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Total number of comments: 161 (since 2013-11-28 16:37:51)


Showing comments 161 - 101

  • New Poll: only 1 in 4 in US want more American involvement abroad; Cuba & Iran lower on List
    • Yes, certainly a defensive war may preserve a democracy, but an aggressive war is very unlikely to create one.

    • Exactly. We have no more than a fake democracy even in the US, so it is vain to speak of US "democracy promotion." That must begin at home, with amendments to the Constitution to restrict funding of elections and mass media to registered limited individual contributions. Then we shall see very few advocates of foreign war, and hopefully more advocates of foreign humanitarian interventions and multilateral diplomatic initiatives to resolve conflicts before they become violent.

    • I should add that there is no history of successful "democracy promotion" by aggressive war. The tree of democracy requires a suitable soil and sunlight: when fired from the barrel of a cannon it becomes a cloud of burning splinters. It does not work at all among warring factions, as shown in Iraq. It does not even work where peace has reigned for generations if there is a major issue on which the factions are not rational, as shown by the US Civil War, and by the war in Ukraine. Those who claim democracy as a benefit of war are the lowest saboteurs of democracy, and seek only to fool their betters by wrapping themselves in the flag.

    • The rationales of warmongers are never accompanied by fact and argument, because their goal is merely tyranny over a democracy, usually practiced by creating a foreign enemy so as to demand domestic power as protectors and to accuse their opponents of disloyalty. The warmonger never has a history of, or a plan for humanitarian results, never understands the cultural or historical context. In fact the warmonger merely shops for propaganda fragments and shouts them while waving the flag, an infantile bully, the lowest imitation of masculinity. It is well to point out to others that lack of reasoning, but it has no effect upon them, because their intended audience is the timid and the ignorant: those fearful of bullies and the irrationality of their own kind.

      Advocates of war, other than repelling invasions, should be required to fight it in the most hazardous positions, and then jailed for the resulting war crimes.

      They should be jailed also because the Constitution allows no warmaking powers to the government but these: suppressing insurrections and repelling invasions. Only a treaty can modify that, and NATO was intended solely for mutual defense, never for aggressive war. There is no US warmaking power, and those who press for war should be jailed.

  • New Proof: AT&T and NSA’s Long Surveillance Partnership shredded 4th Amendment
    • Commercial surveillance is a much greater threat to democracy than government surveillance. All communication companies must be heavily regulated and investigated, and must be presumed guilty of abuse of information until proven innocent.

      The wider problem is the dominance of all mechanisms of democracy including elections and mass media, by the economic concentrations that have arisen since the Constitution was written. The result is that there is no mechanism in the Constitution to defend its institutions from economic power. We must demand immediate amendments to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited registered individual contributions. We must demand amendments providing for intimate government regulation of communications companies, and providing for absolute privacy of communications absent a warrant of probable cause, not a default rubberstamp warrant by a kangaroo court of right-wing airheads. Otherwise we shall have nothing left at all of democracy.

  • Why Partitioning Iraq is a Terrible Idea
    • The needed analysis of the unsuccessful bundling of conflicting groups (Iraq, Yugoslavia, Czechoslavakia, etc.) would reveal underlying factors such as leadership ability to avoid conflict in the federal vs. separated models. If technology is not a major factor, history may be the best guide to feasibility. Even the US was unable to resolve regional divisions before the Civil War despite a suitable federal framework and fairly general education: factional ideologues simply did not care to examine opposition views.

      If the US could not avert civil war, and fought over secession itself, then only external powers could force dialogue and resolution. But the US has instead much worsened the Iraq problem, either intentionally or with zero understanding among its political gangsters.

      So I think we need a thorough analysis of what is possible, likely a re-run of some dreary historical case, in the absence of enlightened international leadership.

  • Obama: Opponents of Iran Deal are Warmongers
    • Obama had the courage to denounce the warmongering tyrant over a democracy, described in Aristotle’s Politics, who needs a foreign enemy to demand domestic power as “protector” and accuse his opponents of disloyalty. Those who go along with such demands are manipulated, either ignorant of the issues or fearful of the accusations of their own kind. But Obama and the Dems cannot well defend their own acquiescence to such demands, their own warmongering in Ukraine and Syria, or their failure to advocate or engage in the major humanitarian aid programs that achieve the peace and cooperation so despised by the warmongering tyrants.

  • Thousands Protest in Baghdad against Lack of Electricity, Services & demand end of Corruption
    • This is the great benefit that US technology and benevolence have wrought for the people of Iraq. If our foreign policy was instead driven by careful analysis of every region and nation, to achieve solely humanitarian goals, we would not have an energy-starved Iraq plagued by the extremism resulting from US failure to "build" democracy(tm) by "shock and awe."

      The US needs not only constitutional amendments to protect elections and mass media from economic power, but also a large institution or college of foreign policy analysis, examining every such potential result of proposed changes, and protecting the unpopular or enemy opinion, for there is the seed of reconciliation of differences, and the premonition of disasters in the making.

      Without those protections the US is no more to the world than a terminal case of affluenza in the poorhouse.

  • Afghanistan: The First Rule of Counter-Insurgency is that it Doesn't Ever Work
    • These are very good conclusions, some learned the hard way by secdefs MacNamara and Powell (see their memoirs) but not by the politicians who appointed them, or the people deceived by mass media, or the ignorant bullies of business who control elections and mass media. Neither money nor the Executive branch can be allowed to make foreign policy.

      We can eliminate these blunders with (1) constitutional amendments limiting funding of elections and mass media to registered and limited individual contributions; (2) withdrawal from treaties that allow arbitrary foreign wars otherwise prohibited by the Constitution; and (3) a large College of Policy Analysis indirectly responsible to Congress to study and debate the effects of every proposed change in each region and functional area, rigorously protecting divergent and “enemy” opinions as the seed of reconciliation of differences, and the premonition of disasters in the making.

  • That Time Ronald Reagan opened Iran and Illegally sold Khomeini Weapons
    • Very timely reminders of the utter corruption of Reagan and his business backers. Readers may refer to Woodward's "Veil" and Robert Parry's journalist exposure of Reagan wrongs, and his news website link to

  • Why did the US fail in Iraq? Roots of American Overstretch
    • The US “failure to understand the context in which we act, our propensity to jump before looking and our role in creating a security threat” is due to the inherently poor policy making of executive and military agencies. These are top-down control organizations that know only a specific problem domain. Policy making requires human thought and study and debate, which originates in conflicting facts and hypotheses, and therefore requires an organization like democracy, that resolves high-level policies only by drawing upon the ideas and observations of an informed population, testing, evaluating, debating and comparing possible policies, before deciding upon modes of action.

      Policies made by a top-down organization like the Executive Branch or the military show a marked tendency to group-think, in which discordant, minority, or “enemy” views are excluded. This excludes the seed of reconciliation of differences, the premonition of disasters in the making, the alternative views that are the antidote to group-think, and therefore leads to major foreign policy blunders like those that have made US foreign policy a disaster since at least the middle of the Korean War. It also excludes any public interest from consideration: instead the preferences of military staff and industry, politicians, and the businesses that control them, are the beneficiaries of foreign policy.

      To stop this the US needs a new institution under the Constitution, a College of Policy Analysis doing thousands of studies for each region and functional area, studying the effects of every kind of change, and debating the effects of proposals. The divergent and “enemy” opinions must be rigorously protected and studied. It should be responsible only to Congress, and only indirectly, and must be structured to prevent takeovers by ideologues who limit the terms and direction of debate. Outside influence must be a criminal offense. Secret presidential wars, executive acts, and even legislation which are known by the College to be counterproductive should be punished as high crimes.

  • South Carolina removes the Physical Flag: Can it remove the Spiritual Illness of Racial Discrimination?
    • The thesis is correct, although gesture is important.

      I recall revisiting the eastern shore of Maryland forty years after my boyhood experiences of racism there in the Civil Rights protest era. The customers and employees at a fast-food stop were only teenagers black and white, all talking and getting along just fine. I was almost in tears with joy to watch it. The police in Cambridge were almost all black. My parents, raised there and escaped when of age, could hardly believe the story. But it is not so among the wealthy.

      When driving from Florida to Maine last week, two vast confederate flags flew from business buildings along I-95 in SC. When I interviewed in Richmond, capital of the confederacy, the Civil War came up, and I raised my conciliatory view that it was due to misgovernment of both North and South by ideologues who could have prevented war by considering the essential interests and constitutional issues of the other side. I was welcome to criticize the North but not the South. This attitude appeared to have been formed in youth by northern ignorance and insult and pretense that slavery was the issue, when in fact the South was concerned with economic viability.

      The judges of the South are still radically opposed to constitutional rights, like those in the North. Almost all are Repubs. They do not recognize rights, only money: if you can't buy the power you need, too bad. This is true at the highest levels of the federal judiciary. But in the South the traitor judges have a sense of confederate community: Stetson Law degrees, give those Northerners hell; while in the North the Repub traitors are individualists. The patriotic ideal that binds the judges of North and South consists purely of extreme selfishness, hypocrisy, malice, and hatred of constitutional rights. This appears to be quite true of the politicians as well.

      Why would such leaders care about right and wrong? They care solely about themselves. Their declarations of moral and political principle are purely propaganda. Give such a society a bump and it falls into warring factions as it did in 1820-1860.

  • Ghosts of King George III: Top 5 Things that threaten American Independence Today
    • It is substantially the economic concentrations, which did not exist when the Constitution was written, that have forced Americans to accept invasions of personal rights it protects against government. They accept that most public communications are lies, that business interests may make laws not in the public interest, that communications companies track them and spy on them, and give the information to private abusers as well as government. They accept that money buys the elections and mass media, and that economic wolves may herd them and take the sheep at the perimeter of the flock. And they accept that the bought politicians appoint corrupt judges who care not the least for constitutional rights. Someone on TV will make it all work out somehow, because the TV says so. Someone else will pay the price, not the conformists.

  • If ISIL had burned down 4 Churches, it would have been Headline News
    • While it is true that government and subcultural support of specific discrimination targets must be opposed, the underlying cause is desire for someone to discriminate against.

      That comes from a hyper-competitive, unsympathetic culture, that places no value upon humanity, but only upon ability to force others to pay. We have a bully culture, wherein the underclass cannot be eliminated, and is always looking for a lower underclass, a category even they can discriminate against, from whom they can take dignity, possessions, self-esteem. Where blacks are liberated, immigrants or foreign labor are the targets. The uneducated southern poor white male exults in “hiring a mexican” to do the labor he disdains, because to do it would make him disdained. His ancestor wanted slaves to prove that he was not himself an economic slave. Eliminate the class structure and we eliminate the desire for a designated underclass.

      Another origin of support for the Confederacy is simply the geographic loyalty that makes southern males think that they are disgraced and emasculated by the defeat of the South in the Civil War. They search for rationales, and in fact there are good ones: not slavery of course (which few in the North opposed until it needed to sanctify casualties). If North and South had examined the rights and interests of the other side, there would have been no war.

      The South believed (and none in the North could then refute) that plantations could not be operated without slaves, and indeed plantations could not unilaterally convert to wage labor without price guarantees. The South controlled the Supreme Court and could have stated the constitutional property rights: that Dred Scott was instead free because he went to a state where all men are free, but that the free state owed his owner all direct and consequent economic damages for taking his property. But they didn’t, they denied that Dred Scott could be freed.

      The North could have proposed a viable transitional mechanism, but it didn’t. Because the markets for slave cotton were the North and England, the centers of abolitionism, the abolitionists would have had to pay for wage labor anyway, so all could have agreed to tax slave products after purchase to support wages and construction of towns and services for freed slaves. The plantations would never have felt the economics of the transition. But no such proposal was voiced. As a result the North unconstitutionally demanded seizure of essential private property of the South, an apparent demand for economic ruin.

      Our northern ancestors were not saints, they were fools to go to war without consideration of the other side’s rights and interests. Both North and South were misgoverned by factional ideologues, and neither side triumphed nor was defeated. It was reason and the national interest that was defeated, and it was emotion and the factions against which Madison warned that triumphed, and the price has not yet been paid.

      So if all could now agree that North and South were both foolish to go to war when both had legitimate constitutional positions which could readily have been accommodated, we would not be demanding emasculation of southern punks, but only demanding their education. Respect for their ancestors does not require flag-waving in the South, it requires reason and humility in the North.

  • Iraq needs another National Party: Tariq Aziz's Baath Party Ruined the Country
    • It is good to hear you speak of socialism as a means to moderate the politics of religious, ethnic, and regional factionalism. While the USSR might well have failed in Afghanistan, it did seem like the best bet there for progress over a few decades. The US creation of Al Qaeda to oppose them there, and its overthrow of the social democracy in Iran under Mossadegh in 1953, were examples of money in US politics and mass media leading to protracted disasters in foreign policy. I wonder what the comparative body counts would have been, had the US pursued reconciliation between Iran and Iraq rather than another Hollywood invasion?

  • Going for Broke in Ponzi Scheme America
  • Thank you, Edward Snowden: An End to General Warrants as so-called PATRIOT Act expires
    • A "few baby steps back toward democracy" is likely all that we will see. The oligarchy is happy to privatize surveillance as turn-key tyranny: then they don't even have to get government cooperation. No, I think that democracy has at most one generation of last hope; it is gone forever in the US. No political party can or will stop tyranny.

    • An interesting note that drug busts are "an enforcement mechanism for the liquor and pharmaceutical corporations that fear organic recreational drugs." It appears to me that this is as much a longstanding right wing war on the anti-VietnamWar generation. Although I find intoxicants uninteresting, I have seen no evidence of a national problem with recreational drugs, in excess of that due to alcohol. If such a war targeted only serious addictive substances, it would have some basis in fact, but it does not. The right-wing bias debunks the whole concept, as you have stated. It is a war on liberalism and the people, nothing less.

  • Just how Illegal has the NSA's Domestic Spying Been?
    • This is properly said, but little optimism is warranted. The NSA simply made up its legal justification, and there is no one to stop it from pursuing another in secret. Very likely the court did not care in fact, and took the opportunity to make one of its occasional pretenses of protecting the public interest, knowing that the violations thereof would remain secret.

      I have much experience in studying their decisions, and it is nauseating work.

      The public needs to learn that the Supreme Court (and the federal and state judiciaries in general) never has constitutional rights in mind, unless it sees its own personal interests at risk, which is almost never. Republicans don't need rights - they get what they want from deals. And they don't enforce those "landmark decisions" that the naive public gives them credit for. Just try to defend constitutional rights in court, and you will find that what I have said is precisely true everywhere every day. You don't have rights, you have deals or you have nothing.

  • The Middle East Policy of President Bernie Sanders
    • It is regrettable, but not surprising, that a candidate offering some sanity in domestic policy is apparently no more than another AIPAC operative in foreign policy.

  • Syria: Al-Qaeda takes Jisr al-Shughur, threatening Key Port
    • It seems rather likely that the US is supporting these groups via Turkey in order to deny the port of Latakia to Russia. Is this known, and if so is the rationale the same as in supporting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan against the USSR, ie., simply making them an enemy, under any pretense that they might become a threat?

  • Juan Cole: Syria, Yemen Conflicts only seem to be about Sunni-Shiite from 30,000 Feet
    • The tyrannical element in many groups uses this provocation-of-opposition method to generate support for power within their own group. Aristotle describes this strategy of tyranny over democracy in his Politics. They may limit themselves to inventing foreign monsters and causes of war, or may try to strengthen foreign right wingers by provocations to ensure a supply of incidents to rationalize demands for power, as the US did deliberately in the Mideast, Ukraine and Iraq, and "accidentally" around the world in SE Asia and Latin America.

      Even where the provocation strategy is not official policy, it is the policy of the right wing. Would N Korea have remained hostile if the US had not secretly killed two million villagers in fire bombings after being pushed south? If the US did not continue military exercises to demonstrate superior force? The reluctant are told that the foreign enemy must be restrained by shows of force, as the USSR had to be "restrained" by our ICBMs to create its own, always trumped up as a threat requiring more arms, although theirs were always fewer and less capable than our own. The founders knew that the only way to prevent this is to prohibit a standing army and military class and foreign wars, except for technical and other readiness against invasion.

  • Obama-Netanyahu Tiff worsens: US won't rule out using UN to create Palestine
    • The basis is the lack of any effort so far by any US administration, to do anything more than prolong fake negotiation for nothing more than the 1967 borders, which did not create viable states. That's not action for justice, it is pure political maneuver.

      I predict that nothing at all will be done by the US, ever. Netanyahu has merely given AIPAC's Obama-Hillary team someone to blame, and I am more than confident that they will not take the major coercive action they would swiftly have taken anywhere else in the world. Would it not be astounding?

      Also they have said and done nothing to my knowledge against oligarchy control of US mass media and elections, so they cannot be excused by such circumstances. I would be delighted by such action, but I have seen no sign at all of anything but shill gambits.

    • Obama will do no more than talk about a bantustan (an undersized land-locked concentration camp, not viable as a state) for the Palestinians, as was done in South Africa under apartheid. If it happened he and his backers would sneer that it was "a" two-state solution.

      Why let politicians off the hook for a re-run of South Africa? The only just solution is reapportionment of all Israel-Palestine resources per population into two viable states. Israel will neither negotiate nor permit that if imposed, and will have to be defeated militarily.

      If Obama had any intention to do justice he would demand the solution and set up UN processes and impose sanctions now and make them total within a year, while building NATO military force there. He has no such intentions and is throwing a few crumbs at liberals for propaganda purposes. Hillary is paid by AIPAC and will do nothing.

  • Dear Sweden: HR Dispute with Saudis makes this a good time to adopt Electric Cars
    • Juan,
      Please get rid of the advertising at the bottom of the pages. This not only doubles the load time, it forces the browser to the bottom of the page and messes up the horizontal alignment, so that one cannot see the left side of the text without fiddling with the browser for a while. Also, the advertising is of the user-targeted variety (like the last thing one shopped for on the web) which should be prohibited in itself.

  • Treason of the Wonks: How to Create a National Insecurity State
    • The willingness to examine and protect all interests and opinion is critical. The ability to stand aside from the fray and groupthink. That requires keeping the advisers out of Washington. It requires keeping the decision makers, in effect, out of Washington.

      I have advocated creating a College of Policy Advisers with members rotated from colleges, constituted to protect and explore divergent or unpopular opinion, especially the "enemy" philosophy, and to find the value in it regardless. In short, an anti-groupthink institution that cannot be forced by government to echo popular or funded views. It should be required develop full analyses of alternative policies to address all problems in all regions, and the effects of each. It is astounding that the US has failed to see the need for such an institution, to read of the single-minded follies that have dominated our administrations and Congress. Part of the problem has been the failure to see that the USG does not have those protections when it simply brings in like-minded thinkers from universities and institutes.

  • In New Gilded Age, Social Protest dominates Academy Awards Ceremony
    • Thank you as well, Juan, for your commitment.
      "Privacy is the cornerstone of individual dignity. It has been stolen from us by a government out of control."

  • Today's Top 7 Myths about Daesh/ ISIL
    • 3. .000027 percent should be .00011 or .011 percent.
      6. "ought to to" should be "ought not to"
      No need to post correction comment.

  • War Is the New Normal: Seven Deadly Reasons Why America's Wars Persist
    • True, that the right wing loves big government for any purpose that serves themselves; it is organized justice that they despise.
      I see less of the white supremacism nowadays than forty years ago, thank goodness. But many still choose themselves as the chosen people, mostly imagining that the rich will pull them up if they are obsequious enough and disdain the poor. That is the belief of ignorance, selfishness, hypocrisy, and malice, faults that span all groups.

    • Brian, I have taken obvious cases of constitutional rights violations through the state and federal courts (pro se) for ten years, never getting them to a hearing due to judicial corruption. Judges are appointed by politicians serving economic concentrations. Not one of them cares a bit for the Constitution, the laws, common law, or justice by any value system. They believe in money and the power to help themselves, and their beliefs stop there. Their skill consists entirely of tricks to betray the people. The only purpose of litigation for the common good is the vain hope of press coverage and some future uprising. But of course the mass media and politicians serve the same economic concentrations. Perhaps you can find a way to make it look profitable for them and their cronies.

    • War is the result of individual cowardice, not heroism, for it is fear of the right wing warmongers and their threats against opponents that recruits support for wars, not fear of the endless train of imaginary foreign monsters they propose.

      The "support our troops" nonsense is a right wing threat to falsely accuse war opponents of offending the military. No one does not support soldiers on a legitimate mission, and there is no cause to support them on an illegitimate one. Obviously that does not legitimize wrongful use of the military. It is those who insist on legitimate use only who support the troops, and no one else.

      As described by Aristotle millennia ago, as the principal tactic of the tyrant of a democracy, foreign wars serve only the demands of the right wing for domestic power. They are traitors against their people, cowards pretending to be heroes, bully boys attacking the weak countries and threatening their domestic "supporters" with accusations of disloyalty.

      It is good to show the societal processes that lead to warmongering, but important to remember that the personality traits are invariably cowardice, extreme dishonesty, extreme hypocrisy, betrayal of all national principles, and betrayal of all moral principle. The warmonger is the devil, the traitor, the most organized of the despicable characters in any system of values. That is why the Constitution prohibits foreign wars.

  • Why Martin Luther King would support Pres. Obama's Tax on Super-Rich
    • It is well to encourage what benevolence Obama may have, and to praise King as an inspiration, and one hopes that he will do something as a lame duck president. But so far he has proven only the intent to deceive his supporters, serving as a puppet of oligarchy, playing aristocrat on the hill with the lowest of schemers.

      There are useful King-Obama parallels and contrasts. King spoke for nonviolent blacks, an essential voice and symbol of their majority, although it was the street violence that shook the white establishment enough to take some action. But Obama has far more power and visibility than all black leaders had then, even had the power to take essential action in his first two years, and did nothing compared with FDR's first "100 days," nor anything he has promised.

  • After Paris attacks, could David Duke style Racist Parties Sweep to Power in Europe?
    • The increasing of tensions serves only extremists on both sides, and indeed they cooperate in mutual provocations to ensure their power in their own group. The right wing can survive only in a climate of fear and anger. Only those who can put atrocities in perspective and understand the makeup of provocateurs and the underlying cultural and historical issues can lead their nations to sensible actions. The US does not have such leaders because right wing economic concentrations control US elections and mass media, and similar phenomena are at work in Europe. The ignorant are kept dumbed-down by US media, looking only for the simplest explanations and solutions, and expecting those to be provided by their TV. Only amendments to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual contributions can displace the right wing oligarchy, and we shall not hear of that in mass media. So we are doomed to perpetual war until the oligarchy is forcibly displaced.

  • We have so much to Learn from Cuba
    • The article is well reasoned. There seem to be contrary points about dictatorship vs. the necessity of a closed political system due to constant US subversion and domestic opportunists. Most of the facts seem to argue that their government is forced by the US to remain in a revolutionary command mode, not by choice. The conclusion there should await further evidence or investigation.

      Suggest some revision to avoid redundancy and organize the argument.

  • The Year Iraq Ceased to Exist: Will it ever Again?
    • It has seemed that Iraqi Sunnis should have at least provincial autonomy from the Shiite government, unsurprising that the only force powerful enough to give them independence would misgovern them, and unlikely that the government will have learned a lesson if those areas return to Iraq. Their desire to hold Sunni territory without serving the people thereof is primitive. Better that Sunni Iraq become independent without Daesh, but perhaps Daesh would moderate if not attacked for a generation. Carrots would likely work better than sticks. Sad that the British so ill conceived Iraq as a conglomerate of incompatible groups, much like the Balkan states.

  • Is the NSA Responsible for N. Korea's Hack of Sony Pictures?
    • OK, I see your link to the documents. The reflected DOS problem was only on NTP servers.

    • What was that security hole in NTP? I ported NTP to a router years ago and was impressed by its suspicion of time authorities, but also by its near total lack of internal code documentation, as though the author didn't want anyone to follow the core algorithms very closely. If that was due to a planted bug I would not be surprised.

  • Cuba: Top 5 other Dictatorships with which US has Diplomatic Relations
    • It is unlikely that anything good will come of the alleged diplomacy. The US will establish an embassy (read CIA base) there and proceed to infiltrate and bribe with "regime change" the sole object. The scoundrels of oligarchy do not suddenly have nice intentions with no evidence thereof. Especially with hundreds of millions simultaneously going to West Ukraine to suppress the aspirations of East Ukraine.

      Cuba is like most small states with socialist governments: they cannot be more open politically because they must fight constant sabotage and subversion by the US, multinationals, and their domestic opportunists and militarists.

      Castro sought diplomatic relations with the US right after their revolution and was rejected by VP Nixon. Yet there had been fewer casualties than in the US 1898 takeover of Cuba, and the need for property redistribution was obvious to anyone but the US oligarchy. So of course we must fear Communism despite its zero attacks on the US, for without an external threat we would have no need for the right wing.

      With friends like our right wing, who needs enemies?

  • UN General Assembly Demands Israel Mothball its Nuclear Arsenal
    • Nuclear weapons may be counterproductive if used, but are likely to be used irrationally. The US and EU politicians and media are owned by Israel, and would not implement sanctions despite cancer deaths. Certainly the weapons should be condemned, and their component/design/entirety theft from the US prosecuted. But the US oligarchy will not do that, as they and their politicians fear the losses of bribes and business that might result.

  • The Beltway Beast: How two Tribes in D.C. are Destroying the Middle Class
    • Hope in a new party would be slim unless it was centered around a well-known candidate, and one or both of the others was crippled and unresponsive to its usual members. There have been no such politicians, the parties are too cautious for that nowadays, and the public fears losing what little their favorite party offers by splitting the vote. If we had a really different party not responsive to the oligarchy, it would be denounced by mass media as extremist and most would believe that.

      Starving the beast requires a combination of education about the oligarchy, and personal motivations strong enough to cause rebellion. Neither is sufficient here, because the ignorant and selfish hear only the mass media of the oligarchy, and the most oppressed are blamed, imprisoned, or appeased. With dark state surveillance, there would be little chance of a rebellion forming without detection.

      Our lives may be leaves upon a diseased old oak in a forest of healthier democracies, doomed to be succeeded by others in better locations, but all susceptible to the same disease. Perhaps some variation, whose democratic institutions are protected against economic powers, will have a selective advantage among nations. Or perhaps a community of younger democracies that took that precaution in structuring their institutions.

  • Bush Admin. Spent Billions on an Iraqi Army with 50,000 "ghost" Soldiers
    • Thanks, JT, my first laugh of the day!
      Delighted to hear those sentiments.

    • The will to fight is a curious limit upon imperial ambition. The US trumps that by using economic coercion in recruiting, giving its soldiers a higher standard of living than they could have elsewhere, and fighting only foreign wars of aggression against small countries, so that prospective deserters are not outnumbered and cannot melt away into the home country. The US is also far more experienced in concealment of official corruption from its own people. It would be interesting to see whether US forces would desert if required to fight a superior force of their countrymen on behalf of a corrupt government.

  • How a Republican Congress could Entangle the US further in the Middle East
    • Perhaps the Democratic party will see that its betrayal of constituents caused in the loss, and field a genuine progressive for 2016, but it seems likely that they will just go for more of the same sham progressivism, either to get campaign money from its enemies, or because they are its enemies. It would be wonderful to see direct action against the mass media and oligarchy at this point, but that would require more idealism and intelligence than I see in the population.

  • Listening to Nobelist Malala Yousafzai instead of just Honoring Her
    • Good points indeed, and so are hers. It is touching that many wish to please a young woman who took a stand and suffered. But it is a waste of honors to deny the distinction to Snowden. A great honor should be given where it has some effect: recognizing a great risk taken. or a lifetime of distinguished work, motivates more whistleblowers and long-suffering idealists. The Nobel committee's decision seems rather cowardly, and unworthy of the principles it should recognize.

  • Palestine goes to UN Security Council to Demand Israeli Withdrawal by 2016
    • The fact that the only hope is that "a lame duck Barack Obama will finally show some spine and simply abstain instead of vetoing" shows the control of US politics and mass media by the right wing of Israel. I suspect that anyone guided by principle would have had enough courage long ago, and anyone with the visibility of the president could and would blow the whistle if he wanted to, if he had no freedom to act in the best interests of the nation. Fear of being reviled in the press when he is the first black president, would not be an excuse for abdicating essential duty. I find no excuse for him at all, but would be delighted to be proven wrong.

  • Failure Is Success: How American Intelligence Works in the Twenty-First Century
    • While the US military and intelligence agencies have obvious merit within restricted domains, since WWII they have accomplished exactly nothing good beyond the much-overrated defense of Western Europe, and have been used by right wing US politicians to kill millions of civilians and prevent the growth of democracy around the world. The US military and intelligence agencies, like the tyranny exercised by its economic concentrations over its former democracy, have become overgrown on the basis of false assumptions:
      1. That technology will triumph in areas of intractable long term problems;
      2. That force will solve the complex problems of basic needs, cultural and political development, and conflict resolution in developing nations;
      3. That the moral responsibility of the developed nations to provide for the great need of the world’s population for progress can be ignored by painting them as a security threat;
      4. That hypothetical foreign threats override the need of the people to control state power;
      5. That the surrender of individual power to a tyranny of unseen economic and political organization will provide more of the US economic and political gains that were made through individual power itself; and
      6. That extending to the developing nations the tyranny that economic concentrations exercise over US democracy and the US population will improve the democracy and economies of small developing nations.

  • The Syrian Maelstrom: How Repression, Drought & Climate Change Drove the Civil War
    • One question raised by the article is the extent to which regimes can be faulted for repression of communications where there is systematic manipulation thereof by subversive external powers like Israel and the US (as in Cuba, Venezuela, Ukraine, et al). A similar uncertainty arises for state-controlled economies of small nations where the alternative is control of their economies by large foreign powers and even large companies. In the absence of international and large-state regulation of foreign economic and political manipulations, it seems unrealistic to fault small states for what would otherwise be excessive control. And impossible to tell whether they are defending autonomy or autocracy,

  • NYC Climate Demo: Top 5 Massive Rallies that had no Effect
    • The failure of demonstrations is symptomatic of the failure of democracy without separation of private money from elections and mass media.

      The public already knows the case on the climate issue but nothing is done by either party because that means inconvenience to the wealthy. What is needed is awareness of the obstacle, which is oligarchy, not awareness of the issue. Perhaps every generation must dash itself against the rocks to realize that it has no effect, but it achieves nothing else.

      Fruitless demonstrations are a tool of opponents of progressives: they waste resources, create divisions among progressives, and divert attention from critical issues. The climate issue is trotted out by the media to distract public attention from the immediate issues: in this case the massive corruption of US government, as shown in the Mideast and Ukraine.

      Progressives who criticize diversion of attention to an apple pie issue lose support for the critical issues of the time. And competition with less immediate issues dilutes or divides progressive effort. During the Vietnam war, anti-war demonstrations were generally pursued by gay rights demonstrations, convincing the public that real men support war and oppose communism. The tag-along groups did enormous damage, but few could risk criticizing them.

      It is time to limit the climate issue to occasional awareness articles and college demonstrations. Major public demonstrations should be reserved for the root causes of all our woes: the influence of economic concentrations upon elections and mass media.

  • How The Koch Brothers Corrupted Florida State University (+163 Other Colleges) (Young Turks)
    • This is a sad example of the corruption of our entire society by economic concentrations, and the need for constitutional controls to completely separate private money from education, the mass media, and elections. Without that separation, there is no hope for democracy.

  • Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces
    • I wonder whether those Australian "beheading plots" are a fraud. The PM clearly wants US military investment, and would not quickly have offered troops otherwise. Nor would they have suddenly found such plots afterward. Nor is it likely that IS would be so anxious to recruit enemies on the other side of the world. Who benefits? The Australian right wing.

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment?
    • Containment allows moderates to gain power over the right wing only with a DMZ and complete absence of external threats. But the US never ceases to hold threatening exercises near N Korea to rile them up. In fact the US right wing always makes provocations to reinforce the right wing of opposing states, which provides the rationale for its military budget.

    • Excellent article, and exactly my thinking. I wish that your moderator would not delete my remarks on this, which have been quite moderate for such an extreme situation.

      I would add that the rhetoric in DC "ratchets toward the macho and the simplistic" largely because, as Aristotle described them, right wing demagogues invent wars to recruit the bully class and threaten their moral superiors with the taint of treason. The US has never succeeded in eradicating insurgency by military attack, because that does not address the underlying motives and ideas. Containment prevents a wider regional conflict and forces IS to focus on issues of government rather than militarism. It disempowers their right wing, allowing moderates to govern eventually. Prolonged attack, as in N Korea and Vietnam, only protracts and intensifies a war that cannot be won, and institutionalizes the right wing ideology of hate, both there and in the US.

  • Russia denounces Obama Plan for Syria Air Strikes as Violation of Int'l Law
    • Actually it may well be an Israeli plane that just happened to be flying over Syrian antiaircraft batteries. But any provocation agent will do.

    • The criticism of Russia appears to be very correct. Kerry's attempt to make the Crimea actions of Russia look like violations of international law, appear to be wildly hypocritical, as he certainly knew in advance of the US subversion of the troubled democracy there, and of the US decision to engage in military subversion on the borders of non-enemy Russia.

      The US would not attack IS in Syria without Assad's approval if it were not attempting to provoke conflict with Assad for the benefit of Israel. Unless an agreement with Assad is in place and kept secret for political reasons, we will likely soon be told that a US plane was shot down by Syria and that retaliations are in progress. This will be scheduled for pro-Israel contributions to the mid-term campaigns.

  • The New Jim Crow: Has the Right finally Repealed the Civil Rights Act?
    • The US right wing has also repealed the Civil Rights Act for whites. I am currently appealing a Florida federal court ruling that a county or its Sheriff cannot be sued for civil rights violations such as violations of Due Process (Amendments V and XIV) and Equal Protection (Amendment XIV). In fact the CRA (42 USC 1981-1986) was written primarily to protect the rights of citizens against local and state government. In Massachusetts I am appealing a Superior Court ruling taht the state or local government cannot be sued for unlawful taking of private property (Amendment V), a violation of the Civil Rights Act. Watch that go to federal court and be thrown out due to their opposition to Civil Rights.

      These comments may sound immoderate to people who are not involved, but they are the truth. Those who think that we have civil rights in federal court need to read the actual cases. When you read the right wing blather and non sequiturs used to burn the Constitution you will be outraged. There are no civil rights at all.

  • Don't Trust the Bombers on Iraq: "Shock and Awe" Never Works
    • Responding to Mark: The carpet bombing of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam was not only militarily ineffective, it was a war crime. There were no concentrated military targets, just peasant villages “suspected” of sympathizing with the other side. Three or four million civilians were killed. That is terrorism, and it is a permanent and shameful black mark upon the US in history, along with its massacres in North Korea and Central Asia.

      “Supremacy over the skies” is exactly the kind of concept which does not work in such matters. Vietnam never had an air force or navy.

      Also not true that “The war was political between Communist and non-Communist forces – not a hostile invasion by a foreign colonizing power.” The motive of the Vietnamese in general was nationalist: to get rid of the foreign powers which had dominated them for so long: not only the Japanese invaders of WWII, but the French colonial powers whose place the US foolishly took. Ho Chi Minh said “I was a nationalist first and a communist second” and had unsuccessfully sought rights for his colonized people at the Versailles convention after WWI. Only the USSR and China recognized those rights and provided them a means to secure them. The US as always provided only more of the same benefits to the wealthy (the administrative class under the colonial power).

      What the developing nations needed after WWII was economic development benefits for the poor, not deals for the rich to benefit US companies and favored groups. Johnson told Kennedy that “the problem is SE Asia is not communism, it is poverty, ignorance, malnutrition, and disease” and told the Joint Chiefs “you can have your war if I can have the election” of 1964, which they handed him with the fake Gulf of Tonkin “incident” triggering mass bombings prepared in the preceding six months. The US installed the minority Catholic Diem by its usual faked election, representing the French colonialist minority, and had him assassinated when his brother began negotiating with the North.

      So yes, the military personnel in general were betrayed by a US government that had no interest or ability to provide any benefit to the population there, but only the bogus ideology that a market economy was the only viable path to democracy, although our own democracy has been overthrown by economic concentrations. But the US government and people were betrayed by the military leaders, warmongers, military industry, and militarist citizens, who saw only military solutions where there were none, who spend their lives bullying and glorifying bullying as a lifestyle and highest value and personal necessity, and care not a bit for the US, for democracy, for human rights, or for the peoples they claim to be “defending” and “advancing” but only for themselves. They always have a pretext and it is always wrong unless the US were invaded. That is why the Constitution does not authorize military action on foreign soil.

  • 9 Questions about the 1%, the Unemployed and why the one produces the Other
    • "What will we do with the excess that we can never employ again?"

      The problem is really how to ensure that those not needed to produce essentials, are able to produce something of value.
      1. Most of our economy is now services, which can be increased somewhat with advanced education. It would be hard to have too many doctors and scientists.
      2. The economy can also produce luxuries such as grand homes, yachts, art, and fancy food, although such industries are the first to go in a recession, so the economy must first be stabilized.
      3. A surplus of labor can be exported as development aid.
      Part of the problem is our market economy. Government must tax the market economy to create jobs and training for those displaced, or their labor is wasted. It must deliver valuable goods and services in exchange.

      This is the value of economic stimulus. We have not recovered from this depression because the Repubs and Dems don't represent the people, they represent the oligarchy. Obama has done less in six years than FDR did in 100 days. And he had Congress with him for the first two years.

  • "Man-Up" Kerry tries to Swiftboat Ed Snowden
    • Those whose allegiance is to America the state are not patriots, as they would be equally loyal to any state they found advantageous. Allegiance here must be to the principles, so widely violated by the executive branch in recent generations. I will credit them with being deceived by the Security State that there is no difference, but not with the intelligence to perceive the difference, or the ethics to care enough to doubt their interest group, or the courage to express a divergent view.

  • Mr. Kerry: Why Snowden can't "Make his Case" in "Our System of Justice"
    • All very true and well said. The strange bending in office of persons like Obama and Kerry to the will of the military appears to be due in part to poor structuring of the executive branch. The JCS and NSC have policy prejudices and have the ear of top officials. Instead there should be a College of Policy Advisors strucured to protect divergent opinion and drawn from an independent College of Policy Analysis (call them what you will) in which the unpopular opinion is protected and "group think" is rejected. The executive should be impeachable if it departs from their consensus (if any) and should be unable to change their makeup. Of course that will work only when the mass media are freed of economic tyranny by requiring their funding from limited individual contributions.

  • Not Snowden but *Keith Alexander*: Hero or Traitor (the debate we should be having)
    • Very good points well spoken. Americans are undisturbed because they cannot safely speak what they suspect due to economic tyranny, and prefer to be sheep surrounded by wolves, letting the lambs at the perimeter be taken by the dark state. Hypocrisy is so much more profitable until one is the victim. Indeed "it is too late for democracy" so far as can be seen, unless a new generation finds a path to defeat economic tyranny and its control of mass media and elections and the dark state. That is a tall order indeed.

  • Egypt: Passive Aggression and Counter-revolution: Voters, Youth Stay Home
    • Sisi must have disregarded CIA instructions like the US puppet Diem in 1962 South Vietnam, to reduce his "victory" from 92% to a plausible 63% or so. Diem made the further error of negotiating with the insurgency and was assassinated on US request. The US sure does "champion" democracy in public, but the arms and aid go to those who help pay the politicians, i.e., Israel and its champions.

      Merely legislating the military out of politics does not get them out. That is done at their own sufferance, by means of the ethics of the officer corps, once inculcated by civics classes in an established democracy. And that has failed utterly in the US, where the executive branch in general has seized all power. And it is only a quaint first step nowadays: economic power must also be excluded with constitutional provisions limiting funding of elections and mass media to registered individual contributions with full accounting and monitoring. One can have revolutions until doomsday and not get democracy if one does not know how to preserve it against military and economic power. And those are the means of revolution, so it seldom improves much.

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