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Total number of comments: 2524 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)


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  • The von Moltke Fallacy and avoiding another World War, with Iran
    • The historical rhyming with Europe 1914 ought to scare the pants off all us ordinary people. I recall reading that the French generals and politicians also were locked into idiotic perceptions and commitments and plans, like Plan XVII. Brief discussion here: link to

  • What's Religion Got to do with it? German Co-Pilot as Terrorist
    • Aviation physicals and psych evals are often a sham. Pilots have a pretty good degree of clout, and want to keep flying. link to Maybe the copilot just wanted to pull a Mark David Chapman, ensuring by his act that his name would be remembered? link to

      And was this even "terrorist," as in intended to bring about larger actions and reactions by scary violence"?

  • Washington's 2 Air Wars: alongside Iran in Iraq, Saudis in Yemen
    • Well, if Uncle Sucker in all his parts (military self-expanding bureaucracy, all those "contractors" and armaments makers, US taxpayers and our little bits of residual wealth) is willing to be the barbarian mercenaries, why expose the little princelings who get to fly those sexy aircraft to dangerous hostile fire, some of it in the form of US- or Israeli-made missiles and projectiles? Remember, so much of this game is just wealth transfer that the players assume won't involve exploding the entire board.

      And it appears the "president" of Yemen has "fled by sea." link to Given how easy it is to produce instability and regime change by all kinds of means, and how national borders and sovereignty are so very '80s, and clearly indefensible or exclusive, and wondrously mutable too, what does it mean to be a "president" or "prime minister" of any nominal country, any more?

      Looks like the "we make our own reality to give you something to study" folks are now running wild, and somewhat reduced to looking for interstitial opportunities, often of a very personal nature, rather than maintenance of structures that might avoid meltdown and conflagration.

  • Saturn's moon Enceladus has an Ocean, Geysers and maybe Life
    • Makes one wonder how soon we can get there and start exploiting the resources. Probably, and happily, without the pesky complexities of suppressing the complaints of indigens who were there before us.

  • The Letter: Top 5 Similarities of GOP and Iran Hard Liners
    • Are there actually some grownups involved in all of this, who are not trapped by AIPAC or suffused with their own Bubblehead importance or busy protecting the Imperial presidency and Our Exceptional Freedom of Action?

  • Bombing Iran: What would Happen if the Hawks got their Way?
    • Does the Iranian legal system and financial sector operate under (sharp intake of breath) "Sharia Law?"

    • sg, I was of course snarking about the money-futility inequality in our MIC and war planning. Even readers of Popular Mechanics ought to know about the specs of supercav torps and "anti-carrier" weapons and the idiotic vulnerabilities of our Great White Fleet. Thanks for expanding on them for other readers here. The calculus of our rulers in activities like the WW II North Atlantic convoys, "flood the zone and some of the tanks and munitions and food ought to get through un-torpedoed or un-shelled," recurs in the themes of "Dr. Strangelove." Continuity of "government" is all that counts, right? And expenditures?

    • We just need to start procuring the weapons technology to defeat the supercav torps and DF21s. Right away!

  • America's Walking Dead: The Perpetual War Machine
    • Thus always with empires and bureaucracies. All the vectors point in the same direction. "More" also includes "more wealth for the very few," and it's another invisible truth that if a person's livelihood connects to not understanding what's so very wrong with his or her income, inventive and selective and ever-broadening blindness and idiocy and horror for other less "important" people will follow.

      What are the goals of all this scurrying activity, again? The "national interest" that nobody ever troubles to define but everyone presumes and assumes is the driver? Just like with cancers, which trick the body's regulatory mechanisms into not seeing what the tumors are doing and even building ever-larger blood vessels to feed ever more of the body's resources to runaway tissues that will, soon or late, kill us.

  • Netanyahu Imported by GOP to ensure Iran War
    • Lest anyone forget that our "staunch ally Israel" includes a whole lot of hypocrites and 'gonifs', a couple of reminders:

      From the current account, from people who get angry about "Muslim bombers," there's other stuff going on -- "Ben Hartman @Benhartman Man killed in Hod Hasharon car bomb was a state witness against Avi Ruhan's crime family, one of the main targets of the #Israel Police"

      More broadly, "Thou shalt not be a 'freier,'" link to, and "Israel among most corrupt of OECD countries," link to

      From that "liberal" Newsweek, "Israel Flagged as Top Spy Threat to U.S. in New Snowden/NSA Document," link to

      We all talk about Israel as an "it," but it's not a monolith or a hypostatization (or a democracy, for that matter): " 47 years a slave: A new perspective on the occupation
      Very few struggles in history have centered on how a nation should treat a third group of people, but there are strong parallels between black slavery and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians." link to

      And let's remember another episode of "ally" behavior: The Israeli attack and attempted sinking of the USS Liberty in 1967: two brief selections with "color" -- link to, and link to

      Yah, it's all complicated all right.... Unless one just follows the money... Which is of course completely detached from moral and ethical or even (from the ordinary person's standpoint), common sense...

    • @Jay: Nobody that matters is listening. As a disabled vet of an earlier $4 trillion-and-growing war, I've watched and experienced the treatment given to veterans by a__w___es in all three branch3es of the "constitutional government" and all the branches of the "service," who mouth "thank you for your service" while sneak-cutting benefits, discharging damaged soldiers to avoid having to treat them, throwing claim files in the shredder, dumping damaged GIs in hellhole buildings just a couple of miles from the effing Pentagram and Capitol, all part of making us fight another kind of urban and 4th generation war, treated like "insurgents," to get even the pittance that 100% total and permanent disability entitles you to under the War Corporation's "workers compensation program." The VA disability schedules pay out about $30-35,000 a year, for all the people who rail at lazy worthless useless eater damaged vets. And as to a veteran's "right" to medical care, that's not universal to vets but based on a tiering structure. Even a lazy person could poke around in their favorite search engine to find tons of facts and episodes of abuse and dishonesty and cheaping out and dishonoring particularly lower-ranking veterans, link to, and here, link to, and link to, and so much more.

      Of course, as with the rest of the Elite, the colonels and generals, like Congress and the Administration, are doing just fine. link to Interesting that the Israelites treat their veterans (and themselves) a whole lot better than around here: link to

      Better hope that the divide-and-conquer politics continues to keep a significant number of war-trained vets from "getting" what is being done to them in a subtle and organized fashion -- some of them are a little short-tempered and tired of eating crap and living under cardboard and like others at the bottom end of the upward-sucking wealth-stealing pipeline, likely to eventually engage in the "social unrest" that Forbes has warned the Elite about several times recently. link to

  • Obama to GOP: More Iran sanctions lead to War (& 7 other Foreign Policy points in SOTU)
    • Wise observation, Dr. Cole, among the others you make: "“Hunting down” and unilateral drone strikes– what is implied here– are not actually very sophisticated counter-terrorism tactics." When fighting an electrical or petroleum fire, the first thing one does is try to shut off the current, or close the valves on the tanks and pipelines. The "blow it up" tactic might work to put out an oil well blowout, a la Red Adair, long enough to cap the well. Not so much for the other stuff. Nor does cranking up the generating stations or pumping more oil or gas into the tanks and lines...

  • Obama wants new Mil. Authority, but Special Ops already on Missions in 105 Countries in 2015
    • One small piece of context, for anyone interested in how the ransom-versus-SWAT Game of Hostages is played and operates, from FOXNews of all places and with a lot of fascinating asides: link to

  • Iraqi Shiites, Fuming over Slow US Fight against ISIL, threaten to Revoke Agreement
    • Something the detail-minded policy makers might want to be thinking about as they plot out their next big moves:

      "Lack of political process in Iraq ‘risks further gains for Isis’," link to

      Yeah, we be just kicking ISIS' backside, right?

  • Do Nigerians Matter to World Press? - 2,000 feared dead in Boko Haram Attacks
    • Want to see how Nigerians, and Sierra Leonese, and Ghanaians, and Burundians and the rest of non-neoliberal-"Elilte" Africa matter to the rest of the world? A very quick history lesson on how things got to where they are and are going is in this short work by Patrick Bond, "Looting Africa: the Economics of Exploitation," link to . Not perfect, the subject is too huge, but a lot of useful context distilled into a single source.

      Pay no attention to those oligarchs and kleptocrats that are picking your pockets, robbing your bank accounts, stealing your "home and castle..."

    • Hundreds of comments, tweets and re-tweets about 12 dead @Charlie, apparently because it happened in a “civilized country?” Zero here, so far, about more than 2,000 people murdered (this time) by Gunmen. The Great AFRICOM US Global Battlespace Operation apparently is not calibrated to "do something" about Boko Haram or other Bad Dudes in most of Africa, though “our” Generals are sure on the case. And "the world," which should be having its conscience seared, appears more interested in organized looting of African resources that a lot of horribly dead ordinary people. link to, and link to

      Context on Boko Haram? “Paying for terrorism: Where does Boko Haram gets its money from?” link to

      “The US” is apparently helpless to “unfund” Boko (and apparently ISIS too): “How Boko Haram is beating U.S. efforts to choke its financing,” link to

      Going with the personification meme, it seems what passes for the “Nigerian government” is unhappy with us: “Boko Haram crisis: Nigeria fury over US arms refusal,” link to

      But it seems that a lot of reliably corrupt Nigerian military types are happy to “leave the armory doors open” or outright sell those weapons, that "we" are happy to sell to "the government," to the Gunmen of Boko: “Boko Haram's Source Of Weapons Revealed," link to

      And of course the darker parts of the Bigger World are all over this: “Small Arms and Light Weapons: Controlling the Real Instruments of War,” link to

      Because after all, it’s just a “market opportunity” for nominal US corporations and our government’s sneaky-petes: “Inside the Murky World of International Arms Smuggling”
      link to , and link to

      And our Big Banks are happy to be of exquisite assistance: “Nigeria: Boko Haram - Falana Gives FG Ultimatum Over U.S.$1 Billion Loan for Weapons”
      link to
      All so that a bunch of unrestrained Gunmen in the outbacks of Africa can bring horror and sorrow to the ordinary people they are positioned to prey on…

      And the beat goes on: link to and on, on many different “fronts:” Syria, link to, and "everywhere," link to ...

  • Paris Terrorist was Radicalized by Bush's Iraq War, Abu Ghraib Torture
    • And this claim is supported where, again? Other interesting context at "US Coalition violence against civilians in Iraq." Even GIs seem to have a different take, link to, and remember Fallujah? Besides, it's just a matter of accounting, link to, and justification, link to

      Ho, hum. Unless it's closer to home, or our great media engines fire up as a result of their profit plays on some particularly striking or contradiction-sharpening set of deaths...

    • I guess we are lucky that people here in the US who have had their contrasts sharpened have either not had them sharpened enough to cut through the last shreds of decency and fellow-feeling (other than a Tim McVeigh and that sort, or theatre or school-shooter-uppers or...) to produce that Terrorized (tm) Experience the French seem to be addressing pretty well as a polity, or maybe some part of our police investigative apparatus actually does something other than build a police state and more acute "degrees of separation."

      Souviens L'Anomie! link to

  • Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda attacked Satirists in Paris
    • I read that Baghdad and many other cities now "cleansed" or rubble-ized by humans, using their Sunni or Shi'a identification as "reason enough," used to be hotbeds of comity, where neighborhoods existed and were "integrated." link to The rapacity of the planet-burning consumptive monstrosity called for lack of a better term "capitalism" and the motions and stratagems of its players sure seems to be a major part of what has turned into the current Sunni-Shi'a "frame..."

    • Interesting: If the basic needs and aspirations of ordinary people get met -- a meaningful job, enough food, a safe place to live with family and friends, some respect for tolerable differences, an actual "rule of law," a religion of conservation rather than consumption -- it sort of seems that the things that apparently drive such episodes, what us fearful people call "monstrous" because we can imagine it happening so easily to US, sort of evaporate. Not too many forces and powers and interests pushing in that direction, of course...

    • Before claiming such broad "Christian" disavowal, one might spend some wasted hours inhaling the fumes of brimstone on the "Christian" TV channels and in youtubeland and Facebook. No shame, no pity, only often false and fraudulent statements of what "the Bible" (the Old Testament, and bits of Paulist sales pitches, and that fortuitous add-in, Revelation, the Gospels not so much) "says." There's no "Jesus" in "Christian," to speak of. Not even, not maybe especially, the Jesus I learned about in Presbyterian Sunday School and Westminster Fellowship. "Conservative Christians" like Hagee and Angley and Falwell and Robertson and too many others and their Megaflocks hear the parts about "suffer the little children," and "moneychangers in the Temple," and "false prophets," they just parse and construe and interpret them very differently...

  • Whatever Happened to besieged Kurdish City of Kobane, Syria?
    • Daesh is only one set of Gunmen in the Game. More weapons and more "policy" makes ever more "cities" that look like this: link to Most of that demolition is due to US bombs and "friendly fire." Not changing the Game just means more of the same...

  • What Black & White thinking misses about ISIS/Daesh & why it Matters to us All
  • Saudi General, Border Guards Killed by Daesh/ISIL for not being Fanatical Enough
    • What, do Saudi generals actually go down with the troops, who then apparently let ISIS know where they are? Better they should mostly stay behind their desks or in their ergonomic Battlespace chairs, keeping their careers and posteriors safe from the harms that millions of "wogs" and "50,000 Homeless Veterans" and guys whose names end up on Walls and various other Memorials are exposed to... There's a whole lot more wrong with the "Welfare of the Generals" as the touchstone of Military Success Anymore than is covered in this linked article -- "General Failure," link to And yes, intramural scrimmages can take their toll of even our elevated military rulers, link to

      And for those who see ISISISILQDaesh headed down to defeat, what lesson from this little tactical situation? There's lots more where the four who did this little attack came from, and are coming from every day, incited and excited and emboldened and enraged and encouraged by the "national interest (sic) policies" that divide and destroy, for fun and profit...

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  • Why Egypt's Threat to Arrest Amal Clooney will hurt its Economy
    • Libertarians and Neocons and autocrats are all for the Rule of Law, until hegemony has been achieved. Then it's back to the equivalent of clubs and trial by combat, and Star Chambers and Inquisitions.

      Decent people need to believe that power is constrained by "the law," else "manufactured consensus" may not be able to prevent some kind of upset of the current order. our collective PR/propagandists have been keeping that touching belief on the barest minimum of life support, while setting us up to accept the yoke and hobbles...

      Egypt's pharaonic class also wants to walk both sides of Legitmacy Street. They've done a strong job of it so far. Maybe their big egos are about to run off the end of the track?

      If the Business Interests of the world are all concerned about Egyptian "jurisprudence" being all arbitrary and tending to favor the Welfare of the Generals, maybe they just need to wait until that upcoming Faux Legitimacy Backed By Raw Power embodied in the upcoming rounds of "free trade agreements" like the TPP and TTIP and such. Then, if some Egyptian jurist or panel does something the Business Thing does not like, the Business Thing can just refer it to their secret Business Lawyer-Juristical Panels and not only get to ignore any judgments or regulation that some puny "sovereignty" like "Egypt" might try to assert (for good or ill,) they can get "damages" for "lost profits and opportunities" that those Panelists decide their buddies are entitled to. All nice and legal, right? All according to the "law" that is getting settled on our necks by corporate monsters wearing the trappings of black robes and powdered wigs, and speaking the noises of political economy and "Enlightenment…"

  • What would Happen if the Int'l Criminal Court Indicted Israel's Netanyahu?
    • Interesting agreement across a large number of political-economic preferences and narratives on the nature of the disease. Too bad us Ordinary People can't see to agree on remedies. Militias and "the people?" Look closely at how arrest-warrant-issuing armed militias and vigilantes have "governed" in the Mideast, Africa, South and Central America, many parts of Europe since Cro-Magnon ascended to hegemony... But our Rulers do a pretty good job of feeding these Dreams of Liberty (tm) to keep us ordinary people divided and impotent. Cliven Bundy, thief, or The Covenant, The Sword and The Arm of the Lord, or David Duke, or the Kochs' private armies in charge? No thanks. Must be better ways of building legitimacy and a political economy based on comity and sustainability. Maybe.

    • Milosevic was never convicted of anything. He did die in prison, under questionable circumstances, 14 years after the evil events (and before conclusion of his defense in the 4 year trial by a special Security Council tribunal, not the ICC). For a lot of context and history, see link to

    • Are the Hamas rocketeers anywhere close to the IDF's targeting skills when it comes to blowing away Palestinians and their leaders? False equivalence, I would think, with a healthy dollop of Hasbara sauce...

    • Glad you're back, Bill. The ICC is a tribunal of consensual jurisdiction, as I understand it. Sounds like the Palestinians might be consenting, knowing what that might mean. The Israelites, like the US, go with their "exceptional" approach:

      Israel voted against the adoption of the Rome Statute but later signed it for a short period. In 2002, the United States and Israel "unsigned" the Rome Statute, indicating that they no longer intend to become states parties and, as such, they have no legal obligations arising from their signature of the statute.

      Israel states that it has "deep sympathy" with the goals of the Court. However, it has concerns that political pressure on the Court would lead it to reinterpret international law or to "invent new crimes". It cites the inclusion of "the transfer of parts of the civilian population of an occupying power into occupied territory" as a war crime as an example of this, whilst at the same time disagrees with the exclusion of terrorism and drug trafficking. Israel sees the powers given to the prosecutor as excessive and the geographical appointment of judges as disadvantaging Israel which is prevented from joining any of the UN Regional Groups. link to There's no "obligation" to take up prosecutions of crimes -- there's a process by which matters can be referred for investigation and possibly trial. The jurisdiction I believe is personal -- "states" don't get indicted, rather, individual human leaders who did and ordered Really Bad Stuff that offends the greater conscience.

      The Rome Statute provides that the Office of the Prosecutor shall act independently; as such, no member of the Office may seek or act on instructions from any external source, such as states, international organisations, non-governmental organisations or individuals.[40]

      The Prosecutor may open an investigation under three circumstances:[40]

      --when a situation is referred to him or her by a state party;
      --when a situation is referred to him or her by the United Nations Security Council, acting to address a threat to international peace and security; or
      --when the Pre-Trial Chamber authorises him or her to open an investigation on the basis of information received from other sources, such as individuals or non-governmental organisations.
      link to

      It's pretty easy to identify who ordered "Casting the Lead" and "mowing the lawn" and assassinating Palestinian leaders that were on the way to maybe actually negotiating in good faith, and the policies of displacement and other bad stuff written about in this blog and even in Ha'aretz and Mondoweiss and maybe even the New York Times. Who will be the person(s) indicted for pinprick rocket and mortar attacks by "Hamas" on the Israeli megalith?

      The ICC has mostly targeted African potentates anyway, so from that source the Bush League and Cheney Gang and lots of others whose conduct and actions grossly offend the common conscience of mankind probably have little to fear (though their "people" are watching, and doing what they can to ensure the "rule of law" only gets applied in one direction and to Empire-approved targets...)

  • Palestinians ready next Move as UNSC rejects end of Occupation
    • Very much hoping your take is very right, on this one bit of man's too-humanity to man.

      There are lots of swords hanging over us Damocleans, collectively, while we fiddle away our future. Yahoo and the Likudians have enjoyed both the indulgence of the Empire and the disorganization and disaffection they and we have managed to create. Those guys have been playing the Game since well before Moses was a boy, and you would think our Rulers would get tired of being shaken down and taken for "freiers." Maybe there's an endpoint in Israel-Palestine short of some violent displacement (courting the "Samson option") of the Israelites. For the sake of so many dispossessed, I hope so. Still not seeing clearly any practicable solution to this one set of complexities, or a mechanism or set of mechanisms that might fix what seems to so many to be (among other all the other arbitrary greed- and tribal-driven miseries in the world) a signal example of injustice. Justice denied to a significant population, meaning basic rights and access to those ground tiers of Maslow's necessities, may be justice denied to all of us, without much in the way of remedies (like "rule of law") as the kleptocrats and autocrats have been demonstrating, along with the mechanisms to keep us ordinary folk under the heel. Maybe BDS will actually work, gain enough momentum to really starve the funding of the IDF and the dark matter of the Likud and related parties? That might be one strand of common action. Not sure that the General Assembly has any tools to make Yahoo and the boyz swim up the Victoria Falls of "conservative tribalism" that they've been surfing down all these years, to their personal profit.

      The Empire ain't about to stop sending money and guns (and losing or conveying imperfectly protected Imperial secrets and intelligence) to the Israelites, any more than continuing military gifts and "sales" (sanctity of contract, you know) to Egypt or Saudi Arabia. The mental and 'moral' structures don't seem to exist for that to happen; all the force vectors and wealth-redirection paths point in the direction of more chaos, all the time.

      Interesting pieces over the last few days in Dr. Landis's "Syria Comment:" link to Maybe there are elements of a frame for a more stable future for nthe species in there somewhere -- "To your scattered tribal bodies go (after a genteel sufficiency of slaughter and rubble-making)" -- not very apparent, but then my pessimism is deep.

    • "The world is not going to put up with this situation in Palestine for much longer."

      Professor, from my little perch in FL, I've got a hard time seeing "the world" as an entity or even a collective. Does not the UNSC inaction, thanks to all the bits and pieces of "interests" and "policy" covered so well in this space represent the real state of the "world?"

  • We have so much to Learn from Cuba
    • So, Bill, was Kermit Roosevelt's displacement of Mossadegh specifically directed at Mossadegh, not the Iranian people? And that business in Nicaragua was aimed at Ortega, not the Nicaraguan people. And that fella in Chile, you imply personal knowledge about that situation, did it have a quaint operation moniker like "Mongoose?" Aimed at Allende only, not the Chilean people? How about Operation Iraqi Freedom? Aimed at Saddam only? Maybe the CIA should have put heavy metal powder in HIS shoes, so his MUSTACHE would fall out!!!! Cheaper than what actually has eventuated, no?

      I think the generic nomenclature is "regime change," no?

    • Echoes of incinerating a lot of other places too? Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden, Hamburg? Too bad the basterds get to drag the rest of us ordinary people, who might wish for very different paths, along with them, and make us pay for it all, willy-nilly...

    • That would of course require a very, very, very, very, very much longer article, which would then be subjected to literary criticism by some, silence by others that hope silence will let any ugly-reality taint just evaporate into "we can put all that stuff in the past like torture and wars of choice that we have sort of walked away from," and deprecation by those who want to minimize decency and honorable behavior by others that point to the hypocrisy and evil of our own "war is nothing but a racket" Empire...

    • "Instead of lifting the embargo, different U.S. administrations, including the Kennedy administration, have strengthened it without result. It seems silly to pursue a U.S. foreign policy by repeating a strategy that has proved a monumental failure for six decades."

      Kind of seems to apply to the whole globe-spanning swath of US Imperial policies, no? Start wars our World's Best Military can't win and does not seem to care, randomly overthrow seemingly democratically elected governments, turn loose engines of "innovation" that are making ever more dangerous and lethal technologies (anyone seen the "Terminator" series lately? and similar "fables?")

      But a caveat needs to be applied -- this "same insane behavior" has served remarkably well to trash "democracy" as most ordinary people think of the notion, and to destructively transfer many trillions of dollars of Real Wealth, created by the daily efforts of hundreds of millions of very ordinary people, to a small and increasingly compact set of disgustingly self-indulgent Gilded Agers and a wasting set of corporate "persons."

  • The Year Iraq Ceased to Exist: Will it ever Again?
    • It's a sad that "Iraq" is busted.

      What is the fixation with the preservation and/or restoration of Sykes-Picot-type "states," anyway? There seem to be some cleavages in the space that might, if built upon, actually lead to a little more stability, a little less War All the Time, maybe even a slowing or even stopping of the patterns of consumption that Professor Cole deplores and mourns in some of his posts.

      There was nothing sacred about Iraq, the US tool, or in its PR reincarnation as the Deathly Hallows Hideaway of Saddam Voldemort and his Fizzy Weapons of Mass Disfabulization. "Our" actions, whether planned and executed by Really Smart Cowardly Misfit Neocons, or by Idiotic Careerist Military Officers and their slimeball "contractors," found that Tesla-vian frequency that vibrated the structure into massive collapse, crushing millions of Ordinary People in the ruins and rubble and setting the conditions for the continued growth and spread of metastatic militaristic violence under some sick doctrine of "interoperability," under the benevolent and skilful "guidance" of our “Our” Global Smart Weapon Babblespace Managers.

      Interesting that "our" Grotesque Imperial Monolith is on the one hand so very interested in "democraticohypocritical nation building," sub silentio "regime change and destabilization for fun and corporate profit because that's what 'we' know how to do," and on the other so very busy, for so many generations, demolishing "states"/nations, as the geopoppoliticians call the temporary Game of RISK!(tm) map lines that demarcate the boundaries of their "interests." Screw the ordinary people: they're just a bunch of aphids, busy sucking the juices out of their host abodes, faster or slower with more or less deleterious effects, to be milked like the ants do, and eaten when the ants get a taste for some protein to go with the extracted nectar of "taxes" and spoils.

      And how about that ISISISLIQ/DirtyDaeshing/whatever thingie? There's nation-building, writ with the kind of big pen that has been wielded by human potentates since that first manifestation of "civilization" in the same part of the planet. Is the problem with ISIS that they're not "our guys," YET? Gee, I wonder if McCain, link to, or CIA or Black Ops guys, are having their looking-forward-to-the-next-stage, they're-really-not-such-bad-fellas-and-can-they-PARTY! photo ops with those Horrible Murderous Kidnap-for-Ransom dudes in the black skivvies and masks and turbans? The guys who are building the kind of political economy that our own Old White Patriarchal Guy “Christian Fundamentalebanists” just drool and slaver after for themselves? link to The Daesh guys who apparently would ransom the reporters and US citizens they've grabbed in preference to letting John the Brit saw their heads off, but our corrupt Rulers have decreed Trillions for Defense, But Not One Red Cent For Ransom? link to

      Pretty clear that when our Rulers yak about "humanitarianistical motivations" for More War, that's just a bunch of smoke that covers other realities, link to And here’s a silly question for the people who actually drive the Policy Bus – what are the next stops on the Trailways Trip to Global Disaster? So sad that “Iraq,” like ol’ Gaul, est omnis divisa in partes tres. What would be added to the quantum of decency and comity in the world if somehow “Iraq” could be glued back together? Or Syria, for that matter? Or all the bits that once were called “India?”

      The current patterns of human Rulership and usufruct are on the way to killing the planet’s habitability, and a whole whale of a lot more Ordinary Humans on the way. Any bets whether anyone who could influence “policy” gives a ripsh_t about that, beyond how it might leave some health issues for them as they live out their very special lives in very great comfort and with absolutely no personal consequences?

  • Have the Kurds cut the ISIL/Daesh State in Two, Blocking Supply Lines?
    • Thanks for the reminders of how Kurdish parts have been 'useful to and cooperative with The West.' My silly question, given the cleavages and endless resort to violence in favor of local power and tribal-subset advancement, is whether there's the tiniest chance that The Kurds, taken as a group and with the leadership and political economy and weaponry and Outside Influences and pressure in place an in play, whether that set of humans can or could set the fre for a decent life for my fellow Ordinary People. Not likely? Not even a blip in the Grand Policy Debate, it would seem, which is mostly about who gets weapons and air support and is Useful To The rapacious corporate kleptocratic West...

    • Got to keep asking, what is/are the informing principles behind all the churning and killing and taking and re-taking? As Dr. Cole is at pains to point out regularly, our human political economy is sort of killing the habitability of our human habitat. And all the "Call of Duty"-"Game of War" excitement and horror are just continuation of the linear descent into a big human die-off.

      If the goals of the game are to make a survivable place for humans here on Earth, with enough to go around for everyone, the means and methods are woefully inapt and inept. But it's pretty clear that all this is about stealing "the widow's mite," link to, so the Few who can (with the help of lesser predators and parasites) fill their bottomless bellies and tickle their insatiable fancies, and get to die in opulent comfort, free of any of the consequences their appetites and predilections dump on the rest of us ordinary people.

      So let's cheer the people we identify at the moment as white-hat Cowboys, for maybe dealing a big blow to the ISISSSSSnake, but thank Lockheed-Martin for sponsoring "Foreign Policy"'s "Situation Report" today, concluding that

      "The U.S. effort to bankrupt the Islamic State isn’t working. Washington and its allies are well aware that it would be nearly impossible to defeat the Islamic State without strangling its finances. Airstrikes have lowered the group’s oil revenue to $1 million to $2 million per day. However, Washington has been unable to come up with strategies to cut proceeds from kidnapping and extortion. Details about the inner workings of the group’s finances also remain a mystery.

      FP’s Jamila Trindle: “The unprecedented effort to figure out how the Islamic State money machine works and how it can be stopped is led by an international standard-setter called the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Now, only two months into the investigation, set to wrap up by February, expectations are already dimming.... FATF President Roger Wilkins said that though his team is still gathering intelligence, it may not be able to put a dollar figure on the Islamic State’s funding streams.” link to

      Do "the Kurds" have a key to creating even a marginally more decent state in the wreckage of Messopotamia? They depend on oil revenues, have lots of "internal tensions," are the subject of lots of Great Gamer fiddling and perversions. Can they keep the saddlebags from being rejoined, or worked around by the Horde? We'll have to wait and see... and whether or not, will the planetary combustion-based War Culture and our Empire and other Players ever convert to alternative energies, in all the ways that phrase could be understood?


  • Is the NSA Responsible for N. Korea's Hack of Sony Pictures?
    • Google "CIA regime change schemes" before drawing any conclusions about that, maybe? One really big dumb one, that we ordinary people will be paying for forever, was "Operation Iraqi Freedom Fiefdom," and there's that concerted sustained attack on Castro's beard...

  • The *Other* Torture Report: What the USA looks like to the World
    • "The purpose of power is power. The purpose of torture is torture. The purpose of impunity is impunity." Kind of hard to beat that kind of logic.

  • GOP Denialism to Sink Capital: 150 Tidal Floods a Year for Washington DC by 2045
    • I was thinking that might be just what the Ascendant Deconstructionists would be looking for as an excuse to re-locate the Capital (and Capitol, too) to a new spot so redolent of revised and revived idiot history: Richmond, VA, capital of the Confederate States of America. Yeeee-haawww, them Confederate dollars, saved carefully away all those generations, will be worth something again!!! To spend at events like this: "Capital of the Confederacy Civil War Show," link to But then Richmond still has that flooding problem...

  • Top 7 Ways Assassination Fails USA as Policy
    • Tactical game-playing, round XXVII: If you got an Iraqi "army," that reportedly has all kinds of US weapons and wealth, but none of that courage and commitment to stand its ground and fight for the Shi'a Rulership, and if those brave Iraqi troops would actually use the guided antitank weapons that are so much cheaper and even more effective and proportional than flying high-cost jets from distant carriers and bases to drop and fire much more expensive and maybe less well targeted (even by Our Very Special Forces Boots On The Ground) munitions at said tanks (kindly given them Daeshers by "our" More Military Force Largesse and INcompetence and inveterate partnerships in enormous and idiotic corruption,) or if those Troops had the "sand" to do what several videos showing ISIS and Nusra and such lesser breeds doing, walking up to tanks and rolling grenades down the barrels to "cook off" the hapless tank crews, link to, or running up and placing satchel charges at the joints between turret and hull, what do YOU think would have happened?

      I can see where you may question a lot of logic...

    • "If/when" the Bagmen of Baghdad arm the tribes? Listen to what you say. The political economy there needs massive repairs, but the Shi'a rulers are all just about keeping what they got, thanks to Empire, and maybe getting a little more. All you prescribe is more military force, and whether its the 3rd Marines or 1st Cab, or our Sepoys using our weapons, it's just more combat and predation on the ordinary people who actually do the work of "civilization" but are forced to choose up sides to "buy protection."

      Not to worry, there's no consequences to bloggers offering Game of RISK(TM)-quality nostrums for the cancers of militarization fronting for zombie and vampire and tapeworm "capitalism," solidified into our Grand Battlespacian Idiocy. Take comfort that the shooting and beheading and bombing will continue. But don't be too smug about or cocksure certain that our Rulers either know how to Defeat Daesh, or actually have that as a principal goal.

      Merry Christmas, and keep reminding those who read these comments about the manifold and manifest successes of US arms and policy, divorced of course from any questions of what the rules and goals and play of the actual Game, in all its debased and debasing complexity, actually might be. GO WARRIORS!

    • And from the same web source (here) there's this reminder: "Daesh/ ISIL close to Taking al-Anbar Province as Tribal Levies lack Ammunition, Funding, Unity," link to

      I've watched your video, now watch mine: link to Cheerlead for the Cowboys all day and all night, but in the Messopotamian Muzzle all those linear beliefs in the Virtues of Ever More Military Force seem kind of "irrationally exuberant," maybe? And recruits keep coming to that for-them-apparently-meaningful, identity-conferring black ugly flag...

    • Yep, once again we fall back on "we will see." Regarding articles on the success of the bombing campaign maybe "authorized" by Obama but designed and doctrinizated and carried out by the same people who told us how Air Power would fix so many previous conflicts in favor of the Empire, a little context:

      Yes, some people in the Bubble are saying stuff about (cautiously) bombing oil infrastructure and how that will "starve the beast," like link to, and link to and link to And our Talking Heads are all over this, link to . (Republicans bad-mouthing Obama on the bomb-bomb-bomb game? Really? And that "Cuba" has become the hounds' current howl is maybe just a function of story lifetimes and playing the suckers in the News Cycle Shell Game...) But somehow there are still little seepages and work-arounds, link to and stuff like this survey, link to

      As to Daesh/ISISILIQ losing its forces to disaffection and disappointment, which article did you read? Not this one, I guess: link to Or this one either: link to

      Hordes, at least until they start to ossify, are nothing if not flexible and adaptable, and rich and frank in their naked greed and violence. Unlike our own Empire, and its "special interests" and its Force Structure and its clumsy, rigid Power Projection Doctrines, which has to spend so much effort distracting and faux-reassuring its subjects, and disavowing and denying and covering up its idiocies...

    • Nice complete statement of the talking points and belief structure or at least arguments for why "we" just have to, and will, keep doing more of the effing same. Invokes the "War is Ugly" doctrine, states abstruse and value-claiming tests for "effectiveness" and "proportionality," without demonstrating how what "we the Empire" are doing meets either one, implies "we" need "boots on the ground" to "hold territory" as if "we" have the right to just do so, being the only Superpower that can ignore "international law" and treaties and national sovereignties and tribal realities and are so skilled at playing up the latter in service to Our God Given Right To Do Whatever We Damn Well Want To Anywhere In The Global Battlespace.

      So, Thank You Dick Cheney and the Neoconlibs and those who are just sure and certain that Our Cause Is Just Or At Least Personally Profitable and Our Warriors Are Effective And Proportional: "we" are, all flag-wrapped, grim-visaged, oiled-biceps, amgdala-flaring, testosterone-and-adrenalin-spewing, "at war" that it's said "they declared," with some indeterminate group(s) of people located somewhere, group(s) maybe even initiated and organized and trained, ab initio, link to, but certainly encouraged and inflamed, and now seeing their own Manifest Destiny opportunities created by "our" rulers and policies, into little pinpricks of yes, horrible, but no, not as bad as long-term CIA and USAID and various NGO meddling, with all the death and disruption and destruction in favor of a very limited set of corporate interests, see Smedley Butler and many more recent participant-observer critics of "War as a Racket." "We" must Do 'Not Pretty,' it's said, because car bombs and statements and declarations on the 'net, and "our" Ugly is better than a Pak artillery barrage. (Ever see an Arc Light bomb drop? Oops, "not effective," "gooks" won the war, for that and a lot of other reasons of course...)

      Still waiting for Our Rulers to whip aside the Seven Veils of "National Security Classified Eyes Only," and show us Ordinary People who pay for it all, in so many ways, how droning and NSA Panopticoning and endless "democratization" that really means "regime change to put Our Guys in charge, has actually "improved our security." Stupid sh_t like THIS: "SECRETS OF HISTORY: The C.I.A. in Iran -- A special report.; How a Plot Convulsed Iran in '53 (and in '79)," link to , and please read the actual background document which was drafted to "inform ongoing and future parallel types of operations," like these, link to, and from my own little bit part, '67-'68, in that $4 or $6 trillion attempt to sustain imperial and colonial "interests" in Indochina, this: link to, including the "Phoenix Program..."?

      Let us not be all warm and wet about the "Call of Duty" resonances in the videos and Embedded Reports of "Coalition forces" kicking in doors and triggering ambushes and IEDs so they can try to sucker 4th Gen warriors into fixed-piece battles, blasting "Taliban positions" and "Oh my God, I just killed a little kid"-isms, link to That's just the partly visible "Not Pretty, definitely neither effective nor proportional," violence that is one tiny nick on the dulling, grossly expensive edge of the Imperial Sword...

    • Define "competence," maybe? Goes with "executing the mission?" And what is/are the "mission(s)?" Coming up with catchy designators like "Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) oops FREEDOM'N'DEMOCRACY (OIF)", much better, or better corporate jets for the posts they hope to have? Even if they are " competent warriors" at kicking in doors and calling in artillery and air strikes, do they know any wisdom from old Sun Tzu, or just doctrine, with its encrustations of Brass and special interests and the Apatosaurian momentum of the Imperium's legions? Any chance those lower orders are all Constitutionalists, and Bacevich-quality perceivers of What's So Very Wrong with the whole rail-gun hypersonic Global OmniscioPotent In(fer)operable Profit-Centric MilBabble space? Able to redirect and repurpose all those megatons of weapons and impossibly massive procurement and deployment and logistics chains that bind the present and future of us ordinary wealth-creating taxpaying people to more of the same, but bigger and dumber and costlier? When careers, and post-retirement careers, would be terribly at risk? Court-martialed for mutiny, or just cashiered?

      Not just a set of rhetorical questions. I for one would really like to know...

    • So are the effects of "HVT targeting" highlighted here to be taken as bugs, or as features of the program as written? Gee, I wonder... And do the architects fear, even a tiny bit, that the little mice might penetrate the armor of the Empire and maybe "take out" or "neutralize" a few HVTs here in the Homeland? How much of the "security" budget goes to protecting the ass(et)s of our Brave Courageous Droning Leaders?

      At least Obama and his crowd are back to making the Caribbean's largest island once again subject to the Monroe Doctrine, as occasionally amended and reinforced by the Marines, and hence simplifying the stages of Regime Change as practiced in places like Ukraine, and also hence safe once again for overt "American investment," getting the Mob back into Habana, and making more "Offshore Opportunities" for the oligarchy?

      At least we won't now have to fear the Dirty Commies doing Lateral Drilling through hundreds of miles of rock into OUR GULF OF MEXICO OIL! That's BP's and ExxonMobil's job! Got the Oil Weapon safely back in Imperial hands! link to

      Gotta keep asking, what is/are the goal(s) of the Game? What's the endpoint? OurRulers (TM) goto Lima and recursively emit a flinty, nasty little puff of methane/CO2 flatulence, making "legal" the continued combustion of the planet... Stability? Sustainability? Boooolsheeet...

  • The Banality of Terrorism: Sydney's other Hostage Crisis, of 1984
    • Heard the same thinking from some guy named Richard Sorry Excuse For A Human Cheney, as I recall, not so very long ago...

  • 3 Ways the Mainstream Media let the Gov't off the Hook on Torture
    • Just curious: Barring some medical miracle, Dick(less) Cheney, he who had other priorities to military service, link to;_ylu=X3oDMTByaDNhc2JxBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw--?qid=20140405104914AAk3hYN , who did all kinds of such other stuff as would require a John Yoo and that creature, Scalia, to come up with a tortured reading of the Fundamental Documents that Cheney took several oaths to support and defend that would let that monster off the hook for all that "past and present and future stuff" he apparently happily "stands for" (sic), barring that miracle I am sure he hopes for so he can keep on representing and fulminating and advancing the evil that men do in this world, he is going to die, maybe fairly soon.

      My curiosity is this: Given all that, is that monster, who apparently is also very typical of too many of us humans, going to be accorded and afforded a full military honors funeral, to lie, lie, lie in state in one of our Great Halls, and be maybe buried in one of our National Cemeteries, among the rotting corpses and ashes of service people who stood their duty and their watches, and got killed for their trouble and loyalty and whatever other motives brought them in and brought them down, in wars of choice that Cheney and his coven rained down on us and the other ordinary people in this sad world?

      Or will he be planted anonymously at midnight, in the center of some out of the way crossroad, with a stake through his jump-the-queue very own new from some other generous soul that surprise, he doesn't think about very much, heart? link to;_ylu=X3oDMTByc25qcnVyBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNARjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw--

  • Daesh/ ISIL Twitter Propagandist unmasked as Bangalore Internet Executive
    • Hmmm... Will it next turn out that Shami is a false flag waver from this, that or the other batch of sneaky-petes who are maybe a little worried about job security as maybe there's an increase in the ire of a growing number of ordinary people "sick of sin" start looking for something better, more lasting, than kleptocratic Imperialism? Likely we ordinary people are left only with classifiedredacted hyper speculation, but also with the sour recollection that the spooks and jackals and creatures of the Koch persuasion have done it and done it and done to us before, and are still stripping and whipping and bleeding us at this very moment... Let's not forget the attack on Castro's beard, and our own Red Squads, and the undercover CHiPs dudes who got their 15 minutes of fame while trying to foment looting in a mass protest against Vicious Policing, just yesterday...

  • Top 5 Planks of 2016 GOP Platform? Torture, War, Bank Corruption, Paid-For Elections
    • Maybe a majority of Americans WHO VOTE will. Gotta love the faux legitimacy we idiot subjects of the Empire give to our rulers by "electing" them and giving them the ability to argue that they have a "mandate" to screw us and the rest of the planet...

  • Part-Time Work: Shiite Militias Defending Baghdad involved in Burglaries, Kidnappings?
    • Speaking of myths of Exceptionality, there's all that stuff about the White Hat Cowboys that has spewed out of Hollywood, slopping over into other faux morality tales about Heroic Americans in War and Peace. To show that Hordism is more of a universal, including the behaviors of "militias" as described above, doing a little side-job kidnapping and extortion and ethnic cleansing, here's a little multi-page vignette from the history of our own Manifest Destiny go-west-young-man-and-steal-all-you-can history: "The Complete List of Old West Vigilantes and Regulators," link to

      Ordinary people, just trying to live simple decent lives, don't stand much of a chance against GUNmen and greed-heads, and when they try to "take arms against a sea of troubles," and find the temptations and opportunities to abuse the power, and temporary "legitimacy," that organized GUNnery provides, to be too strong for more noble impulses -- especially if life and family are precarious because of all the sh_t that "national interests" dumps in their neighborhoods...

      Remember that the "militia" types, often using funds derived from our Grand Coalition via one black idiotic channel or another (see, e.g., "the Surges,") provided desperately needed income to not-insurgent Sunnis and Shi'as dispossessed by our very own war criminals -- neighbors got paid piecework wages to go out into the night to plant improvised explosive devices, often made from US-manufactured munitions gifted by "geopoliticians" to Saddam and outfits like the Northern Alliance, where our Brave American Troops We Support would pass over them...

  • Psychologists, who Took $81 mn. to Advise, Practice Torture, betrayed the Profession
    • Is it worse or better, in the long haul, to highlight some pretty clear proof that pretty much none of us "have better natures," or
      "are better than that?" That altruism is rooted in gang-mentality self-interest and just part of the set of lovely behaviors that reside in the ugliest corners of our lizard-brain and limbic systems? I used to argue with the head of the History Department back in college; he believed that an honest historian had a duty to demolish all the patently false myths of our Exceptional Empire, while it seemed to me that trashing the myths left damn-all little between us and the Horde behaviors and organization we pretend to deplore while maybe in our heart of hearts (are you listening, Pat Robertson and Tedd "That boy just carried my bags" Haggard and Reed and Hagee and all you other Hypocritical Opportunists out there) we are what we actually seem to be,. on the actual factual record, that is?

  • Why the Founding Fathers thought banning Torture Foundational to the US Constitution
    • Worth discussing. Not so sure that the entire history right up to the Emancipation Proclamation and Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Act don't show pretty clearly that the federal government, attempting to retain a "union" and further the mercantile interests of the kind of people who "framed the Constitution" for us, also set the frame for the legal space that slavery lived in. See e.g., Dred Scott decision: link to .Slaves were "not really human," were not part of the "Sovereign people," and had no legal rights -- the only "contracts" I can think of (leaving out indentures) were the sales contracts between slave owners and sellers. As to judicial torture, the federal frame allowed this stuff: link to Small point, in a world full of so many horrors and cruelties...

    • Have you been watching the news that has been highlighting how American policemen approach their work these days? link to , and stuff like this, link to, and in case anyone forgets the nature of "corruption" and the so very obvious "moral hazards" and miserable behaviors that characterize our species, here's a kind of Hangman's History of Chicago, which is hardly alone in the reality of how "rule of law" works in a "democracy:" link to Check out the kind of policing done over all those generations, including the "Summerdale Scandal."

      "Policeman of the world?" Gets into all kinds of categorical and definitional issues, doesn't it?

    • "full agreement," Joe is in, except for all the exceptional exceptions and a relatively dense recapitulation of all those idiot Talking Points and dissimulations that are the "defense" put up by a bunch of a__holes that succeeded only in proving, again, that "the purpose of torture is torture," and that as far as "gaining valuable intelligence," well, gee, "no such thing ever happened!" Nice subtle pitch, though...

      Yeah. "most would agree," some say at least, that there's the "exigiency" excuse for all this abuse, an excuse (sic) or "defense" that exists only by reference to convenient, inventive, hypothetical horribles. Is there such a defense to the charges of Traitorism from the releasing, with explication of what it all means, where it's sited, and where it appears to be going, of Secret Embarrassing Cables and other evidentiary materials resulting from the maybe inevitable (given human nature) amassing of Dark Power by our own shameless cowardly Dark Tower Panopticonians?

      And would I mistake that Joe also takes the position that since there's this self-declared GWOT a'runnin', that everywhere and everywhen and everyone is on, in, under, around, beside, and included willy-nilly, forever, in that Grand Global Interoperabbabbbleable Nutwork-Centric Battlefieldspace, right? So everyhow provides all the everywhy that's needed, and everything is all Legal and Wise... What ever happened to that idiot phrase, "unYooful Enima Combatants?" Waiting for the Riots, post-redacted-tiny-summary-of-Organized-Incompetent-Imperial-Badness release of 0.007 percent of an indicated 6.5 million "pages"... Not that more "blowback" has not likely been Idiotically and maybe intentionally inflated, waiting for the other kind of release...

    • Dare one say it? Lest we forget, even the Heartland understands that “The purpose of torture is torture,” simply that: “The Purpose Of Torture Is Torture:
      Blowing up the ticking bomb myth,” link to

      But Jack Bauer is such a Righteous Dude…

  • Climate Change and Yemen's Agony
    • What a wonderful word, "corruption." Covers so many many behaviors and defects. A diagnosis that pretty much applies to the whole "developed" part of the humanosphere too... The disease processes and prognosis are well known and understood. Too bad that, as with the increasing numbers of pathogens and parasites that have wised up to how to defeat, ignore and avoid antibiotics and pesticides, what passes for homeostasis and the normal functioning of the social immune system, that chimaerical "rule of law" thingie and its parts, is overwhelmed by the proliferation of self-created "niches" and metabolic pathways for the worst of us to eat and get ever fatter on the lives and futures of the rest of us... No wonder that the theme of the "Alien" franchise draws so much attention. Poor old Ripley, resurrected again and again to bear yet another murderous, ravenous, "potentially profitable" child... link to And since the money economy and "consumptive capitalism" are mostly about predation and parasitism, a little educational tale about the virtues of symbiosis and comity is free for the reading at link to (originally titled "A Sense of Obligation," a title that wold sell fewer books than "Planet of the Damned." Medvirk and umedvirk -- interesting concepts...)

    • One can bet that our Great Imperial Thingie is, on the one hand, indifferent to the miseries of which what's highlighted in Dr. Cole's post is a present manifestation and also harbinger, and on the other, preparing to take full financial and klepto-capitalist advantage of same. The planning and practice for our Grand Global Interoperable Network-Centric Battlespace Juggernaut to have its "I'm in charge here" moment is well advanced. link to The thinkers note that these changes will most likely happen "fairly suddenly," and anyone familiar with Pentagram Practices care to share how agile-ly the Juggernaucracy can "respond," through its processes and massively top-heavy and self-interested "chains of command?"

      And should the rest of us gloat that Murphy is indubitably on the case, ensuring more endless FUBARs in the Big End-Game Operation? Or sorrow that all that wealth and effort and actual intelligence of the IQ kind that could avert or at least ameliorate so much of what's coming, by "conservation" and renewable-ization and such silliness, will instead go to "better weapons" and more integrated stripping of the planet, starting with the Pentagon's vastly hypocritical "wish" that privatizing and combusting and extracting "Arctic resources" will be "conflict-free," link to, while "of course" preparing to assert Imperial sovereignty over pretty much all of it (Harper's Canada being much of a muchness with "Imperial interests"): link to As to the Inuit, "How many (military) divisions do they have?" link to

      "Restore security?" Reminds me of something I learned in another life, decades ago: "RE-habilitation" is a meaningless buzz term in the area of criminal corrections -- most of the bad ones were never "habilitated" in the first instance...

      As to ordinary people in places like Yemen and Iraq and Syria and Bangladesh and the Far Arctic and those disappearing Pacific Islands: Like the alien, that Imperial trooper that's so much like us in our eat-it-all collective behaviors that we rightly fear it, said to the President, in that little scene in "Independence Day," in response to the Prez's question, "What is it you want us to do?": "We want you to die... die..." link to

  • GOP Squirms at Release of CIA Torture Report, warns of "Violence" (So why did they Torture?)
    • Interesting notion, that Obama is "boss of the CIA." Maybe on the redacted, de-classified version of the grand organizational chart, the one that omits all the dashed and gray lines of linkage and authority, but is there any proof that "Obama" can actually control the direction and speed of the state security/"intelligence" juggernaut? Or that he wants to, even if he could?

      Oops, need to remember that us wishful, wistful believers in Hope and Change need always to Look Forward, Not Back -- isn't that what our President exhorted us? link to

      Let us enjoy our little Prague Spring/Let A Hundred Flowers Blossom moment here in netspace...

  • Israeli Forces arrest 8-year-old Palestinian in East Jerusalem (They arrest 2 Children a day on Average)
  • Over 100 ISIL/Daesh Fighters Killed in US Airstrikes in Iraq; Attack on Syria Base Repelled
    • Woohoo! The Cowboys are winning! Hooray for Our Side and the Empire!

      Other stuff we don't read or hear much about is the complex internecine violence, armed by cynical people who profit from selling the means of violence in places like Syria and so many others. Or little roach-illuminating flashes in the great dark cupboards of the world, like this tidbit to remind anyone with any outrage left of How Things Really Work; "Leaked audio shows Egypt's coup leaders as criminal syndicate,"
      link to . Quelle surprise, as Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism would say, as she offers up all those proofs of the power realities invisible behind Narrative smoke and PR noise...

      And yet the Empire still delivers "aid" to these "democracies" ...

  • Iran: Rise In Youth just living together -- Gov't rails Against 'White Marriage'
    • "White" because on paper, only? One discussion: link to Interesting, all the different ways humans work out their coupling...

      Then there's this curious little entry: "Iran moves to legalize marriage for girls under 10 years old," link to

      Dirty old men everywhere, take note... a reason to love one facet of "Sharia law..." At least if the reportage is reporting honestly...

  • Iraq Fail: Shiite Gov't asks Sunni tribe to fight ISIL, but Sentences Politician from Tribe to Death
    • ...kind of like the Empire getting po' white folks and all those persons of African-American persuasion, who get such "justice" from our police, prosecutors and legislators, to "sign up, get great training, go to exotic lands, meet interesting people, and KILL THEM!" And come home to homelessness, insanity and piss-poor after-action, post-traumatic-amputation-brain-injury-stress-disorder, with cops happy to shoot you if you cross some invisible barrier of insufficient supineness or perceived "being a threatism." And still the Empire expects you to 'do your duty to God and your THE country," owned by Big Others... and we Muricans don't even got tribes to fall back on and stand up for us, so much, so far at least: link to , and link to

      Of course, when it comes to training and then Droning, ain't no need to even be in the military (contractors get paid better anyway, link to -- can these jobs be outsourced to "wogs" in, say, Pakistan?, and of course "Predator Military Contractors: Privatizing the Drones," link to, or go far from Omaha or Las Vegas, link to, to do their patriotic duty as part of the Imperial Drulag...
      "Where the Drones Are: Mapping the launch pads for Obama's secret wars, link to .

      And the drone-killing has been so very successful, hasn't it? "A "Precise" U.S. Drone War? Report Says 28 Unidentified Victims Killed for Every 1 Target," link to . So successful that it's getting hard to find autocracies that will allow basing them on their domains: "Where In Central Asia Would The U.S. Put A Drone Base?" link to The CIA is supposed to run this part of the show, as Obama winds down his term as titular "war president," but what's that? "CIA's Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel"? link to

      Makes you wonder when people other than Sunni tribesmen and Peshmerga will start to get fed up with how the Few are ruling their lives and their families' futures...

  • Threatened by ISIL/Daesh, Kurds Maneuver between Baghdad and Ankara
    • Lucky Kurds have oil and gas and now common enemies and a certain amount of cohesion as a group with some warrior skills and even weapons from various sources. A bunch of people that seemingly would just like to be left alone to kind of live ordinary lives without screwing with or screwing their neighbors or even easily Other-able minorities in their territory. Maybe with leaders and elites that have not soared into the stratosphere of greed and self-pleasing yet.

      "The only certain effect of the US support for these strikes is that it will show, yet again, to the Kurds and the Iraqis that they are dealing with one common enemy who[se] hypocrisy truly know no bounds. But they already knew that, of course. link to

      And the Empire encouraged the Kurds to try to overthrow Saddam, only to pull the rug out and set up another slaughter by Saddam, using weapons the US "thing" gave or sold to an earlier Baghdad "government." link to Gee, why would those nation-builders, looking at US duplicity and looting over generations, not want to play nice with us and go along with the Narrative now? Especially since they have seen how the Game Play has turned healthy communities with a modicum of comity and nice buildings and gardens and living spaces into this gap-toothed, bloodstained horror: link to Mow the lawn, plow the field, sow the dragon's teeth close together...

      No mention here of serial US betrayals of said erstwhile-Sepoy Kurds, given the same treatment that "we" gave the Hmong and "montagnards" in that other imperial idiocy: "The Snake-Eaters and the Yards:The Vietnamese tribesmen who fought alongside American Special Forces won the Green Berets’ admiration—and lost everything else." link to

      And here's how "our" new business partner, the Vietnamese who fill the shelves of Walmart with Commie-made nice slacks and shirts and engage in joint naval maneuvers with our World's Greatest US Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin (remember that name?) are treating those same Sepoys that "we" sucked in via the machinations and occasionally maybe even sincere concern and efforts of our Green Berets and sneaky-petes: link to

      Not that the Kurds are a monolith, or exceptionally moral and decent even in their own space and time...

  • UN General Assembly Demands Israel Mothball its Nuclear Arsenal
    • Here is one link to a recent set of simulations of climate effects of nuclear holocaust and much smaller “regional conflicts,” as if the fallout (in all senses) could be somehow limited to a “region:” “Regional nuclear war would have global reach — Even a limited exchange would have severe atmospheric impacts,” link to So maybe 50 (India-Pak, say) or maybe 5. How much is "enough?"

    • When elephants sprout wings...

  • The Beltway Beast: How two Tribes in D.C. are Destroying the Middle Class
    • Does Mr. Moon, or anyone else, have anything to offer in the way of means to starve the Beast? Seems like all roads lead to K Street, and all revenues, and all policies. Ordinary people just bear up and do the best they can to meet Maslow's basic needs for themselves and their families and occasionally villages, even as they are bled out, political-economically and physiologically too. What's a parent or atomised consumer to do?

  • Iran-Iraq War 2.0? Iran Flies bombing Raids on Extremists in Iraq
    • As you have frequently noted, a lot of Democrats are happy members of the War Party, for the usual reasons of MIC connections and connivance, neocon sympathies, AIPACery, etc. The president of the Empire will likely continue what passes for policy in the Mideast, but your "Republican" bogeyman is stuffed with straw.

    • Maybe, even likely. But it seems Turkey flies F-4s, too, and this little paragraph and its links highlight, in a tiny way, the rotten complexity of the world arms trade and sneaky-petery that leaves all us ordinary people living in poverty and fear:

      The Turkish Air Force received 40 F-4Es in 1974, with a further 32 F-4Es and 8 RF-4Es in 1977–78 under the "Peace Diamond III" program, followed by 40 ex-USAF aircraft in "Peace Diamond IV" in 1987, and a further 40 ex-U.S. Air National Guard Aircraft in 1991.[113] A further 32 RF-4Es were transferred to Turkey after being retired by the Luftwaffe between 1992 and 1994.[113] In 1995, IAI of Israel implemented an upgrade similar to Kurnass 2000 on 54 Turkish F-4Es which were dubbed the F-4E 2020 Terminator.[19] Turkish F-4s, and more modern F-16s have been used to strike Kurdish PKK bases in ongoing military operations in Northern Iraq.[114] On 22 June 2012, a Turkish RF-4E was shot down by Syrian air defenses while flying a reconnaissance flight near the Turkish-Syrian border.[115][116] Turkey has stated the reconnaissance aircraft was in international airspace when it was shot down, while Syrian authorities stated it was inside Syrian airspace.[117] Turkish F-4s remained in use as of late 2014.[101]
      link to Look at all the critters that have their fingers in the pie -- Luftwaffe, Israel, McDonnell Douglas, "Peace Diamond Program," and will we ever know what all's true, actual, real?

    • Lest anyone forget how idiotic this all looks in the long view, here's one little bit of "past history" in the annals of USIsraelIranIraqabilly:

      "Iran threatens US Navy," and stuff about US and Israeli weapons sales to the "fundamentalists" who took our dear diplomatic and CIA people hostage way back when after getting rid of the Shah we saddled them with: link to

  • Iraqi Kurdistan: Can a Bastion of Tolerance and Democracy survive in the Middle East?
    • "Having committed ourselves to military involvement in Iraq, we in North America should be asking ourselves exactly what goals we hope to achieve."

      Comfort ye, my people -- the Aussies are holding up the Southern Hemisphere end of the plank:

      "RAAF bombing runs begin!!!
      ... The Abbott government has committed Australian military forces to a dangerous and potentially open-ended war against Islamic State militants in Iraq with RAAF airstrikes authorised immediately and special forces set to enter in an advisory capacity soon after.

      The historic decision followed the signing of a legal contract between Baghdad and Canberra and comes more than a fortnight after the pre-deployment of 600 personnel and eight RAAF jet aircraft – six of them F/A-18 Super Hornets.

      Flanked by Defence Minister David Johnston and Chief of Defence Force Mark Binskin, Prime Minister Tony Abbott acknowledged the mission would be dangerous and hinted that it could last years.
      "It's the world's fight because ISIL has declared war on the world": Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

      "I have to warn that this deployment to Iraq could be quite lengthy - certainly months rather than weeks," Mr Abbott said.

      "I want to reassure the Australian people that it will be as long as it needs to be, but as short as it possibly can be [but] I also need to warn the Australian people that this is a dangerous mission. It is a dangerous mission, but I am confident that the CDF has put in place all possible measures to minimise risk."

      Asked whether Australia might expand its mission into neighbouring Syria, Mr Abbott refused to "speculate on what might be done in months or years to come." Bwa-haw-haw-haw...

      See? We're not in this whatever-it-is all alone!

  • World's Poor to be hit Hardest by Global Warming: World Bank
    • To #thepoor from #the0.0001Percenters, at this Holy Christmas Season: Suffer the little children? Who among Us cares? Bottom line? Go. Away. Preferably quietly, without making a fuss or creating a public health problem for Us. Jesus loves you -- Us, not so much...

      "How the poor get blamed for disease," link to

      "Yellen on the poverty of the poor," link to

  • Putin, Blocked by Europe, turns to Turkey for Gas Pipeline
    • Those Exceptional Teutons have had a little trouble extending their hegemony over "Natural Deutschland" by force of arms, but hey, is it not amazing what can be done by a mighty Bundesbank, armed only with Euros and the "claims" of Bondholders that "Hey, we have a CONTRACT!", who so conveniently gloss over the fine print that says, so very clearly, that bonds are priced to include that "risk" thing and that you SOBs do not have some kind of absolute right to repayment when "the Market" you have been so vampire-squiddily gaming "goes South?" Especially by outright theft, among other things, of the cash value of deposits that ordinary people have made in the banks you are raiding, of paychecks and earnings... Lay waste, ye Valkyries!

  • Is Turkey letting Daesh/ISIL Weapons & Fighters Cross Freely to Syria?
    • Not really "unhindered:" They at least have to give a little baksheesh to the "border guards," who display the real fundamental nature of enlightened self-interest that rules in that part of the world: link to .

      Anyone know what is really happening on the ground?

      "More on Turkish Support for ISIS," link to

      And it’s a tainted source, but what’s to be made of this? “ISIS Fighters Killed By Kurds Were Members of Turkish MIT (Intelligence Service),” link to At all reminiscent of Pakistan’s fractured fairy tale “intelligence service” and military?

      Or this? "Syrian Smugglers Say Turkish Buffer Zone At Border Will Not Help Fight Against ISIS," link to

      As to our great Warheads on Foreheads Program, there’s this: “Airstrikes missing ISIS frontline, say fighters,” link to

      And all this is a little reminiscent of “Coalition” (US) military dudes paying Afghani warlords and Talibanners lots of protection money (and helping the opium trade to hit a new high) to let petroleum fuels and munitions get to “wherever the key front is this week,” even to driving the trucks, while they laughed their a__es off at how stupid we Global Warriors are: "Western aid 'is funding ISIS fighters' because jihadists are demanding huge bribes to let trucks carrying supplies reach desperate families, official claims," link to
      And who is fighting whom, and who has pledged allegiance to whom as of this moment? There’s this, link to, and reports like this, “Turkey’s ISIS Problem,” link to And for a close look at the relations between the warring players, try this from Syria Comment: link to

      And here’s the Cowboys and Indians mindset, writ large and ugly for all us Patriots to amplify off of (it’s worth reading the whole article and comments – caution, disturbing pictures): “ link to

      And The Oil Must Flow: “This is how ISIS smuggles oil,” link to

      And we all root for the cowboys, whoever they actually are and whatever their patent and covert and idiotic goals and "interests" may actually be, and deride and hate the Indians, who gee whiz! turn out to be hard to actually identify except by designation by the Imperium, for the moment, via the Narrative...

  • Bush Admin. Spent Billions on an Iraqi Army with 50,000 "ghost" Soldiers
    • The operative word is " believe." Or "what one can get other people to believe." If one just focuses on the fate of ISIL/Daesh, believing in the power of the Empire and the willingness of tribes and kingdoms and states and corporations to "undo" ISIS, does one also note that if the behaviors that made Daesh possible don't change massively, one might have to believe that maybe Daesh has more staying power than believed? And that ordinary people's beliefs and inclinations, plus all those fun, profitable weapons and chaos-engendered corruption opportunities, might make confident belief in the Victory of the Cowboys a little irrationally exuberant? As Jack says, we'll just have to wait and see....

    • "Hopefully, in a couple of years..." "There's a light at the end of the tunnel..."

    • Lookie here! For all the believers in the Purity of American Arms! There are some Troops who do not thank YOU for screwing them over with one futile, corrupt, feckless combat tour after another! Hard to believe, right? 'Cuz We are on the Right Side, right? Really? "Sir! No Sir! GI Resistance 1965-1973," link to

      A bunch of Troops in the 2nd Armored Division down at Ft. Hood also refused to lock and load and board the C-130s to fly to Chicago in August 1968 to "put down the insurrection" of people assembled to petition for redress of grievances at that Democratic (sic) Convention.

      And there's this, link to, dated, but there is so much more, even with the recent BS with the "all volunteer/mercenary military," staffed with rations of true believers in Greater America but with a lot of other folks with something other than "preserving Freedom, Liberty", more like (what at my bunch called) 'The Right To Round-Eyed Pussy' as our casus belli. One small example is "Iraq Veterans Against The War," link to, and one could follow link to for a while to get a sense of the different types that are drawn to and repulsed by our martial imperial culture, and the Major Malfunctions and FUBARs and corruption and appreciation of the Idiocy of it all.

      WTF is with sending young people, ignorant and disdainful of the cultures they are warring on, to go kick in other people's doors, blast them with Hellfires and depleted-uranium 30mm cannon shells, kill them for sport, and then go out "patrolling" to set off IEDs and trigger ambushes and get all angry and "take revenge" when the "wogs" shoot back, taking their own vengeance or resisting the invaders, all the while your Braaasss is living the high life, wallowing in a corrupt soup with the Beltway Bu__sh_tters and people like al Maliki and al Sisi and Karzai? Especially since "the only way to win the 4th Gen warfare is not to play the game," no matter what you hear from the folks who insist the Empire has "the world's greatest military," that finally was able to include an F-22 in an actual mission in Syria, with a pitch for why "we" should have bought a whole nother bunch of these "air dominance" turkeys: "Analysis: Long Road for F-22's First Combat Mission," link to -- Please read the whole article and enjoy hearing about how all the various "programs," B-1 and all that, got to take part, thus justifying all those other billions in tax money that might otherwise fix our nation, change our consumption idiocy, and feed our people and see to their health care and stuff. So see? the at least $67 billion spent on that "program" was all totally justified, right?

      The War Lords have been trying to stuff the military with Confederate soldiers and "Christians," to keep down the tendency to challenge unlawful and idiotic orders. That may have paid off in a reduced incidence of "fragging" of officers and a__hole NCOs, link to, but look here, "‘Fragging and Casualties in Iraq & Afghanistan’," link to for a bunch of real context on the nature of the beast and a note, back in July, on the whole "phantom soldier" scam and how out Sepoys, our "moderate terrorists," make a buck on both sides by selling their weapons to the Others. (We had a supply sgt in early 1968 who was selling captured VC and NVA weapons back to the "gooks," and somebody cut his throat and left him in a ditch...)

      Does it "make us more secure?" And just how, again? "Serve our national interests," which are just what, again?

      All Milo Minderbinder, all the time: "It's for the good of the Syndicate, and everyone has a share!" link to .

  • Cairo Erupts as Mubarak, Adly Declared Innocent in Deaths of Protesters
    • So, jewelia, what you are saying is that what might be called "the immunity of impunity" is a universal principle and practice, with hardly a cognizable exception to prove the rule? Maybe that's the only way that "Big Game Big Politics" will ever be played? Sad.

    • Isn't impunity fun?

  • The Rolex Caliph's Camel Selfie: How Iraqi Youth are Ridiculing Daesh/ISIL Online
    • Folks here, myself included, hope that young people in the Mideast and elsewhere go beyond the miseries the rest of us have created to something more civil and durable. Not sure that the internet chatter described is a key indicator. One hopes Dr. Cole is right on, with his read of Millennial and later generations' behavior. Our Empire is still pumping worldwide militarization and the stripping of planetary wealth. Maybe the Chinese won't go down the same path, maybe crazy Russia will turn a corner too, and how about the other BRICS and EU and even places like Ghana?

      But there's still plenty of seductive attraction in "Call of Duty" urban warfare, apparently, and in gaining an identity and personal meaning by joining up with the current Horde – the puerile "we can do whatever we want" murderousness and combat effectiveness of Daesh/IS/whatever: there's too much context like this: "Gregory and Collin Gordon, Calgary brothers, join ranks of Canadians fighting for ISIS," link to . Lots of indications on all sides that young people from all over are drawn to the Horde. And because military skills and the attractions of deploying them are on "our side," too, stories like this are getting common: "Mississippi veteran goes to Syria to fight ISIS," link to

      Evidence that "bombing the Shi'ite out of 'em" is "working" is a little thin: “All the indications say that IS today, after two months of coalition air strikes, is not weaker,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem reportedly said. “If the Security Council and Washington do not force Turkey to control its borders then all of this action will not eliminate IS.”link to The Narrative insists that "the Tribes will Sepoy up and happily do the ground-pounding, 'cuz everyone hates ISIS, so Arm The 'Moderates'." On that front, check some informed current analysis on the dynamic sociology and political economy of that part of the world: link to . Young people without decent work to do, in communities based on conflict rather than comity, with little hope of better, tend to do what humans have too often done before.

      The Big Money is on more militarization, more weapons dumped into the stew, more opportunity for careers with the MIC and state security, more rapacious extractive "capitalism."

      Maybe young people will make a difference. Some in my own family are thinking globally and acting locally (not in the way hedge fund managers or investment bankers or CEOs of post-national Soylent Corporations do), and to good effect. What's happening in the streets of Cairo? Tel Aviv? Tripoli?

  • Iraq Famine Threat? IS Daesh/ ISIL Stealing Wheat, Preventing Farmers from Providing Food?
    • Interesting, the seeming parallels between the buccaneer economics of Daesh/Isis/whatever and our great post-national short term profit maximizing corporate owners. Live for today, take what you can, make it all legal by owning the monopoly on force and violence, force- feed your captive populations on your dogmas (is there a principled difference between free booting and "free market" nonsense?), fill in to any place where there's wealth and value to be captured... Does the Iraqi socialization of farming described here, price supports and supplied seed, fertilizer, etc. include seeds from Monsanto's GMO scam? link to Cancers and parasites don't care if they kill the host organism...

  • As SecDef Hagel Exits, an Iraq Daesh/ISIL Scorecard
    • The reason I saw was supposed containment and slight possible rollback of ISIS in Iraq. Even that claim changes validity minute to minute. The guy was supposed to be SecDef, over the whole War Department. What did he do to address all the other crap that is so terribly wrong (from the standpoint of us taxpayers and ordinary people around the world) with the Imperial Pentagram?

    • Pity Hagel? Don't think so. Can't hardly wait for his next public appearances and landing zone. As for what he did " on his watch"? What exactly is to back-pat him about? Bigger dumber military, not much luck with those pesky 4th Gen Wars the Empire keeps sticking itself into, more corruption, more GI on GI rape, how about the downward pressure on enlisted pay and allowances and benefits while the Braaasss gets more gold-plated for all its mega millbabble gold- bricking and disloyalty. Heckuva job, Hag! And let's not forget the great progress in reining in the enormous corruption and fraud that is the common coin of the Pentagrammers as they spin through the ol revolving door... (Irony alert) Another figurehead goes to collect his rewards.

  • Two Different American Futures: With an Iran Deal & Without
    • "massive loss of American lives and American wealth." Occurs to me, as usual, that there is no such thing as a unitary personification called the US. Offer that along with the notion that the wealth is not "lost," just transferred from ordinary people (who also do the dying, of course) to one or more of of our larger "war is a racquet" parasites...

  • Top 5 Ways Obama Punked the GOP on Immigration; and the 2016 Campaign
    • Makes one wonder what combination of personal psych traits, skills and externalities leads to the apotheosis of "leaders" like the Clinton Duo, the Bush League, etc. Does not seem to bode well for the species and this planet that such creatures and their "backers" and "friends" end up owning and ruling everything...

    • to who gets hit first, it seems the Generals and their extended families and not no stinkin' figurehead president will decide that. Here's the latest from the Bubble, via the NYT:

      President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.

      Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year...The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.

      In an announcement in the White House Rose Garden in May, Mr. Obama said that the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year, and that the missions for the 9,800 troops remaining in the country would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the “remnants of Al Qaeda.”

      The decision to change that mission was the result of a lengthy and heated debate that laid bare the tension inside the Obama administration between two often-competing imperatives: the promise Mr. Obama made to end the war in Afghanistan, versus the demands of the Pentagon that American troops be able to successfully fulfill their remaining missions in the country. [Say what?]

      The internal discussion took place against the backdrop of this year’s collapse of Iraqi security forces in the face of the advance of the Islamic State as well as the mistrust between the Pentagon and the White House that still lingers since Mr. Obama’s 2009 decision to “surge” 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan. Some of the president’s civilian advisers say that decision was made only because of excessive Pentagon pressure, and some military officials say it was half-baked and made with an eye to domestic politics.

      Mr. Obama’s decision, made during a White House meeting in recent weeks with his senior national security advisers, came over the objection of some of his top civilian aides, who argued that American lives should not be put at risk next year in any operations against the Taliban — and that they should have only a narrow counterterrorism mission against Al Qaeda.

      But the military pushed back, and generals both at the Pentagon and in Afghanistan urged Mr. Obama to define the mission more broadly to allow American troops to attack the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other militants if intelligence revealed that the extremists were threatening American forces in the country....

      In effect, Mr. Obama’s decision largely extends much of the current American military role for another year. Mr. Obama and his aides were forced to make a decision because the 13-year old mission, Operation Enduring Freedom, is set to end on Dec. 31...." link to

      Who's in charge here? Al Haig?

  • In Iran, US Choice is a Negotiated Peace Now or the Risk of War
    • "This does not make sense. An agreement is within reach." Well, yeah...

      Waiting for the pitch for More War On Isis Lest The "Republicans" Call Obama Soft On Defense (SIC) And Order War On Iran. Of course, Congress can "declare war," and via sanctions sort of already has, but in theory it's the Commander in Chief and those Blessed Services and their Blessed Senior Officers who "wage" war, however incompetently and to There is a "war party" in the Imperial Capital, all right, link to for a nice selection of context, but it's not tied to Reds or Blues -- one of the several incredibly durable, long-standing "bipartisan" Areas Of Commonality and Agreement. Yah, the AIPACers and MIC want war on Iran, with the Empire and its taxpayers wielding the Big Stick and getting bled for the benefit of the Israelites and MICC and all that. Time to say "No MAS!"?

      Obama is a figurehead, a front man, as Presidents of the Free World have been for years now, with pretty tenuous links to the actual helm of the ship of state, as ought to be obvious from where "we" are and where "we" are likely headed. But God bless him and his family, as he tries to avoid being crushed by bigger forces, and secure a modest competence for the family, post-Presidency. Doing more effing War Against ISIS/Daesh/whatever (which is just labeling, branding and manufacturing of demand for a much bigger Milo Minderbinder Enterprise, on the notion and grounds that this will keep the boogeyRepublicans/DINOs etc. from doing more war, seems kind of an exercise in idiocy, and the pitch for that profit-generating, wealth-transferring action on that basis smells of fraud...

      And let's remember that all the forces pushing for More War, All The Time, do so from behind walls of Impunity, ever richer and free from any consequences for their "success" and "victories" on the Plains of Policy...

  • The Historical Drivers of Modern Day Developments in Iraq (Cole Interview)
    • There are reasons why, however much one might wish it otherwise in furtherance of the Narrative, ISIS/Daesh is a big and growing phenom: "Allure of ISIS for Pakistanis Is on the Rise," link to If the underlying "political economy" fundamentals don't change, there are not enough dollars to buy enough Obombs to put enough "warheads on foreheads" (generating lots of Unfortunate Bugsplats) to have a Hope of Changing the vectors and trajectories the various rudely and fractiously-intractable-to-Empire-dictates parts of our world are following...

      It might be comforting to claim that "towelheads" are not smart enough to operate "complex" weaponry, or maintain it, but the bald assertion seems contradicted by silly stuff like those little videos documenting "hajji" use of MANPADs to shoot down Iraqi and Syrian aircraft, and deployment of various guided antitank weapons made in a number of war-industry-leading countries, and laying and firing captured artillery and a bunch of other weapons and munitions that Operatives and Believers and Apologists see no problem in continuing to deliver wholesale to the "Area of Operations." They may not be flying the planes yet (why bother, if a swarm of missiles affects the tactical balance?), but ISISILIQ/Daesh/whatever includes a lot of US-trained Gunmen from the "Iraqi national army" and former "moderate terrorists insurgents," and various "contractor" types from the ranks of those who service and often operate US weapons, and may find a gig with a growing force attractive. And if the average-IQ American Troopers can figure out how to use our really complicated weapons, that are actually designed to be as simple as possible, you think the "terrorists" won't do so? The field and tech manuals and videos really aren't that challenging, and it's not like there are double-secret passwords between trigger and controls. More context:

      link to

      link to

      link to

      The US' real Successes in keeping the Forever Profitable War going keep getting underlined: Here's the Grey Lady's Support-Our-Loyal-Narrative Latest: "In a Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat," link to . How's it go, again? link to Couple Stupid with Profitable and you have Unfixable, as far as ordinary people are concerned... Maybe if we all buy solar panels for our homes, and electric vehicles, things might change...?

    • Query: Does ISISILIQ/Daesh/whatever constitute one of " the great macro social movements of the area?"

      The cheerleaders for continued Imperial "operations" in the "area of operations" tell us all how successful Air Power and the mythical alliance of militias, "national armies" and tribal groups has been in degrading the Thing Du Jour. Really? There’s nice War Porn videos of JDAMS detonating and all, but there’s this little tidbit to digest: “ISIS Has Enough Weapons For up To Two Years,” on hand already, with plenty of suppliers who apparently care nothing about the Empire’s preferred Grand Plan: link to

      No, I'm not rooting for the Hordesmen and the Gunmen with the black flag and balaclavas. But why the stupid constant collapse back into the simplistic Manichaean Narrative, when it's so obviously false, and leads to more conflict-generating stupidity and more and more arms being flooded into the zone, like The Gun, link to, and more "effective" stuff like guided anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and more?

      The UN people who follow such stuff don't see much "degrading," just wiser tactics and plenty of firepower: “The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and the Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant: report and recommendations submitted pursuant to resolution 2170 (2014),” link to . Even the Summary, which not surprisingly reeks of Narrative, ought to make observers think a little deeper about better ways to defuse, disarm and dissipate the interests and behaviors and incentives that are killing not just Yazidis and Kurds et al., but potentially all of us except for the Few who have their safe retreats all mapped out…

      And when it comes to financing all this Daesh stuff, gee, it appears that EVERYone is in on the corruption that greases the movement of petroleum extracted or extorted by Daesh, that mirabile dictu, loyalty to tribe or army or nation means exactly zilch: “Inside Islamic State’s oil empire: how captured oilfields fuel Isis insurgency -- Coalition air strikes have not stopped the militant group from earning millions of dollars a week from its Iraqi oil operations,” link to . No surprise, when the “WE DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS” Empire would pay warlords and “Talibanners” and “terrorists” to provide “security” for and even drive the trucks that brought petroleum fuels to “the formerly Current Front” in Afghanistan, be helpfully involved in poppy farming there and setting conditions such that poppies, that need little attention and water compared to food crops, become the field crop of choice, link to, as much as cocaine in other areas the Empire has gently touched. For one tiny example of self-destructive corruption among so many…

      Too bad “political economy” has been mostly abandoned as a analytical and framing tool, and reduced to more of another feckless oxymoron.

  • 3rd Possibility: Coming Civil War in West Bank/ Jerusalem?
    • No doubt the Israelites have all kinds of nasty warmaking stuff squirreled away with however many nukes the heirs of the Pharisees, link to, are ready to detonate. Yahoo subtly reminds the rest of the world that he's got the Samson Option in his back pocket. One might bet that the IDF's war plans include destroying US military assets, since they have shown multiple examples of that willingness, like the attempted sinking of the USS Liberty and constant deep espionage on us as nominal "ally."

      As to "Christian" support in the US, an assortment of context that comes to a different conclusion:

      link to

      link to

      link to

      At least the hasbara is becoming a little more subtle...

  • Should Iran and the US accept a Good, but not perfect Nuclear Deal?
    • Hey, c'mon -- how many times have our US Imperial Citizens fallen for "trickle down" and "war on Thisthatortheotherthingorgroup" and all the other times the Rulers have done the Lucy Van Pelt "pull the football away after promising not to" routine?

  • Yazidi Women Victimized by Daesh/ ISIL tell of Rape, Slavery, & their Resistance
    • Bad, awful evil. And just because we Exceptionalists had and maybe have among us quite a number of people of substance, and criminals too, who did and do the same thing, often under color of law as with enslaved Africans and indentured others and native peoples unable to resist European organized looting, that does not make what ISIS and Gulf princes and Russian oligarchs and European heads of state any less cruel and evil and horrific. Not a complete list of course, of those who boldly display this particularly endearing set of all too human behavior. But as long as the oil and money keep flowing, ...

  • Top 5 Ways Daesh/ ISIL is Losing, as it lashes out like a Cornered Rat
    • What a surprise, overall...

    • It takes a while for the Narrative to catch up with the Dialogue... especially with all the echoes inside our Imperial Bubble...

  • Daesh (ISIL) Loses Refinery City in Iraq to Iraqi Army, Shiite Militias
    • There's a lot of ways for "insurgents" to take cover, besides jungle canopy, which even all those millions of gallons of Agent Orange did not do away with by the way. Even the "Phoenix Program" in all its evil didn't do the job.

      What is with this drumbeat of "Obama gots to fear the Republican Backlash if he does not beat them to the punch of releasing more 1,500-Troop packs of the Dogs of War and then Hold tough On Iran on accounta The Lobby!"? As for the fairly desolate terrain that's the current site of War, American Style where "we" fund and arm the parties and are just sure, SURE, that it will go according to The Plan, have you looked at "our" success in routing a not quite as horrible a bunch of tribespeople in what was the name of that place again, oh yeah, "Notagainistan..." In case you are too young to remember, and your reading and education did not cover the whole long idiocy of the Vietnam thing, there were endless breathless announcements of how Our Huge Undefeatable Military Machine had dealt one death blow after another to the "gooks." run up huge body counts, won all the big battles by making the "slants" say Uncle and still had those memorable moments of a last few "allies" scrambling to get aboard that last Huey from the Embassy roof.

      Sun Tzu says you ought to have some sensible agreed goal in mind if you want to do successful war, defeating the other guy and taking his stuff. That, and don't impoverish your peasants if you want to win. The whole play in the Mideast ans elsewhere is an illegitimate stripping of wealth and arm-twisting, and until the Rulers get around to playing a different sort of POSITIVE SUM game where that myth about the Virtues of Trading versus the simple theft of resources and spewing of externalities/horrors actually gets actualized, short of the use of nuclear and other really serious weapons there will be nothing but more of the same profit-a-few, beggar-the-world same. Go read or re-read that little Karnow book, "Vietnam: A History," and stuff...

    • One would really like to hope that SOMEone on "our" side is getting a good deal out of all this, and not all the brass and bosses on "our" side are just incompetent schmucks and "freiers," just being taken and shaken down by the more seasoned players in the Game over there. With, of course, us complaisant idiots in the Homeland wearing the boots, and footing the bill...

  • Daesh/ ISIL calls for Terror attacks on Saudi Arabia
    • One has to admire the spread of "business model" analysis of who is actually making wealth available to ISISILIQ/Daesh and other Gunmen: link to

    • Interesting, it seems likely that if ISISILIQ lasts a while, significant parts of the complex would, like Hizbollah and Hamas, and Likud if those creatures survive their current savagery, take on "governance" of a slightly gentler style. Like the Chicago Machine, maybe, with a tolerable level of corruption, police abuse, all that? Deash seems proving to attract some bright people with more than just Gunmen skills, link to, and pretty good PR. Maybe the rulers of our Empire, that pretends to be coming from the democratic tradition, will shake hands with an eventual generation of Caliphaters and more overtly get down to business.

      Slightly kinder and gentler toward the ordinary people who are properly obeisant property, while the rape of the planet grinds on? We'll just have to wait and see, right? Since other than observing, commenting, complaining in our little still permissible ways, what can we the little people, who have ceded their autonomy to our autocrats and their people and enablers and Bidness Beneficiaries, do about it?

  • A Day Late & a Dollar Short: Obama & China agree on Languid Climate Goals
    • Snark, right? Of course it already is "their air."

      The people who profit from burning sh_t, extracting carbon and basing their lives on burning more of it, already own the right to pollute, to externalize the costs of that into your lungs and mine, your coastline and mine, your tornado alley and mine. They have and have had and will continue to have the clout to warp our collective need for a social structure, "rule of law" and similar frauds included, into a system of laws and regulations and practices that "legalizes" dumping toxins into the common necessities, air, water, economic transactions of all sorts. You know the TPP and TTAP will further "legalize" the theft-by-initial-assignment-of-"right" to the user-uppers. Who individually, can't say it often enough, have zero personal-threat incentive to do anything but more of the same. Since they are insulated, by "law" and the protections that wealthy indifference can purchase, from any of the consequences of their creation, participation and continuation of "business as usual" to the dead-end point (for us ordinary mopes only: the Few have their escapes -- either into comfortable old-age and death, or some Elysium, or like the billionaire longevity projects in the works, link to, into cyber-bodies or deep space). Hence they can laugh, all the way to the (offshore) bank, at all us earnest types who maybe care about our surroundings and our "Soylent Green" posterity...

      We seem collectively to be wired all wrong, plumbed all wrong, framed all wrong to survive. But a very Few of us will really indulge all their whimsies and senses, link to, behind walls of impunity, at the expense of the rest of us ordinary people who don't seem to be able to organize to protect ourselves, from the Few and our own predilections and impulses...

  • Internet Liberty at Stake in Obama World Wide Web Policy
    • It's clear you do...

    • And here's a toast to Dr. Cole, for bearing up under government abuse and pressure and continuing to speak truth ABOUT power, since speaking TO power is largely futile (and ooooh, against "the national interest.")

      Bless you, sir, and may you continue the good you do to counter the idiocies of the Narrative and what lies behind it...

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu Is a National Security Risk—And Washington Knows It
    • Like, it is any surprise that the Israelites are a "difficult ally (sic)?" Starting way back before the IDF shot up and almost sank the USS Liberty, killing 34 US sailors and wounding 174, link to, to the whole scam of helping Our Friends the Only Democracy in the Middle East to build their pile of may 200, maybe 600, nuclear weapons. That some discount because they think it would be suicide for the Likudians to actually use. But hey, it's not like Rulers have never committed their subjects to suicidal idiocy before, see e.g. the history of modern Europe, and Japan. Often, of course, the Rulers and the worst of The Enemy have safely skulked off to safe havens as the heavens were falling on their subjects’ heads…

      Apparently for decades, some parts of the US imperial state security apparatus have been well aware that there's good reasons to wonder at Israelite chutzpah: "US sees Israel, tight Mideast ally, as spy threat," link to, and even a few in the Heartland of the Homeland have been allowed to make the point in an MSM outlet: "U.S. sees Israel as No. 1 spy threat in Middle East, officials say," link to And from the Snowden revelations, answers to "Why Are We Spying on Israel?" link to Even freakin’ FOX News once took a swing at Israelite spying in the US: link to

      You can bet that among other little secrets, Yahoo knows the contents of the Empire's nuclear war plan, “OPLAN 8010, Strategic Deterrence and Global Strike,” and all the "Single Integrated Operating Plans" (SIOPs) that preceded OPLAN. link to, for those who mostly forget that our very own military is still moments away from ending us, and humanity generally. link to I wonder if our Really Smart Sneaky Petes and General Officers and Executive Branchers know what’s in the Israelite equivalent… Can you say, "We are putzes?"

      But of course in the Great Game, every ‘nation” does it to every other “nation,” so it’s all just hunky-dory, except for us little mopes who believe the myths, enjoy watching the shadows dance on the back of the cave, and slave and die to let the Few have their energetic, kinetic, enigmatic fun over our dead bodies…

  • Why it Isn't that Important Whether ISIL Leader was Killed
    • Re good and bad generals and other warlords, may I make another plug for Gary Schroen's memoir of his involvement as CIA paramilitary operative in Afghanistan, "First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan"? It contains, for those who can get past the cheerleading stage, a whole bunch of insights into the nature of free-floating self-interested relations between the many tribal, family, gangster and "government" actors on the ground, during this one small stage of the CIA's much-bragged-up messing around over there, post -9/11. For Schroen himself, there's a brief Wiki article, link to, with a few useful links for those who care. And the CIA thinks highly of itself and its players, how "successful" these little interventions have been according to their values and goals, and has a nice article up on its site: link to

      And of course there's Steve Coll's opus, "Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001," the prequel to "First In." link to, that lifts a few other corners of the carpet to uncover the roaches and rats...

      It's so cute, how the jackals and sneaky-petes brag up and display their pride at demolishing stability, overturning democratic motions, and influencing outcomes and stirring the pot and generally raising havoc all over the place, in the name of just what, again?

      There's the idiot mythologies up front, and the "gritty realities" floating in the background fog...

    • Actually, I personally fear gradualist apologists who would persuade the rest of us, by subtle repetition, that "we" first have the right, power and "duty" to "do something" about barbarians who ain't OUR barbarians, and second, that doing the same stuff, again, run by the same bunch who ran the last Imperial "interventions" (that dishonest obscurant term), moving the world ever closer to a variety of chaotic failures, will even do the stuff that enthusiasts claim it will address.

      But I admit to a perverse satisfaction in paging through all the war porn that's so readily accessible these days. What a sorry lot we humans are...

    • For all you true believers in the power of Air Power and the Imperial Fist, a careful read of this little article from today's NYT ought to give some pause and for the honest ones, return some echoes of past excesses: link to Or at least stir up some more substantive apologias for doing More Of The US RULES Same...

      Ah, who cares any more? We Imperials all will keep doing what we do, because Impunity and profit and Careers.

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