Member Profile

Total number of comments: 908 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:39)

Travis Bickle

Showing comments 908 - 901

  • It's Class Warfare, Stupid. The GOP crusade against Health Care
    • There's actually more of a prefunctory ad hominem dismissal usually given when the concept is voiced, since its history is a bit pink.

      The phrase is also often appropriated by the Right preemptively, whenever they make a move like this one on healthcare. Its like how Israel has learned to scream as loudly as possible about the Palestinians, at the moment the Israelis instigate new violence. The first thing a pickpocket does when you catch his hand is to start screaming about how you're assaulting him.

      So, whatever else one might day about this administration, one should also add "incompetent", for failing to deploy the indicated invective, as they have in the past.

    • Very insightful. Seems to me this issue is so much more directly important to peoples lives that it easier to track and perceive the underlying realities.

      How things are handled and resolved becomes more telling about Americas fate as a nation than relatively abstract issues, like how ISIS is dealt with.

      Of course, in both cases the question is what the country and its citizenry stand for.

    • Even more succinct and pithy.

    • Nice summary.

    • No plan along theses lines begins to touch the underlying problem of unrestrained, runaway health care costs due a monopolistic system, which cannot in this case be resisted, since we cannot really shop.

      The industry grumbles but makes do because of this reality. Its still business as usual for them under any such plan. Neoliberal economic doctrine falls on its face under theses circumstances, but its easy to understand and self-serving, so the GOP clings to it, even as the industry sucks the blood out of the overall economy.

      Healthcare has to be addressed by a single payer model or you'll get what we've got, going downhill, every time.

  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral
    • The intention of these acts, at least when nominally controlled and not the byproduct of some Loser acting-out, is to provoke over-reaction. Not recognizing this particular instance, for example, for what it actually was: hardly even an act of criminality, much less one of genuine 'terrorism'.

      Where such provocations to The System ultimately lead, however, is to the people being constantly on edge, fearful of a guy who uses one too many plastic spoons down at the Burger King. And that's about where we now find ourselves.

    • Lots of truth in your post. If war is politics by other means then 'terrorism' is a tactic of desperation, occasionally effective in the past, but by nature and circumstances more often used counterproductively.

      People like this being empowered as lone-wolves are totally counterproductive in terms of Daesh's cause, except perhaps in the longer term, for the overreaction they predictably provoke.

      Hence, Daesh eventually dies. But the underlying problems persist, and the contradictions that pervade society become even sharper through establishment overreaction. Daesh may be finished, but this game only ends with a legitimate organic peace or a negotiated equilibrium (for as long as it holds).

    • You make the obvious point of their inevitable decline, but then you seque into their Long Game.....

      It may the end of Daesh as we know it, but the conditions that bred them are not receding, and as certainly as those like Trump persist so shall they. This is the Human Condition.

      Into small ineffective cells; perhaps being rebranded. But also consider how very much a bete noire is needed in this world. If they totally disappeared tomorrow a casting call would immediately go out for the next arch villain, to focus the peoples fears and empower ambitious politicians. I'm just wondering whether it will be The Joker, or perhaps a reinvented, 'existential' Iranian threat.

    • Page: 9
  • Why Trump loves both Torture and Fake News: Doing Violence to the Truth
    • Torture is also quite effective at reasserting a lost sense of power and control, which are psychologically indispensable.

      Its a way of doing something, especially when faced with a situation for which one has no real preparation, like 911.

      Without something to respond with, one might go absolutely mad with frustration and impotence.

  • Trump picks fights with US Allies: Germany, NATO, EU, Britain etc.
    • Not sure I'd buy your particular conjecture about what's in store, although it's as good a guess as anyones. And let's not forget there may be no plan at all (although I think its safe to say Bannon is the vision guy).

      Entonces, I cannot shake the feeling that there's some sleigh of hand at play here: where we get all exercised with things like the Wall, Russia, or this silly all-to-obviously improvised tweet about wire-taping, and miss what's really important.

      The linchpin for whatever agenda is really unfolding, at least legally, will be the Supreme Court and the AG's enforcement, so that's where I'm focusing my attention.

    • Could a lesson Trump learned in business be even more pertinent to Foreign Affairs, that all that really matters is the bottom line and the exercise of brute, coercive power?

      Amongst adults, Gemutlichkeit has always been overrated when it comes to having ones way. It can serve to help finesse children of all ages, and to build ones legitimacy amongst the same. And integrity is certainly a trait one values and encourages amongst ones employees for purposes of productivity. But Trump is to the manor born and knows better.

      Trump knows when you're a Star they'll let you do anything, and in many cases ask for it; about all those folks down at Mar a Lago who kiss his ass and just keep on smiling. Sure, Merkel, you or I, will shun an Ass like Trump, all things being equal. But things never really are, and certainly not when real stakes are involved.

      Did anyone else note how quickly and transparently the UN caved when Israel exercised its understanding of this reality upon The Donald?

      This may all be bad karma, but it works as long as a necessary clarity of understanding is maintained.

  • Hawaii Judge: Trump's Muslim Ban 2.0 still Violates the Constitution
    • What I want to know is what The Donald is going to do if he persists, and has to face the Reality of being seen unambiguous as a Loser. How will His Ego react? What will he do, for he must do something.

  • Close the Coal Plants: How to Reply to Pruitt's Lie about CO2 & Climate
    • Trump et al, although perhaps not Pruitt (a True Believer), may know that coal is an anachronism. They may also understand conservation is essential, which is just common sense. So, much of this may just be simple pandering.

      What their ideology does dictate is that things like environmental protection are a state issue. So, activists may want to press things at the state and local level. Progressive regions like the Pacific Northwest thus might survive.

      This misses the reality of pollution crossing state lines, and the incredible mess of having. 50 standards, which was what drove the creation of the EPA. Ultimately this sort of thing supports the agenda of disintegrating the US.

      Now, whose agenda might that support?

  • Syria: As 400 more Troops go in, What's Trump's Mission?
    • "Playing this out," unless dealing with a extraordinarily insightful, strong and wise leader, inevitably leads to mission creep. As the posting questions, what's the idea or possible strategy here (other than for Trump to look like he's doing something, and to keep a half-baked political promise)?

      This being the case, expect more troops to follow. Unless there's a Lebanon Barracks experience, which you can safely bet ISIS is now plotting.

  • Is the Public turning on Trump over Russia Ties, Sessions' Perjury?
    • Seems premature to even think about a book, don't you think?

      Most of us haven't as much as caught our breath. Not because Trump's such a man of evident action, but out of breathless terror at the disaster, absent Acts Of God, to which we appear destined.

    • My thoughts have been evolving, and are settling around the idea that Trump himselve has no particular ideology or vision (other than his own self-aggrandizement, of course). In terms of public perceptions and polling, this means he will continue to duck and weave while the genuinely important stuff proceeds apace, in the background.

      Hence, the consistency we see, such as it is, comes from the strategic opportunity provided to those who Bannon and Priebus represent, to essentially guide him.

      This means Trump may prove more flexible than it first appeared, and that he may be managable, in terms of the most extreme agenda traditional Republicans might dream of. Hence, these EOs about immigration, The Wall, and his midnight temper tandrums, serve only to distract the eye from the more important structural changes being implemented.

      Progressive achievements stand to be rolled-back, and National Security will suffer from general incompetence in the near and intermediate term (the dramatic, boots on the ground sort of things). Even Obamacare may ultimately be only weakened.

      The things to most concerned with, however, aside from things that will get people killed or erode America's role in the world, which are relatively survivable, would be these deeper structural changes that could have a ripple effect on economies around the world, for many generations.

  • Trump covers Rockwell: Sometimes it Feels like, Obama's Watching You
    • It's worth noting the FISA court record of approvals shows it to be a rubber stamp, although for a political target they'd be bound to be far more circumspect.

      Is it too much to hope for, that Trump etal could conceive of using the power of the Presidency to address the potentials for surveillance abuse constructively?

    • This guy is unhinged, and so manifestly unqualified to be President that it bears no further discussion.

      What remains is to try to anticipate how things are going to collapse or explode in ways we can only begin to imagine over THE NEXT FOUR YEARS!!!

      And yes, Obama is in real danger, and not just from the common Yahoos. Note that his AG has a long and well-documented history of political prosecution (see the current Guardian article.). Obama and HRC both need be be taking real care, as should we all.

  • Top 5 Ways Obama is Behind Leaks, Protests against Trump
    • Here's another thought, once again stressing that Trump has never really had a plan, other than to follow his Ego...

      Bannon appears to be walking coronary case, what with the perpetually red face, bulging eyes, and being clearly overweight,

      We're told not to perform psychoanalysis at a distance, but I'm wondering if an experienced Doctor would see the guy just exploding at some point, given how he presents and these reports of classic Type B temperament?

      Speaking of which, as the pressure builds, how's the heart of a guy like Trump liable to hold out?

    • Now, take note of Trump's proven pattern of behaviour and project it out a bit.

      It's absolutely no surprise he would be blaming his frustrations on Obama at this point (even as he denies any problems).

      But, what will his behavior be after a few more months, once he and his people are all in place, confident in their prerogatives and entitled as they are?

      Expect lashing out, and not just on Fox, but with the substantive vengeance by all means he endorses and recommends in his book.

      This comment is not meant to gratuitously inflame, but rather to get those who have some means of acting to consolidate their planning before things get really nasty. Meaning leakers and resisters need to be organized for a far heavier weight of intimidation and outright power to fall.

  • Spurned Reporters should dump Trump Briefings, turn to Investigative Journalism
    • I just learned The Guardian is funded by a Trust, and say they're beyond the control of govt or the invisible hand.

      They still had to take a lot of heat, and direct abuse from the British government (certain at the behest of the US), for their participation in the Snowden affair. No one is immune from the various pressures.

    • Good point and an appropriate idea.

      As Glenn Greenwald has noted for a long time, we shouldn't confuse stenography with journalism.

      Finally, however, business models and their budgets become the problem, often driven by the system.

      This is what makes ventures like Propublica and The Intercept so important.

  • Top 5 Hypocrisies of Trump Friday
    • Not to put too fine a point on the cost of the US defense establishment being tossed about, but these numbers rarely include retiree pensions and benefits, such as the VA, nor the cost of ongoing operations, like our incursions into Iraq.

    • I'd really like to hear from a historian about that 'choosing to work from within the system' argument, especially considering 1930's Germany. Seems to me they are hardly equivalent circumstances, and it'd be far easier for an individual not totally 'on the team' to be corrupted or coopted than to have a significant impact. I don't know about McMaster's political skills, but a guy like him will at best have to pick his fights very, very carefully.

      As to those 700 national security positions: I suspect plenty of 'qualified' people can be found among the new graduates of places like Liberty University. Keep in mind, there will be plenty of loyal and malleable supplicants if those are the criteria, and they certainly will be (along with appropriate donations to Trump's campaign or whatever). What sort of premium does this administration place on facts, knowledge or experience, anyway? Corporate cultures predictable reflect the personality and values of their Supreme Leader, and its clear what we can expect from new hires here, especially those who are a bit less visible.

      It seems to me the Worst Case is hardly a foregone conclusion. David Frum, that arch-neocon over at the Atlantic, presents the most plausible Best Case I've read, and I'd be happy to see his vision come true (e.g., the US becomes the Mother of all Banana Republics), given other more plausible scenarios.

    • There's no telling how the next four years will go, other than badly. But, a little anticipation is essential.

      One month in there has been no Night of the Long Knives; nor has he forced himself past the Judiciary; he has allowed the 'system' to take out Flynn as well as to install nominally sane people like Mathis into positions that could give balance to his positions. But, how long and to what degree can we expect Trump to allow himself be managed, to deny him that enormous change and glory he feels entitled?

      Methinks at the moment he's 'playing nice'. In a few months, once he's been frustrated by Mexico, the Courts, the bureaucracy in general, the gloves will come off. His pattern of behaviour developed by 70 years of experience and generations of Real Estate breeding, is to win at any cost, the more zero-sum the better.

      Once he has been frustrated enough, and with his people firmly esconsced, especially at the AG, we can expect the gloves to come off.

      The pivotal question at the moment will be what support he can expect from a new SCOTUS. Still, while their endorsements would be welcomed, he's not going to let them stop him either.

      Paraphrasing his Boy Miller, when it comes to national security the President's decisions will not be questioned. In the final analysis everything he's involved with is national security, so his intentions are clear.

      The only question in Trump/Brannon's mind has got to be whether they'll be able to just have their way, or whether they may have to get a little rough. Within a few months we should know.

  • Buyers' Remorse: Americans think Trump is bad at almost Everything
    • Assuming it is will be possible, the Trump show might add energy to an amendment addressing the TRUE swamp draining so desperately needed:

      Campaign finance reform, term limits, gerrymander control, voter participation. Here's a thought: any number of countries require voting, which kills the two birds of voter suppression and benign voter neglect with one stone. There could still be a big "none of the above" box if the choices totally sucked.

      The point, however, is that just stopping Trump/Bannon solves nothing. And had Hillary prevailed, we'd as a country still be twisting in the wind.

    • I think we all appreciate your putting this in bold.

      Still, let's get realistic in terms of the danger, which I think, realistically, over the next four years, is unfathomable.

      Then, people need to engage that reality with all the creativity they have, given their particular position, access, or other means.

      And people need to then develop and exercise their various capabilities now, rather than wait for this guy to cross another red line that is t too far.

      His own capabilities and intentions are clear. To just take a pill, or nap, will be to permit a fait acompli (spelling, sic?).

  • Should Bannon Resign? He and Milo Fake-Newsed Hillary as Pedophile
    • Or light up a fatty.

      I have no idea Why, but somehow I expect mainstreaming will be allowed to proceed.

    • Here's a guy, Richard Clarke, who we know from Bush II's administration, talking about the amateurism and upheaval in Trump's NSC from the perspective of 9/11

      link to

      The point is that all this stuff now coming out of the Trump administration is setting us up for a nightmare of inconceivable proportions, apart from its simple foolishness.

      When/if something bad does happen over the next 4 years, which these guys are practically begging for, we'll be wishing for the good ol' days of Dubya.

      What the future has in store for the US is incomprehensible.

    • Here's a thought:

      How does one get their head completely around the prospect of 4 years of this, ranging from daily deranged tweets to painful incompetence to a deliberate strategy of self a destruction.

      Bear in mind that all of this stuff compounds and takes on a life of its own. Not to mention actions have consequences that cannot be undone.

  • Netanyahu rejected offer by Kerry & Arab Leaders of Comprehensive Peace Talks
    • There'll be no deal. The only hope was when Israel was genuinely threatened (motivated). Think Camp David I, and they even played that to their ends. A rather brilliant and extraordinarily profitable case of making lemonade out of lemons.

      The only reason there's bee this drama through the years has been to fleece the US, and of course to not feel so guilty about what they have been up to.

    • This "ouside-in" business is noteworthy, representing a strategic shift in how Israel is pressing its rather transparent agenda.

      Whereas before they'd just scream in outrage whenever the Palestinian s made any feeble attempt at self-defense (often provoking things for just this reason), they're now shifting to the demonization of Iran as a unifying point for mobilization, especially with the US.

      Methinks they judge their project effectively done, with the current degree and momentum of colonization.

      What remains is follow-through. AND, more free money and arms from the US: hence a bigger bogeyman.

      Not that Iran is particularly benign. But shifting the focus to a matter of regional geopolitical balancing shows the irrelevance of the Palestinians going forward.

    • Of course you're right. Israel has always held the upper-hand on the ground, as well as the power needed to bankroll any potential peace through the US.

      Israel's actions have never been sincere: only the need to keep up appearances, domestically and internationally, while consolidating the boundaries conquered in 1967,

      You see, for purposes of Israel and Jewish collective ego, especially given their tragic history, it just doesn't do to have them do what they're doing too blatantly. Things have to be done delicately. Aside, of course, from the untold billions (now trillions?) they've managed to con out of the US over the years.

      There's never really been that much to discuss here, at least between informed, clear-eyed adults. Except, perhaps, how easily childish people are able to kid themselves about something when they want to believe in it so badly (e.g., the illusion of Israeli Good Faith).

  • Trump invents Sweden Terror Attack, Lies about Immigrant Crime
    • Someone else can cite actual numbers, but:

      Of registered voters, not representing all eligible, the 2016 turnout was light;

      A significant number of Trump voters were actually voting against HRC, not for Trump in a direct sense. This is my anecdotal perception, but I think the evidence would support it. I knew any number of people would couldn't conceive of T winning, so just used their vote to spite Clinton.

      Then you get any number of ignorant and desperate for change folk, who were too naive to know how they were being manipulated, but who really aren't outright stupid.

      Disaggregate things and the number of irredeemable Yahoos shrinks to background noise. This does assume there is competent leadership with inclusive programs and an involved polity.

    • PS....Look at the actual numbers.

      Even with Clinton, a tiny bit more involvement would've made all the difference.

      But, the fact is that she was evidently not up to what the US needs.

      With the right person and platform, the Yahoos and their currently loud voice will fade into the background. They simply have to be acknowledged and included in that new vision.

    • With so many posts above wondering, once again, How Oh How did we let a bunch of Yahoos take over....???

      The answer, not to put too fine a point on it, is the best alternative that could be burped-up was HRC.

      We can and should shoot a messenger who, having made his point, takes over (not a perfect analogy, but you get the point.)

      What needs to happen now is not just to stop Trump/Bannon, but come up with a real alternative, and the DNC has still shown NO sign that it even gets what just happened.

      I'm interested in genuinely new leadership. The stakes are now such that some relative unknown with the right vision and skills might step up. Whoever steps up will find people, other than from the status quo, ready to support them in a way that can lead to success.

      For every time someone emerges. Let's just hope the Trump/Bannon vision doesn't represent our collective destiny.

  • Top 8 Signs someone is a White Terrorist, e.g. plotting to Blow up Mosque
    • There's an interesting point here:

      The promise (or perhaps just the suggestion) of bigger budgets could well drive a more properly inclusive definition of 'Terrorism'.

    • 'Terrorism' is essentially a tactic of politics, by other means. Handily re-defined by some of its practicioners to delegitimize others who may also employ it.

      But make no mistake, the use of Terrorism, and evocation of its existence by politicians or in a blog, are both political acts.

      At whatever point you can work from that understanding, Terrorism becomes something you can begin to address effectively, meaning politically.

  • Tomorrow, they will say, “Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.”
    • Now you're broaching the metaphysics of reality. Per Rove, its dangerous to give credence to follow that road and not recognize what's really so.

    • Give Trump just a little more time. I suspect he and we are destined for a breathtaking next 4 years.

  • Farewell to doublespeak: Israel’s vision for the future is terrifying
    • What is so sad is that this complete article, without its contemporary references to Trump, could have been written over ten years ago.

      In fact, with the demonstrated lack of Israeli Good Faith in implementing the Oslo accords (such as they were), Israeli intentions were clear.

      Except for those somehow making a living off the facade, or who were suborned into maintaining it so Israel could continue to think it was something other than what it has become.

  • Questions about Judgment: Trump appointed Flynn in the First Place
    • Upon hearing this news there was the temptation to see it as evidence that even with Trump there were limits.

      It is more realistic to see those limits were set by core team dynamics, driven by implicit coercion from the IC.

      So, it wasn't as though Flynn were sacked for his views, or that Trump feels some limit on his omnipotence in the face of them.

  • After Miller's Mega-Lies, time to rev back up the Reality Based Community
    • Perhaps inadvertently you mentioned the ".01%", which is a point often missed. Those that these guys serve, in fact, are even more rare.

  • Can Peak Gerrymandering by GOP be Challenged by Progressives?
    • Taken together with yesterday's post, it seems clear that the courts can potentially stymy this administration.

      It is possible that all those 'Real Americans' who didn't vote due to apathy or disgust have woken up and smelled the coffee. And that with every new insult to the system they become more effectively mobilized.

      Maybe there is some thin hope. Even so, this potential will be decided relatively quickly.

  • Could NSA Flynn face Criminal Charges over Russia Ties?
    • Push comes anywhere near shove, Trump simply pardons any questionable actions of family, friends or others, preemptively, a la Ford with Nixon. He may even do it for money: Trump has stated on the record that he, as President, is above the emoluments clause. Cases closed, and I believe with prejudice.

      Question begging now is just how extensively will he use this very handy power once he gets the hang of it. In fact, the real question is how far will he exercise all of his various prerogatives once he gets a feel for them and finds himself under pressure. The pressure he'll feel most urgently will be to effect the sweeping changes and greatness he sees as his due, given his breathtakingly large sense of entitlement and ego.

      Can anyone show where he has ever, ever shown any sense of forbearance? Can any one expect he will ever show ANY of it in the future?

      In responding to one of my earlier posts of what to expect and the need to mobilize effectively, in ways appropriate to the times and circumstances, one usually thoughtful responder told me to relax (essentially to go take a nap).

      There's no way of guessing precisely how things are going to unfold. But, baring an Act of God (a heart attack?), things are bound to get ugly in ways unimaginable, due to a subliminal sense of American Exceptionalism amongst those, even reading here, who should know better.

      My thinking is that anyone with any ability to blow a whistle should do so to a source prepared for the times and the circumstances, like

      The streets are an anachronism and the state security systems are so highly evolved that any street demonstrations that threaten to become effectual will be be suicidal. (Ineffectual venting, like the Occupy movement, will be permitted, but stand to be followed and infiltrated). Even a million-person turnout stands to be surveilled by facial recognition software and the leadership patiently and discretely intimidated or otherwise neutered.

      Don't kid yourself. Of course, Trump could have a Road-To-Damascus experience, avail himself of the collective wisdom of society and work to serve its needs as a whole, but who out there wants to bet on that?

  • The real Victors in Judges' ban on Trump's Ban: US Universities
    • What would the informed speculation be for this case?

      Presumably it'll (soon?) Reach SCOTUS. Will they punt it; if they uphold at this moment it'd be a resounding repudiation.

      At that point there's no telling how T would react to defend his Ego.

  • In Shocker, Federal Judge in Seattle Halts Trump Muslim Ban
    • I wouldn't oversimplify that stuff about the Balance Of Power we learned back in high school. We have to also factor in how the values and allegiances of the AG shake-out, especially as they relate to issues of funding and enforcement.

    • Erdogan has always gauged precisely how far he could push things with great astuteness. I wouldn't sell Trump's political sense sort, with his evident success, but Erdogan has been able not only to surf the wave and essentially to guide it.

      Although he's an authoritarian, the record shows he's a different and altogether more impressive breed of cat than Trump, despite what I put in the above comments about like minds. It is an interesting and perhaps useful comparison.

    • Dictators, by any other name, have always recognized the special excellence of one another immediately. This is the only sort of outside validation someone like Our Boy would accept. You know, like mines and all that stuff.

    • Couldn't this set the stage for an accelerated referral to the Supreme Court, since Trump et al will not just accept this. It might quickly move to a showdown on the confidence with which the new regime is going to pursue its agenda on immigration, and other things by implication?

  • Trumpworld Fake News: Iran attacks US Navy, Iraqis Massacre Bowling Green
    • OK. But recognizing the devil as such makes it that much easier to keep him in a proper and useful perspective.

      The point here being that even a guy like this, with such a pernicious history, also sees a crying need for some genuinely effective checks that at the moment don't exist.

    • Glenn Beck has actually come about to see Trump as an over-reaction to Trump.

    • For anyone that interesting in the details of Rovian metaphysics, it was Ron Susskind, a highly credible journalist at The New Yorker, who reported this exchange, but he didn't attribute it directly to Rove.

      In a psychological sense it's actually an important tactic in the toolbox of petty salesmen and practitioners of the long-con. The trouble is when you apply 'positive thinking' (alternative thinking?) to objective realities. Even then you can sometimes get away with it by redefining words, as we now see with Trump.

      Ultimately, however, when objective reality is rejected, Hubris as a relentless guided missile is launched. The bigger the lie and the more one ducks and weaves with more lies, the more powerful the comeuppance when that missile inevitably connects, and it will.

    • One of the more optimistic conservative voices, who is nevertheless bothered in the manner of traditional republicans, is David Frumm, over at The Atlantic. His take on what to expect is quite pertinent in that he is well informed and writes from a perspective this website tends (with all due respect) to lack:

      link to

      Following the same pattern of past behavior approach you use, which is pretty good in predicting future behavior, Frumm dismisses all the stuff you mention. I rather agree with you, but his perspective remains important.

      Frumm's observation, based on past behavior, is of the danger from looting (in the billions?) we can expect from Trump, his family and new found cronies from around the world. This would lead to a sort of benign post-modern authoritarianism, such as we now see in Hungary. Governmental integrity would be further corroded (not to say it wasn't already heading in this direction), leading us to something more typical in the developing world.

      This is as good a place as any to suggest a new website to combat the absolute deluge of BS, to clearly and completely document the gap between Trump statements and actions, and their realities. Set this thing up in a very simple two-column format, with his tweets or actions chronologically documented in the left column. Immediately next to each of these points have The Truth or how matters are actually unfolding on the right, with extensive links to primary source documentation (e.g., photos from the Washington Mall). It'd be like a spreadsheet, where the right column could keep expanding downward to reflect the unfolding realities and consequences of his actions.

      Dissenting voices, especially on the internet since the streets have become anachronistic, otherwise stand to be shouted down by the army of trolls Frumm himself anticipates. Also, any number of websites like this one may offer pertinent rebuttals, but they're too widely scattered, are too inconsistent in their quality, and their coverage is otherwise entirely too ad hoc.

      What is needed is something to consistently, coherently, and succinctly provide ENDURING and ONGOING documentation of the realities that are now unfolding on a daily basis.

      The great danger here is that people will otherwise forget or miss the pattern of his actions and their impact, as Trump continues to distract people and change the subject with ever more outrageous 3 AM tweets. How many of his initiatives stand to be forgotten or minimized when he starts a war with Iran (and, of course, it'll be all their fault)? The sheer volume of what he has promised and is poised to do will otherwise become overwhelming, and the impact of all this stuff is too easily diluted in its presence by more 'breaking news'.

      Anyway one looks at it, resisting in the manner in which it has been done in the past is not going to cut it. To steal someone else's observation from back before the election, there has to this point been a collective failure of imagination, particularly on the part of the media, of what this new regime portends. Only by waking-up and responding in new and more appropriate ways can a largely unimaginable disaster yet be mitigated.

    • And so, this is how new realities are created. It's a lot easier when agendas leverage themselves off, you know, reality. When there is a determined vision involved all bets are off.

  • Trump's Alt-Reality: White Terrorism against Mosque justifies Muslim Ban
    • I agree and share the obvious frustrations of those who know better.

      The challenge becomes not just to know better, but how to communicate that knowledge in a way that will be meaningful to those who are often pridefully ignorant.

      The answer is not to show them they are fools, like Obama, or that you're so much smarter.

      The key is to make it impersonal, and address the framing.

      People, in general, arr not so stupid, but they are uninformed and evidently prone to being played.

      Keep discussions direct. Avoid the traps of polemics and personalization. Focusing on the underlying context and framing goes far further.

      The point at which they begin to recognize the superficiality, wherever it arises, is the point you begin to mind at a time. And those minds can and will influence others.

    • This is why the above observation about framing is so critical.

      Resistors can and must counter these individual lies, but by framing their responses more strategically... By addressing the framing... They stand to be far MORE effective.

      Essentially, people need to discover for themselves how they are being played for saps.

      "Educating" them, in a vacuum, just makes them dig in their heels.

    • Newspapers and broader viewership websites like Huffington can do succinct, well-designed de-bunking, through boxes and other graphic techniques.

      These guys will always be able to maintain the initiative with more lies, so the reponse must be enduring, stubborn engagement on everyones part.

      The next phase, in response to such engagement, would be a national emergency of some type to drown you out. So, expect that response and be prepared.

  • German Ambassador 1933: "Hostility to Jews Aimed Mainly at 'Immigrants'"
    • With all due respect, blah blah, blah.

      We are past the point of what He might do to what He is doing, and with alacrity. I was thinking 8-10 weeks, being implemented through the AG. Wrong: its been 8-10 days through executive order. Those which VERY well have been signed in secret could become fatal, and very quickly.

      You, and this website, need to immediately encourage direct action, and in particular, LEAKS, through sites with robust defensive capabilities, such as the

      The time is now, and the barricades are digital.

  • Now that SecDef thinks Israeli Occupation is Apartheid, will the Lobby Blackballing Fail?
    • Mathis wasn't the only senior military person who dared to speak to this obvious truth, as military people who pay the price have to deal objectively with such cold, bloody realities. Seems to me David Petraeus said something very similar in a similarly matter of fact way.

      It will be very telling whether these two putative leaders-of-men, along with their Commander-In-Chief, are going to be ready to go against this particular power, or whether they will all be brought to heel.

      If these three people cannot stand up to the Lobby, they will have shown themselves as the spineless creatures they really are, effectively deferring their judgement and the best interests of the US to the desires of another country and/or its agents.

      A very fine case could be made that Israel and its agents operating here, directly or indirectly, represent the single biggest danger to US national security this country has.

  • 5 Trump Headlines more outrageous than the "Hamilton" Tiff
    • Regarding the charges against Bannon of anti-semitism, the fellow is actually an ardent Zionist.

      You see, for a significant segment of the alt-right movement its all about ethnic nationalism and purity (of essense?) In the same way that those in the alt-right have a White Christian vision for American, so does Bannon respect and emphatically support the agenda of the Israeli Right for an ethnically pure Zion. This has become a wonderful way for Bannon et al to have their cake and eat it too.

      What this means for Jews in America I don't know, but they should think again. They probably think they can manage 'them' through 'him' via Kushner, as alluded to above. Ah, the hubris.

  • Will Trump do a deal with Iran or try to Overthrow its Government?
    • It seems like I heard Iran is exporting that heavy water, which is allowable and it's never been a secret, nor has it been objected to on that basis. It seems to me this sort of alarmist, planted 'news,' is what we have come to expect from the WSJ.

    • This comment reminds me of one I made about Obama some time ago, seeing him as a smart outsider who'd finesse the various players all (so very obviously) out to manipulate him. Especially after the Generals early on boxed him in on with their 'options' in Afghanistan it seemed he'd learned his lesson and would go all rope-a-dope with the Usual Suspects. (Maybe that's what happened, at least in FP, where he's endeavored with some success to not do any stupid s--t.)

      Another poster memorably derided my thinking, that Obama was playing some sort of 3-dimensional Vulcan Chess with those guys. It occurred to me that I wasn't wrong, but that he was more right.

      In business, especially the Big-Ego, Super-Entrepreneurial milieu he inhabits, the Players (as they fancy themselves) operate out of power, constantly dancing and weaving, looking for an opening to strike, not unlike a boxer. Trump has never used that metaphor, but he has spoken of attacking in negotiations from a position of power, pressing on every front, making up new ones as possible, never giving on any point until you get the deal you want. Great article on the psychology he has demonstrated over the years from Dan McAdams at Northwestern link to

      Anyway. His appointments will be telling, but established advisors (Kushner et al) more so than those like Christie, who he will certainly throw under the bus whenever it becomes expedient. Compared to his own role, none of these other guys will even register. In an joint appearance some months ago, Trump's contempt of Christie was palpable. Trump may be an actor, but that was no act. And when it gets right down to it, outside of (maybe) his immediate family, nobody really registers that highly.

      Ultimately, it seems to me, for The Donald its all about The Donald. He's going to be doing this thing by Zen, just like he has run his businesses. It will be for better or worse, and the odds given his preparation and those posed against him, are for far, far worse.

      Whatever the case, as McAdams holds, he's the type to swing for the seats, better thinking be damned, so we need to hold onto our own.

    • This comments remind me of one I made about Obama some time ago, seeing him as a smart outsider who'd finesse the various players all (so very obviously) out to manipulate him. Especially after the Generals early on boxed him in on with their 'options' in Afghanistan, it seemed he'd learned his lesson and go all rope-a-dope with the Usual Suspects. (Maybe that's what happened, at least in FP, where he's endeavored with some success not to do any stupid s--t.)

      Another poster memorably derided my thinking, that Obama was playing some sort of 3-dimensional Vulcan Chess with those guys. It occurred to me that I wasn't wrong, but that he was more right.

      In business, especially the Big-Ego, Super-Entrepreneurial milieu he inhabits, one operates out of power, constantly dancing and looking for an opening to strike, not unlike a boxer. Trump has never used that metaphor, but he has spoken of attacking in negotiations from a position of power, pressing on every front, making up new ones as possible, never giving on any point until you get the deal you want. Great article on the psychology he has demonstrated over the years from Dan McAdams at Northwestern link to

      Anyway. His appointments will be telling, but established advisors (Kushner et al), more so than people like Christie, who he will certainly throw under the bus whenever it becomes expedient. Compared to his his own role, none of these other guys even register. In an joint appearance some months ago, Trump's contempt of Christie was palpable. Trump may be an actor, but that was no act.

      Ultimately, it seems to me, for The Donald its all about The Donald. He's going to be doing this thing by Zen, just like he has run his businesses. For better or worse, and the odds given his preparation and those posed against him, are for far, far worse.

      Whatever the case, as McAdams holds, he's the type to swing for the seats, better thinking be damned, so we need to hold onto our own.

    • This comments remind me of one I made about Obama some time ago, seeing him as a smart outsider who'd finesse the various players all (so very obviously) out to manipulate him. Especially after the Generals early on boxed him in on with their 'options' in Afghanistan, it seemed he'd learned his lesson and go all rope-a-dope with the Usual Suspects. (Maybe that's what happened, at least in FP, where he's endeavored with some success not to do any stupid s--t.)

      Another poster memorably derided my thinking, that Obama was playing some sort of 3-dimensional Vulcan Chess with those guys. It occurred to me that I wasn't wrong, but that he was more right.

      In business, especially the Big-Ego, Super-Entrepreneurial milieu he inhabits, one operates out of power, constantly dancing and looking for an opening to strike, not unlike a boxer. Trump has never used that metaphor, but he has spoken of attacking in negotiations from a position of power, pressing on every front, making up new ones as possible, never giving on any point until you get the deal you want. Great article on the psychology he has demonstrated over the years from Dan McAdams at Northwestern link to

      Anyway. His appointments will be telling, but established advisors (Kushner et al), more so than people like Christie, who he will certainly throw under the bus whenever it becomes expedient. Compared to his his own role, none of these other guys even register. In an joint appearance some months ago, Trump's contempt of Christie was palpable. Trump may be an actor, but that was no act.

      Ultimately, it seems to me, for The Donald its all about The Donald. He's going to be doing this thing by Zen, just like he has run his businesses. For better or worse, and the odds given his preparation and those posed against him, are for far, far worse.

      Whatever the case, as McAdams holds, he's the type to swing for the seats, better thinking be damned, so we need to hold onto our own.

  • Neofascist Trump Appointee Bannon: "Anger is a Good thing" "if you're Fighting to Take this Country Back"
    • "Chief Strategist", would mean the Vision Guy. Or more aptly, given his recent history with the Trump campaign, the guy who serves to translate it into actionable tactics.

      To anticipate what that will entail for the country going forward, look to these people's past behavior and the strength of their commitment and focus.

      We all need to back up, take a deep contemplative breath, and then look very coldly at the reality of things. It could be possible that everything Trump has said and done to-date has merely been to manage and channel the anger of the right in order to get elected. It could be that his intention is to rebuild an inclusive society in the best interests of all, following a conservative America-First agenda (versus a more liberal and idealistic one). That would be to misread Trump, and the commitment, focus and vision of those he is empowering.

      Even people who do not label themselves as 'progressives' assume a more or less liberal or conservative path forward. Anyone can look back over history and see how things have progressed and improved to this point (more or less, with the inevitably ebb and flow of the economic tides). This is hardly a given, however, and it would be an especially naive expectation in this case.

      Trump will have the opportunity to repack the courts in a far more 'conservative' mold, more than is needed for his agenda, given the absolute power he will soon consolidate over the legislative and executive branches. We can expect him to choose the youngest, most ideologically pure and driven supplicants that Bannon et al can dredge up for several SCOTUS replacements. To expect him to water-down his choices to reflect the face of America or to maintain some philosophical balance is delusional: he wants to remake America in a way that CANNOT be changed. So, ask yourself what he will do: this is not a guy with a modest, inclusive vision. If anyone thinks his general vision is anything other than what he has consistently presented they are delusional. To pursue anything else, for him, would be pointless.

      Look to the facts (which I don't know for sure), about shifts in the state legislators which could give Trump an opportunity to remake the Constitution itself.

      But, whats really needed to confirm the realities here is to look closely at these early hires. The political appointees will take a few months after inauguration to find their offices, then weed & re-staff them, before doing anything dramatic. So, there should be a little time when you can read the writing on the wall by looking at the behavioral history of this gang. But it should be very evident, and is clear from these early picks. Don't kid yourself, a next shoe will drop and it's going to drop hard.

  • As Der Donald-inspired Hate Crimes grow, US Universities at Risk
    • The fundamental economic issues really are what's at stake with this election, and that ultimately becomes a matter of values and whether the vision for the contribution of a school like Michigan can even be recognized.

      R1 schools have to balance books by becoming R&D outsources, with profs chasing grant dollars to pay their own way. That's making them 'prove their worth like a business'. A far more difficult proposition if you're a history prof, I'd imagine, than for a cousin in zoology who gets those big fat easy DARPA dollars for research into animal hibernation that might (somehow?) be applied to stabilize bleeding wounds in battle, for example.

      So, foreign students are a profit center, along with profs/administrators with rain-making and grant-development skills. If you're interviewing a prospective asst with those skills, who needs to vet their research or teaching? Without THOSE dollars coming in the school has to become more 'market sensitive' in other ways, perhaps competing with the more purely vocational schools for the those who see universities as just a place to learn a trade. And they're not wrong: think of those big new business and engineering buildings.

      One always serves ones constituency. When there's an elite with a balanced view things work out for everyone far better. With the values of a neoliberal plutocracy you're asking problems; going to the other extreme doesn't improve things. This business of representative democracy really needs to be rethought.

  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
    • Checked-in after a weekend tear, we now receive news of Trump's first two hires, declared as co-equals, in Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus. Since cabinet nominations must wait until inauguration and Pence is already on-board, let's review Trump's most telling and critical first moves (e.g., core-staffing):

      BANNON, is a leader of the alt-right, a White Supremacist movement, and he is to be 'chief strategist.' That would be the Vision-Guy.

      PRIEBUS, waffled diplomatically throughout the campaign, leaving himself just enough room to take this post. As a back-bench politician, Power is evidently his ideology. What's telling is Trump's choice of him for COS, clearly as a tool to identify and co-opt those in the GOP who can and will help him. It's a purely utilitarian hire.

      PENCE, as VP (and COO designate), is a proven and proud Christian Supremacist. Trump earlier said he had no more intention of directly managing the USA than he would any other organization he controls. Such policy and administrative work, he says, will go to someone with appropriate political experience and dispositions, and Pence is to be that man, in charge of Domestic AND Foreign policy.

      In fact, Trump also says he will be watching the operation closely to keep things on-track. But his statements and actions are all fully consistent with how any decent CEO consolidates an important new acquisition. And as EVERYONE with any real corporate experience knows, after the hiring and orientation of new executives phase is complete, the next step is the deep purge and restructuring.

      Get ready. There's nothing here that hasn't been seen with great consistency post-election in many other countries.

      Not to put too fine a point on it, and I don't know the details (tell me I'm wrong, please), but I gather that GOP wins in 35 state legislators is putting them within constitutional amendment passing range. Add to that the legal support they'll receive if its needed in passing more accommodating laws, by having someone in Scalia's seat on SCOTUS who isn't so liberal (!)

      Of course, Trump may not really want to do all that he says. But, does anyone want to bet on that, when he has the power to do every bit of what he says and more?

      This isn't do go all The Sky Is Falling in effete helplessness, but rather for everyone to simply sober-up, smell the coffee, and look as objectively as possible at the facts. Within a couple weeks we will all need to begin to execute on appropriate planning of our own.

    • PS::::

      Just to get all practical about this practicality, in case anyone here is disposed to try their luck (tempt their fate?).

      This guy Micah Lee at the Intercept has a number of indispensable technology self-defense articles for aspiring activists. Drill down into their website for related articles; I don't know that its 'all' one would need, but it would be a good start.

      Take good notes; the game is very much on, and it is a serious one.

      link to

    • See my comments above. It doesn't take a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing.

      Actually, the breeze started some time ago: arguably 16-25 years ago (citing Juan's neoliberalism argument). The storm is only now rolling in. I was thinking it'd be mid-spring before Trump's appointees were in place to begin doing what their wont, but this is wrong: at the local level any number of well-equipped and highly-motivated forces are already ready to go at the slightest excuse. That would

    • And, what this presages for 2020 is what's truly scary. Trump was limited by his capabilities in this campaign to the media; next time around he'll have the whole national security apparatus at his fingertips, and he'll have proven and reliable stooges in place, like Guiliani and Christie, who will be just aching to use it.

      If his efforts aren't showing promise, he can arrest whomever he wishes for material support of terrorism, or twist some other half-forgotten and disgraced law to suit his purposes (e.g., the Espionage Act of 1917), following the direct precedent set by Obama in squelching whistleblowers.

      The playbook for aspiring Presidents For Life is well-known and developed. The traditional (first) move that comes to mind would be a 'state of emergency' on some pretext, delaying elections indefinitely. The options that follow that will all be rather straightforward. All that is needed is his disposition and the infrastructure for broad scale suppression, and he'll have all that In Spades. All we can really hope for is a (sufficiently) undisputed natural death beforehand, and a lack of sufficient disposition/competence on the part of Pence to carry on his work.

      Have a nice day.

      It's not at all the case that we're in uncharted territory here. If one really feels the need to get all intellectual about it, what'd be interesting is a historian's comparison and contrast of how other authoritarians managed things when they got to power, and some ideas of how to finesse and manage these historical tendencies.

  • Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)
    • Getting back to the neoliberal economic policies that have been moulding the US and the world for a few decades, now finally coming home to roost...

      This election should be seen and taken in context of other rebellions, namely Brexit and the recent Greek elections, as well as how the politics are shaping-up for elections in Italy, France, and Germany. All are trending similarly. It may actually all be for the best, notwithstanding pain Trump promises to bring, not just on the US, but the world.

      Below is a link to a Q&A with a couple profs at Brown that's incredibly worthwhile. Mark Blyth has been sounding the alarm on neoliberalism and bankster looting for years; Wendy Schiller is your classic Democratic apologist ("our messaging was all wrong," etc), whose pleating is painful to watch in its meandering cluelessness. Especially so when sitting next to her is a guy who so cogently lays out the realities of things: why the results of this election were no surprise and are part of something larger. It's a telling juxtapositioning.

      link to

      Schiller blathers on-and-on, which is painful, so you may want to just go to Blyth's remarks (roughly at 13-19;33-43)

      Especially, his summary at about minute 19 is striking, where he notes that in 2015, total bonuses to Wall Street (NOT SALARIES), totaled $28.4B, while the total SALARIES paid to minimum wage workers totaled $14B. Its a rather telling factoid, but listen to everything he says...there's not a wasted word and its a powerful off-the-cuff indictment.

    • This assumption/issue is at the heart of what is in store for the world going forward. No one was less compromised coming into the office than Obama, at least in modern history, and he was hamstrung from the word go; Trump will be even less encumbered and doesn't give a flip for making nice. That's the good news.

      An accompanying question will be how well Trump manages to re-orient himself from a screw-them-all campaign which he didn't (really) think he'd win, to a presidency he'll take seriously, making decisions in the best interests of the country (by whatever lights).

      It's a HUGE assumption he'll make that adjustment at all. At which point we'd finally get to your point. Only then do we get to contemplate the true agenda and its very real ramifications, should he seriously and effectively begin to follow through on his many very, very significant threats.

      An awful lot of assumptions, and an awful lot of downside.

    • So, let's get at the elephant in the room.

      Intellectualizing the 'why' is a first step toward reconciliation with the evident reality of things, but it ignores the underlying issue and premise of our thinking:

      Can the people, through a democracy of this nature, responsibly care for itself?

  • Die-Hard Trump Supporters want to *be* Trump
    • OK. But you still haven't explained why his followers at this point still extend well beyond the red-neck and wannabe set. HRC has her own significant demerits. And, has been noted, empowering someone who will prove ineffectual in office may be better than giving the job to someone who can implement their vision. Burrrr.

  • Whose Fault is Trump? Top 7 Culprits
    • Your top three are symptomatic of media irresponsibility. It'd be useful to pick at that subject a bit: it seems to distill down to basic capitalistic (human?) instincts that may be irredeemable.

  • The Presidential Debate that did not really Happen
    • Having made the conscious decision not to watch or listen, I wonder if the net effect on the undecided was acquiescence to The Bully.

      I gather T was able to dominate through the lameness of Holt's "moderation." Had he actually been able to bray longer and louder and talk over H, he'd be perceived as a winner. The substance of the matter simply does not matter.

      This is the way the lizard brain works, and I suspect those able to transcend this impulse have long, long ago thrown in their lot with HRC.

  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology
    • It's great that you are, once again, raising this issue. A review of the rather damming historical context is especially apt and I know you can (because you have) gone quite a bit deeper, since the usual suspects have practiced answers (albeit hasbara) to all this.

      It's worth adding that they're counting on the world just forgetting whats going on. This is evident in how the pace of settlement encroachment ebbs and flows with the amount of distraction provided by current events.

      Hence, throwing a spotlight on whats going on when NOT provoked is the way to go.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal
    • There is a domestic role for certain sizes of airliner in a country as large and (under) developed as Iran, in addition to a external role connecting it commercially with the rest of the world.

      It was interesting to note Iran's recent decision to pass on acquiring the "heavies" designed for the latter role, presumably leaving that job to existing world carriers.

    • It's an illuminating insight that politics at this level is distinguished from mafioso coercion by nothing more than a more polished and self-righteous style coupled with an abiding concern for the optics of public relations.

      Still, recognizing that, it is a reality that if, especially through insistence over time, you can create a reality. Those who dispute you lack the same sense of destiny, have other things to do, and their increasing silence ultimately communicates consent.

      Note, as a prime example, the relentless consistency with which Israel has managed its colonization of the WB. The transparency of their strategy and tactics doesn't obviate their strength or efficacy. Where would you place your bets?

    • I think we can guess with some confidence. It'll be another clue to a greater threat to US national security and interests than Iran.

  • "This Parrot is no More": The 2016 Presidential Election did not Take Place
    • Bolstering the unreality of the reality of things, Trump has a VERY real chance of winning this thing via the electoral college:

      link to

      While this article shows the plausibility of a Trump pathway to victory, the mechanics of how things would unfold over the next 6-odd weeks is quite real, given how it'd play to the weaknesses of the system's design.

      Politico's swing-states voting laws will vary, but by district, precinct or country there are winner-takes-all accounting practices that could lead to a winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes. Hence, by strategically appealing to a relative handful of critical voters in the right areas of the right states, Trump might well be able to tip the balance in his favor against the majority of the voters in that state.

      This would be nothing more than a more consciously and strategically implemented scenario than what we saw in Florida in 2001. Campaign strategists have always taken this approach, but at this point in time the technology allows allows for executing such a strategy far more deliberately.

      HRC is of course free to combat him using the same tools and techniques and she is undoubtably doing so. The point, however, is that this election is not necessarily going to be about whether the people overall want to choose Trump, but rather the decision may go to who maneuvers the legalities of the contest with the most guile. And on that basis its a very, very open question of who will prevail.

  • Clinton: No US ground troops in Iraq, Syria; Trump: Steal Iraqi Oil
    • The more I think of it the more I think there's something to this. The way Trump is alienating people he wouldn't be able to get as much as a reasonable ham sandwich out of the White House kitchen. Assuming the institutions, including the kitchen as a very legitimate example, retain their self-respect, he stands to be totally hamstrung by the foot-dragging and mis-understandings. It's also true that the only "real" power, approaching the sort of dictatorial stuff falsely attributed to the presidency, resides around extreme executive action/foreign policy action, but he'd have to find and empower enough well-informed and experienced supplicants to even pull that off. OTOH, Hitler managed adequately with the German general staff, so Trump's election would hardly be a reason for complacency.

      Before this thread closes, I notice how HRC bailed on a 911 event for....Pneumonia???? Don't think this thing is in the bag for her just because everyone agrees The Donald is a buffoon. The lesson of history, world and personal, is that in circumstances involving the heaviest of stakes and the strongest of wills seeking to manage events, absolutely anything can happen within the space of 60 days.

    • HRC is bright, incredibly well-connected and well-prepared, at least in the sense of being bought and paid for. So, its no surprise her talking points could've been written by Bibi and Salman: they effectively were. The same is impossible not to see with the issue of financial reform, albeit she is being managed with a more subtle hand. In fact, a fine case could be made that she is the most compromised and fettered presidencial candidate we've ever had, certainly in the last 100 years.

      OTOH, Trump is nothing other than that rich, belligerent blow-hard down at the end of the bar.

      Here's a thought: HRC knows the system. She can and will work it for her masters (notice the effectiveness of Obama, possible the LEAST compromised president in memory). Trump is not so compromised. He questions assumptions; he'll shake things up, but only to the extent he can, and that's key. Because the checks and balances of the various bureaucracies CAN effectively neuter or otherwise manage someone that uninformed and inexperienced.

      First, do no harm. Institutional momentum can be dangerous, but when effectively managed by someone who is as totally comprised as HRC?

      Once you get past how appalling Trump is as a person and representative of the US in the world, the actual prognosis of his presidency may be better than with Clinton.

  • Saudi Bigot-in-Chief Declares Iranian Shiites "Not Muslim"
    • The historical development of religions offers the power of legitimacy to politicians who exploit it with the most skill. So, while your comments are well-taken the evolution of these conflicts has always stood to managed.

      This seems a classic case of the Saudi's working to exploit an existing crack for their own selfish geopolitical purposes. These differences are real, but to a great extent they seem to have been exacerbated.

      What seems to be new here is how transparently self-serving the rhetoric has become. Is the Saudi clan getting close to going over the top, to the point it will become counterproductive to them?

  • The Plague of Karimov's Rule in Uzbekistan
    • And as it inevitably goes south given all the combustibles created over the decades, it will present yet another opportunity for HRC's not-so- latent Methodism-inspired humanitarian inclinations. This is not to mention its geopolitical positioning on the underbelly of the Russia or the special relationship with the US you mentioned, which at some point we "cannot betray."

      In a nutshell, it's a classic trap in the offing. The good news seems to just never stop coming.

  • Near-War: US Planes almost tangle with Syrian MiGs, which bombed area of US troop Embeds
    • I don't know whether its your point, but the AUMF would have to be stretched with some talent to cover the scenario cited by lester. When you do seek legal cover, lawyers can be found to deliver: think John Yoo. My thought is that "legality" often amounts to contrived rationalizations to gain moral high ground.

    • If the Syrian SAM system lights up US aircraft? Make that if it's the Russian system. Way too much room not only for error but serendipity. One junior officer on either side pushes a button and a number or other buttons will be pushed within seconds.

      Tonkin Gulf was contrived and in a literal fog as I recall, and no US servicemen where killed. In this case the whole 10 seconds will be captured.

  • Sanders: Aetna's Obamacare threat shows what Corporate Control Looks Like
    • One has to stand back and perhaps simply recognize that things like public utilities and basic universal healthcare provide a rudimentary and fundamentally necessary basis for overall economic development.

      Otherwise we inevitably get the predictably monopolistic behavior of the US healthcare industry. The cost/benefit results achieved by the US trail every other country in the developed world, putting us on a par, in terms of longevity, at or slightly behind Mexico. As the demographics skew increasingly toward the elderly, the drain on the US economy will only get worse.

      One of the problems is that many of those who have come to have influence in the GOP are psychologically invested in our health care system. Driven by zero-sum mindsets based on a sense of scarcity, depriving others is the only way to scratch the itch of their insecurities. See Trumpism. Another problem is Americans attitude toward mortality: better health habits along with not trying to prolong the misery of old age, once people get to that point, would reduce an incredible amount of the costs now being run up.

      That it is in Americans own enlightened self-interest to observe the examples of the rest of the developing world is a hard idea for many to get their heads around, much less when it comes to following someone else example.

  • A Sucker is born Every Minute: Our Election From Hell
    • You might try reading Matt Taibbi. Like Thompson, he's found a friendly outlet in the Rolling Stone. Some folks like Pepe Escobar, but he really isn't nearly as discerning or perceptive and Taibbi's analysis usually runs a bit quite deeper, the considerable quality of his rhetoric aside. He somehow makes you laugh at the sheer profundity of current events.

  • Google Sparks Outrage by Abolishing Palestine on Maps
    • .....Thanks, I really did need that.

    • . . . The deletion would not have been the direct action of middle level executives or producers, as is the case of slanted coverage in day-to-day media productions, but more likely a matter of sincere "concerns" voiced over cocktails with wealthy benefactors and other would-be patrons at some social function or the other.

      Senior executives on the make in organizations like Google, The WSJ or McGraw-Hill, have gotten to their positions due to their sensitivity to the concerns of those who can do their careers good. When the most subtle of such concerns are raised about this or that map or coverage there is no real discussion; they are merely observations that these executive supplicants know precisely how to respond to. After all, its no skin off their nose to throw the interests of Truth or the Palestinians under the bus when the potential for their career with such a new-found friend is at stake. Returning to their offices, these guys make similarly subtle observations to their aspiring middle managers and voila, things happen.

      Money, as a vulgar reflection of the operative underlying power these people yield, talks. You can kiss that map, or any other element which so eloquently makes its case, good-bye.

  • The Bernie Sanders Miracle: American Crowd in Brooklyn Cheers Palestinian Dignity
    • I really like the green graphic showing the growth of Israel, which speaks very eloquently. It's small wonder you've used it several times in posts like this, which go far to educate people to the realities on the ground.

      It may be a bit off-topic, but notice how less than a month ago Zionist apologists managed to have McGraw-Hill scrub this very graphic out of a major textbook.

      link to

      The point here is how well-organized these people are, and they are relentless. It would be a mistake to underestimate their power or the lengths they intend to go to have their way.

  • How Turkish President Erdogan went Wrong: Dividing and Not Ruling
    • Thinking this over, it seems increasingly clear that when you're a country like Turkey, in proximity to the vital interests of a country like Russia, you need to move very, very carefully. They may no longer be a Superpower, but Russia as a country isn't about to let some punk do something like this to them.

      Speaking of hubris and his old friend nemesis, Erdoğan seems to have been too big for his britches for a while now. Not necessarily internally, but in terms of his overall ambition and arrogance. There are others like Franco who have managed to keep such a game going, but their actions with stronger powers showed appropriate humility.

    • An interesting take from the chessboard perspective, although things here may be a bit more nuanced yet (this is Byzantium, after all). Still, methinks there's a lot of truth in the picture you sketch: Recep Bey is nothing if not a shrewd and opportunist guy. And, most importantly, he is also arrogant enough at this point to have had that plane shot down. But arrogance unleashes comeuppances, and he can only hide behind NATO's skirt tactically.

      What's interesting is how this gambit stands to backfire on him, and massively. Putin's own situation requires him to be tough, as a reflection of the Russian peoples growing pride. To have Turkey do something like this on the heels of the Sinai shutdown is intolerable, and Russia will have satisfaction. But, having mulled the matter over, and factored in its critical geopolitical interests here—which are massive—Russia may have must decided to have that dish served cold.

      MAYBE Putin intends to get even with Erdoğan, and address Russia's longer-term best interests, by working actively and aggressively to see him disposed. Turkey's current politics are not what Russia would prefer, and enfranchising the Kurds certainly would be.

      Turkey is a country whose importance to Russia cannot be taken lightly, and I don't think the current moves from Russia against Turkey will be their last.

  • Abortion Clinics, White Christian Terrorism and GOP Candidates
    • Its all always been about Power.

      And in a practical sense nothing defines your power other than whether others have more/less than you do.

      With exceptions, women are socialized to seek the protection of men, with relatively more Power, whether it was from lions and tigers and bears, or not having enough money to send "their" kids to good schools and otherwise live the life to which they are accustomed (or would like to become accustomed: ambition is another, not unrelated topic). Men respond to this same need in their own way, due to their own exigencies.

      Whether we're talking about division of labor, or just who is the parasite, whenever a man and woman come together you will have a certain type of conflict; when any two men come meet there is another type. What matters is how these things are managed. This extends to relations between states when you think about it, and it's at the heart of what motivates people (individually or collectively) to do all the counter produce and irrational things they do.

      Because, its all about Power. And even at that, it doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense.

  • Netanyahu taps Squatter who called Obama Muslim hate sympathizer, as he demands $5 bn./yr. from U.S.
    • You forgot to mention how he'll wave around that $5B he shook the the US down for, in return for Israel's acquiescence on the Iranian deal.

      As you say, it's all a rather transparent show.

  • Bush Sr. Blames Neocons for Ruining W.'s Presidency: Is he Warning Jeb?
    • Pt 2 — I'm glad Prof Cole has gone ahead and delicately nudged up against the edge of the Jewish-American link to all this perfidy. It's difficult to do given the skill and alacrity with which "anti-semeticism" and associated memes are deployed by this small cabal of informal conspirators as a defense. It is astonishing how powerful such a small group of easily observed and nameable individuals can have.

    • Pt 1--- If you say something with enough adamance and for long enough, for decades if necessary, it will become the common wisdom. In minor matters with less actively associated dispute this sort of dissimulation may only take a few weeks. Therefore, as the neocons have learned, you can indeed make your own reality, at least as far as how history is commonly viewed.

      These guys have learned the same phenomena can be applied toward the present with a eye toward shaping events in the future. Managed correctly this process is a matter of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. If bungled, go back to twisting history and try again, which we've seen since the events of 2003.

      Hence, the importance of putting-up that statue of Cheney, and the endless rounds of GOP-driven Reagan Worship we see that fly in the face of the real history of his record. Realists will fight some battles, but they cannot be everywhere, so the neocons approach their little problem with a subliminal stream of background distortions to frame perceptions to the benefit of their long-term agenda.

      Unless the other side of the story puts at least as much energy into their own narrative of events on each and every possible point of contention, over time the warped view becomes the reality.

      Actually, I think it was Hitler (often mis-attributed to Goebbels) who first came to understand how things worked along these line. For more about how closely the neocons are to fascism take a read here:

      link to

  • With Iran deal, & Russia in Syria, is Israel being Boxed In?
    • A couple comments: one in agreement to the much under-recognized reality that Bibi must indeed be speaking for the Israeli people. Even if their support is tacit, they are still effectively supporting him. That the Likuk is ruling as part of a coalition doesn't diminish this, as shown in the polling to which Bibi responds very adroitly.

      I could be wrong, but my understanding is that the various foreign agent control laws (lame though they are) are finely written so as exclude Israel.

    • I find that thoroughly consistent with Israel's subtle use of what is basically nuclear blackmail. It's the leitmotif of Israel's influence over the US, with all due respect to AIPAC.

    • A boxed-in Israel does appear to be where we may be heading. And in that context Netanyahu's remarks may make a bit of sense as he speaks to reassure.

      In your link, he is only noting that Israel has always been maintained from a position of strength. The money quotation being, “In the face of this changing world, Israel must be a power. Not just a regional power, but in some spheres, a world power,” the key part being..."in some spheres."

      It's possible a single person is crazy, but Israel as a whole is not. And its strength must be to leverage what power it does have. In terms of return on investment, this means having developed the intelligence assets to shape the foreign policy of nameless countries which are indeed more powerful. Its most powerful agents will in many cases be nominally unwitting and totally legal, by virtue of the good work done by others to shape the laws allowing a freedom of action not enjoyed by other services.

      More blatantly, this means developing a big arsenal of sophisticated thermonuclear weapons; not just the nukes that could be used defensively to destroy an airbase or column of armor, but those needed to vaporize major cities.

      In addition, develop ICBMs to deliver these weapons around the world; not just the intermediate range missiles to reach Tehran or Karachi, but world capitols like Washington and London. link to

      Speak softly and carry a big stick, or as the need arises be a little less diplomatic about your capabities behind closed doors. You know, just to let your "friends" know how you're feeling.

  • Aqsa Crisis: PM Netanyahu wants Israeli Forces to use Live Fire against Rock Throwing Demonstrators
    • I really hate to take the bait and respond, but encouraging the world to tune-out and let them have their way is clearly what Israel is seeking and part of their plan.

      Note two things:

      One is how Israeli actions along these lines are modulated, ebbing and flowing depending on world attention at the moment. It is not unlike the way a Boa Constrictor will pause to wait for its victim to relax just a bit before reasserting itself.

      The second is deployment of the magic word terrorism™, which you can count on being used to shut up third parties, like this website, when Israel shortly (and predictably) begins to actively target and kill the rock throwers.

      If you haven't been listening critically to the background noise, there have been a series of semi-subtle Israeli government statements recently in preparation for "defending" themselves against such resisters. You have to admit, blaming it on terrorism™ should work, in that it obviates the need for any sort of proportionality and due process (what? against terrorists?)

      Like I said, the strategy, as it were, is to get people like readers here to tune-out in disgust, or otherwise "just get used to it." Another contributor here once used that phrase in reference to Arabs/Palestinians coming to accept the Israeli presence, as though that were all there were to it. It strikes me this is now a well-rehearsed general purpose line we can also expect to hear a lot more of.

      Lie, Distort, Smear, Conquer; Squeeze and Repeat.

  • Islam Hysteria: 14 yr old Muslim Student Invents Digital Clock, is Arrested
    • Here again you have some interesting factoids that could be highly relevant if they and a little encouragement make their way into the right ears.

      Namely, if you have a couple links about how this kid's options have been cut-short, that would create a harm that someone like ACLU could use to sue and push back at such craziness in the courts.

      If there is to be progress along these and similar lines (I'm think of the Stephen Salaita case), it is more likely than not to come through litigation leading to a relevant and substantial judgement.

      Whatever we might have to say about there being too many lawyers, they're the people with the wherewithal to hope to do much nowadays.

      Rolling things back through progressive politics? Dream on.

  • Is the Obama Admin. pressuring CIA to paint a Rosy Picture of War on ISIL?
    • My point would be, having only read how these orgs work, that analysis is what it is at any one level. Each level adds to it, including the (hopeful) wisdom of policy makers, who have to read it in context of their own plans, based on relationships with foreign policy makers and what have you.

      When analysts are leaned on, that's one thing; when their work is put into a broader and more pertinent perspective by other analysts or policy makers that's another. The cherry-picking and abuse of analysis back in 2003 was a disgusting sin; but that's different than good-faith bad judgement or incompetence. In the case of Bush and Co, they were guilty of everything.

      On reflection, I wonder if the publicity surrounding this isn't a tactical move by GOP operatives in preparation for 2016, to bolster the "everyone does it" case when people bring up 2003. This complaint apparently arose from the ranks, and my third point was based on having met a few of these people, who tend to be proud and sometimes a little bit narrow.

  • Whether Jewish Refugees in '30s or Syrians today, USA Falls Short of own Ideals
    • Mention of Germany, and the repercussions on them with a population of some 80 million taking in 800,000, makes me wonder about Turkey.

      Turkey is about the same same size as Germany, with 75 million people, and the UN has documented about 1.5 million refugees so far. These are drawn heavily to the big population centers to the west of the country. I am told those UN figures do NOT reflect people who didn't register at major crossings. Although only anecdotal, the conventional wisdom is that the true number is closer to 3 million. In these major western cities it feels like 50% in a typical working class neighborhood.

      This plays into Erdoğan's politics in various ways. He is doing a variety of things to integrate these people, often it is felt to the detriment of native Turks. Recently the minimum wage was cut, for example, which is attributed to a newfound excess of labor.

Showing comments 908 - 901