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JTMcPhee

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  • Two Different American Futures: With an Iran Deal & Without
    • "massive loss of American lives and American wealth." Occurs to me, as usual, that there is no such thing as a unitary personification called the US. Offer that along with the notion that the wealth is not "lost," just transferred from ordinary people (who also do the dying, of course) to one or more of of our larger "war is a racquet" parasites...

  • Top 5 Ways Obama Punked the GOP on Immigration; and the 2016 Campaign
    • Makes one wonder what combination of personal psych traits, skills and externalities leads to the apotheosis of "leaders" like the Clinton Duo, the Bush League, etc. Does not seem to bode well for the species and this planet that such creatures and their "backers" and "friends" end up owning and ruling everything...

    • ...as to who gets hit first, it seems the Generals and their extended families and not no stinkin' figurehead president will decide that. Here's the latest from the Bubble, via the NYT:

      President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.

      Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year...The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.

      In an announcement in the White House Rose Garden in May, Mr. Obama said that the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year, and that the missions for the 9,800 troops remaining in the country would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the “remnants of Al Qaeda.”

      The decision to change that mission was the result of a lengthy and heated debate that laid bare the tension inside the Obama administration between two often-competing imperatives: the promise Mr. Obama made to end the war in Afghanistan, versus the demands of the Pentagon that American troops be able to successfully fulfill their remaining missions in the country. [Say what?]

      The internal discussion took place against the backdrop of this year’s collapse of Iraqi security forces in the face of the advance of the Islamic State as well as the mistrust between the Pentagon and the White House that still lingers since Mr. Obama’s 2009 decision to “surge” 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan. Some of the president’s civilian advisers say that decision was made only because of excessive Pentagon pressure, and some military officials say it was half-baked and made with an eye to domestic politics.

      Mr. Obama’s decision, made during a White House meeting in recent weeks with his senior national security advisers, came over the objection of some of his top civilian aides, who argued that American lives should not be put at risk next year in any operations against the Taliban — and that they should have only a narrow counterterrorism mission against Al Qaeda.

      But the military pushed back, and generals both at the Pentagon and in Afghanistan urged Mr. Obama to define the mission more broadly to allow American troops to attack the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other militants if intelligence revealed that the extremists were threatening American forces in the country....

      In effect, Mr. Obama’s decision largely extends much of the current American military role for another year. Mr. Obama and his aides were forced to make a decision because the 13-year old mission, Operation Enduring Freedom, is set to end on Dec. 31...." link to nytimes.com

      Who's in charge here? Al Haig?

  • In Iran, US Choice is a Negotiated Peace Now or the Risk of War
    • "This does not make sense. An agreement is within reach." Well, yeah...

      Waiting for the pitch for More War On Isis Lest The "Republicans" Call Obama Soft On Defense (SIC) And Order War On Iran. Of course, Congress can "declare war," and via sanctions sort of already has, but in theory it's the Commander in Chief and those Blessed Services and their Blessed Senior Officers who "wage" war, however incompetently and futilely.link to en.wikipedia.org There is a "war party" in the Imperial Capital, all right, link to thewarparty.com for a nice selection of context, but it's not tied to Reds or Blues -- one of the several incredibly durable, long-standing "bipartisan" Areas Of Commonality and Agreement. Yah, the AIPACers and MIC want war on Iran, with the Empire and its taxpayers wielding the Big Stick and getting bled for the benefit of the Israelites and MICC and all that. Time to say "No MAS!"?

      Obama is a figurehead, a front man, as Presidents of the Free World have been for years now, with pretty tenuous links to the actual helm of the ship of state, as ought to be obvious from where "we" are and where "we" are likely headed. But God bless him and his family, as he tries to avoid being crushed by bigger forces, and secure a modest competence for the family, post-Presidency. Doing more effing War Against ISIS/Daesh/whatever (which is just labeling, branding and manufacturing of demand for a much bigger Milo Minderbinder Enterprise, on the notion and grounds that this will keep the boogeyRepublicans/DINOs etc. from doing more war, seems kind of an exercise in idiocy, and the pitch for that profit-generating, wealth-transferring action on that basis smells of fraud...

      And let's remember that all the forces pushing for More War, All The Time, do so from behind walls of Impunity, ever richer and free from any consequences for their "success" and "victories" on the Plains of Policy...

  • The Historical Drivers of Modern Day Developments in Iraq (Cole Interview)
    • There are reasons why, however much one might wish it otherwise in furtherance of the Narrative, ISIS/Daesh is a big and growing phenom: "Allure of ISIS for Pakistanis Is on the Rise," link to p.nytimes.com If the underlying "political economy" fundamentals don't change, there are not enough dollars to buy enough Obombs to put enough "warheads on foreheads" (generating lots of Unfortunate Bugsplats) to have a Hope of Changing the vectors and trajectories the various rudely and fractiously-intractable-to-Empire-dictates parts of our world are following...

      It might be comforting to claim that "towelheads" are not smart enough to operate "complex" weaponry, or maintain it, but the bald assertion seems contradicted by silly stuff like those little videos documenting "hajji" use of MANPADs to shoot down Iraqi and Syrian aircraft, and deployment of various guided antitank weapons made in a number of war-industry-leading countries, and laying and firing captured artillery and a bunch of other weapons and munitions that Operatives and Believers and Apologists see no problem in continuing to deliver wholesale to the "Area of Operations." They may not be flying the planes yet (why bother, if a swarm of missiles affects the tactical balance?), but ISISILIQ/Daesh/whatever includes a lot of US-trained Gunmen from the "Iraqi national army" and former "moderate terrorists insurgents," and various "contractor" types from the ranks of those who service and often operate US weapons, and may find a gig with a growing force attractive. And if the average-IQ American Troopers can figure out how to use our really complicated weapons, that are actually designed to be as simple as possible, you think the "terrorists" won't do so? The field and tech manuals and videos really aren't that challenging, and it's not like there are double-secret passwords between trigger and controls. More context:

      link to businessinsider.com

      link to youtube.com

      link to youtube.com

      The US' real Successes in keeping the Forever Profitable War going keep getting underlined: Here's the Grey Lady's Support-Our-Loyal-Narrative Latest: "In a Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat," link to nytimes.com . How's it go, again? link to youtube.com Couple Stupid with Profitable and you have Unfixable, as far as ordinary people are concerned... Maybe if we all buy solar panels for our homes, and electric vehicles, things might change...?

    • Query: Does ISISILIQ/Daesh/whatever constitute one of " the great macro social movements of the area?"

      The cheerleaders for continued Imperial "operations" in the "area of operations" tell us all how successful Air Power and the mythical alliance of militias, "national armies" and tribal groups has been in degrading the Thing Du Jour. Really? There’s nice War Porn videos of JDAMS detonating and all, but there’s this little tidbit to digest: “ISIS Has Enough Weapons For up To Two Years,” on hand already, with plenty of suppliers who apparently care nothing about the Empire’s preferred Grand Plan: link to dissenter.firedoglake.com

      No, I'm not rooting for the Hordesmen and the Gunmen with the black flag and balaclavas. But why the stupid constant collapse back into the simplistic Manichaean Narrative, when it's so obviously false, and leads to more conflict-generating stupidity and more and more arms being flooded into the zone, like The Gun, link to theguardian.com, and more "effective" stuff like guided anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and more?

      The UN people who follow such stuff don't see much "degrading," just wiser tactics and plenty of firepower: “The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and the Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant: report and recommendations submitted pursuant to resolution 2170 (2014),” link to un.org . Even the Summary, which not surprisingly reeks of Narrative, ought to make observers think a little deeper about better ways to defuse, disarm and dissipate the interests and behaviors and incentives that are killing not just Yazidis and Kurds et al., but potentially all of us except for the Few who have their safe retreats all mapped out…

      And when it comes to financing all this Daesh stuff, gee, it appears that EVERYone is in on the corruption that greases the movement of petroleum extracted or extorted by Daesh, that mirabile dictu, loyalty to tribe or army or nation means exactly zilch: “Inside Islamic State’s oil empire: how captured oilfields fuel Isis insurgency -- Coalition air strikes have not stopped the militant group from earning millions of dollars a week from its Iraqi oil operations,” link to theguardian.com . No surprise, when the “WE DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS” Empire would pay warlords and “Talibanners” and “terrorists” to provide “security” for and even drive the trucks that brought petroleum fuels to “the formerly Current Front” in Afghanistan, be helpfully involved in poppy farming there and setting conditions such that poppies, that need little attention and water compared to food crops, become the field crop of choice, link to thefiscaltimes.com, as much as cocaine in other areas the Empire has gently touched. For one tiny example of self-destructive corruption among so many…

      Too bad “political economy” has been mostly abandoned as a analytical and framing tool, and reduced to more of another feckless oxymoron.

  • 3rd Possibility: Coming Civil War in West Bank/ Jerusalem?
    • No doubt the Israelites have all kinds of nasty warmaking stuff squirreled away with however many nukes the heirs of the Pharisees, link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org, are ready to detonate. Yahoo subtly reminds the rest of the world that he's got the Samson Option in his back pocket. One might bet that the IDF's war plans include destroying US military assets, since they have shown multiple examples of that willingness, like the attempted sinking of the USS Liberty and constant deep espionage on us as nominal "ally."

      As to "Christian" support in the US, an assortment of context that comes to a different conclusion:

      link to haaretz.com

      link to meforum.org

      link to washingtonsblog.com

      At least the hasbara is becoming a little more subtle...

  • Should Iran and the US accept a Good, but not perfect Nuclear Deal?
    • Hey, c'mon -- how many times have our US Imperial Citizens fallen for "trickle down" and "war on Thisthatortheotherthingorgroup" and all the other times the Rulers have done the Lucy Van Pelt "pull the football away after promising not to" routine?

  • Yazidi Women Victimized by Daesh/ ISIL tell of Rape, Slavery, & their Resistance
    • Bad, awful evil. And just because we Exceptionalists had and maybe have among us quite a number of people of substance, and criminals too, who did and do the same thing, often under color of law as with enslaved Africans and indentured others and native peoples unable to resist European organized looting, that does not make what ISIS and Gulf princes and Russian oligarchs and European heads of state any less cruel and evil and horrific. Not a complete list of course, of those who boldly display this particularly endearing set of all too human behavior. But as long as the oil and money keep flowing, ...

  • Top 5 Ways Daesh/ ISIL is Losing, as it lashes out like a Cornered Rat
    • What a surprise, overall...

    • It takes a while for the Narrative to catch up with the Dialogue... especially with all the echoes inside our Imperial Bubble...

  • Daesh (ISIL) Loses Refinery City in Iraq to Iraqi Army, Shiite Militias
    • There's a lot of ways for "insurgents" to take cover, besides jungle canopy, which even all those millions of gallons of Agent Orange did not do away with by the way. Even the "Phoenix Program" in all its evil didn't do the job.

      What is with this drumbeat of "Obama gots to fear the Republican Backlash if he does not beat them to the punch of releasing more 1,500-Troop packs of the Dogs of War and then Hold tough On Iran on accounta The Lobby!"? As for the fairly desolate terrain that's the current site of War, American Style where "we" fund and arm the parties and are just sure, SURE, that it will go according to The Plan, have you looked at "our" success in routing a not quite as horrible a bunch of tribespeople in what was the name of that place again, oh yeah, "Notagainistan..." In case you are too young to remember, and your reading and education did not cover the whole long idiocy of the Vietnam thing, there were endless breathless announcements of how Our Huge Undefeatable Military Machine had dealt one death blow after another to the "gooks." run up huge body counts, won all the big battles by making the "slants" say Uncle and still had those memorable moments of a last few "allies" scrambling to get aboard that last Huey from the Embassy roof.

      Sun Tzu says you ought to have some sensible agreed goal in mind if you want to do successful war, defeating the other guy and taking his stuff. That, and don't impoverish your peasants if you want to win. The whole play in the Mideast ans elsewhere is an illegitimate stripping of wealth and arm-twisting, and until the Rulers get around to playing a different sort of POSITIVE SUM game where that myth about the Virtues of Trading versus the simple theft of resources and spewing of externalities/horrors actually gets actualized, short of the use of nuclear and other really serious weapons there will be nothing but more of the same profit-a-few, beggar-the-world same. Go read or re-read that little Karnow book, "Vietnam: A History," and stuff...

    • One would really like to hope that SOMEone on "our" side is getting a good deal out of all this, and not all the brass and bosses on "our" side are just incompetent schmucks and "freiers," just being taken and shaken down by the more seasoned players in the Game over there. With, of course, us complaisant idiots in the Homeland wearing the boots, and footing the bill...

  • Daesh/ ISIL calls for Terror attacks on Saudi Arabia
    • One has to admire the spread of "business model" analysis of who is actually making wealth available to ISISILIQ/Daesh and other Gunmen: link to nbcnews.com

    • Interesting, it seems likely that if ISISILIQ lasts a while, significant parts of the complex would, like Hizbollah and Hamas, and Likud if those creatures survive their current savagery, take on "governance" of a slightly gentler style. Like the Chicago Machine, maybe, with a tolerable level of corruption, police abuse, all that? Deash seems proving to attract some bright people with more than just Gunmen skills, link to ibtimes.com, and pretty good PR. Maybe the rulers of our Empire, that pretends to be coming from the democratic tradition, will shake hands with an eventual generation of Caliphaters and more overtly get down to business.

      Slightly kinder and gentler toward the ordinary people who are properly obeisant property, while the rape of the planet grinds on? We'll just have to wait and see, right? Since other than observing, commenting, complaining in our little still permissible ways, what can we the little people, who have ceded their autonomy to our autocrats and their people and enablers and Bidness Beneficiaries, do about it?

  • A Day Late & a Dollar Short: Obama & China agree on Languid Climate Goals
    • Snark, right? Of course it already is "their air."

      The people who profit from burning sh_t, extracting carbon and basing their lives on burning more of it, already own the right to pollute, to externalize the costs of that into your lungs and mine, your coastline and mine, your tornado alley and mine. They have and have had and will continue to have the clout to warp our collective need for a social structure, "rule of law" and similar frauds included, into a system of laws and regulations and practices that "legalizes" dumping toxins into the common necessities, air, water, economic transactions of all sorts. You know the TPP and TTAP will further "legalize" the theft-by-initial-assignment-of-"right" to the user-uppers. Who individually, can't say it often enough, have zero personal-threat incentive to do anything but more of the same. Since they are insulated, by "law" and the protections that wealthy indifference can purchase, from any of the consequences of their creation, participation and continuation of "business as usual" to the dead-end point (for us ordinary mopes only: the Few have their escapes -- either into comfortable old-age and death, or some Elysium, or like the billionaire longevity projects in the works, link to thedailybeast.com, into cyber-bodies or deep space). Hence they can laugh, all the way to the (offshore) bank, at all us earnest types who maybe care about our surroundings and our "Soylent Green" posterity...

      We seem collectively to be wired all wrong, plumbed all wrong, framed all wrong to survive. But a very Few of us will really indulge all their whimsies and senses, link to nytimes.com, behind walls of impunity, at the expense of the rest of us ordinary people who don't seem to be able to organize to protect ourselves, from the Few and our own predilections and impulses...

  • Internet Liberty at Stake in Obama World Wide Web Policy
    • It's clear you do...

    • And here's a toast to Dr. Cole, for bearing up under government abuse and pressure and continuing to speak truth ABOUT power, since speaking TO power is largely futile (and ooooh, against "the national interest.")

      Bless you, sir, and may you continue the good you do to counter the idiocies of the Narrative and what lies behind it...

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu Is a National Security Risk—And Washington Knows It
    • Like, it is any surprise that the Israelites are a "difficult ally (sic)?" Starting way back before the IDF shot up and almost sank the USS Liberty, killing 34 US sailors and wounding 174, link to whatreallyhappened.com, to the whole scam of helping Our Friends the Only Democracy in the Middle East to build their pile of may 200, maybe 600, nuclear weapons. That some discount because they think it would be suicide for the Likudians to actually use. But hey, it's not like Rulers have never committed their subjects to suicidal idiocy before, see e.g. the history of modern Europe, and Japan. Often, of course, the Rulers and the worst of The Enemy have safely skulked off to safe havens as the heavens were falling on their subjects’ heads…

      Apparently for decades, some parts of the US imperial state security apparatus have been well aware that there's good reasons to wonder at Israelite chutzpah: "US sees Israel, tight Mideast ally, as spy threat," link to bigstory.ap.org, and even a few in the Heartland of the Homeland have been allowed to make the point in an MSM outlet: "U.S. sees Israel as No. 1 spy threat in Middle East, officials say," link to denverpost.com And from the Snowden revelations, answers to "Why Are We Spying on Israel?" link to slate.com. Even freakin’ FOX News once took a swing at Israelite spying in the US: link to informationclearinghouse.info

      You can bet that among other little secrets, Yahoo knows the contents of the Empire's nuclear war plan, “OPLAN 8010, Strategic Deterrence and Global Strike,” and all the "Single Integrated Operating Plans" (SIOPs) that preceded OPLAN. link to en.wikipedia.org, for those who mostly forget that our very own military is still moments away from ending us, and humanity generally. link to en.wikipedia.org I wonder if our Really Smart Sneaky Petes and General Officers and Executive Branchers know what’s in the Israelite equivalent… Can you say, "We are putzes?"

      But of course in the Great Game, every ‘nation” does it to every other “nation,” so it’s all just hunky-dory, except for us little mopes who believe the myths, enjoy watching the shadows dance on the back of the cave, and slave and die to let the Few have their energetic, kinetic, enigmatic fun over our dead bodies…

  • Why it Isn't that Important Whether ISIL Leader was Killed
    • Re good and bad generals and other warlords, may I make another plug for Gary Schroen's memoir of his involvement as CIA paramilitary operative in Afghanistan, "First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan"? It contains, for those who can get past the cheerleading stage, a whole bunch of insights into the nature of free-floating self-interested relations between the many tribal, family, gangster and "government" actors on the ground, during this one small stage of the CIA's much-bragged-up messing around over there, post -9/11. For Schroen himself, there's a brief Wiki article, link to en.wikipedia.org, with a few useful links for those who care. And the CIA thinks highly of itself and its players, how "successful" these little interventions have been according to their values and goals, and has a nice article up on its site: link to cia.gov

      And of course there's Steve Coll's opus, "Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001," the prequel to "First In." link to en.wikipedia.org, that lifts a few other corners of the carpet to uncover the roaches and rats...

      It's so cute, how the jackals and sneaky-petes brag up and display their pride at demolishing stability, overturning democratic motions, and influencing outcomes and stirring the pot and generally raising havoc all over the place, in the name of just what, again?

      There's the idiot mythologies up front, and the "gritty realities" floating in the background fog...

    • Actually, I personally fear gradualist apologists who would persuade the rest of us, by subtle repetition, that "we" first have the right, power and "duty" to "do something" about barbarians who ain't OUR barbarians, and second, that doing the same stuff, again, run by the same bunch who ran the last Imperial "interventions" (that dishonest obscurant term), moving the world ever closer to a variety of chaotic failures, will even do the stuff that enthusiasts claim it will address.

      But I admit to a perverse satisfaction in paging through all the war porn that's so readily accessible these days. What a sorry lot we humans are...

    • For all you true believers in the power of Air Power and the Imperial Fist, a careful read of this little article from today's NYT ought to give some pause and for the honest ones, return some echoes of past excesses: link to p.nytimes.com Or at least stir up some more substantive apologias for doing More Of The US RULES Same...

      Ah, who cares any more? We Imperials all will keep doing what we do, because Impunity and profit and Careers.

  • Why McCain & GOP are Slamming Obama for Writing Iran re: ISIL
    • @slim: "Theres also those on other sections of the internet who are willing to put others down just in the vain attempt to try and make themselves look better than most"

      Out of the mouths of ad hominem babes... Maybe one of us will owe the other an apology on the substance, in a few years or months. Though the flux will long since have moved on to other "issues." Those are quote marks, indicating skepticism and disbelief.

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