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Total number of comments: 1591 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)

super390

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  • ISIS: How to Defeat a Phony "Caliphate"
    • The immediate problem is the de-escalation of a Saudi/GCC vs Iran cold war that the US did much to create. Since most commenters on this site assume any US action at all is evil, it's hardly worth the effort to suggest that the US will have to be involved in that de-escalation. However, someone will have to use some kind of power to establish a boundary between the two sides and then punish anyone who sends their proxies on the warpath like ISIS. Now, this may mean drawing a line that will trap many people on the wrong side. But we did that in Europe in 1945 and it kept the Cold War stable for 40 years.

      Russia and China understand this; they will take Iran's side and demand protected enclaves in Syria and Iraq for their own naval and investment ambitions. Once those big boys enter the scene, the Sunni autocrats will be shaking in their Guccis and looking to the US. I'm afraid what will happen then because the GOP, the corporate Democrats and the Israel Lobby will want blood. In fact that is the perfect time for the US, Russia and China to exploit this situation to force the Sunni monarchs to stop using terrorist recruitment as a pressure valve for their own screwed-up societies. Which is in the interests of all countries victimized by terror groups.

      It's what Bismarck would have done in the old days of Great Power deals.

    • The oil sheikhs could have guaranteed that protection from their proxies at any moment. They didn't feel like it. Either they accept ethnic cleansing as part of their plan to roll back the Shia, or worse, the right to commit atrocities as a recruitment tool is part of the well-known use of such movements by those sheikhs to make their own disaffected young men go someplace else and die. The US lacks the guts to confront those autocrats, which blew the deal on Syria.

  • US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge
    • The survey choices above show how depressingly shallow Americans are about the outside world. It's like looking at Nielsen ratings, with a constant turnover of new shows that are really copies of old shows. I'd like to say the decline in the fantasy of an Iranian threat is good news, but I can see it's only getting crowded out by sexier threats. Note that Shia extremism always is traced right back to the Iranian state by our indoctrinators, but Sunni extremism is only traced back to a black box of "those crazy Moslems"; thus protecting the oil-rich Gulf elites who fund both extremism/terrorism and much of America's financial sector. We can't face that contradiction, or the economic sacrifices we'd have to make if we treated the Sauds as an enemy.

    • The pain receptor analogy is a good description of our elites' conversion of global exploitation into the citizenry's global paranoia.

      However, paranoia seems to be most virulent when the enemy has a face we can hate. Even epidemics have a face; the disease-carrying foreigners we must stop before they contaminate our land. This is the problem with global warming, because our own country is the most responsible for the economic model driving the process. We met the enemy, he is us, so we make up other enemies instead.

      And that leads to the other problem; all our fantasy enemies in the above survey allow us to imagine solutions without sacrifice by anyone we likely know... since we never estimate the cost of future wars accurately. The jobs and land rights created by fossil fuels have come to be an island of stability in late capitalism, viewed as sacred entitlements, so the fact that alternative energy will create new jobs to replace those hardly matters; the ones who scream loudest and with the best connections to hold onto what they have count more.

    • The smart guys decided it would be more profitable to have a country in which there is no real concept of public good. So they destroyed it, and now reap truly vast financial rewards. They figure to have private islands to flee to before the consequences overwhelm their fellow citizens.

      Now as to how usefully smart they are, imagine if this bunch had been the ones running things in the '30s and '40s. Pretty scary.

  • Mitch McConnell caught Promising Billionaires he'll Enrich them at our Expense
    • In addition to dean's comment, consider the effects of such a deflationary economy: if you own actual dollars (or bonds), they increase in value. William Greider, in books like "Secrets of the Temple", argued that the brutal deflations that wracked and radicalized America after the Civil War were forced by Eastern bankers who cared only about the value of their cash holdings, while Western elites wanted an inflationary economy that would drive up the value of their more speculative holdings. The question is, why do today's oligarchs follow the Eastern doctrine rather than the Western when so much of their holdings seems to be speculative in value?

    • In order to live with themselves, the rich have to believe that they are the sole source of value in America - all the rest of us are worthless peons without their Galtian genius. But that leads inexorably to the conclusion that they should be getting all the money. If the rest of us AREN'T getting poorer, then they left money on the table. And a good businessman never leaves money on the table.

      The objective question we should ask is, why was it that in the past it was believed that the economy could not function like this, while now it's being put into practice: an economy in which the rich only need to trade with each other, and the rest of us are interchangeable temps one step ahead of bankruptcy?

  • Why Would They Stay? Making Sense of ISIS and Iraqi Sunnis
    • Let's assume that someone is behind ISIS with money and access to expertise. He needs the extremist angle to recruit shock troops to do the dirty work of quickly advancing across the desert. But he knows the extremists will wear out their welcome among their tribal and Baathist allies.

      Machiavelli, whom someone in the Middle East has probably read, said that when a prince conquers a city, he must commit his crimes quickly, then pass the blame to his governor, fire him and then benefit from the seeming improvement in conditions. I would suggest that ISIS is the evil governor, and the prince is already rigging together the new regime that will "liberate" the tribesmen from ISIS. Baathists will end up running everything, unfortunately, but the locals and the international community will heave a sigh of relief.

  • The new Jewish exodus: Emigrating Israelis replaced by European Jewry
    • It might be helpful if Europe still genuinely had a Left. The parties of the Left are always where competing minorities find themselves having to work together. That's why Israel's Left had to be destroyed - too many Jews fraternizing with Arabs. If immigrant Arabs were to recognize themselves as Europe's new proletariat, instead of refugees clinging to religious identity, they would only have one choice. If immigrant Jewish leftists were to recognize the hand of class warfare in their fate, they would only have one choice. Good luck on finding the kind of leadership on the Left to bridge that gap.

  • 5 Ironies of US Reaction to Egypt/UAE Bombing of Libya
    • The problem is, Libya's government may have asked for the intervention, as is its right to do, but it can't admit it, fearing loss of face at home. Which leaves us all in the dark opining on what the right thing is to do.

  • Why Militarized Policing is the worst Response to Ferguson's Problems
    • Actually, there is a split among whites. If all whites were on the same side, logically Obama would have gotten no white votes at all. But there are now two Americas, one mostly urban and somewhat integrated and multicultural, and the other one like what you describe.

      This is partly why the Tea Party whites are so freaked out. They see their own children betraying them by hanging out with blacks, Latinos, gays, non-Christians, etc. Now blacks are actually moving into old inner-ring suburbs, while white bigot flight surges further into the exurbs, bleeding into the ugliness of rural tribalism.

      So those whites are very, very organized and political, while the laid-back whites are politically ignorant, unaware of the alarming historical parallels of this proto-secessionist wave, inclined to be libertarian and maybe not that sympathetic to their minority neighbor's incompatibility with white patriarchal capitalism. A weak opposition, at best, which is exposed in midterm elections like 1994 and 2010. When will that white America take a stand on fascist cops when it wouldn't do so after Occupy?

  • What do Iraq's Sunni Arabs have in common with Ferguson, Mo. African-Americans?
    • As a Marine, you are expecting professionalism. Which may be the thing that is becoming obsolete. Consider the cycle of warfare in the last half-millenium. The monarchs of Europe created small professional armies to wage small, endless feuds with each other over tiny pieces of land. But when an important cause arose that forced all-out war between great alliances, the rules and limitations got thrown out, and the civilian population got involved. Sometimes vast armies of fanatics or conscripts overwhelmed the professionals and then wreaked havoc on the land. Then after the cataclysm, the surviving kings got together to negotiate a new set of rules to put the genie back in the bottle for a century or so:

      Wars of the Reformation > Treaty of Westphalia 1648
      Wars of the French Revolution > Congress of Vienna 1815
      World Wars > Treaty of Versailles (whoops - that one didn't take) Formation of the United Nations 1945

      Really, nuclear weapons were what forced the cycle back to small wars this time. And ever since movements and peoples have struggled against the Great Powers and their professional power projection capabilities - just as they did after the previous arrangements. Eventually, there will be mass movements in some form of battlefield again, and then people's wars. The thing is, all that uncoordinated running around you observed is what drives professional armies crazy. Conventional armies want to fight conventional foes - not have to play traffic cop between umpteen nutty armed guerrilla factions as the US has had to do recently.

  • Iran Hard Liners denounce US Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson, Mo.
    • The followers of the American Right are under the delusion that it can storm into power with overwhelming turnout, change all the laws to prevent its enemies from voting it out, and then hold on to its "restored" America - all without the rest of the world mattering. They think everyone else is just jealous of the Good Old Master Race and will return to business as usual once we've rattled a few nuclear sabers.

      I think they do not understand the changes that have happened. Even foreign conservatives find America increasingly barbaric and irrational. The abandonment of the GOP by every US minority in recent decades was based on observations that non-white people overseas can also make, and some of their countries are much more prominent than in Reagan's time. Non-white societies; Saudi Arabia, Japan, and China, have taken turns bailing out the US by buying and propping up the US $ for decades. Is there a point where a US divestment movement arises?

  • The New Jim Crow: Has the Right finally Repealed the Civil Rights Act?
    • Those "voter ID" laws have just gotten started.

      But more ominously, whenever "sacred" right-wing crap like voter ID and defense of marriage laws get overturned, right-wingers simply double down on the crazy. At some point, they can bully us as a minority by threatening to shut down the country when they don't get their way - their Congressmen have already made a ritual out of this. But the next step is threatening secession. I hope the Ferguson incident makes people understand that if the Red States secede, life will be hell for the non-whites trapped there. Jim Crow could not have been created if the rest of the US wasn't sick with fighting racism by 1876. They're trying to wear us out again with endless threats of national disruption.

    • The great mystery of whether we would be richer or poorer without the empire is why it's impossible to engage citizens about our options without their eyes glazing over. We just don't know how much the corporations have benefited from the leverage they obtain from the omnipresent Pentagon. If we tried to pull the plug on it, it would be interesting to see which corporations would go full-kamikaze to stop it.

      But indeed, the distribution of wealth would have been very different, and making America as unequal as possible seems to be the unifying principle of the rich and the factions of the Right. Just as being able to abuse blacks made white Americans amenable to rule by plantation owners and robber barons, perhaps the plan the last 40-50 years has been to make Americans accept the slashing of their wages and benefits by addicting them to the idea that they are a master race over the rest of the world. Weapons they can see, subtle comparisons about standards of living and social welfare are over their heads.

    • (cont)

      Cities force different kinds of people to have to deal with each other. As turbulent as the process is, they will make far faster progress towards respect & solidarity than those in the sticks. We've seen that divide grow in our lifetimes, such that the new Confederacy is now a ring of hostile suburbs, whose children now move back into cities out of disgust. If this reurbanization didn't cause real estate bubbles that drive out blacks, we could trigger a real chain-reaction of genuine integrated economic growth. But that's why the GOP is increasingly a party openly at war with the very idea of cities (see Ted Cruz smear Agenda 21).

      What we need is the combination of new technologies & organizations that would sustain meaningful wages, workers' rights, & high voter turnout in cities. Then the ordinary people in the Red states, especially women, would have to choose between supporting their crazy gun-toting patriarchs, or feeding their children. Once they abandon the crazies, the racist culture of "real" Americans will be hollow.

      But we don't know how hard the capitalists would fight this. After all, they bankrolled the rise of the Right for the last 60 years. They are still the plantation owners of 1676, and the bigots are still their suckers. Personally, I think they will all have to be taken down to save the world.

    • To understand the problem, you have to understand the origins, and for me that has been a source of despair. "The Creation of the White Race", by Theodore Allen, argues that rebellion-prone Southern white indentured servants were given their freedom en masse in exchange for their tacit cooperation in controlling their replacements, black captives mostly brought in from the West Indies. But then the entire legal system and society of the South were rebuilt around this brutal tribal casteism. I.e., the poor whites embraced this historic crime as their holy tradition and culture. This in turn saved the investors in the Southern colonies and served as the foundation of American capitalism. "Free enterprise" literally was founded on the freedom of whites requiring the bondage of blacks.

      If it's that hard-wired in our culture, I fear you would need done to us what the Allies did to Germany in WW2 - blow it up, but then rebuild and oversee a real democracy in its place. Not likely in the nuclear age.

      The slim alternative to that is restore the economic advantage that cities once had over suburban/rural regions. See next post.

  • 6 Things To Know If Police Stop You In The US
    • I had hoped in the past that measures like these would change things, but we seem to have gone over the abyss. I see a shared evil: the American people, their police, and their soldiers, have become so spoiled that they believe they have an infinite privilege to endanger others without endangering themselves. Because the Other is always a terrorist, and I am told I am a hero. The forms this self-love take depend on your position in society, but we are all becoming more sociopathic as the inherent short-term bias of free-market logic dictates; screw someone else, make a pile of money, and run before the consequences catch you.

      With cops, robbers, and bystanders all in fear of each others' volatility, they all get bigger and bigger guns in the myopic belief that they alone are the "good" Americans, that they can defeat the "bad" Others in single combat. But there is no Other who will submit to our righteous power. We all are self-righteous cowards who shoot first just to be safe.

      Maybe the institutions of a democratic republic literally can't handle this many giant a**holes in a society.

  • Can al-Abadi win over Iraq's Moderate Sunnis?
    • The problem is, why would said Sunnis necessarily want to rejoin Iraq after getting rid of ISIS? Consider the very cynical alliances between Baathists, ISIS, and far-right oil sheikhs bankrolling this horde all the way across the Middle East. Maybe when ISIS wears out its welcome, a "moderate" Arab nationalist force suddenly appears, controlled by Saudi money, and establishes something more sustainable?

      It looks like Iraq is becoming like Germany in 1945, dismembered to serve as the Oder-Neisse line in a new Cold War; Iran and Saudi will each pour money and arms into their occupation zone, and create their NATO and Warsaw Pact to endlessly patrol the barbed wire across the desert. Problem is, they're both as bad as the Warsaw Pact, but the US is economically chained to Saudi Arabia.

    • By saying Maliki is the good guy when he so utterly failed to stop ISIS, you don't seem to be advocating that anybody stop ISIS at all, because you judge the quality of a regime by how opposed it is to America. Like, I'm glad that the Communists of Vietnam invaded Cambodia and overthrew Pol Pot, instead of the US intervening again. It was worth Vietnam ruling Cambodia. Similarly, as brutal as the Iranian regime is, I would be glad if it saved the targets of ISIS' madness and became the dominant power in the region. But that does require sacrificing many innocent lives to the vengeance of Iran's proxies, and it means at best a long Cold War between Iran and Saudi Arabia. If we stay out and that happens, that's on us too. I just think it's the least bad solution right now.

    • What good would this independence have done Maliki once ISIS entered Baghad and beheaded him? I mean, you can call the US the source of all evil, but what is your actual position on who stops ISIS, which captured many weapons from Iraqi troops who WOULDN'T fight for Maliki? At least I am willing to say the US should kiss Iranian ass and admit that Iraq is permanently part of Iran's sphere of influence, so please send your legions and airstrikes to stop ISIS' reign of terror. So you can't say I'm an American imperialist, Bill. Which of those do you prefer getting its hands on millions of Shia, ISIS or Iran? It seems you are basing that decision on what will punish America or Barack Obama more.

  • Dutch Lawyer who saved Jewish Boy in WWII returns Medal to Israel over Bombing of his Family in Gaza
    • Explain to me what right the UN had to make the Palestinians give up any land at all from what Prof. Cole pointed out many times was a League of Nations mandate meant to become a single Palestinian state? Recall King Ibn Saud telling Franklin Roosevelt that it was wrong that Palestinians should be punished for the crimes of Germans - and extracting a promise from him that nothing would be done to them without consulting with Arab leaders. Just another broken US promise to the redskins, I guess.

    • So what makes one persecuted minority of more value to you than another, given that Israel's leadership has done everything in its power to burn all bridges so that its people would have no choice but to pursue an endless cycle of persecution, provocation and incremental ethnic cleansing, or face the option that you're presenting to shame us into silence?

      And don't be ridiculous; the light-skinned Israelis are useful to capitalism and will all be welcomed to America the way that all Soviet Jews were, thanks to their lobby controlling both our political parties. As for the swarthier ones, even Donald Sterling pointed out that Israel doesn't treat them well now.

  • One Nation, under SWAT: The undemocratic Militarization of the Police
    • I wish we could come up with a real alternative to police forces as we know them, but all are scary. We've had lynch mob law, KKK law, posse law, Pinkerton law, bought-by-tycoons National Guard law, and simple lawlessness.

      I could dog-whistle about the virtues of right-wing small towns where everyone knows each other, but we know about the meth labs in rural America, and we know about gay kids beaten to death and left on a barbed wire fence.

      The police culture across the US seems to be unfixable. We can't use the existing cops to start new forces for that reason, even if we fix the drug laws. Where are we supposed to go to find people who can be trusted with the power to maintain order when we're all angry, paranoid, self-entitled idiots?

    • I think even if we legalized marijuana and somehow the Mexican cartels sufficiently ruined their country so as to destroy themselves, the militarization of police would be hard to stop.

      Part of the problem is related to why American have given their military carte blanche to pursue omnipotence (and the NSA to pursue omniscience). Technology is getting more powerful with less and less organization; thus everyone at home and abroad could be seen as a threat. We've demanded an arms race with the entire rest of the world put together as a tribal prerogative, and an arms race against each other as a Constitutional right.

      Missing in all of that, you notice, is any teaching that I, myself, might be part of the problem I'm battling. The people of the US, the military of the US, and the police of the US, all live in mental fortresses to shield them from any responsibility for the threats they demand to be perfectly defended against. They are all becoming increasingly infantile, sociopathic, and shameless liars.

      For instance, the white man who values property as the basis of his power over others is so paranoid about phantom threats to his goodies that he simultaneously arms against the government - but worships that government's military and police when it punishes the poor and non-white. Hell, he's the prime recruit for those forces, and his older version is likely a veteran. What he really wants is the benefit of power without the hassle of sharing power with people different than himself. Tyranny and anarchy both point seductive paths towards that goal.

  • Need for Tough Love: Defending the Gaza Assault Hurts Israeli, American Interests
    • Another problem is, Americans may want to reduce the size of our hegemony, or defer to the UN, or avoid getting involved in Iraq or Europe again. But when push comes to shove, we panic at the sight of American power visibly being reduced. Our fear and our ego freak out. We saw that when Mao won in 1949, leading to McCarthy's reign of terror at home. But another effect was something we rarely hear about today. Right before the Korean War, Dean Acheson declared Korea to be outside of the US "defense perimeter". No one said anything about it because no one knew Korea existed. But when Kim Il Sung invaded, presumably emboldened by Acheson's statement, suddenly we all freaked out at the footage of actual Reds on the march and Acheson and Truman and all the rest joined the stampede to do a 180 and treat this as a major threat.

      If we identify our power as white power and Israelis as whiter than Arabs, we can never get out of our anti-Palestinian bias, much less our increasingly dysfunctional hegemony. Israel's game is to maintain a permanent state of that 1949-50 witchhunting panic, the belief that Israel's destruction is imminent, so that we cannot have the time to reflect on the long-term costs of our policies.

      Which is why it is imperative that Israel keeps lying about its nuclear arsenal, whose existence should allay this hysteria. If we want to topple this madness, we must make our government admit that the nukes exist, hundreds of them, and that they embolden Israeli expansionism. Once Israel is exposed as (perhaps) the 2nd biggest nuclear power in the world, even a low-information American idiot will come to think of Israel as "nuclear" before he thinks of it as "endangered".

  • Iraq: Al-Abadi garners Iranian, US, Saudi Support: But can He Unite Iraq?
    • I think we are seeing the long-term insanity inherent in the events circa 1980-81, when the right-wing US, Saudi Arabia, & Pakistan seemed to declare war on leftism everywhere in the Islamic Middle East under cover of opposing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, while bankrolling right-wing extremism. It's like when the US government declared war on socialistic Black Panthers, while its military and CIA encouraged drug smugglers who spawned capitalist black gangsters in our cities. We sent a message: if you try to get out of the hell our empire created for you via socialism, we will murder you. Leaving only the opposite extreme as an endurable option.

      Thus today there are only right-wingers to fight amongst themselves from Egypt to Pakistan. But guess what? Right-wing solutions to the ills of global capitalism make no damn sense. Corrupt local tycoons bankrolling local Islamists doesn't produce social justice. Medieval law doesn't stop polarization of wealth. And worse, while we always feared a global proletariat united against us, it turns out the right-wing alternatives all hate each other murderously and never stop fighting. Moslem vs Judeo-Christian fundamentalists, Wahhabis vs the heirs of Khomeini, every ethnic group in Afghanistan. Because reactionary ideologies, like Sauron, don't share power with others.

      This makes me suspect that the Saudis can't really back away from extremism. Escalating it is the only way to maintain a shred of legitimacy, even though the Sauds know it puts everyone in greater danger including themselves personally. Under these conditions, why should Iran concede anything? And the US has worked in the past to promote Saudi paranoia about Iran. So we're stuck with our agendas.

  • The Long Knives Come out in Baghdad
    • Part of the problem is that the US refused to build up Iraq's air force, which Prof. Cole mentioned some years ago, due to fear of how it might be used. For militiamen to fight ISIS, they would either need comparable weapons (armor) to fight them in the countryside, or to fight them in their home cities with counterweapons like RPGs. The comparable weapons seem to all have been sent west by Maliki to fight the Sunnis - and gotten captured. The counterweapons? Maybe the militias still have a lot of RPGs and mines buried in secret caches, but not where ISIS currently is.

    • Setting aside the semantics of "caliphate", ISIS is still not a state in the same way that Castro's army was not a state until it marched into Havana and formed one, or Mao's army was not a state until it marched into Beijing after 20 years of fighting. Remember in "Lawrence of Arabia" when the Arab Legion marched into Aqaba, and the British easily sabotaged their rule there? People start demanding actual governmental services after a while, not just endless punishment. And the most important thing in Iraq is the state petroleum company, whose engineers threatened to sabotage the oil industry several times to foil the demands of the US Occupation. Thanks to sanctions, that industry was a patchwork of weird fixes that only the engineers understood, making them irreplaceable.

  • Party of Palin? Why Almost No Scientists Are Republican
    • The good news: Republicans don't have a problem with scientists stating their views.

      The bad news: Republicans clearly don't know how many of their dogmas don't pass muster with most scientists.

      The likely outcome: Republicans will be happy to be presented with the One Right-Wing Scientist to tell them what they want to hear and ignore all the others, just like they're happy to be presented with the One Right-Wing Black Man who says it's okay to shoot black kids. They're looking for validation of what they already are willing to kill for.

    • The problem with limiting science is, then you will give evil people an incentive to place their desire to oppress others under the umbrella of "faith", which then we are bullied into believing must always take precedence over facts. Re: Hobby Lobby. Too many people think that only religion can dictate values and morals - which means the most extreme religion will run all of its competitors off the road for the honor since the purer the faith, the more "real" the religion.

  • Nightmare in Iraq
    • I enjoy bashing Bush as much as the next sentient being, but you're blaming ISIS on Bush as a reason for the US doing nothing about ISIS' ongoing crimes. Kind of contradictory.

  • "Move a little Inland:" Press Lord Cranky Billionaire Rupert Murdoch on what to do about Global Warming
    • Reason: Murdoch is not American. If he were, he'd have to deny that there was any warming or any issue with CO2 at all in order to stay in synch with our Right. But his US tentacles are in synch, because he needs the whole right-wing ideology as strong as possible in every country where he's being taxed and regulated.

    • The key is legalizing the trinity of serfdom:
      1. debtor's prison
      2. prison slave labor
      3. inheritable debt
      We're close to that now. And no pitchforks yet.

  • Why is Obama bombing Iraq, Really?
    • The question is, did the US intervene because it refuses to let Iran intervene? Iran views Bagdad as a satellite, but also has good relations with the Kurds. It would surely use its own air force rather than let these fanatics rape and pillage the capitals of two allied regimes (because ISIS surely lacks the means to govern them).

      Of course, we should just let Iran act in its self interest and do some good besides. But America is officially brain-dead on accepting the right of other countries to have spheres of influence. No, there's only international law and there's no spheres of influence amending international law. Except for... the Monroe Doctrine?

    • #2 is correct. Eventually, everyone will be a terrorist, at least when it suits their interests. All governments do is play for time, meaning until the next election.

  • Is Zionism/ Jewish Nationalism a Political Cult? The Salaita Firing
    • Prof. Cole, we would not have democracy were it not for nationalism. You know the timeline. It was the rise of people's awareness of their national identity that forced hereditary monarchs, step by painful step, to have to recognize the consent of the governed or be overthrown. The Treaty of Westphalia, the English wars of the 17th century, and most importantly the American and French Revolutions.

      Yes, that puts a dark contradiction at the heart of liberal society. We live in the world of those who outlived their opponents, often by fighting. You must agree that without nationalism, no one would have cared to combat the Secession in 1861, or gotten all that bothered about Pearl Harbor. People get nationalism, they don't get or sacrifice their lives for political theory. If "advanced" countries have outgrown nationalism, where does that leave the developing, hard-to-unify countries that must demand some degree of sacrifice from their populations to obtain economic growth while fending off exploitation from the rich countries?

    • Who have African-Americans destroyed and occupied? Did I miss something?

  • British Cabinet Member Resigns over UK Gov't Gaza Stance, wanted to go to ICC
    • British Moslems are doomed to learn the same lesson about white capitalists and their favored parties that American Moslems learned about the GOP after 2000.

    • The problem is, politicians with consciences are too indispensable. What is the historical record for whether these resignations have done any good or merely purged the gene pool of anyone who isn't a partisan whore?

  • The Hateful Likud Charter Calls for Destruction of Any Palestinian State
    • I think the plan is for the US media to finally become fully accurate about the time that Israel has driven out or killed the last Palestinian. Sort of like how that same media, about 120 years ago, waited until the native Americans were fully crushed before bothering to explain what was done to them.

  • Proposition 1: How to Swindle the Middle Class
    • This fits into the recent pattern in Michigan, where financially troubled local governments are declared bankrupt so that their elections can be replaced by undemocratic boards stuffed with right-wing developers. Why isn't the Party of Small Government opposed to all this concentration of power in Lansing? Because it's black cities losing democracy, and cities in general losing democracy, which apparently is a net gain for "real" Americans.

  • Are Israelis and Zionists really talking about a Final Solution of the Palestinian Problem?
    • Once the Israelis get away with a completed Palestinian ethnic cleansing/genocide, we will start to see the same rhetorical games played by all far-right nationalist extremists around the World. Right now, members of the neo-Confederate League of the South are working hard to get on the ballot in Maryland elections, looking to push their way into the state GOP and thus acceptance as the legitimate defenders of free enterprise and limited government. The reality is, they are a secessionist group, and the moment they secede, they will start to do bad things to a long list of groups they hate. But of course, even elected to state government, they can do some of that. The implied goal is that through terror and discrimination, white Christians can ethnically cleanse their state of "parasites," and thus tax cuts will ensue.

      So what happens in Israel matters not because they are so different than us, but because they are so much alike.

    • Anyone who might be able to make a legal case in a future world that Israel stole his family's property is a threat. Therefore children are a threat.

      But once they are driven out of Israel/Palestine, they will never have leverage in, say, the World Court to have land restored. Future Israel will make a pitiful cash settlement to the far-flung descendants of its victims, as so many corporations have before.

  • Gaza and Soweto
    • Jabotinsky's statement above proves the crimes against Palestinians were no mistake - they were the Zionist program from 20 years before Israel was official. The elimination of the natives. Hamas is the final product of those crimes, assisted by Israeli secret police in its early days for the purpose of making peace impossible. Israel continually switches sides from one Palestinian movement to the other so it can claim that it has no one to negotiate with... while the colonization continues. Feature, not bug.

      And according to the right-wing media of the 1980s the ANC was full of commies, so of course they would want to "enslave" the productive white population instead of removing it.

    • Gotta love intellectuals. We can't compensate our opponents, so we WILL eliminate them. The word justice never enters into it.

    • Ever wonder why South Africa was developing (in partnership with Israel) atomic bombs? One per Bantustan, in case of emergency.

    • In fact, this well describes the history of an entire class of countries: settler societies. The USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the former Rhodesia... and Israel. Under English practice (perhaps enforced by clever elites) intermarriage with natives was taboo, while entire white families were exported to keep up the conqueror population. Spain and France did not follow these practices as rigidly in their early empires. White supremacy is the only way vast lands have been successfully stolen in the modern world.

      So the question is, how consciously did the Zionists, many from the US and Britain, follow this horrible but successful Anglo-American model in their plans for supplanting the Palestinians? (Extra credit question: how much is the American far right, in turn, using the Zionist blueprint to inspire its plans to "restore" America to its white Christian laissez-faire past?)

  • Impeachment is a Cash Cow (Colbert Report)
    • No, the Republicans can't really get 67 votes in the next Senate to impeach. But shouldn't they pay some price for intentionally impeaching every elected Democratic president for the purpose of sabotaging governance and creating a slanderous meme implying that Democratic voters are basically illegitimate people whose votes shouldn't count? This isn't a war against Clinton and Obama, this is a war against 100,000,000 American citizens who refuse to vote Republican - a one-sided war when it comes to impeachments.

  • Could States Rights & Decentralization Save Iraq?
    • If each state is run by extremists now freed from the need for coalition building, why should they respect the frontiers of the other states? Why not invade their neighbors, try to seize an oil field, or ethnically cleanse the cities and bring in their own settlers? When the dominant ideology is that the people over the border are actually evil personified, how can people really live in peace with each other?

  • The U.S Has More Solar Workers Than Coal Miners
    • Again we see the free-market fallacy that economics is not political. A rich man can indoctrinate and isolate communities to believe that their way of life - laboring for him - is uniquely patriotic and must be protected from new competition, that the competition itself is part of a subversive conspiracy to install an alien lifestyle or even an alien God. (Thus environmentalists are smeared as pagan earth-worshippers, economics be damned.)

      That's not some recent perversion of conservatism that true libertarians will surely oppose. That's the way all societies built culture to ensure continuity in behavior - a continuity that makes its members willing to sacrifice for common survival. Economics is then built on that rigged playing field.

  • 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.

  • 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?

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