Yet compromise and negotiation with Hitler’s Germany were impossible, because the policy objectives of National Socialism were irrational and unlimited. Expansion and aggression were built into the system and, short of accepting German domination in advance, i.e. choosing not to resist the Nazi advance, war was unavoidable, sooner rather than later. Hence the central role of ideology in the formation of policy in the 1930s: if it determined the aims of Nazi Germany, it excluded realpolitik for the other side. Those who recognized that there could be no compromise with Hitler, which was a realistic assessment of the situation, did so for entirely unpragmatic reasons. They regarded fascism as intolerable on principle and a priori, or (as in the case of Winston Churchill) they were driven by an equally a priori idea of what their country and empire ‘stood for’, and could not sacrifice. The paradox of Winston Churchill was that this great romantic, whose political judgment had been almost consistently wrong on every matter since 1914 – including the assessment of military strategy on which he prided himself – was realistic on the one question of Germany.
Conversely, the political realists of appeasement were entirely unrealistic in their assessment of the situation, even when the impossibility of a negotiated settlement with Hitler became obvious to any reasonable observer in 1938-39. This was the reason for the black tragicomedy of March-September 1939, which ended in a war nobody wanted at a time and in a place nobody wanted it (not even Germany), and which actually left Britain and France without any idea of what, as belligerents, they were supposed to do, until the blitzkrieg of 1940 swept them aside. In the face of the evidence they themselves accepted, the appeasers in Britain and France still could not bring themselves to negotiate seriously for an alliance with the USSR, without which war could neither be postponed nor won, and without which the guarantees against German attack suddenly and heedlessly scattered around Eastern Europe by Neville Chamberlain – without, incredible as it may seem, consulting or even adequately informing the USSR – were waste paper.
– Eric Hobsbawm
The Age of Extremes (1994)
What Russia-gate Has Wrought
April 16, 2017
For five months, there was a daily drumbeat on Russia-gate, the sprawling conspiracy theory that Russia had somehow put Donald Trump in the White House, but suddenly the “scandal” disappeared.
Is Our Political Class Mentally Ill?
Sadistic commentators hail death and destruction
by Justin Raimondo, April 17, 2017
Thomas Friedman’s Perverse Love Affair With ISIS
By Adam Johnson
Pompeo vs. WikiLeaks: It’s No Contest
by Thomas Knapp
April 19, 2017
If I have to choose between believing WikiLeaks or believing Mike Pompeo, I’ll believe WikiLeaks six days a week and twice on Sunday.
Over the course of more than a decade, WikiLeaks has built a sterling reputation for delivering the real goods on various governments (including Russia’s). The next document it releases which is shown to be fake will be the first. WikiLeaks has earned the trust of the public – and moreover, it has shown that it trusts the public with information about what our governments are doing in our names and with our money.
The US intelligence community, on the other hand, spies on us, lies to us about it, and expects us to pick up the check even after decades of irrefutable evidence of its dishonesty and incompetence.
Growing economies use more energy; shrinking economies use less energy. And if the Corrupt West wasn’t using its energy-intensive war machine so regularly, the collapse in energy demand in the Western world would have been even more pronounced. No economy with flat energy demand can pretend to be growing. No economy with its interest rates set permanently at near-zero levels can pretend to be growing. Both of those preceding statements are economic tautologies. Absolute proof. Western economies are not growing because two absolutely unequivocal economic fundamentals indicate such growth to be impossible.
The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream, Tyler Cowen, St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages
United Blew It, but End the Passenger’s Pity Party
It was a premeditated temper tantrum gone viral.
By MICHAEL FUMENTO • April 14, 2017
This is obvious nonsense, so how did he get so far with it?
In part, welcome to the world of the Black Mirror. That’s a highly-regarded Netflix series about a dystopian near-future in which social media dictates “the truth.” The name refers to a blank cell phone or tablet screen.
The Sturm und Drang began with a short clip uploaded first to Facebook and then other media. It began just as Dao was pulled from his seat. You didn’t see him being apologetically requested to leave first by United employees and then by security. Nor the phone call nor his daring to be dragged. With social media, he who uploads or tweets first dictates the story.
What Would Korean War II Look Like?
ERIC MARGOLIS • APRIL 15, 2017 • 900 WORDS
Assessing Russia’s Military Strength
Is America Seeking “Preventive War” to Forestall the Rise of Russian Power?
ANDREI MARTYANOV • APRIL 17, 2017 • 3,200 WORDS
It took a complete and embarrassing failure of the West’s economic sanctions on Russia to recognize that the actual size of Russia’s economy is about that of Germany, if not larger, and that Russia was defining herself in terms of enclosed technological cycles, localization and manufacturing long before she was forced to engage in the war in Georgia in 2008. Very few people realistically care about Russia’s Stock Market, the financial markets of Germany are on the order of magnitude larger, but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can. Germany doesn’t have a space industry, Russia does. The same argumentation goes for Russia’s microelectronics industry and her military-industrial complex which dwarfs that of any “economic” competitor Western “economists” always try to compare Russia to, with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only. Third or Second World economies do not produce such weapons as Borey-class strategic missile submarines or SU-35 fighter jets, they also do not build space-stations and operate the only global alternative to US GPS, GLONASS system.
17 Rules for Foreign Interventions
Lessons from America’s lost wars
By GEORGE LIEBMANN • April 17, 2017
4. Do not denigrate religious and non-economic values. Without these norms, the survival of morality and social peace becomes a function of the business cycle. Remember that the traditional division of labor between the sexes makes sense in hunter-gatherer, agricultural, and manufacturing economies. Remember also that all occupying armies swiftly earn resentment, as they appropriate or bid up the cost of goods and women. Respect the lessons of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the European religious wars that had killed off a third of the continent’s population. It bought relative peace for 150 years.
What Could Go Wrong?
-James Howard Kunstler
The fascinating part of the Syrian gas bombing story is how easily the public swallowed it. Those elected congressmen and senators infesting the cable stations told the public that the Intelligence Community “issued a consensus report” that the Syrian air force has dropped Sarin gas bombs on the hapless civilians. Nobody offered any actual evidence that this was so. These days, mere assertions rule.
That’s how we roll now. I’m still waiting to see some evidence that Trump’s campaign “colluded with Russia” to spin the election toward him. Those claims, too, were put out as “a consensus analysis” by the Intelligence Community. And then in March, months after the disputed election, just-retired NSA director James Clapper told NBC’s Meet the Press that his agency had no evidence of “Russian collusion” with the Trump forces. That was only a few weeks ago.
Evebody just eat as much candy as you want because this is probably our last Easter on Earth.
Ironically, the Syria attack may be the best chance for the hysterical, anti-Trump, pussy-hat gang to impeach the President but they are not paying attention. Ever since their predictions of the next Hitler fizzled they have lost interest.
Where Was CIA’s Pompeo on Syria?
April 8, 2017
The Syria cruise-missile strike is the most important event of Emperor Trump’s reign so far. It is the the most important event since Trump’s election and the Iran-nuclear deal of 2016.
How Media Bias Fuels Syrian Escalation
April 10, 2017
[some good comments after this one]
The Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria
A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report Issued on April 11, 2017
THEODORE A. POSTOL • APRIL 12, 2017 • 5,200 WORDS
The explosive acted on the pipe as a blunt crushing mallet. It drove the pipe into the ground while at the same time creating the crater. Since the pipe was filled with sarin, which is an incompressible fluid, as the pipe was flattened the sarin acted on the walls and ends of the pipe causing a crack along the length of the pipe and also the failure of the cap on the back end. This mechanism of dispersal is essentially the same as hitting a toothpaste tube with a large mallet, which then results in the tube failing and the toothpaste being blown in many directions depending on the exact way the toothpaste skin ruptures.
Leaving Leninism and anti-Leninism aside, the first thing for the historian to re-establish is the obvious fact, which nobody in the 1890s would have denied, that the division of the globe had an economic dimension. To demonstrate this is not to explain everything about the imperialism of the period. Economic development is not a sort of ventriloquist with the rest of history as its dummy. For that matter, even the most single-minded businessman pursuing profit into, say, the South African gold- and diamond-mines, can never be treated exclusively as a money-making machine. He was not immune to the political, emotional, ideological, patriotic or even racial appeals which were so patently associated with imperial expansion. Nevertheless, if an economic connection can be established between the tendencies of economic development in the capitalist core of the globe at this time and its expansion into the periphery, it becomes much less plausible to put the full weight of explanation on motives for imperialism which have no intrinsic connection with the penetration and conquest of the non-western world. And even those which appear to have, such as the strategic calculations of rival powers, must be analysed while bearing the economic dimension in mind. Even today politics in the Middle East, which are far from explicable on simple economic grounds, cannot be realistically discussed without considering oil.
Chapter 3 – “The Age of Empire”
The Age of Empire: 1875-1914 (1987)
The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848 – by Eric Hobsbawm (1962)
Industry and Empire: The Birth of the Industrial Revolution – by Eric Hobsbawm (1968)
The Age of Capital: 1848-1875 – by Eric Hobsbawm (1975)
The Age of Empire: 1875-1914 – by Eric Hobsbawm (1987)
The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991 – by Eric Hobsbawm (1994)
Conspiracy with and Without Conspirators
KAREL VAN WOLFEREN • APRIL 5, 2017 • 3,600 WORDS
First off, it is clear that even as airlines have increased the amount of flights being offered, the demand has been rising to meet that supply.
Bespoke pointed out that the total number of available airline miles have surged since 2008, while capacity — basically how full the flights are — has remained steady. This indicates, at the minimum, sufficient demand for the increased air miles.
“Scheduled airline seat miles have been rising steadily since 2014, while load factors (basically, the percentage of seats filled) have been steady near 85% for domestic flights,” said the note.
A Multi-Level Analysis of the US Cruise Missile Attack on Syria and Its Consequences
THE SAKER • APRIL 11, 2017 • 6,900 WORDS
Book Review: Twilight’s Last Gleaming by J.M. Greer
THE SAKER • APRIL 7, 2017 • 1,000 WORDS
Death on the Prescription Plan
The ‘White Plague’ of the 21st Century
JAMES PETRAS • APRIL 6, 2017 • 3,900 WORDS
Salvation? (or is the New York Times just scrapping the bottom of the barrel for Utopian scams?)
He and his team at the University of Texas at Austin filed a patent on a new kind of battery that, if it works as promised, would be so cheap, lightweight and safe that it would revolutionize electric cars and kill off petroleum-fueled vehicles. His announcement has caused a stir, in part, because Dr. Goodenough has done it before. In 1980, at age 57, he coinvented the lithium-ion battery that shrunk power into a tiny package.
The Allure of the DC Streetcar
By NATHANIEL KOCH • April 4, 2017
How Tourism Is Killing Venice
By LEWIS MCCRARY • April 3, 2017
“We don’t have the tax reform that we’re expecting,” Fink said. “If we don’t see a true deregulation, I think the markets would have some setbacks there.”
He added that the US economy was slowing down and would probably grow by less than 1.5%. “In fact, I think the first quarter, the US may be the slowest economy in the G-7,” he said.
“If you believe that it would be longer for these to transpire and we have an economy that is slower because of uncertainty, then I would say the market is, the US equity markets are probably higher than they should be,” Fink added.
The Trump Administration Goes Neocon-Crazy
THE SAKER • APRIL 5, 2017 • 2,100 WORDS
Air cover for the US forces in Syria imply either a tacit agreement with the Russians and the Syrians, something like what the Israelis apparently have, or an immense risk for the USAF and USN aircraft. So we are back to negotiating with the Russians and via the Russians, with the Syrians.
In fact, I bet you that this is what the Americans are doing right now. Quietly negotiating with the Russians. Problem: the Neocons hate Russia and everything Russian. And they loathe Putin.
Conspiracy with and Without Conspirators
KAREL VAN WOLFEREN • APRIL 5, 2017 • 3,600 WORDS
Close your eyes, click your heels three times, and tell me if you actually know what the fuck is happening in Syria. There’s an awful lot about the poison gas attack that doesn’t add up for the casual observer. It was only a week ago that the US enunciated a new policy that we would be content for Bashar al Assad to remain in power presiding over the Syrian government — after years of grousing and threats against him. Apparently Trump Central had concluded that Assad was a better alternative than another failed state in the Middle East with no government at all.
Racket of Rackets (Good Stuff)
They’ve turned an entire generation of office workers into servants of criminal enterprise. Imagine the damage this does to the soul of our culture.
I have no idea who this woman is, but apparently MSN thinks this is Important News:
Candace Cameron Bure: ‘Loving Jesus doesn’t mean I hate gay people’
Watching this now. It is good. At least the first 20 minutes. His books are too long and dense and jumbled to read. I’ll try again sometime.
-JHK April 3rd
It ought to be sign of just how delusional the nation is these days that Elon Musk of Tesla and Space X is taken seriously.
The political disorder currently roiling America is there because the contradictions in our national life have become so starkly obvious, and the first thing to crack is the political consensus that allows business-as-usual to keep chugging along. The political turmoil will only accelerate the accompanying economic turmoil that drives it in a self-reinforcing feedback loop.
South Korean freighter missing off Uruguay
More than 20 crew are feared dead after a South Korean cargo vessel went missing in the South Atlantic after making a mayday call.
I have a hunch that history will look at Obama as not such a good President or good guy if it remembers him at all. Basically, nothing noticeable happened for 8 years. But behind the scenes everything was kinda creepy.
Eerie Prescience of Donald Trump
ISRAEL SHAMIR • APRIL 3, 2017 • 2,100 WORDS
– This surveillance and its leak caused the Flynn affair. I have learned what Flynn actually discussed with the Russian ambassador. I haven’t seen this being reported in the US media: they darkly hissed of Flynn “discussing sanctions” with the Russian. The truth was somewhat different. Flynn called the Ambassador when Obama in a fit of fury expelled dozens of Russian diplomats in 24 hours just before the New Year’s Eve, and forbade them to use their holiday vacation premises. Obama did it in order to poison the US-Russia relations, for as you know, the NWO-beholden Democrats want at least a cold war, or preferably a nuclear one with the Russian bear. Obama tried his worst to spoil the relations to such an extent, that even Trump would find it hard to heal.
– Obama knew that the threats were coming from Israel, but he never dared to say that. Trump is nobody’s fool.
– Trump ordered giving up the regime change drive in Syria, and this is already a good thing. It would be better if he were to forget about the Middle East completely, but probably the US military would not allow that.
-Partnership with the CIA means partnership with the liberals of the WaPo and the NY Times, and it is not the flavour of the month among American industrialists.
Searching for Russia
THE SAKER • APRIL 1, 2017 • 3,200 WORDS
For example, Russia never underwent any “Renaissance”. I would even argue that Russia never really underwent any Middle-Ages either since, being an heir to the East Roman Empire (aka Byzantium), Russian roots are in Antiquity. While one could, arguably, describe the phases of western civilization as Middle-Ages -> Renaissance -> Modernity -> Contemporary era, in the case of Russia the sequence would be a much shorter Antiquity -> Modernity -> Contemporary era.
[Sidebar: you will notice that I did place the roots of the modern western civilization in the Middle-Ages, not in antiquity. The reason for this is the fact that when the Franks finally conquered the western Roman Empire they destroyed it to such a degree that the era following the collapse of the western Roman Empire is called the “Dark Ages” (Russia, by the way, never went through this millennium of darkness and, hence, she never had any need for any “renaissance” or “re-birth”). Contrary to the official historical narrative, the current western civilization has never had any roots in the Roman Empire, and even less so, Greek antiquity. The true founders of the “western world” were, in so many ways, the Franks]
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.’
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
The Wisdom of Life
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 boredom—a 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
March 24, 2017
Best 1000-word history of Vietnam War ever written:
The Unwinnable Vietnam War
March 26, 2017
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, 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.”
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.
FRED REED • MARCH 23, 2017 • 1,100 WORDS
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.”
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.
Counsels and Maxims (1851)
* * *
March 23, 2017
THE UNITED STATES OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
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
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.
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.
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.”
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