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Total number of comments: 10 (since 2013-11-28 16:45:03)

Jim Harrison

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  • Was Ayatollah Khamenei right about Washington? Trump Reneges
    • The George W. Bush administration provided a recent precedent for not honoring international agreements made by previous administrations. Bush walked back Clinton's deals with North Korea, for example, and we're living with the consequences of that one. Did Obama do anything comparable? It seems to me that the Republicans don't think that Democratic administrations are legitimate so that commitments made under Clinton didn't count for Bush and commitments made under Obama don't count for Trump. You can't chalk up the bad faith exhibited in the decertification of the Iran deal to Trump alone. The last thing Republicans subscribe to is the principle that a deal's a deal.

  • Those Times the NSA Hacked America's Allies
    • I don't see much hysteria about the Russian hacking. It isn't the fact that the Russians interfered in our election which is remarkable or upsetting but the way in which American journalism made the interference effective by hyping the Wikileaks story beyond all reason. That and the obvious affinity of Trump and Putin, something that was obvious from Trump's speeches as from any sensational stories about espionage. Trump and Putin and many other leaders and would-be leaders are not part of a worldwide conspiracy against decent government, but a veritable Kleptocracy International does seem to be in the process of spontaneous formation, an informal club of elected authoritarians. That is upsetting or ought to be. .

  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
    • When Nixon's dirty tricks were revealed, Many Republican in Congress were genuinely appalled. That won't happen now, Indeed, it has already failed to happen—Trump's campaign, after all, was openly rotten. There is hardly a need to find secret tapes when the perpetrator celebrates his own vileness in every public speech. Although a few Republicans simply said no to Trump's outrages, the mass of them fell in line even before the election. There will be no investigations and certainly no impeachment. We're on our own.

  • The Hatred that Trump's Lies will Leave Behind
    • The people who study such things suggest that living historical memory is no more than 70 or 80 years long. Events that happened before are either mythology or known only to profs. Part of what's happening, here as in the rest of the world, is that the expiration date on the lessons of the 30s and 40s has arrived while the appeal of racism and scapegoating and the leadership principle remains evergreen.

  • "This Parrot is no More": The 2016 Presidential Election did not Take Place
    • At least on the climate front, you're engaging in false equivalence. Clinton's position on global warming may be inadequate, but her administration is likely to continue Obama's policies which at least support modest efforts to deal with the situation. A Trump administration will blow up existing international agreements and probably ensure that we're in for more than three degrees of warming. There's a difference between a bad outcome and a catastrophic outcome. There are realities behind the simulacra.

  • Clinton: No US ground troops in Iraq, Syria; Trump: Steal Iraqi Oil
    • Trump in power will not be neutered by the checks and balances. He'll be all the more dangerous because he doesn't have the institutional support or the know how to work within the system. In order to maintain any momentum at all he will have to subject the nation and the world to a continuous series of alarms and distractions—that's how he won the nomination if you'll recall. People whose idea of politics comes from watching movies think that shaking things up is a positive, but most ways of shaking things up leave them in ruins. Doesn't anybody read history any more?

  • Indiana: "How do we get rid of" Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States?'
    • Zinn wrote his book to counter existing American histories that are just as rhetorical but which devote their special pleading to defending the status quo. Of course denunciations of the texts he wrote against are notably absent from op-eds and standards of scholarship become notably more stringent when they are useful in discrediting ideas that aren't agreeable to powerful interests. By turning the issue into an argument about the accuracy of footnotes, academics get to avoid taking a stand.

      Works like Zinn's are needful in proportion to the prevalence of the propaganda of the other side. Not to get too postmodern about it, his book becomes truer and truer as political attempts to suppress demonstrate that its author really did have a point to make about the authoritarian character of the system

  • How Torture Misled the US into an Illegal War: What Zero Dark Thirty Really Leaves Out
    • I think you're taking the wrong tack on this issue. You can claim that the movie is aesthetically unsatisfying, but the audience in the theater where I watched it were spell bound; and, for what it's worth, I myself thought it was an outstanding piece of film making.

      The problem isn't that the movie is somehow a bad movie, but the ancient problem about the moral responsibility of the artist. Creativity is sometimes immoral.

      In the case of this particular film, however, I think the issue is more complicated. As I saw the movie, the director seemed to be determined to leave the issue of torture ambiguous. Now it may be that a reasonable person should have expected that normal audiences would not find it ambiguous but see it as a defense of torture in the same way that Hollywood revenge flicks are received as defenses of vigilantism. If so, the question becomes is Begelow responsible for the reception of her work as well as for its intention?

  • Our News and their News
    • I agree with much in your post, but I'm unhappy with the expression "late capitalism" in your first sentence because neither you nor I know whether the system in place is on its last legs or will continue for decades or centuries. Human institutional arrangements are always pretty dubious so that it wouldn't be particularly difficult to find evidence of terminal decadence in any society at any time. Thing is, the only thing that lends the locution "late capitalism" its force is appeal to an ideological narrative. Otherwise, it's like the old joke about the guy on the bus who asks another passenger about the exit for the zoo. "That's easy," he replies, "Wait till I get off the bus and get off at the previous stop."

  • Abbas: Israeli Colonization Impedes Start of Direct Talks
    • Nothing very complicated about this story. The Israeli government is simply operating in bad faith as they have been operating for generations now, at times in opposition to the will of a majority of Israelis, though I think the population has gradually fallen into line with the cynicism of its leaders. The Israelis take us for fools; and, on the evidence, they are quite right to do so.

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