Member Profile

Total number of comments: 1541 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)


Showing comments 1541 - 1501

  • Ignore the Smears: Germany's Green Energy is 1/3 of its Power, Price Falling, Coal Down
    • Watching conservative fossil-fuel companies and their proxies smear alternative energy for being too cheap is a hilarious proof of how fake our established "free markets" are in every industry. We've never had free markets; we've always had social status hierarchies in which new money battles old money for unmerited power over how people think and act.

  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities
    • It will be Iran. The US will be powerless to stop it because we spent so much time tying ISIS' predecessors to al-Qaeda. Saudi will go bonkers, pour weapons into the hands of its extremist proxies, and try to stem the Iranian tide. The Middle East will finally have its first World War, and not a Jew in sight.

      But the Israelis and neocons are idiots for having encouraged this process. World wars lead to other world wars, and new powers and alliances arise from them. Israel is committing suicide by risking that.

  • The Colbert Report: "Questionable Compassion for Child Immigrants"
    • Conservatives, especially Southerners, got burned badly in the '60s by being seen as bullies supporting the beating of MLK's non-violent protestors, and baby-killers for supporting the war on Vietnam. They learned the self-victimization game quickly. Now they are full of compassion for everyone who they want to deprive of government aid and protection - the pregnant women that they logically imply are murderers, the native Americans they say were victims of the Federal government (not the greedy settlers who voted for that government), the blacks they say are living on a "welfare plantation" because getting a tiny AFDC check is so much like being beaten and paid nothing to work. But most of all, they trumpet themselves as victims of equality and power-sharing, and embrace fetuses, Israelis, crime victims, white men who were cheated out of jobs by "them", as their fellow wretched of the earth. Implying that the billions of humans and millions of Americans worse off than them are really inferior and will deserve what they get once we go back to the 18th century where we all belong, free to starve if the eternally infallible private property system so decrees.

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar
    • We should have dissolved NATO in 1991. It should have been Europe's business to defend itself from whatever arose from the ruins in Russia. Instead we tried to expand NATO and guaranteed the Russian people would turn to a strongman to stem the tide of humiliation and Wall Street rapine.

      If we're willing to demand that our government respects the will of Europe's voters - not just in one or two gerrymandered neocon states - then there's a way out of this. Europe must abandon the pathology of "austerity" and start taxing its tycoons and paying its people to build their own military, fully independent of the Pentagon. Which has not existed in 60 years. I'm proposing that all of Europe adopt deGaulle's stance of having a sovereign foreign policy, kick out US bases and aircraft, and stop treating their entire national militaries as supplements on Pentagon's order of battle.

      That means it's up to them how to deal with Putin, war or peace. DeGaulle's handful of nukes aimed at Moscow may have been all the deterrent the West ever needed, and surely Germany, France and the UK together can build such a deterrent now. As for the rest of the world, the Communists' power projection turned out to be laughable and a narrow-minded nationalist like Putin can't even get past Syria.

    • You're right, but the way that democracy interferes with diplomacy makes it impossible that things will be done your way. Complex arguments don't sway publics - either they cave in to a faction expressing a simple emotion, belligerence or cowardice, or they put their faith in a leader whose complex maneuverings they trust without understanding.

      I wish I knew of an alternative to that, but I've given up expecting voters to understand a damn thing about the outside world when they want to believe that Latin American kids are Moslem terrorists carrying the Ebola virus.

    • Rogue states? Sounds like Russia has rejoined the ranks of historical great powers, all of whom have committed countless horrible crimes since the rise of the West 500 years ago.

      Have you forgotten that Iranian airliner full of civilians the US Navy shot down 25 years ago? What worthy cause were we there supporting at the time? Saddam Hussein?

      Or the way we rewarded Suharto's new dictatorship in Indonesia with an alliance after it murdered half a million Chinese and leftists in 1965-66? And went on to murder hundreds of thousands more in several anti-separatist wars?

      That's normal great power behavior. To be a rogue state, you have to threaten wars without being of use to the global capitalist economy. China and Russia are too important to ostracize with that economy still in danger of collapsing.

  • Gaza: 4 Dead Boys on the Beach & Israel's Precision War
    • As Baby Jessica proved years ago, one baby dying in a well surrounded by TV cameras is worth one million babies dying in the ghetto.

  • Border Wars in the Homeland "Stop Stepping on the Pictures"
    • I think the time has come for people to seriously consider the replacement of police forces with new kinds of public law enforcement institutions. Representing the real people, the poor, not commuting henchmen who love the rich. Unfortunately the privatizers and militia racists will move in exactly the wrong direction.

      The mayor of New Haven once cited "suburban adventurers" on his police force as part of the problem of abuse of his minority population. We firstly need police to be required to live in the neighborhoods that they bully and dominate. Meaning, they need to be recruited from the neighborhood and responsible to some sort of council of residents. We must put an end to the sense of military occupation that guarantees that young males in slums will grow up on the wrong end of the Stanford Prison Experiment, with the corresponding attitudes that ensure the continued state of racial cold war.

    • Based on what I've read, the atrocious behavior of the officers recounted here is actually a return to the normal behavior of policemen and sheriffs since the Constitution was signed - at least, their behavior towards "strangers" and "troublemakers". What is new are the resources they have at their disposal. Our idea of who is a threat has always trumped vague terms like "reasonable". But in the past establishment terror was dished out at the local level, in dark back rooms in police stations, in alleyways, and in town squares beset by Klansmen & lynch mobs, all based on the local understanding of the caste system. Now the entire outside world is seen as a threat because it refuses to submit to our order, so logically the military and then illogically domestic law enforcement have been provided omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence to battle it.

  • Israel, Gaza and the Fatal Spirit of Versailles
    • Maybe, but I think the allies had to learn why they did things the wrong way after 1918 in order to have any chance to do things right after 1945. It wasn't just the nature of the surrender. The 1918 German elites surrendered partly due to fear of Communist rebellion within their own soldiery - but the Allies lacked the expected empathy. In '45 the Western allies, conversely, faced Communism in the form of their own fellow co-occupier, which kept millions of troops mobilized. So the West had to quickly get Germany on its feet again and not engage in the many punitive acts that sabotaged the Weimar Republic's economy. The much larger role of the US the second time around also meant a greater emphasis on, well, nation-building (a dirty word today). The 1945 Allies were more socialistic and more willing to engage in social engineering to excise the pathologies of German society.

    • The key to unassailable power in America is to have a powerful base in both parties at the same time. Every institution that is too big to fail in America has that. The rich in all their manifestation have the GOP by ideology, the entire belief system that the rich must be better to justify inequality. Then they just buy Democrats as needed on an issue-to-issue basis. The Israelis started with a key faction in the Democratic Party, then cynically worked with the neocons and Christians in the GOP to become unassailable there. This leaves room for none of the safe partisan maneuvering that normally allows debate in this country.

  • Wealth Gap Costing US in Growth (John Oliver)
    • The rich will never, ever, ever believe that greater power for themselves will harm the country, because they believe they are the master race and know how to do everything better than the rest of us. To them, America's great success after their counterparts were humiliated by the New Deal is only a pale shadow of what they would have accomplished if they'd stayed in charge - not because there's any evidence of how that would have worked, but because it must be true, or their entire meritocratic fantasy is wrong.

  • Quashing Jewish Dissent on Israel
    • Then Nelson Mandela was no angel either. Good. The angels work for rich white guy God, not us.

    • Why should Jews be any different than Gentiles in America when it comes to being pressured to vote against their interests and conscience by flag-waving, religion-spouting elites - or told that their failure to do same justifies their creeping exclusion from the political process?

  • Helpless Giant: How Imperial US Elites Tied America Down All by Themselves
    • Besides the British episode, other empires have ended up paralyzed by the contradictions between their military power and the decline of their economic base, hastened by the greed of corrupt elites.

      Kevin Phillips' book "American Theocracy" argues that this is pretty much the norm for global hegemons, as the imperial economy become divorced from reality while military commitments go viral. But he specifies the rise of extremist religion as a conservative reaction against the reality of imperial decline as the real poison, a sort of violent national senility that hastens total collapse.

      Although I read the comparison by a former GOP strategist between the GOP and the Spanish Hapsburgs with understandable relish, I read further about the Spanish decline and found that its doom was baked into its foundations, Catholicism or no Catholicism. The Hapsburg model of marrying into territory required all the new acquisition's existing military commitments to be added to Spain's own, while the feudal rules governing the marriages prevented an empire-wide tax system to cover the cost. It was never a feasible business model.

      But I suspect every empire has these inherent flaws. America's model of being a non-empire empire has caused us to adopt the military commitments of the European empires we supplanted (Vietnam, Iraq, etc.). Britain's trade empire seduced local rulers into handing over valuable ports in exchange for aiding them against their enemies. There is no free lunch in expanding your global influence over alien peoples, except maybe genocide.

    • This has all happened before.

      Read the fascinating book, "The Strange Death of Liberal England", in which author George Dangerfield practically accused the Conservative Party of sedition in the Irish crisis of 1914, conspiring with the Army to disobey orders to stand against Protestant violence in revenge for the House of Lords losing its Tory-biased veto rights. This happened in a Britain supposedly at the height of its power, with the Liberal Party and its Labour allies representing the vast majority of the population. The entire political culture collapsed in an instant because of a hissy fit from a dying elite. Then WW1 bailed them all out and erased the crisis in a burst of amnesia. But Dangerfield discloses evidence that in August German leaders were misled by the crisis into believing they could avoid British intervention against an invasion of France. So Britain's vast military might was useless because of the perception that it was a giant crippled by internal turmoil.

  • Is Pope Francis the Green Pope?
    • I do support there being a powerful voice to restore non-lunatic conservatism to the public arena. When I say he's a pre-Reagan conservative, that puts him in the company of Eisenhower, who made some of the most meaningful statements against the warfare state, and Romney's dad, who confessed that he was "hoodwinked" about Vietnam. There were many decent conservatives in Europe too. What we need back are conservatives we can have a genuine dialogue with.

    • Francis is not a progressive. He's a pre-Reaganite conservative.

      We've been so drenched in Orwellian historical revisions by the Right-Wing Movement that we don't recall what a real conservative looks like anymore.

  • The Map: A Palestinian Nation Thwarted & Speaking Truth to Power
    • This is interesting because it sounds like what happened in South Africa; the blacks won, but under the rules of global capitalism they weren't allowed to win economic power. So the tiny white minority still has all the money, without the need of racist state terror. According to Naomi Klein, the neoliberal "advisors" got to Nelson Mandela when he had attained victory, and fooled him into compromising with the rich. Presumably any Palestinian leader who somehow won an agreement for a one-state solution would suffer the same fate.

    • By which I mean, the Israeli claim that it was a pre-emptive strike against an inevitable coordinated Arab invasion.

    • This is not the greatest tragedy of the 20th Century; it was full of mega-genocides (over 1,000,000 dead). But this can still become the greatest tragedy of the 21st Century if we don't change our biases.

    • We also have been disinformed about who really started the Six-Day War.

    • I wouldn't be so sure that was the main reason - the US had a serious anti-Semitism problem at the time, led by mainstream heroes like Henry Ford and Charles Lindberg. Keeping Eastern European Jews out of the US was seen as absolutely necessary to preserving American identity as keeping Mexicans out is today.

      However, the sick irony today is that right-wing Christians now want Jews to emigrate to Palestine to slaughter Arabs, and stop voting Democratic in US elections. So now they're very nice to the Israeli leadership.

      Basically, a Jew becomes acceptably "white" only when he joins the anti-immigrant GOP here, or goes over there to eliminate the "browns".

  • ABC News' Diane Sawyer Mistakes Stricken Palestinians for Israelis
    • Conversely, consider the psychological study in which white Americans were shown a quick glimpse of a photo of a white man holding a knife on a black man. I think 1/3 of respondents later claimed the photo showed a black man holding a knife on a white man. So, yes, Diane Sawyer might see the Israelis as being enough her race to do that. Isn't that what white Americans are being indoctrinated to think about Israelis? "Our" race?

    • Many times on Fox News, when a Republican congressman is reported as being caught in wrongdoing, the little (R) after his name mysteriously turns into a (D). Of course this is soon forgotten. Done repetitively, this reinforces the prejudices of the audience.

  • The Return of Jim Crow in North Carolina
    • So, three strikes, you're out, America.

    • By the way, this is actually the 3rd time that black people have lost their voting rights in the South. In the early Virginia colony, African captives had to be brought in as indentured servants, meaning when their terms ran out they became colonial subjects like everyone else. Apparently some did have voting rights. But Bacon's Rebellion of 1676, in which white and black servants joined the rebels, led to the complete re-engineering of Southern law and culture, and the conversion of blacks not only to slaves, but to people so despised by poor whites that alliances against the oligarchy became impossible. That is where America's identity really began.

    • Here it is, just as I have feared for many years.

      The last time, blacks were disenfranchised en masse, but it involved many laws over several decades, pushing down the pool of eligible black voters even further in the early 20th Century.

      This time, they can use computers to surgically gerrymander minority votes to impotence.

      But the most important part of all this? The refusal of mainstream America to accept that right-wingers still hate blacks enough to strip them of all their rights. They will accept an endless procession of excuses and plausible denials, amplified by the corporate agenda to make America the most unequal country possible.

      For all our supposed racial enlightenment over the generations, we will end up right back where we were in 1900. What does this prove about the essential nature of our political and economic systems? Why do a handful of bigots always triumph? And why is theirs always the side of "property rights" and "limited government"? These things are all tied together.

  • The new great regional game: Saudi Arabia and Iran
    • The problem with proving whether or not the Saudis are to blame for ISIS is that, under feudalism, you don't have a clear distinction between "the State" and "the rich". All rich Saudi Arabians are related to the aristocracy, and the aristocracy is headed by the Saud dynasty. But maybe many of those aristocrats hate the Sauds and want to supplant them as the ruling family. Supporting jihadi extremists is a way of out-Islaming the Sauds, whose slender justification for power is founded on their being the hereditary protectors of Mecca. But the Sauds use their pet Islamic sect, the Wahhabis, to fight back with even more extremism. But that encourages even more Saudis to send money to ISIS, or even enlist in it.

      So you can't dismantle the infrastructure of Islamic extremism as long as you have a feudal oligarchy that has no good justification for owning trillions of dollars in oil wealth except the game of religious one-upmanship.

      Welcome to the Arab Game of Thrones.

  • China's New Soft Power: Transformers 4, X-Men & Hollywood
    • But seriously, China is evincing a better understanding of how American capitalism really works - cultural indoctrination, co-optation, settler colonization in Tibet, and the marriage to militant nationalism, than anyone in America is allowed to possess below the 1-percenters. The Saudi despots never used their vast dollar holdings to humanize ordinary Arabs in the eyes of the American people because they don't like ordinary Arabs either. That would have done far more to help the Palestinian struggle than training a few terrorists.

    • The machinery of Western cultural imperialism is for sale to the highest bidder. Film at 11.

  • Unitarians divest from Fossil Fuels: Clear Commitment on Climate Change
    • Disinvest in Texas, so our secessionist governor and his even worse successor can't keep braying that all these low-wage jobs the energy bubble is enabling is proof that neo-Victorian economics is the solution to America's problems.

  • Inside the Mosul of the 'Islamic State': Manhunts, Salafi Coercion and Fired Christians
    • My God, these ISIS sh**heads are even stupider than the Taliban. I guess the latter had better Pakistani and Saudi advisors.

  • SCOTUS: Corporate "Persons" have Religions, can Deny You Birth Control Coverage
    • Obviously, rulings like this are planned out to interlock with future laws, state initiatives, and other right-wing mischief so as to give the old privileged classes, white, rich, male & Christian, the "freedom" to reduce the rest of us to poverty, servitude, imprisonment, and oppression. "Restoring" the old days means they're about outcomes, not principles. Look at the clever asymmetries used in the early Jim Crow laws to disproportionately disenfranchise blacks, after which it was easy to pass new laws that were blatantly discriminatory. Thus will freedom be defined in the future, so that gays, women, blacks, the poor, Moslems, etc., will find it consists of nothing that they want.

  • UN to Detroit: Denial of Water to Thousands 'Violates Human Rights'
    • Nothing like starting a cholera or dysentery epidemic to clear the Democrats out of their strongholds, eh?

  • Sunni Radicals of ISIS seek showdown with Lebanon's Hizbullah
    • Hezbollah is run by grown-ups. The Arab oligarchs have tried to rule Lebanon with Maronite fascists, neoliberal billionaires, and now a would-be Taliban. Infantile fantasies all. None of them could have developed the sophisticated defenses that bedeviled the Israelis during their last invasion. None of them are as willing to parcel out power to maintain peace as Hezbollah is, despite the fact that if there were ever a fair election it would overwhelm everyone else. The argument against Shia rule really is that the Shia are poor, and the poor must be inferior. They don't look at all inferior to the (US & Israel-approved) alternatives.

    • Based on the behavior of oil sheikh-financed jihadis in the rest of the Sunni world, they and any regime they create will be a hundred times worse that the power-sharing arrangement in Lebanon. What, Mr. Bender, do you think these fanatics will do to Lebanon's soon-to-be majority Shia population, which has had to live for 70 years under a constitution that refuses to allow them to win elections? The Christians of Lebanon have already engaged in mass murder against Palestinians.

  • Is Russia Replacing US in Iraq?
    • You know, this could work. I don't mean saving lives, of course. Maybe ISIS overruns some Shia cities, carries out acts of mindboggling cruelty and then of course posts them on Youtube, and then Russia and Iran come to the rescue along with the Iran-affiliated Shia militias. Meanwhile in Afghanistan, the pre-2001 alignment of the Northern Alliance with Russia, Iran and India against Pakistan's (and Saudi Arabia's) Taliban reemerges. China can decide whether its pro-Russia/Iran leanings override its pro-Pakistan leanings.

      Which is why it was never necessary for the US to get involved there in the first place. Normal balance of power processes had these things worked out before, and it will again. It was abnormal for a distant power like the US to interfere.

    • It's not stupid if Putin is eyeing a deeper alliance with Iran and Syria, rather than a genuine solution in Iraq. He saves Baghdad, the country is partitioned, a permanent DMZ is set up across Iraq, and a new Cold War between the Saudi satellites and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization satellites commences - one that divides the world's biggest energy powers. Energy sales and the loyalty of Moslems from Sinkiang to the Mediterranean will be the battlefields.

      Now if either side thinks it can overthrow the other, that's stupid.

    • Pay extra, and you get Russian pilots (unofficially). Haven't you heard the stories from the Korean War?

  • Does an Independent Kurdistan make Sense?
    • If Turkey and Iran have co-opted Kurdistan, then the question is, will they force it to keep its hands off of Syrian Kurdistan? A joint understanding between Turkey and Iran on that matter may signal a line being drawn against the ugly jihadi empire that Saudi Arabia seems to be spawning in the desert. Too bad the line cuts through Iraq, but it leaves the Shia and the Kurds with all the oil and sponsors willing to help defend it.

      Hooray for old-fashioned balance of power, at least for the next five minutes.

    • Page: 15
  • What Drove Iraqi Sunnis to Revolt and ally with ISIS?
    • Boy, those neo-Baathists are gonna be surprised when they find out what life under ISIS rule is like.

      Of course, tiny fringe fanatic groups can't govern. The militias eventually wear them out everywhere. Shia militias will overthrow them if they reach their cities. Sunni tribal militias will turn on them if they impose their cruel craziness.

      I guess at that point ISIS' paymasters will reveal what their real agenda is.

  • Fox's Cavuto slams Bachmann on suing Obama: "There's so much Wrong Here"
    • It looks like the corporate extreme right is beginning to reassess its relationship with the militia/neoconfederate/theocrat extreme right. Fox News is the former's way of controlling and shaping the latter. And with recent overseas events, the corporate class, extreme or not, is looking at the decline of US power overseas accelerating if the Tea Party hamstrings the executive branch, the same way that Watergate accelerated it during the fall of S. Vietnam.

  • Elizabeth Warren Crushes Chris Matthews, And A Word On Cement
    • Wow, so people at this site are already trolling Elizabeth Warren for not being radical enough while the corporations are already smearing her for being too liberal? Hillary must be overjoyed.

      In a sane country, Warren would be considered normal.

    • The access was not equal, but Roosevelt did establish (I think by executive order) equal wages in US war plants. The migration of blacks to the Midwest & West to those war plant jobs and privately-owned factories doing war work did lead to a large change in their lives. By 1967 black wages were approaching 90% of white wages. The destruction of American industry since the '70s, conversely, has trapped blacks in the worst possible places. Last hired, first fired.

  • Obama could "Open" Iran over Iraq: Don't Let the Hawks Ruin It
    • You mean, like the way the religion of unlimited corporate power, via the neoliberal Washington Consensus, was allowed to evangelize the elites of the 2nd & 3rd World and cause mass hunger and misery throughout Russia and Latin America? You're right, that was a dangerous religion. Almost as dangerous as America's OTHER right-wing religion, Christian Dominionism, which is all about getting its hands on the government and its nuclear arsenal to "restore" white Christian domination everywhere.

  • Iraq Crisis: It's the Oil, Stupid!
    • You need to consider the ties between Cheney and the Ziocons. Cheney gave a speech while still head of Halliburton in 1999 warning that state-owned oil companies (Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia) would soon dominate world oil production and impede American capitalism. So the invasion of Iraq and the repositioning of US forces from Saudi Arabia acted as a screw-you to all state-owned oil companies. Obviously Cheney & the Likud shared a privatization agenda, and a hatred of those state-oil empires that inherently had the power to defy Washington on many other matters.

      So not free oil, but surely oil that would pay right into Wall Street and its regional stooges, fit Cheney's vision of what makes America powerful.

  • Iraq in last Throes as Kurdistan Seeks Independence, Syria & Iran intervene
    • I agree. A partitioned Iraq weakens the Arab world, but not necessarily Israel's enemies. If the discussion about Turkey's co-optation of Kurdistan with cash is accurate, that's not a win for Israel. Nor is the entry of Iranian troops to save Bagdad in the future. Which leaves ISIS, a front for the extremism inherent in the Arab monarchies. One day, the Saudis will be so damn powerful that they won't need the US anymore - then who will force them to obey Israel?

  • Blue Planet et al. Appeal to UN over Detroit Water cut-off to Thousands
    • The goal is not for the State to step in, but for Wall Street to step in and replace democracy forever. Have you ever heard of "The Shock Doctrine"? This appointed "Emergency Manager" is a dictator, and you will only see them appointed where the Republicans want to strip blacks of power, all in concert with voter suppression laws and secession and nullification threats all over the country. The capitalist class recognizes that once whites cease to be a majority, democracy might finally be used against them.

  • Neo-Zangid State erases Syria-Iraq Border, cuts Hizbullah off from Iran
    • This is why nationalism beat tribalism. But then, what is the difference? Raw size. Nations eat tribes by a combination of co-optation, intermarriage, economic migration, and sometimes extermination. The places where you see armed tribes in control are the places where it wasn't worth it for any nation to do those things. It is probably rare for tribes to spontaneously do what Lawrence wanted, to form themselves into a nation quickly without the means for administrative coordination. Saudi cash, however, might do the trick.

  • Iraq: Ayatollah Sistani hints that Parliament should dump al-Maliki as Muqtada mobilizes "Peace Brigades"
    • I've got to admit, I've been cheering for that little punk bastard Muqtada since he first started making life miserable for Bush. There was a moment in April 2004 where I thought he and the Sunni guerrillas would reach an informal understanding that would allow them to cut off Bagdad and trap our imperial bureaucracy & criminal contractor army, forcing a panic evacuation a la Saigon. But he saw what they all saw, that he had to play the long game & wait us out. Now might be his time, with the oil sheikhs' jihadis threatening everyone in the region who dissent from their beliefs. Besides, his movement is as much about poverty and Arab identity as it is religion, and those issues are not the dead ends that oil monarchies and Khomeinism are today.

    • While these farsighted actions are needed to deal with many deformities in our political & economic systems caused by the oil economy, it still matters who runs the Middle East. That's because our idiot bosses globalized everything and propped up the dollar by getting OPEC to monetize it. People at this site think that America is the root of all evil, but whoever bribes or bullies their way into the Middle East after us will have an even shorter road to corruption. Consider if China, allied with Russia & the SCO, corners enough of the world's energy that it no longer has to pretend to care about world opinion, and can no longer be cowed by sanctions or trade war. Over time it might reveal a very different side to its agenda, just as the US has in the decades after its ascendancy.

      Now of course, a Sino-centric world may work out better than our hegemony in the long run. Just don't expect standards of human rights or democracy to matter as much as the dead hand of stability. Beijing will look at these matters more the way Rome did, long ago.

  • It’s come to this: Fox News brings on NFL’s Terry Bradshaw for Benghazi analysis
    • You can't be responsible for bad things as long as your goal is to make "America" "stronger". So Reagan isn't responsible for Beirut, etc. The crime is for our tribal war chieftain to simply try to maintain an already unjust status quo hegemony instead of trying to conquer the world. Because that doesn't "defeat" "evil". Which undermines our excuse for domination and exploitation - not just abroad. Think about which Americans that imperils.

      Boy, I'm really doubling up on the quote marks today, but both the nouns and the modifiers we rely on are delusional.

  • Iraq is more like N. Ireland than Lebanon, Reconciliation is Possible
    • 3000, or even 7000 fighters are enough to imperil a nation of 32,000,000? Sounds like a very dysfunctional state to me. Unless their threat is exaggerated, in which case the foreign fighters don't matter that much anyway.

  • America Has Gained Almost 1 Million Healthcare Jobs Since Obamacare Was Passed
    • Explain to me where the votes for Single Payer would have come from - with the GOP/Fox/corporate Reich denouncing it as outright communism and the lobbyists buying off Blue Dogs?

    • Wow, so because the guy isn't anti-war enough for you, you have to troll the only national insurance plan that the insurance corporations are going to allow? Alternate-Universe President Kucinich would have ended up with exactly the same mess because he had no Constitutional way to stop the insurance gangsters from buying up as many Democratic congressmen as needed to stop single-payer and Public Option. That's true of every other damn issue now.

  • Opportunities Abound in Iraq to Reset US Middle East Policy
    • So the solution is as simple as it is unacceptable.

      End US sanctions on Iran, which allows it to afford to pour military aid into the Baghdad regime and turn back the salafis. You want to stop the salafis, then take Iran's side against Saudi Arabia and live with the consequences.

      There is no alternative. But the very fact that large numbers of Americans act as if they actually believe that their beloved Iraqi democracy is not a satellite of hated Iran, and that one can be helped while still waging war against the other, shows why it's impossible to discuss sensible policy options with Americans.

      I guess this will go on until Putin, the Chinese and their SCO satellites are ready to ally with Iran to settle the Islamists' hash. No democratic delusions in that crowd. And no shortage of manpower to do proper counterinsurgency.

    • Once their culture ceases to be primitive, the first thing to go will be the monarchy. So that's a problem.

  • Dear America: You're in the Army Now
    • In fairness, Ike did do things to keep the military on a short budgetary leash which his immunity to normal partisanship in military matters made possible. He knew his successors would not have this immunity; that's why he made the speech.

      He forced Congress to vote on his budget in one piece, up or down. That prevented his generals from going behind his back to lobby Congress, and Congress from colluding with corporations.

      He also relied on the doctrine of massive nuclear retaliation, which though brutal, meant that he didn't think he needed anything like the conventional military we have now. The Army was definitely on a short leash.

      Finally, he did eventually begin a detente with the Khrushchev regime, reassured by his spy planes and satellites that he could take the risk. However, the Soviets shot down one of his planes, and he had to keep the satellites secret, allowing JFK to campaign on the fantasy of a Soviet missile threat that Ike (and Nixon) knew was non-existent, but also non-disclosable. When JFK got in, all kinds of new military spending commenced.

  • After Piketty, is the Study of Economics the Study of Rising Inequality?
    • Piketty measured something that has been happening for 5000 years. Private property ALWAYS polarizes wealth in the absence of political actions or societal collapse. Back when land was the only capital, the normal variation in crops and personal problems ensured that each year a few farmers would face disaster, and a few would have a surplus. This must always cause the latter to make unfair arrangements with the former, leading to more and more inequality until, as Rousseau said, everywhere men are born free and live as slaves.

      More complex forms of capital based on technology never changed this, merely created the illusion of a rising tide that lifted everyone. The board game Monopoly was created by a radical as an educational tool in the '30s so you could see the process of wealth polarization before your eyes. You can change the money, the hotels, all the parts, but the game always ends the same way.

  • Iraq: Looming War of Shiite, Kurdish, Extremist-Sunni Militias
    • So it's all over for serious American ambitions in the Middle East. It was always an unnatural presence, inherited from British criminals.

      Hope the Zionists who exhausted US resources to do their dirty work for them enjoy the replacement that they have only themselves to blame: the growing extremist empire of the Saudi stooges stretching from Anbar to Bahrain. You're on your own, guys.

  • Top 3 White Terrorist Attacks in America this Week
    • This country was built on a monstrous arrangement, whereby white indentured servants received their freedom with the understanding that they would help the plantation owners control their replacements: African slaves. In other words, the whites agreed to hold the whip. They created a culture of aggression, self-righteousness, and philistinism to suit their role and taught it to their sons.

      But the civil rights movement finally took that whip away, and millions of whites feel cheated of their birthright - though they may not consciously know that it's a birthright to abuse and exploit others. Until we are honest about where that feeling comes from, we can't get at the endless spew of excuses and justifications the Right uses to seduce these aggrieved people into violence.

      I see no reason why our capitalist overlords can not restore that old caste system as part of a Final Solution for our economic crisis. The Tea Partiers say they're against big government, but would gladly volunteer to join the police and round up leftists, environmentalists and minorities, or become prison guards and abuse those prisoners. All we need is the removal on all restrictions on prison labor. The prisons are already being privatized. Once they become sweatshops, America will instantly become wage-competitive with China. Sure, the wages of those not imprisoned will plummet too, but the bigoted white ones can take out their rage on minorities just as they did under Jim Crow. White men who are willing to become soldiers, cops or prison guards will become an affluent knighthood looked up to by poorer whites.

      The militias dream of all this in their hearts, but we keep giving them a free pass because, how could "patriots" have such monstrous desires?

    • I'm getting sick of white people claiming moral equivalence in racial violence as an excuse for ignoring the coordinated machinery of the Militia/Tea Party/GOP/Libertarian/Christian theocrat/Koch movement that also labors to strip blacks of the right to vote, again. You probably imagine there were no ties between the anti-abortion terrorists and the GOP/political wing that has made abortion inaccessible for poor women in a growing number of Red states. The terrorists won. They excited the "base", who wore out women's rights.

      And all these movements must draw from the example of coordination between violent terrorists and political evil in the imposition of Jim Crow in the South. They wore out America and it went away. The ideologies of all these right-wing movements are much alike.

      If you want to see how racially biased this country is when it comes to violence, try looking up the police reaction when the Black Panthers legally Open Carried in the '60s. Or how the militias worship David Koresh but say nothing about MOVE in Philadephia. There is nothing comparable to the militia movement among non-whites today because they'd get slaughtered.

    • I think the important difference is that far right extremists, everywhere in the world, refer to a past that is "natural", thus we will naturally revert to it once the evils of modernity are abolished. This nostalgism gives the right a huge advantage - their followers really experienced that past, or think they did. Those of us who know how monstrous and unjust that past were must never stop explaining this to the apathetic, unaligned public.

    • The shift in color-coding simply reflects different political uses of the idea of "Blood", for red. Red was the color of inherited power, thus the pre-capitalist Right. Then it represented the blood of the working class. Now it is about inheritance again, but implicitly about racial inheritance.

    • You're right that the empire will have to fall. But encouraging passivity in the face of genocidal, gun-worshiping racists is not going to work. The nukes will still exist after the government falls, and reactionaries can switch awful fast from isolationism to imperialism once they get their hands on big enough weapons. The Confederates dreamed of enslaving Latin America once they finished off Washington, you know.

    • The problem with what you are saying is that the political violence here is all coming from one side. This is a war by white reactionaries against everyone else, not by the groups most victimized by government misconduct. And the war has both armed and political wings, which are successfully mainstreaming an ideology in which government exists only to punish those who interfere with a restored white monopoly on power. How do you think those far right groups would act if private citizens on the left also started organizing militias? You'd see real fast how little this really has to do with the government, as opposed to the sharing of political power.

  • That time when White Terrorists Ambushed Nevada Police after Fox Supported Bundy Gunmen Threatening Law Enforcement
    • Okay, I wanted to check on this story to see if the shooters were actually right-wingers.

      Told people they wanted to overthrow Obama = check
      Passed around white-power literature = check
      Put Nazi and "Don't Tread on Me" flags over the corpses of their victims = double-check
      Claimed to have spent time at the Bundy ranch - Oh yeah, baby

      Man, how obvious does one of these shooters have to get to finally be acknowledged as a Tea Partier? Millions of them basically are standing in a long line, trying to provoke each other with internet myths and slogans to be the one who steps forward and becomes the martyr the rest of them need.

      A study I saw a few years ago says that people in a belief movement (religion, etc) are stuck in a collective goods dilemma - how can they make sacrifices for the movement if they can't tell if their fellow members are serious? No one wants to be the sucker. So the movement becomes a contest of hyping each other up and testing others' faith.

      Which I'm sure has helped get terrorist factions get started all over the world. Problem in this case is, this faith is the underlying civil faith of the United States - God, guns & greed, under a Patriarchy. Too stupid to be fact, too useful to abandon. So the followers are always kept unsatisfied, until they go Frankenstein on their beloved oligarchs. They are both the Monster, and the mob of villagers with torches.

      Just as millions of white Southerners carried out acts of resistance of every form imaginable until the North gave up on Reconstruction, their ideological heirs think they can wear out us weak liberals until we hand over the keys to the Constitution. Expect more, pace The Turner Diaries, until we are willing to fight them personally, government or no government, and expose them as merely one warrior tribe trying to enslave everyone else and then cynically flip the switch of law & order back on.

  • Student Debt: Blame Law-Makers, Tax-Shirking Rich, War on Drugs, not Universities
    • I think the larger game here is the extermination of education as anything but a way to (a) keep kids under control & (b) turn them into money-earning machines. The cultural Right excoriates public & liberal education for creating kids who have thoughts that stray beyond the Bible, the corporate Right campaigns to privatize everything and cut taxes, and the theocratic Right waits for their inevitable victory in any educational "marketplace" based on low costs due to their use of volunteer fanatic labor in their madrassas. See Louisiana.

      The idea that education is there for socialization, and that socialization is not just obedience training or job training but the creation of people who can break from the herd regardless of their born class and caste, seems to be pretty recent. And its premises were shallowly rooted, such that when in the '60s one generation actually took the idealistic mission of education at its word while another generation rebelled against their kids sharing education with blacks, the entire consensus supporting the edifice collapsed. Leaving only an "investment" in job programming as a motive for most parents & kids. The lag time between that collapse and now makes it impossible to save what's left of education as we know it. Only the bad guys have been at work on the replacement - sitting your kids in front of a website full of Christofascist content, including public domain textbooks and dime novels from the racist Edwardian era (seriously, it's happening)... and having the government hand over a huge check to the bad guys for the privilege. College is returning to its 18th century role of training two kinds of elites - rich heirs and clergymen.

      Probably the greatest blow against intellectual activity since the Christians took over the Roman Empire. And look how that turned out.

  • How Reagan subverted the meaning of D-Day & the New Deal of the Greatest Generation
    • Conservatives use "history" to tyrannize those who demand a more equitable society, but their history is put together at a cafeteria, where they pick and choose highlights to claim for themselves. Because they didn't get called on that by the media, they now feel entitled to claim Hitler was a leftist and Martin Luther King a Republican. Or that the Founding Fathers dictated that Christians have a monopoly on power. Their most impressive tricks involve America's two biggest wars, the Civil War and WW2, where the US was obviously on the left-wing, pro-egalitarian side. Northern conservatives simply take it as a given that all conservatives hate slavery and that it was all a "misunderstanding" or fluke, and Lincoln was just a conservative protecting law 'n' order - yet at the SAME TIME southern conservatives hate Lincoln, denounce every position he actually took, and still claim the right to the same principles Jeff Davis claimed. Yet the northern & southern conservatives never seem to have a disagreement over their utterly incompatible views on Lincoln.

      And then we have the matter in this article about FDR - who by some Heisenbergian slight of hand both IS and IS NOT the main driver of the US during its biggest victory. Somehow he's become two people, the devil of the New Deal and the smiling patriot of the War, but only one can exist in the mind of a conservative at the same time, switching back & forth depending on what argument he needs to win. The Four Freedoms prove there was only one FDR, just as there was only one Lincoln. They were both radical egalitarians who refused to accept the Founding Fathers as Moses setting commandments in immutable stone.

  • Georgia Courthouse is shot up by Sovereign Citizen after GOP backs Bundy, Open Carry
    • The entire point of the American far right has been to create a state of chaos in which the evil government would reveal its true nature. Decentralized violence is indeed the method, because modern warfare and public relations makes that the most logical way. They don't have to organize the way you seem to require because their ideological agenda is already so well established - now even in the GOP's dominant faction. I believe that was covered in the racist manifesto "The Turner Diaries", which inspired McVeigh.

      So why would stoking untraceable crazy people into hate crimes not be a part of this terrorist strategy?

    • The gun nuts worship the Swiss militia, because Switzerland is white, conservative and capitalist (at least before it adopted universal health care, I guess). But the difference between Switzerland and the US is that very, very few Swissmen train with a gun secretly entertaining hopes that they will get to use them against their own "criminal" or "traitor" or "infidel" fellow citizens. They think they are doing this to deter an actual invading foreign military force.

      I'd hate to find out how many Americans get guns because there's someone in the neighborhood - or the ethnically different neighborhood nearby - that they nurse a grudge against, either consciously or unconsciously. Besides the many more Americans who get guns out of fear who end up losing their tempers and using them on a friend or relative.

      I think, though I can't elaborate on it here, that hiding under the American notion of individual freedom is a widespread belief that one deserves the power of life and death over inferior Others. It would be an interesting though experiment if we had an infallible, affordable non-lethal weapon that could perform all legitimate self-defense functions instead of a gun, and see which Americans would switch over.

    • And Teddy Roosevelt, as police chief of NYC, had handguns banned so he specifically could target the leaders of the enormous street gangs that terrorized the city in the 1890s. The law was meant to be selectively enforced to get rid of an undesirable group.

      I can't even imagine how convoluted gun laws in the Jim Crow South must have been to ensure that whites would have blacks hopelessly outgunned forever.

      But how dare one say that white Christian patriots are undesirable when we have let them impose their self-definition as the only good Americans on our own consciousness? So it's different when it's them.

  • Facial Hair, Patriotism and the Enemy in American History
    • Well, maybe he was writing about the infantry. Or the way that black infantrymen were having a disproportionately high # of casualties early in the war, so many of them were shifted to jobs like graves registration to avoid stoking racial tensions at home. Or the hushed-up racial confrontation that happened in Okinawa when I was a little boy there, centering on black Marines holed up in a red-light district off-base, leading to military policemen assaulting the neighborhood. That was a typical experience for a lot more GIs than being a fighter ace, and it had real effects on military policy after Vietnam.

  • Is the Prisoner Swap Hysteria a sign of GOP War withdrawal Symptoms?
    • In 1968, candidate Nixon, with the collaboration of South Vietnam's president, sabotaged LBJ's peace negotiations with Hanoi. He should have been arrested for that, but LBJ lacked the guts to go after him. That's been how it is between the GOP and Democrats ever since. That was the turning point.

      Not coincidentally, that was when the GOP began massively stealing the Southern white vote from the Democrats. The white South has supported every war and imperial venture since the Mexican War, until it has moved far enough to the Right to oppose anything a Democratic president chose to do, war or peace.

      So if you want a politically viable peace movement, then reverse the schemes of the Right to create Jim Crow 2, in which gerrymandering, prison and twisted polling rules allow fewer and fewer whites to control more and more Congressional seats.

    • And it's been working ever since "Who Lost China?" in 1949. And we still can't come up with a cure for the hysteria of ordinary citizens that their lives will be worse without the hegemony. It bothers me that the peace movement never seemed to come to grips with this issue, or even desired the support of the herd that they held in such contempt.

    • In a few years, you will be able to buy useful drones in Toys R Us. There's nothing in there the Chinese can't mass-produce. We've already outsourced the manufacturing of powerful chips and memory to the 3rd world. And then it just becomes a legal fight between our citizens over how far personal drones can be weaponized. At which point, I hope the libertarians and neo-Confederates are rewarded with having their own cranks and malcontents start assassinating every local boss and politician they have a grudge against, until no one in his right mind will want to be rich in America. "Liberty" will produce an oppression of the rich far worse than socialism ever would.

    • You're describing what "peace" has actually looked like between major wars for the last half-millenium. Try 1815-1914.

  • Dear GOP: The US has negotiated with Terrorists and Amnestied Them all through History
    • No, they love the POW/MIA flag because it could only occur in a war where the United States did not obtain Total Victory, like in the old wars, and thus did not have all the enemy's territory under its control. This lack of Total Victory was made into the meme that liberals "let" the Commies win because they secretly ARE Commies - the Hitler "stabbed in the back" myth updated. That meme of "Good" Americans betrayed by liberals, blacks, etc. is the cornerstone of the entire conservative movement.

      That's what the POW/MIA flag really means. Actual POWs have no value other than how they can be used by the right-wing movement. Just like actual Marines killed in Lebanon don't count because Reagan was never wrong.

  • Global Warming Threat: Florida could be overwhelmed by Sudden Sea Rise
    • As awful as it sounds, one overnight catastrophic rise in ocean levels that killed thousands of Americans might be the only thing that can save the human race. We simply don't react to mass death unless it's spectacular, it involves people we relate to, and especially if it's the result of malevolent intent. The sudden and permanent inundation of Miami would fulfill two of those conditions, but not the third.

      Everything short of that will just be covered up with band-aids and bailouts. What we can never prove is that the oligarchy actually knows global warming is happening and has already planned out all the ways it will exploit it to crush human resistance forever - like the Katrina-style demolition of liberal cities that resist their ideology.

  • S. Carolina Bible College head Slaveholder Arrested. Yes, You Read That Correctly
    • We would be fools to think that slavery can't be made to pay again. Or that it's okay to dismantle civil rights laws or the Federal government because the racism of the old South was a fluke or misunderstanding instead of a rational business decision that could be made again.

      "Entrepreneurs" will always be scheming to find new ways to make money, and reviving atrocities from the past is always worth a look. Which is what happened when slavery was revived in British colonies after it had died out in Britain proper. Or when it was saved again when the invention of the cotton gin was used by greedy slaveowners to expand slavery instead of replacing it with wage labor. Or when Hitler introduced it on a vast scale in the 3rd Reich to replace the men at the front.

      Humans are tool users. There is not a damn thing in the bibles of capitalism that says the tool can't be another human.

    • Ah, but isn't that the problem with Biblical (and Koranic) inerrancy? The religion is nothing without the dead hand of its past. To adapt it to changing times is to throw everything open to question, including why we should even continue to worship a God who was wrong about something big.

  • Obama's Just Right Foreign Policy
    • There is no constituency for a barely-adequate empire. At least not in America, which has always rejected Balance of Power and Spheres of Influence as too cynical. This is why Kennan had such a low opinion of American democracy. We will either crusade for total disengagement from a world that "doesn't deserve us", or for total domination of the world for its own good. I think it just proves that Americans have always been too selfish to participate in any system where they have to share power.

      Our best chance would have been to wean Europe from NATO and force its nations to reassert their sovereignity, or come to the realization that they have to merge their sovereign rights in a genuine, Great Power state. Anything, whatever, as long as it's democratic and prevents America from using its duplicitous claim to be the only democracy that matters to impose its Wall Street-whored values on everyone.

      Now it's too late. The expansion of NATO went on too long, Russia is fighting back, Europe is scared, and demagogues have a new enemy to maintain the status quo. Either China ends up the new hegemon, or the world will be destroyed by military or environmental catastrophe.

    • I think the point of Bacevich's work is that the American people are now the problem. He pointed to Reagan's 1980 campaign speeches as the turning point in the American people showering gratitude on soldiers as though some sort of alien race, like Gurkhas or Kryptonians, who do our dirty work so we don't have to understand how our empire keeps the goodies flowing. Most alarmingly to me, this "alien" race in practice seems intended by the Neocons and GOP to be white rural Christian extremists, forming a sort of Praetorian guard that will threaten to overthrow any President who is too liberal, and then retiring to armed mercenary/contractor jobs to serve the corporate empire or to their own financially ruined hamlets to rule as "big men". Watch the movie "Winter's Bone" to get a sense of this nightmare.

  • Nat'l Gas actually worse than Coal for Climate Change because, Methane: Cornell Scientist
    • Jesus, we really are running out of places to run. I can't believe that the natural gas industry wastes so much product - but then I recall the nature of their game: drill, deplete, move on very rapidly, while pretending in the media that it's a steady, durable flow. Waste doesn't matter when the money is in appearing attractive to new investors.

      I saw an article in Scientific American about how brine, the liquid in gas wells, holds methane in solution, and researchers were trying to figure out how to remove the methane, burn it for electricity, and put the CO2 back into the brine solution all in one process. I wonder if all this could be done deep underground, connecting the electricity to the grids already being extended nearby for wind turbines in TX.

  • 30 Murders by Firearm in England 2012 (equiv. 164), vs. 8,855 in US
    • Conversely, one could argue that guns are deforming American behavior, that our ancestors actually shared their British forebears' preference for fists and brawls as a form of social expression, while guns act as a form of pushbutton death technology that contribute to the atomization of American society, along with cars, suburbs, TV, etc. A land of bunkers and keyboard commandoes, connected by Taxi Drivers and lone gunmen. Wait'll we all know how to operate drones and you'll see what we're really like inside.

  • Onshore Wind Power in Europe now Cheaper than Gas, Coal or Nuclear
    • 2 to 4 cents a kwh is fantastic, even wholesale. Now we can start talking about the benefits of having energy that is less capital-intensive and more labor-intensive - because turbines have no fuel cost but they do have maintenance costs. Logically, when fuel is imported or obtained from property owners, it is going to send money overseas or to property owners. Our economy is now all about replacing jobs with property, and it's not working.

      We know from other articles on this site that in Germany wind power has damaged the ability of power companies to play Enron-style games with peak demand prices. Thus even fossil-fuel power is forced to become cheaper. Since we still need baseload electricity, that's important. At 2 to 4 cents, maybe we can start making things in the US again instead of having China do our polluting for us.

  • Occupartheid is Isolating and Degrading Israel
    • Why should any Arab support any Western concepts at all when his only experience with the West is a past of Western imperialism, a present of Western collusion with Israeli colonialism & Saudi tyranny, and a future of Wall Street global enslavement in the name of American Freedom? Looks like human rights will have a hard sell as long as they are sold as a means to create more lackey sweatshop states that don't embarrass their Wall Street masters.

  • The Eurasian Pivot: Is it China's and Russia's Century?
    • My main reaction: why did it take so long? We were arguing 10 years ago about the inevitability of China's pipelines reaching Iran, and Russia's pipelines reaching China, leading to the terminal decline of the US. I think Putin's own caution about letting the Chinese economic octopus inside his borders slowed the process, as he desperately tried to get the West to give him a better deal. Now he's gone off the deep end, knowing China has the long-term leverage as the higher value-added labor force.

      One could even argue that the US should have bit the dust in '91 when Japan was propping it up by buying $, or in '71 when the Sauds bailed us out by imposing the petrodollar on OPEC, neatly replacing Bretton Woods as the foundation of the dollar's value. You could also argue that the whole era of Anglo-American domination was a bizarre fluke, peripheral states with lots of ships going from one quick kill to the next while Eurasia, where all the stuff is, suffered from every misfortune.

      But while plenty of folks at this site want to dance on America's grave for plenty of valid reasons, two caveats:

      1. what will become of the idea of democracy in a world dominated by blatantly undemocratic powers?

      2. what are the odds that people as arrogant, religious and ignorant as Americans will give up without one crack at the abovementioned Samson Option?

      We've wasted these last 10 years failing to communicate the inevitable to our fellow citizens. Now they will see the world get much darker, and then they will go insane looking for scapegoats.

    • Apparently our choices are to either let China burn Russian and Iranian gas, or destroy the planet quickly by burning its own cheap coal.

      Of course, they will say the same thing about our burning tar sands and fracking. So the next apocalyptic standoff will be of each side proclaiming its right to burn the most profitable fuel at hand to offset the cost of deterring the evil of the other side - but it's not a standoff, because the fuel-burning is the slow apocalypse.

  • Second Libyan Upheaval, this Time Against Political Islam, Extremist Militias
    • Well, it was worth destroying Germany and Japan to topple dictators - even for the vastly better-off Germans and Japanese in the long run. Your statement is too general because it doesn't take into account the different types, agendas, and resources of dictators. We could not live with Hitler, but we could live with Stalin. We shouldn't, in fact, have lived with Franco. That was a black mark on us.

      And I certainly will consider destroying my country to stop a dictator. I will not rule it out.

  • Anti-Muslim Gadfly to run DC Bus ads linking Hitler to Islam (+Russell Brand video against Islam Hatred)
  • Top 10 Reasons GOP Benghazi Witch Hunt is just a Campaign Fundraising Ploy
    • This isn't just the GOP flailing around without an issue. This is the GOP mobilizing an army of bigots by proving that non-white, non-conservatives are all traitors colluding with the giant Communist-Moslem conspiracy that is the Outside World. In other words, as some shrewd observers noted back around 2010, it's the "stabbed in the back" myth that the Nazis used to discredit not just the Left, but Weimar democracy itself. The "issue" is not any factual event besides the ongoing process of America becoming a country where white Christian "property owners" are no longer the majority. Since sharing power with the "other" is absolutely un-American, these are the alternatives:
      1. Discredit & dismantle the federal government entirely and try to revert to localized oligarchy, with the only unity being among the oligarchs helping each other crush uprisings of the poor and oppressed.
      2. Bluff a civil war. Create a big enough redneck lynch mob, as in 1876, to wear out liberal resolve and carve out a Solid Red zone where the Constitution only means what it meant in 1789, and minorities are pressured to flee to a Blue zone forbidden to fight back.

      All conservative "issues" are merely dogwhistles to keep these threats viable. Libertarian or Christian or patriot mean nothing more, which is why they will all stand together to bring down democratic government.

  • Rep. Louie Gohmert: Constitution only fit for Americans who ‘cling to God and guns’
    • I think that a lot of liberals have trouble taking the far right seriously because they can't imagine what those people really mean by "moral" or "religious". But it's very serious. The simplest explanation I have is the scene in Plato's Republic where Socrates debates a young oligarch, Polymachus, over the definition of "virtue". Polymachus says that it is "to do good unto friends and harm unto enemies."
      Liberals can't imagine that as a basis for law; conservatives today are willing to tell any lie to hide the fact that they demand that to be the only basis. Their enemy list is everyone different than themselves. So government only exists to reward their tribal/military hierarchy and punish everyone else, under various ruses.

    • No, he's laying out the agenda. All far-right factions have in their key manifestos statements to this effect: "America is a republic, not a democracy." That is coded in the mass media as a nostalgic desire to return law to its "original" state, but it really means only a few property-owning white Christians get to vote. If it's "patrician" for urban minorities to feel differently about God and guns, does that mean rednecks get to restore Jim Crow and the KKK and terrorize them in the name of a very patrician republic?

  • Boko Haram and the Lord's Resistance Army: Hunted Children & the Problem of Fundamentalism in Africa
    • The LRA has interested me for some years, because clearly it has aspects of renegade Pentecostalism reminiscent of the Palin-linked New Apostolic Reformation. Mainly, the obsession with demons, magic, curses, and child warriors. The NAR has this wacky comic-book based dogma that the End Times will be total victory for them and only them, led by superpowered kids born after Roe vs Wade (don't even ask). Now consider the Karen insurgency in Burma, famously led by boy twins Johnny and Luther Htoo, a product of long-ago Congregationalist (!) missionaries from the US. They also believed in voodoo magic making them bulletproof. Something is going on here, and the lines all lead back to our own Christian theocrats. America's capitalist power is seen by the ignorant as a sort of magic, and lacking any sort of egalitarian consciousness, they don't fight it, they want in on it in the worst cargo-cult way.

    • Difference is, if you believe that the LRA and Boko Haram are truly indigenous developments of poor countries, well, there's an infinite supply of poor countries with monotheist religions, and only one United States of Exceptionalist America. So if the US goes under, these religious guys will still keep popping up and making people miserable until some new global system of sovereignity takes hold. In fact, maybe our fate is to fall to such a movement ourselves, while still having enough residual power to do things even the Neocons would think crazy.

      Now if you think those two movements were NOT indigenous, but a product of outside missionaries from a very wealthy country, then your question must take on a new form.

  • US Supreme Court: First Amendment is Only For Christians, Upholds State-Sponsored Prayer
    • So you've got no problem when mobs from rival religions start fighting for control of our land - or do you secretly expect your favorite to come out on top?

  • Netanyahu's Blood and Soil: The Racist-Nationalism of his "Jewish State" Ideal
    • Tea Party legislators are taking notes very carefully for their next batch of initiatives.

    • Continuing that analogy with rjlynn's statement leaves white Americans with a stark question: can they ever truly find a way to express their nationalism that doesn't harm others? Can any "nation" that started as a colonial expropriation project (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) whose "nationalism" was concocted to justify it?

  • Taking Voting Rights from Felons preserves the Legacy of Slavery
    • How we will bring back slavery:

      1. privatize all the prisons
      2. fully legalize prison slave labor
      3. no white offender will ever be sent to prison again, leaving...
      4. prison corporations splurging on media blitzes to stampede voters into passing propositions to criminalize anything disproportionately associated with black people

      We're already most of the way there; what's holding the racists back is how far they can go before the blowback hits. So they also have to work on the other end, decriminalizing white violence against blacks to enforce a state of terror.

      Voter ID + Stand Your Ground = Jimmy Crow, Jr.

  • Alabama’s chief justice: Muhammad didn’t create us so 1st Amendment only protects Christians
    • Mental stability is not what some voters want. Recall Nixon's Madman Theory. Politicians have gotten lots of votes by promising to terrorize "threatening" countries with irrational acts. If you hate your fellow citizens as much as you hate other countries, you might want your leaders to be madmen at home as well. But always, you must believe that your enemy is an imminent threat who can no longer be stopped by civilized means.

    • That's next. The key is to expand racial profiling, and create legal exceptions to their beloved right to bear arms for probable "terrorists", meaning blacks, Moslems, environmentalists, etc. I heard Kansas is already talking about distinguishing between a "state citizen" and a "Federal citizen" to get out of equal enforcement of voting laws. Maybe once Alabama rules you're only a "Federal citizen", you suddenly find it much harder to get a gun.

      This game can be played many ways, as long as we cynically pretend that white supremacy is not the end game.

    • I hear it's getting hard for black people to vote there too. Again. In order to mitigate a Voter ID law that requires photo ID, the state had to issue free ID cards, but it won't begin to offset the number of people discouraged from voting. If you make it hard to vote, only fanatics vote - and which race in the South comprises all the fanatics we see?

    • And thus the playbook is revealed; they will keep screaming that they are oppressed and threatening violence until they are the only ones allowed to vote. Now what are we going to do about it?

  • In Deep South where GOP Rejected Obamacare, tens of 1000s die Unnecessarily every Year
    • But then what happens to tens of millions of blacks, Asians & Latinos in the South who would be living under instant Apartheid? They will become a cause for the North, a threat to the South, and we all will be headed to civil war again, with weapons of unimaginable power.

      Minorities cannot accept ethnic cleansing as a solution. If Southern right-wingers try secession, people of color like myself must go to war immediately. We will defend the idea of the Union whether the rest of you are with us or not. We will also do everything in our power to spread the war into your homes. And if we win, we will not recreate a bourgeoise capitalist America that allowed our freedom to be crushed THREE times (black indentured servants in the early colonies lost rights when they were converted to slaves; then 1876, and now). Three strikes, someone should be out for good. This atrocity is happening because of the greed of Wall Street and the connivance of the rich nationwide, and another civil war will not stop at the Mason-Dixon Line.

  • Fox censors ‘Scientific American’ editor on Climate Change because, Future
    • The police, the military and the secessionist militias recruit from the same culture of small-town patriarchy: guns, God & greed. Natural henchmen for the rich, no matter how much they decry the rich for not being reactionary enough. Right-wing seditionists everywhere have a head start subverting enemy regimes because they've already got the business class and the police/military.

  • The Sterling Racism Scandal: What about Associating with Muslim People?
    • To be consistent with his position on abortion, Ron Paul would leave it up to the states to build concentration camps. Then spend all his time fundraising with state politicians who happen to support building concentration camps.

  • Can America's descent into Plutocracy (Rule-by-the-Rich) be Reversed?
    • The convolutions of the growing resentment of the rich by the far right, despite their unshakable support for ever more extreme laws that make the rich richer, surely deserve more study.

      I think that since it is now difficult to openly proclaim white supremacy and win elections, "free enterprise" has become a surrogate for white supremacy, because "obviously" whites are more entrepreneurial. So, all power to the just-happen-to-be-white billionaires.

      But the scary part of that is, the Christian & racist Right expect "free markets" to thus reward the whitest of the white, since they must have the most merit. And it doesn't happen. So they start looking to government to subsidize "patriotism", via the military-industrial-imperial complex, the police-security-prison complex, and of course the subsidies of the disproportionately-white, mythically-more-virtuous elderly.
      Go further Right, to the truly wacky New Apostolic Reformation movement linked to Sarah Palin, and you see talk about taking over the "Seven Mountains" of secular power, including wealth and government, and a "great redistribution" carried out by to God to his favorites.

      Since we're not allowed to call all of this Fascism, we're denied the chance to study how Fascism in the past co-opted anger against the rich while maintaining its anti-Communist obsession. It was the same grievance: the bigots loved the intrinsic inequality of private property, but only if their own kind were the winners. Fascists often create a myth of "good" capitalists in manufacturing/defense who are of our religion/ ethnicity, vs unproductive bankers-lawyers-actors-etc. who are Jews and must have cheated. Thus it's okay to use Big Government to fight back and restore natural aristocracy.

  • Top 5 Signs Cliven Bundy is Wrong about African-Americans
    • They are opposed to drones - spying on white Christian reactionaries. Spying on subhumans? They'll let you know after they seize the levers of power.
      That was the whole point of that same Right-wing media machine freaking out over airport scanners 3 years ago. Their real message was: "We real Americans don't need to be run thru these dangerous machines, all we need to do is racially profile the races that produce all the terrorists/criminals." Once that was legally established, a caste system would inexorably develop around the inferior character of the Other.

    • You'd be surprised how many ordinary American believe these myths. Which is how the rich use them as a zombie army to destroy anything they don't understand. We need to talk about this.

  • GOP Divided on Whether to Support Cliven Bundy's "Negro" Remarks
    • States' Rights = White supremacy.

      I'm sure you can find isolated exceptions by a Google marathon, but the great thrust of American history is that the Southern oligarchy did not want democracy to get in their way. For 350 years it has assaulted any signs of unity between poor whites and blacks against the inherent injustice of their concentration of economic power, from Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 to the Grange movement under Reconstruction to the New Deal coalition. This in turn is part of a global history of the lower classes uniting to erect democratic central governments to battle the injustice of powerful landlords who dominate local government.

      That's just how it usually works with private property. Switzerland is the exception in that its ethnic communities accept power-sharing with each other, thus decentralized militias are not used by one language group to turn the others into sharecroppers. That's not us, that's never been us. That's not our "exceptionalism". The KKK is our exceptionalism and it fought for the level of government it could dominate.

      Which leaves us with a coherent ideology of caste enforced by a body of lower-income whites who prefer to identify with their oligarchic oppressors against the people of color beneath them. This in turn is disguised as "tradition" and "faith" to demand special rights to deny rights to others, putting them inherently at odds with actual democratic practice.

      Everything Bundy says is consistent with the far-right mantra "America is a republic, not a democracy," a slogan that was radically advanced towards the mainstream by Fox and the GOP. The phrase only makes practical sense if it means they intend to turn back the clock, take the right to vote away from those who lacked it under the "original", "perfect" Constitution. Government-haters of a supposedly left-wing bent don't want to see this, because they can't stomach having to fight all those scary rural types instead of their preferred villains. But really, they just want the government to collapse so they don't have to fight for anything at all, damn the consequences to minorities. No, you idiots can't get rid of the Empire that way.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem
    • Several? Russia kept several million German troops busy. All of Hitler's pro-fascist allies from Bulgaria to France sent troops to help him, the cream of their fascist movements, and few came home. In effect, Stalin not only destroyed Hitler, he wiped out the violent male constituency for any future Hitler. Stalin's army took a million casualties in the Berlin campaign alone. These were the biggest battles ever waged.

    • Joe McCarthy tried to assault Eisenhower, but he didn't have Fox News to help him.

    • This is the reality. And any politician who tries to honestly educate the public that it's all that $750,000,000,000 a year in military spending can ever get us will be crucified. Because we feel pleasure and a sense of false security at being able to order other societies around, across our political spectrum.

    • I wish this was true. However, when I attended Michigan I was exposed to the Correlates of War Project of anti-war academic J. David Singer, which tried to objectively create a database of armed disputes. One of their depressing conclusions: as long as the dispute didn't escalate past what we could call the 1st round, the odds favored the initiator of the violence winning what it claimed to have wanted.

      The game, therefore, is trying to get a quick win and declare peace before outsiders get involved. Leaders keep thinking they can beat the outsized consequences of those times when things drag out.

    • Yeah, because things were so just before Westphalia. Want to explain your practical alternative to nation-states whose governments' makeups somewhat reflect the culture and language of the citizens and don't bow down to foreign popes or wage holy wars?

      What part of "30 Year's War" do you not understand, or not mind?

  • The New 1% isn't just the Rich, it is the Spoiled Oligarch Heirs (Krugman)
    • There are now even stratifications within the 1%, with the top 0.01% doing much better than the 1% or 0.1%.

      Will this ever devolve into formal titles of nobility? The slave South was on its way there, with rich men bankrolling militia regiments and thus honored with the title "Colonel". Not too different than how aristocracies originally appeared, such as Rome's equestrian class. All the South needed was to make command of the regiments hereditary.

      In a privatized future, what hereditary title will be created to signify the ruling families?

  • Was John Lennon Right? Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights lament Paucity of Religious Jewish Allies
    • The part about "we would create new divisions the next day" sounds like capitalist-apologist derision for wealth redistribution, based on their faith that the poor are "naturally" lazy and useless. Of course, wherever wealth disparity corresponds with race or religion, those are substituted for "poor". It obscures the real origins of class and caste inequality in ancient conquest and land ownership. It assumes that if we were suddenly living in a different culture we would end up in the same income bracket, that culture plays no role in picking winners even in free markets. There are markets for superstition, prejudice, and sadism of many kinds.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists"
    • Another possible reform would be to restore the ratio of congressmen to citizens back to what it was in 1789, 1 to 30,000. Since there are now 300,000,000 of us, there should be 10,000 representatives. Boy, that would keep the rich and the lobbyists busy. But with such tiny districts, TV ads would look like a buyout by the rich and be mistrusted. Those 30,000 citizens would have to keep watch, of course. Maybe they'd require congressmen to live locally year-round and phone their votes in.

    • Firstly, the capitalists chose America to corrupt because it is powerful, and because it has a deep racial division that the rich created and have always exploited.

      But other democracies also have:
      a. a more positive attitude towards public vs private power
      b. much higher voter turnout rates
      c. much higher % of people who are members of a political party

      Low turnout rates have been a boon to US oligarchs and the extremists they have run for office. These bastards get plenty of ad money to lie about opponents and issues that have nothing to do with their own agendas, and lots of independent (or "low-information", if you prefer) voters get taken in by the ads. In Europe, voters are highly partisan, so they know who the extremist parties are and what they stand for. Whereas right at this very moment men from far-right movements are running as Democrats this fall in a naked attempt to mislead voters.

      link to

      Not only do liberals not do this, but it doesn't happen in other democracies. This movement has open contempt for democracy and the fitness of people different than themselves to govern, so it exploits our low-turnout culture shamelessly and denounces any talk of a more class-conscious, politicized working class as Communism.

    • Besides that being a joke, you ought to know that there really was a black counterpart to the Branch Davidian crisis. In 1985, a black separatist group named MOVE was violently burned out of their Philadelphia HQ because they were an annoyance to their neighbors and an embarrassment to the black mayor.

      link to

      Where were all the anti-big government militia patriots to worship MOVE the way they do Koresh, and attack the cops the way they do the BATF?

      Different when black? Or when opposing capitalism? Maybe these militiamen even dream of the day when they can burn down all the ghettoes and expel or kill all blacks, as occurs in their bible "The Turner Diaries". No one seems to have the guts to ask them.

    • But that wasn't the Federal government. State governments have been fine tools for oligarchs, racists, secessionists, and religious extremists since the Revolution. If a particular level of government is owned by oligarchs, we have to use other levels of government to oppose it. The point of States' Rights was to make such opposition impossible, for the benefit of white supremacists.

  • Allen West: ‘Radical’ Muslims waging ‘jihad’ in U.S. — by voting and obeying election laws
    • That's actually a cogent observation. All our country's brands of right-wing bigotry are based on a narrative of a superior past when "our kind" had a monopoly on power. The ones who are honest about demanding a restored monopoly work in dark places where corporate media can be excused for ignoring them, but they lay the groundwork for extremist networks, which then create more mainstream covers that can be safely courted by the GOP, until it makes their currently-stated views socially acceptable and moved the country to the right. Then the cycle starts again.

      But really, what libertarians, neo-Confederates, theocrats and imperialists share is a love for ONLY that part of the past that was shockingly unequal. No nostalgia for the Amish, who undeniably were conservative. It's all about the values of those ancestors who just happened to be genociders and slavers and exploiters, yet they deny that those crimes were intrinsic to their success. It was all just a misunderstanding, see, we won't bring back slavery once the federal government is destroyed, sure.

  • 9 Maps that Show How The GOP is Destroying Southern States
    • Texas was once a progressive state. Before Big Oil allied with racists and theocrats, it had a history of populists and big-government liberals. When the Democrats were the all-white party, the TX Dems were divided between the pro-KKK faction and the anti-KKK faction. The South's first woman governor (twice!), Ma Ferguson, belonged to the anti-Klan faction. The villain wasn't Big Oil yet, but big landowners who used the Klan as their death squads.

  • 5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan's Taliban
    • There is only one way to confront the extremist movement that now encompasses the entire GOP and political Christianity, the militias, the neo-Confederates, the Kochs, and the ALEC shadow-parliament-in-waiting.

      History. Make them talk about the details of the past they want to restore, and then refute their lies around the clock.

      If they lie about how "free" the early US was, make them explain why less than 1% of Americans participated in the first presidential election. If they lie that the Civil War was about states' rights, hit them with the Fugitive Slave Act. If they claim they can bring back 18th century government without bringing back white supremacy, then make them explain Jefferson's remarks in "Notes on the Commonwealth of Virginia", that emancipated blacks would have to be ethnically cleansed from the state for his system to work.

      And all you so-called progressives who are willing to sacrifice minorities and the poor so you can help these monsters destroy the federal government, you will share their inevitable fate at the hands of their rebellious victims. Remember what JFK said about peaceful revolution. I would rather wipe out this country rather than have any of us go back to being ni**ers on Cliven Bundy's future plantation, because a better future is the only excuse it has ever had for its crimes, and this is no future at all.

    • The rancher and the corporation are ultimately both capitalist entities. And it was the capitalist property owners of America, including this rancher's ancestors, who drove the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans by the government. The solution is not to let property owners replace the government as our rulers. That is called feudalism, and it's a hundred times worse that anything you've experienced.

    • The point is, the Republican Party and Fox News are throwing their mantle of respectability over people who call for the overthrow of the elected Federal and even state government in favor of a patriarchal oligarchy which I guarantee you does not accept the right of non-whites or non-Christians to vote. The GOP is mainstreaming those politics, just as it has mainstreamed shooting black males in the street because they looked "threatening", or starving the poor because they're "takers", or eliminating all pollution and financial regulation because only the rich make anything of value. These were NOT positions of conservatives 40 years ago. This is all being done on purpose, step by step, so that there will be mass, armed support for the "restoration" of the undemocratic, elitist republic of the Founding Fathers. Just as the Taliban carry out the geostrategic aims of the Pakistani Army and its Saudi bankrollers.

  • Colbert's Send-up of O'Reilly on "Inequality" makes Bill Squawk
    • Which inequalities has O'Reilly fought against? "Reverse racism", the "War on Christmas (Christians)", "Femi-Nazis", probably, meaning whenever the victim fights back, he's there to call them the oppressor. But if it just so happens that business proprietors are overwhelmingly white men, will he count it as institutional bias if they "independently" choose to not promote or serve other kinds of human?

  • Poof! John Kerry Blames Israeli Squatting in E. Jerusalem for breakdown in Peace Talks; Bennett: It's Just Zionism
    • If American patriots claim that Christians have a special right to discriminate against anyone who offends their faith, they've already opened the door for theocracy. What makes it religious nationalism is which factions in which faiths they choose to fight for. Because there is now a far-right faction in every American denomination, and they coordinate between themselves and the GOP and the Koch/Scaife/ALEC infrastructure to overwhelm our disorganized opposition.

  • Is Rand Paul right that Cheney invaded Iraq for Halliburton Profits?
    • At least Rand is making it interesting.

      My contempt for libertarians here in Texas is beyond words. If Rand shares his father's opposition to a woman's right to an abortion, that tells me all I need to know about whose "freedom" they care about. But let's stick to the military thing. It's fair to expect ANY anti-war candidate to explain exactly how we will shut down our empire and how we will deal with the fallout, instead of pretending that it will be all roses and champagne. It's also fair to expect them to explain how the budget savings will be routed to tax cuts vs social programs, or even how the resulting layoffs will affect communities - many in Paul's "home" state. If he's willing to just walk out of NATO, I'm all for it. But maybe many on his side view NATO as exactly what it has become, a way to keep "socialistic" western Europe from becoming a full-fledged rival to America and its militarized capitalism, and they feel this is all to the good. Now at least we get a chance to find out how these folks really feel.

      His acknowledgment of war as an economic tool is important. I think he's living in a fantasy land if he really thinks that a weak government will be better able to resist corporate entreaties for profitable invasions - the US rolled over Latin America while it was at the height of its Gilded Age capitalism, with a very small govt and army, and everywhere did some corporation a favor according to Gen. Smedley Butler. It was big-govt Satan FDR who brought the troops home from that crusade. Setting the clock back to 1898, Rand, does not stop it from ticking when you've left it plugged into Big Money. What we should now hope for is a very ugly intra-Right debate over the role of the Empire in helping American capitalism. Can the Paulites get away with arguing that having bases in 130 countries has never given US companies leverage in dealing with their governments? That American corporations stripped of that leverage would have thrived overseas these last 60 years? That without our Cold War commitments, the oppressed workers of the world would not have chased Paul's ilk, the Jeffrey Sachs and Milton Friedmans who have used laissez-faire austerity to crush them, back to a severely shrunken Wall Street?

      Since all this is going to happen anyway, we might as well have the debate now.

    • As a followup to my previous post, note that my definition does not require a big bureaucratic govt in principle. That's a part of the usual definition of fascism that I think was planted by the US Right to shield themselves. Under Hitler, corporate execs had vast power within their factory gates, but were regulated in their actions in the market. This is not inconsistent with feudalism. "Corporatism" was actually a Catholic-right concept of dividing worker society between its different economic functions, smashing class unity, while of course these "vertical syndicates" were united at the top by marriage and inter-investment. Franco's Spain sought to carry this out. Also consider Himmler's fantasy to divide France into feudal fiefdoms ruled by SS nobles.

      If we view fascism as an attempt to revive feudalism, we can explain the "fascist" aspects of many 3rd World societies. They're not fascist, they're still feudalist. But the act of reviving feudalism requires violating much of the context of the original. Japan's fascists were definitely nostalgic populists, but the society they created in the '30s in no way resembles pre-Tokugawa Japan. The samurai myth they popularized did not reflect the values of actual medieval Japanese peasants. Karen Armstrong argued that religious fundamentalist movements are essentially "modern" in the way they try to bring back the past via calculation, mobilization, etc. Same thing here. It ends up as fake as Colonial Williamsburg.

    • A lot of folks have trouble defining fascism, due to it being an easy way to win name-calling contests. Too many look at the result, which in a country rent by anti-Communist hysteria indeed came to resemble what Mr. Stewart described. But that's pretending that no one was sincere, that the fascist founders and early supporters had no genuine beliefs. Besides, most non-Communist countries have had pervasive control of government by rich families, yet we can't say fascism existed before 1918.

      What makes fascism distinct is its origins in anti-Communist populism, starting with the Catholic falangist movements after WW1. What Catholic and German fascism had in common was nostalgia for feudalism, maybe some belief that the alienation of Anglo-style industrial capitalism could be moderated by having the capitalists behave like the noble families of old, and that they in turn should stand with the "patriots", usually poor war veterans, in eliminating alien influences. So cities, bankers, Jews, Reds, gays, and class identity are targeted. Google the "Dupont plot" to see a very contrived attempt by rich men to carry out this process in the USA.

    • I kind of disagree. Conservatives in our nation had no problem with wars to steal Indian land, or wars to punish Latin American debtors. The South is the stronghold of American conservatism and yet has supported all our wars since the war on Mexico.

      What conservatives used to have a problem about was wars so big that they would require expansion of central government power, mobilization of the working class, high inflation via labor shortages, etc. They want to whip countries that can't fight back, have some parades, and then go back to the oligarchic small-town repression they're comfortable with. The big wars where the US was on the "left" side, the Civil War and WW2, caused broad and radical changes in society, generally towards an expectation of more equality. This problem was solved by making war permanent, and then enlisting business as weapons suppliers and poor rural whites as a sort of Praetorian class that dominates the military. Now war has become welfare for white folks, and pointing that out is very risky in GOP primaries.

    • There are other kinds of resources. Thatcher didn't need the Falklands for oil, her own North Sea fields were coming on line (and unfairly making her look good). But she had to unite the country using a war so she could get away with her rape of the working class at home. That rape created billions for British capitalists. That's a resource. Even a few points of approval rating is a resource. If nothing else elected politicians do can garner approval of both the rich and the poor, then they would be crazy not to use wars to stay in office.

    • But Mr. Shank, Cheney was one of the founders of PNAC, so of course it supported his interests as an oil exec. PNAC was practically a marriage of Cheney's oligarch class with AIPAC Zionist demagogues, and the invasion was always the intended offspring. This is important because before 2001, oil execs wanted to keep the Arabs happy, not oil-less Israel. Cheney and his henchmen created a new paradigm to protect both oil and Israel so that the GOP elites could unite.

  • Can We Safeguard Our Democracy After Supreme Court Decision?
    • We're up against the most terrifying question underlying capitalist democracy: does rational free will really exist, or are we just meat machines that can always be manipulated by the best experts that money can buy? If the latter, then do we simply surrender democracy, or do we have to radically change our society to stave off those brainwashing minions?

      I'm beginning to think that representative democracy was always doomed by the unrepresentativeness of money. There are other paradigms of democracy, like community consensus, juries, and even mass civil disobedience. And God knows there are other paradigms of property rights.

  • Dear America: Climate Change is threatening Water, Plants, Animals & doesn't care what Party you belong To
    • I think the answer to this, and Cole's figures showing concern growing over certain environmental issues, is that people only care about the issues they conceive as affecting them, personally, soon. It means they think they can reap the benefits of crimes against others, while evading any costs. If that's not possible, they don't want to believe it exists.

Showing comments 1541 - 1501