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pragmatic realist

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  • Downgraded US Credit Rating: What comes of Coddling the Super-Rich
    • Pragmatic Realist 08/06/2011 at 11:45 am

      The downgrade was based on nothing more than the fact that this rating agency is the enforcer for financial gangsters who are trying to force their own preferred politicial policy on the country. In smaller countries the World Bank and the IMF have performed this role of threatening to break the country unless they changed their government and social policies to conform to "free market" standards, "austerity" (for the working class and poor) and to open up their economies to exploitation by global corporations.

      However since the USA and the IMF are one and the same, these gangsters have to find another way to promote their threats in this country. The rating agency fills that role.

      If our own government had enforced its own law to prosecute these companies for fraud in falsifying the security rating of the worthless securities sold by our own banks and for essentially taking bribes to do so, Standard and Poors would be out of business right now. It only goes to show that the untruth of the old maxim about there being honor even among thieves.

  • Top Ten Mistakes in the Libya War
    • I admire your attempt to cast a critical and rational eye upon this war in Libya, but I think you are avoiding the main point.

      There has been no attempt to help the people and government create a truce and negotiate among themselves a non-violent solution to their problem, whatever it may be. Instead we have chosen to intervene on one side (of how many sides available, we are not told) of the situation and pursue a tactic of removing Col Gadaffy and his government by force.

      We, the people of the United States, have not been told who we are supporting, why we are supporting them, or what this faction plans to do with the country if the gain control. I, for one, am VERY suspicious of this decision.

      The much more appropriate action would have been to help create a cease fire and support and enable the whole nation of Libya to make a peaceful negotiation and a political process to achieve their own best interests in their own way.

  • Repeal the PATRIOT Act is the Lesson of Bush White House Spying
    • Pragmatic Realist 06/17/2011 at 1:08 pm

      "But one of the things that worries me is that some of the key political and judicial personnel who might want to move against it may themselves already have been victims of surveillance, entrapment and blackmailing."

      Is there any reason to think that this is not true already? It certainly would explain a lot about why things happen (or don't happen) they way they do.

  • Ret'd. CIA Official Alleges Bush White House Used Agency to "Get" Cole
    • Pragmatic Realist 06/16/2011 at 11:04 am

      President Obama's spokesman said yesterday that he did not need the Congress' permission or affirmation to carry on the "whatever you call it" in Libya. By this he means to say that the president has the authority and power to order the killing of anyone, anywhere in the world who he deems to be a threat to the interest of the USA. And, he said further, that we should all be quiet about it lest anyone doubt that he would do it.

      Paul Craig Roberts, a former assistant secretary of the treasury in the Reagan administration and a staunch conservative, has written often to point out the fact that we are living in a police state where the government is no longer obeying the law or the constitution.

      This is where my real (disappointment is too weak a word) with President Obama lies - not the politics of budgets and policies, but in the violation of law and the Constitution. As you point out, in this regard we are still back in Nixon time, and even Nixon did not have such contempt for the law as our current and former presidents.

      You should be happy that they are not yet at the point where they feel safe showing up at the door of a professor at the University of Michigan and shooting him in the head. There are others who are not so privileged.

  • Time to Begin Leaving Afghanistan
    • You ask: "It is the Afghans’ country; when will they be willing and able to fight for it?"

      Actually they are now fighting for it. The problem is that they are fighting for it against us.

    • If the US and NATO left the Afghan army and police would not have to pick up any slack. The attacks by the Taliban would stop. There would be a short straight-up confrontation between the Karzai government and the Taliban, a resolution one way or the other and then peace. The only problem with that scenario is that there is no guarantee that the US will be able to control the resulting government.

  • Syrian Security fires on Protesters, Kills 90
    • OK, then. Here we have an authoritarian state murdering its own people. Its a known refuge of terrorism; many believe or claim it was the hiding place of Sadaam's WMD. It is a direct enemy of Israel and active in military intervention in Lebanon.

      Where is the demand to intervene in Syria? To overthrow a brutal authoritarian enemy of freedom? To bring stability and democracy to this critical region of the Middle East? Where is it? Why is the Security Council not debating this today in emergency session?

  • Benghazi Rejects AU Plan to Leave Qaddafi in Power
    • Pragmatic Realist 04/12/2011 at 12:09 pm

      I think that there is a basic willful misunderstanding here between the concept of a "cease fire" leading to negotiations to end the conflict and a "surrender".

  • Questions for Glenn Greenwald on Libya and the end of NATO
    • The NATO resolution, the UN resolution and the Arab League vote were all promoted and manipulated by the US, France and Britain. NATO members Germany and Turkey gave significant resistance; eight members of the Security Council abstained; and only 11 members of the Arab League were present and voting. None of these institutions would have passed resolutions for intervention without US pressure, so the best you can say is that we got permission from a very reluctant NATO, the UN and the Arab League to do something we were determined to do for our own interests.

      It is completely disingenuous now to make the argument that we have an obligation to support our allies in an effort that they (except for France) would never have undertaken unless we had bullied them into it. This is all on us, our decision to start and stop. And events are proving that unless we get out RIGHT NOW we are going to be policing a stalemate for years as we did in Iraqi Kurdistan. You may think that it is worth the sacrifice in life and treasure, but I don't think it is worth a single penny, and certainly not a single life.

  • Obama on Libya vs. Trump, Palin, Bachmann, Romney, Gingrich and Carrot Top
    • The news this morning is that the government forces have made a counter attack and the rebels are retreating. No what do you do? Having made the commitment this far, what will we do if the side we have intervened on starts to lose? The presumption of this whole adventure was that we can intervene cleanly from the air and it will be over. But what if aerial bombing is not enough, as our experience from WW II to the present have shown us it NEVER IS.

      Once started down this path, can we stop? Of course not. That is why we should never have started. Real soldiers know that there must always be boots on the ground. If Libyan rebel boots cannot do it, we will have to put our own there or admit defeat. Here is my assessment of Mr. Obama's speech: We are waist deep in the big muddy and the big fool says, "Press on."

  • Rebels take Back Oil Centers as Tripoli suffers Gasoline Crisis
    • Pragmatic Realist 03/28/2011 at 11:17 am

      Obviously we have abandoned the pretense of providing protection for civilians with a "no fly zone" and have seamlessly moved into activity supporting a ground offensive. You can't bomb a city without civilian casualties. You know that. I have read postings on "Informed Comment" pointing out that bombing a populated area is a war crime. The lying and hypocrisy surrounding this military action is disgusting.

      Tanks are not "reduced to black carbon dust". They are blown apart and burned, usually with depleted uranium weapons that poison the earth and air around them, and the people inside of them burned to death, people enlisted in their own national army, defending their own government against an uprising and a foreign invasion. They may be wrong to do so, but they are still entitled to be valued as human beings.

  • An Open Letter to the Left on Libya
    • "This argument is bizarre"

      Years ago, I was in graduate school in philosophy, and I noticed then that using the word "bizarre" in an argument was the last refuge of somebody trying to win by intimidation and ridicule. Of course the intervention in Libya by France, Italy and the United States would be noble and productive if all the qualifications and presumptions you list prove out to be true, but they won't. It will be a horrible bloody mess, and the most powerful interest will prevail. I have always found it unconscionable for someone in a safe and secure position to advocate a course of action in which other people will be killed. If you think it is a good thing to help the Libyans, you should be willing to go and put your own life on the line.

      One other thing: There is no such thing as "The Left", or for that matter, "The Right", "The West", "The East" or any other mental construction. When I run into this terminology, I usually stop reading, but I kept on with this article because you are usually a smart guy.

  • Arab League May support No-Fly Zone, as Qaddafi Retakes Territory
    • I have read that someone (possibly Robert Gates) has pointed out that any serious military plan for a "no fly" zone has to begin with attacks destroying the Libyan anti-aircraft defense system which would effectively be an act of war. I wonder if any of these politicians realize this and whether they would seriously consider such a measure.

  • Egypt's Unfinished Revolution: PM Shafiq Ousted
    • Pragmatic Realist 03/04/2011 at 10:33 am

      "In both countries, high political figures have been closely tied to mafia-like economic elites who misused their access to government insiders to engage in forms of insider trading and who marginalized outside entrepreneurs. Removing the exponents of a crony government is necessary not only to freer parliamentary politics but also to more social equity."

      Maybe we can hope such for such a revolution here in the USA someday!

  • Meyer: Clinton's Fear-Mongering about Egyptian 'Chaos'
    • Pragmatic Realist 02/08/2011 at 10:06 am

      I think that the chaos might result from somebody in a new government and getting access to files concerning the USA's contributions to the oppression of the Egyptian people and payoffs for collusion with US policy on Israel and the Phony War on Terror.

  • Kolin: How the US Became a Police State
    • Pragmatic Realist 01/31/2011 at 11:00 am

      Voting rights have been a big concern of the elites since the beginning also. They have been very focused on making sure that only the "right people" get to vote. In the segregated south after slavery times they used literacy tests and poll taxes. Even now most jurisdictions exercise control by making the voter registration process difficult and troublesome, often striking people off the registration list on the basis of suspicion without proof that something is wrong. I think this explains the obsession with "voter fraud", the deep concern that inappropriate people might get to vote.

      The simple process of voting in an election is also made difficult by scheduling it on workdays with waiting in long lines. And they want to make it harder with ID checks, background checks and so on.

      And there is still a movement to restrict voting to property owners or taxpayers. This idea has been around since the beginning of the constitution. Thomas Jefferson prevailed on extending the vote to all (white) men because he thought it was a good idea to allow them some kind of outlet for their discontent. Mostly he thought they should vote because they had guns and might use them to express their political preferences.

  • New Wikileaks: US Knew Tunisian Gov. Rotten Corrupt, Supported Ben Ali Anyway
    • Pragmatic Realist 01/16/2011 at 11:04 am

      Pervasive mafia-like corruption? Nepotism and collusion among the super-wealthy elites to make themselves richer by plundering the country? High security police state to stomp out any flickering of dissension? High unemployment even among the college educated? Open flaunting of symbols of wealth and privilege with jewelry, limousines, mansions and private jets?

      I don't see anything here that our government would not find normal or even admirable.Those who work so hard in the government for such "modest" salaries could only be jealous.

      The only thing that I hope that they might learn from their shock at this uprising is that it is possible for them to go too far with their blatant corruption and flaunting of their power and wealth, and that some few people might finally rise up and cause some trouble.

  • Palin Borrows 'Blood Libel' from Israeli Far Right
    • Pragmatic Realist 01/13/2011 at 11:22 am

      If you are not familiar with the popular TV program, NCIS, I suggest you watch a couple of episodes. NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigation Service, but the characters on this show do more terrorist fighting that criminal investigating.

      They are particularly fixated with Al-Qaida and various Muslim terrorists. They depict a special primary alliance between the US and Israel, and have placed an actual Mossad operative on the investigative team and portray her as a kind of super agent. She is named Ziva David and her father is the head of Mossad itself.

      Several scenes have been placed in a room where the head of NCIS is viewing screens showing the feeds from American drones blowing up "terrorist" vehicles and ships.

      My point is that Hollywood has no trouble with the concept of a special political and military alliance with Israel so intimate as to be practically an integration of their forces with ours, with theirs being actually better. American TV viewers apparently have accepted this without question as reflecting reality.

  • Al-Maliki: US Troops Out!
    • Pragmatic Realist 12/29/2010 at 10:34 am

      Showing through the darkness of all the terrible news and prospects for the future, this is the one ray of light. And the main point is that the Iraqi people have done this for themselves in spite of our American plans to continue to control their country.

      They were already a strong resilient developed (to a certain extent) country before we came and they have pulled that back together. Fortunately we no longer have the wealth and military strength to keep them under our occupation and domination.

  • The Karzai Problem in Afghanistan: Wikileaks
    • Dr. Cole, I think you need to ask the next question after you say we are in Afghanistan to prop up the Karzai government: "Why do we need to control the government of Afghanistan? What is the interest (most likely financial) that needs to be able to make sure the US controls the land and government of this poor country?"

      We are really not fighting a war there. We are maintaining an occupation.

      If nothing else that people are saying makes sense, its probably the money that they don't want to mention.

  • MSNBC's Phil Griffith the Worst Person in the World, as Olbermann Joins Donahue, Banfield
    • Pragmatic Realist 11/06/2010 at 1:55 pm

      The election is over and it is time for the big money interests to start getting what they paid for.

  • 4th Attack on Trucks Near Quetta, Pakistan
    • Pragmatic Realist 10/06/2010 at 11:24 am

      Of course, if the helicopters had not crossed the border in the first place nobody would have shot at them and nobody would have been killed.

  • Attack on US Base Repulsed in Afghanistan
    • Pragmatic Realist 09/25/2010 at 11:21 am

      Guerrillas don't attack fortified bases. Only organized well equipped substantial fighting forces would attack and American base camp. This is not a force that is being defeated; it is a force that is getting stronger and more organized. It is only a matter of time before they begin a full out frontal engagement, a real battle. Of course we can beat them on the field, but as the Vietnamese Colonel said, it is "irrelevant". They can fight us over there forever, but we have to go home sometime.

      We can either stay there and more people will die for nothing, or we can leave now and fewer people will have died for nothing. The choice seems clear to me.

      May I suggest the blog, Ranger Against War, for an realistic military man's view of what he calls "The Phony War on Terror" and the military situation? link to rangeragainstwar.blogspot.com

  • Mass Protests as Israeli Contractor Kills two in Palestinian East Jerusalem
    • Pragmatic Realist 09/23/2010 at 1:46 pm

      It is a venerable practice here in the United States to hire armed guards for "protection" in various situations such as strikes and demonstrations. The Pinkerton Detective agency was a famous source for contract guards; the called them "goons".

      Here in West Virginia the mine owners hired guards were usually given legal authority by having them sworn in as deputies by the local sheriff. There were pitched battles, one involving an armored train with a machine gun in it, and another with actual trenches and fortifications in the "Battle of Blair Mountain."

      These "mercenaries" should be referred to by their proper name as "Goons".

  • Afghans Demonstrate Against US Quran-Burning That Never Happened
    • Pragmatic Realist 09/12/2010 at 10:12 am

      Which is more absurd? The headline "Afghans Protest Event that Never Happened" or

      "Media Spend Hundreds of Hours Promoting the Ravings of an Attention Seeking Crackpot?"or maybe

      "President, Secretary of Defense and top Generals Waste their Time and Prestige Admonishing a Minor Cult Leader to Call Off Publicity Stunt" or

      "Self-Promoting Lunatic Gets Exactly What He Wanted the Whole Time: To Be Taken Seriously for Once"

  • Obama's MacArthur Moment? McChrystal Disses Biden
    • pragmatic realist 06/22/2010 at 12:14 pm

      Are we keeping 100,000 troops in the field, killing hundreds of Afghan civilians, destabilizing Pakistan and breaking the US treasury to the point that the president is thinking of cutting Social Security to keep Mr Karzai from being hanged by Mullah Omar? In a just world Karzai would be in prison instead of sitting on a throne.

  • Twin Oil Disasters: BP and Iraq
    Bloody Friday in Iraq Leaves 27 Dead, over 80 Wounded
    • pragmatic realist 06/19/2010 at 9:27 am

      The irony is that the Deepwater Horizon gusher has wasted as much oil as we would have gotten from Iraq. Even if Iraq and its oil should come under our control, the net gain is zero, or close to it.

  • Big Oil's Predations are not Your Fault
    • pragmatic realist 06/15/2010 at 11:10 am

      You are being very objective and academic to call it "Legislative Capture". I would call it graft and corruption by an organized crime organization taking over our government.

  • Pakistan's Social Media Ban Endangers Economic Growth
    • Let me preface this by saying that I was at one time a Lutheran minister, highly educated and trained in a prestigious seminary. I served a congregation for 12 years and gained insight in the nature of religious institutions.

      To put it simply "religion" is a human construction, an institution of social control designed to control human behavior. Human social values are projected into a "sacred canopy" (see the writings of Peter Berger, a Lutheran sociologist) to convince people that the values have authority because the come from a divine source. "Religion" comes from the Latin "religio", which means "to tie up". The nice interpretation of the word is that "values are tied up together", but I think it just means "to tie people up and control their behavior".

      In any event "religion" wants to control every aspect of life, and claims divine direction and divine sanction to do it. It will always be threatened by innovations like communication that loosen its control, also innovations like democracy and the concept of human rights.

      Religion is often justified by its effect of stabilizing society and enforcing moral standards, but my experience has been that the worst, nastiest, most selfish people I have ever run into were in the church, in fact leaders of the church both lay and clergy.

      It is well known that Jesus preferred the company of prostitutes and sinners to that of the religious leaders of his time. And he said that, "There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous people who need no repentance."

  • US Troop Withdrawal in Iraq on Track
    • pragmatic realist 05/14/2010 at 8:49 am

      Bless your optimistic hopeful heart, Dr. Cole. I hope you are right, and I am wrong, that I have been blinded by my unhealthy mistrust in the President and his administration.

  • Netanyahu Commits to Colonizing East Jerusalem; First Palestinian Expelled under new Policy
    • How can this conceivably end in any good way? And the whole enterprise is fueled by US money.

      Is there anyone strong enough to say, "If you want to fight a war, go ahead, but do it on your own money. We are stopping all our money, loan guarantees, credits, everything until you stop the fighting."?

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