Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 31, 2019

Open Thread 2019-63

News & views ...

Posted by b on October 31, 2019 at 14:41 UTC | Permalink

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On Twitter´s Ministry of Truth....

Twitter Subdues to US Congress’ anti-Hezbollah Measures, Suspends Al-Manar’s Accounts

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 2 2019 18:49 utc | 201

And now I see this from Mark Ames:

DC police, acting on Trump-backed Venezuela opposition's bogus complaint, launched SWAT raid on home of American journalist @MaxBlumenthal
critical of Trump's Venezuela policies. The warrant ID'd Blumenthal as "armed & dangerous"—a set-up for deadly force

But Max B. didn't say that SWAT was present, only that it was "essentially" like a SWAT raid. As I mentioned @194, it would be easy for any reader to have been confused by Max B.'s reference to SWAT.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 2 2019 18:57 utc | 202

@ Peter 200
There's US confusion about US oil field occupation and also regarding US border patrols.

Reuters: - U.S. armored vehicles were seen on Thursday near the Syria-Turkey border in a part of northeastern Syria where they had not been observed since early October when Washington announced the withdrawal of American forces, according to a witness and Reuters video footage.

U.S. President Donald Trump said, Friday, November 1, "Other people can patrol the border of Syria,” he told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for Mississippi to campaign for GOP gubernatorial candidate Tate Reeves. “We don't want to do that. We want to bring our soldiers home.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 2 2019 19:02 utc | 203

H.Con.Res.70 - Directing the President pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Syrian Arab Republic that have not been authorized by Congress.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Nov 2 2019 19:11 utc | 204

In Video: Dozens Of Trucks Loaded With U.S. Military Equipment Leave Syria

At least 55 trucks of the U.S.-led coalition withdrew from northeast Syria on November 2 to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region through the al-Walid border crossing, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

The state-run agency released a video showing some of the trucks on their way to the border crossing. The trucks were loaded with armored vehicles and equipment of the U.S. military.

Two days earlier, more than 80 empty trucks working for U.S. forces entered Syria from Iraq and headed towards Sarrin airstrip in eastern Aleppo. The trucks were apparently brought to participate in the base evacaution.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 2 2019 19:47 utc | 205

Sasha # 189 # 191 #196

Sasha, I'm an expat who lives in Spain in the area known as Catalonia. I have tried to be impartial to what has been going on here and watched it's tempo escalate since the street occupations of 2011. I don't feel this will end in a good way, and the way it is being handled by Spain to date is distasteful to say the very least. You are right that Vox and others would happily see Catalans beaten to submission or worse, and nefarious forces move in the shadows on all sides. There has certainly been naivety on the part of the independentists inc. the jaw dropping foolishness that there was a belief that the EU would step in and assist somehow. (I do suspect some EU behind the scenes footwork in the push to remove Franco from the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum. -an uncomfortable veneration a step too far for modern Euro (pseudo) values).

Barcelona has always been a city of arts, culture and philosophy. It has more recently become home to some global congress events, a haven for cruise ships, a booming IT SaaS venue and quite a few tourists. All of which will largely evaporate as the violence escalates. Relocation moves which Spain is more than happy to facilitate, raising the questions you suggest that violence instigators are be in the employment of Govt. agency:

So yes it would seem to indicate at least Police involvement in orchestrated infiltration into some nocturnal protest activity, exactly what cannot be seen in this clip, but clearly some steps have been taken to attempt to hide the State's hand at work.

Some other worthwhile feeds are coming in to the twitter #SpainSitAndTalk tag.

However naive the independentists are in their actions the violence brought down on passive civilians has only strengthened the resolve to push harder for more freedoms, which likely they will get eventually but at a terrible cost to both them and to Spain for inward investment, and an embarrassment to Europe. If Spain had the foresight it would be leading the path to development in Morocco and African economic markets rather that sitting dumbly at the rear of the pack awaiting instruction from northern European neighbours while China builds railroads to extract African resource to ship home and fabricate into product and sell in growing trade disparity to European buyers (€ 185 billion in deficit in 2018). Instead Spain prefers to foolishly entertain the poorly educated segment of the electorate with how boldly they smashed Catalan protesters rather than making the efforts to seek bridges for a shared win-win future. The stupidity is superficially mindblowing, the quiet game being to move the industry out whilst maintaining tax burdens and negotiate later. Whatever the play its a small minded game.

Shell's paper predicting 2050 outcomes gave an poor Option B 'Scramble'of tooth & nail fight for global resources and devolvement into city states. Catalans seem fine with this outcome, the way things are going they won't have to wait half that long.

search: 2008 shell-energy-scenarios2050.pdf

Posted by: dennis | Nov 2 2019 19:50 utc | 206

179# Nick,
thanks for the offering of another angle.

So the kind of rather warm support that Danish Premier Mette Frederikksen gave to German CDU leader and likely successor to Ms.Merkel Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer's proposal to send 30 to 40000 German and other European troops to safeguard the Kurdish zone in Syria would be more of a clever move in regards to keeping cool relations with Germany than a case of routinely following USA Foreign Secretary's demands?Because in spite of a classic "Cheers to this courageous proposal" campaign in many German news magazines this proposition was widely ignored if not booed,and at Brussel's Nato gathering it was politely stored on a shelf.At least I hope so.

We'll keep an eye on Mette though,who some months ago responded with restraint to the Greenland offer,tongue in cheek I believe.

Posted by: willie | Nov 2 2019 19:59 utc | 208


From the southfront link...
"Despite the withdrawal from most of their bases in Aleppo and Raqqa, U.S. forces are reportedly working to establish new bases and military posts in the provinces of al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor.

The deployment of U.S. forces in oil rich areas in northeast Syria is a part of Washington’s ‘oil securing’ policy in the war-torn country. The US aims to control major oil fields in order to block the Damascus government from reaching them."

The northern part of Hasakah province looks to be no mans land at the moment with all forces still in that area. US looks to control the area behind a line running from Hasaka city east to Iraq border and from Hasaka city to Raqqa city, evacuating everything west of a line that runs south from the Turk border to Hasaka city and across to Raqqa.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 2 2019 20:23 utc | 209

The latest fashion for color revolution.

Nice make up.

Grenade depicted in Iraq color revolution "Grenade 40mm x 46 SMOKE CS M99"
Grenade spec's here

Max range 400 meters. Weight 170 grams. Perhaps one of these could embed in an eye socket at point blank range, but none of the pics and video show point blank range. Most seem to be very much in the back areas and one video show a so called protestor hit in the back of the head a long distance from what appears to be a frontline.

More on the cartridge here

CS (orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile) (tear gas)

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 2 2019 21:45 utc | 210

If one wants pictures of US Military "guarding" Syrian oil fields then the link below is from ZH for you

One Syrian commentator said sarcastically on social media:

The Few. The Proud. The Marines. stealing Syria’s oil.

And further pointed out that, "Trump just showed you the naked truth about US foreign policy in the Middle East."

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 2 2019 21:48 utc | 211

Others can 'patrol the border of #Syria,' US is 'keeping the oil' - #Trump

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 2 2019 22:19 utc | 212

Forget about Gabbard running as a 3rd Party candidate. Short vid rant answering that very question ought to be watched to understand her reasoning. IMO, it would need to be dismantled and reconstructed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 2 2019 22:21 utc | 213

karlof1 #213

Good to see Tulsi so absolutely on message. Building an unstoppable force of reform.

Thank you

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 2 2019 22:35 utc | 214

Thanks for the link.
I tried to find the place names on the Kurd24 tweet but they dont match very well.
There is a Derik refugee camp in NE Syria
and well to the south of that is Qerecox mountain

The nearest to Mount Qarachokh I could find is Qarachoq Iraq.
With so many spelling versions in Arabic to english translations it is difficult to find places on maps.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 2 2019 22:41 utc | 215

Next stop for colour revolution? Pakistán...
Notice how all these protests have been unleashed against government who have shown a bit of independence from the US or have turned any bit to Russia and China...

‘Gorbachev of Pakistan must go!’ Radical opposition cleric gives ‘puppet’ PM Khan 2 days to resign amid massive protest (VIDEOS)

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 2 2019 22:43 utc | 216

Walter @ 169

Rings a bell. A lot of engineers are telling me stuff like that on big projects.

karlof1 @ 142

"From my perspective, it's not about Brexit anymore; it's about ousting the Tories and putting Corbyn and Labour into power so they can undo the decades of neoliberal robbery of the UK's people."

That's how they get us sheep back into the pen. Two dummies and we get so exited about voting for one, or keeping the other out, that we fail to notice they're both status quo merchants.

For those two it was never about Brexit. It's about who gets to ride in the ministerial limos.

Posted by: English Outsider | Nov 2 2019 22:54 utc | 217

Since discovery of oil in MidEast, many in region said: U.S. only here to steal our oil.

U.S. denied, claimed it's about democracy, human rights, women etc.

Not sure if Americans realize but these pictures of U.S. troops in northeast Syria are HUGELY damaging to U.S. image.

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 2 2019 23:00 utc | 218

"WhatsApp sues the Israeli company NSO Group for hacking its 'app' to spy hundreds of mobiles." We have put the perfect spy in your pocket and at home. We are very vulnerable. No one is safe.

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 2 2019 23:08 utc | 219

This Kurd24 piece pulls together all the bits and pieces of US movements we has seen reported.
Well worth a read.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 2 2019 23:14 utc | 220

English Outsider @217--

So, in your opinion, Corbyn's a fraud and has told his constituents and party members a continual pack of lies throughout his entire political life? To use a currently popular term, it's all theatre then?

uncle tungsten @214--

Thanks for your reply! As I allude to, IMO more than reform is required. The entire DNC shell needs to be jettisoned and the entire party rebuilt based on the Commonfolk, not DNC donor-base. And then there's the massive problem with the legitimacy of the federal government I posit on the other thread. State governments have problems too, but like the extremely corrupt DNC, the entire federal government needs to be taken apart and rebuilt, which also requires the writing of a new Constitution.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 2 2019 23:15 utc | 221

More on Halima...the baby girl who lost all her family yesterday in Saada...

#Halima is a Yemeni baby girl from the province of #Saada Her house was bombed yesterday by the #US - #Saudi aggression. Everyone in her family was martyred. Only Halima survived and was wounded. Tell her story to the world.#SayHerName

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 2 2019 23:17 utc | 222

The President of the United States of America eloquently describing the US foreign policy in the Middle East.

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 2 2019 23:26 utc | 223

To those complimenting Trump on saying its about the oil I would ask when has the US not fought for control of physical/human resources or hegemony over finance? has never been about freedom and democracy, IMO

To those saying Trump is the peace president I would say you have blinders on with regard to Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, and the other 180 or so countries the US/empire has troops come Trump has not brought them home? And Syria was a war lost by Obama and Trump is still fighting to hold onto some part of Syria, isn't he?

To those that say war criminal Hillary "We came, we saw, he died" Clinton would have waged more wars than Trump I would respond that is not true because empire has had to and continues to have to hold off or back away from the Russia/China alliance around the world. The only viable arrows left in the empire quiver are finance ones and those are being wielded with vigor with more to come, like calling in all the global debt after a US bankruptcy to allow the elite to buy up physical resources on the cheap for an ongoing rentier society.

Trump is the Plan C president that is responding to the biggest challenge to those that own the Western world through global private finance that has ever occurred. Those elite are fighting to retain relevance/control and throwing America and other countries under the bus as fall guys for their perfidy.....its all about who controls the economic lifeblood of our species and the global private finance folk have been in control of that for centuries. And in case you haven't noticed they have written history to obfuscate their involvement in all the Wars humanity has fought.....for freedom and democracy, right?

Wake up to the civilization war being fought about who controls the lifeblood of human economic interaction going forward from this watershed moment in our species existence!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 3 2019 0:00 utc | 224

psychohistorian @224--

"And in case you haven't noticed they have written history to obfuscate their involvement in all the Wars humanity has fought."

Well, almost all; but as to rewriting history and obfuscating the millennial long ongoing Class War--almost exclusively in the West--between owners of land&money and those without is spot-on. I know there's a sad history of landlordship and warlordism in the East's history, but the trajectory has changed since 1917 and a new direction is commencing.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 3 2019 0:25 utc | 225

The control of oil that the US needs now is much different than in the past. US was the worlds largest importer of oil. Now China is the worlds largest oil importer. Dollar hegemony and the petro dollar are finished.
To block China's oil supplies, US needs physical control of the oil, as it has done in Syria.
US strategy changed from unachievable full spectrum dominance to energy dominance with the election of Trump.
physical control (owner) over a good chunk of the worlds oil supply gives US a lot of leverage over all oil importing countries, plus the income.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 3 2019 0:32 utc | 226

@ karlof1 with comment # 225

Point taken and agreed I over generalized a bit there...thanks.

To Peter AU 1 at # 226 about oil/money....

I posit that since Nixon took the Reserve Currency off gold in 1971 and forced SA to hold oil profits in Treasuries and others to only trade in dollars they became fungible....that fungibility is going away IMO and hopefully we are approaching the tipping point of fiat private money/debt

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 3 2019 0:41 utc | 227

karlof1, I take your points on the rampant corruption in both parties and historical inability to adhere to the edicts
of the Constitution, but I am at a loss when it comes to your statement that we need a new one. Don't we just need
appropriate laws in place to make the old one function as it should?

I cannot see any possibility given the enormous task that had been when this was a much more primitive nation, but
having still ethical constraints given the history of a young country composed as it was of various individual
groups of refugee societies, not least among them the native tribes, but a new country building on the better qualities
of the old, having the ability to study other governments and make a better one.

Where is that ability today? Certainly the US government is a failure, but the Constitution didn't fail - the politicians
failed it. Indeed, it purports to be consistent with international law, which is what Putin is presently following. And
so it should, because international law came out of the development of Constitutional principles.

Amend it, certainly. But I think it's a fool's errand to attempt to write a new one.

This is why I still have hope for the Department of Justice investigation. It was what I saw when Nixon was properly
subjected to impeachment. The American public got shown the different branches of government working to unravel the
elements of a breach of government protocol. People went to prison; it was serious stuff. Same for the Church Committee -
serious stuff. The public was served by it.

What is behind the DoJ investigation? It's not just one party against another. It is members of the intelligence
community conspiring with the party which lost the election to unseat the elected president. Doesn't matter he's
an imperfect man - the whole system is destabilized by this. It means as b says that all restraints are gone.
Doesn't matter who gets the votes; the loser can by hook or by crook unseat him or her.

So, that investigation to me is not about Trump at all. It's about what people did that was not only illegal
but criminal.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 3 2019 0:53 utc | 228

karlof1 and psychohistorian

Economics and politics, along with a little military input from Russia are pushing the US back, but the US looks to be backing into a corner of its own choosing. Israel and Persian Gulf oil. It is what happens in this area that will make or break the US. Until it is broken and pushed out of MENA, US a dangerous player.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 3 2019 0:55 utc | 229


I think you have pinpointed the problem any country faces. Written constitutions and laws are useless unless they are upheld by people. Changing the writing will not cause them to be upheld.
The biggest problem I see, and I don't have an answer for is "Who controls the media. Who ensures the media provide accurate information."
Robert Parry did a few articles on 'Perception Management' at Consortium News, based on the Reagan papers. Successor to mockingbird. They can be found at the Consortium News site by using 'Perception Management' as the search term.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 3 2019 1:15 utc | 230

juliania, peter, karlof1 and psychohistorian

i think it comes down to morals and ethics and how they don't jive with late stage capitalism.. prior to the 1960's the church had an influence in western culture.. now, i know pompeo goes to church still, but how can he or church going pat lang, or any other number of military-cia-dia types rationalize stealing syrian oil on display here?

in answer to your first question @224 psychohistorian, trump is different as all pretense and facade have been removed.. the guy lacks morals or ethics and is perfectly fine with that! this is how it is different with trump! all the other ones would try to hide their immoral character under the democracy-freedom banner.. trump doesn't bother...

i think western culture needs to find something other then consumerism to bow down at the alter to.. we are forced into seeing people living on the streets thanks the present state of decay in our capitalist system here.. it is coming at us from all directions.. the whole system looks to me to be in a fast state of decline... trump is the perfect leader for just such a time.. rather him then some smooth talking and looking con artist that will continue to be sold as great in the msm... the msm here can't sell trump as great, no matter that they aren't trying! but see if they can sell carmella or any of these other inside cia players and have people buy into it.. they are trying hard, but not everyone is buying into this..

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2019 1:38 utc | 231

Priceless Joe Biden

Watch the video. That is just priceless. I will open a beer and celebrate.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 3 2019 1:40 utc | 232

as assad said in the transcript from a few days ago - "He is the best American President, not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president. What can be better than an honest enemy?"

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2019 1:43 utc | 233

The reaction on this blog has been "muted" to invisible regarding the theft of Syrian oil by the Pentagon.

How do the barflies see this untenable situation get resolved?

Posted by: augrr | Nov 3 2019 1:45 utc | 234

@ uncle tungsten with the Joey video....THANKS!

Old Joey not knowing who his audience is show he has gone beyond his use by date....

My fear is that the Dems are going to try to resurrect war criminal Hillary instead of embracing Bernie, Elizabeth or best of all, Tulsi

I keep seeing "polls" that are obvious lies meant to brainwash (more than already) the masses into an Overton window of "Acceptable" Dem candidates...sick but that is where we are in our purposely delusional world.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 3 2019 1:51 utc | 235

@ augrr... the reaction on this blog is similar to russias 'reaction'.. keep on moving forward knowing that this play by the usa-west - can't last... usually this answer isn't good enough for those who want a quick response - war essentially... so, here we are 7 or more years later, or 4 or 5 years since russia entered this situation, and is the tide turning? i think it is, but some think it isn't happening fast enough...

where is grieved lately??

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2019 1:53 utc | 236

Re Constitutions, agree with you all, the problem is corruption, not the constitution. No set of rules, however well thought out, can withstand players who cheat, and there are always players willing to cheat. I agree with the idea that "you need better people". We instead reward successful cheaters and liars.

Also far better to rewrite and fix the old one, whose problems you know, than start over and begin the process anew.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 3 2019 1:54 utc | 237

latest article at sst from larry johnson...

Growing Indicators of Brennan's CIA Trump Task Force

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2019 1:56 utc | 238

@ augrr who wrote
The reaction on this blog has been "muted" to invisible regarding the theft of Syrian oil by the Pentagon.
I think you have reading comprehension issues and suggest you check out flankerbanddit, Peter AU 1 and other comments above

The situation will be resolved when the body bags start returning to the US with the repeated message of not having ANY legal authority to be in Syria...the current focus is on stabalizing the NE of Syria before moving to the SE....and Syria has limited military resources....and its not like the stealing of oil hasn't been going on for a few years already.....patience

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 3 2019 1:59 utc | 239

Why is that nobody has told us about this?

Trump flees from New York to avoid paying his taxes

He is the sole president of the USA in more than 40 years who refuses to reveal his tax situation.

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 3 2019 2:08 utc | 240

augrr @134: agree with james, other parties involved will let them squat there for a while, see what they try to do. No point in getting impetuous. Like: "never interfere with an enemy when he is making a mistake." I don't see what they can do there but be annoying. Not a real threat. More delusional thinking. It's a stalling tactic, it will stall off finally pulling out for a while. Practically instinctive for political hacks. More theater. All based on the notion that nobody is going to really start blowing shit up. Kabuki. Fort Zinderneuf. I'll shut up now.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 3 2019 2:09 utc | 241

augrr #134

These oil facilities are amongst arab Syrian communities not kurd communities no matter how loud the kurds scream otherwise. The arab communities have a problem that USA forces are ignorant and trigger happy and their only defence is to discover an isis resurgence ie themselves.

Syria meanwhile is trying to consolidate new territory negotiated with the kurds and is in no position to trust anybody OR extend their lines just yet. The yankees will steal their oil as they always do but that is better than being slaughtered again.

I guess the Syrians could simply advance into that territory saying that they are driving isis out of their lands but they will likely get attacked by the US and its allies as they were attacked at Deir ez Zor a couple of years ago in a previous US war crime just as they were about to decimate isis.

Meanwhile Erdogan has evaded any pay back so far for giving the USA the address of Baghdadi so they could snuff him. Can't be far off though.

As for your country augrr how are you going chucking out the private finance war machine from plundering your lands. No success here yet.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 3 2019 2:49 utc | 243

A little more on the tear gas rounds in Iraq.
Twitter acc of 'Weapons Investigator on Amnesty International's Crisis Team.' Tis account has a bit on the two types of canister or projectile used in the current propaganda.

Forgot this one in my previous comment.

Amnesty International international has kicked off a new branch called Digital Verication Corps.

Training the new 'corps'.
"Designing training for emerging methods
Building robust, cutting edge training for emerging methods is difficult. The DVC Summit had presentations from several superstar researchers and journalists (Bellingcat, Malachy Browne, and Bill Marczak, among others). Learning from the projects of superstars is an important and useful way to inspire amateur and student researchers":

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 3 2019 2:49 utc | 244

Sasha #240

He has moved to be closer to Debbie Wassername Shultz. Maybe its not about taxes but that he seeks a better rabbi. The Chalabad clan might want more for their silence than the IRS would charge. Who knows when rules based order overtakes the rule of law.

If Florida fails he might end up in Delaware, now that would be a laugh. He and Joe Biden could go hunting and hopefully avoid a shooting accident like Dick Cheney. Mind you I hope they take M16's instead of bird shot.

I can see it now, Biden is standing there talking to a tree and Trump blows his head away claiming that he was certain he heard a moose calling. It had to be a moose as no one in their right mind talks to trees.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 3 2019 3:04 utc | 245

psychohistorian #235

I would love to see some renegade put together a 1 minute clip of blundering Biden and run it as a Bernie advertisement. Even a spoof.

Maybe b could run a sort of competition for best spoof 60 second advert. It could be based offsite with a post consisting of a link. It would likely be well supported with us barflies promoting it about. O might return with his famous chabad talking fedora.

I did that a few times for cartoonists in my intense activist days and we all had one hell of a good time. We staged opening nights and had judges from around the region and everyone loved the gig.

For a Trump video there is that gem that sasha linked to earlier as his justification for remaining in Syria:take the oil, take the oil, take the oil. Hoho.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 3 2019 3:19 utc | 246

@ Peter AU1 | Nov 3 2019 1:15 utc | 230

I think Corbett (dot com) has also done great work on such matters(Perception Management) There's a long list of related matter that he's done...and open to everyone, with end-notes.

It may be interesting to examine the term itself for semantic value.
The terms seems to analyze as meaning managing the object person in that it refers to the way the OP sees. It does not seem to directly mean managing the message, but the person. It therefore seems like rhetorical code for "control of consciousness"... It means controlling the mark...basic to the Old Army Game (aka 3 card Monte etc, the con, and always come with a "ringer" that only works so long as the mark believes it is not empty)

Perception management occurs when the nice cop whacks your elbow with his billy - occurs in your brain, not his...and when the TV is "on"...a full spectrum.

Posted by: Walter | Nov 3 2019 11:25 utc | 247

For those that dig Joe Rogan and his interviews. Kyle Kulinski publishes a youtube series 'secular talk'.

Joe is interviewing Kyle Kulinski and they are having a deep and meaningful 2 hour session on USA politics. Sometime deep, sometimes skimming. But almost 1.2 million views to date since October 30.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 3 2019 11:45 utc | 248

Walking towards tasting its own medicine?
Is the US walking towards a military junta...who is paving the way?

The Militarization of Everything

The expanding cultural authority of the armed forces is a problem for U.S. democracy, writes William J. Astore.

(...)After all, Lady Liberty used to welcome newcomers with a torch, not an AR-15. We don’t wall ourselves in while bombing others in distant parts of the world, right?

(...)Besides TV shows, movies, and commercials, there are many signs of the increasing embrace of militarized values and attitudes in this country. The result: the acceptance of a military in places where it shouldn’t be, one that’s over-celebrated, over-hyped, and given far too much money and cultural authority, while becoming virtually immune to serious criticism.

(...)What these nine items add up to is a paradigm shift as well as a change in the zeitgeist. The U.S. military is no longer a tool that a democracy funds and uses reluctantly. It’s become an alleged force for good, a virtuous entity, a band of brothers (and sisters), America’s foremost missionaries overseas and most lovable and admired heroes at home. This embrace of the military is precisely what I would call soft militarism. Jackbooted troops may not be marching in our streets, but they increasingly seem to be marching unopposed through — and occupying — our minds.

As Americans embrace the military, less violent policy options are downplayed or disregarded. Consider the State Department, America’s diplomatic corps, now a tiny, increasingly defunded branch of the Pentagon led by Mike Pompeo (celebrated by Trump as a tremendous leader because he did well at West Point). Consider Trump as well, who’s been labeled an isolationist, and his stunning inability to truly withdraw troops or end wars. In Syria, U.S. troops were recently redeployed, not withdrawn, not from the region anyway, even as more troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia. In Afghanistan, Trump sent a few thousand more troops in 2017, his own modest version of a mini-surge and they’re still there, even as peace negotiations with the Taliban have been abandoned. That decision, in turn, led to a new surge (a “near record high”) in U.S. bombing in that country in September, naturally in the name of advancing peace. The result: yet higher levels of civilian deaths.

(...)Don’t get me wrong: reviving the draft isn’t the solution; reviving democracy is. We need the active involvement of informed citizens, especially resistance to endless wars and budget-busting spending on American weapons of mass destruction. The true cost of our previously soft (now possibly hardening) militarism isn’t seen only in this country’s quickening march toward a militarized authoritarianism. It can also be measured in the dead and wounded from our wars, including the dead, wounded, and displaced in distant lands. It can be seen as well in the rise of increasingly well-armed, self-avowed nationalists domestically who promise solutions via walls and weapons and “good guys” with guns. (“Shoot them in the legs,” Trump is alleged to have said about immigrants crossing America’s southern border illegally.)

Democracy shouldn’t be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war, as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country’s enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism.

With apologies to the great Roberta Flack, America is killing itself softly with war songs.

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 3 2019 13:29 utc | 249

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 3 2019 13:29 utc | 249

Related, or, complementary...

No Time To Explain – Pentagon Needs Cash: DC Think Tank Ranks Russia Alongside Daesh as Key Threat

Moreover, although the North Atlantic Alliance is now spending over $1 trillion on defence, more than all of its potential adversaries combined, the think tank’s ‘report card’ on US military readiness gave the armed forces just barely a passing grade, and said that the military was desperately underequipped to fight a potential two front war.

The Heritage Foundation’s 2020 Index of US Military Strength, a 500+ page document on the US military and its key potential adversaries, lists Russia, China and Iran alongside Middle Eastern terrorism as “aggressive” threats to American interests around the globe.

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 3 2019 13:45 utc | 250

karlof1 @ 221

I can see the attraction of Corbyn - he's against the neocons and that's an unusual plus over here - but he's big state and a prog. Essentially the same as Johnson and the rest.

Some were looking for something a little less status quo out of Brexit. The theory was that once we got our democracy back we could use it to get politicians who represented us. Naive, of course, but hope springs eternal.

Posted by: English Outsider | Nov 3 2019 13:47 utc | 251

Sasha @ 250

" key potential adversaries, lists Russia, China and Iran alongside Middle Eastern terrorism as “aggressive” threats to American interests around the globe."

They are a threat to American "INTERESTS". They are no threat to most Americans however. EG; stealing Syria's oil. A very small number of Americans will benefit from that so the BS phrase "American Interests" really means the 1% of Americans' Interest.

Posted by: arby | Nov 3 2019 14:01 utc | 252

Lots of talk of Bernie and Tulsi going 3rd party. Apologies if this has already been posted, from a financial forum:

Title: Wanna Screw Bernie Again? Look Out

Opening lines:
"Want my bet on the Tulsi announcement that she's not seeking re-election?

A third party run on an established party ticket, perhaps the Greens, of Bernie/Tulsi.

That's one that probably wouldn't win but it would mortally damage the Democrats odds.

It would also be a stick in the eye of Hillary calling Tulsi (and Jill Stein) Russian assets.

And further, it would give Bernie Sanders vindication as well."

Well worth a read.

Posted by: Morongobill | Nov 3 2019 14:20 utc | 253

I hope I can get away with this on an open thread:
Dead Kennedys - Stars and Stripes of Corruption:

"Finally got to Washington in the middle of the night
I couldn't wait, I headed straight for the Capitol Mall
My heart began to pound, yahoo, it really exists
The American International Pictures logo

I looked up at that Capitol building, couldn't help but wonder why
I felt like saying "Hello, old friend"
Walked up the hill to touch it, then I unzipped my pants
And pissed on it when nobody was looking

Like a great eternal Klansman with his two flashing red eyes
Turn around, he's always watching
The Washington Monument pricks the sky
Flags for pubic hair ringed 'round the bottom

The symbols of our heritage lit up proudly in the night
Somehow fits to see the homeless people passed out on the lawn
So this is where it happens, the power games and the bribes
All lobbying for a piece of ass of the stars and stripes of corruption

Makes me feel so ashamed to be an American
When we're too stuck up to learn from our mistakes
Trying to start another Vietnam like fiddling while Rome burns at home
The boss says you're laid off, blame the Japanese

America's back, alright, at the game it plays the worst
Strip mining the world like a slave plantation
No wonder others hate us and the Hitlers we handpick
To bleed their people dry for our evil empire

The drug we're fed to make us like it is God and country with a bang
People we know who should know better
Howl "America rules, let's go to war!"
Business scams are what's worth dying for

But are the Soviets our worst enemy? We're destroying ourselves instead
Who cares about our civil rights as long as I get paid
The blind me-generation doesn't care if life's a lie
So easily used, so proud to enforce the stars and stripes of corruption

Let's bring it all down
Let's bring It all down
Let's bring it all down
Down, down, down, down, down

Tell me who's the real patriots, the Archie Bunker slobs waving flags
Or the people with the guts to work for some real change?
Rednecks and bombs don't make us strong, we loot the world, yet we can't even feed ourselves
Our real test of strength is caring, not the war toys we sell the world

Just carry on, thankful to be farmed like worms
Old glory for a blanket as you suck on your thumbs
Real freedom scares you cause it means responsibility
So you chicken out and threaten me

Saying, "Love it or leave it," I'll get beat up if I criticize it
You say you'll fight to the death to save your useless flag
If you want a banana republic that bad
Why don't you go move to one?

But what can just one of us do
Against all that money and power trying to crush us into roaches?
We won't destroy society in a day
Until we change ourselves first from the inside out

We can start by not lying so much
And treating other people like dirt
It's so easy not to base our lives on how much we can scam
And you know it feels good to lift that monkey off our back

I'm thankful I live in a place where I can say the things I do
Without being taken out and shot
So I'm on guard against the goons trying to take my rights away
We've got to rise above the need for cops and laws

Let kids learn communication instead of schools pushing competition
How about more art and theater instead of sports?
People will always do drugs, let's legalize them, crime drops when the mob can't price them
Budget's in the red, let's tax religion

No one will do it for us, we'll just have to fix ourselves
Honesty ain't all that hard
Just put Rambo back inside your pants
Causing trouble for the system is much more fun

Thank you for the toilet paper, but your flag is meaningless to me
Look around, we're all people, who needs countries anyway?
Our land, I love it too, I think I love it more than you
I care enough to fight the stars and stripes of corruption

Let's bring it all down
Let's bring it all down, let's bring it all down
If we don't try, if we just lie
If we can't find a way to do better than this, who will?"

That song, changed my world.

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Nov 3 2019 14:32 utc | 254

‏ @mark_melbin
Oct 26

A shortlist of Russian assets:


Posted by: arby | Nov 3 2019 14:32 utc | 255

Posted by: S | Nov 2 2019 2:34 utc | 176
(Jupiter update, YouTube)

Thanks. It wasn't off topic for me :-)
I'm wondering how much longer we'll have to wait for NASA to stop dancing around the increasingly obvious evidence (intense magnetic fields, 80%+ metallic Hydrogen composition, bands of chaotic atmosphere rotating at different velocities at different latitudes) that Jupiter & Saturn are non-viable/pygmy/ brown dwarf-ish stars?

"Popular" theory insists that the solar system 'accreted' from the debris remaining after a large star exploded. But no-one has been able to build a plausible 'accretion' computer model to explain the composition and graduated density distribution of the planets.
It's much more likely that the debris condensed to form the Sun which then ejected the stuff which formed the planets - all orbiting in the same direction, and plane, as each other and the direction of rotation of the Sun. Too many coincidences to be random happenstance.

I can't shake off the suspicion that cosmology is more about beating around the bush and obfuscation than about fact-finding - especially the more recent Dark Matter trope...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 3 2019 15:48 utc | 256

With Israeli embassies closed world wide and Israeli mass casualty exercises going on something seems to be brewing.

This need not worry you unless you need one for some reason. They are all on strike for more pay.

see: Israel's embassies around the world closed over pay dispute
Search domain

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 3 2019 20:18 utc | 257

My last post was intended for Xaderp | Oct 31 2019 15:36 utc | 5

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 3 2019 20:20 utc | 258

Likklemore 21

Sam Cooke - Don't Know Much About History Lyrics
Search domain

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 3 2019 20:42 utc | 259

karlof1 | Oct 31 2019 23:11 utc | 63

When I read speeches or articles by Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin or Bashir Assad I have the impression of a sober, rational, highly intelligent adult. What a contrast to the ravings of the US establishment figures!

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 3 2019 21:31 utc | 260

Jen | Nov 1 2019 0:06 utc | 68

I'd be curious to know how the sudden dehydration of funding to Israeli embassies and consulates might affect both major British political parties, and indeed political parties in most other Western countries.

I'd be curious to know what caused the sudden dehydration of funding to Israeli embassies and consulates. Anything to do with the US National Debt?

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 3 2019 21:40 utc | 261

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