Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 18, 2015

Open Thread 2015-38

News & views ...

(These fill up fast these days ...)

Note: There is some troll around trying to incite anti-semitism by commenting using the user names of regulars here. I have blocked it and deleted the fake comments. Please let me know when some comment by a regular looks suspiciously off compared to that posters other comments.

Posted by b on October 18, 2015 at 18:05 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Trolls ... an anathema ... but the downside of an effective blog in which mostly decent commentary takes place.

I would like for the folks (not those un-human trolls) to read the following ... interesting thoughts. [ ]

The author, Ray Jason, calls himself the 'Sea Gypsy Philosopher.' Whether you agree with the man or not, his perspective is refreshing ...

Posted by: Rg an LG | Oct 18 2015 18:31 utc | 1

ISIS on the run ????

Interesting article:

I think there's another reason why the US isn't that willing to act in the Middle East. Speaker Boehner is stepping down and needs to be replaced. And that replacement process seems to absorb all energy & time of the Republicans.
in the last several years there were voices that said that the Republican party was in decline (think: Tea Party) but I didn't believe that. But this could be the final straw for the Republicans. Don't know what to make of it yet.

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 18 2015 18:50 utc | 2


Ohhh, what a treasure... thank you for sharing!

Posted by: crone | Oct 18 2015 18:52 utc | 3

US coalition F16's after striking two power plants in East Allepo 8 days ago, strike again and black out Alleppo in what is regarded as a blatant breach of International law.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 18 2015 18:59 utc | 4

Thanks to b for all your hard work.

To Demian in the previous open thread, you comment:

". . . I might as well admit that I am suspicious of ethnically Russian Orthodox theologians who are based in the West instead of Russia. . ."

Could you expand upon this? For a period of years from the revolution on, Orthodoxy in Russia was persecuted severely, and after that 'renaissance' of thought I described pre-revolution many of the intelligensia were imprisoned or exiled. Russia itself underwent a similar mind-repression to the one we currently experience as far as the dogma of communism and anti-church propaganda. They are now starting anew, building on the past.

I wanted to recommend to you the writings of Vladimir Lossky on the Orthodox understanding of grace, but perhaps you feel he is tainted in some way? I'll just close with another quote from Father Schmemann that I agree with:

"How understandable and needful becomes Christ's silence about all the things that passionately interest us: government, religion, history, even morality. He always talks to me and about me - only that is of interest to him. . . Therefore, he saves me, not Russia, not the government, nothing else. . ."

I wouldn't say Christ is completely silent about those things, but I get his point.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 18 2015 19:23 utc | 5

A primer, The facade of a war on terror.

Posted by: Shadow Nine | Oct 18 2015 19:29 utc | 6

Demonizing pro-people policies

Posted by: nmb | Oct 18 2015 19:50 utc | 7

Thanks b -:)

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 18 2015 20:02 utc | 8

harry law @4
The US has intentionally bombed the power stations in Aleppo to shut off the supply of clean water, a tactic they copied from Israel, to spread disease, and encourage more refugees ti head to Europe.

Posted by: ALAN | Oct 18 2015 20:13 utc | 9

Hello Rg and the M of A Irregulars,

Thanks so much for linking your crowd to my blog and my latest essay which deals with "refusal." I hope you guys wander around a bit and enjoy my skewed perspective. There are 63 essays on a wide range of topics. I'll hoist a nice toast to you all this evening with our fine and affordable local rum.


Ray Jason

Posted by: Ray Jason | Oct 18 2015 20:33 utc | 10

But the more interesting question is: Why did not the Russians confront the F-16's on their way to Aleppo?

During the Serbian war, the Americans dropped some kind of chaff that shorted the power lines temporarily. Always contrasted that with the Israelis in Lebanon that physicaly destroyed the electric power infrastructure. I guess, further Israelization of the United States. (sigh)

Posted by: Will | Oct 18 2015 21:58 utc | 11


The Mighty Wurlitzer plays that organ. But on a higher note, Bernie Sanders is a Capitalist Pig in Socialist Drag

Posted by: Shadow Nine | Oct 18 2015 22:01 utc | 12

@ NMB, post #7
The article you link to asks: "Will Sanders manage to become the new Roosevelt, bringing another "new deal", with the power of the American people?"

Perhaps. Sanders is indeed very much like Roosevelt: a fake socialist, cosseted, upper-class establishment figure whose voting record while in office has been shamefully big-business and pro-war, with only a handful of noteworthy deviations. (You're a socialist, Bernie? Great. Give away most of your $200,000 income like a good socialist ought to. You earn multiple times what most Americans do, and you get taxpayer-subsidised Senatorial healthcare, and free perks, and an awesome taxpayer-subsidised Senatorial retirement plan. Sell your swankey home and rent a condo, while you're at it, and give the different to the masses. What's that Bernie, you don't want to share out your money? Gasp!)

Voting records shows that Sanders votes with the Democratic Party on almost everything, about 90% of votes. The Dems are every bit as bad as the Repubs, every bit as slavish to the banksters - they're just a different 'flavor' of bad and slavish, and Sanders is one of them.

Sanders defended Hilary Clinton in their debate five days ago, trying to make out that her illegal use of personal email to handle sensitive government data was a tired, old joke: "Let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn ­e-mails!"

Weasly. What a way to sweep under the rug a serious criminal offense.

Maybe Sanders, if elected, would repeat Rooselevt's scam of confiscating gold from the 99%, while leaving the 1% with their bullion untouched in their bank vaults.

Maybe Sanders could go out of his way to dragging the USA into a major war, like our 'reluctant war president' Roosevelt. Instead of deliberately provoking war by placing a crippling oil embargo on Japan, perhaps Sanders could extend sanctions against Russia, or maybe widen the net to include China.

Bottom line is, during his 'First Hundred Days', Roosevelt spent almost as much time on his yacht as he did in the White House. For his entire presidency, he lived in luxury while throwing scraps to the poor, to the great mass of Americans. All the time, he centralised power in the hands of the very upper echelons of America's elites. Based on his voting record, Sanders will be no different.

Posted by: BiffaBacon | Oct 18 2015 22:08 utc | 13


Actually, I do want to hear more about her 'damn emails'. A public servant does not get to privatize her work correspondence. Nor should she be able to get away with brazenly wiping the hard drives before handing them over to investigators. And funny how the mainstream media never talks about the damning things contained in some of those emails.

Posted by: Plenue | Oct 18 2015 23:26 utc | 14

Bloomberg is in full-blown panic over impending fall of Aleppo...publishes the "gold standard of hypocrisy" editorial urging Obama to do something to prevent Russia-Iran-Syria alliance from claiming a victory.

After the deaths of al least 250000 and 4 million displaced Syrians, the blowhards at Bloomberg all of a sudden notice that "many lives are at stake" in this meat grinder.
Not a bad reading if you need to puke.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 18 2015 23:33 utc | 15

Since Europe cannot get rid of millions of Muslims flooding it without the agreement from Turkey to take them back, Merkel is offering the Turks the keys to the gates of Vienna in order to make them to cooperate.
This saga is becoming more and more bizarre and senseless.
Europe is so desperate it's ready to commit suicide out of fear of death.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 18 2015 23:54 utc | 16

@juliania #5:

Could you expand upon this? For a period of years from the revolution on, Orthodoxy in Russia was persecuted severely

Yes, I know that. My background is this. I come from a White Russian family, so my parents were very anti-Soviet/Communist. I don't recall what the name of the national body that the church we went to was, but it was Russian and decided to join with the Greek church in the US to form the American Orthodox Church. But to do this, the Russian church would have to get approval from the Moscow Patriarchate, since that is what it was under. (OK, so that was the larger church body that our church belonged to.) Now, what happened is that some of the members of the congregation hated Russia so much (then the Soviet Union) that they staged a coup and took our church away from the larger body to which it belonged. There was a battle in the courts for a couple of years, and eventually the right side (ours) won.

What those Russia-hating members of the congregation did is exactly what the fascists did in Kiev. And I suspect that Schmemann sided with that side. (He probably had to take sides, since he was based in Long Island as I recall (the New York city area anyway), which is where we lived.)

The thinking in my family was that Russia under the Soviets was still Russia, but these people who used treachery instead of democratic procedure to get their way would have none of that. They were fanatics. And some of the children of these same Russians then went to loot Russia under Yeltsin.

Another thing is that our priest basically acted as if we have to believe everything he says and not ask questions. Thus, when I read those citations you give me, I have no idea of where the authority of these Orthodox clerics comes from to tell me about Christ. In Protestantism, pastors have no more authority than anyone else. One trusts a Lutheran pastor because he or she has expert knowledge and because the tradition of the church is based on reasoned argument.

I don't mean for anything I wrote to suggest that I am critical of the Moscow church. I don't find any fault with it, and I suspect that if I learned more about Russian Orthodoxy, I still wouldn't. But I'm afraid I have no idea of what a Russian church could possibly be unless it is organically connected with Russia. And Moscow is not Rome: it does not want to control all of Christendom.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 0:36 utc | 17


Thats what @13 said genius. Let me quote him

"What a way to sweep under the rug a serious criminal offense."

That is what @13 said about Sanders defending Clintons emails.

You may have mistakenly mistaken Sanders' words as @13s.

Posted by: Massinissa | Oct 19 2015 1:05 utc | 18

@16 I dont know what you mean by keys to vienna? Vienna is in Austria. Dont you mean Berlin?

I googled Merkel Vienna to see if I could find an article about what youre talking about, but I dont understand the reference to Vienna still. Is Merkel somehow compromising her neighbor Austrias security, more than she has already compromised Hungary's? I dont understand.

Posted by: Massinissa | Oct 19 2015 1:08 utc | 19

@19 Massinissa
I was making historical reference to the Battle of Vienna of 1683, when Ottoman push into Europe effectively ended with the victory of the Christian coalition.
It's a legendary battle (no less significant significant in rolling back the onslaught of Islam than the Battle of Tours of 732).
Since both Germany and Austria belong to the EU, Merkel might as well be giving Erdogan access to Vienna. In fact, you can pick any city in the European Union that you may want, and not be wrong.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 19 2015 1:23 utc | 20

Alan @ 9, There's a report of another F-16 attack on another power plant which feeds into Aleppo. This one occurred today. Karlof1 posted it to the other thread. So far as I can tell the story has appeared in only two places: Sana & Syria online. It's identical in the two places so I don't know where it originated.

-- Cholera outbreak in 15 of 18 governates of Iraq. Usual cause: impure warer. As of 10/7 1200 cases, mostly in the North, but now in the S along the Euphrates.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 19 2015 1:30 utc | 21

Thanks, Demian@17

Here's where we agree (and why I posted the quotes I did). I also find in Dostoevski my 'western' route to Orthodoxy (did read your link, thanks!) To me the political comings and goings of who is in charge where are exactly that - political. They are not the real church.

And I agree that it takes a lot of searching to find what the true Orthodox faith is - and lots of what is on line is pure bunk. No argument there! But indeed, I think the faith itself is not bounded by any particular nation, though my preference is Russian because I think for whatever reason the fullness of the faith is to be found in that particular version of Orthodoxy - at least in those practises of that 'attitude' to Christianity is where I feel at home - don't ask me why. I'm a kiwi and I certainly didn't have any upbringing other than first a milieu of Protestant experienced, then Catholic high school, then a liberal arts college after which I was raising my family and came into Dostoievski seminars at the same time as friends had a little family chapel.

So, I've run the gamut, and I think every version of Christianity has lovely things about it, but this one is home to me. The structure in whatever country is bound to be flawed, even that in Russia now. It doesn't concern me. I am after the truths of the faith, and those don't depend on man's imperfections. So yes, all kinds of nastiness everywhere, but also there is beauty. Dostoevski knew.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 19 2015 1:33 utc | 22

Thierry Meyssan was on World Crisis Radio Saturday (@28). He said Russians using that jamming radar for 3 weeks already-- just 300km around Latakia, but that's far enough to reach the Turkish border & Incirlik airfield. My memory is that w the Donald Cook incident that it jammed ALL equipment. In the current situation it's only "communication systems including the satellite." [Does he really mean communication, or only imaging?] He reminds us that WaPo had a story on 9/29 that quoted Gen Breedlove commenting that this was the third A2AD (anti-access, area denial) bubble he'd seen-- other two being Crimea & Kaliningrad. Anyway Thierry specifically said they are Blind. He can't mean anti-access, because they got to Aleppo. This is all he said on this topic; it's certainly less than clear to me.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 19 2015 1:38 utc | 23

@13 Whatever you think about FDR, we'd be lucky to get 1/100th of what he did out of Bernie Sanders. FDR saved capitalism, but he didn't leave what we have today. If he didn't die, or if his chosen successor in Henry Wallace had taken the reigns, likely post-War US history would be a whole lot different. Maybe avoiding the Cold War altogether.

What FDR set in motion left impressive effects that lasted for three generations, and it took dismantling - by the children of those same American Democrats (the Clintons, no less), much like the children of some of the Communists Demian speaks about. The linkage is greed of course - though the Russian's can lay some of the blame of what happened to them of the West. The Americans really have no one to blame except their own greedy elite.

Seems to be a part of the human condition that people think they can do better than those that came before them, or maybe its that they break the coalitions their parents set up, only to completely fuck it all up. Of course, when I say completely fuck it up, that leaves out the fact of the people who became very very rich on the misery of us all.

What Bernie did on the emails was scummy. Funny, that was an issue that meant a lot to people for whatever reason. A real symbol of Clintonian malfesance. And he blew it out of the water in one shot, proving he doesn't really want to win. He probably made millions of future Hiillary voters right then. Yuk.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 19 2015 1:43 utc | 24

Grover Furr on anti-Stalin BS.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 19 2015 1:48 utc | 25

Thanks, juliania.

I think each of us understands where the other is coming from pretty well. I also think it's very interesting that Dostoevsky is also your "route to Orthodoxy". (No, I haven't read that link: I found the Russian book it's a translated chapter of, and am thinking of reading the whole thing.)

I understand that for you the political issues relating to Orthodoxy are immaterial, whereas to me, they are not. For me, everything is complicated by the German influence. When I discovered Hegel, one of the things I thought was: "Didn't Dostoevsky know Hegel? Hegelian philosophy solves all the problems Hegel raised." (Of course, it's a very good thing for world literature that Dostoevsky did not get into Hegel lol.)

I haven't moved much beyond that. So what has gotten me fascinated by Russian Orthodoxy now is that Europe's response to Ukraine shows that Dostoevsky was right after all (about humanity not being able to save itself through Reason and, for that reason, perhaps, to think that Hegel was irrelevant, which Dostoevsky must have decided at some point).

And Hegel got me into Lutheranism. Right now I am in the middle of trying to get an understanding of how Luther interprets the Bible. Once I'm done with that project, maybe I will turn to trying to figure out Russian Orthodoxy at some point. Right now, it's completely impossible for me to get into that kind of thinking.

I have a feeling you said before that you are from New Zealand, but I had forgotten, so I had been proceeding under the assumption that you're American. Christianity down under must be significantly different from Christianity in the US. Evangelical historians say that evangelicals in the US, with their awakenings and so on, essentially invented a new religion. I suspect that Christianity in Australia and New Zealand stayed significant closer to what it is in Britain.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 2:10 utc | 26

@ guest 77 @24:

Slottin' himself into the VP position, perchance?

Posted by: wendy davis | Oct 19 2015 2:13 utc | 27


Really? Stalin revisionism? I guess if enough time has passed and there's a perceived political benefit to doing so, any old assholes reputation can be salvaged.

Posted by: Plenue | Oct 19 2015 2:15 utc | 28

@juliania #22:

I replied to your comment, but my post didn't go through. I saved what I wrote (this has happened to me before), so for the time being, I'll wait and see if the post appears eventually.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 2:16 utc | 29

For paulmeli as follow on to comments in last Open Thread, Penelope and others

My inflation rant/definitions and descriptions….the long run no one talks about

The financial context I set for my money supply is the US Dollar but I will discuss internal inflation and external implications to other currencies.

For this discussion lets say inflation types are monetary, CPI, asset price (commodities, real estate, financial assets)

Initially I want to discuss monetary inflation. I start with a Wikipedia quote about the causes of inflation

Currently, the quantity theory of money is widely accepted as an accurate model of inflation in the long run. Consequently, there is now broad agreement among economists that in the long run, the inflation rate is essentially dependent on the growth rate of money supply relative to the growth of the economy. However, in the short and medium term inflation may be affected by supply and demand pressures in the economy, and influenced by the relative elasticity of wages, prices and interest rates.[51] The question of whether the short-term effects last long enough to be important is the central topic of debate between monetarist and Keynesian economists. In monetarism prices and wages adjust quickly enough to make other factors merely marginal behavior on a general trend-line. In the Keynesian view, prices and wages adjust at different rates, and these differences have enough effects on real output to be "long term" in the view of people in an economy.
In monetary economics, the quantity theory of money (QTM) states that money supply has a direct, proportional relationship with the price level. For example, if the currency in circulation increased, there would be a proportional increase in the price of goods.[1]

And the Wikipedia quote about the Quantity Theory of Money,

The theory was challenged by Keynesian economics,[2] but updated and reinvigorated by the monetarist school of economics. While mainstream economists agree that the quantity theory holds true in the long run, there is still disagreement about its applicability in the short run. Critics of the theory argue that money velocity is not stable and, in the short-run, prices are sticky, so the direct relationship between money supply and price level does not hold.

The CPI and asset price types of inflation are the internal ones that the American public are programed to think exist. The CPI is much discussed and there are versions but have evolved from being a useful tool to being a much manipulated political failure much like unemployment statistics.

I am going to repeat my comment from the last Open Thread that paulmeli then asked me about

In 2008 when we had the September crisis, the TBTF banks did not get taken out and the Fed loaded its balance sheet with the Maiden Lane I, II and III mortgage crap. They also set the Fed borrowing rate to the TBTF banks at ZERO (0) percent......and the printing presses started.

The bottom line is that the US dollar has been depreciated/inflated and all the holders of it or things valued in it are going to be screwed. The inflation numbers are lies.

I am referring here to monetary inflation and let me close the comment with the external implications of the US Dollar inflation that is occurring.

With the US Dollar (USD) being the Reserve Currency, other countries are expected to keep their currencies in line with the USD but this has not occurred at monetary level very well in the past and since 2008 it has been a joke and not discussed.

I believe/hope there is a human species war going on between Homo-Privitus and Homo-Sovereign and I am rooting for Homo-Sovereign.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 19 2015 2:27 utc | 30

@27 Plenue

History is written by victors, the saying goes, so it's a pretty safe assumption that what an average westerner (or even a Russian) knows about Stalin is if not completely wrong, then surely quite distorted.
Maybe some "revisionism" - as in restoration of truth - is in order.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 19 2015 2:32 utc | 31


I tried posting that again, but it was suppressed again. So this is the quickest thing I could find to do. Please follow the first link:

Reply to a comment at Moon of Alabama Read:

— Adalbrand (@Adalbrand) October 19, 2015

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 2:33 utc | 32

@29 psuchohistorian

"With the US Dollar (USD) being the Reserve Currency, other countries are expected to keep their currencies in line with the USD"

That's not true. Currencies are expected to fluctuate against each other, reflecting different countries' trade performance. A country with the deteriorating trade balance is expected to see its currency depreciate, while a country with the improving trade balance is expected to see its currency appreciate. That's how economies are supposed to adjust.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 19 2015 2:49 utc | 33

@MMARR #30:

The Russian language blogger Colonel Cassad appears to have a relatively positive view of Stalin, so he made me change my attitude about Stalin. (Our own guest77 played a role here too, of course.) But I'm not interested in looking into the matter myself. I just go with what the prevailing view in Russia seems to be.


Those were not children of Communists, but children of Republican (as in GOP) Russian emigrés. (I was thinking of someone I knew personally when I was a kid.) (Of course there were more than enough Russians from families that stayed in Russia to do the looting.)

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 2:49 utc | 34

@24 guest77

I was streaming the debate on CNN and right after the debate they interviewed Bernie and he said clearly that he wanted the email investigations to proceed and that his complaint was more about the moderator aping GOP character .

I like what Bernie is saying, the conversations he is forcing folks to have, he is a Jew who could stand up to Israel (has already) and is the only presidential candidate out there who I might/could vote for. I voted for Jill Stein (another Jew) with the Greens in the last presidential election and expect to do similar with the 2016 one.......I don't see Bernie being allowed to continue for whatever reason they invent.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 19 2015 2:51 utc | 35


Yeah, no. The historiography on Stalin is very extensive, both western and Russian. It's one thing to sit there and say 'well, written by the victors', it's quite another to give specifics. Read the histories, follow through on the citations and sources. Give me specifics as to where the common narrative is wrong. The type of person who would even entertain the idea that Stalin wasn't a horrible figure is one who has never bothered to actually learn much of his history.

He was a mad dictator who had a lot of people killed (there are literally hundreds of execution orders with his signature on them in the archives) and a lot more thrown in prison. He completely wiped away huge swathes of the Revolution. Not to mention causing even more deaths under his military leadership because in his paranoia he devastated his countries officer core just a few years before a major war, not only removing nearly everyone who knew what they were doing but creating an environment of utter fear and an unwillingness to think independently that had very negative consequences for the Soviet Union in the second world war.

Posted by: Plenue | Oct 19 2015 2:54 utc | 36

@33 Demian
Cassad is a self-proclaimed Communist, and I don't really care for the Commies for one simple reason - while fancying themselves as Marxists, they know next to nothing about Marxism. At least if one was to judge by their deeds. The only Communists who work by the Marxist book are the Chinese. Russian Communists are simply a joke. They tried to "build socialism" without going through capitalism first, and according to Marx, that's impossible. On top of that, according to Marx, "socialism in one country or even a group of countries" is equally impossible, as it would inevitably lead to a capital flight. No wonder that the USSR imploded.

My beef with the Stalin bashers is an obvious intellectual dishonesty, since they completely omit man's undoubtedly great accomplishment, while being laser focused on his alleged victims (and then they can't even agree on the numbers...I saw estimates vary from a million to 50 million, which means that the figures are mostly made up).

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 19 2015 3:11 utc | 37


No, Dostoyevsky wasn't right. Firstly there's nothing reasonable or logical about modern western policy. It's all just another ideology, with the pitfalls that all ideologies suffer from by their very nature. If our elites actually applied Reason to their plan-making we wouldn't be backing coups and training terrorists. We also wouldn't be continuing to kill the planet because it increases quarterly profits.

Secondly Dostoyevsky's answer to everything would be 'morality through religion'. I'm sure gays in modern Russia can tell you all about the 'wonderful' morality of the Russian Orthodox Church. And I know that's the type of thing people here are likely to scoff at, but however much it may be being used by western media to stir up anti-Russian sentiment, legislation against gay 'propaganda' has been passed in Russia and it's disgusting. I don't have to look far on Russian sites to find rants about 'sodomites'.

Dostoyevsky's claim that "Without God, everything is permitted" is exactly backwards, since it is with the claim of divine support that the most insane, heinous acts are committed, whether it be the idiots of the Westboro Baptist Church and their signs, the many anti-reality stances of the Catholic church, or any number of jihadis chopping heads off and blowing themselves up.

Posted by: Plenue | Oct 19 2015 3:23 utc | 38

@36 you call russian communists a joke.. how do we know that you're not a joke?

Posted by: bbbbb | Oct 19 2015 3:24 utc | 39

@ 1: Thanks for a moment of sanity!

Posted by: ben | Oct 19 2015 3:26 utc | 40

Here is the latest analysis (explanation of earlier failed plans) of Syrian War by David Ignatius of WP
One must give him credit it’s not easy job cleaning and justifying after stuff gets in a very messy fan job.

Posted by: kooshy | Oct 19 2015 3:26 utc | 41

So the Chinese are the true communists? Funny, because I seem to remember a core tenet of Maoism being the belief that the revolution would come about via the farmers and not the industrial workers (Marx hated farmers). And Mao attempted to do exactly what Stalin had attempted and jump straight into true communism with his 'Great Leap Forward'. It was a disaster and as many as 60 million people died because of it. From where I'm standing China is becoming increasingly capitalist because decades of centralized 'communism' resulted in stagnation.

Posted by: Plenue | Oct 19 2015 3:29 utc | 42


David Ignatius? WaPo?

Mouthpiece for neocons...

Posted by: crone | Oct 19 2015 3:30 utc | 43

@35 Plenue

"Extensive" doesn't mean well-researched or honest. All it means that there were a lot of people (including the ones who never did any archives digging) who decided to write on the subject. Most never bothered with any legwork, and simply regurgitated hearsay and articles from the western newspapers from the 30s, 40s and 50s. There are all kinds of numbers about Stalin's "victims". Maybe the burden should be on you with regard to giving specifics.

As they say, "there are two sides to every story". You seem to be stuck firmly in accusatory camp. That's fine. I am not a Stalin groupie. Time will tell, after we get a chance to hear the other side.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 19 2015 3:32 utc | 44

@38 bbbbb

That's a kindergarten level of debate, since I could ask the same about you.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 19 2015 3:34 utc | 45

@41 Plenue

I am talking about today's Chinese Communists, who have nothing in common with Mao, except some declaratory allegiance.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 19 2015 3:37 utc | 46

@6: "Though the attack wasn’t an inside job, I believe it was allowed to happen to create a new scapegoat for the American political class to use as a way to curtail civil liberties, crack down on anti-capitalist, leftist, and environmental groups, and to justify the gargantuan military budget which had barely been cut since the end of the Cold War."

"In conclusion, this ‘War on Terror’ is a war against Islam, Arabs, leftists, and anyone who fights against neoliberal capitalism as it expands its control of civilian lives and societies across the planet>"

Above from your link, I agree, thanks.

@7: Truth ALWAYS reads well, thanks

Posted by: ben | Oct 19 2015 3:42 utc | 47

MMARR at 36: "according to Marx, that's impossible." Who cares? That was his opinion, based on his theory and no evidence, but Marx is not a god or a religion.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 19 2015 3:44 utc | 48

@ 13 bbacon: Sooo, who do you favor? betcha won't tell. Til' a better one comes along, I'm a Sanders guy. Does he suck? Maybe, time will tell.

Posted by: ben | Oct 19 2015 3:49 utc | 49

@47 fairleft

True, Marx is not God. But he is a writer of "Communist manifesto" and "Das Capital", two bibles of Communist movement. He was an inventor of the very word "communist". There would be no "communist" without him.

Who cares? Every Communist does, or what the heck do they care about then?

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 19 2015 3:51 utc | 50

@ 42

He is the most trusted CIA novelist screenwriter, now days his talent is mostly used and put in work to clean the shit from various fans, if all possible , most often the shit is too thick to be removed.

Posted by: kooshy | Oct 19 2015 4:07 utc | 51

Short video on latest debate comments about Snowden:

Posted by: ben | Oct 19 2015 4:07 utc | 52


Western hearsay, eh? You do realize that the great turn against Stalin started with Khrushchev's 'secret speech' in 1956, right? And he would have known what Stalin did in intimate detail, since he was in charge of some of Stalin's purges. And of course Trosky's writings dont exactly count as western hearsay. You're speaking like someone who has in fact never read much about Stalin. The opening of the Soviet archives in the 90s provided vast amounts of material that reinforced a negative view of Stalin.

As for western reporting, I'm reminded of the fact that the New York Times featured glowing pro-Stalin reporting in the 1930s from Walter Duranty, eventually denounced as some of the worst 'journalism' ever featured in the paper.

Posted by: Plenue | Oct 19 2015 4:24 utc | 53

@Penelope@21 Cholera outbreak in 15 of 18 governates of Iraq. Usual cause: impure warer. As of 10/7 1200 cases, mostly in the North, but now in the S along the Euphrates.
Posted by:

Thanks for the link and for pointing out the new US tactic, which fundamentally aims at destroying what is left of Syrian infrastructure (power plants, energy stations, dams, bridges, electric grid, communications, etc.) under the pretext of a "war on IS." The intended purpose is, however,

1) To create as much damage in order to make daily life even more difficult for the already suffering Syrian citizenry, forcing them to either become internally displaced, or to migrate as refugees, as someone else pointed out on this thread. In the case of people who are living under IS control but are not yet committed to them, the lack of basic resources (water, food, electricity) could force them to make a political decision under duress, since IS hoards the goods for those who support them.

2) Elevate reconstruction to an staggering cost, knowing well who is going to foot the bill after the war, mainly Russia and Iran, with some help from the SCO/BRICS. Syria has submitted an application to the SCO, nothing can be resolved until after the conflict ends. The cost of reconstruction will be in the trillions of dollars.

3) The US/NATO/KSA in further destroying Syria's infrastructure to a wasted land, are following after the zio-nazis Gaza model.

I wonder what would be the pretext for the US terror coalition to continue in Syria, once the Syrian people take back control of their country. In the meantime, while IS gets defeated, they will take full advantage and wreck the country back to the Stone Age.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 19 2015 4:28 utc | 54

According to CCTV Egypt's election is shaping up to be a fizzer with the vast majority of Egyptians (circa 80%) not bothering to vote.

CCTV provides daily updates on the number sorties by Russia in Syria but neither CCTV nor Russia Today have reported anything at all about Aleppo power plants being bombed by anyone, or anything. So I suspect that it's not true, mostly because it insinuates that those soft target specialists, the US Coalition of Cowardice & Cretinism did something risky or brave. It's probably a Russian-inspired Syrian joke.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 19 2015 4:29 utc | 55

@Plenue #38:

Your last two paragraphs are well taken. (I could say a thing or two about the "gay propaganda" issue, but this isn't dailyKos, so there is no need to.)

But I don't understand your first paragraph: "there's nothing reasonable or logical about modern western policy". That was exactly my point. Hegel thought western policy would become reasonable. It started to go in that direction after WW II, but then all that ended when the USSR collapsed. (Actually, things started to regress when the 1960s ended. That process just accelerated after 1991.) Thus, reason (as opposed to instrumental rationality) is ultimately powerless in Western society. Hence, Hegel was wrong and Dostoevsky was right.

You seem to be thinking in terms of what is ideal instead of what is actual. Yes, what is ideal is to have reason govern society. But if that turns out to be unfeasible, the second-best solution is to have norms grounded in religion (i.e., a decent form of Christianity) influence society, as opposed to unchecked greed, which is what we have in our postmodern, post-Christian West.

My argument is that we tried making society decent without making use of religion Christianity for that purpose, and we failed. I was willing for the longest time to "give reason a chance", but Ukraine was the final proof that reason is no match for greed and the lust for power.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 5:07 utc | 56

I'm tired of the Putin cheerleading on this board. I hate what the U.S. is doing in Syria: supporting Al Qaeda, letting the Gulf States prop up Islamic State; fixating on overthrowing Assad. But I won't support Putin just because he's opposing America. It's sad to see the far-left on this board closing the circle with the far-right and backing a dictator in Putin. He's a rightwing kleptocrat. He's filling Russia with the ideological atmospherics of the neo-Eurasianists, led by Aleksandr Dugin, a fascist lunatic, a subway ranter with elite influence. How can the left take Putin's side, ever, and still call itself left? Is the left so weak that it has to root for someone automatically, like a sports fan? Can't it stand alone, against all enemies, on principle?

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 19 2015 5:10 utc | 57

From the Saker"

"One of these facts it that to root out these Islamists from Syria once and for all is going to take a lot more effort than initially anticipated. The fact Assad had twice offered an amnesty to all draft-dodgers, deserters, and defectors highlights the complicated nature of maintaining dedicated manpower through his regular forces. [Source]

It’s definitely going to take more than the 30 planes and the thousands of troops coming in from Hezbollah and Iran. Something bigger must be brewing to bring the decisive victory needed to shake off the nation’s lackadaisical acceptance of the crisis and shake out the foreign invaders that are destroying the country.

Full article:

Posted by: ben | Oct 19 2015 5:11 utc | 58


The only Communists who work by the Marxist book are the Chinese.

I seriously doubt that. Marxism in China coexists with Confucianism, both are learned by heart and recited when convenient, but none is applied in Chinese life. Chinese communist cadre might dress in a Mao jacket and carry Mao's Red Book, but their children are reading Harvard's BS application of Sun Tzu's "Art of War" to corporate business and international finance, in English. Marxism in China plays the same role among the communist elite than Chinese language played during dynastic China, a unification tool for the state's ideological/political control. If the Chinese so-called communists are Marxists, and by your definition "the true Marxists," Donald Trump is a communist and should be shot on the spot for being a mole.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 19 2015 5:17 utc | 59


I'm curious how you think the US was at least heading in the direction of reason post-WW2. The Dulles brothers and Truman? Vietnam? I'm not really seeing it.


I for one don't like Putin, and don't like much of what he is doing domestically in Russia. I also don't buy all the nice talk about him desiring a multipolar political world. I think if the situation were reversed and it was Putin at the head of a sole superpower Russia he would be just as much a bully as the US, though smarter and more effective at it.

I don't think he's a good person, but he is a skilled operator. He and Russia are in a much weaker position that the US hegemon, and yet are expertly frustrating it at every turn. And that's a good thing, because DC is now acting like a drunken buffoon, and causing a lot of damage. I don't have to like Putin to approve of how he's derailing Washingtons insane plans.

On the issue of Syria in particular, he's laying bare the lies and deceit of the West. A lot of people are having great difficulty swallowing the idea that al-Qaeda and 'moderate' rebels are the good guys and approve, albeit begrudgingly, of Putin just bombing all of them on sight. And once the battle for Aleppo is won and full attention is turned to steamrolling ISIS, the fearmongering that has gone on about them over the past year will backfire on Western elites. Especially if it's done quickly; there will be some serious questions about why the Russians did in weeks or a few months what the US couldn't do in over a year.

I guess it boils down to apprecoating Putin for the massive thorn in Washingtons side that he in effect is, rather than any love for most of his policies. If nothing else he's a much lesser asshole who is ruining the plans of the biggest bully on the block.

Posted by: Plenue | Oct 19 2015 5:31 utc | 60

@56 Demian

In the country in which I live it says In God We Trust on our money and the motto was changed to that in the mid 1950's from E Pluribus Unum. That tells me you have had 65 years to make America decent and you have failed.

I don't buy your paragraph,
You seem to be thinking in terms of what is ideal instead of what is actual. Yes, what is ideal is to have reason govern society. But if that turns out to be unfeasible, the second-best solution is to have norms grounded in religion (i.e., a decent form of Christianity) influence society, as opposed to unchecked greed, which is what we have in our postmodern, post-Christian West.
What governs the West are the global plutocratic families that own private finance. They continue to maintain that control with inheritance and ongoing accumulation of property which seems to apply to religious organizations as well....funny how that works and has worked that way for centuries. How does "the church" stand on private or sovereign finance?

I will keep working on reason governing society, thank you

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 19 2015 5:45 utc | 61

In the Beginning there was Bretton Woods, at which the US was entirely guided by the CFR (Rockefeller's Council on Foreign Relations). As Starikov says, the nations of the world in post-war ruin gave up a degree of sovereignty otherwise unimaginable: monetary sovereignty and with it, much of the possibility of economic planning. The IMF/Fed?dollar system was born. Stalin refused to sign & so was born the iron curtain which the West invented.

But I digress. My point is that we began with the institutional architecture to produce the global oligarchy by means predominantly economic. The product was devised by an anglophile/Rockefeller-Morgan group. It's means was through control of the sphere of economics, information, politics, and occasionally military force. The system progressed without , 9-11 obvious immense change-- although new oligarchs were added-- until George Bush. He was impatient; perhaps it had to do w his hyperthyroidism. He decided to "take the gloves off". Military force became a preferred tool. PNAC, Wolfowitz Doctrine, 9-11. The known plan to take down 6 countries in 5 years. The entire neocon strategy has put the Plan in jeopardy.

In panic, the old anglophile/Rockefeller crowd are trying to return to the more subtle methods of the pre-neocon years. Although Obama's family was CIA he's somehow been captured-- by carrot or stick or commitment is unknown. IMO unless we have WWIII pretty quickly, the milder-- but equally dangerous to us-- strategy will resume control of the war against humanity.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 19 2015 6:13 utc | 62

in tokyo owned atimes,

i posted this reply to gaibri,

so far no show.,
too explosive for the mod's taste i guess, hehehe

Posted by: denk | Oct 19 2015 6:29 utc | 63

this archived link loads faster,">">

Posted by: denk | Oct 19 2015 6:34 utc | 64

sorry b,
forgotten again, archived link doesnt work well

pse delete previous garbled post, tku

Posted by: denk | Oct 19 2015 6:37 utc | 65

@MMARR #37

Your assertion that the Soviets tried to skip directly to Communism while the Chinese didn't is puzzling. After the war communism of the Russian civil war the New Economic Policy fostered a great deal of private enterprise, particularly in the agricultural sector. The peasantry grew in power, setting the stage for later confrontation when the Soviets sought to modernize food distribution as part of their industrialization policy in the 1930s. In China, agricultural collectivization was well underway within a few years of the Communists seizing power. The mass conversion of agricultural collectives to cottage-industrial collectives during the Great Leap Forward was a complete disaster.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 19 2015 8:27 utc | 66

The US Could End Saudi War Crimes in Yemen - It Just Doesn't Want To

The Amnesty report points out that the United States has a legal obligation under the Arms Trade Treaty not to provide weaponry it knows will be used in the indiscriminate bombing of Yemen. Article 6 of that treaty, which entered into force in October 2014, forbids the transfer of arms and munitions to a party to an armed conflict if it has knowledge that the weaponry will be used for "attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a party."

The Amnesty report notes that the United States is also providing logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi-led coalition. This logistical assistance is particularly important because the Saudis and their Gulf allies need the assistance of US mechanics to keep their aircraft running. That fact gives the Obama administration a major source of leverage on Saudi policy. Furthermore, last summer the Saudis began to run low on the laser-guided bombs sold to them by the United States and requested to be resupplied. As a result, the Saudi decision to continue the war is dependent on a policy decision by Washington.

Resupplying the Saudis with the same US munitions that have been used to commit war crimes in Yemen also runs up against the Leahy Law - the domestic legislation governing US military sales and other forms of security assistance. That law prohibits military sales to forces that have engaged in gross violations of human rights, which would obviously include the blatant violations of the laws of war committed in Yemen.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration has thus far given no indication that it will deny the request.

Not only the war in Yemen but the wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan ... he could end them all with an afternoon's work.

Obama remains a lying, murderous, criminal, neocon stooge. That doesn't mean he's not a Wall Street stooge.

It means he's a stooge for all seasons. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. That's what they give the prize for.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 19 2015 8:40 utc | 67

@anon #57

Your assertion that Putin is somehow responsible for the influence of Durgin is baseless. Durgin and other neo-czarists of his ilk are regarded as a destabilizing force by the Russian elites, with potential to open deep fissures between Russian and other ethnicities. The attempts to co-opt the Russian nationalist sentiments of Durgin's followers are not the same thing as fostering Durgin's ideas.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 19 2015 8:42 utc | 68


sorry I didn't answer your post in the previous thread, we live in different time zones! guest77 indirectly answered you in his post here #24; the way I see it, two paradigms confronted themselves since the late XIXth century, which can be defined a plutocratic one ("supply creates its own demand", "sound money", no public deficit, low taxation on income, inflation number one enemy, low regulations, growth through private finance, low tariffs ...) and a democratic one ("demand creates the supply", unemployment number one enemy, growth through direct public intervention, control over capital movements, etc; Keynes is the great theorist of this approach);

the plutocratic paradigm brought the 1929 crisis; Roosevelt since the beginning of his mandate strongly curbed private finance, and gradually imposed, after a long trial-and-error period and after a long confrontation with the powers that be, mainly entrenched in the Supreme Court, a democratic paradigm that after WWII inspired and legitimized the european welfare state; the years between 1945 and 1975 have seen the greatest economic growth AND redistribution of wealth ever in western societies

towards the end of the '70, neolibs became dominant again and imposed a plutocratic paradigm over western societies and possibily any independent national system in the world

so an analysis of what really happened in the '70s, and the catastrophic defeat of the democratic forces, is crucial for any democratic project today

Posted by: claudio | Oct 19 2015 9:06 utc | 69

@Penelope #62

The Cold War did not originate from Stalin's stance towards the Breton Woods structures. He was never invited to that party.

Breton Woods did not cause the emergence of international oligarchs. It established ground rules for the existing oligarchs for replacement of world financial structures that had been disrupted by World War II. It worked spectacularly well for its original purpose, providing stability while Europe recovered. Problems emerged when it became the basis for the dealings of established economies with the post-colonial world.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 19 2015 9:12 utc | 70

Lone Wolf says:

Thanks for the link and for pointing out the new US tactic...

scorched earth is a military tactic as old as the hills themselves and the US has practiced it since the republic was formed. if there is any possible positive slant on the recent bombing(s) of the power station(s) it just might be that it preannounces the retreat of hostile forces from Aleppo.

Posted by: john | Oct 19 2015 10:24 utc | 71

MMARR, at 37 you said:

The only Communists who work by the Marxist book are the Chinese. Russian Communists are simply a joke. They tried to "build socialism" without going through capitalism first, and according to Marx, that's impossible. On top of that, according to Marx, "socialism in one country or even a group of countries" is equally impossible, as it would inevitably lead to a capital flight.

And I criticized that ... In response you said at 50:

True, Marx is not God. But he is a writer of "Communist manifesto" and "Das Capital", two bibles of Communist movement. He was an inventor of the very word "communist". There would be no "communist" without him.

Who cares? Every Communist does, or what the heck do they care about then?

If our goal is a communist society, Marx's goal, then we should care about the truth or the closest thing we can find to it, not about what Marx's opinion was. The last part of that first quote -- "socialism in one country or even a group of countries" is equally impossible, as it would inevitably lead to a capital flight -- is also wrong, since preventing capital flight has been mastered and applied in many large and small capitalist countries. Preventing capital flight was a key feature of the excellent economic growth stories in Japan and South Korea, for example.

Marx was a great man, obviously a spectacular and needed innovator in our way of looking at the world. But some of his specific assertions, especially in the area of 'how to get there from here', are just one 19th century guy's ideas and not especially insightful. Great historian, great economist, but maybe with a few blindspots, partly because he wasn't able to know and learn from the economic history that transpired over the 130 years after his death.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 19 2015 10:26 utc | 72

@Demian #56

The liberal-individualist idea of "enlightened" (rational) self-interest as the basis for social morality has indeed led to greed and power-seeking causing social chaos. I understand the impulse to seek religious morality as a way to temper it. But we need to understand and focus on the specific aspects of religious morality that are beneficial. The essential element is community. I'm not too familiar with Orthodox, but it strikes me as having a great deal in common with Catholicism. Catholicism, on the plus side, is a community-oriented religion. What social conscience there exists among Latin American elites is largely based on the communitarian aspects of Catholicism. On the downside it is a religion with concentrated power and all of its corrupting aspects. The concentrated power within Catholicism validates concentrated social power. Protestantism, while more egalitarian, lacks a communitarian ethos. Not being a religious person myself, I seek an ideal of social rationalism tempered by a communitarian ethos.

We've seen one attempt to construct a post-liberal rational outlook for humanity in the Marxist left. It offered a great critique of liberal capitalism but its own product didn't work out so hot. Maybe we'll figure it out one of these years.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 19 2015 11:16 utc | 73

What will matter in thinking about Stalin is less the latest revelations from the archives (they were reasonably well open during the glasnost years) but the analytical framework.

You cannot do better in this regard than Deutscher's biography of Stalin. Like Cromwell and Robespierre were early iterations of bourgeois democracy, he argued, latter corrected and improved, so it will be with Stalin. For all of its deficiencies, the Soviet Union built a modern industrial economy overnight (in world-historic term) and saved the world from fascist domination. They aided the liberation struggles of the Third World, and their ability to serve as a counterweight to capital resulted in the social-welfare state.

Is the status quo an improvement in world affairs? I think not. Our finance capital masters have ruined the environment, social, physical, economic and political, and absent the "Red Menance," the world is largely supine.

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 19 2015 11:34 utc | 74

claudio @69: I think I basically agree with that take .... That must be an interesting discussion you're having. I was just thinking about when the crucial turning point was in the U.S., and go with Carter's appointment of Paul Volcker as Chair of the Federal Reserve in August, 1979. It signaled the Democrats' new prioritization of preserving the value of paper wealth over generating growth and employment. Been all downhill ever since.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 19 2015 11:49 utc | 75

@Thirdeye #73:

The essential element is community. I'm not too familiar with Orthodox, but it strikes me as having a great deal in common with Catholicism. Catholicism … On the downside [Roman Catholicism] is a religion with concentrated power and all of its corrupting aspects.

The similarities of Russian Orthodoxy with Roman Catholicism only go so far. (1) Yes, power is concentrated in Catholicism, and that corrupts. Historically, Rome saw itself as running Europe, with kings being subservient to it. In Orthodoxy, the state has always been at least equal to the church, and above it at most times. Thus, in Orthodoxy, one gets a kind of "separation of powers", analogous to the separation of the legislative and executive branches in liberal political theory. One does not find the same in Catholicism, since there the church sees itself as having a monopoly on morality. (2) Unlike Rome, the Orthodox church tries to follow Christ, and thus sees humility as a prime virtue. Rome stopped following Christ long ago (thus it was standard, and quite rightly so, for Luther and other reformers to refer to the Pope as the Antichrist) and it is perhaps the most arrogant and power hungry institution in the world. "Catholic" means "universal". To this day, Rome sees itself as being the sole legitimate representative of Christendom on earth. This is why Orthodox and Protestants call the Catholic church Roman Catholic, to make clear that it is not universal, but is just one particular social institution. (Lutherans still say as part of the Nicene Creed that "We believe in one Catholic church." Thus, Lutherans hold up the ideal of Christians being unified under one church. Rome is only willing to do that if it controls everything.)

The reason I am saying that we should look at Russian Orthodoxy/Russia is that I think with Ukraine, we have seen a historical break. The universally accepted narrative is that in Europe, World War II was fought to defeat the evil of fascism. Well, with Ukraine, the West, including western Europe, came out decisively and unambiguously on the side of fascism. So why did the western Allies even bother fighting in that war? To ask the question is to answer it.

Thus, Russia has emerged as the sole defender of Western civilization against the barbarism of fascism. Because of this, we should search for an explanation for why Russian institutions are able to defend and preserve freedom, whereas Western institutions have failed at this. That's what Dugin tries to do. (He's come up in this thread already.) Unfortunately, he strikes me as a charlatan. Someone in this thread called him a tsarist; another common label for him is fascist. He is all over the place. There must be other Russian academics who try to explicate "the Russian model", but I don't know who they are. I do know that explaining how Russia is different from the West has been the main obsession of Russian "philosophy". The struggle between the United States and Russia coming out into the open again means that this issue has now become of general interest.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 12:33 utc | 76


I'm rusty on Hegel but I'm sure Dostoievski would have read and discussed him. There would have been Hegelian principles infused into the character of Stepan, Pyotr's father in "The Demons". As to Pyotr himself, his character is further developed in The Brothers Karamazov - and split really into two, Ivan and Smerdyakov. Ivan is a brother - he's very close in concept to hero Alyosha. They are both described as 'realists', having the same mother. And Ivan, I would say, is more of a Hegelian (my limited understanding) than are either Stepan or Pyotr in the earlier novel. Ivan is noble. So noble that many suppose his 'poem' The Grand Inquisitor to be what Dostoievski really believed.

For Orthodox Christianity, Christ is both perfect man and perfect God. Dostoievski explores the possibility of 'perfect man' in his novel "The Idiot". When he comes to his hero, Alyosha, in TBK, he doesn't attempt to make him perfect in a 'superman' sense. Ivan, his brother, is a rational man who discovers to his horror that he has influenced Smerdyakov - maybe not unlike Wahhabi influence on young Muslims, though in that case it seems to be very deliberate. In the case of Ivan, it is not; though he holds himself responsible. (Putin's question to Obama: do you realize what you have done?)

Like Beethoven, Dostoievski did his greatest work near the end of his life. He was always building on what had come before, and on his own life experiences. And he was always looking for that perfection in man exemplified by Christ, as well as exploring the imperfections in a realistic but loving way. The article you linked said that Pyotr was 'anthropocentric'. I don't think Dostoievski would say that. If anything, the anthropocentric characters in the novels are Sophia in Crime and Punishment, Father Tikhon in The Demons, and Father Zosima in TBK. And sadly, The Idiot doesn't have one, only a painting of Christ entombed, western style, graphically depicted. Powerful stuff!

Posted by: juliania | Oct 19 2015 12:46 utc | 77

What's behind the reported ISIL attacks on UAE forces in Yemen? I'd think they'd be focused on the Houthis, considering their usual MO.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 19 2015 12:53 utc | 78

Anonymous @57
Confused much?

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 19 2015 12:54 utc | 79

@juliania #77:

Oh dear. It looks like I'm going to have to read the four great novels. And I might as well precede that with Notes from the Underground, which is the canonical Russian indictment of Western (or anglophone, anyway) "reason". I had zero exposure to German philosophy when I read Dostoevsky.


What say you to juliania's post? You said you don't like Dostoevsky. Is that all obfuscation?

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 13:08 utc | 80


> I'm tired of the Putin cheerleading on this board. I hate what the U.S. is doing
> in Syria: supporting Al Qaeda, letting the Gulf States prop up Islamic State; fixating
> on overthrowing Assad. But I won't support Putin just because he's opposing
> America.

I’ll give you my view. I’m American, 60 yrs old, lived here all my life. I’ve put a lot of time & effort (and $$) into efforts to “fix” some things… really beginning with the 2k Gore vs. Bush election: almost a “horror”, in that I was beyond shocked seeing how in the U.S., and prez election could be so thoroughly manipulated with lies. It got me off my butt and out of regular life, and… active. Been so ever since.

I don’t care to argue my “credentials” as left/liberal/progressive, as someone will always step up and dismiss or categorize/marginalize on a “quibble”… and turn something constructive into a food fight. Just look at the lack of agreement in this thread!

It would be close enough to say I’m “cheerleading” Putin’s actions in Syria. I would whole-heatedly reject my support (as you say) because he’s “opposing America”. That sounds like a “me against them” perception… always guaranteeing some type of conflict and stagnation.

I support what Putin’s done, because it is the right thing to do: his actions (well explained here and on multiple news sources, and even by him) were not haphazard or “whimsical”: their targets, preparation and actual actions make very good sense. This NEEDED to be done. If BO had the kahunas to do this, I would have applauded him.

We’ve (U.S.), literally caused devotion across the region in the last 15 years or so. Something had to be done.

> It's sad to see the far-left on this board closing the circle with the far-right and backing a dictator in Putin.

With all due respect, I reject that characterization. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” leader/president. I’ll just say, I’ve been watching/reading about him closely for a good while (some years now): it would be easy to demonize and dismiss him with several “judgements” of things I didn’t agree with. But… overall, he’s been right and correct about far more then not. His support amongst Russian public is off the charts compared to any western leader I’m aware of, so that says something right there. And, what I like a lot… although our media doesn’t cover it, he explains himself well and his actions have lined up with his statements.

I posted a snippet from a forum he participated in just a few days ago yesterday, in which he explained some details of his Syria actions. You may want to read that. The transcript I took that from here.

Posted by: jdmckay | Oct 19 2015 13:24 utc | 81

guest77 @78: At some point, probably already, the southern Yemenis desire for sovereignty conflicts with the imposition of a Saudi-style, i.e. IS-style, regime on the South Yemen nation. Maybe that explains the attacks and maybe the occupiers don't want to publicize that the people they've 'liberated' are attacking and killing them, so they blame the attacks on IS.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 19 2015 13:27 utc | 82

As usual, I'm insanely late in posting to the open threads, but, to anyone still reading, there's a post from something called the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point that is actually excellent on the reasons why many more Syrian Sunnis might support the Assad government than is commonly assumed. See, eg.,

At the same time, notable segments of Syria’s Sunni majority remain supportive of the Ba’athists for any number of reasons.[23] The nature of authoritarian regimes makes it difficult to gauge feelings of approval (or opposition). Nevertheless, it is important to consider the various gradations of support that the present regime continues to draw from this critical segment of Syrian society.[24]

Sunnis (and others) who harbor genuine misgivings toward the government may still feel more threatened by the armed opposition. These feelings are likely to have crystallized given the prevalence of radical Sunni Islamist currents within the insurgents. These sentiments are reflected in numerous segments of Syria’s Sunnis. They are most apparent, however, among urban Sunnis, including the middle- and upper-class strata and, in particular, the business and merchant classes that were cultivated by the Ba’athist regime over many years.[25] The armed opposition has singled out a number of powerful Sunni businessmen for their purported roles in helping to sustain the Ba’athists, including the organization of irregular militias; and the smuggling of hard currency, arms, and critical goods.[26]

Class-based dynamics have also shaped negative perceptions of the opposition among the many Sunnis who remain loyal to the current regime. The perception of the opposition as a rural-based movement led by religiously conservative, poor, and unsophisticated villagers has alienated wide segments of urban Sunnis, who have little in common socially with their co-religionists.[27]

The strong Sunni presence in Syria’s military and security apparatus has also been overlooked. Much of the Ba’athist military and security apparatus is commanded by Alawite officers who are bound by relations to family, kin, clan, or tribe. Many elite squads and sections are led directly by al-Assad’s relatives. Nonetheless, Sunnis and, more specifically, Sunni Arabs, continue to make up the majority of the regular army’s rank-and-file membership.

Estimates indicate that Sunnis account for between 60 and 65 percent of the regular army.[28] Despite mass defections by thousands of mostly Sunni conscripts and mid-level officers and growing reports of recruitment problems,[29] Sunnis continue to be well represented in Syria’s security institutions in various capacities, including leadership and other specialized roles. This is the case even as the reasons behind their continued service—and that of other Syrians—may vary.[30]

Whole article very much worth reading.

PS. US military quasi-NGOs can be all over the map in terms of quality, as any reader of will know, but what I'm reading from this one is quite good, and I actually I recognize a couple of names of people I knew to be intelligent back when I was on the margins of the COIN-academic complex.

Posted by: Claud | Oct 19 2015 13:52 utc | 83

@Claud #83:

Let's face it: virtually no one in the West knows anything about Islam or the Muslim world. (Obama appears to be an exception. My impression is that he was exposed to Islam as a child, in the same way that I was exposed to Russian Orthodoxy. That kind of a thing leaves a mark for life. There is something alien about him, even though he went to Columbia and Harvard Law School. Hence the idea that he is controlled by an alien (in the sci-fi sense) telepathic parasite, which is, from what I hear, a popular meme.)

Thus, people like Bush and McCain feel very proud of themselves when they know that there are two main Muslim sects, the Shias and the Sunnis. But, as juliania suggested above, perhaps the way it is more productive for Westerners to think of groups like IS is like the Middle Eastern equivalent of 19th century Russian anarchist terrorists. In any society, such people are marginal. People just want to get on with their lives. In general, religious differences don't matter much to people, unless people are subjected to propaganda making them think that these differences matter, by groups who are motivated not by religion, but by the pursuit of money and power.

It is the same in the West. Nobody but a few religious fanatics would care about the fact that women sometimes need to get an abortion if it were not for the never ending agitation by the Catholic church and other reactionary ostensibly Christian groups it has allied itself with in its perpetual quest to suppress modernity.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 14:36 utc | 84

The false dichotomy of sunnis vs shia confessional divide in Syria is coming apart as it is pure Western propaganda. More than 70% of Alawite Assad's SAA are sunnis. Sunnis enjoyed living in a secular multiconfessional tolerant society just like Iraqis enjoyed living in a secular Iraq with Saddam. The Sharia law imported into Syria by the takfiris salafis from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies is not popular among mostly sufi Syrian sunnis. Thus, the need to import fighters from Chechnya, Uyghurs, Afghans, etc. into Syria to cause mayhem.

What is of interest to understand the Arab spring is:

1) Neocon stranglehold of foreign policy in USA
2) THE 1982 ODED YINON PLAN A Strategy for Israel WZO. The Greater Israel myth endorsed by neocons in PNAC
3) Plan for Seven MENA countries to be invaded and dismembered after 911 (Relayed publicly by retired General Wesley Clark and confessed to him by Paul Wolfowitz the neocon architect of Iraq invasion and resource plunder)
The Seven countries didn't have Central Banks owned by Rothschilds and associated with the IMF, didn't practice usury and were promoting a gold dinar bypassing the US dollar and the BIS (Bank for International Settlements)
4) Discovery of important Natural Gas reserves off the coast of Gaza resulted in the naval blockade of Gaza and the appointing of Iraq War Criminal, Tony Blair, as representative of the UN Quartet to Palestine while being a sitting board member of British Petroleum
5) Discovery of important Natural Gas reserves off the coast of Lebanon resulted in the Israeli invasion of Southern Lebanon. Although this invasion failed due to stiff resistance by Hezbollah, the Israeli plan hasn't been abandoned because there are abundant water resources in the Litani river and enormous Natural Gas reserves off the coast of Southern Lebanon. The presence of Russia in Syria has thrown a monkey wrench in these plans.
6) Discovery of Oil Reserves in the Syrian Golan Heights resulted in the illegal, according to the UN. squatting of Syrian territory by Israel
7) Rival pipelines projects from both Qatar and Iran from same reservoir have caused the Western clamor to depose Assad and replace him with a more pliable government or a plan to dismember Syria like Iraq, into Kurdish, Sunni and Alawite enclaves.
8 ) Turkey's building of dams on the Euphrates have reduced downstream river flow to 20% of what it once was causing a reduction of arable land, famine and migration.
9) The western plan is to cause widespread migration of people to Europe to depopulate and favor the Greater Israel Myth and to run a pipeline through Syria to Europe to wean it from Natural Gas supply and influence from Russia.
10) Turkey will not allow a greater Kurdistan as it feels threatened by it.
11) Russia will not allow the dismemberment of Syria or any Natural Gas pipeline that isn't Iranian or Russian controlled
12) Egypt and Jordan have already broken off with the Western coalition as they want no part with ISIS in their neighborhood.
13) Iraq has sided with Iran and Russia
14) Saudi Arabia is in trouble economically and with military overstretch in Yemen and Syria.
15) Bahrein is vulnerable to a Shia uprising.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Oct 19 2015 14:49 utc | 85

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 19, 2015 1:10:09 AM | 57

Collections of unsubstantiated fibs, factoids, insults and drivel are the exclusive domain of Right-wing Cranks. Holding a different view from a Right-wing Crank doesn't make a person "Left" - it just makes him or her sane, Jefferey (from a 'small magazine?).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 19 2015 15:06 utc | 86


Bravo! excellent summary analysis

Posted by: crone | Oct 19 2015 15:15 utc | 87

Worst thing I saw yesterday was Bob Dylan shilling for IBM.(commercial)Didn't IBM help Hitler?The masters of war indeed.
Ah,the misdeeds of youth.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 19 2015 15:16 utc | 88

Thanks for that overview Sun Tzu. The 'Arc of Resistance' seems to be unstoppable, whatever may be said of the Sunni Dictators who have the backing of the US, the alliance of Iran,Iraq,Syria,Hezbollah backed up now by Russia have far more democratic credentials than those supporting the US. It is possible and I hope it is the case that the US may be losing the middle east, Saudi Arabia is being surrounded and hopefully the Kings and Emirs will soon be hanging from lamp posts. Israel too, will not be able to expand and may be forced to give up some of its stolen territory. By the way, enjoyed your writings in 'The art of war', not every blog has a distinguished Chinese General contributing to it.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 19 2015 15:22 utc | 89


scorched earth is a military tactic as old as the hills themselves and the US has practiced it since the republic was formed.

John, this is not scorched earth, VN style, this is hybrid war, where political objectives guide military targets/gains. The surgical bombing the US is using in Syria, first with the show of fighting IS, second, to complicate the Russian intervention, is aimed at weakening Syria's infrastructure for present and future nefarious purposes.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 19 2015 15:32 utc | 90

Anonymous @57:

Would you like some cheese with that whine? Do you know or care what's right and what's wrong? Or has liberal retardation made everything relative to you? It's understandable if this is the case. Doing the right thing takes guts and transcends the phony left-right control matrix. It might rustle your jimmies that an unapologetic, popular, straight male has acted decisively - no one else has dared step up to the USSA juggernaut as it has destroyed one state after another without a care for what they have left behind.
I voted for Obama in 2008 and am disgusted at what a weak suck he is- little more than the Lefts' version of George W. Bush. Take a weak horse and a strong one, put them side by side and most people will go with the strong one. If Russians like Putin and he has earned respect around the world for his actions, his internal policies should be of no concern to you. Stop trying to be the white knight for people who don't need it and haven't asked for it. Take a refugee or 5 into your home, that'll make you feel better.

Posted by: farflungstar | Oct 19 2015 15:41 utc | 91

fairleft @75

Volcker might be a good symbol of the paradigm shift; it would also be a good idea of searching for more of such cases over western Europe and the Usa

I like to think in terms of "dominant paradigm" because apparently that's what really determines perceptions, priorites, and policies for all; when the democratic paradigm was dominant, also right-wing parties defended social welfare and high employment (the Tories, or Nixon, would be revolutionaries, nowadays); now that the plutocratic one dominates, also leftist parties defend balanced budgets and low taxes

Posted by: claudio | Oct 19 2015 16:01 utc | 92 (Video)
Stephen Kinzer: The Brothers - Rise of Exceptionalism and Aspirations of Empire

“Exceptionalism”—the view that the United States has a right to impose its will because it knows more, sees farther, and lives on a higher moral plane than other nations—was to them not a platitude, but the organizing principle of daily life and global politics...

With a glance, a nod, and a few words, without consulting anyone other than the President, the brothers could mobilize the full power of the United States anywhere in the world."

Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 19 2015 16:01 utc | 93

Wikipedia says:

There is no universally accepted definition of hybrid warfare which leads to some debate whether the term is useful at all. Some argue that the term is too abstract and only the latest term to refer to irregular methods to counter a conventionally superior force. The abstractness of the term means that it is often used as a catch all term for all non-linear threats

Lone Wolf says:

The surgical bombing the US is using in aimed at weakening Syria's infrastructure for present and future nefarious purposes

this is scorched earth by definition

Posted by: john | Oct 19 2015 16:03 utc | 94

psychohistorian @ 30

Sorry your post requires a much longer answer than I like to include in a single post. Long posts cause people’s eyes to glaze over. Be that as it may…

You aren’t helping your case by quoting conventional wisdom on the Quantity Theory of Money, which I’ve read…I’m quite familiar with conventional wisdom…and rejected as a useless mathematical exercise. You should too.

The equation for the Quantity Theory of Money contains (4) dependent variables…the value of each variable is a function of one or more of the remaining variables…it is virtually impossible to solve without holding at least (2) of the variables as constants…which renders any result meaningless in terms of anything that happens in the real world. May as well read tea leaves. You certainly won’t be able to use it to prove that the quantity of money causes inflation.

This is one of the many reasons why conventional economic theory is bollocks.

The quantity of money is a stock, increase in the quantity is a flow. A lake does not flow.

Economics is based on the flow of funds…is defined by it. Every item in the budget is a flow. Your bank balance (a stock) only gets bigger when you have Income (a flow).

The stock of money…Savings…the money we have…QoM…is where money goes to die. Almost none of it ever gets spent again (other than I, business investment…a small fraction), the balance just keeps getting bigger (and why we should heavily tax excess liquidity, which is all it is).

‘Circulation’ is a myth. What we perceive as ’circulation’ is growth…money being ‘forced’ through the economy by the fiscal agent (mainly), something which economists would never be able to admit or even think or they would be run out of town. Personally, I don’t see how anyone can call themselves an economist without at least some training in physics or engineering science, since that is about the only place one will learn about systems analysis. It is readily apparent economics as practiced does not qualify as a science. It is akin to a religion or belief system.

As an engineer, I’ve never observed any kind of real-world system grow without a net transfer from another system…and no one else has either. Aquinas knew this as far back as the 13th Century…”an effect can never be greater than it’s cause”…perpetual motion is impossible (2nd law of thermodynamics these days). This applies to monetary systems as well… To believe that an economic system drives itself is to believe in the impossible. Economic systems are driven by the fiscal agent, an external system, meaning the currency units creating flow do not originate within the economy itself, they originate ‘from nothing’ at the direction of the fiscal agent.

Compound interest requires compound spending (and deficits). You can’t acquire money (income either earned or as interest) that doesn’t exist or is inaccessible (savings). If a system is to grow the money supply has to grow.

One way to look at circulation is to imagine a multi-tiered fountain, where water flows out of the top to each successive level and eventually reaches the pool at the bottom where there is a circulating pump to the top. Each level receives ‘income’. Now imagine people coming to the fountain with buckets and catching the water between the levels…saving…eventually all of the water will be gone, and circulation ceases. The number of people collecting water from the fountain will always be greater than those putting it back, because…

…It is only possible to dis-save (draw down your savings) if you spend more than your income (from the definition of savings which is income not spent) so the only people that can spend their savings are those that spend more than their income.

How large is that group? I’m guessing not very, probably small compared to others saving at a faster rate.

The Quantity of Money is more or less irrelevant other than a means to fund interest growth.

Posted by: paulmeli | Oct 19 2015 16:12 utc | 95


I should be surprised at how easily some Liberals are seduced by the words of a KGB lawyer/leader and join others on the Cruise Missile Left to support the WOT under new respected leadership.

How Putin controls the agenda is evident in your link, first he ends any discussion before it can begin by exercising his authority to state there will be no debate. Then he takes the high ground and makes the unsupported, by anyone but him, claim he is complying with UN and international law. The most ludicrous statement he made was about the Syrian people, who he is bombing, are to decide Syria's future when he is involved there to guarantee that they will remain under a minority dictator.

The passive aggressive poke at the US military at the end was clever but hearsay and without any real value except as fodder for supporter's finger pointing.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 19 2015 16:13 utc | 96

@okie farmer #93:

How America's modern shadow government can be traced back to one single psychopath - Allen Dulles

@john #94:

"Scorched earth" typically refers to damaging territory you can't hold on to and have to withdraw from (burning fields, making wells unusable). The US in contrast seems to like bombing for its own sake. The US and Britain were totally into destroying German and Japanese infrastructure, even though the US all along intended to occupy both countries once the war was over. That is not scorched earth: that is the American way of war.

That is not to say that the US did not apparently pick up this habit during its Civil War.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 19 2015 16:22 utc | 97 About Russia's jamming leaving NATO deaf & blind. I only hope it's true. It doesn't seem to have hampered their striking at least one power plant.

psychohistorian: Will answer economics later today.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 19 2015 16:36 utc | 98

The idea being floated of forming 5 statelets in Syria & Iraq is a non starter if these are not viable from a security, economic and political point of view.

For example: Greater Kurdistan will be both a threat and threatened by: Turkey, Iran and Syria although it has Oil to survive economically. Does it have water resources? Hardly because the Tigris and the Euphrates are being choked with dams in Turkey.

Same with an Alawite or a Sunni enclave. Will it have the Golan Heights Oil & Gas resources to survive economically? Will it control and Iranian pipeline through Syria? Not according to the: Oded Yinon/ PNAC and Qatari plans!

Thus, the Western plan requires depopulation & forced mass migration into Europe. The public decapitations and the infrastructure bombing (e.g. bombing: powerplants & hospitals) are the tools of Western hybrid warfare. However, public opinion in Europe is not agreeing to this quid pro quo.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Oct 19 2015 16:55 utc | 99

Apologies if this has already been posted, but this is probably the most incredible video of the Syrian war that I've seen.
Having followed reports of Syrian troops fighting in Jobar a few years ago, I questioned whether the inability to secure this area by now was a sign of the underlying failings of the Syrian army.

It was in fact a failing of my understanding of Jobar.

3 minute drone footage of offensive in Jobar

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Oct 19 2015 17:00 utc | 100

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