Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 22, 2018

The MoA Week In Review And Open Thread 2018-19

The U.S. is currently attempting Color Revolutions by Force in Nicaragua and Armenia. This form of 'regime change' uses the typical 'peaceful demonstrators' schemes and media push but adds an armed element that is supposed to shoot at both sides - the protesters as well as government forces - to create marketable victims and chaos. The war on Syria was started this way as was the war in Libya and the violent regime change in Ukraine.

Telesur TV has a good write up on the situation in Nicaragua. Earlier today a journalist was shot in Bluefields, Nicaragua, during live reporting, probably by the opposition which now accuses the government.

AFP has an overview of the conflict in Armenia. It is sympathetic to the 'western' sponsored opposition. Just an hour ago the opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan was arrested after a short talk with the Prime Minister. He demanded total surrender of the government. I expect that further demonstrations will be shut down.

Last week's posts on MoA:

Yesterday, a week after arriving in Damascus, the OPCW fact finding mission finally reached one of the sites and took some probes to be analyzed elsewhere. It will take several weeks before the results are in.

I reported that the ISIS Takfiris in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp had given up and were ready to be transported into the eastern desert. But, as happened before in Douma, some hardliners killed the lead negotiator of the Takfiris and the fighting resumed. Artillery fire and aerial bombing continued today. The Syrian army has now plenty of capacities and, unless they give up, will turn all the Takfiris into fertilizer without taking many losses.

The Bolivian actress Carla Ortiz is back from Syria where she produced a new documentary. Jimmy Dore interviews her (vid, 40 min) and shows some of her footage. It is excellent and I recommend it.

(This was the longest piece I have ever written for this site and, I believe, it is quite important. Please spread it.)

The war on dissenting opinions described therein continues with the Sunday Times smearing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn because one or two of the 2,444 people he follows on Twitter once wrote something the Sunday Times dislikes:


Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on April 22, 2018 at 14:00 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

As for governments they are corrupted absolutely everywhere ...always have been and will be. They all work for deep states ( bloody rich) and in order to get their piece of cake they are following the script given to them. It is just a matter of how much they are going to throw over their shoulder to the rest of us in order not to have revolutions. But these days the greed of a deep state is enormous...

Posted by: vbo | Apr 23 2018 14:06 utc | 101

Ara I have just heard that he resigned...I hope you are happy now. Now another bunch of crooks will come to power and they are yet to become rich so they will suddenly become rich...that's how it goes in post communist countries. Unfortunately for the people there USA, EU and NATO have nothing to give as a carrot these Armenia may just have to buy their " (not so)new, (not so ) smart" weapons. Viva la revolution.Lol

Posted by: vbo | Apr 23 2018 14:29 utc | 102

Posted by: dynkyd | Apr 23, 2018 6:11:19 AM | 89

I will grant you that re: Fraser. One only has to take a fleeting glance at his most recent literary effort Dangerous Allies (2014) to know he doesn't like how the direction Australia foreign policy has taken. There are other leaders who have noted that Australia is best placed and in a unique position to be an intermediary between growing Asia and 'the west', yet Australia can never seem to pull it's nose out of the US muckhole long enough to smell the roses...suggesting full compliance beneath what is seen. Five eyes, nice club.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 23 2018 14:52 utc | 103

I can't believe what this old fart Lord Morris who bombarded Yugoslavia in 1999 is blabbering laying straight and justifying it as well as he now justify bombardment of Syria.They made so many false flag operations in Balkan's wars of 1990s that they couldn't even present it in their kangaroo court in Hague later (after they already bombarded using them as a pretext to do it). But nobody seemed to pay attention at the time as they did not all these years later. Just now on RT. They have not shame.Rot in hell you old dirty bastard.

Posted by: vbo | Apr 23 2018 14:54 utc | 104

re Armenia. I'm guessing most MOA readers are less interested in immigrant success stories than whether NATO has plans for making the country into another 'defensive' outpost.

The reaction from Western capitals to the new Armenian government should be revealing.

Posted by: dh | Apr 23 2018 15:09 utc | 105

Re: Posted by: dh | Apr 23, 2018 11:09:11 AM | 105

Armenia? LOL.

Armenia is Russia's brotherly ally and will never leave the Russian bosom.

Russia knows all the silly games the West plays and as demonstrated in Ukraine & Syria Russia knows how to defeat these silly Western games.

The West plays checkers whereas Russia plays chess remember!

Russia won the war in Syria, Russia won the war in Ukraine and the West got nothing out of these "interferences".

Nothing. Less than nothing - because the West has discredited itself and there are no other countries silly enough to follow the examples provided by Ukraine or Syria and believe Western lies.


Posted by: Julian | Apr 23 2018 15:18 utc | 106

@106 "Armenia is Russia's brotherly ally and will never leave the Russian bosom."

That settles that question then. Thanks. I was speculating based on NATO's past performance in places like the Baltic States, Poland, Roumania, Bulgaria etc. Perhaps they are having second thoughts about expansion.

Posted by: dh | Apr 23 2018 15:24 utc | 107

One popular conservative motto in the US is that "we should run government like a business."

But to a businessperson, education, health care and safety are all business expenses to be minimized. To a non-businessperson, they are seen as vital investments in an educated, healthy and prosperous society, as is investment in infrastructure.

We are really paying the price in the USA for taking this cost-minimizing, short-term profit-maximizing approach.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Apr 23 2018 15:36 utc | 108

ralphieboy @108--

More specifically, it's the ascendency of Ayn Rand's mythology, its brainwashed economist priests and their politico allies while dumbing down and hypnotizing a majority of the citizenry that are responsible for quite a bit of the current malaise. But as I noted above, the seed was bad from the outset.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 23 2018 16:14 utc | 109

@52 almand... i don't think that is true... with so many brush fires being started everywhere, it is hard to stay on top of them all..

@54 grieved... that 10 minute clip you linked to is great! i just saw it on the previous is worth watching..

@71 ara... i guess it all depends on how a person defines rich or poor, doesn't it?? i like the idea of people not being stuck in slavery, whether it is to others, or to the almighty dollar - which is how it sounds what those new immigrants you mention venerate and worship..

@75 v arnold.. yes.. b mentioned it on the previous thread!

@79 FSFF.. the comparison is only valid up to a point.. i thought that was obvious.. sorry...

@95 ara... chasing the god of mammon... a classic american tale that still appeals to immigrants... when do we get over this obsession with money? i am sick of it...

Posted by: james | Apr 23 2018 17:01 utc | 110

@ vbo... i agree with the thrust of your comments.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Apr 23 2018 17:03 utc | 111

108 Ralphie

One popular conservative motto in the US is that "we should run government like a business."

And an old GOP corollary is that only those who have run a business are qualified for the highest office. The implication always was that Democratic candidates lacked that experience. And we know how that ended with the current resident of the White House.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Apr 23 2018 17:30 utc | 112

Highly recommended:
The History of the Shariʿa

How Islam’s divine law emerged, evolved, and spread—then reached a crisis point.

By Mohammad Fadel

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 23 2018 17:41 utc | 113

(open thread art fiction and more to the rescue)

Werner Herzog film 1967 b and w german with eng subs 15 mins

last sentence: even defeat is better than no war at all

allegorical worth the watch immersed or not and think

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 23 2018 17:45 utc | 114

The final paragraph of this recent SouthFront piece on the destination of the USS Truman:

"Some experts also suggest that the CSG deployment in the European theater is a signal to US allies. The move would allow Washington to prevent a possible crisis within NATO if some of the member states, for example Turkey, rejects to fulfill its responsibilities in the framework of the military alliance."

What is being said here? Is the thought that the USS Truman is there to stand in for Turkey's anticipated non-response, or there to strong arm Turkey into responding, or both?

Am I wrong in thinking that the context in which this paragraph makes sense assumes at least one NATO country's being attacked in such a way that requires the members of the alliance to respond militarily as a bloc? Does not that situation require (among other things) that a NATO country be attacked by a country *other than* Syria and *outside* of Syria?

What is the closest non-Syrian piece of land recognized as part of a NATO territory in the theater in question? Does the UK base on Cyprus count? Or am I getting this paragraph all wrong?

Posted by: WJ | Apr 23 2018 17:53 utc | 115

Ayn Rand's mythology also included a very strong emphasis on personal honor, high integrity and principles, and remaining true to one's commitments and promises (or how else can businesspeople trust one another without recourse to the use of force?). Her villains are not merely weak in terms of their personal and economic influence but morally weak in their character, which is why they take over the government's monopoly on force (and also symbolically why they tend to be physically described as amorphous, soft, and fleshy).

I think it's fair to acknowledge this in what she was arguing in her works. Perhaps a number of us will agree that the problems we often observe don't result from specific government systems but rather the pervasive ease with which humans across cultures and societies indulge in power, corruption, and short-sighted justifications of long-standing vices. And where humans hold one another accountable and work to support one another's moral development towards justice, peace, and mutually reinforced respect, it might matter less and less how we shape our governments.

Not really a Rand apologist, though. I'm always looking for ways of understanding similarities across worldviews.

Posted by: Charles R | Apr 23 2018 17:56 utc | 116

Ara, not sure why a wealthy self-made business success like you would worry about a few hundred dollars worth of foreign taxes and duties. It's not worth subjecting an entire new country to another set of Victoria Nuland approved US backed puppets.

Posted by: Southern Kiwi | Apr 23 2018 18:14 utc | 117

WJ @115--

"What is the closest non-Syrian piece of land recognized as part of a NATO territory in the theater in question?"

Turkey. And the Turk/Greek confrontation is escalating again.

Tactically and strategically, arms possessed by nations in theatre render all carrier groups obsolete and meaningless wastes of money--unless conspicuous consumption is deemed meaningful.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 23 2018 18:20 utc | 118

Charles R @116,

The mythology of your first paragraph is not Rand's, but Nietzsche's; or rather, it is first of all Nietzsche's and is secondarily Rand's interpretation of Nietzsche. The difference between Nietzsche's "supermen" or "overmen" and "last men"--as allegorized in Thus Spake Zarathustra, eg.--is taken over nearly exactly into Rand's imaginary social world. The main difference here is that for Rand the industrialist-tycoon was the paradigmatic instance of the overman we were all to aspire to become, whereas for Nietzsche such a tycoon represents simply the tumorous magnification of bourgeois individualism. This is why Rand tries to depict her heroes as much as "artists"--in the romantic and to some extent Nietzschean sense of TSZ--as capitalists. Her aestheticization of capitalist accumulation as the expression of a great and noble soul, as opposed to the embarrassing compulsion of the avaricious soul, is what gives her protagonists the illusion of something like heroic gravitas. Just my opinion.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 23 2018 18:26 utc | 119

The central rivalry of muslim mideast is Saudi v Iran.
Here is the rivalry at its highest level.
In Tampa, Florida, former Saudi Ambassador to the United States and Director General of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency Prince Turki al Faisal debated Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators and chairman of the foreign policy committee of Iran’s National Security Council. The lively discussion touched on each country’s view of its security environment and the broader issues affecting the Iran-Saudi relationship.
partial transcript of debate here:

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 23 2018 18:38 utc | 120

@ ralphieboy | Apr 23, 2018 11:36:50 AM | 108 & karlof1 | Apr 23, 2018 12:14:34 PM | 109

Yes, brain washed foot soldiers of Ayn Rand's mythology and Milton Friedman's theory, MBAs, have destroyed North America with their idiotic cost-minimizing, short-term profit-maximizing approach!

Posted by: ex-SA | Apr 23 2018 18:49 utc | 121

WJ, maybe you're on to something, but I'll also point out that the Luciferian and Promethean allusions throughout Atlas Shrugged themselves point to an older pattern of thinking about divine usurpation than Nietzsche, where the New Creators surpass the old, buried gods by bringing metal and oil and fire together into new forms of life. When Hank and Dagney finally embrace and reveal their passion for one another, they are deep in the engine room of the locomotive, with all its pistons and steam and heat and steel.

My point, though, was just to say that it's helpful to remember that even Rand encouraged justice and honor and personal integrity. You might say that Rand, given her admiration for the One True Philosopher in her reckoning—Aristotle—thought moral character important as something objective...

Posted by: Charles R | Apr 23 2018 20:03 utc | 122

Tucker Carlson has a tweet up from four hours ago, saying that he will be back on Fox News tonight, after three days off.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 23 2018 20:13 utc | 123

Zerohedge is reporting a letter from a group that Zh identifies as European parliamentarians. The letter advocates European boycott of World Cup in Russia, (including Skripal incident as one cause).

Makes me realize how little I know of European political parties. Looking at the names of signatories makes me ask: what has the Green Party in Europe become?

Not so hard to imagine that citizens from Poland and Baltic states might have longstanding animus toward Russia. And Sweden seems to be an occasional asset of some US imperialists these days. But so many of the other European names are identified as Green Party.

Hope the rest of Europe won't join this new attempt to create a popular hysteria for a European boycott. Someone is still working that ground - despite the doubtful Skripal incident. Interesting that the boycott letter only cites heartless bombings in Syria - not chemical attacks.

As for Greens, who are they now? Do the signers of this letter have any influence in the greater European community? Does it matter? I feel like I stare into fog, when trying to understand the European Parliament and the party politics of Europe. I suspect I am not alone in the US. Other than some reporting of British politics, there is little coverage of European politics. So really, just acknowledging here my ignorance.>Link for zerohedge

Posted by: smoke | Apr 23 2018 20:19 utc | 124

Don't get me started on Rand's cartoonish falsification of Aristotle.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 23 2018 20:22 utc | 125

@MadMax2 103

Again in violent agreement except for the use of the term "most recent". I think he is unlikely to produce any more. He died in March 2015.

Posted by: dynkyd | Apr 23 2018 20:24 utc | 126

Posted by: smoke | Apr 23, 2018 4:19:51 PM | 124

European Green Parties were mostly founded by the ex-1968 anti-authoritarian generation. The were in competition with ex-Stalinist communist parties in 1968 and were supported as such.

They are decidedly non-Putinist and - speaking for Germany - a large part are interventionist.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 23 2018 20:59 utc | 127

@lysias | Apr 23, 2018 4:13:07 PM | 123

"Tucker Carlson has a tweet up from four hours ago.....


Posted by: OJS | Apr 23 2018 21:25 utc | 128

9 dead and 16 wounded in

Multiple Fatalities Reported After Van Runs Over Pedestrians In Toronto, Driver Arrested

Reported: "...The driver was shouting “Allah Akbar”......"If what said is true - fuck the Canadian for supporting USA in Ukraine, Syria..... everywhere.

Posted by: OJS | Apr 23 2018 21:34 utc | 129

Tucker Carlson has a tweet up from four hours ago, saying that he will be back on Fox News tonight, after three days off.
Posted by: lysias | Apr 23, 2018 4:13:07 PM | 123

Let's see if he continues to entertain any truth on Syria. One of the most outstanding pieces of MSM busting work there recently. Thought he was on the edge of getting Ben Swann'd on the back of that effort, or maybe even some threatened with some mild waterboarding.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 23 2018 21:45 utc | 130

"Rand encouraged justice and honor and personal integrity." Except, of course, when it had to do with us Native Peoples: "What was it they [we Native Peoples] were fighting for, it they opposed WHITE MEN on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their 'right' to keep part of the earth untouched, unused, and not even as property [and not toxic], just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any WHITE PERSON who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent." Up yours, lady.

Posted by: Roland Chrisjohn | Apr 23 2018 21:46 utc | 131

Roland @131,

Ah, the old ploy of defining "civilization" in terms of material excess. As a failed King with the same outlook once put it:

Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life's as cheap as beast's....
(KL, 2.4)

The more your consumption exceeds what your nature requires, the more valuable your life becomes relative to other human beings. This is why the poor get fucked. And why they shall inherit the earth.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 23 2018 22:06 utc | 132

Ploy, schmoy. She was a racist and a thief, and justified the destruction of OUR civilizations by the "obvious" "superiority" of her own band of racists and thieves.

Posted by: Roland Chrisjohn | Apr 23 2018 22:12 utc | 133

Thanks for the Carla Ortiz post b. She is a great and brave reporter.

I hear Tucker Carlson is MIA in the USA. Has he been Arkanicided?
He recently did an interview totally challenging the permanent state spin on world affairs. As much as I detest the conservatives I absolutely value his honesty and calm tenacity.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 23 2018 22:32 utc | 134


Glad that people here see through Alisa Rosenbaum's bs.

Regarding Turkey, what they mean is that Turkey may deny the use of its airstrips to NATO forces (reneging on its NATO commitments), hence the need for an aircraft carrier as a (partial) replacement.

Posted by: S | Apr 23 2018 22:34 utc | 135

Charles @ 122:

Could you comment on Ayn Rand receiving social welfare payments and going on Medicare to help support her during her treatment for lung cancer near the end of her life?

There are also many rumours flying about on the Internet that in the 1920s Ayn Rand was impressed by the serial killer William E Hickman (who kidnapped a banker's 12-year-old daughter, killed her and disembowelled and dismembered her) to the extent that he became a model for an early character in an unfinished novel. Could you comment on those rumours? Why would Rand choose a serial killer (of all people) as a model for a "lone wolf" character at odds with conventional society?

Posted by: Jen | Apr 23 2018 22:38 utc | 136

Ara @ 95: I must say other people beat me to arguing that putting all of one's wealth into buying expensive residential investment properties is not exactly sound financial decision-making. I'm sure back home in Armenia your people have proverbs or stories equivalent to the English proverb "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket".

Your friends and relatives must not have received very good financial advice about diversifying their investments. They will have to trust that the Los Angeles property market remains artificially high and keeps going up. A classic Ponzi scheme if ever there was one. If prices start falling, they are going to lose big time. Meanwhile their advisors may have earned very good commissions from whoever employs them. Unfortunately the financial economy is so skewed these days that even old-fashioned advice like diversifying investments - buying stock as well as property - might not be good advice.

VBO @ 100 may like to know what real bridge-building looks like ... I hear there are quite a few videos on Youtube about that new bridge over Kerch Strait linking Crimea to Russia.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 23 2018 22:54 utc | 137


Thanks. That is very helpful.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 23 2018 23:23 utc | 138

the boy sim they said drove the van in canuckstan trudeaugayville he was armenian is this not proof enough that armenia have joined the evil doers of the past hitler,iraqi,irania syriana and russiaphobe not forgetting new hitler gadaffi.

armenia seem to be on a slippery slope many innocent jewisher and non jewishers are being threatened shirley it is time for gladio nato to protect armenia soon to be new khazaria as per oded yinon chatham house rules
write to your mp minister pres and prime demand intervention to save the babies in incubator from the friend of putinesque
armenia must be dustified of it's history it has much to much

Posted by: normal see | Apr 24 2018 0:56 utc | 139

Israeli strikes hit Syrian Army near Occupied Golan Heights..

i am going to go out on a limb and say i don't believe any attack will happen soon.. if anything happens i think april 24th is close to the time it will happen... and if that date passes, i think it is unlikely to happen in the way it is being anticipated at present..

Posted by: james | Apr 11, 2018 8:03:55 PM | 197

i was wrong.. they did do the show attack on april 14th, but this one from israel on the golan heights fits with what i was thinking.. i used astrology for the date - mars/pluto conjunction..

Posted by: james | Apr 24 2018 1:56 utc | 140

Roland Chrisjohn, she's indeed a racist. No denying that. You're entirely right. And I take this point from your comment: we need to always see in what ways we can extend our ideas defining whom we owe respect and honor to. In that sense, I take it you agree, then, with emphasizing personal integrity, honor, and justice, and you wish to make these something like a universal stance? I'm just looking to build bridges, put windows in walls, place ladders in suspicious places...

WJ, I'm not sure where you see Rand (cartoonly?) falsify Aristotle, but in the West Point speech prior to the Q & A Roland Chrisjohn earlier quotes from (according to Salon), she does say that of all the achievements of civilization

such as science, technology, progress, freedom — at the root of every value we enjoy today, including the birth of this country [the United States of America]— you will find the achievement of one man, who lived over two thousand years ago: Aristotle.
Maybe laying what now passes for Western civilization at that bad seed Aristotle is a cartoonish falsification of Aristotle, but it's your joke to tell, not mine.

Jen, you're running a script. Like I said, not really an apologist for Rand, just someone looking for charity. So what do I think if she took "welfare?" Glad you asked. Lots of successful con artists and politicians, hierophants and writers take the free money people provide. Doesn't seem to ever have stopped people on the whole from giving it away, has it? Not sure why you want to know about serial killers, though.

But it's interesting. If you want to show someone's being inconsistent, or hypocritical, or living a lie, doesn't that mean, deep down, you think and agree with her that she, just like the rest of us, ought to also live honorably, justly, and with integrity? And where we go wrong, just like where she goes wrong, is in how narrowly we define when and where and with whom we do this.

Everyone's quick to talk about how the They is actively working now to disrupt sharing information, seeking collaboration, and sharing this struggle for freedom or autonomy. So, maybe I'm wrong, but it seems a personal antidote, or contrary force, or helpful countercharm, is seeking out at least one way to note deep similarities with those who most repulse you. From such places, we can pivot together.

It also helps to unlearn scripts.

Posted by: Charles R | Apr 24 2018 3:10 utc | 141

james #110

Respectfully, that comparison was never valid. Putin, who was in charge of Russia

during Nuland's disgusting regime change, is still in charge. There is

nothing about Armenia that is important to him except its border with Georgia.

Georgia and one of the 'Stans is all that's needed for the land bridge from China

to the markets of Eastern Europe and Germany.

Putin is patience itself and is just waiting for the right moment to put it all


No doubt, after the bridge from Krasnodar to Sevastopol is opened and trafficked.

Posted by: FSFF | Apr 24 2018 3:59 utc | 142

@normal see:

Well, I'm sure Alek Minassian's van cost at least $100,000! Anything below that would be considered faux pas among the amazingly successful Armenian immigrants. I'm also quite sure that 17 of Alek's cousins work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on nuclear pulse propulsion, 29 cousins research meta-materials at IBM, and 499 cousins are on loan to Germany putting finishing touches on Wendelstein 7-X fusion reactor.

On a serious note, Ara might want to do some hard thinking on why is it that some Armenian immigrants are buying up McMansions like there's no tomorrow while others are mowing down pedestrians with a van.

Posted by: S | Apr 24 2018 3:59 utc | 143

james #140

Don't get out too ahead of yourself re Israel. The Israeli government is

very sly and propaganda savvy. They see better than the EU and NATO exactly

what the reality of America's future is and will have no scruples about

switching allegiance to Russia and China for a desirable quid pro quo.

Posted by: FSFF | Apr 24 2018 4:11 utc | 144

Charles R @ 141: You did say in an earlier comment to Roland Chrisjohn that Ayn Rand encouraged personal integrity, justice and honour so I was curious to know what you thought of her going on social welfare and Medicare near the end of her life when she was suffering from lung cancer (part of the cause of which may have been self-inflicted as she was a smoker) when for most of her adult life she had opposed social programs and social welfare.

The reference to the serial killer is significant because Ayn Rand was interested in the man, enough that he became a model for a character in an early novel of hers. I ask again: why would she have chosen a serial killer and not someone else - let's say, someone who spoke out against injustice or corruption and ended up being persecuted - to represent an individual at odds with society?

Posted by: Jen | Apr 24 2018 4:15 utc | 145

An excerpt from a Truthdig article on mankind's plight:

"We can no longer live on the capital of the natural world and instead must learn to make do with the interest. This means the end to reliance on fossil fuels and the animal agriculture industry. It means adopting a simplicity that rejects the ethos of capitalism and the hedonism and gluttony that define the consumer society. It means a communal society in which inequality and income disparity are not extreme. If we continue to live as if the future does not matter, our society, like that of the Anasazi, will fracture and die. We will vanish from the earth in an act of global suicide.

Complete article:

Posted by: ben | Apr 24 2018 4:18 utc | 146

smoke #124

Advocating the boycott of football's World Cup is about as intelligent as puting

a revolver with one or more bullets in the cylinder into your mouth and squeezing

the trigger.

I'm quite sure that European politicians, like our American hypocrites, still want

to be reelected and feed at the trough

Posted by: FSFF | Apr 24 2018 4:24 utc | 147

Tucker Carlson back......

"Milo Yiannopoulos driven out of bar by mob

Apr. 23, 2018 - 6:20 - Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was driven out by a crowd associated with the Democratic Socialists of America, who gathered to chant, 'Nazi scum, get out.' #Tucker"

Posted by: OJS | Apr 24 2018 6:20 utc | 148

A very interesting article by Prof Marandi:

Posted by: Nader | Apr 24 2018 7:05 utc | 149

A note on public and official opinion.

Lost in the sturm and drang of strident politics and shrill propaganda, most everyone has lost sight of a fundamental truth.

Whatever our political inclinations and whether or not we support intervention in Syria, the reality is that under Bashar el Asad, Syria had made enormous strides in the socio economic sphere.

Till recently, Syria was a very desirable destination for tourists, students, academics, business men and retirees looking to spend their twilight years in a country steeped in history, with mild weather, wonderful food and friendly people. Women participate in the economic, social and political life of the country and one could drive freely from north to south and east to west without fearing for one's life.

In order to achieve their political ends, the West is sponsoring, aiding, financing, training and arming a motley crew of avowed zealots that have no qualms in expounding their intolerant, dark, retrograde and sanguinary view of life.

If the West should successfully implement their humanitarian strategy, Syria will be handed to anyone in a collection of truly unsavory characters.

Anyone of the joulanis, baghdadis, al muheisinis, zawahiris or alloushes sponsored by our bien pensants in the ostensibly civilized West, will, if successful in overthrowing the current government of Syria, turn the country into a cultural and intellectual black hole of obscurantist zealotry predicated on sectarian and ethnic cleansing.

This they have stated clearly many a time.

This is the fundamental truth that is lost in the rush to contradict one another on the political and media scene.

This comment is not particularly relevant to this forum. I however have spent a few particularly intense days chatting with members of the press, the UN and sundry NGOs and I am disheartened at the obstinate blindness of most of them.

It appears that the imperative of justifying their mission thus their existence, supersedes most everyone's reality.

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 24 2018 7:34 utc | 150

There is hope

Full video of Iran's Zarif addressing the Council on Foreign Relations

While stressing that the era of zero-sum games is long gone, he added that there are no winners in modern wars and that everybody loses.

He further noted that era of hegemonic influence is over and that neither Iran, nor Saudi Arabia can be hegemonic powers in region.

"We need to realize and appreciate this fact, however heart breaking it maybe, none of us can become this new hegemon," he added.


"I'm saying categorically, let us stop the war in Syria, and Iraq... and Yemen tomorrow. And, if you see Iran not doing its best to stop that war, then you can accuse us of any moral degradation that you want," he added.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 24 2018 9:51 utc | 151

Thank you to Counterpunch, for educating us "lefties" on where we should get our news. The other day I pled guilty, did penance, and switched over to Bellingcat to get true non-fake news. My resolve was reinforced today as Counterpunch posted the article by Sonali Kolhaktar, scolding me for my past behavior. As she suggests, we should all go to Associated Press, New York Times, and especially The Guardian for the truth. Goodbye MOA, Caitlin, Consortium... Thank you Counterpunch for putting me on the proper track!

Posted by: kabobyak | Apr 24 2018 9:56 utc | 152

Charles R 141: "I take it you agree, then, with emphasizing personal integrity, honor, and justice, and you wish to make these something like a universal stance?" Why wouldn't I? Someone who believes in "justice, honor, and personal integrity" with SOME people (the RIGHT ones) but not with others is like (in Chomsky's example) someone who believes in free speech but only for ideas they like. The former does not believe in justice, honor, and personal integrity and the latter does not believe in free speech.

Posted by: Roland Chrisjohn | Apr 24 2018 11:14 utc | 153

Charles @ 141

"she does say that of all the achievements of civilization

such as science, technology, progress, freedom — at the root of every value we enjoy today, including the birth of this country [the United States of America]— you will find the achievement of one man, who lived over two thousand years ago: Aristotle."

Yeah, as I said, this is a cartoonish falsification of Aristotle.
If you can't see obviously that it is on the basis of even a minimally sophisticated reading of the Ethics, Politics, a few highlights from the Physics and Metaphysics--all standard undergrad Great Books fare--then I'm sorry but that is your problem. I am not going to use the comment section on Moon of Alabama to give you a tutorial in Aristotle for the purposes of demonstrating the mistaken "views" of a figure as ridiculous as Rand. This isn't Salon. If you are into right libertarianism or what not I don't particularly care. Read some Nozick then. Go defend his views at nakedcapitalism and see what you learn from that experience. Or not. I am not trying to be a dick.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 24 2018 13:43 utc | 154


I wouldn't put any hope in the East. Freiends traveling in China reported mind-numbing emotionally-damaging scenes. Friends from Viet Nam describe the horrors they left behind. Friends from Cambodia smile hopefully as the former Pol Pot leader turns their country into a Chinese channel house. I wonder about Mongolia.

Posted by: Chipnik | Apr 24 2018 13:58 utc | 155

WaPo Plugs Canada's Anti-Russia, pro-Atlantic Council FM:

The Personal is Political For Canada's FM

"Chrystia Freeland, Canada's top diplomat, put Ukraine's travails at the hands of Russia [atop] the agenda at a G-7 meeting in Toronto..."

Posted by: John Gilberts | Apr 24 2018 14:05 utc | 156


Carlson is probably being 'bleached' with electro-shock therapy in an induced coma, like Kanye was. after he denounced the Ubers of Jaweh. Now Kanye loves Trump, and wants to 'lead with love', because he can't remember what he was so riled about.

Carlson will be fresh and relaxed and pre-programmed, like Demonocracy Now, to speak of Assad's 'horrific crimes', and how Isreal is our 'last best friend'.

US Commander General Clarke:"US troops must be ready to die for Isreal!"

Posted by: Chipnik | Apr 24 2018 14:06 utc | 157


It should be obvious the history-less itinerant goat herder Ubers of Jaweh are intent on destroying all history and all herstory and all human culture in their carnal process of the Eternal Now, the soft heartbeat chink-chink of silver talents crossing pasty palms, as the shackles jingle, the lash bites and the ovens belch their oily soot.

Hot fiat! Getcha' hot fiat he'ah!

Posted by: Chipnik | Apr 24 2018 14:18 utc | 158

The State of Israel may cease to exist soon
from Al-Montor:

The odds for an all-out war between Israel and its opponents this summer are no longer miniscule. As I wrote April 18 in Al-Monitor, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said at a Cabinet meeting that it is possible that war will, indeed, erupt, and if so, Israel will have to cope with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and the Lebanese army as well as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Salafist groups in Gaza.
Many Israeli legislators are worried, because for the first time in a long time, consensus exists among Israel's top brass about the situation and how to deal with it. There are no dissenting or minority opinions on the subject, no moderate voices warning against escalation and the possible results. It reminds some of Israel’s statesmen of the heady days between the 1967 war and before the eruption of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, which resulted in one of Israel’s greatest military catastrophes. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 24 2018 14:20 utc | 159

The [Israeli] defense minister elaborated that Israel “doesn’t interfere in Syria’s internal affairs, but on the other hand we won’t allow Iran to flood [the country] with advanced weapons systems that would be aimed against Israel.”

Israel doesn't interfere in Syria's internal affairs, but on the other hand Israel interferes in Syria's internal affairs.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 24 2018 14:21 utc | 160

MI5 used to vet thousands of BBC employees in case they hired anyone who might cause some trouble by not agreeing to the accepted wisdom of the BBC

Posted by: mischi | Apr 24 2018 14:23 utc | 161

re: #133 I'm with R Chrisjohn. Rand is rotten. Here in Canada, the more propaganda on 'truth and reconciliation' with Indigenous peoples there is, the more Trudeau et al scheme and steal. An example is below. When will NA settler-progressives finally get it? Backing Indigeneous sovereignty in a movement of popular and united resistance is a key to freedom just waiting to be turned...

Open Letter to PM Trudeau re Land Theft in 'OKA' - by Ellen Gabriel

Posted by: John Gilberts | Apr 24 2018 14:32 utc | 162

Don Bacon @159,

Are you seriously suggesting that Geopolitical Developments might not recognize the State of Israel's right to exist? Have they been captured by far-left anti-semitism, do you think, or have they come under the sway of Iranian influence?

Posted by: WJ | Apr 24 2018 14:32 utc | 163

More specifically, it's the ascendency of Ayn Rand's mythology, its brainwashed economist priests and their politico allies while dumbing down and hypnotizing a majority (…) the seed was bad from the outset. Karlof1 109.

The bad economic model of the US and the religion of classical free-market economics (as well as the rantings of Rand who imho was a sleazy opportunist, the only interesting point is her success) are an outcome of geography as destiny.

USA territory was colonised by ‘poorer’ Europeans, so the natives were genocided, and slave labor was imported to replace them, until the flowering of the oil age (tractor replaced the slave. corps replaced unions. ..) For the colonists, in somewhat uncertain circumstances, a dominant vs. domineered, or dog-eat-dog world, libertarian competition is unsurprising - as the land was ressource rich, no limits to possibilities were set, amongst them few social limits. There are always barriers but they may not be perceived, and here we speak of the commons being abandoned; there were none once the ‘Indians’ were massacred. Of course local cooperation and some forms of tribalism, in-groups banding together, etc. were re-constructed, ad hoc. (Religion and capture of capital played a big role.)

The end result today is for-profit health care (big pharma ..), teachers who don’t teach but test and quit, capture by usury (student loans, etc.), super blatant slavery in the prison industry, which has destroyed the USA justice system. Bribery and many forms of corruption, including masqueraded or championed gangsterism, that can get things done in the wilderness, have become institutionalised and boosted to international norms, but only as allowed to be practised by the USA. (E.g. FATCA, Iraq war, oligarchic fake political duopoly, etc.) However, the atomised profit-scraping motive does not lead to efficient attack or even defense on a military or economic plane. The collective, institutionalised efforts, investment, etc. (not to mention adherence of the population) are AWOL. The USA is on a down-path, and its military defeat is no 1, as was seen in Syria, this year.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 24 2018 14:35 utc | 164

@ WJ 163
...Geopolitical Developments might not recognize the State of Israel's right to exist?
No, a war initiated by Israel against Iran may cause its destruction. This is no longer a world of tank battles and infantry skirmishes, like the old days, it is rather a time when a fusillade of explosive missiles can destroy a city (or cities) in minutes.
Israel, according to the above report, seems bent on testing Iran, and if it does so it would lose. Everything.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 24 2018 15:07 utc | 165

regarding ayn rand - i agree with Roland Chrisjohn's comments mostly...

i read a few of her books when i was in my 20's... it is hard to explain.. where is the integrity or honour in forcing everyone on the planet to play monopoly? everyone is forced into serving mammon in the vision of the world ayn rand or alan greenspan hold to..there is no integrity or honour in any of that.. it is dog eat dog and it has become much more so over the past 50 years, in spite of her antiquated ideas written over 50 or 60 years ago... what if someone would prefer to not play monopoly? that is how i see the world of finance today - forcing everyone onto the thread mill of chasing after money..

@142 FSFF.. okay... thanks! i have maybe wrongly assumed the connection was more important then it is between armenia and russia..armenia is squeezed between turkey and azerbaijan, with turkey and azerbaijan having closer relations..

@144 FSFF... well, i agree with you there although the connection with israel and wall st is not one easily shaken.. in relation to my monopoly idea above - these folks are the master money changers that will happily fuck over anyone and everyone - while probably proclaiming the sanctity of ayn rand b.s. as well..

Posted by: james | Apr 24 2018 15:34 utc | 166

@164 noirette... good post.. you say it a lot more eloquently and succinctly then me!

Posted by: james | Apr 24 2018 15:40 utc | 167

as a reflection of my idealistic nature, i want to share a cbc interview with one of israels best known authors and who won israels 2018 prize for literature.. i happened to be listening to cbc on my way back from vancouver on sunday and i found the interview really rewarding to listen to.. if you are into it - check it out here.. the title of the interview - 'Israel is a fortress, but not yet a home.'

i think others here would really enjoy the interview and find it insightful..

Posted by: james | Apr 24 2018 15:46 utc | 168

james # 166

I didn't mean to imply that Armenia's border wasn't important to Russia,

but that it was the only avenue for the entry of more troublemakers into

Yerevan. And Putin will keep a watchful eye on it. It seems that only

Russia and the Russian media are concerned about Nagorno-Karabak.

Of course, if Putin can talk Erdogan into apologizing for the ancient Turkish

genocide of the Armenians. When Putin speaks everybody listens.

Especially his allies.

Posted by: FSFF | Apr 24 2018 16:55 utc | 169

@guidoam 150: thank you for your commentary. At base, as frequently remarked on in this forum, we are dealing with a failure to think effectively, to consider and weigh, to be rational and decisive in adjusting mistakes. This time for me is highly reminiscent of the rationalizing in 50's and 60's as with tendentiousness, guilt by association, automatic conformity, laziness, self-indulgence--that type of "mind" strongly influenced by McCarthy and his ilk.

Fortunately, and not available then, are forums that feature effective reasoning and analysis--at least the possibility of this. Craig Murray's forum in reasoning about the Skripal case is another example. Back then we had some decent broadcasters, such as Eric Sevareid, and in Ramparts and Rolling Stone, as sources to consult against the herd conformity and demonizing of that time.

As one example of the low to which we have sunk, Trump's recent action to bomb Syria immediately on accusations of a chemical attack, seemed automatically, uncritically accepted, automatically accepted--oversimplification toward the moronic. (Possibly Trump is showing some improvement, however? That's another topic.) This is the consequence of demonizing and oversimplifying to automatic black and white, very much an infantilism in the human character, which could lead on toward stupidly devastating war. Thinking, challenging, attempting real reasoning is our only hope.

I realize much of what I'm stating here is obvious, and am doing so because the dynamics of our dysfunctional thinking in western leadership and its influence on its lazy populations is so extremely dangerous and destructive. The counter-force, the counter-figures need continual emphasizing in my view.

A strong review of the Skripal case currently, in its iteration in finding "suspects," again shows this pattern of demonizing and tendentious guilt by association to automatic conclusions, analysis by Alexander Mercouris:

Posted by: Sid2 | Apr 24 2018 17:06 utc | 170

Excellent review of Isikoff/Corn book "Russian Roulette"

> The central Isikoff/Corn thesis is not only devoid of factual support but is totally inverted: the present state of affairs is exactly the opposite of what they argue. There has been no “Putin’s war on America”, but rather sustained U.S. (and NATO) warfare against Russia – political, economic, ideological, military – since 2000, if not earlier. The Russians occupy the other, targetedend of the power spectrum, obvious to any serious observer. Who has invoked harsh and repeated economic sanctions on whom? Who has militarily encircled and targeted whom? Who has deployed nuclear weapons at whose border? Who has financed and orchestrated a hostile coup adjacent to whose territory? Who has carried out non-stop ideological hysteria against whom?
> In the world as it now exists, it is worth asking whether Russia could plausibly assume the role of imperial aggressor in its dealings with the world’s leading superpower? Consider that in 2017 the total Russian GDP as barely 1.5 trillion dollars, roughly one-twelfth that of the U.S. ($19.5 trillion) and not even one-tenth that of the European Union ($14 trillion). Military spending breaks down accordingly: nearly one trillion for the U.S. and $250 billion for NATO compared to $61 billion for Russia. As for intelligence operations, the imbalance worsens – a budget of six billion dollars for the FSB and military GRU combined, compared to $75 billion for Washington not counting another $45 billion for the DEA and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) in tandem.
. . .

> It is the expansionist U.S./NATO alliance that has maliciously targeted Russia, not the other way around.
. . .
>As they righteously celebrate the virtues of multiculturalism, diversity, and tolerance, liberal Democrats – now more than ever a neocon party of war – have come to embrace just the opposite: fierce hostility against other nations and cultures, smug provincialism, a recycled McCarthyism that spews hatred at even the slightest dissent from super-patriotic orthodoxy. They pretend victim status when they are the ones targeting, attacking, smearing, and warmongering.
Worse yet, to satisfy their narrow political agendas they are perfectly ready to risk military confrontation with a nuclear power – a conflict that could lead to unprecedented global catastrophe.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 24 2018 18:21 utc | 171

Trump threat Iran

along with that the pathetic child-like Macron is on board with Trump to renegogiate the Iran deal.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 24 2018 18:53 utc | 172

Evgeniy Yanovich Satanovskiy talks in a 14 minute video on the chemical weapons theme that recently happened in douma.. along the way he discusses some educational info on the role jordan plays in all of this and how syria advancing towards the jordan border to rid syria of the moderate headchoppers supported by the west will see more of these chemical weapon false flags.. he points out how it took 1 1/2 years negotiating with the usa over aleppo which was a stall tactic as it was more recently in ghouta and how russia will ignore it in the future..

Posted by: james | Apr 24 2018 19:16 utc | 173

WJ, did you miss that she's praising Aristotle? Perhaps you and I have different senses of what 'falsification' means, then? I'm not really into right libertarianism. Maybe you can say I'm into curious contrarianism, especially when groupthink takes hold. I don't think you're being a dick at all. I think you want to make your point quickly and don't think you could be mistaken. Or, you know, human. Where did you see the cartoon? You can throw a title out there, and I'll look it up for myself.

Roland Chrisjohn, so then you and I agree with each other. Cool.

Jen, I offered my thoughts earlier. As for modeling a character off a serial killer, I will point to Lecter, Joker, or Dexter: audiences find such characters compelling. Or, you know, there's Moore's V and his relationship to Anonymous: why do all these intelligent, disaffected people want to wear the Fawkes mask and quote the same line about government's fearing the people, when V is also a serial killer (plans in great detail how to kill his victims, doesn't he?), a torturer (doesn't really get consent with Evey, neither, does he?), and a collector of fine arts (j/k)? Is this fictional character similarly concerning regarding what values lurk behind the symbols? What do you have in mind is a reason, since it piqued your interest? I have no idea what character you mean, anyway.

Posted by: Charles R | Apr 24 2018 19:18 utc | 174

"Western strikes on Syria were aimed at preventing human suffering by reducing the government’s chemical weapons capabilities, UK Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Alistair Burt said on Tuesday at the Brussels Conference Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region.

“The recent airstrikes carried by the United Kingdom, the US and France were carefully targeted. Their purpose was to prevent further human suffering by degrading the Syrian regime chemical weapons capabilities and to restore the international law that these weapons must not and should not be used,” Burt said.

The official pointed out that London would continue to cooperate with the international community in order to hold those responsible for the chemical attacks to account." - by paying a propaganda organization called the white helmets?? lol... what's in the british water to make them think as delusional and assbackwards as this) ??? propaganda campaign not working and all that propaganda money down the toilet??

Posted by: james | Apr 24 2018 19:22 utc | 175

And "NATO-fication" would collapse the military, something that Georgia experienced with all Armenians to watch. Switching to weapons that are twice more expensive (or more) shrinks the military by factor of 2 and vaunted Western quality does not replace it -- it is also questionable if that quality is truly superior on the level of middle tech practical weapons that Armenia and Azerbaijan need to threaten each other. In other words, without total reshuffle of national priorities, it is extremely risky to go Ukrainian way. It did not work too well in Ukraine, and Armenia is small, after all, Erevan is much, much closer to Artzakh than Kiev to Crimea or Donbass.

Armenia has high unemployment etc. but actually the unemployment is in line with, say, Spain, and Poland had that level for more than decade (lately it is lower). EU is not a paradise for satellite countries. And decrease in corruption stemming from Western orientation is also far from obvious.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 24 2018 19:53 utc | 176

Charles R @174,

This will be my last comment on the topic. I did not miss that Rand was praising Aristotle. Her praise is premised on her appropriative noncomprehension of Aristotle's thought. That appropriative noncomprehension is so clownish that it is not worth engaging. If you think it is, then that is because you do not understand Aristotle. At all. There are curiously contrarian interpretations of Aristotle that are very much worth engaging, Marx's being prime among them. There are likewise curiously contrarian interpretations of solar system formation, the Pleistocene extinction event, and the achievements of Neanderthal culture, none of which entails taking Creation Science seriously.

In any case, can Rand really be taken as a curious contrarian in any but the most artificial of senses? Don't her views inform the worldview of some of the richest and most powerful people in America, such as Alan Greenspan and the Koch brothers? If your interest in Rand is motivated by your deeper interest in curious contrarianism as a recurrent and important dynamic in the sociology of knowledge, and not by any romanticized fascination with libertarian political philosophy, as I had supposed, then I don't think Rand will be very helpful to you. The views of curious contrarians never align, as Rand's do, so nearly with the actual views held by many of the elite; were they to do so, they could no longer be accurately described as curious or contrarian at all. So neither, in truth, can Rand's views be described. They may, of course,, still not find a hearing among people who know something about the topics on which Rand pronounces. But this is not because Rand's views on such topics are curiously contrarian, but because they are stupid.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 24 2018 20:32 utc | 177

Charles R @ 174:

The novel that Ayn Rand was writing, in which the hero Danny Renahan is based on the character of serial murderer William E Hickman, and which she abandoned was called "The Little Street".

I only ask how Ayn Rand's fascination with Hickman, as someone representative of a damaged individual, supposedly destroyed by society, and who commits murder as a result, can be reconciled with a view of Rand as a believer in and promoter of personal integrity, honour and justice.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 24 2018 20:54 utc | 178

It's now apparent what The Guardian, Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and Board of Deputies (BoD) expect Corbyn to agree to to make the accusations of anti-semitism go away.

“For us, that is frustrating,” a JLC spokesman said. “We put them very clearly in our letter. We didn’t raise anything new, and we felt they’d had plenty of time to consider whether they wanted to offer it.” He expressed surprise that Corbyn and Formby could not agree to adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, calling it “quite an easy thing for them to have said yes to”.

A spokeswoman for the BoD said another meeting was expected in July, and that in the interim, both groups expected Corbyn to act on his words: “We will be watching him every step of the way to see that they do take the actions. This isn’t asking for a lot, that as a community we ask for the protection and support of the leadership of the party.”

Corbyn is being "made an offer he can't refuse".
And what is contentious about the IHRA definition of antisemitism? The definition is fairly innocuous:
Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

It's some of the examples that are the problem:
 Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
 Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
 Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
 Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Nice bit of doublespeak there. Anyone, including Corbyn, who supports the rights of Palestinians is by this definition anti-semitic.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 24 2018 22:17 utc | 179

Piotr #176

If China and India really want to find some mutual self-interest and peace

outside of BRICS, then surely Armenia and Azerbaijan can sit down to talk,

under Putin's patient and persuasive mediation, in pursuit, for a similar

reason to cooperate. The leadership of most of the countries on Russia's

Eastern border, are aware of Putin's profound abilities. And have no concern

for the fact that we was not mentioned in Time Magazine's list of the 100 most

influential people.

The same goes for Turkey and Armenia.

The hatred of the US for its heavy-handed and failed maintenance of its Empire

will trump any longstanding and serious disagreements between ethnic neighbors

in the man's birthplace in the Caucasus.

Posted by: FSFF | Apr 24 2018 23:55 utc | 180

[Video] Macron and Trump's awkward body language

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 25 2018 8:26 utc | 181

People who accused @Partisangirl of having cosmetic surgery. When she responded with a photo of herself as a child proving them wrong, Michael Weiss compared the photo of her as a child to looking like a prostitute. He's a sick demon.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 25 2018 8:52 utc | 182

WJ, I didn't say Rand was a curious contrarian, I said that I am. Sometimes it's worth pushing back on people's claims, no matter how much you agree with them, in order to understand why they make the associations and connections they do, because agreement in opinions is not a mark of agreement in habits of thinking, which are more often where the fun is. Likewise, I like to gain a sense of what's being said by those who repulse me, because maybe, like a Jungian shadow, there's something telling in the rejection not yet resolved within me. After all, if a person thinks we all owe honor, justice and respect to one another, then does that person also owe such to their worst enemies? Or, how about charity?

You remarked that the viewpoints expressed are Nietzsche's, not Rand's except as maybe Rand's interpretation of Nietzsche. I pointed out that maybe her ideas of integrity and honor and justice come from how she's adopted Aristotle, not Nietzsche, to which you said that Rand has a cartoonish falsification of Aristotle. I understand falsification as a rejection, a making-false. So, I'm not sure what you're indicating, and now you're telling me that clearing up what you meant and how you meant isn't worth your time anymore.

That now means the truth is contained within you, and you leave me in confusion, lacking it.

Posted by: Charles R | Apr 25 2018 19:00 utc | 183

Murray's latest tells us how the movie version of The Quiet American was barred from being produced, amongst other info.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 25 2018 21:05 utc | 184

Jen, it's a good question you're asking. I think one possible way of examining this is here: Vankatesh Rao's amoral account of the sociopath, to include MLKJr and Gandhi as sociopaths. Rao's honest that he's bending the word away from the clinical while attempting to better capture the lay senses of the word, and in further explaining this model of organizational dynamics uses a similar idea of group/individual. For example,

Losers, by and large, engage in apparently compassionate actions to feel good about themselves, assuage guilt, and other sorts of purely pathos-driven motivations. Mostly, they are apathetic due to a rational realization that there isn’t actually a whole lot they can do. Ethos and logos can only enter into compassionate action when there is, to begin with, an acceptance of individual responsibility. So loser-morality is ultimately either derivative or flawed, and therefore uninteresting.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

You might also compare these ideas to Simone Weil's On the Abolition of All Political Parties, for a different perspective on how to stand apart from the madness of the crowd...

Posted by: Charles R | Apr 25 2018 22:00 utc | 185

Charles R @183

"I understand falsification as a rejection, a making-false."

Here's how the OED understands it:

"1. The action of rendering (something) false; fraudulent alteration (of documents, of weights or measures, etc.); misrepresentation, perversion (of facts); counterfeiting; an instance of the same."

The truth is not "contained within me." But I'm not sure that's gonna help you much.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 25 2018 22:05 utc | 186

I read the linked article below and knew it needed to be shared with the commenters at MoA that think China is run by plutocrats like the West.

Xi stresses importance of The Communist Manifesto

China says it is opening up its economy to foreign investment and "controlling interest" in businesses. It may take some time before the inevitable clash between economic goals of communist China and those of private finance of the West but it will come. When it does i expect communism/socialism to win out over private finance and all the attendant anti-humanistic God of Mammon social incentives.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 26 2018 5:50 utc | 187

Charles R @ 185: It is all very well to throw up smokescreens but the question remains unanswered: why would Ayn Rand choose, as a model for a hero in a novel, a serial killer (who killed and mutilated a young girl) to represent an individual standing apart from society and not conforming to its values, when she could have chosen someone like Jesus Christ or Siddhartha Gautama, both of whom also defied the conventions of their time and, in the case of Jesus, paid for being a non-conformist with his life?

Posted by: Jen | Apr 26 2018 8:32 utc | 188


Kiev threatens Russia with ‘full-scale conflict’ if gas transit to Europe through Ukraine stops

Posted by: Anon | Apr 26 2018 14:07 utc | 189

WJ, thank you for posting the definition. I can better see what you meant, and I hope you can see why I interpreted what you wrote as I can see how you meant things. I hope whatever upsets you in my conversation with you doesn’t prevent us from seeking out mutual understanding. I do what I do for love, and I hope you continue consistently living the values you hold.

Jen, it's not smokescreens. Why do you say that? It's coordination of understanding from multiple perspectives. (Have you come across Nick Sousanis's book Unflattening?) I am not trying to distract you, but deepening the place from which I am responding to you.

You say she gave up writing that story, right? Perhaps the lesson had to be learned through the doing and failing. Given her later heroes practice non-violence (Galt, for example, is like one of those who walks away from Le Guin's Omelas), maybe your insight into her early models is good for seeing the evolution away from the lure of violent power that tends to attract people who feel they bear the oppressive weight of society. Didn't John, who would later claim God is Love, as a young man ask for the power to judge and punish and force, like a Son of Thunder? Rand, as I pointed out earlier, is not alone in finding violent instruments useful for changing a culture. Why, though, focus on that rather than the mature models, rather than the process of change? Like I said, we pivot together from the places we learn we hold in common even with our enemies. I feel, though, you've dismissed understanding what I have had to say, much less why I care to do this, but that's okay. We are all on different paths, and seeing things from your perspective helps me even if you see no to little benefit to mine. In that respect, I too engage, fail, and learn.

Thank you for challenging my perspective from your own. I learn from your example, and I know I am not alone in doing so.

Posted by: Charles R | Apr 26 2018 14:25 utc | 190

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