History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce

Karl Marx wasn’t wrong about everything.

Tonight, President Hopey-McChange goes on the television to attempt the following (as expressed by Chris Nelson):

The President goes on nation/world TV tonight in what’s being billed as an effort to rally the people, and our allies, to a robust, long-term, strategically and historically essential battle to the death against ISIS and its ilk.  

It’s neither essential strategically or essentially. Why? First, because ISIS can be contained. Second, because ISIS does not pose a threat to our vital national interests. Robust and Long-term? Those can’t mean anything other than wasted lives and treasure.

Awesome-sauce!

The only silver lining I can see to this is the following: by our obsessive focus on Iraq we can’t escalate against the Russians. Our military simply cannot do that much at one time and our allies in Europe won’t do it. So, there is that.

A Climate of Unaccountability

They’re back!  John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney – the people who pushed the U.S. into the devastating mistake that was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, have discovered yet another existential threat ready and able to destroy the world.  Back then it was Saddam Hussein and his mythical cache of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Now it is ISIS and its army of fanatical jihadists who are torturing, raping, crucifying, decapitating and genocidally killing anyone who stands in the way of the new caliphate they are building in what is left of the nations of Iraq and Syria.  It is precisely because there is a political, military, and economic vacuum in the heart of the Middle East that ISIS is able to thrive and expand.

The tragedy of American foreign policy is that the people who helped create that vacuum – who set into motion a war of aggression and choice – have never been held accountable for their mistake.  So here they are, this time doing the bidding of ISIS, spreading terror and fear into the hearts of the American people, priming the country for yet another war of aggression.  The foreign policy of these cheerleaders is encapsulated in one sentence, which ought to be carved on the tombstone of Bill Kristol, the man who said this: “What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?”   Continue reading A Climate of Unaccountability

Obama forms New Coalition of the Willing

President Obama, in meeting with NATO leaders in Wails, has formed a new, improved coalition of the willing to combat ISIS, which is believed to be better than Bush’s coalition of the willing for Invading Iraq.

Better because of both Obama’s Golden Oratory, and his behind-the-scenes threats, were much more effective than Bush’s clumsy speechifying. Bush’s behind-the-scenes threats were much less effective when the Eurozone believed they could challenge the hegemony of the US Dollar.
Continue reading Obama forms New Coalition of the Willing

Fukushima update, Now in Year 4

Fukushima Crisis Continues, Worse Than Reported from Start

– Reader Supported News

strangelove1
And the radioactive waste from Fukushima goes to: Fukushima!

Nobody in the world knows how dispose of radioactive waste safely and permanently. That’s a given. The Japanese central government is presumably aware that anything it does with still the unmeasured, but vast amount of radioactive waste from Fukushima’s six nuclear power generators will be temporary. Leaving it in place is not an option. So Tokyo announced August 29 that the Fukushima waste would be stored for 30 years in Fukushima prefect, in an “interim facility” to be built probably in nearby Okuma or Futaba (now evacuated).
Continue reading Fukushima update, Now in Year 4

Fascists and Army Head for Kiev-Maidan

“The best laid schemes o’ mice and men (and US/EU warmongers) gang aft a-gley”.

Looks like events are outpacing plans. Expect a lot of Faux News in the coming days.

I suspect it’s happening too fast for the US/EU to do anything except bitch and moan. I think Putin’s response will be the chief unanswered question of the moment.

As much as US would love to have The Ukraine in NATO, it is not there yet, so even if Russia upped the ante, the only excuse left to the NeoCons is R2P and I think the world – including the American people – have gotten tired of and wise to that ploy, given the situation in Libya, Iraq, Syria and our other failed missions.
Continue reading Fascists and Army Head for Kiev-Maidan

Jukebox Catblogging

The theme today is musical kittehs, all genre welcome.

Continue reading Jukebox Catblogging

Did Someone Say Cockleburs?

   Some time ago, I wrote a post entitled Cockleburs of Culture and later added Cocklebur Time Again. I was, of course, using cockleburs as a metaphor for those annoying little habits, practices, beliefs and expectations which our cultures (or ourselves) seem determined to embed in our lives.

   The Great God of Cockleburs was evidently not amused by my figure of speech. Continue reading Did Someone Say Cockleburs?

Domestic Abuse – And the Winners are…

Much is written and discussed about domestic abuse, which is mostly understood as men abusing women. Or escalating to domestic violence where men hit women.

The definition on Wikipedia illuminates this conventional wisdom.

Domestic violence (closely related to domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence and intimate partner violence) is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic context, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Intimate partner violence is domestic violence against a spouse or other intimate partner.

Okay, both marriage and gender neutral so far:
Continue reading Domestic Abuse – And the Winners are…

Lake Michigan (Huron) Returns to Average

Two and a half years ago I reported here that Lake Michigan (and Huron as they are hydrologically one body of water) was at a record low water level. It was basically just a fun fact but it had the appearance of apocalypse. One key reason for not getting too  excited was that none of the other Great Lakes were at a record low level.  If the level had kept dropping then maybe.

Now after two and a half years of rain and cold through out the drainage the lake has returned exactly to its long term average. And actually that is above the medium term average of the last ten years or so. It is now halfway to the highest level ever recorded in 1987.

Continue reading Lake Michigan (Huron) Returns to Average

Good Question, Terrible Answers

Digby asks the question I keep asking:

In all seriousness, I think the mindset of the National Security Elite has changed. First, Exceptional people do not negotiate. Second, every lesson we’ve been told we should have learned from World War II is this: you do not negotiate with aggressors. You fight them. (There is also the Holocaust lesson which wasn’t learned, either.)

So, Americans do not and will not and cannot ever negotiate with aggressors. And since the United States of America is imbued with “Exceptionalism” anyone who opposes the US is wrong. And if you are wrong you will soon be an aggressor. (Samantha Power would love that formulation!) Therefore, we will soon be at war with Russia unless they do everything we ask of them, which basically means roll over and act like a lap dog (basically what the Brits do).

Ponder that for a while. Then ponder how easy a solution could have been.

Ponder where all this bother takes us: the Ukraine. Imagine that it is increasingly looking like we are going to fight a shooting war against Russia, in its neighborhood, for the Ukraine. (For the record, I very well may have been wrong about Western unwillingness to stand up for the Ukraine.)

Ponder that, but this time with nukes.

“Labor Day Musings” : Ian Welsh, 2007

Ian’s long Agonist post here from September 2007 starts:

Given that it’s Labor Day weekend let’s have a chat about labor – organized labor. If you take a look at the map[ here ], something may jump out at you, as it did me. Where Labor is strong – Democrats tend to win. Where Labor is weak, they don’t. In the last election the electorate split fairly evenly, but amongst the groups that stand out as having gone Democratic, one is Labor. The general election was 49/49, but union members went 64/36 Democratic/Republican.

The complete 2007 Ian Welsh blogpost and comments

Israel Claims Nearly 1,000 Acres of West Bank Land Near Bethlehem

New York Times, By Isabel Kershner, August 31

Jerusalem — Israel on Sunday laid claim to nearly 1,000 acres of West Bank land in a Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem — a step that could herald significant Israeli construction in the area — defying Palestinian demands for a halt in settlement expansion and challenging world opinion.

Peace Now, an Israeli group that opposes the construction of settlements in the West Bank, said that the action on Sunday might be the largest single appropriation of West Bank land in decades and that it could “dramatically change the reality” in the area.

Palestinians aspire to form a state in the lands that Israel conquered in 1967.

Israeli officials said the political directive to expedite a survey of the status of the land came after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in June while hitchhiking in that area. In July, the Israeli authorities arrested a Palestinian who was accused of being the prime mover in the kidnapping and killing of the teenagers. The timing of the land appropriation suggested that it was meant as a kind of compensation for the settlers and punishment for the Palestinians.
Continue reading Israel Claims Nearly 1,000 Acres of West Bank Land Near Bethlehem

China rejects open nominations for Hong Kong leadership

China rejects open nominations for Hong Kong leadership

AP, August 31

China’s legislature on Sunday ruled against allowing open nominations in elections for Hong Kong’s leader, a decision that promises to ignite political tensions in the Asian financial hub.

The legislature’s powerful Standing Committee ruled that all candidates for chief executive must receive more than half of the votes from a special nominating body before going before voters. Democracy activists in the Asian financial hub responded by saying that a long-threatened mass occupation of the heart of the city “will definitely happen.”

Activists have also decried the nominating committee held up by Beijing as beholden to Chinese leaders and were mobilizing to stage massive protests against the decision.

Continue reading China rejects open nominations for Hong Kong leadership

Chuck Bowden has died

I just read an email that says Chuck Bowden, my mentor, my dear friend, has died.

Words fail.

Does It Help to Know History?

The New Yorker, By Adam Gopnik, August 28

About a year ago, I wrote about some attempts to explain why anyone would, or ought to, study English in college. The point, I thought, was not that studying English gives anyone some practical advantage on non-English majors, but that it enables us to enter, as equals, into a long existing, ongoing conversation. It isn’t productive in a tangible sense; it’s productive in a human sense. The action, whether rewarded or not, really is its own reward. The activity is the answer.

It might be worth asking similar questions about the value of studying, or at least, reading, history these days, since it is a subject that comes to mind many mornings on the op-ed page. Every writer, of every political flavor, has some neat historical analogy, or mini-lesson, with which to preface an argument for why we ought to bomb these guys or side with those guys against the guys we were bombing before. But the best argument for reading history is not that it will show us the right thing to do in one case or the other, but rather that it will show us why even doing the right thing rarely works out.
Continue reading Does It Help to Know History?

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