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Total number of comments: 65 (since 2014-04-28 18:54:21)

Joseph

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  • How the JASTA override on Saudi could Bite Americans in the Ass
    • Indeed there is much evidence that the Saudi money is filthy, whether or not they had direct involvement. US Courts will do the corrupt thing, going whichever way the rightwing political winds and currents of bribery take them, and they will never make a very public decision against the wealthy without sufficient evidence. They will decide to exempt the Saudis because they help the US oligarchy attack socialism and gain bribes from Israel.

    • Yes, Rome also made a lot of enemies with its imperialist exploitation, and ultimately was surrounded by its victims, who defeated it. Both internal weakening and external opposition. Both are in progress at higher speed against the US. Making the US subject to international law, however poorly upheld, is one of its last hopes.

    • Only the legislative branch can make law. Its errors are not corrected by letting the executive assume dictatorial powers: the correction is to fix the legislative process, largely by removing economic power over elections and mass media.

  • Syria: Are Russo-Iranian and US-Saudi interests converging enough for a Ceasefire?
    • "Russian and Iranian interests …are at serious odds with Saudi and U.S. interests.”
      The article assumes Russia to be the evil empire opposing mysterious unspecified “Saudi and U.S. interests.” Don’t forget to let us all know what those interests are: beheading those of other religions in exchange for campaign bribes?

    • To which in fairness add that the writer is quite right in arguing for Iran-Saudi rapprochement, something the US and its principal briber Israel will not allow.

  • In Massive Intel Error, US Kills 80 Syrian Troops, Helps ISIL Advance
    • It is not plausible that there was any error in the US strike. The Syrian position was on a hilltop, surrounded by ISIS/Daesh, protecting the airport and civilian population of a city, which are now controlled by ISIL/Daesh. That explanation is like saying that the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor was a training mission gone astray.

      No one makes such errors. The US clearly did support ISIL in attacking the Syrian Government position. No doubt this was a provocation maneuver intended to blame them for a truce violation. This well shows the intentions of the gangs controlling US government.

  • Trump-inspired felon allegedly torches Ft. Pierce FL Mosque, says "All Islam is radical"
    • Yes, it does look to be a march of folly whomever wins, with Trump marching against imaginary domestic devils and Hillary against foreign ones. Now if they could just lock arms and march around in a circle on the border somewhere, and leave civilization alone.

    • I think Prof. Cole understands this very well, and chose the word "member" precisely to indicate that the criminal's association with the mosque was incidental rather than regular, that is, his acts were not influenced by the particular mosque. Juan regularly clears up potential popular misunderstandings of Islam.

    • Hate speech is truly erroneous and only makes things worse. Trump cannot be sued because he did not directly suggest violence, despite his implications and knowledge of likely effects. He is campaigning by appeal to ignorance, selfishness, and the lower class desire to declare a yet lower class, diverting blame from oligarchy and sowing division among their opponents.

  • What did we buy with the $5 Trillion that the Iraq & Afghanistan Wars have cost us?
    • I will add that if you budgeted our schools as you would budget foreign aid, you would have us provide one hamburger a year to each child, and let them roam and get into trouble with no school building, teachers, medical care, utilities, clothing, heat, or law enforcement. There's your proud "largesse," and I'll bet you did not raise your children that way. So why can you not sympathize with the world's neediest?

    • First, note that billions is .001 of trillions, and each billion since WWII is roughly one-fourth of one penny per capita per year, not "largesse" by any standard. US aid has never exceeded about one hamburger per year to the world’s neediest, which is not worth mentioning except in propaganda.

      No one but military propagandists argues that the developed world can merely install advanced institutions and understanding. These require cultivation of the soil with education, stability of food and housing and health, rule of law, etc. But we certainly can cultivate that soil; nations can be built with patience and realism.

      The “fraudulent argument” is the claim that we must wait until "the population decides it wants" to advance before preparing the soil. Do we wait for children to decide to wash their hands, to be nice to their competitors, to go to school, or do we reward them and make it more desirable for them to do so.

      To say that aid money "contributes very little" is completely false. That is true only when it is military aid, or when it is dumped on dictators as discretionary spending. Aid requires careful design, administration, monitoring, and adjustment to achieve results. That is not done because it is only used as propaganda.

    • Had the US spent the 4.79 trillion cost plus 7.9 trillion debt interest on programs for the world's 1 billion poorest, about $13,000 per capita where annual costs of living may be a tenth of that, It would have built the roads, schools, and hospitals of the poorest nations, and would have no organized enemies anywhere. The US could have done that several times since WWII.

      But instead we have wars to rationalize giving all funds and even our basic rights to the warmongers, and this has made us enemies worldwide, destroying our security and our democracy,

      The warmongers must be prosecuted and executed for war crimes.

  • Saudi Bigot-in-Chief Declares Iranian Shiites "Not Muslim"
    • Yes, the logistics of the Hajj are beyond clerical administration. This is why I have long suggested giving Jerusalem to Walt Disney, and Mecca could become a franchise if Disney was not Jewish. But the principle can be extended by modern means.

      Let’s not stop there. We start by popularizing cartoons of ineffectual fundamentalist animals humorously dodging each others' ambitions at every turn, and Bowery Boys movies with insecure extremist ringleaders somehow kept out of trouble by basically moderate kids and family oriented leaders. Then we can move to sports teams named after each sect battling things out on TV, later scandalously revealed to have multisectarian members working in harmony. Then we move to inflatable ayatollahs and rabbis ramming each other in parades, who gradually take on characteristics of multiple sects. In the finale, we introduce a terrible but hypothetical external threat from central Africa or Iceland, and impugn the allegiance everyone who minimizes the threat or fails to join forces with the unified muslim nations and their new allies. After a generation the threat is vanquished far away with the help of allies of all religions, and we march forward arm in arm to the rosy future.

    • A Modest Proposal

      Now Turkey, Iran, and Russia are well positioned to make a great peace initiative. Simply make a deal with Israel to move to Cyprus with its vastly better natural defenses as an island, at the expense of building mansions for the Cypriots in Turkey or Greece (paid for by funds lost by the US DOD). Now Turkey has Israel which it donates to Daesh and AlQaeda. Now the Sunnis of E Iraq move to Syria or ISIsrael as they please, making room for the separatist Kurds of Turkey (at some distance from Turkey). Everyone is happy.

      If the US spent on this what it has wasted in destroying the Mideast for fifteen years, it could pay these thirty million happy migrants about one hundred thousand per household plus infrastructure, a mini-mosque for every family in a thousand McMeccas.

      Now if Israel does not agree, the best thing Russia could do is to give Daesh, AlQaeda & the Chechens free tickets to south Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Gaza, and have them attack Israel. Russia arranges to “defend” Saudi Arabia and Egypt to preclude US intervention. With all those US SAMs etc, they should get past any air force and into the cities for some door-to-door exercises. Any Israeli first-use of nukes (if they really have any) would be on their own territory. Such neighbors should make Israel consider Cyprus an attractive option.

  • US Elites Abandoned their Workers: Trump is their Revenge; & You ain't seen Nothin' Yet
    • But your America B combines two quite different groups: the practical folks who want jobs and social security, versus the feel-good ignorant who want warmongering, racism, and fundamentalism. The Dems could recapture the dispossessed, but only the Repubs can rally the ignorant bombing-bible-bigot crew, by controlling mass media.

      But if Trump won, the Dems would just feed the poor more hopey-changey from minority/women candidates, until just after each election. That fools the dispossessed after each robber Repub admin, until the Dems are again proven to be liars.

      No party is sincerely populist because money controls elections and mass media, and that cannot be changed peacefully because those are the tools of democracy. The dispossessed would have to become suicide bombers of the oligarchy and mass media to effect a change, and they will never be angry enough: the oligarchy does not need to actually kill their loved ones, so they can always watch TV to feel good, and simply decide to rob the next guy to get by.

  • Dear Mr. Holder: Why Ed Snowden can't get a Fair Trial in your National Security State
    • Very interesting article. I may soon use the Espionage Act to prosecute several of the US judiciary in the Court of Federal Claims, for infiltrating the US government with the intent of subversion, for that is the truth of the matter. Should make them think about it if they are capable.

  • Israel: Netanyahu replies to Officers' charges of Fascism, makes far Right Lieberman their boss
    • Agreed. I begin to wonder the unthinkable - whether a Trump win would disenfranchise US warmongers enough to destabilize Israel and force the Dems to seek progress in 2020. Or embarrass the Repubs enough to permit the same.

  • Can Iran sue the US for Coup & supporting Saddam in Iran-Iraq War?
    • Oh the statement is extremely solidly founded (if you are suggesting that it is propaganda). Numerous references on control of elections and mass media by economic concentrations. You have only to read on the subject.

      If it were not so so, you would have a hard time explaining any major foreign policy initiative of the US since WWII.

    • Iran is more than justified in making these claims, and in thereby exposing the utter corruption of the USG in these past acts, and the utter hypocrisy of the US in claiming damages from this victim, and the utter hypocrisy of the US in both refusing to sign the Treaty of Rome allowing jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, and in passing legislation to militarily attack the Hague if the Court convicts US persons of war crimes.

      Iran is right to show the gross hypocrisy of the US government to the subjugated and propagandized people of the US.

  • Architects of Failure: 100 years of Sykes-Picot
    • The illustration badly needs labels of the several demarcated areas, which should be referenced in the text.

  • The Biggest threat to the Mideast isn't ISIL, it's bad, Corrupt Governance
    • Certainly bad government is a problem everywhere.

      But for governments to merely "offer their citizens an adequate quality of life" isn't much of a goal. And how is that to be done without democracy and human rights, but only "effective and credible institutions" characterized only by "checks and balances, and diffusing control over decision-making"? Those goals were met by medieval monarchies as well as then possible, and they aren't met well by the United States, except for its economic advantages, not much to be credited to its nondemocratic government.

      Try human rights, democracy, self-determination, economic opportunity, public education, and health.

  • Over 80 senators push Obama to increase military aid to Israel; but not Bernie
    • This is an excellent measure of treason in the US government. These 83 senators are not naive as to Israel being a root cause of instability in the midEast, they are serving a foreign power that opposes US interests, in exchange for bribes. They should all be investigated, imprisoned, and prosecuted for treason.

  • Top 7 ways Harriet Tubman is the most Badass Spy & Warrior ever to grace US Currency
    • He also led campaigns in then-Spanish Florida to round up escaped slaves called Maroons, not a popular theme these days.

    • Thanks for the note on Tubman; an interesting article.

  • The Saudi-Russian Oil Price Freeze is about Power, not Money
    • It is hard to believe that "Russia and Saudi Arabia...are trying to stop Iran ... inroads into the global oil market" while Iran is the major player with Russia in Syria. More likely Russia and Iran have agreed to this non-limit of production so as to head off a Saudi invasion of Syria, or simply for mutual gain.

      The writer does not support his hypothesis of a Russia-Iran divide, so one is left suspecting political bias.

  • Turkish Pres. Erdogan cites Hitler in case for Presidential System
    • Very good points, although the conclusion for the US is the same. There is no unstable balance of power among potential tyrants, no fear of uprising, nor concern for democracy among the sheeple. Just raw opportunism, selfishness, hypocrisy, and malice taught by the mass media. The soil in which democracy flourishes is now a desert, and the tree must finally fall, to be replaced by democracy elsewhere, and perhaps at length regenerated here. And the sooner the better, although not in our time.

    • But “checks and balances” has never worked in the US, because it was designed as a first approximation suitable to the small government of the early federal era. Not only are there no checks at all upon the judicial branch (it was thought to be too few in number to misbehave), but also the other branches have no internal checks and are fundamentally unable to balance each other because their powers are completely different. The executive branch has always had all of the physical power (army, national guard, secret agencies, DOJ and marshals, etc.) as well as real control of the economic power (treasury, IRS, budget management, etc.). So the executive has gradually taken what it pleases. The judicial branch now rejects by subterfuge both constitutional rights and democracy itself, as in Citizens United. All branches are owned by the bribes of economic concentrations: if any branch represented the people, the conflicts between them would be immediate.

      The solution is to implement checks and balances within each branch (and add checks upon the judiciary). When factions control one of its components, the others check its power. That requires redundant control within each branch, just like the redundant processors in high-reliability control systems (aircraft autopilots, large memory systems, etc.). When one disagrees, the votes of the other two decide the action taken.

      But no system of checks and balances works when economic power controls all of the branches and their components. That can be eliminated only by amendments to the Constitution to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited and registered individual contributions, there is no way to restore democracy. But without those essential tools of democracy, there is no public debate of such amendments.

      Economic dominance of mass media and elections ensures right wing tyranny and illusory foreign wars forever, because right wing tyrants must create foreign enemies to demand domestic power by posing as protectors and to accuse their opponents of disloyalty, as Aristotle warned millennia ago. It also ensures that humanitarianism and sanity in foreign and domestic policy are denounced forever as subversive of the interests of the rich.

      Sadly, there is no peaceful way to replace tyranny and recreate democracy. The structures of tyranny are immune to social, moral, and political education. No one can prefer the tragedies of revolution to the beauty of a peaceful democracy. But when democracy has been allowed to rot into tyranny, we owe a debt to the future.

  • 5 Questions For Syria Hawks
    • Correct "4 billion" to "4 trillion" and "they they" to "they."

    • I should add that this is an infantile bully strategy of the right wing, more than a game plan: they keep pushing until their weak enemy pushes back, then push harder, etc. Works every time.

      Each bully cycle, they turn to their fearful domestic supporters and say "See, he pushed me!" and the cowards know that the right wing bully is really threatening Them in case they dare disagree. All along as they see a particle of truth in the bully claims, and they they keep quiet. They know that otherwise they will be accused of disloyalty and attacked by their former allies in cowardice. They are offered the prizes of false patriotism by the right wing, so they take those, accuse their personal competitors of disloyalty, and stay safe.

      The only remedy is unwavering strength against the right wing bullies. Remember, they cannot gain domestic power without creating foreign monsters. Aristotle warned of their tyranny over democracy millennia ago.

      No consideration of the right wing schemes should ever be given: if they had any good intentions at all, the US wold have spent that $4 billion in massive humanitarian programs (and much more than that since WWII), and would have no organized enemies anywhere.

      Remember that, and put the infantile right wing bullies where they belong: sweeping floors and flipping burgers, instead of lording it over the ruins of our democracy from their mansions and piles of gold from the public treasure.

    • The article might also note that every "limited" involvement of ground forces has been both an incitement and a "trip wire" for major involvement, and is intended to get the public to accept another foreign war. The right wing simply puts in "advisors" then "limited forces" with a "defensive" role, then increased forces to protect them and make dubious "clear and hold" operations that do not "hold" territory but create more insurgents, then a "surge" etc., etc. This is the right wing re-run of Korea and Vietnam, disavowed even by then-SecDef McNamara. We put our forces there and "they attacked us" without any provocation. Don't be fooled, that is the right wing game plan.

  • Rural Fury over Arabic Script in World Cultures Module forces closing of Augusta, Va. Schools
    • This carries forward a grand tradition of American stupidity. About 1962 my mother suggested to a PTA meeting the teaching of French and Spanish in a rural public school in Pennsylvania, not far from a university, and was accused of Communism. The control of mass media and election funding by right wing fearmongers, allowing them to create foreign monsters and pose as protectors and accuse their opponents of disloyalty, has been the means of tyranny over democracy since Aristotle's warning millennia ago. None of these things could happen if mass media and elections were controlled by the people. It is time for amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited and registered individual contributions.

  • Top 5 Ways Saudi Arabia really could fight Terrorism, & not by a Vague Coalition
    • The Saudi government must have very strong financial monitoring, given that some of its citizens started AlQaeda and are thought to be a primary source of funds to Daesh/Isis, as well as a source of extremist Wahabi or jihadist fighters whose return they fear. Do they monitor and yet not approve of the foreign military adventures their citizens' money and participation has long supported?

      It seems likely that they intend to create a puppet state in W Iraq and E Syria, are serving or defining US policy, and like the US, are freely condemning anyone who resists as "terrorist" despite using the same war techniques.

  • Top 6 Times US government Excluded Millions based on Race or Religion
    • The US moves to restrict immigration by race are also extremely hypocritical, because all US citizens are of immigrant stock. Even native Americans immigrated. There is little consistency among the prior waves of immigrants, all of whom were discriminated against by the others when they arrived, and their predominant European origin only reflects the proximity of that continent.

      And those were the good old days, when the US had a democracy that responded to the prejudices of the people rather than those of money, which discriminates against all people it cannot exploit.

      The hypocrisy is doubled by the US refusal to give significant aid to oppressed populations worldwide. It is tripled by the US deliberately causing oppression of foreign peoples for economic gain, causing waves of refugees whom it excludes.

  • How the NRA is harming American Security: Mass Shootings as Serial Terrorism
    • The dialog on this subject uniformly neglects the primary reasons for support of weapon ownership in this country.

      1. This is a nation of extreme selfishness and lawless bullying, from sea to shining sea. Those who are less able to intimidate bullies must own weapons or live in gated communities. Otherwise the number of deaths, rapes, and robberies in a nation of 320 millions would be vastly greater than the number killed in mass shootings.

      2. The mass media cause most of these shootings by idolizing killers with generic enemies as patriots and defenders, and by warmonger propaganda for the right wing tyrants of the rich, who must create public enemies to pose as defenders and accuse their enemies of disloyalty. Obviously it is this right wing media propaganda and US foreign military wrongdoing that has caused these shootings, not the availability of weapons, which is lower than ever before.

      3. Those who think that weapons will be responsibly used if monopolized by a government controlled by oligarchs are childish and foolish. They are arguing for totalitarianism based on this fool's assumption, the same assumption under which they fail to oppose commercial and government spying.

      Let's address the root causes here and have no more of this foolish propaganda for totalitarianism.

  • In final Failure for Bush/Cheney, many in Iraq seek Russian Alliance
    • Those "mindnumbing excesses" are the direct result of the US past decisions not to "pussyfoot around" in Iraq and AfPak. No one who cares about the population there would even think of military intervention as a means of political or economic or social development. It leads to extremism, and the warmongers cannot imagine any response but yet more militarism. Think of solutions, not merely rationales for vain shows of anger. When you have a record of generations of humanitarian interventions, and a path to progress blocked solely by military force, then you may suggest military force as an ancillary means to progress. Until then it is the cause of the problem.

  • Why Obama and Putin are Both Wrong on Syria
    • "blaming the US and the West for creating Daesh (they did not) to overthrow secular regimes (which they don’t want to do)."

      But the US did in effect create AlQaeda to overthrow the secular USSR-backed govt of Afghanistan, overthrew the secular Baathist regime in Iraq, overthrew the secular Qaddafi in Libya, and has in effect supported Isis ally AlQaeda in Syria to overthrow the relatively-secular Baathist Assad.

  • Is it the US that isn't stepping up to fight Daesh/ ISIL?
    • Isn't "letting Ramadi fall in order to punish al-Abadi for not being inclusive ...was a major policy error" in conflict with the conclusion that non-inclusiveness is the primary obstacle to a unified Iraq, and the primary cause of US failure there? Why should we support one non-inclusive state against another, although the second is more violent because of that prior support?

      If the rise of Daesh was the inevitable result of the US foolishness, why not accept the consequences, let them have Anbar, and wait two generations for them to moderate?

  • Iraq Can't Get Ramadi back without an Inclusive Policy toward Sunnis
    • The sentiments would be sound if there were any chance for an inclusive government of Iraq, but that seems remote. Having set up the whole situation, the US should not conclude that there was or will soon be a better option for the Sunnis. Of course any successful movement there is militant and fanatical - we created the situation in which only such groups could prevail. Very likely Isis and its Sunni allies will eventually prevail in some form in Anbar and Syria; a Sunni alliance from SA to Anbar seems necessary to their self-determination.

  • Syria: Al-Qaeda takes Jisr al-Shughur, threatening Key Port
    • As I recall, FSA arms were known to be finding their way to other rebel groups including AlQaeda, and FSA was a minor contender among more extreme groups. What sort of victory would be gained for whom by arming the rebels further, especially with little control over who ultimately gets the arms? Isn't that strategy what led us here each step of the way?

  • President Hillary Clinton's Middle East Policy: Interventions, Wars, More of Same
    • I would call her foreign policy knowledge "experience" rather than "expertise." Having folded instantly to military pressure to expand the Iraq war on the mere presumption that more force would mean more success, I don't see any reason to give her credit for leadership ability. It appears that she makes foolish assumptions, cannot resist groupthink, and does not have the courage or intelligence to seek more difficult or unpopular paths where necessary. In short, a right wing shill posing as a progressive, their only use for females in politics. A disaster already signed up and paid for by AIPAC and the right wing.

  • US history of coup-making Overshadows Obama's outreach to Iran, Latin American Left
    • These are reasons to suppose that the US will indeed continue to seek regime change in Cuba and elsewhere. Obama's words are not inconsistent with expanded subversion, bribery, surveillance, and control of media and elections. Nor was his 2008 slogan "change" inconsistent with outright betrayal of his constituents on all or nearly all fronts. Even if the USG did nothing wrong directly, Cuban government would soon be controlled by the same gang of the rich that controls the USG via mass media and election funding.

  • Iran: What did Khamenei really say about the Lausanne Agreement, and Why?
    • While an international agreement to agree sounds like progress, I don't know of a case where it led to agreement. The right wing opponents are spurred to fight more, while the moderates go home. If Obama cannot get sanctions lifted now, it will not happen before 2016 or afterward. Very likely the US center-left is being thrown a bone to keep it in the Hillary Netanyahu camp, which will promptly reneg and blame Iran.

      This is quite consistent with the Cuba negotiation. Nothing Obama has said there precludes increased US surveillance, subversion, and sponsorship of oligarchy parties. And even if the USG did not, which would be unprecedented and astounding, Cuba would soon be controlled by the same oligarchy that controls the USG via the mass media and election funding.

      Any treaty is better than warmongering, as it acknowledges a small backing for cooperation, but where diplomacy cannot move quickly it seldom moves at all.

  • Traitor Senators used Israeli Spies against their own Country
    • The term traitor is strictly accurate, although not because they sympathize with a foreign state. Treason is defined carefully in the US Constitution as making war upon these United States. But economic coercion is the modern form of warfare, as economic force has replaced military force as the principal form of coercion. Those who use economic force to control the US government are indeed traitors.

      That includes the oligarchs who control US elections and mass media and thereby politicians. It includes politicians who accept money from foreign powers and PACs like AIPAC that thereby control US policy. They have denied democracy to We the People, and all means to restore it, other than following Jefferson's advice that "the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants."

  • Tom Friedman & funding ISIL: Israel/Iran Derangement Syndrome
    • The reason that the mad propaganda seems "too strong and unchallenged culturally and politically to overcome" (the christian-right contention that Christians are Jews although JC founded a distinct religion, and the mass media myth that Jews deserve special privileges because some of their ancestors suffered long ago and far away) is plainly that Jews and the sycophants of gold control the mass media and elections in the US, denying democracy to We the People, as well as the tools to restore democracy. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

      No doubt there were liberals and progressives among the Nazis as well, as long as their own supremacy was unchallenged. Claims of noble views are used as a pseudo-moral facade like religious attendance. The proof of fascism is in the promotion of interests of the group above all others. It is sad but not surprising that fascism unbound leads to fascism among the victims. But fascism is concealed by groups that once were its victims. It is time to call it what it is.

  • Iran and America's Memory Hole
    • This reminder of the US overthrow of democracy in Iran and substitution of dictatorship, and the greed motive of the politicians, is perennially needed. Nothing could be more false than the claim that the US government wishes to advance democracy, a claim that parallels the destruction of democracy by economic concentrations in the US.

      The control of US media and elections by the economic concentrations has eliminated democracy here. Economic force is now the equivalent of military force, and the economic concentrations that use it to control government make war upon the United States, the definition of Treason in our Constitution. It is they who must languish in Guantanamo without hope.

      Is this what you will fight for, Americans? Is this the honor you will claim for the military, the blood of millions of innocents, the destruction of democracy, the ruin of the most unfortunate of the world?

  • Snowden will return to US if fair trial guaranteed – NSA whistleblower’s lawyer
    • Obviously the US will make an example of him with other forms of torture, as it did with Manning. There are plenty of right wing loonies to do whatever the government does not. He would be well advised to go to South America if Russia has begun to see him as a negotiating chip.

  • US Mission Creep in Iraq, Part Deux
    • Thanks, Peter; I found your book We Meant Well valuable also. You may have meant well, but the right wing who trumped up the war do not. The creation of foreign monsters is their principal rationale for demanding domestic power, as Aristotle described the tyrant of a democracy millenia ago.

      Sorry to hear that the M1 found a market, as I supposed it would not when I worked on it decades ago before Reaganite propagandists erased what little the US learned from Vietnam. But glad to hear that it is fairly useless against the insurgencies the US right wing creates around the world.

  • Do Nigerians Matter to World Press? - 2,000 feared dead in Boko Haram Attacks
    • Hey JT, I love your comments, but you should take another look at mine on the torture issue at link to juancole.com. I did not know of your angry response in time to clarify.

      I was carefully debunking all of the nasty abuses of torture rationales that you thought I was supporting. My comment was to indicate that I want to see an ironclad set of boundaries to torture in the vanishingly rare exceptional case where the public would consider it quite necessary, because that is the case claimed by those who pretend to have cause for torture. I said that because if we establish such boundaries we can prohibit torture in every non-valid case (which may very well turn out to be every case) and thus end the charade under which it is practiced.

      I do not support torture at all. But as an engineer, I know that if every logical corner is not examined, a computer (or a large complex world) will quickly find the sloppy corner, and we shall be back at square one.

      But if there is no ironclad boundary, whose violation all can see, then the simplification of absolute prohibition must suffice, and we will have to expect violations when the public demands an exception. Certainly it is out of control.

  • Fearing NSA, Writers in USA and Worldwide Avoiding controversy, keyword Searches
    • An excellent article. Worrying about surveillance of political expression, and its automated use to inflict economic damage on dissenters, has become a daily experience. It is now dangerous to use one's own name in print, and commercial publishers accept nothing with any progressive or dissenting commentary.

      Possible minor edits (no need to post these):
      1. Key Finding #2 paragraph 4:
      "considered doing so. Similarly to those"
      should be
      "considered doing so, similarly to those"
      2. "topics that they think The levels"
      should be
      "topics that they think [may subject them to surveillance]. The levels"
      Key Finding #3
      3. paragraph 1 "The U.S. government’s mass surveillance 14% answered"
      Key Finding #4
      4. paragraph 1 "particularly Even"

  • How Jesus' Message of Peace & Non-Violence Got Lost
    • The pacifist philosophy proceeds from noble impulses, but reacts to the insanity of war with the mere wish that no circumstance justifies it. It can be viable for members of a minority religion, when they can live fairly normal lives under repression. The rationales for selfish war of aggression are certainly unsupportable. But not many would discourage defensive war against a terrible aggressor. Foreign “defensive” wars have usually been sold by fearmongering tyrants of the right wing to gain domestic power as described by Aristotle, and the rationales for “humanitarian” wars of liberation have often been trumped up by special interests or economic concentrations rather than resulting from any coherent global analysis of humanitarian needs and means, unless decided by international authority. But more complex issues are involved in war against tyranny, whether foreign or domestic.

      So part of the the problem is transferring war powers to international police authority under a global government. This cannot be done for the same reason that mindless wars are fought: control of democracies by economic concentrations owning their mass media and election process. Pacifism will not solve that problem, if as Jefferson noted “The Tree of Liberty must be watered by the blood of tyrants.” And that raises the question of whether that same drift to oligarchy would soon control a global government, without hope of restoration of democracy.

      Sadly, the wish for peace does not get us there. Education of human rights and sympathy (religious or otherwise) is necessary, but has not been able to hold the line as respect for human rights declined under the onslaught of oligarchy propaganda. It may be that peace and justice under democracy can be restored only after the Tree of Liberty has been watered, probably after a future cataclysm that might easily be avoided, if only everyone truly respected human rights and dignity. They don’t. The struggle for justice is systematically and effectively opposed by the selfish and hypocritical, as well as the merely ignorant and malicious. So we must ask whether the resignation of Christianity serves as defeatist propaganda, now as in many past centuries.

  • Why the Founding Fathers thought banning Torture Foundational to the US Constitution
    • Although I am in full agreement with the article and most comments, note that the Constitution made exceptions in military situations. "Letters of reprisal" authorized privateer attacks upon specified targets (usually pirate ships) which might hold innocent persons; they were non-specific death warrants, necessitated by a military circumstance that would certainly result in many further casualties and crimes, if apprehension and trial were required as in civilian justice. I dislike such cases, but they need to considered carefully so as to prevent their abuse.

      Most would agree, at least when under attack, that some circumstances of defense justify deadly force. One can imagine the (not very likely) situation in which the prisoner certainly conceals information that will save hundreds or thousands of lives, and if the information could not be obtained otherwise (for example by drugs or deception), few would argue that a civilized state should let so many others die so as to refrain from torture. But we know that in practice detainees generally do not have the information desired, or it cannot be extracted from them, or it is not so useful, or the risk is very uncertain, etc., so that there is a slippery slope from acknowledging the potential necessity, down to torturing large numbers on flimsy pretexts. Those who do not respect human rights will sometimes be in power and will quickly descend that slope in secret, without ironclad prohibitions and public scrutiny. That, it seems to me, is sufficient cause to almost prohibit torture, and sufficient cause to prohibit secret torture, or torture by foreign agencies. The sad thing is that it does not really negate the morality of an exception in the extreme case, yet every power that tortures believes or claims that it is using that exception. So I think that discussion should consider ironclad moral boundaries of the exception case, if we can find them, rather than declare absolutes, unless or until we have confidence that non-torture techniques can be sufficient if such cases occur.

  • How The Koch Brothers Corrupted Florida State University (+163 Other Colleges) (Young Turks)
    • Assuming that you are not joking, please note that it is the origin of teachings which determines their validity. Teachings must result from scholarly analysis and consensus, not coercion, because that is the source of truth. It would be specious argument that the buying of influence by a few might balance the opinion of many professors who disagree, because their views result from learning, not the influence of economic or political coercion.

      Please note also that universities are really not free to decline. They are guided by persons who may be more flexible than they should be, or more concerned with budgets than truth, or they may be ideologues at odds with the truth as seen by faculties. That is, the university as an instrument of truth is not free where there are incentives for distortion of the truth seeking process.

  • 'We're on edge of large war in MidEast' - Daniel Ellsberg
    • Garikai Chenghu notes in CounterPunch here
      link to counterpunch.org that:

      “air strikes in Syria and economic sanctions on Iran have everything to do with Israel. The goal is to deprive Israel’s neighboring enemies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas, of crucial Syrian and Iranian support.”

      “The so-called “War on Terror” should be seen for what it really is: a pretext for maintaining a dangerously oversized U.S. military. The two most powerful groups in the U.S. foreign policy establishment are the Israel lobby, which directs U.S. Middle East policy, and the Military-Industrial-Complex, which profits from the former group’s actions.

      “In 1997, a U.S. Department of Defense report stated, 'the data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and an increase in terrorist attacks against the U.S.' Truth is, the only way America can win the 'War On Terror' is if it stops giving terrorists the motivation and the resources to attack America. Terrorism is the symptom; American imperialism in the Middle East is the cancer. Put simply, the War on Terror is terrorism; only, it is conducted on a much larger scale by people with jets and missiles.”

      This is another endless war solely for Israel, run by the US oligarchy, who control the mass media and elections with money from Israel.

  • Obama's ISIL Actions are Defensive, Despite Rhetoric of going on Offense
    • Some good points here. Likely the US can help prevent IS from taking and holding, and perhaps drive it back to insurgency. But regardless of success there, the ideas and motives will not be defeated, and militarism without progress for Sunnis will recruit more insurgents. A less extreme Sunni state in those areas seems likely in the long run anyway.

      It seems likely in the absence of any effective US diplomacy or massive humanitarian aid, that the real goal is to continue setting Islamic groups against each other for the benefit of Israel and the military industry. Whether that is Obama’s goal or one he is forced to accept ,or cannot see beyond due to his military advisers, I cannot say. But likely it does not matter, as US policy is not driven by its people or to any decent ends.

  • Would a US/ NATO war in Syria be Legal in International Law?
    • 1. The arrogation of power by the presidency is indeed the problem; I see no legitimacy. The War Powers Act merely reasserts the Constitutional intention that the executive has an early-response capacity as commander but no policymaking authority. We must correct the defective checks and balances system to halt presidential wars.
      2. Those counterinsurgencies are not closely comparable. The Latin American operations were anti-socialist subversions more than counterinsurgencies: the enemy was the more civilized and hence weaker party, fighting for progress v. dictatorship. The Phillipines have island boundaries and some regional autonomy, and the US COIN was primarily massive killings of independence seekers a century ago. Apparently angry Islamic groups are still there. In the ME I see no path to success with more COIN.

    • 1. The intervention would violate US law first. The constitution deliberately restricts federal use of force to repelling invasions and suppressing insurrections. Only treaties permit foreign wars, subject to the War Powers Act, already violated in Iraq. The US has lost democratic control of foreign policy to the imperial executive and should always say no, except in case of invasion of US territory.
      2. The US has never succeeded in a counterinsurgency effort, except by declaring victory after destroying nations with effects opposite to those intended.
      3. The US is largely responsible for the instability of the region, persistently aggravates the underlying causes, and can only create worse messes and more enemies. There is no possible gain in a military role for the US in foreign policy due to its incompetence and greed; only humanitarian aid roles will achieve anything.

  • Evacuating Miami Beach: Can South Florida Save itself from Sea Level Rise?
    • The problem exists, but most of this is fashionable diversion. Nothing is done, because the wealthy with power are insulated. Here in S Florida and in the Chesapeake lowlands, insurance for coastal areas rises and will have paid for and profited from the destruction before it happens, except for sparsely inhabited lowlands already being abandoned. Most of the impact will be in poor nations with densely populated river deltas or islands and little insurance. The US will do nothing for them, again because the wealthy are not affected. They will simply move back to the new waterfront on the insurance proceeds.

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar
    • I follow more than the fake mass media "news" and note that:
      1. MH17 normally routes elsewhere and this flight was diverted to the war zone, and Kiev is concealing the ATC records.
      2. Both sides are said to have the same missiles, US has failed to find launchers claimed to be "going back to Russia," and a CIA report of satellite evidence suggests that soldiers at the battery which fired seem to be in Kiev uniforms.
      Don't forget that US media also claimed that the Maine was blown up by Spain in 1898 (it had a coal bunker explosion), refused to report the US military cargo on the Lusitania in 1915, and neglected to inform us that KA flight "007" was shot down over USSR missile bases on a surveillance mission.

      So much for US media information.

    • Your conclusion without evidence that there is "little doubt" that the eastern Ukraine anti-fascists shot down MH17 is "ridiculous on its face" and mere propaganda, as is your attempt to substitute the emotionalism of the issue for any argument on the matter..

  • As Hundreds of US Troops are Sent to Iraq, Fears of Mission Creep
    • We send advisers so as to have casualties to rationalize further intervention.

      If our advice was effective during the long war, their military would not have collapsed. General advice will require more detailed advice and training and more advisers will be sent. Then a few will be killed in some incident and the oligarchy media will scream for revenge, and more will die.

      As always there will be no prospect or intent of gains for the foreign population, the US will spend vast sums stolen from the middle class, and only the warmongers will gain.

  • Iraq Crisis: It's the Oil, Stupid!
    • This is the cover story of the Israel lobby. The US can and must buy the oil at market rates from whomever is in control: there was never a prospect of getting free oil. The last nation in that area that the US ruined for low cost oil was Iran next door, which led to revolution and generations of hatred of the US.

      Remember that the US and Israel supplied weapons and funds to both sides in the long Iran-Iraq war, intending to set the Arab groups against each other to destroy their military capacity. Remember that it was an all-Israeli team under GWB (Wolfowitz, Feith, Wurmser, and Perl) who supplied the fake WMD "evidence" against Iraq and had long argued to Netanyahu to trick the US into war there for Israel.

      The warmongers used the free-oil gambit back in 2003 to cover up their political agenda, and in fact used the same slogan as Schwartz: "It's the Oil, Stupid" showing that they directed the propaganda at an audience they preferred to regard as stupid.

  • "Ready, Fire, Aim!" Are We Stumbling into another War?
    • Mr. Polk makes many excellent points. Many readers would be offended by any presumption of bad intentions, however obvious, so he is wise to merely represent the amoral militarists as bumblers.

      Anyone with experience who has read US history for these last three generations knows that US militarists, whether in the military, MIC, politics, or citizens, are cowardly conformists, traitors wrapped in the flag, aggrandizing themselves with glee by generating corpses, to symbolically avenge their oppression by the oligarchy they serve. Those who will not read the history can just watch them bully their way through traffic in their Humvees and black SUVs.

  • As US Pressures Maliki to Resign, will Iraqi Gov't Collapse?
    • The failure of Iraq to include the Sunnis in its “democracy” never bothered our anti-democracy warmongers: they declared victory for democracy until the lack of it threatened to topple Maliki, use the same false claim for Ukraine and Afghanistan, and used it in Vietnam and a dozen countries in Latin America. It recruits the young and the soldiers for the oligarchy, who systematically deny them democracy, even in the US. Democracy eventually comes, but only long after the US is forced out.

  • Boko Haram and the Lord's Resistance Army: Hunted Children & the Problem of Fundamentalism in Africa
    • We have some promising Republican candidates here for 2016. Magical thinking and tribalism still works for the right wing everywhere. But economic recruitment coercion and foreign enemies makes it so much more palatable.

  • Can America's descent into Plutocracy (Rule-by-the-Rich) be Reversed?
    • Those are good points. The problem is finding the chinks in the armor of oligarchy in its many forms (plutocracy, royalism, etc.). The weaknesses are the loyalties of the controlled media, bought officials, and forces of repression. With recent totalitarian control of communications, we may see non-electronic organization of opposition, physical attacks on controlled media, and a key role of minority members within the forces of repression.

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