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The Jehoshua Novels


In a Shock to No One…

…Joe Biden got out in front of the White House and shamed them into a policy change: Continue reading In a Shock to No One…

Not news to me.

Various versions of this are all over my facebook feed today: The USA is not a democracy, its an oligarchy.

When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.

from “Testing Theories of American Politics.”

The pdf is here.

I don’t think anything will change. The promise in 2008 was tainted.

Pulitzer Prize Goes To . . .

. . . the Guardian for doing real journalism. More like that, please. I look forward to Glenn Greenwald’s new venture to get its first Pulitzer.

The Absurdity of the Terrorism Excuse

Today’s Nelson Report lays bare the utter absurdity of the word “terrorism.” It is now virtually meaningless, but still powerful enough to conjure up atavistic emotions in people. We live in a bizarre world.

SUMMARY: The Ukraine crisis is bubbling along with what looks like the US still trying the threat of really deep economic sanctions in hopes of persuading Russia’s Putin not to complete the military take-over of Eastern Ukraine which seems to be underway.

At State today, the briefing danced around efforts to get the US to declare the Russian troops “terrorists” and to agree that the situation now is a “civil war”, but Jen Psaki did say while that Pres. Obama is looking at a full menu of new sanctions, nothing will be announced before Thursday.

Russian troops are terrorists? What useful purpose would that serve? The obsession the media has with this word is mind-boggling. Nelson continues:  Continue reading The Absurdity of the Terrorism Excuse

Michael Ruppert commits suicide

Michael Ruppert, author of Crossing the Rubicon took his own life with a gunshot to the head Sunday night.

The “Purple Wedding” of Geo-Politics

Sorry if you don’t watch Game of Thrones on Sunday nights, you might not get the title reference. Suffice it to say, without needing to give a spoiler alert, that there’s vengeance and there’s payback.

Continue reading The “Purple Wedding” of Geo-Politics

Meta Question

Why is no one willing to consider making the Ukraine a buffer state? The West gives up its idea to have it be a part of NATO and Russia allows the Ukraine to become, let’s call it, Finlandized.

Ask yourself that question. Look at the situation at large.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I have some ideas. I should not be surprised at Western/American recalcitrance and yet I still am, because the risks of this getting out of hand so far outweigh the rewards of having the Ukraine in the US orbit? When you think at it that way, it really is all about making sure Russia stays with its back against the wall.

I say all this as prefatory remarks to tonight’s Nelson Report which is just hard to digest.

Continue reading Meta Question

America’s Grand Strategic Pathway to Catastrophe

This from my buddy Chuck Spinney, by way of prefatory remarks for this post by Yale’s David Bromwich, who has become Obama’s most eloquent and damning critic:

Future historians may well view the 25 year pattern of aggressive behaviour exhibited by the United States since the end of the Cold War to be acts of arrogant triumphalism aimed at humiliating the Russian remnants of its Cold War adversary.  Examples are overwhelming, including America’s promotion of (a) NATO expansion after promises to the contrary, (b) the wars of the Yugoslav succession culminating in the Kosovo War, (c) the neo-liberal looting of Russian state property during the Yeltsin regime, (d) the abrogation of the ABM treaty, (e) the unprovoked aggression in Iraq, (f) the unfocused whack-a-mole’ war on ‘terror’ in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, etc., (g) the of “colour revolutions” in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan (h) the war of ‘responsibility-to-protect’ humanitarian aggression in Libya, (i) the quasi alliance with and promotion of Jihadis in the murderous civil war in Syria in the name of regime change, and now (j) the tolerance of neo-fascist conspirators and provocateurs in the active promotion of regime change in Ukraine.

It now seems probable, perhaps inevitable, that a comparison of America’s behaviour with the disastrous triumphalism, vindictiveness, cynicism, and outright lying exhibited by the Allies during the 1919 Versailles ‘peace’ conference lies in the historical offing.

The basic goal of any sensible grand strategy should be to end conflict on terms that do not sow the seeds of future conflict. Yet the United States seems to be careening out of control in the opposite direction.

Barack Obama, a man who likes to compare himself to Abraham Lincoln (a man who understood the nature of a sensible grand strategy), promised to change America’s behaviour.  He came out of nowhere to win the presidential campaign of 2008 with soaring rhetoric centered on the now forgotten slogan: “change you can believe it.”  But as president, the mismatch between Mr. Obama’s words and deeds emerged to cement the status quo, including especially America’s grand-strategic march to disaster.

The attached essay by David Bromwich, a professor of literature at Yale, brilliantly analyzes the central role of Obama’s rhetoric plays perpetuating destructive grand-strategic policies of his three immediate predecessors.

Of course, Obama is merely a bit player in an ongoing drama: the roots of America’s grand strategic pathway to catastrophe reach deeper into the dim mists surrounding the origins of the Cold War and especially the domestic politics defense spending accompanying the rise of the Permanent War Economy that began 65 years ago. The habits and mores of the war economy are now deeply woven into our domestic politics. (See for example, my essay The Domestic Roots of Perpetual War)

Here’s the Browmwich essay link. Do read it in its entirety.  I have thoughts on how the United States morphed from a status quo power to one that is revolutionary, seeking to install or remake regimes across the globe in its image, but it’ll have to wait for another post.

CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

Former drone operators claim in new documentary that CIA missions flown by USAF’s 17th Reconnaissance Squadron

The Guardian, By Chris Woods, April 14

A regular US air force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA’s drone strike programme in Pakistan, according to a new documentary to be released on Tuesday.

The film – which has been three years in the making – identifies the unit conducting CIA strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, which operates from a secure compound in a corner of Creech air force base, 45 miles from Las Vegas in the Mojave desert.

Continue reading CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

AFRICOM Goes to War on the Sly

U.S. Officials Talk Candidly (Just Not to Reporters) about Bases, Winning Hearts and Minds, and the “War” in Africa

TomDispatch, By Nick Turse, April 13

What the military will say to a reporter and what is said behind closed doors are two very different things — especially when it comes to the U.S. military in Africa. For years, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has maintained a veil of secrecy about much of the command’s activities and mission locations, consistently downplaying the size, scale, and scope of its efforts. At a recent Pentagon press conference, AFRICOM Commander General David Rodriguez adhered to the typical mantra, assuring the assembled reporters that the United States “has little forward presence” on that continent. Just days earlier, however, the men building the Pentagon’s presence there were telling a very different story — but they weren’t speaking with the media. They were speaking to representatives of some of the biggest military engineering firms on the planet. They were planning for the future and the talk was of war.
Continue reading AFRICOM Goes to War on the Sly

Privilege: Buzzfeed Quiz

How privileged are you ? h/t Bob Morris

All reactions, complaints, confessions welcome.

Capitalism simply isn’t working- here are the reasons why

The Observer/Comment is Free, By Will Hutton, April 12

Suddenly, there is a new economist making waves – and he is not on the right. At the conference of the Institute of New Economic Thinking in Toronto last week, Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” got at least one mention at every session I attended. You have to go back to the 1970s and Milton Friedman for a single economist to have had such an impact.

Continue reading Capitalism simply isn’t working- here are the reasons why

NSA’s Bleeding Heart

Breaking News:

In a new leak from the NSA we have the results of the current task force assembled to deflect the blame from NSA’s Cyber unit. This task force became necessary when the Heartbleed Bug became public.

Editorial:

No matter which interpretation the Public puts on it, they all have a common thread: The NSA failed. They either didn’t know about the Bug (unlikely), or they did know about it (probable). If they knew about it and didn’t warn the American people, they failed to protect America from a very serious problem. If they knew about it and decided to use it for intelligence gathering, they made the wrong choice because America (and the world) was in greater danger from the unpatched programming flaw. No matter how you look at it, the NSA failed in its mandate to protect America. They recognize that they need a PR campaign to mitigate being blamed for their failure.

Continue reading NSA’s Bleeding Heart

Ukraine prepares armed response as city seized by pro-Russia forces

The Globe & Mail / Reuters, By Pavel Polityuk & Thomas Grove, April 12

Kiev/Moscow – Armed separatists took virtual control of a city in eastern Ukraine on Saturday and Kiev prepared troops to deal with what it called an “act of aggression by Russia”.

Pro-Russian activists carrying automatic weapons seized government buildings in Slaviansk and set up barricades on the outskirts of the city. Official buildings in several neighbouring towns were also attacked.

The developments have increased concerns of a possible “gas war” that could disrupt energy supplies across the continent.
Continue reading Ukraine prepares armed response as city seized by pro-Russia forces

Is there a problem?

Netherlands now has more prison staff than prisoners

Reasons:

- Progressive drug laws
- Sanctioning those who violate laws with rehabilitation efforts.
- Crime reduction through changing social behavior as a key to reducing incarceration — rather than just changing the laws or telling police to stop arresting people as a method for artificially creating the perception that there’s less crime. Source

So, what’s the US doing about its prison system?