Cats

03.29.2017

Hobbies (John Gray)
His only admission of a hobby turns out to be the pursuit of an esoteric literary inquiry concerning novelist John Cowper Powys. Additionally he has revealled that he and his wife, Mieko, who is Japanese, have a great love of cats. They were once ruled by four, two Burmese and two Birman, of whom one of the latter ‘survives and thrives at the age of 18.’
-wikipedia

John Gray (wikipedia)

What cats can teach us about how to live
We should celebrate the solitary hunters among us.
5 FEBRUARY 2017

 

How Should We Then Live?
MARCH 08, 2017
John Michael Greer

Nietzsche’s philosophical writings are easy to misunderstand, and he very likely meant that to be the case. Where Schopenhauer proceeded step by step through a single idea in all its ramifications, showing that the insight at the core of his vision makes sense of the entire world of our experience, Nietzsche wrote in brief essays and aphorisms, detached from one another, dancing from theme to theme. He was less interested in convincing people than in making them think; each of the short passages that makes up his major philosophical works is meant to be read, pondered, and digested on its own. All in all, his books make excellent bathroom reading—and I suspect that Nietzsche himself would have been amused by that approach to his writings.

 

Personality, Or What A Man Is
Arthur Schopenhauer
The Wisdom of Life
Chapter II
(1851)

The most general survey shows us that the two foes of human happiness are pain and boredom. We may go further, and say that in the degree in which we are fortunate enough to get away from the one, we approach the other. Life presents, in fact, a more or less violent oscillation between the two. The reason of this is that each of these two poles stands in a double antagonism to the other, external or objective, and inner or subjective. Needy surroundings and poverty produce pain; while, if a man is more than well off, he is bored. Accordingly, while the lower classes are engaged in a ceaseless struggle with need, in other words, with pain, the upper carry on a constant and often desperate battle with boredom. The inner or subjective antagonism arises from the fact that, in the individual, susceptibility to pain varies inversely with susceptibility to boredom, because susceptibility is directly proportionate to mental power. Let me explain. A dull mind is, as a rule, associated with dull sensibilities, nerves which no stimulus can affect, a temperament, in short, which does not feel pain or anxiety very much, however great or terrible it may be. Now, intellectual dullness is at the bottom of that vacuity of soul which is stamped on so many faces, a state of mind which betrays itself by a constant and lively attention to all the trivial circumstances in the external world. This is the true source of boredoma continual panting after excitement, in order to have a pretext for giving the mind and spirits something to occupy them. The kind of things people choose for this purpose shows that they are not very particular, as witness the miserable pastimes they have recourse to, and their ideas of social pleasure and conversation: or again, the number of people who gossip on the doorstep or gape out of the window. It is mainly because of this inner vacuity of soul that people go in quest of society, diversion, amusement, luxury of every sort, which lead many to extravagance and misery. Nothing is so good a protection against such misery as inward wealth, the wealth of the mind, because the greater it grows, the less room it leaves for boredom. The inexhaustible activity of thought! Finding ever new material to work upon in the multifarious phenomena of self and nature, and able and ready to form new combinations of them,—there you have something that invigorates the mind, and apart from moments of relaxation, sets it far above the reach of boredom.

 

 

BREAD AND CIRCUSES
The Two Daves
Dave Chappelle is more conflicted than ever
Niela Orr
March 24, 2017

 

Best 1000-word history of Vietnam War ever written:
The Unwinnable Vietnam War
March 26, 2017

Stupid Fuck

03.28.2017

 

The Russia You’ll Never See On Postcards Through The Lens Of Photographer Alexander Petrosyan

 

China’s Great Leap Forward: Western Frogs Croak Dismay
JAMES PETRAS • MARCH 23, 2017 • 1,600 WORDS

-Chinese workers are closing the gap with the US minimum wage. At the current rate of growth, the gap, which had narrowed from one tenth to one half the US wage in ten years, will disappear in the near future.

-Faced with growing US political and military hostility, China has diversified its export market, turning from the US to Russia, the EU, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

-The Chinese government is alone among nations in keeping up with and even exceeding its growing transportation needs – spending $800 billion a year on high speed railroads, rail lines, sea- ports, airports subways and bridges.

-Unlike China, the US is wallowing at less than 2% annual growth. Wages stagnate for decades; real wages and living standards decline. The costs of education and health care skyrocket, while the quality of these vital services decline dramatically. Costs are growing, un-employment is growing and worker suicide and mortality is growing.

 

[Dean Baker predicted the crash of the United States housing bubble, which occurred in 2007–08. He warned about the coming crisis and the related government policies in several media interviews from 2002 to 2005. Basing his outlook on house-price data-sets produced by the US government, Baker asserted that there was a bubble in the US housing market in August 2002,[10] well before its peak, and predicted that the collapse of this bubble would lead to recession. His prediction for when this recession would hit was out by only one quarter.

Regarding the housing bubble, Baker has been critical of chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan.

He has been critical of the regulatory framework of the real estate and financial industries, the use of financial instruments like collateralized debt obligation, and the performance and conflict of interest of US politicians and regulators.

Baker opposed the US government bailout of Wall Street banks on the basis that the only people who stood to lose from their collapse were their shareholders and high-income CEOs. Regarding any hypothetical, negative effects of not extending the bailout, he explained, “We know how to keep the financial system operating even as banks go into bankruptcy and receivership,”citing US government action taken during the S&L crisis of the 1980s. He has ridiculed the US elite for favoring it, asking, “How do you make a DC intellectual look less articulate than Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric? That’s easy. You ask them how failure to pass the bailout will give us a Great Depression.”
-Wikipedia]

The Wrongest Profession
How economists have botched the promise of widely distributed prosperity—and why they have no intention of stopping now
by Dean Baker

Over the past two decades, the economics profession has compiled an impressive track record of getting almost all the big calls wrong.

[…]

If China is removed from the sample, the performance of the rest of the developing world since 1988 looks rather mediocre. While the pain of working people in wealthy countries is acute, they are not alone. Outside of China, people in the developing world have little to show for the economic growth of the last three and a half decades. As for China itself, the gains of its huge population are real, but the country certainly did not follow Washington’s model of deficit-slashing, bubble-driven policies for developing countries.

In this economic climate, it’s not surprising that a racist, xenophobic, misogynist demagogue like Donald Trump could succeed in politics, as right-wing populists have throughout the wealthy world. While his platform may be incoherent, Trump at least promised the return of good-paying jobs. Insofar as Clinton and other Democrats offered an agenda for economic progress for American workers, hardly anyone heard it. And to those who did, it sounded like more of the same.

[…]

Here’s one handy way to break down the real-world costs of deficit hawkery. The cries for fiscal prudence that come from folks like Timothy Geithner and Paul Ryan, which are echoed in the media by the Washington Post and other major outlets, are costing us almost $2 trillion a year in annual output. This amount comes to more than $6,000 per person per year or $24,000 for an average family of four. These deficit hawks are ensuring that our children and grandchildren will live in poverty.

Yes, I’m inverting the traditional alarms raised by deficit hawks about the calamities of intergenerational indebtedness and throwing them in their faces, precisely so we can catalog the ways in which they’ve been spreading nonsense to push bad economic policies for decades. These bad policies have steep and lasting costs, especially following the collapse of the housing bubble and the Great Recession. The constant fear-mongering of the deficit hawks prevented the government from spending the money required to push the economy back to full employment. There was nothing to replace the construction and consumption spending that had been driven by the bubble.

 

Columnists
FRED REED • MARCH 23, 2017 • 1,100 WORDS

 

 

How Should We Then Live?

The philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, which we’ve been discussing for several weeks now, isn’t usually approached from the angle by which I’ve been approaching it—that is, as a way to talk about the gap between what we think we know about the world and what we actually know about it. The aspect of his work that usually gets all the publicity is the ethical dimension.

[…]

To a very great extent, if I may insert a personal reflection here, this realization has been at the heart of this blog’s project since its beginning. The peak oil crisis that called The Archdruid Report into being came about because human beings have as yet no clear idea how to get along with the biosphere that supports all our lives; the broader theme that became the core of my essays here over the years, the decline and fall of industrial civilization, shows with painful clarity that human beings have as yet no clear idea how to deal with the normal and healthy cycles of historical change; the impending fall of the United States’ global empire demonstrates the same point on a more immediate and, to my American readers, more personal scale. Chase down any of the varied ramblings this blog has engaged in over the years, and you’ll find that most if not all of them have the same recognition at their heart: we don’t yet know how to live, and maybe we should get to work figuring that out.

 

A REPORTER AT LARGE
MARCH 27, 2017 ISSUE
THE RECLUSIVE HEDGE-FUND TYCOON BEHIND THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency.
By Jane Mayer

Magerman told me, “Bob believes that human beings have no inherent value other than how much money they make. A cat has value, he’s said, because it provides pleasure to humans. But if someone is on welfare they have negative value. If he earns a thousand times more than a schoolteacher, then he’s a thousand times more valuable.” Magerman added, “He thinks society is upside down—that government helps the weak people get strong, and makes the strong people weak by taking their money away, through taxes.” He said that this mind-set was typical of “instant billionaires” in finance, who “have no stake in society,” unlike the industrialists of the past, who “built real things.”

Schopenhauer

03.24.2017

Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion

****

 

The advice here given is on a par with a rule recommended by Pythagoras,—to review, every night before going to sleep, what we have done during the day. To live at random, in the hurly-burly of business or pleasure, without ever reflecting upon the past,—to go on, as it were, pulling cotton off the reel of life,—is to have no clear idea of what we are about; and a man who lives in this state will have chaos in his emotions and certain confusion in his thoughts; as is soon manifest by the abrupt and fragmentary character of his conversation, which becomes a kind of mincemeat. A man will be all the more exposed to this fate in proportion as he lives a restless life in the world, amid a crowd of various impressions and with a correspondingly small amount of activity on the part of his own mind.

And in this connection it will be in place to observe that, when events and circumstances which have influenced us pass away in the course of time, we are unable to bring back and renew the particular mood or state of feeling which they aroused in us: but we can remember what we were led to say and do in regard to them; and thus form, as it were, the result, expression and measure of those events. We should, therefore, be careful to preserve the memory of our thoughts at important points in our life; and herein lies the great advantage of keeping a journal.

-Arthur Schopenauer
Counsels and Maxims (1851)

Schopenhauer – Counsels and Maxims
http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10715/pg10715-images.html

* * *

March 23, 2017
THE UNITED STATES OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

My new vagina almost ruined my partner’s penis

The Big Lie About the Libyan War
The Obama administration said it was just trying to protect civilians. Its actions reveal it was looking for regime change.

“I can’t recall any specific decision that said, ‘Well, let’s just take him out,’” Mr. Gates said. Publicly, he said, “the fiction was maintained” that the goal was limited to disabling Colonel Qaddafi’s command and control. In fact, the former defense secretary said, “I don’t think there was a day that passed that people didn’t hope he would be in one of those command and control centers.”

This is scarcely believable. Given that decapitation strikes against Qaddafi were employed early and often, there almost certainly was a decision by the civilian heads of government of the NATO coalition to “take him out” from the very beginning of the intervention.

Trump Is Obama’s Legacy. Will This Break Up the Democratic Party?
MICHAEL HUDSON • MARCH 22, 2017 • 3,900 WORDS

Fighting Outrage Porn Addiction
By NOAH MILLMAN • September 2, 2015

Big Steel Is the New Solyndra
There is nothing subtle about the Trump administration’s pro-steel bent.
By KRISTOFER L. HARRISON • March 23, 2017

 

The Multibillion-Dollar U.S. Spy Agency You Haven’t Heard of

In 2016, unbeknownst to many city officials, police in Baltimore began conducting persistent aerial surveillance using a system developed for military use in Iraq. Few civilians have any idea how advanced these military eye-in-the-sky drones have become.Few civilians have any idea how advanced these military eye-in-the-sky drones have become. Among them is ARGUS-IS, the world’s highest-resolution camera with 1.8 billion pixels. Invisible from the ground at nearly four miles in the air, it uses a technology known as “persistent stare” — the equivalent of 100 Predator drones peering down at a medium-size city at once — to track everything that moves.

Hindsight is never 20/20.

http://nextdraft.com/archives/n20150209/hindsight-is-never-2020/

http://nonsenseatwork.com/472-hindsight-is-never-2020/

Micropotus

03.21.2017

Prepare, Pursue, Prevail!
Onward and Upward with U.S. Central Command
By Andrew J. Bacevich

By way of explaining his eight failed marriages, the American bandleader Artie Shaw once remarked, “I am an incurable optimist.” In reality, Artie was an incurable narcissist. Utterly devoid of self-awareness, he never looked back, only forward.

[…]

Ludendorff Would Have Approved

“Punch a hole and let the rest follow.”

During the First World War, that aphorism, attributed to General Erich Ludendorff, captured the essence of the German army’s understanding of strategy, rooted in the conviction that violence perpetrated on a sufficient scale over a sufficient period of time will ultimately render a politically purposeless war purposeful. The formula didn’t work for Germany in Ludendorff’s day and yielded even more disastrous results when Hitler revived it two decades later.

Neocons as a Figment of Imagination
Criticizing their thuggery is anti-Semitism?
PHILIP GIRALDI • MARCH 21, 2017 • 2,100 WORDS

The third reason, linked to number two, is that having a plausible and dangerous enemy like Russia on tap keeps the cash flowing from defense industries to the foundations and think tanks that the neocons nest in when they are not running the Pentagon and National Security Council. Follow the money. So it is all about self-interest combined with tribal memory: money, status and a visceral hatred of Russia.

Israel Continues to Attack Syria, Warns Syria Against Resisting Planes
Israeli DM Threatens to Destroy Syria’s Air Defense System
by Jason Ditz, March 19, 2017

Russia summoned Israel’s Ambassador on Friday to seek an explanation, which is similarly unprecedented during the war, as Israel has previously been said to keep Russia appraised of its operations along the border, aiming to prevent the deployment of Russia’s air defense against them.

Fat Leonard and the Decline of Military Values
The officer corps was once assumed to be above larger cultural rot. No more.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • March 20, 2017

We confront evidence of an officer corps that has lost its moral bearings, abandoning the “military standard” for something quite different. To assume that the rot is confined exclusively to one particular service would be a grave mistake.

Stronger Economic Growth? Over My Dead Body, Says Janet Yellen
MIKE WHITNEY • MARCH 10, 2017 • 1,200 WORDS

As de facto representative of the ruling Bank cabal, the Fed would rather prick the massive asset-price bubble it has created and risk sending the financial system into a headlong plunge off a cliff, than allow perennially-strapped workers to garner even a farthing more for their daily drudgery. Class hatred remains the animating force that fuels all Central Bank policy decisions.

 

Full Speed Ahead for Murphy’s Law

With industry expiring, or moving elsewhere (also temporarily), we inflated finance to nearly 40 percent of the economy. The new financialization was, in effect, setting a matrix of rackets in motion. What had worked as capital management before was allowed to mutate into various forms of swindling and fraud — such as the bundling of dishonestly acquired mortgages into giant bonds and then selling them to pension funds desperate for “yield,” or the orgy of merger and acquisition in health care that turned hospitals into cash registers, or the revenue streams on derivative “plays” that amounted to bets with no possibility of ever being paid off, or the three-card-monte games of interest rate arbitrage played by central banks and their “primary dealer” concubines.

The Kagans Are Back; Wars to Follow
March 15, 2017

There’s been a lot of handwringing in Official Washington and across the Mainstream Media about the “post-truth” era, but these supposed avatars for truth are as guilty as anyone, acting as if constantly repeating a fact-free claim is the same as proving it.

But it’s clear what Kagan and other neocons have in mind, an escalation of hostilities with Russia and a substantial increase in spending on U.S. military hardware and on Western propaganda to “counter” what is deemed “Russian propaganda.”

Born To Hula

03.16.17

 

Janet Yellen just made an unsettling admission about the economy

“The data have not notably strengthened,” the Fed chair said during her Wednesday press conference after the central bank raised interest rates for just the third time since the financial crisis.

This hike was one of the least surprising to markets, with traders pricing in a full 100% chance that it would take place. The Fed chair just killed that kind of confidence for any move going forward.

Yellen was talking about the lack of economic progress since the Fed’s most recent meeting, in January. She went further, though, saying the Fed didn’t see any evidence that the optimism of a record-breaking stock market had made its way into spending by companies or people.

 

What Is the CIA Hack All About?
The danger lies in what might be coming next
PHILIP GIRALDI • MARCH 14, 2017 • 1,400 WORDS

And they are indeed everywhere. Ron Paul has described a woman’s test on the Amazon marketed interactive voice controlled device called Alexa, asking it if it were reporting to the CIA. Alexa, which allegedly cannot tell a lie, refused to answer.

According to Wikipedia, “Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon Lab126, made popular by the Amazon Echo. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, and other real time information.” One reviewer observed “In a good but scary feature, Amazon Echo can learn a person’s habits over time. It will get used to the way a person talks, his/her habits and routines and will save all the data in the cloud.”

The Never-Ending War in Afghanistan

For this, over the past 15 years, nearly 2,400 American soldiers have died, and 20,000 more have been wounded.

What are we to make of the chasm between effort expended and results achieved? Why on those increasingly infrequent occasions when Afghanistan attracts notice do half-truths and pettifoggery prevail, rather than hard-nosed assessments? Why has Washington ceased to care about the Afghan war?

The answer, it seems to me, is this: As with budget deficits or cost overruns on weapons purchases, members of the national security apparatus — elected and appointed officials, senior military officers and other policy insiders — accept war as a normal condition.

The U.S. Against Iran – A War of Apples vs. Oranges
THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 7, 2017 • 3,700 WORDS

5) Use the traditional American sense of superiority and condescension for “sand niggers”or “hajis” and don’t bother trying to intimidate them. Instead, try to use that racist mindset to make them commit crucial strategic mistakes as Iran did when it used fake Iraqi “defectors” who spread disinformation about non-existing Iraqi WMDs to convince the US Neocons to lobby for an attack on Iraq to protect Israel. I find the notion of using US Neocons to make the US get rid of Saddam Hussein and basically hand over Iraq to Iran nothing short of pure genius. This is, of course, why it is never mentioned in western sources :-)

6) Force the Americans to present you more targets: the more US forces are deployed near Iran, the more targets they offer for Iranian counter-attacks and the more they get politically bogged-down (as shown by the recent Iraqi threat to revoke visas for US servicemen in Iraq in response to Trump temporary visa-ban; the threat is empty, but clearly nobody in the White House or Foggy Bottom ever considered such an option). Basically, being everywhere CENTCOM forces are hated everywhere.

 

Trump, JFK, and the Deep State
JACK RAVENWOOD • MARCH 14, 2017 • 3,800 WORDS

The first book to accuse the entire Deep State of the crime (although that term did not yet exist) was a curious book called Farewell America. It was written pseudonymously under the name James Hepburn, and published in Europe in 1968 by a fake publishing company calling itself “Frontiers.” It alleged that the assassination had been orchestrated by a “committee” made up of interests from big oil, the intelligence agencies, and the defense department. (It even insinuated that Roy Cohn, who worked for right-wing senator Joseph McCarthy and who later became a mentor to Donald Trump, might have had a hand in it somehow.)

Supporters of Farewell America claim that the book has its origins in a private investigation conducted on behalf of Robert and Jacqueline Kennedy by RFK confidantes and by sources in French intelligence.

***

Soundtrack to the Apocalypse

 

“What if we just smoke the fucker?”

03.13.2017

Behind the Quiet State-by-State Fight Over Electric Vehicles

“What if we just smoke the fucker?”

And ever since that fact was starkly revealed by former NSA chief James Clapper on NBC’s Meet the Press, the Russia hallucination has vanished from page one of the party’s media outlets — though, in an interesting last gasp of striving correctitude, Monday’s New York Times features a front page story detailing Georgetown University’s hateful traffic in the slave trade two centuries ago.

 

Wow. Just, wow:

No Campus (Or Country) for White Men
EDMUND CONNELLY • MARCH 10, 2017 • 2,700 WORDS

Honestly, it is child’s play to show how Jews have essentially taken over higher education in America, transforming it into something akin to a “Jewish extended phenotype,” with Jews themselves doing much of the heavy lifting, but getting plenty of help from their recruited lackeys such as blacks and other non-whites, women, and disparate aggrieved groups that are now popping up like toadstools after a summer’s rain.

 

Reza Aslan, Cannibal For CNN

Aslan, 44, plugged his experience with the Aghori, a small Hindu sect known for its extreme rituals, on Facebook on Sunday night before the show aired.

“Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal,” Aslan wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “It was burnt to a crisp! #Believer.”

In Search of the Super Race
The Six-Percent Solution
FRED REED • MARCH 9, 2017 • 1,700 WORDS

Charles Murray’s Ideology
ANATOLY KARLIN • MARCH 4, 2017 • 900 WORDS

Vault 7

03.18.2017

A Bad Week and Getting Badder Bigly Fast

Well, of course they bugged Trump Tower. Why wouldn’t they? Trump’s big blunder du jour is that he tweeted “wiretapped,” like some hapless sap out of a 1950s I Was a Spy for the FBI movie. (I know people who still say “ice box,” too.) So he left himself — or rather poor Sean Spicer — open for a week of legalistic pettifogging by reporters acting as litigators for the Deep State’s intel corps.

Anyway, Wikileaks “Vault 7” document release earlier in the month made it clear that US intel has the ability to cover and confuse the tracks of any entity —including especially US intel itself — that ventures to penetrate any supposedly private or secure realm. And, by the way, that probably settles the matter of who “they” are. Whatever statutory restraints once existed against CIA spying on American citizens is long gone by the boards.

 

Fox’s Andrew Napolitano Stirred the Pot for Trump’s British Tempest

 

Do We Live in a Police State?
The latest WikiLeaks revelations tell us the answer is yes

by Justin Raimondo, March 10, 2017

WikiLeaks and Julian Assange would have gone down in history as the greatest enemies of government oppression of all kinds in any case, but their latest release – a comprehensive exposé of the US intelligence community’s cyberwar tools and techniques – is truly the capstone of their career. And given that this release – dubbed “Vault 7” – amounts to just one percent of the documents they intend to publish, one can only look forward to the coming days with a mixture of joyful anticipation and ominous fear.

Fear because the power of the Deep State is even more forbidding – and seemingly invincible – than anyone knew. Joyful anticipation because, for the first time, it is dawning on the most unlikely people that we are, for all intents and purposes, living in a police state.

 

The Bag Holder and His Bag
by Jim Kunstler, March 10, 2017

I think many professional observers-of-the-scene are missing something in this unspooling story: the Deep State is actually becoming more impotent and ineffectual, not omnipotent. Case in point: RussiaGate — come on, let’s finally call it that — the popular idea that Russia hacked the 2016 presidential election. It’s popular because it’s such a convenient excuse for the failure of a corrupt, exhausted, and brain-dead Democratic establishment. But all the exertions of the Deep State to put over this story since last summer were negated this week by two events.

 

US Marines Deploy to Raqqa, Artillery in Tow
Intend to Offer Artillery Support for Kurdish Invasion
by Jason Ditz, March 08, 2017

Details are still scant. Officials refused to confirm the size of the unit or other details, beyond them having a number of M777 howitzers, and a support unit of infantry Marines along with them, marking the first time US artillery has been deployed into Syria.

 

Obama’s Book Deal: The $60 Million Selfie
MATTHEW STEVENSON • MARCH 3, 2017 • 3,500 WORDS

The first book earned for Obama more than $10 million in royalties and established his political identity, as did The Audacity of Hope. If later, it turned that ghostwriters had a hand in turning out one or both books, would we not feel about Obama as we do about cyclist Lance Armstrong—that he had used some of “mother’s little helpers” to get to the finish line?

Lance cheated because “everyone did it” and because seven-time winners of the Tour de France earned $100 million and rode private planes to beachside manors, while less successful domestiques (support riders) ate bananas for lunch and worked during the off-season as a wrench in a bike shop.

Would Lincoln be Lincoln if it later turned out that he had spent his early years living in a split-level suburban ranch house, playing video games after school?

Would Obama be kite-surfing off Richard Branson’s private island if his first book had sounded like a downloaded term paper?

 

Why go near the book when you can just read a thousand words by Andrew Bacevich?

Debunking America’s “Good” Occupation
The Good Occupation: American Soldiers and the Hazards of Peace, Susan L. Carruthers, Harvard University Press, 384 pages
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • March 9, 2017

Marring this otherwise very fine book, however, are large numbers of careless errors. So, for example, Carruthers describes the Chicago Daily Tribune as part of the Hearst chain, which would come as news to the ghost of Col. Robert McCormick. She refers to George Marshall as secretary of war, a civilian post; during World War II, General Marshall served as army chief of staff. “Until 1945,” she writes, “officers were not permitted to vote.” That is simply not true. She identifies Woodrow Wilson as “an alumnus of the University of Virginia.” Wilson had diplomas from Princeton and Johns Hopkins, but none from UVA. She characterizes Eisenhower’s controversial agreement with French Admiral Jean Darlan, a representative of the puppet Vichy regime, as “Washington’s first retreat from ‘unconditional surrender.’” But the so-called Darlan Deal dates from November 1942; President Roosevelt did not announce the policy of unconditional surrender until the Casablanca Conference of January 1943. The USS Missouri, site of the final Japanese surrender, does not have “massive twin sixteen-inch guns.” Mighty Mo’s main battery consists of three cannons in each turret. The Marine Corps does not have “cadets.” Why the family and friends of a GI convicted of murdering two Japanese civilians would have “joined forces with the Foreign Legion to mobilize support” is, to put it mildly, unclear. Is Carruthers referring to the American Legion? Finally, and perhaps more egregiously, among American military decorations there is no such thing as a “Purple Cross.”

 

Spygate

03.08.2017

https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/

Spygate: America’s Political Police vs. Donald J. Trump
Deep State’s dirty tricks revealed
by Justin Raimondo, March 08, 2017

The Left’s great Russian conspiracy theory

The Bloated Military
Donald Trump promises massive military spending increases, but he used to say military cuts didn’t go far enough.
John Stossel | March 1, 2017

America’s going broke. But the president will not touch entitlements, the biggest threat to our solvency. The $608 billion military is the next biggest.

Trump was right when he said he wanted cuts, not increases. He was right to point out that just five NATO countries meet the minimum spending they promised—two percent of GDP. Germany spends just 1.19 percent.

The American suburbs as we know them are dying

Experts told Business Insider’s Madeline Stone that the youngest generations of homebuyers tend to value efficiency more than ever before and feel that McMansions are impractical and wasteful.

IEA Doubles Forecast for New OPEC Oil by 2022 as Iraq Ramps Up

Uber’s ‘hustle-oriented’ culture becomes a black mark on employees’ resumes

“The correct answer (and what they did) was: develop an incomplete solution and beat the competitor to market,” David said. This was in keeping with one of the company’s 14 core values: “always be hustlin.'” Those who proposed taking more time to come up with a product rather than rushing to beat the competition to market were told, “that’s not the ‘Uber way.'”

A Public-Health Crisis That We Can Fix
Modern society is impossible to imagine without the automobile, yet it’s also one of the biggest destroyers of life.

10 Replicants in Search of Fame
JAMES THOMPSON • MARCH 5, 2017 • 2,700 WORDS

Guantanamo’s Last 100 Days
The Story That Never Was
KAREN GREENBERG • MARCH 2, 2017 • 2,500 WORDS

 

Israel Is a Problem

Cheerleading for Israel
Everyone’s doing it
PHILIP GIRALDI • MARCH 7, 2017 • 1,800 WORDS

I for one am tired of the perpetual whining of Alan Dershowitz and international professional Jews like Bernard-Henri Levy, who is frequently in the U.S. doing richly rewarded speaking tours on the so-called “Synagogue circuit.” And someone should wake U.N Ambassador Nikki Haley up to the fact that her job is to take care of the American people, not Israel. Quite frankly, if these folks are so much in love with Israel they should go live there and leave the rest of us as well as the U.S. Treasury alone.

If we are heading into yet another round of Israel-centric foreign policy we will be inevitably involved in new wars, starting with Iran which has always been Netanyahu’s enemy of choice. And then there is Syria, where the Israelis would prefer a continuation of chaos, presumably carried out by Washington which can pay the bills and take the casualties. As Bernard-Henri Levy has made clear and the Talmud asserts, Jewish lives are more important than those of gentiles, so it is fit and proper that Americans should fight and die to make sure that Israel might prosper.

Into the Syrian Quagmire
Trump meets complexity
by Justin Raimondo, March 06, 2017

As I’ve warned previously on several occasions, the unleashing of Kurdish nationalism by one or another foreign sponsor – in this case, the US – is bad news for the entire region. For Kurdish nationalism is a virulent phenomenon: ambitious, aggressive, and not likely to be appeased by grants of autonomy. And that ambition knows few geographical limits: Kurdish claims extend as far north as Armenia, as far east as Iran, and well into Turkey. And the Kurdish “autonomous region” in Iraq is straining at the bit to break loose from the Iraqi central government, seize control of the plentiful oil around Kirkuk, and declare independence. Who will prevent them from hooking up with the Syrian YPG and forming a unitary state that extends from the Turkish border to the suburbs of Baghdad?

If the Trump administration persists in its course, it is headed for a disaster of such proportions that will make the “ISIS crisis” look like a Sunday school picnic. Despite Trump’s campaign rhetoric, they will have failed to learn the chief lesson of the past: that US intervention leads to unintended consequences. The great tragedy of all this that there is an alternative, albeit one that is being blocked by the anti-Russian hysteria the President has to contend with on the home front.

Human Error

03.06.2017

The reason for all this hostility towards Russia and China is simple. The War Industry has no immediate prospects other than bunches of disgruntled peasants here and there. War between the Great Powers makes no sense. Gearing up for it is pointless and absurd. This has been obvious for quite some time to anybody paying even a little attention. But gearing up for it is really the only place left for any growth and profit in the War Industry.

Do your part and keep your friends distracted with football, celebrity news, transgender rights, and Trump-hating. Where’s the peaceful protest this weekend?

And the Oscar for Errors Goes to….
JAMES THOMPSON • FEBRUARY 28, 2017 • 900 WORDS

My guide to errors is James Reason “Human Error” 1991.

https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Human_Error.html?id=WJL8NZc8lZ8C

The fascination for researchers is that each step in an intentional sequence has several consequences, not all of which are easy to predict. As a general rule, failure to predict is an indicator of low ability, but that must be considered in terms of the complexity of the operations being undertaken. One systematic problem is the inability to imagine improbable scenarios until they happen. Incomplete fault trees are legion, and often undetectable on close inspection. If you present a fault tree with sections missing, even skilled operators rarely notice the omissions. In theory, safety systems should catch these errors. James Reason describes each set of safety systems as slices of Emmental cheese intended to stop errors having fatal consequences, until by chance all of the holes in the cheese line up. Bhopal had three systems, none of which operated properly. His analysis of the Chernobyl explosion is fascinating, particularly piquant because it was caused by a badly planned test of a safety system.

Why Is the Alt-Right So Threatening?
ROBERT WEISSBERG • MARCH 2, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

Now for the awkward question: why are millions of white Americans, including nearly all political poobahs, pundits and the mass media talking heads, so averse to Alt-Right white nationalism when they themselves prefer small scale white ethno states?

McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy
MIKE WHITNEY • FEBRUARY 24, 2017 • 1,800 WORDS

The appointment of McMaster is an attempt by Trump to placate his enemies in the Intel agencies and foreign policy establishment. Trump is signaling to his adversaries that he will cooperate in carrying out their strategic agenda provided they allow him to finish his term.

A Budget Without Russians
The Empire’s Nightmare
FRED REED • FEBRUARY 23, 2017 • 1,400 WORDS

A recent move was to send naval forces to the Black Sea, which is not America’s concern. What, precisely, are those ships supposed to do? Steam fiercely in circles, bowwow-grrr-woof? Do they have a purpose other than domestic American consumption? Are they to attack something, defend something in danger of attack, forbid the Russians to do–what?

Russia is not going to invade Europe, and Washington knows it perfectly well, so why put tiny combat forces on its frontiers? If there is going to be a deliberate war, Washington is going to have to start it. Attacking Russia with minor forces, or at all, is probably an idea nuttier than even Washington can invent. One hopes that Europe would not allow Americans to do what they usually does, get others to fight its wars in other people’s countries.

We Shouldn’t Feel Too Optimistic if Isis Are Defeated in Mosul
PATRICK COCKBURN • MARCH 3, 2017 • 1,200 WORDS

The last road out of the city to the west was cut by Iraqi government forces on 1 March and they have also captured one of the half-ruined bridges over the Tigris River that bisects Mosul, which they are planning to repair using US-supplied pontoons. Iraqi military units backed by some 50 US airstrikes a day are getting close to the complex of buildings that used to house the government headquarters in the centre of the city.

Iraqi officials and officers announce only advances and victories, reports that often turn out to be premature or untrue. But there is no doubt that the Iraqi security services are winning the struggle for Mosul, though fighting could go on for a long time amid the close-packed buildings and narrow, twisting alleyways.

Male teacher is drugged, kidnapped and raped by four female ‘sperm bandits’ in Zimbabwe

Two sisters, one house, and a mystery

I think Jim has a fever this week or something. This is just crazy talk:
Great Expectations (Not)

So, enjoy the last few weeks of artificial Russia hysteria and LBGTQ bathroom neurosis. You’ll have other things to think about as the daffodils come peeping through the garden loam — like what to use for money to buy stuff if, perchance, the ATM machines go to lockdown, and anyway, after three days of that there won’t even be anything to buy (or steal) at the local supermarket, given the fragility of our supply chains. I know this sounds a little extreme, like Zombie Apocalypse, but you won’t actually see any zombies around. They were just part of the perpetual freak show of the mind that is being shoved aside for the starker theatrics of reality.