micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Be afraid of those who want you to be afraid

Three days ago Tom Ridge announced, "we do have new and unusually specific information about where al-Qaeda would like to attack. And as a result, today, the United States Government is raising the threat level to Code Orange for the financial services sector in New York City, Northern New Jersey and Washington, DC."

This info may be legit and it may not be, but, according to reports by Douglas Jehl and David Johnston of The New York Times and Dan Eggen and Dana Priest of The Washington Post, a number of people in the know say the info that triggered this isn't all that new.

So what's this about? Keeping you, me and everyone else fearful. I realize this isn't an original thought -Michael Moore even did a not bad job of conveying it in a certain movie of his- but it is important. Keep people fearful and Bush gains power.

In a July 29 Reuters story, Maggie Fox writes:

Talking about death can raise people's need for psychological security, the researchers report in studies to be published in the December issue of the journal Psychological Science and the September issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

"There are people all over who are claiming every time Bush is in trouble he generates fear by declaring an imminent threat," said Sheldon Solomon of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, who worked on the study.

"We are saying this is psychologically useful."

Jeff Greenberg, a professor of psychology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, said generating fear was a common tactic...

For their first study, Solomon, Greenberg and colleagues asked students to think about either their own death or a neutral topic.

They then read the campaign statements of three hypothetical candidates for governor, each with a different leadership style. One was charismatic, said Solomon.

"That was a person who declared our country to be great and the people in it to be special," Solomon, who worked on the study, said in a telephone interview.

The others were task-oriented -- focusing on the job to be done -- or relationship-oriented -- with a "let's get it done together" style, Solomon said.

The students who thought about death were much more likely to choose the charismatic leader, they found. Only four out of about 100 chose that imaginary leader when thinking about exams, but 30 did after thinking about death.

Greenberg, Solomon and colleagues then decided to test the idea further and set up four separate studies at different universities.

"In one we asked half the people to think about the September 11 attacks, or to think about watching TV," Solomon said. "What we found was staggering."

When asked to think about television, the 100 or so volunteers did not approve of Bush or his policies in Iraq. But when asked to think about Sept. 11 first and then asked about their attitudes to Bush, another 100 volunteers had very different reactions.

"They had a very strong approval of President Bush and his policy in Iraq," Solomon said.

Solomon, a social psychologist who specializes in terrorism, said it was very rare for a person's opinions to differ so strongly depending on the situation.

Fear certainly worked with Iraq. There was no evidence ever preseneted or revealed that Iraq was any kind of threat to the U.S. what-so-fucking-ever and yet, by mere implication, Bush and friends were able to get a nice little war and colonization project out of it. (Of course Saddam's government was theoretically a threat. Every government in the world would stand at least some chance at killing at least a few people in the U.S. of A if they wanted to give it a whirl, and yet air raid sirens probably won't be going off any time soon in Vatican City.) They identified a problem that didn't exist and presented a solution to it. It is nothing short of brillant, really, not unlike a large portion of the consumer products that capitalism produces.

Slavoj Zizek notes in On Belief (Routledge, 2001) that many products produced now are designed to create a desire that they can then satisfy. The most relevant example to the matter at hand may be one that has appeared since the publication of that text, no late fees at video stores. Sure, late fees and due dates can be annoying but there was not outcry against them. It was hardly a stereotypical complaint, and yet now Blockbuster has made a big deal about its "no late fees" offer. Removing a problem that didn't really exist, I hate to say this but you know somewhere there is somebody who heard this and said, "That's so fucking wonderful. Now I won't always be a slave to late fees and come up three dollars short on the mortgage every month."

As if to see how far they could take this, the Statue of Liberty reopened to the public yesterday. A look at the public line would make this an odd time. Sure they might not have any info saying the plan is to hit the Statue of Liberty, but those plans can be changed and intelligence just might not be perfect. What would anybody be out if the opening were delayed a few weeks? Most importantly, if "the terrorists" are so determined to cause "fear" what would be better than attacking the opening of the Statue of Libery?

From the stand-point of wanting to cause and then remedy fear, however, opening the green giant of New York City works out just perfectly. "To stay home and lock our doors is what the terrorists want," Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

"It shows the world that liberty cannot be intimidated" were the words of U.S. Assistant Interior Secretary Craig Manson.

Yep, those terrorist bastards aren't winning here, because we aren't making any changes, unless Uncle Sam and/or his various children want to make those changes.

You know what would really show those stupid fucking terrorists that they aren't having a lick of impact? Doing nothing. "Shit, we ain't gonna let a bunch of goddamn towel head sand nigger camel jockey terrorist moon god worshiping fucks get in the way of us doing the same things that we always have done. Anything else would be to let those peckerheads win and that would just fucking suck and goddamnit, I ain't gonna stand for us giving in to them, not one fucking bit.

"I remember getting the news on September 11 that if I turned on the teevee, I could see those shitheads strike the towers in New York City and allbedamned if that wasn't exactly what I saw. I knew then and there that we had been attacked and it was time for America to start kicking ass and taking names and we couldn't let the world walk the fuck over us any more like we had for way too fucking long. We had to make it clear who runs this goddamned planet and that we ain't gonna change for no fucking asshole from any of their shitty countries. You get my drift, man? You get my damn drift?"

The rhetoric of doing nothing war hardly matched by the reality of doing a lot of things that served the interests of those running the various outlets of government in the land of the free. They want you not only fearful, but to think they have shit under control.