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Total number of comments: 2936 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)


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  • German Politicians think Trump is dangerously close to Neo-Nazis, and they Should know
    • I think the actual Nazis are playing the long game right now; they're seizing this moment to begin a long process of normalization, but they know Trump won't be around for much of it. The problem is, once he's gone, his success in conning a wide range of right-wing voters guarantees he will be imitated on the state level, which is already dominated by extreme Republicans. The media has done a bad job of informing us about the state-level takeover of America and its coordination by national groups like ALEC with its cookie-cutter state legislature spamming. How will it handle fifty little Hitlers?

      Of course, there's plenty of time for Trump to impose dictatorship that's only Mussolini-bad, as opposed to Hitler-bad. The key to real fascism is mass participation; the followers must be enlisted to become paramilitary enforcers of the leader's will, bypassing the state organs preferred by more conventional authoritarians. With Trump, the call for his followers to go Kristallnacht could happen on any given day if he wakes up in a bad enough mood.

  • Remembering the White Rose anti-Nazi Activists
    • There is one non-violent thing Americans might reasonably do right now that would disrupt the system enough to matter.

      Stop shopping for Christmas.

      I mean, don't buy at all, if you can. Make it clear to your friends that you will give them things you own that they will appreciate, but will not participate in filling the coffers of the investor class who are Trump's lifeline of support. If you must buy, buy used, buy e-bay, buy direct from local craftsmen.

      The black population of South Africa had to beg us in the outside world to boycott their economy to bring down their masters. No one has the power to do that to America but Americans. We've constructed a very unstable, bubble-driven economy vulnerable to panic. We must accept the cost of causing that panic now. Trump could send troops out to butcher protesters and get half of America to excuse it, but he can't send troops door to door to force you to buy from Wal-Mart. That's one power you have over him.

  • Fascism in Charlottesville: Why it had a monopoly on violence & Intimidation
    • Yeah, that would have worked great against Hitler. There are tens of millions of people who don't WANT to ignore Trump because they are searching for a way to aggregate their hatred. They needed very little to find him. The point of the negative news was to warn the rest of us that he, and his followers, were a real threat.

      If warnings are counter-productive, then what the hell's the point of news, or information, or facts? Or even of this very website?

  • Why don't People think Trump's Denunciation sincere? B/c he Ran on Racism
    • He hasn't backed off his claim that the Central Park Five are guilty, no matter what science says. He hasn't backed off his refusal to accept that American police coerce confessions from Black suspects, which obviously has significance in the matter of American soldiers engaging in torture abroad.

  • Call it what it is: Domestic White Nationalist Terrorism on the Rise
    • White supremacist terrorism is the worst because it is founded on the past ritual of the lynching, a terrorist act in which the entire White population of a community openly gathers to celebrate, thereby sending a message to the entire Black community that they are outnumbered, outgunned, and outgoverned and resistance to all the other rituals of racism is thus futile.

      That entire-town turnout thing changed in the '30s, until lynching became a covert act in the night. That's probably a sign the ritual was falling apart, making the actual lynching itself futile. The logical goal of the modern White supremacist is to reverse the clock and get back to that fascist tribal celebration of raw power over "conquered" peoples.

  • Federal Agencies Warned of White Supremacist Threat in May
  • Bannon must go, but after that, Protesters should listen to Bernie
    • It was the Satanic bargain my ancestors in the Southern colonies took 350 years ago to be freed from indentured servitude when they had the power to wreck the nascent plantation society by joining the ongoing uprisings of the time. The entire argument is a construct: the jobs (growing dead-end tobacco), the station (henchman as autonomous yeoman farmer), and the idea of race itself were built by the oligarchs on terms that they dictated. But I suspect many of my ancestors came to enjoy the slave-whipping part.

  • Top 5 Ways White Terrorism means never having to Say you're Sorry
    • In my heart, I agree. But I've been watching this namecalling for decades, and I've seen American regressives put a lot of work into truthiness-based arguments that they're nothing at all like the Nazis because they "don't believe in Big Government." As long as our public's understanding of Nazism is based on the stereotype of German bureaucracy and intervention in markets, this lie will work. The reality on that front was more complex.

      You have to find a way to make people understand that the cornerstone of fascist belief is human inequality, and that fascism embraced all things that seemed to prove inequality in the crude way that racists always do. Thus fascists are not opposed to private property; they are opposed to "aliens" and "traitors" being allowed to earn enough property to matter. (Good ol' American hiring discrimination, supported by right-wingers as an inalienable liberty, fits perfectly with this.) Their mentality is essentially of their race being a warrior tribe who have won a trial by combat to own and control EVERYTHING (and everyone) within a certain "nation". Markets, government, religion, anything that makes that control more absolute is embraced to the extent it contributes.

      Once in power, that all changes to a cynical collaboration with the capitalist oligarchs. But fascists have to be stopped before that point. No fascist regime has ever been overthrown by its own people, only by foreign invasions. With the exception of Franco's Spain, which could not wall itself off from the wealthier democracies that flourished in Europe after WW2 and was worn down over 40 years.

      Before you can label them as Nazis with any credibility, you have to get them to say what mechanisms of our racist past they will restore in making America great "again", and then call those out as being both oppressive and supremacist. You have to paint them into a rhetorical corner where they finally admit that they will use state power to promote Whites over everyone else in the private realm, and restore a "natural" White monopoly on power.

      Hitler had a great disadvantage in his anti-Semitism of having to restore attitudes that seemed to be dying out in Wilhelmine Germany. It was not surprising that he used the revolutionary framing of a need for a dictatorship to cleanse society from the depravity of bourgeois liberalism that, once successful, would magically wither away (in his case into a Medievalized society under Nazi nobles, not a worker's paradise). It's much easier for an American racist, who can appeal to a fantasy of turning the clock back not 300 years, but only 50 or so, and not back to a feudal order but to the simple capitulation to individual States and their local oligarchs, to get White Supremacy back into power.

    • To give you an idea of how stubborn American exceptionalism might be, consider a phenomenon that we might once have called "European exceptionalism". 1400 years ago Europe was a collapsed civilization, held together only by blind faith in a Christian church that exploited the very collapse it helped cause to seize certain levers of power. The explosive rise of Islam on the African side of that empire rebooted culture, economics and science, but Europeans held out and defeated Islamic invaders advancing from Spain into France.

      Now any Moslem at that time could have given any Euro-Christian at that time exactly the same argument that many Euro/American greedbags are giving to Moslems today, from the occupation of Iraq to the HQs of multinational corporations. "Our civilization has proven superior; surrender to us and your children will have better lives." But in both cases, the "inferiors" said Hell No. That stubbornness and lack of appreciation for the humanity of aliens is a weakness if it causes your extinction, but you just may outlast those who lecture you for reasons beyond anyone's control. Eventually, your descendants may be the ones on top again, and they will have learned nothing.

      This absurd cycle may well be America's fate, unless the willpower of the barbarian can be defeated by reason. What we see instead is that the barbarians learn enough technology to get by and bide their time for generations on a tribal mythology of grievance and revenge.

    • I despise these guys and their hypocrisy but let's be honest: we define "terrorism" based on whether we're among the targets in some small or large sense. The instant we can see a crack of daylight between us and those intended to be terrorized, we can freely choose to label the perpetrators as terrorists or not terrorists depending on our own agendas.

      What that means when it happens in Virginia is that I'm revealing that I'm personally not "terrorized" by attacks on those who intend to obtain civil rights and equality by any means possible, because I intend to advocate those things from safe places even if it means they will be defeated. I've already retreated to impotence. Whereas I AM terrorized by Blacks legally protesting police violence, because I need those violent cops to protect my goodies by maintaining a state of terror over minority populations. Sympathies are weak, interests are murderous.

      Instead of continuing the self-serving arguments on who is the terrorist, we can learn a lot by listening to who does or does not consider themselves terrorized. And it reveals that real advocates for minorities' rights are as isolated and endangered today as they were in the 1870s, when that bulk of the Northern population that had supported the Civil War decided that the KKK was not terrorizing them in particular, so they wouldn't spend tax dollars to stop what the KKK was helping to build.

  • What to do with Confederate statues?
    • The problem is, a defeated "Them" will always be safely despised. A defeated "Us" is a trickier matter. It doesn't matter how much like a Nazi one chooses to be, as long as he is a White American who doesn't adopt foreign regalia or praise Herr Hitler; he will always be treated as a member of the White family. Just like our slaveowning ancestors.

    • There are times when I think there should be a statue of Nat Turner next to every statue of a Confederate general.

  • Trump to Guam: Nuclear Tensions Will Bring you Tourism
    • This is a joke, right?

      I mean, if Trump thinks that nuclear cremation is a joyous risk to take for the opportunities of tourism, then he has no actual understanding of death or pain at all. For him publicity literally is the sole engine of existence.

  • 'Locked & Loaded' Trump's 1960s Cowboyism re: N. Korea & Venezuela
    • If you think Trump wouldn't mind seeing the West Coast nuked, imagine how he feels about sacrificing South Korea, a country that has "taken our jobs", that has the audacity to be more technologically advanced than the USA in ways that actually benefit its citizens, who showed their true patriotism by recently running a President out of office for the crimes of a single crony as opposed to Trump's dozens.

      I'm very afraid for the South Korean people right now.

    • You are correct - Wayne wouldn't take roles that attacked the legitimacy of the existing government. He played (in what some consider his greatest performance) an ex-Confederate Texan in Red River, but that's as close to the Confederacy as he got. Conversely, he refused the role Gary Cooper immortalized in High Noon - a movie seen as an attack on McCarthyism, which Wayne supported. But his specific justification was that Cooper threw away his badge to deal with the bullies when the community he was supposed to represent refused to support him.

      Now Michael Herr, whose writings about Vietnam were so influential that he worked on the scripts of both Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket, does discuss in his book Dispatches how young GI's were "making their own war movies in their heads", charging the enemy trying to replicate the actions they saw in Sands of Iwo Jima.

    • Wayne had his moments as an actor. The Ringo Kid had no small influence on future anti-hero characters. True Grit and The Shootist are examples of an actor who's played a type of character so long that you can no longer tell where the reality ends, which is sort of a goal for actors. Unfortunately, that's a terrible goal for citizens and chief executives.

      And we're not the only country permanently hijacked by a romantic era of violence. If you watch Japanese TV, what's striking is that everything set before the modern era seems to occur during the Sengoku Jidai, the final squareoff between Japan's feudal lords all during the 16th century, or (if it's a tv show about more orderly people) the early Tokugawa dictatorship that followed. Think about all the centuries of Japanese culture before that. People seem to prefer the absolute chaos of the last, biggest feudal wars, and the absolute order of the subsequent dictatorship, as the simplistic foundation for stories of violence and honor.

      Remember that many Western stories that AREN'T about young gunfighters, but instead are about the triumph of the settlers and the sad obsolescence of those gunmen seem to take place after 1886, from The Rifleman (a retired gunman with a son) to The Wild Bunch (1916, and like many such later stories set in Mexico where the West stayed wild a little longer). You could say that they are the equivalent to the Japanese dramas set under the Tokugawas when modern bureaucratic civilization became possible, a sort of propaganda of vindication or a lament for the violent freedom that was lost.

  • Trump’s ‘Election Integrity’ Commission Hearkens Back to Jim Crow
    • We are not living in the second, but actually the THIRD time when Black voting rights were undermined. In the early days of colonial Virginia, chattel slavery was not yet the legal norm and African captives shipped in to its ports were normally sold into indentured servitude. If you could survive the servitude, you were free, though stranded far from home. But as I understand it, that meant that some of these men gained the right to vote in local elections. The participation of both Black and White servants in Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 scared the oligarchs, who devised a divide & conquer strategy that scars our nation to this day: the White servants were freed and even given farmland, the Black servants were legally recategorized as permanent slaves. The very terms "White" and "Black" didn't exist in law before then. They were devised to weld the White servants to the White oligarchs by manufacturing a common enemy: everyone who wasn't White.

      And that's why this keeps happening.

      I say, three strikes, and White rule is out. Forever.

  • "Fire & Fury" or "Shock and Awe": it is always the start of a Quagmire
  • America's Passionate Intensity: What Rough Beast Slouches toward Mar-a-Lago?
    • Eight of Bacevich's proposals would immediately be denounced as "leftist" by the entire right-wing political segment. Even the National Service proposal. Yet he is a conservative by global standards, like the current Pope. America is just very deranged to the Right, and not by accident.

    • The problem is, under globalization there are still distinct national capitalisms with different value systems. Globalization can be channeled by a mercantilist government to create leverage against the multinational corporations.

      Globalization has happened in various ways before. There are always peaking empires turning from the productive economic behaviors that enabled their military prowess, towards speculative economics and wealth polarization. There are always hungry states on the way up, willing to play the angles on the existing system as they build their power for the promise of overthrow.

      However, it's inexcusable with the educational and informational resources at our disposal for today's top empire to stumble through the process of decay as though history didn't exist. We could have prepared ourselves for this time. Nixon and Kissinger believed that American power was relatively in decline - for which, believe it or not, they were hated by the Right for their cynicism. Carter tried to warn us of the national malaise, and we punished him by installing a motivational speaker to hypnotize us.

  • 1st Amendment RIP: 50 Senators want to make Boycotting Israel a Felony
    • We've had draconian loyalty legislation in America under John Adams and Woodrow Wilson, but both times the US was in a state of war and the end of that state brought things back to normal. Consider that by extending that same tyrannical power to the advancement of Israel, we make it permanent, and potentially universal.

  • Trump's Worst Nightmare: Mueller's Grand Jury Subpoenas Russia Documents
    • I don't think, other than Mattis, that those are the generals the combat troops would obey.
      However, for many years I've had a growing fear that the Air Force is the service that would use its power against the American people. Watch its stateside activities closely.

    • Unfortunately LBJ chose not to apply it to Nixon in November 1968 when he had him dead to rights colluding with the dictator of South Vietnam.

    • I can live with that as long as the system remains paralyzed. What I'm terrified of is the day Trump tells that rally crowd to go home, get out whatever weapons they possess and start hunting down his enemies on the Internet.

    • man, explain to me Constitutionally what Democrats can do to stop one disastrous policy after another when they don't control any of the three branches of government? Come on, Hillary is gone now. America is a one-party state right now. We literally require a few Republican congressmen and judges to occasionally defect on the most offensive Republican initiatives to keep us from total dictatorship.

    • You mean your people weren't poring over the tabloids during the Profumo scandal and a dozen smaller scandals of the more-cautious politicians of later generations? Murdoch owns Britain's hindbrain too.

    • We are wishing not to be ruled by Trump, the White supremacist, misogynist global warming denier and conspiracy theorist. You seem to want bad things to happen to America so much that you want it to be ruled by Trump while those of us of the wrong gender, religion, race and income level (meaning most of us) suffer.

  • Top 5 Great Power Realist Reasons Trump is Wrong on Immigration
    • India now has 125 million English-speakers.
      I somehow don't think these are the English-speakers those who hide behind language to justify draconian policies are trying to favor.

    • Keep spinning. Eventually you'll be right about something.

      Perhaps as an American (and a Texan) I know those who elected Trump a lot better than you. It's the EXACT same people who have turned our state governments, which have no foreign policy for you to deplore, into pits of far-right insanity and bankrupting tax cut mania, cells for theocracy, deniers of all forms of pollution, advocates for private prisons. How about you listen to some of us tell you how many stone-cold racists there are here? How many who wish the Confederacy had won? How many wanted homosexuals to be herded into concentration camps during the AIDS crisis (including Pat Buchanan, who was the genesis for so much of what we call Trumpism?

      I fucking guarantee you that 90% of the people who voted for Trump are gun-obsessed, soldier-worshiping neo-Victorians who want America to be an aggressive military power. They just want to attack people they can beat. They don't even care what the economic variables are; just win and they'll volunteer to whip the slaves.

      Why the Hell are you conflating our imperialism with "the doors" staying open? You seem to imply that the immigrants are the source of our imperialism. Again, you will never catch the sort who obsesses about being a "real" American at a peace rally.

      You Britons must have a very strange idea of what our rednecks are like. Believe me, Harper Lee had them nailed pretty well with her withering portrayal of Jeb Ewell in To Kill A Mockingbird. What's changed since then is suburbs and Fox News.

  • The Dragon Arrives: 1st Chinese overseas Military Base in Djibouti
    • Because all those activities required government approval, and at a certain point, the mandarins decided that trade with the outside world was not in their interests.

    • Also, China is not monolithic. It embraced the idea of greedy multinational corporations, and those corporations do many different things at cross-purposes with each other.

  • Of all things Trump did to us, Vast new toxic CO2 Emissions are the Worst
    • I wonder what % of that action gets kicked back by Big Oil to various fronts of the Trump Organization.

  • Top 5 Trump Secrets of Sadism, from Trans People to Priebus to Police
    • The message is:
      White Americans with guns = policeman's unofficial backup
      Other Americans with guns = "thugs", "gang members"

      The next step is:
      Unofficial backups! It's time for you to join in the beatings!

  • Tesla 3 Arrives: Beginning of End of Climate Change? (Video)
    • The most logical automotive use for that gas turbine would be spinning an electrical generator. The very first gas-electric hybrid car I saw was on the cover of Popular Science in 1973, homebuilt by an inventor using the turbine engine from a helicopter.

  • Shell, terrified of EVs, expects 'low forever' Gasoline Prices; it is too Optimistic
    • The savings on total US consumption of 7 billion barrels per year would be 1.4%. The military aren't the only pigs in this country.

  • Is Trump's Cabinet Collapsing?
    • Trump could well paraphrase Comey here: "Lordy, I hope so!" That would give him the excuse to crush all his enemies.

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  • Trump's US sees Spike in Hate-Fueled Violence, as Tweets distract Public
    • The normalization of a million little outrages by the Master Race is what conservatives always mean by the Good Ol' Days.

  • There’s No ‘Free Market’ Solution to Health Care
    • It's probably less a culling than a subjugation. The idea being that in the superior past, the poor paid for their sin of being bad at making money by trading away their human rights to some Patriarch to increase his power to enforce God's will. Having some of our family members have medical problems will increase the pressure on us to submit.

      Meaning, in my suspicion, they have no problem with Mexicans, etc., existing among them as long as they're clearly marked as having no rights and existing only to serve "real" Americans. That will be the price of healthcare from their churches. That's the plan for all of us who are different than them. Eventually we troublemakers will die off, and our children will be broken and molded into a eternal servile race, keeping the worthless Master Race in hog heaven.

    • By now, the rank & file supporters of right-wing inequality know they have to pretend that markets will deliver affordable health care to the poor. And the rest of us refuse to consider the possibility that said supporters want exactly the opposite. They want the poor deprived of health care, unless those poor come crawling to right-wing megachurches (White-run, of course) which have the resources to bail their followers out of a few catastrophic crises. I know this, because the hardliners are considerably more honest in admitting that the poor should not have the right to vote and that they should pay greater taxes than the rich. No one pays attention to this sadism-as-identity.

  • How our Intel Agencies Screwed us by Letting Sessions, Trumpies get away with Russia Scheme
    • There's an even darker question about the NSA brought up by The Intercept and other outlets. A dozen years ago, they were discussing the secret installation of backdoors in commercial software that the NSA could exploit using its secret keys. The problem is, the keys got out. While it's mainly been used for normal crimes of greed, now the accusation is that it was used by the Russian government to attempt entry into the voter databases of American states.

      This may explain the slowness of the NSA response to this ongoing situation. They weren't eager to admit that their own Orwell-ware had become a weapon against your ability to vote.

      Not only were the targets mostly Democratic Party strongholds, but we know the Republican electoral officials have an overarching agenda to use any excuse to disrupt voting by likely Democrats (= minorities). So the discovery of the break-ins (against Democrats) would have been used by those cynical officials to impose even more restrictions on voting and attacks on voting rolls (against Democrats). So the break-ins did not even have to succeed to help the GOP. Which means that when Obama finally went to Republican Congressmen to issue a joint statement during the election, said Congressmen had everything to gain by spurning him as they did. Attacks on registration are not just helping Trump (which many on the Left consider worth any price just to destroy Hillary Clinton), they're helping the entire Republican Party win elections at every level.

  • Top 4 Lessons Trump can Learn from Napoleon in Russia
    • So how do you perceive Trump's long history of business deals with Russia's state-capitalists, which may have rescued him from ruin after he had cheated so many Americans? Can you at least consider the possibility that they expected a major favor in return? Or do you subscribe to the belief that America is uniquely evil?

    • You need to look more closely. He has been hostile to South Korea, China, and many of the actual democracies of Europe. The only "everyone" he tries to be friendly with are one-man dictatorships (China being run by a group of faceless bureaucrats), but then there aren't many functioning democracies left.

  • Unpopular: Trump's low Polls one reason for Healthcare Defeat
    • They already paid off the foot-draggers on this second attempt. It takes a hell of a lot of time and effort to get these scams to a vote, and it's a huge embarrassment to the Republican Party each time it fails.

      So the solution being discussed is something much more extreme, because it has novelty value and whips up the fanatic base. They want to just try to repeal Obamacare and replace it with nothing at all. THAT'S a core tenet of the right-wing movement, which is willing to sacrifice all the political parties to get its neo-feudal fantasy regime.

      But in the meantime, the Republican office holders have to appear to actually be getting something done, so they'll move onto some other monstrous scheme where the public is less clear on how it will be screwed.

  • The Dangerous Unreality of Trumpland rests on a Totalitarian Foundation
    • It depends on how cowardly the rest of the American people are. I'm not an optimist. You've seen plenty of far-right little douchebags like Richard Spencer and Milo Whats-his-name. You've seen plenty of young White Nazis. Could a few hundred thousand of them, as many as the National Guard, with the backing of the pro-Trump police, scare the rest of us into silence? Or worse, could their impunity excite a million stupid, apolitical young Americans into joining something that validates their sad existences?

    • The line between fascism as movement and fascism as tyrannical government is the willingness of citizens to participate on its terms. Normal authoritarians tried to get everyone to stay home and avoid politics. Totalitarianism - or at least the theory of it - demands all participate, but in unison with only one voice. What happens in practice is that the followers of fascist movements drive everyone else out of the public space and make themselves the only visible guide to behavior, puffing themselves up like cats to seem to fill that space.

      So for me the critical point in our crisis is when Trump invites his followers to function as a paramilitary, instead of merely relying on the official enforcement bureaucracy. Right now, there's too much lack of focus to demand such an act. But that could change quickly in a crisis.

  • Did UAE plant Fake News about Qatar to Fool Trump?
    • Basically, every government is potentially at war with everyone else's media and elections. Once it was learned how to hack democracy, it can't be unlearned. They learned how 2400 years ago, in the snakepit of conspiracy of the Peloponnesian Wars when sophists and coupsters made the direct democracy of Athens unviable. It took 2200 years before anyone else dared to try again.

  • In Int'l Diplomacy, Does Trump know the Art of the Deal?
    • We are all seeing that government is not the same as business, and is in no way inferior as a practice and an art.

  • Is Trump Sign or Cause of US Imperial Meltdown?
    • Trump is a sign of American senility, but that starts at home. Unfortunately, our Patriarchy of aging, paranoid cranky White men still have the power to make everyone else's homes miserable.

  • 25% of Australian Homes have gone Solar and other Green Triumphs this Week
    • One possible fate for our electricity distribution is that communities will form their own power cooperatives, with some members installing an excess of solar panels in order to sell power to other members. It could mean that some of us would revert back to "farming", little by little, as we make more and more of our living selling electricity to our neighbors. Income is going to get more complicated in a world where too few decent jobs remain unautomated. Besides electricity, people will have the ability to make a wide variety of simple items for themselves using 3-D printers, but why leave the printer sitting idle after you've made what you need? It sort of sounds Medieval, with a household (whether rich or poor) drawing from many different sources to survive.

  • Saudi Bloc: Qatar's Al Jazeera can Stay, it Just has to Report as We Say
    • I guess Washington should never have allowed the implanting in our heads of one of the most ridiculous lies that has blighted the world since the Afghan-Soviet War: that it's not terrorism, or even extremism, if Our Friends the Saudis do it. Now the idea is so stubbornly rooted that Americans just are conditioned to accept the double standard as if the Saudis were just another kind of White Christian. Meaning, we know it's terrorism and extremism but we hope that if we look the other way we will receive benefits from it as opposed to the terrorism and extremism of those who are not obsequious to Washington and Wall Street.

  • Trump & Macron Consult on Syria Cease Fire in Shadow of Don Jr. Scandal
    • You're kidding. Trump believes in the right to vote? He's just assembled an all-star cast of racist vote suppressors as a star chamber to "prove" that millions of fake voters put Clinton ahead of him in the vote totals. But he only made that claim after the election in the context of his under-reported smears of minority urban populations during the campaign, telling White suburban Republican audiences that nearby cities were full of these fake voters. This is a dog-whistle that minorities aren't real Americans and shouldn't be able to have their votes count so damn much. Maybe three-fifths would be comfortable to him.

      Said star chamber is now trying to obtain private voter information from every state in the union. I'm sure their intentions are trustworthy.

  • Trump’s Worst Collusion Isn’t With Russia — It’s With Corporations
    • Isn't Russia simply an oil corporation with sovereign powers, like Saudi Arabia? Its actions could pay off beyond the dreams of the non-oil corporations if Trump reverses the forces pushing down oil consumption or does the dirty work of creating a Mideast war. He's unlikely to manage the former, but the odds are perpetually great for the latter.

  • Now they hate Universities: Trumpie anti-Intellectualism infects GOP
    • Religion teaches that the past was better than the sinful present.

      Universities not run by neo-Confederate cranks teach that the past was pretty Goddamn awful, and that the elites had mechanisms that allowed them to exploit others. Worse, they teach that America was not different than other societies in these problems, that we are not an exception to the processes of inequality and imperialism.

      Really, the White masses started to turn against science when the scientists stopped telling them what they wanted to hear about themselves - that Whites are genetically superior, that life will perpetually keep getting better with no tradeoffs - and started telling them what they didn't want to hear - that the weapons their taxes pay for are absurdly dangerous, that the corporations produce their goodies by poisoning their environment, that there are always tradeoffs.

    • It irritates folks like you to be called deplorable, so you smear bourgeois liberals as Communists and Nazis. And now you've put a treasonous gangster in the White House so that he could guarantee it stays White forever, no matter the destruction he causes.

      link to

      Will you be irritated all the way unto ethnic cleansing and civil war?

    • The plan may be to drag us back into feudalism, complete with apprenticeships or indentured servitude and the power that gives to entrenched professionals to control who advances in society. It means all education will be controlled by employers.

      Here is a passage from the near-future novel I'm working on, where a right-wing businessman gives a speech to kids at a Renaissance Fest explaining its importance:

      “Our Medieval forefathers had the right idea about education. A few children trapped in families infested by ghetto welfare pathologies might have talent for technical functions. They can earn their training – and get exposed to real leadership in the bargain – simply by indenturing themselves to our most productive achievers. America made a great error getting away from that. That’s why the school I represent is phasing out charity scholarships, and so are Reverend Danforth’s. You will see many soon follow.”

      We've been moving to the Right all these years with some kind of end game in mind.

    • Oppressive oligarchies are not overthrown by the uneducated, the ignorant, or those who simply read free literature on the Internet.

    • The universities will be privatized, football and all. The rightwing movement will tell their followers that the new schools will be reformed and purged of subversive elements. I suggested that "State" will be replaced by "Sovereign" in their names, like Louisiana Sovereign University. "Sovereign" is a code word for both the religious right and the militia movement.

    • They're giving up on being able to afford to get their kids to college. But they have to tell themselves it's for the best, that the colleges won't make them better off or that the colleges are actually evil. And their leaders and media priests have been denouncing universities for years for the crime of "political correctness", for encouraging equal rights for women and minorities. The huge victories that LGBTQ have won in this decade may have triggered this hostility which suddenly appears after 2015.

  • We have dire Problems: Don't be distracted by Trump's Twitter Cascades
    • The focus on the insults is ostensibly important because Americans may not give a damn what their government does overseas, but they do have an understanding of the proprieties of how our various classes treat each other, good and ill. If a president can suddenly assume the comportment of Al Capone, then anything is possible and no *citizen* is safe.

      The problem is, "anything is possible" is meant by Trump's critics and the media to be bad news, while for the fanatical and desperate, it's their gamble that they will be restored to their ancient position as a fully empowered henchman class. After all, whom better than a gangster to hire thugs?

      Now I would argue that the insults are important because one of the striking cornerstones of fascism are the use of psychotically hyperbolic invective as the normal discourse about the enemies of the movement, soon to be declared enemies of the state and liquidated. This is radically different than the hypocritical behavior of bourgeois empires, none more so than the British whose studied words always masked their callous market-based murder in Ireland and darker-skinned nations. The question is, which would you personally take your chances living under, and trying to change? The status-quo evil empire of famine-causer Churchill, or the Apocalyptic reich of Gotterdamerung-fantasist Hitler? It's like the difference between Manzanar and Auschwitz.

      So it's not a distraction to examine Trump's use of hatred, if one knows how such things tend to proceed. There's just not enough Americans who know to matter. If there were, we'd all be communicating with each other about a General Strike to shut down the entire American economy until a new government is formed.

  • G19 outmaneuvers climate Rogue Trump, ignores Donald & Ivanka
    • Have you ever heard of the "Samson Option"?

    • Big Coal is busy arranging golden parachutes for its executives and investors; bailouts for everybody, disguised as protection of an industry vital for national security. Since that's not so different than how much of the American economy works, we can say Big Coal still is.

  • Trump's Fascist Weakness Mars Poland Diatribe
    • Yes, "will" is the key to unlocking his tortured lexicon.

      Will means "the ends justify the means." It is not to be applied to actual threats, because it really doesn't take much to push the button when thousands of tanks are bearing down on your cities. It is a code for pre-emptive action based on fantasies and phantoms.

      It is, in practice, the opposite of "process of law," or "reasonable suspicion", or "deliberate action."

    • The title was probably rewarded by Moslem community leaders for a specific favorable act, in the same way that Henry VIII got the exact same title from the Pope for some small favor he did. These titles are made up by flatterers, like "Empress of India". I would recommend that they hand the same title to Trump to influence his behavior, but considering what Henry did to the Catholic Church after receiving that title, flattery is no guarantee of gratitude.

  • Saudi-Led Group: Qatar to be Sanctioned for 'Negative' Response to Demands
    • It seems to me that Saudi Arabia is showing how insecure it is in its war plans against Iran. If it doesn't get everything it demands from Qatar, it won't have the nerve to attack Iran. Anything ordinary peace-loving people do to aid to Qatar could make a difference.

  • What's with the Victorious GOP's obsession with Civil War?
    • The larger cause of this future war is the passing of White dominance. All the forms of inequality familiar in America were built on that foundation, including wealth. Movements and rebellions against inequality often follow in waves inspired by Black civil rights movements.

      The use of White supremacy to buy off poor Whites (literally to create their identity, since before the imposition of slavery in the late 1600s people were just English, Scottish, Irish or African) has one huge apocalyptic catch. The myths used by the rich to instill hatred of minorities should logically lead to a Final Solution of elimination, either by ethnic cleansing or genocide. But the rich actually make their profit by keeping minorities around to divide the working class and destroy its economic leverage.

      Now that Whites are actually looking at being demoted to a plurality, the temptation to grasp at elimination is growing. The capitalists are going to get stuck having to make their plans for our economic subjugation clearer. Instead of the cowardly game of hiding the pleasure of watching mass incarceration of Blacks under the cover of a (very expensive) War on Drugs, they will have to make an explicit case to their followers that outright enslavement can profit all Whites. Which it can't, not at the rate at which automation is progressing.

      And if they bungle this scam, they will end up in a race war where the the right-wing side will be old, and so extreme that it will not use women much in combat. White progressives are indeed mostly useless in a dirty war, but they're going to get sidelined by people who actually will have to fight for their freedom.

    • America has always had two right wings, one based on agrarian feudalism in the South, one based on industry and banking in the north. The economic and political contradictions between them sometimes were bad enough to enable periods of real progress in America. When the two oligarchies were cooperative, though, inequality and injustice flourished. But the outright merger of these two right wings in the tumult of the 1960s, and the transfer of the White Southern vote to the Republican Party, has become a cancer on democracy in every area of policy. This unified oligarchy is literally using its power to drive Americans crazy.

    • Large organized formations will not be the standard in future civil wars. Lists of enemies will be compiled from Internet searches. Some will be publicized so that stochastic terrorism can offer some random, unpaid volunteers to do the deed, losers who can't even coherently describe who they're fighting for - the better to insulate the latter. Others will be handled by classical death squads, which certain Americans had the experience to help organize in Latin America.

      Since we're a nation of cowards who rely on airstrikes to deal with everything, the airstrike will be democratized in the form of the bomb-carrying store-bought drone. We will sit in our basements, watching enemy homes by web video, waiting to strike. That's the part the gun nuts didn't prepare for, the technology that invalidates their hobby/training advantage over the Left just as massed muskets once invalidated the elite training required by swords.

      The track record of the Right in these situations is alarmingly good. They got the win in Weimar, they got the drop on the Chinese and the Communists in Indonesia (500,000 dead), they pretended to save Chile from a Red coup. Actual civil wars against people who could really fight back have been stickier.

      If you want to do your part to dissuade any Fox News watchers you know to take this road, you have to make clear to them that they might jail and kill you, but they can't eliminate all the young Americans who will labor to pay for whatever middle-class entitlements they're counting on, most of whom are not White and will never be their Ni**ers. Tell them what "normal life" meant in Apartheid South Africa, remind them what it became in the Jim Crow South. Tell them they are condemning their own children and grandchildren to backwardness, barbarism, the life of a concentration camp guard... leaving no one to compete with Chinese engineers and scientists to make goods the rest of the world would want to buy. Point out to them that since they're going to outlaw abortion as soon as possible, but they all know damn well their kind would fly to Mexico to get one and our imprisoned minorities cannot, the White population will dwindle further and further, and the fresh blood on their hands will make assimilation impossible ever again. The machinery of enforcement will replace everything they've ever wanted to do with their lives, until they're living in the conditions of the Stanford Prison Experiment.

      Of course, for some conservatives that's a turn-on.

  • Trump has it Backwards: Green Energy will Make America Great
    • The people who control energy in a country define its identity. That was true when that energy came from slaves, then coal, then oil.

      And to the people who hate the coming of renewables, a country not run by right-wing oil and coal barons is not the United States of America. So they are being rational in a limited sense by driving it off a cliff rather than accepting a new American power structure.

      Now going back to the slaves would be fine because that is part of America's superior past.

  • With CNN Reporter Attack Video, Trump apes Seedy Dictators
    • Well, that's fine for you, but I have to live in a state full of armed, delusional Trump supporters. Like the plantation owners of the past who could send such thugs to eliminate dissidents without any formal governmental authority, he sure looks like the most powerful man in the world to me.

  • Another "Unbalanced" White Terrorist targets Muslims at Mosque Near Paris
  • UN: Saudi Bloc attempt to close Al Jazeera is attack on Freedom of Expression
    • There is an enormous difference between censorship at home - which practically every country has committed and is recognized as their sovereign right under international law - and ordering another country to close its own media a part of an ultimatum of war. The Saudis were already censoring their own citizens' media. This is very different.

  • The Violent "American Century"
    • We shouldn't forget the massive deaths that resulted from what was considered normal European imperialism in the century before America's rise. "Late Victorian Holocausts", by Mike Davis, may be a good source on this, recounting Britain's imposition of market dogma on India which required destroying its native practices to mitigate the effects of famine. The Pax Britannica had plenty of megadeath, but it was done mostly with markets and forced exports and imports, from the Potato Famine to the Opium Wars. Note that the West also is allowed to keep its hands clean for the destabilization of China during the Opium Wars and the awful Taiping Rebellion that followed, which cost 20 million dead during the 1860s.

  • Top 5 things Trump is doing to us Worse than insulting Mika
    • The Russia of today is not the old Communist enemy. It is a right-wing kleptocracy run by a smarter czar, with flat taxes for the rich and homophobia for the poor. You can't understand its sudden electoral coup unless you catch up to the American Right's approving recognition of Putin as one of their own.

    • You're a romantic who is clueless about the dark power of White Supremacy and the role of Putin in, however cynically, promoting its acolytes into competitive positions in elections in Western nations in the hopes of destabilizing and discrediting liberal democracy. I've had to deal with the rise of these monsters for 30 years, under many disguises carefully tailored by oligarch-funded foundations. Now they're in the White House. The excuse is always that they only wish to turn America inward and establish White pride at home. And there are plenty of Americans who are seduced by the idea that the benefits of the former will outweigh the sacrifice of minorities and their rights.

      I swear to God, Nicholas, that a race war in America is not going to leave you untouched in Europe. We who will fight it will not let you be untouched, just like the warriors in struggles in minor countries have made a bloody nuisance of themselves in the West to obtain advantages from recruitment to just provoking intervention in the hope that it will breed more hate.

      But even if that didn't happen, you should consider how the evangelization of White supremacy in the 18th and 19th century led to the wars of the 20th, where the idea promoted that Europeans had the right to enslave and conquer Africans and Asians was refined by demagogues into a similar right for Germans over Poles, etc. That is exactly the opposite environment than what you keep wanting to pull out of Trump's ass.

  • Syria: Russians alarmed, Washington Befuddled, by White House threats
    • Well, the Russians got what they paid for. A destabilized America. They should have paid more attention to the history of falling empires and the amount of damage they can cause, even to the countries preparing to supplant them.

  • Why it Matters that the World thinks US under Trump is Laughingstock
    • I've been saying this, especially at this site, for ten years or more. The peace movement refused to consider the idea that anything could be worse than American hegemony; they grabbed at supporting anyone anywhere who stood against it regardless of their practices, thus were tarred with support for Assad, Khadafi, and Chavez. They acted as though paradise would commence the instant our dying empire collapsed. Instead, in only months we have teleported not only into a fantastically cynical multipolar world of dictators, but into that world looking alarmingly like it did in 1913, with the alliances already forming to drag each other into a major war.

      The burden of persuading the American public to stop paying for hegemony required explaining to them what would replace it, how it would work in detail, and who would pay for it. Such a task was unlikely from those who viewed America as itself uniquely evil, and thus any American who wanted their country to be strong as complicit with evil. It was also unlikely from those who hate all militaries so much that they would rather see NATO demoished rather than the pragmatic alternative of the US negotiating a phased replacement of its membership with a simple alliance with the EU and a proper European military representing sovereign European interests against all comers.

      But no one was willing to educate the public about these things, leaving it ignorant about the inevitability of American decline. It was very frustrating and unnatural to have a public where no one, even Bernie Sanders, talked about a middle position between isolationism and hegemony: the planned self-demotion of America into a Great Power state in consultation with the other Great Powers, with agreements in place to prevent alliance escalation and red lines to govern their behavior in hot spots like Syria. Unfortunately in the amount of time we've lost, many nations (the US, Russia, India, Turkey) have become considerably less democratic and considerably more contemptuous of human rights, while the remaining adherents to both are under threat at home from ethnonationalists campaigning against that adherence.

      The window has closed, in our time, for the world to be both multipolar and democratic.

    • The more gas pipelines anywhere are hindered, the more that solar and wind rush in to fill the gap. Once the damn pipelines are done and pumping, the entrenched interests claim that it's unfair to strand their assets, even if solar and wind have become cheaper. Who's going to prove fossil fuels imported from the US or Russia are for the good of their people? I hope any negotiations drag out like Panmunjon.

    • Did you ask them if Berlusconi represents what Italy is?

    • I think what happened was a combination of two groups of disgruntled extremists in the 1960s. The war on public schools began in earnest as a defense of Jim Crow in the South; that was a populist movement in the worst sense of the word populist, with private schools materializing as segregation academies. Later on, the oligarchs in the more economically relevant parts of the country, like the DeVoses, panicked about civil rights and youth protests and environmental regulations; they started squirting money at any far-right thugs who were getting traction anywhere. Nixon's Southern Strategy ratified in the mainstream what those oligarchs did at the extremes.

      However, I think their personal animosity towards public education started with simple Yankee selfishness before it melded with Southern bigotry in a toxic brew of Christian fundamentalism. The Proposition 13 movement in California was where the capitalist war on public education began, and the appeal was wholly about tax cuts. No one intended to close the public schools because that would have been politically toxic, but my high school near Fresno was faced with the possibility of being cut to only 5 classes a day, endangering my fellow students' ability to get into college.

      They were willing then to leave the useless corpse of public schools in place without coming up with a replacement. Whereas Betsy DeVos absolutely wants to bring about that useless corpse so she can whine about replacing it with a covert beast she and her family helped design over the last 30 years, one that will not save money but will redistribute the burden of paying for it and the benefits to different classes from what it spews forth.

    • Panama was the CIA removing a high-level agent who'd gone rogue and stopped taking orders from Washington.

      What the US military hasn't done is win a war against a country that could shoot back. The first Gulf War was against a country already wrecked by its previous war - debts from which were a large issue in its invasion of Kuwait. Both the sheer strength of the coalition the US brought to share the burden and the limited goals and resulting stalemate resemble the outcome of the Korean War. Not that this is bad. But it hardly justifies the trillions we have spent on our military - and the creeping militarization of our culture and governance that has somehow resulted from it. It isn't just that it hasn't won wars on its own, it's that without the Soviet Union, there aren't any major wars that could happen that are worth fighting, yet the damn machine just keeps running along as if there were.

  • Is Putin's Russia the critical threat Americans believe it to be?
    • We need to see the larger danger. The package of technologies used in the Russian project against the 2016 election are probably available to any sizable nation that's willing to make the investment, including the US. That's bad news. Like drones, any new technology that is successfully used to damage rivals (which was the very least that Putin was attempting to do) while evading the definition of "act of war" will be exploited by all great powers. Get out of the mindset of all evil coming from Russia or all evil coming from America. All evil is what you can get away with.

      And elections, under these circumstances, may have just been rendered obsolete. The accusations against Russia are that it attempted attacks on the voting machines themselves using a stolen NSA key - which itself proves that this is not just a Russian threat, that it attempted attacks on voter data lists in Democratic districts, and that it manipulated anonymous Internet commenters to alter consensus on who we should vote for. So we don't really know who to vote for, who should be allowed to vote, or who really voted for whom.

      And that is what every country is going to try to do to its enemies.

      Don't deny the implications of that because you don't want an excuse for renewed hostilities between the US and Russia. Under these conditions, we will all be living in Orwell's world anyway.

      The only solution is a strategic election-fraud ban between the major powers. I see no way that can happen when Russia and the US are led by men tied together by an act of election fraud which they refuse to investigate, and the only other major power out there is Communist China.

  • Trump's Folly: Oil is a Worthless Commodity and Saudi's Crown Prince Knows It
    • The worship of the past is what holds the Right together. Misrepresenting that past into an absurd cafeteria of self-serving injustices is what keeps its leaders on top. But all these different pasts share the characteristic of inequality, of making "our kind" the masters. Other pasts, like say that of the Amish or the Aboriginies, are conveniently absent.

    • I think as more and more medical studies show the health risks from diesel particulates in populated areas, you will see programs to retire diesel cars or ban them from urban areas. In some parts of Europe diesels are the primary form of car. So something will have to replace them.

  • How Soon until we're Using More Than The Earth Can Provide?
    • To make it all more frightening, ask oneself this hard question: how much of our social progress and tolerance is conditional on prosperity? How much has already disappeared due to the hardships (intentionally) caused by wealth polarization? How much worse will things get when the pie is actually shrinking?

  • Green France: Macron bans Fracking and welcomes US renewables Scientists fleeing Trump
    • We're so much like Britain in 1913 it's sickening.

      As for the problem of the magic bullet, note the little-told story of World War 2: the countries that won didn't have the most advanced weapons (the Germans), or the most unstoppable weapons (the kamikaze). The mainstays of the Allies were weapons that their particular economies were capable of producing reliably in large numbers with the available resources. The USA nailed down which weapons it was staking victory on early in the struggle, even before Pearl Harbor: the B-17, the P-47, the Garand and M-1 carbine, the Sherman tank, the Jeep, and one basic generation of submarines. None of these were the best of their types in the war, or the most innovative, or the cheapest. We could have saved the lives of many airmen by using the small, ultra-aerodynamic B-43 that used speed instead of gunners to survive, replacing the B-17s that fell in vast numbers taking 13 crewmen each with them, but it was too late. Some important additions were made late, like the P-51, which was designed in a crash program and was cheaper to build than other fighters of the war. So our procurement system was flexible enough to make some amendments. But ultimately, they had to dance with who brung them. And the civilian factories that converted to produce those weapons largely had succeeded in the commercial marketplace in the same manner; never the most advanced or the most optimized, but conservative, overbuilt, and lacking the last word in every area of performance. That was American industry's strength.

      To say that this notion is dead in our country is a pathetic understatement.

    • Finally, a national fracking ban. We need to get these going everywhere until the oil industry can demonstrate it has a solution to the earthquake and groundwater contamination issues.

  • 4 Nations twist Qatar's arm, to close down Aljazeera
    • I haven't heard of censorship as part of an ultimatum of war since the Austro-Hungarian empire delivered its harsh terms to Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, including the demand that Serbian school curricula silence their anti-Austrian tone.

      Note that those demands were basically encouraged by the German Army high command because it expected Serbia to reject them and go to war; it was certain that now was the time to go to war with Russia, which was the real goal, but it needed to use the existing alliance entanglements to justify it.

    • The neoliberalization of Saudi Arabia proposed by the new crown prince doesn't need Al Jazeera around playing Naomi Klein. I suspect that neoliberalization was meant to be enforced on all the neighbors as well, which would make it a lot easier for Al Jazeera to document it. Note that I mean neoliberalization in the Pinochet sense; a lot of people will have to be killed for the crime of opposing marketization of a traditional society.

      This isn't a feudal state leaping ahead to parliamentary democracy, this is a feudal state moving into the next stage of centralized despotism plus markets, like Louis XIV.

  • What will Happen when Trump's Dupes Find Out?
    • The more you remind them:
      a. The more they turn out to vote and thus artificially extend their majority.
      b. The more they turn to demagogues who have, for years, been laying the groundwork for restoring the right of state governments to re-legalize discrimination ("a sincerely-held religious belief" my ass), and even take away one's right to vote (watch out for that new Constitutional Convention).
      c. The more they organize armed militias, as has happened in many other countries headed towards civil war. If they can't rule from Washington, they will cynically switch back to secessionism.

      So reminding them that they are a minority is insufficient. You must make the case to them that the price they will pay for trying to coercively rule as a minority will be much greater than the price of compromise. Which is a problem if they'd rather completely destroy the country than share power.

  • All Signs from Trump Point to a Coming Conflict with Iran
    • There simply is no way for the US to launch a meaningful military action on Iranian territory without facing massive resistance... unless it's a large nuclear first strike.

    • God help them if they think the soft underbelly of the Iranian Empire is located in Lebanon. Hezbollah is smarter than any of the other actors elbowing each other in Syria.

    • So basically, like abandoning TPP without any discussion of a strategy to prevent China from signing up capitalist states for an alternative trade pact that's even worse for workers and the environment?

      Seems to not just be a right-wing problem here. More like, Americans across the spectrum can't imagine what other nations will do with the corpse of the American Empire, because they can't be bothered to learn any history or accept its infinite, mind-boggling cynicism unless you dress it in medieval robes and call it "Game of Thrones".

  • What to do when anti-Muslim Hate Speech now passes the Dinner Table Test?
    • It pretty much passed the dinner-table test in America back in the '90s, long before 9/11. It only remained to be seen how far leaders and the public would keep egging each other on down the road to organized oppression.

  • The Millennial's Palace Coup in Saudi Arabia: How Dangerous?
    • Of course the princes are Wahhabist, that's
      the family's house religion. What you need to know is whether any princes are willing to share power with clerics in the way the latter want.

  • Russo-US dog fights over Syria?
    • The Japanese Army in Manchuria was a special creature. After Japan conquered it in 1895, the forces there were heavily involved in its economic development. As a result, that particular segment of the army became self-financing.

      And it is very, very dangerous for an army to be self-financing. If it can supply its own needs, how can any parliament stop it? These officers from Manchuria became the leading edge of Army arrogance and conspiracy against the elected government. And finally, they invaded the rest of China in 1937 without orders from Tokyo.

    • If we noticed the looting, what would we do? Congress is passing the agenda that it always wanted. There's no place left to turn to in the Constitution to stop that legislation. I don't see the will to make sacrifices necessary to stop the government by extra-Constitutional means. Meaning, disruptions of society capable of crashing its economy (which has proven more and more possible as Americans have become less and less willing to do it).

  • Have Syria's Kurds invented a Democratic Neo-Socialism?
    • The resemblance to the Spanish Civil War is even greater than I thought. Good luck avoiding that same outcome.

  • Don’t Slow Down on Impeachment
    • What other tools are there to stop him from ruining the country? Most Americans have such short attention spans that they don't want to know that governance is any more complicated than getting your guy in the White House with a rubber-stamp Congress. The promise of impeachment will at least get them off their asses for the midterms, which is where you'd have to win just to stop Trump on any policy matters.

      Beyond that, stopping Trump from ruining this country requires economic warfare against our fellow crazy citizens and real sacrifices. We would have to BDS ourselves to the brink of civil war.

  • Don't get mad over Trump's Climate Policies, Get Even
    • Yes, do those things, but also prepare yourself to do battle with the denialists along Trump's new trench line: that Paris was unfair because countries' past emissions shouldn't count even if that made them richer than other countries. The hatred of redistributive justice is absolute on the Right. Their goal is to wipe out all progressive taxation, which in a roundabout way is what asking the 1st World to make deeper proportionate cuts than the 3rd World is.

      The counter I'd use online is that China and India are polluting so much because they're making cheap crap for Wal-Mart. In other words, we actually export our pollution to them by having them make our stuff. However, they also are trying to move their workers into higher-wage jobs, which means away from the production that creates the most pollution. If we cut off all trade with those countries and then add that pollution back into our national ecosystem, something else will have to be cut from our CO2 budget, overwhelming what Trump might purport to squeeze out of a renegotiated Paris.

  • The End of pan-Arab Media? Governments Ban whole Channels, Fine Fans
    • So we finally have actual Islamofascism... imposed by America's #1 Arab ally and its little US-investing stooges.

  • Why Saudi Extremism, Instability is an Argument for EVs, Wind and Solar Energy
    • I don't know about that, but it is fair to say that the solvency of the Saudi and Russian treasuries do require one more oil price scare before they could spend the money needed to make serious reforms in their economies. Though I suspect once they get ahold of the bonanza from the price hike, they'll just put off any real reforms again.

  • Making America a Pariah again?
    • Actually, Trump WAS responsible for all those bad things that happened before 2016. He was a member of the oligarch class, a millionaire who became (at least for a while) a billionaire in the financial climate Reagan created. That class invested in the right-wing movement and its Republican comrades to create a populace that hated equality and diplomacy; that served to pull both parties far to the right. And that created the environment for the rise of militarism. It took a hell of a lot of rich bastards handing out money for decades.

      He is truly a representative of his class, and they should be judged by his example.

  • Trump's new Clash of Civilizations: Carbonites v. Greens
    • My feel is that Trump doesn't really understand any of this stuff, but he has people around him who are as wedded to the past of Oil Power as others are wedded to the past of White Power.

      So the net consensus of the crackpots around him works out to: Russia is White and has oil, thus good. Saudi Arabia is obsequious to Wall Street and has oil, thus good.

      I'm just not sure if these guys have any real basis for believing Russia will betray Tehran and take the side of the US-Israel-Saudi alliance planning aggression against Iran. The logical action for Russia is to play both sides, get the war going and then stay the Hell out of it and rake in the $50-per-barrel hike in oil prices.

  • Sorry, Trump, Electric Car sales doubled last Year, dooming dirty Fossil fuels
    • The Interstate Highway System was a huge intervention by the government into automotive behavior. Literally subsidizing the mass exodus to the suburbs, where all travel must be by car.

  • Execution-Crazy Saudi Gov't railroads 14 Shiite Dissidents with unfair Death Penalty
    • Executed for risking national security by protesting. Jeez, don't give Trump any ideas.

      This tells us all we need to know about Prince Salman's "modernization" of Saudi Arabia. Privatization, marketization, but just as much religious oppression as ever. Plus war against two neighbor states. He's an even worse neoconservative than I imagined when I heard his P.R. flackery about privatizing Aramco and putting Saudis to work.

  • Tillerson-Trump Rumble over Qatar shows White House Divisions
    • The attitude of the Right is that anything that is completely different from business is evil and must be destroyed. So they're going to keep trying to run government like a business until it's destroyed, neatly solving the problem.

    • The word going around the political sites is that Trump indeed did not understand that Centcom is based in Qatar.

    • Not mere chance. The need to use Iran as a scapegoat for all the collective failures of the monarchies, the US and Israel in the region put them all in the business of funding propaganda and "experts" to talk each other into doing this - as happened in the march to war in Iraq.

  • End of Blair Era in UK: Corbyn's Left-Wing Policies win at Ballot Box
    • Yes, Labor technically failed to do what Hillary Clinton did last year: win more votes than the other side. The advantage that Corbyn has is that he doesn't actually have to prove he can govern right now, he can troll the Tories' ineptitude from a position of strength without responsibility.

      But there's no way to make a change this big in only one sudden lunge. The responsibility is on the Labour leadership to keep building on this momentum. It has to tie Anglo xenophobia to outright racism, which it failed to do on the Brexit vote because it was so divided about it. Did young Britons vote by default for a Labour party that doesn't actually agree with them about Brexit? Is there a way to define multiculturalism as something that's not just neoliberalism disguised? Or must we all hole up in our narrow little tribal zones just to prove our opposition to corporate globalization?

      If you don't like a European Union defined by corporations, then you damn well better come up with a better definition and a movement of the transnational poor willing to fight for it. Xenophobia and autarky have not created progressive society anywhere. (Yes, I'm still pining for the IWW.)

  • UK hung Parliament: Is Trumpism pushing Europe Left?
    • An unstable, incompetent Tory coalition may be the fastest way to settle this. Question is, how bad would this Likud-Lieberman-like coalition have to be to trigger a swing back to the SNP that re-ignites secession talk? That would be a major political crisis that can't be delayed until the next general election.

    • Yes, the Orangemen sound like UKIP with actual blood on their hands instead of having their fanboys do it with plausible deniability.

      Question is, is there any issue where Ulsterite interests and Tory interests collide? I understand that Remain was popular in Northern Ireland.

  • As Comey Bolsters "Obstruction" Case, could Trump be Impeached?
    • This will be their Vietnam War, the one that won't go away and won't be forgotten. Since we're no longer a young or idealistic country, how do we make Trump the centerpiece of a broader critique of the American way of life, even an entryway towards leaving that way of life, the way Vietnam was for millions of baby boomers, the outrage that won't go away?

  • Trump could reform the Banks, or start 2nd Great Depression; Which is most Likely?
    • For the Mises Institute to support Glass-Steagall is staggering. The entire fake history about the Depression promoted by libertarians and the Far Right in general is founded upon Goebbelsesque lies about everything associated with the New Deal. Blame for the crash is always placed on the Federal Reserve holding back the banks, not the banks' irresponsibility. And admitting that investment banking is risky means admitting that unregulated markets naturally tend towards speculative bubbles, which cannot be explained by classical economics because traders in speculative investments do not behave according to the classical supply-demand model in which the more expensive a good becomes, the less demand there is for it and vice versa.

  • Top 10 Ways Americans judge Trump in the Comey Covfefe
    • Watch out for the new trench line that deniers/Trumpites are retreating into: saying that we must fight climate change, but then stoking xenophobia by saying that Rest Of World is cheating us in how the fight is being dictated by Paris.

      My guess is, if you confront them by saying, well, if we pull out and there's no external force to make America cut back CO2 faster than the market would prefer (slowly), what serious act will you support to hasten cutbacks? they will say a carbon tax (which they know won't happen because their own political faction will go to war over that) or more nuclear (which they know no one will pay for).

  • Muslims less likely to Commit Terrorism & other Reality-Based Statistics
    • We only care about the terrorists that we imagine have ourselves on their death list. As long as the White militias are not targeting a category I belong to, then they're not "terrorists". Islamists are targeting several categories that bourgeois Judeo-Christian First-Worlders belong to. Any talk about us all deserving equal protection before the law is hypocrisy; we will always try to get more protection resources for ourselves by downplaying the crimes against others.

      Whether this is affected by the actual numerical odds that a Patriot is more likely to kill you than an Islamist is beyond me. It's all about the idea of an enemy somewhere out there who has it in for you in particular.

  • Trump's Ally: Saudi Arabia's drive for Aristocratic Hegemony in the Middle East
    • 2. They're privatizing Aramco for short-term cash... and to curry the favor of those Westerners who will receive shares at a price that I guess the King can set on a case by case basis. What do you think a 1% share of Aramco is worth to The Trump Organization?

      3. The US got into this particular jam way back when it accepted the transfer of the Shah of Iran to our sphere of influence. That made us an enemy of Shiism right there, but we didn't know it until the hostage crisis. Then we sided with the Falangists in Lebanon right when Shia militants began to attack the Falangist-Israeli alliance, thus the Marine barracks bombing.

      Russia, meanwhile, is stuck with Syria as a legacy of the naval base Assad Senior let the Soviets build. The British have fanatically opposed Russian access to the Mediterranean since, I don't know, the Crimean War? Another commitment the US inherited. But since the end of the Cold War, Syria is coded "Shiite" not "socialist" because Iran took its side against Saudi's growing jihad against all that is not Wahhabi. Syria is the land bridge between Iran and Lebanon, the two prior grudges I mentioned.

    • Iran? Hell, Russia could airlift food in, in ironic callback to Berlin 1948. But what will it demand in return? Looks like the Pentagon is really stuck with Trump on this one.

    • No, but due to a 1971 vote by OPEC, all member sales are denominated in US $. Saudi Arabia provided the key votes as it has the plurality of votes in OPEC. Thus, OPEC's victories were also a guarantee of the ability of the US to run fiscal and trade deficits without the usual consequences, since printing more $ doesn't proportionately reduce their value as long as they are needed overseas.

      It's been understood that as part of this arrangement, the Saudis would have to recycle the $ they earn in various ways, including investing in the US and buying weapons from the US.

    • Serbia is getting uppity, Archduke.

  • First, the Soviets Collapsed: Is it America's Turn Now?
    • Back in the heady days of 1983, Howard Chaykin created an independent comic book, "American Flagg", about a future in which both the USSR and USA collapsed. Its main character, Reuben Flagg, is the son of Jewish lefties brought up in the relative comfort of the US Mars colony, who is now an unemployed actor due to computer-generated replacements. That's how the practically-exiled government on Mars maintains control over its scattered territories, by providing a flood of stupid, violent, profane cable TV shows hardly imaginable in 1983 but rather familiar by our current standards.

      He signs up for police duty on the USA's remaining toehold on Earth, the Plexmalls, where all those who had taxable value holed up behind stout defenses while the rest of the continent fell to gangs and extremist militias like the Gotterdammercrats. Over time we learn that the dual collapse of the superpowers led the bureaucrats on both sides to sign on to a merger, which requires selling off the non-profitable parts of their homelands to newly assertive nations like Brazil. He decides to fight back by taking control of a pirate satellite TV channel he's seized and getting out the truth, while continuing as the sheriff of the Chicago Plexmall.

      It is one of the most successfully prophetic near-future science fiction stories I know of; funny, viciously satirical, cynical, and groundbreaking in Chaykin's artwork. Look around for the collection of the early, better, stories in graphic novel form.

  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan uninvites Trump as opposed to Humane British Values
    • The reason there's not too much talk about Trump is that if one paid attention to that talk, one would know that Trump campaigned as a self-proclaimed messiah ready to sacrifice anything to save his "people". He actually said that he was the only man who could "save" America. You know that the goal of American imperialism is to create a world penetrable by Wall Street capital. Which means no matter how violent the US is, it is not even using one-tenth of one percent of the destructive energy of its arsenal; the other 99.9% are in the nukes. A terrorist who really believes his own shtick would not show such restraint if he had nukes. Trump is crossing a line where there suddenly is no reason to not use nuclear weapons to eliminate enemies. The problem, as always with him, is determining what he really believes.

  • It isn't just Trump: The American System is Broken
    • What we really need is a way to automate the rich out of their "jobs" so they'll be in the same boat as the rest of us.

    • The difference between the parties is this:

      link to

      One side had a plan, the other didn't.

    • The system also includes the civic indoctrination of the citizenry, which is true in any society. Once you create citizens who will not sacrifice their paychecks or comforts to stop what they fully understand is wrong, then you've broken the system. That's more powerful than even fooling them into thinking that it isn't wrong.

      Where we stand on that is yet to be seen.

  • Who needs Trump: State Policies driving huuje advances in Wind Power
    • Anschutz is not the good kind. He's another far-right family oligarch as bad as the DeVos/Prince clan.

      What we have with Anschutz and Brownback are the American version of India's Modi: theocrats who have no oil and need both energy and good PR.

  • No, Republicans... God Won't "Take Care Of" Global Warming
    • You should really get worried when they start saying that the warming is occurring because we're not persecuting gays enough.

  • Did Trump's Climate Disavowal just kill Capitalism?
    • Years ago, some writers dubbed fossil fuels "energy slaves", because the transition of the world from slavery and serfdom to coal-fueled industrialization was so short that you could say that economic growth has always been impossible without "someone" to do the dirty work. A cartload of coal possessed the energy to do the work of many men. It had the side effect of making the North vastly more productive than those who knew they could only defend slavery by forcibly keeping it America's dominant socioeconomic order.

      In a sense, the neo-Confederate gropings of the American Right fit right in with this. The South has always been backwards. That's an awful thing to say, but it was founded by investors to produce plantation crops without regard as to whether the land could support the needs of the workers. That implied coercion and poverty, and the manufacture of a social order to justify it.

      What if that order and nostalgia for it have simply been co-opted by a current oligarchy that relies on all the myriad effects of fossil fuels, because they are now in the same existential crisis as the old slave oligarchy? I remember how in the '80s the KKK fled law enforcement in the South for the Far West, followed in the '90s by the Southern evangelists flush with cash from right-wing followers. The South and West have now ideologically merged, with Texas as their axis. It's merged around the idea of enforcing an "American Way of Life" at all costs. But to the desperate people who seceded in 1860, slavery was the American Way of Life.

      The problem is, the young vigorous America could generate a new oligarchy of industrialists who, however reluctantly, could convert coal power into the war budget of the Union Army. More importantly, they had already converted coal power into optimism, a belief that America could abandon the slave-powered past because better was clearly coming. And only in the South was that belief based on simply doubling down on the past. The Northern economy was attempting revolutionary innovations in production, distribution and marketing.

      We don't have that in America now. Too many people (White and old) are convinced the old ways can be magically made competitive, because 40 years ago the old oligarchs went to the GOP and extremists further Right, and said, "Maximize my profits, destroy my expenses, manipulate the public however necessary to make them embrace it forever." Their money and indoctrination made it possible to brainwash from coast to (almost) coast, whereas the slaveowners had only the means to brainwash their immediate surroundings.

      America does not get to be a lead player in two consecutive global economic revolutions. We've gotten too senile and obsessed with chasing paper wealth, as was the fate of empires past. That means, this time the economic revolution is tainted by foreignness, and it is easy for the reactionaries to keep Americans at least limited in their enthusiasm for what should be in their rational self-interest. But then, it would have taken a lot of optimism for White Southerners of 1860 to gamble that they would be better off without slaves, and under the leadership of alien Yankees.

      So if it feels a little more every day like we're headed to a second Civil War, it's not just politics, it's thermodynamics.

    • The Social Darwinist would say that societies are the enforced conformity of survival strategies, and the society that most fully exploits all possible human motivations to produce goods will come out on top. But why shouldn't that include the worst motivations? Hate, fear, the hunger to dominate and torture the weak. There is a demand for all those things, and the market will supply every demand.

      And that's why the producers cannot remain merely amoral.

  • In Trump's DC, Noose Found in African American Museum
    • What, you though Republicans actually believe in democracy? They think they own all America by conquest, like their ancestors who they endlessly point to as the only possible role models for our future. The guns are there to ensure they can rule forever as a minority.

  • Trump, Paris Accords and the End of the American Century
    • The history of the apartheid cult in South Africa shows that there is always another scapegoat for hard times. To say nothing of the history of fascism.

      What if the Republican voters, all along, have sensed that the pie will never start growing again, and have only wanted someone to do the dirty work of restoring White monopoly over that pie at the expense of 100,000,000 others? And thus the discontent of Republicans was with demagogues who pointed out scapegoats, but once in power refused to prove their purity and carry out a final solution?

      What does a left-wing candidate have, anyway, that the left-wing alternatives to Hitler in 1933 clearly lacked? Are we really morally better people than the Germans of 1933? Because obviously we're far more politically ignorant.

    • In all of those things, Trump reflects the ignorance, hostility and racism of a large segment of ordinary Americans who seem, over the last 40 years, to have organized themselves to bully the rest of us into impotence and silence.

      It's hard to even part out which of their views are evil (we must dominate the inferior peoples) and which are bullshit (them foreigners is cheatin' us).

      Now most of us support a vague sort of internationalism that is only strong where it is in agreement with the bullies: the sacrosanct US military must dominate the globe just to be on the safe side.

      This is not just evil speaking; it's laziness speaking. The history of America is that we have NEVER had a consensus for sharing power with the outside world. When we were weak we acted all morally superior because we didn't get involved in the corrupt and decadent global affairs of kings and diplomats. Then the two world wars wrenched America into an opportunity to leap straight from isolation into global domination, and we brought our self-righteousness along with revisions.

      Now that means our grandfathers were able to suddenly establish hegemony over a hundred countries without actually knowing a damn thing about any of them or having any previous diplomatic history with most of them or having leaders or citizens who had an opinion about them. That is unprecedented, perhaps with the exception of Alexander suddenly supplanting Persia or the Mongols overrunning Eurasia. It was never, and is not now, worth the hassle to learn about the outside world because we've never had to build relations with any country in the "normal" way that neighboring countries in Europe and Asia have had to slowly learn (I hope) to evolve from hostile border interactions (land theft and war) to working together in large complex economic endeavors, and then build those up into networks with more distant lands. That's how it works with lots of weak little countries or even a half dozen strong countries that hoover up the weak and then confront each other.

      Americans didn't know about any of that stuff under Isolationism, but they also haven't had to learn any better under the with-us-or-against-us absolutism of the Cold War.
      And it seems, hegemony provides the only terms for foreign affairs that our bullies embrace and our normals obey. The discontents of decline have not created a constituency for power sharing.

      Thus, the switch flips back from hegemony to isolationism again, and the ignorance and bigotry flowers again - for it is no coincidence that isolationist America was full of racists and anti-Semites. Leftist anti-imperialists refused to prepare for that possibility, so enamored were they of a world deprived of American capitalist power. Well, it's here now, and each day is uglier than the last.

  • Allies Furious as Trump w/draws from G7 Climate Commitment, May leave Paris Accord
    • This is where we get into the curious junction between having a trade war over trade issues and having a trade war over diplomatic issues. With the former, the specter of Smoot-Hawley hovers and everyone fears retaliation causing the next Great Depression with the horrors that enabled. With the latter, the specter is what will happen in the future if they are not harsh in their retaliation.

      But obviously, you will end up facing both specters. A trade war begun to stop America's climate extremism might crash the world economy and create the perfect conditions for all the other extremisms now groping for power. And Trump is then rewarded by not having to be the one who starts the trade war he keeps threatening; instead he poses as the victim to his followers. This gets him off the hook for having to actually come up with replacement jobs due to the collapse of imports and exports and the lack of any planning for Americans to create replacement goods in time for Christmas.

      Now watch carefully which side the global investor class takes with its money. If they take Trump's side, as they have so far, then we probably were always doomed by climate change.

  • Trumpism: White Terrorist Murders 2 after harassing Muslim-American
    • “get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here.”

      Is that the smear that's being spread by the Bannon trolls now? That immigrants somehow aren't paying any taxes? How would that even work? No one wearing a hijab is going to be able to avoid payroll taxes if they have a job. Everyone pays sales taxes. We also have taxes on our phone bills and power bills.

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