Member Profile

Total number of comments: 2017 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)

JTMcPhee

Showing comments 2017 - 2001
Page:

  • 8 Plutocrats out-earned 3.6 mn Working Poor & 7 Other Headlines You won't see in MSM
    • And what is with this perpetuation of the idiot notion that all that "wealth" was somehow "earned?" High speed trading is "earning?" Derivative plays are "earning?" Regulatory capture is "Earning?" Carboning up the planet, with the shedding of massive externalities, stripping the oceans and forests, building military massiveness and state-control apparatuses, those are "earning?" Nope, that is just extractive vulture-and-tapeworm action, stealing the commons, and impoverishingkilling ordinary people now and on into the future.

      The more the word gets used, of course, in contexts like this, the more too many of us just kind of accept that it's "true" in the way we understand the "earning" that is represented in the increasingly paltry paychecks we get, for actual WORK, adding value that is actually "earned" in the way ordinary people understand the word, and the pittance in "interest" the banksters pay us for the use of our "earnings."

      Trillions in self-generating, self-perpetuating Fun Units to feed the insatiable pleasure-seeking of a Fortunate Very Few? "Earned?" My aching a__.

  • Christian Sharia Law: Iowa Governor’s Proclamation Destroys Separation Of Church And State
    • Nervy of me to offer this impression of "Sharia Law" in this spot, but it seems to me that underlying the whole pseudo-Christianist thing is the real reason the banksters and the Kochs and the faker TV preachers are really concerned about "Sharia law" is the economic bits. There's plenty of hypocrisy and horror in implementation of Sharia, it appears (just like the Paulist scam version of Jesus-ism), but there's a nocked arrow aimed at the black heart of Western fiscalility held by the Muslim banking archer.

      The Corporatist concepts of debt and usury as Good Business Practices, and of "money" as an ASSET that can be leveraged, are big no-nos. There's a lot of hypocrisy among Muslims, too, when it comes to High Finance and financialization and monetization, just like with drinking alcohol and eating proscribed foods and various other kinds of proscribed profligacy.

      But if the Sharia framing of economic relations, particularly what we call "banking" relations, were to catch on, where would Lloyd Blankfein and Timmy Geithner and that Chicago toad Friedman be? Here's a bit of text from one of many primers on Sharia finance:

      The Big Picture

      Although they have been mandated since the beginnings of Islam in the seventh century, Islamic banking and finance have been formalized gradually since the late 1960s, coincident with and in response to tremendous oil wealth which, fueled renewed interest in and demand for Sharia-compliant products and practice.

      Central to Islamic banking and finance is an understanding of the importance of risk sharing as part of raising capital and the avoidance of riba (usury) and gharar (risk or uncertainty). (To see more on risk, read Determining Risk And The Risk Pyramid and Personalizing Risk Tolerance.) [Compare Sharia notions with what rules here, the privatization of gain and "socialization" of loss, risk and externalities... not a pretty sight.]

      Islamic law views lending with interest payments as a relationship that favors the lender, who charges interest at the expense of the borrower. Because Islamic law views money as a measuring tool for value and not an 'asset' in itself, it requires that one should not be able to receive income from money (for example, interest or anything that has the genus of money) alone. Deemed riba (literally an increase or growth), such practice is proscribed under Islamic law (haram, which means prohibited) as it is considered usurious and exploitative. By contrast, Islamic banking exists to further the socio-economic goals of Islam.

      Accordingly, Sharia-compliant finance (halal, which means permitted) consists of profit banking in which the financial institution shares in the profit and loss of the enterprise that it underwrites. Of equal importance is the concept of gharar. Defined as risk or uncertainty, in a financial context it refers to the sale of items whose existence is not certain. Examples of gharar would be forms of insurance, such as the purchase of premiums to insure against something that may or may not occur or derivatives used to hedge against possible outcomes. (To read more about insurance or hedges, see A Beginner's Guide To Hedging, Understand Your Insurance Contract and Exploring Advanced Insurance Contract Fundamentals.)

      The equity financing of companies is permissible, as long as those companies are not engaged in restricted types of business - such as the production of alcohol, pornography or weaponry - and only certain financial ratios meet specified guidelines.

      [emphasis added] link to investopedia.com

      But we "JudeoChristians," who per our holy texts used to benefit from something called "Jubilee," link to forbes.com as a way to keep debt from becoming slavery, would all have our heads explode if all the soaring idiotic genius of monetization and securitization and derivitization and financialization of EVERYthing were to be, you know, "against the law." Which law is now, you know, written by and for the very people who are supposed to be "regulated" by the Delaware corporation law and the Uniform Commercial Code and the bankruptcy code (especially as relates to discharges of consumer and student and medical debt) and "securities" law, and foreclosure law that no longer often requires the bank to even prove that it owns the note before throwing you into the street, and all that...

      For those who construct their truth from selected bits of serially edited text from the Bible to match their hateful dark dreams, here's a place to extract and misappropriate some salient quotes: link to kingjamesbibleonline.org

      OMG! NO SHARIA LAW HERE!

  • Tutu: Climate Crisis Demands we Boycott Big Oil just as we Boycotted Apartheid
    • One wonders if it's way too much easier to slash and burn, dig and strip, extract and externalize, than to husband and steward and pay forward. One looks at the video record of various "sustainable ecology and agriculture" projects, e.g.,link to sustainableforestgardenfarmproject.weebly.com that depend on a long chain of persons with aligned perceptions and motivations to carry life forward, and then at time-lapses of predations like killing the rain forests and "tar sands" extractions, link to climatestate.com, and one has to wonder, and maybe pray for divine and human intervention, but be just a little bit pessimistic, that the real Takers will inevitably, with all their busy profit- and rent-seeking, and skills at making their activities "legitimate" and "legal," or at least immune to correction, overwhelm and strip the landscapes that "stewards" work so hard to create and maintain...

      What's a tree really worth? Depends, I guess... This, link to timberbuyer.net, versus maybe this: link to skeptics.stackexchange.com

  • Russian Sanctions-Busting?: Putin's bruited 500k b/d oil deal with Iran draws US Threats
  • Is Rand Paul right that Cheney invaded Iraq for Halliburton Profits?
    • There's such a smorgasbord of fun stuff about Rand Paul out there, it's hard to pick sensible representative context for him.. Would be all things to all people, so you can pick and choose from a myriad of "inconsistent," often idiotic pronouncements on a whole range of topics that are important to having a future for the species. that he may be "least bad" ain't a criterion I would favor for putting him atop the Kleptocracy. As a low-paid nurse with an interest in the cynical, I would offer this little slightly aged snippet, from a guy who would do away with Medicare and other non-self-reliant selfishness, but is happy to bill Medicare in his practice, like namesake Ayn's "distasteful acceptance" of Social Security.

      My offering: "Dr. Paul: Not Board Certified, But Self-Certified." link to salon.com But there's this wistful cloud of neediness floating around among us ordinary people, wishing for a "real leader" to come and Make Healthy Change, only lacking an appropriate public-relations poly-angulation creation designed to seem like he/she sort of generally seems to fit with the contours of what enough of us think is Right and Honorable and Honest and Wise to get past the electoral hump and into the Imperial Oval.

      Is He The One?

    • Probably are a lot of instances in human history when a man has said something altogether different, when his personal priorities and income situation have changed, from what he said a couple of years earlier when he was nominally advising on grave matters of state and had no immediate chance of making a whole lot of money off his advice and pronouncements. Particularly a man who does not give a rip for the opinion of others and has zero respect for honesty.

      Rand Paul is just a different kind of self-interested evil soulless obnoxious fool, maybe one of the 24 kinds of Libertarians illustrated here: link to leftycartoons.com. Interesting how people of that sort tend to rise in the ranks and realms of power and wealth... "Stupid bandits" are the worst kind of Stupid Human: link to harmful.cat-v.org . All of which is discussed in geopolitical terms by Barbara Tuchman in "The March of Folly," which is not perfect but is nicely illustrative... link to goodreads.com

  • Climate Change: Who’s Campaigning Against Our Environment?
    • "Informed voting" at polling places, subject as it is to all the perversions of spinning and hidden persuasion and outright manipulation and fraud and theft, will not halt or undo the processes of monetization described here. People who care whether the species and culture survive are going to have to not only change their own personal behaviors, that include feeling good about OMG! switching to designer LED bulbs with lots of "consumer choices" of Kelvin colors and controllability, yet increasing their total electrical demand, using gasoline-powered yard blowers instead of Ewww! rakes to help "maintain" their monoculture bluegrass lawns by blowing their dog droppings and other detritus onto the neighbors' yards or into public streets, buying SUVs and big trucks, and a host of other "substitutions" and convenient continuations. And organizing to stand in the way of "progress" and "development," like 305's XL protests, the activities of First People in Canada against "tar sands," all that stuff. And voting survival instead of tribal, to add that layer of traditional legitimacy to the parts of actual change that the other nitty-gritty oppositions to Koch-ery that are needed where we Americans live, and elsewhere...

  • Hope for Ending Gas and Coal: US Wind Energy Is Breaking Records
    • Good news,, maybe! Though if Greening happens to the extent needed to keep billions of us from being cooked and drowned and choked, it will be likely by small-scale stuff -- maybe like the proverbial, likely chimaerical proto-rats that supposedly ate the dinosaur eggs, speeding the saurians' departure. And happen in spite of "our government, the best that money can buy," and the rich folks who are behind "initiatives" like the one described in this AL Monitor article:

      US official calls for Lebanon to accelerate oil process

      US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy Amos Hochstein encouraged the Lebanese government to “act quickly to adopt the needed measures for the issue of gas and oil, including passing decrees related to blocks [of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)] and permits.” In an interview with As-Safir, he noted, “There is not enough time for the government to move at a slow pace. It has to catch up with neighboring countries.” link to al-monitor.com

      Yeah, hurry up, you slow-coach Lebanese officials! Get that offshore lease game up to speed, so those Carbon Corps can extract it, excrete their inevitable externalities, and retire to sunnier shores before the s__t hits the fan! Don't you know there's PROFIT in them thar fills?

      Stupid effing humans...

  • US National Security hijacked, flown into Bermuda Triangle of Mysteries
    • Context, anyone?

      "secret law, secret surveillance, secret power, and the secret state — are here to stay."

      And because all the incentives and momentum are aligned, ask Lockheed Martin and General Atomic and Bechtel and Halliburton...

      Wonderful career opportunities in what has come to be so artfully called "national security," and here's a primer for all you young'uns burdened with non-dischargeable-in-bankruptcy student debt, a bent for the technischer volken arbeitung, and no conscience or consciousness of what you will soon be able to do to the rest of us (and at least you will be lined up on the winning side in the new Great Game of Undodgeableball -- maybe you will even be able or allowed to go on living on the f_"_ed-up planet!) For forward-lookers, the last link is to one planning document that, with related excretions and ejaculations of the MIC, will be guiding the future projection of all that power):

      Start young, start NOW! link to envisionexperience.com

      For the ordinary, and gifted, there's a "secure" job! link to nationaldefensemagazine.org

      All you need is a security clearance, which one can expect will eventually be like Communist Party credentials, the passkey to a comfortable personal future, and available to the connected and those who can pay the entry bribes, er, fees: link to clearancejobs.com

      link to nsa.gov --yeah, "shape the course of the world..."

      Take personally beneficial part in the End Game of your species! link to sra.com

      See? The War Department has it all under control! or at least has a profitable contingency plan or operational plan in place! link to fas.org

  • Get ready for More Disappearing Airliners: Obama moots giving Syrian Rebels Anti-Aircraft Missiles
    • And what kind of outcome would one call it if a US-made MANPAD got used to shoot down a US airliner? Anyone interested in context would do well to learn a little about the manufacture, for profit, of these devices. Here's a source: "Controlling the transfer of Man-Portable Air Defence Systems:
      A guide to best practice'" link to google.com

      Will Raytheon get to brag up its products in their annual reports and sales literature?

      Those who build this crap and implement the policy of putting these things on the street will of course bear no responsibility, not even any opprobrium, for maybe destroying a $300 million 777 and all the "soft target bugsplat" riding along in it?

    • Google "manpads to syrian moderates" for a whole lot of sources, links, everything. Here's one interesting selection: "US considering supplying MANPADS to Syrian rebels: reports ", link to gulfnews.com

  • Ft. Hood & the True Cost of Iraq & Afghanistan Wars: Nearly 1 mn traumatized: PTSD by the Numbers
    • And ol' Nel, you base your diagnostic certainty on just what, again? What I and a lot of other "Troops" experienced after our "experiences" is just "personal upset?' "the only job he could get"? At least we seem to be on the same page about the reality of "war as nothing but a racket...

      Everyone's got an opinion, and other orifices too. In the meantime, the global militarized Libertarianized carbonconsumptionized long scream of a ride down the steepening slope to extinction gets louder, more insistent, more immanent...

  • The Militarization of America's Local Police (Infographic)
    • Would you like something on the same lines from shall we say a more "mainstream" source? Do you trust "Popular Mechanics," say, where a cursory search of "SWAT Team problems" turned up this piece: "SWAT Overkill: The Danger of a Paramilitary Police Force," link to popularmechanics.com, and a whole lot more -- including "justifying" references to mythical "growing crime problems" that kind of fly in the face of FBI and similar sources' statistics?

      RT does nice graphics, at least.

  • Walmart Admits that its Business Model Requires Employees to Depend on Food Stamps
    • For all those "serious" critics of "everyone knows"ism, and regarding the impeachment-by-link-selection-live-or-die-by-interpretations-of-text-from-contributors game, maybe you serious folks could go Google "Walmart employees food stamps" and shake hands with articles from Bloomberg, Forbes ("Capitalist Tool"), IBTimes, LA Times, WSJ and other wild-eyed Liberal Lairs. And for some more chances to cast aspersions on what everybody knows, here's another interesting link, with pictures! "The Walmart Death Spiral," link to dailykos.com

  • The Shame of American Politics: GOP Presidential Hopefuls now Trek to Las Vegas seeking Adelson Blessing
    • Proposition: There is no such entity as "America" any more, if there ever was. Itz the US Empire.

      And Suggestion: Stop referring to kleptocratic money transfers to politicians and "public people" as "contributios" or "donations." These are bribes, and fees for service, and theft of seeming legitimacy, impure and unsimple.

  • Egypt: Al-Sisi's run for President: Bonapartism and Gulf Oil Money
    • Interesting math:

      "(al-Sisi avers that) Egypt needs $150 billion or so in infrastructure investment. As I read the interview, al-Sisi and his fellow generals believe that they can get that much and more (perhaps $250 billion) from the Gulf oil monarchies..."

      Is that $100 billion difference between "needs" and "available" to disappear into the infinitely elastic pockets of "al-Sisi supporters?" How many tons of atmospheric CO2 does that represent?

  • Invasion of the Corporate Data Snatchers: The Internet of Things
    • A magical mystery tour, all right -- a new form of slavery/serfdom. And have our Owners figured out how we ordinary shlubs will generate the wealth we ordinary shlubs will have to pay over to be willy-nilly connected to the UberInternet? One doubts that all those sensors and storage will become part of the "safety net." From each according to his ability to pay, to each according to his ability to pay, is already how the corporation side views the rest of us.

      In the meantime, it used to be that you, the ordinary Netizen, could type in a phone number and get, for "free," the basic name, address and all that of another Netizen. Now, you get a tease that for only 99 cents or $9.99 you can have a smaller or larger subset of the data that our Rulers and Overlords now control. So they PWN your contact information already, and collect rent on that too.

      Google is a memory aid for so many of us, we depend on that "cloud" and a few rudimentary and residual neurons in our wetware to start a search, for old friends, or instructions on how to end the world. Now that function is getting "priced" and parceled out too. What's up with that?

    • Page: 20
  • Is Russia a "Regional Power" or "Geopolitical Threat"? Obama argues with Romney from the Hague
    • For a little more context, regarding "in front of the curtain" vs. "behind the curtain," one might look at this little article and its links:

      "German Industry Goes To See Uncle Putin," link to nakedcapitalism.com

      Hey, man, it's a BIG MARKET, with lots of corruption/profit opportunities! Can't blow that off over some petty boundary thingie!

      Here's your "realpolitik," too:

      link to upi.com

      link to sipri.org

    • "there are steps," are there? And what are those steps? That "will bring even the Kremlin up short"? Do we hear the rattling of some good ol' Cold Warrior sabers? Which of course are notoriously a Cossack weapon? I am sure there's a constituency in under the Beltway Imperial Bubble that would be glad to have any advice on "steppe steps" to take... including the ol' growl'n'mutter, and the clatter of Neoconium-plated heel and toe taps and the ever-ready hobnails...

  • Egypt Shocks the World with Plan for Mass Execution of 528 Muslim Brothers
    • Guns, clubs, tear gas and "rubber bullets" trump "prinicple" pretty much any time. On the downward curve toward anomie...

    • Worry about the Likudniks, yes, do, who if one looks close, are only "Israel" because chutzpah, and somewhere between 200 and 600 nuclear weapons, and those German-built sneaky subs with their sub-launched missiles, link to nation.time.com, under the command of a creature that has already proven ready "in its interests" to destroy US naval ships at sea, link to gtr5.com.

      And the Likudniks would do what? Another 6 Days War? So the best our Empire can do for "peace" is keep feeding the worldwide militaristic beast with "contracts" for F-16s and crowd-control materiel and munitions from the Empire's vast and growing post-national trans-boundary "Defence Syndicate?" Isn't one reason that "things are the way they are" the idiotic long-term "consideration and priority" given by our muscle-bound military-"policy" brute to the personification labeled "Israel," and commitment to an eventual unitary global military command regardless of local political boundaries and traditions? Leading to popular imagery and "policy" like the "wise ideas" peddled here: link to nationalguard.mil ? Yeah, that's it -- gotta keep sending US-taxpayer-bought arms and US "experts" all over the place to ensure the ascendancy of the Global Interoperable Network-Centric Enormous Profit-Opportunity-and-Instability-Generating Thingie. Emphasize Interoperability, which "we" are still pursuing with the Egyptian junta, so our Commands can "deploy and control" local forces. Because it's worked so well, to date... link to washingtoninstitute.org

    • The way we do it here in the US. Much more logical and appropriate than in a bunch. In the meantime, let's make sure "we" keep sending war toys and money to the KleptoBrass that apparently own the country... as part of the Global Intention To Liberally Spread Liberal Democracy. Neo-liberal, at least...

  • ABC: Bush's Neocon Spokesman for Illegal US Occupation of Iraq Slams Russia for Crimea
    • Sure looks to me like "these" are NOT "mistakes." If, that is, one is bold enough to follow the money, the perks, the careers and all that. It's part of what happens when there are no consequences for doing what Ordinary People would, if not inflamed by stuff like 9-11, or other invitations to terminal tribal consumer insanity, would consider to be Really Bad.

  • Col. Manners on the Protocols of CIA Torture and his Love for the NSA's Aunt Zelda
    • The thing about the "secret world" and maybe the overt one too is that it's impossible to actually know or believe or be sure about ANYthing. Because EVERYthing is a scam or a stratagem or an operation of some sort or another, that whatever the good Colonel says is simply not motivated by "good intentions." Power and money. Iran and Contra. ITT and Chile. Iran and Mossadegh. And how about those Mujehadin, hey?

      Nothing is clean or honest, and to look to how things work at a different scale, all that activity, all that creation and hopeful interception of "threats," has nothing of homeostasis about it, that complex set of processes that keeps our individual bodies running in a metastable narrow set of conditions until something like a metabolic disorder or cancer or a parasite, like the NSA or corporate greed or our own overconsumption, disturbs the whole complexity beyond the ability of buffering and negative-feedback mechanisms to restore to some kind of balance.

      We mopes who feed the Beast are supposed to feel sorry for those often very very intelligent people who do what the "secret world" does? Behind a charade of being subject to the same Rule of Law that rules the rest of us? And these people are "protecting us" by accelerating the advances of all the technologies that can crush and destabilize our sacred Western Consumer Paradise, let alone Yemen and Nicaragua and suchlike? Dark humor, all right. The kind that Iago and Cassius and Cinna really get off on. Not that there's anything any of us ordinary people can do to change any of it, but at least we can growl and complain. So far.

  • On Iranian New Year, Russia hints it May Swing Support to Tehran over Crimea Sanctions
  • Russian Annexation of Crimea, Israeli Annexation of Palestine
    • One says "international law," and no arguing that there's a large body of commentary and jurisprudence under that heading. However:.

      There's a lot of definitions of "law" out there to choose from, here's just one:

      the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.

      A fundamental part of "law" is enforcement, of something that "a community" accepts is applicable and binding. As an aspiration (this from a person who used to belong to international-law groups in less cynical times), the concept is inspirational. In practice, in reality, where's the community, the body of written or unwritten rules, and the remedies for the manifold and manifest breach of what are at least sort of generally agreed ought to be those rules? No remedy, no rule.

      I wish it were otherwise, and agree with your apparent holding that maintaining even a fiction that there are such limits to arbitrary power is valuable, to the possibility of us humans and our "community" doing better in the future, or to engaging public sentiment and opinion (as much as those have any power over Power any more) in current "cases." No illusions, though...

  • Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Frightened of The CIA
    • You wonder how, or maybe whether, these many little vignettes will be covered in the probably inevitable memoir, and the audiovisual experiences in the Obama Presidential Library and Basketball Court... GO MICHIGAN STATE!

    • So much turns on how one defines that word "important." From my viewpoint, a lot of what the sneaky-petes do and congratulate themselves is "important" is immoral, evil and too often idiotic, even in terms of effectiveness (see, e.g., cigars doped to make Castro's bead fall out.) But there's no question that in supporting US business interests (most of which have long since floated above and away from any anchoring ties to "America"), the Wild Bill Donovan/Dulles element of the CIA has done a bang-up job of adding destabilization and fear and horror to the anthropophagous stewpot of international human behaviors. link to corporate-rule.co.uk

    • There's good historical reasons why our legislators should fear the technocrats and operatives: Ask Otis Pike (who?), that decent man, what happens when you cross the Boss. link to consortiumnews.com

  • Has Consumerism forever Killed the American Revolutionary Spirit?
    • Lots of words, LOTS of perspicacious erudite words, when maybe a picture would do to illuminate the apparent futility of changing the course of the Sacred Juggernaut that so many of us gleefully ride or horribly are crushed by on its way to the cliff?

      link to youtube.com

  • Israelis slam Kerry over "Jewish State" Remarks as Abbas Rejects Demand
    • Yiddish is a wonderful language for insult and sneer and humor. Illustrative, too, when applied to the players in this little idiocy. The likudniks ("Consolidationists," I take it, from their history) are playing the rest of us for "freiers," that dense, rich put-down that very roughly means "suckers." link to mondoweiss.net

      And I guess that would put the Palestinians in the category of
      "shlub." link to merriam-webster.com

  • Four Reasons Syria Refugees are a Bigger Story than Malaysian Air MH 370
    • It's also a push-me-pull-you: the writers and editors and producers work hard to find ledes and hooks among the flood of Narrative-fit "reality." Which then get the carefully enumerated play that reinforces the ghoulish, the voyeuristic, the fan-programmed among us to watch and twitter and post and so attract yet more idiotic but profitable efforts from the writers and editors and producers. Any chance of breaking out of that "WHILE x=0 : WEND : END" loop-de-loop?

  • Dear Arab Liberals: The Enemies of your Enemies aren't Necessarily your Friends
    • Decent people, ordinary people, folks who practice the Golden Rule in its most charitable form, don't, as a general rule, either know how to or actually "organize" in the way that what are called "conservatives" do. That kind of predetermines how things go in the world.

      Such touching noises the liberal thinking and feeling people make about "democracy," that vague notion that shows such a gulf between the dictionary or textbook rendering and the reality of what people seem to mean by it. Since as I parse it, it's largely about being left alone, but just enough alone, by a benign government made up of people that are trained and motivated to treat everybody more or less the same, respecting "rights" that only exist if there's a mechanism to enforce them and a bias by the rulers toward respecting them, with only a tolerable level of corruption. Which, of course, patently and demonstrably in the case of the modern corporatized nation-state system and post-national power groupings, seems an unattainable and hence inherently frustrating and enervating ideal.

      As the author notes, the sense of demand, the rising and frustrated expectations for perceived decency and fairness, the agitation and eventual revolt for "freedom," pretty much inexorably ends up captured and perverted into repressive authoritarian rule. Decent people do not organize well -- they don't have a central driver and principle, like autocrats and kleptocrats do, and "doing nice" is not a sustainable or even strongly articulable political platform. And of course there are hundreds, thousands, of intellectuals who vie to be the One True Voice that lays down the Truth of how humanity gets to Democracy. Lots of would-be chiefs, with the potential to morph into Pol Pots, link to en.wikipedia.org, or Abimael Guzmans, link to en.wikipedia.org. Lots of humans out there who just want to get up, go to work that pays enough to feed their families, belong to some group that supports and reinforces their identities. Lots of humans who also can so quickly learn the arts of war, and find exhilaration in killing and destruction and oppression of their former neighbors...

      And of course the tools and incentives of deception, diversion of our too-tribal inherent impulses, and the mechanical devices increasingly available to the kleptocrats and thugs, are freely, or at least cheaply and widely, distributed. And there are lots of people who "see their opportunities," or get off on Doing Badness to their slightly different neighbors, people who are happy to go along and facilitate the thuggery, as long as it can sort of be turned to their individual benefit. Some of us wake up to realize that what our inner heart ends up desiring, that being left alone and protected against predations by our neighbors, and having some voice in who rules us. Very few of us have the charisma and oratorical skills and training to grab the leads hanging down from halters of the bovine jaws of the most of us and direct our motions.

      Liberals seem less like canaries in a coal mine than a sad set of aspirational egos, who would like a kinder and gentler world (where their cleverness and insightfulness would be more respected and appreciated) but don't have either a clue to how to go about organizing to make it happen, or the fire to inspire others to go along.

      For those who look more frankly at the reality of what actually rules in the human world, it's pretty obvious that except for a very few little enclaves, that ain't how the masses end up working.

  • When it is Feinstein being Spied on, Suddenly she Squawks
    • Interesting that nobody here recently has taken umbrage at numerous flat-out statements that the US is an Imperial creature, just another Empire in the long string of skyrockets and aerial bombs shot off by "civilization" since the first hopeful gleaners figured out how to plant some of the seeds from those wild precursors of today's Monsanto GMO corn, beans, wheat and potatoes, rather than eating them all as they gathered....

  • US Drone Kills 5 Allied Afghan Troops, mistaking them for Taliban
    • Hey, man, lighten up! They killed the target, didn't they? And it was all perfectly legal! And stupid!

  • The Crimean Crisis and the Middle East: Will Syria & Iran be the Winners?
    • Seems more than possible that schism and secession, fueled by entrepreneurial opportunism, might be a big piece of our collective future. See, e.g., Texas, and Six Californias....link to latimes.com

  • Dick Cheney Broke US Military, now blames Obama for Cuts
    • The US military, and the corporate monster that copulates with it, has been "broken" for a long time, long before the episodes that Cheney can claim credit for. Too much imperial intrusion into other nations' existence, infection of the whole planet with militarist-dominance thinking, force-fitting a "force projection solution" onto stuff that if the species is going to survive needs a very different kind of mentation.

      Spend time reading the Military Industrial Creature's own ponderous, portentous, acronym-ballasted self-documentation, created to justify all the many ways real wealth can be converted into "procurements" and "programs" and "initiatives" and other stuff that leads mostly to a "Terminator" kind of future. For Cripes' sake, they spend a billion dollars on just creating and maintaining their own special dictionary, link to dtic.mil, let alone all the manuals and studies and Doctrines and other dogma. Read the trade pubs that announce the "milestone successes" of trillion-dollar calamities peddled as "jobs programs" like the F-35, along with all the different ways the War Department justifies throwing more good money after a huge pile of bad.

      And for all that, what a surprise, the vaunted "world's biggest, toughest, most capable military" thing can't squash a bunch of tribesmen on their home court. Idiotic missions -- kicking in doors in Kandahar, and doing what, again, in Fallujah or Khe Sanh? "Going in" to Wardak, with the promise that "the mission" will be the linchpin of VICTORY in the current Longest Day?

      Cheney deserves a kick in the crotch for the huge disservices he has done to the actual service men and women who take the King's shilling to do what many believe is "fighting for our Freedom" (tm) Not to mention the stuff he and his co-conspirators have done to the rest of us with the way they have twisted language, lied and used an inarguably potent skill at grabbing and using the levers of power. The fact is that he lives consequence-free and pumped up and plauditified but is just one of many, albeit maybe primus inter pares , who profit from and gloat over their chicken-hawk "victories" over the idiot Homeland Homefront that has been subdued into supporting them.

      We humans do not have too many more chances to get this "continued survival as a species" stuff right, and continuing to Make Life Really Large for the worst of us by draining the labor and puny wealth of the rest of us ain't going to make it any easier.

  • A World Multiply Endangered: Horseman of the Four Apocalypses
    • I live in FL, and obviously face a greater-than-zero chance of getting killed by a disgruntled neighbor with a pistol in his or her pocket and a chip on the shoulder or some irrational impulse control problem. Millions, and more every day, of my fellow Americans (not to mention billions elsewhere) are what is politely called "food insecure." What I read of history and anthropology indicates, um, that your simplistication is, er, wrong. Some 8,000 nuclear weapons still are ready to "deploy,", weapons largely built in the US case by "Christian" Armageddonists at the Pantex plant in Amarillo, TX, link to nytimes.com, and under the "management" of a questionably dedicated or competent set of military officers, link to breakingdefense.com, in a time when the profitable stridency and idiocy that led to MADness and stuff, link to krepon.armscontrolwonk.com, have gone off in search of Pan-enemies like "turrarists." Aimed at a set of "fourth generation antagonists" against which nukes (and most of our "world's biggest military" are patently "ineffective," even in stacked-deck simulations, link to theguardian.com, at anything much more than delivering our Real Wealth to warlords and war contractors and accelerating the enserfdom of the Ordinary Human population..

      Life in the 4th or 14th century might not have been a bed of roses for most of then much smaller humanity, link to video.pbs.org, but the true potential for REAL Armageddon, the destruction of everything that means anything to all except the Dick Cheney Class of humans, is one hell of a lot more immanent today than it was back then. And there are so many ways to individually profit from taking part, investing, having a career in the various neoplasmic and metastatic processes that are under way -- In biosciences, materials science and engineering, "computer" technology, War stuff and weaponry, State Security... G-D, if there is one, help us.

  • Obama Plans for complete US Withdrawal from Afghanistan in December
    • So why did our Rulers put the nation on the hook for a couple of trillion borrowed bucks, lots of dead and wounded "welfare state veterans," and all the rest, the corruption, the fraud, the waste, the idiocy of " We kill some of you so you kill some of us so we kill some of you, etc., until it' s obvious to everyone this was another fool's errand?"

    • Hi Joe, your statement was "Actually, the overall budget is being cut.." Your subsequent references were the misdirection. And there's no hiding the fact of idiocy and procurement fraud and inauditability -- is it a "winning point" that the numbers game has been going on for decades? I will give you that in the past, the War Budget has, as far as one can see, declined, before ramping up again. Also that foreign weapons sales have continued to climb, hardly a touchstone of increasing stability or security for ordinary people.

      As to foreign policy, it helps if all you have to do is add broad apologetic claims and factoids and and supercilious deprecations of dissenters to the line that whatever "the Administration" has done (other than Bush, that is)/is doing is Wise and Proper.

      And of course the "spending" on Iraq and Afghanistan has sort of just begun, link to research.hks.harvard.edu, unless the oath-breakers break faith, as well, with all those damaged veterans and their families. Here's one sample of what "policy wonks" think:

      The wars not only lead to a lot of people being wounded, but inspired Congress to make the welfare state for veterans substantially more generous than it had previously been. In addition, the practice of battlefield medicine has improved substantially which means we ended up with an unusually high share of wounded soldiers to dead ones by historical standards. link to slate.com

      Thus the reason the Pentacle is invoking cybernanodronautonomous battle demons, to take the unreliable, Constitution-defending fodder out of the loop...

    • And in what way did implementing that policy serve to reduce the chances that " the Taliban" might in ColdWarSpeak " take over the country," and how about those bumper years for opium production and tens of billions in " disappeared" dollars, and item 1 gets a maybe, but point 3? Karzai's army and government ready to " take responsibility?"
      He's a great speech presenter, I' ll give you that much...

    • I'll see your infolink and raise you a "Which Pentagon Numbers Are Real? You Decide," link to breakingdefense.com The infolink footnotes to the chart from the Center for Defense Information:
      "1. Figures do not include expenses for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
      2. Figures based on requested defense budget or projections, not actual spending.

      Source: Center for Defense Information."

      What have reported numbers from 1987 and 1998, from a "budget" that inarguably has not been audited or auditable right up to the present, got to do with CURRENT war spending and trends, your claim that "the overall budget is being cut"??

    • Follow-up to Jack's question above: Got anything wise and comforting and subtle to say to the 1,600 dead US troops, and thousands of injured, or the more thousands of Afghanis who died or were wounded, in that 5 year period that embraced the "consistent" Obama policy of escalation and withdrawal, as the idiocy continued to the inevitable denoument? Care to offer a succinct statement of the goal(s) of that policy? Other than maybe inertia and wealth transfer and weapons testing and live-fire troop training?

    • Nice sound bite. But. The thing about the actual "war" spending, in all its guises, by the Pentacle is, that I doubt very much that you or I or maybe even ANYone knows "how big" the starting point in that instantaneous "cut" calculation was/is, and "how real" any actual "cuts" will be. We were told that the Pentacle was "cutting its budget," "$500 billion "over" (the usual make-it-look-so-much-bigger-BS) "10 years" not so long ago, when what was "cut" was the RATE OF GROWTH of the year-over-year -- $50 billion a year less than the significantly larger expected GROWTH. "America’s staggering defense budget, in charts." link to washingtonpost.com Look particularly at chart #6. Any way you look at it, even with percentages that lump Social Security in with the rest of the national spending, It Is One Huge Juggernaut.

      And of course it's beyond argument that Congress, the public ,and anyone else who's really interested, has no freakin' idea how much the Pentacle spends on anything -- given that the War Department both MAKES STUFF UP and is incapable of tracking maybe most of the trillions that we ordinary people feed into its capacious, infinitely elastic belly. "Behind the Pentagon’s doctored ledgers, a running tally of epic waste," link to reuters.com (a 3-part article showing what happens to the Troops, too, and the Fake Fixes talked about here: link to cnn.com For an Administration-friendly (or less unfriendly) video version, lookie here: link to washingtonpost.com

      No amount of lipstick changes the physiognomy of the pig...

    • As a Vietnam vet, I am so gratified that the US has finally bled enough and spent enough for the General Scheisskopfs and Milo Minderbinders to finally call an end to this particular parade. Now begins some serious concentration by those who have to cover the "out-movement" to avoid being the last one to die or get shattered. G_D bless, and may fortune favor, the ones who remain in idiocy-induced harm's way, in "the Graveyard of Empires"...

      Interesting observation that Presidents can do nothing to keep US forces in another country, if the locals don't cooperate. Does that concept apply to Vietnam? Iraq? Not to mention Afghanistan, for the last 11+ years? All the other places where US "war is a racket" forces are currently "made unwelcome" by "the locals" who"won't cooperate," or does that phrase only apply to "cooperation" by nominal governments maintained by that US presence and money? Maybe there's a remedy for un-cooperation? For context:

      "Covert United States foreign regime change actions," link to en.wikipedia.org

      "Ngo Dinh Diem," link to en.wikipedia.org

      "Arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem," link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Hagel makes current noise about "right-sizing" the MICSEC. One has to wonder what that means, other than to cut the number of uniformed troops under arms and dump the money "saved" into all kinds of sexy "force multipliers" and all that stuff aimed at building and imposing the Global Network-Centric Thingie...

  • Not to Reason Why: A New Crimean "War"?
  • As Ukraine's President Flees in Overthrow, Lessons for Kyiv from the Arab Upheavals
    • I read recently that the pundits say "third time is a charm" when it comes to "successful" regime change and "democratization by upheaval" (with or without 'encouragement' by sneaky-petes and jackals from whichever Empire). What number is Ukraine on now?

      We see ordinary, wondering Ukrainians walking over the enormous estate that Yanukovych had built for himself on his 100,000 Euro stipend, and whatever else he could steal, erected and maintained by people glad to have a job, to be opportunely near the orifice that suctions in all the real wealth to convert into excesses like these: "A walking tour of Mezhyhirya, formerly Yanukovych's opulent estate," link to kyivpost.com A nice bit of context is here: link to telegraph.co.uk
      The kind of living "enjoyed" by a very few kleptocratic Robber Barons in other places, too, like Putin, link to bornrich.com ,and "Wall Streeters," link to dailymotion.com , and of course the capi de tuti capi of the military-industrial Internationale, like these dudes: link to content.time.com And it's nothing new, either the over-the-top grandiosity based on looting, or the attitudes of the denizens: link to cnn.com

      And near Kyiv, "militant nationalists," apparently the kind of organized paramilitary that you see all over, these days, controls the Presidential Palace and stuff, and since "the military" does not seem to be as "invested" in the larger economy as in, say, Egypt, the troops may stay in their barracks, as the saying goes.

      All this for what? To make better lives for the common man and woman who labor to make the Real Wealth, maintain their communities, feed their families? Any bets on what the next round looks like? Making a healthier and more stable and less consumptive (and hence less species-suicidal) place is so very tough, when all the vultures and jackals whose life ambitions are to live like Yanukovych on his estate, with bribes and the national treasury open to his whims are constantly circling, looking for a way to bring this population into an "alliance" or bring "development" and "contracts" and "deals" whereby the extractable wealth can be more quickly and efficiently gutted out of the place.

      The jackals and vultures have binocular but fixated vision, on stripping wealth and subjugating and controlling the ordinary people, by all the stratagems that aggressive, there's that word, colonial and Imperial and now supra-post-national corporate "interests" deploy. They "win" by have an organizing principle that has nothing to do with "general welfare," and if you look at what Shell and BP and Big Coal and the Global Network-Centric Battlespace Managers are strategically up to, positively slavering about the "opportunities" that are being "opened up," like the chance to strip the Arctic and Antarctic regions of extractables, and link up all the world's predatory militaries "interoperably," including Ukraine. Want a taste of grasping cynicism of the the worst (from the ordinary person's standpoint) kind? Lookie here, and related sources: link to slate.com So what's next? Shell's "Blueprints," or more likely "Scramble," or a mashup of "Soylent Green" and "Mad Max" and "The Postman?"

      So where, and more important, will, the ordinary people of Kyiv and Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk and the rest of us find an organizing principle to counter the greed-driven consumption that so many of us are so ardently pursuing ourselves? How to lay a course to something other than over the cliff (except, of course, for the very few who will float away, maximally titillated and scot-free)?

  • The Deep State is Vulnerable to People Power
    • Two little extracts from your second link:

      With new antiterrorism laws, such as the USA Patriot Act adopted last year to allow agencies to share information more easily, investigators can cast a wider net than ever.

      "We have done things under the Patriot Act that we weren't able to do before," said Mark Kroczynski, special agent in charge of the IRS criminal investigation division in Detroit." No bull.

      And:

      Some informants, taking advantage of the government's eagerness to develop sources, have tried to use investigators to settle personal vendettas.

      "People divorce, things go sour, the next thing you know, someone's calling the FBI," said Tim Attalla, a Dearborn attorneyand community activist.

      In one case, an Arab informant agreed to help a divorced friend strike back at his ex-wife and former brother-in-law by making up a story to the FBI, according to sealed federal court records obtained by the Free Press. The informant told the FBI that his friend's ex-wife and her brother were smuggling weapons and making death threats.

      In a phone conversation intercepted by the FBI -- and transcribed in the court documents -- the informant bragged about his perceived ability to manipulate the government:

      "Stop being scared. . . . I know how the government operates, you do not," he told his friend. (Apparently not...)

    • Mr. Bill likely actually knows a lot about "the US" that most of us don't, from his regularly implied involvement in or specific knowledge of Deep State stuff like Allende's overthrow and his claims of deep knowledge of Washington, the Imperial capital, and many places he has "lived" and been apparently "involved in," somehow. Regarding the "love it or leave it, USA Number One" narrative, apparently there are maybe millions of American citizens who for various reasons found the US Empire sufficiently idiotic (or are pursuing their own economic benefit elsewhere, e.g., TransPacific Partnership-ing, or "contracting" for the MICSEC apparatus) to join the American Diaspora. link to en.wikipedia.org Note the reasons given for leaving, like medical benefits in "socialized" or at least more morally advanced places. Bill is obviously comfortable and protected where he is. The rate of emigration appears to be increasing, for some reason(s)... Will Bill reply by insisting that "we" don't "interfere" in their affairs? "Providing technical assistance" to the Chilean milito-oligarchs that killed Allende to pre-empt any possible nationalization of US corporate thiefdoms there is defined as "not interfering," I guess...

  • The Dark State: Snowden's Revelations on Secret Gov't Surveillance are the Tip of the Iceberg
    • Ubiquity + unlimited resources = "black velvet jackboot on the neck?"

      I had dinner recently with a fella who works at the upper levels in IT in a university setting and blandly noted his activities and programs were part of the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security, his funding and guidance and stuff. He's also in the business of training up new faces to staff the Secret State Organs, and readily agreed to a not sufficiently sarcastic observation that this is a huge growth area with nearly unlimited career potentials. He likes the NSA's and CIA's recruiting programs, which offer newbies the "opportunity to influence national and international policy" in all sorts of attractive positions:

      "Intelligence. It's the ability to think abstractly. Challenge the unknown. Solve the impossible. And at NSA, it's about protecting the Nation. A career at NSA offers the opportunity to work with the best, shape the course of the world, and secure your own future. Isn't it time to put your intelligence to work?" link to nsa.gov

      If one has questions, NSA has (a very few) answers: link to nsa.gov

      And for the educated career seekers shouldering almost-undischargeable-in-bankruptcy student loan debt out there, unable to find Real Economy work that's gone elsewhere or away, here's another resource: link to fas.org

      All the vectors point in the direction of the Matrix, don't they? The state security apparatus creates NOTHING of real value, is totally parasitic and cancerous, but for individuals there are such wonderful opportunities to "do well" by helping the predators rise, rise, rise...

  • The Iran Breakthrough TV News is Ignoring: Uranium Stockpile falls below amount Needed for Bomb
    • Of course it's hardly just one idiotic retail Rube Goldberg weapon system that is supposed to "counter one particular threat," with one all-consuming model of a counter-threat with all the ways that it can be "improved in development" or "fixed in procurement," in a failed institution that does nothing for "our security." It's wholesale, and they don't even try to cover it up much any more: "Behind the Pentagon’s doctored ledgers, a running tally of epic waste" link to reuters.com This is part 2 of a 3 part article. The diagnosis is obvious, but given the systemic infection and metastasis, there's probably no chance of a cure, or even much of a prognosis for the patient, because "weapon systems and attendant management expand to engulf available wealth..." AW&ST and other trade pubs for the MIC (LOVE those acronyms!) are just full of other examples...

  • Three Years Later: Can the Libyan Revolution Succeed?
    • Of course, Bill, what I was linking to was the whole book, which is stuffed with endless chapters full of charming examples of the "agitprop" that was aimed not just at those Evil Commies and their Evil Designs to Take Over The World, but at that good old US of A culture, to fill our collective heads with the canto of the Cold War that Bill speaks so eloquently and anachronistically in and for. It wasn't just "propaganda," it was subversion of all kinds of intellectual processes in what used to be thought of as America, in service of fertilizing the ground that the, can one deny it, evil creeps that were "protecting us" by COINTELPRO and destabilizing Italian democracy and artfully and clumsily and foolishly "changing regimes" in Korea and Iran and South Vietnam and and helping kill Allende and doing the Iran-Contra shuffle on the faces of Nicaraguans and ssshhh, Phoenix Program, and there's not room to list all the "initiatives." Oooohh, They were doing it, so WE better be doing it too, and bigger and better. To give Them the incentive to try to do more of it too! Hence "our" military and "security" establishment(s) and MIC and weapons sales just "lead the world." Not leading in "greening," are we? No profit in that yet....

      Actually, I do "disapprove of agitprop," if I can follow Joe's obscure syntactical "insinuendo." Just one of the disease vectors that are helping most humans slide ever faster down a very factoidal Teflon (r)-coated slippery slope into species suicide by heat. Of course, those who suck up to those who profit from and manage that lubricity, who live free of consequences, get to live safe and comfortable and well fed and die, in the fullness of time, comfortably and with the best of care.

      Attack the United States? "The United States," that abstraction, is NOT "the Administration" of our Empire and the commercial interests that own it. Rooskies pumping rubles into the Communist Parties of Europe? Kochs and Murdochs and squat little casino barons dumping hundreds of billions into our electoral processes, to more very directly and frontally "buy votes" and write the laws that "legalize" theft and crush the rest of us? How is fomenting wars of choice for profit and fun, or fracking the joint, or encouraging "clean coal," or sneaking the TPP through and accelerating the gutting of a healthy middle of our nation, or feeding so much of our non-military real-wealth budget to the Vampire Squids of the patently disloyal or, more mildly, post-loyal, "financial industry," and on and on, not "attacking the United States?" All depends on how you "loyalists" define The United States -- does it not? How about private prisons, or private schools that, for tax-funded profit, teach patent idiocy to generations, maybe cynical and destructive "wars on drugs"? You know there's lots more where that came from...

    • "States" are not actual entities, except for conversational convenience. "States" are collections of individuals with interests and institutions that kind of go along together, until they don't any more. The "interests" are not those of some disembodied "state," being generally only the "interests" of the well-placed and well-off, intent on further gain by the taking and consumption of other people's stuff.

      Places like Libya and Tunisia and Egypt, let alone "America," have an increasingly hard time growing any kind of national and cohesive identity because so many people who profit by disparatism and the promotion of anomie have their fingers in the pie -- whether those people are home-grown demagogues or sneaky-petes or militarists and their industrial appendages from other "states." And always the vulture capitalists are circling, circling, ready to grab any chunk of the carcass and its resources that might be "on offer."

      Iraq or Libya, the folks who initiate such interventions actually do seem to have a pretty clear vision of what they would like to have "follow," which, if you follow the money, pretty clearly shows where personally profitable, socially destructive advantages and gains and externalities and the seeds of more can be expected and so regularly found. That the PNAC did not get to directly grab the petroleum under Iraq does not negate the reality of what was planned, nor the reality of hundreds of billions in disappeared and frittered wealth and all those lives.

      The Great Game and the sanctification of the fraud and misappropriation of "nations," and claiming validity for "national interests," are a big part of what is causing our planet to choke and die. But thank goodness the Blessed Ones who get rich off the consumption and bleeding will be spared any of the consequences that fall on ordinary people who don't have a healthy organizing principle to model their "states" on, and face active and subversive Game play, and bad but encouraged and maybe incurable habits of tribalism and violence, opposing any such development.

    • Now there is a blast from the past...
      Maybe you've read another screed, Bill, one that tracks CIA agitprop on a world scale during the Dulles and later years, and gives a nice look at how deeply the Narrative-knitters penetrated the whole thinking universe:

      "The Cultural Cold War -- The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters"

      link to nytimes.com

      Got a nice heavy dogmatic Cold Warrior's slam on that set of documented observations on how our frisky-pig Squealers went about re-writing all of thought and history in service of the Great American Empire?

  • Kerry Blasts Climate Denialists, equates Climate Change with Terrorism, WMDs
    • Then-Senator Kerry did an op-ed holding that climate change was a more massive security threat than 9/11 events. link to huffingtonpost.com

      Now-Secretary Kerry then published another op-ed telling us that fortunately, the warming planet was melting all that obstructing ice and permafrost off the Arctic, and it behooved us humans, with the US in the lead, of course, pursuing "its national interests," to get out there and complete our Manifest Destiny by validating an earlier Secretary of State's long vision -- Seward's purchase of all that Arctic landform from the Rooskies, for a relative pittance. "Go North, young man, QUICKLY, and extract and burn and use up the last vast relatively untapped carbon piles and MINERALs and stuff, build the 'infrastructure' up too, while' you're at it, and do it before any of those other nations pursuing 'their national interests' get to it, and forget about the positive-feedback effects on that, ah, horrible climate change mechanism! There's real wealth out there, composed of extractable and combustible hydrocarbons, and easily avoided external costs! And the 'All Of The Above Administration is 100% behind you!" link to huffingtonpost.com

      For context: "White House outlines framework for managing Arctic", link to thehill.com

      "U.S. lags behind other nations in staking claims to Arctic resources", link to nhregister.com

      "Managing?" That's a nice euphemism...

  • The Day the 5th Amendment was Droned to Death
    • There's that undocumented "it is well known" again -- pops up conveniently when some disingenuous obfuscation is needed to be operative... Do I recall that Bill has chastised others for recourse to that crusty fraud?

      Did "the US" not KILL the younger al-Awliki? And the excuse is that he was riding in the wrong vehicle?

    • Hi John -- you need to at least look at the Wiki entry on Letters of Marque and Reprisal before conflating the arrogation of power that is the drone (and Special and Black Ops) machinery in our Imperial offices, with the issuance by a state or federal legislature (with the executive's signature) of such bounty-hunters' licenses. link to en.wikipedia.org Maybe Bill could find some authority there for the killing of those comfortably named "Unlawful Enemy Combatants," but not too many lawyers, maybe not even John Yoo (who scorns the Constitution anyway, as an unwarranted set of constraints on absolute executive power), would venture that opinion.

      The way we, the masses, become post-Constitutional is by letting the processes that demolish those rights and privileges and immunities that were written or interpreted into the Constitution run ahead unchallenged and unchecked. The right-wingers you name have figured out how to steal and convert the legitimacy conferred by elections into a medieval masquerade, entertaining and lavishly expensive and satisfying to the our-team-your-team roots in our limbic system but to put it mildly, unrepresentative. All consciously and openly done, with a smile and a sneer at our bovine lumpishness, as we busily slave to generate the REAL wealth that they have figured out how to Hoover up and leverage into power and grotesque self-pleasure, leaving us little but scraps...

    • One more fun drone item: It appears that, like derivatives and other TBTF and vulture capitalist excesses, "civilian" drone use is beyond regulation and out of control. Even Bloomberg has noticed:

      "Runaway Drones Map Land, Film 'Wolf,' Knock Down People, as FAA Gives Chase ", link to bloomberg.com Hey, some of these companies are publicly traded! A big Buy signal!

      I bet a few who comment here are old enough to remember "Breaker One-Nine, this hyar's Long Dong -- gotcher ears on? Smoky at yer 6!" "Citizens Band or CB radio, link to en.wikipedia.org, -- another Freedom (tm) thing that got way past any efforts by the FCC to regulate. Supposed to be less restrictive than "ham" which required actually knowing how radios work and all the rules and Morse code and stuff. Supposed to be limited to 5 watts output for short-range near-line-of-sight communication, on a limited set of channels -- pretty quickly the "bandits" figured out how to add linear amplifiers to boost that to hundreds of watts, add complicated antennas and start doing DXing, Ham-ese for long distance talk. The FCC could not begin to enforce their rules -- kind of like the situation with guns, that other Freedom (tm) thing.

      And now we have a neat Quadcopter with a machine pistol wired in: "Death from Above: Quadcopter Modified to Carry Machine Gun" link to technabob.com

      Go spend some time looking at DoD and MIC websites for some of the other fascinating weapons that are just over the horizon... Stupid humans.

    • It appears there may be another 5th Amendment sticky point in our State Security operations. If the NSA is extracting and collecting intellectual property and confidential business information like trade secrets and stuff, as appears to be the case, and even using it for corporate advantage to favored "interests," at what point will the corporate lawyers who might otherwise wink at clubs being applied to plain old mortal citizens start to seek "just compensation" from "the government" that is taking their OMG PROPERTY without paying for it? That was one of the strong selling points for the Bill of Rights in the first instance -- that property interests would be at least as well protected as those silly Rights of Man... Be fun to see one of the big European MIC corporations, or even one of our own heavy-hitting, Citizen-United corps, suing the US rulership for "taking" competitive information with considerable value without, that phrase again, "just compensation." link to landuselaw.wustl.edu

  • Dear GOP: Top 5 Biblical Marriage Moments far worse than Gay Marriage
    • Was it George Carlin who offered that he was all in favor of gay marriage -- gays should have the same opportunity to be miserable as the rest of us?

  • How Iraq Vets against War & Peace Groups stopped Senate bid to derail Iran Talks
    • "Enshrine?" Is that what "the Obama administration" is doing? Iran already had the right to a peaceful nuclear energy program, as has been well demonstrated in this blog. What Obamanistan may be doing is trying to back away from a questionably internationally-legal embargo of the Iranian economy, as the limits of "our" power are being spotlighted. And from the pressures for another inevitably disastrous war thing in that already fragmenting part of the world.

      Why do you always step up to try to smear another coat of lipstick on the pig, to pitch out little "administration-friendly" talking points?

    • I see Joe is back to building his edifice of personal condescending credibility by undercutting the credibility of others, with lots of "corrective" little snipes like this. Where does the author claim it's 12 vets in the cold that stopped the War Machine and AIPAC from ramrodding S. 1881? Maybe an inartful emphasis on the vets' activities, but a clear notation that it was a bunch of people, a "coalition" if you will, that for the moment has been able to leverage a general-public distaste for more War Stuff on behalf of our bosses in Tel Aviv and down there on H Street in the Imperial Capital...

    • And under the heading of "WTF," and mostly under the radar, there is this little "situation" where the only behaviors the Overlords apparently are capable of is throwing napalm on the fire:

      " Saudis and CIA agree to Arm Syrian “Moderates” with Advanced Anti-aircraft and Anti-tank Weapons"

      link to juancole.com

      Now let's hear all the carefully scripted rationalizations about why this is "wise" and "necessary" and likely to be "effective," and a definition of what "effective" is meant to mean, and why onaccounta Global Geopolitics this is the best that can be done. Does the Syrian nominal government stand or fall on the continued existence of Bashar Assad? Mossad and others have shown some adroitness in "removing" individuals, assuming their "interests" are not actually tied to keeping the horror you can see on syriavideo.net and youtube up and running... Maybe a poisoned cigar? or cellphone with a dab of Semtex?

    • Thank you, brothers and sisters, you who know what war really means, in terms of the human toll that these effing chicken hawks and war wimps and shameless profiteers care nothing about, from up in their well stuffed perches high in the sky.

      NO MORE! You heartless bastards have had ENOUGH!

  • Beyond the disappointment of Marines: What's Really going on in Fallujah?
    • Have you visited Syria Comment, and the subset of "ground truth of horror" that Landis and associates are compiling at syriavideo.net? The video imagery shows the destruction, gleeful destruction, of what must have been a comfortable and even beautiful human environment. The images also display the behaviors that a social psychologist might parse to find the roots and incentives and social structures and individual and group pathologies that combine to lead to dudes with guns blasting the brains out of the skulls of other bound and helpless fellow humans, or sawing through their living necks with a dull knife, or eating an "enemy" heart, or yukking it up when an RPG or "heavy missile anti-tank weapon" turns an "enemy" tank, whose crew has been busily questing, with Milspec sensors alert, for something to blast with that waving long-barreled cannon, into a flesh-charring torch with attendant fireworks. Or lobbing mortar rounds or rockets in random "enemy" directions. All with continuous incantations and shouts of "Allahu Akhbar!"

      Maybe there are clues here, when joined to honest study of the behaviors of "states" and the "interests" that manipulate them, as to whether anything different is possible for humanity at this stage in our moral undevelopment. And what that "anything different" might look like, at large and in detail. Given the reality that there's profit and dominance without consequence for the sh_ts who make and distribute the arms and use the tribal hot buttons and sneaky-pete tradecraft and the other tools of idiocy hidden behind that wise-sounding fraud of a word, "policy." A word as unexamined as the phrase "National Interests." Because, like the word "enemy," everyone knows in their hearts what each one means, right?

  • Putinism in Cairo? The Rise of the Russian Model
    • Interesting to watch Apologists for two different eras of the Empire going at each other over Who's Smartest and Who's Right. So comforting to know that folks like this are the ones who make and effectuate "policy" toward people and places like Syria and Chile and Nicaragua and Notagainistan. So horrid to read the books and articles that our Overlords, who do appear to have an Organizing Principle and thus the advantage over the rest of us, can let us "freely" examine, showing us how "free" we are in our Ruleoflaw Constitutional plantation, showing the evils that are practiced in our Exceptional Name, knowing how enervating and disabling that information can be. Wonder when they will get tired of the annoyance of providing Cover and Deniability, and just turn off the bandwidth spigot... "We have always been at war with Terrorstan." "Resistance, given which way the money flows, and the degree of control the Collective has, and the impossibility of organized resistance, is futile..." "It is in the [undefined] National Interest!"

  • Israel to Implant 9-Storey Ultra-Orthodox Seminary in Palestinian East Jerusalem
    • It's silly to even point out all the bits and pieces of what this all means "in human terms" to the Palestinians. But just for context, it appears "settlers," as their models in South Africa did, are happy to enserf Palestinians, virtually steal their labor, including children -- all "undocumented" except by a few journalists who can still care. "Palestinian Children: The Invisible Workers of Israeli Settlements." link to thedailybeast.com, and among many other articles, "Tile by tile, Palestinians build Israeli settlements," link to globalpost.com .

      There might be a start at some push-back, BDS-style, some revulsion at the idiocy, and some recognition that just because the Likudniks' self-history is one of conquest and displacement by violence and trickery, as laid out in the Pentateuch, that doesn't oblige the rest of the world to let their little vision keep lighting fuses on so many bombs that explode elsewhere.

      Not that the kind of people that dominate the Palestinians from their own ranks, politically and economically, care a fig or an olive about their slaving, suffering masses, when there's a buck to be made off them. Arafat and Abbas and quite a number of "businessmen" seem to be doing just fine with the status declining quo.

      But then in this world, headed for a human-induced apocalypse, Praise Ye The Lord!, decency and comity and kindness and what used to be called righteousness have neither currency nor value. Maybe we've reached that critical mass, where enough people addicted to greed and power and self-pleasing have risen to the top that the rest of us know in our sad little hearts that resistance is futile...

  • UN: Civilian drone deaths triple in Afghanistan
    • Shorter Joe: Drone deaths don't matter in the body count. Of civilians, however counted and defined, dead and damaged due to idiot Administration policies. When in doubt, obfuscate into relativism of disparate itemology.

    • One might have reason to wonder if part of the reason that drone strikes ("No, Ronnie, you can't call the missiles back once they're launched") are so shall we say "leaky" is that in a who-cares, gigabuck-fluid environment, failures get buried (in so many ways) by those who profit and gain promotions? and the "intelligence" that does the targeting is not only stupid, but consequence-free? See below.

      It sort of makes me ill, when I start googling about stuff like this -- the money, the mechanistic machinery of the industrial activity called "war." The vast gulf between the shallow facile mythology that gets talked about in media and blogspace, "is droning legal," "does torture work," for example, and the enthusiasm for "game changing weapons," like the XM-25 and V-22 and F-35, that aren't. So little attention to reasons or effects or honest visualization of what the Game play really is like. One tiny example of Milthink and Milfail is here, in military.com, where some of the idiocies of parts of the Globular Notwork-centric Inoperable Bettitlespace actually get discussed: "Army Units in Afghanistan Slam Intel System," link to dodbuzz.com. Hey, only $6 billion (out of $10.5 planned) for a "something" that doesn't work! It's a BARGAIN! And the system's acolytes will no doubt say it just needs a few billion more in "tweaks," right? Like the ACA web site! Can't we just STOP this idiotic, ultimately unaffordable tail-chase?

  • We're all Living in the World Dick Cheney Made
    • The banality of evil, the insouciance of power. A couple of reminders, little vignettes, on the nature of the Beast:

      "Dick Cheney: Telling Patrick Leahy 'F--k Yourself' Was 'Sort Of The Best Thing I Ever Did' "

      link to huffingtonpost.com Includes link to the actual moment. And reminds us what a Dick Dennis Miller is, along with other Power Groupie sycophants who offer lustrations and adorations to those who carve "freedom of action" out of the bodies of the rest of us, and who think stuff like this is the stuff of legend and admiration.

      At the other end of the telephone, there's this:

      "How The Guy Who Told Dick Cheney To Go F___ Himself Was Treated -- By The Feds And eBay."
      link to onlisareinsradar.com

      Consequences are like externalities -- to be visited by the Cheneys and Halliburtons and BPs and Lockheed "We Know Who We're Working For" Martins and Kochs ,etc., on the rest of us. The plumbing only flows one way -- Downhill.

  • Assassination by Leak: US floats Trial Balloon of Droning an American to Death
    • Like, the "intended target" would not know he has a laser dot on his forehead if this "transparency" were left "opaque."

      And just in case anyone has forgotten Bill's riff on how it's all legal and stuff... Repeated restated regurgitated repetition is the stuff of successful learning, and propaganda...

    • Seems to me we are reaching that point where our lords and masters, having corralled us with our faith in the myths of our Exceptional Democracy and Freedom! (tm) are feeling their oats and ready to abandon all pretense and just tell the rest of us to go f___ ourselves (along with the EU, and even members of Congress), that they are going to routinely just go on and do whatever goddam all they feel like doing to anyone at any time, close the pen doors, open the chute and put their Judas Goats to work herding us up to the killing and flensing floors of their abattoirs... No rules, no structure except raw power. Where has this all been seen before?

    • Please file under "Who Cares?", which is right behind "Whatever We Do Is Ipso Facto Legal" in the drawer marked "Memory Hole." Or at least formerly marked as such, until labeling on all filing related to "Policy" was redacted for national security reasons...

  • Brokers of Deceit: Massive US Aid to Israel has Enabled a Colonial Project
    • Yeah, the Camp David Accords have really done so much for peace 'n love in the Mideast, haven't they? link to mondoweiss.net Really showed off how effective our Power-Projectors-In-Chief have been and are. Got any examples of actual goodness and light that have resulted from US involvement (don't call it "American involvement," that "America" is a fading myth behind the reality of the US empire) in the Mideast, or elsewhere? Except maybe in terms, as others put it, of "serving US unspecified interests?" Your thesis-cum-cheerleading seems less tenable than the other one you want to force-frame into this discussion.

  • A $9 Trillion War? Top 10 Reasons Americans will Regret it if GOP Derails Iran Negotiations
    • One has to wonder how many are Mr. Smiths Gone To Washington, and how many are Liebermans and that idiot with the awful skin tones and crocodile tears... Seems to me that once under the Beltway Bubble, insulated from the awful reality the rest of us face every working and weekend day, and freed from any consequences, all those virtues and reservations you presume and reference disappear, sublimate completely, in the fog of fundraising, elbow-rubbing, log-rolling and messaging. Too many experiments in the psychology world showing how fragile the moral sense and wider loyalties and perceptions are for me, at least, to think there's some reason to hope that some of them, enough of them, might seek redemption by acts and deeds, rather than absolution by re-election... At least until it's time to enter a "McNamara plea" or do the Colin Powell Hamlet scene. No negative consequences, all around, except to the ordinary people, the cake-eating masses, as it were...

    • Same principle as the "markets" that dominate most of the rest of human interaction: socialize the horror and other externalities (political derangement, Agent Orange, depleted-uranium, AKs and FALs and M-4s and RPGs always and everywhere), privatize the profits. Whether it's derivatives or cluster bombs or total penetration of the cyberspnere, it's all the same thing. The Few float above it, untouched, languidly contracting with one another, up thre in Elysium, link to en.wikipedia.org, while the masses, the masses I said, try to make decent lives for themselves and their loved ones. Even in Homs and Fallujah and Mogadishu...

    • Making reference to inchoate but scary-huge "national interests" at every point in the discussion does not enhance the validity of other unsupported assertions based on supposed but unstated and in any event unsupported greater and deeper and more insider knowledge and wisdom. The kind that is in part responsible for the sorry state of the world and the US imperial involvement in it.

    • "AIPAC Caves On Iran Sanctions Vote." link to talkingpointsmemo.com

      Not exactly game-over, if you read it and track it. Wonder what the little we-don't-have-to-register-as-a- foreign-lobby sneaks and their disloyal friends in Congress and whatever fraction of the MIC that favors taking a big chance on seeing the Fleet blown out of the water, and related idiocy, have a little further up their sleeves? "It's a dangerous world out there." Wonder how one reduces that danger, when there are so many well-armed and wealthy and well-connected sociopaths with death wishes roaming around out there, ready to take down the rest of the ordinary people with them? And so many on "our" side who only know how to throw gasoline on the smoldering charcoal in the community grill?

  • "The Iranians are Coming!" Derangement Syndrome over 1 Destroyer in Atlantic
    • If anyone has reason to be scared, it's the crew of those two ships. You can bet that there are all kinds of "assets" aimed at their "asses" and they are no doubt totally aware of that fact. And that their survival time, should the US war machine decide they are too much of an uppity annoyance, would be measured in milliseconds. And one hopes no one commenting here would be thinking "Well hey, all them Muslims are just itching to get martyred and go collect their 76 virgins."

  • Congress to CIA: Provide US Drone Victim Count
    • Assert need to continue Globular War on Terror via droning, et al., essentially forever, since "al Quaeds leadership structure in FATA" -- and elsewhere -- not sufficiently "degraded," presume police work and diplomacy and comity-and equity-building insufficient to address, preserving option to insert Special Ops to disimpact Unlawrful Enema Combatants -- check.

      Assert, without support, that the drone campaigning has been, by some unstated measure, in some presumptively sensible frame, "successful" -- check.

      Degrade and diminish and plausibly deny superficial reasons for decades of imperial violence by pooh-poohing hearts-and-minds justification given by many administrations, with wise belated observation that same were not ours to win or lose in the first place -- check.

      Reinforce fear that dangerous elements of minuscule non-state entities exist in places where US and general Western and Great Game policies have created fallow ground for nationalist and sect-based and well-armed militancy, while reinforcing need for continued Geewillikers Technoloblobble War on Unspecified Everything Terror -- check.

      Plug for the usual justifications of potential undefined harm to undefined US and its undefined interests -- check.

      And Bill impugns ME by asserting I just refer to 3 x 5 cards.

  • Iceland: Major Green Energy Breakthrough using Magma for Geothermal
    • When we humans start with the geo-engineering on a big or interesting scale, shouldn't there be a presumption that we need to be dang sure that what our profit-driven, consumptive oligarchs who would drive such practices get behind will not, like, really screw up the planet we have to live on even worse? Fracking and geothermal at the present scale already produce earthquakes that produce damage to the "built environment" where humans live, and increased methane release. Consumptive geologists and engineers with grant and other money and naming rights in mind, and fearless discounting of caveats and externalities, may want the rest of us to believe that "Earth" is one relatively static monad that can be bled of energy and minerals and petroleum and the beasts of the forest and fish in the sea without significant consequence. And what could possibly go wrong with drilling a hole through the Earth's crust into all that profitable magma, and then injecting stuff down the hole? Great for the Calvinist capitalist mentality, obviously wrong "on the ground," for those who have to live with the consequences that our lords and masters mostly escape...

  • The Death of God in Iraq: 32% of Iraqis not Sure God Exists, 11% think Not
    • You think all the old Crusaders "believed in G_D," whatever that huge phrase means? Or the Jesuits? Religion has damn-all little to do with spirit or faith, and a lot more to do with hierarchy and (usually patriarchical) repression and tribal identity and adhesion. And "they" who got polled seem likely to have been an assortment of ordinary people, rather than a set of Gunmen and Fighters and anomic shooters, some of whom no doubt believe in the same Molochian, Ariesian "god" that inspires ourhome-grown Christianists in our military...

  • Broken Democracy: Republicans poised to take Senate, Americans Reject their Platform
    • Voting in private? Not really a form of honest, accurate polling, since gerrymandering and the success of expensive attack-ad strategies and managed-media messaging based on clear falsehoods and distortions tips the scales. Folks may want to think of themselves as "tolerant and loving" maybe to their immediate families and tribe, but do you attend a church? You got anything to say about church politics at the parish level and on up? Speaking of sweeping generalizations, yours in favor of "conservative" preferences require assuming that all that polling the post refers to is wrong, and the that the gaming of the electoral process (which since de Toqueville has been known to be subject to capture and distortion by tyrrany-of-the-minority) is, I guess, "honest polling." Have "conservative" positions and platforms made this a better, more decent, even more "successful" nation? Not a lot of evidence for that, except as to the blessings conferred on (or stolen by) a very, very few of the landed gentry types... presumably the current situation has been berry, berry good to you, personally?

    • Wealth- and power seekers are like parasites, pathogens and cancer cells. Your body's plain old somatic cells just want to go about their business, homeostatically and more or less efficiently, carrying your perceptions and spirit forward through time and space. Creatures like the Kochs and Netanyahu and Stalin and Cheney and Gadhafi and Assad etc. are driven and organized very differently, to dominate, subvert, consume, and by making more of themselves, to eventually own the organism and even more eventually to kill it. Ordinary people are oblivious to the adenoma or tapeworm or fluke or entrepreneurial bacterium or virus, until something starts to hurt or bleed or seriously malfunction -- meanwhile, all covertly and beyond the wisdom of the immune system or by actually co-opting all those T-cells and leucophages and antibodies, the organized little entity has been doing its dirty work even more efficiently.

      Where's the vaccine or antibiotic or robotic surgery that will cure that state of the speies?

  • Dear President Obama: Tar Sands & Keystone XL are more Dangerous than an Iranian Atomic Bomb
    • In case anybody missed it, especially Obama groupies, and in case it's not obvious, there's this observation by the former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu:

      "Fmr Energy Secretary: Obama’s Keystone XL Decision Political, Not Scientific" link to freebeacon.com

      The fix is in? "Say it ain't so, Joe!" link to en.wikipedia.org

  • Islamic State of Iraq & Levant too Extreme for al-Qaeda (Not the Onion)
    • If I can reply, George, and if you were writing to me, may I say that I served with the 1st Cav in helicopters from August 1967 to August 1968, based at a place called Phan Thiet in the South, to An Khe and Chu Lai and Phu Bai (just down the road from My Lai) in the northern part of then South Vietnam. That includes that "Tet" thing and some personal experience with that insatiable Beast, and more than enough exposure to the hated Brass and their BS. I've got all my appendages, but the residues of that time have "earned" me a VA disability.

      My "book on warfare" any more is "Catch-22." From other reading, I try to understand what's really going on and illuminate the idiocy of the whole Pentagram thing. Interesting that you would so misunderstand what I wrote. Sorry too -- what it shows is how effing hard it is for any of us ordinary fodder to either understand one another well enough to do anything but savage or deprecate one another or, in the case of our "apologists" here, flacking for the crap that keeps on dragging us mopes back into the savagery, using their understanding of human motivations and beliefs to manipulate others into supporting what's profitable for the scammers' little personal scams or ambitions or to excuse past bad behaviors as "required under the circumstances."

      The "boots" war is always the same grunting horror, as you say. Honest veterans will own up that for them, despite the kind of floating patriotic idiocy that induced them to join up, and me to enlist in 1966, it was mostly about taking care of your buddies and trying to stay alive. Band of Brothers. But the whole larger "war" thing, at the trillions-of-dollars scale, is just an operation of Milo Minderbinder Enterprises, by guys who will bomb their own troops for cost plus 15 percent. Completely divorced from the grunting violence.

      Far as I can tell, you and I are mostly on the same side. What I was pointing to is that Big Clumsy Massive War Machines, run by Battlespace Managers, are getting their a__es kicked by relatively poorly armed people who know and love and live in their terrain, in "4th Generation Warfare," the kind practiced by the Viet Cong and NVA. Or are mercenaries of the worst sorts, for "religious affiliation" or just for Erick Prince-Dickless-Cheney-style money. And now we are into the age of "5th Generation Warfare," leading eventually to a war of all against all, and that Gahan Wilson insight that first appeared in "Playboy" while I was still in Vietnam: "I think I won!" link to 31.media.tumblr.com Is that Syria in the background?

      There ain't no winners in war any more, except for the Brass and some politicians and the suppliers and financiers. Peace 'n love, brother.

    • Not so clear, any more, first, what "war" is, and second, that "the big fish always eat the little fish." For some context, in the morass of hyperstrategoptionalizationism where people like Petraeus and McChrystal and Lind and their predecessors who defined the opening idiotic doctrines of WW I and subsequent idiocies:

      "Is 4GW dead?" link to slightlyeastofnew.com

      "Is 4th generation warfare dead?" link to fabiusmaximus.com

      "Fifth Generation Warfare: Conspiracy and Shadow Government" link to wolfpangloss.wordpress.com

      "Update about one of the seldom-discussed trends shaping our world: 4GW" link to fabiusmaximus.com

      Sun Tzu postulated that when a state goes to war, the people need to feel that what is being done is righteous, and that the war leaders are smart enough not to pick a fight they can't win in a place so far away that the costs, of all sorts, of warring will bankrupt the state. Just because "we" CAN "go to war with the Army you've got," that obviously does not mean
      "we" should -- depending, of course, ,on what the real underlying and over-lie-ing interests and goals of the rulers and war leaders really are. F-35, anyone? Private jets for generals, another carrier battle group for another admiral to "lead?"

  • The Cheapening of American Politics: Why did Obama reward O'Reilly with an Interview?
    • Ah, the telltale "tell:" only a certain set of "conservatives' (sic) refer to it as the "Democrat Party."

    • You really believe that? That there is any kind of "parity" there? And what do you categorize as "conservatives?" People who "conserve" by eating up the planet, suckering us into "Wars of Choice," trashing communities, hiding behind our great honorable American myths while sneakily destroying the honorable "rule of law" and all the individual-rights bits of that quaint "Constitution?" And of course MSNBC does its share of crapping conservative droppings too. Sells newspapers, I guess... Oh, you forgot to mention ACORN!

      Great point, Noise! "Neener neener neener, you're one too-ooo!"

  • Now Peace Talks, John Kerry, are "Anti-Semitic" in Eyes of Israeli Far Right
    • I wonder if it's possible to encourage reporters to report stuff like this with the observation that the actual adjective or gerund is "Anti-Likudic."

  • Christie, Clapper and other Officials who should be in Jail instead of Snowden
    • Cheney is like the little brat that uses a magnifying glass to burn ants and caterpillars to death before he goes in to dinner and cookies and milk, and burns holes in stuff like the front seat of Mom's car and blames other kids or Dad for the damage.

    • Hi Bill-- good conclusory recitation of the story of Capitalism vs. Communism as told by Exceptional Americanism. Just so people know, there of course is some significant debate about your assertions. Here's two among many such bits of scholarship:

      link to arcaneknowledge.org
      link to historyorb.com

      Carrying forward the myths of "our" Inevitable Superiority as the basis for future policies is yet another ingredient in the recipe for accelerating collapse of our own Empire, and I do find it interesting that no one seems to dispute that the US is just another Empire. Also, tense matters -- comparing then-US to then-Soviet might warrant the statement that the Soviets were MORE venal and corrupt at the time, also subject to a lot of footnotes. But compare our present complex corruptions, across the spectrum of values and institutions, to then-Soviet, and the scale of stuff like financial manipulations, idiotic Imperial wars-of-choice, global militarization and over-extension, outsourcing of our economy, the charade of republicanism and the franchise and assault on those Enlightenment "rights of man," and the margin gets pretty small. In my view, of course.

    • Thanks, Joseph, for speaking up for those of us who are from that "generation that has not yet passed from the stage." When we do, the stage will be clear for the sellers of the Dulles, Cheney, et seq. "rationales," that nice cover for ongoing idiotic imperialism that has brought so many Iagos and Lady Macbeths out onto the proscenium. "A lot of anger about Vietnam"? And about "Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL)," and that contractor's and corruptnik's dream, "The War on Terror in Notagainistan and A Couple of Hundred Other Places." All happily justified by people who would obscure the unhappy, horrific parallels between every foreign US Imperial adventure since Korea, and our earlier activities e.g., the Spanish-American Walkover. There's a whole lot of serious historians who have blown away the nonsense about "containment," that sweet-sounding single word that covers such a range of profitable idiocies. Yes,it's a dangerous world, and there's nowhere near enough space in blog comments to discuss all the reasons and behaviors and who-killed-how-many and what might have been avoided if we were other than failed creatures "in the image of G_D." Many say, for example, that Stalinism and the Soviet Union could not have avoided "failing" much longer; like our own Empire, they were exquisitely corrupt, and also bled out internally -- and the rag about Reagan spending them into oblivion is just bunk. As is the comforting grace-dispensing notion that a "formal rationale" was "coherent," with all the destabilization and horror that it set up and executed. But there's always that Mainline Narrative to protect, right? That's what keeps the proles afraid, in line, and working hard to feed the Empire, and helps the cynical SOBs like McNamara and Kissinger and Powell and Wolfowitz and Clapper, etc., ad nauseam, sleep at night ...

  • Obama as Unreliable Narrator on Climate Action: from SOTU to NSA spying at Copenhagen
    • Looks like Keystone XL, which will be sludging "diluted bitumen" or something that looks a lot like liquified and very dirty "coal", link to thenation.com , to Newcastle and elsewhere, may be on the way to getting the Obama Seal of All of the Above Approval: link to science.time.com. Anyone remember the Tellicoe Dam and the infamous snail darter? The following is not a sound bite: link to lawlibrary.unm.edu

      In the meantime, mountaintopping continues, miners die, and mercury floats on the breeze. Two degrees, four degrees, six degrees, eight -- why are future humans about to be "late?"

    • What're the differences between "management by crisis" and "crisis management" and "managing to engender crisis"?

      ...and speaking of "All of the above," anyone heard anything about the "northern extension of Keystone XL" lately? This lady thinks she knows what that means:

      "Why no news on Keystone XL pipeline may be good news" link to business.financialpost.com

      Oh, wait, we are supposed to just shut up, us "libruls," on accounta the President is "reconciling competing interests." Right? I mean, it's a really hard job -- everyone says. And after all, who can say what's right or wrong in this complicated world? Especially where there's power and money involved...

  • Don't Break up Syria: WW I-Style Imperial Divide & Rule is a Failure
    • That is a great slogan. Does it match up with what can be seen in the videos being so proudly submitted to youtube and cataloged under "Syrian war," like this, link to youtube.com of which there are thousands, maybe next to be seen in bulk at future war crimes trials or, Insh'Allah, as one of 12 steps on the path to some great reconciliation?

    • And "the opposition" in all its parts is "represented" by whom, again?

  • U.S. Congress secretly approves weapons for ‘moderate’ rebels
    • Oh, who effing cares? Teh stupid never ends. But thanks for reminding people who read this stuff of one piece of the idiocy of the Game. Yah, those "light arms" will only be used for Freedom'n'Stuff (tm), right? And only by Moderates, right?

  • Dovish SOTU: Obama will Veto AIPAC Iran Sanctions, Pledges Afghanistan Wind-Down
    • And he was good enough to care about that whole-nation thing, and smart enough to know that his class needed to give the rabble a reasonable share , to avoid a Bastille Day of their own. Who knows? He might have taken his oath of office and the stuff he learned in civics class seriously. He sure knew what an ugly evil hunch his Wall Street chums were...

    • Doesn't make any sense? Here's one of many sources that offer an appropriately skeptical post-Pat Tillman view of the uses to which the injured body of Cory Remsburg were put Tuesday night:

      "The State of the Union’s Most Despicable Moment: All Americans can appreciate Cory Remsburg's sacrifice — but our soldiers shouldn't be used as political props"

      link to ideas.time.com

      Here's another way our soldiers are being "recognized" and "thanked for their service:"

      "Disposable: Surge in Discharges Includes Wounded Soldiers" link to swords-to-plowshares.org

      And graphically it's over the top, but regarding our President and his "PR" team, one might review and think about this testimony:

      link to hermes-press.com

      I wonder if Sgt. Remsburg will ever speak about how being featured in the SOTU really makes him feel.

  • The 18th Brumaire of Gen. al-Sisi in Egypt
    • The people that implement that strategy know they will be long gone before the endgame, likely with their skins and significant amounts of portable wealth intact... So who cares about long-term?

    • Why Elvis? Why the Beatles? Why Ron Paul? Tebow? Earnhardt? Figureheads, idols, there are psych reasons of several sorts why people scrambling for identity and security glom on and "support" or follow. Any sociopoliticoneurostructural psychologists out there with substantive reasons for the phenomenon?

      And what he fronts for seems a lot like what our figureheads front for: "business interests," of the Robber Baron/kleptocrat type. Violence is just one of their tools... Will Obama say anything about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or Keystone XL North, tonight?

  • Using up Everything Fast: Extractive Capitalism, Sealing and Muslim Slaves in Latin America
  • Is Iran Back? Foreign Policy after the Nuclear Deal
    • "Threat and relevance of Israe"? 200-400 readily deliverable nuclear weapons, "controlled" by the Apartheid Likudniks? Who partnered with their opposite numbers on South Africa, who were more than ready, by some accounts, to nuke the Schvartzes? How to get past that little bump, on the way to mercantile Heaven?

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu faces Zionist Racism from Son dating Norwegian
    • Good luck figuring it out, given the intersection of identity/claim of privilege interests with the complexities of genetic-marker science. One little entry, out of thousands:

      "Most Ashkenazi maternal lineages are of European origin" link to eurogenes.blogspot.com

      Lots of heavy debate, well salted with obscurities.

  • Despite Reform Pledges, Rouhani's Iran remains Human Rights Nightmare
    • Hi Bill-- so if we limit ourselves to the frame you want to impose, that "censorship" is only done by governments, what are your observations on that thing I mentioned about how unlike in my war, where reporters actually got to report on most of the parts of that war thing, which in part led to an end of the bleeding idiocy, the current deal is that scribes seeking that combat experience thing have to be "embedded," with a lot of significant limitations (and even serious self-censorship) of what they report? So the Brass can keep doing Stupid and Cruel and Wasteful and Foolish and Murderous without the ordinary people who pay for it all being bothered by detail that wanders outside the Narrative borders? link to stanford.edu

      And how many government-generated documents are stamped Classified and Top Secret and Eyes Only and all that, with a middle finger to the Freedom of Information Act, about which practice there's a plethora of expose's on how dishonest, disingenuous and corrupting it is? link to theguardian.com, inter a lot of alia.

      And when Reagan's people started in on the EPA when I worked there, one of the first things they did was to start a long and complete process of "book-burning" in in the Regional libraries, getting rid of scientific reports that offended their Narrative of the Goodness of Bidness, also stuff on health effects of pollution, various compilations of policies and interpretive memoranda and other stuff that composes the "secret law" that agencies work from, material that citizens and environmental groups used to figure out what was being done to them by externalities from industry and inattention by government to even enforcing existing law. To be replaced by copies of the Heritage Foundation's "Mandate for Leadership" tome, and its plan, one small part of the whole, to replace "science" in the regulatory process with "GOOD science," the kind produced by "approved" scientists with the "correct" biases.

      Not exactly a jack-boot on the neck, but not exactly hallmarks of a, er, free society either. And dare I whisper "NSA," or COINTELPRO, or "plumbers?"

      By the way, a lot of people who study and care about such things have a much broader definition of censorship: link to media.okstate.edu

      And thanks for the not very effective ad hominem. Really bolsters your relative credibility.

    • No, we have more like gauze-and-vaseline censorship. Kind of hard to argue that the means of voting citizens gaining information about important events here and abroad are as filtered as a close-up shot of Barbara Walters or Barbra Streisand. Not only is the lens pointed away from Ugly, Greedy, Stupid and Evil, the vaseline on the lens, the gauzy focus and the rose-colored lighting shining up from under the chin removes the wrinkles and reality. Many including Chomsky have noted that our polity has been so well proselytized that the noisy dudes with the bullhorns on the street corners, calling BS on the powers that be, get pointedly ignored by that bunch known as "the masses." You can largely say what you want, but mostly nobody is listening, and the volume of information dilutes to not even homeopathic levels what useful information and incentives might be there. Say whatever you want on the 'net, who's listening? Oh, apparently the NSA or whatever it should be called...

      Yah, there's no censorship of TIME magazine, or the NYT, or WaPo, or NBABCBS, or of course FOXNews. Or reporting on the US Imperial War Activities, by "embedded" tame journalistas... Depending on how one characterizes censorship...

      Freedom! Right?

    • Well, see? Those sneaky Iranians say one thing, and do another. So by straight-line logic, we need to bomb them, right?

      Some here tell us Obama has to pay attention to politics-at-home, which limits the things he can do to make life, economy, environment, international conflict, etc. better for the ordinary people who pay for all of what's done to them. Does the same pragmatic principle apply to someone like Rouhani, or unlike with our rulers, are we to presume that he is just a skilled prevaricator with plutonium and hegemony on his real mind?

      That's the cool thing about the whole complex Great Game: Nothing is honest, straightforward, guided by the general welfare. What is, is what power lets who has it feels like doing, usually without personal consequences. Add the technological bits like nuclear and other mass-murder weapons, internet vulnerabilities, increasingly autonomous weaponry, incentives that drive in the direction of instability and inequality and uninhabitability, and good old greed, and what is the endpoint and endgame again? Successful Players get to live lives of luxury and comfort, and depart before the consequences can affect them in any way...

      Regarding the death penalty, who's worse, since we hardly have clean hands, we execute innocent people? Here's some data:

      Despite more countries abolishing the death penalty, its practice remains commonplace.

      China, together with Iran, North Korea, Yemen and the US (the only G7 country to still execute people) carried out the most executions last year. Excluding China, the report says:

      "At least 1,722 people were sentenced to death in 58 countries in 2012. This is a decrease from 2011, when at least 1,923 people were known to have been sentenced in 63 countries worldwide, and a reduction for the second year running (2010: 2,024 death sentences in 67 countries)."

      Meanwhile, Latvia abolished the death penalty, meaning that there are nearly five times as many countries not executing prisoners as those that do in 2012. link to theguardian.com

      On this one point, who's more, or less, less "civilized?"

  • Only post-Snowden did FISA Court even Consider if NSA Bulk Phone Collection is Legal
    • Great ideas. They sound very much like the ones Newt Gingrich has for dismantling what little is left of a Solonic independent judiciary in the US. Maybe you have read this stuff, which is very much in the wind:

      "A Populist Assault on Judicial Independence: Newt Gingrich, Recep Tayyip Edrogan, and Benjamin Netanyahu" -- link to tikkun.org The notion obviously has long legs, showing up not surprisingly in the blather of some less savory heads of state elsewhere. There's a lot more ugly and scary discussion if you search on "gingrich control judiciary appointments."

      Who will make these momentous decisions about who will sit atop the belief structure, that "rule of law" thing, that cherished chimaerical shibboleth that is one of the few remaining myths that holds our polity together, that keeps us all from going altogether Galt? People need and want some assurance that they are protected against arbitrary power, whether it's Banksters forking the whole economy or doing a Henry "It's A Wonderful Life" Potter and stealing their homes, or "libruls" letting pot-smoking unfortunates out of overcrowded jails to make room for really bad apples.

      Consider how it works in Chicago, where the judges are "elected," with periodic "retention ballots" that have removed a tiny number of sitting judges over the years, usually in orchestrated "hits" by the Machine and media, but the jurists are actually appointed by and responsive to the Machine. With advice and comment of the Bar Association, of course, which is such a representative body, isn't it?

      That crony corrupt process goes up to the federal level in the 7th Circuit. Look at who appointed the vast majority of the sitting and recent judges -- Reagan, Nixon, the Bush League, etc. link to en.wikipedia.org That these people rule in favor of property over persons most of the time seems pretty clear. I was involved in cases (decades ago now) where the political motivations and rulings were disgustingly clear. The state court judges in Chicago got a little corrective from "Operation Greylord " back in the '80s, link to en.wikipedia.org, but you can bet it has long since been back to biness as usual there. The courts have been packed with "conservatives," because those folks are organized and have strong pecuniary interests and are wonky enough to figure out how to game the system consistently in their favor.

      I don't think there is any easy answer to the problems that were so glaringly apparent to the drafters of the Constitution, looking over at England in its then state. How do you ensure that humans put in positions of great power will "apply the law," particularly common law, and "Constitutional law," that grows and supposedly perfects itself by judge-made extensions, limitations and creations of legal principles and rules? And apply it to the general benefit, instead of protecting power and privilege?

      Appointing or electing judges will both still result in a lot of fiscally and socially corrupt judges, whatever your politics say those terms mean. I will insist that putting some super-vetting conclave together to root out "impropriety" and ensure "orthodoxy" in the judiciary will immediately result in capture by the concentrated clout, wealth and efforts of the worst of us. It's what Gingrich and Netanyahu want, to protect their "interests?" No thanks.

Showing comments 2017 - 2001
Page: