Member Profile

Total number of comments: 318 (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.


Showing comments 318 - 301

  • Russian campaign Interference looks like ISIL in Polarizing Techniques
    • philosophical ron 02/18/2018 at 5:36 am

      So could you please explain how two or more sets of masses and energies might be co-existing at one time ?

      And why do I, as an observer trying to act in the scientific tradition, have to "detach myself" from the context in which i live and process information? I am a part of this life and I mostly love it, and I have been in a lot of interesting places to see a lot of interesting things, search out my other writings where nearly everything is revealed, yet never have I experienced any possibility that there could more than one set of masses and energies in motion at any one time.

    • It is already clear that this is the greatest threat ever to the American polity (if not also the American state), it's like Ben Franklin's nightmare, "you have a republic, if you can keep it," and we have, through a very strange set of circumstances, allowed a monster into position where he might turn it into an autocracy or he is indeed directly Putin's poodle or maybe he just might generally wreck it past reconditioning. (I personally have become extremely afraid of these idiots blundering into a nuclear exchange with North Korea, based on their idiotic "give him a 'bloody nose' attack" theory).

      FWIW, I have tried to be firm intellectual opponent of something these trolls try to prey on, the "ultimate uncertainty" that so many feel in these modern times, that "there is no truth," or that "all truth is relative" or that "it's all so complicated, how could we ever know?"

      I maintain that in all of global history, there is only one true set of masses and energies in motion at any one time, there is only one true physical/chemical history of human beings. And yes, it's often very complicated to figure it all out. Yet it can be done (to the extent that we have evidence, and for the 21st Century, we are going to have a lot of evidence available on everyone), and you can be your own best social scientist in trying to figure out, by concentrating on how our every thought and action simultaneously creates the data of our psychologies, our philosophies, our politics and our economics, and creates,if you can see it, the sciences of psychology, philosophy, politics and economics we need to study these things.

      In other words, keep striving, there is hope of a better understanding.

  • Let's remember the Schoolchildren US & Russian bombs are killing, too
    • philosophical ron 02/16/2018 at 5:20 am

      Back in 1980, I was writing about the 20th Century being "the Century of War." For tonight, I do thank you for your reminder of the better part of human thought and action that has created and begun to institutionalize the concept of "international human rights."

      Unfortunately, it's clear that the trend of war (including small un-named internal wars in many nations, of which America's enabling of the worst among us to kill some of the best among us is a particularly weird example), the sad old "Century of "War" has continued, so far, as we get into the 21st Century.

  • Syria: War is over at the Center, but Powers nibbling at Edges
    • philosophical ron 02/13/2018 at 4:57 am

      In reading about recent events, I was most impressed by the strong US military response in support of the Syrian Kurds to a Russian/Syrian move against Kurdish positions, reported in previous posts here.

      I've lost track with all the distractions, the US air shield is based in Iraq still, and still extends to the _de facto_ Kurdistan in northern Iraq ? Of course it extends over Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, based in Qatar I assume? Israel has a special status as a sort of favored subcontractor based on its generally tight relationship with both the American state and the American public.

      Am I also correct in assuming that the US generally maintains an air supremacy over the entire globe, excepting Russia, China and North Korea and a few other places like Syria where a major power maintains a modern air force/air defense for the local client government?

      Personal note, the struggle for economic survival in America in my old age is definitely cutting into my ability to keep up my intellectual/historical studies. So please let me know if I'm misunderstanding any major situations.

  • Why Iranians are Really protesting Compulsory Veiling Laws
  • Syria: Deir al-Zor attack on US Troops, allies, Shows their Vulnerability
    • Whether or not he US is the worst actor in Syria,or is merely one of several selfish actors in Syria, we inch closer and and closer to the point of one NATO member's armed forces killing units of another NATO member's armed forces.

      It's possible that this milestone may not happen in Syria in the days and weeks to come, or that one or both parties will seek to minimize and deny such an event if it does occur.

      Nevertheless, it is still an important milestone in world history if it does occur, units of one NATO member's armed forces killing units of another NATO member's armed forces.

  • The Nunes Memo, Spirit Cooking and Pizzagate
    • When people cannot think, we are indeed in a dark time.

      Yet today, I am holding a little optimism that among the 310 million people of America and the 7.x billion of global human beings, there is enough individualism and individual experience to allow some bit of relatively independent thought enough to preclude us from falling into globally dominant dictatorship -- which does unfortunately seem to be currently winning over intelligent democracy -- forever.

  • The Fascist underpinnings of Trump's State of the Union
    • philosophical ron 02/01/2018 at 5:08 am

      On the "CO2 is a poisonous gas" matter, for technical accuracy, Juan should have written something like "CO2 is a poisonous gas, at least to institutionalized human socio-economic-political arrangements, at global atmospheric levels over decades and centuries of relatively rapid increase."

    • philosophical ron 01/31/2018 at 4:50 am

      Thank you so very much for this elegant summary, thank you, thank you. One of your best, which is of course a very high standard.

  • Ankara warns US spec ops to Abandon Kurds or risk Turkish Attacks
    • The Trump administration has already winked and nodded at Turkish state goons beating protesters in the USA.

      On the one hand hopefully folks like Kelly and Mattis understand what a firestorm would be unleashed if they let Turkish troops kill American troops in Syria. On the other hand it would interesting to see how slavishly the supposedly "pro-military" Trumpists would follow their leader if he tried to make excuses or blame Obama for that bit of news, if it comes to pass.

  • Countering Turkish Propaganda, Pentagon reports 150 ISIL Killed in Airstrikes
    • Is it fair to say that Turkey under Erdogan has been pretty much a disaster, both internally and externally ? I'm not there, don't speak Turkish, I don't know.

  • Jordan's King Abdullah warns Pence-Trump of Major instability over Jerusalem
    • philosophical ron 01/24/2018 at 5:06 am

      Thank you marianna, for this bit of news I was not previously aware of. Are there possibly some links, or perhaps one of the excellent additional contributors besides Juan can cover this topic ??

  • Turkey launches Land invasion of Syria, Calls France opposition "Terrorism"
    • Whether or not this turns out to be the "actual" thing that sends our so-called civilization towards an extinction-level collapse, this does seem to be "the sort" of thing that may send us on such a path.

      I do need to be optimistic personally, however world news is fairly daunting these days.

  • Trump Admin Commits to Forever War in Syria against Iran
    • philosophical ron 01/18/2018 at 5:17 am

      Seventy-plus years of serious consideration of world affairs just drops off a cliff, just suddenly and inexplicably drops into a near-impossible sinkhole, like that little girl in Texas 25 years ago.

      The Chinese must be laughing, the Russians and Turks are likely rubbing their hands in preparation for desired selfish outcomes they mean to create. All the other local actors in the whole region are realizing that America is no longer worthy of interest or consideration as an actor in regional balance of power.

      Especially if the current 2000 American "advisors" and/or the 30,000 leftist Kurds they might train are unfortunately wiped out by Turkish and/or Russian and/or Syrian campaigns ...

  • Turkey threatens war against US/Kurdish Force in Syria
    • philosophical ron 01/16/2018 at 3:59 am

      You write: "The US special ops forces and the YPG now face a similar difficulty to that of ISIL itself in 2014. None of the regional actors wanted its rise and they combined to destroy it. "

      Sounds like a perfect prelude to a Trumpian disaster in the Middle East. I'm still even more scared of a Trumpian (and potentially civilization-wide) disaster in North Korea, with actors like Luttwak and McMaster calling for military action there, yet this Syrian one is fairly frightening to our nation's future as well.

  • What Africa taught the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • philosophical ron 01/16/2018 at 4:13 am

      Is income inequality, enforced "legally" even in the most advanced nations (through the economic elite's control of legislatures and repressive forces) the new, trans-national, post-racial, 21st Century face of colonialism ??

      It's only one aspect of the stranglehold that the forces of negativity and destruction seem to have over current global politics (see my writings elsewhere), yet if we can survive climate change and dictatorial regimes, radical income inequality will be a third major threat to the happiness of our children and grandchildren in the 2st Century.

  • Iran's Khamenei: Trump Unbalanced, Playing Crazy Games, but Iran policy will Fail
    • philosophical ron 01/10/2018 at 5:17 am

      Your voice is so valuable. Will there be, can there be a mainstream media outlet that can even come close to what you're providing for all of us truth-seekers.

      I was moved by the letter sent out last fall to previous contributors and the eloquence of your argument in favor of small donations. I hope I understand how you are personally opposed to pumping yourself like the 99% of the bad internet, yet I would encourage you to share that argument with your general readership to help reach your goal.

  • Neo-Nazi Game of Thrones: Bannon forced out at Breitbart
    • I would bet that there are several more scenes, and perhaps even more acts, to be played out before this particular drama winds down to an ending with all actors dead on the stage.

    • Page: 3
  • GOP Heroes led charge Against Nixon; Where are Counterparts Today?
    • philosophical ron 01/10/2018 at 5:30 am

      Highly Unlikely, considering any deep study of the Hatch's and Cornyn's and Lindsey Graham's that populate today's GOP (which of course stands for "greed over people") Senate caucus.

  • Trump Engineered Saudi Soft Coup, attack on Qatar, to Save Self
    • philosophical ron 01/07/2018 at 6:30 am

      Dear Juan, how much can I possibly thank you?

      You are so exquisite in your historical analysis, I must at least do you the favor of delaying my much-needed bedtime to forward this to FB for my first thing there in a month or so.

  • Did the US cause Iran's Economic Protests & will Trump Take Advantage?
    • philosophical ron 12/30/2017 at 5:31 am

      With the history of American involvement in Iran, and the headline, all I can think of is that possibly the combined intelligence forces of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their lesser allies have somehow implanted a few cells in Iran that set some of this off?

      And thanks again Juan, for the important reminder about the incidence of protest in Iran, a very important correction to the subtle slurs against civil liberties in Iran that are detectable in nearly all mainstream media coverage of Iran.

  • Yes, America, there is a Class War, and you Just Lost It
    • philosophical ron 12/20/2017 at 6:20 am

      Thank you again, so very much, Juan, your work is so very important -- and this particular contribution of yours is, like, "over the top."

      It's frankly been a very busy and fairly lousy holiday season so far around here, yet hopefully the daily crises will abate and my contribution will be coming soon.

      FWIW. i have thousands of words of my thoughts on this Republican Party selfishness, nonsense and spite at my site (search my screen name if you care) .

  • Another way Trump will get us Killed: to move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
  • If you're not Driving an Electric Car you're Losing Money
    • philosophical ron 12/04/2017 at 6:57 am

      Thank you once again, Juan, for pointing out these basic points in any economic/environmental assessment of causes and effects.

  • British Royal Family was already Multicultural, Descended from Muhammad
    • philosophical ron 11/30/2017 at 4:35 am

      The geneologies are messy and internet sources are poor, and I can't my 700-page "History of the British People" that was a high school text in 1890's.
      We may have been talking different Henry's ? I was focused on the Seventh, my first hurried research found a table focusing on males, clearly showing Edward IV and Henry VII on different branches of the tree. A better chart is at the Wikipedia entry link to, and another Wikipedia entry link to provides the quote, "Henry's paternal grandfather, Owen Tudor, originally from the Tudors of Penmynydd, Isle of Anglesey in Wales, had been a page in the court of Henry V. He rose to become one of the "Squires to the Body to the King" after military service at the Battle of Agincourt.[5] Owen is said to have secretly married the widow of Henry V, Catherine of Valois. One of their sons was Edmund Tudor, father of Henry VII."

      It's always a mistake, however, to only focus on the men, because as the first Wikipeida article and chart shows, Henry VII made a "nation-building" move in marrying a prominent scion of the defeated faction, Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth. So Edward IV was indeed the grandfather of Henry the Eighth, and Elizabeth of York was a grandmother of Elizabeth the First, and contrary to my muddled memory that Edward IV was on the losing side, he did manage to contribute his portion of Mohammed's genetics to the British royal line. My apologies for shredding the thread.

    • it was late at night, the point I was trying, but failing, to make, was this. Edward IV represented the losing side in the War of the Roses, the eventual winner, Henry Tudor who became Henry VII on his military victory in 1485, was descended through an entirely different line of English royals (with bastard-status and maternal descent in the mix). Edward IV and Henry VII both had a common ancestor in Edward III, whose death sparked the war of the Roses. Any inheritance of Mohammed 's genetics by Edward IV was not passed to any other British royals after 1485. And the other point I failed to make was that if we all have a million ancestors 20 or 25 generations back, then any one of them only contributed a millionth of our personal genetics.

    • The bloodline given makes me laugh, if I remember my warring roses correctly (and I have an old book somewhere in my shelves with a nice foldout very complete geneology table), very little of Edward the IV's genetic material would have passed to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and even less would have been shared down to the Stuarts that succeeded those Tudors, and even less than that would have been shared down to the present line of Hanoverians that succeeded those Stuarts.

  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat
    • philosophical ron 11/13/2017 at 6:25 am

      Thank you, thank you so much for pointing this out, Juan.

      It's been so obvious, there is literally one person on this increasingly heated earth who Trump defers to and shows obsequious behavior to. And his name begins with P, and that rhymes with T, and that spells trouble (to reference a classic bit of American musical theater history).

  • Rick Perry has it Backwards: Oil causes Mass Rape
  • Iran's Khamenei to Putin: Isolate US by dumping the Dollar
    • philosophical ron 11/04/2017 at 6:00 am

      The typo in the sentence " All through the last two centuries, Great Britain worried that Russia would move south to gain a war water port" is actually just perfect, the warm water port the British feared was always about "a war port," a military advantage that Russia might somehow gain (especially in a territory the 19th Century British imperialists thought they owned, the road to India).

  • Barzani gambled it all and Lost-- Kurdistan Pres. ending Career
    • philosophical ron 10/29/2017 at 5:48 am

      As one who spent a lot of time reading old volumes of scholarly punditry on the last century in the region, there sure was a lot of energy wasted on worrying about the disaster that could occur when the ultimate fate of Kirkuk, with its mixed population and role as a crossroads, was decided.

      One of the two main parties declined the fight, and the matter was settled in a few days without great bloodshed or regional warfare (entailing even greater bloodshed).

      For now. As I wrote way back in the day, "changes in social and political behavior have a way of snapping back into an older pattern after 5 or 20 years." And with the triple threat to stability of climate change, national economies at all levels that are based on continued pollution and inequality, and the too many governments that operate only for the benefit of a small elite, compared to the millions and billions who either feel powerless, or don't even know how powerless they are, I'm not betting against Kirkuk again changing hands, and/or the outbreak of serious regional warfare, in the next 5 or 20 years.

  • Iran's Khamenei: We'll observe Deal if Europe does, despite "Charlatan," Trump
    • philosophical ron 10/19/2017 at 6:38 am

      One national leader is guaranteed to score higher on pretty much any imaginable intelligence test, than another national leader.

  • In Absence of US Leadership, War Breaks out between Kurds and Baghdad
    • philosophical ron 10/16/2017 at 5:15 am

      The breakdowns of empire have consequences.

      This one may not immediately affect the American public (though I suspect future historians will see this breakout of warfare between supposed clients of the USA as an important turning point to whatever we're headed for), yet do I smell one final oil price panic brewing ?

  • Elbaradei: Trump Propaganda on Iran Nuclear Deal like Run-up to Iraq War
    • I feel so great. The USA must be a corrupt dying empire, because this is the sort of irresponsible action, with wide consequences, by an unqualified power-holder that corrupt dying empires go through, just before the fall.

  • Trump wants 10-fold increase in Atom Bombs but is after Iran, which has none
    • philosophical ron 10/12/2017 at 5:17 am

      There are human individuals trying to improve the state of their fellow humans, and there are a smaller number (but unfortunately more in control of economic and political/military institutions and infrastructure) of human individuals who are actively working to protect and increase their own already-too-great powers, at the expense of all other persons in the world.

      And at the expense of our children and their children.

      A lot of people seem to be so oppressed by circumstances they can't get out of their immediate ruts; I'm more distressed by the otherwise intelligent/advantaged people who take purposely contrarian or purposely ignorant stances. It's getting down to "Which side are you on?," I wish I saw more people being able to be more strongly on the positive side (including myself).

  • Was Ayatollah Khamenei right about Washington? Trump Reneges
    • philosophical ron 10/06/2017 at 5:48 am

      Our only hope is that this action is still an "if."

      If he goes through with it (and in my opinion it's all about aligning himself with Likud viewpoint in Israel and America) it will be his single most destructive actual action (as opposed to his petulant and destructive comments, tweets, hints, etc.) in American foreign policy.

  • Top 5 signs Donald Trump might be an effing moron
    • philosophical ron 10/06/2017 at 5:24 am

      "Is it possible that The Donald reasonably reflects the engaged American polity, for better or worse?"

      Unfortunately, he does represent the enraged, idiotic and biased views of about 35-42% of the voting public. If we can fight back against vote suppression and unify behind reasonable candidates, we should be able to win elections.

      "But let’s get beyond this business of expecting the president to be some sorta Big-Daddy."

      Unfortunately, that 35-42% that enthrones Trump for acting out their idiocy and biases, is also the constituency that most certainly does want " the president to be some sorta Big-Daddy."

  • Too Little, Too Late: Trump dedicates Golf Trophy to Puerto Rico as he readies to Fly there
    • philosophical ron 10/02/2017 at 4:13 am

      This is how he sympathizes with homeless, anxious people suffering from a natural disaster ??? He dedicates a darn GOLF TROPHY to them?

      If you wrote this a satire, a parody, it's too far out to be believable.

      This is not normal. The rest of the Republican party has to be tied to this guy for the rest of their lives.

  • How Arab Nationalism & Fundamentalism pushed away the Kurds
    • philosophical ron 09/25/2017 at 5:59 am

      Thank you very , very much for this nice summary of Kurdish history within Iraq.

      And more thanks for the recognition that many modern states, and nearly all modern states in Asia, are coalitions of languages and ethnic groups. I would go even further, to say that modern state formation has been largely a "traffic accident" arising out of the particulars of a region's succession from colonialism to nationalism, which has not conformed to the overall wishes of any of hardly any of the populations affected by the region, only to the wishes of whatever narrow elites happened to be holding military/political power at the time of decisions.

      Adding up the many nations with dictatorial governments, with the once-democratic governments trending that way, and multiplying it all with climate change, this historical "traffic accident" of nation-state formation has the potential to end civilized human life as we know it, if we are not very very careful and very fortunate.

  • Trump blasts Iran for backing Syria, ignores Russia, Praises Saudis
    • If he goes through with it, repudiating the Joint Agreement will be the single most destructive and self-defeating action that that Trump has yet taken. This would certainly be the single worst action in foreign relations by the Trumpistas, they've done a lot of very destructive and subversive things in domestic affairs, yet the repudiation of the Joint Agreement might still be a contender for the most destructive Trump action overall.

      It enrages Iran, without actually punishing Iran as the other partners in the Joint Agreement are 99% sure to stand by it. It tells North Korea that even signing an agreement about nukes with a Trump-maddened America is stupid and worthless. It totally allies America with Israel and Saudi Arabia, both deceiving themselves with separate fantasies of why warring against Iran might work out for themselves, putting us on a dangerous path of aggression against a nation whose leader has renounced the possession of nuclear weapons for his country as immoral. Oh, and in opposition to China, Russia and Europe as well.

      If he does it, it's absolutely an insane policy. It's absolutely a representation of the Republican ultra-hawkish, pro-Israel and unjustifiably-focused-on-Iran clique now dominant in the Trump administration.

  • The Criminals who amplified Harvey: Trump & Cabinet must Resign
    • We who grew up with the "gasoline economy" owe a great debt to our mother earth. Nobody wanted to think about pollution; there were no immediate consequences to all the dumping of waste and toxins that everyone needed to do to keep their workplaces and overall economy going.

  • Trump, the Magical WASP, Deepens Racial Divide again in Phoenix
    • philosophical ron 08/23/2017 at 5:37 am

      Thank you and thank you again, Juan, you simply outdo yourself once again.

  • Fascism in Charlottesville: Why it had a monopoly on violence & Intimidation
    • philosophical ron 08/16/2017 at 5:25 am

      Thank again Juan, very very much. You become more eloquent as Trump and his minions become more violent and destructively insane.

  • "Fire & Fury" or "Shock and Awe": it is always the start of a Quagmire
    • philosophical ron 08/09/2017 at 4:52 am

      The evidence, unfortunately, is that our so-called "civlization" has failed. We proved to be collectively stupider than rats, who will not live in their own waste products if given a choice.

      We thought we were doing that, but it turns out that we have taken the closed box that is our atmosphere, and poisoned it against our children's and grandchlidren's survival; our political-social arrangements are also in too many cases more unhelpful to human survival than otherwise.

      It seems likely the rats, the ants, the microbes and others will have their chance to rule the earth.

      Nevertheless, for the sake of our brains, our bodies, and yes our souls, it is necessary to be optimistic, and to continue to struggle to get ourselves and our communities into more sustainable positions.

  • America's Passionate Intensity: What Rough Beast Slouches toward Mar-a-Lago?
    • philosophical ron 08/10/2017 at 5:25 am

      I'd also like to stress that I am the life-long radical democratic activist who has always advocated a truly universal national service program, probably best applied for 2 years at ages 16/17 to 18/19 -- if you're in an iron lung, you are used for training nurses. No exceptions for anyone, no matter who your parents are.

      I've advocated this both before and the many years since I was convicted of draft refusal in federal court before my 21st birthday (and later pardoned by Carter). The story of how I won my freedom by winning a stare-down with the judge is available on the intertubes if you search my screen name hard enough.

    • Thank you Brent, you said much of what I wanted to say.

      Just a few additions, starting with how much I have enjoyed reading Bacevich's highly intelligent and well-crafted writings for many years now.

      And then on Bacevich's point six, "enact tax policies that will promote greater income equality," I'd have to say, 'with all due respect sir, you and what army against the 1% and their lawyers and lobbyists and fund-raisers and publicists and media networks, etc. ? " .

  • Al-Sadr in Jidda: Are Saudis looking for channel to Iran, or anti-Iran Client?
    • philosophical ron 07/31/2017 at 4:31 am

      Thank you very much for the thorough reporting, we need to know these developments.

      As to conclusions and predictions and end-games, obviously just about all human attitudes and relationships are in flux in 2017, and any tendencies seen now could be blown away by the next geopolitical "hurricane-level" crisis to befall us.

  • Mideast's 'Only Democracy' joins push to Silence Al Jazeera: Netanyahu
    • philosophical ron 07/27/2017 at 4:51 am

      Thank you for finally talking about the odious bill to criminalize, with back-breaking minimum penalties, any speech that might be interpreted as advocating a boycott of Israeli neo-colonialism -- here in America, the land of free speech !

      It's not like the boycott of something you don't care for is an original idea, people have been doing it one way or another forever, and the cultural and political "conservatives" of the world are often advocating boycotts against things they don't care for (or advocating even much more aggressive retaliations, as the boycott is essentially a tactic of impotence to do anything more violent and aggressive).

      Significant pressure needs to flow towards Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on this issue. Remind him of how this is not how he is going to win the love of the progressive wing of his party if indeed he ever has Presidential ambitions.

  • How our Intel Agencies Screwed us by Letting Sessions, Trumpies get away with Russia Scheme
    • philosophical ron 07/23/2017 at 4:27 am

      And she was so incompetent and terrible and female , she only won the popular vote by 2,900,000 votes and a 2 percentage point margin.

  • Did UAE plant Fake News about Qatar to Fool Trump?
    • philosophical ron 07/17/2017 at 4:45 am

      As we go about our daily lives, it it hard for Americans to grasp just how seriously threatened the lives of our children and grandchildren (and any of us who plan on living much after about 2025-30) are, by the institutionalized power of two most important aspects of human selfishness and destruction in the modern world. First is the political sphere where arguably half (or more or less) live in nations where state is run by small elites with authoritarian/totalitarian effectiveness; second is the economic sphere, where historically all economic activity (and today still a large percentage of all economic activity) depends on dumping all of their waste products into/onto our planet's lands, waters and atmosphere, without cost.

      Unless we as a world experience rapid and massive changes in our psychological, philosophical and political attitudes and institutions, it seems likely that the mischief of dictatorial regimes (and misled populations) will unnecessarily aggravate the social/civilizational breakdowns that await us anyway from the climate change we caused by the dumping of all our waste products -- remember, every gallon of gasoline burnt is 8 pounds of carbon dioxide in our air.

  • Why it Matters that the World thinks US under Trump is Laughingstock
    • Thank you very much, again, Juan, for mentioning how

      "It appears to me that the wealthy and corporations have for decades deliberately been interfering in the quality of public education, in hopes of producing pliant dupes rather than citizens with a critical faculty. ... The number of Americans who are unable to understand simple principles of science such as that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere produces a greenhouse effect is deeply embarrassing to this country. "

      I have been pushing this argument for a long time, and I intend to keep pushing.

      As a writer on human history and futures, I want to be an optimist, I personally have to be an optimist to make it through any day. As a worker in a big retail marketplace, even in a hip neighborhood in a progressive West Coast city, the amount of human ignorance, blind self-centeredness, and selfishness I have to deal with every day is not conducive to optimism. Yet there are many nice, smart people too.

  • Trump accuses Syria of Planning Gas attack as Haley attacks Russia, Iran
    • philosophical ron 06/27/2017 at 3:22 am

      Curiouser and curiouser.

      The need for (almost any version of) an America vs. Mid-East actors War is extremely strong in some quarters.

  • 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


      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 " ... and ended with " 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:" " 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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