Posted by: quiscus | March 29, 2013

March 29, 2013

1. “Lawless: An Oddly Exceptional Empire

Many empires have risen and fallen over the course of recorded history. All were created by force. Yet all have tried to legitimize that force, by passing laws and seeking to establish some sort of order that would outlive their military supremacy. Some have been more successful at this than others; by way of example, the legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte’s legal code is still alive today, in much of Europe and its former colonies, though the little Corsican’s empire was decisively defeated nearly two centuries ago.

The Atlantic Empire, on the other hand, is the only example in history of an imperial enterprise destroying its own laws, undermining its own legitimacy in pursuit of power. ”

2. “Republicans not liked, even by 25% of . . . Republicans

It turns out that 25% of Republicans don’t like their own party.

The Republican Party has a structural problem, in that it has only two main constituencies: the very wealthy and the white Religious Right. Both are tiny but powerful minorities. Neither is at all representative of the US population. Both want to impose policies on the whole country that suit them but which are unwelcome to most people.

The poll also shows that 60% of Americans in general don’t like the GOP, which is what pollsters call “high negatives.” It is one thing to be an independent or generally a Democratic, another to actively despise the Republican Party. Even 60% of independents don’t like the GOP.

The Republican business elite wants to avoid paying taxes and to saddle the middle class with the tax burden instead. The evangelicals and right-wing Catholics want to impose their moral strictures on the rest of the country. Both policies look selfish and unfair.

It is their indebtedness to the religious Right that causes Republicans to oppose things like gay marriage, which now has the support of some two-thirds of Americans. As they move out of the mainstream to the margins of national politics, they look narrow-minded and selfish.”

Posted by: quiscus | March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013

1. “The Militarization of American Life

From women in combat to the invasion of the sciences

A perfect example is the recent announcement that the US military is getting with the times and allowing women in combat. What’s pretty disheartening is that not even the woman’s-place-is-in-the-home Neanderthals of the “traditionalist” camp even bothered to oppose this: for them, a more efficient war machine is much more important than any attachment to such “archaic” ideas as the men do the fighting while the women wait at home.

This innovation was followed up pretty quickly by a new proposal: that as long as we allow gays in the military we ought to allow transsexuals in, too. After all, the usual objections to women in combat don’t apply to them: they have the genetic makeup of men, and the sexual equipment of women (or as close as surgical science can conjure) – so why not?

In America, everyone has the “equal right” to kill, torture, maim, and otherwise abuse those who dare defy the wishes of our wise and benevolent rulers. This is what happens when egalitarianism displaces liberty at the core of the American psyche.

Women, gays, transsexuals, and presumably dwarves afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome – all have an “equal right” to commit mass murder.

In this age of Empire, militarism pervades American culture like a poisonous fog, hypnotizing a complacent population with narratives that valorize and justify a foreign policy of perpetual war. It reaches into every corner of everyday life, from the war propaganda spewed forth by the “mainstream” media to the movies we watch and what we learn in “science” class. Once this kind of cultural rot sets in, it is hard to root out: this is the true meaning of decadence, of a society suffering the latter stages of a fatal hubris.

Yet root it out we must. The battle for peace must be waged on the cultural and scientific front, as well as in the day to day world of the pundits and the Washington policy wonks. Indeed, victory on the battlefield of the culture necessarily precedes success on the political front, as we should have learned back in the 1960s. ”

2. “It is time to open your eyes and arise from your stupor. Observe what is happening around you. Look closely. Does the storyline match what you see in your ever day reality? It is them versus us. Whether you call them the invisible government, ruling class, financial overlords, oligarchs, the powers that be, ruling elite, or owners; there are powerful wealthy men who call the shots in this global criminal enterprise. Their names are Dimon, Corzine, Blankfein, Murdoch, Buffett, Soros, Bernanke, Obama, Romney, Bloomberg, Fink, among others. They are using every means at their disposal to retain their control and power over the worldwide economic system and gorge themselves like hyenas upon the carcasses of a crippled and dying middle class. They have nothing but contempt and scorn for the peasants. They’re your owners and consider you as their slaves. They don’t care about you. They think the commoners are unworthy to be in their presence. Time is growing short for these psychopathic criminals. No amount of propaganda can cover up the physical, economic, social, and psychological descent afflicting our world. There’s a bad moon rising and trouble is on the way. The time for hard choices is coming. The words of Edward Bernays represent the view of the ruling class, while the words of George Carlin represent the view of the working class.

“There’s a reason that education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the big, wealthy, business interests that control all things and make the big decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re irrelevant.

Politicians are put there to give you that idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations, and they’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State Houses, and the City Halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the news and information you get to hear. They’ve got you by the balls.

They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want—they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interest. You know something, they don’t want people that are smart enough to sit around their kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.” – George Carlin”

Posted by: quiscus | March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

1. “Drone Warfare is Neither Cheap, Nor Surgical, Nor Decisive”

2. “Journalists Who Got Iraq Wrong 10 Years Ago and Syria Wrong Now Should Be Sacked

Although Cable News Network (CNN) no longer reports news but blatant propaganda and worthless reports on insignificant celebrities, it and other media operations should not be permitted to engage in the same war-mongering today that they fostered ten years ago.

Not one of the media «chatterers» who advanced the false notion of Iraq’s WMDs has paid for their professional misconduct. Instead, they have been left to promote further false stories that provided journalistic cover for American intervention in Libya to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi and NATO’s force infusion into Mali’s inter-ethnic and civilian-military conflicts.

Among the reporters who questioned the Bush administration’s bone-headed decision to invade and occupy Iraq based on non-existent intelligence were Knight-Ridder’s Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel. The reporters’ accounts of the fake intelligence being offered up by the Bush-Cheney neo-cons were largely ignored by the press because similar information had not appeared in either The New York Times or The Washington Post. Both “newspapers of record” had embedded within their reporting staffs and editorial ranks individuals who were more loyal to the whims of the Bush administration than to the canons of journalism or to their readership. Unfortunately, it is the likes of Wolf Blitzer and total light-weights of puffery like Anderson Cooper (the son of billionaire heiress Gloria Vanderbilt), Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Judith Miller, and others who continue to appear on the television news programs to advance neo-con agendas in the Middle East and other regions of the world, including Venezuela, China, and Pakistan.

Ten years later, the public is still being subjected to the same sort of blatant propaganda and falsehoods about Syria. Working with information operations military and intelligence personnel that cooked up the Iraq WMD lies, these same neo-conservative gnomes and wizards now conjure up their next deadly brew of disinformation and propaganda designed to ensure a future American and NATO takeover of Syria, Yemen, Mali, Sudan, Algeria, and beyond.

Of course, the neo-con journalists can argue the point that they were just reporting what the actual war criminals, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and other officials were claiming. The Nazis also had their propagandists and the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal rejected their plea that they were «just following orders».”

3. “Global Cooling is Here

Evidence for Predicting Global Cooling for the Next Three Decades

Global warming (i.e, the warming since 1977) is over. The minute increase of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere (0.008%) was not the cause of the warming—it was a continuation of natural cycles that occurred over the past 500 years.

The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling, perhaps much deeper than the global cooling from about 1945 to 1977. Just how much cooler the global climate will be during this cool cycle is uncertain. Recent solar changes suggest that it could be fairly severe, perhaps more like the 1880 to 1915 cool cycle than the more moderate 1945-1977 cool cycle. A more drastic cooling, similar to that during the Dalton and Maunder minimums, could plunge the Earth into another Little Ice Age, but only time will tell if that is likely.”

Posted by: quiscus | March 23, 2013

March 23, 2012

How Noam Chomsky is discussed

The more one dissents from political orthodoxies, the more the attacks focus on personality, style and character

One very common tactic for enforcing political orthodoxies is to malign the character, “style” and even mental health of those who challenge them. The most extreme version of this was an old Soviet favorite: to declare political dissidents mentally ill and put them in hospitals. In the US, those who take even the tiniest steps outside of political convention are instantly decreed “crazy”, as happened to the 2002 anti-war version of Howard Dean and the current iteration of Ron Paul (in most cases, what is actually “crazy” are the political orthodoxies this tactic seeks to shield from challenge).

This method is applied with particular aggression to those who engage in any meaningful dissent against the society’s most powerful factions and their institutions. Nixon White House officials sought to steal the files from Daniel Ellsberg’s psychoanalyst’s office precisely because they knew they could best discredit his disclosures with irrelevant attacks on his psyche. Identically, the New York Times and partisan Obama supporters have led the way in depicting both Bradley Manning and Julian Assange as mentally unstable outcasts with serious personality deficiencies. The lesson is clear: only someone plagued by mental afflictions would take such extreme steps to subvert the power of the US government.

A subtler version of this technique is to attack the so-called “style” of the critic as a means of impugning, really avoiding, the substance of the critique. Although Paul Krugman is comfortably within mainstream political thought as a loyal Democrat and a New York Times columnist, his relentless attack against the austerity mindset is threatening to many. As a result, he is barraged with endless, substance-free complaints about his “tone”: he is too abrasive, he does not treat opponents with respect, he demonizes those who disagree with him, etc. The complaints are usually devoid of specifics to prevent meaningful refutation; one typical example: “[Krugman] often cloaks his claims in professional authority, overstates them, omits arguments that undermine his case, and is a bit of a bully.” All of that enables the substance of the critique to be avoided in lieu of alleged personality flaws.

Like any person with a significant political platform, Chomsky is fair game for all sorts of criticisms. Like anyone else, he should be subjected to intense critical and adversarial scrutiny. Even admirers should listen to his (and everyone else’s) pronouncements with a critical ear. Like anyone who makes prolific political arguments over the course of many years, he’s made mistakes.

But what is at play here is this destructive dynamic that the more one dissents from political orthodoxies, the more personalized, style-focused and substance-free the attacks become. That’s because once someone becomes sufficiently critical of establishment pieties, the goal is not merely to dispute their claims but to silence them. That’s accomplished by demonizing the person on personality and style grounds to the point where huge numbers of people decide that nothing they say should even be considered, let alone accepted. It’s a sorry and anti-intellectual tactic, to be sure, but a brutally effective one.”

Posted by: quiscus | March 22, 2013

March 22, 2013

. “US Imperial Sanctions, The Siege and Terrorism

Inflict pain on ordinary people who live in countries whose governments resist US demands

The accustomed practice in mainstream journalism is to gloss over the effects of sanctions on besieged countries, or to insist that they’re targeted at a country’s leadership and therefore do no harm to ordinary people.

The modus operandi, then, of US foreign policy is to inflict pain on ordinary people who live in countries whose governments resist integration into the US-superintended system of global capitalist exploitation, in order to create public unrest that will either force the country’s leaders to change their policies, or step down and yield power to local representatives of global capitalist interests (deceptively labelled by Western state officials and establishment journalists as “pro-democracy” or “democratic” forces.)

The only thing “democratic” about US foreign policy is its insistence on democratizing suffering.”

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