Saturday, September 08, 2007

We're One Bomb Away

Dick Cheney's assistant, David Addington is reported to have said, in a conversation over the government's oversight by a special court concerned with wiretapping and other covert intelligence gathering: "Were one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious (FISA) court." Obviously, Mr. Addington believed in the value of using shocks as means to achieve political ends. John Snobelen was a big believer too. Naomi Klein isn't saying anything new (although she has the guts to speak the truth out loud). Conservatives have been open about what they were about, for years.

Update: In case folks have forgotten, here is what John Snobelen said in 1995 about the utility of crisis in governing.
Question: Do we bankrupt the ministry (force it to run out of gas) before positive change can occur? (Laughter.) I'm waiting.

Mr. Snobelen: So am I. (Laughter.) In my opinion, yes . . . That is to get bankrupt (it must be taking) those actions and activities that aren't consistent with the future that we're committed to.

There are a couple of things that we need to get done along the way. One of those . . . is declaring the future.

One of the problems is there's a tendency to wait for others to declare it for you. And it's not a very collaborative process. So that needs to be done before (deciding) what needs bankrupting and how to bankrupt it occurs.

I think of it as creating a useful crisis. So the word "bankrupt" might conjure up other images. Creating a useful crisis is what part of this is about. Unfortunately, in my term - and if you know how long my term is, I'd appreciate you dropping me a note (laughter) -in my term we need to move quickly in that area.

So the first bunch of communications that the public might hear might be more negative than I would be inclined to talk about - more emphasizing the need for change than talking about what those changes might be.

(He then cites the federal Conservative government's lack of success in selling the goods and services tax.) . . . If we really want to fundamentally change the issue in training and . . . education we'll have to first make sure we've communicated brilliantly the breakdown in the process we currently experience. That's not easy. We need to invent a crisis. That's not just an act of courage. There's some skill involved.
"How to invent a crisis in education.(Features)." Globe & Mail (Toronto, Canada) (Sept 15, 1995): A15.
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