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Total number of comments: 1756 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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