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Total number of comments: 191 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:48)

Don Utter

Showing comments 191 - 101

  • Happiness Index: From Immigrants to Health, how Trump & GOP are making America Sad (Sad)
  • Pompeo, Big Oil and the attack on Iran Deal
    • The USA continues its slide in values and role in the world.

      A couple of days ago the 5 day statue of limitations passed allowing James Clapper to avoid being prosecuted for lying to congress.

      Tillerson leaves after destroying the State Dept as an institution. A major piece of the destruction of the US is to destroy institutions and Tillerson did his job.

      The new head of the CIA ran torture sites and is under indictment in the EU so not clear if she can travel there.

      And Pompeo, the loyal Koch worker, who published a love letter about the Kochs a couple of years ago, proceeds to the State department.

      Here is a link to Pompeo's letter and the fact that I took the time and space to even provide the link shows how stupid the whole thing has become.

      "Stop harassing the Koch brothers" 2/2/12 in Politico

      link to

      And the big worry as Juan pointed out is if these changes and both Netanyahu and Trump need a bump in their support at home so they might conspire to start a war with Iran

      Will the Democratic party stand up and grill these candidates or is the legacy of Obama to continue to pass this disease onto the future?

  • Youth, Gun Safety and the Pentagon
    • I am reading an amazing book that addresses the issues of this article. "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker.

      Here is a 1 hour video of him
      link to

      He is from Berkeley. Suggest checking out Eve Van Cauter from Univ Chicago and David Dinges from Univ of Penn. They have all done outstanding work and recommend the book as well.

  • Grievance Politics for Insecure Majorities: Trumpism Worldwide
    • The Great Regression is a world wide project mostly centered in Europe. They kicked off with a book with that title with articles by 15 well known people and published the book in 13 languages simultaneously. They seem to be most active on twitter and may have additional conferences.

      They published summaries of the chapters on their web site. This summary is 3 paragraphs. It is critical of "progressive neo liberalism" which has been the stance of the democratic party for the last few decades and which Bernie's campaign made visible. Here are 2 of the three paragraphs.

      "In its US form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of mainstream currents of new social movements (feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism and LGBTQ rights), on the one side, and high-end »symbolic« and service-based sectors of business (Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood) on the other. In this alliance, progressive forces are effectively joined with the forces of cognitive capitalism, especially financialization. However unwittingly, the former lend their charisma to the latter. Ideals like diversity and empowerment, which could in principle serve different ends, now gloss policies that have devastated manufacturing and the middle-class livelihoods that were once available to those engaged in it.

      Progressive neoliberalism developed in the United States roughly over the last three decades and was ratified with Bill Clinton’s election in 1992. Clinton was the principal engineer and standard-bearer of the »New Democrats«, the US equivalent of Tony Blair’s New Labour. In place of the New Deal coalition of unionized manufacturing workers, African-Americans, and the urban middle classes, he forged a new alliance of entrepreneurs, suburbanites, new social movements and youth, all proclaiming their modern, progressive bona fides by embracing diversity, multiculturalism and women’s rights. Even as it endorsed such progressive notions, the Clinton administration courted Wall Street. Turning the US economy over to Goldman Sachs, it deregulated the banking system and negotiated the free-trade agreements that accelerated deindustrialization."

      link to

  • Trump's Plan to use Fossil Fuels to dominate the Globe

      We are going backwards.

      A book and a project are underway. It was kicked off by a book by 15 experts mostly from Europe but from around the world. There is a facebook page which I have not visited, but I do follow the effort on twitter under twitter thegreatregression and most of the tweets are in German, and seem to be about German politics and they can be automatically translated.

      the web page for the project is

      link to

      The web page is difficult to navigate and I found myself going back to the home page to get the preface some of which will be given below.

      The web page does have a short statement by all the 15 contributors as well as a short bio. The book was simultaneously published in 13 languages to begin a world wide conversation.

      In the preface by the editor of the volume spends time on work in the late 1990's to talk about the dangers of globalization and other topics. This volume updates these conversations.

      In articles like this one using energy policy by the Trump administration it is a trip back to the 1950's at a time when the political actor, The New Climate Regime, is the most important political actor according to Bruno Latour. The concern is that Trump will not only drag down the US, but the whole earth.

      From the preface to the book "The Great Regression"

      "Whereas others had previously spoken of the risks of globalization in general, many of the writers in this volume stress that we are faced with a neoliberal version of globalization, so that we might with equal justice speak of the risks of neoliberalism. In this sense, the contributions collected here can be read as attempts to explore the question of the many different ways in which neoliberal democracies live on the basis of preconditions that they cannot themselves guarantee – to vary a phrase of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde’s.13 These preconditions include media that provide a certain plurality of opinions; intermediate bodies such as trade unions, parties or associations in which people can achieve something like agency; genuine left-wing parties that succeed in articulating the interests of different milieus; and an education system that is not reduced to the production of »human capital« and
      learning PISA tasks by heart.

      The Great Regression that we are witnessing currently may be the product of a collaboration between the risks of globalization and neoliberalism. The problems that have arisen from the failure of politicians to exercise some control over global interdependence are impinging on societies that are institutionally and culturally unprepared for them.

      This book sets out to pick up the threads of the globalization debate of the 1990s and to take it forward. In it, scholars and public intellectuals respond to urgent questions: How have we ended up in this situation? Where will we be in five, ten or twenty years’ time? How can we stop the global regression and achieve a turnaround? In the face of an international league of nationalists the book attempts to create something like a transnational public sphere. The term »transnational« here operates at three levels: first, that of the contributors; second, that of the phenomena under discussion; and third, that of distribution – the volume will appear simultaneously in several countries."

      Here is a direct link to the preface

      link to

  • In the Age of Big Climate Change we have to stop Farting Carbon
    • Bruno Latour, the French polymath, continues his decades of work to understand the modern frame that has allowed us to not respond to what he calls The New Climate regime. And he points out that it is the most important political actor today. Under its authority the nations of the world came to the agreement in COP21. The book reviewed below follows from his Gifford Lectures in which he argues that science, politics and religion have to be brought together to see what is going on. He is now on a 2 year project situated in Germany to bring together artists and others to represent the anthropocene so earthbounds can begin the diplomatic work to collectively respond to the earth.

      Human-caused climate change reawakens an apocalyptic sensibility, altering everything we do, think, and feel, whether we acknowledge it or not. “We have become the people who could have acted thirty or forty years ago – and did nothing, or far too little.” Political cataclysms are as much part of this “new climate regime” as hurricanes and wildfires: after the US election, Latour described the “innovation” of Donald Trump as “a mad dash for maximum profit while abandoning the rest of the world to its fate.” Trump would be the first truly ecologically-oriented president, through pure negativity: “For the first time, climate change denial is determining all political decisions.”2

      What would it take to shake us out of our denial, delusional hope, or numb passivity—all these ways in which “ecology is making us crazy”? We need new senses and new tools for thought, Latour contends. Not just more carefully verified observations and arguments, but “plays, exhibitions, art forms, poetry, and maybe also rituals” that can sensitize us to the feedback loops between our smallest actions and their consequences near and far.3 “Gaia” is one such conceptual experiment.


  • Top Trump officials, in Syria's Raqqa, vow "Stabilization" w/out "Reconstruction"
    • A citizen blogger following the Syria conflict

      Imagine if you will, the Three Stooges, armed with machine guns, spraying bullets into a packed theater because they saw a bad guy in the crowd.
      That's America's foreign policy in Syria.
      We've accomplished nothing but getting hundreds of thousands of people killed, while undermining our own standing in the region.
      We've been messing with Syria since the CIA helped launch a coup d'etat in 1949. This includes a special forces raid in 2008, and CIA funding the opposition since 2006, and trained rebels since 2012, but I'm going to focus in our record since we began bombing Syria in 2014.

      Posted Saturday 1/20/2018

      America's hilariously, criminally incompetent Syrian strategy

      Here are some of the links features in the post

      US has trained only 'four or five' Syrian fighters against Isis, top general testifies (Guardian, 2015)

      The Pentagon Wasted $500 Million Training Syrian Rebels. It’s About to Try Again. (Foreign Policy, 2016)

      In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA (LA Times, 2016)

      U.S. Military Battles Syrian Rebels Once Supported by CIA, Now Backed by Turkey (Newsweek, 2017)

      C.I.A. Arms for Syrian Rebels Supplied Black Market, Officials Say (NY Times 2016

      Blowback: ISIS Got A Powerful Missile The CIA Secretly Bought In Bulgaria (Buzzfeed, 2017)

      Posted 1/22/2018

      Turkey in a proxy war against the U.S.

      Turkey invades Syria....

  • America's Biggest Mideast Foreign Policy Challenges in 2018
    • Now that the 100 year Zionist colonial policy is clear, and the Zionists are acting without restraint, like the oligarchs in the world, will they succeed in genocide of Palestinians or will the other countries of the world finally be heard?

      The two state "solution" has been a lie for years and the Zionists, along with Trump have made that totally clear. As US power in the world declines, will there be more chaos and death in the final solution, or like the earthbounds who have been forced to react to new political actor, The New Climate Regime, come to see the struggle for land there will be similar to the land struggle for the earth?

  • Can Corporate Power Be Controlled in the Age of Trump? Steps Toward a Constructive Liberal-Left Alliance
    • Excellent presentation at Harvard Law by Matt Stoller

      "Matt Stoller: “Monopoly is a Form of Lawlessness”"

      link to

      He thinks that anti trust sentiment and laws can be used to bring corporations back to earth. I am not so sure that this can be done before they further consolidate their power and become out of reach,.

  • World, horrified at Trump, sends US Ranking Plummeting
    • Trump has accelerated the failure of the US.

      He makes it hard to ignore who we are.

      The social historian Morris Berman wrote a trilogy about the empire collapse. The second volume was in 2006 "Dark Ages America" and the third volume was 2014 "Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline." He didn't start out to write a trilogy, but after 9/11 came the second in 2006, as the collapse continued in 2014, years before Trump, he published the third volume.

      This is the book's overview quoted below. I copied this from and only added blank lines to make it more readable.

      "Why America Failed shows how, from its birth as a nation of "hustlers" to its collapse as an empire, the tools of the country's expansion proved to be the instruments of its demise.

      Why America Failed is the third and most engaging volume of Morris Berman's trilogy on the decline of the American empire.

      In The Twilight of American Culture, Berman examined the internal factors of that decline, showing that they were identical to those of Rome in its late-empire phase.

      In Dark Ages America, he explored the external factors—e.g., the fact that both empires were ultimately attacked from the outside—and the relationship between the events of 9/11 and the history of U.S. foreign policy.

      • In his most ambitious work to date, Berman looks at the "why" of it all

      • Probes America's commitment to economic liberalism and free enterprise stretching back to the late sixteenth century, and shows how this ideology, along with that of technological progress, rendered any alternative marginal to American history

      • Maintains, more than anything else, that this one-sided vision of the country's purpose finally did our nation in.

      Why America Failed is a controversial work, one that will shock, anger, and transform its readers. The book is a stimulating and provocative explanation of how we managed to wind up in our current situation: economically weak, politically passé, socially divided, and culturally adrift.

      It is a tour de force, a powerful conclusion to Berman's study of American imperial decline.

  • Groping for Manhood: Time for the Bystanders to Challenge the Bullies
    • What? Women have a voice?

      What? Even a powerful man, or a powerful institution, cannot simply impose their will on women?

      What is this world coming to? They never should have been granted the vote on August 18, 1920!

      With The New Climate Regime, new agencies have arisen. The Water Protectors made Water a political actor.

      "Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, and the Environment" Book by Christopher D. Stone

      "With The New Climate Regime, the same question arises: how to distribute agency by parceling out powers, aptitudes, and capacities among things, gods, humans, and classes, in order to impose one cosmology over another. Everything is reshuffled: the order of nature as well as the political order, and as always, what one must think about religion and who has the right to interpret God's word -- which has since become the word of the Market. The defense of the autonomy of things, like the defense of the autonomy of peoples -- the refusal to let others, whoever they may be, impose their laws on you -- remains the big question, scientific as well as political."

      Quotation from "Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climate Regime" by Bruno Latour

  • Solar: Elon Musk already got a San Juan Hospital running & more to Come
  • People w/ Electric Cars aren't trapped in Miami Beach with no Gasoline
    • Already see result of Republican attack on science in recent storms.

      Take away the instruments and The New Climate regime can be made to go away?

      Since 1950's US Air Force has been using monitoring satellites with microwave imaging capabilities that could see through the clouds, see through ice to measure temperatures deep in ice, and to see into the ocean to measure the temperature.

      Funding was cut off

      link to

      Title of article

      "Alabama Republican Rep. Rogers DESTROYED Key Hurricane Monitoring Satellite"

  • The Criminals who amplified Harvey: Trump & Cabinet must Resign
    • Naomi Klein on the corporate media not providing context that Houston was made worse by climate disruption.

      There is a lesson in that for Houston. The window for providing meaningful context and drawing important conclusions is short. We can’t afford to blow it.

      Talking honestly about what is fueling this era of serial disasters — even while they’re playing out in real time — isn’t disrespectful to the people on the front lines.

      In fact, it is the only way to truly honor their losses, and our last hope for preventing a future littered with countless more victims.


      The end of the article has a video of her discussing Trump's Shock Doctrine.

      She published an article on this in January 2017 which recounted the role Mike Pence played after Katrina

      That’s relevant because of the central, if little-recalled role played by the man who is now the U.S. vice president, Mike Pence. At the time Katrina hit New Orleans, Pence was chairman of the powerful and highly ideological Republican Study Committee. On September 13, 2005 — just 14 days after the levees were breached and with parts of New Orleans still underwater — the RSC convened a fateful meeting at the offices of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

      Under Pence’s leadership, the group came up with a list of “Pro-Free-Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices” — 32 policies in all, each one straight out of the disaster capitalism playbook.

      To get a sense of how the Trump administration will respond to its first crises, it’s worth reading the list in full (and noting Pence’s name right at the bottom).

      What stands out in the package of pseudo “relief” policies is the commitment to wage all-out war on labor standards and on the public sphere — which is ironic because the failure of public infrastructure is what turned Katrina into a human catastrophe. Also notable is the determination to use any opportunity to strengthen the hand of the oil and gas industry.

  • German Politicians think Trump is dangerously close to Neo-Nazis, and they Should know
    • The social historian Morris Berman wrote a trilogy about the failure of the American empire. The second book "Dark Ages America: The final phase of Empire" was published in 2006 and became a best seller.

      For some strange reason looked it up and found this 2006 review by the dean of book reviewers who just retired.

      This is the sort of book that gives the Left a bad name.

      In "Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire," the cultural historian Morris Berman delivers a vituperative, Spenglerian screed that makes Michael Moore seem like a rah-rah American cheerleader: a screed that describes this country as "a cultural and emotional wasteland," suffering from "spiritual death" and intent on exporting its false values around the world at the point of a gun; a republic-turned-empire that has entered a new Dark Age and that is on the verge of collapsing like Rome.

      Dark Ages of America: The Final Phase of EmpireGrim View of a Nation at the End of Days

      The third volume of the trilogy "Why America Failed" did not sell well. He makes the case that we are a culture of hustlers right from the start.

      The introduction to Dark Ages America is on line. 4 themes fit Trumpism

      link to

  • Bannon must go, but after that, Protesters should listen to Bernie
    • After the tragedy, an earlier article came up on my twitter feed.


      In Sept 2016 an anonymous author posted an article supporting Trump and in Feb 2017 it was learned that that author was Michael Antone who.

      Antone's article was attacked by people on both sides as seen in the following from the link above

      "One conservative retort, from the writer Ben Shapiro, was bluntly headlined, “The Widely Praised ‘Flight 93 Election’ Essay Is Dishonest and Stupid.” Shapiro described Anton’s essay as “incoherent, mind-numbing horseshit,” faulting him for repeating his noxious points “like a dog licking its own vomit.” Another conservative critique, from Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, described the essay as “a master class in overwriting,” and added, “seldom has a pseudonym been more needful to protect an author’s reputation."

    • Well, Trump running for president in 2020 releases short campaign ad yesterday


      Can you spot any lies in the ad?

  • Top 5 Ways White Terrorism means never having to Say you're Sorry
    • This seems to be my day for comments.

      I attended the yearly liberal conference NetRoots Nation five times. NetRoots is the internet version of grass roots politics.

      I did not go this year, but every year I went I attended the panel put on by Nan Arron of the Alliance For Justice. I complemented her that I thought it was the best panel at the conference.

      There was an important article today that recounted the change that has occurred. This year, suddenly, liberals realized that they have not had a coherent policy about the courts.

      If you permit me another diversion, the democratic party has ignored election integrity for decades. There were two articles within the last couple of years that made the case of the 40+ "democracies" the US has the worst election integrity. Once again, the over the top Trump administration continues and makes worse the decades of election crimes. Not only have the democrats ignored this important issue to push for election integrity, their neglect is a crime against democracy. End of diversion which is not a diversion as one continues to follow the decline of an empire.

      Back to the panel discussion at NetRoots nation last weekend.

      The second paragraph

      One year later, after an emotionally deflating electoral collapse, Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice began another edition of her annual courts panel at the conference. The Trump era has brought the outline of a dialectical synthesis to these competing visions of the role of the judiciary. A realization that maybe they’ve fundamentally had this judiciary thing wrong all along.

      Another paragraph below. The article notes that with high levels of activism, maybe something will be done. ... From the article

      This failure to embrace a coherent progressive judicial ideology was indirectly highlighted when Aron reminded the audience that Trump campaigned on a list of judges he’d consider putting on the Supreme Court. But the real point is that this list existed before Trump’s candidacy. The Heritage Foundation had its cast list of ideological purity drawn up already. Progressives have no companion list that the movement can fervently rally around.

      In Wake Of Trump, Liberals Start To Realize They’ve Had The Judiciary All Wrong:
      Conservatives seem to ignite more passion for the judicial appointments... progressives are changing that.

    • Just in time!!! Republicans packing the courts for the last 30 to 40 years come through to them big time!!!

      Federal Court Rules Citizens Have No Right to Film Politicians & Police in Public:
      In a stunning departure from lengthy precedent, a federal appeals court has ruled citizens have no right to film politicians and police in public.

      From the article

      Contradicting the rulings of six others federal courts, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals annihilated free speech rights in upholding a district court decision stating citizens do not have the right to film public officials — politicians, police, and others — in public.

      In affirming the decision of the lower court to dismiss, the Eighth Circuit effectively ended free speech activist Matthew Akins’ challenge to the Columbia, Missouri, Police Department, which he accuses of unlawfully stopping and arresting him on multiple occasions — though nearly all charges were later dropped — as he filmed their encounters with the public, in public.

      Akins says the spate of arrests and harassment from law enforcement is brazen retaliation for the nature of his activist work — filming officers on the job.

      As a journalist and founder of Citizens for Justice in 2011, a group committed to monitoring police for accountability purposes, Akins frequently stopped to record officers’ interactions with the general public — a tactic employed by a plethora of civilian impartial observation groups to stem an epidemic of police violence and veritable impunity in courts, so common to law enforcement officers who misbehave.

    • While on subject of hate crimes against Muslims, we should not forget the hate crimes of the state against blacks.

      Here is an immigrant from India running for
      governor of IL.

      The start of the article in these paragraphs followed by a heading in large type and bold " As The British Divided India, Rauner Divides Illinois"

      CHICAGO ALDERMAN AMEYA PAWAR, one of several Democrats vying for his party’s nomination to run for Illinois governor against incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner, doesn’t think the drug war was a failure.

      “The war on drugs was a success,” he said in a speech on criminal justice reform given last month. “Because the war on drugs was never actually on drugs. It was against black people.”

      Pawar used that address to explain the true history of the modern drug war, which former President Richard Nixon utilized to crack down on the anti-war left and African-Americans.

      As part of his campaign, he’s vowing to end Illinois’s participation in that drug war through a battery of policies: making minor possession of controlled substances no longer a felony, legalizing and taxing marijuana, expanding addiction treatment, establishing a truth and reconciliation commission to air police-community grievances, and, most radically, using his commutation powers as governor to simply commute the sentences of nonviolent low-level drug offenders.


      Trump continues to show America who we are.

      How far does the empire have to decline before American Exceptionalism will be addressed?

      Jeremy Scahill was in Columbus with a preview of his film "Dirty Wars." Jeremy has for years been an important journalist covering our wars including wars in the middle east with reporting about Yemen years ago. A friend asked me to ask him the question "Why are you still alive?". Jeremy's first book exposed the military contract group Blackwater who is now proposing taking over US war "training" in Afghanistan.

      He was here shortly after the Edward Snowden documents were beginning to appear. Instead of following my friends' advice, I asked him "given the appearance of the documents from Snowden, do you think that American Exceptionalism will decrease?"

      His answer

      NO! American exceptionalism is so deeply buried in American culture I have no idea what can overcome it.

      Well, maybe there is something good from Trump???

  • 'Locked & Loaded' Trump's 1960s Cowboyism re: N. Korea & Venezuela
    • We destroyed the country.

      "How many Americans, for example, are aware of the fact that U.S. planes dropped on the Korean peninsula more bombs — 635,000 tons — and napalm — 32,557 tons — than during the entire Pacific campaign against the Japanese during World War II?

      How many Americans know that “over a period of three years or so,” to quote Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, “we killed off … 20 percent of the population”?

      Twenty. Percent. For a point of comparison, the Nazis exterminated 20 percent of Poland’s pre-World War II population. According to LeMay, “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea.”

      Every. Town. More than 3 million civilians are believed to have been killed in the fighting, the vast majority of them in the north"

      Article from The Intercept May 2017 with the title

      Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason — They Remember the Korean War.

      link to

    • Glenn Greenwald, who most of you know from his work with the Snowden files and his current role as a journalist at The Intercept, published a book in 2008 "Great American Hypocrites: Toppling The Myths of Republican Politics."

      The most important factor, by far, is that the Republican Party employs the same set of personality smears and mythical, psychological, and cultural images to win elections.

      I learned from the first chapter what a fraud John Wane was. Avoided the draft in WW II, spending the war making movies and for the rest of his life cheering on wars as a patriotic tough guy, and much more. All the while castigating those against wars as cowards and subversives.

      I had hopes with the election of Obama in 2008 that the country would return to something like the New Deal, but in hindsight, the grip of money in the form of neo liberal economics and wars had shaped our culture so that we now face who we are as Trump enacts our culture.

      Glancing at the book is like looking back from the ruins of the Roman empire to when there was serious discussion of our principles and the hope that we would come to our senses.

  • If an Iranian president talked like Trump we'd think them all nut cases
    • How about David Frum?

      At the top of his twitter account we read,

      Senior Editor, The Atlantic. Author, "Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic" (HarperCollins, Jan. 2018)

      Wow! That sure sounds like solid liberal credentials and just look at the title of the book that will be out in January!

      On the other hand, there was an article published yesterday

      The warhawks who drove the Republicans rightward in the early 2000s likely bear more responsibility for Donald Trump’s ascendancy than all the Russian hackers and “fake news” websites put together, but liberals are more than willing to let them off the hook if they provide limp critiques of their own party as penance. Naturally, many of them are doing just that. The neocons’ strategic retreat from the smoldering wreckage they created was a clever gambit, in many ways reminiscent of a classic insurance scam. Like an insurance scam, it can be wildly successful when carried out with adequate skill and commitment — and no one is more committed than David Frum, the George W. Bush speechwriter who introduced America to the “axis of evil.”

      Frum has disowned the claim to "axis of evil" term, but he is getting around these days ....

      CNN. MSNBC. CNBC. CBS. ABC. Newsweek. The Daily Beast. New York Magazine. Vox. The New Yorker. NPR. The Atlantic. They all either have David Frum as an editor, grant him bylines, or allow him to flap his enormous jowls about Trump and Russia live on the air. In the last year, Frum has appeared 40 times on MSNBC and 10 times on CNN to talk about Trump, a hectic schedule that often leaves him no time to shave. If you count the networks’ websites, where Frum writes vital commentary like “Marijuana use is too risky a choice,” the number of Frum appearances is far higher. The Atlantic made him a senior editor in 2014, and in return, he writes them four or five columns a week about how Trump is an affront to political decency. While Frum is certainly given a platform disproportionate to his skill as a writer, he isn’t terrible on a technical level. He can write a column without including too many mixed metaphors and bizarre anecdotes, a rare skill among center-right commentators. He knows how to provide exactly what his audience wants, whoever they may be at the time. But overall, Frum is nothing more than a mediocre man with bad opinions, which makes it all the more puzzling how much personal history his benefactors are willing to overlook.

      don't you know, being nice is what matters

      If the policies Frum backed at the peak of his influence are so close to those of the current administration, why does he hold Trump in such contempt? The descriptions of Bush in The Right Man suggest a similar motive as other #NeverTrump conservatives — a non-negotiable commitment to good manners. Frum’s recollections show a particular reverence for Bush’s demeanor. Bush brought a certain evangelical stoicism to the Oval Office, as Frum painstakingly pointed out. No one in the administration drank, smoked, cursed or referred to Bush as anything other than “the president.” Frum wrote that he once made the mistake of using the word “damn” in a meeting, at which point the entire room went silent and shot him icy glares......

      And they fostered wars that have cost trillions of dollars, made the world less secure, and the biggest crime is not facing The New Climate Regime. In the mean time, "liberals" are embracing him in the breathless TV shows that describe the latest Trump atrocity. And the democratic establishment has maybe begun to move back to that radical position, The New Deal.

      Link to article on Frum

      Things are bad, and David Frum makes them worse:
      The ubiquitous commentator has been beating the war drum for nearly two decades.

  • The Message on Climate must be 'Yes We Can,' not Apocalypse Now'
    • Thanks for this article.

      I watched the video and was fascinated by M. Sanjayan.

      I went to the web page of The Conversation which is and found more great articles

      I was intrigued about the series of 6 videos mentioned so I then went to

      University of California Climate Lab and found the 6 videos. I had earlier watched the one on food posted in the original article, and now I watched the first episode "Scientists really arn't the best champions of climate science" which included a scientist visit to the pope. Also on the short video was a founder of the Tea Party who is a climate activist.

      You may recall that the pope gave Trump information on climate change.

      I then tracked down M. Sanjayan and found out more about his background as a scientist and in many other efforts. For a while he was the chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy and now is the CEO of Conservation International.

      In short, he is not just a pitch man in a video.

      And along the way I heard for the first time about Global Warming Six Americas and that led to

      Global Warming’s Six Americas

      which is part of the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication

      Of course I knew about The Nature Conservancy and have heard in passing about the Yale program but never spent much time there. The rest of this was all new to me.

      Not only was it informative, it was a welcome diversion from the bleak political news in the US

  • Gov.'s branding Mosque bombing 'terrorism' astonishes US Press
    • John O'Neill was blocked from investigating bombing of Planned Parenthood site as a terrorist act.

      I can't put my hands on the outstanding book

      'The Man who Warned America' by Murray Weiss about the life and work of O'Neill. He was a bulldog with many sidelines including women, but would have found out about the 9/11 attack if he had not been fired from the FBI because he was too much of a maverick. He was obsessed with Al Queda.

      Quicker than reading the book is the outstanding 2002 Front Line documentary on his life. If the US had understood what was in this report about how the US had not been serious in tracking these threats, and the agencies who should have caught the impending attack, as Thomas Drake found out in his audit of NSA and other agencies after 9/11, we could have avoided the failed "war on terror."

      Here is link to Frontline documentary

      The Man Who Knew

  • The 6th Mass Extinction is beginning & there isn't Much time
    • Maya Lin, architect of The Vietnam Memorial Sculpture, will make her final memorial to the Sixth Extinction

      So as not to become architecture’s Lady of Perpetual Mourning, Lin has turned down all but three subsequent offers to design memorials, including that at Ground Zero. She is now working on what she promises will be her final effort in that vein, the Memorial to the Sixth Extinction, intended to raise awareness of species protection and funded through her What is Missing? Foundation. (The other two commemorative commissions she did accept were the Civil Rights Memorial of 1989 in Montgomery, Alabama, and the Women’s Table of 1993 at Yale, which was commissioned in 1989 to mark twenty years of coeducation at her alma mater.)

      Sept 2016 article in NY Review of Books

      The Quiet Power of Maya Lin

  • Screwdriver Attack at Israeli Embassy in Jordan over Aqsa Mosque Tensions
    • Bruno Latour, a French polymath, put together a thought, experiential exhibit in 2002 at the innovative German effort ZKM. The proceedings were published by MIT press with over a hundred contributors. The book when it came out was over $1,000.

      Here is an abstract that describes the project


      Iconoclasm is when there is a clear intent for the destruction or the demise of an image. Iconoclash is when there is an uncertainty about what is committed when an image –from science, religion or art- is being smashed. The paper presents the rationale and the scene of an exhibit taking place in Germany and which aims at turning iconoclasm –and more generally the critical gesture- into a topic rather than a ressource. It contrasts the different pattern of confidence and diffidence into image in the three contrasted realm of science, religion and art. It offers a classification of the iconoclastic gestures and introduces to the catalog entries.

      Here is a 2015 post that was extracted from the catalog. There is more on this link with details on each area.

      a rough classification of the iconoclastic gestures

      Now that we have some idea of how the material for the show and the catalog has been selected, it might be useful for the reader as well as for the visitor to benefit from a classification of the iconoclashes presented here. It is of course impossible to propose a standardized, agreed-upon typology for such a complex and elusive phenomenon.

      It would even seem to run counter to the spirit of the show. As I have claimed, somewhat boldly: are we not after a re-description of iconophilia and iconoclasm in order to produce even more uncertainty about which kind of image worship/image smashing one is faced with? How could we neatly pull them apart? And yet it might be useful to briefly present the five types of iconoclastic gestures reviewed in this show, for no better reason than to gauge the extent of the ambiguity triggered by the visual puzzles we have been looking for.

      The principle behind this admittedly rough classification is to look at:

      - the inner goals of the icon smashers,
      - the roles they give to the destroyed images,
      - the effects this destruction has on those who cherished
      - those images,
      - how this reaction is interpreted by the iconoclasts,
      - and, finally, the effects of destruction on the destroyer’s own feelings.

      This list is rudimentary but sturdy enough, I think, to guide one through the many examples assembled here.

      That came from this link

      link to

      An article on the exhibit, which was published as the intro to the book is on line here

      What is iconoclash?

  • Empire of Destruction: Mosul reveals Myth of Precision Bombing
    • Jimmy Dore does a piece on the "victory" in Mosul. The backdrop is a photo of the bombed out Mosul, the rubble

      He also goes back to the Colin Powell lie to the UN that led to the illegal invasion of Iraq and says over and over WE created ISIL. And now we need the military to fight ISIL. And wash and repeat.

      I-R-A-Q: This Is What Victory Looks Like

  • Unpopular: Trump's low Polls one reason for Healthcare Defeat
    • In the presidential election, I, and many others learned about what Bill Clinton did in the 1990's to move the democratic party away from the New Deal to a party focused on power and money. The attacks on Bernie Sanders along with the 8 years of the Obama presidency displayed what the democratic party has become and the rhetoric was not enough to make the change. Many are wondering what the message of the democrats will be now that they lost to Trump and the republicans. The republicans are horrible almost beyond belief, but we are wondering whether the democrats will return to New Deal roots or continue their establishment policies that support banks, corporations and the military.

      But now parts of the democratic party have reunited with neo cons in a new organization described by Glenn Greenwald.

      With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons

  • When will gasoline cars be illegal? France throws its Beret into the Ring
    • Watch: A Standing Rock-style Encampment Sprouts Up in Amish Country

      Video of a people standing up for their culture and their land. Less than 5 minutes

      link to


      And a geography lesson in an 8 minute Lego video that portrays this book

      "The Birth of Territory was published by University of Chicago Press in September 2013 in simultaneous cloth, electronic and paperback editions. Some of it is available to read on Google Books.

      It was awarded the 2013 Association of American Geographers Meridian Book Award for ‘outstanding scholarly work in Geography’. It was also joint winner of the inaugural book award from the journal Global Discourse."

      link to

      There are many links to reviews of the books and at the bottom is the link to the video

  • Trump's Fascist Weakness Mars Poland Diatribe
  • Top 5 things Trump is doing to us Worse than insulting Mika
  • 4 Nations twist Qatar's arm, to close down Aljazeera
  • The Other Terrorism: Toxic CO2 Gas Promoted by Trump Budget, Shell
  • Dear Marine Le Pen: Only a Fascist would Praise Colonialism . . . Oh Wait
    • Thank you for posting this article. I knew that things in Algeria had been very bad, but didn't know the extent of the violence, terrorism, and the desire to destroy a culture.

      Also, it is only in recent years that I have been aware of the conception of modernization which was used to justify colonization of those people. In other places I have been aware of the complexities, difficulties, or as some say, the total lack of the moderns to be in time and space, and here is one statement of this in an article that I just found on the web...

      On Animism, Modernity/Colonialism, and the African Order of Knowledge: Provisional Reflections

  • Does Climate change increase Threat of Terrorism?
    • Boundaries do not stop non human refugees: coal ash from China come to West Coast, melting ice at poles cause weather disruption, etc.

      Article from recent Harpers

      By far the most significant event is not Brexit or the election of Donald Trump but the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, where on December 12, 2015, delegates finally came to an agreement. The significant thing is not what the delegates decided; it is not even that this agreement will take effect. (The climate-change deniers in the White House and the Senate will do everything they can to hamstring it.) No, the significant thing is that all the countries that signed the accord realized that if they were to go ahead and follow their individual modernization plans, this planet simply would not be big enough.

      If there is no planet, no earth, no soil, no territory for the globalization to which all countries at COP21 claim to be heading, what should we do? Either we deny the existence of the problem or we seek to come down to earth. This choice is what now divides people, much more than being politically on the right or the left.

      The United States had two options after the election. It could recognize the extent of the change in global circumstances, and the enormousness of its responsibility, and finally become realistic, leading the free world out of the abyss; or it could sink into denial. Trump seems to have decided to let America dream on for a few more years, and to drag other countries into the abyss along the way.

      The New Climate

  • As Leftist Turks Protest, Trump congratulates Erdogan on Authoritarian Turn
  • It's Class Warfare, Stupid. The GOP crusade against Health Care
    • Juan says that Obama genuinely cares about people. Juan says

      President Obama genuinely cares about people, but for a professional politician who is a Democrat, the ACA had many advantages– helping constuencies that vote Democratic and underlining the usefulness of government.

      Did Obama have a genuine care for people when he tried to shove through TPP at the end of his term?

      Here is a look at where Obama was in 2006. A junior senator who had already for a year been in dialogue with Bob Rubin about how to help out the people who have been left behind by globalization. Obama spoke at the kickoff meeting of The Hamilton Project in 2006. Bob Rubin from Goldman Sachs and involvement with Clinton's movements away from the New Deal was the co founder of The Hamilton Project.

      Obama says that change will not be a bloodless process.

      Why was the junior senator from IL the only senator to attend this kickoff of a neo liberal foundation??? Was he elected or selected?? I don't know the answer to that question but the point is what Obama stood before being president as a key to how he acted as president.

      The video of the speech and a rhetorical, color coded analysis of the speech is in this post from 2013

      Obama at the Hamilton Project, 2006: “This is not a bloodless process.”

  • Trump covers Rockwell: Sometimes it Feels like, Obama's Watching You
    • Agree with Grumpy

      "people really need to read Arendt's entire work to know what is going on.

      Before that, people need to read, and then to read Arendt

      A friend teaching a history of technology class in WA state. In his 3 classes, no one had heard of the League of Nations. And only a few knew something about the United Nations.

      I was straightening some books today and read a little of Chambers Johnston. His blow back trilogy also explains a lot of what has happened in the War On Terror (*TM). Rather than take his advice that the US needs to dismantle its empire to survive, because being imperialist abroad and "democratic" at home does not work, it looks like Trump is going to double down on military solutions which have created the current problems.

    • Thom Hartmann - watch the intent

      Trump's intent is to create a frame

      People try rational arguments to counter his lies

      What is remembered is the original statement.

      I can't get out of my mind the several thousand dollar haircut of Bill Clinton while waiting on a runway.

      Here is Thom Hartmann on another one of Trump's lies - namely that 3 million illegal voters voted. This is a total, flat out lie.

      Tom talks about Hannah Arendt and the origins of totalitarianism then most of the segment is Milton Meyer's book "They thought they were free." It describes the incremental changes that Hitler made that ordinary people went along with and finally they realized what had happened.

      This is the tactic of Trump and Steve Bannon. And they are masters of the news cycle.

      Here is Thom Hartmann's 13 min video with the title "The Origins of Totalitarianism"

      link to

  • Is Russian Interference the greatest Threat to Western Democracy?
    • Learning from a French intellectual, Bruno Latour

      He makes the claim that the most important political actor is The Climate Regime

      Climate change plays the same role that social questions and the class struggle played over the two preceding centuries.

      Let that sink in. Socialism. Racism. Sexism. World Wars. Terrorism, Sovereignty - since the earth does not have boundaries. A new political actor has change the game.

      Many, including Juan Cole, have pointed out that climate change has been a major force unsettling the Middle East and other regions.

      I begin with the simple idea that climate change and its denial have been organising all contemporary politics at least for the last three decades.

      Trump's election is an attempt to extend climate denial for another 4 years.


      I begin with the simple idea that climate change and its denial have been organising all contemporary politics at least for the last three decades. Climate change plays the same role that social questions and the class struggle played over the two preceding centuries.
      We can understand nothing about the way inequalities have exploded for forty years, and the accompanying movement towards massive deregulation, if we don’t admit that a good part of the globalised elite had perfectly understood what was going on with the bad news about the state of the planet, which, thanks to the work of scientists, began to crystallise at the beginning of the nineties.

      Since the threat was real, the elites drew the conclusion that it would be necessary to adopt two opposing courses of action. First, give up the post-war liberal dream of a common world created by the modernisation of the planet—so, let’s cut ourselves off as quickly as possible, through deregulation at any price, from the rest of the inhabitants to whom we sold this dream of universality; secondly, systematically organise long-term denial of this ecological change, which nevertheless brings in not just the environment but what is called the Earth-system.
      (One can see in the case of Exxon-Mobil, which, at the beginning of the nineties, moved quickly from cutting edge scientific research on climate and the Earth, to the organisation of a denial of climatic change, a useful empirical benchmark to situate this transformation of liberal ideals).

      The grand EU project, with the important role of lowering boundaries, is in the balance and now that the US has gone rogue, they have to rely on themselves

      Politics, economics, religion, law, culture, etc. face major changes from The Climate Regime and unlike the potential risk after WWII which led to world wide nuclear weapons, trillions spent and ongoing wars, the real and present danger of The Climate has been denied.

      Even if the US descends into fascism, humans will have to return to the earth.

      “It is easier to imagine the end of the earth than the end of capitalism” is a quotation attributed to Frederick Jameson

  • Trump & Co.: The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown?
    • Matt Taibbi provides insight and a good laugh in this interview by Chris Hedges. I don't think I have eve seen Chris laugh, and for sure, never laugh this much.

      The show "On Contact’: Matt Taibbi on How an ‘Insane Clown President’ Played America’s Political System"

      "How did an indecorous outsider manage to game the system put in place by the elite class and bulldoze his way through the Republican Party and into the White House? Journalist and author Matt Taibbi has a pretty good idea that he lays out in his new book, “Insane Clown President”—and that he discusses with Chris Hedges in this week’s episode of “On Contact.”

      Hedges has an idea, too. As the Truthdig columnist and “On Contact” host puts it in the introduction to this show, “An image-based culture, one dominated by junk politics, communicates through narratives, pictures and carefully orchestrated spectacle as well as manufactured pseudo-drama.” Who better than President Donald Trump to capitalize on those cultural conditions, as well as on the breakdown of American institutions purportedly charged with safeguarding democracy?"

      This is posted on where Juan also posts.

      link to

  • Top 3 Ways to rig an Election
    • Greg Palast - the election was stolen

      Here is an interview of Greg by Thom Hartmann yesterday

      Election Was Stolen Long Before Trump (w/guest Greg Palast)

      Looking just at this interview will summarize Greg's work on elections

      You can go to Greg's web page and get a link to watch the movie ("The Best Democracy Money Can Buy") for $2.99 and get a preview for free. Thom and Greg discuss the movie which was on line for free last night.

      Greg Palast Journalist and Film\

      The issue of election integrity has been ignored by both parties who use elections to legitimize them as representatives. There are now so many critical issues to be dealt with that the issue of election integrity will be delayed for who knows how many years.

  • Sorry, Trump, you can't bring back Coal when Solar costs half as Much
    • From Popular Mechanics, we learn that:

      link to

      The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) has already created a “magma well” by drilling to a depth of 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) to access molten rocks (magma), which when doused with water can produce steam capable of generating some 30 megawatts of power.

      Now IDDP, at another location, is close to drilling to a depth of 5 kilometers (3 miles), where pressure on the magma is 200 atmospheres, and the temperature is at least 400 degrees Celsius. Pouring water on magma at this depth is expected to produce “supercritical steam” capable of generating 50 megawatts of power.

      Iceland generates all its electric power from non-fossil fuel sources, with three quarters of its electric power coming from hydroelectric dams.

      And a video from BBC on the Forgotten Source of Free Energy

      link to

  • Four years of Trump could really sink the planet
    • When there is no institution to deal with the scope of climate change, along comes a climate denier.

      But when the frame of the moderns needs to be reset, maybe this will be the stimulus to find out why it is that humans are on the path to destroy themselves.

      Abstract: There is no single institution able to cover, oversee, dominate,
      manage, handle, or simply trace ecological issues of large shape and
      scope. Many issues are too intractable and too enmeshed in
      contradictory interests. We have problems, but we don't have the
      publics that go with them. How could we imagine agreements amid so
      many entangled interests? We will review several attempts to tackle
      ecological problems by connecting the tools of scientific representation
      with those of arts and politics and present the program of
      Experimentation on Arts and Politics which has been running at
      Sciences Po since September 2010.

      First paragraph

      What are we supposed to do when faced with an ecological crisis that does
      not resemble any of the crises of war and economies, the scale of which is
      formidable, to be sure, but to which we are in a way habituated since it is of
      human, all too human, origin? What to do when told, day after day, and in
      increasingly strident ways, that our present civilization is doomed; that the Earth
      itself has been so tampered with that there is no way it will ever come back to any
      of the various steady states of the past? What do you do when reading, for
      instance, a book such as Clive Hamilton titled Requiem for a species: Why We Resist the
      Truth about Climate Change—and that the species is not the dodo or the whale but us,
      that is, you and me? Or Harald Welzer’s Climate Wars: What People Will Be Killed
      For in the 21st Century, a book that is nicely divided in three parts: how to kill
      yesterday, how to kill today, and how to kill tomorrow! In every chapter, to tally
      the dead, you have to add several orders of magnitude to your calculator!

      The article

      Waiting for Gaia. Composing the
      common world through arts and

      Here are tweets from his AIME project from yesterday and today

      AIME ‏@AIMEproject Nov 11
      How could Europe survive without England & United States. Either it explodes or finds a way to remake itself. Should we create a new party?

      AIME ‏@AIMEproject 7h7 hours ago
      For years people have claimed the American way of life is unsustainable: instead of changing they choose to self-destruct. Is
      it a surprise?
      0 replies1 retweet5 likes
      AIME ‏@AIMEproject 5h5 hours ago
      To defend against massive migrations is for most people a proxy of how to handle climate mutations: they oppose the former & deny the later

      A very important document is Bruno's inspired project "Reset Modernity" in book form from MIT press.

      The article above is from 6 years ago and there have been many advances described in the book by multiple authors from many disciplines.

  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
    • The globe of globalization does not exist. Flee to safety.

      The globe of globalization does not exist. Where can we find safety?

      One of the most important thinkers in the world, the Frenchman, Bruno Latour, takes us on a plane ride. The captain gives an announcement that the plane cannot go to the globe of globalization. There is no earth that supports the globe of globalization. It is impossible.

      Later the pilot comes out with the message that we cannot return to the land. What with species extinction going on, seas rising, 400 ppm CO2, the land of the past can not be a place to land. This is also impossible. (It takes a little work to realize this. The Native Americans know about this along with the indigenous people of the world who are trying to project what is left of land.)

      There is a third leg of the triangle, Gaia, and we now must chart a course there.

      A speech on the triangle in the following article.

      Ona possible triangulation
      of some present political positions

      Bruno Latour’s AIME project tweeted about the election. (AIME — an inquiry into the modes of existence — modes include science, religion, politics, law, etc.) Note the desire to return to the land of the past and hence the U-turn. The last tweet is up on the top of their twitter page which is the Reset Modernity project. Bruno in 1991 published “We Have Never Been Modern” and continues his ethnography project of the moderns — who are we? were are we going? Need to reset modernity.

      AIME ‏@AIMEproject 6h6 hours ago

      Brexit, 1; United States, 2; next one France? One after another nations engaged in globalisation are making a U-turn: back to the old land.

      AIME ‏@AIMEproject 6h6 hours ago

      2 delusional parties: one deny that people could vote for Trump the other that climate mutation & migration change everything. We feel lost.

      AIME ‏@AIMEproject 6h6 hours ago

      How could the intelligentsia been so wrong? We have lost contact with those who have lost contact with the climate crisis. 2 way to be blind

      AIME ‏@AIMEproject 5h5 hours ago

      If the arc of history is any indication the free for all should be England, United States, then France then Germany lots of ruins before end

      AIME ‏@AIMEproject Aug 21

      In the next months AIME will pursue Reset Modernity! in other countries & work on the triangle Land GLobe Earth to respecify politics' goals

      From a presentation on Oct 25, 2016 at Cornell

      ... we seem to lack a shared definition of the territory inside which we are supposed to exert our political rights. By territory I don’t mean only the legal framework within which state and private owners exert their sovereignty, but the very shape, composition, nature and even, to put it simply, the very place where it is supposed to lay. Where are we supposed to live is no longer clear cut. To say that we live on Earth, or in nature, does not seem to clarify the situation that much.

      My hunch is that the disorientation everybody feels about the dislocation of politics — even more evident at this time of the presidential election — is the direct consequence of this other disorientation regarding the territory. If politics appears so vacuous, it might be because it has not a solid and shared ground on which to raise issues of substance. How can you expect to have substantial policy debates if there is no territory to map, no cosmos to share, no soil to inhabit? How could we maintain a minimum of decent common institutions if we have no land in common, literally no common ground?

      Link to Bruno'a talk at Cornell

      Is Geo-logy the new umbrella for all the sciences?
      Hints for a neo-Humboldtian university

      Final thought. Thomas Frank’s book “Listen Liberal” says that for the Clinton’s in the 1990’s globalization occupied the place that most people put their God. Because of Latour, I immediately realized the political liability of assuming that the status quo could be continued, progress, globalization, etc, . There is no earth that supports the promise of globalization. Yes, people voted against the establishment but as noted in the Cornell paper, it is much deeper since earthbounds (Latour’s word for the formerly humans) no longer have a common sense of space or time because the promise of the future is impossible.

    • Is political speech even possible these days?

      Political enunciation remains an enigma as long as it is considered from the
      standpoint of information transfer. It remains as unintelligible as religious talk. The
      paper explores the specificty of this regime and especially the strange link it has
      with the canonical definition of enunciation in linguistics and semiotics. The
      ‘political circle’ is reconstituted and thus also the reasons why a ‘transparent’ or
      ‘rational’political speech act destroys the very conditions of group formation

      An article by Bruno Latour with a catch phrase "No Issues, No Politics."

      Bernie brought politics into the campaign. There was more time spent by the media waiting for Trump to come up to the podium to speak than was spent on Bernie.

      What if we Talked Politics a Little?

      Complaints about a loss of interest in politics are heard all over.1 But what if
      the famous ‘crisis of representation’ stems simply from a new misunderstanding
      of the exact nature of this type of representation? As if, in recent years, we
      had begun to expect it to provide a form of fidelity, exactitude or truth that is
      totally impossible. As if talking politics were becoming a foreign language
      gradually depriving us of the ability to express ourselves. Could it be possible
      to forget politics? Far from being a universal competency of the ‘political
      animal’, might it not be a form of life so fragile that we could document its
      progressive appearance and disappearance? This is the hypothesis that I would
      like to explore in this paper.

      The idea can be formulated simply: by attempting to explain politics in terms
      of something else, we might have lost its specificity and have consequently
      forgotten to maintain its own dynamics, letting it fall into disuse. To retrieve
      the invaluable effectiveness of political talk, we need to start with the idea that,
      as Margaret Thatcher so forcefully put it, ‘society doesn’t exist’. If it does not
      exist, we have to make it exist, but in order to do so we need the means to do so.
      Politics is one of those means

  • The Vanity of the Billionaires: Circuses and no Bread
    • "No Issues, No Politics"

      Political enunciation remains an enigma as long as it is considered from the standpoint of information transfer. It remains as unintelligible as religious talk. The paper explores the specificty of this regime and especially the strange link it has with the canonical definition of enunciation in linguistics and semiotics. The
      ‘political circle’ is reconstituted and thus also the reasons why a ‘transparent’ or ‘rational’political speech act destroys the very conditions of group formation

      This is a 2003 article by the French polymath Bruno Latour. The phrase, No Issues, No Politics, comes from work by Noortje Marres.

      What if we Talked Politics a Little?

      Could it be possible to forget political speech?

      The idea can be formulated simply: by attempting to explain politics in terms of something else, we might have lost its specificity and have consequently forgotten to maintain its own dynamics, letting it fall into disuse. To retrieve the invaluable effectiveness of political talk, we need to start with the idea that, as Margaret Thatcher so forcefully put it, ‘society doesn’t exist’. If it does not exist, we have to make it exist, but in order to do so we need the means to do so. Politics is one of those means.

      The recent resurrection of Gabriel Tarde allows a sharper contrast between two diametrically opposed types of sociology: that which assumes that the problem of the constitution of society has been solved, and that which studies the fragile and temporary construction of social aggregates. The former, a Contemporary Political Theory, 2003, 2, (143–164) r 2003 Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 1470-8914/03 $15.00 link to descendant of Emile Durkheim, uses social explanations to explain why some political forms of coordination are so sturdy. I call this type ‘sociology of the social’. The latter type I call ‘sociology of association’ or ‘of translation’. When political sociology sets out to explain politics through society, it renders politics superficial and replaceable. By contrast, when the other political sociology strives to explain the very existence of social aggregates through political discourse, that discourse immediately becomes irreplaceable. In the former instance, if we were to lose politics we would not lose much; in the latter, we would lose all means of social articulation F at least for all the associations in which the ‘us’ and ‘they’ is in question.

      Bruno is not an easy read. Here is a recent book on Bruno's political philosophy by Graham Harman

      "Bruno Latour: Reassembling the Political"

  • Israeli Military seizes Female Gaza aid Flotilla
    • How about using a local off duty cop and a security guard, both trained by Israel counter terrorism people, to arrest a man asking a question in the Kansas Public Library.

      This story would have gone away but the Kansas City police department is pressing charges. The library wanted to keep it under wraps.

      In a letter to the editor we find

      "So now Israel and Zionism are concerns of the U.S. government superior to the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.

      Money indeed has become speech. And speech has become a crime."

      - See more at: link to

  • Making Case for Pardon, Snowden Says Leaks Were 'Necessary, Vital Things'
    • Snowden Movie event this evening, Wed Oct 16 spent the entire program this morning on the Snowden movie. Oliver Stone was in the studio.

      They mentioned a special showing this evening, Oct 14, 2016, in 800 theaters in the US. Stone and Snowden will take question and discuss -- after the film

      I signed up and it was $15 with a couple of dollars for processing. Here is the link

      link to

  • The Republicans who fear that Trump isn't Belligerent Enough
    • From twitter

      Michael Tracey ‏@mtracey 16h16 hours ago

      It's difficult to convey the extremism and derangement of these comments today from HRC campaign manager Robby Mook

      This is the text that followed that tweet

      I found a reference to Robby Monk's comment in an article and these are some of the lines that were in the tweet

      “real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin in this race.”

      “I would also point out that Paul Manafort has been pushed out, but that doesn’t mean that the Russians have been pushed out of this campaign,” Mook added, pointing to Trump’s criticisms of NATO. “We now need Donald Trump to explain to us the extent to which the hand of the Kremlin is at the core of his own campaign.”

      This seems to me to be totally crazy to try and put Russia into the middle of Trump's campaign. The campaign of fear is full speed ahead.

      Here is the short article with Robby Monk's comments

      Clinton campaign manager calls Trump a Kremlin puppet

      In another comment on this article I included a link from Yves Smith. That link describes Hillary's campaign manager, Podestra, and his brother runs one of the largest lobby firms in DC, and, from that link

      A prominent D.C. lobbying firm has hired outside counsel over revelations that it may have been improperly involved in lobbying on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians who also employed former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

      As first reported by BuzzFeed, the Podesta Group announced Friday that it has retained law firm Caplin & Drysdale to investigate whether or not the lobbying firm unwittingly did work for the pro-Russian political party in Europe that also hired Manafort.

      My first comment was about the similarities of Hillary and Trump. This comment is about the use of fear charges by both candidates which is another way in which they are similar.

    • Over at the great site, Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith makes a comment on this article. How is Hillary better than Trump?

      But first, another article posted on the web.

      Are Hillary and Donald really so different?

      Did you ever get the feeling that you were being lied to about something so big that the entire paradigm of how the world is being presented to you is false?
      The lie in this case is that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are dramatically different, and thus there is a Lesser Evil.
      This leads to the dominant feature of presidential politics today - voting out of fear of the other.

      Hillary and Trump have similar views on foreign policy, similar financial consultants, in short, both work for the oligarchs.

      Now back to the comments from Yves Smith on Rebecca Gordon's article

      Yves here. This article by Rebecca Gordon does a fine job of calling out the recklessness and disregard for the law of a group of foreign policy “experts” who signed a letter calling Trump unfit for office. But it’s disconcerting to see Rebecca Gordon document how these individuals have engaged in the same sort of unacceptable behavior that they Trump would undertake, and then argue that Trump is obviously dangerous, and by implication, Clinton is not. Clinton is fully on board with the policies that these experts represent, so how exactly is she better? Gordon needs to make a case, not just assert superiority in the face of facts she presents that indicate otherwise. Gordon tries arguing for Manafort as proof that Trump is tainted. But Manafort was a recent hire and has just been dispatched, while long-term Clinton key player John Podesta’s firm also appears to have advised pro-Russia parties in Ukraine.

      Here is the link of the post from Yves which has the comment above and then the article by Gordon which is the topic of this post

      link to

      and in Yves comment there is a link to the article on the Podestra group which didn't come through in the copy and now is posted here

      link to

  • Economic Damage from Civil War Costs poverty-stricken Yemen $14 Billion
    • Moon of Alabama has an interesting twist on the story. In brief, another indigenous people defeating a military power.

      link to


      New Government Of Yemen Ready To Accept Saudi Surrender

  • When Dems ditched Workers for Professionals, they opened Door for Trump
    • Article about man 20 years ago predicted rise of Trump. An adviser to Patrick Buchanan in his run for president.

      The theme is the same as Thomas Frank's point that the democratic party walked away from the people.

      link to

      And here is a article which is a chapter from Thomas Franks' book "Listen Liberal." Frank makes an incredible point that GLOBALIZATION was for the Clintons like God to others. The force of globalization was going to sweep aside those objecting to "progress." And Hillary is quoted that to bring about change, you have to attack your friends. So when Bill signed NAFTA it showed that he could stand up to those unions. He was tough. Like Hillary is tough and out to start more wars.

      Here is a question: will this campaign result in a new peace movement?

      Here is the link to Franks' article

      link to

      And here is the title

      Bill Clinton’s odious presidency: Thomas Frank on the real history of the ’90s
      Welfare reform. NAFTA. The crime bill. Prisons. Aides wondered if Bill knew who he was. His legacy is sadly clear

  • Hundreds of Thousands in Global Climate Marches as COP21 begins in Paris
    • I am not sure how the system works for edit, but this should be part of my earlier post. I wanted to see if the HTML worked and the clock kept running.

      I wanted to add that Hansen provides a plausible carbon budget that should be considered by world leaders.

      Here is the link to Hansen's post

      link to

    • Excellent article by James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists.

      UK and US have already met their climate budget going back to the 1700's since greenhouse gasses stay around for thousands of years

      He notes that after the 2008 climate summit when leaders looked bad, they will do everything this time around to make sure that they look like they are doing something.

      But it will not be enough. Specifically on Obama's position

      A prelude of Paris deceit is shown by Chart 3, a press conference with John Podesta, once czar of Obama’s climate policy, and Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz. They express optimism on the Paris summit, citing an agreement of the U.S. and China to work together to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS). That spin is so gross, it is best described as unadulterated 100% pure bullshit.

  • The Intifada, Viral Death, and the Facebook Fallacy
    • Yes, the issue is the occupation.

      A 2 min video

      Reality Check: Gaza is still occupied
      link to

      Bibi recently said that Hitler was inspired by the Mufti which is a bald faced lie and words like this are, as Max Blumenthal says, pouring gas on the fire.

      Juan's book about youth in the middle east fits what is going on now as youth frustrated with the occupation are putting their lives on the line to bring about change.

      My opinion was that the 2014 war on Gaza was the turning point of the Zionist project - now too many in the world know their strategy against indigenous people.

      Here is the important voice, Max Bluementhal speaking about the use of Hitler which ironically absolves the Germans of responsibility of the holocaust and the implications for what is going on now

      Netanyahu's Record on Inciting Violence Against Palestinians

      Max Blumenthal, author of The 51-Day War: Resistance and Ruin in Gaza, says Netanyahu absolved Hitler of the final solution by placing the blame for the Holocaust on the Palestinians -

      link to

  • Turkey Hit by Wave of Attacks as It Continues Mideast Military Strikes
    • the second article from todayszaman

      I made a mistake so need to post a second comment

      Why aren’t Islamists condemning ISIL?

      The whole world is discussing the brutality committed by bloody terrorist organization the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These murderers commit crimes against humanity to intimidate people in the region and to attract global attention. They are employing cruelty and barbaric methods that a human mind cannot even consider. With the exception of politically cliché statements like “Muslims cannot be terrorists” and “ISIL's activities cannot be endorsed,” the Muslim world has not strongly responded to these brutalities.

      the link

      link to

  • Amira Hass: "Let me be blunt: Gaza is a Huge Concentration Camp"
    • Max Blumenthal's description of the war crimes in Gaza is a must read to understand the situation.

      Glenn Greenwald had a long interview with Max just published on the 1 year anniversary of the invasion.


      link to

      And, here is a presentation of Max at a book tour recently in Seattle. The Obama admin was very supportive during the war crimes and included John Kerry messing up potential negotiations to stop the slaughter

      Israel uses these invasions to show case their latest weapons which they sell around the world

      link to

  • As 700 Die in Pakistan from Extreme Heat, Pakistanis Deny Climate Change
    • China's 8% growth rate takes toll on soil, air, water and human health in China with spill over to the environment of the world.

      The article begins with dumping toxic waste on farm land. Last month on a trip to Morocco saw farming that had been going on for thousands of years. They take care of soil and proper use of soil could play a very important role in climate change. China by contrast is taking more and more soil out of agriculture because of dumping toxic waste like chemicals from production of solar cells.

      I had no idea that things were this bad in China.

      Naomi Klein in her incredible book "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate" describes the changes that must be made to slow down climate change. Things that have been taken to be good, like growth and development, have to be understood as fueling destruction.

      Reading the article on China, I thought about what effect this would have on the world. Then these sentences came up in the middle of a paragraph

      Profit-hungry loggers cut down most of what was left of China's forests, recklessly denuding mountains and precipitating such extensive flooding and loss of life in 2009 that the government banned domestic logging. Chinese loggers then turned to plundering Siberia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even New Guinea and parts of Africa

      China is going to implode. Lets hope that they don't take too much of the world with them. And lets also hope that they don't follow history and start a war in order to keep the people at home in line with the rulers.

      The article

      "China's Communist-Capitalist Ecological Apocalypse"

      link to

  • Americans don’t want Congress to sabotage Iran deal – new poll
    • Article


      link to

      1. The founder of Reuters purchased Iran in 1872
      2. The BBC lent a hand to the CIA’s 1953 overthrow of Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh
      3. We had extensive plans to use nuclear weapons in Iran
      4. We were cool with Saudi Arabia giving Saddam $5 billion to build nukes during the Iran-Iraq war
      5. U.S. leaders have repeatedly threatened to outright destroy Iran
      6. We shot down a civilian Iranian airliner — killing 290 people, including 66 children
      7. We worry about Iranian nukes because they would deter our own military strikes

  • Lynching Farkhunda: Birth of Gender Equality and Accountability in Afghanistan?
    • Chris Hedges gave a speech at a conference on Extraction

      The extraction industry and prostitution of women are both the results of global capitalism, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Chris Hedges said in a controversial speech on Friday.

      Hedges delivered the keynote speech at Simon Fraser University’s State of Extraction conference in downtown Vancouver, Friday evening. In a packed room of more than 300 attendees, the former New York Times war correspondent spoke for 90 minutes, drawing parallelism between exploited sex workers and the exploitation of the the extraction industry.

      “Prostitution fits perfectly into the paradigm of global capitalism,” Hedges said, explaining an experience where he lived with Bolivian tin miners, many who will die in middle age from silicosis.

      “No one chooses to die of silicosis or black lung disease. No one chooses to sell his or her body on the street. You go into the mines, like you go into prostitution, because global capitalism does not offer you a choice.”

      link to

      Here is a text from the speech. The title of the speech is No One Is Free Until All Are Free

      link to

  • Mideast Apocalypse 2030: Why Obama wants the Palestine Issue Solved. Now.
    • I was doing more entry and didn't get the link to the NY Times posted

      link to

    • New Afgan president getting accolades from NY Times

      Being home at the stage of the powerful makes him the right choice for the oligarchs of the world

      Doug Ollivant, who worked in the National Security Council for Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush, said Mr. Ghani is a “Western-oriented” leader who would be comfortable rubbing shoulders with intellectuals at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, or the Aspen Ideas Forum in Colorado.

      “He’s a creature of Washington, a creature of Aspen and Davos,” he said. “He’s extremely comfortable moving in these circles.”

  • Yemen: Saudi backs Sunni revolution against Shiite Houthi Rebels linked to Iran
    • How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them."

      The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

    • How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them."

      The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

      This article points out direct Saudi involvement with the Sunni in Yemen.

      The commentator Thom Hartmann makes the claim that this is part of the Saudi support of other Sunni groups in the region including ISIS.

      Thom references the July 13, 2014 article in the Independent by Patric Cockburn

      link to

      Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country
      A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany

  • Today's Top 7 Myths about Daesh/ ISIL
    • An important article on ISIS is in the March 2015 issue of The Atlantic by Graeme Wood

      "What ISIS Really Wants"

      There are already over 2,000 comments on the article.

      Subtitle of the article

      The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

  • The Trial of Richard Bruce Cheney
    • "And this is what makes the fact that there’s even something called “the torture debate” so ridiculous. This debate, quote-unquote, has been settled not for decades but centuries. Everything that we did as part of the war on terror, in terms of how we treated detainees, has [long] been viewed as morally vile and inexcusable and criminal, pretty much across cultural and social lines. (And the United States has prosecuted people as war criminals for doing things we did.)

      So it’s not even a debate. There’s no debate. [The program's] defilement [of the United States] is self-evident and indisputable."

      Glenn Greenwald in an interview on

      Juan wrote a couple of days ago about how torture violated the US constitution.

      Glenn reminds us that the "torture debate" has been settled for centuries. It is not new.

      Here is the link

      link to

      The title
      "on torture, CIA and Washington’s rotten soul
      Glenn Greenwald tells Salon how the torture report exposes true evil — and a nation drowning in hypocrisy"

      Recommend reading Glenn.

      Times like this I recall the political theorist, Hannah Arendt

      “The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.”
      ― Hannah Arendt

      from wikipedia
      In her reporting of the 1961 Adolf Eichmann trial for The New Yorker, which evolved into Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963), she coined the phrase "the banality of evil" to describe the phenomenon of Eichmann. She raised the question of whether evil is radical or simply a function of thoughtlessness, a tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without a critical evaluation of the consequences of their actions and inaction.

  • Why the Founding Fathers thought banning Torture Foundational to the US Constitution
    • Here is what I posted on as a follow up to this article about torture and the twisted dialogue in the US that uses the language of the founders to hide criminal behavior.

      "Founding Fathers - banning Torture Foundational to constitution"
      link to

    • Excellent article not only about torture, but about the importance of taking back the Founding Fathers political theory from the right wing.

      An important book describes how Thomas Jefferson and James Madison pulled off a constitutional revolution through the ballot box. The principles of the constitution, such as "all men are created equal", the bill of rights, and separation of powers, were under attack from Alexander Hamilton and the efforts of aristocrats to turn the US into a monarchy.

      The founding fathers hated factions and parties and saw them as destroying the constitution. Here is John Adams calling them the greatest evil

      “There is nothing I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This in my humble apprehension is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under the constitution." John Adams

      What we have today is rule by factions. The military industrial surveillance complex, lobbyists, the Supreme Court and the legislative branch are factions in the definition understood in the eighteenth century. The Federalist Papers were written to provide background for the states to ratify the constitution.

      In Federalist 10, James Madison defines a faction as "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community".

      The book

      The American Revolution of 1800: How Jefferson Rescued Democracy from Tyranny and Faction - and What This Means Today by Dan Sisson (Author), Thom Hartmann (Contributor)

  • Americans ask Pres. Obama to show Thanksgiving Mercy to Gaza
    • Article from the Guardian

      "Americans love the Thanksgiving myth. But food folklore masks a painful reality"

      link to
      We were complicit in the destruction of indigenous people.

      At least now they are called Native Americans rather than Indians.

      It took a 30 year civil war in Guatemala, aided by the US, for the term Maya to be OK. They were called Indians up until the end of the war to indicate that they immigrated there. There had been in the territory for some thousands of years before the colons

  • Ferguson & Israel? Netanyahu Calls for Stripping Palestinian-Israelis of Citizenship
    • An article posted on on this topic. It ends with

      "Unless an immediate shift occurs, such as a dramatic, diplomatic breakthrough leading to an end of the occupation or a shift in the way law enforcement treats minority residents in Israel, unrest is likely to grow in East Jerusalem, Kfar Kanna and Israel. Unfortunately, with inciting statements by public security officials embracing extra-judicial killings and Israeli politicians (including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) stating that Israel will never give up military control of the West Bank, the prospects of political leadership easing tensions is unlikely.

      It is entirely possible that unrest and instability will spread dramatically throughout Israel and the West Bank, creating a crisis the White House will no longer be able to address with vanilla statements and inaction.

      By then, it will be too late to quell what should have ended long ago"

      The title is "Ferguson Just Happened Again"

      link to

  • Why McCain & GOP are Slamming Obama for Writing Iran re: ISIL
    • The high paid and often celebrity news people could at least read this column and ask McCain some tough questions.

      Which war does he want to win? How can multiple wars with multiple moving parts be won?

      Our corporate media continues to fail in its role of educating citizens.

      But is continues to do very well to divert attention from the collapse of our democracy.

  • Double-Edged Sword: Can US overcome its Feelings of Exceptionalism?
    • Excellent article an English professor. Appreciate the analysis of the term "exceptionalism" and its evolution to currently be used as a positive term as part of the ongoing justification (or should I say propaganda) for our wars, our torture, and our surveillance state. I am sending the article to several friends.

      It seems so long ago that a Liberal Arts education was essential for citizenship.

      Here is a book that is just out which also effectively uses language and could play an important part in a liberal arts curriculum and to educate citizens about non violent revolution in the US. The language and reasoning of the founding fathers come across in this readable book about a pivotal time in US history when the choice was between monarchy of government given back to the people.

      There is a description and acknowledgements on or Here is the title and one interview on Thom Hartmann's show.

      The American Revolution of 1800: How Jefferson Rescued Democracy from Tyranny and Faction - and What This Means Today
      by Dan Sisson (Author), Thom Hartmann (Contributor)

      The American Revolution of 1800
      link to

      There are two more interviews that can be found on Thom's

  • Why Obama underestimated ISIL in Syria and Iraq
    • An article today by a psychologist about how

      "Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us
      An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities"

      the last paragraph
      "There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us."

      link to

  • Is Israel De-Industrializing Gaza?
    • Max Blumenthal continues excellent coverage from Gaza

      Photos "Bombing the Dead"

      ‘Bombing the Dead’ — Max Blumenthal in Gaza
      Philip Weiss on August 17, 2014 32
      This is excellent. Max Blumenthal has taken his photos and tweets from Gaza, with the help of Dan Cohen, and made a Storify. This slideshow might serve a war crimes inquiry; for it conveys the overwhelming and indiscriminate devastation of Israel’s attack on two neighborhoods near the Israel border. Beit Hanoun and Shuja’iyeh were flattened; Israel even bombed a cemetery. The last image is particularly striking, as it shows the aftermath of the July 24th strike on the UN school in Beit Hanoun.

      link to

      Max's article in alternet

      Gruesome Tales Surface of Israeli Massacres Against Families in Gaza Neighborhood
      Visiting what remains of Shujaiya yields evidence of massacres and stories of impossible courage.

      link to

  • NSA Targetting of Innocent Muslim-Americans Raises 1st Amendment Alarms
    • Just in time, we have an official response from the Director of National Intelligence on this article from The Intercept.

      Honestly, I can't believe that these people keep on lying and don't think that we won't notice.

      Here are the first two paragraphs

      It is entirely false that U.S. intelligence agencies conduct electronic surveillance of political, religious or activist figures solely because they disagree with public policies or criticize the government, or for exercising constitutional rights.

      Unlike some other nations, the United States does not monitor anyone’s communications in order to suppress criticism or to put people at a disadvantage based on their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

      IC on the Record. IC = intelligence community

      link to

      Check out Julian Assange's interview yesterday on about the importance of the documents from Edward Snowden. Without the documents, and the careful reporting by journalists, there would be piecemeal reports that would be denied and people would not get fair treatment in court because national security could be used to keep evidence out of the hands of defendants.

      link to

  • Can Tony Blair Mess up Egypt even Worse?
    • How much worse can it get?

      Something I learned this morning.

      There was a G77 meeting in June in Bolivia. 133 nations attended. On dailykos I found in a comment a link to an article

      Evo Morales made some excellent points

      I am going to paste a long segment from the article. If Juan wants to delete it, that is OK.

      A highlight of the summit was the address by Bolivian President Evo Morales, the current chairman of the G77, who traced the political history of the G77 and China and the developing countries and elaborated on the current crises facing the world and the developing countries.

      He then enumerated “several tasks” that needed to be done to “build another world and establish the living-well society”. These included:

      > Living well in harmony with Mother Earth;

      > Sovereignty over natural resources and other areas;

      > Well-being of everyone and provision of basic needs as a human right;

      > Emancipation from the existing international financial system and construction of a new financial architecture;

      > Build a major economic, scientific, technological and cultural partnership among members of the G77 and China;

      > Eradicate hunger from around the world;

      > Strengthen the sovereignty of states from foreign interference, intervention and espionage;

      > Democratic renewal of the states in developing countries; and

      > A new world rising from the South for the whole of humankind.

      “The time has come for the nations of the South,” Morales stated. “In the past we were colonised and enslaved. Today, with every step we take for our liberation, the empires grow decadent and begin to crumble.

      That was from the article which was linked and was found on google search

      link to

      This morning on the guardian there was an article about how Google filters out content for Europe. They recommended a search engine


      I made parallel searches on both Google and duckduckgo and found much different results

      then I found the article with the title

      133 G77 Nations Vow to Destroy America’s New World Order

      The first paragraph of the article is as follows

      June 17, 2014. Bolivia. The American and European media are doing everything they can to black this news out. But it’s not going to stay a secret for long. As of this weekend, there’s a new New World Order on Earth and its enemy is the United States, the EU, the UN Security Council and the world’s shadow government led by the IMF and WTO. This new alliance of poor countries wouldn’t be much of a threat, except it includes two-thirds of the world’s nations including China and India

      Here is the main reason for this comment - the filter bubble

      I know that google tunes itself to particular users but I didn't realize how much content they filtered out

      Here is a major meeting which poses a challenge to the US and it is blocked out

      Have others noticed the filter bubble keeps them from finding out about things?

  • Shale Oil Hype Fail: California Bonanza Evaporates
    • a couple of articles from today

      New Environmentalists Are Taking Bold Actions — and It's Working
      The fight for environmental justice broadens, deepens and becomes more militant

      link to


      World must consider antibiotic-resistant pathogens to be same level of a threat as climate change

      link to

  • 'Journalist' Michael Kinsley says Gov't should make Publishing Decisions
  • Release the Entire Torture Report!
    • Does America have the courage to face the truth?

      Do the politicians, including the President have the courage of a Manning or Snowden to stand for the principles of our constitution?

      Who and what are the politicians trying to protect?

      Glenn Greenwald has a Tweet "Larry Summers Explains Washington to Elizabeth Warren in One Sentence"

      The sentence, a short one, "They don't criticize other insiders."

      Here is the copy of the longer twitter:

      Larry Summers explains Washington to Elizabeth Warren in one sentence:

      "In the spring of 2009, after the panel issued its third report, critical of the bailout, Larry Summers took Warren out to dinner in Washington and, she recalls, told her that she had a choice to make. She could be an insider or an outsider, but if she was going to be an insider she needed to understand one unbreakable rule about insiders: 'They don’t criticize other insiders.'"

      link to

  • Top 5 Things wrong with US AID Social Media Plot Against Cuba
    • Cuba twitter is small compared to the world wide effort

      from Glenn Greenwald article yesterday titled:

      The “Cuban Twitter” Scam Is a Drop in the Internet Propaganda Bucket

      State sponsored propaganda spread around the world. From the article

      But these documents, along with the AP’s exposure of the sham “Cuban Twitter” program, underscore how aggressively western governments are seeking to exploit the internet as a means to manipulate political activity and shape political discourse.

      Those programs, carried out in secrecy and with little accountability (it seems nobody in Congress knew of the “Cuban Twitter” program in any detail) threaten the integrity of the internet itself, as state-disseminated propaganda masquerades as free online speech and organizing. There is thus little or no ability for an internet user to know when they are being covertly propagandized by their government, which is precisely what makes it so appealing to intelligence agencies, so powerful, and so dangerous.

      link to

  • The Paradox of Turkey's Victorious Erdogan: Authoritarianism burnishes his 'democratic' credentials
    • The frame of this article as AKP vs. Ceemat does not explain what is going on. It follows the typical US approach of treating politics as a game between two competing teams. In the US, both parties agree on most things, e.g., support of military, lack of action on the environment, support of banksters, etc. so to deal with what is in the mainstream media misses the point about how the oligarchy is in control. Even the most basic right of citizens, the right to vote, is denied their direct control.

      I usually read the Gulen linked on line newspaper, Todayszaman and find the multiple columns well written and informative. It is obvious that Erdogan has cast them as a parallel organization and will continue to attack them. I took a trip to Turkey sponsored by a US branch of the Gulen inspired organizations and was very impressed with their work on interfaith, dialog and culture. I had great hopes that Turkey could be example of how to integrate Islam into today's world. The authoritarian moves Erdogan main to retain power has shown the world that Turkey has not built democratic institutions.

      Another newspaper, Hürriyet, had a short article that provided the most insight to me. The frame of AKP vs Gulen does not capture the basic issues.

      quoting from the linked article

      The simple fact is that the 43 percent which voted for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Sunday’s elections do not care about the EU, its liberal values or the modernity it represents. It wants to see a Turkey based on conservative Islamic values and looks to Erdoğan as the leader that will achieve this.

      When you put the increasing restrictions on the media, the government’s meddling with the legal system in ways that would not be possible in any modern European state, the banning of Twitter and YouTube, and other similar developments, it all points to one thing.

      Turkey under Erdoğan is rapidly losing its European orientation and moving away from the democratic principles this orientation represents. AKP supporters who talk much about democracy, and decry the fate of Egypt’s elected former president, Mohamed Morsi, refute this of course.

      Modern Turkish republic was founded in 1923 and they have had a coup about every decade. Democracy was seen as a fifth column which shows why it is easy to demonize Gulen. Continuing with the article

      But the democracy they defend has little to do with European-style democracy, just as Morsi’s policies during the brief period he was in power had nothing to do with genuine democracy, even if he was elected democratically.

      Looking back though, it is also true that successive governments that came to power after the republic was founded did little to turn Turkey into a respected member of the community of democratic European states, despite their modernist pretensions.

      It must not be forgotten that Turkey got its reputation as an oppressive country that does not respect human or minority rights, both of which it violated with impunity, under governments that preceded the AKP.

      It has to also be remembered that the establishment which ran this country for decades prior to the AKP always considered those citizens who defended true democracy and human rights as members of a fifth column in the service of a West that was out to destroy Turkey.

      In other words, the supposedly modern elements that ran Turkey for decades always mimicked Europeans superficially, but never believed in the values that go to make up contemporary Europe.

      More often than not, they considered these values to be a threat to national unity and the symbols they believed in religiously for maintaining this unity.

      I have included about 80 % of the short article and now the last two paragraphs

      Erdoğan’s “New Turkey” is not a desirable place for true democrats, but neither was the “Old Turkey” that some still hanker after. We need a genuinely new and democratic Turkey where no one feels alienated because of the results of a ballot box and everyone believes in the rule of law no matter who is elected.

      The results of the local elections have left us in even more of a quandary as to who will provide leadership for this.

      the link
      link to

      On this newspaper they have a link "green" it shows the destruction of the environment for progress. Right now it shows an old woman in her chair besides a giant digging machine and the title is that here protest stopped the destruction in a park. Scan down to see other actions and proposals including construction in National Parks.

      link to

  • ABC: Bush's Neocon Spokesman for Illegal US Occupation of Iraq Slams Russia for Crimea
    • A question to Juan, or others about NY Times Magazine article yesterday on Pakistan

      Article title "What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden" by Carlotta Gall who has spent 12 years in the region reporting for NY Times.

      She claims that a branch of ISI protected Bin Laden and high up officials were involved in the assignation of Bhutto.

      Any comments on this article?

  • Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State is like saying the US is a White State
    • Just saw Max Blumenthal on C-Span giving a speech on his book "Goliath"

      I heard from people whose houses were wiped out by bulldozers after 1948 and land taken over and people kicked off the land. I know that it is going on with the Palesteins on an ongoing basis.

      But to hear about an effort to remove Bedowins from their area, 40-70,000 of them and relocate the state less people to reservations like the American Indian reservations - this is going on right now.

      I didn't realize how Israel is using the "Iron Wall" approach to indigenous people. The only way is to remove them. They have no rights.

      Israel has no constitution and no borders. With no borders they can move people off the land. It is clear racist policy.

      Much more in this C-Span video. There is some talk at the first about several books, then the talk begins.

      link to

  • Top Ten Middle East Stories 2013: How the Region has Changed
    • I took a cultural trip to Turkey sponsored by the Gulen movement. I have been impressed with their interfaith efforts and commitments to dialogue.

      The once well thought of prime minister, Erdogan, is doing everything to hold onto power and using scapegoats to change the subject. For example, he has been supportive a massive construction projects and when the Gezi protests were held he shut them down which showed the international community where he really stands. He has since claimed that the source of the protests came from outside the country which is a lie.

      Since the trip I have been following events in Turkey on line with what I think is an excellent news paper, an old fashioned newspaper with articles and columns that follow what journalism schools used to teach. It is part of the Gulen movement, which is a loose confederation of people that in my view are committed to the basics of human well being and getting along. The paper is

      Either I am naive and the Gulen Movement is now that I think, or others including Juan Cole do not have a good handle on it and have fallen into the trap set by the ruling party in Turkey, AKP party that Gulen is the source of the countries problems. Here is a link to an article from todayszaman which contrasts Erdogan and the Gulen movement. Comments from this community are welcome.

      In summary, my sense is that Erdogan is going down the path of trying to maintain power when his legitimacy is declining rapidly and is lashing out at a scapegoat.

      It would be extremely helpful if there were a Preview and Review feature here. I don't recall if I posted the link so it might be a second time for it.

      link to

  • Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World
    • An excellent article which covers this topic and calls out the need for a language and a politics to combat the slide into authoritarianism.

      "Hope in the Age of Looming Authoritarianism" by Henry Giroux

      link to

      As I read the article, almost every paragraph contained a useful point that could be listed here. What follows is only the last two paragraphs from the article. Here they are:

      Reform is necessary but not enough. Democracy is not in crisis; it is moribund, its ideals reduced to either Disney-inspired nostalgia or misappropriated to legitimate its opposite. The United States now lives under the weight of a mode of authoritarianism that needs to be resisted and dismantled. This means moving beyond the call for piecemeal reform. One starting point might be to invent a new language and understanding of politics so as to address the root of the problem Americans face. Rethinking the discourse of politics provides the groundwork for waging struggles to bring under democratic control those economic, political, social and cultural modes of power and politics that have defaulted on democracy and subjected the vast majority of Americans to an unimaginable amount of misery, hardship and suffering. Paraphrasing James Baldwin, the United States in its current form needs to be robbed of its tyrannical power and transformed. The fulfilment of that prophecy comes with a price - humiliation, jail, loss of employment - but the alternative is worse and points to a growing national security, corporate and surveillance state and species of authoritarianism that encourage a range of anti-democratic practices - profit-hungry monopolies; the ideology of faith-based certainty; the pursuit of ethno-racial purity; the militarization of everyday life; the destruction of civil liberties; the practice of torture; and the undermining of any vestige of critical education, responsible dissent, and public dialogue.
      What the American public needs to address is that the United States is no longer on the brink of authoritarianism - rather, it has moved; it is at the stage where every effort is made on the side of corporate, political imagination and financial elites to make sure that the current reign of tyranny is neither challenged nor held accountable. Being indignant is not enough. The time has come to define the possible in an entirely new way. At the very least, this suggests building new social movements, organizations and strategies rooted in the power of the radical imagination, one that is capable of generating new terrains of struggle, practices of freedom and forms of educated hope that make possible what Jacques Derrida once called "the promise of a democracy to come."

  • Greenwald to BBC: Journalists must investigate the Powerful in Gov't since they Lie to the People (BBC Surprised)
  • John F. Kennedy's Thanksgiving Ideals, 1962-- How different they are from Ours
    • "JKF's Vision of Peace" subtitle: On the 50th anniversity of Kennedy's death, his nephed recalls the fallen president's attempts to end the cold war. By Robert Kennedy Jr.

      In Rolling Stone magazine. Here is a link.

      link to

      Didn't realize that JFK worked to end the cold war, and was planning to withdraw from Vietnam after he was elected to a second term. The military and the CIA fought him all the way. His major accomplishment was in the elimination of nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere.

      He was in contact with Khrushchev. He avoided nuclear war in the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missle Crisis. The military wanted to get the first strike against the Russians.

      The article makes a good case with evidence.

      The article does not discuss the reason for his assignation.

      To me, it makes clear that Obama and the political establishment, after the decades of building up the war machine and the surveillance state, and the corporate coup d'etat, and the media propaganda (along with capitalism) that has created American consumers rather than American citizens, all this makes the NSA documents so relevant.

      Recommend the short article.

      Something longer is the BBC interview of Glenn Greenwald just posted where Glenn demonstrates the role of journalism to hold people and institutions accountable. UK does not have legal protection of journalism like the US constitution.

      the link to the interview

      link to

      I find out about these from Glenn's twitter account which now has over 300,000 followers. Juan occasionally appears on Glenn's twitter as well.

      link to

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