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Total number of comments: 1833 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)


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  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto
    • If he really was ready to try a unilateral attack on Iran and was barely talked out of it by his intel guys, I am finally willing to consider the possibility that he is nuts, not just a cynical liar. It means he lives in a complete fantasy land about how Iran would respond. Either he launches a small strike that does nothing but enrage Iran and get it to double down, or he launches a strike so big that it causes large civilian casualties, which derails his attempt to derail Palestine's bid for UN membership.

      Either way, the Syrian civil war and the growing cold war between the US and Russia since those days means that Putin will be far more willing to go to bat for Iran and vice versa. The US would be looking at a 1914 scenario where multiple alliance entanglements turn into a multi-front war. Israel is acting like Serbia and Austria, loose cannons expecting their big allies to bail them out.

      If Israels kills hundreds of Iranian civilians, it also means the Saudi coalition of right-wing Arabs against Iran becomes untenable overnight. At some point, Sunni fanaticism can't possibly be compatible with being battlefield allies with Israel. The current Saudi-US-Israeli aggression against Iran works because the 3 partners provide each other plausible deniability in their aims.

    • I would expect that the Israeli intelligence establishment is intimately familiar with the operations and power of the Israel Lobby, given that it is its greatest achievement. Yet these spy guys seem to be unaware of the sheer depth of the Lobby's hold over most of white America. Israel has lucked into the position of our single-combat warrior in our struggle against the rest of the world. (In ancient war, a champion from each army would battle before the main body.) We invest this foreign state with our own identity, as it confronts one large faction of the hordes of Others who are most of the human race. This is usually disguised in American rhetoric as a religious struggle. But we see this fight as the precursor to the battle of our "kind" to maintain white capitalist minority rule at home and abroad.

      Therefore, reason flies out the window. Israel seduced a crazy old widow with far too much power and now they're doomed by each other.

  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine
    • It also sounds like all of America's "moderate" racists, saying that the massive inequality in conditions between blacks and whites can't be accounted for because we must stop blaming past events (that all make whites look bad). So we will now just be a libertarian free market society with the blacks accepting that they will "start" this Monopoly game with no cash and many of their men in jail.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel
    • The Israeli trend line doesn't look good. If you build any state on a religious test, the religious will demand more and more - meaning the secular will be able to vote and speak less and less.

    • To add to spyguy's comments, the neocon-backed Hariri regime was accused of being a front for Saudi Arabia, which poured money to the Hariris & the Sunni business elite they represented (a small % of the country) to turn Lebanon into a corporate whorehouse at the expense of the mostly-Shia poor. Yes, Hariri was a neocon and a neoliberal at the same time, the worst of all worlds combo of Saudi bigotry and Wall Street dogma.

      After Hezbollah forcefully reminded everyone that the Shia have the numbers, Saudi Arabia began fomenting radical anti-Shia hatred and backing jihadis who were co-opting pro-democracy uprisings thruout the Arab world.

      Saudi Arabia is at war with Shiites and the poor. You can't fight this awesome oligarchic tyranny by Marquis of Queensbury rules. And Hezbollah is a far saner and less corrupt regime than what is now being imposed on the Arab world by rich oil sheikhs. I only wish Hezbollah had ruled Syria instead of Assad Jr. and his idiot army; they would have bargained with the disaffected Sunnis instead of attempting extermination and we wouldn't face a potential pan-regional war.

  • Massive win for Internet Liberty as FCC Mandates Equal Access for All
    • Since the Right will not stop fighting the FCC, it is important to keep the focus on Net Neutrality. Each side in this fight complains that the other side wants to change the status quo and ruin a successful new system. Our side says that neutrality is the norm, their side says that nonregulation is the norm. The latter is much easier to sell as an ideological taboo because it fits the entire right-wing narrative.

      If you can't convince conservative friends that neutrality is the thing that made the Net successful, then point out something their billionaire tribal leaders won't. Genuinely independent right-wing media will also be crushed by fast lanes. These guys claim to not be shills for the Wall Street agenda; what happens to their anti-Mexican conspiracy sites, anti-Federal Reserve sites, 9-11 sites, even white supremacist sites, when they get slowed to make way for more Fox News?

  • Scott Walker compares unions to ISIS
    • How to divide the working class and drive down wages forever: teach white private-sector workers to hate all workers who still have strong unions (govt employees, teachers) or are trying to form unions to get living wages (Latinos organizing in minimum-wage hell).

      ISIS = union = Mexican, is the intended myth.

  • Why Netanyahu's Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can't be Stopped, only Monitored
    • Wouldn't it be funny if global free trade, so painstakingly built by FDR and Truman to replace the catastrophic tariff regime of the 1920s that spread Wall Street's crash worldwide, and then co-opted and manipulated by Wall Street's outsourcing and financial chicanery, were to collapse due to the sheer number of economic sanctions that helpless Great Powers are now imposing on each other?

      Think about it. The Great Depression broke up the world into 3 main trade blocs: the British & French empires + vassals, and the US hegemony, leaving Germany & Japan in catastrophic isolation. You know where that led.

      Now, the US whores out its foreign policy to the needs of Israel and Saudi Arabia, while trying to use NATO to encircle Russia, which is finding many disgruntled authoritarian regimes to ally with in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. But the latter is moving quickly to strengthen links with the rest of the BRICs, thus getting trade entry into a suddenly vibrant Africa and South America.

      No wonder the US wants more corrupt free trade pacts; we're trying to build a firewall around a part of the world, and call that "free trade". If Iran is promoted from observer status to full member of the SCO, that means China is ready to let the blocs form, because I assure you the trade wars will escalate. Our bloc will look like a retirement home for the senile rich.

    • Or, "don't bleed a mark who's already bleeding himself with military bases in 130 countries, and abandoning the general welfare to serve the disloyal, outsourcing corporate elite."

  • The "Christian State" of Idaho?
    • And if Christians ever become a minority in Idaho, its constitution will enforce the state's "Christian and democratic character" the way Israel is enforcing its "Jewish and democratic character." Then a particularly vicious, hateful brand of Christian can hijack the law and start narrowing the definition of Christian - and who gets to own property, get government subsidies, own a TV station, et al - to a tiny elite with no fear of electoral consequences.

  • Modern Silk Roads and China's Brave New World
    • China seems like the German Empire of 1913; its strategies have given it all the tools for economic imperium over the known world, but to keep its workers slaving away to create the surpluses that made this power possible, it has pandered to arrogant nationalism.

      The key difference is the low status of the military in Chinese culture. Germany's virulent nationalism was fostered by and embodied by the almighty Army inherited from Prussia, and its winning streak in wars.

      China has reason for despising armies. Chinese troops have an ugly history of cowardice and targeting of civilians and their vital irrigation systems; this made its civil wars horribly lethal affairs. Mao's command over his army was built on reversing this reputation, so he won. Civilian despots are the rule, not warlords.

      The problem is, will "Chinese exceptionalism" and the "nonnegotiable Chinese way of life" embrace some other kind of war, like cyberwar or drone war, that fits the technological narrative better than armies or navies? I could see China building drones by the millions - which is why it was foolish for the US to get that arms race rolling.

    • It would be ironic if China's GNP grew so fast that this massive passenger rail investment goes for naught, as Chinese use their money to switch to airliners (like the Japanese) or automobiles (like Americans). When I was in Singapore, no one used the beautiful subway system because the status-mad ethnic Chinese preferred to spend way too much on luxury cars and then get stuck in traffic on overburdened roads in a country the size of a large city.

      Electrifying freight rail will be the real success, I suspect.

  • Giuliani & Obama: Immigrant Families and Really Loving America
    • If you define the tribe, you define the love.

      I hope that everyone replying here is just being sarcastic and in fact is well aware that for tens of millions of Americans, "country" is a codeword for "tribe". Worse, it's a warrior tribe. Even worse, it's a fake warrior tribe, constructed by the London investors and the plantation owners who founded the American colonies as a way to co-opt the violent rage of their oppressed white servant classes, many of whom really were defeated Irish and Scottish tribesmen. The solution? The White Race, a new construct built to wage war on blacks and native Americans and conquer a continent and thus make the oligarchs a fortune.

      It's hugely important. It means that those of us who aren't "real" Americans are viewed as the conquered. "Real" Americans are necessarily a subset, a master race, not the Constitution or the law or society. Their relationship to the rest of us must be as a punisher. If they can't act that way, they get all angry and feel betrayed. Giuliani may disagree with the Protestant evangelicals and militia nuts about many things, but they all are united by their love of punishment.

      Warrior tribes can't share power. They will never be satisfied unless they have a monopoly of power.

    • Hey, betraying your ancestors and kissing the asses of the overlords of your adopted land in order to get ahead is damn hard work. You deserve to get rewarded by being able to hate and dehumanize those minorities who refused to do the same.

  • Oklahoma: AP History Abandoned For Christian Agenda
  • Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy: Peddling old Iraq Myths Again
    • The internal right-wing mechanics of this are:

      No antiwar candidate will ever get more than a few % of Republican convention delegates, and any candidate who is wishy-washy about war has no chance at all.

      The theocratic/neo-Confederate movement within the GOP (part of which is called the Tea Party) only hates the parts of government which do anything but punish non-whites at home and abroad. So talk of an apocalyptic war with Russia, China and Iran will make them very happy because they will see it as their chance to purge and purify America, by basically transferring all our tax dollars to the war machine.

      On the other hand, most of these people really, really hate the Bushes. Why? Because the Bushes represent the truth about where white Christian capitalist patriarchy leads. They live in a fantasy land where true free enterprise would never lead to corporate monopolies or banksters or unnecessary wars or climate change.

      Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush could spout exactly the same speeches for the next year and yet Cruz will always get the support of those who want revolutionary change and Bush will always get the support of those who love being corporate bitches. Cruz's father is a Christian fanatic preacher. That's become the Right's idea of a self-made entrepreneur, as if such men could miraculously (!) replace the Bush cabal and its peers in keeping America rich.

      But if the anti-Bush vote is split between the handful of genuine antiwar people sticking with Paul and the warrior maniacs sticking with Cruz, then neither can win.

      Meanwhile, all the other right-wing monsters like Walker are stymied by their inability to convert their much-loved viciousness and sadism in harming "bad" Americans in their home states into a convincing case of being able to do the same to the rest of the world. They can mouth the fearmongering lies, but they stumble when they have to talk specifics about where we will get a million troops to fight Putin.

      Unfortunately, Bush scores again here, because his family is known (and hated) for being well-connected with the real powers in the world. No matter how stupid W was, he could sound just convincing enough as someone who could ring up a "coalition of the willing" for Iraq or buffalo NATO into doing our dirty work in Afghanistan. Just enough to convince our land of bellicose cowards that we could get away with it.

      Paired with this is the need to manipulate the global financial system to pay for the war (or bribe someone else to fight). Greenspan was willing to warp space and time to help a Bush wage war. Would ANY Fed chair do it for Scott Walker?

      And that's what the complete militarization of the 2016 election does. Because if fear motivates us to war, then we're probably cowards, and we want someone else to do our fighting. Bush and Clinton can make it sound like they're well-connected enough to commit that crime for us. The irony is, the very fact that we believe that about them means we know (and accept) that none of what we say about how America and capitalism works is true. Only banksters could wage war the way we want it waged.

  • Not your Founding Fathers' America: Permanent War, Permanent Election Campaigns, Guns, Drones and Surveillance
    • Actually, it wasn't founded by all Americans setting aside their differences and working together.

      John Adams said that when the Revolution began, 1/3 was Patriot, 1/3 loyalist and 1/3 uncommitted.

      On top of that, women couldn't vote, most blacks couldn't vote, in fact pretty much only the rich could vote. So the Founding Fathers viewed themselves as the only Americans who mattered.

      Which is exactly what "patriots" want when they talk about taking their country back. Government is much smaller and simpler when its only constituents all look and think alike.

  • Today's Top 7 Myths about Daesh/ ISIL
    • Theology is not my strong suit; that's why I hold theocracy in contempt. I am interested in the mechanics of war and how they change over time.

      What ISIS seems to have done is refine the myth of the Afghan mujahedeen and their successors into a formula so ridiculously simple that no one knows how to defeat it. Under the nation-state system, you knew your enemy's territory; thus you knew that patriotic young men in that territory would travel to military depots, get equipped and trained, then get moved to the battlefield followed by a long, complex supply chain. All of that can be targeted by airstrikes. Now that is all invalidated.

      It works because the recruitment and movement of troops is inverted; by rejecting national sovereignity, these Islamists restore the demand that the entire umma rise up to defend the birthrights of any individual member anywhere on Earth. If that happens, you are obligated to drop what you're doing and get yourself to that battlefield if you must cross a dozen borders.

      It's kind of a sick joke, but years ago I was thinking about how convenient it would be if you could just tell all your supporters where the battlefield would be, and then just like Woodstock, 600,000 kids would mysteriously show up. These guys have figured out how to do this.

      The catch is, they cannot be properly trained or supplied, so they are killed quickly. But out of over one billion Moslems, most of them poor by any humane standard, it's only necessary for a few hundred young men a week to be disgruntled enough to make the trek to becoming cannon fodder. And with the fantastic inequality of wealth caused by the oil economy, a few fanatic sheikhs in Saudi or some other kingdom can pay for more surplus weapons out of their pocket change.

      So the fact that the people living under ISIS soon learn to hate it is irrelevant - which was never the case for the guerrilla movements of the past, whose ideologies were built on local organization. ISIS is the least interested in competent local government of any regime we've ever seen. The whole point is to draw in outsiders to keep fighting, thus creating more publicity which draws in more foreigners, until the entire world is at war.

      So it's like real estate bubbles or a hot streak in Vegas; it mushrooms until it collapses completely. Yet we keep having more real estate bubbles and gamblers in Vegas, because we selectively view the evidence of what happens to others with a bias for victory.

  • Hidden Dragon: China quietly becomes a Major Player in the Middle East
    • Well, at least this author is willing to bring up the possibility that a rival of the US is no saint. With the loaded language he started with, I thought he was going to tell us that Beijing would bring paradise to the Middle East.

      If he knew any history, he would know that trading empires start by buying control of economically strategic sites: ports, mines, opium fields. China is at that stage. The problem is what happens next. See "The Rise of the Trading State" by Richard Rosecrance. ALL trade empires get entangled in the internal affairs of their resource bitches, and expand territory and control to hold on to the goodies.

      For China to be different, it must push its satellites to develop economically, and not just in ways that satisfy the Shanghai Stock Exchange (like Wall Street and the City of London before it). China itself knows those ways better than we do. It used to argue for appropriate technology and internal trade. We are standing at the edge of a new age of decentralized manufacturing and electricity, which make perfect sense for nations whose internal infrastructure was never built because colonial masters only wanted to create one railroad from The Mine to The Port.

    • I believe you are correct. The British focused on Iran and Iraq for oil. I recall that a Hashemite king was imposed on Iraq when the Ottoman Empire was hacked up; that king was obligated to sell the UK oil for a penny a barrel. When the UK had to crush a rebellion against him, he was transferred to another puppet kingdom, Jordan.

      In contrast, the Sauds had nothing of value, so the British did not notice them. That left them free to become "our" Arabs in the '30s and '40s.

      As for Iran, you need only know that BP began as Anglo-Persian Petroleum and was part-owned by the Royal Navy.

  • Elon Musk's Battery for Solar Homes may Change Electric Utilities forever
  • Avenging its Christians, Egypt Bombs Libya in first formal Campaign since 1991
    • When the world becomes too complicated to handle, one-note johnnies become the opiate of choice. Isolationism everywhere, interventionism everywhere, global conquest in the name of God, "The End of History". Americans seem especially incapable of dealing with complexity.

    • Massacring a few thousand protestors in a country with only 6 million people is all we need to avert a civil war? That's great! I'll appreciate that the next time a pro-American tyrant commits mass murder to defend against the threat of revolution by the poor.

    • Did you even read my sentences? I was objecting to Jen Koehler saying that it's criminal for people to revolt against their government. Which is the opposite of your fifth paragraph. I'm saying that the takeover of genuine Arab revolts by oil shiekh-backed jihadis was NOT the CIA. Which is obviously true; they don't need the CIA because they've got plenty of money.

      And learn some American history. The French saved our asses against the British, and Louis XVI sure didn't do it because he cared about human rights and democracy.

      And yes, the

    • So are we now at the point where the anti-war movement and the People's Republic of China agree that all existing dictators must be maintained by force? Where was this talk when the native peoples of Bolivia were chasing their neoliberal regime from city to city? Oh wait, that was a pro-US regime.

      If I saw a single person trying to say why it's different when it's Arabs/North Africans, then we might learn something useful. Instead, we see endless harangues about the CIA being behind ALL Arab rebellions, with a subtext that "those people can't govern themselves". How about a more useful hypothesis: when Latin Americans rebel against a pro-US regime, they don't have their movement immediately overrun by Saudi & Kuwaiti-financed psychopaths pouring in from all over the world? What we've got is not a problem with Islam or disgruntled Arabs. It's a problem with the oil monarchs quite understandably deciding that they want to covertly replace the US as the regional hegemon, while the US government and citizenry are too hysterical and deluded to have a rational debate about whether we should get out entirely.

    • Westphalianism is founded on the nation-state ideology. The problem is, Marxists, Islamists, and neocons alike have made vast efforts to undermine that ideology. No one stepped up to defend it. How could they, when so many national rulers were stealing billions and installing their sons as their successors?

      We must stop living the fantasy that in the Internet age, dictators can maintain power by any means but brute force, or corporate control (i.e., China Inc., the Egyptian & Pakistani armies' business empires, the oil sheikhs). They're not legitimate, people can see that, they refuse to cooperate, and either disintegration or civil war occurs. You can't stop people from changing their standard for legitimacy.

    • Well, at least you are willing to admit that Gadafi was an unjust dictator, not a socialist saint like most people here want to believe.

      Which leaves us with the problem of what the criteria should be for a revolution. I mean, was the American Revolution criminal and immoral? John Adams said that only 1/3 of the colonists supported it. Crimes were committed against Loyalists. Parts of the country were lawless for years after Britain withdrew (i.e., the Whiskey Rebellion, the State of Franklin).

      And the real problem is that now genuine rebellions in the Middle East and North Africa immediately get stolen by a flood of jihadis backed by oil-sheikh money. That's not the CIA or Obama; it's a very recent development. In effect, it's a form of imperialism carried out by out-of-control proxies. But isn't supporting left-wing tyrants to hold these maniacs off just as hypocritical as supporting right-wing tyrants against their own oppressed people to stop the spread of Communism?

  • al-Qaeda's Feud with Denmark
    • Socialism is easy in a homogeneous society. But people move to where the money is, and fear of immigrants create a nativist cult of inequality, which then poisons all politics. Once you hate the brown people around you, you tend to want white people to oppress brown people everywhere on Earth.

  • Bad News for US Biotech: GOP's Scott Walker so anti-science he can't affirm Evolution
    • JFK said that when peaceful revolution becomes impossible, violent revolution becomes inevitable.

      The corollary to that is, when rational revolution becomes impossible, irrational revolution becomes inevitable. Capitalist wealth has made corruption and co-optation the rational act everywhere in the world. The rich even buy up extremist religions to act as the moral alternative. The religions then proselytize the abolition of rationalist secular society as the miracle cure for what are really the problems of capitalism. In America the religious extremists are just as devoted to lies and self-serving myths as any ISIS member, but why should they bother with violence when their sponsors make sure that they're the only ones who show up to vote?

  • 'American Terrorist': Middle East reacts to Murder of 3 Muslim-American Students in N Carolina
    • The Judeo-Christian religious right will just bleat that this proves all atheists and secular humanists are monsters plotting their extermination. Then next week they will go back to saying the same things about Moslems. What matters is cultivating fear into an electoral bloc for outright Christian theocracy.

  • Can Republicans succeed by running on Polluting Planet & New Cold War?
    • Those who would be enemies of America only want to be enemies of America because of all the crap America pulled on them when it needed their oil before fracking came along.

  • The Chapel Hill Shootings & the Troubling Growth of Anti-Muslim Intolerance
    • Americans are fed lies to distort their statistical understanding of gun violence. The typical American murder is not a (black) predator killing a (white) good person. It is an ostensibly good person losing his temper and blowing away his wife, his friend, his neighbor.

      But to acknowledge that is to destroy the beloved American narrative of a good guy shooting it out with a bad guy. The NRA is calling for an arms race of good (white) Americans against bad un-Americans. But we are all potentially good guys and bad guys, childish, selfish fools whipped back and forth by fear, ignorance and incredible firepower. We live in denial of this.

      And I think the secret part of the American definition of freedom is: the power of life and death over inferiors.

  • Putin on the Nile: an Isolated Russia Seeks friends in Egypt w/ offer of Nuclear Plant
    • Excellent point on WW1. We need more people making it.

    • Page: 18
    • But that alliance could have gone much further in the last 15 years. Mistrust is preventing the Shanghai Co-Operation Organization from becoming anything as tight an alliance as NATO. I think China mistrusts the competence of Putin's oligarchs, and Putin rightly fears Russia becoming a resource colony of China's hardworking billion. Putin could have sold all his gas & oil to China, but he kept trying to build pipelines to serve Japan and also tried to make Europe dependent on his gas. Sounds like someone who wanted leverage more than alliance.

  • Syria: Dear Bashar al-Assad: Barrel Bombs Are No Laughing Matter
    • I guess it's like, when we were sending Stalin all those jeeps and planes to get Russians to do the heavy dying against Hitler, did we have to lie and cover up his mass murder too? Because now we logically expect Assad's army to do most of the dying against ISIS.

  • When you've Lost Bernie Sanders: How Netanyahu destroyed the Israel Lobby
    • The trick of the Israel Lobby was finding a way to root itself into both parties. Thus it can't lose. Every other cause in our country is allocated to one of the two factions, and gets its recent gains undone when the wrong one takes power... unless it serves the cause of business. The Right now even attacks the idea that the Confederacy was wrong, meaning it is actually more committed to the survival of Israel than of the United States of America.

    • Or get us all killed.

    • Progressives have spent 6 years whining about Obama's compromises and spurning him because he didn't treat them as the entirety of the Party. Well, welcome to what the Democratic Party and mainstream America really are. Bribed, brainwashed, wanting simple answers to complex problems, and total cowards when it comes to following their own progressive leanings.

    • If Iran is forced to ally with Russia, then the GOP will label it an all-out war and march into the White House with a new McCarthy. Who will you appeal to then?

    • You should consider the possibility that the Likud is training the GOP in the art of disenfranchising an incipient young, non-white majority via smear campaigns, terrorism/crime myths, and a quiet erosion of voting rights. What they do to their Arab citizens, will be done to those young Americans you describe. No democracy, no problem.

  • Why Obama is Right to avoid double standard about Modern Christian Atrocities
    • I'm glad Obama ambushed the National Prayer Breakfast. It was founded by Abraham Vereide, an extremist evangelist who worked tirelessly to curry influence among the powerful and founded The Family, which Jeff Sharlet exposed. I was wishing that Presidents would stop attending the damn thing. So I'm not surprised that the Dominionists are angry to get screwed with cameras running.

    • The devil is in the details. It doesn't take an idiot to tell when a religion is promoting inequality and injustice. We just don't want to know.

    • Not if Zola meant all the religions, including in this case his own. Gellar wants only one side to be destroyed, her enemy's.

    • There are Christians working to rehabilitate the Crusades right now, all around you. At least Pope Benedict is out of the game. But others like Eric Prince (no stranger to this website) are still working with the mercenary population that the US will use in future interventions. Crusaders indeed.

    • The difference is, Massachusetts abolished slavery on the basis of a single lawsuit by an enslaved woman based on the language of the Declaration of Independence, and the rest of the North soon followed. The South had that same Declaration, and that same common law. Yet it clung to slavery another 90 years and fought a war against the rest of us to try to keep it going forever and still keeps coming up with new ideologies and excuses for restoring the racist laws of the past. Why is that?

  • Williams Affair: Reagan and Bush Lied about Military Records but Get a Pass
    • Because it goes without saying that all lies that excuse America trying to dominate the world are patriotic, but if you personally are not officially part of the War Party (i.e., draft dodgers W and Cheney), you try to prove your manliness (/credibility) with individual acts of courage in war. As Kerry found out the hard way in '04, this doesn't work. Cowards become heroes by supporting war, heroes become traitors by criticizing war, no matter the truth. (If we actually needed large # of brave men to win a war now instead of killer robots, the truth about courage might actually matter.)

    • The issue is entirely W's hypocrisy in being so pro-war and psychotically patriotic and bullying towards anti-war people the entire rest of his life. At least Clinton was against the war he avoided, and Kerry went and fought and then came home and blasted the war as stupid. What W did translates to: "Rich White men order the rest of you suckers to die while they take care of business."

  • Is ISIL's 'Shock and Awe' more Awe-ful because One Victim?
    • But ISIS knew that by declaring war on the Shia people of Iraq and openly campaigning to conquer them and force them to convert at swordpoint, they were going to get bombed by somebody's air force. They just expected it to be Iran's. So how would it be less of a crime if Iranian aircraft were trying to save the majority of Iraqis from losing all their rights? The difference is in the policy goals of the US compared to Iran, not the methods. Armies get bombed. That's war. If Lincoln had had F-16s he would have bombed the Army of Northern Virginia out of existence. There's no mandate that you must send your ground forces in to get slaughtered before you send your aircraft.

    • More importantly, the US as a sovereign state has to be expected to take responsibility for infrastructure destruction, elimination of government services, etc. which caused more deaths than the actual civil war and probably helped trigger it. Disease and death from chronic illness was rampant in 2004. We made it impossible in places for people to get clean water or hospital care. All of that was foreseeable. This is before we even get into Naomi Klein's accusations that it was intentional.

      Now ISIS has the advantage that it is rejecting the nation-state system; thus it is not a "foreign" power but an armed movement within the Islamic community, the umma. If you buy the argument, which is the whole point of years of Islamist indoctrination, then you judge ISIS as fellow citizens who won't take it anymore. It's bull, but it's always different when it's done by "foreigners".

    • I think you're missing T. Bickle's point. We live in a fantasy in which all wars are equally important and follow the same rules. In fact we did some horrible things in WW2 by exploiting the inability of the rules of war to keep up with our aircraft technology. But that was a war for all the marbles. Since then we've fought wars that were for us just colonial maintenance, but for the other side were Total War. Since we're not as committed as they are, they can play PR angles hurting our interests in other theaters. We want to enforce a profitable status quo; others must gamble on total destruction and rebirth.

      Recall Col. Kurtz telling Willard in "Apocalypse Now" about the Viet Cong cutting off the arms of children vaccinated by the Green Berets' propaganda program? He wanted that purity of purpose, but America couldn't provide it, so he turned to those for whom wars really are for survival - savages.

    • You probably don't know about the sedition acts passed in the US during World War I to remove all impediment to anti-German hatemongering. Worse than anything since, then quickly forgotten.

    • This is an interesting observation. We are becoming more like the military-worshipping regimes that used to start wars against us. But those regimes counted on easy victories against the "soft" to bring big financial dividends (the South had plans far beyond its official borders). Now we look for easy victories against the poor. But what do you win then? Wall Street already has access to billions of peasants & sweatshop workers abroad without annexation.

      However, making an example of a poor country by destroying it serves to hold 100 unoccupied countries in fear. I've heard it said that the later part of the Vietnam War was really the USAF bombing N. Vietnam to leave such an example since victory was impossible.

      I've long looked at the story of Athens' corruption of the Delian League and the extermination it carried out in Melos as an analogy for America's fate. Thucydides is telling the story of how Athens went bad. No foreign policy establishment or media elite or corrupt representatives to blame; the citizens themselves voted to march for conquest and loot.

    • It is also the basis of deterrence. At the start of our major wars, the US was derided as "soft" and "fat". The Confederate States, Hitler and Japan all thought they could wear out the USA by sacrificing their own boys by the millions in a war of attrition. No country will last long if it has a reputation of being easy to fuck with. Although the message I'm seeing in this thread is that the US is so evil it should have been defeated and destroyed long ago, by such angels as slaveowners and fascists who surely would have made a better world in our stead.

    • The rules for the treatment of prisoners of war are not just some American bourgeoise trick. Active soldiers kill, captive soldiers are not killed in retaliation. Recall that when the Confederacy proposed to turn captured black GIs into slaves and execute their white officers for "inciting slave rebellion", Gen. Grant made preparations for retaliatory executions, which silenced the South. You think murdering captured pilots will make war more fair? Hitler and Tojo established what kind of people are POW-killers. How fair did they make their war?

      Killing POWs means total war. No rules, no limits. That cuts both ways. Bacteriological, chemical and nuclear weapons, no longer just threats. Germany vs the USSR. Japan vs China. You don't know the meaning of suffering.

  • Why is Fox News Propagandist-in-Chief for ISIL/Daesh Atrocities?
    • Extremists need at least the illusion of opposing extremists to justify their ruthless agendas. What would Hitler and Stalin have done without each other?

  • New Greek PM Tsipras: Israeli Brutality Against Palestinians Must End
    • Interesting to see left-wing Greece and right-wing Turkey as the only two NATO allies willing to stand up to Israel.

  • GOP's Scott Walker: Pitches possible Syria War to make us Like Him
    • In 2003 the GOP really was demanding war as if it were an economic promise. Iraq seemed a lucrative prize. Now there are no illusions among even cynical Americans that their country can steal any oil in this chaos. Yet the idea that our soldiers can magically solve our country's long-term, speculative capitalist decline persists. Is it magical thinking, Biblical thinking, or something more ugly? Is the conservative movement preparing to forestall the loss of white majority power by building up the military decade after decade to threaten coups and acquire a veto power over democracy?

    • We get away with it entirely because Saudi Arabia, China, and Japan offset our deficits by buying US debt. We do not know why they prefer this course of action or what it would take to get them to change it. But they would be playing chicken with us by threatening to stop buying more debt, since the resulting collapse of the US $ would wipe out the value of the debts they already hold.

      The other possibility is that they prefer our hegemony to do the dirty work of keeping the world capitalist for their businessmen. In that case, Saudi appears to be changing its mind by bankrolling jihadi takeovers across the Middle East.

    • At the very least, forcing the Kochs to square their supposed libertarianism with the words of their favorite pet governor would be very educational.

    • I think you have hit upon something important about the American mentality. Whereas much of America becomes resigned to eternal punishment as the only way to hold "them" off for another five minutes, for the conservative movement the whole purpose of government is to punish, and nothing more. A government that only wages war on foreign lands, and on miscreants, nonconformists and dissenters at home is their very definition of limited government. Punishment presupposes one has not only power but actual presiding status over the punished, as if ordained by God. Thus the US doesn't "use its power", the US "carries out God's commission". So no room for soft power, foreign aid, diplomacy, negotiation, compromise, or consensus.

      I first thought about this when right-wingers were screaming about money for "midnight basketball" programs to keep ghetto youth from committing crimes. Their attitude was that if the youth didn't love obeying the Master Race, the government shouldn't distract them from attempting crime and then getting their just punishment, a cop's bullet. It was offensive to them that ghetto kids get bribed instead of punished for having such ungrateful thoughts.

  • Israel and Lebanon: Is a 3rd War in the Offing?
    • You say Israeli generals wouldn't do a war for the Zionist-in-chief, but as the article pointed out the generals twice acceded to attacks that were meant to bail out Labor prime ministers. And none of this is as horrifying or evil as the Lavon Affair, a false-flag attack intended to trick America into destroying Egypt.

  • War Is the New Normal: Seven Deadly Reasons Why America's Wars Persist
    • A phenomenon I've worried about since right-wingers demonized "socialist" universal health insurance as a threat to their somehow non-socialist Medicare, is the ideological division of government activities so severe that the "good" activities aren't even seen as government at all. The haters of big government usually love the biggest government projects of all, the Pentagon & veterans benefits, Social Security and Medicare. So they're not calling it "government" - that opprobrium is reserved for programs for the inferiors, the undeserving, the traitors to God and free enterprise.

      The military has benefited most from this schizophrenia, and I very much wish I could prove that this is because to this sick movement, America is not all of us, but just the "real" American tribe, one whose skin color and religion hardly needs to be mentioned. Worse, it's a warrior tribe. So war is not "government", it's sacred, something the government must unquestioningly serve. Warriors (veterans) and their relatives (and a disproportionate % of SS/Medicare recipients) are the only real Americans, and deserving of infinite tax $ - even if those $ are collected from the subhumans in the cities.

      And they're right to claim that this is how the country was founded - not in the Constitution, but in the brutal class system and racial violence that the colonial oligarchs built their fortunes on before declaring independence. America's identity was white supremacy and conquest before any of the attempted amendments that we are fighting over now.

  • Inside the green schools revolution
  • 5 Top Reasons Romney ought to have Withdrawn
    • It depends on what one thinks a president of a representative republic is. Some people want a leader who will wreck the system, in the belief that a "natural" order will thus be restored. Some people want a Commander-in-chief, really a tribal war chieftain, as the only proper function of the federal government.

    • The conservative movement has escalated its public face into a cult of the past, but it's a horribly selective cult. The Bushes & Romneys know what they want: the Gilded Age restored in its boomtown grotesquerie. But it is no coincidence that Prof. Stephen Mintz also called that era "The Golden Age of American Racism"; that's what was offered to the WASP working white mainstream to keep them in line while they were looted by bosses, bankers and plantation owners... all of which has been written out of the laughable historical narratives of the herd.

      Problem is, the Bushes & Romneys have played this game since their mentor Reagan took office, and the herd is broker and angrier and better armed than ever. They have nothing left but to demand going further back into barbarism. They were only meant to be used by the oligarchs as a secessionist bluff to force Democrats to dismantle the New Deal, but now they flock to leaders who have deep ties to real secessionists and supremacists. Anyone who says "America is is republic, not a democracy", and there are many of them, is literally calling for a return to the electoral laws of the 1780s. Look up how many Americans could vote under those laws, and for what.

      This is not something the oligarchs want. An America that openly reimposes Jim Crow will find its foreign basing agreements and trade agreements and overseas investments vanishing. It's not a White world out there anymore, at least not where the growth is happening. Yet I don't believe the Tea Partiers want to shut down the empire. If you believe you're the master race at home, you believe you're the master race everywhere. And master races always believe everyone is plotting against them. Unlike the oligarchs' plan for profitable decline and kleptocracy, Patriots want a reckoning at home and abroad, not restoring the US' real Isolationist past, but a mystical crusade combining all past White Christian aggression and domination under the US flag because all other Whites are now traitors to God's mandate. Only Israel understands.

  • As Americans are shot At: Saudi Death Sentence on Shiite Cleric inflames Sectarian Tensions
    • The problem is, if the actual war breaks out, it will be like World War One, spreading across the breadth of the Middle East. Oil producers will suddenly need vast amounts of money to wage war on each other. As expensive as you might think the military is, wartime operations require vastly more money. Eventually the combatants will destroy each other's oil infrastructure.

      Obviously, to the extent that the US tries to counter any of this, our own budget deficit will soar.

  • Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project
    • That's the Southern revision of the traditional Republican model that Prof. Cole laid out. And it's a big revision. For the North, Blacks were a problem to be explained away. But the South brought in Blacks as the foundation of their whole system of exploitation (which exploits many whites as well), and any religion that has prospered there has come to accept that reality.

      The narrow purpose of this religion in the current context is to create an Apocalyptic panic, then a retaliatory Crusade against the outside world. But the belief system will impose its inherent agenda on us. The Faithful/Patriot minority will overwhelm democracy by sheer doggedness, envisioning themselves as a feudal elite, a sort of... Invisible Knighthood, perhaps, serving the capitalist nobility. Or you can use the Old Testament Patriarchy as the model; both insane analogies were present in the old slave South as models.

      But most of all, religion serves the Right in its most essential goal: to destroy the belief in our society of the ability of the government to accomplish secular improvement in our lives. Note the word "secular", as in objective goals, not absurd and hypocritical holy crusades to distract the masses.

    • You are assuming that the rich have any intention of allowing future America to be a democracy. Israel is being used as a testbed for what will happen instead.

  • New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change
    • Research the secret deal between Reagan and an earlier Saudi king to collapse oil prices in 1986 to bankrupt the USSR. It was devastating for Texas, but it was deemed worth it.

  • Obama Win: Dem Senators Flip-Flop, Delay Iran Sanctions Bill
    • We become broke when our creditors say we're broke. Our creditors are China, Iran's semi-ally, and Saudi Arabia, which wants Iran crushed. China is only interested in containing the US and marketing its neat new weapons, so bogging us down in a war in Iran may not look like a bad deal; letting us bog ourselves down in Iraq enabled China to make its big move into world power unimpeded by Cheney's PNAC doctrines demanding action against any country that dared challenge US power of any sort. China must also love the cheap oil that Saudi is using as a weapon in this pre-war.

      But the real mystery is how long Saudi and its fellow Arab tyrannies can prop us up with debt when it is also undercutting oil prices to hurt Iran and Russia.

      The real shock is watching the US morph before our eyes from a country that would kill for cheap oil to a country that would kill for expensive oil, which all-out war will finally produce.

  • Ms. Marvel Vs. Islamophobia
    • Ms. Marvel has been successful for Marvel in 3 ways:
      1. very vocal support from comics websites written by women and minorities
      2. #1 in digital comics sales for Marvel
      3. Heavy overseas sales, presumably also digital.

      This may represent what Marvel sees as the future comic book audience: everybody but white American males. Since we don't know how profitable digital comics actually are, we don't know how fast Marvel wants to move in this direction. But since Ms. Marvel started its run, it has caused me to learn a lot about alternative fandom on the internet, and they are touting plenty of independent comics that were already throwing out the traditional prejudices of Marvel and DC fare. So the environment exists for new ideas.

  • All Lives Matter: from Ferguson to Palestine
    • The town of Ferguson only recently began to have a large Black population; many Blacks have been moving to the suburbs recently. However, seriously, when a typical American moves to a faceless, corporatized suburb, how is he even aware that it HAS a government? Black politics was community politics - just as labor politics was the politics of working-class neighborhoods in the cities of the past. Break those up, and you create a rootless cloud of "consumers" who don't know who their local, state and Federal representatives are - just the location of the shopping mall.

      Which leaves politics to tireless, hate-fueled extremists who support police oppression and every other form of inequality they can resurrect from our past. The new residents of Ferguson forgot that such people still exist outside the city and got screwed the way that immigrants to cities got screwed in the past by hostile governments until they eventually organized for justice.

      So get your facts straight.

  • Turns out Rightwing Hindu PM more reasonable on Climate Change than US Congress (Obama visits Modi)
    • So is India headed towards nuclear power or renewables? What is the society truly committed to doing? After the nuclear accidents in Russia, America and Japan, whose engineers can be trusted to run a reactor safely instead of forming a corrupt bureaucratic caste protected by a code of silence?

  • The Boehner-Obama Struggle over Iran Nuclear Talks has gone International
    • It would be prudent to consider more alarming possibilities - because those are exactly what the GOP is planning. They still face the problem of having nothing to offer in 2016 but old-school oligarchs like J. Bush and Romney, at a time when we are assured by the media that Tea Partiers are anti-oligarchy libertarians who are not knee-jerk racist imperialists. Well, let's get a fairly Warm War going with Iran and those folks will start to feel very nostalgic for these Neocon scions and the glory of 2003.

      If the war goes as badly under Bush/Romney as we expect, all the police state measures we and the Tea Partiers complain about will be applied - overwhelmingly against leftists, pacifists & minorities - and you will not hear a complaint from the Right except the token one from Rand Paul.

      Because "wartime" changes everything for "patriots". Because it's not Big Government if it's "wartime". Because duty instantly annuls liberty in "wartime". Because martial law is a fantastic opportunity to destroy the traitors for good while the National Guard looks the other way.

      Every time we underestimate how far the GOP is willing to go is when the worst happens. And boy, Netanyahu can give it plenty of training on how to use a permanent state of war to turn a left-leaning society into a new Rhodesia.

  • Why Fracking & Tar Sands are Doomed: Low-Cost Oil and Pollution
    • I never imagined that falling oil prices would sink the US economy. I guess that the money from the fracking bubble is playing such a huge role in keeping the economy going that it has overshadowed the normal benefits of cheap oil to every American who isn't part of the bubble. And now having the whole thing fall apart because of a weak global economy derails the touted rebirth of US industrial exports thanks to brutal wage cuts.

      But better to have this fantasy derailed now when the stock market is at 17,000, than to have it go all the way to 30,000 and then suffer a collapse bigger than 2008. The reborn boom/bust cycle we've seen in the last 30 years is a social catastrophe, like the one during the laissez-faire era from 1865 to 1929.

  • Climate-Denial Buffoon Inhofe takes Big $$ from Big Oil, Says Scientists Corrupt
    • He's not a crackpot, he's a cynical liar. The list of contributors above paid him to say the things he says. He knows that if things go wrong, his grassroots army of bullies will blame the victims and double down on the oppression of un-American thought, as long as he keeps feeding it with self-serving fantasies.

      He is the perfect intermediary between the Wall Street plantation owners and the heartland's neo-rednecks; each gives cover to the other; each gives the other the form of power it craves. The Southern model of class control has been modernized and gone nationwide.

  • Poll: Americans support Obama on Negotiating with Iran
    • We know we have a voter turnout problem in this country. But has any exit polling been done to reveal what the voters responsible for this sickening new Congress think about war with Iran? Either they want a war, or they don't support war, but voted for blatant warmongerers anyway. If the latter, we better find out what these citizens want or they will keep voting for bastards who disregard their interests.

  • How Stable is Saudi Arabia?
    • As I've said before, if this were happening in Bismarck's day, the rulers of KSA and Iran would meet at a resort, draw a line on a napkin and divide the Middle East into stable spheres of influence. But the use by everyone of mobile, covert extremist movements instead of conventional armies has created a mess that can't be contained to the satisfaction of either side. When offense seems to overwhelm defense, everyone wants to strike first.

      It's the czar versus the kaiser, August 1914, and offense is king.

    • In a related question that I haven't asked in years, what ever happened to Prince Turki al-Faisal? During the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, he was the deal-maker who played a large role in building the mujaheddin. During the Iraq War, he was the advocate for Iraqi Sunnis suffering under the Occupation. Maybe in '07 or '08 or so, he resigned his position, saying he wanted to spend more time on family matters (!). I hypothesized that he was disappearing to build up Sunni resistance in Iraq. But now I wonder if he was in fact building up jihadi armies EVERYWHERE. Armies that are now being unleashed.

    • For the news to really cover this, it would have to acknowledge the role of KSA's relationship to the USA in putting it in a dilemma of having to be "for" and "against" Israel at the same time, and "for" and "against" US economic and military power at the same time. It is amazing that this juggling act has kept it up this long. But I would dispute Prof. Cole that the intelligence of any given King matters; his courtiers matter too, and some of those guys are pretty sharp.

  • America's Walking Dead: The Perpetual War Machine
    • What the war machine is financing is a rewriting of the culture itself. Yet I can't help but suspect that our culture needed little indoctrination to fall in love with the military, if we understand the culture to mean the traditional patriarchal hierarchy of elites > enforcer/smallholder class > underpeople. It's obvious in this scheme what values the middle caste will tend to admire. In an era where the proliferation of minorities causes that caste to feel threatened, democracy becomes scorned and military discipline is supposed as a remedy for dissent. God, guns and guts become the surrogate for a desire for white supremacy that can no longer speak its name.

      One of America's dirty secrets, known by the earliest plantation owners fearing their indentured servants, is that this caste of poorer whites has always held the balance of military power in our land. ("I can always hire half the working class to shoot the other half.") How it is divided between loyalty to race, to region, and to class has delivered the blackmail power that movements of the Left and Right have used to move the country a long way in one direction or the other.

      Our Left hates to look at our country this way. But then look at the vast scale of its failure to keep whites from voting against their own material (as opposed to emotional) interests.

    • A few countries have walked away from their empires after one or two non-fatal defeats, but I can't tell why some try to hold on all the way to catastrophe. For instance, Sweden invaded Russia in the early 1700s; it got deep into the Ukraine before its king was killed. After its defeat, it evolved into a very different kind of society.

      One thing we must consider is that just because empires are criminal enterprises, doesn't mean the people who inherit them lack justification to fear the consequences of walking away. Maybe Sweden could shut it down because the balance of forces around it meant that retreat would not lead to being conquered or bankrupted. The European colonial empires were proven unnecessary after 1945 as the Marshall Plan and European Community were demonstrably better for the people of those countries.

      However, I don't think there's an easy way out for the US, because it has outsourced its economy and turned its financial markets into casinos, while relying on foreign creditors to unnaturally prop up the $. Presumably those creditors have reasons to keep our empire in business; otherwise, years ago they should have used their leverage to blackmail us into shutting it down and paying down our debts.

  • Netanyahu Imported by GOP to ensure Iran War
    • The problem is that the modern "conservative" movement is really a cult worshiping inequality via a fantasy about how things were better in the past, when conveniently inequality meant white Christian property owning men on top. People who want to believe they're the Master Race at home are easy suckers for the idea that they should rule the world too. So no matter how sick of the wars conservatives might be, they have been trained to accept that Losing Wars Abroad = giving our minorities at home dangerous ideas. That's the sort of stupid lesson they drew from the events of the 1960s, the foundation for their vengeance cult.

      Besides, they probably are pretty conscious by now that wars are an unbeatable excuse to cut government spending on the citizens that they hate. Billions for bombing ni**er babies, not one cent for feeding ni**er babies.

  • Surprise! German anti-Muslim Leader Resigns after Posing as Hitler
    • 100 years ago Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe was a greater threat to capitalists than Arab immigration from Lebanon, so capitalists like Henry Ford made Jews the #1 enemy - while the media romanticized Arabs. Now Jews - and an Israel moving ever-rightward - have become generally useful to the American oligarchy while Arabs are an obstacle to our global domination. The narratives follow the money, eventually.

  • Israel's Syria Strike: Is it trying to Help al-Qaeda vs. Hizbullah & Iran?
  • Richest 1% will have more Wealth than rest of Humankind by 2016
  • Amazing Green Cars at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show
    • It is reasonable to attain a 90% reduction in automobile energy use, putting aside the question of where that energy comes from. A small car rated at 30 mpg is using about 1000 watt-hours per mile (very rough estimate). A Prius hybrid gets you down to the 300s. The best electric cars you can buy now are in the upper 200s. However, the 1990s GM EV1 was rated at 120 wh/mile at 50 mph despite its primitive technology, and tests indicate this was accurate. I think the breakthrough in affordability comes at under 100 wh/mile at 60 mph, given Tesla's speculated battery cost of 20-25 cents/wh. Of course electric cars are more efficient at lower speeds and stop/start driving, but people demand the ability to commute on highways if necessary.
      In case you can find the equation for steady-speed energy consumption for cars, the parameters that would make that work would be about 2000 lbs, drag coefficient >.15, frontal area >15 sq ft. Tough, but attainable. Forget about SUVs, though.

    • Why would capitalism's investor class choose to upset a lucrative status quo that was put in place before alternative energy got cheap enough to consider? The investors will hold onto short term profits as long as possible. It's cheaper to buy politicians in the short run (aided by the Citizens United decision) than to make risky investments in the future; that's how the capitalists set up the United States in the first place, not the libertarian fantasy land you're living in. The slaveowners were American's original capitalists, and they rigged the electoral system to protect themselves, then used that to protect their model with an endless series of legal stopgaps based on sacred "property rights" and "states' rights".

      And you know that solar power was developed by government contractors for NASA satellites for years before they made it cheap enough for anyone else to care.

    • The problem with talk like this is that Ted Cruz and his crazies in Congress are claiming that we are being forced to moved to cities and be indoctrinated in socialism under Agenda 2000, which is a UN conspiracy. This crap will be used to convince "real" Americans that their identity as "exceptional" demands clinging to the suburbs no matter how bankrupt they become, just like guns and God. The bad guys have laid out their lies way in advance of anything we can do.

  • Iraqi Shiites, Fuming over Slow US Fight against ISIL, threaten to Revoke Agreement
    • I don't mind them kicking us out as long as the Iranians can do a better job.
      But I doubt that our Saudi and Kuwaiti creditors will feel the same way. And in 2016 the GOP will be happy to take their money to brand the very idea that Iraq should slip from our sphere of influence to Iran's is treason.
      The problem is that all factions in the US are afraid to take the political risk to introduce the American public to the idea that parts of the world are better off without us, reversing a dogma that conveniently banned any complaints that our military can't actually perform the mission. The increasingly supernatural myth of our military's virtue means that defeat can only be the fault of traitors at home, from peaceniks to Moslem immigrants.

  • French Pres. Hollande: Anti-Muslimism is as bad as Antisemitism: Muslims Must be Protected
    • At the end of the day, our nightmare is that there is no such thing as a natural state of justice or equality that we will somehow gravitate towards and then remain in safely for eternity. (The "Star Trek" vision.) Instead, we will all keep using ever more advanced sophistry enforced by ever more powerful media and mind-control technology to rape and pillage our fellow citizens in ever more grotesque ways. What if there is nothing but power, and we are really in a Hobbesian war of all against all?

    • You got the Hobby Lobby decision saying some Christian businessmen can discriminate in any matter against other citizens due to their self-serving religious dogmas. Let's see what happens when a Moslem or Hindu businessman tries to do the same thing. Oh, and atheists and agnostics can't discriminate based on their beliefs at all. Don't you hate that?

  • Charlie Hebdo & French 'Secularism': Does it really just privilege White Christians?
    • You're trying to shift the blame onto "liberal" secularism, when America's own experience shows how "conservative" racism can be masked as the defense of the superior values of Christian civilization.

      And how are academics supposed to examine something that can't be scientifically measured? You're opening up Pandora's Box for any group to concoct a God who demands inequality and injustice for the greater good.

  • Top 7 Things to know about Belgium anti-terror Op that left 2 Dead
    • Perhaps the leaders of the West secretly understand that the survival of the Saudi monarchy - and its financial arrangements with the West - require that the king be seen to offset that disloyalty to Moslem society by narrowly funding pointless vengeance. The terrorists kill people, but they don't reduce the volume of trade that keeps the king and the West going. Saudi continues to prop up the US $, and its votes in OPEC offset those of countries that oppose the West. The gamble for the king is that these terrorists keep being directed overseas instead of overthrowing the Saud dynasty itself.
      Think of it as a tribute or tax on the essential illegitimacy of the Saudi monarchy and its hypocritical alliance with a capitalism that supports a mostly-Christian First World and Israel.

  • Twitter mirth after Steve Emerson's Fox Nonsense re: Birmingham as Muslim 'no-go' Zone
    • Not an idiot, Mr. Cameron, but a Murdoch henchman just like yourself. Consider where your master is leading Britain before it's too late.

  • New Republican Majority Wants to intervene in Obama's Iran Talks
    • The Republican senators know that. They want a war. They will impeach Obama to get one.

      “Surely you would think Congress would want to weigh in on a nuclear negotiation." No, I think Congress is supposed to hold the Executive back from starting nuclear wars, not order or blackmail it into starting one.

  • Guns: Americans more likely to be Shot by Toddler than by Terrorist
    • The European welfare state was premised on the tribal loyalty of a homogenous population; the poor and rich see each other as relatives and don't try to screw each other. The American state was erected on a slave economy that had the opposite premise.

      But Scandinavia's generosity broke down when the poor became non-white, non-us.

      Obviously, in America we never had a chance. The New Deal coalition worked as long as non-whites understood they had to keep a low profile. If poverty was seen as mostly a white problem then that racial solidarity with the white taxpayers and that awareness that they could fall into poverty due to exogenous factors was intact. But Blacks and Latinos got sick of this hypocrisy. When they made themselves the face of poverty by merely speaking out, whites suddenly began to turn against every institution in our society that has redistributive functions, from public schools to Medicaid to Post Office hiring. Now whites face a future when they should be a minority of voters, and surprise surprise, they're embracing far-right ideas about the tyranny of the majority and "America is a republic, not a democracy". Rand Paul says he wants to bring America back to 1792, without slavery. Google how many Americans could vote directly for their leaders in 1792.

      Everything Ms. Jones' inquisitors want to understand about America can be inferred from this counterfactual: how would American class relations and redistributive politics have evolved if we never had slaves for poor whites to hate or Indian land for them to steal? Our working class would have sensibly learned to hate its masters as much as Europe's did, and be similarly radicalized. All else follows from that.

    • No, because the intent is that our toddlers will thus grow up to be "real men", the soldiers, cops & militiamen who will use their guns to subjugate the Blacks, Latinos, gays, Moslems, etc. We don't care about the death toll; we care about our kind coming out on top.

    • What good is the "flexibility" of us American workers if ALL the trillions in economic growth this has produced since Reagan was elected has gone into the hands of the 1%? Wages of ordinary Americans are either flat or down depending on how you calculate. It's a scam, just like the neoliberal Shock Doctrine austerity that Milton Friedman had his buddy Pinochet experiment with and then the US rammed down the throats of countless countries, now perfectly replicated by Brownback, Walker, et al. Nothing of value was created for the masses; the profits were all stolen and sunk into global financial bubbles that keep Wall Street rich enough to buy our government and cultivate an extremist movement to enforce these doctrines and witchhunt their critics. Our flexibility has forged the chains that will make our children high-tech serfs.

      Look at the wealth distribution charts for the last 40 years. That is not chance, that is an organized action, the greatest American crime since slavery.

  • After Paris attacks, could David Duke style Racist Parties Sweep to Power in Europe?
    • That would be supremely ironic. DeGaulle wanted to dismantle the Cold War insanity and restore French-Russian friendship, and Stanley Karnow alleged that DeGaulle conspired with Diem and Ho Chi Minh in a last-ditch attempt to save Diem's regime from the imminent CIA coup in 1963. For LePen to complete DeGaulle's secular, modernist vision is like a porn director finishing The Magnificent Ambersons.

  • French Far Right Poised to Exploit Paris Attacks for Political Gain
  • Yes, they're Condemning the Paris Attacks: The Muslims' War on Terror
    • Such "journals" as the shows of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc. have given Republicans control of both houses of Congress with their snide and barely concealed bigoted jokes.

    • We have often discussed this subject here. You will not find that condemnation anywhere. When right-wingers talk about "taking our country back" or "restoring the Republic", they are talking about bringing back a past in which organized racism, patriotic terrorists, lynch mobs, and religious favoritism were a parallel, tyrannical government that required actual democratic government to be kept weak and out of the way. So these plausibly deniable lone wolf terrorists are an integral part of our traditions, enforcing the unwritten laws of tribal dominance.

  • Charlie Hebdo: A Clash of Extremisms, not of Civilizations
    • Yes, but Western governments got too good at fighting organized resistance, so resistance learned how to decentralize. You might recall the warnings of a few about what would come if the US "wiped out" al Qaeda: an endless procession of tiny movements united by ideology.

      But the same could be said of Timothy McVeigh, or the very successful terrorist movement against abortion clinics, which caused no backlash against their patriarchal ideology. This is how extremism works today, with frustrated individuals indoctrinated to blame modernity and dream, in unison, of an ideal past. It's like they all stand at a line and then try to whip each other into a frenzy to be the first to step over it and commit terrorism - then the rest step back and deny everything until the next round. But it works because people just want to join anything that seems to gouge a mark in a world that is too big for individuals to improve. Only the right-wingers are allowed by the elites to make a difference anywhere in the world because both the elites and the extremists worship inequality.

  • The Big Carbon Empire strikes Back
  • MSM ignores Bombing of Colorado Springs NAACP by White Terrorist
    • Our media hyped the hell out of the "Moslem" Paris riots a few years ago, but no one got killed. In the great Los Angeles riot of 1992, 70 people died. But our media isn't going to go around pointing out that Americans are on average a lot more violent and dangerous than Europeans - it has to divide us into "patriots" and "criminals" first.

  • The economics at the heart of Israeli settlements
    • I guess "consumer choice" is the ultimate religion, the entitlement to keep the goodies your parents stole.

      This shows how shallow our supposed commitments are to the universality of sovereign rights. Once we've got money invested in it, we will commit genocide to hold onto it. Like say, our right to emit CO2 in order to keep our suburbs expanding and thus cheap and viable.

  • Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda attacked Satirists in Paris
    • The persecution of leftists by government and businessmen during the McCarthy terror certainly destroyed lives and caused suicides. The crime of the leftists was that they offended America's unofficial religion of capitalism.

      And America was riddled with blasphemy laws and clergy-staffed censorship boards in its past days. Note that we have this political movement called the Tea Party that stridently demands to "restore" the governing system of those days - while conveniently omitting the ugly details of laws against blasphemy, miscegenation, labor organizing, etc. Maybe our extremists have simply become more sophisticated liars under the experience of democracy. When a major presidential candidate declares his manifesto to be a return to "1792 - without slavery", what is he and his followers self-servingly omitting?

    • "Heightening the contradictions" is part of every revolutionary struggle in the history of man, Prof. Cole. Do you think the leaders of that violent mob at the Boston Massacre was unaware of the propaganda value of provoking the Redcoats into shooting? John Adams admitted after the Revolution that the American population was split, 1/3 for his side, 1/3 for the King, and 1/3 undecided. The Founding Fathers needed to provoke people into getting off the fence to establish a right to take power. They were very circumspect in their military actions, but from preachers calling George III the Antichrist to guerrillas waging dirty war, neighbor against neighbor, in the Carolinas, we owe our "nation" to deliberate and violent provocations meant to "reveal" the oppressive nature of British rule.

      It's a legitimate strategy, that has become a pathology from overuse.

    • Difference is, evangelical Christians like G. W. Bush have had positions of ultimate power, and committed crimes on a scale that few Moslems (except our billionaire Saudi allies) can even conceive. The GOP has become the Christian Party in America, and at some point American Christianity must bear some responsibility for not restraining its crimes, or preventing well-funded extremists from hijacking Christian legitimacy.

    • Except that greedy Crusaders eventually sacked Constantinople itself, so they had no regard for the Orthodox faith. Nor did they turn over captured Jerusalem to the Eastern emperor, but butchered its inhabitants, and installed their own Catholic rulers and colonists. You're buying a cynical excuse for a war, like the supposed "rescue" of Iraqi Christians by George Bush.

  • Iran's Rouhani & Direct Democracy: Wants Referendum to Sidestep Hardliners
    • Yes, the problem is that Americans believe TV commercials. As long as buying commercials is "free speech", we are basically trained chimpanzees.

      If we had strong party systems and high turnout like in Europe, the ads would have less effect. But once we let the rich get rich enough to buy up both parties, there was no place to run. We could replace commercials with all ala carte cable TV selections, meaning we have to pay directly for all the stupid shows we're embarrassed to watch but do anyway. Print ads don't matter because print media is dying, like radio. But if all these contaminations were expunged, pressure would mount to make internet ads more obnoxious and inescapable.

      What we really need is for consumers themselves to only buy things they can rationally justify, co-creating new products with Kickstarter, or using expert clients that roam the internet looking for the best actual deals, not the best prices. As you can see, this would leave the same aging Americans who support so many bad policies as the ones still clinging to mass media brainwashing. The rich might whip them into a Tea Party-like frenzy at any attempt to make any of these changes, threatening violence and martial law to crush the rise of a generation of non-fooled Americans.

  • Scotland: World's Largest Tidal Power Project Begins Construction
    • You're right in general, but tidal resources are very geographically limited. Scotland happens to have a great location for tidal, wave and wind power, and a small population. Tidal is not where the evil conspiracy stuff is going to happen. In fact, decentralized alternative sources are the ones the Pentagon is really helpless against.

  • Ten Things You Should Know About Selma Before You See Oprah's Film
    • Relative to what is normal for a person of his position, LBJ was the most radical actor in the struggle for racial and economic equality in our times. Unfortunately the antiwar movement either took that for granted... or many of its members really didn't care about equality advanced by Federal bayonets, which is about the only way it seems to ever happen in this country. In retrospect, the New Deal coalition was fragile, ridden with bigotry hidden under its populist surfaces. The leaders knew this; like Lincoln, they were trying to cajole the country to someplace better than it actually wanted to go.

  • Why Egypt's Threat to Arrest Amal Clooney will hurt its Economy
    • But there's only one country with trillions in surplus capital: China. I don't see anything the military is doing that would bother Chinese investors in the slightest. Since both the Egyptian and Chinese armies own large corporations, investment could be as easy as an exchange of salutes.

      So it's only a matter of what the Chinese think of ordinary Egyptians purely as living robots. Better than the Pakistanis? Better than the Nigerians? And why the hell haven't they bought up Cuba? China has plenty of choices like this.

  • Palestinians ready next Move as UNSC rejects end of Occupation
    • This is the nature of modern civil wars. A few hardliners can always access enough technology to create a big bang and scuttle their own side's attempt to negotiate away what they're fighting for. But consider this: when Palestinians do such a thing, they're always held collectively guilty. When racist Zionist colonists commit a murder, it is dismissed as an isolated act. Racial dehumanization turns a population into a single, undifferentiated mass treated as one enemy army that refuses to obey ceasefires. Thus Israel can get away with collective punishment which advances the ethnic cleansing agenda.

  • We have so much to Learn from Cuba
    • My question is, why didn't China flood Cuba with golden briefcases 20 years ago and turn it into their floating bazaar? Surely they don't respect our embargo. Unless Cuba is a bargaining chip in some larger deal we can't understand. Because I guarantee the moment we lift sanctions the Chinese will have deals in place for everything.

    • The immediate purpose of starving Cuba and incinerating Vietnam may have been only to serve as a warning to the impoverished hordes of the entire rest of the 3rd world to not disobey Washington. I've heard it suggested that the Air Force knew Vietnam was lost long before 1973, but the last few years of bombing North Vietnam was simply to make an example of it.

      The question is, in the hearts of most Americans, is this really unacceptable? Wasn't the invasion of Iraq irrelevant to the offense of 9/11? But we had to punish some
      Arabs because we all secretly understand that the Arab oil sheikhs bankroll the global jihadi movement but we don't dare attack them directly.

  • GOP Figures used racist Ape imagery for Obama before North Korea did
    • It matters when all America's supposedly autonomous far-right movements share the slogan, "America is a republic, not a democracy." Which really means that voting rights should be restricted to those who would have been able to vote under the Founding Fathers. "Take back our country", "we surround you", support for racial profiling and special rights for right-wing Christians, and the blatant difference in how a white man with a gun is regarded versus a black man, all are part of a larger doctrine: God gave white Christian men this country by a patriarchal covenant, to rule over others forever. We are not equal citizens.

      The GOP is inexorably moving in this direction because that is where its voters are going; that was always the plan. Israel is a testbed that's a couple of steps ahead in this process.

  • Illusions of Whiteness: Millions of Southern 'Whites' have African Ancestry
    • The white race is a construct, but it is a construct designed by powerful people as a powerful tool for conquest and exploitation. Thus the meaning of "white" is elastic; it expanded to include Irish and Italians when it was no longer feasible to exclude them from the political system. If it can't be expanded further, it must fall back on nostalgia for a past of white tyranny, numbers be damned, or lose power.

      The aggregation of power in this cultural/economic/religious envelope called "race" was the foundation of American capitalism, for the plantation owners made the American colonies viable as a country. The use of a caste system to make one strata of workers oppress another strata disrupts labor markets in the capitalists' favor. When industry and the rise of the North and labor unions pushed wages upward, it seemed that white supremacy might die out. But now the capitalists are 40 years into an experiment to drive wages all the way down for their own massive profit. Eventually they were going to have to give whites something back to compensate for the wages they are stealing: the privilege of killing and abusing non-whites, or at least delegating this pleasure to the police.

  • The Bureaucracy of Terror in Mosul: Todenh√∂fer's Unprecedented Footage from Within
    • America no longer has the leverage to stop Saudi Arabia from creating a sphere of influence. Our debts to Saudi Arabia grow ever deeper. Our screwups in Anbar outraged the royals. Now we must either pretend to still be in control and get stuck with the crimes of our allies, or admit we're no longer a superpower and face collapse globally and a psychotic backlash domestically.

  • How Jesus' Message of Peace & Non-Violence Got Lost
    • America was built on slavery. The fortunes it made were invested all over the expanding republic. The Civil War did not undo that, and the plantation owners still ruled the South after the war. The poor whites who knew they were losers simply plotted vengeance across the generations, even switching political parties to "take back our country". Now they talk secession, stockpile arms, but back any cop who murders a black man and blindly vote for the right of the rich to pollute and corrupt. The rich have got this country and its tradition of violence completely working in their favor.

    • Sure, but that's not based on pacifism. Plenty of sovereign peoples have grown tired of a war and settled it without renouncing their right to wage war. Northern Ireland will either stay part of the UK and thus NATO, or join the
      Republic and have a small military that hides the reality that it lives under the hegemonic shield of NATO/US, like all the neutral states of Europe. Civil wars are different than wars between sovereign states.

    • I wish there were more voices like yours at this site. In the long run, violence begets revenge, but as Keynes said about the apostasy of having governments interfere with markets in the short run in order to stave off deflationary collapse, "In the long run we are all dead." We will keep doing bad things to each other to gain temporary advantages that we deem necessary to our current survival or dignity and dump the consequences on our children. We've always done that.

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