Member Profile

Total number of comments: 267 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:04)

Philosophical Ron

A long time truth seeker, I was awarded "Highest Honors in History" for my B.A. in History from UCSC 12-74, and worked for over 9 yrs. FTE as a researcher-ghostwriter. Including that and other ventures, have been self-employed in micro-business 38 out of the last 40 years. A long-time advocate of small-d democracy, I have also been active in local politics off and on since the 60's, and I believe an op-ed of mine ten years ago actually caused local government to change its plan for re-developing our neighborhood, for the better. I remain active as a writer, a summary of my next book is up on my website, my old book still has original signed editions available. The website also has interesting ruminations on such topics as why Plato was wrong, how we shouldn't be waiting for the next "Mandela", how the American advertising industry can be controlled using current Supreme Court consensus, and how to effectively organize in American left-wing politics, among other topics.

Website: http://www.philosophical-ron.com

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  • Can the Sadr Movement in Iraq overcome Sectarianism with new Shiite-Sunni-Kurdish Party?
    • I have been one who has been trying to counter generalized anti-Iranian propaganda in the American media for several years now, for example echoing Juan's knowledge of how Iran has not started an aggressive war in the last few centuries.

      The news that Iran is apparently supporting al-Maliki's return to power, is, however, a serious point in their disfavor. Even if you, Iran, have got to be so pro-Shi'ite, so sectarian -- which is of course a terrible idea contributing to future human misery -- get a new guy. Al-Maliki is poison.

  • What will Happen when Trump's Dupes Find Out?
    • philosophical ron 06/23/2017 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you Andrew, very much, your work has been very valuable in recent years.

      I guess I didn't get enough American historiography on my way to nice Honors degree in History, it was in 1978 when I was already well out of the academic environment (but still trying to puzzle out 'history and how it works,' that I had the
      idea, "what if we tried to understand History As If Every Person Mattered?"

      At the time I did regard this as a corrective to the History that focused on rich, powerful European and American males.

      I've kept poking at this over the decades, and it's led me to some very interesting places, I hope. Lately I have been able to collect my thoughts on a nice blog (that should be easy to google up using my screen name). I'm writing in longer and longer forms, yet hopefully accessible to informed readers, and I'm happy to report that the blog has been getting international readership, at a rate of more than a million hits a year for the last 18 months, so it can't be too bad.

      I hope I have developed a nice "teaching aid," at the least, that can help intelligent young (and old) people make sense out of the cacophony of modern media, towards understanding how everyone's individual thoughts and actions in every moment are indeed creating our history at every moment of every day.

  • The Millennial's Palace Coup in Saudi Arabia: How Dangerous?
    • philosophical ron 06/21/2017 at 5:21 am

      A real Trump of an Arab princeling guy, it sounds like.

      The rot in the most fundamental structures of our so-called civilization generally starts from the top. The Yemen war of the last two years has been an especially egregious example of a war that is unnecessary for either parties larger goals of (first) survival and (second) influence/power, and destructive to both the very survival of the victimized party, and to the ruling institutions and the "moral propaganda points" of the aggressive party.

      I've been studying Saudi Arabia for a long time. The change from the consensus model of succession decison-making to the autocratic hereditary model -- favoring a less than outstanding heir -- is HYUUUGE, in Trumpian language. Is Abdul-Aziz's kingdom about to finally spin apart among the (all very rich and most likely all very self-regarding) princely cousins ???

  • Russo-US dog fights over Syria?
    • philosophical ron 06/20/2017 at 5:06 am

      Well, at least the military seems to be keeping with its primary responsibilities. (We've only got "forever," or a few decades until the collapse of our so-called civilization, to discuss how good or bad missions of the American military may be, this alliance with the YPG against ISIS, considering all the other actors in the region, may be one of the better ones).

      Hopefully they will have the wisdom to find someway to delay/divert any Presidential orders that seem to be likely to bring about Russo-American war, whether conventional or nuclear.

      I hope others besides me appreciate the irony of all well-meaning people all over the world -- and even any poorly-intended ultra-leftists in Western lands who don't want to their personal lives disrupted by the chaos that a real Russo-American conflict would entail -- having to depend on the relatively good parts of the institutional memory of the American military for their continued well-being.

  • Why Saudi Extremism, Instability is an Argument for EVs, Wind and Solar Energy
    • philosophical ron 06/14/2017 at 3:31 am

      Since the beginnings of the clear evidence of a Trump-Putin bromance, I have thought that the ultimate goal of both parties - and of everybody else in the oil game - is to engineer just one more oil price scare.

      I studied the industry back in the 70's and the boom/bust cycle was clear. Our future as a global civilization of 7+ billion people is absolutely dependent on ending fossil fuel use. But the short-term interest of the Trumpite American elite, and the Russian and other oil-industry elites, is on one more spike in oil prices. And I recently saw a statistic, is it accurate, that 85% of energy use in America is still based on fossil fuels. We would pay if they could engineer the spike.

  • Top Reasons Why Qatar Will Survive the Saudi-led Diplomatic Offensive
    • philosophical ron 06/12/2017 at 4:56 am

      Thank you very much, Professor Nuruzzaman. Basic geopolitical facts are very much needed in the American media.

  • UK hung Parliament: Is Trumpism pushing Europe Left?
    • Hopefully Trump is becoming so toxic and noxious that even the intelligent element of the Republican vote is becoming repelled by the performance.

      FWIW, another source pointed towards conservative pundit/maven Bill Kristol, tweeting out how he had met with various Repub Senators "this afternoon" and they were "terrified" by the Comey presentation.

      Now is the time to be calling the local offices (because the DC offices can shut you out more efficiently) of Republican Senate leaders (McConnell KY, Cornyn TX, Thune SD, Blunt MO, Barrasso WY, and Cory CO), and Republican potential-waverers ( Sasse NB, Flake and McCain AZ, Murkowski and Sullivan AK and others) and ask them how long they are going to carry water for the greatest fool, And The Greatest Potential Threat to Their Own Damn Party in American and world politics today.

  • How Trump should have responded to London Attacks if he were Normal
    • philosophical ron 06/05/2017 at 4:55 am

      Simply one of your sweetest and most uplifiting posts, ever, Juan. Huge congratulations.

  • Did Trump's Climate Disavowal just kill Capitalism?
    • philosophical ron 06/03/2017 at 3:45 am

      In both the relatively democratic lands and the absolutely authoritarian states, the rot comes from the top.

      It is the so-called "political and economic leaders" of all nations that refuse to modify the fossil fuel economy that, we fear, will literally kill our grandchildren, and our hopes and dreams of techno progress and increased social liberties.

      When people begin to understand how our everyday choices do create our psychological and philosophical "environments," which in turn dictate our political and economic "choices," there might be some room for intelligent people to get organized and actually create government structures that work for the survival and prosperity of all people & all nations.

      Obviously we're a long way away, and we have to create an immense change in a very short historical/geological time frame, 10 or 20 years or so..

  • Top 5 Questions about Kushner's back channel to Moscow
    • philosophical ron 05/27/2017 at 5:42 am

      Can't wait for Trump's house of cards to actually start tumbling down.

      Thus, the major question: will enough House and Senate Republicans actually vote for the impeachment and conviction of a Republican President in 2017? How much worse does it have to get for them ??

  • Trump in Absolute Monarchy during Iran's Election
    • Will the (probable) collapse of the oil market that you point to in the early 2020's -- perhaps just 3 o4 years from now -- be occurring before or after the (probable) start of major disruption of human food economic systems from climate change ?

  • "Can you believe the World we Live in?" Trump doesn't understand "Classified"
  • The Sadism of creeping Dictatorship
    • philosophical ron 05/11/2017 at 4:35 am

      Thank you, Thank you once again Juan, for your sure and clear analysis.

  • Which Middle East Authoritarian Leader is Trump most Like?
    • philosophical ron 05/10/2017 at 4:16 am

      Comparing Trump to almost any dictators anywhere, at least along the lines of "who had the more successful dictatorship" comes out unfavorable to Trump.

      Even the Mobutu's and Mugabe's of the world lasted for 30-ish years or more, even the Horthys and other East European storngmen of the pre-WW2 era installed their fascistic administrations, at least for a few years, more effectively than Trump has shown such abilities so far.

      At best, Trump is like a third-rate Berlusconi: Able to take power at least once (but probably not multiple times like Berlusconi), able to milk some media advantages and short-term corrupt deals for his family and his supporters, but ultimately unable to either "transform" society in a regressive direction or prevent the re-emergence of more progressive coalitions.

  • NSAgate: Trump was warned (by Yates and Obama), and yet He Persisted
    • So how deep does this thinking go, Travis? Sure, let's stipulate, HIllary would have appointed some fundraisers to ambassadorships, and there would have been two or three democratic wall-streeters who got positions somewhere close to economic policy. And it would have especially enraged me, but she probably would have kept the Clinton-Obama alliance with Monsanto and other agri-business polluters and secrecy advocates, against local, family -owned, job-creating, rural American organic agriculture and food-processing businesses.

      But where would you have us go? Anarchism, Libertarian ideology, Communism are all failed. I've been around this country, selling at retail, we do have the folks on the ground, if we could get them organized going forward, and voting at a rate of more than 55% of the total population. We're going to have to overcome the real failures of the economic machine, the real despair among some segments of the population, the active propaganda and outright lies of fascist/idiot media, and specific legal and illegal vote-suppressing and vote-stealing activities by Republicans, if we're going to be taking back this coundtry in 2018 and 2020. We need to build the biggest possible coalition. We will need both the people who righteously hate Wall Street, and the intelligent relative-progressives among the financial industries, we will need both the people who never want to compromise with traditional behaviors and symbols of oppression, and people who wisely consider that need to prioritize and focus one's anti-oppressive rhetoric and activity. We are going to need the biggest electoral coalition possible. That does include Hillary and other Democratic-party loyalists. Hopefully they are also showing what Hillary showed through most of her campaign, a need to move to where the people are going.

      I have thousands more words of similar discussion of how we get from here to "victory," at my site, FWIW.

  • How President Bannon's Whiteboard Sank Trump
    • philosophical ron 05/04/2017 at 4:40 am

      For those not in the know, a google search of "287g Partners" reveals that it refers to a section of the overall immigration law that authorizes ICE to deputize "selected" state and local law enforcement personnel to carry out federal immigration laws.

      To the larger issue, this idiot/half-savant Bannon is perhaps the greatest danger to the rule of law, as opposed to the rule of dictatorial men, in America, that we have seen in many decades.

  • Uh, oh: French Left can't bring itself to Vote for Macron
    • philosophical ron 05/04/2017 at 4:49 am

      Being pure in one's ideology, while a major European nation succumbs to a fairly pure (stupid racist) reactionary movement has got to be comparable to the German Communists who allowed Hitler to come to power in 1933 because they hated the the more conventional Social Democrats.

  • Trump sends US Troops to Patrol Turkish-Syrian Border as Ankara Threatens US Allies
  • Planet Ravagers: How Trump & GOP are like Aliens in "Independence Day"
    • I've been trying to say this in the last couple of articles at my site and in recent comments here, I'll try it one more time. As an student of economic history it is absolutely true, IMHO, that throughout the history of human beings on earth, up through about 50 years ago, just about about all human economic enterprises depended on the unlimited dumping of their waste products into the air, waters and lands of our Mother Earth. Major cities and other over-crowded environments began to nitice some harms and pass local regulations, very few worried abut the carrying capacity of our earth and air for total waste products.

      Finally its occurring to us that our wasteful habits are simply unsustainable -- and the big question is whether we've already passed "the point of no return" on our way to a climate change, and major human systems failure. On our current track, this would include just what we're seeing now of active reactionary measures by the reactionary forces, leading to the major failure of kleptocratic/anti-democratic governments (of all types), and short-sighted corporations, and ending in "say good-bye to your grandkids" major-civilization-level failure.

      Perhaps the only question left to us, is if there is just barely time to turn things around.

      Can anyone really see us ending the fossil fuel industries by citizen power over governments, in the next. say 7 to 11 years? Who has a better idea of the transformation we have to make and how to get there?

  • The Last time there was this much CO2 in the air, Florida was under Water
    • philosophical ron 04/25/2017 at 4:41 am

      If any historians survive the mess that might hit us any year now, in the worst projections, will they say that American-sponsored petroleum-powered civilization suffocated itself?

      That's the very worst projection, that we've already gone too far, the climate changes & the human changes of the next couple of decades should tell. I do encourage looking at, and working towards, the most optimistic projections also.

  • 40% of California Grid Power from Solar, Sometimes Costs less than Nothing
    • I spent a mostly very nice 45 years in California, both South and North, where my memory of typical temperatures in the three cooler seasons of the year, even in Laguna Beach and San Diego, was several degrees lower than what we're seeing now on similar days in the Northwest. I also remember reading from afar about the horrible electricity price rip-off game that was legally perpetrated on Californians in the early 21st Century, I was so glad I got out before that, I might have become so angry I would have gone over the edge if I had lived that mess, on my marginal business income at the time.

      Thus I must again thank you so much for this positive news, I appreciate it very much. I will think harder about installing solar capacity at my place, where I've been having to find money to solve problems for 3 years in a row, yet I've got eastern, southern, and western exposures, I may as well invest in something positive as soon as I can.

  • In 3 months, Trump has Charged into 4 Mideast Wars, to no Avail
    • philosophical ron 04/16/2017 at 4:56 am

      Absolutely. At this point in our collective human evolution, when we have the (possible, if we don't kill ourselves and our planet first) ability to identify every person on earth, and record their history, we do need to evolve towards a non-violent democratic global citizen-led government.

      I wrote about this 35 years ago and stand by it.

      Unfortunately, we have not made much progress on such a path, and now it looks like we may have to do it in the next ten years, if we are to avoid disaster to our existing food-economy survival systems from uncontrolled, Trump-Pruitt-Putin-assisted climate change.

  • Russia's not Leaving: Syria is about old-Fashioned Sphere of Influence, not Oil
    • philosophical ron 04/11/2017 at 4:00 am

      Ka-boom!

      I was trending towards this conclusion already, thank you for providing the detailed analysis that leads towards the conclusion of your last paragraph: "My guess is that the Tomahawk strikes were impulsive and a one-off. The Russian-dominated status quo is not significantly affected, and there isn’t an early prospect of it so being."

  • Al-Sadr: Russia, America and al-Assad should all get out of Syria!
    • Al Sadr sounds like he actually understands more about democracy, and more about how nationalism works in the modern world, than Trump or any of his advisors.

  • Trump intervenes in the Great Mideast Civil War in Syria
    • philosophical ron 04/07/2017 at 3:13 am

      Dear Juan, thank you very much for this analysis. I also like the analysis of modern wars according to their local, regional and international dimensions, I have stressed this when I have been privileged to teach young people about the two world wars of the twentieth Century.

      In just the few hours since the news broke, I have also wanted to see this as a "one-time" action, that interpretation would allow us to "swallow" it as a piece of world history, more easily.

      Yet we really have no insight into the likely thinking and future actions of the Trump administration, depending as it does on such un-transparent factors as Donald's attitude of the moment, the last of his inexperienced, and/or incompetent, and/or fascistic advisors he talked to, the current balance of the palace courtier"s intrigues, and so on. So we really can't rely on just our optimistic surmises to guess at future outcomes.

  • As Trump Breaks it, Top Ten Things we need to do to Fix America
    • philosophical ron 04/07/2017 at 3:30 am

      My first thought was, is this the William Polk whose histories of Southwest Asia and the Muslim world I have admired and learned from and cited for 40 years?

      All I had to do was to scroll towards the end to find the author's credentials, and see that the article was several thousand words long, to say, "yeah, this is the same wise Willam Polk."

      Hopefully you'll keep these comments open for a few days to give me time to absorb and contemplate Polk's latest thoughts in order to comment at least halfway professionally on the deep content and context he will no doubt provide.

  • Climate Change Solutions Can’t Wait for Trump
    • philosophical ron 04/07/2017 at 3:41 am

      Trump, Pruitt, Tillerson, the billionaire supporter Mercer and other dedicated science-deniers in the Trump clique unfortunately have the power, and the whims, to destroy all the good and necessary initiatives discussed here with a few strokes of Donald's pen on reactionary, future-killing documents.

  • What history reveals about surges in anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant sentiments
    • philosophical ron 04/05/2017 at 4:59 am

      Very nice summation of this time in our history, the counterpoint is that the 1920"s through 1952 is when all the Eastern Europeans and Jews and Italians were generally assimilated into "Americans."

      And the other counterpoint, which Trump and his alt-right supporters demonstrate, is that a hateful minority that focuses on blacks and Jews especially has always existed, in addition to a larger anti-immigrant political preference.

      Can we go further in conclusion, noting today's reality of a popular-vote majority and an activated social-political base of opposition to "a new generation of nativists, whose fears are used to justify turning away refugees and immigrants" ?

  • Putin joins ranks of Climate Denialists in support of Trump
    • philosophical ron 04/01/2017 at 4:39 am

      To take the liberty of quoting myself, at the most recent article at my site:

      " To the extent that Trump succeeds in boosting irreversible climate change and preventing the global phase-out of fossil fuels, and to the extent that he helps authoritarian/dictatorial regimes become more entrenched in their own nations and more important in world affairs, and tries to send America towards authoritarian government, it seems likely that Trump’s election represents the beginning of the Suicide of Civilization.

      Led by the most powerful actors in politics and economics, short-sighted selfishness at the top of society will eventually result in mass disaster; any surviving people will most likely be at the hunter-gatherer level of organization and ability. "

  • Was Michael Flynn Russia's “primary channel of communication with the Trump team”?
    • philosophical ron 04/01/2017 at 4:32 am

      And also, this "witch-hunt", or intelligent concern, as the case may be, is not "evidence-free." My own little website has not been "hacked" as far as I can tell, but I have had a fair amount of traffic from Ukraine and Russia, and apparently I have attracted the attention of the Russian intelligence machine. In November, Google analytics reported a new language being used by visitors to my website, with a 20-word name that began with "SecretGoogle.com ... and ended with "...vote for Trump." The unusual behavior of these 130+ visitors corresponded with 130+ visitors from Russia. Other new languages referencing Trump also showed up, and apparently their genius of this new algorithm that can fool Google Analytics made his own foray, since there was also 1 visit with a new language that was 20+ mathematical signs culminating in "Pascal was here." So even in my own little world, I have evidence that Russian intelligence is very interested in Trump and that they have developed scary, amazing capabilities to manipulate our media.

    • philosophical ron 04/01/2017 at 4:16 am

      I have caught the work of Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz on the radio very often, and Papatonio a few times, and have greatly appreciated their work.

      But I do believe that RT overall is an agent of Putin's will. It is a very sad commentary on American media, that these gentlemen apparently feel that they cannot get on the air from any American company, and that they are forced to go to RT just to get on the air to continue to have a job in their chosen profession (where I haven't heard any of them for the last 2-3 years.)

      Have any of these gentlemen become an advocate of Trump/Flynn - type rapprochement with Putin's Russia? If so, thanks for your past work, but you're no longer one of "America's most progressive commentators" to me.

  • Are Progressives Suffering from Trump Fatigue?
    • philosophical ron 03/30/2017 at 2:41 pm

      The problem, I think, is people with little experience, and no clear plans for how to go forward, thinking that their dis-satisfactions with the Democrats justify a position of apparently making excuses for, and not providing any resistance to, a truly fascist party.

      You hate the bankers, support the 80% of the Democrats on the ground who agree with you on that. The relative moderates at the top of the party who do understand that big banks are a national institution that is not going away, they're getting the grassroots message plenty.

      We do need radical changes to survive. But guess what, the 5 to 10% of Americans who vibrate to radical messages have never been able to accomplish much (though their work in pushing the mass, from the edges, has been necessary).

      The challenge now is to get enough of a majority to overcome our own over-concentration in big cities, Republican gerrrymandering, dark-PAC money, Russian bots and everything else, and make our popular majority effective.

      I've done plenty of work with Democrats, I've done plenty of work against Democrats with tiny third parties. It's a lot easier to get to an effective majority working with the Democrats.

    • philosophical ron 03/30/2017 at 4:38 am

      I'm still too addicted to news reading, however I've been able to find many tasks and some pleasures that keep me from thinking about Trump for 2 to 5 hours, most every day.

      I've been tempted by political burnout too many times over four decades. I was convinced Nixon was going to be the end of the world. Later, I was privileged at a big left-coast radical conference where I was on the organizing committee, to present a workshop on "Avoiding Political Burnout," with 2 health professionals.

      You have to realize that in most cases political work will seem to go nowhere, but it is essential to keep at it, and of course realizing overall the importance of meeting and cultivating people and networks, in order to have someplace to stand, some network to work with, and hopefully be able to help people when those big crisis moments of change arrive. See my published writings, all types of organizing are always necessary at all times for success.

  • The simple Number that will Defeat Trump's attempt to Roll back Obama Energy Policies
    • philosophical ron 03/28/2017 at 4:52 am

      Basically, all human economic systems, and all the "modern industries" have depended on the ability to dump their waste products into the air, waters and lands of our globe, without incurring any economic cost, or any social disapproval.

      There's been some consciousness and positive social movement, German product-life-cycle laws are the direction we have to go. But do we still have decades to change these attitudes that still infect us all, from tenant farmers in distant lands through large chunks of basic business in America, before climate change really begins to bite with massive crop failures or fisheries failures or Gaia-knows-what ? This climate thing could surprise in 2 to 5 years, I'm worrying, maybe we've still got 20 or more.

      Either way, I'd like to see future humans existing and prospering, and not hating our whole 20th-21st Century "modern civilization" with a vigorous passion.

  • Trump & Saudi Arabia: Oil Boycott or Bromance?
    • philosophical ron 03/16/2017 at 3:45 am

      Thank you very much for that perceptive and nuanced explanation of the current situation.

      We have entered very deeply into a time when ALL the variables are trembling, ready to make one (or the opposite) big phase change depending on which way the winds may blow.

      Very interesting, in the words of the old Chinese curse. I'm gravitating towards the guidance of Bob Marley from "Exodus:" "..so we got to walk, walk all roads of creation."

  • Is the Public turning on Trump over Russia Ties, Sessions' Perjury?
    • It seems possible, even probable, that we have elected a person who -- even if he is not "officially" an agent of a foreign power-- is so aligned, in emotion and attitude and most likely by a huge web of financial transactions, with the dictatorial/corrupt elites of a foreign power, that he cannot be trusted to actually know or be able to defend American interests. (Which still exist, and which still matter to ordinary citizens if they get too badly neglected.)

      In organizing a resistance, I am strongly favoring strategies and tactics that aim at building the biggest possible coalition, and I am strongly not favoring strategies and tactics that call for everyone following one "ideal" path, or for organizing "against" some would-be allies who are insufficiently "pure" in some extreme perspective.

  • Dirty, Hot, Deadly: The Real Trump Scandal is What He's done to the Environment
  • Is Trump a bigger danger to the US or Europe?
    • philosophical ron 02/28/2017 at 6:05 pm

      A counterargument could well be made that the current Russian state is far more expansionist and aggressive (especially at using unorthodox methods) than either the old Soviet Union (after the 1950's) or your supposedly "increasingly bellicose NATO" (where I can't identify many civilian populations that want any kind of war). To wit, the takeover of "Moldova" starting decades ago with partisans and puppets, the readiness they had to take over their "disputed territories" in Georgia as soon as Georgia gave them an excuse, and their threats to the Baltics and Fnland, and their meddling in the Ukraine even before the recent "independent uprising" they organized and the Crimean annexation. Plus they seem to be light-years ahead of their Western counterparts in using all facets of modern media to cause confusion among their opponents.

    • philosophical ron 02/28/2017 at 4:05 am

      Dear Joschka,

      I fear that you are entirely correct about the importance of a Le Pen defeat or victory in France's second round election, for the short-term prospects of the European Union.

      In the longer term, the prospects for the survival and prosperity of the European Union or something like it, in the context of a sustainable civilization, depend on the trillions of decisions made by tens and hundreds of millions of citizens of the European nations. I flatter myself to think that my "learning aid," my intellectual proposal for helping individuals understand how their everyday decisions effect grand historical outcomes, which has within the last year enjoyed hundreds of thousands of "hits" from French and Ukrainian citizens, and tens of thousands from German, British and Turkish citizens, in addition to a diverse global audience, may someday help contribute to a more positive outcome for this world-civilizational-level problem.

  • Trump endangering rest of Us to hunt down the Law-Abiding Undocumented
    • Thank you again, Juan, so much, for this nice pile of actual facts on this issue.

      The facts on the 99.999+ % of human beings, ever since (large X number) of years past, are of course unknown, but not unimaginable. I would surmise that people moving into unknown and potentially dangerous situations, just because they couldn't stand the situation at their previous location one day more, is a very constant theme in human history.

      Even in what I call the "era of ancient empires" we have plenty of documentation of individual and group migrations in a wide variety of circumstances for a wide variety of reasons.

      People move. People are going to move. It's going to continue to happen.

  • Netanyahu rejected offer by Kerry & Arab Leaders of Comprehensive Peace Talks
    • philosophical ron 02/20/2017 at 4:50 am

      Funny, I was just reading something over at the Wash Post site claiming an entirely different history, that Kerry's initiative was doomed from the start as neither side --which this write defined as Netanyahu and Abbas -- made any kind of move off their previous positions.

      I do give a lot of credibility to this report, but I'd like to see more Arab voices saying it did happen. The Arab league states, presumably led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, etc., were really ready to co-sign a peace treaty with Israel ??

      Was it so tenuous that Kerry couldn't even hint at it? If such a big institutional change actually was in the realm of real possibility, that would have been a game-changer, one leak of it would have changed history.

      A very intriguing story, obviously still developing.

  • All of Putin's / Trump's Men
    • philosophical ron 02/16/2017 at 5:04 am

      Thank you superspy, I'm about ready to agree with you on these points.

    • philosophical ron 02/16/2017 at 4:57 am

      As one who has been reading past and (mostly) contemporary history while trying to understand which side of the knife edge our "civilization" may fall on, (the mostly positive where our grandchildren do appreciate us, or the disastrous that may likely send us back to hunter-gatherers for the few who survive, I do want to go with the conclusion on this I presented in my published work. (You can probably find it by searching my screen name. )

      " ---- most people were brought up in strong traditions, and even when they modify or rebel against those traditions, it is likely that they may consciously or unconsciously echo those traditions in the new customs they seek to create. Resistance to change comes at every turn: humans representing various channels of tradition and custom find reasons to prefer the old ways. Societies are often elastic: changes in social or political behavior have a way of “snapping back” into an older pattern after 5 or 25 years.

      Yet people do change as accidents intervene and trends rise or fall, subgroups and tribes do change in response to changed environments, and nations and civilizations change as well, as their fortunes rise or fall, as their human and/or physical environments are altered. The seeming contradiction between the positive and negative sides of tradition, the tensions created by the negative and positive aspects of change and revolution look to be constant in human affairs.

    • philosophical ron 02/15/2017 at 4:21 am

      Thank you again so very much, Juan.

      You conclude: "So Mike Flynn calling the Russian ambassor to the US in late December and reassuring Moscow about sanctions being lifted looks much more likely to have been a joint effort by the Moscow Gang of Trump and associates than a one-off piece of dark comedy."

      That reasonably seems to be an absolutely correct historical analysis, thank you again so much.

  • Questions about Judgment: Trump appointed Flynn in the First Place
    • philosophical ron 02/14/2017 at 4:17 am

      This is absolutely a step towards the light. You, Juan, bring up all the remaining questions very well, and of course I think you had the essential thread months ago with "For Russia's Hold on Trump, Follow the Money ... "

      The only regret will be if this timely resignation helps Flynn (and everyone else in this compromised crew) escape prosecution for their crimes.

  • Could NSA Flynn face Criminal Charges over Russia Ties?
    • philosophical ron 02/11/2017 at 4:34 am

      I'm sure others besides myself have been praying for this result since this stuff really started to break in December.

      And European security agencies are reported to be on the case too, it seems thick enough that there may be evidence of even more serious charges that the little-used and disputable Logan Act ? IANAL, surely there must be some charges possible, somewhere short of outright treason -- but that's possible maybe too ! -- of cooperating with or being suborned by foreign powers/agents ?

  • Spicer: Trump can Criticize Iraq War but no one can Slam Trump's Yemen Raid
    • philosophical ron 02/09/2017 at 3:01 am

      We have already changed the climate, spewing countless tons of CO2 into the atmosphere from wood and coal since, say, 1720 or so, and from those plus whale oil since 1800 or so, and then petroleum replaced whale oil around 1870 or so and metastasized into the gasoline economy after 1910 or so, and the whole mess has gone on for a hundred years plus now, at ever accelerating levels as formerly "poor" nations become "rich" enough to consume ever-more fossil fuels.

      (Yet I put "poor" and "rich" in quotation marks, because it's all a false, unsustainable prosperity. No clear way, under Trump, that the worlds of 2020 and 2030 achieve basic goals considering climate instabilty.)

      Now Trump (and his compromised/incompetent cabinet and staff) are trying to change, erratically and idiosyncratically, the relatively stable set of military/superpower relationships, alliances and priorities that has defined the military/power balance over the last decades.

      It is time to be very, very scared. However I will not let go of my intrinsic optimism: we the nice people have to work better, to server better, to organize better, and to find the ways to ensure that this madness does not last.

  • Trump's Larcenies to Come: The Looting of America
    • philosophical ron 02/08/2017 at 4:27 am

      Thank You very , very much, Tom Engelhardt, for this one today, and for all your years of service towards the science of History.

  • "This Land:" The pro-Immigrant Radicalism of Lady Gaga and Guthrie at Half-Time
    • philosophical ron 02/06/2017 at 3:26 am

      Thank you very much for all of that, Juan, you had quite a number of details on Woodie that I'd never heard before.

  • In Shocker, Federal Judge in Seattle Halts Trump Muslim Ban
    • philosophical ron 02/04/2017 at 4:21 am

      Praise the Lord!! Sing Your Hymns and Hosannas (as you customarily do among your friends and neighbors) !!

      Hope is very important.

  • Life in an Arab-American community under Trump’s ‘Muslim ban'
    • philosophical ron 02/04/2017 at 4:16 am

      it's happening, folks, it is happening. Here, Now.

      We need to be active, we need to be organizing, we need to learn how to best use and conserve our psychic and physical energies, to maintain ourselves and our families, while engaging in the most active and effective forms of resistance we have ever engaged in.

      (And I'm the guy who was so scared of Nixon starting World War III, that I trained myself to sleep without a pillow and/or on any kind of hard surface. And life did go on after Nixon, but those choices were very good for me, I lost the ability to sleep on hard surfaces somewhere around age 50, but I still never use a pillow, I sleep fine, no back-aches or neck-aches.)

      Adele Stan, a very intelligent writer, has a piece out on what we should and should not imitate in the Right's successful organizing over the last forty years. (Sorry,too late to troll back for a link, one of the progressive relatively-true websites.) I did already agree with her in focusing on cooperation at local levels between the various activist communities & tendencies that make up our progressive side of America, which is still the majority and is now the more energized side.

  • Iraqi Leaders Denounce Trump over Oil, Jerusalem; US Troops in Political Crossfire
    • philosophical ron 01/26/2017 at 3:58 am

      It's very hard to see Arab/Muslim nations eagerly associating with Trump's USA in anti-ISIS actions.

      Other comments on other threads here talk of an Israeli-Saudi alliance, that wants to work against Palestinians. I have no special insight or ability to read Arabic, nevertheless I see the Trump insistence on the Jerusalam embassy to be more likely to push the Salafist (and generally fundamentalist anti-government tendencies) in Saudi (and other Arab peninsula regimes) and pro-regime fundamentalists more closely together, in opposition to Israel and the USA. Any chance we in the USA face another Arab oil boycott?

  • The Inauguration of White Supremacy
    • philosophical ron 01/20/2017 at 3:59 am

      The whole Trump official-and-unofficial crew of appointments and advisors -- is Roger Ailes still talking to T. several times a week, is Russian tool Paul Manafort still getting an ear ? ? -- is so completely unqualified and both self-and-mutually-contradictory, not to mention the whole question of whether T. is a bought-and-paid-for Russian tool, or just a silly Russian fool -- the whole thing should fall into complete disarray, scandal and outrage in the first 3 months.

      Shouldn't it, please dear god, shouldn't it ??

  • Is Trump the Shock America needs to Transition to Social Democracy?
    • philosophical ron 01/21/2017 at 5:57 am

      To moderator: I am having trouble with your site grabbing my incomplete edit before I am finished with it. This is just one more attempt to get clarity and good English.

      The majority here seems to feel that the bad parts of the Democratic Party must be blown up and that their particular ideal solution needs to be adopted by at least 51% of the population.

      Please go out on street-corners and sell folks on your vision for the next year or so, and come back and talk to me. If and When you can mobilize millions of actual votes, I’ll listen. I’ve worked with Democrats for years, and against them for a third party for 15 years. Please see my writings on other sites about trying to work both with the Democrats, and against the Democrats, at the same time in the service of more progressive outcomes.

      But the first step is to have two other people motivated and organized to follow your ideal organization and outcome, right now today, to actually come to whatever meetings you call.

      At my peak I could get 100's to my meetings, and multiple tens of thousands of votes. I don’t have that right now because I haven’t been focused on that at all. Are you ideal theorists even close to getting to this first baby step ???

    • Dear Sir or Madam or Whatever Pronoun you prefer,

      You may wish to get back on your medications. You managed to mangle the meaning of what I wrote pretty completely.

      I did not say, that America's existing population, right and left and centrist and muddled all over the place, is an impediment to our work. As I see it, the existing American population _is_ our work. I was talking about progressives purposely seeking one ideal leftist ideology as being an impediment to our work.

      FWIW, I've been walking with America's left on various missions since 1964, I saved my American freedom by winning a stare-down contest with a Federal judge over my refusal to go to Vietnam, and for the last thirty years my success at retail work has let me meet a large part of America's population, in socio-cultural aspects it is definitely very left-leaning. And in this election it was Hillary 48, Trump 46, Johnson 3.5 and Stein 2.5, so even politically it's just slightly to the left 50.5-49.5.

      I am confident that I am far from normalizing Trumpistan. I am in favor of getting ultra-leftists to understand the work that will be necessary, the service we will have to do for people to get our message in terms they can understand, in order to get the votes we will need to overturn this mess.

    • It's easy to love your sweet writing that sings to our highest ideals.

      For the present moment, however I am favoring tactics and strategies that try to get us to the largest possible coalition.

      I am not favoring tactics and strategies that seem to trying for a maximum amount of ideological purity.

      Those of who can fly high and see ourselves as more "advanced" or more "committed" or whatever, need to remember that for every one of us, there are hundreds or thousands of people who can and will be persuaded to work with us IF WE TELL THEM THE RIGHT STORY, yet who for a million individual reasons are not pyschologically or philosophically ready to come all the way to our advanced ideas.

      I meet them at my retail job in a big city crossroads every day, old Black ladies repeating Reaganite talking points, recent Russian immigrants desperately trying to repair their rental plumbing because the landlord won't, but they only have a tiny budget and can barely speak English. How do we bring these folks along on our mission, which I agree with you we must launch ???

      Somehow we have to build a maximum leftist political power machine THAT GETS VOTES, while recognizing that "we" our constituency comes from a million different backgrounds and will never come together on any easy ideological unity. Asking for ideological unity in a practical ORGANIZATION of our actual American left-leaning population is an impediment to our work, IMHO.

  • World's Richest 8–All Men–as Wealthy as Half of Humanity: Oxfam
  • 6 Lessons From Nonviolent Organizing for Resisting Trumpism
    • philosophical ron 01/15/2017 at 5:25 am

      Generally very nice, I especially appreciate the distinction between "expressive" and "instrumental" actions.

      I wouldn't have been so determined that "Hillary's Neoliberalism lost" the election. In something so close, any and all things are a factor. Those who feellthemselves to be "advanced" in political understanding must remember there are many people who are and should be part of our progressive coalition, yet for whatever reasons of psychology or philosophy are moderate and centrist in some of their ways. We need to include them, not exclude them. I would point more to the effectiveness of 25 years of Republican hate-mongering vs. Hilary personally.

      Yes, Bill and Hillary went a long way with neoliberalism, and in early 2015 I was writing that would refuse Hillary over the problem of establishment Dem support for Monsanto running the Ag. Dept. and trying to kill and dilute organic and natural food ideas, but in the catastrophe of a "campaign" in which Trump got 80% or something of all TV news time, that issue was never mentioned, and Hillary came a long way towards the more militant progressives in her campaign, and of course I prefer her over the Orange Narcissist.

      Please see my writings on these matters at other locations, I propose organizing with the understanding that we progressives will NEVER have ideological unity, and that different personality types require different "caucuses" within our future organization, specifically a "moderate" caucus that is going to write letters and organize neighborhoods, and a "more radical" caucus that is going to be doing street theater and twitter campaigns and such, and a "leadershio" caucus that works with both the popular caucuses. To my mind, this is getting at the same general idea of "expressive" and "instrumental" political work.

      I do say that all types of sincere political work against the Trump disaster are necessary and worthwhile, nobody on"our" side should be critical of anyone else in our very diverse coalition-to-be.

  • From Syria to Sanctions, Flynn-Russia Quid Pro Quo?
    • philosophical ron 01/14/2017 at 4:25 am

      This meeting smells like it might make the placename "Astana" as much or more of a symbol of a world-historical succession of events and also the controversy/disagreement about those events, as the two placenames "Munich" and "Yalta."

  • Trump does Poor imitation of Tin-Pot Dictator at "Press Conference"
    • philosophical ron 01/12/2017 at 4:31 am

      Is it a symptom of the political pathology of government by the pathological that you discussed a day or two ago, or is it its own phenomena, government by the insistence on a (set of) big lie(s) ?

      It's certainly not a new phenomena in human social organizations, it was already very old when Hitler, Stalin and Mao used it to twist 20th Century history in blody and dictatorial directions.

      In a sense, every social organization over the last hundreds of thousands of years which has insisted on the wisdom of certain sets of ideas, or on the wisdom of certain sets of peoples, is a contributor to today's problems.

      I do however, as a historian, give peoples in pre-industrial societies a break -- everything was very tough just to survive,one set of rules for one set of people was necessary for survival.

      In our modern eras, when our cities are extremely environmentally fragile. and your neighbor might believe any gol-darn bloody thing under the sun, these new wars of competing truths become much more serious and potentially destructive to civic harmony (on which the economy, and mass survival, depends).

      Trump is clearly going to take it to its limits in the context of 2017, which rides on the context of the last 18months since the Orange One descended the escalator: Trump is going to insist on his truth, and it's up to the rest of us to be wise enough, resourceful enough, and tenacious enough to ensure that our truths prevail in the contest.

  • For Russian hold on Trump, follow the Money, not the Sex tapes
    • You say, very correctly IMHO, that "So if Russia has a hold on Trump, I’d look at the business angle, myself. The idea that they could shame him by attacking his reputation for sexual propriety seems a little far-fetched."

      I'd also say, the veracity of the accusation has been apparent from his behavior, not his words: his consistent defense of Putin and Russia every single time he has been forced to speak to it.

  • Welcome to Psychopathocracy
    • philosophical ron 01/11/2017 at 5:44 am

      I do believe that the governmental-structure-behavior you describe has been seen in more than a few historical realities: certainly Stalin's Russia was one, Idi Amin's Uganda is likely another, some of the East European regime allied with the Axis in the 30's and 40's, and odd cases all over the world in historical times -- off the top of my head, the regime of the younger Lopez in Paraguay around 1860's-70's that got into a lost war vs Brazil and others, or the regime of naked plunder and enslavement carried out by Columbus's men in Hispaniola in the years following his "discovery" of them for the Spanish state.

      To have it occurring in the so-called leader of the so-called civilized world, which is also our home and a repository of our hope for our posterity's futures, is quite alarming and depressing and worthy of extraordinary attention and concern.

  • Top 4 Ways Bush even more Outrageously Dissed the Intelligence Community
    • Spinning off on news reports, and trying to understand Trump's own behavior, while I am consumed with my own life, I'm tantalized by the hypothesis -- for which I have no proof, except for typical stories of how Russian intelligence agencies might try to compromise visiting foreigners -- that T was easily "turned" by Russian intelligence, perhaps in a manner that was less than fully conscious to His Trumpness --- dd you notice Putin addressing him as "Your Excellecy" in P.'s message directly to him -- and that the US is therefore about to inaugurate a foreign agent into the office of Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief.

      At least for those of us who in our youth dreamed of the fall of the American empire -- now it looks very messy and very likely destructive of livelihoods and choices here at home, and around the globe as well -- Trump may be just the man for the job, in one way or another, whether as a Julius Caesar Wannabe or as Harold Lloyd hanging off the high clock hands.

  • Preparing for the Normalization of a Neofascist White House
    • philosophical ron 01/02/2017 at 3:37 pm

      The electronic national media simply do not cover _any_ serous issues with any depth or complexity. In 2002 they never called out the lies the Iraq invasion was based on; in 2016 they never followed up on Trump's nonsensical word salad speeches, they might ask one question and get another 2-minute spurt of word salad, but they never challenged that response to his face. It might only have taken one strong reporter saying, "I'm sorry sir, your response makes no sense. Are you actually able to speak a clear, intelligent sentence on this subject?"

      But because video producers are ultra-concerned about what you _see_ rather what you _gain_ from their presentations, and because it is very difficult and time-consuming to actually get into policy details and the nuances of truth and falsehood in a short video segment, Americans are indeed becoming stupider and stupider by the year. The print media of previous generations did convey much more total information, and overall context, than today's televised media (and more also of both than today's confused, contentious internet media, where too many are happy to deny that any kind of "truth" actually exists), and above all, they did have an overall ethic -- "elitist" as it may have been -- that they had an obligation to INFORM the public and help it make better decisions.

      Breitbart and the like clearly do not share this ethic, and it does make a difference.

  • Trump's Normalization of White Supremacy: Will Richard Spencer Sit in Congress?
    • philosophical ron 12/22/2016 at 5:36 am

      All right, Rachel Carroll Rivas.

      As you say "“He’s using a political platform to take these extremist ideas into our everyday discussion, and we should resist this at every turn,” she said. “Who supports Richard Spencer? … He’s supported by a bunch of online vitriolic trolls.”

      You speak truth !!

  • America's Rigged Casino of Wealth and Power: Trump's New Gilded Age
    • philosophical ron 12/22/2016 at 5:48 am

      Author Pizzigati writes, "Incomes for the bottom 50 percent of U.S. earners, by contrast, have barely budged up at all. This bottom 50 percent averaged $16,000 in 1980 — a figure that includes the value of employer-provided fringe benefits and government supports like food stamps — and just $16,200 in 2014. "

      Whole bunches of us have lived down here a lot in those 34 years between '80 and '14.

      And even larger bunches have grown up being born since '80 without ever lived anywhere else than down here.

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