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Total number of comments: 2315 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)

super390

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  • Al-Qaeda Everywhere: US support for Oppressive Gov't's made Bin Laden's Killing Moot
    • In reply to both Erik and William, I would like to point out that the US has not always imposed dictatorships, and the differences between those places and the places where we did put tyrants in power could be explained by William's criteria, or by racism and ignorance amongst our policymakers.

      Starting with the US occupations of Germany, Austria and Japan, democracy definitely could not have succeeded without the hard work of the citizenry. The US was also atypically endowed with government officials in 1945 who were knowledgeable about Germany and Japan, and not in a vindictive way. I do know that many Americans involved in the Japanese occupation were sympathetic to Japan's people and culture. These officials were also a product of a long run of New Deal liberalism, which is very different than the crowd you get during the Cold War and McCarthyism.

      We can also look at South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Portugal as US satellites where our foreign policy establishment eventually gave way to democratic transitions. Note that these places had not had democracy for generations. However, their economic conditions were better than most of the world's, and while their stability was enforced at gunpoint their entanglement with the US hegemony made their people very aware of democracy in Europe and Japan.
      The example I use to show where I think racism was a factor in how we treated postwar authoritarians of the Left (because let's face it, Erik, there were a lot of those), is Tito versus Ho Chi Minh, both leaders of anti-fascist partisan armies with US help. Ho tried very hard to get the same deal we gave Tito, and we spurned him. Yugoslavia was the textbook example of proper treatment of unaligned states. For all the good that did. Tito would not have gotten that deal if he'd been African or Asian because he would have been too "alien" to trust.
      I think we simply consigned the non-White peoples of the world to the "other" bin because we had no cadre of genuinely knowledgeable officials who understood where to meddle or not. Since these were mostly the liberated colonies (though again S. Korea and Taiwan were too), the conditions for domestic democracy and prosperity were rare. Meaning, there were no good-guy capitalists for the US to enthrone, so we brought in the bad guys. The general US response to "other" was dominated by military policy and then the rising CIA, filling a vacuum with cynicism and obliviousness and an appalling standardization of responses. I recall reading The Pentagon Papers, looking for the key original US position on Vietnam. What I found was a circa-1948 regional policy wishlist, in which all of Southeast Asia - one free kingdom, 3 French-conquered kingdoms, 1 newly independent British colony, 1 still-British colony and 1 Dutch colony - with many different religions and cross-rivalries - were dismissed in a single paragraph as though Coca-Cola was unhappy with the regional manager and it would just keep firing guys until one of them somehow made things quiet.

  • After Obama-Salman Summit, will Saudi finally rein in Wahhabi Radicalism?
    • The problem is, what is the basis of legitimacy for an absolute monarchy today?
      All the Saud clan has is the idea that ancient Islamic ideas support a monarch. But the asterisk on that is, a monarch who is attentive to his responsibilities to Moslems suffering oppression abroad.
      So there's your problem. To be allied to the US is to be allied to Israel. So the King must throw the Palestinians under the bus. The only way to offset that in the eyes of his subjects, whom his family has done so much to make devout, is to double down on jihads everywhere else.
      The US should have seen this was happening 30 years ago. In effect the US attempt to install Saudi Arabia and Israel as its suzerains over the Middle East was insane, unless those two regimes - whose peoples have been indoctrinated to hate and oppose each other in every possible matter - found a common enemy to provoke wars against. Our neocons practically jumped up and down and told them that this common enemy must be Iran. But since we're allied to both, then their bull**** war with Iran becomes our real war with Iran, and we can't afford it.
      There's so many lies in this alliance that I see no way of saving it. Each partner is stabbing the others in the back as a matter of policy... except for the US, which can't betray Israel no matter what it does.

  • 'Monstrous' violence in Aleppo as 'Regime of Calm' begins in rest of Syria
    • Yes to everything, but I must regretfully admit I prefer 19th century Great Power games to holy wars. You can negotiate with Bismarck.

  • Ted Cruz turns away delegation of own Muslim Constituents, Smears them as 'Extremists'
    • Cruz is also the one presidential candidate loudly embracing "religious freedom" laws. He is the son of one of the leaders of the theocratic movement that has demanded that only their kind of Christians dictate the laws and values of America.

      These laws say that a "sincerely held" religious belief can justify damn near any kind of discrimination.

      Does anyone doubt that these laws being passed by state after state will be followed by other laws and court decisions that deny Moslems have "sincere beliefs"? But to say that aloud is to say these Christians are insincere, deceivers scheming to restore America's old caste system. And when we say it they scream like stuck pigs.

      So let's say it. Say it to Cruz's face.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused
    • Okay, so what's your alternative?

    • If NATO was created for the sole purpose of defending against the Soviet Bloc, how did we justify its survival - and expansion - all the way up to Russia's borders?
      And who pushed that expansion? Bush and Cheney.
      Putin was compliant with the US after 9/11, for obvious motives. Then Cheney capped a series of provocations with his insulting of Putin and Russia at the 2005 commemoration of the victory over Nazi Germany. Well, that did the job. Putin reacted like a Russian, with armed force, and now we have to keep NATO going - as an undemocratic extension of the Pentagon Order of Battle, not really sovereign armies at all. Where was NATO for Turkey when Israel shot up its Gaza aid convoy?

      You won't accept it but America's military-industrial complex intentionally creates new enemies to ensure its own survival. All our enemies since 1945 were once our allies; after Stalin screwed us the people who benefited became our rulers.

  • Trump: Candidate of American Decline
    • The political calculus in the language of both Obama and Trump comes from the unspoken assumption, "America = White."

      So for Barack Hussein Obama, the problem is having to continually prove that he is not a traitor, that an America for the first time not led by a Caucasian is not inherently being betrayed. Thus it is in his interest to invoke "exceptional" America to stretch the definition of America to include those who were supposed to be merely its silent servants. It's not a surprise that JFK the Catholic felt he had to escalate patriotic rhetoric over his trusted predecessor to prove that Catholics were 101% loyal, thus 100% citizens. And we paid a price for that in Vietnam.

      Ah, but then that leads us to the people who believe exactly the opposite, and the man they chose to restore America's past - which is entirely attractive to them because its caste system ensured their status would be at least second from the bottom. America is not "great" now because Whites do not have a monopoly on power. That was hiding behind Reagan's words too, and increasingly made overt in the words of all the right-wing demagogues who followed in his footsteps. Reagan's revived Cold War, as a cabinet official proudly confessed in his biography, was part of a scheme with his tax cuts for the rich to create a future fiscal crisis that would lead to a slashing of social programs. Why? Because in their hearts, the poor and non-White were more truly the enemy of "real" America than the Soviet Union, whose strength they intentionally exaggerated to divert tax dollars.

      That's the thinking of those for whom America is not the property of all the people, but just the members of the conquering tribe. America's greatness is only measured by the proportion seized by the tribesmen. This makes it impossible to have a rational, empirical discussion about what would make America "better" or "stronger."

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble
    • I have before expressed the idea that Prince Salman is an Arab neocon, that somehow he has assimilated the predatory ideology of Cheney and Prince Bandar.

      Now, let's consider the possibility that neoconservatism is not really an ideology to restore an empire's failing fortunes, but a last giant con job, to inflate an imperial bubble knowing full well that it will pop. Just as investors rig the system to profit from their speculative bubbles.

      Privatization is the big con that we repeatedly see in neoconservative and neoliberal scams. Public services and resources are sold off to cronies here and abroad, until there's nothing left that the public can use to reverse the process when they wake up from their patriotic dreams. So first we need to get those dreams going, by war.

      War first, which enables a financial bubble, which hides the hollowing out of the economy, then the crash. What next? Bailout? Martial law? Maybe this is where the individual tricksters get to improvise. Maybe it just repeats over and over until the last cents have been extracted. The ultimate privatization scam for America will probably be when the Social Security fund is finally turned into private stocks, which will crash after the rich have gotten their insider warnings and cashed out (for the next great global currency). The ultimate Saudi privatization is obviously Aramco. There's nothing else close in value. It will be a much faster process in Saudi Arabia's undiversified economy.

      Who will really own the privatized Saudi Arabia? How quickly will they flee?

  • Do Donald Trump's 'Terrifying' Nuclear Threats endanger You?
    • Trump is against occupation because dealing with people different than himself is too complicated for him. Extermination is easier.
      This is the kind of person who singles out innocents to kill as a crude message to the world to submit, as opposed to the current bunch who kill innocents when they can't think up a convenient way to sort them out from the guilty. Which is essentially the difference between Nazi Germany and the US in World War 2. Civilization can survive the lesser of those evils, but not the greater.

  • Israeli Parliamentary committee debates racial discrimination in maternity wards
    • Because they've noticed that the perpetrators will be protected by the international power system when they're too big to fail - like Germany. There was no chance that Germany would pay a price for the Holocaust if it hadn't also invaded Poland and thus triggered Poland's big-power alliances. And even when it did, there was no way the victors could erase the German people, because they were too established, too smart, too profitable to keep around. Israel has sworn to become such a people by any means necessary.

      The Palestinians, like the Native Americans, were expendable, and the consequences for their oppression trivial. Pick the right victims. That's all normal people learn from racism.

  • Forget the Trump/Cruz Circus: Why Liberals are the Future of America
    • What's missing here is the great fact of power: the polarization of wealth that has marked all private property systems since ancient times in the absence of strong redistributive measures. The first wave of capitalists overthrew those paltry measures of the feudal era, and peasants turned into proletarians entirely dependent on an alien cash economy. Free-market liberals in countries like Britain were often enemies of the great struggle by the poor to create new redistributive mechanisms, from unions to progressive taxation. Class revolution was a successful blackmail threat for a century. The most useful bourgeois liberals were the ones like Theodore Roosevelt who used that blackmail threat to cajole their conservative brethren into concessions, more as necessity than a deep liberal commitment to equality of outcome. The distinction between liberal (Whig, laissez-faire) and progressive (social democrat) was for a moment clear.

      Things seem to have slipped considerably in the last 40 years. That faction of greedy corporate tycoons who have no conflict with social equality and freedom of lifestyle are back in charge of "liberalism" with their campaign cash, while unions no longer have comparable resources to affect elections. But the victories of these deregulatory liberals enrich their right-wing brethren too, and that money goes to empower right-wing campaigns against every imaginable form of equality. We're going to have to fight this fight all over again.

  • Do you have to be Affluent to be Democratic?
    • But as other articles at this site show, there's a problem with democracy in the USA too.

      I think the problem is inherent in the idea of "representative" democracy. It has been warned about since the early Republic, but it has grown up with capitalism and the idea that buying a product will solve your problems without you having to understand anything.

      Money has become the thing that can buy everything, including what people believe. The strong party systems and high voter turnout of other Western democracies seems to stave off the ability of wealthy special interests to rewrite political conflict as desired. Or is it that the rich destroyed strong party systems and high voter turnout by a deliberate campaign to sabotage effective government and cultivate cynicism? Either way, you get your supply of centrist voters replaced with a middle road of copouts who stand for nothing, whether they vote or or not. This slush pile leaves factions as king, polarization as their natural form of interaction, and the capitalist media selling the message that only the factions of the left are un-American. The remaining approved faction gets to bully the uncertain rest of us until many of us believe their lies even if we question their methods.

      I guess the global polarization of wealth makes it inevitable that the perpetrators of this model will spread their operations across the democratic world. Nations don't like outside criticism of their electoral problems, so no one will be able to help each other against this spreading disease.

      The rebellion against this problem is taking the wrong form, doubling down on the love of the candidate. All the effort we think we save by trusting our favorite instead of learning about issues and solutions gets replaced by the effort to hoist our personality cult over the enemy personality cult. We need to disaggregate the different issues that trouble us into activist groups that put policy demands first, and not the policies of scapegoating and persecution, which are more copouts for governance. We have to force the rich to say what they really want, and then hold them to the historical evidence of its failure. We have to become the kind of people who vote for initiatives without believing scare ads that have nothing to do with the basic issue.

      We probably can't do this top-down because that's what causes us to embody complexity in the form of a great leader. If we try to do it bottom-up, right-wing state governments might strip our cities of the very right to pass a law like North Carolina did Charlotte. There is going to be an era of civil disobedience, boycotts, and the hovering threat of violence.

  • Sanders Surges Ahead of Clinton in National Poll
    • The system dictates that candidates sell whatever positions they need to appeal to the part of the country having primaries this week, then change their stories when the needed votes are already locked down. Thus Clinton will win the nomination no matter how low her poll numbers go.

      Thus we see Bill Clinton attack Black Lives Matter because it's too late to effect the Black votes his wife needed in the South. She needs suburban White "liberals" who hide their bigotry behind support for the militarized police now, so it's Sistah Souljah time again.

  • Syria: Al-Assad Family's Massive Stolen Wealth in Panama Papers helps explain Revolution
    • Well, I asked the question above, and Nicholas Wibberley and T. van Ellen answered it. Violence is so evil that we all have no right to bring down the rule of criminals. We just have to live with getting raped. The Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of the Universal Rights of Man were just big mistakes. Give up. Work, consume, die, don't bother to vote.

      Which also means, don't do anything about the evil American oligarchy either. If you justify the crimes of small-time tyrants who extract billions from tiny economies on the grounds that America is the real criminal, then I can just flip the argument and say that Americans don't have the right to revolution either, without which there is no logical reason to have democracy at all. So nothing will ever change.

      So it's not a left-wing bias about dictators. It's simple cowardice.

    • What right did the people of the American colonies have to revolution?

    • Page: 23
    • What, Assad was massively, irredeemably corrupt? So much that none of us would consider him fit to rule us?
      Well, plenty of people at this site seem to think that no one has the right to revolution no matter what. Or maybe that they have the right to be exterminated by a dictator while the outside world looks away. Or maybe that "socialist" or "anti-American" dictators have a monopoly on the right to use violence. It must be great to be so righteously anti-war that you don't have to reveal your agenda in which violence you choose to object to.

  • What's at Stake for Israel in al-Sharif Killing: Japanese Officers were Executed for Killing POWs
    • Netanyahu wants other Middle Eastern countries held to the same standard? The worst of the bunch is Saudi Arabia. I am certain he doesn't want US relations with Saudi Arabia to break down. Because I am certain that the US brokered secret understandings between those two countries to act as the co-suzerains of the region. And part of that understanding is that the monarchy-subsidized Wahhabi clergy directs young boys throughout the Arab world to sneak out and fight Iran and its allies, not Israel.

      Of course I can't prove that. The proof will be how far Israel will go to protect a country that is officially opposed in every possible way to what Israel officially supports.

  • Now that Trump has mainstreamed White Supremacists, are they in Politics to stay?
    • The evil genius of the right-wing movement was to give White supremacists new forms of cover that liberals couldn't easily attack. This consisted of seemingly separate movements, all of which in some way called for a return to a "better" past, all of which were tied together behind the scenes by cross-funding by oligarchic families like the Kochs & DeVoses. The money went to manufacture an ideology full of excuses and scapegoats that committed the racists to supporting the real purpose of the movement: infinite capitalist inequality.
      In short, when Whites could no longer openly say they were superior, they had to retreat to saying Christianity (as racists had defined it) was superior, or capitalism was superior, or rural landowners were superior, or assault rifle owners who weren't in drug gangs were superior, blah blah blah.

  • 3 Surprising reasons Saudi Arabia may be getting out of the Oil Business
    • The earthquakes are now officially classed by the government as human-induced. That means lawsuits lawsuits lawsuits. They also endanger the Cushing oil reserve in OK. Many frackers are drowning in debt and can't withstand responsible regulation.
      And the "rest of the world" may turn electric faster than the US and Europe:
      link to greencarreports.com
      link to insideevs.com
      Pay attention to the whole new world being built outside of Exceptional America.

    • Actually, looking at the linked story made me understand that this move is part of the agenda of the young neoliberal jerk Prince Mohammad bin Salman, discussed at this site before as the rising villain behind the kingdom's open militarism and threats to cut social services.
      Privatize, then wage war. That's an alarmingly familiar formula for Americans. And it may be that he intends to benefit friends in America by letting them back into Aramco. I wonder who he's backing for President.

    • I think this is it. Though Saudi Arabia has outsize power as a swing producer, as soon as word gets out that its latest, politically-driven burst of production has left the fields in worse shape than ever, there will be an outsize global panic. In the past that might have meant the Saudis could shake down the US for $100 a barrel, but now the US has the brutal alternative of fracking and living with the consequences. Though I don't think that will happen. Instead, the push for alternatives will accelerate, which is what is forcing the Saudis to diversity their portfolio.

  • Is Trump, wrong on everything else, Right on US Foreign Policy?
    • Trump's blundering demolition of the intricate theology of Republican dogwhistles, codewords and lies is opening a treasure trove of information on what the ignorant American masses respond to. It turns out that many things antiwar people want would be acceptable to Trump people - if only the antiwar people weren't saying them. They shape their opinions on the primary assumption that people different than themselves are not just wrong, but evil. Antiwar people are not American enough in their other characteristics, so they must be evil. No wonder it's impossible to talk about sensible retrenchment of American power.

  • The Trump Doctrine: End NATO, Patrol Mosques, Nukes for Japan & Allies
    • The only tiny ray of light in the latest Trump spew is that he at least isn't accepting NATO as unquestionable. The rest of it is horrible, like Hitler pointing out the unfairness of Versailles Treaty didn't change the fact he was a monster.

      NATO has overstepped its intent. It has allowed the Pentagon to pencil in entire national armies into its own organizational charts for war. The voters of Europe are told that they can't do things because of NATO. The voters of America keep sending European boys to our messes. This is not an alliance. It is a hegemony. Appending European cannon fodder onto American global power-projection capability is not defending Europe. We need to split those apart so that both Europe and America can concentrate on defending their actual interests. Which in America's case, must be defined by a genuine democratic debate, not by special interest fearmongers. Otherwise, more Centcoms and Africoms and Antarcticoms must follow.

      More importantly, we progressives must face the fact that America's political system is increasingly senile and even insane, and there must be a power to offset the American empire that is not ruled by a tyrant. I'm not a pacifist. I want a strong democratic society to stand against our evils and the evils of Russia and China when necessary. There's no one to perform that function unless the EU is forced into it.

  • How Green Energy is already taking over the World
    • The shocking thing is that most Americans have no idea this is happening. Go ahead. Ask some. They all believe that solar & wind are more expensive than natural gas even if they support them. Yet they also believe that investors are always right. So they must have no idea that investors have already calculated that coal is dead and natural gas is shaky. Go to cleantechnica.com. Every few days major solar & wind projects begin construction somewhere outside the USA, and most are in poor countries. Yet Americans are still easily seduced by the propaganda that the poor must live with pollution to have the blessings of cheap energy and the US-based version of progress.
      All the signs of decline are here. Even in our own heads.

  • Fall of Palmyra: Syrian regime races to take ISIL's 'Berlin' and forestall 'Partition'
    • Maybe this is evidence that Russia is committed to reinforcing Iran's sphere of influence in the region instead of trying to rule one of its own. I'm looking for clues as to how serious an alliance the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is, especially in light of Iran's supposed membership.

  • Why are American Elections so much worse than Everybody Else's?
    • Our elections don't work because the people who started this country didn't believe in democracy. They put myriad barriers in its path, some of which have been dismantled, some of which have been retained like the Electoral College, and some of which are making a comeback, like the the power of states to protect their privileged elites. The enemies of democracy today are the ones who most loudly claim the Founding Fathers as their justification.

      Among the many things we need to do is teach our children the truth that the Founding Fathers were not always right or even good guys, and that they knew future citizens might have to change the forms of our governance, which is why they at least left tools to make it possible.

  • Will Western powers Respond to HRW's demand for arms embargo on Saudi Arabia?
    • If I believed the US would ever voluntarily extract itself from its mutually abusive codependency with Saudi Arabia, now would be the time to do it. There's too much oil supply right now, the Russians have proven the Saudi military irrelevant on the major stage of Syria, the dollar is strong and the Saudis are very unpopular with ordinary Americans.
      But money talks.

  • Climate Change: 13 Million Americans in Path of slow-motion sea rise Tsunami
    • I keep telling everyone, when salt water contaminates Florida's fresh water wells, the state will face a disaster. Floridians will either have to buy up water from the Deep South, which hardly has a reliable surplus, or there will be an exodus. That contamination will mean the death of the Everglades, which is the whole interior of South Florida, so God knows that causes.

  • More US Muslims favor Bernie Sanders than do US Jews
    • But Saudi Arabia is right-wing AND pro-corporate. It has (until the last few years) supported US domination of the world. Its billionaires dress in business suits when needed, and drive Western cars and live like Western billionaires. All of which requires the Western media present the oil aristocracy as our default allies - while the Islamist extremism they've done the most to empower is blamed on the poor, the least white-looking beneath them.

      It's just like Vietnam and Latin America, we're always looking for the oligarch with the white tailored suit (or uniform) to defend us from his strange, dark peasants when in reality he's the bad guy.

    • Reflection of what? Only 30% of Jews supported her, while 40% of Moslems supported her.

  • Putin: Russia can ramp back up in Syria "within hours"
    • Syria is now partitioned, like Iraq. And like Iraq, it seems like the lesser evil. But while there have been many twists along the way that surprised me, what I predicted as the lesser evil two years ago has come about: the Middle East is now in a Cold War between Saudi Arabia and Iran + Russia, with Berlin Walls replaced by no-man's lands controlled by maniacs.

      Big surprise #1: the extent to which Russia is the senior partner of the Non-Sunni Bloc, not Iran. That screws up everything for the Saudis and eventually Israel. Russian muscle might get a negotiated settlement in Syria, and that's a great thing. But the Saud dynasty and Israel have already burned all the bridges behind them over the years so that they could present anything less than total victory as an existential crisis. So now they're actually in one. They can't negotiate out of what they've become without ceasing to exist. The least bad scenario is still a generation of Cold War that could go hot at any time, while millions on both sides are forced to endure the tyrants they have on the grounds that any revolution will upset the balance of terror. Why are so many anti-war people who deplored America's involvement in the Cold War so happy about this new one?

  • An Offer we can't Refuse: Trump threatens "Riots" if Brokered Convention Sidelines Him
    • If the American people are as evil as so many commenters on this site appear to believe (in different ways), then we can't be confident that a violent Trump mob won't be joined by more and more angry people until it marches into the White House.
      However, I would say that many of the people on this site point out such evils as an excuse to run and hide. Isolate from government, isolate from the right to revolution, isolate from the world. Even a chance to make bizarre excuses for men who would drag America back to the 19th century, on the grounds that this would magically lead to the dismantling of its post-1898 military and empire.
      What is missing among such cynics is any awareness of young people who believe in activism and activist government. Not just Americans, but Arabs and Europeans who defy authoritarian capitalism and Marxism and Islamism.

  • Mystery: Russia & Hizbullah begin withdrawal from Syria
    • I think Putin acted as a classic European monarch during the era of multipolarity. Kissinger talked about himself as though he were such a figure, a Metternich or Bismarck, but we know his record. Of course many of those monarchs were engaged in monstrous acts domestically and in their non-European colonies between bouts of inter-European crisis management. Putin is like the Czars, and stands for as little as they did. But at least he recognizes the current configuration of the international system and exploits it.

      The internet satirist War Nerd predicted that the outside powers would keep backing their proxies in Syria just enough to keep them alive in their turfs, because keeping the war going without it becoming apocalyptic was in their interests. We could be headed towards a hot peace, at best a Korea, at worst an Afghanistan.

    • Well, he's correct in that America's increasing use of violence under increasing numbers of media-friendly disguises proves that we are losing real power and we're not getting what we want.
      Everyone is resorting to violence more because there's no longer two overwhelming superpowers who can intimidate their satellites and most of the nonaligned into maintaining the existing boundaries. Opportunists and scared status-quo defenders are tempted to act against each other.
      However, the upside is that without major blocs, the potential for a world war is less.
      This is a historical pattern, studied by the Correlates of War Project at the University of Michigan. Eras of many small wars versus eras of a few giant wars. The Project tried to figure out if that pattern matched the number of Great Powers in the world at the given time. We appear to be headed back to a multi-polar world.

    • I would rather trust Hezbollah than Putin. Hezbollah has worked with non-Shiite allies in Lebanon for decades, instead of insisting on a new census that would reveal that the Shiites should already be the dominant group in the government, a move that is another red line for civil war.
      Putin is mistrusted because he's an autocrat whose hands back home are increasingly bloody. Why did he become an official homophobe? Why does he use increasingly transparent legal angles to stay in power? As much as his country has been abused by NATO, what is he doing to create a democracy that can take its case for fair treatment to the world after he's dead? Like his Turkish enemy Erdogan, he's willing to throw everything good away to stay in power from crisis to crisis.

  • 9/11: Clueless US Judge doesn't Know Shiites from al-Qaeda, finds against Iran for $10 Bn.
    • This case should never have gotten this far. It's a Trumpian road to demanding that Mexico should pay for our apartheid wall, or Blacks should pay Whites for being "civilized" by them.

  • What is Political Revolution and Can Bernie Sanders Deliver?
    • I'm pretty damn happy with us just kicking the Blue Dogs out of the Democratic Party, including Sen. Clinton, and rebuilding around the Sanders funding model while promoting a Rainbow slate of candidates in all 50 states. The Democrats have already ceased to be a national party because they don't run candidates for many local offices, allowing a Republican monopoly over oligarchical fiefdoms known as the Red States. Do the corporations ration out a pittance of campaign donations to the Democrats to keep them alive but keep them from really competing? Let people like that form a third party in the center, a party that truly stands for nothing but agnostic greed, while the Democrats return to the social democracy of the New Deal half-century. That's less bizarre a leap than the party of Lincoln becoming the party of secession and White supremacy.

      If nothing else, Sanders and Trump proved that there's wildly alternative ways to finance election campaigns. The root purpose of campaign money is to alter the voting actions of people whether they believe in your agenda or not. The fact that people can be deceived by paid advertising to vote based on smears and irrational prejudices is what makes money, and thus the rich, all-powerful in our politics. Trump got around the problem by skipping the ads and outright telling the bigots he will crush their enemies in front of TV news cameras. There are so many bigots in the country that he's moving ahead in the system, stage by stage. Sanders got around the problem by asking from small donations from the kind of people you would expect to be the backbone of a political party in any democracy beside the USA, people who are angry that they've been forgotten by the party's corporate establishment. They're on board with him; now he has to turn that money into advertising that convinces others that we can have a better deal than a slow retreat in the face of evil.

  • Will the Militias & gun nuts volunteer as Donald Trump's Storm Troopers?
    • The complexity of a US-Germany analogy is the tradition of the American Right to hide behind States' Rights vs. the German Right hiding behind a unifying emperor (Kaiser Bill ruled the "Second Reich" in their reckoning).

      However, that's also a north vs south thing in the US.

      For example, the most dangerous fascist moment in our history was the DuPont plot of 1934, when DuPont and other far-right oligarchs (including Prescott Bush) plotted to create a national militia movement of unemployed veterans, basically a right-wing counter to the Bonus Army of 1932 the way that the Freikorps were a counter to the Communist veterans of 1918 Germany. It was planned to be bigger than the actual US Army of only 80,000 men. It thus would overawe FDR into backing off from the New Deal and becoming a puppet president.

      Trump has smashed the disguise of "traditional values" that Southern Republicans have used to shield their neo-Confederate, theocratic fanaticism from proper criticism. They can't say they're protected by their religion when they flock to a man who's barely opened a Bible, or that they fight for States' Rights or Southern culture when they beat up a Black man for the ultimate Yankee carpetbagger.

      It was never about any of the things the Southern Right, and by extension the Reagan/Bush/Palin/Cruz Right screamed. It was about a monopoly of power for our tribe. Which means the whole tying of gun rights to anti-authoritarianism was bogus.

      With all the old labels and excuses being swept away, another DuPont militia could be organized without direct ties to the anti-government militias of today. Its key likely feature: demonization of minorities as criminals. Trump will call upon them to "help" the police put down the millions of protesters opposed, not to the neo-Jim Crow schemes of the Tea Party to strip minorities of voting rights and social programs, but to the increasing paranoia of the militarized police. The jurisdictional barriers that US police face can be swept away by simply transferring problematic acts of violence to the local Trump club. The cops will kill for any president who treats them like gods and keeps the money coming. We're already seeing it in the protests in Kansas City last weekend; the police sprayed pepper gas on lines of protesters who had not done anything as a "precaution". When did they ever do that to right-wing protesters? Trump thugs will be free to attack their opponents in the streets and then run back behind the cover of riot police phalanxes.

      It will take little time for the gun sadists to sign on for this. They will be so grateful to Trump that they will rewrite their tedious anti-Washington manifestos to hail him as a savior who manifests the "national" will over the very state boundaries their Confederate heroes claimed were inviolate.

  • John Legend to Trump & Son on Chicago Protests re: their Racism: 'This isn't Complicated'
  • Which Protest-busting Dictator is Trump most Like?
    • We're talking about inciting people to violence against their neighbors, against citizens in the "wrong" part of their towns, against people lining up to vote in November. Presidential candidates don't do that. That was done by henchmen running for state and local office like George Wallace. Which is why as bad as the Jim Crow South was, it wasn't classically fascist because it was decentralized tyranny.

    • Have you ever once heard Trump even acknowledge the existence of Congress or the Supreme Court or the balance of Constitutional powers?
      He's not going to impose term limitations on them, he's going to ignore them and rule by decree. That's what his supporters want.

    • That's a better match for our attention spans.

    • There are many more monsters in America than the Neo Nazis, biker gangs and KKK. Nixon named his fellow, supportive monsters the Silent Majority. We're about to find out if they are a majority or not, but they are monsters and they have put many monsters in positions of power for reasons we have been trained to accept as justifiable.

  • GOP debate Civil? Candidates urged torture, child-murder, backing bloody Dictatorships
    • The pullback on grotesque personal attacks at this debate was because they're all starting to realize that they can't play on Trump's turf. It might do him some short-term damage, but he always bounces back in a couple of weeks, maybe because in the long run it favors him to have GOP discourse reduced to pro wrestling. And maybe some of these men are preparing themselves for lives in Trump's revised GOP and want to get off his enemies list, which must be thicker than the phone book.

  • Top 6 Signs Trump is wrong & Islam doesn't 'Hate us'
  • Does Bernie's Michigan Win make it a whole new Ball Game?
    • The problem is staying credible until he gets to play in more favorable states. The lack of winner-take-alls these days seems to be bringing back the days when it took a long time to nail down a nomination. On the GOP side, though, the big winner-take-alls are coming up and largely in Trump's favor.

      We may be seeing the advance signs of a party realignment across the spectrum. No one is happy with what they've got. The corporatist candidates only attract votes by playing on fear of the unknown, not evidence of positive achievements. The unknown is getting more attractive to the growing ranks of the desperate: everything from socialism to fascism to secessionism.

      Our electoral system guarantees that everything will coalesce back into 2 parties no matter how worthless, but maybe this crisis is deep enough that in a year or two people will be talking about the legitimacy of that system. The right of the Federal government to tell one-party GOP banana states what to do, or the right of states to tell cities what to do (sanctuary cities & minimum wage), or even the big one: can representative government really represent us when there's no "us" any more?

  • Oil Glut Blues and the last hurrah of the Fossil Fuel Bubble
    • You forgot to mention the earthquakes. That's the added burden that the debt-ridden frackers weren't ready for.

  • Young American Muslim Protesting Trump Racism ejected from Rally in Style
    • So all you anti-war folks who are absolutely certain that Trump will bring peace...
      Why do you think a man who wages war on non-Whites at home is the solution for a country that wages war on them abroad? If the racism isn't the issue, then what is it that you want? A restoration to racist, isolationist pre-Pearl Harbor America is the only historical model that fits your bill.

  • GOP Candidates up ante, Promise 4 Major Ground Wars, murder of Innocents, Large Genitalia
    • For the third time, I'm relinking this until people get the point.

      link to juancole.com

      Remember about all the talk over the years that the al-Aqsa mosque could be the flash point for the next Arab-Israeli War? No other candidate would make plans to march into that very place to bully Moslems. Even Netanyahu knows that's insane. Trump had to have that explained to him.

    • The assumption of the article is that Rubio is taking orders from Adelson and that unlike Obama, he will not only refuse to admit he needs Iranian help, but will actually continue to make war on Iran. Adelson can create a media climate that Democrats are scared to fight, but he can only give direct orders to Republicans because, as Trump says, "I expect them to stay bought."

  • As Coasts Flood, why isn't the Corporate Press asking Candidates about Climate Change?
    • Now watch closely how the rich try to get someone else to pay to build seawalls to protect their property. The problem they will encounter is that the American Right has taught its followers that the cosmopolitan cities that trade with the evil outside world are enemies of the American Way of Life and deserve to be destroyed. Cruz's favorite conspiracy theory is Agenda 21, the evil UN plot to force everyone to live in pinko cities.

  • Don't be fooled: Lindsey Graham & GOP Establishment just as Crazy as Trump
    • link to juancole.com

      Your proof.

      "The wealthy business tycoon and apparent presidential candidate had previously stated that he planned to visit the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and then force his way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam."

    • Do you know anything about Southern politics? Clinton won SC because Blacks there won't vote for Sanders, which greatly pains me. But none of those Black Democrats voted for Lindsey Graham. There's a huge chasm between Black and White South Carolinians. They in no way support him or the openly KKK agenda of Strom Thurmond, who took his senate seat into the GOP. I am afraid there are far more liberal states where Blacks will also mostly vote for Clinton, which demolishes your premise.

    • It makes me very angry that so many "anti-war" people seem to feel that the solution to American imperialism is to restore the government back to the 19th century, right down to abandoning civil rights for minorities. It's as if they want to punish Blacks and Latinos for wanting America to be a world power and voting for Obama.

      But with their embrace of Trump, even that big-gov bashing doesn't make sense anymore. The imposition of a state of terror against all Moslems in America is now "worth" a vague promise of neutrality overseas by a madman who recently had to be talked out of storming into the al-Aqsa mosque at a time when Palestinians are being provoked by so many Israelis.

      What is the logic in this, peaceniks?

    • Social policies and military policy are their own separate spectrums. Many refuse to understand the connection between racism at home and militarism abroad that has led White supremacist regimes to wage so many wars. The Confederate States of America itself had designs to annex Central America and enslave its populations, and no matter what a hip America-basher one is, one can't say that's better than what the USA did to them.

    • In 1933 you could have said Hitler had no track record as an imperialist murderer, while his opponents like Field Marshall Hindenburg were part of the old Imperial parliamentary politics, where even the Socialists green-lit World War 1. The only ones who were entirely opposed to that disaster were the Communists. But then as Stalin's water carriers, their hands weren't clean either.

      So what was the basis to say Hitler was worse?
      Because he swore he would be worse.

      How much worse is it to announce one's intention to personally march into the Al-Aqsa mosque to show those Moslems who's boss?

      link to juancole.com

      Maybe as a Briton you don't understand our history of violent racism, but Trump also personally egged on a crowd at his rally to beat a Black protester. In Birmingham, Alabama, a city with an especially bloody record in the annals of the fight against segregation. You may not accept our standards of what is beyond the pale, but a lot more of us are willing to go to war against Jim Crow than the things you care about.

  • On Eve of Super Tuesday: Can Bernie Sanders outmaneuver Democratic Party Corporatism?
    • What's strange is that the Democratic leadership in election after election has ignored the turnout problems its favored candidates create at all levels. Why, it's almost like they take money to be a loyal opposition.

  • How the US went Fascist: Mass media Makes excuses for Trump Voters
    • There used to be this thing called the General Strike. This was a shutdown of the entire economy, a self-boycott to blackmail the rulers into making important concessions. It was a hard thing for our ancestors to do, but they were poorer than us.

      And bubble-ridden modern capitalism is very vulnerable to shocks, as 9/11 proved. Do we have the guts to play chicken with the 1%?

    • Yeah, the rapidly dwindling minority of white patriarchs want it back all for themselves. The rest of us dissenters have some notion that getting it back means everybody getting it back. I would say that one of those two groups is ignorant.

  • The Saudi-Russian Oil Price Freeze is about Power, not Money
    • At least it's the first sign that Saudi Arabia and Russia don't want to continue their march towards war with each other in Syria. That doesn't mean it still can't happen, but they're not rushing joyously into it.

  • Trump's SC Victory and anti-Muslim Hatred
    • Yet again Trump manages to expose the hypocrisy of the Republican coalition!
      Confederate apologists and libertarians like the Pauls insist that the Civil War was about sacred States' Rights and not racism, and that the right to secede must take precedence over human rights.
      So their leaders talk the codewords and tell the historical lies; that they're all about small government, that they're thus the opposite of the Nazis, who were in fact liberals, that they hate not Blacks, but Yankee tycoons and the use of big government to help the undeserving, that communities have the right to protect their sacred culture, religion and traditions by defying the Federal government.

      Yet in SC, cradle of secession, the rank & file voted for fascists. And mostly they voted for Trump.

      It's simple, folks. What would President Trump do to a state, city or region that defied him on the most trivial matter?

      What serious contender for the Presidency has ever been more likely to demand personal fealty and use violence against his personal enemies?

      He's an interventionist, who will interfere with capitalism wherever it fails to reward his constituents with sufficient pride and status over those they consider subhuman. That's the heart of his appeal versus the existing ultra-capitalist movement that runs the GOP.

      He's a Yankee, with zero comprehension of the faith & culture of the South. He shares with it only one thing: he wants Whites on top. None of the religious crap and the victims-of-Yankees crap and the yeoman-farm crap that Southerners use to enshrine their awful history as something that reflects the only proper and unchanging interpretation of the Constitution.

      The same people who voted for Rand Paul in KY will flock to Trump, who's his furthest GOP opposite on Federal domestic intervention. Paul and his daddy think Lincoln was a tyrant, as do many of the South Carolinians who polled for Trump. Yet you will never hear Trump say a bad word about Lincoln, because he loves himself a strong president who will crush local defiance.

      It's just that Trump is willing to be a Lincoln for the poor White supremacist. He will interfere with local government, the Constitution, and capitalism, not in the name of equality, but in the name of the correct, Patriarchal ordering of inequality. He will encourage his supporters to form violent fan clubs to do the dirty work of terror - clubs loyal to him, not to a secessionist state or a theology. He will strengthen Federal power where he pleases, and where that won't work he will build a parallel autocracy around his personality cult. And it's turning out that lots of Southerners are fine with all this.

      At least one good thing would come out of a nightmarish Trump dictatorship. After the old monster finally died, those of us who survived would be free of the previous tyrant: the ideology of the South that took over the GOP and used it as a weapon to roll back all the progress of the 20th Century. Its adherents will no longer be able to pose as victims, libertarians, free-marketeers, or any kind of good Christian.

    • The capitalists only respect the human rights of those minorities who have made themselves useful to them. In other words, Michigan Moslems got money. Everywhere else in the country, they're just a distant alien scapegoat for the failures of America. Which is also useful.

    • An extremist can never fail. He can only be exposed as not being extreme enough. Double down and try again.

  • Black, Brown and Progressive: A New Voter Majority in the US?
    • These are all games about turnout.
      The age of growing prosperity and equality in the First World was also an age of high voter turnouts. Once large numbers of poor and marginalized people start staying home from elections, you have a window for extremists to jump in. If we had retained the turnout levels of the more openly tribal and class-based politics of the early 20th century, the late 20th century would not have rewarded the rich and their strategy of building up GOP extremism and then picking off "centrist" Democrats with bribes.
      Giving up on elections, or giving up on local and state elections, creates an impossible situation where things get worse and worse, and those who mind that make greater and greater demands that the Democratic Party actually fight to advance democracy - but the only blackmail they have to scare the party establishment with is the threat to, you guessed it, not show up to vote.

  • Koch Brothers Declare War On Electric Cars
    • It's about bringing all the critical institutions necessary for survival under control of regional oligarchs, under reactionary slogans like "states' rights" and "restoring the republic." Lots of electric car buyers are interested in putting up solar panels and selling power back to their local utilities when they're not recharging their cars. The Kochs aimed their attacks on laws requiring that utilities buy that power. But their agenda is broadening into an attempt to keep power generation under the control of utility companies, which their other tentacles will try to fully deregulate. They use Bush's "opportunity society" lies to teach people that they're worthless because they're not entrepreneurs, but what could be more entrepreneurial than making your own electricity or growing non-Monsanto seeds? Genuine self-reliance, as opposed to the fake self-reliance of gun-nut sprawl parasites in debt-ridden McMansions living on speculative bubbles, is what they want to prevent.

  • Why Trump's tiff with the Pope endangers his Political Future
    • Based on the info in your article, the key discrepancy in Catholic voting are the many "moderates" who keep voting Republican. What's their criteria? Abortion? Most US Catholics don't seem to be single-issue voters about that. Whites who want moderation among themselves but want "something" done to crush non-Whites regardless of religion? Well, Trump has to feel pretty good about his chances with hypocrites like that.

    • But popes have not only spoken against Communism, but let their hierarchies be used in political plots against it. Maybe this Pope sees the demonization of Latinos in the US as the beginning of a great act of evil.

  • The Chinese are Coming: First 'New Silk Road' Train reaches Iran's Capital
    • This may be a restoration of historic norms. The age of dominant maritime empires is pretty much the age of Western European and American dominance of the world. During that time ships were the cheapest way to move things. But a lot of freight rail outside of the US is electrified, and that means it can beat shipping. I can't tell if the locomotive in the video is diesel or electric, but they probably haven't electrified the whole route yet.

      The bad news: continental empires have rarely been on the cutting edge of democracy or personal liberty.

  • George W. Bush, who Mirrored & Inflamed Public passions, attacks Trump for It
    • Bush seems to have functioned like his buddy Ken Lay at Enron. He was an absentee CEO who concentrated on public ideology (Lay was a crusader for deregulation) and let his subordinates steal everything. Like Lay, he's convinced himself that he saw nothing wrong.

    • Well, Israelis actually show up to vote. If Israel didn't rely on conscription and could rely on its growing inequality and neoliberal economics to keep its army stocked with the desperate poor, who in turn didn't vote, then every drop of Israeli blood would be a lot less precious. But that would mean having a mostly Palestinian army.
      Meanwhile, the US is large enough, its warmaking automated enough, that a huge gap has opened up between the voting citizen classes and the army-joining class. So yeah, expendable cannon fodder.

  • The Day Beyoncé Turned Black - SNL
    • I guess White people are offended that Blacks are offended by being segregated into two classes, "profitable" and "shootable," and refusing to be divided. If all actual living Black people could be exterminated and replaced by a few thousand computer-generated Negroes entertaining us on TV and radio without having opinions or getting paid, Whites would be much, much happier.

  • Despite Syria Cease Fire, Belligerents Plot military Victory
    • Oh boy we've gone full Balkan!
      But is it 1995 Balkan or 1913 Balkan? Because you know what comes after 1913.

  • Do Latinos really view Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as their Leaders?
    • Glenn Beck says Cruz is a Lincoln? That's practically an insult in the Republican Party as it is now. And many of Beck's Mormon forebears wanted to join the Confederacy, what with them supporting slavery and all. Cruz mouthed the Jade Helm crap along with the rest of Texas' treasonous rulers, talking like the secessionist firebrands of 1860.

  • Clinton and Sanders on Mideast War and Kissinger's Legacy (PBS Debate)
    • Movement conservatives like Cruz hate Kissinger for even negotiating with Communists, or in fact negotiating with anyone at all. They hate diplomacy on principle. God's messenger doesn't negotiate with the heathens, he dictates.

  • Is our Military-Industrial Complex a Fat Spoiled Brat?
    • It's probably not a fixable institution. No matter how many overseas commitments we terminate, the military will keep coming up with excuses to increase its forces to cover what's left. You would practically have to invent a new military to fight a specific new war, and use the resulting wartime powers as an excuse to defund the old conventional military and fire its generals.

      One might even say that the US did use 9/11 to elevate Special Forces into the real US military that does the actual fighting (now alongside drones), but completely refused to cut a single cent from the old, unused military, because its existence continues for entirely political reasons. So now we've lost the window of opportunity to make the argument that Special Forces/drones are mobile enough to dominate the world and everything else has to be scrapped to pay for that. We went ahead and paid for both at the same time and people still feel insecure.

      And the mentality of the American public is also probably not reformable. We went straight from isolationism to global hegemony in WW2 without ever having to learn the sticky business of power-sharing with other major states. FDR took care of that with his personal relationship with Churchill, but by 1945 it wasn't really a partnership, and NATO hasn't really been a partnership since.

  • Russia and Iran are allied in Syria – but are they as close as they seem?
    • The ostensible premise of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is that Russia, China, and the ex-Soviet 'Stans are all about non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states. We know that all those states have major human rights issues, and countries with major human rights issues always make a big deal about their sovereign rights. So Iran should fit right in there; in fact it should be one of the most genuinely democratic of the group.
      However, I am skeptical that these countries actually believe in sovereignty for its own sake. This is about taking a stand against Western interference. But many of these countries were involved in fighting the Taliban before the US muscled its way in after 9/11. Afghanistan was then a proxy war between them and Pakistan. And now there's talk that Pakistan (and India!) will follow Iran into the SCO. How far can you take this pledge of non-interference between countries that have such extreme partisanship towards each others' ethnic minorities? Would they go all Czechoslovakia on a pro-democracy or pro-Islamist rebellion in a member state?

  • Did Bashar al-Assad win New Hampshire? Trump & Sanders Mideast Policies
    • Bismarck's alliance with the Czar was grounded in strategic logic, but ran against the attitudes of Germans, which is why Wilhelm II terminated it. I don't think Trump would recognize strategic logic if it bit him on the ass. He likes Putin because Putin aspires towards dictatorship and is most of the way there. He has in no way denounced the many economic schemes the neocons have pursued against Russia like the BTC pipeline, which have driven Putin further into the arms of China which Trump so hates. Maybe it's all just skin color with this racist bully.

  • Can Hillary Close Gender Gap? Young Women for Bernie in NH
  • Beyonce angers US Right by bringing up African-American Rights at Superbowl
    • Maybe psychological testing for police recruits should include shamelessness. Because that seems to define the police culture of the United States more broadly than violence; and potentially a greater threat to its liberties.

    • My response to this has not changed in 30 years.
      The colonists rebelled against the Redcoats for less - by the norms of their time - than what our police do to African-Americans and other racial minorities today. Should Samuel Adams and Ben Franklin have stopped polarizing the colonists by advocating violence?

  • Israel frets about "Iran as Neighbor" if Aleppo falls & al-Assad Regime Wins
    • Well, an open alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel would conclusively expose the true nature of what the US has been trying to impose on the region: an alliance of white capitalist colonists and capitalist-sellout Arab reactionaries. Which reduces to: the rich as feudal representatives of global capital, and inherent enemy of all other people remaining in the Middle East.

      But pretty worthless as infantry, yeah.

    • Do his relations with Israel remain excellent if his troops end up facing the Golan Heights as the protectors of Assad and Iran? I think something is going to go wrong eventually.

  • 5 Worst Foreign Policy Moments of GOP New Hampshire Debate
    • If there was just some way for Trump to build his wall between his America and my America without any innocent victims being trapped on his side, it would solve the foreign policy problem, because his America would have no coastline, no Navy, no allies to provide forward bases, and eventually no embassies. Same for Ted Cruz. America would look like a doughnut, with a wall ringing its inner wasteland.

      However, it would still have oil (and earthquakes) so I'm afraid we'd still do business with it, and allow it to buy control of our politicians.

  • The ISIL Challenge: Neither WW III nor a Minor Threat
    • It's like we're living in a chickenshit version of the Great Depression, with a hundred Little Hitlers and Stalins running around creating cult followings that claim greater allegiance than the existing nation-states, in a marketplace of ideas that's degenerated into a breadline of the desperate. The right-wing conspiracies of business and government worldwide have accomplished their goal: destroying our belief in secular improvement through democratic institutions. Instead of fascist movements, we now have religious fundamentalisms, Christian, Moslem, Jewish and now Hindu, taking over countries by swearing to help only their own partisans.

  • Poll: Most Americans Want Redistribution Of Wealth
    • It would help a lot if:
      1. people weren't so easily swayed by paid political ads
      2. the poor voted in the same proportions as the affluent
      Even if we got rid of representative democracy and voted directly on legislation these would be problems. Our society used to have social organizations like unions where the non-rich developed a sense of their political interests and elevated leaders to act on them. These have been undermined not just by conspiracy, but by the replacement of communities of shared economic interest with a sort of commoditization of residency, where housing is a free market cloud of suburban subdivisions surrounding a job center, connected by cars. People once were neighbors with their co-workers, with shared resentments against a specific tyrannical boss, often all of the same ethnicity and attending the same church. Even the small businessmen who serviced them might be on their side against the big boss because of their obvious interest in higher local wages.

      Of course these communities could also be deeply conformist and oppressive.

  • Could Saudi Arabia's grip on oil prices bring Russia to its knees?
    • The problem is, cheap oil promotes CO2 emissions worldwide, and the effects are worldwide. Progress towards alternative energy and transportation can't keep up with SUV buyers.

  • Foreign Policy Winners and Losers in Iowa
    • At least there was an organized Left in Weimar. The Right always uses the threat of a seizure of power by militant Leftists to justify coups and electoral coups (Chile, Spain, Indonesia, Germany). Yet it's unnecessary for one to actually exist for that gambit to work under our corporate media. The Right is waging a one-sided civil war against democracy.

    • I was wondering when the libertarians would finally show up today to tell us that Cruz is more anti-war than Clinton because he hasn't had a chance to get blood on his hands yet. I guess in 1932 you could have said that Hindenburg had more blood on his hands than Hitler. But you should have known better.

    • Except that Obama got those Black voters away from Clinton over a period of time in 2008 after it was thought that it was impossible. If it was just about stereotypes, they would all have flocked to him instantly. I still don't know why they went back to Clinton or what they expect her to do. Detailed survey data would be nice.

  • Also-Ran Trump urges Thugs to Knock 'the Crap' out of Protesters, will cover Legal Fees
    • Maybe he's counting on a riot to excite the base.

      Man, even the Nazis didn't promise to cover legal fees. Next step, private death squads. White unemployment will vanish overnight... along with some other things.

  • The "Democracy" of Billionaires & the Most Expensive Election ever Bought (Except for Bernie Sanders)
    • The money works because the commercials work. If that changes, it means something really big has happened inside our heads.

  • Moscow's Historical Relationship with Damascus: Why it Matters Now
    • Although I am in support of America not freaking out so much about Russia's involvement in the war, I must point out things that matter to mainstream Americans.

      First, it is as historical to say that Russian rulers crave the status of a Great Power as it is to say that they have a longstanding relationship with Syria. You can't act as though that naval base doesn't matter in the larger scheme of things.

      Second, defending Russia as having a right to continuity with the Soviet Union could be argued as justification for a continuation of the Cold War. Most Americans, who know nothing about Russia except leftover stereotypes of the Soviet era, will see it that way. If we want to prevent the re-establishment of the Cold War, then we must emphasize the differences between the current strongman and the previous aspirant to world revolution. They can't just paint "Russia" over "CCCP" and then behave the same way overseas.

      It's going to be impossible to teach the American people to accept a multipolar world of Great Powers replacing the American superpower if we pretend that Putin is all flowers and unicorns. Being even a Great Power is an ugly business, but several somebodies will be doing it for the rest of our lives.

  • Zika: As temperatures rise from CO2 Emissions, epidemics spread
    • Well, we know that epidemics are on the select list of things that triggers the paranoia of modern Americans. We saw that with the Ebola outbreak last year. Our primitive brains seem to need to blame our problems on something more tangible than rising temperatures. Could the spread of a mosquito get our attention like all the killer bee hysteria of the 1970s?

  • Will Iowa's Women Dems choose Hillary or Bernie?
    • My worry is that his supporters WON'T be back in four years because we will have entirely given up on bourgeois representative democracy. Now the goal of the Right is to get people to do exactly that and stop trying to exercise their rights. But clearly representation has failed and we should be trying to build the democratic replacement - while still participating in the existing system so it isn't used to outlaw our project.

      To me, the great problem is that those classes, ethnicities and genders who want to be governed well get out-participated by that White Christian tribal patriarchy that doesn't want to be governed at all. Which is quite strange on the face of it. If the poor voted in the same numbers as the rich, non-Whites in the same numbers as Whites, the last 40 years of our history would be wildly different.

      This is why Occupy happened, and then seemed to disappear. It is necessary to be Democrats on Election Tuesdays and then become Occupy for 729 out of 730 other days. That's just too much of a strain on our loyalties. Our radical ancestors could do it because of an entire strata of private associations that united them against their higher-status oppressors: unions, fraternal orders, churches and the simple fact that under early capitalism, the workers of a particular industry all lived in the same neighborhood, often were of the same non-WASP ethnicity, and shared their lives and hatreds. All of that has been swept away.

      Now we think of ourselves firstly as consumers - beneficiaries of the capitalists, instead of workers. We share commercials and show off our purchases to our neighbors, then drive off to completely different jobs and places than they do.

      So that's where the change will have to come. Occupy was like the early labor clashes after the Civil War, events that made people aware that others were out there who were alienated from this social order. Sanders is like the early socialists who ran for president. We can't get further than this until we have permanent organizations that both benefit us (self-interest is always paramount) and require the replacement of the existing social structure.

      Self-interest means the replacement must be built around the ways we will make a living in the future. We may already have the tools to replace financialized, globalized capitalism - self-production via 3D printers, CNC machines, solar panels, mutual financing via Kickstarter and Patreon, wildly decentralized free media via YouTube. We do not yet know how these will come together into a system powerful enough to resist the retaliation of the old order.

    • The problem is, what you are describing is EXACTLY what right-wingers successfully accuse feminism of being; a front for socialism and the weakening of the superior White American to the level of the global mud races. America learns to live with equality to the extent that the people being raised make themselves useful to capitalism. The corporations want to empower Carly Fiorinas (to her former company's regret, no doubt), not Angela Davises, or even safe media liberals like Rachel Maddow.

      I guess the game is to appoint a Head Female whom other women surrender their concerns to and then shut the **** up, in the same way that the quadrennial Black GOP contender like Herman Cain and Ben Carson is the putative Head Negro - not really meant to win the presidency, but a magnanimous show of willingness to treat the Other as a junior partner in the glorious, essentially Anglo and masculine pursuit of world ownership. The position of the American people as a whole is just a tiny bit to the Left of that, which is why people who aren't Leftist activists don't have a problem with Hillary Clinton's eternal corporate pandering in both domestic and foreign policy.

  • Iowa Primary wins Predict Nothing: #Iowasowhite & doesn't look like America
    • But it's not surprising that in the increasing tribalism of White politics, the GOP is aided by the corporate media in presenting Iowa and New Hampshire as the "real" America, a signal to the Silent Majority as to where it's supposed to throw its weight. While the winners of these states often wilt in the spring thaw, the tone has been set for months of escalating rage and extremism in a monotone echo chamber.

      Except, of course, that Trump has already pre-empted that calendar. The concentration of Cruz's millions on the attentions of Iowa evangelicals may win him the caucus, but the newest surveys of evangelicals nationwide show Trump approaching a 2-to-1 chasm over Cruz. Cruz will have to go state-by-state, temporarily stunning local fundamentalists over the head long enough to drag them back on the theocratic wagon and creating the illusion of a wave of support. Maybe he is aided by party bosses to win the nomination this way, while Trump still has the overwhelming edge among actual GOP voters. Then what happens?

  • Anne Frank's Stepsister: Donald Trump Is Another Hitler
    • The language of Purification, of taking back what was stolen from Us, of saving our country from the failures of those above by persecuting those below, of throwing aside the messy details of our existing ideologies and class interests to trust entrust absolute power in the genius of a non-politician.

      Now given that America has four thousand nuclear warheads and 14 carrier task forces and spends more on its military than all the rest of the world combined, has a population of 300 million, and still has the world's 2nd biggest economy, while Hitler managed to make so much trouble starting as ruler of a country with 60 million people, an emasculated army, no nukes or navy or strategic bombers, and 30% unemployment, how close to Hitler do you want to risk? We the spoiled, entitled, violent people of the United States are the real danger, acting as if we are as bad off as the people of Weimar Germany, using their same excuses, praying for the return of the Messiah of war and victory - first at home against the untermenschen in our midst, and then abroad.

  • Rhetorical Terror: GOP Candidates Pledge War Crimes, Carpet-Bombing, Asian Land Wars
    • "We need to identify the enemy."

      Boy, Cruz finally told the truth about something. Because ever since our alliance with the Saudis to create a network of Islamist militants began, we've been completely wrong about whom our enemies and friends are. The defining of enemies has become about every agenda but the truth.

    • It's not because he's an idiot. The Right is trying to destroy all the parts of government it hates by terrifying the public into shifting spending to the parts of government it loves. But the GOP base shares that hatred. It would gladly lie and exaggerate about threats IF that kept the poor from getting any of the tax dollars of "real" Americans. Their belief is that a reign of terror against "bad" Americans will somehow do something to them that will make all the country's problems go away. The vagueness about what that something is probably should scare the hell out of us.

      Our motto: "Billions for bombing ni**er babies abroad, not one cent left for feeding ni**er babies at home."

  • 6 National Security Questions the Establishment Candidates don't want to Answer
    • The candidates and the citizens are co-conspirators here. If either group really believed that Islamist groups represented an existential crisis for the US they would behave the way they did in 1942. Like lining up to enlist by the millions, politicians, businessmen, actors, athletes, and ordinary people who aren't unemployed. This was also true of all America's wars of imperial maintenance. People are showing that they know better, but the more the war serves non-survival purposes the more loudly they scream otherwise to trick someone else into volunteering.

      Now an interesting question is, if we were having a Second Civil War, how would people react?

  • No, Donald Trump, we can't just "take their oil"
    • To all those here who have been saying that Trump is more anti-war than Hillary (because he's never held actual elected office):

      "He’s also repeatedly criticized the U.S. government for not 'taking' Iraq’s oil during Washington’s occupation, which began 13 years ago amid related oily delusions."

      Any further questions?

  • Dragon & Phoenix: Khamenei Lauds New Sino-Iranian 'Strategic Partnership'
    • I'm annoyed that China even waited for the US to drop its stupid sanctions. It should have gone in to both Iran and Cuba years ago, suitcases full of gold. But Beijing sees that moving slowly prevents the US from losing face over its hegemonic decline and doing something wacky that causes a global trade war. You know, like electing Donald Trump.

    • Putin and Xi are the dominant figures in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which could have a trade dimension as well as a military one. If Iran is now approved for full SCO membership, Russia might be doing more business with Iran even if it's an energy rival.

    • In the irrational world of the military-industrial complex, it may squeeze another carrier task force out of the taxpayers. But in real life, Xi just explained why our carriers are becoming obsolete. China is moving all trade inland to keep it from the reach of our Navy. And yes, our pundits are upset because they can't find an angle to stop it. Having Navy ships stop something in international waters is much fuzzier than having USAF bombers stop something in a sovereign state and we preferred the fuzziness.

  • Fearing the Bern, Billionaire Bloomberg Threatens to Buy Election for Establishment
    • Okay, then come up with a definition that we can agree on, because no one has so far. I think Franklin Roosevelt's definition of "takeover of government by private interests" is too broad. I also think it's too broad to say any right-wing authoritarian movement is fascist.

      However, I do believe that there's a fascist phenomenon, which begins with the usual betrayal of poorer conservatives by property-owning elites justified by market theology. Poorer conservatives, pretty much worldwide, don't really get market doctrines; they see the proper order in feudalist terms in which they, as smaller property owners, have a protected position and privileges defined by patriarchy and tribalism/racism. They see the owner class as their tribal chiefs/overlords who must act in the tribe's interests. The owners, of course, act to screw over everybody and drive all wages down to starvation levels.

      So this betrayal leads to the rise of right-wing populism, a critique of capitalism based NOT on equality, but on honoring a tradition of caste stratification. Intellectuals arise in these nations building ideologies of revenge & redemption for the offended class. In Italy & Spain it was based on Catholic nostalgia for feudalism (where the Church was a partner in the oligarchy). In Germany it became based on worship of the Army and by extension the (contradictory) warrior peoples of its past, the Teutonic knights and the pagan barbarians. Japan was even more purely an Army cult.

      But in all these countries, the bargain is that those males who fit the local roles of patriarch will have their status and wealth ensured/restored, and a nostalgic hierarchy imposed on all the Others. The capitalists embrace the movement because labor unions will be emasculated and profits guaranteed. The, shall we say "redneck" class, farmers and those forced to move to cities due to concentration of wealth, will become official enforcers of the new order, starting with their own wives & children (very important). But it's again the capitalists who benefit from the cost savings of this unpaid enforcer class.

      All this still doesn't get us all the way to fascism, because it largely describes the Jim Crow South and much of Latin America and Asia. The thing about fascism is that its ideologues want their nostalgic order to be "natural" and organic, but they whine that modern ideologies have contaminated the people so that continuity has been lost. Thus some savior figure is needed, to whom the classes surrender their conflicting political positions so he can decree that restoration by brute force - the "Fuhrer Principle". This is the alarming tendency in right-wing populism that has led to the precautionary attitude enshrined in Western liberal societies as "Never Again," the drawing of historical analogies to Hitler. I don't think that's an unreasonable precaution. But if the Fuhrer figure hasn't arrived yet, it's hard for normal citizens to be alarmed. The personality cult is what triggers our alarm, not the complexities of the preceding reactionary ideology.

      So people like me spend decades warning about the patient, grassroots-based anti-democratic factions of the Christian Right and capitalist neo-feudalists, and most normals ignore us because it's so hard for us to prove intent. But then Trump appears and millions of far-right bigots shed the burden of supporting the doctrines that the Koches and evangelicals and neocons devised to slowly lure America back into its oppressive past, in a blind hope that Il Douche will decree overnight the rather simple agenda that rednecks always wanted: their right to bully women, gays, non-Whites, non-Christians, etc. with guns or beatings or job discrimination until those groups form a permanent bottom caste. Above them the rednecks will be guaranteed jobs and status even if by non-market means. Now you could say that Trump is too incompetent to carry out the overthrow of the legal system that fascism (and Trump's own un-Constitutional promises) demands. But surely there is room in our definition for an incompetent fascist?

    • Welcome to the strange world of the shifting Overton Window.

      It's easy for someone like me to view America as having shifted far to the Right because I focus on wealth distribution and treatment of minorities. This is based on a long history of viewing Left-Right through the lens of capitalism and racist imperialism. But low-info bigots, meaning half of America, reject the label of racist because they claim to be willing to share power with "good" Negroes like Ben Carson - it's just too bad that "actual" Blacks aren't anything like him. And they have ZERO understanding of how unfair labor markets and wealth polarization are because their eyes glaze over when you show them charts. Pile on top of that the success of the gay rights movement and the growth of non-Christian populations, and they see that as signs that America has moved far to the Left, because the growth of capitalist injustice and inequality was never how they defined the political spectrum. To them Left-Right means "acting alien" vs "acting White" in the tiny world that they see through a sensationalist corporate media. To them, "acting alien" must be (a) a vast conspiracy and therefore political, and (b) the cause of all their personal difficulties.

      I suspect a lot of these people in fact supported unions and Social Security and other redistributive measures in their youths - but only because they supported them as tribal loyalty to fellow Whites. Just as Scandinavians fell out of love with their welfare state when they had to share it with immigrants.

    • Remember, the implication of this article is that Bloomberg will run as a saboteur. He'd rather throw the election to the Republicans rather than let the Socialist win. But on the Republican side, it sounds like the same sentiment may be brewing against Trump. A Trump nomination means that the oligarchy can no longer ignore the racist/anti-market/populist (fascist?) sentiments of poorer Whites. They'd rather steal his nomination, let him run as a independent, and throw the race to Hillary than have their party redefined.
      We're looking at a pretty amazing moment in US history. How long can it last?

  • No, Gov. Snyder, Flint's water wasn't poisoned by "Government": It was by your Appointee
    • Letting business pollute and then sticking the government with the duty of cleaning it up where absolutely necessary is our standard operating procedure. Probably no laws had to be violated.

    • Just because the state is a republic doesn't mean localities have any rights. As far as I can tell, there is a camp of right-wing theorists who believe that states have limitless power to crush challenges to their authority, which seems to be historically true with all the ugly stories of 19th century corporate-owned governors sending their National Guard units to gun down strikers.

      For some reason state governments have usually been the most dominated by the rich, while Federal and city government have had openings for progressive movements. I'm not surprised that this might mean there's legal precedent for the state tyrannizing cities demanding better services.

    • Your description of the Tea Party regime over enemy cities as "colonial" is what we need to wake up the people on this site who want to cripple the Federal government as punishment for its crimes overseas. The greatest crimes ever carried out by Americans were done by greedy private property owners who wanted entire races within our borders exempted from governmental protection so they could be dispossessed and exploited by market forces. There is nothing to prevent those crimes from happening again except a strong Federal government under an electorate that refuses to separate equality from freedom.

    • It's Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine finally come home to roost in America. The blame lies squarely on the capitalist global agenda that the GOP has made into a holy mandate. Welcome to Bolivia.

  • Palin for Trump: 'Political Correctness' (anti-racism) is a Suicide Bomb Vest
    • But if the Feds "allowed" giant companies to dominate the production chain, then isn't that what the Far Right wants? No interference in the infallible Free Market? How can these radical extremists worship property and laissez faire while expecting the Feds to shield them from the consequences?

      Answer: they're a cult of inequality, and they've been indoctrinated that they can hide their White supremacism under the rubrics of libertarianism, because surely as the Master Race they will triumph in a truly free market.

      The capitalists put this lie out there, and the militia is the fringe of the vast number of whites who embraced it, along with the Tea Party, the Christian theocrats, the libertarians and the neo-Confederates. They are reaping what they sowed. And they WILL NOT listen to us explaining that to them, because we've been explaining it to them since they first started losing their jobs and raises and benefits under Reagan and they keep doubling down on more inequality. They will keep doing it until all the Blacks and Latinos are in chains picking cotton and all gays and Moslems are job-discriminated into starvation because that's the only thing that will actually make them happy.

    • What happened with Trump and that Black Lives Matter protestor whose beating he egged on in Alabama is much more than silly talk. It's the equivalent of a burning cross. The number of casual racists in America waiting for someone to organize them is beyond your imagination if you don't live in a place like Texas. Minority Americans have a right to turn to civil war if White America tries to dehumanize them yet again. (1st time - after Bacon's Rebellion in 1676; 2nd time - after Reconstruction; 3rd time -ongoing since Reagan's election.)

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