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Total number of comments: 2204 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)

JTMcPhee

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  • Can People of Muslim Heritage defeat the Radical Fundamentalists?
    • Can people of Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Sikh or Zoroastrian heritage defeat ( or sften into insignificance) THEIR radical fundamentalists?

      Seems to me the crudescence is sort of universal. As might be any remedies...

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough
    • Lots of words, there, Mike. Lots of words in the US Constitution, too, and in the IDF's statements of its great purity-of-arms ethical standards. Lots of words in other supposedly aspirational documents.

      Deeds and actions and visible "policies" trump words, Michael, now don't they? It's silly to even fiddle with an attempt to try to prove that the various power players even try to stick to their BS aspirational statements. This blog and even the NYTimes and Israeli news sources are replete with crushing counter-examples of how things really work. Israeli reactionaries point for authority for dispossession rights against Palestinians to the Talmud. Which if you want to read something for its supposed truth, paints a pretty clear picture of how the Israelites claim their G_D told and tells them to act -- guile and violence.

      One wonders how idiot humanity can ever get beyond tribal murderous "Protective Edge of the Sword" violence and BS rationalizations. Short of species suicide. I mean, it's not too far fetched to imagine Yahoo and his buddies have already smuggled nuclear weapons into cities all over the planet, now is it? Awaiting the Samson Option trigger. The Putz that Roared...

    • At what point does the asymmetry and forced framing of the parties, so-called, reach a mandatory recognition that what's happening here cannot be honestly described as "war"? Maybe a better term is decimation, or maybe slaughter? But then in the Israelites' self-proclaimed history of the Taking of the Promised Land, guile and slaughter were the main elements of the game play. Often followed by Babylonian Captivities and subjugation to other tribes. See the Pentateuch, the Holy of Holies. Where are the Prophets to call Israel back to a righter relationship to G_D? Or is this it? And Yhoo is that Jeremiad Prophet?

  • If Israel Is In Mortal Danger, Why Did Bloomberg Fly There? (The Young Turks)
    • Interesting behaviors. Same-but-different from another preacher/apologist for the kleptocracy, John McCain, who assured us bland USans that thanks to ShocknAwwShucks, a fella like him could walk freely and safely and openly in the market on April Fools' Day, 2007, in Baghdad, where a month earlier, 61 people were killed by a car bomb and associated "insurgent" attacks, way back on April Fool's Day, 2007. link to crooksandliars.com. Crooks and liars, indeed...

      I wonder what the flight path and equipment of the El Al plane carrying Bloomberg looked like -- this, maybe? link to abcnews.go.com And now some of Our Wise Rulers are calling for all US aircraft (the ones they fly on) to be equipped with anti-missile defenses, which ain't cheap, and probably ain't exactly safe either: link to en.wikipedia.org Like giving aspirin to a person with bleeding ulcers, to help with the pain...

      And is it not interesting that one part of the US imperial arsenal, and/or its "deniable allies (sic)" like "the Saudis," are handing out man-portable air defense (sic -- should read "attack") missiles to those "moderates" in Syria we hear so much about: link to online.wsj.com Salient words from the WSJ reporting:

      But if the Manpads are supplied in the quantities needed, rebels said it could tip the balance in the stalemated war in favor of the opposition. The antiaircraft and Russian Konkurs antitank weapons would help them chip away at the regime's two big advantages on the battlefield—air power and heavy armor.

      "New stuff is arriving imminently," said a Western diplomat with knowledge of the weapons deliveries.

      Rebel commanders and leaders of the Syrian political opposition said they don't know yet how many of the Manpads and antiaircraft missiles they will get. But they have been told it is a significant amount. The weapons are already waiting in warehouses in Jordan and Turkey.

      All those MANPADS and other toys Gadaffyduck and his "forces" had piled up in warehouses, just waiting for a "destabilization" to let "militias" and "insurgents" grab 'em and take them "somewhere." And for Syrian "leakproof moderate forces,", US-built antiaircraft missiles, and Russian-built guided anti-tank missiles, "waiting in warehouses..." Just worlds of fun, from the worldwide global arms bazaar...

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  • As a Sakharov laureate and a mother, I call on the EU to help save Palestinians – and Israel
    • Sakharov. Wasn't he some kind of COMMUNIST? Why would any red blooded American give any attention to what a COMMIE like PUTIN is, any attention at all?
      /sadsnark/

  • The World Asks: Is Israel Targeting Civilians in Gaza?
    • Is that the Hamas strategy, then? Really? Fight it out to the end, presumably the only end being annihilation? Where Likudland has all the big guns and bombs and drones and jets and guided killer missiles, not to mention all those nukes? And gee, there is no way for Gazans to even just LEAVE and let the "settlers" (seriously SIC) steal what's left. No way for anyone on the Gaza side to "say Uncle." Both populations fully involved?? Sitting on bleachers and lawn chairs to watch the mowing of the grass? And what's the new expression for shooting "lighter weapons" at Gaza buildings? "Roof knocking" to warn anyone inside to run "somewhere else?" Before the bigger bombs hit and demolish the structure?

      I know, slaves, serfs and lesser breeds are not supposed to fight when cornered. Not prudent...

    • As to "targeting civilians," our captive Brighthouse news station, channel 9 in Tampa, gave about half an hour, repeated multiple times, to a gentleman from the Israeli consulate, who with graphics and graphic words explained how any civilian deaths in Gaza were all Gaza's fault, on account of "terrorists." Nice distant pictures of explosions, and the exhaust trails of rockets, and the rest, emphasis on number of dead IDF troops. At least I did not hear reference to "mowing the lawn" in the part I saw...

      The Likudniks know they will never face any personal retribution for all this. Maybe it would be nice to "just stop it?" As the BDS and now cessation of flights into Ben Gurion Int'l are in abeyance, adding to the pain that Israelis must feel (though most seem good about displacing their ire for such distress onto "those bad Arabs across the Walls" and across the unofficial and steadily advancing Green Lines...

  • Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians?
    • Maybe a lot of those dead and wounded IDF warriors were, like a lot of GIs, invested in unshakable belief in the notions of the supremacy of their tribe and the threat of the "others." But there would not even be 13, or 37, or 45 dead IDF warriors if it were not for the cynical, destructive "policies" of their rulers, sending them into harm's way to do what, again? "Mow the lawn?"

      Just like there would not be millions of dead "gooks" and "Hajjis," along with tens of thousands of dead US troops, from all "our" wars of choice, from Korea onward, guys and gals who were sent in to kick down doors to win the hearts and minds of the people cowering behind them, and to walk or drive out on patrol to "draw fire" or "trigger ambushes" or "set off IEDs." When "the mission" is futile and stupid, and "the orders" are idiotic and obscene, one would think that the cognitive dissonance would become sufficiently overwhelming to overcome even the basest and sneakiest propaganda, wouldn't one? Oh, wait -- that actually seems to be happening, even in Israel where a lot of present and former IDF troops have been "Breaking the Silence," link to breakingthesilence.org.il .

      Some of them, in addition to empathic scruples and personal revulsions, apparently are bothered by being taught that they are to practice "purity of arms," link to en.wikipedia.org, and then as with the Marines in Fallujah or Kandahar, discovering the moral bankruptcy, not to mention the tactical and strategic idiocy, of what the Brass was ordering them to do, praising them for their courage and and professionalism patriotism and all that. Of course, as with military chaplains who call on God to bless the troops in their holy killing (you are supposed to KILL for your contry, not DIE for it...) and to comfort and persuade back into combat any troops who doubt or have reservations about it all, there's a couple of John Yoo-class sophists in the IDF orbit who have come up with the "all human beings were equal, but now some are no longer human and among those who are, some are more equal than others" text to pray from: link to bureauofcounterpropaganda.blogspot.com

      But as should be plain, a modest number of dead IDF troops, and of course our own Imperial troops, is necessary to keep the wailing and lamentations at the right pitch and intensity so the Rulers can get on with the business at hand...

  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities
    • Gee, is this in any way analogous to how Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge first came to be the Top Gunmen in Cambodia, and then another former Big Bad Enemy went for various reason across that border "we" had so disingenuously and "covertly" ignored for decades, and did a cleansing regime change apparently without the Empire's permission? Naw, the situations are nothing alike: Arabic reads from right to left, with those furrin, evil-lookin' characters, while Vietnamese at least scans the PROPER direction, including on the bar codes on all the clothing that's made there and fills the loyal, patriotic racks and shelves at KWalmart? (What to make of "our" love-hate with Chinese, then, with ideopictographs written every which way?)

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar
    • Let us thank Professor Reich for reminding us how we are supposed to continue “policy-think” based on traditional, proven-failure Great Game “analysis” and shibboleths and argument. Regarding Ukraine and MH17, maybe let's start with the silly notion that “all the facts are not in,” followed by reflections on past “incidents” where the Players have played the rest of us by various manipulations of apparent factoids (anyone for a piece of yellowcake? With a side of centrifuge tubes? and trailer labs full of Germ Weapons?) on the downhill slope to more war, all the time.

      Nice "{serious}"think piece, complete with credentials. Full of hoary old thought processes, assumptions and "policy advice." Starts with the assumption that The One Great Power of the World, through its Emperor/President, can and should "act!"to "do something!"about the inevitable use of weapons of war against "civilians" in a world where the mythology of "international law and order"is really starting to diverge steeply and visibly from the reality. Weapons profitably made, "policy"mostly about deploying them and "force structure"and "power projection"and "creative instability,"under the chin noise about "spreading democracy." All to make sure extractive businesses are safe from Something or Other… link to alternet.org

      Just about every line in the piece is challengeable. Americans want to do the right thing, and root for the underdog? Really? European powers (other than Britain and France, I guess) don't get involved in war? How many German and other NATO troops and weapons have been part of our Imperial "coalitions?” And Obama holds Putin accountable? Gee, who fomented a coup in Ukraine recently? link to informationclearinghouse.info I guess maybe it's sort of “true” that “few” in the “US security establishment” have concerned themselves with Russo-Ukraine relations -- the "few" involved in continuing the ol' policy of "encirclement" and "destabilization." An eastward-spreading “regional transition to liberal democracy?” Really, one can say that with a straight face? And who is setting things up for more shoot-downs by giving “moderate gunmen” guided antiarcraft weapons, speaking now about the broader global Battlespace and Grand Strategies? link to dfat.gov.au, a “policy” leading this list of fun and games: link to en.wikipedia.org, and gee, what a surprise, "Trigger-happy men star in history of passenger plane shoot-downs," link to nation.co.ke And yes, a Buk SA-11 is not a MANPADS, but it’s just another device shootable by “trigger-happy” or BokoHaramidiotic males...

      "Re-engage Europe?" The mostly US-originated financial crash has trashed the ordinary people of Europe, but the "warrior classes" there have been busy as Coalition bees in Iraq, and Afghanistan and multiple other US imperial adventures imperiling ordinary people all over the planet, under the general rubric "Global Interoperable Network-Centric Battlespace.” Which has as its goal the interconnection of military castes and classes and armament makers and other contractors on all "sides," to make the world safe for extractive vulture capitalism (aka “liberal democracy”) and be ready to "run things" when the global warming consequences break older institutions and relations into "competing" pieces.

      What a surprise that Europeans would resent visible spying on them by “US,” since “we” don’t resent e.g. Israeli spying on “US” very much. And we have this bit from Ambassador Victoria “F__k the EU” Nuland, on what it costs to overthrow a democratically elected government: link to informationclearinghouse.info As to deterrence of the Russian Bear, welcome back to the comfortable days of Cold War idiocy, that other face painted on the raddled b__ch called the “Great Game.” link to earthspheredevelopment.com

      The Professor critiques EU nations for apparently not spending as large a percentage of their GDP on the weapons and tactics and strategies that so threaten more instability and destruction. Is percent of GDP the proper measure of a “right-sized military?” Hmmm? How much do European nations spend on weapons of social destruction, again? “Adequate military deterrent to Russian incursion?” Really? While using the veiled threat of Western power, from sanctions to several thousand nuclear weapons and everything in between, to “incur” into Russia, setting the table for a Putin to keep the Bear Stew on the boil? Of course, this is part of the mix, too: link to hangthebankers.com

      A “game changer,” is MH17? Maybe a “game instigator,” or “game extender.” One wonders, in the age of “Wag the Dog” policies and sneaky-petery, how one manages “indisputable proof” of ANYthing. When our Empire assumes the “right” to pursue what our elites define as their “interests,” in ways at least as intrusive and outrageous as anything Great Game apologists assign to “Putin,” who rides the tiger as surely as “Obama,” where do “we” get off chatting up the “badness” of the Russian side of interventions in Ukraine? All the polling, and even says US citizens oppopse any US involvement in Ukraine, while of course, out of habit and greed and idiocy, “our” sneaks are busy fomenting yet another “regime change” and boatload of instability -- link to alternet.org

      Yeah let’s US ‘expand and deepen” those so-very-effective “sanctions,” and is it not sad that Obama, who has loosed the black-ops drone dogs of war all over the place is supposedly “allergic” to more messy entanglements of the sort so beloved of neoliberaliconservatives? Yeah, let’s line up some solid, long-term support from the Players in Brussels to “get anything done,” meaning what, again? More of the same “interventions?” More death and poverty for ordinary people? What music, specifically, is Professor Reich advising the Empire and its “partners” to dance to?

  • Health Catastrophe in Gaza after Israel bombs water infrastructure
    • Maybe the Likud Israelites can be induced to stop the destruction, after they have had their fun. Maybe the Caliphate will get reined in or the softening effects of time and exhaustion will eventuate. Maybe the munitions makers will stop building manportableantiaircraftmissiles, and the existing stocks will get used up or aged out of the "world inventory." Maybe the Gazan horror will provoke a revulsion at the nearly universal abuse of one individual or set of humans by another. And, sad to say, maybe the Moon is really made of green cheese. But we can hope, the medical people and firemen and other emergency responders will try to pick up the pieces, patch up the survivors, bury the body parts and rebuild the whole structure against the next episode of heartless, heedless idiocy...

  • Falluja and Gaza: Why Counter-Terrorism fails when the Problem is Political
    • Speaking of policy, one of my fave books is "First In: An Insider's Account of How The CIA Spearheaded The War On Terror in Afghanistan." If one is past the cheerleading stage, "Lookie how we kicked Soviet and Taliban butt!", and looks with jaundiced eye, one can see so many examples of how "policy preferences" drive and control really dangerous stuff, and move things in idiotic directions. All wrapped up in glorious self-congratulatory prose, complete with deniability and excuses pre-positioned.

      But if one studies this little snapshot of the frame in which the Game is played, and the innate, inherent, ineffable, inexhaustible, inevitable corruption of thought and wealth and institutions, and is aware of other colorful bits of history like near-launches of all the Superpowers' nuclear weapons, link to theguardian.com, and the "policy"-driven research into nanoweapons and autonomous killing machines and how far out in front of our overall culture the "NSA" thing is, one has to be a little skeptical that ANY kind of fix is possible for what looks to me like a giant death wish. Albeit one that will give a very few of us a real huge rush, before their "policies" kill us off.

      And I would underscore the substance of my cynicism by adding that I worked as an enforcement attorney and assistant regional counsel for the US EPA for 13 years, and watched and participated in how statutes get drafted and written, how regulations get drafted and "policies" that control their actual enforcement come magically into being after regulators meet behind closed doors with "the regulated," all that kind of corruption... All that effort by the relatively few who might (given the realities of spoils-system staffing) still think in terms of what's good for the general welfare, versus the welfare of the generals, generally brought to naught by good old follow-the-money. I don't see anything even close to a Guiding Light that even remotely directs "policy" in all its parts in any kind of a sustainable, survival-of-the-species channel -- just greed and graft and careerists looking for advantage and advancement in "the system." And predators and parasites, always looking for an opening. Much like what I read about the latter days of other empires, and what appears to obtain "in every clime and place" across the planet.

      Ecuador? Good luck with that -- link to axisoflogic.com And if you try to go off the grid, watch out for the Jivaro with the blowgun or 6-foot arrow, behind that dying tree... link to ecuador.com

      "Good positions" getting implemented? Maybe if the "position" is to place one's head between one's legs and kiss one's dear good patoot goodbye...

    • The French didn't learn anything -- they just got their butts kicked outa there. Even with a lot of help from good ol' "US," their colonialists just could not manage to keep down a bunch of dudes with a nationalist inspiration, popular support, real skin in the game, and AK-47s and some modern artillery.

      Not that Vietnamese have done such a great job of making life decent for the ordinary people who generate all the real wealth, do all the real labor, and still face stinko lives under the inevitable corrupt rulers that us colonialists always manage to leave behind or fertilize the field for... The French officers and colonial "administrators" and "plantation owners" just went comfortably home, to nice retirements of mornings at the cafe', days at the Club, nights of pleasure... Just like our own upper class "leaders" and "officers" and "rulers:"
      "Generals live like kings," link to outsidethebeltway.com,
      and as to competence, "Todays's Generals are well trained [at corruption sex shenanigans and bureaucracy and career management], but ill-prepared for battle," link to pbs.org Can't even "win" even when they cheat: link to overcomingbias.com

      More context, anyone?

      "Transparency International: corruption up in Vietnam, Laos and China," link to asianews.it

      "Corruption played a signficant role in thwarting American objectives in Vietnam by contributing to the South Vietnam government's lack of legitimacy. The heavy handed and corrupt government of South Vietnam actually made the countryside fertile for the insurgency of the Viet Cong and the communist [sic:nationalist] (victory)." link to globalsecurity.org

      "This blog is all about the corruption in Vietnam," the blogger's home country -- link to tunguyen08.wordpress.com

      As to Nobody's next question, what might be done on this one element of the unfunded puny efforts to
      "impose decency and comity," there's this from the Vietnamese experience: "VIETNAM: CITIZENS AGAINST CORRUPTION," link to transparency.org

      And in case we disremember, corruption is rife in Israel, link to jpost.com, and of course in our own country -- poignant references available on request, if anyone out there is too lazy to google "corruption united states america."

      Of course, all of this involves huge transfers of wealth, with lots of "leakage" and "siphoning off," and all the other stuff that happens in what's excused as "necessity" and "the fog of war..." in case anyone wonders why it goes on and on and on and on...

  • Israel, Gaza and the Fatal Spirit of Versailles
    • Let us not forget the Giant Mammal in the Center of the Room, so artfully described by several less-than-jingoistic writers in the Israeli press, the "Thou shalt not be a freier" (loosely, sucker) 11th Commandment, with its corollary, "Thou shat make a freier out of everyone else." link to haaretz.com

      Kind of hard to negotiate in any kind of good faith, with the fundamental need for trust or at least enforceability that hawhaw "peace processes" sort of require, where one side raises duplicity and advantage-seeking to the height of a religious and cultural ultimate duty...

      And of course we US taxpayers are referred to by a lot of our "Israeli allies" as "Uncle Freier," and occasionally you see articles like this, link to unz.org...

      Comparisons with things Teutonic are deemed politically incorrect in this context, but whereas the Wehrmacht polished and practiced plain old Blitzkrieg, "lightning war," it looks to me like the Dons of the Israeli syndicate-enterprise are mixing "Exschluss" (loosely "expansion-absorption-dispossession-takeover-oppression") with "Melassekrieg," (loosely "Molasses War...") Even the more reactionary newspaper of record in Israel sees an existential threat from within the Ruling Ranks: "Will corruption undo Israel? " link to jpost.com

      And we "freiers" keep on letting these dudes "give us the business." Well, for their own selfish reasons, our Rulers do...

  • How its Iran Sanctions hurt US Economy: Cutting off your Nose to Spite Your Face
    • ...but the sanction, speaking of California, have been very very good to one set of our oligarchs, the little wealthy Republican campaign contributing family that owns most of the pistachio business now. link to mondoweiss.net Loyal Americans...

  • Rand Paul to Rick Perry: Why Send US Troops to an Iraq that Won't Defend Self?
    • Hmmm: The Supreme Court has been "adhering to the Constitution," too, in its decisions regarding corporate versus personal rights and standing, privacy, and a whole lot of other stuff. Cloven Bundy and his friends are adhering to the Constitution too -- just ask them. So did Earl Warren, and the gentlemen who from their robes and oligarchic hauteur opposed the New Deal so vigorously and eloquently, to add some context to the appearance thing.

      "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

    • Any bets, if he were somehow elected, whether that dishonest opportunistic weather vane would even persist, or be able to persist over all the Global-profit-and-career-centric Battlespacians, in the current noise he makes about disengagement and fortress America to attract votes? The guy is not even a very good Libertarian, though he pretty clearly believes in advancing the REAL Libertarian "domestic policy"-slurbing-over-into-global-agenda, the one lit up in this little series of horror pieces: "Journey into a Libertarian Future," link to nakedcapitalism.com

      Anyone remember George Carlin, and his take on all of this?

      "Who really controls America?", link to youtube.com

      "George Carlin: How language is used to mask truth and Israeli terrorism," link to youtube.com

      "Exposing our government and the fall of humanity, one joke at a time," link to youtube.com

      And of course, "Oh -- Never mind..." link to screen.yahoo.com

  • The Map: A Palestinian Nation Thwarted & Speaking Truth to Power
    • If it's neither enforced nor enforceable, how is anything, no matter how potent or florid the language, an "obligation?"

  • Top 7 Really Disturbing News from Iraq
    • Maybe, as a practical matter, at least in this limited case, for this tiny purpose, in this one corner of the world, the ground truths might compel the analysts and commenters and commentators to eschew, even abandon, that comfortable and so dishonest and misleading and misdirecting convention of referring to a complexity made up of such disparate elements, as an "it." Might one propose that "Iraq" is no longer an "it?" Kind of hard to blandly and "wisely" reduce the Great Game to "pursuit of interests," simply accepted as self-justifying, by a set of deifications/personifications/hypostatizations under the rubric "It." But of course that's the convention, and to sound "serious," since "it" provides cover and justification for "OUR" actions, IT-ization will proceed apace, just like the rest of our human end game...

  • Israeli Army: We have been instructed to Hit Hamas Hard
    • ...because after all, when you get down to it, at bottom, in the real world, these are all discreet episodes of killing, completely unconnected in any causative way... aren't they?
      Is the message that there are only a relatively few dead people in Gaza due to the current lawn mowing, so turn attention elsewhere? At least it's acknowledged that Palestinians "are people also," something that Yahoo and a lot of ugly partisans vigorously deny. Maybe this horror might catalyze a larger awareness and revulsion and repudiation and recoiling from this idiocy and a disempowement of the monsters who practice such policies? " Manic excitement" over hundreds homicides THIS TIME, IN THIS CUTELY NAMED "OPERATION"? That's what's shakin'? Hmmmm...

  • ABC News' Diane Sawyer Mistakes Stricken Palestinians for Israelis
    • Maybe spend some time re-reading the Pentateuch, which is supposed to be God's Land Grant to the Israelites. All kinds of good stuff in there about how one goes about dispossessing another tribe, including what one does to the women and children. Lots of inspiration and strategy in especially Exodus and Leviticus, how to blow the walls down and all that. Even more in Judges.

      Also, some say that women carry the vengeance memes from generation to generation, so kill the women and you "cut the head off the snake," in a metaphor I noticed that one of the "conservative Israeli leaders" used re Palestinian culture. And you know why there's a rape culture, in so many places, in "wartime:" "Bosnia War Crimes: 'The rapes went on day and night': Robert Fisk, in Mostar, gathers detailed evidence of the systematic sexual assaults on Muslim women by Serbian 'White Eagle' gunmen," link to independent.co.uk, and this piece of sorrow, too, for believers in justice: "Bosnia's wartime rape survivors losing hope of justice, "http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26833510 Nothing new, of course, from ancient sagas to near-now: link to theguardian.com

      And of course there's the demographic thing pointed out by others here, that Palestinians "outbreed" Jewish Israelis by a considerable amount.

      The Good Old Days, brought current...

  • Bush Trifecta lands on Obama: Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan Imploding
    • Even though he is just a placeholder figurehead front man, Barack Obama, the Only President We Currently Got, does not deserve any kind of pass for what has transpired on his watch. He may be riding a tiger or hanging on to a hungry lioness by the root of its tail, but there sure appears to be a lot that a person in that position could do to at least change the direction and speed of the charge. Not so likely, of course, if the rider is enamored of, and in bed with, the worst of "us," whether it's "Wall Street" or "K Street" or "C Street" or that amorphous fog of special pleaders and "policy mavens" and and invisible-in-plain-sight-e.g.,-Whoops!anotherproblemtrillion$F-35 MIC thieves and sneaky-petes, all of whom, like the waves of cilia and peristaltic contractions of our national bowels, drive healthy food past the tapeworms "we" host, for their profit and delectation, on its way to exhausted excretion into the septic pit of history. He signs the death warrants for droning and Black Ops, he bolsters the Security State at every turn, he fosters "all of the above continued combustion policy" while doing shell games with large but faux announcements of "cutting back coal plant emissions 30% (wink wink)." He and his loved ones will live out their lives in luxurious comfort, he will glean other wishful and undeserved "honors" like Nobel Peace Prizes, and I hope I live long enough to see what his memorial library looks like, where it's located, what it "features" and what's in its collection that's available to students of stupidity and idiocy and disingenuity. One wonders what he is convinced of, regarding where "we" are on the slide into species extinction and screwed-up planetary ecology. I bet, a whole lot more than he lets on... Thanks for sharing, Mr. President! There once was more than enough to go all the way around -- too bad you had either no interest in, or no ability to accomplish, seeing it stabilized and shelled out fairly and decently and sustainably...

    • Yep, have to acknowledge and encourage and acquiesce in that notion and its relatives and corollaries, since "we" have to continue overt and covert support for "extraterroritoriality" if "we" are to continue to do what "we" so ardently are about, under some claim of That's How The Game Is Played (and "we" are major players, all of "us" conspiring and competing to see who will get to consume the last drop of the oil G_D gave us, and combust the last cubic centimeter of methane mix). It's just the inevitable Way Things Are, ans Smart People figure out how to maximize their own pleasures by surfing the waning wave of kleptocombustoconsumption...

  • Oil-Rich Iran Planning To Spend $60 Million On Solar PV This Year
    • " I wonder how Iran’s solar energy program will be used by the US for propaganda."

      How about "Those sneaky Arabs have the gall to try to avoid our righteous sanctions by daring to steal solar energy that by rights they should be paying the Empire for!"

  • How are Iran's Special Forces intervening in Iraq?
    • This probably gets zero notice, the way the 'net works, but for those interested in what all those highly trained killing machines do after they are done acting under color of "law," there's the less-bad end of things at employers like "MissionX" that offers would-be tough guys and gals "tactical adventures" and "military-structured training and development like no other," link to missionx.com. At the dark poles there are Eric Prince and his Merry Men at Academi Corp.,link to online.wsj.com . And for those who want to capitalize on their special training, there's lots of high-paid jobs, link to work.chron.com and bunches of other private militaries and providers of "security" to the Kochs and other high-wealth critters.

      And for a taste of other concerns "we" who pay for this ought to have about the plague organisms "we" are creating to do "war," there's this among many other articles: "10 Frightening Facts About Private Military Companies," link to listverse.com

    • Iranian "special forces" will be doing one of the many things that all the "special forces" of the planet do. They're adept at all the worst that humans can do to one another, all the methods of killing and torturing and binding, all the destabilization, and now that the US Empire has doubled down on a Global Interoperable Networkcentric Militarized Everything Babblespace, more and more these "special forces" are also "interoperable," and no doubt drawn together by their common skill sets and esprits and loyalties to their chums.

      Here's the Iranian take on what their Quds and SpecOps dudes are, and are up to: link to iranianspecialforces.webs.com

      Want a peek at what the US versions think of themselves, and what they are willing to share with those of us who pay for the play, of the stuff of what they are "capable of" and "trained to do?" Here's the menu:

      " U.S. Special Operations Command Terms of Reference – Roles, Missions and Functions of Component Commands
      October 10, 2012"
      link to publicintelligence.net

      And here's the explication for what those laconic, terse, vague headings mean, and for you Gamespeople the following should give you shivers of delight, and for the rest of us, if we read it in context of what little we can see in "the media," it should give us shivers of fear, for our "rights" and our future:

      link to groups.sfahq.com

      There's more, of course. Some have this romantic notion that "Special Forces" dudes are maybe like Dickson's fairy-tale "Dorsai," morally superior, physically perfect, perfectly violent and deadly, imbued with the virtues that will end conflict and keep us all safe and all that: link to waltsdorsai.net, and less charitably, the reviews: link to amazon.com

      Here's what you can bet the Iranian and Israeli and Sov- er, Russian, and Chinese and Australian and all that SOF - er, Special Ops types are up to and into, in addition to and expanding on the other links here:

      About USSOCOM

      The Department of Defense (DoD) activated U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) April 16, 1987, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. DoD created the new unified command in response to congressional action in the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and the Nunn-Cohen Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 1987. Congress mandated a new four-star command be activated to prepare Special Operations Forces (SOF) to carry out assigned missions and, if directed by the president or secretary of defense (SECDEF), to plan for and conduct special operations.

      To enable USSOCOM to carry out its mission, Congress gave the new command specific authorities and responsibilities:

      Title 10 Authorities and Responsibilities

      -Develop special operations strategy, doctrine and tactics
      -Prepare and submit budget proposals for SOF
      -Exercise authority, direction and control over special operations expenditures
      -Train assigned forces
      -Conduct specialized courses of instruction
      -Validate requirements
      -Establish requirement priorities
      -Ensure interoperability of equipment and forces
      -Formulate and submit intelligence support requirements
      -Monitor Special Operations officers’ promotions, assignments, retention, training and professional military education
      -Ensure Special Operations Forces’ combat readiness
      -Monitor Special Operations Forces’ preparedness to carry out assigned missions
      -Develop and acquire special operations-peculiar equipment, materiel, supplies and services

      In addition to the service-like authorities of developing training and monitoring readiness, some of the authorities Congress gave USSOCOM are unique responsibilities for a unified command. USSOCOM is not dependent on the Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Air Force for its budget or to develop and buy new equipment, supplies or services for the command. USSOCOM has its own budgetary authorities and responsibilities through a specific Major Force Program (MFP-11) in DOD’s budget. Additionally, USSOCOM has its own acquisition authorities, so it can develop and buy special operations-peculiar equipment, supplies or services.

      link to socom.mil Simple enough sounding, right? Here's a bit of what these people really do:

      link to fas.org

      We "civilians" are all just part of "the operational continuum," which runs in a circle from "peacetime competition" to "conflict" to "war," from "prehostilities" to "hostilities" to "posthostilities." Happy vision, with so much invested in making it the model for the whole pre-dead-planet future, eh?

      And then there's this bit,

      "America’s Secret Libya War

      The U.S. military has spent about $1 billion on Libya’s revolution, and secretly helped NATO with everything from munitions to surveillance aircraft. John Barry provides an exclusive look at Obama’s emerging 'covert intervention' strategy." link to thedailybeast.com Overthrow governments? Not even break a sweat. Get weapons across borders into troubled areas? Before lunch. Assassinations, kidnappings, rendition and torture, teaching other dudes how to do it? Piece of cake. Make the world safe for "democracy?" Free the oppressed? "How you define 'democracy?' and 'freedom?' and "oppressed?,' Kemosabe?"

      Other stuff too:

      "Under Obama, the New Mission of the Special Forces is to Make Muslims Like Them"

      link to frontpagemag.com

      Here's some of what they tell Congress, the source of all that money, they are up to and planning:

      link to ndia.org

      And this: "USSOCOM Factbook," all about the "Quiet Professionals" who do this, among other stuff:

      Special Forces units perform seven doctrinal missions:
      Unconventional Warfare, Foreign Internal Defense, Special
      Reconnaissance, Direct Action, Combatting Terrorism, Counterproliferation, and Information Operations. These missions make Special Forces unique in the U.S. military, because they are employed throughout the three stages of the operational continuum: peacetime, conflict and war.

      The "Quiet Professionals," Special Forces units are today deployed worldwide displaying their dominance in full spectrum operations through their unconventional warfare expertise. From humanitarian assistance and training of
      indigenous forces, to direct action and special reconnaissance missions, Special Forces Soldiers live up to the Special Forces
      motto: De Oppresso Liber, to Free the Oppressed.

      link to fas.org Stirring stuff, seems not to fit too well with what's actually been happening everywhere the SOF people are involved....

      And a little more from the cynical side:

      link to allgov.com
      link to groups.sfahq.com

      And so the grand process of creating "interoperability" of militaries, paramilitaries and national police forces everywhere, all those African and South American and Central America and East and Central Asian and Gulf and recently that Ukraine place, trained and equipped and even led by "our" SOF dudes, largely freed from the constraints of a clumsy, oafish, idiotic and inefficient command and procurement structure, grinds toward some kind of future that I, as a doofus "ordinary citizen," for one, find rather appalling... Do NOT tell me these people are "protecting us." They, by their own statements are "protecting US interests," which are Imperial and commercial and are crushing us "oppressed" that they claim to be "freeing."

  • If you read Boing Boing, the NSA considers you a target for deep surveillance
    • So I guess anyone who reads, let alone comments on, this article is square in the scopophiliac peep sights of the folks who hide behind their one-way mirrors and RayBans up in that friendly authoritarian Panopticonic iCloud. A pox on you cowardly shameless lying smirking dorks.

  • Americans need to Answer: When Will Palestinians get their Fourth of July?
    • Just curious: is resolving the horror of the Palestinians, turning them loose to do their version of the Struggle for Democracy, going to un-light all the fuses, un-say all the unforgivable insults, unmount all the troops and weapons and the institutions and their complexities of idiotic greedy self-serving dead-end "policies," un-make Dimona and the deadly spawn of the sick creatures who have put the "Samson option" on line connected to who knows what kind of Dr. Strangelovian trigger, un-rule people like Arafat and Assad and Netanyahoo and Cameron and the deep state here there and everywhere?

      But of course, inarguably, whatever else goes on, that set of changes to the circumstances of one set of the earth's wretched is the right thing to do. Might even be a kind of catalyst of Goodness, who knows?

  • As Israeli Vigilantes pursue revenge killing of Palestinian Children, Troops Go on Unlawful Rampage
    • What I like is how over the years the "doctrines" of the Israeli military have become as nugatory as those that "restrain" our own Imperial forces, from troopers to NSA to sneaky-petes -- those silly Constitutional and Law of War things. Here's from the Wiki article, link to en.wikipedia.org,
      that the IDF PR has had a big hand in drafting:

      Core Values

      Human Dignity – "The IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position."

      And under "Other Values," we find

      Purity of Arms – "The soldier shall make use of his weaponry and power only for the fulfillment of the mission and solely to the extent required; he will maintain his humanity even in combat. The soldier shall not employ his weaponry and power in order to harm non-combatants or prisoners of war, and shall do all he can to avoid harming their lives, body, honor and property." For more on "purity of arms," look here: link to en.wikipedia.org

      Haw haw haw hypocrisy...

      Fun news bits for today:

      "Israeli troops put on private show for U.S. donor, while army searches for teens’ killers - Army says the army base event, sponsored by bar-mitzvah boy’s benefactor-father, was tribute to the troops.", link to haaretz.com (The article indicates something else was going on...)

      "IDF vows to punish soldiers’ racist online incitement --
      Spokesperson blames ‘politicized elements’ for exploiting nationwide sadness as army orders ‘hard line’ against racism,"
      link to timesofisrael.com (Well, then, that's all taken care of, right? Not that racism and rape-ism and Xtian fundamentalism aren't bright features of our own military...)

  • Can Tony Blair Mess up Egypt even Worse?
    • Well, as with Obama and Geithner and Emanuel and PetChrystal the rest of his crew, a wise ruler hires experts with the right resumes and past portfolios and future opportunities. And we still have a smidgen of Freedom (tm), so we can voice our stunned appreciation of their daring and guile...

  • Not War on Poverty but War on the Poor: Washington's Real Foreign Policy Aims
    • Remember the back story to "Soylent Green?" The Corporate Kleptocracy fixed things so that the rest of us consumed all the stuff they made us use our labor to make and buy, on the way to consuming "for profit" everything extractable on the planet. Except ourselves, of course, "Soylent Green is PEOPLE!", and that was the end stage business model.

      These dudes knew what they were doing, but hey, they got to live really high, every whim indulged, while us ordinary people were reduced to waiting for the next, ever less frequent, delivery of Soylent wafers. One executive got a case of moral disgust and was about to blow the whistle on the real nature of the game, which got him assassinated in short order. So the rest of the 'Tony' people, the Blairs and Haywoods, could finish out their lives in perfect titillation of their pleasure centers, 24/7, free of consequences in their lifetimes for any of the horror and pain and idiocy. link to en.wikiquote.org

      Speaking of endgame possibilities, there's one fella in the news at the moment who may be the tip of a whole 'nother iceberg:

      Dr.Yoshihiro Kawaoka, professor of virology at University of Wisconsin at Madison, has reportedly tweaked the 2009 strain of pandemic influenza responsible for some 500,000 deaths worldwide to make it resistant to the human immune system's antibodies.

      Kawaoka's many critics have said that his latest provocative experiment has essentially rendered the world’s population defenseless against the virus.... link to dailymail.co.uk

      And nothing could EVER escape from that lab, or the several/many other Secure Labs from which other horrors cooked up by technically competent but morally impaired and egocentric whiz kids have spread, or could be released intentionally by some super-misanthrope, and how many other "researchers" are playing with planet-burning fire as we indulge our cogitations and debates? Under grants from DARPA and various Imperial Black Programs and their slick, sick equivalents elsewhere?

    • That way out is under way. It's called human induced climate change, coupled with the busy machinations of the worker bees developing killer technological devices and apps and biologicals to finish the job. Terminator style. With lots of cheering idiots enthused about the crushing progress of the Juggernaut...

  • Syrian Opposition: Baghdadi "Caliphate" lame attempt to take Spotlight off his Crime Spree
    • Al Capone had followers. So did Napoleon, and that Hitler guy, and Stalin, and Pol Pot, etc. People's enthusiasms, greeds and identities line them up to follow dudes who pick up the knack of manipulating the effective symbology and lose the general reluctance to kill and grasp power.

  • Uneasy Caliphate: Inside Hawija in Iraq
    • The comments to the linked blog article seem to seriously undercut its thesis, which has a lovely neoliberal aroma to it. One who seems to know points out that the hotel is actively under construction, for examp!e. But hey, there's oil in them that hills, so "we" must get in there or the Chinese will! Success!

  • Hyenas vs. Rhinos: Who could the NYT get to write an Op-ed on Iraq? Hmm...
    • What's the goal, the endpoint of all this violence and chicanery and wealth transfer, again? Bearing in mind that the "economy" that lies behind the frieze of Politics and the Game is Use It All Up, who cares about future generations or the borrow of the present?

  • Top 5 Reasons US Aid to "Moderate" Syrian Fighters is Quixotic
    • Maybe we can call each other "pro-inteventionists" and "anti-interventionists." Bearing in mind that across the board, intervention involves bombing, strafing, blasting, demolishing, and a lot of 'bug splat' that is deemed later to have been "acceptable."

      I guess the "arming Syrian rebels" had an unstated condition that "we" haven't "armed them enough." Not a straw man, the pro-interventionist raised the claim that "we" haven't armed the "rebels."

      You, dmol, don't get to conflate after-action, post-hoc, casual analysis (with all the biases) of interventions with run-ups to interventions, when it comes to burden of proof. Below are a number of cites indicating some consensus that the Grand International Law burden is in fact on the interventionists to show that the inevitable tolls in life and stability are "worth it," and by what standards the claim is made. This article explores both, from the place named for one Great Intervenor, Woodrow Wilson: "Humanitarian Intervention Reconsidered: Lessons from Kosovo," link to wilsoncenter.org

      Then there's this litany of stuff that was so very wrong in the Kosovo deal, noting that "some stupid idiotic is inevitable in war," but this was institutionalized. Including weapons being deployed to establish their presence in the inventory and a whole lot more: "From the Archives: The Failure of Intervention," link to foreignaffairs.com

      And some more scholarship on the subject: "Was NATO's Intervention in Kosovo in 1999 "Just?", link to e-ir.info

      Seems to me that the authorities who parse the bloody entrails of "international law" sort of agree that a number of conditions must be established by the violence imposer before the fig leaf of legality can be affixed.

      A lot of "conservatives" who are also pro-interventionists get all exercised about "cultural relativism," but your definition of "success" is redolent of that, and of post-hoc justification -- "Success" is defined not as "mission" but as justification, from "results." By your own criteria, without room for detailed exposition, I would say that even the "successes" you cite are "failures" as far as ordinary people might be concerned. Though they gave and will give the warriors a good workout and weapons-and-tactics-testing, maybe a la Germany in the Spanish Civil War?

    • As to how the Empire has or has not been arming the, what do you guys call it, the "Syrian opposition," a couple of quick reportorial write-ups among many, showing that maybe "we" are filling the battlespace with more nice weapons for the "moderates" to employ to do what, again? achieve undefined "success?":

      "CIA begins weapons delivery to Syrian rebels,"
      link to washingtonpost.com

      "Congress secretly approves U.S. weapons flow to 'moderate' Syrian rebels," link to reuters.com

      "US reportedly starts supplying Syrian rebels with anti-tank weapons," link to rt.com

      "Bosnia was, er, ah, messy," and intervention by Imperial arms at some point did what, again? Where were the "statesmen" in the runup to that carnage who by application of something closer to Solonic wisdom and "policy" might have set conditions that might have avoided or reduced the killing and stabilized the ground short of really cool war toys like BLU-114s? link to en.wikipedia.org. Got any "interventions" that have been, by your lights, equally "successful?" By what criteria do you claim "success?" And how do all those "interventions," that bland medical-sounding term for profitable armed violence, in any way, ever, lead to anything but more of the same?

      As I said, the burden of proof is on proponents of "intervention" to show how what's done in the Empire's name is going to lead to anything better, healthier, more stable and sustainable for the ordinary people who pay for the Games you proponents of "intervention" invite the rest of us to eat the costs and blowback from...

    • You seem like a debater type, sir. One part of debate, I believe, is defining terms. As in what, per Borat, makes "Great success!"? Interesting selection of example. Maybe Iranians are better at the Game than past and present rulers of Western empires? Per you, " we" are advised to arm somebody. Maybe there's an example of "success" by our rulers? Contras? Mujihedin "freedom fighters?" Jonas Savimbi? South Vietnam? I bet you reaallly liked the "surges." And I really like your Russia-Assad example. Is what's going on there a "success?" In your moral and political framework? And the US has done no arming in Syria? I heard the idea there and in most other "interventions" was to arm and train just enough to ensure instability over the long haul, and meta- dominion for friendly dictators ("we" arm Egypt and Israel and on and on.)
      I'm curious if you are or were a warrior and/or officer and/or policymaker for our fading empire. For which set, along with other parasites, "pacifist" is clearly a pejorative epithet.

    • And "we" are "training and equipping national armies and national police forces" at huge cost with massive fraud and corruption, " and all that wealth transfer is doing WHAT, again?

    • You don't get to decree what the ground truths and sociology are in all the places where that set of mostly wishful, idiotic and pathogenic "policies" you speak so faux-authoritatively for have lumbered over the landscape. And you don't "win" the discussion with a cheap epithet like "pacifist." It's your burden of proof to show how sneaking or shipping more AKs and ammo and antitank/aircraft weapons which you admit will "sure, some of them" leak into ISISL stocks and how all that goes with the chaos that has been summoned up from Hades by "interventionist" Gamers can in any way "fix" the Chaos. Not an example out there, is there? "We" (whoever "we" is) have gone Hands off in Syria? You dare to claim that? Breathtaking illusionism!

  • Is Russia Replacing US in Iraq?
    • Now there's a phrase I have never run across before. Wouldn't "normal balance of power processes" be a really ironic oxymoron? Not to mention a heavy dose of chimaericality?

  • Jailed Jazeera reporter donates funds to Sisi's Egypt plan
    • Works in Mexico, too, and for anyone who's been following our revived debtor's prison arrangements in various jurisdictions in the US Homeland, it works here too. link to schr.org

  • Is it ISIS? French, Saudi Suicide Bombers Target Beirut
    • “It is noteworthy that it is the security precautions that are preventing the suicide bombers from reaching their targets,” Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk told reporters outside the hotel, pointing out that the last two suicide bombers were stopped at security checkpoints.

      And noteworthy that $4 or $10 trillion spent on building a Global We'reinchargehere Networkcentric Babelspace and the thing we shorthandedly call "the NSA" seems so totally out of sync with what's needed to, you know, intercept, let alone minimize the creation of, bombers and stuff. Though when it comes to incentivizing people to strap on the vests or belts or backpacks, all that money spent on the stuff it's spent on, and our Imperial activities all over, seem to be doing a, pardon the expression, bang-up job of making more bombers and shooters to try to detect by the means that actually, you know, seem to work, plain old gumshoe police work... Even some of the folks at the Heritage Foundation appear to agree: "30 Terrorist Plots Foiled: How the System Worked," link to heritage.org

      Other similar thoughts:

      "Terrorism: How Have Other Countries Handled It?
      How Should We?" link to crf-usa.org

      On the crazier side, "Stopping Terrorism at the Source," link to nationaljournal.com

  • Iraq Crisis: It's the Oil, Stupid!
    • ...the missing link to "2003 invasion of Iraq" in wiki, link to en.wikipedia.org

    • The original nomenclature assigned to that 2003 invasion of Iraq "because whatever" was, as I recall, "Operation Iraqi Liberation." It apparently took the idiots who planned the whole thing quite a while to realize that the acronym was, ooopsie, "OIL." Or maybe that was their own little in-joke. Hence the change to "Operation Iraqi Freedom:"

      "Military aspects

      United States military operations were conducted under the codename Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL). The codename was later changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom, due to the similarity to the word "oil" shown in the acronym. The United Kingdom military operation was named Operation Telic. [meaning, "(Of an action or attitude) directed or tending to a definite end."] link to oxforddictionaries.com

      How do you pronounce OIF? "ooof"?

      Please, read the Wiki article linked above, to refresh recollection of the whole idiotic thing...

      Ooooh, and please, please, can I get a job at the Pentagram coming up with sneaky, snarky CODE NAMES for BIG OPERATIONS or (Sneaky-Peteries)?

  • Iraq in last Throes as Kurdistan Seeks Independence, Syria & Iran intervene
    • The trick is to "attract votes" without attracting bullets or bombs... As anomie advances, the latter are in much better supply.

  • "Ready, Fire, Aim!" Are We Stumbling into another War?
    • Sometimes, behaviors are not mediated by intent. Your own body has many "reflex loops or arcs" where millions of years of adaptation do the " thinking." Like the system that pulls your hand away from a hot stove that your idiot curiosity caused you to lean on. Or the one that causes your head to slam back on the concrete when you are on your back under the car, struggling with some rusted bolt, and your forehead bumps the frame. If you are really lucky, your reflex loops will then drive your head back into the frame, and so on until you are limp. This is called "achieving security."

  • Why you need an EV: Radicalism in Iraq Menaces the World's most Important Oil Fields
    • Who needs a missile? A block of C-4 or two, or a couple of grenades, and the steel of a storage tank or pipeline or cracking tower is ruptured. RPG and mortar rounds, 12.7 or .50cal or 20 or 30mm cannon shells work too. Not all the gunmen care if the refinery assets remain intact, some in the joy of combat tend to LIKE big violent explosions they can "claim responsibility" for.

      See Dr. Cole's latest post for a reminder of how quickly big things can change and even huge arrogant empires can suddenly lose their mojo.... And territorial reach.

    • One way or another, it's starting to look like we humans, with our arrogant ignorant well-compensated economists saying to ignore them, are painfully and fairly swiftly going to be forced to internalize all those costs that have been the basis of really cush lives for people like Tony Heyward, highlighted in this fun article:

      Could this possibly be that Tony Hayward — the pinched, sweaty chieftain of British Big Oil? The Englishman whom Americans derided as an insensitive buffoon — and whom President Obama said he would have fired? The man who sailed his yacht off the Isle of Wight as the tar balls washed up on the Gulf Coast? Who, in the middle of it all, delivered that crisis-P.R. sound bite from hell: “I’d like my life back.”

      Yes, this is that Tony Hayward, looking his elfin, curly haired self and sounding more upbeat than he has in a long time.

      Mr. Hayward, it turns out, has his life back.

      Two years after being shown the door at BP, in one of the most ignominious corporate exits in recent memory, Mr. Hayward is back in the oil game. Not at an oil major like BP nor, for that matter, in the gulf, where oil rigs and refineries were being tested anew last week, this time by Hurricane Isaac. No, Tony Hayward is hoping to strike it rich in, of all places, the oil fields of northern Iraq.

      He has some deep pockets behind him. They include a scion of the Rothschild banking dynasty, a former dealmaker at Goldman Sachs and two Turkish tycoons with a foothold in the wild and wildly contentious world of Iraqi oil. It’s a dangerous game, financially and otherwise. But despite sectarian bombings and political deadlock, Iraq’s crude oil production is soaring. In July, the nation produced more than three million barrels of oil a day, the most in a decade, eclipsing Iran and shaking up the old order in OPEC.... There's even more fun in the balance of the article, at link to nytimes.com.

      There's no choice but to eat our externalities. It's just simple chemistry and physics at this point. The question is whether we have to eat the externalities of all the Tony Haywards and Lloyd Blankfeins and David Petraeuses and even Barack Obamas, too.

    • An EV and PV house power are moves in the right direction, it would seem. One hopes maybe not too little, too late, but they and other increments will prolong the comfort, or the agony -- at least, for those who can afford them. Many cities in Michigan still have unprivatized water supplies. What's worse -- something like ISIS(L) taking by force and arms, or the sneaky s__ts that are using the ordinariness and respect for ruleoflaw of the rest of us to take by force and proconsular edict, with a long tail of debt attached to the ordinary losers?

      The video clip paints an interesting picture: Look closely at the gunmen -- they are men living in their moment, intense, alive. Until a bullet or shrapnel shatters their fragile skulls or viscera. link to youtube.com

      Those same extremities could hold a child, or a lover, build a garden, a roof, but they're instead lined up to send "rolling fire" down-range at other men with maybe less resolve in the moment, less inspiration or reason to do "war," more fear, more interest in the other things humans can do, ordinary things like trade and water pipes and tiny cups of coffee and putting arms around their precious families. So little study of what impels us creatures to engage in mastery of urban warfare instead of urban planning. So little attention to what "the enemy" is, that dark and deep archetype in our collective and individual psyches. Such yearning for a "common enemy," link to socioecohistory.wordpress.com, as the only apparent lodestone to draw all of us to pulling on the same end of the rope. (We sure seem to have largely become the Enemy We Feared in that silly movie, "Independence Day..." Add "who gets to use the last drop of God's petroleum?" to "Who gets to be the last Troop to die in Iraq, Yemen, Nicaragua, Notagainistan?")

      And the grand prize is what? Temporary control of a fragile, vulnerable refinery? To what end? But to too many of us, the answer to that one seems so idiotically obvious...

  • Blue Planet et al. Appeal to UN over Detroit Water cut-off to Thousands
    • We hadf a news story not so long ago here in Tampa. A puff piece about a " successful " developer who just finished a 30,000 sq ft "home" on snotty Davis Island. The reporter was impressed, especially with the "water features," several pools, hot tubs, and numerous fountains. The guy asked the owner how much water he used. About 2 million gallons a year. Average water use here is 75 gal a week, and development is draining our Floridan aquifer. When asked why he indulged in the use of so much water, the guy said "because I can afford it. I even get the reduced rate for being such a large user." Sounds like bill's kind of guy...

  • Hardliners in Israel & Iran Resist US Pivot to Iran over ISIS
    • I know the format is a challenge, keeping all those personal and professional balls in the air while delivering one's points without compromising one's future, but I wish Leverett had told the Florida Republican caller at like 7:25 that his talking points, Iran attacks all those countries! and Israel! and Nuclear Threat! and all that, were arrant nonsense.

    • "Get crushed"? Well... comforting grim thought. But: The ISIS(L) (tm) horde seems to be growing in number and capacity, as other gunmen, likely without real honorable ordinary living-wage work to keep their hands and minds gainfully occupied, are drawn to the "Call of Duty," and of course to the opportunities and the paydays. Many ordinary people seem to be feeding the horde, willingly or not, and the resupply of arms and ammo "from somewhere" seems to be working. The chain of command seems to be filled with effective warriors who understand the mode of battle and can inspire the gunmen to keep advancing.

      I have no idea how effective the citizens of Baghdad, in all their varied affections and with all their varied experience in gunman-ing, would/will be in pushing back the horde, establishing a perimeter or boundary or "dead line" stopping the horde's advances, dealing with "5th columnists" and opportunists that also live in the city and also have AKs and RPGs and fertilizer and such stuff squirreled away against a rain-of-steel-jacketed-lead day too. Are there enough "strange attractors" to make a city-state or some other cohesive and self-identified polity out of the groups in what the maps delineate as "Baghdad," the elements of what are now being called "fighters" or "militia" looking to Sistani or other rulers, to counter what are now being called (finally) "gunmen" and "militants" out there in the horde?

    • Just curious, who rules ISIS? There must be some information from our great security state apparatus on those who are riding the horde here. The new machine is tapping into a huge reservoir of some kind of ugly, too human energy, of enthusiasm or opportunism or something. Is/are ISIS(L) rulership running on anything more than a dream of a cruel patriarchy, or as some suggest is it just a Mafia type piracy, more "Tribes With Flags"? Or what? The US Empire plays fooh-bowh and destabilization and murder, the rest of the world plays soccer and " pursuing interests" and murder, but is there an institutional jiu jitsu that might work out better for the species in the long run?

      "Know your enemy." Including US.

    • Sorry to touch a sore point. The attack on the USS Liberty is one of my sore points, 34 sailors killed, 174 wounded. One dares not breathe the word "isolationist" in this age of Imperial realpolitik, but one is less likely to get one's hand caught in a meat grinder if one keeps one's hand out of the chute, and stops selling or giving meat grinders to and training carnivores in their use. Not a perfect metaphor, but arrogance and greed and stupidity and incompetence have put "our assets" into the maw of the meat grinder time and again. Cui bono, again?

    • Why does no one want to put any thought or effort or treasure into establishing conditions that let ordinary people live ordinary lives, with incentives to accord decency and comity to one another?

      But you have to remember that we Imperial UnitedStatesers idiotically accept that there are "US and National [note the telling disjunctive] Interests" that are indeed threatened, not specified how or how those "interests" and "assets" come to be located and based and sited and invested so they could be "threatened." The USS Cole was just there on a port visit, right? And Holy Amabassador Chris Stephens was in Benghazi on a sabbatical, so our fellow humans could come up with crap like this, link to markmaynard.com, to keep us idiots on a hot fire, ready to do more of the same idiocy in the name of the same kind of vengeance, or maybe "anticipatory vengeance," like "prophylactic wars," that do wonders for corporate profits and individual careers and all that...

    • "The only thing that defines them is hostility to the Western powers." And each other, in esse or in posse. And the willingness, the visceral and erotic excitement, of picking up an AK or RPG or Dragunov sniper rifle or PKM middleweight machine gun or KPV or a truck-bed "technical," and various pistols, and satchel charges and military-industrial or home-made mortars, link to en.wikipedia.org, and shooting up the landscape and killing the unable-or-unwilling-to-resist. For "conquest," I guess...

      The factions do coalesce, it seems, for purposes of conquest and looting, and then comes the next part where Nusra goes one way and ISIS(L) (tm) another and the Mahdi Army still another. Follow the history of all the "great emperors" and the hordes they assembled to assemble their Great Empires and see what happens just a decade down the road after they die. Even Islam had its schism, bringing horror down to this very day.

      How does this get "fixed?" Who the he__ knows? What "pragmatic forces" have either an idea and ideal to work from, or the power or subtlety that's needed to keep people from doing what they obviously find it in their interest to keep on doing? Even what I would like to call "ordinary people" who are dis-employed by Chaos and violence from kindlier activities pick up a weapon and get drawn in, by tribal impetus or revenge or "faith," or just for a paycheck, and maybe the chance to kill another human and the excitement that you see in the videos where the "victors" are emptying whole exultant clips of 7.62 ammo into the unresisting sky, or trenches jammed with unresisting humans. With no thought to where the bullets fall. There's too much fun and profit from doing what we humans do, apparently... And too many actual real practicing pragmatists who see their opportunities and take 'em, Golden Rule be damned.

    • So good to know that the pragmatic military people will be doing the doing here. They have done such a bang-up (pun intended) job of dealing with all the other conflicts they have applied their Great Big M-F'n Hammers to.

      Anyone of a "pragmatic" bent, who likes to talk in Game-ese about "force structure" and "power projection" and stuff, have any interest in stating a "mission" and "rules of engagement" and "Doctrine" for these god-like paragons of "pragmatism" to be applying as they belly up to take on this poly-pathogenic horde, this largely-indistinguishable-from-the-local-populace horde? Any hints as to how our imperial and the Iranian pragmatic generals and colonels are going to do counter-insurgency or whatever the catchy moniker is THIS time, with greater eclat and elan and esprit and what is that word, "VICTORY!" or was it "SUCCESS!"? Doing Stupid very well is still Doing Stupid, though of course there will be huge profit opportunities for the War Syndicate, now won't there?

      If the idea is to impel The Enemy to change "its" behavior, The Enemy being a compounded "res" not even close to accurately described by that reflex reification, what's in the works ain't gonna do it. Far as I can tell, looking at the history.

      I could care less what one thinks Khameini and Netanyahoo are really afraid of, they have nice safe billets and escape plans in place -- what I would care about is what 'Adawiyah and Abdul-Ghafur and Farah and Fadil are afraid of... Not that what I and they fear and care about means jack squat to the Big Players or the troops that kick in the doors and laser-designate the Targets...

  • Afghanistan and the Artificial US War on Terror (Anand Gopal's New Book)
    • Thank you. Dr. Cole, for shining your light on this reality, which sadly matters not so much since the momentum is all on the side of corrupt Imperial More Of The Same. One might hope that small, steady pressure of “solar power” might, as with certain solar-wind-powered spacecraft, accelerate the vehicle to enormous speeds.

      Regarding the US Empire's faux fixation on “democracy by elections,” I've been reporting another conversation for decades now. Talking at a little beachfront watering hole in Phan Thiet, late 1967, with a very intelligent Vietnamese gentleman fluent in several languages. Conversation turned to politics, and the importance of electoral democracy, the High Command looking constantly for fig leafs and proof that “we were winning the hearts and minds.” Gentleman said something like, “You Americans don't understand at all. In Vietnamese we have words to describe our politicians. Almost all our politicians are corrupt, or dể hối lộ. When they first begin to advance, they are trống, they are “empty.” Their demands for bribery and protection money and plain theft are insatiable. As they increase their wealth, these demands get less, until they are mostly nhồi, or “full.” Every election makes the risk that we will trade a nhồi man for a trống man. And you think it is a good thing to take this risk every year or two.” Obviously, one heart and mind not “won.”

      For a little context, there are these observations on earlier chapters of the same vicious, idiotic book:

      Fragging Bob: Bob Kerrey, CIA War Crimes, And The Need For A War Crimes Trial
      link to counterpunch.org

      “Has the CIA's Phoenix Program been resurrected in Syria?” link to lewrockwell.com

      And this, among endless other attempts to redirect the Juggernaut: “U.S. Government to Blame for Somalia's Miseries,” link to fff.org

      Aren't we so very proud of ourselves? “Mission Accomplished!”, all right...

  • Neo-Zangid State erases Syria-Iraq Border, cuts Hizbullah off from Iran
    • Regarding Baiji and Golden Gasoline, the lifeblood of commerce, there's this snippet: link to france24.com

      We all might want to watch the "Mad Max" movies again, link to youtube.com, with an aperitif of the "Terminator" franchise, link to tcm.com, sample the various "Robocops" and their back stories (like autonomous killer robots, link to reachingcriticalwill.org) with attention to what's happening in Detroit City today, link to independent.co.uk, and then a main course of perfectly sauteed "Soylent Green," to see the mythology that seems to underpin the coming, or immanent, reality... Anyone for "Baked Alaska" for dessert?

      Yeah, they're just movies, after all. And "Macbeth" is just a play...

    • It's humans, not just men. Not even worth listing all the vicious, violent, grandiose, grasping female rulers in our human story. Maybe less inclined, by small degrees of sorts, to screw over and dominate their fellows, but how interesting that the feminist notions of my youth, how the double-x-chromosome would do such a better job of running things for the general welfare, has given way to the demand for "equality," one that has been granted in part, for women to have the same opportunities to f_-k up their fellow humans, blow stuff up, pilot drones and hotshot combat aircraft, all that stuff: link to militaryjobsblog.com And on the corporate side, the club is still pretty closed, but how does one rise to at least the height of the glass ceiling? Not by the gentler arts...

      Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I, the female Borgias and any number of female actors in the Roman imperial plays, Imelda Marcos, Margaret Thatcher, various Chinese Empresses, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, how about those Nazi camp guards, hey? Pelosi and Feinstein?

      Hey, it's a human set of traits, only somewhat sex-linked. What can be done to steer us into gentler paths? If you track what's shaking in so many places in the world, it sure looks like as in 1913 Europe, people are just itching, just charged and jazzed and fired up, for *WAR!* A condition so nicely highlighted in the works of Barbara Tuchman, a woman who saw so much more clearly the real structure and idiocy of the whole Game in all its manifestations...

  • Obama Prepares for Drone War in Iraq
    • The next Cole post has some neat ptimary- colored maps of what our Rulers called Syria and Iraq. There are many similar maps of what you call "America," marking the more substantial boundaries and divisions that lie beneath those window-shade McMillan maps that grade school teachers pointed to, to teach us the myths of "America." Welcome to the reality of weapon-and-tribe-demarcated socioeconomicopathology...

    • You have to wonder at the dynamics of this particular horde. Interesting question, I wonder if its wars leaders have thought about it. Maybe they have already gone "a bridge too far," but maybe the gunmen have to be fed a steady diet of new "victories" to keep all their guns and RPGs pointed in the same direction. Easy to turn loosre the pogrom sentiments and exultations of violent combat and life-and-death power over beaten opponents and noncombatants. Something else to redirect that into occupation and rule. Like cancers, invasive and more quickly mortal the more malignant they are...

  • It’s come to this: Fox News brings on NFL’s Terry Bradshaw for Benghazi analysis
  • Iraq is more like N. Ireland than Lebanon, Reconciliation is Possible
    • So in the analogy, who gets to play the Brits and the Irish-Americans that sent money and weapons to the factions and all that? Which leader is Paisley, who's Gerry, and which holy bunch takes credit for mass graves of infants and children and stuff?

  • As US Pressures Maliki to Resign, will Iraqi Gov't Collapse?
    • Speaking of sovereign nations...

    • You have to wonder if there's somewhere a "Deposed President's Club," maybe a chat line or conference call, where folks like Karzai and Maliki can gather to reminisce, laugh about how many billions they suckered the Empire into dumping into their personal accounts, and how to keep the dumbsh_ts from the Imperial Policy Wonkery from simply assassinating their a__ses... And other bits of gallows and bitter humor.

    • "The ISIS Crisis in the Riddle East..."

    • Is there enough yearning for a legitimated-by-ballot national government in Iraq to warrant a lot of fussing over who's nominally in charge in Baghdad? I mean, other than for purposes of getting someone to sign and sit on a SOFA with US, to give the Empire the fig leaf for more of the same? Were those 275 or however many "advisers" or whatever invited by Al Maliki PR the Iraqi legislature?

  • Cons of Going to War against Iraq (Cole, Jan. 2003)
    • I would hope that the notion that "US airpower can be invoked to stop mass slaughter" has been thoroughly debunked by now. Probably not, for the usual True Believer reasons, forget about what experience has actually shown.

  • Opportunities Abound in Iraq to Reset US Middle East Policy
    • So now it's " Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iraq?" Elegant language, Mr.Beattie, "pro- democracy people take heart" if our demonstrably antidemocratic empire continues nation building sing the same ill-suited tools because ISIS-ISIL bad. "Reactionary conservative values cannot be maintained forever"? Looked around the US, lately? Or " our policies" as expressed inAFRICOM and SOCOM?

      Very white-paper advice. Looks, of course, that with "only" 275 new US Imperial troops, advisers we call them, on the way, and bombing soon to start, that " more of the idiotic same" will be the prevailing policy, giving a victory to the reactionary forces in the Forever Policy War under the Beltway Imperial Dome...

  • Fracking Threatens US Water: AP
    • Al jazeesus, what is the matter with us and commenters like MT? Does he have a position with or investments in fracking? It takes near zero effort to google lots of hard science showing that fracking and the chemicals used, and the little earthquakes and waste ponds and cuttings and shit, pose a massive threat to water supplies and public health.

      On the other hand, if you are invested in water treatment technologies or cleanup contractors or filtration sellers, externalizing poisons into our common environment is just a fine market-based activity, right?

  • Don't Trust the Bombers on Iraq: "Shock and Awe" Never Works
    • In big combat stuff, "the enemy" is not a "him," it's a bunch of people in more or less organized form. As to the effectiveness of S&A at doing what you claim, there's of course a difference of opinion. As Dr. Cole points out, a lot of the "irregulars" that blew our troops up using munitions that "we" originally gave to Saddam and were too idiotic to police up, those "IED" things made of 155mm artillery shells and 500lb bombs and stuff, and made Fallujah and other places a holy Hell, were some of those troops who were supposed to be so demoralized and lost the will to resist.

      One of many discussions, nearer to the initiation of our slow-march to blowback:

      Shock and awe is a military doctrine similar to the guerrilla terror doctrine that calls for attempting to directly influence your adversary's will, perception, and understanding of events by inducing a state of shock and awe. It is not intended to replace the traditional military aim of destroying the adversary's military capability, but instead to integrate that destruction into a larger suite of actions intended to produce the psychological effect of "breaking the enemy's will to fight". The term was popularised by the United States in its 2003 invasion of Iraq, although a doctrine similar to shock and awe was employed by the German armies in World War II under the name blitzkrieg. Opinion as to the success of shock and awe in Iraq remains divided as of 2004.

      The expectation that most Iraqi forces would capitulate after the shock and awe campaign appeared to have been validated when, during the third week of the invasion, coalition forces found that initial stiff resistance from irregular infantry units in many cities of southern Iraq melted away into a complete collapse of overt organised Iraqi resistance. However, it seems that the resistance merely re-formed in a decentralised, guerrilla style that exhibited increasing sophistication and coordination as the time went on. A military-historical consensus on the effectiveness of "shock and awe" tactics is thus not likely to be achieved until later, when Iraqi soldiers and officers can be interviewed and the impact of America's fighting doctrine on their actions be better ascertained. link to en.specwar.info The same article notes that the actual amount of shocking and awe-ing has been kind of grossly overstated. With a sideswipe at weak-kneed rules of engagement that sort of limited the intended amount of "bug splat," collateral damage, and the cowardly dastardly nature of the Baath Wogs who dared to hide their leadership in among the unfortunate civilians rather than standing and fighting like real men launching missiles and guided bombs from darkened compartments in ships or the hissing cockpits of stealthy jets...

      The Narrative has closed ranks around the "consensus," of course, the one that supports the MIC's Global Battlespace model. I wonder when those interviews will be conducted and an honest reporting will be rendered -- though it's kind of meaningless in light of later and current events, no? Did "we" WIN that war, destroy "his" will to fight? "He" turns out to be a whole lot of "they," what happens when you kick a hornet's nest, or knock over a beehive...?

    • Have a hard time understanding the fine detail of the comment, then? It's complex, I know.

    • For those who want to explore the question of whether detonating the Big Boy and Fat Man over Japanese cities "ended the war and saved millions of lives," there's a lot of scholarship that comes to a very different conclusion. Here's some context, that points away from the Narrative that we Exceptional Americans comfort ourselves with:

      "The Bomb Didn't Beat Japan... Stalin Did: Have 70 years of nuclear policy been based on a lie? "
      link to foreignpolicy.com Gee, I wonder...

      The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II, A Collection of Primary Sources
      National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162
      link to www2.gwu.edu

      And this little tidbit:
      The effects of the attack were devastating. The predicted Japanese surrender, which came on 15 August - just six days after the detonation over Nagasaki - ended World War II. Yet the shocking human effects soon led many to cast doubts upon the use of this weapon. The first western scientists, servicemen and journalists to arrive on the scene produced vivid and heartrending reports describing a charred landscape populated by hideously burnt people, coughing up and urinating blood and waiting to die.

      As questions regarding the ethical implications of the attacks grew, the US Air Force and Navy both published reports which claimed (respectively) that the conventional bombing and submarine war against Japan would have soon forced her to surrender. Joseph Grew, America’s last ambassador to Japan before the war started, also publicly alleged that the Truman administration knew about (and ignored) Japanese attempts to open surrender negotiations with the US using the USSR as a mediator. At this time, another interpretation - most famously espoused in 1965 by political economist Gar Alperovitz in his book Atomic Diplomacy - emerged: the atomic bombing of Japan had been motivated by a desire to demonstrate the US’s military might to the Soviet Union, about whom the Americans were increasingly nervous. link to history.co.uk

      But hey, you can't beat the Narrative, now can you? And besides, so many of us believe in "glassifying" as the way to peace in the Middle East...

    • "If wishes were fishes then armchair strategists would eat."

    • Who wins, you ask? Follow the money. Who ends up with all the money? Who's bankrupt is the ordinary people, who more and more every day are getting to that point of "not having sufficient money to meet their debt obligations as those obligations mature." Thanks in part to the War Culture, and the New Universal Business Model of "more and more work, from fewer and fewer people, for less and less pay, to buy smaller and smaller portions of stuff." It ain't Lockheed "We Always Know Who We Work For, Our Stockholders And C-Suite-ers" Martin, or Halliburton/KBR,, or the Kochs or Adelson or the banksters... or ex-Presidents or Congresscritters...

    • And "Khe Sanh had to be held at all costs, it was the key to the entire war in South Vietnam," except that then, after all the death and destruction, what happened again? Oh, "we" withdrew from the battlespace, for some reason or other. Endless words, signifying nothing -- endless in-depth, serious, measured analysis, looking for justification for idiotic strategies and policies.... One tiny example:
      Westmoreland made two other key decisions
      on 10 March. He decided to overrule the objections
      of the Marines and implement Momyer's
      plan for the centralization of air control by designating
      the 7th Air Force as the single management
      authority for air operations.332 It will be
      shown that this decision had little effect on the
      battle because it was not fully implemented for
      several more weeks (by which time the NVA effort
      had declined even further), because the Marines
      figured out ways to circumvent direct Air
      Force control, and because the system that was
      implemented contained key compromises. The
      other decisive action Westmoreland took that daywas to request 206,000 more troops from President
      Johnson to win the war. Putting this request
      in the context of the other decisions indicates
      even more clearly MACV's viewpoint that victory
      at Khe Sanh had allowed him to "turn a corner"
      in the war. Unfortunately for Westmoreland, the
      request was perceived somewhat differently by
      President Johnson, who eight days later finally
      announced that Westmoreland would finally be
      coming home to the United States.
      link to marines.mil So I guess ol' Westy was "betrayed" and "undercut" just when he was on the edge of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, eh?

    • Of course not. And it's not just "standards of living," like we privileged Westerners get to talk about. My only reference was to a passing mention that unlike the Maliki rule and Bremer's before it, the ISIS monsters were doing kind of like the Capone gangsters -- getting a certain amount of cred and support by making sure certain community needs like running water and consistent grid electricity were provided, along with the beheadings and summary executions. For a running description of it all, there's this: link to theguardian.com

    • ...and here at home, so does Gen. George Armstrong Custer. Many of them. And Henry Ford, too, and Henry's trusted head-busting, labor-crushing, murderous lieutenant, Harry Bennett, the folks who brought us the notion of "welfare capitalism," pay the mopes just enough that they can afford the cars they built, with a little left over for gasoline and the occasional insane road trip... link to en.wikipedia.org And the birds crap on all of them alike...

    • Yeah, all that naval action, and the years of GIs landing on islands, and the slow bleeding and constant cutting back of the Japanese empire's access to resources had nothing to do with how the war finally ended. It was all about burning civilians in Tokyo and Yokohama and finally the Big Bangs that sapped the will of the populace, right? I guess you read a different bunch of history than a lot of other folks, though of course there are true believers in the Seversky/Walt Disney version of how "we" can dominate and destroy, "Victory Through Air Power!": link to en.wikipedia.org

      Wasn't it Lemay who got all frustrated with the uncooperative unyielding of the "gooks" and wanted to "nuke 'em back to the stone age"?

    • Speaking of the "wealthy administrative class" in Vietnam, a little vignette: I was stationed at Phan Thiet, the "Nuoc Man capital of the world," in late 1967. A gaggle of odd aircraft circled and landed at our ugly cinder airstrip, escorted by "several" heavily armed South Vietnam Air Force AD-1 Skyraiders, and T-37 "Tweety Birds." (This link gives a nice flavor of how procurement and deployment are done by our Grand MIC, and the rah-rah sentiments that plague our thinking about "war, the Main Game.:" link to airspacemag.com )

      The gaggle of aircraft was the venerable "French Flying Club," based at Tan Son Nhut, one of our huge contractor constructions in VN. I have pix of the Cessna 190, Piper 140, and several others including a Messerschmit Bf-108, link to en.wikipedia.org, flown in on a fun outing by a bunch of snotty rich folks who demanded that we clean their windshields, polish their props, and fill 'em up with high octane US-provided avgas. Lunch was provided at the Officer's Club. These were regular outings for the privileged Club members, with just a whisper of possible danger from small arms fire, and the fun of seeing the "gooks" who dared shoot at them "suppressed" by cannon fire and bombs from the escorts. These folks, like our ambassadorial and senior contractor and general officer class, lived in the many estates that the French colonial kleptocracy had built. As I recall, rent on these swank places were just a couple of hundred (illegal, you were only supposed to use military scrip that greenbacks a month, and "house girls" and other servants were maybe $10-15 a month. The real nature of "war," one small part of it...

    • So the bombing campaigns by which our Brave Air Force converted hundreds of billions of future dollars in national wealth into puffs of smoke and screaming shrapnel were the reason that what used to be North Vietnam signed on to the Paris Peace Accords, after Nixon torpedoed earlier settlements, after Wilson refused Ho Chi Minh's request to assist "French Indochina's" national aspirations, after Eisenhower/Dulleses started the flow of US wealth and idiocy into Indochina? Arc Light and Linebacker II were what brought the "gooks" to their knees? And are the reason we now can by nicely tailored casual clothes in Walmart labeled "Made in Vietnam"?

      Dare one offer, too, that even constraining awareness and thinking by using the "won the war, lost the war" language, trope or whatever, blinds us to the realities of our 4th generation Battlespace? Of the ebb and flow of history, and how one might avert, in the first place, the development of successful Horde-mongering, and hasten the domestication of the former patriarchal testosterone-poisoned young men and their "fiery leaders?" Sticking "us" to "analysis" that requires applications of Projected or Covert Force as the only way to operate, even where tribal or sectarian or maybe even national aspirations (seemingly not the case in Iraq or Syria or Libya) can trump all the bombing (short of nuclear, or gas, or germ, or the coming nanobomb Curtis LeMay Total War technology) that the attacking and invading powers can buy with their future wealth?

      Here's a dated version, but likely very current, too, of what the actual bombers actually feel and experience and how effective their efforts are seen to be: link to usafaclasses.org Oh yeah, the Gulf area is different, no trees to speak of...

      I read a long time ago that the Mongols or somebody imposed the "queue" hairstyle on the people they conquered as a symbol of that subjugation, but that within a generation or two, the queue was the adornment of the ruling class. Hamas people start having to "govern" and get more civilized, it seems, as do many other gaggles and hordes in our human story. There are always Lenins and Mayor Daleys (pere) in these bunches. Seems like ISIS, may their name be cursed, has at least managed to turn the public water and electricity supplies back on, and maybe managed, however cynically, to do some food distribution. Between beheadings and bullets-to-the-head "corrections", of course, and other horrors, a feat that the prior crop of other-sect rulers, even with billions in "US contractor" assistance, had not deigned to manage: "We Meant Well." Well, not really....

  • Wikileaks' Manning says US public was lied to about Iraq from the start
    • O, let us not depart from the Narrative... The Surge Worked! Air Power Crushes Militants/Insurgents/Dissidents/Terrorists! US MUST ACT NOW, AIRCRAFT CARRIER AND ASSETS IN PLACE! Blow something up, that will fix 'em! Iraq will goddamit be a nation, and the oil must flow! Don't switch horses, or horse's a__es, in the middle of the stream! We Like Shia! or is it Sunni! or Kurds, and whey! or what about those Sufis, what have they go to say? Keep pushing weapons for profit out to all those Moderates, the talking heads say they sort of know who they are! Continue to show nearly complete ignorance of the grainy, gritty detail of what's shakin' in that part of the world, or the nature of human nature! More wealth transferred to the War Department! Listen to the clanging of the bells, bells, bells. the frightful tintinabulation of the bells, link to eapoe.org, as they echo off the impenetrable (except to money and influence) walls of the Beltway Bubble!

      And anyone thinking the citizenry of our Empire has anything to recommend it, morally or intellectually, over those people over there who are re-assorting themselves as humans have done since Cain'n'Abel and Jacob'n'stuff, needs to attend to all the comments to articles about what's shakin' that offer the idiotic advice (given how nukular weapons work) to just "glassify the whole area, we need a glass parking lot, only good one is a dead one, link to aol.com...)

  • 7 Myths about the Radical Sunni Advance in Iraq
    • ...and want to see what the Base that would likely make up the US version of ISIS looks like?

      link to talkingpointsmemo.com

      Can you spell "anomie"? link to britannica.com

    • Lots of rueful head-shaking and tongue-wagging about The Crisis In Iraq, Syria, Libya, Myanmar, Yemen, Somalia, Detroit... And so much recourse to what George Santayana, who knew a bot about history and human behavior, was reported (in part) to have said: "Those who do not remember/learn from/recall history are doomed to repeat it/its mistakes etc.

      Leave it to W. Churchill to come up with a pithy statement of the problem:

      "“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”

      —House of Commons, 2 May 1935, after the Stresa Conference, in which Britain, France and Italy agreed—futilely—to maintain the independence of Austria. (My book* page 490). link to nationalchurchillmuseum.org

      Of course in the present context, to "act" being the demand from all the Wise and those who profit from "war," much the same set, the bit about what "action would be simple and effective" is kind of the big-sticking point, now isn't it? Imperialists are all about shaping everything to suit their pleasure. And as with any kind of engineering, social engineering runs up against the properties and limits not only of your material but of the tools you have to shape things, and Murphy's immutable Law and its corollaries, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics...

      And more from Santayana: "“History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren't there.” link to en.thinkexist.com

  • The seven people who need to STFU about Iraq right now
  • Blair-Bush & Iraq: It's not just the quagmire but the Lawbreaking & Deception
    • One might call these creatures "Orcs," and be close to the mark. Scratch and snap and screech and claw, eat human flesh or each other if that's all that's available, thrive on darkness, butchery and despair, in groveling service to the All-Seeing Evil Eye of NSAuron...

      And to think that once they too shared human genes... Eeeewww...

    • Fun pix on CSPAN, some reactionary Republican legislator lecturing Hagel on his Constitutional role vis-a-vis Congress, how the White House was supposed to have given notice of the Bergdahl initiative to those very serious, very concerned Constitutionalists. Peppery response from Hagel, to which the Honorable Representative from Florida replies, "We are a nation of laws, sir, and you need to start respecting the rule of law." Britain was supposedly the source of our tradition of "rule of law," no?

      One version of the charade: link to nbcnews.com

      How much cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy can we stand, here, and there? Apparently quite a bit...

  • Iraq: Radical Shiite Militia fights Sunni Extremists as US Carrier reaches Gulf
    • For anyone who wants their world events all nice and categoried and sanitized and stuff, and who did not have a history professor who filled the old movie screen at the front of the class with actual images of what history looks like, and who are unclear how "hordes" and "bands" operate, here's a visual aid:

      link to theblaze.com

      For more illustrative imagery of what the GUNmen that everyone wants to differentiate as insurgents or militants or terrorists or whatever, here is one current-events example (caution: hard on delicate sensibilities): link to theblaze.com

      The Baathist armies, the Republican Guards, the various "moderate and less so" gangs and gaggles in Syria, our own GUNloonies here at home, are just a short bit of the human continuum. For lots more learning resources, don't fail to check out the zillions of bloody snippets now cataloged and preserved at syriavideo.net and in youtubespace under topics like 'syria violence 2014.' There should be lessons the rest of us can draw from all this. Maybe someone else can think of some, other than "we are one sorry species." Or "This is why the USS Bush is loitering in the northern Gulf, to do something about that bad stuff," and then you can tell us what that "something" is and how it will make life generally any better, other than better for the Generals...

  • Enter the Ayatollah: Sistani calls on Iraqis to enlist in Fight against "Terrorists"
    • Subtext in all this talk is a yearning, an unspoken whining complaint, that the leaders, people like Sistani, who is getting a nice polish as a Good Sensible Dude just now, kind of like We Hope Rohani is, a complaint about why these people don't inspire and lead for ALL the ordinary people, whatever their polarity and whichever succession mythology or creation story they adhere to.

      Sistani: would he be other than "dead meat" if he tried to make a play to speak to "all Iraqis?" Bearing in mind that it sure does not look like there is, or even can be except as a grammatical construction, anything like "allIraqis," when the gunmen who need that transforming trigger organize around "leaders" that cynically use tribal mythologies and the motions of historical alliance to solidify their "leadership," and deflect and re-direct all that nihilist anomic energy against those people with a different take on the life and death of Fatima. link to welcometoshiaislam.blogspot.com

      Look what happened to Yitzhak Rabin, and who killed him and why, link to en.wikipedia.org, and Anwar Sadat, and who killed him and why, link to en.wikipedia.org. And Indira Gandhi, who was Not A Nice Person anyway.

      And there's all these sneaky-petes that apparently out of habit, and brain-dead training and for maybe just the kicks of being able to do it, either suborn some colonels or sergeants to murder their sometimes elected leader and elevate The Military to rulership, or so stir things that Chaos is the only possible sacrament.

      What, again, are the "enormous US interests" that are going to be the "reason (sic)", this time, that "we" are maybe going to be "shock'n'awe-shucks, marching on Baghdad" once again?

      Oh well, for me, personally, it's back to the goddam recurrent nightmares of that Vietnam sh_t, the worst one being that even though I did my three enlisted years and was honorably DISCHARGED in 1969, and finished my subsequent involuntary inactive reserve servitude more than 30 years ago, I am being called up,, ordered, to "serve my country" again, bad knees and bad ticker and all, and nobody will honor my discharge, or listen to my horror story.

      Thanks an effing bunch to all you Players and Serious People, for myself and others you have similarly afflicted... At least that insipid "thank you for your service" phrase seems to be disappearing from the jargon of the day...

    • All this talk about "the Iraqis." Is there, or can there be such a thing as “Iraq?” All these calls to “defend Iraq,” and how does one develop a doctrine and a strategy and tactics to do that, if one has no reality, no real polity with the adhesions and cohesions making up a nation to be defending, in relation to which our rulers would be defining that “we have to respond now” response?

      Looks to me like our Empire is gearing up to do more “striking,” what used to be called “smiting and putting to the sword.” Obama promises (!) “no American boots on the ground,” but in addition to all the other ASSets that are in motion toward “being in range,” there's the grave pronouncement that the USS George Herbert Walker Bush, another “larger expensive target,” is powering toward that end of the Gulf. link to wavy.com “We” seem to be a one-trick pony, the trick involving trying to force 4th gen warriors into the kind of set-piece battles that our generals have prepped and prayed for since Vietnam. Or failing that, since the “wogs” won't generally cooperate in setting themselves up that way, I guess it's time to “do air strikes,” since Air Power has been so effective in Nation Building in the past, right? Too bad that "First, Do No Harm" is not in the moral structure...

      Got to love “the media.” One tiny anecdote: watching Al Jazeera America this morning, the talking head is soliciting “truths and advice” from the person their editors called on to "be wise and informed in this crisis," one James F. Jeffrey, former ambassador to whatever Iraq is, and other interesting stuff: link to en.wikipedia.org. The gist of this master insider's Wise Advice and Counsel is this, please note the “oil must flow” phrase, among the other idiot talking points:

      ““We have tremendous interests involved here including fighting terrorism,” he said. “And Iraq, unlike Syria, is a major oil exporting country. You see the impact we already have on oil prices. We have to act and we have to act swiftly.”

      He said that Obama should use air strikes to stop ISIS from continuing their current advance. If they aren’t stopped, he fears the insurgent army will surround Baghdad, involve Iran, and cut off Kurdistan from the rest of Iraq. Air strikes could immobilize ISIS, but Jeffrey is also convinced that the American assistance will inspire the Iraqi soldiers to continue fighting.”

      And hey, that "striking" really worked, in Kosovo and Bosnia and Libya, so see?

      Who's Jeffrey? Obama’s Former Iraq Ambassador. For even more recent detail on this fella who now works for ExxonMobil and pontificates all over, look here: link to wemeantwell.com

      For me, with my little knowledge of human physiology, this is like watching the progression of one of the horrible auto-immune diseases, as parts of the body's defense system attack other parts, leading often to death by asphyxiation or clotting of all the blood vessels. Or what's known as "disseminated intravascular coagulation," often an endpoint to cancers: link to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

      “We” apparently have no idea, let alone any ideal, let alone any mental or "policy" or military tools, calibrated on how to “fix” the current situation in that it's-not-a-nation landspace, particularly neither plan nor inspiration on how to move all those warriors and sect adherents and their rulers, holy or a__hole-y, in the direction of being just ordinary people again. Other than blowing stuff up, bribing, corrupting, destabilizing, propping up and arming one subset or another. Installing people like Bremer and Jeffrey in policy positions, and "befriending" Maliki and Karzai and Batista and the Shah.... Because the basic, most basic bottom foundation level of all of this is corporatocracy, starting with the premise that “the oil must flow.” With all that means, to the ordinary people of the planet.

  • The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
    • ...200 to 600 nuclear weapons...and of course The Samson Option: "Israel let it be know that was willing to take down the entire world rather than allow the Zionist dream to come to an end. This is what is known as “the Samson Option,” named after the biblical character who destroyed his enemies by pushing down the columns of a [goyisher] temple, killing himself in the process." Are humans wonderful? Or just wonderfully stupid?

  • After Piketty, is the Study of Economics the Study of Rising Inequality?
    • There's another economics game that always ends the same way: the "Beer Game," a simulation used in business schools and elsewhere to supposedly show the communications faults that plague a "supply chain." Players assume one of the roles in the brewing, distribution and sale of beer. The nominal goal is to establish a steady-state or at least functional balance between supply and demand. But in addition to the ethics that the players bring to the game, there's incentives for maximizing the position of each of the parts in the chain. Every time, despite the knowledge that imbalance and dysfunction, boom and bust, are almost always the outcome, the play goes the same way: Too much production and a crash in price and "bankruptcy." The lesson of the game, it seems to me, is a lot bigger than just the difficulties of creating and maintaining a balance in the thing called the supply chain. It's simply an illustration of competitiveness and greed standing athwart a stable, money-based, personal-reward-driven simple little part of the much larger set of relationships that Experts call "the economy." Even the people who teach the game and run the simulations acknowledge that there's something very broken in the real world: link to newsoffice.mit.edu

      But of course in iCloudCuckooland, the Big Players say that surprisingly, more information is the key to beer-brewing homeostasis:Winning the Beer Game with The Internet of Things (IoT) link to blogs.cisco.com How you take greed and self-advancement and Bubble-type opportunism out of the cycle isn't very clear....

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