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  • Trump's Folly: Oil is a Worthless Commodity and Saudi's Crown Prince Knows It
    • 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?
    • I have long believed the worst about the dupes.

      I think this country was built on a culture of sadism, ingeniously designed by the colonial elites to keep the poor divided against each other via caste.

      The South, the engine of the early American economy, was for all intents and purposes the Stanford Prison Experiment, and the behaviors of the guards in that famous example became the "sacred" culture of the White South whose defense has currently fallen to the GOP. Instead of being paid with enough money to improve their lives and break out of their cycle of poverty, the Whites were paid with sadistic privileges which they treasured.

      I think that subsequent social progress and demands for rights and equality worked because an expanding economy (aided by stolen territories) gave the working class leverage that those elites never intended. In effect, the poor Whites were bribed by progress towards acceptance of industrialization and its logical concomitant of organized, multiracial labor. Once that progress could not even be held back in the South, the country surged forward in the post-WW2 boom and the Civil Rights Movement.

      I believe the elites accepted this outcome as long as prosperity was overwhelming, but eventually they decided they wanted the whole pie for themselves. Which meant restoring the hardships and inequalities of the old order. Which absolutely required restoring for ordinary Whites the old privileges and caste barriers. Which is now underway.

      I don't think the dupes voted for Trump to make the pie bigger. They voted for Trump to violently, and preferably sadistically, take the pie out of the mouths of the children of their enemy. They got sick of Republicans stoking their fears of the Other to get elected, and then refusing to use their offices to carry out a Final Solution to subjugate or exterminate that Other. They are willing to sacrifice any number of their other values to make this monstrous event happen; their health care, their environmental protections, their schools, and anything resembling a future, in the belief that a monopoly of power will make their lives worth living again. Therefore, no matter how many times they are betrayed on these lower-priority issues, they don't view themselves as dupes yet.

      Some actually have visualized that extermination, the buyers of racist literature like The Turner Diaries. Many others, who I consider even more despicable, get through their self-righteous existences by not wanting to know the details, by pulling the lever for the worst person they can find on their side and hoping he will plan the deed in secret and then carry it out in a sudden coup so they can claim ignorance (and the benefits).

      It seems to me that Trump is rapidly running out of options to going ahead and doing just that. If in fact he fails to try, the dupes will attempt secession again.

    • 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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