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Total number of comments: 17 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:11)


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  • Gov't used Surveillance of MLK in Bid to Destroy Him: Now they want us to just Trust Them
    • AnOminous Sign 01/21/2014 at 2:16 am

      I think Dr. Cole is quite wrong to say that only a "tiny minority" in the US regard Dr. King negatively. The Tea Party is racist to the core and the Republican Party is the party of officially declared white supremacy (Thurmond, Helms, Lott) and indirectly implied racist stereotype (anti-Obama, pro-Zimmerman, etc.). I woiuld say that around one third of Americans are just as racist, and as vicious, as J. Edgar Hoover was. The Bell Curve was a bestseller, after all...

  • Elites Stick together against Us: Feinstein Slams NSA Merkel Tap
    • These caveats are asinine. Imperialism IS racism. Racial supremacy is the justification for empires past and present. There is no need to "prove" racism - America is racist to the core, public and private sectors. The US did not "ignore" the palestinians. It funded and directly supported the slow genocide being commited upon them by the Israelis, who are themselves European imperialists with an ideology of racial superiority.

      Even collecting metadata should just illegal without a warrant. If they want to know our movements there needs to a record of them surveilling us by traditional police methods.

  • Top Ten Solar Power good news Stories Today
    • AnOminous Sign 09/19/2013 at 6:34 am

      You don't have to wonder if the Rajoy and the PP in Spain are taking bribes - they've been caught stuffing their pockets. Spanish conservatives are also notoriously, cruelly retrograde: the terrifying witch Cospedal suggested that parents should let their children starve instead of miss a mortgage payment.

      Americans are also often knee-jerk reactionaries about environmental issues. I recall an old Harper's article (about peak oil) in which the writer dismissed solar power because to meet US needs, it would be necessary to have a solar panel array the size of Rhode Island. As if that were a problem for a country that includes Texas and Oklahoma! Instead, it's an argument for immediate massive investment in solar power. All US energy could be cleanly supplied for less than the NSA/CIA budget, one imagines...

  • Brazilian President Snubs Obama: How US Cyber Espionage will Destroy the Internet
    • Ah, so we move from merely "monitoring" to "technical assistance" before setting up a straw man. Indeed the main force of agency does come from actors in the various Latin American countries, actors who receive training, weapons, payment, intelligence, and/or cover from the CIA. They use this "technical assistance" to torture and murder people who would like a less dire standard of living or some measure of democratic influence on politics, both improvements which the CIA and much of the US equestrian class opposes.

    • An atypical "Bill" comment, as this is a bald-faced lie instead of a straw man or a begged question. Other commenters have pointed out its untruth. It would be accurate to say: the CIA sought to preserve some deniability by distancing itself from its involvement with Operation Condor, efforts which included misinformation peddled by Peter Kornbluth.

      Chilean CIA Head of Station Raymond Warren was knee-deep in Operation Condor from its inception, with an emphasis on contract killing, like the 1974 murder of Carlos Prats and his wife by the Chilean neo-fascist terrorist organization Patria y Libertad, some of whom trained in the USA at the United States International Police Academy.

  • Whites and African-Americans in America by the numbers
    • An Ominous Sign 07/15/2013 at 3:45 am

      When white media stop underwriting and flooding culture with "thug life" minstrelsy, when federal equal-access housing laws are inforced so neighborhoods cease to be segregated, when the legal system stops targeting black crime almost exclusively, when republicans stop praising the slavery era, when educational opportunities are funded for African-Americans instead of only for white suburban communities, when white vigilantes are not legally able to shoot down unarmed black people whenever they want, then that will be a good time for the black community to deal with problems of violence (and misogyny) that have been exacerbated by the "Reagan Democrat"-Southern Racist-Nothern Liberal political alliance which has quite deliberatly overseen policies designed to impoverish and criminalize African-Americans.

      A very large part of America's white population is implacably and implicitely racist. Those who believe they are not look at Obama and assuage their conscience while refusing to insist on the structural changes (and sacrifices) necessary to create real conditions of equality.

  • The Conservative Logic of Ferguson's Smears of Gays, Muslims, Obama and Krugman
    • While conservative "thought" is simply beneath contempt, being based on false premises, racial superiority complexes, and painfully incoherent philosophy, Dr. Cole's definition of "progressive" is historically incorrect. The big names of America's Progressive Era were Teddy Roosevelt and Jane Addams, both chock-full of racist paternalism (see Addams's repy to Ida Wells regarding lynching), and Roosevelt was a committed imperialist to boot. American feminism tended to ignore the problems of black Americans re:equality until, and perhaps beyond, the civil rights movement. One might also mention Union racism and narrow ideological control of the rank and file.

      Likewise, the vast majority of today's progressives live in de-facto segregated neighborhoods, believe in their inalienable right to property, and flaunt consumer toys made from slave labor (similarly their clothes were largerely manufactured in maquiladores or similar gulag-esque Economic Zones of non-development).

      Progressivism, in the broad definition of equality and democracy offered here, has done many good things for the world. But to paraphrase Winston Wolf, let's not start shaking each other's hands just yet.

  • Serbia and Kosovo: A European Success Story? (Trix)
    • All of the above sounds like an excellent reason not to allow Serbia into the EU, period.

      A high-ranking european military figure once told me that Kosovo could not be formally recognized or allowed into the EU because of treaty agreements stipulating the permanence of borders in Europe. This was supposedly agreed to as a brake on Catalan and Basque nationalism. I never see reference to this in the press, however.

  • BBC Journalists accidentally Bombed by US Air Force during 2003 Invasion of Iraq (Video)
    • This is a slightly misleading headline, as the incident seems rather to be one where the US attacked the small Kurdish force here (Kirkuk) and there happened to be journalists present. Very different from the deliberate murder of journalists in the hotel in Baghdad, and also not an incident in which a news crew was (supposedly) mistaken for enemy forces.

      I would say the lesson is that the US shows utter contempt to its military allies and that shows us the concern they have for civilians.

      Interestingly, the above poster who tries to excuse this as a "fog of war" mistake has provided a link to a completely different story, of a British soldier in Basra killed by friendly fire.

  • Everybody Leaks in Washington: What the Bradley Manning Trial Tells us about a Broken System (Schanzer)
    • Another good example of this double standard is the prosecution of Judith Miller versus the non-indictment of Robert Novak. Miller had become an apostate, apparently discovering some backbone (or more likely worrying about her career) after she'd spent months uncritically publicizing the asinine lies peddled by the Bush administration (some of which Dr. Cole discusses in his next post). Novak, despite also revealing Plame's identity, remained a reliable conservative mouthpiece, hence immune from prosecution.

      I would argue against the notion expressed in this guest post that Manning's leaks affected national security. US troops operating in another country - especially one like Iraq, invaded under utterly and transparently false pretenses - are not defending the US in any substantive way. This is an ethical appeal, based on the opinion that war is wrong, so the counterargument that Manning had sworn not to leak that information is not invalid either. He has committed a crime.

      However, I would frame the question as: Who put more troops at risk, Manning, by leaking documents substantiating the war crimes and incompetance of the commanders, or George Bush, by cynically sending hundreds of thousands of troops to war? If Manning must be prosecuted, Bush must be as well.

  • How the US Decides Drone-kill People when it Doesn't Know Who they Are (Currier)
    • The CIA has pretty much never shown any use of evidence for its mass-murder, an even more pronounced lack when it has encouraged surrogates in central America. I'd argue that none of the "reasons" above hold any water whatsoever as an evidentiary barrier, but that they're more a justification for when the personnel feel like killing people.

      It's a perpetual motion machine, since the video-game killing is addictive (via the dopamine response following a successful hit), the political and military infrastructure can claim the "enemies" they killed constitute proof of the need to kill more "enemies," and the counter-productive creation of more militants in response helps the military by generating more obvious targets as well as the politicians by leading to more terrorist or paramilitary attacks.

      Why Americans belive they have the right to murder families and not be targeted themselves is a mystery to me.

  • "Argo" as Orientalism and why it Upsets Iranians
    • The State Department (George Kennan) had advised the US apply diplomatic pressure. Acheson preferred CIA intrigue. So we get SAVAK in place of the Soviet occupation of a "swath" that had formerly been occupied by the British. Unless you believe the Iranians have no right to elect their government, America betrayed its supposed democratic principles in returning the Shah to power. It's morally repugnant to suggest that forcing people to burn themselves to death is justified by our preference for one military ocuppier over another.

    • America's history since about 1890 HAS been nothing else but one long march of perfidy, deception, and aggression, with the brief exception of the Popular Front type movements in the 30s and early 40s. When the Truman/Acheson government came in, though, it was all over. The NSC and CIA took over foreign policy vs. the USSR and we allied ourselves with the most disgusting scumbags on the planet. There is no excuse for American conduct, no excuse for My Lai, no excuse for SAVAK, no excuse for EL Salvador and Guatemala and Chile and Panama. None.

      Unfortunately, these Hollywood films become the view of history in the popular imagination. Woodrow Wilson believed Reconstruction had been like Birth of a Nation. Modern university students believe Gone with the Wind. When I was in high school a teacher showed Witness (Hollywood Amish) as background for reading The Chosen (Hasidic Jews)! In fact, I will go so far as to suggest that this factually weak, self-gongratulatory psuedo-history our culture has created leads precisely to the factually weak, self-congratulatory, and morally bereft content of the comment above.

  • Redefining Torture and the Waterboarding of Americans (Turse)
    • This policy means: all Americans effectively abdicate their human rights and become justified as targets for immediate murder and torture by anyone who has been hurt by American action, or is employed by an agency representing those who have been - that is, if we apply the administration's logic to ourselves, instead of to others.

  • Why there Were no CIA Torture Black Sites in Latin America (Grandin)
    • Let's recall that Operation Condor was itself part of a terrorist coalition of European fascists, neo-Nazis, and just plain Nazis that subverted democratic governments from S. America to Europe. In Italy they bombed the Italicus train and Bologna train station, among many, many other places, while in Bolivia they tortured and murdered as death squads operating in the Klaus Barbie "Cocaine Coup" and were closely tied to the generals in Argentina. This arc of violence was connected to the Odessa Nazi Otto Skorzeny, out of Franco's Spain, and generally revolved around the "Aginter Press Agency" front in Lisbon, run by French OAS members. This cluster of Euro-nazis also worked for Pinochet and was in contact with the CIA in Bolivia through agent William Adgar Moffet III. The same people turn up in connection with Orlando Bosch, the unrepentent mass murderer who killed 73 civilians in the Cubana Air bombing (pardoned by Bush I).

      The point being that: a) such actions have been financed, overseen, co-ordinated, and collaberated with by the US not just in Chile but as part of a global postwar strategy, and the tactical shift to kidnapping/rendition is just a different way to impede democracy in most of the world; b) there is nothing new about "terrorism" at all, and throughout the 70s and much of the 80s there was terrorism all over the place (including diplomats murdered in the US) and the right wing didn't dare to destroy the 4th amendment or habeas corpus. Conclusion: we are seeing, in the US, a historical phase of legitimation of the Argentina/Guatamala/Chile/etc. style of rule-by-terror.

      Also, most of these Guantanamo-type torture methods are based on the Soviet model (denial of sleep being central) and that model was meant to procure false confessions, not real information, making Bigelow's propaganda movie even more sinister in its attempt to create a narrative of effective torture. Sadly, the most likely senario is that most of the torturers are simply US-funded sadists, deployed by office-dwelling Eichmanns who fetishize "toughness."

  • A Post-Mortem on Muslim Rage: What did the reaction to the Islamophobic Trailer Really Tell Us? (Abootalebi)
    • While usually columnists like Douthat are too hobbled by their kowtowing to party-line idols to say anything intelligent, I think he has a point, supported in this post's observation of the weaker institutional structures in those countries where violence occurred. "The West" insulting "Islam" serves precisely as a pretext for political organizations to exploit, the more violently the further to the right they are. Of course the West frequently has contributed mightily to that institutional weakness - a fact Douthat ignores.
      Also, let's not forget that the "view from Tehran" is 100% correct in this case; the director posed as Israeli and was funded by the Christian right.

  • States with Highest White Teen Births most Opposed to Obamacare
    • The suggestion that statistics are ""skewed" by minority birthrates is typically racist. The implication is that non-whites don't deserve access to health care, or that they are not real Americans and so their condition can be ignored. It also assumes that some racial component determines the (supposed) higher birthrate, as opposed to socially determined causes. Let's call these Clansmen-esque arguments out for what they are -- atavistic, morally repugnant racism.

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