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Total number of comments: 650 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:39)

Travis Bickle

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  • U.N.: One Child Killed Every Hour in Gaza
    • The Syrian civil war is, of course, quantitatively a far larger tragedy overshadowed due to a lack of press coverage.

      The issues you raise are also bulleted talking-points now being used determinedly by Israel as it attempts to distract people from what it is doing in Gaza.

      Just an observation. I wouldn't want the situation in Syria, especially, to be taken advantage of, if you know what I mean.

  • Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future
    • Taking Hamas fully out would present Netanyahu with a bit of a dilemma: He NEEDS them for the unifying threat they represent. Part of what brought about the current situation was the threat of Hamas unifying with the other Pal actors in a peaceful and effective manner.

  • Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians?
    • Pick-up the Philo interview at minute 17-18:00, where he talks about how pressure is brought to bear on individual people. If a guy like a Tom Brokaw was incensed enough to call Israel out publicly, the appropriate quality and quantity of pressure would be brought to bear to put him back in his place. It is hard to imagine ANY one reporter, producer, or anchor, who'd stand-up to pressure that can be modulated as high as it needs to go, both directly AND indirectly. Said reporter would find himself very, very cold and alone. This is very evil stuff.

    • In and amongst the drama, the propaganda driving matters gets lost. This is the stuff that precludes meaningful progress toward resolving the underlying conflict.

      With all due respect to Rula for even broaching the subject so directly, she and others become so (understandably) indignant that there message gets lost. NOT so the relentlessly coordinated PR offensive of Israel. In watching the 3 panel split screen between Host, Lake, and Rula, notice how sagely the Host nods his head as the Israeli apologist makes the case for Israel's forbearance (and remember, he is NOT even an official spokesperson).

      But the clip from Greg Phil is terrific if you have the patience to bear with his initially rambling delivery, which starts hitting home at about 9:00. In fact, it may be more effective to have him slowly lure in his listeners with his does. From then on his delivery is positively enlightening, especially at minutes 16 and 18 when he is able to describe precisely how pressure is applied in the case of BBC to distort their coverage, and his conclusion around 21:00.

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed
    • Not to be too sarcastic, but the various denials of the Palestinians include such luxuries as food and potable water. And the sufferings of the Israeli's are real, with any number of people who may have turned an ankle scurrying for a shelter (a direct hit, like a meteorite strike, will kill you) or loosing sleep.

      Bibi was on the shows talking about "what would you do," which is the real question. And the issue is one of proportionality, and how do you honestly address the underlying condition.

  • Falluja and Gaza: Why Counter-Terrorism fails when the Problem is Political
    • There is also the fact of how much ego our putative leadership has tied up in their own exceptionalism. The think they are the masters of their particular domain and are constantly stroked by supplicants to think that way. It's only natural, as well, that being ambitious people, they are constantly eyeing their immediate organizational competition and alliances within their particular milieu. This is how life works, and once on the international stage, ALL these people by nature are going to look at events almost exclusively in terms of personality match-ups. And it only follows that if you can knock off a fraction of those in that notorious deck of Iraqi playing cards, the problem will be largely solved, as the post alluded.

      The thing also is that "leaders" in relatively developed organizations are really managers, whose skill is navigating their system. Real leadership is a creative out-in-front deal, and the distinction is enormously critical. When the israelis and the US knock off managers they create the chaos and clear the way when genuinely powerful and creative leaders to rise-up from obscurity, who will be far, far from manageable.

    • Getting back to the topic, I think this is the real bottom line, whatever fine-points we may want to put on it. It's a pretty fundamental attitude you can hear the Israelis in power say in as many words, that if "you (meaning the Palestinians, or you, Don NC), aren't for them, you're against them."

      Now, connect that dot with their influence (arguably control) over the US congress and government more generally, not to mention unfettered access to the NSA databases: link to techdirt.com

      Then, throw in a arsenal of at least 200 thermonuclear weapons (not just air base or armored column busters, but city vaporizers), plus the missiles to deliver them far beyond their own neighborhood. At this point, State Department vapidness in the face of egregious Israel behavior perhaps, at many different levels, becomes more understandable.

      Have a nice day.

    • Don't have the energy to speak to this totally, but there are a lot of smart, well-informed people in government, giving well-thought through advice on foreign policy and any number of other things. When they get in a corner they call on specialist in academia to round out their thinking, Prof Cole being a case in point post 911. The problem is the politics you have to endure in a democracy and the inherent nature of organizations when it comes to policy decisions.

      On relatively mundane things it is possible, notwithstanding the idiosyncrasies of one agency and its middle managers, for a good position to be developed and by and large implemented. However, once it becomes more important, it gets kicked upstairs to people without the background to use the specialists correctly as they (necessarily) have to adapt advice for the inevitable politics and how it fits into the larger policy picture. When it becomes really important, how much time do you think a guy like Obama really has to get acquainted with the pros and cons of an issue and the alternatives being presented to him?

      When you think about it, it's a pretty pessimistic picture. And that assumes you've got a President who has the wisdom to know how to use people properly, can recognize the biases of their perspectives (and use them to his advantage), and has the strength to tell his underlings what is acceptable in terms of what they bring him. Think of the how (this is anecdotal, I think) Obama got boxed in by the generals when it came to his alternatives in Afghanistan.

      Throw in a bunch of neocons that have never really been discredited (to the extent they still ARE influencing policy), the politics needs of a gerrymandered congress, the ramifications of the Citizens United case, and one is led to start looking for a personal alternative off the grid, or perhaps someplace like Ecuador.

  • Gaza: 4 Dead Boys on the Beach & Israel's Precision War
    • The removal of the on-the-scene NBC reporter from Gaza may be the story to watch more carefully here. The killing of the children was tragic, but only made a story by the happenstance of it being caught on film. Mohyeldin may have been replaced by Engles to put a Western face on the reporting, to make the bitter pill of Israel's behavior easier for the various publics to swallow.

      Greenwald's report raises the spectra of the long hand of Israel's power, especially into the US media coverage, but I don't see any direct evidence at this point. There is the apparent pattern of Mohyeldin's reporting, which failed to follow the normal standards of current stenographic journalism, and he may have been pulled for that crime.

    • Here you're getting at what may be the greater danger to the US in the region. Maybe we should be afraid of someone other than the Iranians, you know. Just saying.....

    • It reminds me an old line from Vietnam. When the indignant observer asks the helicopter gunner, HOW, oh how can you shoot women and children? The guy responds honestly that the trick is to adjust one's aim and not lead the target quite as far as usual. Suspect that was the mindset of the guys pulling the trigger here: an afternoon at the shooting-gallery. Or mowing the lawn, in their own words.

  • Israel, Gaza and the Fatal Spirit of Versailles
    • As far as the purported cease-fire goes, one has to wonder how genuine it was. A "cease-fire" the Palestinians could hardly respond to at any level appeared more like a ploy to give Israel the thin diplomatic cover to do what they intended to do all along.

    • Of course you're right. But it's the mindset of Israel that needs to be gotten past. It's illustrated by the manner in which one of your own quite sincere commenters a few months ago (to paraphrase it) put the onus on the Palestinians: "the situation will resolve when the Palestinians finally come to understand we're here to stay here and aren't going away." Were that was all there was to it....

      Start out with that attitude, but couple it with a victim's insecurities and the pathological need to get EVERYTHING they want or imagine they might want. Add-in an opportunistic short-sightedness and the uncritical empowerment of a powerful third party. Then, consider a leadership with an abject disregard for the other side, who sees them not even as animals, but a lawn that needs mowing, who carry with them a purely zero-sum view toward negotiations.

      The situation is only going to change when the underlying FORCE imbalance shifts, which at this point is overwhelmingly asymmetric. As another commenter notes, such states of affairs simply do not last. Forever is too long a time for Israel to wait. Being tough and strong is good, but the smart money builds up the imbalance, then works for a genuinely gracious, considerate and lasting peace. The analogies to be drawn with Germany are appropriate, and Israel needs to think about them from ALL sides. (Here I'm think of your thought experiment with Bibi in the dock.)

  • The Map: A Palestinian Nation Thwarted & Speaking Truth to Power
    • It doesn't detract from the monstrosity we are seeing, but in serving US interests, the fate of neither Israel nor the Palestinians really amounts to very much. Even the billions US taxpayers spend to underwrite Israel's bad behavior isn't all that much for such a rich country, as much of it is used to stimulate our own economy though the transfer of arms. Hence, congressmen don't feel that bad about being manipulated by AIPAC et al. If that was all there was to it, it'd be a dirty, nasty shame, but not a whole lot more.

      The situation, however, has gotten way out of hand. Since 1991, the missions of American servicemen in the region have been unnecessarily and dangerously complicated by this conflict. When the situation gets so bad that the US ends up acting against its own best interests Israel really has gone too far. (the 2003 invasion of Iraq wasn't due to Israel, but there's a compelling case that it would not have happened without Israeli and domestic Israel-first influence).

    • Succinctly putting things into context is the single most enlightening contribution that can be made to understanding any complex issue. Especially when there is so much (intentional) smoke being deployed to confuse people as to the realities. You've done a few other posts like this and they're your most influential.

  • Israel's Groundhog Day: Reverse Snowballs and the Horror of Lawn-Mowing
    • Spot on. There seems to be a psychopathology involved here too deep to quickly explain. Partially, perhaps, how a victim is drawn to assume the role of their past tormentor (parallels between the Warsaw ghetto and Gaza?). Thinking they are, indeed, exceptional in their relationships (above and beyond their clout with the US.....).

      But your point about the un-sustainability of their mindset is most important.

    • Your words seem to put things too strongly, but I'm afraid they ring true.

  • Stop Saying 'If X fired Rockets at U.S.': It's Racist, & assumes we're Colonial
    • We could go through all the chicken & egg arguments about who started what, but there are a few things that are certain: one is that Israeli policy has, at least since 1967, explicitly been one of the DIS-proportionate use of force. Certainly, there has been a tit for tat, but if anyone has been restrained (albeit by incapacity), its been the Pals.

      As for what we now see. This whole episode's timing can be directly traced to right-wing Israeli political needs and the crude, short-sighted belligerence of its leadership. Its worth noting the low, tactical cunning, in waiting for Ramadan before kicking things off, a fact rarely mentioned by the MSM. The kidnapping of those teenagers was only a convenient pretext for the current "lawn mowing." You'll also notice how Israeli attacks are focused at the time of the first call to prayer (VERY early, when people wake up for breakfast before their day-long fast), and again at Iftar (around 2030 local) when they break their fast. It's simply sound tactics to focus on the weaknesses that can be exploited in an enemies religion, but there is NOTHING about this that has to do with Israeli self-defense. Unless, of course, you credit Israel with enough self-awareness to understand how desperate their actions really are. The hasbara of World Class Liars and the manipulation of a rich, enabling power, can string things along for a long time, but it's an approach that cannot hope to endure.

      At this point, Israel is clinging to a policy and mind-set that is fundamentally corrupt and counterproductive. On their present course they are doomed, ironically enough, to the very failure Israel was created to avoid.

    • I'm not unsympathetic to everything you say, but I'd try to avoid exaggerating the disparity and disproportionality. Most of those Israel bombs and missiles will only have 100-500 pounds of explosives; artillery shells and rockets I dunno. Similarly, those homemade rockets ARE getting better, and the larger ones can go over a hundred miles and carry enough explosives for a direct hit to punch a hole through the wall of a house. I saw a picture where one had knocked over a man's bookcase and caused a horrible mess. Another landed near a moving a car, causing the driver to panic and run into a lamp-post. As an instrument of terror they have, without question, positively RUINED many, many, Israeli dinner parties.

      In fairness, these things may well become more accurate and dangerous. So, we should sympathize with Israeli concerns. But Israel's underlying problem is its racism, and unless they can get past that things really can only get worse.

      EXHIBIT A: Mowing the lawn. How mainstream Israel refers to the periodic process we now see. First point is that they do not even credit the Palestinians as being animals. The second is that the metaphor is deceptive, in that lawns are considerately cultivated and managed. What they really mean is to go after an overgrown lot periodically with a weed-wacker.

    • So could we please stop doing politics by propaganda, false analogies, and appeal to the basest instincts of race-baiting? Could we please just analyze what is going on in Palestine?

      Why not? Because this sort of thing is the best Israel can do in attempting to rationalize its actions. In terms of legitimate arguments, Israel has nothing.

  • ABC News' Diane Sawyer Mistakes Stricken Palestinians for Israelis
    • In Dianne's crowd, personally and professionally, I suspect she'd find it difficult to say very much critical of Israel. A little tepid aint-it-a-shame hand-wringing perhaps; or maybe aping those State Dept officials ("our hearts go out to the woman and children....Israel's right to defend itself, etc).

      I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't even know what tape was playing as she read her script.

    • The point is about propaganda, in this case a by-the-way framing "mistake", made either by someone with an overt agenda or someone who cannot help but take care of their friends at some level.

      YOUR point would be one you should re-consider in terms of what is proportional, but also in terms of context. Israel's real complaint, and the reason for the consistently disproportionate use of force (an explicit policy of the Israeli government over many decades), is that the Palestinians resist. It's like a rapist beating the crap out of a practically defenseless woman because she resists: these rapists are only defending themselves, after all, as they proceed with their colonization.

      This may be a provocative analogy, but if it causes you just think about the realities rather than just having a knee-jerk reaction, it'll be worth your while. The sliminess with which Israel has handled themselves, in practice and propaganda, is such that anyone with any powers of discernment and without a vested interest (this may be a high bar...) who has looked in any depth at the history of this conflict cannot come away without feeling the need to take a shower.

    • Totally deceptive. I wonder if this was Dianne's mistake, as she's just the (responsible) talking head, or some Producer with an agenda. It was only a snippet, but it established the context and anything that follows would been negligible in impact. Whatever might have followed in the report, or in a retraction/clarification of some sort (don't hold your breath), would have been permanently tainted by the initial bias (lie) this managed to establish.

  • The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
    • Great context for the practicalities and unpredictabilities that surround current events. But despite a genuine mutual threat, can the power's that be in the US come to regard Iran as anything other than an expedient? Unless the underlying values of the US change, it seems the Iranians will inevitably be stiffed.

      The Iranians certainly have a realistic understanding of US politics, and the confidence that may come out of this sort of relationship won't hurt. But I'm not sure further development, and perhaps an outright consolidation of Iranian influence over Iraq, is a pill those with influence over US policy are going to be happy to swallow.

  • Prelude to Ethnic Cleansing? Israel Plans 3200 more Squatter homes on Palestinian Land
    • Interesting negotiating ploy in operation here: either be polite and we;ll take your land piecemeal, or don't cooperate and we'll just take it outright.

      I wonder how often there has ever be any true negotiations on anything of any significance when BOTH parties did not hold something for which the others were willing to make concessions. In other words, unless there is some sort of rough equity there simply isn't a basis for re-balancing the equation.

      Instead, what we seeing here is world-class manipulation. The genuinely rational course of action for the Pals has, at least to many who are there, always been pretty obvious.

  • Press Freedom is the Issue, not Glenn Greenwald's Personality
    • Hope you don't get too distracted by your day job to put together more posts like the two I've seen here recently. There is a general condition of which this issue (Greenwald/Snowden) is just one symptom, and it needs to be responded to. Political tension along these lines has always been a part of the natural order. At this point, however, it looms as something far, far more dangerous, and insidiously so. Whenever someone can do more, they must, and you may be able to do more than just nudge things on the margins.

      One problem here is that Kinsey's, Gregory etal, have the ear of the nation. Whatever you post here or speak about on Democracy Now isn't going to go that far, at least in terms that matter. Given the degree of political polarization that has set in, you are preaching to the choir, so it may be useful to think more strategically, and infectiously.

      One small thing you might do is avoid citing Noam Chomsky. He's great as an intellectual and observer, but he's fundamentally a polemicist, and sometimes its better to drop the footnotes when all they'll do is leave you open to the distraction of ad hominem disparagement. There's too much at stake for that. Chomsky's better thinking stands to be incorporated organically into your own, one way or the other.

      I've read a couple of your thrillers, and they're great airport popcorn. Art is incredibly powerful, and has a potential in the right hands to touch everyone, everywhere. It's the point of greatest leverage in influencing operating assumptions and values. Maybe there's an angle there worth mulling over.

  • 'Journalist' Michael Kinsley says Gov't should make Publishing Decisions
    • I'm not sure he's a neo-con, as such. He is a cheerleader for the conventional wisdom, and eloquently rephrasing the lines he's heard, which keep getting him invited back to toney dinner parties with the powers that be. It's how you get into "good" schools, good parties, etc. Not unlike Tom Friedman, he has gotten ahead by getting along.

    • A must read, re-read, and pass on post. Thanks for putting it together. MIGHTILY important!

  • Mass Protests, Strikes in Turkey over Erdogan's Neoliberal Response to Miner Deaths
    • The thing about Turkey, is that viewed through the lens of comparative politics it can stand-in as a caricature for other, more advanced (?), countries. I wouldn't call it's political leadership more "primitive" although you could also make that case, but in practical administration of things like this, simply less polished and more prone to show their mien.

      There is a whole class of people, whose occupations cut across society, only some of whom are politicians. But when they get together, speaking in candor with one another, I doubt their underlying attitudes vary much from that of Tayyip Bey. Throw in that joker who owns the Los Angeles basketball franchise and the self-righteous rancher who recently made news, and you get a rather clear, albeit disturbing picture.

  • Condoleezza Rice, Charged with War Crimes at Rutgers, withdraws as Commencement Speaker
    • I'll confess to condescension along with a dose of sarcasm in that post. But my experience is that the exceptionally ambitious are often driven by something deeper, and very often unhealthy.

      Alberto was, if memory serves, the son of a migrant with nothing. Rice, it seems, was from a strong, established family. But when people don't have what it takes to back away from something as WRONG as what was going on, their characters must have been fundamentally compromised in some manner. IMHO

    • On the off-change you check back, I'd invite you to lay down a simple, to-the-point, defense of Rice's actions and any contribution she has made to the national/world's well-being.

      It is easy to succumb to exasperation and hence you get a bit of hyperbole on this website about those who sold the Iraqi misadventure. But if you have any refutation about the essence of her criminality and culpability, or ANY sort of credible counterpoint, I'm open to be educated. How open-minded are you?

    • Hey, let's be fair to the real example she sets: for being a world-class sycophant. This is the express route to career advancement, especially if one wants to be in the political game, where your willingness to enthusiastically peddle the values and agendas of your betters is the name of the game. To the extent corporations need alignment with common values there is a similarity, but it tends to be more a matter of getting along with the team to further evolving goals in the face of competition. Splitting hairs, I suppose. However, on that basis of ambition, maybe her example and what she has to say would be valued by some.

      I would give her a little slack. Like Alberto Gonzales, she was chosen due to her drive to fit-in and belong, and to transcend her background. Neither of these people have any inkling of how they have been used to serve the purposes of others; the first requirement for an effective salesman is the ability to con themselves and the power of delusion runs deep.

      These two high-tone lackeys I find kinda pitiful, even as they continue to rationalize their actions: to think they helped "make" policy and that they were every anything other than dupes. In his own way, The Bush Boy goes in the same bag, although his gift was knowing how to co-opt others: a sales manager and conman in-chief, as it were. Values completely aside, comparing his post-presidency with that of others, he really is nothing if not pathetic.

      Your should save your real scorn for Cheney (as you do), and the small and nameable group of manipulators who know their dark agenda is best managed by keeping to the shadows.

  • Did the Supreme Court just Kill Dirty Coal Plants & Save the World?
    • Thanks for taking the time for this post, which I think I got. But I'm an Average Joe, and it made me concentrate way too much, even as you were burning up too many of your own keystrokes, time and energy.

      If it is possible, being able to boil your perspective down to a few pithy bullet-points could go a long ways toward making it more genuinely meaningful. That is, in the sense you'll connect with a great deal more people, any one of whom could have the direct/indirect clout to make a real difference on a given issue, in ways we cannot even imagine.

      The critical point of leverage is the ability of the Informed Guy to effectively educate others, whereby their understanding is multiplied exponentially. Naturally, I'm making a copy of this and sticking it to my own forehead....

  • New FCC Rules Will Put "Stake in Internet's Heart"
    • This thread may be dated and sliding down, but here's a great new post from Techdirt, that gives a little more insight to motivations and realities of the net neutrality issue:

      link to techdirt.com

      It illustrates how businesses, when their over-riding value is to maximize shareholder wealth, will cling ruthlessly to inefficiency or even create it outright.

      In the case of airlines, they figure that they can make more money pressuring people to upgrade past a degrading boarding experience than by making simple modifications to improve the lot of everyone. Same with broadband access: cable companies see making more money by extorting those with the resources to upgrade. The key to all such tactics is to make sure standard services are sub-standard.

      Now that I think of it, the big pharmaceuticals are going down a similar path. To maximize shareholder wealth they need to focus on high-margin drugs for rich people and countries, such as those for the rarer forms of cancer. Meanwhile, R&D for things like antibiotics and vaccinations are cut or eliminated altogether. From a purely financial perspective, this is only rational. But while there are a limited number of generally aged people who may die from a rare cancer, obsolescent antibiotics and a lack of vaccines stand to kill millions, even in the First World.

    • With all due respect, on a number of levels I hope you rethink this. As an individual you can just quit, blow up your TV and retire to eat a lot of peaches. But the world of your children and grandchildren will not quit just because you gave up. Sure, be realistic and understand your personal limitations. But, at least for the moment, any one person stands to be able to do a great, great deal, due to how the internet has, as they say in Business Schools, lowered the barriers to entry (in this case, to the marketplace of ideas).

      The real danger here is how a price wall is being (consciously?) prepared to once again go up, marginalizing dissenting perspectives and voices. Due to how the internet is now the critical point of dissemination for alternative news as well as ideas, this issue is arguably far more important than any of the other concerns you'll be reading about here.

    • This issue gets less attention than it should...by a long shot...

      There is only so much bandwidth, so if the FCC provides preferencial access to the big guys, that automatically denies access to the little guys. Practically speaking, websites like this one, or the next scrappy little start-up that isn't towing the conventional marketing wisdom, will be far harder to discover or access.

      The whole leveling power of the internet will be—and this is no overstatement—eliminated. It won't happen overnight, but as soon as those bills come due. Fundamentally, websites will have to pay big company prices to play.

      To provide equal access to you, the consumer, commercial entrepreneurs will have to pay the same rates as companies like Walmart's. Similarly, in the marketplace of ideas, websites like this one will be marginalized, and in short order stand to be deflected into oblivion altogether.

      Could it be that's the point?

  • FCC Plots Murder of Blogs on Behalf of Billionaire Media Lords
    • Isn't it transparent on the face of that article that there is NO difference between GIVING one set of companies preferential bandwidth and LIMITING bandwidth to everyone else?

      Regardless of how they spin it, and the doublespeak here is nauseating, at this point the issue has become a zero-sum game the public is about to lose. Of course, this assumes you sense the good of the people may not be defined by whats good for the profitability of the very largest corporations..

  • Israel, US Complain about not being able to Divide and Rule the Palestinians
    • The paradox of Israeli/Palestinian negotiations is that they cannot continue unless they end. That is, real and meaningful negotiations cannot begin until the pretense of negotiations end. To this point that is all there has ever been (aside from the pure horse trading of Camp David I).

      A fresh start would in any case frustrate Israel's demonstrated agenda and the programs it has in-place with the current "process." So, the screams we now hear from Tel Aviv are to be expected given how they represent the potential of a real step forward. There is an easy key to understanding here: watch what Israel does.

  • NYPD closes Unit that Spied on Muslims
    • That was exactly my thought as I was clicking the comments link. In-line with another post about how the NSA denies there're be any abuse of its primitive bulk face-recognition practices, in the face of institution imperatives for power and growth, these big bureaucracies simply cannot let go of bad ideas.

      Instead, their inclination will be to see it as more of a public relations problem, to be "solved" by better concealing their actions, or perhaps declaring them "Top Secret," and will declare divulging existence of the new program to be a threat to national security. Thinking practically, maybe the FBI will pick it up...

  • The FBI's Facial Recognition Database Combines Lo-Res Photos With Zero Civil Liberties Considerations
    • And that would be painting a big red flag on yourself. Not a good idea if you need to use the airlines or otherwise be unencumbered by existence at the top of a potential terrorist watch-list. (Since your status would not be used for prosecutorial purposes, only investigative leads, it would be OK, along the lines rationalized in the article).

    • The behavior of these people takes the sting out of any definition of cynicism. Another perhaps more likely (e.g., demonstrated) response from their demonstrated menu would've been to make this matter Top Secret retroactively.

  • Russian Sanctions-Busting?: Putin's bruited 500k b/d oil deal with Iran draws US Threats
    • Realities aside, think about how such a deal will feed into the narrative that Iranian negotiations were nothing but a bad faith ploy by Iran, in its plan for world domination, and a slap in the face of US benevolence and forbearance.

  • Is Rand Paul right that Cheney invaded Iraq for Halliburton Profits?
    • There are also geographic choke-points for resources. Whatever it has given up, the UK has hung onto a number of the world's most strategic points/islands, of which the Falklands are only one.

  • Top Ten Ways in which it was Actually the Israeli Gov't that Derailed the Peace Talks
    • I suspect that if you were able to look into it more closely, you might well discover that when Kerry was putting together "his" team, Israel/AIPAC one way or the other told him to choose Indyk, a guy who is essentially a unpaid (e.g. legal) Israeli agent.

      Remember the case of how The Lobby exercised its veto prerogatives with Chas Freedman's nomination for the NIC?

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      Keep in mind, that position would have been hardly as important a place to have a man as it would be to own the lead diplomate responsible for developing and driving Kerry's work.

  • State Department Official Freaks Out That Declassifying CIA Torture Report Might Make The World Angry
    • I'm wondering if there is an inherent weakness with groups of any sort when it comes to recognizing their mistakes, learning, and doing what is appropriate to move on. Exhibit A being when the nominal leader says its better, in this case, to put it all "behind us." Maintenance of legitimacy (e.g., the collective ego), is perhaps even more important than growth and more power, which remain imperatives as well. But nowhere in the group psyche is there any natural tendency or tolerance for significant correction, growth and transcendence, that individuals are at least capable of achieving.

      It's like once a group enter a collective they develop and become controlled by an ego which is self-reinforcing. It becomes stronger with size and is too distributed for there to be significant self-control, absent the entrance of an external (uncompromised) dictatorial force to direct change.

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