Scott Horton Interviews Jon Basil Utley

Scott Horton, March 20, 2010

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Jon Basil Utley, director of Americans Against World Empire, discusses the insular and ignorant world views of pro-Israel evangelical Americans, how the strong outward appearance of the US empire belies the rotten core, gerrymandering’s deleterious effects on representative government and how rising interest rates threaten the US government’s ability to finance debt.

MP3 here. (44:46)

Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative. He was a foreign correspondent in South America for the Journal of Commerce and Knight Ridder newspapers and former associate editor of The Times of the Americas. He is a writer and adviser for Antiwar.com and edits a blog, The Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

18 Responses to “Jon Basil Utley”

  1. Jon Basil Utley claims that we are still leaders in technology. One of Pat Buchanan's latest entries says:

    "Not to worry, we hear, the foreign products we buy are toys and low-tech goods. We keep the high-tech jobs here in the U.S.A.

    Sorry. U.S. trade surpluses in advanced technology [ATP] products ended in Bush’s first term. The last three years we have run annual trade deficits in ATP of nearly $70 billion with China alone."

    http://buchanan.org/blog/dismantling-america-3714

  2. While this is an interesting discussion, and the main point – that the left and right have nearly complete agreement on the issues of empire, war and the bill of rights – is absolutely on the money, there are several glaring fallacies. For one thing, there is an implication that so-called extremists are always wrong and so-called moderates are always right. Not only is that inherently fallacious, but in the context of our political system as it is today, it is totally fallacious. As we all know, the socalled moderates are the crazies, in today's political world. When you listen to the 'moderates' and the political 'mainstream', one just can't believe how far out of touch with anything real they are.

    Secondly, Utley declares that gerrymandering produces extremists in both political parties. Well, that might be true for the GOP, but if you know anything about the Dems, you know that the Democratic party has been taken over by the DLC types. Old school populist power-to-the-people Dems are a thing of the distant past. Did you not see just the other day as Kucinich, the last principled progressive in the Democratic Party, was forced to bow down to a 'reform' bill that everyone on the Left absolutely HATES, that only the insurance industry actually likes? Gerrymandering has turned the Democratic party into a rigid, centrally controlled den of corporatists. What you need to understand is that when one of the two parties controls a particular district, the central party leadership has near total control over who can run and who cannot. Most districts are virtually owned by one party or the other, and as a result, people in the district have little control over whom they can vote for.

  3. IF 'extremists' did run the Democratic Party, it would be a much better party. Right now the folks who run Washington agree on war, war, war and surveillance, surveillance and surveillance and so on. It doesn't matter which party is involved. They basically want the same things, and most Americans don't want those things. Utley takes the Democratic party position on environmentalism as evidence of how extreme it is. It's easy to get fooled. There are two kinds of environmentalists. There are the ones who weep over pristine forests and polar bears on one hand. Those people are simply elitists. Real environmentalists of course value forests and bears, but their concern is with the real health of the environment, with seeking balance between human needs and human ways of living and the environment. I disagree with Utley about nuclear energy and solar energy and shale, but real environmentalists are problem solvers, NOT obstructionists. The problem with our current political climate is that it blocks problem solvers, because it's only concern is with enhancing corporate money and power. Problem solvers are locked out, so only obstructionists and exploiters remain. The whole dynamic is basically sick, very sick. IF we could somehow step outside that dynamic, MAYBE those on the left and the right would find that we are not so far apart.

    But then I wonder, how can you on the right wing possibly NOT see that sometimes protectionism is necessary? We on the left ARE able to see the value of free markets. Why are you so blind to the importance of protectionism, not as a driver of prosperity, but as a balancing factor? Open markets can drive prosperity, of course, but they can also wreak havoc. No one economic theory serves all possible situations. We need mixed approaches.

    Again, how can you possibly simply deny the value and necessity of any and all social welfare programs? Most of us on the Left understand and accept the value of free markets. We appreciate that idea. But you on the Right simply dismiss each and every attempt we make to explain to you that social approaches to economy are a necessary balancing factor that actually make it easier for economies to be agile and flexible, to be more open. Economies drive wealth, but they also drive inequality, and inequality is damaging to the economy! It's also wrong, because for an economy to function, there must be rules, and for there to be rules there must be a government, and if there is to be a government, it must look out not only for the needs and desires of the wealthy, whose wealth depends on the economy which could not exist without the government, but it must also look out for the needs and desires of those who are not so wealthy. It's not hard to understand that government must be fair, that it must take steps to ensure that society and the economy benefits all.

    Again, the fundamental concern of the Left is balance. We see your ideas on the right. We value them. But we think there are other concerns that ALSO must be part of the picture. Why is that so impossible for you on the Right to see? Surely, at the very least, you should be able to agree with us that if we are to go into deficit, we should spend that money domestically and not on war? That at least we can surely agree on, that domestic spending isn't some kind of unadulterated bad thing the way war pretty much is?

    We might be able to agree on a lot of things if we could somehow get beyond some of the rigidities in our thinking, especially if we recognized that many of those rigidities are imposed by a political system that none of us believe in – the old right left paradigm. But we'd have to come a long long way towards understanding each other. It would be a long journey. You all could maybe start by making a real and conscious decision to stop using the word "socialist" like it's synonymous with "evil" or "idiot". Believe it or not, folks on the Right, we on the Left actually have some damn good ideas.

  4. i want to wear a wolf skin cap and shoot neo-cons.

  5. The missiles to be deployed on ships in the Black Sea in Bulgaria and on land in Romania and Poland by 2015 are a necessary component for an unanswerable first strike – - to shoot down surviving Russian missiles which are launched in retaliation according to former Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge-http://www.plrc.org-. According to Bob Aldridge the US Navy can track and destroy all enemy submarines simultaneously. Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 obtain an accuracy of 30 meters or less, enough to destroy any hard target. Bob Aldridge resigned because a disarming and unanswerable first-strike capability leads to Launch On Warning.

    Please help by sending the above to Congressmen/women and to Senators, the Media. It´s much more effective when sent from within the US. Thanks.

  6. Regarding the ending of the empire, how does this counsel of mine sound?

    "Absent pervasive interventionism, jihadist recruitment diminishes to a trickle and the mujahedeen would have to constrain themselves to fighting apostates within the Muslim world. If one were to remain apprehensive over these residual radical Islamists, then, as I have recommended, "American scholars can mount a campaign against the very doctrines of the jihadists’ preceptors. The West must diligently scrutinize their Qutbist worldview (also making the case that it has not always been Western foreign policy that stoked jihadist fury) and refute it to the satisfaction of other world powers and Muslim states alike, who will then be able to put pressure on seditious jihadism wherever it may arise."

  7. The U.S. Government is a failed government. It's lawless, and it treats its citizens with disdain. It's controlled by Wall Street, Israel, and the military welfare complex. Of course, it's only a matter of time before it implodes. . . .

  8. Don't worry the Empire is collapsing by itself. If you want to help kill the beast
    faster then, stop paying taxes. We reap what we sow….God Bless the Eternal
    God of Truth.

  9. Thanks, Scott. Utley is one of the few political commentaters to take the Armeggedonites as seriously as they deserve.

  10. Gambeling(Aramco electionz) is forbidden on this earthy Islamic Masjid.

  11. I liked his discussion about energy but he did not discuss subsidies to and externalized costs of fossil fuels which, if counted would greatly increase the cost of these fuels.

    Nuclear energy is also a non-starter. No one will allow a company to build a nuclear plant in their area. The one way around this is to run a totalitarian state like China but in the US a new nuclear plant is nearly impossible to build. One aspect that is not discussed is the effect on local water but that is a major reason why I am not a fan of nuclear energy. The waste is another one.

    I am not a fan of Pickens but he makes a lot of valid points. Wind, solar, and natural gas are all here in the US. If we had a national government that cared about the country then we’d work to exploit these natural resources.

  12. During the segment focused on energy, Utley mentioned "fracking" as a method of extracting natural gas; then quickly raised the straw-man "environmentalists" blocking development of this new technology.

    Scott then wrapped up the section by stating, that 'we end up with all the power in the hands of the president and the congress, rather than the people'

    Let's back up a minute; not all "environmentalists" are "left wing", they are not all "bought and paid for" members of some well-heeled organized agenda … many, are just plain folks, who pay attention and educate themselves and want a voice when it comes to their communities. Besides, even members of an organized, environmentally based group, are still citizens taking a slice of that power into their own hands.

    And some early research into the "blow back" of fracking, is contamination of the water table. So if Mr. Utley believes that one method of gaining independence from Saudi energy, is short-sighted implementation of a technology for short-term gain – and potential long-term disaster, then perhaps he has a foot planted in the "crazies" camp.

  13. The U.S. has been an empire, or had ambitions toward it, right from the start. Remember the Monroe Doctrine?

  14. A wolfskin cap, or a wolf skincap??

  15. [...] March 24, 2010 in Syndication, War and Peace, audio by Ideas&Minds Against World Empire [...]

  16. Tea Party Patriots. The GOP base.:
    Tell the GOP: Apologize for your hate-spewing proxies in the It is not acceptable for you to build your party's political fortunes by encouraging and defending bigotry and hatred among your supporters.

    With Russ Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulder, Bill O'Reilly, and Pat Robertson
    as the GOP spokes people. You know that
    the Tea Party Patriots are the real base
    of the New Republican Party.

    America needs to be reminded often, and
    they sure do that by attack and lie, attack
    and lie.

  17. Um, who are "we"?

  18. [...] Jon Basil Utley « Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton and Charles Goyette [...]

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