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Total number of comments: 3314 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)


Showing comments 3314 - 3301

  • Calls for stripping Natalie Portman of Israel Citizenship for criticizing Shooting Palestinian Protesters
    • The Israeli and American Right have been sharing homework for years, using each other as testbeds for more media-savvy forms of racism and discrimination and even imperialism. They both are in the same situation; they demand that those different than themselves live in destitution, but unlike the past, the poor now have low enough infant mortality rates that they tend to become too large a plurality of the electorate. Therefore, democracy is now the enemy and must be deformed. The Israeli legal catchphrase, "Jewish and democratic character" means that Jews will rule even as a minority, thus not democratic at all. Now look around the US - how many versions of the phrase are arising here hidden in other slogans and demands? White and democratic? Christian and democratic? Male and democratic?

    • It's amazing how the supporters of Israel demand the sort of absolute tribal loyalty and bias from all Jews that anti-Semites falsely claimed was already in place as part of the giant Jewish conspiracy to elevate each other at everyone else's expense.

  • Top Six Reasons Pompeo should not be Secretary of State
    • Republicans have that same partisan domination of the Foreign Relations Committee. The difference is in the kinds of Republicans on that committee versus Congressional Republicans in general. Meaning, the more ignorant one is about foreign relations, the more likely one is to support Pompeo out of blind partisanship.

  • Friedman: Does Iran's Quds Force really Control four Countries and is Israel-Iran War Near?
  • Israel to French Mayor: You can’t visit Occupied Palestine if you stand against Occupation
    • God damn it, what will it take to get Israeli officials to admit that international law is opposed to what Israel currently defines as its interest? Occupation is occupation. There are laws about that. If Israel wants to say that those laws are wrong, then it must say that applies for all invaders. If Israel wants to say it is uniquely above international law, go ahead, sound like North Korea. But don't refuse to admit that the laws exist. Hitler or Stalin could just as easily have conquered the entire world by saying that it was in their country's interest.

  • Why do Red State Teachers need to Strike for a living Wage? It is about Class
    • It isn't just that these Red States have a contempt for teachers. This region specifically has been inculcated (even brainwashed) into a renewed hatred of public schools. The teachers are the agents of this alien enemy. Public schools were absent from the Confederate States because they were a phenomenon spreading across the North. As we know, the war against public schools got organized the instant that they were required to be integrated in the South. In the early '60s Georgia's rulers crafted a scheme to destroy all public schools in a stroke by legislating 1 for 1 tax credits for donations for private schools, instantly transferring the entire public school budget and more to the Christian Right. It wasn't carried out then, but I hear talk of such a scheme now.

      Now if the impoverished teachers at Christian Right schools in these states start making demands, things will really go nuts.

  • Comey did it to himself & Us, by gutting Privacy, Encryption, & 4th Amendment
    • You need the good liberal education, and more, to accept historical evidence that your biases and blind spots are dangerous and eventually you will pay a price for them. America is all about charging ahead and grabbing everything in sight, and then looking back to see if you've gotten away with it. If you've been trained by the short-term bias in capitalist society to devalue future consequences more and more until they're essentially meaningless, then this is not an illogical way to behave.

  • Top 5 Lessons from the History of America's Defeats
    • I had thought that Trump was plotting war against some specific nation, as Neocons had before him. But lately I've begun to think that his erratic flailing around is something broader; he's at war with the course of world history, looking for a place to throw a wrench into its workings. And that bizarre ignorance about how the world works is shared by his supporters. They really don't care if he attacks Iran or North Korea first or finds some entirely new enemy. They don't care if he collapses world trade and brings on a new Great Depression. They just want a struggle as an excuse to unleash their own inner violence against the world until it is terrorized back into its supposed former submission.

      The upside of this is that it has made planning an actual military operation impossible. He doesn't have the attention span to fixate on an enemy in what is now practically an all-villain world. The US can't go to war anywhere without sacrificing its hold somewhere else.

  • Ryan steps down, with Lifetime dream of transferring Trillions from People to Super-Rich Fulfilled
    • The oligarchy always cycles through ever-worse new ideologues to carry out ever more barbaric agendas. That's how we got from Newt Gingrich to Donald Trump, from Rush Limbaugh to Alex Jones, from the militia psychos being on the fringes of society to being White House strategists.

  • Protests won't stop Trump derailing Mueller Inquiry; Putting the Left in Congress Will
    • What those tens of millions in every major city do have the power to do is paralyze the American economy. But they'd have to devote their lives to it 24/7, until yet another Republican speculative bubble finally collapses at the spectacle of ordinary people refusing to buy goods from the major Wall Street corporations. Basically, the oligarchy keeps Trump in power. When they panic, anything might happen.

    • You are describing the entire history of democracy. George Washington had his evils, it's just that no one ran against him. Lincoln was viewed as a lesser evil by many (only getting 35% of the vote in a four-party field). So was Franklin Roosevelt.

      So why did society progress despite these flawed leaders? And why do societies at other times go bad regardless of the good intentions of those in charge?

  • If the world doesn't stop Chemical Massacres at Syria, who is Next?
    • Add this to the very cynical way that Turkey barged into Syrian Kurdistan knowing that the US and Russia and Iran and even Syria would not interfere, and you wonder if these days all of these atrocities are secretly bargained out in advance between the global players, including the pro forma retaliation. Which puts Saudi Arabia's crime spree in a new light. Do these countries trade atrocities for business deals? Are they not all close to being state-capitalist regimes where the rulers are as intertwined with the owners as their countries are with each other?

      What an argument against running a country like a business.

  • Trump on Syria Chem Attack: Putin responsible for supporting "Animal Assad"
    • I think the dread of chemical weapons came from World War 1 and the years afterward. They were seen as too destabilizing to the normal business of Great Powers pushing around lesser powers while not annihilating each other. Watch the movie "The Shape of Things To Come" to see an example of what 1930s Britons feared for the next war - which did not happen. When Germans began conventionally bombing London, the British were stuck with plans based on the assumption of massive civilian casualties from chemical weapons, not fires all over the place. Of course, Hitler himself was deathly afraid of chemical weapons due to his own experience. And yes, the Allies had plans to use those on Germany if the war went one more year.

      In other words, chemical weapons represent a threshold that it's too easy to cross, thus raising the spectre of eternal escalation. Nuclear weapons create the same dread, but form a very high threshold that has somehow held up for 73 years.

      They want their wars nice and middle-sized and unending. Biochemical weapons throw that out the window.

  • Geographical Warfare?: Saudi plans to make Qatar an Island
    • Unless the principle here is that maritime traffic that once stopped at Qatar's ports will now use the canal, this move makes no empirical sense. MbS is getting into Caligula country already.

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  • Top 5 Ways Iran is not very much like Hitler's Germany
    • See, you're a Nazi unless you murder for things us Americans believe in like global corporate domination. Saudi Arabia is a full partner of Wall Street, while Iran is stuck by US sanctions with the other camp of state-capitalist oligarchies looking to build their own Wall Street. So at the very worst, Iran is guilty of the crime of being a very junior partner of a new corporate crime syndicate horning in on our corporate crime syndicate.

  • How Trump's Gutting of Tailpipe Standards will make China Auto Leader Worldwide
    • The tech will be ready to go, but will it come in cars made by American workers? The problem with politicians caving in to the oil culture is that it leaves Americans increasingly living in the past, unable to accept change, even when it finally hits their pocketbooks. The pickup truck is the symbol of American energy exceptionalism; as long as trucks and SUVs are regarded as a form of Americanism, we are closed off from those foreign technological developments, since the awful aerodynamics of those vehicle types especially handicap electric propulsion.

      This could all delay things another generation, and a lot of bad things can happen in a generation.

  • Trump: "US out of Syria 'Very Soon'"-- Quip or Policy Reversal?
    • Apparently, the feeling is that since everyone betrays the Kurds eventually, we are no worse than anyone else.

  • Ultimate Hypocrisy: Saudi Crown Prince touts Religious Tolerance in NYC
    • There is no God but money, and Ronald Reagan is Its prophet,
      there is no God but money, and Ronald Reagan is Its prophet,
      there is no God but money, and Ronald Reagan is Its prophet.

      That's the only ecumenical vision between Saudi Arabia and Wall Street. You can worship whatever god you want, as long as it commands the rich to expand the economy at the expense of the poor.

    • He wants an Islam edited to serve his interests in the same way that fellow Neocon Dick Cheney and his gang wanted an evangelical Protestantism edited to serve their interests.

      I.e., intolerant enough to keep the rednecks together bullying and silencing political dissent, but not so intolerant that it was "bad for business."

  • All Donald, All the Time: America's Ruin as Spectacle
    • George Washington's greatest accomplishment in office was to establish certain norms of behavior for the Presidency, self-imposed limitations on his own potential power as Father of His Country that he didn't want to be inherited by his successors. He was doing this with no good guidance, in a civilized world that had only known kings for nearly two millenia. It is unimaginable to us now that some of the Founding Fathers were offering him a crown because they couldn't imagine anything else holding the USA together.

      So it SHOULD be a big story that we no longer have a president as we have understood presidents for 230 years. The problem is, we've lived with those Washingtonian norms without actually discussing them or being taught about them in school. So their sudden abolishment was not something we knew how to debate. The people who were "tired" of bourgeois liberalism had sob stories made for them by the media that wanted them to keep watching. The supposedly struggling, supposedly working-class scared old White people were not called out on what their new norms would be. Hell, they probably had never articulated what the old norms were; they just chose to finally add those to their endless list of scapegoats for the loss of their goodies and privileges.

      To wit; the new norm they craved was a tribal war chieftain who would exterminate their enemies by lying or cheating as he had always done for himself. That was Trump's resume. Now the media is spending reams of time trying to explain Trump with him already in power and in action demanding their utter submission. He can't lose here. The media lacks the guts to call him a White supremacist, much less a tribal war chieftain leading a pack of barbarians known as "good Americans."

      We can change the laws all we want after he is gone. But we probably can't get those Washingtonian norms of self-restraint and modesty back. Norms are norms because of consensus and eventually harden into tradition. Our legal system is not officially based on those things. From now on, any presidential candidate who doesn't act like Attila the Hun will be dismissed as a wimp, before we even talk about policy.

  • Palestine RIP
  • The March for Our Lives in Pictures: Massive Crowds Mourn Victims, Condemn Complicit Politicians
    • I'm not sure there's any law that can overcome America's madness. But if we change the culture that surrounds guns, another of America's peculiar institutions, then our options open up.

      What must end is the culture in which we buy guns primarily with the expectation of using them against others in our own communities. The Swiss and the Canadians aren't like that, and they can safely live with military and hunting weapons respectively.

      Mutual disarmament, instead of a war of all against all, requires a new American culture of trust and mutual respect and this is where it must start.

  • Can Isolationist Trump and Neocon NSC Pick Bolton really Get Along?
    • Paleo as in Attila the Hun, not Robert Taft.

    • Is Trump really an isolationist?
      Maybe the word "isolationist" needs some historical context.
      When America was "isolationist", did it not seize control of the kingdom of Hawaii, much of the Caribbean and the Philippines?
      What isolationist really meant was, we only interfered with countries where we expected no one was strong enough to really fight back. You can seize control of the economies of such places.
      So when Trump says that we only should have invaded Iraq if we intended to keep the oil, he is saying that it's okay to conquer and exploit weak (= "shithole" = racially inferior) countries.

      Let's try another take, on Trump's trade war as being a rejection of "internationalism." Okay, the LAST time the US wrecked the global trading system in 1930, what happened next? The imperial powers simply turned their conquests and their satellites into rigid trade blocs, even if they had to inflict heinous new burdens on their colonial subjects as the French did in Indochina.
      It sounds like both colonial empires and a refusal to engage in major geopolitical issues can be consistent with being a bully who only picks on the weak and avoids economic competition with more advanced societies.

      Now Bolton just has to find a way to con Trump into thinking that Iran will be easy to colonize and incorporate into the US economy.

  • Budget Bill: Even GOP Congress defies Trump on Green Energy Funding
    • 16 cents a kwh is actually pretty high for wind. However, offshore wind was also very expensive in Europe just a few years ago. Once projects were going up steadily there, the price suddenly collapsed into the single digits. The US is a few years away from getting to that point, but the problem is that Americans refuse to even believe that alternative energy collapses in price once a certain critical mass is reached until after (even long after) it happens. If it were any other kind of speculative gamble, American investors would be all over it, but in the world of busting the fossil fuel paradigm, that sort of mania seems to be reserved for Tesla. The elite of the status quo power want to extract quick fortunes, but they are hesitant to do so in such a way as to shake up their own power structures.

  • Kushner is ‘in my pocket’ brags Saudi Crown Prince
    • I think the three countries that allied to empower the Afghan mujaheddin all have exploited each other pretty cynically. Don't you find it suspicious that the US never detected Pakistan's nuclear program? How about the time, recounted by Richard Clarke, when his State Department office saw spy photos showing the Saudis building an exact duplicate of a Chinese intermediate range missile base and George Schulz had to bring the hammer down? Except, of course, that in exchange for not installing the nuclear-capable missiles they had surely bought, we built the secret Desert One base to defend them instead using misappropriated funds?

      As for Trump's bigotry against Moslems, I can think of no way more effective to spread misery among Moslems than allowing Saudi Arabia to destroy all forms of progressivism and secularism by flooding them with Wahhabi missionaries and madrassas. Which we did.

  • Let's call Bolton what he is, a War Criminal with Terrorist Ties, not just "Hawkish"
    • We didn't actually loathe the USSR for being a rogue superpower. Both sides knew the game. Look at how the US and USSR treated the Cuban and Nicaraguan Revolutions. It was as if the US WANTED those Marxist revolutions to turn into oppressive, incompetent Soviet satellites, and of course the Soviets were ready to do their part with inappropriate aid and advice. They formed a tag team to batter these regimes into submission to a formula that justified their own bipolarized world.

      Conclusion: both superpowers feared each other less than they feared the rise of genuinely independent radical regimes that spurned both ideologies in favor of pursuing their own third-world interests. And they were right. Because the real winner of the Cold War was China, once far more radical than the USSR, but too big for any outside power to force into a rigid model. If Ho and Castro and any number of smaller revolutionaries had possessed that same autonomy, who knows what direction they might have taken?

    • That sounds about right for a conventional war. Of course, there are darker possibilities.

    • The bloody nose to Israel will in fact be the excuse for the US to invade Iran. However, that doesn't fix the logistical hurdles that have kept the US out so far. The only solution, if you dare call it that, is to proceed directly to nuclear first strike.

    • It was never really an anti-war platform. If you looked at his words on other subjects, you could see that he wasn't against war per se. He wanted more and better wars for the outright purpose of world rule for profit instead of the more subtle legalism-bound hegemony of Anglo-American tradition. I don't understand why anyone was fooled unless they just hated Hillary Clinton enough to edit Trump into their own deluded notion of a lesser evil.

    • God dammit, I keep leaving all these matches and cans of gasoline around all my Reichstags to get these lazy Moslems and Blacks to do their thing. Now I'm gonna have to do it myself.

  • How Racism in the West is Changing: from Exploitation to Competition
    • I first observed this two-headed phenomenon when I noticed how the ethnic hatreds that had destroyed Yugoslavia seemed quite different than the sort I was accustomed to in the US. The Serbs viewed themselves as being the heart of the enterprise and were quick to resent breakaway republics that would harm the status of resident Serbs. Unfortunately, Yugoslavia had a Swiss-style militia model, so when Serbs took to using guns to contest this, they found they truly were in a competitive environment; everyone had the same guns. In America, no minority has ever been allowed to obtain regional hegemony, giving them the levers of economic power or firepower.

      Thus I discerned a difference in the attitude of being on top and fighting to stay that way, versus having already been forced to share power and rebelling against that on the grounds of being in some way "special" justified by tortuous arguments worthy of Ptolemaic astronomy. (See: Charles Murray.)

      However, I think we should consider how quickly and hypocritically humans can switch from one sort of resentment to the other. The Nazis could make the argument that the German volk was being weakened during the Depression, and a paranoid sort might even spout talk about "facing extinction". But they certainly took to calling themselves the Master Race soon enough once they thought their purported competition within the Reich was eliminated. That didn't really make them happy, though. They always accepted their leaders' formulation of new threats that required more organized violence. We see that same self-serving paranoia in the Manichean way that the elite of the old slave South indoctrinated poorer Whites to view their options on the slavery issue. They literally put it as, "the instant the slaves are freed they will enslave us." The idea of power-sharing was utterly obliterated from logical consideration; it went without saying that you were either exploiter or exploited. This Manicheanism is not just isolated to the South. It narrows the margin between exploitation and competition down to a zero-sum game, hammer or anvil.

      The Whites of Trump's America loudly scream that they are nothing like the White supremacists of the past, yet spend all their time praising that past as the only acceptable option. There is a difference: they have passed from the confidence of a comfortable electoral majority comprehensively indoctrinated by living in a world 90% ruled by White empires, to the reckless nostalgia of those who sense demographics turning against them.

  • Syria: A Market bombing kills 38 and Explains why Government won Syria War
    • It's a deeper unpopularity than that. What Prof. Cole keeps showing is how incredibly complex and amoral conflicts are in one small corner of the world. Yet we Americans come from a cultural legacy of trying to impose a Manichean division of the entire universe into simple good and evil, and our reaction to endless struggles between fairly awful groups of people has been to hide inside an isolationist fantasy or try to steamroll the facts under our Superpower strength. The American MSM has of course benefited from this binary delusion, and the market for news was cultivated for it.

  • Increasingly Ludicrous WH denial that Austin bombings were "terrorism"
    • See, the problem is if your definition of terrorism were imposed on the US, so many of us would be terrorists that we'd have to throw ourselves in Guantanamo in order to be safe from ourselves.

      Right-wing movement politics have become a bunch of paranoids daring each other to step over a line, the line of open war against all the people they hate, partly so all the individuals can see proof that they aren't themselves suckers who will be left in the lurch if their fantasy war actually breaks out. So of course now and then one of the more unstable members finally breaks and steps over the line and is arrested or killed, and the rest immediately disavow him as a "lone wolf" even as they claim the attack was actually a government false-flag hoax and fall even deeper into those same shared beliefs that took that lone wolf over the edge. The line itself creeps forward, imperceptibly, ever closer to that collective leap into mass insurrection.

  • Actor Cynthia Nixon, NY Governor Hopeful, attacked over Israel Boycott
    • How dare Israelis protest against their own nation's violation of well-known international law?

  • Cambridge Analytica as the Matrix: Information Dominance and the Next Level of Fake News
    • Democracy relies on rules that can be hacked. And once the hacking is known, everyone will be trying to do it. You can't get the genie back in the bottle.

      The story of the hacking of Athenian direct democracy by demagoguery and factionalism was well indoctrinated into 20 centuries' worth of Western intellectuals, a good way to keep them from getting any ideas. But finally they started to develop a new set of rules around representative democracy. Now the tragedy has happened again. Either we all stand by for 20 centuries again while an inherited oligarchy regains official control, or we move on to the next experiment. The Zapatistas and the Kurdish militias in Syria are working on a more consensual democracy that appear to have an antidote to factionalism by having many different bodies dealing with different issues that mix together different groupings of people.

  • A Prototype Mars Colony in the Middle East: Dubai's Mushrif Park
  • Australia solved the gun problem. We can too
    • You've hit on a very important point. NRA crypto-militia arguments praising Switzerland as a libertarian gun-ownership paradise completely ignore the difference between our gun culture and theirs. Swissmen keep government guns in their houses out of a tradition of resisting invading foreign armies under the direction of that government. They don't imagine that these heavy weapons are meant to be used against their countrymen, carried around all the time to shoot anyone who looks suspicious, displayed on the streets to intimidate minorities.

      America is another matter. And at some point in the past, Yugoslavia, which also had a localized militia system, became another matter.

    • I think because we can't get all these Australian measures passed in the US, we need to prove how much effect each one had and try to get in the one that had the most impact. That overcomes the cynicism standing in the way of further measures.

    • Russia is now considered right-wing... by everybody except for some reason the far left in America. Putin is a flat-taxing Moslem-bombing homophobe who has taken capitalism to its logical conclusion; one-man rule of both capital and state. He's the new Czar.

      So the NRA folks, the alt-Right and other White Christian supremacists are coming around to the idea that Putin is the White Knight who will save Euro-American civilization from democracy and globalization.

  • Trump, McCabe and our Permanent Constitutional Crisis
    • Alleging a "conspiracy so vast" in the tradition of Joe McCarthy is the point where you would almost have to follow up your firings with a larger purge just to appear credible, a la Erdogan against Gulen's followers.

  • Under Pompeo, will Trump Foreign Policy be Even Worse?
    • Basically, Tillerson was not willing to start a war specifically to save Trump and the Republican Party in the midterms. Pompeo is friends not only with Trump, but probably with many of the Tea Party congressmen facing defeat this November after Conor Lamb just snatched away a district that Trump won by 20 points. They need a war now.

  • Thousands flee E. Ghouta as Regime Army Advances, Rebels ask for Talks
    • OR, the Baathists will ethnically cleanse the Sunnis from Syria, they will end up in refugee camps in the Arab monarchies run by jihadi provocateurs, and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking vengeance against Assad and the remaining Syrians.

      I mean, given the history of the Middle East, that really does make more sense, doesn't it?

  • Total cost of Owning an Electric Vehicle falling below Gasoline Dinosaurs
    • I think the only way we'll see the numbers turn over that fast is for electrification to be part and parcel of a larger change: the end of the personally-owned car as a norm in favor of the rentable robot car. That's where the really big investment money is pouring in right now, the development of self-driving tech and the creation of the services that dispense the cars to users. But it's easier to make it work without gasoline tanks getting in the way.

  • Why Electric SUVs will save the American Car Companies, not China Tariffs
    • Don't worry, Trump is privatizing the national parks and the states will follow under the spell of ALEC. Developers will make them millionaire-only refuges.

    • They are right to be skeptical, but China is China. Entire global industries are turning from being focused on the American consumer to a Chinese population that's 4 times the size and doubles its income every 7 or 8 years. The movies you watch are now rewritten to get through Beijing censors. Buick is now practically a Chinese brand with a few factories left making big old cars for old Americans with names that sound like cheese.

      What the green community is probably more concerned about is that no matter how green China can realistically get, once its economy is several times larger than the US, how big a negative impact with it have on the global environment?

    • Remember, the cost of the battery is a subset of the cost of the battery pack. But the difference is not huge.
      The fact that the Jaguar, with its wretched efficiency, still gets 220+ miles with a 90 kwh battery pack indicates that the situation is not as severe as Tom indicates.

    • It's important to understand that electric vehicles are very sensitive to aerodynamics, and thus making an electric SUV is a serious challenge. The reason is that gasoline engines, while very inefficient in stop-and-go driving, become more efficient on the highway, so ironically they use less energy the faster they go in practice despite the much greater drag from the vehicle's body. For electric vehicles, energy consumption is much more linear, and the fact that drag increases geometrically with speed directly impacts their range and the number of batteries they must carry. SUVs are expected in real life to be bought in suburban and rural areas and be driven routinely on highways. So the new Jaguar iPace has an unusually large battery pack given its size and frontal area for the range it obtains because Jaguar markets it as "crossover utility vehicle" with a tall body and wagon-like shape.

      This is not an impossible challenge. Mercedes did work some years back on a sort of wagon concept vehicle based on the shape of a boxfish, which obtained a decent 0.19 cD.

  • Pompeo's rise at State will make Mideast war more likely
    • Of course Trump wants a Mideast war. Only a war can save his regime from the voters. But he also fears it because he's out of his depth. He pokes and prods, trying to start the war on his terms, meaning he can blame someone else.

  • Can Democracy Survive Trump's untransparent Forever Wars Abroad?
    • Is this really that different (other than order of magnitude) than the endless colonial wars of the British Empire? It seems the British public, even as it was winning more and more democracy from its government, never opposed the expansion of British rule over 1/3 of the world's land surface, or the enormous rape of India and China by its state-supported opium industry that brought a mountain of gold to the London bankers. The British Army remained tiny, few Britons served, costs were much better controlled than in our time. Of course, the seeds of disaster were being planted as the rest of Europe and America and Japan looked on enviously at this global rape, as the Great Powers began to think that war was cheap and safe, as the weapons developed to slaughter helpless native populations became numerous enough to imagine using against Europeans.

  • Did United Arab Emirates lobbying instigate Tillerson’s sacking?
    • It wasn't just Facebook ads. It was also going after voter rolls in heavily Democratic (meaning People of Color) counties. At a time when the Republican Party is going full-tilt trying to disqualify those very voters using every trick in the book. And Russia's disinformation efforts seem specifically intended to provoke civil strife in America, with a bias towards helping the violent right-wing racist faction. Whereas the efforts of those other nations seems to be to suppress debate and preserve the status quo that so thoroughly favors them.

  • Pompeo, Big Oil and the attack on Iran Deal
    • By himself he proves the chain tying the Koch "libertarians" to torture, imperialism and theocracy. There should be a term "Pinochetian libertarian" to describe people like them and Paul Ryan: liberty for the rich, torture for everyone else.

  • Turkey says US & Kurds will Leave Manbij or Else, Prepares for Iraq Incursion
    • Wow, the Turks must have paid Pompeo a ton of money to be acting this confidently now.

  • Pushing back against Trump Criminalization of Immigrants
    • I hope the day comes when your children must flee a tyrannical and war-torn America and beg for someone else's mercy only to hear your own hateful argument condemning them to a refugee camp. Why weren't YOUR immigrant ancestors bank robbers? If they had to sneak in here violating racist laws rather than die overseas, you should praise them.

  • How Trump is losing in Syria & why Haley is Posturing
    • Well, now Trump has fired his Secretary of State for saying that Putin did it. Something interesting is going on.

    • I can no longer read my scorecard. I don't think anyone's coming out of this a winner.

  • European Fascism plots to change American Culture
    • Yes, this is part of a larger crisis. We probably won't understand its nature until the horror is already underway.

      But if I would hazard a guess, what we're seeing is a global revulsion against complexity and change, what Toffler called Future Shock. The capitalists made the economic world more and more complex to carry out their schemes, while they dumbed us down more and more so we would buy crap that we don't need.

      Somewhere on that road to the Internet linking all humans and removing all barriers, something went horribly astray. It's like Douglas Adams' babel fish in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". "...The poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”
      We're seeing how many people out there beyond our own boundaries are really different than us, and many of us are freaking out. Being dumbed down, we're sick of the complexity of negotiating life with people who are different, from foreign phone bank operators to those expressing opinions in YouTube video comment sections. We're also sick of the complexity of any government that endeavors to negotiate between all its ethnic and cultural factions. A dark part of us craves the Samson Option, the sword slashing the Gordian knot, and the sort of ruler who would commit such acts.

      But in America and, to my shock and horror Europe, that is taking the most stupid form of all, White supremacy. If anyone should recall that White supremacists are losers, it's Europeans. But the die-off of all those who remember the actual daily details of fascism means that we now can all tell whatever lies we want about the past and which parts of it we're really trying to bring back.

  • 1/3 of Israelis live in Poverty, especially Palestinians & Ultra-Orthodox
    • Israel is now fully equipped for a Jim Crow caste system. Arabs = Blacks, ultra-Orthodox = rednecks.

  • Kurdish Civilians pledge to shield Afrin from Turkish Invasion with their Bodies
  • Saudi Crown Prince Implicated: Credible reports of Torture and Murder in Ritz Carlton: NYT
    • Powerful interests are pimping for him. I was in a supermarket and saw a glossy magazine-format publication in the rack, full of color pictures and brainless blather kissing MbS' ass as a modernizer and defeater of terrorism. I thought, who's paying for this wretched foreign propaganda? On the inside cover: "The National Enquirer is an AmeriPress publication."

      You know, the same National Enquirer inciting drooling idiots by calling Obama and Clinton traitors, by running as many cover stories about evil Black male celebrities as possible, by effectively becoming Trump's Der Sturmer.

  • Western Man jailed for "insulting" UAE online
    • Trump approves, says "one day we oughtta try that here. Wink wink nudge nudge."

  • Youth, Gun Safety and the Pentagon
    • The US military's analyses of youth physical fitness has always been an implicit critique of American capitalism, and government-level drives to improve youth fitness have always been implicitly tied to the need for soldiers. The military put out the bad news at the start of WW2 about the shocking condition of the young survivors of the Great Depression now reporting to induction centers.

      It's true in other countries as well. I recall that the same Army data was put out in Britain during WW1, heralding a growing interest in a welfare state. I'm sure Prussia/Germany's advanced social welfare programs were supported by its conservative-biased regime in part because the generals needed to put at least 20 percent of the male population in uniform to fight a major war. JFK's physical fitness drive was certainly not unrelated to his plans to put young Americans into brushfire wars. A society can get to the point where the poor have no plea to move the rest of the citizenry than their willingness to be the best cannon fodder they can be.

  • George W. Bush tried steel tariffs. It didn't work
    • Cheating on free trade is a strategy, something that is unproductive unless it harnesses the entire energy of society. Using it to protect the industries of the past is a loser. Using it to gain an unfair leap into new industries has often been rewarded with success. But the latter is really unlikely to happen in an aging, wealthy Great Power in decline.

      The strategic mercantilist is not interested in getting back on top in steel production. He is interested in what will replace steel and plastic as the next major fabrication material, and acting ruthlessly and with military fanaticism to rig events to move in that direction.

      The post-war Japanese are always the ones who should be studied first in these matters. In 1945, the old industrialists still stood though their factories were in ashes; they only understood steelmaking and shipbuilding, not consumer goods. They could not have gotten Japan any further than the people running the USSR. It was little hustlers and mavericks like Soichiro Honda and Akio Morita who made the Miracle happen by outthinking the USA.

      One example we should learn from: about that time, Japan's government decided to promote exports of cameras, which had to be better than the cheap ones Japan had been known for. Instead of slapping punitive standards for inspection and quality on imported cameras, like normal countries might do, it slapped them on its own industry. You remember those little gold oval stickers on every Japanese camera? This program was such a success that it was spread to automobiles, the "OK" sticker you used to see in the windows of Japanese cars.

      There is none of this from Trump. How can there be, when his statements set forth the idea that ANY country running a trade surplus with the US is cheating, but not vice versa? America can never be cheating, its products are always superior... it's like America's business-owning ethnicity is a... Master Race?

  • Saudi Prince: Turkey, Iran & Extremists are ME "Triangle of Evil"
    • Biting off more than one can chew. Trying to start a war with Iran hasn't worked, so now he's adding NATO power Turkey to his enemies list.

      "He said that Saudi Arabia has invested $800 billion in the US economy, four times what Qatar has."

      So what? KSA's economy is much bigger and has been raking in wealth longer than Qatar, so proportionately the Qataris are making a bigger commitment to the USA. Are we judging which countries we will make our allies in war by the proportion of their commitment? Or does he simply think the USA is for sale to the highest bidder?

  • Top 4 myths about Electric Cars & why they should not Discourage You
  • Did an Emirates-Israel alliance Help elect Trump more than Russia?
    • Maybe we should investigate the ordinary Jo (sic) voters. Maybe they used their democratic right to end democracy like the voters of Weimar Germany because they're a bunch of racist thugs.

      But then what do we do with that? Who gets to say what America is? Do we fight another civil war over that power? And while the voters of Germany got punished quite thoroughly for their hubris, who will do the same to America without nuclear weapons getting involved?

  • The last time the US enacted Punitive Tariffs it enabled the Great Depression
    • Critics of the current Wall Street neoliberal empire tend to act as though history doesn't matter because things can't possibly get worse than they are now. A world rigidly divided between SEVERAL neoliberal empires either sounds impossible to them, or an improvement over our status quo. Yet that was what happened due to Smoot-Hawley.

      Ironically, many of these people should welcome a recounting of that disaster, because many of them are so intrinsically anti-American that they should embrace the implications: the USA caused the victory of fascism in Germany and Japan by NOT supporting free trade. Precisely because Japan was late to the imperial game and Germany had been stripped of its empire, they were completely dependent on free trade to finance their high-skill, high-value added export-driven economies. The remaining colonial empires screwed them over mightily by erecting trade blocs to punish America for its folly. This fed the fascists' anti-liberal narratives, which, like or not, were tied at the hip to their anti-democracy and pro-war agendas.

      This story is the tip of the iceberg of a much more complicated story. Cheating on free trade is neither heroic or Satanic. It's an art, which requires skilled practitioners with a strategy. I think the postwar rise of Asia shows we needed BOTH the US-imposed free trade order - and for countries to cheat on that order to get rich peacefully. That's because the problem with trade systems happen not when little countries on the way up cheat, but when the big hegemons try to change the rules they themselves created to prolong their prosperity. The former leads to mercantilism, which can be dealt with by diplomats. The latter leads to autarky, which became the characteristic of the 1930s.

  • Is the Saudi Elite Cannibalizing itself?
    • Tribalism and feudalism endured because the patriarchs imposed limits on their power via norms, which offset the lack of formal Constitutional controls seen in bourgeois capitalist republics. The latter have freed themselves from bonds of blood loyalty, oaths of honor, and the need for reciprocity towards the rank and file, in favor of utter market ruthlessness. So they have to formally divide power and property, both between public and private, and between national and local, legislative, judiciary and executive, etc. to stave off those conflicts of interest recognized by the citizens as "corruption". Saudi Arabia has always existed in violation of this Western paradigm. So it had to cling to older bases of solidarity.

      But of course, that means leaving money on the table, the ultimate sin to capitalists. Prince MbS is just Westernized enough to be seduced by the idea he can turn the Saudi/Aramco corporate state into one giant, unregulated corporation operating at full market efficiency without any legal restraint. So he tried to function as a Frankenstein hybrid of robber baron and sovereign.

      Ironically, Trump and Putin and whoever is leading China this decade all reflect similar impulses. But their populations have been getting prepared for this by powerful institutions for decades.

  • The Russians aren’t the only election hackers
    • How about investigating allegations that Russians specifically hacked into voter databases of counties known to be Democratic strongholds - meaning America's racial minorities? Isn't that a big deal? Even if they failed to make any alterations, they opened the possibility that the cynical Republicans would declare the voter rolls null and void. Why? Because the Goddamn Republicans knew all of this was going on, and THAT'S why we need the investigation to continue.

      Putin basically shows evidence of supporting the fascistic Republican goal (just as he supports fascists in Britain, France and Germany) of creating a restored Jim Crow one-party state built on voter suppression. Why he would want this is beyond me. Maybe you have a rationalization for it.

      Maybe he just wants an all-out civil war to destroy the United States. I can believe that YOU don't believe that, because you're incapable of imagining that people of color would be willing to go to war against a rigged system that keeps Whites in power because you're only obsessed with Marxian class politics. So you're incapable of imagining how far White racists are capable of going to restore supremacy. You don't "get" guns, so you can't imagine that a civil war in America would make Syria look like a suburban schoolyard fight. You can't imagine any justification for nuclear weapons, so you can't believe that we might drop them on each other.

      But I am actually willing to fight that war instead of handing over power to your fantasy "White working class" and eradicating evil "identity politics" (but only for non-Whites and non-males).

  • Why is Intel Community Targeting Kushner?
    • If he's the one most likely to sell out his country, then he's also the one most likely to turn state's evidence on his collaborators. I want them all to turn on each other. That's good strategy for prosecutors.

  • Pentagon bloats the Federal Budget and Small-Gov't Marks don't Care
    • I've said it before, but I still have no way to prove it:

      The right-wing base isn't being hypocritical in ignoring Pentagon in its hysterical hatred of "big government". Because it DOESN'T consider the military to be a part of government! It considers itself a tribal people, the White Race, ruled outside of the Constitution, really above it, by its priests and chieftains. This was the secret government of the Jim Crow South, ideally overlapping with the "official" government via the economic elites. They were taught by the plantation owners to think of themselves like the barbarian tribes that created the nations of Europe; they conquered the land together but divided up the spoils, including the inferior conquered peoples, based on irrational customs. "Government" was unfortunately needed to keep the inferiors in line and operate in the modern world.

      But the real tribal regime centers on warriors, religion and the patriarchal home. They utterly freak out when democratic government interferes with those holies. So the Pentagon operates outside of democracy, and any rational fiscal restraint, because our "heroes" (warriors, only the ones sufficiently assimilated into redneck values, the rest are traitors like John Kerry) require infinite sacrifice. The only social programs they approve of are those they see as needed by their blood kin: the Veterans Administration and Social Security/Medicare. Though their willingness to overlook the beginning of the extermination of those two programs may be the ironing out of another contradiction on the way to greater purity.

  • Saudi High Command fired by King over Yemen Quagmire
    • The geographical position probably matters in the context of "securing" everything on their side of the start line in a much bigger war the Saudis have been planning against Iran. It's like Hitler having to delay his plans to invade Russia because his ally in Yugoslavia suddenly got deposed, and because his Italian allies collapsed in Greece and North Africa. Those little fiascoes cost him dearly in the big push to get to Moscow before winter.

  • A School Shooting's (Ir)rational Victims
    • Children don't become fully rational until they are trapped by a mortgage and debt, "owners" of enough property to be consumed by paranoid hatred of dark-skinned people who are all out to steal it, dependent on kissing the ass of a right-wing boss by agreeing with his politics.

      See, property is "freedom" and only adults understand.

  • Could Trump's Fragile Ego spark Korean or Iran War?
    • Because there is no "us"; we are factionalized and in fact hate each other far more than we hate the Koreans and Iranians that some of us want to kill. The branches of the Federal government are now weapons to be captured by the faction ruthless enough to plan the disenfranchisement and mass oppression of its rivals. Such a faction, using voter intimidation and gerrymandering, is able to control Congress with a minority of votes, and that then protects the criminal President it also elected with a minority of votes. They expect the President to commit the crimes that they lack the stomach to do with their own hands, whether it is the rape of the poor, the pollution of the commons, or the destruction of human and civil rights.

      So yes, sufficiently greedy "sane" people could support a madman dictator thinking they can get what they want and ride out the consequences. Everything in our country works to create such people.

  • Grievance Politics for Insecure Majorities: Trumpism Worldwide
    • The Master Race does not share power.
      The Master Race does not have to negotiate in good faith with inferiors.
      The Master Race has the right to lie about being a Master Race to deceive the inferiors so they won't fight back.
      The Master Race has the right to violence to take back what was stolen from it.

  • Are Kurds, Shiite Militias and the Baath Gov't allying against Turkey's Afrin Op?
    • If you know Kurdish history, you know that everyone betrays the Kurds. That's what you do to the stateless.

    • If NATO embraced Spain under Franco and Portugal under Salazar, what's the case to be made against Turkey?

  • New South African Gov't to Cut ties with Israel over Apartheid toward Palestinians
    • Has the modern South African government fully revealed all documentation of the apartheid regime's past involvement with Israel?

  • Marco Rubio dismisses High-School Shooting Survivors as out of Mainstream
    • "Out of the mainstream"? Well, once everyone in America has lost a loved one to a mass shooter, that won't be problem anymore.

    • Wow. If the militia is the "whole of the people", then it definitely is not regulated.

      Now let's drop the bombshell and ask NRA person whether its members would truly accept the whole of America's Black people and the whole of America' Latino people and the whole of America' Moslem people being as heavily armed and infested with extremist militia as the whole of America' White people. Meaning, would they really tolerate a military balance of power between the races, or would they suddenly start screaming that the Founding Fathers intended that America only be a White nation?

  • Generational Wars and Short Memories: The 9/11 Hijackers Were Iraqis, Right?
    • The deeper question is: is there any way that a democratic polity can be trusted to oversee involvement with the outside world, much less a hegemony? Yes, America is a spectacular example of ignorance in action. But was the average Victorian Briton any better qualified to discuss his nation's countless concurrent aggressions around the globe? Of course, it didn't matter, because Britain had just barely started to give poor males a vote for parliament. Everyone understood that foreign policy was controlled by an oligarchy.

      We talk about how much better educated European kids are about foreign countries. Not one of their governments has a tenth of the foreign military commitments of the USA. No one is qualified to learn everything about six billion people and their conflicts and grievances while still learning the things their parents demand they learn, meaning how to make money.

      So no one deserves to rule the world. But how do we even get to the point where we deserve to rule ourselves without building a giant wall around us to keep us from ruining the lives of others in a hundred different ways?

  • Saudi dreams of an anti-Iran Axis with Israel Evaporating: Khashoggi
    • The Saudis are actually lucky that their harebrained schemes fell apart so quickly. The real danger would have been to get far enough along to actually begin the overt war on Iran.

  • New Survey Finding: Trump Likely owed his 2016 victory to 'fake news'
    • Which, by the way, invalidates BOTH the Clintonites blaming "leftist" Jill Stein defectors and the Steinites blaming Clinton's centrism. If we took all the names off of this example and made it a hypothetical, anyone would agree based on these numbers that Clinton moving further left, or the party nominating someone further left, would cost it more in Blue Dogs than it would gain in radicals. The reality is that there are - or were - a lot of conservative Democrats. The real fight between Clintonites and Sanderities/Steinites/Naderites/whatevers is over whether those people should be driven out of the Democratic Party or whether the leftists should be driven out - because they hate each other too much to share power or EVEN recognize each other's humanity.

    • The key takeaway for the fight between people on the liberal-left over Clinton being too far to the Right:

      "Half of those who placed themselves near the conservative end of the ideological scale defected from the Democratic candidate, while only 14 percent of those on the left did so."

      In other words, the same people most likely to defect from Sanders, assuming that these people had any understanding of what conservative means in the first place.

  • Worse than Russian Hack: GOP Voter Suppression planned in 20 States
    • This problem will keep getting worse as long as rank and file Republicans support it. It doesn't matter if a gigantic and elaborate propaganda machine feeds them lies to pretend that the people losing their right to vote are not being targeted for partisan reasons. A Republican might believe the lies, or believe that the lying is a good cover. But the result is no different than Jim Crow, which started with all sorts of elaborate excuses for poll taxes and grandfather clauses and literacy tests that never broached race. Thus Black voter registration was whittled away little by little until it reached a nadir over 30 years after Reconstruction ended.

      This is a war for America's soul, come back from the grave. It is not ultimately a war between politicians, but a war between everyone in America.

  • Saudi Arabia's Filthy Lucre & its War on Yemen's Civilians
    • Good Lord, I didn't realize the Saudis had become so cynical in their fundamentalism that they put the King's face on the money now. That's always been a demarcation between "Islamic" states and conservative secular states like the Shah's Iran that happen to have a Moslem population.

  • Russian campaign Interference looks like ISIL in Polarizing Techniques
    • Do you just ignore all the clashes between Turks and Iranians and Russians and Americans in Syria now because "anything is better than Clinton"? Do you just ignore Korea completely?

      If Trump is a fascist, then putting one in charge of the US is indeed a special problem. Stalin was, for a while, supportive of Hitler because he thought capitalist democracy (i.e., Clinton) was a greater threat than a fascist Germany whose power was minuscule compared to the military the US has today. How did that turn out? And how could any subsequent Russian leader ignore that lesson?

    • Your point #4 contains the breaking point, the line that cannot be crossed. If the Russians even altered voter rolls in, say, Detroit to cause Democratic registrations to be challenged and delayed, that would be the line that no Great Power can tolerate from another Great Power (though Great Powers do such things to minor states all the time). Everything short of that is just black propaganda.

      But more specifically for Americans, that would be the point where it wasn't about just Trump conniving with a foreign power, but the entire leadership of the Republican Party. Because that's not just a presidential election being affected. Nor is it then just about Clinton and the many people on the Left who seem glad that the Russians harmed her and want to deny her an excuse for losing.

      We know that Obama tried to get GOP Congressional leaders to take a joint action with him to stop the Russian activities, and they refused.

      Because they knew.

    • We are no better than our ancestors in the 1930s. Ordinary citizens never truly learned the lessons of their mistakes, they received a dumbed-down version from their leaders about how to avoid Depressions and World Wars and Fascism. We developed a thin veneer of institutional safeguards and taboos after 1945 to keep both rulers and ruled under control. Those created the construct of consensus reality via media oligopolies and peer-reviewed science, etc. Extremists couldn't just cry fire in a crowded theater and get useful results.

      Now a more sophisticated set of psychological techniques has released the beast again. Any horror committed by our forefathers is no longer unimaginable.

    • This is the thing we need to unify around. Instead of arguments over who's worse, we need to see that even the perception that Putin got something from his efforts guarantees that EVERYONE who wishes to push a marginal agenda into power, every radical group, every special interest group, every government, will adopt these methods and pour resources into them against all their enemies everywhere on Earth.

      Such a world of lies cannot long refrain from using the weapons of physical violence at its disposal. The worst will be talked into civil war against the rest.

      Representative democracy has been hacked. The 2016 election just completed the process. The database of proven methods has reached critical mass. It cannot be erased or forgotten or even made too distasteful to use. Either you patch up the old software with some sort of antivirus mechanism (legal safeguards) or you create new software (a different electoral system, even direct democracy) that cannot be swayed by these particular methods.

  • Russiagate or Deep State? What Some Progressives Get Wrong on Russia
    • A lot of people on the Left fall prey to worshiping particular anti-American authoritarian leaders as though only a noisy, charismatic demagogue can somehow cause the world to wake up and overthrow our puppets. I've made that mistake a few times myself. Now I realize that faceless people's movements like the Zapatistas and the PKK in Syria and the pre-Evo Morales natives' movement in Bolivia are the real progressives, not autocrats who do nothing to prepare their followers to rule themselves after they're gone.

      For the Right, believing in inequality makes it easy to unite around an autocrat, the ultimate example of inequality. But for the Left, it's a trap. Increasingly its heroes like Castro and Assad and Gaddafi sold out socialism and made deals with capitalists. Iran and China became more relevant as opponents of US power, but how could a socialist make icons out of their leaders? Putin cynically played the moment, by being allies of all those regimes in the name of "sovereignty" - which the Left used to regard as an enemy of class unity - while actually ruling as a flat-tax, no-regulation right-winger. The Left's anti-Americanism has become so divorced from actual socialist policy that it simply marched to whomever pointed the biggest gun at the US and said nasty things at it.

      Which is a tragedy, because all these great minds on the Left were needed to analyze and criticize the growing tide of racist populism that percolated worldwide before erupting in the disaster of 2016. Putin was helping to fund it in Europe. But there's also the Hindu bigotry of Modi's India, the drug-war insanity of the Philippines, the disturbing undercurrents of Abe's Japan. So we all overlooked it, because it didn't fit any of our ideological narratives (and scapegoats).

    • I think that Bernie Bros. were a small % of Sanders supporters (since I myself supported him in the primaries and then voted for Clinton in the election). In fact, I suspect that many such persons would not have supported Sanders' policies if he had become president, because he's not pure enough either.

      As for the Right, their factions have something in common that will always make them fall in line in the face of their "enemy". And it ultimately makes them opponents of democracy.

      It is the belief that they are, in various guises, a Master Race threatened by evil subhumans, meaning you and me. Whether they believe in Ayn Rand's capitalist superman, the neo-Confederates' pure White race, or the militia's barbarian patriarchy, the manipulators who built their ideologies installed enough overlap so that they know to unite against the very idea that all are created equal.

      While people on the Left have deep grudges against each other over their commitment to different definitions of equality, the only thing that matters on the Right is believing that more inequality of any sort is always the solution, because in the past that they worship, sexism, racism and classism always supported each other, hydra heads trunked together into the power of a single patriarchy. Their factions can easily take turns playing, say, homophobic Blacks against gays, or rich liberals against socialists, or even US-born Latinos against illegal aliens, using the seduction of unequal status in a country where the pie is no longer growing larger for regular folks.

    • Thank you for summing up and expanding on arguments I've made in many places over the last 18 months.

      The mystery of Trump-coddling on the Left is the most frustrating thing about our current situation, as it reveals the real danger that Trump can rule with only 35% support with his enemies divided. It's like watching the Weimar German Communists (Greenwald) and Social Democrats (the Clintonites) fail to unite against Hitler, because the former realize they don't have the numbers to get the kind of leftism they demand, so instead they actually try to help Hitler win to smash bourgeois tendencies, intending to then magically overthrow him and seize power without the 30 or 40% of the population that lacks their purity. Didn't work then, won't work now.

      I also considered the idea that a certain faction on the Left WANTS Trump and the Far Right to rule them. Why? Because then they can suffer nobly - but in fact they are as much Luddites as the Far Right, wanting an agrarian eco-friendly fantasy past that would require the collapse of world trade and corporate technology, which they themselves have proven pathetically incapable of bringing about via marches and "consciousness-raising". Better to let their enemies do that hard work by wrecking the very idea of materialistic rationality.

      But that seems a little harsh. Maybe instead what they want is for America to be dissolved by secession. They're sure they've got the numbers to somehow rule a few states. And at least the American military machine will be ruined, and that will make things great, right? And if the states that go Neo-Confederate round up or kill a few million blacks or gays? Well, those kind of leftists always found blacks and gays too bourgeois in their aspirations anyway.

      The ultimate abdication of responsibility for the fate of fellow citizens; now they won't be your fellow citizens. The nation will collapse into a dozen self-selected echo chambers. You won't have to deal with anyone very different than yourself at all, which is something the American radical left has proven quite terrible at.

  • Israel: Protesters call for ‘crime minister’ Netanyahu to step down
    • It would be ironic if Netanyahu were toppled for committing crimes more minor than the ones Trump has in only a year.

      But then, it would be even more ironic, though not surprising, if Israel's increasingly racist and paranoid polity replaced Netanyahu with someone known to be worse.

  • The Boomerang Effect: How Netanyahu Made Israel a Partisan US Issue, and Lost
    • It may not matter. The Likud and the American far right have been in bed together for decades. They clearly study each other's methods for spreading hatred and bigotry and authoritarianism. And I think they both clearly have long since decided that democracy has to go. Demographics give them no choice.

      So Israel has to help the Republicans make America into a one-party state by the worst means. The opinions of American Jews won't matter then. They might even be deported to Israel to provide the 51st state with reinforcements.

  • What Does Netanyahu Corruption Case tell us about Trump's Fate?
    • The worst thing is, ordinary Israelis will never see the bond between the growing corruption that they want to fix and the growing Apartheid state that they want to embrace. If the Broederbund wasn't a form of cronyism, what is? The racist aggressor who tells you that he is the sole savior of your country will always feel entitled to steal anything available.

  • Joining BDS, Israeli Gov't to Boycott Israeli Film in Paris
    • More and more, Israel will have to tyrannize Jews who speak out about the obvious facts around them. It will have to explain why so many Jews are part of the global anti-Semitic conspiracy. And more and more American Jews will start to wonder who the greatest source of oppression and intimidation in their lives actually is.

  • ‘Fake News!’: the view from Israel’s Occupation
    • But in a sense, and I mean this of the American version of this too, the person making the claim of fraud, and the colonial public he's aiming it at, are collaborators. Obviously they want Palestinians - or African-Americans - to know that they're being abused in order to terrorize them into emigrating away. That is so essentially in their self-interest that they can't deny it. So they want the truth to get out, but only in the form of word-to-mouth as a warning to their despised enemy, not something actionable against them by the outside world. These denials are just cowardly plausible deniability, in which denier and audience dance together because the audience wants these atrocities to happen but are yet still ashamed to commit them itself.

      Consider the interesting difference between lynching in America before the Depression and later. You see plenty of photos of White townsfolk gathered to celebrate lynchings, but they're from the earlier period. They were done publicly and photographed because that conveyed the maximum message of power: our united tribe rules yours and can act with impunity. The lynchings of the '30s and '40s are covert death-squad operations, just as I suspect they were in the very beginning in the 1870s. In the beginning the Whites were feeling their way to power in the unwritten dirty war of Reconstruction, at the end they were becoming uncomfortable with the act of lynching or its consequences and anonymous murder came back in vogue. But in-between was the full flowering of hatred as an act of community identity.

      So if you think the Israelis are bad now, wait until they start posing for their media in front of the corpses of the children they kill. Clearly they have politicians rising in their ranks who are eager to normalize the pure form.

  • Russia warns Israel on Syria strikes, danger to Russian Troops
    • I don't think that region can go 25 years without a war big enough to eliminate regimes and entire states. A Cold War between Saudi Arabia/Israel/US and Russia/Iran is so full of contradictory agendas and outright criminal regimes that tiny groups will keep causing incidents. One of them will escalate into the Big One because the leaders are more like the crowned buffoons of 1914 than the relatively sober bureaucrats of 1962.

  • Trump's Plan to use Fossil Fuels to dominate the Globe
    • Back during the era of $100+ oil, one topic of discussion among Peak-Oil nerds like me was that of "energy slaves." Meaning, humanity went almost straight from economies where the hard work was done by slaves, to having it done by coal and then oil-powered machinery.

      Applying this to the history of the USA has alarming implications. The Secessionists of 1860 were, in effect, the last great partisans of what Lincoln called "the slave power", meaning the powers they gained by forced extraction of labor from others, including more time to engage in politics, more time to learn to use guns and play soldier, the ability to attempt to colonize the frontier with expendable slaves, etc. There were others then and later who would use slaves, but none openly made it a virtue on which their whole moral order was based.

      Now we Americans are the last great partisans of oil power. While its immediate effects are not as heinous as human slavery, it has given us far more power to abuse. We have made it a virtue and the basis of our moral order at the cost of more and more of its substance.

      With all the signs of the world turning away from them, the Southerners doubled down, looking to create a slavery-only country, a one-party state where criticizing slavery was itself illegal. Some in the Confederacy hoped that it could turn its military talents southward, to invade and enslave Latin America. Again, such an empire would have been made possible by slave power.

      Now apply that to the USA today.

    • Do you know how long it took that exact same thing to happen to the Ottoman Empire?

    • So, first they told us we must dominate the globe because we need to take its energy at gunpoint to survive. Now they tell us we have so much energy that we must dominate the globe and force it to buy it from us to survive. Huh.

    • The fossil cronies around Trump know that; they're desperately trying to sell as much of the stuff as possible before the price gap becomes so obvious that even Americans can't help but act on it. Trump, though, doesn't do math - or change. An amazing number of trolls at electric car comment sites simply refuse to believe that renewables are becoming cheaper than fossil fuels in more and more places. You can tell them a hundred times, and they cling to prices as eternal truths.

      Why is this? Because to concede that point - which involves so many of their equally eternal enemies - is to concede the possibility of being wrong about so many other things. It is the same with global warming.

  • Pence at Olympics: "America First" is making the US the Skunk at the Party
  • A Crisis of Democracy: Trump's block of Dem Response to Nunes
    • The far right has been subverting state government for years. Do some research on how the Koch Brothers' American Legislative and Executive Council acts as a shadow government dictating "model bills" to the rubber-stamp Republican legislatures all over the US.

      Kansas, recently, tried to make a legal distinction between being a "federal" citizen and a citizen of Kansas so that its (Jim Crow) voter restrictions could stop you from voting in a KS election without disqualifying you from your right to vote for President, which would have brought down Washington's hammer.

      Jim Crow is the essence of why our oligarchy likes state government.

  • Turkish Helicopter Downed by Syrian People's Protection Units
    • Basically, everyone is united in screwing the Kurds, because a domino effect of Kurdish independence damages client states of all the puppetmasters. ISIS is expended, so the only force that stood up to ISIS is now expendable. If the inevitable replacement for ISIS arises and nothing stands in its way, well, that's next year's problem. But staving off Kurdistan is every year's problem.

  • Can American Democracy survive six Standing Wars?
    • Although I've discussed this ad nauseum, here I go again:

      White conservative Americans no longer see the "government" and the "military" as the same thing; they see the former as evil and illegitimate, BECAUSE it is democratic and thus the votes of their enemies count. They see the military as preserving the values of "real" Americans, meaning the White tribe. It is seen as taming Blacks and Latinos by temporarily forcing them to dress and act like their own sons.

      My contention is, the White tribalist sees the redistributive functions of government as evil and a handout to the non-White enemy, while the redistributive functions of the war machine are loyal to the tribe.

      So it does not matter that tax $ spent on civilian government is a more productive investment than war. The war money goes to good Americans, who really deserve everything.

      You can see from this that the soldier cult is simply a form of masturbation - I mean, self-congratulation - by those who see themselves as supplying the nation's warriors. Really, they see themselves as a warrior race, and America as a tribal domain that their forefathers conquered in the manner of the Teutons or the Vikings, etc. Everyone who is not them is a conquered person, even the immigrants, because the latter came crawling here admitting the tribe's superiority to their own failed societies. Of course, that makes the slaves a very touchy point. In a proper tribal domain, the members and those whom they let into their ranks after proper submissiveness and extracted labor (like minorities who join the military) should be able to treat everyone else like dirt. But the damn government refuses to do that at home.

      Thank God it can do it abroad.

  • Right's ban on phrase "Polish Death Camps" Backfires on Warsaw
    • So why is Ukraine bugged about this? This sounds like several countries whose past citizens collaborated with the Holocaust trying hard to shift the blame to each other. Because Ukraine was full of collaborators; they were the default death camp guards.

      And that's why I don't see Poland getting much succor from Russia - plenty of Russians collaborated with the Nazis too, and they did so under flags and symbols that were a reversion to pre-1917 models - just like the post-Soviet government. Putin is not going to let the blame get shifted onto them.

  • The Nunes Memo, Spirit Cooking and Pizzagate
    • You have to show them that their children, their friends, and their co-workers hate the insane regime they support so much that they're willing to make genuine sacrifices to wreck its everyday functioning. Which is what Dr. King's passive noncompliance meant in the context of the Jim Crow South. I am not optimistic that enough Consumer-Americans (our true ethnicity now) are willing to make those peaceful sacrifices to send the message.

    • My read of history is that in the medium term, though not the short term, people want their countries to ape the country that seems to be having real success. The kings of 19th century Europe used saber-rattling to impress their restless subjects and stroke their egos, but the latter voted with their feet to get to the USA where the pay was better. Which is no longer true.

      So eventually a rising empire better able to cope with modern technology and provide real material benefits will become manifest, and in the old empires people will demand better practices. Unfortunately, the chances that the rising empire will be a democracy are about zero right now; only that it will be an authoritarianism based on rational calculation of widespread material benefits instead of a strongman state based on sadism and myths. At least that leaves the door open for peaceful improvements.

  • Alt-Right Trolls Try to Tank ‘Black Panther’ Score on Rotten Tomatoes
    • This is the future we're facing. A cultural cult has been relentlessly denigrating Blacks and their accomplishments at every available opportunity, and its recruits will keep at it for decades until they've restored the normal racism of the 19th century. It doesn't matter that most of us don't think that way; they're after our children's minds.

      So the question left to ask is, why? Why do human societies keep generating these stubborn pathologies, and do they succeed often enough to blight our history? America is susceptible to this because it never remembers and it never learns, but also because things like racism challenge a fundamental premise relied on by the founders of this society: that irrational hatred is unproductive and will soon be weeded out by the efficient workings of the marketplace.

      I'm here to say the opposite. There is a market for hate. It is another good that can be mass-produced and sold to people as a substitute for decent wages, affordable medical care, financial security in old age, a healthy environment. To me this is the great blind spot in America's capitalist theology. We are consumers of sadism just as we are consumers of food and housing and entertainment. We can build our entire society around a form of consumption too.

  • 206 Global Companies profit from Israeli Squatting in Palestinian West Bank
    • It's not a blacklist if you factually state what the members of the list did without actually saying what should be done to them. Mr. Danon must believe that the colonization of Palestine is not a violation of international law, so how can stating that these companies assisted in it be a blacklist?

  • Saudi Prince reaps $106 bn from "Anti-Corruption" Scheme
    • And now those individuals will devote the rest of their lives looking for vengeance against the Saud dynasty, and pass that vendetta on to their sons and grandsons. How hard do you figure it will be for them to find people willing to commit violent mischief?

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