See this movie. Best original, “dystopian near-future” flic made in last decade. Will probably make you feel really uncomfortable for 2 hours. I still have no idea what it was about or what the message was. But it was really good. I walked in by accident. They have some good ideas.
Parallels Between Israel and 1930s Germany
by Uri Avnery, May 21, 2016
I feel compelled to write about the general’s speech after all, because I was there.
As a child I was an eyewitness to the last years of the Weimar Republic (so called because its constitution was shaped in Weimar, the town of Goethe and Schiller). As a politically alert boy I witnessed the Nazi Machtergreifung (“taking power”) and the first half a year of Nazi rule.
I know what Golan was speaking about. Though we belong to two different generations, we share the same background. Both our families come from small towns in Western Germany. His father and I must have had a lot in common.
There is a strict moral commandment in Israel: nothing can be compared to the Holocaust. The Holocaust is unique. It happened to us, the Jews, because we are unique. (Religious Jews would add: “Because God has chosen us”.)
I have broken this commandment. Just before Golan was born, I published (in Hebrew) a book called “The Swastika”, in which I recounted my childhood memories and tried to draw conclusions from them. It was on the eve of the Eichmann trial, and I was shocked by the lack of knowledge about the Nazi era among young Israelis then.
My book did not deal with the Holocaust, which took place when I was already living in Palestine, but with a question which troubled me throughout the years, and even today: how could it happen that Germany, perhaps the most cultured nation on earth at the time, the homeland of Goethe, Beethoven and Kant, could democratically elect a raving psychopath like Adolf Hitler as its leader?
“You may have noticed that more and more we live in a society where anything goes and nothing matters. We got there through the incremental eradication of boundaries, especially in social categories and behaviors. Some people find this exhilarating and others find this disturbing. I happen to believe that the elimination of boundaries is not altogether a good thing. We would probably benefit, I think, from more and firmer boundaries than squishier and fewer of them.” -JHK
[actually black lives matter, right?…hashtag]
when they are too democratic.
-by Andrew Sullivan
And so, as I chitchatted over cocktails at a Washington office Christmas party in December, and saw, looming above our heads, the pulsating, angry televised face of Donald Trump on Fox News, I couldn’t help but feel a little nausea permeate my stomach. And as I watched frenzied Trump rallies on C-SPAN in the spring, and saw him lay waste to far more qualified political peers in the debates by simply calling them names, the nausea turned to dread. And when he seemed to condone physical violence as a response to political disagreement, alarm bells started to ring in my head. Plato had planted a gnawing worry in my mind a few decades ago about the intrinsic danger of late-democratic life. It was increasingly hard not to see in Plato’s vision a murky reflection of our own hyperdemocratic times and in Trump a demagogic, tyrannical character plucked directly out of one of the first books about politics ever written.
Spare me. 7000 words in New York Magazine. Sullivan is very confused about what he thinks about anything on any given day. Nausea turning to dread? Sounds like he might have a drug problem. This is just to showcase how much smarter Sullivan is than everybody else. I’ve only read about 3000 words. Interesting but pointless. You can arrange these ideas and words an infinite number of other plausible ways. He is wrong about why Obama won.
Politically, we lucked out at first. Obama would never have been nominated for the presidency, let alone elected, if he hadn’t harnessed the power of the web and the charisma of his media celebrity. But he was also, paradoxically, a very elite figure, a former state and U.S. senator, a product of Harvard Law School, and, as it turned out, blessed with a preternaturally rational and calm disposition. So he has masked, temporarily, the real risks in the system that his pioneering campaign revealed. Hence many Democrats’ frustration with him. Those who saw in his campaign the seeds of revolutionary change, who were drawn to him by their own messianic delusions, came to be bitterly disappointed by his governing moderation and pragmatism.
Messianic delusions? He made more sense than anybody else, was the only one who opposed the Iraq Invasion (Sullivan was for it), and was black. The black thing was the most important, because if he was white he wouldn’t really have anything that special going on. America had lost interest in Bush’s fuckup in Iraq by 2007 and Bush wasn’t running anyway. Even with the fuckup in Iraq Bush won in 2004 – remember? If Obama had been white, he would have been another nobody. Edwards or Clinton would have won the nomination. Sorry, that’s the deal. For Sullivan not to even mention this is where the real delusion lies.
The Party’s Over in Alaska
With oil revenue off, Alaska may be out of savings in two years.
Why Russia Resents Us
PAT BUCHANAN • MAY 2, 2016
Asked on his retirement as Army chief of staff what was the greatest strategic threat to the United States, Gen. Ray Odierno echoed Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, “I believe that Russia is.”
He mentioned threats to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine.
Yet, when Gen. Odierno entered the service, all four were part of the Soviet Union, and no Cold War president ever thought any was worth a war.
The independence of the Baltic States was one of the great peace dividends after the Cold War. But when did that become so vital a U.S. interest we would go to war with Russia to guarantee it?
The Hell on Earth Paved by Samantha Power’s Good Intentions
The Scourge of Africa and Her Savior Complex
by Dan Sanchez, April 26, 2016
The US Should Quit Coddling Badly-Behaving Saudi Arabia
by Ivan Eland, April 26, 2016
How Wartime Washington Lives in Luxury
Meet the new class profiting from the growth of the national-security state.
By KELLEY VLAHOS • April 25, 2016
In his latest book, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, Lofgren ponders this explosion of wealth, but goes well beyond the Beltway border into the exploding developments along the Dulles technology corridor, Tysons Corner, the newer “Mosaic District” supplanting a once desolate strip mall existence in Fairfax County, all the way out in the more rural, former Virginia Hunt country of Loudoun County. Here new “structures resemble the architecture of Loire Valley, Elizabethan England, or Renaissance Tuscany as imagined by Walt Disney, or Liberace.” He says even more than the strivers of Arlington, and the settled elite of the inner burbs, this metamorphosizing sprawl represents everything that is perverse about the last 15 years—the war machine, the big money politics, the hubris of the one-percent, and the brutality of losing, as professions that did not so easily escape the recession, left people unemployed, foreclosed, and priced out of an area they once called “home.”
Halfway through Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) as this appears:
The data analysis provided fresh evidence of suffering among white Americans. Recent research has highlighted the plight of less educated whites, showing surges in deaths from drug overdoses, suicides, liver disease and alcohol poisoning, particularly among those with a high school education or less. The new report did not break down suicide rates by education, but researchers who reviewed the analysis said the patterns in age and race were consistent with that recent research and painted a picture of desperation for many in American society.
“This is part of the larger emerging pattern of evidence of the links between poverty, hopelessness and health,” said Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard and the author of “Our Kids,” an investigation of new class divisions in America.
At the moment, there are a maximum of 3,870 U.S. military personnel (or 7,740 actual boots on the ground) in Iraq supporting the war against the Islamic State. That’s the “official cap” imposed by the Obama administration, because everyone knows that the president and his top officials are eager to end American wars in the Middle East, not expand them. Of course, that number doesn’t include the other 1,130 American military types (or 2,260 boots) — give or take we don’t know how many — who just happen to be there on what’s called… er, um… “temporary deployments,” or are the result of overlap from rotating deployments, but add up to perhaps 5,000 trainers and advisers, or maybe, for all we know, more, including 200 Special Operations forces whose numbers are officially acknowledged by no one but mentioned in press reports. And naturally that 5,000 figure doesn’t include the American private contractors also flowing into Iraq in growing numbers to support the U.S. military because everyone knows that they aren’t either troops or boots on the ground and so don’t get counted. Those are the rules.
Do keep in mind that this time around the whole American on-the-ground operation couldn’t be more limited. Though the numbers of U.S. trainers, advisers, and Special Ops types continue to creep up, they are, at least, helping the Iraqi military reconstitute itself on Iraqi bases. In other words, this round of Washington’s Iraq wars bears no relation to the last one (2003-2011), when the Pentagon had its private contractors build hundreds of U.S. bases, ranging in size from American towns to tiny combat outposts. This time, the U.S. military has no bases of its own, not a single one… er, um… at least it didn’t until recently when an American Marine, a specialist in firing field artillery, died in an Islamic State rocket attack on what turned out to be an all-American Marine outpost, Fire Base Bell, in the northern part of the country. The artillery operations he was involved in supporting the Iraqi army in its (stalled) drive on the country’s second largest city, Mosul, are not, however, “combat operations” because it’s well established that no American troops, Special Ops units possibly excepted, are in combat in that country (or Syria). In fact, U.S. officials point out that artillery doesn’t really count as combat. It’s more like U.S. air operations against the Islamic State except… er, um… it takes place on the ground.
The Maoist Social Justice Warrior students are enjoying the surprising power and thrills of coercion, especially as directed against their simpering professors and cringing college presidents anxious to sustain the illusion that something like learning takes place in the money laundering operations of higher ed.
Best War Movie of last decade since The Hurt Locker, best movie of 2016 so far:
Raises so many issues and questions. Beautiful thriller. Anti-war propaganda at its best that most people will never see. Unfortunate.
The Controversy About Stalin – a “basket” of Preliminary Considerations
THE SAKER • APRIL 11, 2016
Think of it this way: Stalin had inherited a Party which was full of rabid, treasonous and simply crazy elements and a party which was still full of Trotskyists (which makes sense, as more than anybody else Leon Trotsky should be “credited” with creating the Soviet military, winning the Civil War and crushing all internal opposition in a huge campaign of russophobic terror). Stalin turned this Party into a Party run by one man, himself, one which had purged itself from Trotskyists foreign agents and one which had the ideological flexibility to actually appeal to the Russian people to fight off and, eventually, defeat the Nazi invaders during WWII. I think that you don’t have to “like” Stalin to see that while his methods were, no doubt, ruthless, his results were rather impressive: not only did he win WWII, but in spite of the terrible cost in human lives and destruction he turned a bloodied and severely battered Soviet Union into a world power with a powerful economy, absolutely world-class scientific community and a remarkable high standard of living during the years of recovery.
Al Nusra armored assault from HD drone video – outstanding quality:
Ray Kurzweil apparently has no idea that he suffers from mental illness. I am trying to communicate this to him from the future using gravity like I learned in the movie ‘Interstellar.’
This is just gibberish. VDH refuses to mention America leading the way in “interventions” and invasions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria being responsible for Europe’s immigration issues.
The Art of National Suicide
by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON March 28, 2016
America can still avoid sharing Europe’s fate. But only if we take action.
It most certainly cannot ask of immigrants upon arrival that they either follow the laws of a society that originally made Europe attractive to them, or return home to live under a system that they apparently rejected. I omit for obvious reasons that few present-day Europeans believe that Christianity is much different from Islam, and apparently thus assume that terrorists might just as well be Christians.
Even worse is the European notion of medieval penance: Because one in the concrete present apparently wants little to do with a Moroccan second-generation ghetto dweller, he fabricates abstract leftist bromides to square the circle of hypocrisy and assuage his guilt — sort of like Hillary Clinton or Mark Zuckerberg calling for perennial open borders to justify their Wall Street–funded luxury and tony apartheid existence.
Hadi’s Propaganda and the War on Yemen
By DANIEL LARISON • March 29, 2016
The Ongoing Starvation of Yemen
By DANIEL LARISON • March 29, 2016
Russia’s Syrian Withdrawal – Why It Happened and Why Regime Change Remains Off the Agenda
Mar 17, 2016
Week Twenty-two of the Russian Military Intervention in Syria: Putin Announces a New Strategy
THE SAKER • MARCH 19, 2016
Betting on Gray Sludge: What Fun
FRED REED • MARCH 17, 2016
Here’s How You Know 2016 Is Already Decided
The most decisive phase of the election has passed; and it’s not looking good for the GOP.
By Doug Sosnik
March 22, 2016
“Economic trends continue to be largely positive, with 3.3 million jobs created in the past 12 months. In the past two years, we’ve seen the most job growth in the country since 1999. Unemployment has dropped to less than 5 percent—a rate that most economists would say indicates full employment. The demand for more labor has finally begun to increase incomes for American workers. While it’s not exactly Morning in America, it’s undeniable progress and helps make the case for keeping a Democrat in the White House.”
And three paragraphs later –
“He [Trump] has galvanized tens of thousands of supporters who have felt left behind by today’s economy, as well as tens of thousands of voters who find his political agenda anathema to American values. Trump has been underestimated by the media and his opponents since his announcement last June, despite leading in the national polls since last fall (as reported by Trump once or twice) and winning well over half of his party’s primaries.”
Meet the B-21, the newly unveiled Air Force bomber of the future
[The future is clearly mediocre, uninspiring, and over-rated]
Good but not Excellent
Could Russia Still Become an Ally of the West?
THE SAKER • MARCH 11, 2016
[This is one LONG paragraph]
Listening to Donald Trump speaking about his desire to turn Russia into an ally, I caught myself wondering if that was even still a possibility. After all, “the West” – and by that I mean every single western politician – has been lying to Russia ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. Not only has the West lied to Russia (for example on the promise to to expand NATO), but the West has also back-stabbed Russia and sided, fully, with the most vicious and evil enemies of Russia including the Wahabis in Chechnia or the Nazis in the Ukraine. The West assembled a huge air force to mercilessly and illegally bomb the Serbs, a historical ally of Russia and fellow Orthodox people, in Croatia, then in Bosnia, then in Kosovo and then even in Montenegro and Serbia proper. The West also illegally and brutally overthrew Gaddafi in direct violation of UNSC Resolutions and now, having laid waste to Libya (and Iraq!), the West is trying to repeat this performance with Syria. In the case of the Ukraine, the West stood by while the Ukronazis used every single weapon in their arsenal, including chemical weapons, ballistic missiles, heavy artillery, multiple rocket launchers, cluster munitions and bombers against the cities of the Donbass and then imposed sanctions, no, not on Kiev, but on Russia. And even when the Ukronazis burned over 100 civilians in Odessa, the West fully backed them again. Before the Olympic Games in Sochi, the West then unleashed its “homo lobby” and its “pussy rioters” to try to paint Russia as some kind of quasi-Saudi society while never even uttering a single word of criticism against what was really taking place in the real Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the “indispensable nation”. And when Turkey ambushed a Russian bomber which had given its full flight plan to the US and then shot it down, the West had no more to say about it then when the local al-Qaeda franchise in Egypt bombed a Russian airliner. In its latest manifestation of rabid russophobia, the West, lead by the US Secretary of State Kerry, is demanding the release by Russia of a rabid Nazi deathsquad member accused of murdering 2 Russian journalists, Nadezhda Savchenko. Most amazingly, Kerry is claiming that Russia is violating her obligations under the Minsk-2 Agreement by judging Savchenko even though Russia is not a party to this agreement which has nothing to say about Savchenko’s case anyway. We can be pretty sure that if the Devil himself decided to appear somewhere in the USA or Europe and declared that he wanted to fight Russia, the West would give Satan full support, money, training, recognition, etc.
Analysis of the Russian Military Pullout from Syria
THE SAKER • MARCH 14, 2016
The key issue here is what criteria to use to measure “success”. And that, in turns, begs the question of what the Russians had hoped to achieve with their intervention in the first place. It turns out that Putin clearly and officially spelled out what the purpose of the Russian intervention was. On October 11th, he declared the following in an interview with Vladimir Soloviev on the TV channel Russia 1:
Our objective is to stabilize the legitimate authority and create conditions for a political compromise
That’s it. He did not say that Russia would single-handedly change the course of the war, much less so win the war. And while some saw the Russian intervention as a total “game changer” which would mark the end of Daesh, I never believed that. Here is what I wrote exactly one day before Putin make the statement above:
Make no mistake here, the Russian force in Syria is a small one , at least for the time being, and it does not even remotely resemble what the rumors had predicted (…) There is no way that the very limited Russian intervention can really change the tide of the war, at least not by itself. Yes, I do insist that the Russian intervention is a very limited one. 12 SU-24M, 12 SU-25SM, 6 SU-34 and 4 SU-30SM are not a big force, not even backed by helicopters and cruise missiles. Yes, the Russian force has been very effective to relieve the pressure on the northwestern front and to allow for a Syrian Army counter-offensive, but that will not, by itself, end the war.
I was harshly criticized at that time for “minimizing” the scope and potential of the Russian operation, but I chose to ignore these criticisms since I knew that time would prove me right.
Putin and the Art of the Deal
What’s the Russian withdrawal from Syria all about?
by Justin Raimondo, March 16, 2016
It’s no wonder that Putin has expressed admiration for Donald Trump. The conventional wisdom is that the two are simpatico because they’re both tyrants, bad guys who would sooner waterboard you than look at you, but the reality is a bit more nuanced: like Trump, Putin seems to have mastered the art of the deal, and is ready to strike one rather than call out the troops. Oh, he may have to threaten to use military force, and even occasionally do so, but essentially he’s ready to sit down and bargain – because the alternative is a lose-lose situation.
This is just awesome. Make sure you let ISIS know. Because they are like right there.
March 8th, 2016
Super Tuesday (before the results are in)
Trump will get the Republican nomination. Barring an immediate recession that he can take advantage of or the FBI indicting Hillary Clinton for espionage – Clinton will be the next President of the United States based on our outdated winner-take-all electoral college system for the general election. We know in advance from polling and historical data that Hillary will win enough of the non-battleground states to make a Republican victory highly unlikely.
Your vote counts but it doesn’t change anything.
If you are part of the Hillary team, you can stay home, she will win regardless of what you do. If you like Trump, he doesn’t know you exist and he will get the nomination anyway. If you believe Bernie Sanders is our only hope for change, I feel your frustration, but your vote won’t change anything.
This isn’t being decided today. This was the case at least 3 weeks ago, possibly as early as last fall. Your vote won’t actually change any of this unless you band together with tens of thousands of others who are voting just like you in the sames states and switch your vote the same way. You still have a few hours to accomplish this.
Hillary Clinton is in for a tough four years, quite possibly battling an economic downturn, a situation in the Mid-east, a drug-epidemic and a health-care crisis that will all be partially-successfully blamed on the previous Democratic administration of which she was a part.
Both Cruz and Rubio are young enough to be in good position to challenge her in four years. They actually come out semi-winners in this travesty. Trump will have already lost to her once and be too old to challenge in four years. Sanders cannot challenge for eight years and will be way too old.
There has been a lot of talk about how the Republican Party has destroyed itself as evidenced by all the support for “outsiders” like Trump, Carson, Fiorina, and even Cruz. A bigger story might be the lackluster message and options of the Democratic Party.
Barack Obama was a genuinely decent leader for 8 years. No major crises on his watch. He made great progress stabilizing the disasters of the Bush years. We all lived. Gas prices came way down, We have electric cars now.
Not a lot of people seem to like Hillary Clinton. And Bernie Sanders as intelligent and like-able, as may be the case, is all the Democrats have to offer as an alternative for the job. There were a couple of other nobodies whose names I forget, but at least the Republicans put up, I think, 15 crazies at one point. Why is that?
The observation and the point, if there is one, is that we knew before the vast majority of the voting took place what the result would be. Is that a choice?
Even if we don’t assume Hillary Clinton will be the next President, are Clinton, Trump, Cruz, Rubio, and Sanders really the 5 best candidates America has to offer? I, personally, would rather see Obama for another 4 or 8 years.
Should any “events” that may or may not happen in the next 8 months before November really be allowed to change the result we have now? I guess this is the will of the people – Hillary Clinton with roughly 60% support of half the voters, which in turn are only one-third of eligible voters – so, like, 9% of Americans.
What Trumpism Means for Democracy
The republic has been decaying for decades, but it will not be saved by an unconstrained demagogue.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • March 1, 2016
Should Trump or a Trump mini-me ultimately succeed in capturing the presidency, a possibility that can no longer be dismissed out of hand, the effects will be even more profound. In all but name, the United States will cease to be a constitutional republic. Once President Trump inevitably declares that he alone expresses the popular will, Americans will find that they have traded the rule of law for a version of caudillismo. Trump’s Washington could come to resemble Buenos Aires in the days of Juan Perón, with Melania a suitably glamorous stand-in for Evita, and plebiscites suitably glamorous stand-ins for elections.
The Russian-American Agreement on Syria?
THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 24, 2016
I think that it is now fair to say that the Russian position on Syria has won. Here is why:
First: nobody is suggesting anymore that Assad will be ousted or Damascus taken. That, in turn, means that everybody has now recognized that Syrian Arab Republic, backed by Russia, has successfully repelled the aggression of the huge coalition the AngloZionists built to overthrow Assad.
Second: Russia has forced the UNSC and the USA to admit that the vast majority of those who fight Assad today are terrorists. Of course, this is not how this was declared, but if you look at the organizations which the UNSC has already declared as ‘terrorists’ then you already have an absolute majority of the anti-Assad forces. This means that the moral and legal legitimacy of the anti-Assad forces is lies in tatters.
Third: regardless of what Erdogan does actually try to do next, there are now clear signs that neither NATO, nor the EU nor even the Turkish high military command want a war with Russia. And that means that Erdogan’s gamble has not paid off and that his entire Syria policy is now comprehensively dead. Keep in mind that following the treacherous attack on the Russian Su-24 the Kremlin made it a policy goal to “Saakashvilize” Erdogan. This goal is now almost reached and Erdogan’s future looks very, very bleak: everybody ( except maybe the Saudis) is sick and tired of this maniac.
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