This is the mark of an insular, insecure society.
A society that requires “Trigger Warnings” for college and university courses is a society that is decidedly not preparing its young for the real world.
The real world is a harsh, brutal and fundamentally unfair place. It is a place with real winners and losers. It is a place where violence, racism, homophobia, theft and rape don’t come wrapped up in nice prettified “Trigger Warnings.”
A discussion of such things should be open, frank and should be shocking. It should be jarring. It should be disturbing.
Why is this man laughing?
The diplomatic crisis in Ukraine is bad enough and the America government struggles to find a path to work this out are harsh and complex, but see if you can guess where this article was posted: Continue reading Today In Slanted News
So, below the fold is tonight’s Nelson Report. Honestly, I just don’t know where to begin, what to say, what I could possible add. We’re clearly at a point in the West, including Merkel, where no one, not a single leader, has the power of imagining themselves in another leader’s shoes.
Seriously, Merkel’s leak, as reported by Nelson, means this: “fuck it, I’m out. Y’all handle Putin.” This kind of behavior bodes extremely ill for the successful and prudent conduct of foreign policy, not to mention Western civilization.
Addendum, added 9:10 am 3/4/2014:
This comment from Quax makes me feel a whole lot better about Merkel: As a German speaker I can say authoritatively that the word by word translation of “he lives in another world” takes on a completely different meaning in English. When a German says “er lebt in ein anderen Welt” this uses exactly the same words and sentence structure, but it means “he looks at the world completely differently”.
Also, for more on Merkel, see Moon of Alabama.
Further, please, don’t get me started on the whole “Putin’s lost his sanity” thing. That to me is a clear indication that no one is even remotely ready to consider the full spectrum of reality. Calling a leader crazy is a political cop-out. It’s intellectually lazy. It’s an easy way of telling the home crowd: “I can’t deal with this dude, he cray-cray,” and then you get a free pass. That’s bullshit. That isn’t statesmanship. It’s not responsible. It’s cowardly. It’s also a sign you are ethically bankrupt, not to mention strategically incompetent. You engage with the people you must, not the people whom you wish you could. The world is not Burger King, you cannot always have it your way. It simply does not work that way.
I read this stuff and all I see and hear are rationales and excuses for bad Western behavior. There is literally zero ability or willingness to see this from any other perspective. Now, do I need to add that Putin’s a profoundly evil man? Do I need to add that Yanukovich was a deeply odious and flawed leader of the Ukraine? Maybe I should. Apparently all these caveats and conditions are necessary before you can have a “serious” discussion. But, I think you all know that. I don’t think Agonist readers are stupid at all. (Your leaders think you are fools, however.)
And you know what? That’s all beside the point. What concerns me most here is the danger of miscalculation. This is a real crisis now, people. Three weeks ago everyone said nothing like this would happen. Guess what?
So, how do we manage the climb-down from this crisis? How do our leaders (God help us!) do this? Can they? Can a group of people who are so fundamentally in intellectual lock-step with each other find a negotiated solution to this crisis with someone with whom they believe they are morally superior? Wow, do I need to mention how dangerous a position it is to be morally superior when your interlocutor has nukes.
Why is that important? Well, if the West is to get this done peacefully, the West is going to have to give Putin something in return. They are going to have to give someone they believe they are fundamentally morally superior to what is in essence, from their perspective, a bribe. You see where this is headed? Deadlock. I don’t see any leader in the West capable of making an intellectual leap like that. I don’t know a single one who has the courage to do what must be done, as opposed to flinging cheap rhetorical boogers from the cheap seats. Can Obama? Cameron? Harper?
Merkel? Hollande? Are you kidding me?
And you know what’s most important and lost in all this? This crisis could have been avoided. But because it wasn’t innocent people are going to die. I’m really sick of that happening.
So, go ahead, read tonight’s Nelson Report and just weep for the Baby Jesus; then go read this interview of Dmitry Simes.
Who you think is more rational? Or in tune with reality?
Continue reading The View From DC on Russia, Putin and the Ukraine
Here’s the tweet:
WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T HE DO THIS THREE WEEKS AGO?
Follow the Law? Both Parties Reject Simple Integrity
It’s not easy to keep a “scandal” going where there’s no scandal
Reader Supported News
Whatever you hear about tax exempt, 501(c)(4) organizations these days, someone is probably playing politics, or simply lying (for the sake of playing politics). And even if you’re not hearing about it, they’re still lying about it. This is all about bi-partisan deceit designed to defend the flow of dark money from secret donors.
The focal point of the “IRS scandal” these days is a new set of regulations announced by the IRS in November and currently open for public comments, which totaled more than 69,000 before the comment period closed February 27.
In case you missed it, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, have introduced a bill that would block any new regulations, and would also, in effect, make it against the law for the administration to follow the law. That’s literally true. The proposed legislation, H.R.3865, has a fictional title: “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014” and really, who could be against that? Continue reading IRS “Scandal” Lives On, Still Bogus
Apparently, that’s what Stalin asked Churchill, after being chided by the great cigar smoker about Catholics and WWII or something. The answer, obvious: none.
That being said, I had no idea that the papacy had bombs.
So, five pinche gringo kids wear US flag t-shirts to prove how much assholedom can fit in one California high school on Cinco de Mayo. It’ s a provocation to the Latino students, clearly. Instead of finding some creative way to humiliate the students or to get the Latino students to swallow their pride (which they should not have to do so), the principal, or whoever, bans the kids from wearing their shirts and sends them home.
Fast forward to now: case ends up in a Federal District Court that upholds a fucking ban on American flag t-shirts.
Teatards now have another reason to be racist assholes and to generally denigrate and belittle liberals with.
Never mind the reality that the kids aren’t fucking adults and do not have the full panoply of rights enumerated in the Bill Of Rights. They ARE CHILDREN.
Doesn’t matter: the principal is an idiot. The judges who came up with the ruling are idiots for not finding a creative way to toss the case out on a laugh out loud technicality.
We end up with a bullshit waste of time that even I am wasting my precious time writing about it on this blog when I could be bitching about the Ukraine or whatever. (I am also aware that that sentence lacks much, necessary punctuation.)
PS–Speaking of asshole kids: this girl is a piece of work. And please, before anyone says anything: I chose that word because it is gender neutral. Don’t go there.
Passing along one tweet with one comment:
This is what your media does best: infantilize you.
I’m playing professional historian today. There is a conference at the University I’ve been made to understand it is in my best interests to attend, so slow blogging today.
When was the last flame war? Let’s have one of those. But remember the rules: take nothing anyone says seriously and no porn.
As the taxi drove me in to Moscow for my first arrival via air (my first time in Moscow I came on the train) I saw this strange monument on the side of the road. I asked the taxi driver what it was?
“The furthest advance of the Germans toward Moscow,” he said. “My grandfather and two great uncles died near here fighting Nazis.”
There is an IKEA on the other side of the road now. Strange world, ours is.
This about sums it up for me.
Why are we not surprised? The United States neoconservative-initiated action in the Ukraine is backfiring. The head of the Ukrainian Navy, Admiral Denis Berezovsky, just announced that the navy is now in the service of the Crimean Autonomous Republic.
“I, Berezovsky Denis, swear allegiance to the Crimean people and pledge to protect it, as required by the [army] regulations. I swear to take orders of Crimea and Sevastopol’s Supreme Commander,” Berezovsky said as seen in video footage. All Navy troops dislocated in Sevastopol are ordered to disregard any commands coming from Ukraine’s new self-proclaimed authorities,” the PM also declared. “Do not take any orders of using arms till my personal instructions.”
RT (Russia Today), Mar 2, 2014
With Crimea out of the question, there are only four regions of the Ukraine that offer access to the Black Sea, Odessa, Kherson, Zaporizhia, and Donet’z each more aligned with the Russian Federation than their parent country. That leaves the new government of the Ukraine virtually landlocked. It also raises questions about the remaining forces in the Ukraine military.
Will other forces mutiny? Will other forces follow orders by the self-proclaimed government of the Ukraine?
Continue reading Ukraine Landlocked – Navy Mutinies Joins Crimea
One of the disturbing aspects of the crisis in Ukraine is the dearth of information being provided by cable news outlets. If you’ve ever doubted the power and influence of the media infotainment complex, Ukraine should serve as confirmation.
CNN tries, but, being CNN, the “news” is packaged more for entertainment than information. MSNBC is caught up in their personality-driven programming, most of which involves pundits and other “experts” pontificating at some length about the significance of things which allow them to revel in their own mellifluous tones.
Fox News Channel? I’m probably not the one best suited to speak to the relevance and/or accuracy of FNC’s coverage. They’re less a news outlet dedicated to objective journalism than the propaganda arm of Koch Industries and the GOP.
Continue reading Greetings from our (not so) New Idiocracy
Adomanis is a smart, shrewd analyst. His opinion is worth reading and considering. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, but as Numerian noted in the comment section of one of our multiple Ukrainian threads, there are untold consequences for Russia’s actions. And in any war-like situation the enemy (meaning the Ukraine in this case) holds cards of its own. How it plays them? We shall see. But the point is, the Ukraine has options too.
That conclusion is and was never in doubt by me. Should Russia have done what it did? Hell if I know. I’m not sitting in Pootie-poot’s command center. All I know is how I might react given what I do know of Russian history and how I might react were I put in a situation where I was the leader of a nation that was slowly being encircled by what I perceived as a hostile military alliance that had broken promise after promise.
Sometimes in life and in geopolitics there are no good choices, only lots of bad choices. The duty of a statesman is to make the best bad choice. You deal with the world you have, not the world you want.
So, Adomanis makes a lot of sense. That being said and risks notwithstanding, I can still put myself in Putin’s shoes and see why he had to make the move he did.
And that has been my fundamental gripe throughout the entire crisis: no one in the West was doing that. No one was acting upon Sun Tzu’s dictum: know thy enemy, know thyself.
The ultimate failure here is one of imagination. The US policy elite simply cannot move past this paralyzing virtual reality of foreign policy orthodoxy in which they inhabit: an incestuous feedback loop of think tankers and pundits, each one of whom is vying for a position on the NSC or has had one at State and no one suffers any consequences for being wrong. Ever.
Moreover, no one offers to try and find a solution because the only solution is one based on American preferences.
That’s not diplomacy, it’s tautology.
That tautology has led us to a very dangerous point.