Stop the Insanity!


don’t care about typos, only content, and that this reflects badly on the whole left,
no less. Be serious folks. Does Z look like it was created by bumbling folks who
have no aesthetic or "professional pride?" We profread it up the kazoo. Do we
need to repeat that? We prufread it up the kazoo. Up the kazoo.

To catch every error would take another couple of full time employees since we
wouldn’t "hire" an exploited, oppressed person to spend their life
prooffreading, or proofreating and answering phones and sweeping, which is how other
periodicals address the problem. Any new Z staff would need to be full participants
in all levels of the operation, etc., in accord with our values which we have stated
elsewhere. We can’t afford more prufing, financially or structurally, while
maintaining our standards of organizational equity and justice. More, as socially
responsible "consumers," we feel that readers should prefer a typo or five or
even ten, to a periodical with a hierarchy of pay and job allocation designed to employ
lots of proofreaders for little cost and a few publisher/editor types who wouldn’t
know a days work if it bit them. Does the editor of Time proof it? Or do anything,
for that matter, that isn’t at the pinnacle of publishing power? Well, that
isn’t our model. With Z you get the knowledge that all the staff have
comparable work conditions and that all are empowered and paid equally. The political
confidence this should give you regarding the stability of Z’s editorial
direction should make a few extra typos bearable. We are, of course, sorry about those
typos. We bet they bother us much more than they bother you, but reading the magazine ten
times over is enough even for Z’s empowered staff. So view the whole picture and kick
up the morale, okay?

Would that our corporate printer’s mixed up Z pages were the only sign
things are going to hell in a hand basket. But no, on top of that, the country is berserk
about Clinton’s sex life. One wonders, assuming one is interested at all, if Hillary
Clinton and Chelsea Clinton are cool with Bill, and if Bill isn’t using his position
to compel sexual favors, which no one has claimed, what exactly is this about?

It reminds us of the Al Capone prosecution. You remember: the Feds got Capone on income
tax evasion because they couldn’t prove murder and mayhem, even though everyone knew
it to be the case. In Washington, as usual, we have a person (and a government) who is
guilty of worse crimes than Capone, yet he is hounded for alleged crimes that are
doubtfully criminal, much less immoral.

So let’s turn to something that actually matters. The insanity of the U.S. being
hell bent on bombing Iraq, again. Half our country’s commentators accept the inane
claim that we are doing it due to Hussein’s alleged "weapons of mass
destruction." The other half wonders if Clinton is wagging the dog to cover his
"sexual" indiscretions. No one, of course, questions the right of our news media
and policy makers to discuss, in public, when to off a head of state and interfere in the
sovereign rights of a country, willy nilly.

Well, sorry, we don’t buy any of it. U.S. foreign policy is not undertaken to
serve the interests of single individuals, even presidents, nor because of the military
might of a military mouse.

Last time down this path the stated reasons for the Gulf War were the threat of
Iraq’s amazing military machine, which proved to be obvious nonsense the minute the
U.S. and Iraq squared off. (The irrefutable evidence that we had helped arm Iraq and that
Hussein was our buddy until he got uppity helped make the case.) Far from a difficult
"war" between military masters, it was, as noted at the time by U.S. pilots, a
"turkey shoot," in other words, a massacre. So what was the motive? Well, at the
time the U.S. was demonstrating to the world that our will was law and that disobedience
would not be countenanced. We were also reinvigorating the military industrial complex in
the face of modest attacks on it in the post-Cold War conversion era.

So why can’t this be the explanation this time, too? Well, for one thing, if we
bomb this time, it won’t achieve much of anything military or social, just corpses.
As to the military industrial complex, it is already doing fine thank you, and this crazy
undertaking threatens to awaken opposition to it, possibly helping to explain why all
manner of military figures are urging that we back off.

So what the hell is going on? Arguably, a component of it is undermining the UN as an
arbiter in U.S. policy. But that’s an iffy explanation. So it appears that the threat
of bombing is the outcome of a subtle slippery slope dynamic, although we hate to say it.
The U.S. has been asserting itself for nearly a decade as responsible for enforcing world
affairs as we decide they ought to be. Going down this path we have flexed rhetoric and
money and muscle in a trajectory that now has an internal logic and infrastructure of its
own. It is hard to put breaks on the infrastructure, even when the logic turns sour. If we
bomb Iraq and kill tens or even hundreds of thousands of incidental targets, it will be
for no other reason than to show that we carry through with our threats. Bombing to make
U.S. war rhetoric real serves no constructive end for any constituency, even elite
politicos and capitalists, who will, however, unlike moral human beings, not mind the
carnage. The only proper response from moral humans, of course, is resistance by any
effective means people can sensibly muster.

Finally, what about our current economic insanity? Financial collapse in Korea,
Indonesia, and perhaps, down the road, in the U.S. These economic collapses are big time
phenomena. What is causing them? Some might argue that these are inevitable outcomes of
our social and economic institutions. A different read on the events, however, in these
"insane" times, is that while the current economic events are the possible (even
actual) outcomes of our basic institution, they are not inevitable. Rather, this time,
greed has gone berserk and the results, which could have been avoided, aren’t even
going to benefit the greedy.