too cheap in the USA.
    Double the price of gasoline (so we have plenty of funds to help hurricane victims) , outlaw all waste of energy, and increase (not deplete) the strategic oil reserve.
    Next hurricane or earthquake, Bush will tell us that we need to privatize social security. The least compassionate and most cynical administration of the last decades does not waste a single pretext to cripple the future of the USA.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (August 2005) The difference between Pat Robertson and Osama bin Laden. Afghanistan-based Muslim fundamentalist Osama bin Laden has never personally killed an American but has called for Muslims to kill enemies of Islam. USA-based Christian fundamentalist Pat Robertson does the exact same thing, except that he is calling for the assassination of enemies of the USA, not Islam (recently he called for the assassination of the democratically-elected president of Venezuela, Chavez). Osama bin Laden has encouraged terrorism that serves the cause of Islamic beliefs. Pat Robertson does the exact same thing, encouraging violence against abortion clinics and doctors. Osama bin Laden founded an organization, Al Qaeda, to carry out the Islamic struggle. Pat Robertson founded an organization, the Christian Coalition, to carry out the Christian struggle. Osama bin Laden used charitable funds to arm Al Qaeda and other armed groups. Pat Robertson used charitable funds to help the NRA, one of the most powerful Osama bin Laden favos guns, violence and the death penalty. Pat Robertson favos guns, violence and the death penalty.
    Their language is strikingly similar. Their actions are strikingly similar. Their organizations are strikingly similar. Unlike Osama bin Laden, Pat Robertson also has a strong influence on the president of the USA, who got elected thanks to the votes of the Christian Coalition (not of Al Qaeda). That is the only significant difference between the two.
    By calling for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Pat Robertson has just proven to the world that the Islamic world is not the only region to have a problem with fundamentalists. What a gift to the enemies of the USA.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (August 2005) Able Danger The september 11 attacks promise to become as controversial an event as the assassination of John Kennedy. The september 11 commission was supposed to have thoroughly investigated all the sources of information related to the terrorist attacks. Apparently, a small detail was kept from them.
    The New York Times (See Able Danger) now reveals that in 1999 the Clinton administration had created "Able Danger", a top-secret military unit in charge of fighting Al Qaeda. This unit realized that a dangerous terrorist, Mohammad Atta, was in the USA and had created a cell of terrorists determined to strike in the USA. "Able Danger" correctly identified three more Arabs as terrorists: these men went on to carry out the september 11 attacks with Atta. This happened one full year before the 11th of september 2001. In 2000 this information was not shared with the FBI because lawyers in the Department of Defense decided that it was not fair for a military unit to spread incriminating information about a man (terrorist Atta) who was residing legally in the USA.
    These lawyers enforced a principle that is dear to the Left: protecting the privacy and the rights of citizens. Somehow they extended this principle to foreigners. Obviously they may have been competent about the USA constitution, but they did not have a lot of common sense.
    Somehow it was also decided that the september 11 commission should not be told too much about Able Danger. It was never mentioned during the hearings. It does not surface in their report. Nowhere does one read that in 2000 the USA government (under Bill Clinton) was aware of the existence of Al Qaeda terrorists in the USA.
    Not believing in conspiracy theories, I think that this is a case of a democracy shooting itself in the foot. During a decade of real wealth creation, the USA was busy increasing the rights of its citizens. Enemies of democracy took advantage of this new level of freedom to strike at the USA. This will remain a fundamental issue. As long as parts of the world are not democratic, the democratic countries will be vulnerable to people and regimes that do not comply with the same rules of behavior.
    The solution is not to reduce the rights of citizens in democracies, but to force democratic change in the rest of the world.
    Hopefully, the lawyers who protected Atta, and basically allowed him to continue plotting the september 11 attacks, have since been barred from practicing law. And so should all other lawyers who behave That is the other major weakness of democracies: a class of subhuman lawyers who are too busy winning a case for the sake of winning the case, and neglect what the utmost interest of their community and of their country is.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (August 2005) Another boom of immigrants It has become popular outside the USA to predict the decline of the USA as a superpower, a power, a state, anything. One of the reasons would be the decline in immigration, the traditional reservoir of brains that has helped the USA stay ahead of the competition.
    Scientific American of August 2005 (page 25) reveals that it may be just the opposite: immigration into the USA has been booming since the 1960s. And, unlike previous waves of immigrants, this one seems to be bringing in a higher percentage of educated people: 3.3% of adult immigrants hold a PhD, as opposed to 2.2% of USA natives.
    What has changed is their origins: instead of Europe, now they come from Latin America, Africa and Asia.
    Half of the population growth in the USA is due to immigration.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (July 2005) Corruption out of control. Republicans control both houses and the presidency. As it is often the case in cases (dictatorships or democracies) in which one side has absolute power, this fact is costing USA citizens trillions of dollars in blatantly corrupt laws.
    Two examples stand out in July 2005. CAFTA was meant as a free trade agreement with five small countries in Central America. Nothing wrong with that. But it turned out to be a 1,000 page document that virtually nobody read, except the few Democrats who desperately tried to bring its contents to the attention of the media: those 1,000 pages are a long litany of benefits and privileges for the lobbies that support the Republican Party. There is very little free trade in CAFTA, but a lot of favors handed out to big donors. The few Republican senators and representatives who bothered to address the concerns of the Democrats simply claimed that CAFTA was good for the American worker. It doesn't take a genius to realize that CAFTA, like any other free-trade agreement, helps corporations move jobs where salaries are cheaper, and that does not translate into "the USA". Workers are certainly going to lose, both in the short term and in the long term. CAFTA makes them as poor or poorer than the workers in the CAFTA countries. The other concerns raised by Democrats were never addressed by anyone. The Republicans had the majority to pass the law, and one day they did so: most of them had never heard a single word of the debate; many of them were bribed by party leaders into voting for the bill in exchange for other favors.
    Then came the bill on medical malpractice. Republican leaders claimed that it was a bill to defend the rights of consumers. That is another blatant lie: there are hundreds of pages in the bill that protect drug manufacturers, hospitals and doctors, but there is nothing in the bill that protects consumers. Consumers are clearly the victims: the bill gives more power to companies and hospitals to do whatever they want. Again, very few Republicans listened to the complaints raised by Democrats. In fact, the Republican majority voted to prohibit a vote on some of the issues related to this bill. The Democrats who tried to protest where silenced by the "chair". Republican leaders asserted that this bill will lower the rates paid by consumers for health insurance: health insurance companies themselves have responded that they have no intention of doing so. If the goal was to lower rates, why not write it in the bill? Something like "this law will automatically expire if the average cost of health insurance to consumers does not decrease by 10% a year". Why claim that this law will lower costs for consumers, when in fact it will not?
    All of these robberies are being carried out by the White House and Congress while president Bush is claiming that social security is broke and there isn't any money to pay pensions and health care to the elderly and the needy.
    This medical malpractice bill, passed with almost no debate, is another gigantic gift to the lobbies that helped the Republican Party.
    Last but not least is Tom DeLay's pet project: handing a gun to every criminal or terrorist who wants one. In a dramatic win for what is de-facto the largest terrorist organization in the world, the National Rifle Association, the Republican Party passed a bill (the "gun industry liability bill") that will shield gun makers, dealers, distributors and importers from liability lawsuits. In other words: "make whatever gun you want, sell it to whatever organization you want, let them kill as many Americans as they want, and never be afraid of anyone suing you".
    Again, procedural maneuvering was used by the Republicans to keep Democrats from proposing amendments that would have hurt the bribing parties, sorry, I mean the lobbies that support this bill. To prove on whose side these Republicans are even to the last staunch Republican supporters, the Senate Majority Leader postponed voting on an urgent anti-terrorism bill in order to more urgently vote to protect gun manufacturers and gun dealers and killers of USA citizens in general. Get it? On one hand, they stop any measure to protect USA citizens, while at the same time they pass a law to increase as much as possible the number of USA citizens who will get killed. It doesn't take Einstein to figure out what the motives of these conspirators are. Whether they are active members of Al Qaeda or not, they share the same goal as Al Qaeda: kill as many USA citizens as possible.
    And, to cap a month of generalized robbery, Congress passed a huge transportation bill (with 412 votes against 8), containing a record 4,000 earmarks, that distributes more than 6,000 public works projects (i.e. money) to every single Congressional district in the USA.
    (No less worrisome are the incompetent cronies who have been appointed by Bush to important jobs only because they are friends or relatives of influential figures. An unknown Julie Myers is in line to run a 20,000 people operation in the Department of Homeland Security: there is nothing in her resume to suggest that this young woman has the experience or the knowledge required, but she is, coincidentally, the niece of general Richard Myers and the wife of an influential Homeland Security official. The chronic cronysm of the Bush administration has created a USA government that is riddled with incompetence and corruption).
    It is worrying that the Republican Party keeps using its absolute power to pass laws that hurt workers and consumers and jeopardize the lives of ordinary Americans Under the pretense of helping workers and consumers, laws that are simply favors handed out to the lobbies that pay the highest bribes.
    And, in case you are wondering, yes, despite all the scandals, Tom DeLay still has his job, proudly representing all the most dangerous lobbies in the countries, and, lo and behold, he was one of the main proponents of these bills. Osama bin Laden must be proud of Tom DeLay.
    Unfortunately, at the end of the day, one must recognize that it was the American people who voted these crooks and liars into power. USA voters are getting what they voted for.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (July 2005) Shut down the Internet. For many years, the Internet was paradise on Earth. It was easy and painless. It was free to send a message to the other side of the globe. There were bulletin boards where information could be exchanged with absolute strangers.
    Then one day Netscape changed all of them. Cursed may that day be. As it became successful, and millions of people worldwide started using it, the Internet turned into a Wild West in which all sorts of abuses, mass mailings and copyright infringements are allowed.
    Spam has been the first villain (after the viruses and worms, of course). Apparently, countless companies are willing to annoy millions of potential customers (who will thus never become their customers) and have a spammer send them some kind of unsolicited commercial advert. Spam has become such a big problem that governments carefully avoid facing it.
    Recently, in response to spam, an even bigger problem has emerged: the anti-spam services. There are services like the infamous (possibly the most arrogant and fascist service ever invented on the Internet) that simply compound the problem by letting just about everybody list an address as a spammer. I can list your address as a spammer just for fun, and your emails will be rejected by millions of computers around the world. Spews' terrorist campaign is perfectly legal: they don't block your email, they simply provide the tools for someone else to block your email. After someone has blocked your email, it is your problem to prove that you are not a spammer: guilty until proven innocent. Sounds unconstitutional? On the Internet, the Constitution is a piece of paper. Basically, the whole culture of anti-spam has become the world's biggest spammer. (Why did I use the word "fascist"? Because their philosophy is very similar to the good old philosophy of lynching).
    Individuals routinely steal material from other websites. It is easy and de facto safe to steal other people's texts: the chances of being caught are almost zero, and, even if the author catches you, how can s/he prove that s/he was the one who originally wrote that text? Even if she does manage to prove it, what can she do to force you to remove your page? Websites such as lycos and tripod have a vested interest in people infringing copyrights and stealing text: their revenues (and thus their existence) depends on traffic, and traffic is increased if their customers steal interesting texts (because search engines will send more visitors to them). Lycos/tripod apply the same logic that money laundering banks apply: they don't commit the actual crime, but they profit from the crime being committed. No surprise that they de facto encourage copyright infringement by punishing not the thief but the victim: if you tell them that your text has been stolen by one of their customers, they will ask you to fill a complex form providing all sorts of evidence that the crime really happened. Imagine if one million lycos customers stole your text: are you going to fill one million forms? Even one is enough to discourage you forever from complaining ever again.
    What is the solution to this increasing anarchy? Shut down the Internet. Intranets work quite well. Let Intranets prosper and then let them find a way to create a new Internet (the net of all Intranets) that would not have a problem with spam (and with antispam services) and would punish copyright infringements instead of encouraging them.
    As it is today, the Internet is becoming a problem, not a solution, and the people who are making money out of this problem have a vested interest in making it a bigger problem. There will be more services like Lycos protecting criminals, and there will be more services like Spews blocking email addresses. They are not liable, thus they will keep doing what they are doing.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (June 2005) The 9/11 Families and the ideology of no prevention. The USA is a country that still tolerates the death penalty, but does precious little to remove the cause of murder (the highest rate in the western world). The USA is a country that has developed the most sophisticated medicines to protect people from heart attack but does precious little to educate its people about healthy diets and exercise. In other words, the USA is a country that never quite believed in prevention. The USA leaves one free to commit pretty much any crime, while it promises severe punishment to those who commit those crimes. The deterrence is in the punishment, not in prevention. Ask any USA teenager why he shouldn't rape a girl or rob a bank, and the answer will be: "because otherwise I go to jail". Needless to say, this ideology of no prevention does not work too well. The USA ends up having the highest rate in the world of high-school shootings. Needless to say, they mostly happen in the "heartland", and, needless to say, parents of those kids inevitably wonder "how could it happen to us?" It doesn't take a genius, but it does take a mentality geared towards prevention, otherwise they will never find the answer. The USA is a country that does not prevent ills from happening: it creates remedies to those ills "after" they have happened. Which means, of course, that they "will" happen.
    Many families of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks are complaining that Bush hijacked the 9/11 terrorist attacks to declare war on Iraq, when Iraq had "nothing to do" with 9/11.
    This is precisely another case of Americans not believing in prevention. Have these families ever asked themselves: what would have prevented 9/11? The answer is quite simple: removing the Taliban from power before, not after, Taliban-protected terrorists attacked the USA. The USA was guilty of tolerating one of the most brutal regimes in the world, a regime that preached war to non-Muslims and that harbored Osama Bin Laden, a man who had openly (not secretely) declared war on the USA. Again, it doesn't take a genius: 9/11 was the direct consequence of the fact that the USA did not do enough to prevent it. In fact, it did almost nothing. As usual, the reaction was punishment: the USA punished the Taliban by bombing them out of power. But punishment does not bring back the 3,000 people who died on September 11. What would have saved those 3,000 people is if the USA had removed the Taliban from power "before", not "after", the fact.
    Thus it would have been right (not wrong) to prevent September 11 by removing the Taliban from power before they could do any harm (to their own people and to the rest of the world). Thus the wrong thing to do is to wait until one is attacked. Thus the USA should remove from power every sworn enemy of the USA before such enemy strikes. Thus removing Saddam Hussein from power was an excellent idea, in fact the first good idea the USA had in a long time, and one of the few cases in which the USA used the ideology of prevention, not the ideology of no prevention.
    The fact that now so many Americans complain about the only time in ages when the USA has "prevented" a problem instead of just waiting for it to happen explains why the USA usually does not prevent them: because it is the people, not the politicians, who are opposed to prevention. It is the American people who want a problem solved only "after" it has happened. If it has not happened, then there is no problem to solve, then Americans are opposed to trying to prevent it. It is the American people who favor retaliation over prevention.
    One relative of a victim of September 11 complained that there is still noone who took responsibility for the failure to prevent September 11. How about buying a mirror and staring into it for a while? Ultimately, the people who are responsible for September 11 are all the Americans who oppose preventing trouble; all the Americans who are in favor of acting only "after" the USA has been attacked, only after 3,000 people have been killed. Those people were killed because so many Americans do not believe in prevention. Those people were killed by their own relatives.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (June 2005) Condoleeza Rice, prophet. "For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the Middle East, and we achieved neither". Thus spoke Condoleeza Rice, USA secretary of state in 2005. Her words sound like a scathing indictment of the presidents of the past, of the pragmatic policies of the Cold War era. Rice may go down in history as the first politician since Gandhi to deserve a place of honor among the prophets of world peace. It took a woman, and a black woman, to do what so many white men had failed to do in the USA.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (May 2005) Torture. We thought that, after the horrors of World War II, western civilization had disposed of torture, once and forever. Instead, at the first test, the leader of the West has simply returned to torture.
    On 15 December 2002 the Washington Post reported that prisoners at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan were being tortured.
    On 6 February 2003 Newsday reported that Guantanamo detainees were being transferred to Egypt where they were being tortured. On 9 March the New York Times published a similar report with more details.
    On 19 October 2003 the Associated Press reported that eight marines were being investigated about mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq.
    In april 2004, CBS' program "60 Minutes" broadcast photos of prisoners who were tortured at the Abu Ghraib prison, run by the USA. A few days later, Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker published a detailed account of torture at Abu Ghraib.
    in july 2004, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that psychiatrists and psychologists had used psychological torture in Guantanamo.
    In november 2004 the Associated Press obtained letters by FBI agents denouncing "highly aggressive" interrogations at the Guantanamo military base.
    In february 2005 the Associated Press revealed the existence of videos of torture at Guantanamo, based on a report written by investigators from the Southern Command in Miami.
    On 20 May 2005, the New York Times published a summary of a confidential army report, detailing how Afghani prisoners had been tortured at the Bagram military base run by the USA.
    In May 2005, Newsweek published an article about USA interrogators desecrating the Quran (a holy book for Muslims) in Guantanamo. On 25 May 2005 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published an FBI document dated from 2002 that already detailed how copies of the Quran were flushed into toilets. In June 2005, a USA military inquiry found that guards or interrogators at Guantanamo Bay "desecrated" the Quran on purpose. (Well, this is not really "torture", and the outcry has been wildly exaggerated: if we flushed Gospels or Buddhist scriptures down the toilet no media would deem it worth reporting it).
    More seriously, on 24 May 2005, Amnesty International published a report denouncing the use of torture by the USA army. In june 2005, Time magazine published a report on abuses at Guantanamo.
    On June 13, Time Magazine published a logbook tracing the inhumane treatment of a Guantanamo detainee (including Christina Aguilera's songs).
    On August 3, the Washington Posto published a report on how American interrogators tortured and killed a 56-year old Iraqi general in november 2003. (The cover up was no less appalling: "military officials issued a news release stating that the prisoner had died of natural causes after complaining of feeling sick". Even worse is the fact that the USA claimed to have captured the general, when in fact the general walked into a USA military base to surrender).
    On the second of november 2005, the Washington Post reported that the CIA was using Soviet-era concentration camps in eastern Europe to "interrogate" terrorists.
    The bad news? Torture is used by the USA military in so many different places that it is difficult to believe this was not tolerated (if not ordered) by Washington. At least Rumsfeld, if not Bush in person, should resign.
    The good news? All of these scandals were uncovered by Western (and mostly USA) media.
    (Note of december 2005: both houses of the U.S. Congress were working on a law, sponsored by Republican senator John McCain, that would explicitly ban cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of foreign terrorism suspects. Unfortunately president Bush still opposed any such ban, thus confirming that he was in favor of torture, against the will of his own parliament and his own nation).
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (May 2005) The real terrorists killing Americans for real, day after day. The most corrupt Congress in memory has passed all sorts of laws that benefit anyone wanting to commit a violent crime (and protects the people who gave him the weapons from being sued). The main sponsor of these laws (which amount to a veritable extermination campaign against USA citizens) is the National Rifle Association, based, believe it or not, in the USA.
    Now the NRA even opposes preventing terror suspects from purchasing firearms. Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, who has been instrumental in making guns more readily available to criminals and terrorists, said of people on the terrorist watchlist: "These people haven't been indicted for anything: they haven't been convicted of anything.
    Believe it or not, membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from buying a gun in the USA. Bush is perfectly happy with this, Congress is perfectly happy with this, and gun manufacturers are very happy about this. The more Americans are killed, the better business will be for all of them: NRA, gun manufacturers and politicians (who are, of course, on the payroll of these amoral business men).
    USA taxpayers spend billions of tax dollars to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq when the real terrorists are in their backyard.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (May 2005) Guantanamo or How to lose the war on terrorism. The USA has been detaining dangerous terrorists at Guantanamo, a military base located outside the USA. In theory, this should all be hardcore Al Qaeda fighters.
    Erik Saar, who used to work there, is now telling a different story (in his book "Inside the Wire"). First of all, few of the people detained at Guantanamo belong to the top echelons of Al Qaeda. Many were totally innocent and were sent back home. Some were handed over by Afghani warlords to the USA in return for cash rewards, and the USA is still trying to find out if these are truly terrorists or simply a way to get money from gullable American agents.
    Over two years, the USA has gained little or no information from the interrogation of these detainees. On the other hand, it has managed to offend a lot of innocent Afghanis and their families, precisely the people whose help the USA needs to capture the real terrorists.
    People who have read books on how Hitler handled the concentration camps will be appalled to note so many similarities. Sure, there are no gas chambers in Guantanamo: but there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz either... at the beginning.
    Osama must love what the USA does in Guantanamo: it justifies everything he says about the USA.
    It is time to dismantle this shameful idea, fire the people responsible (including the president) and apologize. This is not what the USA stands for.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (April 2005) The prospering market for nuclear technology The West is quick to take on Islamic countries when someone in those countries does something wrong. In the USA, several right-wing politicians have asked for massive retaliation against Pakistan for the crimes committed by their nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who sold nuclear secrets to both Libya and North Korea.
    Very few politicians have asked for retaliation against Israel or South Africa in the new case of nuclear trade. USA prosecutors have unveiled the smuggling of nuclear technology by an Israeli businessman, Asher Karni, who lives in South Africa. He has already pleaded guilty to selling USA-made equipment both to Pakistan and India.
    Both the Khan and the Karni cases have revealed the existence of an extensive network of middlemen and black marketeers that includes citizens of several Western countries.
    The problem is not Pakistan: the problem is greed.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (February 2005) The great presidential robbery. After causing the biggest recession in modern history and the biggest budget deficit of all times, Bush has found a simple way to pay for it: cancel the federal programs for the poor. His policies have increased the number of poor people in the USA to a level unknown to other western democracies, and now he simply plans to let them die as quickly as possible, by removing all the federal programs that keep those families alive. Why not just shoot them, Mr President?
    The president knows well that 40 million Americans have no health care. Many die (especially children) because they can't afford decent health care that is available for free in other countries. Many end up in debt for the rest of their lives, simply because they got sick once. Bush has never done anything to solve this problem. He has made it worse. Now he wants to make sure that the people caught into his loop of increasing poverty will simply get out of the way: die as soon as possible.
    The USA is experimenting a cruel new world, one in which rich people will be able to live almost indefinitely thanks to medicine but in which the life expectancy for poor people will decrease dramatically, as they are left with no medical help (due to skyrocketing costs) and no pension (due to the de-facto abolition of social security). This is what he means by proposing to abolish unnecessary federal programs.
    The biggest "federal programs" are the tax cuts for rich people that Bush enacted early into his first term. If he wants to cut some totally unnecessary "federal programs", start by repealing those tax cuts: it would be enough to save all the programs for the poor and (lo and behold) to fic the budget deficit.
    BUsh is asking the poor to sacrifice, but what sacrifice is he asking from the rich? Why only the poor have to sacrifice? Why do they have to sacrifice so that the rich get a trillion dollar tax cut?
    THe budget deficit was not created by unnecessary federal programs, but by president George W Bush. He now wants the poor to pay for his follies, basically with their lives.
    This is not all so different from genocide (a word that Bush often uses to describe the USA's enemies).
    The cruelty of this president has few precedents in American history.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (February 2005) How Bush handed Osama a victory. In retrospect, Osama was lucky.
    Bush had just antagonized the world by rejecting the Kyoto treaty, the ABM treaty and the world court. He then proceeded to deride the United Nations as "irrelevant". His vice-president, Dick Cheney, looked like a corrupt Richelieu, replacing the enlightened Al Gore who had shaped the Kyoto protocol. Rumsfeld insulted everyone who dared disagree with him on Saddam's weapons of mass destructions or winning the peace in Iraq.
    As a result, Osama achieved more than he was hoping for. Thanks to Bush's arrogance, the September 11 terrorist attacks ended up isolating the USA and making each and every American in the world a terrorist target, from Bali to Kuwait. The main effect of Bush's foreign policy had already been a big loss of credibility by the USA: the aftermath of the terrorist attacks simply increased that decline of credibility (See Rumsfeld). The isolation of the USA is not necessarily due to disagreement on what is the right or wrong action, but on the mistrust that the entire world has for anything Bush claims.
    Antagonizing the world could have been ok if the USA did not need the world. Unfortunately, in 2001 Bush had just created a huge budget deficit by cutting taxes for the rich. After september 11, the USA needed the rest of the world, both to finance its debt and to help in the military operations. Bush found noone willing to help, given the way he had treated them.
    Osama was lucky to find a USA president who had presided over 152 executions in his six years as Texas governor, almost all of them poor people who could not afford a good attorney. By applying the same logic (that the lives of poor people are worthless), Bush proceeded to eradicate the Taliban and Saddam Hussein with "surgical strikes" that left thousands of civilians dead. In the minds of millions of Muslims, this carnage legitimized, after the fact, the crime that Osama had committed. To many Muslims, it now looks like Osama is the hero who punished the USA for the thousands killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    See also: How did we fail so badly? A report from a trip to the Middle East
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (February 2005) The test for Transformational Diplomacy. Condoleeza Rice's "transformational diplomacy" is probably the most significant development in political science since the Cold War. During the Cold War, the USA's diplomacy was mainly a diplomacy of "containment" of the Soviet expansion. Rice has been articulating a strategy that gives the USA the mission of transforming the world, not just "defending the free world". Bush's january 2005 speech to the Nation was simply a summary of Rice's strategy, aimed at creating popular support for what has never been the role of the USA: "creating" (not just defending) the free world. In Bush's words, the new goal of the USA is fighting tyranny, anytime anywhere. Thus the "war on terrorism" has turned into a "war on tyranny". (Bush's speech was notable for not mentioning Iraq or Afghanistan at all).
    This open declaration of war on tyranny has the side effect of defining, once and forever, the gap between the USA and the French-German axis: the USA (and some European countries such as Britain and possibly Italy and Poland) is determined to force tyrants out of job whereas France and Germany would rather coexist with them (the traditional western approach to "containment"). There is now a clear contrast: France-Germany's tolerance of tyranny versus the USA's tyranny of tolerance. The USA is the world tyrant (as the French and German masses correctly stated during their routine protest marches), a tyrant that wants to force the whole world to adopt political tolerance. Needless to say, this amounts to a vow of permanent war and instability, until all tyrants are deposed. This represents a Copernican change from the old stance, still advocated by France and Germany, to tolerate the tyrants in return for peace and stability. In a way, Condy Rice's transformational diplomacy resembles Trotsky's "permanent revolution", save that it aims at installing democratic regimes, not communist ones. The French-German approach, which was also the old USA approach, is an "evolutionary" approach, whereas Condy rice's approach is "revolutionary".
    Right or wrong, France and Germany represent a west that has remained in the stage of diplomacy of the Cold-War era, whereas Condy Rice's diplomacy is a bold step in a new direction, towards a new kind of diplomacy.
    Within the USA itself this marks a historical change. Compare with the Sixties, when idealists were protesting USA support for tyrants, while the USA government was engaging in "realpolitiK' around the world: now it is the USA government that has become the "idealist" and it is the intellectuals marching in the streets demand "realpolitik".
    At the same time, Rice is merely expressing a fact that has been part of the history of the USA for at least a century: the USA has always caused "transformation". The USA changed the world with each and every war (World War 2, the Cold War, the Islamic wars). Each victory had the effect of turning the world into a friendlier and friendlier place for the USA. At the end of World War 2, the USA "transformed" western Europe from a hotbed of warring dictatorships into a model of peaceful democracies. At the end of the Cold War, the USA transformed eastern Europe into the vanguard of capitalistic democracy. The Islamic wars are now changing the Middle East in a similar way. Each of this transformations gave the USA an advantage, because it removed enemies and increased the number of countries that would never attack the USA. It also made it easier for the USA to do what they do best: business. In the end, each victory increased the superpower status of the USA not so much because of the weapons that the USA built but because the circumstances became more and more favorable. Rice has merely taken the historical record of the past and turned it into a dogma for the future.
    Rice's main obstacle is her boss: Bush is chronically out of touch with ordinary people, whether Americans or Iraqis. Bush is the last person who can "sell" a transformational diplomacy to the world. Rice also has to convince the world that supporting the royal Saudi family or selling weapons to Mubarak or shaking hands with Qaddafi are acts consistent with her "transformational diplomacy": to most of us, they still look like the old "realpolitik".
    At the senate hearings for her confirmation, Rice said that it is impossible to negotiate with Iran because a) it wants to destroy Israel, a democracy and friend of the USA, b) it supports terrorism, and c) it is undercutting USA peace efforts in the region. Can someone please explain what is the difference with China, that a) wants to destroy Taiwan, a democracy and friend of the USA, b) supports the terrorist regime of North Korea, and c) undercuts USA peace efforts in the region? Why is the USA funding the economic boom of China while it refuses to negotiate with Iran?
    This kind of inconsistencies only fuel Arab mistrust of USA diplomacy. The first task for Condoleeza Rice will be to restore trust in USA diplomacy, and the only way to do it is to put your guns where your mouth is: impose sanctions against China until China becomes a democracy and stops threatening its democratic neighbors.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (January 2005) Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the most mistaken men ever. Remember when he predicted that a tall Arab with a huge bounty on his head (Osama bin Laden) would not be free for long? Well, he is still free three years later. Remember when Rumsfeld said that Osama was "freezing his butt in a cave"? Well, Osama looks in pretty good health in his recent videos, shot in places that look a lot more comfortable than caves. Remember when Rumsfeld described the high-tech bunkers that Osama was supposed to have in Afghanistan? Never found one: Osama's caves were just that, caves. Remember when Rumsfeld predicted that millions of Iraqis would welcome the USA troops? Not quite right. Remember when Rumsfeld said that the USA soldiers killed in Iraq were victims of a "spike" in violence? Well, the spike has been spiking for almost two years now. Remember when Rumsfeld insulted "old Europe" for not believing that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction? Well, guess what: "old Europe" was right.
    How can such an incompetent man, who has been proven wrong so many times on such crucial issues, be still in charge of the most powerful army in the world?
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (January 2005) Robbing the poor and the elderly. Bush seems obsessed with the idea of privatizing social security, despite the fact that nobody in his own party is excited about it. The reason noone is excited is very simple: there is nothing to fix. The Congressional Budget Office (run by people appointed by Bush himself) estimate that social security as it is will be solvent till 2052.
    This is, to say the least, intriguing. Why would a president who doesn't care about the trillion dollars of budget deficit he created (that future generations will have to pay) care so much about a problem that will not exist for 47 years?
    One answer is in the beneficiaries. Bush's privatization scheme will benefit the same wealthy class that already benefited from Bush's previous robbery, the trillion dollar tax-cut for the rich. Who will pay for Bush's privatization scheme? As usual, the middle class. Bush is suggesting to pay for the cost of privatizing social security by lowering benefits: social security is not broken today, but it will be after Bush "fixes" it.
    Get it? He wants to solve a problem that does not exist by creating it. Under the excuse that there is a problem, Bush wants to introduce a new system that will cost so much that it will lower social security benefits for the poor.
    If the president hates the poor so much, why not just shoot them all? After all, that is precisely what he did when he was governor of Texas and sent 152 low-income convicts to die, all of them guilty of not having money to hire a good attorney.
    How can American voters be so dumb to reelect a president who basically promised to rob them?
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • January-December 2004
  • January-December 2003
  • January-December 2002
  • January-December 2001
  • January-December 2000
  • January-December 1999

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